Control of your Environment

Expand your quantum fieldA while ago I wrote a post about the power of your environment – who and what you surround yourself determines your results. One of the things I love about learning then writing about it is when I find evidence to back up something I have previously written about. And, even better, I find something that gives me more clarity and understanding on a topic I am passionate about. In this case, both have been achieved. I am reading “Shift your Brilliance” by Simon T. Bailey, and the book is full of amazing insights into how we live our lives and what is possible if we only dare to “shift” our thinking. Bailey shares Harvey Mackay’s insight into the Japanese Koi fish – a fish with almost unlimited growth potential. If the fish is put into a small bowl, it will stay small. If it is put into a larger tank or pond, it can grow six to ten inches. And up to three feet if put into a large lake. Bailey likens this to humans existing in a quantum field – and we grow in proportion to the size of the environment we choose to live.

You have a choice

Every person or thing we surround ourselves with is of our making. Our choosing. If the goals we have achieved are small, our thinking is small. If our friends complain all the time, we have chosen them to be part of our world, and will in turn attract more complaining. It’s all up to you. Our quantum field is a matrix of sorts – where we attract things to us based on our thinking, and repel things that do not align with how we see the world. As I look around my study, everything is there because I chose it to be there – the butchers paper on the wall, the broken lamp, the books and the cat. On a larger, seemingly more out of control, scale we can look around our workplaces, our social venues and even the traffic on the road. It’s all there because we brought it into being.

There may be times when it feels like our environment is out of control. It really isn’t. We just think that it is. Take back the power that’s rightfully yours and take responsibility for your environment – the good, the bad and the ugly. It might not mean it changes instantly, but just knowing that you have control has got to make you feel better, right? It’s a lot like cause and effect. Choosing to believe a certain thing (like controlling your environment or choosing to be happy) has GOT to be better than the alternative.

When you choose not to believe this, the consequences are never good. Frustration, stress, sadness, anger.  The list goes on. And it’s all backed by science! So choose your thinking carefully, and know you have more control than you realise. The power really is in your hands.

How much could your approach and ultimately your  results change if you “shifted” and realised you had control?

Getting Stuff Done

Getting Stuff Done Do itI have received lots of lovely comments about my latest blog post – thank you! It’s weird, for a while I seemed to lose my “blogging mojo”, if there is such a thing. Every time I sat down to write, nothing came out. Well, very little. I never seemed to feel like writing. Admittedly, I am working on another project that is taking up a lot of my creative energy. Not to mention a new role contracting that is totally awesome but taking a lot of time. I don’t want to say “I didn’t have time”, because we all know there’s no such thing right? I also think saying “I didn’t feel like it” doesn’t give it justice. It was really one of my most recent posts about being uncomfortable that got me thinking about why I wasn’t getting stuff done. I eventually wrote the post by promising myself I was not allowed to leave my desk until I had written SOMETHING. It was like some sort of weird, solo, silent protest/torture thingy. Then I just typed some stuff. Then more. And before I knew it I had the makings of a blog post.

Michelle Bridges tells her clients “don’t wait until you FEEL like exercising! That day is not going to come! Do it anyway!” Many writers write anyway. Stephen King writes something every day. I’m not sure how many words, but it’s something. Every. Day. So, if I was waiting for a nice, warm lovely feeling to wash over me that was going to inspire me to write, I would not have written. At all.

What is a feeling anyway?

Well, feelings come from thoughts. So, what we are feeling is a direct reflection of what we are THINKING. Scary when you think about it. If you are feeling bad, it is because  you are thinking bad thoughts. If you are feeling unmotivated, you are thinking thoughts of low motivation. Sometimes it feels like our feelings are out of our control. But, that is not the case. Because we can always control what and how we think.

Oh my goodness, I have control!

