how to start a wellness coaching business

how to start a wellness
coaching business
welcome to the program
Hello and thank you for purchasing ‘How to Start a Wellness Coaching Business’.
Coaching is a booming industry with more and more business owners, executives, employees of all levels, mums and
dads, even students realising the benefits of having a coach. While this program is more geared towards starting a
wellness coaching business, the systems and strategies are totally transferable. Meaning you can use them to build a
range of coaching services – wellness, executive, health, business and performance coaching.
I have been fortunate to have had a number of great coaches in both business and in sport over the years that have
made a profound impact on my life. Coaching is a very powerful medium to impact behaviour change and improve the
quality of people's lives. Coaching is also a very big responsibility.
Enjoy this program and action as many of the strategies as you can. Be disciplined and focus on implementation.
Growing a coaching business can be a very rewarding and very lucrative addition to your current health and wellbeing
Good luck!
Andrew May
© Andrew May
table of contents
1. About Andrew May
2. Wellness Coaching Diagnostic
3. Wellness Coaching – A New Approach
4. Wellness Coaching and Behaviour Change
5. Overview of Health Coaching
6. Stages of Readiness
7. Executive Coaching Article
8. Benefits of Positive Psychology
9. Effective Behaviour Change
10. Thinking About Thinking
11. Perfection Infection
12. Summit Syndrome
13. 7 Tips To Successful Goal Setting
14. Personal Values and Mission
15. Personal Responsibility
16. 7 Most Popular Questions on Happiness
© Andrew May
andrew may
Andrew May is completing his Masters of Coaching
Psychology at Sydney University and is regarded as one
of Australia's leading experts on performance and
productivity. He speaks to groups and individuals across
the globe, is published throughout national and
international media, is a regular voice on 2UE radio and
is the resident Performance Coach on Channel Nine’s
TODAY show. He is the former Physical Performance
Manager for the Australian Cricket Team and has also
worked with the NSW Cricket Team, AFL Teams and
Olympic Athletes in track and field, swimming,
basketball, netball, hockey and tennis. Andrew coaches
a number of CEO’s and senior managers and charges
between $750 and $850 per hour for his coaching
© Andrew May
wellness coaching diagnostic
Build your business and grow your bottom line by offering a range of
lucrative coaching services.
Complete the following diagnostic to see how you score in the 4 B’s of
wellness coaching – Business, Behaviour, Brand and Bucks.
For the following 20 questions simply tick the box for every YES answer (if you aren’t 100% leave the box blank). This
will provide a ‘heads up’ evaluation of your current knowledge and understanding of wellness coaching.
Do you understand the difference between a life, health, performance and executive coach
and what they all do/don’t do?
Can you clearly explain the difference between coaching and mentoring?
Are you aware of your strengths/specific skills and do you know how to teach them to other
people (including the use of stories, models and metaphors)?
Are you at the cutting edge of trends in the human performance/wellness coaching industry?
Have you actually paid money for coaching yourself in order to experience the process first
total score out of 5
Do you know how to teach and implement results based goal setting processes?
Do you have a thorough understanding of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)?
Are you up to date on the latest research on positive psychology and signature strengths?
Do you understand Proeshka’s Stages of Readiness and how this relates to behaviour change
when coaching clients?
Do you have a clearly defined set of values and behaviours to ensure you maintain integrity by
practising what you preach?
total score out of 5
Do you have templates, systems and checklists that you follow pre, during and post coaching
Have you automated your pre coaching questionnaires, marketing materials and follow up
procedures to leverage your business and improve productivity?
Have you invested time developing administration processes in order to replicate quality
levels of service for all of your coaching clients?
Have you written articles/ebooks/special reports, published a book, or recorded an audio
program/DVD to support your clients to make long term changes?
Do you honestly take your coaching business seriously and invest quality time towards
developing Intellectual Property and improving your coaching methodology?
total score out of 5
Are you comfortable up-selling current one-on-one or group exercise clients/participants to
your coaching services?
Have you developed ongoing packages (monthly, quarterly, yearly) that guarantee regular
income from your coaching business?
Do you have additional platforms to sell coaching services from (including public speaking,
published books, media exposure, corporate consulting, etc)?
Do you have current coaching clients achieving great results who regularly refer you
additional business?
Have you developed a coaching program for the lucrative corporate market?
total score out of 5
wellness coaching diagnostic score out of 20
wellness coaching diagnostic score
Look at how you scored in each of the 4 specific categories and this will help focus on the immediate skills and
strategies you can implement to improve both your score out of 20 and your bank balance!
Welcome to the world of coaching. Work on understanding the coaching industry and crafting your skills to
ensure you are ready to be a great wellness coach.
6 Figure Trainer Monthly Podcast and Wellness Coaching Business in a Box will launch you to the next
8 - 15
You’re definitely on your way to running a successful coaching business and making a good living out of nonsweat sessions. Look at the specific areas where you scored ‘no’ answers and work on these skill/strategies.
Wellness Coaching in a Box and Private Mentoring with PT Plus will fast track your coaching business.
Congratulations! You already have a great understanding of the coaching industry and a successful coaching
business. Continue to work on specific skills and the clarity of your message to ensure you keep improving
16 - 20
and growing.
Private Mentoring Program with Andrew May will get you on target, on demand and on the money.
moving ahead
The long term aim is to score 20/20. Check out for a range of products and services designed to
fast track your fitness business.
wellness coaching - a new approach
Coaching has burst upon the corporate scene in the last 15 years. Executive coaching is now firmly established as a
normal part of employee personal development programs for most successful companies in Australia. Life Coaching is
recognised as a means of helping individuals define and achieve their life goals. Coaching is a collaborative partnership
that provides inspiration, structure and accountability to help clients achieve their goals more effectively.
In today’s society there is a growing awareness of the need to change our lifestyles to improve our health and fitness.
With the focus on living “well” it is natural that coaching be applied to health and fitness goals, with the aim of
helping clients create new behaviours that can be sustained, instead of quick fix solutions that rarely have a long term
Enter Wellness Coaching.
how does it work?
We want to be well, to be in control and feel better. We want more energy. For most people though, there is an
enormous gap between wanting to be well and the everyday reality of living.
Coaches move people from potential to achievement and facilitate change. In business, it is understood that the best
performers have often got the support of another person who recognises their unique employment potential. Coaching
is a professional alliance that empowers both personal and professional success. Wellness Coaching focuses on
supporting people in lifestyle behaviour change excels at helping people change behaviour. It is action-orientated yet
takes the form of a powerful line of questioning that is often enough to inspire the client to create change in their
health behaviours. “What are you going to do about it?” is the message, rather than ‘Take my advice”. The beauty of
Wellness Coaching is that it can be done over the phone or with a combination of phone and face to face
appointments. There is also the opportunity for group coaching to be held for people with similar wellness goals.
why would a person need wellness coaching?
The demands of every day life have never been greater. We are expected to do more, know more, communicate
more and work longer and faster than ever before. The abundance of mobile devices we carry is evidence of this.
We have forgotten how to “switch off”.
There is a vast array of wellness guidelines, products and services which can leave busy people more inclined to do
nothing than to risk making an uninformed choice about what to eat or how to exercise.
The challenge of making a change can reveal obstacles that we would prefer to ignore and produce resistance and
ambivalence about what we really want.
Many people have a history of repeated failures which can leave a legacy of a lack of belief in oneself.
We know what to do, we just don’t know how to do it.
who becomes a wellness coach?
Wellness Coaches are health, fitness, and mental health professionals who have also completed wellness coach training
and certifications from leading organisations such as Wellcoaches Corporation. Wellness Coaching Australia offers
workshops and seminars based on the Wellcoaches program and can provide executive wellness coaches to companies
who require their services.
advantages of coaching rather than a ‘teaching’ approach
Coaching focuses on the “thinking” processes that produce change.
The client is regarded as the expert about what works best for them, not the coach. The coach creates structure
for the client around their objectives.
Expert advice is offered only when clients cannot come up with their own answers.
Many clients find it less intrusive and certainly less intimidating.
Changes last longer.
benefits of wellness coaching in a company setting
By providing access to a Wellness Coach, a company can greatly assist their employees to address health issues
that may well be getting in the way of their work.
Increased fitness and achievement of a healthy weight can lead to greater energy and productivity at work.
Better overall health will reduce absenteeism.
Stress management strategies will positively impact an individual and often the team in which they work.
Higher job satisfaction and loyalty to the company is inevitable with the evidence that their employer “cares” and
is willing to invest in their team’s personal health.
The culture of a company can subtly change as focus is given to “living” well and not just “working” well with the
attraction of new employees who place a value on good health to work there.
how does it work?
Case Study
Ben heard about a program that was offered through his company’s health promotion program in which
employees were assigned to a Wellness Coach to help manage their health and decided to try it.
After completing a health questionnaire, he was partnered with Susan, a Wellness coach who came from a
health and fitness background and had retrained in the theory of coaching psychology and the practical
communication skills essential to the role.
