Connected Living is an approach to personal leadership that draws on established research and theories from well respected academics such as Jung, Selligman, Brown, Peters, Csikszentmihalyi, Covey, Whitmore and Gallwey.
You are first invited to understand and connect with yourself and once you have connected with yourself, you will then be able to connect more effectively with those around you, by presenting the best version of yourself.
When connecting with yourself, we will explore what makes you you and why you respond in certain ways. We will explore the following;
Connecting with Others:
Once you you have connected with yourself you can now use that greater understanding to connect more effectively with others.
Communicate with those around you: do you communicate to understand and learn or do you communicate to advise and teach?
Impact of culture and society: how you and others view the world, does that impact on how you communicate?
The effect of emotions on your connections: using the knowledge of how your emotional thought processes work, we will explore who you prefer to connect with, why you struggle to connect with others and how you could challenge your assumptions.
A commitment to action: using your new knowledge and understanding of your preferences for behaviour and decision making, we will work together to create an action plan.
So today I spent the day at The Source in Sheffield on a NHS Leadership Academy Masterclass by Paul McGee the SUMO guy. If you have not heard of Paul he is an author and public speaker, who wrote among other things SUMO (Shut Up Move On). A book on personal management.
His masterclass was all about SUMO and how personal management can help leaders in the NHS. If you are like me and many others, you might think that telling your audience to shut up off the bat is a little aggressive, and Paul appreciates this, and does explain it another way for us more sensitive souls in the audience, which is Stop, Understand Move On.
I will not go into detail of the content of the day or his book, and that is because Paul explains it so much better, check out his website to find out more http://www.thesumoguy.com/
What a truly inspirational and energising day. As you know I have been having a present action centred week and this has continued today. Everything he talked about resonated with me. I am not going to spend long writing tonight, as I am so exhausted, but I wanted to come home and write this blog, just to highlight his work with you, and spread the word of personal management.
As you know I am writing a book and spending the day in Paul’s presence has spurred me on to get the first draft finished, and to get going with the level 7 coaching course I was talking about last night. His has also reignited the idea of pursuing the idea of public speaking, and spreading the word about Connected Living. So if you do run a company or a voluntary group and are interested in learning more about Connected Living and how it can change your life then email me and we can make some arrangements.
Everything seems a little frantic at the moment. Feelings are running high and there are a lot of people letting their emotions doing their thinking.
Every time I turn on the news I hear people abusing each other whether that is politicians or world leaders abusing each other or overreacting or protesters shouting abuse at politicians live on television.
The media appears to be highlighting all that disconnects us, leaver or remainer, Democrat or Republican, Left wing or Right wing, Muslim, Jew or Christian, Male or Female, Pro-Gun or gun control. You are with us or against us mentality.
Then I go to work and I hear about staff being dismissive and ignoring new staff, senior staff appearing thoughtless towards each other and direct reports and members of the public verbally and physically abusing staff.
Life is tough at the moment, especially in healthcare, our population is getting older we are facing more and more complex conditions. Healthcare industry is growing faster than economies around the world, and are therefore under resourced. This creates an enormous amount of pressure on the workforce, and add on that societies’ expectation for state of the art health care and you create a toxic environment. Then we have populist politics which thrives on scarcity and difference and we have angry people on all sides, including those that think anyone who is different from them are the cause to all the problems we are facing.
We need to stop the line, we all need to start being civil with those around us. We all know what it feels like to be under attack verbally by a colleague a friend or a loved one. So if we know how it feels and we know that we are not in danger, then we have a choice not to inflict that kind of harm on others.
Ask yourself what you are telling yourself, what assumptions are you making about why you feel the way you feel? What emotion are you feeling and why is that? Will tearing someone off a strip change the situation? Can you change the situation yourself or is it out of your hands? If you cannot change it, what does being angry about it achieve? Is there a better way to deal with it?
If we all pause and think about how we are about to react before we react, then we can turn this epidemic of incivility off and start concentrating on what connects us.
As you will know I have been banging on about Connected Living for quite some time.
It is something I came up with in the summer inspired by some wonderful writers. It is has become an obsession of mine. I am writing a book about it, I have written a presentation and talk on it, and I have developed a coaching program based on it.
