The most common phrase I hear. Self doubt.

Do you have moments wondering “What on earth am I doing?” or observing a serious lack of trust in yourself? If there’s one term I’ve heard in abundance lately it’s “I have self-doubt”. Whether I’m networking, working with clients or chatting with friends it seems we all have moments of self-doubt running parallel with a case of the speed wobbles. Many of us become paralysed by it, leaving us running round in circles.

Self-doubt is defined as a lack of confidence in one’s self and ones abilities. So why is it self-doubt is making such an appearance at a time when we have content galore to help grow our confidence, positive mentoring a phone call away and app’s at our fingertips to solve every problem?

And oh the irony. I have been sitting on completing this blog for a good few weeks. Then it hit me. I had doubt around my abilities and experience to write about this topic. I finally had the realisation that much of this inner chit chat had no substance. So I did some research, delved into what I know from hours of coaching and here’s what I learned.

Self-doubt comes in all shapes and sizes. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to get ahead at work. I’m not good at maintaining friendships. I’ll never be able to reach my goal weight. But what it all boils down to the old chestnut, belief and fear of I’m not good enough. You are good enough of course but right at this minute you are very much not buying that story and instead choosing to not back yourself.

person-on-cliff-meditating

Imposter syndrome is a classic phrase closely linked with self-doubt. I feel like I’m completely winging it and one day everyone will find out I’m a fake. Wow, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that cracker! The ultimate in doubting ourselves at work, not trusting or believing in our abilities. Sure, there are folks out there who are totally winging it but for most of us we have the knowledge, experience and practical know how to be in a role. So why put energy into believing we’ll be caught out? Well, my friends it’s been noted that this doubting business also appears to function exceptionally well as a phenomenal excuse card for not stepping up, pushing harder or going further.

Is there a quick fix for self-doubt? Not exactly as it often stems from stories from our past that we’re holding onto. Whether they be real or imagined, if we’re holding onto resentment, guilt, shame for mistakes of the past they will all lead to self-doubt. Often many people fear they will repeat their own past mistakes or from something a parent has done. And as we know the more we focus on this fears the more likely it is to come to fruition.

In order to overcome self-doubt we need to consistently practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion. As well as doing ourselves a big favour – drop the judgement. How harshly we judge others is a direct reflection of how harshly we are judging ourselves. The same goes for those of us with perfectionist tendencies.

According to a special report Loving You in the spring edition of Wellbeing Australia , if you doubt yourself you are settling for less. To move away from this they suggest we put our attention towards self-empowerment. Acknowledge you create your world and own your choices – no need for external approval or apologies required.  We would also want to focus on self-expression – how open are you with your communication style? Do you let have a creative outlet? How authentic is it?

doubtThe way our minds are wired for survival we will always find a bit of self-doubt popping up but how much power will you give it?

It’s your choice.

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Why habits are the new game changer.

When was the last time you thought about your good habits? powerofhabit It feels like habits get a bad rap because we often think of them negatively as in biting nails or over-eating but they can be huge game changers when you make the effort to turn around those that aren’t working for you.  My inspiration today is from Charles  Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit which throws new light on why we have habits, how they come about and how to change the ones which aren’t working for us.

So why do we have habits? Scientists believe it’s because our brain is always looking for ways to save effort. Remember your first aerobics step class or L plated driving lesson? How exhausting! But after a while your brain learned what to do so much so we often experience auto-pilot  where we wonder where on earth we ‘were’ for a  few minutes. Tests at MIT in the 1990s also showed after learning a habit lab rats had only minimal activity occurring in the rest of their brains compared to the first few attempts of a new routine.

An ancestral part of our brain, the basal ganglia is believed to be responsible for our habit storage. When people’s basal ganglia is damaged they are no longer able to form simple tasks when their access to ‘habit storage’ is unavailable.

The interesting hard cold truth: When a habit emerges the brain stops fully participating in decision making. So unless you find new routines the pattern will automatically unfold. The brain also can’t tell when a habit is good or bad so a bad one can just be lurking waiting to be fired up for a unhelpful reward.

But once you understand the habit loop you can break it down into parts, experiment and find ways to change it up by overpowering the existing neurological pathways with more compelling habits.

The Habit Loop.

Habitloop

Firstly the cue occurs: A situational trigger that is based on a reward you’re seeking.

