Beyond Stress and Anxiety: A Miner Miracle

And so the 33 miners from San Jose mine in Copiapo, in Chile were brought to the surface after being entombed 69 days and half a mile [624 metres – 2,000 ft metres] underground, imprisoned under tons of rock.  

In order to stay alive, they needed to build a community and without this peer group support that gave vital encouragement from the stronger to the weaker, when it was needed, they would never have survived the ordeal.

But as soon as the first bore-hole broke through, the trapped miners knew that there was contact with the outside world, the eventual miracle began.  This link gave them the will, strength and courage to endure their deprivation underground.

This story caught the world’s imagination.  There were amazing pictures when the technical expert, Manual Gonzalez Pavez became the first person the miners saw in the Phoenix 2 capsule.  And as soon as the first miner Florencio Avalos was hoisted to the surface in the rescue capsule, we heard the words from the Chilean President, ‘Welcome to the surface and life’, and he was right.  The rescue mission was a resounding success.  It worked like clockwork; like a precision, military strike.

Psychological Problems

The rescued miners will now have to manage the potential psychological problems that will affect many of them in the years to come, as a result of their ordeal. Probably, there will be those who will suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as they struggle in the coming days and weeks with nightmares and flashbacks – which can, in some instances, last for years.  Maybe some will go back underground, as this is all they know, but then they will have to manage the triggers that they will experience every time they go back underground.  Others will try and start a new life with a new career.

And as I watched the television screen, my mind went to the rescuers who risked their own lives. For me, they are  the ‘heroes of the overground’ – those that made it happen and those we don’t necessarily see ‘on camera’.  We heard one of the miners say that ‘they have given us our lives back’.  The 24 hour efforts of the drilling crews in this rescue mission was extraordinary.  And it is to them that those of us around the world who watched the drama, day after day, extend our thanks and gratitude.

And for me, as ever, the learning comes from the resilience, the faith and the basic survival that we have as human beings.  It is easier to survive if we know there is someone on the other side and yet we have seen cases of people in prison camps who never knew if anyone was still waiting for them, but yet had the will and determination to survive.   

They all have needed to possess this strong belief in personal survival and to have a ‘can- do’ attitude.  This attitude, that I speak about so often in my keynote presentations, has been really put to the test in this Chilean mining disaster that ended with a miracle.

The physical rescue itself may be over but the combination of trauma and fame has yet to be reconciled. Certainly, every miner will have his own story to tell and each will have to come to terms with a world that has changed, at least for them.   After having death so closely, their escape will inevitably cause them to reassess their future.

It was a moment-in-time that the world shared.  Mision Cumplida – mission accomplished!

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies. See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  

Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

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We may listen but do we actually hear? asks Entrepreneur, Carole Spiers

Sitting on the plane coming back from Vienna, after delivering a keynote speech to an audience of European realtors from Spain, Austria, Czech Republic and elsewhere,  I reflected on how it had been to speak  from the platform, in English, and then having to wait for my words to be simultaneously translated to the audience in Spanish, German and Czech.

The three teams of two translators each, sat in closed glass-windowed booths at the side of the auditorium. This group of people could either make or break a conference.  It didn’t matter how much effort I put into a presentation, if it was not translated correctly, then the communication with my audience would not succeed.

Before the presentation, I went over to them to introduce myself.  ‘You are very important in my life for the next two hours’, I told them ‘So I will try and speak slowly to make your job easier’.  We all smiled.

And now sitting here on the plane, I think about how many times our communication skills actually fail in delivering the message that we want.  We may speak too quickly, or we do not listen attentively.  The result is that although we may speak – many times we are not heard.

Mis-communication

In our everyday lives, we may assume that what we have said has been actually absorbed and understood, and we take it for granted that this is the case.  Unfortunately, many times it is not.  Either because the other person was not concentrating – they were looking at their computer screen, their Blackberry or just distracted elsewhere.  So we make the assumption,   ‘I speak – you listen – you retain – you have heard me’. 

Not so!  I speak – you ostensibly listen but you don’t necessarily concentrate and you certainly do not retain the conversation because you didn’t really hear what I said.  Think how many misunderstandings have taken place over the years due entirely to an unintentional disconnect between speaker and listener.

Sometimes, we go down the route of actually paying others to listen to us, secure in the knowledge that if we pay to be heard, our words will be remembered.  

When I used to work at the Samaritans [a 24-hour crisis helpline], so many callers would say these very simple words at the end of a conversation: ‘thank you for listening’.  We were trained never to reply ‘it’s nothing’.  Of course, it is not ‘nothing’, it is very much ‘something’!  It takes our full attention to really listen to others, and to understand their message correctly.

The net result can be immeasurable.  In my opinion, there is nothing more powerful than giving of one’s time to someone else: making the time to listen to the other person – without always interrupting them to give them our own opinion.

Perhaps tonight, maybe make the time to sit and talk with your wife, your husband, your child or your friend.  Turn off the computer and the television.  Listen carefully and with full attention to what they are saying.  Finally, when it is your turn to speak, make sure you recount back to them what they have said to you –   and then see how that makes both of you feel!

… and so, after that presentation in Vienna, I went over to the translators, again, to thank them.  They and their listening skills had indeed been so very important for those two hours of my life.

Key Learning Points About Attentive Listening

  • You have to make the effort to listen attentively
  • We are not always heard when we speak
  • If you have really listened to what someone has said, you will be able to repeat the conversation back to them.

Can you think of time when you were told to ‘stop interrupting’?  Ring any bells?   Do leave us your comment here.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies. See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  

Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

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Entrepreneur, Carole Spiers asks ‘Would you be magnanimous in defeat?

