Self Care: Do we look after ourselves?

I was in a discussion with a friend when this topic of caring for self and others came up.  It seems a natural act of love that we should care for the people that we love.  We look after them when they are not well, we cook for them, we take them to see a doctor and practically do all that we can to show our love.  That is all normal and comes so naturally for each of us.  However, when we talk about looking after ourselves, the same effort does not seem to apply.  We don’t sleep well, don’t eat well and certainly don’t exercise, we live a life of stress and anxiety, we work 12 hour days and all to what end?

Why do we neglect self?  Is it because we think that it’s a selfish act?  Do we think that we don’t have time for it today but will do it tomorrow?  Whatever the reasons, maybe the best motivation for self-care is so that we can care for others.  What does self-care look like?  Is it going for a massage every month?  Pampering yourself with facial?  Eating organic and exercising 45 mins every day?  I do think that it has some of those aspect but I think that it starts with Love yourself.

How does that look like?

  • Be happy and content and comfortable with who you are and where you are in you life today.
  • Be grateful with what you have and do not have.  Appreciate everything around you, your family and friends.
  • Enjoy the present and be present in the moment.  Don’t waste the moment or time for we can’t get them back.
  • Clear the mind and quieten the noise around you.  Take the time to focus the mind and be mindful.  Take a quiet time and spend it meditating.
  • Eat healthy, Exercise and Rest well.  Well there is a mountain-full of information and enough said.  Just do it.
  • Enjoy your work.  When you are in the zone in the workplace, it’s an amazing feeling and you will also know when it’s a grind.  No matter the situation, find something that you enjoy about it and do it with gusto.  This will allow you to keep on at it.  You will also know when it’s time to move on.  For self-care will dictate that for your overall well-being, moving on is the appropriate course of action.

I am sure that there are things that we can do and you will have a different list.  I encourage you to take a moment and reflect and create a list for yourself.  A list that would work for you.  Write down your priorities or what you love.  Write down what self-care for you would look like.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect or comprehensive list, just enough to get you started.

Judgement: How to Release it?

One of the courses that I took as part of the coaching certification was called “Releasing Judgement”.  I thought, now that’s an interesting topic.  Interesting as it’s an act that I do all the time whether consciously or unconsciously and I suspect, so do you.  There are many instances where judgement comes into the picture, whether it’s about a person, a situation or a decision taken.  In most situations, we need to made a judgement of a situation in order to make a decision.  For example, after analysing a serious of facts, we come to a conclusion or make a judgement as to which is the appropriate course of action to take.  In my mind, good reason why judgement is necessary.  Is there a situation when it’s not good to make a judgement?

I think that the lines are blurry when it comes to judging a person.  No one likes to be judged.  Therefore, it would be naturally to think that because no one likes to be judged, we should not judge others.  But we do.  Why?  One of the reasons is the need to compare.  The need to compare the other person with ourselves.  When I judge someone, what I am really doing is comparing that person with me.  Comparing that person with how I would have done something, how I would have reacted, how much or little I have, and so on.  Is that a fair comparison?  After all, in my eyes, I am the best and always right.  Therefore, now that I know that the basis for my judgement is me, I have a way of releasing judgement and that’s through NOT comparing.

To let go of the need to compare with others.  Unfortunately, it is very hard to do as we are wired from a very young age to compare and judge or be judged.  For me, I have found that doing these 3 things have helped me.

1.  Don’t compare.  Don’t base your judgement by comparing against you or how you would have done something.  I am not living in that person’s shoes and therefore will never have all the details that make up that person or the situation that led to the decision or outcome.  Assumptions after all are just that, assumptions.

2.  Be content with who you are and what you have.  That does not mean, don’t strive to be better or to grow.  It just means to strive and grow based on your strengths and attributes and not someone else’s.  Each of us has our strengths and weaknesses and to recognise them and work on them is critical in ensuring that we are comfortable and confident in our own skin.

3.  Recognise the triggers that makes you judgemental.  Be aware of what triggers your thoughts or feelings to judge someone or a situation.  Most of the time, its something that is close to our heart.  Something that we hold dearly to.

Try it out.  When you catch yourself making a judgement of someone or a situation, think about What is causing it?  Why am I reacting this way?  What can I do to release judgement?

Self Awareness: How do I find it?

The term “Self-Awareness” has been used over and over again.  I can remember this term being used in every performance review or during a discussion with a manager when some form of improvement needed to take place.  It was as if, just by using this word, awareness of a certain area of improvement would be acknowledged and actions be taken effectively.  I can also remember using the term.  However, did I really know or understand what it meant?

In Daniel Goleman’s article on What Makes a Leader? on the Harvard Business Review “self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest—with themselves and with others.”  Now that we have a common understanding of what it is, the question is “How do we gain that deep understanding?“.

The first step of self-awareness is recognising and acknowledging that you want to gain awareness.  Recognising that you want to is both scary and powerful.  Scary as it might mean that you will discover certain areas that you are not happy with and powerful as it means that now you can do something about it.

