Press Release – Women in Business Survey

For immediate release: 30/01/2018

Wellbeing Business to Develop a Support Service for Stressed Out Female Entrepreneurs

A Grantham-based mindfulness and wellbeing business is surveying female entrepreneurs to find out what pressures and challenges they face day to day.

Maureen O’ Callaghan Training and Mentoring are conducting the survey with the aim of using the information to develop wellbeing services that are user led, and that best meet the unique needs of women in business. Focus groups and interviews will also take place at an event for female entrepreneurs where the focus will be on self-care.

Director Maureen O’Callaghan has drawn on her discussions with her peers and her own experience, to think about the additional challenges that women in business face, and to come up with a service tailored to help them maintain their physical and mental wellbeing.

Speaking about the new services, she said;

 “I want to help women to identify the causes and effects of their stress and to have in place strategies that help them to be able to handle the pressures and challenges they face both in the workplace and at home.”

Women are often the main caregivers for children and other relatives, and they still tend to have most of the domestic responsibilities, even if they work full-time. They are also conditioned to be people pleasers and are brought up with the message that they have to please others and be ‘perfect’. This translates into many women being hard on themselves, especially when they’re in business. They tend to fear failure, and play down their abilities more than men, which puts them in a state of perpetual stress.

While men often deal with stress by making poor lifestyle choices, the stress hormones themselves are what affects women’s health. A recent survey found that millions of professional women are teetering on the edge of being completely burned out. They are chronically stressed and suffer from symptoms like chronic fatigue, insomnia, poor immunity, being unable to concentrate, irritability, anxiety, and depression.

The survey can be accessed via the website at www.mocallaghan.co.uk and it’s also being sent out to organisations that support women in business to ensure they capture as many views and responses as possible.

Notes for Editors

The survey has been developed with the support of a student from Lincoln University. 

Contact

Maureen O’ Callaghan

Maureen@mocallaghan.co.uk

Tel: 07939 845 920

 

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute, and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills. 

Getting on with Others: Communicating Mindfully

We all communicate with others every day, but how much of this communication is mindful? How many times have you asked someone ‘how are you?’ because you’re on autopilot, not because you’re particularly interested?

Being mindful is not just about meditation, you should be mindful in your daily interactions too.

What is mindful communication?

Mindful communication means that you listen and speak with compassion, kindness, and awareness. Often when people communicate, people don’t listen or think before they speak. Mindful communication requires you to listen mindfully and speak mindfully.

How to listen to others mindfully

Clear your mind

When someone is talking to you, try to clear your mind of any thoughts, or judgements about them or what they are saying. It’s not easy but you might learn much more from the other person.

Be attentive

People are likely to feel more comfortable telling you things if you’re attentive, as they will feel like they can be themselves and open up to you.

Make eye contact

Don’t look away or at something else, make eye contact because it shows that you care about what the other person is saying to you.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

People tend to see things based on what they perceive about the world. Try to see something from the perspective of the person you’re talking to. You might disagree with their opinion, but that’s okay.

Don’t assume what people mean

If someone says something that you don’t understand, ask them to elaborate on what they just said, and do so with compassion. Communication between two people is often muddled because they have misunderstood each other.

How to speak to others mindfully

Think before you speak

When someone asks you a question, don’t just start talking for the sake of talking. Take time to think about your response and what you say is much more likely to be well received and meaningful.

Choose your words carefully

Insulting or painful words aimed at another person can really damage a professional or personal relationship. Even if something makes sense to you, someone else might just not get it. Be sure to think carefully about your choice of words.

Be true to who you are

Sometimes when we speak to someone, we want to portray a certain image of ourselves. We might end up trying to be something we’re not, which is not the best way to communicate meaningfully with someone. Be true to who you are, and always speak with compassion and kindness.

Say what you mean and mean what you say

This applies to a business or a personal relationship. If you say to someone that you’ll call them, do exactly that, and you’ll get a lot more respect from the other person.

Everyone likes to feel listened to and understood, and communicating mindfully is a great way to make sure that happens, in all of your interactions.

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute, and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills. 

Pressures and Challenges Faced by People Running Businesses

Being your own boss sounds like a dream; the flexibility to work when you want, escaping from office politics, and even working in your pyjamas if you want to, and it can be.

