Category: Mindset

Do You Have Enough ENERGY to Get the Job Done?

By , October 23, 2013 5:40 pm

iStock_000022531364XLarge“Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy.”

~ Jim Loehr, Author

We need energy to function and perform.

Our bodies require rest and recovery time in addition to the absence from work if you want to be healthy, happy and deliver high performance.

Balancing stress and recovering is essential in all aspects of our daily lives.

Most people in business (working in corporate or for themselves) have an imbalance of expending energy as opposed to recovering it. Over time, our energy reserves are depleted and this can lead to burnout.

It happened to me many years ago and I was fortunate enough to see this as a wake up call to change my lifestyle and approach to my working life. Others aren’t so lucky.

Most of us tend to unconsciously assume that we can indefinitely spend our mental and emotional energy without replenishing any at a physical or spiritual level. Our balance becomes skewed as we work longer hours, sacrificing our weekends and evenings.

Over time our performance is compromised, as we falsely believe that being successful means working harder, and this involves working long hours all the time. Some working cultures actively encourage this (I know this was true when I worked as an international consultant).

I’ve learned that spending and recovering energy has a natural flow to it, a bit like a tide ebbing and flowing. You’ve got to allow a natural rhythm in alignment with your body. Don’t just take my word for it – our breathing, heartbeat and blood pressure all have natural rhythms to them!

By starving your body of energy you are messing with the natural rhythms that effect your health, happiness and performance. No wonder you start to feel tired and exhausted!

Working at a crazy pace without breaks is actually addictive (you see it all the time in the work place). We are all copying each other heading towards overwhelm and burnout! If you don’t do what everyone else is doing, then you feel that you aren’t performing as well.

In our reluctance to stop and replenish, we turn to artificial stimulants to keep our bodies alert to meet the busy demands in our lives, such as caffeine and drugs. To help us relax, we use alcohol or sleeping pills to calm us down. These artificial stimulants become addictive over time as we rely on them to keep us going.

Are you drinking several cups of coffee during the day to stay on it? Are you then going home and drinking several glasses of wine at night to relax and chill? If so, you are messing with your rhythms and masking the depletion of your energy.

Here are some tips to increase your energy and avoid burnout even in the most demanding job:

Create circuit breakers in your routine – Our bodies are not designed to sit at a computer and stare at a screen answering emails all day, or sitting inactive in long meetings. Create breaks in your day – get up, move around, go for a 10-15 minute walk to shake off the atrophy. Drink plenty of water and go for a pee when you need one (seriously, I know people who forget to go all day!).

Schedule personal time with family and friends – Mark days or long weekends and holidays in advance in your calendar. These are not compromise-able! One of my clients takes a long weekend (3-days) every month to be fully present with her family. The more important we see our work and ourselves; the more we become unavailable to our friends and family. I coached a guy once who has lost all his friends because of his addiction to his job. He was very lonely.

Set some boundaries – Be realistic about what you can achieve and prioritize around your High Value Work (HVW). Minimize any distractions and stay focused on what’s important. Plan, prioritize and say NO to things that don’t serve you or your goals.

Stretch – don’t splatter –  yourself! – High performance requires us to step out of our comfort zone and create a new normal. To build new capacity mentally and emotionally you have to exceed your muscles’ current capacity  past it’s current limit for short periods of time followed by adequate recovery (just like building muscle tone at the gym). This is where you get growing pains and feel short-term discomfort as you are learning.

Take up a hobby – Yep… I’m serious! There’s almost a perception that taking time to rest and enjoy something that you like doing is a weakness because surely no one has time to do what your like doing, right?! Resting is seen as laziness! I enjoy walking and surrounding myself with nature is uplifting mentally, physically, emotionally…and spiritually. Make time for something that you enjoy each week, reading? Photography?

As a coach, I’ve witnessed remarkable changes in the energy and performance of people (including myself) because they consciously and regularly renew their energy. They are healthy, happy, high performers and are fully engaged in their lives.

Look after yourself… YOU are the only ONE you have!

Do you have enough energy to get the job done?!

