Do you spend Sunday dreading Monday? Is your work making you ill and unhappy? Perhaps you are in a conflict situation with someone you work with? It might be that you are on the fast track to total “flame out” Read on ...
Are you passionate or a workaholic?
Did you know more people suffer heart attacks at 9 am on Mondays than any other time of the week? Are you able to distinguish if you are just working hard; are passionate about your job or you are just a workaholic?
Do you have the “Superhero Syndrome” ?
If you suffer from this syndrome you tend to set standards which are unrealistically high, beyond any reach or reason. You measure your self–worth in terms of productivity. Eg. type up 50 page financial report in less than an hour, make copies, fetch kids from school, do grocery shopping, buy the perfect outfit, cook gourmet meal for guests, look sexily elegant, relaxed, unstressed when they arrive. Attempting to have the perfect career, a fulfilling relationship, a comfortable home life and an exciting social life all at the same time is terribly stressful.
Beware the warning signs:
  • Do you tend to be late for appointments?
  • Do you hand in work at the last minute?
  • Do you forget to do things you said you’d do?
  • Do you find it hard to see the difference between the big and small picture?
  • Are you very controlling?
  • Are you unable to delegate?
  • Do you always have a thousand projects on the go?
  • Does your “To Do” list never end?
If you have answered YES to most of these questions it indicates you have the “Superhero Syndrome”. Keep up with your current hectic pace too long and you face the danger of “crashing and burning” spectacularly!
Classic symptoms include:
  • Hating your job
  • Doing more but accomplishing less
  • Feeling trapped
  • Exhaustion
  • Resentment
  • Sky high stress levels
  • Loss of confidence in your ability
  • Little or no time for friends and family
  • Health problems headaches, stomach pains, insomnia etc
  • Obsessing / Over thinking
Catch the warning signs early, act on them, and then put systems in place to further prevent burn out.
“Hurry, a blood brother to Worry, helps shatter poise and self–confidence, and contributes to fear and anxiety”
Author Unknown
Prevent burnout now!
  • It is impossible to give a 100% to all areas of your life simultaneously
  • Spread the load, be more realistic about your expectations of yourself
  • Become less of a perfectionist and you will avoid becoming a statistic
  • Don’t work harder work smarter. Prioritize and stay focused
  • Remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your effort/clients
  • Don’t use freed up time for more work!
  • Plan to leave/finish work at the same time every day. Work late if it is a crisis–learn how to identify a crisis!
  • Avoid taking work home
  • Always have a plan for your day. If you don’t someone will come up with one for you!
  • Keep in mind the 3 A’s What can I Alter?
                                      What can I Avoid?
                                      What do I need to Accept?
  • A swear word for workaholics – Time management. Effective delegation is a key component of time management and a long–term solution that pays great dividends. For a brilliant workshop on this contact us
  • Learn the vital art of saying and meaning NO. If needs be, give a short explanation, but still say NO
  • Abandon the idea of perfection doing everything, all at once, perfectly, every time, will merely set you up for failure. Do your best– release the rest
  • Lose the guilt welcome the concept of “good enough’
  • Make time for some form of exercise – it releases endorphins, your body’s natural stress buster. Take the stairs instead of the lift, park as far from the lift as possible, do deep knee bends when you are holding on the phone
  • A time For You is the most rewarding investment you can make because if you don’t look after your own needs you will be in no state to be any good to others
  • Check your safety net of friends and loved ones. If you are neglecting them, they wont be there to catch you when you crash and burn
  • Don’t abandon your social life. Meeting with friends helps you unwind and recharges your mental batteries
Less Work More Sleep
  • A life time of bad sleeping habits adds up. You will feel the effects of a late Saturday night by the following Thursday
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and cool before going to sleep
  • Write down all your concerns before you go to sleep
  • Aim to get at least 8 hours of sleep. Sleep rejuvenates both the mind and the body
  • Give yourself time to unwind before trying to sleep switch off the TV, take a long warm (not hot) bath, listen to relaxing music , avoid reading anything work related
  • Try to sleep at the same time every night and wake up the same time every morning–your body will thrive ...
Worried you are showing all the symptoms? Not sure what to do next? Professional Impressions runs 2 corporate workshops that deal with balancing your life to prevent burnout!
The Superwoman Syndrome is specifically for the woman who is trying to deal with her multi–faceted roles, whilst maintaining her sanity!
A Work in Progress is for all those trying to maintain their head above water – we will provide strategies for coping with today's harsh realities.
For more information contact Professional Impressions
Tel: (011) 679–3036    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–imp@mweb.co.za
Be equipped to deal with
difficult people ...
“She is so difficult.” “I can’t possibly work with him”. Heard this around the office before? In our minds there are no difficult people only difficult behaviors Looking at it this way makes it easier to handle. It means that their behavior may be changed by your attitude and behavior
  • Managing and controlling our own behavior, as well as learning to communicate effectively will enable us to influence other people in a positive way
  • “Difficult” people absorb your time and sap your energy. Identify them early and it will make it easier to deal with them.
  • Often we perceive someone to be difficult, when in fact they just have a different set of internal values to our own.
