My Linkedin articles

Maxine Harley

In addition to the articles and blog posts you will find below on these blog pages, I have also published others on the LINKEDIN platform – and here is the link to that page 




Titles include:-

  • Are Your Parents Messing Up Your Business?
  • Playground Bullies In The Workplace
  • Winners Losers & Also-rans
  • Competition & Comparison
  • Working Parents – guilt and resentment
  • The Toxic Workplace & Boss
  • Allow Your Business To Thrive – by getting out of its way!
  • What A Car Boot Sale Taught Me About Business
  • New Challenges Old Fears


My Linkedin profile can be seen here –


My Professional Profile can be seen here –

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How Attached Are You To Your Work?

How does your attachment style affect your success at work?

To answer that we need to start at the foundation level.

Our early experiences of trauma, whether physical or emotional, affect the way our brains become wired up. Particularly so when the trauma is repeated and recurring (as in the case of a troubled childhood with toxic parents; or repeated physical illness, assault or medical interventions and operations).

Our ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ (or A.C.E. Studies – carried out in the late 1990s and subsequently) are also a reliable indicator of how successful we will be in life – a significant part of which is our working life and the financial rewards we’ll get in exchange for our time and energy.

Our past can also determine our style of ’emotional attachment’ to significant aspects of our lives.

This attachment style in turn shapes how we see the world, our self-concept, our ability to form and maintain relationships, our comfort or discomfort with intimacy, the way we parent our children, and our success in our working career or business (particularly our relationships with colleagues, staff and line managers).

It’s been estimated that about 45% of us had a childhood that left us with an inner sense of the world being a good place, and that we are safe and valued within it. This is known as a secure attachment style and it comes from having had ‘good enough parenting’.

This then leaves almost half of us feeling either insecure or even chaotic in the way we emotionally attach to other people.

This also affects how attached we can become to things in our lives such as our career or business – which form part of our adult self-concept and identity, and something we can feel either proud or ashamed of.

Your ability to attach and form ‘meaningful’ relationships is crucial to your success at work.

It’s said that having Emotional Intelligence is much more useful than academic intelligence. This is all the more understandable if you work as part, or leader, of a team.

An inability to form meaningful human attachments can lead to forming substitute attachments with your inflated false ego and its craving for recognition and status. This is a creative defence against ‘non-existence’…of the dread of being a ‘nobody’ a failure, and unworthy of attention or success.

How does your attachment style and childhood trauma show itself at work?

You will have come out of childhood with deeply internalised beliefs about what you are like, and how likeable you are – as well as your own set of behaviours. If you experienced childhood trauma and developed an insecure attachment style, these behaviours will be either too tight or too loose.

Being too tight means being rigid and inflexible, unable to delegate or trust that anyone else can do a good enough job for you (to meet your high standards).

This may be true in some instances, if staff or colleagues are incompetent and unreliable. However, we need to be aware of how much of this is being set up by ourselves. We then sub-consciously repeat our earlier feelings of being let down and disappointed.

Being too tight also includes having to control and micro-manage everything you can – as a precaution against failure and the searing searchlight of blame and shame being cast over you again.

Someone who it too tight is very hard to please, and they’ll easily see the worst in others – until they’re consistently proven wrong. Their ‘inner child’ is squashed and lacks spontaneity, creativity and joy.

On the other hand, someone who is too loose in their behaviour has weak boundaries in what they disclose about themselves – over-sharing – or in what they’ll do for others.

They struggle to say no, and they also lack self discipline. Their inner and outer life feels shaky, loose and tentative. They are likely to be a people-pleaser whilst ignoring their own needs and pleasure.

They take on too much and then feel taken for granted.

Their inner child is too playful, and they show immature behaviour – which is seen as silly and inappropriate in the workplace, and for which they might be ridiculed or rejected.

Colleagues and staff don’t know where they stand – all the more so if any of them also happen to be one of the 45% of people with shaky foundations too!

What effect do your core beliefs about yourself have upon your performance at work?

The most obvious effects are in the ways you either hold yourself back or push yourself too far.

  • If you lack confidence, feel like a fraud about to be exposed, feel unworthy of someone’s time and respect then you will probably shrink to fit the small box you think you belong in. You will allow others to take advantage of you, or even to take the credit for your good work.

  • If you have a ‘persona’ of confidence that isn’t real you will find a way to trip yourself up and embarrass yourself – to expose your flaws (as you see them).

