Managing traumatic stress

Managing traumatic stress

Managing traumatic stress – given this time when trauma and distress are so common, I thought it useful to  re-publish this piece from the American Psychological Association Help Centre 

Managing traumatic stress – Tips for recovering from disasters and other traumatic events

Disasters are often unexpected, sudden and overwhelming. In some cases, there are no outwardly visible signs of physical injury, but there is nonetheless a serious emotional toll. It is common for people who have experienced traumatic situations to have very strong emotional reactions. Understanding normal responses to these abnormal events can aid you in coping effectively with your feelings, thoughts and behaviours, and help you along the path to recovery.

What happens to people after a disaster or other traumatic event?

Shock and denial are typical responses to traumatic events and disasters, especially shortly after the event. Both shock and denial are normal protective reactions.

Shock is a sudden and often intense disturbance of your emotional state that may leave you feeling stunned or dazed. Denial involves not acknowledging that something very stressful has happened, or not experiencing fully the intensity of the event. You may temporarily feel numb or disconnected from life.

As the initial shock subsides, reactions vary from one person to another. The following, however, are normal responses to a traumatic event:

  • Feelings become intense and sometimes are unpredictable. You may become more irritable than usual, and your mood may change back and forth dramatically. You might be especially anxious or nervous, or even become depressed.
  • Thoughts and behavior patterns are affected by the trauma. You might have repeated and vivid memories of the event. These flashbacks may occur for no apparent reason and may lead to physical reactions such as rapid heartbeat or sweating. You may find it difficult to concentrate or make decisions, or become more easily confused. Sleep and eating patterns also may be disrupted.
  • Recurring emotional reactions are common. Anniversaries of the event, such as at one month or one year, can trigger upsetting memories of the traumatic experience. These “triggers” may be accompanied by fears that the stressful event will be repeated.
  • Interpersonal relationships often become strained. Greater conflict, such as more frequent arguments with family members and coworkers, is common. On the other hand, you might become withdrawn and isolated and avoid your usual activities.
  • Physical symptoms may accompany the extreme stress. For example, headaches, nausea and chest pain may result and may require medical attention. Pre-existing medical conditions may worsen due to the stress.

Managing traumatic stress – how do people respond differently over time?

It is important for you to realize that there is not one “standard” pattern of reaction to the extreme stress of traumatic experiences. Some people respond immediately, while others have delayed reactions — sometimes months or even years later. Some have adverse effects for a long period of time, while others recover rather quickly.

And reactions can change over time. Some who have suffered from trauma are energized initially by the event to help them with the challenge of coping, only to later become discouraged or depressed.

A number of factors tend to affect the length of time required for recovery in managing traumatic stress , including:

  • The degree of intensity and loss. Events that last longer and pose a greater threat, and where loss of life or substantial loss of property is involved, often take longer to resolve.
  • A person’s general ability to cope with emotionally challenging situations. Individuals who have handled other difficult, stressful circumstances well may find it easier to cope with the trauma.
  • Other stressful events preceding the traumatic experience. Individuals faced with other emotionally challenging situations, such as serious health problems or family-related difficulties, may have more intense reactions to the new stressful event and need more time to recover.

How should I help myself and my family?

There are a number of steps you can take to help restore emotional well-being and a sense of control following a disaster or other traumatic experience, including the following:

  • Give yourself time to adjust. Anticipate that this will be a difficult time in your life. Allow yourself to mourn the losses you have experienced. Try to be patient with changes in your emotional state.
  • Ask for support from people who care about you and who will listen and empathize with your situation. But keep in mind that your typical support system may be weakened if those who are close to you also have experienced or witnessed the trauma.
  • Communicate your experience. In whatever ways feel comfortable to you — such as by talking with family or close friends, or keeping a diary.
  • Find out about local support groups that often are available. Such as for those who have suffered from natural disasters or other traumatic events. These can be especially helpful for people with limited personal support systems.
  • Try to find groups led by appropriately trained and experienced professionals. Group discussion can help people realize that other individuals in the same circumstances often have similar reactions and emotions.
  • Engage in healthy behaviors to enhance your ability to cope with excessive stress. Eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of rest. If you experience ongoing difficulties with sleep, you may be able to find some relief through relaxation techniques. Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Establish or reestablish routines such as eating meals at regular times and following an exercise program. Take some time off from the demands of daily life by pursuing hobbies or other enjoyable activities.
  • Avoid major life decisions such as switching careers or jobs if possible. These activities tend to be highly stressful.

When should I seek professional help?

