Resilience VS Defeat

More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. This is true in a hospital ward, it is true in the Olympics, it is true in the boardroom and it is true in life.

What is resilience?

It is an engineering term used to measure the flexibility of steel when compressed under massive weights. I use it to describe a human being’s ability to bounce back – the ability to recover when you are knocked down!

Many people encounter hardships. Some snap. Others snap back.
What makes the difference?
Why do some people collapse in a heap and others turn every challenge into an opportunity?

My experience is that resilient people are the ones who overcome every crisis or challenge that they face. And I am convinced that it is all about attitude and beliefs. The Oxford dictionary defines attitude as ‘a way of thinking or behaving’, and beliefs as ‘acceptance that something exists or is true, especially without proof’.

My powerful question to clients is, “What are your beliefs or thoughts about this?” And then I ask, “What about your beliefs affects your attitude?” I follow with, “How does this attitude influence your behaviour?”

I have witnessed in my own life, as well as in my client’s lives, that beliefs determine behaviour and behaviour determines outcomes.

What is defeat?

I quote again from the Oxford Dictionary and I use the word defeat in my Power Tool to mean all four of the definitions below because I have heard clients use all these words and meanings:

  • prevent (someone) from achieving an aim.

  • prevent (an aim) from being achieved.

  • reject or block (a motion or proposal).

  • be impossible for (someone) to understand.

Defeatism is often linked to underlying beliefs. Naturally, as a coach, it is my duty to uncover those beliefs and to get the client to question the validity of his/her beliefs. This does take courage on the part of the client but once there is a trusted relationship and they sense they are in a safe space, I can prod with the right questions to enable them to question their beliefs.

In terms of building resilience, I will offer my client my ‘recipe’ of 16 tools. I will always ask before offering any information or tools to my clients and I always add that the information has supported other clients. My resilience building tools all begin with the letter P, as does my name, Photinee.

1. Preparation
2. Partnership
3. Patience
4. Performance
5. Perseverance
6. Persistence
7. Passion
8. Positive
9. Perspectives
10. Practical
11. Planning
12. Pleasing
13. Purposefulness
14. Philanthropy
15. Pause
16. Prayer

I will explain each one briefly in the way I have personally used these tools to build my own resilience. Note: this is by no means a complete list. Additionally, I always tailor make each P word to the client’s unique challenge:

1. Preparation:

  • prepare yourself by looking your best

  • eat properly – fuel your body – when you are stressed your body needs extra nutrients

  • stay fit – exercise is a great stress reliever

  • look after yourself the way you would look after a young child;

2. Partnership:

You can’t do this alone. You need someone to support you, to share each experience with you, whether it is a spouse, an adult child, a sibling, a friend or a priest. Mentors and coaches are vital in the workplace. Find someone or more than one person who you trust and who will listen to you. Your ‘partner/s’ don’t necessarily need to give you advice but they should be good listeners;

3. Patience:

This is a difficult one, but you have to learn that things take time. The outcome you want is not going to happen overnight. Learn to be patient and keep progressing towards your desired outcome;

4. Performance:

Whether you are a director of a company or whether you are preparing a meal at home, do it with pride and do it to the best of your ability. A sense of achievement builds resilience. Ensure that your day is filled with constructive things to do;

5. Perseverance and

6. Persistence these two go together….

You HAVE to keep moving forward and striving for the goal. Perseverance and persistence always pay off – always;

7. Passion &

8. Positive approach:

Allow yourself to feel deeply. Don’t be scared to say how you feel or to show your emotions. Don’t hide your love for others. Tell them you love them. Or, tell them you are angry or you are hurting. Be passionate about everything. Only when you can express authentic emotion can you emerge positive. Hiding feelings and passions results in resentful and consequently negative behaviour. Stay true to what you are feeling. Then explore the WHY. Why are you are feeling this way? Could there be triggers from your past influencing the current situation? Could there be underlying beliefs that are not the reality?

