Category: Decision

Why a Painful Experience Can Be a Great Teacher…

By , November 20, 2013 9:50 pm

“Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become.”

~ John C. Maxwell, Author

Throughout my working life I’ve been helping people face their problems, challenges and mistakes. I coach individuals how to grow through them. I believe that people thrive when they are able to face their problems and screw-ups in a way that shifts any bad experience, and uses it as a catalyst for change and future success. I have witnessed many profound shifts.

We all have painful moments in business (and in our personal lives, too) no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Honestly, if you’re taking risks and wanting to stand up and play a bigger game, then you can’t avoid painful experiences. It’s part of the journey on the rollercoaster ride of success!

No one enjoys being in the middle of a bad experience. It hurts emotionally, and sometimes physically, when things go wrong. We re-live the experience moment by moment, replaying it in our mind in the hope that we can somehow change the outcome, go back and say things differently, or change our behavior in the past.

But, as you know – it’s not possible…

How do you respond when you say the wrong thing or drop the ball?

Do you get angry or frustrated with yourself? Shrink into yourself emotionally? Get upset and teary? Worry that everyone thinks you are a bad person? Do you think, ‘Who do I think I am?’ Or maybe you try to completely detach yourself from the situation and ignore it?

Whatever you are thinking, you can’t change the past.

However, you ALWAYS have a choice on how you move things forward. In other words, what you decide to do with the experience will define who you become as a result of it. Do you:

  1. Allow the pain to stop you in your tracks and you stay small licking your wounds and stay stuck re-living the moment over and over?
  2. Make a decision to work through the discomfort by facing the issue and dealing with it?

Here’s the thing…

Painful experiences increase our self-awareness – we get to know ourselves a little better. They enable us to reflect on who we are, where we are and what we need to change, or how we can move forward.

It helps you to define WHO you want to be at a deeper level.

So pain can be helpful and I’ve known many clients who have admitted that their biggest breakthroughs came in the middle of a painful experience, often when they felt like giving up. These experiences move us in a different direction. You get to decide which way to go: will they limit you or lead you forward?

Challenging times are often pivotal points in our growth. If you want to grow and develop then you have to learn to manage these experiences along with the good ones.

Here’s how to grow through pain…

1. EVERYONE has them – Knowing this helps! Negative things will happen; we’ll say the wrong thing in the moment, even though we had good intentions. Life is full of good and bad experiences; some you have control over and others you don’t. It’s how you manage them both that count because you can’t avoid them. Manage your expectations and know that it happens sometimes. It’s not fun in the moment, but if you can handle it well and turn it around, it may become a great story to tell afterwards.

2. Make it a positive experience – Most people react to bad experiences – they don’t handle them well. Change your frame of reference for the situation and how you look at it. It’s easy to make judgments and assumptions or blame others. Maybe you can’t change what has happened, but you can change your attitude towards it. Look at what you have learned about yourself and how you can apply these lessons moving forward. Bad experiences are portals for learning – choose to see them and use their gift as an opportunity for growth.

3. Take responsibility – Accept that you’ve screwed up or could have done things better. Don’t listen to your ‘victim’ story: woe is me or start wallowing in self-pity – this isn’t serving you! It’s easy to cling on to the negativity as it intensifies in your head. Instead, accept the situation and be kind to yourself. Let it go. Make good what you can and take forward motion knowing that your intention was good…You get to choose how this changes you.

Whatever you are experiencing in life just now… remember that you always have the opportunity to grow from it. The seed of growth is always there, you just have to look for it.

Your bad experiences can be a catalyst for unlocking your creativity. Assess the situation and manage your experience by deciding to make some positive changes. It’s all part of the process of life!

 

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!

 

Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done!

By , July 31, 2013 10:42 pm

Git 'er Done!“Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you virtually unstoppable.”

~ Dan Kennedy, Business Success Guru and Author

The truth is that most of us are easily distracted.

Many of us are almost willing to be de-railed from our busy schedules by the lure of the excitement of a bright shiny object; especially if what you are working on feels like hard work or it’s something you don’t want to do.

This then leads to procrastination and avoidance.

Most of us know what we should be focusing on but lack the self-discipline and determination to make it happen. Instead we use excuses to justify our avoidance such as I’m too busy or I didn’t have time rather than getting clear and refocused on what needs to be done.

…And just getting it done!

There’s a form of inner laziness that prevents us from getting things done. I regularly see examples of this in the business world.

Here are a few examples:

  • People who can’t seem to make it to meetings on time.
  • Arriving late/unprepared for a planned coaching session.
  • A business owner who avoids marketing because there’s always something else that needs to be done first.

People who arrive late for meetings are usually unprepared. Their lack of focus and attention wastes time, because he/she has to take time to catch up before they can give any value.

A common theme for many people with time management challenges is the lack of self-discipline.