Imagine a situation where you arrive home to find your house flooded. The carpet is wet, your sofa is ruined and a “wet dog” smell is evident. And you don’t even have dogs. You have no control over this situation. Accidents happen. You weren’t to know a pipe would be blocked and it was going to pour with unseasonal rain. What you do have control over is what you think about it. There are going to be a few expletives, and that’s okay. When you’ve had a rant, think your next thought starting with “I’m so lucky that…” Okay, now this can be difficult but trust me. Just start thinking the words and listen for what follows. Some things that might come out are:

  • … we have insurance
  • … we get to buy a new sofa (I didn’t like that one anyway)
  • … upstairs wasn’t affected as we have so many precious things up there
  • … this didn’t happen when we were on holidays and it went un-noticed

You get the idea. If you’re thinking this is too “Pollyanna” for you, think of the alternative. Negative thoughts, bad feelings and still, the situation is unchanged. The wet dog smell remains. The choice is yours. The key is to THINK something good first, THEN the feeling will come. It is impossible to feel bad when thinking good thoughts.

How to get more stuff done

In summary, don’t wait for the feeling. It will never come. Instead, think a thought that is resourceful for you right now. In my case, I wanted to write, so my thought was “I am so motivated to write right now!” I believed it (eventually) and I immediately felt good about writing. Another thing you might like to do is exercise. Think “I would love to exercise right now!” even if you don’t. Think good thoughts about exercise, and before you know it, you’ll be pounding the pavement, lifting weights or cutting laps in the pool. Or any other number of activities.

So in summary, getting stuff done comes down to this 6 step plan:

  1. Think about what you need to do
  2. Think positive, encouraging thoughts about this task
  3. Imagine how good you’ll feel when it’s done (optional bonus but highly recommended)
  4. Start to feel that feeling now (because you will)
  5. Do the task
  6. Celebrate!

Okay, now step 6 is not a joke. Seriously, we do not celebrate our achievements enough. We move onto the next. Celebrate with anything from a happy dance in your study (I cannot confirm or deny I did this…) to a special treat like a favourite food or massage. Because you deserve it!

How do you get things done? How would changing your thoughts change your outlook, and ultimately, your results? Go ahead and share using your favourite button!

Public Speaking Simplified

public speaking simplifiedLong term followers of this blog (thank you!), will already know I am passionate about helping people communicate. In fact, I wrote a piece about it some time ago – you can find it here. I find there are a lot of people teaching communication and public speaking skills, and all of them have some great messages and knowledge to take away and use. I love it when I come across a training or a workshop and I walk away with a feeling of “aha!”. And that’s what I got today when I participated in a workshop with Matt Church. Actually, it was more of an “AHA!” than an “aha!”, to be honest. He really simplified a few things that I tend to turn around in my head way too much, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Body Language Simplified

Albert Mehrabian taught us that a large percentage of our message when we speak is non-verbal. An important point to note ahead of the “93% of our language is body language” is the statement that comes before this:

“when we are in rapport”

So… when we’re catching up with a close friend and we’re talking about how things are going at work, there’s not as big a need to share all the facts and data about what is going on, who is doing what, what your responsibilities are. Firstly, a friend we are in rapport with will know most of that anyway. Secondly, and most importantly, we would only need to shift our gaze or move or bodies in a certain way, and they would “get” what was going on. Our friend may respond with “oh sweetie, I’m sorry things are so stressful for you”… And the conversation would continue. Possibly with cake. Or wine.

However… when in front of a room of 100 people, the chances are you are not in rapport with everyone. At least not all the time. So what you say becomes extremely important. Of course, using congruent body language with volition is still critical, but your message is more important. Is it just me, or is this a relief?

Your Audience Simplified

Some of you are probably a bit more advanced and may already know that body language is not as important as what everyone says it is. After all, crossing arms might mean you’re just cold, or comfortable. Before you stand up in front of a room with your arms crossed, STOP. What this actually means is don’t try and mind read your audience. We are so conditioned to watch TV at home, we have lost the ability to show our presenter just how engaged we are in their presentation. As speakers, we must not look at our audience and assume they are bored or not interested just because they are crossing their arms. We have no idea what could be going on for them in that moment.

However, all eyes are on you, so unless your body language is congruent to your message, the audience will not trust you.

Your Message Simplified

Another great learning from today was the importance of keep your message simple and focused on solving a specific challenge your audience has. I know I am guilty of including lots of content in my presentations because I might run out of stuff to say (hint: you can’t), and of course, I want to deliver lots of value. The concepts of:

  • One key word
  • 3 points
  • Address a problem or challenge

are definitely nuggets of gold I’m taking away and using. I’m looking forward to putting this into practice!

