3 tips to help managers manage stress

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Stress is undoubtedly part of the managers role. According to recent survey conducted by Centre for Creative Leadership 88% of workers in leadership roles stated that work was the primary source of their personal stress.


These key components cause you stress on daily bases:

  1. workload

  2. time 

  3. conflict/ arise of problem (situation)

Being under stress can turn you into different person. If you find yourself more often than not -agitated, moody and unreasonable, you may want to read on. 

I had two questions in my mind when I started writing this article. First of all I wanted to answer this one - If those feelings persist, what can you as manager do to take control? And secondly, what practical steps can you take to kick the stress in the butt? And Here’s what I’ve learnt.

1. HOW TO AVOID OVERLOAD AS A MANAGER

You’ve got to get through a huge volume of work daily. Workload pressure from downsizing, extra responsibilities. Role of manager is turning into complex and unwieldy. 

TIPS:

Clear objectives
Check in with your boss daily to ensure you and your team are working towards his main PRIORITIES. These can change often, and daily checking in will help you avoid working towards wrong goals. 

Delegation
Avoid delegating to only certain individuals of whom you know will deliver work for you, ensure to include all the members of your team when you’re delegating, this will help them learn and GROW. 

Learn to say no
Of course, it is hard to admit that you and your team don’t have the time, resources or mental capacity to take on another task. If you are struggling with your work load, the chances are, your team struggles too, it’s YOUR RESPONSIBILITY and your duty of care to set boundaries and prevent them from more stress. 


2. BLOCK TIME

The time is number one factor causing stress. You have limited time of day spend at work stuff. Just the thought of all the task that need to get done today and quick glance of clock, makes you panic, right?

Here’s where prioritising and being clear on objectives is so important, not for your professional success, but also your HEALTH. 

TIPS:

Assign tasks to your team members, let them get on with their responsibilities, this is your block of time to do your part of the job. Check in with your team, ensure all goes well to the plan, then return to block of the time for you to work on your responsibilities. 

TRUST, right level of DELEGATION and clear OBJECTIVES. Master these 3 managerial skills and you’ll reduce your own stress level. 



3. LOOK HARD FOR DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE

The truth is that we blow things out of proportion. We add too much value to the things which in great scheme of things and goals don’t matter. 

Many work ‘crisis’ are forgotten in the weeks time and work life has moved on. 

TIPS:

Will this matter in a year time?
Will this matter in 3 years time?
What are immediate consequences?
How can I rectify this?



If you are constantly caught up in the stress cycle, here’s what you can do


IDENTIFY YOUR STRESS TRIGGERS
Pay attention during the day when are you feeling more stressed, what happens just before you start feeling stressed? When do you feel more irritable? Less patient? More anxious? More tense? Take a note of it and see if you can figure out the ROOT CAUSE. Are they specific situations or people? How realistic would it be for you to avoid them? What other ways you could use to deal with them?


COUNTERACT THE STRESS
Start looking for activities which will relax you. Different activities will work differently for everyone. Consider mindfulness, meditation, walk, exercise, or reading. 


FORGET THE PERFECTION
Nothing is perfect, not everything will go according to plan. Think of progress rather than perfection.

TALK TO PEOPLE
Ignoring or burying stress inside will expand it. Talk it out and talk it through with people who care about you. 



EMBRACE HEALTHIER LIFE STYLE
This includes having enough sleep, eating healthier food and appropriate portions, drinking plenty of water and getting enough physical exercise. 

These activities will increase your overall health, improve your mood, and make you more resistant to certain forms of stress. To learn more about stress, read my article below.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “eating whole, real foods restores balance and reduces the effects of stress on your body. Replacing caffeine (this would not be possible for me), alcohol and refined sugars, with clean proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats helps regulate your hormones levels, including stress hormones.” 

According to Education Director Kathie Swift, “The gut and brain are constantly sending signals to each other, so by keeping your microbiota (the bacteria in your gut) healthy, your brain feels less stressed.”

The quickest way to reduce stress is by releasing endorphins which is easily done by exercising. Shaking, dancing, running, cycling. Meditation is best for clearing your mind. 

Sleep. If you feel stressed, it keeps you up at night and the lack of sleep does not prepare you well for dealing with the stress next day. It a vicious circle which you can attempt to break by using relaxation and visualisation techniques. 

Breathing is often forgotten tool we have to reduce stress. Pause for 2 minutes and fully focus on your breathing. Breathing deeply relieves the stress. Try out Soft belly meditation. 

How do you manage stress at work? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below

Also, if you’d like to learn more about dealing with stress, here are some of the related articles you may find useful.

Learn here How to track your progress

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This is no-brainer - without tracking and reviewing your progress how will you even know that you’re on the track to ultimately getting your desired outcome?


No matter what you are working towards Tracking and Reviewing is of an essence. As you may be getting reviewed at work about your overall performance to understand what is going well, what needs improving and what your next steps are to accomplish. The same applies here. 


Before you continue any further, remember, sometimes even the best plans get off the track, so be patient, give yourself a break, don’t be harsh on yourself and reschedule to get back on track as soon as you can. 

The life happens and unpredictable stuff pop out, family/ work emergency, you get sick, new commitments pop out, a few weeks turns into months, even years. 

In this article I want to give you tips on how to track your progress, what are the benefits and I also want to give you questions you can use to do so. 

However, if you struggle with following though with goal, task, project, I’d strongly recommend you read my article How to follow through on any project.

“one extra percent of effort separates the good from great”


Let me first explain why you should track your progress


The science behind tracking and measuring your personal goals suggests that consistent reviewing improves a well-being, satisfaction and happiness = You’ll feel happy and satisfied as the result of making progress towards your goals. 


What you also want to have is GROWTH goal (looking to achieve something) as oppose to having AVOIDANCE goal (looking to maintain current state or avoiding a negative change). 

The research suggests that tracking and measuring = positive emotional effect. You also want to be consistent like sunday’s are good days for review as the new week is ahead of you. 


In his latest book, High performance habits, Brendon Burchard writes: “they report self-monitoring their behaviour and performance goals more often. High performers don’t just know that they have high standards and want to excel; they check in several times throughout their day to see whether they are living up to those standards. It’s this self-monitoring that helps them get ahead.”


He goes on to explain that low performers on the other hand are oblivious to their own performance and lack awareness. 


Research also shows that people who set goals and monitor their progress are almost 3 times more likely to attain the outcome they desire. 



There are going to be days when you won’t feel satisfied with your progress. This is part of the process. Understanding that will help you redirect and get back on track. Just think about it. Without reviewing your progress, you’d easily may end up strayed and you won’t even know it until it’s a little too late. 

Have you even put on weight? Drastically? Dinner after dinner, you adding on grams without realising until a couple of months later when you’re putting on your favourite dress, you realise it does not fit you any longer. 

With weekly weight check, you could have easily stop this. 

I appreciate this is simple example, but you get my point here, right. 


In the article I recently read by Jane Porter, freelance writer: she compared the goal attaining to marathon running which I thought could not be described better: “Even the least seasoned of runners knows that the key to making it through a marathon is pacing yourself: not pushing too hard or too fast and exhausting yours energy while also not backing down when it gets tough.”

Marathon running is what you want to keep in your mind when attempting to accomplish anything. Keep focusing on the pace (small achievable goals) and keep pushing and going forward (reviewing your progress) until eventually you get to finishing line. 


Reviewing your goals goes hand in hand with Growth mindset. If you’re not familiar with growth mindset, then you’ve got to check the number one book I have on my must-do-reading list. Growth mindset means you are open to adjusting your approach and understanding that setbacks and failures are not permanent. They are the stepping stones on your journey. They are not labels to wear for the rest of your life. Instead, you look at them as learning curves. Well this is not the actual definition of growth mindset but it is what I understand growth mindset to be. Read to book and learn more

And when going gets tough, remember the consequences of not taking action. What will it mean for you and for your overall goal?


“You can make very, very small changes that are consistent with your big goals without having to understand how you’re going to get to the endgame” Kelly McGonical


Anticipate you’re likely to get off the track. Goal achieving is longer process not matter of week or two. 

Before you continue reading, have a read-through my blog The benefits and pitfalls of SMART goals. It’s crucial you know how to set goals before we go any further. 

So you have got a goal, outcome you work towards. Now you know why tracking your progress is important and must if you want to accomplish what you set out to accomplish. 


So how do you track your progress? 

We don’t have to make self-monitoring, reviewing or tracking our progress complicated and difficult. This does not even need to be time consuming. You need 10 minutes a week. That’s all. 

The review does not have to be anything fancy. Consider journalling or using a few good insightful questions. In this section, I am going to include questions and points you want to ask yourself and check with yourself around the desired outcome you want to accomplish.

⁃ decide how often  daily, weekly, monthly - i’d recommend weekly, daily could be too pressuring and monthly gives you too much room for straying 

⁃ consider size of the goal

⁃ decide on specific time for review - schedule it 

⁃ example Every Thursday Morning at 9:00

⁃ 17:00 on Wednesdays

⁃ Sunday after lunch

• Out of the actions you have set out to accomplish this week, which ones were completed successfully?

• Which tasks/actions were not carried out? 

• Still reviewing the tasks which were not completed, what stopped you from taking action or what stopped you from completing task fully?

• How do you feel about your progress?


Use some of these questions, depending on which are the best fit for you

How will your goal fit in with your other commitments?

How much time each day do you need to allocate to working towards this goal?

Is this clearly blocked off in your calendar? What time specifically will you take action?

Be specific about when will you take action?

Which day would be the best?

How will you do it?

How long do you think this action will take you?

Can you identify time-scale?

How do you usually remember to do thing at the times you want to? How will you remember to do it, at this time?

How realistic are the time frames?

What could stop you from taking the action? What can you do now to plan for obstacles?

What do you need to make this happen?

What support do you need?

Who else needs to know about this plan?

What will help you keep up your motivation?

What are benefits for you if you take this action towards achieving your goal?

What are you planning to do to celebrate your success?

What else will open up for you once you achieve your overall outcome?

What being on track would mean to you?

How will you get back on track?

What will you be doing that tells you things are going well?

What unhelpful habits that might creep in to indicate that all is not going well?


Have you got any better ways of staying on track? Let me know in the comments below. 

The 8 most important skills you need as a manager

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Being a manager is a tough job. Becoming a good manager takes to master 8 skills and a lot of practice. 

Here are 8 skills with tip for each of them how to develop them.


1. Self-awareness 

Without understanding yourself, you can’t improve yourself. Self-awareness leads to self-regulation which is one of the 5 components of emotional intelligence according to author Daniel Goleman. It also helps you develop empathy and both are key traits to ability to positively influence those around you. 

It helps you make decisions which as manager you’ve got to be able to do well and quickly. It also helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses which will help you focus better your time and energy. 


2. Trustworthiness

According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, author of the book ‘Presence’, when people first meet you they ask two questions:

Can I trust this person?
Can I respect this person?

You’ve got to be able to your team that they can trust you and you do that by showing them you trust them. Give them space and freedom to do their work, so avoid micromanaging. 

TIP: Here’s what I want you to do, Open up and share your personal stories and show vulnerable side to yourself. Spend more time with them. 


3. Empathy

As a manager, you’ve got to know your team to lead them well, to make them effective and productive. And to know your team, you’ll need to develop empathy to understand them. 

Only when you are empathetic to your team and they feel you understand them, only then they will respect you. 

According to research conducted by Centre for Creative leadership, ‘study found that leader who show more empathy to their team are viewed as better leaders’.

TIP: Here’s what I want you to do, Listen twice as much as you speak. Relate to problems your team faces, understand what they might be going through on daily bases. 


4. Delegation

It’s hard to delegate because it means giving up the control but it is crucial to get trust and respect from your team. If you trust them, they will trust you. 

If you fail on this one, the result will certainly be damage to the morale of your team and that is very hard to repair. 

People need freedom to do their job, apply their own initiative and ideas, find the best way for them to complete tasks and see the progress their making. 

TIP: Here’s what I want you to do, Avoid telling them how to do their job and trust they know or will figure it out and be ready to offer guidance and support. Remember, you don’t have all the answers or all the right answers. 


5. Giving Feedback

This is one of the hardest things to get right. When giving feedback, focus on the behaviour not the person, be specific and clear and give feedback in the real-time. 

TIP: Here’s what I want you to do, Be clear, open, honest and direct, avoid going around the circles. Use one-to-one meeting to do so for privacy. 


6. Receiving Feedback

If you’re giving feedback, you also need to know how to receive it. Whether it is feedback from your boss or your team. 

Avoid getting defensive and reacting negatively. 

Receiving constructive feedback is the best way to grow and learn in your new role and as a person. 

TIP: Here’s what I want you to do, Let your team know that you are open to their feedback. Don’t defend yourself, just listen and then ask follow up questions to understand it better. 


7. Communication skills

Some of the biggest issues in the workplace come from lack of communication and some of the biggest problems and misunderstanding come from  miscommunication. 

TIP: Here’s what I want you to do, Speak clearly and slowly and check in with receiver that they understand your message. Watch your body language and tone of voice. 


8. Consistency 

According to study conducted by Michigan State University, ‘employees with unpredictable managers were more likely to be stressed, dissatisfied, and emotionally drained at work.’

You need to stay consistent with what you say and do, and how you treat each member of the team, otherwise your trust and respect will start to disappear. 


So would you say, you’re demonstrating all 8 skills within your role? Which one do you struggle the most? Which one do you feel, you need to improve on? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.

Top struggles managers face but you don’t have to

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It’s the transition into managerial role where most managers get promoted as result of their hard and excellent work. Therefore they end up with inadequate training for the job and are left to figure it out. 

New managers struggle with miscommunication, people skills, delegating vs. doing and reporting up the ladder and a lot more. 

In this article I am going to highlight the most commons struggles and I’ll suggest tips to improve. 


I’ve been a manager for over 8 years now and my beginnings were lucky as I have went through 2 months training plan crafted by one of my managers to give me a good overview of all the departments including financing and HR. 

