Be Kind, Be Well.

From Courageous Success Inspiration

One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO estimates that around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide, costing the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.
This October the spotlight is shining on this issue with Wednesday 10th being World Mental Health Day.
Kindness to yourself and others is a consistent part of iAM Values across all cultures.  Yet, how many of us actually focus upon it and actively give kindness to ourselves and remember to help others?
In her research, Christin Porath highlights the importance of how we treat each other at work, ‘‘insensitive interactions have a way of whittling away at people’s health, performance and souls…immune systems can pay a price”.  Whereas her research shows that kindness at work has a powerful and positive impact:

  • ”The more the individual was perceived as civil by others in his or her network, the better his or her performance.”
  • ”Employees who say they have more supportive supervisors are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the organization.”
  • ”People who said leaders treated them with respect were 55% more engaged.”

As humans we are programmed for kindness.  Darwin identified kindness as the strongest and most valuable instinct for man, the one that makes survival possible for humanity as a species. Many other scientists nowadays argue that our brains are hardwired for kindness, telling us that when we are compassionate and kind it releases the powerful feel good neurochemical oxytocin, generating a whole load of positive emotions.
This is about being kind to ourselves (make sure your oxygen mask is secure first), as well as those around us.

Here are our top tips for looking after your wellbeing and having a positive impact on the wellbeing of those around you, a little can go a long way;

Be positive about you.

  • Tell yourself how great you are – like you do to those who are close to.
  • If you haven’t worked with us, create your list of positive beliefs by asking yourself:
    • What’s great about being me?
    • What do I love about me?
  • Keep your power and manage your emotional response – don’t let small irritants spoil your mood, day or interaction with others.
  • Take responsibility to create a positive environment around you.
  • Use your iAM Values to maintain the right balance in your life for your well being.
  • Be kind.  Watch for judging people.
  • Stop making it about you and take a moment to listen and make it about others.
  • Show people that you like them – engage, listen, smile, show others that you see the spirit and potential and real person in them.
  • Aim to have a positive impact.  Be warm and informal – the same person at work as at home. Don’t conform to a leadership and business ‘role’.
Make a positive and powerful difference in your workplace and support mental health by being the best you.  #BeYourselfAtWork

The Humanity of Business & You!


The world is waking up to the realisation that the way to improve business is to improve the humanity of business.

In a world of work where worldwide disengagement (Gallup) is 85% (OMG!), surveys now reveal that 85% of people are unhappy at work.
HR Magazine recently reported that ”bad company culture costs UK economy alone £23.6 billion.” (BreatheHR survey).
We need a new way of doing and being at work.  One that is more human and therefore more normal and more enjoyable.  It’s no shock that this will lift engagement – a measure that is old hat in itself!
We know from our work and research that when you decide to #beyourselfatwork, others follow suit.  You feel happier, are generally more positive and your natural self has the power to make a career, even life changing impact on those working for and with you.
The HR Mag report above reveals the benefits of positive workplace cultures, including improved morale and relationships (cited by 44%), better customer service and satisfaction (43%), and reduced employee turnover (35%).  Reports also share that programs that address emotional well-being have a positive impact on employee health and workplace productivity.
Why wouldn’t any business want all this?
What about you?  Willing to take action to improve your workplace?

Recently an article in Fast Company (Do you have a different personality at home and work?) shares the views of the Psychologist Andrea Liner, PsyD,  that
”We tend to mimic the behavior of those we spend time with in order to fit in. If your work environment is at odds with your true personality or differs greatly from your home environment, you may find the need to alter your personality in order to fit in better.”
“It’s exhausting to feel like you’re acting all the time, and it can be hard to keep it up forever,” says Liner. “This type of behavior can lead to negative psychological consequences including anxiety and depression”.
All too often at work we worry about what people think of us, are busy trying to fit in and do and say the ‘right’ thing:  we become masked trying to be the person we think we should be, to be ‘good enough’, leading to lack of authenticity, creating conformity, and hindering real communication and genuine relationships.
Liner, like us, recommends finding out your internal ‘values’,  your iAM Values, to find out who you really are to better understand if you are truly being yourself at work.
If you don’t have your own iAM Values – talk to us now!

“Authenticity is a huge component of successful interpersonal relationships. It can be very hard to feel connected with people to whom you are inauthentic.”
The benefits of this authenticity, is significantly higher job satisfaction and engagement, greater happiness at work, stronger sense of community, more inspiration and lower job stress (HBR).
After working with us, our clients rate the impact on their positivity and happiness as 88%, and feel that they have the power to change their workplace (81%).
“Leaders must abandon their egos and be truly authentic to be most effective …. if a CEO wants to transform their organisation around trust they need to start with themselves.….this takes high levels of confidence for leaders to achieve…abandoning your ego is directly connected with vulnerability. You’re responsible but you give people the keys.”  Isaac Getz, (professor of Leadership and Innovation at ESCP Europe Business School).