With Susan, Ben started slowly with an initial exercise regimen that called for a total of 3 x 30 minute walks
each week. He eventually worked up to exercising 4-5 times a week for 45 minutes in each session.
To fit the exercise in, they took a good look at Ben’s schedule and designed a plan in which he would make
exercising a priority not an afterthought. In this way, exercise gradually became more of a routine in Ben’s
life, as it was when he was younger.
Together they also began to improve Ben’s diet with the introduction of healthier options, better hydration and
regular eating patterns. Stress played a major part in Ben’s working day and he began to learn techniques for
reducing stressful thoughts and physical sensations. Impulsive, comfort eating began to stop.
With each session, Ben’s progress was recorded and he was accountable to Susan for performance of the goals he
had set for himself.
Six months later, Ben has met Susan only once. All other sessions were conducted over the phone.
The intersection of coaching with the wellness industry will soon create a demand for the “coaching approach” to be
available in a variety of delivery modes – online informative coaching, tele-coaching with an individual coach, in–
person coaching and group coaching for people with similar goals. Wellness Coaching will follow the growth in Personal
Training and people will see the benefits of a personal wellness coach and what that person can do for them. Wellness
Coaching is currently improving the bottom line for many corporations and the satisfaction level of their employees
and is likely to be taken up by leading health clubs as a new service that can be chosen as an added option. Wellness
Coaching is a methodology directed to the whole person, not just physical health, but to all aspects of living well and
is a perfect fit for the corporate world.
Creating a wellness vision – what lies beneath!
Setting the right health and fitness goals
Know your strengths and use them to get where you want to go
Focus on being intentional about choices
Identify your guiding values and principles and live according to them
Maintaining flexibility – both mental and physical
Authenticity – an old-fashioned term or a guide for daily choices?
What makes us eat?
Our life is a series of habits – create new ones
Working it out – exercise and depression
Fiona Cosgrove
PT Plus Pty Ltd
PO Box 832 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 Australia
P: +61 2 9690 0503 F: +61 2 9690 0506
wellness coaching and behaviour change
While we all long to live well and achieve optimal health and energy, many of us struggle a great deal. The demands
of life have never been greater and having the knowledge of what to do simply is not enough. Many people employ a
personal trainer and expert advice and program design can be a start on the journey to a fit and healthy lifestyle, but
we still fall short. Our Club retention rates are proof that we can offer something more and the state of the nation’s
health supports this notion.
We have spent years in the fitness industry developing exciting new products, creating state of the art facilities and
making the best trainers available to the public. Their knowledge increases as does the general public’s but still
lasting change eludes many people. A new approach is needed.
wellness coaching
Wellness coaching has emerged from a variety of industries and the fitness industry in Australia is perfectly placed
today to embrace it. Fitness professionals can use wellness coaching to help clients overcome obstacles that get in the
way of their success.
As a trainer we prescribe and give information. As a coach we use powerful questions to get the client to think in a
different way and see more choices. Coaches assist clients to make the right choices and to design their own plan
which includes staged goals and strategies to create lasting change. When they begin, they are prepared and
supported with tools that they can use to overcome obstacles and an understanding of why they really want to create
this change.
Coaches elicit a vision from the client and deepest motivators for that vision. They help people move through stages
of change and only begin when they are fully prepared.
a new challenge
Wellness coaching provides exciting opportunities not only for personal trainers to extend themselves and learn a new
skill set, but for club owners to be able to offer an additional program, or add on, that has greater chance of success.
Trainers will experience satisfaction in being able to take a new approach and help their clients on a deeper level.
how do you become a wellness coach or use the model to produce better results
in your club for your clients?
There are several training programs available:
Wellcoaches in the US have recently approved Cert IV as a prerequisite for their four month weekly teleclass
training program
If you wish to add skills to your Club team, workshops can provide a solid training base and a model can be
implemented that will add to your existing training system. Contact [email protected]
Other sites to look at are:
”Coaching will be very similar to the growth in Personal training. We believed that people needed trainers who could
provide on one on support with a high sklll level and that they would pay for that service. They did. Wellness
Coaching will be slowly taken up by leading health clubs and it will be a new service that can be chosen as an option.
And the great thing about coaching is that it can be done anywhere, with no equipment!”
Fiona Cosgrove
Mast Sports Science
overview of health coaching
Health Coaching is a practice in which fully trained health professionals apply evidence-based psychological,
counselling and coaching principles and techniques to assist their patients to achieve positive health and lifestyle
outcomes through cognitive and behaviour change. There is a growing recognition that simply telling patients what to
do is not effective in bringing about long-term behaviour change. This creates frustration for both patients and health
professionals. Health Coaching interventions help health professionals to motivate patients toward readiness to
change, assist them to change unhelpful thinking patterns and encourage their self-regulation and self-management of
lifestyle risk factors and treatment regimes associated with chronic illnesses.
the HCA model of health coaching for chronic condition prevention and selfmanagement (CCPSM)
The HCA Model of health coaching is a cognitive behavioural model for health behaviour change. It is applied at the
individual level of health behaviour change (as distinct from community and society level interventions), and typically
occurs in the context of a consultation with a health professional. It is useful in addressing issues of adherence to
health behaviour change as outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2003). It does this by providing principles
and techniques aimed at identifying and addressing barriers to health behaviour change. The HCA Model is an
integrated package drawing on evidence-based psychological theories, principles and practice techniques. This model
was devised to assist health practitioners to elicit autonomous (intrinsic) motivation to change in clients required to
change their lifestyle behaviours in order to prevent or manage chronic health conditions. It is based on a readiness to
change framework (Rollnick, Mason & Butler, 1999).
using the HCA model in practice
Health Coaching Australia uses a specific structured framework to operationalise the theoretical model (not outlined in
this paper). The Model was developed for use within health practitioner practice as usual (e.g., a Dietetic consultation
or a consultation with a Diabetes Educator). There is a growing tendency for health organisations to included
dedicated CCSM health coaching or case management sessions delivered by health coaching trained Key Workers or
Health Coaches. Consultations are generally face-to-face or telephone based (e.g., The Good Life Club, Kelly, Menzies
& Taylor, 2003).
There are a number of options available for integrating the HCA Model and intervention framework into clinical
practice. These are:
use the entire framework as a stand alone intervention for health behaviour change for CCPSM;
use the framework in conjunction with other models of CCPSM such as the Stanford group education model (Lorig
et al, 1999), or the Flinders model for CCSM (Battersby at al, 2003); or
use of single components of the model within short consultations (e.g., use of a cognitive change intervention
technique to address cognitive barriers to carrying out an action plan, or use of MI techniques to encourage a
client to seek assistance regarding a psychosocial problem acting as a barrier to self-management).
The HCA Model complements other models of CCPSM. The HCA training, structural framework and tools provide health
practitioners with micro skills that may augment the effectiveness of other CCPSM interventions. Feedback from
organisations that use a combination of models suggests that this is the case.
PT Plus Pty Ltd
PO Box 832 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 Australia
P: +61 2 9690 0503 F: +61 2 9690 0506
stages of readiness
Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model
Stage of Change
Not currently considering change:
"Ignorance is bliss"
Validate lack of readiness
Clarify: decision is theirs
Encourage re-evaluation of current behaviour
Encourage self-exploration, not action
Explain and personalise the risk
Ambivalent about change: "Sitting on the
Validate lack of readiness
Not considering change within the next
Encourage evaluation of pros and cons of
behaviour change
Clarify: decision is theirs
Identify and promote new, positive outcome
Some experience with change and are
trying to change: "Testing the waters"
Identify and assist in problem solving re:
Planning to act within 1month
Help patient identify social support
Verify that patient has underlying skills for
behaviour change
Encourage small initial steps
Practicing new behaviour for 3-6 months
Focus on restructuring cues and social support
Bolster self-efficacy for dealing with
Combat feelings of loss and reiterate longterm benefits
Continued commitment to sustaining new
Plan for follow-up support
Post-6 months to 5 years
Discuss coping with relapse
Resumption of old behaviours: "Fall from
Reinforce internal rewards
Evaluate trigger for relapse
Reassess motivation and barriers
Plan stronger coping strategies
PT Plus Pty Ltd
PO Box 832 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 Australia
P: +61 2 9690 0503 F: +61 2 9690 0506
executive coaching
Automated document management company, ReadSoft, managing director, Frank Volckmar, had a problem. One of his
senior technical people, a person who prided and measured himself on how much he knew, had a habit which made
people feel foolish if they asked him a question. “He was a person who would roll their eyes if someone asked a stupid
question,” says Volckmar. This might sound innocuous but it was causing problems in the organisation. People would
attempt to ‘muddle through’ rather than ask a question and get made to feel stupid.
Volckmar solved the problem by doing something that is increasingly common in corporate Australia, he brought in an
executive coach to work with the person. Indeed, the use of executive coaches has become so widespread that it has
created a series of problems. As so often happens when something becomes the next ‘new big thing’ people get
attracted into the area because its seen as trendy, or worse, a way to make a fast buck. And there are companies out
there catering to this market, claiming they can turn someone into an executive coach in a weekend, one month or
three months.
