Category: Growing Pains

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!”

How to Handle Criticism to Change

By , September 26, 2012 12:55 pm

How to Handle Criticism to Change 

“Staying REAL is one of the most courageous battles that we’ll ever fight. When we choose to be our true selves, the people around us will struggle to make sense of how and why we are changing.” 

Brené Brown, writer and research professor.

 

Criticism is a natural part of life.

At some point someone is bound to criticise you because you’re stepping out and trying something new. As we grow, the people around us struggle to make sense of how and why we are changing and worry about the impact on them.

Criticism is different than feedback because it feels painful, raw and personal.

Ridicule hurts because it makes us feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. We question the original decision to step up and be different.

Arthur Schopenhauser, German Philosopher and Author, reminds us that all change goes through three steps:

  1. Ridicule
  2. Violent opposition
  3. Acceptance as self-evident

I’ve coached people through all three stages when they decide to show up bigger in their life.

Here’s a real example to demonstrate these stages:

Jenny started working with a coach to help her stop being a people-pleaser and sacrificing who she was for the sake of what other people thought.

She set boundaries and started saying no to things that no longer served her.

Her husband started to notice a difference…

 

 Ridicule

“Look at you! You’ve been talking to that coach of yours again haven’t you?”

 He made fun of what she was trying to do.

This ridicule could be enough for Jenny to give in and go back to how she used to be, just to keep her husband happy. Our natural instincts are to be socially accepted. It’s tempting to go back to how she used to be, even though the new way is far more authentic and real.

 

 Violent opposition

“I hate these damned coaching sessions! I don’t like what is happening to you. You’re different! The ‘old’ Jenny was much nicer than the ‘new one’. You are being selfish these days. This coach is brainwashing you – Have you joined some sort of cult?!”

 Her husband felt fearful and unsure about the change he was seeing. His life was much easier before. He was worried about how it would affect him and their relationship. She had held a mirror up to him and this made him feel uncomfortable. He felt threatened by the ‘new’ way.

Verbal aggression is cruel and painful and can stop us in our tracks. We question our judgment and ability to move forward and achieve our goal. Again, it’s easier to go back to the old way so the hurt will go away.

It’s easier to criticize someone when they are taking risks, being brave or speaking out, especially when they are doing it imperfectly because they are trying something new.

 

Acceptance as self-evident

“I’ve learned so much about our relationship and we’ve grown closer together. We understand each other at a deeper level.”

Over time the new way of doing things becomes the new normal. Jenny stayed true to herself remaining consistent in her approach, despite the opposition. She let go of trying to be everything to everyone else and was able to step up to become an equal partner in her relationship.

Most of us don’t naturally look inside ourselves to find the source of our discomfort and we tend to look externally for someone else to blame. We become cynical or critical in reaction to this difference and it is often shows up as sarcasm, ridicule or criticism of someone else’s attempt to try something new.

Criticism is often a reflection of the other person’s own discomfort to stay stuck in their comfort zone. They might be feeling jealous and envious of the other person’s decision to create some changes in their life.

Here are some tips for handling criticism:

1. Take personal responsibility for your thinking. Stay in your power and stand your ground. Step back and remind yourself that you don’t have to shrink so that others can feel comfortable around you. Choose to be courageous. Don’t let outside noise cause internal interference. Remember, we all have equal value, worth and dignity. No one is better, bigger or superior to anyone else. It’s just ego that makes it so. Focus on your truth and what is important for you. Have faith in your intuition and believe in YOU. Leave the emotional stuff behind as this energy will keep you blocked.

2. It’s NEVER about you – Criticism is always about the person who is delivering it. The source of the criticism is with the person making that criticism – You are not the source. Opinion is just information based from the other person’s map of the world and not from your map. As you step up to do things differently others will criticise you. It’s going to happen. It’s okay. Those who are closest to you may have stronger opinions. Opinions can be driven by the other person’s fear, envy or worry. These feelings from loved ones can feel very personal if we let them in.