This is about bringing the real us to work:  being honest, no pretence, truly being yourself and letting others be the same.  Let go of that mask you wear at work to look competent and appear how you think you ‘should’ – stop being that person you think others want to see.  We all need to sign up to a new way of doing things.


#BeYourselfAtWork – the No.1 stumbling block

From Courageous Success Growth Inspiration

90% of iAM questionnaires contain statements like, I am an over thinker, I worry what people think of me, I lack confidence and try hard not to show it.

This week, as with every week I see, hear and feel in everyone the insecurity that stops us being ourselves at work. 
Also this week, research by LinkedIn was shared in HR Grapevine under the headline ”British workers are staying in roles they are unhappy in, with a lack of confidence preventing them from securing their dream jobs…” The study found that 42% of workers said a lack of confidence would deter from applying for a new position.  We know that this applies globally.
It’s one thing to know who you are (iAM), it’s another to believe that you are good enough.  Again and again, I meet people who seek mine and other’s reassurance.  Even if they don’t ask for it – if I give it, their eyes light up.  People will ask me, what is stopping me having confidence in myself Liz, and my response is always the same;

  1. You.
  2. Patterns and cycles of your own behaviour that mean that you are compromising yourself at work.

The minute we doubt ourselves, even the tiniest bit, we start to change our behaviour.  We might push a bit more assertively (I hate that assertiveness behaviour is still being “taught”  at work – urgh!).  We might hold back and over think our approach, or in meetings, we may not jump in and say what we really think – and if we had, it could have changed the discussion.  We start to conform, rebel, step up parts of ourselves that we then overdo.  We take it all on ourselves or we start to avoid and procrastinate.  Every day, every hour I experience this in you. 
What’s fascinating is that it is so easy to change!

The average Courageous Counter scores of the questions “I don’t conform to be liked” and “I don’t let my mood get affected by others” are around 4/10.  Often lower.  These two simple examples of blockers to being yourself at work can be changed in an instant. How?  You choose not to let your mood be affected by others, by realising that they can’t affect your mood – only you can. You decide to be conscious of not changing yourself to fit and instead express who you are with enjoyment.
More difficult is “I like myself, I am one of the best people I know”.  What is wrong with liking yourself?  The normal answer is it sounds like arrogance – especially in senior leaders.  What rubbish!  The cost of withholding yourself for fear of arrogance makes you guarded, inauthentic and less approachable.  It also reduces creativity and your ability to maximise yourself and your business results.  So, what is the answer to reversing this to liking yourself, and seeing that you are – when you are being your real self – in fact one of the best people you know?  After all, there is a reason why people recruit in their own image!
The journey to liking yourself begins with not distracting yourself from you.  Start conversing with you.  Spend time just with you.  Notice when the voice in your head starts to tell yourself negatives and push it away – this is not you.  Most people have a low score on their relationship with themselves – so start building yours.  You are permanently in good company –  because you are with you!  Make the most of this and enjoy being you!
Here are some watch outs to reflect on and notice – are these making you stumble? 

  • Do you drift through your day and not remember the details?
  • Do you dread going to work or who you work with?
  • Do your moods change throughout the day or are they steady?
  • How stressed are you?
  • How often do you lose your temper or withdraw?
  • How much do you withhold your opinion?
  • How guarded are you?  Do you have to know people well to let them in?

  Choose to believe in you.      

Want to be able to buy your Dad a Jag?

Growth Inspiration

Twitter has been buzzing with debate and strongly worded different views (!) this week about an advert seen at a school open day and posted on twitter.  The poster ad put up around the school, tells the story of a boy who visits the school with his Dad in their family Volvo.  The young boy wishes they had a Jag like the shiny one he can see in the school car park.  So, in the story he attends the school, does well, gets a good job and buys his Dad a Jag when he retires.  In other words, the school saying ‘send your child here and they will be successful.’
How do you see this?
A great story of aspiration, having a goal, purpose and the drive and determination to achieve them, and then share your success?  Or, is the story like some twitter critics have felt,  (as reported in the news) as  “vile”, “appalling” and “wonderfully tone deaf”.
The ad may have been badly written– but isn’t it interesting to see how its core message is interpreted so differently?
Be aspirational, have a dream, work hard and you will do well?    Or, arrogant in tone and encouraging materialism?  
There is lots of evidence and research that shows having a dream and ambition in life, whatever that may be,  is a great way to create motivation and purpose, on a macro ‘life goals’ scale, as well as a micro day to day scale.

