Time To Move On

I’m sure you are all familiar with the old saying: “When at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again”.  In my time as a teacher I must have said it a million times without realising that I was doing the person involved a huge disservice.

How many times have you “tried” to lose weight, give up smoking, get fit, be more positive or assertive? How often have you failed?

Of course the word in itself has no power to keep us stuck but the reality is that when we think about trying it creates a sense of momentum and effort but it has the capacity to leave us wafting  about and going nowhere.

Let me demonstrate. Choose an item , a pen, mug anything that you can move will do.

Try and move it. Really try!!

You will find that you haven’t tried to move it you have either left it exactly where it is or you have actually moved it.

I use this simple exercise with clients who wish to achieve something but have so far failed. They often say I’ve tried this and that, may say they have tried everything.  My observation is that by using the word “tried” they have allowed themselves to feel powerless, stuck in the No Mans Land between wanting and achieving. It gives us permission to fail.

That may sound really harsh but I’ve noticed a consistent pattern where people have found it difficult to change something they say they really want to do. I’m not talking about one or two instances but in many hundreds of people I’ve helped over the years.  The good news is that when people realise they are caught in the “trying” trap and choose to look at things differently they are able to achieve far greater levels of success and do it consistently.  In the first instance the simple act of shifting their language changes things energetically. Their mindset is very different and as a result so is the outcome.

“I’ll try to …….. ” Feels very different to “I will ……”

In the first instance you don’t actually need to know exactly how you are going to create the success. Having the clear intention that you will succeed and that you are prepared to do what it takes to create that success is a very powerful starting point.

Maintain the belief that you will succeed even if it takes several attempts and you are firing up your levels of motivation and commitment in a fundamentally different way to the far more flabby “I’ll try”

Time and time again my clients have proved to themselves that they can succeed once they escape the trying trap and so can you!

 

The past, the present, the future. Where we choose to focus our attention has a profound effect on the quality of our lives.Never Let Your Fear Decide Your Future

Here you can read the 10 steps to stop the past spoiling relationships you have now.

Example 1: When what we have learned in the past is applied to the here and now we have the opportunity to develop new ways of behaving. Making the right choices in the present allows us to look forward to a future free of limiting beliefs and negative patterns of behaviours.

Example 2: If we fail to learn from the past, life has a habit of presenting the same lesson over and over again, until we actually learn and make a change for the better.

An example of this in a relationship: Some people choose the same sort of partners time and time again with disastrous consequences… A client had suffered through a string of terrible relationships. When we analysed what was going on she had always chosen her partner on criteria based on external characteristics, looks, lifestyle etc. When she began to think about the values she thought were important and likely to sustain a long term, loving relationship she realised that her ideal partner would need to be from a very different mould. A few weeks later she met such a man and they are now enjoying life together.

 

You can choose not to hold on to a negative past

Negative emotions are extremely expensive in energy terms and are corrosive to a sense of self worth and wellbeing. Holding on to anger, frustration, hate or a sense of rejection does nothing to get back at the person who has caused the initial hurt.

Understanding that you CAN choose for things to be different, giving yourself permission to express your feelings and then to forgive absolutely, gives you a sense of freedom, control and serenity.

By letting go of baggage many years after experiencing abuse or unhappiness, the clients I have worked with created a different and very positive present, and an exciting future for themselves.

Letting go does not mean forgetting all about the issue, it is about deciding to let go of the negative emotions surrounding the problem. Absolute forgiveness leaves the path clear for peace and space for growth.

When negative emotions have built up over a period of time, people have a tendency to interpret other people’s motives in a particular way. It is a default setting that causes the consideration of every action or lack of action, every word or lack of one from the person who we feel let down by, as being hurtful.

Lack of learning and continued negativity results in the continued interpretation of motives in a particular way so each situation becomes more proof that the negative thinking is right. The result is hurt piles on top of hurt with the potential to destroy the relationship.

Does your default setting take you to a negative place?

Think about the emotion you feel most commonly in the relationship that is causing you pain.

In the last week, which are the five emotions you have felt most commonly? List them:

1:

2:

3:

4:

5:

If you have spent a lot of time feeling negative emotions maybe it is time to break the pattern.

Your past does not have to dictate your future

We can actively choose to do things very differently. We can choose to create a set of empowering beliefs that support the very best future.

  • This is not about giving in or thinking about who is in the right and who is in the wrong.
  • It is about choosing whether you want your present and your future to be better.

Those who have suffered abuse as a child, been bullied or who have lived in unhappy circumstances have the choice to let their awful circumstances blight not only their childhood but their adult life too.

They can bring with them the sense of lack and a belief that they deserve no better, or they can let go of the past and the negative emotions created by their past.

Or

They can make a conscious decision to make adult life count for something else and if they have children, to ensure that their children’s childhood is very different.

 

You have that same choice. A useful place to start is to look at the way you interpret another person’s motive.

 

Step 1 – Identify your emotions.

Identify all the negative emotions you feel on a regular basis. Make a list.

 

Step 2 – What makes you feel this way?

Look at your list and identify what specifically makes you feel that way.

