It’s OK to be Normal.

From Courageous Success Inspiration

In an ironic twist for Theresa May in June ’17, the Museum of Failures opened in Sweden a week after the UK general election, and received global press attention.

Exhibiting such things as the Bic pen for women and coffee flavoured Coca Cola (yuk!), the museum has the strap line ”Learning is the only way to turn failure into success’’, showcasing failure and celebrating it as a key ingredient to innovation.  Speaking to the BBC the museum’s founder, Samuel West, said that many major brands were just not willing to contribute, showing just how difficult it can be to admit failure.  Has this now become a cultural norm?  From Facebook and Instagram showing only the ‘best’ of people’s lives, the airbrushing of imperfections in photos, to schools and colleges removing winners and losers from sporting events – all creating a new ‘perfect’ normal, where mistakes are seen as weaknesses to be hidden and never spoken about.

However there is change on the horizon, Samuel West, the founder, also talked about his teenage daughter taking the Museum of Failure stickers to school, where they were becoming popular and being adopted as badges to be worn with pride.  His daughters’ friends’ identifying that failure is normal, honest and human.

According to a Harvard Business Review study: ‘’When leaders are true to themselves and admit mistakes or failures it gives others permission to do the same, changing the norms of the workplace.’’  The benefits are reported as: significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress. The more people share of themselves with others, the better the workplace experience.  Spending less time and energy on self-monitoring freed up more time and energy for the task at hand.

In practice this means; not following the crowd, not being self-conscious and bringing the real you into work – being the same you in work as out of work.

Showing that you are human, normal and vulnerable – like we all are. 

As Julie Hilton, our Head of iAM Global, said the same week
”it’s time to let rip!”

Ways to humanise and normalise your workplace.

  • When was the last time that you openly admitted to a mistake?  Do your co-workers or team feel able to freely admit mistakes and ask for help?  Make the change so this honesty becomes normal.
  • Do you always try and present the perfect you?  Get over yourself – it’s a façade. Being authentic is accepting the real you – warts and all.  
  • Be honest about your weaknesses and view them as opportunities to look outside of yourself.  Find the strengths in others.
  • Stop seeking approval – be honest and say what you really think. Stop trying – just be.
  • Are you often judgemental about others? This can stop you valuing those around you.  Turn off your critical voice, really listen and be open to others.
  • Be led by your heart and not your mind, trust those hunches and go with your intuition. 
What will you put into the museum of failure?

I Don’t Fit! Get Me Out of Here!

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

Fewer than 30% of organisations are able to find the right executive leaders, not only that, newly appointed executives take too long to adapt.
(McKinsey, recently shared in Harvard Business Review)

In the US, an astonishing 75% of employees report that their direct line manager is the worst part of their job (if you knew how much time in our 1:1 programmes is spent managing the boss, you’d be just as shocked!).  Another stat?  According to Leadership IQ, 46% of all new hires fail within 18 months.

 

This recruitment behaviour is costing business a fortune and all of us a huge amount of unnecessary work and hassle!

 

 

HBR’s article shares that despite the recruitment process accurately assessing a leaders’ skills and capabilities, the process forgets about cultural fit, and yet an essential element of effective leadership is the congruence between leaders’ values and those of the organisation, including the new leaders’ team.

Who is this person?  What do they feel in their heart?  What drives them fundamentally?

The starting point for understanding cultural fit is to understand your current team and business culture.   A humanised one is best.   People love to work with open, comfortable, authentic people – those who feel they can be themselves – their values – wherever they are.

Think about your home and who you live, your family, group of friends or roommates. Now picture your neighbours’ or friends’ homes.  The feel is different?  Yet the people there fit.  If I came to your home I’d experience a uniqueness.  I’d get a feel for the place.

Imagine if someone new entered and tried to join
– what kind of values would be a good fit?

 

Does the person need to be organised, structured, logical, or fun and carefree and happy with flow?  These questions are vital, and yet rarely asked at work.

 

In many blogs, I have quoted studies that show the positive impact of authenticity in the workplace – the greater employees’ feelings of authenticity, the greater their job satisfaction, engagement and performance.  When recruiting, how much is fit as important as ability and that proven track record?  During the recruitment process how much are you able to look beyond logic and behaviour and ask questions that show the person at heart, identify their values and therefore who they really are?  How much are you listening for the values of others at work?