So, Britain’s latest political drama has finally ended!  Two brothers, David and Ed Milliband, fought a tight contest for the role of leadership of the Labour party and who would have thought that Ed, the younger brother, would have come from behind to gain the top job – but he did.

David had been favourite to win this hard fought contest but his political dreams were shattered by the unexpected result, and he has now decided to leave front-line politics.  At the age of 41, he became the youngest British foreign secretary in 30 years when, in June 2007 former Prime Minister Gordon Brown appointed him to the role. He appeared on the face of it to be destined to occupy the coveted top post of leader of the labour party but a cruel twist has denied him the labour crown.

Relinquishing a dream

So what is now in the mind of a man who has worked all his life for the leadership  prize that in the end, he so dramatically lost?

First and foremost David will certainly have to ‘let-go’ of his dream to be party leader – at least in the foreseeable future and maybe forever.  He will need to enter a place in his mind where visions are modified to match reality and new horizons have to be drawn to take account of facts and essentially he will be looking at recreating his personal dream. 

In the immediacy of his failure, he will be bitterly disappointed and will, no doubt, blame either himself, or possibly others.  That would be all too easy.  But as the days go by, he will recognise that the abilities he has can take him to more than one place where he can excel because just as oil rises to the top of water, so will he continue to be a leader of men although he may well need some help to change direction.  

So what dreams or ambitions have you had that have been left unfulfilled because you failed to pursue them?  

You may have dreamt of being an entrepreneur and starting your own business but haven’t had the courage to try, or you may always have wanted to be a professional photographer, but just didn’t get around to joining a photography class.

Tenacity, commitment, self-belief and vision are essential for to day’s entrepreneurs.  If you have these and the right strategy to implement your plan, then you can make your dreams become your reality.

As for David Milliband.  There is little doubt that after the first few difficult weeks his horizons will change. It is likely that he may need professional coaching support to help him on his journey.  But no doubt his confidence and self-belief will come to the surface to propel him forwards and upwards in whichever direction he chooses. Because people like David Milliband don’t just grow on trees – they grow through their experiences and through the support and love of their families and the strengths of their upbringing.

There is no question that David has the qualities of a true leader and he will doubtless use these elsewhere to the benefit of those he wishes to lead, perhaps in a context even more satisfying than being Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons.

And so David, I wish you all the luck in the future and I look forward to hearing your voice again with your head held high and your voice strong!

David Milliband may be down but he is far from out!

What would you have done in these circumstances? 

Would you have stood against your brother?  Do leave your comment here – we would love to hear from you.

Key Learning Points  

  • Writing down your vision is the first step to it becoming a reality
  • When you fall down, it is vital to know how to pick yourself up
  • Coaching can be helpful to see us though challenging times

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies. See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  

Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

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‘Think creatively in difficult times’ says Entrepreneur Carole Spiers

With Ramadan now behind us and businesses ‘back to normal’, it is a good time to think about using the right hand side of our brain and to start being creative.

In times of a recession, we need to utilise our latent abilities. Now, it is of even greater importance to fully utilise the skills that we have.   You might have decided to cut back on staff benefits that may be seen as not being directly related to sales – but that would be a mistake.  This is the time to motivate and inspire everyone within the organisation to ensure that all are working as a team.

Many feel disillusioned when there are staff cuts backs and fewer contracts. As a manager, you may experience pressure, yourself, and may also be feeling demoralised.  If so, this is the moment to summon up all of your reserves and dip into your individual ‘creativity box.’

So where can this be found?  The answer is that we all have reserves of mental strength that are often unused although some will have to work harder than others in order to counteract feelings of stress and anxiety. 

For some, every day is a new opportunity.  For others, it is just another 24 hours of trying to resolve our personal problems. We are all different.  However, it is usually not that our inner reserves are finished but because for a short time, they become inaccessible and it is then that we may need an external coach or counsellor to help us regain our confidence; to think clearly and to be able to focus on the challenges that face us. Like a digital camera, when we are able to focus correctly, the picture suddenly becomes clear.

 Achieving Success in a Recession

So what can industry do at this challenging time when recessionary pressures need to be managed effectively?  We need imaginative strategies to create a ‘creative culture’, although  I fully appreciate that HR budgets are under pressure and the supply of resources is limited.

But, in times of adversity, those who can access and use their hidden strengths will survive whilst those who fail will fall at the first hurdle.  That means that YOU need to be a survivor!

Here are my 3 Top Tips for Personal Creativity

1.         Look at situations with a fresh perspective   

Don’t accept the old way of doing things.  Sometimes you have to ‘let go’ of the past in order to bring in the future.  But ‘letting-go’ of the past is not necessarily easy and you may need some help along the way to recognise and agree to new ideas.

2.         Question assumptions 

We are often too lazy when it comes to challenging assumptions.  We need to challenge them and not to accept them without query.    Ask the question!  At one time, it was thought that no-one would pay more than AED5 for a cup of coffee.  However, thanks to Howard Schutz and his Starbucks chain, customers will pay over AED15 for a latte.  Always query that which is held out to be fact!

3.         Nurture new ideas

Ask your team to be creative and make sure they are integral to the process.  A new idea needs to be nurtured and supported if it is going to survive and we need to invite and encourage new ways that can improve productivity and/or morale.

So what ideas are you putting into practice, post Ramadan?  Why not share them here?  Do leave your comment in the blog – we would love to hear from you.

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact workplace stress management presentations and organisational change strategies. See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  

Or check-out our latest ideas about stress help, instant acces to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

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