Category Archives: Uncategorized

Polarity, division, anger, and pain…

12 Nov, 2020 at 5:07 pm

There are so many examples in our lives right now of where there is division, polarity, anger and pain about other’s views, choices, actions, and thoughts. Where one person, group, political party, economist, scientist, Dr, or team believe they are right and that others are wrong. The divide seems impenetrable.

If we stop for a moment look at the division, I believe 9 times out of 10 this division is caused by fear.

Anger from division, is an emotion where we blame someone else or something else for what is happening to us. It strips and drains our sense of responsibility, choice, and accountability, that creates a sense of powerlessness, something we all innately fear.

We all fundamentally want the world to feel safe, known, certain for us and those we love, we all want to protect ourselves. We do not notice that from our world view we also create rules, binary right or wrongs, things that are ok or not. We also don’t consciously feel ‘unsafe’ but our control patterns mean through our lifetimes we build a series of rules or ‘must haves’ to make our world become safe and we become afraid of people who might make the world ‘unsafe’ or different.

What we can’t see from this view is that the ‘other side’ want the world to be ‘safe’ too, yes their version of safe, maybe not the right one for humanity or society in our view, bur still it’s the same goal as us- a shared goal!

In our need to keep our safe and stop theirs and their potential call to do the same what do we get? More anger, blame, division and fear and a sense of having lost any choice, power, or responsibility…the very opposite of what we are trying to achieve. In fact, in time proving them wrong can become more powerful than any of us being happy or creating what we feel is right for us, humanity or society.

The Outward Mindset asks us to step back and see our fear, see our self-deception and rules see how we feel that our justification for objectifying and creating enemies of others is valid as we are trying to ‘save the world’. It asks us to see the people around us and together look outside of our world view to start to see an unlimited series of options and goals that we can find together as people.

Whenever we see any situation boiling down to right and wrong unless it is a binary problem, we are restricting our ability to see the countless opportunities to create collaboration, healing relationships and an abundant series of choices within the complexity of all wanting and aiming for peace. If we can turn outward and start to see the shared needs, goals and opportunities that mean we can see different ways, all our needs can be considered. Most importantly we can stop needing to feel ‘safe’ as we realise, we are creating more of the danger in ourselves by not standing in our own choices and responsibilities. Why does this change anything?

Because we always have the power to choose how we see the world. We may feel powerless but to see that other's actions are their need to find safe we can respond, yes have different views YES ACT! But from peace not fear! That is the antidote to division, polarity, fear, and pain. That, we each, can do!

What is the Outward Mindset?

12 Nov, 2020 at 5:06 pm

In a nutshell.

Have you ever wanted to change something about yourself or achieve a personal goal?

My guess is you set a goal, changed your behaviours and habits, and moved toward the change…

I hear you, tried that, done it, nothing new. Stay with me! Often when we create a change at a behavioural level we can get started or even get close to goal and realise that we have fallen off track, we lose momentum or willpower and we revert to old habits. Maybe we got to the goal, but not felt how we hoped we would. 

This disconnection comes down to our mindset, the way we see. Because it is how we see ourselves, our relationships, our work, our bodies that ultimately drives our level of connection to new behaviour despite how SMART our goal or determined our beliefs can be.

Why is that worth looking into? Well our mindset has been created by our life’s journey, our lived experiences, and our views of life. Basically, it has been with you all of your life. What we teach at The Arbinger Institute is a way to examine your mindset and shift it in some simple strategic ways to increase your chances or achieving your goals whilst dramatically improving your influence and relationships. We have a website full of individuals and organisations sharing how they have been able to do just that.

A typical example: Imagine you want to lose weight; you stick to a healthy eating plan and exercise more and for a good period of time it creates change. But then the change slows or peters off, maybe you have carried the weight for a long time, your identity is tied into it. Maybe you sustain an injury, or a challenge appears in your life and food is your comfort, your support system. Suddenly a disconnect is happening between your behavioural goal and the way you see yourself and others. You start to disconnect from the new goal you have set and start to revert to old patterns of behaviour. Your mindset may see; “It’s too much of a sacrifice, its genetic to be overweight, I’m under a great deal of stress right now, I need the energy for my life…I’ll try again later.”

It is the same for a business, a team, or a leader. How often have you seen a change programme brought in only for people to disengage completely or start off strong and then revert back to their old ways of working, or at least the old attitudes. For example you might have people who initially do all the right behaviours  to achieve collaboration, agility, authenticity, but if in their mindset, the way they see themselves, their role, their team and others comes from a background of  competing, survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, that mindset will take back control of people’s behaviours and choices.