Next up the routine: A physical or emotional action you take to obtain the reward.

Finally the reward: The satisfaction you seek by following the routine

The key is to understand what the craving is,  experiment with the rewards and then the routine can be swapped out for something more beneficial.

Before we go into solution mode it is worth observing the mechanism of habits. Habits create strong neurological cravings however because they emerge quite gradually we are often blindsided by their influence.  What’s even more interesting is our brain begins anticipating the reward long before we take action. Marketers and retailers worked this out some time ago hence the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts spraying their scents of hot cinnamon baked goods across mall floors to trigger a potential craving. Or how about foaming shampoo and toothpaste? It doesn’t actually need to foam but product developers discovered consumers feel cleaner from a foam sensation which drives more use  of the product more often to satisfy the clean craving.

One of our biggest cravings is often for distraction. 6a0147e0ba5e57970b017ee83f2f17970dThink about when a text goes off. How hard is it to resist looking at it? The brain has started anticipating the distraction of opening a text before you’ve even looked at it. But if you have your phone on silent  have you noticed how much longer you stay focused on your task at hand for?

So how do we get past an unhelpful habit?  Science has proven if we keep the same cue and same reward, a new routine can be introduced. For example a smoker who has identified their craving is relaxation and the reward is feeling chilled out a new routine of long slow deep breaths during a gentle stroll which activates the parasympathetic nervous system may serve as a good alternative. Or if you want to start running you choose a cue (put your clothes out the night before) and a reward – maybe a smoothie. Cue-Routine-Reward-Running_thumbBut only when you brain starts anticipating the reward – the endorphins or sense of achievement from your quick lap round the park will it become an automatic association for your brain. So you need to keep repeating the action several times to teach your brain you crave that new reward . Another key point is you must choose your own meaningful reward – not what someone else has suggested.

But just having a new routine and reward may not be enough. You need to believe change is possible and studies have shown you are far more likely to succeed if you have an accountability partner or a group of people going through a similar experience to share and commit to change with.

Here’s how to re:set a habit in 4 easy steps.

Step 1. Identify your routine. What is the behaviour you want to change? Working from home I have to admit I do a fair amount of pantry grazing when I’m overloaded and need a breather. My routine is to get up stare longingly into the pantry and wait to find something to satisfy what I believe is a hunger craving.

3Step 2. Experiment with rewards. Get your lab coat out, your notepad and pen & start trialing new rewards. I tried getting out & schimmying round the block. Then meditating. Then having a drink of water. After trying each new reward set an alarm for 15 mins. At that point ask do I still want the original ‘reward’?

Step 3. Isolate the cue. We have so much information bombarding us all the time it’s hard to know what exactly is triggering us. Answer these questions every time your habit is triggered to identify what is causing you to choose this habit over something more beneficial.

  • Where am I?
  • What time is it?
  • How am I feeling?
  • Who else is around?
  • What action preceded the urge?

Step 4. Have a plan. Remember that a habit is a choice that we deliberately made at one point, we then stopped thinking about it but continued to do every day. So start by making conscious decisions with a plan to do the new action. When I feel an urge to hit up the pantry I have a plan now to go for a walk and get some fresh air mid morning and mid afternoon when my craving for distraction seems to be at it’s highest. You might also want to find an accountability partner or group of people to help support your plan and discover the game changing nature of habit refinement.

Want more? Check out this nifty infographic from Duhigg on habits

 

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Searching Inside Yourself with Google.

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SIY Book

How much of your day do you spend mind wandering?  How engaged are you in meetings?  According to research completed by two Harvard psychologists in 2010  we spend 47% of our time mind wandering and 70% of leaders admitted to being regularly inattentive in meetings.

Last month I attended ‘Search Inside Yourself’, a Google programme brought about from an original Google leader, Chade-Meng Tan who bought in a mindfulness expert and neuroscientist to create a programme focused on well-being and sustained high performance leadership in the workplace. SIY is one of the most popular courses at Google & after being immersed for a couple of days in the foundations I can see why. And Google isn’t the only company doing flips over mindfulness – it’s very much en vogue with forward thinking companies adding training to their wellness programmes to increase employee engagement.

But what is mindfulness really about and without a fancy training scheme at work can you start doing it?  Here’s my key outtakes from SIY and simple techniques you can try from your couch to your desk.

The Brain.

