Every leader needs a sidekick. Here’s why

Climbing to the top of the corporate ladder is often lonely, but it doesn’t need to be. High-achieving individuals frequently experience loneliness even when surrounded by others. The way you regulate emotions may be to blame. The latest studies show emotional regulation influences feelings of loneliness.

Being a leader doesn’t need to lead to loneliness. You just need to get to the bottom of the issue. According to research published in Psychology Today, loneliness is often related to how you regulate emotions. Individuals who struggle to accept their emotions struggle to maintain relationships. This can severely impact your personal and professional life.

The studies showed that people who hide their feelings experience higher levels of loneliness. Hiding emotions is a form of expressive suppression. It forces you to avoid social contact. You shut yourself off even further from those around you. Other common emotion regulation strategies include self-blame, rumination, and blaming others.

Self-blame is a toxic form of emotional abuse. It often involves blaming yourself for things that you can’t control. Blaming yourself for things that are out of your control limits your growth. It keeps you from trying new things, as you fear repeating the same mistakes.

Rumination can exacerbate your negative thoughts. Instead of moving forward, you continuously repeat the same events in your head. You replay experiences while continually beating yourself up for perceived shortcomings. A habit of rumination impairs your thinking. It also limits your ability to process emotions.

Some individuals also choose to blame others for their inner turmoil. You may feel that your setbacks were due to others instead of accepting responsibility for your part. The better option is to accept that the past is the past and no thoughts will change it. You can read more about the connection between loneliness and emotional regulation here.

Your emotion regulation strategies may be keeping you from connecting with others. Connecting with your own emotions is the solution. NLP can help you get there by boosting your mental stamina. Positive psychology and NLP techniques can change your negative thinking habits. You’ll experience improved self-awareness, empathy, motivation, and social skills by changing how you regulate emotions.

For example, NLP anchoring can assist with self-regulation and increase your resilience. With practice, you can use NLP anchors to instantly recognise and alter your emotions. It gives you more control over emotions that tend to get in the way of success. You can cope with fear, anxiety, low self-worth, and negative thoughts. NLP submodalities are useful for gaining greater self-awareness. Certain methods can be used to gain a better understanding of how your brain works. You can understand your moods and mental states, along with the triggers for different states.

Paying attention to your emotions may be the key to growing your support circle. NLP offers a way to align your mind and body and regain control of your thoughts. You’ll also benefit from the boost of resiliency provided by better emotional regulation. Learn more. View my one-to-one coaching services and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au/

Loneliness makes burnout worse

Don’t shut yourself off from others when you feel stressed. Loneliness just makes burnout worse. Studies show that loneliness adds to your challenges. It amplifies your feelings of stress and exhaustion. Trying to handle everything alone may keep you from solving problems. Gaining social support and building a more inclusive workplace may help.

If you feel burnt out from work, you’re not alone. A recent article published in Harvard Business Review states that 50% of people across all professions feel exhausted. The authors of the article point out that loneliness is a major factor in this trend. They argue that loneliness is often the result of emotional exhaustion.

When you start to feel extra pressure in the workplace, you’re more likely to avoid social interactions. You devote all your attention to solving the problem in front of you. This isolates you from others. You may not notice the social isolation until exhaustion hits you. You stop and look around and realise that you’re all alone.

The idea that loneliness adds to your stress is not new. Positive psychology promotes the need for strong social networks. However, the latest research suggests that loneliness also contributes to absenteeism, workplace accidents, and lower profits for businesses.

Research from the University of California indicates that loneliness reduces longevity by 70%. For comparison, drinking reduces longevity by 30% while smoking reduces longevity by 50%. Loneliness increases your chance of suffering from a stroke or heart disease. Some people even experience physical pain due to loneliness.

 

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Luckily, gaining social support can have the opposite effect. Building strong social connections can strengthen your immune system, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and depression. Some of the solutions for dealing with loneliness in the workplace include promoting a culture of inclusion and empathy. The authors also recommend celebrating collective successes to bring team members together. You can learn more about the impact of loneliness in the original article here.

According to the article, increasing social support and maintaining an inclusive work environment can help prevent loneliness. However, leaders can often feel alone even when surrounded by people. High achieving professionals need mental stamina and resilience. Your resiliency determines your ability to overcome obstacles. Learning to deal with stressful situations minimises the risk of burnout.