But if you decide to go it alone, it can come as a bit of a culture shock. Leaving the security of a salary and suddenly having to make all the decisions can be daunting. Here are some of the pressures and challenges faced by people running businesses:

Giving up financial security

Walking away from a permanent job, salary, and other benefits can be scary. But, the benefits of being your own boss can outweigh the risks. When you’re just starting off, you might be able to start your business on the side, but if you want your business to grow, eventually you’ll have to give up the day job.

Financing your business

If you’re just starting out, you’re likely to need to gather information on possible funding options for your business, and then start working hard on building a network of contacts.

Coping with uncertainty

When you start your own business, you’ll have many concerns. Will your business be profitable? Will you be able to pay yourself a salary? When you don’t have a steady wage to fall back on, and everything else is in a constant state of change, uncertainty is an unpleasant fact.

Staying motivated

The idea of running your own business might be attractive, but will you have the drive, belief, and determination to keep going through the tough times?

Lack of time

When you start your own business, you’ll soon come to realise that there aren’t nearly enough hours in the day. You’ll likely spend long hours working in the business and on the business, and that’s on top of trying to maintain a family life and social life.

Being afraid of failure

The idea of being self-employed can be attractive, but there will be inevitable challenges along the way. Don’t let mistakes or bad luck deter you from following your dream, if you want it enough. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

Hiring staff

If you need to hire staff, it can be a minefield. You need to pick people who are the right fit for your business, and consider how much it will cost to hire them.

Isolation

Being a business owner can be quite lonely, especially if you’re a sole trader. You might be working lots of hours when you first start your business, so you might not see family and friends as often.

How to reduce stress when running your own business

Don’t let your thoughts stress you out: What you tell yourself is true. If you tell yourself that you’re going to lose customers or that you’re going to fail, all it does is stresses you out. Don’t let irrational thoughts defeat you before you even start, concentrate on the facts.

Accept what you can and can’t control: Once you understand that you can’t control everything that happens in your business, you’ll feel more at ease. But there are things you can control, like taking time out to do things you enjoy or making sure that you finish working early on at least a few nights per week.

Make time to relax: Stress damages your immune system, and it can seriously affect your mental and physical health. Make time to do things you enjoy; you’ll be more relaxed, and your business will benefit.

Use mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness helps you to notice and accept your thoughts, without judgment. It also helps you to relax, so you will be able to choose not to react emotionally to things. This will put you in a far better position to fully enjoy, and immerse yourself in running your business.

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute, and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills. 

Creating a Good Work-Life Balance

The world of work is very different today. The lines between home and work are becoming increasingly blurred, as smartphones mean we are available 24/7, and economic pressures mean that many of us work longer hours than ever.

This makes the answer to the age-old question of how we can achieve a work-life balance even harder to find.

The answer lies partly in us taking ownership and creating boundaries so that other people will respect them, and in companies, who need to take on board the notion that we will be happier, healthier, and more productive if we have more balance in our lives.

Here are some ways that you can create a good work-life balance;

Don’t be constantly available

You might think it’s easier said than done in these days when our smartphones are linked to our email accounts, but when you’re spending time with your family, or you’re enjoying some much-needed time off, should you be expected to answer work emails? The answer is no.

Set up an autoreply on emails to manage expectations that you will reply within a certain time frame if you’re out of the office, no matter how tempting it is to hit reply when your phone pings. Your time out of work should be your own. Constantly checking emails doesn’t make you more productive, in fact it disrupts your workflow and increases stress.

If you work smarter, you don’t have to work harder

Prioritise the most important tasks you have to do and don’t get stuck doing less productive things; this is a far better way to use your time. Checking social media might be tempting, but it might also be the reason you never leave work on time. Workers in the UK now work more hours than ever, and research from the Mental Health Foundation on the effects of working long hours makes for grim reading. When employees work long hours, 27% report feeling depressed, 34% feel anxious, and 58% feel irritable.

Draw a line between life and work

Even if you don’t finish all your work for the day, make a note of any tasks you haven’t completed, so you feel a little more organised for the next day. If you really must take work home, keep it away from your living area, so work time doesn’t encroach on your time.

