3 steps to respect your basic needs and thrive professionally

Picture representing a pyramid of Maslow adapted to executive coaching.

You might have compromised with one of your basic need in order to stay in a company, in a job or accept a promotion. Basic needs can be sorted with the help of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The idea is that is it hard to be at your best when you are hungry or feel unsafe for instance.

It is necessary to be outside of one’s comfort zone to learn and progress. However, if your basic needs are not met, you will pay the price in the long run.

Here are 3 steps to respect yours basic needs and thrive professionally.

1. Define your basic needs

You can relate to the fourth energy by Carl Jung, which are the basis for various personality assessment to figure out what your basic needs are. Here are some ideas below :

Introversion/extroversion:  You recharge your battery by being alone or surrounded with others

Decision making: You like to make decision by yourself, on the spot or you need more time to process data and get advice before making decisions.

Initiate / run an existing system: You particularly enjoy using your creativity or on the contrary you like a routine in your job.

2. Know your limits

Here are a few questions to ask yourself. Knowing what basic need(s) is(are) not met, how long can you stand such a situation ? You need to know your limit. Say no when you are overloaded, look for another position or on the contrary refuse a promotion that is not fulfilling. If not, you might encounter burn-out or bore-out. What do you win/loose in each situation ?

3. First easy step to respect yourself more from now on

The first thing is to verbalize your needs to the right person in your organization. Your manager shall be aware of your basics needs and be willing to leverage your skills and capabilities.  If not, that might be worth having a conversation sometime soon!

The second thing is to change one small thing in your daily routine to feed one of your need. After a while, you can change a second thing and so on.

You deserve to be taken care of, and by yourself in the first place. I can help you uncover your basic needs and take care of them. Let’s get in touch.

Showing more humanity in the workplace – 3 lessons learnt after Harvey

Picture representing a business building under water.

The time has stopped in Houston area. It was still the summer slowdown here, kids were about to go back to school when suddenly Hurricane Harvey hit the area.

After a devastating week-end, employers contacted their employees first think in the morning to know if they were safe and in a dry place. They organized help between colleagues and matched helpers with people in need. This crisis reminds us that we are human beings, before being professionals.

How does that feel when your employer check on you ? Maybe that is the very first time that you experience this. There is no reason why this shall not be the norm. When we know that people care for us, that we are supported, then we feel secured and we are more productive, focus and enthusiastic.

Here are the three lessons I learnt from Harvey crisis in the great Houston area. They all apply to the workplace.

1. Help : ask for help, offer help

When was the last time that your manager asked you “ How are you doing ?”, expecting you to elaborate ? Some managers know their team members well and know what personal or professional challenges you are going through. They will help those who need more attention.

If they don’t, then let them know and ask for some help. Women generally do it more naturally than men. They usually do not feel offended when someone is offering them help spontaneously even if they did not request for it. Do you ?

2. Caring

We live in a relationship economy. It is not only what you know which matters, it is who you know. Building your network is crucial, in person or in the social media. So you want to build it with integrity.

If you care for a professional or a customer, and find a way to support that person, then he/she will be more willing to help you in return. Let your counterparts know how much you really care for them. Caring will naturally bring a strong network. That network will provide you with all the help that you need for yourself or for a peer (refer to point 1.).

3. Do not take anyone for granted

When some of my clients were laid off, they received positive messages from their ex-colleagues and recommendations on LinkedIn. Why cannot they get positive feedback along the way ?

It is unproductive and sad to tell people that they were great once they leave. And we never know when someone will be laid off or will initiate a transition.
Let’s remind each other in the work place how much we appreciate to work with each other, how much we learn and grow together, now !

If you are unsure how to show more humanity in the workplace and be more efficient, get in touch with me.

4 steps to increase your happiness at work

Drawing showing stickmen leaving work.

When I started to work in Corporate Malaysia, I heard this expression : “ let’s make the boss happy”.

