Teachers: Finding Calm in Challenging Times

In usual times,  September is my favourite time of year- the excitement, the promise, the possibility of a new school year. 

But this September we will be getting to grips with a ‘new normal’ and it may feel a little different. 

Children will on the whole be grateful to return to school. Parents will breathe a collective sigh of relief as we acknowledge just how much teachers do, by supporting the running of the country by allowing us to get to work. 

But, as teachers you may be feeling anxious about what lies ahead.

At any time, the pace of change in education is relentless:  new government directives, changes to the curriculum and keeping apace with the challenges facing our young people. 

Although teachers and school leaders are well used to change, schools thrive on structure and routine. Procedures are followed which have precedent- they are repeated year on year and we know they work.

Yet Covid has presented very real and pressing concerns:  around health, the physical safety of staff and students, as well as the impact of lockdown on mental health. 

A simple question to teachers on social media revealed some common themes: 

Firstly, children coming back with different learning experiences and pressure to catch up. Attendance will continue to vary according to health conditions and local spikes.

The impact the new arrangements will have on communication with colleagues and the impact on everyday socialising and day to day chat. 

For secondary teachers the challenges of moving around school, rather than the students- teaching in non-specialist rooms and bringing materials for each lesson. 

All of this plus the knowledge that having created a ‘new normal’, we may once again have to pivot and return to online teaching and home learning. 

A year ago, I took the big leap, leaving education after 18 years and established a coaching business in which I support my clients in creating change- be that in career, in confidence or in well-being. Since embarking on my coaching training in 2016, I have learned mindset strategies that looking back I wish I had as a teacher.

1) Change at any time is scary because as human being we naturally want to retain the status quo. Our reptilian brains have evolved to keep us safe and anything outside of the norm naturally provokes fear.

2) People will respond differently to change- some people are more flexible and find it easier to adapt to change. Others of us have a strong preference for maintaining the status quo. This isn’t right or wrong: we are all different.

3) Fear affects the brain- when the brain perceives danger, our body is flooded with cortisol and we lose access to the pre-frontal cortex- the part of our brain which is responsible for higher order thinking. Our response then is to fight or flight:  to Forget Everything And Run.

4) Fear makes us unpredictable: parents, colleagues and students may behave in ways we don’t expect.

Of course, the teaching profession is not alone in adjusting to change.

My husband, Jon, is a Director for Intensive Care consultant  and has led the staff and hospital through the challenges that Covid has presented: including rapid expansion of provision and induction of non-specialist staff to work on the ICU: changes to shift patterns; adapting to work in full PPE and fear for their own health and that of their families.

Very early in the pandemic Jon observed the differences in his colleagues’ response to fear- 

RISE Some really stepped up, rose to the occasion and embraced new roles and responsibilities. Some great leaders emerged in this time.

FREEZE Some were initially paralysed by fear and resistant to change, unable to function or lead effectively. 

DELAY Others seem to have coped well through the crisis, but in the aftermath PTSD and anxiety have increased. Some who respond well to pressure and will rise to the challenge but when that pressure is applied for too long, we start to see burn out. 

So how do we make a positive response to change? 

1) Look at the change we’ve already been through- we have already shown the most incredible collective resilience in this time. Nationally, there were fears that the pandemic would provoke rioting and looting. We’ve seen some wrangling over toilet roll, but on the whole this pandemic has been characterised by incredibly civilised behaviour, care for our communities and wide spread respect for the rules. In schools, teachers have pivoted incredibly quickly moving the curriculum online and providing care for key worker pupils. 

2) We can choose our response. One of my favourite quotes comes from Viktor Frankl who was a doctor imprisoned in Auschwitz, having lost his wife and children, devoted his time to caring for his fellow prisoners. He stated: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

3) Focus on what is in your control- 

The Serenity Prayer, written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, comes to mind here: 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, 

courage to change the things I can, 

and wisdom to know the difference

4) Make well-being a priority. 