 

What To Do When You Feel Like Quitting

By , October 18, 2013 12:17 am

OpeningStuckDoor“The difference between success and failure isn’t the absence of fear but the determination to pursue your heart’s desires no matter how scared you are.”

~Martha Beck, Author and Coach – Finding your Own North Star

We all have moments when we feel like quitting… I’ve certainly had my moments when I’ve felt like giving it all up, throwing my laptop away, and getting a job in a tea shop (I could happily spend my days serving cups of tea and chatting to customers. Blissfully avoiding any responsibility!).

How many times have you felt like giving up, throwing the towel in and running away to start a new life or career?

Monthly?

Weekly?

Daily?!

Who said life was easy?!

Things that we are learning can take longer than we’d anticipated and we get frustrated because we’re not seeing the pay off for all our hard work and investment. There are times when things get difficult and we struggle with loss, uncertainty and doubt.

Quitting is always an option, especially you’re faced with what seem like impossible challenges.

Here’s the thing…

There is a difference between TALKING about quitting and ACTUALLY quitting…

One involves THOUGHT, the other ACTION.

The truth is that EVERYONE FEELS like giving up at some point. We all hit roadblocks that are hard to get around:

  • You’re scared to begin because you might fail.
  • You’re riddled with uncertainty and doubt – especially when things become murky or unclear.
  • You’re questioning whether you were really cut out for this after all?
  • You’re feeling like a dumb-ass for giving up your well-paid job to go it alone and now no one’s knocking at your door for your services!
  • You’re repeatedly asking yourself WTF am I doing?!
  • You have more excuses for not carrying on than reasons for carrying on
  • You’re questioning the answers the Universe appears to be showing you just now!

Fear and doubt are dream killers and in moments of uncertainty, it’s easy to allow them to erode our confidence and win-out. We want assurances on how things are going to turn out, and when these aren’t available we become uncomfortable with taking action. We hesitate, our energy drains away, and up pop the excuses. Avoidance strategies kick in and we skulk back to hide in our comfort zone, waiting for either divine intervention or for someone else to save us!

We stop being successful…

This lack of energy towards your goal reinforces the limiting beliefs that “I’m not cut out for this…” and you become locked into a lack-mindset.

These are the defining moments that make us question and challenge ourselves. You have a choice between Getting Out and Going Deeper in.

Here’s what to do when you feel like quitting:

1. Take responsibility. Let go of any excuses and accept where you are right now. You might not be able to influence what has happened in the past, but you can influence the present and shape future outcomes. Stop blaming others, the recession or the moon being in retrograde! Dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.

2. Get in touch with your passion. Re-align to your dream. WHY do you want to do this? Re-ignite the flame burning deep within you. You CAN do this, but ONLY if you REALLY WANT to. Take time to re-connect and renew your energy. Get giddy about your intention!

3. Get out of your own way. Recognise the voices in your head as naysayers who are not real! Change your thinking because it will change your results. Check the quality of your inner dialogue and only allow space for positive language. Create goal cards or affirmation statements to re-focus your attention. Use the problem as raw materials for the solution. Instead of asking: Can I really do this? Ask “How can I do this?”

4. Be disciplined. An idea will ALWAYS remain just an idea unless you create systems and habits that enable you to take deliberate action. Plan your next step and take conscious step by step action to make it happen. Create systems to help you show up and be 100% present and committed.

5. Get some help. Having a coach as a sounding board and mirror to reflect back your behaviour really helps you to blast through any roadblocks and challenges. Having someone on your side makes ALL the difference and stops you feeling isolated and alone.

Feeling like quitting isn’t a mistake, you are usually on the verge of huge transformation. Grief, silence, emptiness is a gift AND it’s the hardest thing to go through, especially when you just want to run away. It is possible that you are working through your deepest fear right now.

Just so you know, feeling like giving up is a common theme that I come across as a coach, and it’s a great lesson for anyone (especially if you are in business start up).

The danger is that you think it’s easier to go back to what you had before, even if you don’t really want it. Quitting is like giving up on yourself on so many levels, the temptation is to go out and get a job or not go for that promotion.

