Is the Mid-Life Crisis Syndrome Hitting You?


As years creep into forties and fifties, and for some late thirties, people start to look for signs of aging when they look into the mirror.  With each new wrinkle found, they get a little more depressed.  They are aging.  This phenomenon does not apply only to women as most people believe although it is the women who make the most fuss out of it.  For men, it is felt but not discussed least they are seen to be vain.  Nonetheless, whether people own up to their fears of aging or not, it is there lurking in the background.

The worse impact is in the psychological state for the beliefs in the mind control our physiological well-being.  Of course it is not just the aging that prompted the mid-life crisis syndrome.  It is during this time when things start to slow down a little, when you have time to ponder over what you have achieved or not, when you have less energy for things you once loved to do, when every change appears bigger than at any time in your life, that you feel the aging most.  Because time is running out to do all those things you want to have done but haven’t; you are struggling to find the time and opportunity to do them but find none.  If you are feeling this, you are in an unhealthy state of mind and you need to do something about it. Continue reading

Pushing the Envelope


If you limit your choices to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise. ~Robert Fritz

When I read this quote by Robert Fritz, I could not help asking myself if this is what I have been doing – compromising myself.  Have you?  I am not surprised if you do because most of us take the easy way out.  Why push yourself so hard?  Life is to be enjoyed.  But do you get what you want and hope to become?

Is it possible for me to be a good teacher?  Yes, it is but you must acquire the knowledge.  Is it possible for me to be rich?  Yes, you can but you need to learn how to make your money grow.  And so forth…

When you are not pushing against the envelope you are not growing.  Becoming stagnant is worse than death because, whether you realize it or not, life becomes less meaningful, listless and boring without a purpose. Continue reading

From Suffering to Greatness


Almost every great man I read about had at one time or another suffer some personal losses before they become great.  That puts me to wonder what really transpire during the time of suffering that make these people great.  For their greatness is sustainable for many decades and often the rest of their lives.  People like Lee Kuan Yew and Gandhi Mahatma.

Perhaps it is during the time of lost and suffering that people find there is nothing to lose by going deep within themselves to reflect and search for the thing they are made of.  It is perhaps during this time that the greatest insights and passions are revealed because there is no other noise of fear that camouflage and prevent its revelation. Continue reading

Reflecting on Teen Parenting


For the past few months, for some reason or other, I was drawn in the direction of Teen Parenting.  Aside from the programme run by my partner, Dolly Yeo, on parenting in particular on teens, I seem to attract all things relating to teen parenting.

Last week, I was with some friends celebrating a birthday.  The conversation somehow drifted to managing teens and the difficulties that went along with it.

One said, “Teens nowadays would not listen to you.  You tell them one thing and they will do another.  They would listen to friends and others but me.”.  Quite a few agreed.

On the same weekend, I met another ex-colleague and again the conversation was unconsciously steered toward parenting.  You quickly picked up on the self-justification on how different the world is today, parenting is becoming more difficult and there is nothing much you can do about it.  Such is the defeatist attitude. Continue reading

When is your turning point?


When someone undergoes a 360 degree change it is when some major mis-happening has occurred in their lives.  The turning point is that crucial moment of realization when your whole world is turned upside down.  You are then forced to think about what is important in your life, what is your purpose, and so forth.

No one reflects much about their lives when the going is smooth; you have a good job, a fantastic marriage, a loving family, kids and all.  What else would you ask for?  Then the unthinkable happens.  It could be losing your job, a failed marriage, a love one died or you suddenly have a heart attack.  The big question comes up: what is my life all about?  The soul-searching journey begins but it is hard for you have never done anything like this before.  You become nervous and lost.  Then come the depression you do not know how to get rid of.  Desperation could cause you to take the next available boat not caring the destination it is heading.  You take a chance and that could lead you into more unhappiness. Continue reading

Watch Out! Others could sniff you out


Many people hide behind social masks – sometimes several – as a means to protect themselves from harm.  Truth is these masks are causing more damage than they are shields.  They prevent you from knowing your true self.  The self-denial is so strong that it reduces your ability to handle problems.  This happens when we lack the self-confidence in being our authentic selves.

