Category: Excuses

5 Reasons WHY You Can’t Get Things Done…(…And how to deal with them!)

By , March 13, 2013 3:36 pm

iStock_000012995878SmallThe No. 1 common challenge for many of my coaching clients is the problem of getting things done!

Most of us have been on numerous time management workshops and read books on the subject. We know what we should do, but we still can’t seem to apply the strategy consistently.

Having the tools, processes or strategy is one thing…Setting your thinking and programming your inner dialogue for success is another!

Here are the top five reasons for not getting things done that I’ve experienced when coaching and training my clients (Oh! And I’ve observed a few of them in myself too!):

Overcomplicating things – It’s easy to become overwhelmed and create a complex strategy for something that is relatively simple. If you have too much to remember: doing this, not doing that and worrying about the other, then you become anxious and worn out and nothing gets done. You’ll look for other distractions.

You keep a complex plan in your head – You add to the problem by trying to keep a complex plan in your head. Relying on your brain as a storage device to remember EVERYTHING doesn’t work! Have you ever thought you’d remember stuff, then when you’ve gone back to it later, you can’t remember the detail and have to start all over again?

“I’m just not very organized…” This label is an excuse to give you permission to stay stuck. The reality is that you are VERY organized at being UNORGANIZED: You are following entrenched old habits and patterns. They just take you to a negative outcome. You’re just organizing the wrong things! See the pattern here? You may feel out of control, perhaps your emotions have taken over.

Quality of your inner dialogue – If I say to you: ‘Don’t think of the colour blue…’ What do you do first? You think of blue before you decide not to think about it! So if you’re saying to yourself: ‘I mustn’t forget to…’ you are programming yourself to forget! This is known as a bad command in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) terms. If you repeat this to yourself, you are likely to forget! You are focusing on forgetting rather than remembering!

You are too busy to think about it – You are stuck in the ‘do-do’ of doing and don’t take time to think something through to decide how you might do it differently. You wallow in procrastination. Thinking seems too easy to do so you resist or you perceive that it’s not a valuable use of time.

Here are some potential solutions:

1. Clear out the mental clutter – You can over-plan and over-strategize. So step back and get rid of the clutter. You might have far too many steps in the process, or you’re going into too much detail.

  • Lighten the load by simplifying your process.
  • Place high value on simplicity!
  • Look for an easier route. You have to choose the right strategy for the situation.

2. Get out of your own way – Are you fighting with yourself, getting caught up in drama and creating feelings that are sabotaging your progress? Notice what is going on inside – write it down. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself.

  • Become organized at being organized!
  • What needs to change?
  • What would being organized look like for you?
  • Lose the label and dump the excuse of being unorganized.

You can do this!

3. Change your language – Listen to your inner dialogue. Are you giving yourself bad commands? Remember if you’re saying to yourself: ‘Don’t forget to call Jenny.’ You are actually saying: ‘Forget to call Jenny.’ You are more likely to forget! Change the quality of your inner dialogue by turning it around to something like: ‘I will remember to phone Jenny today.’ Give yourself commands in a positive way.

4. Make time to think it through – Allow thinking time! Use visualization as a tool to set your mind for success. See yourself making the call to Jenny:

  • What are you saying?
  • When are you calling her?
  • Walk this through in your mind several times.
  • Then take action straight away to make it happen.
  • Make a post-it note and keep it in sight so this call is your mental radar today.

You are re-training your brain to get things done. Simple strategies work well. Think simple!

5. Attitude changes everything – To change your thinking you need to change your perspective towards the situation. The situation IS the situation, it doesn’t change – you are wherever you are right now. If you know that this is something you should do, then change your attitude towards it. This is what is holding you back.

  • What would it be like to be in control or on top of this situation?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are you saying?
  • How are you acting?
  • How will you feel when you’ve completed it?
  • What difference will it make?

Having a coach can help take responsibility for getting things done.

Clear out the rubbish in your current strategies for getting things done, stop fighting yourself, listening to your negative inner dialogue, and getting lost in the mountain of steps in your process.

Simplicity is everything! Look for a more effortless path and don’t be so hard on yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

Do I Fit In or Do I Stand Out?