In the current place where I work now, this is not the case. Talented people are promoted but barely ever supported. 



Here are 4 signs of a struggling manager

MORALE. Do your team members seem happy? Do they seem engaged? Or do they just turn up for work because, well, they have to? Can you see any difference in their attitude? Do they feel valued? Do they feel appreciated?


INTERACTION. How often do you communicate with your team individually? Are there certain individuals you communicate with more often than others? Do you have a regular one-to-one meetings with them? How often do they receive feedback? Do they receive feedback at all? Or do they have to ask for it? How much do you know about individuals on your team? Do you know what their aspirations are? 


NUMBERS. The easiest way to identify if the manager is doing well or not is by numbers. Is the team achieving set targets? Are the team members achieving required performance levels? 

WORK SYSTEM. Is everyone on your team clear about targets and overall goals? And the most importantly, are you? Is any member of the team confused about expectations, directions or work assignments? Is anyone reporting not having the resources to get their job done? If the members of your team don’t feel challenged, act bored, or feel micromanaged, there’s likely issue with your approach to delegation. 


You’ve been promoted because you’re smart, initiative and hard worker. Now you not only have to manage your work well, you’re also responsible for results of people working for you. 

Up to this point, your main focus was on accomplishing your tasks. Now your main focus is on supporting others accomplish theirs. You’ve been in charge of yourself, now you have a team of people. Start by shifting your mindset and taking on approach of being a leader. 

TIP: Let team members know you are still part of the team and allow them to raise any concerns and ask you questions. 


Being a manager is rewarding role if you’re interested in peoples behaviour and motivation. Leading a team is tough things to do. You’ve got to make fast and effective decisions, keep the peace within the team, deal with any unexpected problems, know how to deal with different types of people with their own preferences (introverts, extroverts). Undoubtedly, you’ll need to develop soft skills.

If a new manager struggles, it’s multiplier because it affects the whole team. That can quickly result in low performance, poor morales and potentially turnover across the whole team if the problem persists either way it’ll affect the overall company’s success and will be noticed. 


Since the day one, you’re under pressure to perform. As it works these days, your boss will expect the results from you since the day one while you’re still learning and taking baby steps in your new role. There’s pressure you put on yourself. You’ve been trusted and promoted and it feels like you need to prove yourself. And then there’s your team. They either don’t know you as a leader or have reservations towards you as a leader because up to this point you were their co-worker. 

TIP: Set clear expectations with your boss and with your team. 


According to research conducted by Gallup in 2017, “only 23% of employees strongly agree that their manager provides them with meaningful feedback.”

Communication is the key to any successful relationship, whether it is in your personal life or at work. Be accessible to your team members and let them know they are heard. 

TIP: When any of the team members come to you, devote your full attention to them, stop what you were doing and focus on them. 


Learn to manage your time. Finding the right balance between working on your tasks and ensuring your team is getting their tasks done sounds easier on the paper as it is in the real work life. The time is number one stressor, to avoid creating additional stress for yourself. Ensure you book time for you to accomplish your tasks and let your team know you’re only available is they need support. 

Encouraging productivity is key to your success and success of your team. Everyone on your team is an individual with their own preferences, set of skills and talents. You’ve got to know your team members to be able to assign them right tasks. Ensure you support them with the right environment and tools so they can perform to the best of their abilities and be as productive as they can be. 


Start believing in your ability to be a good manager. At the start of the new job, we all get caught up in doubts and insecurities, that’s natural but can be overcome. Start by developing soft skills. Develop self-awareness and be willing to receive feedback, both are extremely helpful to developing belief in your abilities as a good manager. 

Remember you cannot please everyone. This is probably the trap that every manager falls into at some point of their career and especially at the beginnings. You are new at your role and your desire to do well may lead you right into the trap. You want people you work with to like you and respect you. But these not necessary go together. Instead of trying to please everyone, aim to be fair and consistent with all of the members of your team. Respect will follow. 


According to research conducted by Gallup, ‘almost 70% of managers are scared to talk to their employees’.

In the research, managers were asked what they found most difficult about communicating with employees. ’37% of managers said they found it hard to give negative feedback about their performance, 20% said they struggled to share their own vulnerability, and another 20% disliked being the messenger for company policies.’


On the other hand, this is extremely alarming because one of the primary things employees need to feel engaged and what aids them to become more productive at work is meaningful communication from their managers.  


Don’t avoid difficult stuff. You may have someone on your team who’s struggling to accomplish what you need from them or worse, they don’t want to. As with anything in life, you always have two options at minimum, you can ignore it or you can deal with it. Ignoring sounds easier but will have dramatic consequences on the rest of your team. As they will see what they can potentially get away with and overall this may result in poor performance of your team and loss of respect they had for you. Where on the other hand, if you deal with the difficult stuff, you set boundaries, you gain more respect and your team will continue to thrive. 




Here are 6 ideas you can start with to help you become a better at your new role:


GET TO KNOW YOUR TEAM AND RECOGNISE THEIR EFFORTS
Each member on your team has their skills, strengths and their own goals. Help and support them to work on their goals and thrive. Motivating yourself is hard enough, not to mention motivating someone else to do what they perhaps don’t want to do. This is where coaching skills come in handy for you so you’re able to identify what motivates your team members, how to identify their unique strengths and how to address problems without breaking individual spirits. 

BE FLEXIBLE and remember every member on your team is an individual with their own preferences, skills, talents and needs. Do not judge them based on your criteria. They all have different goals, so they will also have different standards, different opinions and different approach, recognising this and applying it will help you be a better leader to your team. 


BE ACCESSIBLE TO YOUR TEAM Spend time with them daily, outside of the regular One to one meetings, to ask questions about work and their personal lives. You could also develop regular routines: regular staff meetings, monthly one-one-one meetings or random conversations. 


RECEIVE AND ACCEPT FEEDBACK whether this is feedback from your boss or your team. It provides a valuable opportunity to grow and learn. 


DEFINE OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES If people you work with struggle to accomplish or lack direction, in stead of blaming them, you need to look at your own communication. Did you clearly defined the goal? Do they all understand what your team is working towards achieving and what strategy you’re using? Failure to meet objectives is likely result of the poor instructions on your part. Be clear and simple. According to Gallup research, “employees want to see how their individual work contributes to the large goals of their team and the company”. 



TIP: Meet with your team regularly to set clear objectives and the key results so that everyone knows what they are working towards.



DELEGATE WORK TO YOUR TEAM so you can concentrate on your role. Remember, you have got your responsibilities, your work load plus you need to ensure and monitor that everyone on your team is getting results you want to the standards required. Your boss will be delegating his work to you, so you need to also trust your team to accomplish tasks you need them too. Not delegating at all or not delegating enough may lead to becoming frustrated, overworked and exhausted. 



As I mentioned earlier, a new managers are most of the time untrained in the role yet expected to deliver results while getting the best efforts from every member of the team. This is possible but it’ll take a lot of learning. In most companies, you will not receive adequate training for your job especially when it comes to one of the toughest parts of your job - dealing with and leading people. These skills are developed through practice over time.

My advice would be for you to not wait for your company offer you training but start learning wherever you can. Because the truth is you can. Start by reading articles, books, watching learning training videos, seeking advice from experience managers.

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Are you newly appointed manager? Do you find yourself struggling at work? Let me know in the comments below what you most struggle with and I’ll do my best to give you tips and advice.


If you often feel dissatisfied with your performance, you’re probably making this common mistake

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Before I list out all the potential ways I can think of how you can reward yourself, let me ask you this - do you often feel dissatisfied with your results? Or do you struggle to see any progress despite of working hard for long hours? Do you lack confidence? Are you often waving hands ready to give up?



Remember how you used to get rewarded by your parents after you’ve done well on your test at school. Well, consider maintaining that sweet childhood habit even now, when you’re adult in the serious position. What’s wrong with that?! After hard work or when task has been completed well, you should REWARD YOURSELF! 



Even more now, as a manger you’re responsible for your team, for their performance and for their well-being. Be sure to share idea’s from this article with them too. Soon, I’ll dive into more details and will be sure to share with you a few benefits on to why you should. 

Undoubtedly, this is an advice you’ve probably heard many times, but not necessarily took it on board. 



Maybe you are one of those people (I used to be there too!) who are never satisfied with their ACHIEVEMENT, even though to the outside world, you’re a success - whatever-you-touch-turns-to-gold, personally you don’t feel satisfied. 



As soon as you accomplish one task, almost immediately you pick the next one. You move on so FAST and it feels natural to you. You’ve always done it this way. That’s because you’re not yet where you want to be. Even though you have countless miles and hours of hard work behind you already accomplished, you don’t take consistent time out to re-evaluate and consider how much work and effort you’ve already put in and invested. Instead, by focusing on the future, you spend a lot of time beating yourself up. It’s vicious circle you need to break out from



Rewarding is all about - acknowledging your effort which increases likelihood that you will continue working towards your goal. 



Even with creating new healthy habits, rewarding yourself to reinforce the new behaviours, makes them more likely to happen again and stick. 

This is why rewarding yourself goes hand in hand with goal setting. Without it, you’ll feel depleted, unsuccessful and unsatisfied. You’ll keep beating yourself up for not being yet, where you want to be. Your focus is attached to the future instead of being right here in this moment. 

Here are some of the ideas 

• give yourself a pat on the back

• having a long relaxing bath

• one sofa day, just you and Netflix

• buying a treat, magazine or book

• putting money aside

• inviting friend for dinner and chat

• dancing around the apartment to The greatest showman soundtrack  

• Going to the cinema 

• attending live concert

• Whatever feels like reward for you

• buy yourself flowers

• volunteer and give back 

• donate £5 

• teach yourself some yoga

• take 10 to meditate

• go for nice walk (alone or with friend)

• draw something

• check the social media or watch silly cat videos on you tube or play words with friends

• relax in the park bench

• read a good book (the one that has been waiting on your bedside table for months)

• cook something delicious (and healthy?)

• order in (and let the food come to you)?

• exercise (or for others - skip the exercise this one time)

• paint your nails (or get them done for you)

• treat yourself to facial

• take a nap

• give yourself 10 minutes to be mindful and fully take in the feeling of accomplishment

• go bowling

• do a word search or puzzle

• turn of the switch and light up candles instead

• schedule your worries for tomorrow

• put together a puzzle

• do anything what you normally don’t have time for

 

Consider how you want to reward your efforts and hard work you’ve already put in?





So let’s recap why rewarding yourself is so important and why you should definitely start as soon as now especially if you have some juicy goal in mind or in general - want to FEEL BETTER ABOUT THE WORK AND PROGRESS YOU’RE MAKING.

 

Because the sense of accomplishment will:

  • Boost your confidence 

  • Help retain your motivation 

  • Help acknowledge your previous efforts

  • Increase your overall satisfaction




Accomplishment can only happen through CONSISTENT ACTION - to keep your momentum and keep you working towards grand goal no matter what that goal is for you. You need motivation to persist. 





Rewarding yourself is great part of self-care.

As much as self-care sounds fluffy and cliche, well and often written about. 

Self-care is important to maintain healthy relationship with yourself, to keep producing positive feelings, good confidence level and healthy self-esteem. 

Look at the self-care as keeping tap on your resources, when they’re running low and replenish them before they drain away. 


I am not only talking about PHYSICAL self-care, I want you to consider INNER self-care too. 

This is one of those things that is so easy to push down the priority list. ‘I’ll do it later”, “It can wait’, ‘I’ve got other more important things to do now’. 


With hand on heart, we’re all guilty of this one. Especially, as managers, we’re so busy, once we get going in the morning, it’s hard to stop. 

Self-care is first thing to be put aside when we get overwhelmed with workload and it stays there until there’s wake-up call to notice the toll this lifestyle took on our lives. One of the main reasons why people avoid reading or giving a chance to self-care is because they lack time. Which is plain excuse.

The tips I am suggesting are easy to integrate into your daily life. 





Here are some benefits you’ll start noticing  when you start practicing self-care



Know your worth

It’s the best way to let others and remind yourself that your needs matters and are important too. 



Work/life balance

Many of us grew up believing harder we work, more we deserve. Overwork and the stress which follows does not make you more productive, on the contrary, productivity decreases, and you feel disorganised and depleted. 




Stress management

A little amount of stress is a great nudge to get us moving and finishing by deadlines, persistent stress can lead to all sorts of health problems like anxiety, depression or heart diseases. Eating healthier, going for walk with loved one or meditating cuts down stress level.



Slow down

As much as you feel taking care of others is your responsibility, taking care of yourself is the also your responsibility. Enjoy your morning coffee while looking out at rain and trees, or concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes. 




Physical health

Self-care covers all of you. As important it is to take a better care of yourself mentally, emotionally, it’s as important to take care of your physical body by eating healthy, exercising and sleeping more. It’s not only about well-being of your body but also about letting off steam. 




Better productivity

Productivity will increase with self-care in two ways, your productive will increase as result of the above steps not only because  you’ll grant yourself more rest but you’ll nourish yourself too. Second way your productive will improve, when you learn to say ‘no’, you’ll start working, attending and spending time when it matters to you, and whom you want to. 




Don’t let this be another thing you put off for next week, on next month. Start today and notice the difference. 

To learn more about self-care - consider coaching and schedule session with me.

first session is free


Are there any great simple and cheap ways to reward yourself that I have missed? Let me know in the comments below. 

How to progress at work fast

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Whether this means getting better results with your team, or taking step towards senior management. There are 5 components every manager look for in the team members. 

Let’s assume you’re not one of those people who turn out at work because it is must, it pays the bill so you show up for 40 hours a week. But as soon as you’d get a chance, choice or option, you’d hand in your notice. If this is your case, hold on tight, stay put and get back to reading my posts because I have got one coming up for you in next couple of months. 


