Wearing the mask

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

suit of armor We often talk about the importance of being authentic, of being yourself and not worrying too much about what other people think of you. We say this because we speak from experience, we know what it’s like to wear a work mask or a ‘suit of armor’ , something you do to protect yourself from others and make you feel like you are more worthy of your position at work.

However wearing the work mask or the armor is tiring; it’s like a weight upon you, and when you get home and you take your armor off, you’re shattered, you have no energy for yourself, for your leisure time, for your family time. We learnt to take our armor and work masks off when we first came to Pro-Development. It was a brave move because we weren’t sure how people would find us, how they would react to our true selves. However, the response has just been fantastic and now nine years on, we are so more comfortable with who we are.

We recognise through our work that there are many people out there wearing a work mask or armor, we meet them on a day-to-day basis in our coaching session, on our training events and through the engagement work we do. When we come across people in a mask we are compelled to help so if any of the above strikes a chord with you, here are a few steps that you can take to start removing the mask or armor.

• Take time out to understand what’s important to you

• Reflects and act on your thoughts

• Ask friends and family what they value about you and why

• Listen and act on their response

• Do something that makes you feel more like you at work. For example, we wore clothes we felt more ourselves in. An ex colleague of ours stopped straightening her hair. It doesn’t matter what, as long as you know

• Ask a colleague you trust to observe and give you some feedback on the changes you make and the impact it has

• Keep going, you might not always get it right first time, but learn and grow until you find your authentic professional self

If you would like help from us on removing your mask, get in touch.

Are you getting enough Zzzzzzzz?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

sleep pic Today, with busy schedules, it can be difficult to sleep and to have quality sleep. Sleep is something that we all need to ensure that our bodies have time to rejuvenate and ideally to then feel refreshed when you wake up in the morning!

There are a lot of common myths about sleep and some tips on how to improve this for yourself:

1) We need an average of 7hrs sleep per night – this is not necessarily true, it depends on your age and circumstance and how much sleep you need to feel refreshed

2) Keep your bedroom just for sleeping – this associates your brain to know that is where you rest

3) Go to sleep at the same time every night to create a routine

4) Avoid bright lights ie from your phone when you are in bed or watching television before you go to bed

5) Ensure the temperature of your room is comfortable

6) If you find that you think a lot before you go to sleep, then try writing down everything you are thinking about. Just the transference of thought to paper can alleviate the worry or act as a to do list of tasks that you can do the next day!

7) Try to make sure that you do not have stimulants before you go to bed ie nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can stay in your body for 4-6hrs and acts as a stimulant. Energy drinks and chocolate also has caffeine as does tea!

8) Use black out blinds to ensure your room is dark and if this is not possible use an eye mask

9) If you are not asleep within 30mins then get out of bed, do something non stimulating like reading a dull book then go back to bed when you feel tired again

10) Keep repeating these tips every night and this will create a routine

Most of all try and ensure you get enough sleep so that you feel refreshed to face the day ahead. We all know about the spiral of feeling over tired, then overreacting to stressful situations which then have negative consequences onto other individuals. Lack of sleep also impacts motivation and concentration at work.

If you’ve got any great tips for getting a good nights sleep then please let us know alternatively if you would like to have a chat with us then please get in touch at info@pro-development.co.uk.

It’s time for some Self Care

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

self care So, Christmas is now out of the way, presents have been opened, meals have been eaten and Christmas Jumpers have had their day out. Now is the time for a new year and plans for your future but also some Self Care. What can you do to look after yourself that you can start creating good habits now that will serve you through the year and the future? It takes 66 days to create a positive habit which has a stronger chance of sticking! Here are some ideas of things that you can do for self-care and to improve quality time:

• Doing exercise – this does not have to be hitting the gym, just anything that increases your heart rate for 30minutes per day

• Meditation/ Yoga – some time in the morning even it is just for 10 minutes focussing on what you want to focus on for that day and getting your mind to be focussed on the task at hand.

• Family time at mealtimes – no phones at the table and engaging in conversation at least once per week to have that time to connect.

• Having a relaxing bath/ face masks etc (men, this is fun for you to try too!)

• Go for a walk on your own and be in touch with nature.

• Read a book.

In Today’s society, we are contactable on a 24hr/7days per week basis and it can be difficult to find the time to fit some self care in however we all have the same hours in the day, it is just how we prioritise this? Is it possible to wake up slightly earlier before the rest of the home wakes and do something for yourself? Are there things in the day that are not needed to be done or are wasting time? Can you listen to a self-development cd/audio book on the way to work?