9. Perspectives:

You have to examine your beliefs and behaviours and shift to the antithesis if you need to. This is where a good listener and a trained professional like a coach can be invaluable;

10. Practical

Aim to be realistic at all times. I encourage people to think BIG, but always balance your dreams with sensible, functional and achievable aspirations;

11. Planning:

Without a well thought out plan, you cannot deal with any situation or crisis. Assess your situation logically and find out if you do have limiting beliefs and then work towards overcoming them. Work towards changing your mindset or circumstances and progress to action! Ensure that you have a support mechanism in place so that as and when obstacles arise you can overcome them. A crucial part of the plan is to also have an accountability method or partner in place;

12. Pleasing:

Your disposition should be pleasing at all times. There is scientific proof that the muscles used in the act of smiling transmit messages to the brain to release serotonin, the “feel good” hormone. Smiling definitely encourages everyone around you and they feel good to see you smile too! Happiness is contagious. However, I caution against ‘pleasing’ people if it is not serving you! Often we aim to please others to our detriment. Check your reason for wanting please; is it an underlying belief?

13. Purposefulness:

Make a difference! No matter how significant the difference is, as long as you have no regrets and you can look back when you are 90 years old and say, “THAT was my purpose.” You must have a goal, a purpose, a target, an ambition.

14. Philanthropy:

This is directly linked to the previous point of purposefulness: do you know how happy you can make someone if you just phone them? Or if you just visit someone who is ill or bedridden? Or just by giving away a book or a toy? Think of others less fortunate than yourself and remember that your predicament could always be worse. Counting one’s Blessings shifts the mind to a positive mood and to an empowered perspective.

15. Pause:

Stopping to allow oneself time to breathe deeply and to reflect on a situation is empowering. Often there is clarity after being still and quiet.

16. Prayer:

Go to your knees then you can stand up to anything. For me, this is the Alpha and Omega that has built my resilience and the very reason I survive every cross I have to bear.

Life does pose stressors for all of us. Being able to cope with stressors or crises and to regain one’s hope is essential to living a healthy life. Defeat is easy. Fighting back can be learnt. Being aware of one’s behaviors, thoughts, attitudes and actions is the path to building resilience.

Application of my Tool:

When a client doesn’t carry through an action that they had committed to, their disappointment in themselves can be a very negative influence on their future endeavours to set goals. I have witnessed their dismay and defeatist emotions and vocabulary.

When I offer my resilience-building “P” points, most clients embrace them because they say they can apply many of the points with relative ease. I have experienced clients saying variations of, “I will practice the “P”s and see what happens”. The majority of the time, as they read through the “P” points of my tool, they are pleasantly surprised at how simple it is to change their attitudes.

I have found that using my tool is an effective way of changing the client’s perspective and allowing them to play an active role in equipping and strengthening themselves for future disappointments, failures and crises.

My Model

I’m often asked what model I use to coach leaders and executives. The answer really is “I customize every single coaching process to suit my client.”

However, I do have a ‘model’ that I can share:

Given that I believe in coaching holistically, I feel strongly that I as a coach also need to bring my whole self with all my talents and gifts, as well as my professional and life experience to coaching.

I have had feedback from a myriad of people, including coaching clients, that I am a good listener. Thus, my model is one where I listen intently to every single word my client says, as well as the words they do not say. I also love music and so my coaching model flows like a song .

My model is a mix of Listening followed by several words all beginning with the letter A.  My model is easily remembered with the acronym LA LA LA LA LA LA LA

In my experience Listening is the most important part of communication. Effective communication is key to good coaching.  As coaches we need to establish a safe space for the client who needs to feel that they are being heard.  Furthermore, the coach has to keep the conversation natural and flowing even when there are long pauses.

Whilst the L stands for Listen and Listening, throughout my model, there are times that it will also stand for Lightness and Light. As coaches, we support the client to ‘shed Light’ on their challenges or dilemmas and we bring Lightness to the session, if appropriate. Humor is not always appropriate, but can be a superb way of allowing the client to relax.

