How to speak so people listen

Our spoken word can influence, inspire, educate and create.

It is one of the most powerful tools we have. Yet we consistently devalue our words, which ultimately means we reduce our influence.

In this video, I share the most common ways we devalue what we say and offer a way we can begin to speak, so that others listen:

 

 

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Like this video? Then you will love my latest book! Check it out by clicking here.

Stress is literally killing us – here are 4 simple ways to reduce it.

Stress – It doesn’t need an introduction.

It is spreading around the world like an epidemic… The chances are you have been affected by it in your life… Almost all of us have.

High levels of stress release a hormone called Serotonin in your body.

This hormone creates the ‘fight or flight’ sensation – It is a part of our biology, so when we are presented with real danger, our bodies and mind are ready to fight off the danger or run away from it. It was only designed to be used infrequently and in moments of life threatening danger.

This hormone, when activated, switches off all none essential functions in your body.

Here are some of the things that get switched off when you feel stressed:

Your immune system
Your creativity
Your digestive system
Your memory retrieval
Your physical growth

As you can clearly see, these elements are critical factors in the long-term ability to be a healthy human being.

When we understand that high stress causes high levels of Serotonin to be pumped through our bodies, all of the time, it’s easy to identify why stress is literally killing us.

“No amount of anxiety can change the future. No amount of regret can change the past.”

Karen Salmansohn

If you, like me, have been affected by stress, here are 4 simple ideas that can help:

Remove yourself from the situation

imagesThe power of physically removing yourself from the situation and going for a walk… in nature if possible…. cannot be underestimated. The act of getting away, even just for half an hour, acts as an emotional and intellectual reset.

Give your brain some air and some space.

The fact of the matter is your brain can answer any question you give it… what you need to do is ensure you are asking the right questions. When you are in the moment, with all the stress factors surrounding you, it is difficult to know what the right questions are… never mind try to answer them.

Go for a walk in nature. Give your mind some time, space and air. Just enjoy the experience. When you return, you will feel less stressed – therefore will have ‘switched on’ those internal systems you need, like creativity.

Here is my challenge to you – if you think this strategy is just wishful thinking or that you don’t have the time – then test it… go for a one hour walk in nature today… what have you got to lose?

If I am right… imagine what you might gain.

Focus on what is REALLY important

Stress, in the main, is caused by lots of little things that all feel very urgent.

We often mistake urgency for importance and therefore are bound to feel stressed, because pretty much everything is urgent these days!

There is a theory that 20% of the tasks you have to do in any given situation, will deliver 80% of the results you desire. So… if you have a ‘To-Do list’ of 10 actions, 2 of these will deliver 80% of the results you want… leaving the other 8 actions with only 20% of the outcome you need.

Do you know what the 20% of important actions are in your life? Because when you do, and once you take action on them, 80% of your stress will be removed.

Take some time out to figure out what is the most important 20% in your life – then start taking action towards these things first.

Take action, even when you don’t feel like it

“There is just so much to do…. I don’t know where to start.”

I hear this so often when working with people under high levels of stress. The bottom line is, this approach is not serving you.

Taking action will serve you.

If you have managed to identify the important 20%, then work on this… but even if you haven’t – start taking action… any action is better than no action at all.

When we are stressed, we don’t see the value in the small steps forward – we want a magic wand to sort it all out. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand and there is rarely a quick fix.

Think of this metaphor… The person is who wants to lose weight and get fit.

If this person goes on the scales after one gym session and a healthy breakfast, they will be disappointed… there won’t be any difference. In fact they probably still won’t notice a difference after a week of gym sessions and healthy eating either.

But those little actions DO make a difference… In fact they make ALL the difference!

Do you think that person will notice a difference after two weeks? A little maybe… how about a month? How about a year?

Of course there will be a massive difference – It is simple, but true.

This is the same with stress.

Take positive action consistently. You might not notice the difference immediately… but over time the transformation will become dramatic!

So, when you don’t know what action to take or don’t feel like taking action is worth it… do it anyway. Keep on taking positive action everyday.

