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|
I’m often asked if I set goals and in January I’m inundated with questions about new year resolutions.
Should I set them? Shouldn’t I?
What should they look like? How should I word them? Do I need to create micro actions? Do I have to get up early? Do I have to rewrite my life?
I think that part of this can be impacted on by the fact that whereas years ago in the workplace we’d have 5 minutes chat on the way to the coffee machine now we know what people are thinking, planning and coveting 24/7 thanks to our interconnected world. Thus we can’t help but compare and contrast ourselves to others.
Great in some ways, a killer to happiness and success in others.
So with January rattling on, what do I tell people about New Years Resolutions?
It’s down to the individual. And while some can make it work, for the majority it sets up 2018 with shortcut to failure. While some have the character that means they create the passion and will achieve it no matter what, and others can create a positive addiction to a result. Many have doubts and fears about capabilities, results and even confidence can take a death defying jump off a cliff. So personally I would never set a goal according to a date. It’s ludicrous.
However, I do perform certain actions towards the end of the year. You see weirdly for me and my partner we have never seen the year as January to December (there are currently over 40 calendars in the world. With our knack for altering our year and our months going back through civilisations – any chance to make it easier to achieve right?) For me and my Hubby we have always seen the start of the new year as September, when we return from our holidays. Refreshed. Relaxed. Brain recharged. Body ready for anything. And lots of ideas and plans naturally make their way to the forefront of our minds. In this way, we find we “naturally” get stuff done in the Autumn and into the new year, without a lot of big pressure or preplanning. All that was naturally done over a glass of local wine in the South of France on a beach!
So the end of the calendar year is a great chance to reassess things;
What is working?
What do I need to change to get the results we/I want/need?
How are my actions impacting on our long-term goals?
What needs to change?
These are just some of the questions we answer to check against our desired goals in business and life. January then is my first marker to how I’m getting on. And I ask additional questions such as;
Do I feel the same level of passion for what I do?
Do I need to change what I do or how I do it?
Are my goals still stretching me?
Are comfort zones developing?
What fears are lurking that could impact on my growth?
Do I need to set new or additional actions?
Do I need to set new or additional goals?
This process often throws up little actions that can tune up the goal engine that gets me to where I want to go. It stops me from stagnating, it ensures I challenge myself and always look the right distance into the future. And for me rather importantly it ensures I stay positive. Being self-employed is epic, however, working in an office with a dog at your feet and only seeing clients via a computer screen may make lots of clients happy and successful and the bank account healthy, yet it does little for a healthy mind, so one of my personal goals that I’m happy to share with you is that I will be networking more in 2018. Not only is it great fun, delivers new opportunities and clients, for me personally most importantly it protects my mental well being.
You see a big reason we fail in our goals and new year resolutions is we just don’t work with what we’ve got. We look around at everyone else and think “I should be in the gym” “I should crave world domination” “I should want to be on TV”, etc, etc, etc and this means we stop listening to the values and passions that mattter to us and if you really want success and to achieve in 2018, start by asking these questions. Honestly and openly, what do you really want?
Now let’s get on with achieving it. Exciting isn’t it!