Values bring realness.  They bring authenticity and trust.  They create connection and kinship.

How are you using realness through values to get a better fit?

It’s OK to be Normal!

Business From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

It was an ironic twist for Theresa May, the week after the ’17 UK general election, the Museum of Failures opened in Sweden and received global press attention.

Exhibiting such things as the Bic pen for women and coffee flavoured Coca Cola (yuk!), the museum has the strap line ”Learning is the only way to turn failure into success’’, showcasing failure and celebrating it as a key ingredient to innovation.  Speaking to the BBC the museum’s founder, Samuel West, said that many major brands were just not willing to contribute, showing just how difficult it can be to admit failure.  Has this now become a cultural norm?  From Facebook and Instagram showing only the ‘best’ of people’s lives, the airbrushing of imperfections in photos, to schools and colleges removing winners and losers from sporting events – all creating a new ‘perfect’ normal, where mistakes are seen as weaknesses to be hidden and never spoken about.

However there is change on the horizon, Samuel West, the founder, also talked about his teenage daughter taking the Museum of Failure stickers to school, where they were becoming popular and being adopted as badges to be worn with pride.  His daughters’ friends’ identifying that failure is normal, honest and human.

According to a Harvard Business Review study: ‘’When leaders are true to themselves and admit mistakes or failures it gives others permission to do the same, changing the norms of the workplace.’’  The benefits are reported as: significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress. The more people share of themselves with others, the better the workplace experience.  Spending less time and energy on self-monitoring freed up more time and energy for the task at hand.

In practice this means; not following the crowd, not being self-conscious and bringing the real you into work – being the same you in work as out of work.

Showing that you are human,

normal and vulnerable – like we all are. 

 

As Julie Hilton, our Head of iAM Global, said the same week: ”it’s time to let rip!”
Ways to humanise and normalise your workplace.
  • When was the last time that you openly admitted to a mistake?  Do your co-workers or team feel able to freely admit mistakes and ask for help?  Make the change so this honesty becomes normal.
  • Do you always try and present the perfect you?  Get over yourself – it’s a façade. Being authentic is accepting the real you – warts and all.  
  • Be honest about your weaknesses and view them as opportunities to look outside of yourself.  Find the strengths in others.
  • Stop seeking approval – be honest and say what you really think. Stop trying – just be.
  • Are you often judgemental about others? This can stop you valuing those around you.  Turn off your critical voice, really listen and be open to others.
  • Be led by your heart and not your mind, trust those hunches and go with your intuition. 
What will you put into the museum of failure?

Is Your Political Diplomacy Holding Your Business Back?

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

In the run up to the UK 2017 general election, commentators described political leaders as being robotic, too ready to back down, dodging the key issues and lacking in boldness and conviction.

Couple this with the rise in political u-turns made by all parties on announced policies which are then ‘seen’ as unpopular, is this need to be popular, to please all, leading to a lack of courage by those in power to make the tough, brave decisions needed?

Love him or hate him, maybe one of the reasons Trump won the US election was his courting of controversy throughout his campaign. Being seen as a leader prepared to rock the boat, to have clear, if controversial, conviction?

Are you prepared to have opinions and share them?

Similarities can be seen in business, potentially allowing the ordinary and low risk to be the norm, rather than the high risk and extra-ordinary, leading to lack of vision and creativity.

Are you holding your business back?  (ooh controversial!)

Harvard Business Review often share that ”decisiveness is one of the most vital success attributes for leaders in every position in every industry, but few understand where it comes from or how to find more of it”.

What can stop us all taking bold decisions?

Over collaboration – the need to get everyone on board creating decisions by committee.

Wanting harmony – the need to keep everyone happy.

Couple the above with the fact that many of us doubt ourselves, feel that we’re not ‘good enough’ and cultivate a fear of upsetting others and being unpopular.

All this affects the speed and efficacy of decisions in business.

Do you let decisions drag on and eventually become diluted and lesser compromises?

NYU studies have found that when contemplating a decision virtually all will temporarily exhibit the same personality traits – neuroticism, low sense of control and pessimism – all linked to indecisiveness.  However, as soon as we make the decision and create the steps to execute it, our brains automatically switch gear to feel confident, capable and in control. 

What are your opinions on your world and are you sharing them? 

Give Yourself Recognition!

From Courageous Success Inspiration

”Nearly half (49%) of employees would leave a company if they did not receive recognition for their good work.’’

