April 2017 - sheIQ Life

Archive for April 2017 | Monthly archive page

Combatting the Stress Bronwen Sciortino Keep It Super Simple sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional Speaker

Combatting the Stress of Being a Leader? Here’s Five Things Women Can Do Almost Immediately

There’s a reason ‘it’s lonely at the top’ is one of the most commonly used phrases by people in leadership positions … and it’s never been more true than for women who take on leadership roles.

The basic definition of a leader is something as simple as this: a person who leads or commands a group of people or an organisation. However, the reality is that leadership is often complex and demanding.

There are so many layers that come with being a leader. The added burden of being responsible for a group of individuals is something that most women take extremely seriously. The best leaders appear to effortlessly display qualities like honesty, delegation, communication and confidence. All this at the same time as knowing how to inspire their teams to achieve dizzying heights.

Often, there is little or no training offered for individuals to become great leaders. If you’re lucky, you come across someone who inspires you, and you find a way to learn from them. But for most leaders they learn on the job and, depending on the culture of their workplace, they sink or they swim.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that most women in corporate roles (other than in the public service) seem to have to battle a great deal of bureaucratic red tape in order to access company-sponsored training funds. What this means is that any formal leadership development training comes at their own expense. Additionally, age-old customs and long-held beliefs see women finding it hard to justify spending time and money on themselves, so there is an added impact on their ability to access quality training that can assist them with personal and professional development.

For women, leadership positions come at a greater cost. We take the responsibility of looking after, and leading, others very seriously. We absorb the pressure from above and shield our teams as much as we can, without considering the cost to ourselves as we do so.

All of this adds up to a significant yet silent load that stress places on the shoulders of women in leadership. Stress plays a massive factor in our lives, but we’ve been taught that stress and exhaustion are necessary components of being successful.

As a leader, we take on the responsibility of asking people to follow us, but we need to consider what we are asking them to follow. We spend so much of our time committing ourselves to the needs of others, the business, our boss and our team members … and we forget to make sure we are OK as well.

We may physically leave the office building at the end of the working day, but technology now means our work travels with us when we go home. Our immediate focus may shift from what is happening in the office to what is happening in our family, but technology allows those two domains to overlap and blend throughout the day. There is no respite; we’re in demand and on notice 24/7. We don’t get a break and this amplifies the level of stress in our lives.

We’ve been trained to live like this – but it doesn’t have to be this way.

To combat the stress of being a leader, you can benefit almost immediately from focusing on the following five things:

Make sure that sleep is a critical component of every day. Sleep is essential for making sure you’re well rested. Stress levels rise significantly when you’re tired, and there’s a direct correlation between being tired and an increased difficulty in decision making. Allocate some “Me Time”. Set aside a specific period of time each day to relax and re-charge your batteries. Make sure that you structure it so that you cannot be reached and where you disconnect from technology. Re-charging your energy in the right way not only allows you to fulfil your everyday activities, it also assists in achieving beneficial sleep. Establish your ‘posse’. Who are the people in your life that you could call at any hour of the day or night if you needed them? Are any of these people outside your immediate family group? Make sure you schedule time to catch up with these ‘go-to’ people regularly – this will keep your posse current. Plus, if they’re your ‘go-to’ people, chances are you are theirs in return. Connection is key. Make sure your friends are people outside your workplace. Your friends should be people who help you re-energise, but they should also be people who help you grow and develop. Pick the people who will tell you the truth in a loving and kind way – not just what you want to hear because you’re their boss. Spend time with positive people. Spend time with people who leave you energised after spending time with them. Intentionally choose to have people in your life that will pick you up.

There is nothing normal about being constantly stressed and exhausted … and there is a very different way to live that is no more difficult that learning to ask yourself a few questions that allow you to think a little bit differently.

Want more info on how to reduce the stress in your life? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

This article was first published on LinkedIn on 27/04/2017

Hands Keep It Super Simple Bronwen Sciortino sheIQlife Simplicity Expert Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness Professional Speaker

