You are capable of more than you think

Self efficacy White Cat CoachingThe other day I was in a spin class – the first class of the year after a number of weeks off. And I learned a valuable lesson about capability… I had a deluded view of the class thinking a number of things would be true:

  • I am so fueled by carbohydrates after weeks of Christmas cheer, I would do great
  • The instructor will go easy because it’s just after Christmas, I would do great

Well… none of these held true. Firstly, my “carbohydrate loading” over Christmas was not as effective as I thought it might be. Apparently, champagne and Christmas cake do not count as sustainable fuels for exercise. Secondly, the instructor did not seem to care it was straight after a break, and set us off on a grueling session that left me dizzy at the end. At one point, I thought I might pass out from the exertion. And that was just in the warm up.

Now, I have never been that good at riding “out of the saddle” (standing up). It feels unstable and a part of my brain seems to think I might fly over the (stationary) handlebars. I have never been that fast out of the saddle either. I “sprint” at 50-60 revolutions per minute (RPM). Yes, that is quite slow. So, when the instructor suggested (read: yelled) we do an 80RPM sprint out of the saddle, I knew that was impossible for me. My legs just DON’T GO THAT FAST OUT OF THE SADDLE!! In my hazy state I remembered that my mantra is not to accept the limit. I often remind myself and my clients that they are more capable than they realise. Emma, time to listen to yourself…

How capable have you decided to be?

The stubborn part of my brain – the one that had decided it was done with learning – reminded me I’ve never been able to go that fast. The other part of my brain said “hey, let’s give it a go – the instructor surely has first aid training – how bad could it possibly be?” Fortunately, the guy in front of me seemed to be doing it, so I watched his leg action and copied. It felt weird at first. Really un-natural and clunky. Not to mention tiring. As my legs sped up and the numbers on the display rose above 65RPM I started to wonder if this might be possible after all. At some point, for a brief second, I found a rhythm. I looked at the dial. 79RPM. I was (almost) doing it! A last ditch, clunky effort pushed the dial over 80RPM. Admittedly, it was only for a few seconds before it dropped into the 70’s, but I was elated! I had NEVER done this before! I had never tried. I had already decided how capable I was in this particular situation and had inadvertently placed a limit on myself. A limit that was busted through in 30 seconds.

The instructor, sensing my new found awareness, suggested we do another (yay!), and the next time around I reached 80 quickly and even made it to 85. I have now formed a new belief about my cycling skills.

What does this mean?

Well, if I can break through my (self imposed) limit of xRPM to something I thought impossible, what else is possible? Well known psychologist Albert Bandura speaks much of this concept known as “self efficacy”. The theory being a person’s ability to break through and do something new very much depends upon their perceived capability to do that task. Like a muscle, it can be worked and stretched. So, while increasing the RPM while standing up in a spin class doesn’t exactly qualify me for the Australian cycling team, it increases my self-efficacy in cycling. I am more likely to have increased confidence in my cycling – indoor and out.

More importantly, this transfers across to other areas of life. If you can increase your skills in one thing, you can do it in another. For example, trying a new recipe is a great way of increasing your belief in your overall capability. Running an extra km in your regular morning outing, or sprinting home for the last 100 metres. It also forces you to question any and ALL limits you may have placed upon yourself. And as soon as you ask those questions of yourself, you are opening up new avenues for learning. And it doesn’t have to be major – even a few RPM can make all the difference.

What is something you can challenge yourself with today and realise the limit you may have placed on yourself is not true? Go ahead and do it, and share using your favourite button!

Things ARE exactly as they appear – your Brand

I was recently moved by a friend’s post on Facebook saying how wonderful it is that her partner sees her as beautiful, even first thing in the morning with “bed hair and panda eyes”, and it got me thinking about how we see ourselves and what has come known as our “personal brand”.