For now, let’s assume above does not relate to you. On the contrary, you’re good with your current role, all you lack is making progress. You’re ambitious, you’re driven, you know what you want out of your work life but right now you’re unsure how to get it. Are you often puzzled by how your colleagues get ahead, promoted while you believe you’re smarter, more dedicated and full of better ideas?


Beside this website (where I am realising my dream of writer and go-to -person for advice on psychology, productivity and career), I am also manager. Which is ungrateful but also rewarding job, there are typically similar but also totally different days full of thunders and dramas, hard but on some days easy work. 


I get to work with a lot of people - daily, familiar and new, driven but also just show-ups (first paragraph type). What I have noticed from my own perspective, as a driven and ambitious person and manager, it takes only 5 elements to make a progress in a career. These are very easy steps you can apply as soon as now which will guarantee fast progress.


These 5 components are what a manager look for in the members of her team. 


Before I reveal them and dive into more details around each one, I want to give you a short overview of my managerial career, so you know I am not only sharing my opinions, I’ve based these on my own experience. 


I started as a manager over 8 years now. In first year, I’ve lived the management, at work, outside of work through courses and books. It was my number one focus to learn and better myself day after day. 

After first year in my new role, I was hired for the same role to work on different contract ahead of managers with more of experience, much more experience, ahead of managers who trained me. After first 6 months in my new role, I’ve become go-to person to my boss. Next in line to step up and progress into senior management. 

This may not seem as a big deal to you, but it was a biiiiiig deal for me. For shy 25 year old with big dreams but lacking confidence, the progress, success and praise seem to be surrounding me. 


Back then, I believed I wanted to climb so called corporate ladder and I was prepared to see how far I could go. Until the job started to beat me, wear me out and change me into a person I was not prepared to become. Eventually I have realised this was not the path I wanted to be following and made decision to start my own business. Since the big revelation day, I have been doing less of 5 points I am going to share with you hence I am reliable, content, solid manager. Comparing last 6 years to my first 2 years on the job, I can see how much difference these 5 steps take. 

Consider trying them out for yourself. Let’s explore them now and see how they can help. 



1. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN DEVELOPMENT

This can apply to you being a new on the job but also if you’ve been on the job for years. You’ve got to approach each day as the time to learn. Before you step into your work space, remind yourself - I am ready to learn. Absorb the information and experiences surrounding you. Identify who you think is really incredible in their skills and abilities on the job and watch them, observe how they handle the situations, make decisions, solve problems. 

Typically when you start a new job, you’re provided with a training giving you ins and outs of your role all the important hows. Setting standards for what is expected of you. 

And this is where many of us go wrong, once the training is over we think, this is it now. I know what I am doing, not what needs to be done daily and then you stop being curious. 

Learning on the job does not mean you have to be sent out to days worth of training. Learning can happen every day if you choose to

It could be as simple as taking on project which seems daunting and way out of your confront zone. Push the boundaries, step out of comfort circle and open your mind. 


There is nothing you’d appreciate more as a manager as seeing one of your team members taking interest in developing their skills, going ahead and learning and being curious. 

You know, the sort of Why people - who challenge and want to understand the reasons behind decisions and work you do. 



HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Get clear on what you want out of your career. Gaining clarity is easier than it sounds. 

All it requires is to ask clear questions:

  • What do I want out of my career?

  • Where do I see my career going within company I work for? 

  • What skills do I want to/ need to develop? 

Once you’re clear, decide what you need to do to realise it. 

For example: create your development plan (go ahead and use the template I use) and share it with your manager either during your Performance review meeting or ask for meeting with your manager when it is convenient for her.



2. I CAN, WE CAN

‘This will not work’. ‘This is not the way we do things around here’. Does any of these sound familiar? There are people who will shut down idea as soon as it is presented to them. We don’t like the change, so as soon as we see sign of it, we shut it down. Even if this meant, the change could bringing something good for us. 


At work, it’s damaging and killing the business. 

If you are in managerial role and tend to stick to your good old ways, you could be seriously hindering your business. 


The times are changing so fast, this is fast pace world, right now to stay in, you’ve got to innovate and produce with minimum of costs.  You’ve got to review every corner, every process, every task and Improve, improve, cut down and improve. 

In recent weeks, I’ve been tasked with the continuous improvement project of department where I do not work. Talk about being out of your comfort zone. 

At the start, my whole body and mind were rejecting this project. How can I improve something I don’t know a thing about

 I moved passed my resentment as this is part of my job and I really must deliver. 

As I was talking to my colleagues and trying to find out more about the job they do. I’ve came across so many cannot-s. ‘Oh, no there’s no way to improve anything’, ‘We’re already stretched as it is’. 

This is closed off thinking. Doing your job how you’ve always done it (for past 6 years) is lazy and easy option. 



HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Develop growth mindset. If you have not read Carol Dweck's book Mindset - you've got to add it to your Must-do-reading list - see mine

Mindsets are beliefs. They are powerful beliefs, but they are just repeated thoughts in your mind, and you can change your mind. 

Dr. Carol Dweck invested majority of her career to mindset research. According to her, we either have growth or fixed mindset. Growth mindset is when you believe that your abilities and capabilities can be developed, your circumstances can be changed.  Fixed mindset is when you believe you have limits and the things will always be as they always were. 

You can have both. Sometimes you can have a fixed mindset in one situation and growth mindset in the other situation. The good news is, you can develop growth mindset and therefore create better opportunities and results for yourself. 




Here’s how:

  • Failure or unsuccessful attempt is not the end of the world. So now you found out what does not work, what else can you try out/ test out? It’s also beneficial to review what went wrong? Why attempt ended unsuccessfully? It’s beneficial for 2 reasons - avoid the same mistake in the future and learning point. Remember, as I mentioned in the first point, everything is learning if you decide so. 

According to Dweck’s research, people with growth mindset enjoy challenges because they look for opportunities to develop new skills and they strive to learn. 

  • Work on your self-awareness. Understand what your skills and talents are and strive to utilise them wherever you can. Understand (and admit) what areas are challenging for you and strive for improvement (not perfection). 

  • Acknowledge your efforts. This is where many of us go wrong. As soon as one task is done, we jump on the next one. Acknowledging your efforts takes literally a minute. Kind though. Two words of praise - well done. 

  • Ask for feedback. Only from co-workers who’s opinion you value. 




If you’re interested in the Dweck’s research on How companies can profit from Growth mindset and What having a ‘growth’ mindset actually means, don’t miss these 2 articles posted on Harvard Business Review. 




3. SAY YES MORE THAN YOU SAY NO

The fact is, it is easier to say no than to say yes. Saying yes means more work, more effort, more time. 

If you say no often, eventually people will stop asking. And you may end up missing out on project you’d actually love. Or you may end up missing out on training you wanted to do for a long time. 




What you also need to remember is, as much as you’d like to, you cannot do it all. 

You've probably heard of economic term - Opportunity cost, when you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to something else. There's always opportunity cost in anything you do. This is why being clear on what you're working towards in your career or specific project/task is so crucial. You don't want to work towards something that has little or no benefit to your overall Development plan. 

Normally we underestimate how much time and effort it’ll take. 

Then we feel frustrated and angry because it’s taking too much time and we’re already making all these adjustments just to have enough time to do all needs to be done. 

This is a loop of stress you’re getting yourself into.

Keep constantly re-evaluating what your priorities are and plan your work accordingly.




HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

When you get asked to work on the project, invited for a meeting, offered new development opportunity, remember, you're not obligated to give immediate answer. What you can do is give yourself time to consider if this is right move for you. 

Here's how you can do that with respect and in professional manner:

  • thank you so much for thinking of me, I will consider it and give you my answer by... (choose the date or time - ideally you want to take a day or two no longer than that)

  • thank you for the offer, let me think about it

  • or as Bob Burg (business speaker and best-selling author) suggests: 'thank you so much for thinking of me', 'I am so honoured to be asked', 'While it's not something I'd like to do...'

This way you're not agreeing to something you did not consider. You're giving yourself some time to make the best decision for you and for others.  Plus you're minimising stress, feeling resentful, frustrated and exhausted. When did you ever got any great work done feeling stressed, resentful, frustrated and exhausted?




4. SHOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF DOING (NO WORDS, ACTIONS!)

There’s many people who’s words are bigger than their actions especially in management. Are you letting your ego to take better of you? Do you easily admit when you don’t understand? Do you speak up at the meeting and ask to have the point clarified to you because you did not get it? Do you walk out angry from yearly review because your manager pointed out a few skills you need to develop?

Do you get defensive as soon as you hear a word of criticism? 




5. STOP SAYING YOU’RE TOO BUSY AND STOP MOANING

At work, you will always be too busy. Busy is good. It means the business is going well. It means that your job and skills are not redundant. List out what needs to get done. Prioritise it. And get to work. 



Here’s how you can set priorities:

What is the compelling reason for doing ..? 

What is the payoff of this activity compared to the time you will invest in it? 

Is this event or activity time critical or day specific? 

Can this task be delegated? Who could do this at least 80% as well as you? 

What is the worst that could happen if this doesn’t get done?

Saying you're too busy does not solve anything and will not get work done. Complaining, moaning and bitching are not the reasons you were hired. Stop moaning and don’t engage in bitchiness. If you don’t like something, then figure it out and change it. The processes are not always perfect, with system changes, they go out of date, become less effective if that's what you're facing then add value by reviewing them, improving and making the process more effective for you and the team. That is why you were hired. 




If you find yourself saying I am too busy, consider, are you too busy because

• you took on too much ( in that case - return back to point 3)

• it is excuse or different way of saying ‘leave me alone, I am here because I have to? (in that case consider Subscribing to my monthly membership where I dedicate and share many tools, tactics, tips how to transition into new career, identify what career choice would the best for you, learn more here)



Apply these 5 steps, and your progress and career success is guaranteed. Before you go, I want you to remember that the skills which helped you get the job you have now will not necessarily get you further. Create your development plan and consistently work towards it.  
You’ve got to take charge of your own progress and development. 



How to create a development plan


Creating a development plan may seem daunting and time consuming, trust me, it is not. I’ve included 3 points to consider when you’re about to create one for yourself.  

You can also download the guide here which includes some more in depth questions around career choice and development. 

Download the guide here




EVALUATE YOURSELF

Where are you now. Are you happy with your career choice? Are you daydreaming of being or doing something else? 

This perfectly ties up to my next question I want you to consider.

What do you want out of your career? 

Choose what to start working on. 

Identify your skills. And how you can use more of them in your daily work life. Identify skills you need to develop and steps to developing them. 

What do you enjoy doing? And how can you do more of it more often?




DON’T BE SHY TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT

You may have to have the talk with your manager and see how you can work on your development within your current role. Not many people see further beyond themselves. Your manager is probably too busy managing her daily tasks and own development choices. It is not necessarily right way of being a manager but it is the reality. 

Choose what you want and speak up. 




CONTINUOUS RE-EVALUATING

From now on, don’t wait until your yearly review to hear what your manager thinks of your performance, your development and where your career is heading. 

From now on, you schedule time at least once a month for yourself to review:

Where you’re at?

What you need to work on?

What projects you’d like to take on?

What skills you need to work on this months?

What you’re struggling with?




So here we are, create your development plan workbook and take control of your own career progress and personal development. 



Are you in charge of your own development? What are you working on right now? Where do you see your heading? Let me know, in the comments below. 

How to follow-through on any task or project

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The number one reason why we don’t get things done - multitasking

Juggling too many things at once while back - multitasking was a skill to put on CV. These days countless research shows - the benefits of single-tasking. If you’re interested in knowing more about single tasking - read here.


Blurry idea oppose to clear vision

It’ll be nice to lose a few pounds. It’ll be nice to learn more about content creating - it could really help me with my job. 

It’ll be really nice to start a business on the side. 

These are nice to have oppose to clarifying and deciding what you want and how you’re going to get it. 


It is easier to get suff done if you’re working towards one thing (one goal/ one project/ one habit) at the time. 

The concept I am suggesting is easy. Decide on one goal, get it done, move on to the next one. 

Execution will be difficult. If you however stick to it - you’ll create an amazing habit. Extremely EFFECTIVE and you’ll INCREASE your PRODUCTIVITY. Useful habit in your personal life and at work. 


What is one goal, if you finished, would have a huge impact on your life/career?

If you cannot select one thing, you’ll be tempted by everything and you’ll accomplish very little or nothing at all. 


WHATEVER YOUR ONE THING IS - FOLLOW SMART FRAMEWORK 

specific

measurable

achievable

realising 

with a time frame 

Learn more here

Avoid vagueness

It gives you room for PROCRASTINATION. Does not push you. Does not fire you up. 

Some day, one day is not good enough. It gives you room for confusion, delays or excuses. 

It works as distraction and it opens you up to taking on other tasks and activities. 



Now I know, you may be thinking I cannot choose one thing. I want to progress in my career. So I’ve got to take on this project and agree to one year long training and on top of all of that I have personal goals. I want to start my business and blog about subjects I am interested in. 

I get that. Me too! I am in the same boat. 

This is not to say that by choosing one task, you’ve got to forget all the others. Not at all. All I am suggesting is, you get good at prioritising what is the most important right now and what can wait a month or two. 



Here’s how to prioritise:

What is the compelling reason for doing …..? 
What is the payoff of this activity compared to the time you will invest in it? 
Is this event or activity time critical or day specific? 
Can this task be delegated? Who could do this at least 80% as well as you? 
What is the worst that could happen if this doesn’t get done?


Here’s what you need to do to successfully follow-through on any project or task

1. LIST all goals, projects, habits, tasks you’re considering. All of which you’d like to get done. 

2. CONSIDER each one and evaluate the pay off and ask yourself:

a/ If I achieve this what will be the impact (personal, professional, financial, physical…)

b/ How till this benefit me/others?

c/ Who will I become as outcome of this project?


Consider what you’ll gain as the outcome:

⁃ skills 

⁃ knowledge 

⁃ the person you’ll need to become

d/ Consider pros and cons for each one

Review all and decide which one has the best and the biggest impact on your life right now?

