Live More Happily And Empathically After #Internationalmenshealthweek

Happiness And Empathy Build A More Caring World

Happiness And Empathy Help Build Well Being

You might know that we are most of the way through International Men’s Health Week (13 to 19 June).

The 2016 theme is setting goals and taking action to reduce the stresses in your life. Being a happier man is one of the positive results.

A week ago, when I started planning what to post here about IMHW I was creating the sort of ‘How To’ information which could lead to less stressful living. It helps that  7 days ago I was also creating visuals, like the one above, as part of a Carers Week workshop on Experiencing Greater Happiness..

The workshop highlighted the close relationship between happiness and empathy, well-being Mindfulness and other healthier living ideas.

As I say that was the content I had planned.

Something changed over the weekend though.

What Can Happen When Empathy Is Missing?

Over the weekend a mentally troubled man decided to drive for an hour across Florida from his home to his destination and commit mass murder. This wasn’t a spur of the moment thing. He had armed himself with an assault rifle and a handgun.

His crime scene was the Pulse Bar (a venue which serves Orlando’s ethnically  diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and progressive straight communities). On the weekend it was full of people living life, enjoying liberty and pursuing happiness. Free to do so during Pride Month or any other time.

The shooter took advantage of that freedom.

He shot his way in, stalking the people he didn’t cut down immediately and holding some hostage. Ultimately he killed 49 people. His spree also led to 53 more clubbers being hospitalised.

Now every partner, sibling, parent and friend of the dead and injured will spend the rest of their lives living with the pain he inflicted.

How Men Can Use Empathy

A few days has made a big difference to my sense of what ‘men’s health’ means.

From wanting to talk about the simple goal of happiness for men I end up talking about big ideas like empathy, well-being, connection and care.

We need to work on solutions for men – straight, bi, gay, queer, questioning men – so that we are better able to manage our inner state and our relationships with the world.

In the days ahead it is important we do what we can to connect to and care for each other a bit more than usual.

We can all use empathy to better understand what is happening in other people’s lives and how they might be feeling.

In particular, if you feel there is someone close to you who seems overwhelmed take time to check in with him. That’s really important since (Breaking News) men don’t always volunteer information about ‘feelings’.

So fellas, try empathy. Simply asking your mate, your brother, your partner ‘How Are You’, then listening to the tone of the answer and supporting them through tough times can make all the difference.

How Will You Make A Difference?

Thanks for reading this post on the challenges facing men. How will you act differently now? As I finalised these words the discussion over the murder of British Parliamentarian Jo Cox – and the disconnected background of the suspect – is ringing in my ears.

Something has to change.

Feel free to share this post with anyone who would find it useful. I am on Twitter @RogerD_Said if you want to comment on the themes I mentioned.

 

How To Take One Small Step Towards A Happier New Year

Astronaut Spacewalk Extra Vehicular Activity

What Giant Leap Will You Make By Acting On Your Goal? Image From Pexels.Com

For a while, when I was little, I wanted to be an astronaut.

With hindsight that idea said a lot about escapism (home life wasn’t always ideal to be honest). From what I can remember though I thought being a spaceman would be a pretty cool job. I mean how difficult could it be to live in a spaceship, with nothing holding you down, doing science stuff indoors and outside that helped people?

Turns out the science stuff and helping people isn’t that easy, as people have baggage and getting a good result has an impact on a lot of other people.

Teamwork

I definitely didn’t realise how much people rely on each other to make plans turn into reality. a long list of other people made it possible for the astronaut to do their thing.

For instance I didn’t know how crowded an astronaut’s life is: it took more than Tim Peake and the other 2 people in the Soyuz capsule to get the latest crew onto the International Space Station.

When the computers plotting the capsule’s approach to the ISS got the final stage wrong it was US astronaut Tim Kopra who passed manual docking control to Russian Commander Yuri Malenchenko, while ground controllers at Russia’s Mission Control Centre monitored developments and the ISS crew held their breath.

It took 3 attempts. Working together the team of astronauts got the job done (collaboration helps during spacewalks too). No lone heroics, just great teamwork. Overcoming difficulties usually depends on one person being open enough to say ‘I can’t do this on my own’ and to ask another person for help.