How much of the way you feel is actually based on something from your past? Does it remind you of the way you were treated by a parent or a previous partner? It is not uncommon for a tone of voice or specific actions to trigger powerful emotions from past situations. Have the two situations become confused? Do you need to deal with your baggage from this past relationship rather than let it spoil this one?

 

Step 3 – Change your physiology.

The way you stand, how you breathe, and your facial expressions all impact on the way you feel. If you are feeling sad, or angry or rejected change your physiology before you attempt to change your thinking.

You can do this by giving yourself a physical shake, by dancing round the room, gurning in the mirror, hopping on one leg or doing a silly walk. Dramatically changing your physiology will change your mood and emotional state.

 

Step 4 – Consider a different possibility.

Consider the possibility that the motive you have attached to the person and situation could be different in reality to the one you have assumed.

Is your partner doing and saying (or not doing or saying) something specifically to hurt or annoy you or could there be a different reason? Could it be that their behaviour is more about them?

 

Step 5 – Interpret the motive differently.

Consider how things would be different when you choose to interpret their motive as being less about you and more about them.

 

Step 6Change the trigger to the negative emotion.

People have a tendency to make conditions for feeling emotions. They often make the conditions for feeling positive emotions very difficult to achieve and those for feeling negative emotions very easy.

I will only feel happy when… I have the perfect partner, a top notch job, a huge house, children who never argue and always keep their room tidy, a holiday home on a desert island and.. and.. you get the picture. Even when they achieve all the conditions for achieving happiness the likelihood is that they will simply add more conditions.

I feel rejected… every time my partner is late home from work, or when they don’t have time to talk to me when I phone them at work, or when they respond to a phone call from work, or when they bring work home or when they don’t hear what I say or when they disagree with me or.. or …

You can choose to do it differently. Our emotional state is actually a choice we make!

Make it easy to feel positive emotions:

It is a new day, I choose to be happy. Every time I see someone smile, or I give or receive a hug or a kiss, or I see the beauty of nature or I focus on helping others or I ask for or accept help I will feel happy.

Make a decision to make it more difficult to feel negative emotions:

I will feel rejection only when they kick me in the shin, spit in my eye and tell me they reject me. Rejection only comes if I were to consistently believe in the illusion that it is all about me and when I consistently focus on what I don’t have rather than what I do. Instead I choose to take the opportunity to make the first smile, ask about them, lighten up and enjoy.

Create your own list of conditions for achieving positive and negative emotions.

 

Step 6 – Breaking the pattern.

Most partnerships have a pattern of behaviour and response. Eventually the responses within the relationship become automatic. This is particularly true of relationships where there is negative behaviour going on (including that of parent and child). Each person takes on a role and the initial trigger and response become automatic and an ongoing cycle of negative behaviour is created. There is little room for interpretation – it is as if each person is programmed to behave in that specific way and indeed that is exactly what is happening. Until someone breaks the pattern, the cycle of hurt and unhappiness will continue.

Think about how you have responded to your partner in the past.

Now think about how you might do things differently.

 

Step 7 – Identifying different responses

Think about how it feels to take an active choice to do things differently, to take control of the situation and to know that you have so many more options.

  • Identify the three situations in your relationship that currently give you the most pain.
  • Change your perception of the motive behind the actions that are the problem.
  • Think about how you might do things differently in each situation and create a list of as many possibilities as you can.

It is important that this comes from a positive place within you. This is about changing your responses to the situation not about trying to change them.

Rehearsing your new alternative in your head can be very helpful. Have several alternatives ready for the right circumstance when they happen so you feel prepared.

 

Step 8 – Trying out the non-judgmental response 

Be curious about how things are going to work and remember you are just trying things out, you may need to try the same thing several times or try several alternatives before finding ones which work for you. Remember too that trying something once is unlikely to be a magic bullet.

A small change consistently applied can make an enormous difference over time.

Remember step 3… the tone of voice, your body language and facial expression are all incredibly important. Simply saying words is not enough. See yourself as others see you, watch what is really going on.

 

Step 9Evaluate what is going on

If things work well – celebrate. If it doesn’t appear to work as well as you would like ask yourself “what can I learn from this?”. Think about whether you simply need to persevere with the same thing or whether things need to be done differently in the future.

Make yourself the focus, you are the only thing you can truly control. This is not about failure, it is about experimenting until you find which way works.

 

Step 10 – Get some support and help  

Dealing with your sense of self worth and identity makes an enormous difference to how you feel about life and relationships. Dealing with your own emotional baggage and learning to forgive others and yourself will give you the very best foundation to enjoy a wonderful present and an empowering future. Working with someone you trust and who can help you manage the process can be incredibly helpful.

 

You cannot change the past. What you can do is make sure it doesn’t spoil your present and your future.

 

What Motivates You In Life?What Motivates You

Motivation to live life to the full – where do you find yours? Do you even know what your motivation is? This blog explores the key motivators in life, so you can understand yourself better, and make informed choices to create the life you truly aspire to.

There are many different theories about what motivates us. In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) terms, the universal drivers are pain and pleasure.

  • Some people will be motivated by pleasure – they will be drawn towards things that give them a sense of pleasure and satisfaction.
  • Others will be driven by avoiding pain. Decisions will lead them away from those things which distress and hurt them emotionally.