Contrary to what was thought previously our brains are like plastic and their neuroplasticity means they are shaped by what we consistently do. For example studies on London black cabbies have shown their brains have increased in size after having had to memorise the London streets. It’s also been proven by many neuroscientists including Richie Davidson that when practicing mindfulness the grey matter/ cortical thickness in many key areas of the brain increases in size and has also been associated with the decrease in the activity of our ‘monkey minds’ (where we swing directionless from thought to thought).

person on cliff meditating

So when you start practicing mindfulness what are the benefits? Try less stress and panic moments. More clarity, focus and resilience plus it’s also been shown to improve our creativity. It’s a win win basically.

Emotional Intelligence

Another buzz topic we discussed was our ‘EQ’ and the  connection between our emotions and decision making. More often than not we believe we are making rational pragmatic decisions but our emotions are working us. Growing our awareness as to when this is happening means we can beging to make active choices vs reactive based on our emotion. Tying into this is having an awareness of what is happening in our body as we experience certain emotions for example I am angry vs I am having the sensation of anger in my body. And while the concept of ‘self-management’ may sound overly dull it does have benefits. Here’s an exercise in self management we learnt for when we can feel ourselves experiencing an unwanted emotions.

Stop (the secret pause). Breathe (this is under my skin). Notice (my jaw is tight etc). Reflect (what’s really going on for me and who I’m speaking with here?).  Response (what’s an appropriate way to respond).

Throughout the workshop we also practiced active listening to really engaged in what perfect strangers were saying. Many participants new to this concept were impressed with how much more of the conversation they retained and the greater connection felt with their partner.

Leadership

When discussing leadership the standout point for me was the research revealed in The Harvard Business Review in 2013 which demonstrated that people who show warmth first then competence are much more likely to succeed as leaders. The importance of compassion was also highlighted as being more sustainable than empathy which results in burn out. Compassion does not mean avoiding confrontation but rather leveraging strengths of wisdom & clarity to arrive at a conclusion for the greater good.

Exercises to try out:

You can put these into practice at work or home right away but first a quick note: Mindfulness is not about emptying your mind to nothing at all. That’s even tricky for the monks! Think of it as having a breather from the monkey mind and simply observing thoughts without judgement or attachment.

  1. Just look at your hand for 30 seconds. When you notice judgements arising let them go.
  2. Set yourself triggers for mindful moments while doing everyday things. Brushing your teeth, driving the car, riding in an elevator. Slow down the ongoing stream of internal dialogue and spend time noticing things you’d never normally notice about the activity.
  3. Here’s a 2min guided meditation from the SIY team to get you started or if you have just ten minutes try this body scan for an ‘insular’ workout.laptop
  4. For those who enjoy putting pen to paper giving yourself 5-10 minutes to write. Use these prompts to get you going. a) What I’m surprised about in my life is… b) A challenge I’m working with is… c) What I value is…

4. Check out this 2 min explanation on meditation and how it helps with your creativity.

5. With a colleague or partner pick a topic. While you listen they speak for 2 minutes – no interrupting. Be fully engaged giving them your full attention (see how Richard Branson does this) and once they’ve finished say back here’s what I heard you say. If you want to challenge yourself even more you could try ‘here’s what I heard you feel’. Then reverse the exercise.

Further mindfulness and meditation resources

Here’s an excellent free online mindfulness course recommended by the SIY team or for a simple start download the renowned Headspace app. I had a excellent experience learning meditation last year with Emma at One Meditation in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and I can highly recommend the benefits of feeling more calm and centered from my practice.

Starting 2017 with a BANG & a PLAN.

Whether we are cruising along nicely or feel like we’ve been foot-tripped and skidding sideways precariously towards 31st of December, there’s no denying 2016’s days are numbered.

I’ve always been curious as to why the 31st of December feels like a virtual finish line and 1st of January an invisible start line. But if like most of us you adhere to this, the end of the year break does make for an excellent time to review, reset, regroup and renew.

Speaking at a recent event in New Zealand last week, many people fed back they simply wanted more time to catch their breath, relax and not feel guilty about it in 2017. Other clients have said they want to reprioritise their health specifically around better eating habits, find new interests outside of work, less time on social media and make a conscious effort to extend their social circles. What’s on your agenda?

