When you feel confused

When you feel confused

Personal development: When you feel confused

When you feel confused – are you feeling confused right now?

There all kind of occasions when you might feel confused at work or at home.

Sometimes you just need more information for things to become clear.  Then the priority is to stay calm and find that information.

At other times, things are more complex and even with more information you stay confused.

What can you do about confusion?

Remaining calm is always important when dealing with confusion. If that is difficult, take some time out to use a simple relaxation technique like the one at this link.

Then it is time to think and to put the pieces of your jigsaw puzzle into place so you can see a picture you recognise.

What do you feel when you think about your problem? Your feelings are often a key to the real solution. But make sure you really are calm when you consider your feelings – feelings of panic just add to your confusion.

Think about your personal values and priorities and what is truly important to you; not just for today but over the coming months.

Does setting what is really important to you against the problem help to make things clearer?

If not, then try writing down what you know, how you feel about the issues and what you would like to happen. Sometimes, writing things down gives clarity.

Consider talking to someone. Do you have a trusted friend that you can discuss this with? Often talking helps you find a solution.

If you stay confused and the issues are important consider talking to someone like me – a coach. We are trained to help you have a conversation with yourself that should clear your mind and cut through the confusion.


Remember working with a coach can really help you to feel happier. Get in touch at the Facing a mid-career dilemmaemail address below – I offer a free half hour trial session by phone or Skype.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

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. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book your free 30 minute, no obligation, trial coaching session with Wendy Smith now at this Link 

Leading Change – excuse me while I quietly burn-out

The Team Leader needs to recognize stress and burnout, 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. Stress and burnout are different. And in a long standing change team, you may well see symptoms of impending burnout.


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  


Probably the greatest gift you can have in life is the ability to get one with other people. Going through change ,as in life, social skills are invaluable. Happily even later in life you can learn some techniques to help.

Probably the greatest gift you can have in life is the ability to get one with other people.  We have already written about emotional intelligence and you can follow that up at the link. But this is simply a piece about  getting on with others – simple but very important.  Some of us are born with the gift;  for other our parents teach us how to do it.  Unfortunately, some people just slip through the net and they can’t understand why they don’t get on with others.  Going through change ,as in life, social skills are invaluable.  Happily even later in life you can learn some techniques to help.

1. Relax

You need to be able to concentrate on some one else and in order to do that you need to be relaxed enough to forget yourself.  We have provided a simple relaxation technique at the link which you might like to practice for 15 minutes before any really challenging social situation.  If you don’t have that much time, then take yourself to a quiet place, take some gentle deep breaths and just think of your favorite place in the world for a few seconds – one more deep breath!   Now you are ready for an adventure! Remember when you meet someone that you really do have lots of things in common already.  We all share the common human condition.  Most of us worry about our health, having enough money our families and what other people think of us.  The Dalai Lama thinks of everyone as an old fiend – that way he can relax and be warm towards them!  Try it – its very useful skill  and well worth practicing.

2. Concentrate on them

Here is this other person, with all their life history, before you!  They are an unopened book!  There are very few people who don’t like talking about themselves and their interests, if you give them the opportunity.  Don’t get too personal too quickly and its a good idea to relate your question to the even.  |You can always ask – have they been here before, why have they come, what is their special interest?  Parties you can always ask who they know?  Concentrate on them, listen to them and then ask a follow up question based on what they just told you – keep them talking!  Focus on them not you!

3. Use your listening Skills

We’ve already written on listening skills – more at the link.  But briefly – let the other person know you are listening   by making ‘I’m listening’ noises – ‘Uh-huh’, ‘really?’, ‘oh yes?’ Feed back what you’ve heard – “So he went to the dentist? What happened?” !  Refering back to others’ comments later on – “You know how you were saying earlier”.   Pay attention!

4. Empathise

Take an interest in what they saying – try to keep still,  make eye contact (but don’t stare) and smile (if they are telling you something neutral or nice and don’t if they are telling you something sad).   A fascination (even if forced at first) with another’s conversation, not only increases your comfort levels, it makes them feel interesting. Remember what I said about sharing the human condition – they are interesting – they have a whole life to tell you about!

5.Build Rapport

Rapport is a state of understanding or connection that occurs in a good social interaction. It says basically “I am like you, we understand each other“. Rapport occurs on an unconscious level, and when it happens, the language, speech patterns, body movement and posture, and other aspects of communication can synchronize down to incredibly fine levels. Rapport is an unconscious process, but it can be encouraged by conscious efforts.