This is often seen as a nice to have, once we have reached the end of the to-do list. Actually, in order to have the mental and physical resilience for what is likely to be a very challenging term, well-being is key. Decide what this is for you: sleep, nutrition, exercise, relationships and make this a priority. 

On 27th August I will be partnering with Rebecca Daniel, a fellow transformation coach and teacher, to deliver an online Well-Being Day for teachers, offering training on mindset, resilience and well-being, designed for teachers returning to work in September. 

For further details please see here: https://linktr.ee/theteacherwellbeingproject

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Sarah Bramall is a qualified and experienced teacher in secondary education; qualified coach in Personal Performance Coaching and Coaching in Education and associate coach for the Best Practice Association. In addition to coaching, Sarah offers training in Vision and Purpose, Confidence, Resilience and Communication. 

Please connect on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram @sarahbramallcoaching

White, privileged and scared to speak up

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Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

I live in a leafy village where almost everyone is white; my kids attend schools where the majority of the  children and almost all of the teaching staff are white. 

Like you, I’ve held my breath in horror and disbelief, watching the footage of the brutal treatment of George Floyd. My 12 year old son has looked to me for answers and I’ve been lost for words. 

I haven’t posted about this because I’m scared of saying the wrong thing. 

I wanted to stay silent and to let others take this on. But we know from history that whenever injustice and oppression have occurred, it has been due to the complicit silence of the majority. 

In the last few days I’ve felt my fear- based brain scanning for ways to justify staying silent. But I’m white, and privileged, I’m educated; I have an audience to speak to and this means I have a responsibility to speak out. 

I have learned from Brene Brown to allow myself to be vulnerable and to choose courage over comfort, even when that feels really hard. 

Why does this matter now? 

It matters now, not only because of what is happening in the US.

It matters now because it also highlights what is happening in the UK. 

The corona virus has shone a spotlight on racial inequality by the higher death rate in ethnic minority communities and that this is at least in part due to low paid high risk jobs- particularly our care workers and bus drivers being dominated by people from ethic minority backgrounds. 

As the economic impact of corona takes hold, social inequality will increase. This doesn’t only affect the most vulnerable- it affects us all. 

So what can I do? I can only start with what I know. These alone feel inadequate but they may be a start. 

1 Talk about it- online and IRL- what can we do individually and collectively? We can listen and allow ourselves to be educated. This might be a good starting point. 

2 Challenge media coverage- is the representation fair and accurate? And if it’s not let’s challenge it. 

3 Challenge the education system. In 18 years of teaching, I never worked in a school with a senior leader from a BAME background. 

In 2014 Michael Gove as education secretary removed American texts from the curriculum and replaced them with traditional canonical English texts (which often carry the racist attitudes of the past). The American texts- notably Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird opened up conversations and educated kids about the impact of racism, at an age where they haven’t yet made their minds up. I’ve seen Black History month marked in schools but I’m sure there’s far more that can be done in creating a diverse and representative curriculum. Schools are busy now planning for the next academic year: write to them and ask what they are doing to make BlackLivesMatter integral to their curriculum and culture.

I’ve given you what I feel and what I know. But I know there’s more so please comment, challenge and share. Together we can be the change we wish to see in the world.

If you would like to continue this conversation, please come and join us here.

 

 

High Five, Mamas!

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With the gradual easing of lockdown, return to school for some children tomorrow feels like the start of a new phase. You might be sending your children in, choosing to keep them at home, or wishing that they could go back to school. 

But let’s take this moment for a huge high five and enormous pat on the back. 

Because the change we’ve been through in the last couple of months is huge and unprecedented. 

We’ve had to pivot and adapt like never before to working from home, home schooling AND trying to hold down a job or run a business. 

Nothing about this has been easy. The situation is far from ideal.

