For over 10 years I worked in learning and development, creating courses and online training for multinational companies. Whilst doing that I learnt a lot about how people learn and how we hold and retain information.
There are many ways to give information but to give information which sticks and is remembered, now there's an art form.
As humans we all absorb information through our senses and we don't all absorb information in the same way, but why should you as an entrepreneur care?
Why should learning styles matter for a professional?
Because we're all in the business of giving and sharing information. Whether you think it or not every time you speak you're sharing information and if you don't know about learning styles you're probably getting incredibly frustrated because you have to repeat yourself over and over or because someone just doesn't get what you're trying to tell them.
It also works for yourself, if you've ever been told something and its not sunk in or you have a list of 10 things to buy and you never remember them all.
The information we receive can be communicated in different ways. Understanding your style can enable you to request information in a way which you find easy to understand and remember.
I love improving efficiency and also making life easy so learning styles is top of my list when it comes to helping people ease their frustrations.
The most common learning styles
There are many profiling tools out there from Belbin's team types to Myers Briggs but I like to use the following two. I chose these for you because we're not profiling teams in large companies, we want simple tools to help us understand ourselves better. These two are simple, quick tools and give you enough for your needs.
Before we get into these a quick few words of warning, I've seen these tools used many times to put people in boxes. This doesn't account for the complexities of being human. We are all neuroplastic, ie we're constantly learning, so I encourage an approach based on awareness and flexibility rather than labelling people. We all have the ability to access all of these styles, my question is always what would be helpful to you, rather than a rigid 'I'm an x'.
1) Honey and Mumford's Learning Styles. Based on the work of Kolb this approach breaks down learning styles into 4 areas. Pragmatist, Activist, Theorist and Reflector. Below highlights the characteristics for each of the areas. You can be more than one.
Pragmatist - These people like to see the real world application of something. Games and abstract scenarios don't work for them. They like to experiments, try it out and see if it works.
Activists - These people learn by doing. They need to get their hands dirty and have a non-biased approach to new things. They jump in with both feet and give themselves fully to the learning experience.
Theorist - These people like the models, concepts and facts. They need to see the theory behind the learning. They like to analyse, theorise and bring new learning into a new model or formula.
Reflector - These people like to step back and observe, they like to take in all the information before giving their thoughts and opinions. They like to look at all the perspectives and then contribute to the learning.
As you can see all of these have their benefits and all can be useful to aiding the ability to absorb and retain information. Perhaps think about which styles you are more comfortable with, ask yourself is this helpful for you. Also asking what other people prefer and aiming to give information in a style which they find easy. Understanding this can really improve your success.
2) VAK. This is an NLP technique I learnt many years ago and it's still one of my favourites. I use this with all my clients to understand how they think so I can deliver information in a way which matches them. This model breaks down into our 5 senses Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic, Olfactory and Gusfactory. I've excluded the O and G as we don't tend to lick and sniff things as our most used option in a business context.
Visual - what we absorb through our eyes. If this is your preferred sense when recalling a memory you'll see it like a picture. You'll use your hands when talking and also visualise images easily.
Auditory - what we absorb through our ears. If this is your preferred sense how something sounds will be important to you, you'll love words and how they sound. You'll have an attuned ear which picks up on the smallest sounds.
Kineasthetic - what we absorb through feeling. If this is your preferred sense you'll feel the atmosphere of the room, you'll wear your heart on your sleeve and how someone is feeling will really matter to you.
As with the previous model you can be more than one. Knowing your ability means you can use your strengths to receive information in your preferred style eg visual people need it written down, auditory need it spoken and kinaesthetic people need to feel it's right.
I explore learning styles when I work with clients so if you'd like to know more about your preferred balance and how this impacts your actions and communications, book a free Mindset Review today.
I hope this post has helped you to realise the importance of learning styles and given you two simple ones which you can get started with.
It's always nice to hear your findings, so feel free to share your style in the comments and lets continue the conversation.
Until next time
Your values are what makes you, you. They're your inner moral compass and let you know what's right and what's wrong. They can be very powerful and when you go against them it can negatively affect both your mental and physical health.
What I find is that most people don't know what they're values are.
So if you're finding yourself conflicted in your work, life or struggling with stress related illness maybe it's time you make sure you're not fighting your inner moral compass on a daily basis.
A previous client of mine put it so elequently:
"I reached the top level of my industry by never compromising my values. Regardless of if that meant losing out on additional income or financial growth. For me success without integrity isn’t success at all, it’s sacrifice." Lisa Holroyd
Any business problem, especially for solopreneurs or small teams reflects a personal challenge. When you're not right, the business isn't right and how can you feel right when you don't know what's important to you?
Many of my previous clients have pinned their values up on their notice board at work or on their fridge at home as a constant reminder to follow what's important to them, they find it makes decision making a lot easier.
It's also helpful to know you values in priority order as this can help you make those really tough decisions. For example if making one decision answered one value but making the opposite choice matched another, eg tell the person the truth or hold on to the respect for a colleague. Tough choice but if you knew that truth was higher on your values list, you'd feel more confident to make that choice. So a priority values list can really help you in many areas of your life.
I have a really nifty way of finding out the priority order of your values using unconscious strength testing. Here's a picture of a group doing it at a workshop last year. It's great because your unconscious knows the truth and you don't have to force yourself to decide.
Your values are fundamental to your happiness and it's always really interesting when you suddenly realise how people with different values affect your interactions and relationships. I also teach you how to increase your confidence whilst also respecting other people's values. If you suffer with self-doubt or imposter syndrome, this can be a life changing revelation.
In summary your values are in integral part of who you are, if you feel hurt by someone else's comments, find it hard to let go of particular conversations or feel at loggerheads with yourself, your values will be to blame.
If you'd like to find out what your values are, in a prioritised top ten list and learn how to respect others whilst keeping your values intact apply for the Refreshed Minds Mindset programme.
Mindset Programme - Apply Here
For now, notice when something hurts, notice what you get on your soapbox about or what you can't stand in others. All of these are clues as to what really matter to you and therefore to the values which you hold dear.
Until next time
Growing up in the countryside I've always been an avid lover of nature but recently I've discovered studies which demonstrate it's health benefits far outweigh just that nice fuzzy feeling you get from the fresh air on your face.
This study from Japan’s Chiba University on 280 subjects in their 20s showed that just 30 minutes in the forest environment promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity. In effect time spent amongst the trees made the subjects less amped, calming their fight or flight and boosting their rest and digest systems.
Trees can soothe the spirit too, in this study 498 healthy volunteers were studied for the psychological effects of forest bathing. The study found that being amongst the trees resulted in less hostility and depression.
Still not convinced? In 2009 Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School found increased NK (natural killer) cell activity in the week after time spend in the forest, a benefit which lasted a month after each weekend in the woods. These NK cells are in the immune system and provide rapid-response to viral infected cells and tumor formation. Spending time in the trees can promote a healthy immune system and cancer prevention.
All of this research, and a personal love of nature is why when I decided to create a workshop to support entrepreneurs to reconnect with their true selves I chose to deliver the workshop in a woodland setting.
The Reconnect With You Workshop
It is also the reason why I chose to build my office last year in the garden, amongst the trees. In the past I've rented office space in the city and also in a wellbeing centre but you just can't match the health benefits and calming feeling of being amongst nature.
The Refresh Shed
Need a healing, self-development day in the woods?
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to take a step back to think, to reconnect to what's important to you and to understand the way you think so you can be better equipped to deal with life's challenges. All the details for my next Reconnect With You workshops are below.
Make sure you get out amongst those trees and enjoy all the health benefits it brings for us busy entrepreneurs.
Until next time
A statistic often banded around is that 75% of people suffer from public speaking anxiety, however the source of this particular figure is illusive. Having said that there is evidence which suggests that 'glossophobia,' as it's called, is still one of our biggest fears. Today I’ll share with you my 5 steps for relieving public speaking anxiety.
Why presentation nerves are normal
According to cognitive psychologist and business neuroscientist Lynda Shaw, this is due to our desire to be part of a group, (I explained this in this blog post, How Fear Holds Us Back) as Linda says "With so much uncertainty in this current age, group membership is increasingly vital. Effectively we want to stand out less and merge into a group more. This affects our ability and desire for public speaking.”