Soon those small actions will build momentum – and momentum will make you unstoppable!

Create and use a support network

You are not alone.

stock-photo-large-group-of-people-seen-from-above-gathered-together-in-the-shape-of-two-hands-reaching-out-each-255266638You are not the only person to have experienced this level of stress.

Don’t face it alone. Today we are more connected than ever before, so we should use this to our advantage! Connect with other people who are facing similar struggles… or even better, connect with those that have overcome them!

Together we are stronger.

Seek out like-minded people who can support you, who can challenge you and who will need you to do the same. There are so many sources of information, inspiration, groups, coaches, networks out there – use them.

The strength of knowing that you are not alone, the power you gain from knowing that it can be overcome is immeasurable. You have access to this at your finger-tips:

Watch inspirational videos
Join discussion groups
Meet with follow professionals in your sector
Get a coach
Get a mentor
The list goes on…. just get some support!

Putting it all together:

Stress stops everything. It stops important internal processes and it stops you making good decisions and taking positive action.

Don’t let it. You can take control… Remove yourself from the situation, get some fresh air and fresh perspective. Work out what 20% of tasks you need to do to remove 80% of the stress levels.

TAKE ACTION and build momentum… And finally don’t forget to get some support – You are better working with others, allow yourself to be the best version of you.

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Like this post? Then you will love my latest book: Emerging Leadership. Click here to check it out.

How to make difficult conversations easy

“He has asked me for a pay rise and I just don’t know how to say no.”

This was what I was asked in a coaching session earlier today. The person I was coaching is an established, credible and senior leader within her company.

The fact is, no matter what leadership level you sit on, difficult conversations are… difficult.

We will all encounter difficult conversations within our lifetimes, whether we are in a leadership role or not. So it is best to be prepared when they ultimately arrive in your life!

Here are four simple ideas, that if implemented successfully, will improve the output of any difficult conversation you have to orchestrate:

Remove Emotion

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The number one factor of why difficult conversations turn into a verbal car-crash is… Being emotionally driven.

By definition, a challenging conversation will be emotive for at least one person (probably both people). As the instigator of the conversation, you will have adrenaline coursing through your veins. Your emotions will feel like they have just stepped up a gear, as your body goes into “fight or flight” mode. This is not helpful.

What is helpful is to, in a calm and mindful manner, focus on the facts. Rather than focusing our energy into how we feel. By doing this, the conversation has a good chance of remaining factual and real.

Reality is vital if you want a positive outcome to the discussion!

The single best way to lower your emotional levels before a difficult conversation – Preparation.

Understand the facts and rehearse the conversation. Physically practise saying what you want to say. The more you practise, the better you will get and the less emotional you will feel! Therefore, even if you have adrenaline pumping through your veins at the moment of truth, you will still be able to deliver the facts in a calm manner… because you have rehearsed it perfectly.

Also, it is powerful to rehearse the conversation with a focus on service.

When the conversation priority is a positive outcome for all concerned (not just a positive outcome for you!), you will have to alter your style and become less defensive. This approach has great benefits – it will lower the defences of the person you are talking to, thus lowering their emotional levels and it will enable you to talk in a frank and factual way, without it appearing as an attack.

A good strategy for a difficult conversation!

Understand you don’t know everything

You only know your facts… that is all.

When you understand this, it will allow you to focus on conclusions rather than delivery.

What I mean by this is that it is far better to be focused on a positive outcome, rather than being singularly focused on getting your side of the story heard.

So many people go into difficult conversations, bursting to say their piece. Bursting so much that it gets fired out like a machine gun… a surefire way to ruin the rest of the conversation.

If you enter the conversation with your main priority as a positive action resulting from it… then you will be more likely to listen… you will be more likely to understand… and you will be more receptive to the right course of action.

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

Henry Ford

 

Make sure your facts are facts

This is the oldest advice in the book of giving feedback, but there is a very good reason for this… because it is true!