Of course there are times when everyone will identify decisions based on both but without exception we will favour one over another. It is important to realise that it is not about one being better or worse, they are just different.

There are then a variety of other things that drive and motivate us to be who we are. Choices are made often at an entirely subconscious level, which has a significant impact on lifestyle.

Let’s look at the theory supported by Anthony Robbins…

He describes six different human needs. According to his theory everyone will have two dominant needs and will need all of the first four to some extent.

CERTAINTY

The need for certainty is powerful. People who favour this need often show great determination, courage and resolve. They need to know that things will be certain, that they have some sense of control even if it means putting up with things which are less than perfect.

UNCERTAINTY or VARIETY

Those who are driven by uncertainty crave adventure and variety. They love change and will often change things that are working well simply to get the buzz it creates. They are curious and often playful and adventurous. You will find explorers and extreme sports people at its most extreme edge.

SIGNIFICANCE

For people who are driven to succeed, attainment and success will be high on their list of personal values. They get a sense of self by doing things for others and being needed. They will push the boundaries to make a difference and to be seen as the one who has made a difference.

CONNECTION

Love is the most powerful in the range, and the thing which most people long for deep down. Connection of friends, family, work colleagues, acquaintances are all important to those who are driven for connection.

The last two needs may be present but not always. These are:

GROWTH

There are many who wish to grow and develop personally or constantly work on the growth of others. Learning intellectually, physically, emotionally and/or spiritually is all part of growth.

CONTRIBUTION

This can be contribution to one’s own development or that of others. It can be at the level of wanting to surprise or spoil the family or that of making an ongoing significant contribution to others through personal contact or charitable works to raise money to help others.

Recap: Everyone favours two out of the first four.

 

Case Study: What specifically do workaholics favour? 

Interestingly of those I have worked with, workaholics commonly favour certainty and significance. When I speak to clients they will often use phrases such as “I must succeed, failure is not an option” “I like to be in control”.

When you talk further to them about the life they would aspire to they will identify love as being most important to them. Of course some of them have created loving, stable relationships, yet many others dream of being in such a relationship but have failed to either create or sustain one.

 

Why?

I discovered that workaholics tend to spend a significant amount of energy on underpinning certainty and significance in their lives. This has left little time and energy to find and sustain true love. Moreover I found that they have concentrated on the area of their lives where they feel most comfortable and that is around achievement and success.

Unpick things even more and I often find that there is a profound belief that they are either unworthy or unable to be loved. They are driven to succeed so that they feel better about themselves and more worthy of being loved by others.

The same people often have great connection with others on a large scale, lots of friends and positive relationships with work colleagues. This means that the pain caused by the potential loss of the love of someone special is to some extent softened. As a result they live their lives dreaming of love but they are not quite uncomfortable enough because of the high levels of connection in the workplace to make a radical change.

In the end work takes on a disproportionate significance; there is no time or energy left to look for and to support a loving, passionate relationship. They have become a workaholic.

Consider your own needs… What drives you?

If you answer yes to these then you look for certainty:

Are you someone who likes to know what is what, you like to have routine and feel in control, and to know how things stand. Do you put up with things that are negative rather than rock the boat? Do you crave comfort and wish to avoid pain?

Maybe uncertainty is your crutch:

Are you an adrenalin junkie, do you run from commitment, or end relationships which appear to be getting too intense? Do you love new things but quickly lose interest once you have mastered the skills?

Is significance a need for you?

Do you want to be noticed? Do you feel the need to succeed to make up for a perceived failure in early life (failed 11+ or a school exam for example)? Do you feel at your best when you are doing things for others?

What do you really want out of connection?

Do you want to be loved? Are your relationships in life offering love or connection or both? How important are they to you?

If you have a perfect life, the things that drive you are obviously working well for you. If you feel a yearning for something different it is possible that the basic needs that drive you are not working at the optimum level for you.

To help find the right motivators in your life to meet with your goals of happiness, you can get in touch with me for 1-2-1 coaching or to join a group workshop.

 

Is it possible that marriage is harder for the modern woman than it was for generations past?

Surely the freedoms women enjoy today, and the wealth of choice we have about our own future makes a modern marriage a happier marriage?

These are the concepts I contemplated and issues I addressed in an article published on Your Tango. To find out the answers to these questions, and to read a wealth of fix-it tips for the modern married woman, go to the full article http://www.yourtango.com/experts/miss-gina-gardiner/misgivings-modern-marriage

Time Is A Finite Commodity – Do You Have Enough?

 Learn to spend your time wisely by completing a chart and answering a few short questions. You may never have realized quite how you choose to spend each passing day, but one thing’s for sure… you should find the time to read this blog and make the most of your most precious commodity!

Where does all the time go?

I am always struck by how often I hear about the same theme in different contexts. Lack of time and the negative impact this has on people’s lives. Ask most people about their lives and they will tell you that they never have enough time!

Isn’t modern technology meant to free up our time?

With labour-saving devices, computers, faster modes of transport and convenience foods, why do we seem to have less time than ever to spend with loved ones, to learn and read and simply to reflect? It is because we choose to use the time to pack even more tasks and activities in to our increasingly hectic lives!

How many hours do we have to spend in a lifetime?

