What If Courage Was Rewarded in the Workplace

What If Courage Was Rewarded in the Workplace

“I’m not feeling great today Rob. I’m really struggling with something quite personal and it’s really affecting my ability to do my work properly.”

“No problem Jeff, would you like to make a booking with our coach to bounce it off someone so you can work some things out and get back on track?”

What if this was a conversation that could happen in our work culture, in our office, with our colleagues and it would be 100% acceptable? What if courage to speak up about what’s really going on could be rewarded, acknowledged and even encouraged? What if people could be vulnerable and it was met with empathy and compassion and there was a resource to help, available when needed? What if we treated people as the whole person they are, not just for their value for productivity in the workplace, but including the human struggles they may be experiencing at any given moment? How do you think that would impact their overall output and productivity?

Some people may read this and say, but if I’m vulnerable and let them see me struggling then they won’t respect me, they’ll think I’m soft, they’ll question my ability to do my job, the other men will call me a ********, vulnerability is for wimps, my boss will think there’s something wrong with me………the list goes on.

What about as an independent business owner, what if you could share your personal story and it was met with respect and acknowledgement? What if instead of chasing away business, it brought more business towards you? What if your courage to show up authentically was applauded instead of criticized or judged?

What would be possible then?

I’ll tell you what, raw courage and vulnerability is contagious. It’s empowering. It’s awe inspiring. It evokes emotion. And in the presence of it, we connect to our own story and feel hope and possibility.

It was from hearing courageous and brave stories of others that gave me hope that I could get out of the situation I was in. By hearing how others overcame their challenges, it paved a way for me to overcome my own. And how I felt toward these people who had opened their hurt and their heart was unwavering respect.

In my darkest moment, feeling helplessly suffocated and bound inside my abusive marriage, I heard a story of a woman who summoned up the courage to leave her own marriage. It was through hearing her story, her shame, her vulnerability and finding a way to be brave where I no longer felt alone in my struggle. Someone else was experiencing this too. It wasn’t just me. Someone else had the same thoughts and felt the same way.

In that moment, I felt hope and encouragement that there was a way out. Someone had done it before so it must be possible.

And now, almost three years free from my marriage, I have begun to share my own story. I am on the other side of it now, feeling empowered, strong and truly focused on what I bring to others.

I share not for sympathy or pity, nor for attention. I share because I know the enormous power of courage and vulnerability. And the response I’ve received has proven that to me.  People have come forward with such a generous and heartwarming reaction. And others have come forward to share their own story of overcoming, thanking me for inspiring them and paving the way.

A friend reminded me the other day, ‘Dagmar, don’t hide behind someone else’s message. It’s the story of courage and overcoming that brings the power to your messages and those who are listening.  Share with us more of that.’

So back to courage in the workplace, what if it was rewarded and given the respect and space it truly deserves? Imagine what possibilities open up for our co-workers and for our employees when they have a chance to be authentic, to reach out for help if they need it and to tell the truth. Just imagine how they’d be able to move through their struggles easier and faster, while also developing resiliency and grit. And then imagine, after feeling acknowledged and supported, how much more invested and motivated they would be in the work and in your organization? Imagine the creativity and productivity that would follow?

Would it be worth it?

I think so.

So next time you notice that someone at work is struggling a bit, ask if they’re ok. Maybe even offer a resource they could turn to. Start a shift. Be the change you want to see in the world.

How I Learned to Quiet My Limiting Beliefs

How I Learned to Quiet My Limiting Beliefs

“You’re not enough” “You’re not worthy” “You don’t deserve it”

Do these sound familiar? Maybe a variation of these is more yours instead, like ‘You’re not smart enough’, ‘Who do you think you are?’, ‘You’re not good enough for this?’, ‘You don’t deserve him/her’.

We all have this voice, this gremlin, this demon or limiting belief that sends us illogical messages based on our past – either someone from the past, or an experience from the past. The truth is that it originates from way back in time, to a time we often can’t even remember. But a message was imprinted on our brain that says we’re not enough.

This might even be uncomfortable to read, because we don’t like to talk about it. Most of us have shame around this and think that if anyone knew or found out, then it would push people away. So we hide this thing, this inner voice, the inner critic. We hide it, try to contain it and go about our daily lives, at home, at work, around friends. And trust me when I say, you’re not the only one with these thoughts. We all have them in some way or another.

But we were born enough.

We were born perfect, worthy, loveable, capable, deserving and enough.

For me, it was ‘you’re not good enough’, ‘you’re not smart enough’ and ‘you’ll have to hustle for worthiness’. And so I did. I hustled, and I hustled and I hustled for my worthiness from others until one day I found myself married to someone who loved the game and toyed with my worthiness like a cat toys with a mouse that he’s about to eat.

It was in that moment, which became my defining moment, that I said, f*%# this s##*, I am worth more than this. It was in this moment that I stood up to my demons, those nasty voices inside, and said, ‘no, you’re wrong, I deserve better than this’.