My model enables the client to resolve the topic they bring to the session through alternating periods of me Listening and then questioning.  A broad overview of the coaching journey that I take clients on over a period of 4 – 6 months, is guided by seven words beginning with the letter A and interspersed with careful  Listening. The seven  A words : Ask , Acknowledge , Awareness,  AllowAdvance , Action and Accountability are all pertinent to the coaching session.

The journey is seldom direct and thus, the list of A words grows and varies from session to session according to the client’s needs. Words such as: Approach, Align, Achieve, Ambition, Autonomy, Agree, Affirm, Apply, Attention, Applaud, Appropriate, Address, Assumptions, Assess, Accelerate, Aspire, Anxious, Appreciate, and Authentic, all have a role to play in the dialogue between coach and client. There is no prescriptive pattern and the process is not linear. As I, the coach Listen and reflect, using the client’s language and learning style, the various A words guide me.

If I am face to face with my client, I “Listen” to non-verbal cues as diligently as I Listen to the words that my client is speaking. Often, more is said in body-language than in audible words. However, coaching on the telephone is very powerful too. Listening for changes in pitch, pace and tone is as informative as viewing the body-language of the client. At times, the Listening on the phone sheds greater light on the client’s topic than the conversation held in person. I Listen meticulously for changes in my client’s emotion and then I will explore that change with my client.

My model is simple. I Aim to create a safe space for my client to focus on the topic they bring to the session and will Ask as many questions as necessary to ensure I have clarity on the topic. I will always Ask if we have Accomplished what we set out to Achieve in the session before I wrap up the session. Often I will check-in mid-way through the session to establish we are on-track.

It is in its simplicity that my model is valuable. In order to shift the client from where they are to where they want to be, I Apply this model. 

 

Good Souls, Bad Souls and Assholes.

In March I had withdrawn the publishing of my book because I was told I would be sued. In April, the Brilliant One, Simon T. Bailey eyeballed me and said, "Don't you dare leave this earth without publishing that book!"

I spoke to a few legal people and agreed to change all the names, places and dates in my book and to publish. The publishers wanted me to write under a pseudonym and to list the book as fiction - even with the names and places and dates changed? I refused.

On the 9th of July, my book was published. 

I have had overwhelmingly fulfilling responses that include:

"You've given me the courage to get out my situation..." W.F.

"Your strength has taught me that I will survive if I stand up for myself." T.S.

"I cried and cried and cried. I also laughed hysterically. Most of all I thank you Tina for showing me that life can change for the better if we are brave enough to do what is right." A.L.

It has been 6 weeks now since I first held my book in my hands and I am emboldened by the comments, feedback and support I have had from readers on all continents. The reviews on Amazon have humbled me. Thank you one and all for reading my story. 

In gratitude I will be giving away some free books to Amazon readers. 

My book...

This week I was told that I would be sued if I published my memoirs... I wrote the book to give God the Glory and show that He performs miracles; to inspire people to tell the truth and that they should persevere through life…

I will publish certain chapters / short stories here....

I begin with the first few pages...

“This is more than a book and more than a random collection of stories; this is a manifesto of a renaissance woman who refused to allow any setback to handicap her destiny. She has the gumption, backbone, intellect, and a velvet chain saw to cut to the heart of the matter of any situation in a nanosecond. If you are lacking in fortitude, faith, and the favor of God, by the time you put this book down, you will have a fire lit within you that will burn out any doubt in yourself or anyone around you.”   Simon T. Bailey CEO of Simon T. Bailey International. Dedicated to teaching individuals and organisations how to be brilliant in an average world, Simon is the creator of the Shift Your Brilliance system and former Sales Leader of Disney.