Sometimes ‘good enough’ is okay

If you’re already feeling overworked, trying to aim for perfection in everything you do is not realistic. Sometimes, accepting that you’ve done a good enough job is all that is expected. Don’t put pressure on yourself when you don’t need to.

You don’t need to work hard and play hard

You don’t need to be constantly crashing around at 100mph. This is not good for the body or the mind. Learn to pace yourself, and take more time to relax.

Have interests outside of work

It’s healthy to have interests outside of work. People who feel stressed at work can use exercise, hobbies, or mindfulness to reduce stress in their lives overall.

Learn the art of time management

If you feel overwhelmed, make sure you’re spending your time on the things that really matter. You can be busy without being productive. This takes a little bit of work, but take a good look at your day and see where your time really goes. Focus on the things that are going to move your business forward, not just on the noise.

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute, and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills. 

Why Mindfulness is the Key to Innovation

The world of work is becoming increasingly uncertain, and the lack of stability caused by factors like the economic downturn has seen many businesses struggling to survive. Today’s workers face heavier workloads, pay cuts, and job insecurity, and this has inevitably impacted upon their physical and mental wellbeing.

What is the answer?

Innovation is the key to helping businesses and workers become more resilient to future challenges and changes. The world of work is not the same anymore, so the way we work cannot remain the same. Innovation boosts productivity and performance, makes businesses more competitive, and boosts worker motivation and job satisfaction.

What is innovation?

Innovation means adapting our ways of working so that we are more prepared in the face of uncertainty. Introducing innovation involves getting used to the idea of change, which is not always easy. A business or organisation might need to introduce additional training for employees or focus more on activities which help them to move forward. Mindfulness is one strategy that is being increasingly used in the business world to help encourage innovation and enhance people’s wellbeing in one fell swoop.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a mind/body practice that has its roots in ancient meditative teachings, but its effectiveness on wellbeing is backed up by over 40 years of research. The basis of the practice is bringing your attention to the present moment, and accepting it for what it is. It doesn’t teach you to ignore thoughts and feelings, rather it allows you to recognise them, then let them go. It’s easy to see how this could translate into a work environment; imagine how much better it would be if you could choose to react to a difficult work situation calmly and rationally, rather than allowing emotions to take over; well you can. It’s the increased awareness of ourselves and what’s around us that can help to encourage innovation in the workplace.

Mindfulness and innovation

Most of our day to day actions are carried out when we are on autopilot. We are bombarded with distractions and information from the moment we open our eyes each day. This prevents us from being fully present in the moment, and fully aware of what is going on around us. It also leads us to become quite rigid in our thinking and unaccepting of the opinions of others.

Mindfulness allows us to acknowledge where we are doing things or behaving in a certain way out of habit, and then clears the mind to allow in new ways of interpreting things. It removes the impulse to react emotionally, and so we automatically become more receptive to new ideas and we focus better.

How mindfulness boosts innovation

Forward-thinking companies like Google and Apple have implemented mindfulness-based activities in their workplaces, and for employees, Tai Chi and meditation are part of a normal working day. The idea is that a calm, open, and aware mind is more open to new things, and more able to come up with new creative ways of working.

How distractions stifle innovation

Think about a time in your life when you had a lot on your mind. How did you deal with it? Did you distract yourself by browsing social media, or by watching a film or TV? This does nothing to clear your mind, rather it fills it with even more distractions. There’s no room for anything new.

When you learn to become mindful, it frees up space in your mind to be creative, to use different thought processes, and to embrace something new.

Clear your mind and innovation will follow

Being mindful is not something that you can learn overnight, it takes sustained practice. It’s not about suspending thoughts, it’s about noticing them, but then letting them go.

By practising mindfulness, you can create space in your mind, and let creativity and clarity in. A clear mind is far more able to be creative, innovative, and calm, which is good news for the health of an organisation, and everyone who works within it.

Maureen O’Callaghan is a Member of the Chartered Management Institute, and has an MSc in Mindfulness-Based Approaches. She works with organisations, teams, and individuals to create less stressful working environments, improve team working, enhance performance and productivity and develop leadership and management skills.