Mission Control We Have A Problem

So here is the thing, people can hold on to their difficulty for quite a while before looking for someone with whom to connect (ask any coach about building trusting relationships which offer others support ). Imagine holding on to a burden for months, years, or decades even. What kind of toll would that take?

Now imagine being able to flow freely, without that burdensome weight getting in the way. How much more could you accomplish for others? How much easier would your own life be? 

The skilful coach understands others’ obvious and subtle needs (they might say they need clarity about their next step during an overwhelming period at work to start with. They might also be open to receiving support at a deeper level, so they can reduce the stress in their personal relationship)

Are you ready to get the support you deserve?

One Small Step

In a month, as part of my mission for the new year, I will support some people to take a small step toward a freer flowing 2016. My workshop in London on 23 January will help those ready to take one small step to turn their career, life, or wellbeing resolutions into reality*.

Use the Comment section to share your big goal for the new year (or get in touch via Twitter @RogerD_Said ). Also keep an eye out for updates, as I will share a few of the strategies I am going to use, ahead of time.

Meanwhile, wherever on Earth (or above it) you happen to spend the day have a very Happy Christmas.   

One Giant Leap

*Hit the link below if you would like to know more about the 23 January event in London. Book a seat and join others helping to turn their goals into reality

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/turn-your-resolution-into-reality-now-tickets-20034420491

How To Take A Step Forward On #InternationalMensDay

I had a really interesting conversation at a networking event earlier this week.

A woman guest and I were talking about the all the different ways it is possible to be of service and to ask for support so you can improve. Here’s a big generalisation that I brought to our discussion:

Women and men have different ideas about seeking support while they tackle their working day 

Plenty Of Men Aren’t Alpha Males

I went to a Boy’s school, so I grew up knowing a bit about bullying and that some guys held more of the cards than I did (and weren’t shy about pointing that out).

For every Alpha male out there you will find plenty of ordinary guys who are trying to do the best they can with what they have got.

Where many women will reach out and work effectively together to do more than ‘get by’, many men will try to go it alone, toughing it out in isolation, without showing any vulnerability.

Perhaps (at the extreme end of the scale) that is part of the reason why three times as many men take their own lives, as compared to women.

Men Can Take Action

Keeping calm and carrying on only highlights the distance some men maintain between their inner world and the effective support networks they can tap into. 

If there is truth in the men-go-it-alone generalisation then men will keep losing out. They would be better off making time to be thoughtful, working out how they need to grow and taking action to improve their situation. The alternative is spending more time working and less time:

  • paying attention to their inner growth goals
  • deciding where their boundaries lie, so they don’t end up shortchanging their family, friends and community
  • caring about the impact they have on the people they serve, including their clients, their colleagues and the wider community

Making A Difference

I hope that today (International Men’s Day) someone reading this post will decide to set themselves a goal and take an action which helps to improve their quality of life and benefit their community, team and family too.

Share this post with someone for whom it will make a difference today or tomorrow (and comment below if it resonates with you).

Finally, if you want FREE Downloadable information to start the improvement wheels turning for yourself, or a man in your life, please visit
https://experienceyourlife.coachesconsole.com/   

How To Start Achieving More By Reducing Your Stress Now

2 brown bears fighting

Stress Can Affect Anyone – Picture From Clarita From Morguefile.com

According to the dictionary Stress is defined as mental emotional strain or tension linked to adverse circumstances. It has roots in different situations (personal struggles, work changes, relationship breakdown, money worries…) and it can feel overwhelming.

Yesterday, 4 November, was National Stress Awareness Day.

Like many people I’ve experienced stress myself, that experience has been useful when coaching people to overcome the impossible stress factors affecting their life.  Whatever feels overwhelming today won’t feel that way in a month, or a year.

It always seems impossible. Until it is done.
Nelson Mandela

So here are 3 reasons to take action to combat stress (and 1 step to take today to help move you forward).