Some people are able to cope effectively with the emotional and physical demands brought about by traumatic events by using their own support systems. It is not unusual, however, to find that serious problems persist and continue to interfere with daily living. For example, some may feel overwhelming nervousness or lingering sadness that adversely affects job performance and interpersonal relationships.

Individuals with prolonged reactions that disrupt their daily functioning should consult with a trained and experienced mental health professional. Psychologists and other appropriate mental health providers help educate people about normal responses to extreme stress. These professionals work with individuals affected by trauma to help them find constructive ways of dealing with the emotional impact.

With children, continual and aggressive emotional outbursts, serious problems at school, preoccupation with the traumatic event, continued and extreme withdrawal, and other signs of intense anxiety or emotional difficulties all point to the need for professional assistance. A qualified mental health professional can help in managing traumatic stress for such children and their parents understand and deal with thoughts, feelings and behaviours that result from trauma.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

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Fed-up with Job Search

Fed-up with Job Search

“I am unemployed and bored. I’m tired of applying for jobs and not getting any replies!”

Fed-up with Job Search – I heard from someone recently who is getting very tired Fed-up with Job Searchof the whole process of applying for work. He wants to work. But he is really fed up of making applications that don’t get replies. He is bored staying at home every day.

His routine is now to stay up late watching television and get up at noon the next day. Then he just hangs around the house.

It is all too easy for this to happen when you don’t have a regular routine. On top of that, constant rejection, or worse the feeling that you are invisible, adds to feeling down. Eventually it can lead to depression.

The slippery slope

My friend may need quite an intervention to get him moving again.

What about you?  Do you feel yourself slipping down into the well of despair? You need to act!

First, you need to establish a new and healthier routine.

Go to bed and get up at the same times as you did when you had a job. This doesn’t apply to those who had a long commute, obviously. If you can, stick with your previous sleeping pattern. Not sleeping? Talk to your pharmacist about trying a gentle herbal remedy to help with sleep.  If that doesn’t work talk to your medical adviser.

Fed-up with job search – now is time for a new routine

Make a new routine for yourself during the day and set some new goals.

How about going to the gym or taking a long walk first thing in the morning? During the day take pride in eating well but healthily.

Allocate a certain period each day for work at home on your job search but please don’t spend all day, every day on it! Make time for a hobby that has nothing to do with your job search. Make it something you really enjoy.

Now is the time to review and refresh your job search material, CV etc.  Could this be the time to widen your job search field?  Think about things you have enjoyed over the years. What have you not yet considered as a work opportunity?

If you have got to interview stage in any of your applications, what feedback were you given?  If you didn’t ask for feedback, there may still time to make a phone call to the recruiting manager.

Meeting people

Don’t forget to meet up with friends or contacts outside the house. Make a point of getting out and meeting people at least once a week. These meetings won’t be to ask for work but you can let them know that you are looking. Mainly this will be an opportunity to keep up with people and find out what is going on around you.

If you belong to a professional association, now is the time to go to meetings! It is important to keep up with what is going on in your field.  Make some time during your days at home to follow up developments on the internet. It is much cheaper than buying magazines.

Think as well about investing in a training course; either to refresh your present skills or to gain new ones. It could make you more valuable and give you some new contacts.

Think about taking on a voluntary role.  It is very good for self esteem and it helps to be able to show potential employers that you are using your time productively.

Fed-up with job search – now is not the time to brood or become that couch potato. Get up, review, revise, refresh and get out there!  Set yourself some new goals and move forward, there are still opportunities around – it is time to look for them in some new places.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

The ability to bounce – coping with life’s problems

Bouncing Boy
Image via Wikipedia

Losing your job can be a major blow to your self confidence and it can be difficult to bounce back.  This can be much worse if you are someone who has found it difficult to cope with life’s problems in the past

Coping with life’s problems successfully needs you to have realistic expectations. Psychologists call these expectations, and the judgements you make based on them, ‘appraisals’.  Things that happen to us aren’t a problem unless we judge them to be.

Life is never perfect and problems, including losing your job these days, are a part of normal, everyday life. If our judgements (appraisals) are realistic, we’re much better able to deal with them and not let them throw us off-balance.

The appraisals we make come from our belief system. If we hold unrealistic beliefs, then our judgements may not be the best for the situation.

Sometimes we have unrealistic beliefs about what we must or should do.  We want to be “perfect”.  “Everyone must like me “or “I’ve got to be good at everything” for example. If you think about these for a minute, they are irrational beliefs. Who do you know who could really achieve them?

Another approach!

When you are aware of this, it is possible to substitute an irrational judgement with something more positive?