“We are fearful of telling people what we think because of the repercussions we believe this has on our group membership, magnified further by the power of online communities and social media,” she said. “It has become so easy to shame people anonymously.”
Nerves are a natural part of our fight or flight response which activates whenever we perceive a danger. Simply put, your body is preparing you to fight a tiger but you're stood in front of your peers or sat in a chair. Your body corses with adrenaline making you fidgety, you also sweat, lose your words and even feel sick. This is a natural part of human functioning but that doesn't mean you can't learn and overcome it.
Below are my 5 steps to relieving public speaking nerves. These steps have been tried and tested both personally and also with many of my clients, with great results.
5 steps for relieving public speaking nerves
To make this exercise easier I've created a free 'Relieving Public Speaking Nerves Worksheet' which you can download by clicking below. This worksheet leads you through each of the steps above, giving examples and some great questions to get you thinking and make sure you get the best results from this activity.
Download your free Relieving Public Speaking Nerves worksheet below....
Thats it for this week, remember that nerves are just a normal part of human experience and just because you currently experience something one way, doesn't mean your brain can't learn another.
Until next time
We all know that dreaded feeling of fear, the niggling and creeping feelings of what may happen and how it's all going to go wrong or how you're not capable of doing something. Fear can hold us back from stepping up, stepping out and making our businesses what we truly feel we're capable of.
Today we're talking about how fear holds us back because self-awareness is the first step to making a change happen. I've created a 'Fear Analysis Exercise' which you can download. This will provide you with questions to help you to uncover your individual behaviours and beliefs about fear, because once you understand it, you have a better opportunity to change it.
Why we fear
Imagine for a moment a herd of zebras. They're on the move, looking for somewhere with plenty of food and water. Where is the most dangerous place in the herd to be?
Answer: On the outer edges or anywhere away from the pack.
This is the same for humans, we are naturally a pack mammal so stepping up and out makes us naturally feel we're in the most vulnerable and dangerous place. In modern life this manifests in our feelings of fear of public speaking, fear of success, fear of marketing to our fullest, fear of going to networking meetings, fear we're not good enough, fear of asking for finances etc.......
In business this is pretty much where we put ourselves constantly, out on the edge, standing out. We're pretty much always saying 'cooee, look at me!!' We're constantly creating new ideas, putting ourselves out there and thinking about how we can stand out.
Our mind's natural reaction is to say, 'what the hell are you doing'.......'sit down, shut up and get back within your pack i.e. your comfort zone.'
How fear manifests for business owners
If you're experiencing any of the following, you're experiencing feelings of fear:
- Deep down you feel you're capable of achieving more but you don't take action to make it happen.
- You're a magpie, constantly distracted by the lovely stuff rather than your to-do list.
- You don't put yourself out there because you feel you'll be judged.
- You procrastinate and those things on your priority list, never get to be an actual priority.
Fear plays a part in all of these behaviours.
I'd like to give you an opportunity to assess your individual behaviours and question whether these are done because of fear........once we understand ourselves we can then take steps to change it.
Fear Analysis Exercise
Today I challenge you, for the next week, to notice what you're doing, when you're procrastinating, avoiding, getting distracted etc and take a few moments to notice what your thinking/fearing at the time.
This can be so enlightening because so often our behaviours are habitual, unconscious and we don't actually take time to be self-aware.
To make this easier I've created a 'Fear Analysis Exercise' sheet which you can download and print. Use this to note down your findings and it gives you the really good questions to help you uncover the impact this fear is having on your decisions, actions and behaviours.
Enter your details below and I'll send it to your inbox so you can get started.
Need more help?
Sometimes we struggle to see our own thoughts and beliefs so if you need help with this exercise, get in touch. Often someone else guiding you and asking the right questions just makes everything flow more easily. I can also help you take the next step and work through the changes you'd like to make too.
Remember: Fear is our natural defence when we feel unsafe, anything you can do to make yourself feel more capable, strong and resourceful will minimise fear and even make it disappear.
Until next time
Why do so many people suffer from negative self talk, why does this happen and what can you do to change it? Just so you know I don't prescribe over crazy positivity like the world is amazing etc....I focus on the science.
Today I'll be sharing with you what shapes our self talk, the impact it has on our day-to-day lives, along with 3 simple techniques you can use to improve your mindset, energy and motivation.
The reality of self talk, a quick story....
I don't know about you but as a busy entrepreneur my self talk seems to never shut up. My head is constantly awash with a running to-do list and endless tasks.....then out of nowhere
A little voice says.....'Why are you bothering, you know you're no good at this.'
I try and ignore it, distract myself and crack on but not a moment later I hear......
'No, seriously...just close shop and get a job.........'
Before I know it my head is swimming in negativity (which I know is not good for me) and I feel like a failure....
Whilst this crazy inner dialogue continues I can also rationally think AT THE SAME TIME....that I'm being ridiculous and need to stop but it doesn't seem to make a difference.
Isn't being a human amazing!!!
Within about 5 minutes I can go from getting on with my day quite happily to a self-doubting, negative wreck.
Sound familiar? If so read on, I'm going to explain why this happens and then give you 3 tips you can use to change your self talk.
The science of self talk
I believe that a good understanding is the first pillar of building natural confidence. If you don't know what's happening how can you fix it?
PS. This is what most solutions lack in my opinion. They give you the tips but don't empower you with the understanding. When you know what's going on and why, you can implement the tips much more effectively.
These 'negative' thoughts emanate from our survival instinct, our basic need to keep ourselves safe. This is the fundamental role of your subconscious mind and in order of importance, keeping safe is above all else.
Our negative inner dialogue serves as a barometer reminding us of things which our unconscious believes we need to assess in order to be 'safe'. In the example I gave above the fear stems from feelings of insecurity eg I may look stupid, fail, lose or embarrass myself.
To keep you 'safe' your mind will throw anything it needs to at you to make sure you listen. And it's efficient, it knows what will have the biggest impact. It will not waste it's time with insignificance, it goes straight to the jugular. If you are majorly affected by what others think, guess what......your mind will play on that. If success is important to you it will say what if you fail etc.
Whats more, you are a survival mammal so you look for danger and threats more than you look for pleasure. Your brain is geared to highlight these 'negative' things, it's human nature. That doesn't mean those thoughts are true, it just mean's you're a human.
There isn't a single person on the planet who doesn't have inner self talk and we all have to keep it in check from this barometer of keeping us safe. You are certainly not alone!!!!
3 effective techniques for changing your self talk
If you're finding your self talk is overwhelming or having a negative impact on your motivation and energy try one or all of these techniques.
- Don't listen - often self talk is fuelled by our analytics. We don't just think the thought, we analyse it's meaning, which starts the snowball effect by giving it our focus our unconscious goes into overdrive. DON'T!!! It's just a thought, give it no power, no attention at all.
- Counteract it - Purposely force yourself to think about all the times the opposite has been true. Question the thoughts validity, don't just take it at face value. Often these thoughts are like verbal diarrhoea. They just tumble out and actually they lack honest sustinence.
- Lighten up - it's just a thought, that doesn't mean it's true. I call mine Mr Niggles, I give it a silly character, a mischievous personality. It's like a child who doesn't get it's way. I laugh at how awful it can be. Lightening it up can make you feel less drawn in by it.
I use all of these techniques both personally and with clients, they really work. The absolute key is noticing when you're doing it, when that inner self talk is happening. Only when you start noticing it can you actively choose to do something about it.
Notice it.....question it......minimise it........and then crack on...
I hope you find these practical techniques useful and I know they take a little practise so.....
If you'd like more mindset support book a place on my monthly Break Free, Find Clarity sessions. These give you an opportunity to learn even more simple mindset tricks and also connect with a like-minded community.
And if negative self talk is a real problem you'd like some one 2 one support with, book a free 30 minute Mindset Review and we'll have a chat and get to the bottom of it.
Until next time
Do you think you're going to get 'found out' or that you're only pretending to be the expert? Do feelings of not being good enough plague your day. Perhaps making you feel like you can't or shouldn't be doing whatever it is you do?
