Without People, we Are Nothing.

In the world of financial planning, where we are working with clients, helping them understand and achieve their goals, we are sometimes doing the people that work in our profession a disservice.

In my vast experience of working in different types of firms, with various teams and management styles, I’ve seen those that are happy stay with the same firm for years and show true dedication. I’ve also seen more people look at switching jobs as a challenge to be achieved because there are still a lot of bad practices – unfortunately, especially in small businesses.

I personally know the difficulties of managing a small business, but the key for business owners is not to take on everything yourself. Determine those non-negotiable things in the business, and looking after your people is one of those.

Rule #1: Look after your people

I’ve been part of financial planning teams for more than 10 years now, and this isn’t about the official team manager alone – great culture is created when everyone in a team looks after one another.

I’ve been on a number of sides within financial planning teams – a junior member of a team, a paraplanner, senior paraplanner, team manager, head of paraplanning, and now a business owner, managing the business and the paraplanning team. 

Now that I’m on the business ownership/management side, I believe even less that there’s a good “business” reason not to look after people. 

So often through the mentoring scheme that I created, we hear from administrators and paraplanners that they just aren’t being treated well. Exams and memberships not being paid for or supported by employers, no sick pay and a very limited amount of holiday are a small number of things that are grating on people in our profession at the moment.

As a business owner, I know all this comes at a cost, but if you truly want your business to be successful, looking after your people is key.

Obviously, a successful business looks different to each business owner – for me, I was to do some good in the world. We have engrained “happiness” as one of our key values because as much as I want to have a nice life for myself, I want it for others too. But we shouldn’t ignore that happier people are more productive and committed people. This is good for business! 

So, how do you look after your people?

The first and most important thing is for each team to have a specific person that is responsible for the people in that team. Responsible for their workload, productivity, wellbeing and general happiness at work. In my opinion, this person should be someone that understands the job those in the team are doing – if they have personal experience of the job, that’s even better, but having a good understanding of the actual tasks and skills involved, and the personality type of those doing the job, is important.

The other trait they need is to have an actual interest in other people’s well-being. For most people, they want to ensure they have an outlet, feel that they are being listened to and are progressing. For some, this looks like building skills or increasing pay; for others, it’s about continuing to balance work and life. Understanding how to relate to all of these needs is a tough job and should not be underestimated.

Having one-to-one meetings with every member of the team on a regular basis – in my opinion, monthly is best – is a good way to “look after” a team. This confidential and private space builds trust, but it does work on both sides. Team members also have a responsibility to show up and take charge of their own happiness and development. We talk about this a lot within mentoring, and the making your own development happen is powerful and something we can all do.

Rule #2: Treat your colleagues like your family

Although your team will never be your family (unless you are actually related), there’s no reason why they cannot be your friends. That said, not all of us need more friends, but let’s not forget that as social beings, the connection between us is needed for us to thrive. Anyone who has read around financial well-being will understand that all the data and research leads us to conclude that living and happiness is about human connection.

Rule #3: Caring about others costs nothing

Financially, that is true, although there is an emotional cost, which we shouldn’t ignore. We know that not everyone has a deep, caring nature, although it is true that, generally, humans are caring. How does this show up in a team? There is no job role that includes “caring” as a responsibility within our profession; however, with the right culture, this is part and parcel of everyone in the team. Caring about others touches so many parts of our professional lives, from booking a holiday or time off work, dealing with our workloads or challenging others’ opinions.

Finally, I will say that looking after people should always be a work in progress. Humans are complex beings with needs that constantly change over time due to life events, hormones, health, as well as social change, and keeping up with how all these things can affect people showing up at work is a tough job.

Keeping an open mind and continually learning is a great way to look after people. 

Sian Davies Cole

sian@plan-works.co.uk

Navigating Cross-Cultural Communication

Guest Blog by Juliana Nogueira Mathew.

Where are you from? How do you greet each person when you arrive at social or work gatherings? Air Kiss on the cheek? Bow? Shake hands? What language do you speak?

Question for later…What does the thumbs-up gesture mean in your country? 

With technology facilitating instant connections all over the world and workplaces increasing diversity, interactions of people from different backgrounds have enabled the exchange of culturally different customs, norms, perspectives and communication styles. 

However, the lack of good communication can result in misunderstandings and even conflicts.  So, to enhance effectiveness in communication between cultures, improve mutual understanding and create a safe space for people to explore their differences, I brought three “whats” we can ask ourselves which can help us navigate through this intercultural journey: 

1. What is my communication style?

Who has never been in a situation where we felt left out for not quite understanding what was being said? Or got upset with a colleague for the way they said something or acted towards you? Or when we accidentally sent “the wrong message”, leaving the other person feeling extremely uncomfortable? 

