Last week, it was reported in the international media that Google’s Main Board Finance Director, 52 year old, CFO Patrick Pichette had announced that he will be giving up his multi-million dollar job in California to spend more time with his family and maybe to go back-packing around the world.
So was this a mid-life-crisis action taken on the spur of the moment or a carefully considered decision made after examining all the priorities, in conjunction with his immediate family and friends? Was it, possibly, a moment when he saw his world before his eyes and thought of his ‘bucket list’ with all those things not yet experienced, or completed, and then thought that he might be going to run out of time with all those hopes and dreams unfulfilled?
When does it start?
Midlife crisis can happen when someone suddenly thinks they have reached a point halfway through their life and for many, it can come as a complete surprise as they had thought that life was just beginning. They can start to develop anxieties that appear to indicate that everything is going backwards – or at least not moving forwards – both in their career and personal life, and can experience mood-swings or possibly bouts of self-doubt and even depression.
This crisis usually occurs, if at all, between the ages of 35 and 50, and can sometimes last for maybe five or even ten years. The term mid-life crisis was first coined in 1965 where early analysis suggested that it could happen anywhere between the ages of 40 and 60, but it is now shown to start much earlier.
Let us look at some of the signs that could indicate whether or not you could be heading for, or currently experiencing, your own mid-life crisis. Continue reading →
“That’s perfect Anita– well done. Have a gold star!” Remember those nostalgic days when you were in school and you were told to chase those straight A’s? How quickly a perfectionist learns to live by the words ‘I’m so pleased, this term I was top of my class’ and to enjoy the thrill of impressing others – and themselves – at the same time. A perfectionist would cry if they only managed a B+ or ended up only in second place. Some children hated school, but the chances are that the perfectionist child loved it as his, or her, success was quantifiable by the results of exams, assignments and teacher feedback —particularly when they made the grade. The maxim of ‘work hard and succeed’ worked like a dream for them.
However, those gold stars can sometimes cause a lifetime of frustration and personal dissatisfaction. In the adult world, success is measured differently and, not being structured in the same way as in school, there may well be times when you will miss the ‘good old school days’ where an A+ was all that to which you aspired.
Unfortunately, we all have to sometimes deal with boring, routine tasks. Those are the days when the clock ticks by so slowly you can actually see the hands move.
We all know that we get stressed when there is too much to do but do we really appreciate the ‘rust out’ factor i.e. when there is insufficient work to keep our attention. It can be equally stressful. In such situations, we psyche ourselves to go to work in the morning but our energy levels stay may stay low all day. Then, when we go home at night, we can be tired and listless because we have received little stimulus during the day.
However, you are doing your job for a reason and that reason is probably an economic one, because you need to pay the rent, buy food and clothes and look after your children. The plain fact is that not everyone enjoys the work that they do, although most of us do try to find a job that stimulates and keeps our interest.
If you do have a boring job, try and be creative in the way that you manage it. Think ‘outside of the box’ in the way that you do things and you may be able to make your job different and more stimulating.
Maybe try to rotate certain aspects of your work so that you see different people in different departments on different days, all of which can bring about stimulating conversations about home, family life and interests. Continue reading →
Working as a team, with all pitching-in together and, most of all, working in harmony are all essential components of a healthy workplace culture. There are very few businesses that can survive without using effective teams in their operation. When deadlines are tight, it is often team-work that gets the project completed on-time and, more importantly, wins the contract.
The Olympic relay races illustrated perfectly how working together as a team can achieve much more than one player going it alone. You know that if you pass your baton to a person capable of a sprint finish, then your team has a better chance of winning. That little bit extra – is the bit which makes the difference between winning and losing.
Good Team Players at Work
Most organisations have teams. The sales team, the production team, the HR team, the customer services team and, of course, the management team. These teams are created to bring strength and to channel energies and creativity into the aims and objectives of the organisation. Most roles in the workplace require us to interact with others – whereas the concept of ‘going it alone’ is really only relevant in very small
businesses where the driving force is just the owner-manager, or the sole professional practitioner.
Good team players will support other members by offering practical help when they need it. They can offer positive feedback throughout a specific task and especially after a project is completed. Even if the end result is not as good as it could be, the effective team player will look at the learning that has come from the experience, rather than
apportioning blame upon anyone.
Teams are essentially built upon expertise and individual strengths and in the most effective teams you will often find:
Leaders who challenge and motivate the team to give of their best
Individual skilled workers necessary for their technical expertise
Supervisors who push to get the job done
Monitors who review and assess quality
Co-ordinators who see that project runs to plan
When teams do not function well, it is usually because of poor communication skills within the team and a lack of clear understanding of individual roles.
Team work can often be challenging, and individuals with a strong character do not always find being a team player, easy. They will have a strong urge to do it their own way and their stubbornness and individuality can sabotage the success of the team effort.
So if you were choosing team members for a project in your organisation, who would the best team players be?
