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June 2015

THE WONDER OF WINTER

By | Insights to help you #quickshift, Transformational thoughts | No Comments

The WONDER of WINTER

What does the wonder of WINTER mean to YOU?

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I love to draw inspiration and metaphors for life from nature because it simply follows patterns and unfolds majestically with flow and order within the chaos. We can take much needed advice from it to assist us with the “busy-ness” and stress that we deal with constantly. All too often nowadays we are so manically trying to do everything for everybody every day that we burn ourselves out trying so hard. I am suggesting that we learn to go with the flow of the seasons, harnessing the cycle of life. Not always that easy and I have personally been fighting the quieter time for a few weeks – until I remembered to EMBRACE IT! Perhaps this will remind YOU to do the same.

So, what insights and inspiration can we draw from the season of winter and what do we need to pay attention to over these few months whilst the earth is slumbering in the Southern Hemisphere?

Winter falls over a solstice, just this week it occurred – which literally translated means “standing in the sun’. For us in the southern hemisphere, the sun is furtherest north from us, thus creating very short daylight hours and longer nights. This deliciously cold season of winter can gift us several opportunities beyond curling up alone next to a hearty fire with a great book.

How do we translate this into our lives?

The underlying energy that we can tap into is one of completely and utterly pausing: there is a kind of gentle stillness around us. The wheel of life naturally completes over the solstice on 21st June, before it can start up again for the year ahead…it is a natural end and beginning of the cycle of the year. This makes it somewhat harder for us living in the southern hemisphere because we usually hold this intention of endings and beginnings over our New Year celebrations in December. We Southern dwellers need to be extra mindful of this mid-year break to re-charge annually.

Alongside this “pause” in life, we also greatly benefit from integrating into a more social way of life during winter, where we stop to re-charge our internal batteries by spending time with loved ones. This is a time to pull together and gather socially to get through the cold winter nights, creating an inner fire of warmth through friendships and sharing. Whilst the energy of winter creates a slowing down and a conserving of energy, it is also an important time to reflect inwardly even more deeply, and find the point of intense focus for the next stage ahead.

PRACTICAL TIPS:
I recommend the following practical pointers to take advantage of this wonderful winter energy, particularly around this next couple of weeks following the solstice:

  1. PAUSE

Start spending about ten minutes quiet time alone every day…. Yes you CAN find ten minutes! Can be in meditation or simply just sitting quietly focusing on your breathing. I use guided meditations I find on the net, and have some aps on my phone. Become aware of where you are spiritually, mentally and physically at this stage in your life. Be mindful and still. The more you practice the easier it will get. I get up and light my gas fire and sit with tea and kitty (some of you know Stripes see below) and do a meditation regularly. Here’s what happens ….

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  1. JOURNAL

Go out and buy yourself a beautiful journal and start journaling a little bit every day to completely reflect your life on paper after the quiet time above. How you are really feeling on the inside? What do you deeply wish for? Your hopes and intentions? This “ME” time every day is vital for self-awareness – remember this is the time for “pausing”. And to be fair, sometimes the journaling is a mere “vomiting” of all the stress you are experiencing in your life. Just let it out! If you need some help on what to write about, have you already done the free series on Quick Shift 1 Thing? If not, then simply sign up on my website and you’ll get some great exercises to reflect on. CLICK HERE

 

  1. FOCUS

As you relax into the quiet time and journaling, try and allow more of your deeper hopes and wishes for the months ahead to filter through. Whilst autumn is the time look long term for the year ahead, winter is the time to become very resolute and focused on some specific plans for the months ahead. So when the time is right and the energy starts gathering again as the days get longer, what is your plan of action? Winter is the ideal time to spend on this focused plan, preparing for the activity ahead, and that makes the implementation so much easier down the line. You could call these your “resolutions” and determinations for the start of the new cycle.

