Tuesday 5 December 2017

Wellbeing At Work & Home ; Employee – Employer – Business Owner

“What is essential is that we take responsibility for our own mental wellbeing and knowing when to ask for help.”

In 2018 the focus on Wellbeing at Work will increase largely driven by increased awareness on individual’s mental health and the fact too many people are not coping in their life.
There is a media frenzy adding to the hype and “mental health” is one of the great political footballs that adds to the problem of creating fear without practical resolution.
It is a fact that mental illnesses are a major concern and that overall the resources available to help are insufficient. However, for a large number of people experiencing anxiety, stress and depression their condition can be greatly improved by reflecting upon and changing the way we think and in turn how we behave.
Despite the fear spread we in the UK live in a secure country with a great education system and a national health system that overall provides a fantastic service. We do look after each other in the main, opportunities for work abound and for those who want to explore their entrepreneurial spirit there are many ways to create and develop new ideas and business.
Undoubtedly there are many problems in our bit of the world but I suggest that if individuals better understood the influences on their feelings and through learning how best to find happiness in their life then many of the issues surrounding negative emotions would disappear. What is essential is that we take responsibility for our own mental wellbeing and knowing when to ask for help.
This matters to all of us whether we are an employee, employer, business owner or for those keeping home or in retirement and for many those between stages of life in education or finding new work.
My work has taken me across many areas helping individuals in their personal or work life coping with “emotional challenges” including supporting people within organisations support their staff.
My concern, sometimes anger, is that too often the focus of help is aimed solely at getting people back to “their normal”. Not providing them with the knowledge and tools to take control of their own mental wellbeing and to take responsibility for their whole life and happiness.
Importantly people need help and support to get beyond this point and is the reason I have developed the Mejma Experience programmes to achieve this. As I have said before what is essential is that we take responsibility for our own mental wellbeing and knowing when to ask for help. My programmes achieve this by providing a foundation of knowledge for individuals to build upon.
To see how best I can help you as an individual or an organisation please do contact me when I can develop programmes around your specific needs – here are the outlines http://bit.ly/2inwGTy
Life coaching is a positive solution to coping with issues causing anxiety, stress and depression; enabling people to take control of their life and their happiness.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Script from my 2017 talks on “Hope, Help & Happiness”

 Script from my 2017 talks on “Hope, Help & Happiness”

