And what are their most common issues?
These are some of the most common reasons why new clients get in touch with me:
Or sometimes they have a very specific goal in mind: "I want to make MD this year"; "We are IPO'ing in six months & I want to be match fit"; "I need to sort out my sleep / weight / health before it's too late" etc...
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Here are some of the symptoms that occur most frequently:
1. Waking up in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep for ages (this seems much more prevalent than difficulty in getting to sleep in the first place).
2. Over-exercising: people going through a difficult period at work often try to compensate by ensuring they are "achieving" on a daily basis in the gym. There are many benefits to regular exercise, but it needs to be accompanied by sufficient rest & recovery time otherwise it is adding physical stress to an already stressed system. If you are training every day but not seeing improvements then you may be overdoing it.
3. Drinking frequently: not necessarily in huge quantities but alcohol becomes a regular feature of most/all days, whether as reward for getting through a difficult day, or just as a marker that the working day is finally done. Clearly something that has become a bigger issue for many during lockdown.
4. Distraction & inability to focus/concentrate on a single task: partly this is a broader societal issue brought on by the ubiquity of smartphones and probably not helped by open-plan offices Zoom boredom at home. But I also found when I was under-performing as a fund manager, I would hunt for any distraction on Bloomberg or Twitter that might help me to believe that things were about go in my favour again.
5. Putting on weight, especially around the middle. Sometimes a consequence of insufficient sleep, excess alcohol or elevated stress hormones, but also comfort eating, snacking to distract or overlooking the basics of simple, balanced nutrition.
6. Not seeing friends very often, giving up on leisure pursuits or hobbies. Time & attention gets focussed on working harder or longer, leaving neither the time nor the energy for anything else. Whenever social activities do occur, they usually bring a surge of happiness and "Why don't I do this more often?", but then get forgotten again for months.
All of the above can be improved in their own right, but if the root cause is work-related then it is vital to address that too. And that is why my Performance Coaching focuses on both your professional life and your wellbeing, the two are mutually reinforcing.
It may be that a profound conversation is needed about a change in role or employer, or taking an entirely new career direction. Or it may be a more basic issue of time overload - I work with a lot of clients cutting unnecessary or less vital meetings out of their schedules to free up some time for thought, sleep, social activities or whatever is needed to balance them better.