Another thing that blew me away today was a number of people I knew to be great speakers were there learning and taking notes. Wow. It just goes to show there is always something to learn.

What are your best learnings about public speaking?

Be Comfortable with being Uncomfortable

Comfortable with being uncomfortableThe other day I was in a cycle class when the instructor said “I know this feels hard now. It feels uncomfortable. What you need to do is get comfortable with being uncomfortable!” My eyes were bleary with sweat, and my legs were shaking, so I didn’t immediately ponder on the metaphor of life our wise instructor had thrown at us. I just got through the class. Just! But when  you think about it, it’s very true. Anything great was never achieved by sitting on the couch eating chocolate chip biscuits. It was done through a combination of blood, sweat tears, or just sheer determination. We look at successful people and thing “wow, they’re lucky”, and some of them are. Most of them, however,  profess that the harder they work, the luckier they get.

Nothing changes until something moves

Albert Einstein once said that “nothing changes until something moves”. But what has to move? Well, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be your legs on a spin bike. Not immediately anyway. The FIRST thing that has to move is a thought. Our thoughts become things – and the more we think, the more things we can create. So, the cool thing about this bit, is we just have to think. Create a thought that will lead to something amazing. Then move in a way that is consistent with what we are thinking. Some might call it goal- setting. Or manifestation. It’s all about deciding what it is we want and going after it. What are your goals? What do you want?

Most of our goals are smaller than what is actually possible. We think small because we want to be “realistic” or “not greedy”. We aim small, and we reach small, not realising the un-tapped potential awaiting us. There is another reason. We set goals that are small so it’s not too hard to reach them. We want to reach our goals but we don’t want to get too uncomfortable. We don’t want to sweat TOO much. We can be like the casual joggers of the goal-setting world. Just taking it nice and easy. Slow and steady. And while we are actually moving, we are not uncomfortable.

Feeling uncomfortable yet?

It doesn’t mean that every day has to be a hard slog. It doesn’t mean that every workout needs to be a marathon. It means that in order to achieve our goals, we need to be putting in an effort that makes us feel uncomfortable, and is consistent with the results we are after. And the really great thing about this, is the more we make ourselves uncomfortable, the more comfortable we get with it. Our comfort zone expands. Think about the first time you rode a bike on two wheels. At first (well, for me, anyway) it was scary. I thought I was going to fall (and did). It took all my concentration to stay upright. Now, I ride my bike easily, and while I’m still concentrating, it’s more comfortable than it was when I was learning.

Push the boundaries

It’s not about going from being terrified of heights to jumping out of a plane within a day. It’s about doing something every day that makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable. Slowly pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone out so it becomes huge! Opening up your world to more exciting things to try that you never thought were possible before. Take a night class. Go to a networking event. Offer to speak at an event. Introduce yourself to someone you admire. Sign up with a Personal Trainer or Coach. Someone who can help you through your fears and limitations. There was a time when I would give the cycle studio a wide berth – it was scary (still is). Now I go to class regularly. I remember the first time I presented in front of over one hundred people. I was terrified. Now I’ve done it numerous times. And it has opened doors to opportunities I have never imagined.

What could you do that is uncomfortable but could get you outstanding results? What can you do today to expand your comfort zone?

3 Steps to Making Great Decisions

DecisionHave you ever had a big (or small) decision to make, and you simply did not know what to do? So did you delay making the decision? Did you worry you would make the wrong decision? Did you feel pressured into making A decision? We’ve all been there. There will come a point in your life (actually, several points) where you will have to make a decision. There will be no way around it. And it will be hard.

I recently had a decision to make and I felt really torn. It was a choice between staying somewhere I knew and loved and was still adding value, and going somewhere new to stretch myself in a new area and use all the skills I had learned. It was a great opportunity, and I knew these opportunities didn’t come around every day. My stomach was in knots every time I thought about it. Which was a lot as you can imagine. And this is what I did…

Power of the Re-frame

I know I have talked about this before and I just have to talk about it again. The first thing I did was re-frame this “big decision” I needed to make into “wow, isn’t it exciting I have this opportunity? I now have an abundance of choice. Lots of people don’t have choices like this. How lucky am I?” Okay, so I needed to say this a couple of times before I really believed it… Simply looking at the same situation in a different way made the situation a little lighter and less scary. And it’s true. I am lucky to have choice. I felt very grateful and that seemed to ease the knot in my stomach.

