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
How come whenever we face something new we immediately jump to assessing the negatives eg what might go wrong, how hard its going to be or how many obstacles we will need to face? Today I'll be talking about why this happens and teaching you the art behind managing your mind so you can take back control and say yes to new challenges with confidence.
Why? because as busy entrepreneurs we have to step out of our comfort zones constantly, so these are pretty essential skills if you hope to do that without shaking, sweating, mumbling or potentially dreading something so much that you say 'no' when you really want to say 'yes'.
So there are two parts to the fear puzzle.
1) Our natural human instinct to watch out for danger
2) Our unconscious evidence (or lack of it)
Lets look at the each in turn:
1) Did you know that our brains have 5 times more negative receptors than positive? This is because we're a survival being so we naturally tend to air on the side of caution and watch out for danger. Which is pretty important, otherwise we would be stepping out in front of cars and jumping into hot water without first testing the temperature. This is why you're more likely to jump to what could go wrong and the obstacles you face.
2) The other part of the 'fear of the unknown puzzle' is your lack of mental evidence. Its reported that 80% of what we do is led by unconscious habit. If you’ve never done something before you have no evidence to tell you what it’s like, what to expect or if you are going to be any good at it. Add this to our survival instinct and you can see why it leads to feeling nerves, fear and trepidation.
But there are people who do new things all the time. They like to test themselves, they love the thrill of having a go. So what's different in their approach and how can we harness some of that to help us get out there more?
How to overcome your fear of the unknown
The wonderful Wayne Dyer once said, 'when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.'
People who say 'bring it on' when trying new things call it curiosity and adventure.
This is a very clever technique called reframing.
As I mentioned as business owners we’re constantly having to face the unknown so this is a really useful skill for you to adopt, practise and make part of your mental toolkit. For this reason I'm going to challenge you to start now and make some changes......STARTING NOW!!
Reframing the fear of the unknown
Pick something which you are going to have to face in the next month. One thing you would like to do but haven't done before. It can be big or small it doesn’t matter.
Grab a piece of paper and write how you currently feel about it. What do you say to yourself about it, what do you say when others ask you about it? Write it all down.
Next walk away and do something else.
When you come back, come back metaphorically wearing the hat of curiosity and adventure and rewrite how you'd feel about these two things from this new perspective.
Pick a few powerful statements relating to this new way of thinking as reminders that will also give you motivation every time you think about your 2 things going forwards.
If just knowing these statement in your mind isn't enough for you I’ve created a sheet of 4 'Reframing Cards' you can download for free. You can write out your statements boldly, one statement per card, and then display them or keep them close as a constant reminder of your reframe statements. Just click below and I'll send them straight to your Facebook Messenger.
Click 'get started' and then follow the prompts, if you joined my messenger before the download link will come straight up.
The more you can repeat your new statements the more the repetition creates a new habit and boosts the unconscious evidence of how you feel about it. This reinforces the positive receptors in our brains and helps us change the fear of the unknown into a curiosity for the new.
Let me know how you get on, I always love to hear how this technique is working for you.
Until next time.
I may surprise some of you today, the fear of failure can actually be a good thing? ? There I said it.
Being human is a strange conundrum, whilst sometimes fear of failure can hold you back (I wrote about that in this blog) it can also provide the kick you need to spur you into action.
Think about it.......if it was perfectly possible and something you can easily do.......do you think....
Often people say if there’s no challenge it’s not worth doing. As humans we like to take it on, beat it, and show to ourselves (and others) that it’s possible.
We all know people who when they hear, 'you can't do that', say, 'I bloody well can, you just watch me.'
The possibility that it can't be done, the idea that you might just fail can actually improve your motivation. So, what's the difference between those who allow fear of failure to fuel them and those who don't?
Personality traits and perceptions
I believe it's a mixture of personality and perception.
If you have a competitive nature, or a rebel streak, you're more likely to find a fear of failure motivating. Like wise if you are stubborn or like to feel like an individual. These traits mean you're more likely to say, 'I'm doing it anyway'. Some people are naturally motivated by adventure and challenges too.
But that doesn't mean we can't all harness our inner badass when we need too.
What perception do you choose?....if you see something as fearful, if you think it's going to be arduous and not worth while you'll fuel your fear of failure. If you have a perception that new experiences are fun, that you give things your all and that failure is part of success you're much more likely to be able to harness the mindset of motivation for any task.
