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One of my coaching clients shared that he was very anxious but didnt know why. We have this conversation every week for past 6 months. Where he tells me he is anxious but not sure why.

His anxiety is not unexpected given the current economic conditions and the “departures” from his firm. Especially the conversations he is having with his bosses who are down-sizing.

The question is not WHY? His anxiety is natural, given the circumstances. It is HOW?

How can I improve my well being despite the circumstances?

% time spent in affirmative relationship
% time spent in flow, engagement activities
% time spent in meaningful activity
% time spent in positive emotions
% time spent in achievement

Source: Martin Seligman’s PERMA Model

Total : Anxiety level

Indeed he was catching up with well-meaning ex colleagues spending 3 hrs going through all the conspiracy theories over the weekend on power play. His fear level spiked.

How can I improve my well being despite the circumstances?

You know the conversation. The Great Man theory proposed by likes in history and research. Leaders follow a mold.

Im reading Jacob Morgan’s “Future Leader”. Leaders decide they want to be leaders. (Steven Covey)

We can choose to exercise situational leadership. Small things we do.

When you see someone exercise a selfless act, affirm them for choosing to do that. Leadership is a choice.

Whats one habit you choose to develop today?

I recently participated in a conversation that went like this…

A: J, good job at the presentation. You are a natural.

J: Im not a natural, we (B and C) put in hard work to polish the presentation.

A: J, you need a recourse on “Affirmation”.

What did A mean? After hours of contemplating what A meant, I finally realised she was trying to compliment me. But when I exercised more self disclosure by revealing that I put a lot of hard work, she replied in a group conversation saying I needed more work to learn how to “receive” compliments?

She could have meant it as a joke.

But Im not a natural in presentations. Should I lie about this strength to be socially polite?

Nah, I feel rewarded if someone compliments me on my strengths, like “wisdom”, “pursuit of learning”, “grit”.

Im not a natural in anything. Except eat and sleep.

Recently, my custard apple tree fruited. 3 fruits. Grown from scratch. I’m no natural gardener. I used to have serious anxiety when Dr Kiat Tan, founder of the Gardens by the Bay first sent me orchids, lots of them. They all died on me. I now can grow custard apple from seed. Years of hard work, experimenting, learning online from a virtual community of gardeners, my own “potgardening blog” which I discontinued as I maxed out my digital space.

My custard apple plant grown from seed

Listening to each other is hard work. Have you been in conversations that go awry?

Another thought, what strengths do you like to be complimented on?

Keep going even when conversations go awry. šŸ˜€ Share with me your thoughts below.

During covid, I chanced upon an online course, “meaning-making, reflecting by Journaling by Preetam Raj.

Inspired by educationist Preetam Rai, esp on “gettinglost” which does not need to be an embarrassing moment of losing direction but an opportunity to gain a different perspective. We can reflect through different mediums, writing on paper and even through photos and other digital tools.

Reflection by Photo

Digital Tools for reflection

Quote from Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman, Penguin Education Specials.

Perhaps you will understand why we prefer the metaphor ā€œmeaning-makingā€ to most of the metaphors of the mind that are operative in the schools. It is, to begin with, much less static than the others. It stresses a process view of minding, including the fact that ā€œmindingā€ is undergoing constant change.

ā€œMeaning makingā€ also forces us to focus on the individuality and the uniqueness of the meaning maker (the minder).  In most of the other metaphors, there is an assumption of ā€œsamenessā€ in all learners. The ā€œmeaning makerā€ has no such limitations. There is no end to his educative process. He continues to create new meanings, to make new transactions with his environment.  

Reflection by journaling is cornerstone to experiential learning. Experiences by themselves do not instruct. But when we look backwards, and “connect the dots”, we make sense of the event and how it connects to our life purpose.

Reversal theory has shown that our “states” or emotions can change in response to the meaning a person attaches to an event. Eg. a roller coaster can at times represent excitement and at other times, anxiety.

Listen.