This kick off with a bang and a plan for ’17 will take fifteen minutes max but an hour is ideal. It’s very painless – in actual fact quite pleasant. And rocks a lot harder than any New Years resolutions you will make for one night and keep for about 10 days. Grab your paper and pen and answer the qs below.

# 1: Yes, I did that. CELEBRATE 2016.

  • What was absolutely awesome?
  • What did you learn? There is no failure only feedback.
  • Who are you grateful for? (Let them know!)
  • What will you take with you into 2017? A learning or success perhaps.

#2: Time to move on. LETTING GO.

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  • What are you willing to let go of? If you only answer one question answer this. So many of us avoid it but it’s fundamental if you want to grow. Is there a project that’s been on the to do list for years that isn’t happening? An event which you’re cursing yourself about? An emotion which is holding you back? A person who isn’t positively influencing your life and bringing you down? Have the conversations you need to and MOVE ON.

“Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop” Rumi. 

#3: Here’s what I want to happen and why. ACTION STATIONS.

  • Name 5 things you want to commence, change or complete. And if not now, when? They can be habits, goals, a review of your personal brand ‘story’ or even a sabotage clean out.
  • Zones to consider: career, relationships, adventure, personal development, health, education.
  • For each game changing action list at least three reasons WHY you want it to happen. Without VERY good reasons you’ll find it ends up on your ‘did not complete’ list.

#4: I must I must I must keep going. MAINTENANCE & MOTIVATION

  • What will you read/ learn more about to propel you forward?
  • When does your plan start? We all know what “Next Monday” means. Commit to a date.
  • How often will you review your plan?
  • Who is on your team for 2017 to help make everything happen ?
  • When you lack motivation what/ who/ how will you get your momentum back? Have a reset strategy.
  • Share your plans with at least one close buddy who is good at holding you accountable. AKA your accountabilibuddy.
  • Visualize it. One of the strongest ways to make it all happen is to visualize yourself enjoying your success this time next year. Email me if you need some visualization resources.

totaranui

That’s it. Easy as. Enjoy your holidays and here’s to a fantastic 2017. Now to go make it happen.

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It’s all about the story.

Controversially, I’m not starting off this year discussing the craft of goal setting or how to be super focused for 2016. Rather I wanted to share some thinking around stories and the important role they play in shaping our reality. If you find yourself asking a rugby sized team for their opinion on a challenge you have or wonder why you keep receiving the same results over and over this may present some enlightening insights into how you can change your story to positively impact your internal and external world.

Personal branding is the latest in a slew of buzz phrases in personal development land. And it’s certainly worth a thought. In marketing we talk about positioning, leverage, engagement and targeting however a large chunk of a product or service’s success is the consistent story which is being told internally and externally. Our personal brand or story is no different.

As we are all very aware our thoughts and actions create our reality. If we’re not happy with the results we’re getting in one area of life, the answer is simple. Change the thoughts and the consequential actions. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog the story you are telling your audience is also the story you are telling yourself – only you are the person hearing multiple times over.

story

When we are ‘high on life’ from the potential of a new relationship, exciting career opportunity or weight loss achievement for example our flurry of positive energy is infectious. The majority of folk are drawn to our stories like bees to a honey pot and as Jon Gordon writes in The Energy Bus, those who are not are quickly dismissed as we float or fly between groups spreading gently or loudly our tales of success feeling confident, enthused and full of momentum.

However as we know life isn’t always like that. There are times when we might miss out on a promotion at work, a family member hurts us with unkind words or despite efforts our health goals are just not happening. We tell one colleague, we share it at home, next we tell a concerned family member and with some friends over brunch. Before we know it, we have a team of experts giving their opinion on our situation and we’ve given this story so much energy it’s has its own TV show.  This wasn’t our intention of course. We were simply after some insights.  But now the aftermath results in multiple phone calls to see if we’ve taken the advice, our instinct is clouded with judgement of others and we are becoming the starring role in our increasingly dramatic story.  It feels heavy, confusing and weighs negatively on our minds.

 

When our stories are having a negative impact we have a choice. We can choose a different script. Rather than buying into the story, we can choose not to give it as much energy.  We can decide to confide in the person who knows us best. Ourselves! Check in and query what is this actually about? If a person displays an attribute we don’t like, is this something we don’t like about ourselves? Are we sabotaging results by playing the lead role and what are we getting out of it?  If we want to air our thoughts and bounce ideas, choose only a couple of key people who aren’t going to turn it into an episode of Home & Away whether that’s a trusted friend, mentor or coach. And a final note own your story. Be wary of becoming a dumper, someone who offloads dramas onto others leaving them in the wake of our problems.