Being genuine and sincere seem so basic in human connections but there will always be excuses in not exercising them.  In almost all sales training, we are taught to be genuine and sincere.  However, most choose not to be out of fear that the potential customer would reject their services or products. Continue reading

“Don’t live someone else’s dreams”


This sounds perfectly reasonable but yet we often live someone else’s dreams without realizing it because we never question ourselves deeply enough.  How often is it that even the most intelligent of persons would say they did this or that because their parents wanted them to.  Or that, everyone thinks that he/she is good at doing this so that is what he/she landed up doing.  It is sad but true.

If we are not living the lives of others, we are imposing others to live the lives we would have like to live.  When I hear parents say, “I didn’t have the opportunity to learn to play the piano when I was a child.  Now that I have the means, I am sending my son to piano lessons.” , I feel sorry for the child.   No consideration is given to whether her son is interested in playing the piano.  So now the son is stressed out having to go for the lessons weekly and need to be reminded frequently to practise the pieces.  It is no wonder children today is feeling the pressure.  The parents’ defense is always “I’m doing that for their own good.”. Continue reading

When Nice is not so Nice


We are taught from young to be nice but it is not always appropriate to be nice.  For instance, your parents do not always appear to be nice when they want you to do something that is perceived to be for your own good or, when your teacher lectures you for not doing your homework and, the list goes on.  They are practicing nice by being not so nice.

However, when we start making friends, we very often refrain from saying things that may upset them for fear of losing their friendship.  We are always trying to be nice. Well, if we are genuine friends we would have to learn to confront difficult situations without resorting to be being nice and burying the less than welcome truth. Continue reading

Instant Gratification ==>Irresponsibility?


Over the past two days I have been talking to several people about coaching.  One of the more commonly asked question was “Can you guarantee results?”.  Now, that is when the thought came “Instant Gratification = Irresponsibility”.  Why do I say that?

Look around you, everybody seems to go for instant gratification.  Patience – waiting and working for results – is no longer seen as values.  Instead, if you cannot delivery within the time expected (which is normally super short), you are out of the game.  Everything is about speed.  I, too, am one of those and I am resolving to change this mindset.

While some things are best done by others, there are also things that could never be done by others.  You could not for example get others to remember for you, learn for you, practise for you and, aha, decide for you.  The last is something we unfortunately do – consciously or unconsciously – because it is easier. Continue reading

Taking Action!


Procrastination is probably one of the worst enemies in personal transformation and coaching helps to jump over this obstacle.

In the words of Norman Vincent Peale, one of my first motivators:

Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear.

So when you procrastinate, you are inactive and the root cause may be something we are afraid to ask ourselves.  Maybe that is the self-preservation at work – we do not like to see what we perceive as the ugliness in us.  See not the ugliness but the opportunity to become better.

Successful leaders and coaches will tell you to take full responsibility of your own actions be they successes or failures.  Only when we are honest with ourselves are we able to determine the areas we need to change for the better. Continue reading

The Pursuit of Happiness (II)


If we are barking at the wrong tree when depending on external factors for our true lasting happiness, what could we do to deflect from this erroneous path?

I am not sure if it is a good thing that there are lots of resources on the topic of happiness.  On one hand it is good to know that we are not alone in this journey while on the other it is rather sad to know that there are so many people afflicted by the disease – of not being happy.  I refer unhappiness to being a disease simply because with enough commitment to change, this trend could be reversed.

It is interesting how long people pulse when you ask if they are happy.  At times I wonder which of these could be the real reason for the delay in answer:

  • They have never given it deep thoughts.
  • They are afraid or embarrass to say what they think.
  • They are thinking to form an answer that they think you want to hear.
  • They do not know how to qualify if they are happy or not.
  • …and many others I could not venture to guess.