3. PICK one

Deciding is difficult task but after considering above questions, it should be clear and easy decision to make. 

A/ Now use SMART framework to define it.

Avoid: I really want to get this project done in the next couple of months.

And instead be specific: For next 8 weeks I will invest 5 hours a week to work on this project

B/ Track your progress

How will you track your progress. Here are some ideas.

How often will you track your progress?

C/ Kick the number one excuse before it takes over

Now that you’re clear on your goal/project, the number one excuse will pop up. How am I going to find the time?

Keep in mind, you’ve got 24 hours. It’s up to you how you choose to spend it. Some people learnt to use their time wisely and it can be you too. 

Don’t you always find time for what’s important to you?

Open up your calendar. Schedule it. Specifically block out time when you’re going to work towards project/goal. 


Research backs this to be true. Heidi Grant Halvorson, professor at Columbia university says: ‘setting specific time can double or triple your chance for success.’ This is knows as promodoro technique. 

From now on, look at your calendar as vehicle to make your goals come true. Own it! So money people talk about not having time as if it was something out of their control.



D/ Plan for problems and obstacles. 

The reason why you did not follow through or gave up in the past was, something came up. It could have been daily interruptions, sickness, technical problems, family emergencies, you name it. 

And it’ll happen this time too. 

You’re more likely to follow through if you consider and plan for problems and obstacles. Create list of all possible obstacles, problems, distractions. Make a plan how you’re going to overcome them. 

Consider. When problem comes up, how are you going to deal with it?

Plan extra time in your calendar for emergencies. Double the time you think you’ll need. If you believe this task will take an hour, be sure to schedule double amount. Otherwise if you take longer than you planned for, l’ll put you behind on your schedule. We tend to underestimate how long the task will take. 

Planning the double time is simple solution which will benefit you by making you feel you’ve overachieved if it takes you less time, and this way you put less pressure on yourself. You’ll have enough time to be thorough and you won’t rush through, we all know rushing through results in undesirable outcome or poor job.



2 ways to decide how much time to schedule for project or task

1. REVERSE

Start with end in mind. When do you want the project to be finished by? Then work your way back to present time. 

Schedule in steps what you need to do to get project done by agreed time frame. 

Remember, double the time you think you need. As mentioned earlier - you’ll see tracking your progress. So if you were too optimistic, or too general, you can always change it. 




2. ESTIMATING THE TIME

It’s difficult but just use your best judgement. It’s not set in stone. As you’re reviewing your progress, you can always change it. Soon enough, you’ll get the feel for how long each action takes and you can make appropriate adjustments. 

Beware of Parkinson’s law which states ‘work expands to fill the time available for it completion’

What that means, if you estimate the task will take a week, it’ll take week to accomplish. Even though, if you pushed the deadline to 2 days, you’d be able to accomplish the task in 2 days. 




E/ Free yourself from unnecessary obligations

In recent study conducted in UK, it shows that average Brit makes 15 decisions a day on autopilot. No consideration, without thinking about it, makes decision which later regrets. 

We find it easier to say yes to things than no. It comes down to need or want to please people. 

Beware of this next time you offered project. Before you agree or reject project, opportunity, offer, say this:

• thank you so much for thinking of me, I will consider it and give you my answer by... (choose the date or time - ideally you want to take a day or two no longer than that)

• thank you for the offer, let me think about it

• or as Bob Burg (business speaker and best-selling author) suggests: 'thank you so much for thinking of me', 'I am so honoured to be asked', 'While it's not something I'd like to do...'

Devote your time to what truly matters to you. Consider reading book, The life-changing magic of not giving a f***, which offers great insights into gaining better perspective around what truly matters in life.


F/ Review your calendar

List out all your current commitments, projects, goals, tasks, appointments, upcoming parties, courses, family and extended family commitments. 

Which are still relevant to you?
Which can you delegate?
Which can you postpone?
Which can you opt out from?


Then contact people by explaining your current situation, appreciate that they thought of you, you can begin like this:

My circumstances changed and I will no longer be able to deliver a great job

My circumstances changed and I will no longer be able to attend

Remember, saying no does not mean you’re selfish. It’s not offensive or uncaring as long as you say it with kindness and respect. 




G/ Begin before you feel ready

You will never feel 100% ready. If you wait until you do, you’ll never get started. 

There’s difference between action and accomplishment. 

Don’t get caught up in endless planning, dreaming, preparing and instead make a move. Every small action is a progress. 

And the only way to accomplishment is through progress. 


Action based learning is more valuable than any theory learning you can observe. 

Remember physics, body in motion tends to stay in motion. 

Now that you know what you work towards. You scheduled it. All you need is consistent action. 

List concrete steps. Follow them as per your scheduled blocks of time. With consistent action, you gain momentum. 

Then, let me know in the comments below how you got on. 

Benefits and pitfalls of SMART framework

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Before you read any further, I want to clarify that by goal I mean the outcome you desire. 

Example: if your goal is to weight 60kg by the end of the August 2017. Look beyond the number. And ask yourself following- What will it mean for you? What will you have as result of achieving targeted weight? 

These OUTCOMES could be: 

You'll feel healthier. 

You'll have more energy to play around with your kids. 

You'll feel better about yourself, that'll boost your confidence and give you just the amount of confidence you need to land a new client contract or a new job, or new post within your career. 

It'll give you sense of accomplishment and it'll lay base ground for the future projects you may want to pursue. 

It'll grow the belief in yourself. 

Now we’re clear on specifying the outcome, what I want you to remember is to look at much bigger picture of your goal than just material side of goal setting. 

It's your chance to consider what you want from 2019. You have option to go in direction the life steers you in or you could grab a wheel and spin it, SET YOUR OWN DIRECTION. 

Rather than placing too much value into what you want, consider how you want to feel. What person you want to become? What colleague you want to be to those around you? What sister do you want to be? Owner of what business do you want to be? 


Many personal development books and coaches will advise you to set SMART goals. 

And SMART model is great to follow to get clear outline of your direction. It’s perfect for identifying specific goal, gaining clarity on what is It you want, measuring progress, identifying the outcome and how you’re going to know once you’ve accomplished it and adding time frame. 



SMART STANDS FOR

S   What specifically do you want?

M   How are you going to measure it? 

A    In order for you to be able to achieve it - what skills will you need to obtain? What will make it achievable for you? 

R    How realistic is achieving what you want? This is to guide to set appropriate time limit

T    When do you want to achieve it by? 

Let’s break the SMART down so you can use it on your desired outcome.



This is how you set a SMART goal

The concept is straight forward and easy to use. Here are some of the questions to help you navigate and SMART UP your goal.

SPECIFIC:

What exactly do you want to accomplish?

What will it look like when you reach your objective?

Choose a time frame that makes sense for this objective, and tell me exactly what you want to have accomplished by then?

Be even more specific: What is the outcome that you want?


MEASURABLE:

How can you quantify this goal (put in into a number) so you’ll know when you’ve reached it?

If you said you want ‘a more balanced life’: define what you mean by ‘more’ and what you mean by ‘balanced’? What does ‘balanced’ mean for you?

How could you state this objective so your progress toward it is measurable?


ATTAINABLE:

Is this goal within your capabilities? Is it reasonably possible?

Are there any barriers or circumstances that preclude reaching this goal?

Does this goal depend on anyone else’s choices? If so, how can you reword it so it depends only on you?


RELEVANT:

Why is this important to you?

What are you willing to let go of or cut from your schedule to work on this goal?

On a scale of one to ten, how important is it to you to reach this goal?


TIME-SPECIFIC:

By when will you reach the goal? By when will this be an established habit?

When will you start?

What’s your deadline?



Smart goals are ideal for setting up short, small goals. However if you are a new to goal-setting, I would not advice you to start with being SMART. On the contrary, to set the goals which are going to fire you up, keep you going even when the going gets tough, you need to not be smart about it, you’ve got to let your mind wonder off into places it never been to before, consider things it never considered, move waaaay beyond your current circumstances, reality and possibilities. 


You want to be thinking so big that it may even seem impossible at the start. 



Let me give you an example with a huge goal what may seem unrealistic at the start, then following SMART framework it becomes achievable.


The secret to the effective goal setting is breaking it down into small manageable chunks. So let’s say your goal is to run marathon but you have not even started to run yet. This is not to say it is impossible goal for you. Absolutely not. 

What you need is to do your research. What will it take to be able to run marathon in a year time? You’d need to practice 5 times a week, change your diet, identify strong reason why you want to run marathon to keep your motivation up… and so on. Then you get down to breaking it down and scheduling it. Let’s say you’d start with: ‘Run for 10 minutes once a day for a week’, then ‘Run for 15 minutes once a day for a week’, and you are slowly scaling it as you are making progress. If you are truly serious about your goal. It is possible. 

See, It is a useful tool to guide you, but it'll hardly fire you up into action. 


What will fire you up Into action? 


You may be thinking, how can I do this for myself?

ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY
Well, firstly you need to accept that where you are now is your responsibility. What actions you have taken in the past led you to this moment. 

I strongly believe that once you accept your responsibility, it’ll start off small fire within you. It’ll wake you up to the moment when you’ll say to yourself - Enough. I am claiming back the power. I will create and manifest what I want. I will create my results. 

There lies unbelievable strength within accepting responsibility. 

If you don’t accept it, you’ll always blame someone else or outside circumstances for the experiences you found yourself in. 

Some adults, to this day, blame their parents for the life they live. Accept that your parents did what they did. Perhaps they acted from their best abilities. Now it is time for you to move on. 

Because you grew up in poor neighbourhood, does not mean you have to die poor. Because you've experienced hardship does not mean, it still has to grip enormous control over you. You can accomplish success, whatever success means for you. You can obtain lifestyle you desire. Start with taking responsibility. 



GET CLEAR ON WHAT YOU WANT
Secondly
, by using SMART model you outlined what you want to achieve. Great. Now you need to get clear on why you want it. What will achieving this goal give you? What person will you become? Where are you going to be? What feelings will this evoke in you? What makes this goal so important for you?



HOW WILL YOU GET IT?
Thirdly, you just need to answer this - How will you get it? (What steps do you need to take to achieve it?) List them all down on A4 paper, into your journal, onto notes in your phone or on the page document. Whatever works the best for you. This is your action plan. Or use this tool to help you. Once you created your list, review all actions and decide in what order you need to take them. Number them up. 

What is the first action you can take? And are you willing to take it? When are you going to get it done by?


Motivation is playing a huge role in goal achievement. How will you keep yourself motivated? What motivates you?

To me, motivation is one of those big secrets many people try to crack but not many ones were successful. That’s because we all are different and we all are motivated differently. 



During my research for article: How to track your progress, I found that monitoring your progress is one of the motivators. Read more

A doze of optimism, pace into your walk and pinch of enthusiasm. When you get clear on not only your purpose but that one goal that sparks up the fire of desire within you, you'll become unstoppable. Because it fills you up with optimism which you cannot fake. You cannot 'act as if' into it either. 




What works for most people is:


SCHEDULE IN A DAY BREAKS

Working towards a goal requires long hours of hard work. You may come across disappointments. Unsuccessful attempts. Complications. You get tired. To keep yourself going, is paradoxly, important to take a day breaks. 

For example: Decide that every Saturday, you will switch off. Spend time away from working towards your goal. Get occupied with your hobby. Read a book. Or even spend day watching TV. 

Your mind needs a rest. And you may find, these are the days you may come up with solutions to your problems, or the ways to get through the obstacles. 



BEHAVIOUR DRIVEN TRIGGERS

Brendon Burchard, the most followed online trainer on personal development suggests using behaviour triggers to keep motivated and persistent towards your goal. This could be reminder on your phone and when it goes off it reminds you of 3 feelings you intentionally want to feel today. 



REWARD YOURSELF 

Treat yourself after each milestone. From the list you crated, you now know what your steps are. Some of them are more important that others. Some will require more work and more dedication than others. Identify your milestones and decide how will you treat yourself once you accomplish each and every one. 

Again, it could be, nice relaxing bath. Day on the sofa. Day out with your friends. Going to the cinema or attending live concert. Dinner with close ones. Whatever feels like reward for you. For more details, read my article: If you often feel dissatisfied with your performance, you’re probably making this common mistake

TAKE ACTION
Lastly, take action. Nothing will give you the life you desire, only consistent and planned action. 


“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” Bruce Lee



I could write about goals, and what effective goal setting is, if you however refuse to take action, no article will be of benefit to you. 

Creating a change in your life is possible and achievable, if you take responsibility and take required actions towards it. And let me know how you get on in the comments below.





Living on autopilot

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Did you know that we spend 96% of the time on autopilot?  You may be wondering - What does that mean?

It affects your overall life satisfaction and you may not even realise it. 

The most typical example of autopilot is, have you ever return back to your front door to check if you locked it, even though you just locked it? In your thoughts, you were so far away you just cannot remember the locking the door. 


Have you ever drove yourself to work and could not remember the actual journey? You completely zoned out yet you were able to drive yourself to the desired destination.


For the majority of simple tasks, autopilot makes life easy for you. Brushing your teeth, getting dressed for work, locking the door (clear sign when you have to return to the door to check if it’s locked). You do these simple tasks without thinking twice about them. 


Author of the blog, The advantages of living life on an autopilot mode, or not!, Tanuja Dabir, writes: “After all, who wants to wake up and then start wondering, ‘what am I supposed to do next? brush my teeth, no wait… check my email? Heck no, I think I should drink coffee first!”


You don’t want to overthink every small step, every small decision. On the other hand, being distracted throughout most of the day, a partially aware of what’s going on around you, constant sense of missing something, ruminating about the past or being caught up in what-if-s. These are clear symptoms of living on autopilot. 


THE IMPORTANT DISTINCTION we need to do here, being on autopilot does not mean that you are thinking of nothing, it is not what author Martha Langley, in her book Mindfulness made easy, calls Being mode where you’re noticing what is going on around you right now, wherever you’re at. An autopilot takes you to entirely different place and you barely notice anything that is going on around you right now.