Power of Purpose

I then looked at my “Why” – my reason for being. And, as I have shared before, I am passionate about helping people with change using simple mindset strategies. I also love being part of an amazing team achieving great things. Then I wondered, which choice brings me closer to this purpose? And which further away? And the cool thing about this bit is that it didn’t matter if I chose the option that took me further away – the point is I would be aware of how that choice impacted my purpose. Of course, choosing the option more aligned to my purpose sounded (to me) like a better idea. Your purpose is the bigger picture – which can make those “big decisions” seem quite small in comparison.

Trust

It was a good opportunity to re-visit my purpose and tweak it a little. It was then time to have full trust in myself that I would make the right decision. By “right” I don’t mean the most logically correct (heaven forbid…) but the one that was right for me. The great thing about this is that the only person who really knows what’s right for me is me. Which means… That’s right! It is IMPOSSIBLE to make a wrong decision. See? Even logic is on my side. And then I read this quote by Mary Oliver:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

And I made the decision. And it felt easy. And it felt right.

So there you go – three easy steps to making the right decision:

  1. First, re-frame it – look at it in another way that gives you choice and a sense of lightness
  2. Think about your purpose. Which choice will move you closer to your purpose?
  3. Finally, trust yourself. You WILL make the right decision

Have you ever had to make a big decision? Did looking at it in another way help? Could thinking about it in terms of our purpose or big picture help? What can you do today to trust yourself more? Feel free to share!

Lost your Mojo? A Guide to Getting it Back

Get your mojo backHave you ever experienced a feeling of “meh”? Like you just can’t be bothered? And you wondered how you could have been feeling full of beans only a few days (weeks?) ago. This is sometimes known as “mojo” or zest for life. Some people seem to have it in abundance. Some people have it then lose it. Where did YOUR mojo go? How do you get it back? I have good news for you. It’s easier than you think. Read on…

Why did you lose your mojo?

The first thing to examine is why did you lose it in the first place? What changed for you? Even though you’re not feeling that great right now, it’s worth sitting with this feeling, however unpleasant, and examining the purpose it might be fulfilling for you.

What? What do you mean this glum feeling is fulfilling a purpose? I don’t think so!

In this day and age of positivity (and don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it), we forget that it’s actually okay to sit with negative feelings. Masking them with pretend positive feelings does nothing for you in the long term. It’s okay to sit with a negative feeling for a while and question its purpose. What might it be giving you? What could it teach you? Gently peel back the layers and see what lies beneath. Don’t spend too long here – just enough time to gain an insight into why you are feeling this way.

How would you like it to be?

This next step is tricky… At this point it’s easy to look back on when you did have your mojo and say “I want that back!” You see, the thing is, we can’t go back in time. Over time, we grow and learn and become better people. Asking to experience that exact same feeling in your past now is the same as saying you want to be the same height as you were when you were four.

It just doesn’t work. However…

You can draw upon times in your past to craft a whole new feeling. How you want it to be now. And of course it can be a mixture of what you have felt before. But here’s the thing. It’s NEW. Based on your experiences, how would you like to feel instead? What would it look like? What are you doing? What can you see? What can you hear? At this point it’s also okay to keep it really high level. By resisting going into specifics, your unconscious mind stays open to all possibilities. Because at this point, you don’t want limitations placed upon how awesome things are going to be when you have your mojo back! Sit with this for a while and really relish the feeling of being back “on”, feeling great. Imagine how you are going to feel and feel that feeling NOW. Notice how great it feels.

Now, while your mind is open and you’re feeling great, write it all down. I love my technology, but this bit is best done with pen and paper. Write anything you can see, hear or feel in longhand. No one is going to read this but you so don’t worry about sounding like a dork.

What next?

