Do you know that moment between asleep and awake when you are not sure if what is going on is real or a dream?
When if it’s good you’re desperately hanging on to it like a film’s hero hanging on to the edge of the mountain for dear life so they can save the world because you don’t want this massive pile of good feelings and excitement to disappear like smoke on a cloudless night?
Or it’s bad you are urgently trying to push yourself into reality to escape the monsters and nasty emotions you are facing in your nightmare?
You know that moment? Well I just had that moment. For me I leapt awake (quite literally) scaring the tiny made my Jim Henson dog who leapt out of the bed too with a look at me that said “Sorry I thought we were sleeping?”
Had their really being a spider up my nose?
I’d felt it’s wiggling legs with it’s little fibrous hairs on its legs irritating the cilia (posh word for nose hair) up my nose. For anyone that’s a dream that they’d wake fast from, but for me years ago it would have been enough to send me emigrating from my bedroom for weeks.
Because years ago I had a phobia so severe I tried to jump out of a moving car to escape a spider.
My phobia was that severe that it impacted on every waking hour of my life. It was confidence damaging, embarrassing and made me feel weak, worthless and literally depressed. It was a chicken or egg situation that nearly killed me.
Yet tonight’s spider up my nose has as much to do with you as it does me,
Because that fear that I had years ago had been so severe it had wrecked my life and with talking therapies and the skills I still use on my own clients I learnt to not just deal with my fear but to overcome it, and since then every comfort zone and every fear has been dealt with fast so I can get on with what ever I want to achieve.
Okay so I’m never going to be a lover or spiders I’m afraid (apart from the giant one (was it Aragog?) in Harry Potter that wasn’t overly desperate to eat Harry, not that this gave Harry’s side kcik Ron much comfort with his own fear of them!) I can control what I think and the same is true for us all.
Although I don’t’ mind admitting that as I write this 20 minutes ago I did for a brief spark of a moment feel some fear ripple through my body that reminded me of how fearful I’d been years ago, and that is a cautionary tale to us all.
You see you may have managed to achieve a massive personal goal, maybe you’ve stopped smoking, or lost weight, or taking up 5K runs. In your persona life you may have overcome your fear of public speaking or of standing up for what you believe. Scarily your successes can get washed away just like my ability to deal with the fear I had of spiders if you stop paying attention.
It’s a dangerous time for any human that feels fearless. Trust me I know. With fear you always want to treat fear like you treat the sea. Even if you love it, and now have so much fun doing this thing, still show it respect. Because as life boat man and my merchant navy grandad used to say “the day you disrespect the sea is the day you are in trouble.” The same is true with our fears.
Respect that you had them. Always always remind yourself of how you fixed that fear, how you fought that fear, and what enabled you to stay that way. And never be scared to go back and check that you have won your personal battle with that fear.
Fears (real, rational, bizarre, embarrassing) are all there to damage your success. When you respect the fear and know what it had meant to you, you can ensure it stays away for life.
I’ve seen too many people at times of stress, illness or when personally challenging times or adversity hits their life revert to fears that haven’t attacked them for years, because they had assumed it had gone and that it would stay gone. Just like the person that decides to get fit, if they take a year off from the gym, it could be like starting all over again with a body that had reverted to floppy arms and weak muscles.
Or the business owner that changes the structure of the working day only to revert to procrastination and unfinished to do lists because they fears were slowly sneaking back into their minds and impacting on their results and success levels.
So when I feel a spider up my nose, (real or imagined) for a split second my brain had forgotten what I’d taught it about spiders. Mandie (I reminded myself) We don’t look at every nook of wood and fear it’s a spider, we don’t steer clear or offers from friends who live in big rambling medieval farm houses (because have you seen the size of farm house spiders!)
