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Frustration Buster Part 3 – The Happiness Trap

This is a fascinating book by Russ Harris. It’s a programme based on ACT: a mindfulness-based approach to overcoming anxiety and stress.  He uses great day to day analogies we can all relate to with lots of practical quizzes, worksheets and exercises too.

The central idea is that it’s more effective to observe any unhelpful thoughts or feelings rather than try to control them or fight them. And then to ensure that you act on your values.

I’m finding the ideas helpful for me and for the leaders I coach. Try them out for your next presentation, big meeting or challenging conversation.

Here are some simple tips from the first part of the book to help you de-fuse those frustrations or anxious thoughts:

  1. Notice the thought or feeling is there
  2. Observe it, don’t fight it or challenge it
  3. Say ‘thanks mind’ or ‘thanks for sharing’. Notice what happens, or
  4. Pick a favourite cartoon character or movie character like Brian’s mum in ‘The Life of Brian’, (my favourite!), bring it to mind and ‘hear’ the thought in that voice. Notice what happens.

You can use these ideas yourself for day to day worries. The ACT programme is also used by counsellors to help with depression. Buy ‘The Happiness Trap’ by Russ Harris on Amazon here.

KineticFuture is a leadership coaching company specialising in communications. We coach one to one and in groups.  Contact Karen Moyse if you’d like to discuss this on Karen@kineticfuture.com

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Your Gravitas Vlog 1

Our first vlog series is born! It’s called ‘Manage Your Tell’ – the behaviour that tells people you are under pressure and undermines your position. Click here to watch.

We’ll help you find your tell and give you tips to sort it in this 6 part series. Or call us if you’d like to be coached to develop your own confidence, gravitas or executive presence.

To receive high quality coaching on HOW to develop your own executive presence and gravitas for your own situation do give us a ring. We develop practical programmes to suit you.

Email karenmoyse@kineticfuture.com or call us on +44 (0) 1628 621312.

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Frustration Buster Part 2 – Engage That Brain

Q: I am frustrated. I have someone experienced on my team who I know has the potential to develop and contribute a great deal more. But despite all my best efforts it’s just not happening.  It’s not a performance management issue but I know they are giving me only ‘just enough’.  And this year I need everyone firing on all cylinders.  I’m looking for new ideas!

A: A good first step is to think about whether it’s a “can’t cook”, “won’t cook” or “used to cook well but doesn’t now” situation. And consider whether it’s a problem of knowledge, attitude or skills.  Does that narrow it down?

However, I sense that you may need to go back to foundations here. It sounds like your person is not currently engaged in their job.  By that I mean they are not really paying attention, passionate about it or ready to go the extra mile.  So you can try to build their knowledge and skills but without a different mindset nothing much is going to happen.  But you can use some practical nudge strategies from brain science to help.

Here are 3 big ways of building brain engagement. Explore if any of these could work for you.

  1. Coherence. Is the work environment coherent? – How could you make what’s happening or needed clearer, more consistent and easy to understand? Brains engage when there aren’t conflicting messages.
  2. Contribution. Knowing you are contributing gives your brain a big dopamine hit, a great reward. So consider how you enable them to contribute, how you appreciate them properly, what suits their personality type and critically how you systematise how you talk to them so it happens regularly. Remember you’re looking to build on any bright spot of behaviour. It’s much easier to get them going by doing more of something they do already and then flexing.
  3. Interpersonal Connection. We are wired for human connection, even if we are introverts. It’s how early humans survived and good connections boost the oxytocin in our brains, which reduces our stress. Another reward. This is a delicate one because again you need to work out how this individual likes to connect to others. But ask yourself, how can I build trust, how should the contact levels be, how can I increase inclusiveness or build a sense of tribe and how could I encourage collaboration in different ways?

Only you know the practical things that will work for you. Let us know how you get on.

If you would like coaching to tackle this type of challenge or a problem you think stems from a lack of team engagement, do give us a call. We develop practical programmes to suit you.

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Frustration Buster – Part 1

You’ve communicated the vision, you’ve got a great plan but your team or your management is just not getting it. And they are certainly not moving to action.

And it’s no good just shouting louder like the cartoon Brit abroad if you want action.

I’m going to start with a dirty word. For some reason I can’t fathom, the idea that you are ‘selling’ when you communicate is a huge switch off.  Yet life is a pitch – call it what you like.  So dive in and learn a great deal from strategic sales skills.

