Archives for category: Rising Strong

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This week we’d like to share a piece by one of our associate coaches – Hannah Massarella CPCC.

‘I’ve been talking to clients and partner organisations a lot lately about resilience. Resilience is about being able to ‘weather the storm’ in difficult times, resilience is about being able to continue with something that is highly challenging, without it impacting your wellbeing.

Resilience is also about walking away from something that doesn’t serve you, and dealing with the fall out from making that choice.

Life throws up a million different situations that require resilience. And sometimes as a response it seems easier to put on some metaphorical armour, to close up, shut down and power through. But in the long run this ‘battle’ perspective shuts you off from life. By armouring up to deal with the challenges you also become cut off from new connections, it becomes more difficult to feel peaceful and compassionate. Judgement and rejection end up ruling.

I advocate an alternative approach to resilience. The work I do with clients and organisations uses self-care as a route to resilience. Self-care to me, is about paying attention to how we feel and the kinds of conversations we have with ourselves. Self-care is about identifying gremlin thoughts, learning how to ‘be with’ every emotion, getting clear on personal purpose and values and acknowledging and owning all of our skills and attributes.

I used to work with a particularly challenging colleague, she brought up a number of emotions in me and my response was to avoid her at all costs. That approach contributed to my burn out. If I’d have known and been practising what I now know, I might have been able to weather that particular storm from a stronger place of self-belief, I would have found it easier to ‘be with’ the difficult emotions that came up every time she spoke to me.

Challenging situations at work and in life, will always come up (unless we decide to live in a hole). Challenging situations come up with an enhanced level of stress when you are pushing boundaries and working against the odds. Armouring up leads to suppression of emotion, which leads to sickness and burn out, so in reality a self-caring approach to resilience is the only answer.

So how do you stay resilient to life’s struggles?’

*Image by Levi Morsy http://www.unsplash.com

Thank you for taking an interest in our work this year.  It really has been a phenomenal year for us as a team and also myself on an individual level.

I always encourage people to reflect on the year past before looking forward to the year ahead.

Our 2015 highlights

  • Assisting on Brené Brown’s School of Life workshop this weekend just gone was super exciting (and super tiring).  This was a key highlight along with getting trained in her new Rising Strong curriculum.
  • The Emerging Women conference in 2015 really expanded what’s possible in my mind and has created the inkling of lots of ideas for 2016.  Plus I’m about to book my tickets for next year!
  • Getting published in The Guardian – yay!
  • I’ve also had a great trip to the US, settled my eldest son in school, expanded my professional network and have taken on a number of associates for my business.

What do you want to celebrate about 2015?  Take some time to think about your key achievements and learnings…

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And what do you want to make a commitment to doing in 2016?

We have a Daring Way™ workshop at the beginning of the year to support you in making this your most courageous year ever.  Plus Rising Strong dates bringing the new curriculum to life…
Here’s to being grateful for the year that’s past, and excited about what’s to come in 2016.

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With love, Rox

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How much do you organise your life so as to avoid failure?

What is your relationship with those face down moments?  Do you put your head in your hands thinking, “I’m obviously a failure, I’ll know not to do that again”? Or do you think “Oh that didn’t work out this time and I know better for next time”.

In truth, failure isn’t failure if you can learn from it.

Brené Brown’s new work, ‘Rising Strong’, is all about those face down moments that we all have.  Her premise is that if we have a process for picking ourselves back up again after a failure then we are able to be more brave, more often.  And if we are truly brave with our lives then we will fail.  (Note: She doesn’t mean you will risk failing more often.  She means you will actually fail more often.)

What is so striking for me about the process is that it starts with getting curious about our emotions.  And how opposed that is to how most of us live our lives.

I go into organisations where people are told they are ‘too emotional’ and that ‘emotion should be kept out of the workplace’.  I coach people who were told as children that they should ‘stop being upset about that as it won’t get you anywhere’ or ‘emotion is a sign of weakness’.

I was an emotional being in the workplace.  I definitely showed emotion in a way that other people weren’t entirely comfortable with. And usually this was the flip side of me really caring about the work that I did and therefore getting frustrated by lengthy processes or people not sharing my vision.   More recently someone observed that I seemed angry* about the way a project was going in a big organisation.  It was taken by me, and I assume it was meant by them, as the opposite of a compliment.  The implication was ‘there is no room for anger in this organisation’.

But what if we could get curious about these emotions?  Instead of feeling them and immediately pushing them away, what if we could hold the space for them, reflect on what is behind the emotions and move through them mindfully? When I was told I seemed angry, I mainly felt incapable and embarrassed.  I subsequently tried to shut the anger away and show up as lovely, kind, jolly Rox to move the project forwards (because nice girls don’t get angry, right? And, more to the point, you “should never show emotion” in the workplace). Reflecting on this now, I was angry because I saw something that really contravened my values being played out.  Too right I was angry – the behaviour I was seeing needed calling out, not passively accepting with a smile on my face.

Let’s be clear, holding the space for our anger does not mean shouting or acting aggressively.  I mean giving ourselves permission for the feeling and getting curious about the cause of it, rather than pushing it away immediately.

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I see the alternative being played out in workplaces and families across the country.  Unexpressed emotion has a habit of building up and either affecting you physically (insomnia, anxiety, stress) or of finding an outlet at an equally unsuitable time (road rage, shouting at your children). I wonder if the passive aggressiveness I see in offices is a symptom of this too.  As I tried to shut my anger away, I found myself on a constant loop in my head having circular conversations with the people involved in this scenario.

It is only through knowing how to rise strong, trusting that we will be able to pick ourselves back up again enhanced rather than diminished by a failure, that we are going to be able to take risks in our careers and in our lives that will move us forwards.  The very first step in this process involves getting curious about our emotions and acknowledging when we are emotionally hooked.

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