For just a spark of a thought there had been that automatic pathway in my little grey matter that made me jump but then I remembered that spiders aren’t daft. As Bill Shear a biology professor at Hampden Sydney college in Virginia and former president of the American Arachnological Society said “spiders regard us much like they’d regard a big rock,” and “a sleeping person is not something a spider will willingly approach.” Apparently even asleep we vibrate and make noises and our noises aren’t dusty dark places full of potential lunch, so rest well in bed tonight and remember never turn your back on your fears.
Face them and fight them. The day you stop doing this, is the day it could creep back into your life!
And just like spiders up your nose, you don’t want that!
If you are interested to learn more about fears my book Fight the fear” looks at the 12 biggest fears that impact on success and so far to date I’ve been able to fix every clients fear, with public speaking fears being overcome in just 1 session, so I’d be happy to help you too. Fear in the right place can save our lives, in the wrong place, it can destroy it – learn to know the difference.
I find life is littered with many powerful analogies that apply to numerous aspects of our personal and professional lives and success. They can beautifully and powerfully draw our attention to obstacles and how to tackle them. These parallels can also enable us to reframe, rethink, assess and evaluate our lives to get more of what we want and remove what we don’t.
We all know the saying “Can’t see the wood for the trees” and as a coach I often hear clients say after a session that they feel like they’ve “brain dumped” everything and suddenly it all becomes clear, because we can all become entrenched in our lives and struggle to see what we really want or what really needs to happen and thus struggle to get it.
This was beautifully if a little scarily highlighted to me in my own life the other day. I’ve been injecting a chemotherapeutic medicine for 12 months to help treat my Lupus and other autoimmune diseases and the dose has slowly been increased. The great news is that as time has progressed I’ve had many benefits and it’s really helped me lead a better quality of life that I’m loving, the downside of this is that there are a few side effects that are becoming, let’s just say “less fun” and while I can put up with the severe insomnia, weight gain and other “fun” stuff I noticed last Saturday night that as I went to inject myself I felt a massive sense of loathing.
I am someone that truly appreciates the power of what we think in all aspects of our life and how it can impact on our success and so whenever I’m confronted with a negative emotion or thought, I process to understand it;
Why am I thinking this?
Is this impacting on my actions?
How is this making me react?
And I became aware that I was starting to resent the very substance that had given me so much life back. By processing this thought I was able to see that I was filling that 3 minute injection once a week with negative emotions and thoughts. Why is this relevant to you and your success?
Because not everything we want to achieve in life is accessible through passion, dedication and thought alone, it will require hard work. (Everyone knows that right?)
However, we often put off the things we don’t’ want to do, that are the very powerful game changers in our lives. We resist the needed action and this creates negative emotions that impact on our actions and thus our results.
For me I had to restructure my thoughts. Take the negative association of my needle and swap it for a positive. For me it was this thought “How amazing that 12.5ml of a liquid can give me so much life, I’m so grateful for this.” This thought then led me to remember that 5 years ago when my illnesses were a “mystery” I had a specialist tell me that I had to accept my life was over and I’d never work again. How wrong was that specialist! And it was just 12.5ml of a golden liquid that had done that! (Well maybe not just 12.5ml of liquid, it also took fighting a lot of specialists and determination!) See how powerfully I’d changed my view on an essential task in my existence?
And I’m reminded of an intriguing experiment that I read about years ago. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese Professor of Alternative Studies was said to be able to manipulate rice in a jar depending on whether negative or positive statements were told to it. It’s since been proved and disproved by many people and official bodies with some stating that the experiment never had the right controls to be “science”. Regardless of your viewpoint, many of us have heard of soul food or food made with love. My own Nan used to stir cakes or the Christmas puddings and tell us to make a wish, and I’ve never tasted finer cakes. So whether it’s true or hocum, the point is that our intentions can impact on our results, because our thoughts are powerful. There are stories of soldiers in the first world war believing they’ve been operated on under the safety of Morphine only to later have learnt that the poor doctors had run out of Morphine weeks ago and they’d undergone what should have been excruciatingly painful procedures with nothing more than a saline solution!
So what in life are you seeing as disastrous or out of your control?
What activities do you loath, put off or groan at just the thought of?