Humans have the ability to adapt their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. NLP uses this concept to help people adapt and thrive. Common NLP techniques for addressing stress include association exercises and stimulus-response anchors. Association helps you associate positive thoughts with your current situation. For example, you can relax and imagine a tranquil environment, such as a beach. Imagine what you see, feel, and hear. A stimulus-response anchor is an anchor that you create to help you relax.

You’re never truly alone. Help is available. If you want to avoid burnout and combat loneliness, use confidence coaching to develop a more positive mindset. You’ll find it easier to grow your support network and cope with workplace stress. Learn more about my one-to-one coaching services and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au/

Leadership loneliness: the hidden epidemic

Loneliness isn’t something leaders talk about at work – but it should be. There’s growing evidence that burnout and loneliness go together, producing a vicious cycle of isolation, overwork and exhaustion that directly impacts relationships and productivity at work. So, is your burnout really loneliness? Watch this week’s video to find out.

 

If loneliness is impacting YOU as a leader, here are three simple ways to combat it.

Get a coach

Long-term coaching relationships are the best way to prevent burnout and get the personalised support you need as a leader. For example, I’ve been supported by my coach for 22 years now. And during the COVID crunch, that relationship saved my business. When I was gripped by despair and feeling overwhelmed, having a trusted advisor on hand kept me focused and optimistic. All leaders should have coaches or mentors – and not only in the tough times!

 

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Join a support group

Surprisingly, most leadership development programs don’t address the impact of senior managers feeling isolated, unsupported and under intense pressure. That’s why I developed my Mojo Reboot program. It helps leaders build mental stamina by tapping into the power of group support. The program runs over three weeks to help leaders build momentum and decrease isolation.

Know the difference between tiredness and loneliness

Both conditions lead to low energy and lack of motivation. But what fixes exhaustion won’t resolve loneliness. Read my recent blog article for more information about loneliness and how to spot the signs of how it is impacting you or members of your team.

Is fast thinking slowing you down?

Is fast thinking slowing you down? When you’re too busy stressing over everything, you lack the time needed to reflect. You’re more likely to miss opportunities. You may not discover the right path, as you’re too focused on the current one. Challenging your assumptions and exploring other options requires you to slow down. You need to reflect instead of reacting too quickly.

A recent article written for Harvard Business Review discusses the importance of “slow thinking.” The authors of the article explain how some of the most successful CEOs set aside time to reflect. Reflective thought gives you time to examine your beliefs. It helps you create connections between different pieces of information. Complex thinking requires you to slow down and consider a variety of variables. Rushing your thought process increases the risk of mistakes.

The article points out that many of the top leaders set aside time for personal development. Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates all schedule time to reflect. Unfortunately, this goes against the belief that leaders need to devote everything to their careers. You may fear slowing down due to the risk of being labelled an imposter.

So, how can you retrain your brain? First, the authors suggest scheduling thinking time. Setting aside a few minutes or an entire hour to sit quietly and think can ease stress and improve cognitive thinking. The second suggestion is to enlist help. Find a partner to help you explore ideas instead of internalising everything.

 

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The third solution presented in the article is to prevent information overload. The authors recommend setting boundaries, such as not checking work email outside of work hours. You may also replace internal emails with messaging apps. You should also question everything. Challenging assumptions helps you explore new ideas and opportunities. You can read more about the impact of fast thinking and how to slow down your brain here.

The article presented some useful tips for avoiding information overload. Along with scheduling time for reflection, consider using NLP. Neuro-linguistic programming and positive psychology practices help alter your thinking patterns. NLP reframing and meta-modelling are a couple of techniques that can help you reflect and challenge assumptions.

NLP reframing teaches you to view situations from a different perspective or “frame.” You open your mind to other possibilities. This involves identifying a negative thought and seeing it in another light. Reframing makes it easier to challenge assumptions and conflicting beliefs. NLP meta-modelling also requires you to challenge generalisations, distortions, and deletions. These thinking habits keep you from clearly reflecting on what’s happening around you. Generalising negative situations and distorting reality limit your thought processes. NLP helps you question your thoughts. You can develop a healthier relationship with your inner voice.

Don’t let fast thinking get in the way of your success. Learn to slow your thinking and reflect on your experiences using mindfulness and other NLP techniques. If you’re ready to increase your mental stamina and resilience, explore my one-to-one coaching services and online courses available at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au/

‘Your brain doesn’t just ‘fog’ under stress: it shrinks

Don’t let stress get to you. Stress kills brain cells and impairs your thinking. A recent article compiles research that suggests that chronic stress has long-term consequences for the brain. Stress can cause more anxiety, health issues, and even shrink your brain. Luckily, you can strengthen your brain and resilience for fighting stress.

