Every time you read or hear about a successful person, one common theme always emerges – they have somehow learnt to control and leverage their subconscious mind. This control unlocks a fount of positivity, efficiency, creativity, and motivation for them and drives their achievements higher and higher.
Yes, but it takes time, effort, and practice. Our subconscious mind controls so much of our lives, yet we have very little control over it. It has been famously likened to a wild monkey that runs unchecked all over, but once given the right stimuli or direction can use its raw energy to help us succeed.
Unfortunately for us humans, our subconscious mind leans more towards negativity. One of the ways this is manifested is with mental blocks that develop over time. A mental block is a deeply held belief, which is created through personal experiences and influences how we approach certain situations. For example, many people feel they are going to fail, as they are not good enough. This thought starts them off on a negative note, making success slightly more difficult. So in case the person then actually fails, it would reinforce his/her mental block. And the never-ending cycle of negativity would continue.
At best, living with mental blocks can stop you from living life to the fullest, and at worst, it can dominate your life and hinder you professionally and in your relationships.
The first step is to identify our irrational beliefs; by being aware of our blocks, we can change our approach towards life in general. This understanding also helps us to determine what and in which direction we need to improve.
The best way to identify mental blocks is to listen to your inner thoughts. Every time your mind starts drifting from work or towards a certain conflict, you need to consciously listen to the monologue in your mind to find what you are thinking about. Over time a pattern could emerge that would point you in the right direction.
At SoaringEagles, we carry out detailed self-awareness exercises that can uncover core values or personality traits that could point you towards your mental blocks. You can also do simple activities such as asking yourself a series of questions about your feelings or actions. Why am I feeling like this? Why did I behave like this? What do I want from this particular action? And so on. You can scan your list of core belief systems, values, and motivational drivers and look for conflicts. For example, you might have a highly extroverted and friendly nature but are in a job that requires secrecy, or you could be highly ambitious professionally, but at the same time are an introvert who finds it difficult to network or play politics. These personality-value-belief misalignments often result in mental blocks.
Once you have identified some distinct mental blocks, it is time to find out more about them. With an understanding of what they are – fear, anxiety, anger or insecurity, lack of interest, or an inability to concentrate – you can catch yourself when they surface. It’s time to find the source of these problems and to bring them to light. Ask yourself again and again why you feel a certain way or when it all started? Write down exact thoughts that pass through your mind when these blocks come up. Some that appear unreasonable will start disappearing once brought to attention, and only the core problems will remain.
To counter their effect in your life, you need to face them head-on. Here are some tried and tested ways to remove or at the very least limit the influence of the blocks –
– When you start sliding down a familiar path, and an oft-repeated monologue begins in your head, cut it short right there.
– Another useful trick is to turn your negative mental block into positive action. For example, if you find yourself doubting your abilities, then take a break and call a loved one or chat with a friend. Develop coping mechanisms that help you negate the effects of your block.
– If you see that certain blocks are triggered by a situation, then keep an eye on the situation and take action before it goes out of hand completely. For example, if overloading your daily to-do list leaves you feeling anxious and reduces your productivity, then schedule breaks to reset your anxiety levels and keep up your morale.
Every single one of us has mental blocks that are hard-wired into our minds. Built over time and reinforced by repeated experiences, they are almost like muscle memory. They become your default way of reacting and acting. Changing or eliminating these blocks can transform your whole life! In this journey of transformation, understanding yourself and identifying your mental blocks is the first and the most crucial step. This tiny bit of introspection can lead to some giant changes.
At Soaring Eagles, all our coaching and training programs start with a detailed module on self-awareness. Understanding yourself and your subconscious blocks are the strongest foundation for long-lasting change. If what we discussed here strikes a chord, then don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. We would be happy to help!
2020 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been! The global pandemic has really challenged us in so many ways and it’s been hard for many of us to feel in control as the crisis just drags on. Our businesses have taken a hit but we know that there are many around us who have been hit even harder.
It’s natural then for many business leaders to feel guilty about the hard decisions they’ve had to take in terms of layoffs, closures and disruptions in service. A client of mine had to let go of a senior employee in the US and he knew this meant that the employee had to go back to his home country and his entire life would get disrupted. He was also worried that the employee would no longer have health cover to take care of the special needs of his child. A friend who is the CHRO of a large organisation was distraught when a young employee passed away due to COVID and he felt he couldn’t do anything to save her.
Guilt is an unsettling emotion to deal with. But it’s also a sign that you’re a conscientious leader. While there are many things that are out of your control, one way of dealing with this guilt when it hits you is to re-evaluate and improve the way you approach your employees and company, and demonstrate compassionate leadership in difficult circumstances.
Here are 5 ways in which you can do this:
If you have a small team, it’s possible for you to do so yourself. If you have a large employees base, put together small cross-functional teams to spread out and listen to the wider group. This will help you plan your initiatives better.
When you have no choice but to implement furloughs, reduced hours, or pay cuts, don’t delegate sharing the news to HR - it feels demoralizing, disrespectful, and lacks empathy. If you are responsible for the decision, it is you who should be sharing it. This sends a clear message to not just the people who are impacted but also the others around them and support the morale of the team.
If some of your decisions have gone wrong and negatively affected others, take remedial action as soon as you know or can and do it as publicly as possible. Acknowledge your mistake and then communicate new developments frequently and consistently. Decisions can go either r way based on the limited information that we operate on – you are not expected to be right all the time. But how you own up and make amends is what your team and customers are looking at.
