My latest article for Life hack
Let me know what you do with this information. I hope it helps you too.
I think I may know why we are so obsessed with super heroes – good versus evil.
Good overcoming no matter what — no matter how big, scary or evil the arch enemy.
It’s because it symbolises how we wish it could be in the real world.
Imagine it…your life is now a movie…
You have music in the background because you are off to work/college/meet friends and your life is pretty normal (all appears well) then on screen, we get a few scenes where your life looks great.
You water your plants (or shrug at your ability to kill anything green), walk the dog, feed the fish, kick back with a good book or hugging a loved one on the sofa with a bucket of popcorn, then all hell breaks loose…
Within 20 minutes, if your life were a film you are feeling, like nothing could ever be the same again and that no one understands what you are going through.
Fear is not the word that springs to mind. It’s more likely to be:
If your life were a movie, then it’s all fine (you really don’t need to worry) because at this stage in your film life, when life is so all consumingly going in the wrong way with no way out and death is likely imminent, along comes:
Okay back to reality.
Alas there are not many super heroes’ around (if you know otherwise – I can keep a secret), however I think we feel more than ever we need to feel that there is a solution.
Life is fun exciting, challenging (in a good way) fast paced, energised and a ton of other awesome things – but it’s also overwhelming, scary and sometimes feels like you are fighting a super villain and you don’t have the super hero kit to get through it.
I’ve never had a client ask me to help them make them a super hero, however I’ve had plenty ask me to help them feel more in control of their life – and I think that is something we all desire to some degree.
Control of our lives can be eradicated when we feel frightened, un-powerful and like we are trapped in our lives. And often the first sign that we actively recognize is a comfort zone or stress.
But if you think back to our super heroes, no matter how trapped they are, they always find a way out. A solution that no one ever thought could work and that’s often what coaching is about – coming to a problem and looking at it in a unique way that enables you to find solutions to fight fear and get out of your comfort zones. And you won’t need a scientist, a rich tycoon or a devastating intergalactically incident to find those solutions.
I want to share with you some of the winning techniques I’ve used with my clients to help you too.
I’ve had so many clients ask me this question, I think I should call my next book “Am I weird”!
Everyone thinks that the way they are responding, acting, feeling and thinking is unique; that they are the only person to feel like they can’t face work or their friends or their day because of a fear or a comfort zone.
We all have times like this and it’s important to remember 2 things:
Everyone is just who they are. It doesn’t need analysing, or questioning if you like who you are. Or if who you are serves you well, respects those around you. And if giving you the life, career and happiness you want, then no, it’s not weird. And it’s all good.
The issue becomes when you find yourself trying to compare your weirdness (or lack thereof) to everyone else and how that then impacts on you.
Check out the best characters in film, book or TV, and you are likely to see that someone else has tried to insult them with the term “weird”.
Weird is used when you want to suggest that someone or something is different. Different is not bad, the hard bit is finding the confidence to be who you are – to embrace your differences and your weirdness.
A little useful side note – according to the Oxford English Dictionary:
“ Weird – The adjective (late Middle English) originally meant ‘having the power to control destiny’”
And who wouldn’t want that?
Truly, hear me when I say – embrace your weird.
Just as the newly discovered super hero struggles to accept their super skills, limitations or fears, so do you have to do the same. And if you strip back any successful story (fictional or real), you will discover it’s not a magic potion or a superior race that enables the hero to achieve success, it starts with who they listen to.
How many times in your life have you heard yourself saying:
Why didn’t I listen to my gut instinct?
Why didn’t I listen to my Mum/Aunt/Friend/Boss?
Just as being weird in its original meaning meant to be able to control destiny until you can actually do that, you do need to learn who to listen and when to listen.
Here’s how to take action on this:
I was working with a client who told me that they could never upset the way things worked in their company. They couldn’t tell their boss they felt there was a better way! This meant that they felt trapped in their career, incapable of achieving more and like they weren’t meeting their true potential.
Enter frustration, anger, stress, work hatred and a sense of being trapped – if only they could get out of their comfort zone and tell their boss what they thought!
Learning to trust what they knew meant that they could rationalise and justify their thoughts and reasoning and work out what to do (if anything.)
We worked together to understand why they wanted to say something:
If you need to learn to listen to yourself, start by asking questions (not looking for solutions) and you will start to ask some really smart questions that help you analyse your feelings, actions, etc without guilt, stress and other negative emotions getting in the way.
This process also allows you to find answers personalised to you. In my experience, so often it’s the silly little ideas that have the most power. Okay so Dumbo is not considered a super hero – but think back to Dumbo and his magic feather that enabled him to fly, was there any magic?
Nope, but there was a belief that the magic existed – this process helps you do that.
This process also enables you to know when your own thoughts are doing their best to keep you trapped. You can become your own Kryptonite telling yourself the most awful things (that are usually not even true!) So be cautious of what you say to yourself and the questioning will help you to become more aware of this.
