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Transactional Analysis

Process Communication Model (PCM): Persister

Do you know at least one person that always has an opinion on a given subject? That has a strong set of values and that is the base of most of the decisions that they make? The person that is trustworthy: when they say that something is going to be done, it will, 100%? That’s Persister. First out of six personality types in Process Communication Model (PCM), the concept created by Taibi Kahleb. You can read shortly about the concept HERE, to have a basic structure around what PCM is really about. Today, I would love for us to have a description of who the Persister is, how we recognize this type is in the other person’s Base. Meaning that it is their first floor of personality structure, where they have most of the resources, competencies, and skills. The Base also stands for what is the most natural way of communication for the other person and through what kind of lenses they observe the world. So today we are going to discover who the Persister is, how to navigate when this person is in front of us and what to do to communicate effectively. How do we recognize Persister? Persister is a person who evaluates the world around them by comparing it to their values and beliefs. Their perception is opinions, and a lot of situations with Persisters relate to comparing one thing to another. How they feel, how they think and how they operate daily against the law, rules, policies, ways of working. While being around people, they’re loyal, and they value trust. They always keep promises: for a Persister it is impossible to even think about not keeping the word. If they say they do something, they are going to do it, no matter what. So, we don’t need to ask them several times a question like: “Are you going to go to do it? What is the progress of it?” because they’ll always do it (in fact, that kind of questions drive Persister crazy). How to recognize this person if that we don’t have their personality structure yet? You can listen to the words they need. For Persister it will be: “I believe…”, “in my opinion…”, “we should do something” or …shouldn’t do something”, “I trust…”, “the important thing for me is…”, “the crucial thing is…”. They say those words because they see the world through the lenses of opinions and values: that’s how Persister is the most visible. Of course, we are talking about being in OK-OK zone. It’s about having an opinion, but also always having a good intention. It’s not about pushing the opinion no matter what or aiming to hurt others. They have an opinion on every single subject and even if they don’t (i.e., they’re not interested in something), they have an opinion on it. Like: “Ok, so I’m not into politics because it really doesn’t interest me: I don’t want to waste my time on that subject”. Based on that example, we can see that there is always an opinion, even if at the first sight there’s none. What is also important that Persister doesn’t have any problem with saying those opinions out loud. And it’s not about being rude: it’s about being persistent, having a voice that matters (in professional and/or private life). Of course, HOW the opinion is communicated is important (it needs to be said from the OK-OK perspective). If it’s not – it’s another part of the story. What do Persister need in communication? I’m trustworthy = I’m valuable as a person When do we know that Persister is in distress? What does to be in distress mean? Being a distress means that we don’t have our motivational needs covered and we go into a sequence that is aligned with certain PCM type. So, if you have a Persister on the other side of the communication process and their needs are frustrated, they go into distress, you will see 3 steps of the sequence. Being in distress means that we don’t think clearly. When it happens, we don’t have access to our skillset, abilities to deal with different (especially stressful and difficult) situations, we can’t act accordingly (even if we rationally know how to do it). That’s why it’s so important firstly to come back to OK-OK, to our Base, and then – once we are there, go and deal with the situation. That kind of approach is always going to work, regardless of the PCM type. It’s worth to remember the sequence, since it is repetitive. By training ourselves in recognizing patterns we train our muscle of reacting accordingly, without going into distress ourselves. The mask invites the mask: meaning that behavior under distress will have influence on us, and even if we are in OK-OK zone, we can go into the dark side. Being aware of what’s happening gives us tools to protect ourselves and support others in getting into better place. The bottom line Persister is a great person to cooperate with. When they say that they’ll do something, we can be sure that will happen, no matter what. We don’t even need to doublecheck: for Persisters it’s impossible to not deliver the things that we agreed on, it’s in their DNA to do it. Their strong principles, values, and a high-level need to be trustworthy make them great partners in crime. Of course, while being in distress, they lose access to those resources and go into not so shiny place. It requires more awareness, being mindful what happens with us (if we are Persisters in Base), and other people (when Persister is on the other side of communication process).    So, I invite us all to observe those behaviors described in the article starting today. It can help us more than we think, regardless of the type of relation, context, or situation that we are in. It’s always worth to develop in this area. PS. As a first exercise after reading this article,

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Leadership

Team Conflict: Is It Always a Bad Thing?

When we hear “conflict”, we think “trouble”. When we hear “conflict”, we think “dysfunctional team”, where communication doesn’t work, and people have personal issues. Or when we hear “conflict”, we think that leader doesn’t know how to lead his/her team successfully. Is that really true? Why are we so scared of a conflict? What is the worst thing that can happen when there is a conflict in the team? What kind of experiences we have with the conflict that make us think and behave in a certain way when one appears? Why do we avoid conflict? The real question should be: why do we avoid doing things in overall? In the area of conflicts, it’s extremely visible: we avoid it, because we burned ourselves once or twice. Based on that we make this strategy to not get involved in any kind of “risky” situation: so, we sit quiet and just focus on living through another day. Is it really the best option we can get? When a lack of conflict is dysfunctional, not the other way around? One of the biggest experts of team development and leadership, Patrick Lencioni, years ago wrote a book “5 Disfunctions of a Team”. It is a really short story (doesn’t even look like a personal/professional development book), yet it’s very powerful. And there is one part that stopped me when I first read it: Lencioni says that one of the dysfunctions of a team is a fear of conflict. What? (On the chart on the left-hand side there are definitions of all disfunctions and on the right-hand side there are solutions, that answer the questions: what is the best thing we can do here for our teams?) If we stick to our old believe that a conflict is something negative and destructive – that it ruins the trust and good atmosphere in the team, how is it possible that it’s actually the other way around? When we avoid conflict, not speaking up and be open about what do we really think, feel, or observe in the workplace, there is a huge risk of not being as effective and efficient as possible. It’s also short sided: if we are not sharing it now, it’s going to backfire in the future. So, at the end of the day, it will bring worse result than we imagine now. What’s even worse, people probably will talk behind other colleagues’ or leader’s backs, and not saying anything out loud. We can imagine that it will bring even worse outcomes, like really ruining the atmosphere, creating space for psychological games and in a consequence: lack of trust. The fear of conflict can be one of the biggest barriers that will stop people from growth, thrive and being the best versions of themselves in a workplace. What can we do to change this mindset? How can we use conflict that nourishes our team? The key thing to understand is that a certain kind conflict is something that we can use. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, it really depends on what we are dealing with. There are 2 categories of conflicts, I call them functional and dysfunctional. What can we do with the dysfunctional conflicts? First and foremost: we need to map and name correctly which conflict is the real one in the situation we are dealing with. Without that, even the most beautiful strategy is not going to work, because we are going to answer to the wrong need. We’ll get frustrated and use all our energy badly. Focus on investigating will bring the best results, since then the solutions will be to the point: it’s more than certain that it’s worth investing time in this process. The bottom line The conflict is a huge, hairy, and scary thing that we often have very strong convictions about. We avoid it, by staying low, don’t speak up to not get into any confrontation. We do it because we don’t want to get hurt, expose ourselves to bad emotions, stress or feeling that we do not belong. Perfectly natural, there is nothing to be ashamed of. When we make a mindset shift: from fixed (focused on avoiding conflict) to a growth one, where we take into consideration that the conflict can be good for us, nourishing and interesting, we can gain more than we think. With remembering about having a good intention, being in OK-OK zone and with a goal of creating something extraordinary as a consequence of a passionate discussion, we can achieve the outcome that won’t be possible to achieve on our own. It puts old, good conflict in a completely new light. I believe it’s worth trying if it fits.

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Organization

How To Teach Others Effectively?

Did you ever have a situation when you wanted to teach a person something? You explained everything, you put a lot of time and effort in it, and at the end of the day the person never learned anything? Or you gave somebody feedback because they didn’t do something correctly. And after the conversation it seemed that everything was okay, but after a couple of weeks or months the same mistake was done by the same person? Did you start getting angry, feeling disappointed or guilty: is it you or is it all about them? Were you persistent, sit with the person and explain the same thing 10 times? Or have you just decided to not bother anymore: since apparently this person doesn’t understand what you are saying? How many cases ends like a failure when we think about teaching others effectively? 20%? 50%? More than that? And how many of them don’t say that they don’t understand because they don’t want to look or sound stupid? What can we do to teach others better, so they can grow thanks to our knowledge and experience? And both sides don’t have the impression that they’ve wasted time on the doubtful effect? Why doesn’t learning process work so often? We can have the best intentions to teach others. In fact, most of the time we have those: we want people to be better in what they do, we share our knowledge, experience and what we’ve learned so far in a certain topic. Everything seems good in our head. The readiness to teach and an honest intention to do it is there. Let’s say we are a buddy to the new employee. We want to onboard this person, take care of them, pass all information about how this organization works. To prepare a new joiner to understand the new environment, how everything gets done, so they don’t waste time and get stressed or frustrated of running around in circles, looking for the right person to answer their questions. We have a plan, we start the process. We pass our knowledge, we teach the other person how to cover the goals we have as a team as well as possible. We check by asking: “do you have any questions?” or “is everything clear for you?”. And what is the answer on those two questions most of the time? 90% people goes with “no, all good, no questions”, “yes, all clear”. Is it your experience too? And it’s clear until it isn’t. We explained everything, checked with new employee and this is it: they start to work on their own. And there is one mistake. And then another one. We give feedback, all is clear again, they go and do the same mistake again. When we ask what they need to do it to have the result that we aim for, they say “nothing, all good”. Sounds familiar? Sometimes we teach, then we see that the work is not done with a result that we did contract for, we give feedback with an intention so next time it’s better. And it’s not better at all: sometimes it’s the same, or even worse. What is happening in between of this process, so the results are often so disappointing (for both sides)? Who we need to be to teach others well? There is a certain set of skills that people who want to be efficient and effective in how they teach others should have. Based on my teaching (others) and learning (from others) perspective, I believe that those are a golden list of competencies that make a person amazing guide to transform work and life of people that are around them. And we do know that you don’t need to be a school or academic teacher to use them. We share knowledge in so many ways every day: we teach our colleagues at work, our kids at home, we share some tips and tricks with our friends or family members, we pass value to the members of our community. What do we need to do it in the best possible way? The bottom line When we teach others, we are there for them. It can be super hard to stop the need to show that we the smartest persons in the room, but we must do it to be effective at teaching others. Remembering that the process where we teach something is for our audience (even if it is a one person), makes us take a step or two back from time to time and reflect on the way we do it. Is it for me, or for them? Where is my focus: on the process, or on the person? Do I care more about ticking all the boxes that I passed everything I had on the agenda, or I care about the change that I make in this person’s brain and heart? These are the questions that I invite all of us to ask ourselves every time we teach something. It will make everything we do better, more effective and efficient, and: we will be satisfied with the job well done.   

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Leadership

TEAMING: Why No One Teaches How to Be a Good Team Member?

Did you ever noticed that we teach leaders in countless growth programs, workshops, or mentoring processes how to be a great leader, and we almost never teach employees how to be great team members? To follow the TEAMING idea? Why is that? Is it more important to have qualified leaders than people who know how to work well together? We know it’s not true. A part of successful leadership is to have a team that has an ability to cooperate effectively, ideally to like and understand each other as people. During my post-grad studies in Transition Management area, one of the lecturers brought to the class a book named “Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in Knowledge Economy” by Amy C. Edmondson. And while having a conversation about the teaming, people, communication and how it creates great (or not so great) organizations, I’ve started to wonder how all those dots are connected. How one thing influences the other and makes success or failure at the end of the day? How to think about TEAMING: is it even the real thing? What is TEAMING? TEAMING is a mindset. Based on Amy’s book, TEAMING is more about “being” with others in a certain way than “doing” things. Of course, the behavior is an important part of the whole idea, so we can tell that “behaving” is “doing”. But it’s not the point. The point is that TEAMING covers the way of working, behaving, making decisions in work environment where we don’t have a luxury of a stable team structures. Where individuals, teams, departments, and projects need to work together somehow, while the circumstances change all the time. So, TEAMING brings to the table collaboration based on an eagerness to learn, be better every day and communicate as well as possible, despite the constant change that never ends. And it never will, let’s be honest about it. Do we ever think about the qualities of a good team member? We for sure can list very quickly the qualities of a good manager within 30 seconds. But how about team members? Recently, I did this exercise with one group of leaders that I facilitated the workshop for. I asked them to give 2-3 things that they believe are qualities of a great team member. The results came up like this. So, as we can see, there are a lot of things connected with taking responsibility and do the job, but mostly there are things connected to “being” with others. A person who shares knowledge, taking care of other team members, listen, be brave, mentor others etc. Not many “transactional” elements are there as we can see. Interesting, isn’t’ it?   How to lead a TEAMING process? As leaders, we have a lot of influence (more that we think we have) on how the work environment looks like for our people. Pretty often we don’t use this power because we don’t believe that it would work, we don’t know how to do it, or we are afraid that we’ll get different outcome from what we aim for by certain actions. We don’t believe that we can actually change something. Leading in TEAMING means using the mindset that will allow people to be a better team member. It consists of three things: A leader is responsible for creating a workspace for people to thrive. It’s all we need to do. Why don’t we teach people how to be great team members? It’s not very intuitive to start from teaching people about being a good team member. Definitively more classical way is to teach leaders how to be great and lead others successfully. But that way, we put all responsibility on the leader’s shoulders. I’m not saying that leader don’t need to grow, have certain set of skills, behaviors or mindset. But when we think about improving the ability of being a great team member, we divide the responsibility into all people that making a team: manager AND team members. Both parties need to participate in the process of team creation: it influences the level of engagement, being in control and a part of something more than just my own scope. Why don’t we do it more often? Maybe because it requires a mindset and approach shift, a creation of a new one to cover the different perspective. And it can be difficult, sometimes going far away into the stretch zone and recreate the growth options we have for people in the organization. What do we need to make that shift? Wouldn’t it be more efficient, nice, and engaging to have more than one people who takes care of different team building elements? Imagine that we all are taking part in building the environment where people are highly motivated, performing very well, create space to give different ideas and have sparing partners to discuss them? Where we learn from each other, share knowledge and the best ways of working? Sounds pretty cool to me. And for you?

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Leadership

Leading With Agility: 3 Ways to Do It Well

Agility, being Agile, using Agile tools. For the last couple of years those words or phrases became viral: there are so many training sessions, certification programs, workshops and growth paths connected with this. Thinking in an agile way or leading with agility appeared in the job descriptions, since it looks like a leadership skill that is necessary in these crazy, fast pacing time where things are changing all the time. And yes, it is a quality that can be extremely useful, because the change was, is and will be with us no matter what, regardless of the period of history we live in at the certain moment. But I’ve seen many times that this subject was copied and pasted from the project management books (literally 1:1) and not really tailored to the context of managerial work. There are many common points of working as leader with the team and while being a project manager, but there are also many differences that need to be taken into consideration. To have useful tools, that can be implemented successfully, without frustration that it doesn’t work, or is not applicable at all to the certain circumstances. So today, we are going to go deeper into the subject and see how to lead teams with agility in 3 areas by using what is the best in agile into the reality of a manager. 1. Reshape your mindset (from fixed to growth) Leadership agility is a set of competencies, abilities and attitudes. But the most important thing of all this is mindset. Mindset combines all the thoughts, convictions, beliefs and abilities we have, and it creates the way we look at the world. These are the glasses that we put on to see and interpret what is happening around us. A leader that has a fixed mindset sees the world of restraints, sometimes without a perspective for it to improve. This person operates daily based on thinking about the change as a threat, something that can rob him/her from what they’ve work on so hard for years. They see new things as challenges to the status quo that are in their comfort zone, often by using the sentence: “it always worked, why to bother changing it?”. A leader with a growth mindset at the other hand has an open-minded perspective, she/he thinks holistically, looking for opportunities and space to learn every day. Every mistake is a chance to learn, be better next time and have a constant possibility to try different approaches, ideas, making their workspace a better environment for their people. When you have a fixed mindset as a leader, you will probably never go to the agility leadership space. Agile means adaptive, changing regarding the circumstances, tailoring the approach, response or reaction adequately to the current situation. To modify the way of leading people and business as needed. People with fixed mindset are not that flexible, they are not going to be able to do it. If you want to be an agile leader, you need to make a shift in your mindset. Move from fear to courage. From ended version to the iterative one, with a constant possibility to improve and adapt. Why it is important? Because if you have a fixed mindset, your people will have it too. They won’t grow exponentially; they are not going to be high-performing teams with an ability to achieve anything they want. They’ll stay in their comfort, safe space where it’s cozy and warm. But there is no chance to thrive in the comfort zone. 2. Look for opportunities to learn all the time Once the right mindset it there, the next steps on the journey are possible to implement. Leading with agility requires learning all the time: trying to find the best options, to improve the ways the team works, operates, solve problems or makes decisions. For a leader that works with people in that way, it’s crucial to seek for opportunities to grow every day. As mentioned in one of the previous articles: “If you didn’t fail today, it means that you haven’t pushed yourself hard enough. Be better tomorrow”. If you make a mistake, ask yourself: “What have I done well? What could I do better next time?”. Being an agile leader means using the right tools. Use retrospective with yourself on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Invest 3 minutes of your time each day to see what went really great, and what could have been better. It’s not a lot of time: every person can manage to do it. The key here is to prioritize it, to know what kind of advantage it brings to your table. That’s how we learn: remember 70/20/10 rule. 70% of the learning comes from day-to-day tasks, experiences, projects and many different situations we face. 20% is mentoring, feedback, observing others. And 10% is formal (or less formal) education, workshops, studies etc. Use your 70% daily, the best way you can possibly do it. Be mindful about what you do with your time, how you talk to your people, how you solve problems or create space of others to solve it by themselves. How you pass the responsibility to others, how you strengthen your team to be in charge of what they do. How you delegate tasks 100%, without being a nano manager, but with a trust in employees: that they’ll do their best to cover it, in the best quality they can. Talk to other people that you find experts in your field. Share knowledge, ways of working or experience you gathered all along the way, be curious about their experiences and learnings too. Follow them on social media, read or listen to the books, get inspired, try what they’ve done to see if it can work in some way in your case. Life the life-long learning value: this is the key to lead with agility. 3. Be adaptive, react and let people do the same Agility means adaptability. Reacting to changes, making the best of them.

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Self-Development

Process Communication Model (PCM): Main Psychological Needs

In the first article, I mentioned a few elements about the framework of Process Communication Model (PCM) and I’ve shared how much it changed the way I look at the communication itself, but also at differences (and similarities) that we have as people. It appeared that even if you know a lot of things, you can always learn something that can be a groundbreaking experience for you. And what can change the way you think about yourself and the world that is around you. What stopped me when I’ve started learning about PCM was many different elements of it that create the whole puzzle which describes the while structure of peoples’ personalities. And what’s inside of this: behaviors, the ways of reacting in certain situations (in a reaction for a certain stimuli or trigger), their preferences regarding the way they communicate, but also the way they want to receive communication from others. One of those elements that are extremely important in PCM’s structure are main psychological needs. What are they for each of 6 types of personality? Why we even talk about them? What happens when they are not covered? Let’s dig deeper into that space today. What Are the Main Psychological Needs in PCM? Each of 6 personality types in PCM has their own psychological need or needs. It is one or two the most important things that they seek to cover to feel balanced and to not go into distress. Meaning: if the main psychological need(s) is/are safe, a person is in a good shape and has access to their resources to make good decisions or solve problems in an optimal way. You can find below the structure way of those needs. Recognition of work means that the value that Persister and Thinker bring to the table in a work environment is visible and appreciated by others. Hard work, quality and time they’ve invested into a certain thing is worth the outcome and important for others who recognize that. Recognition of convictions for Persister means that what they value and that kind of beliefs and opinions they have regarding certain thing are meaningful for others. Time structure for Thinker means that there is an order of their structure of day, rituals, tasks they cover during the day (private and/or personal). It can be a structure around work/goals that are on the list for a week or month. The key here is to have everything in place, with a space to adapt it, if needed. Incidence for Promoter exists when things are happening. There is action, excitement brought by successfully delivered tasks, projects, achieved goals or key milestones on a path they follow. Being in contact for Rebel is a key thing since they need other people, space to discuss things, like or dislike them together. They need to have an external source of energy, making them feel that they have connection with the world that is around them. Recognition of person is quite different from recognition of work that was mentioned for Persister and Thinker. Recognition of person means that Harmonizer is seen as a person. That it’s good that they are there, they bring value to others by their existence. They are an important key player in the team. Because Harmonizers are using all their senses to experience the world that is around them, sensory is one of their main needs. It means that they need to have visuals (i.e., colorful spaces or art around them), sounds (may be different in terms of individual preferences), smells (like fresh bread, paint or grass), something they can touch (like nice fabric textures of furniture). It’s about feeding the senses they use to experience the reality. Solitude for Imaginers is a space where they can reflect on all those things that are in their heads. It doesn’t mean that they want to be alone all the time: it means that they need space, time and (most of the time) silence to recuperate and make space for their brains to work properly. What Happens When the Needs Are Not Covered? Once we know who we are and who are people that are around us (our children, significant other, friends, coworkers or direct reports), we have a ready solution to work with them. Your child is a Thinker? Give them recognition sign every time when they do something good in a workspace area (it can be about cleaning up their room or doing their homework). Your employee is a Harmonizer? Sit with them in a nice, colorful, closed room, give them a hot tea in a ribbed cup and say that it’s good to see them and have them in the team. But if you have a partner who is a Persister and you say to them after a great speech that they’ve just delivered that they look pretty, guess what happens? They can start feeling frustrated, since they’ve got not the right recognition (they seek for recognition of work, but they’ve got a recognition of person). Your intention was good, so you can be surprised that the reaction is not like you aimed for. The key thing here is to understand that it’s not about you: it’s about their need that was not fed in a right way. So, what happens when those main psychological needs are not covered properly? The person goes into distress. Meaning: they go and act not from their resources, but from their driver behavior. They might seem irrational, not accepting other peoples’ mistakes or closing themselves and doing everything on their own. Depends on the driver a certain person has and what happens with them in distress zone. The point is: when basic psychological needs are not fed, a person is not in contact with themselves, not making optimal decisions, might feel like they are not the best version of themselves. They might make mistakes, be sloppy, forget things, being mean, acting scared or resist all the time. A behavior depends on a person, but

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Self-Development

What Kind of Rituals Do You Have in Your Life?

While running the other day, I was listening to the podcast by Lori Harder “Earn Your Happy: This Will Get You the Results You Want in Your Life Fast!”. And there was one sentence at the very beginning that stick with me, and I thought about it a lot afterwards. “If you have in your life the results that you are not very happy about, it means that you have a ritual that creates that kind of result”. So basically, it’s about connecting the dots between what we do and what kind of outcome we get because of making a certain decision (or not). It seems obvious, as well as the quote that I got from the podcast, but it dawned on me that many times in our life we don’t think that way. We look for guilty and blame the outside world for something happening to us. I can’t lose weight, because of my genetics (big bones). It’s impossible for me to take care of myself, because I have kids. I’m not becoming the entrepreneur, because I need financial stability that 9-5 job gives me. I feel bad after eating another piece of candy or slice of pizza, but I can’t help it. We all have those voices in our heads. They relate to all areas of our life and it’s natural to have them. Our brain tries to protect us all the time from being hurt, suffering or feeling disappointed. That’s how rituals are made. What kind of rituals in different life roles you have that bring you certain results? Let’s dig deeper into this subject today. Health Rituals What kind of rituals do you have regarding your health that give you certain results? Do you like those results? Are you healthy: physically and mentally? Sometimes we are surprised that we eat in some way, don’t work out or don’t take care of our sleep and we are tired, we gain weight, or we can’t focus. Examples of the bad health rituals and their results? At the other hand, there are some examples of good health rituals and their results: Do you see the difference? The rituals we have shape the results we get, the emotions we feel and the thoughts we have in our heads. If you don’t feel happy or satisfied with your health and body, it means that you have rituals in your life that give you that kind of results. What can you do differently in this area? How can you change your rituals to get some other results than before? Work Rituals Are you satisfied with your professional life? Are you who you want to be? Or you hate Mondays, waiting for Friday every single week and having a stomach age every Sunday afternoon? What kind of rituals do you have now connected with your work? Do you work every day 12-14 hours, barely see your friends or family and feeling constantly guilty about it? But you do it for them, right? So they have a good life, or you can spend time together travelling or hanging out in fancy places? Or maybe you just love what you do so much that you lose the track of time and that’s why you don’t have space for rest or anything else? Or maybe you didn’t participate in any training session, workshop, mentoring or coaching program for years and you are surprised that you are the last person in line to get promoted, younger people beat you in any category of activities and you are upset about it? The second scenario is that you invest time every day to be a better specialist, manager, entrepreneur or colleague for your teammates. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of reading or listening to the podcast that feed your brain, you do it consistently. And it pays out. Maybe you look for the opportunities all the time, seeking proximity to those people who achieved success, so you can learn from their experiences. The choice is yours. Many people look at all those experiences and say that it happens to them, the circumstances are not very good, it’s not a good time or economy. And it’s so not true. Rituals you have in your work-life have consequences that create your professional reality. Relations Rituals If your relationships are not looking like you wanted them to like, most people look for guilty outside of themselves. He/she is not behaving “like before”. I reached out twenty times, now’s the time for my friends to do the first move. My parents weren’t very supportive when I was a child, so now I’m going to punish them, and I won’t contact them more than every other Christmas. Or I’m so busy that I don’t have time to make a 5-minute call and check what’s up. What kind of rituals do you have in terms of the relationships in your life? And what kind of results are you getting from it? Do you spend time that you have together with your significant other by scrolling social media, instead of focusing on what the other person is talking about, and your relationship is falling apart? You are calling or writing to your friends only when there is an emergency or you need something, and they stop reaching you out? Or maybe when you with someone, you put your phone down and have a quality conversation with the other person, so you feel closer to each other every time you speak? Or maybe you call your parents every day, even if it’s just 5 minutes while you simply exchange what happened during the day and say that you love each other? Rituals that you have make the results you get. If you invest time, focus, good energy, care in the people that are around you, you have certain, mostly positive outcome. If you don’t, there is also an outcome: but I bet most of us prefer to have those results coming from the first scenario.