Process the emotions and the beliefs you hold to these activities and allow them to play out in full force. What results are you likely to get? How is this likely to further impact on your success?
You see life has a habit of giving us clues it’s just up to us whether we wish to see them or look the other way. Our mind is the most wonderful computer that will ever exist and we have to learn how to look after it, nurture it, and program it to get what we want.
The next time you find yourself in a fug or procrastinating ask yourself what the underlining feelings are.
And if you can’t find the wood for the trees, I’m always happy to have a chat and often share inciteful Facebook live webinars for you to benefit from for free. Sometimes it is scary to appreciate that the one person in control of our future is us, it is also something that you can restructure to think “Wow, I’m in control of the future I get!” Powerful stuff, right?
The STS (Shiny Thing Syndrome) is when you are working towards your goal and then a new idea, new opportunity, or a new “expert” comes along and you think “Oooo this could work faster, easier, with less work, money, time, effort.” Basically, the idea takes weight in your mind that the course of action you are taking is not going to get you to your dream destination and that you need to look somewhere else to get the results you want. And before you know it you’ve signed up to a new course, a new way of thinking, the next “guru” or book that has all the answers. And guess what?
3 to 6 months later you are starting to lose momentum with what this course of action required and are already looking around thinking things like;
Whatever your train of thought it will be a pattern of thinking that takes you away from your action and focus and in a new direction. Hence the “oooo shiny thing syndrome” because you are easily getting distracted to move in a new direction and not stick with what you are doing.
Why is this such an obstacle to success? Because if you keep moving in new directions all of the time you can end up going around in circles, never getting anywhere!
So the next time The STS hits what can you do about it?;
One of the reasons we flit from one idea, goal, target, guru to another is because we lose sight of what matters to us. We are so keen to learn and strive for greatness that we forget to remember our brain has not read the memo and doesn’t know you are supposed to be achieving according to someone else’s definition of success. As such before you choose even one action you need to know what matters to you most. Because when you know what your driving forces are in life then you keep moving towards them.
ACTION; think about something right now that you care passionately about. Maybe it’s your partner, your dog, your kids, animal welfare, and end to starvation, a charity or a cause. Now imagine someone suggested you dump that and go for the Anti Oxygen Society as the thing you care most about. Crazy notion right?
Now bring it back and think about that thing you care about with all of your heart and mind, on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most powerful);
If not then you are not living to your core values. In chapter 1 of my book Fight the fear, there’s an exercise that will take you between 20 minutes and 1 hour, go back and do that now. And if you have already done this exercise, do it again! (Your core values could have altered or you haven’t appreciated their value to your success.) You can not achieve what your heart does not truly desire.
It’s all well and good to create goals, however, are they so crystal clear that you can feel like they already exist?
From the age of 8, I wanted to be a published author, and despite serious illness and only working part time I knew with every fibre of my being it was going to happen. Now, this is not just magic thinking, or the power of the secret. Yes, it started with a goal I would do anything to achieve, however it then had the right actions and beliefs to ensure I worked tirelessly and without fault to that goal.
ACTION; We will look at your actions in more detail in top tip 4 and top tip 6, however for now ask yourself;
This one is where you really only notice you’ve slipped from positive action to negative action when it’s too late because it doesn’t feel like you are doing anything wrong. If anything it can feel like you are taking control and stepping it up a gear. However one of the quickest ways to Shiny Thing Syndrome is to listen to every new idea that comes along. As much as there are tonnes of great books out there, with the best will in the world you can only physically read one word at a time, so taking on 10 books with 10 lots of actions, ideas and opinions is not going to work.
One thing at a time. And that means ignoring the rest. It doesn’t mean forever, however it does mean that you don’t keep looking over your shoulder for a faster, easier, quicker way to get where you want to get.
ACTION; So ignore other experts, for now, ignore other ideas, ignore new ways and most importantly at this stage ignore the competition. They are on their path and you are on yours. And as we’ve already established if you keep changing direction you end up going in circles, and like wise if you keep jumping on other people’s paths you get other people’s destinations!