Once you have written it all down and basked in that amazing feeling (take your time!), it’s time for action planning. I love this bit because you don’t have to know EVERYTHING you have to do, just the first 3-5 steps. If you know more, great, include them. These are not just ideas though. These are tangible steps you are going to take to move you closer to your goal. You know what success looks, sounds and feels like. What are 3-5 things you can commit to right now that will move you closer? When are you going to do them by? It’s great to be ambitious but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. This is supposed to be fun! I know my immediate steps last time I did this exercise were:

  1. Go for a walk in the sunshine for half an hour
  2. Sit under a tree and stare at the sky through the leaves
  3. Do nothing for at least twenty minutes except pat and cuddle my kittens
  4. Write 750 words about whatever I like

I guarantee, once you have completed your first 3-5 steps, you will know what to do next. And next. And next. And before you know it, you will be all like “My mojo is back!” or “I never lost my mojo!” Seriously. It’s true.

How did these steps work for you? Do you have any other insights you would like to share? Feel free to do so using your favourite button below!

Need more help? Please feel free to contact me for a free consultation.

Self Awareness – It’s for Everyone!

Self AwarenessIn an earlier post, I talked about Empathy, and how to tell if you are lacking it. The truth is, many people do, and spend all of their lives completely oblivious to the world around them. I absolutely do not believe in the term “ignorance is bliss”. This phrase (in case you were interested) was originally coined by Thomas Gray, who reminisced about old school days in his Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College. Hardly relevant to our day to day life… The cure to lack of Empathy is Self Awareness. In fact, if you can improve your self awareness, you can improve the quality of your life dramatically.

What? Just do the one thing and everything will change?

Yes.

Why have Self Awareness?

The benefits of having self awareness are endless. In an even earlier post, I talk about the moment between stimulus and response. It is only a VERY short moment in time, where we have the choice to respond badly or resourcefully. The more self aware you are, the higher the likelihood of you responding in a way that serves  you and others. By being aware of yourself and how your behaviour impacts others gives you the opportunity to adjust your behaviour to get a better outcome. Don’t wait for THAT performance review where your boss reveals the amount of people you have annoyed in various ways.

Start now

Self awareness (as defined by Wikipedia) is “the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals”. Introspection is more challenging than ever to do. In today’s interconnected world, we are more distracted than ever. The amount of noise, both inside and outside our heads, makes it hard to examine our thoughts and feelings.

How to build self awareness

The cool thing is that you probably have a heap of it anyway. Most readers of this blog already do. They are also mostly smart and good looking.. I digress…

Firstly, do you listen to REALLY listen? Or are you thinking about what you are going to say next? For most people, it’s the latter. It’s okay, we are all guilty of this from time to time. The first thing to exercise when building self awareness is your ability to listen with the motivation of seeking to understand FIRST then be understood. And when you are doing this – making eye contact and really acknowledging the person speaking, you will find yourself in a space of true understanding. While in this space, there is more time. There is no need to rush things. Now notice the speaker’s response to you. Be aware of it. Be aware of your own feelings. How is this interaction working for you?

The pause between stimulus and response cannot be over-estimated. By truly listening you can make this space longer, giving your more time to respond rather than react. When working with my clients on public speaking skills, I often emphasise the “power of the pause”. Do not limit this amazing tool to just when you are presenting. Pausing can be powerful in not only getting across your message, but giving the person you are speaking to a chance to respond. There’s nothing worse than a person on a tele-conference dominating the conversation and taking it off-track. Without the benefits of body language, the can go on and on, increasingly frustrating everyone on the call. The person you are speaking with might not even respond by speaking – pausing will give you a chance to read their body language and assess how your message is being received.

Another great way to build your self awareness is to be mindful about everything you do. Everything. And not just the important conversations where you are listening carefully, but all the time. Think of the simple act of brushing your teeth. Or doing the dishes. How many of us are already thinking of the next thing they need to do once this task is done? As Earl Nightingale is famous for saying: ”… The time will pass anyway, we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use”

So, in the moment, be mindful and know there is nowhere else to be but right here. Right now.

And just know, that by putting one or all of these into practice, you will be more self aware. Notice the positive changes that happen for you!

How has developing your self-awareness helped you? Feel free to share using your favourite button!

What a teapot can teach you about Responsibility

What is your "silver teapot" moment?

What is your “silver teapot” moment?