  “'Stories have the power to heal, encourage, uplift and give hope’. Tina declares this while sharing her lifetime experiences full of love, hate, betrayal, entrepreneurial risks, heart-churning declarations, resilience, integrity and ethics. God-loving Tina with her unwavering faith talks of her struggles and joys in life. I salute her for all the achievements and especially for bringing up her very talented son Nicholas. Hats off to this precious lady who’s made a huge impact on many and will keep on doing so because that’s who she is! An awesome ‘can’t put it down’ and ‘lessons to learn from’ book.”  Namita Krul-Taneja MBA, Financial Analyst, BNG Bank.  Social Entrepreneur, Founder of New Yardsticks, Co-Founder of WORK+SHELTER

 “Tina inspires us by her capacity to overcome the intolerable. The depth of her boldness and courage are rare qualities. Like her, we have to be bold enough to take tough decisions in our life when needed. Tina’s remarkable ability to share her deepest truth reminds us that only by being honest with ourselves can we ever be honest with others, no matter how uncomfortable honesty can be. Consequently, as is validated by Tina’s life, truth leads to personal joy and inner peace. This book has been enlightening at many levels.”  Christine Asiko, Founder and CEO of Strive International.

  

Dedication

Dedicated to my son Nicholas…

My life…

My everything.

 

 Acknowledgements

Writing one’s memoirs is never easy. Thanking those who lived through the moments, days, weeks and years with me, and who made it possible to stay sane and to write the memoirs is much more difficult.

I know I have left out many precious memories and I have not shared many of my stories here. Forgive me. I’d like my family and friends to know that I have not forgotten a single one of our treasured moments. I may pen them at a later date? Mere words can never express how much I appreciate you. You have supported me through my life thus far and I know I can lean on you in the years to come.

Cousins Bonny, John and Dimitra – through my darkest of days, you gave me a home and you fed me. I am eternally grateful. Bless you!

My cherished brother Lucas - thank you for always encouraging me and for reminding me, through your own determination to overcome, and that we are part Spartan and part Ithacan; warriors and more than conquerors!

My beloved sister Nicolette, aka, Catie - thank you for your fervent prayers that sustain me, for keeping our family values and traditions alive and being loving, always. I appreciate your God-given talents and love the cover of my book.

A special note of thanks to my darling Lisa. Not only do you put a twinkle in my son’s eyes, but you graciously offered to edit my book and painstakingly marked the manuscript and offered wise advice. With a sophistication way beyond your years, you amaze and delight me. Thank you Lisa for also creating my website.

My adored son, Nicholas - I can never communicate my appreciation and love enough. Thank you for your unconditional love and for being my reason to get out of bed each day, to thank God and to smile.

 Foreword

WOW…is the only word to describe such a passionate, real, and heart-wrenching book.

There are people who come through your life for a reason and a season, and then there are people who come into your life for a definite purpose. Tina Thomson has been a friend and colleague of mine for more than a decade, and I can honestly say that I am a better man, thinker, and business leader because of her brilliance.

I started reading Good Souls, Bad Souls and Assholes and couldn’t put it down. The ups and downs of the birth complications with Nicholas—her pride and joy—relationship drama, and the rawness of her story had me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. Her passionate words, filled with a mother’s love for her bundle of joy, transported me to the very moment as if he were just born yesterday. Listening to her describe miracle after miracle of his will to live and her resilience to survive despite the odds against her was riveting.

At times throughout reading her book, I felt her pain and then suddenly starting cheering her on as an executive coach in her many roles as CEO in a male dominated world. My favorite story is when she said…well, I can’t give it away. You have to read the book. It’s just that good. Here’s a hint, she flipped the script on the men in the boardroom and ended up receiving double her salary. Ballsy…very ballsy. Bravo, Tina.

This is more than a book and more than a random collection of stories; this is a manifesto of a renaissance woman who refused to allow any setback to handicap her destiny. She has the gumption, backbone, intellect, and a velvet chain saw to cut to the heart of the matter of any situation in a nanosecond. If you are lacking in fortitude, faith, and the favor of God, by the time you put this book down, you will have a fire lit within you that will burn out any doubt in yourself or anyone around you.