It triggered my mind. First, I never considered that I could be “happy” in the workplace before. Happiness and work did not belong to the same sphere. I needed to earn a living and working was not an option but a must. Then, I surely wanted to “do a good job” like most of my colleagues, and not necessarily please the boss in the first place…

How to increase your happiness at work ?

Making the boss happy, at any cost, might lead you to say “yes” even if you want to say ”no”. We then do overtime (not being paid or rewarded) or things that are not aligned with your values.  Worse, you may end up in a long medical leave because of a depression.

If you are not happy, it will affect your motivation, your productivity and your relationships at work.

On the contrary, if you are happy, you tend to be more creative, you show initiative and enthusiasm and you are eventually making your boss happier ! Let’s go through the 4 steps to increase your happiness at work.

Step 1: measure your happiness at work

Here are a few questions that I ask to my clients. On a scale from 0 (unhappy) to 10 (happy), where are you now ? What percentage of the time are you doing things that you really enjoy ? What are you missing to be happy at work ? What will happen if you stay longer in this situation ?

Step 2: surround yourself with positive and supportive colleagues

You want relationships that are energizing you, that make you feel good about yourself. You need to get the support and the feedback of constructive people to do your work and to grow.

Step 3: know your limits and respect yourself

You do not want to over-commit and feel bad afterwards because it is too challenging. You do not want to say “yes” all the time and feel overwhelmed. Let your boss know about a realistic planning that you can honor. Speak up when things do not go right and get help.

If you reach your limits, let your boss know. He/she shall find a solution. And if you do not get heard or feel stuck, then that might be the right time to initiate a change of career.

Step 4 : development plan

Your current job is most probably not the last one. Know what doors your position can open afterwards. Keep your professional end goal in mind. Does your job is supporting you in getting closer to where you want to be in 10 years from now ? If your company does not provide any development plan, then manage your own career.  Find a mentor, take online training , read books, hire a coach…

We can help you design your action plan and increase your happiness at work. Get in touch !

Top 3 tips for professionals running a “sprinted marathon”

Drawing representing an employee making extreme efforts at work.

How to survive a high intensity workplace?

If you are a professional and a runner, then your body knows by experience what it takes to run for a marathon or a series of sprints.

If you are a professional and not so into running, then you still know what is your preference between endurance (making a continuous effort) or strength (repeated intense effort).

Those are two different exercises : if you try to run a marathon the same way you sprint, then you might injure yourself. Burn-out is a risk when you work very hard for a long period of time. Burn-out does not reveal a weakness. This shows that a person had been strong for too long. And the body says : “STOP” ! Does this sound familiar ?

1. Take breaks

Whatever the way you prefer to do your work, you need to refresh, to take short breaks regularly. It might sound trivial, still not everybody is committed to do it.

Some people like to go get a coffee, others go out smoke a cigarette. It is not so much the coffee or the cigarette by itself which is beneficial. What is beneficial for you is standing, walking, disconnecting from what you are doing, changing  air, taking a deep breath, talking to someone, joking…

After that, you will be more focus, efficient, creative and relax. Consider to do it every hour.

2. Organize your day and your week

Know your limit. After spending  8 or 10 hours a day in your office, how is your energy level and concentration ? And after you have reached 40 working hours during a week : how do you perform ?

Knowing that, you can organize your day and your week. For instance, you can start your day and your week by performing more challenging tasks. Then keep some easier tasks for the afternoon or for the last day of the week.

3. Work/life balance

You might not be an athlete, and I am definitely not. However, we live in a world which requires to be enduring and strong. It is more global, complex, unpredictable and faster every day ! So we are easily caught into a “sprinted marathon” before we realize it.

Tips 1 and 2 will help your productivity. That is not enough to thrive nowadays professionally :  work life/balance is key. You need something to look forward to once your job is done : family, friends, hobbies. They are worth investing your time and energy in. Indeed, they will support you when things do not turn the way you expected.

If you want to find an effective and lasting solution to your current professional challenge, contact me for a free discovery session.

The triple-filter test for effective communication

Picture representing the three filters of communication, Truth, Goodness and usefulness.

