Values and Why They Are Important

This is first post in a short series on values, what are they, why are they important and how to understand your own values. Understanding your own values is key to leading happy and fulfilled life. Knowing them can guide you in deciding the work you want to do and even how you choose a life partner. Understanding them can help you deal with many of the challenges you will meet through life and how to make the best choice in many situations.

What Are Values?

Values are the important and lasting things you believe about life and the measures by which you will usually judge yourself and other things. When you live your life in accord with your values you will feel comfortable and at peace with yourself. When you don’t you may feel miserably, guilty or angry with what is preventing you from feeling fulfilled. Values are usually fairly stable throughout life. We learn them young from our parents and teachers and sometimes from out friend. But not all the values we learn young are helpful to us. Times change and for example the value that some people learned very young and associated with the roles of men and women may no longer be appropriate in the 21st century. When you understand your values you can begin to make choices about this you hold on to. Next, we’ll begin to look at how to determine what your real values are.


Mid-Career Dilemmas

qMid-Career Dilemmas

Many clients come to me for help handling decisions they need to make in mid-career. Usually, they are people who have done pretty well so far and they have at least one promotion under their belts. The junior technician or junior manager has become the trusted professional or senior manager. Now, it is time to think about their next move and they find themselves at a crossroads.

For some it gets even more complicated because there may be family choices to be made. For example, whether to start a family. Or, perhaps, whether to move the family to a new town or even a new country.

There may be lots of factors to take into account. But it is good to start by considering the experience you have had so far and what it has taught you about what really matters. Then, you can go on to consider things like the competencies you have. It is good to know what you have enjoyed and not enjoyed in the work you have done so far. What has made you feel stimulated and motivated? What has made you want to spend the next day under the duvet?

Thinking about those things, and the challenge of spending the rest of their lives doing the same kind of thing, leads some people to think about a complete change.

Usually, my work with those facing a mid-career dilemma starts with thinking about values and what really matters to them. For each one of us, values will be a little different and it takes honesty and trust to get to the real list.

Facing a mid-career dilemma can be challenging and the future can look very uncertain. You may not be clear for a while what the next step is going to be. It helps to have supporters with you along the way. So, I’m thinking of starting a monthly group coaching session for people facing mid-career dilemmas. If that includes you, feel free to get in touch. If one-to-one coaching is more your thing, I would still be very happy to help.

This post first appeared on LinkedIn

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Smith (formerly Wendy Mason) is  a life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at


When you face an angry person at work!

angry manWhen you face an angry person at work!

We all encounter anger sometimes and encountering angry people at work is particularly difficult. But, you can learn how to calm people down and defuse their anger. Knowing how to defuse anger helps you do your job better and look more competent. It helps you be a better manager.

It can be tempting to let your own emotions take over and become angry yourself. Confronting anger with anger doesn’t work. It just hypes things up which usually makes the other person more angry. Try to stay calm. That way you are more likely to be able to think clearly about the situation. Take some deep breaths to help reduce the tension you feel. If necessary, ask to take a short break and go for a walk. If you feel threatened by violence it is best to leave the situation, if you can, and seek help. If you don’t feel threatened, look objectively at why the person is angry. Probably, it has nothing to do with you and you didn’t cause the problem. Being able to distance yourself emotionally will help you think clearly about a solution.

You need to find out why they are angry. Encourage them to explain the cause of their anger. Listen carefully and don’t interrupt but use open questions to keep them going until you understand. Try to see things from their perspective. Sometimes people deal with distress and bad news by getting angry. If you understand that, you can distance yourself from the angry feelings and know that the anger is not about you. This should make it easier to help.

Respond calmly in a low tone and in a non-threatening way. This will encourage them to become calm. Don’t use generalizations and platitudes like, “I understand how you feel.” Be specific and empathetic – rephrase what they have told you but not thoughtlessly. Try to show, rather than say, that you understand. Show you are focussed on finding solutions and putting things right. If you have caused their distress, then apologize and show how you are going to remedy the situation. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be defensive – that tends to stimulate more anger. Focus on finding solutions and taking the first steps towards putting them into action.

