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We help create successful women by changing their state of mind.




Graham Smith

There I was, musing over what pre- holiday tips and advice would be of most benefit, when I began thinking about the time I worked the night shift, all through the Christmas holidays, every year for five years, when I first joined the police back in the very early eighties.

Back then, the shifts were eight hours long;- 6am to 2pm; 2pm to 10pm and obviously 10pm to 6am. Each shift lasted seven days (or nights) followed by a variety of rest days and I joined, just as my squad were beginning nights a few days before Christmas. This meant that every year for the subsequent five years, our December night shift fell over the holidays.

30 odd years ago, there were not quite so many clubs and pubs around and a lot less of them opened during 'holy days'. So it was actually quite good fun, especially when the snow came down. It's a whole different story, the night I was trying to stop traffic at the top of a very icy steep hill, whilst having huge problems staying upright myself!

No, the point of this post, is not the numbers of people out celebrating, the festive, cheerful air when almost everyone would shout out, 

Merry Christmas Officer!

but the fact that there was always a significant increase in the number of calls to 'domestic incidents'. By this, I'm not necessarily talking about violent situations, but the everyday reality of greater periods of time than is normal, spent with family and friends and the pressures that this can create.

According to a survey from Relate, the relationship charity, 90% of people say time with close family is the most important factor in a happy Christmas, but in the same survey, 84% also rated avoiding family arguments as a top priority.

Having just finished one of my women's development programmes, I know that the workshop devoted to assertiveness is one of the most popular throughout the programme. Given that building up skills in assertiveness (not aggression) helps us deal much more effectively with difficult situations, this seemed an ideal subject to offer some tips to help us all have a merrier, calmer, less fraught holiday time.

My plan then, is to do the '12 days of Assertiveness 'as opposed to the 12 days of Christmas - with not a partridge or pear tree in sight! However, there seems little point in offering advice about effective communication and dealing with fraught situations during the holidays and starting on Christmas Day going up to twelfth night, (the traditional 12 days). So I intend to start on Saturday 13th December and offer a different tip every day up to Christmas Eve. By which time, you should be able to have the coolest laid back time imaginable.                  

{Full disclosure, no money will exchange hands here, so not the usual money back guarantee.} Actually I don't do money back guarantees, just promise of greater possibilities for happier times!

The plan then, is to start sending out the daily posts, straight to your inbox, next Saturday through to Christmas Eve.

Just head over to the next blog and get more information about why understanding how to be assertive can reap such great rewards for all of us.

You will also have the opportunity to sign up for all twelve posts on the website. If your inbox is too full for all my amazing stuff - don't worry, I will publish them here and on the blog, starting a little later in the week.

For more hints, tips and advice on bringing out the best in you both professionally and personally, check out the Facebook page too.

Happy holidays.