“A lot of time we cruise along busily, not really thinking about what we’re actually doing” - in her words, we’re on autopilot. “This is not the same as BEING MODE, because on autopilot we don’t really notice anything and are probably thinking about something else entirely.”


The problem with autopilot is that you don’t even realise you’re operating from it, your brain is using well settled habits and they’re in control. If you find yourself living a routine or stereotype, that’s the autopilot. So you would not necessarily remember to come out of it, instead you just do as you’ve always done. 

According to author of the book Mindfulness made easy, Martha Langley, “automatic pilot is quite inappropriate for managing emotions, if you forget to switch it off, or it gets stuck in the ‘on’ position, then that can be disastrous for relationships.”

Now that you know, what autopilot is and how it may be ruling your days without you noticing, here’s what you can do:



Mindfulness

The mindfulness is the opposite of autopilot. It’s about bringing your attention to right now. This moment, this place where you’re at.

MINDLESS STATE

According to recent study conducted by M&S, a 96% of the 3000 people said they were living on autopilot. “The research concluded that our ‘mindless’ state has created an epidemic of non-engagement with the world and sub-conscious decision making.”


Read more here, in the article The higher cost of operating on auto pilot by Margie Warrell. According to the same research, “the average Brit makes 15 decisions on autopilot a day - that’s more than 250000 autopilot decisions in a lifetime.”

There may be small decisions however over the life they consequently may have a huge impact on the way you live your life and how. 

Of course, this is how our brains are wired, otherwise we’d overthink on every small decisions and have no brain power for bigger stuff. 



CREATURES OF HABITS

We are creatures of habits. “Autopilot is a really clever design that helps our bodies save energy. The way we do that is by constantly evaluating what we are experiencing now against what we have experiences in the past. If it looks familiar, we imagine that it is the same and therefore do what we did last time in a habit loop. As we don’t have to think to do that, lots of energy is saved. It’s essential to our living.” Chris Barez-Brown, an author of the book Wake up!

You may have countless things to do, you may feel you’re being pulled to different sides, different projects, it’s the constant demand on your time. Yet you feel like your life is flying by and you feel like you have not accomplished much. 


“We all suffer from having too much to do with countless demands on our time. I have certainly felt as if my life is flying by and have wondered what I’ve been doing with my time. That is a classic symptom of living on autopilot” Chris Barez-Brown, an author of the book Wake up!


LIFE WITHIN COMFORT ZONE

Autopilot leads us to living within our comfort zones, choosing what’s easier, familiar and safer at the moment. Which is fine as temporary solution, but it can have a huge impact on overall quality of your life. 

Choosing what’s easier, familiar, safer ahead of what would have a great benefit and impact on our lives and careers.

This could be as simple as saying yes to lunch with co-worker instead of cracking on with the project which has 2 days deadline. 



SAYING YES IS EASIER THAN SAYING NO

Saying yes to things which are not aligned to our overall vision of life became norm, purely because it’s easier to say yes and then there’s this constant need not to let people down, especially close ones. 

Saying yes to things, events, people simply because it’s easier to say yes. Then you’re caught up in endless battle with a time. Because there’s not enough hours in a day to do it all. So you feel trapped. 


Dr. Mark Williamson, Director of Action for happiness, explains: “Autopilot is a growing problem. It has gone from being an evolutionary protection mechanism that stopped our brains overloading to our default mode of operating whereby we sleep-walk into our choices. It has seeped into more and more areas of our lives and relationships making us feel out of control.”

He continues to explain: “We are always on. Autopilot makes it harder for us to make instinctively good choices so we feel trapped, and that we’re living some-one else’s life” Dr. Mark Williamson, Director of Action for happiness.



How to stop living your life on autopilot


“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” Stephen Covery


Our lives are based on constant choices and decision making. Even when you feel you’re out of control of your life, not taking required actions toward change and choosing not to make decisions. It’s still means, you’re choosing to not make change for yourself. 

This is one of the main reasons why it is so important for you to be alert when you slip into an autopilot and learn tools to brings yourself back. 



TIME FLEW BY SO FAST

“Time flows at the same pace, with or without our permission. The difference lies in whether we are present for it.” An article in Success magazine by Megan Nicole O’Neal, 3 questions to wake up an stop living on autopilot

The author suggests for you to ask 3 questions:

  • Where do I want to be, professionally or personally, in one year?

  • What baby steps can I take to get myself there?

  • Is my time currently being used in a way that helps me reach these goals?


An author, goes on explaining: “Autopilot has a homey feeling to it because you know what to expect. Tuesday is a laundry day and take-out. Falling into a routine provides structure, yet when you think back to the moments in life where you felt more excited, proud and alive, they’re usually products of change.”



PROS AND CONS OF AUTOPILOT

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THOUGHTS & THINKING PATTERNS

A lot of my work is based, centred and focused around the thoughts and our thinking patters. 

Purely because as much as our thinking ability is our genius, it’s also the own demise. You cannot stop thoughts flooding through, what you can influence is what you do with those thoughts. Filtering through and deciding for yourself - what is relevant and beneficial thought for you and which one needs to be heading for the mind bin immediately. This is the power you want to be holding onto tight. 

This is where skill of mindfulness will aid you on your process. More you develop skill of mindfulness, more choice you’ll bring into your daily experiences. Instead of accepting the flow of thoughts, you learn to check in with yourself throughout the day and choose where to focus. 

Simple way to redirect your negative thoughts is to shift your focus towards gratitude. Think of one thing you’re grateful for that day. Then throughout the day, when your mind starts to slip on negativity, redirect it by remind yourself - I am grateful for….

Don’t underestimate simplicity of this simple tool of gratitude. 

The quality of your thoughts determine quality of your actions

The thoughts you think generate the feelings, they evoke emotions with you  which in turn has direct influence on your behaviour and the action you take. 

In order to make a change, you need to understand how your brain works and manages the experiences. 


Practical ways to stop autopilot daily 


CHANGE UP YOUR ROUTINE

One of your morning routine could be reaching out for your phone as soon as your alarm sounds, checking your emails and updates on social media, to see what you’ve missed out on while getting some good night sleep. 

This is classic example of autopilot and the bad move when you want to be productive in your days. 

Instead, what you could do is let your mind wander to 3 things you’re grateful for and 3 things you look forward to in the day. 

Have a peaceful cup of coffee, enjoying every sip sitting or standing outside. Get a peaceful wake up instead of catch up on news. 

“If you do the same things, you get the same results” Mark Rhodes

Here are some of the ideas offered by author Chris Barez-Brown, in his book Wake up!:

  • Get lost at the lunch time

  • Cook your dinner from the scratch

  • Make a paper plane

  • First 10 minutes outside

  • Dress the same (will eliminate one extra decision you have to make daily)

  • Take a walk in the woods

  • Follow your body clock


TAKE A WALK

“Walking is one of the great autopilot activities, indeed many people say they do their best thinking on a walk, once they’ve settled into a steady walking rhythm. However, it is well worth walking mindfully on occasion. This will reground you and put you back in touch with both your body and your environment.” *3


BE MINDFUL DURING ANY ACTIVITY

“You can bring mindfulness to any activity, from cleaning your teeth to servicing the car. Allow yourself to be fully engaged with the activity in the present moment, instead of doing it on autopilot while your mind is busy with other things.” *4

“You’ve probably heard the expression ‘wake up and smell the roses’ (or, sometimes, ‘wake up and smell the coffee’). It’s another way of reminding you to switch off the autopilot and engage with the moment, which often has intense pleasures to offer you if only you would notice them.” *5



THE THREE-MINUTE BREATHING SPACE

“The three-minute breathing space is a kind of mini meditation. You can also do less structured mini meditations throughout the day. Take your awareness to your breathing. If you have a fairly structured day, you can programme in times for these mini sessions. It’s particularly useful when you’re switching activities.” *6



MEDITATE REGULARLY

“Regular meditation is the key part of a mindful stress management. If you see mindfulness as a quick fix technique to be called on only when you need it, then it’s unlikely to help, although you may achieve a moment of calm from mindful breathing or a short body scan. However, if you start each day with a mindful meditation, rather than feeling you have to hit the ground running, then you’ll be far more likely to cope with whatever the day throws at you. And the effects are cumulative, so as the days pass, your levels of bad stress will go down.” *7


REMIND YOURSELF TO COME OUT OF AUTOPILOT

“A lot of tiredness is actually driven by mental activity. Running round busily on autopilot, while all the time thinking of a thousand and one things that need doing, should have been done, will never get done and so on is quite exhausting. Remind yourself to come out of autopilot and connect mindfully with the task in hand. It’s far less tiring to focus on one thing at a time.” *8

FIND OUT HOW OFTEN YOU’RE TRULY AWARE

Spend a day or even a week and pay attention and start noticing how often you feel awake and present.


BREATH DEEPLY

”When you take a deep breaths, you feel more energy and less stress. As oppose to being on autopilot, when your breathing is more shallow; “our cognitive abilities go slack, we have trouble staying alert” *9

“When we breathe incorrectly, we starve out bodies of oxygen and therefore find it hard to achieve clarity and balance between our subconscious and conscious brains. When our brains are going too fast and don’t have that balance we are naturally on autopilot.” *10

  • breath in through your nose for five seconds, hold the breath for six seconds

  • breath out through your nose for seven seconds

  • repeat two more times




My hope for you is, now I’ve explained how our brains are wired and how easily you can slip into autopilot more, you’ve learned that not all of autopilot is negative, nor it’s all positive, that you’ll now become more aware of operating system you use on daily basis and it’ll help you pause, consider your options and make conscious decisions that’ll take your life towards direction you want. And of course, I want to hear about your experience and conscious decision you’ve made in the comments below.


References:

*1 Mark Rhodes Think your way to success - How to develop a winning mindset and achieve amazing results

*2 Mark Rhodes Think your way to success - How to develop a winning mindset and achieve amazing results

* 3 4 5 6 7 8 Martha Langley Mindfulness made easy: Teach yourself

*9 10 Chris Barez-Brown Wake up!

Why I stopped worrying and did this instead

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Don’t we all want to feel great at all times? Don’t we all want to experience happy thoughts, peace and joy at all times?

Right now, you may be feeling stuck and it is preventing you from getting what you want. Or perhaps like me, you’ve returned from holidays and after first day back at work, you’re drained. Already? Frustration leaves me wanting to bump my head against the wall. Every snotty comments affects me. Have you ever felt so sensitive to world around you? Everything gets right underneath your skin and cuts deep?

Its like you’re out of control of your emotions, swirling, taking you on the ride. You start of the day happy and content and by evening you’re exhausted and drained? I am so tired of feeling like this!



THERE’S A TECHNIQUE IN NLP WHICH (IF MASTERED) HELPS YOU ACCESS ANY STATE

State is psychological, mental, emotional condition that we are in any given time. We label these - joy, anger, fear, happiness, frustration, exhaustion, confidence. Every time you’re describing how you feel, you’re describing the state you’re in. 

We know a stuck state - not useful for what we want to accomplish. You might find yourself in the stuck state which prevents you from getting what you want. For example: Fear, you feel fearful so you don’t attend the interview

Opposite to stuck state is a resourceful state - which is helpful to getting what we want. 

The good news is you can learn to intentionally access any given state but be under no illusion, it is not going to be easy. 


AN AUTOPILOT

So how do we get there? When most of the time we react on autopilot?

Our brains are wired to operate from autopilot to prevent from information overload. It’s brains genius, no one wants to be overthinking on small decisions, this way we have enough brain capacity to concentrate on big-important stuff. 

In recent article I read, published in Forbes, author Margie Warrell, compared autopilot to sleepwalking. She included interesting facts from researches conducted on autopilot, for example: average Brit makes 15 decisions a day on autopilot, 15 decisions without thinking about them, no consideration, learn more here

According to Dr. Mark Williamson, “autopilot makes it harder for us to make instinctively good choices so we feel trapped, and that we’re living some-one else’s life.”

So if you feel out of control over your life and how you feel most of the time, read on. 

During one day, you go through numerous different states. How often do you do it intentionally? Not often. First you feel enthusiastic, then you read work's email - you move to anger, then you have a laugh with co-worker so you feel calm, later on you have disagreement with another co-worker, you feel annoyed so by the time you come home from work - you’re exhausted by all the emotions you’ve been through. 


In this article, I will teach you how to break state and move from one state to another. More familiar you get with this technique, more natural it’ll feel for you and more often you’ll be able to use it during day to day life. 



HERE IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO

From NLP we know that what we feel affects our thoughts and what we think directly influences our behaviour. In order to get results you want you need do develop what we call behavioural flexibility. Which means you are changing your approach until you achieve result you want. And secret to you changing your approach is  ability to access a variety of emotional states

Pause for a moment and think about your feelings you go through normal day. Note them down. 

If you wrote down 4 or 5. Think more. Your goal is to have as many feelings as you can. Your experience of life will become richer once you can experience more emotional states. You don’t want to limit yourself to good, ok, bad and awful. 



THE 4 WAYS YOU CAN ACCESS YOUR DESIRED EMOTIONS

1.    have intention

Before you start your day. Before you leave for work. Ask yourself: How do I want to feel? Give yourself this power. Most of us give this power away and leave it in the hands of the outside circumstances. 


2.    memory

Think back to time when when you felt the way you want to feel now. Relive those feelings again. 


3.    use your imagination

Imagine what would it be like to feel that way.


4.    use ‘As If’ method

Act as if you already felt the way you wish to. 


You may find that all of these work for you. Or you may find that particular one stands out. Either way, use this to your benefit. There are more ways to access desired states, for more info and more in depth materials, subscribe to my monthly membership. 


You may be thinking how can I use this for myself?

Start by asking yourself 3 questions which will help you being more intentional. 
How do you want to feel in your life?
How do you want to feel today? 
What is your tomorrow going to be like? 

These are perhaps the questions you never asked yourself before, how about you start now and see how your days change.