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Leadership

5 Types of Challenge That Each Leader Can Face

Being a leader is a difficult job. If you are a leader and nobody never said that to you, that means the very first offer to cover a leadership position you’ve got was not prepared very well. When we take a manager’s or leader’s job, most of us don’t know what kind of tasks and types of challenge are there, waiting to welcome us on this new journey. Many leaders on the first stages of this career path are frustrated, shocked, angry, sometimes sad. Basically it’s the whole Kübler-Ross grieving curve: we experience all of those emotions that we feel while grieving or going through any other change (positive or negative) in our life. That’s mostly because we are not prepared properly to what we are going to face in real life. It’s not only a fancy position name, more money, prestige, power or a better parking spot. What’s more important: the whole palette of people’s needs, emotions, reactions, personality types, communication styles and needs, talents, struggles and many, many more. Today we are going to cover 5 of the most common types of challenge that you can face as a leader and we’ll try to give you some answers in terms of what you can do to either overcome it, or to deal with every challenge in the best possible way. 1. Lack of motivation / engagement When do you know that your employee has a low level of internal motivation? What kind of behaviors are telling you that a certain person is not engaged? Usually you can see a decrease in efficiency and effectiveness, lower mood, an easiness to get into distress, higher possibility to get frustrated, irritated or just tired more frequently than in the past. You can observe that the employee doesn’t care about other people, sometimes saying not very flattering things about their or other teams, or even the whole organization. You can also tell that this person is never happy: whatever you do, they always find something that is not perfect enough for them. Sounds familiar? Those behaviors are one of the hardest things to deal with, since no one wants energy vampires to be in their lives, not to mention those people who can directly influence their work effects. And it’s super easy to go into this rabbit hole with your employee: to support them, to show them that you care and at the end of the day, just sit in the corner and whine with them. But after a while we just don’t want to create any more new solutions if an employee is not eager to change their way of working or behaving. Pretty often managers are not familiar with the real reasons why their employees are not motivated or engaged as they “should”. They don’t dig deeper into the subject, don’t ask questions and are not curious about the answer. They assume that it’s about money or a burnout connected with being in one work place for too long. And in 80% of the cases it’s not true. What you can do as a manager is to get to know what is the real reason of being in this state of mind. Maybe it’s something personal, troubles at home or with their health? Maybe it’s lack of growth opportunities, learning, challenge or mentoring and not a money thing? Maybe it’s about the mismatch of the position that this person has at the moment with their talents, skills and plans for the future? The possibilities are endless, but we need to get to the truth to act accordingly. If you don’t have the real reason, you can’t tailor the solution with an employee to respond to it in a good way. So it becomes a challenge that you can’t overcome. 2. Weak communication / not answering the questions I guess most of us had more than one situation in our life when you ask a question and don’t get the response we aimed for (or there is no response at all). For example, you ask your employee what can you do to support their career development. And you get the response “I don’t know” or “nothing”. Or when you see that your significant other has a bad mood and you ask “what is it?” and they say “nothing”, when it’s clearly something going on. Weak communication can mean something different for each of us: sometimes it’s a complete lack of communication (i.e. a person doesn’t speak or answer a question), sometimes a person is not clear, or not responding directly. In other cases people can be triggered somehow and respond goes from the emotional side of themselves, i.e. from anger or sadness: not necessarily adequately to the situation. For some people a problem itself is the way people communicate, because it’s really far from how they talk with others. What can manager do to improve this area? PCM can be a good start: it will give you a lot of answers to the questions about why people react in a certain way in the communication-related situation (so let’s face it: 90% of the professional cases we face every day). When you have information about the way you communicate and how your people communicate it’s easier to understand, analyze and improve the way every side communicates in each situation. The second thing can be checking the needs (hungers): does your employee has any frustrations in this area? Maybe they are a high structure need and there is a mess in the organization? It can be a source of this lack of communication (if I don’t have my structure, I’m not taking with others until I have what I need). You can take a look on this space and act on it to reduce the frustration: it can be a game-changer for you and for your employees. 3. Personal / professional development aversion Did you ever experience a situation with an employee when you started to ask questions about their growth or

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Self-Development

Process Communication Model (PCM): Introductions

Do you know the feeling when you discover something and you don’t believe that you didn’t know it before? That’s the feeling that I had during my first Process Communication Model (PCM) workshop that I’ve participated in at the beginning of this year. I was familiar with few different psychometrics before (Gallup StrengthsFinder, Insight Discovery, DiSC, HBTI, FRIS, MBTI), but I’ve never experienced the tool that would be so to the point when it comes to describing the reality of different personality types. And what’s important as well: it adds the elements of stress (calling it distress) what is one of the most crucial things for the crazy world that we experience now. I would like to give you few insights about what PCM is, how we can use it as individuals, managers, partners while being in the relationship, CEOs while being a head of a company or parents. It’s one of those solutions that can work on many different layers, in different contexts, life-roles or business areas. So adaptive, descriptive and insightful that it looks too good to be true.   What is Process Communication Model? PCM is a structure of 6 Personality Types that are the base of how we think, act and communicate with others. It is a framework that can support people in their personal and professional lives in being more conscious about themselves (treating self-awareness as a start of every growth activity that we do). And when we are more aware of how we are constructed and what it means for us, we can learn more about how we communicate (in regular situations and under pressure). This knowledge will lead us to be better with others: our significant other, kids, friends, parents, as well as with our colleagues, employees, supervisors or clients. One of the most beautiful things about PCM that I’ve discovered when I started to absorb its wisdom was that this a very structured, yet understandable way of describing how we operate, what we need when it comes to psychological needs, ways of communication (how we communicate when talking to others and what we need from others when they talk to us). And that it’s not the same thing. It seems quite obvious that there is no one-size-fits-all way of communicating with other people, but yet: we struggle with this process all the time. We learn and learn about this, we gather knowledge, tools, we practice during training sessions and workshops, but we make mistakes all the time. There are conflicts, misunderstandings that make our life miserable, not efficient or effective the way we want it to be. That’s where PCM comes, all in white.    The 6 Personality Types PCM includes 6 Personality Types within its structure. If you know different psychometrics and questionnaires, you might be interested in 2 things that I found in this one that makes this tool special: Here’s the visual of how the structure of PCM can looks like with the names and key words connected with each type. Let’s dig deeper into the description of them, so you have the idea what they are. PERSISTER is a person that is observing the world through the lens of values and opinions. They operate with a structure of their belief and values system, they have a strong opinion on every subject. When they start doing something, they are fully committed to finish it. It’s impossible for them to even think about not deliver if they promise to do it. The trust is what they value, until somebody proves them otherwise. THINKER is a person that uses data, facts, logic, information to connect with the world that is around them. They use thinking as a base of their decisions, problem solving activities, even building relationships with other people. What can’t be prove, doesn’t have a right to exist. They connect the dots, looking for the logical sequences, connections between things and answer the questions that will make more sense to them. PROMOTER is a doer. Their perception is full of activities, actions, making things happen. They need stimuli to keep their momentum going. Experiencing things is their way of learning, being able to thrive and being effective and efficient. They don’t like to wait and talk too much: “instead of talking, let’s do some action” or “less talking, more doing”, they say. REBEL is a person that needs to be in contact with others. Their perception is to enjoy things, have fun in life. They need reactions (theirs and others) to feel that they are alive and in a good place to fulfill their destiny. Being creative, spontaneous, full of energy: that’s what describes the Rebel the best. HARMONIZER uses emotions to experience the world that is around them. How they feel about certain situations, decisions or people is their compass to make further steps. They value other people, relationships and family: those are their main points of focus and a touch base while making any decisions. IMAGINER uses the world of reflection. They imagine different scenarios, options, possibilities and they dig deep into those inside of themselves. They need time and space to be in their world and they have a rich internal life that is in their bodies and minds. One of the most important thing in PCM is to understand that each person on the planet has all of the types inside of them. It’s impossible to have none of a particular type. They are just in a different order and we have different access to the higher floors of our personality structure. It all depends on how we were raised (since the order is fixed since the age of 6 years old), what kind of environment we experienced in the past and we are have in our life now. It depends on all of the experiences we gathered so far, and what we have learned about ourselves and the world. Where can I use PCM in my life? Once you fill out the questionnaire

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Self-Development

What To Do When You Are Not Sure?

We live in different places all over the world. We have different backgrounds, needs, ambitions, personalities. We want different things. But most of us, in some point of our lives had (or having regularly) one of the most limited thoughts in our head: doubt. Not being sure of something.   We doubt in ourselves, sometimes because we were raised in a certain way (that’s how the convictions and drivers were made in our brain), sometimes because the environment that we live or work with at the moment isn’t very supportive. We doubt in ourselves because it’s a strategy of our reptilian brain (not a very good one though) to protect ourselves from the loss that we potentially can experience (it’s better to freeze or flight, not to take action). And sometimes it’s just a feeling of fear that we can lose what we already have, either it’s a matter of status, prestige, money, position (of and expert in a certain area), or somebody (it can happen when we move on and some people just leave behind). Fear of not being good enough, smart enough, expert enough. Enough for whom exactly? What can we do to be more sure, to not question every bigger step or a change that we want to try or implement in our life? How to convince ourselves that we are good/smart/ready enough to go for it, even when we know that we can fail? Let’s dig deeper into that area today. Inspired by Tony Robbins. (The important thing is that the elements are presented in the order as below, but it doesn’t mean that they should appear in every case in this particular one. You can start your story from the Belief and then go through Potential, Action and Result: it’s something that can work as well. It really depends on what kind of situation you are in at the moment.) Element no. 1: Potential Potential is an element that people have as a certain source of power, skills and value that they can give to others. It can be area in which we feel empowered, competent or we can potentially grow within it. It can be an idea to do something in a certain way, to fulfill a particular dream or plan to do something. We can say that a person has potential to be a great leader. Or a great parent, amazing doctor, outstanding journalist. Sometimes potential is a name of something intangible, something that it’s hard for us to even describe. In some cases it’s a gut feeling which tells us that a certain idea about doing something is just right. When you feel that you really want to do something, you go for it. Make the next step of an uncomfortable action, a decision that will bring you closer to fulfilling your potential. Element no. 2: Action One of the most important and yet difficult things to do is to take this uncomfortable action. To be scared but to do it anyway. It’s courage. To reach your full potential, to get and achieve what you want, to be better, smarter, more successful you need to do this. You need to take this one step further to see what is going to happen. When we are not sure what do or we struggle with making a decision we often wonder what we should or shouldn’t do. When we are not sure, sometimes we think about 10 different scenarios: pretty much a lot of them are just excuses to keep the status quo and not make any decision that can somehow  threaten who we are. Action is necessary to try the hypotheses out, to challenge who we are and who we want to be. Without this step we can stay in the fear zone, without checking how the reality actually looks like. Taking action, even if it’s just one small step, is a starting point to living the life that you want to live. And it can be anything: making a call, writing to someone you don’t know, setting a boundary, saying “no” to eating something or spending time in a certain way. It can be making a short video and publishing it online or writing first article on the blog. It can be reaching out to a person that you really like, but you didn’t have courage to make a connection until now. Every single area of our live can be good as a start: it’s your decision where you want to take the action. Element no. 3: Results When you take action, you always get the results. They can be positive or not really what you aimed for, but there will be some, every single time. Every action triggers a reaction, it’s one of the basic rules of physics. Everything you do has its consequences. One of the most important things for our brain is to see the positive results of our decisions. When we get a certain type of confirmation that what we do has an impact, a result, a positive consequence, our brain gives us a dopamine shot that convinces us that we should keep going. It shows us that the moment of feeling uncomfortable while taking the step of action is worth it, because we have an actual piece of evidence that it’s working. Of course there is always a risk that you take an action and you fail. That’s okay too! And you know why? Because that’s the way you learn. As I wrote lastly about Sara Blakely and her father’s saying that “a day without a mistake is not a good day”. If your current convictions are whispering to your ear that every mistake makes you a looser, you can actually train your brain to think differently. You can shape your mind into taking every result that is not satisfying you into the retrospective process. This tool has its roots in the tech world, but it’s as good there as in personal development area. The ultimate

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Self-Development

Does The Way You Feed Your Brain Influence Who You Are?

We often hear: “you are what you eat”. But not very often we reflect on how the content we are feeding our brain with makes us becoming a certain person. Depends on which sense(s) do you use the most while absorbing what is outside to build what is inside of you, the stimuli can be different and the ways of learning can be different for each of us. But what is the most important here is that we can become what we take, consciously or unconsciously. And by having more elements in the scope of control, we have more and more influence on how we shape our mindset. You can say: “I read every day, how my mindset can be in danger?”. The point is, reading or seeing something is not the only channel that influences our brain. Let’s divide the ways of feeding our minds, so you can reflect on how you shape your reality by the content you consume every day. The things you read For people who consume the most of their content from using the visuals (by reading, looking at things, observing what is around them, how things work etc.), feeding the brain that way will be the best option to grow. For those people by everything they see, they shape their mindset. It’s how they learn in the fastest way possible and how they build the understanding of the world that is around them. If you are a visual person, everything you read: books, articles, reports, documents, social media posts, comments under the YouTube videos etc.; it all has an influence on what you think, how you feel and what kind of decisions you make in your life. Does all of it has an impact on who you are and how do you feel about yourself and the world? Absolutely! Good, valuable, developmental content – regardless of what is the subject of it (business, career, relations, habits, health, spirituality – you name it) is the key to feed your brain with something that will nourish it. Not a pile of trash that contaminates your body. How to recognize if the piece of content is feeding or contaminating your brain? Reflect on how you feel after consuming it. It’s just like with the food: you feel different after having healthy, balanced meal in compare to the fast food that you eat within the 5 or 10 minutes in between the meetings, without even sitting at the table. Do you feel inspired, good about yourself and/or others? Do you have a new portion of energy that you can use to keep your momentum going? Or you feel bad about yourself, angry, guilty or you lose the whole hope for this world after you read the news for instance? (There is nothing good ever come from reading the news though: did you ever feel good after reading the news? Exactly.) The things you listen to Same story, different medium. This category is for people who consume the most of their daily content by listening (to other people talking, podcasts, radio, recordings, music, video – but only sound of it etc.). What they hear is who they become, how they create themselves in this world. When they don’t hear anything, they don’t learn, grow or they even have troubles with a simple existence. If you are in this bucket, check on what kind of things do you listen to on a daily basis? What kind of resources do you use to feed your listening need well? What kind of authors, storytellers? Audiobooks? Online courses? Or do you listen to the news and commercials on the radio? Or you listen to all of those whiny people that are talking about how this world is crazy, that changes all the time, is getting worse and worse? And again: how certain pieces of content make you feel? Energized, hopeful? Or rather disengaged, without any hope for the better tomorrow for yourself? The things you touch and experience For some people, reading or listening to something is not the way they experience the world that is around them. They need to touch, feel, make a physical connection with a certain object, situation,  moment or other person. They don’t believe before they actually live through something or have something in their hand. You can either have the experiences that nourish you, or not. When we think about taking the best out of the moments that are happening for us throughout the whole life, there is always something that you can take with you, even when the situation is tough. It is about treating the day without a mistake or weaker moment as a wasted day. Do you plan your activities or they just happen TO you? Do other people decide on what you do, where you spend your time and energy on? Do you choose what kind of objects and spaces are around you: in the office, home, what kind of gym of open outdoor space you use? Do you have experiences after which you feed energized, inspired, happy, full of new possibilities? Or after what happens every day you feel dejected, sad, with no energy whatsoever?  The people that are around you People are interesting species. They can be happy, inspired, successful, open-minded, loving, caring and determined. At the same time they can feel angry, sad, furious, disappointed, frustrated, depressed or not-loved. Depends on what kind of convictions we have in our brain that were constructed there at the very beginning of our lives, we either have a winning or a losing script. The winning script is a set of assumptions that we have about our life, ourselves, people and situations that are around us that support us in achieving our goals. The losing script is a set of assumptions that we have that is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: that all we do brings us closer to destruction. Whatever we do, everything is going to end the way we predicted and

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Self-Development

5 Ways to Use Every Mistake to Grow

No one likes to make a mistake and fail. Mistakes are connected with one of the worst feelings that a person can experience: guilt, shame, disappointment, sadness, sometimes anger. And the consequence is often an impression that we failed again, that we are not good enough to do what we are aiming to do, or that maybe we should stay where we are. We often think that what we do is pointless, we aren’t meant for more than we have today, we are incompetent, not skilled, strong or smart enough. The truth is that if we don’t fail, it means that we don’t try hard enough. If you don’t make mistakes, it means that you stay in your comfort zone and you don’t push yourself to be in the stretch zone. Mistakes are necessary to grow. Of course they only make sense when we learn from them. When we analyze, make conclusions and move forward being wiser, with better understanding of ourselves, others and the reality that is around. But for many of us, making a mistake, being wrong or making a bad decision is a no-go. The end of the trip, relation or a business opportunity. So the question is: what we can do differently to use the mistakes to grow, instead of being eaten by them alive? Let’s dig deeper into that today. 1. Treat a day without a mistake as a bad day Sara Blakely, who is a founder of Spanx (a brand which sells undergarments, leggings, swimwear and maternity wear in over 50 countries all over the world) was raised with quite a counterintuitive sentence that her father asked her every day. “What you failed at today?”, was this sentence. And when she answered: “nothing, everything was fine”, her father was saying something like: “that means that you didn’t try hard enough”. And that’s how she and her brother learned that they need to have at least one failure or mistake every single day when they come back home from school, because without that, the day is not valuable. It was an actual failure not to fail. Of course it is not only about failing every day and be miserable because of it. The main thing is to fail and learn from every single thing that went wrong. To make mistakes, to reflect and be better the next day. Look how this shift of thinking can free you up from the guilt, being constantly unsatisfied or feeling that you are not good enough. This shift allows you to make a change in your mindset that will have a huge influence on what you do, how you think and make decisions. From now on, every day (at the end of the day or the next day in the morning: if you journal, it’s a great thing to add to your journaling ritual) think about one situation, reaction, decision, or thing you did the day before that you are not proud of. Or you treat it like a mistake, failure, not the best version of yourself. Think about what triggered you to behave that way and ask yourself: what could I’ve done differently in that situation? What other, better decision could I’ve make?   Treat a day without a mistake as a bad day, look for those moments that weren’t perfect, reflect and learn from them. But protect yourself from going too far into the rabbit hole of disappointment or guilt: it won’t bring you any good. Be smart about it: when you feel that you don’t feel very well, stop for a few days, get some rest. That’s fine to take a breath from time to time. For some of us that kind of exercise can be really hard, even exhausting. Especially if you have a “Be Perfect” Driver that tells you that when you not 100%, you are not a valuable person. Be aware of it, look for the roots and change your story. This is something you actually can do for yourself. 2. Get one thing for you from every mistake To use every mistake as an opportunity to grow, to build a momentum, we need to be wise about the work that we do within each situation. It is a really thin line between a constructive analysis of the situation and sinking into the abyss of despair, imperfection or disappointment of who we are in compare to who we think we should be. That’s why I would like to invite you to get only one thing from every mistake you make for yourself. Not more, not less. It’s a good and healthy way to protect yourself (especially from the mental health perspective), to not go to deep into the negative emotions. For some of us, it can be tempting to go to far and land in this moment that it’s going to be super hard to get out of. You said something mean to your significant other? Think about why you did that and give yourself one sentence that can be more adequate for you to use the next time when a similar situation appears. Don’t ask yourself the questions like: “does he/she love me at all?”, “am I smart/funny/pretty/handsome enough?” or “where are we going?”. Of course, some of those questions can be valid, but for this exercise reflect on just one thing you can do differently, so you see the results in your area of influence. Somebody at work pushed you to the limits of your patience by their incompetence? You can ask yourself: “are they really incompetent? Maybe their competence lays somewhere else that in my reference frame?”. And one of the most important: “what have I done to come back to OK-OK position with them?”. This is the question that resonates with me lately, and I think that it may be useful for you as well. What one thing can you do differently tomorrow in relation to that person? 3. Invest 5 minutes of growth every time Every time

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Leadership

How to Manage a Team in a Constant Change?