If there is a long pulse before you get an answer, it could be a telltale sign of an unhappy person.  If you are happy, it will be evident; every expression in your manner, speech and action projects it.

To reset our genetic happiness set point (see also http://wp.me/pJZPk-2h), we need to practise more positive thinking on a regular basis which will then lead us to having more positive emotions.  It is not good enough to start on a transformation programme only to stop after a few days or weeks.  It has got to be a continuous process of self-awareness, self-development and self-appraisal to the point of becoming second nature to you.  The transformation process involves a change in mindset and developing the ability to consciously observe yourself in thoughts and actions moment-by-moment in your everyday life.

Wow, I know it sounds tough and it is tough.  That is why you need to break everything down into achievable chunks to digest and practise.

Here are some suggestive steps you could take:

  1. Read some books or search the web for resources to help you line up the various exercises you could do to help in the transformation process.
  2. Commit to making these changes and set short and long term goals.
  3. Identify the ones that are most comfortable for you.
  4. Prioritize and decide which ones to start with.  Start small with just a couple of exercises that can easily fit into your current lifestyle.
  5. If necessary, get a life coach to help you for a faster and more effective change.
  6. Perform regular evaluations and adjust.
  7. Add on more exercises when you feel right.

It typically takes 21 days of consistent application to form sustainable habits but be kind to yourself if you do not make it on some days.  Being overly hard on yourself can discourage and hinder your progress and, you don’t want that.

If you are not using a coach, you could start a support group comprising people with whom you are comfortable having the same objective – to attain true lasting happiness – as a common goal.  However, you need some very strict rules of engagement in the group to make this a success.  More of this in the next article.

Hope you enjoy this and are able to use some of the suggestions here.

Velcro vs Teflon


I was totally captivated by this phrase Velcro vs Teflon” coined by Dr. Rick Hanson in the book “Happy for No Reason” by Marci Shimoff.  What is all that about?

Since it appears in a book about happiness, you could probably guess how this is related.  Apparently we are naturally drawn to negativity like Velcro and oblivious to positivity as it slides off easily like on Teflon.

When you give this some thought, you would find that it is not difficult at all to drag up tons of examples to prove that this is all too true.  Some of these might resonate:

  • Everyone tells you how great a job you have done but your boss thinks you have missed out one important point.  You take this as criticism and could not sleep for days; it eats you in the gut.
  • You think you are a good mother but when your neighbour complains about your son’s misbehaviour, you take a dive in self-esteem.
  • You take a test which you have no problem answering all the questions but one.  You think you have done badly and could fail the test.

All it takes is just one small “wrong” to throw you into depression, destroying all the good simply because we are designed to focus on negativity.

Everyone seems to be seeking happiness but finding it elusive.  Now you have a little better idea why this is so.  Negativity being a natural reaction (due to the flight-or-fight phenomenon of our fore-fathers in early life form) makes it comfortable for us to remain unhappy.  To become happy requires more effort; we need to learn new ways of thinking and responding.  Any wonder why there are so many unhappy people?

Thomas Leonard said “People spend more time WORRYING about what might happen than DEALING with things that do happen“.

Concentrating on worrying leaves you no energy nor brain power to appreciate the beauty of the NOW and you miss the opportunity to be happy.

To avoid this natural tendency, we need to practise appreciation and gratefulness daily to ensure negativity is kept at bay.  We should practise having good thoughts: notice the freshness of the morning air, the peacefulness in taking a stroll in the gardens, smile at the happiness of children at play, appreciate the thoughtfulness of your neighbours, and so forth.   Concentrate on these things and you will find the warm in the heart grows.

Marci Shimoff suggests in her book to keep a count on the number of times you blame, complain or feel ashame a day and you would know how easily negative thoughts creep into your everyday life.

In order to train our brain to be more positive, each time you record these negative thoughts, replace it with a positive one.  Eventually, slowly but surely, you will become happier.