Stress is a common part of life. For most people, stress tends to come and go. Unfortunately, those who face constant stress also face a long list of negative consequences. An article on Verywell Mind compiled the latest research on the effects of stress on the brain.

One study found that stress leads to long-term changes in the brain. It can increase your risk of mental illness and anxiety. It also limits your ability to cope with stress, leading to a cycle of negative thoughts. Researchers found that stress limits the production of neurons. It also increases the production of myelin-producing cells. These changes interfere with certain areas of the brain, leading to negative health risks.

Studies also show that chronic stress alters the brain’s structure. The overproduction of myelin caused by stress interferes with neural networks in the brain. It alters the balance between grey and white matter. This may impact your decision-making and problem-solving skills.

 

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Yet, one of the most shocking discoveries was that stress kills brain cells. The hippocampus is the area of the brain connected to emotion, learning, and memory. It is also the area where you form new brain cells. Stress limits the ability of new cells to survive, essentially limiting your ability to learn and grow. Another study found that chronic stress also limits spatial memory. Spatial memory is your ability to recall information. So, if you’re frequently forgetful and struggle to concentrate, you may be suffering from chronic stress. You can read more about the ways that stress affects your brain here.

What can you do about the stress in your life? Try NLP. Neuro-linguistic programming is a growing area of positive psychology. It offers a variety of exercises for increasing resilience. You can gain the mental stamina needed to avoid letting stress get to your head. NLP anchoring is one of the most used NLP techniques for fighting stress. It helps you create positive responses that you can pull from when you experience stress, fear, or anxiety.

Anchors are often words, gestures, or images that create positive thoughts. When a difficult situation arises, you use the anchor to calm your mind. It helps you relax and focus on the present. After creating an anchor, you can use it as needed as a stress relief tool. You can even create different anchors for dealing with a variety of situations or environments.

Stress can negatively impact almost every area of your life, but it’s something that you can learn to overcome. NLP techniques can equip your brain with the tools needed to let go of the fear and anxiety that creates stress. You can learn more about NLP by exploring my one-to-one coaching services and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au/

7 surprising habits of resilient people

Are you struggling to grow in your personal or professional life? If so, looking at the habits of highly resilient people may help. Failing to achieve success often comes down to your way of thinking. A recent article helped dispel several common myths about resiliency, including the idea that your past is impossible to escape.

Past failures and traumas don’t need to hold you back. As discussed in a recent article on resilience written by Silvia Rockwell, anyone can become more resilient. This is also an important point in positive psychology. You have the power to alter your way of thinking. However, along with getting in the way of your own resiliency, your thoughts and actions may impact the resiliency of others.

First, it’s important to address some of the myths surrounding resiliency. For example, you may think that some people are beyond hope or that you can’t change. Silvia Rockwell identifies four common myths that get in the way of fostering resilience in children, students, and peers.

Rockwell mentions the myth of irreparable damage. This is the idea that some people are just too broken. The truth is that no one is entirely lost. People are adaptable, no matter their past experiences.

Rockwell also dispels the myth of predetermination. Some people believe that children are predetermined to repeat the mistakes of their caregivers. No one is predetermined for a specific outcome. You have control over your life’s path and the decisions that you make.

The myth of identity is also explored in the article. This is the idea that people are defined by their past. An abused child is defined by the abuse. Your past is what happened to you. It’s not who you are today.

 

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The combination of myths discussed lead to the fourth myth, which is that nothing matters. People become discouraged and stop believing that their efforts matter. The truth is that everyone deserves hope. You can read more about the myths that prevent fostering resilience here.

So, how can you become more resilient? Resilient people build their mental stamina by accepting help. They also surround themselves with supportive people. It’s also important to stop blaming yourself for things you can’t control. Make peace with the past. Resilient people also pay attention to their physical health. You need adequate sleep and rest, but also need to keep yourself active. Resiliency also requires you to embrace change and learn to adapt, which is where NLP can help.

NLP reframing and anchoring can both help you increase your adaptability and resilience. Reframing allows you to view events from a different frame or perspective. It helps you identify thoughts and the behaviours you want to change. NLP anchors help you change your thoughts and behaviours. You learn to create anchors or memories that help you recognise and control your emotions.

