Guidelines how to be supportive. 1.

Ever wondered how many people suffer from invisible pain?

People like your manager, your co-worker, your HR, your students they all do their jobs like they are supposed to and meanwhile can have pains or sorrows larger than you could imagine! How do they cope? How do they deal with day to day inconveniences and worries without yelling at everyone "What do I care! I have so much more going on my life, so much more to worry about! Please, leave me alone!"I don't know exactly how coping works. But I've met some of those strong persons (young and old) and what I see is this:

  • people with a lot of worries about their health, their child, their parents are very fun to be with at work. They laugh a lot and don't take themselves, their work and their achievements too seriously,
  • people who are in constant pain talk a lot and are very busy, all of the time,
  • people who are in the middle of a divorce smile a lot while seeing couples and talk frequently about 'not giving up too soon' and
  • people who suffer because of the injustice they meet are fighting hard for a course that is very meaningful for them.

I see it as an invisible Make Up those strong people use. One almost cannot tell what they do to keep their heads up. To look normal. We cannot tell from their faces how difficult their lives are. It looks like it is all so normal, nothing special. Only when you know their sorrows and pains, you are aware of their strengths and coping skills.


Is there anything WE can do to help them? If possible in an invisible way. Nothing fancy, just seemingly 'normal' things to let them know we appreciate their behaviour, their actions at work?

Fortunately we can and it's not complicated! We can:

  1. make sure they know we appreciate their efforts to do their jobs like they are suppose to do by allowing ourselves some physical contact (doesn't have to be a minutes long hug! Short physical contacts will do, but with some firmness, not too "light"),
  2. ask them what went slightly better in the last 24 hours - last week. This is when we know about their pains or sorrows and we have a little bit of time for it. (Be genuine interested! We don't have to discuss the answer, just 'be there with them' with a sigh or a smile.),
  3. tell them we are impressed by their coping skills and we can
  4. give them something visible by mailing (a real card or on line), by writing a small note (doesn't have to be poems. A supportive "Keep going! Well done! are greatly appreciated.), by putting a flower on their desk etc.

It's not rocket science, it's not complicated, it's pure, it's simple (perhaps not easy for you). Give it a try. It will make them smile right through their make up or beneath, save inside (and that's okay too!).

Warm smile to you all, Ella

About tough professional women and their managers. Guidelines 2.

Keeping several balls in the air as a mother and as a hard working, dedicated employer is hard enough when you have a partner waiting for you at home. So much more challenging for those who have to make sure 'everything is under control' all by themselves!

I have great respect for those professional woman who have to manage everything: their kids, their work, their very old parents, their troubled close friends all by them selves.

And what to think about those women who take care of their very ill spouse or those who have health issues not to be seen, draining energy out of them constantly. And still do a good job at the office?

I know those "tough professional women": almost no one knows what they have to deal with. They try to explain it to me and every time when we finished talking, I hear myself saying: "I cannot imagine how it must be like, ... to be you. It must be só hard most of the times." They all just nod and tell me they are so blessed to be able to go to work and do a (very) good job!

As an advice I have 3 sorts for those tough women and 3 for their managers:

1. Look at what you do well and be proud of that! CEO's: get to know your employers a little and tell them they do a good job.

2. Look around and smile, it gives you energy. CEO's: spread it all around: genuine smiles for your employees. It gives them energy!

3. Ask for help, people like to help! (Simple, but not easy, I know!) CEO's: ask your employers for small things that would make a big difference in doing their job for the company. (Be prepared to give the help they want!)

At home they feel lonely, but not at work! In my office we talk about what they are good at and what is bringing in all sorts of energy. We laugh and smile and there is enough hope that they will manage for another week. They leave empowered; knowing they are the best "tough professional woman" the company (business and at home!!) has.

I can imagine it is hard to keep on going and I don't like giving advise ... :-) I prefer to listen and ask questions. By answering my questions my clients speak empowering words that resonates in their body and fill their thoughts. I have all kinds of questions, even about songs and movements. All to empower and to know what my clients want to do, feel and think. Most of them want to 'keep up the good work', hold on and manage to keep all the balls in the air...

On top of that they would like to have a smile on their face! Because no one has to know what they are dealing with. They just want to do a good job ...

THINK before you talk. Guidelines 3.

Keeping in mind THINK before you start your supportive talk. It

Ask yourself this: "What I am about to say, is it ...

Is it True?

Is it Helpful?

Is it Inspiring?

Is it Necessary?

Is is Kind?"

... if not: keep your mouth shut and just LISTEN and smile. It can be the most effective support your co-worker or CEO has ever got!