When we are managers, or we want to become ones in the nearest future, we often realize in a certain moment that there are so many things we need to cover in this role. Being Hiring Manager and recruit new people to the team. Onboard new hires. Organize and conduct team meetings (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly), 1:1 meetings with every person in a team (weekly, monthly, quarterly), summary meetings (monthly, quarterly). Taking care of the team development (on individual and on team level), answering their questions that never end (especially during the time of change). Solving problems, conflicts and other issues that appear on a daily basis. And at the same time, we need to deliver business, by covering endless tasks, participating in other meetings, learning all the time how to be a good manager. And we need to do all of those things in an environment that changes all the time. The history of the world shows us that there are periods of time where things were more constant, but most of the time we are a part of some kind of transformation, transition, a constant change. And for a manager, this lack of stability and uncertainty is one of the hardest elements of the work environment that influences our plans, actions and decisions that we make every day. Because how to build a strong, high-performing team, full of engaged people that will deliver results no matter what happens? How to do it when we already know that the change we face will never stop? That we need to operate in the circumstances that are mostly unpredictable? Let’s dig deeper into this subject today. Why the change never ends? Interesting thing about the change is that we are so afraid of it, most of the time we resist it, because we think that we are going to loose something when the change will come. Or we are angry that somebody will change something and we are will need to adjust, AGAIN, and it makes us feel like that. But at the end of the day, when we get used to the new reality, we are quite happy about it – sometimes even that much that we don’t want to come back to the previous scenario. Example? Remote work. When the pandemic came, a lot of people needed to change the way they were working from being at the office, to being at home (of course if the type of the work allowed it). It was dramatic in many cases: living in 2-room apartment, with 2 kids, working partner and a dog. Or living and being alone all the time what brought more depression that anytime before. Weak internet access, lack of technological equipment or abilities to work or learn remotely. Many people were whining that they can’t focus or they never finish working, because their computer is always turned on. And now? Mostly it is a wave of huge rage when organizations have started to decide that employees should come back to the office, mostly in a hybrid mode. And in many cases it is a no-go, people refuse openly and start looking for another job that will allow them to work remotely 100%. Crazy, huh? The change never ends because the world develops itself all the time: it is the nature of it. There is a saying that if you don’t grow, you go backwards. That’s true when we think about the individuals, teams, organizations and the whole world. And it happens because we want to be better, smarter, we learn and we automate things. We want to do things smarter, using less time and more technology if possible to achieve better results. To not learn one thing or a skill for 20 years, but to spend couple of hours and learn from people that have already done the life work in a certain area. Changes making us feel in a certain way, no matter if they are positive or negative. In most cases we can’t control it, but what we can do is to make proper decisions to use those changes the best possible way. What is the most important for people? In the world of a constant change, managers need to have a proper strategy and tactics to work with it no matter what kind of circumstances comes. It is too frustrating and too exhausting to make a decision how to operate in the situation of change differently every single time. That’s why it’s helpful to have a framework that you can use every time and you adapt it however the situation requires you to act. What is the most important for people in any situation of a change that the organization can face? How to come back to OK-OK position to lead the change successfully? Sometimes you as a manager don’t fully agree with the changes or decisions that are being made in the organization. And that’s ok – it’s not physically possible to agree with everything. All of us have unique set of values, things that are important for us or those that we don’t accept. But the leadership function has its own rules that we need to follow: we accepted it once we agreed to have this position. Some of us are not aware of it from the very beginning, but it’s crucial to understand it to be a successful manager. As a manager you are a part of the organization and you are responsible for its success or failure. On a business level, but mostly on a people level. It means that you are the voice of the company that your people hear in the clearest way. And the way you communicate is often the first thing they hear, so they learn from it the most. When you don’t agree or have a very strong personal opinion about a change that is happening in the organization, it is a high risk that you won’t be in OK-OK position that will allow you

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Self-Development

5 Ways to Make Your Life Exceptional Every Day

Many of us wait for the perfect day when a certain thing happen and then we can start doing what we dream of. When my kids are out for university, I’ll start travelling. When I retire, I’ll read every day. When I have X amount of money, I’ll start my own business. When I have X years of experience, I’ll share it with others. You name it, you get the idea. We often wait for a moment X to start doing Y. It sometimes makes sense, taking into consideration the basic need of safety, security of our finances, our family or a business. But pretty often it is just an excuse, waiting for something that might never happen. Why we do it? Mostly because we are scared of the change, we don’t like feeling uncertainty and taking uncomfortable action. How many times you’ve heard the sentence “you should be happy about what you have”, when you told somebody about your idea, business plan or a new habit that you want to build? How many times you’ve heard: “you should settle in, in your age it’s not appropriate to behave like that”, when you told somebody about the new passion or career path you want to go all in? I know I’ve heard it enough to agree to be mediocre, because other people couldn’t stand that I move and learn all the time. Because they felt uncomfortable. But I never leaned on it, I’ve stayed resistant to all of those voices that wanted to keep me with them where it’s “safe” (whatever that means). And today I want to share with you 5 elements that help me every day to stay on the right track, where I feel that I learn and I’m better than myself from yesterday. Despite the circumstances, hard times and other people that may not be able to do it for themselves. Inspired by Tony Robbins. Feed your brain with good content every day All of us learn differently. Basically, there are 4 types of learning styles: How do you prefer to learn? When do you remember the most (by using which way of learning)? Understanding our individual preferences is crucial to make a decision about how to feed our brain. Once we have a favorite medium, we can go to the choice of what we consume. And why this is so important to provide ourselves a good content? It’s like with this saying: “you become what you eat” or “you are the average of 5 people you spend the most of your time with”. What kind of content you absorb has a tremendous influence on how you think, how your mindset is formed and in a consequence of those: how you make your decisions about life and work. Good content means a content that makes you a better: person, employee, entrepreneur, writer, sales person, negotiator, analyst, manager, parent, friend, partner. Something that nourish your body and mind, that allows you to be a better human being that you were yesterday. This is the main frame you should use: don’t compare yourself with others, compare yourself with you from yesterday. Does your content support who you want to become? Or most of it is rather internet memes, social media bs or endless series watching one after another? Don’t get me wrong: that’s fine to get some rest, fun or amusement. The questions is: what is the ratio between the “fun without value” and valuable content you keep reading or watching on a daily basis? Spend 30 minutes every day on feeding your brain with something valuable and you will see a huge difference in your life.   Feed and move your body How you treat your body is how you feel every day. If you eat trash food, you will feel like trash. Do you often have low level of energy? Do you have bad mood, feeling sad, angry or tired a lot? Do you feel physical pain in your body when you are in your 30s or 40s and nothing bad actually happens with your health? 90% of the cases like that happen because of a poor diet and being in sitting position for the whole day: at work and then on the couch. That’s how people in their 30s feel, behave and speak like they were in their 80s. Eat well, put in your diet as many super food as possible: fruits, vegetables, high-proteins, low-processed food, healthy fats. Move your body: go for a walk, jump, do push-ups, go for a run or swim. Do yoga, work on your balance or strength. The possibilities are endless, and don’t say that you don’t have time. It can be 5 minutes of jumping around with your dog or a kid. Or 10 push-ups while waiting for a coffee to be ready. When the body doesn’t move, it dies. I guess that you don’t want to die anytime soon, right? Find role models When we think about the last hundreds of years that people have been living on this planet, there were a lot of very smart, successful (in different areas of life) women and men that have been discovering one thing after another. And nowadays, most of us have unlimited access to everything that was gathered through all of this time. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel in many situations and contexts: we just can reach for it’s already there, redesign it a little bit so it fits ours current needs and just go for it. Lazy? Not at all. That way we can simplify everything we do, and spend energy where it is really important and where it can really change something. Go and use Google or ChatGPT. Ask about 10 best people in the area that you want to master (again: as a person, parent, partner, entrepreneur, employee, manager, writer, you name it). Read, watch, listen every piece of document that is available about that person. Absorb it. Choose what resonates with you

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Productivity

How to Focus in the World of Constant Distraction?

Focus. Use your brain, you are not the monkey. You can control yourself while having an urge to use your phone for the 30th time during the last 15 minutes. We hear it constantly when we want to learn how to be more focused, to not get distracted in this crazy world where literally everything can disturb us. Endless notifications on our phones, Teams/Slack pings, shiny new e-mail icon, phone calls, other people, kids, pets, noises from the street or neighbors’ apartments. As well as our own thoughts, constantly running as they want, making up stories that often aren’t even real. And on the top of everything there is a constant change, another crisis that we need to deal with, endless task lists and multiple hats that every single one of us wear every day. How to stay sane and focused in that kind of environment? How to be mindful about what we do in the world of a constant distraction? Let’s find out more about it today. The myth of multitasking I remember the times when I was a recruiter, it was around 8 years ago. And I can recall vividly some of the “requirements” sections that I saw all over the internet or that I’ve created myself. “Multitasking” or “an ability to cover multiple tasks at the same time” was one of the most important skill that hiring managers were looking for. And we were looking for as recruiters in the resumes of our candidates. It was like a superpower: everyone wanted to have it (I remember training offers that were available back then shouting things like: “how to acquire a skill of multitasking”; true story) and everyone wanted to have those skills in their teams. Multitasking. The key word of an efficient and effective employee. Such a shame that this is something completely pointless and misleading. The truth is that there’s no such thing as multitasking. We cannot do two or more things at the same time with a proper focus. When you talk with somebody and go through your e-mail inbox, do you remember anything that this person have said to you? Or when you participate in a workshop or a webinar and responding on Teams or Slack at the same time, do you remember what you were supposed to learn during the session? Exactly. You don’t, because it’s not possible. You cannot multitask, you can at most shift your attention really quickly from one thing to another. But the more you do it, the longer it is to come back fully to where you were a few seconds or minutes ago. “One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan is an amazing book about focusing on one thing at the time. One task, one goal, one person. One skill, one meeting. Do one thing, finish it, then start another one. No distractions, ignoring the notifications, focusing on what you do. It sound like a joke or the easiest thing in the world that even a monkey can do. But is it really that simple? Try to do it today (or tomorrow, if you read this late in the evening). Do one thing at the time. Turn off the notifications on your phone and on your computer just for one day (if you can’t do it for longer for some reasons). When you do something, do it mindfully, with your full focus. If it lasts one minute at the beginning, that’s fine. When you eat breakfast, don’t scroll social media: focus on the taste, the smell, the temperature of the dish (by the way, when was the last time you actually experienced how the food you eat is like? Just saying.). When you talk to your friend, put the phone down: focus on what they say to you. When you do the task at work, do one thing. Make a mindful decision about what it is and how long you want to work on it. It’ll be uncomfortable at the beginning, that’s for sure. But it’ll pass and then you’ll see the difference. Am I addicted to my phone? How often do you activate your screen during the day? How long do you use certain apps that you have on your phone? You can easily check it in the settings section on your phone, using the option “screen time” or “daily device usage” (depends on what software you use). Do you feel uncomfortable, maybe stressed when you don’t have your phone near you? A little panic when you can’t find it anywhere in your pockets? You can’t sleep when you don’t have your device on your night stand? (You’re saying that you have an alarm on it? Buy a clock and put it near your bed, it costs 5$). More than 1 “yes” as answers on the questions above? It might mean that you are addicted to your phone. It’s like with any other addiction: sugar, binge watching of TV series, snacks or alcohol. It means that we can’t live in a balance without using a certain stimuli that has an influence on our nervous system. And smartphones became some kind of extension of our human identity: what you have on your phone is who you are as a person, it’s an integral part of you. And this little devil is #1 source of distractions: social media or Teams/Slack notifications, e-mails, text messages, phone calls, notifications from countless apps we have. And every single sound or buzz is a kick off of the dopamine in our brain. It’s addictive and tech creators know very well about this. Be smarter, make a decision – don’t let the tech decide for you. In or out of control? The distractors that are present in our lives have different roots. Regarding that, they can be in or out of our scope of influence. Do you know where they land on the scale from “zero influence” to “full influence”? If you are not sure, you can use the Influence Matrix:

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Self-Development

4 Basic Emotions: Is It Enough to Describe Us?

In workspace-related sources of knowledge (this page included), we can find a lot of information about goals, efficiency, skills, leadership, change, habits and many more. Not so often the subject of emotions appears. As business world was growing in the past, the more popular were the statements like: “business is business, no emotions”, “you need to be tough if you want to achieve anything” or “suck it up, don’t show that you are weak”. And by “being tough” or “being weak” many people describe not being emotional. Don’t feel, only use your brain. Think cold, make quick, accurate decisions based on data. That’s what looked like the biggest advantage of a successful business person. But we learn. The world evolves, it changes all the time: we want it or not. We observe how people, businesses, societies and countries are transforming, how diverse the companies are, how often we talk about building inclusive environments: at work, at home and in many other places. And when I observe how competencies’ models, leadership styles and organizational cultures change, it appears that emotions are an uncovered element that influences employees’ engagement, level of burnout and countless more aspects of being satisfied, happy and healthy. Regarding Transactional Analysis, we have 4 basic, main emotions: fear, anger, sadness and happiness. The whole palette of emotions that are more descriptive, detailed are derivatives of those 4, but at the end of the day, naming those 4 is the key. A key to understand what we feel, how we act, react, communicate, make decisions or what convictions are perpetuate in our heads. Because an emotion is always a reaction on a certain stimuli, making us experience either stress or pleasure and then through thoughts taking us to the path of a certain feeling. Is 4 enough to really describe what is going on inside of ourselves? When we know that a certain emotion appears? And how to take care of each of them to react adequately, to not start psychological games, to stay out of the drama triangle? Let’s take a look.   Emotion no. 1: fear   The base of fear is an external or internal stimuli that leads to feeling stress. And after the stress comes, the thought that appears in our brain is to be somehow in danger: that’s when the biological fight or flight response starts to work. And the natural, basic feeling in that situation is fear. Fear that we are going to be hurt, maybe by losing something or someone that is important to us.   On a body level we have shaky hands, tension on the face (around eyes and mouth), as well as in the core body, then legs. We can have flushes on the face, sweaty hands (and sweaty body in overall), dry mouth, stomach issues, shaky legs. On a perception level we can have empty head, vision or hearing disorders. In this situation our instinct tells us to run away, to be as far from this whole thing as possible. And from the rational perspective we know that it’s not the smartest strategy in a long run. What is a real need (named as a social need as well) is to get some help/support or to get calm. It will allow our brain and body to get the balance back and think about constructive solutions. What could be helpful as well is an internal strategy to accept our own limits, in overall or in a certain case, depends on the situation. Emotion no. 2: anger   The anger’s root cause is also a stimuli that created a stress. The difference between fear and anger is that after the stress appears, instead of a thought of danger, a though of harm. Maybe somebody violated our boundaries or a contract, and it makes us angry. The instinct of the reptilian part of our brain uses the second part of a fight or flight response: it fights. It attacks their own body, other people (even if they have nothing to do with a certain situation), the company we work in or the whole world. On a body level we start to feel rage in our stomach as in the fear scenario, but it is more like “cooking” feeling, that we feel like we are about to explode from the inside.     The effective way of dealing with that feeling will be to change something, and on an internal level to accept the limits of other people. Nobody is perfect, we all have some flaws that for some people aren’t even noticeable, and for some they look like huge monsters that stop us from living our full potential. Anger can eat us alive, is one of the strongest emotion that influences our judgement, decision making process and can have a huge impact on relationships that we are a part of. Not only with our significant other, but also at work: with our colleagues, managers, clients or other teams that we cooperate with on a daily basis. Be mindful of it, it can save you a lot of time, money and health issues. Emotion no. 3: sadness   Sadness is the third basic emotion that comes from the stress after a certain stimuli works. In this case, on the thought level what we can get is a loss. The thought that something or someone was taken from us, which can make us feel not important, somehow diminished. On a body level we fell tightness in the chest and/or something like a lump in the throat. We cry.     What we usually do instinctively is to use the third reaction that comes from the reptilian part of our brain: we freeze. We close up, taking a step back, sometimes it’s really hard to get closer to us. This is the way that we want to protect ourselves, to not feel any more loss. What we really need is to get some comfort from other person. Sometimes it’s enough that somebody just

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Organization

How To Organize Work So Nobody Hates You?

During the last 3 years, many of us went through a complete shift of working. We needed to adjust and organize ourselves when the Covid hit, when we could’ve we moved to working from home. The school went home, as well as movie theaters, malls, universities and so on. Our homes became places with multiple functions and we needed to learn how to operate like that without going crazy. After a while we wanted “normal” so badly that we could’ve done anything to be outside, even a walk around the building became something special. Every trip to the grocery store was an actual event. And now we are at this place where a lot of us reshaped their lives, changed the way we work, shop, take care of our families and organize free time. We got used to things that before pandemic seemed impossible, like distant learning or working fully remotely. People will adjust to anything when the circumstances push them and that’s what happened to us 3 years back from now. When we think about working remotely 100%, a lot of research shows that in many cases it doesn’t really matter for whom we click on the computer. We are less attached to the employee and people (especially emotionally), we make faster decisions about the job change. We don’t care that much as long as the conditions are good for us. On the other hand, I remember the times before Covid, when I was in the organization where we built strong connections and even when the times were tough, we did stick together, supporting each other. And many friendships I have from that time are still with me nowadays. Is it even possible without a real human connection and being together in the same room more often to build a value like that? Should we go hybrid without any specific structure around it? Should we leave people total freedom counting on their good will so they’ll figure that that’s good to be in the office more often? Or should we say to them that we are coming back to the office and they just need to deal with it? How to organize work environment so nobody hates the firm and don’t quit? Let’s take a look on that. Hybrid vs remote vs onsite – pros and cons There are 3 options when we think about organizing work in the company. Each of those has its own pros and cons, taking into consideration two sides of the story: employer and employee. We are going to put both arguments in the same category, so we structure the way of working, not the perspective itself. What to do when I want to organize work 100% onsite? Many of us work onsite all the time: Covid or not Covid. Health care, production/industry front line workers, traditional commerce, governmental offices and many more. But when we think about office employees, whose work can be done from home and we want them to work onsite 100% of the time (like mostly was organized before pandemics), we need to take into consideration the main elements. What I gathered is not all of the elements that exist, but my goal here is to show you the broader perspective that can be helpful in making your own decision. Pros of working 100% onsite: Cons of working 100% onsite: What to do when I want to organize work 100% remote? During covid, most of the people whose work was possible to do remotely, went home – effective immediately. It was the safest approach, which aim was to stop virus from spreading with keeping business continuity going. For many it was extremely hard at the beginning, especially when they had small apartments and/or kids with a school at home. Many didn’t have proper desk or chair – I literally know about the cases when someone needed to put the ironing board in the toilet and that was their place to have Teams calls. But, as mentioned before, after a while a person get used to anything when they need to. We organized our “office space” at home as well as possible, we created the rest of our lives somehow around the work and keep going. The impossible before the pandemic became possible, even comfortable for some of us. Pros of working 100% remote: Cons of working 100% remote: What to do when I want to organize hybrid work? One of the most difficult post-Covid for companies who have office workers is: should we come back to the office? Even when we can see that work can be done well at home, don’t we miss being together at the office? Shouldn’t we try to recreate the relations, atmosphere, shared meals and coffee? But what if our employees will resist and say that they don’t want to do it anymore? Hybrid work can be done in few different ways, in this article I’ll cover the situation when employer decides that employees should be at the office certain number of days per week/month (let’s say that it’s 2 days in the office, 3 days remote). Pros of working hybrid: Cons of working hybrid: As we can see, each option has its pros and cons. And it’s almost equal numbers of arguments in each section, so it makes the decision about what to choose even harder. So how to choose wisely?   How to organize work in the constant change? Many of us experienced multiple changes in the last couple of years. Globalization of the business, tech boom, wars all over the world, inflation, bad economy. Covid, waiting for a vaccine so we can “go back to normal” (even when we don’t even know what “normal” means anymore), doing everything at home, isolation, saying “hi” with touching the elbows. In the organizations we needed to move a lot of work to fully remote mode, sending employees home, often without proper preparation. Managers needed to change the way they manage teams, for many of

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Self-Development

What is The Question You Want to Answer?

It might sound philosophical at first, but a couple of years ago I found this question crucial while thinking about everything I do in my professional life. Even if I’m not a legitimate coach, questions are a tool that I use to uncover what is really the root of the situation, relation, conflict, assumption or reaction. I learned that what we see or assume is rarely the truth. And one of the most important thing is to focus our effort and energy on the real thing or issue, not on something that seems to be true. To be truly focused on what we want to achieve in our professional lives, we need to have a compass that will lead us into the right direction. It’s extremely difficult when we think about the constant change that we experience, unknown tomorrow, transformation of tech, social, politics, generations. Basically every single aspect of our life changes, for some of us less, for some more visible– but it’s present everywhere. How to be mindful, focused and live a meaningful life? Let’s take a closer look on that today. What are my 5 key values? The internal motivation is one of the strongest forces that keep our momentum going. To be somewhere in the optimal spectrum most of the time, we need to have connections between what we believe in or is the most important for us and what we do for living. Do you know your 5 key values? If yes, what are they? Why they are important for you? How those values shape your life and decisions that you make every day? How those elements support you in answering the question that can change other peoples’ lives? If you don’t know them or you just don’t know how to name them, here is a short exercise you can do on your own to map this. Here is a place where you can find the list of values. You can copy and paste it if it’s better for you to work with a piece of paper and a pen (I strongly recommend it). Choose 10 values that are important for you. If you miss something on the list, you can add it on your own: it supposed to be your list, so don’t worry if the ready to go list isn’t full enough for you. Then from those 10 you picked, pick 5 that are the most crucial, that without them you cannot live fairly and calmly. Chose those that are the essence of your existence. Do you have them? Write them down on a post-it or somewhere where you will see them every day. Every time you are not sure about doing something, agreeing on another project or task, you take a look on the list and ask yourself: is it feeding one or more of my values? Action will be easier when you have a compass like that in your hand. What is the problem I want to solve? When we think about giving value to other people: our colleagues, clients, employees (when we are managers), friends, family members or members of our society, we sometimes wonder what is the best thing we can do to make a real change. For consultants, trainers, educators or many other occupations that creates something for others to make their lives better, more functional or easier, there is always a space to consider 2 things, while answering that question. If it’s the first option, the most important question we should ask ourselves is: what kind of problem this person has, so I can support them in resolving it? The crucial thing is to find out the real problem. 80% of cases that I deal with on a daily basis show me that almost never what people are telling us is the true issue. “Alex, we need a communication skills training.” “Alex, my team is not motivated, what can I do as a manager?” “Alex, there is a conflict in my team because people don’t communicate, what should I do?” This is just the top of the iceberg, but those examples are great to show you that most of the time, what we see is not the root cause of the situation. Always go to the roots, ask questions, be curious and don’t agree to go with an easy answer. It’s applicable as well to the private aspect of our lives. When you have a strong urge to eat or drink something with sugar: what is the real problem of your body? Maybe you are just dehydrated? Tired, because you didn’t sleep well? Hungry, because you skipped a meal or two? Lonely, because you work remotely, you live alone and barely meet people? Either it is connected to the business, relations you have in your life or yourself as a person, there is always something underneath the surface. Uncover it and then address the real cause: the effect will be 1000% better, every time. How one more question can help me to be smarter? Being curious, asking questions, getting to the roots of what really happens is what makes our work exceptional. Nowadays we all want quick results, short fixes, immediate answers with easy-to-implement solutions. And yes, we can use more simplicity in this crazy world of billions of pieces of information that we get every minute of every day. But simple doesn’t mean easy or fast. Simple can and should mean meaningful, useful for a certain person, context or organization. Every single question mark on the end of our sentence we ask makes us smarter, because we have another piece of information that brings us closer to answering the real question that a certain person has. It’s not about asking endless list of questions. It’s about asking those that matter, that give us those pieces of the story that we need so we actually know what is the real problem we try to solve or support somebody to solve it on their own. Why I

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Self-Development

How Great Can You Get Using Support System?

Many people (myself included) want to do as many things as possible on their own. They want to prove the world that they’re the best experts/partners/friends/managers/business owners/parents. You name it. And that they don’t want or need any support: they can do everything on their own. Are you this person? If yes, I would like to invite you for a journey where we can explore together how we can be even better, do more, achieve more extraordinary results than now by using support system. To get as much as we can out of others (in a good intention of course) to nourish ourselves: who we are, how we think and what we do. The question for today is: how extraordinary you can get using a support system? What potential there is to uncover that you can utilize that you don’t see today and might be groundbreaking? Let’s take a look. “You are the average of 5 people you spend the most of your time with” This statement appears a lot in the area of development, growth or in connection to decision making ability. What do you think about it? Is it true? How your list of those 5 people you have the most contact with looks like? Do you feel that it is a good-influence list or a bad-influence list? Even when we have a strong set of values, we know what we want and we cover our plan, our environment have a huge impact on how we fell and what we do at the end of a day. Imagine that those 5 people support you unconditionally: they say to you that you can do it, they ask questions about how they can help or what do you need to achieve what you aim for. They are always there for you – when there is a success and when you need somebody to lean on when the times are hard. What are the chances that you are going to believe in yourself and actually achieve success with that kind of support system? Now imagine that those 5 people whine all the time. Most of the time they say that life is hard, there is nothing good out there, only suffering, disappointment and mean people. Why to even bother so we know that nothing is going to happen as a result of our efforts? They say: “c’mon, you should be happy with what you have”, “you are too old/too young for that”, “it’s too risky, maybe you should give it a second thought” or “OMG I would never do such a thing”. What are the chances that you are going to believe in yourself and actually achieve success when you deal with that kind off attitude all the time? Exactly. It might seem that you are the same person, you know better what you want for yourself but the truth is that it’s extremely hard to stay OK-OK and keep going when you experience the second scenario over and over again. It requires a lot of energy to resist the environment, to shut up the voices and just do your thing. Isn’t it better to spend this energy on things that are going to bring you closer to your goals and dreams? I know that for me it’s better – even if it’s hard to set the boundary or cut the person out of my life. But in a longer perspective it’s definitely worth it. Exchange “what” with “who” When we think about goals, targets or dreams, we mostly think about “what” we would like to achieve, change or experience. Once we know what we want and how to name it, the first thing that comes to our mind is to create a goal, milestones or others, sometimes smaller things we need to do to go there. What can be different when we exchange “what” with “who”? And why we should even think about that kind of switch? 80% of the things we want have been most likely already achieved by someone else. Do you want to lose 10 kg? There are plenty of people who know how to do it right, healthy and with the lasting effect. Do you want to be an entrepreneur and make a lot of money? There are definitely people all around the planet who are successful in this area. Do you want to be a great parent? Same story here. And it is connected to a lot of different things, occupations, life and/or work directions, decisions, hobbies, sports etc. Why wasting energy on reinventing the wheel, when there is someone who can share wisdom, experiences or do’s and don’ts and based on that we can achieve what we want faster, less painful and with lesser sacrifice (of time, money, energy etc.)? This person can be far away from us, geographically or mentally BUT it can be also our best friend. Or a friend of a friend. The world is really small when we think about it and people LOVE to talk about themselves. When you exchange “what” with “who”, there is an opportunity to save time and energy on things that you can do smarter and redirect energy to different areas, where perhaps no one even was before. Or to use the wisdom of other person and build on that to create your own story. If we put the “support system” concept like that, it opens completely different chapter of how the environment can help you to keep your momentum going, so you can achieve extraordinary results. What the mass can do that the individual cannot without support? When you have those 5 valuable people that you spend the most of your time with, you have a great base to work with. The stronger the roots, the wider you can spread your wings and fly. And strength attracts strength, good energy attracts good energy. The more you use the flow, you keep your momentum going, you have a good influence on others, the more

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Self-Development

Why It’s Easier to Use Strengths to Achieve More?