At the very heart of ‘selling’ is the idea of ‘get over yourself, it’s all about the audience’. It’s all about listening more than you talk and uncovering insights.  It’s about understanding and respecting the other person’s needs, desires, fears.

Yet, we all see leaders at all levels in the company battering people with their own agendas and own messages in their own language. Be honest, in our rush and stress we may all be doing this ourselves!

Top tip:

Base your communications 100% on what’s in it for the other person or the audience. What do they want? Where are they coming from? Sure, you need your own objective in mind, but this is the only way you’ll have a hope of igniting others around purpose.

KineticFuture solves problems by offering advanced communications coaching for: leaders battling change, strategic sales people dealing with scepticism and technical people talking to non technical audiences. Do talk to us about your own challenges by emailing Karen@kineticfuture.com.

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Game, Set & Match

Our sports stars take their resilience training as seriously as they do their physical training. A top tennis player will tell you that their mental side delivers 70 per cent or more of their success.

Johanna Konta, Wimbledon’s rising star, says that her resilience and the ability to close matches was once a regular weakness. She says her transformation is due in part to putting in the number of hours a week of mental training that respect this 70 per cent.

Andy Murray, World no. 1 tennis player and Dylan Hartley, the 2017 England rugby captain, also talk about how mental work has helped them become leaders.

It’s the same for we business people. We need to be able to stay the course in the tough times, stay focused, have patience when it goes wrong and bounce back.  Resilience also gives us better control of our emotions, more energy and enables us to make better decisions.

So, how much time do you personally spend working on your mind-set?

Here are the quick and quirky resilience tips that have emerged from our sports stars over the past week:

  • Work out where the thoughts come from. You try to find a number of beliefs – I need to win, I don’t want to make mistakes, what happens if I lose? – and you replace those with more positive thoughts.
  • Of course you have a number of tools you can use to relax. Breathing exercises. Visualisation. You visualise a positive outcome – not winning a match but a small step like a corner where you want to serve.
  • Trigger words you can say in your head; words that keep you thinking positively – ‘keep fighting’, ‘you can do it’ ‘that point doesn’t matter’.
  • The philosophy is to focus only on things you can control. Not winning or losing control or your ranking but your effort, your attitude. You release the pressure of what you can’t control.

And if all else fails, take Konta’s advice and bake muffins! Great distraction.

KineticFuture runs fantastic resilience courses which help your team tackle their own resilience and mental game challenges. We’ve worked successfully with sales teams to CEOs.  Our approach is evidence based, 90% practice and pragmatic.  Do give us a call if you’d like to chat through your situation.

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Resilience Rocks Playlist – Summer 2017

Remember last week we asked for contributions to our Resilience Rocks Playlist? We were looking for songs that make you feel strong and ready to tackle the world.

We received lots of replies and it’s been great fun putting together a YouTube playlist, so thank you if you replied. We’re certainly feeling energised in the KineticFuture office!

It’s a real mix of music, from a funky song by Busted, to a crazy video by Mika, opera from Franco Corelli and heavy metal from Hatebreed. It takes all sorts to get you going!

Just go to our YouTube channel to play our Resilience Rocks Playlist Summer 2017.

Here’s the playlist (in order of popularity on YouTube, most played first):

1. Katy Perry – Firework
2. Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling
3. Muse – Feeling Good
4. Mika – Relax, Take it Easy
5. Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean – Feels
6. The Jam – Town Called Malice
7. Rita Ora – Your Song
8. Arcade Fire – Everything Now
9. Passenger – Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea
10. Luis Fonsi ft. Justin Bieber – Despacito
11. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
12. Busted – On What You’re On
13. Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Perpetuum Mobile
14. Pond – Sweep Me Off My Feet
15. Franco Corelli – Di Quella Pira
16. Hatebreed – Live For This

Feel free to send in your suggestions if you haven’t yet, we love hearing from you!

KineticFuture specialises in coaching the communications aspects of leader development. We are lucky enough to coach CEOs to graduate trainees, engineers to creatives in some of the best companies in the world.  Call us if you have a communications challenge you’d like to brainstorm.

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We’re Putting Together a Resilience Rocks Playlist

Do you have a particular song that makes you feel strong and ready to tackle the world?

Here at KineticFuture we’re putting together a playlist for summer 2017 and it would be great to have your input if you have a minute.

Just email us with your favourite song and artist – we’ll share the results with you next week via a YouTube playlist that you can access whenever you need a boost.

