Melanie’s Motivational Monday Messages

Do you want to get your week off to a good start?

Then my short, inspiring MMMMs will give you food for thought each Monday morning.

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Laughter energises us, it can lift our spirits and it’s basically fun. I was listening to yet another TED talk, this time by cognitive neuroscientist, Sophie Scott (https://www.ted.com/talks/sophie_scott_why_we_laugh Here are just a few of the many facts she covers in her funny talk about the science of laughter:

  • Laugher is like an animal call – listen at 1.30 minutes in, on the TED talk to have a laugh at people laughing.
  • We are not the only animals that laugh, primates and rats also laugh – usually associated with play and tickling.
  • We are 30 times more likely to laugh if we are with somebody else than if we are alone. Although, for me, enjoying time on my own, I will laugh a lot on my own nowadays, perhaps because of being in a good emotional place, I can see more funny things in life.
  • We can catch laughter from others, especially when we know people well – there is social meaning of laughing.
  • Different kinds of laughter – helpless involuntary laughter is different from social laughter – and we can tell the difference even if we don't know the person.

Enough of the facts – are you laughing enough?

  • What makes you laugh?
  • What stops you from laughing? Before I had mastered my mind, my sense of humour was the first thing to go when I was stressed or anxious. Now I can laugh in the face of adversity.
  • How can you get more laughter and fun into your life?

‘Laughter is an instant vacation.’ Milton Berle

‘If you're too busy to laugh, you're too busy, period.’  Janet Meyer

Free webinars: 30 minute lunchtime webinars on a variety of topics, see https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinar-13-september/ 

Increase Your Productivity - from the inside out 

Friday 13 September 1-1.30pm.

Learn about what needs to change on the inside of you to help you to be more productive: how to master your brain, thoughts, your mood and motivation.

To book your place email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk for more details and to register for your free place on either or both webinars.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

 

 

I heard this expression from someone connected with Ethical Reading https://ethicalreading.org.uk/#what-is-ethical-reading. After their events, they encouraged members to go out and speak to 10 people about Ethical Reading. It got me thinking about whether we spread the word around about good things or is it easier to talk about our complaints, when we have been let down, etc. Perhaps we might post something on social media but have we lost the art of ‘word of mouth’ and actually telling others about something.

Challenge for this week is to pass on a good news story, a recommendation to 10 people, not via social media, but 121, either via email, text, postcard, phone or speaking face to face – something which is much more personal and people will know you have been thinking of them:

  • A networking group someone might find interesting.
  • A great restaurant or café.
  • An interesting article, book or podcast.
  • A lovely walk that you have recently enjoyed.
  • A great film - I saw Blinded by the Light this weekend, great movie but got teary at various points!

If you notice resistance, is it because we have lost the art of 121 ‘word of mouth’ recommendations?

I chose the following quote partly because there seemed very few quotes out there which were not about marketing. My eldest nephew, many years ago, got me into The Big Bang Theory – TV show, not science!

‘Perhaps 'Big Bang' fans feel so protective of the show because it is, despite being a hit show on a big network, something of a word-of-mouth phenomenon.’ Johnny Galecki

Free webinars: 30 minute lunchtime webinars on a variety of topics, see https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinar-13-september/ 

Increase Your Productivity - from the inside out 

Friday 13 September 1-1.30pm.

Learn about what needs to change on the inside of you to help you to be more productive: how to master your brain, thoughts, your mood and motivation.

To book your place email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk for more details and to register for your free place on either or both webinars.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

Now, you might be thinking this isn’t a very uplifting topic for Melanie’s Monday Motivational Message but stick with me, it will be.

In her New Orleans neighbourhood, artist Candy Chang turned an abandoned house into a giant chalkboard asking a fill-in-the-blank question, "Before I die I want to ___." Her neighbours' answers were surprising, poignant, and funny. See https://www.ted.com/talks/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to?referrer=playlist-talks_to_get_you_through_your#t-360664  o view the talk.

Thinking about, or creating, your so-called ‘bucket list’ can sometimes bring into sharp focus how you want to be spending your time now. You might like to write, ‘Before I die I want to ___’ over and over again and keep on filling in the blanks. They might include:

  • Adventures you want to have.
  • Achievements in and out of work.
  • Time you want to spend with loved ones.
  • How you want to be and feel, i.e. relaxed, happy, enjoying now, etc.

‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ Mark Twain

 ‘Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.’ Helen Keller
 

Free webinars: 30 minute lunchtime webinars on a variety of topics, see https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinars-9-august-13-september/

Create a daily routine to sustain you

Friday 9 August 1-1.30pm.

You probably have read articles about successful people and entrepreneurs and what they do in the mornings to get their day off to a flying start. Or what they do to sustain themselves throughout the day. In this webinar, we will explore the benefits of these daily routines and the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ to create these routines, as well as how to overcome obstacles that will inevitably come up to stop you.

Increase Your Productivity - from the inside out Friday 13 September 1-1.30pm.

To book your place email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk for more details and to register for your free place on either or both webinars.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

Suddenly it seemed that all my corporate clients were putting their staff through unconscious bias training. So, I thought I would complete an online course on the topic. Here are some things I learned: 

  • Unconscious bias is as a result of our brain’s survival mechanism, it is always looking out for threats and risks and, therefore, spots differences in others.
  • However, when we are aware of this, we can take action to overcome initial bias or perceptions.
  • Unconscious bias when unchecked creates stereotypes. Whether positive or negative, they can negatively influence us at work and in society.
  • Prejudices are when we pre-judge people based on stereotypes, i.e. all red heads are fiery, older workers will be inflexible, etc.
  • Discrimination is when we put our prejudices into action during recruitment, selection, promotions, and even how we communicate with others.
  • Affirmity bias is when we prefer people like ourselves.
  • Egocentric bias is the fact that we believe we are better or do more than others. For example, we are better drivers, better at chairing meetings, we do more of the clearing at home, etc.
  • There are ‘micro’ inequalities which come about when we very subtly behave differently towards certain people, perhaps so subtle we do not even realise the impact it is having on others.

“Perceive everything in life with the neutral perspective and see how everything can serve you to move forward on your path.” 
? Roshan Sharma

Free webinars: 30 minute lunchtime webinars on a variety of topics, see https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinars-9-august-13-september/ 

Create a daily routine to sustain you

Friday 9 August 1-1.30pm.

You probably have read articles about successful people and entrepreneurs and what they do in the mornings to get their day off to a flying start. Or what they do to sustain themselves throughout the day. In this webinar, we will explore the benefits of these daily routines and the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ to create these routines, as well as how to overcome obstacles that will inevitably come up to stop you.

Increase Your Productivity - from the inside out Friday 13 September 1-1.30pm.

To book your place email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk for more details and to register for your free place on either or both webinars.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

You might have come across the acronym FOMO – the fear of missing out. Something that in the world of social media exacerbates, when everyone seems to be having such fun packed lives, we end up fearing that we are somehow missing out. And, because there are so many things we could do, we say yes to everything and end up feeling overloaded and overwhelmed.

JOMO is the Joy of Missing Out, deciding not to say ‘Yes’ to everything, however enjoyable the things might be. Create some actual ‘free’ time with nothing booked in. Joy of being able to just ‘Be’, relax, chill or be spontaneous if you want to be.

  • Do you suffer from FOMO?
  • Do you want a bit of JOMO?
  • What would you like to miss out on to create some space to breathe and be?
  • Are there some things you feel you should do, which you would really experience JOMO if you said no to?

"Rest is not idleness, and sometimes to lie on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time."

?John Lubbock (1834-1913) English scientist, polymath

Free webinars: 30 minute lunchtime webinars on a variety of topics, see https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinars-16-july-9-august/ for details 

Tuesday 16 July 1-1.30pm. How to have difficult conversations – a step by step guide

  • Do you avoid having difficult conversations?
  • Do you lose sleep about them?