The bottom line – Your facts have to have been observed and checked by you, if not you are setting yourself up to fail. The moment you rely on second hand information, the conversation will spiral out of control.

Again this is why preparation is so important. If you don’t do your homework properly, you are asking for trouble.

Give time and space

a_god_of_time_and_space__remake__by_cherryorchid-d6xum80.pngI have seen people utilse all the advice above, but then all that great work is destroyed with this common mistake… a tight time limit on the conversation.

You can make great strides, but if you have to cut the meeting off because of something else you have booked in to do, then you may as well not have bothered starting the discussion.

To rectify this you should plan and prepare for the discussion to go twice as long as you anticipate. If it is difficult for you, then it is difficult for them. Show them respect by giving them the time and space they need. They probably haven’t done all the preparation you have, so give them the opportunity to work through it properly.

If you do this, you automatically get two benefits:

  1. Shows that you are interested in them and a positive outcome, which will reduce their emotional levels.
  2. Allows autonomy – You give the person the time to come up with the right response, through their own judgement rather than emotion – 99.9% of the time they will develop a brilliant solution.

Putting it all together

We will all have to face difficult conversations in our lives… and they are going to be difficult!

You can make them much easier if you plan and prepare

  1. Remove the emotion, rehearse and aim to serve.
  2. You don’t know everything, so focus on outcome rather than saying your bit.
  3. Ensure your facts have been observed by you.
  4. Give time and space to work it through properly.

How to believe in people again

Almost everyone has, at some point, been hurt, rejected, dismissed and treated badly. When this happens many of us then find it hard to believe and trust in people again.

If you have ever felt like this, then here are 4 strategies that will allow you to stay positive and get the best out of all of your relationships... Even if it seems as though you are surrounded by people who have hurt you, let you down or broken your heart.

Trust is a biological need

The science is clear… Trust and connection are critical factors in human existence. This is not my opinion, this is proven scientific fact. We are literally biologically forced to connect with others, because we are stronger together.

If you allow a few people to make you lose faith in that, then you are only hurting yourself.

Branding the entire human race as cruel and nasty because of a few people is ridiculous. Think about it… there are 7 billion people on this planet – all of which have a biological need to connect with others. Don’t let a couple of idiots ruin your perception of how many great people there are in the world.

Acknowledge people are just like you

everyoneWe only ever get to see our perspective of life and it is easy to think we are alone in our struggle. The truth is everyone struggles.

Some find it hard just to get through the day, others are frustrated because they can’t chase their dreams, many are worried about how they can support their families, scared of what others think about them. The lists are endless, but the ultimate truth is that everybody is struggling somehow.

It is so important that you understand this. If you ever get to a place where you think your situation is so special and unique that nobody can ever understand you – You are in a bad place and, more importantly, you are wrong. You have more in common with others than you realise.

By saying that nobody could ever understand you, all you are doing is freezing yourself out of relationships.

If you freeze yourself out, then nobody will understand you because you won’t let them, NOT because they can’t. That is your doing… not theirs.

Stop building walls

Once you have been hurt, it is tempting to create emotional barriers and walls to stop you getting hurt again.

Been hurt in love? Create barriers that make it difficult for you to fall in love again… so in theory, you won’t get hurt again.

Hopefully you can see the problem with this tactic. Barriers and walls stop you feeling positive and wonderful emotions. Emotions you need and desire.

Barriers and walls keep the bad guys out, but they also fend off the good guys too.

Walls solve nothing, they just deny you what you want most and they also hurt other people… good people.

The brave thing to do is to brake down your walls and allow yourself to live. I can’t promise you that you will never get hurt again, but by allowing those positive emotions in, it does mean you will experience 10x the love, joy, happiness and trust than you would if you lock everything out.

Most people have walls… break down yours, break down theirs… with love, with joy, with trust and your life will become abundant.

Birds of a feather

141159769539890017_cyh5thwj_cThis last strategy is so simple, but also the most effective – Remove negative people from your life and increase the amount of positive people.