  • Body posture ‘mirroring’, or movement ‘matching’  – stand or sit the way they stand or sit etc!  For example – if they cross their arms, cross yours.  But not obviously!
  • Reflecting back language and speech –  use the same words – if they are talking quietly – you do too.  If they are talking quickly speed up etc
  • Feeding back what you have heard, as in 3) above

6. Self Disclosure

You need to think about how much to talk about yourself and when.  Talking about yourself too much and too early can be a major turn-off for the other person.  Initially don’t tell them your family secrets, your politics, your religion, the details of your medical complaints or your divorce.  Keep those things for when you know each other a little better.  You can talk about the weather (in UK), television, films, the theatre, – ask them what books they are reading.  Keep it balanced and in the neutral space – let them take it on to more personal things when they are ready.   As conversations and relationships progress, disclosing personal facts (small, non-emotional ones first!) leads to a feeling of getting to know each other.

7. Appropriate eye contact
If you don’t look at someone when you are talking or listening to them, they will get the idea that: you are ignoring them or you are untrustworthy or you just don’t like them.  This doesn’t mean you have to stare at them – staring at someone while talking to them can give them the feeling you are angry with them. Keeping your eyes on them while you are listening, of course, is only polite and smile when its appropriate.  But note rules vary and  eye contact in particular varies between culture.

8. Practice

Remember this is a skill and you have to practice.  Do it consciously and do it often.  You will find you lose yourself in it and become really interested in the other person and therefore interesting to them.  It will become second nature and you will begin to wonder what the fuss was about.  Above enjoy your practice and begin to enjoy meeting people.

Good Luck –I would love to hear how you get on!


But gathering the facts takes time and as a society, we have lost the art of waiting for things – if we want something we want it now! We want to make the important decision and we want to make it now – we fear being accused of procrastinating. But getting to the point where we can make the right decision is not procrastinating.

A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains
Dutch Proverb

Dictionary Definition

1.the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

2.an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.

3.quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.

In an earlier post on being a great boss in a recession I wrote that one of the great ways you could be good boss was to have patience. I said

“Don’t rush into panic decision making because you feel anxious.  Its a natural reaction but it really will not help – a panic reaction is not likely to be the best one.    Take time to make decisions properly.  Gather the facts, seek the views of your staff.  Then when you have made the decision take time to explain it to them, if you can.”

But gathering the facts takes time and as a society, we have lost the art of waiting for things – if we want something we want it now!  We want to make the important decision and we want to make it now – we fear being accused of procrastinating.  But getting to the point where we can make the right decision is not procrastinating.   Often we do feel frustrated and we can feel angry and, if the frustration continues, we feel stressed! But to learn to wait for the right moment and to have patience furthers peace of mind and makes it easier for people to be around us.   If we are patient, we release from our shoulders an unnecessary burden of anxiety and control. To choose patience is to have wisdom

Patience itself is important – its often described as a core virtue in religion or spiritual practices. For example, Job is a figure that appears in the Hebrew Bible, Christian Bible and the Qur’an; his story is considered a profound religious work. At its core, the theme is the co-existence of evil and God and the application of patience is highlighted as the antidote to the earthly struggles caused by that co-existence.    In Buddhism, patience  is one of the “perfections”  that a bodhisattva trains in and practices to realize perfect enlightenment. Patience is recognized within Hinduism in the Bhagavad Gita. In both Hinduism and Buddhism there is a particular emphasis on meditation, aspects of which lead to a natural state of mindfulness that is conducive to patient, effective and well-organized thought.

You are certainly more likely exercise patience if you know how to relax and we have information about a simple relaxation technique at this link.

Meanwhile when someone has deal with bad news during any kind of change, remember the words of an old pop song!

Have a little patience
My heart is numb, has no feeling
So while I’m still healing
Just try and have a little patience

(Take That – Patience)

So now all you have to do is go away and practice! practice! practice!


Try being more relaxed and appearing more positive even in these challenging times. If necessary use a relaxation technique to help you control your own anxiety – don’t spook your staff! Be realistic but don’t panic – it just frightens people! Remember Type B personalities succeed just as often as Type A in this day and age and they live longer to enjoy it”

Here courtesy of Courtesy of Maharishi Ayurveda are some ideas that might help

In an earlier post on being a great boss in a recession we wrote about the need to stay calm.  Here is the quote.

“Staying Calm

Try being more relaxed and appearing more positive even in these challenging times.  If necessary use a relaxation technique to help you control your own anxiety – don’t spook your staff!   Be realistic but don’t panic – it just frightens people!  Remember Type B personalities succeed just as often as Type A in this day and age and they live longer to enjoy it”

Here courtesy of  Maharishi Ayurveda are some ideas that might help

“Seven Ways to Stay Calm in Tough Times

There is an inspiring chain mail circulating on the internet these days. It tells you to follow the 90-10 rule for a happier life. The 90-10 equation is as follows:

90% is what happens to you-it’s out of your control. 10% is how you react to what happens to you-that is totally in your control.

What can be better advice than this in times that are truly uncertain, and fraught with situations that seem beyond control?………..!

Here are some specific ayurvedic stress-management tips to help you cope better in troubled times:

Reach Out: Loneliness aggravates anxiety. Be in the company of those you love. But instead of merely spending time with family and friends, take steps to rejuvenate your relationships. The best way to do this is to give more of yourself in terms of time, energy and attention.

