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Taming your blind spots

Every living being is made up of light and shadow. At the root of all interpersonal conflicts and burnout are issues related to our shadow. We want to hide it because we want to show the best of ourselves, to pretend we are perfect beings.

And if we decided to embrace the fullness of ourselves rather than subtract anything to sacrifice ourselves to the endless demands of perfectionism, how will our relationships in all areas of our lives advance?

Many clients share their shame in asserting themselves for fear of displeasing others, being judged, or being caught out or not being accepted by their peers. Perfectionism is self-destructive, and we are all perfectly imperfect in our own unique ways. Embrace it!

We find in our shadow some positive qualities that were not welcome in our social circle, and that we have repressed them to be more accepted in our performance-based society, all our efforts will probably never be enough.

Accepting a factual situation is neither excusing nor approving it. Giving up our mental fights and letting go of the YES and the BUT clears the contrary and creates a path for a simple, fluid, and caring action.

Remember that the personal shadow is all that we hate of ourselves... and of others.

References from the book: Discover and Welcome the Shadowy Side, by Mireille Rosselet Capt, Jouvence publication.

Références tirés du livre :Découvrir et accueillir sa part d’ombre par Mireille Rosselet Capt, édition Jouvence

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This need for belonging that fulfills us

What makes us happier at work and in life in general?

It is different for everyone, however, I have observed among my clients that there is a common theme of belonging to a group with whom we share the ideals, with common denominators of balance and having our own network of support.

People often tell me they need to surround themselves with people who think like them, who strengthen their ways of thinking. It is reassuring not to challenge prejudices; people need to be right. The opinion of those who identify us as their equal reflects our social identity and helps us keep our mental balance.

Social networks help nourish this basic need, hence their exponential popularity in recent years. Still, some clients have expressed their dismay in witnessing all the prowess of their friends, so they shut themselves in solitude and avoid publicly communicating their distress.

In coaching, our key question is often, “Who or what am I serving in this situation?”

What do you disclose to the outside world and what does stays silently inside you?

In which area of your life is your attention focused now?

What you do ignore?

Who is more absent?

 

The balance for me is to be surrounded by authenticity and maintaining a trusted support network by accepting daily changes in all spheres of our life.

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When emotions invade us …

Meditation brings inner calm and a connection to ourselves, bringing us to the present moment when emotions dominate our reason.

I invite you to listen to this video when everything is in turmoil in you and around you. Choose a quiet place on a chair, feet on the floor, while paying attention to your breathing.

Take a break to go back refreshed.

 

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Human management: do you have a directive or collaborative style?

Managing a team means optimizing everyone’s potential by accepting their differences.

I have observed in my career that leaders who surround themselves with like-minded people are bound to limit their development opportunities and those of their team. Managers who do not trust themselves are afraid to be surrounded by strong people who will challenge them in their way of operating and thinking. They deprive themselves from progress because they avoid innovation to maintain a form of control in a known reality that gives them a sense of security.

Confident leaders are aware that there are several ways of doing or seeing things. They encourage their people to collaborate and to share their views by providing feedback that continuously promotes learning.

Delegating responsibilities and allowing people to live up to their potential gives them a reason to get up in the morning and the desire to excel. It makes employees feel involved and motivated to make a difference in the organization.

Directive managers ask their people to perform the requested task without thinking and without questioning it.

Collaborative managers invest in relational capital and will not hesitate to ask for help and take risks to succeed collectively in achieving the goals.

In your opinion, which of the two has the better chance of recruiting their team and keeping an excellent rate of staff retention?

Different approaches can be complementary and rewarding, but sometimes threatening. Accepting that the other person may have a different perspective remains challenging for employees, but when they feel understood and respected, they’ll be committed to the path of continuous presence and improvement and value learning as a development mode.

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Why you should understand Somatic Intelligence

I recently read Getting Our Bodies Back, by Christine Caldwell, which emphasizes the importance of somatic intelligence in our daily life. The author shows how everything goes through the body in different ways, and invites us to turn to our bodies to shed inner light on our emotions.

We generally avoid feeling in our bodies because it is painful, and denial is easier to manage; it allows us to function by controlling our actions instead of living them.

This control is very demanding on an energy level, and it is often the source of more pain than the emotions themselves.

The filters we maintain with this attitude also distance us from our relationship with ourselves and with others, since emotions remain present despite the filter we impose on them.

It is easier to project these emotions on external factors than to take responsibility.

For example, anger is at the level of the jaw, and sadness is at the level of the chest. Feeling pain at this level allows us to highlight the hidden emotions clients cannot name by themselves to help them become aware of them and thus choose to accept them.

