Article by Jackie Richards 19.09.16

You’re a busy small business owner, running around trying to be everything to everyone to ensure your business thrives, but what about the staff you’ve left floundering back at the office? Do you think they will be motivated if they never get to see their boss, for help, reassurance and most importantly, a bit of praise now and then for all of the hours they’re putting in for you?!

 I have worked in all sectors during my 20+ years in HR and have seen many disengaged employees for usually similar reasons, the main ones being as follows:-

  • They have been in the same job doing the same thing for many years and lack motivation;
  • They are in the wrong role but too afraid to admit this and look elsewhere.
  • They have poor managers who do not care about what they are doing, so do not make the work interesting, or show an interest in their employees;
  • In some workplaces, people are being bullied by insecure managers but they don’t have the courage to speak up about it;
  • Lack of communication within organisations – the people at the top don’t communicate what they are doing and where the company is heading, so the staff don’t feel involved in the bigger picture.

And all of these factors result in reduced productivity and hence revenue – I’ve seen a lot of companies who are ‘surviving’ but could do so much better if they focused on the most important asset they have – their people. 
Some of the above might not apply to you, but I’m sure you can relate to one or two there? And putting it right does not have to cost the Earth. Here are some suggestions on how to motivate your people, so that they look forward to coming into work and want to do their very best for you and your company:-

1. Communication – In any business it’s important to ensure two way communication. Employees need to feel that their voice and concerns are heard and if needed, action is taken. You should tell them your plans for the business and listen to their opinions, as the more involved they feel, the more committed they will be to the company.

If possible, have monthly team meetings to give your employees updates on the company’s progress and ask for ideas for new products or services, or improvements that can be made to existing ones – this will encourage innovation and creativity within your team. You should view your team as a family working together to achieve a common goal and let them know that too.
2. Trust your staff – give them some autonomy and/or responsibility for their work. If they are doing a good job, this will be an inexpensive reward – recognition for their efforts and some people are motivated by status. Find out what motivates each employee, as it will be different in each case and then work with that to get the best out of them.

3. Training and support – don’t assume that once you’ve recruited someone they will ‘hit the ground running’ – find out exactly what they are capable and then fill in the gaps with some training and support. This doesn’t have to be by you, it could be by one of your employees with as much or more experience than you in the area required and support them by asking them how they are getting on and if they need any further help.

4. Recognition – give praise where praise is due and if it’s something exceptional, thank them publicly for their efforts and give them a small reward – it does not have to be anything excessive, but a token of your appreciation will go a long way! We are all human and need praise from time to time, so encourage a culture of employees congratulating co-workers for their achievements, so working relationships remain healthy.

George Dickson at Office Vibe has recently posted The 12 Things You Need For Successful Employee Recognition which provides even more tips on doing this for free, the link is below:-


5. Offer incentives to high performers – they don’t have to be expensive rewards, just a bottle of wine for your top performer of the month or a gift voucher, anything to show appreciation will incentivize them to keep performing at that level, or indeed higher, to beat the competition.

6. Constructive feedback – if someone has done something wrong, take them into a private office and discuss it with them. Try to start the meeting with a positive – “You’ve been producing some good work recently, but …..” Don’t chastise them, ask them why they did made the error and what they think they can do to put it right. Work together to find a solution and they will feel more motivated to ensure they don’t make that mistake again.

7. Employee wellbeing – in a start-up everyone has to ‘muck in’ and do what’s required to win business, but at what cost? Is an employee really going to be productive and sound motivated on the phone to your potential customers when they are exhausted and feeling unappreciated? Make sure you ask employees regularly how they are feeling to ascertain whether the long hours are affecting them, make sure they have breaks and take time off wherever possible in your quieter periods. As in my October blog: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/workplace-stress-things-ever-going-get-any-better-richards-mcipd?trk=mp-author-card workplace stress can lead to a number of ongoing mental health problems which will result in reduced productivity and absenteeism costs in the long run if you do not nip it in the bud!