Rest assured, so do most of my clients! Well, that is until they learn how to manage their own response to conflict and how to have constructive and timely discussions about tricky issues

Email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk for more details and to register for your free place on either or both webinars.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

 

I have often had the sad privilege of supporting friends and acquaintances through the very difficult times in their lives: suicides of family members, death of a child, etc. It is never easy to support at these times. These are things I have learned from those experiences: 

  • To know when to reach out, when to not intrude – a careful balancing act but, whatever you do, don't run away.
  • That you ‘can’t make it better’, which is a natural human tendency to want to make things better. But accepting you can't, and by being there, you are helping them to at least feel supported during such a horrendous time of their life.
  • That ‘just being there’, either in person, on the phone or via text, can be enough.
  • As a client of mine who lost her middle-aged husband suddenly said, ‘Time does not heal, you just get more used to the pain’. So, don't think they are over it just because they appear to be functioning normally.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” 
Charles Dickens


“I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.” 
Jana Stanfield

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

Last September, I read the following article in the Guardian magazine and was completely horrified and repelled by this man’s approach to life https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/sep/21/extreme-biohacking-tech-guru-who-spent-250000-trying-to-live-for-ever-serge-faguet mainly because we have so many worldwide issues facing humanity, i.e. climate change, antibiotic resistance, etc., that for individuals to want to live forever, before focussing on this, we first need to make better the lives of everyone and the environment.

However, it did get me thinking about how we can bio-hack or at least life-hack our mind, mood and, therefore, life – which is basically what I help people to do.

So, this week, when you start to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious or angry, try one or two of these little brain hacks to dampen down your brain’s threat response:

  • Come into the here and now, what you can see, hear and feel – you might even like to try the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 exercise – name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel physically, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste and you will be well and truly in the here and now.
  • Breath slowly and deeply – to counteract any adrenaline rush.
  • Change your posture – stand or sit how you do when you feel calm and confident.
  • Look up momentarily – and, if you are on your own, you can look up for longer and visualise how you will successfully deal with, or find a way of coping with, whatever is causing the overwhelm, frustration, anxiety or anger.
  • Step back into your wise Adult self – when we feel any of the negative emotions, we can forget that we have lots of inner resources and inner wisdom to deal with these situations.

Many of my clients have been using one or two of these simple techniques this year and have been noticing a big difference in how they think, feel, and behave.

‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell,  a Hell of Heaven’ John Milton

 Free webinars: 16 July & 9 August

30 minute lunchtime webinars on a variety of topics, see https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinars-16-july-9-august/ for details

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

I have no idea how I stumbled upon this RSA video by Philip Zimbardo titled, ‘The secret powers of time’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3oIiH7BLmg but it is fascinating. I’m only focusing on one part of it here, which is about the idea that there are six time zones you can operate in:

Past – Positive: focus on nostalgia, happy times, past rituals.

Past – Negative: focus on regrets, mistakes, failure.

Present – Hedonistic: seek pleasure, avoid pain. We begin life in this state as babies, then our conditioning takes us in different directions. All addictions are about this zone.

Present – Fatalistic:  no point in planning as it is down to fate, fate of my birth, my circumstances, the stars or whatever you believe in.

Future – Positive: planning, taking action now which will bring about results in the future, whether that is long or short term. Resisting temptation, understanding we need to work rather than play all the time.

Future – Afterlife: life begins after the death of your mortal body.

 Philip says that a lot of conflicts between individuals, and also countries or different parts of a country result from differences in the ‘time zones’ that people psychologically operate from. He gives a great example of the difference between north and south Italy - he is from Sicily. Saying that the North are generally very Future Positive focussed and get frustrated with their southern countrymen and women who are more Past Positive or Present Hedonistic – well in their eyes anyway!

Of course we are a mixture of a number of these but it is interesting to think about:

  • Which time zone(s) do you operate in? What are the positive or negative impacts on your life?
  • Think about significant people in your life. Are they operating in a different time zone? Does this help or hinder your communication with them?

‘Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.’ 
Marthe Troly-Curtin,

‘Mustn't all significant action be preceded by an incubation period? ... the waiting period is not just a delay to be endured in order to reach the right moment. It is ... the very creator of that moment.’ 
Robert V. Levine

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

Yet another TED inspired MMMM. Sarah Lewis is an Art Historian and the blurb to her talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_lewis_embrace_the_near_win?referrer=playlist-talks_to_get_you_through_your#t-680334 says: At her first museum job, art historian Sarah Lewis noticed something important about an artist she was studying: not every artwork was a total masterpiece. She asks us to consider the role of the almost-failure, the near win, in our own lives. In our pursuit of success and mastery, is it actually our near wins that push us forward?

This got me thinking how so much of 21st century life can be focussed on the winning, successes, accolades. We can forget to enjoy and celebrate the now. And also, as Sarah says, we can forget that much of life and our learning is from the near wins, almost failures or mistakes and setbacks.

 Consider:

  • What mistakes or near wins have you had in life? And how have they shaped you?
  • What setbacks and challenges have you faced and how have you responded to them?
  • Do you get frustrated by never feeling you have got ‘there’, wherever ‘there’ might be?
  • How can you embrace or even celebrate your near ‘wins’?

‘Masters are not experts because they take a subject to its conceptual end. They're masters because they realize that there isn't one.’ Sarah Lewis

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

I read about Andy’s Man Clubs (http://andysmanclub.co.uk) a few months ago. Luke Ambler set them up when his brother-in-law, Andy, committed suicide. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. Luke wants to halve the male suicide rate in this country.

 At Andy’s Club, run by everyday men, they ask four questions each week, which I thought you might like to ponder, whoever you are, and whatever mental state you are in, as they strike me as four important questions to ask of ourselves:

  1. How’s your week been?
  2. Name one positive thing that has happened to you this week.
  3. Anything to get off your chest?
  4. What’s your goal between now and next week?

Perhaps these are some good questions to ask regularly of ourselves, of our family, of our friends and even of our colleagues.

‘The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.’ Bernard M Baruch

‘Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.’ Helen Keller

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

One of the reasons I like listening to Chris Evans on Virgin Radio in the mornings is his little sayings that he comes up with each day. Sometimes, they are the theme for the day, others are off the cuff. I heard him talk about having ‘more alfresco versus aldeskco’. This seemed liked a good topic during the summer months. Mind you, often during the winter, it is important to get outside as well.

 How can you be more Alfresco and less Aldesco this week?

  • Go for a walk at lunchtime – research shows that even 5 minutes of walking outside starts to have a positive impact on our wellbeing.
  • Have lunch or supper outside – whatever your outside space is like.
  • Spend a short while outside simply looking at the sky, the clouds, trees, flowers, etc.
  • Instead of meeting friends for a drink and a meal, meet them for a walk with a drink, meal at the end of it.
  • Have a walking meeting if it is 121.
  • Link to a walking networking group like https://www.naturalnetwalking.com/modules/netwalkingdates. I’ve not tried them yet but it looks interesting.

‘One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon--instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.’ Dale Carnegie

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

Working with lots of teams coaching them to work more effectively together, we often explore the conversations that they have with each other. Frequently, when there are problems, people slip into debates or even arguments, rather than having a genuine dialogue with each other.

The dictionary defines dialogue as:

  • A discussion between two or more people or groups, especially one directed towards exploration of a particular subject or resolution of a problem.
  • Take part in a conversation or discussion to resolve a problem.

How many times have you found yourself, either at work or at home, when faced with a problem which needs to be jointly resolved, having a true dialogue, an honest exchange of ideas to find a solution? What would that involve?

  • Asking each other questions to understand where the other person is coming from?
  • Showing that you are listening: reflecting back or summarising what you have heard?
  • Sharing ideas and information as an aid to resolving the issue rather than thinking it is ‘the solution’.
  • Aiming for a ‘win-win’ outcome, where each person feels listen to, respected and happy with the outcome even if it is not exactly what they were hoping for.

‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’ Stephen Covey
 

‘People are usually quite happy to consider a clearly expressed request – it is the accumulated backlog of resentment that gets their back up.’

Anne Dickson – A Book of Your Own
 

‘To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.’
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

There are many different ways to explore motivation as you will learn from these MMMMs. One is Implicit versus Explicit Motivation. This is relevant to both looking at motivation in and outside of work.

 Implicit Motivation:

  • This comes from the heart, we just know we enjoy doing something.
  • If it is related to work, we would do it even if we are not getting paid as we enjoy it so much.
  • Sometimes it is hard to put into words why we enjoy a certain activity: walking barefoot on a beach; spending time with certain friends, we just know it feels good.
  • When there is Implicit Motivation it keeps us going, even when things are tough.
  • This might be about: ‘I feel such a sense of satisfaction when my clients are happy, I will always go that extra mile for them’.

Explicit Motivation:

  • This comes from the head, we can verbalise what it is, why something is important to do.
  • We can say we do X & Y because of A & B need or want.
  • This might be, ‘I come to work because I have a mortgage to pay’, ‘I work hard or else I might get fired’. Or, ‘We need to do overtime because we need to fulfil this order or else we are going to get penalised by the customer’.