It's not the fear of failure which holds you back, it's your perception of the task you're trying to achieve. Fear can actually fuel your motivation to achieve something amazing, if you allow yourself to experience it that way.
Want more tips, mind tricks and motivation?
I go live every week, sharing mindset tricks and tips, covering topics such as new business confidence, motivation and public speaking nerves to anxiety, fear and self-esteem. If you want more mindset support delivered to your inbox, enter your details below and I'll get them over to you. I don't spam or sell your details, I just send you my best advice and news via email to those who are interested.
Until next time
PS. My business works on referrals, if you know someone who is struggling and could benefit from some support, please pass on my details.
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
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
Recently I read a wonderful book by Geoff Thompson called 'The Elephant and the Twig' which shares 14 golden rules of success and happiness. Rule 4 particularly caught my eye so I'm going to focus on that one today.
Rule 4 is all about how to have the energy for the journey.
Running a small business takes lots and lots of effort and determination so how do you keep your energy topped up along the way?
In this video I share with you some of the realities of running a small business and a technique you can use to boost your energy which you can implement today. You can either watch the video above or read the three lessons I learnt from Rule 4 below.
The three lessons I learnt from Rule 4
1) I loved the analogy of starting a long journey and topping the car up with fuel. This really resonated with me. If you're in it for the long haul you better be topping up the fuel. How many of us push and push ourselves without really topping up our energy. I know I'm certainly a victim of that!!
2) The power of nature - In the book the author kept going and going until his wife said they were taking a few days holiday. He said he couldn't afford too, she said he couldn't afford not too.
Nature is a wonderful way of topping up your fuel so don't wait till someone else has to drag you out kicking and screaming. Book in time for relaxation whether it be a walk, a holiday or just sitting in a field, it can be wonderfully refreshing.
So often we go full pelt and keep going, going, going. Have you ever wondered why we get our best light bulb moments when we're not thinking?? It's because of how our brains work so if you want the best ideas and quickest solutions get out there and rest.
3) Making mistakes is a normal part of the process - you can lose so much of your energy after you've made a mistake. Thinking that you're not good enough or will never be successful. Actually making mistakes is part of success and often gives you your biggest learning.
Don't let your energy get sapped away whenever you make a mistake. Take a breath, take a break and get straight back in there.
If you want to feel like you're firing on all cylinders....
1) Top up your fuel
2) Take breaks and get out in nature
3) Be ok about making mistakes
Get your hands on a copy of the book
If you would like to buy a copy of the book, click the book image below and it will take you straight to Amazon (affiliate link).
Would you like more support?
If you would like to dive even deeper, learn more and get support to get the best from yourself, join me for my Break Free and Find Clarity event. All the details are below.
I hope you found these tips helpful.
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
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.
Today I will be talking to you about Confidence and we’ll be exploring your unconscious programs which filter your experience of the world ‘they’re called Meta Programs’. More specifically I’ll be talking about how you can use these to improve your confidence in business.
As well as introducing you to Meta Programs, I will be giving you real life examples that may be relatable to you in your Business, and I will be giving you an Actionable Step that you can implement TODAY.
Grab your FREEBIE!!
Enter your details into the form below and I'll email you a free 'Introducing Meta Programs' PDF. This includes a graph to plot the Meta Programs we cover in this blog and the steps you can take to use this new understanding to improve your confidence.
What are your Meta Programs?
Your Meta Programs are your unconscious programs which determine which of your perceptions are offered for your attention. In effect your Meta Programs determine how you interpret your world and we all know that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% about how you react to it. Right.
When you understand your own Meta Programs and also take time to understand other people’s you get a better understanding of why something makes you feel not confident and even more, specifically how to change it to make it better.
Let me give you an example, this is how a wonderful NLP friend of mine Kevin explains Meta Programs and it made so much sense I thought I’d use it today.
Discovering 1 of your Meta Programs
This one is called Same-Difference. It may be easier to understand this by watching the video.
Draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper. Write Same at one end and Difference at the other.
These work like sliders, you can be anywhere along the line.
Have a think about yourself in general terms, do you like things to stay the same? If so you'd plot yourself further to that side. Or do you like new things, adventure etc, if so plot yourself closer to difference? Where would you plot yourself along the slider from Same to Difference?
