Welcome to the world of ‘Not Problem’

White Cat Coaching not problemIt’s a common misconception that coaches ‘solve problems’. It’s even more common to think that coaches focus on problems at all. In fact, the word ‘problem’ rarely comes up in a coaching session. My mentor introduced me to the world of ‘not problem’. You see, that world (the world of ‘not problem’) exists all around us. Then, inside it, almost as a tiny little universe all on its own is ‘problem’. We can get caught up in our ‘problem’ world because we choose to focus on it. Even more so, we choose to focus on something we either have and don’t want, or don’t have and don’t want. All this focus attracts the world of ‘problem’ closer to us, until it’s all we see. And when we’re in it, the world of ‘not problem’ ceases to exist for us.

Moving from ‘problem’ to ‘not problem’

A coach’s role is to move a client’s thinking from ‘problem’ to ‘not problem’. And the first thing we do is not focus on it! This is why, if you have been coached, you are generally asked ‘what brings you here today?’, and soon into the session you will be prompted to describe how you want it to be. While it might sound a bit unrealistic to focus on the positive all the time, what we are working to do with you is change your focus. Because when you do, you start to see the big, wide world of ‘not problem’ that exists all around us. And is always there. It’s like getting into an aircraft and flying high above the earth. All the people look like tiny ants (if you can see it at all), and skyscrapers look like Lego buildings. You start to see first hand the small part you play in the ecosystem that is our planet.

One of the most inspiring experiences I ever had was to kayak in Antarctica. When I found myself to be a tiny toy next to a pillar of ice the size of a city skyscraper, I realised how small I was compared to the natural world. Just one little being on a planet of billions of people. It puts things in perspective. While a coach will generally not take you on plane or to Antarctica, the questions we ask invite you to take a new perspective on what you are choosing to focus on and encourage you to look at the world of ‘not problem’ instead.

Busting assumptions

A great workshop technique I have seen used is called ‘busting assumptions’. It invites the room to look at some of the early assumptions being made about a particular topic. All assumptions are listed, and then participants are asked to look at things from the perspective of ‘what if they weren’t true?’. For example, an assumption may be made about a particular limitation being placed on a project, such as a time or budget. What if it wasn’t true? it encourages the participant to imagine a new possibility. To imagine things that did not seem possible due to assumptions being made. It moves you in to another world.

The more possibility we can see (whether it’s ‘true’ or not), the more able we are to move out of our ‘problem’ into a world of ‘not problem’. Sometimes, just knowing there is a world out there where your problem does not exist is enough to help you move to new opportunities. Think of a ‘problem’ you have right now. Imagine a world where it doesn’t exist. What does it look like? What’s different about it? What do you see, hear and feel? In the process of thinking about this, are you feeling different? What has changed for you?

This can be a little challenging to do at first. Let me know how you go, and also contact me if I can help in any way.

What are you creating with your thoughts?

Your thoughts create things White Cat CoachingRecently I wrote about how you could use your thoughts to get more things done. I hope you liked it! I have been thinking about this concept a lot, and I know many people are skeptical of the power of creating with your thoughts. Many people do not necessarily believe in the power we have to manifest what we want. How could it be that easy?

Well, it’s easier than you realise, and it’s happening now whether you like it or not. Let me explain. You see, we are thinking all the time. ALL the time. At any one moment, millions of bits of information are flying around our heads. Information is coming in due to external stimuli or internal recalling of events – both real and imagined. Our brain is working hard to filter in the most important things for us – the things that seem the most relevant (as decided by our unconscious mind). Just like a water filter jug. We talked about it a bit in 2013 – you can refresh your memory here. It’s absolutely fascinating how our unconscious mind filters the world for us – creating an entirely new world that is of our own making. Although the science proves our thoughts are creating the world around us, sometimes it can be hard to believe. After all, bad things still happen – and I don’t remember creating them!

Let’s positive test this

We are either motivated away from pain or towards pleasure. Many scientific experiments are designed to either prove something or disprove something. And those experiments can either be easy or hard. I’m a fan of easy myself, are you? If you are, and you’re keen to test this, let me give you a task. Believe for a second that your mind is trainable. It does not have to be at the whim of the millions of bits of information coming from without and within. Believe that you can change the filter (just like in your water jug) and see things differently. Meditation is a great way to train  your mind, and I absolutely recommend you do this. AND… decide now that you are only going to let love and harmony in. There are things happening all over the world that are not harmonious and loving. The problem is,we give them energy and they grow. Just like plants, the only ones that grow big and strong are the ones  you water and feed.

Take Action

Your mission – if you choose to accept it – is to only let harmonious, loving peaceful thoughts in. Wayne Dyer puts it really well. He advises that you consider yourself to have ‘suits’ protecting you. The first suit might be your clothes, even a uniform. And the second suit is your body. Underneath is who you really are. The only things that deserve to get through to the real you are loving, peaceful things. Everything else will just hit an outer layer and be bounced away. It doesn’t mean  you don’t acknowledge them, it just means they do not belong with the ‘real’ you.

If you forget, don’t worry. Acknowledge and move on. Give yourself lots of loving and harmonious thoughts and know you are doing the best you can. Then keep going. Like any muscle, it needs to be exercised. Do this every day for a week and you WILL notice the difference. You will notice more good things, you will notice less bad things. And the world will seem like a wonderful place. Because it is. Because you made it so.

I would love to know how you went with this. Feel free to contact me or share using your favourite button!

