Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


What fear can look like in those we love – How to see the person behind the behaviours through family isolation

26 Mar, 2020 at 3:29 pm

As I write the world is battling COVID-19.  My son is throwing a basketball at the outside of the house and every bang reverberates around the walls.  I’m spiky, unsettled, short tempered and exhausted.  It would be so easy to snap at him, allow my frustration at the world to be thrown at him for a moment.  Better still I could throw a spiked invitation of combat to my partner to ‘sort out the children!’, ‘Can’t you see I’m working!’

BUT I know my need to fight is not about them.  It’s about me.  My fear.  My powerlessness.  My overwhelm.  My inability to know what to do or when it will be over.

As I breathe, I can see my son is outside in the fresh air, not staring at a screen and he is healthy.  He is playing ball alone to manage his sadness and bewilderment.  He misses his friends; he’s bored because I am working and nothing in his life feels quite the same to him right now.  I can let the sound of the ball fade and see him and his needs.  Maybe I’ll play with him when I have finished writing, maybe my sense is to play now.

Because, that is the thing; fear and sadness don’t show up as a neatly identified package of tears or a need to talk.  They look like sulking, snappiness, arrogance.  Constant barbs, or attention seeking, even a banging ball.  A refusal to answer a question or a spiky rejection.  Our partner’s fear and sadness might look like withdrawal, apathy, critical coldness, sarcasm, or spotting only the things we miss or get wrong.  Trying to start an argument or even full-blown anger.

Being outward does not mean we accept these behaviours and negate our needs, but it can show us how we find a way through together and re-set some boundaries if required. Stop us falling into collusive patterns or combative behaviour.  Avoid venting our frustration, pain and fear at those we can objectify around us because momentarily the blaming makes us feels better.

So, in service of those we love, for our families, for us; we breathe, we pause, we seek the outward view, a place of understanding, love and re-connection to the person behind the behaviours that are driving us mad.

Ask; what are they afraid of?  What might be making them feel powerless, out of control, lost in uncertainty or just alone?

When you see the person you love behind the behaviours, your way of being with them will naturally follow.  Maybe you do, with compassion, re-set a boundary that you need.  It could be you have a sense to find a way of either being in a different physical space to them for a while or request a conversation about both of your fears.

Or maybe you just ask how they are feeling and listen.  Be there for them, now.

Together you can allow the emotion to pass and start to glimpse some hope again. Plan again or and I am British; make them a cup of tea.

We are all scared, none of us can fully know what to do and we are all facing loss to one degree or another. If we can hold the humanity of others in our hearts through that, we can even, if in only this one way, be at peace in moments through this.

Wishing you all good health.


What if?…

6 Mar, 2020 at 2:59 pm

As I write today it seems Coronavirus is impacting on people across the globe and each client I speak with is trying to calculate, predict and plan options around a variety of unknowns.

As human beings ‘not knowing’ can ignite a plethora of inward mindset boxes, and often unhelpful thinking patterns can emerge.  Today I thought I would share some of my unhelpful thinking styles and how I’m realising my inward focus actually makes me less resourceful and far more stressed than is useful, at a time when rational thinking is needed.

  • The Mental filter: This is me metaphorically putting on completely opaque sunglasses which filter out rational thinking.  I start to only notice what my ‘emergency’ filter wants me to, and I dismiss anything that doesn’t fit.  This filter strips away rational, systemic, practical thinking and replaces it with stress filled, panic based thoughts.  I become suspended in a space of overwhelm and unknown and stop actually moving forward resourcefully. I get caught in the media stories, the what ifs, all the unresourceful evidence to ignite my fears…

Alternatively, I can take a breath and ask; Am I only factoring in the bad things?  Am I filtering out the facts?  Am I purely focusing on the bad things for me?  If I take off the doom and gloom glasses and stop seeing how bad it is for me can I see differently? Can I see the global/systemic/ external implications and needs?  Can I see people who going to be far worse off than me that may need help?  Can I see a more realistic picture that will bring more resilience and peace to me and those around me?  But most importantly can I also see how I can help.

  • Catastrophising; This is when my imagination becomes a disaster movie script writer. I imagine and believe that the worst possible things will happen.  Now when a government says plan for the worst it is important to think through the practical and rational elements of the situation.  However, if I allow my mindset to move to ‘catastrophic’ before there is a true emergency all I will spread is a sense of panic and disaster.  What am I like to live and work within this space?  What are my clients, team, my family picking up from me?  Am I recruiting others into my catastrophising box maybe just so I feel justified for being in there?

Actually, in this moment, can I stop and see the impact of my disaster movie thinking. Can I move back into the reality of right now and then think through options.  Can I stay responsive to collectively support anyone around me who is genuinely unable to feel safe? Can I climb out of the disaster movie and live in life able to see just what needs to be done?

  • Binary thinking: I feel that in times like these I can slip into a way of thinking that paints everything or everyone as either bad or good, right or wrong, safe or dangerous moving my mindset to exaggerate extremes.  I see me become competitive, combative, me vs. others in my need to protect me and all that matters to me. Others become threats to my plans, my safety, my needs, or they have something I need, and they are useful to me.  But what are the consequences of me potentially alienating, manipulating or creating foes from those around me? I disconnect, separate myself, I isolate myself in every sense of the word.

If I pause, remember that each person around me is unique and complex.  They have their own needs and are probably already out of their own comfort zone finding their way in this uncertainty. Seeing them as people again, I can reconnect to the fact that we are facing this challenge together, surely better united than separate or competing and alone.

If I can ignite curiosity towards my own unhelpful thinking patterns and the way I see behaviours in others, maybe I can find compassion and understanding in their actions before I judge and separate. If I can suspend my unhelpful thinking patterns and keep myself responsive, maybe in a global moment like this I can stay responsive, collaborative and care for those I love whilst in turn seeing where I can help others.

If you turn outward to this global crisis, how might you be able to help too?