Remember you can be anywhere along that line.
How do Meta Programs relate to your Confidence?
Ok so let’s say you’re on the Same end and there’s lots of change going on at work. Your boss has just had a meeting with everyone and told you all the exciting new things which are going to be happening, everything is changing and it's going to be amazing - what impact does this have?
- If you’re someone who uses a Same programme and everything is changing you’re going to find it makes your confidence wobble.
Now imagine you’re the boss, you'd plot yourself over at the Difference end of the slider and you’ve just delivered a great presentation to your staff about all the exciting things which are to come and now you can’t understand why your member of staff is in the corridor crying their eyes out.
- If you’re someone who uses a Difference programme you're going to find routine frustrating.
Using Meta Programs to Boost your Confidence.
Now you know about Meta Programs, you’ve discovered where you are on 2 of them,
- Optimism-pessimism - how you saw the glass.
Here’s how you can use this knowledge to improve your confidence:
The first step to improving your confidence is becoming consciously awareness. Prior to reading this these programs ran automatically. Now you know where you are on the slider, how does this impact your life?
- Are there ways you can make life easier eg look for similarities if you’re a same person. Or could sliding yourself along the line and using a little more difference be more helpful for you?
- You can also spot the Meta Programs in others as understanding each other’s can calm the situation and explain why a person reacted the way they did.
I hope you've enjoyed this introduction to Meta Programs, if this has sparked your interest and you’d like to discover more join me at my Reconnect With You workshop. Where we’ll delve deeper into discovering even more of your Meta Programs…..along with how this impacts your life and how you really can use them to start living life to it’s full potential.
I’ve loved sharing Meta Programs with you today, I’m sure with your new found knowledge you’ll start understanding yourself and others even more.
Until next time
I hear so many people saying they have no will power or that their will power isn't strong enough. They're usually trying to change their habits and they're finding it hard work. This is one of the most common examples of using yourself badly and expecting good results.......today I'll explain why and what you can do to make those new choices easier.
Whatever 'new' behaviours or habits you're trying to implement this free article will help make those choices easier. Perhaps you're trying to introduce a new morning routine or make better food choices, maybe you're starting planning your time better or want to improve your exercise.....if you're using your will power to get you through, there's an easier way.
An introduction to Will Power
Your will power is designed as a short term system, a boost to make you do something you don't necessarily want to do. It's a quick burst or drive to get you through. It was never meant to be a long term strategy or have strength in the long term.
With this in mind it seems pretty crazy that we rely on this system to continue a new behaviour for weeks, sometimes months...and then we get frustrated with ourselves when our will power runs out.
Why do so many people think the solution is to find a way to drive a short term system harder? This isn't easy and is always going to leave you feeling drained, not good enough and like you've failed.
So if you're looking for more will power or a way to make your will power stronger......
There's a much easier way......
An introduction to Motivation
Motivation is our want or desire to do something. It's much deeper than our will power and a good motivation driver can keep people fuelled for years. Think about people who have decided to achieve something and have a genuine motivation to do it.....
These people have climbed mountains, build multimillion pound companies, taken themselves off around the world, set up successful charities, lost stones of weight etc etc.........
Motivation is a long term system which gives you fire in your belly and won't let you give up no matter how tough things appear to be.
Sounds good doesn't it
Where do I get myself some motivation?
If you're finding something hard you haven't yet tapped into your motivation. You still want that comfortable behaviour more than you want the new one. Your focus is on what you'll lose out on, what you can't have and what makes it difficult.
Here's the steps to find your motivation:
1) Why does it matter to you?
Your motivation lies in your why, your reason for wanting the new behaviour............
not the reason everyone else says has to why you should have it......but your reason.
Why does it matter to you?
People usually start with something like 'health' or 'to have more time' but find this doesn't motivate them enough to make the changes....this is because this isn't deep enough, it has no meaning to you and it doesn't have any power within you.
2) Dig deep to find the meaning
The best way to dig deeper is to ask yourself the question, 'and why is that important?'
Lets take health as an example, (it works the same no matter what you pick)......
Ask yourself, "and why is that important?"..........e.g. because I'll be able to run around after the kids.
And why is that important?........e.g. because I'll be a good parent, create memories
And why is that important..........