We have calendars full of appointments for work and for our personal time, can we make an appointment for our self and honour this too?

At Pro-Development we love to support teams and individuals with their productivity. To hear more about how we might be able to help you, contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838

New Year…Instead of a New You, Bring out the Best Version of your Self!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

2020 goals 2 First, Happy New Year to you all. We hope your tummy’s are full and you spent some quality time with loved ones.

So as the new year begins, have you thought about what you would like to achieve for this coming year. Have you noticed that you set the same resolutions every year? Statistically the most common resolutions tend to be:-

• Lose Weight (we know because it’s always on ours!!)

• Exercise more (that too!)

• Save money

• Live life to the fullest etc…

These are great, however, how do you ensure they actually happen? One way is to get really clear about what you want from the year, be specific and visualise what this is going to look like. We can do this by having or creating a vision for the future in any way that makes sense to you.

Vision Board – For those artists amongst you, create your own board and find pictures in magazines and add this to the board of all the things you would like to achieve in the year.

Electronic Vision Board – Otherwise you can copy and paste pictures into a Word Document or use Pinterest to create your own private board. Some people use photographs and have them on an electronic photo frame. The important thing is to be clear about what it is you want and perhaps how your life would be different once you have received it. Being clear, allows your brain to look for the opportunity for this to happen and therefore manifest this into your life.

Whichever way you choose to set goals for the year ahead, make sure you have them somewhere you can see them every day. That way when you come to the end of 2020, you can look back at your vision board / goals and see what you have achieved and what you are still working towards. Having them as a point of reference throughout the year will keep you on track!

Perhaps one of your goals for the coming year is to develop yourself professionally or improve employee engagement within your company. At Pro-Development we love to support teams and individuals with their productivity. To hear more about how we might be able to help you, contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838

Celebrate Success – but how?

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

firework pic for dec log Should Auld Acquaintance be forgot

and never brought to mind

Should Auld Acquaintance be forgot

and days of Auld Lang Syne

The clock strikes 12 and another year has passed, where has the year gone? Time is such an interesting thing isn’t it? There is not enough of it, or there is too much depending on how you are feeling. What will you be thinking about as the clock strikes 12? Will you be thinking about the year past or the year ahead? Will you feel sad or excited? Will you wish you’d done some stuff, or think about all the stuff you might yet wish to do?

A great way to move forward into 2020 is to find a way to celebrate success from 2019. Why? Because according to Tony Robbins (inspirational speaker and well worth a listen):-

“As you celebrate your success, it creates a deeper hunger to build an even stronger base and pull yourself to even greater victory and triumph. In addition, you will raise your standards for what is possible and develop the rituals and habits necessary to make this sustainable success a part of who you are”.

So how do you celebrate success? Here are some thoughts from the team at Pro-Development:

• When taking some personal time for self-reflection, often our natural response is to think about what we haven’t achieved, but self-reflection time can really help us connect with our why and our purpose.

• Sleep on it – ever heard this phrase used? Well sleeping on it is a useful thing to do whether you are thinking about your success or have a problem. Our subconscious can often help us in the dream state and can give us direction or important messages.

• Spend time with people you care about and share with them your success. That might be simply enjoying their company or sharing a treat together. Being with people we genuinely care about whilst sharing success can really remind us about why we are on the journey we are on.

What do you do to celebrate success? Or is this something you need to put on your list for 2020?

We love working with teams to help them realise their potential and celebrating their success. If you are interested in finding out more about how we work and the kind of work we do, please get in touch, we would love to tell you more. You can contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk or on 01904 628838.

5 Christmas ideas to build your team

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

the office pic Christmas time seems to bring out the festive spirit in most of us… but when many people are out having fun, should we try to bring some Christmas spirit into the office?

It can be great for team morale and engagement to create a sense of the season, even if you have a few people that may be less up for a bit Christmas team fun. There is no doubt that making an effort can give a feeling of a great place to work. So how do we bring that feeling of Christmas into the office?

Well at Pro-Development we are all for a bit of fun and here are some of our thoughts on building a bit of team spirit:

1. Do a bit of Christmas decorating – you don’t have to go crazy, but a bit of tinsel and a lovely Christmas tree with some lights can really make the workspace feel great.

