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The Pandemic’s Silver Lining

| Apr 7, 2020 | Physical Wellbeing | 0 comments

The Pandemic’s Silver Lining

The surprising welcomed repercussion of Covid-19

One of the positive things that came out of the confinement during the pandemic was witnessing the many people that have taken up exercise. Whilst I was cycling around the neighbourhood with my daughter during the weekend, we saw young and older couples, families and individuals of all ages either running, power walking, cycling or just going for a long stroll.

We could tell by the disparate levels of fitness and some other tell-tell signs, between those who were reconnecting with their exercise routine and those have been at it for a while. Nevertheless, we were delighted that they had chosen to be physically active once again.

Science hasn’t really fully understood why exercise is good for us, but the data is compelling. There is a clear and evident inverse relationship between physical exercise and the manifestation of disease, meaning that the more regularly we exercise, the less prone we are to illness.

Knowing that the people we ran into over the weekend will boost their immune system, get better sleep, keep their weight in check, improve their mood and access natural energy as a result of their investment in exercise, was really a much needed refreshing thought.

It is time to start pretending!

| Mar 30, 2020 | Professional Wellbeing | 0 comments

It is time to start pretending!
I’d never thought that I would recommend people to pretend, but today I’ll glorify the art of pretending.
 
The commute to work has always served as a good mental transition. During this transition from a place of rest and leisure to a full-on work environment, our mind has had the benefit of a commute to create the psychological shift required to properly focus on work.
 
If you are occasionally working from home, it is important to know that working in bed and/or working in pyjamas doesn’t really set us up psychologically to be at our best. Our brain has a strong power of association, so mixing signals of indulgence (bed/pyjamas) whilst working, creates a sluggish, indecisive, and somewhat careless state of mind.
 
If you are working from home, after you wake up, pretend that you are going to work. Carry out your morning routine (meditation, exercise, breakfast, shower, etc.) get dressed as if you are going to work and then start your workday. Although your transition from bed to desk will be shorter, pretending that you will leave your home most likely will get you in the right state of mind to achieve your ideal performance state.

How to Deal with Incompetence

| Sep 18, 2019 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

How to Deal with Incompetence

By now, I’m sure you are quite familiar with the psychological phenomenon known as “impostor syndrome”. Also known as the fraud syndrome, this is a condition in which an individual doesn’t integrate their accomplishments and has recurring patterns of fearful thoughts of being exposed as a fraud, despite substantial evidence of their success and competence.

But what if those feelings of incompetence are justified? And in spite of evidence to support this incompetence, what if these low performing people carry an internal illusion of superiority that leads them to assess their cognitive ability as greater than it actually is? In the field of psychology, this cognitive bias is known as the Dunning-Kruger effect, named after two American social psychologists and university professors that co-authored a study in the late ’90s. They found that some people who are evidently bad at certain tasks mistakenly overestimate how good they are. Their lack of self-awareness is such that they simply cannot accurately evaluate their level of competence (or incompetence for that matter).

Before I continue, if you are currently dealing with impostor syndrome and are already panicking, thinking perhaps you are experiencing the Dunning-Kruger effect, please snap out it! As I said, you have to have substantial and concrete evidence that you are consistently underperforming in a given task or tasks AND despite these facts, you are convinced that you are performing above par. The delusion has to be evident.

 

 

What if you are managing someone that is showing clear signs of the Dunning-Kruger effect? What can you do to correct the situation? The following tips might come in handy:

1.-Review your recruitment strategy.-Before you get into this pickle, make sure you that there is a clear and undisputed match between the candidate’s strengths and the job in hand. Be extremely rigorous and selective in every stage of the process.

2.-Feedback, feedback, feedback.-Don’t wait until a performance review to inform the other person of their sustained underperformance. It’s not fair to the individual and it is harmful to the company. If you notice sustained incompetence early on, switch them to a different project or department were the person’s strengths will be fully utilised.

3.-Use objective indicators.-The person’s inability to assess their level of competence doesn’t block their basic mathematical capability. Numbers (hit a specific target) and dates (perform a task by a specific date) tell the story loud and clear, so use hard, quantitative metrics to measure performance.

4.-Be compassionately direct.-Feedback will be best received if it is timely, clear and caring.  If the person on the receiving end of the conversation feels that you genuinely care for their development, the probability that you will get the desired outcome will significantly increase.

Taking Back Control of your Day

| Sep 6, 2019 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

Taking Back Control of your Day

An event horizon is a notional boundary around a black hole beyond which nothing can escape, not even light. The gravitational force is so strong that the escape speed exceeds the speed of light. It’s the infamous point of no return. Once inside the black hole, you will reach something called a singularity, which is the place where all the matter in a black hole gets crushed into.

