Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Do you want work/life balance or life balance?

Like many people I'd always used the term 'work/life balance' until I applied a tool I use in coaching to myself and realised the term I was using was half the problem, for me anyway, and that was because of the images using that term painted for me and the impact they then had on my stress levels.

At the start of the session my goal was to understand what I needed to do it ‘have work/life balance’. As I wrote at the time 'like a lot of people I never seem to have enough time and energy to do everything. I feel like I’m a hamster in its wheel. In fact I have two wheels, one wheel for work and one for the rest of my life.' Stress then came from trying to balance both wheels. When on one wheel I worried about the other and vice verse.

Just writing that down seemed to shift something. I realised, for me, balance would only be achieved when I only had one wheel to manage. Thus 'having life balance’ allowed me to, even if only metaphorically, have more control over my life and what I chose to do with it.

I'd be interested in the metaphors you have for life or work/life balance and wonder how those metaphors may help in understanding what needs to change to simply reduce the internal stress of trying to manage it all.


Alison Smith
Helping individuals and teams stay on track by finding balance 07770 538159

I've shared more on life balance on this blog too using Susan Jeffesr model as a base.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Wellbeing Champions

Earlier this week I tweeted that 'it's in all the ways we can't see that we make the biggest difference'.

Is our quest for wellbeing any different. Whilst we can educate, inform, blog and even provide policies that support wellbeing, is it enough to inspire others to be motivated to make the necessary changes? For me it’s all the small things we do and are seen to do that provide the inspiration. As I was reminded before Christmas when someone sent me a note to say ‘you inspire me to live more healthily’. I know this comes from how I am in the world and in all the small things I tweet/blog/chat and share photo's about (as above) rather than the work I get paid to do.

In any organisation, therefore, the key is identifying those individuals who influence others behaviours and ensuring they are seen to be demonstrating the behaviours that support wellbeing. Many organisations won’t stand a cat in hells chance of having wellbeing if those with the most influence ignore and override the signs of stress, have no life balance, don’t take their holiday’s, skip lunch, live on adrenaline and coffee when adrenaline is lacking and/or are known to consume a week’s allowance of alcohol every Friday night?

Who are your wellbeing champions – and how can you ensure they are able to express how they achieve wellbeing rather than hide it?


Alison Smith
Helping procurement teams find balance and wellbeing and keep on track

Monday, 9 January 2012

TRUST in the Toolkit for 2012

Yesterday I added Excellence into the toolkit for 2012 based on Cirque Du Soleil's way of being in everything that they do. Today I'd like to put TRUST into the toolkit.

It's obvious in the picture above and this wonderful video, both from Cirque Du Soleil, that the performers are required to put 100% trust in their colleagues - both those on and off stage.

Having just finished my own personal training session I realise that they also have to trust themselves. My personal trainer has just added another 5kg to my weights and I was certainly doubting my ability to do the exercise. The negative chatter started as I told myself:

  • I can't do this

  • I'll drop it

  • I'll hurt myself

  • I'll fail

  • My personal trainer trusted I'd be able to do it. It was just lack of trust in myself that was generating the less than positive thoughts. Which, of course, in turn made what I was doing so much more difficult.

    But something changed today, and that's because I didn't grumble to my personal trainer, I didn't give voice to my doubts, I simply told myself I could do it and got on with it. And in so doing realised:

  • I can do this

  • I can keep hold of it

  • I can stay safe

  • I can and will succeed

  • How is lack of trust in yourself stopping you achieving your goals and what do you need to stop telling yourself to succeed?


    Alison Smith
    Helping you trust yourself and stay on track in 2012

    Your Toolkit for 2012

    In order to achieve our goals in 2012 we will each be drawing daily on our internal resources. These internal resources might include: perseverance, trust, action, communication or laughter etc. The key to success is accessing these resources when they're needed - it's no use perfecting our communication skills when action is required, or taking action when focusing on what direction that action should be in is paramount.

    I've noticed however that we often react unconsciously to situations using the most obvious resource or one that we find easy to use. You'll certainly find my answer to many situations is yet more communication :-). The difficulty with that strategy is that it often doesn't work, or makes our goal harder not easier to achieve. It's a bit like using the wrong sized screwdriver - you might make it work but it will take more time and you might ruin the thread of the screw on the way. This year I really do wish every one of us a year to remember for all the right reasons. To assist I'm going to be blogging regularly about the many resources - tools if you will - that we may have in our personal toolkits but may be wary of using. Do feel free to suggest some resources you'd like me to cover. Why not join the discussion on my facebook page where collaboration, loyalty and excellence are some of today's suggestions.

    As a start to your toolkit development you may also like these notes from a session I facilitated entitled 'Keeping on Track in a downturn' where the final resource suggested was AUTHENTICITY.

    Looking forward to a wonderfully inspiring and delightful 2012

    Alison Smith
    Helping procurement teams stay on track in 2012 07770 538159

    Tuesday, 3 January 2012

    The end of your world could be upon you!

    The end of your world could be upon you.... and I don't mean 21st December 2012 I mean today, tomorrow or if you're lucky some future date many days from today - but it will come.


    Because none of us know how much longer we will be here - and as hard as that sounds it's a fact.
    I'd love to start the year as I normally do with plenty of tips on goal setting and how to keep on track (and I promise they will come). However they will be very much future orientated and some of us many not be here to reap the rewards. That is:
    • We eat well or exercise today in order to be healthy tomorrow

    • We work hard in order to get some result in the future

    • We learn so that we may apply it next week

    • and we procrastinate plenty and put things off until another day (or is that just me?)

    The picture above is one of the daily photo's I sent a friend from August 26th last year shortly after her prognosis until she went into the hospice late in November before dying peacefully in her sleep on 28th December - 4 months later. Each picture was my invitation to her to remember to:
    • Stay in the moment

    • Enjoy each day

    • Remember she was loved

    • Speak from the heart

    • Leave nothing unsaid

    • Find gratitude in the small things

    • Laugh

    • Remember and appreciate the good times
    That is to believe in tomorrow but live for today.

    I'm not suggesting we stop setting goals, exercising or eating healthily. What I am suggesting is we find some time each day to really live for today - because we really don't know how many more of them we may have. I'm sure my friend, and her husband on their holiday abroad in July, were busy imagining a very different Christmas and New Year with their family to the one that enfolded. They had many precious moments between August 26th and December 28th but many of those were because they knew the end of her world was near.

    It's easy to act is if it's never going to happen - this blog is a reminder that it will - don't let those small moments pass YOU by.

    In loving memory of a friend who will be sadly missed x