I adore my children but I find it bloody hard being at home with them. They’re generally good company but I find the domestic grind mind numbingly boring: the constant pressure to provide the next meal, another load of washing and picking up other people’s dirty socks or discarded lego pieces. And that’s why I’m so grateful for work!

Of course my attention has been divided as I have kept the business running, which has required its own pivoting and re-adjusting, supporting my husband in ICU as he’s led his department through the many challenges Covid has presented. 

My guilt has been in exposing our family to Covid through my husband’s job and thankfully we fully recovered but without doubt we put our family and health at risk. By continuing to send our children to school we were aware of the potential risk to the school staff and other families. While other children have had this time at home with their families, ours have continued attending school. 

You might be feeling guilty that the home schooling hasn’t gone to plan or work has been less than ideal or the kids have had way too much tech. 

Maybe you haven’t kept to the intentions you made- the fitness plan hasn’t materialised or you haven’t made the most of this time.

But the truth is none of this is ideal. We are all doing the best we know how. This is a global pandemic and we have thank goodness managed to muddle through.

So please let’s take this time to be kind to ourselves by letting go of self-judgement. Whatever you have or haven’t done, you have done your best. And let’s also be kind to each other- we will make different choices through this time and that’s ok.

Looking back to March, what have you learned about yourself and your response to change? What can you give yourself credit for? Please give yourself a big pat on the back- you deserve it.

PS Are you already part of our email community? If not sign up here to receive weekly updates and a free Mindset Management resource,

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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Are other people doing lock down better?  

They’re keeping fit and doing Joe Wicks everyday, with the kids who are obviously fully compliant. 

Everyone else is having more fun with their busy calendar of online pub drinks, quizzes and barbeques with the neighbours.

And clearly the super advanced are learning a new language or making sourdough. 

Now don’t get me wrong- I love personal development and if you can make the most of this time by learning new skills or decluttering your house, that is amazing. 

But truthfully that’s not the picture for so many of us. 

We know social media is heavily filtered and edited to capture the best, not the worst moments of the day but sometimes when we’re scrolling it’s easy to forget that.  The fact is social media or at least the internet is the primary lens through which we see the world right now. 

This is the time, more than ever, to let go of the comparison trap. 

You might choose to use this time to get fit, but you might not and that’s ok. 

You might choose to use this time to learn new skills, but you might just have your plate full already. 

Yes, this is a collective effort and yes, we are in it together, but everyone’s experience is unique. 

It’s ok to have an off day. Of course we are all struggling with being out of a routine, separation from friends and family and anxiety about what the release of lockdown will mean for us. 

This week I’ve been repeating these messages to myself and to my clients: 

  • Stay in your lane- don’t worry what other people are doing- focus on YOU.
  • Manage your use of social media- unfollow and unsubscribe if it’s not serving you. 
  • Be kind to yourself- you are doing the best you can and celebrate your achievements, big and small. 

I am very proud to announce the launch of my new online course, Find Your Calm: Mindset Mastery for Challenging Times. If you would like to create a calmer mind, please come and join us! 

Our Grandmothers

February 29th was my Nanna’s birthday. If she were still alive she’d be approaching 104. She was born in the west of Ireland at the time of the Easter rising. She grew up in poverty and recalled the guilt she felt after sneaking in to a neighbour’s home and stealing a potato from the fire because she was so hungry. An old photo of her at school shows many of the girls without shoes and although she loved school she had to leave age 14, as this was a luxury the family couldn’t afford. At the age of 20 she left her home in Ireland to come to England to look for work so that she could send money back home. 

What do I remember her by? 

Her love: she had 5 children and 13 grandchildren but each of us felt that we were special. 

Her faith.

Her joy.  

As Nanna got older she lamented that people were so busy and no longer made time for each other. Nanna was never bitter about the opportunities she didn’t have but she lived her life to the full. 