We look forward to hearing from you, thank you for helping!

P.S. Click here to watch the playlist so far – featuring our favourite summer 2017 hits, Calvin Harris (Feel), Rita Ora (Your Song) and Luis Fonsi (Despacito).

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EP & Gravitas Part 6 – The Real Secret of Gravitas

How many people do you know who have this gravitas thing? I bet it’s a short list. Michelle Obama will be up there.

Now ask who makes you personally feel respected, liberated and able to really think at your best. It’ll be a different list but I bet Michelle will still be on it.

The real secret of gravitas is how you make others feel, how you can liberate and ignite their own potential.

These are the people we will walk through walls for. These are the people we would like to elect.

The real secret to gravitas or executive presence is about ease. It is about being able to be genuinely interested in what others have to say because you are not worried about yourself.

It’s about allowing others’ great thinking and potential to flourish because you personally don’t have to control, to be certain, to impress or rush.

Yes, you do need to really know your stuff 6 questions deep and people need to know you are resilient under fire.

Yes, you do need to own and communicate your own point of view in a compelling way.

Yes, you do need to learn to adapt your style to connect with different people and cultures. You do need to make good decisions and execute well.

But the real gravitas, the real secret that makes this possible? That’s about being able to ignite others to fly.

You can absolutely be this person with just a little work.

Whether you are an introvert, an extravert, a young leader or an established leader adapting to a new role.

That’s what we coach at KineticFuture.

We’re often asked why do you blend psychology with the physicality of theatre skills? Why is this resilience and positive leadership malarkey relevant? And what’s with this neuroscience bit and obsession about your planning tools for a communications strategy?

Because these are the skills you need to be genuinely, deep down, long term successful when you are battling real life. And these are the keys to open up yourself to new and exciting personal possibilities.

If you’d like to find out how you or your colleagues could be coached on HOW you can learn to do this, email us a quick “yes please”. And we’ll get in touch for a chat.

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EP & Gravitas Part 5 – Boost Your Confidence

Boost Your Confidence

Q: There are some people who manage to knock my confidence and I start to lose gravitas in the meeting. The worst are people who ask questions aggressively on subjects I’m not sure about. How do I maintain my confidence and gravitas in this type of situation?

A:

  • Be prepared. Develop answers for the questions you dread the most. And be prepared to say you don’t know and will find the information for them. No one knows everything. Also think of framing the answer in terms of what makes sense or is valuable to the questioner, not just to you.
  • Manage your ‘tell’. Just like in poker this is the behaviour that gives away that you are under pressure. For example it could be smiling too much or fidgeting. If you know what your ‘tell’ is you can manage it, which boosts your confidence.
  • Flip it. In your mind, swap the word aggressive for vigorous. And find the upside of these questions. See it as a sign that they are very interested. Or that you are offering them a platform to look clever. Or that their ‘bad’ behaviour will draw others to your cause. What else can you think of?

If you would like to be coached on HOW to boost your confidence, please do get in touch. We offer group and one to one programmes tailored for your own real situations.

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EP & Gravitas Part 4 – Warmth & Authenticity

Warmth & Authenticity

 Q: I’m very comfortable talking to other senior leaders. But my colleagues tell me I lack warmth and emotional connection with less senior people. How do I do this in a genuine way that still maintains the gravitas and presence of a leader?

A: From what you say in the rest of your note you seem to have warmth and connection in your dealings with familiar senior colleagues or with people who share your hobbies. What you’re going to do here is get back to being your authentic self. And to build on what works for you already. The right level of gravitas will come through naturally.

Exercises

  1. Get real. It may be useful to ask yourself “what am I assuming that stops me from connecting well with less senior colleagues?” And “do I have evidence for this view/fact?” Often seeing something written down and challenged can start to loosen up your approach.
  2. Get over yourself. Go into situations with less senior people with genuine curiosity. Ask their views. Listen. Engineer a different communications forum that’s more relaxed and personal. Use your imagination!!
  3. Build on what’s natural to you. Think of a situation outside work where you are your most relaxed self. With the family? At the pub? With your football mates? Practice your next presentation or conversation ‘in the style of’ – talking and listening to one of these groups. It will feel strange. Good. You could even film yourself to see the difference or ask a friend to give you feedback. See what happens.

To receive high quality coaching on HOW to develop your own executive presence and gravitas for your own situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups of all sexes, ages and cultures.