Email inboxes resemble black holes; usually, when you are replying to your 3rd email, you have crossed the event horizon. The gravitational pull of your inbox is so powerful that you inadvertently isolate yourself from anything else. Once inside, rather than getting crushed into tiny bits of matter, you have basically given sizeable chunks of energy and time to other people’s priorities and agendas.

I’ve always felt that the phrase “urgent email” is an oxymoron – there is not such a thing. If I’m going to be late to collect my son from school, I’m not going to send an email – I’ll call the school. If I lock myself out my car, I don’t send an email to my road assistance company – I’ll call them. So if someone sends me an email and then calls me (or texts me) to let me know that the matter is urgent/important, then I will give the email the desired attention.

I’m not trying by any means to downplay the importance of email. Although I have drastically replaced email with other systems of communication (video-calls, text messaging, content sharing applications, etc.), I still believe that email is a critical communication platform. That being said, we should not let that useful tool deplete our energy and govern our time like it generally does.

Using email wisely can single-handedly increase your productivity levels, safeguard your energy and improve your mood noticeably. You will feel less overwhelmed and more in control, allowing you to focus on your priorities and the things that matter most to you.

 

Recommendations

 

Schedule time for email review.  Don’t just jump into your inbox every 10 minutes. That is such a productivity killer. Allocate time slots in your diary dedicated to email and stick to the assigned time.

Don’t reply to ALL emails.   Some people feel the need to reply to most emails, even when they are put in cc. You don’t have to. I have some coaching clients that get north of 150 emails every day, so it takes them a great deal of mindful thinking as to where they will invest their energy. 

Be mindful of email recipients.  The best and worse email function is “Reply all”. It is 2019, and I can’t believe how mindless some people are when they click the “reply all” to an email which 99% of the recipients don’t need to receive in the first place. Be mindful as to whom you address your emails to and email karma will be good to you.

Use filters. Nowadays, email clients have gotten really smart. You can filter emails that are sent to you only, forward newsletters directly to a folder without even reaching your inbox, etc. Spend time understanding the mechanics of filters, and you will be amazed at how combinations of filters can help you manage your inbox wisely.

Promoting Creative Disagreement

| Aug 23, 2019 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

Promoting Creative Disagreement

How comfortable are you with disagreeing with someone? Would you rather avoid conflicting situations altogether? If you are the type of person that shuns away from quarrels and disputes but at the same time is actively seeking for the next creative breakthrough or profound insights, then you should perhaps reframe your perception of conflict.

Conflict is defined as a “disagreement or argument, incompatibility between two or more opinions, a state of mind in which a person experiences a clash of opposing feelings or needs.” (for now, lets aside belligerent conflict).   It is human nature to seek rewards and avoid threats, so it is no surprise that people that see conflict as a threat will be inclined to refrain from participating in conflicting situations or not take part of them in the first place.

Conflict, if managed and conducted civilly and professionally, can bring the best out of people, allowing exceptional ideas to see the light of day. Brad Bird, a highly coveted animator, director & producer best known for being the creative mastermind behind billion-dollar movie franchises like Toy Story, The Incredibles and Mission Impossible once stated: “The key is to view conflict as essential because that’s how we know the best ideas will be tested and survive. It is management’s job to figure out how to help others see conflict as healthy—as a route to balance, which benefits us all in the long run.”

At NASA, as you can imagine, there is little room and tolerance for errors.  So when it comes to decision making, ideas are stress-tested to their fullest extent.  When it comes to selecting the best ideas, some teams at NASA have been known for promoting healthy conflict. For example, if a team at NASA wants to arrive at the best solution possible, the team is divided into groups.  Each group has then to come up with the best 5 ideas they can think of.  Once each group has come up with their top 5 ideas, they need to debate as to which is the #1 idea. 

Every team has then to present their #1 idea to the other groups and justify their decision with utmost certainty.  As far as the overall decision-making process at NASA goes, the best part comes next. After each group gets a chance to present their top idea, all other groups are asked to give three compelling reasons as to why that “top idea” will drastically fail.  In NASA’s  61 years of existence, this methodology has served them well.

Creating an environment to help people see conflict as healthy is an unending job, one the starts with us with seeing conflict as the path to heightened creativity and potentially exceptional outcomes.

 

Recommendations

 

1.-See civil and professional conflict as a tool to promote innovation and creativity. Reframe the concept of conflict not only for yourself but for your team members as well.

2.-Don’t take conflict personally. When ideas are challenged, some people feel threatened or personally attacked. Always remember that it is the idea (and not the person) that is being challenged.

3.-Promote healthy conflict.  When promoting an environment that welcomes conflict as a creative strategy, always make sure that people participate within the confines of the rules of engagement. Even if you have experience operating in conflict-type environments, there is still room for recalibration.

4.-Be aware of the impact of conflict in people.  Some people try to hide how uneasy they feel after a massive argument.  Make sure to coach people to help them deal with conflicting emotions appropriately to avoid any discouragement from continuing debating ideas intensely.

