Category: Courage

Big Boys (and Girls) DO Cry! How Your Emotions Can Make You Smarter…

By , August 21, 2013 10:13 am

Big Boys don't cry“Crying can make you smarter.”

Nancy Kline – Author

I was talking with a manager who admitted that he struggled when one of his team started to get emotional and cried. He wasn’t sure how to react; it made him feel uncomfortable, and he just wanted them to ‘get over it’ and get their control back. He’d find himself over talking and saying anything to try to stop their reaction. This didn’t make him feel good.

It’s funny how we label crying, anger, and even fear, as being out of control.

If you watch other people’s reaction to someone crying at work they might panic, look uncomfortable, or start talking and smother them with their own concern. This reaction is more about them and wanting the other person to stop, rather than about the person crying.

Our society is scared of tears, anger and fear. We just want it to stop. We think that the pain will go away if you just stop it!

Here’s a recent real life example…

I was watching a Mother at Tescos supermarket yelling at her 3-year old child who was crying because she couldn’t sit in the cart. The Mum grabbed her child by the arm and shouted: “Big girls don’t cry – Just grow up! Stop it! You’re a bad girl and you’re embarrassing me in front of all these people!”

I had to walk away from this…

The Mother was teaching her child to repress her emotions and push them down. The child was learning how to become acceptable. Of course, the little girl sobbed even more because of her Mother’s reaction.

We have been taught to pull ourselves together, not show our weaknesses, and we are encouraged to stop showing our emotions.

Here’s the thing, though… Our emotions are there for a reason.

When we get upset (angry, scared or tearful) our thinking stops. Human beings minds are designed to get logic and thinking back if an emotional circuit breaker kicks in. Expressing your feelings, e.g. talking your anger out with a friend on the phone, can be enough to restart your thinking.

Crying is a natural process to rid the body of pain and upset. It’s completely natural and a healthy way to release toxic energy that has built up inside us.

Myths and bad advice that our parents and teachers have taught us:

  1. Crying increases the pain – So if you want it to stop – STOP crying!
  2. Being angry means that you’re out of control – You need to control your anger. Anger is a bad thing – no one should be angry EVER! Stop being angry and your anger will go away.
  3. Being scared is a weakness – You need to toughen up and be more confident. Just stop shaking and you’ll not feel scared.

Stopping this natural release makes the pain find another route to flow. It is absorbed inside you, where it goes underground. Holding this in can cause pressure, anxiety and even physical illness if the issue is held down long enough. These built up feelings churn around inside you and block your thinking.

Here’s my response to the manager who was struggling…

If someone is crying at work it could be for many reasons: frustration, sadness or even because of a paradigm shift in their thinking that has had a profound impact on them.

In that moment, their emotions trigger in to release the energy; they need to cry because in that moment they can’t think. It’s the same with being angry or scared…

Allow and hold space for this to happen for a few minutes.

In those few minutes, they don’t need your platitudes or smothering with words.

  • If they are angry – Let them just talk it out. ALL you have to do is LISTEN. Don’t try to reason with them. Don’t jump in there and agree – you’ll make things worse! Ask them: what is it that is making you angry about this?
  • If they are crying – Let them cry and just sit with them (don’t do anything!). They may cry because they are frustrated and unable to think. This will pass sooner rather than later, if you don’t stop them.
  • If they are scared – Let them talk through their fear. Sometimes just articulating their fear and sharing it reduces its power. Again, all you have to do is LISTEN.

Hold space for them and act as if it’s perfectly okay and normal (because it is!). Give them your respectful attention.

Observe what happens…

They will recover in a short space of time and their thinking will re-engage. You don’t need to over compensate by thinking for them and rambling out loud!

It’s natural for people to occasionally get angry, cry or say that they are frightened. Allow safe space for this to happen and you’ll observe how quickly people can recover from their emotion and think more clearly afterwards.

Next time you’re feeling angry, sad or frightened, give yourself permission to allow your emotions out rather than keeping it all inside and pushing it down.

BIG Boys (and Girls) DO Cry!

 

Getting Over Rejection

By , August 14, 2013 6:25 pm

iStock_000009159104Medium“Every time I thought I was being REJECTED from something good, I was actually being RE-DIRECTED to something better.”

~ Dr Steve Maraboli

I remember PE (Physical Education) at school when the teacher would select two kids to pick their basketball team alternatively from the class. We’d all sit there waiting (and hoping) to be selected by the person doing the picking. It was an intense moment and quite soul destroying if you weren’t picked until last. The feeling of embarrassment stayed with you for the whole lesson (and probably adversely affected your ability to perform).

