Your home is slowly sinking into the ground; the foundations are crumbling. Do you paint the front door, clean the windows, talk about anxiety and hope for the best? Or do you secure the foundations and get back to the fun of development? Hidden costs. As a career professional, small business owner or large organisation, this is what you need to know…
You’re between the ages of 18 and 35. You’re rolling along, getting on with life, seeking promotion, looking for love, building a business, taking care of a family or planning to start one.
Stress relief is more about socialising, weekend activities, holidays, hobbies and short breaks. Coping techniques, therapy, coaching and counselling aren’t on the agenda. In general, you don’t need them and function pretty well.
You’re 35 and have noticed changes in the way you think, feel, express yourself and generally operate. You carry on regardless but by the time you’re forty these small niggles have grown and started interfering with your social life, working life and home life.
You keep it to yourself. You plan in more weekend breaks and holidays; you notice yourself drinking more, smoking more, taking more recreational drugs or pain killers and reading about stress and ways of coping.
You’re in your 40’s and the cracks are starting to show. Stress is affecting you more than it used to; you dismiss it as life and age related but need relief.
You notice mental, emotional and physical changes; that you’re less effective, less social, less able to perform at your best. You accept it as normal, invest in more third party support and if you’re working, worry about your mortgage, credit card and lifestyle.
You can’t afford to stop working and keep your difficulties to yourself because you think it makes you appear weak.
As you head towards your 50’s, stress and performance deterioration are a real worry. You assume it’s age related and start to take diet, weight and exercise more seriously.
Modern myths, sticking plaster approaches and supportive coaching make you feel better and more positive, inspired and energised for a while but no longer than a few days or weeks. The cost in time and financial terms make it unsustainable to pursue long term.
You try not to think about health and performance difficulties; bury your head completely or distract yourself as best you can. You’re taking time off work, worried about the future and realise the future’s not looking as bright as it did in your thirties. You’re heading for a crisis and try to pretend the following won’t happen to you:
- Mental health issues
- Mid-life crisis
- Physical illness
- Divorce / break up
- Early retirement
- Enforced career change
- Bailing out to the countryside
- Selling a business
- Dependency on a partner
- Dependency on family
What do you do, as an individual or an organisation when effectiveness falls and performance difficulties set in? You do what everyone does: seek relief and third party support that produces temporary results at best. You deal with the realities of gradual deterioration like everyone else, you assume it’s your age.
Modern myths, sticking plaster approaches, gap bridging courses and coaching have hidden costs. This is what you need to know:
- Quick fix approaches facilitate performance deterioration
- Undermining progress, they create unstable environments
- Temporary results enforce the need for on-going ‘top ups’
- The need for top ups is a control that creates dependency
- Dependency shrinks goals and lowers expectations
- De-moralised and de-motivated people achieve less
- Under-achievement fosters fear and anxiety
- Anxiety creates negativity and belief in mental weakness
- Belief in mental weakness promotes mental health issues
- Mental health issues lead to absenteeism
- Absenteeism breeds resentment, conflict and bullying
- Social exclusion leads to depression and loss of staff
Short term, high cost, low reward approaches that actually promote the very thing you’re trying to improve – effective performance.
Is it logical or rational to persist if you need to succeed, don’t have a money tree and are yet to find the elixir of life? You decide.
CLIENTS BEFORE COACHING
My clients are career professionals, business owners and organisations who take succeeding seriously. In terms of individual effectiveness and performance, all of them have one or more of the following to report at the time of booking. They do’t book because they’re weak. They book because they want to restore their strength – the same way I did:
- Tolerance to stress lowers; decisions change to accommodate the overload and make life smaller
- Physical side effects of stress increase, e.g. itchy skin, headaches, back pain, colds, muscle tension, IBS
- Motivation and drive switch on and off and are hard to sustain; energy is up and down
- Self doubt and negativity get stronger and the inner critic takes over
- Mind chatter is difficult to stop and is more noticeable when resting
- It can be difficult coming down after being wired and high on success
- Worry and fretting turn into brain fog and mind muddle
- Natural confidence ebbs and flows for no reason
- Emotions come to the surface more quickly and are harder to suppress
- Anger blow ups get bigger and irritability is present more of the time
- Talking incessantly about problems and particularly in regard to the past
- Replaying frightening or upsetting scenes and events and not being able to stop
- Anxiety, clammy hands and sweating become normal during presentations
- Interview/audition nerves are harder to control and lead to vomiting
- Strategic thinking, goal setting, planning and organisation are a struggle
- Self Sabotaging to opt out, avoid responsibility and reduce stress looks appealing
- Expressing thoughts, feelings and opinions to authority figures is difficult
- Creative blocks last longer and are harder to overcome
- You become less believable and effective as a leader (with people and animals)
- Sense of purpose and hope for the future fade
- Feelings of depression are more frequent and intense
- Social situations worry you and become things to avoid
- Rolling over and appeasing others is a habit you can’t break
- Conflict at home and in the workplace is harder to resolve and tolerance drops
- Feelings of grief and loss dominate and prevent you moving on
CLIENTS AFTER COACHING
Having completed a short Coaching programme or 5 day break and strengthened their performance foundations, clients report all kind of lasting improvements and notice that:
- Stress tolerance increases i.e. you don’t get stressed out, cope better and need less relief
- You don’t have to downsize your goals and lifestyle to feel better and can drive forwards
- The physical side effects of stress fade away and many conditions are permanently resolved
- Motivation and drive return, energy goes up and exhaustion is a thing of the past
- Natural positivity and belief return like they never went away
- Mind chatter stops and sleeping is easy and restful
- Coming down from performance high without ‘help’ is easier
- Brain fog and mind muddle clear so thinking is like it used to be
- Emotions are no longer on the surface so you can tackle difficult conversations
- Irritability drops and anger is used the way it’s meant to be used
- Interest in and obsession with the past stops
- Event and conversation head loops come to an end
- Anxiety, fear and phobia levels drop to normal
- Static calm increases and presentation in Interview and audition is more productive
- Strategic thinking, goal setting, planning and organisation get easier
- Self Sabotaging is un-necessary and perceived differently
- Authority figures become less scary and easier to confront
- Creative blocks melt and talent can be optimised
- Leading is easier and you become more believable (with people and animals)
- The future is something you look forward to and plan for
- Depressive episodes are fewer and less intense
- Social situations seem like a good idea and to be welcomed
- Standing firm in your own space is enjoyable even if others don’t like it
- Conflict is easier to avoid in the first place
- Life moves on as grief fades away and memories aren’t as painful
At the point of booking, clients want to know if my approach can help and how long it will take to see improvement. The reason they ask is because they’ve been CONDITIONED, by experience, to expect no results, temporary results or minor results that take months or years to achieve.
Because I work with foundations rather than symptoms results are rapid and noticeable immediately. Each session produces improvements in effectiveness and performance that last and each session builds on the improvements in place.
The more sessions you complete, the more your foundations are strengthened and the better you think, feel, relate, communicate and present yourself in general.
Experience is the only way to fully appreciate and understand this process.