We are, of course, all motivated by a mixture of the two. However, to really feel motivated, to get the most out of ourselves and others, we need to tap into Implicit Motivation.

This week:

  • What is your Explicit Motivation for doing the things you need to do both in and outside of work?
  • What is your Implicit Motivation?
  • Notice the difference between how motivated and good you feel between the two.

‘The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.’ Richard Bach

 ‘There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness.’ Gelett Burgess

Happy Healthy Conflict - how to have difficult conversations at work. CIPD Oxford event 6-8pm Tuesday 21 May @ModernArtOxford. CIPD members free, £20 for non-members inc refreshments & light bites. See to book your place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/happy-healthy-conflict-having-those-difficult-conversations-at-work-oxford-group-tickets-57513838439      

 For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

‘If you always do, what you always done, you’ll always get, what you have always got, and if you don't like it, do something different.’

 This old adage often comes to my mind, especially if I am feeling stuck with something in my life. If we want to change something in our life, we do need to do something different, even if this is a small change:

  • A change in mindset about ourselves, others or our situation can often have a profound shift in what we get back.
  • Tweaking our behaviour in some way, e.g. thinking before we make knee jerk responses to someone who usually annoys us; taking a deep breath, looking up, rather than letting ourselves get overwhelmed by what is in front of us.
  • Challenging our beliefs and transforming any that seem to be holding us back.

This week consider:

  • Where are you doing the same thing over and over again and not liking the results?
  • What can you do differently this week?
  • Observe how you feel, think and behave when you change.
  • What is the outcome of these changes, however small they may be?

‘Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives:
where we focus our attention.’
Greg Anderson

‘Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.’
Arthur Christopher Benson

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

Is there such a thing as a dream job? I saw the following 12-minute video recently by Amy Wrzesniewski on Job Crafting - creating meaning in your own work: https://youtu.be/C_igfnctYjA   

She said there are three ways in which we can craft or change our job to make it more meaningful:

Task crafting – adapting the content of what you do, which in many jobs is not always possible.

  • This is sometimes seen as ‘job enrichment’ to bring more interest into someone’s working life.

Relationship crafting – changing the relationships we have with others to make the job more meaningful.

  • I was running a programme for a Housing Association who wanted their customer services representatives to have more meaningful conversations with their customers because the Housing Association wanted to reach out to them, find out what issues they had (not always with their home) so they could offer or signpost other services, i.e. help with debt, mental health issues, etc., thereby creating more meaning for the team via the relationships they had with customers.

Cognitive crafting – how people perceive their tasks and the meaning of what they do.

  • In the video, Amy gives the example of a hospital cleaner who saw themselves as a healer (listen to the video to find out more). She also says there is a difference in terms of whether an IT person sees themselves as a firefighter or seeing themselves as a trainer to help people to solve problems for themselves.

For yourself:

Is your job meaningful? On a scale of 0 (no meaning to you whatsoever) to 10 (hugely meaningful), where are you?

If it is 7 or below, how can you re-craft it?

  • Task?
  • Relationships?
  • Cognitive?

‘The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance?—?and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.’ Oprah Winfrey

 ‘Happiness comes when we test our skills towards some meaningful purpose.’ John Stossel

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

I read two articles recently which got me thinking about how our past influences how we are now, although the articles were not necessarily about that. ‘Beneath the Clouds’ was about three women coming to the UK from West Bengal in the 1960s: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/dec/29/bittersweet-three-indian-women-50-years-in-uk and ‘No Place Like Home’ about members of the LGBTQ community and their relationships to their home towns: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/29/not-hide-it-lgbtq-return-home-towns 

However, they got me thinking about how our past influences who we are today and when do we have to break with the past or to transform past stories to be truly who we are right now.

  • Were you happy growing up? Were there challenges in your family which influenced who you are today?
  • How has your family and/or community environment influenced who you are today? Both in terms of positive ways and any negative ways.
  • Are there some unresolved aspects of the past which are casting a shadow over the present moment?

My first foray into self-development was to take myself off to see a counsellor when I was in my late 20s when I had everything that was meant to make me happy (good job, company car, my own home, boyfriend) but I was still stressed out and miserable. I spent 18 months with a counsellor unpicking the past and helping to understand how it had created the me as I was back then.

Sometimes, past experiences drive us forward to success but not in terms of happiness and contentment, which is exactly what happened in my life. It was only by getting a deeper understanding of how the past influenced me that I could start to work through the bits I wanted to keep, and what I needed to resolve or let go of.

 As I wrote this, I thought of Philip Larkin’s poem:

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.” 

And on a more positive note – one I can relate to more by George Eliot:

‘What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories’

Happy Healthy Conflict - how to have difficult conversations at work. I have another talk coming up for CIPD Oxford event 6-8pm Tuesday 21 May @ModernArtOxford. CIPD members free, £20 for non-members inc refreshments & light bites. See to book your place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/happy-healthy-conflict-having-those-difficult-conversations-at-work-oxford-group-tickets-57513838439    

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/  or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

Our brain is designed to keep us safe, it continuously looks for risks/threats and wants to move away from them, and looks for the rewards it wants to move towards. It is the same brain that cavemen and women had and responds in the same way, which is not always helpful when we are in 21st Century workplaces and lives.

  • When we feel stressed and overwhelmed, our brain goes into threat response, we have the fight, flight or freeze response. Here’s the negative effects of being in threat response:
  • Dopamine levels go down and we are more pessimistic, which is not great for sorting out problems.
  • We become tunnel visioned as the brain was designed for fleeing or fighting, not great if we need to think creatively and take on other people’s ideas.
  • The hippocampus where we store information sucks up the stress hormone Cortisol making it hard to remember and retrieve information.
  • The adrenaline rush means we get butterflies in our stomachs and dry mouth, which combined with all of the above makes it hard to communicate effectively.

How do you avoid or deal with fight, flight and freeze response? A few months ago, I wrote two MMMMs with hints and tips on:

‘My cup runneth over may in some contexts be a declaration of disaster. Emptying it fully as important as filling.’

Anne Wilson Schaef

 ‘It isn't stress that makes us fall, it's how we respond to stressful events.’

Wayde Goodall

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs (https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/) and Inspire newsletter (https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/) or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

We are often urged by self-help gurus and entrepreneurs to ‘Go for Gold’, ‘Be our Best’, ‘Strive for Excellence’, but perhaps we need to start with ‘average’ and move forward from there, day by day.

Perhaps your average day is pretty good already or maybe your average is horrendous! Here are some things to consider:

  • Start with the end in mind – how would you like your days to be, how do you want to feel during it and by the end of it?
  • Living day by day – rather than always dreaming of a glorious future, start with where you are today and fully live and explore the potential of today.
  • Make adjustments each day – what small things can you do that will make the difference to your average day? 
    • Years ago, I switched from waking up listening to the Today programme of Radio 4, which was depressing and infuriating, to waking up with Chris Evans on Radio 2 (now on Virgin) which is fun and sometimes even thoughtful.
    • When stuck in a traffic jam on the way to work rather than fume (it doesn't achieve anything), be mindful, what can you see, hear, enjoy what there is to enjoy even in a traffic jam.

‘When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love....’ Marcus Aurelius

‘Happiness is not a destination: it is a manner of traveling. Happiness is not an end in itself. It is a by-product of working, playing, loving and living.’ Haim Ginott
 

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs (https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/) and Inspire newsletter (https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/) or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

We are used to people talking about writing in the 1st or 2nd person in literature but what does it mean if we are a 1st or 2nd Person person in real life?

 A 1st Person person often:

  • Sees the world from their own perspective, their own shoes.
  • Relates everything back to themselves.
  • They often fail to ask questions about other people, expecting you to simply share things.
  • They can come across as self-absorbed and lacking in interest in others.

A 2nd Person person often:

  • Steps into other people’s shoes, attempts to understand others’ perspective.
  • Will ask how you are first, before sharing information about themselves.
  • Can often hold back from sharing much about themselves unless they are asked. This might seem standoffish but it is them waiting to be asked.

 Do you recognise yourself in either of these two descriptions?

What is the impact on your relationships?

 Why does this matter, do I hear you ask? Well, it affects our interactions and relationships with others both in and out of work.

