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Success and happiness. Do they go hand in glove? Find out here...

24th Jan 2021

Shawn Achor’s Ted talk ‘The happy secret to better work’ is pretty funny but also really interesting, informative and enlightening backed up with research. It appears on You Tube under that title and another one “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance" but they are one and the same. It’s only 12 minutes so it’s well worth the watch but just in case you don’t have 12 minutes or can’t be bothered clicking on the link, here’s a brief summary in bullet points and quotes ha ha.

  • 25% of job success is attributed to IQ. 75% is optimism levels, social support network, seeing stress as a challenge not a threat
  • “Achieving a goal will not guarantee happiness because you will just shift the goal posts. This method of motivation to achieving goals and therefore happiness is broken and backwards. If happiness is on the other side of success the brain never gets there.’ (not entirely correct quote but close)
  • “If you can raise the levels of positivity in the present then the brain experiences what is called as the happiness advantage. Your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stress.” Your business outcomes will improve significantly if you and your employees have greater levels of optimism.
  • “Escaping the cult of average. Not how to move you up to the average but to move the entire average up”
  • 90% of your long term happiness is predicted not by the external world but by the way your brain processes the world."

There has been many incantations of this quote but it’s a timely reminder. How does your brain process the world? Mr Achor has a 21 day method to retrain the brain to happiness. You don’t need gym shoes or any other equipment for this, just 2 minutes, pen and paper.


One aspect of optimism and happiness mentioned in the talk was a social support network. This helps because you can talk about how you have perceived something as a negative or there have been so many negative images or heard negative stories then it can be discussed and reframed to a positive experience or put an optimistic viewpoint upon it, within the network.


That said, Say It Clearly has such a network! Yes, a club, if you like. This club meets monthly, or more if you want to join the Facebook group too, to learn how use speech and communication techniques for better outcomes in your life.


Leave a comment or ask for more information on the Find Your Voice, Find Your Words club. 


To your happiness! Miriam.


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Procrastination! Number 1 goal achieving killer

19th Jan 2021

Back at work yet? We are. We’ve been slooowly easing our way into it, which works well for me juggling a couple of teenagers still on school holidays. 


As per usual, with a new year we usually set goals for what we want to achieve and you may have a long list of ‘to-dos’. There's a chance you are feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information coming at you from all directions of try this, do this, you can’t be without this.  


We don’t know what 2021 will bring and in times of uncertainty we are inclined to stick with what we know, which is understandable. But to make sure we do achieve something new start with something little that’s easily achievable so your brain can recognise success (because you would’ve rewarded yourself with every new success) then each new goal will be easier and easier to achieve.  


This is probably going against every piece of advice you’ve heard about achieving goals, but if your list is quite long, take some things off it. A few years ago, I had a goal achieving diary in which I had to set 10 goals and every month, week, day there were actions to take to achieve those goals. It drove me crazy. So much so I ended up hating that diary and it got to the point I was saying to that stupid diary ‘don’t tell me what to do’. Talking to myself! Literally crazy lady. I’ve never bought another one like it since. Plus, I don’t think I achieved any of those goals set, which is a horrible feeling and I got quite depressed about the whole thing really. 


I did quite a lot of research around why I wasn’t achieving set goals, which was the best thing I have done in a long time. Highly recommend it! The main reason was because 10 goals were way too many and those goals were big, most of them (in hindsight) were not achievable – I didn’t follow that SMART goal setting thing – Also, the complete regimentation of achieving those goals does not suit my personality. I like things to be a little more flexible. I change my mind frequently and I suffer quite a lot from shiny object syndrome, which I since learned is a type of procrastination.  


One podcast series I’ve listened to (best time to listen to a podcast for me is when I’m in the car for longer than 20 minutes) was a rather annoying American, Hal Elrod. Lots of hey there, brother, I love you, man but once you get past that, he has an amazing story himself and he hosts people with interesting stories too. Ruth Soukup was one such person. Her podcast and website ‘Do It Scared’ has a free test you complete to see what your main archetype of fear is which will help to explain why you procrastinate.  