This was the top story in HR Magazine in May ’17, reporting the findings of a new study. The survey of 500 employees and 500 senior decision makers found that 6 in 10 (59%) workers would prefer a job at a company that provided them with regular recognition rather than one with a higher salary. Almost two-thirds (72%) of workers reported that motivation and morale would improve if managers thanked them more and noticed their good work.
Forbes have reported that there is a $64 billion market for employee recognition – but according to this recent survey ‘’40% of the senior decision makers polled said they don’t think regular recognition and thanking staff has a big impact on retention.’’
In the same week another headline in HR magazine was ” Executive leadership is as stiff as a board.  Boards are all too often traditional in attitude, rigid in outlook and restricted in vision.’’
Is there a clear link here – the people agenda in business not traditionally being top priority and employees feeling under- valued?  So is the answer more $’s needed to be poured into that employee recognition bucket?  Or does this create a cycle of neediness?  With 71% of employees not actively engaged as reported by Gallup, the money spent on recognition programmes is important but are they working hard enough to make a real impact?
Do we need  ‘Business The New Way’ and replace recognition programmes with positive belief programmes?  Helping employees find internal confidence strategies rather than relying on external strategies, one of which is relying on recognition from others. These external strategies are based around ‘I’ll be confident when……’ we rely on things outside of ourselves e.g. what others say to us, to make us feel confident but as it’s out of our control, if it doesn’t happen we can wobble.   
From our research many of us describe ourselves as worriers, lacking confidence or insecure – it’s no wonder we look to others to tell us we are good enough.  Building confidence and self-belief from within means it’s in our control, it increases resilience, and is a strategy that can last.

Don’t rely on outside recognition, positively recognise yourself:

  • Write down what makes you good at your job (your positive beliefs) and keep them front of mind, using the positive energy to fuel your confidence.
  • At the end of each day list three things that went really well because of you.
  • Don’t rely on knowledge and data totally to do your job – trust yourself too.
  • Recognise your strengths and play to them.
  • Be kind to yourself and others.
  • Believe in and see the best in others – and yourself.

 

Celebrate success within your team regularly, however small – do it in a visible way.

 

What’s Luck Got To Do With It?

From Courageous Success Inspiration

*25% of business founders are “Luck-dominant”, with 70% of entrepreneurs starting without a formal business plan.

*According to Entrepreneurial Aptitude Test (E.A.T.), based on research of 500+ top global founders and business builders.  
Before my world of starting and running my own company I spent copious hours reporting and creating written plans only to see the vast majority of them never read.  Rubbish writer?  Hope not!  Just conforming and wasting time?  Maybe!
The EAT research also finds that 61% of founders are heart driven.  Can corporate business learn from this?  Is the world of business ready?  How come the leaders of businesses behave so corporately when founder mentalities can achieve enormous leaps?  Have we got the courage to sign off approaches without the inside leg measurement and what part can luck play in our success in business?
In one week in May 17 a 101 year old war veteran became the oldest ever skydiver and a 26 year old woman become the youngest person to have scaled Mt Everest from both the north and south side.  These personal achievements take guts, grit, courage and a whole load of self-belief.  They take stamina yes, but how much personality came into it?  How much guts and faith?

 

We may not all want to push ourselves to such physical challenges that break world records but are we even a little bit as courageous as these two in our lives at work and at home?

 

 

Could our conformity to workplace culture mean that we are missing out on experience and greater success?
When did you last push yourself or even venture outside of your comfort zone?  When did you trust and have faith and follow the clues rather than always sticking to set process?  How many days do you spend achieving very little yet exhausted and busy?  Want to change it?  Then start today.Firstly reflect on what stops you.
We know from taking a random and anonymous sample of iAM questionnaires that 70% of people use words like doubting, worrier, overthinking, lacking confidence when describing themselves.   These thoughts act like barriers in our minds stopping us having the courage to leap from a plane every day.   We doubt ourselves and fear failure, so we can stick to safe.
Secondly step back just for a moment and review what you are doing, ask yourself could you do it more and better in a different way?