Moderate anger can sometimes be dealt with by distracting people. Occasionally, this can be done with laughter but have a care. Humour at the wrong time can make things worse. It can be hard to get someone to change the subject if their anger is intense. Trying to do so may make them feel you are not taking them seriously which makes things worse.

Anger in a team at work can be incredibly disruptive. If you are a manager faced with a team member who gets angry easily, flag it up as an issue. Then offer to work with them to help them control their anger. You could try role play and practice dealing with angry customers, for example. You could also consider training for them in emotional intelligence, assertiveness and good communication skills. Encourage them to learn a simple relaxation technique to use when they feel stressed.

If you have to deal frequently with an angry person, afterwards, when they are calm, let them know how their anger makes you feel. Give your message assertively and calmly as you can. Don’t make accusations – just describe your feelings in simple terms.

We all face anger sometimes. The key is to learn how to deal with it calmly and with confidence. Find the cause and apologize if it is you at fault. Try, with them, to find a way to put things right. Treat an angry person with respect and focus on finding solutions.

This post appeared first on LinkedIn

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Smith (formerly Wendy Mason) is  a life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at


Are you a manager behaving badly?

6307954283_9fd65cd134_mAre your anxieties reducing the performance of those you work with?

I’ve been coaching and blogging about career development for a few years now. And there seem to be a number of recurring themes when people talk to me about happiness at work. The most common is “trouble” with boss.

Problems can arise for all kinds of reasons.

Sometimes the person talking to me has had a history of difficulties with other managers in the past. There may be something they can change in their approach to improve things.

Sometimes the person having the problems is in a job that isn’t the right fit and they need to consider a change.

Unfortunately, and far more frequently, the difficulties spring from the way in which a particular manager has been behaving.

Managers come in all kinds of flavours. Some find communicating with their teams easy. For others, it may be something at which they need to work. These days there is little excuse for not knowing that communication is key to good performance but you would be surprised how many managers choose not to hear the message.

Sadly, a small number of managers are out and out bullies and they cause much misery and distress. Far more common is a much more subtle effect. There are managers dealing with their personal challenges by acting unprofessionally in the workplace.

Some managers deal with trouble in their private life by bringing anger or depression into the office. Many seem quite clever at making sure it is only their juniors who suffer, while colleagues and those above see a happy, cooperative employee.

Managers may be insecure in their work role (fear of redundancy, for example). They may deal with their anxieties by undermining those who work for them. Heaven help the bright junior who might be a natural successor! But the whole team might suffer from their “control freakery” and anger – nothing is quite good enough.

Over time, a “boss” working out their own problems at work can cause havoc with their team’s performance. Everyone feels unhappy and stressed; valuable team members look for opportunities to move elsewhere and sick absence may rise.

As a manager, looking objectively at your own performance and admitting you are causing problems for the team can be hard.

It is wise for all manager to step back sometimes and reflect on their own performance. Think about how you behaved over the last week, the last month and the last year.

For example, when you think about your leadership or management style consider;

  • Have there been incidents you subsequently regretted?
  • Are there people on the team you fear may be better than you at the job?
  • Have you stopped seeing good people as an asset and do you now see them as a threat?
  • How happy are the people that work in your team?
  • How have you contributed to that happiness?

Think about how you would judge a colleague behaving as you have behaved. Would it be good for them, their team and the organization, in the long term? If the answer is no, then act now. Commit to making a change and, if you need help, there are lots of coaches like me around on LinkedIn.

All it takes is the courage to look honestly and objectively at what you have been doing and not make excuses for yourself. Takes action. You owe it to yourself and your team to make that change.

This post appeared first on LinkedIn

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Mason is life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at


WiseWolf Talking enters 2015


I wish a very Happy New Year to all our readers and I’m very pleased to reassure you that next week, from 12th January 2015, normal service will be resumed.