Try and see what benefits can be retained even when someone goes on a furlough or pay cut. Help the ones who’ve been laid off to find new jobs. Provide career transition support wherever possible.
People respond to that. They connect with you and they trust you when you’re being the best version of you. Talk about how you balance your own personal and work commitments. Talk about your own challenges and encourage sharing of tips and resources for managing workload, scheduling and so on. You don’t have to have a stoic mask all the time. Let people know that you also struggle sometimes and that’s okay. That’s being human.
So, to sum it up, it’s understandable if you as a leader are struggling with guilty feelings as you see the disruptions and struggles that the Covid-19 crisis is causing your employees and colleagues, sometimes specifically as a result of your own actions. But if you reframe your feelings of guilt as an opportunity to consciously and thoughtfully make the best decisions possible, communicate clearly, and behave with compassion and concern for both your employees and yourself, then you can help steer their teams and organizations toward better times.
If you want to talk about this, just click on Request Consultation and pick a convenient time for discussion or send me a WhatsApp message using the button above.
Many times, when I bring up coaching with business leaders and owners, they react by saying that I’m doing well. I don’t think I need a coach.
To my mind, there are two possible reasons for this reaction – one, they are not aware about what real coaching is and its benefits, and two, they are not ready to have a hard look at themselves and see what’s not working. They may be afraid of what they might uncover and are happier just coasting along till they are forced to confront these issues.
I always make an effort to explain what real coaching is and how it’s different from having a mentor or guide or just reading self-help books. I also make it a point to share that coaching is not about solving problems. It is about unblocking the realisation of your potential. You can do and achieve much more than what you are doing currently just by getting out of your own way. A coach helps you get out of your own way and go after those big hairy audacious goals.
Ask yourself this
Having a coach is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of ambition, it’s a sign of hunger for bigger impact, it’s a sign of courage to work on oneself.
Go ahead, tell me you don’t need a coach…
Click on the Request Consultation button above for a discovery call.
To be truly listened to is an amazing experience, partly because it is so rare! When another person is totally with you – leaning in, interested in every word, eager to empathize – you feel seen and understood. When people feel that they are really being listened to, they open up more as they feel safe and secure and the trust between the parties grows.
Unfortunately, most people do not listen at a very deep level as they are preoccupied with the challenges of their fast-paced life. As a result, most conversations tend to skim on the surface.
The absence of real listening is especially prevalent at work. Under pressure to get the job done, we listen for the minimum of what we need to know so that we can move on to the next fire that needs fighting. So, what’s the consequence of this? Everyone is talking, no on is listening. As a result, employee engagement has become a serious issue in organisations today.
This is becoming a bigger problem in this COVID scenario as employees are dispersed and the conversations are very transactional and brief. Leaders seem to have become busier and more distracted in recent times.
How often are you as a leader distracted in a conversation or a meeting with your team? How often are you as a leader not psychologically present when you are virtually with your team? How often do you cancel, interrupt or shorten meetings with your people in favour of some other stakeholder, priority or task? How often do you make your people wait, ask, or even hope for your leadership? Ironically, now more than ever, leaders need to be deeply and continuously connected with their teams.
What your team needs right now is authentic and unequivocal leadership presence. So, turn off the noise in your head. Turn off the noise from your technology. Focus your mind and your time on the people you lead and they, in turn, will follow and support your leadership efforts.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to take the time to connect, to show that you care about your employees as people. Listening deeply will also help you understand what their challenges and expectations, and gives you a chance to share what your intentions and goals in a way that everyone can be aligned.
Listening is a skill that you can gain from training and practice. And who better to learn if from than coaches. Effective coaches tend to be gifted listeners and they hone their listening skills to reach a high level of proficiency. This enables us coaches to reach the inner recesses of your mind and help you get those deep insights.
In the book, Co-Active Coaching, Henry and Karen Kimsey-House explain the three levels of listening and how the art of listening can be cultivated.
Level 1 listening is an interaction where the primary focus of you as the listener is on your own thoughts, opinions, judgments, and feelings. You relate the words you hear to your own experiences or needs. For example, if we are buying a car, we will be listening at Level 1 to the salesperson to see how the car features will fit our needs and budget.
Level 2 listening takes the communication one step further. It involves paying attention to the tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. As you filter out your internal chatter and distractions from the environment, you are able to tune in to the meaning of the words, choose a way to respond, and assess the effect of the response on the speaker.
Level 3 listening brings an entirely new state of awareness to the conversation. It involves doing everything at Level 2, plus using your intuition and being open to receiving more information in any form that it presents itself. If you get a hunch, for example, while listening to someone, you could bring it up without being attached to it. Without insisting on being right, observe the effect it has on the speaker and be aware of where the conversation goes next.
For instance, you may say: “I understand that you are happy with the results, but I have a feeling that you have something else on your mind.” The response may be, “No, not really,” or “Yes, actually, I wanted to tell you about this issue that came up with our project.” It is irrelevant if you are right or wrong; what is important is the effect on the conversation.
So, there you have it – why it is important for you as a leader to hone your listening skills and how you can enhance your depth of listening. The art of listening takes time to develop, but it can be practiced daily. It builds trust and understanding and contributes significantly to your effectiveness as a leader.
If you want to discuss further, just schedule a complimentary consultation by clicking this link above.
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