Communication involves much more than the language we speak and how well we speak it. People’s language fluency has less importance in communication than we think. 

It’s always good to remember that life is not like a school test where you will be marked for every mistake you make (thankfully) – I tell myself this every time I use the wrong preposition in English (I still have trouble with that).

The objective of communication is to create meaning across different contexts through messages which we encode (when we send them) and decode (when we receive and interpret them). So, in cross-cultural communication, the coded information present in one culture might include a variety of specific meanings which might confuse or even upset another.

Non-verbal elements such as body language and differences in communication styles play an essential role in dictating how messages are delivered and help the receiver understand the message sent. However, it can differ a lot depending on the individual our group’s cultural background.  

Some examples of variations in communications styles between cultures, include: 

  • Directness 
  • Eye contact 
  • Tone, volume and speed of speech 
  • Emotional expressiveness 
  • Self-disclosure 
  • Formality

According to Think Cultural Health, “loud and expressive speech is often more common in African American, Caribbean, Latino, an Arab cultures” – as a Latina myself, I frequently see loud and expressive speech often happening over here – and “direct eye contact is considered rude in some Asian cultures”. Did you know that in some cultures smiling is seen as a diplomatic mechanism to facilitate relationships, while in others, it can be considered inappropriate (like when greeting a stranger). So interesting, hey?

Of course, there are always exceptions to any norms and when it comes to culture, it is no different. However, understanding how cultural patterns can influence how we express ourselves, even if unconsciously, it can help us understand more about our own unique communication styles and others people’s, improving our personal and professional cross-cultural relationships. 

2. What are my perspectives?

 We all have our own unique and different perceptions of the world, which are shaped not only by our cultural background, but by a combination of elements such as the way our brain processes information, our values, our emotions, our expectations and experiences throughout life.  

We all want to be in healthy and positive environments where we feel respected, listened to, and confident expressing ourselves, no matter where we are from. However, this sense of discomfort can sometimes derive from our own fear of not belonging or fitting in, and not from others. It’s all about our perspective on things.

In 2017, when I moved out of my birth country, Brazil, for the first time to Australia, I was having mixed feelings, from being extremely excited with this new challenge to silently panicking with the idea of facing the unknown. Over the years, I studied and worked in international organisations and met people from different parts of the world. I was also asked a few times about soccer – I think people expect me to love soccer just because I am from Brazil, which is not necessarily always the case – lucky for them I actually do. 

At the beginning I remember often feeling very self-conscious about my communication style and my ability to understand others (especially when they would use their unique Australian slangs). I would constantly be thinking if I was speaking English well enough, if the way I was saying things could give people the wrong impressions (like when I can be quite “expressive” when I talk and when I tend to go for big hugs even if I just met someone), or if people would be judging me because of my accent. What made me change perspectives was when I started listening more to people when they would come to me and tell me that I communicated very well (even though in my mind I didn’t). I needed to “get out of my own head”.

The biggest challenges people might face when communicating with people from different cultures is expressing themselves using their own communication style while having social awareness and paying attention to the impact that the way we communicate might have on others.

Do not let the fear of the unknown or people’s judgment interfere in how you show your unique self.

3. What can I do to get better?

Over time, I started building skills that would help me better understand about myself and what is (actually) essential in any good communication.

Self-awareness, adaptability, empathy, curiosity and active listening are a few of the (very important) skills involved not only in intercultural communication, but in life.  

Building these skills might not be easy at the start, but it is all about practice. Remembering that once they become part of how we interact with others, it can bring plenty of benefits to us individually or to the groups we are part of.  Problem-solving, creativity, innovation, decision-making and conflict resolution are just a few of them.  

Here are a few tips on how get better at communicating cross-culturally: 

  • REFLECT about your own biases,
  • ADAPT your communicate style when needed (be humble),
  • BE CLEAR of your objective and intention, 
  • FOCUS on the other person (not on yourself), 
  • LISTEN to the other person carefully, 
  • BE OPEN to different perspectives,
  • SHOW empathy (try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes) 
  • ASK QUESTIONS, 
  • BE PATIENT,
  • BE KIND. 

Ah, and the most important thing: don’t be afraid to be yourself. In the end, it doesn’t matter where we are from, what we experienced in life or how we see the world. We are all humans with unique backgrounds and stories that have the ability and opportunity to learn from others but also to enrich people’s lives with our own unique perspectives.  