Let me be clear. This isn’t about being inauthentic and fabricating picture perfect stories of our worlds. Nor is it about suffering silently when we feel hurt by a situation and need help dealing with it. It is simply suggesting we become conscious of the daily scripts we are running, own them and be prepared to change course when they are no longer useful.

Some questions for you:

  • What is the main story you are running with right now?
  • How much negativity vs positivity is there?
  • Is it going to move you towards the life you want and make 2016 your best year yet?
  • Do you need to understand your story further and consider how it might need to be tweaked in order to move you forward?  laptop

As Rebecca Campbell wrote in Light is The New Black “She left the old story behind her and stepped into a new once upon a time”.

Get your connector self on this summer.

Schmooze, hobnob, mingle, rub elbows with are all synonyms for networking. No wonder many of us avoid anything with the word network like the plague. But isn’t it simply about making purposeful connections with people? As we enter the festive season and our opportunity to connect increases five-fold I wanted to offer some useful pointers on how to make growing your network an enjoyable experience.

Network

Recently I found myself falling back to old habits at a launch of a new network in Sydney. On arrival, I took a quick panoramic scan of the room & noted many millennial ‘mover & shaker’ types. I then observed myself lurking behind a palm tree, obsessively checking my emails, accosting the waiter for hors d’eovres and ultimately appearing far too busy to start a conversation. Now, before you scoff I know for a fact I am not the only one who can fall into this trap. I certainly have extroverted acquaintances who bounce into a room with a ‘who will I play with?’ approach however I am constantly receiving feedback from colleagues and clients about how uncomfortable putting yourself out there can be. Susan Cain, the acclaimed introvert expert wrote in her blog on networking “I’ve come to realize that the problem with “networking” is not talking to strangers but rather making small talk with strangers—a subtle but crucial difference”. Universally we don’t enjoy the small talk however once we’ve made a connection the conversation becomes so much easier.

So here’s some tips to make networking or my preferred term connecting, a much less painful experience and ultimately very useful skill.

Before an event.

  • Your personal brand. Who are you being? A quick 1 minute check in pep talk to ensure your inner critic isn’t running riot & producing a million reasons why you shouldn’t approach new people. Do you feel confident? If not, recognise your inner critic at play and use the Thanks mind, but I’ve got this covered tactic.
  • Consider your wardrobe. What story does it tell about you? You may want to wear one memorable, albeit suitable piece of clothing.
  • Prepare your chat and do your research on your potential audience. Also having a unique spin on a topic is useful when entering new conversations. Listen to relevant podcasts or read an article which you can contribute to small talk where appropriate.

At the event. 

  • On arrival approach people on their own or groups of 3 – interrupting two people can be uncomfortable. In this video the speaker goes further to suggest open groups of three with at least one women are ideal as generally they are more inclusive.
  • Always obtain a new connection’s business card – dishing our your card is beneficial however you want to be in control of the follow up.
  • Use the exchange of business cards as a way to move on from a conversation which only needs to be five minutes.
  • Shyness can occasionally be interpreted by other people as a lack of professional confidence or experience – if all else fails, keep eye contact, keep your head high and posture confident even if you aren’t feeling it.
  • Obviously body language is important for everyone with research suggesting up to 55% of all communication comes from body language, 38% from tone and 7% from literal words.  How are you holding yourself? Are you open or closed off?
  • Approach each conversation without attachment – don’t put pressure on it to ‘be’ a life changing conversation but still be an investigator – you’ll either learn something about a new person or yourself.
  • Be present and an active listener. Refrain from thinking of how you’ll contribute when they stop speaking. Listen intently. Your connection will be stronger.
  • Authenticity is paramount. People can sniff out in-authenticity very quickly. Be confident, humble and focused without coming across as a ‘that’ pushy salesperson.
  • Be mindful of your story. When you’re on your energy bus, passionate and open the reaction from new connections is completely different to when your story is all about how business is slow or you’re out of control with too much on.

Post an event.