What I’ve come to realize is that there is NO GETTING OUT; when I feel like this I have to walk DEEPER IN. These feelings aren’t the enemy. I am usually being broken open for transformation (Upleveling).

In these situations I always feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, but getting out is never an option. Vulnerability and fear has a way of peeling back the bullshit and getting you closer to the core of who you are. As you let go and things fall away, a new deeper level emerges.

Grow into your challenges by Going Deeper into the uncertainly and the unknown. The solutions for success are waiting to be found as you to connect deeper to your authentic self.

 

Lighten Up and Let Go – How to get in the flow of what you WANT…

By , October 2, 2013 7:15 pm

iStock_000012339432Large“Struggle and efforting always means that you are in resistance. As you relax, lighten up and let go, everything begins to flow.”

 ~ Gill Edwards, clinical psychologist and author.

A few years ago, I took a HUGE leap of faith and completely changed my life. I resigned from being an International Learning and Development Consultant and Head of Coaching in a very reputable training consultancy, so that I could develop my own coaching and learning consultancy business full time.

Back then, I had no real idea of how to run a business or market my services, as I’d been an employee ALL of my working life. I had some jumbled ideas on how I could earn a living and grow my business AND I had the support of an awesome business mentor.

Step by step I did it scared, took risks and lived through fear of uncertainty, ignoring the negative voices in my head, who were constantly poking holes in my confidence and offering up daily serving of self-doubt. Where are you going to get clients? Who do you think you are? What if you don’t make any money? What if no one wants to work with you?

Having being used to a regular income and the security of a J-O-B, I remember moments of terror in those early days. I regularly questioned my sanity! Work was a little patchy at the very beginning: I’d get a few clients, then a gap (the gap scared me the most!).

Taking one step at a time with guidance and support I started to move in the right direction. Former colleagues or clients asked me to run workshops or coach their leaders. I knew deep down that I was on the right path. One thing led to another and opportunities started to manifest. As soon as I stopped struggling and efforting to get clients, everything started to flow.

Something had shifted…

I stopped wasting energy on worrying and feeling desperate. I changed my inner dialogue from: But what if it doesn’t… to: How can I… and got to work on making things happen.

This created a profound shift in my energy. Instead of being focused on moving away from what I didn’t want to happen, I focused my energy and thinking on moving towards more of what I wanted.

In other words… I focused on being a successful business owner and NOT being a bag lady living on the streets!

What you focus your attention on grows!

If you start to focus on the things you love doing: what makes you feel good, looking after and appreciating yourself (and others), filling your day with activities that you enjoy and being surrounded by people that you love, you can’t help but attract gifts and coincidences. Opportunities will start to open before you because you are aligning with your soul and your purpose.

Does this mean that you should resign from your job tomorrow if you hate it?!

Absolutely NOT!

…Especially, if you don’t have any other source of income just now!

I didn’t hate my job when I resigned, I’d just simply out grown it. I got tactical and created a plan so I could transition and step into a growing business.

Whatever you want to create… Lighten Up and Let Go – Here’s how to get in the flow of what you WANT…

Set a clear intention – Start getting clear on what you want. What do you want to change? Clarify what makes your heart sing! Examine your beliefs about work, wealth and money.

Relax into what you do now – Most people don’t get clear and then give their job up the next day. There is a transition. So while you’re still in your current role, re-align to what you like about what you do already. Relax into your work rather than resisting it. Your current role is a key stepping stone to whatever you want to do next. Engaging with it will open doors to new opportunities. It helped me to reframe my existing job to become part of the transition.

Watch your language MOVE TOWARDS what you want, NEVER focus on moving AWAY FROM what you don’t want . Re-align your thinking to what you want to achieve. Create a positive focus. Check your language. How do you talk to yourself about it every single day. Shift your energy before taking action!

Don’t worry about HOW it’s going to happen – Trying to FORCE something to happen can actually push it away because you create resistance! Once you put it out there, the Universe handles the details: the when, where and how! You’ll figure it all out as you go along and everything will happen at the right time. You don’t need to know ALL the details before you begin. Timing is all about aligning with your higher self.