But what is it and why should you want to buy into it?
Connected living is a program that gives you the tools to manage all aspects of your life more efficiently, by learning and understanding how you view and interact with the world around you and how to get the best out of your relationships.
Your own health and well being
The map of your world
Why you react the way you do and how you can change that
How to be comfortable with your vulnerabilities
How you prefer to behave, make decisions and make plans
How to work outside your preferences
How to challenge you view of your world and have a different perspective
How you want to be viewed by others
Connecting with Others:
How do you prefer to work with others, do you ask or tell
How do you communicate with different groups of people
What groups do you live and work within
Do you belong
How do you manage difference
How do you react to conflict
Do you appreciate the complexity of others
Commitment to Change:
What requires development
How will you do this
When do you want to do this by
Who can help you
Who do you need to bring with you
What will you need
What might get in the way
How can you navigate round this
Are you making any assumptions
What implications will there be, if any
How will you know you have achieved this
What will you do to celebrate your success
If you want to know more or you want to book a presentation or a package of coaching email or message me.
2019 is nearly a week old. Last week I looked back on what I had achieved in 2018, so this week I thought I would look forward to what 2019 might have in store for me.
The most pressing issue I have on my mind, is to further develop my connected living project. Well that is the first time I have called it a project, I was just grappling with the words to describe this thing I call connected living. The first word that popped into my mind was concept, but it is more than just a concept, it is actually a thing now, it is not just in my head any more, I have the beginnings of a book, a presentation and 2 coaching programmes, so it is definitely a project. So by the end of this year I want to have a full package to offer to people. That means finishing and publishing the book. The presentation and coaching packages are good to go. I have used the presentation with a team at work, but as it is my presentation written in my time I am eager to share it with people outside of the hospital. I would love to share the message of connected with yourself and others to a wider group of people. I know I have this forum but actually communicating this message to people face to face is so much more powerful and the message becomes real. People can see how the concept of connected with yourself to enable stronger connection with other others is not just talking and that there are some simple actions you can take that will make a difference. So yes finishing and publishing the book is important but getting my message out there through talks and one to one coaching is also important.
My plan (which is still in development) is to raise my profile as a coach and to raise the profile of my project. That requires networking and moving outside my comfort zone. My default attitude is introverted, therefore I do struggle sparking up conversations and selling myself. With this in mind my first action is to practice this new habit of talking about my passion I have for this project, and my passion for supporting people to reach their personal best by looking for the resources within themselves, by connecting with themselves. Over the next few months I will be continuing to connect with myself and embracing my own complexity to help me connect with those people outside my circle of supporters to create new connections and sell my project to them. Clearly when I write this plan down for myself I will have much more detail, about when I will start how I will know when I am practicing this effectively. Also what will I do when I meet obstacles and setbacks, and how am I going to use my core value of courage to give me the motivation to continue when I face these problems. Over the next few days I will be detailing the actions I will actually be taking to make this plan real. Who am I going to talk to, how will I create the opportunity to talk to these people, what message do I want to get across, and so on. I will not be doing this alone, and I will be using a coach to create the support and challenge I need to ensure the plan I create is the best I can come up with and to support through the implementation. So that is my plan for putting myself and my project out there. If you want to support me in this project or you are interested in understanding more about connected living please get in touch by messaging me.
Then there is the plan I have for completing my book. So firstly I plan to finish the outlines for each chapter (the ones I have been sharing). Once I have done that I will look at the feedback and then go back to put more detail into each chapter. Once I have done that I have a few people that are willing to proof read the book, prior to me publishing it. I have given myself until December to complete this process, so this time next year the book should be available for you all to buy.
I offer two 1 to 1 coaching packages and a presentation to groups, if you want to know more or you would like to book me please get in touch, I am happy to do talks to voluntary groups for a much reduced price.
Below is the outline of Chapter 4, please feel free to critique it for me. I do however have a fragile ego, so personal messages for critiques are much appreciated. No doubt the grammar is a little rough and I will be going over that again. Feel to tell me what you think of the content.