Communication and Leadership

Intercultural communication can be hard and promoting mutual understanding requires constant work. Reflecting about our own perspectives, communication styles and what makes us unique, understanding more about other cultures as well as the reason behind other people’s behaviours and working on building key skills, will help us become better communicators and better leaders. 

By putting effort into communicating more effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds, we will be not only contributing to our own personal and professional growth but will also be facilitating safe spaces where effective intercultural communication is navigated with sensitivity, clarity and respect.

So, let’s get out of our comfort zones and acknowledge (and kick out) our biases to explore the world of possibilities that cross-cultural communication can provide – and the best thing: we can do this in the comfort of our homes.

Fun Fact! If you were curious about the thumbs-up gesture meanings, for most countries, it can be a sign of approval, but in others, (such as some parts of the Middle East), it has a very bad meaning, similar to showing your middle finger. Who knew…

Juliana Nogueira Mathew

How Can AI Help Learners of the Future?

The robots are coming…

We thought we’d jump on the Artificial Intelligence bandwagon and see what we could learn. Our guest blog writer is none other than Chat GTP4 themselves. 

We asked them to tell us how they could help learners of the future. This is what they told us (and it took them less than 20 seconds). 

Hey ChatGTP4, tell me how AI like you can help future learners?

As an AI language model, I can help learners of the future in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples:

Answering questions: I can answer questions on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature. Learners can ask me questions to clarify their understanding of a concept, or to learn something new.

Providing personalized learning experiences: With the help of machine learning, I can understand a learner’s strengths and weaknesses, and provide personalized learning experiences to help them improve.

Language learning: I can help learners practice their language skills by providing real-time feedback on their grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

Creating educational content: I can generate educational content, such as quizzes, flashcards, and study guides, to help learners master a topic.

Recommending learning resources: I can recommend books, articles, videos, and other learning resources based on a learner’s interests and level of knowledge.

Overall, I can help learners of the future access knowledge and learn in new and innovative ways.

What do you think?

Will you be using AI to help you learn?

Speaking to Others – From My Perspective

I’m Alex Manners. I’m proud to be an Asperger’s Champion, a motivational speaker, TV & radio presenter & author. I’m focused, determined and have a lust for life. I consider myself lucky to have Asperger’s because I believe it will be the catalyst that allows me to “pursue my passions” and achieve my dreams!

I present talks on “My Life Living with Asperger’s” to many different companies, law firms, universities, schools and autism groups. I have presented talks to places such as Coca Cola, Linklaters, Viacom, Zurich Insurance and the Autism Shows across the UK. I have also written many articles and had many TV & Radio interviews on my Asperger’s, Presented my own children’s radio show for two years, have started my own “Autism & Football” campaign, appeared on series 10 & 11 of “The Undateables” on Channel 4 and written my own book.

Presenting live talks

Presenting talks in in front of hundreds of people would be daunting for most individuals! My grandma once said that she would not be able to eat for a week if she had to present a live talk. However, I absolutely love presenting talks all about my Asperger’s, whether online or face to face. I am never nervous and like to look upon this ability as one of my ‘Asperger’s Superpowers’.

I was diagnosed with Asperger’s when I was 10 years old and have been presenting talks all about “My Life Living with Asperger’s” for the past three or four years. Before covid hit the UK I had never presented an online talk before. Suddenly that was about to change.

Online v face to face

At first, I found working online a challenge as I missed meeting people, travelling the UK and going on adventures. One of the most difficult things was that I could not see the reactions of people during a talk. I could therefore not gauge how a talk was going until the end. If I am being honest, I was only presenting talks online due to covid so I was in a pretty stressful place anyway.

Now I am presenting nearly all of my talks online and I have grown to love working in this way. Firstly, I can reach lots more people from all over the world. I am not limited to how many people can fit in a room so can essentially speak to as many people as I like. When presenting face to face talks, I can only fit one or maybe two in a day due to the logistics of travel. Now I can present up to five talks a day. I can also work from home, in my own office, in an environment totally suited to my needs.

Travel and public transport

However, the best thing about working online is that I don’t have to travel. Traveling can be the most challenging part about my work. What happens if one of my trains is delayed or what do I do if I lose my ticket. These are just some of the worries I have. Also, lots of people with Asperger’s struggle in busy environment and with certain sounds and smells. So, not having all of these travel worries is fantastic.