This is one of the most important books you can ever read. My daughter is fourteen, and I want her to read it. I realize that it may be way over her head, but I believe she will get it. I want every man and woman I know to read this book. It’s just like a fine wine—it will only get better every time you reread it.

Tina, I raise my glass to you. This is a masterpiece and maybe one day we can see it on the silver screen. Thank you for giving us the permission to recognize the good souls that help us, call out the bad souls that block us, and use every asshole as a steppingstone to a brilliant tomorrow.

Simon T. Bailey

Simon is CEO of Simon T. Bailey International. Dedicated to teaching individuals and organisations how to be brilliant in an average world, Simon is the creator of the Shift Your Brilliance system and former Sales Leader of Disney.

 

Preface

To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but what he aspires to.Kahlil Gibran

I’ve lived a full and colourful life.  Those who know me, know of my life-long love affair with theatre. My life, thus far, has had all the drama of ancient Greek Theatre, with all its comedy and tragedy.

“Tina you haven’t lived long enough to have experienced all that!” These words often echo through my mind. They were the words of a dear old soul, Jenny, who was in my Bible study class in 1990. I had shared some of my experiences in the safe space of the group. I wonder what she would say to me now, twenty-six years and several significant experiences later?

Soon after my son Nicholas’s birth in 1981, I knew that I had to tell his story. I knew that I had to let people know that God does answer prayer. I had to give God the glory for the many miracles that saved the life of my beautiful son.

However, life rarely goes according to plan. It has twists and turns. It fills up with duties and struggles and opportunities and people. And, so, I kept postponing writing my book, even though I had had several prompts by the Holy Spirit to move forward with it. Over the years, I often told my family members that I needed to write a book.  As the big events in my life unfurled, they would say, “Well, there’s another chapter for your book”!

My physician implored me to write a book on my recovery from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly referred to as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. He said, “Your story will give others hope, Tina.” I did want to share my recovery so that others can recuperate as fully as I did, but then I realised I had no more than a single paragraph to write. The only advice I could give anyone was to eliminate as much stress as possible, go on the Candida diet, and get on your knees and pray, believing you will be healed.

Then in 2005, I met Simon T. Bailey in South Africa. “You have a fascinating story and should write a book”, he said to me. “There are many people who would benefit from reading your story”. He went on, “Record CDs, make videos, get your story out there!” At that stage, many of the stories included in this book hadn’t even happened yet, but the story of My Miracle Child was remarkable and needed to be told. Simon also had listened carefully as I had shared some of my business and leadership stories, and he encouraged me to also write a book on leadership. Stay tuned…

I’ve often said truth is stranger than fiction when referring to my life. I’ve had the title of my book, Good Souls, Bad Souls and Assholes! for many years. In 2008, I shared the title with Karen Cook, my director at Mindcor. She was astounded when she heard it and said that one of her friends in Cape Town, a metaphysician, had used those exact same words when he spoke to her about a paper he had written. This alarmed me and I said, “No, Karen! That’s my title”! Karen arranged for me to speak with her friend and we had a fascinating conversation. When I told him about my book title, he gave me his blessing and said, “That’s fine. Use it. I’ve never officially put those words into print. Use it”.

Late 2010, I decided that I would write a book on the intriguing characters I’d met on my world travels. I had already travelled extensively, but in that particular year, 2010, I’d been away from home for almost eight months and had visited sixteen countries on six continents. I wanted to tell the fascinating stories of the entrepreneurs and incredible philanthropists I met, along with the cultural faux pas I made. When I started to write, I realized that I needed to tell my own story first. Also, I was preparing to leave South Africa to join my son in New York and I wanted to write to ‘end that phase’ of my life. I wanted to let go of my divorces, my whistle blowing and my heartbreak of Nicholas relocating to the USA. When I began to write this book, I instinctively felt that the timing was not yet right. Revealing the truth at that stage would have had serious, negative repercussions. So I waited.