Connecting promptly after an event is essential however refrain from requesting a standard half hour coffee catch up. Show you respect your contact’s time. Be specific about what you would like to speak with them about, how long it will take & what you want to get from the conversation. A phone call within a week of meeting may be enough.

Building your network.

Connecting smarter is just as much about developing a network over time as it is attending events.

Be strategic about who you network with. Rather than a spray and prey approach, be mindful and seek out the key connectors and influencers in your area of interest.

Thank you

  • If you’re after an introduction find a link through someone you already know as an alternative to going direct.
  • Your current network is invaluable. How can you reward those who have provided referrals or linked you to key contacts?

A big thank you to my key connectors Andy Lark, Alice Moros, Mark MacSmith and Nikki Gravning for sharing your top tips on connecting smartly.  

Spring clean your life.

springAfter what seemed like a pretty harsh winter (am I a woos?)  –  Spring has finally sprung and with that a brilliant reason to refine the ‘stuff’ we have been accumulating, hoarding and growing like a wild crop of kale in our garden.

As we de-clutter, it’s also a good time to think about a good clean out for the mind. Marie Kondo (dubbed the Queen of clean) says “Tidying is just a tool., not the final destination. When your room is clean and uncluttered you have no choice but to examine your inner state“.

Think about what’s in your wardrobe. There are the classics which make you look and feel great. Your favourite leather jacket, your go to shoes for ‘heels and earrings’ nights or for men, your favourite white basic tee which makes you feel awesome. However if you’re honest there a few items you’re ‘waiting to fit’, an old flames t-shirt and a pair of jeans which will definitely come back into fashion (do they really ever?) or a top from your Mum that never really worked for you.  Kondo says you must review your wardrobe and ask does this bring me JOY?  If not, it needs to go.

Our mind is a bit like a wardrobe. It stores useful and not so useful items but how often do we edit the data we’re storing in there? Let’s just look at our beliefs as an example.

A belief is simply a feeling of certainty about something.  For many of us our M.O. (modus operandi) is to operate off the basis of beliefs formed about ourselves when we’re kids and we never re-visit them to review how much reality there is actually behind it.

As you Spring clean your wardrobe,  garage or kitchen this month and put back the items that are going to stay, do this too with your mind. What is useful? What needs to be removed and replaced with something to get you moving in the direction you want?

For your spring edit of your wardrobe: Marie Kondo emphasises learning to let go (works on so many levels). Be honest with the “might need  it down the track” pattern. If the favorite but slightly too tight jeans have served their purpose but no longer bring you joy or are relevant to who you are as a person, let someone else benefit from them.

Try this belief detox: Write down your top ten beliefs about yourself. Which ones are working for you? Great, they stay. The ones that aren’t need to go. Depending on how old that belief is you may need to work with someone externally. However for now,  experiment with remembering where the belief came from. Was it something you overheard as a kid at school? Did a parent or elder tell you directly? Go back to that time and look at the situation as an adult now. How much gravitas have you given one comment? Are you holding onto it like your safety blanket? What are you getting from keeping this belief about yourself (you’re getting something otherwise you wouldn’t be holding onto it). Finally your old belief needs to be replaced with a new one and evidence of it. So if you want to fit your favourite jeans, have a belief you’re worth it and set up systems and habits to make it easy for yourself.

 One final edit – social media. We might not feel like we can get away from it but we can choose  how often we engage with social media and what we see. We seem to feel like watching people who are skinnier, more flexible and have more glamorous lives than us will make us feel more awesome. But if you’re waking up every morning to images or rants which aren’t cool for you – detox away. I am officially unsubscribing to any more breakfast bowls & any impossible yoga poses. Yes, some of it can be inspiring but if it’s not making you feel alive, invigorated and happy with yourself, you have a choice. Follow or unfollow.

The Momentum Series kicks off on Monday 12th of October.  A focus will be around de-cluttering your mind as well as becoming clear on your intentions for 2016.

Can you high five yourself?

When the All Blacks win the next rugby world cup  the Kiwis will have no problem celebrating.  When your friend, colleague, child or even pet has a success you have no issue applauding.  But giving ourselves a high five when we make it to a milestone & shouting “Good on me” from the rooftops? It seems to feel a little squeamish.

As The You Project turns one this week and LinkedIn’s constant alerts signal more excitement about the anniversary than me I questioned why is it that I felt so uncomfortable celebrating.  Particularly outwardly. Down-under we like to think we have a ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’  criticising any sign of a self-promoter however Tony Robbins who has worked with millions of people worldwide assures us we are not that special, this is a worldwide phenomenon –  we just have a good name for it.