Ian Marshall – Introduction for event organiser
Ø  Ian says he knows himself well, although there are always surprises, and although his life is not as he thought it would be, he is overall “Happy” most of the time. What he must always have is a plan and activity to work on towards a goal
Ø  Ian wants to help people adapt themselves to become the people they want to be, to find hope and happiness and that doesn’t always come from changing the world – as Ian says “it often comes’ from changing their perception of it.”
Ø  Wanting more is human nature, better relationships, more money, excitement or just more peace and quiet – less stress.
Ø  Ian says that we are exposed to many guru’s, motivational speakers, money making experts and lifestyle specialists all saying “this is what you need to be happy”. But, not all of us want to seek fame and fortune and reality says most of us want to live a “normal” happy life– whatever that means to us.
Here is Ian on the topics of Hope, Help & Happiness
I’m in the hope and happiness business, no not as an entertainer but as a coach helping people overcome life challenges and to find more happiness and success in their life.
My mantra is “Bringing your life to LIFE” Specifically, helping those people who have become overwhelmed stressed out and conversely for those who have become bored and the colour has gone out of their life. This applies to both the home and work.Or if you have avoided these feelings so far this will help you cope with them in the future.
It’s said that one in four of us will experience some form of mental illness each year.
Looking back over the last 1000 years, conditions of depression, melancholy, and suicide were then often considered a wrong, an embarrassment to others, something to be feared, a weakness dismissed by some as attention seeking and only recognised by a few as a real issue.Religions took their stance in the main blaming the individual for depression – this is life get on with, it will be better in the next world. 
Just over a 100 years ago psychology, as we know it today in the Western World, developed and has progressed dramatically. Mental illness and moods are much better understood today but with still a million miles to go to understand the complexities of the brain. For too many, mental illness has a stigma and low social acceptance and understanding.About the same time as modern psychology came along so did modern marketing and along with that we have created new problems;
We are sold unhappiness:
We are constantly told that we need more. The media and marketing industry is largely built upon making us dissatisfied with our life. We are constantly fed visions of disaster and fear – we are made to feel insecure.
In the UK we are by most measures a safe place to live most of the time so why this constant barrage of negativity. We are told we need a better car, bigger better home, exotic holidays, to improve our image with brands to support the perception that we have of who we are.
Now I am equally motivated by wanting more but along the way I have learned to find hope and happiness in what I have today and I believe that, wherever you are in life, regardless of your circumstances, you have the capacity to be happy.
I help people at that time in their life when they have come to a point where they can’t see a future that they want, some may not see a future at all. This can be the result of many things such as poor or broken relationship, job and career problems, health concerns or feelings of isolation and no longer having meaning or purpose in their life. Sometimes those that have ideas are frustrated about how to move forward and are in many ways disabled simply by their thought process.
Recognising these challenges can and do happen to all of us at some time but as we get older we can get worn down and we find it increasingly difficult to cope. The colour has gone from our life and finding happiness illusive.
What I have learned from my life and the many people I have met and those I have helped is that happiness is never far away. Sure, horrible things happen and despite your best efforts to find and achieve goals you will get knocked of course.
Events and people cause you to change direction and yes there is luck in this world. Importantly we need to accept that things, jobs, relationships come and go and for the most part we have little control over them.
 Now let’s talk about a new kid on the block – 
Positive Psychology:
The field of Positive Psychology was formally explored and developed at the end of the last century, the 1990’s – still a baby but such an important approach. Already so much of what has come from that is scientifically validated.
One factor is that we are genetically programmed for a level of happiness (or being bloody miserable). Without intervention it means that good or bad things happen to us and within a period of time we revert to our old selves. Research suggests our norm is 50% of potential with day to day life moving us 10% either way but we can act and think in ways to heighten our happiness well beyond that 10%
Now with that knowledge what can we do is to improve our level of happiness. Happiness is a subjective state and means different things to different people so in the words in the philosopher Socrates some 2,500 years ago you need to “Know yourself”. This is something I spend a lot of time with people – finding what is right in their life and building upon that. And yes, in time you can change your base level of happiness by changing the way you think.
Importantly I find most people are capable of much more than they ever thought possible.
A client of mine was for all intents and purposes seen to be happy. Loving husband, children at university and she was living a good lifestyle – money wasn’t an issue but she had become unhappy. What is the point of me, my husband is away for most weeks at work and my children independent? She had in many ways lost her identity – she needed to re-invent herself and find new meaning and purpose in her life.
A love of hers was gardening and hers was beautiful, often commented upon by friends and neighbours. When we first met she was very down and unlike her garden the colour had drained out of her life. We discussed all the past successes in her life with an early career, her children and the lifestyle she had but what for the future?
The one thing obvious to me that she was bright and capable but needed direction, a goal to achieve – what better way forward than to do what she loved, gardening and in particular garden design. She decided to take a course in garden design and along the way created some gardens for her friends and by the end of her course has started a small business when her friends introduced their friends.
This took off into all sort of new experiences, from involvement in the local business community, to giving talks and to designing evermore ambitious projects. Within a year she had transformed and found happiness along the way.
An area that has been very close to me is helping people when they become redundant, sometimes necessary but in my view often not. It destroys many people, wastes talent and experience and so often doesn’t solve the organisation’s problems. I’ve worked a lot in this area over the years and in my early conversation I say to people that the only way forward is for you to see this as “an opportunity”.Now, this is hard to take on when often you feel you have been wronged. This message becomes very sour when those individuals who willingly took redundancy find some 6 months down the road they can’t find another job. The hard fact here is that if what you are doing isn’t working then you need to do something different – that applies to so many parts of our life.
Equally there are those who have brilliant ideas, are motivated and committed but it’s not working. Sometimes it is lack of skills and knowledge – sometimes it is because what they are trying to do is not aligned with who they are and what they really want out of life.
On my website www.mejma.com you can download my free decision wheel. I have some copies of the wheel here but you will have to go to the site to get the full guidance notes - you can each fill one out in a while, it’s a great place to start a conversation. What it does do is to provide you with a snapshot of how you see the broader aspects of your life today – you will undoubtedly change it when you give it more thought.
Another free thing on my site is your Strengths Survey. We all have 24 strengths with the top five dominating our daily lives, a few at the bottom we rarely use with the rest we use as and when we feel the need. The survey is online and if you chose you can let me have a copy to go through with you – there are no right or wrong answers.
Now, both of these tools are part of a much broader process to help you move forward and “Bring your life to LIFE”. Where we do have control is how we react to events and that is important. I’m not saying it is easy, why should it be, but we have to get up and find hope for the future. 
We need to find new goals, people to help and support us and then to take action on each new journey and find happiness along the way. As Taoists have said “The Journey Is The Reward”
Or as quoted from the essays of writer Robert Louis Stephenson  “to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive”.

