About Jenny Sharkey

Jenny Sharkey is a speaker, life coach, counsellor and researcher living in Auckland, New Zealand.

Defining Your Purpose Manual

I’ve just published a new manual. This one walks people through a process of discovering their passion and skills so they can focus their life towards a career they both love and are good at. If you are trying to work out what to do with your life this manual could be just what you need!

Little Things Done Often…

SMALL STEPS MATTER IN LONG JOURNEYS

I love my fitbit and I am becoming quite a sales person for the concept. What I love about it is that every day I can see an accurate account of a whole lot of small steps I have taken. On their own, each small step means very little to me. But when they are all added up at the end of the day they mean a lot to me. The record of those small steps let me know if I am on track to reaching my large goals of increasing my fitness and physical well being.

SMALL STEPS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE

Life is a long journey. When I was young I didn’t have any real concept about maintaining my fitness because overall my body ticked along fine as it was. But as I’ve aged I’ve grown to realise that all the tiny things I did to help or hinder my well-being in the younger years have added up to a substantial influence upon my health decades later. It is the small steps I did take that have created large strengths in later years. And it is the small steps I didn’t take that have meant aggravating weaknesses in later years.

WE ALL HAVE TIME – PLAN YOURS WELL

To take a lot of little steps over a long time requires some degree of planning. When our parents taught us to brush our teeth – they were helping us to learn to plan for our future. A little cleaning each day meant less visits to the dentist years down the track. So what are the things in your life right now that could use a little planning so that you don’t turn up to your 80’s regretting you hadn’t thought through the small steps to well being when you were younger?

WHAT ARE YOUR SMALL STEPS GOING TO BE?

I’d love to hear your feedback on this – what are the small steps you plan on doing today that will make a big difference for your life in the years ahead?

Creating a Healthy, Chemical Free, Environment in Your Home

HEALTH RISKS OF EDC’s

The NZ Herald recently ran an article on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). New research is highlighting the detrimental effect of these common chemicals found in everyday objects in most people’s homes. Apparently EDC’s mimic our natural hormones and block them from working properly, thus disrupting the natural human body health system.

If a product is made from plastics in any form, it probably contains EDC’s. But many other products we don’t think of as containing plastics also contain EDC’s.

WHAT TO AVOID

Here are some ideas for lowering your intake of EDC’s:

  1. Store food in glass containers instead of plastic. One of the almost unavoidable ways we consume EDC’s is through the plastic packaging meat products come in. Avoid wrapping kids lunches in plastic (paper bags or waxed fabric are good alternatives) and find them a light stainless steel lunchbox instead of plastic.
  1. Avoid canned food, the lining of the tins usually contains EDC’s. Choose fresh, dried or frozen foods. Eat organic as far as possible and get rid of non-stick pans, the coating contains EDC’s.
  1. Filter your tap water, unfiltered water almost always contains EDC’s, including residue from the use of birth hormone pills. On the subject of water – wash your hands before touching food – handling products containing EDC’s leaves a residue on your hands. And use soap products for washing yourself and your dishes and clothes that state they are free of contaminants.
  1. Dust and vacuum often. It’s not just to impress your visitors – vacuuming removes EDC’s that have accumulated on the floor through daily use of products. Speaking of floors – try to avoid non-100% wool carpets, as these also contain EDC’s. And make sure any particle board flooring is well sealed as it lets off toxic fumes into your home.
  1. Avoid fragrances, including those in household cleaning products, and opt for natural skin and hair care products and makeup. Lipstick is a EDC offender that many woman consume daily.
  1. Tempting as it is – don’t spray your new couch with Scotch guard, it will leach toxins into your air. On the same note, avoid flame retardant clothing and goods. And put up with flies in your house rather than have it sprayed with insecticide.
  1. Finally – protect your kids by eliminating plastic from their worlds. Teethers may make life quieter but you are letting your child suck on EDC’s. There are good non-plastic options out there for baby products and toys. Avoid painted wooden toys as well as the paint can often contain lead.

I hope this doesn’t scare you but rather inspires you to make some choices in the future that will better protect your health. Here’s to living life well!

Coaching Tips

COACHING IN THE WORKPLACE

By Jenny Sharkey

If you are a team leader in the workplace, inevitably you will be coaching the other team members in some form or other. Important things to remember when coaching people at work:

¨ Have a plan: a clear action plan gets everyone on the same page and means the team aligns and calibrates their efforts, while allowing you to easily adjust their behaviours to meet the end goal.

¨ Make the most of “teachable moments” – those moments when something has happened with the one you are coaching that make them open to what you are trying to get across to them.

¨ Practice. People will become good at what they do repeatedly. Practicing the behaviours needed to reach the goals decided upon helps the whole team to be effective.

¨ Align people in roles that match their aptitudes. Motivation increases when you make sure goals are achievable for people

¨ Keep learning. Even though you are the coach and supposedly the expert, make sure you keep learning yourself. Learners learn best from other learners. Keep humble.

