Feeling like Lead?

I read recently in Psychologies magazine that working is about exchanging your life force for money. Think about that – exchanging your life force for money.

Why do we do it? We do it because we need to fulfill the lowest level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – our physiological needs – food, water, shelter and clothing. We also work to fulfill the next level of human needs – safety and security. These are our basic needs, the same as every other animal on the planet.

It’s just that as humans have evolved we’ve put in the extra step of earning money in order to buy food, water, shelter, clothing, and our safety and security. So we jump through hoops to achieve this.

I often get a graphic picture in my head of humans as a pile of seething rats constantly trying to climb over each other for the cheese. Yes, we are in the “rate race”. The “cheese” is meeting our basic needs, then our psychological needs such as belonging and love and esteem, and finally, our self-fulfillment needs such as “self-actualisation” or achieving our highest potential.

So when we have a job, we are pushing to fulfill our needs – all of them, from the lowest to the highest. We want to be “given the money”! We want the BM, the Audi, the mansion, the expensive meals, the international travel, the designer clothes, and the designer partner. What does all of this come with? A company and a boss, and these can make or break you.

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, humanity has been “working for the man”, helping an abstract idea of “the company” achieve profits and success and “market share”, and our bosses have pushed and pushed and pushed for more and more and more. Have you heard of “telepressure”? A new term; it refers to the modern scourge of employees never being able to completely relax and disengage from work.

Wasn’t it exciting when you company first gave you a cell phone or a laptop or a tablet – beautiful shiny things. Wonderful! But, while we were distracted by these beautiful, shiny things we didn’t notice that our boss could phone us at 7:30pm in the middle of family dinner or send us an email at 5:30 in the morning, or text us at 5:32 to check if we received the email or phone us at 5:35 to check if we got the email and the text. Suddenly clients could send us demands for a project report in the middle of a Sunday afternoon picnic and our boss could WhatsApp us to demand the same project report. We became workers 24/7.

And what happened? According to Forbes magazine, “prolonged stress response”. So we are at risk for heart disease, depression, obesity, immune system failure and decreases in cognitive performance. Consider this against the idea of your “life force”. Counter-intuitive isn’t it?

In 2016, we’re not exchanging just time and energy for money; we are exchanging our life force – our being – for it. Thinking about it in this way, how would this change your reflection on your life on your death bed?

The challenge of this second millennium is work/life balance; according to Travis Bradberry of Emotional Intelligence fame, it is for us to be able to “balance being professional with being human”.

Luckily, the kickback is starting, Ariana Huffington of the Huffington Post has written Thrive – “a clarion call and a practical response to the question of how to live”.  Google gives its employees, aka “Googlers”, the space to pursue their passions.  In fact, over a quarter of their work time is allocated to this. And the thing is that bosses and employers are actually finding that their staff is more productive!

Yes, you owe your boss and your company a job well done, but you don’t owe your boss:

  • your health
  • your family
  • your sanity
  • your identity or
  • compromise on your integrity

People come first, not sales, not profits, not branding and not the company mission statement.

The Buddhists have a fascinating take on life. They believe that we are each born with a certain number of breaths in us and once these are done we die. So their philosophy is simple: breathe more deeply and slowly, and your life will be that much calmer and longer.

The lesson is to exchange your life force judiciously and if you are a boss, to do that for yourself and your employees. Nobody wants to feel like lead.


The IE Group offers coaching to explore the “Sacrifice Syndrome” as part of our stress management programmes. Please let us know if you’re interested in a complementary assessment.  

Empowering Yourself to Retire Right

Retirement is one of life’s most significant and inevitable events for many working adults. It is a single term that encompasses other equally important life events within it, such as health issues, ageing processes, financial security, relationship changes and role modifications. It has also been found to be in the top ten of life’s most stressful events (Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale). A large amount of the stress emanates from how we perceive this significant life event.

There appears to be a particular discourse for each life stage we go through. Ageing and retirement receiving the short end of the stick. Teenage and young adult years are often seen as being as being the “best years” of a person’s life, with limitless opportunities, possibilities and the ability to just live. Middle aged life is about having settled, either in career, family or both and this can be around late forties to early sixties. From the mid- to late sixties onwards the stresses of retirement, health decline and isolation begin.

