Welcome to Personal Effects for October……this month the theme is changing thinking and changing behaviours……..the surprising benefits of asking for help, a course delegate shares her learning connections inspired by maths and an ‘The Problem of Thinking about Thinking’ Read on………….

A Friend in Need ……A Friend Indeed !!

Whilst preparing this month’s ‘Personal Effects’ I had an email from a friend asking for my help. She started with apologising for not being in touch and then breaking her silence with asking for a favour.

Coincidentally I had been thinking of getting in touch with her……and as I wanted to ask a favour of her too…….I assumed she would think me rather crass. So we had been thinking the same way…..and when I received her email I really admired that she hadn’t let her assumptions hold her back. More than that though…….I didn’t think ‘crass’ when I got her email…….I felt genuinely complimented that she considered me a friend who would respond favourably.

Thanks, Lesley…..I hadn’t considered before the powerful message that comes with a request for help !

Respecting Others’ Viewpoints Adds Up !!

Sarah Gilliland
Quality & Performance Co-ordinator
The Riverside Group Limited

I recently spotted this image on a popular social media website. I instantly loved it and, simultaneously, I instantly thought of Florence. The way you do things is not always the only way to do them.

Over recent months, I have been lucky enough to take part in several of Florence’s courses and this picture reminded me of the things I have learned. Each of the sessions have taught me a different skill, an alternative approach and developed my personal effectiveness. One of the most poignant learnings for me has been to understand that everyone has a different map of the world and the route that I take is not always necessarily the best route.

Throughout life, many of us will, at some point, believe that we know best. It might be that you believe you know the most delicious recipe for making lasagne. You could feel certain the route you take from the office to the gym is the quickest. Or you may be sure that you know the most effective way of handling a challenging team member. Whatever it might be, we all have areas of self-righteousness where we believe we know better than others.

I have certainly been guilty of this on numerous occasions; prone to stubbornness and often feeling frustrated with others for not conforming to my way of doing things. Sometimes I have been so adamant that I knew best, I have completely disregarded the opinions of others, risked falling out with people and closed myself off to discovering new and innovative ideas.

I have learned that being rigid in thinking supresses creativity and in order to encourage growth and development, I need to be open to new ideas, alternative methods and different approaches, not just from others but from myself also.

The courses with Florence have helped me to change my mind-set. They have transformed my approach and enabled me to become an improved version of me.

And this new way of thinking really works! A reporting method that I had been using for months (and which I was convinced was the most effective it could be) is now working even better. One of my colleagues presented an idea that ultimately produced the same outcome but meant that I could achieve it in half the time. I had never considered this alternative approach and previously I might not have considered it. I am so glad that, this time, I did.

Sometimes, your route might turn out to be the best route but next time you find yourself thinking you know best, consider this…What if, just what if, an extra douse of basil makes that lasagne even tastier? What if you could cut our journey time to the gym by five minutes per day? And what if that challenging team member could become one of the team’s greatest assets?

6+3=9 but so does 5+4. The way you do things is not always the only way (or the best way) to do them.

Sarah at Fallbarrow Hall, Windermere on the RISE 2 Programme

The Problem with Thinking about Thinking

Michael Neill – internationally renowned success coach and best-selling author. 

One of our guest lecturers, George Pransky, shared a story of a conversation a friend of his had with long-time world number one tennis player Pete Sampras. His friend asked Sampras how it was that he was able to be so cool on the court, unlike many of his compatriots who seemed to be feeling the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat after every point.

Sampras laughed and said that his thoughts and emotions went all over the place when he played, just like everyone else’s. Not quite believing him, George’s friend pushed the question further.

“Does that ever affect the quality of your tennis?”, he asked.

“Absolutely,” Sampras responded. “If I get too caught up in my thinking or a bad mood, I play much worse.”

“Well, what would happen if you got caught up on match point?”

“I would probably lose the match,” Sampras said.

“So if you have just as much thinking and emotion as everyone else on the tour, why doesn’t it seem to effect you as much?”

Sampras reflected for a moment, and then responded “Because I don’t really care what I think or what experience I’m having. A lot of these other guys – it really seems to matter to them.”

Completely befuddled, George’s friend asked one last question.

“But if you don’t care about what you think or your experience, what do you care about?”

Sampras smiled. “Playing tennis. I care about playing tennis.”

For me, this little exchange points to a fundamental truth about human beings:

We live in the feeling of our thinking, but how much of an impact that has on our effectiveness and quality of life is a function of how much we care about each particular thought or experience we are having.

That sounds more complicated than it is, so let me say it again in a different way.

When I used to perform as an actor, I would get so nervous before going on stage that I would feel like I was going to throw up. I tried everything from meditation to NLP to a nip of alcohol to calm my nerves. Over time, it got better, but I was constantly on the lookout for new ways to manage my pre-performance nerves.

This April, I was standing backstage at TEDx Bend, getting ready to give a talk called to about 1500 people. I found myself standing next to a few of my fellow speakers – an astronaut, a surfer, and a beekeeper . Unsurprisingly, the conversation turned to stage fright, something all of us had experience in one form or another. What caught me off guard was when the astronaut and the surfer started swapping stories of throwing up before significant events (like riding a 50 foot wave or being launched into space) as if it was just another fun part of the experience. Although it’s been years since I actually threw up before a gig, it had never once occurred to me that it wouldn’t have to be a big deal if I did.

And this points back to that universal truth:

It’s not our moment to moment thinking and experience that determines the quality of our life – it’s how much we think that experience matters.

When we recognize that our thoughts are designed to flow from moment to moment, it’s easier to accept the fact that some of those thoughts are going to be “negative”, and bring with them feelings and experiences we might not like as much as others. But it’s not until we decide that we shouldn’t be having them that we get ourselves into trouble.

Here are a couple of questions to ponder this week as you go about your daily life:

  1. Given the vast range of thoughts, feelings, and experiences you have on a daily basis, how do you know which ones to actually concern yourself with and which ones to just chalk up to “experience” and allow through without a second thought?
  2. What if you didn’t have to actually concern yourself with any of them ?

Have fun, learn heaps, and happy exploring!

You Might Be Interested In…….

You might be interested in…………
A TED talk this time by Matt Cutts:

‘Try something new for 30 days’

You might just be inspired to do just that !