During a course I was amazed when we were reminded that each day has 24 hours, which gives us 168 hours in a week, and 8736 hours in a year. In a lifetime of 70 years we have 613200 hours to use. Sounds quite a lot doesn’t it?

Then we were given a table of the number of hours in a lifetime of varying lengths. For example if you live to 100 you have 876,000 hours to spend. Each of these moments can be used once and once only. When you stop and think about it, shouldn’t they be spent wisely?

You might think that spend is a strange word to use but we all make choices about how we spend our time, for most of us these choices are made at an unconscious level and the result is not always as we would wish it to be. We also choose how to spend our money and expend our energy.

How have you have chosen to spend your time so far?

Have you truly made the most of your time? Do you want to go on using your time in the same way in the future?

You may find it useful to complete this chart – give a ball park figure rather than getting bogged down. I’ve put in some headings but use the ones you find appropriate and add any of your own.

 

Activity Hours per week Hours per year  Life time – assume 70 years for this exercise
Work
Sleep
Commuting
Eating
Food shopping
Cooking
Personal care
Laundry
Personal admin – phonecalls, letters, forms etc
Exercise
Family
Relationships
Fun
Learning
Watching TV

 

The chart can be adapted to audit how you spend your working hours. Identify each of the activities you do whilst at work. Consider which of them are helping you achieve your goals. Are you making the most use of your time? Are you busy being busy or really productive? What would make the difference?

  • What do you notice?
  • Was the result what you expected?
  • Do you actively choose how you spend your time?
  • Does the way you spend your time make you happy?
  • How would you like to spend your time in the future?
  • What needs to change if you are to spend your time doing the things you value most?
  • Look forward into the future to the end of your life. Look back over those years and consider how you would like to be remembered?

Managing your time more effectively

Managing time is about prioritising and making choices. It often requires us to create boundaries or to learn to say no – to others and maybe to ourselves.

Even a small change can make a significant difference to the quality of your life – what change could you make today which would make a difference to the quality of your life over time?

 

 

How To Have A Healthy Relationship With Others By Having A Healthy Relationship With Yourself

Seeking the perfect relationship with others is often about learning to have the right relationship with ourselves. In this blog I share some insights into how the way we have learned to view the world affects the way we view ourselves, and consequently the way we perceive others!

Towards the end is a quick quiz – a self-audit to help you understand your perceptions. This is the first step to maximising your potential for happier, healthier personal and professional relationships!

Your relationship with you…

The relationship we have with ourselves is based on a number of things, our genetic make up and hormonal and chemical balance – (nature), how we are bought up – (nurture) and on our interpretation of all our experiences both positive and negative, throughout our lives. Every experience we have is filtered through our senses and through the set of principles by which we measure any experience. Let me give you some examples.

  1. You are in a park. It is a beautiful day. A large hairy dog comes galloping up to you, tongue lolling out. Do you think “What a great dog, isn’t it friendly?” or “Oh no, that great brute is coming for me, look at its huge mouth…!”
  2. You are in the same park sitting on a bench enjoying the sunshine. A stranger comes and sits next to you on the bench. They say “Hello” and try to start up a general conversation. Do you think “Friendly person” and make general conversation with them or think “What do they want? Must move away as I feel threatened”.

Neither response is better or worse than the other but how you respond to outside experiences will make a huge difference to what you expect out of life, the way you live and enjoy your life and the sort of relationships you create with others.

Know you can instigate change…

It is important to understand that you can radically change the relationship you have with yourself if you choose to do so. It is actually a matter of conscious choice. However, to exercise choice you need to be very clear about what you believe and the impact that has on the way you behave.

To do that you need to:

  • Identify the things that work well, protect them, and use them as a model for other positive beliefs and behaviors.
  • Identify beliefs and patterns of behaviour that do not serve your best interests, deal with them and create more positive and productive beliefs and behaviours in their place.

I guarantee that this can be done by anyone who has a real desire to improve their life and their relationships.

Any partnership is really a combination of three relationships…

The first two being a relationship which each individual has with themselves. The third is the relationship the two people have with one another. Whilst I am going to focus on personal relationships the principles hold true for us in a professional context too.

At its best, a truly loving, interdependent relationship makes us more than we would be as separate independent people. It is based on the principles of win-win. Both parties have a commitment to look for solutions that facilitate growth and trust. The relationships are built on mutual trust and respect and communication is open and ongoing.

At its worst, a relationship can be destructive, where power and control play a major part and where there are always winners and losers. Partners constantly strive to get their own way and see giving in as a sign of weakness and defeat. Communication is often sparse or built on misunderstanding. People use the same words but mean entirely different things.

For many people their relationship exists somewhere in the middle ground. There are times when it is great, but that at other times tensions surface and difficulties are experienced usually around particular themes.

Common ones are:

  • Money
  • The way one partner treats and values the other
  • Lifestyle and health
  • Work/life balance
  • Trust and fidelity (perceived or otherwise)

An example would be concern about work/life balance and health. Partner A feels that they spend too much time alone because partner B spends too much time at the office. They feel neglected and unloved. At the same time they are worried about how stressed their partner is and the fact that they drink too much and are carrying too much weight.