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Are you most comfortable as an extrovert or as an introvert, or does it depend on what you are doing and who you are with?
Are you chatty or more the quiet type?
Do you prefer to watch from the sidelines or are you more comfortable in the thick of it getting stuck in?
Do you look within yourself for inspiration or do you prefer to surround yourself with friends or colleagues to find your creativity?
Do you relish those intimate one to one moments with friends or do you love those occasions with all your friends and family present?
Do you see like to blend in to the background or do you love to stand out in the crowd?
Do you think to speak or do you speak to think?
Do you like to reflect before you act or are you more prone to rushing in to action?
Now if you are anything like me you will relate to some of the introvert traits and some of the extrovert traits. For some of the statements you might not have an opinion either way. We are after all complex and interesting human beings, none of us can be put in a box. Saying that you may notice that you answered more one way than the other.
In all parts of my life I have a tendency towards introversion. I prefer to email someone rather than speak to them on the phone, especially when I do not know them very well. If I am in a shop and I cannot find what I have gone in for I would rather walk out of the shop empty handed rather than ask a shop assistant. When I have difficult problem I need to solve, I will prefer to do this alone and work through my problem carefully, I will then share my plan once I am happy with it. On the flip side I love teaching groups of people and I love talking in large groups, I often relish being the centre of attention on some occasions and hate the thought of it on others. When I worked on the wards I had no problem talking to complete strangers and striking up a rapport with them. When I am teaching and talking to large groups of people I am Matt Smith the Clinical Nurse Educator or Matt Smith the Coaching Lead. When I am blending into the background I am being Matt Smith, just plain old Matt Smith, the father, husband, son, blogger and coach. Saying that my extroverted traits do you show up in my latter persona as well as my professional persona, and the same is true for my introversion. Jung described humans as have different personas for different occasions. So crudely speaking I have my Professional persona as a Nurse Educator and Coaching Lead and a persona as a Father, a persona as a Husband, Son, Coach, Blogger and Friend. Most of these persona’s no doubt are very similar as your’s will be, otherwise it would could get very confusing trying to work out what version of a person we are speaking to, let alone how exhausting it would be to keep up all these multiple characters all of the time.
How do you make decisions?
As well describing your attitude (introversion and extroversion) Carl Jung, suggests there are 2 aspects of our decision making. He proposed that we either make decisions based on our thinking or our feelings. As with our attitude they are not mutually exclusive, therefore we can and do use both traits, but not at the same time. We do however prefer to make decisions either one way or another. Again to help you understand you preferred behaviour I have put together a series of questions below:
Do you consider yourself to be formal in your interactions with people or are you much more informal when greeting people?
Do you remember facts and figures more easily than names and faces or do facts and figures leave you cold?
Do you like to analyse a problem before you plan to correct it, or do you get stuck in and use a kind of trial and error approach?
When faced with an issue do you look at it with a subjective or objective eye?
Once you have decided on a direction of travel do you stick to that route or do you see where road takes you?
Do you relish competition and strive to come out top, or are you more interesting in taking part and helping others to succeed?
Is it important to you to have a tidy desk, is it important that everything has it’s place and is in it, or do you not really care whether you desk is tidy or not, or where things are kept?
Do you choose your work or task above spending time with friends or family, or do you insist on finishing work on time to ensure you spend quality time with your friends and family?
Again if you are anything like me you will be able to relate to some traits for both thinking and feeling decision making. I must admit my preferred route to making decisions is based on what I feel rather than thinking things through. However when I need to make important decisions I will think things through and weigh up the odds. Sometmes that tasks I am doing at work keep me there when I should be going home. When I am writing or reviewing guidelines I will spend time collecting data and make sure I have all the information I need before I start writing, sometimes to the point where it takes me such a long time to get things done. However in every other aspect of my life I make decisions based on how they make me feel and how they may make others feel. I will often base my decision making on my values, if they are congruent with my values, for me it is the right decision. To be honest even when I am working late or when I am researching guidelines I have made a decision that is in line with my core values which are courage and usefulness. So even decisions that appear to be based on thought, actually are based on my feelings. You may think that you base decisions on either analysis of data or on what you feel, but they may have their basis in the opposite. To examine where your decision making is routed it is worth exploring your values. What you value will unearth your preference.