The very first time that I was told about the Triple-filter test, I was a student. A coach and trainer was teaching communication to Master’s students.

What is the triple-filter test?

The Triple-filter test aims at having an effective conversation with a person, when answering a question or talking to someone. It is a method to step back and think before saying anything. It is also powerful when interacting on social media.

Its origin is not proven : it was most probably inspired by Socrates, classical philosopher (469-399 BC) in the ancient Greece.

Before you answer a question or tell something with which you are not 100% confident, consider taking the following test.

How can this test lead to better communication?

Filter 1 : TRUTH

Is what you are about to say true ? Is it a rumor, a gossip, a hoax or is it true ?

If it passes the first filter, then go to the next one.

Filter 2 : GOODNESS

Is what you are about to say good ? positive, constructive, empathetic ? Is this something that you would like to be told yourself ?

Again, if it passes the second filter, then go to the third and last one.


Is what you are about to say useful ? Is it necessary to communicate what you have in mind ?

If your sentence or answer passes those three filters, you are safe to speak up. If not, you might want to re-frame it and be tactful when delivering it. Else, consider keeping it to yourself !

I have been applying this Triple-filter test for many years. It helps to have constructive personal and professional relationships.

When applied to social media, this test would certainly reduce the noise online and in the meantime, increases dramatically the quality of the contents.

If you feel like elaborating further about effective communication in your current position, contact Anne for a free discovery one-to-one session.

Leadership style: What we can learn from the Marines (Part II)

In a previous article, I emphasized what we can learn from the Marines to better communicate at work. This time, let’s focus on the leadership aspect : either your own leadership or the global leadership style in your organisation.

If you feel like assessing one’s leadership skills, have a look at the following characteristics which make a successful and effective leader as per the Marines.

JJ DID TIE BUCKLE or the 14 leadership traits

Here are the Leadership principles by Marine Corps (source : manual RP0103). The fourteen leadership traits can be remembered with the acronym “JJ DID TIE BUCKLE” :


As a leader, if you want your team members to be at their best, you need to be at your best first and be a role model. You can do this exercise for yourself : rank each trait on a scale from 0 to 10.

Among the fourteen traits above, which one are you more concerned about for yourself or for the leader in your organisation ? What are your/their strengths ? What are some areas for improvement ?

How to assess your leadership style ?

Let’s compare a leader to an athlete. An athlete, to be able to perform, needs to master a technic, to have the right strategy and to have the right mindset. If this athlete masters the technic and the strategy but does not have the proper mindset, then the limiting trait in this case will be the mindset.

Similarly, a leader is limited by the trait that he/she masters the least: each trait is worth working on. Executive coaching can help you assess your leadership style and make it even better. You can be very specific and decide to improve one aspect in particular.

For a free discovery session, contact me.

Relationships in the workplace: what we can learn from the Marines (Part I)

Drawing of a navy captain.

It has come up recently to my mind that the words relationship and leadership finish both by the word : “SHIP”. Professionals who work on ships for a long period of time with a limited number of people can teach us a lot about relation-ship and leader-ship. The ultimate example are Marines. They not only work on a ship, but they also face stressful situations.

Know at least two facts related to your coworkers…

A friend reported to me the following about a marine’s experience. He has joined the Corporate world and shared with his colleague an interesting story. When he was a Marine, he was asked to learn two facts about each peer. The requirement was that each Marine should be able to easily engage a conversation with any other member on board when they met.

What if each professional within a team knew two interests of their peer? What if each leader knew at least two topics of conversation with each team member ?

… because relationships are necessary to build success.

Relationship in the workplace are key for the success of an organization. The social sensitivity of group members is actually one of the three criteria which increases the performance of a group. The Marines seem to know this by experience. Check the following study “The Collective Intelligence factor in the Performance of Human Groups”, published online the 30th September 2010 (reference DOI: 10.1126/science.1193147) to get to know more about this topic.

After I did a quick search on what we can learn from the Marines, I found out that they can teach us many things not only about relationship but also about leadership.

If you face a challenging relationship at work, contact Anne to discover what can be done to help you.