Be stress free and start your own business or not?

Last week’s blog on retirement brought in many comments with people writing to tell me that they were thinking of starting their own small business.

In 1987, I established my stress management and counselling consultancy – and for me it was the right decision.   However, being one’s own boss requires a specific mindset plus a commitment that is different from working for someone else within a corporate environment.

What it takes to start

Before embarking on a self-employed career, you need to give consideration as to whether you are really suited to what will initially be a 24 hour job.  A majority of people would rather work alongside others rather than being an entrepreneur, working all hours and having to make all the decisions.  Going ‘solo’ is not right for everyone and it is important that you find out at the early stage before you put time, effort and finance into your new career. Continue reading

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Stressed? When a Headache Becomes a Heart Attack!

'Show Stress Who's Boss!' provides tools and strategies that will show you how to deawl with stress.
Discover 4 Easy Ways to Beat Stress Today!

New Book Out This Week:  Buy it here:  http://www.showstresswhosboss.co.uk

Two weeks ago, it was the UK’s World Mental Health Day and despite the considerable publicity that is given to mental heath on this day, and also throughout the year, the topic is still, too often, a taboo subject.    We know from medical professionals that those suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues need to seek help as soon as possible before permanent damage is allowed to occur and that any delay in diagnosis and treatment, due to social stigma regarding the subject, needs to be avoided.

So this being Mental Health Day, I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to look at some basic myths and misconceptions about one cause of mental health problems, stress. Continue reading

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Stressed? When Nothing Seems to Go Right

We all have days when nothing seems to go right and when we are prone to make silly mistakes. However, when bad days turn into bad weeks, it is time to take stock and to reflect on why things are going wrong, seemingly everyday.

Prolonged pressure at work, or at home, can easily turn to stress and ultimately turn any potentially good day into a bad one. Continue reading

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Stressed? Cellphones and Family Holidays

Family holiday

Last week, when walking by the sea, I paused to watch family members on holiday enjoying the summer sunshine. Whilst some small children rushed excitedly from one side of the boating lake to the other, and others were playing in the sand, adults often chatted distractedly into their mobile phones. Cries of ‘Daddy, Daddy!’ or ‘Mummy, Mummy!’ went unanswered as parents’interest was elsewhere and children became unruly as their attempts to attract attention failed. And so I began to wonder what was the point of a family holiday if  parents were so engrossed with their ’hi-tech’ telephones and iPads that they tended to ignore their children.

Technology has its place and it is wonderful to be able to keep in touch with friends and family wherever we are in the world but it occurs to me that the ‘off’ switch on cellphones needs to be used a little more – particularly when on a family holiday. We need to learn to discipline ourselves in the same way as we discipline ourselves in other areas of our life.  Our 24/7 society often requires us to keep in touch with the office even when away but, as with everything else in life, there is a correct time and a place for everything!

That poses the question:  “Is it the business that cannot manage without you or is it that you cannot imagine you are dispensable?”  Either way, boundaries become blurred.  If your boss thinks that you will answer the phone at 10 p.m., then that is exactly what will happen, in which case, you are “setting up a rod for your own back”.  Again, if your office think that they can email or phone you on holiday, anytime they want – then that is exactly what will happen.    Now I am not saying that there won’t be emergencies that have to dealt with but then this is exactly where technology comes into its own. But it is not usually an emergency that keeps you talking into your phone at all hours, is it? Continue reading

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Treat Birthdays as Time Markers says Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers

I shared a birthday this week with Britain’s often outspoken husband of the Queen, Prince Phillip, who turned 90 this week. Even at this advanced age, he is still active and working hard within his role in the royal family, although he used this opportunity to announce his intention to cut back his official duties. In any event, I am sure he celebrated his birthday with friends and family, as I did mine.

For children, birthdays can be exciting times of presents, family outings, sweets and chocolate but as we get older, each birthday becomes just another number for many of us.  As a consequence, many people ignore them, but I always celebrate them as it gives
me an excuse to be together with my friends and family, at least for this one day a year.   It also gives an opportunity to mark another milestone in our lives and to reflect upon what we have managed to achieve over the past year.

Reflecting on the year

A year can be seen as a considerable length of time but in reality, for many of us it is a period that goes by so very quickly.  We start the year with New Year resolutions and good intentions – some of which get achieved and others get forgotten very
quickly.  I believe that although we may have good intentions – and have a long to-do list – we often convince ourselves that
many of the items are unrealistic.  But were they, or was it just that we failed to make them a priority?  It’s very easy to persuade ourselves that it doesn’t matter.  But maybe it does.