When I was 11 years old, I was innocently going about my business in the kitchen when the silver teapot just LEAPED off the bench. It really did. One minute, it was sitting there, the next it was lying on the floor looking a little worse for wear. I put it back on the bench and tried to bend the lid back into shape with no success. When my father asked what happened, I replied “it fell and it broke” – a true and accurate representation of what had transpired. He was a little cross and didn’t seem to believe in the possibility of the teapot falling all on its own with no assistance. As it turned out, after a bit more patient questioning from my father, I had actually been holding the teapot with the intention of moving it from one bench to the other and I had accidentally dropped it. My father invited me to talk him through what happened and take responsibility for my actions. Instead of “it fell and it broke”, I said “I dropped it and broke it”. Asked if I felt better for taking responsibility, I had to be honest and say I didn’t really, I just felt bad. Okay, maybe a little relieved. It’s now a bit of a joke in the family when something happens to say “it fell”… “it broke” etc as a way of making light of how easy it is for us to not take responsibility for our actions.

A Lesson in taking Responsibility

It was a great life lesson, and I’m so grateful I learned it early in life, because in this fast paced world, it is so easy to blame things that happen on others or events outside my control. Mostly because everything seems to be so complex, with so many moving parts, it’s actually hard for our brains to get around it all. I read an article recently in one of our newspapers in Australia where the journalist told a story of her driving and almost running into a cyclist (I won’t share it here as it is getting way too much unpopular attention already). The way she told the story was that it was all the cyclist’s fault, and she was not to blame at all. Fortunately, no one was hurt but it was close. It got me thinking about the silver teapot. This was not a rant on social media, but a column in one of our major newspapers, read by a lot of people. And this person was completely unable to even question whether she may have had a role to play in the incident.

The Power in your Hands

We’re seeing this a lot, and it makes me sad. Because, if you can develop the skill of simply questioning what role you may have played, you are not only being more self-aware, but an added side effect is that you are giving yourself MORE POWER. Yes, by accepting you played a role in something rather than being a helpless victim, you are telling yourself you have more control than you ever realised. And when you have more control, you are living at cause – taking responsibility for the world around you as opposed to at effect, where everything seems to be happening TO you.

One of my favourite quotes from Spiderman is “With great power comes great responsibility”. I agree. I also think the reverse is true:

“With responsibility comes great power”

Sometimes stuff happens. It rains and the trains are delayed. Someone pulls out in front of you without indicating. You are leaving on time when your cat vomits. You cannot have control over these things, and I get that. But by simply asking: “what was my role in this?” or “what might I have done that could have prevented this?” is sending a strong message to your unconscious mind that you have control. You have have power.

And the cool thing about this is that it doesn’t cost anything. You can ask the question, quietly in your head, and see what comes up. Sometimes, you can rest knowing you are clear of any fault (good for you!) but the answer is not the important thing. It’s the fact you asked in the first place. And THAT’S what makes all the difference.

Have you had a “silver teapot” moment where you may have assigned blame quickly before wondering what your role was? How might things have worked out differently if you had asked first? Feel free to share your experience using your favourite button!

 

Limits vs Boundaries and the Secret to the Universe

Limits BoundariesWow, now at the risk of over-promising in this blog post I want to tackle a few things close to my heart… For long time followers of my blog (firstly, thank you for reading my blog!), you may have noticed I inspire you to consider new concepts, try new things and test your limits. I strongly believe that our limits are only created in our minds and we should challenge ourselves daily in order to grow – we are indeed more capable than we think. And I’m sure you get that. We don’t always test our limits. Sometimes, we seek comfort in the known, the safe, the certain. Writing about the 6 Core Needs prompted me to think that sometimes I get my need to test my limits mixed up with my need to set boundaries. Let me explain…

Other’s Limits vs your Boundaries

I recently had a colleague try and convince me that it would be great if we got together and went running at a very early hour on the other side of the city from where I live. If I did, I would run my “best 10k ever”. When I showed reluctance, he said “come one! Where’s your dedication? Time to test your limits!” And it made me kind of defensive. You see, I totally agree we should test our limits, but this specific activity did not appeal. The idea of an ex-marine yelling at me to run faster after I had traveled across town at 5.30am did not gel. I told him I wasn’t sure, and indecisively changed the conversation, all the time feeling a little guilty for semi-rejecting him. Nice one, Emma. Later, I heard him encouraging another friend to do it, and she simply replied with “I walk my dog every morning at that time, and it’s something I love to do. Thanks, but no thanks”.

