Category: Freedom

How’s your sense of direction? Do you know where you are growing to?

By , September 5, 2013 7:42 am

3D business white people. Mobile phone with GPS“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are that you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.”

~ Jim Rohn

How’s your sense of direction?

Most people simply let their life happen to them. They wait, procrastinate and react. There’s no sense of urgency and certainly no strategy. They just get busy doing stuff…and time rolls on.

They stay stuck because they don’t know what to do.

We all burn through time so quickly. Before you know it most of your life is behind you. Reality sets in that you should have been more proactive and strategic, rather than waiting and putting things off.

I think it was Charles Handy who wrote that we live life backwards: the longer we live the more we learn and experience, by the time we have it all figured out we’re too old to do anything about it!

…But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can DECIDE TODAY to stop waiting and reacting!

As a career strategist, I sometimes work with people who are confused because they have no idea what to do with their life, career or business…

It’s a bit like they are lost in a foreign city without a map. They don’t have a sense of purpose or direction. Their growth is random and chaotic. They drift from one idea to another and have no clue to where they want to go. In this confusion they collapse into a coach for the answer.

Here’s how I see it…

You have to develop your own sense of direction by creating two reference points:

1. ‘You are here’ – In other words, you need to know where you are now. Unfortunately this doesn’t appear on a notice board with a big arrow on it (like in a big city or shopping mall!). You have to sit down work it out for yourself. But there are some clues…

Your direction in life begins with SELF-AWARENESS. As John C Maxwell says: “You must know yourself to grow yourself!”

You have to get to know:

  • Your strengths
  • Your weaknesses
  • Your passion
  • Your opportunities

From my experience, most people lack self-awareness, don’t know their strengths or the value they bring to their daily lives. Start by focusing your attention here, because your natural strengths and passions are where you have the most potential for growth.

Do things that you are passionate about, not just interested in. There is a difference in the energy of these two words! Pay attention to:

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What would you like to do?
  • What are you good at (other people will tell you this)?
  • What would you like to do more of?
  • Why would you like to do this?
  • How can you get to do more of this?
  • Who can help you?
  • What is your investment to make this happen (time, resources, money, sacrifice)?
  • What’s your first step beginning today?

Get to know yourself and accept who you are in this moment.  This can take time.

Okay… Our second reference point is…

2. Where you want to go –Your strengths hold the key for where you have the most potential for growth. So start here. If you focus on growing your strengths, you will build confidence in your abilities and these can help you to set a course for where you want to go. Look for opportunities to use your strengths along the way.

Knowing yourself and growing yourself are intertwined. The path might not be clear at first, but you’ll get momentum on your journey by learning new things and applying them as you go.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • DECIDE to be proactive and take it seriously.
  • COMMIT to action and be consistent.
  • GET SUPPORT – You can’t get to reach your destination on your own. You’ll need the help and guidance of others who can teach you.
  • TAKE DELIBERATE ACTION even when you don’t feel like it.

Life is short and we don’t get any rehearsal time so I encourage you to develop a strong sense of urgency and proactivity.

How’s your sense of direction? Do you know where you are growing to?!

 

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!

 

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!

 

 

Finding the Courage to…

By , October 28, 2011 3:01 pm

“When courage finally comes you never see it coming. Right out of nowhere you open your heart and that changes everything. You’re going somewhere and all you need to know is that you’re free to go”

Christine Kane, Mentor, Singer Songwriter

This year so far courage has been a huge theme for me. I have experienced it on many levels and in all aspects of my life.

Sometimes I’ve found myself praying for courage; other times I’ve found myself writing in my journal about how grateful I was for receiving some. A few people closest to me have also shown extra-ordinary courage this year. They have been great teachers (including my kitty, Charlie!).

Courage was overflowing recently at Christine Kane’s Gold Mastermind that I attended in Asheville, NC, USA.  I watched people as they got clear and reached a deeper level of courage. Despite being scared, they decided to take some real action steps to seriously Uplevel their business and their lives. This is a BIG deal and life changing for those involved. Yes, there were tears as people faced their fears and decided to let go of playing small.

Finding your courage creates a whole new level of freedom.

Here’s what I’ve learned about courage…

I have many examples to share from this year, but my personal story below is one of ultimate courage between a Father and Daughter and how it changed everything…

My Dad passed to spirit on 25 June 2011.

When I arrived at the hospital (after a 270 mile race up the M1!) my Dad whispered to me that he was so ready to die, but didn’t know how. He was frightened. I was so scared for him and felt helpless. What do you say? How should you act in a situation like this?

So I did nothing except sit next to him and hold his hand. I was physically present, but inside, my heart was falling apart. I continued this vigil for several hours.

These hollow words kept echoing in my head: Be strong and be brave.

There were 11 of us around the bedside (family and friends). We just sat in silence waiting and watching as he stopped interacting with us and drifted in and out of sleep. The silence in the room was broken only by the sound of his breathing and this became our focal point. I felt the room fill with a thick blanket of fear that surrounded and engulfed us all.

We were all scared of hearing that final breath.

I couldn’t stand the intensity and felt compelled to do something. So I left the room and spoke with Ward Sister. I asked her if my Dad could still hear us. She said that she thought he could. She told me that he was very strong and he may not die for a few days. Then I remembered my Dad’s words from the morning: “I’m so ready to die now, I just don’t know how.”

Something happened inside of me at that moment and it changed everything.

I got clear that I wanted to help him find his own courage to let go. I sat beside him and decided to coach him through this last journey.

I had no idea what to do! And Yes! I was shit scared!

I had no idea how to help someone pass. I’d never seen anyone die before. Deep inside I opened my heart and my intuition took over. Something told me to talk to him about his life and to support him through this ultimate challenge. I remembered how he’d taught me to drive and encouraged me through. His words of encouragement had always made the difference.

Something shifted for me. It was like changing gear. I opened up my heart, leaned through my fear and reached out to him.

My Dad was so courageous. He opened his eyes and connected with me, smiled, tried to speak and within 20 minutes he had passed peacefully. I spoke with him constantly through this time, talking about his life and through my words I helped him to let go.

It was the most beautiful and profound experience of my life.

I am no different from anyone else on the planet. Everyone has to be brave at times in their life, whether it’s standing up to someone, sharing your heart and speaking honestly about something, quitting the corporate world to start your own business, or saying goodbye to a loved one for the last time.

There are times in our lives we all have to find extra courage. When you need courage the most you never see it coming, it appears as if outta nowhere and creates a positive ripple effect on you and those around you. It can change everything.

This is so poetically described in the lyrics of Christine’s beautiful song called Right Outta Nowhere (see the lyrics at the top of this article). I never realised the true depth of what they meant until this year.

I know that courage is always waiting at the other side of fear. If you get clear and reach through your fear, you’ll find a deeper level of courage that is pure, beautiful and always there for you…Always. It’s deep in the core of your existence waiting to be let free.

What are you finding the courage to do?

Connect to your heart and reach through your fear.

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