terptree: The Why in my What

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Why in my What

The Why in my What….Who is this woman emailing me and what does she want?

Over the last few weeks, I have been emailing you a series of  self-development emails. On the surface these may have seemed distinctly non-interpreting related.  A few weeks back, I explained that I hold a Diploma in Life Coaching , and have a background in working with people to help them change behaviours and transform their lives.

Following on from that email, I thought it might be useful to re-cap on the emails I have sent so far and how you might apply them to your professional and personal lives, should you wish.
So, no, we haven’t been sniffing magic dust here at terptree HQ, (well no more than usual).  What we recognise is that mindset is as important to doing our jobs and achieving our goals as it is  to know how to do our job.  We can be the best technically at what we do, but if we are not motivated, self aware or we don’t adapt to our surroundings, we may not ultimately do a very good job. 

Years ago, back when I was first training to be an internal auditor, I worked with someone who was ‘technically’ one of the best Internal Auditors you could come across.  He had so much knowledge of how to do his job it was scary.  The only problem was that he had very under-developed people skills, so no-one wanted him in their offices.  He used to annoy and irritate both clients and his colleagues alike.  He was also so lacking in self-awareness, that he had no idea that this was even a problem let alone what to do to improve on these areas to further his career. 

Now I was never as good at the technical aspect of internal auditing as he was, but I have very good people skills and I am very open to self development and adapting and changing where I need to.  As a result I ended up thriving in the profession and going further in my career than he ever did.
So these emails set out to help you with the mindset ‘stuff’ so that you can develop in your profession and our hope is that you will use some of the techniques to live happier and more fulfilled lives (if you are not doing so already). 

To help further, I thought it might be helpful to draw out some ways you can apply some of the areas I have written about.


As Communication Professionals you will be very aware of the need to maintain and hold boundaries with the people you work with, as well as with yourselves.  Boundaries give us structure and ensure we keep ourselves and those around us safe.  Being aware of your boundaries makes it easier to identify how you respond and can help you adapt your response if required.  It is not about being inflexible (although clearly we all have laws, rules and codes we have to obey). 

Sometimes you may need to compromise.  Yet it is important to remember that if you are being asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, then this is likely because your boundary is being pushed.  Being aware of this makes it easier to make decisions that are best suited to you.
Maintaining boundaries is also about having mutual respect and leads to supportive and caring relationships.  If you allow your boundaries to be constantly pushed (for example always saying y es, because you don’t like to say no) you may end up angry and resentful.  Yet it is important for us to be responsible for our own reactions and not to blame other people. 

As reflective practitioners it is important you recognise this so that you can deal with your responses accordingly and be in the right place for your next booking.

Since writing that email, I found this ‘Five Things’ method, which I thought would help you in establishing your boundaries, if you haven’t already done so:

-          List five things you would like people to stop doing around you
-          List five things you would like people to stop doing to you
-          List five things you would like people to stop saying to you

By identifying these areas you will have a very clear sense of where your boundaries lay and a deeper level of understanding as to why you respond to things they way you do.

Values and Beliefs

Like all of the other topics I have written about, these are huge areas and I can only touch the surface of them.  They are interlinked, but to clarify a belief is something you hold to be true and a value is something you hold dear. 

I wanted to link these two areas to the What to Charge Webinar we ran earlier in the y ear. This is because if you hold certain beliefs and if you don’t uphold your values, you may undersell your skills and not value your services in the way they should be.

If you are unclear on your values, you may make decisions that are inconsistent with achieving your goals. For example, if you have a goal to achieve a certain level of financial freedom or a certain lifestyle, then undersell your services, this leads you away from your goal, not towards it.

Similarly if you have a belief that you are something, it may stop you from doing or trying something else.  For example, if I spent my life telling myself I’m an internal auditor, I have just told myself I can’t do or try anything else.  This might have meant that I would never have become a coach or a Business Manager and would have stayed in a profession that I was okay at, but certainly didn’t love.
Also, if you label yourself as your profession, it doesn’t open your mind to other areas that you may need to develop in order to progress.  For example, saying “I’m an Interpreter”, gives your subconscious the message that you can’t do sales or marketing, therefore you don’t sell yourself or your services well or at the right price.


So you have set boundaries , you have belief in yourself and you have identified your values.  How, then, do you stay motivated?

I know, from running my own business that it can be harder to keep yourself motivated when you don’t have a team to support and encourage you and no-one managing your or setting deadlines to meet.  I went from a highly pressurised corporate job with a team of 100 staff, a boss and PA to being a one-woman band almost overnight.

I found myself doing everything from writing business plans and strategies, marketing and sales, through to cleaning my office and making the tea.  No longer did I have a PA to organise my diary or a manager or staff to give me support.

Don’t get me wrong, I had made exactly the right decision, and I loved what I was doing, but boy did I need to learn some self-motivation techniques pretty early on.  Getting in touch with my intrinsic motivation from the start really kept me going in those early days when my beliefs would get in the way (pesky thoughts like, “you can’t do this”, “you are not cut out for this” and “you will never make a go of this”.)

As I said, your motivation to do things comes and goes, and yes our beliefs do get in the way, so becoming aware of what motivates us is important in getting us towards our goals.

Time Structuring

Okay, you have your boundaries, your beliefs and your values all pinned down and you are feeling highly motivated.  So where do you find the time to get everything done that you need to?
Time is our most limited resource and the older I get the quicker it seems to go and the less hours there seems to be in the day.

Being able to structure your time effectively is the key to staying productive and ensuring you don’t overdo (or underdo) things.  Effective time management ultimately gets you to achieve your goals (how are you going to get what you want if you don’t find the time to work towards it?). 

I focused this email originally on how we can procrastinate over doing things we don’t want to do (it’s funny how I never find time to do the ironing) and how often it is the things we procrastinate over in our work that are the really important things.  I talked about prepping for jobs, but it can equally apply to studies, CPD and doing y our accounts. (I am not including the ironing here, I have just decided not to bother with it!)

Problem Solving

So now what? Boundaries in place?  Check.  Beliefs and Values sorted out? Check.  Motivated and have time to go for your goals? Check.  But you’ve hit a problem!

Unless we are really lucky in life we all face problems from time to time and that might include ethical and moral dilemmas that we face at work.

Learning problem solving techniques can help us resolve our problems quickly and effectively (which ultimately gives us more time, makes us more motivated and makes us more likely to maintain our boundaries, beliefs and values.) Clever stuff really!

So this is how what I have done so far hangs together, and there will be more to come.  These emails are not designed to imply that you are not reflective practitioners already.  In fact, it is exactly the opposite.

From my experience of working with terptree over the last 18 months, I know that Communication Professionals get this ‘stuff’ more than most and that you are self aware and engage with self-development work.

These emails are written to enhance and enrich your reflections and maybe give you ways to manage your challenges that you hadn’t thought of before.

Until next time…

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