If you look back at your own life I’m sure you can recall times when you’ve been rejected for things:  a promotion, a job, a project, a team or even dumped by your latest boyfriend (or girlfriend) when you personally thought he (she) was THE ONE!

In the moment rejection can feel devastating.

Most of us would feel uncomfortable sharing our past rejections and failures – we keep them to ourselves because we’re frightened that we’ll be judged by them or people will think less of us. Instead, we keep those memories locked inside and only replay them in our head when we have self-doubt or uncertainty in the present.

Here’s the thing, though… We seem to forget that this happens to EVERYONE!

People get rejected and turned down all the time.

There are countless stories of courage and persistence in the public world to reinforce this. I read that Kathryn Stickett, the author of the The Help, was rejected 60 times by publishers. She went on to become a best selling author and got a film deal that ultimately won four academy awards!

Getting over rejection is a painful but a normal part of growth on our journey to success. As one door appears to slam in your face, another will open up before you. You have to dig in to find the courage to continue forward motion through your vulnerability and any letdowns.

Most people give up at this point and succumb to their limiting beliefs because they get stuck in discomfort and self doubt.

Here are a few ways to keep momentum and stay true to your goal:

1. Re-connect to your WHY. Take a little time to rest and regroup. Remind yourself of your WHY and in the face of self-doubt, get clear again. Refocus your attention on WHY you want to succeed. What will your life (or your business) look like, sound like or feel like? 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.

2. Be prepared to do it scared! Live life on the EDGE… of your comfort zone! When you are growing and putting yourself out there, you are constantly challenging yourself:  stretching out of your comfort zone to create a NEW NORMAL. Stretching takes courage and tenacity because things can feel uncomfortable and it can be a little scary.  Get comfortable with uncomfortable. 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.

3. Protect your confidence. This will keep you grounded and centred. Stop listening to those voices in your head because they aren’t the truth. Develop a deeper understanding of your emotions, strengths and limitations. Recognize how negative patterns can feel overwhelming and cause you distress. Let go of any emotions that are holding you back. I find journaling very useful for this. Start to recognize your own emotions and their impact. Take personal responsibility for your thinking.

See obstacles as opportunities as you navigate your journey. Rejection is just a container for growth. Inside it holds a powerful lesson that if released will make you stronger, determined and more successful.

Be honest with your feelings in the context of your work and be open to your doubts and fears. This vulnerability is a powerful learning tool if you can be open to it.

Remember… there is no destination!

Keep growing!

 

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!

 

How to Become Known As An EXPERT

By , July 25, 2013 11:23 am

iStock_000011959900XSmall“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.”

Denis Waitley

Experts make things look easy!

The journey to acquiring expertise often takes time, hard work, discipline, and persistence. It doesn’t just happen overnight.

Reading all the books in the world on a particular topic doesn’t make you an expert, though it will make you more knowledgeable about something. Expertise is not only the acquisition of knowledge, it’s also the ability to implement and use the information wisely.

For example, I know several ‘coaches’ who understand the principles and theory of coaching, but they have no coaching clients! They are so busy trying to gain their expertise from books, another qualification or attending one more workshop, instead of going out into the world and actually coaching people!

So it’s also the practical application of knowledge and understanding.

Expertise is developed over time and one of the essential ingredients is experience.

People become experts for many reasons. Here are a few of them:

  • To establish credibility
  • To become the Go To Person…Others will seek you out for your knowledge and experience
  • To leverage your marketability and increase your perceived value
  • To expand your horizons and see things from a different perspective
  • To increase your success
  • To gain the trust and buy-in of others
  • To become a leader and shine the light for others to follow

Here are seven ways to become known as an expert by getting good at what you do:

1. Be passionate – Expertise starts with knowing what you are passionate about. You have to be genuinely interested and naturally curious about your topic to become an expert in it. Have you ever tried to learn something that you’re not interested in?! You stop learning! Believe in your own ability to become an expert – You CAN do it!

2. Experience it – You get better at things by experiencing them. Get some real-life experience, keep up to date, read around the subject, and apply your learning to your every day life or work. For example, one of the best ways to learn how to be a coach is by being coached! Turn the theory into practice! Actively look for opportunities to practice what you are learning. Do things imperfectly and be open to making a few mistakes along the way.

3. Surround yourself with like-minded people – Become a member of an association or join a professional body in your field. Attend conferences and workshops to learn from those more experienced than you. Listen and learn from credible experts. Connect with online groups who talk about your subject and support each other (not groups where people just promote their shit all the time!). Network with others who are passionate about the topic. It’s okay if they know more about it than you as you can learn from them.