By , March 6, 2013 8:00 am

Stand Out “I’m stuck… I do a great job but I’m invisible to others. I’ve been told to ‘get out there more’ and promote myself – become more visible. I’m frightened of what others might think if I start talking about how good I am. Being visible feels false and fills me with fear!”

Extract from an email – Jenny, A frightened coaching client

There’s no shortage of people waiting to tell you how to fit in. They are happy to explain: ‘how we do things ’round here,’ show you what you’re doing wrong, criticize you, correct you, and offer advice.

Fitting in is the social norm. Keeping your head down and not rocking the boat creates an easier life.

This advice can be overwhelming. We are really good at creating and maintaining the status quo (especially in the UK!).

Over time, fitting in becomes the norm and standing out is perceived as arrogant, egotistical, fool hardy or career limiting. Especially in this current climate! (Yes! This excuse fits perfectly.)

So standing out is certainly a much riskier strategy… isn’t it?

Have you noticed… there’s no one pushing you to stand out? Where are these people? Often you are on your own (especially in corporate!)…

 Screen shot 2013-03-02 at 07.29.28

 

I see fitting in and standing out like two people sat on a see saw. Our minds often struggle up and down with this:

  • Fit in too much and you’ll blend into the background. Nothing much happens. You become invisible and limit success by hiding in the shadows. Occasionally someone may get a glimpse of your true value.
  • Standing out requires you to step into the spotlight, sharing your ideas and making an emotional connection with others. As you receive exposure and attention your Lizard Brain equates this to danger (our ancestors didn’t want attention – this could mean death…). No wonder you feel resistance – all the alarm bells are going off in your amygdala!

This is what had happened to Jenny. She’s an expert in her field and does a great job (often taken for granted). She was hiding her value and only those close to her knew about it. This limited her potential and her career stagnated.

Most of us don’t have anyone to push us forward. Many of us are happy just to fit in for an easier life.

Jenny was frustrated and unhappy. She was working hard and not being recognized and the same time she was scared of being in the spotlight. Her seesaw was working overtime!

Being successful means that you sometimes have to stand out from the shadows and allow your light to shine. In Jenny’s case, she was tired of not getting the recognition she deserved. By increasing her visibility she was able to build her marketability and leverage in the business and share her value with more people.

Here’s how to stand out:

1.    Know your Biology. Understanding how your Lizard Brain tries to protect you from threat enables you to deal with any resistance. You are able to change how you think and move beyond it (I regularly coach clients through this).

2.    Create your own map. Stop being an order taker waiting for instructions from the Status Quo Committee. Create your own status quo! If you take orders you can’t create your own value and share it with others. Do it your way… chart your own path and create your own value. Be YOU.

3.    Know where you’re going. Have clarity about what you want to achieve and WHY it’s important to you.

  • What does it look like, sound like or feel like?
  • Create your own direction and plan your first step. Planning may take time but it’s time well spent.

4.    Make a deliberate choice. Your value is created by what you choose to do. Most of us know what we should do but we don’t do it. Thinking is not voluntary! Choice is about thinking and feeling, not just as a reaction in the moment when you are a victim of your thoughts. Generate possibilities and choose intentionally. Decide to overcome any anxiety or fear associated with your decision to stand out.

5.    Put the work in. Be prepared to put in whatever is necessary to get from where you are now to where you want to be. Others may criticize you – know that this is a natural part of the process. Practice, practice, practice – be imperfectly perfect you’ll make a few mistakes along the way.

6.    It’s ALL about connection. Learn how to authentically talk about what you do and the value it gives. It’s a gift to be able to serve others and help them to achieve their goals. You don’t work in a vacuum – you are doing a dis-service if you don’t share what you do with those who might need your help.

7.    Learn how to be happy. Does your work match your passion for it? Or does your passion match your work? You can’t just BE happy, but you can learn to do things in a happy way. Pay ATTENTION to enjoying the process of what you are doing. Make things enjoyable even when talking to others about what you do and how it might help them.

We’re waiting for you to walk into your spotlight and Stand out!

 

Stop Judging Other People!

By , July 24, 2012 9:58 pm

“Our criticisms always reflect how we feel about ourselves; they mask our fear that we don’t measure up.”

