Category: Being Human

How to make problems work for you

By , August 7, 2013 5:58 pm

Success word on puzzle piece“Problems are the raw materials for your solutions.”

~ Christine Kane, Mentor to women who are changing the world

 

Most of us are conditioned to see problems as a negative thing that rears its head causing irritation or reinforcement that you shouldn’t have taken the risk in the first place!

For sure, problems can stop us in our tracks. We often react to them from a negative place as they steal our confidence and cause extra stress or worry in our working day.

Here’s the thing though…

Problems actually help us function and reframing how we think about them can help us to find a solution more effectively.

Taking action, doing new things or taking a whole new approach to something is risky (and healthy!) and problems are a natural part of the process.

The truth is that if you want to create new things problems will show up along the way…

Accept that problems are actually an inescapable part of life and business. No matter what you do, your work will produce problems, especially as you’re learning and growing. See yourself as a solution finder by expecting to encounter and deal with them.

Whatever business you’re in, it’s important to reframe any problems because they are the raw materials for your success:  shaping and creating new solutions.

Here’s how I see problems…

Problems are portals for solutions. You can only create a solution if you are prepared to look at the problem a different way.

Problems are puzzles to solve and opportunities from which we can learn grow.

Past experiences don’t always help us to find the solution in Today’s world, as change isn’t linear (past experiences no longer shape a constant for future success). You are creating new solutions to new problems.

When you give yourself permission to see a problem as an opportunity you’ll start to see what the problem can actually do for you and your business in terms of learning and growth.

Whenever I’m confronted with a problem I ask myself the following questions:

  1. What is this current problem teaching me right now about the situation and/or my business?
  2. What is it telling me about myself and about life?
  3. How can I put this raw material to work to find a solution?
  4. What do I already know about the situation?
  5. What don’t I know but need to find out?
  6. What can I control here?
  7. What’s my very first step?

Solving problems can take time. Allow some space to think things through so you can take full advantage of the learning opportunity that is being presented to you right now.

Don’t expect to always find the solution on your own. All of the amazingly successful people that I know have a support network of like-minded and trusted people whom they feel comfortable to bounce ideas off. Sometimes just sharing the problem out loud can help you find the solution.

Remember… You can’t do it EVERYTHING on your own!

How you think about your problems on a daily basis makes a huge difference to how you negotiate them. When you give yourself over to solving the problem there is a shift in attitude and you’ll want to find out what the problem can actually do for you instead. Your attitude is everything as it determines the quality of any solution!

There is ALWAYS a plan B – Don’t give up. You just haven’t thought of it yet so keep thinking and exploring options. You’ll work through it.

Problems are exciting and fun. They are the raw materials for your future success.

Accept that things go wrong and sometimes we screw up. You can’t always prepare for it but shit happens! Failure means that we have to grow – It’s all about learning and being compelled to figure it out. You are presented with the raw materials for your solution. Work the problem to create your solution.

My mentor says that business is a full contact sport!

This is so true!

Hang in there…Completing is not for the faint hearted. It takes hard work and stamina to finish. There might be problems along the way. But all the hard work is for nothing if you don’t show up to finish. It requires extra energy and drive to see things through and it’s the most difficult bit– But so worth it! Reach inside for that extra bit of courage.

List any current problems you have in your business and in your life.

This list is the raw materials for your solution so start working with it.

Get some support from like-minded people who can help you on your journey.

There is always a way through – Go find it!

 

Why Busy People Need to Take Holidays!

By , July 17, 2013 11:25 am

Deckchair and parasol on white background. Isolated 3D image“If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.”

~Herodotus

So many of my clients are working too hard and not taking any time to rest, relax and recover from the demands they are placing on themselves everyday.

Achieving a healthy balance in life and work requires discipline. In other words, you have to work at it by setting some clear boundaries and have the persistence to make it happen.

We all have busy lives which is why it is hugely important to power down and take time away from the ‘do-do’ of doing and spend some time ‘being.’ Otherwise you can easily lose focus and perspective about WHY you are doing all this busy stuff in the first place. You become out of alignment with what’s really important in your life.

I take my holiday time very seriously because it keeps me healthy, happy and sane. I also feel refreshed and I’m more productive when I return.

Okay… I know what you’re probably saying: The last thing you instinctively want to do is to slow down! You haven’t got time to slow down because you’ve got too much stuff to do – right?