This is called 'Imposter Syndrome' and is extremely common. In this live video and blog post I discuss the causes of Imposter Syndrome so you can gain a better insight and understanding into what drives you to think and feel this way.
I believe that understanding why you do something is the first step to realising what options you have to change it. So keep reading or click the video and find out why Imposter Syndrome happens and some simple techniques you can start using today to overcome it.
Where does Imposter Syndrome come from?
This feeling of not being good enough or being 'found out' for not being as expert as you think comes from our primeval need to be safe and protected. By nature we are a pack mammal and deep within all of us is the idea that being on the edge or outside our pack means we're going to get eaten, starve and most likely die.
The very nature of having a business requires you to stand out, it requires you to stick your head above the pack and say look at me, look at what I can do and this makes us feel unsafe. This feeling of uncertainly is the route cause of your imposter syndrome.
Deep within our brain standing out sends alarm signals to say 'what are you doing', 'this isn't safe', 'you'd be better within the comfort zone', 'get back in the pack and shut up'. It does this by saying things which hurt. Whatever is going to get you to sit down and shut up the quickest, after all your mind's number 1 priority is to keep you safe.
So if you suffer with Imposter Syndrome, congratulations you qualify as a human!!
Why can I feel great doing my thing one day and then cower in a corner a dribbling mess another?
I know how you feel, on some days it's easy to stand up, feel confident and take on the world and others you question the very core of the simplest of actions and think you might as well just stay in bed. So why the difference?
It all comes down to thoughts.....ask yourself the following:
We work on balance and whatever gets the most attention wins. There's all sorts of things which impact on how we feel, from the weather and relationships to our experiences and daily routines.......some days are great, others are not but you do have a choice.
This is a great video by Todd Herman who coaches top atheletes to overcome their Imposter Syndrome. It's about making a choice over your thoughts and not just letting them have free reign. It's also about making yourself see that being on the outside of the pack isn't a danger but an opportunity and that you're strong enough, capable enough and will do perfectly well. The technique shared in this video puts you back in control.
I hope that you're starting to see that what you say and feel makes a difference and is completely within your choice. As I said before it's about balance and whatever gets the most attention wins.
I've found that achieving this balance requires a daily top up of your good stuff, so you can constantly readdress and choose to feel strong and capable. For me the ultimate solution lies in having a long term solution and a quick fix too.
With this in mind I created my 10 minute Rest and Refresh Audio, designed to be listened too every day and top up your good stuff, give you strength and refocus your mind and thoughts in the right direction.
If you would like my 10 minute audio you can download it here.
What are your experiences of Imposter Syndrome?
I love lightening up the pressures of life and bringing humour into the realities of being human, so what's the most ridiculous thing your brain has said to try and make you sit down and shut up? Please share them, share your experiences of Imposter Syndrome so we can all learn that it's a normal part of being human.
Mine........I'm just as bad as you, my 'Mr Niggles' sometimes goes on a right rampage and I think the most hurtful thing he can throw at me is 'nobody cares about what you do', or 'you don't make a difference so what's the point.' I'm getting better at nipping these thoughts it in the bud but I also appreciate it's part of being human.
I hope this helps
Until next time
Surprise!!! I'm human too. For years I've battled with a whole bunch of thoughts which make me feel I'm never good enough. What I've come to appreciate is that this is actually a very normal part of being a human being.
As humans, we have to look around us and take in information about our surroundings and understand expectations in order to know what and how to do things. We then naturally, inwardly compare ourselves against that to see how we measure up. How would you know what to do or what to learn so you can grow if you didn't do this?
But that natural human condition doesn't mean we have to be plagued by the outcome of 'I'm never good enough'.
I also think that culture has a lot to do with it. A stiff upper lip in England can make us feel like we're the only ones who feel this way and we must buckle up, stuff it down and crack on with it. In reality I don't know a single person who doesn't feel this way at some point, even really successful ones.
We also keep pushing, pushing and pushing to get better, quicker and the goalposts feel like they're constantly moving. Whether that's from ourselves or from our bosses or family. This cultural norm makes us lose sight of who we are and strips our ability to feel comfortable for what we already do.
You see, when you outwardly look, you're comparing yourself again someone else's highlight's reel. You've probably heard many times about the impact of social media and everyone putting out there, their best selves (sometimes it's even not true.) It's been proven time and time again that someone's inner world is a vastly different story. Don't compare someone else's highlights reel to your inner world, it's like comparing apples with oranges.
What do you do to stop it?
Over the years I've tried many tips and tricks but these simple steps have been the most effective for me.
I've found that in 99-100% of cases the verbal diarrhoea my mind comes up with is actually false when I've looked at it properly.
You see, most people let these thoughts just go without checking them or questioning their validity in any way.
So here's the steps I take whenever I feel I'm not good enough (and I still do sometimes!!)
Step 1: Notice it - the first step is becoming consciously aware of that thought or thoughts. At the moment you're unconsciously doing it, it just happens but when you start to notice these thoughts you give yourself an opportunity to think about it and perhaps even choose something different.
Step 2: Question it - where did it come from, what are you doing, is it true, where's the evidence.......asking yourself to question it has made me realise I'm being unfair, unrealistic or just down right unnecessarily mean to myself.
Step 3: Move on - once you have the new evidence, move on, distract yourself, or do something different. Let it go and move on.
In a real life example, this happened to me a good few months ago.
I wanted to create some new audios for people to download so I was searching the internet for inspiration. I came across this amazing website and the more I looked at it the more fearful and self-loathing I got. Within a few minutes I was ready to pack in my business because I'll never be as good as them, my brain went into overdrive and lashing after lashing I began to lose myself, my confidence and my clarity.
So what did I do?
I caught myself and asked what I was doing, where did that come from and was it true.
I re-looked at their website, looking at the 'about me' page and found out they'd been in business for 20 years!! 3 times as long as me at the time. I hope you agree, it's hardly fair to compare the work of 20 years to that of a business not even half that length of time.
I then shut my laptop, made myself a brew and came back to continue my task of creating amazing audios. Telling my mental 'Mr Niggles' to shut up.
Guess what.......It worked!!!
But I still have to do it over and over again. I can't get away from being human, sometimes these thoughts creep up on me, but I just do the same thing I did here.
Instead of thinking I have to be a shining super human who is always positive (PS that's not a real human) I give myself permission to realise these things happen, I've got the tools to handle it.
Want more help?
I love sharing these tips and tricks with you, I hope you find them beneficial and they help you put mind over matter and start to realise the power of what you're capable of when you put your mind to it.
That's it for now. Let me know how you get on with the techniques I shared. I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Dorne McLoughlin, founder of Ribbit Media Solutions. In the interview Dorne shares how she came to me for guidance, as she wanted to “feel comfortable and confident” standing on stage and delivering a presentation of over 1,000 business women.
Dorne had all the knowledge to prepare an amazing presentation but what she didn’t take into consideration was how to prepare herself. In the interview Dorne shares how the programme not only helped her deliver this presentation, but gave her the tools for every presentation to come.
Dorne was a previous client of mine and I invited her along to the interview today so she could share the importance of preparing yourself to speak.
The first step to confident public speaking
Don't let nerves or fear hold you back, you can absolutely learn how to manage them. I love Dorne's attitude which means she's constantly stretching outside her comfort zone and reaching for the right people to support her to get there.
Dorne's Biggest Takeaway
The biggest takeaway for Dorne was trusting in the process and believing that it would happen
Here's Dorne, on stage delivering to over 1000 women......
The feedback from the audience was incredible and I'm sure Dorne is now equipped to do this again with even more confidence in her abilities.
Sometimes when we want to step outside our comfort zone the fear can be overwhelming but instead of saying no and holding yourself back, take Dorne's approach. Ask for a little help, learn some practical tools so you know you can do it comfortably, confidently and then you're much more likely to make that come true.
Until next time
Owain and Rory have taken lessons of the wider psychological literature and of the Behavioural Insights team which was set up by the government in 2010 and turned them into a simple structure which can help you understand the small steps which in turn help you achieve your goals.
For those that don't know the Behavioural Insights team's soft motto was, 'shunning the bureaucratic levers of the past and finding intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves.' It's findings have been applied in job centres, schools and many other places, many referenced in the book.