¨ Praise achievements and celebrate milestones. Let the ones you are coaching know they are valued and appreciated. Everyone performs better in a positive environment. Fun is a huge motivator.

 

Finding Your Passion

I got married at 21 years of age and by 23 I had my first baby on the way. Life was busy. I had already squeezed in a lot – a degree, travel, work with disadvantaged youth. But once the first child was born I realized I didn’t even comprehend what busy could really look like. Add to that renovating every house we lived in, running youth groups and Bible Schools, and trying to earn enough money just to survive each week, and then a couple more kids to boot, life was full on.

It wasn’t until my youngest baby reached high school that I even started to think about my own life needs and wants. I realize that I am one of the fortunate ones. I have been able to pick and chose a little what I do to earn money. I’ve had the privilege of adding further education into my mix and having a husband who has been willing to support my journey. So many of us reach middle age and have to remember who we really are.

Reaching deep into our souls we try and rediscover the things that ignited us in the earlier days. And we must do this. Life works better on every level when we are following the path of our own choosing, rather than letting the days rush by without consideration of our innate passions and desires.

In my process I found these questions helpful to ask myself as I tried to find my purpose:

  1. What matters most to me?
  2. Who matters most to me?
  3. What do I like to do for fun?
  4. What concerns me? Why?
  5. What is my greatest accomplishment so far?
  6. Am I a night owl or an early bird?
  7. How do I show others I care about them?
  8. Am I an introvert of extrovert?
  9. What is my happiest memory?
  10. What do I do to treat myself?

Here’s to a bright future full of activities that you love!

The Five Temperaments: Which One Are You?

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The Five Temperaments: Which One Are You?

New Zealand has produced a world-leading longitudinal study following 1000 people from birth to adulthood over a 40 year period. This study is changing the world as it reforms the way we think about human development – and the things that cause us to become the people we become.

Without question the study is revealing that humans are influenced by both “nature and nurture”. Our genetic composition influences what we CAN become, and our family environment in the first five to ten years will determine how these genes WILL play out into our future – for good and for harm.

One thing they observed is that children can be grouped into five temperaments that tend to stay consistent through the lifetime (but are changeable). They are:

  1. Well adjusted: can handle novel situations, self-confident, adaptable, social, resourceful, self-controlled
  2. Reserved: introverted, timid, socially uncomfortable, can overcome to achieve goals
  3. Inhibited: socially reticent, easily upset, shy, anxious, neurotic, don’t like novelty, highly strung, depressed
  4. Under-controlled: sensation seekers, aggressive, irritable, highly strung, don’t like change or novelty, socially ill adjusted, negative
  5. Confident: presence carrying, go-getters, explorers, friendly, impulsive, independent

These traits determine how we get what we need and want and how we treat and consider those around us in the process.

The most influential skill/trait a three year old exhibited in terms of predicting a successful happy future was: SELF CONTROL. Kids can be taught this from a young age and it will make a world of difference to their adult experience.

So parents: teach your children the art of self-control by:

  • Teaching them to distract themselves from focusing on what they want until they can actually have it.
  • Helping them to understand the long term consequences of their behaviours.
  • Highlighting to them how their behaviours impact upon others.

Tracking your eating

by Jenny Sharkey 2016

Use ‘myfitnesspal”

I’ve been using “myfitnesspal” recently to track my diet. I’ve been astonished at what I’m falling short in nutrition wise. I thought I ate really well. I avoid all white sugar and white flour. I eat green vegetables and fruit every day.  And I don’t eat big meals. But I discovered that I was still inadequate in terms of my mineral and vitamin intake as well as protein.

Check your vitamin and mineral intake

The biggest realization I had was how low my calcium intake is. For a woman of my age low calcium is not a good thing! I don’t want to end up with osteoporosis like my grandmother did.   I’d been getting muscle cramps and tingling, a common indicator of calcium deprivation, along with memory loss. I’d also found it impossible to lose stomach fat so I was interested to note that calcium is involved in the process of helping your body eliminate fat! As a consequence, I am now taking calcium and vitamin D supplements (vit D works with calcium).

Eat more…

Myfitnesspal has over 4.2 million users giving it an incredible database for research. Recently they tracked their users to see what the ones who lost the most weight are eating. It’s pretty simple. They ate more raw fruit and vegetables, more yoghurt and raw nuts, more cereals, and more olive oil. Also, they ate less meat. I’m trying to do the same, especially adding in a small handful of nuts each day (this helps out with giving me almost my daily recommended dose of magnesium and selenium – minerals most of us are low in).

It’s well worth taking a week to track what you are eating – it can change your life!