“It’s an enormous issue out there, every man and his dog espouses being a coach – life coach, mentor, executive coach
– and many of them are just individuals who figure that they just have to chat to people about life at work,” says DBM
Asia Pacific vice president and managing director Greater China, Karen Faehndrich. This view is echoed by highly
successful serial entrepreneur and founder of the Million Dollar Plus Club, Anne McKevitt. “There are a huge number of
people out there who are really crap because there’s a whole industry out there; companies which are large franchises
and the purpose of the franchise is to sell the training to someone rather than build up client bases for people who
This creates a problem for board members and executives of companies large, medium and small. How best to sort out
the cowboys from the coaches who can actually help an organisation with its problems? Defining a coaching strategy
rather than just taking an ad hoc approach is also important and the process needs to be managed and measured just
like any other project. So how does an organisation do all this?
To begin with choosing which coach or coaches to work with needs to go hand in hand with developing the coaching
strategy. This is because not all executive coaches are able to help with all aspects of the modern executive’s role.
“There are great differences among these people and it really starts with knowing what you want,” says Volckmar.
This is echoed by Odin Management Consulting managing partner, Don Holley. “There are lots of different types of
coaching and people get the different types confused. There are specific skills such as communication; remedial
coaching, strategic coaching and transformational coaching where we try and accelerate someone’s development. So
one of the things a manager should do is determine what type of coaching they want.”
More generally speaking, however, it is important to look at the attributes, experience and qualifications of an
executive coach just as you would any employee or consultant, says executive coach and author of Flip the Switch,
Andrew May. “An executive coach working at the top level should have academic qualifications and a lot of
experience. An executive should be asking ‘what’s your background and education and why are you credentialed to
teach me?’
“[A lot of successful executive coaches are trained in] psychology, are studying psychology or at least having done
some subjects as part of an undergraduate degree. The fundamentals of coaching is behaviour change and the new
coaching is all based on self-psychology - what are the parameters of getting someone to change, what is behaviour
change – which is underpinned by cognitive behaviour therapy. You’re not going to learn that at a weekend course.”
Matt Church believes that academic qualifications can be a useful guide as to a potential coach’s credentials, but he
sees coaching as a skill in and of itself. “A coach doesn’t necessarily need a background or an experience in what
they’re doing because their skill, their trade, is the ability to ask questions.
“If I was interviewing a coach I’d want to know whether they had an appropriate methodology so I would say, give me
a list of questions you would ask a senior leader?’ Based on the quality of the questions you’d know if they know what
they’re talking about, if they understand the mindset of the person they’re working with.”
Faehndrich adds that the personal characteristics of the coach are also important. “Someone may have been a very
successful businessman and a top CEO, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be a good coach. A good coach needs
to have seven to 10 years at a senior corporate level or a relevant executive position, business credibility and acumen
and a track record of being a coach. If I were selecting a coach myself I’d want someone who can give me a record of
success and some business coaching training. It doesn’t matter if it’s a three month or two week course, if it is a sound
coaching methodology and the person has the right background.”
While it is important for an executive coach to have all the right attributes professionally, it’s also important that the
executive feels that they can connect with the coach. [email protected] Chief Executive Officer Deidre Anderson says “Having
worked in management for a long time I’d never bothered with executive coaches because I couldn’t decipher [who
was good and who wasn’t]. But I was sitting in an aeroplane and heard Karen Faehndrich talk about how executive
coaching should work in mainstream organisations. It was almost like connecting with what my values were, it was that
absolute value alignment with what she was talking about.”
McKevitt adds that people often fail to make a distinction between mentoring and coaching when they are actually
subtly different activities. “Coaching you don’t have to have done it to be able to coach someone. With mentoring you
need to have been at those sort of levels but you can both coach and mentor someone at the same time.”
This was certainly the case when McKevitt started working with founder and CEO of Investors Direct, Bill Zheng who
arrived in Australia as a 21 year old student with $300 borrowed money. “I worked four different jobs and my last job
was with PWC as a management consultant but when I started running my own business seven years go I realised half
the stuff I had learned at MBA school was not practical. I am part of the CEO Institute which helps similar size company
CEOs to get together and talk with each other.
“The problem was that they were similar size business and after two years I started looking to work with someone who
had run much bigger businesses to help me get to the next level, a multi-hundred million dollar business. I met Anne at
a conference and we were having a coffee and I realised from something she said that she was someone whom I could
ask for help to take my business to the next level.”
Deciding what is needed out from the coach and then selecting the coach or coaches may be the first step in defining
an executive coaching strategy but there is somewhat more to it than that. Church believes that defining the strategy
comes back to linking it to the overall organisational strategy. “Coaching is about capabilities of the individual, it’s not
about the organisational strategy yet it should be driven from that. If the organisational strategy is to increase
exposure, and the CEO is reluctant to speak, then the company needs a coach who can help that CEO do that.”
While this may be the ideal, Church acknowledges there is not always such a direct linkage but the coach should
always be looking at the capability of the senior leadership, ascertaining what they are trying to achieve and what gaps
exist in their ability to achieve that. For example, “if an executive’s communication skills are so poor that their team
aren’t engaged and employee turnover is through the roof, we’ve now got to do some work with that individual on
engagement, communication and employee management. That specific piece of work is about the ability of the
individual yet still has an indicator towards the overall strategy. The great executive coaches are able to clearly
articulate and demonstrate that.”
Once the strategy is defined, how then is it managed? Faehndrich says it comes back to methodology being important.
“At the very front end, if the coachee and the sponsor does not have a clear vision of how they’re going to measure
success then there is a problem because there’s no commercial attachment, no ROI and we can’t tell if we’ve done a
good job.
“So you need to very definite about the absolute definitions and metrics of measuring success, is it behavioural
change, is it shifts in capabilities and skills or is it a clear development action plan that they start to implement and
once executed gets a result. If the business needs an executive to have greater interpersonal skills and be a better
listener as well as understand the cost analysis on a P & L sheet then they are the things need to be measured and
“Then you need to work through a structured process with activities and each activity should have a measurable
outcome which are reviewed and checked along the way. There should be an agreed reporting mechanism – which
doesn’t breach confidentiality – which reports back in respect to momentum and outcomes back to through the
organisation. We also insist that an independent 360 is done at the start and organisations which do their own 360 need
to be integrated with the coaching.”
McKevitt believes that everything can be brought down to revenue. “They’ve got to start seeing changes in revenue,
start seeing business rising and growing very, very quickly. [Sometimes] people get to very senior levels and are cut off
from being able to talk to someone in complete confidence. Even with a friend who’s at a very senior level you’re still
going to get judged.”
McKevitt believes that even in the case of people issues such as high staff turnover or poor morale it still comes down
to revenue. “I’ve worked with people who have trouble working with their staff and are chronically bad with people.
It’s emotional intelligence, as a coach you’re saying to people, ‘your behaviour is totally jeopardising the business and
you’re actually sabotaging the overall growth of the company by your actions and this is what you need to change.”
While Volckmar’s senior technical person wasn’t necessarily jeopardising the business he certainly was sabotaging the
growth of the company before the coaching process started. “The coach illustrated the behaviours by playing them
back to him and was very blunt with him, saying ‘this is how people think of you when you do that and here’s what
people will think if you behave differently.’ He then linked that back to the outcome he was trying to achieve, asking
him ‘are you trying to piss people off or to develop people or align yourself with the business and achieve those
“We got to the point where could tease him,” says Volckmar. “If someone asked a stupid question we could say oh my
goodness we’ve just got the eye. At the end of the year he was voted Most Valuable Player by his fellow employees,
which was a strong measure that we’d achieved something in that area.”
By Darren Baguley, Management Today
PT Plus Pty Ltd
PO Box 832 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 Australia
P: +61 2 9690 0503 F: +61 2 9690 0506
Scientific Support for and benefits of
(Adapted from Martin Seligman)
Positive psychology, or the science of happiness, is not just a fad; nor is
it pop-psychology or amateur self-help. It is a serious scientific
discipline based on solid, empirical research. Below are just a few of
the more interesting and powerful findings including many of the
potential benefits associated with happiness:
Optimistic people are much less likely to die of heart attacks than
pessimists, controlling for all known physical risk factors
Women who display genuine (Duchene) smiles to the photographer
at age eighteen go on to have fewer divorces and more marital
satisfaction than those who display fake smiles
Externalities (e.g., weather, money, health, marriage, religion)
totalled together account for no more than 15% of the variance in
life satisfaction
Several specific exercises produce increases in happiness and
decreases in depression six months later while other plausible
exercises are mere placebos
The pursuit of meaning and engagement are much more predictive
of life satisfaction than the pursuit of pleasure
Economically flourishing corporate teams have a ratio of at least 3
to 1 of positive statements to negative statements in business
meetings, whereas stagnating teams have a much lower ratio;
flourishing marriages, however, require a ratio of at least 5:1
Self-discipline is twice as good a predictor of high school grades as
Learning optimism at ages 10-12 halves the rate of depression as
these school children go through puberty
Happy teenagers go on to earn substantially more income fifteen
years later than less happy teenagers, equating for income, grades,
and other obvious factors
How you respond to good events that happen to your spouse is a
better predictor of future love and commitment than how you
respond to bad events
People experience more “flow” at work than at home
If you’d like to know how you can learn how to be happier and how you
can experience these benefits then contact us here at The Happiness
[email protected]
61 2 9221 3306
Effective Behaviour Change
Most people know what they “should” do to live a healthy and happy
life. To be fitter and healthier, for example, everyone knows they
should eat less fat/sugar/salt, eat more fruit and vegetables, and
exercise more. The reality is it’s not rocket science. But why, then, do
so few people do these things well?