As people in overall we focus more on what we lack of, where we are not perfect enough or where other people are “better” than us (whatever “better” means). Thinking about strengths, on things that we are really good at is not a first thing that come to our minds when we reflect on our professional development, have a quality conversation with our manager or we just think about next steps in our careers. From my experience it’s strongly connected to the culture and/or country that we were raised within, because convictions about being strong or weak are very much there. As a person raised in Poland, where there’s always a need to prove that we are good, worthy or educated enough to be partners in any global professional context I can say that it’s a strong one. I know many people raised in different cultures and I can tell that there is a huge gap in mindset in this area, i.e. in compare to people raised in US. But this article is not about cultural differences, even if the convictions we are going to talk about today are strongly tight to those. I would like to take us all on the journey of strengths. Why we have a tendency to focus on the gaps, instead of focus on the strengths? Why we do it to ourselves when it’s so much easier to base on what we do really well? Let’s take a closer look at that. What are strengths? A strength is a superpower. Strength is something that allows us to do things really easily. It’s natural, sometimes we do things even without any energy spent on the process. It can be automatic, with no conscious brain usage – like in the situation when we get into the car, we drive from point A and 20 minutes later we are at the point B without even noticing how we did it. Strength is fun, interesting, we can be passionate about what it’s connected to or it can be linked to our values. When we use strengths everything seem easy, obvious – we are masters in our fields in that state, we can achieve more. One of the best tools that you can use to learn more about your strengths is Gallup Strengths Finder (renamed recently to CliftonStrengths – but describing exactly the same thing). The concept states that we all have 34 talents in us, arranged in a different, unique order, depends on the person. The whole journey starts with a questionnaire that name your TOP 5 talents you have inside yourself. There is an option to uncover the whole list of 34 at once – it’s more expensive and in my opinion it’s not necessarily needed when you start your journey with talents. You can always pay extra and uncover them without filling out a questionnaire again anytime you want. Your choice. After going through the questions, you’ll get a short report with the list of your TOP 5 strengths – those are elements that you are a natural at, you don’t need to spend a lot of energy to reach to those buckets, it’s a part of yourself, like extending your own body and mind. Talents are grouped into 4 categories: executing, influencing others (in a good way, with positive intention), relationship building and strategic thinking. Each strength has its own description to better understand what stays behind it. It’s a starting point for us to think how those elements fit to who we are in different situations at work and life. How you can work with them? Awareness is a first step. Know your strengths, be conscious of the list. To work with them you can use consultants, coaches (like myself) or you can try to bring sense to it on your own. You can use the questions below to make a structure around your thoughts. Use those questions to analyze talents one by one from your list: Starting with those questions you can connect the dots between the results of the questionnaire and your real life. It’s not about changing your life now because you have the results. It’s more about finding the way you can use them consciously, make better choices, be aware of their bright and dark sides and how to react more appropriately in different situations. Strengths are for you so you know what serves you and what doesn’t or what kind of tasks you want and don’t want to do. When I teach about the strengths, I always say: thinking about your TOP 5 is like using the compass. Coming back to the base is the best idea, because it brings us harmony, peace, being sure about our abilities to do something. When you use this knowledge, you can make your life better, because you focus your energy on things that really matter. You don’t waste it on trying to learn something that is really far on your list and you need to invest a huge amount of time, sometimes money or attention to achieve a decent level in it. And at the end of the day, it’s not worth it. Simplify and edit. It’s my approach to many situations in life. When you focus on the talents you have, it’s easier for you to navigate, because you have the compass in your hand and you know how to use it. Why throwing it to the water? Isn’t it lazy to only use strengths? You can think: “okay, but isn’t it lazy to base only on what I’m good at? What about being in a stretch zone, lifelong learning, or working on becoming the best version of ourselves?”. Focusing on strengths doesn’t mean that you don’t develop. It means that you are more mindful about what you choose to learn and develop within. I’ll describe it using my own example. One of my TOP 5 strengths is Achiever. My Achiever likes to finish things, cross elements from my task list,

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Self-Development

What to Do When You Feel Stuck In Your Career?

Fight. Flight. Freeze. Those 3 things our brain does every time when we face a difficult situation, a change or other case that seems threatening to ourselves. And career choices are for many of us something we don’t like doing, they are stressful, difficult. Even when the change is for the best, we feel uncomfortable, maybe in our head that means that we fail, we disappoint other people or ourselves. When I think about all the reasons that people don’t make decision about their career, I can see that we are scared of a change. Because we don’t know what is there waiting for us in a new place. Maybe it’s worse than right now? Maybe where we are now is not perfect, but it’s not SO bad. We know how to operate within the whole system on a daily basis. Maybe the tasks aren’t the most interesting, but at least we know what to do. Sometimes we don’t know what we want to do in our work lives further. We did some studies, started a job, then have another and the time flew. We got pretty comfortable – maybe not super excited all the time, but it’s fine. It’s fine. Not so bad. Those two short sentences can literally kill us from the inside. When I deliver career coaching processes in the organizations, 90% of the cases we talk about start with: “Alex, I feel stuck in my career. I don’t know what to do further, I don’t have any idea, I’m not sure what kind of next steps I can cover to get unstuck”. So let’s answer this, I hope that’ll be helpful for all of you who read. What can you do when you feel stuck in your career?   Thing no. 1: Make a list of everything you can and want do in your career When we do what we like, we are passionate about and what is connected to our values, it’s always easier, more fun and with a better result at the end of the day. Of course nothing is perfect: there are always things that need to be done and don’t thrill us. The most important thing is the ratio: if it’s 80/20 (things we want to do vs things that need to be done), it’s fine. If it’s the other way around, it means that we should take a step back and reflect on what might change to reverse the situation. Because staying longer in that space will lead to the burnout, frustration, mental heath issues, even issues in your private life. Everything is connected, we are holistic species. The first thing you can do when you fell stuck in your career is to make a list of things you love doing. You can do it in Excel spreadsheet, on a piece of paper or in other tool (digital or not). It doesn’t really matter – choose something that will help you to organize your thoughts and it’ll be helpful further in the next steps. Make a list of tasks, projects, micro elements that make you feel good at work. You can support yourself with the questions: We (in general, as people) have a strong tendency to focus on our weaknesses, on what we do wrong or where we are not perfect or good enough. That’s why I encourage you to start with this list, to see how many things you are actually really good at. It’ll improve the process of decision-making regarding the next steps in your career. Thing no. 2: Make a list of everything you can’t and don’t want to do Not-to-do list is as important as the to-do list. Make a list of things you hate doing. You are sick to your stomach just by having the thought in your head about it. The things that, when you think about them, make you want to call in sick. Everything you just have doing or you are bored to death when you even thing about it (not to mention doing it). Every single thing that leads you to the bored or burnout zone. You can support yourself in this part by using those questions: Think about your current or previous work-related experiences. If some elements are repetitive that’s fine: it’s also an information for you that there is a pattern in your choices that you can be more mindful about when choosing the next career space for yourself. Thing no. 3: Create an action plan to make your new career happen All of the questions you can find above are for you to use to make a structure around your thoughts. Be as specific as possible, answer honestly – remember that this list is just for you (unless you decide otherwise). Of course this list isn’t ended – you can always add your own questions or thoughts. It’s a tool for you, make it useful in your specific context and situation. When you have it done, the next step is the action plan. What items from your list do you want to use in your next career step? Underline all of them. Include the talents you have, it’s important to do on a daily basis as frequent as possible the things that don’t require much energy from us, that are natural. What from the list of things you don’t want to do is crucial for you to avoid? Try to not underline the whole list, it might be difficult to create a perfect world. Choose those that are the biggest issue for you, make it 3-5 elements to simplify the process of elimination. Now, there are at least 2 scenarios: either you have a position you want to cover in the nearest future in your head or not. If yes – refresh your LinkedIn profile and your resume and send as many applications to the companies/branches that you find interesting as possible. Don’t get frustrated when you don’t have many responses. Remember that many organizations (especially global corporations)

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Leadership

5 Things That Managers Can Do So Their People Don’t Quit

Great resignation. Employee market. Huge employee gap. The lowest unemployment rate in years. We see and hear all of that, now maybe even more than ever. Labor market shifts on its own, as well as many organizations needs to rethink how they operate on a daily basis. Regarding their cost and organizational structure, strategy, focus, goals and leadership condition. And while some of them deal with necessary lay-offs, some have quite the opposite challenge: their (mostly) the best employees quit and take another job externally. Taking into consideration few different studies, approximately 40% of employees think about or act towards a job change. It’s a huge number of people in the organization that for some reasons started to lose or lost their engagement in a current place. What is in top 5 reasons employees quit their jobs? Poor management is in top 10 as well, don’t worry. Covid time changed the order a little bit, point 4 and 5 are connected directly to the situation during and post pandemic. More about that further in the article. So taking all that into consideration – what you can do as a manager so your people don’t quit? Here are 5 things I believe are the most valuable for you and for your people, regardless of the branch, sector, size of the company or space that you work in. 1. Use TRS (Total Reward Statement) before they quit Nobody teaches managers how to talk about money. We talk about feedback, goal setting, delegating tasks, strategy, team building etc., but when we think about money issues, discussing raises, levels of bonuses we get uncomfortable. It’s connected to two main things. 1. Money is a taboo in a certain culture/country – it’s rude to talk about it openly. 2. We don’t know how to talk about money, especially when we know that there is no space to offer a raise or any additional bonus, so we procrastinate the conversation. So I say it’s about the time that we start talking about money as openly as about any other aspect of work. And you as a manager can learn how to lead a conversation around it, it’s a competence like any other one. Total Reward Statement (TRS) is a tool that you can use to talk about money-related subjects with your employees. Most of the time we don’t count everything that employer gives us, we only see the amount of money that appears on our bank account once a month. And in most of the cases it’s so much more than that. By using that you can show your employee what (on a monthly/quarterly or yearly basis) is the total investment in them that organization makes. What else can we show in TRS, besides of a basic salary? When you make a sum of everything that a certain employee uses (approximately, it’s not about counting every single dollar that organization spend on one person), the conversation around money might starts to look differently. Our employees often don’t see the bigger picture and don’t understand the scale of money that is invested in them. Of course if the organization pays under the market, it’s another story – the question is if you as a manager has any influence to address the pay gap in your team. If yes – do it, as soon as possible to minimize the risk of your people quit in the nearest future. If no – think what other elements in TRS you can use to fill it somehow until the times are better.  2. Co-create career path with your employee The second one on the list of arguments why people quit is a lack of development opportunities. I hear it a lot. Sometimes this reason is true, but in many cases it’s just an excuse or a lack of knowledge. The first question I ask every single time when somebody comes to me and tells that there are no opportunities for them to grow in this company is: “what did you already try?”. This question appears as such a strong one that sometimes people don’t know how to answer. They start with: “I tried everything!”. So we talk about what this “everything” means to them. Very often it appears that they didn’t do anything in particular, 80% of the cases didn’t even have a quality conversation with their manager about it! It’s insane. They didn’t start it and their manager didn’t start it either. Nobody says anything, counting on that the other side WILL GUESS what is at need at the moment. Bs, it’s not going to happen. So if you are a manager – it’s your job to trigger the conversation about development of your employee. Of course I advise to have a co-creation partnership during the process, not following the idea that you are going to make a plan that your employee will follow. It’s not that engaging when we compare it to actually working together. Quick question: when was the last time you talked with your employee(s) about their professional/personal development? Answer honestly, no one’s judging you. First step of every growth is self-awareness. Plan the space to talk about it, on a regular basis. Ask your employee how often do they need to talk about it, make check points. Don’t guess, don’t assume. Ask questions, listen and be adaptive. Share responsibilities – don’t take everything on your back. The owner of personal development is an employee, always. When they decide to leave the organization, their growth goes with them. It doesn’t belong to you, or the firm. It’s important to say it out loud, to cut the unhealthy and unrealistic expectations. Be honest and transparent about what is possible and what not (at the moment), avoid being cruel though (some managers like to use the “tough love” tool). Our intention is not to scare a person away form taking the responsibility. Our goal should be to encourage them, show them the way, guide them, give feedback on

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Self-Development

Do You Base on Your Strengths or Constantly Fill the Gaps?

How we think about professional and personal development differs from person to person, from country to country and from organization to organization. Strengths or gaps? It is very much cultural, rooted in a country script which says what we should or shouldn’t do as members of a certain society. Are you living in a country when you need to prove that you are good enough all the time? Or maybe you live in society where children hear from their parents that they are extraordinary, they can achieve whatever they want from the very beginning of their lives? Is there a difference between the people raised and shaped in each of those systems? Of course it is, but it doesn’t mean that we need to stay that way until the day we die. Basing on what we are really good at instead of focusing on what we can’t do can be a change of thinking paradigm for some of us. Isn’t it right that when we don’t know how to do something, we should participate in a training session, read a book or find a mentor that will teach us? I’m sure that it’s the most natural approach for many people. Is it fun? Does it work every time? Is it worth to invest the time in it? Is the result worth the effort? Let’s see what happens with us in both of these scenarios.   Scenario 1: I constantly fill the gaps Let me give you an example from my experience as a manager. Once I had an employee who was taking care of the creative part of learning materials that we provided for employees. He was amazing at his job. And once I gave him a task connected to the Excel spreadsheet. He’d been doing this task all week, gasping all the time and at the end I still had to correct it. What a manager in that kind of situation can do? I could’ve send him to an Excel training so he will improve his skills, to fill the gap. It would be an intuitive thing to do, since I needed to delegate the task to the team. But what good it would bring? So I’ve decided to not giving him an Excel task. Like ever. Instead of it I created some automations and the spreadsheet worked on its own. Case solved. This is my story, but I know a lot of managers that would use the scenario to fill out the gap. Of course there are many different situations, structures and teams. But when we have people with a really little orientation into analytics, doing a great job in the creative area – what is the point in forcing them to constantly focus on what are their weaknesses? How do you feel when you think about how not good enough you are? Regardless of the area of your life. Not a good enough partner/parent/expert/manager/owner/entrepreneur/friend? Let’s be honest – we feel shitty. It’s always this thing in our head that we are not there yet. Always on the journey, never achieving the goal. And being in that state of mind all the time can be exhausting. Frustrating and demotivating in a longer run. I don’t say that we shouldn’t improve, it’s not a story about it. We should improve, analyze when we can be better but without beating ourselves up all the time for not being perfect.   Scenario 2: I choose to base on my strengths And here’s another angle. I had an employee who really liked covering tasks connected to organizing: training sessions, events, meetings, 1:1s etc. She did it a lot and I thought that maybe it’s a little bit too monotonous and repetitive for her after a while. Once we had a quality conversation and I offered her new chunks that she could learn, like facilitation, project management or analyzing data from HR IT tools. And you know what? She didn’t want any of it! She was perfectly fine where she was at the moment, she loved being a logistic wizard, working with many different people in the most efficient way, making their lives better and easier. From her point of view her tasks weren’t monotonous at all – she was taking every training, every event as a new journey. So I left it like that, checking on a regular basis if something changes. She grew beautifully into an event manager role, being responsible for organizing things for thousands of people all around the world. What is the conclusion of that story? I might have told her that she needed to broaden her scope, do something new. But I’ve decided to leave her with her decision, watching her growing as a person, extremely satisfied and engaged at what she did every day. She was really good in her job, she learned every day, even when I thought that was not possible, doing the same thigs all over again. But I was wrong and now I know – more than ever, that I’ve made a good decision back then. Basing on her strengths allowed her to be fulfilled, happy. How many of us can really tell that we feel happy at our jobs, every day? When choosing to base on strengths, talents, preferences, or those things that we just like doing, our life can look like that. No frustration, no wasted time on things that somebody else can do in 5 minutes and we spend the whole day on finding the solution, no feeling “not good enough” again.   Why strengths are so powerful? That’s why strengths are so powerful. Focusing on what we are really good at, spending time on mastering, connecting the dots with things that are similar to those we already know is a great way to not stay in the same place. To grow all the time. We need to be aware that sometimes there is a point where we are experts in one area and maybe there is nothing

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Self-Development

5 Tips to Learn a Foreign Language

Learning a new foreign language is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. If you live in a country when English is not a native language, you probably heard a lot that “you need to learn languages, this is the future”. And how on Earth we should do it when the school experience is often really bad (mine was for sure)? My experience was a lot of grammar, no communication (because the course book was constructed like that), and when it was time to have some conversations, the school year was over. And we’ve started all of the grammar part again because the new school year was there. Sounds familiar? In that kind of system we lost all the fun and curiosity of getting to know a new language way before it started. When something is painful or we’re forced to learn it, it’s quite probable that it won’t stick to us. That our brain is going to see this as a punishment and won’t truly engage. So how to charm away this mindset about learning a new foreign language? As a Polish person, learning mainly English through my whole adolescent and adult life and learning French at the moment, I want to share with you 5 things that help me all the time to keep my learning momentum going. No matter what happens. 1. Little things are the big things – keep doing them We all love quick results. Our brain gets a dopamine boost, a wave of endorphins flows through our veins and it’s one of the best feelings ever. We got used to that by having almost everything a click away by using internet as a part of who we are as human beings. Because of that kind of availability, we’re getting upset when we need to wait for something – even if it’s just a couple of minutes. So what can we say about learning a language, which requires a certain number of valuable hours of contact with language to reach each level? It can look like a nightmare. Also, it can unconditionally run the I-don’t-have-time excuse. But there is a way to uncharm the conviction that we have in our heads about it. The key to learning any skill or habit is consistency. It’s the same when we think about going to the gym: we are not going to get fit, thin or muscular after going to the gym once. We need to do it 3-4 times a week at least, for some people it’s every day. Even if it’s doing just 5 pushups after washing the teeth in the morning, it’s a small brick we add to the wall we build. The exact same scenario is applicable when it comes to learning the language. Do it every day, even if it’s just 5 minutes. Read a short article, do Duolingo, learn vocab on the app. Every 5 minutes combines with the time you spend on learning every week or month, and the compound effect starts working. 5 minutes every day is 2,5 hours per month. 2,5 hours per month is 30 hours per year. And see what happens when you invest in it 20 minutes per day (it’s a half of an average episode of a series on Netflix). 20 minutes per day is 10 hours per month. 10 hours per month is 120 hours per year. Based on the article I linked for you 2 paragraphs earlier, it is almost enough to reach A2 level of a new foreign language. How does it sound for you? Better than skipping a half of an episode per day?   2. Make it easy to do Most of the time learning a new language is not about motivation. It’s about the skill – something is difficult, we don’t know how to do it or we are getting frustrated that we don’t learn as fast as we wish. And if it’s hard, we quit. Natural thing. To overcome it (and you can use it not only to learning a language, but basically to everything new you want to do like building every other new habit) we need to make it easy. When something is easy, we don’t need much effort to do it. And when it’s almost effortless, we do just do it without even thinking about it. It’s like with the easiest tasks we have on our task list – most of us start with the easiest ones, even if they don’t bring a lot of value. It convince our brain that we are busy and valuable. Start with an easy level on Duolingo. Learn 10 new words in a vocab app per day. Take one page of a book or article in a language you want to learn and underline all the words that you already know, or they seem to be familiar to those you know. Put them in the app and start from there. Do one exercise from the coursebook and close it. Even if you can do more, start with just one and come back to where you finished the next day. Over time it would be not enough for you, and you’ll do more, but just as a start – don’t push it, until you feel 100% comfortable with what you do at the moment. Then push a little bit harder, do a more difficult and uncomfortable step – but only when you are a master of a previous one. That will bring you peace and safety – 2 things that influence our brain the most. If we want to stay on track, our brain can’t be in danger all the time, because it’ll run flight/fight/freeze mode. Take care of your brain and it’ll take care of yourself. 3. Try different things, don’t blindly go with something that doesn’t work for you Everybody learns at the language school in a group? It must be it. Both my best friends told me that they have an individual tutor or a

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Self-Development

How to Transform Overwhelm Into a Power?

We all have better and worse moments in our lives. Especially when something is changing (and let’s be honest – this world we live in right now is connected with many elements that transform all the time), we tend to feel overwhelmed. Do you know the feeling when everything is fine until there isn’t, and when everything seems to go down at the same time? One thing leads to another, and we experience a series of events we would pretty much prefer to avoid. Inflation. Restructuring in the company and a job cut. A breakup. Health problems. Sick kids. Shortage of money. Death. Mental issues. You name it. A lot of things can influence our state of being in control of our lives. And in those moments, we often freeze, wait for the better times and hope for the best. But hope is not a strategy. We need something else to transform overwhelm into a power that can keep us moving, succeeding, achieving our goals. Despite all the thigs that are happening, it’s our choice what we do with the time we have. So what to do with it to create a power, not a burden? Transform your mindset Did you ever made a great decision when you were overwhelmed? Are you the best version of yourself when you are tired or frustrated? Do you thrive when you freeze in difficult times waiting for the better ones to come? Are you the best partner, friend or parent when you feel you don’t have control over what’s happening in your life, or you snap easily? I know I am not the best version of myself while feeling all of those. I don’t make good decisions, or I procrastinate things. I snap on other people, and I’m mean to them. That’s why I really take care of not letting this state of mind happen to me very often – I see how much damage it does to my life. To be better in every aspect of your life you want, you need to transform your mindset. From whining to doing. From looking for excuses to making decisions. From seeing only obstacles to seeing opportunities. From being scared to being courageous. From waiting for others to change to changing yourself. From hope to action. If you have a mindset that says: “now the times are hard, let’s wait until it’s better”, you sit on your hands and hope for the best. But as mentioned before: hope is not a strategy. It is a believe that something will magically change for us. And guess what? It won’t. Only we can do the work, make good decisions about what we do with our time, with whom we spend it and in what we invest. Transform your mindset means making a conscious choice of how we see the world that is around us and how we shape it. Are we victims of what’s happening or are we owners of it? Do you want to be a master or a victim? Use good old “7 WHY” tool Easier said than done, right? That’s where the tools come to support us and make a structure around how we think and what we do as a consequence of those thoughts. The 7 Why method is based on a 5 Why framework, invented and implemented in Toyota in the 1930s, popularized in 1970s. Back then it became one of the most efficient ways to understand what’s actually happening on the shop floor, rather than guess what might be happening in the boardroom. To be honest, we all can use it nowadays – maybe even more than ever. Ask yourself “why” you want to do a certain thing, achieve a certain goal, or get rid of a certain bad habit 7 times to unleash the real truth that is underneath the surface. If you are familiar, you can see the links to the Simon Sinek and his Start With Why idea, which influenced a lot of companies and lives all over the world. Here is an example of how it can look like. 7 steps might look like a lot, but thanks to that, we can really get to know what is the real root of the situation we face. Do you want to transform your life? Do you want to transform your business, your relationship? Do you want to have more energy, passion, time? It’s really powerful when you discover what is really happening within you, sometimes on a really deep level. As you can see in the example above, the first need or goal was completely different than the last thing. This person never learned how to set healthy boundaries to not be used by others at work. She really loved her work at the beginning, and she never procrastinated a thing. So the root of her behavior was completely somewhere else, and procrastination was a consequence, not a source. To transform overwhelm, lack of motivation, procrastination or a fear of change, do 7 Whys and see what is the root of this feeling. Discover what’s really out there, it’ll be so much easier when you know the truth and can actually address that. Think through OKRs’ lens Once you have the real thing you want to achieve, overcome or transform the overwhelm into, now is the time to make a little structure around it to make it happen. You are not going to change your life by sitting on your hands and waiting for the better times to come. You need to take action, consistently, everyday to make happen what you want to have in life. That’s the place where OKRs come to support us on this journey. This is my favorite way to make a real path for my dreams, plans and things I want to achieve. Let’s use 2 examples of how to transform overwhelm into power and a real change: the one from the 7 Why method, and the second one from my private

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Self-Development

Why is it so hard to start (and keep going)?

Think about one thing you wanted to start doing, but you’ve procrastinated it this week. What was it? Was it a task at work? If yes, what was it about? Was it a workout or a morning run? Was it a 5-minute reading time? Was it cooking a healthy meal? Was it a phone call to somebody? Was it an article that you have opened in one tab of your browser since last year? Now think about one thing from last week that you thought about and you’ve started doing it right away. What was it? How much time it took? How did you feel after doing it? Why we do some things right away, and procrastinate others? Even if they are on our task list, in a beautiful New Year’s resolution spreadsheet or a habit building app. Why is it so hard to start doing something we do know that is for our own good, to keep us better in what we do at work, more successful, healthier, smarter, better in relations? And why some people are doing great with everything, can make time for every part of their live and some people just aren’t? You become what you believe It’s not about magical thinking, because there is no such thing as a change happening overnight, without any effort. If you read or see an ad that promises you loosing 10kg per month or being fluent in a foreign language in 2 months, you need to hear this – it’s not going to happen. Even if you really believe in it, it’s just not possible. And it’s not about being positive all the time, because we know that’s not possible too. We have a wide range of emotions, joy is only one of them. And to build awareness, we need to acknowledge that we are going to be sad, angry, scared, frustrated, excited or enthusiastic. It’s all part of who we are as human beings and resenting that is not going to change how it works. But we have control over what we think, how we shape those thoughts in certain circumstances. If you think that you are not smart or competent enough to change the job for a better one, you are never going to apply to any role that is out there on the market. When you sit on the couch, watching another series on Netflix, never going out or meet other people because you think that you are fat, ugly and nobody will ever love you – you rob yourself from the opportunities to actually meet somebody who will. If you think that you can’t say “no” to other people, you do everything for them without even thinking about your own health because you don’t want them to stop likening you – you are never going to say “no” and protect yourself. Not good enough. Not smart enough. Too old to do this. Too young to do that. Who am I to tell others how to live? What do I know – I live in a small city. Too fat. Too skinny. Don’t have talent to do XYZ. You become what you believe. If you believe that you are not going to achieve anything, you are not. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. What you can do is to change your mindset. If you believe that you are enough, that you can learn, ask for help or guidance and actually succeed – it is going to be easier to start, to make baby steps, see what happens and keep going. It can be hard, but it’s going to be extremely satisfying when you’ll see the results of who you are becoming. Every day a little better than the person who you were yesterday. Scenario 1: Not so easy to start, but easy to keep going Sometimes it’s not easy to start. You don’t believe in yourself, you don’t have money, time, support, or you just don’t have skills to do something. And if something like that is in your head, you wait. And wait. And wait some more. Until the times are better. Until the economy is up again. Until your spouse or friends will be more supportive. Until you learn. And all of the sudden, weeks, months and years pass, and nothing changes. Oh wait, something actually change. You are more and more frustrated and disappointed of your life. Remember this little exercise from the beginning of this article? What was this thing that you’ve started doing right away? The key question here is: why? Was it easy to do? Did it bring a quick result? Was it fun? Was it a part of your passion, something you love doing? Was it a part of your value, of who you are as a person? When things are not so easy to start, it often means that: The rest of the reasons (about the time, money, support etc.) is bs. There are just excuses to not doing things, because it’s uncomfortable, scary or unpopular. If you want to start doing something, find the link to what’s already there in yourself. If you do that, it’s going to be easier to keep going, because the connections will strengthen your self-esteem and confidence that you actually can do it. You’ll make time, you’ll figure out how to raise the money you need. When you really want to do something and it’s close to your heart, you’ll figure out the way. Scenario 2: Easy to start, not so easy to keep going Sometimes we are super motivated, triggered by something and we start doing a thing. We buy pretty clothes, new shoes and we start exercising, like running or going to the gym. We put a pile of books on a bedside table, and we start reading. We start getting up earlier, motivated to join 5AM club.  And generally, after a couple of days we quit. Gym card stays in the drawer, books gather dust, and we start using the

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Self-Development

How Great of a Trainer You Want to Be?