Let’s make a commitment NOW to change this to:

“Velcro=Positivity:Teflon=Negativity”

Chasing After The Solution


Who does not have a dilemma?  I am sure we all have a dilemma or two in our lifetimes.  The difference is how you handle them when they knock on your door.  Do you decide to deal with it or do you ignore it and hope that the problem will go away.

The thing is by not making a decision you are making a decision, i.e. the decision not to make a decision.  How profound is that?

So what is the consequence of either?  When you make a decision you are choosing the path you want to take, never mind what the outcome is.  If you do not make a decision, something will still happen but you are leaving the choice to other people.  The former gives you the feeling of power over the situation and therefore you are more positive while the other makes you feel helpless and disempowered.

Of the two, you would likely choose the first rather than the second option, right?  Wrong.  Many would still rather leave their fate to someone else because deciding also means having to commit to the outcome.  By relying on others, you have the opportunity or option to curse, swear and blame someone else when things go wrong.  Yes, some people do not want to take responsibility for their own actions and having someone take the blame makes them feel safe.

Now, you may decide you want to be empowered so you choose to face the issue.  Then you need to consider a list of options.  That’s when the hard part begins because you need to think.  You would think thinking occurs naturally and in some cases for some people it is although there is a large number of them who would rather not or able to, especially when it comes to complex issues involving many aspects of one’s life.  They are terrified.  Thinking is hard work drawing a lot of brain power and it is exhausting.

Good decision comes from quality thinking and even thinking requires training.  That is why there are loads of books and course on lateral thinking, etc.  Quality thinking gives you wider perspective of the situation and therefore derives better solution options.

Finally you come up with a few possible solutions but somehow THE solution still remains elusive.  None of them seems to fit somehow.  So what do you do?  You look for help from colleagues, friends, relatives, spouses, etc.  That should cover the bases.  Yet the advices feel hollow and you end up with “yes, but…”.  You are no where closer to your solution than before.  What has gone wrong?

This could have fallen between either one of these possibilities:

  1. The kind colleagues, friends, relatives, spouses, etc. may have agendas unbeknown even to themselves that could sabotage your hope.  Consciously or sub-consciously they may not want you to succeed fearing that the outcome could jeopardize the relationship one way or another.
  2. Not having the same background, experiences and other personal differences, they could not fully appreciate the situation and have very different perception of the successful outcome.
Ultimately the best possible solution would have come from within you.  However, this is not to say you should not consult their opinions.  Just do not expect the final decision handed over on a silver platter.  What you need is some deep reflection – and perhaps some guidance.  You may want to consider someone who has been trained to ask the right questions to help clarify your thoughts, re-order your thinking patterns and draw insights from the process; someone who is objective and most importantly encouraging of your efforts; someone who is supportive and to whom you could be accountable for the solution and actions you have decided on.  Yes, of course, I am referring to a coach.

You may not need or want a coach for everything but the one or few challenging periods in your life to help you through.  Just recognize the moments but if you are not sure, ask for a free trial to see if this is for you.  Decide!

Listening and Watching On The Move


Within my circle of friends I am considered rather tech-savvy but that is only by comparison to their knowledge level.  For example, I have only started on the podcast interest over the past few months and I am enjoying it.  While I enjoy music I am not one of those who would perpetually stuck my ears with a pair of earphones all day, everyday.

I love to play with tech gadgets and I “upgraded” my MP3 player to an iPod Classic a year ago.  With a capacity of 120GB, it would take a lot to fill it up especially when I do not watch movies on it.  Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I spent some of it in exploring iTunes and found iTune U.  Actually I did the exploration only after I was introduced to http://www.TED.com through one of the newsletter that I signed up for.  So what is the attraction?

Podcasts are audio files (MP3) and VodCasts are audio-visual files (MP4) which you can play on any MP3/4 players.  So many podcasts and vodcasts are now available for free that it can be exhausting to just browse through the subjects and titles even before you start listening, watching or downloading them.  But they have so much to offer in terms of both general education and entertainment.  I am continually amazed by the wealth of information available.

