Some time ago when I was in the position of Bank Manager, I was working with a coach provided by the company to learn a new online program. The program was set up to have great conversations with clients while everything could be documented online to keep a file for all the customer needs. Previously these conversations had been documented by hand and filed in the customers file as a hard copy.
The technology was innovative for the banking sector and important in a legal sense that all the boxes were ticked that needed to be ticked. We as managers need to be accredited in this documentation process to enable us to train all our staff to also use the software.
I was a very competent manager and was certainly able to have thoughtful and meaningful conversations with the customers, or clients as we used to like to call them, however put me in a training situation in front of 20 or so of my peers, and others in positions above me, and, with the laptop I was using in the role-play connected to a PowerPoint presentation for all to see, and I froze.
The conversation with the role-playing customer and the ability to type and document the conversation while navigating new software was all too much for me. To say I was embarrassed was an understatement. I was seen as a manager in a leadership position and who set a great example for other managers and that made the situation even more stressful for me.
The up-shot was that I was given a coach who would visit my branch weekly and support me to learn the whole process and then accredit me to train my staff.
On one occasion I remember vividly my coach arriving at my branch on a day that I was feeling overwhelmed because of my huge workload.
To her credit, my coach asked me to bring a pen and paper and suggested we go and sit outside. She had very quickly recognized that I was under pressure and that I may not be able to concentrate right at that moment.
We sat on a bench seat in the shade of a Plane tree in a walkway off the very busy Collins Street and she asked “what is on your plate right now?”
We spent the next hour or so writing down and discussing all that I had to deal with on that day and over the past months. As I wrote I could feel the pressure lifting. It was also, I imagine, that someone had seen I was under pressure and not able to concentrate on one more thing, the training, right at the point in time and supported me by taking me out of my work environment and gave me a strategy to work through.
This simple act of writing out what was on my plate, was a strategy I went on to use with my staff when I could see they too were under pressure, perceived or otherwise.
My clients have also used this strategy for themselves and in workshops for the participants who wrote out what was on their plate on a paper plate and colored texts. Fun!!
Some years later I’ve learnt whenever I feel as though I have a lot on my plate, I do what I now call a brain dump on a whiteboard. In no particular order I write everything that comes to mind. There is a certain freedom that comes from letting everything out of our mind and putting it on a whiteboard. It clears the mind to then be free to allow in other information.
Usually the next thing I do is to take a photo on my phone of the white board and then clean it and start again making some order from the photo. Quite often there are things written there that don’t need any attention at all. They are just clutter that was taking up space in my mind.
On an even deeper level, I’ve learnt to write down what is in my heart and what I am feeling.
I like to add these feelings to goals I’m setting, such as how I will feel when I reach a certain goal, or what I need to do to feel the way I want to feel.
At the end of each day I’ve found great pleasure in writing down some of the feelings I have in my heart or have experienced during the day. It can be a wonderful reminder of the happiness, joy and pleasure experienced throughout the day, and is a wonderful way to finish any day.
This one practice can be a way of bringing a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives.
Leave a message below of some of the habits you have that move you forward when you feel overwhelmed or that lead you to think more about your wonderful feelings.
(Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.com)