Happiness is defined as pleasure plus a deep sense of meaning.
Take the time to define where you derive your sense of pleasure and where it intersects with where you find your sense of meaning. This could be the turning point for a brand-new source of richness in your life – because really, happiness IS the ultimate currency! And it’s yours for the taking once you’re willing to do the inner work …
Did you know that 60% or less of work time is actually spent productively? This is because we often forget that more is not always better. Research suggests that after about 4 hours of focused concentration or intensive practice, there is little or no benefit to any additional practice. So the key to working smarter is to do more in less time … Instead of working in a continuous marathon, use interval sprints as your new ideal.
In practical terms, this means doing focused work for 60-120 minutes, followed by at least 15 minutes of real recovery. Remember, people aren’t like machines! Working smarter respects the 3 R’s: rest, recreation and recovery. In the words of A. Ericsson:
“To maximize gains from long-term practice, individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can recover on a daily or weekly basis.”
How will you implement a new habit to help you work smarter in the days and weeks ahead?
DId you know that we can change our feelings by changing our thinking? When an event occurs, we interpret it in our thoughts, but not always in a rational way. When we learn to identify the ways in which we allow our thoughts to hijack our feelings, we can dispute these thoughts and begin to make lasting changes. Here then are the 3 M’s, some main ways in which our thoughts can misinterpret events:
1) Magnifying – exaggerating and over-generalizing, leading to all-or-nothing thinking (“this one setback means that I will always be a loser in every aspect of my life”)
2) Minimizing – underplaying, using tunnel vision to dismiss either positive or negative elements (“there is only bad [good] in this relationship”)
3) Making up – personalizing or blaming, emotional reasoning based on fabrications (“I feel rotten, therefore I am a rotten person”)
When we dispute these erroneous interpretations of reality, we actually change our old neural pathways and create new ones. By asking questions (“is my conclusion tied to reality, or am I ignoring something important?”) we can act as advocates for ourselves. So be your own lawyer and dispute your irrational thoughts – you’ll feel a whole lot better!
It is a well-documented fact that we are far more likely to fulfill our potential by focusing on our strengths rather than on our weaknesses. In the words of Peter Drucker, renowned management consultant: “It’s the abilities, not the disabilities, that count”!
Awareness of our character strengths can be a really helpful tool for building capacity – going from first-rate to excellent. Understanding character strengths is also essential for developing new paths for engagement, satisfaction and fulfillment on the job. Last but not least, this approach can also be used for problem-solving. Experience this for yourself and for your team by trying these 3 simple steps:
1) Identify your top character strengths using the free VIA online test (www.viasurvey.org)
2) Identify a problem that you need to deal with
3) Ask yourself how you can apply your specific character strengths to solving this problem
“The real tragedy in life is not that each of us doesn’t have enough strengths, it’s that we fail to use the ones we have.” (M. Buckingham and D. Clifton in Now, “Discover Your Strengths”)
Flow has been defined as the state of being fully engaged and in the present, merging awareness and action. How would you like to increase the amount of flow in your life, to be “in the zone” more often? According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the renowned author and flow expert, there are four essential conditions for flow:
Clear goals (for direction and structure, making it possible to perceive progress)
Immediate, clear feedback (preferably from the activity itself: e.g. the PowerPoint presentation is completed)
Passion (a no-brainer!)
An appropriate level of difficulty (producing a balance between perceived challenges and perceived skills)
At the Coach Approach, we specialize in helping our clients form clear, specific goals which enable flow. If a goal is too easy it will lead to boredom and apathy; if it is too difficult it needs to be “chunked down” into manageable parts so that it becomes realistic and achievable. In other words, they are supported to move towards peak experience and peak performance. What can you do today to bring more flow into your life?
Have you thought about the origins of the word “coaching” (before coaching was associated with sports)? Originally the coach was a horse-drawn carriage used to transport people from one point to another, an early form of taxi service. And of course the first question the driver asked the passenger before driving anywhere was: “Where do you want to go?” Just like the cab driver, a coach won’t tell you not to go to your desired destination – but they know that there can be different routes to get to there! The coach/driver will therefore ask questions about your preferences, guiding you according to your interests and goals. Our Coach Approach services provide the same role today: to take clients people from one point to another by collaboration, inviting questions and clarifying options.
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