However this is not always the case for the different life stages. In fact each of them can be equally stressful or gratifying, depending on a range of factors. For instance the teenage to young adult years can be a stressful time where issues of identity and intimacy are concerned as posited by Erik Erikson in his theory of psychosocial stages; success with these can make the “best years” possible.  In the same way, the mid- to late sixties onwards can either be challenging or great and retirement can be the best time of your life. The important thing is to plan for it, not just financially but holistically.

The IE Group offers coaching to explore different options one can consider for retirement regarding finances, health, mentoring, leisure and overall positive, meaningful living.

Kinesiology: Your body is talking to you – are you listening?

When we are under stress, mentally, emotionally or physically, our bodies talk to us through symptoms or an un-easy state of the body, which will eventually lead to disease which results from blocking the flow of energy (life) in our bodies.

Symptoms are the body’s way of dealing with these blockage and are merely the messenger that something is wrong.   Treating symptoms only is like killing the messenger for bringing bad news.

The human body is self-regulating and self-healing. In order to survive, our body must maintain balance and is constantly monitoring itself and the environment via our nervous systems and making the appropriate adjustments and changes.

The energy flows in the body can be evaluated by simple muscle testing, which in turn reflect the body’s overall state of Structural (Physical), Nutritional (Chemical)  and the Mental (Emotional)  balance or imbalance and in this way kinesiology taps into energies that the more conventional modalities overlook.

Muscle monitoring is used to access information from the bio-computer, the brain and the subconscious mind in relation to the problem and also guides the Practitioner to choose the priority corrections in order to stimulate the person’s innate healing capacity and support their physiology to return to normal function.

An appointment or session is referred to as a ‘Balance’ and its purpose is to identify the root cause of your own body’s issues and to apply the corrections identified that will allow the body’s own natural healing system to kick in again.

Often, we let go in layers and need to work through the many interlinks and overlays of things in your mind, body and spirit before you are ready to recognise the issue/crux of the situation to that is blocking your energy systems. Others can go straight to the point of the message of the pain, disease or negative patterns.

How long it will take to let go, depends on your own individual needs.

Feel free to contact us to set up an appointment for us to assist you with releasing any blockages that may be keeping you back in life and to restore your energy flow in your body.

The NBI® Organisational Wellness Instrument

Most working people’s time is spent at their place of work and because of this it is imperative that the work environment forms part of one’s general well-being. Although in this day and age anyone would be happy to just be employed, individuals who do not have a positive work environment will display lowered levels of general well-being which may affect their work. In essence subjective experiences of individuals’ work environments have an impact on the general wellness of the organisation. This is problematic for organisations as it means their employees may not be reaching their full potential and consequently affecting productivity.  Author of What the Most Successful People Do at Work, Laura Vanderkam posits that employees become less engaged when they have a sense of fear and mistrust toward their work environment. Issues of autonomy and belonging are also significant elements that contribute feelings of alignment with one’s work environment.  It is therefore a valuable point for organisations to start establishing where their employees are at and how that has an impact on what the organisation does. With this awareness there can be action toward remediating areas of concern.

One way to do this is using the NBI® Organisational Wellness Instrument. The Organisational Wellness Instrument (OWI) is part of the Neethling Brain Instruments (NBI®). It provides one with up-to-date and easy-to-read measures of the current situation or “state of play” in an organisation or any part of it. It is quick to complete and very responsive in reporting results. Unlike conventional organisational climate surveys, which are expensive, time-consuming and rarely current, the OWI produces comprehensive reports within minutes of one’s employees completing the questionnaire online. The OWI measures Ten Success Factors listed below:

  1. Trust
  2. Learning
  3. Gratification
  4. Language
  5. Ownership
  6. Energy
  7. Change
  8. Interaction
  9. Creativity and Innovation
  10. Communication

Each of the ten factors is plotted as “above the line” (positive) or “below the line” (negative). Above the line factors contribute to the wellness and creative environment. Below the line factors destroy the organisation if left unchecked.

Should you be interested in using this tool to measure your team’s engagement and then design a coaching programme to positively develop and influence your team, please contact Rienie Bezuidenhout (rienie@iegroup.co.za) or Gail Cameron (gail@iegroup.co.za) or 011 781 1444.