I am obsessed with books especially any books on psychology. And to no surprise, they all agree on this chain of events that happens for all of us without limits: Thoughts have direct effect on our behaviours and out emotions. 

What that means for you is, if you’re feeling sad, your thoughts follow this feeling so it is very likely the thoughts which run through your mind will be reminding you the time when whatever you were trying to accomplish did not go according to a plan or you’ll be reminded of some sad memories. As result you’ll cancel walk with friend and instead stay at home wallowing some more. 

This does not need to go this way, now you understand your thoughts, emotions and behaviours affect each other, you can choose to go for walk and swap initial sad thoughts for nice thoughts about the nature you see around or thoughts about conversation you’re having with your friend. Dive into conversation and you soon forget sad thoughts from earlier and your emotions will follow and soon you’ll feel relaxed and happier. 



HOW CAN YOU USE IT TO YOUR BENEFIT?


ROUTINE - START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY

There may be routine you have in place for morning, to get you into the right state for the day or the routine you follow to set you off before the bed time.
Whenever you feeling tired, what’s the first thing you do, get fresh air, a glass of water, right? Perhaps you have a playlist on your phone to get you in the right cheerful mood before you go out on Friday.


If, however for whatever reason, you don’t have morning routine. Think about what it is that would set you up for having a good day?

What I do, and this may not work for you but if it does, you’re more than welcome to do the same… Every morning, I choose a couple of Ted talks to listen to. Inspiring ideas. It’s accessible even on your phone, it’s free. Each video is maximum 20 minutes long, I have nice hour to get ready. Before the bed time, I read. It can be from the whole chapter to simply a couple of pages depending on how tired I’m feeling. 



While reading NLP BOOK BY Tom Hoonyar, I came across the authors questions he asked him self each morning and it resonated with me so much I’ve adapted his before getting up routine: 

“ I ask myself 5 questions before I let my feet hit the floor: 

What am I looking forward to today? 
Longer term, what am I looking forward to? 
Am I doing things that lead directly to my goals? 
Am I being my best friend and supporter right now? Own cheerleader, not a critic? 
Am I present in my body, here and now, feeling, seeing what I see now, hearing what I hear now, and am I enjoying the gift of being alive?”

We all know how to affect our states, it’s within our control yet most of the time we just go with the flow reacting to what’s going on around us, thinking other people can make us happy, cheer us up or bring us down. This may be true for you in the past, but not any more.


Before you set out for your day, get clear on how do you want to feel, at what state do you want to experience your day? 
Describe to yourself your desired state?
How will you know you’ve achieved your desired state? Under what circumstances, where, when and with whom do you want to have this state? 
What stopped you in the past experiencing this state when you wanted? 
What anchor you set to bring you back to this state if you’re stray and get influenced by outside circumstances? 


WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DID NOT START YOUR DAY THE RIGHT WAY?

By now, you know how important it is to start the day right. Positively. However, if for some reason you start of poorly, for example, you snoozed a few too many times and made yourself late for work.
As soon as you can, take a quiet 5 minutes (this could even be at toilet at work, wherever you won’t get interrupted), take a couple deep breaths (not the normal breaths, really force yourself to take  a deep breaths), let go of crazy morning rush, forgive yourself for snoozing (again) and decide what state you want to move on with your day from this moment onward. Once this is done, get back to work.



OUR MINDS ARE PRECONDITIONED TO NEGATIVE THINKING

Only last week I’ve attended psychology course on overcoming anxiety where I’ve learnt that our minds are actually preconditioned to negative thinking - assessing danger, potential risks, anything that could cause you harm, your minds radar will pick it up and draw your attention. In these cases this is positive fact for us however on the other hand, in basic day to day situation too much of it could hold us back and hinder our experience of life. 




SO HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE THE RIGHT BALANCE?

Well, this is a tough one. As much as for your own benefit as for my own I decided to crack this for once and for all. I’m assuming as you’re reading this, you must believe there’s a better way of experiencing life. I’m with you on this! 

And please know, I’m not talking about blissful happiness for 24/7, I’m more realistic than that and you’re too, right? 

What I am talking about is better way of coping with daily stress, whether it is your financial situation, your relationships, love life, work thing, whatever this may be for you. For me, it’s all of above. 

What I find my state to be like most of the days is a rollercoaster. I’m fine one minute, and jerk next, I felt positive yesterday, today I’m a mess.


You may agree with me, I feel more capable of dealing with challenges when I’m in positive state. Now, I get this is no ground breaking news. What I find difficult is to keep that in mind, recall it when I’m actually in a bad state. And I know you’re on this with me. It’s easier to live from positive feelings and the colours look brighter, world is friendlier, people are more pleasant…

The meaning of the world, the choices you make, the language you use, it’s all defined by state. The difference in the day you experiencing is in the focus. And even though the difference could be tiny, over the time it adds up creating a state that builds throughout the day, reinforcing itself. 

Under no circumstances, I am suggesting here that you can predict what is going to happen in the day for you. Life is spiral, that takes you for a ride. You may hit the peak one day and hit the ultimate low the next. There are days, we receive the news that come like a punch in the chest or brick over the head. Even though you cannot influence or prevent yourself from receiving bad news occasionally, you can however choose your reaction. 

I know, this line has been written many times and for that, we tend to brush it off and get back to swirl of emotions until it’s finally evening and we retire for bed, exhausted and beaten. 

I write this because I’ve been in the same cycle. However what is not mentioned very often is, this cycle is dangerous for your mental and physical health

Remember the time you heard an old song and got immediately transported to that hot summer evening you spent with your grandmother? How is that possible? The old song worked as trigger/ anchor which stimulated a specific emotional state. 

What you may already know, we all are anchored at all times. Example: stopping at the red lights. 

We spend a lot of time reacting to these unconscious triggers.

There’s a way you could set your own anchor to be able to access desired state whenever you wish to, for more information, become a member.



SLOW THINGS DOWN

Tom Hoobyar, in his book NLP suggests: “the only way to do is to slow things down, take a few deep breaths, and run the mental movie at half speed, quarter speed, or 10 percent speed really slowly, back before you had the feeling. And to discover, just before you had the feeling what happened.”

Turn down the volume, if it’s phrase. If the trigger is image, try out the technique we call in NLP visual swish



FEELING OR EMOTION IS JUST AN OPTION

“Feeling an emotion is just an option”. Most of the day we operate from autopilot, we feel, interpret, react without stoping and examining what’s going on with us. Auto-pilot makes things easy for us and safe us time. Just imagine of you had to think and analyse if you should brush your teeth in the morning or to have breakfast. I think you’d make yourself late. 

Autopilot turns negative when it’s letting pass negative triggers and we whoop into emotions. Our interpretations, emotions, reactions are automatic, their cause is out of our awareness and it goes undetected unless we stop and force ourselves to check. 

THIS IS HOW YOU SET AN INTENTION

To set an intention and start setting up state you want to be experiencing your days, consider asking yourself these questions:

What am I looking forward to today? 
In the long term, what am I looking forward to? 
What do I need to do daily to work towards my goals? 
Am I being my supporter? 
Am I mindful enough, am I experiencing my life here and now? 

In the book, NLP by Tom Hoobyan, he suggest that the reason we don’t pay attention to our states and move through emotions, is were distracted. One way to bring the focus where we want it is by asking questions. (Use the questions I’ve included in this article)



VISUALISE THE FUTURE

The most successful online trainer in personal development, Brendon Burchard, also suggests to ask questions in the morning, which he suggests will improve your daily motivation. Reminding and visualising yourself in the future doing what you want to do, will get you into more effective state for the day. 

And whenever thing come up for you and you’re find yourself slipping into less preferably state. Stop, visual future and notice how different you feel. 



NOTICE HOW YOUR MIND INTERPRETS NEGATIVE SITUATIONS

Think about the situation in which you reacted negatively. This could be a time when someone frustrated you, work situation, or something you don’t like about yourself. 

As you’re thinking about the negative situation, notice, your mind is presenting the situation to you in still images or sounds. You can see the person who frustrated you, you can hear what’s been said between you two. Notice the size of image, location of image, the colour, the amount of detail, words or sounds, notice the clarity, the tone, the volume. 

If you take upon yourself to think of the same situation again a week later, notice that the same images will come up for you and the same sounds, this will evoke the same emotions for you. 



You are programmed to react the same way to similar situation. 

Still with the same situation in mind, ask yourself these questions: 

How would you like to experience this in the future? 
How would you like to feel about it? 
What positive results will this have for you? 
What other positive consequences are likely to happen? 
What else could come from making this change? 


Even though you’re now programmed to react the same way, that does not mean, it has to stay that way. 

Think about the situation again, seeing the image, start changing the colour of the image, make in black and white, crop it, move it behind you. With the sounds you hear, turn the volume down, turn it down a bit more, mute it. 

If you think back to the situation, does it evoke the same emotions than before you started adjusting image and sound? Chances are, your answer is no. Don’t you feel powerful? 


TAKE ACTION
This may seem a lot of information. Just remember, even if you apply at least one of the exercises I've included, you will see/feel significant difference. It’s your turn now. Put the tools and techniques I included to work, reap the benefits and please, do let me know in the comments below. I want to hear from you.

What’s causing your stress and how you can deal with it right now

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Study shows that 39% of adults in the UK report they feel too stressed daily and 85% of adults experience stress regularly

The stress is, whether we like it or not, part of our lives. You cannot avoid stress even if you shut yourself at home for a day.

We meet with demands at work, personal life and others, thanks to mobile phones every one has access to every one. 


You may end up feeling stressed as result of the situation or event which is pressuring you. For example, you’ve got to make decision and give answer to your boss on upcoming project. 

The time, without a doubt, plays a huge part in whole stress cycle. 

Whether the stress is the cause of the problems or result of them, depends on the individual situation. What is important and what mattes is that you can always learn a better ways to manage stress. In the times when everything is going well and according to plan, we tend to work on the stress and ways to deal we it, because simply, we’re happy, not stressed and there’s no reason to deal with it. When we do start thinking of it, is when we’re in the midst of stress. 

So you can learn to manage stress by managing stressors (external pressures) and by developing your emotional resilience to better cope with stressful situations. 

Stress can cause mental health problems like anxiety or depression. 

When we feel stress, out bodies release hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. This is the body’s automatic way of preparing to respond to a threat ( you may heard of this as fight or flight response). If you’re stressed often, then you’re probably producing high level of the hormones which can make you feel unwell and could affect your health in the long term. 

Signs of stress

You may feel: Irritable, aggressive, impatient, over-burdened, anxious, nervous, or afraid, like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch them off, depressed, uninterested in life, worried about your health, worried about your future, unable to enjoy yourself.

You may behave: finding it hard to make decisions, avoiding situations that are troubling you, snapping at people, unable to concentrate, eating too much or too little, smoking or drinking excessively, restless, you can't sit still, feeling tearful.

You may be physically affected: shallow breathing, having a panic attack, blurred eyesight, problems getting or staying a sleep, feeling tired all the time, no intimacy, headaches, chest pains, high blood pressure, feeling sick, dizzy or fainting.  


What causes stress?

Being under lot of pressure
Facing big changes
Worrying about something
Not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation
Having responsibilities that you’re finding overwhelming
Not having enough work, activities or change in your life


You may be under tremendous stress at work as a manager whilst dealing with a relationship break-up in your personal life. 

Stress may but does not need to be caused by one big thing, it can also be caused as a build up of many small problems and challenges.

Why do certain things make me feel so stressed?

The amount of stress you feel stressed in some situations or as result of the series of challenges depends on:

1. Your perception of the situation, challenge or problem - this may be connected to how your thought process work, self-esteem, past experiences, whether you tend to interpret things more positively or negatively. 

2. How skilled you are at dealing with pressure 

3. Your emotional resilience to stressful situation 


You may feel stressed when things don’t go according to your plan and your life goals seem too far ahead to reach.


We all are different, what you may find stressful, your friend may not and the other way around. For example, public speaking, You may be absolutely terrified of thought of giving a speech in from of all of your department, where on the other hand, your friend may feel excited about it. 

Even happy events can cause stress

Believe or not, even happy, positive situations may cause you stress, like having a baby, getting married, buying a house. The reason why they feel stressful is because they bring big changes or make unusual and difficult demands on you. 

Of course, there will be some things in your life that you’ll have not control over, this is where the way you perceive the situation at hand and having a effective perspective plays a big role. 

Even if, right now you’re perceiving the situation in a negative ‘there’s no way out of this’ way, this is where even one phone call conversation with a personal performance coach could help, move you forward or completely diminish the stress you’re feeling.

here’s what you can do 

1. consider what’s contributing to your stress

Take some time to reflect on events and feelings that could be contributing to your stress. 


Consider:

regular issues - paying bills, attending appointments 
one-off events - moving a house, losing loved one, getting fired from the job, starting a new job 
ongoing stressful events - like issues within personal relationships, stress at work, career dissatisfaction

2. learn to anticipate problems and avoid stereotype

You’re dealing and coping with a lot at once. Remember, lack of change, being caught in stereotype can also prove to be stressful.

Anticipating problem and thinking of ways to deal with it is a way of getting prepared, so once the problem arises, you’ll be equipped to deal with it without it bringing the fog of stress on your life. 


3. Learn to organise your time

Making adjustments to the way you organise your time could help not only deal with the things that bring you stress but it’ll also help you feel more in control. 

Consider signing up to monthly membership and unlock the rest of the article where you’ll learn to:

  • Identify the best time for you to deal with stressful things so it does not create more stress in other areas of your life

  • Make a list of things you have to do

  • Create a variety of activities - balancing interesting tasks with the task you’ve got to get done

  • Agreeing on the right amount for you - taking on too much could end up making you feel even more stressed and we don’t want that!

  • Take breaks and develop patience. 


The key is to break a big stuff into small manageable chunks

Address causes of stress

There may be many things you cannot do anything about, however talking it through with someone objective may give you different perspective so you’ll start perceiving situation in a different way. 