In her book Dare to Lead, Brene Brown offers an exercise to help you explore what your core values are, in fact that is why I discovered my 2 core values (courage and usefulness). It is an exercise worth even if you think you know what you core values are, as you might be surprised that another value lies behind the values you hold as important. Brene offers a long list of values and invites you to find 2 core values, this is quite u get a daunting task, therefore she suggests you come up with 10 initially and then try to group them together, in themes and ask yourself what value do they collectively represent until you get down to one or 2 core values. To help you try this out I have provided a list below, I do however implore you to read Dare to Lead if you are a leader it will change the way you view your leadership, and if you are not it will change the way you interact with your leader. Any way below is a list of values to help get you started with discovering what your core values are. Once you have 10 values that relate to you (please try not to choose values that you would like to have or what you think are admirable, choose those that really mean something to you). Then can you group any of them together, do they represent an overarching value. Take your time, really think about what you value, if you cannot find your value add it. Have some fun with it, be creative and thoughtful and you will be able to come up with 2 core values. You can find a list of all the values that you can print out via Brene Brown’s website; https://daretolead.brenebrown.com/workbook-art-pics-glossary/
Accountability Achievement Adaptability Adventure Altruism Ambition Authenticity Balance Beauty Being the best Belonging Career Caring Collaboration Commitment Community Compassion Competence Confidence Connection Contentment Contribution Cooperation Courage Creativity Curiosity Dignity Diversity Environment Efficiency Equality Ethics Excellence Fairness Faith Family Financial stability Forgiveness Freedom Friendship Fun Future generations Generosity Giving back Grace Gratitude Growth Harmony Health Home Honesty Hope Humility Humour Inclusion Independence
Interdependence Initiative Integrity Intuition Job security Joy Justice Kindness Knowledge Leadership Learning Legacy Leisure Love Loyalty Making a difference Nature Openness Optimism Order Parenting Patience Patriotism Peace Perseverance Personal fulfillment Power Pride Recognition Reliability Resourcefulness Respect Responsibility Risk -taking Safety Security Self-discipline Self-expression Self-respect Serenity Service Simplicity Spirituality Sportsmanship Stewardship Success Teamwork Thrift Time Tradition Travel Trust Truth Understanding Uniqueness Usefulness Vision Vulnerability Wealth Well-being Wisdom
Brene then invites you to operationalise your core values and the values of the organisation you work in. Read Dare to Lead and visit her website https://daretolead.brenebrown.com/ to discover more.
For me this is a useful exercise to discover why you prefer to behave and make decisions. It also helps to explain why we are so complicated and not easy to put in a box.
How do you perceive the world around you?
Below is a picture, I would like to invite you to write down what is there for you in this picture.
The words you have written may well help you understand whether you prefer to percieve the world using sensation or intuition. If you use sensation you may well have written;
If you use intuition you may well have written;
Again as with all the other preferences you may well have written a mixture of the 2, however it may have come easier to come up with words for either sensation or intuition. So we can percieve the world using both preferences but find it more comfortable using one or the other. I will normally want to go straight for intuitive descriptions of the world around me and have to concentrate on seeing what is really there.
If you prefer to use intuition you are more likely to be future focussed and feel comfortable projecting and predicting what is coming next. You feel at ease when planning for the future. You are happy using your imagination and when you are with others that like to use intuition you can get carried away. Using intuition is very useful when planning for the future and creating a compelling vision.
If you prefer to use sensation you are more grounded in the here and now and feel much more comfortable describing the current state. You are comfortable highlighting what is right and wrong with the current environment. Sensation is vital to ensure that any future plans are routed in the reality of what is really happening.
It is important to remember again that you can use both intuition and sensation and that you don’t hide behind your preference when things do not work out as planned. I keep repeating this, but it is so important, we are complex and are full of contradictions. We can be introverted and extroverted, a thinker and a feeling, a senser and intuitive. We may prefer to behave differently in different situations. It is vital to recognise this and embrace our own complexity and that of others.