The Outward Mindset work is a set of in-escapable real, incredibly logical tools that let everyone see their deeper mindset view space. It is not invasive, it is not deep root canal introspective navel gazing its simple human nature examined within a logical, simple framework of psychological safe models that just show us a new view. It gives us a roadmap and all the tools you need to create change from the inside that lasts.

Do not take it from me. This is a Global shift in mindset. This work changes lives, communities, organisations, teams and people. Sign up for a taster of our Netflix documentary style online training programme or our webinar and hear from the 100s of leaders, businesses and individuals who have seen and experienced this change. 

Arbinger UK – Launch of Outward Mindset Online

14 Oct, 2020 at 12:41 pm

An important day for us at the Arbinger Institute (UK). We are proud and excited to announce the launch of ‘Outward Mindset Online.’ Drawn from the experience of our clients worldwide, based on 800 hours of client interviews, Arbinger has created a Netflix documentary-style learning experience, that’s ideal for online and virtual leadership and team development. Designed to strengthen resilience, alignment and collaboration in the face of disruption and distributed working. We think the production quality is awesome and the learning is compelling. Click here to see access a free sample and summary.

A really quick technique to try for an Outward Mindset in practice

19 Aug, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Today I am working at my kitchen table, I have client commitments to complete, emails to answer and this blog to create. In addition, I have four 10-13-year-old boys playing with water balloons in the garden just outside that I am responsible for today (two of them mine).  I am writing with one eye and ear on them and one on this text.  I can feel my mindset turning inward at the juggle and challenge.  When I feel that pressure rising, I have one instant technique I pull out of the Outward Mindset coaching practices; I shift my thinking that is inward called ‘I have to’.

From ‘have to’ work can feel a grind. The in-box pinging is a stress, the customer work I am completing is ‘hard’!  I have to (see it!) dig deep for every word as if it weighs heavily on me.  If the customer happens to call, I will answer professionally but I feel like I see them as a ‘have to’ pressure, an obstacle to me.  If one of my colleagues inadvertently asks for something, they might get an annoyed look and a martyr filled sigh as my overworked ‘have to’ turns to seeing them as an obstacle to my progress.

When I feel I ‘have to’ watch the boys, they are noisy, inconsiderate, they have no idea how much work I have to do.  I have to compromise my work experience to juggle their needs and it is so hard! In this version of reality, the boys are a hinderance, obstacles to me and my needs.

With a one-word shift; I ‘get to’ watch my boys laugh…a lot!  Yes, they are loud but if I need them to quieten down, they will with a clear request.  I get to honour the friendships and the outside fun they are having, something that when they are stuck on screens, I wish they would do.

And I remember, I get to do the work I love whilst being a parent, a part of my life I cherish.  I get to have my in- box pinging with new opportunities.  Post Covid19, or at least in this lull I get to try new ways of working. I get to challenge myself in completely new ways and the customers around me, my partner, my team, and my children remain people to me.

A tiny shift, but today try using ‘get to’ instead of ‘have to’ and see how the way you see those around you might turn.

As some people missed the offer, my best-selling book is FREE for one more day on Amazon TODAY, Wednesday 8 July ONLY

8 Jul, 2020 at 9:51 am

We recently offered my best-selling book, Vital Conversations, FREE for 4 days to download on Amazon.  We have been contacted by several people since advising that they missed out so we have decided to offer it for FREE  again for one more day and you can download it via Amazon TODAY ONLY.

The links to download the free UK and US Kindle versions of Vital Conversations are below: (Amazon UK) (Amazon US)

For 17 years Alec Grimsley has been developing and supporting leadership teams to face into their most challenging conversations

Please could you help me to help other people – My best-selling book is free on Amazon today and until Friday 26 June

23 Jun, 2020 at 7:58 am

In these challenging and stressful times, we are all needing to look after our key relationships and are likely to face difficult conversations.

Please could I ask you to post this on your LinkedIn page so we can help as many people as possible.

The links to download the free Kindle version of the book are: (Amazon UK) (Amazon US)

For 17 years Alec Grimsley has been developing and supporting leadership teams to face into their most challenging conversations.

Our goal is to help 50,000 people over the next 4 days.

Our deepest thanks.