I'm going to skip chapters 1 and 2 which are to Set and Plan, both gave me insights but it was chapter 3, Commit which I chose to share with you today.
One finding which jumped out at me was from the research by behavioural scientists Read, Loewenstein and Kalyanaraman which showed that we tend to prefer immediate 'vices' rather than immediate 'virtues' e.g. after a long day we'll choose to watch a mindless programme rather than a documentary, or buy a takeaway rather than eat a healthy meal.
This research also showed that if we commit to a plan further in advance we're more likely to stick to it.
Taking that one step further, research by Soloman Asch in the 1950s demonstrated that if we then made our commitment public, we were even more likely to stick to it. The final piece of advice from this chapter was to have a commitment referee, someone to keep you on track and again this increases your chances of success.
I haven't yet finished reading this insightful book but the next chapter talks about Reward and I love the idea of choosing a positive outcome which will reward your commitment to boost your motivation towards achieving your goal.
If you would like a copy of the book, click the link to the below......
Lets put these commitment ideas into practice.......
I'd like to help you reach your goals, I'd also like to help you make it more likely that you'll get there so as a result of reading this book, I've introduced my Monday Pledge and Reward. This will take place on my Refreshed Minds Facebook page, if you've not already liked the page you can do so here.
Here's how it works
Every Monday I'll give you the opportunity to publicly pledge your commitment for that week along with what your reward will be for achieving it. Then each Friday I'll check in with you and give you a chance to celebrate your achievement. Together we can make those big goals happen and help motivate each other along the way.
Like the Refreshed Minds Facebook page and come and join in.
Need more support to achieve your goals?
If your big dreams feel over-facing and you would love to Break Free and Find Clarity, join me in September for my 2.5 hour workshop sharing with you:
I hope you've enjoyed learning about Think Small with me and have found the topic of commitment thought provoking. If nothing else, think about how you could focus on the little steps which will enable you to reach your goals, rather than the big mountain.
Until next time.
PS. I am an Amazon Affiliate which means whenever I suggest a book, if you buy through my link I get a few pence as a thank you, which I usually put towards buying my next coffee.
Whether it's a new venture, a presentation, a job or a new hobby - our lives are full of new things, but nothing strikes fear into our minds like facing the unknown.
Today I wanted to explain why the unknown makes us nervous and share with you a few of my tips so you can have a Confidence Toolkit for those times when you're facing something new.
Why does my confidence wobble when faced with an unknown?
The reason why your confidence wobbles is because our unconscious mind needs the evidence to reference in order to determine our level of competence. It's only when you've practised something over and over do you have lots of evidence which supports how to do it. When it comes to facing something new there is no evidence to call upon and therefore your mind has to look elsewhere to determine our approach.
Your mind either searches internally for something similar or something it thinks is related which in some cases can make the situation feel even more confusing, or it looks outwardly for something to reference too. Effectively your antenna goes up and you start to notice other people doing it, or you're drawn to looking at books, videos etc looking for whats expected and how to do it......
Next it then depends on what your interpretation is of that reference. For most of us the outcome is 'I can't do this,' or 'I'll never be as good as them,' or 'I might as well not bother.' Which aren't very confidence boosting outcomes.
What do I do instead to boost my confidence?
I have a Confidence Toolkit which outlines the steps to take to stop the internal battles and readdress the confidence balance. I've put them into a little video which you can watch below.
The steps are:
1) A Powerful Stop
2) A few deep breaths
3) Change your language
4) Use distraction
5) Refocus the mind
And here's an example of how I would use these.
A few weekend's ago I was booked to go on a Segway Rally, I've never been on a Segway before. As I was walking to the start I started to feel my confidence wobble.....
What if I make a fool of myself......
Oh go what if I fall off.....
What if I break it and it costs me a fortune.
So I said a Powerful STOP. I took a few deep breaths. I changed my language to 'I'm looking forward to spending some time with my husband', 'I'm pretty sure we're going to have a fun.' I then distracted myself by admiring the beautiful grounds of the park as I walked. Finally I refocused my mind on the task once I arrived at the event start as there was a safety briefing to listen to.
Want more support to maximise your Confidence Toolkit?
I hope that's helped. Let me know how you get on with your new Confidence Toolkit.
Until next time
Today I'm talking about Fear. You know that thing which holds you back, that shaking, sweating, nervous, I can’t talk, get me out of here…...fear!! That moment when you wish you could shine but instead you’re a gibbering wreck. You’ve probably been told millions of time to take deep breaths and today I’m going to tell you why that’s not the best strategy and what to do instead.
Why do people tell you to take deep breaths?
OK so you’ve probably been told time and time again to take a few deep breaths. This is because it calms your central nervous system and send signals to your brain to calm down so it can be effective.
So why am I telling you it doesn’t work?
Well because it’s not the easiest strategy. Yes it can work but it’s not always big enough, it often just falls short.
Think about it. We all know that nerves and fear are our body revving us up for action. Imagine the difference between being revved up for action and feeling calm and at peace. That’s a pretty big difference and you’re asking your body to change that state quickly, and in a situation you’re apprehensive about……..the likelihood that this is going to be easy????
So I prescribe something which is easier, it’s a far better and more effective strategy and I’m going to teach it to you today.
So if you’ve ever been asked to do a presentation and suddenly lost your words, or if you’ve ever wanted to stand up in networking meetings but just blush and go to pieces, this is for you.
When does the fear first happen?
Think about when does the first nerves/fear kick in? That first thought that you’re not comfortable with it?.......
Probably days, weeks, maybe months before.
How many times since then have you had a thought or thoughts about how you don’t like it...don’t feel like you’re ready…...think you can’t do it…...might embarrass yourself…...etc. etc...etc……
Every time that’s happened you’ve instructed your brain that there’s something ‘dangerous’ going to happen and it better be prepared.
Each time you get a little more anxious, a little more revved up…...at bit more on edge and ‘ready’.
It’s not just that one moment as you stand or enter the room, that’s just the outcome of all the little things which have gone before. You’ve got yourself into that hyped up state of alert way before you actually arrived at the situation.
Trying to stop that reaction, at the end, in the moment is actually quite hard and although it can work it’s certainly not the most effective solution.
What do I try instead?
Ok so here’s what you do instead…..You create a reframe statement, something which is true but positive which you can say each time one of those thoughts creeps in. Here’s some examples you can use…..
The most important thing is that you don’t let that verbal diarrhea continue without question. Don’t let it creep in and ruminate. Stop it, replace it, time and time again.
Then when you get to the event, you’ll be in a much better position and then deep breathing has more of a potential to work because going from there to calm isn’t such a big step.
My passion is helping you understand yourself more, to understand how your mind works so you can then go out getting the best from yourself.
If you’d like more confidence and courage to go for what you want, to say yes to that situation, to step into that room, to stand and speak…...
If you would like some simple techniques to being a more Confident, self-assured YOU, techniques that will take you from lost and wobbly to feeling like you’re in control……..then join me at the monthly Break Free, Find Clarity meeting. Each meeting has a different topic, including:
I’ve loved sharing my simple techniques for helping you overcome your fear, I’m sure with your new found knowledge you’ll start understanding yourself and feeling more comfortable.
Until next time
Do you experience Public Speaking Nerves? If so you’re certainly not alone. It’s been documented that 75% of us get nervous and uncomfortable when having to stand up and talk in front of others.
I talk to you about WHY it’s very common to experience public speaking nerves and if you watch until the end I will share my 3 proven techniques that you can implement TODAY!
Does that sound good? Awesome!
Why do we shake, sweat and feel sick?
I created this 5 minute video to explain your 'FFF instinct' and why you shake, sweat and feel sick. I feel that knowledge is the first step to taking back control as once you understand it:
a) It doesn't seem so scary
b) It gives you a different perspective
c) It allows you to choose techniques which will work.
My 3 Techniques for minimising your nerves:
Here are my 3 tried and tested techniques you can implement today to minimise your nerves. These techniques can be used before, during and even after the speaking event.
Want to learn more?
My passion is helping people to understand themselves better so they can get the best from themselves and others so I've created a FREE 3 part video series which explains more about why you do what you do.
If you'd like to delve deeper into Confidence and Fear you can register for the FREE Video Series here.