Throughout my life I have found most people are interesting and that they have a good story to tell wherever they come from – importantly people can achieve much more than they think possible.
Although we, as a society, put celebrities on pedestals much real value is found in “normal” people, the 95% of us that live with integrity and purpose valuing their family, friends, work and our contribution within society.
I created the Mejma Experience programmes to help people when setting their own life goals: 
Make your life Mejma

Ø   Meaningful - having real importance and value to you
Ø  Emotional - creating the feelings that drive your beliefs and values
Ø Justifiable - a reason that makes you take action
Ø  Motivational - the reason that drives you to take action
Ø  Altruistic - a concern for the welfare of others.
Q & A.
I have one question for you – What Do You Really want?
You have the capacity to be happy – I can help you find the hope and happiness you deserve.
If you would like to know how I can help you please talk to me.
In closing:
Hope motivates us
Help is needed to give and receive
Happiness - it’s our goal for life
Thank you and I do hope this has helped those who need it to
“Bring your life to your LIFE”.

For full information on the Mejma Experience please see www.mejma.com
To see how I can help you please contact me 01962 809554
email: ian@mejma.com

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Behind The Smile

The key point made by Prince Harry is at the right time “Just have that conversation”

Hi, how are you? 

Great, fantastic, good, ok thanks – you? Smile…..

In western culture this is how most of us carry on when we see someone we know casually in the street, at work or maybe at an event. This is the accepted custom maybe with a handshake or the increasingly popular touch kissing or hug (often an awkward moment) although less seen at work.

This accepted behaviour acknowledges the other person in a non-threatening manner. It’s not normally intrusive but does demonstrate you have some value to them and they to you.

On the other hand being ignored is generally considered rude and hurtful. What’s wrong, have I upset them, arrogant ….ard, the feelings experienced are often out of context but this break in convention causes us to question why and makes us feel uncomfortable.

There may be many reasons, yes they could be ignorant but what have they got on their mind. What has happened to cause them to be like this, what is going on in their life to make them behave in this way?

In general we walk around and take part in society wearing a mask that is our acceptable face. This is non-threatening, not overly inviting but expected.
This is the way we rub along together – our social norm. However, the reality is that most people have worries, concerns, issues that they are dealing with. It could be an unresolved argument, money problems, relationship issues, illness and so on. Whilst the individual is coping with the problem then day to day life continues along its merry way but that all changes when our ability to cope is falling away.

This is the time when people’s behaviour changes. They may become introspective, moody, less communicative and slower. Some may go the other way to hide their emotions and become loud and extrovert to distract from their real world.

So what does this mean to me? Whether you are a parent, boss, friend, work colleague or just someone you say hello to when walking the dog most of us pick up feelings that something is not right. We pick up through our senses something is different – but not always and there lay a big problem, a very big problem.

What to do? It was at this point in writing this article I became stuck. Not because I didn’t have answers but I had too many but none were succinct, concise or broad enough. Then my writers block was spared following the Telegraph journalist, Bryony Gordon’s article following her podcast with Prince Harry. During the podcast Prince Harry shares how he hid away his feeling when his mother, Princess Diana, died some 20 years before.

The conversation covered many key areas related to dealing with past trauma and our resulting mental states that get in the way of us being able to lead happy and fulfilling lives. Recognising that regardless of where you are in society the affliction of mental illness is debilitating but can be managed and overcome and in many cases with education can be limited even avoided.

The key point made by Prince Harry is at the right time “Just have that conversation”

The need to share your thoughts feelings and worries is critical for your own wellbeing. If you have a broken arm it’s obvious to those around you – a broken mind often isn’t. 

These thoughts are to encourage openness to help people with real problems and concerns. This is not a “wingefest” nor are conversations to be had with those that like malicious gossip, don’t actually listen or are manipulative.

The temptation is to hide your bad feelings, keep your problems to yourself but there are many people who can help you. Trusted family and friends, teachers, doctors, counsellors and coaches.

So be aware of what is “Behind the Smile” and as Prince Harry has said in his interview with Bryony Gordon “Just have that conversation”.

Ian Marshall
Bringing your life to LIFE

As a life coach Ian specialises in helping people in middle years who find themselves at a crossroads in their life – sometimes over-whelmed, bored or simply lost, the colour has gone from their life. Helping individuals to find what it is that they really want in their life now and to explore pathways to achieve these new dreams. This is the point where Ian helps, helping people find the future they want and the happiness they deserve.www.mejma.com