Are you acting like a Pro?

Are you acting like a pro?I am a huge fan of Marie Forleo, a super coach and business owner in the US. She has this awesome show she does every week called Marie TV, and some time ago I saw her interview with Steve Pressfield, the author of “Turning Pro”. The interview has been on my mind for some time, as it was full of gold nuggets, and I immediately bought the book. The premise is that when you are serious about something, you “turn pro” by acting like a professional in your chosen field. Acting like a professional? What if I have just started? The example Steve talks about in the interview is a friend of his who was a terrible golfer. He joined her for a game one day to find her dressed in all the latest, trendy golfing gear. Her logic was she was going to dress like a professional, and take golf as seriously as if she WAS a professional. She got lessons, had a plan, and before she knew it, her game had improved dramatically. She became really good by acting ‘as if’ before it happened. The question is, are YOU acting like the pro you know you can be?

 Act ‘As If’

I love this as a concept because acting “as if” is a great way to move you into a positive state of mind. It could be as simple as pretending that you’re happy on a day when you’re not. Firstly, no one in the office is interested in the terrible sleep you had, or the awful hangover you have (this news along could devastate many people – sorry). They will probably have a bit of sympathy if something bad has happened, but it’s limited. We’ve all got our own stuff going on, okay? I had a tough job a few years ago with long hours and lots of stress, and I remember making a conscious effort to turn up every day smiling. There was no point in being crabby.

The same can be applied to our personal goals. I love to run, and let’s be honest… I’m an amateur runner. There is no Olympic scout chasing me down my street (if they were they could catch me really easily…). That doesn’t stop me training like a pro – planning my runs, having the right nutrition the night before, buying good running shoes and clothes etc. I also started calling myself a runner. Which was scary at first – who did I think I was, calling myself a “runner”!? And the moment I did, my running improved. Amazing! The moment I stop thinking of myself as a runner, or the person I aspire to be in any way, I stop getting better.

Action Steps

Think of something you aspire to do or be. Now think of someone who has done it, or something similar. Whether it be an athletic goal, academic goal or career aspiration. There is bound to be someone… What are some things that they do that you could do? How do you think they respond to situations you find yourself in? How do they dress? What small changes could you make today that would move you closer to your goal?

Small changes can make the biggest difference. By acting ‘as if’ – even in some small way – will give you amazing results. Try it today and share your achievements using your favourite button!

Don’t Settle for Anything less than Amazing

Don't settle White Cat CoachingOften through my coaching clients, colleagues and friends, I come across people who are unhappy. Unhappy with their jobs, their partners, their environment. Their lives. It appears that at some point in their lives they have ‘settled’ for something that they weren’t actually aiming for but decided at some point: “This will do”. A colleague of mine years ago chose her partner for life based on the fact that “we know each other, I’m getting older, and I’m not sure if I’m going to find anyone else in time to have kids. This will have to do”. We see it all the time with jobs. People doing roles that pay the bills but leave them deeply unsatisfied and downright unhappy. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to settle. Don’t settle.

Why do we Settle?

Well, it comes down to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We have some basic needs: food, shelter and sex. If any of those needs are not being met, we go into ‘survival’ mode. A number of years ago, my contract finished unexpectedly. One minute, I had an amazing, satisfying role managing a large program of work. The next, I was out of work. Even though I had money saved, my first instinct was: “I have to get another job” and, to be honest, a bit of panic: “What if I can’t find one in time?”… “What if I run out of money?” Even though I was highly capable and good at what I did, the fear crept in. In those panicked moments, I’m sure I would have accepted anything just to guarantee my continued shelter and food supply. Fortunately, I did not make any decisions in those moments of panic, and within weeks I had several options of new roles to choose from. We all do it. I’ve seen highly successful people living their dreams, switch to ‘survival’ mode when something happens that threatens their basic needs. It’s simply fear taking over.

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Susan Jeffers, in her book “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”, talks about doing things you are afraid to do helps build a muscle, allowing you to take on even more challenging tasks. The thing I love about her advice is she encourages us to literally ‘feel the fear’. Fear is not something to run away from. Jeffers encourages us to examine the fear – why are we feeling it? What could it mean? Negative feelings are not a bad thing. They are simply warning signs that something is up. What is this feeling trying to tell you?

Once you have a better understanding of your fear, the best thing to do is change your physical state. It could be as simple as going outside for a walk, or standing in a power position. I’m a big fan of the ‘Warrior II’ position in yoga or throwing my hands in the air and looking up (seriously, this works – you may get some strange looks in the park but it’s totally worth it). You have already done something. Now do something else. Keep taking steps that move you away from that feeling of fear and away from ‘survival’ into ‘thrival’.

Thrive

Know that you deserve the very best. Know that many people before you have faced tough adversity and come through it all better than ever. They are human beings just like you. Don’t settle for ‘surviving’ through adversity. Settle for nothing less than coming out bigger and better than before. Know that the power is in your hands. In her book “Thrive”, Arianna Huffington tells us “We all have within us the ability to move from struggle to grace”. And we do. Spend as much time in struggle as you need to understand why you are feeling it. Then move into grace. The power is in your hands.

Since I mentioned two books that inspired me, it almost goes without saying that a wonderful way to move out of ‘survival’ and into ‘thrival’ is to read a book or or listen to someone who inspires you. Whatever it takes. Don’t settle for anything less than amazing.

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!

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!

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!