Holiday time is often put off until later because you never get round to it. Your personal time at the weekend is frequently held hostage to busy-ness. It is used as a buffer so we can ‘catch up’ and finish the work we were unable to do during the week.

Because you are always on the go you probably won’t see tiredness and exhaustion creeping up on you.

Human beings are not designed to work at this pace constantly. There’s loads of research to prove that biologically we need to step away and take breaks to charge our batteries and rest. Some people are literally killing themselves!

You need to take time out to relax, regenerate, reconnect and renew your love affair with your life!

STOP and take a break…

For me, regeneration time involves no work-related activity at all. I might take a day, a weekend or even a whole week.

Here’s how I create mine…

  • Schedule pockets of regeneration time in advance and commit to them (a day, weekend or week). Book several long weekends or weeks out during the year. These could be trips away from home. If you don’t make a plan – it WON’T happen!
  • Set clear boundaries – Regeneration time is where everything is powered down. That includes phones and computers. The day is COMPLETELY work-free. Don’t read the newspapers, watch television or listen to the radio. Step away. Teach other people how to treat you – no compromising! They’ll get the message and will start to respect your boundaries.
  • Leave the ‘office’ – Commit to being out of your office (away from work). This could also be your busy home life as well as your work. You’re not contactable or available to anyone: staff, colleagues, co-workers, boss, and even family (unless of course there is a REAL emergency). It’s interesting how some urgent things aren’t really that important. Don’t get sucked into the drama!
  • Delegate responsibility and ownership – Allow others to take responsibility and ownership for their own decisions during your time away. They can handle things for themselves and learn how to make their own decisions instead of relying on you all the time. This builds self-confidence and helps them to develop their own decision-making ability.
  • Focus on being fully present and having fun – What do you enjoy doing? Start doing some of them. I love hiking and immersing myself in the beauty of Nature. Breathing the mountain air or feeling a warm sea breeze on my face really invigorates me. It makes me feel alive again.What does fun mean to you?

Create your own list. Here are a few of my favorite things:

  • Hiking
  • Having a massage
  • Booking a long weekend away in a hotel
  • A spa day
  • Walking on the beach
  • Hanging out with friends I’ve not seen for a while
  • Skiing
  • Sleeping in
  • Experiencing another country

Regeneration days are all about restoring and resetting your energy. You may have work withdrawal symptoms for the first day or so of a holiday, but you’ll soon re-adjust and embrace your newly found freedom time. You’ll soon start to feel relaxed as you stop listening to that busy voice in your head.

Take a break – I guarantee that you will become more rested, relaxed and more productive when you return to your busy life.

Stepping away will help you to re-focus on what really is important in your life.

Busy successful people take holidays!

 

Are You Too Busy To Look After Yourself?

By , July 10, 2013 8:44 pm

iStock_000011570636Large“A healthy and happy YOU is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone else. Yet most of us don’t look after ourselves. We are too busy getting things done to get around to looking after own emotional, psychological and physical needs as a human being. We only take it seriously when something goes wrong!”

- Elaine Bailey, Author, Speaker, Coach

Many of us spend most of our time doing things for everyone else:  the boss, clients, family or friends. Sometimes our own needs are neglected. We relegate ourselves to the bottom of our To Do List hoping that we’ll get around to taking a break, eating healthily or going to the gym soon!

I was working with a coaching client recently who was exhausted with her busy life and the demands others placed upon her. She felt obliged to be the constant support for everyone else. The more she gave, the more they seemed to want. She was locked in this holding pattern because she didn’t want to let anyone down.

Taking personal timeout wasn’t an option and the thought of it made her feel guilty. How could she be so selfish and do something for herself?

My client had assumed the role of a rescuer in many of her current relationships. She’d become the go to person for everyone. She felt exhausted and unhappy.

She was:

  • Doing more than she really wanted to
  • Discounting her own needs
  • Doing more for others than they were willing to do for themselves

Our lives constantly inter-connect and we all have needs and wants. It’s sometimes hard for us to weigh our own needs against the needs of others and own needs get neglected as we try to help.

The truth is that we care and we want to help those that we love, but we also need to look out for ourselves.

We consciously hang onto our old conditioned patterns of behavior. My client had no-energy for herself, because she was unconsciously giving it all away to everyone else.

