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Do you have a success story…

Once upon a time…

Are you sitting comfortably...? Then, I’ll begin. Familiar words for storytime, for those of us of a ‘certain age’.

We all have a story to tell. Words that we have crafted to describe ourselves. Who we are, what we do, what we’ve achieved and experienced, how we live our life. Our story defines us. The words we choose and the way we ‘act out’ our story influences the decisions we make and the outcomes we create that construct our personal reality. Our story shapes our self-image giving us, and others, a sense of who we are.

The script becomes our identity and the more we act out our story the more embedded it becomes in our psyche. The more we re-tell our story, the more hardwired it becomes. Like any repetitive thought and self-talk, the story morphs into a belief about who we think we are, and it becomes the ‘face’ we project to the outside world. For some people their story is a consciously crafted one. For...

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How you can be the hero of your story

The crossroads of choice

Shelli Varela was a struggling artist working as a nail technician. This wasn’t her destiny, she knew that deep in her heart, but for the moment, she felt stuck in a loop.

Her friend Steve was a firefighter and he would regale Shelli with stories of breath-taking rescue efforts and of his team’s great fortitude when faced with the impossible. Shelli was enthralled. She’d ask him countless questions - not just about the details of each incident him and the team got called out to, she asked specifics about fire pumps, hazardous materials and even what each ‘dangerous goods materials’ sign meant on the back of trucks. Finally, the endless questioning led Steve to ask Shelli the inevitable: “Why don’t you just apply?!” Shelli’s answer was one of incredulity? “Apply for what?! I’m 5ft 2in. 108lbs. I’m not big enough, brave enough, smart enough, nor strong enough – and there’s no...

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5 Simple ways to deal with burn-out and stress

The occupational phenomenon
Burn-out is trending as one of the most common words to be looked up in Dictionary.com. It seems ‘stress’ does not adequately cover when an individual is exhausted and overwhelmed by events and the situation they are in.
 
Burn-out is defined as “fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.” Is burn-out now a more intense word to describe work-place stress? If we go to the GP with ‘stress’, perhaps this does not sufficiently sound like a problem that needs addressing, as opposed to ‘burn-out’. This obviously signifies a far greater need for urgent attention…

Burn-out is now included in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (#ICD11) as an occupational phenomenon. It is not however classified as a medical condition and crucially, they say it’s a result of ‘chronic workplace stress which has not...

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Quoting a clever POTUS

Never judge a book by its cover
Growing up, I was always told never to judge a book by its cover – to not make assumptions about someone, to not listen to gossip but to get to know them and find out for myself. And certainly, to never share my thoughts with anyone else – if it isn’t true, kind or necessary, don’t say it. It’s good advice.

In a previous life I worked for a travel company. They ran coach tours to various parts of the UK and my role was to greet the passengers at a motorway services where an interchange took place – the tour coaches turned into what we called feeder coaches – taking the passengers home. The coach drivers would swap the luggage to the appropriate coaches and I ensured everyone boarded the correct vehicle. It could get confusing, hence the need for my role.

Coach drivers are all different characters – gruff, talkative, some went above and beyond with their passengers, for some it was just a job and they...

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Why seeing change as negative, stops us embracing the positives

Happy holibobs?
The school term has finished for many and we're almost there for the rest. It’s summer holiday time! Carefree fun with no more morning deadline to get everyone out of the house with the yelling of: ‘Come onnn! We need to leave for school! Have you got your PE Kit? Put your suntan lotion on? Remember to hand your form in for the school trip…’ etcetera, etcetera. I realise I will still be working but at least I’m not herding cats to get us all out of the door at some unearthly hour of the day.

However, the feeling of positivity is not entirely running rife through my house…

I have one making the transition from primary school to secondary school. It’s a strange time for this age. Whilst they’ve been a big fish in a little pond and perhaps felt they’re starting to outgrow the place, they’re not exactly ready to move on – to be the little fish in the big pond.

Yes, there’s a certain level of...