  • If you crave attention and need to be liked then you are likely to get the opposite, when your staff of colleagues avoid you (or worse they feel embarrassed for you), and you lose their respect.

  • You may find yourself seeking approval and permission to act – due to your fear of getting it wrong if you were to trust your own instincts and experiences.

  • You may become competitive with colleagues and wish them well behind gritted teeth and seething envy or jealousy.

  • You will feel ‘not good enough’ despite promotions, awards and the opinions of others.

  • It will feel unsafe and threatening to speak up – unless you can hide behind the role you play out at work, when you’ll have your well rehearsed script to read from.

  • If you feel that you are only as good as the current project’s success – then you are transferring your worth onto a transient outcome. That’s not any basis for self concept to flourish.

  • If you think that you have to be what other people (particularly ‘authority figures’) want you to be, you’ll be wearing a mask – at the expense of your authenticity and ability to be honest about how you feel, what you think, what you need and prefer to happen.

In short you lose yourself – you don’t fully clock in at work – you are a virtual boss, leader, and colleague despite being there in the flesh.

When you learn to have a solid attachment to yourself and your inner child, you can heal and transcend your own emotional wounds, make peace with the past, and re-parent yourself. Then you will become enabled and empowered to become a better, more effective and successful professional.

You’ll fix the broken pieces and create a much better ‘whole’ you for your work, or your business, to be built upon.

It’s never too late to prepare and coach your own inner child for success in the workplace.

Becoming self-aware is the vital first step.

Aware of how you tend to perceive things, your optimism or pessimism, your courage or self-sabotage, your shaky self-concept, the impact of your body language, behaviour and communication style upon others, and how you are impacted by authority figures, or any weak and vulnerable team members… and how much of an effective team member you are yourself.

Not forgetting the extent to which you are defending your ego, or projecting attributes and intentions upon other people without finding out the facts.

These are some of the many signs of a troubled inner child. A child who doesn’t feel ‘old enough’ or competent enough to be at work – and who messes things up for you when their unhealed wounds are activated.

You owe it to yourself, your family your business and your colleagues to heal your emotional wounds, recover from your early traumas, and make peace with your past.

By doing do you become someone that others are keen to form a healthy attachment to… and someone they really want to do business with!

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy) – where you will find plenty of FREE resources relating to the consequences of lack of emotional attachment and a troubled childhood

Maxine Harley is an author of two published books. She is also an online columnist, blogger for several online sites, contributing writer and a featured expert for Psychologies magazine.


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Looking On The Bright Side

No matter what life throws at you, the challenges you face, and the effort needed to get through it all… there’s always room for optimism. In fact it’s essential!

It can be hard to see the silver lining when the clouds are thick and dark, but the silver glow is still there. You just might not be looking at it from the best angle to clearly see and appreciate it.

The good news is that optimism can be learnt with intention and practice… and the proverbial glass can be seen as half full.

Admittedly that’s harder to do if you’re feeling depressed or overwhelmed, but all it takes is an open mind and a shift in thinking. Only you can do that for yourself.

Psychological studies have shown that optimists:

:: Feel happier and more confident about achieving their goals

:: Seek evidence to support their positive thoughts

:: Dispute negative thoughts

:: Cope better with stress

:: Make plans and take direct action when faced with challenges

:: Make the best of bad news

:: Have higher self-regard and are less likely to show apathy, depression or anxiety

:: Feel more energised, enthusiastic and motivated

:: Behave in constructive ways and adapt better to negative events and serious health issues

:: Tend to engage in health-inducing behaviours and have better physical health

:: Feel more resilient and strong

:: Are aware that positive outcomes are dependant upon their own efforts

:: Don’t give up easily

:: Are more productive in the workplace

:: Are better able to rebuild their lives after traumatic events

That’s an impressive and enviable list I’m sure you’ll agree.

The good news is that optimism can be created and sustained – with good old fashioned ‘mind over matter’.

Your thoughts really do create your reality – and you get more of what you focus upon. So you might as well focus upon the best outcome, and the most generous and compassionate point of view.

Looking on the bright side affects not only yourself, but also those people around you.

Optimism is infectious and we could all do with creating our own regular daily dose!

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy)

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Does Tomorrow Ever Come?

Have you ever procrastinated, and put off until tomorrow (or later) something that could or should be done today? Sometimes it pays to wait, but not always!

Why do we procrastinate?