The Simple and Practical Way to Unlock your Potential

| Feb 18, 2019 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

The Simple and Practical Way to Unlock your Potential

Your human potential is coded in your genes and there is a simple way to unlock it. Science is now getting a much clear picture of the inner biological workings of how you can unleash “the giant within” to quote personal development extraordinaire Tony Robbins.

If you set yourself a worthy and lofty goal, you will soon realise that to accomplish this ambitious target, you will have to develop new skills that might scare you. Perhaps you need to become a confident public speaker or a more assertive and empathetic leader, an effort that you might consider a daunting challenge.  The prospect of embarking on developing these skills that you find a massive stretch, might instil self-doubt and fear in you. (more…)

How to go back to sleep in the middle of the night

| Feb 11, 2019 | Physical Wellbeing | 0 comments

How to go back to sleep in the middle of the night

You have experienced this situation before. You wake up in the middle of the night, and you desperately want to go back to sleep. “I’ve got a full-on day tomorrow, and  I need all the rest that I can get”, you anxiously remind yourself. You toss and turn hoping that you will transition into a deep slumber, only to realise that it’s just wishful thinking. You have been through this before, so you know that deep sleep will be hard to come by anytime soon or it may not come at all. (more…)

Put your healthy anxiety to good use

| Feb 3, 2019 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

Put your healthy anxiety to good use

Some time ago, I asked an exceptional psychologist friend of mine the main reason why people would come to see her for treatment. Even before I could even finish the sentence, she affirmed in matter-of-fact fashion “Anxiety, of course, César!”. (more…)

Money will buy you happiness if…..

| Jan 28, 2019 | Mental Wellbeing | 0 comments

Money will buy you happiness if…..

I’m sure you’ve heard this saying before, “money can’t buy happiness”.  People who know me well enough know that I’m not a big fan of blanket statements or speaking in absolutes, and this certainly applies in this case.  Research suggests that money can actually buy you happiness if you spend it in specific ways. (more…)

Should you be taking vitamin and mineral supplements?

| Jan 21, 2019 | Physical Wellbeing | 0 comments

Should you be taking vitamin and mineral supplements?

The question of whether we should be taking vitamins and mineral supplements to improve our health and wellbeing is still frequently asked, and the answer is really not that complicated.

First and foremost, sourcing your micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) intake from your diet should be your priority. Eating a variety of different foods, preferably plant-based (fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grain cereal & legumes) every day, is, by and large, the best nutritional tactic.

However, in spite of our best intentions, eating a healthy diet doesn’t guarantee that we will get the recommended daily intake of every micronutrient that we need.  There are many reasons behind this potential deficit, and in this article, I will focus one: where you source your food.

Depending on where you live, the vegetables you are buying from your local shop might have been grown on soil that lacks certain minerals.  The quality of the soil will vary depending on the geographical area where the land is located, farming practices and soil management to name a few influential factors.

For instance, I recently learned that the soil where I source my vegetables from is deficient in selenium, which is an essential nutrient that supports our reproductive function, DNA production, thyroid gland function and immune system. Although I thought that I was getting my recommended daily dosage of selenium every day through my selenium-rich diet (spinach, lentils, mushrooms, beans, etc.), I apparently wasn’t.

To correct this imbalance, I can always go to the supermarket and buy my vegetables from other producers from around the world, but how do I know for sure that the soil those vegetables where grow in contain the minerals I need? Even if their farming practices and soil management are of the highest standards, selenium may exist in that soil in a form that is either absorbed by plants with difficulty or unavailable to plants altogether.

Selenium has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant that helps defend the body from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, so if I’m unsure as to whether I’m getting the full amount, what are the options?

I have spoken with many different scientific experts that agree with a large number of scientists in the nutrition community. They support the idea of taking multivitamin & multimineral tablets as an insurance policy against potential nutritional gaps.   So if a medical doctor hasn’t advised you against taking multivitamin & multimineral supplements, then I think you should play it safe and consider supplementing your healthy diet with high-quality supplements.

Recommendations

1.-Eat a variety of different foods, preferably plant-based (fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grain cereal & legumes) every day to maximise your natural intake of micronutrients.

2.-Make sure that a medical doctor has not advised you against taking multivitamin & multimineral supplements before you start supplementing your diet.

3.-Taking supplements don’t give you the freedom to embark on an unhealthy diet.  It would be best if you still ate as healthy as you can.

4.-Multivitamin & multimineral supplements vary in quality.  Do your research and find reliable manufacturers you can trust.

 César Gamio - Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist - CesarGamio.com
 César Gamio - Executive Life Coach - EMCC-EIA - CesarGamio.com
 César Gamio - Chopra Center Certified Instructor - CesarGamio.com
César Gamio - Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist - CesarGamio.comCésar Gamio - Executive Life Coach - EMCC-EIA - CesarGamio.com
César Gamio - Chopra Center Certified Instructor - CesarGamio.com