First published on HuffPost 22/04/2017

Every day is made up of a string of choices – some of them large, some of them small. Some of them conscious but most of them unconscious. Almost all of them place little thought on the value that we place on our life. Most of the time we wander mechanically through our day, reacting rather than participating; oblivious rather than aware. Something happens and we respond with a pre-programmed, automatic response – we respond in the way we’ve been taught. We see conditioning all around us. Look at the high-performance sporting teams that spend hours drilling their players to respond in a certain way when certain conditions arise in the game they’re playing. Look at military colleges that spend hours training their personnel how to respond in situations of high stress. We accept these situations as normal – they’re requirements of the job that these people perform. What we don’t do is stop and recognise that while these might be specific cases, the reality is that all of us have also been drilled for hours in how to respond – in our own lives. Think about when you were growing up and the way in which you were taught what was right and wrong, good and bad. Our formative years generally see us being given subliminal conditioning around these five things: 1. The language that is appropriate for us to use – which words are appropriate, whether we’re allowed to use slang and colloquialism, and the way in which we pronounce words. 2. The way in which it is appropriate for us to dress – the types of materials, brands and colours, the cut and hem lengths of garments. 3. The level of education we should achieve – private versus public schooling, university versus vocational qualifications. 4. The class of society that we should live in – we are generally conditioned to remain in the class within which we were born. 5. The types of people we should be associating with – we’re usually steered towards people who are deemed to be a good influence on us, and these people are generally those who encourage us to sit within the boundaries that our conditioning gives to us. The conditioning is almost always covert, and is often referred to as ‘hidden rules’ within society. What we’re not taught is that this conditioning is different for everyone, and is entirely dependent on the family, friends, community, school, state or province, region and often country you reside in. Often, the golden rule of this conditioning is to ensure that you conform to society – that you fit in. But if all of us have received different conditioning, how is it that the concept of conditioning is supposed to assist us in fitting in? The one thing that we all have in common from receiving this conditioning is this: it forces us to squash ourselves into a shape that is determined as appropriate by someone else. So, we become a smaller version of ourselves. It also usually follows that once we have squashed ourselves to fit this shape, we then exhaust ourselves trying to live up to the rules that have been given to us about being this shape. Before we know it, we’ve succumbed to the pressure of trying to live a life that has been given to us by someone else and we spend every day stressed and exhausted, desperately looking for a way out. We accommodate everyone else’s wishes, and meet everyone else’s needs because that’s what we have to do be able to prove that we’re a good person. We work long hours, grinding away at a job that we probably don’t really like, because that’s what we have to do to prove that we are successful. We fill every second of every day with ‘stuff’ because that’s what we have to do to prove that we are busy. And while we’re doing all the things we ‘have to do’ and constantly proving ourselves for one reason or another, our mental and physical health suffers. Despite our desperate search for a way out, we dig ourselves deeper and deeper into an existence that doesn’t work for us. We live like this until we die, or until a traumatic event happens that gives us a road out of the desperation. The fascinating thing about all of this is that there is a very different way to live – and it is no harder than learning to ask yourself a few simple questions. Somewhere along the way, our lives have spun out of control and we’ve been handed a set of rules that no longer serve us. A set of rules that means that we no longer understand our own value, in our own lives. We’re so busy being conditioned that none of us have stopped to ask whether the rules are relevant any more. To put it another way, are those rules actually adding value to our lives … or are they subtracting years from our own longevity? It’s time for us to start asking questions that help us to determine what is right for our lives. Remember that every day is full of choices … and more importantly, understand that living your life the way you are is a choice – you are choosing to live as you do. So, you choose – do you want to continue living a life that has been given to you by someone else, or do you want to start choosing your own adventure? It all comes down to how you answer one simple question … ‘What value do you place on your life?’ Want more info? There are loads of tips and tricks on living and thinking differently in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop. Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time! Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Blank Slate | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

First published as an article for www.mywellbeingmagazine.com on 18/04/2017

When I was growing up there were these fabulous books that allowed you to choose what happened next in the story you were reading. You chose from one of three or four options and it took you on a different path in the story. At each junction in the story you could choose again until you reached the end of your journey.

A friend visiting my home pointed at some of these books on my bookshelf the other day and reminded me of how much they were loved by kids globally. Her comment has stuck in my mind over the past couple of days and it’s left me pondering about where the sense of adventure in our lives has gone.

It’s almost as if somewhere along the way life has taken over, and we’re now on a conveyor belt hurtling along in an automated process, just waiting for the next thing in life to happen to us. We’re completely unconscious, just sitting there – sometimes being knocked over and sent down another chute, into another process – but otherwise operating on autopilot and dealing with whatever is thrown our way.

Somewhere along the way we’ve lost confidence in our ability to make decisions for ourselves.

We find ourselves with our head spinning, asking everyone else for the answers to our questions. We place all our trust in the answers that everyone gives to us, and we start walking a path that leads us to living someone else’s life.

Suddenly, we find ourselves existing in a fast-paced, unconscious world where every day starts and ends with a grind. Our health – both mental and physical – has suffered, and we’re stressed and exhausted. We’re running on empty, and we’re perilously close to collapsing … so we push ourselves even harder just so we can survive.

