Shifting the conversation to engage, challenge and inspire

VALUES are the key to surviving the ups and downs of life


How good would it be if you had the skill to face every challenge that life throws at you with steadiness? By this I mean being able to face your challenges without resorting to the extra glass of wine or bar of chocolate to drown your sorrows or cover up what you’re truly feeling. What would you give to be able to feel the discomfort and instead of going into victim mode, exhibit resilience?

Data from the Resilience Institute shows that women in mostly leadership, professional or management roles score significantly worse than men on individual factors of resilience such as Depression, Self doubt, Confusion, Distress symptoms and Comfort eating.

  • How do you maintain a healthy level of stress while being bombarded with constant change at work and the ever-increasing demands at home?
  • How do you gain the ability to maintain a healthy level of physical and mental wellness in the face of adversity?
  • How do you maintain a stable emotional state and positive mindset to enable you to rationally deal with the challenges you face?


Values are critical to helping you deal with the upheavals of life and the unexpected traumas you may face. So be clear on what is important to you and know your priorities. Make sure you also know what you would be willing to sacrifice and what is non-negotiable.

Having a clear understanding of your values is important because values act as a rudder, guiding the ship called YOU in whichever storm you may be navigating. Clarity about your values also makes you a better decision maker.

The following exercise will help you clarify your values, so find a quiet place, arm yourself with something to write on and answer the following questions

  1. I love…
  2. I care about…
  3. What matters most to me is…
  4. If I could only rescue one thing from a burning house after my family it would be…
  5. I spend my spare cash on…
  6. I spend my spare time on…
  7. My friends say I care most about…

Now examine your responses. What patterns do you see?

List your values and live by them.

Stop apologizing

The word “sorry” serves a purpose…to express remorse for a mistake.

If you use “sorry” in the following ways, you may want to reconsider your choice of words:

   – Sorry to disturb you…

    – I’m sorry, but…

    – I’m sorry to bring this up…

You’ve got to ask yourself what you’re apologising for.  Consider replacing these minimising sentence starters with:

    – Do you have a minute to…(when asking for someone’s attention)

    – I’d like to confirm my understanding… (when clarifying a message)

    – It’s important to discuss this…(to focus attention on something difficult)

When tempted to start a sentence with “Sorry but I…”(e.g. Sorry, but I want to clarify what you just said), remove the “sorry” and the “but” then proceed with the rest i.e. “I’d like to clarify what you just said…”

If you do this one thing, your communication will become much more impactful.

The impact of self-criticism on your credibility

A senior leader walks into a meeting of peers, external consultants and colleagues who look up to her as their leader for a strategic project. She proceeds to explain in detail how much of a scatterbrain she was having forgotten not one, but two, mobile phones in her hotel room interstate.  To compound this, she laments that she did not have her work note book or a pen for this meeting!

She then continues to explain, in detail, how these items will eventually get back to her via a colleague who may interrupt the meeting when he calls to let her know when he will be getting into town. To cap it off she remarks that at least she is good for one thing – she remembered her office pass! This takes up about ten minutes of the allocated meeting time.

The team lets off polite grunts in an attempt to see the amusement in what she is describing.

Unbeknownst to her was the fact that she was doing a great job at getting everyone in the room to doubt her ability to lead a team of highly organised and experienced experts. This was not a good way to start a project and she had to work really hard to convince the team of her credibility – something she could have avoided if she had made a good first impression as a leader.

The Lesson:

Do not tell self-deprecating stories that diminish your credibility. There will always be people waiting for you to slip up to take a shot at questioning your credibility – do not open the door for them.  First impressions and the associated perceptions created during that first interaction really do matter.