You wouldn’t arrive at the airport and say “I will go where he is going” oblivious to the destination of the man in front of you in the queue, so why do it with your success? You are on your path, heading in your direction. By ignoring everyone else for a while you can concentrate on getting there. Remember with success there has to come failure. And you can’t know if you are on the right path until you have actually travelled on it. Changing lanes gives you no information to enable you to appreciate what really works for you.
You have probably heard from a lot of experts that you need to be focused right? And another reason the STS hits is because you start to question if this is the right way to go;
As we looked at in Top Tip 3 you need to explore one path at a time. Experience the failure so that you can understand;
ACTION; When you remember that staying focused on the plan of action you have decided on you can challenge yourself with questions like;
And you are likely to discover you are agreeing to confusion, procrastination and worry that you are doing the wrong thing or that it is not going to work. The only way you can know if it is going to work is by actually sticking with it. (And there is more advice about that in top tip 6)
A quick search on Google showed me that there are literally hundreds of diets that I could use. And yet still new ones are invented, why? Ultimately our bodies still have the same components in it that they had in them 50 years ago so why the new diet trends? Because we don’t want to do what we need to do.
The fact is that actually to a degree one size does fit all when it comes to weight loss – as one friend put it (a bit crudely!)“You’ve got to move more, eat less and go to the loo more” That’s it. No rocket science. And yet if to lose weight it just takes 13 words why is the diet industry worth over $60 billion dollars! It reinforces that one size can fit all.
ACTION; Stop doing new stuff and stick with what needs to be done. It is highly likely you’ve heard the saying that is reported to have come from Einstein (but just as likely to be Franklin, Twain or Rita Mae Brown!) “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect different results.” And yet we’ve become so obsessed with the idea of doing new things that we forget to keep going. Remember 1 more book, 1 more expert, 1 new opportunity is all distracting you. Therefore become aware of your desire to go for something new all of the time;
When does it happen?
Is it within weeks of getting started with a goal?”
“Is it when things get tough, scary or out of your comfort zone?”
Instead of moving in a new direction, tackle the underlining cause of distraction and redirection.
When The STS hits you how will you stay accountable? It is all too easy to turn to your new idea, guru, book and say “this last idea didn’t get me to where I wanted to go, you will won’t you!”
ACTION; Before you move on again, stop and ask yourself (honestly) if you are taking responsibility and ownership;
Remember your environment can impact on your actions and The STS as much as your attitude and belief, thus;
Mastermind groups, networking groups, friends, relatives, colleagues, can all come under these categories; ie they are either going to help you stay focused and accountable for the end result or they are going to distract you with ideas like;
Remember other people are on their own agenda, and because they love and care about you (or want the opportunity themselves!) they may wish you to stop going for your goals and sometimes that desire is subconscious so they don’t’ even know they are doing this to you!
Do you remember as a child when things got tough, you would turn to your parents and either cry, whinge, or share your fears that you’d never be able to do it?
And what did your parents do? They reassured you, they showed you they believed in you and they encouraged you to keep going. None of us get up and walk for the first time without a few slips. And your parents had no way of knowing completely that you could do it. It was their job to encourage, motivate and support so you kept believing in yourself. Just think of it like riding a bike, how tough did that feel? Have you ever taught a child to ride a bike? It can be really tough to work out what to say or do so you just keep encouraging and supporting, who is doing that for you now?
Ultimately The STS is about negative emotions hitting you and making you question and second guess your choice of action and goal. And as scary as it can be to step out of your comfort zone or to keep going when you don’t feel like you are getting somewhere you have to “just do it”. There’s a reason why Nike is still using that tagline, because ultimately when it comes to succeeding that is what your success needs.
No one gets on the track and runs their personal best the first time. Formula 1 racing drivers don’t start in F1 Cars, they start in go carts!