When did we forget that our lives are precious? When did we lose sight of our innate ability to have fun? When did we stop listening to what our heart knows we should be doing?

What made us choose automation over our own adventure?

Like many things in life, there are times when automation can be a very good thing. But not when it means you don’t control the decisions that are made for your life.

The fact is, we’ve been swept away by the speed of life. Everyone – and everything around us – moves so quickly that it can feel like there isn’t enough time to sit still and consider the decisions that need to be made in our lives. Information comes at us from every direction and it seems like there is nowhere to go and nowhere to hide for a reprieve.

We’re addicted to an environment that is highly stimulated and we live in a world of instantaneous feedback and interaction. We’re totally immersed in an artificial life of “right here, right now” and constantly reminded – through funky-sounding acronyms – that YOLO (You Only Live Once) and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) really matter. We’re wired for stress stimuli … and our bodies respond automatically.

Here’s the thing: we’ve been conditioned by the world around us that our lives must be enmeshed for us to be successful. But in reality, we’ve reached a point in our lives where we now need to consciously stop and make some changes.

Although most of us don’t want to hear it, the truth is this: the more you slow down, the more clarity you get in your life … and it is clarity that gives us the ability to catapult ourselves forward in our lives.

The more time you take to connect with your intuition and to put your faith and your trust in that intuition, the more you will find yourself doing and being things that are really aligned with who you are. The less you rely on answers from others, the more you will find your own answers to those burning questions.

How? Start by turning your life into an adventure! Take control of choosing where your adventure takes you. Treat everything that is offered to you as pathways you can choose between and then explore where your decision takes you with a sense of fun and wonder.

Give yourself the gift of choosing your own adventure and watch where your footsteps take you.

 

It doesn’t take much to live your life in a very different way and there are loads of tips and tricks on how you can easily do this in my book ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – you can buy a copy from www.sheiqlife.com/shop.

Want to chat? Email me on info@sheiqlife.com or call me on +61 438 624 868 and we’ll set up a time!

 

Bronwen Sciortino is a Simplicity Expert, Professional Speaker and the author of ‘Keep It Super Simple – Tips from a Recovering Perfectionist’. Join the conversation by subscribing to the tribe at www.sheiqlife.com; Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

 

Mahat 2017 | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker

First published as a guest blog post for www.melaneyryan.com on 11/04/2017

It’s time …. Take your place – Mahat Retreat – Chiang Mai 2017

Welcome to a world within a world …. a bubble in time where you can blink and find hours have passed at the same time as noticing that time has slowed down. It’s a dichotomy that proves that time doesn’t exist.

There’s a choice you make when you decide to attend a Mahat retreat: you choose to grow and develop; to step forward and take control of your life.

When you arrive at retreat you also make another choice: you choose how you transition through the growth and development that stepping forward presents to you.

From the moment you arrive,  you understand that you are privileged to be there; to be surrounded by your tribe, to be receiving divine teachings; you know you have come home. Your need for belonging and your desperate search for direction dissipate as you settle into a rhythm that can only come when you understand that you are connected with everything, and everyone surrounding you.

The collective knowledge and wisdom blends and weaves around you and you realise that your contribution is just as valuable as everyone else’s – that collectively, you make up the whole. Without you, and your contribution, there would be a gaping hole that no one else could fill.

There is a covert power that comes with the realisation that the universe has been waiting for you to step into your greatness – that your playing small has held not only you, but also the collective back from operating at its full potential. All it takes is a conscious choice to embrace your greatness to allow this power to fuel your resolve, to stand strongly and to meet everything in life at eye level.

The fabric of a Mahat retreat is woven with magic – a magic that is unique to the combination of the individuals in attendance. Your soul is touched. Your soul is alive. There are moments when you dance, moments when you cry and moments when you are so still that it’s like you’re suspended in space. These moments weave together like a patchwork quilt that is being lovingly created to provide warmth and comfort in times of need.

Your journey in this sacred space is yours, but it is also shared on a deeper level with the collective. No matter the lesson, no matter the level of awakening you know deep within you that there is a seriousness with which you now approach your life.

As you depart the bubble you know that you are forever changed, your soul is evolved, your light is shining.

It’s time … step up and take your place … it’s no more difficult that making a small shift in perception.

Mahatma my tribe – may every day be a pathway to the light.

Much love

Bron x

 

SheiqLife Logo | Bronwen Sciortino | sheIQlife | Simplicity Expert | Stress Reduction Resilience Mindfulness | Professional Speaker
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