We’ve taken a long holiday break which has included, not only marking Yule and the turn of the year, but also my marriage which took place on New Year’s eve . (No excuse then for forgotten wedding anniversaries.)

Now, it is time to return to work. And from 12th January, I hope you will find at least one useful and informative post here each week.

Going forward the aim of the blog will be to support your development in the widest and most balanced sense.

If you have suggestions for what we should include please get in touch.

10801706_10205372103244677_2990750892488570962_nWendy Mason is life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at


Re-Entering the Game of Job Hunting in Your Later Years

50-Creative-CommonsRe-Entering the Game of Job Hunting in Your Later Years

Today an interesting and useful post from Sara Stringer. Sarah is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about business and everything current.

It will come as  a shock to many individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 just how much job hunting has shifted in the many years since they last put out their applications. Some 20+ years ago, it was often as simple as showing up to a location, dropping off a resume, and waiting to hear back from the business.

Today, the game of job hunting has gone high-tech and may surprise you with its options (which can be simultaneously overwhelming):

  • Job search engines
  • Industry job boards
  • Social media (LinkedIn & Facebook) & networking
  • Freelance marketplaces
  • Online recruiters
  • Virtual events

…and the list goes on and on.

Much of the process is the same as it ever was, though there have been many advancements in technology and how we submit our applications. The cover letter, resume, and follow-up are still the main assets to use when seeking a job through an online platform. In reality it’s not nearly as scary as it may seem even if you have some trouble navigating your way around the Web.

Here are some of the key actions to consider (and employ), when online job hunting, after you’ve had a lapse in needing to do the activity:

  1. Learn about (and begin using) the new platforms

Information is your ally in this process of job hunting and it just so happens that you’re, right now, staring at the best tools for the job: the Internet.

There are thousands of great articles that can aid your understanding of how these newer websites and platforms work when submitting your applications.

Take a few days to begin learning about the various online platforms like the job search engines (like Monster), creating and networking through a LinkedIn profile, or seeking reputable online recruitment services which can guide you through the process.

  1. Update those main assets (and tactics)

Those three things we talked about?

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Follow-up

The cover letter will come naturally because it’s mostly telling the who, what, and why for sending in the application. The resume, however, has changed over the years so it would be within your interest to mull over a few various tips for writing resumes to bring yours into the 21st century.

The follow-up is quite crucial to the matter (as you could expect) because many businesses advertising a job listing will be bombarded with applications, yet only a few may take the time to show action which often tips off the job listing business that you’re going the extra mile to gain the position.

  1. Networking (the digital way)

The job you may have originally landed 20 years ago may have come through association with a friend, family member, or a friend of a friend – referrals were (and still are) very powerful. The associations you built were generally through school or other early work opportunities.

Today, we have shifted to using social media as one of the main forms of reaching out and building a network because so many of us are on there using it each and every day.

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

There are many others but these would be the ones you’d want to hone your focus on. This new process has become such a norm that you’ll have no trouble finding great articles on using social for job hunting.

The main things to remember/do are:

  • Get the main profiles setup, filled out, and as accurate as you can make them
  • Use the built-in search to seek out others that are in your desired industry
  • Visit the websites of companies offering positions and follow them on social
  • Join in on conversations with these individuals and businesses
  • Shoot them emails and rub elbows with those that can make the big decisions

What’s in your favor is the amount of work experience you have which automatically gives you the perception of being an authority figure for that industry. All that’s needed now is tapping into the technology, finding the right people, and making the pitch.


The big thing is not to get discouraged.

The technology is there to help you and it’s quite easy once you understand the process but there will be a learning curve in the beginning. When you’re stuck you should seek help from those that are literate with using the Web to mentor your process and show you the ropes (even your children or grandchildren could probably help in this regard).

It’s going to feel different but much of it remains the same; you’re still mostly submitting the traditional assets but through a new medium.

Good luck out there, hold your head up, and keep at it!

Sara Stringer is freelance writer who enjoys writing about business and everything current. In her spare time, she enjoys maintaining an active lifestyle through swimming and practicing yoga.