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Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina on Pexels.com

Now look two generations later at the choices we have: the idea that I could create a business online, reach people everyday via social media, no matter where they are in the world; write a blog post that reaches 100s of people; coach and teach using video conferencing. The idea that I can go into a pub and teach local women, go into an investment bank in the city and coach women on confidence; speak at the Professional Speakers Association; teach women to create vision boards and plan retreats; create a product and sell it in a local shop. 

The opportunities we have available to us are phenomenal. We don’t have to stay stuck in jobs/ relationships or situations that make us feel stuck. 

But that could have been my choice. Only a year ago I was still in teaching. On paper it was perfect: part time and term time;  a high achieving school with amazing staff and students, 10 minutes away from my children’s school and I didn’t have to work in school holidays. Amazing right? 

But I felt trapped. It met 2 of my top three values: Love and Contribution. Honestly there’s plenty of opportunity for those in a school. But my one of my top values: growth was not being met. I need to learn and grow.  

I often refer to book The Five Regrets of The DyingI wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. Being a teacher was what others expected of me- I loved my subject English; I loved teenagers and I know that’s not for everyone!  And I loved teaching. 

I could have chosen to stay stuck. I could have chosen to play small. 

Yes leaving teaching and starting a business was scary but even scarier is looking forward and knowing that if I didn’t find the courage I would feel regret. 

My nanna left her home at age 20 to move to a new country and find work. We’re not doing this alone: we stand on the shoulders of our grandmothers. 

What could you do? 

3 Ways to ROCK 2020!

Can you believe we are just a week in to this new decade? You may be firing on all cylinders or you may have not quite got started yet. 

Wherever you’re at, can I suggest you take half and hour with a cuppa, notebook and pen to pause and set yourself up for this new year and new decade…? 

1 JOURNAL

Looking ahead into this new decade 

What do you want to take with you? What are you already grateful for? It might be your health, your career and purpose or your relationships. It’s a universal law that what you focus on expands so take a minute to consider what you are grateful for. 

Now take yourself forward to New Year’s Eve 2020. What would you like to have accomplished? What will that look like? What will you be saying to yourself? How will you know that you have made a change? 

What is the WORD that will guide you this year. Choose a word that embodies your intentions for what you would like to Be, Do and Have. In the past my words have been love, peace, calm and focused. This year my word is intentional to really challenge myself to think carefully about the choices behind how I spend my time and energy. 

What new HABIT could you adopt on a daily basis that will support you in making progress? This might be a daily walk, going to sleep earlier, reducing time on social media etc. 

Who will SUPPORT you and cheer you on? Who are the people in your life who will encourage you? If you can’t think of anyone please come and join us in The Transformation Hub

Who or what might stop you or hold you back? How can you handle this? 

What is one ACTION you could commit to that you can take in the next 24 hours that will allow you to move one step closer to achieving your goal? 

2 CREATE A VISION BOARD

I spent the 2nd January with an amazing group of women creating my vision board for 2020. The energy and connection in the room was palpable and I came back fired up and ready to nail the new year. 

A vision board is a collage of words and images that inspires and motivates you. It’s a great tool to help you focus on what you want and to keep you on track on those days when you’re just not feeling it. 

All you need is some magazines, scissors and glue. You can do this alone, with friends or family or come and join us here

3 FIND GOOD STRATEGIES AND SUPPORT

A few months ago, I was fortunate to hear Professor Carol Dweck speak about her latest research on growth mindset. The learning that resonated most deeply was that mindset alone is not enough. We all need good strategies and excellent support. We can’t do it alone. 

In the last few years I’ve made a career change and built my business from scratch. But I haven’t done it alone: I’ve worked with coaches and mentors; I’ve invested in my learning and development and I’ve been so grateful for friends old and new who have believed in me and championed me. 

You don’t have to do it alone and that’s why I have created Your Best Life Group Coaching Programme to offer you the teaching and strategies you need to kickstart your personal development journey, along with a group of like minded and supportive people. 

So what will you do to get started? You don’t have to make a massive changes; it’s good to start small. What is your first step? 