Taking care of YOU is NOT selfishness.

So what does ‘selfishness’ actually mean?

Selfishness – Many people confuse taking care of themselves with selfishness.  There is a significant difference between the two.  Selfishness is about getting what you want without any consideration for the other person’s needs. It’s usually at the expense of the other person. Selfishness is an intentional release of negative energy. For example, it’s purposely not sharing information with someone that might save them time, because it might make them look better than you.

Self-care  Is a totally different energy. You are look after your own well being in a healthy way. It’s a commitment that you make to yourself. A healthy and happy you is hugely important because your energy affects and interacts with everything and everybody that you come into contact with (See Radiators and Drains).

Invest in yourself.

If you’ve never done this before consciously, those closest to you may notice a difference and feel uncomfortable to begin with because you are doing things differently and they are not used to it. They prefer the ‘old you’ because they were easier to manipulate! Teach them how to treat you.

Here’s how to get started…

1. Take responsibility  We are each responsible for our own life and the choices we make. Therefore, we have the right to take care of our own needs. The balance between commitment to yourself and the desire to help someone else requires us to define some lines of responsibility. As a coach, I’m responsible to my client, but not for my client’s results. They have to take action in order to get a result. It’s more difficult to draw lines with those we love.

2. Determine your own needs and wants – To live authentically it’s important to consider your own needs, wants and to identify what’s important to you. This clarity helps you to live your core values and create your best life. You also get to decide when another’s needs supersede your own. Take conscious action do one thing every day for yourself.

3. Set some boundaries – As human beings we all have equal value, worth and dignity. You have the right to say no when you want to, to take care of yourself and to ask for what you want. It’s important to set boundaries with other people, so they know what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior. Boundaries help you to protect your authenticity, integrity and demonstrate how you value yourself and others.

You only get one life (and one body) so look after yourself. After all, your To Do List is pretty useless if you’re not around To Do it! Right?!

If you are not taking care of yourself – Who is?

 

Five ways to protect your confidence

By , June 20, 2013 7:15 pm

Thermometer - Confidence Level“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.” 

~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

I love this quotation because it reminds me that growing and making change comes from taking action. Creating forward motion almost always brings criticism with it. Why? Because taking action tests the boundaries of our own beliefs and the beliefs of others, as we step out of our comfort zone to create a new normal.

It’s normal to feel a little ‘wobbly’ or scared when you are taking charge of your life and making some changes. After all, you are leaving behind what you already know to make a transition in a different direction.

This takes courage.

It’s easy to doubt yourself and lose confidence when others around you are telling you that you are wrong. Friends and family might criticize your decision. Someone else might be doing what you do in a different way, but it doesn’t feel congruent or authentic. Yet you still feel the pressure of how they are doing it because they seem to be getting results. Do you copy them? Or do you carve your own path and do it your own unique way?

Everyone has opinions of what you should do, but here’s the thing – their opinion of you or what you are doing is theirs and not yours! And their opinion doesn’t have to become your own reality.

You get to make your own decisions and you are accountable for the choices you make and the actions you take. You don’t need to ask for permission.

In my experience, most people underestimate their potential and play safe by reaching out for what is within their grasp, rather than stretching and aiming higher. The danger is that you settle for mediocre and what you have rather than what you could create.

As you grow, expect a few obstacles along the way. When you take action you create ripples of change in the energy around you. It’s very tempting to succumb to the belief that your critics were right after all. Especially if you feel tired and things are feeling a little harder.

Here are five ways to protect your confidence while taking consistent action towards your goals and dreams:

1. Surround yourself with the right people – Jim Rohn once said that you are the average of the five people who you spend most of your time with – we become like them. Growth thrives in a positive encouraging environment. Leave the naysayers and negative people behind. Associate with like-minded, nurturing, encouraging and supportive people. As you experience new things you will encounter difficulties. Having a positive sounding board will help you through. Surround yourself with positive people who are authentic, have integrity, and who are the after of your before. They will lift you up.

2. Listen to your body – Your physical needs also affect your confidence. Be fully present in your body and listen to it when you are tired, hungry or dehydrated. These three things can have a huge impact on your confidence. Their absence will have a negative affect on your attitude and state of mind. Take a break, eat healthily and look after yourself. Tired and exhausted people are rarely successful. Take a break – go for a walk!

