Engaging Life ~ The State of Your Attention

Beanstalk Coaching:

A really important and thought provoking piece. I’m so aware of the stress caused by that constant multitasking, constantly being in touch, and yet feeling less and less that I’m doing the important stuff, putting focus where it’s needed. This article has made me pause and ask myself, what am I going to do differently so that I can pay full attention to the people in my life and get back in touch with my creative self?

Originally posted on The Intentional Workplace:


To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ~ Mary Oliver

The Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn, captures the essence of paying attention – deep, sustained, perceptive attention – when he reminds us, “You have an appointment with life – you should not miss it.”

Lately I’ve been keenly aware that life today is filled with endless distractions.  These distractions, internal and external, are not all of my making. But being a creature of habit – I feel distraction creeping up on me and becoming more and more of my default state.

This concerns me greatly.

Perhaps it’s because when you reach a certain age you finally get that you don’t have all the time in the world to squander.  While I am a great advocate for the freedom to occasionally do nothing – I don’t want to waste precious time.

Distractions (what tech writer Linda…

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Great tool for teams

I’m a big fan of appreciative inquiry because it’s all about accentuating the positive, as the old song says.  When we start by looking at what’s working well, what’s good, and then dream about how we want things to be, what we could create, we take out the fear and threat and resistance that can be there when we focus on “problems”.  AI can be the framework for a coaching conversation, a supervision conversation, an away day planning session, or a team building meeting.  You can use postits and props, big flip charts and coloured markers,  have people working in pairs or small groups. It’s a dynamic process that ends with a clear action plan, and so it’s easier to engage people and keep them engaged.

Appreciative Inquiry modelThere’s loads online for you to discover, so go exploring, accentuate the positive, and enjoy!


106 – Jubilee Monday

106 – Jubilee Monday

Beanstalk Coaching:

Made me cry to read this. Thank you for sharing. And sorry I’m playing catch-up with blogs.

Originally posted on A Foot in Two Campos:

Sometimes it’s easy to remember where you were on a certain date, what you were doing.  Kennedy’s assassination, Diana’s death, the twin towers – those big, shared experiences.  And some of the big royal occasions.  For a non-Royalist, how odd that big moments in my life seem to have been marked by the Queen’s jubilees.

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112- Progress?

Beanstalk Coaching:

A really thoughtful – and timely – piece.

Originally posted on A Foot in Two Campos:

112-1-LaPenaYou see the famous rock near Antequera from every direction.  From the flat plains it juts up, suddenly and harshly.  Known to the Spanish as la Peña de los Enamorados (the lovers’ rock) and to many as the Indian’s Head (or Charles de Gaulle rock) it is visible for miles, a way-marker for those travelling north-south between Córdoba and Málaga, or east-west between Granada and Sevilla.

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Mindfulness Meditation Improves Decisions, Reduces Sunk-Cost Bias

Beanstalk Coaching:

It’s interesting to see research backing up what a lot of people who regularly meditate already know. I’m also interested in the suggestion that people take “mental time out” before making decisions: this is what people who are naturaly reflectors do, and I’ve found that they often come back with the best ideas and thoughts if they’re allowed the space they need.

Originally posted on Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary:

Sigal Barsade Sigal Barsade

Brief meditation sessions can reduce the tendency to base current decisions on past “sunk costs,” which are not relevant to the present choice, reported Wharton’s Sigal Barsade, with Andrew C. Hafenbrack and Zoe Kinias both of INSEAD.

Andrew Hafenbrack Andrew Hafenbrack

Sunk-cost bias” is the prevalent tendency to continue unsuccessful actions after time and money have been invested.
Frequent examples include:

  • Holding poorly-performing stock market investments
  • Staying in abusive interpersonal relationships
  • Continuing failing military engagements.

Zoe Kinias Zoe Kinias

In these cases, people tend to focus on past behaviors rather than current circumstances, leading to emotion-driven decision biases.

Meditation practices can:

  • Enable increased focus on the present moment
  • Shift attention away from past and future actions
  • Reduce negative emotions.

Kirk Brown Kirk Brown

Barsade, Hafenbrack, and Kinias asked volunteers to complete Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, a widely used trait-mindfulness scale developed by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Kirk Brown and Richard…

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Space to Think works for women…

I’ve been delighted at how successful the pilot group of “Space to Think” has been.  The anonymous survey has shown that the women taking part have hugely benefited from working together, and that the format is really effective.  You can have a look at the results here:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-596C7HG/

Group members’ comments say it all: here’s a sample:


“It is just great to have a space where you can focus on what the real issues are and then have independent, non-judgement input from the facilitator and your peers.”

“It is a great place to stand back and consider issues in the round. It is good to listen too and learn and gain perspective through talking with others, uncluttered from work: a fresh perspective. It is also great to meet other CEOs and share the challenges we all face. I think this is important and will contribute to working development and my organisation in the longer term. “

“After every session I have actually implemented much of the suggestions received.”

“I like the themes and love your input and preparation of materials and questions that accompany this. It gives us a real opportunity to explore and consider the theme well and then discuss it. Interesting too to have the issue part – sometimes shared issues and interesting to discuss, sometimes very different but good to know and consider process and practice.”

“I have been going through some very challenging times and these sessions have come along at just the right time. Having people who are ‘walking in your shoes’ somewhere else is invaluable as they really understand what you are going through even though your issues are different..”

“Beanstalk Space to Think facilitated peer support has helped me to develop practical strategies to address staff and board issues within my organisation. (The most cost effective consultancy I’ve come across!)”

“It provides a fabulous opportunity for women in senior leadership roles to learn from and support each other, develop new skills, and benefit from fresh perspectives to everyday challenges in the workplace.”

So if you’d like to join the next group, or chat about your support needs, please drop me a line – annie@beanstalkconsulting.co.uk – I’d love to hear from you, and I’ll be starting up a new group in the late summer/autumn.


13 tips for working brilliantly with people

Space to Think is a new project for women running small to medium sized charities or social enterprises.  Here are 13 tips distilled from the wisdom of the current group.  They were so good, we just had to share them:

  1. Use the probationary period
  2. Recruit for attitude – it’s easier to train people in any skills they may lack
  3. Don’t be limited by your budget: you can bring almost any skill in through volunteers
  4. Every day is an opportunity to find out something amazing about the people in your organisation
  5. Sometimes the answer or solution to your quandary comes from someone unexpected
  6. Find out what resources and investment are needed to bring out the best in each individual on your team
  7. ACAS is there for you and is free and accessible
  8. Clarify your communication and be clear in getting your message across
  9. Recognise the whole person
  10. Tell people what they’re brilliant at
  11. Don’t delay telling people what they need to know
  12. Be compassionate in everything you do
  13. Leave your own emotions aside when dealing with difficult issues.

For more information about Space to Think, contact annie@beanstalkconsulting.co.uk.