My advice

When presenting an online talk, I always make sure that I log in 10-15 minutes early. This gives me time if something goes wrong. I also ensure that I have a spare laptop, phone or device I can use should my main laptop stop working. My biggest worry Is always with the Wi-Fi. Luckily, I have never had a problem with my Wi-Fi yet during a talk. Our neighbours have a different internet provider and they have very kindly agreed that should our Wi-Fi stop working I can always go and work or present a talk in their house. So, having back up plans is really important.

When I am travelling to a venue by train, I always ensure that I get the train before the one I need. It is better to arrive early than be worried about being late! Another thing I always do, is print off any tickets. This is encase I have no Wi-Fi on my phone or my phone runs out of battery. I also print of my directions and times of each train. What I try to do is minimise an many possible problems as I can.

When I am presenting a talk, I always pretend that I am speaking to my parents in the living room. If there is something or someone I am familiar with then I can always focus on them during my talk. I also ensure that I can always see a clock. This helps me to dictate the timings of my talk.

What if you deliver a training session and a delegate has Asperger’s?

When you are speaking to somebody with Asperger’s there are a few things that you can do. Explain things in as much detail as you can, avoid using any idioms, phrases or sarcasm, give them more time to answer a question and don’t worry if they are not giving you any eye contact. Also, if you are asking them questions then closed questions are always better for us than open questions.

Always have a quiet space that the individual can use if they need a short break or if they become a little stressed. Adapting the environment is also very important. So, if they don’t like sitting near a clock due to the ticking noise then allow them to sit further way from the clock. If you know this individual will be present before the training starts, then send them over as much information about the training as you can beforehand. Include the structure of the session and any photos of the room or location. When sending over this information, it may be a good time to ask them about any adjustments that can be made to help them on the day.

Conclusion

Whilst having Asperger’s can be a challenge, it is also something that I look upon as a positive. Being able to start my own business and present talks in front of large audiences is definitely two of those positives or ‘Asperger’s Superpowers’. I never feel nervous speaking in front of large numbers of people and am very brave to be able to share my story to educate and inspire others. I also feel extremely lucky to have been able to manage my Asperger’s over the past 25 years. Because Asperger’s is a lifelong condition it will continue to pose many challenges. But those positive elements are the things I like to focus on every day. If I did not have Asperger’s, then I would not be Alex Manners.

If you want to achieve something in life and have the drive, determination and ‘never give up’ attitude, then I believe you can achieve anything.

Want to learn more about me or Asperger’s?

Grab a copy of my book, “That’s Not Right! My Life Living with Asperger’s” on Amazon in paperback or kindle.

My Website: www.thealexmanners.com

Overcoming a Creative Block.

The infamous creative block.  

That moment when you receive a new client brief with vague information, huge expectations, next-to-no budget and an unrealistic deadline. The time is 9.01. The first coffee hasn’t even scratched the surface of your functioning caffeine threshold. You know it’s time to get creative with your response. But the cogs in that space between your ears just aren’t functioning. You start to feel tense. Your heart starts racing. It’s fight or flight.  

Sound familiar? *Gulp* 

Okay, so I may have exaggerated some of those points, but that’s the creative block in a nutshell. It’s an unpleasant experience, to say the least, and one that as a Creative, you want to avoid at all costs. Working in a fast-paced creative communications agency has helped me pick up a few nifty tips and tricks that give me creative inspiration to prevent such ‘blockage’ (ew), which I’m going to share with you – being the generous person that I am. 
Buckle up, grab a brew and hang in tight. Here’s my four top tips for creative inspiration… 

One: Idols 

Idols. We all have them, but what about idols specifically within the creative industry? That’s a whole new kettle of fish. Having creative idols that produce and create works that amaze you can be hugely inspirational. Artists, sculptors, designers, art directors, photographers, you name it. There are so many inspirational figures out there in the field of creativity that can inspire your next project or proposal with their work. For me personally, it’s Virgil Abloh, the founder of clothing giant Off-White and Creative Director of the Luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton, and Daniel Arsham, sculptor, artist, visionary and Porsche 911 enthusiast, both of whom have a huge social following. But your inspiration could be any creative person, big or small. My challenge to you: pick up to three creatives within the industry that you’re interested in following. Once or twice a week, have a browse of their social handles and websites, or if you know them personally, why not get in contact? Keep track of what new weird and wonderful ideas they’re generating and see if you can unpick any elements of them to inspire the creative idea for your project. 