We’ve all trusted someone and later questioned “How could I have let that person have had an impact on my life, thoughts and actions?”
Back to weird being a good thing, right?
But the fact is the people you choose to spend your time with can in their selves become a powerful tool to getting out of your comfort zone – but could also trap you there!
So look out for the heroes in your life, that say things like:
People that can supply you with evidence of your brilliance and who reinforce the positive and your goals, but also challenge your beliefs, thoughts and actions are like gold dust (or super hero serum.)
They will enable you to be able to take a step back and really understand why your comfort zones are controlling your life. They are there to celebrate your wins, appreciate your frustrations when it doesn’t go to plan and give you the faith and confidence to keep going – don’t think you can do it all on your own.
Everyone, even super heroes get an element of confidence from their network. It’s not all internal!
And look out for the super villains who say:
People that make comments like these aren’t looking at it from your point of view, or with your ultimate wants and needs at the heart of their responses. They are seeing it from their perspective of life and their own limitations on what they feel can be achieved; and this influences the way they respond.
Yes, there are a few social vampires out there that will try and ruin your belief in anything better but, most super villains are far subtler than that.
In life, we often get an inkling of what needs to change or feel like something is not right. If you dig deeper, you usually find it’s not the first thoughts that were the issue.
When I work with clients, the “Go deeper” exercise always (and I genuinely mean always!) produces the big Eureka moments. It’s almost as if they are hearing their own voice for the first time.
Here’s how to do it:
This process enables you to really explore what’s going on in your brain and can be used in so many elements in your life.
I’ve worked with coaches and mentors for many years and I don’t think I could be without one to challenge me in the ways I’ve share with you.
After years of challenging questions and realities, creating goals and getting great results, I know to a degree I can coach myself. As one coach told me “Mandie, you don’t need anyone to kick your butt – you do it for yourself” That was a good session.
So sometimes, it’s enough to coach yourself. By taking on the role of your own coach, just give yourself a little time once a month where you actually challenge what you think.
Here’s a few ideas to help make that a powerful moment:
Don’t think about what you write, just let the pen go to the paper and write anything – in the random thinking there is often the right questions and thoughts to follow – if you create the space to do it.
If you love art, then draw. If you hate numbers and lists, steer clear of them. You want to create a new way of thinking that is natural to you, not what you read in a book or heard in the office as “a good idea.”
Learn to explore your natural style. Ask yourself: When set a task, how do I love to work, think, explore, learn and act? This will guide you to the best approach to coaching yourself.
Do you need to diary time to be your own coach or is it enough to know that you want to do this and get results? Just like finding your natural style, you need to learn how you will create your own definition of discipline.
Get this wrong and you’re highly unlikely to be taking action in 3 months’ time!
I’ve seen some awesome planners laid out in many colours with lots of tabs and tons of ideas. But as that new client realized, great ideas are little use without action.
The first step to the action is to actually tell someone you are going to do it. Do you need to declare your goal online? Phone a friend or just stick a picture on your kitchen wall?
You will learn what makes you take action, which leads to our last idea…
Knowing what to do and actually taking action and knowing when to stop and when to go for it are 2 very important skills.
If you take action on what we talked about today, you will not only challenge yourself, but also challenge those that can manipulate and mould you.
You will learn to trust and have faith. Llittle by little (not always – some clients see massive levels of change after just a couple of hours), you will step out of your comfort zone. As I described it to one client years ago:
“Some people like to slowly step out of their comfort zones and others like to leap so far out that they can’t see it any more. Learn to know which you are.”
Neither is wrong, neither is right. Some people like big challenges, big goals and big actions; others like no one to know what they aim to challenge but quietly work through their action plan to achieve it.
The true super hero in any film learns to know what works for them, accept it, love and go for it. And they don’t need a scientist, a tycoon or super villains either.
|||^||Oxford English Dictionary: Weird|
My latest article for Lifehack about stress and how to cope.
Stress impacts on us all.
No one is immune, and it's not all bad. However when it feels like it is overwhelming, impacting on your happiness, actions, results and personal and professional life, then you need to take action.
If you would like to download a copy of this PDF to help you remember the top tips, strategies and tools to dealing with stress click here.
One of the things that clients often present to me is this illusion that “there isn’t any time to do anything else!” Remember someone far cleverer than me said that “time is an illusion”? Actually it was Douglas Adams in the Hitchhikers guide and he added to that quote “Lunchtime doubly so” but is that really what the successful person has to look forward to? No time and no lunch?
Here I share 6 top tips to spending time where and how you want, so that you aren’t too busy to find time for the things that could change your life and bring you want you really want;
You choose where to spend your time
As scary as this is we have control over where we spend time. When someone says to me “But that has to be done!” I ask “says who?” and then when the client is able to work though well actually this is not on my agenda, this is what someone else has deemed important or I’m so used to doing this stuff first I just got into the habit of assuming this was the best use of my time. People are able to see how they choose to spend time. If every minute was a £1 or a $1 would you choose to use your time more wisely or differently?