Things start to flow – As you grow, you’ll start to notice opportunities open up for you. You’ll meet an old friend out of the blue who can help you. You’ll hear valuable information on the radio. Things start to happen around you and you’ll attract the right people to help you. You’ll get some traction and motivation as things begin to feel lighter and you feel more on purpose.

Lighten up, let go to get in the flow of what you WANT…

 

How to Handle Resistance to Change

By , September 18, 2013 5:59 pm

iStock_000003537689Large

Handling resistance to change is a common challenge for many of us.

As a coach, resistance is something that often comes up for people.

The uncertainty of learning something new can make us feel vulnerable, because taking action tests the boundaries of our own beliefs and can push up against the beliefs of others. You’re leaving behind what you already know to make a transition in a different direction – This takes courage.

Whenever we feel threatened or judged our cells go on red alert and the body floods with adrenaline. All your senses are heightened, you feel mistrustful and on guard. You become defensive and you seek control and security.

It creates self-doubt, procrastination, fear, low self-esteem and even self-sabotage in any aspect of your life. You become defensive and self-protective – seeing the problem as ‘out there’ (external).

Your Lizard brain kicks in for self-preservation. You shrink into fear-mode. Your negative emotion warns you that you are self-sabotaging your goals and desires. You might become the victim and replay stories from the past to reinforce just how much of a loser you really are. You’re like a deer in headlights. You may withdraw or exclude yourself from anything that feels dangerous or bad.

I imagine resistance as a creature like Gollum in Lord of the Rings! He has long gnarled fingers and lurks around in the corners of your mind feeding off your Lizard brain – that niggling voice in the back of your head making you feel dysfunctional, insecure, vulnerable, disempowered, or unloved: “Who do you think you are?!”

When you are locked in resistance there is no room for growth because your consciousness is constricted. Being afraid of uncertainty and change makes you repeat the same old patterns of behaviour:

  • FLIGHT – Stay external and become a people pleaser trying hard to help everyone else, accommodating others and keeping busy. Coaches are very good at coaching others instead of looking for someone to coach them through their own resistance.
  • FIGHT – Blame, criticize, attack, control or manipulate others seeing them as wrong.
  • FREEZE – Spin your wheels, withdraw, don’t let anyone in or close down so that you can feel safe. Collapse into a coach so they can ‘fix’ you.

All three options keep the problem at arms length: external.

There’s no room here for creativity. Suddenly failure becomes an option and you’re really scared.

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

The truth is that EVERYONE has THAT voice (Gollum) in his or her head in the same way that everyone breathes. Resistance is natural and part of your human defenses.

If you’ve grown up with this then, according to Stephanie Mills (author), the more protection becomes an habitual way of being: you look out for threats, then attack, defend or close down. It feels like family!

Resistance is just testing your resolve. It’s part of the process. Here’s how to handle resistance to change:

1. Awareness – That you actually created your own resistance. You are getting in your own way. Eckhart Tolle says that: “awareness and ego cannot co-exist.” Self-awareness encourages your authentic self to be at the centre of your experience. Recognising that you are in resistance can help you to release it. You can override it at any time by taking conscious action. You get to choose whether you stay stuck or not.

2. Are you operating from fear or love? We all have the capability to act from either of these two states of awareness. Both are built into what I call your ‘Fizz’ (physiology) and psychology. Where are your thoughts operating from:

  • Protection or growth?
  • Closing down or opening up?
  • Judgment or acceptance?
  • Control or trust?
  • Old habits or new ideas?
  • Criticism or appreciation?

You get to choose!

3. What’s your WHY? – Getting clear on your intention or goal can dissolve 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?

4. Fight resistance with assistance! Get some support from like-minded people. A coach can help you to recognize your resistance and help you to challenge and overcome it. Being in the presence of encouragers is so important when you’re trying to create new mindsets and results.

5. Accept that things go wrong – You can’t always prepare for and sometimes things don’t work. There’s a difference between quitting and feeling like quitting. Failure means that we are growing – it’s all about learning. You get to figure it out. Work the problem to create your solution.

The more important your call to action, the greater the sense of resistance you’ll feel. It’s a natural part of life.