Then something happened that made me begin writing in earnest. In 2015, I had a health scare. It was May and I was desperately unhappy. I was two months into a new job, which I hated. The job drained me and, as I became more and more depleted, I got ill. When I miraculously pulled through, I knew that it was time to write the book and share with others that there is always hope, because God is mighty.

Additionally, over my years of coaching others, I realised that sharing stories is very powerful. Stories have the power to heal, encourage, uplift and give hope. I knew that every time I shared one of my stories in a coaching situation, it made a positive difference. I also noticed that just listening to people and then offering ways in which I had coped with similar circumstances in my life enabled them to say, “If she went through this and survived, so can I”.
 If even one person who reads this book is encouraged to fight through life’s challenges and become resilient, then I have lived on purpose. And who knows? Maybe more than just one reader will be given hope.

I trust that both the humour and pathos of my true stories, shared here in short chapters and not in chronological order, will give my future grandchildren a glimpse into who Yiayia Tina really was—Photinee Sikiotis, a Greek South African woman who stood up, looked up, reached up, spoke up, and held up!

 

Gratitude and Admiration for Snoekie!

I was enthralled the minute I met Snoekie Mabena in 2003. She was the branch Treasurer of the Pretoria BWA and it was my first ‘golf-day’. Her quiet, respectful and humble manner impressed me. I had read about her achievements and couldn’t believe that the elegant and reserved woman in front of me was the power-house behind SMab Agency.

Years passed and meetings with Snoekie were always a treat. Her unique style of dress and her wise choice of words were inspiring.

In 2012 I nominated Snoekie for an International Business Award. She was a winner! I was very proud to know her and to witness her receive her award in Florida, USA. At the Gala Event she looked more like a queen than a businesswoman. Snoekie wore THEE most exquisite dress I have seen outside of Vogue Magazine and she carried herself regally.

I received a call from Snoekie after the awards. She asked for a meeting.  I was honored when she asked if I would coach her. A year of coaching followed. My respect and admiration for Snoekie grew with each coaching session.

Nothing could have prepared me for the email I received from Snoekie this week.

I have many success stories of people I have coached, but I cannot tell those stories due the confidentiality that I commit to in my coaching contracts. I have success stories of people I’ve coached to blow the whistle, of people I coached out of their jobs and into more challenging opportunities, of people who have delivered their strategies magnificently and of others who transformed from managers into effective leaders. But I can never tell those stories. Now I have Snoekie’s story that she has agreed I may publish!

Her email below led me to her website www.smsicancoaching.co.za  Imagine my delight when I realized that Snoekie had qualified as a coach and started her own coaching business in less than 2 years since I was blessed to coach her!  And all this whilst steering her very accomplished SMab Agency too!

Gratitude and admiration are the two words foremost in my mind…

Dear Tina

Good Morning. It has been long I have not communicated with you. I hope I still can count on you as a sister. We may not be communicating frequently as needed but know that you are always in my mind and prayers. Tina you really made me discover my untapped potential.

I am writing this note to thank you for the wonderful work you have done within and outside me. You have planted a seed that will live for ever on this universe. You might not be aware of your God gifted talent of unleashing potential in God’s children. May you be abundantly blessed.  I love you lots Tina. I hope and wish where you go God shine his face upon you.

Please take time to visit my new website at www.smsicancoaching.co.za my Facebook page is smsican.

Looking forward to hear from you. Snoekie.

There is one in every organisation!

Every single organisation I have worked in, or consulted to, has had at least one Bully. There is no demographic for these despicable people. They come in any size, shape, gender, race, religion... you know what I mean. They are ever-present, ready to pounce! They cause havoc in the workplace and cost companies millions of $$$ each year because they waste time and energy and they totally incapacitate their victims.

So how does one cope when a bully attacks? 