Fostering resiliency in others requires you to address your own mental stamina. Stop believing the myths of irreparable damage, predetermination, and inescapable labels. NLP can help you break the patterns keeping you from flourishing. I’d love to help. View my one-to-one coaching services and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au/

Busy leader or wise leader? Which are you?

Task overload, crisis control, interruptions and on-the-fly decisions. They come with the territory when you step into the leadership zone. But when you’re the leader, you need to shape your territory, not fit into it. This means changing your mindset of what being busy says about your grit and mental stamina. As I explain in this week’s video, savvy leaders don’t just push through big workloads. They make savvy choices about their use of time and energy.

 

So how can you become a wiser, more resilient leader? Use these tips, which come from my popular online program, Mojo Reboot.

 

Stop equating action and effectiveness

Inexperienced leaders often see their long tasks lists and crammed schedules as a sign they are tough and have great mental stamina. Seasoned leaders, though, realise being constantly busy is NOT a sign of effectiveness.

 

Focus on leading, not doing

Great leaders get things done through other people. At least 70% of their time is spent strategising, coaching and team building. That’s right: 70% of your time needs to be dedicated to leadership. If it isn’t, work with a coach and become a bold leader who says ‘no’ to hands-on tasks and ‘yes’ to making an impact.

 

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Drive your own brain

Did you know that stress shrinks your brain? Read my recent blog on this topic if you want to know more about this startling fact.

 

After all, every leader should understand how stress impacts the brain. And every leader should know what to do about it. My favourite tip for being a brain-smart leader is to learn NLP. Why? Because it gives you simple techniques for building brain, mind and true grit.

 

The 4 types of social support leaders really need

Feeling stressed? You may just need someone to talk to. Research suggests that social support is an important factor for minimising the effects of stress. As an added benefit, social support may also improve your physical health. So, what are the types of social support that you need to lead more effectively?

Positive psychology has long stressed the importance of social support for stress relief. It’s an area that’s been widely studied. However, not all types of social support are created equal. An article from Elizabeth Scott, PhD recently explored the different forms of support. The four main types of social support include emotional, informational, tangible, and belonging support.

Emotional support helps affirm your self-worth. When someone lends a shoulder for you to cry on, they’re providing emotional support. Informational support comes from the sharing of advice. When you go to someone for help with a problem, the advice they provide is a form of informational support.

Tangible support is the sharing of resources. In the workplace, you may get tangible support from workers assigned to assist with your task. Belonging social support is the fourth form of support needed to fight loneliness and stress. It is a type of social support that comes from social activities. Spending time with a group of people provides a sense of belonging that can ease stress.

 

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Elizabeth Scott goes on to explain the effects of social support. According to a study from the University of Utah, social support helps lower blood pressure. Another study found that social support is linked to your overall health and well-being. Individuals with strong social support had a 50% increase in survival compared to those who lacked support. Research also indicates that social support may decrease depression and anxiety. It creates a buffer against the effects of stress. You can read the entire article on the benefits of social support here.

Social support is just one solution for combatting stress. Along with increasing your support circle, you may want to try using NLP for better stress management. Neuro-linguistic programming includes exercises that anyone can use. You can learn to alter your negative thoughts and behaviours. Anchoring and cognitive reframing are a couple of NLP techniques that can fight stress.

NLP anchoring is the use of a mental anchor to improve your emotional control. Anchors are positive thoughts. You create anchors by thinking of a memory that brings instant joy to your mind. When emotions start to get the better of you, you can use an anchor to regain control. Reframing helps you change the way you look at certain situations. You can use this technique when dealing with a stressful problem. It involves opening your mind to other possibilities by looking at things from an outside perspective.

If your stress is getting to you, it’s time to try something different. Seeking support from others and building greater resilience and mental stamina can help. Explore effective NLP techniques for stress relief with my one-to-one coaching services and online courses available at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au/

What to do when you have too much to do

Everyone feels overwhelmed occasionally. Unfortunately, sometimes the feeling doesn’t go away. This can bring about a wide range of negative symptoms, including forgetfulness. Some people deal with this issue by working harder and putting in more hours, which simply makes the problem worse. A better solution is to find the source of pressure and address it head-on.