Linked to last week’s MMMM about the Middle Way, you actually need to find a balance of the two. This week observe yourself interacting with others:

  • Do you launch into descriptions or stories about yourself even before you are asked?
  • Do you hold back from sharing until asked and then feel aggrieved that others are not taking an interest in you?
  • If you are more of a 1st Person person, start to ask questions about the other person and really listen to the answers.
  • If you are more of a 2nd Person person, then if you are with a 1st Person person, then start sharing information about yourself, see how they react.

‘If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect yourself with slippers than to carpet the whole earth.’
Anthony De Mello
 

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

You might be wondering what on earth I am talking about. No, it has nothing to do with the Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth. But it is something which I am often reminded of when talking to or coaching clients. People often think and talk in very polarised ways about themselves or about life. For example, these are real life things clients have said to me:

  • Either I stay stressed out, can’t sleep, etc. or I relax and lose my job!
  • I either have to put up with my awful boss or leave this job that I love.
  • I either have to give in to X’s demands or they will make my life a misery.

The Middle Way comes from Buddhism and it is more than simply finding a compromise. It is about finding a middle way between two extremes or options, perhaps a way which you have not considered or on first viewing you might not even realise is an option. For example, in the situations above:

  • Finding a way to manage stress levels while maintaining and even improving performance.
  • Finding a way of changing how you interact with the difficult boss that makes life easier or even transforms your relationship with them.
  • Learning how to be assertive, have an Adult to Adult conversation and find a ‘win-win’ outcome that will suit both people.

Think about your coming week:

  • Are there situations where you are taking a very polarised viewpoint which is not helpful?
  • What might be all the options between those two extremes?
  • What might be the ‘middle way’ that you are going to pursue?

‘You can't hoot with the owls at night and fly with the eagles during the day’

Anonymous

T'he middle way is a view of life that avoids the extreme of misguided grasping born of believing there is something we can find, or buy, or cling to that will not change. And it avoids the despair and nihilism born from the mistaken belief that nothing matters, that all is meaningless.'

Sharon Salzberg

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

This MMMM was inspired by Ella Barrington from  https://www.corseconcierge.com whom I heard talk at the Oxford Independent Consultant’s Network (https://www.facebook.com/groups/372685073249287/about/) When she mentioned Deadline versus ‘Dreadline’ in relation to achieving goals, it struck a chord. Now, this is my interpretation, and Emma might explain it slightly differently.

She said that ‘Dreadlines’ are the self-imposed deadlines which we set for ourselves either in or out of work, which we then use to beat ourselves up when we do not achieve them.

  • Do you have any Dreadlines you have set yourself?
  • How realistic are they?
  • Are they motivating you or have you set them up as a ‘rod for your own back’, something to give yourself a hard time about?

Now, of course, setting your own deadlines can be a vital part of achieving goals, developing yourself and moving your life forward. However, to ensure they are true deadlines versus ‘dreadlines’, consider the following.

  • Is this something you really want to do or achieve or is it something that your Inner Critic is telling you, you ‘should’ do?
  • How realistic is your deadline on a scale of 1 (no way I am achieving this) to 10 (100% will achieve this within this timescale)?
  • If 7 or less, then what do you need to take into account to set a realistic and achievable deadline?
  • What resources or supports can you use to assist you in achieving this?

Being & Doing - Spring Into Action - Following the successful launch of my new 8 week online course in January with 8 participants, I am running it again starting on 25 March. There are now two options, see for more details: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-spring-into-action-starts-25-march/

This is a great way to access my work to support you in changing 'from the inside out' to help you to achieve more and feel happier and more content in life.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

Often when we are facing a challenging situation we end up wanting our circumstances to change or for someone else to change. When often the answer lies within us – what do we need to change from the ‘inside out’ in order to either see the situation differently or to transform the situation.

Think about your week ahead, is there something in or out of work, which you think will be challenging, or you are dreading? Think from the ‘inside out’ to help you to rise to the occasion.

  • What do you currently feel? Now name 3-5 positive emotions that you can use to deal with the situation ie determination, courage, resilience, joy.
  • What negative or limiting beliefs and thoughts do you have ie: ‘X is always disruptive in the meeting, it always winds me up’, or ‘I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’ll never get that report in, in time’. What might be a more empowering belief to have?
  • Dampen down your threat response: look up, take a deep breath, change your posture.
  • Step into your wise Adult self, and ask yourself, what is the wisest approach I can take in this situation, what outcome do I want, what’s my first step?
  • Visualise yourself in your own shoes, successfully handling all your Fearful Child’s ‘What if’s’ until you are satisfied you can handle it.
  • Then relax, let your brain calmly deal with the situation ahead.

‘If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.’
Mahatma Gandhi

Being & Doing - Spring Into Action - Following the successful launch of my new 8 week online course in January with 8 participants, I am running it again starting on 25 March. There are now two options, see for more details: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-spring-into-action-starts-25-march/

This is a great way to access my work to support you in changing 'from the inside out' to help you to achieve more and feel happier and more content in life.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

 

When I am coaching and training people around communication issues and conflict at work, I always start with talking about rapport. The dictionary defines rapport as:

‘making a connection, having a mutual sympathy, relating to.....’

 Without rapport you can either come across as partronising or critical of other people. For me it is the foundation of any relationship in or out of work.

Think about the people you come into contact with in the course of your working week: who could you have better rapport with? How could you go about building better rapport. Use one or two of the following:

  • Listen to them and show you are really listening to them.
  • Match (rather than mirror) their body language, energy levels, rate of speech and silences.
  • Step into their shoes to attempt to understand them.
  • Show an interest in them, ask questions to understand them.
  • Be ‘Adult’ in your communication with them, avoid game playing.
  • Find something in common if possible.

 ‘You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.’
Dale Carnegie
 

Being & Doing - Spring Into Action - Following the successful launch of my new 8 week online course in January with 8 participants, I am running it again starting on 25 March.

There are now two options, see:  https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-spring-into-action-starts-25-march/ for more details. This is a great way to access my work to support you in changing 'from the inside out' to help you to achieve more and feel happier and more content in life.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

‘Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.’

Oprah Winfrey

Reading this quote the other day I thought it would be good to explore integrity. The dictionary defines it as:

  • the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
  • the state of being whole and undivided.
  • the condition of being unified or sound in construction.
  • internal consistency or lack of corruption in electronic data.
  • Although some of these definitions are from construction, being unified and sound in our beliefs and acting on them is living with integrity.

I like the idea that you do the right thing whether people know it or not. When in the world of social media people rarely do things without telling others.

Most people value integrity, and trust someone who has integrity. This week think about ways in which you can act with integrity:

  • Is there something which you have wanted to speak up about but have held back for fear of how you will be seen by others.
  • Are you true to your word? Can people trust you to deliver what you say on time?
  • Perhaps there is someone you want to apologies to for letting down – we are after all only human! Part of integrity is also knowing when we need to do this.

‘To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.’

Douglas Adams

Being & Doing - Spring Into Action - Following the successful launch of my new 8 week online course in January with 8 participants, I am running it again starting on 25 March. There are now two options, see for more details: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-spring-into-action-starts-25-march/ 

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

No I am not the bad language police, this is not about swearing. It is about the language we use both in our thinking and also what we say to others. How our language can betray our beliefs and can limit our ability to grow and change. 

 Do you catch yourself saying any of the following:

  • I am always late, or I always lose my temper or i always give in during a negotiation?
  • I’ve never been able to sing, speak up in big groups, dance or do maths?
  • I am hopeless at X?
  • I’m not an assertive person?

Obviously there will be positive things that you say to yourself. However, all these ‘always’, ‘nevers’, and ‘cants’ stop us from challenging ourselves and growing as a person.

Mind your language this week:

  • What do you have coming up this week?
  • Are your beliefs and thought processes positive and empowering?
  • Challenge the facts, see what you have achieved in this area.
  • Create more empowering beliefs.

‘There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’
Anais Nin

 ‘The only limits you have are the limits you believe. If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you’ll see obstacles.’  Dr Wayne W Dyer
 

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that affects your emotions, performance and your sensations of pleasure and pain. When Dopamine rather than Cortisol (link to last week’s MMMM) is going through out system we feel more optimistic, motivated, energised and happier.

