The Broken Shelf – A Communication Metaphor

Talking to a colleague I repeated a story I had used for a person who was very confused about a problem. Now it is not my place to tell anyone who is right or wrong but I wanted to explain how a situation could change based on the perspective of how they are thinking about it, so I told the story of the broken shelf.


Let me tell you a story about a simple shelf that was one day found to be broken, the first person felt they needed to fix the shelf, but the second person wanted to know why it had broken. Now as the first person was adamant that if they fixed the shelf, there would no longer be a problem and they would have a shelf, the other tried to explain that if they didn’t know why the shelf was broken, then it couldn’t be fixed because the cause wasn’t known and it could happen again and again.

Who could be right? If the shelf was fixed, it could break again, but if you just found out why it had broken, then all you have is the knowledge and not a shelf! You need to see both sides because both are correct, to fix the shelf you need to know why it broke, to make sure that the cause wouldn’t break it again, that way when it was fixed it would remain strong.

If you have 2 people, for example, and both want to just fix the shelf without understanding why it was broken, then the fix won’t last, if you have 2 people who just want to understand why it was broken, then it remains broken, if you have one person wanting to fix it and another wanting to understand what happened, then the communication isn’t there and again, the shelf will remain broken.

The only way to fix that shelf so that it is strong and will remain fixed is to understand why it was broken in the first place and then work to fix it. There are sides to every situation, there is yours, and then there is everyone else’s. You see we all see the same things in different ways, and only by listening to the other side can we understand more.

To get the full picture, you must understand everyone’s point of view. We all have those broken shelves, and there’s a trick! If you try to tell your point first, you won’t listen to the other side, step back and listen first, then offer your thoughts; you never know, they might be the perfect match of knowing why it happened and how to solve it and you fix that shelf.

“Together you can build a shelf that will stay strong and support your needs”


Continued Professional Development (CPD). What benefits does it offer you?

There are several industries where CPD is mandatory, not all of them medical, but what about those careers, positions or staff members that don’t need to prove an annual amount of upkeep on their knowledge or skills set?

CPD is an excellent way for businesses to show an interest in their employees, and for employees to show that they are willing to do extra for the company or business they work for. When motivation is up, the mood is up, when the mood is up so are the levels of capacity, work place communications and general productivity all round. Taking a small amount of time to understand health issues at work, or whatever training you are looking for gives the mental state of those involved a significant boost. When you feel appreciated, you are willing to try a little harder, when you are given a pat on the back for your effort, it physically has an effect (want to know more Wellbeing at Work)

Gaining certified hours shows a mutual appreciation and creates a better working environment. That is why our Lead Practitioner Rogan Grant has become personally certified so that future seminars and workplace sessions can give those attendees an accredited certificate to add to their personal work development and as evidence for the company themselves that they invest in their staff.

So how do you benefit as a business, apart from having a more productive, happier, more appreciative and motivated staff? If that isn’t enough, it is a valid expense by businesses as stated within the HMRC Guide to CPD “Costs incurred by an employer in respect of an employee’s training are generally allowable as a trade expense, as long as the expenditure was incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade.” So helping your staff feel better at work, to gain those other benefits and support mental health, isn’t going to cost you huge amounts, which for smaller a business is a major factor.

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We have several options that can help businesses to take full advantage of the courses available and to build a more successful and be more productive. Check out our Corporate page for more information, or Contact us directly.

#222 The 2 Minute Challenge


2 Minutes, 2 Times a day, for 2 Weeks!

Positive Inspiration is throwing out a challenge for everyone to try.

Feel better in yourself in just 2 weeks!!

This challenge you aren’t putting yourself or your body under stresses, strains or shocks. No this time we are asking you to take a moment of your day, twice a day and simply breathe.

Why breathe? Because we don’t stop within our lives to relax, we continue to keep ourselves busy, we’re hyper alert and stressed all day for no reason. Take a break in the morning, close your eyes and just breathe, do the same in the afternoon or evening and use those moments to focus on just your breathing. Taking notice of how far your breath goes as you breathe in, the speed you breathe, the difference in your body as you do breathe out slowly.

Just by focusing on your breathing for just 2 minutes will help to calm your body, it will help to relieve stresses and pressures, it will allow you to regain focus. People wonder why as practitioners we ask you to breathe out slowly, it is to maintain control, and also because when we sleep, we breathe out slower than we breathe in. We are almost tricking the body into thinking it is in a relaxed state, like sleep. The body and the mind communicate both ways, when we are happy, we smile, if we smile then we release Serotonin which makes us feel happy. Try it, smile at yourself in a mirror for 10 seconds, really get that smile going and you’ll feel happier.