The answer is because so few people have an effective system in
place. If you want to develop healthier habits try these simple, but
powerful strategies.
1. Set SMART - ER goals
SMART stands for specific; measurable; achievable; relevant and
timed. In addition, it’s important to “stretch” yourself and also to
evaluate and review your progress regularly.
2. Have “happy hour” every day
Do something fun, pleasurable, enjoyable, satisfying and/or
stimulating every day. And preferably, make it a routine.
3. Focus on the good
Remind yourself of the benefits of taking effective action and of
engaging in activities that will enhance your health and happiness
(especially if they might not be realised in the short term).
4. Love yourself for being SMART
Reward yourself for making positive changes, for trying to engage in
healthy and productive activities, or simply just for trying. Doing so
will significantly increase your chances of continuing helpful habits in
the long term.
5. Make it fun with others
Find a “buddy” with whom to exercise, challenge negative
thoughts, engage in good deeds or whatever. Most activities are
more enjoyable with a supportive friend and if they’re more
enjoyable you’ll find you’re more likely to keep them up.
If you think you’d benefit from a more detailed explanation of these
principles, consider Dr. Sharp’s “The Happiness Handbook”, The
Happiness Institute’s happiness workbooks or their courses & coaching.
02 9221 3306
Dr. Timothy Sharp (2006)
[ “there is nothing either good or bad except thinking
maketh it so” ]
Shakespeare realised several hundred years ago that you are what you think and that
your thoughts affect the way you feel and consequently behave. Decades of
psychological research has subsequently confirmed that the way you think about things
largely determines the extent to which you experience positive (happiness, joy) and
negative emotions (such as stress and anxiety). Further, the way you think about things
affects how you respond behaviourally as well. The reality is that you probably cannot
control everything that happens to you, but notably, you can control how you think
about or interpret these events. This is particularly important as many people, especially
when under pressure, think about things in negative and unhelpful ways. This only
serves to exacerbate difficult situations and to increase stress. Learning how to identify
unhelpful thoughts, and then to challenge and change them, can significantly reduce
negative emotions despite, in some cases, the presence of ongoing pressure. Switched
On thinking focuses on how you can control your feelings, moods and behaviour by
consciously choosing your thoughts. Regardless of what is happening in your external
environment, the way you think, feel and behave is ultimately controlled by one person
– YOU!
cognitive model
“...many people,
especially when
under pressure,
think about
things in
negative and
unhelpful ways"
examples of automatic negative thoughts
One of the basic assumptions to fulfilling a “Switched On” existence is that the way we think about things is important. Further, there
are times when our thoughts are unhelpfully negative. Recognising these Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) is the first step in
learning to change them (see following info on managing ANTs). Here are some of the more common types of negative thoughts.
1. Overgeneralisation
Coming to a general conclusion based on a single event or one piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to
happen again and again. Such thoughts often include the words “always” and “never”.
For example:
I forgot to finish that project on time. I never manage to do things right.
He didn’t want to go out with me. I’ll always be lonely.
2. Filtering (selective abstraction)
Concentrating on the negatives while ignoring the positives. Ignoring important information that contradicts your (negative) view of
the situation.
For example:
I know he [my boss] said most of my submission was great, but he also said there were a
number of mistakes that had to be corrected… he must think I’m really hopeless.
3. All or nothing thinking (dichotomous reasoning)
Thinking in black and white terms (eg: things are right or wrong, good or bad). A tendency to view things at the extremes with no
middle ground.
For example:
I made so many mistakes… if I can’t do it perfectly I might as well not bother.
I won’t be able to get all of this done, so I may as well not start it.
This job is so bad… there’s nothing good about it at all.
4. Personalising
Taking responsibility for something that is not your fault. Thinking that what people say or do is some kind of reaction to you, or is in
some way related to you.
For example:
John’s in a terrible mood. It must have been something I did.
It’s obvious she doesn’t like me, otherwise she would’ve said hello.
I didn’t get the job because of my appearance.
5. Catastrophising
Overestimating the chances of disaster. Expecting something unbearable or intolerable to happen. Such thoughts often begin with
“what if…?”
For example:
I’m going to make a fool of myself and people will laugh at me.
What if I haven’t turned the iron off and the house burns down.
If I don’t perform well, I’ll get the sack.
6. Emotional reasoning
Mistaking feelings for facts. Negative things you feel about yourself are held to be true because they feel true.
For example:
I feel like a failure, therefore I am a failure.
I feel ugly, therefore I must be ugly.
I feel hopeless; therefore my situation must be hopeless.
7. Mind reading
Making assumptions about other people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours without checking the evidence.
For example:
John’s talking to Molly so he must like her more than me.
I can tell he hates my shirt.
I could tell he thought I was stupid in the interview.
8. Fortune-telling error
Anticipating an outcome and assuming your prediction is an established fact. These negative expectations can be self-fulfilling:
predicting what we would do on the basis of past behaviour may prevent the possibility of change.
For example:
I’ve always been like this; I’ll never be able to change.
It’s not going to work out, so there’s not much point even trying.
This relationship is sure to fail.
9. “Should” statements
Using “should”, “ought” or “must” statements can set up unrealistic expectations of yourself and others. It involves operating by rigid
rules and not allowing for flexibility.
For example:
I shouldn’t get angry.
People should be nice to me all the time.
10. Magnification/minimisation
A tendency to exaggerate the importance of negative information or experiences, while trivialising or reducing the signification of
positive information or experiences.
For example:
He noticed I spilled something on my shirt. I know he said he will go out with me again, but I bet he doesn’t call.
Supporting my friend when her mother died still doesn’t make up for that time I got angry at her last year.
challenging automatic negative thoughts
Although we all have unhelpful thoughts (ANTs) from time to time, and although we are not always very aware of them, the good
news is they can be changed and that by challenging or questioning these thoughts, you can feel happier and more in control.
1. Be aware of what you are saying to yourself
Ask yourself:
What is going through my mind?
What is it about this situation that is upsetting me?
2. Challenge your thoughts
Remember, just because you think something, doesn’t mean it’s true. Ask yourself:
Is this thought helpful?
Am I being realistic?
Is this an example of one of the common ANTs?
3. Consider the following strategies and ask yourself some of these questions
Look for evidence:
What’s the evidence for and against my thought?
Am I focusing on the negatives and ignoring other information?
Am I jumping to conclusions without looking at all the facts?
Search for alternative explanations:
Are there any other possible explanations?
Is there another way of looking at this?
How would someone else think if they were in this situation?
Am I being too inflexible in my thinking?
Put thoughts into perspective:
Is it as bad as I am making out? What is the worst that could happen?
How likely is it that the worst will happen? Even if it did happen, would it really be that bad? What could I do to get through it?
4. What is a more helpful thought?
What can I say to myself that will help me remain calmer and help me achieve what I want to achieve in this situation?
thinking top ten tips
Make a list of all the things that make you feel stressed. Once identified, try and relax in these situations.
Note the things you cannot do anything about. For example, the red light does not care how stressed it makes you, so try to
manage your impatience and focus on the sources of stress you can confront, reduce or manage yourself.
Laugh. Instead of getting angry about situations, try to see the funny side. Seek amusing books or light-hearted TV shows.
Laughter is a great stress reducer.
Stop trying to do more than one thing at a time, take jobs in order of importance and plan ahead.
Developing a sense of life purpose will markedly increase your chances of experiencing calmness and control. A well as working
out where you want to get to, make sure you have a good reason for why you’re trying to go there.
Work out what you’re good at and find ways to do it as much as possible. Happiness is not as much about fixing your faults and
overcoming your weaknesses as it is about finding ways to focus your life on and around your talents and qualities.
Enlist the support of family and friends. Those who have good intimate relationships and those who actively and consistently
work to improve the quality of their relationships tend to be happier.
Include periods of time where you consciously Switch Off and totally relax.
We all face obstacles and problems at times. Happy people expect this and adapt when necessary. All of the components
outlined above are skills that can be learned. Just like any other skills, you’ll get better at utilising these strategies with practice
and perseverance.