Two: Exercise 

You may be cursing at me from behind your laptop screen at the fact I’m suggesting you exercise to be more creative. “How will exercise improve my levels of creativity?”, I hear you ask. Well, there’s actually science behind it; just earlier this year, author and health/fitness reporter Gretchen Reynolds reported a scientific discovery that found “active people come up with more and better ideas during tests of their inventiveness than people who are relatively sedentary.”  
In my own experience, I’ve found that taking up running has been hugely beneficial not only to my physical and mental wellbeing, but also great for generating creative ideas too, as my mind isn’t clouded by other thoughts and worries when I’m channelling my focus on exercise. Why don’t you give it a try in your spare time and see what creative ideas come to you? 

Three: Smart scrolling 

It can be easy to lose an hour or more with what was meant to be a ‘5-minute thumb scroll’ on your phone. What I’m proposing is ‘smart scrolling’, which is exactly what it sounds like… be smart with your scrolling. How does it work? Simply swap out the mindless scrolling through photos of your mates out on the weekend for content that will inspire you creatively. Hop onto YouTube and check out the latest film trailers and music videos. What techniques did the film crew apply? What was done in the edit suite that made the content exciting and engaging to watch? How was the thumbnail designed to draw you in? By re-framing the purpose of your social scrolling, you can be smart with your time and be both entertained and creatively inspired simultaneously. The same applies to the Ads that bombard you online. Think about why they were shown to you specifically, what the key call-to-action was, how the copy was laid out and what colours were chosen to grab your attention. Next time you scroll, try this technique and, if you want to go a step further, why not add your findings to a Pinterest boardor scrapbook folder on your desktop to save for a rainy day when those creative cogs aren’t turning? 

Four: And breathe… 

This final top tip may seem ridiculously obvious but it’s crucially important. This is all about time; give yourself enough time and breathing space to allow those amazing creative ideas to develop. Brilliant concepts need time and space to flourish, so make sure you budget enough time to allow for this. A great technique is booking ‘focus time’ in your diary: where you don’t have any meetings, don’t accept unimportant incoming calls or emails and can focus solely on developing the creative idea. Another is taking regular breaks throughout the day, where for a short period of time you switch your focus to a completely different activity. It’s an opportunity to recharge and refuel so that you have a clear mind to come back, boss your brief and create something amazing. 
… And that’s it! My top four tips that almost anyone can do in their spare time to keep their creativity ticking along in the background, always on standby for when that challenging brief lands in their inbox, ready to create a wow-worthy response.  
If you stayed to read the whole article, here’s a bonus feature from me to say thank you… 

Extra tips: Useful websites for inspiration 

Ruan Sarris 
Creative at DRPG, creative communications group 

Taking the Leap in Pandemic Times.

Who would have thought starting a new job in the middle of a global pandemic would have been a good idea? For many people it made sense to just stay put. Well, I’m not many people and it turns out, in my case it was totally the right decision for me. I have zero regrets.

Back in March 2021 I took the leap and started in a new learning & development role at the global phenomenon that is Gymshark.

I’d luckily had a great head start in L&D, and I had already started to fall in love with helping others learn and develop. But this time, a new job, in a pandemic, in a completely new environment, and a new company, and a new sector with a very new style and most terrifying of all. New people. You’re probably starting to get my drift!

Tackling the nerves.

My biggest nerves before starting my new role were not being able to forge those all-important connections which set you up for success in the organisation. How on earth was this going to work when I was at home, and they were on a screen?

By the end of my first day, these thoughts didn’t even cross my mind. You quickly begin to forget how you’re working & building relationships with people you’ve never met in real life. Virtual communications saved the day and helped me go from nerves to excitement and engagement.

Onboarding in a virtual world.

The key message of the onboarding process was to take your time, understand the business & get to know your team. This, along with plenty of introductions, catch-ups & virtual tea-breaks created a platform for these connections to grow. Now, with me being nearly 5 months into the role, I can say with 100% confidence that the rapport that has developed is some of the strongest I’ve ever had in a work environment, and for me, is quite literally priceless.

The best bits about starting a job during lockdown are all the perks that come along with working from home. No commute, flexible hours and all that jazz. What I found added the greatest value in my induction period was having more time to digest all the information that is heading your way when you’re the new boy. It really helped me to ensure that I had time to really ‘get it’.

Unexpected benefits.

An unexpected (yet golden benefit) was meeting people with one added extra. Their names were in the bottom corner of each screen making it easy for me…and meant no awkward forgotten name moments.