Most of us were brought up not to brag about achievements and those kids that did were certainly frowned on. But why do we accept someone being proud of their achievement as bad?   Is it possible to re-frame our beliefs around this in order for us to display pride more freely?

elenor

One of the most common barriers to acknowledging success is worrying about what people will think. But as Marie Forleo reminded clients in a recent vlog there are always going to be people who judge you. Key question:  Who are you living your life for? Are you trying to live your whole life not judged by anyone? Because we know that is actually not possible and attempting it is going to be very unfulfilling.  Draw a line in the sand & leave the naysayers who judge where they are – they’re not likely to be crucial to your success anyway.

Setting very high standards and the ‘I’m not enough’ syndrome also hold us back from celebrating success. “Once I have reached 1,000 clients or when I get the promotion then I’ll celebrate”. But this is a moving goal post. If you work like this, there will always be another goal to achieve and you’ll also miss out on the awesome dopamine which comes from acknowledging an awesome outcome.

How to say “good on ya” and reap the rewards:

  • Enjoying your success builds confidence, self-worth and creates a positive energy around you which people find infectious and want to get on board with.
  • Acknowledging your achievement inwardly by meditating, journalling or pondering as you exercise recalling HOW you got to where you are today. The lessons, the wins and the challenges you overcame along the way.
  • It’s not ALL about you.  Celebrate your achievements with those key players who helped you get there & spread the good vibes by asking them what they have done lately they are proud of?
  • Celebrating doesn’t have to be a big night on the ‘turps’ or a $500 day spa package. Come up with a list of small treats, activities or moments.
  • YOU are the key pillar to the success in your life. If you can’t say good job to yourself why should anyone else?

The YOU Project is still very much in its infancy. No bids for takeovers just yet. It’s been an exhilarating roller coaster ride of self-discovery, intensive networking and dealing with an HR manager, marketing and finance departments with different agendas has had it’s moments. However while there is so much still to accomplish I have made it to a year.  Every day I still feel so excited to work with my awesome clients and help move them to more fulfilling places. I get to learn and develop new inspiring content, create workshops and have some awesome projects in the pipeline.  A massive part of my year has also been reaffirming what incredible support I have from my network of mentors, clients, family & friends which has given me so many rewarding opportunities.

So I’m going to toot my horn this week. Toot toot.  I’m proud The YOU Project has turned one. I’m not worried if people judge me for feeling a bit of goodness. That is their choice. I’m walking the walk of what I spend my days encouraging my clients to do – take a moment to go “Yes, actually Bec, good work, keep it up”.

So what latest achievement are you proud of? Your task for this week is ASK 3 people what they are most proud of at the moment then share yours – a little self promo never hurt anyone. I want to hear about it!

2Finally, a massive thank you to all the awesome clients, mentors, family and friends who have been so incredibly supportive to me these past twelve months. I look forward to celebrating with you all soon.

The un-packing of self-acceptance

packI’ve noticed a lot of unpacking going on lately. Not the kind my Poppa knew –  the unpacking of his caravan and setting up of the campsite which invariably took a good day by the time he’d set up the awning, toaster, Nana’s gin cabinet and his beer fridge. Rather unpacking in the sense of demystifying a term, breaking down a concept or explaining an over inflated thought.

A mentor recently asked me to unpack my concept of self-belief, there was more unpacking at The Happiness & Its Causes conference than I could shake a stick at and I can only imagine the amount of unpacking going down at my old haunts of ad agencies,  telco and financial institutions.

So while I chuckled to myself about all the unpacking, I noticed it had sneakily weaved its way into my vocabulary. And I must confess I love a good process and unpacking has pillars and steps a-plenty!  So today I’m getting on board with the jargon & I’m unpacking SELF-ACCEPTANCE.

 

 

The Self-Acceptance Formula.

