Monthly Archives: September 2011

Feel the pain and get the gain!

How do you talk to yourself?  Do you talk to yourself kindly or are you your own worst critic?

Often it's not real, tangible barriers that prevent us progressing towards our goals and aspirations, it can be our own self doubt leads to being stuck in a rut and unable to see a way out.  So how can we stop the cycle of doubt and start to feel confident in our abilities and situations?

This is a technique used widely by positive psychologists that helps us develop our resilience to the challenges that come our way and is a great process of becoming mindful of how challenging situations affect us to enure we are in the driving seat of our lives.  It's not positive thinking  which is reframing, ignoring or quashing thoughts that don't feel good.  That doesn't work beyond surface level as we haven't dealt with the message our bodies were telling us.  It's important to listen to yourself and the potential warnings that may need heeded.  As a wise woman said "pain in life is unavoidable, but suffering is". We feel pain if we stick our hand in a fire - that's our body telling us to avoid that, if we continue to ignore that pain and keep our hand in the fire we are choosing to suffer.  This method works as it's not replacing a 'bad' thought with a 'good' thought which you will likely not really believe on any level (and is potentially not helpful as you're avoiding learning what to avoid) - this helps you look for facts to back up why your thought isn't true and looks for facts to confirm a more effective and constructive belief.

Here it is....easy as ABC...

A - adversity, what's the specific challenge or situation that is present? (eg. I really want to do 'x' but I don't have the skills or qualifications so I can't do it)

B - belief, listen to your self talk - what are you saying to yourself? What do you believe to be true? (eg. I'll never get a job like that, I'm not good enough, I don't have time)

C - consequence, how do you feel and behave as a result of this? (likely it won't be very effective/productive - sad, low, frustrated, angry, stuck, annoyed etc)

D - disputation, here's the good bit! Think of evidence that counters what you are telling yourself on autopilot (eg Other people like me work in jobs like that, good enough for who? I like myself and have people in my life who value me for me so I am more than good 'enough', I can make time - even if it is slower progress than I'd like at least I'm moving toward something I really want than staying stuck)

E - energy - notice how your energy levels change when you become aware of hard evidence to dispute a negative belief.  You'll feel far more motivated - does that feel better than the ineffective self talk before?

Let me know your thoughts.  Have you any examples of how this worked for you?

A personal MOT?

What do you do to look after yourself? Honestly.  It's easy to put ourselves down the list of priorities when there is so much to be done.  Whether you're working or looking for work, looking after kids or parents (or both!) and keeping on top of the things needing doing in the house....where do you fit in?

What time and resources do you allocate just for you?

I remember when my first child was born and I was worn out and desperate to have even just a few sips of a cup of tea but my son was crying and wanting  fed. The midwife said to me to leave him be for just a few minutes as he would be fine and followed with "if you don't look after yourself you wont be able to look after him".  I thought she was mad....until a few years later, run ragged, I clicked.  If only I had clicked before!!  The same theme applies when travelling, we're all warned that in light of an accident it's vital to put your own oxygen mask on/inflatable vest on first as if you don't look after yourself, guess what, you want be in a position to look after anyone else.

It's not selfish, it's not greedy, it's making sure you are best placed to do all the things you want and need to do.

There are lots of things we can do to help ourselves and there are lots of people we use to support us get what we want.

  • Want to get fit/feel good?  Join a gym, a running club, go to an exercise class, hire a personal trainer
  • Want to look good?  Go to the hairdressers/barbers, beauticians, treat yourself to a personal shopper
  • Have a health query?  Visit the doctor/health centre

These are common sources of support to help us not necessarily when something is wrong but to maintain or improve on what we have already.It's less common to consider using a career or life coach to support you when things aren't broken.  It's often the case people get in touch at times of crisis - redundancy, longer than expected unemployment, stress, life changes etc

Think about how you take time to maintain and maximise the other aspects of your life.  How often?  Even your car gets an annual MoT!

Why wait until you're finding things tough? If you want to avoid the obstacles and challenges that crop up in your life and career and either learn how to jump right over them or create another path away from them then coaching is for you.

Using a coach is an opportunity to take stock, think about how you're getting and and consider what else you want to achieve.  It's easy to equate being dissatisfied with somethings with the need to change.  By giving yourself the opportunity to discuss your thoughts, feelings and aspirations you make come to learn more about how you can maximise the opportunities and your potential by staying just where you are now.  Or, indeed, if change is what you want, wouldn't it be great to be clear on how to get what you want?

As the meerkat's seemplez!  Find time for yourself and give yourself the permission and the resources to invest in you, when you're at your best, the rest will follow.

Appreciate what you have, Believe in yourself and the possibilities that are open to you, Create a vision of what you want and plan of how to get there & now Do it!

Leave your comments - I'd love to know what you think.  How do you prioritise yourself?  What are your thoughts on using the services of a career or life coach?


Get off the treadmill and have a break…

I often get clients asking straight away for advice on their CV, to review it and revamp it to best sell themselves to prospective employers.  I can do this, I can absolutely make a CV 'look' good and better word the language for maximum impact...however....I prefer not to.

Most often when I ask clients to talk about what they are good at, what they want from their career and what they will bring to this different organisation, the answer is 'I'm not sure', 'I don't know', 'I just need a job so that doesn't really matter' or sometimes it's just a blank look.  This is why I prefer not to jump straight in and revamp a CV as this is your marketing brochure, the bit of paper that can open or shut a door of opportunity.  If you are fortunate to be invited to interview you'll be asked questions along these lines and I want you to be prepared.  If you are not invited for interview, does your CV and covering letter really summarise what you can do for that company, have you personalised it specifically for the employers eyes?  You know how to make someone feel special and wanted, your CV is the opportunity to speak to the employer is their language, address what they think is important, highlight why you want to work for them.  In a job market where 1 job vacancy can easily attract in excess of 100 applicants its up to you to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

That's why staying still is important.