If you want to truly understand the relationship with your partner and understand how to make it work even better, you need first to understand the relationship you have with yourself and then need to be open to understanding the relationship your partner has with themselves.
Self Audit

So what sort of relationship do you have with yourself? Think carefully about the following questions. Be as honest as you can. There is no right or wrong answer. The questions are designed to help you understand yourself and your approach to life even better than you do at present.

How do you introduce yourself when you meet someone new at work?

How would you introduce yourself if you were at a party?
Do you still introduce yourself as what you do?
“I’m a financial advisor” or “I work in insurance”

How would you introduce yourself if you were not able to use what you did professionally as part of your description?
Do you find that more difficult?

When you look in the mirror when no one else is about.
Who do you see?
What sort of person are you?
Think about how you would describe yourself to others?

You could start with describing the values you live by:
I’m kind
I’m hardworking
I have a strong sense of integrity etc.

What are your unique abilities?
What are you good at?
What do you enjoy doing?

How would you describe yourself physically?
How do you feel about yourself?
Do you like yourself as you are?

How highly do you value yourself?
Do you esteem yourself?
What gives you your sense of worth?
Is just being you enough?

Do you rely on the opinion of others or on what you can do for others to give you a sense of who you are?

When do you feel the best about yourself? Do you ever feel great about yourself?

Take some time out to think about the times you have felt really good about yourself during your life to date. Are there any common patterns?

Consider the following statements and decide if they are: Always true? Sometimes true? Never true?

  • I feel best about myself when I’m at work
  • I feel best about myself when I’m in social situations
  • I feel best about myself when I’m in private situations at home
  • I feel best about myself when I have drunk alcohol
  • I feel best about myself when I feel I’m in control of the situation
  • I feel best about myself when I feel I am needed
  • I feel best about myself when I am doing something for other people
  • I feel best about myself when I am winning
  • I feel best about myself when other people notice what I am doing and say well done
  • I feel best about myself when other people notice what I am doing and say thank you
  • I only believe I am doing a good job if other people notice and tell me
  • I always feel physically attractive and good about my body
  • I believe in myself at all times – I don’t need others to tell me I’m doing well
  • I believe in myself in the work place – I don’t need others to tell me I’m doing well
  • I believe in myself socially – I don’t need others to tell me I’m doing well
  • I believe in myself within my special relationship – I don’t need my partner to reassure me all the time
  • I’d really like to have a special relationship but I’m not attractive / good enough

The way in which we see ourselves may be very different to the way others see us. We may feel very confident and know our worth in one situation yet feel incredibly inadequate and of little worth in another.

If our sense of self-worth is generated more by external verification than by an internal sense of self-worth then there is a constant need to be recognised, praised and thanked. When this is achieved it feeds the need for more recognition because it gives us pleasure. When it is not forthcoming it creates a sense of failure and lack of self-esteem, which is potentially destructive.

Like all things, we need a balance between the extremes. If you are entirely self-absorbed and consider yourself perfect in every way it is highly unlikely that you will be the perfect partner, employee or boss. It offers no scope for self-improvement or personal growth.

Creating a strong sense of self-worth and confidence with a desire to be even better is the ideal. Determining our strengths, learning to love ourselves for who we are – wobbly bits included – is a fantastic starting point to creating a wonderful life.

 

 

This article offers strategies to help those of you who put your focus too heavily in the past or in the future and in doing so neglect to maximise the wonder of the here and now.

 

The treasure of time

Time is a precious commodity, especially when you consider that a lifetime of 70 years only has around six and a quarter million hours. Not a lot when you take out the time necessary for sleeping, eating, washing, shopping and working.

Each moment is precious and whether it relates to the past, the here and now or the future it is important to live each moment to the full.

Living in the past

Too great a focus on the past means that the present and future are short changed. Too little and the lessons that experience and living can teach us are likely to be missed.

Living in the future

Too great an emphasis on the future and we waste the precious gift that each current moment offers. Too little thought about the future leaves us ill prepared to deal with life’s challenges, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and financial. To know the needs of the future and only to enjoy the moment is feckless in the extreme.

Time to strike a balance

There needs to be a balance. Use the past to teach us the lessons for the present and the future. Plan sensibly for the future but learn to enjoy the present and to make the most of every moment.

Here are 10 strategies which help you get the most out of each moment. They don’t expect you to find more time in your over stretched day but help you to make a conscious choice about how you use the moment and feel about it.

Step 1

Start your day by taking 10 deep breaths in to the count of 4, hold for 8 and out for 4. As you do so say to yourself, “It is a new day. I choose to be happy and look for the beauty and wonder within the day.

Step 2

Choose a different sense to focus on for the day and as you go through your normal day make a conscious decision to notice:

  1. What you see – look for colour, pattern, texture, form, contrast etc. in all that you see. E.g. As you notice the rain making a pattern on the windscreen of your car or the train window.
  2. What you hear – be conscious of the sounds around you, at home, travelling or at work. Notice the variety of sound, the volume, harmony or discord.
  3. What you feel – notice the texture underfoot, the feel of a soft jumper or shirt on your skin, the feel of the razor as you shave, or the moisturiser you put on your face, the silky skin when you give someone a kiss.
  4. What you smell – the coffee, or smell of bacon frying, aftershave or conditioner on clothes, the pungent smell of cleaning materials or the smell of someone hot with exercise.
  5. What you taste – bitter, sweet or sour.

