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Mindfulness

What advice would you give your best friend?

What advice would you give your best friend?

by Moyra Mackie on August 21, 2016

Most have us have known that feeling when we’ve got a lot on our plates; challenging targets, multiple demands (often a combination of work and home) and tight deadlines.

Yet sometimes this just helps us focus; makes us resourceful, creative, efficient. We’re resilient in the face of pressure.

Sometimes it does the opposite. We feel stuck; as if we’re going to fail at something (possibly lots of things). The pressure overwhelms us.

The impact of Control, Choices and Competence – or lack of it

I held an interactive webinar for the Time to Think group on Facebook to find out what caused them stress and how they dealt with it. Reflecting on the experiences and wisdom, I asked myself what they all had in common.

This is when those three Cs seemed significant.  Pressure is a form of stimulation, which we can use to help us, just as long as we think we have at least one (preferably two) of those elements.

I think that unconsciously we ask ourselves:

  • Do I feel as if I’m control?
  • Do I think I have choices?
  • Do I believe I have the skills to complete the multiple demands being thrown at me?

Notice the role of our emotions, thoughts and beliefs

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Go barefoot:  8 Tips for more mindful living

Go barefoot:  8 Tips for more mindful living

by Moyra Mackie on August 14, 2016

I always worry when HR departments seize on a fashionable idea as the panacea that may not cure all ills but will certainly tick this year’s boxes.

Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of a terrific mindfulness app called Headspace, wrote a great article on LinkedIn criticising the vogue for “Mindfulness at Work,” given that this slightly misses the point of mindfulness.  As Andy says:

“Mindfulness simply means to be present, undistracted, no matter where we are or what we are doing at the time.”

Or like being barefoot, instead of wearing our comfiest footwear

Going barefoot – especially outside – brings instant awareness of our relationship to our surroundings.  It uses more muscles and strengthens our ankles but it also makes us think just a little bit more about where we are treading.

Mindfulness is a practice that you never perfect

There are many ways to become more mindful; more focused, attentive and present.  One of the best ways to build this ability in an increasingly distracting world is through meditation.  There is a ton of evidence emerging to show the wide-range of physical and emotional benefits of regular mindfulness-meditation.

It’s not a quick fix

Indeed it’s not a fix at all, because we can never say we’ve mastered mindfulness.

If you want to know how to get started with mindfulness-meditation, this is a great little video.  Instead of repeating those tips, I’d like to focus on eight simple things that I think really help to introduce more mindful moments into our everyday lives.

Although there is science to back many of them up, I’ve chosen them because they work for me.

#1 Stop those TV dinners

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Mindfulness:  powerful coaching for the mind?

Mindfulness: powerful coaching for the mind?

by Moyra Mackie on February 27, 2016

This week my much beloved, but aging, Mini Cooper helped me to find a moment of true quiet and stillness by letting me down.

As I left my car to be repaired, I dreaded what I felt was a long walk into town.  I was conscious of my laptop weighing heavily in my bag, alongside a feeling of uncertainty about spending a day working out of a coffee shop, unsure of how long or how expensive my wait would turn out to be.

I had so much to do, I hadn’t time to slow down

I resigned myself to a walk along a busy road, when I noticed that I could take a short cut along the canal.  This was a bit better.

As I turned onto the canal tow path and headed away from the road I realised that even though I’d lived in this town for more than twenty years, I’d never walked along this stretch before.

I began to notice what a nice day it was

Crisply cold in the shade and unexpectedly warm in the puddles of sunlight. I was all by myself.  I began to enjoy the sight of the tiny gardens of the cottages that backed onto the canal.  A strong contrast to the blue metal industrial buildings on the other side.

The further I walked, the quieter it became, the less I noticed the weight of my laptop

Then I saw a tiny wooden bridge that led from the canal, over a stretch of water and onto a little lane that would take me into town.  Thanks to a sign put up by the town council, I discovered that the water was “an artificial lake” that covered an area that used to be a thriving watercress field in Victorian times.  Watercress was grown and transported all over England using canal transport or the newly built railway.

Still thinking about this – and how much the town had changed – I stepped onto the bridge.  And stopped.

What I could see was beautiful.  read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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What gifts are you mindlessly throwing away?

What gifts are you mindlessly throwing away?

by Moyra Mackie on October 17, 2015

When I left work at 7pm on Friday night, it was already dark. Outside, it seemed that everybody’s weekend had begun except mine.

I’d been in a team meeting all day and had spent the last hour frantically trying to catch up on important mails that had arrived during the day.  I was in the middle of negotiating a large contract and I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by the paperwork and the process.

My mind was everywhere except in the present

I got into my car, with my mind racing, half wishing the weekend away so that I could get back to untangling the bureaucratic threads.

At least I didn’t have to cook dinner when I got home, as my husband had ordered a takeaway for me to pick up on the way home.  I stopped first to buy a bottle of wine to go with it.

As I reached the check out, my head was still full of work

I scarcely noticed the cashier until the card machine failed to work.  Three or four attempts by the young woman to reset the machine failed and I stood waiting, aware of a growing queue behind me.

Eventually she asked her colleague, who pointed out that she had missed a basic step in allowing card payments.  She blushed and apologised.   In that moment I was conscious of feeling angry at the large supermarket chain for throwing young workers in front of customers without adequate training.

But just as quickly another thought entered my head. read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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It’s estimated that around 75% of change initiatives fail. A failed or interrupted change program is really just disruption. Disruption is costly –  to the bottom line and to the emotions, energy and engagement of all involved.