ACTION: Just do it! I appreciate that you might be thinking “That is easier said than done Mandie!” okay so ask yourself;
Fight that fear, because ultimately I believe in you, I’ve seen people like you take responsibility, ownership, set the goals, live to their core values, adjust their beliefs and achieve big, so what evidence are you relying on to the contrary? And if you need new people in your team to ensure you get there, feel free to give me a call anytime.
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
In my mentoring groups nothing is off limits and I will happily talk and work through what ever needs to be dealt with to help business women achieve success. And this week I think its possible it could mirror something I’ve seen happen for business women time and time again.
You see quite often the reason your business is not flying high and your not feeling the success you wants, is not an issue of skills lacking from your repertoire, it’s more a case of the mind set has not caught up to where you are yet.
Have you ever found your self not taking the action that you know would work?
Did you wonder why you didn’t do it?
You know that if you pick up the phone or put into action the marketing strategy you’ve decided on you would get more sales and success and yet you don’t take the action. Ever wondered why?
I’ve seen it so often and here’s the good news, it’s not impossible to cure.
If it’s any consolation this doesn’t happen just at work, it happens in all areas of our life. And this post came about because I realised I do it too!
For me I was sat here this morning working away and I realised I had not taken my medicine. I’ve Lupus and been on drugs since they discovered that golden nugget last year. This medicine keeps me well and healthy and I must take it at the same time every day otherwise it can get a tad unfun (see the choice of words here. I won’t let words take power over me!) and yet I don’t like taking them. Its just 8 tablets. What’s the big deal?
And yet every day I delay taking them. I procrastinate. I know they will work for me and yet I delay. What’s that all about?
Its not a skill set issue, I know that they will work. Its a mind set issue. For me taking medicine is a bit like giving up. When I was at my most poorly I had to give in and take serious medicine that left me so high and out of it. But it was the only way to cope with the agony. So for me taking medicine is like giving up. If I took medicine when I was really ill it would mean that my husband would have to step in on school run duties and everything else as I couldn’t even walk. So for me taking medicine triggers that automatic thought process in my brain that says “Mandie your poor husband is doing it all and your laying there doing nothing Lazy Bones!”
Now why do I share something so personal with you?
The reason is that I see it so often that business women dismiss the power of thoughts on their success. Understanding the automatic thought processes that you allow to run in your brain will help you understand what causes you to procrastinate.
Now I understand the automatic thought process I’ve created when it comes to taking my medicine I now choose to create a new thought process. One that empowers me into targeted action rather than one that robs me of it.
Ask yourself when it comes to the things I procrastinate about, what are they first of all?
Now ask yourself what do I automatically think?
Our brains can easily become lazy so ask yourself what automatic thoughts happen here?
Its a bit like lightening – a thought does not just go from A to B, a thought flashes in many directions and will hit on past memories and experiences and thoughts without you even realising its happening.
And don’t dismiss how powerfully this can impact on your success.
A true coach is not just a business expert and leader they will have a qualification and extensive experience of coaching. The ability to read between lines and spot those little micro expressions that give away your deepest fears and regrets without you even realising you’ve done it. And then use their extensive coaching tool kit to help you change it.
Its the little thought in the back of your mind that has been impacting on your true ability to get what you want.
And don’t doubt how powerful this can be. I had a client who I saw the third time and said “I’m sorry I don’t think we can work together any more, because we are creating these awesome plans of action and then you are coming back to me with excuses as to why its’ not happened. Its wasting your time and money and makes me look like I can’t help you. So what’s got to change?” Sounds harsh but I knew this business woman needed challenging on what the real issue was.
The outcome was that we didn’t come up with things to do in her business, we spent the session looking at what she beleieved about herself. Her plan of action for this session gave her the ability to change her perception of herself. And wow what a transformation when I saw her at her next session! And not just in her but in her sales too!
So play mini coach on yourself and ask yourself these questions.
Then decide what new thought are you going to introduce?
Hop on by my Facebook page and have a chat or really have a chat – 07989 935556
Lets power up your success.