We are making one of our best selling books free during these challenging times

19 Jun, 2020 at 8:34 pm

Free to download at Amazon from 23 June to 26 June 2020 

Free to download at Amazon from 23 June to 26 June 2020:

UK download -

US download -

At Optimus, given these challenging times, we have been wanting to do more to help others, and where possible at no cost to them or their organisation.

So, after many emails back and forth, Amazon has agreed to make our best-selling book ‘Vital Conversations’ FREE to download between Tuesday 23 June through to Friday 26 June.  

It feels like the right thing to do as right now, people are dealing with a great deal of uncertainty, especially around job security, personal finances and key relationships.

The book is a reassuring guide, with practical tools that can help with reducing stress, maintaining good relationships, and handling important conversations both at work and at home.

This book is relevant and helpful to everyone so, please do feel free to send to your organisation’s internal comms or HR team if you think it would be useful to others.

We will also be scheduling three free webinars. These sessions give specific help re the mindset and skills needed to reduce stress, maintain good relationships, and handle tough conversations. Further details to follow soon.



The importance of genuinely validating others in the new world of remote working (2 min read, and worth it ?)

19 Jun, 2020 at 11:28 am

Let's blend the ingredients of an extended period of remote working with the relentless uncertainty of how COVID-19 will impact the fundamental areas of our lives, including job security, finances, and our loved ones. It’s a recipe for insecurity and stress.

From an early age we have been seeking validation, we looked into the eyes of our parents or carers and scanned for verbal and non-verbal cues that we were "Okay", "Seen", "Loved."  Oprah Winfrey, who across 5,000 episodes interviewed over 20,00 personalities including presidents, criminals, survivors, and celebrities shared something she calls the common denominator.  At the end of every interview, (off camera) everyone asked her the same question "Did I do okay?". At a deeper level, I think the question they really wanted answering was "Am I okay?"

So, in these times of distributed remote working, and increased insecurity we need to pay more attention to the human need for validation. The need to hear from others that I am okay.

There are two places we can do this from; one is using an inauthentic behavioural technique where we trot out pre-rehearsed lines like "I hear what you're saying" or the now infamous swapping out of the word 'but' for 'and.' This approach portrays itself as being others orientated, but, in reality it’s more self-beneficial in nature.  It is often used to become more likeable and trusted to further our own outcomes.

The other place is from a mindset where we validate the other person by truly seeing them as a person. We see their need to be seen, heard, validated just like we need to be seen, heard, validated. We may end up using similar words to the inauthentic self-beneficial approach, but this time when we say, "I can see why taking that approach is so important to you." Or "I can now see how confused my decision left you" we genuinely do see and care about how they feel. This is authentic validating. Of course, validating does not mean you necessarily agree with their solutions, opinions or requests. Still, the genuine validation and affirmation that they have been seen and heard will make all the difference to how they feel, their fears, and the quality of the conversation. It usually strengthens the relationship too.

Of course, the other person might not validate your feelings, thoughts, and needs, but let's talk about how we handle that for another post!

Stay well and safe.


What is the impact of an ‘I deserve’ mindset and thoughts?

24 Apr, 2020 at 1:31 pm

When the world feels like it does right now, how many of us feel like we deserve something to distract us or make us feel better?  Or is it only me?

I have been eating too many of the foods that add kgs and not necessarily nutrition.  I know this because my clothes are telling me.  Now, it ‘should’ be easy to just step out of this habit of comfort, stress or boredom eating and be responsible, hold myself accountable and make healthier choices…so why am I finding it particularly hard right now.

One of Arbinger’s styles of justification that hides itself very insidiously in my mindset is the ‘I deserve’ space.  Especially when so many things can just now feel; restricted, difficult, and lacking.

My ‘I deserve’ self-justification sounds like this…

“Come on Gill, unprecedented times what’s a little chocolate after the day/week/month we’ve had?”

“Hey, I’m not eating takeaway or eating out! I am the chef day after day surely a few food treats are the least I have earned?”

“I am baking homemade sweets and cake, so we don’t have to shop, that’s a good thing…right?”

Can you hear my need to convince you?

Not only that, I mentally gather allies and think “Well everyone says they are eating more…it’s not just me!”

What I am ultimately saying is; “I deserve to have something else, something; good/nice/a treat in this horrible time…”

You can see the insidious nature of my inward mindset because there is truth in this justification.  Of course, caring for ourselves and others with food can be positive.

Except, the key thing is this…I am not at peace with this eating.How do I know? Well becauseit is accompanied by loud, incessant mind chatter and self-justification, it is me facing inward, blaming the world for my eating choices.  Why does this matter?