For example, what happened to that book you wanted to write?  Is it still sitting in draft format on your computer or have you managed to get the first chapter down onto paper?  As we all know, we need to make things happen for otherwise they just remain dreams.

If you look around at successful people, the movers and shakers are those who are positive, who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and who make things happen – either for themselves or for others.

However, in order to make them happen, you need to take positive action!  We all dream of success but how many of us actual expend our energy and drive in following through upon our intentions?  This is a matter of attitude and mindset and age is just one related factor.   There are many others, such as apathy, indifference, plain laziness, sometimes sickness, stress or possibly marital or domestic difficulties.  All these are factors that determine our mindset towards the goals and desires for improvement in our lives.

We all have choices and wishes and we all have 365 days every year in which to do something about them, albeit that developing and achieving our wishes are influenced by the prevailing circumstances, at our home or at work.

Birthdays then, can be times of reflection and questioning of oneself.  If you are not driving yourself hard enough, then ask yourself the question “why not?”  If stress in your life is wearing you down, then take action to find out how to avoid it.  The human body is fragile, as we well know, but it also can be strongly resilient.  But it will only be so if psychologically and physiologically you are in good shape, and confident.  Only then will your aims, your goals and making your dreams come true, become reality.

You may say that this not an easy call, and it is of course true that sometimes you may need external help to help you meet the challenges on your journey – to build your confidence and strengthen your resolve.  That could be a professional coach, a friend,
a peer group member, or maybe your partner.

Whoever it is in your life, the most important factor is to find the right person or people who can motivate and inspire you. Everyone needs a support group to become part of their team, in order to get through life’s challenges and achieve success.  And afterwards, you can then become part of someone else’s support team to help them achieve what you have achieved!

Key Points

  • Birthdays remind us of years going past, fast
  • You need to be in good shape, mentally and physically, to succeed
  • You may need a support group of a friend and/or a professional

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about work stress, stress management training. Get instant access 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

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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Learn to Work from Home and How to Deal with Stress

With many people now taking early retirement or being made redundant and starting up their own businesses, now might be good time to look at the challenges of running a business from home.

You may think this is an easy one, not having to put a suit on in the morning, with the bonus of increased productivity with less travelling time. Unfortunately, the fine line between work life and home life soon start to merge and you will need to be highly disciplined in order to succeed.

It is all too easy to play with the children or watch a football match on television and leave a task until tomorrow but this is exactly the time when you need to be self-motivated.

There are many rewards from working from home if you can get it right! So here are some tips to help you along your way.

1. Space demarcation

Keep your office space separate from your home environment. Keep your office ‘off limits’ to your children while you are working so that they understand that a closed door means ‘No Entry!’

2. Time management

Your time must be structured. Have your to-do list right next to you and ensure that you make those calls and keep those appointments. The advantage of working from home is that you can take off a couple of hours in the middle of the day to go to the gym, go to your children’s sports day and then you can catch up at the end of the day.

3. Outsource

You will still need a support team to keep you working efficiently. When you are in an office, this support is often taken for granted: particularly technical and administrative, but when you work from home, it can be much more difficult.

4. Technology

You will need to use technology more and whereas before you could see someone face to face. It may now be better to use video conferencing. And, a remote, personal answering service is far more professional that having an answering machine taking your calls.

5. Interruptions

As soon as you start to work from home, family, friends and neighbours may think you are always available and they need to know that working time must be respected.

Be careful with people who just pop in for a chat. Don’t forget, you need to set the ground rules for those around you, and in time, they will learn to respect your needs.

6. Frame of mind

Know when you are the most productive. If you are a morning person, then choose to do the tasks that need your full concentration early in the day. The important thing is to know when you are at your best and take full advantage of that fact.

7. Network

Because you will be working by yourself, it is vital that you maintain your own peer group to keep you aware of what is happening outside your own home environment. Join networking groups, either during the day or in the evening.

It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming unmotivated at home and sometimes the ideas and the energy from someone else will help raise your energy levels.

8. Take a break

It is also important to make sure you have a daily exercise programme and at least one social break during the week. It maybe a breakfast, lunch or dinner or maybe even a quick coffee.

Keep those brain cells stimulated otherwise your brain can slow down and you will lose your energy and creativity.

Working from home is not for everyone. Some will love the flexibility and others will hate the lack of organisation. If you go down this route, make sure you have the right team in place and have the necessary support.  But it is not right for everyone, so do your homework before you go that route.