Jeff Bezoz, the founder of Amazon, has been quoted as saying that  your personal brand “is what people are saying about you when you’re not in the room”. So, how do you get people saying what you WANT them to say about you? Sometimes, it can be surprising – people are often ALREADY saying great things about you that you might not have started to believe yourself. It’s true… So, I believe the real challenge for us is to start believing what people are saying about us. The great things that is, not the negative stuff – how will that help you anyway?

A number of years ago, I told a boyfriend I’d always wanted to be a personal trainer. He said “don’t you have to be really fit and buff? That’s hardly you”. He’s an ex-boyfriend now, by the way… It crushed me. I always thought of myself as fit and healthy, and his comments hurt me more than they should have. Meanwhile, all my other friends were telling me they thought it was a great idea. Why did I choose to listen to the one small voice?

Who should we believe about our brand?

It’s funny. Ten people can tell me how well I did in a presentation, but it only takes one person to be critical and I question myself. Why are we listening to these small people? Why aren’t we listening more to the people cheering us on from the sidelines? Or, even more importantly, the people (as Brene Brown talks about in her book Daring Greatly) “in the arena” with us? These people are telling us how beautiful, talented and amazing we are. They are choosing to see  the amazingness in us. And… Yay for them! Because we already know that if they see goodness in us, it MUST be in us. And in them too! How would they see it otherwise? Perception really is projection.

Unfortunately, the small people are there too, and although their opinions hardly matter we listen to them all the same. Is what they are saying helpful? Is it serving you and assisting you in reaching your goals? Do these people REALLY matter? Are they “in the arena” with you? If the answer is no to all these questions (and I suspect it is), disregard what they are saying and focus on your fans. The people who love and care for you. THEY matter.

So,  my friend IS beautiful. Simple. I happen to think she’s beautiful too. The amazingness is there. All we need to do is start believing it and seeing it for ourselves. Things really ARE exactly as they appear.

What are three new things you could start believing about yourself today that would make the biggest difference? Comment below or share using your favourite social media button!

Affirmations – write them, say them, share them!

AspirationI went away last weekend to spend time with some wonderful, like minded people and an amazing mentor of mine. We talked about (among many things) love and connection, how the world can be a better place, living an extraordinary life and affirmations. The introduction to affirmations was with a quote from Jacques-Yves Cousteau:

“When a man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself”.

This concept of sharing your extraordinary life really resonated with me. We were then asked to write down who we are in relation to a number of areas, starting with “I am” for each aspect. We were asked to write either how we really are, how we aspire to be, or a bit of both. I chose to do a bit of both…

Spiritual: I am energy and light. I am open, evolving and loving, and appreciate all spiritual beings and beliefs.

Mental: I am quick and clever and have incredible potential to learn and share infinite information with others.

Career: I am doing what I love, and loving what I do. I help others fulfil their dreams every day.

Financial: I am accepting the amazing abundance around me with gratitude and love, knowing it is infinite and provides endless opportunities to contribute.

Family: I am loving and acepting of my family, knowing everyone is different and on their own paths.

Social: I am passionate about connecting with others to share thoughts and support, contributing to a better world.

Vitality: I am energetic and passionate and love my life. Every day, I am excited to jump out of bed and do something amazing for others.

Time to Share

Then we were asked to pair up and share with someone and reflect on what came out easily and what was more challenging. You see, I’m all for writing things down and even saying things out loud, but sharing with someone something that I have only really just given birth to in my mind was interesting. I found that some things rolled off my tongue really easily, and other things, well… didn’t.

Take your Affirmations to the Next Level

It was a fabulous exercise. It has taken me a week to “digest” and re-visit what I wrote down and shared with my partner. I am now committing to reading these statements out loud every day, relishing in the easy ones, taking more time and consideration over the more challenging ones. I think, over time, the ones that are more challenging will become easy and become more factual statements. And that’s a good thing!

What do you aspire to? Write it down, say it out loud, and share it with someone else. You just never know the impact it could have on you. And others!

What have you celebrated lately?

We set goals all the time. And we also achieve them – hopefully most of the time. Sometimes we don’t, and that’s okay. But how often do we truly celebrate?Celebrate

I mean, REALLY celebrate?