There are a number of websites where you can find vodcasts ands podcasts which you can watch or listen to online or download them for later use.  The most popular one is probably YouTube and almost everyone knows about it.  However, the video clip library contains such indiscriminative subjects that makes it difficult to search for the more serious content, or so I thought until I found the Education segment within it.

Google also has their own library of educational video clips of talks, seminars, etc. uploaded by universities and other subject authoritative producers made available for free.  Some of the video clips are as short as under 15 minutes to over an hour long with wide ranging subjects on various sciences, politics, literature, humanities, education, business, engineering, etc.

There is no shortage of video clips to watch and download.  I like http://www.TED.com which showcases videos normally not longer than 30 minutes or so.  Some are very inspiring and funny and the length of the videos is just right for the iPod to listen to on typical bus or train journey or while waiting for a friend to turn up for tea. I get a kick in thinking I am better “educated” and wiser after a bus journey listening to my iPod.  No time wasted there.  For me this is also the best time for pondering.  I tend to daydream, looking out the window unseeingly and so some useful data injection is always welcomed.  I also like to listen to audio books and podcasts when I go for a walk.

The other thing I like about TED is that some of the video clips come with subtitles of various languages and so if English is not your natural language or you are not an English speaker, the subtitle choices are of a great help. It also offers interactive transcription that links to the video clip.  By clicking anywhere within the transcription will take you to the corresponding location in the video, better than clicking onto the fast-forward button.

Everyone of those I have introduced TED to enjoy the videos and I started noticing there are more and more people having them bookmarked on their iPhones.

I learned that UChannel and Academic Earth feature free online courses from universities but I have yet visited them.  I probably will do that after I finish this article.

Recently I found http://www.fora.tv that also has similar offerings although those that interest me tended to run over 45 minutes.  They are generally talks that include a question and answer section.  Of course there are some which are only under 3 minutes too.  You also have the option to bookmark and download them onto your iPhone.

If you are a neuroscience and psychology nut like me, you might find some of these interesting:
http://fora.tv/2009/11/08/Does_Darwin_Illuminate_Emotion_and_Spirituality – this is nearly 1.5 hours long.
http://fora.tv/2009/09/29/Lise_Eliot_Pink_Brain_Blue_Brain – this is about 42 minutes
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_cute_sexy_sweet_funny.html – this one is obviously funny; about 8 minutes
http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology.html – 24 minutes
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy.html – 21 minutes
http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_goleman_on_compassion.html – 13 minutes

These are just some of the video clips and I am sure you can find many more from the websites mentioned above.

There are also websites that offer free audio books.  You may want to try http://www.learnoutloud.com/Free-Audio-Video and http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/free-audio-book-and-podcast-resources/ .

I leave you with these resources that you can visit and I hope you enjoy.  If you come across other interesting ones, please share them with me.

Do you know what your Passions are?


We all talk about our passions every now and then but do we really know what our passions are.  We say we are passionate about this and that.  Are we really?  How often have we thought about our passions?  Some people live in their passions and they are usually those who are successful and I do not necessarily mean people who are rich either.  The problem is in defining what is passion and success because these mean different things for different people.  What is yours?  Have you really thought about it?

Defining your passions and successes require a conscious mind – involving deep thinking.  Some people think that they are clear about their passions but yet cannot find happiness in what they do.  Then they are not living their passions.  This is according to Janet and Chris Attwood in The Passion Test.

Many people lead their lives through others by being what others (parents, teachers, spouses, etc.) told and wanted them to be because that is what they are good at.  Perhaps that is what they are good at but it is not necessary what they want to be deep down and they cannot be happy being what they do not really care about.

Recognizing this, Janet Attwood devises a system to help you reflect and self-discover your true passions.  However, discovering your true passions (which could change from time-to-time) is only the first step toward self transformation.  It elicits a conscious decision about what your life is all about and if you are willing to move toward them with the first step.

Transformation takes a lot of courage because you will face a lot of uncertainty but transformation does not need to be instantaneous and can be done in baby steps.  The most important step is the first step – discover and decide.