Key points

1. Working from home is good for some – not for everyone

2. It needs self-discipline and self motivation

3. You will need to utilise technology to the full

[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 work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about work stress, stress management training. Get instant access 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

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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The Death of a Close Friend

Before I could comprehend the enormity of it – he had gone, forever.  At the weekend, he was, as usual, riding his beloved bicycle – then I received a phone call from him on a Wednesday evening to say that he had chest pains and wasn’t feeling well.  Jumping in my car and driving the two miles to his house, I found him lying on the floor, unconscious, from a heart attack. The emergency services were called and they tried resuscitation – but it was too late. He was just 65, and to all intents and purposes, a strong, healthy man, still running his own carpet business. However, in fact he was anything but healthy.

It was so sudden. One moment he was here, and the next, he wasn’t.    He has left behind him a huge void both in my life and in the lives of all his many friends, family and business associates. Two days ago, we attended his funeral. It was for all of us, quite unreal. The fact that someone so full of live, so vibrant a personality – could be taken in the blink of an eye, is something that has caused me profound shock and sadness, and a reminder of the fragility and shortness of life. These days that have followed, I ask myself again and again, whether his untimely death could have been avoided.

Signs and Symptoms

Did he have symptoms beforehand, that he had ignored?  The answer to that question is ‘probably yes’.  He had always been a very fit man who cycled hundreds of miles for charity and had even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain , a few years back. But he had apparently been warned that his cholesterol level was very high and had neglected to take the statins that his doctor had prescribed. About six months ago, he had also been diagnosed as diabetic but had failed to take his medication. Why he had acted that way is inexplicable, except to say that he obviously did not understand the seriousness of his condition, if left untreated.  For some reason, he was in denial. The warning signs had all been there for over a year, but tragically were ignored.

This event, that has so affected me, personally, has made me wonder how many others may be in a similar situation. It is so easy for us to ignore the warnings.  You may not be experiencing chest pains but you may be experiencing other signs of being unwell but refuse to have them properly investigated. Realistically, it is only ourselves who can take responsibility for own lives.  I am not suggesting that every time we have a pain, we should call the doctor.  But we do need to look after our bodies – and our minds – and when we experience unexplained pain, or feel unwell, for longer than a few days, then we should seek professional advice.

As we know, prolonged stress can also be a contributory factor to ill health, and too often we think we can ignore it.  We think that we know best and it will go away.  But often it doesn’t go away and instead it causes us harm. There are occasions when, like high blood sugar or chest pains, it can lead to serious, and sometimes, life-threatening damage to our health. We all sometimes ignore the warning signs in ourselves or maybe in our loved ones, or work colleagues.  It is essential that we all learn to take personal responsibility for our bodies and our health. We need to follow advice and eat less fat, sugar and salt. We need to exercise and not go everywhere by car. We human beings are very good at putting things to one side, ‘I will do it tomorrow’…’another time.’  Well, in some cases, that might be OK, but in others it might be too late.

My friend died because he didn’t fully understand how fragile is life. Living and dying are two sides of the same coin and it is frequently our own actions that determine upon which side that coin falls.

If this strikes a chord with you, please take professional advice.

Key Points

  • We need to appreciate always the fragility of life
  • Unexplained pain or other symptoms need investigation
  • Our own actions can sometimes determine our destiny

[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 work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training. Get instant access 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

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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Managing Work Related Stress: Engaging the older generation

I was really inspired to read in the publication, Toastmasters, of Richard Hendricks, a distinguished member of Wallingford Toastmasters in Seattle who is 101 years young and who has been a speaker for more years than many of us have been alive.

His story made me think about those who are over 50 and tell me that they don’t feel valued and have no satisfaction from life – they say they are too old!  Certainly, if or when someone loses their job, they also lose their personal work identity and this can be extremely challenging.  To get out of bed in the morning and realise that you are no longer a Sales Manager but just a man with a family but no job, is an issue that does need to be managed.

So is age just a ‘numbers game’ or is it more of an attitude and mindset?  Do we really start forgetting things at the age 50 or is this an excuse for being lazy and not keeping our minds active?

A new chapter

Getting older happens to everybody and it should be seen as a new chapter in one’s life.  With the experience of former years, it should be easier to understand how society works and how to better socially interact with others.  The learning that we have gained over 20 or 30 years should have given us an ‘edge’ over younger people who are still only half way up the learning curve.  This is a decided advantage, and we need to use it!