If someone treats you rudely, you could think what a rotten person they are.  Or you could think “See, everyone does dislike me!”  But another view could be.  “I wonder what happened to that person today to make them behave like that?”

But it is important to follow up these ‘primary appraisals’!  We need to ask ourselves afterwards if there’s anything we can do about a particular event that has caused distress – a “secondary appraisal”.

If we feel helpless to change things, or incompetent when facing challenges, then we’re less likely to come up with a suitable way to handle things.

Self-efficacy

People who have a confident belief that the responses they make to life’s challenges have a meaningful effect (self efficacy), are able to face problems with energy!  This means they bounce back easily.

But how do you develop this belief?

Self-efficacy comes from life experiences and being with others who already have the belief. It’s built up over the years by responding to challenges with action, flexibility and persistence.

But how can we increase our self-efficacy?  Well here are some suggestions:

  1. Set some goals for your life. If we don’t have goals, how can we succeed? Set some goals for your life, and give yourself credit when you achieve them.
  2. Make your goals challenging but realistic enough so you’ll be able to reach them. Set some simple goals to start with, that are fairly easy to achieve and then build on them.
  3. Find some good role models. They don’t have to be someone you know, but find someone you admire and you could learn from.
  4. Talk yourself positive. Take time to observe how you think about yourself.  Start praising your success in your own mind and make a decision to stop putting yourself down.  Admit that, like all of us, you have faults and stop belittling yourself for them.  Instead build yourself up for the smallest successes.
  5. Remember it takes energy and effort to succeed.  Be like an athlete, train yourself to win

Support

People with a good support system are more successful at overcoming life’s problems.

Are there people you can count on to listen to you when you need to talk? Can you speak to them frankly, without worrying about what you say? And are there people in your life you can count on to support you in major decisions?

Why not arrange to see old friends and family members.  You will find most people will take an interest in you if you show a real interest in them first.

Don’t wait for things to get better, take the first step – taking action gives us an increased feeling of competence and self-esteem. Taking action raises our self-efficacy!

I think I can, I know I can! Self Efficacy and the Value of Self Belief


Albert Bandura

We seem to spend an awful lot of time talking and thinking about development.

Developing as a human being involves taking responsibility for ourselves, gaining focus and determining that we want to live a life of some purpose.  We have dreams, and we develop and work towards goals.

A key factor in whether we achieve our goals is the development of self-efficacy. 

Self- efficacy is a term used in psychology and it roughly corresponds to a person’s belief in their own competence. It is believed that our ideas of self-efficacy affect our social interactions in almost every way.

Understanding how to foster the development of self-efficacy is vitally important because it can lead to living a more productive and happy life.

Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations.

One’s sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks, and challenges. According to Bandura, people who believe they can perform well, are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.

Bandura points to four sources affecting self-efficacy;

Experience – success raises self-efficacy, failure lowers it.

Modelling – “If they can do it, I can do it too!” When people see someone succeeding at something, their self-efficacy will increase; and where they see people failing, their self-efficacy will decrease.

Social Persuasions – encouragement/discouragement – most people remember times where something said to them significantly altered their confidence.

Physiological Factors – In unusual and stressful situations, people commonly exhibit signs of distress. A person’s perceptions of this, can markedly alter a person’s self-efficacy. If a person gets ‘butterflies in the stomach’ before public speaking, those with low self-efficacy may take this as a sign of their own inability, while those with high self-efficacy are likely to take these signs as normal and unrelated to their actual ability. Thus, a belief in the implications of the physiological response alters self-efficacy

The implications of self-efficacy for us as leaders and managers are enormous. We are all searching for ways to help people learn more effectively and be more productive.

By understanding how to help influence people to develop a positive mental assessment of their abilities, it is possible for us to create work environments that provide the necessary feedback and support for individuals. This should allow more people to develop high levels of self-efficacy that will translate into increased productivity.

Also, the stress of life can be at times intolerable, but those with high self-efficacy seem to be more able to live stress-free lives that are rewarding and happy.

 
Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 .

Leading Change – excuse me while I quietly burn-out

不幸だ

Change teams can be intense and exhausting places to work.  If it is large and complex change, it may put huge demands on everyone.

Everyone feels stressed! 

The Team Leader needs to recognize this and manage the team so that no undue stress is put on any particular individual.

Judging this, and then getting the resources you need to prevent harm to your team, can be difficult.

But stress and burnout are different.  And in a long standing change team, you may well see symptoms of impending burnout.

You need to know what to look for and you need to act.

If having been through a period of  constant stress, someone begins to feel disillusioned, helpless, and completely worn out, they may be suffering from burnout.