2. Buy a gift for your colleagues – again if you have a big office this can feel like a bit of a hassle. But Secret Santa means that everyone can get a fun gift with a maximum value that won’t break the bank.

3. Take some time out with colleagues – perhaps it is a Christmas meal or maybe just a lunch together (you could even do this in the office) but taking some time out to keep building those all important relationships is a great idea at this time.

4. Do something together for your community, maybe it’s a charity that you support where you could get involved together, really getting into the spirit.

5. Send a Christmas message – sounds simple doesn’t it but a really well thought out Christmas message in a card can mean a lot to people. Perhaps it includes what you have valued most about that person this year.

Of course, we must remember that Christmas can be a difficult time for some, perhaps they are grieving a loss, or have another really good reason for not wanting to get involved. It is at these times that our compassion can really make a difference for them, which might just be respecting their wishes. We hope that you have a peaceful and relaxing Christmas time and come back in 2020 feeling refreshed.

And, if you don’t get around to making some time to build the team in 2019, then don’t forget, that for eligible businesses, we can get 40% towards the cost of any team building event both indoors and outdoors before March 2020. If you want to know more, contact us on 01904 628838 to speak to us, we would love to hear from you.

Winter Solstice – a time for reflection

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

loveheart hands God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay…… ahem and god rest ye merry gentlewomen too… the truth is Christmas for many is certainly not a time for rest … nor do we give ourselves time!

For most of us preparing for Christmas becomes hectic. Shopping, wrapping and social events and of course preparing for family. By the 21st of December we are at the shortest, darkest day of the year. It is called Winter Solstice which is derived from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand.” Even though the days begin to get a little lighter, after a few days beyond this period, it still feels like the sun is barley moving, but changes are happening.

Winter solstice can be a great time for reflection, but we can resist turning inwards as we get distracted by the festivities.

But this is a time for nourishment, and we are not just talking about food, but nourishment for our soul.

So how can we gift ourselves with this? Here are a few thoughts from the Pro-Development team:

• It is a time for self-forgiveness and kindness – we can be hard on ourselves throughout the year, so finding a way to be kind and forgiving, not just to others but to the most important person, you, is key.

• Celebrate success – remember and make a note of all the successes in the last year. Think about them and celebrate what you did well, it is often tempting to think of things we could have done better, but don’t forget the good.

• What do you need? Ask yourself what you really need in the coming year. This might be to do with your career, your personal wellbeing or something else. Make a note of them and think about how you can create space to bring this into your life in 2020.

At Pro-Development we have worked with the most amazing clients, creating space just like this for leaders and individuals alike. To hear how we might be able to support you in 2020 please get in touch on info@pro-development.co.uk or 01904 628838

When People Aren’t Self-Aware…

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

self aware nov 19 We have all probably had the experience… where you work with someone who isn’t self-aware… or maybe they think they are but perhaps for what ever reason they are not seeing what you are seeing.

In a recent study by Harvard Business Review they found out that “In our nearly five-year research program on the subject, we’ve discovered that although 95% of people think they’re self-aware, only 10 to 15% actually are”. If this is true then, all of us will be working and socialising with people like this. But does this really matter? Well, we think it does matter, and so do several well-known scholars and authors like Daniel Goleman who is well known for his work in Emotional Intelligence.

The truth is without self-awareness it is difficult for anything to change, whether it is within our self or another person, because we don’t know what we don’t know right?

So how do we support someone who has low self-awareness?

Interestingly in the same research with Harvard Business Review – for those people that tried to help others in the low self-awareness category, they only had limited success (31% success rate to help people change). Why is this? Well, some people don’t feel like they need to or want to change. One of our team members worked with a formidable character once, who was also a bully. This person was very self-aware, but simply didn’t want to change. In this situation she realised the only thing she could do was change herself. This is one thing we all have personal power over, and we can change our responses, our behaviours.

Of course, if we are a manager and we have a team member that isn’t self-aware, we can try and support them. Simply by giving good quality and well-timed feedback, we can make a big difference.

We can also remember that it is easy to make judgements about others and we must really challenge ourselves to not keep judging others and falling into the same patterns of thinking and behaviour about the person in question. The bottom line is we will always come across others with differing levels of self-awareness, but let’s keep focusing on our own self-awareness as a priority, that is where our power lies and we may just inspire others on our journey of self-discovery.