Please also SHARE this post with anyone that you feel would benefit from what I have shared with you today.
Yes we all know that being happy is better for your health but it's not so easy when you're faced with the challenges of daily life. Does being overly optimistic mask a deep down frustration with the world and are 'negative' people just all being realistic? The 'lets all be happy' debate rages on in the media and I have to say, just like many of my clients, I can get frustrated with the demands of being positive.
Humans are a survival mammal, our brains are wired to keep us safe above all else, so naturally we'll tend to look for challenges/issues so we can avoid them....
My question is........does our natural human nature help or hinder us with our modern day challenges?
Personally I feel planning and looking at what might happen is an important part of feeling prepared but I do think it becomes a problem when this strength is overplayed and becomes a way of life, leading to overwhelming pressures, stress and anxiety. I think for most people optimism is something which requires practise.......
Research and science have showed us time and time again that optimism and a sunny disposition can actually help us avoid diseses, just like this american study in women, personally I've been practising optimism and gratitude since 2011 and yet whilst I'm finding it easier and easier it's still something I have to keep practising. Sometimes life is rubbish and science has proven that ignoring our negative emotions cause ill health and chronic pain too.
So in summary
If you're overly positive, you might not be addressing the underlying negative emotions...which can lead to ill health
If you're overly negative, you're not feeling the benefits from optimism.......which can also lead to ill health.
Haha, I love it when you can't do right for doing wrong........So what are you supposed to do?
Balance, for me the answer is balance. Find/learn appropriate ways to express those negative emotions then move on quickly and ensure your general outlook is one of positivity and optimism. For me that's the answer and I, in no way, underestimate how hard that can be to do.
My top tip to make it easier.....
The people/teams who I support suffer with the effects of change and trying new things, experiencing symptoms of stress, overwhelm and anxiety for example. I mostly find their general outlook is one of negativity, frustration and upset which then feeds their symptoms. The first step is to seek to understand.
Look at the whole situation and find out what's going on.
Nobody, including you, ever does something because its stupid, we are very clever human beings so there's a reason why you/they feel fearful, threatened or uncertain. By understanding that we often discover some ideas and realisations which will help move you forwards.
Mostly people are talked at and told what they'll do because people assume a hell of a lot. It's refreshing when somebody actually listens and seeks to understand, then takes your world into consideration before delivering their perspective.
And if you're working on something personal for you....
Take some time to sit quietly, after a little while ask yourself, what's going on with 'whatever issue' and wait for some inspiration. This may sound a little woohoo but it works. Your unconscious is 30,000 times more powerful than your conscious. It has so much information you're not even aware of....you just need to give it an opportunity and listen.
My final point for today is about pressure..........
It never feel's good when you feel you should do something. I absolutely hate how the media makes you feel you're not good enough or how you're doing something wrong by portraying one side of a debate. Yes optimism is good for your health but so is expressing your emotions. If you feel the negative side effects of either it means you're overplaying that side, stop it and find a balance, take time to deal with your emotions and top up your sunny disposition, you'll feel a whole lot better.
Until next time
When is it most beneficial for someone to seek help rather than having to deal with their issues by themselves?
So many people stuggle along in silence, reaching out for every self-help solution they can find. Some people find their answers in self-help solutions whilst others still struggle along afraid to ask for help. So how do you know when to tackle an issue yourself and when to seek help? I have a little analogy for you today which will make that decision a little easier.......
When do you know you need to call a plumber?
It's usually when you have a leak and you can't or don't have the expertise to fix it. You could go for a DIY solution, get the parts you need and read up about what you need to do. For some this fixes the issue and if you do all the steps right it works out fine. Or you might just decide it's beyond your capability and you're better to just let the expert do it. I guess it depends on the size of the leak and what your experience of dealing with leaks is......
In my opinion the same principle applies to your mind. There are loads of self-help books out there, and many people overcome, 'fix' and deal with things perfectly well themselves. Others decide for many reasons to get an expert in.
Expert vs Self-Help solutions
I often describe myself as having a massive treasure trove of tried and tested tools and techniques. I've learnt over the years what works and what doesn't so I can probably support you, or your team to achieve your outcomes quicker but I also appreciate the benefits of self-help solutions because these can give you bite sized information as and when you need it. For me, the most important part of this debate is always getting you to your outcome. The solution may even include a bit of both......with self help and expert support.
Personally, I really don't understand why people feel embarrassed or somehow broken when it comes to their mind, just like the plumbing you just don't have the expertise to use it. If you had an issue with anything else you'd say, 'I don't know how to do that, lets get the expert in' in my opinion your mind is no different.
Often when working with clients I see so many light bulb moments, there's lots of benefits to working things through out load. Often thoughts sound different and give you insights which you hadn't achieved on your own. I find talking and guided quiet reflection are such powerful parts of learning.
When I set up Refreshed Minds I created 4 pillers which represent how every person I support will be treated I think the first pillar - Positive Regard really highlights this point. (if you want to know all 4 you can do so here) I believe that everyone is doing the best they know how to do, you're not stupid or useless..........just doing your best with a tool you were probably never taught how to use. I always start with that perspective. I just know lots of stuff which can help and I'm happy to share it with you.
Does it matter which you choose?
Whether you choose a DIY approach or you decide to call in the expert it really doesn't matter so long as that solution gets you, or your team, to the outcome you want. If you ever feel it's beyond your expertise get in touch, I have loads of tools and techniques which can help and I'm always happy to share them.
If you would like some more free self-help support I share lots of free articles on the website packed with tips and hints you can try.
Lets stop debating how you do it, deep down you know if your self-help approach is enough or if you'd get further and quicker with the support of an expert. For me the decision really is as simple as deciding to call in the plumber.
Until next time
What people who suffer from issues such as anxiety and low self esteem can do to build their confidence.
Today I'm going to share with you a simple step to help build your confidence if you're struggling with issues such as anxiety and low self-esteem. It's the exact same technique I use with my clients and many have reported what a massive difference it's made and it's probably something you currently don't give a second thought.
Your brain is a very clever and powerful tool.....you know that right..........well language plays a massive part in driving that tool. Your language is the first step in directing what your subconscious mind does. Let me give you an example.
Don't think about a blue monkey with big ears.......
What did your brain do the minute you read that? It thought about a blue monkey with big ears, you couldn't help it, it just did. This is because your brain has to reference the content of a sentence in order for you to understand it. The same works for every sentence you say or hear, whether that's something you heard externally or something you say to yourself.
If you're saying to yourself, I'm not confident, I can't do this, I'm going to embarrass myself, what if it goes horribly wrong, then your brain has to reference what you mean. That sentence just provided the foundations of what your brain has to work with. And your brain is clever......It won't just find a measly weak example, it will find all the examples to support that language eg what others have said, what you've read, what your experiences has been but it will always be within the context of the language you first used eg it will find all the reasons why you can't do something, all the times it's not gone right, every time someone has said you're no good etc etc etc etc..........
You are the hamster which drives that wheel...you threw the first punch by using that language, your brain just collected the evidence matching what you asked for.
So a really simple way to begin to build your confidence is to look at the language you use, expecially around whatever makes you feel anxious or have low confidence. Ask yourself is that language helpful and does it drive your brain in the right or the wrong direction?
If it's the wrong direction (and the majority of the time it is) then change it.....not once, not twice but over and over again. It's you that's giving your brain that foundation, if you truely want to change then stop throwing the first punch.
A cautionary note about overly crazy positivity
A little note here, I don't prescribe changing your language to over crazy positivity eg 'the world is great and everything is fine'. In my opinion your brain is way too clever to fall for that kind of statement. I don't know about you but my brain's response is usually.....'Yeah right who are you trying to kid!!' But sentences like 'I can do this' or 'every day I can feel better' feel much more possible. Choose language which is positive but authentic.
Your brain will use this language as the foundation and then finds you examples which match so why not choose the language which supports you.......rather than what tears you down.
I appreciate this takes practise, when you've done something one way your whole life it won't just flip to doing something else. I've been practising this for over 5 years and still catch myself sometimes. But it does gets easier and easier. So you have to make the effort.....notice your language and practise changing it to something realistically positive.