 Dopamine levels go up naturally when we are either looking forward to something pleasurable or actually engaged in something enjoyable. However, there are actions you can take to increase your dopamine levels:

  • Break down big tasks into smaller tasks, as we get a dopamine hit whenever we finish a task. And ticking things off a list gives you even more of a hit.
  • Establish a streak – if you are trying to lose weight, exercise more, stop looking at emails at home etc. If you mark how many times you have done this in a week or month, you gain get a hit of dopamine every time you tick off and you establish a winning streak.
  • Listening to music that you love.
  • Exercise – even non-strenuous exercise increases dopamine.
  • Being in flow doing something creative.
  • Meditate – simply stopping and doing nothing, just being.
  • Being in nature or getting outside for some ‘green’ exercise – even if you are in a city look up at the sky and any trees around you. 
  • Introducing novelty and humour into your life.
  • Think about positive times in the past can trigger these positive feelings and chemical reactions.

What are you going to do this week to increase your dopamine levels?

 ‘Treasure those whose company prompts you to be playful and have fun - their gift to you is priceless’

Anne Dickson

‘It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘what’s for lunch?’

Pooh’s Little Instruction Book

 For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

 

We are learning more and more from neuroscientists about the working of the brain and the impact of the stress hormone Cortisol on the performance of our brain, and impact this has on our performance at work.

The Hippocampus:

  • Stores information, facts, figures, memories.
  • It has lots of receptors in order to store the information.
  • When the stress hormone, Cortisol is released the receptors in the Hippocampus suck up Cortisol and it stops the neurons from working. We find it hard to either remember information or retrieve it.
  • Chronic levels of Cortisol stops us from remembering or learning new things.

How do you reduce the levels of Cortisol that you experience?

  • Get a good night’s sleep – it is vitally important.
  • Exercise.
  • Breaks in your working day.
  • Learning techniques to manage your mind and brain.
  • Keep the right level of stimulation for the brain – more next week.
  • Challenge the brain, then rest it for a bit so it has time to recover.

 Next week we will look at how to increase your performance by increasing your dopamine levels.

‘No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for at least five minutes every hour, you'd be more productive.’

Dr. Joyce Brothers

‘Being grown up means assuming responsibility for yourself, for your children – here’s the big curve – for your parents. In other words, you get to stay up later, but you want to go to sleep earlier!’

Wendy Wasserstein

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

Supposedly, today is the worse day of the year or Blue Monday as it is now called. A perfect storm of winter weather (in Northern Hemisphere), arrival of credit card bills with Christmas spending and failure of new year’s resolutions!

But of course it does not have to be. I thought I would revisit one of my early MMMMs which many of the new subscribers will not have read, and it is probably worth re-reading anyway.

I always joke that I was known as Moody Melanie when I was growing up. Certainly, up until my late 20s, there were many Monday morning feelings, often on any day of the week! It’s a long story as to how I became a person, to whom a friend once said, ‘You’re very good at finding the joy in the shit, Melanie’. But one of the kick starts to that journey was reading the following quote from Viktor Frankl:

‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’

When I read that I thought, ‘Wow, if he could think that while in a concentration camp, I can do that in my own life’. It was a turning point, I started to take control of my mind.

This week when you are:

  • Stuck in a traffic jam or standing on a commuter train.
  • In that tedious meeting.
  • Doing the daily chores which seem endless.
  • Listening to a friend who for the 99th time is moaning about their life.
  • Or perhaps you are on holiday but frustrated with family or people hogging the sun loungers.
  • Or facing Blue Monday!

 Remember you have a choice. As another favourite quote of mine by Brian Keennan says:

‘Choice is the crown of life.  Not to choose, is not to be alive ... Choose joy and follow after it.’

 Choose Joy. And see how that changes your experience of the week ahead.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

This Melanie’s Monday Motivational Messages was inspired by the following quote by Nichiren Daishonin:

‘Even a person at cross purposes with himself is certain to end in failure.’

 You know those times when your mind, thoughts or beliefs are not the same as your actions. Perhaps you:

  • Are negotiating a pay rise, but thinking your boss will get angry with you.
  • Are about to do an important presentation or speak at a big meeting, and your inner critic is undermining your confidence.
  • Are applying for a job or a promotion, because you think you ‘should’, but your heart isn’t really behind it.
  • Are trying to be calm with someone when you are really furious with them.
  • Are torn between two choices whether in or out of work.

In all these situations if your thoughts and beliefs are at cross purposes with what we want to achieve in a given situation, then success is going to be much harder to achieve.

Looking ahead to this week:

·      What important tasks or interactions in or out of work do you have coming up?

  • Is there an important decision you need to make?
  • What are your thoughts and beliefs? Are they going to help or hinder you?
  • If the latter how can you create more empowering beliefs that are going to align your thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviour to set yourself up for success.

‘Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.’
Brian Tracy
 

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

When I was young and studying for my A Levels at home I was very studious. Partly because I had undiagnosed dyslexia and it took me longer than others to learn and revise topics. My dad who started life as an accountant would come into my bedroom and remind me of the ‘law of diminishing returns’. That the longer you study or work, the less returns you get because you are tired and less productive.

This is even more true to today’s working world. Where people are checking emails from first thing in the morning til late at night. Working longer hours, sleeping less, and quite frankly getting less productive. What we are learning from neuroscience shows that our brains are less productive when they do not have proper rest and enough sleep. Which is what my dear dad knew way back when.

Are you suffering from the law of diminishing returns? What can you do to increase your returns?

  • Get more sleep? Go to bed earlier?
  • Have clear boundaries regarding when you look at emails, or do office work at home?
  • Cut out distractions?
  • Avoid jumping from one task to another?

And perhaps ultimately we need to measure our outputs versus our inputs or length of time working.

 ‘No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for at least five minutes every hour, you'd be more productive.’

Dr. Joyce Brothers

Being & Doing – get the year off to a flying start:

There is still a couple of places left and you can join up today for my new 8 week online programme to help you to manage your mind, mood and motivation to keep you moving towards your goals.

For more information on Being & Doing https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-get-2019-off-to-a-flying-start/ 

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

Hi there

Welcome to Melanie’s Monday Motivational Message or MMMM. Today’s topic is:

How To Have  Happy New Year!

I’m tempted to post the points I made in the MMMM on Christmas Eve: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/tis-the-night-before-christmas-/ as words of wisdom for the coming year but here are a few others …

  • Middle way in most things. It is easy with the new year arriving to think, ‘I’ve got to …’:Go for a dry January.
    • Cut out sugar.
    • Exercise 5 times a week.
    • Find a new job, relationship, etc.

when finding the middle way is easier to achieve and maintain, and probably better for you in the long run.

  • Get a good night’s sleep, neuroscientists and other health professionals are finding it is key to good physical and mental health. See https://thesleepschool.org/ for Dr Guy Meadows’ ‘The Sleep Book’ and his one day workshops for insomniacs!
  • Gratitude for what we do have goes a long way towards a good sense of well-being and creating a glass half full mindset.
  • With the occasionally Fuckittudes – keep it real, be honest about your challenges and negative feelings, and you will be able to process them and move forward. See my 2013 Inspire newsletter for more on this and gratitudes: http://www.justaddcontent.co.uk/v1/grove/e136_December_2013_Inspire.htm  
     

Some wise words from Eleanor Roosevelt:

 ‘I wish for those I love this New Year an opportunity to earn sufficient, to have that which they need for their own and to give that which they desire to others, to bring into the lives of those about them some measure of joy, to know the satisfaction of work well done, of recreation earned and therefore savored, to end the year a little wiser, a little kinder, and therefore a little happier.’

 See you again on 7 January for a whole new year of Melanie’s Motivational Messages and the start of my brand new 8 week online course …

Being & Doing – get the year off to a flying start:I am launching a new 8 week online programme to help you to manage your mind, mood and motivation to keep you moving towards your goals. For more information on Being & Doing https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-get-2019-off-to-a-flying-start/ 

For a taster of my approach see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnyd2LqOMmM for a recording on one of my free webinars on Managing Your Mind, Mood and Motivation.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter  https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/ or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

I pondered whether to send a MMMM on Christmas Eve but, in case you are still tuning in, here goes, some thoughts on enjoying what there is to enjoy this festive season …

  • Cut yourself some slack if you are responsible for Christmas and all its trimmings, approximate perfection will do, and even burnt offerings should be accepted by loved ones.
  • Ask for support and help – in the days before dishwashers all of us cousins would wash up together and it was a chance for us to get away from the ‘grown ups’ and have a laugh.
  • Do your Christmas traditions or create new ones. We always play silly games, which everyone can enjoy.
  • If you want to spend Christmas alone do so – I know a couple of people who prefer this, rather than feeling they are the spare wheel in other people’s family gatherings.
  • Giving is receiving – the same part of our brain lights up when we give, as when we receive, not just presents but by helping others. So, to feel great, be willing to do more for others.