3. Re-decide – remind yourself of your WHY and in the face of criticism, get clear again. Learn how to teach other people how to treat you. Make being authentic your number one goal. Stick with it and allow your courage to overcome any fear. Don’t let fear rule you and your decisions, just because somebody has challenged you. People WILL push up against you – especially when you’re doing something different. Make decisions from where YOU want to be. Learn to rescue yourself and step back in alignment with your vision every day.

4. Accept that everyone won’t like you – Some people will like you some won’t. We can’t please everyone all of the time.

5. Set a time limit – Allow yourself space to work through the pain and dis-comfort. Talk it through with someone you trust. Set a time limit to dwell on it then, reframe the situation, focus on what you’ve learned, remember that it’s NOT about you, and let it go.

 

How serious are you about personal development? Seven ways to grow your own success!

By , April 25, 2012 5:49 pm

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I decided to start my own business I was fired up and ready to go! I bought all the books my mentor (and other people) recommended and signed up for numerous online programs and packages.

Then I drowned in an ocean of self-help modules and leadership resources! I felt overwhelmed and scared because I  had so much stuff to learn. I had no plan so the  learning tools gathered dust on a shelf as I got busy doing coaching and trying to be successful!

My personal development stopped. I’d get stuck with some of the basic business challenges because I wasn’t growing. Others around me seemed to be growing faster and getting more success, this hurt!

Here’s what I realized…

Buying learning won’t help you to learn – You have to READ and APPLY the tools consistently! This is where most of us fall down.

I was trying to grow my business without growing myself.

This also applies if you work in the corporate world. You get promoted and take on a leadership role and there’s a whole new set of responsibilities placed on you!

Whether you work in corporate or for yourself, one of the minimum requirements of being successful is your ability to grow. The “Future belongs to learning.” Active continuous personal development separates the successful from the mediocre… and the gap between the two is wide!

Here’s my personal development success formula…

You have to INVEST in yourself on three levels:

  1. Invest money (I was good at buying the books, mentors and resources!)
  2. Invest time – (I didn’t invest the time because I was too busy doing!)
  3. Invest attitude - (I invested in a growth mindset and take my personal development very seriously)

All three need to be present…

I know individuals who have ignored these and it has destroyed their careers by developing fixed mindset and  relying purely on status, ego and past experience to solve future problems. Learning is seen as a weakness by these people!

If you stop learning, you stop leading. You stagnate and you will fail.

Successful people invest time, money and attitude in their own personal development and it pays off.  They take learning seriously because they recognize its real value.

Here’s how to grow your own success from the inside-out:

1. Start from where you are now – You may have loads of resources backed up. Just choose ONE! Commit to working through that one resource, then move onto the next. Begin today.

2. Read for an hour a day – Wake up an hour earlier each day and read each morning first thing. If you do this 5 days a week – that’s five hours of reading! Just think how many books you could read in a year and the advantage you would have over your peers! Make notes and apply one thing you’ve read during the day (Start with 30 minutes and build up. Turn the TV off and read for an hour each night if you ‘don’t do’ mornings!).

3. Listen to audio books on the move – I listen to learning while I’m working out at the gym! I find the gym boring! Now I learn as I workout and time flies by. I make a few notes back in the changing room! You can also listen as you drive, fly or take the train!

4. Have an ATTITUDE for learning – Is your passion and commitment for what you do greater than any inconvenience in timing or travelling? I travel thousands of miles for my own personal development it’s not always convenient – I look beyond discomfort because I’m passionate about being the best I possibly can be. Get out from behind the convenience of your computer and look beyond the discomfort of travelling! Take your personal development seriously – Mean it! Activity seek out specific events and trainings that will help you grow. Group learning can expand your mindset and your skillset. Go to the source of the expertise and learn from the best if you want to be the best!

5. Plan your personal development time – Schedule dates and times for each week and show up! Look for opportunities to learn – Carry a book or IPad with you! Read while you wait for appointments (Instead of wasting time on Facebook!).

6. Apply what you learn – Reading is only a small part of the process. Growing involves USING what you’ve learned and is critical for success. I know hundreds of managers who have read: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, but only about 15% have actually applied any of the content to their life.

