Manufacture Your Day by BEING ASSERTIVE

Yesterday I wrote about kindness and today I want to reinforce the importance of being assertive. 

The definition of assertiveness in the Cambridge Dictionary: “Someone who is assertive behaves confidently and is not frightened to say what they want or believe.”

Many people are confused about the discrepancy of aggressiveness and assertiveness but there are some key differences. 

Aggressive people are self-focused and often come across as having the need to win and they feed into people fears rather than their confidence. Their body language and tone of voice may indicate that they are in a attacking mode. 

Assertive people like to stand up for themselves but have no intention of hurting others. They are solution oriented, look for win-win situations and an ongoing idea exchange is important to them. 

Here are 5 tips on how you can learn to become more assertive:

  • Make the decision to be confident and politely stand up for yourself
  • Stay calm
  • Be decisive and learn to say “No”
  • Take a solution oriented approach when you find yourself in a conflict situation
  • Agree to disagree

Are you ready, willing and able to stand up for yourself?

Always remember that everything you allow will continue. 

Manufacture Your Day by BEING KIND TO UNKIND PEOPLE

I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. 

It is interesting but every time my posts have the title to be kind, the opening rate is lower. This is a risk I am willing to take because I believe it is necessary to remind you every once in a while how important it is to be kind to one another – especially if you want to work better together. 

If you opened this post today, you can really make a difference at your workplace.

In a world where we experience so much hatred, violence and divide, every small act of kindness counts. 

I realize that it is a difficult concept to grasp to be kind to people who may be rude, impatient and/or frustrated with you. However, if you get upset, how does this affect your health and well-being? 

The only piece of advice I give you is, “Please don’t take it personal. This has absolutely nothing to do with you.” 

Some people believe that by making other people wrong and putting them down, they will start feeling better about themselves, which is rarely the case. 

There are times when I have to deal with aggression in my workshops. These are usually the people who are so frustrated with their life that everyone who crosses their path seems to be their target. 

Here is how I deal with it. 

I take a deep breath and remind myself that this isn’t about me. I become very curious. I ask open-ended questions and listen. I show an interest in them and their perspective. I avoid making them wrong. I ask what I can do better for them. 

In 9 out of 10 cases people tend to come around, and open up about what “really” bothers them. When people start trusting you, you have a great opportunity to make things better. 

Kindness is a very effective tool. Use it. Why allow others to put their misery on you? 

Manufacture Your Day by BECOMING BETTER IN EVERYTHING YOU DO

Can you believe it is Friday again?

Time flies. Week after week goes by and if we don’t strive to get better and more productive at what we do, life can become pretty stressful and frustrating. 

When I look back at my very first workshop that I designed, I am amazed that I had the courage to go out and sell it BUT I did. It was far from perfect but I was so passionate and passion sells. I can remember that feeling of excitement when I facilitated this 2-hour workshop. It was designed for machine operators, and I received really good feedback from the participants. 

I was happy but I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to get feedback from people who could provide a different perspective. That’s why I invited 3 different people (2 General Managers and another Corporate Trainer) at 3 different times to observe my workshop in order to receive their feedback. None of them held back and I learned so much. This was the best decision I could have made and I haven’t stopped looking for feedback to continuously improve my work ever since. 

You should do the same. 

Yesterday I promised to give you the solution on how to cut down on your working hours. 

Well, I am European and I don’t believe that working long hours makes you a better employee or produces better results. I actually believe that working long hours demonstrates a lot of inefficiencies in the way people work and interact with each other. They waste time, are poor communicators, make mistakes (because they’re not rested), are not focused (because they try to do 100 things at the same time) and disgruntle many people in the process. 

When new people engage with me in the coaching process, most of them want the same. They want the work environment to change, they want management to change and they want their co-workers to change. 

Sorry for being blunt but if you want things to get better, you have to get better. If you want others to change, you have to change.

Here are 6 things that are a great start to make you more productive: 

  • Learn to prioritize and do these things first (even if you don’t like them) – otherwise they zap your energy
  • Learn, learn, learn – from what goes right (and why) and learn from what goes wrong (and why)
  • Manage your energy wisely (when we get frustrated or upset we waste time)
  • Get better at saying “no” by managing your boundaries
  • Delegate by having enough trust and patience to teach others (if you think you are the only one who can do the job, think again)
  • Make a distraction list and a stress list (if you know what gets you distracted or stressed, then you can do something about it)

I feel sorry for people who work super long hours but at the same time I don’t, especially if they think that things will magically change without them doing anything about it. 