Shortly after, I left my husband, pursued a massive career change and started my new business while being a full-time mom. And through this most recent journey I learned how to quiet the demons inside, those negative voices that kept clawing at me, trying to convince me that I wasn’t good enough.

It was in the falling down, hitting the bottom and finding my way back up that I built my own worthiness, I grew my own confidence and developed an unshakable belief in myself.

How about you? What does your demon or gremlin say to you? How much does it affect your life, your business, your job or your relationships? How would all these areas of your life be different if the voice was just a quiet one that you would know how to respond to and quiet when you need to?

I share with you 5 steps that fundamentally changed my life and that I now use when working with clients who want to overcome their inner obstacles and their inner critics that are holding them back from the happiness and success they want.

1. Summon Up Your Courage To Face the Bully Inside

Just like standing up to a bully, you need courage to make a stand for yourself. So reach in, dig deep, grab hold of your courage and tell yourself the quote by John Wayne ‘Courage is being afraid but saddling up anyway’. And then just hang on tight, don’t let go and stand strong.

2. Tell Someone Exactly What That Inner Voice Is Saying To You

I know this sounds so fear inducing, but hear me out. Shame cannot exist in the presence of empathy and compassion. (Wise words from Brene Brown). So when you shine light on these thoughts, when you tell someone what this voice says and it’s received with empathy and compassion, you no longer feel alone, you no longer feel the need to hate this part of yourself. You’re acknowledged for having an irrational thought, like everyone else. The power that this thought once had on you falls away as you realize that it’s just a thought, it’s not reality or the truth. When someone says I get it or me too, then you can begin to offer yourself empathy and compassion, you can begin to be gentle with yourself and love yourself instead. This simple act will be the catalyst in turning from and walking away from that gremlin or demon inside.

3. Look Your Gremlin In The Eye And Have A Conversation With It

As if you could almost sit down with your gremlin, your limiting belief and have a conversation with it, what would happen if you asked it to say what it needs to say. So, you’re about to meet a new group of people, or pitch your new idea, or present your business to someone new, what is this voice saying to you? It might be saying, ‘they’re not going to like you’, ‘they’re going to find out about that thing about you, and then they won’t like you’, ‘they’re not going to like your idea’, ‘do you honestly think you’re good enough for this?’. So if that’s what the voice is saying, what if you could ask that part of yourself, that’s saying these words, what do you want for me that’s positive? Or, what are you trying to protect me from? Every behaviour we have has a positive pay-off or some benefit that is simply there to keep us alive. It’s our emotional framework or structure that we have in place to protect us, to keep us emotionally safe. So ask yourself again, what do you want for me that’s positive and what are you protecting me from?

4. Get Resourceful And Go Out And Get What You Need

Once you’ve been able to answer the question, what do you want for me that’s positive, then go out and find a way to get that from another source in order to build you up. Tony Robbins always says, it’s not about a lack of resources but more about a lack of resourcefulness. So, start thinking of ways, tools, people, anything that will help you get what you really need in that moment. For some, they may need the voice of a loved one saying, ‘you can do this, you know you can’. For others they may need to refer back to a time when they found a way through a familiar obstacle before and ask themselves, what worked then, how did I find my way through that? For some it may be reading or watching an inspirational story or talk. For some it may be hiring a professional, like a coach or mentor that can help them challenge these negative limiting beliefs and empower them to get what they really need and what they’re wanting at a deeper level. For some it might be meditation, exercise, music, or something that makes them feel good and changes their state so they can think more clearly and access the visual and ideas centre of their brain. Whatever it is, go out, take control of your life, and find other ways and resources to help you get what it is that you are really needing. When you discover that you have the power within you to make a change, a world of possibility opens up.

5. Take Action and Create Evidence That Challenges Your Limiting Beliefs

This is the step where that critical voice inside is replaced with creating something new and something positive instead. A friend recently shared with me that an important part of his journey was that he decided he wanted to create a different result in his life. I thought it was so powerful and captures the essence of this important step. Focus on creating a new result and create actions steps to get it. When you bring your attention on this new thing you want to create and when you align yourself with your values and your personal vision, you create actions that stem from what’s important to you. And when you complete these actions, your confidence grows, your self worth grows and those demons and limiting beliefs quietly slip away. In fact, you won’t even notice them getting silent because you’ll be so caught up and feeling empowered from this new thing you’re focused on and creating. As you continue with this process you’re constantly creating new evidence that challenges that critical voice inside, evidence that proves that voice is wrong.

So keep taking action, keep moving forward and keep creating evidence that you do have worth, that you are worthy, that you are smart enough, good enough and simply enough. Because you were born that way and nothing has changed.

Custom photography by Angela McConnell

Why EQ is More Important than IQ for First Year University Students

Why EQ is More Important than IQ for First Year University Students

The biggest mistake parents make when preparing their kids for university is to focus on academics.