Being a trainer is one of my favorite things in the entire world. I love watching people listen, reflect, try to do things differently, making conclusions and grow. One of the best moments in the process of teaching others is this time at the end of the session, or after it when I get feedback and see that it was something valuable for others. That every person found at least one thing that they’re taking with them to use in a real life. This is the best feeling I can imagine as a trainer. But how to do this? How to create a learning environment, the experience that will allow people you want to teach to have one AHA moments after another, to give them something that will stick with them after the course/class/e-learning/webinar/lecture? How to be a trainer or a teacher that people remember and use what they’ve learned during the learning experience you provide for them? Let’s find out together using 5 elements that definitely helped me during my journey. 1. Trainer is not the smartest person on the planet. A trainer, teacher, coach, mentor – literally every person who teach or support others in any way is somebody who can influence peoples’ lives, inspire, trigger to change a way of thinking or behaving. And all of those figures need to have a certain amount of knowledge and experience to be a partner for other people, to work and support them. But it doesn’t mean that we need to behave like the smartest people on the whole planet. Trainer’s role is to create an environment where people can leave old beliefs or convictions, learn new things, rebuild or build new skills, answer questions that’ll lead to better conclusions. There is a need for trust and safety, because only that way we can take risks of not being perfect, sometimes vulnerable. If a trainer doesn’t create that space, the learning process is not going to be effective. So if we make a training session, workshop or a mentoring 1:1 meeting only about us, maybe we should check our own needs. Maybe one or more hungers are frustrated and that’s how we compensate it? Learning process is for other people: we are guides, companions on a learning journey. And yes, we share our experiences, mistakes, conclusions, things we did differently after we’ve learned. But those are examples that we use to support the flow of the process, not the essence of the whole thing. 2. Don’t assume, ask. We often think that we know for sure what other people need, what they want to learn or how they want to change in their lives. These are assumptions. We assume based on our own needs, experiences, frustrations, struggles. And the intention is mostly good – we want others to have a better, easier life. We believe that based on what we’ve experienced we can share it with others, ease their pain or help them to avoid a certain scenario. A lot of trainers, coaches or speakers started that way. And it’s a great base, to share what we know, what we’ve experienced, because it’s always going to be authentic. But to be great trainers, we need to ask people what they need. Assuming is one of the worst things we can do. Why? Because we are going to spend so much time on creating a workshop/webinar/e-learning course based on what we assume people might need, and after all of this effort (time, money, learning how to create a course etc.) it can appear that no one comes, or signs up, or after the session the participants don’t have any take-outs. Because it didn’t suit their hungers. Ask questions. Even if it’s a one or two short ones. You can do it before, you can do it at the very beginning of the session. Check with your audience, regardless of its number – it can be one person, it can be a thousand. Stay curious, don’t be fooled only by the thoughts in your head. 3. Trainer is for people, not the other way around. This one is strictly connected with the first point. If learning experience you create is about you, you are not serving people, they are serving your ego. When people decide to come to your training or webinar, they invest time – the most valuable currency in the whole world. They are here because they want to learn, they want to make a change or to get the courage they didn’t have before. Trainer should be a person who cares about the learning experience, about the gains for the participants and getting them to achieve their goals. I saw so many trainers that made all of the workshop about themselves, their goals, their career, their experiences. And as mentioned before – it’s fine to share, that’s why we are in this role. But let’s use Pareto ratio – 20% of your life, 80% of participants’. 4. Use knowledge about personalities and preferences. A lot of times when we do an open enrolment webinar or lecture we don’t know before the session who is going to participate. We can have some information about the target group, but if we don’t know those people really well, it’s impossible to cut the experience to measure and create one-size-fits-all situation. But having basic knowledge about personality types and thinking preferences allows us to take into consideration all of the interests and just be mindful about different needs people can have. And in 90% of the cases will have, because we are all individuals. Use the knowledge about personality types (you can use Insight Discovery or DISC Model for instance). The model is secondary, the point is you can tell after a short observation who is in your classroom (virtual or in person). If you work online with a bigger group, you can assume that the representants of all types will be there, so you need to work on the communication process

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Self-Development

Feeling preoccupied? Start journaling!

Sometimes we all feel that it’s just too much. Too many tasks on the list that never ends. Too many expectations from the outside world. Too much pressure to be perfect, to manage doing everything and to not lose any touch of optimism, level of energy or creativity. Too many distractions, phone calls, messages, Teams meetings – all of those things that stop us from being focused and concentrated on what really matters. And where among all those things journaling can find its place? It can help even when we are super organized, efficient, with a good balance in our lives, we can struggle sometimes. Our brains are not programmed to process this amount of data and stimulants we get every day, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that we feel just tired of being preoccupied. And journaling is a great tool to ease the pain, improve a lot of areas in your life and what’s most important – keep your mind calm and free of being overwhelmed. How does it work for me? Here are few things I hope will be an inspiration to see what you can life to live it better. Journaling is a part of my morning routine I am a morning person, so a morning routine is one of my favorite parts of the day. I get up at 6AM every day, do my workout session and then have a breakfast and I journal a little bit. I’ve added journaling to my morning routine almost 3 years ago, after participating in Brand Minds Conference where one of the speakers introduced the Miracle Morning idea. I’ve started small, wrote down elements from the exercise. And then, I’ve realized how much it helps me organizing my thoughts and sometimes let off steam and frustrations without hurting other people. It takes me 5-6 minutes every day, not more, and is a great addition to all of the elements that make my morning full and structured. Journaling keeps me organized When I journal, I always create a space to make a list of the gains from yesterday and 3 things I want to achieve today (I wrote more about it here). Those 3 things I want to gain in a certain day help me to be more focused on what is really important for me, and checking if I achieved what I wanted the previous day gives me information about myself. Was I focused enough? What can I do differently today to gain what I want and need? You can add a structure of your day there, the main things you want to do for yourself in different areas. It can be interesting to divide the elements in categories: work, development, health, relations, food etc. That way you will see day by day how you spend your time, and maybe which areas of your life are overinvested and underinvested. You can ask yourself then: why is that? Is it harder for me to do some things than others? What can I do to redirect my energy on those areas that are important, but I don’t spend a lot of time on them at the moment? Sometimes just a change of focus on certain elements can help you in seeing things differently, from another angle. It helps me to regulate emotions We’re all getting stressed, frustrated, without an influence on what we want to have an influence on. We’re getting mad at other people (close to us or really far from us, i.e. the politicians or CEOs), angry, scared, disappointed or sad. And of course, we’re getting mad, frustrated, angry at ourselves. These are all human, normal emotions. We were taught to not to name them, feel them, to get rid of them as fast as possible. Because FEELINGS ARE BAD. FEELINGS ARE UNPROFESSIONAL. Don’t cry, be man. Don’t be a sissy. Don’t get angry, girls are supposed to be nice and smiley. Sounds familiar? Those things we hear as children stay with us and we believe them as adults, the most oftenly – unconsciously. Even the most developed, wise, mindful people on the planet have those thoughts in their heads. Journaling helps me to name what I feel, to take a step back to reflect on that and make a former decision about what I want to do with that emotion. Recognition is a first step of a high level of mental health, to live in a harmony with yourself. It is a way to discover things Sometimes when I write, those thoughts, sentences or bullet points are just coming to my mind and fingers. And pretty often I don’t expect some of them to be there, on the piece of paper or in doc file, they just appear. One thought leads to another and unlock other ideas, connect the dots between things I never thought can be linked together. Journaling can be a great tool to train the creativity muscle, to get yourself carried away by the flow and just let the stream of the thoughts go. It also can be just a fun, easy experience, but it also can be hard, eye-opening or triggering in some way. Regardless of that, you can discover something through it. And you can be closer to yourself, you can free the potential or skills you never knew are there. Once they are discovered, you can decide what to do with them. But if you don’t know what really is inside of you, how you can make a decision about anything? The bottom line For a long time I’ve only read about journaling. We can find online multiple articles about the advantages of it. Or about how much it is a life changer or how it can be applicable to the life of every single person. Now I know that it’s not for everybody, but it works for me, and I gladly share the experience from what I’ve learned from the whole process. Give it a chance. Give yourself a gift

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Self-Development

5 Things to Feel Better During the Holiday Time

If you have only one pick to name the most stressful time during the whole year, what would you choose? Is December holiday time in your TOP3? The last quarter of the year has something magical in it, and I’m not talking about the magic of the holiday time. We want to squeeze all of the things we wanted to achieve or do throughout the whole year in one month or take care of relations with family in one or two holiday nights. Does it cost you a lot of stress? Do you feel pressured, attacked by tradition or questions you don’t really want to answer? How often do you feel that you would rather spend this time alone or with friends, preferably in some sunny, beautiful place? What if this year we take care of ourselves better? What if this year you feel good before, during and after holiday time, without regret or guilt? Let’s go through 5 things you can do to achieve this state of mind. 1. Stay in OK-OK zone Staying in OK-OK zone means that you think and feel that you are OK, and the others are OK too. It’s really hard for some of us to stay in OK-OK zone around holiday time. We feel pressured, stressed about the whole thing, we spend this time with family that we sometimes don’t even like anymore. We don’t set boundaries because we don’t want to hurt their feelings. So we sit and suffer in silence. What about that scenario: this year I’m going to stay in OK-OK zone. I’m OK with my life and what I do with it, and I believe that other people are OK too – even if they are ask inappropriate questions or behave not ideally. I believe that there is always good intention there, i.e. they want to know more about my life, but they don’t really know how to ask properly about it. You don’t need to answer to all the questions people ask, but you can react differently – not to go offensive, just set a clear boundary. Don’t get drawn into the discussion you don’t want to be a part of. Don’t waste your energy and time to convince somebody to something. Influence what is in your scope of control, let go everything else. The more you are in OK-OK position, the less frustrated, stressed and tired you’ll be. OK-OK gives you freedom of not being tight to other peoples’ emotions, needs, frustrations, fears. Isn’t it worth to change the mindset? 2. Don’t accept invites to the psychological games Psychological game regarding Eric Berne is a form of communication that follows a specific scenario and leads to the predictable ending. Holiday psychological games are repetitive, we can easily name each of them and actually see the signals that they’re coming. A great example is a holiday dinner. Young couples get questions about when they’ll get married. Young married couples get questions about when they’ll have kids and single people get questions about when they’ll find somebody. Each of those questions can lead to a psychological game, it’s an invitation we can accept or decline. When we accept it, we take one of the three roles in the drama triangle: victim, prosecutor or rescuer and the game begins. It drains our energy, makes us feel bad about ourselves and we get into conflicts with others. When we don’t accept it, we protect ourselves and save energy that we can spend on something that really matters. 3. Do more things earlier to avoid procrastination Sometimes we do this to ourselves: we procrastinate buying presents and ingredients for dishes, cooking, cleaning or decorating the house, calling others/sending the holiday wishes or all of the other things each of us do before and/or during holiday time. It comes with a high level of stress, a feeling that we are not good or organized enough, sometimes connected with guilt. And with all of that, we just feel tired and don’t have energy to be a center of entertainment. When we lack energy, we often get comments like: “why you are so sad? It’s Christmas – smile and be happy!”. Do you know that feeling? Do you just want to lock yourself in a quiet room and spend some time alone then? Is it really how we want to invest our time? To avoid that feeling, make a plan to execute milestones earlier, not all at once. Create a spreadsheet or a table on a piece of paper with the things you want to do, the effect you want to achieve and the date you want to do it. No excuses. Be reasonable – once you have a list, check if there are any things you can use support with? Maybe you can “delegate” some of those items to your partner, kids or friends? Reflect on what yourself and others are really good at and maybe as a side effect of the whole thing you’ll create a creative space for them to spend time? 4. Protect your time This one is strictly connected with the previous one, but it goes a bit further. Usually around holiday time we schedule some time off at work, to recharge after the hard year, to come back after New Year’s with a fresh set of energy. And what a lot of us do during this time? Cleaning the house. Cleaning windows. Taking care of others’ free time (i.e. organizing time for kids). Cooking for guests. Catching up on some work, since there is almost no one there, so we can finally focus on what requires a deep work time with no distractions. The list is endless. What we often really miss is time for ourselves. Only for ourselves – when we can read, drink tea or coffee under the warm blanket, rest, take care of our minds and bodies. Sometimes it’s time for a reflection on last year’s events and making plans for the new one. Sometimes

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Self-Development

The Power of Courage

Do you have courage in your life? What does it mean to be courageous? Does it mean to not be scared and just do things? Is brave and courage the same thing? Do we even need courage to live fully and happily? The difference between bravery and courage We often use those two words while naming the same thing. It can be about making decisions, even if it’s not safe, about taking risks, being adventurous or having an extreme hobby. But is it really the same? Being brave is about cutting fear off and doing things, sometimes without even thinking about it or reflecting on the risks. Bungee jumping can be an example of it. It’s a matter of the moment, not necessary, but fun – so we do it, as a spark of the adrenaline. Being courageous is about doing things in spite of fear, after a process of logical thinking, taking into consideration pros and cons. It’s about doing things while knowing it can be risky, dangerous, BUT doing it anyway. It doesn’t mean that the process needs to be long – sometimes it’s just a quick assessment of the situation, i.e. when we see a cat that is crossing the street and the car is approaching. We assess the speed of the car, the risk of being hit by it and we go to rescue the cat. If you want to read more about the difference between bravery and courage, here is a great article about it, with more examples and comparisons to understand better the whole concept.   What courage can bring us? Do you know the feeling when we really want to do something, but we don’t? We don’t do it and then, we regret. “Oh, I could’ve done it, it looks so simple”, “oh, I could’ve done it, Sarah did it and look how happy she is now!”. It can be anything, a decision about taking a new job or applying to one, a decision about changing the place of living, about investing time and money in a course or studies, a decision about not eating candy or drinking alcohol when everybody eat or drink it. Courage gives us the opposite feeling compared to the one above. It gives us proud and satisfaction. It can give us freedom, more autonomy at work and/or in life. It can give us new perspectives, chances to be somebody who we are really proud of.   Courage brings us an infinite possibility to be whomever we want. Why courage not bravery? Because creating the person you are dreaming to become requires a strategy, goals, plan and tactics. It’s not a random decision and the results won’t happen overnight. It needs consistency, being ready to fail, learn, try again, and again, and again. And we need courage to do it to. To try again when we fail. If we give up after the first or the second try, most of us is not going to succeed. Hard? Difficult? Scary? Hell yeah. But is going to be worth it to be courageous and try again to live a good, full life that you won’t regret at the end. Do you have courage in your life? Do you set boundaries at work? Do you say “no” when you don’t have capacity (time, energy etc.) to do a certain task or another project? Do you set boundaries at home? Do you say out loud what do you need or when you need help? Are you taking care of your career? Are you seeking for opportunities, taking uncomfortable action to change who you are professionally? Do you take care of your health? Do you say “no” to unhealthy things, like candy, another glass of wine or processed food you don’t even like? Are you able to replace another episode of Netflix series with a short workout session? Do you read? Are you able to replace 10 minutes of scrolling social media with 10 minutes of reading something that will nourish your brain? Do you set boundaries within your friendships? Are you choosing people who have a good influence on you and restrain those who are energy vampires? Do you make decisions to make your life better? It can be about health, relations, development, career, place of living, vacation destination, content you read/listen/watch on the internet. If you answered “yes” to at least one of the questions above, it means you have courage in your life. Good for you! Now you can choose one thing from this list that you can do better, connect it to the one you already have. It’s always easier to glue things together since they stick to each other that way. If you didn’t answer “yes” to anything, choose one thing, one question you really would like to say “yes” to. What can you do to change your current situation? Who can help you? What resources do you need (time, money, other peoples’ support, silence, physical or mental space, knowledge, skills)? What you already have that can be a starting point to this change? A lot of things are inside of ourselves, sometimes all we need is a good goal and a good plan to unlock it. The bottom line Being courageous is not always about bungee jumping, rock climbing or living in different country every three years. It can be all that, but not necessarily. Courage is about seeing the world as a place full of possibilities, opportunities to learn, change, grow, meet new people and say goodbye to things without feeling guilty about it. It’s about taking care of yourself, making space in life for comfortable and uncomfortable – that’s how the great experiences are built. Courage is a friend who sometimes pushes us into the stretch zone, and sometimes protects us from doing stupid things. Regardless of the situation, we know that he/she is always there, which gives us comfort, trust and freedom to live our lives however we want. How about feeling like this

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Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analyst’s Story: Motivation

What do you think about the people who are always extremely motivated? Do you think that’s true? Possible? Or they are just show this side of themselves to the external world and the true is that they are miserable, lonely, they hate their jobs and only tell lies about their golden motivation? What if I tell you that being highly motivated through most of your life is possible and achievable? That a lot of people in your closest environment – at work, home, local community is already doing it? What if I tell you that you can do it on your own, just by switching few small things in your life? Here’s another chunk of Transactional Analysis to add to all you’ve already got to know after reading previous pieces of the series. Let’s go with Motivation today. Is Motivation even a real thing? When we think about motivation, we look for a miraculous source of energy, potential or power that’s going to push us to do extraordinary things. It can be true, but we need to remember that there is no source on this planet that is infinite. So what if we operate only on the highest level of optimism and energy, and we don’t do anything when this energy is lower? We succeed only from time to time and it’s not something we should seek for. Motivation is just one aspect of being successful, achieving all those things that you want. But we can be smarter about it, discover what are the real aspects of your work, life, relations or health that motivate you to stay on truck, to do things, to make good decisions. And stick to that to be our best selves most of the time – instead of waiting for the perfect circumstances. Where to start? Let’s start with Susan Fowler. Susan Fowler’s Spectrum of Motivation Susan Fowler is one of the foremost experts on motivation and personal empowerment. She worked with a huge number of individuals, managers, teams and organizations to find out what is the truth about the motivation itself. Susan’s Story Her book “Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work… and What Does” is one of the best books in the field I’ve ever read, I strongly recommend it to anyone, regardless of the age, maturity, years of experience or place of living. There is one story which sticked with me since the first time I’ve heart this during my TA training. One time a manager came to Susan and said: “you know what, my team is so demotivated! What can I do to motivate them?”. She asked him a question in response to it: “do they come to work every day?”. “Yes, they do”. “Oh right, so they are already motivated. The real question is HOW”. It is nobody’s job to keep the other person motivated. External motivators are short-lived, sometimes they address only imaginative needs and what’s the most important – we remember about them only for a couple of minutes (the first moment of euphoria). And that’s it. I would make one step further to what Susan asked this manager about and say this: “how can we find out what are our REAL internal motivators that keep our momentum going?”. Spectrum of Motivation Model To better understand how people think, act, make decisions and keep themselves motivated, here is Susan Fowler’s concept of Spectrum of Motivation. 2 axes make this concept alive. The first one covers psychological needs. Regarding Susan Fowler, psychological needs are described by 3 main things: The second axes is about efficiency – doing things right, but also thinking about it in connection to effectiveness – doing the right things. By structuring those descriptors, it would be easier to understand the whole model, which is divided into 2 spectrums: Suboptimal and Optimal. There are 3 levels of Suboptimal motivation: Those 3 levels are not something we should seek. If you feel that you might be in one or two most of the time, take a closer look on the next part of the model to see what other way the life can be. And 3 levels of Optimal motivation: Use all the things you already know to boost your Motivation Use all the knowledge that you got from this article to answer the following questions: Use those questions, stay curious. Find out what is really underneath the surface, be honest with yourself – it’s the only way to move on and have a better life. If you’re stuck, don’t know what do to, where to start, you can always find a person who can help you. HR, coach, mentor, therapist, but it can also be a friend, a family member or a neighbor. Sometimes it helps just to talk to somebody and say some things out loud. When we say and hear things, especially when they are difficult or hard, bringing us shame or a feeling of guilt, it can have a therapeutical outcome. Try it out, find the source of your true, optimal motivation and improve yourself to stay as long as possible in that area. It’ll influence the quality of your work, relations, sleep, health and balance in overall. Connect the dots, see how they work together and be an owner of your life.

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Self-Development

Momentum: The Secret Ingredient to Success

We often ask ourselves and others: “what is the key to be successful?”. And by successful we might mean many different things: to have a success in business, a great relationship, to achieve goals in health, shape or sports zone, to travel the world, to develop certain skills. From my observation, practice and learning, there is one thing that keeps things together and let us thrive: momentum. What is momentum actually? For me this is our inner power, the energy that keeps us going and we stay internally motivated for a long time. It’s a force that keeps us on the surface, even when our limiting believes, convictions and bad habits are calling us, wanting us to quit, to stay in a comfort zone. From many sources of knowledge, including this one, we already know that growth, good change and success in any area of our lives is possible only in a stretch zone. It’s sometimes uncomfortable, unknown, scary. But as we are smart people, we do know that this feeling is necessary to make a real change, to build ourselves, to be better in anything we decide on. And every fear passes, sooner or later, when you get used to the new circumstances. How to keep the momentum going? No matter how hard or difficult to decide it is, or how many discouraging thoughts we have in our heads. Let’s find out. What fuels your momentum? If momentum is a speed, energy that pushes us to do more, to reach for what we dream of, we need to know what feed us, what makes us feeling this way. Is it a space where you feel inspired, calm or invincible? Is it a space with a certain order or elements? Do you need certain food or other nourishments? Are there people who have a good influence on you, give you energy and support in what you do? What about your mindset? What mindset do you need to feel empowered and keep the momentum going for you? What state of mind is a winning one? Think about all the things that have a good, positive influence on you. What inspires you, what brings you good ideas, flow? In what circumstances do you feel empowered or that you can achieve anything you decide on? What people bring you support, positivity, who believe in you? Is a good night sleep, eating healthy, working out, not worrying about the things that you have zero influence on helpful? Find your thing – for each of us it can look different, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Use those question above and make a list of what you feel is the best for you, that serves you in a really meaningful way. Then decide on one thing from this list you can do more, starting today. Begin with only one, experience how your life changes after this shift. Who or what robs you from power? When you have an awareness of what you need to keep your momentum going, the second part of the story is to answer to what or who robs you from the energy you build? What people in your environment are energy vampires (you feel drained after every time connecting with them)? Which elements of space at your work (or living) has a bad influence of you (maybe a mess, lack of structure, too many unnecessary items all over the place)? Do you eat healthy, or your diet is full of candy, processed food, alcohol, snacks? Are you sleep-deprived? Do you exercise regularly? What about water? Do you live unbalanced life? Are you focusing only on 1-2 areas and neglecting all of the others? Make your list. This is as important as the previous one with what keeps you moving. Being aware of our environment is a key to make it better, to improve where we are, how we live and work, what value we bring to this world, how we support others. Choose one thing you are going to get rid of, starting right now. RIGHT NOW. What drains you from energy, robs you from your momentum? Those sneaky thoughts, beliefs, convictions about yourself and the world can be deadly to our goals and dreams. Dean Graziosi always says: “What is the best time to grow a tree? 10 years ago. What is the second-best time? Now.” What completely new you can do to grow your momentum? Sometimes we need more stimuli than we usually do. It depends on our ratio of hungers, but it can also change from time to time in regard to the situation we are currently facing. Habits are good, they are necessary to stay on track, to be focused and I will never encourage you to leave them behind. But there are moments that we need a new trigger, something that will unleash new source of energy, motivation, WHY or HOW to do to certain things that will bring us closer to the goal we want to achieve. Think about what you would do if there were no constrains, imagine that sky is the limit. Things like money, time, energy, health, freedom, other peoples’ support, knowledge resources – there are all limitless. What would you do to grow your momentum, to make it infinite? You got that? Now think backwards: what milestones do you need to achieve to get closer to this vision you just had? And what is the first step you can do? Our brain gives us a lot of different illusions, beliefs that aren’t even true – they’re just projections that (from biological perspective) want to keep us safe (meaning: not being eaten by the tiger). Acknowledge that. Then stop the endless wheel of excuses, procrastination and telling yourself you’re not good enough to do something. You are. It’s a matter of a decision. Do you want a great life or are you just faking it? No matter what you do for living, how you spend your free time, what kind of relationship

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Self-Development

When is it time for a job change?