Keep going until things start to really mean something to you, it creates emotions, connects to you, makes you excited etc. The answers in there if you dig deep and be honest with yourself.
3) Associate the new behaviour with achieving your motivating outcome.
Now associate doing the new activity with the meaning you discovered in step 2. Continuing with our health example.....
Getting up each morning and going for a run (new behaviour) means......feeling like I'm a good parent.
4) Use your senses to really give it some oomph!!
What would you see, hear, feel, smell, taste etc.......in our example, if you were feeling like a good parent what would that be like, see yourself playing endlessly with the kids, smiling etc.
Now every time you want to do the new behaviour connect to those thoughts, images, sounds etc to remind yourself why it matters.
If this isn't drawing you to want to do the behaviour it isn't the right motivator, keep going until you find something which really gets you going.
When you find your motivation you no longer rely soley on will power, you do the behaviour/activity because you want to, not because you have to and this is so much stronger, easier and longer lasting.
Give it a try and If you can relate to what I have shared, I would love to help you more. My monthly Break Free, Find Clarity sessions are all about sharing practical tools your can implement. Each month has a different topic. If you'd like more information click the picture below.
Until next time.
This week I attended a really thought-provoking and intriguing development session all about beliefs, amongst the discussions we talked about what they were and how we can change them.
Our beliefs have such a massive impact on our lives, they determine our actions but even more than that....they form the foundations of our experiences in the world.
Our beliefs can either build us up or hold us back and whilst many people think they are steadfast and unchangeable science actually shows us that we're more malleable than we might think. We only believe something until something proves us otherwise.
As I've said many times we're not stupid beings we don't believe something because it's stupid, we only believe something which we deem to be true and useful to us (that 'usefulness' is sometimes not consciously known but that doesn't mean it's not there).
Our beliefs form the fabric of what we believe to be right, they cover everything from our expectations about an object such as scissors are sharp to our beliefs about things like relationships, money and success.
How do we harness the power of our empowering beliefs and reshape the ones which hold us back?
This TED talk by Eduardo Briceno caught my eye too. It's incredible how some small changes can have such a massive impact on our lives and what we're able to achieve. I myself have fallen into the 'fixed mindset' rut but I'm learning the drawbacks of my ways and I'm constantly seeking to understand myself better.
The Growth mindset and beliefs
Some of our biggest self-limiting beliefs come from having a fixed mindset, believing that we don't have talent, aren't clever enough or we have to be the best.
A growth mindset allows us to realise we are always doing our best and we are always learning. Once you adopt that belief the pressure we place on ourselves is lifted. We know nothing until we are taught, we grow as we learn and no belief can be held once you decide it's not true any more.
So what beliefs do you hold which no longer serve you well?
Perhaps it would help to ask yourself, what belief would serve you better? Just mull over that question and see what your unconscious brings for you. You may even find that just a small change in wording would feel better for you.
Then it's how you help yourself to truly believe the belief which serves you better. Here's a few things you can try:
1) Question the source - where did that original belief come from? Ask yourself is it true? Once that belief is understood sometimes it takes a different meaning or you find out that belief is actually out of date and you can allow yourself to move on.
2) Repetition - sometimes if we hear something often enough we start to believe it, so repeat your new belief often and your belief in it will grow.
3) Look for the evidence - Purposefully look for evidence which supports your new belief, for example start to notice when you do have confidence, or times you do well. Don't let those moments slip by, notice them and they'll help build strength in your belief.
If you'd like more help with beliefs or something is holding you back which you just can't shift, get in touch and book a 1-2-1, I have many more tools in my toolbox and always happy to help.
I hope you've enjoyed this look into beliefs, how they impact your day to day life and you now have a few ideas you can play with to help you change them. If you'd like to share your thoughts or progress please comment below and join the conversation.
Until next time
We all have them, that moment when something triggers a wobble in our confidence and in milliseconds our brain goes from 'Life is great' to 'Oh my I can't cope.' I had one today and it inspired me to share a Tool Kit with you. This Tool Kit has been tried and tested many times, not just by me but by the people I work with too......it works and I hope it gives you a proven strategy which you can use!!!