Can you Change a Habit? 100 days sober…

I’ve dabbled in this before- through necessity- 3 pregnancies, Dry January, giving up for Lent but always with a focus on when it would be over and I could go back to drinking. 

I’ve grown up with parents who drink, both socially and at home, alone and in company. An Irish Catholic background means drink is an integral and unquestioned part of your identity. A glass of wine to relax at the end of the week is well ingrained habit, but we’re not just talking Friday and Saturday night, but Thursday though to Sunday evening- that’s more than half the week. I’ve seen a family member struggle with alcoholism- it’s absolutely not a harmless drug.

I’m a social drinker and beyond two glasses there’s no off- switch. When I’m having fun I’ll carry on but as I’ve hit my 40s even one or two drinks lingers in my system and I’ve found myself using exercise as a way to sweat it out. Now all three children are in school our weekends are both full and precious. I want to be there and be present. I don’t need alcohol slowing me down. 

I’d known for a while it was time for a change. I know I can build new habits- daily meditation and exercise are so embedded they’re second nature. Eighteen months ago I kicked the coffee habit and haven’t looked back. 

This summer we got back from holiday and daily drinking and I stepped up my training for The Great North Run and that meant staying sober. The first challenge was my lovely school friend’s 40th- a lovely school friend who loves a drink and a party. Usually I’d have been right in there but this time, a week before the race I stood firm and ended up chatting to another runner who totally got it. This was closely followed by another 40th where there was drinking, dancing and all the antics. Again I stayed sober, danced, laughed and had just as much fun. 

My husband and my birthdays both fall in November- which usually would involve dinner out and at least a bottle of wine. Instead this year we went to the spa, ate all the health food and honestly had the best time. 

I’ve needed some support. I had to ask my husband to stop opening a bottle of wine and and offering me a glass in the hope I’ve changed my mind! My friends have been awesome and curious but have never tried to dissuade me or make me feel bad about not drinking. In fact the only peer pressure I’ve experienced was from my mother in law, horrified that I was turning down prosecco at 11am! 

The language around drink is interesting. The label teetotal still feels like a stigma; the more American word sober somehow feels more comfortable. The market is changing and there are an increasing number of alcohol free alternative which make it easier. Yesterday I tried the most amazing passion fruit cocktail which I swear would not be any better for having alcohol added. 

Many of the people I really respect don’t drink. These are the people who show up, full of energy and make an incredible impact. A friend who is a little further ahead than me said to me: If you have the willpower to do this, you have the will power to do anything. 

Will I go back? I don’t know. I’m sleeping well, my skin is clear and I’m more focused. When I need to relax I can make a choice that’s not a glass of wine. I enjoy going out being able to drive and not mess around with taxis. I enjoy waking up at the weekend having had a good night, but without the hangover. 

I can’t quite picture a future where I never have a drink but I’m also sure this is the start of a lasting change. 

What about you? What changes do you have planned for 2020? Join our lovely Facebook community The Transformation Hub and let us know. 

Where Are Your Boundaries? 8 Ways to Reduce Overwhelm.

This week is Work/Life Balance Week 2019. Companies may be offering yoga classes or suggesting other ways in which to look after our well being. I love a yoga class, but when it comes for work/life balance, we also need to take personal responsibility to consider where our boundaries lie.

When I speak to busy women they are often struggling with overwhelm. We play so many roles, which carry so many responsibilities and with that a concept of perfection. Over the last few weeks I have had many conversations with exhausted women who feel burnt out because they haven’t put boundaries in place- whether that’s at home, at work, or in relationships. We start to feel resentful when we feel that we’re doing too much or that people are taking advantage of us. But actually, we have a responsibility to create and communicate reasonable boundaries.

When we get overwhelmed we lose the ability to think clearly. We start fire fighting or just focusing on survival. 

We also procrastinate because there is so much to do and we literally don’t know where to start.  