If you know your team well, you will notice the difference in attitude and approach.  Suddenly that person you relied on to be enthusiastic, just isn’t anymore!

When you’re burned out, problems seem insurmountable, everything looks bleak and it’s difficult to muster up the energy to care, let alone do something about what is happening to you.

The unhappiness and detachment burnout causes can threaten jobs, relationships, and health.

But burnout can be helped.

If you recognize the signs and symptoms of burnout in its early stages, simple stress management strategies may be enough to solve the problem.

In the later stages of burnout, recovery may take more time and effort, but you can still regain your balance by reassessing your priorities, making time for yourself and seeking support.

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place.

Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give.

The negative effects of burnout spill over into every area of life – including your home and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes to your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it’s important to deal with burnout right away.

As team leader watch for burnout in both your team and yourself!

  • Make sure stress gets managed and that people seek support
  • Encourage your team to take care of their physical and emotional health.
  • Encourage people to eat properly and to go for a walk at lunch time.  Working through lunch can look like macho dedication but as a long-term habit it puts people at risk!
  • Make sure things are kept in balance.

You can recognize burout and deal with it.  Make sure it doesn’t become a full scale break down.

Personal Burnout Prevention Tips   

  • Start the day with a short quiet space for relaxation or meditation before you go to work.
  • Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits.
  • Set boundarieslearn how to say “no” at work and at home – remember  “no” means you can say “yes” to the things that truly matter.
  • Take a daily break from technology.   Put away your laptop, turn off your phone and stop checking email.  Go out for a walk.
  • Nourish your creative side.  What do you really like doing?
  • Learn how to manage stress. At this link is a simple breathing technique that may help when you feel overwhelmed by stress .
  • 10 Tips for Healthy Living (psychcentral.com)
  • Burnout: What is it? Do I Have it? (centralfloridac12.com)
  • Burnout checklist [Eddington Pindura] (ecademy.com)


Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439  

Great group – sad about the leader – mood contagion.

A Mantled Guereza, close-up, looking sad

Mood contagion is the automatic and unconscious transfer of mood between individuals.

It occurs because we tend to mimic others’ nonverbal behaviour.

Research has shown that intense moods are more likely to be transferred.  Joy or distress are more likely to be passed on than calmness or boredom.

Although mood contagion can transfer between any two or more people, leaders probably have an even greater impact on their group mood.  This is because of their importance to the organization.

If you, as a leader, can’t regulate your emotions,  members of your group might often experience stress and anxiety.  This is both in trying to cope with you as the leader and in dealing with the tasks at hand.

Leaders in a bad mood don’t need to be abusive or hostile!  Their mood needs only to be negative. Research shows that even subtle expressions of negative mood can have an impact on followers.

This raises all kinds of issues in the present economic downturn!  This is a time when we all feel miserable sometimes.  But you as a leader have to work to manage down the impact of your own feelings.

Think about those leaders who handle a crisis well. Do they manage their mood and communicate clearly while creating a safe environment for their employees? Or do they just let it all hang out and then deal with the casualties?  Who would you rather deal with and what kind of leader do you want to be?

Remember when you feel down you need to

  • Recognize that your mood will an impact on your group
  • Work to reduce that negative impact
  • Intentionally change your mood – there is a technique at this link that you can learn for this.

I would welcome your thoughts on all of this and your tips for handling your own feelings.

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 or 

Redundancy and the Family – it is change for them too!

In my last post, I described how difficult things at home are now for Dave.

Changes in life like redundancy affect us all deeply. They change us and they change our relationships. Redundancy is like bereavement and can leave you with the same gut-wrenching sense of loss, the furious “why me?”. Everyone says it’s not personal, but of course it feels that way to the one who has lost their job.

But that sense of loss isn’t just felt by us, it is felt by those close to us as well. Their lives have been changed and probably in ways they would never have chosen for themselves.

Sometimes in mass redundancies you can turn that anger outwards and on to the employer or the perceived cause of the problems for example the Bankers. Then the group binds together against the world.

If a whole community is facing difficulty, there is likely to be lots of support from within that community – think of the pit villages in the North East of England between the thirties and the seventies. Under siege you pull together. But most of us live in communities without that kind of tradition.

Dave’s wife has made a life for herself at home. Now change is being forced on her and, of course, she will resist it and be shocked by it. Dave probably felt the same when he realised he wasn’t needed any more at work. Now his wife is frightened!

Anyone who has spent a long period at home feels quite daunted by the prospect of going out to work again. And she is worried that life probably never will be the same again!