In the book “The Passion Test”, Janet and Chris Attwood take you through the steps you could and should take toward living a life of your passions.  People living their lives of passions are happier and more successful.  The success part of it depends on your passions and is not necessarily measured by the amount of money you earn or the possessions you have.  If you passion is to become a loving, understanding and supportive mother, your success would be the measurement by which your children see and feel toward you.

Living in your passions you are not stressed into doing things that you do not care about and hence you are more relaxed.  That helps you to be more creative leading to more success.  Are you beginning to see how passion works?

You may want to work on your passion test with a coach so that you get better clarity in discovering what you want and allow your coach to help you through the challenging transformation process.

To find out more about The Passion Test, you may want to visit their website http://www.thepassiontest.com or read the book available at all major book stores.

Better yet, contact me for a trial coaching session to see how you can use the Passion Test to help you discover your passions.

Tel:  +65-93379308
Email:  fun.infinitepotential@gmail.com

Book Review – Your Brain At Work


For those who have taken the ICT (Intensive Coaching Training) with Results Coaching Systems (RCS) would know who David Rock is.  He is the founder of RCS now operating worldwide and the author of several books, including the most recent – Your Brain At Work.

David Rock conducted a workshop in Singapore this November on his latest book, the result of 3 years of hard work and interviews with renown neuro-scientists.  The book is a good read, delivering normally hard-to-understand neuroscience concepts in layman language to help us understand how our brains work and how to capitalize on this knowledge.  This is by no means a full understanding of the brain since there is still a lot of unknowns about this complex organ of ours and neuroscience, is a fairly new field in comparison to all the sciences of today.  However, any small step taken forward is a major discovery to reflect and test on and could be the life-changing event for anyone.

Catching on the neuroscience-interest disease, I have taken steps to follow the works on neuroscience in recent months, reading as much as time allows.  So this book is of utmost interest not only for those neuroscience enthusiast as I but also for any lay person who has an interest in maximizing the use of their brain  at work.

Some of the interesting finds in David Rock’s work are:

  • Conscious thinking takes up a lot of energy, more than we realized and there are some tasks utilizing more energy than others.
  • The conscious working part of the brain is small and therefore limited to a number of things we can do with it at any given time.
  • The brain can only manage one conscious task at a time and multi-tasking slows us down more than concentrating on one task fully at a time.
  • Multi-tasking affects our quality of performance and accuracy.
  • Our brains are very easily distracted by internal and external factors but we could learn to manage and control our thinking processes to maximize the effective use of our brains.
  • Understanding how the brain reacts to various circumstances and how to circumvent the negative occurrences for positive effects.
  • The practice of mindfulness helps in training the brain to better control and use of the whole brain to promote and manage autonomy and certainty.
  • Using the SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) model to facilitate change and maintain sustainable transformation.
Bottom line is the brain can change according to what thoughts and thinking process you feed your brain with regardless of your age.
If you are inspired to make a big shift in your life – either at home or at work – you may want to start by picking up this book to understand how your brain works.  It may save you a lot of wasted hours and ineffective hard work for a more sustainable and rewarding transformation.  To speed up the process, find yourself a coach to help you in your journey.

What Has Voice Got To Do With Coaching?


Over a month ago I attended a talk on “Media Presentation Skills” organized by the ICF Chapter in Singapore.  It turned out more interesting than I had anticipated because there was segment on voice training, something I have great interest in.

Most people do not think that their voice could be trained to sound better – more pleasant and attractive – relegating that to something that only singers do.  You may or may not have noticed that some singers sing beautifully but when they start speaking, you want to cover your ears not because of what they say or even how they say it.  It is because of their voice!

Many tell me that I have a good voice but I have never had it professionally evaluated.  I would love to know what constitute a good voice and if it is true that we can change it.  This is where Paul Carr, Media Presenter and Broadcaster, comes in.  In the talk, Paul shared a few tips on being a good media speaker which, as mentioned, include having a good voice and how he had transformed his voice to one that is now well sort after and paid for.  I have extracted a few points from Paul’s presentation and added a few insights of my own.