Positive people are supportive, caring and helpful… There are billions of these types of people across the world, literally billions!

They will help you grow, develop and become the best version of you, so seek them out.

Yes there are mean people in the world, but they are not the majority… You don’t have to have them in your life. It is a choice, make one that improves the quality of your life.

Putting it all together

There are mean people and when you get hurt, it is tempting to turn your back on the world and lose trust in people.

Don’t, mean people are in the minority.

You have a biological need to connect with others – If you deny yourself this, you are only hurting yourself.

You are not the only person who is struggling. Understanding this truth will allow you to have more empathy for those around you.

Stop building walls – You deny yourself the emotions you most desire when you create barriers – don’t deny yourself love, joy, happiness and trust.

Choose to build relationships with positive people. There are loads of them out there!

Never, Never Be Afraid To Do What Is Right – M L King

Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther-King – They are great people who have etched their names in history books for standing up for what they believed in and they helped change the world in the process.

572990aeaa13a-fullWe are told powerful stories about special individuals who changed the course of the world by standing against status quo – sometimes facing unsurmountable odds, yet ultimately winning though.

We are told everyone has this power. We are told we too can change the world if our resolve is strong enough… but can we?

I mean these stories sound compelling, yet in your life right now, can you make a stand? Let’s start small… can you go up against the boss at work and not damage your career?

Going a bit bigger… Can you legitimately challenge those in positions of authority, such as politicians, without being removed or arrested?

I think we can, but not in the way the stories would lead you to believe.

Standing up for what you believe in is not a single event, it’s a way of living – It would be impossible to make a huge stand for what you believe to be right in one moment, if your actions in the past didn’t back you up.

Standing up for what is right, is living what is right. It is in your everyday behaviours and actions.

1. Clearly understand what you believe in
2. Share this with everyone
3. Make sure everything you do is linked to this

So if you passionately believe in ‘being honest’ … then communicate this value simply and with clarity… then follow it up by making sure you always tell the truth!

It is a simple example, but hopefully it demonstrates the power of being able to stand up for what you believe in – because if this is how you live your life, then it is easy to challenge the status quo when needed, because everyone will expect it!

This of course has it’s challenges, but what it allows you to be is authentic, strong and value led.

If you don’t live your life by these rules, then you will end up living your life by someone else’s. That is the opposite of standing up for what is right.

Be the best version of you – stand up for you believe in… stand up for what is right.

How to CRUSH fear!

No matter who you are FEAR is going to play a part in your life.

How we interpret the fear we feel will determine the action we take… and ultimately the success we achieve in our lives.

In this video I share how we can effectively and powerfully understand what fear is, how to use it to serve you and eventually overcome it!

 

4 Excuses For Quitting And 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t

I have spent the last 19 months of my life writing a leadership book – And then when it was pretty much ready to be published, I stopped.

I stopped taking action and I gave myself loads of “reasons” why.

Of course these reasons were just excuses… Here is why I stopped taking action and the reasons why I shouldn’t. If you have aimed for a goal, been making progress, then felt like quitting… maybe this could help:

Fear

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”

Jack Canfield

I hate to admit it, but the main reason I stopped was due to fear – fear people might not like my book, fear that people might laugh, fear that I might not be any good. Looking at it logically it is likely that some people wouldn’t like my work or me… but it wouldn’t be everyone and it shouldn’t be something that I should be fearful of. 

But that didn’t stop me being afraid.

Fear, essentially is a powerful metabolic function, that is designed to protect us from danger. So when genuine threats come along we change our behaviour so we can survive – behaviours such as running away, hiding or freezing.

The bottom line is that, no matter what, fear is going to play a part in your life. It is how we manage it that makes all the difference.

We can do this by creating leverage and developing our mindset.

Leverage –  Purposely create the thought process that the act of quitting will be a more painful experience than the possible results of taking action.

To do this you will need to write, in as much detail as possible, how awful your life will be if you don’t take action towards your goals. Do this over various timeframes, for example how horrible your life will be next week, in one year and in five years.