Kids feel pressure early on for getting top grades so they can get accepted into university, and preferably the university and program of their choice. This pressure can start as early as grade 9 and 10 and sometimes means extra hours studying, working with tutors and engaged in extra academic programs to get a step ahead.

The #1 challenge most high school kids face when leaving high school is that they are not emotionally or socially prepared for the next step.

In a recent study of more than 1,500 first-year college students, carried out by The Harris Poll, a majority of first-year college students in the U.S. (60%) feel emotionally unprepared for college, and these students are more likely to report poor academic performance, regularly consume drugs or alcohol and rate their overall college experience as terrible/poor.

The Challenge Faced

Transitioning from high school to university can and will be for many students the most challenging experience they have faced in their lives. Getting accepted into university or college and maintaining good grades are just the beginning when it comes to challenges for young students. For most, the challenges go far beyond academics and finances. Most students aren’t ready for the social and emotional demands of their first year.

The 4 Biggest Changes

★  Personal Responsibility – students are in a new experience of being accountable and responsible for themselves.

★  Independence – students must balance course workload, social life and day to day living demands on their own.

★  Time Management – students must create their own schedule and spend their time effectively in a way they are not used to.

★  Social Demands – students will need to recreate their social world and feel social pressure to make new friends.

Students often feel overwhelmed, lonely, isolated and have difficulty adjusting. And for kids who are not emotionally prepared, transitions can sometimes be danger points because of the stress experienced with it. Students often struggle to get emotional support when they need it and often experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Some turn to drug and alcohol or high-risk behaviour for relief. The overall result is poor academic performance, regardless of how intellectually smart they are.

As a parent we can often feel overwhelmed when we consider the challenges our young students will be facing during this time. So how can you support your child as they transition into independence? How can you get them onto the best foot possible as they take the leap from high school to post secondary education and learn to navigate change effectively in their lives? How do you build resiliency in your young adults?

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Skills for Resiliency

Research strongly shows the link between success in life and emotional intelligence. And for older teens and young adults, this also rings true and makes a difference in their academic and personal lives.

We’ve heard this term emotional intelligence. But what does it really mean? According to Dr Reuven Bar-On’s definition, who originally coined the term ‘Emotional Intelligence’, he defines it as:

“A set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way”.

But what does this mean for our young students? Can our students increase their emotional intelligence? And what key EI skills do our students need to be successful in their post secondary programs?

Studies show a strong link between academic achievement and the below dimensions of EI:

✩  Interpersonal

✩  Adaptability

✩  Stress Management

✩  Empathy

✩  Social Responsibility

✩  Flexibility

✩  Impulse Control

✩  Optimism

✩  Self Regard

✩  Problem Solving

✩  Independence

According to the research these skills are what’s needed to be successful in forming new relationships, learning new study habits, adapting to the increased academic demands and learning to live more independently.

And yes, our young students, and anyone for that matter, can increase their emotional intelligence. There are many effective exercises, behaviour modification techniques and programs for increasing your EI. Some I recommend are:

★  Mindfulness – a powerful approach to changing destructive behaviour, managing stress, encouraging self-care and increasing overall emotional wellbeing.

★  Applying the ABCDE’s – a system for altering your perceptions, attitudes and behaviour pioneered by Dr. Albert Ellis.

★  Get educated and start reading about emotional intelligence and learn about areas you would like to develop. The Student EQ Edge by Steven J. Stein, Howard E. Book and Korrel Kanoy is a great place to start, providing a definition of emotional intelligence and a road map for mastering EI skills. The adult version is also an excellent resource.

★  Get an EQ-i 2.0 Higher Education Assessment done for your student. This assessment tool provides a snapshot of a student’s emotional operating system and a framework for understanding their emotional intelligence skills. This includes a comprehensive report including interpretations of their EI skills and development strategies to increase the skills where they see some opportunities.

★  Hire a coach that specializes in EQ skill development that can work closely with your student to create a space for them to explore themselves deeply, discover their own resourcefulness and develop their own resilience to be effective in their lives.

I offer a program in my practice called the Courage Space Youth Transition Program – Leading the Next Step with Emotional Intelligence. This program is for those parents who are deeply interested in sending their kids off on their best foot, with the resources they need and the resilience required to not only survive but to thrive in this next step.

I give students perspective on how their emotions have a role to play in their own self worth, their self expression, their relationships, the way they handle stress and how they make decisions. I work closely with students through a combination of an assessment and coaching to help them develop their emotional intelligence skills. The focus: helping students build emotional resilience for their next stage.

What students get:

★  Tools and a compass for personal effectiveness

★  Map of emotional operating system

★  Learn how to turn adversity into opportunity

★  Learn foundational emotional skills

★  Develop okayness about self

★  Strengthen emotional immune system

★  Build resilience

★  And much more…

Learn more at http://couragespace.com/for-parents/.

To register your student contact me at dagmar@couragespace.com for an information package or call me at 604-880-7189.

Together let’s make future leaders out of our kids!