3. Keep going and keep growing – Life is about the present moment. What you do NOW influences who you will become in the future. It starts NOW! Get clear on what’s important and create a plan of consistent action – one step at a time. You become an expert by taking time to learn about your passion. Increasing skills and competence will help you to feel more confident each and every day. Get good at what you do by practicing it imperfectly. Experience is a great teacher and can lead to significant growth.

4. Take personal responsibility for your thinking Choose to be courageous. Don’t be distracted by external noise – stay on course. Focus on your truth and what is important for you. Have faith in your intuition and believe in YOU. Learn to recognize your own emotions and their impact. Develop a deeper understanding of your emotions, strengths and limitations. Recognize how negative patterns can feel overwhelming and cause you distress. This is known as an amygdala hijack and it’s just your Lizard Brain trying to protect you. Learn to reframe these quickly.

5. Re-decide – Remind yourself of your WHY and in the face of self-doubt, get clear again. Make being authentic your number one goal and stick with it. Allow courage to overcome any fear. Don’t let fear rule your decisions, just because somebody has challenged you. People WILL push up against you – especially when you’re doing something different. Learn to rescue yourself and step back in alignment with your vision every day.

How are you protecting your confidence?

 

 

How to Stop Being AVERAGE – Develop YOUR own Potential

By , June 6, 2013 2:32 am

Road to Nowhere“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”

~ Abraham Maslow, psychologist

Did you know that most of us only use a small percentage of our ability and never reach our full potential? We settle for an average life, take average jobs with little desire to stretch out of our comfort zones to explore our own potential beyond our default position. We often fall into our careers and wait for things to happen to us rather than shaping and making it happen for ourselves.

We make excuses to justify why we didn’t make more of ourselves: The time wasn’t right, I didn’t have the money or the opportunity never presented itself. We believe our story and settle into patterns and habits, doing the same things with the same people and the years roll by. Rinse and repeat. Until one day you’re looking in the mirror at an old, tired person and saying to yourself: “What the hell am I doing with my life?!”

We are taught to blend in and follow the path of least resistance. While average feels safe it can also create a sense of unfulfillment – is this all there is? You are dissatisfied with your life or work, but can’t really articulate why.

Have you ever felt dissatisfied and wondered why things haven’t worked out the way you’d hoped? There’s a lot of pressure to follow the status quo. It’s easier to blend in with those around us, using them as pacesetters for our own life.

Here’s how my clients describe what average feels like to them:

  • Plodding along
  • Just getting on with it
  • Mediocre
  • Numb and dull
  • No balls (sorry!) to stand up and do something different
  • Passing the time away
  • Waiting for something to happen
  • Checking out and being lazy
  • Stuck in a rut
  • I should do something about it
  • Maybe next year when… (Insert your own excuse here)

Personally, I’ve never wanted to be average at anything. When I worked in a bank NO ONE wanted an average appraisal. Average meant that you were written off; you had limited value and potential.

My own life continues to be full of stretching and reaching for a new normal, both in my professional and personal life. You have to create some tension to move out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territory if you want to create a new experience and a new normal for yourself. Sometimes it’s scary too.

Creating tension is what gets you going!

Here’s how…

It’s easy to stay where you are rather than to change and take a risk to become something different. The gap between the two seems wide and scary.

It’s a bit like having a back massage, when the masseur finds a knot… they have to apply some tension to increase the flow and flexibility of soft tissues and joints (…and getting rid of all those ‘knotty bits’). You have to do the same if you want to change.

It’s ALL about choice…

Here’s how to step away from average…

Where do you want to stretch? What areas of your life would you like to stretch and create some growth tension just now? How is NOT doing this making you feel? Where are you falling short of your potential?

What’s stopping you? Write down all the reasons WHY you’ve settled for the status quo. What excuses are you using to stay stuck? How are you getting in your own way? What is the story you are currently telling yourself? Re-write your story looking for a positive place to start.

Find the courage. Build your fire within and find the courage to push through your comfort zone – to break through your current mediocre mindset. Let go of things that no longer serve you, step away from the familiar and leave it behind. Explore the unknown and take a few risks if you want to change and grow. This is what life is all about (get a coach to help you)!

Embrace the tension. Lean into feeling uncomfortable. Recognize your growing pains and become your own masseur! It’s challenging to change and you will feel some resistance. Keep growing through it. Remember that any obstacles are the raw materials for your solutions. Create forward motion – don’t cling to the past. Take action in the present and begin to shape your own future today.