Take control of your responses: An instant way to calm jittery nerves is to start breathing slow and deep. This brings down the heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension, sending a relaxation response throughout your body and mind. Inhale so that you can feel the air right reach into your abdomen. Take care not to breathe too fast…keep the pace easy and the rhythm steady. The use of an…essential oil at this time-lavender, rose, jasmine …. are good choices-will support your deep breathing activity. Do this at least twice a day for 10 minutes each, and you will experience a new sense of bliss.

Eat Right: Ayurveda believes that you really are what you eat. And if that is true, then eat foods that help you relax. Choose foods that help beat back stress-generating free radicals. All fresh and seasonal fruits, lightly cooked and spiced vegetables and whole grains will repair your tired mind and body, carrying the goodness down to the tiniest tissues. Antioxidant herbs replete with nature’s own intelligence know how to combat this potent enemy, and can help you fight it too. ….

Drink Up: At least 8 glasses of water a day are essential for efficient flushing out of disease-causing toxic matter from your system….

Exercise: Moderate exercise is a great way to de-stress. Yoga, which is an integral part of ayurvedic healing, is a way to exercise all parts of your body, while also soothing nerves and balancing the mind….

Sleep Well: Recognize the sleep robbers around you. Life these days is filled with more worries than just bill-paying and house-cleaning. They can steal the sleep away from your eyes, leaving you feeling unhappy and unwell the next morning. Ayurveda has some excellent tips on how to get quality rest.The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians recommends these sleep-friendly steps:

  • Try to go to bed early — between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. This period is ruled by the Kapha dosha, which is associated with calm and restfulness.
  • Give yourself a massage every day with an ayurvedic oil-it soothes the joints and nerves, bringing good sleep.
  • Poppy seeds have a pleasant sedative effect-add them to your diet.
  • Favor peaceful, calming activities before bed.
  • Before going to bed, sip Vata Tea in warm milk. Or try the Slumber Time Tea. Both the Blissful Sleep herbal supplement and the Worry Free herbal supplement nourish Prana Vata, which regulates mental activity. “

Meditate: The daily practice of …..Meditation can not only drive stress out of your mind, but also change your life in dramatic ways.  “

You can also try the relaxation technique we published here at Wisewolf Talking earlier – How to relax


Something we all need courtesy of lessonsforliving.com at the link below

All you need to know to begin undoing what stress has been doing to you is how to systematically relax all the muscles in your body. Here is how you do it.

Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for about 15 minutes. Dim the lights. Locate a comfortable chair in which you can sit straight up with your feet on the floor. Sit comfortably in the chair. Pay close attention to how you feel as you begin. Notice any stiffness or tightness. Are there any aches or pains? Do you feel tense, frustrated, or keyed up? Pay attention to how you feel now because you are going to become more relaxed, and you need a point of comparison.

First, we will review what to do and then we will experience the relaxation exercise. The systematic muscle relaxation procedure goes as follows.

While sitting quietly and comfortably, slowly inhale and exhale and close your eyes as you do so.Bend your right hand back at the wrist and briefly hold the tension. Now relax.

Now do the same thing with the left hand. Hold the tension and now relax.

This time tighten both hands into fists and hold the tension. Feel it spread up the arms towards the elbows. Now relax.

Now bend both arms at the elbows and raise your hands up towards your shoulders. Tighten up the muscles in the biceps. Hold it. Now relax.

These three exercises have used the major muscles in the arms and started them relaxing. If you don’t move them around, they will continue to relax becoming more and more relaxed, and you can forget about them

Next, turn your attention to your face. For your forehead raise your eyebrows up a far as you can and hold the tension. Now relax.

For your eyes, squeeze the eyelids tightly together. Hold the tension. Now relax.

For your jaw you just bite down and clamp your teeth together. Feel the tension along the jaw. Now relax. These three exercises have started the face relaxing.

For your neck just bend your head forward as if trying to touch your chin to your chest. Feel the tension along the back of the neck and now relax.

For your shoulders just raise them up as high as you can and notice the tension. Now let them drop all at once and relax.

For your chest you do two things at once. Take a deep breath and hold it while at the same time trying to touch your shoulder blades together by pulling your arms back. Hold it. Now relax.

For your stomach you just pull in as if trying to touch your backbone with stomach. Now relax.

For your back you arch out and away from the chair, and you can feel tension along the spine. Now relax.

With your feet flat on the floor, press down and feel the tension spread up the back of the legs. Now relax.

For the right thigh raise your leg up on front of you and feel the tension build. Now relax.

Now do the same thing with the left leg and relax.

Finally, for your feet bend your toes up as if pointing towards the ceiling and feel the tension around the feet and ankles. Once again, relax

Print these instructions to follow when offline.

You can listen to and download a sound file of these instructions at the link below

How to Relax Your Body.