7. Work with a mentor – If you want to run a million pound business, then you want to learn from someone who has first hand experience and can provide wisdom, intuition and support. Working one on one will help you to: stay focused, be accountable, keep your commitment and create the discipline and persistence to make things happen.  A coach or a mentor can help you to maximise your potential and be the best in your career or business.

Are you passionate enough about your success to seriously  INVEST in your personal development?

How much do you REALLY WANT to be successful?

 

Six ways to stop resistance kicking your butt…

By , April 14, 2012 5:25 pm

“Resistance is a repelling force. It’s negative. It’s aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.”

Steven Pressfield, Author

Resistance is a challenge for everyone from time to time.

I’ve helped my clients work through resistance when it has created self-doubt, procrastination, fear, low self-esteem and even self-sabotage in their business, projects or home life.

Resistance is a powerful nasty beasty!

I have been on the receiving end of it many times in my own life.

Resistance can kill your goals and dreams and destroy your confidence all at the same time.

It’s a powerful enemy within that feeds off your Lizard brain – that niggling voice in your head that says: “Do it tomorrow instead.” Or “Who do you think you are?!”  It turns positive momentum and hope into stone.

 

The truth is that EVERYONE has THAT voice in his or her head in the same way that everyone breathes. It’s natural and part of your human defenses. But that doesn’t mean it’s always right!

Resistance holds you back, throws you off course and won’t let go until it takes your ideas and goals and destroys them – you give up.

Perhaps you’ve started a business or you’re working on a project…

You get into a rhythm when good things are happening. You achieve momentum and everything flows. It’s like the Universe is pulling everything together and things are moving at a fast pace. There’s a quickening as things unfold for you.

…Then you hit the wall. Something happens or goes wrong. You lose confidence, despite being two-thirds through the project and the end was almost in sight. You’ve invested so much in time, energy and not to mention money, then it all feels like it’s slipping away from you.

Panic sets in as the tide turns, you feel out of control and can’t stop it. Your confidence drains away as the voice in your head returns to tell you that you’re not cut out for this and you’re the biggest loser in town.

Suddenly failure becomes an option and you’re scared. What was fun now feels very dark.

You can’t negotiate or reason with resistance because your inner Lizard is working overtime.

Resistance isn’t the end – though sometimes it can feel like it! Resistance is just testing your resolve. It’s part of the process. You can get through to the other side.

Here’s how:

1. Recognise your enemy – Resistance is self-created. It’s noisy and feels real but it’s not the big monster you might perceive it to be. Recognising this is extremely important.  YOU always have the power of free will. You can override your resistance at any time by taking conscious action. You get to choose whether you stay stuck or not.

2. Reconnect to your WHY – Your passion is like an antidote. It can de-solve any fear associated with your resistance. Reconnect to your passion and draw energy from it by answering the following two questions and use these as your touchstones as you’re working through:

WHY do I want to do this?

How badly do I want to succeed?

3. Remember it’s just part of the process Resistance is just part of the journey: First you have an idea – then you have resistance – then you create a system or process to work through it and take consistent action.

4. Get help Fight resistance with assistance! Help yourself by setting up a daily ritual or system that gets you into the habit of showing up and taking action. Create affirmations or goal cards and look at them regularly to visualize success. Sometimes it feels harder because you feel alone. Enlist help from others who have experienced what you’re experiencing now. They can guide you through.

5. Accept that things go wrong – You can’t always prepare for it but shit happens! Sometimes things don’t work. There’s a difference between quitting and feeling like quitting. Failure means that we have to grow – it’s all about learning. You’re compelled to figure it out. You are presented with the raw materials for your solution. Work the problem to create your solution.

6. Hang in there Completing is not for the faint hearted. Yes it takes hard work and stamina to finish. There might be many obstacles along the way. But all the hard work is for nothing if you don’t show up to finish. This sometimes requires extra energy and drive to see it through and it’s the most difficult bit – but it’s worth it! Sometimes you have to reach in for that extra bit of courage.

Resistance invisibly thrives when self-sabotage, self-doubt, low confidence, procrastination, and fear takes hold. The more important your call to action, the greater the sense of resistance you’ll feel. It’s a natural part of life. You can hide from it and hope it goes away, or consciously work through it.

