Author Archives: RCallaghan

  1. Slow down, give it time, keep well

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    I think most of us were expecting the three-week extension to UK lockdown last week. In reality, we realise that this is the best course of action, however difficult it might be. We know that by staying at home we can help to slow down the spread of this awful virus, reduce the impact on the NHS and help save lives.

    It’s still ok to feel anxious, stressed or upset about the reality you find yourself in. Sadly, for those who have tragically lost friends and relatives life will never be the same again.

    Good things are happening 

    I’ve been reading about amazing things happening in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors. From redeploying employees to providing care packages, food deliveries and accommodation for NHS staff, it’s so uplifting to see how everyone is pulling together to support one another at this difficult time.

    I don’t know about you but I’m finding the slower pace of life quite refreshing. In normal life, we’re all in such a rush to achieve things, to get to places and expect others to do the same. In recent weeks I’ve started to notice things that usually pass me by, like the amount of birds that visit our garden.

    The enforced slow down could be a blessing in disguise. Have you noticed any positive changes in your life?

    Time and space to adapt

    An important lesson I’ve learned through training over the years is that less is more.

    I focus on a single concept that can improve performance, repeat it and encourage participants to use it. This helps to reinforce the message and increase understanding. Given time and space to take on board new information, delegates are more likely to use the tool they have learned. It helps to improve performance and makes the training more effective, delivering a greater return on investment.

    On a similar note, if you’re managing or leading a team in these difficult times, try to give your people the time, space and support they need to grasp their new way of working. Perhaps you’ve noticed behavioural changes or someone who is usually vocal seems quieter. If people are struggling with new working conditions, systems or processes, show patience and offer assistance where they need it. It might take time to adapt but they will appreciate your support. 

    It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to adapt at the same rate in the current climate. Time and space is what we all need.

    Boost your self-awareness

    As discussed in my last post, a sense of self-awareness is so important right now. Keep checking in with yourself on a regular basis and seek help from friends, family or colleagues with situations or feelings you’re finding difficult. 

    I think spending this extended period of time with the people we care about will teach us a lot about ourselves; the things we all need in order to keep well. Perhaps, over time, we might all learn to take better care of ourselves and each other.

    If you completed the self-reflection exercise I shared in February, now is a good time to review it and consider what you might do differently when you have the opportunity to move forward again.

    Here are some other activities you might consider to ensure you, and those closest to you, keep well.

    Exercise classes

    We need to keep moving to keep our muscles strong and our brains alert. Now widely available online, there are plenty to choose from to suit all interests and abilities. Over time you’ll see the impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. I’ve really enjoyed joining Joe Wicks’ 20-minute PE class at 9am each morning.

    Learn a new skill

    Maybe you need a challenge or there’s something you’ve always wanted to improve at, like cooking, learning a language or craft. My nephew has decided to learn sign language and I’m enjoying getting stuck into reading.

    Time to talk

    Conversations with loved ones and members of your team let them know you are there for them. I’m not technical but find FaceTime and WhatsApp easy to use for face-to face conversations. Seeing a face makes such a difference rather that just talking on the phone. 

    Celebrate special occasions

    Whilst we can’t celebrate with colleagues and loved ones in person, we can still mark the special dates in our lives. Celebrate team birthdays with online singing and send an e-gift card instead of a physical one. Perhaps have a date night at home with your loved one. Make an effort to get dressed up to make it that bit more special.  

    Relax and focus on you

    Even with a demanding family at home you can still allow yourself time to be calm and reflect. How you do this is up to you – listen to music, take a relaxing indulgent bath, dance, meditate, do yoga, read or just be on your own.

    I appreciate that not everyone will have the headspace to cope with learning a new skill right now. So choose one thing that’s right for you and consider adding it to your daily routine over the next few weeks. As you adapt and make time for the change, it will become part of your new life. 

    Just like training a new performance management concept, if you want the learning to be effective, you need to give it time.

    I’ll end with a word of advice – try not to put too much pressure on yourself to do any of these things. Sometimes it’s ok to just be, to appreciate your family and your surroundings. 

    Now listen to those birds tweeting outside.

  2. Why perspective and reality are so important right now

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    My original plan for this month’s blog was to investigate how people’s behaviour could cause stress or frustration for others. I was going to look at how one person’s reality is very different to the next. 

    But oh my goodness how our reality has changed over the last few weeks!

    As many of us settle into the reality of self-isolation, it’s now more important than ever to be considerate, empathetic and respectful of others’ feelings and perspectives. We should all check in regularly with colleagues, family, friends and neighbours – to ensure they’re physically and mentally healthy.

    Your listening skills are one of the greatest gifts you can give to others at the current time. Ask the right questions and you’ll soon be able to understand the person’s reality. It might not be as you expected.


    What about you? Are you ok?

    At the same time check-in with yourself. I want anyone reading this to know that I’m here if you need to talk. 

    If you need support or guidance in your new work reality, I’m available for online coaching. Webinar training and development is also highly effective for teams.

    If you find yourself with time to reflect, try the free self-reflection exercise we shared in last month’s blog. It’s a great way to consider the people you want to connect with over the next few weeks.


    Zest for Life’s reality

    The reality for Zest for Life right now is very strange and very different to the start of 2020. It’s taken some time to adapt to our new circumstances. So much of our business is conducted face to face within the hospitality, retail and leisure sector. This means most of our client training and development sessions have been postponed until June. Even then, we don’t know if these will go ahead. But I understand this is the new uncertain reality for so many of us.

    I’m an active person so my aim throughout this is to keep busy. I’m using the time to focus on my voluntary work and to plan for the future.

    I continue to conduct webinars with the Springboard charity leadership team. We had a golden breakthrough moment in our last session and it felt brilliant! 

    Radio Lollipop is another a charity I’m involved with. I’ve been a Trustee and volunteer for 29 years. Working remotely with the new team in New York, it’s wonderful to see the spirit of Radio Lollipop developing from session to session. 

    Although this is all unpaid work it’s very rewarding and a welcome change to do something normal.

    I’ve also put myself forward as a coach to the NHS and I’m waiting to hear what this role might look like. They’re looking for qualified mental health specialists, counsellors and coaches who are willing to help. If you’d like to get involved get in touch here.


    A little ray of sunshine

    Across the world, people are slowly coming around to the reality of remote working. Parents juggling childcare, homeschooling and caring for a family with working from home are looking for support and guidance. I’m experienced in running online training and video coaching sessions so when a colleague asked me to help out with delivering their Productive Remote Working training I jumped at the chance. I so enjoyed connecting with people again! 

    If you’re interested in running this programme for your teams get in touch and I’ll ask my colleague to drop you a line.


    Focus on the positives

    I believe every cloud has a silver lining and my reduced workload has provided some much-needed headspace to focus on writing my book. It’s top-secret at the moment but I’ll share more before I publish later this year.  

    I’ve also had the time to update our Exceptional Service Makes Sense and Exceptional Leadership Makes Sense programmes. It’s always been our intention to make these available as webinar programmes, as open courses or closed and dedicated for remote teams. If you’d like to find out how you can access these please let me know.


    Your task for the week

    If you do one thing this week, please take the time to check-in and find out if your colleagues, friends and family are managing ok in this uncertain reality we’re facing. Even if you’re feeling good it doesn’t mean that others are. 

    And if you’re not coping with your reality, find someone you can talk to. No matter how simple or insignificant your problem is, seek help to get back on track. It’s good to talk, to be heard and considered.

    Stay safe and well