Naturally, we have to assume that they all have the basic technical skills for the work to be done, but what other factors would you need for your team?
So let us now look at some of the necessary qualities of a team player:
Reliable and can be counted on to work hard, meet commitments and follow through.
Communicates well to express their thoughts and ideas in a clear, concise manner but with respect for the rest of the team.
Listens attentively and can absorb information but not take it personally when their suggestion is not always accepted.
Good problem-solver who can think creatively and ‘outside of the box’ in a solutions-orientated manner
Fully engages with other team players and maybe even volunteers for other assignments.
Shares information, knowledge and expertise to keep other team members up to date.
Co-operates with others to get the job done and takes the initiative to help.
Flexible and adaptive to ever-changing situations and not stressed-out because a new direction may be taken.
Committed to his/her job and to the team as a whole and not merely in their own role
Respectful and considerate of the rest of the team.
Good team players can usually see beyond their own piece of work and are
able to appreciate the larger picture and vision that is behind the specific
project or objective. They are pro-active and good motivators of both themselves and others. They enjoy being a part of the success of their team and of the competitive advantage gained.
Are you one of them?
Organisations invariably use efficient teams
Teams are cohesive and work is stronger
Members support and motivate each other
Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News
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We all have just 24 hours in a day so why is it that some people seem to get more out of their quota than others? Well, in the end, it is down to using techniques – and below are some of my favourites.
Take the first 30 minutes of your day so that you can plan your daily activity.
Don’t start your day until you have completed your time plan. The most important time of your day could be the time you schedule to schedule the rest of your time!
Be organised and plan activities in advance so that there are no last minute surprises which take up precious minutes, or hours, and stress you out.
Go to bed early. An extra hour‘s sleep gives you an additional 365 hours per year! Now that can’t be bad!
Do your ‘to do’ list before you leave the office so you know exactly what you are doing the next morning. Organise all your files before you leave so you have everything to hand.
Don’t answer your email as soon as you get into the office unless you have given yourself a specific time to do this, but when you do – then turn your email off!
Schedule extra minutes when you leave to go to an appointment. Don’t always be the last one to arrive, with everyone looking at you. Grow the reputation for being always on time and reliable. Continue reading →
Many of you may dream about being self-employed, being independent, not being answerable to anyone, deciding your own working hours and taking as many holidays as you want. However, that may not be the reality of the self-employed person’s work/life balance!
The number of self employed workers in the UK has recently soared to a 20-year high of 4.1 million [which is 12% of the population] according to the Office for National Statistics.
However, when the self-employed person does eventually get away from work, the chances are they can’t switch-off because they are worried about their business, concerned in case they miss that big order they have been chasing for months and the loss of earnings associated with it. They may actually miss being in front of the computer screen!
So is being self-employed the rosy picture it is sometimes painted? Well, for many it is but those are individuals who are disciplined, organised and are resilient to the knocks when they inevitably take place.
An increasing number of the population are choosing to become self-employed for many reasons – they could be disillusioned working for someone else and never seeing the rewards themselves, or feeling insecure in their job and they don’t want to be called into the office to be told they have been made redundant!
However, self-employment is not right for everyone and, as with any decision that you make in life, you have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading →
Do you remember back in school that there was always a popular and confident person who seemed to get the most attention from the teacher. They would always be the first ones to put up their hands to be chosen to speak, despite the fact that they didn’t always get the answer right! Invariably, they would also be the ones who would be chosen for team games and given extra responsibility in class.
Let’s now fast-forward 20 years and you might well find that same person in your own company, having now been promoted rapidly through various management levels to a senior management position of influence.
You try to persuade yourself that it doesn’t matter but it does because you just know that you are really more capable than they are and, to you, they just seem to be arrogant. But nobody else seems to think this way other than you! Sound familiar?
However, you know in your heart that everyone is different and just because someone is ‘confident’, it doesn’t necessarily make them ‘competent’. Continue reading →
Here in the UK, we are on a ‘high’ after the successful London Olympic Games and with the Paralympics about to begin. The weather may not always be great but the country came together as one. We talked to each other on the streets, there was a buzz around the office and as the gold medals increased, everyone felt good.
But how long will that feeling last and wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just bottle it, to be opened when the energy we have been feeling throughout the country will have gone?
So, how do you feel when you get up in the morning? Ready to bounce out of bed with your daily exercise regime or do you struggle to get yourself together and not want to look at yourself in the mirror until after your first cup of coffee?
And then you go into work, with a growl and grumpy face and maybe yell at the person who asks how you are? Sound familiar? Well, you are not alone.
If you are feeling miserable this may be accompanied by stress, anxiety, anger, irritability and low energy but in many ways, you are probably the last person to notice. Your colleague asks you what is wrong and you wish you could identify why you feel as you do but you don’t want to ‘open up’ at work for risk of being seen as weak and unable to cope. And so the vicious cycle goes on until maybe you get to the point where your sleepless nights and lack of concentration gets to you. And then you might finally think you should try and do something about it.