We often ask ourselves questions like: “is it a good time to end this relationship?”, “is it a good time to start a new one?”, “is it a good time to change my haircut?”, “is it a good time to start saving money?”. “Is it a good time to change my job?” is on that list too. We wonder “what if”. What if I… had another job? … had another manager? … moved to another city/country? … changed my job entirely and start doing something completely new? All of those “what ifs” are with us when we think about our perfect lives, perfect jobs or perfect managers. But “perfect” doesn’t exist – there will always be something that destroys the “perfect” view of a job we have. Too much work/too less work, too many people/too few people to do everything, too many restrictions/bureaucracies or no structure at all/total mess. But when we think about the current situation we are in, we instinctively feel when it’s time to start looking for something new. How to know for sure? Here are some signals you can look for to answer to this important question and make a decision for yourself. 1. “OMG it’s Monday again” When we live from weekend to weekend it’s like living from paycheck to paycheck. Or from vacation to vacation. Never happy about what it is, always dreaming about a perspective of next thing that should ease our pain somehow. When you are sick to your stomach every Sunday afternoon and at the very beginning of Monday you cannot wait until it’s Friday again, it probably means that you don’t like your job very much. Or your life in overall, it’s another angle to take a look on the situation. All the gifs, memes and stories that are all over the internet convince us that hating Mondays is normal, all people on the planet has the same thing, right? And those who are happy and can’t wait for the new week are either crazy or workaholics. Do you know somebody who loves Mondays? Who are they? What do they do? What decisions do they make? Are they crazy? Source: https://boldomatic.com/p/bZUEfg/i-know-one-person-who-loves-monday If you hate Mondays, it is the first sign that maybe it’s not about the Monday itself – it’s more about what you do everyday from Monday to Friday. How you spend your weeks? Do you do something that you’re passionate about? 2. I can’t stand people in this company Sometimes we work in a company that has a high level of maturity. Mature, experienced people, mature organization, leadership, working processes. People don’t waste time on things that don’t matter, they focus on their job and the value that they want and should bring to the table. There are some new people, sometimes young, sometimes students that want to start their career somewhere. But in overall, people understand what we say to them. And pretty often we work in a mess. Messy environment, processes, structures, communication flow. People are running around in circles, wasting time on things they shouldn’t even think about. They do tasks that are not even theirs. And when you are a smart person and you work in that kind of environment, you just can’t stand some people. Their never-ending questions, over and over again about the same things. Their lack of independence, taking responsibility for what they do or finding solutions to the problems that occur. And it’s not like you don’t want to help – it’s just exhausting for you to work in that kind of organization. When you feel that way, it might mean that you need a change of a scenery and a new place. Of course a new firm doesn’t mean that there won’t be questions. It means that you can do a fresh start, with better contracting that will prevent this feeling of frustration to happen again, at least in that scale. 3. Why it’s such a mess? This one is kind of connected to the previous one. If you have a strong need for structure, you will die in the organization that is messy. Literally. You’ll be frustrated all the time that you waste all of your energy on things that should be structured by a simple policy for instance. I wrote about this several times now, but from my experience there is not a not worse things then wasted time. And wasted potential. I am personally attached to this one since I’m a really structured person and a mess in the work environment drives me crazy. I cannot work when I need to waste time on looking for the right piece of information or the right person. Or taking part in meaningless meetings where there is no takeaway, and people just meet because they suppose to be busy or something. If you have a strong need for structure and the organization that you work within at the moment is super messy, you are on the straight path to the burnout zone. When a basic hunger is not fed, we procrastinate, looking for excuses, not acting our best selves. We self-sabotage a lot, sometimes it’s not even a conscious act, we just do it because of the helplessness of the situation. Especially when we don’t have any, or we have a little influence on what’s happening every day. 4. Why it’s so hard to make a change here? The most common scenario: the bigger the organization, the harder is to make any change. There are more layers of approvals, more bureaucracy, more complex set of systems where the change needs to go through. For some of us it’s fine, we are not in a rush, we can wait. But for some, it’s infuriating. When we see that something isn’t working, and there is a way to change that, we want to act on it and fix the thing. It can be anything: a process, way of communication, product, way of working – you name it. There is always

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Productivity

Why Not to Start New Year’s Resolutions Now?

When I write this article it’s the middle of November 2022. Wars all around the globe, sky rocking inflation, upcoming recession, many different diseases – depression and anxiety on the top of the list. Let’s be honest – it isn’t the best landscape that we could’ve imagined for ourselves to live in. What does that have to do with the New Year’s resolutions? When the times are hard, we prefer to stay low, to wait until the situation improves. We wait. And we wait. And we wait a little bit more. And guess what? There is always SOMETHING. Politics, wars, pandemics, environment pollution, education crisis. You name it. There is always something that is going on that we can treat as an excuse to not taking uncomfortable action, to change something, to get a new job or to end a relationship that isn’t working anymore. So the real question is, what can we do to stick to the New Year’s resolutions that most of us make at the very beginning of the year? Let’s start to work on them now. Why most of the New Year’s resolutions don’t stick? We are so motivated, have a lot of energy, sometimes even a great plan. We wait until January 1 and… Only about 16% of us are sticking to the resolutions we make at the beginning of the year, most of us give up during the first 6 weeks. Why? “I don’t have time”, “I don’t have money”, “I need to focus on different things now”, “I am not motivated enough to do this”, “Nobody supports me in this”. That’s just some of the most frequent ones. And it doesn’t really matter if we are talking about getting rid of bad elements of our life or building new, good ones. Excuses are one thing. Why else those resolutions don’t stick?  Which of those is applicable to yourself? More than one? All of them? What can we do differently? Each bullet point can be resolved – some of those are easier to manage, some are more complex and difficult. But altogether, it’s possible to finish with the old, bad habits and beliefs about resolutions, and start with being better with them, starting today. 1. We use magical thinking of the New-Year-new-me situation that only lasts few days. This is the reason why I encourage you to start today, not to wait until January 1. Magical thinking can be connected to some traditions, rituals, habits taken from family, religion or society. New Year’s resolutions are part of our social life – media talk about it, we talk about it every year with our friends, the subject is always there when the year starts. Stop it and change the way of thinking and doing. Don’t wait for a perfect timing, it can never come. 2. The resolutions are too big. There is nothing wrong with thinking and dreaming big. My advice is: dream big, plan small. Divide your dreams and goals for smaller chunks that are more achievable. Don’t underestimate the small – sometimes we value only the big things, and it is a crime to our well-being and a sense of self-recognition. Remember, small is better than zero, and a sum of small things makes the whole big thing happen. 3. Those things we want to change are not connected to anything that is already in our life. It is always harder to create a new habit or skill when we start from scratch, then to develop the thing that is already there. When you plan new things you would like to have, always choose the existing habit, activity or a simple thing you do every day. Glue a new thing to the old one, it makes it stick. 4. We want to achieve a resolution in a really short period of time. I know that we all like quick results. We want to believe in losing 10kg in one month or in learning how to read a book per day in two weeks. Try to divide the bigger dreams to the smaller chunks that you can achieve faster. It’ll give you constant boost of motivation and will keep you on track to not quit before you see any results. 5. We assume 0/1 situation (either I achieve it or not – there is nothing in between, no space for flexibility, change or not being perfect all the time). We punish ourselves when we eat a piece of candy when we wanted to quit. Let’s say that you’ve decided to quit eating it starting Monday, and on Thursday you ate a small piece of chocolate. What most people do? “Screw it, I’ve already slipped, so I’ll eat the whole thing and start my diet on Monday”. And it goes on and on, as a never-ending story. What about that: “all right, I’ve slipped – it can happen to anyone”, and keep continue not eating candy after the event. Nobody is perfect and there is no point in punishing ourselves for it every single day. 6. We don’t differentiate goals from habits. A goal is a thing we want to achieve, and a habit is a repetitive, sometimes even unconscious sequence of behavior that can lead us to reach the goal. It’s important that we differentiate those two elements, just to make sure that we build habits that are going to be useful while achieving the goals we want.   7. The resolution is not about us, it’s about other people or things that we have zero influence on. We often quit on things because we don’t see result of our actions. And we don’t see the results, because we want to change something (or someone) that is way out of our influence zone. Remember that we can only change things that are in our scope of control – how we react on certain things, how we communicate, set boundaries or use our time. Focus on that, don’t waste time on something that won’t

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Productivity

5 Time Management Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Most of us want to spend those 24h we all have in the best possible way. We try to be good at time management, more efficient, cut the “time wasters” or use Pomodoro technique. And with all that we are still surprised that we are not as good with time as we want, we don’t achieve as much as we want, personally or professionally. It’s happening mostly because we have many convictions and false believes in our heads about the right approach to the time itself. We’ve read or heard something without deeper reflection on the idea, we put it in the brain and sticked to it. Now is the time to challenge 5 of the most crucial statements that we have in our heads and that are stopping us from being successful. 1. Being always busy is a sign of your high value Being busy makes us feel important, needed. We often have this impression that if our calendars are fully packed, we are more valuable. And when we see free slots, we feel guilty, sometimes scared of “not doing anything”. It is a symptom of modern times that assesses the usefulness and importance of an employee by level of their calendar’s “busyness”.   And that’s crazy, since we know how many of those meetings are pointless and could’ve been an e-mail or a Teams message. And on the flip side, we know how much we can do when we are undistracted, focused, when we have time and space for taking a step back and actually THINK about what we want to achieve and how. So I would like to encourage you to reflect on what you are thinking about being busy all the time – advantage or disadvantage? Be honest with yourself, nobody is going to judge you. Then think to which meeting you can say “no” to, to gain some of your time back to build a real value? 2. People always understand “I don’t have time” answer Speaking of saying “no” to things. This subject was discussed in a more detailed way in this article, but this excuse is being treated as a universal sentence on every situation when we don’t want or don’t know how to deal with something. When a manager has a conflict in a team, she/he often says: “I don’t have time for that right now, we have more urgent business cases to cover”. When a person doesn’t feel very good, has headaches or feels tired all the time, he/she just takes a pill or have another cup of coffee. “I don’t have time for that right now, I need to take care of work/home/kids/parents”. You name it. “I don’t have time” is a false friend. As mentioned many times on this blog, we are not victims or slaves of the time, we are its owners. And as owners, it’s our decision what to do with the time we have – every single minute that we spend on this planet is in our scope of control. It’s our choice what we do with it and with whom. Put some effort in and find the time you’ve lost when you started using “I don’t have time” excuse. What can you do differently to stop saying that? 3. Scheduling the hardest tasks first is always a good time strategy How you schedule your day should be connected with your internal level of energy, named the circadian rhythm. Each person on the planet at 9:00AM has different body temperature, heart rate, metabolism or blood pressure. The time of the day will affect behavior and intellectual performance differently regarding each of us. Till Roenneberg created a set of chronotypes that describe our energy cycle throughout the day, taking into consideration how we differ and what can we do about it to live a better live. We do know that it’s not possible to wake up whenever we fell like it, work when we feel the most effective and go to bed when we feel asleep (including naps during the day). We have 9-5 jobs, we need to get up at a certain time to work, take care of other things in the morning, afterwork etc. So for those of us who are Wolfes (going to bed around 12AM, waking up around 7:30-9AM) the deep or creative work will be the most efficient around 12-2PM. On the other hand, for those of us who are Lions (going to bed around 10PM, waking up around 6-7AM) the highest efficiency will be around 8AM-12PM. You can read more about where you land on the scale in this article. Regarding that, the idea of working on the biggest task first thing in the morning is not applicable or healthy for everyone. For some of us it’ll work, for some of us it’ll be the worse thing you can do. Check which type you are and decide what can you do differently to live more in harmony with your natural cycle. Maybe it’s just one little thing, like scheduling time for deep work in the different time during the day? 4. Multitasking is a good way of getting done more faster Several years back, multitasking was a skill listed in the job advertisements as a requirement of a good candidate. Doing more than one thing at the same time appeared as a “competence of the future” and was a real thing that employers was looking for regarding increasing number of tasks in the workplace. Nowadays we should be smarter about it, since we have more research that tells us that there is no such thing as multitasking. It’s impossible to do two things at the same time, we can only switch between the tasks, sometimes really quickly. But each time we get distracted, we lose focus, and we need more and more time to get back to where we were a minute ago. So in a consequence of that, we think we save some time and do things faster, but

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Self-Development

Do you want to boost your career? 3 easy ways to make a change

We talk a lot about the changes we want to make in our lives, relations, career. We share with others our dreams, goals and visions about how we would like our live to look. And yet, 80% of the cases stop at this stage – talking, dreaming and not taking any action to actually change something. Why? Because we don’t like changes. We don’t like to feel uncomfortable, or to make decisions that put our current situation at work at risk. Even if it’s not perfect, even if it’s frustrating and we are not happy. “Better known enemy than unknown friend”, they say. So we stick to the job we don’t enjoy, years are passing through while we still wish for the best, crossing our fingers under the table (maybe next year will be better?). And what happens? Nothing changes. And we are upset, disappointed and miserable that we didn’t get different income from the same behavior. So today, let’s do something about it in a simple, easy way. These are 3 things you can do to make an actual change in your career that will boost your energy level, bring back your passion and high level of internal motivation. Interested? 1. Choose one small habit that can improve your life and career. A success, whatever it means to each of us is a sum of many small decisions, habits, choices, people who helped or supported us, opportunities we took and investments we made. We see successful people and we often think that they are so extraordinary, special, talented, rich. And there is no such thing. Each of those people worked and worked, and worked, they’ve spent tremendous number of hours on learning, making mistakes, trying again, building a decision-making muscle and succeed at the end of the day. And every person on the planet can do the same thing. Everything starts with one, small thing, a habit that improves our life in overall, and a career as a side effect at the very beginning. Choose one thing you would like to do that you don’t do today. Remember to keep it very small, extremely simple. You can use some of those or create your own example. The important thing here is that this new habit needs to be linked to the existing one, that you already have. So for example if you get up every day at 6:00AM, you can sit at bed for 5 minutes and meditate before you start your day. If you drink a cup of coffee with your breakfast, read 5 pages of a chosen book (it can be anything you want) while drinking it. If you take a shower every morning, before your water is warm enough, do 5 pushups. Better habits mean better health, better health means better energy and better energy means better decisions about your life and career. 2. Cut one thing from your career that drives you crazy. We all have things we don’t like or don’t want to do. Always was, always will be that way. But the ratio should be 80/20 – 80% of the things at work that are inspiring, interesting or developmental and 20% of those that are not really amusing, but we know that they need to be done. If it’s the other way around, there is a straight way to the burnout zone, and we need to quickly do something about it to avoid feeling this way. Try to pick one thing that drives you crazy at work. It can be one task, one project, one report or even one person that notoriously exceeds your boundaries. You can use Influence Matrix to see where it lands regarding influence and importance level. Can you pass it to someone else, maybe delegate if you are a manager? Can you let it go, since it is really not important at all and “it has always been done this way”, so you’ve been doing it? Can you talk to your manager so the task may be transformed somehow? Can you set your boundaries better? Think about one thing that bothers you the most and about the way you can cut it. It’ll give you less negative energy, frustration and will make space for better energy, more potential and enthusiasm or more positive people with a good influence. 3. Find one person with an extraordinary career to follow. A great inspiration is something that can move us forward, to give us a boost of internal motivation, to create a space for our brain to think and act bigger, to have more courage. Sometimes it’s right there – we have those people at work, great managers, colleagues, mentors. Sometimes those people are in our private lives – our friends, family members or mentors from the outside (i.e. local communities). But quite often we live and work in less inspiring environment, so we need to find it on our own somewhere else. Find one person who can be an inspiration for you. It can be somebody from your work or home, it can be somebody you don’t know, and you’ll never have a chance to meet. It doesn’t matter. You can start with a book of this person, a podcast, an interview or an article. Use one of the examples  here and here or ask your colleagues or friends who is inspiring for them and use it as you seem it fit to your current situation. See what you can apply to your life and career, connect it with the point 1 of this article. Sometimes this first spark means more than anything else. The bottom line Simplifying, making things easier, in a faster way, yet impactful. That’s something we all can use more. Focusing on that can bring us a lot of good, positive energy that will transform our actions into the value we give ourselves or others. Choose one thing you can do for yourself, starting today, add to it cutting one thing that you are going to

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Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analyst’s Story: Drivers

I’ve started to talk about drivers in one the previous articles created to address the issue of saying “no” to things in order to get our time back. Just one out of five drivers that are a part of Transactional Analysis was covered then, and today we’ll have all of them to see, what they are about and where you can use the knowledge about it to life a better life. Regarding TA there are 5 Drivers: Be Strong, Be Perfect, Please People, Try Hard and Hurry Up. Each of those has its own characteristics and roots, as well as the ways they can do us harm or support us as a source of potential and skills. Today we are going to dig deeper to get to know how we can use them as allies, instead of treating them as enemies. What are Drivers? Drivers are orders that we give ourselves. These are messages like “you should…”, “you must…” or “you be like…” that often take on a character of a compulsory principle pushing us to do a certain action. Drivers have roots in our childhood, they are mostly based on what we’ve heard from our parents or others who raised us, unconsciously taken as a proper way to behave to get recognition. There are 5 Drivers. Each person can live with all of them, but most of us has 1-2 main ones that become our dominant behavior, a reaction to a certain stimuli, context or situation. Read all 5 short descriptions below and see which one is telling the most truth about yourself. Each driver can be an order that pushes us to do things in a certain way, mostly making a negative outcome. But we can also use drivers as “work styles”. In that case we decide, consciously, how to take advantage of their potential and treat them as a source of talent, strength and skills. To be the owner, not the victim. Driver no. 1: Be Strong Be Strong is when we don’t like to admit that we don’t know something. We rather don’t ask for help or opinion of others, since it might look like we are weak, or not able to deal with something. Be Strong is very critical of yourself and others, often says: “I can handle it”, even when they know it’s not true. They spend a lot of time on finding proper data, answers or information, instead of asking somebody, because of the fear of being judged as incompetent or not good enough. When “Be Strong” is a work style? People with strong “Be Strong” are reliable, trustworthy, very skilled. They are great when working under pressure, they are dealing amazingly well with highly stressful, demanding situations. They are persistent, focused and they don’t give up. These are great qualities when we put them that way. Use them to be a strong, skilled partner, to have a seat at the table. Be Strong can help us to achieve extraordinary things, to grow every day, to look for new solutions or ideas and actually implement them. Be Strong with your goals, plans and things you want to do and learn. Follow this path with persistence and you’ll quickly see the results. Driver no. 2: Be Perfect Be Perfect is when we only accept perfection in actions, results, products regarding ourselves and others as well. When we do something, it’s all or nothing – every different result is not good enough. We constantly strive for perfection, without tolerating the slightest flaws, since those are the signs of weakness. Without careful preparation, we can not start a task at all, and once we do, we will do it for as long as it’s needed to be perfect. Based on that, it’s hard to meet the deadlines for us, so we are not as efficient as we should be at the end of the day. We also have the highest standards so it’s often very hard to delegate tasks, since we don’t believe in other peoples’ capabilities to do it like we would do it – perfect. When “Be Perfect” is a work style? People with strong “Be Perfect” have the highest standards and quality of their work. They predict different scenarios, and they are prepared for the worse. They are focused on delivering the best result possible and they’ll do everything to keep it that way. Use it to be concentrated on what really matters, on not wasting time on things without a certain level of importance or influence. Be the best version of yourself and deliver great value. Add to it a little touch of being Ok-Ok with not finishing everything perfect. Set yourself a goal that you’ll let go 20% of the things that are not super important, and the rest 80% of what you’re doing will be “perfect” (whatever perfect means to you). You can use the Influence Matrix and focus of the top right quadrant. Letting go is an important part of using “Be Perfect” to serve us, not the other way around. Driver no. 3: Please People Please People is when we put the needs of others ahead of our owns. If somebody is asking us for help, we quit what we’re doing at the moment, and we start supporting them. We often cover other peoples’ work, sometimes even without asking if anyone needs it. We want to avoid hurting people by being unhelpful, we are not saying directly when something is not fine with us, we don’t question the necessity or urgency of doing something. We don’t set boundaries to protect ourselves, because we are afraid of stop being likable or supportive as a person. We work long hours, are exhausted, frustrated and tired of being pushed all the time. When “Please People” is a work style? People with strong “Please People” are amazing when it comes to building trust, relations and atmosphere. They have a high credit of social trust, others like being around them, they have

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Self-Development

What to invest into when the times are tough?

When the times are tough, we often turn on the “survival” mode. Staying low, not making any sudden moves, waiting for the better conditions. We often don’t invest but just take our time, we withdraw with a fear of losing what we already got. Is it smart? What do we lose acting that way? Can we manage the situation differently? Let’s take a look on what we can invest into to use our time the best possible way and protect our future at the same time. Invest in your skills To invest in your skills is always a good way, no matter what is happening in the world, what kind of war or crisis there is out there at the moment. Regarding a lot of studies, we need to be prepared to learn new things, unlearn the old ones and it basically becomes a real competence of future. There is a prediction that 40% of jobs that exist now, will be automated and replaced by technology in less than 10 years. But the same number (or more) of new ones will be created, and it will require different set of competences and abilities to cooperate with technology and other people, that’s for sure. And that’s why we don’t have a luxury to wait until the times will be better to start learning. Create an image of your future self as a professional. Who is this person? What kind of skills and knowledge she/he has? Then go back to the current situation. What do you already know and what do you need to learn? What are 3 the most important things that you want to invest your time and money into in the next 12 months? And what you want to start with? Pick one thing and start acting on it. Today. Remember that you don’t need to necessarily spend tons of money on education if you don’t want or you don’t have it at the moment. These are many low-cost sources of knowledge, the main goal here is to find the proper one that will support you achieving your developmental OKRs. Here are some possibilities: And of course you can add to that list workshops, training programs, certifications, formal education (master, post-graduation studies, MBA etc.) if you have space, capacity and money to invest more in yourself. It is always the best way to spend your money since you invest now to earn more and live better life in the future. Invest in your health We have only one health and one body. If we are not treating it well, it will fail and we’ll be miserable, disabled and we die sooner than later. There are plenty of examples of people over 80 years old, that are champions in sports, checks, sudoku tournaments and so on. You can find them and get inspired, because there are a lot of them, living long and healthy life all over the world. But it’s not a story about them. It’s a story about you, your decisions that you make about your life. Investing in health, mental and physical is one of the most crucial things we need to spend our time on. And yet, we often forget about it, treat our bodies like trash cans, eating badly, sleeping badly, not drinking water, scrolling social media all the time, nourishing our brains with rubbish. It’s not about perfection. We all can eat candy, pizza or having a wine night from time to time. 80/20 rule should be used here – take care of yourself really well 80% of the time, and have this 20% stock on the unexpected, bad moods, pizza Fridays or whatever. Invest in your health by eating fresh ingredients, get rid of candy, processed food and everything that makes you feel bad after having a meal. Drink water, go to bed and wake up approximately the same time every day. Do regular medical checkups, don’t wait until you are sick. Don’t treat your body like you have more than one. Respect it, learn how to listen to its needs and how to respond to them in the best possible way. You will see the changes really quickly. Invest in your relations We are social animals, we like it or not. Regardless our personality type, whether we are more extraverted or more introverted, we all need to be in a group. This group can be a group of 2, can be a group of 1000. Every person needs something different and the beauty of it is that we can actually choose in which relations we want to invest and when. To invest in relations means to intentionally decide to spend quality time with somebody. Either it is a partner, child, parent, friend or a manager, coworker, mentor/coach at work. Relations are everywhere, in each area of our lives. Even when we go to yoga class, we spend time with people, having the same goal – doing a workout to be healthier, stronger or more flexible. Check with yourself, how you spend time with people. Ask those questions to yourself, be honest with the answers. It’s fine that we are not perfect. It’s not possible to be mindful every minute of every day, but it’s all about our priorities. If we want to really invest the most valuable thing we have – time, we need to be wise about it and put the energy where it is really valuable. For us, for our minds, bodies and relations with other people. The bottom line When the times are tough, it’s natural to want to take a step back, to wait for better times, to not risk more than necessary. But with this attitude, we can lose more than we think, so I strongly encourage you to not waste any more time. Invest in yourself, be smarter and healthier every single day. If you do it when the times are hard, imagine what you could do after, when the times are better.