8. Employee benefits – if as an employer you can’t afford to pay high salaries or reward high performers by increasing their salary, there are some very inexpensive benefits schemes out there now for small businesses. Paybooster UK offer flexible health and wellbeing packages to employers costing as little as £52 per year per employee. For more information visit http://www.PayBosterUK.org

9. Have fun! – we are in work a long part of our day, so the workplace should not be all doom and gloom – introduce humour at times (appropriately, of course!) to liven things up, encourage brief chats about home to help staff relax and get to know each other better, or go out and buy staff cakes or icecream on a hot summer’s day – all these little things make a difference to making people happy and happy = productive.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog


Jackie Richards MCIPD

Owner/HR Consultant

JR-HR Solutions

T: 07807 166456

E: jackie@jr-hrsolutions.com

W: http://www.jr-hrsolutions.com

Thanks to Author and Thought Leader Vlatka Hlupic for the inspiration to write this blog

Thanks to DesignTec for the image



Daniel Browne’s Top Five Tips to Burn Away Anxiety

Article by Daniel Browne 08.08.16

As a hypnotherapist, one of my specialisms is in the area of anxiety. After experiencing crippling anxiety in the past, it’s now a mission of mine to help others to burn away their anxieties for good. With that in mind, here are my top five tips to help you burn away your anxiety.

1. Meditate rather than medicate. In my view, GPs hand out pills like they’re sweets and don’t do enough to help people overcome anxiety. Medication only masks anxiety; it doesn’t cure it. However, meditation is a great alternative that can genuinely help you to feel good on the inside. So give yourself the gift of ten minutes alone each morning and evening so you can sit down, close your eyes, breathe, allow yourself to relax, and feel the positive energy within you.

2. Tell yourself that feelings are not facts. This can be a hard one as negative beliefs are part of anxiety, but it’s important to challenge those beliefs. You may feel low self-worth or shame because of your anxiety, but it doesn’t mean you actually are any of those things that you think you are. So, my task for you is to look in the mirror each morning and say one nice thing to yourself out loud. Give yourself a compliment and tell yourself what you actually are. Negative thoughts always come before negative feelings, so start the day with a positive thought about yourself and let that shape how you feel for the rest of the day.

3. Attend a social event, even if you don’t want to. Are you going to let your anxiety win or are you going to tell it to do one? Being an introvert is ok, but it’s good to connect with other people socially. Your anxiety may be socially related, which could make this tip difficult for you, but you may find that you enjoy yourself once you’re out. If you have a friend who knows about your anxiety, tell them to force you to go out. It’s for your long term benefit.

4. Accept your anxiety. In order to overcome your anxiety, you need to accept it. This doesn’t mean that you give into it and fall deeper into the cloud of anxiety; it’s more about understanding the anxiety that is a part of your life and then working on a strategy to reduce or overcome it.

5. Know when to get help. If anxiety is having a detrimental impact on your life, it’s important to know when to ask for help. This could be speaking to a friend or family member, or it could be going to see a therapist. Either way, know that you are not alone and that there are people who can help you.

Daniel Browne is a hypnotherapist with practices in Warwick and Evesham. Discover more at http://www.daniel-browne.co.uk.

Could YOU be missing something ?​​​​

Article by Simon Perkin 15.06.16

As Napoleon Hill wrote, ‘every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit’. Are you looking for your opportunity ? 

In my case, I was struck down with Blood Cancer and my whole world fell apart. I was fearful of the future.

 Why did it happen ? Well. To be honest, we will never know but I believe it was all down to my lifestyle. When I look back, I was working long hours (60 hours plus a week) in a stressful job, drinking heavily (15 pints plus a week) and although I was exercising regularly, my diet was poor. I was no different to about 85 to 90% of the population, not eating my 5 a day in fruits and vegetables. Thankfully, the wonderful NHS, friends, family and the Anthony Nolan Trust and a very kind stranger, who donated their bone marrow, came to my rescue.

Fours years later, I am probably fitter now than I have ever been. As any leading scientist and doctors will tell you, good health is not just about good luck or good genes, there’s science behind it. My good health is no fluke or accident. I have worked hard at it and I am now on a mission to give something back.

Who do you know who is overworked and under paid ? Who do you know who is not paying attention to their health ? Is it time to get the balance back in your life ? 

Napoleon Hill continues to write, ‘if the opportunity is not immediately apparent, keep on looking. If you still can’t find opportunity, get busy and make your own’.

Imagine if you could, but you never did do anything about your health. 

Feel free to contact me via simonperkin@me.com and let’s meet up for a coffee or a beer / glass of wine.