You ALWAYS have a choice…

 

Are you too busy to grow? Here’s one way to find out…

By , March 14, 2012 4:36 pm

Your capacity to GROW will determine your capacity to lead. If you get too busy with your job to grow, your influence and your leadership will stagnate and ultimately evaporate.”

Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller, Authors

Some people have a static view about their business. They have great ideas and then get lost in the ‘do-do’ of doing the work. This is known as working IN YOUR BUSINESS.

When you only work IN YOUR BUSINESS you become boxed in. You’re so focused on doing the work day after day that you forget something really important:

Your business only evolves and grows if you evolve and grow.

Stagnation destroys a business – Growth is critical for success… But some people have an opposite view and develop a fixed mindset reinforced by their own limiting beliefs: “This is how it is…”

People who work IN THEIR BUSINESS tend to focus on WHAT needs to be done. When they become overwhelmed they try to change WHAT they’re doing, but they are limited because the nature of the work IS the work!

The uncertainty of “not knowing” causes fear and doubt because they want assurance that it’s all going to turn out okay. They have no control over their workloads and are frightened that clients will either all flood in all at once or there will be a drought.

 

Here’s how you know if you’re Working IN YOUR BUSINESS

You’re an order taker. You’re just focusing on doing the work. You’ve forgotten your passion. You may have left the corporate world and set up your business doing what you were doing for an organisation – now you’re doing it for yourself. Here lies a paradox: Some entrepreneurs run their businesses with an employee mindset rather than evolving the mindset of a business owner.

No strategy – just delivery. You have no real clarity or vision for your business. It all centres on your products or services and getting the job done. No strategy or thought goes into it. You work reactively to what seems to be urgent at the time and have no systems, structures or support mechanisms in place to help you.

Not enough hours in the day. You’re already so thinly spread there is hardly enough time in the day to get everything done. You have no one to delegate to, so how could you possibly have any time to step back and grow? You’re too busy doing it all! You have created a limited ceiling and can’t go any further. Your only option is to work harder and you feel that you are reaching your limit.

You don’t invest in your growth. You’re trying to do it all on your own without any support. You’ve not developed your leadership skills to run a business. You take advice from your friends or family who have never been in business!

Leaders with a growth mindset are constantly working  ON their BUSINESS…

 

Here’s how you know if you’re working ON YOUR BUSINESS

You focus on the HOW. If something isn’t working you look at HOW you do things. You don’t fundamentally change the nature of WHAT you’re doing. You focus on HOW you’re currently doing things and create new systems to help the flow. You have processes and practices that streamline your activities and save you time.

You know your high value work. You have clarity, vision and purpose: You know WHY you are in business. You’re moving towards more of what you want rather than moving away from what you don’t want. You’re clear on your High Value Work and focus your time and energy on these activities. Low Value Work is automated, delegated or deleted. You are selective.

You work to a schedule. You know what you’re doing BEFORE you sit down to do it. You have a weekly schedule and work to it. You have standards and boundaries in place so that time doesn’t hemorrhage away. You schedule time for marketing, personal growth and for being creative (your genius work!).

You’re in the business of marketing.You understand the value of marketing and have created CONSISTENT stay-in-touch strategies with your stakeholders, clients/prospective clients. You’re building relationships and networking online and offline. Marketing is EVERYTHING if you want a successful business leader. It’s part of your weekly plan.

You surround yourself with like-minded people. You invest in your own personal growth.  Your learning and growth is a CONSISTENT strategy. You network and mastermind with like-minded business people. You have a coach to help you understand and develop your marketing, leverage, mindset and skills as a leader.

Successful leaders are always growing and changing. Working ON your business gives you a whole new approach to productivity, business and lifestyle. You create a balanced approach to your whole life.

Are you working IN or ON your business?


I’m sharing what I’ve learned from the USA about Personal Growth!

By , October 23, 2011 5:12 pm

©2010 by Elaine Bailey International Ltd
(Registered Address: PO Box 250 88 Pavilion Way Meltham Holmfirth HD9 9BL; No: 7015168).
All rights reserved.
Website by WhizzLiz