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Why our success perhaps doesn’t start with passion

What lies at the heart of our motivation?

There’s a theory that building a career around your passion just doesn’t cut the mustard. It’s more a case of focusing on your skills and the passion develops from there…

Cal Newport is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and he believes what you do for a living is less important than how you do it. His advice is to concentrate on building your career capital i.e. rare and invaluable skills and knowledge, through a process of ‘deliberate practice’; over time, as you continue to focus and systematically do your work – any work that interests you - with passion, you will excel in your field and can use your career capital as leverage to build the kind of lifestyle that matters to you.

Newport gives the example of Steve Jobs and a famous quote taken from an address he once gave: “You’ve got to find what you love… If you...

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Why when the proverbial hits the fan, we can pull a rabbit out of the hat...

On Saturday, I gave a TEDx Talk at TEDxNorwichED. This is no mean feat and is a roller coaster of a journey. I signed myself up for this months ago and even though I’d practised and practised and rehearsed and rehearsed, actually setting foot on that stage was one of the most frightening things I have ever done.

It’s ridiculous really because I gave a TEDx Talk last year with my Dad and daughter so surely I would be more mentally prepared this year. You’d think… Not so.

There’s been a LOT going on at home the past six months - some of which I have previously alluded to. My husband’s redundancy, SATs, both myself and my three daughters applying to do a TEDx Talk, being accepted and script writing to follow then hours of rehearsals for us all, school tests, all three children with rehearsals for the school summer production so lots to memorise, plus one mentally preparing to start high school.

We all face various challenges from time to time and...

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How do you define what happiness is to you? Here's a profound list to start you off...

Sometimes when we read about a person’s situation and it can leave a lasting impression. This was the case for me when I read about Annmarie James-Thomas, who died aged 44 from complications caused by cervical cancer.

Annmarie had four young sons and reading her story took my breath away and led to feelings of why is life – and death – so unfair. What softened that feeling was that this amazing inspirational woman, upon learning her cancer was terminal, decided she wanted to leave behind an important legacy for her children, not one of money, but of words. Annmarie wanted to leave a life guide for her sons and this included her top twenty tips on how to lead a happy and successful life.

Defining what success is for you

‘Success’ can mean different things depending on who you are. Perhaps in its more traditional sense, people think of it to mean you have a fantastic well-paid job; maybe you are financially buoyant; you own your property, if not...

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Why it pays to be nice

“Contrary to the cliché, genuinely nice guys most often finish first or very near it.” Malcolm Forbes

I write a lot about the importance of effective, open and transparent communication between managers and their teams and how this is what makes a manager a great leader. So, what about colleagues – those who we see day in and day out and who we spend possibly more time with than we do with members of our own family?

We spend so much time with colleagues, that surely it’s important to nurture authentic relationships with them.

There can be so many different personalities working within a team or department, not to mention the hierarchy of differing roles and positions, continuous harmonious relationships are probably a bit unrealistic. It can sometimes result in strained communication and potential misunderstandings.

In order for everyone to work effectively together, it’s important to remember we’re all human, we all have different stresses...

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How scaring the pants off yourself can be a good thing

I’m not a fairground ride kinda person (some jolly good self-talk there for you…!), so when one is in town, I dread my children finding out and wanting to go. I resist most times but every now and again, it’s good to take them for a bit of family fun. Sometimes though, the fun seems to be at my expense…

My family and I took ourselves along to a visiting funfair one Sunday afternoon. It offered the usual mix of rides to suit all ages so one of my children chose the sedentary ‘Teacups’, a more bolder older one liked the look of the reverse bungee jump and then the daredevil wanted to go on a ride entitled ‘The Orbiter’. I didn’t much fancy it as I’m not a big fan of rides that spin you around high up in the air, so my husband volunteered to chaperone.

I stood and watched as they spun around, waving and cheering and half-way through the ride, an announcement shouts ‘Are you ready?! Are you ready?!’ Whilst keeping...

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