Top Five Tips for Freeing Yourself from Negative Thinking

Article by Daniel Browne 13.06.16

I’m going to tell you a story about a boy who was once full of negativity and absolute despair as a result of the situations he faced in life. That boy was me. As a child, and even more so as a teenager, I was frequently the target of school bullies. Every day for five years I was subjected to physical and mental abuse, but never really knew why. I hated the bullies the how they made me feel. I felt weak and like a complete loser.

I left school at eighteen years old and went out into the wide world. It should have been an exciting time in my life, but I actually felt crippled by the fear of not being liked. I was worried that I would be bullied in the workplace, as I had been at school. Due to the traumatic experiences I had as a young person, I was consumed by negativity as an adult. I hated people, and hated myself even more.

Over the years I attended counselling sessions and tried hard to work on reducing the negativity that I felt. The results were varying, but then one day somebody gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received. I will never forget those immortal words… “F**k ‘em”.

There’s something about those words that struck a chord with me. It resonated, and from that day on I felt more in control of my own destiny. I decided that I was no longer going to let the bullies control my life. I was taking the control back.

I spent the next few years working on my self-development, which included going back to school to train as a hypnotherapist, counsellor and psychotherapist. During that period, I learnt so much about myself and my fellow humans, which has been invaluable to this day. That time also enabled me to develop a number of beliefs that I now put into practice daily to ensure that negativity never consumes me again. I’d now like to share my top five tips for freeing yourself from negative thinking.

1. What other people say about you is their problem, not yours. This is something to always keep in mind. There will always be people out there who don’t like you, will want to knock you, or take out their jealousy on you. But, and I’m being cheesy here, let your haters be your motivators. Most people who act negatively towards you are probably projecting their own issues or self-loathing on to you. It certainly says more about them than it does about you. So let it go, and be free. Which leads me to my next tip.

2. Know that you are free to be yourself. Why be like someone else when you can be yourself. Nobody really has control over you. You are the keeper of your own destiny, so don’t be afraid to live your life authentically. You will thank yourself for it in the long run, and people will admire you for having the courage to be yourself.

3. Having off days is ok. It’s not realistic to expect that you will feel positive every single day. We all have our wobbles. Just remind yourself that life has its ups and downs, that shit happens and tomorrow is a new day. Down days will happen, but the key is to learn to be at peace with them and be ready for a brighter day tomorrow.

4. Be grateful for what you have and let that be a foundation for gaining more in your life. Many people focus too much on all of the things that they don’t have. Instead, think about all of the things that you DO have, even if it’s the most basic thing. The simple, most basic things often bring the most happiness, and happiness thrives when the list of things you’re grateful for is longer than the list of things you worry about. So, what are you thankful for?

5. Making mistakes and going through negative experiences is a fact of life. Disappointments and failures are often what makes us. Rather than letting them harden your heart, pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Those disappointments and failures are just stepping stones to your success. They will help you to grow and learn.

 Happiness is always going to be a result of your own thinking. It starts and lasts with you, not with anyone or anything in your life. Of course it’s not always easy to find happiness within, but it is always possible. Regardless of the situations you face, happiness is always a choice and will be a result of your attitude. When negativity takes hold, it controls you. Once you realise how powerful your own thoughts are, you can regain control and never let negativity bother you again.

Daniel Browne Dip Hyp CS, Ad.Dip CP, MHS

07816 181428




Discover your hidden strengths – and make them work for you!

Article by Marie Haycocks 06.06.16

  • Do you sometimes feel totally in the flow and firing on all cylinders…and then other times feel totally the opposite and aren’t sure why?
  • Do you find yourself internally beating yourself up when you are faced with a challenging task?
  • Do you regularly look at other people admiring their capabilities but not recognising your own?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you are not alone. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to always be this way! By knowing and applying your strengths your life and work will feel very different.

“Everyone is a genius but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree it will live its life behaving like it is stupid”

Understanding my own strengths has had a hugely positive impact on my professional and personal life, and the clients I work with.

What is a strength?

A strength is ‘a behavioral quality’ that is inherent within you. When you apply these strengths you feel strong, in the flow and productive. If you focus on what you aren’t naturally good at, it will make you feel weak, not great about yourself and result in you being far from productive! By appreciating your strengths, rather than your weaknesses, and then leveraging them you will be more confident, impactful and productive.