However, I wasn’t complaining when URL transitioned into IRL. I was amazed by Gym Shark HQ. The building, the workspaces…and don’t even get me started on REFUEL the amazing in-house food and drink hub. The first day in the office really solidified my comfort in my decision & my role.

Culture makes it work.

The culture at Gymshark is just as you expect; authentic, honest & ever evolving. For me, the most monumental part of the Gymshark culture is ‘fail fast’. Feel safe in the environment which you’re in, so much so that you’re happy to make mistakes. This helps us learn and evolve. This one has been key ?.

My advice?

In summary, and not to steal some other sporting companies’ strapline, just do it.

You will always have nerves, you will always have self-doubt, but for me, I found it the best time to make my leap, supported by strong inductions, an incredible culture, and the benefits of working at home, and then in a hybrid role. Embrace it. Absorb it. Enjoy it.

Is It Just Me or Does Time Feel Strange Right Now?

Time has been feeling weird for a long time now, but in the last few months, it’s been a whole different kind of weird.

Some days go by so fast they barely register and then some days, you know the ones, they simply drag like time is almost standing still. There are days when I find myself thinking ‘where has this day gone’, but also, why does this day feel so familiar? You’ll all have felt this. It’s the dreaded Groundhog Day effect. 

Before I continue, I know I’m not the only one experiencing time very differently, and I’m acutely aware that millions of others don’t have work at all – in that sense, many of us literally do just have more time on our hands than usual.

The very concept of time doesn’t feel normal anymore…and apparently (after jumping into google and reading up about this) if you feel like I do, then I have some good news. It’s okay to feel like this!

It’s completely normal to feel life right now has warped our perception of how days, week and months pass by. We can all breathe a deep sigh of relief as we realise it’s actually a ‘thing’.

My initial research told me that there are many psychological processes that make up our understanding of time, and this then affects the way we see the world. Here’s one for you. How is it that January this year felt like the longest month ever and then February disappeared before our eyes?

Once again, I googled some more, and found myself spiralling down a rabbit warren of cognitive neuropsychologist science. In essence, what they say is that the things that we tend to use as ‘anchors’, to mark the passing of time or a specific place in your memories, have no longer been occurring, (because our world has changed so dramatically) which then contributes to this altered perception of time that we are all experiencing right now.

Look at it like this. Think of all those events we had to cancel in 2020. The well-earned summer holidays, the summer weddings, the birthdays, the travel, shopping till you drop (maybe that’s just me) going to the office, doing our jobs and all the normalities that changed overnight leaves us feeling lost, because nothing of value or interest really separates one month to the next.

We simply stopped making our anchors.

So, there must be a reason for this disorienting sense that time is malleable and inconsistent. Right?

In my reading and research, those same clever neuroscientists have worked out that there is not a single organ or system in the body responsible for timekeeping. In fact, psychologists have identified many factors that affect our sense of time, some of which explain our heightened awareness of it this year.

It’s been suggested that the way we feel time is passing is connected with our level of focus or our physical state and even our mood.  So, if we’re multitasking, and we’re busy with many different things at once, we have less attentional resources to monitor the passing of time, which means we might feel that it’s passing more swiftly.

Unsurprisingly; it’s been suggested that particularly negative emotional events can change the way in which we remember the timing of them. In fact, negative emotional events may even actually produce a time dilation effect, (which sounds like something from The Matrix) but it means that you perceive the time is passing much more slowly, We have all been through something awful, and we all remember how long it seems to last. So after all that, the weird passing of time in the last year isn’t just a quirk or you losing your mind. It’s more likely that something is going on, deep inside your brain, to alter how you experience the time.

This article just scratches the surface of understanding how we perceive time and it’s relation to our emotions and behaviour, and we haven’t even touched on the impact of Mercury being in retrograde!

So what have I done to help myself? I’ve found focusing on becoming more self-aware has helped me. I’ve been looking at how I perceive time, not only in different moments, but also for different situations and for different things that play on my mind. It takes practice, but I’m starting to spot some of the research I’ve shared with you in my own behaviours.

In summary, whether you’re feeling time is going too fast, too slow or simply too repetitive; you are not alone and you are normal. 

As we all become more self-aware, we develop the process of unlearning and relearning something different in order to survive and thrive in this new normal.  Our usual anchors may be missing at the moment, to help break up our days, so it’s up to us to actively shape our own years and rebalance our perception of time.

My final thought? As you find yourself progressing through 2021, be aware of the ‘illusion of time’. It might just be playing tricks on you.

Aysha Haynes

You can learn more about Aysha here.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/aysha-haynes/