First – Unresolved Stress Will Eventually Make You Ill

People aren’t designed to perform under stress in the long term. The rush of adrenaline you get from a stressful situation is meant to give you what you need to get out of the situation (if you face sudden danger – like coming across a bear or two – the surge will give you strength to leap out of harm’s way).

Remaining in fight or flight mode for too long floods your body with stress-related chemicals, meaning you are stuck in alert mode.

You won’t get enough sleep if you can’t lower your stress levels. Your diet will be all over the place, if you are snacking rather than eating nourishing meals and exercising away some of the tension around your shoulders.

You could even end up adding to pressures which contribute to depression.

Second -Stress Has An Impact On Your Relationships With Colleagues

If you struggle on with your burden you will stop being a team player, your Major Stressor will be at the front of your mind all day.

Your skills in making effective plans and paying attention to issues like effective leadership or management will suffer. 

You will be tough to live with as well.

Third – Stress Affects Your Goal Of Satisfying Your Customers

Preoccupied and distracted? You will find it harder to meet deadlines and you might compromise quality expectations to simply get the job done.

Worse than that your anxiety levels will rise, leaving you feeling like there is no time to research better alternatives to get the job done.

Step 1 – Recognise  Your Stressor And Take Action To Move On

Don’t try to tough the situation out (especially if you are a guy and you think ignoring the problem will be enough to get you through. It won’t)

Pay attention to figuring out what has caused this feeling of overwhelm. What has changed to make your day unmanageable?

Is the change permanent? What would it take to set up boundaries around the issue and call on support to make the situation bearable?

If you don’t want to take action because of the impact on your colleagues and your customers do it for the sake of your own health.

A Free Resource To Help You Move On From Stress

If you want some help to get started tackling your issue I have created a free downloadable resource available via this link – just fill in your name and email address then press the blue button to download the content. Start working through the material and producing better results.

https://experienceyourlife.coachesconsole.com/

Which 4 Letter Word Keeps You Moving Forward?

Sunset Framed By Hands

What Will Motivate You Tomorrow? – Picture From Unsplash.com From Mayur Gala

The biopic documenting the life of Apple Founder Steve Jobs will be on screens soon. There are plenty of lessons to take from his innovative approach to life. I like the ones which flow from the memorable commencement speech he gave at Stanford University 10 years ago. That speech included these lines:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

I think there are a couple of key ideas in this section of the speech

  • Your inner voice reflects your history, so it is best to pay attention to what it says
  • If you set boundaries for yourself you tune out noisy and unhelpful opinions
  • Caring about your self and others helps you move forward toward your goals

There is an extra bit of pathos in those words, since Steve Jobs knew his time was limited. He was living with cancer as he spoke (he died in October 2011).

Which 4 Letter Word Is More Important For You?

Is it Need? (meaning your wisdom and inner voice tell you something is necessary)?

  • You are driven to take action because your bills need to be paid
  • You need a more senior role in your organisation

Is it Love? (your overwhelming interest and pleasure in something)?

  • Your achievements come from rising to a fresh challenge
  • You are happiest producing an outcome that exceeds expectations

Will Need Or Love Drive You Forward Next Year?

Sometimes we can get so busy with life we lose sight of our driving force.

As far as I can tell Steve Jobs was driven by his love of a challenge and a desire to innovate. What’s true for you?

The people I have coached enjoy reconnecting with their motivation to be happier in themselves as well as more productive team players. Handy attributes to have, especially during tough economic times, when they focus is producing more, quicker and with less resources.

So, which principle – need or love – will help you with your goals next year? Use the Reply space to share your thinking with this community.

Extra Help On Offer

Would you appreciate some extra help working out which of your priorities to pay attention to? Then there is a free download available via this link (just fill in your name and email details then hit the blue button on the left hand side of the page)

https://experienceyourlife.coachesconsole.com/

 

Are You OK Mate? 3 Ways In Which Receiving Support Lifts Your Mood

Road Signs Showing Men Working

Men At Work From Morguefile.com

Here is a sobering statistic.

This year 75% of people in the UK taking their own life will be men.

That is 3 men for every 1 woman.

Strong And Silent

Generally men in mid-life say ‘Yes’ if you ask ‘Are you OK?’

