Earlier today, I was invited to comment on an article titled ‘Positive Thinking in your daily work environment….’ written by Solveig Ellefsen on LinkedIn. It was about the power of positive thinking. Solveig’s article started by asking the question ‘How could positive thinking impact our daily business life’? She then went to set out the benefits of positive thinking and shared some tips and ideas about how one can change one’s view to think more positively. Solveig ended her article by saying ‘…The more you practice positive thinking every day, the more you will enjoy going to work every day, the more happy events during your business day will happen to you…’ Hard to disagree with any of Solveig’s thoughts and ideas. Below is my response to her article.
‘Perhaps the question that then follows is ‘why don’t/can’t/won’t most people live their lives like this? Is it because they don’t believe there are any real benefits to positive thinking? They don’t believe that it will make a difference to their lives? Because they’re overwhelmed with ‘stuff’? They’re not in control of any aspect of their lives? Maybe, but I think that it’s as much about how they’ve not considered positive thinking within what I call the ‘Ecosystem of Wellness’. There are lots of scientific definitions of what an ecosystem is, but for this purpose, I see the definition as ‘a complex and interconnected system’. So, for the notion of positive thinking to have any lasting benefit, it cannot be seen or practiced in isolation. It must be interconnected with one’s overall commitment to wellness, which includes paying attention to ones health with regular exercise, good diet (non-meat?), hydration, sleep and alcohol intake. Then connecting these to one’s spiritual, emotional and psychological health with the inclusion of meditation, mindfulness practice, then adding in the human factors such as removing toxic and negative people from your life, seeking communion with people and so on. Like being vegetarian or vegan, establishing and maintaining a ‘Ecosystem of Wellness’ is a lifestyle, not a diet! It’s a way of life!
Have you seen the new Gillette advert? Gillette is of course the men’s shaving and personal grooming company. The advert has caused a bit of a firestorm because it promotes what the media describes as ‘a new kind of positive masculinity’, has linked with the #MeToo movement and really takes it to sexual harassment, bullying, violence and the ‘Boys will be boys’ toxic masculinity. If you haven’t watched it, check it out on YouTube. It’s been viewed nearly 1.5m times, received 35k ‘thumbs up’ responses, but interestingly 65k ‘thumbs down’ responses. If you’re up to it, read a few of the comments below the video. Clearly lots of people don’t like the message of the advert.
Gillette has updated its famous ‘The best a man get’ tagline with ‘The best a man can be’ with the new tagline now fronting a $1m a year Gillette sponsored campaign to ‘Challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man’. Brilliant, and of course worthy, whilst $1m a year is loose change to Proctor and Gamble (P&G)!
First up, hats off to Grey, the advertising agency for developing a brilliant advert and kudos to P&G for having the guts, or the commercial necessity to go with it knowing I’m sure that it would cause controversy. Maybe Proctor and Gamble have taken a leaf out of the Nike and Colin Kaepernick play book of controversial and provocative advertising, or that upstart men’s grooming market disruptors such as Harry’s, Bulldog and Dollar Shave are snapping at their heels, or even that the growing (no pun intended) popularity of beards and designer stubble has affected Gillette’s sales, but whatever the reason, it’s a great advert and campaign.
I’ve been following the press and media coverage over the last few days of how this advert that’s 1:50 long has led to apoplectic rants on social media (check out Piers Morgan’s Twitter feed), intellectual debates and in some cases furious rows about the position of men in modern society, the emasculation of men over the last 20 years and the erosion of masculinity to a point where some describe it as a crisis! If you’re of a certain age you’ll remember the Marlboro man adverts that featured images of the kind of man many wanted to be and society expected men to be. You’ll also remember all too often hearing ‘Suck it up. Be a man’ and ‘Real men don’t cry’.
Then just over 20 years ago Metrosexual Man arrived, with David Beckham leading the way and arguably opening the door for millions of others to follow his lead of meticulous grooming, eclectic fashion sense and being unafraid to show emotion! How many times did we see him cry on a football pitch? In life, timing is everything and the continued rise of Metrosexual Man at a time of western post-industrial decline followed by austerity has seen a loss of work that had historically defined men; work that was tough, required physical strength and had elements of risk, from coal mining to manufacturing, ship building and construction. When added to the growing numbers of women challenging the traditional male roles of bread winners, leaders and pioneers, perhaps one can understand why so many men are struggling with identity, and what it is to be a man in the 21st century.