When you run from uncertainty, you’re actually running away from your life. If you want to create anything be it a business, a career, making a difference with your clients resistance is part of the journey… Consider it as growing pains!

 

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!

 

The Power of Pausing – How Reflection Helps You Grow

By , July 3, 2013 6:28 pm

iStock_000025377786LargeFollow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

~ Peter Drucker, Management Consultant and Author

Stop – pause and take it in.

In our busy world there seems to be little time for commas let alone full stops and new paragraphs in our day! We are so busy in the do-do of doing, that there is often haste in our learning experiences and we allow little time for reflection – we just move onto the next experience, grabbing as much in as we go!

As a Leader of Learning, I know that if you want learning to turn into growth, then you have to STOP – PAUSE and TAKE IT IN. Sometimes you have to allow the specific learning from an experience to catch up with you. You have to breathe and let it percolate through.

How often do you take the time to pause and let the lesson you’ve learned soak in and create a paradigm shift for you?

Most learning experiences are One and Done!

A person might read a book or attend a one-day workshop. They may set a quick Action Plan at the end of the workshop, but then return to work the next day and fall back into the old habits of doing what they’ve always done. Any thoughts or potential changes in thinking drain away to be replaced by the existing neural highway of old patterns and unconscious habits.

I was training a Personal Effectiveness workshop this week where at least four people were disappointed with themselves for relegating their personal development to the bottom of their To-Do Lists. I encouraged them to return to work after the workshop and start work by reflecting on what they had just learned and how to implement it into their lives – one step at a time.

Here’s what I know about reflection and how it’s so important for your learning and growth:

Learning from experience – Is one of our most powerful ways of growing if you apply reflection to it. When I was learning to be a coach my coach would FORCE me to follow the principles of each step of the Learning Cycle (David Kolb and Honey & Mumford) through. It really paid off as my learning became rounded and whole. Here are the four elements:

  • Have an experience
  • Review the experience
  • Conclude for the experience
  • Plan the next step

I realized that you don’t grow from the experience unless you pause to take time to reflect afterwards and apply what you have learned.

Many learning opportunities are lost each day because we have the experience and then do nothing with it except move onto another experience.

You need reflection to take an experience and understand it. Learning and growth in the moment will only happen if you allow a pause for reflection.  Experience alone won’t change your mindset or your approach to how you do things. It’s your understanding of that experience that creates a paradigm shift. If you stop to reflect, you give yourself some space to allow your understanding to catch up! This is so important for learning.

The power of pausing gives you time to think. I cannot emphasize enough the value of stepping out of the do-do of doing and creating some reflective space to think alone. Reflecting equals growing! I use Honey and Mumford’s four steps to create some good questions to generate some deeper thinking around any learning experience. Here’s what happens when you allow reflective practice into your life:

  1. It allows you to revaluate where you are now and re-connect to where you want to be. It gives you further insight into how to (or how not to!) get there.
  2. You have to slow down to speed up. Accelerated momentum towards your goal will happen if you schedule some time to reflect before moving on. Rushing from A to B to get things done might mean that you miss something significant because you are too focused on the finishing line and not on the growing to get there. Learning is left discarded along the way.
  3. Reflection allows your experience to percolate and true learning and growth catches up. You can understand the significance and tweak your approach or take corrective action for next time. In other words, you get to plan and apply it in readiness for your next experience.
  4. You get good at describing what happened and how to apply the new wisdom. This makes you a better mentor to others.
  5. Successful people build reflective practice into their daily lives. They schedule time to THINK as well as DO. Their doing is purposeful and effective because they have given themselves space to walk through their experiences, look at it from a different perspective and plan their next step.

Most people miss out on so much learning from their experiences because they don’t pause to reflect. They make the excuse that I haven’t got time to sit and ponder! I’m too busy! What they are really saying is that they haven’t got time to learn and grow.

To be successful in life it’s important to think and reflect as well as do. If you want to keep growing, you need to create reflective space into your life, where you can ask yourself some questions that generate understanding from the experiences that you are having!

Create some reflection time for yourself today!

 

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