We are all experiencing uncertainty and change in our lives at the same time. This is a challenging time for all of us, leaving us feeling like we are just spinning in place. The reality though, is that you are probably not giving yourself the credit for how you have adapted, continued to thrive in difficult circumstances. In the last few months, you probably had to work from home, look after and entertain your children of all ages, and probably homeschool them too. Maybe spending an insane amount of time with roommates, spouses or parents under the same roof without a break. Perhaps you have had to live alone and deal with the isolation of that.
Recognise that you have been adapting all along to these new changes and you are still here. You may not be where you had expected to be at this time of year, but you are adapting and you will continue to adapt because you are more resilient than you believe. Look back at all that you have experienced in these last couple of months and recognise that you came to accept your new reality, that you have been flexible and resourceful. You pushed through fear and ploughed through these challenges. Recognise that you are adaptable and resilient. Give yourself the credit you deserve for your adaptability, trust yourself and take action on your goals and keep moving forward!
Vivian Greene said - "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain."
This is a strange time for us all, especially our children. Be mindfully listening for when you are needed most.
The Dalai Lama said, "When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new".
What you think affects your feelings and behavior. So check in with yourself today and notice if you are thinking the same thoughts each day - are they lifting you up or bringing you down? You create your own reality by what you think, you feel and you do!
Albert Einstein said "The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."
In this time of social distancing, take time to focus on you, be kind to yourself while being honest. This is a time when you can choose to elevate and support yourself as you create change, evolve, and move in the direction you really yearn. I have shared empowering and disempowering questions below to allow you to see how important it is to ask yourself empowering questions, to be kind, respectful to yourself, which will support you in making positive changes in your life. This in turn will allow you to come out of the situation we all find ourselves in at the moment stronger, more self-aware and ready for the opportunities that will surely await you.
I don’t know about you, but I have been guilty of being a control freak especially when it comes to my family. None of us like to see our loved ones stressed or anxious over events or circumstances and we tend to want to swoop in and fix (control) the outcomes. We have this sense that we have the right answers, solutions to their problems. We truly believe that we know what’s best for them. But this doesn’t feel like that to them. It feels more like we don’t trust them to figure it out for themselves or they don’t make the right decisions. This can create frustration and even resentment towards us.
So, next time you notice yourself wanting to assist loved ones and you believe your way is the right way, consider the following:
Learn to let go of trying to control all of your loved one’s behaviors, decisions, and choices, unless there is a serious situation. Let them know you are available, be there when they ask for help; love and support their choices. Instead of noticing things they are not good at, recognize the things they do very well and do independently of you. When people feel like they are not being judged, doubted or controlled, the result is healthier loving relationships.
If you would like some help with trying to let go of control, please feel free to contact me.
Sometimes we find it difficult to express ourselves in work or our home life. If this is something that has happened to you, fearing that you might be judged when you express yourself, you don’t have to stay that way.
Maybe you learned a long time ago to be “seen and not heard” to keep the peace, and today you still find it hard to find your voice. It is so important for you to realize that your self-expression and opinion matters. When you avoid ‘rocking the boat’ and voicing your opinion, you’re not valuing yourself or your priorities. You are not speaking your truth. By staying quiet, you also play small in life, causing sad feelings and resentment to fester and turning them in on yourself. To gain the respect from others and more importantly, from yourself, you must use the voice you were given – to speak up.
I know that this is easier said than done, especially If you are shy or suffer with social anxiety, this can be quite difficult. Try the following exercise and begin the process of freeing your voice:
Start by writing in a journal about times where you were feeling mad at yourself for not speaking up. Write down what you would have liked to express clearly and assertively in that situation and notice how you feel.
Notice if what you said was helpful, interesting, humorous, useful to others. You will find that this will be the case in most circumstances.
Speak the words you wished you expressed out loud to yourself in private or better still, in front of a mirror. Much like a rehearsal, you will find over time that you become familiar with how you sound.
Get into the practice of hearing yourself express your view, and then try it out with others.
Find your voice, enjoy your contribution and stop being disappointed with the outcomes because you didn’t express your thoughts and opinions. Whether the outcome is the one you wanted or not, you participated, you gave your opinions a voice and an opportunity to be considered.
If you would like some help with communicating assertively, please feel free to contact me.
After just recently buying a car, I’m very diligent in checking my dashboard for any warning signs as I don’t know the full history of the car. My dashboard in my car informs me of how much gas I have left in the engine, do I need more oil, how fast am I traveling and how far I have traveled from A to B. In life, we need a way to track where we are going, how fast we want to get there, are we performing at our optimal level.
Are there any warning signs (obstacles, potential pitfalls) that we need to be aware of that will get in the way of our progress. Are you keeping track of where you are now to where you want to be? What weekly actions are you taking to get your goal/project completed? If you set out to accomplish something in 2019, but have not made progress, or enough progress, there is still time left. Nine times out of ten, I have found that when my clients have failed to move the needle forward, they have failed to set a plan, and track their progress to plan.