This is a quote from a Guardian article titled ‘Men or mice – masculinity in Crisis’ by Ross Raison in October 2017
“If my missus was … the sole provider, I think there’d be a lot of friction in the house, because my manliness would be gone… I would feel really angry at her, and at myself. But probably at myself more.”
But thank goodness, increasing numbers of men around the world, of all backgrounds are now finding ways to talk about who they are, what they are, where they are in their lives and are working with coaches, joining informal men’s groups such as ‘Men’s Shed’ and ‘Blokes Breakfasts’ or going beyond that and seeking counselling.
Maybe the current Gillette advert furore will bring this challenging issue to the surface and prompt more men to question and explore. As a coach who works with men, I hope so.
How was yesterday for you? Yes, yesterday the 12th January 2019! Did it feel different to the day before? Did it feel strange? How did you feel in yourself? A little flat? A little ‘disconnected’? Lacking motivation? Did you have a sinking feeling in your stomach during the day and couldn’t put your finger on why? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, maybe yesterday was the day that your 2019 New Year’s resolution bit the dust?
According to research by Strava based on analysing 31.5m global activities last January, the 12th January is the date when most of us give up on our New Year’s resolutions! If you had that sinking feeling yesterday, maybe it was brought on by the disappointment or realising that once again, you just can’t do it, you can’t keep it going and it’s going to be another year of being in debt, smoking, not exercising enough, eating, drinking more than you know you should or whatever you resolved to achieve. Maybe that sinking feeling came from accepting that in all likelihood you’ll end 2019 a few pounds heavier or be just as unfit or smoking as many cigarettes as you started the year! I’ll stop here. You get my point.
If that’s hit a nerve, don’t worry, you’re in good company! According to a study by the University of Scranton, only 8% of us achieve the New Year’s resolutions we set for ourselves. That means…well, you can do the maths!
Why do we fail, to the point where many of us no long make New Year’s resolutions? I’m sure there are many reasons including a lack of motivation, setting unrealistic goals, lack of time and generally life getting in the way! All are real and valid of course, but at the end of the day that sinking feeling in the stomach remains, well as least for a few weeks, after which it’s back to the ‘old normal’; the same old you for another year.
Let me offer you my thoughts on why yesterday is likely to have been the beginning of the end of your New Year’s resolution. I believe there are three main reasons
Not writing your Goals down
An obvious one perhaps, but studies and research from as long ago as the 1950s show that writing your goals down increases your chances of achieving them when compared to just thinking about your goals. But it’s also been proven that just writing your goals down is not enough. They have to be SMART goals. I won’t say any more about SMART goals now, I’ll leave that for a future blog, but you can always Google ‘SMART goals’ for now. I’m not suggesting that you stick your written down goals on your wall, or your fridge door, but if you think that might help you, please do it.
To give you self the best chance of being in the 8% of people who achieve their New Year’s resolution, you need to have started planning and preparing for it in say September 2018. As Benjamin Franklin said ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’. If your New Year’s resolution was to quit smoking, then you should have been planning and working towards stopping weeks if not months ago. That might have been by cutting down, reorganising your social life so you don’t find yourself in situations where you’re going to be tempted to smoke.
Trying to do it on your Own
Sometimes we all need a little help and support in life, especially when we’re trying to achieve something big or new. Sometime we need encouragement, advice or a kick up the backside to keep us on track. That can come from a single person; a gym buddy or a walking, jogging then running partner, a group of friends or a family member who gently reminds us that maybe having that having one more glass of wine won’t help us achieve our goal of losing a stone in weight in 2019.
So, these are what I believe are the three main reasons why year after year we just can’t make it past the 12th January. So, does that mean you should just give up? No, please don’t! Try setting yourself a 9 months resolution for 2019 and take time now to write your goals down, prepare and find the support you need to get you through the times when you know you’re not going to want to go to the gym, or out for that walk or have that cigarette.
You may not have lost a stone by the 1st January 2020, if that was your original 2019 New Year’s resolution, but maybe you’ll lose 10lbs, and right now, you’d take that wouldn’t you?
Good luck in restarting your resolutions, and I hope 2019 brings you the health, happiness and success you desire.
I’ve always wanted to help people! It was never to a conscious decision to help people. I didn’t wake up one day and say to myself, ‘From today, I’m going to help people’. It was just something I did. It was intuitive and natural and has remained natural throughout my personal and professional life.
As a basketball player playing at the highest levels for over 17 years, my passion for helping people made me a great team mate and, as I was told, a coach’s delight. When I retired from playing I began coaching junior basketball and football, and looking back I did more than just coach the boys on the pitch and the court. It was natural for me to become a coach/mentor to many of the boys, a role that for some continues to today.