10. Happy people tend to spend more time thinking about and “being in the present”, as opposed to dwelling on the past or
worrying about the future. Learn from your mistakes and plan to achieve, but practice living life in the moment and enjoy
happiness now.
Source: Dr Timothy Sharp
Executive Coach, Consulting and Clinical Psychologist
Clinical Lecturer (Universities of Sydney & NSW)
perfection infection
[ does the thought of failure make you feel queasy? ]
Do you put unreasonable demands on yourself by setting the bar too high? Do you
expect too much from colleagues, friends, your partner or your children? If you
Achievers …
answered YES to any of the above – you may just have ‘perfection infection’.
understand that
Trying to reach the zenith of perfection has become the plague of our time and
it’s OK to make
psychologists have recently coined the phrase ‘perfection infection’. This new dis-ease is
permeating every aspect of our lives – work, home, relationships, parenting and
mistakes along
education. We are seeing an increase in social perfectionism fuelled by ‘Hollywood
the way and
Hang-ups’ where we live vicariously through magazines and movies, trying to be
flawless like Brad and Angelina. Expectations are higher and we’re now expected to be
tend to engage
successful in every facet of our lives – the perfect job, the perfect body, the perfect
more in the
house, the perfect marriage, the perfect kids …
top 10 signs your a perfectionist
you can't stop thinking about a mistake you made
you are intensely competitive and hate losing, even Monopoly or Scrabble
you have to do things ‘perfect’ or not at all
you demand perfection from other people
you won't ask for help as this can be seen as a flaw or weakness
you will persist at a task long after other people have quit
you are a fault-finder and go out of your way to correct other people when they are
you consider people with cluttered desks or houses as lazy and undisciplined
you are very self-conscious about making mistakes in front of other people
10. you noticed the error in the title of this list and it really annoyed you! (sorry – but
we had to check)
Adapted from Gordon Flett, Professor of Psychology at York University, Toronto
enjoying the
process ”
difference between perfectionism and healthy achievers
Perfectionists believe that the highest standard of output, the absolute top level of performance must be met at all times and that
mistakes are not to be tolerated. Perfectionists tend to be full of self-doubt and fears of disapproval, ridicule and rejection. They see
mistakes as a weakness.
Healthy Achievers, while still striving for excellence and success, understand that it’s OK to make mistakes along the way and tend to
engage more in the present, enjoying the process.
Healthy Achiever
Sets standards beyond reach and reason
Sets high standards that take a bit of a stretch, but are still
within reach
Never satisfied by anything less than 100% perfection
Enjoys the process as well as the outcome
Can become dysfunctionally depressed when experience failure
and disappointment
Bounces back from failure and disappointment quickly and with
Preoccupied with fear of failure and disapproval, draining
energy levels
Maintains normal anxiety and fear of failure/disapproval within
bounds, providing energy
Views mistakes as evidence of character weakness and
Views mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning
Becomes overly defensive towards feedback
Reacts positively to feedback
well known perfectionists
Gordon Ramsay – notorious for yelling abuse at kitchen staff and chefs
David Beckham – has to have everything in a straight line in his fridge and organised neatly in cupboards. Soft drink cans in the fridge
have to be in pairs
Johnny Wilkinson – won the Rugby World Cup for England with his famous field goal in 2003, known to practise for hours and admits
‘sometimes I just need to chill a bit more’
Howard Hughes – entrepreneur and film producer portrayed by Leonardo di Caprio in the Aviator. Sealed himself in darkened hotel
rooms to create germ-free sanctuaries late in life
Charles Darwin – the father of evolution was a notorious perfectionist and described himself as being ‘tortured by obsessional
perfectionism can be bad for your health!
Perfection Infection is fuelling a slew of disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, eating disorders and
anxiety along with relationship and marital problems. Recent research highlights perfectionists are more prone to health problems
because they are under constant stress.
coping strategies
Overcoming perfectionism requires patience, courage and support. Primarily it involves accepting that as humans we have
imperfections and it is impossible to ever be ‘truly perfect’.
1. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of perfectionism
Grab a blank sheet of paper and make 2 columns, on the left side list the benefits of being a perfectionist. Then on the right side, list
all the costs of being perfect (costs to relationships, health, behaviour, mind set etc). Hopefully you will find the costs far outweigh the
2. Increase awareness of self talk
The average person has 50,000 plus thoughts every single day. Tune into your thinking and start to identify unhealthy, all-or-nothing
thoughts. Learn to substitute your ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) with more POTs (Positive Optimistic Thoughts). Ask
questions like ‘is there an alternate way to think?’, ‘are things really as bad as I’m thinking right now’
3. Be realistic
Try being a little easier on yourself and set more realistic goals. If you don’t swim a PB in the pool at lunch time today is it really going
to impact your life in a major way? Learn to substitute perfectionism with healthy achievement.
4. Set strict time limits on projects
Move on to another activity when time is up. This technique reduces the procrastination that typically results from perfectionism. If
you’re doing a proposal, only allow yourself 1 hour for collating data or research then say 1 hour for writing the proposal.
5. Learn to deal with feedback/criticism
Perfectionists tend to take all feedback personally. Learn to ‘professionalise and not to personalise’. Concentrate on being more
objective and try to learn and grow from your mistakes.
Andrew May
Main source: Why Perfect is now always best: BBC News; Perfectionism Can Lead To Imperfect Health: Science daily, Toronto;
Has it got to be Perfect?: Helen Kirwan-Taylor
summit syndrome
[ Have you ever had that rather empty feeling after
mastering a new job or skill set? Wandering what is
next? Where has the passion and zest gone that you had
when you first started? ]
affects those
Well, don’t despair. You’re not alone and - contrary to popular belief – you’re probably
who master a
not having a mid-life crisis. You might just be suffering from Summit Syndrome.
new job, then
This term has only recently hit the popular press. In a recent edition of the Harvard
lose their
Business Review, George D. Parsons and Richard T. Pascale describe how Summit
Syndrome creeps up on extreme over-achievers (including many executives and senior
managers). Initially, they thrive on the challenges of their work, then flat-line once they
believe they’ve reached their pinnacle. They feel lost, unenthusiastic and distracted. A
sense of listlessness and crisis can overwhelm. This is very common for over achievers
and can derail promising careers. Some think about throwing away their career – and, in
the most severe cases, others do.
Summit Syndrome is different to the more-familiar ‘crashes’ or ‘overloads’ that can
occur during a fast climb up the corporate ladder. Summit Syndrome is not caused by
intolerable workloads and can happen many times in a career. It tends to afflict the most
aggressive strivers — people who flock to investment banks and start-ups and who thrive
on new challenges. When those challenges are overcome, “they can’t or find it
extremely difficult to motor along flat terrain.” Restlessness sets in. Daily crosswords and
Sudoku become a part of office routine. Headhunters’ calls are taken. Taking time off to
walk Kokoda seems like a good idea. From a company’s perspective, it leads to sudden,
unexplained departures, health problems or declining performances of talented
Parsons and Pascale explicitly distinguish their Success Syndrome from others. They are
not talking about those who are frozen out, burned out, psyched out, or flaming out.
Summit Syndrome affects those who master a new job, then lose their bearings and
question their purpose.
bearings and
question their
summit syndrome survey
Go through this checklist to see if you’ve got the signs and symptoms of Summit Syndrome. Count up all the YES answers.
I find I’m not as excited or ‘juiced’ about the challenges of my job as I once was?
I tend to daydream a lot more at work and find it harder to stay focussed?
My work doesn’t really feel aligned with my personal goals right now?
I spend a lot more time thinking about what it would be like to just throw it all away and do something else?
I’ve lost the drive to leave a legacy or a real mark on what I do with my career?
I constantly micro-manage other employees and don’t like to delegate?
I’d consider taking a demotion?
I‘m working harder than ever but can’t see the rewards?
I’m always counting down the days until my next holiday?
I’ve started job seeking – just to see what‘s out there?
what your score means
Number of YES Scores
Less than 5
Sounds like everything is going along well. Why are you reading this article? Get back to work…
5 to 7
Showing a few signs of Summit Syndrome. Keep a ‘pulse check’ of how you feel towards your job
and its demands. Keep monitoring where you’re at and what is important to you.
8 plus
Sounds like you have most of the signs and symptoms of Summit Syndrome. Read this article in its
entirety and focus on being proactive and finding your own winning formula.
case study one: Harold, 39 year old commercial banker
Harold spent his teens thinking about earning big money, his 20s making it, and his 30s spending it. Now approaching his 40s,
Harold feels like he’s done everything possible in his field – dealt with the biggest clients and cut the biggest deals. Put simply, he’s
lost the buzz, snaps at his colleagues, spends more time than ever thinking about his next holiday with his mates and would rather
fill in time with Sudoku and crosswords than marketing and networking. Harold can’t remember the last time he had a getaway
with his wife and kids.
case study two: Tracey, 36 year old journalist
Tracey always wanted to work for the leading newspaper in her home state. Now, five years on, she’s won numerous awards,
regularly gets front page exclusives and is considered future senior management material by her peers. The only problem is, she
doesn’t know what she wants. Tired, single and bored by it all, Tracey wonders if it would be easier to work without those constant
deadlines and time pressures – and probably get paid more in the process. What led her to journalism in the first place – the thrill of
the chase and the hunt for the story – doesn’t seem to really matter any more.
dangerous curves ahead
Sound familiar? There are warning signs to
look out for.