Richard Hendricks has a voice, and uses it.  But we all have voices, yet so many of us remain unheard because we don’t speak loud enough or we think that no one wants to listen. That is a mistake.  It is why people buy books – to read the distilled wisdom of those who have lived before us and have written what they have learned from their work, their passion, their interest. And we buy their books to gain from their knowledge. But you don’t have to write a book – you can talk!

However, if we don’t write and we don’t talk, our experience can be lost and that can be to the detriment of the younger generation who could learn so much from us.  All those years of learning, training and coaching can be lost forever if we fail to pass them on.

You cannot always package experience, sometimes it has to be felt and touched.  I remember going into a flower nursery the other day where I met a salesman who was over 70 years old and with whom I immediately established a rapport.  Here was someone who loved what he did; knew every plant by name and how to make it grow strong and flower. He was enthusiastic and wanted to pass on his knowledge, and I enjoyed every moment.  I thanked him for his time and expertise and you could see him smiling with pride and satisfaction.  I left there thinking what a privilege it had been to speak with him and I was really pleased to see that his company had such a forward-thinking policy of employing older people.

I often wonder why there are not more companies who have a policy of employing mature people and gaining from their skills.  There is the tendency in modern society to believe that youth is everything and experience is of little value, but that philosophy throws away the investment of years of expertise in learning the skill of how to do a particular job really well. It is similar to peeling an orange, throwing away the flesh and keeping the peel. The real value is in the inside, not the outside.

In order to help the young progress more rapidly and achieve their goals, maybe they should think about engaging the services of the older generation as their mentors and they will see how much quicker their interns will grow with the business and in the business. That is the way to really achieve a sustainable difference, and at a lower cost, by utilizing the value of the years.

Now that to my mind, makes good business sense!  Don’t you agree?

Key points:

  • As we go through life, we become more valuable
  • Experience, like books, is distilled wisdom
  • Today’s youth can gain from yesterday’s experts

[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 work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed?   See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training.   Get instant access 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

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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The Key to Success: Make That Job Interview Count

As we all know, there is no such thing these days as a ‘job for life’ and people tend to move their skills to the highest bidder  – which means that at an interview your performance needs to be near perfect to ensure that you make an impact.    

Obviously, you need the required qualifications to meet the job specification but you also need to stand out above the crowd.  You need to make an impact that will be remembered after the interview is over.  As a professional speaker, I talk about the importance of making an impact from the platform to the audience, but this particular presentation can affect your entire future – so you need to appreciate that your performance when being interviewed, must be 110% to get the job you want.

Effective Communications

That means demonstrating that you are knowledgeable about with their business: that you are a team player who will promote the company or organisation with enthusiasm and commitment and that its focus will be your focus. And finally, that you will offer loyalty and bring integrity to all your responsibilities and duties.

Almost certainly, you will be in competition with many others and you will need to ensure that you can offer that ‘added value’ to their business together with your vision and values matching those of the prospective employer.  Therefore, before you go to any interview, you need to become conversant about all aspects of the company; who they are, what they do, what products or services they offer, where they operate, who they employ, what plans they have for expansion, or retraction; and where they are positioned in their field of industry, commerce or public service. The interviewer needs to be able to see immediately that you know not only who you are, but also who they are.

But prior to the interview, it is important to know what you want.  Do you want a job where you are going to make a difference to mankind, a job that is satisfying, a job where you can grow, that is near to your home – or is your interest purely a financial one?

Know your strengths and what you can bring to a prospective employer.  There is no-one  better able to sell you, than you, yourself! And selling is exactly what you need to do. But also be aware of your weaknesses!  Of course, we all have these and it is important to be open and honest about them.  The fact that you are aware of them is important and how they are presented is everything. 

Ask yourself – is this job, going to progress your career?  If you see it as integral to your career path, then it is important to know how it is going to take you along that road and you need to keep your vision in mind to see if it is in line with theirs.

First impressions are very important, so choose your clothes wisely.  Make sure your footwear is clean and polished, as this says a good deal about you, before you even open your mouth.

Stories Pack a Punch

Arrive at the interview early so that you are not stressed and have time to regain composure after your journey.  During the interview, be ready to tell crafted anecdotes that demonstrate your skills and achievements.  Facts are fine but stories are evocative and people remember them far longer than a stream of facts and figures. Always have questions ready for that moment at the end, for if you have no questions, that will indicate a certain lack of confidence, and enthusiasm.