Change fails because we start in the wrong place

Most change programs start with a reaction – to the market, to what is happening “out there.” Senior management or HR departments see other companies doing this or that and decide, “that’s where we need to be. Let’s get a plan together, let’s add some targets – some carrots and sticks – and let’s get our leaders to sell this vision.”

Wikipedia summarises the literature more formally:

“Regardless of the many types of organizational change, the critical aspect is a company’s ability to win the buy-in of their organization’s employees on the change. Effectively managing organizational change is a four-step process:
1. Recognizing the changes in the broader business environment
2. Developing the necessary adjustments for their company’s needs
3. Training their employees on the appropriate changes
4. Winning the support of the employees with the persuasiveness of the appropriate adjustments”

Change fails because it’s reactive and focused on selling a vision

Vision is incredibly motivating in getting us to move from where we are to where we really want or need to be. But you need to know EXACTLY WHERE you are starting from.

Imagine finding yourself in a strange city where you can’t speak the language, or read the signs, and you’re hungry. You find a wonderful restaurant on Google maps but GPS can’t locate where you are. Knowing where you want to be, and being highly motivated to get there, is not going to help.

For lasting change you have to start with the present – where you are right now

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Dealing with stress: Africa unplugged

Dealing with stress: Africa unplugged

by Moyra Mackie on September 1, 2014

In a few days’ time I will be sitting on that seat, by that fire.

In a few days’ time I will be back in Zimbabwe, the land of my birth.

As I listen to the traffic outside my office window, it’s almost impossible to imagine sitting round a campfire in a place that is only accessible by boat or plane.  A place where rush hour means the dawn and dusk ritual of animals coming down to the river to feed.

A place without the internet or a reliable mobile phone connection

I realise that this will be the first time for a very long time that  I will really and truly be unplugged.

In 1989 I spent six months backpacking through Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town.  No phone, no web, no social media.  There were weeks at a time when my family back home had no idea who I was travelling with or even which country I was in.

In 1989 I took that freedom for granted.  Now I worry about not being able to speak to my kids or check my email for a few days.

Which got me thinking about what being connected and available 24/7 does to me, does to us

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude this week.

Firstly Jane, a friend of mine from school, nominated me on Facebook to declare three positive things each day for five days and to pass this nomination on to three of my friends.

Now ordinarily I am not a huge fan of the “get me a million likes because I’m seriously ill” or “share this picture of a mis-treated animal to show you care” type of post that Facebook is awash with.

I believe we need to give real time and real money to the causes we care about and spend time with people we know who are suffering, rather than soothe ourselves with an instant LIKE or SHARE.

So that’s the grouchiness out of the way, let’s get back to the gratitude.

Jane’s nomination struck a chord with me

I’ve been buried in books about emotions over the last couple of weeks as the subject of my Masters dissertation is about working with emotions in coaching.

http://www.coachwiththegreenhat.com/gratitude-bene…ying-attention/

All roads to happiness and leadership start with positive emotions

In the Emotional Life of your Brain, the neuroscientist,  Richard Davidson, says:

“Emotion works with cognition in an integrated and seamless way to enable us to navigate the world of relationships, work and spiritual growth.  When positive emotion energizes us, we are better able to concentrate, to figure out the social networks at a new job or new school, to broaden our thinking so we can creatively integrate diverse information, and to sustain our interest in a task so we can persevere.”

read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Emotional Intelligence and the Art of Noticing

Emotional Intelligence and the Art of Noticing

by Moyra Mackie on April 26, 2014

When Daniel Goleman’s first book on Emotional Intelligence was published in 1995 I was so excited by the possibilities he was describing that I was happy to rush to Barnes and Noble in Raleigh, NC and pay out what was then a princely sum of $40.

I was pregnant with my first son and captivated by Goleman’s introduction:

“What can we change that will help our children fare better in life?  What factors are at play, for example when people of high IQ flounder and those of modest IQ do surprisingly well?  I would argue that the difference quite often lies in … emotional intelligence…these skills can be taught to children, giving them a better chance to use whatever intellectual potential the genetic lottery may have given them.”

What four years olds and a plate of marshmallows showed us

In the book Goleman describes what has become known as the “marshmallow experiment” which was actually a series of studies on delayed gratification carried out in the 60s and 70s at Stanford University. 

Researchers offered children the choice between eating a marshmallow immediately or holding out for two marshmallows if they waited until the researcher returned.

If you want to see how cute delayed gratification looks, do watch this video.



The effects lasted….

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Rebecca  arrived at our first coaching session apologizing that she had a headache and sore neck and shoulders.

Ninety minutes later her headache had lifted and the pain had gone. She left my office elated and incredulous.

I know what you’re thinking.

How did that happen?

For those cynics in the room, who may not be that charitable, please keep reading.

But the answer to the question above is: we had a trustful coaching session and then we ended with seven minutes of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

mindfulness, coaching, Moyra Mackie

How can “paying attention on purpose” ease physical pain?

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The Power of Living in the Now

The Power of Living in the Now

by Guest contributor Richard Smith on September 27, 2013

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” ~ John Lennon

Where do you spend your time?

Is it dwelling on the past and recalled experiences? Is it anticipating future events and how they might be influenced?

Or do you prefer the present – experiencing each moment with full contact and a raised awareness?
read more…

Guest contributor Richard Smith

Richard Smith is a leader in the environmental industry, consulting with the University of Hertfordshire. His role includes consulting, management training and executive coaching. He is a believer in development and learning, especially in relational settings. The day we stop learning is our last on Earth, until then we never know the limits of how much we can grow.

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