Overcoming guilt

Overcoming guilt

Darling I can’t read to you tonight, I have to work…. These are the words that stab the heart of a parent when they are saying them to their children. It’s fine when these are one-off situations. It’s when they become regular that they become harder to bear. Sharon, is a client and a mum to three children and in her leadership role, regularly has out of hours work to attend to. She does her best to minimise the impact of her work on her time with her children and lately it has been becoming more and more of a challenge. Sharon loves her work, she wouldn’t be who she is, if she didn’t do the work that she does. It’s a big part of her life, as are her children, and she loves that her children get to see her kicking goals and making a contribution. Despite knowing all of this, Sharon still feels guilty and conflicted and she’s not alone. Research into the attitudes of 1,000 working parents (or expectant parents) carried out on behalf of the Work and Family Show, found that 81 per cent of mothers returning to work after having a child said they felt guilty about doing so. Torn between two things that are important to her, what can Sharon do to resolve this conflict? Guilt is a result of holding a set of rules in your mind and one or more of the rules are being broken. Basically, you are not doing what you are “supposed to do”. Usually these rules are buried deep down (likely from a young age) and you operate...
You family vision

You family vision

A strong vision of success is essential to great leadership as a parent. Without a vision, you may have great ideas of how you want your child to be, however without the focus and the discipline on what matters you can get lost in myriad of things you do each day and lose sight of the bigger picture. Without a vision, daily tasks can feel hollow and operational, rather than practical and meaningful. “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” Steve jobs I recently took my parents through an exercise to create a vision for their family. Whilst myself and my older sibling are very much leaders in our own families, my younger sibling is mentally disabled and is heavily dependant upon my parents. Up until now my parents have been managing the day to day – getting by and dealing with whatever comes up next. However, this is the first time in 40 years they have stepped back and been able to articulate their vision for my brother. In their words this has meant, “Clarity on what needs to be done” “Focus on what matters most, despite the day-to-day things that come up” “A general direction, rather than meandering” “Feeling like we have some control over the future” It is so often easier and more appealing to carry on and just get through the day. Walter Mischel is a researcher and author of the Marshmallow Test, a study carried out on the effects of delayed gratification. If a child was offered a marshmallow immediately...
How to overcome mental fatigue from conflicting priorities

How to overcome mental fatigue from conflicting priorities

There’s no doubt as working parents we are overwhelmed with the number of priorities we are keeping front of mind. On average we lose 36 of our waking hours to mental load each week, 9 hours of which is related to home and family related matters. That’s more than one working day a week. Most of us carry some form of mental load, about our work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and personal life, however when you carry loads related to things that are out of your control, it weighs you down unnecessarily. Sandra is getting ready for work. It is Sandra’s morning to get the kids off to school. She and her husband alternate. This particularly morning, whilst Sandra is preparing breakfast and responding to an email in relation to her morning meeting, her 8 year old daughter announces that she wants to spend all of her savings on an iPad. Sandra asks if they can discuss it later. Her daughter responds, “you never care about what I want, you only care about your work.” Sandra knows her daughter is passionate and can be emotional at times but the comment about her only caring about her work hits her hard. Not able to resolve the situation in the time they have, Sandra drops her daughter to school, both still upset. The conversation plays on Sandra’s mind for the rest of the day leaving her feeling distracted in meetings and agitated during her other tasks for the day. It is in these moments, where nothing can be changed until Sandra gets home and talks it out with her daughter, that...
Build your child’s motivation

Build your child’s motivation

What happens when your goals for your child and their goals for themselves differ? Shelley is a mum of three. She is a senior leader in her organisation and is extremely driven to achieve the goals she sets for herself. Her tween daughter on the other hand is not driven in the same way and this frustrates Shelley. Her best efforts to motivate her daughter to set goals and continually improve in her musical instrument has resulted in her daughter feeling resentment, resistance and now thinking of giving up playing her instrument. Through coaching, Shelley realised that her drive to achieve goals is based on a fear to be someone of significance, which underpinned her desire for her daughter to achieve goals and also be someone of significance. I asked Shelley if her daughter is significant right now and if she would be any more or less significant based on her goal achievement. She replied, “of course not, she is significant to me regardless.” Shelley had a breakthrough in recognising she had been projecting her fears onto her daughter. Furtherstill, she realised she was exhausted providing the motivation for her daughter to continue with her music. Through breaking her own attachment to achieving goals and changing her focus to pursuing goals for progress rather than significance, Shelley is now allowing her daughter to build her own motivation for her goals. Both are happier as a result. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. ~ W Edwards Deming When fear underpins your goals for your child, this projection can result in your child...
Being versus Doing

Being versus Doing

On a video interview this week, I was interviewed by friend and colleague, the lovely Kylie Ryan. Kylie founded My Mind Coach and is one of Australia’s leading coaches in weight loss, health and wellness. Kylie came to me as a client recently after finding herself yelling at her child. This was Kylie before and after the session. When Kylie asked what advice I have for busy parents coming into the holiday season my response was quick and meaningful and it’s the one piece of advice I would like to share with you for these holidays… DO less and FEEL more. It’s an odd thing to say and yet it makes a profound difference to our experience of the holidays and everyday life. Do you have a party or several to attend? Do you still have gifts to buy for the kids? Are you finishing things off at work ahead of the holidays? Do you have to organise and shop for food? Are you squeezing in catch ups with friends? Each one of these is a thing to DO. How will you BE when you attend to each of these things on your list? Will you be: Appreciative Peaceful Loving Grateful Still Forgiving Thoughtful Research carried out by UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Centre found regularly expressing gratitude literally changes the molecular structure of the brain and makes us healthier and happier. Life is about feeling. Fundamentally, each of us are chasing a feeling in any given moment… Think about what happens when you see your child open presents. The look on their face makes you feel: joy, love, excitement...