In my book I look at our choice of using time. Remember that thing called Christmas Day? No matter what is going on, no matter how busy you are, you make time for it right? Why is that? Because in your head its important. It’s worth investing your time in. It’s something that is done. The whole world seems to stop for it right? Is that all coming from you or from your environment and society too? All these things should help you to see that if your goal was as important and all consuming in feelings and emotions as Christmas Day can be, you’d find a way to get it done!
Learn to say no
In my book I talk about Can you justers, the people that never respect your time and seem to get to success quicker than you. It’s because they know to ask for help (another fear that plagues many of us and features in my book that can be killing your success!) and Can you justers know that by getting other people in on what they consider is important they make time. Now I’m not suggesting you become a Can you justers, (I would suggest you learn to outsource, employ or automate though) although I am suggesting you appreciate that they prioritise themselves. And you need to do the same.This is not you showing a lack of respect for others, this is you showing a growth in respect for yourself.
Working from home can be fraught with can you justs that you create for yourself. “It won’t take 5 minutes to put the washing out, load the dishwasher, etc, etc” The point is every time you leave the task that will get you the results you want in your personal and professional life it takes between 15 and 25 minutes to get back into the flow of working. Just do 3 to 5 little jobs a day. (Or just check Facebook or your emails that many times) and bam you’ve lost over an hour!
Fear of your uses of time
Another reason we don’t use time wisely is because we fear the actions we need to take. Look at your attitude and beliefs about your ability to get the job done, to raise your game and get what you want. Do you believe you can do it? Do you believe it is going to be hard work and tough? If you do believe its going to be tough and beyond your capabilities what is the likely hood of success? Of believing you can achieve it? Of creating anything to do but that because you fear the outcome?
Get clear on what you really want
If you know what you are aiming for, what your long term goals look like and they are so clear you can already feel as if they have been achieved, there’s little that gets in the way. Create a powerful reason why that makes nothing more important than your goals, tasks and actions. Time is yours to command. learn that. Also check out the blog article on my website called The Catherine Wheel Effect. This looks at the impact of being thrown in any direction. You want to get back your lasered focus to get what you want. Be aware of what you want and time becomes a powerful commodity not a guilt ridden procrastination.
Do you forget to sleep, eat, or go to the bathroom?
Well even if you do eventually your body catches up on you! You are made of nature, you are not a robot. Instead of steam rolling through life working stupid hours thinking that is the smart way to success. What about a new approach, where you listen to your body? The day you feel tired, slow down a bit, “I can’t!” I hear you cry. “Really?” I say. Because a body not listened to or respected will prevent you from doing things at the most inopportune moment. Ever noticed how you get ill on holiday? Ever noticed how you have a big day and you feel awful? That’s your body saying “I really wished you listened about a week ago!” By learning to listen to your body more you can also start to tap into your mind more. And by doing this instead of your goals, ambitions and actions been in adversity to your human needs and the natural cycle of you, it will learn to be in-tune with it.
This may seem way out there wacky stuff, but the fact is the person that accepts that it doesn’t matter how powerful a golden hour at 5am is if you are a night owl and your circadian rhythm says “don’t function until after 9 and that still needs caffiene!”, it still won’t be the most powerful way for you to achieve. So start listening!
Ever have your Nan say this to you? I did, and my Mum “But I don’t have time to tidy my room!” “Make time!” was the reply. And its true, time is an illusion, we get to choose every day where we spend time. But be careful of the words you use. Notice the words connected to time? The words make it sound like a commodity that is leaking away all of the time. That is not necessarily so. In some cultures this is not even the real deal remember?
I read a great article in Psychologies by Eleanor Tucker (December 2016 issue) that talked about how in some cultures time is actually cyclical. Think of Spring, to Summer to Autumn to Winter, repeating year on year. (In actual fact I often see clients repeating the same patterns, the same stories, and the same mistakes – cyclical!) By becoming aware of this they are able to change their patterns and adapt a new more productive way of thinking and living. Thus seeing that “I’m not stuck with this, I can change it.” And I would say the same is true with time.
As someone who learnt to be successful in the car industry many years ago. Time was finitely measured. Every bolt that was removed from a bumper added up, mud caked over the wheel arches and rust obstructing the Panel Beaters task? Add .1 of an hour. Because of this I have been able to break down time into tiny bite size pieces every day. It means that I can make time for lunch, to stroke the dog, to hear the birds and still get my important money making, change my life for the better things done first. I can look at my daughter as she whizzes through the door with her mad speed and put my phone down because I know she won’t want a lot of my time, and since there are 1440 minutes in a day why would I begrudge time to the things that really matter? It really is time to know what those things you want are and make time for them isn’t it?
If you liked this my book looks at our choice of words associated with time, Can you Justers and the techniques, even the phrases to use with them, how to say No and how to ask for help, as well as how to understand your true values (Chapter 1 often throws a reader a curve ball!) Mandie Holgate Fight the fear book