The Coach…and The Plumber!

Some of my coaching clients call me The Plumber because I help them to remove blockages – the blockages in their heads and hearts as they try to deliver on their goals.

Busy executives, managers, leaders and business owners get stuck in their mindsets and get stressed about a whole range of issues and situations that can look trivial to the external observer looking in to their world.

One definition of stress is that “it is the gap between your expectations and your reality”. You set yourself high standards or put yourself under pressure and then when things don’t match your self-imposed expectations you get stressed – ironically, often blaming external factors when the solution lies with your own expectations or your own actions.

A common source of stress these days is around ‘social media’. Although it wasn’t an issue at all just 10 years ago, people now worry about whether they have the right social media strategy, whether they are active enough on LinkedIn, what they are tweeting, and whether they have enough Facebook friends

It is always useful to put some perspective on this. For example, a study by Yahoo reported that 50% of all Tweets are generated by just 0.05% of Twitter accounts. 40% of Twitter accounts are inactive within a week of being opened and most traffic is from celebrities or automated affirmations.

Don’t worry if you aren’t keeping up with the celebs, have a closer look at your key priorities for you and your business, and ask how relevant social media is and how it can work best for you.

I have had clients worrying about the number of Facebook friends they have. The average number of Facebook friends per user is around 120-130. Those with fewer worry about building their network. Those with more worry about maintaining connections. Interestingly, the average number of ‘friends’ users have had direct contact with in the past week is 9 and they have usually had face-to-face contact with 5-6 of those.

There’s a lot of comfort to this picture don’t you think? Lots of superficial contact but the reality is that we only have deep relationships with a small number of close friends and family. Nothing has really changed there.

Real friends are not Facebook-only relationships. They’re the ones you see and talk to regularly. They’re also the ones who give you support and honest feedback when you need it most. And they can usually help you deal with the stresses in your life. If not, you can always call The Plumber!

Paul Vittles has been a practicing executive coach since 1997 and has coached more than 400 busy executives, managers, leaders, CEOs and business owners.

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