Hmm… you say to yourself. “Where did I put that bottle of ‘feel good factor’ – I am sure I have it around somewhere?”
Determining your mood
So what determines your mood – are they external or internal factors? Well, you may hear yourself saying, ‘It’s not fair that I did not get that job promotion or ‘It’s not fair that my wife doesn’t understand me’ and so it goes on. You spend your working day telling your colleagues that something or other is not fair and then you are surprised that your colleagues don’t wish to have lunch with you. And with all of that negativity, who can truthfully blame them? They will probably want to spend their free time with someone who has energy and a positive attitude. So if you can’t find your bottle of ‘feel good factor’, I suggest you go for lunch by yourself! Continue reading →
The celebration of the London Olympic Games are now over. The winners, some crying with tears of elation, will return home with their medals to enjoy their newly acquired national status. They are the ones who will have worked tirelessly for many years to finally enjoy the results of their achievements. There were also, believe it or not, some tears from journalists, caught up in the emotion of the winners – and also the losers who just failed to make the grade who feel they have let down their country.
Although we are told that it is the competing that is the most important, and not necessarily the winning, we must not underestimate the impact that disappointment will have on each competitor.
Of course, we know that everyone manages disappointment differently. Some athletes
may feel that their failure to win a medal is to have absolutely failed their friends, family and trainers whilst for others it may merely increase their determination to do better next time.
Those who fail to win may feel angry and cross at their lack of concentration or physical ability to be the best, and while they congratulate the winners, they are secretly having to manage not only their pain but also their feelings of disappointment for themselves and for those that have supported them over so many months and years of training.
These are the people that I think of at this time. Of course, for every winner there is a loser and we cannot all be champions: life is full of disappointments which we have
to manage whether we are Olympic competitors or corporate managers. We all have dreams and aspirations not yet realised. Illness, in ourselves or our family, may get
in the way of us achieving our full potential. Hopes are often dashed and life, at times,
just seems so unfair.
Life is not a straight line – there will always be ups and downs along the way. We cannot always sail on the crest of a wave. Situations do not always work out; our vision
does not always become a reality and too often, we don’t come home with the gold, or even the bronze!
We are not all Olympic competitors, but in one form or another, we will have had to manage disappointment and the powerful emotions that it releases. It happens to all of
us, rich or poor, old or young, man or woman. It is a fact of life that will happen to you and although it cannot be avoided, how you deal with it will determine the effect it has on your life and the extent to which you can control that effect. Disappointment is a combination of two things: your expectations and perceptions of an event and its actual resolution.
Here are some ways to help you to move on:
Treat the event as a moment to consider what you can learn about yourself from the situation. Reflect and take the learning
out of the situation so that you can use it for another time.
Allow yourself space to grieve and sufficient time to manage the loss. It is important to acknowledge that it did
happen, to acknowledge the disappointment and to move on.
Take responsibility for your own actions and don’t blame others. Whilst, other people or factors may have influenced how a particular situation unfolded, there
will be ways in which you can modify those influences, next time.
Accept that change is an integral part of life, both in business and in the home. Do your best to believe in the fact that how you manage change will determine the type of person that you are.
Even though you may have experienced disappointment, don’t forget to say ‘Thank you!’ to those who were there for you and supported you onyour journey. Be grateful for what you have and for those whom you have around you: your family, friends and colleagues.
Life is a journey for all of us. Tears of joy and sometimes of disappointment will happen. The sooner, you come to terms with the pain, the sooner you can move on. These disappointments will have been yesterday but today, and everyday, is a new beginning!
Disappointments happen to all of us
Learn and profit from your mistakes
Life is about looking forwards not back
[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]
Learn How to Deal with Stress: Carole’s book, Show Stress Who’s Boss! shows you how to deal with stress, manage your stress & anxiety and overcome symptoms of stress. You’ll find tools and stress management techniques to make your life stress-free. Inside this book you’ll find 4 proven steps to relive your stress symptoms. Buy your personally signed copy and receive a FREE stress test card. http://www.showstresswhosboss.co.uk. Also available in Kindle version.
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This year, 2012, Britain has the great privilege of being host nation to the international Summer Olympic Games, for the third time in its history – the previous
occasions being 1908 and 1948. London will be the only city ever to host three Olympiads! A new 200 acre “Olympic Park” has been built in Stratford,
East London, and many existing London facilities, such as the new Wembley Stadium, will also be used. And when the Games are finished, London will be left with the valuable legacy of a completely rejuvenated area, that was once derelict, and that will, in a few weeks time, provide homes for thousands of Londoners.
The Games began on Friday 27th July and will run through until 12 August, with 4,700
medals ready and waiting to be won! The country is enjoying Olympic fever and the excitement is running at a high level throughout the capitol. Continue reading →