At Pro-Development we love this kind of work. If you would like to hear more about the work we do, get in touch with us on info@pro-development.co.uk or 01904 628838.

Want to improve Productivity? Be kind to yourself!

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

productivity nov 19 This isn’t the usual blog about productivity, this one is a little different. In this blog we are going to explore productivity aligned with Self Compassion and Kindness. What has Self Compassion and Kindness got to do with Productivity we hear you say? Well we think there is a big connection.

Have you ever listened to how you speak to yourself? If you are anything like much of the population then you probably recognise phrases like… ‘I don’t like my xyz’ or ‘well you messed that one up’ or maybe ‘get a grip’ or even ‘that’s my fault’. In fact, we bet if we all listened to our internal dialogue regularly we might be shocked at how we treat ourselves.

The truth is if we can’t be kind to ourselves and forgive, if we can’t soothe and care for ourselves, then we will never be our best self and that is bound to affect our productivity.

So, what can we do to begin this journey of self-care and compassion? Here are some thoughts from us:

1. When you mess up (for most of us that is nearly every day), just pause and notice how you respond. Take that moment to give yourself a hug or as the wonderful Kristen Neff suggests a ‘Self Compassion break’ – where you might repeat some phrases of comfort like ‘may I be kind to myself’. When you fail to be compassionate to yourself, let yourself off the hook and be kind about that.

2. Make gratitude your attitude – that is, start noticing the things that are going well or that you are doing well, rather than the things that are not going well or that you do not feel good at. Once you notice them, show gratitude to yourself for them. A good little exercise is to try and notice 3 (or more) things about yourself or what you are experiencing that you are grateful for every day.

3. Let go… sounds easy doesn’t it, but, we know how challenging that can be. Letting go of things that didn’t go well, or that we may not have done so well makes way for fresh thinking and new learning. Just note what you might have done differently and then move on!

These are just a few thoughts from us here at Pro-Development and there are many more. In our experience clients that have started this journey have helped to improve their productivity! Why? Well, because they started feeling better about themselves.

At Pro-Development we love to support teams and individuals with their productivity. To hear more about how we might be able to help you, contact us on info@pro-development.co.uk or call us on 01904 628 838

Monday Morning Blues

Written by Michelle Mook on . Posted in Sunflower Diaries

keep calm nov 19 “I woke up this morning…with the Monday morning blues. I couldn’t hardly find… my Monday morning shoes…. searched all through my bones…. Monday morning blues”.

Yep its Sunday night and you start to get that feeling, in the gut that you have another week of work coming. At Pro-Development we call it ‘mucky Monday’ and it doesn’t always feel good. But what really causes us to feel like that? Is it simply that we are preparing ourselves for another week where we have to focus on work? Could it be that we are gearing ourselves up to perform? Or is it just that we don’t want to go to work? There is no doubt that for those lucky people that have found work that they love, Monday morning is just another opportunity to go and do something they love. So how do we get to the bottom of our Monday Morning blues?

Tip 1 – What’s wrong with Monday morning?

Answer the question honestly. When we coach clients at Pro-Development or when we run staff surveys and interviews to help understand engagement levels, we often find that people feel a lack lustre when they have genuinely stopped loving what they do, but they often find it isn’t just Monday morning that is the problem. Alternatively, they may find it isn’t the work they no longer love, but that there are some simple changes that help them get back to a place of enjoyment.

Tip 2 – Give yourself time on Monday morning

Monday mornings can be fraught when they are crammed with meetings and other commitments, try and give yourself a bit of space on a Monday morning to prepare yourself for the week ahead. You might find it is helpful to start the process on Friday afternoon, by preparing your schedule and finishing anything you can off. We have worked with some clients who have protected time on a Monday morning, could this work for you?

Tip 3 – Take your weekend

Enjoy your weekend, take time for yourself and leave work at work (hard we know). It is tempting to cram as many things as we can into those precious days at the end of the week. However, being mindful with our body and allowing it time to relax is very important. This includes getting good sleep, taking care of our bodies and giving it nutritious food and rest, taking care of our busy ‘monkey minds’ by trying activities like mindfulness, walking and yoga.

We would love to hear your thoughts on how to tackle those Monday Morning blues. Tell us how you approach your Monday’s.

At Pro-Development we help clients tackle their Monday Morning blues in many ways. Contact us if you would like to hear more on info@pro-development.co.uk or 01904 628838 – we would love to hear from you.