If you struggle to come up with positive things to say I have created some Pick Me Up audio downloads on a number of topics to make it easier. Just click the link above, download one which suits you, listen often and they'll give you a kick start in the right direction. If you don't find one which matches what you want? Let me know, I'm always adding to the collection and happy to take people's requests into consideration.
So that's it......language.....hugely powerful stuff which you probably just let come and go through your head without ever questioning it. It's your language which forms the foundations of your thoughts so choose it wisely. Make sure it builds your confidence and you'll be surprised just how much impact it can have.
Until next time
People are often soooooo busy rushing around with a head full of stuff they haven't got the brain space to even begin to embrace who they are. So what would you do if I said I could free up 60-80% of your brain space.....would you be interested? For me this is the first step people need to take if they want to finally have the mental capacity to begin in embrace themselves for who they are.
I run this activity with my clients and it's the most inspiring, thought provoking and effective tool which really does make a huge difference to their lives. Often clients report that this was one of the most powerful of their sessions. Today I'm going to share with you exactly what you need to do so you can do this activity for yourself.
This activity looks at your daily thoughts and every time I've done it with a client it turns out that between 60-80% of all their daily thoughts are not within their control. Just think about how much energy and time is taken up by all those things.....
60-80% of your mental time and energy!!!!!!!
Whats even more interesting is because they are outside of your control you could think about them for an hour, 3 hours, a week or even longer and it will have made no difference. Nothing will have changed no matter how long you spend thinking about them.
And what's really important is........
When your head isn't full of all this other stuff, it can finally have the space to focus on your stuff.
By refusing to focus on anything which was beyond their control, these athletic champions were able to bring all their resources to bear on what was within their control - everything from their physiology, mental maps and story to the actions that they took preparing for and competing in the actual event."
If your head is full of everything else it has no space to focus on what's yours to control. When you focus only on your stuff you're able to achieve much more.
Imagine taking that wasted energy and time and putting it into only things you can control, how would that make you feel?
All of these feelings add to a sense of freedom, which then allows you to embrace who you actually are.
So, what do you do?
So this is the first step to being able to embrace who you are. It's a simple and highly effective tool and I urge you to go and do it, right now!!! You might be surprised by how much of your mental time you're wasting on what's not in your boat.
Let me know how you get on and if you'd like some guidance and support you can always book a session with me and we'll do it together. Sometimes it's easier when someone else is there to take you through it and challenge you with the right questions. As always I'm happy to help.
Making this a habit does take practise. I've been doing this for 5 years and still find myself slipping sometimes. Catch yourself every time and ask yourself, 'Is this within my boat'. The more you do it the more easier it will become.
Until next time
You may have seen many quotes about getting out there and chasing your dreams, it seems to be on-trend right now. But are people in general settling for a life of ordinary instead of chasing their dreams? This week I share my beliefs around this and how the pressure and indecision can impact your confidence.
Firstly, I believe people do the best they know how and that people are all different. There are people who enjoy routine and the simplicity in life and there are others who like chasing dreams and adventure, neither is right or wrong - it's just different.
Confidence then comes when you're being your authentic self.
If you are a person who likes routine but feels like you should be out chasing dreams this causes a conflict. The same goes for the opposite, if you are a person who likes chasing dreams but you're made to follow a strict routine, it's also going to cause you an inner conflict which often leads to confidence wobbles.
People lose confidence for two reasons, your outer comparisons and your inner world I wrote all about this in this blog, it's worth taking a look if you want to know more about why so many people struggle with confidence issues.
You see the answer to this settle/chase dreams debate is more about who you are as a person and being honest with that rather than whether it's right or wrong to settle or chase dreams.
I believe the challenge is that people don't know themselves well enough to know if they're being their authentic self. Instead they try and live up to culture and other people's expectations. They look outward for the answers reviewing what others do, trying to understand what's normal and what is expected of them by others. They then base their decision on that which often leads to an inner conflict when this doesn't feel right for them.
Ask yourself honestly, do you like routine and a simple life or do you crave a life of adventure. Then ask yourself what are you doing right now? If the two don't line up chances are you'll be feeling a confidence wobble.
The simple answer:
If you are a person who likes routine and simple life - it's absolutely ok to do that and enjoy it.
If you are a person who likes adventure - it's absolutely ok to do that and enjoy it too.
Know yourself well enough to live authentically and be strong enough to tell others you're happy just as you are.
I hope this helps.
Why do so many people suffer from confidence issues and as a result, hold themselves back from living to their full potential?
The 2 reasons people hold themselves back
1) The outward reason.
2) The inward one.
I'll start with the latter, the Internal Reason:
We have an internal world which is made up of our experiences, learnings, beliefs etc. By design we are survival beings so we'll tend to tell ourselves all the reasons why we can't, shouldn't and aren't able to do things which either contradict or threaten that internal world of experiences, learning and beliefs because that keeps us 'safe'. Examples may be........
Whatever has gone before shapes our perceptions of anything which happens now. We look to our internal understandings to gain reason which helps us decide how to interpret the world. Everything is learnt and that shapes who we are and what we do.
Then we have the Outward Reason:
Lets talk about the outward reason...as a human being we naturally compare ourselves to our outside world, this gives us a measure to work out how we rate against that comparison e.g. if you wanted to get fit and were interested in body building. You may start by watching the body building competitions.
Or if you want to do well in meetings you'll start paying attention to how others conduct themselves in similar meeting situations.
This gives you an understanding of the comparison, what it looks/feels like so you can assess how you measure up.
How do these two reasons create a lack of confidence?
Depending on how you internally assess how you measure up to that outward comparison creates the feeling of how confident or not confident you feel. Let me give you an example:
Imagine you've just been asked to take the lead in a project at work........go on....just take a minute to imagine that right now........Ok how do you feel? Whats your head telling you??...At lightening speed you'll have already evaluated that outward world expectation 'to lead a project' and internalised yourself against that comparison based on your experiences, learnings and beliefs.
As an additional side note now-a-days there's so much information at our fingertips sometimes when people research the outward comparison that task alone can feel overwhelming and make our confidence wobble because we get so much input information it becomes confusing.
So what holds us back from living life to our full potential?
What holds us back is a combination of the outward comparison and the internal interpretation of that comparison.
- If we compare ourselves favourably and/or find that comparison motivating we will no doubt describe ourselves as having and feeling confident. In the example above if we deem ourselves ready to lead a project or capable of doing a good job we'll more than likely feel confident to say yes.
- Equally if we compare ourselves and we feel we fall short or will never be able to reach that goal or even that our experiences, learnings and beliefs are different we will ultimately describe ourselves as being not confident. Using the example above if we deem we're too shy, have no experience of leading or see someone else who you feel does it better, we'll feel a confidence wobble and probably struggle.
In my experience people tend to do more of the latter.
The first step to improving your confidence is to notice your thoughts. Currently your mind performs this outward/inward evaluation unconsciously. Whenever you notice your confidence struggle, stop and ask yourself, what did I just do? How did I evaluated the outward and inward elements of this particular situation?
Once you notice what you did, you then have the opportunity to decide if it was helpful or not. It's so much easier to change something once you're consciously aware of what you're doing.
A final note: Remember you are a learning being and you can improve, move and shape your mind (its called Neuroplasticity), just because you experience things one way now doesn't mean you can't learn another.
Have a great week.
P.S. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge and helping people understand themselves better, there's nothing quite like the atmosphere at my confidence workshops where we're all learning together. If you would like more support the details of the next workshop can be found here.
So today I wanted to share with you 3 things which you can do for yourself., straight away. So whether you just need a boost to feel ready for an interview or presentation or you have an inner critic which you wish would shut up you'll have something in your tool kit which can help.
3 top tips on how to boost your self-esteem and confidence
1) What you say to yourself matters! - Most people let their internal dialogue just happen without any review or governance, its just this inner chatter which goes on and on. But what you say to yourself is absolutely within your control and has a massive impact on how to feel and act. Don't let that voice have free-reign over your mind, take back control and say something nice.
Stuggling with this one? Sometimes old habits die hard so to make it easier and speed things up I've created a selection of Pick Me Ups for a number of different challenges. Listen as often as you need and they'll help kick start your inner voice in the right direction.