The Benefits

The benefits of knowing and applying your strengths, are:

1. You feel good about yourself

Focusing on what you are good at will make you feel good about yourself, more confident and strong.

2. You delegate more

Once you know your strengths, the urge to do everything yourself fades and it feels okay to ask others for help.

3. You are kinder to yourself

When you find a task challenging you can think, instead of beating yourself up, about how you can use your strengths to help you, accepting that it might take longer, or ask or help.

4. You are a better team player

People love being asked for help. When you start recognising others’ strengths and asking them to help, this improves team relationships and productivity.

5. You are more efficient

You will be able to delegate and outsource tasks that don’t play to your strengths, making you more productive when you focus on doing the tasks that do.

6. You will be happier

By building your job and career around your strengths you will be positively reinforcing them every day, therefore growing your confidence and positive endorphins.
How to find your strengths

It can be difficult to appreciate your own strengths, as this is not something we are used to doing. For example, at school, for many of us, the focus was often on what we should do better, and at work conversations are often steered towards our developmental areas. So it’s no wonder we find it hard to talk about our own strengths!
Here are some tips to help you find your strengths:

1. Ask yourself:

  •  What are my key achievements?
  • What qualities was I demonstrating at the time?
  • When I am at my best I am…
  • My friends and family will say that I am good at …
  • One quality I like about myself is…
  • The qualities I am demonstrating when I feel strong and in the flow are…

2. Ask your friends, family and trusted colleagues what they see as your core strengths

3. Use ‘Strengths Cards’. I am a big fan of these ‘At My Best’ cards and I use them in my 1:1 and group coaching sessions with my clients.

4. Read a book such as ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths’ by Marcus Buckingham’ . This was the book I read when I first heard about the concept of strengths and it includes an online questionnaire to identify your top 5 key strengths.

Applying your strengths

Once you know your strengths, write them down and put them somewhere where you can regularly refer to them. Some of my clients have them as a screen saver, on the inside page of their notebook or even next to their mirror at home! Then:

  • Make it a habit to regularly remind yourself of what your strengths are.
  • When you are faced with a problem, or opportunity, ask yourself ‘how could I use my strengths to help me now?’
  • Think about how you could build a life and career where you can fully utilise those strengths.

I have experienced and witnessed first hand how knowing and applying your strengths can increase your levels of happiness, confidence and success. So why not start now?
Enjoy the journey and please get in touch with me to help you along the way.

Marie Haycocks

How can Pilates with Diane help you?

Article by Diane Clark 03.06.16

Pilates improves core strength which in turn will help your posture. It tones all parts of the body and is especially good for easing low level back pain. Not only does it work your body but as you are concentrating on the lateral breathing pattern and what movements you are doing it is also working your mind.

Many clients have said although they know they have worked out after a class they feel relaxed and stretched out too.

“I now have improved mobility in my shoulder” – Southam College Class Client

“Diane is an excellent tutor & the classes are very varied” – Ufton Class

“I like the feeling of wellbeing after the sessions..” – Client of 4 years


Heres exercise 2 of the Pilates with Diane Back Series :


Cat Stretch

– To mobilise the spine also strengthening the abdominals and shoulders

1. Position yourself on the mat with your hands under the shoulders and the knees under your hips. Ensure that there is space between the knees, and the back is flat (1)

2. Breathe navel towards spine – imagine you have a size tighter leggings on – Inhale to prepare.

3. Exhale and curve the shoulders upwards at the same time as tucking the pelvis under (2)

4. Inhale to return to start (1)

 Hope you enjoy the series and see you next week for another #Pilates exercise.
Diane Clark

Tel: 07809 621142

Email: diane66pilates@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PilateswithDiane66

Twitter: @Pilates_Diane

How to Use Mindfulness to Help with Negative Emotions

Article by Mita Mistry 30.05.16

Life can be a rollercoaster of emotions, it’s not anyone’s fault it’s just the way life is. There are often moments that are overwhelming and difficult to endure which can feel scary. Sometimes, negative emotions surface out of the blue for no obvious reason leaving us feeling angry, anxious, stressed out, sad or even embarrassed.

When a negative emotion rears its head, its very normal to avoid facing it by distracting ourselves with activities like food or drink or something stronger.

Sadly life is such that we all face hardship but the intensity of emotional pain for each one of us can vary from small setbacks like feeling excluded, to intense grief of a significant loss.