So now you are ready for your interview. Walk into the room, confidently, with your head held high and don’t forget to be friendly and to keep good eye-to-eye contact.  Remember interviews are a two-way conversation in which each one learns about the other. 

So finally, prepare what you are going to say in advance and practice, practice and practice. These points will hopefully hold you in good stead for you to get that job. Good luck and enjoy the secrets of success.

Key points

  1. Do your homework to research the organisation
  2. Interviews are two-way conversations, not an interrogation
  3. Be confident,  knowledgeable and friendly

[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 work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed?  See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  or check-out our latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training, instant access 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

Connect with Carole on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f2onIA 

 A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields.    Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations.  Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling.  Don’t miss this unique event.  Book your place in our audience now!  www.globalwomansummit.org   

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Stressed? How to say ‘No’

Many people find it difficult to say ‘no’ to any request.  Being assertive is an art and, as with other arts, we need to learn the skill of how to refuse a request without affecting the relationship. The ‘yes/no’ response may appear to be an uncontroversial subject but in fact, our decision to agree, or to refuse, a specific request may impact not only the outcome of a particular issue, but also our profile and reputation – and possibly upon our own self-image.  So it is important to learn how to be confident and direct in dealing with others and being able to say ‘no’ without giving offence.

Sometimes we put themselves in invidious situations by accepting additional work when we have neither sufficient time, nor possibly the ability, to complete. The consequences are often disappointment by both parties that often leads to psychological stress and reduced self-esteem.

Being non-assertive effectively surrenders control to others.  By comparison, being assertive means standing up for your personal rights and expressing your thoughts in ways that are not detrimental to the rights of others.

Assertive people take responsibility for their own actions and choices, and even in cases of failure, their self confidence and self respect will remain intact.

However, in the workplace, saying ‘no’ could have a negative impact on our careers, particularly if the request or order is entirely reasonable and within our ability.  Therefore, we need to be careful not to be seen to be unhelpful or unsupportive.

It’s really OK to say ‘No’…  

To be able to say ‘no’ to unrealistic or inconvenient demands from work colleagues, is not the easiest decision to make when our job is of the utmost importance to us and to the financial security of our family. It is even more difficult when we know that there is often someone else who will invariably say ‘yes’ in order to improve their own position on the promotion list.

Understanding why we invariably find it so difficult, is important because  very often we have grown up in circumstances where we are expected to be compliant, particularly to demands from those in authority.

Many of us believe that to refuse a request may lead to being seen as: 

  • Damaging our promotion
  • An inability to cope
  • An uncommitted team player
  • One who is always concerned with self, and not others
  • Rude or un-cooperative

However, a continuous disregard for our own welfare can result in stress-related problems that can impair our personal performance either temporarily, or, sometimes permanently.

How and when to say ‘No’

How do we, therefore, reasonably, reject inappropriate demands at work?  The answer is in creating a culture of respect in which to decline an unreasonable request will be seen not as a mark of weakness but rather as a position of strength. Furthermore, to suggest another way to achieve the required result, without compromising our personal wellbeing, is an acceptable alternative.

Those of us with high self-esteem find it easier to say ‘no’ than those with a low-self image. The latter often attempt to seek praise and affirmation from colleagues and will invariably always agree to any request, notwithstanding the harm it can do by compromising their health and wellbeing.

Learning to saying ‘no’, to inappropriate requests can actually boost our self-esteem. It obviates resentment about being forced into situations that are unreasonable, and deflects stress by feeling that we are in control of our own welfare.

Stressed? Saying ‘no’ is an essential tool, but in a highly competitive world, think very carefully before declining a demand that may be entirely reasonable, and always: 

  • Give your reasons clearly and concisely, when refusing a demand or declining an offer
  • Suggest alternatives that are reasonable and positive
  • Avoid surrendering control by eventually saying ‘yes’ under pressure.

 It is important to note that it is unrealistic to expect someone who is not naturally assertive to be able to change overnight.   If may feel quite awkward at first and it will take time for their new skills to become a habit.   But I am sure you will be pleased with the results and do let me know how you get on.

Key Learning Points

  • Be clear about the request: how you feel and what you want
  • Keep calm, stick to the facts and suggest an alternative
  • Respect the rights, and wants, of the other person

[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 work related stress presentations and organisational change strategies.

Stressed?  What is stress? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX  or check-out our latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training, instant access 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

Connect with Carole on LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/f2onIA 

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