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Productivity

How to start saying “no” to things to get your time back?

In the previous article, I’ve started the story about “I don’t have time” excuse. I got inspired by a structure that we can make around this excuse, and how many areas of our live it might influence, making us thoughtless and unhappy at the end of the day. In this article, we are going to get on the record one of the most difficult and important things there are regarding getting our time back – saying “no” to things. It’s crucial for us, as people, employees, partners, parents or friends to set healthy boundaries, with a good intention to ourselves and the world that is around us. Might seems easy, but believe me that a lot of people are struggling with this every single day. Do you want to know how to do it and don’t feel guilty? How saying “no” to things at work can help? It is a natural instinct that tells us to stay in the group at work, it has its roots in history and biology and it comes from our need to survive and not be eaten by a tiger. So we stick together, and when somebody is asking us for supporting them in their tasks, or give us a task to cover that is totally crushing our plan for the day (especially if this person is our manager or somebody even higher in the hierarchy), we stop doing what we were doing, and jump right into the new assignment. Sounds familiar? We just want other people to like us, we want to be seen as reliable, helpful individuals, and it’s natural. But with what cost? The cost is being behind with our own tasks or projects, working extra hours to fill everything out, feeling frustrated that another day brought the same scenario – we planned everything, and it ended like always. Ruined. I’m not surprised when people who I teach about making a structure around their day to focus their energy on the right things, are saying to me: “Alex, it’s not working for me. I can plan my day, but then my manager/board member/colleague from my team comes to me and give me something that is urgent and what needs to be done ASAP”. And they agree to do it. Because they don’t want to be seen as lazy, not supportive, selfish, inflexible. Setting boundaries at work is a real skill and its goal is to protect our time from other people who wants to get their job done, using our skills, readiness to help and ability to do things efficiently and effectively. If somebody comes to you or sends you something that requires an investment of your time and focus (even if it’s just 5 minutes), take a step back before you dive into doing it. Ask yourself: “Is it my job to do it? Is it that important for the organization that I should resign from what I do and do this instead? Is it that urgent that I should do it now?”. You can use your own examples, but remember to always stay in OK-OK position, with a good intention. What people are most afraid of is if they start setting the boundaries and protect themselves, other people will stop liking them, or coming to them when they need help. It’s not true. Keeping the good intention, clear communication about the division of responsibilities and clear timeline is a main key to avoid conflicts, misunderstanding and to build equality in treating each other’s time and skills. How saying “no” to things at home can help? It’s different from country to country, from culture to culture how we are functioning at our homes. In some cultures, with more patriarchal touch, traditional, conservative way of living is when women are staying at home, raising children and taking care of everything what’s connected to the “house”, without ever saying “no” to anything. They also take care of older members of the family, while men are supposed to earn money and bring it to them. Nowadays it’s changing, but – taking as an example Poland, my country of birth and living at the moment, the beliefs and convictions about the “classical” roles of men and women in the society are really deeply rooted. And based on that, we often have beliefs and convictions in our heads about what we SHOULD do or who SHOULD we be in a certain context. It is connected to the conservative and post conservative thinking mindset, but even if we are in post conservative stage, we often have strong second thoughts about how we should set boundaries at our homes. And statistically, more of those tasks are on the women’s shoulders, so we have more troubles with saying “no” to things, not agreeing to do something what should be “natural” to us. But it’s not about what we SHOULD do. It’s about what we want to do, and what we want to share with others, as we live together, and maybe what to withdraw completely to not thinking about it and focus on that really matter to us. Make a list of things that you do at home at the moment. It can be connected to the cleaning, cooking, shopping for groceries, taking care of pets or kids. You name it, it’s your list. Ask people in your house to do the same things, include the children if you want. If you live alone, do it as well. Then, underline those things that are crucial to you, that are the closest to your heart and you would never let them go. See what is left on the list. Decide what to do with those items – how to share responsibilities with other people in your house or maybe take someone from the outside to help, if you can afford it? What I’m sure you cannot afford is to do everything on your own and not ask for support. I know asking for help for some of us is

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Productivity

Do you want to spend your time better? Use OKRs.

I can risk a statement that most of us would like to spend time better. Be more focused, less distracted by the endless notifications on our phones or computers, countless e-mails and messages, other peoples’ needs and asks. To be more efficient and more effective – professionally and privately. What OKRs have to do with that? OKRs are one of the best time/performance management tools that I know, use and teach. Today I would like to share that knowledge with you. It’s all about using our time wisely, on things that really matter and to measure the outcome, so we know that this energy is well-spend. Let’s begin and know more about this creature. What are OKRs? OKRs are Objectives and Key Results. Objectives are answering the question: “What I would like to do/achieve?”. Key Results are answering the question: “How I am going to measure my success?” or “When will I know that I’ve achieved what I wanted?”. Basically, it’s a really simple tool that supports us in focusing on the right things and giving us evidence that we constantly achieving what we aim for. OKRs have several elements that are important to know for better understanding the whole idea before we move into the creation part. Here are 3 of them, the most crucial from my perspective: Bored Zone is when you are bored to death with your work. You do the same tasks all the time, answering the same questions every single day, solving the same problems. Don’t get me wrong – for some people it’s fine and they like to have structure and safety. But for some, it’s a straight way to feel burned out, bored all the time and loose their efficiency. Comfort Zone is the most well-known one I think, thanks to this sentence: “you need to go outside of your comfort zone to achieve something”. True, but it’s not the whole story about this one. In the Comfort Zone we are Subject Matter Experts, we feel competent and comfortable in our scope of responsibilities, expertise or skills. We can work efficiently, without wasting time on things that are not in our area of expertise. Staying all the time in this one is not developmental, since we only use the knowledge that we already have and not learning anything new. Stretch Zone is where the growth magic happens. When we stretch, we need to take an uncomfortable action from time to time, to learn new things, to grow, to meet new people. We are using our existing skills and we build new ones on them, to achieve different, extraordinary things. It requires courage, investing time to learn and keep attention on something new, but it’s worth the effort, since it is the place where we can actually grow and change our lives. Burnout Zone is when we are in the Stretch or Bored Zone for too long. It can happen when we have a really monotonous work or when we have too much on our plate. We feel constantly overstressed, frustrated, tired – it can be different for all of us. We are not efficient, we can’t focus and sometimes we even can go into depression or other mental health issues, especially being here longer. And it can have a huge impact on our health. From my experience, I would advice you to maneuver between Comfort and Stretch Zone – it’s the best configuration, taking into consideration the risk of going to far to the Burnout Zone and to not fall into the Bored Zone. Try to define what is comfort and what is stretch for you and move between those two to check how it work. How can we use OKRs professionally? OKRs are great if we use them well. The key is to understand that they cannot be business as usual tasks – since we need to stretch ourselves to achieve them. What’s the most important that Key Results are most of the time not actions that you are going to take. They are measurements that you use to see if you’re achieving your goals or not. Let me give you some examples to visualize the whole thing. Objective 1: Grow my skillset from Specialist to Expert by the end of Q1 2023. Key Results 1: Objective 2: Improve managerial skills by the end of Q4 2022. Key Results 2: The Objectives can be big, should be ambitious. They can stay the same from quarter to quarter, we can only change the Key Results, to be applicable to the specific, individual situation. As included in the examples, measurements are here to support us with making sure that we are staying on the right track. Sometimes there are 0/1 situations (either I do something, or not), but I encourage you to find concrete numbers, indicators that will be influenced by your specific actions. Once you have your goals and the specific results that you want to achieve, you can make a plan of activities that will allow you to gain what you want or need. How can we use OKRs personally? Professional area is more intuitive for us to use, since OKRs were made to support the business in tech world and might seem easier to use at work. But there are super useful not only in organizational area, but also in every other aspect of our life. How can we use them? Let me give you some examples. Objective 3: Become the healthiest possible version on myself by the end of Q4 2023. Key Results 3: Objective 4: Become an early riser by the end of Q1 2023. Key Results 4: As you can see – some of those Key Results are actions, some of them are clear measurements and we need to figure out what kind of activities we should take to reach them. Create a mixed list of Key Results will be the best option and I really encourage you to check if they are diverse, before moving to

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Productivity

How to kill “I don’t have time” excuse?

A couple weeks ago, my dear friend told me that she sees that there is one common thing in my Instagram posts and articles that I create: a subject of wasting time. And it dawned on me that it is so true. One of the most things that I hate the most on this planet is wasted time AND the excuse that a lot of people use that they don’t have time. To do something with their lives, their careers, their development. To read. Or to give their parents a 5-minute call. We are so busy that we forget what’s really important. We focus on wrong things, instead of spend energy on those that actually matter. The question is, what you can say “no” to, to get your time back? When we say “I don’t have time” excuse at work Do you ever feel that you spend a really busy day (or week), you participated in several different meetings, answered countless e-mails and other messages, covered some tasks from your to-do list, but at the end of the day (or week) you can’t tell that you have actually done something? That you’ve created any value? It’s happening when people are “busy” and not “productive”. We can be busy and not create anything important. And it really doesn’t matter if we work in a creative space or not. Each job should have a space where we can create a value, something that really matters. If it’s not your current job, maybe it’s time for you to think about reskilling/upskilling yourself and find another place where you’ll have this opportunity. “I don’t have time” excuse at work is when we are busy, often spending time on little things, procrastinating bigger ones, those that can actually brings value to other people in the organization, clients, the company itself, the environment. We think that we covered so much, because we were busy the whole day, but did we really? The solution for that is to have a structure around your workday. Make a list of the tasks that you want to cover within the day (or a week). Divide them into two categories: big ones and small ones. Choose 1-2 big ones and 3-4 small ones from the list. Make baby steps – if you choose too many, you are going to procrastinate the whole thing, and nothing will get done. Always start with big ones. It’ll give you more motivation to keep going when you’ll see actual results of your work. Then move to the next one. Don’t check your e-mail inbox every minute. Turn off notifications, check it only 2-3 times a day. Create a space in your calendar for “deep work”, let’s say the first 2 hours of your workday. It will allow you to get things done, before meetings, training sessions, calls, 1:1s, e-mails etc. You can find more about this approach in a book “Deep Work” by Cal Newport (I wrote about slots for deep work HERE as well). Which tasks, e-mails, asks from other people you can say “no” to, to get some of your work time back? When we say “I don’t have time” excuse in professional development Working in learning & development area, or in HR in overall for years now, showed me that when people get stuck with their careers, they use the I-don’t-have-time excuse a lot. They have no opportunities to grow in the organization. There is nothing new for them to learn. They don’t know what to do with themselves. And when I ask the question: “What you actually want to do with your career?” the most common answer is: “Oh, I don’t know. Develop me.”. It’s amazing how people’s brain works, and how often we just let some of our areas of life go, because we just don’t want to take any uncomfortable action, we just making excuse after excuse. We live in a bored zone or comfort zone for years, keep saying that we don’t have time to read, to take a course, to start a business, to listen to a podcast. That’s crazy, taking into consideration how many hours per week we spend on Netflix or other platform watching movies and series. Don’t get me wrong, I watch things too and I love it. But I am mindful about my time, and I use it wisely, taking care of a balance between each area in my life. Create a structure around your professional development. What kind of healthy habits for your brain you would like to build? Make a list. Choose an app that’s going to support you in building those habits (I use Habitica at the moment and I love it). Make some of them daily, some of them weekly habits. Make it a challenge, but not too much – remember that when we want to build habits, we need to take baby steps to convince our brain that it’s worth the effort. Check in settings how much time do you spend daily using your phone. And how much of it you can cut and spend it for reading for instance? Which bad habits, ways of spending (or wasting) your day you can say “no” to, to get some of your after (or before) work time back? When we say “I don’t have time” excuse in health When we say “I don’t have time” excuse to the things that are important to keep us in a good health and shape as long as it’s possible, we wake up one day and it’s too late. We have cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure or high cholesterol level, diabetes, obesity – you name it. We can’t climb couple of steps without a pause or two somewhere in between. And we are only in our 30s or 40s. Sitting all day every day is not helpful. It wasn’t even an issue for our parents, and for us it is a huge one. And it influences not only our physical health, but also

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Self-Development

Can we live simple lives?

We live in a time when we have an infinite access to almost everything with one simple click. Of course it depends where you are on the planet, how much money you have and how strong and stable your internet connection is. But yet, we note one of the highest rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness ever. Why is that happening?Because it is too much. Our lives are too complex. We have too many roles to play, too many tasks on our task lists (professional and personal ones) to cover. We need to be perfect in every single area of our lives. We want to have everything, so we work 60 hours per week, and then we are so tired that we don’t have strengths to get up from bed on Saturday morning and spend quality time with our families, friends or on our own. We have too many choices to make, and we are tired of making them all the time. It all sounds pretty tiring. So what can we do about it?   We can make it simpler. Simplify our lives and cut most of the complexity of it, so we can focus on what really matters. How? Let’s find out together. Why we make simple things complicated? It’s easier to add more things to something, than to simplify it. We have so much information to process in our brains every day, countless tasks, decisions to make, projects to finish. It’s a never-ending story. We make things more complicated because we are afraid of the simplicity. We are scared that simple will be worse, less meaningful, weaker. We say that we are so busy, doing more and more and more to not have to confront ourselves with our real thoughts, emotions, needs. To not need to answer hard questions. It is really visible when we think about really busy people at work (they say they busy all the time, no matter if it’s true or not). They are at the meetings all the time. Full calendars, week after week. So busy. But, when we ask them a question: “okay, you are busy, but what kind of value do you bring to the table?” it really often appears that those people bring no value. Don’t create anything, any product, innovation, service, process. Just being busy. And the truth is, “busyness” is not a value or a quality, it’s just a mask. To feel protected, important, needed. The other example can be from home. Let’s say I’m a single mother. I want to be a great mom, employee, friend, daughter, I include myself to organize school picnics, redecorate house. And why I do that to myself when it’s a job for at least 5 people? Because I don’t want to think about my real emotions. That I’m lonely. Exhausted. That I just want one day alone, in silence, with a book and a cup of coffee. Or I just want to prove other people that I can do it all. Prove what? To what people? And why? That’s what we do as humans – we complicate simple things to not confront with reality, because it’s scary, might be painful, might be hard. Sometimes we complicate things because we don’t have competences, skills to deal with the essence of the real issue. And our ego won’t allow us to say it out loud, because IT’S SO UNPROFESSIONAL to admit that we don’t know something. THAT WE NEED TO BE STRONG. That way we start running on and on in circles, without any chance to stop. How to change that? What elements of our lives can be simple again? To start simplifying our lives, we need to choose what actually we want to change and WHY. What kind of value it will bring? And what to choose to make the best of it? I would say every single element of our live can be simple again, but it might be an exaggeration for some of you. Let’s make a list of examples then. And many more. You can use your own examples that you think are important in your context, individual situation that you are at right now. Make things simple to improve your life, not somebody else’s. How to create simple without losing value? As you can see above, simplicity is not a story about losing a value of life. It is about creating different value, focusing energy on right things, instead of doing everything and burn ourselves out on constant want to have more. It is about choosing the right things, that give us the best possible outcome. It’s about being smarter about our time since it’s not infinite. If you are afraid of losing value when you simplify your life, think if this fear is real. Is it your fear, or is it just a social conviction or a belief that somebody put into our heads years ago? The belief: “I need to be busy to be valuable” is a strong one. But it’s not true. Busyness often is just an excuse to do meaningless things, instead of doing what’s really important. Do what’s important, choose it consciously, don’t let life just to happen to you. The bottom line Endless possibilities, endless choices. Wasn’t it what we all always wanted? It appears that it only makes things harder, instead of making it easier. To stop this vicious circle, we need to make better decisions. About what we spend time on, how we structure our day, what we eat, how we build our relationships. We need to spend our time well, doing what serves us, not what hurts us. If you think that’s hard, imagine that yourself on a quiet, sandy beach. You don’t need to do anything. You can choose whatever you want right now. What would you choose? These are the things that you should start from – if they came to your mind, they are really important. Start from there and keep it simple to get

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Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analyst’s Story: The Hungers

We all know physical hunger. Because it is one of the basic human needs, when we are hungry, we can’t think straight, we are less efficient, we can’t focus on what other people say to us. It’s natural from evolutionary point of view, since what all our ancestors needed centuries ago was to survive and get food – to feed that kind of hungers. But we can also be psychologically hungry. It’s different type of hunger, sometimes we don’t even realize it until we name it, because it sits somewhere deep in our brain and body, whispering to our inner selves from time to time. Continuing our path on Transactional Analysis’ tools and parts of the framework, today I would like to introduce to you a concept of Eric Berne’s Hungers that all of us have. We are going to answer the question what these hungers are, how to feed them and what happens to us when we are “hungry”. Let’s go and find out what it is all about. What are Eric Berne’s Hungers? Eric Berne, as a father of Transactional Analysis, thought about three hungers that all people have, regardless of their background, age, color of skin, country they live or company they work for at the moment: Recognition, Structure and Stimulus. Recognition Hunger. As human beings we need to be seen and acknowledge as important parts of the ecosystem we live and work in. It builds our sense of identity as we know that our existence matters and gives value to other people. A mindful “Thank you” can be the easiest way to show somebody that she/he is noticed. Structure Hunger. We all know that we have a certain amount of time to live our lives and we want it to be meaningful. We find comfort in the regularity of the events, of celebration days from birthdays to New Year’s. We worry about wasting time and worry about not having enough time. We plan and want to know what is going to happen, and when. We also want to have space in which we can be relaxed and less ordered, though we often still want to organize this space. Stimulus Hunger. Stimulation can be physical or intellectual, it really depends on our needs and the way our individual nervous system is built, hence how we should or want to be stimulated. Stimulus Hunger is about having something new, experiencing and feeling a thing that affects us, and it really can be anything. Starting from a new task, job, hobby or habit, going through an interesting book or workshop, to inspiring conversation with another person. What is really important that all those 3 hungers always make 100%. It depends on a person how strong a certain need is, based on individual preferences. One person can have a ratio 30%-30%-40% (recognition-structure-stimulus), another 10%-60%-30% (recognition-structure-stimulus) and that’s perfectly fine. There is no questionnaire to measure it (maybe it should be one though), we need to estimate for ourselves how this ratio looks like for us. It is a first step to build self-awareness and doing something to improve our live. What’s happening when we are “hungry”? There is a term connected to this topic named “frustrated hungers” (it starts to look like those hungers are actual human beings). Frustrated hungers are when we know that we have a strong hunger for structure (for instance), and we work in a company when there is a huge mess. Or when we have a strong hunger for stimulus, and we live with a person who wants to go on vacation to the same place every single year. When we are “hungry” we cannot focus, we miss opportunities that live gives us, we cannot concentrate on a single thing. We are less efficient, less innovative, sometimes we don’t have an energy to get up from bed, because “WHAT’S THE POINT? My life suck anyways, so I don’t need to bother cleaning my teeth”. We can get depressed, push people away, we don’t work well. Or we can get angry, mad on the world that is around us or certain people who (in our opinion) are responsible for the current situation. Both ways, it’s not healthy (physically or psychologically), it has a huge negative impact on our general well-being and on how we use our potential. With frustrated hungers our potential is blocked, asleep somewhere under all those emotions and thoughts. We waste time that we can spend on something meaningful, creative or what gives value to other people. What can we do to “feed the hungers”? First thing that we need to do is to define what is the source of our frustration. Which of those hungers we need to feed? Can we do it at work or at home? Or somewhere else? The next thing is answering the question: “Who can support me in this?”. Can I do anything on my own to improve the situation? If not, who is around and have an influence on the current state of things? What can we do together to decrease the frustration? If it’s recognition area, maybe I can get more feedback from my manager or people in my team? Maybe I don’t have enough “thank you” for my hard work? I can tell my manager about it, let’s see what we can do together to change that. If it’s structure area, maybe I struggle with getting organized? What can I do to structure my day better? Do I schedule “deep work” time to cover the most important things without interruption? Maybe the processes in my organization don’t work very well – do I have any influence on that? Whom can I talk to for providing some ideas to change it? If it’s a stimulus area, maybe I have monotonous days, every single one is 90% the same as the one before. What can I do to change it? Maybe I can take some new responsibilities at work, a work with new people in a different

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Self-Development

How to become the best version of yourself?

We all have idols. People who we admire, out loud and/or in hiding. They can be our role models in different areas of life – perfect businessperson, entrepreneur, manager, expert, parent, partner, singer, actor, photographer, you name it. A lot of us want to be perfect in every role we have in our lives, even when we know that it is not possible. The best possible version. What if I told you that it is possible? But in a different way. We all can be the best version of ourselves in all the roles that we have at the moment. What does it mean? And how to achieve it? Let’s dig deeper and find out together. What is this best version actually? The best version of yourself is the person that you want, and you can be. The beauty of it is that YOU define who is this person by yourself. Not the society, culture, country, your parents, other people WHO KNOW BETTER. You. Because you live this life, not anybody else. And you should know what is the best for you and how you want to live this life. There are two types of mindsets that influence this subject. And there are not strictly connected to religion, sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t. The first one is conservative mindset. This one is all about keeping the status quo. Taking for granted everything that we have been taught: our role in society as men and women, our role in society as children (boys and girls separately), adolescents, adults and elderly people. The cycle of life (school, work, marriage, kids, sickness, death) or the beliefs we have about the position certain elements in life (how we should treat certain things, with what kind of priority they should have): family, work, country, church, house etc. It means that we live certain values, priorities that were given to us, until the end. It’s easier for most people, we don’t need to think about it, because it’s there. We don’t need to create anything new, since it’s all already there. It is what it is, no need to discuss it. The second one is post conservative mindset. This is the place for people who have been in conservative space, took what they needed or wanted to take from it, and move further. They challenge the status quo, don’t agree to what is given, but looking for the best shape of reality that fits them, individually or as a group of people. They want something more from life, don’t want to spend their lives because somebody told them to do it in a certain way. It is harder, since we need to go way beyond our comfort zone to reach out for what’s over there, and we don’t actually know what we’re going to discover. But it’s worth the risk, sometimes a person discovers something, sometimes not – and that’s perfectly fine. It is all about living lifelong learning value: try, fail, make conclusions from it and move forward. To be the best possible version of yourself you can be in both stages. It all depends on what “best version” means to you, individually. Though, I am a huge avocat of the post conservative mindset, since I can see how much more we can do when we challenge ourselves, ask hard questions, reach for more. Again, depends on what “more” means to every single one of us. What to focus on to become this best version? We can really use the structure of process thinking to become the best version of ourselves. These are the steps that can help you in making a plan to achieve what you want. What to avoid to not waste time? We all need time to rest. To reset our brains, to watch a less ambitious movie or make fun of cute cats on Instagram. But there is a line between a need to have a little break and wasting time. When I know that I’m wasting time? When I do something repetitively, every day and it’s not giving me any value (i.e. scrolling social media). When I get distracted all the time, since people ask me to do several things at the same time, and I can’t focus on one thing. When I spend time with people who are energy vampires, and not creating any value to my life, often only whining about the world and other people. So what can we do to avoid it and not wasting time? Cut it. Set healthy boundaries, protect ourselves and our time. If you do it right, it’s not rude or selfish (it can be seen that way at first though since people around you are not familiar with that kind of reaction; but no worries, they’ll get used to it). That’s the way of taking care of yourself, to be better in what you do, more efficient, more satisfied, healthier. Spend time on things that really matter, that get you closer to achieving your goals. Cut everything else, especially if it’s not helpful at all. You will see the difference really quickly. The bottom line To become the best version of yourself you need to make a choice. Now. Who I want to be? What is the best version of myself? What do I need to achieve that? What I need to sacrifice to achieve that? Yes, sacrifice is necessary if we really want to change something. We should replace bad habits with good ones, bad people with good one. Only then our life will be full, happy, healthy and meaningful. Isn’t it a thing that we all want at the end?