Let me set the scene........today I sat down to create a blog post, laptop ready and my brain was pondered over some ideas. After a short while, I was still staring at a blank screen and.....bam from nowhere I said to myself, 'I don't know why you're bothering'.......closely followed by, 'you might as well just give it up as a bad job.'
I have an incline you know where this story is going..........
So I took a breath and decided I needed distraction and some more inspiration so I started to look through some articles I'd saved for ideas......Then, bam my internal dialogue said, 'these are so much better than yours', 'you'll never be able to write like that anyway'.......it went on and on.....
within a few short minutes I was completely distracted, fighting an internal battle with myself and about to give it up.
That's when I decided to use my Tool Kit, here's what I did........
My tool kit for when Confidence Wobbles Strike
1) STOP: It's a great word and when said powerfully enough can halt internal processes just like that. I said it to myself strongly and firmly.
2) Breathing: I took a few deep breaths. This really allows me to calm down and then the rest of the tools become easier.
3) Language: I knew my internal dialogue was only leading me to one outcome and I didn't want to go there so I stopped those too. Any which crept in, I chose not to listen.
4) Distraction: I shut the laptop, walked away (I actually went to get my hair cut, it has been on my Do List all week).
5) Refocus: I put some BIG tunes on the car stereo and allowed myself to sing.
The result: The idea for this blog popped into my mind as I was driving and I really loved it. By the time I parked the car I even had the flow of it worked out in my head. My internal dialogue was also being realistic about the earlier statements thinking things like, 'so what if others are better, just focus on being you' and 'they probably feel exactly the same sometimes too.' By the time I sat in the chair at the hairdressers I was feeling much better. When I came back this blog just flowed.
Sometimes we work too hard on something and the outcomes seems to drift further and further away. Worse than that our internal dialogue knows how to hurt us most and starts having a party in your head.
You are not at the mercy of your brain, you just don't know how to use it effectively so unwittingly let it get on with it. Try the Tool Kit out and make it work for you. Take back control and you may be amazed at how quickly you can feel better.
If you'd like more practical mindset tools you can use, join me at my monthly Break Free, Find Clarity sessions. These are for all business owners and are an opportunity to break free from the day-to-day demands of running your business and join a community of like-minded people to learn and grow together.
Hope this helps and let me know how you get on.
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
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
Do you, like so many people, really want to make a change in your life but don't know where to start? Perhaps you feel too afraid to change and in that instant you make the decision to say no rather than say yes and then you wish you'd done the latter?
Well you are not alone, so many of my clients experience the same thoughts so I thought I'd share with you my 1 amazing technique that can change a habit and finally give you the kick you need to make that change. What's even more fantastic is you can start practicing this immediately.
My very simple and easy piece of advice would be to route out the truth.
Let me explain what I mean.....so I met one of my friends the other day and she was telling me that she doesn't like meeting new people. She distinctly remembered her father hating it too and even a particular time in her childhood which made her really scared. Nothing too bad, just that she saw her father's reaction and really felt scared in that moment.
Now, when an opportunity comes to meet someone new she feels an immediate reaction which often makes her decide to turn around and not put herself in that situation.
So I said 'how many times have you met new people in your life?', she said 'oh hundreds'.....' so I asked 'how many of those were enjoyable?', she answered 'most of them'......you see how when you route for the truth the two don't match.
So I said, 'ok so next time you're in a situation where you're going to meet someone remember that you've met new people hundreds of times and it's often enjoyable and interesting'. She sat for a moment taking that in and Immediately understood what a big a difference that would make. That one automatic reaction wasn't actually representative of the truth. It's an automatic thought she'd never questioned.
Questioning and finding the truth will make a huge difference to the decisions you make.
So instead of being driven by an automatic response it can be really powerful to route out the truth. Here's some example questions you can ask to get you started in finding that truth:
Then once you've decided your truth create a sentence which can remind you of that truth in that moment. Make it true and powerful for you. Then say it in that millisecond moment when you're making your decision. And as you say it, give yourself time to hear it........
This simple technique has the power to completely change your decision.
Have a go and give it some practise,
.......and if you'd like some help creating a powerful sentence comment below and let us help.
I hope that gives you something practical you can try out.
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
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
Last night I was at a workshop discussing this very topic, it was so thought provoking I thought it would be nice to share it with you.
To set the scene we watched this inspiring TED talk. Its well worth a watch as it can give you a better introduction to the topic than I can write. This is David Steindl-Rast a monk and interfaith scholar talking about how we all want to be happy.