2) The information overload - We live in a connected world and it's been proven that the little high you get from your social media likes and comments is just as addictive as alcohol or gambling. And just like these two addictions small amounts are fun but too much can rob you of time, connections with life and even money. How much time do you spend on social media and the internet? How does this affect your confidence and self-esteem? Perhaps you'd benefit from reviewing it and adjusting it acordingly.
3) Don't take on a mountain - It's so easy to take on a million small tasks and before you know it all those small things add up and suddenly you feel overwhelmed but no one thing was big enough to cause such a reaction so you feel useless and stupid. We've all been there. You don't have to tackle a whole mountain at once. Make a list of everything then decide on a few tasks, complete them and then some more and so on. Tackle just the next thing you need to do and it will help. Feeling able to cope is a large part of feeling confident.
With just these three tips alone many of my clients have begun to feel better. Give them a go and let me know how you get on.
If you have a longer term confidence and/or self-esteem crisis I'm always happy to help, get in touch and we can chat about it.
So that's it: Be careful what you say to yourself, it really does matter...monitor the amount of time you spend on social sites and if you're feeling like you can't cope get everything written down and manage the small pieces rather than the mountain.
Until next time
Did you know we have 5 times more negative receptors in our brains than positive ones? This is by design and there's nothing you can do about that. We are a survival animal.......and for that we need those 'negative' receptors to guide us and keep us safe.
But you may be thinking 'what the hell has that got to do with me feeling not good enough?'
Good question, stick with me this will all make sense.......
Lets take the world of social media where most people display our greatest moments of happiness and demonstrate to the outside world how exciting our lives are.
This gives your brain something to compare your life to.......so after seeing that you'll immediately assess your world against the comparison. Our negative receptors aren't going to naturally pick up on the good stuff now are they. No.........we notice all the gaps e.g. where our lives don't measure up, or how our world differs........we compare our lives to theirs and because of those receptors the outcome is usually 'negative'. Even if it's positive there's usually an underlining uncertainty or uncomfortableness which comes back and haunts you later.
This is exactly the same in a team meeting where you compare your world to what everyone else is doing, or when you're in a friendship group or social gathering......it even happens when we're out shopping or even watching TV.
As humans we naturally strive to be our best, we strive to be happy. So these comparisons make us constantly assess ourselves which can make our confidence and self-esteem wobble.
(There are lots of other factors which can come into play but this gives you a basic introduction which can help you to make progress and overcome that negative bias.)
So what do I do about it?
First you need to understand that this is human nature. You're not mean, unsympathetic or broken....it's just you being human by design.
Next.....now you know that you can keep yourself in check. Just because this is the way you are by design doesn't mean you are at liberty to it. You have those positive receptors too, you just need to give them more punch to make them win. The positives have to be times'd by 5 in order to have the same effect. So......
How often do you top up your good stuff?
If your head is swimming with the negatives and you're constantly feeding that with more negatives, topping up your good stuff allows you to change your focus and finally let that positive balance win. You have to have 5 times more positive things to have even the same impact as 1 negative.
3 ways to top up your good stuff
Here's my 3 ways which you can use today to top up your good stuff:
1) I'm taking part in the #100happydays challenge, the idea is to force you to notice each day things which make you happy and take a photo of them. Those things are there, you just don't naturally look for them. Why don't you join in?
2) Say nice things to yourself. It doesn't have to be massive, self-indulgent stuff, just little things which you've done well, trust me it will make a massive difference. Give it a go!!
3) Have a treat and allow yourself to actually enjoy it. No guilt, no shame....just do something you enjoy and really take time to soak up that good feeling.
If all else fails, or you just want someone to do it for you download one of my Pick Me Ups. These are packed full of the good stuff all you have to do is listen.
Remember: Feeling and thinking these things is normal, but that doesn't mean you're at their liberty. Top up your good stuff often and you'll soon feel a change.
Want more Am I Normal articles?
This article is the last in my 'Am I Normal' series. I've covered 4 more topics in this series so if you'd like more tips, support and advice here's the links:
What Is Normal
The Little Known Side Effect of Chasing your Dreams and How to Avoid it
Does Everyone Have These Different 'Parts' Battling Inside their Heads?
Gratitude, am I doing it right and should I even care
I hope this series has allowed you to breath a sign of relief and realise you're more normal than you think you are.
Until next time
Does everyone have voices in their heads?
YES......and it's completely normal!!!! Even more than that it's an important part of how we function.
Everybody has these internal battles with themselves and sometimes it's not just two 'parts' of you involved in the debate but 3 or 4. And yes these parts can be nasty, very nasty in fact........often they say things which you would never say out loud. (I think we've all had one or two of those kinds of thoughts.......)
Even the nasty ones?
These nasty thoughts are also normal!!! Your subconscious does not work with the same logic or reason that your conscious mind does. Your subconscious is often much more creative and imaginative. Equally that doesn't mean that the thoughts are like cartoons, sometimes they can feel very real.
I often find that people who are gifted with an amazing creative and/or visual ability have the power to conjure up some amazing things but thats not to say we don't all have the capability....we do, but some people just have talents which mean they can be amazingly good at it.
Why do we do it?
In my experience there's three reasons.
1) Gathering of evidence - Whenever we do something our subconscious gathers the evidence about that thing to help us make our decisions. It doesn't just gather some of the evidence, it gathers all of it. If you're weighing something up it will pull evidence not only from your life experience, but also what you've seen, heard and been told. It doesn't sieve out the good and bad, it just starts debating all of it.
2) Creative play - So much of our time is spent towing the line, being logical and doing as we're told our minds like to break free, be creative and be allowed to use it's amazing powers. This doesn't mean those thoughts are true, far from it....It's actually an amazing way of dealing with the pressure of life by breaking free for a while. Is also a great way of learning, sometimes throwing random things together helps us create a new answer. We do this naturally as kids. This creative play is us doing the same as an adult.
3) The feeling of safety - Our subconscious mind's number 1 purpose is to keep us 'safe'. That safety is derived from whatever your life evidence has built up. Our evidence tells us what we deem as 'safe' and our subconscious will help us adhere to that using it's very best of abilities. If you are a creative thinker chances are it will come up with lots of creative images which will absolutely make you never want to do 'whatever it is' again. Congratulations, it has effectively kept you 'safe'. Hoorah!!
But what happens when you want these thoughts to go away?.........
My top tips for stopping unwanted inner battles.
There are a few different things you can do but first you must understand this....
These thoughts are not real, they're just conjured up from our wealth of experience and wonderful imagination.
Once you truly accept the premise in bold above these top tips become a whole lot easier. Here's two of the ways you can stop these inner battles:
- Thought stopping - Next time a thought pops into your head, catch yourself doing it, say STOP and redirect your thinking to something else, then fully immerse yourself in the new thing. You may be surprised at how quickly your mind moves on.
- Accept and laugh - Sometimes it's good to let your head free and be intrigued about the wonderful, amazing, creative rubbish it creates. Once you become detached from it you can actually laugh at how unbelievably detailed and extreme it can be. I wrote a whole blog on this called Mr Niggles and the Daily Insults.
There are other ways you can handle these inner battles too but these are a great way to get you started. If these don't work for you and you'd like more help get in touch.
I hope that's helped and remember, you are an amazingly, gifted and talented being. Stop being scared about how amazing your mind can be, step back and you may even start to enjoy it.
Until next time
Do you battle with the ifs, should and aughts in your life? How does what you believe shape your life?Do you believe you will be less fit as you grow older, or you're no good at being creative for example...........my question today is what is normal and is it possible to change what you think is normal??
If you're anything like many of my clients you'll think that somehow you're broken or wrong or not as good as them. I'm wondering today whether the battle you're facing right now is with that same challenge? Are you asking yourself if what you're doing (or want to do) is right? Are you wondering whether how you think/feel and behave is normal?
Well today I want to share with you the understanding I've gained from my experience. This is the same explanation I share with my clients........ and it always seems to help. Here's my first question to you........
Is normal the same for everyone?
Ok so you'll probably read that and say of course not!!! Because everyone is different, right? Next question.......
Where does your understanding of what is 'normal' come from?