For example: you may be stressed by lack of money, however looking outside of your situation at situations of those who are less fortunate than you, may open your eyes and help you realise, your situation is not as bad and can be improved. 


ACCEPT THE THINGS YOU CANNOT CHANGE

Many of us get stuck in the past as if going over it could somehow change how we behaved or were. This is vicious circle and direct road to anxiety and depression. 

Even though, it is hard to accept that some things you just cannot change, it is the way forward for you to happier and healthier self. 

Here, we’d look at the ways you can focus your time and energy at things, you in fact still can change.

MOST OF THE THINGS YOU WORRY ABOUT ARE EITHER THINGS YOU CANNOT CHANGE OR THINGS WHICH MAY NEVER HAPPEN

You should work on your emotional resilience even when things go well for you to be better prepared and have better ability to adapt to change and bounce back when something difficult occur in your life.


EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE SOUNDS FANCY BUT IT’S EASY TO DEVELOP

Practice being straightforward and assertive - if others make unreasonable or unrealistic demands on you, be prepared to tell them, negotiate or say no. 

Learn to relax - you’re busy and need to be on the go at all times to get things done and that is partially reason why you’re feeling so stressed right now. Taking time to rest, relax and nurture yourself is critical part in coping with stress. 

Find time to do the things you want to do - this is about finding the balance, making compromise between the thing you’ve got to get done and the things you enjoy doing. It’s hard, but it’s achievable. 

Make time for your friends - it’s easy to cancel meeting or dinner with friend when you have so much on your plate. You want to isolate yourself because you don’t believe they will understand your situation. This is what stress does to you. Don’t let it. Chatting with a friend about things you’re finding hard can help you put things in perspective.


LOOK AFTER YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH

Get good sleep - being well rested can increase your ability to deal and cope with stressful situations 

Be more physically active - physical activity like walking, running, any type of exercise is important for reducing stress levels. I personally do 1 to 2 hours walks at least 3-4 times a week

Eat healthily - when you’re stressed it can be tempting and easy to comfort eat too much of the wrong kind of foods but what you eat and when you eat, can make a big difference to how well you feel.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

Reward yourself for achievement, sticking to a good habit, willingness to work on yourself, getting that difficult task done or even making a progress. There’s always reason to treat yourself and it does not have to cost a lot. Read my article to get some good ideas how you can do just that. 

Take a break or holiday - take time out of normal daily routine. It’ll leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Even a day spent in a different environment can make a difference 

Resolve the conflict head on - It’s never easy to have a difficult conversation whether it is with your partner, your manager, friend or family member but to hold on to conflict hinders your mental and physical health. You may even find that conflict was just a big misunderstanding on both sides. 

Forgive yourself - whether you’ve made a mistake, did not achieve what you’ve aimed for, had a cheat day on your diet. Forgive yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself. 

Do you often feel stressed? What helps you to cope with stress, let me know in the comments below

When you're faced with worry or problem, talking to someone non-judgemental and objective helps. It offers different perspective, and most of the time, solution in first 45 minutes. This is what makes coaching so effective, successful, fast growing and desired industry. To learn more, become a member

This is where coaching skills & nlp come in handy

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get coached on management skills. Learn how to get the best out of you and your team

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coaching for managers

Coaching helps improve thinking process of individual so they can achieve their goals and solve problems more effectively. 
Most of the time, coaching offers new perspective

As a manager skilled at coaching, you’d find it easier to set effective goals and provide constructive feedback

Coaching will help you do your job better but most of the time it is credited as the best tool to develop talent

Managers with the coaching skills are curious. They ask a lot of questions and they are genuinely interested in finding out more about how things are going, or why things are not going as well. They want to know about problems people are running into and what needs to be done better. 

By using coaching skills, you’ll be able to improve performance of your team, build their skills and drive their engagement. When employees feel heard and are given space to talk openly, they are more likely to be loyal, engaged and self-motivated. 

Coaching is primary tool to help someone evolve and advance in their role, business or life. It concentrates on the individual rather than task or job. 

It’s about learning as oppose to teaching. What that means is, manager using coaching at work avoids telling team what to do, instead coaching manager would ask questions and collect the best ideas from the team. 

After all, the team knows how to do the job well, what they need to carry out the job well, manager is there to support, monitor and help when needed. 

If the individual is being held responsible and accountable for his work, this foster motivation to achieve goals

Human mind cannot not respond to a question. You present the question and your mind will be searching for the answer until it finds it. Miracle? Yes!

As you impose questions to your mind when you’re seeking for solution to a problem, you can do the same with your team. And that’s what coaching is. 


SOME OF THE MOST COMMON BENEFITS OF COACHING FOR YOU AS A MANAGER

  1. improve individual and team performance

  2. help you retain talented and high performing staff

  3. boost team morale

  4. adds to overall company growth and success

SO WHY DON’T ALL MANAGERS COACH?

  1. They don’t understand the value/ importance of coaching

  2. They don’t posses the coaching skills

  3. They don’t have time to integrate coaching skills into their daily job


NLP (Neuro-Linguistic programming) for managers

The best way to describe nlp is by calling it the study of excellence. You could work out what excellent managers do and then apply modelling to achieve the same success for yourself. 

Your job is to minimise the costs, drive efficiency, increase productivity, quickly motivate your stuff, keep morales up and constantly achieve set goals. 

This is at least to say, tough job you’re facing. 

NLP studies the best of the best, transfers it into model so others can use and apply it to achieve the same level of success. 

ONE OF THE NLP TOOLS YOU COULD USE AS A MANAGER IS ROLE-PLAYING EXERCISE

This exercise will help you gain different perspective.

1st position - is your own perspective - how do you view, feel and think about the particular situation.

2nd position - is you acting as the other person - this is where you try to see the particular situation from their point of view, how they view it, what they feel and think about it

3rd position - is you acting as third party, someone who is not involved in this particular situation 


SOME OF THE MOST COMMON BENEFITS OF NLP FOR YOU AS A MANAGER  

  1. replicating excellence - you as a manager could identify what skills and know hows some of your best performing team members have and then help other team members apply the same strategies NLP tool modelling 

  2. using language to produce outstanding outcomes - many of our behaviours are unconscious to us, which means if you ask someone how they do something so well, they wont be able to give you the answer. It’s the same for the opposite, if you ask someone where they think they may be going wrong, also they will not be able to give you the answer. NLP offers processes to enable us to decode behaviours and thoughts so tat we can become consciously aware of what is going on in the background. 

  3. communication and relationships - NLP helps people communicate with others more effectively through tool called NLP communication model. This explains to us how our inner thoughts, focus and our behaviours result not from what is going on around us but from how we interpret these things internally. 

  4. confidence - anchoring is fantastic to use in creating motivating states of mind, confidence and in eliminating negative thoughts and in being on top form just when you need to be at your best

  5. motivation and morale - Neurological or logical levels of change tool shows us how organisation can work with their employees to crate better motivation and morale by marrying up company values and individuals values. 


Are you a manager who’s already applying coaching or NLP tools at work? What’s working the best for you, let me know in the comments below.

Are you a manager who’d like to learn more about coaching and NLP and how to use it at work? Consider trying out coaching and NLP on yourself, schedule session with me.

The most effective technique to positive thinking 

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What if you could change your perspective on the problem or challenge at hand? What if I said it would take you less than a minute to move from dead end situation to a horizon full of new possibilities?

Sounds to good to be true? Right now it may seem so, because you’ve been stuck in this same way for a long time.

Read on and be prepared to learn 

  • the most effective and surprisingly quick way to positive thinking. 

  • how important is your perspective on life and what certain benefit it can give you

  • how to get a different perspective on life


Right now, your perspective may be limiting you. Read on and discover if this is true for you. 


When something bad happens to you, do you believe you have no power over it? Perhaps you say to yourself - It’s the way it is and the way it aways will be? 

Do you tend to see the worst in people or situations? Do you tend to expect the worst from people, even the loved ones? 

Do you often say to yourself: Nothing ever works out for me. I am unlucky person. 

Do you often feel ineffective in finding solutions to your problems and indulge in series of pity parties instead?


It’s your internal response that has a lot to do wit your experience. It’s about the meaning you attach to this experience. 

Perspective is view, outlook, attitude you relate to what’s going on for you. It’s how we perceive what’s going on around us and it directly affects your experience of life. 


To process information on daily bases, our brains use different filters to chunk down information into small manageable pieces. Our Brains do that based on our beliefs, values, memories, attitudes, decisions. Brain is genius which constantly works to make your life easier. However if the beliefs, values, attitudes you’ve formed are negative, it’ll affect what you see as this beautiful quote perfectly describes it


The question is not what you look at, but what you see” - Henry David Thoreu


How do I reframe my negative thinking?

So overall if you don’t like the situation you’re faced with, the simple solution is to attach different meaning to it. This is what in NLP we call reframing, and it is as simple as it sounds.  Most of the time, it is as simple as asking the right question. 

“An event is an event. The meaning we place on it, and therefore how we feel about it, is something that is more under our control than we think.” Jeremy Lazarus Successful NLP

Reframing is a tool we use in NLP to interpret events in ways that are useful to us. It’s a technique that turns problems into opportunities. 

Before I’ll give you tips on how you can change your perspective from negative to more positive one, let me explain a bit more about it. There are two main types. Context and meaning reframing. 

As I said, The meaning we place on the event depends on our filters. These filters such as beliefs, values are unconscious. Another component determining the meaning of an event is context in which it takes place. 

So if the meaning of the event depends on the way we filter and interpret it and on the context, then altering the context or the way we interpret it will alter the meaning.


Problem situation

Simple example: I’m going to assume now as you’re reading my article, you’re someone who is constantly on the move, seeking ways to improve yourself and your life. You’re doer but the winter arrived, with its freezing temperatures and you are down with the cold. You’re upset because this is taking away time from you, the time you could have used to be productive. 

As I have mentioned earlier, there are two types of reframing: context and meaning. So if I were to encourage you to ask yourself - What else could this situation mean or represent? You may answer something like this: this could be my chance to finally have a rest, or this could be my chance to catch up on reading books that have been sitting on my bookshelves for years. 

Do you see how reframing works? You’re looking for the bright side, silver lining, the positive in the midst of negative situation. 

Let’s try it with you now by getting different perspective. Think of the problem situation you’re facing. It could be something that is going on for you right now and you particularly dislike it. 

Example: it takes you 40 minutes to commute to work and with the bad traffic your travel time goes up to an hour. This is something you consider as waste of time and even though you understand it’s necessity because you’ve got to get to work and it is not like you can leave your job, it’s annoying you daily. 

Start with these two questions: what else could this mean? What’s positive about this? Is there any way you could use the travelling time in the positive and effective way? Is there any way, this is your chance to catch up on things you like to do but never have time for? Reading a book, listening to music, listening to audio course, reading The success magazine, playing words with friends…

Don’t despair, if those two questions don’t rely to your problem, I’ll be giving you more questions as we go along.

Unwanted behaviour

This can also be applied for the unwanted behaviour. Let’s say you developed unwanted habit of snoozing your alarm in the morning at it is starting to affect your days and your work. 

Choose something concrete, don’t be vague here. 

Once you’ve got unwanted behaviour in your mind, think of positive intention behind this behaviour. In NLP, we believe there’s positive intention behind every behaviour, so for this exercise purpose, take on this belief. 

Once you understand that there is positive intention behind your behaviour, you’ll stop judging and criticising yourself. 

With the example I’ve used with snooze button in the morning. My positive intention is to have a more sleep, therefore more rest. What’s yours? 

If there was another way of accomplishing this positive intention, would you be interested in discovering it? 

If you simply answered no, take a bit longer to explore positive intention. 

After you said yes, take a 5 minutes to brainstorm ideas how else you could accomplish this positive intention? 

In my short brainstorming, I’ve generated following options for myself: 

I could agree with myself to allow me one snooze per morning. 
I could agree to go to bed half hour or an hour earlier at night. 
I could move my phone into different room, to make it impossible for me to hit the snooze button in the morning. 


Let’s recap. 


Here’s 6 steps process to changing your perspective

Identify the problem behaviour 

Identify positive intention 

Check with yourself - do I really want to do something about it? 

Brainstorm different ways of achieving positive intention 

Choose 3 new choices 

Check with yourself - which one sounds good to me? 


For context reframe, ask yourself: where might this be useful? 
For meaning reframe: what else could this mean? 

Simply by using reframing technique, you open up yourself to another view point. 

If, by now, you’re thinking to yourself - this will not work for me, it does not sound like something I could do in my situation, ask yourself: What would it be like if you could? 

The questions are the most useful and fairly fast way of redirecting your focus, unlocking yourself from seemingly dead end situation and gaining a new and different perspective. 

What sort of shift would be required for you to result  in a better and more useful behaviour? 


By asking yourself different questions, you’ll shift your thinking, engage different part of your brain and you’ll be able to see and consider different possibilities. 

What would it be like if you could? What would be necessary? What would it take? 

Just by exploring these questions, engaging yourself and your brain, will lead you to more positive state. Even if you stop straight after, or won’t come up with many possibilities, just by starting and thinking about different perspective, you’ll unlock yourself. 

Up to this point, you’ve been turned off and kept limiting yourself, now you can hopefully see the different way for yourself. This awoke curiosity in you. And you’re in more resourceful state when you’re curious, than when you feel angry or frustrated. 


Limiting beliefs

Reframing also works when you hold on to limiting beliefs by giving you a different perspective. Perhaps for most of your life you believed that your parents were controlling you by giving you extra restrictions at least more to what you have experienced your friends had until a coach or a friend reframed this old believe for you.  At least your parents loved you so much  cared of your safety and well being, not many children can say the same. 

This is just one of the examples how you could start shifting your old beliefs especially unhelpful and limiting ones. 

Let’s look more into beliefs. This is such a fascinating subject for me because most of the time they are like a little devils we keep so close and no longer question them. Facts that we just consider to be set in stone. 