And it’s no surprise that we feel resentful. Society continues to exert a lot of pressure on women from an early age to achieve perfection- from how we look; how we achieve at school and how we parent. 

As children we gained approval from adults through showing certain behaviours: To hurry up; to be good; to be a people pleaser. And this continues to drive our behaviour as adults, until we are aware of them. 

Although women’s participation in the workforce is increasing we continue to carry a disproportionate responsibility for both domestic chores and childcare, not to mention single parent families constituting nearly a quarter of families, in which financial and domestic responsibility may fall solely on the shoulders of one person. 

So it’s very easy to fall into overwhelm and this is often the point at which people come to coaching. They have worked hard to achieve where they are in their career but sometimes find that other keys areas suffer: these are generally relationships with their children, partner or friendships. Alternatively, women manage to keep all the balls in the air from an external perspective but there is a health cost: lack of sleep, exercise, anxiety or dependance on food, caffeine or alcohol to get through. 

So when we are feeling overwhelmed how do we put boundaries in place? 

1 Identify Your Roles and Responsibilities 

Write down all of your roles and the responsibilities associated with each role. Where are you spending your time? What are you ready to let go of? 

2 Track Your Time

Track your time to see where you are spending it. Time management guru Laura Vandekam advocates tracking our time to find out where it is going. This is hugely powerful as we can only measure what we can measure and time, in my opinion, is our most precious resource. See my review of Vandekam’s I know How She Does It here.

3 Identify Your Priorities

Set 3 key priorities- Your Most Important Tasks at the beginning of each day and focus on completing them. 

4 Use the 80/20 Rule

Use the 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle which states that 80% of results come from 20% of people or tasks. Which 20% of the tasks you do are actually the most important? And of all the people in your life, who are in the top 20% and what can you do to really nurture those relationships? 

5 Delegate 

Our kids empty the dishwasher and we we frequently find random items in random places. My eldest has to help with his laundry so when it comes off the lines it’s jumbled, chaotic and has clothes pegs still attached. The kids love to bake or make pancakes and the washing up afterwards is often less than perfect. But I’ll take the imperfection anytime- they are learning to be independent. They don’t need me to do everything. 

The same may apply at work- sometimes you want to be in every meeting or you feel that you have to be responsible for everything- but you are part of a team. You don’t have to do everything. 

6 Lower your standards 

When I went back to work after my second child I knew I couldn’t work or parent at 100% and stay sane. My husband was working as a junior doctor and juggling weekend, night shifts and professional exams and life was full on with two tiny active boys. So I made a promise to myself that I would lower my standards in all areas to 70% and my mantra was Good is good enough. Guess what? No one noticed and I just about stayed sane.  

7 Practice saying NO

Our instinct is to say yes because we want to make people happy or prove that we can do it all. But ultimately a lack of boundaries leads to burn out. So learn to say no, without explanation or apology OR if it’s easier find some ways to cushion the effect of no: Can I get back to you? or I’d love to but…

8 Get control of the tech

This is where we really struggle with boundaries. Our devices are always at hand and the temptation to respond immediately is always there. But we know screens affect our sleep. Do yourself a huge favour and get them out of the bedroom. Create your boundaries around email and work calls. We all need some downtime. 

We are each responsible for protecting our time and energy. No one else will do that for us. Which area of your life needs better boundaries? Which of these tools will you start with? Let us know in the comments below. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed and know it’s time to make a change, don’t continue to flounder. Get in touch by booking a free discovery call here



			

The Big Leap

Last week, at forty years old, I left school. 

Yes that’s right I have spent my entire life in a classroom, first as the learner, then as the teacher. 

My younger brother learned to read at the age of two, partly because he’s annoyingly bright but also because I insisted on teaching him and I didn’t let him go until he’d got it right (Sorry James!)

Through my teens and then university I worked on holiday play schemes in the UK and abroad, always playing and teaching. As a teenager I worked for Mencap, teaching younger teens how to play with and care for children with learning difficulties. 