Happy Friday! Change starts with YOU! Aren’t you happy that I told you?

Manufacture Your Day by CONSIDERING THIS IMPORTANT THOUGHT

Someone has to tell you and it may as well be me. 

It seems the demands are getting bigger and bigger for business owners, management and employees, and it is shocking for me that very few seem to notice the direction we’re going. Our human spirit and mental health is at risk. 

Please allow me to ask a few questions for you to ponder on.

What do you think how it affects health & safety records, quality data, absenteeism and turnover when people have to work 10 – 16 hour days?

That’s right, lately I have met people who work an average of 16 hour days. How can this even be allowed? Have these long hours already become their “new normal”? 

These people have barely time to eat and sleep, never mind getting quality time with family and friends, or some “me-time”. 

People are stressed. People are angry. People are frustrated. People barely have the strength to hold it together. 

If you are interested to get a different perspective, walk around your work environment and simply observe people:

  • How do they walk? (shoulders up or down, high or low energy)
  • How do they interact? (helping each other or working against each other)
  • What do you observe on their faces? (their thought process – positive or negative – can be seen on their faces and this affects their behaviour)

If people are negative, frustrated, angry and stressed, they interact very differently, and the more they’re pushed, the more they will push back.  

Here is what I want you to do:

  • If you are the CEO, President or VP: Listen, observe and ask, “Are you o.k.?”
  • If you are a Manager: Listen, observe and ask, “Are you o.k.?”
  • If you are an Employee: Listen, observe and ask, “Are you o.k.?”

You may just save someone’s life by being more mindful in your work environment.

Please be aware!

Tomorrow I will share my thoughts how these long hours can be reduced.

Manufacture Your Day by STARTING YOUR MORNING ON A POSITIVE NOTE

How you start your day matters. It matters a lot. 

In North America everyone is on the run. No time for breakfast, no time for lunch and no time to build meaningful relationships. We have built an “on the run life” that is so fast that many resort to fast food in order to keep up with the pace. Stress, unhealthy food choices, lack of physical activity, lack of sleep and no “me time” lead to mental and physical health challenges. We want “more, bigger, better and faster” in exchange for our health. 

Crazy, isn’t it? 

Not me. I have set the intention to live life to the fullest and if you would like to do the same, you shouldn’t wait another day to demonstrate some action. 

You can snooze the alarm or you can jump out of bed excited about another day filled with new opportunities. 

You may already know that about me but whenever I have the chance I like to start my day with physical activity.

Just recently I have gotten into a new routine that gets me out for a run with a group of runners every Tuesday and Thursday at 5.45 am. I plan to do this the whole winter. Did you know that spending a lot of time outside is great for the immune system? We usually run between 8 and 10 km, and at 7 am I am back home filled with positive energy and ready to tackle the day. 

Going for a run helps me to manage my levels of stress and it makes me feel energized. 

If you are not a runner, here are some questions that could help you to jump start your day:

  • What am I most grateful for in my life today? 
  • What did I do yesterday that makes me feel good and is in alignment with the person I strive to be? 
  • Who can I compliment today?
  • How can I add value to other people’s life? 
  • How can I learn and grow today? 

It has been said that if you want to go fast, go slow by putting yourself first. Remember that when you start your day!

Manufacture Your Day by BEING OPEN TO PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION

How much do YOU want to fly high?

Personal transformation takes courage, strength and the willingness to leave your comfort zone behind.

When something is easy we don’t learn and we don’t grow. True growth in our life experience happens mainly through hardships and struggles, and learning how to overcome them in the best possible way. These difficulties strengthen our mind and help us to become the person we are meant to be.

Today I would like to share “The Lesson of the Butterfly” by Paulo Coelho. I hope you enjoy this powerful message!

“A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still.

The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.

The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shrivelled wings, incapable of flight.

What the man – out of kindness and his eagerness to help – had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.

Sometimes, a little extra effort is precisely what prepares us for the next obstacle to be faced. Anyone who refuses to make that effort, or gets the wrong sort of help, is left unprepared to fight the next battle and never manages to fly off to their destiny.”