It’s that time of the year when New Years Resolutions are starting to fade, and you are likely being inundated with so called “experts” telling you what you should do to make this year extraordinary. Their (well meaning, I’m sure) advice comes with reasonably priced programs you can join. These programs will help you unlock your potential and achieve everything you could ever want. And these programs work. If they are right for you. This is the time of the year, where it is easy to get your need to test your limits confused with your need to know your boundaries.

Some definitions:

Your limits: Limits YOU have placed on yourself due to prior experiences. They should be challenged by you whenever possible in a way that works for you (running an extra kilometre, trying a new recipe, taking on a new and challenging role at work).

Other’s limits: Limits OTHERS have placed on themselves and they are (hopefully) working at challenging. In a way they think is best for them (all of the above but probably different to you). They may wish to share these with you.

Your boundaries: The things you have decided are right for you, your goals, needs and values. For example, you may have decided this is the year you are going to run your best 10km. You may even have a training plan worked out, when someone suggests you should run a half-marathon. Deciding to stick to your goal of your best 10km is NOT limiting yourself. It is setting a clear boundary. Of course, the person wanting to run a half-marathon is stretching their own limits, and they should go do that. Your reluctance to be part of that is your decision. YOUR boundaries.

In summary: Test your Limits – Set your Boundaries

By this stage, you have probably set, and are well on your way for, your goals for 2014. Are they achievable? Are they right for YOU?

The Secret to the Universe

Now you have set your goals and are working toward them, take stock. How are they going? Are you still clear on why you are working to achieve them. And now, the “secret sauce”…

Who do you need to be to achieve them?

How might YOU need to change that will ensure your goals will stay on track? It might be a small change. It might be big. What sort of person do you need to become to fulfill your dreams?

Go on, and be that person. Right now.

How is your year going? Are you sticking to your goals? Is there something that needs tweaking? Need some help? Feel free to contact me for a free 30 minute consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Expect the Best!

Expect the bestThe other day I was contacted by two separate people, both asking for a similar thing. They both needed some help facilitating a workshop with some senior people to understand what it was their project needed to achieve and how much it would cost. The first person called me and took some time to talk about what she needed then checked when I was free. We agreed on a time and calendar entries were confirmed. The second person sent me a calendar entry for a time when I was in another meeting with no explanation. I replied immediately and said I was happy to help him and when I was available. His reply: “This is the only time Amanda is free so can you reschedule your plans”. Of course, he had no idea of what my plans were. And I had no idea who Amanda was, but fortunately I was able to reschedule my morning to meet his demand requirement. In the meantime, I caught up with lovely first person, and we had a great meeting. Everyone arrived on time, and there were sandwiches provided. Everyone was honest and up-front about what they needed and at the same time polite and respectful. I walked out with a bit of a buzz, and at the same time dreading my interaction with Person #2 the next day. And it was dread. He had come across as very rude over email and had only sent the pre-reading very late so I had to read it that evening.

I couldn’t change his behaviour.

But I could change mine.

I decided to expect the best from our meeting. I imagined a lovely get together where everyone had the chance to speak and everyone listened. I imagined a respectful conversation and a great outcome where we would reach agreement on a way forward.

What happens when  you expect the best

I got the best. I took the time to listen, and it quickly became apparent this person was under a lot of stress and was not sure of a way forward. After listening carefully, and asking some further questions, I was able to share some advice I thought might help him, and at the same time agree on next steps. By the end of the meeting, he was a lot less agitated and was looking forward to grabbing a coffee with me the following week to talk more. Amanda (who is she??) didn’t show. I pretended not to notice.

Now, even though I coach in this mindset “stuff” all the time, I am still so in awe when I apply something and it works. Not because I didn’t think it would, but because it amazes me every time how powerful the human mind is. Simply by changing MY thoughts, I can change an outcome. Because, whether we like it or not, we cannot change someone else’s behaviour. We have to use their strength as our strength. We have to be the change we want to see – not expect someone else to change for us.

This is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly. And it doesn’t always get the outcome I exactly want. Sometimes I get what I need (ouch). A learning. Sometimes I get something else entirely. The point is, I always get a result consistent with my efforts over time. So, I’m going to keep practicing!

Have you ever changed your thoughts and influenced an outcome? I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to share using your favourite button!