If you can allow yourself just 2 minutes to take some time out, which if we really want to make that difference, is easily done, you can help your body and your mind relax. A relaxed body has a healthier immune system, digestive system and even reproductive system; with a relaxed mind the cortisol levels drop, focus is regained, we can notice the happy hormones like the endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin being released. We feel happier, less stressed, less anxious, less pain and more energised.

Download the 3 Breath Technique to help you to make the most of your breathing experience.

After 2 weeks, you will feel that you can calm yourself when you want to, you could find you sleep better, think clearer, be more productive in your life, and, you could even notice that you are feeling physically healthier too.

Is it so difficult to find 2 minutes?

Wouldn’t you want to find some way to help yourself which is so easy, that you already do it now without even noticing?

Wouldn’t you like to see just what benefits it can do?



Mental Health Awareness

Today is World Mental Health Day 2017

World Mental HealthSo what does that mean? It is bringing awareness to the issues of mental health within society and letting people know there is no longer a stigma with it. Our bodies are reacting to the toxins around us, physically we get sick and think nothing of it, but we are getting sick in other ways too. Mental health has become the greatest cause of time off work, it is affected 1 in 4 of us right now!

Everyone at some point in their life is going to have some form of mental health issue and yet it is still given a label that to many is offensive or a cause of ridicule.

Mental Health is just as important as physical health, we know how we are being taught to eat healthier, to take exercise, to stretch and take notice of changes within our bodies, but who can say that they are looking out for their mental health, or of those around them. How many times do we see people we know change from easy going and happy to snappy and short tempered? What is the usual response to that? Is that person ok? Do they need some help? Or is it more likely to be something said against them? or people pointing and stating they can’t cope?

I’m sure everyone reading this has at some time done or said something that could be considered an over reaction, so that would mean you were put under excessive pressure and let it out, which is exactly what some areas of mental health are, when we become overloaded with emotions, pressures, anxieties, negative feelings and thoughts, it traps the person and because of the stigma involved, people try to manage it themselves and can blow outwardly or regress within themselves. This is just the most basic example of mental health awareness, in my eyes as the writer, it is more likely to be understood by everyone reading this that way. We all get put under pressure at times, but what if it is constant? What if there is no-one there to vent to or to help calm a person? What if the workload is getting too much ?

Awareness is simply accepting that people can’t always be as strong as they may appear, it is about looking and seeing the changes in people close by, it is about offering support to those who find it hard to ask for it. Knowing that someone is there to offer help is a great relief for someone who is struggling.

Remember that when you are struggling, it is human nature to be focussed on your own issues and to be less aware of others, so if someone seems to be inconsiderate to another person’s needs, just maybe it is because mentally, they can’t take on any more stress. Just maybe they are the ones who are struggling to cope. Why would their problems or yours be more important, because our problems are always going to take priority over other peoples, our minds focus us that way.

When we think about what is wrong, what our needs are, we use the worst part of the brain, the conscious mind. It is the slowest and most distracted part of our mind; when we can use specific techniques to calm our minds, we can allow the fastest part of the brain to work out the issues and get back on track. The subconscious mind is designed to work that way, it works non stop day and night. It is the comparison to walking somewhere miles away and being inside a sports car on a straight empty road, the conscious mind can only focus on between 5 and 9 things at any time, where as the subconscious mind is processing 2 million bits of information every second! Which part of your mind do you want working on your thoughts?

Look into local relaxation groups, take classes in mindfulness, yoga, meditation and give yourself time to relax your mind. Find what works for you! I personally use the 3 breath technique and I have attached a link below so you can download a copy of how to do it.

Why is it so important? Here is the science bit: When we are stressed or anxious, our bodies go into Fight or Flight, the brain prepares you to get out of the situation, but our bodies are tuned into how we lived thousands of years ago when it was a fight for survival, not work deadlines or paying bills. So our bodies react, it speeds up the heart, increases the blood flow and blood pressure, narrows the blood vessels and pumps out adrenaline to get you ready physically, it heightens your senses, makes you more alert and releases cortisol to give you fixed focus on your challenge. The limbs are raring to go, you think and see superfast, you get a rush…. and then it is supposed to stop and calm down when you are no longer in trouble, but we don’t do that in society now, we stay stressed and anxious. Now those amazing things that were happening are having a bad affect on the body, blood pressure stays up, heart attacks and strokes are more common, adrenaline only goes so far before the body burns up its energy and we physically crash, cortisol is poisoning the system and is now linked to the Tau protein and CTE in older age.