Lets set the scene
The main points taken from the TED talk
There were 7 people in the room to discuss this topic and all of us took slightly different approaches to gratitude, some found it something easy to do everyday, others found gratitude within their lives in fleeting moments here and there.
Here are the main points I took from the inspiring discussions which unfolded last night. I share these to spark thoughts within yourself, non of us professed to have all the answers, just sharing our own perspectives to help deepen understanding:
There really was so much which came out of the discussions, this is just a snippet of the things my brain is still pondering over this morning. So.......what do you think about Gratitude?
I hope this has sparked your curiosity and in my opinion if I can bring more happiness into my life and the lives of others that can only be a good thing.......right??
If you're feel inspired to give it a go or you'd like to do it more, is there a hard fast rule of how to do it successfully?? Well strangely enough we discussed that too.......Here's our thoughts......
How can you bring more gratitude into your life?
Others explained that they found it hard to write and instead took time to be grateful whilst out walking their dog. Others found it was just something they did throughout the day as it just popped into their head.
We concluded as a group that it doesn't really matter how gratefulness enters your life but it was about having that moment, creating that opportunity to realise it and so whatever way you find works for you is great. There's no right or wrong way, it's whatever creates that moment for you.
Do you feel the pressure of having to be grateful?
We also talked about the pressure to be grateful and live a grateful life and how many of us 'still had a long way to go'. We didn't like the feeling this gave us. It felt this went against the benefits of gratefulness. If gratitude leads us to happiness then if it's a chore, something we feel pressured to do it brings about feelings of shame and guilt which lead us away from feeling happy.
We concluded that it was far better to just accept that gratitude was an important part of our lives and any opportunity to feel it moment by moment is good for us. Whatever way we find to bring that into our lives is perfectly fine and we should all stop giving ourselves a hard time about it and instead crack on and enjoy it.
What a refreshing revelation!!!
So......whats your thoughts about gratitude?? Please do feel free to share. What a thought provoking and interesting topic, I just had to share it with you all.
Until next time
Today I've had a revelation and I think it will resonate with you, just like you I have a natural tendency to strive forwards, to aim for my dreams but lately I've been feeling under pressure and until today I hadn't connected the two. I know that having dreams is a really motivating thing but what happens when those dreams start to weigh you down?
Is constantly striving for your dreams weighing you down?
Like most days I started today writing down 10 things I was grateful for, I also have a little 'Thought per day' book too and today's question was where do you see yourself in 5 years (I've always hated that question) but it did get me thinking about my hopes and dreams......after day dreaming for a while it hit me........all .that pressure I'm feeling is self induced!!
Let me explain: It feels like I have a mountain in front of me, it feels massive, scary and like a hell of a lot of work. I think about everything I'd need to achieve it, all the skills, knowledge and resources, which I just don't have right now, and I feel overwhelmed, small and not good enough. Whats even more annoying is this analogy is one I use with my clients all the time.........I know this stuff and yet I still do it. Dam human nature!! ;)
But just because it's human nature doesn't mean we have to live with it, sometimes these small revelations can make a big difference.
How do you stop feeling overwhelmed by your dreams?
The good part is that because I know this stuff I also know what I need to do.....I need to reframe my perceptions, having dreams is great, really motivating and keeps me going but looking at them in a future reference (i.e. looking up at the mountain) and then constantly striving for them is wearing me out. I need to step back. I need a plan.
So today I'm going to get out the large paper and colourful pens and plot my journey, asking myself what resources, skills, knowledge and support I'll need along the way. Once my map is ready I'll then focus on the next few steps and know I'll feel a whole lot better.
What about you?
If you're like me and you've fallen into the trap of looking up at your own mountain, hoping the wishing you'll get there but feeling overwhelmed, small and not good enough I want you to know that you are normal!!!
Maybe for you it's the mountainous task of losing weight, or achieving a better career or buying a house or starting a business.......Whatever it is this strategy will also work for you. Get yourself a big sheet of paper and some coloured pens and once you've plotted the journey just focus on the next few steps. I promise you'll feel a whole lot better.
Always happy to help
PS. If you'd like a better understanding of how your brain works have a look at my free video series, where you'll learn practical ways to boost your confidence along with more simple strategies to understand why you do what you do.