It’s easier to recognise the summit syndrome
if we understand its three phases. In the
approach phase, sufferers push harder in a
futile attempt to recapture the adrenaline
rush of the climb. In the plateauing phase,
after practically all the challenges have been
met, these individuals reach for ever more
spectacular results, but to less effect and
greater dissatisfaction. This culminates in the
terminal descending phase, when
performance slips noticeably. As their
superstar status fades, they jump ship, accept
demotions, or take lateral transfers.
Reference: Crisis at the Summit
symptoms of a summit crisis
summit phase
internal symptoms
external symptoms
Low-level discontent
Premonitions about loss of traction
“What happened to the excitement?”
Loss of enthusiasm
Fearing loss of career momentum and legacy
“What happened to my goals?”
Feeling lost
Cynicism, anger, frustration near the surface
“What happened to my career?”
Subtle loss of edge
Emerging distractions
• Hobby obsessions
• Heightened appetite for stimulation
• Daydreaming
Attraction to unsolicited offers
Working harder to do the basics
More serious distractions
• Climbing Mount Everest-type adventures beckon
• Intensive curiosity about alternate lifestyles and
intimate relationships
• More vacations
Unorthodox career choices attract
disproportionate consideration
Working harder to conceal disengagement
Severe distractions
• Substance abuse
• Sexual indiscretions
• Malfeasance
• Unconscious career sabotage
Bailing out
being proactive
Steps taken at the right time not only help extreme over achievers surmount the summit syndrome but can also deepen their capacity
to lead.
overcoming the confusion
So, what to do about it? Summit Syndrome needs to be tackled head on but, most importantly, with an open mind. All over-achievers
have a “winning formula” – so, to bring back some enthusiasm and joy, it probably needs to be re-invented.
Work out what makes you so good at your job, your values, aspirations and what you want from life
Identify what’s most important to you and recognise how your goals and ideals have changed
See a performance coach or a careers advisor
Allow yourself to delegate – so you have more time to pursue and develop other aspects of your career that you may have
previously neglected
There’s always more to learn
Encourage and foster robust discussions in the boardroom
Find a new summit to climb
In their article for the Harvard Business Review, Parsons and Pascale describe how one investment banker tackled his Summit
Syndrome by writing his own eulogy – describing his life and what he meant to others. Sounds a bit grim, but actually proved very
“…looking back across his life,” they write, “helped him clarify his professional goals.”
Learn to become a true leader. Instead of being disillusioned and worn out, become re-invigorated by passing on your tools of
success to employees. That will help strengthen your staff – and your own sense of satisfaction.
And remember – prevention is always better than cure – so learn to recognise the early warning signs and symptoms. See you at the
Andrew May
Reference source:
Crisis at the Summit, George D Parsons and Richard T Pascale
If you’d like the complete article from the Harvard Business Review, contact us at [email protected]
7 tips to successful
goal setting
Goal-setting is a positive, powerful practice when it ignites enthusiasm and provides you
with clear direction. So, how do you avoid the New Year’s curse and move from writing
goals on the back of a VB coaster in the early hours of New Year’s Day to actually making
them happen in a logical, structured process? Follow the 7 tips to ensure you succeed.
“Write your
goals down on
1. ask yourself the right questions
a sheet of
Give some thought to what you really want and why you want to achieve it.
How much does achieving this goal really mean to you?
What are the benefits of achieving this goal? List them.
Who else would achieving this goal affect or impact?
Are you really prepared to do what it takes to achieve this goal?
2. involve significant others
Don’t keep your goals to yourself. Enlist the support of your partner, significant others,
family, friends, colleagues etc. This keeps you accountable and also sets up your own
little support group to keep you on track.
3. get anchored
Write your goals down on a sheet of paper, simplify them into point format and then
put them in a place you will regularly see them. This might be in your diary, in the office,
in the car, maybe even in the bathroom.
4. small bytes
George Miller, a leading psychologist, proposed that we can only deal with seven bits of
information at any one time. Any more information and our minds start to wander.
So to be effective, you need to group things into memorable, manageable chunks.
When you create your New Year’s Master Plan, keep your goals down to a manageable
number and group similar areas.
5. set an annual goal-setting plan
After you have written down your specific goals, the next step is to work out a specific plan. Identify the key steps you need to take
towards accomplishing each goal and assign specific dates for this.
Daily: Think about your major goals and what you can do today to help you move towards them.
Weekly: Invest valuable time at the start of every week mapping out how you are going to spend your time and where you are going
to focus effort and energy in order to achieve your goals.
Monthly and quarterly: Make a list of all the major goals you want to complete every month or quarter. Divide this into different parts
of your business and life. Then break these down into smaller components and work out what you need to do each week to get the
job done.
Yearly planning: Conduct a review of your business and your life before New Year’s. I find December is often a good time to do this.
First of all, make a list of all of the great things you have accomplished the previous year in all aspects of your life. Next, make a list of
the areas you’d like to improve or the goals that you didn’t achieve in the different areas of your life. Why do you think you didn’t hit
these targets? What do you need to do differently moving forward to make this happen?
The yearly plan should be the umbrella for the quarterly plan, which will then feed the monthly, weekly and daily action items.
6. project the future – RAS
Review your goals at least every seven days, preferably most days. Don’t leave it for another 365 days. This helps activate the Reticular
Activating System (RAS). The RAS is an inbuilt goal-setting device that tracks us towards our targets and filters the types of information
we let into our internal system.
Regularly visualise what it is going to be like once you have successfully achieved your goals. How are you going to feel? We really do
become what we visualise, so make sure you forward-project the right thoughts and paint a successful storyboard.
7. be realistic and reward yourself along the way
It is important to reward yourself along the way as you tick off your action plan. Give yourself a pat on the back for sticking to the
Human beings make mistakes so don’t beat yourself up if you lose focus. Don’t be a perfectionist – don’t expect yourself to be superhuman. This is one of the simplest ways we can sabotage ourselves. Expect high standards of yourself, but if you don’t achieve all that
you want to, at least you’ll know that you’ve worked towards achieving your goals with determination and integrity.
Following this structured process you are much more likely to achieve your goals. And when you’ve done it…you’ve just set yourself
up for a happy, healthy and productive year ahead.
Andrew May
personal values and
mission statement
I’m sure you’ve walked into a large company at some stage and seen the values and
mission statements plastered on the boardroom wall. While this can work sometimes,
invariably mission statements and values for large companies were not decided by you.
More likely than not they came together on a conference love-in many years ago and
don’t have a lot of heart-share with most employees!
Much like a corporate mission statement, your personal manifesto guides and defines
you, especially during the harder times. It gives you something to fall back on. It helps
you make decisions when under distress. Having a clear manifesto for your life can really
help you in the tough times. It helps you stay clear and focused in high-pressure
situations. It helps you make quick decisions when time is precious.
The primary objective of a personal mission statement is to define what is important for
you. Not your company, not your partner, not your family and not your friends – you!
Circle the values listed in the table below that are important to you:
Now add any other values that are important to you and come up with your own
my core values are:
manifesto guides
and defines you,
what do you value?
priority list.
“... your personal
especially during
the harder times.”
mission statement
Your personal mission statement is a summary sentence or a short paragraph that sums up what life is all about for you. Think about
it, and write it down. It’s easy to get bogged down in everyday life and to forget what’s important to you. What do you feel your
purpose is? How do you feel you ought to go about attaining that? What do you stand for? What do you want out of life? What
moves you? Who do you wish you could be?
Some things you could think about include:
what are your past successes?
what are your core values and beliefs?
how do you feel you could best contribute to the wider world – and to your personal world of family, friends, community and
what are your goals?
my personal mission statement is:
Andrew May
personal responsibility
[discipline, integrity, and leadership - your
responsibilities to yourself ]
Out of all the 7 Switches of Performance, the Responsibility Switch is the most
ambiguous. It’s easy to see whether you are eating the right foods, getting enough
sleep, exercising in moderation, organising your work and life, it’s even a lot easier to
“I can always
see when
someone is
assess whether you are having healthy thoughts or not.
But flipping the Responsibility Switch can be tough, especially if you have ingrained bad
because they do
habits. At the end of the day responsibility is not really about knowledge or learning
what to do; it is about sticking your hand up and accepting that for anything to change,
first of all you must change.
interested or committed?
You see when someone is ‘interested’ in achieving or doing something, they say all the
right things…but their behaviour invariably lets them down.
‘I really want to get fit this year’ sounds nice; but what you eat when you pull up at the
service station on the way home from work shows commitment.