Research quoted by HBR talks about how finding ‘a clear sense of purpose’ in day to day tasks can have massive benefits to efficiency, productivity and even health. The HBR article refers to a study of Japanese workers at a large IT company ”….a higher sense of purpose as well as a sense of interdependence with co-workers was correlated with lower inflammation as well as a higher viral resistance in the bodies of the workers.’’
Research has also shown a connection between a sense of purpose in our personal lives, and good health such as reduced risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, and even increased longevity.  Whereas ‘…. mindlessly performing tasks ….is a recipe for inefficiency, disengagement, and even poor health.’ 


So, having dreams, goals and a purpose is good for us.  It gives us focus and it can galvanise our energy and unlock our courageousness.

Hints & Tips on Finding Your Working Purpose

  • Identify and list your mission or purpose, e.g. being a force for good, changing the world, tangible success, money, helping others, beating the competition?
  • Identify your mainstream purpose e.g. financial security, enjoyment through activity, learning, feeling useful.
  • Choose your main primary purposes and begin to integrate them into your daily consciousness.  Use them when you are creating your daily goals and reflecting on what a difference you have made.
  • Ask yourself, what is meaningful in what you do? Focus on this more.
  • Identify what difference you really want to make in your role, in the company.  Make this happen.  Regularly review how you’re doing to get that positive feedback loop.
  • Create a purpose of being. How do I want to be as a co-worker, team member, leader?
  • Choose to make the most of everyday, wherever you are, not just for yourself but for others too. 

The £$ Power of Making Your Customers Cry

Business From Courageous Success Inspiration

”Businesses Lose $75 Billion Due To Poor Customer Service.”

This stat, quoted in a recent Forbes article about a report by New Voice Media, shares that the cost of poor customer service is up a massive $13 billion since the last report in 2016.

I recently experienced such a shocking attitude in a restaurant that it actually made me cry.  First time ever, and I can’t even blame it on too much wine! 
As a Brit, I am generally quite forgiving and have a wide threshold, giving people a chance to do well and make things right when my experiences aren’t up to scratch.  But now and again you come across such shocking coldness, rudeness and apathy that you can’t help but raise it! 
Apparently “serial switching” (customers switching due to poor customer service) is on the up, 67% of us do it, and it has increased by 37%.  The Forbes article discusses the fact that brands and companies need to do more than just offer the best product at the best price.  To really compete they need to create “the positive, emotional experiences that drive customer loyalty.” 
My experience of poor customer service is generally with people rather than product.  You either get the selfish, moaning, negative unprofessional person or the arrogant, cold, challenging, defensive person.  In my recent tearful evening, the service had been so poor throughout the meal that I decided to speak out and asked for the manager…only for the manager to behave like the latter described here.  Cold.  Defensive.  I was so utterly shocked and flabbergasted that I couldn’t pay and get out of there fast enough!  I’d never name the establishment here – that’s just unprofessional – but the experience has really opened my eyes to the acute challenges in some human beings and their utter disconnection with emotion in other people.  Especially their customers!

In the New Voice Media survey, 86% of customers surveyed said that if there was a positive emotional connection with a customer service agent, they would be willing to continue to do business, only 30% felt that companies currently do that. 

The importance of a positive emotional and human connection is highlighted:  “Satisfactory is a rating. Loyalty is an emotion.” Creating an emotional connection in any environment and especially a customer one is incredibly easy, even with the most angsty of customers.  I’ve listed Courageous Success’s top tips below for creating one.  Ultimately, we know that being authentic, opening your gate and letting your guard down with genuine compassion and like for another person will win them over.  Even if they hate your product, they don’t have to hate you!
I know that some of you will be desperately trying to find out who made me cry – lol.  Rest assured that the universe gave me an incredible example of the worst in not being yourself at work that I have ever experienced.  And that’s useful!
Top tips to create emotional connection at work & with customers; 

  1. Remember what you are there for.  To make money and make people happy.  You’ll make more of the former if you focus on more of the latter.
  2. Show people that you like them.  Mean it.  People are always good, from an iAM Values perspective.  See through the challenge and complaint and don’t make this about you or blame others for a challenge.  Be open and listen.
  3. Most of us don’t enjoy conflict.  When we create it,  most of the time we just want to be heard, be sympathised with and be reassured.  So do just that.
  4. Deliver whatever you do as if it were for your most favourite person in the world.  Whether you answer the phone, open doors, drive a taxi, lead a factory, do the accounts.  Do it at your very best and make it your mission to make those around you even happier.
  5. Deliver specialness.  Practice asking people about themselves, rather than making the conversation about your experiences.  This is not a battle or competition that you have to win.
  6. Just be yourself, use your natural self, the same person at work as at home and only interact with people as you’d love to be interacted with. #beyourselfatwork
  7. Consider: what is my personal impact on others? What am I radiating to others?  Am I connecting positively and emotionally with people? 

Psychology research tells us that giving social support makes us feel good too!  We get greater brain benefits from giving than receiving – our brains are wired to feel rewarded more for magnanimity and selflessness than for meanness and selfishness.