Throughout my professional life, in particular when I became a CEO, I used coaching techniques to get the best out of not just my direct reports but colleagues throughout the organisations I ran. I loved to see my colleagues develop and grow and many told me that my approach helped them succeed within the organisation and in their careers. Over time, more people asked me to coach and support them across all aspects of their lives. I was honoured to be asked and loved helping people gain clarity and fresh perspectives in their thoughts and feelings. I became more and more passionate about helping people increase their confidence and self-awareness, and getting their positive feedback about my contribution to their success made me feel good about myself.
When I left full time work and established Article Consulting in 2014, I was able to give more time to coaching, with a specific focus on working with middle managers; that often forgotten group without whom organisations cannot be successful, whilst continuing to coach others outside of my work with Article.
In recent months I’ve realised that continuing with this twin track approach to my coaching work; inside and outside of Article Consulting makes no sense. I need to establish the clarity for myself that I talk about with my clients. So, I’ve decided to formalise and expand my coaching offer with the launch of ‘Cedi Frederick – Life Coach’, with a clear message; ‘It’s never too late to be the person you’ve always wanted to be’.
I aim to work primarily, but not exclusively with men. Why? Because as men, we often struggle to recognise our own uniqueness and struggle to understand and express ourselves. As men, we are programmed to be a certain way, act a certain way and fit into a certain mould. We find it hard to be who we think we should be as opposed to becoming the best version of who we really are, we can become self-critical, constantly disappointed in ourselves which limits our ability to achieve our potential. This in turn shapes and affects our most important relationships be that in our personal or professional lives.
As a coach I will be supporting my clients through three unique coaching programmes as well as using social media to engage with as many people as I can to share my thoughts and hear theirs.
I’m excited about developing ‘Cedi Frederick – Life Coach’ in 2019
My mother, Ermin Veronica Frederick passed away on the 28th November 2018 at home in Tempe, Grenada. I gave the Eulogy at her funeral held on the 6th December 2018. The Eulogy is below. I have posted it here as a tribute to my mother and that those who knew her but could not attend the funeral, as well as those who didn’t know her, but had heard about her can read now, and in the future
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Cedric, but usually known as Cedi, Ermin’s middle child and on behalf of my sister Claudine, my brother Charlie and our family around the World, thank you so much for coming this morning, especially those who have travelled a great distance to be here.
I’ve been asked to say a few words today on behalf of myself and our family.
Many who are not with us today desperately wanted to be here, but time and distance worked against them. We know that their thoughts, tears and prayers are with us today.
To say again, thank you all very much for coming today. It is really appreciated. Many of you will have known Mum in different ways; as a friend, through the church, in the community and as a beloved family member. Many of you will have only known Mum for a part of her life, and through different parts of her life and you will all have your own memories of her. I hope I can do the whole of what was a remarkable life justice in my short remarks today.
I know that eulogies should not be obituaries, but I want to start by sharing with you a little of Mum’s journey for those of you who may not know it.
Our Mum, Ermin Veronica Frederick was born in 1931, and was 87 last month! She was born in Gouyave, and grew up in Florida in a 3 roomed house. Growing up, life was hard. Her family had little money and she had to walk 3 miles to school every day, then 3 miles home. She had to do her chores before and after school every day and she went to church every Sunday.
Mum left school at 16. She learnt to sew, became a seamstress and made dresses and clothes.
After a few years, she moved back to Gouyave where she met our Dad, Cecil. They were married in 1954 and in March 1955, Claudine, our wonderful sister came along. In September of that year, as many of you will remember or have heard, Grenada was hit hard by Hurricane Janet.
After the hurricane, Mum and Dad decided to come to London to start a new life. Dad came first and found them somewhere to live – one room in a shared house. Mum then followed a few months later. I then arrived then a few years later, Claudine who had been left in Grenada with our aunt while Mum and Dad settled in London joined us a short time later. Then later, much later, our beloved brother Charlie arrived.
Mum and Dad started their lives together in London in one room in Catford in south London at a time when the signs in many windows of houses really did say ‘No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’. They, along with the hundreds, if not thousands who has braved the treacherous Atlantic ocean crossing to come to all parts of England, but mainly London to find work were not welcomed. Mum described how frightened she and Dad were for a long time after arriving, how strange it all was and how people looked at them, but over time it got better.