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.
A friend of mine's son broke his leg really quite badly and was in hospital having it plated along with some physiotherapy to get him back on his feet. Every day his mum visited the hospital and told him he wasn't good enough because he should be back on his feet by now. She told him he should give up anyway because it wasn't worth him trying and how stupid he was for breaking his leg in the first place......on and on every day she told him these things knowing that this would make him better..........she went to the hospital two weeks later and was flabbergasted to find her son still lying in bed feeling sorry for himself...........
Are you screaming at the screen right now??? Saying what the hell, how dare she say those things.....obviously that isn't going to make her son better, she should be supporting and helping him!!!!!
But how can you say that because this is exactly what you do........every single day!!! Every day you berate yourself via your internal dialogue.......telling yourself over and over how rubbish you are, how you should be feeling better by now.....how stupid you were to get yourself into this mess etc. And whats more your shocked because you feel low in energy and sorry for yourself.
You probably even say worse things than I wrote above!!!
If you want to thrive through tough times the answer is simple........do to yourself exactly what you'd advise in the story above. You need to increase the support, compassion and care......and that doesn't just mean expect it from everyone else and you'll get better....it means do it for yourself!!!!
Use your internal dialogue to give you strength, support and love......be kind and be realistic. Pushing yourself harder, berating your efforts and dragging yourself down will only lead you one way......then don't be surprised when you feel low on energy and feel you can't cope. I'm pretty sure this is how my friend's son would feel after that barrage of abuse.
Abusive language hurts just the same whether it's said to you from outside or from within.....it still does the same amount of damage.
Make a promise to yourself right now. I will increase the amount of compassion, support and care I give myself. I will never say to myself something I would not say to a friend who is suffering. This is my pact!
Now make sure you stick to it!! Keep this story in your mind and question your actions. Does your internal language help you to get better??
Don't run from tough times, they can be your finest hour......just take a breath, be kind to yourself and thrive on through.
Until next time
Does your imagination impact your feelings? Are your fears real or imagined? Today I discuss the power of your imagination and ask.....do you (like so many others) use it to create evil or to generate good? And, how can you use it better??
I've always been fascinated by the mind and like to learn more about how and why we do things. My friend gave me a book by Helen Graham (The Magic Shop) which talks about Imagination and Healing. It's been a real fascinating read and my treatment rooms I've often been surprised by the amazing impact people's imaginations can have. I really think we don't give our imagination enough credit in western society.
Many people I speak too see their imagination as childish and something which they were told to grow out of and were told over and over to 'grow up'. Some of my other friends are artistic, creative types who love nothing more than diving into their imagination and harnessing the best it can create.......but what impact does our imagination have on our confidence?
Does your Imagination have an Impact on Your Confidence?
Your imagination can really be your best friend or your worst enemy. The roots of self-doubt and niggling feelings of worthlessness often stem from fear, which is your imagination's perception of what could/may happen.
The result of this imaginative process is often the phrase, 'I can't do it!!'. But really it's just your interpretation of the situation. Let me explain......I'm sure you've experienced this.......within two seconds your brain goes from calm to 'oh my what if this, this or that happens,' with each thought adding another layer of terror. Each one taking you further until your a jittery, feeling low, 'oh my I can't do this' mess. Sound familiar??
I haven't met a single person yet who doesn't do this, its part of being human!!!! But those thoughts are a product of your imagination, of you thinking up things. And this kind of negative use of your imagination can really tear stripes off your confidence.
But there is another way and it's so powerful when I teach this technique to my clients, so that's exactly what I'm going to do for you today......read on.....you may be surprised at how simple it actually is!!!
How to harness the power of imagination for good.
If you can use your imagination for creating such vivid examples of what could and might go wrong (just like I mentioned above), you can equally use that same imagination to create what could go right. It would use the same process and be just as powerful, the only difference is where you put your focus.
So if you feel yourself slipping down that negative slope of doom say 'STOP' and ask yourself, 'what is it I do want in this situation' ask yourself that question over and over until your mind gets the idea and begins to flow in the right direction.
This may take practise, it's probably not something you've done before. You've spent years with those negative imaginative thought processes whizzing round your head. So every time a thought creeps in which isn't helpful say 'STOP' and refocus on what it is you do want.