I admit that some days I feel secretly lazy and it’s tempting just to blow the day off and do nothing instead. Especially when you are your own boss!

Instead of allowing this to take control, I’ve learned how to refocus and become self-disciplined…

Self-discipline is a powerful antidote to procrastination and avoidance.

Self-discipline neutralizes the laziness and gives you the ability to get things done and to get it right the first time. Excuses and old habits fall away as you begin to move forward, take control and get things done.

Here’s how to encourage self-discipline:

1. Make a weekly plan in advance. What do you want to achieve? This will help you stay focused and feel in control of what needs to be done. Stick to the plan – hold firm! Remind yourself what’s important.

2. Show up at the scheduled time and be prepared and ready to work. Yes… It’s that simple… Common sense right?! But it’s NOT always common practice. This includes showing up for ALL appointments that you make with yourself.

3. Meet your deadlines and commitments. This alone will make you more successful. More opportunities will start to present themselves and others will be attracted to you because you are making things happen. Success breeds success.

4. Do it even when you don’t feel like it. Self-discipline requires a 100% commitment. It’s not just when you feel like it. It takes self-discipline to productivity – invest energy and time to your intentions. This investment pays off every time. Be aware of those lazy voices in your head and challenge them EVERY time!

5. Take deliberate action. Take action and make things happen. Every day consciously do one thing towards your Intention – small steps. Get deliberate in your thoughts and behaviors. This will inspire you to make different choices and create new habits. Take action

All successful people are self-disciplined. It’s a necessity that requires continual work every single day.

Self-discipline is all about choice. You can choose to chart your own path and create value by getting things done.

There’s a huge difference between someone who talks about it and someone who actually gets things done!

Which one are you?

As my American friends in the South say, whatever you’re putting off just now:  Go “Git ‘er done!”

 

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?

 

 

What are you waiting for?!

By , March 20, 2013 7:01 pm

iStock_000015337955Small“How much of human life is lost in waiting”.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lecturer and Poet

What are you waiting for just now?

  • The perfect client to walk through the door
  • That promotion I was promised
  • The right person to come into my life
  • The right time to leave my current job
  • For someone to notice the great work I’m doing
  • One more course or workshop that will teach me how to be a ……….

…These are just a few examples.

When you think about it we are ALL waiting for something…

I remember walking Belle the black labrador with my Dad on the beach at Alborough as if it were only yesterday (The reality is it was probably 25 years ago!).

We’d often talk about the children stories he was writing and how all the characters (The Camblesforth Bunnies) were getting into mischief! He talked about how One day he’d publish these books. One day he’d find out what needed to be done. One day he’d share them with the world.

My Dad was in a waiting room that lasted the rest of his lifetime.

These stories are still in a folder waiting…

He’d written and illustrated a series of short stories. One day as we were walking he told me that he was waiting for the right person to come along to give him the nudge and make things happen.

That person never showed up.

Sometimes the person you’re waiting isn’t going to show (they might not even exist) because the only person you are really waiting for is YOU.

I was coaching an executive this week whose long-term dream was possibly coming true: Her boss had been preparing her to step into his shoes. Suddenly he had decided to leave. This was the director’s role she’d always wanted. She now needed to step out and demonstrate that she was ready to secure the  secondment as a director. It was everything she’s been working towards.

You’d think she’d be excited and buzzing…

Now, she faced her own resistance of self worth and self-doubt and her confidence dipped. As the fear of stepping up became real, she started to push the role away…

Sometimes we create a false ceiling to hold us back because we just might actually pull it off! Fear kicks in and we create limiting beliefs that get in our own way of success. Gay Hendricks in his book called the Big Leap – calls this an Upper Limit Problem. We sabotage our own success because of our discomfort of a hidden fear inside that wants to keep up playing small. Our Lizard Brain is working overtime to protect us!  This is the last obstacle between you and success.

I believe that my Dad had an upper limit problem with his books. He’d got so far, then he got scared. The fear was enough for him to put the idea a side and allow himself to be distracted by something else.

What are you waiting for just now?

What would it be like if you decided to stop waiting and take a step towards what you want to create or have in your life?

I see opportunities as grains of sand in an hourglass… The hourglass turned when you were born and the grains of sand are falling through and slipping away.

Life is short and it’s easy to put things off because we believe that we have all the time in the world and we can come back to it and do it later.

…All you have is NOW… Now is where you can make things happen.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. What are you waiting for just now?
  2. Why are you waiting?
  3. What is holding you back (is it real or perceived)?
  4. What would it be like if you decided to stop waiting and take a step towards what you want to to achieve in your life?
  5. What is the very first step you could take today?

You can choose to leave your waiting room – Reach through your fear to find the courage to take your very next step.

Remember… Courage is ALWAYS waiting at the other side of fear.

Don’t waste your life waiting…

Take a moment to think about this today…

 

 

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