This led me to Susan Jeffers’ book “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, written in 1984. This excellent book helps you move through your fears to achieve your goals with easy-to-understand explanations. Now that I’ve learned a lot about how I learn and work plus the parts of my personality that actually holds me back, this year I have set one goal and the rest just gets filed into my new filing system.   


If you’ve had conquering your fear of public speaking, presenting, pitching on your to do list, or if you have any difficulty achieving your goals, I may be able to help.   book a time, don’t procrastinate.  


*If you want to discover your fear archetype here’s the link to Ruth Soukup’s website Please note this test is free and I’m not an affiliate of Ruth Soukup either.  



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A new year, back to work but it's still school holidays!

11th Jan 2021

Do you watch The Block, Australia? Sometimes I do but it’s not something I really, really, really must see (like Brigerton, ahem). But during the last week one team lost because they didn’t have a dining table in their dining room. The reasons why they left it out were astounding.  Not on a designer, interior design or anything like that level but when they said


"We knew that out of us and all of our friends, hardly any of the people that we knew actually sat down and used a dining table. A lot of them, they ate at different times to their kids."


They went on to say …


"Dining tables become a space where you put your laundry," said Tam.

"I don't know about you, but I pile all the stuff on the dining table, then I fold it up and put it away. We wanted to use that space for something different that would be utilised a bit more."


What? I haven’t actually stopped thinking about this because these reasons are wrong on so many levels. “What levels, Miriam ??” I hear you calling through hands made into the shape of a loud hailer. Well. Let me count the ways.

  1. Children’s brains grow when engaged in conversation with an adult. 5 conversations turns are best, not instructions or close ended questions. (more on that later).
  2. Children’s vocabulary increases, their understanding of correct grammar and syntax also increases, even if yours is incorrect. (I saw, not I seen. Th is enunciated Th not v or f, just to begin).
  3. Your teenagers are more likely to tell you what is on their mind when you are sitting around the dining table having dinner and talking. As well as what their 'friends' are getting up to.  (Note, no technology allowed during dinner time, more on that later too). This can be frightening, which is all the more reason to do it.
  4. You learn so much about your child that you will never find out if you haven’t spoken with them and in our busy lives, dinner time around the table is the best place to do this if you are busy throughout the day.
  5. As they tell you what they have seen or heard you can tell them whether something is correct or not. Some information a mean friend may have told them, you can correct this opinion with what is actually correct.
  6. General knowledge increases as you can discuss what is happening around the world.


I don’t know where Australian children’s literacy levels are at but NZs are lower than they have been in over 20 years. This is on us, parents! Us! Just talk to your kids, it’s actually that simple. Easy? No.


It is vital not only for our kids to learn and grow but to develop a high level of self worth, to help keep their anxiety levels at ‘normal’ Don’t worry about flash cards and apps and You Tube to teach your kids, absolutely nothing beats you talking to them.


Of course, I’m meaning positive conversation, conversation around them and how they are doing. Remember ‘Remove criticism and blame from your dialogue and you will build you integrity’ Integrity as a person and a parent. Take this into your team at work as well.


Dr Leah Woodward’s book “The Strength Switch” is a fabulous book to help you build up your child’s sense of self worth by focussing on their innate strengths as opposed to criticising what they can’t do or what they’ve done wrong. Another resource you can take into your work place.


Back to why conversational turns is important, it has been found that children who only hear instructions and not engage in conversational turns before they are 5, will not have the vocab to hold a conversation by the time they are 14.


The reason why you should eat dinner without technology? 700 words a minute are lost if any sort of tech distracts you. Turn off the television, put your phone away, turn off all devices and focus on your kids.


As a mum of two teenage boys, this has been vital in finding out who my kids are, what frightens them and what or who they turn to if they want to find something out. Some conversations have been extremely worrying and sometimes my boys haven’t made the right choices about some things but we are continually talking and re-directing to positive pathways.


The saying about taking a village is so so true, make sure you reach out to family, friends and professionals if you have any concerns about your children. In the meantime, set that table for dinner, sit down and TALK.

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Get in touch with Miriam to discuss how she can help you.