There are several reasons, such as:

  •  Self-doubt – ‘Will I do it well enough? I’ll probably fail or make a mess of it anyway so I’ll leave it and see what happens instead.’
  •  Fear – of the shame of failure if it’s not done ‘properly’, or of making things worse.
Fear of being judged on what you’ve done and maybe being ridiculed or even rejected.
Fear of success – ‘What if I do a really good job? What will then be expected of me after that?’
  • Overwhelm – ‘I just don’t have time to do this today – maybe I’ll have more time for it another day.’Perfectionism – ‘It might not be perfect right now, so I’d better wait until I’m completely ready to do a perfect job of it.’
  • Laziness – ‘I just can’t be bothered – if I leave it someone else will do it instead.’Ego and narcissism – ‘It’s beneath me…I shouldn’t have to do this’; or ‘I’m in charge and I’ll do it when I’m good and ready.
  • Learned behaviour – ‘That’s just what we all do in my family, and it doesn’t matter.’

How do we manage procrastination?

Become aware of, and understand, your own reason and make the firm decision to change an unhelpful pattern.

Put things into priority order each day – particularly if there’s a deadline for something to be completed by.

The 6 Ps – allocate plenty of time to plan, prepare, produce, polish and present your work or task.

Have someone to be accountable to. We are more likely to complete a task if we are reporting back on our progress.

Clear away distractions and minimise interruptions. These break our productive state of focus and ‘flow’ and it takes a while to get back into it.

No matter how humdrum the task or how resistant you are to completing it – remind yourself of the pleasure of crossing another thing off your to-do list!

Maxine Harley (MSc Psychotherapy)


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Our Limits & Boundaries

Maxine Harley - MSc Psychotherapy

Maxine Harley – MSc Psychotherapy


These are similar and yet different.

In a personal and individual way we’re all ‘limited’ in our self-concept, abilities and behaviour. These personal limits can be changed with self-awareness, intention and repetition.

Our boundaries are the limits we set by choice rather than from old habits or conditioning.

We can set new boundaries with ourselves – (e.g. our time management, eating habits, lifestyle and relationships), as well as creating boundaries with others to clarify how we want and expect to be treated by them. Continue reading

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Throttle Stress Before It Throttles You!

Maxine Harley - MSc Psychotherapy

Maxine Harley – MSc Psychotherapy


 We have a ‘Stress Awareness Day’ each year on 5th November so let’s remind ourselves why we need to keep stress under control, and not allow it to disrupt our health, our family and our life.

A bit of stress is a good thing – it motivates us to get things done – but too much is harmful to the mind and body. Continue reading

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Are You Ready To Step Outside Your Comfort Zone?

Maxine Harley - MSc Psychotherapy

Maxine Harley – MSc Psychotherapy


 Why would you want to? After all it’s not called ‘comfort’ for nothing. Why risk discomfort by choice?

Well, the answer lies in your interest and willingness to explore new aspects of your personality and your potential. Continue reading

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What Motivates You?

Maxine Harley - MSc Psychotherapy

Maxine Harley – MSc Psychotherapy

Motivation is defined as ‘To provide someone with a reason for doing something’. (Longman Dictionary)

 Have you noticed that you need a different sort of motivation for different things?  

If we can’t rely upon self-motivation we can pay a life coach to give us the proverbial kick up the backside – but there’s no guarantee that external sources will make any tangible difference to us.  Continue reading

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Is It Time You Were More Assertive?

Maxine Harley - MSc Psychotherapy

Maxine Harley – MSc Psychotherapy


 Perhaps like many people you think that assertiveness means being stroppy, aggressive, awkward or bossy.  

 If you’re a withdrawn or shy person, and too accommodating to other people’s needs, then the thought of being more visible and vocal might feel strange and even frightening to you. 

 Assertiveness is not about being aggressive or passive. 

Continue reading

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How To Build Mental Grit – The importance of resilience and self-reliance

Maxine Harley - MSc Psychotherapy How to build mental grit

Maxine Harley – MSc Psychotherapy


In 2012 I wrote a different article about this subject which still attracts lots of interest – both online and via one of my books – showing me that the matter of resilience continues to intrigue a wide range of people from a broad range of professions.

The most important thing to remember is that not everyone is built of the same stuff when it comes to being able to create the necessary internal psychological structures – or mental ‘grit’ – to support themselves in times of great challenge, adversity and distress. Continue reading

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