Did you set a plan, or did you just set a goal? To be successful, you must do both, and you must measure your progress, and hold yourself accountable to your commitments. Whether or not you achieve your goal completely, if you use this methodology, you will grow, and you will move forward.
If you struggle creating your plan, or holding yourself accountable, getting a coach can help, contact me for details.
Boundaries sounds like a negative – like you need to limit yourself in some way but it’s actually the opposite.
Boundaries are acts of self-care, redefining your own worth, establishing your value. Some of us are givers and our kindness can be taken advantage of by others. Creating boundaries provides a mechanism to help you reestablish your worth, your value, and ensure that you are receiving as much as you are giving. Sometimes it is about limiting the amount of negativity that you encounter. Remember what surrounds you, can become you. The balance boundaries create are essential to wellbeing, and you deserve it.
So, set healthy boundaries this week, look for balance, if others keep repeating the same negative patterns even after you offered support, you have to let go, it is their decision to change, or not. Be aware of your engagements with others, are you receiving as much as you are giving – be mindful of your needs, it’s not only acceptable, its essential for your self-care and happiness.
Your time, your energy are valuable, make sure that everything is not a withdrawal, but that you’re getting deposits in return. Reciprocation is key, you are worth it.
When we view our problems, the obstacles in front of us, as a huge boulder to move before we can get back on track to moving forward, it becomes, far too often, overwhelming. Instead, break down the problems into chunks, because that is usually what they are, an accumulation of problems that form into an unmovable boulder. So, break them down into smaller problems and deal with them one at a time. I know this sounds obvious, but after working with many clients, I see this roadblock to forward motion, over and over.
Every one of us have problems. There is no one that can say that their lives are perfect and that’s okay because if it was perfect all the time, we would not appreciate the good times, we would just take them for granted. We have a range of emotions for a reason – to give us variety so we can experience all sorts of feelings. If you feel your life is happening to you and not for you then maybe you feel you lack control over problems and circumstances? Maybe you feel helpless in your struggles and there is nothing you can do about them? Perhaps you feel a victim of your circumstances?
When you feel that your life is controlled from external forces (outside of yourself), you will always feel like a victim – feeling fearful and anxious because you blame someone else or bad luck for your problems and hoping someone will come along and fix it. The problem with this is, you are putting other people in control of your happiness. In psychological terms this is known as external locus of control (Locus of control originated by Julian Rotter 1954). Thinking this way causes negative feelings, pessimism, anger, resentment, low energy and even ill health. There are two types of locus of control and the other one is internal locus of control (inside of yourself). You feel that you are in complete control of your thoughts, feelings and behavior and the outcomes in life. You believe that life is happening for you and not to you.
Taking responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and behavior gives you complete control to act – your mental, emotional and physical energy will be focused on finding a solution to your dilemmas/problems. Responsibility is what separates the two types of locus control. Once we focus on what we are responsible for, we take action, the fear and anxiety dissipate because we feel in control of our circumstances. We are doing something about it and not sitting waiting for the worst to happen. It provides a great sense of relief and you gain clarity to solving the problem.
We can’t control everything in life, but we can control how we respond to them. Try to find the lesson in each problem and reframe your words – stop using the word ‘problem’ and change it to ‘challenge’ or ‘opportunity’. These are more positive words and don’t sound impossible to tackle.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” – Albert Einstein
Stressing about our problems causes us to react in habitual ways and we can’t access our internal resources to find the solutions. So, we need to respond skillfully instead of reacting mindlessly. The following mindfulness technique isn’t to change how you feel but to come out of automatic pilot and bring your awareness to things just as they are. It is to be fully in this moment and be in observation mode rather than reactive mode. Notice the sensation in the body, your thoughts, your emotions – have they changed? It’s okay if they haven’t, you are still doing it right. The idea is to notice and not to change the experience. Through this practice we move the locus of control from being outside of us back to ourselves.
Mindfulness exercise: STOP Technique
S- Stop: for just a moment. Don’t react. Give yourself the gift of brief reflection.
T- Take a breath: Breathe in and out. Track your breath. Sense the chest rising and falling.
O – Observe your experience: Notice the sensations in the body. Observe the thoughts or the story going through your mind and appreciate that thoughts are not facts. Explore your emotions and get a sense of where you are in this moment.
P- Proceed: Move forward in a way that feels right to you and is consistent with your values.
Remind yourself that you only have a problem when you can’t do anything about it. If you are not taking action, you may be making excuses to not do something about it out of fear and feeling powerless. Take your power back and take action. Trust yourself.
If you would like help in applying this to your life, personal or business - please click here to book in a complimentary call with me Schedule-A-Call