Having good planning and preparation
Not everyone is good at speaking off the cuffs, and even then I am sure they run through a framework in their minds before they speak.  Otherwise the speeches will come out incoherent.

The first step, unsurprisingly, is to plan what you want to present or say.  Decide on the objective of the presentation – is it to promote, sell, or introduce a product, or protect and defend a reputation or situation – and keep your focus on the objective.  Depending on the type of presentation (i.e. a speech, interview, product introduction, etc.), content and pitch of the presentation have to be well thought through to ensure relevance.

Then write out the presentation speech and practise, practise and practise until you are fairly familiar with the content, including how you want to deliver it and visualize the response you want to incite from it.

One important thing to note:  You are on Live Presentation when you have a meeting with your clients and hence pre-meeting preparation is just as important as preparing for a speech.  Likewise for a coaching session with our clients, we prepare.

Presenting
With the increasing use of social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc., presentations can be delivered in a number of ways either using audio-visual as in video clips or simply just audio such as podcasts.

In audio-visual presentations not only do you want to sound good but also look good.  The audience’s attention is divided between what they see and what they hear, and while the voice is not the only focus point, it is nonetheless important if you want to drive a point through clearly.

Audio presentation as in a radio interview or a podcast will have a very heavy emphasis on the quality of speech.  The voice then becomes a very important part because that is the only thing that the audience will be focusing on.

Executing a good presentation would include having these components in the speech and voice:

“Finishing your words” is one of the most common issues in speeches and conversations.  Too often we make assumptions when we speak and have a tendency to “eat” up our words forming incomplete sentences. Just look at the quotes reported in the newspaper articles and note the text in square brackets and you will know what I mean.  By “eating” up your words, you no longer can deliver a concise and clear message leaving a lot to interpretations that can lead to disastrous results.

Intimacy is apparently a very important ingredient to conversations and speech delivery.  You want your audience captivated and focus on you and your words, showing that you care and is present.  Obviously you need to pace yourself on the level of intimacy added to your tone to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.  Especially in a one-on-one conversation, for example in a coaching session, having intimacy in your voice can demonstrate your full attention on your client and can promote trust and confidence.

Pitch Variation adds interest and live to the speech or conversation.  When is a dead-pan voice attractive unless you want to act or become a robotic I’ll-be-back terminator!  To be sure having a short statement delivered in a dead-pan voice can be very effective when used in an appropriate moment, just not the entire speech.  Delivering with high impact differentiates a superb presenter from the average presenters.  I am sure want to be the former and not the latter.  Take notice the next time you speak and see if you have good pitch variation or are you putting people to sleep in spite of the interesting topic discussed.

Tone, like pitch variation, gives depth to the speech.  You need to use the right tone for the right moment.  Obviously a gentle tone is better than a harsh one almost under any circumstance to sound encouraging, supportive, understanding, compassionate, etc. but you need to apply a firm tone if the circumstance calls for it to get the highest impact from the interaction.

Volume gives the speech a total different dimension if used appropriately.  If you are too loud, you sound coarse and unrefined.  This is very off-putting.  On the other hand, if you speak too softly, you could not be well heard and that frustrates your listeners.  Applying the right volume adds attraction and interest as your audience feels comfortable and do not need to strain their ears to hear you.

Pace, like volume, is critical and I can say this from personal experience.  When speaking, we must be mindful of our audience ability to follow you.  People lose interest after a few minutes of trying hard to understand and fail.  It is very brain draining to absorb, translate and try to understand, and if they cannot catch up, they give up altogether.  This is especially so when you are speaking in pace too fast and in a language that is not your audience natural language.  However, speaking in too slow a pace is equally unattractive for you will sound too dull and your audience need to pace their brain waves to follow your speech which can be just as exhausting.