 Finally, as the 13th Century Buddhist, Nichiren Daishonin said to one of his loyal followers who endured many challenges:

‘Though worldly troubles may arise, never let them disturb you. No one can avoid problems, not even sages or worthies.

Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Regard both suffering and joy as facts of life.’

 So, enjoy what there is, forget the rest!

Wishing you a wonderful festive time, whatever it involves – and in case you find yourself ill this Christmas and missed my 10 December MMMM which was about finding the Joy in the Shit – take a look at: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/finding-the-joy-in-the-shit/

Do you want to know how to do this? Join me for my new online course……

Being & Doing – get the year off to a flying start: I am launching a new 8 week online programme to help you to manage your mind, mood and motivation to keep you moving towards your goals.

For more information on Being & Doing https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-get-2019-off-to-a-flying-start/ 

For a taster of my approach see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnyd2LqOMmM for a recording on one of my free webinars on Managing Your Mind, Mood and Motivation.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/  or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

I was listening to a video of Jason Goldberg and he talked about going pro as a business person, and it got me thinking about all of us, are we being amateurs in our role, career or even life. Or have we turned pro? What does that mean?

Turning pro means:

  • Taking yourself, your job, your life seriously.
  • Realising there is only one life, it flashes by, so get on with it.
  • Developing yourself further on a day by day basis.
  • Getting training, coaching, feedback to help you develop.
  • Celebrating successes and learning from the not so good days you have.

This week what actions are you going to take to turn pro in your life?

 
‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’
Mark Twain


For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs (https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/) and Inspire newsletter (https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/) or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 
 

This is a very live MMMM today. I used to be someone who was very good at feeling shitty in joyful situations, always the ‘glass half empty’ mindset. Gradually, through practising what I preach, changing from the inside out, that has radically changed.

About 15 years ago, I fell ill just before Christmas, missed going home to spend it with my family, was so ill on Christmas day and through to new year that I didn't care but, somehow, I managed to turn it into something positive. When I told a friend about this, she said, ‘You are very good at finding the joy in the shit, Melanie’. I thought, that will be a title of a book one day – probably my next one.

Here I am again, finding the joy in the shit. As I write this at 4am on Friday morning, I am about to miss another family gathering due to ill health (there are a lot of viruses around at the moment). A family day out at the races, with 3 generations of the Greene family, which I instigated and has been much anticipated by me. But I am too ill to go.

I’ve learned how to let go of and accept when these disappointments happen. How to, in Buddhist terms: ‘turn poison into medicine’. On Saturday, I had a day at the races at home, we WhatsApp each other photos, placed a few bets (mine are usually £2 each way but I still get very excited), and I virtually raise a glass of prosecco to my family from the warmth of my home.

In life, things don’t always goes as planned, sometimes small things, sometimes big things. You have a choice:

  • Get really miserable and increase your suffering with the ‘why me’s’, ‘it’s not fair’ – Ok to do for a short while but it only makes you unhappy.
  • Accept what is and get on with things.
  • Accept what is, turn poison into medicine and find joy in the shit.

This is a bit freaky but I turned to my quote document which is always open on my laptop and the first quote which was there is this, from Og Mandino, which seems very apt:

‘If I feel depressed I will sing. If I feel sad I will laugh. If I feel fear I will plunge ahead. If I feel inferior I will wear new garments. If I feel uncertain I will raise my voice. If I feel poverty I will think of wealth to come. If I feel incompetent I will think of past success. If I feel insignificant I will remember my goals. Today I will be the master of my emotions.’

 Do you want to know how to do this? Join me for my new online course……

Being & Doing – get the year off to a flying start: I am launching a new 8 week online programme to help you to manage your mind, mood and motivation to keep you moving towards your goals. For more information on Being & Doing https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-get-2019-off-to-a-flying-start/ 

For a taster of what to expect, join me at 1pm on Wednesday 12 December 1pm, for a free webinar: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinar-being-doing-changing-from-the-inside-out/ 

 

For more inspiration register with my website and read back issues of:

 

Sometimes people groan when people put on party invites, ‘There is no need to bring a present, your presence is enough’, but I thought I would kick off December, before people get into major buying mode, with exploring the idea of presence versus presents.

For the last 10 years of my dad’s life, instead of buying him present (he really didn't need anything) we went out together. It was precious spending that time together and I have some wonderful memories of a summer evening at the Pudding Club (sadly no longer running) at Didcot Railway museum, sitting in Victorian carriages munching through our three course meal with numerous puddings. Or the time we ate in the same restaurant as Oprah Winfrey in London, or the fly pass for the Queen’s birthday that coincided with our day out in London.

My brother and I now follow this tradition, we spend a day together for our birthdays, we’ve been on a chocolate tour of London, comedy nights and great meals out. For my mum this year, it was a walk along the canal from Little Venice to Regents Park which she described as one of her best birthdays ever – so it does not have to cost much money to create great experiences.

  • Who would you like to give your presence to this festive season rather than a present?
  • Who would value your time spent with them or whom would you value spending time with?
  • It might not be a family member but a good friend whom you haven’t had any quality time with lately.

And, perhaps, if a day out does not feel right for you, it is simply being truly present with them when you do see them. As Ram Dass says:

‘Be here now.’ 

Being & Doing – get the year off to a flying start: I am launching a new 8 week online programme to help you to manage your mind, mood and motivation to keep you moving towards your goals. For more information on Being & Doing https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-get-2019-off-to-a-flying-start/

For a taster of what to expect, join me at 1pm on Wednesday 12 December for a free webinar on this topic - Being & Doing: changing from the inside out: , see: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinar-managing-your-mood-mind-motivation/ for details.

 For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter  or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

I saw this cartoon on Facebook and thought how many times do we get caught up in opinion which we believe is fact. How many arguments does this lead to.

Of course there are simply facts in the world, but much of the larger issues we wrestle with it is hard to pin down ‘true’ or hard facts, and is much as about opinion, than facts. And opinions are valid.

When you are facing people with differences of opinion, ask questions, listen to them, seek to understand them, rather than try and convince them you are correct. If there is true dialogue you may end up both seeing different perspectives. It is when opinions get confused with facts that problems can arise.

 This week notice:

  • If you have a strong opinion about something challenge yourself about what it is based on.
  • If someone else has a strong opinion, ask them questions, seek to understand where they are coming from.
  • Sort out the fact from the opinions.

 I love this viewpoint from Bertrand Russell

‘The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.’

Being & Doing – get the year off to a flying start: I am launching a new 8 week online programme to help you to manage your mind, mood and motivation to keep you moving towards your goals.

For more information on Being & Doing https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-get-2019-off-to-a-flying-start/ For a taster of what to expect join me at 1pm on Wednesday 28 November for a free webinar on this topic, see: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinar-managing-your-mood-mind-motivation/ for details.

 For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/mmmms/ and Inspire newsletter https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/inspire-newsletters/  or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

I have a copy of Anne Dickson’s little book of quotes called, ‘A Book of Your Own’, which has many inspiring quotes within it. Here is one of my favourites:

‘Learn to distinguish between straining and stretching yourself - the former leads to injury, the latter to development.’

 It is so true, whether we are talking about ourselves physically, mentally or emotionally, stretching ourselves, going outside of our comfort zone, develops us. However, it is knowing when we are getting to the point of straining ourselves.

 Neuroscience shows us that there is a ‘learning zone’ which is just outside of our comfort zone, where we are stretched but not strained. However, when we go too far out of our comfort zone, we trigger our brain’s threat response which gets in the way of us learning and developing.

 This week spot:

  • Where are you physically, mentally or emotionally? Stretched or strained?
  • If you are feeling the strain in any area, how can you come back into a more comfortable zone to rest and recover?

 And if you are feeling overwhelmed, here’s another pearl of wisdom from Anne Dickson:

‘When the whole situation makes you unhappy and confused, choose one thing, however small, that you would like to change.’

Being & Doing – get the year off to a flying start: I am launching a new 8 week online programme to help you to manage your mind, mood and motivation to keep you moving towards your goals. For more information on Being & Doing https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/2019-being-doing-get-2019-off-to-a-flying-start/

For a taster of what to expect join me at 1pm on Wednesday 28 November for a free webinar on this topic, see: https://www.inspiretransformation.co.uk/page/free-webinar-managing-your-mood-mind-motivation/ for details.