Now have Courageous Success…

  • Choose a Courageous Mind-Set to start habitually doing the things that no-one else is willing to do.
  • Be prepared to make mistakes, see failures as a gift and guide, small and necessary steps to learn from in the process of realising goals. Force yourself to push through obstacles and fight when you feel deflated – you will grow more grit.
  • Make a habit of meeting deadlines that seem unreasonable and over deliver on expectations.
  • Make the calls you’re afraid to make, don’t let challenge paralyse you – in these moments get things sorted straight away. Change your mind-set – dig in and welcome the challenge.
  • Keep your emotions in check, use your power to manage negative emotion, keep in control and maintain your resolve without losing clarity of thought.
  • Give more that you get in return, be patient, there is no instant gratification here, keep your ego and any need for recognition in check.
  • Trust your gut, listen to your heart, believe in your ability to make the right decision – lead where no-one else follows – choose what looks and feels right. Believe in yourself and stay the course.
Play with luck, allow the heart to take more of a lead and ask yourself how success could be achieved differently.

We All Love Lovely!

From Courageous Success Inspiration

We had a fab time exhibiting at the 2017 CIPD Learning and Development show in London,  we met lots of great people – but one of our most memorable interactions happened after the show.

At the end of day one we were happy and excited after all our great meetings, but were tired with achy feet and despite a bottle of post expo prosecco, keen to get back to the hotel for a rest.  After stopping a taxi at a red light and running to catch it – we collapsed into the seat expecting the normal kind of ride – what we got instead was an inspirational boost from our amazing driver!

After seeing her give way to other drivers a few times and experiencing her calm manner we commented that she was a nice taxi driver and she shared her daily mantra with us:

Watch it here, we loved it so much we recorded it.

Here are the words: ‘’ I think of three things when I come to work every morning – I think of everyone else on the road as an idiot (in that need to be helped), I drive like I have my four precious children in the back, and I drive like the Dalai Lama.’’

With this fab philosophy and attitude she has chosen to step out of the pressure of the rat run and stress of city traffic and jams, out of the mundane and see the world her way – from a positive place.
During that taxi ride we stepped into her space, a bubble of loveliness, and experienced her reality – clean and authentic: no moaning, no strategy, no fake cheeriness or trite conversational patter.  She is choosing to be positive, good, kind and caring every single day.  She made our evening and really lifted us (achy feet were soon forgotten).  Wow what an inspirational lady!
The video took two takes to record as, like we all do when put on the spot, she stumbled, became modest and self-conscious.  She is such an inspiration, radiating amazing positive energy without even knowing it!
How inspiring are you? What are you radiating? How lovely are you?  What is your personal mantra for your way of being, are you expressing it to make others feel special? 
Create your own and then go and share it with everyone that you come in to contact with.

Be that inspirational person!

Grow Your Mental Toughness

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

Research is revealing that your mental toughness — or “grit” — plays a more important role than anything else for achieving your goals in health, business, and life.

Research studies by Angela Duckworth (Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania) find that intelligence accounts for only 30% of your achievement — and that’s at the extreme upper end.  What makes a bigger impact than talent or intelligence is mental toughness.
How mentally tough are you? 
Most of us would say not very.  Why?  In our experience, we don’t control our thoughts and minds.  Not only that, we believe that we can’t. 
And so, our heads win and the negative beliefs that we hold about ourselves rule. We think that this is only us, that others are mentally tougher. 

Every one of us has the capability

for greater mental toughness. 

We just need to work on it.

 

 

The first step to building your mental toughness is easy, you have to know that you can. So many of us martyr and its often easier to do so.  Lacking grit becomes a habit. 
Mental toughness is mental resilience.  It’s adult, grown up.  It’s something we all have the power to exercise and build.  When you can control your mind to block out worry, anxiety, fear and self-doubt, you clear your consciousness to reveal a full capacity to focus and step into positivity.  In Barbara Fredrickson’s “broaden and build” theory, she shares that positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life. So,  it’s a virtuous cycle, mental toughness allows positive emotions, which in turn builds mental toughness.A simple exercise to grow your mental toughness immediately…

  • Imagine you have a set of walls in your mind.  The walls are high, you can’t see over them and they fit any situation snuggly, nothing can leak back once you place a wall.
  • Now think about something you’d rather not think about.  It may be a person you are not keen on or a task or project on your list that is too overwhelming or you don’t want to do.  Perhaps it’s a situation that has triggered you and wound you up.
  • Now place a wall in front of it so that it is compartmentalised to one side in your mind.  
  • Leave it there, mentally know it’s behind the wall and you can carry on. 
  • The “I’m not going to think about that now” allows us to do exactly that.  You are now free to move forward irrespective of that situation, task or person.
Sounds simple?  Great do it.
In my experience only 5-10% of us are actually doing this.  The rest let their mood get affected and lose focus and concentration, reducing their grit and mental toughness.
A word from a happy customer
”You are absolutely brilliant – keep up the good work and continue helping others to have life changing moments!!”