Rolling out of a toasty warm bed early on a cold winter’s morning to do a 5 km run is
about commitment.
Turning up to each session on time shows commitment. Prioritising and locking-in
appointments in your diary shows commitment. Telling everyone what you plan on
achieving shows commitment, because you are making yourself accountable to others.
And I could go on and on.
I can always see when someone is committed because they do more than just talk about
what they want to achieve. I also see this every day in my role as a performance coach to
CEOs and business leaders. I can’t put my finger on the exact ingredient but you can just
tell when someone is interested and not committed.
the chicken and the pig
There is a famous story about Alan Jones when he was coach of the Wallabies. Before a
big game, he told the players a story about the difference between being interested and
being committed. He commented that when you sit down to have bacon and eggs for
breakfast the chicken is interested, but the pig, well he is totally committed!
more than just
talk about what
they want to
are you interested or are you committed?
This is crunch time for you and I in our relationship. Because up until now, it has been more about learning and putting some of the
information into practice. And I hope that you are already feeling a lot better. But to really move forward and make this program work
for you (and in reality to make any future programs work for you) you must be honest with yourself and ask the following key
Am I just interested or am I totally committed?
Interested people
Talk the talk but don’t always walk the walk
Like the idea of change
Never fully commit to telling others what they are going to achieve
Set goals sometimes, and
Don’t always think about potential barriers to their success.
Committed people:
Behave in a way that supports their goals and desires
Commit to the idea of change
Hold themselves accountable to others
Set goals all the time and follow a structured process in doing so, and
Think and anticipate barriers to success, and work out strategies to get around them.
lessons from the mighty Sydney Swans
The hardest lesson for an elite sportsperson to learn is how to do your best every day. Sustained performance is not just about a oneoff effort, it requires you to consistently do the right things.
Before an individual or a team can move forward they need to have a look at where they’re at right now and make an honest
assessment of where they currently stand. This doesn’t always happen in large organisations. This is where we often get lost and
absorbed by ‘the creep’. Total honesty is essential when assessing and planning for the future.
David Misson, the Physical Performance Manager for the Sydney Swans, provided me with the following information.
The Swans example is not an atypical one. The 2005 Grand Final win was the culmination of three and a half years of building a
culture, a game plan and an overall working environment that ensured the team would be able to perform under pressure – day in,
day out.
At the end of 2005 the coaching and support staff sat down and did an honest assessment of:
where they were at
how they were perceived by competitors, and
how they wanted to be perceived.
With the Swans, there are a number of definitive reasons why they won the competition:
They were the best team in the competition, not just the team with the best list of individual players
They have a focus on teamwork and sacrifice.
Players knew exactly what they had to do to win. They had a clear game plan and clear communication.
The team was fit and healthy. They were able to cope with any eventuality, committed to recovery, had no injuries, and the same
team in the same combination had played together for a large part of the season.
Most honest team in the competition.
Performed both on and off the field.
The Swans had their best team on the park at optimum fitness levels – how many organisations can claim that?
The Swans aren’t the most talented list – the top eighteen players are nowhere near as good as the top eighteen players for St Kilda,
West Coast, Collingwood, Brisbane or Port Adelaide. Therefore they had to be better as a team, forming an unbreakable cohesive unit.
As you may have experienced with many corporate leadership programs, culture and leadership in theory and then in practice are
two different things.
The Swans had their vision and trademark, a set of key behaviours, but achieving ‘that’ weight of numbers where everyone was
buying in did require some courage – and a number of hard decisions. Again, at the heart of all of it was HONESTY. Individuals
needed to take stock of where they were at but they also needed honest feedback from their peers. The trademark was ‘to honour and
follow our predecessors’, known as ‘the bloods’.
Confronting a player whose attitude is questionable became easier but for players whose actions went outside the team rules –
outside the set of acceptable behaviours – there needed to be consequences.
Once the team buys into this process it really does start to govern itself.
the Paul Roos era begins
One of the smartest things Roosy did when he finished playing was to sit down and write a list of ‘footy truths’ that he would use if
he ever ended up coaching. One of the key ones was that the game was too coach-driven, too controlled by the top end of the chain.
In both the day-to-day environment (the hardest thing about elite sport) and crucial passages of play on field, there is not enough
time for the coach to send messages and have influence on the field. It must be generated from within the playing squad. Players
have to want to achieve, they have to know what to do, and they are ultimately responsible for their own and the teams’ destiny.
personal leadership and your team
While we can often learn a lot from winning businesses and teams, I believe personal leadership is all about stepping up and holding
yourself accountable to your actions. The best teams have a good balance between teamwork and communication, and individuals
getting the most out of themselves.
This is where you need to flip the switch and really stand up and be counted. It is when your day to day behaviour supports the role
and responsibilities you have at home, at work and in the community.
This model takes the form of three circles, each one getting bigger but starting at the same point highlighting that leadership is:
about you, then
about your team, and then
about the company.
This approach is a little different from many leadership textbooks or courses you have probably participated in up to now.
Sport has taught me a lot about personal leadership, and I’ve seen both the good and the bad. My approach to leadership is based on
what I know works for elite athletes. Why model yourself on the average?
This approach begins with YOU. Leadership starts from the inside out – it starts with you.
leadership from the inside out
If you watch the movie Braveheart, you could be mistaken for thinking the only type of leader is like William Wallace who stands in
front of his troops, sweat beading off his brow, heart and veins thumping full of blood and adrenaline, screaming, ‘They may take our
lives but they’ll never take our freedom!’ …and then charging non-stop into the ranks of the enemy.
This is where a lot of emerging leaders go wrong, thinking that everyone has to lead like William Wallace. While this approach
definitely works for the some people, for others it will prove an absolute PR and communications disaster.
Leadership from the inside out starts with evaluating exactly where you are right now. When David Misson and I run corporate
leadership programs we start by asking the following key questions of the individual participants:
Where are you currently at in both life and in business?
How are you currently perceived by your peers?
How do you want to be perceived by your peers?
What behaviours and values are needed to get you there?
What are your measures of success/KPIs?
This might sound simplistic – but that’s the beauty of this approach. It cuts out all of the scientific mumbo jumbo on leadership and
just gets down to the basics. I have run this process through with thousands of people and the results can be amazing, if you are
honest with yourself and really commit to the process.
For starters, why don’t you look at the questions above, and write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.
the difference between like and respect
One of the challenges I see for many emerging leaders is getting a grip on the difference between being liked and being respected.
I think true leadership, which is all about personal responsibility, is about being respected first and liked second. It is a mistake to
focus only on winning the popularity contests and making sure everyone likes you. What normally happens when you attempt to
please everyone is that you actually fulfil no one, least of all yourself.
To be a strong leader you need to be courageous and at times make choices that will upset or irritate others. This is what leadership
and responsibility are all about: it’s about being the person that makes the decisions that impact on others. It’s about making
decisions for an organisation; it’s about coming at decision-making and relationships from a position of broad responsibility for the
business rather than personal ego. It’s all about personal discipline and integrity.
As long as you know what you stand for and have the conviction that you have made the right decision, you are leading responsibly.
It’s incredibly important to stick to your core values and what you believe in.
responsibility top 10
Be committed, not just interested. Do you want to be the chicken or do you want to be the pig?
Assess yourself honestly and listen to your team mates, family, friends and colleagues
Work on personal leadership and ask yourself the key questions ‘where am I at now in business and in life? How am I currently
perceived by my peers? And how do I want to be perceived by my peers?
Realise that personal leadership is not about beating your chest and making a lot of noise. It is about being respected and
knowing what you stand for
Set goals apart from the ones at New Years Eve on the back of a VB beer coaster
Engage in the seven tips to successful goal setting and increase your likelihood of success
Learn to integrate work and life together and keep things in perspective
Develop your own values and personal mission statement. Use this when you need to make tough decisions in the future and
hold yourself accountable for your actions make yourself accountable – either to yourself or to significant others, colleagues,
friends or family
Regularly assess not just where you are at right now, but where you want to go and what you need in order to get there
10. Don’t be a perfectionist. Reward yourself for what you have done and learn to celebrate your success - rather than kick yourself
for what you haven’t achieved
7 most popular questions
on happiness
1. what is happiness?
Happiness means different things to different people and is a term that covers a range of
positive emotions. As humans, we experience a wide array of moods and feelings,
including “negative” ones (such as depression, frustration, anxiety, etc) and “positive”
ones (such as satisfaction, joy and happiness).
Happiness is something that encompasses all of the positive emotions, from the “low
arousal” ones such as contentment, calmness and satisfaction, through to the “high
arousal” emotions such as joy and excitement.
It’s important to note that none of these emotions are necessarily better or worse than
does NOT come
from wealth or
income, or even
any others, but that some people will definitely tend more towards some than others.
possessions like
Although not exclusively, “extroverts” tend to seek out and experience more of the high
fast cars or large
arousal positive emotions, while “introverts” tend to seek out and experience more of
the lower arousal positive emotions.
plasma TV
Happiness, then, is a positive state of wellbeing characterised by positive emotions.