Think of the language you would use to describe it.

Step 3

Make a conscious decision to smile at people. Notice their responses, expect none but enjoy it when people smile back.

Step 4

Take a short time out from your busy day – 10 minutes to simply be. Sit still and let your thoughts go where they will. Start with the intention of being curious about where your mind wants to take you.

Step 5

Be aware of the physical world around you. Look for the weed that has grown out of a crack in the wall, watch the clouds as they change shape. There is no need to make new time for this simply be conscious of things in your every day circumstances. Be open and curious.

Step 6

As you eat and drink anything be conscious of the aroma and taste, feel the texture in your mouth. Try to identify the different ingredients within a dish.

Step 7

Instead of watching TV, have a conversation about the day. What you have noticed or been curious about. Be equally curious about their day.

Step 8

Make a random act of kindness during the day to a complete stranger. It doesn’t have to be anything big but it needs to be unsolicited and with out expectation of any return. Let someone out into the stream of traffic, opening a door, helping someone carry a bag. No matter how small it will make a difference to the other person’s day, and to yours.

Step 9

Take the time and trouble to notice something someone has done for you and thank them. Even better if it is someone whose efforts usually go unnoticed!

Step 10

Collect gratitude’s. As you lie in bed just before you go to sleep think about at least 5 things you have been grateful for within the day. They can be as simple and small or as grandiose as you choose.

Make every day count for you and for others. Live this day as if it were going to be your last. Live the experiences of the day and be determined to enjoy it.

 

 

Effective time management is something many people wrestle with on a daily basis. I have revealed many strategies in numerous articles that provide effective techniques such as:

  • Creating effective boundaries
  • Learning to say no
  • Utilising time saving techniques to ensure you don’t duplicate effort

Once mastered, would assume that you have cracked the issue of managing your time well, yet many people find the time they have free is dominated by that voice in their head.

What does that voice sound like to you?

There is the voice which constantly nags about things you have done or said which you realise with hind sight, it would have been better if you had hadn’t.

  • Why didn’t you keep quiet?
  • Why did you behave in a way you knew would attract negative consequences?

There is the voice that harangues you because you failed to say what you really think, or you wish you told someone you loved them or were sorry while you had the chance. It tells you that should have stood up to the work place bully.

  • Why didn’t you say something?
  • Why didn’t you say what you really meant?

 

There is the voice which brings work home and reminds you about all the jobs which need to be done, discusses all the options, gets you planning or rehearsing the interview you are going to attend in a few days time.

  • And then there’s this to do…
  • And don’t forget that you must plan for that…

 

There is the voice which tells you that you are not good enough, that you have failed yet again and that it is no surprise because you have so little worth.

  • You are stupid.
  • You are worthless.

So, what is the voice in your head?

Many say that the voice in our head is our unconscious mind. It can be useful to think of it in this way, as there is usually an underlying reason which explains its presence. Deal with that and the voice is easy to manage.

How loud is the voice in your head?

Personal experience and the work with clients has demonstrated that the size and significance of the perceived issue appears to have little or no significance in relation to the volume and persistence of the voice in our heads. The voice is often at its quietest when we are busy. It only begins to be a real problem for the majority of people in their personal time and for many of those is at its loudest in the dark lonely hours when they are desperately trying to sleep.

Do we simply have to put up with this voice? Are we destined to be victims to the broken down record which goes around and around in our head? The answer is No!

The impact the voice has on you can be controlled!

In all things we have a choice. If you choose to deal with the problem, there are many things you can do. You will need to experiment as different things work for different people in different circumstances.

If the voice persists or if you find your personal time or sleep is being affected you may find that working with an experienced coach can be really helpful.