What is Life Coaching?


What is Life Coaching?

“Life Coaching is about transformation – from a caterpillar into a butterfly.”

Life Coaching helps people overcome the things that stop them living the life they choose. And sometimes it is about choosing the life to live.

Have you ever felt like this:

“I can’t say no to other people.”

“I don’t know where my life is going – I seem to have lost control.”

“I feel tired and stressed all the time but I don’t really know why.”

“I’m unhappy at work but I’ve lost my confidence and don’t think I can face changing jobs,”

“I’ve lost somebody close and I’m finding it difficult to take up my life again.”

“I’ve just been told I’m going to be made redundant and I don’t know how I’m going to cope.”

So, if you feel like this, you might get in touch with a Life Coach. What happens then?

Well first, we don’t give you advice or tell you what to do. We may think we know the answer but things work best when you find your own solutions.

What we do do is guide and support you until you find the answer for yourself. The answer may not be what you expect.  But it will be unique to you and the journey will be one of discovery about yourself.

Life Coaches focus on you, the tasks you want to complete and, when you’ve worked out what they should be,  the goals you want to achieve.

A Life Coach will work with you to help you remove barriers so that you can make your changes.

Working with a Life Coach can mean you can stop feeling dissatisfied and disappointed with your life. You can rediscover your self-esteem and your self-confidence.

We work with you as you are now and help you learn the strategies and techniques you need to make your own decisions, plan your own future and find your own life balance.

Wendy Mason is life coach and writer committed to helping people be happy and fulfilled at home and at work. You can contact her at

When it feel like nothing is going right!

When it feel like nothing is going right!

104282_20131207_115011_SilenceEveryone has times in their life when they feel demotivated, lost, and unhappy. You’re in a rut, and you don’t know how to get out of it.

There’s no right answer to getting out of a rough patch because everyone’s situations are completely different, but hopefully some of the ideas at the link below can be a launchpad for you.


Authenticity, Advantages and Awareness

visionAuthenticity, Advantages and Awareness

Writer and Coach

To do well in managing your career, and in job search, it helps if you keep in mind the three “As”; authenticity, advantages and awareness.

In any job search or work situation you are more likely to succeed if you can be authentic, understand and use the advantages you bring to a situation and know how to make others aware of those advantages.

Authenticity means knowing and showing who you are and your values. It depends on knowing what you want to achieve in life and to what you are committed. Spend time to be clear about
what you care about most and accept the implications of putting that at the centre of what you do and how you behave. Authenticity at a job interview means that your answers ring true and you are much more likely to form a constructive relationship with panel members.

Understanding what you are good at, your advantages, allows you to contribute fully in whatever you are doing. Hone your skills. Learn to be good enough at what is essential but be proud to excel at those things you do well. Accept that others are good at different things. If you are confident in your own abilities, you can accept what they have to offer. If you are job searching, be clear about the real advantages you would bring to any new job opportunity and how you will contribute to the team.

Look for opportunities to let the people who matter know what you have to give. Their awareness means you should be given the chance to use your gifts. How sad it would be to have them but not be able to use them. If you are job searching, think about getting your name out there by showing expertise through writing articles, speaking at meetings of your professional association or, perhaps, doing some voluntary work.

I wish all those starting out on or a continuing a job search this week every success.

Warm regards

UK: +44 (0) 2081239146
US: +1 262 317 9016
Mobile: +44 (0) 7867681439 IM: wendymason14 (Skype)


WiseWolf’s Tip on Monday: Don’t be Diffident About Asking For a Reference

goldfish jumping out of the waterLet us take as read that employers expect to be asked to give a reference.

Don’t feel diffident about asking others who can vouch for your work or your character. People usually feel flattered to be asked.

Don’t give their names until they have agreed. Then let them know each time you mention them. Tell them a little about the vacancy and why you think you are a good fit. Make it easy for them to help you.

Don’t feel offended if they say no.  Perhaps they just feel they don’t know you well enough.


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