After a while this will start a new much more beneficial habit and really support your confidence.
Here's some examples.......
1) I can't do it - STOP - what do I need to be able to do it?
2) I'm such a failure - STOP - tell me about all the times I've done well.
3) I might as well give up - STOP - I need a break, I'm being too hard on myself
4) She/he does it so much better than me - STOP - what can I learn to improve what I do.
I'm sure you think of a whole lot more than these!! It can sometimes be helpful to get a piece of paper, write out your thoughts and think about how you could change them similar to the ones above.
The negative process will never stop entirely!!! As humans we are designed with this instinctive negative bias so your brain won't stop weighing up the 'what ifs' of any situation but that doesn't mean you are at the mercy of your brain........you can decide and switch the focus.
The more often you do this switching exercise the easier it becomes but this is about mind management. You need to learn when this type of thinking is helpful and when it's eroding your confidence. And when it's the latter use this simple technique to refocus. I've been doing this for 5 years and although I am much better at spotting and switching these thoughts it still sometimes catches me out, you can't get away from human nature but you can manage it better.
Start now.....I promise this good habit will serve you well.
Until next time
PS. If you'd like more understanding of how your brain works have a watch of my free video series.
PPS. I'm always happy to help, if you'd like to share your experiences or ask me questions please comment in the box below.
Resilience for me is a feeling of strength, knowing that no matter what happens we will be able to cope.
Even though I am young at heart I remember a time when we had to rely on knowing routes to places and get ourselves out of our own mess because you couldn’t phone home to be rescued unless you could get to a phone box. I think this built strong roots of resilience for me. (The picture is me at Lake Coniston in the rain after the dingy sprung a leak haha.)
Sometimes I feel theres less of a need now to rely on ourselves and our own abilities, therefore lessening our confidence in ourselves.
However I’ve also seen it work the other way around. I was watching Restoration Man the other month and a man took on a huge renovation project and did it all by the power of You Tube. He taught himself all the crafts he needed and did a really good job. I was thinking……..would he even have considered that project if he hadn’t been able to learn those skills through the internet??
Imagine the feeling of achievement that gave him…….a great sense of ‘I can achieve anything’ would does wonders for your resilience. (I talk more about how new experiences build resilience in this blog.)
I don’t have an answer for you here, I would just love to hear your thoughts. I certainly think self confidence is a big problem these days and I do think technology plays a part.
What do you think? Does modern technology positively or negatively impact on our resilience…..
They say the roots of a tree can be as long as the tree is tall, and I can tell you from experience digging up my garden last year that they are ridiculously strong. Many of my clients start off a little like my wheelie bin. They’ve stood in the same place happily for a while feeling strong. Then the weather changed and blew them off balance. They lost their strength and have ended up just going with the weather, hoping it wouldn’t blow them around too much. Some have even come to rest in a new place but it feels strange and they need help to be stood back up.
So what is your resilience like? Do you have those strong roots which keep you grounded even if your branches are blowing in the wind, if so feel free to share your secrets in the comments below so others can learn and grow from you.
Or do you resonate more with my wheelie bin, strong to a point but the weather can really blow you off course.
Maybe you’re questioning if it's even possible to change?
Yes of course we can change - we are learning beings, our brains are designed to constantly get better at doing things. You never knew how to drive a car till you had lessons and you never knew how to use a computer until you were shown. Then every time you did it, you got better and better......you see we are all learning beings.
Lets start with where our roots come from:
You have strong roots already!!!
You aren’t starting from scratch. Often we focus so much on what we don’t have we forget to remember all the good stuff.
I see this will the majority of my clients, they focus all their energy on telling themselves over and over about all the things they aren't good at....don't have.....could do better etc. But just like them you are not starting from 0. Lets start by realising that you have resilience already, think of all the elements of the 4 areas above which you do have experiences for. I bet there's more than you first thought........you have resiliance, you just want more of it.
How do you grow more resilience?
There are lots of different ways to grow your resilience depending on what area of your life needs work. I'd like to share my top 3 tips to get you started:
Do you have any more suggestions? This isn’t a one-way conversation, I'd love to hear what you think. Does this resonate with you? Am I talking rubbish? Let me know in the comments box below.
I hope these ideas have got you thinking and help you grow strong roots.
Until next time