Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

emailtwitterfacebooklinkedin
line

being present

Go barefoot:  8 Tips for more mindful living

Go barefoot:  8 Tips for more mindful living

by Moyra Mackie on April 4, 2018

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
The memories that make us

The memories that make us

by Moyra Mackie on August 15, 2015

I’ve been reflecting on the power birthdays and anniversaries have to provoke powerful memories and emotions.

This Sunday it’s my best friend’s sixtieth birthday.

We met in the Customer Service department of a local manufacturing company.

We were both starting out

I was searching for my first graduate job, whilst Larraine considered she was in her “first proper job” having left school at 16 to have her son.  I had just returned from a gap year travelling through Africa, whilst she had never strayed too far from her home town in Hertfordshire.

I was 22 and Larraine was 33.

Yet there didn’t seem to be an age gap 

It wasn’t that I was particularly wise, or she particularly young at heart; our differences either enriched our relationship or seemed insignificant.  What I notice looking back is how present we were; we accepted each other how we were, with the past and future being a lot less important than the connection we were forming in the present.

Larraine had “no side” – she just wasn’t the kind to bitch and moan or the kind to hold grudges.

Being with someone so forgiving was good for me

Larraine’s kindness hid a toughness and determination.  I remember her telling me how determined she was to be the best mother she could be because, “at sixteen everyone was expecting me to fail.”  Ditto her determination with her marriage. Her two children were indeed kind, lively and loving, although her marriage was more volatile.

Larraine frequently said that she lived her life backwards

When she was in her teens she was a responsible stay at home mum and in her thirties she started work and discovered a social life.  In the decade after I met her she found the courage to leave her husband and carve out a career for herself.  She formed new relationships, and started travelling, just as I settled down and had my son.

And still the differences didn’t matter

The one thing that began to count was that like a lot of sunny people, Larraine wrestled with depression.  She also suffered from debilitating headaches which could keep her in bed for days.  Sometimes I wondered if the two were linked.

She was the only one of my friends who came to visit me when I lived in North Carolina in the nineties – providing some incredibly happy memories of renting a beach house in the Outer Banks and spending hours walking along the beach or sitting on the porch, all the time talking and laughing.

When my son turned three it was Larraine that helped me – now eight months pregnant – hold a party for a dozen hyperactive kids.  When everyone left we ate what was left of the Thomas the Tank Engine cake and talked about what it would be like when my second son was born.  She had just become a grandmother and we talked about how great it would be for them to play together.

It was a lovely sunny spring day and I had been given four birch saplings by a neighbour.  I gave one to Larraine and we parted after we had crammed a birch sapling into her car.  She drove away with the branches sticking out of the window, sounding her horn and shouting goodbye.

It was the last time I saw her

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
How to capture YOUR coaching moments

How to capture YOUR coaching moments

by Moyra Mackie on October 11, 2013

As a professional coach perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this, but:

 “Anyone can be a coach.”

And what’s more, you don’t have to be shut in a room one-on-one to flex those coaching muscles.

Coaching moments happen all the time

You might be having coffee with a colleague or friend, leaving a meeting, picking up the kids or sitting down to dinner with the family.

In any of these moments, someone is bound to say something that describes their situation – “I’m stuck” – or their emotions – “I’m sad, mad or surprised”.

Sympathizing is not the same as listening

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
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.

More Posts

line

Do you feel listened to?

What’s more, are YOU a good listener?

Studies show adults remember between 25 and 50 per cent of what they hear. So when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse, they’re paying attention to less than half of the conversation.

Some of you – especially those who have been married for some time – may not be at all surprised by this.

Listening is more than just hearing

Active listening is a conscious effort to understand messages that are only partly about the words being said. As Peter Senge says:

“To listen fully means to pay close attention to what is being said beneath the words. You listen not only to the ‘music,’ but to the essence of the person speaking. You listen not only for what someone knows, but for what he or she is.
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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line