It's nothing new to say that chronic stress negatively compromises our health. The stressors seem to be the pressures and worries related to work, relationships, health, finances and loneliness.
This stress is really no good.
The impact of life-work stress, regardless of where the stress originates, means high potential for personal suffering.
Stress contributes to:
Do whatever you can to reduce stress in your daily life
Don’t wait for compromised health to reflect on what really matters to you
Connect to people
If you are experiencing more stress than you want in life and in work, you will find that coaching sessions are a great kick-start to stress-reduction.
Keep me posted,
And the art of listening
Listening requires focus, and focus isn’t easy if you feel pulled in different directions and if your mind is jumping all over the place, in a jumble of thoughts and emotions.
This weekend, I volunteered at the First International Congress on Whole Person Care in Montreal. The topic of listening came up at a few workshops and plenary sessions. The key message for healthcare professionals went like this…Listening isn’t just hearing words. It's listening to tone, speed and volume of the voice. It’s paying attention to gestures, mood and feelings and what is and isn’t being said. Listening is part of providing good care.
I said to one doctor, " I always assumed that doctors' should know how to talk and listen to their patients, but many have poor communications skills and don't know how to seek and respect input from their patients. Why?" To which she answered, "It's taken me 20-years to learn how to be an effective parent; it's really no different. These are learned skills and our training has not supported partnering with patients." She had a point.
A keynote speaker said to a large crowd, "You need to sit near your patients, remove as many barriers as you can, be as present as possible with your hands in your lap and, look and listen so to hear what is really being said."
In the evening, unwinding by the wood stove in my living room after a long conference day, I started to tell a friend about an important experience I had at one of the workshops. After only a few minutes, mid-sentence, I stopped talking. Deflated, but not angry, I said, “What happened, you just disappeared into lala land? You don’t seem to be listening to me at all.” He replied in a non-defensive tone, “I don’t know, I just drifted off. I’m sorry.”
I was reminded immediately of an exercise we did during a workshop intended to demonstrate how easily distracted we are and how poorly we pay attention. It goes like this:
What do you think happened in both scenarios?
In the first one, the listener was distracted and had very little recall of what the speaker was passionate about. The speaker, feeling unheard, became disheartened and disengaged. In the second scenario, both speaker and listener felt connected, interested and bonded.
No doubt, our minds wander. We seem to drift in and out of listening, nodding and saying yes and aha at appropriate times. Our minds are so jittery we don’t even remember what we are talking about!
To improve your listening, you can adopt more mindful practices. Here are some good suggestions - you only need to remember using them!
Stop multi-tasking and:
Stop listening in the modes of:
Keep me posted,
When other people talk, do you actively listen? Effective listening requires certain techniques for receiving, organizing and interpreting what has been said. Would your professional or personal life would benefit from learning how to become a better listener?
I feel good.
My oral exam, the last requirement for my professional coach certification with the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) was this morning. It was harder than expected. I await this week confirmation of passing in the form of a certificate and logo to mark 8 months of study: weekend modules in NYC and Toronto, study guides, workbooks and book reports to complete and weekly tele-classes, audio recordings and peer coaching sessions.
Over a 20-year career, the heart and soul of my work has been helping people to learn: I’ve designed, implemented and evaluated classroom and online learning programs in varied industries – fitness, childbirth education, aeronautics, telecommunications, transport, pharmaceutical and human rights education.
The iPEC program was my first experience as a participant in a blended learning program, that is, studying through a blend of online and face-to face delivery of content. Being a participant (and not the developer), offered a new perspective on instructional design processes, teaching methods, content delivery and technology. As a consumer, you want the best for less. Lesson learned: I have new insights into how I would like to create a blended learning approach for my clients who would benefit from group coaching and learning together.
This learning experience also highlighted in neon lights, how adults, like any other student needs emotional support, direction and feedback from their teachers, coaches, mentors or colleagues. And, adults also need short-term goals to experience quick wins to stay motivated and "in the game".
My classmates were high on enthusiasm and commitment to this intense learning process. In spite of high motivation in my NYC and Toronto groups, everyone had at some point dips in confidence, self-doubt and uncertainty, concern about their ability or skill, a challenge in understanding a specific concept or stress from juggling coach school as well as their other professional and personal obligations. Lesson learned: we all need help along the way – encouragement, acknowledgement, instruction and reminders to take one step at a time.
This year my focus is on 1) creating a transformative coaching process for my clients discovery and growth 2) giving inspirational talks to new audiences 3) creating my own series of teleclasss and 4) continuing to write this blog.
What’s your focus?
Keep me posted,
p.s Let me know if you have any questions or topics you would like addressed in this blog. Don't be shy to contact me if you have any questions or ideas to discuss.
A view from the bridge
I have been in the woods, leading a quiet and productive life for the last five days. My husband and I arrived at our secret cabin overlooking a lake, surrounded by green and more green trees, with a car load of good food, books, work to do and our laptops. Our bikes were secured on a bike rack of our rented car.
We rode our bikes for the first time together in months. For three days, we rode on Le P’tit Train du Nord, a 200 km cycling trail that runs from Saint-Jérôme to Mont-Laurier in the Laurentians (Quebec). We rode 20 miles on the first day, 16 miles on the second and 12 miles today. One-way of each ride was always uphill making it a harder workout. My legs were tired. I was surprised and frankly ticked off at how my endurance and stamina threshold has fallen. I resisted the urge to put myself down and instead said "You can do this."
I immensely enjoyed a change of scenery with a constant panoramic view of fall colors. We ate three unrushed meals and didn’t go to the door for newspapers, mail or visitors nor did we answer the phone.
If you need a change of scenery and don’t have a get-away, try out coaching for something new and different. You might discover all kinds of possibilities.
Keep you posted,
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.