Seven years ago I attended a leadership course and one of the sessions focused on coaching. After a brief introduction, I found myself coaching another teacher, asking her what she wanted to achieve as a result of the programme. When I finished she and the observer stopped and remarked- Wow Sarah you are SO good at this and though it’s not easy to accept a compliment my first thought was- Yes thanks, I am. 

But this wasn’t really surprising: I’d spent my life teaching- asking questions, building confidence and nudging children in the right direction, finding joy in those lightbulb moments when, suddenly, they got it. As my career progressed I coached other teachers, particularly those new to the profession, to set goals, find their strengths and reflect on their developing practice. As an English teacher I had spent years teaching children not just to read and write, but to speak and listen effectively. I hadn’t realised it but I already had the building blocks I needed to become a coach. 

On my return from maternity leave, A level was removed from my allocation: then two years later, GCSE was removed. The frustration I felt drove me to spend my evenings and weekends training and coaching; to listen to podcasts on the school run; to form new networks with coaches and business owners further ahead than me and it’s been a thrilling process. 

At work, I chose to keep my energy high. I covered my work space with positive affirmations and began to coach and teach coaching skills to  students and colleagues. 

I got clear on my values: love, growth and contribution. I came to understand that personal growth, a core value, had been inhibited but instead I focused this energy on personal and business growth. 

The true test is yet to come. I am leaving behind a wonderful community of staff and students. I am venturing into a new space in which I am solely responsible but I do know that we only get one shot. 

Life is too short to stay stuck, to be unhappy or to play small. 

•The Big Leap is taken from a brilliant book by Gay Hendricks

Boris for PM? First he needs a DISC profile…

It needs fixing and quickly but will Boris be the man for the job?

This is not a political post. I am not a Tory voter and I’m 100% with you in despair and frustration at Brexit. 

The DISC personality profile system focuses on the way in which we communicate and interact with others and how this may change when we create a public persona for example, at work and when we are under stress. 

It has four main categories: 

D = Dominant, Driver I = Influencing, Inspiring   S = Steady, Stable C = Correct, Compliant 

D and I characters tend to be fast paced; S and I slow paced. D and C personalities tend to be task focused, where I and S characters are people focused. 

Of course most of us are a blend of character types but understanding our personality style is an excellent way to raise our self awareness and improve our communication with others. In recruitment, this can be invaluable in considering how different team members may perform and interact. 

As far as I am aware Boris hasn’t taken a DISC profile. If he did, I am pretty confident he would be a high I- an Influencer or an Inspirer. He has charisma,  an excellent ability to persuade and, as we will remember from him zip wiring through London, a great propensity for fun. Boris is a people person: he will bring others on board, as demonstrated by his gaining the majority vote of 114 today, which outdid even what his supporters expected. 

A persuasive, fun loving, charismatic personality- so far, so good. But what are the pitfalls?

Personalities who have a high I on the DISC profile have character pitfalls they need to be careful to address. I know; I’m one of them. We high Is have a tendency to over commit, to be overly optimistic on what we can deliver. John Major cautioned today that anyone who promises to deliver Brexit by the October 31st deadline is unduly optimistic. Major, as an S/C, a steady and more cautious character would not appreciate some of Boris’ high I characteristics- a lack of attention to detail and a tendency to overpromise. But Boris, undoubtedly possesses the characteristics that Theresa May lacked: his focus will be on people, where hers was process. 

The characteristics of a D style are forceful, direct and strong willed (think Donald Trump). They are fast paced and task focused. They get things done but sometimes at the cost of personal relationships. S types who are steady and stable and very focused on relationships, can be easily shaken by a D’s abrupt style. 

Whether in a family, a classroom or in the workplace, knowledge of DISC is an excellent way of understanding ourselves, understanding others and how we can communicate and work together more effectively. 

I am a Certified DISC Practitioner and if you would like to know more contact me at coaching@sarahbramall.com