  1. Self-acceptance is an acceptance of your  self in it’s entirety (the good, the bad and the awesome) or Nathaniel Braden explains in The Six Pillars of Self Esteem “my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship with myself.”
  2. The Latin for the word “accept” is “acceptare,” which means “to receive, willingly.” Simple question – do you accept yourself as you are? Here are the steps to check if you do.
  3.  Do you know the difference between your ego and your unconditioned self? Your ego developed during your childhood to help cope with demands of being in a family, going to school etc and you learnt you needed to behave in a certain way to receive approval from your parents. Your unconditioned self is who you are without all the labels from the outside world.  To practice acceptance you must get to know and love your unconditioned self and not cater to the ego which will constantly be trying to be ‘fixed’.
  4.  How critical are you? We are usually our own worst critic (often misinterpreted as high standards) translating into you are not good enough which tells a very bad story for your self esteem. How judgmental are you? The amount of judgement we place towards others is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves.   Practice forgiveness and compassion towards yourself and others.  We all make mistakes and have parts of ourselves which at times cause us to feel shame but we are just human and to live a life where you never accept, learn and move on from these perceived weaknesses will keep you stuck in the brenepast.
  5.  Do you accept all of your strengths?  Most of us struggle to ‘shine’ at what we’re really great at because we’re afraid of who we might need to bare all. But accepting our talents be they a brilliance for logic, excellence for listening or being unafraid of vulnerability is an essential step for self-acceptance and will allow you to see limitations as opportunities rather than as obstacles.
  6.   “True self-acceptance is the realization that you are what you seek” Robert Holden. Make a conscious effort to put it practice TSAF (had to make up an acronym!)  & see the results. Right now acknowledge 3 strengths you have which have contributed to something awesome you have done in the last month. And equally practice a conscious acceptance of a choice or action which you haven’t always loved about yourself but you know is part of who you are. Note down 5 ways you are not being very kind to yourself at the moment and counter balance that with 5 ways which you can be.   Remind yourself “I will not criticise myself today” and “Happiness is where I am”.

If this all sounds far too flufforama for you that’s  o.k. but why not spend a day observing your internal dialogue & seeing how nice and kind you are to yourself. If you are that is awesome! If not, perhaps something to consider.

I’m running The Direction Momentum workshop again where we get a bit  more in depth on our good  self. It’s on Tuesday 28th of July down in Bondi.

Time for a 15 min mid-year check in with YOU?

I’m a straight shooter. And I’m not afraid to point out the glaringly obvious. It’s 1 July today. We’re half way through 2015. Around about now you start procrastinating about tax or filling in your automated yet clunky KPI Internal Comms system ‘demonstrating’ what a terrific year you’ve had so far for your manager to rush through to meet internal deadlines.  But here’s something outrageous. How about putting some time aside to actually reflect on your year so far?

Here’s some key questions to kick start your own personal mid-year review.

  1. Source your goals, be they in your head or on paper. How are you tracking? What have been your wins? Where do you need to focus your efforts to keep winning? What has slowed you down & how will you look to solve these challenges?
  2. Your approach. Rather than being attached to a set outcome as you begin each action, consider your strategic approach for each goal especially around who you are being. Do you need to adjust your openness to improve a relationship? Can you find more joy in the everyday, seemingly mundane things?
  3. Your support crew. Who are you going to recruit/ keep on board to assist you to make the rest of 2015 a stellar year? Equally who will you offer support and advice to you – remembering contribution is a key attribute to achieving greater happiness in your life.
  4. Imagine it’s the Christmas party season of 2015. You’re making the rounds. When people ask you how your year was what do you tell them? Make a list with all the areas important to you e.g happiness, health, fitness, love, career, finance, relationships, travel, family, hobbies, home, etc
  5.  What are three actions you will commit to completing this week to get you on your way to achieving your big ticket items and small every day wins?  Email them to a trusted friend who will hold you accountable or feel free to send them my way.

Ideally set aside 1-2 hours to reflect, refocus and refresh your outlook for 2015 but if you can only find 15 minutes just do it! You’re well ahead of the game already by even reading this.

I have a few places left at my women’s workshop The Direction Momentum in Bondi on 12th of July. A great opportunity if you or anyone you know is drifting along or needs some motivation!

mtnsI noted recently how many metaphors and language there is around focus and goal setting with roads and travelling. Journeys, direction,  path, momentum, wheels in mud, road map, stuck at a fork in the road, the road less travelled, crossroads, life intersections the list goes on. So I thought the image I took en route to Mt Hutt , Canterbury, N.Z. on Saturday was apt for today’s blog.

Where’s the road taking you for the rest of 2015?