~ Karen Casey, Author

We’ve all criticized someone else and while it feels like we are getting some relief and making us feel better, this is not usually the case!

So why do we do it?

I believe that we criticize others to mask our own insecurities and fear that perhaps we’re not good enough. Criticism is like your reflection in water, it reflects back an image of how you feel about yourself.

Instead of owning these feelings you twist and contort yourself and try to avoid it by projecting your judgment onto someone else.

Deep down inside when you are criticizing someone else you are strengthening your own insecurity and inferiority. You are actually making yourself smaller. It becomes a vicious circle of denial and projection.

Being locked into these prejudicial thoughts impacts and influences everyone and everything around you.

Here’s what I know about judging other people:

  1. It never really makes you feel better – you often feel worse afterwards.
  2. It doesn’t make you more peaceful when you mind is full of judgments and criticism.
  3. It doesn’t make your fear go away – it reinforces it at a deeper level.
  4. Judgments can damage relationships.
  5. It’s your ego talking and trying to protect you by setting you apart from others as better, bigger, more powerful.

Next time you feel tempted to judge someone else – catch yourself before you say anything and check in on your own feelings. Firstly, notice how uncomfortable you feel. What’s coming up for you? Envy? Shame? Guilt? Anger? These are all great and powerful teachers – listen and learn from them.

Making a conscious choice NOT to judge others will improve your  self-awareness, self-worth and self-respect.

This is also very peaceful.

Self-Discipline is an antidote for Poor Productivity…

By , June 19, 2012 4:18 pm

“Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you virtually unstoppable.”

~ Dan Kennedy, Business Success Guru and Author

Okay… I have to admit that most of us are easily distracted. We are almost willing to be de-railed from our work plans by any bright shiny object that happens to come onto our radar!

This is especially true for me if it’s something that I don’t really want to do or it feels like hard work! (This can lead to procrastination and avoidance if not addressed.)

Many of us know what we should do but we have little self-discipline to make it happen. Instead we use labels such as I’m too busy or I didn’t have time rather than leaning in and committing to our intention. It’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:

  • Individuals who can’t seem to make it to meetings on time.
  • Arriving late and unprepared for pre-booked coaching sessions (I make individuals re-book!).
  • An entrepreneur who never quite gets around to marketing because something else always needs to be done first.

People who arrive late are often also unprepared for work. This lack of focus and attention wastes time, because they have to catch up before giving any value.

I’ve noticed that a common theme for many people with time management challenges is the lack of self-discipline.

Okay… I’ll admit it – some days I feel secretly lazy (especially when it is sunny!). It’s a challenge because I wake up having an inner fight to force myself to get up and get things done. It’s hard work challenging my lazy self to get on with what needs to be done. Sometimes I’d just rather sit back and have an easy day at home. After all, I’m the boss and I can do whatever I want! I have these secret lazy feelings also around keeping fit, whether it’s hiking or going to the gym (I LOVE it once I’m doing it!).

Instead of allowing this to take control, I’ve had to become extremely self-disciplined… Self-discipline is a powerful antidote to procrastination.

Without self-discipline your thinking and self-management principles are inconsistent and you’ll easily get distracted.

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 and work out in advance what you want to achieve. This helps you to stay focused and feel in control of what needs to be done. Over time you can feel the momentum of making things happen. 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…It’s common sense, but 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’re 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 a fair-weather thing! It takes huge 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 something towards your Intention – Small steps. Get deliberate in your thoughts and behaviours. This will inspire you to make different choices and create new habits. Get going!

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

Self-discipline is a choice that enables you 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?

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?


5 Things To Do the Next Time You Feel Like Quitting!

By , March 7, 2012 8:02 pm

“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

Sometimes I feel like quitting!

The last time was a few weeks ago after my cat died suddenly. I’ve had three deaths in the last six months and was getting sick to death of death! I’d reached the “WTF!” stage. I 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?!

Life isn’t always easy. 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 a roadblock that’s 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.

The grief that I was going through wasn’t a mistake I was 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. I was working through my deepest fear – Loss.

What I realised was that there is NO GETTING OUT, I had to walk DEEPER IN. Loss wasn’t the enemy I was being broken open for transformation. I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable but getting out wasn’t an option. Grief 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.

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