12 TIPS TO CREATIVITY

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Becoming More Creative

Being creative can increase our sense of well being and happiness. If we are stuck in a rut of depression, or caught out with an enduring sense of anxiety, being creative can help jump start us back onto a more joy filled track. A feeling of accomplishment can instantly boost our “happy hormones” and the very act of creativity re-fires our neural system in our brain. Creativity in one area can promote creativity in other areas. The act of being creative in a practical manner can help our brain to be creative in an emotional or conceptual area. So get yourself moving today and you will find doors opening for you in positive ways as you release the creativity inside of you!

 

Here are some tips for being your best creative self:

  1. Play music. Research has shown that listening to music, especially classical music, can increase our creativity, concentration and numerous other cognitive functions.
  2. Imagine what it would be like to have something you desire come to pass. Think through the details of what would happen how you would feel, what would result. Daydreaming can be extremely helpful in the creativity process.
  3. Think about something unrelated to your life. Thinking about how to solve someone elses problem, in a far away place, in another time even, can release you from being stuck in the here and now to solve what is in front of you.
  4. Get a fresh piece of paper and write things down by hand. Being physically involved in the simple act of creating words or pictures on paper can enhance every aspect of your creative process.
  5. Step out into nature for a break. Take some time to walk in the park, or by the sea. Not only do the colours green and blue stimulate your creative senses, taking a time out, and increasing your blood flow to your brain, are also useful in the creative process.
  6. Change rooms. Change your work environment and you may find your creative thinking also moves “outside of the box”.
  7. Pull the problem you are facing apart and re-label each component of it. This can broaden your understanding of it and open your mind up to new ways of thinking about it.
  8. Stop and watch a funny clip. Play round with someone and get them laughing. Laughter helps release happy hormones which in turn promote creativity.
  9. Lie down and roll your eyes around. Your eyes are the doorway to the brain. Give your brain a break and let the blood flow easily to it while you stimulate your “eye-gate”.
  10. Talk to someone. Get their take on creative ideas – and keep positive and open to what they have to say. If you simply critique their thoughts it will shut down your own creativity. So consider their thoughts no matter how crazy, and be positive about them. Being positive is a great creativity boost.
  11. Make something with your hands. Cook yourself an egg, tidy up the bench, weed the garden. Employing your senses in a collaborative effort can help you think more creatively.
  12. Try something new. Try a new card game you’ve never played before. Take a new route home. Eat a food you’ve never tasted. The element of novelty can spark creativity.

Here’s to this being your most creative year yet!

 

Leadership Lessons

Become a Great Leader

by Jenny Sharkey

Great organisations are led by people who personally balance: character, charisma and competence. These leaders create environments of trust, openness and freedom. They…

  1. Face the truth and deal with it, no matter how tough

Leading inevitably means dealing with negative situations and people. Great leaders don’t just wait for negative things to happen – they seek out and anticipate these things to nip them in the bud before they blossom into something more destructive. They encourage employees to be brutally honest about underperforming projects. Early identification allows for early and probably more effective solutions to be discovered.

  1. Take responsibility for their delegations

Great leaders follow up on delegated projects and make sure people are clear on their responsibilities, and accountable for them. They encourage discussion and adapt plans if needed, always keeping communication clear and easy to follow.

  1. Are positive

Great leaders have learnt that people flourish when the culture they are working in has a feedback ratio of more than 5:1 positive to negative. These leaders are always looking for opportunities to identify, reward and replicate the behaviour they want to see repeated. They also find and keep promoting their star players.

  1. Move decisively when something or someone needs to go

Great leaders know they are going to break a few hearts along the road to great effectiveness. They therefore move quickly (and as painlessly as possible) to make sure projects or people who are underperforming or not in line with the overall strategic vision get an opportunity to change, and if this doesn’t happen, they get changed.

  1. Have readily understood and achievable goals

Great leaders break down large goals into smaller, clear goals which can be achieved in small units of time, such as every quarter. They let their team have regular opportunity to celebrate small successes which lead to the big successes.

  1. Go for consistency with growth

Great leaders make things simple so that people can work quickly in an expected and reliable environment. They streamline processes so that the whole team is on the same page regarding how things get accomplished in the workplace. However, they don’t stop there, but they keep pressing on for ways to improve and grow and they make the process of anticipating change, and strategizing for improvement and growth part of the routine of the workplace.

 

The Regrets of the Dying

The Nine Most Common Regrets of the Dying

by Jenny Sharkey

  1. I wish I had been more loving to the people who matter most to me.
  2. I wish I had been a better spouse, parent or child.
  3. I wish I had not spent so much time working on things that didn’t matter all that much to me, and instead I wish I had invested that time into my relationships.
  4. I wish I had taken more risks – pushed myself to do more courageous things with this short life we have.
  5. I wish I had chosen happiness more and enjoyed my life more.
  6. I wish I had lived my own dream.
  7. I wish I had taken better care of myself and taken time to look after my body and mind.
  8. I wish I had done more for others and given more.
  9. I wish I had chosen work that was more meaningful for me.