 

  1. GATHER

As close to the solstice as possible, invite your nearest and dearest over….and rather than the bring and share suggested for autumn, this winter season is about being generous and sharing all that YOU have with others. Ideally this should be an outdoor celebration around a huge fire. If this is not possible and you don’t even have an indoor fire, then use as many candles as possible to generate the fire energy. Celebrate that you belong to these friends and family, and this is a great time to share your intentions for the next few months with each other. Also fantastic time for poetry and story telling to celebrate your friendships. Revel in the delights of generosity and togetherness.

 

  1. PROJECTS

I always recommend that this time is fantastic for home projects. Some clutter clearing of your computer files, home office desk, books, music, cd’s, magazines and making photographs albums. Get round to doing those photo albums of your summer trips to warm your heart. The shorter days make it enticing to sit indoors, so use this time ingeniously whilst it lasts.

If you need some help de-cluttering a certain aspect of your life then why not grab the winter special of 4 hours for R2000 ($166 and can be effectively done over skype anywhere in the world) CLICK HERE 

Enjoy the still, inward energy of winter, and generously sharing with friends, preparing you for the upbeat, outward going movement of life as spring kicks into gear, but more about that down the line.

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SUMMER FRIENDS up north…

Well just get out there and have a ball in the sun, warmth, longer days and living your life. What are YOU currently working on?

The 5 saboteurs to Vibrancy in the Workplace

By | Coaching Tips 'n Tools | 2 Comments

Are you grappling to make sense of your world, your energy, time and productivity and juggle just one too many balls in the air? In my experience as a life coach, speaker and author for the past 12 years these are the top 5 areas that companies, employers, executives and YOU  tend to neglect and overlook that will potentially lead to a lack of vibrancy, burnout and low morale in the workplace and your life.

1. Lack of vitality  

Kate Emmerson - IMG_7271Too often workplaces and even when running our own businesses we are focussed on extremely long hours and demanding projects — without taking cognisance of our energy, health, vitality and desperate need for downtime.

Yet ultimately that is YOUR responsibility as your vitality is your biggest gift to yourself!

The corporate culture dictates whether employees value their energy and bodies and treat them with respect, or abuse them through various means. This could be through being too busy, excessive use of alcohol, drugs (yip, even over the counter ones), coffee, junk food, lack of water , poor exercise habits and unrealistic hours all year round.

Doing an exercise that addresses 8 areas of life will help you understand work- life harmony with an emphasis on health as one of the cornerstones of productivity. See the footnote that will help you get started.  Remind yourself of the value of “energy management” which subsequently enhances time management is one key to boosting morale. It is also vital to take regular time off to reflect and retreat. It is also important to ensure you have had all your medical check ups annually to ensure early detection of any disease or unease in your body.

Kate’s personal trick: at the beginning of the year slot in regular downtime / weekends away for rejuvenation and creative reflection, otherwise life WILL take over and before you know it you will be dead beat at the end of another harrowing year.

Have you booked some quality time off to regenerate in the next 3 months? Put in some leave, chat to the family and make it happen so that your vitality levels increase.

2. Multitasking 

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The myth of multitasking is finally being uncovered and making us re-think the issue of what we do when we do it, and how many things we attempt  to do at once. As a result of living in this age where multitasking has typically been revered and widely accepted means that now studies have emerged that are showing in effect we “toggle’ between tasks rather than actually multitask, which means we land up doing everything at a lower level of attention and focus. The way this multitasking shows up includes the following –  Interrupting colleagues when they are performing a task; texting / speaking whilst driving; being at work thinking about home stress and vice versa; sending messages whilst trying to write that report; letting dratted email pull you off task every time it pings another message into your inbox;  and jumping endlessly from one task to another never feeling the kick of completing something with focus and energy.  Any moment you are not wholeheartedly focussed on one task means your energy and productivity drops in that moment.  You land up morphing your time rather then simply being present.