Pronunciation is probably underestimated in importance.  It is not enough that your fellow countrymen understand you.  Operating in a global environment, we need to ensure that we speak for a worldwide audience to be heard and understood.  Otherwise why bother speaking at all?  Having good pronunciation means having a clear and crisp enunciation of the words and not necessarily changing your accent which, in some cases, could be worse off sounding most unnatural and certainly unattractive.

Breathe correctly is the most fundamental feature in having a good voice to do all those things mentioned above. Shallow breathing will not deliver the depth of feeling of your voice to execute good pitch variation, tone, volume and pace.  Taking a deep breath and releasing it in a controlled pace in alignment with the speech gives the best voice result, very similar to how a singer learns to sing.

Do you listen to yourself?  If you don’t, start now and learn to pay attention consciously to how you speak.  Compare your speeches in all the areas mentioned above to see how you fare and consider where you might need training.  I started listening to myself since my teens when I decided I want to speak good English and the practice pays off well.  I still continue to do it now but am adding the new components I learned here to my listening.

So why is voice important to coaching?  Coaching is a very intimate relationship between the coach and the client involving a lot of trust and confidence.  With an attractive voice as elaborated in this article, together with a host of other coaching techniques, could put a client at ease quickly to incite the needed trust and confidence for a successful coaching engagement.

Today, marketing your coaching practice may mean capitalizing on the use of social media networks and you may want to try a number of things involving audio-visual or just audio presentations in your blogs and/or websites.  Knowing how to use your voice to the maximum effect to attract audience and followers is certainly a way to go.  Good Luck!

Is this what it takes to cultivate Patience?


How often is it said that Patience is a virtue but it is not something that is easily maintained throughout the day. Patience is what I would like to accomplish yet it has not been on the top of my list until in recent months. I have been trying to make a conscious effort to take note of the times that I get frustrated and lose patience. The occasions have reduced significantly partly because I spend more time with myself and therefore can maintain being peaceful and serene. I was rather pleased with myself until…

I have a lot of dealings with old folks, in the past and the present, and they do test your patience. It could not be helped that they get forgetful and repeat things over and over again, sometimes everyday. Now that communication means are so easily available, there is no where to hide without causing some upsets. So you get calls day and night. They have no regard for the number of times they call you or consideration for your availability. Sometimes, I wish I could be firm enough to tell them to back off but I know I won’t.

My parents have an issue with our maid and we are in the process of terminating her services. My father has been picking every single small issue and complains daily. The maid has been working for us for 3 years now and the problems started surfacing some 6 months ago. The complaining started. At first it was weekly or as and when a problem arises then it gets more frequent. Ask what they wanted to get done about it, both my parents have different views and refused to make any decision. So the complaining continues more frequently and intensely.

Talking about complexities of human relationships, this one tops everything else, at least in my experience. When you have misalignment of expectations, sensitiveness, unsubstantiated assumptions and accusations and poor communications where can there be peaceful co-existence? The main problem is old folks are obviously unwilling or not open to reflect and consider changes and maids, generally not angels either, do not see why they need to be accommodative to their employers’ eccentricities.

Being a rather objective person, I tried to put things into perspective but was frequently being accused of taking sides. Rationally, I understand that old folks just wanted to vent their frustrations onto a listening ear but there is only so much one can take and emotionally, on the receiving end, it posts a big problem for me. It gets to me each time in spite of my attempts to brace myself for it. I get frustrated because even with the decision made to let the maid go and while waiting for the maid to depart, I continue to be barraged with past and new misdeeds (I have 2 more weeks before we say goodbye to the maid and it feels like a long wait!).

It gets to the point that I want an escape to somewhere where no phone calls can reach me. I maintain my physical distance by limiting my visits to my parents for fear of getting myself upset unnecessarily. I know it sounded mean but I need to preserve my sanity. These are the times I repeatedly asked myself, “Patience where are you? When will you stay on permanently?“. Meditation helps tremendously until the next phone call comes in. Is this the ultimate test in cultivating patience, I wonder.

The new maid will arrive in 2 weeks. I sincerely hope she would bring on some peace then I can relax and be my peaceful self again.