My top 3 suggestions are:

  1.   Write a list or keep a journal.  This is the first step of recognising a need or an area. Writing a list of your strengths, goals or what you enjoy doing.  The process of writing and reading through the list will help you identify areas that you want to work on.
  2.   Connect with people.  Family, friends, mentor and coach are all resources that you can use to help you gain awareness in any area.  They are also your support group and cheer squad when you are on that journey to make improvements.
  3.   Self-care.  The need to take care of yourself is important.  If you are not at your optimum best health wise, its hard for your mind to focus on what you need to work on.   Eat healthy, rest or sleep well, meditate and exercise are all key areas that need to be taken into consideration.

Self-awareness can drive positive growth in all areas of your life.  Taking the first step will need you to overcome the initial fear but rest assured, the outcome will surprise and motivate you further.  It’s like riding a bicycle for the first time.  It’s scary, you will fall but you will get up and start again and then suddenly, it will all just click and you are cycling around like an expert.

Take a deep breath and start your journey.

Answers in your hands

One of the main pillar of coaching is that the client or coachee has the answer(s) to his/her challenge(s).  The role of a coach is to help him to discover that and to feel empowered to action on the challenge.  To enable that, the coach must create the space for the client to discover the answers.

The benefits of that are:

1.  Empowered.  The client has the answer(s) to the challenge(s) that he is facing.  To find the answers is a matter of empowering them to listen to their thoughts and feelings.  Giving them the courage and confidence to decide on a course of action to be taken.

2.  Ownership.  The client will have a sense of ownership around the solutions or actions to be taken.  After all, the actions are decided by the client.  This is a key motivating factor to executing the actions as oppose to being told to do it.

3.  Accountability.  There is a greater sense of accountability to action on the ideas or steps to be taken as a result of ownership.  The added “sense of accountability” will come with having a partnership with the coach.

How would a coach create that space for the client?  Here are some ways:

  • Listen.  Listen to what the client has to say and be comfortable with silence.  In my experience, most of that “silence” will be taken up the client as they talk through the issue, hear their own words and through that creates awareness in themselves.
  • Patience.  Be patient and not try to lead the discussion or the thought process.  Let the client work it through.
  • Ask questions.  Ask questions that will move the thoughts through the next stage.  Open the door for more discussion and brainstorming.

Based on my coaching experience, each of us has the answers to our own questions.  We just need someone to help us discover that at times.

Give Receive Improve : 2 Day Workshop in KL, Malaysia on 22nd – 23rd April 2015

Not Just another training program!

Option of 1:1 coaching sessions to further facilitate the learning process. According to research paper by Olivero, Bane and Kopelman, training alone results in 22.4% improvement in performance and when training is supported by coaching, the improvement in performance rose to 88%.

 Key takeaways from this program:

  • Build your skills in giving feedback: Critical skills on how to give feedback, key elements of giving effective feedback plus the do’s and don’ts in feedback all with the aim to create a culture of trust, performance and growth.
  • Become a master at Receiving Feedback: Skills on “How to” receive feedback and to generate positive improvements to enhance a culture of continuous feedback.
  • Establish Improvements based on the feedback: How to put feedback into action and drive accountability are key hallmarks of a great leader.
  • Practice, practice and practice. The workshop is conducted in an interactive, practical and scenario driven exercises to ensure that each participant is able to practice and gain confidence in using these skill in the workplace.

WHO Should Attend?

  • New managers, Entrepreneurs, SME Owners
  • Individuals who aspire to improve

Workshop Outline

DAY 1 | 09:00am – 05:00pm

 Be a Champion

  • What it means to be a Champion.
  • The characteristics of a Champion.
  • Workshop: Practice, Assess and Improve


  • What is feedback?
  • Why do we care about feedback?
  • Workshop: How is feedback being used in the workplace today?

Giving Feedback

  • Guiding principles in giving feedback effectively.
  • Aspects of ineffective feedback.
  • 4 key elements of giving feedback.
  • Giving feedback upwards.
  • Workshop: Role plays on giving feedback.

DAY 2 | 09:00am – 05:00pm

Receiving Feedback

  • Key elements to receiving feedback.
  • When should we ask for feedback?
  • Workshop: Role play receiving feedback.

Different Types of Feedback

  • Internal feedback
  • External feedback.
  • Getting the impact from external feedback.

Feedback for Continuous Improvement

  • Scenarios: Business review, Performance goal setting, Customer service, Project monitoring and Employee engagement.
  • Workshop: Honing your skills

Feedback for Continuous Improvement Model

  • The 5-step model
  • Feedback Toolkit: The Buddy System
  • Workshop: Formulate your ‘mini continuous improvement project’

Program Fees:

RM1,800 per person

Fees include training material, Certificate of Attendance and the book – Give Receive Improve: A New Manager’s Guide to Feedback and Improvement.

Optional Further Learning Support:

  • 1:1 Coaching to further deepen the learning process

To find out more or to sign up, please connect with me.