In a market when lots of people of jumping straight in, applying for lots of jobs without real consideration whether the opportunity will be a match with their strengths, values and aspirations.  Stop. Have a break.  And if you really want to, have a kitkat too... Give yourself time to get to know yourself, figure out what you are skilled at, what your strengths are, what you consider important to you, what you want from a job.

This quiet time of consideration will give you belief in yourself and your capabilities, clarity to see the opportunities that are suited to you and understanding of what you will bring to an employer.  Now, you are in a place where fewer quality applications are effective, where you are more confident to approach employers directly firm in the knowledge that you will bring added benefit to their company.

Stop what your doing, stay still and quiet for just for a moment and think are you truly aware of all the wonderful things you have to offer?

The Value of having a Vision

Tributo a Salvador AllendeThe Value of having a Vision

Visualising…it's something we do all the time, at work, at play, while we sleep. Some people visualise more than others but we all do it and harnessing the power of these images is an amazing thing to do. Pictures come naturally to our mind and with these come feelings. Think of relaxing on holiday and you’ll likely feel good, think of an argument with a loved one and the feelings will not be as pleasant.

The wonderful thing about the human mind is it can’t tell the difference between what is imagined and what is real, our physiological responses are the same if what is in our imagination is vivid. That’s why we get scared watching films when logically we know we’re not in danger. It’s also a technique used by sports psychologists to optimise performance, as getting a sports person to visualise internally their body’s movements actually influences heart rate and muscle movements. This is brilliant for recuperation as well as preparation. Mohammed Ali famously visualised each fight, what he called ‘future history’, imagining every detail, what he saw, heard, smelled and felt right up until he won and then freeze framed the image so his subconscious believed it had already happened….

Here lies the power of visualisation – thoughts really do become things. A thought starts a chain of events in that we react according to what we perceive…

Our minds are bombarded with millions of chunks of information every second which is far too much to make sense of consciously so our fabulously clever unconscious mind filters all this to such an extent that our conscious minds only pick up around 7 (plus or minus 2) chunks of information each second. That’s an amazing amount of filtering!!!

Think of your mind as a room with a cupboard – inside the room you have a clear view, you’re aware of exactly what’s in there and in the corner there is a closed cupboard door full of stuff you’re not quite sure what but you know it’s all in there to keep the room tidy. Whenever you want to rearrange the room you know what you need is in the cupboard…it’s just a case of filtering through all the stuff in there and finding it.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re absolutely right.”

What are you filling your room with?

If you are filtering for impossibility you will find many examples of how you can’t do or achieve the things you want to. If you are looking for evidence to back up a belief that you are not good enough to have what you want, you’ll find lots. On the other hand filter for opportunities and ‘positive’ experiences and you will absolutely prime yourself to find them – you will find yourself focusing on the rainbow rather than the rain.

With this in mind, think about what you want to find in all the information you are bombarded with. Think about what you want to get out of life and what will help you achieve your ambitions.

Vision boards are a great way of bringing to the fore your thoughts of what you really want from life and then narrowing it to the specifics of a particular area of your life such as your career. It's a opportunity to decorate your room exactly how you want. Your vision should be exactly that – something totally inspiring to you, a life, a career without barriers (the old saying where there is a will there is a way is applied to barriers – if you want it strongly enough you are highly likely to find a route around or over any obstacle in your way). Think not what you don’t want, think what you absolutely do want.

How you put your vision board together is completely down to you – there are many different ways and you’ll choose whatever suits you best.

Here are some ideas as to steps to help you create an inspiring board:

  1. Think about what form you want your vision board to take
  • Do you want to create it on your computer using photos, images and words from your own documents and the internet – Word or Powerpoint?
  • Do you prefer doing it Blue Peter style and cutting out lots of pictures from magazines and gluing to a large piece of paper together with some pens to write and draw what comes to mind

2. Get ready and set the scene.

  • Do you want to do this in peace and quiet or do you find music relaxes and inspires you?
  • Make sure you are comfy and you have time without being distracted       (1 – 2 hours is fine although you might get lost in your creation!)

3. Decide what you want to visualise

  • Do you want to brainstorm your ideal life or do you want to get specific straight away and think only about your career?
  • Set a date in the future where you want this all to have happened         (eg. Colette’s career in July 2013)

4. Get brainstorming!

  • What is really important to you?
  • What do you want in your life/career that you don’t currently have?
  • What do you have in your life/career just now that you want to keep or have more of?
  • Think big, think fabulous, you’re creating your ideal life/career …allow yourself to get lost weaving yourself a dream

5. Find images, words and phrases that represent these things you want

  • Cut out or copy & save all the images you are drawn to, you don’t have to use them all.

6. tart putting your board together

  • Decide on how you want your board to look – you’re not aiming to create a work of art just something that represents what’s important to you
  • Make it bright and make it interesting for you

7. Finish

  • Sit back and think “Wow, that is exactly what I want!”
  • If something doesn’t sit well with you then tweak it until you get that feeling of inspiration and motivation.

8. Start making it all happen

  • Take a moment and do a Mohammed Ali – close your eyes and looking through own eyes visualise what you will see, hear, feel and smell when you have now achieved the things on your board, really experience it and relish all your senses are telling you.
  • Put it somewhere you will see it every day to keep fresh in your mind what you really want to ensure you are filtering for opportunities that will help you make this happen.

Happy visualising!