Keep growing! If you stop learning, you stop living. You become mentally and spiritually inactive. It’s like you die on the inside. Be curious! Looking forward and taking consistent action will fill you with energy. Create a strategy. It’s the small incremental things that you do each day that make a difference. Don’t take the foot off the gas when you’ve tasted success… Dream Big and go deep!

It’s your life!

Keep Going…Keep Flowing…Keep Growing!

 

 

How to Manage (and Grow Through) Bad Experiences

By , May 22, 2013 5:41 pm

iStock_000006322263Small“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”

~ Virginia Satir

Life is messy and uncomfortable at times. Things don’t always go to plan. We encounter bad experiences as well as good ones.

For example, you might get criticism from someone that makes you feel raw and vulnerable. The pain feels so real it hurts you to the core. Perhaps you can’t let go of it in your mind, you keep replaying it over and over.

When you’re stuck in the middle of a problem it’s hard to see it as an opportunity. It’s easy to wallow, say woe is me and keep replaying the story of just how bad things really are. You may react to the situation in one of the following ways:

  • Explode with anger
  • Get frustrated
  • Shrink inside yourself
  • Get caught in the drama (…and jump on the pity bus!)
  • Ignore it
  • Cry
  • Blame someone else
  • Freak out and panic
  • Become anxious and obsessed with worry
  • Fear (of failure or being exposed)
  • Discouraged and want to quit
  • Want to run away, change your name and start again!

Why do we react this way?

…Because the pain feels so real, it makes you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, and if you give it power then it will stop you dead in your tracks.

I came across this quote recently:

“Every problem introduces a person to himself.” ~ John McDonnell.

I LOVE this because I believe whatever you are going through in your life you ALWAYS have the opportunity to grow through it and from it. Every experience unlocks a little more about who you are and how you show up in the world.

Here’s how I see it…

It’s ALL about your attitude towards the situation and how you manage it and pain it creates.

Let me explain some more…

Pain is a great teacher – The pain that you feel when something goes wrong teaches you about where you are just now and who you are in that moment. It’s like looking at yourself through a mirror – It’s a gateway to a deeper level of self-awareness.  If you can hold up a mirror (or have a coach hold it up for you) there are some great lessons to be learned. How you handle the experience you are having defines whom you become and influences the ultimate outcome.

You are NOT alone – The truth is that life is messy! Yes! Shit happens! Life is full of ups and downs. We all experience both negative and positive times. You can’t avoid it – It’s just a natural part of life and an essential part of being human. No one enjoys or wants to have a bad experience. Know that this moment will pass and you will move through it and beyond it.

Lead your way through – How we handle the problem defines us and determines whether we settle and survive or create and thrive in our lives. You have two choices here: 1) Allow it to hold you back and limit you OR 2) Allow yourself to learn through it and grow. People who are successful often talk about a difficult time and how this was the pivotal moment on their development.

Own it don’t deflect it – Don’t become the victim: woe is me! Take responsibility for moving through and making change. Some people cling on to their story replaying it for everyone to hear. It becomes their excuse for staying stuck. Look for the opportunity in every situation.

Reframe the situation – As a coach, I constantly work with clients who have setbacks and negative experiences. My role is to help them reframe their problems and transition through their pain using it as a catalyst for success. How can you use this situation to unlock your creativity and find a solution? Here are a few prompts:

  • What is the problem?
  • What am I currently thinking about it?
  • How does it make me feel (what emotions are associated with it?)?
  • What am I learning?
  • What do I want the outcome to be?
  • What options are available to me?
  • What support do I need from others?
  • What’s your first step?

Remember there is no destination. Start from where you are right now and see every experience (good or bad) as a place where you can make positive change and growth.

“Keep Going – Keep Flowing – Keep Growing!”

Becoming Human – Radio Interview with Elaine Bailey & Authenticity Radio

By , May 18, 2013 9:39 am

 

Becoming Human

Hey, wait a moment, I am human. What does it mean to be fully human?

Authenticity Radio invites you to come listen to guest Elaine Bailey explore the, “Authentic Human You.”

You can Listen Here: www.AuthenticityRadio.com

 

Being YOU is pretty damned amazing! So go out there and change the world! – Elaine Bailey


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