4. Leaders are readers – Read books and listen to audios. Watch videos and read articles. Sign up for eZines and weekly articles from credible sources and make time to read what they have to say. Be curious and look for knowledge about your subject. Remember to APPLY it into your life. Become a student of you and try things out. Get into the habit of regular reading each week and you’ll soon know more than most people around you. Continue your education around your subject.

5. Share what you learn – Share what you learn with others as you learn it. Be willing to share what you know. This will help to position your self as an expert over time. You will start to notice that you know more about the subject than those around you and you can offer help and support to them as you are working at a higher level than others. Most people haven’t taken time to read or explore the topic like you have. You may even create a presentation or workshop to help others.

6. Get writing! Write articles or blog posts about your stories and experiences and how you’ve applied your learning. Share your successes too. This way other people will get a feel for you and you will build your expertise. They see themselves in you. Writing a short ebook or a chapter in a book about something you are passionate about can really enhance your credibility. It can also be a catalyst for other opportunities such as consultancy opportunities, radio interviews and speaking engagements.

7. Give it timeBecoming an expert doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. Make a long-term commitment and build a foundation for success through commitment and persistence. You become an expert by taking your learning and growth seriously. Set goals and take consistent action. You’ll start to notice when others come to you for advice or give you feedback about your depth of understanding. Keep going and keep growing. There is ALWAYS more to learn. You are never done!

You become an expert by doing the groundwork by practicing what you are learning and through demonstrating your passion and expertise…

 

When are you going to get started?

By , June 26, 2013 6:31 pm

someday word in wood type“Everything huge that I’ve ever achieved I started before I thought I was ready. I just did it scared and grew into it along the way!”

~ Elaine Bailey, Coach-Mentor, Author, International Speaker

In my role as a career strategist, I meet a lot of people who are settling and surviving in their current career while they are waiting and hoping for THAT DAY when they will get to do what they REALLY want to do.

I call this: “The Someday Syndrome!”

It looks like this:

“Someday…

…I’ll get my act together and start my own business.”

…I’ll do that course and get my qualification.”

…I’ll sign up for that Mastermind program because I know it will make all the difference to my success.”

…I’ll write that book.”

…I’ll change job and become a ……. I’ve always wanted to.”

SOMEDAY… Doesn’t exist.

It’s not real – It’s just an excuse you use to give yourself permission to stay stuck and settle where you are.

Someday is like an untethered kite blowing out of control in the wind. It holds your dream in suspended animation.

Someday has no deadline – it is infinite. Before you know it your life is over and that someday never came.

Here’s my question to you:

Instead of someday…Why not NOW?

Maybe you’re thinking that you’re not ready, perhaps this feels true? I know that if I’d waited to be ready, I’d still be working 9 to 5 in a Bank in  East Yorkshire, UK. It was safe and secure!

Are you waiting to be ready?

…You might be waiting your entire lifetime for the right time and you’ll never do it.

Most people aren’t prepared to invest in their someday.  So what they really want stays a dream. Someday comes at a price.

How much does someday cost?

This was a great question that one of my coaching clients asked me recently. I helped him break it down.

Doing what you want to do and living your dream involves personal investment.

It’s not just about gathering information, the hardest part is often implementation: taking the steps necessary to bring it to life. This will cost you time, commitment , attitude, and energy (even when you don’t feel like it). It can be hard work and yes, there may be a few sacrifices along the way.

One of the biggest obstacles of success is that we get in our own way. We lose the mental fight with our own laziness and ignorance when things feel too hard or difficult. We slip back to our comfort zone because it’s easier settle for what we already have.

For most people the price of success is too high. They prefer to settle for an easier life. They aren’t prepared to reach through their fears to find the courage to keep going and keep growing through change or take a few risks.

Here’s how I see it…

  • I only get one life. I owe it to myself to make the most of my days here and make each one count.
  • I dare to dream BIG and go deeper than I’ve ever gone.
  • I don’t always know how to do it, but I’ll do it anyway.
  • There will be days where I’ll challenge myself because I want to quit.
  • There will be days where I never knew that my life could be so beautiful.
  • I’m here to make a difference and I’m following my heart.
  • I’m committed to keep learning and growing and leading.
  • I’m honored to do what I do and blessed to notice that the work I’m doing affects the lives of those I serve in such a positive way.

Doing what you want to do has its ups and downs like everything in life. It may take more time and effort than you anticipated.

But the pay off is huge…

It changes your life from deep within. You feel more alive and the returns on you, your family and the people you serve are even bigger than you would even begin to imagine.

“Nobody ever got ready by waiting. You only get ready by starting.”
~
John Maxwell.

 

How are you getting ready?

 

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!

 

 

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