Today I ran a 10km fun run in Melbourne, and it was awesome. My goal this year was to consistently train and run at a pace that felt right, and to truly LOVE it. It was to really enjoy the experience from start to finish. There were no split time aims. There were no pace calculations. I just wanted to love it. I wanted to immerse myself in the experience of running and being surrounded by others who were also having their own experiences. It was amazing to observe everyone going through their own individual journeys during the course of the run. Some were finding it difficult, facing challenges due to pushing themselves hard, or possibly injuries. Some experienced jubilation after achieving their goals whether it was to smash a personal best time or simply run the whole way. Everyone turned up on the start line with a different goal. Everyone had a different journey with different challenges and different reasons to celebrate.

What I thought was interesting was the number of people already planning their next races and their next goals. At the finish line! I love that people are so in love with running they are already planning the next challenge. What I also hope they were doing was celebrating their achievement of today. The present moment. Celebrating their efforts. Celebrating achieving their goals, not matter how big or small. Celebrating NOW. Before moving on to the next thing.

Achievement is great. It’s how history is made. But before you plan your next goal, your next big thing, stop right now and ask yourself: What would you like to acknowledge yourself for now? What are you proud of? Do that now and really take in this present moment. Congratulate yourself and celebrate because you ARE amazing!

What have you celebrated today? Share in the comments below or your favourite social media channel!

The Present Moment

We have been enjoying a lovely, relaxing break in the Grampians in country Victoria. Surrounded by mountains and local wildlife, it has been blissful to sit in front of a crackling fire with a glass of red in the evening. During the day, it’s fun to explore the local attractions, get massages, go on nature walks or simply sit inside and read, write or watch movies. Not to mention enjoy a gorgeous sunset!Present Moment

I was thinking today about what a sharp contrast this visit is from our last visit in March. It was blisteringly hot with the temperature during the day climbing to 39 degrees (Celcius) by 11 in the morning. If we wanted to go for a walk (and survive), it had to be before 8am. Our days were spent doing brief, short walks but mainly inside with the air conditioning escaping the heat.

This morning we woke up to frost on the ground outside and a distinct chill in the air. We welcomed the sun as it flooded our residence, taking away the edge from the cold. The views remain stunning, and our local wildlife – kangaroos and a range of birds – are still as curious and entertaining as ever.

It made me think of how cyclical the world is. Everything that comes to us – hot or cold, good or bad – passes at some point. No matter how hard we try, whatever it is will be experienced then go. Some experiences stay with us as memories, others leave with virtually no trace. We choose to try to hold on to experiences both good and bad, but ultimately they leave us. We may also choose to look longingly at the future, wishing its arrival sooner. But eventually, it arrives and then passes.

This leaves us with only our present moment. A moment to enjoy. Or not. Either way the time passes. Accepting that no matter what, time will move on, what would do you choose to do with this present moment? Right now?

White Cat Coaching is a go!

Merlin the White Cat, Emma Bryce, coaching

Follow the White Cat!

Well, after thinking about this for a while, and taking my time on a new logo, White Cat Coaching has been born! While The High Flying Mind lives on in spirit (and the url addresses until I work that one out), White Cat Coaching will work to remind us to live our dreams while approaching life with a sense of curiosity, creativity, love and play.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, my inspiration is my white cat Merlin. He is intensely curious, very loving and adores play. I realised how important those characteristics are not just for a cat,but for everyone. Imagine if any time something happened, good or bad, you just got really curious as to what was going on. As I write, Merlin is head first in a paper shopping bag, checking things out. Merlin’s sister Kizmet, partner in crime and generally clever cat is also a source of inspiration, reminding me to be loving, pay attention (she gets underfoot – a lot) and there is always time for a cuddle. Oh, and that Ninjas are real…

It is with these simple principles that I launch White Cat Coaching on the world. I look forward to working with even more clients who are ready to embrace change in their lives, and being able to help them do incredible things with their lives.

Alice followed the white rabbit to Wonderland. I wonder where you will go when you follow the white cat?…