Completing this simple process will shift your minds focus and perspective, transforming your energy towards taking positive action.

Mindset – Are the goals you have set yourself fixed or growth goals? If you have lots of fixed goals (a fixed goal is a goal that has an end point and is ridged in the success criteria) then you are not be setting yourself up for success.

The reason why is with any fixed goal there will always be factors out of your control, this can then create frustration, fear and disappointment. All of which will direct you towards quitting.

A growth goal on the other hand does set you up for success. Growth goals are about continuous development and growth, both of these factors are within your control… You can grow, develop and learn everyday if you so desired.  This will help remove the fear you feel, because each step of the goal is now fully achievable, so you can continue to progress towards your goals with more control.

I don’t know what to do

question-markIn my example, this surfaced with publishing – should I go through an established publisher or self publish? There are benefits for both – and there are negatives.

A publisher will do most of the work for you in getting your book on sale, but at a very high cost, which would mean literally no profits from my book (unless by some miracle I became a multimillion selling hit!). Self publishing means I would make more money per book sale, but I would have to learn how to publish! 

I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing.

This is one of the easiest excuses to make – because the truth is, there will be times when we don’t know what to do!

An ultra affective strategy in this situation is to role model from those people who have already done what you need to do.

Go onto any  internet search engine and type in what you want to learn or become and, as quick as a flash, you will have a reservoir of resource, from world-class experts, at your fingertips.

Don’t make the excuse that you don’t know what to do – instead put it on your ‘to-do list’ to find out what you should do!

Don’t have the energy

After writing my book, I got distracted by day to day hassles and problems. In fact I got so involved in the daily struggles, that even when I had the time to focus on my book, I felt so tired, that I couldn’t face more work.

This is a common problem… Most people fail to chase their dreams because they have busy lives and this gets in the way of achieving real quality. After a tough day being busy most of us want to relax and “un-plug” rather than chase our big life goals.

Here are two strategies to combat fatigue:

1 . Prioritise the important. Very simply, your vision, your destiny or your dream should be the most important goal in your life. So make it the first thing you do. Build in the time and make your big life goals the priority and focus on these first!

2 . Take care of your physiology. Are you drinking enough water? Are you eating healthy, energy providing foods? Are you committing to a productive exercise routine? If you look after your physiology, you will have more energy – Obvious, but true!

I don’t have the time

bigstock_Turn_Back_Time_10456We are all so busy. We live in the most fast-paced, ever-changing and hectic time in human history. Pretty much everyone struggles for time. It is an almost foolproof excuse for quitting on our personal goals and dreams… That is one of the things I told myself about publishing my book!

Yet, if we are absolutely honest – do we use all the time we have available to us, effectively?

Just think about the amount of time each day you spend looking at a screen… Television, phone, laptop, tablet…

Is this a productive use of our time? 

If you want to have enough time to achieve amazing things do this: Stop using any social media and TV (this includes programs on the internet!) for 30 days and instead use that time to take action on your goals.

In 30 days I guarantee you will be amazed at how much progress you make in achieving your goals. I also guarantee, if you can do the 30 days, that you won’t miss TV and the internet half as much as you imagine you will!

Final thoughts

If you follow through and take the required action everyday towards your goal, then eventually you will get there!

Yet sometimes rather than committing to keep moving forward, we create an internal story that tells us to quit. 

These stories can seem compelling, but the truth is, they are excuses. Challenge yourself to take action even when you feel scared, don’t know what to do, don’t have the energy or don’t have the time.

If you do you can achieve your goals – Like I did… My book will be published later in the year!

If you want to get a discount on my book later in the year (plus a free high performance PDF now, extra motivational videos and coaching on achieving your potential direct to your inbox) CLICK ME NOW!

 

How to Deal with Difficult People

Your success, your career, you life, is dependant on the quality of the relationships you create.

So what happens if a key person in your life is really difficult to build any sort of relationship with?

This video explores what you can do to have a positive impact and build high quality relationships, even with the most challenging people you know!