When I read that isolating oneself is a defense mechanism representing the avoidance of not receiving what others have to offer us to progress… we lose the benefit of being in the present time.

 

The moving circle is the only way out of our limiting beliefs through our sensations and our limits, to experience the whole through these three phases.

 

  1. Mindfulness is having the courage to accept our emotions instead of filtering them, which also allows us to restore our ability to feel pleasure.
  2. Adapting our emotions without projecting them onto others, avoiding denial, blame and excuses that rationalize the situations lived to regain our power. When we make others responsible we give them power over our vitality.
  3. Acceptance, or lack of love for us, is represented by physical pain at several levels. But the most important is breathing, if it is not full and deep, it cuts us the ability to fully experience our emotions in pleasure or pain.

 

To properly integrate all the phases, it is necessary to practice the change regularly so that

our brain, muscles, and organs record these new patterns because anything that is not completed will be repeated.

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Broaden logical thinking and demonstrate political sense

This story makes me smile because it illustrates how much influence we can exert when we are fully present in what is happening and can assess the impact of our choices. There are always several solutions to a problem; it is a matter of changing the angle in which it is perceived.

There once was, in a small village, a penniless farmer who had to pay back a considerable sum of money to a very despicable old man. Since the farmer had a very pretty daughter who the old lender liked very much, the latter offered a bargain.

He said he would wipe out the farmer’s debt if he could marry his daughter. The farmer and his daughter were both horrified by this proposal. Then the old man suggested that chance determined the outcome of the proposition.

He told them he would put a white pebble and a black pebble in an empty silver bag, and that the girl would blindly pick one of the two pebbles in the bag.

 

  1. If she picks the black pebble, she becomes his wife and his father’s debt is erased
  2. If she picks the white pebble, she does not have to marry him and the father’s debt is also canceled
  3. If she refuses to pick a pebble, her father is thrown into jail

 

This discussion took place on the road in front of the farmer’s house, which was strewn with pebbles. As he continued talking, the old ugly man bent down to pick up the two pebbles.

As he was picking them up, the young girl, who had a keen eye, noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them in the bag. But she said nothing.

Then, the old lender asked the young girl to pick up the bag. Imagine for a moment what you would have done had you been there. What would you have advised the girl to do?

If one analyzes well, there are 3 possibilities:

 

  1. The girl should refuse to pick a pebble
  2. The girl should take out the two black pebbles from the bag, showing that the old man had cheated
  3. The girl should pick the black pebble, and sacrifice herself by marrying the old man to spare her father’s imprisonment

 

What would you have done in her place?

Here is what the girl did:

She picked up the sack and pulled out a pebble, which she immediately dropped to the ground, awkwardly, without being seen, and spontaneously mingled with the multitude of other pebbles on the ground. “How awkward of me!” exclaimed the girl. “It does not matter if I take the remaining stone out of the bag, we will know which I picked first.”

Since the remaining pebble was black, the first pebble could only be white.

Because the old lender did not dare to admit his dishonesty, the girl transformed the situation, which seemed impossible, into a very advantageous outcome.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the author. If you know him, please share it in the comments.

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Sharpening your political sense

Developing one’s political sense is often a recurring challenge among my clients. It is a necessary evil to progress in corporations, and often our ability—or lack thereof—to play the political game makes us cringe.  When we do not feel powerful, we avoid the game and we judge those who do it skillfully. In fact, we look at political sense as an additional skill that some people have and others don’t.

Understanding political issues means focusing on what is most human, and political games are essential for decoding informal networks in our work environment and optimizing our understanding of the environment in which we operate.

What do our bosses or our colleagues pay attention to? What is important to them?

Looking good?

Being decisive?

These factors tell us what to avoid in our interventions with this person at the risk of alienating them.

Who in your team has control and exercises their formal or informal influence?

Who recruited whom?

Who protects whom?

It helps to understand affiliations to avoid running into walls of resistance.

Understanding and distinguishing formal power from informal allows us to be more present in what is happening and strategically influences our business relationships. Remember that you are the one who gives others the power over you at a relational level.

The best course of action is to work with your allies first to consolidate your positions, then influence the indifferent to become allies and, ultimately, try to identify and understand the opponents to better position yourself.

Staying honest and accepting that everyone has different priorities makes it possible to be more flexible and more strategic in your functions, which certainly brings more satisfaction to your work.

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Lower expectations and increase appreciation

We live in an era of performance. We are oppressed by this demand to perform better and to do more to be appreciated.