  1. The Mountain Or Molehill Test – The passage of time makes a huge difference to the way we feel about things. An incident, which feels like the end of the world, can appear insignificant after a few hours, days or weeks. If you have something that is really getting to you, one quick way to silence the voice in your head is to consider the following questions:
  • In the grand scheme of things is this a mountain or a molehill situation?
  • Will this incident feel as significant tomorrow? In a weeks time? Six weeks? Next Year? If you were at the end of your life looking back?
  • At what point will you be able to look back and laugh or at least smile about this?
  • How long will it take before this becomes a great story to tell a mate over a drink or dinner?
  • If it is going to become a molehill in a while why let it be a mountain?
  • Why not give it molehill status now?
  1. Interrupt The Flow – The brain works rather like a record or CD. Thought patterns work like the patterns engrained into the disc. Even though vinyl records have now become a collectors pieces we still use the expression “going on like a broken record” to describe how thoughts seem to stick and constantly repeat themselves in our head. If you wanted to stop a record or CD delivering its usual pattern of sounds you simply need to interrupt the pattern on the disc by scratching them with a sharp object. We can interrupt the constant stream of negative thoughts or sounds. There are a number of ways to do this:
  • Do something very different. Watch or listen to something that makes you laugh. When you can do something different, which also changes your physiology, the results are far more powerful. The results are even more profound when it is something that makes you laugh. Next time you are feeling low, when the voice is at its most insistent get up and try a variety of silly walks around the house. Clients report that having physically done this a few times not only does it work really well but that just the thought of doing it becomes enough to break the pattern as it makes them smile.
  • Exercise. Go and cook or make something, work in the garden. Changing your physical state will change your mental state too. The change of activity and release of endorphins, which exercise releases, can help put things in perspective. Asking your unconscious mind to find a solution or to undertake the mountain / molehill strategy before starting to run or cycle can be incredible helpful too.
  1. Tell It To Shut The _____ Up! – For some simply telling the voice that it is not being helpful, to visualise a large switch or dial and imagine turning it off is all it takes. Making the decision to take control is what makes the difference for them.
  1. Learn The Lesson – When the voice is nagging you for things you have or haven’t done one strategy is to ask yourself what is the underlying lesson behind the voice? What learning could I take from this situation that would be helpful in the future? Think about what situation has given rise to that nagging voice. Recreate that situation in your mind with a different behaviour, one which you know would lead to success. What would that look and sound like? How would it make you feel? What could you learn from this? Thank the voice for giving you the opportunity to learn and let your unconscious mind know you have taken the learning forward so it can now stop.
  1. Compartmentalizing – Learning to compartmentalise can help you manage the voice. Visualise putting work issues into a brief case or a box, which you will pick up again on the way to work. Using the journey to demark what is work time and when the time becomes yours can be useful. Create a point in the journey where you always make the change over. Some find they need a neutral space between work and home. Use a section of journey like the air chamber in a submarine, which acts as the buffer between the sea and the inside cabin, can help.
  1. Change Your Perception – Perception is everything. You filter everything that happens in your life and interpret it according to your values, belief system and prior experiences. Understanding that your personal perception is not a guarantee that you are always right, can be very helpful. How you interpret another person’s response makes an incredible difference to how you feel and to the voice in your head. Be open to the possibility that there are alternative rationales to the one you have created. It is not always about you.
  1. Do Something With It – You are being kept awake, that voice in your head is constantly telling you about all the things that need doing or is bursting with ideas. It is far better to get up and capture the ideas, create a list of all things that need to be done, or write the letter saying sorry or stating your case. Once you have done everything that can be done practically at this time you are far more likely to be able to sleep. You can take any actions needed the next morning.
  1. Acknowledge It’s Too Late – A number of clients have talked about the voice that constantly regrets that they didn’t tell loved ones, who have died, how much they loved them. Writing a letter where they can say everything they need to can offer a positive way forward. Actually verbalising how they truly feel to someone else can also be helpful too. I believe that learning the lesson so that we take the time to value loved ones and friends and to thank people for the difference they make to our lives (even though it may feel embarrassing) can have a profound effect on not only silencing the voice in our heads but the quality of our lives.

There are any numbers of strategies you can use. The important thing for us all is to realise we don’t have to be a slave to that part of us which wants to take over and destroy the precious time we have by being a negative and persistent voice.

I’ll Start Living When….

I’ll Start Living When…. 10 Tips For Living In The Moment.

If you find yourself saying “I’ll do what I really want when… I’ve finished the project… when I’ve got that next promotion… When I make Director… When I have become a multi millionaire.”…

 If you miss a date with a loved one, or a important milestone in your child’s life, or you put off finding a soul mate until you are successful (on your terms)…

If you find personal goals getting in the way of living…

 

You need to understand time and how to live in the moment!

Whilst it does have a positive impact on achieving your professional goals, make no mistake such choices have a significant impact on your quality of life and your future emotional, spiritual and physical health over the long term.

There are three dimensions of time: the past, the present and the future. To live a healthy and productive life we need to balance living with all three.

Living In The Past

The past has much to teach us. Indeed life often throws us the same experience dressed up in a variety of guises until we learn the lessons. Let me give you an example. Why is it that so many people have one disastrous relationship after another? They choose the same type of people, behave in the same way and get the same results over and over again.

The goal is to learn the lessons the past offers us, and once we have, the ingrained beliefs can be transformed – as a result the choices we make and patterns of our behaviour change.

The past offers us all the opportunity to understand how what we believe drives how we behave. Learning how to behave differently is not as hard as you might think, being open to the possibility is often all it takes to start the process. Understanding that everything we do or fail to do is actually a matter of choice moves the process on enormously.

Lesson: If you stay stuck in the past, always looking back; either wishing that the present was as good as the past has been, or constantly regretting what has been, wishing things had been different – then the best that the present has to offer remains unnoticed.

 

Living In The Future

If your attention is always on the future, chasing the next goal, constantly striving for something just out of reach, you miss the precious gift of the here and now. The workaholic as an example: Workaholics often wake up to this realisation just as they retire from work. Living in the future runs the risk of waking up to find you have no personal interests, no one special to share your time with and no sense of who you are when you are not being the professional you.

Workaholics in my experience focus almost exclusively on the future and their goals both short and long term. They constantly defer living in the here and now as they are busy chasing the dream, which they believe will bring them happiness. Workaholics are convinced that they are working hard to provide a good future for themselves and their loved ones. They calculate the cost of a lost present very differently to their partners.