It is best to be strong and silent. Man up. Keep working. Or get wasted. Or withdraw.

Tears are best kept for football. That’s a crying shame.

Those 40 somethings are the ones at greater risk.

Potential To Grow

I am lucky enough to have supported some men working through their personal development goals (and received support myself).

It seems obvious that men’s actual inner state can be weighing them down while outwardly there are no signs of distress.

Behind the facade there can be turmoil. Turmoil does not lead directly to self harm. It doesn’t help though.

Life is better with fewer obstacles to growth. It is hard to believe that you can grow if you don’t feel like you can exercise leadership in your own life.

What Could Men Learn From Women?

As a rule women will look for and find support. Women talk about their stuff, where guys will keep their hurt to themselves.

Maybe part of masculinity is being open to help?

Benefits Of Being Listened To

Today seems like a good day to start talking about the benefits of receiving help if you are carrying a heavy burden.

In my experience being listened to deeply can be an intense experience. It changes things. It is a big victory for some guys to take action on their goals.

Here Are 3 Ways Guys Initially Benefit From Support

They experience

  • caring help as they set priorities
  • more confidence as they tackle priorities and move past long standing blockages
  • fewer burdens and more happiness

After their confidence increases it becomes easier to keep moving forward. Doors keep opening once they practice their action-based skills.

Share This Information

Thanks for reading this post. Comment below if these ideas have struck a chord with you. Use Twitter @RogerD_Said if you perfer.

If you are sharing the post with your followers on Twitter you can use the hashtag #RUOK to be included in the wider conversation.

Finally, follow this link for more information on 10 September: World Suicide Prevention Day

 

http://www.samaritans.org/wspd

How Does Your Community Benefit When You Act Like A #GoodWolf ?

How Does Your Good Wolf Inspire Others?

How Does Your Good Wolf Inspire Others? – picture credit to Brigwer from Morguefile.com

How often do you ‘click’ with someone and find a way to support them in their goals?

I am lucky to be connected to several professional development networks. That means I have the chance to support others quite often. It feels good to pay it forward.

You have to be in the right frame of mind yourself to help someone else out. It is easier in some ways to be focused on your own agenda. Easier isn’t always best though.

Here’s a story about helping someone focus, inspired by Cherokee Nation culture.

 

The One You Feed

A grandfather and grandson are seated in Nature, deep in conversation.

The young man is troubled.

He tells his grandfather about the feelings of anger, envy and self-pity he has.

His grandfather tells him about the two wolves we all have within us.

The wolves are always circling each other, battling for supremacy.

One wolf is mournful, holding on to bad feelings from the past.

The other wolf is bright, joyful, loving and empathic.

Puzzled, the young man asks.

 

“If they are always there within us, which wolf wins the battle?

 

The grandfather paused.

His reply?

 

“It depends on the one you feed.

 

Contributing To Your Community

I know from my own experience that feeding the wrong wolf makes life miserable.

Spending too much time looking at set-backs leaves you stuck. It makes you self-centred. It weighs you down. It means you aren’t aware of others’ needs and don’t meet them.

I first experienced coaching (as a client) in the early 2000s. I had ended up overwhelmed by a project I was involved with. The experience of being coached made the process of returning to normal (being part of a team, producing great results) much easier.

 

What did I learn from the experience?

Being connected to your community is good. Being of service to that community is better. Taking positive action to help the community move forward is best.

 

How Can You Help The Communities To Which You Belong?

Tapping into your good wolf mind-set means you are better placed to help others. Your optimism inspires others to work optimistically because you understand others’ lives.

That kind of Empathy comes easily to good wolves. You can find out more about Empathy by clicking the link below.

http://bit.ly/BBC_Can_Empathy_Be_Taught_Roman_Krznaric

 

Want To Keep This Conversation Going?

Thank you for dropping by, reading this post, following, sharing and taking action that helps you experience a more fulfilling life.

I’d love to know how you change your thoughts when they get stuck in the negative zone. What’s your secret? How do you motivate your team / community to act positively and produce better results?

Leave your comments below. Your feedback is bound to be valuable to others in the community.

Don’t forget to share this post with the wolves you know.