The problem is, the more we try to avoid emotional pain the more likely we are to experience it because we are unable to develop the skills needed to cope. By not accepting suffering we give negative emotions permission to control us because no matter how hard we try to escape them, emotions have a way of reappearing possibly in the form of panic attacks, depression or by engaging in unhealthy behaviours like substance abuse, eating disorders, pathological gambling, internet addiction, excessive worry or over-exercising to name a few.

Mindfulness can be your greatest teacher to help you face suffering and accept it as part of the human experience. It gives you the opportunity to step back and understand that emotions are temporary. The more you face up to uncomfortable feelings, the less intense the emotional experience. In the long run you learn to cope with experiencing pain while it also massively enhances happier moments, a paradox we must all understand.

RAIN – 4 Steps to Manage Negative Emotions

Here is a very well known mindfulness practice called RAIN (an acronym for the four steps of the process), it can be used in any situation or place. It directs your attention in a clear, systematic way that cuts through confusion and stress.

R – Recognise

You can do this by simply asking yourself: “What is happening inside me right now?” Keep an open kind mind and listen to what you are feeling. Name the emotion if you can.

A – Accept.  

Allow the thoughts, emotions, feelings or sensations that may feel unpleasant to just be. This emotion is present in the here and now at this very moment. Just “Let it be”. 

I – Investigate.

Pause and simply ask yourself

“Where am I feeling this emotion in my body?”

“What thoughts am I thinking? “

“What experience led to this feeling?”

“What does this feeling want from me?”

N – Non-identification. 

This means maintaining a sense of who you are by simply observing the emotions. Emotions are temporary feelings that will pass, watching them come and go like thoughts can help you regain control. Imagine you are like a mountain, in the midst of a storm it remains still. Similarly during a difficult time, know that the feelings will pass and there is always a part of you that remains still and untouched by it. Have the attitude “sadness is weighing me down at the moment but it will soon melt away”. “Anger is rising up in me like a furnace but at some point it will start to settle and cool down.” Non -identification is a powerful step that disentangles you from the negative emotions replacing it with inner peace and awareness.

R.A.I.N. and related practices of spacious awareness are fundamental to mental health, and always worth doing in their own right. Sometimes you may find that one step is enough to help you manage the negative emotions but you may need to go through all four steps of the process which is recommended during challenging times.


w: http://www.mitamistry.co.uk

t: @MitaMistry


New Series from Pilates with Diane

Article by Diane Clark 13.05.16

Hello, I’m Diane Clark the owner of Pilates with Diane. I been teaching Pilates around Southam and Leamington Spa for 5 years now.I’ve been practicing Pilates for over 10 years. I started attending Pilates classes at my local Leisure Centre as well as working out in the Gym and going swimming. After only a few sessions I was “hooked” on Pilates and haven’t looked back since.

Over the next 5 weeks I’ll be showing you different exercises that can help stretch, strengthen and mobilize the back. Add them together for a mini routine or do separately.

With the cobra & swimming – release into child pose or Cat Stretch (shown next week) after to stretch & relax the spine.

Cobra – 10 reps

Strengthens and stretches the spine and promotes sequential movement of the spine. Strengthens the glutes and backs of the legs promoting openess in the hip joint. In the fully raised position it also stretches out the stomach muscles (rectus abdominus) and strengthens the triceps.

1. Lie face down on your mat with arms positioned as in photo. Inhale to prepare

2. Exhale & slowly raise head & shoulders off the mat. Inhale and hold

3. Exhale & return to start position. Repeat up to 10 times in total

 4. Finish in Child’s pose for 5 breaths.

Level 2 – Carry out options 1 & 2 then

Article Inhale, slowly raising the top half of the body (keeping the hips & legs in contact with the mat) off the mat. Looking straight ahead, exhale and return slowly to position (1)

I hope these exercises give you a little insight into Pilates …

Please contact me for any further information or to book your trial session whether
£8 for the trial session


A group class – Only £42 per 6 week course – Harbury or Ufton

Or an hour personal session at my Southam Studio

– whether 1:1 (£35) or 1:2 (£60)


Diane Clark

Pilates with Diane

Tel: 07809 621142

Email: diane66pilates@gmail.com

Twitter: @Pilates_Diane

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PilateswithDiane66