  1. Well fundamentally, blaming makes me grumpy!  I am grumpy that I am betraying my own sense of what is healthy for me.  Not someone else’s view, mine! I am not honouring my health on my terms and values and that makes me grumpy with EVERYONE around me, because I am actually grumpy with me.
  2. So just imagine what I am like if anyone else notices my eating, or heaven forbid happens to mention me eating the 6th cookie?  If my unsuspecting son happens to ask, “Where did all the cookies go Mum?” I do not gently laugh and share that I ate them, I lie, defend, deflect, or hide from my actions.  Leaving him confused, uncomfortable and unsure where the cookies keep disappearing too?!?

Of course, the eating per-se is not the issue.  It is my relationship, my narrative, my mindset in relation to eating that impacts on me and those around me. Some people can peacefully eat 6 cookies and because they balance their exercise, their view of themselves and food in different ways to me, it is not an ‘I deserve’ trigger.

So, how do I turn my mindset outward in relation to my eating choices?

Step 1. I spot the ‘I deserve’ style of justification.

Step 2. I gently remind myself that when I don’t honour my sense there is a consequence.

How I show up in my relationship with unhealthy eating is how I show up in my relationship with others, and myself ‘

Seeing this and the impact I am having on others when I choose to eat more that I sense is healthy for me I can start to make choices from an outward mindset. I can honour my sense to take care of my health…because it is actually what the people around me and I, from an outward space truly deserve.

Do any of you have an unhelpful ‘I deserve’ justification right now?

If you are interested in learning more about Arbinger Outward Mindset, please drop me a line.


No comparison! – “They are so much better at isolation than me!”

8 Apr, 2020 at 1:48 pm

How many of us have seen posts on social media, heard people on the TV or spoken to friends and asked ourselves if we are better or worse than them at coping during the COVID-19 situation?

Why might we be compelled to compare, measure, set expectations and judge ourselves against some imaginary standard or winning post?  

When our lives change beyond recognition and beyond our control, our reactions are unique.  There are some for whom this is a calling, an awakening, a drive to be new.  For some, we grieve the future experiences we expected to have, income and freedom we have lost.  There may be a powerlessness, restriction and isolation we don’t enjoy.  Some grieve for people we’ve loved and have lost, or we hope or pray for those who are ill.  The cycle of this grief of this change is multifaceted and most importantly unique.  It is NOT a competition to see who wins!

For us all it will look different; right now, controlling our unhelpful thinking, catastrophising or anxious thoughts is harder to manage because there actually is danger.  Possibly at times we try to escape from having to think or feel at all.

Maybe we escape into things that we feel actually ‘do good’.  Proactivity, action in our work, with our teams, our children or partners.  This can feel positive and yet in some ways we may sense it is a running away, a being seen to be doing the right things.  We can become overwhelmed, exhausted or run out of things to ‘do’ and feel lost, helpless, inadequate or even notice others can feel overwhelmed or immobilised by our activity for them.

Possibly we escape into social media, Netflix, sugar, alcohol, chocolate or inactivity.  This is also not necessarily ‘bad’, but you can see that in 3,6,12 weeks that strategy may have unhelpful consequences, both for us and those we love.

Maybe we find ourselves judging and blaming our government, our community, a culture our neighbour or our family.  Measuring and judging other’s reactions and comparing them to ours or even measuring ourselves and blaming us.  All of this creates a disconnection from the fact we are all people.

In the next few months, we may all lose people we love; we may all be frail in the wake of this virus.

Fear can create an inward mindset; self-preservation, self-protection, this is not ‘bad,’ this is human.  If we catch the comparing, escaping, judging and blaming we can see that this is us caught up in …well us.

We can see these behaviours, be kind to ourselves as people and then choose to turn to see others as people.

Where is there someone who needs us?  Can we call someone we know is alone and just be there for them, ask what they need? Honour our sense to hear someone else’s fears, their coping strategies, their pain and hold ourselves out of our judgement or fear that we can’t mend, salve or take any of this away from them… or us, as we do the one thing we can do.

We can keep seeing people

I guess I ‘should’ be an expert at this and yet I am escaping, judging and comparing at times.  I’m still catching myself and with self-compassion turning to see the faces of the people around me.  To reach out, to take one more step in connection, through fear.

Even if you are not one of my clients, or are not needing a coach, or a mindset programme, please if you feel you would like some mindset help, ideas or just to talk, contact me and together we can find you or someone you love the outward mindset resources that may help.