Stress now is killing us later, we need to learn to control these issues and soon before we overload ourselves completely.

Try breathing, these 3 breaths can make a difference, they [scientists] believe that if we just take 2 minutes, twice a day for 2 weeks, we can reduce the levels of cortisol within our blood stream back to within normal limits. Isn’t that worth a try?

Start a Challenge!!

For 2 minutes, twice a day, for 2 weeks! That’s all! Give yourself a few minutes and breath, let yourself practice relaxing and see the difference it makes in your life.

Get your free download 3 Breath Technique and let me know how you get on after 2 weeks.

You can also try just closing your eyes and feel any sensation within your body, your hands, your feet, anything, and allow yourself to notice breathing naturally while you listen for 1 minute to 3 simple chimes. Those of you who can’t manage to do it now, are the ones that really need to practice. Any skill needs practice and relaxation is a skill. We don’t have to sit in silence on top of a mountain to seek clarity, we just need to give ourselves a break.

Wellbeing at Work

We hear a lot of things about wellness, wellbeing, mental health at work, but what are they talking about, how would it affect you, after all, you’re doing fine right? Everyone gets a little stressed at work, that is why it’s called work! Right?

Wrong! We are spending our lives planning what is next, how can we get this done, that done, why do I have to wait for this person to finish, I need to get that done! All this is going on due to the amazing breakthroughs we have had in communication. In the 80’s we had fax come through, we could send documents by the phone, it was ingenious, we didn’t have to wait for the post to arrive (snail mail it’s now called by many) but that was the start of the issues we have. We had to wait for papers, for orders, bills, letters, etc but now we have email, in a couple of seconds we have the document right in front of us. Now you may be a person who has hundreds of emails pinging all day, but that person who sent one to you, is waiting for a response and if they haven’t had something within 30 minutes, they’re sending another to check you received the first and on it goes. We are bombarded by electronic this and that, demands on our time, our replies, the work that needs to be done, the work we want done! It is a continuous stream of pressure and stress.

So what can we do about it? The work will continue, it always does, delays these days mean minutes, not weeks like it used to before electronic connection. But has that changed the jobs? No, just the demands on our time. Of course then we go home and either finish off more work there, or we plug ourselves into the social electronic connection and tweet, Facebook, Instagram etc our entire lives.

You can see the differences in generations, look at family gatherings or social events, senior members sit and talk, middle aged discuss work and probably just quickly check this or that, the younger generation sit staring at the screens, having comments and jokes with people not 4 feet away from them but online. So we have no choice but to accept we are becoming a plugged in society, we have progressed more in the last 80 years then we had in the centuries previous. Is progression a social benefit? You can decide that one

The body and mind that we have are still connected to a survival instinct from thousands of years ago, we can not suddenly be put aside thousands of years of training and development. Our bodies and minds respond the way they would to survive, not deal with work stress, or social media issues. It has a firm response to help you live, but that response was designed to click on, solve the issue and then click off again. This Flight or Fight response alters the body and the way we think, but maintaining those alterations is bad for our health. I explained Flight or Fight (FoF) in previous blogs, feel free to read up on it.

How can we stop this FoF from causing illness, infertility, weight problems, anxiety, mental health issues, and so much more? By looking at how we work and how we deal with issues before they become major issues.

Positive Inspiration offers group sessions and training for local businesses and many large companies are stepping up and taking part in helping out with managing work stress, but 60% of the UK workforce is with small businesses and there are very few who are aware of the problem, and sadly even fewer acting upon it. Recently the Federation Of Small Businesses has launched a guide on how a business can look into working with their staff members and managing wellbeing at work. We at Positive Inspiration have our ErgoDynamics course which we run and can tailor to fit business requirements. If businesses look into ways to manage the problems before they start, the workforce will be happier, more fluid, more responsive and alert and in turn can lead to less time of work, less pressure to catch up and a much more productive business in general.

So whether you are an employee, employer, a manager or a business owner, taking care of the personal wellbeing within the workplace does make a difference, a happy and healthy workforce makes for a happier and healthier lifestyle.

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