So she is in pain too and she has to deal with a whole mix of conflicting and confusing feelings. This may include feelings of resentment towards Dave. It feels as if he has brought this down on them even though he has not chosen to do so! So she feels guilty too!

In these circumstances most counsellors and coaches will tell you to share your concerns with each other. But this can be very hard to do.

Sitting down opposite each other over the kitchen table can end up being very confrontational. Sometimes, it is better to start talking when you are both facing the same way and maybe doing something else. How about going for a walk together or just for a drive. What about when you are sitting together on the sofa watching TV, but not when anyone’s favourite programme is on!

It helps if you can both admit you feel rotten and miserable about what has happened – Dave has lost a job and both are in danger of losing a life style.

Share the misery – you are in it together.

Try talking about it and really seeing it from each other’s perspective. Don’t pretend it isn’t grim for you both. Share it and then start to work together to manage it. Neither of you is responsible for this and neither should feel guilty.

Sometimes when the feelings just overwhelm you, it helps to write get it all down in a letter. When you have finished, put what you have written to one side. Decide later, when you feel calm, whether to send or destroy it.

If the anger and the depression continue, talk to your doctor or find a counsellor because these are signs you need some outside help.

Above all acknowledge the change for both of you and that both of you are suffering loss. It is not about whose loss is greater. If you can, start to work for and not against each other! You can be a team again, I’m sure!

I would welcome your thoughts on all this and I am very happy to answer questions.

  • 31st May 2011 What’s up with Dave? (leavingthepublicsector.net) 
Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Let me tell your fortune – I’ll tell you your life’s purpose!

How to fold a paper fortune teller 12 steps
How to fold a paper fortune teller in 12 steps

When going through personal transition, you can spend lots of time thinking about what you are going to do next and where you are going in life. A classic question in these circumstances is,  “Where would you like to be in five years time?”

In order to answer that question we often end up thinking; “Well what is it it all about any way?”

This is usually closely followed by; “What am I here for?”

I found a website that promised a method for answering this question in 20 minutes – and no I’m not going to give you a link to it for reasons which I’ll explain later.

But basically this is what that website advised you to do:

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type.
  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.

That’s it.

Simple isn’t it!

It went on to say it will take “15-20 minutes to clear your head of all the clutter and the social conditioning about what you think your purpose in life is. The false answers will come from your mind and your memories. But when the true answer finally arrives, it will feel like it’s coming to you from a different source entirely.”

Oh how I wish it could be that easy and oh dear how dangerous I think that particular piece of advice could be!

Suppose you spent your twenty minutes and then came up with a view that would mean a huge life change and you acted upon it with no further consideration.  Wouldn’t that be a bit risky?

But that advice is by no means as potentially damaging to the vulnerable as that below

I was told about this recently.

A friend of mine follows astrology columns, largely for fun – she enjoys the positive and tries head to ignore the negative.  But recently she took up an offer from an astrology service to tell her, her life purpose.  What she got back would have been devastating for some.

It claimed that the unhappiness she was suffering in this life was all the result of some terrible deed she had done in a past life.  It claimed her actions had resulted in the death of many and that she needed to spend the rest of this life in penance and good deeds.

Luckily she is a healthy well-balanced and positive person who could laugh off this kind of advice and determine not to try it again.  But I know others for whom it would have been disastrous!

Anyway, I’m not convinced we have an individual life purpose!

I believe life is largely what you make it, but you do have to make the right choices if you are going to feel fulfilled.  There is much to be said for going through some of the steps recommended above but with a few changes.

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type.
  2. Write at the top, “What do I want do with my life – where could I go from here?”
  3. Write all the answers that come into you head in say 20 minutes. They don’t have to be complete sentences. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Now spend the next day thinking about your answers and in 24 hours go through your list again to delete, amend, add to and prioritize.

So now you have a list – what does it mean for you?

If it makes sense, act on it! But only if it makes real sense for you in your life and in you circumstances.  I’m all for being open minded about possibilities though!

And don’t leave it at that, in a week’s time review it again.

Then each month from now on take up your list and see if it still makes sense.

I suspect over time your wishes and your priorities will change as your life evolves and so it should! Life, like the world itself, is in a constant state of change and sadly one answer is unlikely to be good for all time.

The lesson in all this is to be very careful about the advice you follow.

There is so much out there now that you need to make very careful choices about what you take seriously.

And I’m not sure that I would take too seriously any website that offers to send you the answers to life’s deepest mysteries in return for £20 and your credit card details.

I’ve sounded very cynical above about doing work on your life purpose.  But you may have experienced something that worked really well for you and made a huge difference to your life.  If so I would love to hear from you.

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her atwendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439