What you perceive as normal comes from your evidence. The experiences, knowledge and understanding you've gained throughout your life. All this evidence is stored in your unconscious and underpins the very fabric of your being. It's this evidence which drives what each person perceives as 'normal' and since each of us experience different things in our lives, each person's perception will be different.
Why do I feel I'm not normal?
Often we start questioning ourselves when something is outside of our comfort zone, when we're trying to do something which isn't currently within our evidence. Here's some examples to highlight what I mean, maybe you can relate:
- You want to do something different from what your parents taught you, it feels hard to do.
- You compare yourself to someone else and begin to wonder if we're right or wrong.
- You see something which someone else does and want to do it too but doubt if you can.
- You feel different in comparison to your environment (somehow you feel you don't fit.)
There are many more, these just give you an idea. Ultimately we start to have a wobble when there's a mismatch between what we perceive as our 'normal' (in our head) and the thing we are wanting to do/achieve.
The truth is......exactly what you answered to the 'is normal the same for everyone' question above. Everyone has different evidence so whats normal to one person is not normal to someone else.
Who is right?
I think one of the best solutions to letting go of the pressure and stress you feel is to try to let go of the idea of 'normal'. The concept is not real and nobody's normal is any more right than anyone elses.
The question isn't whether you are normal or not, the question you're asking yourself is either one of the following:
1) Do other people feel/see/act the same as me? - The answer to that is always yes. Nobody suffers alone. There are plenty of people out there going through the same as you, thinking the same as you, feeling the same as you. You are not alone!!!
2) Is it possible for me to do what someone else does? - The answer is always yes, it's possible...but don't expect to do it naturally, you'll have to learn how to do it, especially if it's not currently something which is part of your evidence. That doesn't mean you can't, it just means you'll have to learn how.
- The concept of 'normal' is a false one which creates unnecessary pressure and anguish.
- You are normal - your normal is created from your evidence, experience and life, everyone's will be different.
- Nobody's normal is more right or wrong when compared to yours, its just different.
Want more evidence to challenge your normal?
Have a look at the Refreshed Minds Facebook page where I often share posts which highlight what happens when you stop believing in the concept 'normal'.....people running triathlons in their 80s, people who were once told they weren't any good having amazing success, people taking on challenges for charity. It's amazing what you can achieve when you stop asking the question 'am I normal' and start being free to be your best self.
Until next time
My thoughts on this are...it depends how long you've been feeling not good. There is a massive difference between having a bad day (or few) and being trapped in negative thoughts and distortions which have gone on for a long period of time. Today I'm going to talk about both.
Person 1: Do you need a Bad Day??
In my observations people run away from feeling bad. They feel they have to be chirpy all the time. Have to always be having a good life and feel they have to be continuously smiling and happy. This is rubbish!!! We all have bad days, days when we just want to hide under the duvet, eat rubbish and watch trashy TV and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!! Research shows that bottling things up is really bad for our health. So you can either have one bad day or lots of 'I generally feel grumpy days??? I know which I prefer. So have a bad day once in a while and go for it!!!!
Stop running away from having 1 bad day.
If you're due what I call a Trash Day.......clear your diary, notify your significant others (tell them you don't want consoling just need to fall apart for a day, you're fine and will check back in with them tomorrow). It's ok to be a crying, dribbling mess, feel the whole world is wrong and have a bad day. It clears the air, gets those emotions out and makes you feel a whole lot better. Then go to bed and awake up tomorrow ready to face the world.
You don't even have to do it at home. Go for a long walk, sit somewhere and fall apart, book yourself a little room away somewhere.......just stop running away from feeling bad and accept that it's perfectly ok.
We all have them........so go on.........have a guilt free bad day!!
Person 2: Every day is a very Bad Day?
Depression is a growing challenge in the world these days and I never underestimate it's power. They say depression can start with repetitive negative thoughts and lead to distortions in your thinking which leave you in a downward spiral of despair.
Many people with depression feel like every day is a bad day.
But help is out there. I've helped many people with mild-moderate depression and within a few sessions they've started feeling better so I thought it would be nice today to tackle one of the more common challenges often felt by people with depression, which is overgeneralisation in their thoughts and language, examples would be, I can't stand this, why is it always me, I'm such a loser etc.
If you look at these statements they are really generalised, and often the sufferer never questions them but instead just accepts them to be 100% true. The trick is to catch yourself saying the overgeneralised statements and question them e.g:
- is it 'always' you?
- can you really not stand it?
- are you really a loser?
I often ask where's the evidence or what tells you that?..........then really question the answers. This approach is also used in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and can be very effective. The trick is to start really questioning those distorted thoughts rather than just letting them roam free.
If you'd like to know more techniques for overcoming negative thoughts there's lots more help in my free video series feel free to give it a watch.
How to make yourself feel good
So how do you make yourself feel good when you just don't want too?.....Here's my advice:
I hope that's helped. Let me know your thoughts and how you're getting on in the comments box below, I always love to talk about these sort of things.
Until next time.
Oh, who are you kidding you're no good at that!!!! Screamed my brain because I decided to try something different.......followed by, 'you're going to make yourself look like an idiot'......'what will your friends think' and 'don't kid yourself, you'd be best just giving up now.' Does any of this sound familiar??
Good, cause this is me.....and pretty much every human being at some point. We humans are terrible for it and some of us could be Olympic champions. Ever had just one thought and bam 2 minutes later you're useless, not good enough, a waste of space with a massive confidence issue who might as well drown yourself in chocolate, alcohol and self-pity. Pass me the blanket and a soppy girlie movie!!!
STOP!!!!!! What?????? Have you actually ever questioned ANY of these statements whizzing around your head??..........
- Who says you're no good........you haven't even tried it yet so how could you know you're no good at it?
- Who says looking like an idiot is necessarily a bad thing or that others are even going to care enough to be watching.
- And go on..........actually WHAT will your friends think??? Probably 'good on you' if you actually asked them.
- And which kid did you ever know who fell over umpteen times and said, nah this walking thing isn't for me???? To master anything takes practise.
Our heads are terrible at spouting verbal rubbish and we never question it. We just take it as gospel and crawl back under our duvets too ashamed to come out, thinking we have a massive self-confidence issue.
How to Squash that Self-Doubt
The answer to overcoming self-doubt is to never let those thoughts go unchecked. Ask yourself, is that true or say the statement out loud - if it sounds ridiculous that's because it is!!! Think 'would I say this about a friend?' If not what right do you have to say it about you?........Do something, anything to show yourself that what your brain is saying is just verbal rubbish. Nothing more, nothing less.
The seriousness of Self-Doubt
Really???? When did everything get so serious!!! The challenge, as I see it, is that people take this rubbish too seriously and the trick is to lighten up. Laugh at how creatively appalling your mind can be, how mischievous and cheeky. It's like a small child trying to get your attention and seeing how far it can go.
The problem is your mind knows you better than you know yourself.....it knows exactly what will hurt, what will play on your biggest insecurities and it uses them to its best advantage......THAT DOESN"T MEAN IT'S TRUE!!!! Don't believe me......phone a friend.
A trusted friend knows you best
Sometimes you just can't see the wood for the trees and you need someone to give your self-doubt a little perspective. A trusted friend can help so give them a call or go for a coffee. They can see you better than you can see yourself. WARNING: They'll probably laugh and say......really!? You're kidding right. Do not be alarmed, they are actually telling you the truth.
What you see about yourself is often completely different to what other people see. If you could see yourself through someone else's eyes you wouldn't worry half as much.
If you are suffering from terrible self-doubt:
1) Question those inner statements, don't let them go unchecked.
2) Lighten it up - everyone has those moments and it's refreshing to marvel at how creatively mischievous your mind can be.
3) Ask a friend - they know you best
And finally, move on.........there is such a thing as too much time on our hands, if we have too much time to think our brains work some amazingly appalling magic. Find a hobby, get out of the house.....switch your attention, just don't give it time to think so much.
I hope this helps you feel better and gives you some practical ways to squash that self-doubt. If you'd like more help understanding how your brain works watch my free video series there's even more support for you there.
Remember: Feeling self-doubt is a normal part of being human, the question is 'is what you're telling yourself actually the truth?'
If you have a way of conquering self-doubt which has worked for you, why not share it so others can benefit. I always love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time