 For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs  and Inspire newsletter or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

An old Cherokee told his grandson, "My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. The boy thought about it and asked, "Grandfather, which wolf wins?" 

The old man replied quietly, "The one you feed."

 How do we feed the wolf? By focussing on the thoughts that are behind the anger or greed or joy and hope.

If your thoughts tend towards the negative, catch yourself, let those negative thoughts go, re-direct your attention and focus on the positives in your life.

Writing daily gratitudes about your life and appreciations of yourself are two ways to re-wire your brain and feed the good wolf.

  • Which wolf is winning the battle right now?
  • Which wolf will you feed this week?

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

Perhaps low productivity in the UK is because we spend too much time in meetings with no time to do any work. If this feels like you, then this week talk to your colleagues about:

  • What meetings are essential?
  • Who needs to be there?
  • Are they too long? Short meetings often focus the mind.
  • As a team, department or business set aside certain times in the week where there will be no meetings.
  • What can you do to make meetings more productive and inspiring?

 If you have constant meetings, use the minutes as you walk between meetings or grab a quick loo break, to check in with yourself: your energy levels, mood, thoughts. If they are heading downwards, look up, breathe deeply, be in the moment, even for one moment, to help recharge your batteries.

‘If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.”’

Dave Barry
Of course, as the following quote from Marilyn Hewson shows, face to face contact does have its place:

 ‘You can't forget that organizational success flows from the hearts and minds of the men and women you lead. Rather than treating your people as you'd like to be treated, treat them as they would like to be treated. Small gestures like opting for face-to-face meetings or sending personal notes can have an enormous impact on teams and their morale.’

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

I’ve had the M People song, ‘Search For The Hero’  in my head all week. And it got me thinking that this is what we have to do when we face life’s big and not so big day to day challenges. As Anton Chekhov said:

‘Any idiot can face a crisis - it’s this day to day living that wears you out.’

It is the daily commute, the daily cooking, cleaning, ironing for the family, daily bedtime routine with children, daily meetings, dealing with challenging customers or colleagues. This is where we need to search for the hero inside ourselves.

So, whenever you find that the daily grind of life is getting you down this week, sing the song, bring out your inner hero and dance through life!

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

Next Free Webinar: 1pm Wednesday 28 November. Managing Your Mood, Mind & Motivation. Email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk to book your place.

Reading an article about someone who was constantly striving in life, I realised that I am one of life’s strivers. Which is great, I develop myself, I strive to improve the world, I support others. However, thankfully I have also learned how to take time out and simply ‘be’, some of the time.
 
Sometimes you need to take a day or time off from striving. If striving is exhausting you, this week, perhaps for a day or even an hour or a moment, just be, don't strive or push yourself in one area of your life to do more. Rest easy with how you are and see what happens. As the wonderful Maya Angelou says in ‘A Day Away’:

‘We often think that our affairs, great or small, must be tended continuously and in detail, or our world will disintegrate, and we will lose our places in the universe. That is not true, or if it is true, then our situations were so temporary that they would have collapsed anyway.

Once a year or so I give myself a day away……

 Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. We need hours of aimless wandering or spates of time sitting on park benches, observing the mysterious world of ants and the canopy of treetops….

When we return home, I am always surprised to find some questions I sought to evade have been answered and some entanglements I had hoped to flee had become unravelled in my absence.

A day away acts as a spring tonic. It can dispel rancour, transform indecision, and renew the spirit.’

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

Another MMMM inspired by a TED talk. This TED talk is by Beau Lotto and 12-year-old Amy O'Toole, which has so many things you can take away from it.

However, what I am focussing on today is that Beau Lotto talks about the fact that our brain hates uncertainty, as it is designed to keep us safe, and that it is hard to accept when you don't know what is around the corner. Drawing on the field of scientific discovery, he says, ‘If you want to do something different, you have to step into uncertainty’.

  • What are you doing this week which might be stepping into uncertainty?
  • Are you avoiding stepping into uncertainty because of your fears about it? Is this holding you back?
  • How can you, in Susan Jeffer’s words, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’?

‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.’

Anais Nin

 For more inspiration or support: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

It is true that our brain, which is designed to keep us safe, makes snap decisions about people when we first meet them. However, we do not have to go with those first impressions, as research shows that they are not always right, as they reveal more about our prejudices and our past experiences, than the actual person in front of us.

My colleague, Peter Makin, and I used to run a wonderful two day recruitment and selection programme. One of the points we highlighted were the assumptions we make which were not based on reality even during shortlisting. Here’s some examples of pitfalls that managers on the course fell into:

  • Thinking that an applicant was obviously strong and tough minded from their CV. When questioned, what they based this assessment on was that it was because the candidate had ‘survived’ divorced, they said – based on the manager’s own experience, when they might have run off with a younger man and been happy to divorce!
  • Thinking an applicant was going to be lazy and slope off the moment the sun started shining! All because they had put ‘surfing’ as an interest!
  • Thinking an interviewee was ‘arty’ because she had odd earrings on – turns out she had accidently put two different earrings on that morning.

 You are probably not going to be interviewing anyone this week but whatever you are doing:

  • Notice your first impressions, positive or negative.
  • What are they based on? Challenge them.
  • Think of times when first impressions were not right. 

'A firm, hearty handshake gives a good first impression, and you'll never be forgiven if you don't live up to it.'   P. J. O'Rourke

'It's pretty simple, pretty obvious: that people's first impressions of people are really a big mistake.' Vincent D'Onofrio

Having written this, I then stumbled upon this TED talk – well, song, actually: Black Men Ski, which seems appropriate for challenging our first impressions. 

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

When we react to events around us it is often a knee jerk reaction with no thought involved, and can end up with less than constructive outcomes. Whether that is over reacting to a colleague’s comment in a meeting, getting defensive to feedback from a manager or a customer, or shouting at your children’s less than responsible behaviour.

 However, there is a nano second between reaction and responding when we can make a decision. If when you are about to do a knee jerk reaction you:

  • Stop, take a deep breath.
  • Look up briefly.
  • Change your posture.
  • Then decide on the best way to respond.

This week notice the times when you simply react, when you notice yourself reacting but can’t stop yourself. And when you stop and decide how you will respond. What’s the impact on yourself and others around you? How does it feel? What are the benefits? But don't beat yourself up when you simply react, learn and move on.

‘What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens.’

Ellen Glasgow

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

No, I am not asking about your household habits. The author, Rumer Godden, once said:

‘Everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every one room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.’

A colleague of mine, Roy Leighton describes these four rooms as human needs:

  • Spiritual / Intuitive: Passion and Purpose – the need to have a sense of purpose and passion in life.
  • Emotional / Creative: Relationships – the need to connect with others and form relationships and friendships.
  • Physical / Applied: Resilience – the need to take action and overcome any obstacles you might encounter.
  • Mental / Intellectual: Result – the need to see results, be stimulated mentally, creatively.

As you go about your week think about: 

  • Is there a room or human need which I am neglecting?
  • What action can I take to ‘air’ that room?
  • Is there a room which I inhabit too often because I feel comfortable there? Or perhaps I am avoiding another?
  • If I have a particularly challenging task to do this week, which room do I need to draw on to help me with it?

‘It isn’t until you come to a spiritual understanding of who you are – not necessarily a religious feeling, but deep down, the spirit within – that you can begin to take control.’

Oprah Winfrey

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

I’ve never detoxed my body in my life, preferring to go for moderation in most things. And people often talk about digital detoxing, which got me thinking about detoxing your mind. This week give your mind and thoughts a detox. Whenever a negative thought comes into your mind, practice some of the following:

  • Letting it go - it is just a thought.
  • Challenging it – is it based on reality?
  • Reframing it – seeing it in a different light.

The other day, while on a walk around Blenheim Palace Park, I found my mind ruminating on something that my mind found difficult to let go. So I thought, every time I start ruminating, I’ll think of Rumi, which brought a smile to my face and made me focus on the beauty around me. And this quote from Rumi seems perfect for today’s MMMM:

‘Live life as if everything is rigged in your favour.’