It is important to learn to be laser focussed, even for short bursts of time, in order to be productive and to get rid of distractions where possible. Create better boundaries to be able to say “I need an hour to finish this project, so please do not interrupt me”. Coaching and personal transformation helps individuals and teams learn tools to understand the power of being present, mindful, focussed and thus being more productive. Learning how to stay in the zone, even if for five minutes, is a modern skill we need to learn. Batching your time, energy and tasks is the concept of putting like tasks with like tasks. It is better to sit and do all your emails for a focussed 2o minutes, than to bounce around from phone calls to texts to mails.

Kate’s personal trick is to use a timer — either an old fashioned hourglass one pictured here or even a techie one on your phone like “Pomodoro” or “Downtime” to set 20 – 25 minutes for task completion. Then make sure you get up and move your body, grab some water to increase hydration and brain function, then get on to your next most NB task.

3. Corporate / office clutter and disorganisation 

Our physical environment is so often overlooked — I want to inspire you to think about how a disrespected “physical” space usually equals disrespect in other areas of your life and work and is thus a reflection of underlying habits in our lives. Messy desks, poor space flow, bad filing systems, lack of workspace discipline all tell a story — and the actual physical space surrounding you can tangibly  heighten or depress your energy.  Couple this with the idea that all staff and clients bring their personal clutter to work in the form of emotional clutter or baggage – can you see it can exacerbate the issue even more. It can also impact the effect on others’ opinions  — e.g. clients walking into your dishevelled office may automatically assume lack of order in other areas of the business and thus negatively impact you and your company’s reputation. Think about living with a sense of order, discipline and respect for your space — one that it is condusive to productivity.

Kate’s personal trick —  “Zap Your Desk”   DO THIS ONE SIMPLE THING today! Clear out old projects, obsolete paper, excessive stuff that has landed on your desk. Then schedule a massive clear out at the end of each quarter.  This is a great team building exercise to incorporate one afternoon –  Kate will energise your staff and get your offices clear, energised and boost productivity.

4. Motivating values   

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Whilst a company has corporate values and a mission statement that underpins the inner workings and purpose of the company, so too each employee has their own set of personal values, their ultimate motivators and drivers. Employers can boost morale by knowing what drives each person e.g. if one is motivated by family time, giving them an afternoon off to spend time with family might be better received than overtime payment. Knowing what makes one person buzz compared to the next is a key to boosting morale as staff will feel understood. This means having a more personalised, bespoke approach rather than a “one size fits all” – people are not machines and thus do not feel appreciated or valued in the same way. You KNOW this, so do your best to LIVE it.

Kate’s personal trick: ensure you KNOW what your highest priority values actually are so that you build your life and work around those values. For e.g. My higest ranking personal  value is courage, which ensures that even when I feel like backing down in the face of challenges, I remind myself that that is my highest driver, and it instantly gives me a little boost to go for it, regardless of the fear and negative thoughts. If you haven’t done an exercise to elicit what your personal values are, you can contact Kate for a session.

5. Playing to your strengths 

Treating every employee the same way often leads to to dire personal outcomes for everyone involved– a breakdown of confidence and general lack of morale – if you don’t feel properly understood in the workplace by employers, yourself, colleagues or clients, it can lead to feeling dis-engaged, invisible and un-important. YUCK! We each have inherent strengths and talents and we need to figure that out and help carve out a career based on strengths and less around the balanced scorecard of always focussing on the weaknesses. Helping people discover their talents through the work of the GALLUP organisation “Now Discover Your Strengths”   is one way of understanding the self and others better.  It also ensures you can manage yourself for better results according to your natural disposition. This is about going WITH one’s natural energy as opposed to AGAINST it.

Kate’s personal trick – carving a life that truly works for ME around my natural abilities rather than forcing myself to do work or commit to things that decrease my energy. It requires courage to actively engage with your strengths – if you haven’t done some form of profiling that helps you understand yourself better, perhaps now is the time?

If you would like to know how to get started then you can simply sign up for my free video series titled “How to Quick SHift 1 Thing”  to get some energy flowing and some shifts happening today.

Please find my website on www.kate-emmerson.com