Strap Your Bunny to Your Bike! The happiness advantage

From Courageous Success Inspiration

Research has found that if you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences a ‘happiness advantage’ and it performs significantly better than when negative, neutral or stressed.

With your brain in a positive state – your intelligence, creativity and energy levels rise and business outcomes improve. 
According to Shawn Achor – American happiness researcher and the author of The Happiness Advantage – your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.  You’re 37% better at sales. Doctors are 19% faster and more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative, neutral or stressed. 
Interesting that the research states “if you can raise somebody’s level of positivity..” it generates a ”happiness advantage”.  We have a tendency to think that happiness is something that we have to find or be given.  Someone or something makes us happy.
What we at Courageous Success know is that we actually make ourselves happy 1.  Through our reactions to others and circumstances and 2.  By creating happiness for ourselves.

Travelling around the Easter weekend, I took this picture  (I wasn’t driving!).  What I love about this image is that it’s about this individual stretching, a courageous stretch not only to be happy, but also being happy by doing something different. The feeling is that this chap is really living. Maybe he’s just taking his granddaughter an Easter gift, but doesn’t it make you smile!  Imagine it’s you on that bike and you’ve strapped a bunny on the back just for fun.
In our worlds, we can blame stress for not allowing us the conscious space or time to create happiness.  Science shows however, that if we can view stress not as an obstacle to growth, but rather the fuel for it, then we can use the challenges in our lives as a spring board, and the fuel to take action to create happiness.
Gallup estimate that 31% of workers are stressed and 24% are suffering from tiredness or burnout. 
How can this be changed?
By changing their consciousness to choose the positive and take action to stretch their experiences, our clients report an 88% impact on their positivity & happiness.
It’s not hard – it just takes one simple shift in perspective – choose to be happy – and one simple change in approach – taking action beyond the norm.

You may not have a motorbike to strap a giant bunny onto but what will you actually do today to expand your experience and smile?

 

Making Yourself Stressed and Burnt Out?

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

When we ask clients to score their agreement with the question “I have a strong relationship with myself” (as part of our Courageous Counter) the vast majority score a low 3.5 out of 10.

The Courageous Counter comprises of ten questions that evaluate an individual’s propensity for having Courageous Success. This single question stands out for vast majority of us as something we need to work on. We have a whole kingdom of resources within and yet many of us don’t use it, want to accept it, like it, look after it or want to spend time with it….with ourselves. 
Gallup estimate that 31% of us are stressed and 24% of us are suffering from tiredness or burnout, how many of us are looking within ourselves for the answers? We can tell you: our research shows that over 90% of us don’t.
So, how is your relationship with yourself?                                              
I asked Nikki, our Head of Development, what well-being is. In her experience of working with thousands of us around the globe her conviction was clear –  well-being is “a fully grounded sense of self”.
Clients work with us on many objectives, from leadership and profit generation, to maximising authenticity and courage. Many objectives are similar, some of the most common are:

  • Generally have less anxiety and panic, absorb the stress of others less.
  • Be less of a pleaser – I say yes to everything.
  • Manage my reactions better and over-analyse less.
  • Put less pressure on myself – most of it is self-imposed and I forget this!
  • Less frustration, directness and aggression – pause my ambition and focus on now.
  • Feel more confident about my strengths – accept myself.

If you’ve worked with us, you know the answer. You also know it’s simple and I hope that you are continuing to be consciously aware. Let me know. I love it when you share your stories!
For those of you yet to engage with Courageous Success, the fix that we all want to these questions, lies within. Here are three steps to move you forwards;

  1. Choose to fix it yourself, regardless of circumstances.
  2. Decide to remove your self-consciousness whilst being your real self.
  3. Connect with yourself and have a positive conversation. Look within for your thoughts and strength. 

A study from the Dept. of Economics at Warwick University found that happy workers are 12% more productive than the average worker, and unhappy workers are 10% less productive, therefore the strength of your relationship with yourself will not only make you happy, if you decide to generate happiness yourself, your productivity will fly. 

What are you waiting for?