If you’re constantly distracted and struggle to concentrate, you may simply be overwhelmed. Harvard professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey outline the impact of constant pressure in their book, Immunity to Change. Details of the book are covered in an article on the Harvard Business Review (HBR), which explains why most people feel overwhelmed at times. However, feeling perpetually overwhelmed is incredibly harmful to your mental fitness.

The authors describe how high achievers rarely step back when feeling overwhelmed. They push themselves harder to avoid being considered an imposter. This leads to a cycle of perpetual stress and pressure. According to Kegan and Lahey, perpetually overwhelmed individuals experience mental fatigue. You may become confused easily, have trouble concentrating, or struggle to think logically.

Kegan and Lahey recommend pinpointing the source of the problem. Find one or more responsibilities that you can offload or resolve to alleviate your stress. The authors also recommend setting boundaries. Don’t continue to push yourself too hard. Have the confidence to say “no” when you feel overworked.

 

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Kegan and Lahey also discuss the risks of perfectionism. Striving for perfection adds to your psychological distress. Instead of finishing a task, you start to procrastinate and become more overwhelmed. Recognising that doing your best is enough can ease some of the stress. Know when to stop a task rather than wasting time seeking perfection. You can learn more about the effects of constantly feeling overwhelmed in the HBR article here.

So, what can you do to deal with an increasingly overwhelming life? Slow down and learn to boost your resilience and optimism with NLP and positive psychology. As professors Kegan and Lahey explain, you need to challenge your idea of success. This may require you to change your way of thinking. Many high achievers tend to push themselves to the limits in pursuit of success.

A lot of the pressure that you face in the workplace comes from within. You’re often your own worst enemy. NLP techniques can change your outlook and increase your mental stamina. Anchoring, cognitive reframing, dissociation, and meta-modelling are a few of the NLP practices used to rewire your behaviour and thoughts. Everyone can change the way that they think. You can gain the confidence to set boundaries, ask for help, and avoid taking on more than you can handle.

Putting too much on your plate increases the risk of feeling overwhelmed. Instead of slowing down, you pick up the pace out of fear of being considered an imposter. If you want to beat this imposter syndrome and cope with pressure, try using NLP. Learn more by checking out my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au/

4 proven ways to stop overworking: I use them every day

Are you a workaholic? Do you find yourself working every hour of the day and night, despite knowing it’s not good for you? If so, I bet you love what you do. But maybe you’re ALSO overworking. Watch this month’s video if you think this might be true for you.

 

Why do you work so hard? Perhaps you’re passionate about your job! You just love it. It doesn’t feel like work … but to keep it that way, you might need to slow down. Here’s why. Nobody – not even you – can stay focused and productive 24/7.

 

In fact, working excessive hours – even if you are passionate about what you do – is the fastest way to erode your productivity and your mental stamina. You. Need. To. Stop. Now.

 

Yes, I understand. Quitting the overwork habit can be hard. But it can also be easy – when you know how. Here are four simple steps to get you started. Right this moment.

 

Step 1: Stop telling yourself you’ll ‘relax later’

Humans have a natural tendency to procrastinate, says Ofer Leidner, author of Stop Working and Start Thriving: ‘We work hard today so we can relax tomorrow’, he says. ‘But tomorrow always becomes today and there is never enough time’. Stop putting off downtime by scheduling your time off. Put it in your calendar and DO NOT WRITE OVER IT.

 

Step 2: Start working less

High achievers often feel guilty for taking time off. That doesn’t mean you really SHOULD feel guilty. Stop working weekends and evenings. Step away from your email. Leave your work phone switched off during evenings and days off. Even more importantly, leave your work brain switched off during breaks.

 

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Step 3: Continue building your assertiveness

Assertiveness is about knowing your limits and communicating them constructively. Assertive professionals know how to say ‘no’ without guilt. Choose to set boundaries and manage your own time. Master the art of saying ‘no’ without being rude. Most importantly, stop giving in to the demands of difficult people. No. You don’t owe them a favour. No. Being nice is NOT the key to success. In fact, it’s the key to stress.

 

Step 4: Quit multi-tasking

Multi-tasking is NOT efficient. In fact, neuroscientists have shown it isn’t even possible! Your brain just can’t process doing several things at once. It is physically impossible. So, stop trying to do it. Learn to focus. Work on one project, task or issue at a time. And take pride in doing it.

 

Sure, I know you have too much to do. But as I explain in this week’s blog post, you can ‘tame’ your inbox – as well as your guilt.