I'd like to first clarify what my interpretation of 'bullying' is... In my opinion, it is persistent and prolonged undermining of an individual that is malicious and intentional. We should not trivialize the word, 'bullying' at all.  It is serious and if not addressed, can ultimately result in Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS). The health of the individual, or individuals, targeted, is significantly affected and symptoms such as chronic diarrhea, suppressed immune system, stomach ulcers, headaches, asthma, sexual problems and diabetes often result from the stress of bullying.  It is a very real problem physically, as well as emotionally. Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, hyper-sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome and fear of decision making are all probable with on-going bullying.  Naturally, behavioral signs are a result also and carelessness, poor concentration, memory lapse, negativity, and mental blockages are just some of the ways in which the victim is impacted.

Let me also list some of the ways in which these Bullies attack:

  • verbal / written abuse and violation of personal dignity;
  • instilling fear through abuse of power;
  • character assassination;
  • sexual harassment.

We need to accept that the Bully is a control freak, an exploiter, a skilled opportunist who takes advantage of every opportunity to attack. The Bully's tactics are ruthless.

So HOW does one deal with bullying in the workplace? 

  1. Establish that you are indeed being bullied. Speak to a trusted adviser about the circumstances. 
  2. Remember that this is not a personality issue or a personality clash. This is an infringement of your basic human rights and a denial of your dignity.
  3. Stop your self-doubt...although self-examination is beneficial - note that you are not doing this introspection for the Bully but rather for your own benefit.
  4. Do not feel shame or deny what is happening. You are not the first nor the last person that has had to fight this problem.
  5. Share the situation with family and friends. You need their understanding and support.
  6. Take good care of yourself. The illnesses I mentioned above can be avoided if you are aware that you will be 'worn-down' and exhausted by the 'fight'. Eat correctly and exercise often. Buy a book on managing stress. Read it.
  7. Build your case. Get evidence. Keep emails. Have witnesses. Do whatever you need to do to have sufficient proof of the bullying. Every small incident counts. 
  8. Confront the Bully! The biggest mistake the victim can make is to avoid confrontation. Stand up to the Bully and your fear will disappear. It does! I've done it. Often.  But watch yourself... you need to stay professional, do not use an abusive tone or words, leave your ego at home, be firm but respectful. Very importantly, get your timing right. Do not confront the Bully if you are emotional and/or unprepared. Do not be intimidated by the Bully's insults, threats or position. Use the words: 'BACK OFF". If the Bully does not back off, say, "I am taking this further". 
  9. If the Bully continues after your confrontation, (and is not your CEO), then report him/her to his/her superior. Don't gossip. Use facts. Present your evidence. Be reasonable. Be flexible. 
  10. If the bullying continues, do not let the toxic environment you are in impact your health any further. If you have done everything you can do and there is no way out - get out!  Your health is THE most important and valuable thing you have. Move on. Let go of any bitterness. Know that you have grown and that you will be able to 'Spot the Bully' and deal with the Bully in your next job. You will even be able to empower others who are bullied. Share your truth and your power. 
I acknowledge and thank Dr Susan M Steinman for her insights and advice on coping with bullies. I was privileged to share a speaker slot with her in Pretoria, South Africa in 2007 and have had the knowledge and strength to fight off the bullies ever since. 

 

 

 

 

I feel it!

"I have not arrived at my understanding of the universe by means of the rational mind." - Albert Einstein

Well, neither have I... 

Recently I have been jabbed by my gut - often.

Whether it is in a business meeting or when I'm with family and friends, I have learnt to trust my gut feelings.

I’m not sure why people shy away from expressing their intuition or gut feelings? Certainly in the workplace it seems to be ignored or suppressed. Success in business depends on sound decision making and good leaders are decisive. In my experience, leaders fear making decisions intuitively. Why? 

Today I sat in a meeting and although everything seemed authentic and transparent, my gut was in constant conflict with my brain. Try as I may, I could not quieten the ‘alarm bells’.  Hours later, I am still on 'high-alert'. I have to pay attention and I have to listen because I felt it! My gut has warned me and I will not proceed with the deal. 

PS: next day: My feelings have been confirmed less than 24 hours later! No coincidence that a trusted adviser contacted me and I asked about the people I met with the previous day.... my gut never lies!