Posted by on August 29, 2018 | 2 comments

What It Really Means to Thrive

We all have an intuitive sense of what it means to thrive. But what does it actually mean? For some people it’s about feeling happy and content; for others it means living up to their potential and succeeding at the goals they set themselves. What does it really mean to thrive? Is there a way of defining it so that we have a clear, common understanding of the concept? How do we implement strategies for thriving in work and life if it means different things to different people? Fortunately for us, researchers from the University of Portsmouth in the UK, lead by Dr Daniel Brown, have come up with a definition of what it means to thrive. They tell us that a person who is thriving possesses the following characteristics: Optimism – having a positive outlook on life. Motivation – the inner sense that “I can do it!” Proactivity – seeking out opportunities and new challenges Enjoyment of learning and embracing learning as a life-long journey Flexibility and adaptability...

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Posted by on June 21, 2018 | 2 comments

Is Your Workplace Burning You Out?

It is no secret that workplace burnout has reached epidemic proportions. Many hard-working professionals experience at least one of the three dimensions of burnout as described by the leading burnout expert, Dr Christina Maslach: Emotional exhaustion. “I can’t do this anymore.” Depersonalisation. “I can’t be bothered.” Decreased sense of personal accomplishment. “What difference do I make anyway?” The result is not only poor performance on the job, but there is also a cost to the organisation through absenteeism, low morale and high staff turnover. However, focusing on employee burnout is only part of the picture. Burnout doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it happens in workplaces that predispose people to burning out. In addition to her extensive work on describing and unpacking the nature of burnout, Maslach has also worked with Dr. Michael P. Leiter to develop a model of the organisational context of burnout. The Areas of Worklife Scale describes six areas of worklife which have a strong relationship with job burnout. These areas of worklife are: Workload. Too...

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Posted by on May 17, 2018 | 2 comments

Is There a Place for Happiness at Work?

If you had asked me when I was a medical student whether there was a place for happiness at work, I would have laughed in your face! Back then I subscribed to the notion that happiness is a reward gained only through years of blood, sweat and tears. This notion is not uncommon, especially in the medical profession. There is a prevailing culture of overwork, success-chasing, and little regard for self-care. You earn your stripes by enduring the onslaught of medical practice. I remember one doctor even saying to me: “If you’re not depressed, you’re not doing it right.” It’s not hard to see that this perspective is not only short-sighted, but also plainly harmful. My own story of burnout sensitized me to the struggles that many healthcare professionals face, and the prevalence of burnout in the profession. I now know otherwise: happiness is the foundation for sustainable success. You might be thinking: “Are you kidding me? Are you saying I just need to feel good and I’ll be...

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Posted by on April 25, 2018 | 1 comment

3 Unexpected Ways for Busy Professionals to Recharge

By now many of us are aware of the importance of self-care for both our performance and well-being. However, we also know that self-care is often easier said than done! Time is a precious resource; much of our daily allocation of it is devoted to the many demands that are placed on us at work and at home. How, then, are we supposed to find the time to relax and recharge? I have good news for you. You don’t have to conjure up extra hours from thin air (if only we could!). You already have time to recharge. It’s all a matter of the way you use the hours in your day. Here are three unexpected ways to recharge that fit right into your busy day: In the traffic Wait! Before you yell “Are you crazy?!”, hear me out. It’s dangerous – and illegal – to do anything in traffic that’s going to distract you from driving. That means that, without calls to make or emails to respond to,...

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Posted by on April 20, 2018 | 1 comment

The Power of Reflection in Leadership

I’m a great believer in the power of reflection. I teach the principles and practicalities of self-reflection in the leadership development programmes I facilitate, as well as in one-on-one coaching sessions with clients. It’s not always easy to convince high-performers and leaders of the power of spending a few minutes in reflection. They are so used to being in action that reflection can seem like nothing more than glorified navel-gazing. It isn’t. Reflection is a valuable leadership practice. Those precious moments spent reflecting on your actions will help you to up your game and be even more effective in what you do. Here is a practical application of self-reflection to illustrate my point: What challenge are you grappling with at the moment? Could it be that you tend to be indecisive? Perhaps you would like to be more confident? Or maybe you take on too much and you want to be able to delegate more. Whatever your particular challenge, use the following reflection prompts to help you to move...

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