Managers cannot escape the pressure for results in their working environment, and the way to achieve them remains particularly tenuous.

I observe in my clients a constant dissatisfaction with their performance and that of their peers and/or their employees. When I ask them what they have done well according to their perspectives, and how they rate their levels of dissatisfaction and satisfaction, the results surprise me regularly.

Most appreciate more than 70% of what they have accomplished, and they highlight the 30% they regret.

What prompts us to see the black spot first in the middle of the great white wall, when the white space occupies most of it and reflects all the possibilities we want to explore and perpetuate?

I invite you to reflect on your last words of appreciation given to yourself or your loved ones regarding all the positive achievements from the past few weeks.

Recognizing and appreciating what we have to offer helps us appreciate what others offer us with all their good intentions. Lowering our expectations to a realistic level and increasing our appreciation of what is done according to our needs remains, according to several specialists, the most effective path to wellbeing in all spheres of our lives!

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Overcoming resistance to change

I have recently discovered some fascinating writings on neuroscience and leadership, specifically the article written by David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz about bonds between the brain (organ) and the mind (the human consciousness that thinks, feels, acts, and perceives).

They describe that any organizational transformation that considers both the physiological nature of the brain and the factors predisposing people to resist change is more likely to succeed because change is painful to people.

Just like driving a manual transmission car for the first time, changing a well-established organizational habit can be challenging and requires a lot of effort. The sustained attention it requires is demanding, which many find uncomfortable; they will do whatever they can to avoid the change and discomfort that comes with it.

Companies also have this tendency to maintain the status quo because it takes a good dose of willingness and attention to change a behavior. It was proven by Dr. Michael O’Donnell, PhD, who created the AMSO model, that only 5% of the success factors of a change in behavior were attributed to consciousness; 30% was the motivation to change, 25% was the development of skills, and the largest part, 40%, went to practicing and opting for new opportunities.

Companies are counting on awareness as the primary step to change, but without the motivation or experience to do otherwise, change is not sustainable.

According to the authors, cultivating moments of awareness allows the individual to make a complex series of connections between several parts of their brain so they can modify their own attitude and move on to the other steps necessary to change their behaviour. These connections can increase our mental resources and overcome the brain’s resistance to change.

To be useful, awareness must come from within rather than being presented as an external conclusion. The moment one becomes aware feels like a positive and energizing experience, and this energy wave is very useful to help the transition.

Beginning to turn the page on problem behaviours and focusing on creating new behaviours will form new circuits in the brain.

Therefore, it is essential to encourage awareness to engage oneself in the new desired behaviour and look for solutions rather than giving advice.

The basis of my coaching methodology supports the individual in finding their own solutions through open-ended questions that promote awareness, and offering them the integration and opportunity to permanently change their behaviour.

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Improving your performance without running out of energy trying

Several studies have proven that the immune system weakens considerably among people who sleep less than seven to eight hours. Feeling appreciated is as vital as food for most of us according to Tony Schwartz, who wrote The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.

This book has made me think of the connection between the behavior of my clients at work and that of my former colleagues and employees. Wanting to always be efficient and have value, we have eyes on our mobile phones to keep from missing anything and respond to alerts as quickly as possible, without prioritizing its relevance.

Meanwhile, we are neither fully present in front of someone who speaks, nor able to concentrate enough to grasp the intent of the email that we want to respond to appropriately.

When the situation goes south, we blame and point fingers without taking responsibility for not realizing that it is us; that we do more harm by undermining our energy and our mental and physical health.

We are so busy doing things that we don’t think about what is essential or secondary to achieve our goals. We lose a lot of our precious energy in doing so. This is why it is essential to take a break every 90 minutes to regenerate emotionally and feel in balance and focus.

What is the most important thing you must do every day and is it on top of the list?

Do you get it done?

Solid foundations remain essential to creating a competitive advantage in business, and employers would do well to encourage their employees to be more authentic, to show empathy, be more present, to be creative and find meaning in what they do.

These qualities lead them to be more resilient to change and to feel competent at work and in other spheres of their lives.

Let employees manage their time and fulfil their tasks and make them aware of the results. It’s more efficient than managing their work schedule to the minute.

Understand that it takes between 21 and 30 days to change a behavior, and that anyone can do it with perseverance and motivation to overcome their patterns. Accept the powerful urge to avoid change to keep a comfortable status quo.

Treat your employees well; they will spend less time blaming others and doubting their skills, and will have more energy and transparency to meet the growing challenges of their markets and customers.