Getting the balance right is important, if you never give a thought to the future, you are likely to fall short of fulfilling your potential growth and find yourself in difficulty, financially if nothing else.

Lesson: In the ongoing struggle to achieve ever more success there is no time just to be… to stop and stare or to smell the roses. Talk to most workaholics and they have little idea how to relax and enjoy the moment. The concept is alien to them and they find it most uncomfortable. They see no reason why anyone would want to do it.

 

Living In The Now

Here are my top ten tips to learning to live in the moment, they are designed to fit in with a busy schedule and are just a starting point, they may appear inconsequential but done regularly they start to have a profound effect.

  • As you wake up each morning spend a couple of minutes breathing deeply. Breathe in deeply to the count of 2, hold it for 4 and breathe out to 4. As you breathe be conscious of exactly how each part of your body is feeling.
  • Tell yourself that you choose to be happy today and that you will find time to enjoy this day to the full. (Once past it is gone forever.)
  • As you take your shower or bath in the morning be conscious of how the water feels on your skin. Feel the temperature of the water and the sensation of the soap or shower gel on your skin. Contrast that with the roughness of the towel or the softness of your robe.
  • During the day stop and take a small amount of time to consciously notice your surroundings. Use each of your senses in turn, what can you smell or hear, look for the colour or texture of things around you. Be aware of how you are feeling. Even five minutes out of your busy day done on a regular basis will make a difference.
  • Smile, and make a conscious decision to make someone you pass in the corridor or lift to smile back. Be aware of how it makes you feel.
  • Create five small random acts of kindness during your day. They could be a simple as letting a fellow driver out of a side turning or helping someone with their bag. Notice how it makes you feel.
  • Do something, which makes you smile or laugh each day. Be conscious of how you feel when you laugh.
  • As you travel to or from work take the opportunity to observe an aspect of nature. Look at the sky – see the cloud formation or look at how the trees are moving with the wind, look at the individual petals of a flower, or watch the raindrops making a pattern on the train window.
  • Set time aside within your busy timetable. Plan your time over a week or fortnightly cycle. Set aside time each week to enjoy simply for now. A quiet time to walk with no other intention than to enjoy it, or time to spend with your significant other.
  • Just before you go to sleep think of five things that you have been grateful for during the day. They can be as small or as significant as you choose.

Maybe it is time to start living now rather than waiting for your real “life” to begin once you have achieved professional success. The danger is that by the time you are ready to “live” you may be on your own or your health will have suffered in the mean time.

 

 

Management Speak Top 10 Tips: It Is Not What You Say It Is The Way That You Say It

As a Manager you have a unique opportunity. You have the power to make a positive difference to each individual in your team, and at the same time, create a knock-on positive effect through them to everyone they deal with. But to do this, you need to communicate in the right way. Read on to find out my top 10 tips for managerial success through the power of speech.

 

Before diving straight in…

Lets get some essential information straight first – vital if you want to create a team of people who respect you as their manager.

Facts:

  • People sometimes say things in a way or at a time that makes others feel worthless or resentful.
  • Powerful messages often lose their impact because the recipient focuses on the bad delivery rather than on the real issue.

Knowing that it isn’t what you say, but the way that you say it may seem obvious, but there are other factors to consider:

  • Modelling good behaviour is a great way of teaching your team to be mindful of their behaviour too – so it is essential to communicate in the right way.
  • You can say really difficult things and still maintain a positive relationship with your staff.
  • The culture you create within your team, department or organization will make a significant difference to the way people will respond to your feedback.
  • When your team understand that you have their best interests at heart, constructive feedback is welcomed by all.

Think about the way people have said difficult things to you. What approach was helpful? What made you feel bad? As a Manager you have the opportunity to make a positive difference to each individual in your team and through them to everyone they deal with.

 

A few simple principles… My Top 10 Tips

If these are followed it can save an enormous amount of difficulty for you and for the person on the receiving end.

  • Always treat people with respect. Whatever they have done or failed to do, treating them as if they are idiots will get you nowhere in the long run.
  • Create a good rapport with the individuals in your team. When you need to give hard messages you will find the time taken to create good rapport and trust really pays huge dividends.
  • Public humiliation is never appropriate (however tempting it may be). You make an enemy for life, you are seen as a bully and your reputation will be damaged far more than you realize.
  • Consider why you are so angry, irritated, let down. The intensity of our own emotion is often more about us than it is about the particular incident we are dealing with. If you have a difficult message to deliver remember to focus on the learning you want to come out of it rather than how bad it has made you look.
  • Never fight fire with fire. If you are angry or upset it is much better to walk away and deal with it once you are in full control of yourself.
  • Plan what you want to say and why. Things said on the hoof often leave you with even greater problems for later. The more significant the issue the greater the need to plan.
  • Choose an appropriate place and time – balling someone out in the corridor is inappropriate.
  • Consider the tone of voice you use. Shouting, being dictatorial, and nagging all have a negative impact on the listener. Negative voices often bring up past issues and carry a punch with is disproportionate to the current event.
  • Challenge the unwanted behaviour rather than the person themselves. That way you are dealing with an isolated issue.
  • Never burn your bridges – it is a long walk round. Always look for a way forward. Involve the other person in creating a win- win solution where ever possible.