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Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analyst’s Story: Contracting

As a huge advocate of Transactional Analysis (TA) as a concept, I am going to start sharing tools or elements from it in an easy and understandable way, since I believe that every person can use it. And you don’t have to necessarily be a psychologist to use it, especially for using contracting, which is a subject of today’s article. TA as a theory was developed by Eric Berne in 1950s. It was purely a method of psychotherapy back then, but really quickly people realized that it can be used in educational and organizational context as well. I use it for my personal development, but also in the organizations that I support, while I teach mostly managers how to be smarter, understand their people better and to know more about why and when employees react in a certain way. The first tool that I found particularly useful was contracting. I teach it while I can and to whom I can because I see how much it can change relations, ways of communication or the way we are working within a team, when we are more mindful about the structure of how we talk to each other. It prevents people from guessing, wasting time on finding the right person or the right information and playing psychological games. In this article I’ll give you basics about the tool and I’ll answer on a question WHY you should use it. Let’s get started then. What is contracting regarding Eric Berne? Levels of contract Contracting is a tool. It can have different value for every person that uses it, since all of us have different needs, thinking preferences, personality and environment that we grew in or live and work in right now. A contract is an agreement between two (or more) sides, in which each party agrees to do a specific thing. Pretty similar to a regular definition of a contract, i.e. while we are signing a contract of employment, we agree to do a certain task list and the organization agrees to pay us a certain amount of money in exchange for it. But contracting regarding Berne is something more than just a transaction. It has more layers, there are more details underneath the surface which will have an influence on a person in the future. Berne says there are 3 basic layers of a good contract: administrative, professional and psychological. All 3 need to be covered if we want to talk about a proper contract. Let’s use the example of a new employee in the team to make it clearer. On an administrative level we are going to give new employee a contract of employment, information about payroll cycle, bonus system, benefits, working hours, procedures that are valid in this particular organization. Basically, all details that a new employee should know to start a job. On a professional level we are going to give this new employee ways of working, scope of responsibilities and decision making that she/he can do on their own on their position. Goals, objectives and KPIs, ways and tools of communication, ways and frequency of reporting, as well as 1:1 and team meetings. On a psychological level we are going to talk about expectations of both sides, needs, past experiences (good or bad) with a decision what to keep, and what to cut from current cooperation. This is the space where we talk about motivation, values and all the thigs that are important while thinking about comfort and efficiency of work. First two layers are quite simple, intuitive and most of us cover them, more or less. The last one might seem the most difficult, since we need more insight, coaching skills, we need to listen and be open to other person to do it properly. It can be hard, sometimes people don’t want to talk about it, but it is crucial to take it into consideration. Without that we will be relying on guesses and beliefs, instead of facts and real needs that this new person has. What are the rules of a good contract? When we think about contracting, there are few elements that we need to take care of every time. If we cover all of those, the contract will be fully transparent, have a good intention and an aim to create a value for engaged parties and/or for somebody else as a result of common work. Where can I use contracting? Contracts can be used practically everywhere, that’s the magic of them. This is a really universal tool, and it depends on our individual needs where we want to start trying them out. The areas of usage can be either personal or professional, here are few examples: As you can see there are many opportunities, in endless contexts where we can use contracting. The essence of it (besides the elements that were already covered) is: This is a tool for us, not we are here for the tool. It should support us with having clear, transparent communication and structure around what we do, how and when. The bottom line I don’t like to waste my time. I think that it’s too valuable and I don’t have a luxury to spend it on the things that can be done better, faster, simpler or with less energy. Contracting is a tool that can help us to have better, more clear and transparent communication, prevent us from playing psychological games, privately and professionally. It is here for us to stop guessing and start mindfully talk to each other and set together what needs to be done. It is a life changer. Try it and teach others to do the same. The world is going to be a better place thanks to that. Do you want to know more about TA? Stay tuned for more articles here, visit my Instagram or check out official TA Association.

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Self-Development

10 things that can change your life

There are thousands of articles, books, podcasts and YT videos in the subject: “how to change your life”. A lot of them have its ultimate goal to magically change everything, starting with losing a lot of extra weight, through finding a perfect partner, to having a perfect job. And ideally all of those things should happen overnight. But we are adults, and even if we love good stories with a happy ending, those things never happen just like that. All we can do is to work on them to happen. Make conscious decisions about using our time, spending it well – regardless of what “well” means to each of us. In this article I would like to share 10 things that works for me in making my life better every single day. What makes me feel that I spend my time well, that I choose what serves me the best and what helps to have this though in my head at the end of the day: “yes, it was a good day”. 1. Getting up at 6AM every day First live changer from my list. Getting up at 6AM every single day, not sleeping off on the weekends made my day better structured than before. I discovered that 5AM club is too early for me, and I’ve decided to try 6AM and it appeared perfect. I never had problems with getting up early, but I missed the regularity and I needed to change that. After making this change, I found out how many things I can do before starting my business day and it is beautiful. Yes, it can be harder in the fall and winter, when the days are short and many hours during the day is dark or gray outside (it sure is in Poland), but it is worth it. When you are wondering if this is something you can do, think about one thing that you always say you don’t have time for? This is the thing that you can do when you get up earlier. It doesn’t necessarily be 6AM – it can be 5AM, 5:30AM or 7:30AM. It all depends on your life, all the things that you need to do  during the day, so it’s your choice. Try 15 minutes earlier than usually for a start. And do it every day, sleeping off on the weekends it the worst thing you can do to your body, because you don’t give yourself a chance to regulate your day cycle. 2. Morning workout and meditation Since I work with different time zones in my job and I have naturally more energy in the morning than in the evening, I do as many things as I can in the first half of my day. I built a habit of 5-minute meditation by sticking it to my morning workout, which was already there. You can read more about building good habits by sticking them together in a great book by Charles Duhigg “The Power of Habit”. I do six workouts every week, with one rest day somewhere in between, depends on the weather and other plans I have. After that I meditate for 5 minutes – it is the maximum time that I can focus on my brain for now. It gives me power and energy for the rest of the day, and I don’t need to worry about this area after a hard workday when I need to rest. 3. Short journaling with 2 gains lists I discovered that writing in a journal, even if it’s just one page per day, give me a structure that I need for my thoughts or experiences from the previous day. And I added additional thing after reading a great book by Ben Hardy and Dan Sullivan  “The Gap and The Gain”. The exercise is really simple. Make a list of gains from yesterday. Write down all the things that you achieved, even if it’s something super small, like reading 5 pages of a book, waking up 15 minutes earlier than usually or taking your vitamins. Every single thing matters. Recognize yourself for everything you do every day. Then make a list of 3 gains that you would like to achieve today. It can be connected to all areas of your life: mental, physical, digital or financial well-being, relations, work, professional development etc. Choose 3 things, no more, no less, and focus on achieving them – you’ll check the accomplishments with yourself the next morning. You can also do this in the evening (the authors are talking about evenings, after finishing the current day and before starting the next one in the morning), but mornings are just working better for me. Choose by yourself, spend 5 minutes on that – it will be worth it. 4. Having daily / weekly / monthly / yearly goals I am a really structured person. I love making plans, paths how to get to the goals, and I hate when people are messy and indecisive. I discovered in another Ben Hardy’s book “Being Your Future Self Now” the idea of having 5-year goals, when you choose 3 areas of your life or 3 elements you would like to achieve and you do everything to get to them. I connected it with my daily goals (gains) and I use the monthly list of experiences (the idea of a Polish author Edyta Zajac – you can find her work in PL HERE) for years now and it works brilliantly for me. So I connected all the dots and I create different goals for different periods of time, with being mindful about my bigger 5-year goals. That way I make sure that I spend my time wisely, and not wasting it for the things that are not bringing me closer to achieving what I want. By making that change, you can do more with less. 5. Having slots for deep work Being distracted is one of the worst habits of our times. We have millions of information

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Self-Development

Can we worry less? 3 elements to transform your mindset

Does it help when we worry? Let’s be honest, there will always be plenty of things that we can be worried about. We can see it clearly now, probably in one of the brightest lights. What can it be? Our health. Health of our family, friends or other people who we care about. Pandemic. Wars. Financial crisis. Inflation. Increased prices and not so increased salaries. Environmental crisis. Endangered species of animals and plants. Social crisis. Deepening social inequalities. Governments that enact laws that discriminate against certain groups of people. Choose the part of the world where you live right now, and you name it. It can differ regarding where we live, which gender we represent or what color of skin we have. But in overall, we worry a lot nowadays. Does it help when we worry? And who is it helping? I learn through the years that worrying too much can eat me alive. When I saw how much time I spend on being worried, thinking over and over again about those things that, to be honest, mostly I didn’t have any influence on, I’ve decided to stop it. In this article I would like to tell you about 3 things, that helped me in transforming the mindset from being constantly worried to become constantly seeking for solutions. 1. Make a list of your worries. How many of the list above you worry about right now? And what others do you have on your mind? Remember, if it is only in your head, it is harder to manage – since our brains have infinite capacity to think about anything, as long as possible. Make a list of all of your worries that are in your head. Then, you can use the Influence Matrix (I wrote about this tool HERE), or you can just rank them, starting from the one that you think about the most frequently, is the most stressful or has other negative impact on you. The last one on the list should be the one with the smallest impact. Do you see all of them? Good. Now, I know that it’s hard, but you need to cut those that you don’t have any influence on. Can I do anything about the war in Ukraine? No. Can I do anything about global financial situation? Not at all. Can I do anything about local inflation rate? It’s a hard no. Decide on what you have ZERO influence on, and just decide to cut it. I guarantee you that it will free so much energy and space in your brain, that you can be confused about what’s going on at the very beginning. But it will be worth it. 2. Transform worries into potential solutions / areas of opportunity. Now, when you cut part of your list, let’s take care of those worries that you have an influence on, wholly, or partially. Pose a question to each of those to reflect on what your can do with it INSTEAD of just be worried. I worry that I will be sick / disabled. Okay, so what can I do to stay healthy and operational as long as possible? I worry about the money. I am living paycheck-to-paycheck and I don’t have any savings. Okay, so what can I do to manage my home budget better? What can I do to cut from monthly costs to save 5 / 10 / 20% of my salary? You got the idea. Transform the worry into something you can actually do, and what is in your area of influence. Small elements, baby steps – it is always the best way to start. When you start small, it is easier to stick to it, since you see quick results and stay motivated to keep moving. While you start doing something what actually supports you, your health, your financial situation, relations with your family or friends, the environment that you live in is changing as well. Being worried is not good for you, nor for your environment. Being in that state often makes you less patient, you get irritated and explode faster, rarely adequately to the situation. And people who are closest to you suffer the most because they have regular contact with you. From my experience, this is one of the fastest ways to lose those who we care about, since no one wants to be around energy vampire longer that necessary. Take a look on how your attitude is influencing relations – your relations with yourself, but also with those who are around. How changing the attitude will influence those relations, maybe improve them or make new ones? You can also check out a great book that is really close to the subject: “How to stop worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie. 3. Create a simple process to check with yourself when you see that a worry is coming. Being self-aware is a starting point. But we also need a plan that will support us in the future, when a new worry shows up (or the old one returns). Sometimes a trigger appears out of nowhere and wakes up old demons, that we think we dealt with already. Make a list of 3-5 steps that you are going to do every single time when a worry comes to your head. You can create your own, use this one that I’ve created or take a part of it and recreate it, so it fits you. Simple, to the point. Try it out and you’ll see how it will change your life. The bottom line We all have a lot of things that we can be worried about. But endless worrying doesn’t do anything good to anyone. So, try to break the vicious circle, take ownership of your own life. At the end, it’s important to remember that the things are happening FOR us not TO us. From my perspective it’s one of the hardest mindset switches to implement, but it’s so worth it. Worth an

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Self-Development

How to feel more empowered?

Do you remember the last time when you felt great about yourself, empowered? You were walking on the street with your head high, your back straight up, maybe with a smile on your face. Or when you delivered a great value at work, somebody recognized you for that and you told yourself ‘Well, it was worth the time and energy. I’m proud of myself’. And how many times, on each of those great moments, you felt bad about yourself? That you are not good enough, smart enough, thin or tall enough. That you are not sophisticated enough, or rich enough. How many times you achieved something, and right after doing it you thought ‘meh, I could’ve done better’? We beat ourselves too much, instead of being proud of what we achieve every single day. Let’s see what we can do about it. Let’s answer the question: How to feel more empowered? Define the moments when you feel most empowered Each of us is different. We have different personality types, different skills, levels of energy during the day. We are more extroverted or introverted. We like different things, and we structure our time around different elements every day. We have different values, beliefs, experiences that shaped us. We live different lives. Look how many things make us unique in this huge world. It means that there is no such thing as one, beautiful list of elements that you can do to feel better about yourself. You need to be curious. Turn on a developer mode and explore yourself to decide what is accurate to you, in this certain moment of your life. Think about moments / situations when you feel the most empowered and you think the best about yourself. Take a closer look on different categories of your life, take into consideration: Take anything you want because we all can be empowered by something completely different. What empowers me does not necessarily make you feel the same way. Make a list of those moments or elements. Pick 3 of them that you can do again, soon. Then pick 1 of those three and plan it for this week. Your brain needs to see some quick results to believe that this feeling can be true. And once you start, it will be easier to do more of them, to see what works for you and what makes your life better. Check if you are in OK-OK place Transactional Analysis as a concept has many tools. Some of them are more complex, some of them are really simple and easy to use. I am going to introduce to you those simple ones in my articles, so you can implement them right away, without having a degree in psychology. The OK-Not OK Matrix is one of my favorite tools in TA. It is an easy way to check where you are with your beliefs and emotions in a certain moment, since it effects your behavior, decision making process and your way of communication. Check with yourself, in how many daily situations you are OK-OK, and in how many of them you are somewhere else in the matrix. What can you do to move more of those situations or beliefs you have to OK-OK quadrant? Find a person that can support your empowerment It is a common said that ‘we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with’ (here is a great article about that statement: https://maartenvandoorn.medium.com/you-are-the-average-of-the-five-people-you-spend-the-most-time-with-a2ea32d08c72). And it is so true. People can be your biggest support and inspiration. Or they may be energy vampires, who want to bring you down to their level, since they cannot stand that somebody can be successful, wealthy, happy. It is cultural though; I can tell you that we have a lot of the second attitude in Poland. Make a list of those 5 people that you spend the most of your time with. Take a look on that list. Which of those people are good influence, which of those are bad? Giving you energy or sucking you out of it? Inspire you or making you come back to bed and just go to sleep? Then, think about one inspiring or successful (in your own definition of inspiration or success) person that you know, but you are not so close. Maybe you were in the past, but then you changed your job, you moved to another city, or you had a child and stopped going out and meeting people. Make a contact with that person. Write on social media, make a call. Ask ‘how are you’? Have a coffee. Make an influence on this group of 5 people. Be reactive, don’t wait for something to happen to you. Choose what’s happening. The bottom line It is not about feeling inspired, energized or full of ideas every single minute of every day. I would like to encourage you to take a closer, more mindful look on how you live your life. When you live the most of it? When you feel the best? And what can you do to feel that way more often? Ask yourself those questions and decide on what to do next to feel empowered and in charge of your own destination.  

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Self-Development

4 elements of well-being to boost your fulfillment

People are complex species. And even that we are a part of a certain family, society, country or culture, we are all individuals, having different needs, thoughts and beliefs, based on our unique experiences. And yet, there are several elements that are pretty common and universal and being more aware of them can support us in having high level of motivation, efficiency and health. Today, I have 4 dots for you to connect to have a better, more balanced life – taking care of those simple elements will calm you and I believe will be helpful, especially while living in a constant change and uncertainty that most of us experience right now. 1. Digital well-being Technological changes are present in our lives. Those devices, tools or software are here is support us, to automate necessary but time-consuming tasks, to make our life easier and better. And that’s amazing how many things most of us have access to, without even moving a toe from home.   The latest BankMyCell research shows that almost 84% of the world’s population own a smartphone and almost 92% of the world’s population own a mobile phone (you can find more information about the research here: https://www.bankmycell.com/blog/how-many-phones-are-in-the-world). And we use it a lot –  3 hours and 15 minutes in average. Though, it is different from generation to generation, i.e. Millennials are on their phones approximately 5,7 hours per day (more statistics about that here: https://kommandotech.com/statistics/how-much-time-does-the-average-person-spend-on-their-phone/). It is insane. Of course, it depends on the person how it’s used (there are many educational apps, i.e. those that support foreign language education are super useful), but let’s be honest – most of us are just scrolling through social media without any bigger goal. And while we think about the excuse ‘I don’t have the time’ for reading, doing sports or spending more time with friends of family, I believe that we can save some time here and invest it somewhere else. So check on your phone – how many minutes / hours you spend on certain apps (and using phone in overall). First thing is awareness, then it’s action. Make a goal about cutting app time which don’t have any positive impact on your life. If you need, you can use the ‘app limits’ option and set daytime limits for certain category of apps on your phone. Do it for a week. Then review and make it a month. You will see how much time you actually have and how many things you can do while not scrolling. 2. Financial well-being To be completely honest with you, financial well-being is for me the hardest of all the areas covered in this article. When we worry about living from paycheck to paycheck, not having an emergency fund in case of anything happen or while we are watching the inflation rate increasing from month to month, like right now, we use a lot of energy on this. We are preoccupied, sometimes can’t sleep while running different scenarios in our heads, pretty often even having long periods of bad mood, which – in many cases, end in depression or other mental disorders. Remember the Influence Matrix that I described HERE and think about all financially connected elements that you are worried about at the moment. Do you have any influence on them? I would say that we don’t have any influence on the rising inflation, but we do have a lot of influence on our personal home budget. Use a simple excel spreadsheet to track your monthly costs in different categories. Home food, eating out, alcohol, cosmetics, gas and car expenses, clothes, apartment stuff, paying debts. Use those that are applicable to your individual situation and put every single expense in the file. It needs to be done daily, in a systematic way, but I can assure you that it’ll be a life changer. If definitely change my life and did allow me to pay debts faster and limit unnecessary costs. You can use a similar template that I use – you can find it below: 3. Mental well-being Mental health is a complex area. It is not only about being healthy or experiencing mental disorders. From my perspective taking care of mental well-being means to take care of ourselves holistically. Being mindful about our spirit and body, since it is all connected. Listening to our emotions, needs and to what is happening in our heads. Are you calm or agitated (meaning overstimulated)? Are you stressed? If yes, why? What kind of symptoms are you feeling in the body? Which of 4 basic emotions do you feel right now? (happiness, sadness, anger, fear) What makes you feel that way? What do you need at the moment? Being with people? Silence? Being alone? Having a task list to feel more grounded and have a purpose? Being recognized for your hard work? A new, exciting stimuli? Sleep? Are those needs covered or frustrated? What can you do to take care of them better – by yourself or with help of other people? What kind of beliefs do you have about yourself and the world that is around you? Are you in OK-OK position (I am OK AND the others / the world is OK)? (I am going to tell you more about the ‘OK-Not OK Matrix’ in the next article). Are those convictions supportive or quite the opposite? What can you do about it? If you don’t feel well, it is getting longer and longer and you don’t know what to do, ask for help. It can be a friend. A manager, colleague or HR person at work. It can be a coach, psychologist of therapist. It really depends on what you need at the moment, what kind of resources you have available and what can you afford. Remember that mental health issues are as important as those connected to our bodies and they need to be treated accordingly, so you can be healthy and live your life as best as

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Self-Development

5 things to do when you feel demotivated

We all know that. Today is not the day. Too much work, not enough time, too rainy to go outside, too tired to pick up any activity, or just feeling demotivated. And all of the sudden, we realize that several weeks or months passed, and we didn’t do anything. For ourselves, our relations, our health, or our development. All of our beautiful plans and wish lists are buried deep somewhere in a drawer waiting for a better tomorrow. It is not possible to be super effective, active and positive all the time. Even the most positive and ambitious people have those days when they just want to stay home and be a human burrito. And that’s perfectly fine. But when it is becoming more frequent or appearing regularly, I would encourage you to take a closer look to find out what is going on under the surface. Here are my personal 5 things that I do when feeling demotivated or having lower level of energy. 1. Find the source of you being demotivated. Every single thought, emotion, reaction or belief has its root. There are many possibilities that you feel or think in a certain way and all of them are very individual. They are connected to our history, experiences from the past (professional and personal ones), beliefs about ourselves and the world that we gained mostly in our early childhood (most of them until the age of 6) listening to our parents or other people who were raising us and other children. Basically all the people who were some kinds of authority for us at the time or we did seek for their attention, love or acceptance. From my experience, we remember the best and we have the easiest access to bad beliefs. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. Not fast enough. Not thin enough. Not having the best grades. Not good enough (meaning nice, not causing any trouble). (name yours, there are mostly unconscious before we start to think and name them). And all of those beliefs that we gained in our lives, have an influence on what kind of thoughts we have as adults. And it is connected to what do we think about ourselves and the world that is around us. Of course the beliefs are just one factor of us being demotivated but as far as I’m concerned, it is the strongest one – I would risk the hypothesis that those beliefs are responsible for 80% of our lower moments. So I encourage you to have a piece of paper (or a Word document) and ask yourself those questions to find the source of your demotivation: 2. Fill out the Influence Matrix. Once you have all the answers on the question above, you can check their position in the Influence Matrix that I’ve created. This is a simple tool that you can use every time when you are stuck, you feel over worried or tired and you don’t know what to do. The matrix will help you to see in a clearer way the connections between having/not having an influence on a certain situation and its importance at the moment. It might seem similar to Eisenhower Matrix but this one uses different variables and its main goal is psychological support, rather than efficiency itself. Here is the Influence Matrix that you can use to put those elements that you discovered in the previous section. You can draw matrix on your own or you can use ready PDF file that you can download: Example 1: let’s say you’ve discovered that you worry about high inflation rate. Is it important? Yes. Do you have any influence on that? No, literally zero influence. So you put it in the upper-left quadrant. Then, you need to decide what can you do to reduce the high stress level that is connected to the high inflation rate. Maybe you can check on your home budget i.e. by using an easy excel spreadsheet to see how do you spend your money monthly? Based on that you can temporarily quit on some costs, so you have more financial freedom, and you are less stressed at the end of the day. Example 2: let’s say you discovered that you did 0 hours of sports activity last week. Is it important? Yes. Do you have any influence on that? Yes. So you put it in the upper-right quadrant. Then, you need to decide what to do to be more active. Pick one thing at the time, i.e. 15-minute walk after lunch every day. If the weather is bad, play a 15-minute workout on YouTube. No excuses! 3. Choose one thing that you have influence on and pick it up right away. I am a huge advocate of small things. Baby steps. I know from my own experience and from experience of those many people I’ve worked with through the years that we need ambitious goals to achieve extraordinary things. But we also need a simple plan, achievable steps that will keep our internal motivation level high, so we don’t feel exhausted or frustrated that we don’t see effects right away. That’s why I encourage you to pick one thing at the time. When that one becomes a habit, you can add another one, and then another. Seeing quick results will show your brain that the change is possible and worth the effort. Choose one thing from your list and pick it up right away. Not tomorrow. Not on Monday. Not January 1st. Right away. Research shows that if we wait for a ‘magical’ moment (like January 1st, for example), it is less probable that we are going to achieve it since it is only ‘a power of this magical moment’. Not very helpful, especially from a long-term perspective. 4. Glue things together to feel less demotivated. There is an amazing book about building habits: ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg. He writes very specifically about building new habits really closely to the existing

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Self-Development

How to start learning more?

The idea about this space is to encourage all of you to take care of your development and learning more on a daily basis. I see a lot of people with a huge potential who are struggling with ‘finding’ time to do it. Because they are so busy. Because they don’t have time. Because they have kids so how on Earth they find even a minute for that. I say: stop the excuses. I say as well that statement (a lot): ‘You don’t have the time? You make the time.’. Since it is all about making decisions how we spend our time, we can make better ones. Of course, we all live in our individual, unique circumstances but I do believe that we can find a way to work within them. To live our lives fully. How to make more time?   ‘I don’t have the time’ is a strong belief. And it is extremely easy to use, universal, always good. Because people will understand, right? We are all busy nowadays. And yet, as I work with many individuals, teams and organizations, I can see that we have a tendency to use easy excuses to not make an effort. Of course, change is hard. And uncomfortable. It is demanding because we need to invest in it – time, money, effort, learning you name it. But most of the changes that aren’t successful are just too big from the very beginning. We have huge dreams, and that’s good – we should dream big. But we need to cut those dreams into smaller, more achievable pieces. Sounds obvious? Of course it is, but believe me – I see people every day who are doing the exact opposite thing, wishing that the outcome will be different. They are not using the easiest ways, feeling frustrated after first couple of days and just quit trying. I am going to teach you here how to use the easiest ways to achieve great results. What are you going to get here? In this blog I am going to show you the easiest. I will divide bigger tools, frameworks and ideas to smaller, more useful elements that you can use right away. I know that there are countless books, courses, conferences and digital learning spaces all over the internet. And I do know that sometimes it is just too much. We don’t know what to choose so we are not choosing at all. So I’ll be your guide through the infinity of knowledge and propose you those solutions that I believe can work. I am a lifelong learner but also a lifelong reader. Based on that statement, I am going to share with you my thoughts and recommendations regarding books that I read. Again – making a structure on the infinity of books and giving you a WHY on choosing certain position to invest your time well. I am also a manager and I support managers on a daily basis. Using that experience, I am going to share with you a lot of knowledge, tools and solutions that you can use if you want to become a manager, or you are one at the moment. It is really hard to find a good leadership training, so I hope that would support you on the way. Shall we start? If you want to take care of yourself better, it is a space for you. If you want to make more time, it is a space for you. If you feel stuck and you really want to change that, it is a space for you. We need more simplicity, light and inspiration in our lives – so why don’t we start here to gain it together?

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