Rumi

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

 Inspired by Sarah Kay’s TED talk, ‘If I should have a daughter’, the first part of her talk is a poem to a daughter she may one day have. She quotes the song: there’ll be days like this. And I thought, there will be those days, perhaps even those weeks, therefore, what do we do when we are faced with those days, those weeks, those moments? Rather than feeling stuck or overwhelmed by what you are facing, reach out for inspiration. Here are some of the activities I turn to – not all at once but choosing what is going to help me at that time:

  • Inspiring writing, poem, quotes – I am surrounded by this inspiration at home.
  • Writing in my journal – always my gratitudes, sometimes my fuckittudes, sometimes listening to myself.
  • Meditate, be mindful – I have my Buddhist practice but just being still and mindful can start to shift how we feel.
  • Go outside, be in nature, even if you are in a city, look up at the sky, stare at a single tree or window box in the street.

 As Sarah Kay says:

‘Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say, “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.’

 For the whole poem and more quotes from Sarah: Days Like This

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

Hi there,

Welcome to Melanie’s Monday Motivational Message or MMMM.

Today’s topic is:

Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right!

This phrase is associated with Henry Ford and, at an intuitive level, we know that our beliefs affect our lives.

Whether this is in how we view the world and other people, the actions we take, and how we deal with challenges.

However, day to day, we can forget this. When I work with clients, I help them transform from the inside out, transforming the beliefs and thought processes which drive their feelings and behaviour.

This week become aware of:

  • When you experience a positive or negative mood, what are the thoughts behind it, are they helping or hindering you?
  • When you face a challenge or feel stuck, ask yourself: what empowering or positive belief will help me here?

‘Aerodynamically the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it, so it goes on flying anyway.’

Mary Kay Ash

Advanced notice – Inspire Autumn Coaching Programme: what do you want to achieve by the end of 2018?

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter  or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

When we are all so busy, it is easy to end up multitasking rather than really stopping and listening to others.  Are we scrolling through our emails while a colleague is talking to us, thinking about 101 other things while in a meeting, or busy stacking the dishwasher while a child is talking to us?

Think about someone who could do with your full attention this week. Perhaps they are struggling and need your support. Or perhaps your relationship with them is strained and it could benefit from some active listening. Remember to…

  • Stop what you are doing, face them, show that you are listening to them.
  • Reflect back or summarise what you have heard, so they know you were listening.
  • Ask questions to understand where they are coming from or to help them to work through an issue.

‘To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection
we are able to attain in the art of conversation.’
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

Winston Churchill said:

‘I know of no case where a man added to his dignity by standing on it.’

How many times do we stamp on our own dignity, beat ourselves up, say words to ourselves that we would never say to a good friend? Just for this week (but hopefully you’ll continue forever), be kind to yourself.

Whenever your Inner Critic starts up, push it away, ask your Inner Wisdom for some kind, nurturing words of advice to help you in the situation you are facing. Perhaps, if you are feeling particularly tired or facing lots of obstacles, cut yourself some slack. Then notice what happens:

  • To your energy levels?
  • To your motivation?
  • To your mood and levels of satisfaction?

Have a wonderful wise, nurturing week.

‘You’re always a valuable, worthwhile human being, not because anybody else says so, not because you’re successful, not because you make a lot of money, but because you decide to know it.’

Dr Wayne W. Dyer, Staying on the Path

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter Inspire Newsletter or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

I always joke that I was known as Moody Melanie when I was growing up. Certainly, up until my late 20s, there were many Monday morning feelings, often on any day of the week! It’s a long story as to how I became a person, to whom a friend once said, ‘You’re very good at finding the joy in the shit, Melanie’. But one of the kick starts to that journey was reading the following quote from Viktor Frankl:

‘Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’

When I read that I thought, ‘Wow, if he could think that while in a concentration camp, I can do that in my own life’. It was a turning point, I started to take control of my mind.

This week when you are:

  • Stuck in a traffic jam or standing on a commuter train.
  • In that tedious or frustrating meeting.
  • Doing the daily chores which seem endless.
  • Listening to a friend who for the 99th time is moaning about their life.
  • Or perhaps you are on holiday but frustrated with your family or people hogging the sun loungers.

Remember you have a choice. As another favourite quote of mine by Brian Keennan says:

 ‘Choice is the crown of life.  Not to choose, is not to be alive ... Choose joy and follow after it.’

Choose Joy. And see how that changes your experience of the week ahead.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

 

Email has been a great help in enhancing communication but we have all had experiences where using email has resulted in misunderstandings, heated online exchanges or avoidance of difficult conversations.

 This week before you email someone, or respond to an email, think about the following:

  • The level of rapport you have with the individual. Is it fragile? Will it affect how the person receives the information?
  • The nature of what you are communicating – is it contentious? Does it need further explanation?
  • Is it part of an on-going email discussion which is getting nowhere fast?
  • Are you using email to avoid what might potentially be a difficult conversation?

 Would a phone call or face to face discussion save a lot of trouble down the line? Stephen Covey says:

‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’

 That is hard to do via email, you need to be able to listen to each other, ask questions, sense the mood and reactions by someone’s voice. A quick phone call, Skype or face to face might save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run.

'The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.' 

George Bernard Shaw
 

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

I was listening to Tim Harford’s fascinating TED talk: How messy problems can inspire creativity this morning while doing my Pilates (a great way of improving mind and body simultaneously). He used numerous interesting examples from the world of music, work, and learning, to show how frustrations, challenges, and the messiness of life, can make us more creative. 

 This got me thinking about how we react to challenges, obstacles. Are we thrown off course by them, or do they become ‘grist to the mill’ enabling us to dig further, think harder, be creative? This week notice how you react to any obstacles and challenges, find ways to use them to create something more innovative, creative or even just more practical, than if everything had gone smoothly.

 Tim uses Brian Eno as an example of this, so here’s a quote from him:

 ‘Control and surrender have to be kept in balance. That's what surfers do - take control of the situation, then be carried, then take control.

In the last few thousand years, we've become incredibly adept technically. We've treasured the controlling part of ourselves and neglected the surrendering part.’

This week surrender to the uncontrollable parts of your life, and see what arises.

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk 

 

I believe in practising what I preach, and I am human, I do make mistakes. Our reaction to our own mistakes can either lead us to beat ourselves up, and feel awful about them. Or we can learn from them, grow as a result of them, and if they involved other people, apologise and find a way of moving forward. With clients I share a Balanced Debriefing process to help them learn not just from mistakes, but any situation. Ask yourself:
 

  1. What happened? What did you do, what did others do
  2. What went well? As even in what might appear disastrous may contain nuggets of good within.
  3. What were you particularly pleased with – this can include how you redeemed situations that were going wrong or kept going!
  4. What would you do the same another time?
  5. What would you do differently?
  6. What do you think someone else would have done in your shoes? Maybe think about a colleague, friend or mentor.

If something goes wrong this week, or if you are still haunted by a previous mistake, take some time this week to do a bit of Balance Debriefing.
 

‘This thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.’
Mary Pickford


For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

What is this all about?

As you will find out through my MMMMs, I am a great fan of TED talks and one of the early ones I saw was Elizabeth Lesser’s Take the Other To Lunch.

Check out her talk -

We all have people in our families, our work places, our communities, who are very different from us. Personality-wise, politically, with different values, or interests. And sometimes it can feel difficult to work with them or to be with them. What Elizabeth did was take someone who was politically different from her to lunch, to get to know them as a person. She was not seeking an agreement on anything, it was simply to get to know them as a human being.

This week, think about someone whom you find challenging, who are different from you. You might not go and have lunch with them straightaway but ask them questions, listen, find out about them as a person, share some of yourself, and start to connect with them human to human.

‘What will matter is the good we did, not the good we expected others to do.’
Elizabeth Lesser

For more inspiration: read back issues of MMMMs and Inspire newsletter, or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk

Are you feeling inspired, energised, enthusiastic?

Or are you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious or even stuck, when you think about the week ahead?

Focussing on your ‘Why’, can help you to feel more motivated and positive, even about more mundane activities. Why are you doing what you are doing this week?

  • To pay the mortgage or rent, to have a safe and warm home for your family?
  • To help your clients or customers with their own lives?
  • To save lives?
  • To create something amazing in this world?
  • To save for your next holiday to create great memories for your family?

Having a sense of purpose, whether it is linked to your own needs or the needs of others, can help us to feel more positive, focussed and energised, even when we are facing obstacles and challenges. And especially when we are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and anxious.

If you don't feel you have a ‘Why’, spend a bit of time this week thinking about it and discussing it with friends and family, to create a sense of ‘why’ which will help to move you forward.

 ‘The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.’ 
Eleanor Roosevelt

For more inspiration: link to other MMMMs or Inspire or call Melanie on 01865 377334 or email mg@inspiretransformation.co.uk