2. should happiness come naturally?
The simple answer to this question is yes, if you’re lucky, but no, if you’re like most
For some people, happiness does come naturally and easily in the same way that other
skills or abilities (such as athletics and sports, problem solving, and even interpersonal
relationships) come easily for others.
Whether it comes naturally or not is irrelevant. If you want to achieve greater happiness
then you can, if you find out what to do and do it (and then practise it until you master
Consider the following example: how many people were born able to drive a car? I bet
the answer is “no one”. Despite this, because it’s something that can make our lives
easier to manage, most of us put in the effort to learn how to drive and then we practise
until we’re good enough to do it easily.
Happiness can be viewed in much the same way. If achieving happiness is important to
you, whether it comes naturally or not shouldn’t stop you from (1) finding out what to
do, and then (2) practicing it until you’re really good at it.
3. why is happiness so hard for us in this day and age that many of us have
to take lessons on how to be happy?
Happiness is hard for many people to achieve because they focus on the wrong variables or they’ve not been taught the right things
to do!
Despite what many newspapers, glossy magazines, Hollywood movies and TV shows try and make us believe, happiness does NOT
come from wealth or income, or even material possessions like fast cars or large plasma TV screens.
Nor is happiness directly associated with physical attractiveness or even intelligence. And believe it or not, happiness does not depend
on the type of cola you drink, the type of jeans you wear or even the model of mobile phone you use!
Unfortunately happiness is very misunderstood and, as a result, many people see it as elusive.
But happiness need not be elusive if it’s sought in an appropriate and realistic way. Achieving happiness requires nothing more than
practising a few simple disciplines on a daily basis.
Seeking help attaining happiness is not necessarily an indication of something problematic or of failure – no more so than needing to
see an accountant for assistance with your financial or tax issues, a lawyer for help with legal issues, or even a dentist for help
maintaining the health of your teeth!
And just like you can get help learning to drive from a family member, a friend, or a professional, so too can you learn to be happier
from a family member, friend or from a professional (such as the coaches at The Happiness Institute).
4. how do I become happier?
First of all, life is too short not to be happy. Secondly, achieving happiness requires nothing more than practising a few simple
disciplines every day.
Accordingly, becoming happier first requires a commitment to making happiness a priority, and secondly, a willingness to learn,
practise and ultimately master the key “disciplines” associated with happiness.
Let’s consider each in turn:
First, ask yourself whether happiness really is a priority for you at this point in time. Are you really doing all you can to live a happy
life? Could you be doing any more to live a happy and fulfilling life?
If you believe you could be doing more or that you could make some improvements, then carefully assess the pros and cons of doing
so. Now the pros of making positive changes are pretty obvious, and you might think there aren’t any “cons” but think carefully.
Living a happier life might, among other things, require changes (small or large) to your career, to your relationships, to your financial
arrangements and/or to the way you act on your health.
Trying to become happier at work, for example, may (in the short-term, anyway) require financial adjustments, learning new skills
and growing a new professional network.
Think carefully about this because doing so will save you time later and provide you with the motivation to really do what you need to
Following this, determine which of the following strategies are most important to you and make sure you dedicate time on a regular
basis to mastering the relevant skills.
(a) Clarify your life direction and goals
There’s no doubt that happy people are clearer about who they are and where they want to go (what they want to achieve).
(b) Live a healthy life
It’s hard to be happy if you are literally sick and tired all the time. So ensure you eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep and
(c) Don’t tolerate negative thoughts
Unhelpful and self-defeating thoughts are the enemy of happiness. Learn how to control your mind and especially how to identify
and challenge worrying, pessimistic thoughts.
(d) Plant optimistic thoughts
Happy people look at the world differently. They focus more on positives and they look for opportunities in all situations (even
challenging ones). So once you’ve weeded out the unhappy thoughts, work on planting optimistic ones.
(e) Foster, develop and maintain key relationships
Research strongly suggests that happy people have both more and better quality relationships, and to achieve this, they spend more
time working on the quality of these relationships. So don’t take the important people in your life for granted. Make sure you devote
enough time to reasonably keep them flowering.
(f) Focus on your strengths
Although we can always try to improve and although we can all try to fix our weaknesses, happy people tend to be far more aware of,
and far better at utilising their core strengths, qualities and attributes. So find out what you’re good at and find ways to do more of
this as often as possible.
(g) Live in the moment
Happiness is not something you’ll ever achieve in the future. It won’t come when you have more, or when you’ve reached a goal, or
when you’re older, wiser, richer, etc. Happiness can only ever be experienced at one point in time, and that’s now. Happy people
spend less time dwelling on the past, and worrying about the future, and more time living in the here and now.
(h) Enjoy the moment
Slightly different to the point above, happiness is not just living in the moment, but also enjoying the moment. Happy people are
more grateful. They appreciate what they have, and think less about what they don’t have. Often times they appreciate small things
other people don’t even notice. Sometimes they’re happy just because!
5. if I do all that will I be happy all the time?
Let me respond to this with an emphatic, no!
I must admit I get asked this question, or similar questions a lot and I frequently find myself emphasising that even the happiest
people experience negative emotions at times. This is appropriate and normal!
Many argue that you can’t see the light if you’ve not seen the darkness. This doesn’t mean you need to have suffered depression in
order to be happy but it is certainly my experience that the light looks brighter and more enjoyable after coming out of the dark.
And let me emphasise an important point one more time. It is perfectly normal, healthy and appropriate to experience the full range
of human emotions, including the so-called “negative” ones.
If you never experience frustration or anger; if you never experience anxiety or stress; if you never, ever feel sad, down or remorseful,
then there would, quite simply, be something wrong with you.
So, remember, practising all of the strategies recommended by The Happiness Institute will not necessarily lead to you feeling
absolutely ecstatic, 100% of the time (if you were, then you might actually be experiencing a form of mania which is just as troubling
and just as problematic as serious depression!). Rather, practising the happiness skills and strategies will allow you to experience more
positive emotions, more often.
These skills and strategies will also help you to bounce back from difficult situations faster, as well as to manage negative emotions
more effectively.
It is critical, therefore, to have realistic expectations when seeking happiness and the reality is that although you can feel better more
often and feel down less often, it is unrealistic to expect to feel happy all the time.
6. how do I make the people around me as happy as I am?
You can’t!
Happiness is something each and every one of us chooses (or doesn’t choose). And we can’t make that choice for other people.
If you review the strategies outlined in the answer to question four, it’s easy to see that these are things we can only do to and for
No one else can tell us what goals to set (and if they do, you’ll not really be motivated to achieve them). No one else can exercise, eat,
sleep or rest for us. No one else can think for us (positively or negatively) and no one else can know or use our strengths. Finally, no
one else can live for us, at any point in time, and especially in the present moment.
So, the bottom line then, is to live your life as best you can, to be as happy as you can, and, as much as possible, to set a good
example for those around you.
Indirectly then, this is the only way you can possibly influence others and help them to be happier. You can model for them the key
strategies and encourage them to try them for themselves.
More than this, you can (if they ask) provide them with appropriate information (such as this Special Report) and/or appropriate and
helpful resources such as The Happiness Institute’s books and workbooks, available at:
But please note: you can’t “force” someone to be happy. You can’t force them to read any material or listen to any CDs.
Unless they want to be happy, unless they express an interest in doing what you’re doing and experiencing what you’re experiencing,
you’ll only frustrate yourself, and possibly them, by trying to get them to do what they’re not ready or able to do.
So focus on yourself and your own happiness and hope and trust that others will follow on this wonderful journey to a happy now.
7. how do you balance the desire to achieve with living in the moment?
This is a fascinating and important question because, as noted above, happy people are people who set clear goals. They’re also
people who tend to plan ahead and manage their time well and (although not mentioned specifically above) are more active.
In summary, happy people tend to do more and they tend to achieve more.
But, at the risk of repeating myself, happy people are also people who spend more time living in the moment. They live in the here
and now, not in the past or in the future.
How do we reconcile these facts?
Well, to begin with it’s important to differentiate between planning for the future and worrying about the future. It’s also important
to differentiate between dwelling in the past, and learning from the past.
Happy and successful people are able to do this and the concept of this balancing act is brilliantly summed up in the following quote
(from Spencer Johnson’s wonderful little book, “The Present”):
The Present
Three ways to use your present moments.
Be in the present:
When you want to be happy and successful, focus on what is right now.
Use your purpose to respond to what is important now.
Learn from the past:
When you want to make the present better than the past, look at what happened in the past.
Learn something valuable from it.
Do things differently in the present.
Plan for the future:
When you want to make the future better than the present, see what a wonderful future would look like.
Make plans to help it happen.
Put your plan into action in the present.
Dr Timothy Sharp
Executive Coach, Consulting and Clinical Psychologist
Clinical Lecturer (Universities of Sydney & NSW)
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