Be realistic–confrontations will occur
Try the following suggestions for a more positive outcome:
  • Understanding is imperative, clarify what the actual problem is
  • Focus on issues not personalities
  • Don’t blame, judge. Being defensive or retaliating only makes matters worse
  • Watch your body language avoid finger pointing, pushing or invading the persons personal space
  • Don’t take it personally. There maybe other issues (family, health, money) at play
  • Your own behaviour needs to be exemplary, be fair, be polite and always give the other person a chance to express their point of view
  • Always agree on an action plan to eliminate future problems
  • Let the person know that you value getting on with them
  • If you have made a mistake, acknowledge it immediately without excuse and apologise
Handle your manager effectively
Occasionally, the most challenging person we deal with on a daily basis is our boss or manager – which can make having to go to work– torture. Different managers have different management styles. Perhaps your manager’s style doesn’t sit well with your own personality or with how you like doing your job.
See if he / she might fall in any of these categories:
The Hovering Manager
  • Over supervises
  • You have no say or active role in your job. Pro–active behaviour is frowned on. Your manager’s way of doing things is the only way of doing it
What to do...
  • Show your initiative in small, non–threatening ways
  • Be more assertive
  • Give feedback and request some breathing space
  • Ensure your work is of a consistently high standard so there is no need to hover
  • Show that you can be trusted
The Aggressive Manager
  • Publicly disciplines staff
  • Bully, places unrealistic demands.
  • May be hypercritical, impossible to please
  • Usually a defence mechanism from feeling insecure or vulnerable
  • Is critical of the individual rather than their behaviour or performance
What to do....
  • Confront him/her remember to use more “I” words than “you” words rather “I find it difficult handling being put down all the time” rather than “You are always putting me down”
  • Be assertive in both your verbal and body language to gain their respect eg “I can see how difficult this situation can be for you...”
  • If you have confronted them several times and nothing changes – speak to your H.R. department for assistance
  • You may be best served by requesting a transfer to another position within your company
The Sarcastic Manager
  • Mild sarcasm may be deemed harmless kidding
  • Hurtful sarcasm is manipulative, underhand and designed to belittle others
  • “A two year old could type this better” “ I see you have decided to grace us with your presence” all qualify as unnecessarily sarcastic
What to do....
  • Don’t retaliate with your own brand of sarcasm, you only loose control
  • Analyse why your boss feels the need to put you down– Is he having a bad day? Is she angry you arrived late? When you have this understanding it makes it easier to deal with
  • Make them feel accountable “That was really sarcastic. What is it that you really want to say to me?”
The Tantrum King/Queen
  • Slam doors, throw things, bangs down the phone
  • Generally rants and raves with little provocation
What to do....
  • Stay calm; you might also begin feeling irate shaking. Take a deep breath, count to 10. If necessary walk away until they regain control.
  • Don’t react back
  • Let them finish their rant, before calmly saying “Have you finished, may we continue?”
  • Ask to meet with them when they have calmed down and discuss that you cannot cope with such outbursts any longer–it impacts on your work
  • Talk it out ... “Let’s discuss how we can resolve this...”
“The way you see people is the way you treat them.
And the way you treat them is what they become.”
Johann Von Goethe
Dealing with "special" colleagues
So much of our work is now done in team situations it pays to be able to recognise different personality types and to learn how to manage them effectively
The Pass the Buck avoid work; define their responsibilities very narrowly in order to do as little as possible. Often refuse to admit they were at fault
  • Ensure your company has clearly defined job descriptions
  • If reporting a co–worker, ensure you have documented exactly what was or was not done
  • Collect evidence, back up from other colleagues that are also effected will help
The Moaners complain about everything, impossible to please
  • “This will never work” “We’ll never manage to accomplish that” are common phrases
  • Have a one–on–one meeting to pinpoint specific problems rather than imagined ones
  • They need to prioritise their workload and have deadlines for objectives
  • Pessimists are good at anticipating problems. Hearing them out can often be constructive but they can also drain your energy–establish when enough is enough...
The Super Critics criticize often, overly harsh, often unfair
  • Stay calm, don’t become defensive or anxious
  • Get specifics of their complaint rather than generalizations
  • Acknowledge there may be some truth in what they say, this often deflates them
  • Ask for their opinion–how would they deal with the situation? Eg “ Have you any suggestions? ”
  • Don’t take it personally–often these people are overly critical of themselves
  • If it is too overbearing–address it with them and tell them how it impacts on you
The Interruptors always hanging around your desk to chat or ask advice etc
  • For those that just want to chat suggest meeting at lunch or at tea break
  • For those needing something set time limits “I can give you 5 minutes”
  • If possible have meetings in other peoples’ offices, so you can leave when you want
Professional Impressions would like to credit the following for information and images used in this article:
Give stress a restKaren Wolfe et al
Dealing with difficult peopleChristina Osborne
Dealing with difficult peopleRoberta Cava
Marie ClaireJuly 2000
CosmopolitanApril 2003
CosmopolitanFebruary 2004
Fair LadyJuly 1999
The Oprah MagazineJune 2004
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