A 50+ hour work week?

Pulling together

Fact: many researchers and academics work long hours. It’s the type of career that you choose because you love it. Work-life balance usually means something different to researchers than to many people. Most researchers will tell you that they love the work so much that it often doesn’t feel like work. I know I always felt really privileged that I got paid to do stuff that I was amazingly interested in, each and every day. But, (and you knew the but was coming […]

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What are you measuring?

Measure a heart

Driving while listening to the news on my car radio last week I was struck as a government minister urged us, as a nation, to work harder. If we want to compete in the global market with giants like China, Korea and the USA, apparently we’re just not working hard enough. My heart sank. The interviewer then went on to compare the average number of hours worked by people in different countries and the measured rates of productivity… I couldn’t […]

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Comparison – are you good enough?

At the start line

I found myself watching an episode of the American crime drama Rizzoli and Ayles. The opening sequence presents a number of images representing the growth and development of the two major protagonists, Jane Rizzoli and Moira Ayles. Early in their careers (before they became this crime-fighting duo) they were both successful and lauded, graduating early, first in their class, obviously destined for great success right from the start… And the surprising discovery for me was the realisation that, as I […]

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What Do You Need to Feel Good? (Part 3)

Confident star pose

Tony Robbins distills the basic human needs that drive our behaviour into two opposing – or complementing – pairs: certainty and uncertainty, significance and connection. The need for certainty is balanced by a need for uncertainty. The dividing line where we feel comfortable with this is very personal and often dynamic. There are some uncertainties that are more comfortable than others – waiting to unwrap Christmas presents is often a sweet temptation, especially for children though adults are not immune. […]

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What Do You Need To Feel Good? (Part 2)

Significance and connection

In an earlier post I spent some time looking at basic human needs – what we seek in order to feel good. Tony Robbins describes the first two needs as being certainty and uncertainty. The second pair of human needs according to Robbins is significance and connection. Significance sets us apart, marks us out as individuals, helps us to define and to describe the boundaries of us and what makes us special. One of our first roles as growing babies […]

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What Do You Need To Feel Good? (Part 1)

Man and a Woman Smiling

As human beings we have many needs – food, drink, shelter, friendship… Generally, when our needs are being met we are healthier and happier than when they’re not. At a more complex level we might think more money, better prospects or a new job are what we need. As we approach the New Year, many people begin to look for opportunities to focus on getting more of what they want. Fortunately, different people want different things – a bigger challenge, […]

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Building networks, making connections

The human brain is an amazing thing. Maybe 86 billion individual cells, each capable of making up to 10,000 different connections with other cells. The complexity of this network is currently beyond our capacity to map and it is probably what makes each one of us unique as an individual. Yet, despite the fact we perceive ourselves as individuals, our own brains in our own bodies, we are made for connection and relationship, yes, even the most extreme introverts out […]

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3 top tips for stress-free presentations

Don't panic stamp

I’ve recently delivered a series of Presentation Skills workshops within various universities where people have been getting ready to deliver a seminar to the experts and leaders in their field on a public stage. Many people naturally experience a degree of apprehension at the prospect of being evaluated by experts. What if we are tried and found wanting? I know anyone can only ever do their best. We only deliver what we deliver on the day. But the secret fear is, […]

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On being selfish

jigsaw puzzle of time

Many of my clients are simply run ragged. They have jobs and families and homes to run. Their to-do lists are literally without end and no sooner is one job ticked off the list than two more appear to take its place. Sound familiar? “When do you have time for you?” is a question frequently met either with a snort of laughter or a faint despair. It’s difficult to find a working mum who really does put herself first. The […]

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What should I do?

Success and Failure Road Sign

Should I take this job or not? What job should I do next? Do I stay or should I go? I get asked these questions frequently. These, and many similar, are presented to me by my coaching clients and while I suspect they might be quite happy for me to give them a direct answer with a certain yes or no, I’m not sure they are really expecting me to answer their career choices or business questions for them. Many […]

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