After searching for a job for a while, Mum found one as an Auxiliary at a care home for older people in Lewisham called Ladywell Lodge. Ladywell Lodge housed 700 people. Imagine that, 700 older people in one care home. Mum worked her hard and gradually she gained promotion after promotion until she became the Manager of a care home, then another home. In total Mum worked for over 30 years for the London County Council and Lewisham Council. Mum loved working with older people and caring for them.
I’ve often wondered whether this is where Claudine, Charlie and I got our love for working with, and helping people from. Claudine has built a great career in the US health and higher education sectors, I’ve worked in the public housing and social care sectors in England, while Charlie has worked tirelessly in the world of criminal justice, also in England!
Eventually England was very good to Mum and Dad. It became their home and home to their extended families. We were so lucky to be surrounded by loving aunts, uncles and cousins and we spent so many wonderful times with them eating, drinking and laughing. Just spending time together. I do believe that’s where the Hackshaw/Frederick ‘Family First’ ethic came from.
Mum and Dad worked so hard to build a life for themselves and bring us up the right way. No one gave them anything, and they never asked for anything. Everything they achieved they worked hard for and I know that’s where we as her children get our strong work ethic from. In 1992, or was it 1993 after 10 years of planning Mum and Dad returned to Grenada and never once looked back. They packed up their house in London, including every last nick-nack, oh did Mum love her nick nacks and she’s often remind me that while I thought they were all rubbish, every single piece held a special memory for her, including her famous fridge magnets! Those of you who have visited Mum’s house in Tempe will have seen room after room filled with her beloved nick nacks.
Mum loved Grenada and its people, and when I suggested on more than one occasion that she might want to come back to England to be with us, she gave me that look and said ‘Are you crazy’, why would I want to go back to that cold! She had her Team around her, and on behalf of our entire family, I want to thank Bulati, Sheron, Barbara, Mr Bell, and before them Mr Fisher, Mavis and everyone who played their part in supporting mum to remain independent and safe in her beloved Grenada.
So, what kind of woman was Ermin Frederick?
She was resilient and very independent. She could be tough and uncompromising but extremely compassionate. She was loving and kind. She was spiritual. Her faith guided, informed and inspired her throughout her life to the end. Her faith was strong and unshakeable, and we had many a conversation about how her faith and her belief in God supported her in the most difficult and challenging times in her life, no more so than in her last days. Mum was a regular attender at church and the friends she made there were many.
Mum was a great role model for Claudine, Charlie and I. Through her we learnt that we could achieve anything, overcome anything, and that nothing could stand in the way of our ambition and our success. We learnt that hard work was the route to achieve. We learnt the importance of family and the responsibilities that come with parenthood and that we should never take those responsibilities lightly.
Mum saw us as individuals and that we were all different in our character and she understood the importance of treating us all as individuals, something she made sure that as we became parents ourselves we also understood that. But the one thing she held in common for all of us was her immense pride in us, and the unconditional love she had for us all. She was so proud of us, our husbands and wives, our children and our children’s children. She took great pride in the successes of her nieces and nephews as they grew and built their lives in different parts of the World.
Over the years, as I reached adulthood my relationship with Mum changed, from mother and son, to that of friend, mentor and confidant. We would disagree on things and have some fierce debates, but we’d always finish on a positive note. She was a great listener and had the gift of being able to listen with a quiet mind. What I mean by that is that she listened not to judge or jump to conclusions but to truly understand.
After our father died, I was able to visit Mum every year and would sit with her just taking in her wise words that would help me in my life. We spoke on the phone most weeks. Sometimes the calls were short, just to check in, and others would last for an hour or so. There were times when I’d say ‘Mum, do you know how much this call’s costing me’? And her response was always the same. She’d sigh and say ‘Yes, I know, but I’m worth it’. And she really was.
Well Mum, no more calls, no more visits.
Mum will be missed by so many people. The last few weeks in hospital, after she fell and fractured her hip were extremely difficult and painful for Mum. We thank God that Mum was able to return to her home and end her days in a familiar environment, even if it was only for a short time
My lasting memories of Mum are simple: a hard-working, passionate tower of strength who never waned in her support or love of her family, and who soldiered on and never quit, even when times were tough.
It is a great privilege to share this eulogy with you to express the sadness that all of us share over her loss.
Mum, thank you for everything you’ve given us—and the warmth we shared during your precious time with us. Your passing leaves a massive hole in our lives.
It is an honour to stand before you and share my precious memories of my mother. She will be missed by all, but her memory will live on in us all forever.
I love you so much, Mum, and will miss you more than words can say.
God bless you. Always.