Think of one belief unhelpful, hindering  one you’ve been holding onto for a while, one you perhaps consider to be a fact

Where was this belief not true for you? 
When was this belief not true for you? 
How do I know this belief to be true?

Sometimes we take on assumption and start believing it as a true. Could this be just your assumption? How do I know this belief isn’t false? 

Put yourself in other persons shoes, or imagine you are an observer to your situation. 

Check again for any positives in the situation. 

What do you get out of believing this to be true? What is in it for you? The last two questions go directly towards self-sabotage. You may find yourself selling short and believing you’re not smart enough, therefore you do not take action towards your goal. This protects you from possibility of failing and feeling embarrassed and failure like. 

So it seems You protecting yourself but you’re also depriving yourself from what you truly desire and want. 

If the belief you hold is related to capabilities or particular skills, try out pretending and ask yourself: what would someone who could do this do?  How would they act? 

What’s your mindset like around this situation. What’s your thought process? Remember every belief is the thought you thought over and over again. Consider signing up to my free training Boss up. In this training I share with you 11 habits will help you cope with challenges and difficult situations  and I dedicated a great part of it to work around thoughts, thought process, though patterns and beliefs.  

In this training I turned the whole thought subject up and down, diving into absolute details of everything I’ve learnt so far in my training,  from my work with coaching clients and I’ll share with you what helped me to get from my personal struggle of having depressive, scary and suicidal thoughts to now being able to help others get out of the rut. 


Setbacks and challenges

Reframing will also help you be better prepared for setbacks and challenges by shifting your thinking from negative to more positive. The difference between and also effectiveness of our brains from positive and negative state has been the subject of numerous articles,  conducted researches, blogs, books even. 

Surely you’ve experienced this before, when you’re in the positive mindset, even though circumstances don’t flow as easily as they could be and the unexpected things just pop up, you’re able to deal better, cope better and resolve better. Situations get resolved and life continues. 

On the other hand when you’re taking on and holding  on to negative approach, it’s like a snowball rolling down the hill, picking up more of the snow, growing by every spin. The bad things just build up one after another until you feel like shouting out, gosh just give me a break already. 

Can’t you relate?

Goal setting. Planning for the future

The same goes for achieving the goals you set for yourself. Goal achieving is a bumpy road with setbacks and more turning points you’ve planned for and numerous trials. This is when reframing will keep you motivated and get you back on track. 

What else could this behaviour or situation mean? 
What have I not seen/ noticed about this situation which would put a different spin on it? 
How would a really positive person view this? 
How could I look on the bright side?
 

So here you have it. The most effective technique to positive thinking and overcome any challenges. In the comments below, I’d be interested in hearing form you - what problem, behaviour or thinking pattern you would most benefit from changing your perspective on? I would also like to hear your success stories. Did you follow the steps I gave you and felt significant difference? Contact me and let me know. 

Learn how to control your thinking, emotions and behaviour so they don’t control you

Tired female in office

How your thinking can be holding you back

THINKING ERRORS

Unless you’ve been practicing meditation for some time and managed to grasp one of the most difficult skills around - quieting your mind chatter, your brain works overtime, all the time, even when you’re asleep. 



Random thoughts pop into your mind and take life of their own, take you around until you change your focus and interrupt them. 

Psychologists and counsellors call these automatic thoughts. They normally pop into your head as results of an experience. Depending on your experience, what thoughts pop in. 

It could be something like ‘I don’t seem to be able to do anything right’, ‘I seem to cause a lot of conflict’, ‘I don’t seem to be able to get along with many people’.



Of course, an automatic thoughts are not all negative. In fact, you may be experiencing positive automatic thoughts but if this was the case, I don’t think you’d be here reading this article, right?



The automatic thoughts say a lot about your core beliefs and vice versa, your core beliefs determine the thoughts you’re having. Least to say, this could easily become a bit of vicious circle for you.

So if you find yourself thinking the thoughts you don’t appreciate, think what core beliefs it’s stemming from. 



If you’re experiencing many unhelpful automatic thoughts or even consider yourself ‘negative thinker’, I have two good news for you!

You can spend some time examining your thoughts which lead to core beliefs and  with a lot of hard work and focus, you can tweak your core beliefs so they are more suitable and working for you. 

This concept is straight forward but not easy. 



Core beliefs are those things you consider to be facts. You believe they are the way you believe they are. To change them, you first have got to start challenging them and examine what they are and what other alternatives beliefs you could be holding on to. 

You may realise that you’ve been letting them hold you back.

The way this works is: you may be holding on to believe that ‘you’re not smart enough’, therefore when it comes to time you want to find a different and more satisfying job than the one you have now, you may be thinking ‘I’ll embarrass myself by trying’, ‘What will others say if I don’t get the job’, ‘What if I get found out that I am not smart enough for the role’… 

Based on these thoughts, you’ll start feeling bad, which will influence the way you’ll behave and the choices you’ll make. 

The thoughts you’re thinking are not all true but we often act like they totally are. We accept them as they come, no questions asked. 


Just think, how often do you challenge your thinking?


The way to minimise core belief that is no longer helping you, is by challenging the truths of the thoughts you think. Don’t accept any BS that pops into your mind and instead invest a little bit more time into filtering through it and picking the top ones. The ones that will support you and make your life experience much more pleasant. 

Does that not sound like a good idea?


Here’s the thing, if you take every thought (and I am mainly talking about those unhelpful ones) as true, you accept your perception of the event or circumstance too until you start questioning yourself. 


You can be so worried about your partner leaving you that you think yourself into your partner leaving you. And no, I am not joking here. You can bring on yourself the things you’re most afraid of. This is called self-fulfilling prophecy. 


Your thoughts influence the way you feel and as result they influence the way you behave. 

So let’s say you’re afraid your partner will leave you, you’ll start seeing things which are not there which will add more negative thoughts, you’ll feel bad and more than unworthy, hurt before you’re even hurt and you’ll behave angry, upset and pissed off with him most of the time. No one likes to spend time with someone who’s constantly pissed off with them, nagging them and causing argument with them so he’ll leave. 


During the day, random thoughts pop out in mind at random times or as result of what you’re experiencing, you’re having chit chat with yourself at all times and you’re forming your own taken on your daily experience, you’re making assumptions about others around you into great extend based on the beliefs you’re holding on to, you’re forming your perception. 



PSYCHOLOGY OR CBT MATERIALS LIST OUT THESE COMMON THINKING ERRORS or CBT


  1. All or nothing 

  • I am often described as someone who takes things to extreme. I may have argument with my friend and based on that I somehow get to thinking this is it, the end of the friendship. Instead of seeing this disagreement as something to work on, I see red and the end. 

  • Another good example is when I often categorise things into right or wrong, good or bad, as if there was no in between, no grey, no middle. Again this is very extreme and quiet negative way of living. 


2.  Overgeneralising

  • I am strong minded person and very direct. I like to be straight with people rather than be two-faced with them. This often gets me into conflicts. When I have conflict with someone I often tend to explain it as ‘I just don’t get along with many people’. This is what overgeneralising is about, you take one bad experience and apply it and connect it with others which at the end you come to dramatic and final conclusion that you’re just not enough or too much of…

  • You may proclaim yourself as failure because you were not successful at securing one client even though in the past you’ve done it successfully many times. 



3. Not seeing the positive

  • I think we all are guilty of this one, have you ever proclaimed ‘I’m having a bad day’. As the result of the one bad thing like argument with co-worker or telling off by your boss, you label the whole day as bad even though you came home, had a lovely dinner with your partner, received monthly pay, got a new client. But all these good things in your day got put aside, because you’re focusing on one event that did not go well. 

  • Or you may say you’re bad at your job because the project you were working on got rejected



4. Mind-reading

  • Unless person shares it with you, you don’t know what they are thinking. But often you like to assume you, in fact, do know. For example: you’re off sick and don’t get call back from your boss, so you’ll start thinking he does not like you, he must be thinking you’re skiving. 

  • Or you’re at the meeting and your co-worker sits on the other side of the table, you start thinking they’re upset with you or don’t like you anymore. 



5. Catastrophising

  • You may believe that you’ll never make your business success because right now you’re at the beginnings and you’re struggling to find clients

  • Or you may believe that you’ll always struggle for money because you’re in financial difficulties right now. 

  • Or you’ve just come out of the long term relationship and because it did not work out for you now, you may start to believe you’ll end up alone and you’ll never find someone who’ll care for you. 



6. Emotional reasoning

  • The same as the thoughts are not always facts, the emotions are often not fact either. The emotions come from the thoughts at the end of the day. 

  • You may feel like a loser at the end of the unsuccessful project or after failing exam, but that does not mean you are loser. 



7. Labelling

  • We put names to people and things often as result of one incident rather than group of similar incidents

  • Your co-worker has done mistake and instead of acknowledging it was a mistake you’ll label him as ‘idiot’



8. Fortune-telling

  • As much as it’d be handy to predict the future sometimes, no of us are able to do it, but often we think we can. 

  • ‘I’m not going to pass the test’

  • ‘Tomorrow is going to be a tough day’



9. Personalisation

  • The world does not revolves around you but you often think it does. 

  • Your co-worker does not go for break with you, so she must be mad at you

  • Your friend is not responding your message for several hours, so he must be upset with you



10. Unreal idealisation

  • Comparing the amount of success others achieved and you leaves you thinking ‘what’s wrong with me, why can I not make it work’


The good news is, once you’re aware of these thinking errors, it’ll be easier for you to spot them and challenge them. 

More you’ll do it, more evidence you’ll gather and you’ll be able to see that what you’re thinking is not always the truth. Challenging these untrue thoughts and thinking errors will help you come up with more realistic thoughts.

Changing the way you think will not be instant, after all, you’ve been thinking this way for a long time but if you persist, the change will start happening and you’ll notice the difference in the way you feel and behave as well. 



This is not to say that once you start challenging your thoughts, you’ll enhance negative once for only positive. By challenging you’ll learn not to accept just any thought. 

Optimistic people live longer according to research. Their heart health is twice better than heart of pessimistic person, they are better at regulating stress. Optimists earn more money, they are more likely to find the jobs they actually like and enjoy or get promoted. They have happier relationships and their performance is better. 


Being overly optimistic could backfire. You may end up not preparing for driving theory test because you optimistic that you’ll pass and that might back fire. 

Or the same way, you may sabotage yourself at work. 

Of course, you cannot only see the good things and deny all the negative stuff. What you’re aiming for is realistic yet positive view of the world. By noticing your negative thoughts and understanding what core beliefs they come from, you’ll be now more likely to challenge it and change it to something more productive for you. 

By changing your thinking, you’ll change your mood and your behaviour. 

 

Every time you’ll challenge negative and unhelpful thought, you weaken the unproductive core belief.

HERE ARE 4 QUESTIONS YOU CAN START ASKING YOURSELF:

1. What’s the evidence this is true?

2. What’s the evidence this isn’t true?

3. What’s another way to look at this situation? 

4. If this were true, how bad would it be? 


You used to be friend with someone and now he doesn’t respond your calls. You may start assuming that he’s mad at you or has some sort of issue with you. 

We often make assumptions and believe their truth, often enough the same as the thought, they inaccurate and untrue. 

Often we think that the if the things don’t go our way, it’s the worst thing in the world. (Refer back to thinking errors section)
Of course, negative outcome brings discomfort but it is something you can handle. 


Example:

  1. What’s the evidence this is true?

  2. What the evidence this might not be true?

  3. What’s another way to look at the situation?

  4. If it were true, how bad would that be?


Just by asking these questions, you may gain a different perspective on what you’re thinking and what’s holding you back. It may help you identify and gather evidence for thinking error you’re making, give you different perspective and therefore keep your thinking more realistic, rational and logical. 

You make the best decisions when your emotions and logic are balanced. When your thinking is irrational, it’s the best not to be making any decisions. 



WATCH HOW YOU TALK TO YOURSELF!

Just because you think something does not mean it’s true. And I am not saying this to you because it sounds good or because I want to give you some sort of empty positive thinking advice. No! But we’ve covered earlier the thinking errors we all do, you may often fall in the trap with all of them or only a few. 

You will not know until you start to pay attention to the thoughts you’re thinking and the way you talk to yourself. 


You may have heard this one before - we are our own worst critics. Is this right for you? Are you often very critical of yourself? Do you often find faults in behaviour or performance you’re just done even though other people praise you and are proud of you?



  • The thoughts you’re thinking are exaggerated by you (you often fall into trap of one of the thinking errors covered earlier)

  • Replaying the events over and over in your head to the point you wish you could switch of your brain for a bit. Dwelling on the past unsuccessful or embarrassing moments. 

  • Look out for statements with words like Never, Always in them and start challenging them. ‘I never do anything right’ - never? Was there ever time in your life when you in fact did something right?

  • Let’s say your thoughts are the truths - how bad would the worst case scenario be? 



I think it’s important to mention here is that this is not going to be easy process, changing the way you think, will take time and a lot of effort. Without effort, you’ll easily fall into the old way of thinking. 

  

If the negative thoughts were only thoughts not affecting anything else, would that be enough to enjoy your life? No, it would not. You’d turned any event, situation or experience into negative one. Eventually, it’d take a tall on you. You may be doing it now, hence you reading this trying to find the way to permanently stop this negative cycle. 




How your BEHAVIOUR can be holding you back

The thoughts are at the centre and unfortunately they affect you in the bigger scheme that just your mind. 

They greatly influence your behaviour too. And if you’re thinking negative thoughts they lead to unproductive behaviour. For example, you may convince yourself out of doing something that’d be good or healthy for you, you may find excuses for your bad habits. 


Of course, advice is to focus on the positive behaviour which helps you create results you want and ultimately live the life you want. If that was that easy then every one would take this advice on board and there would not be any need for self-help industry. 


So the question here is - what you can do about negative behaviour? How can you focus on the positive behaviour most of the time? And how can you not let negative behaviour effect you as much as you’d let it up to this point?


All three questions are tough to crack but I’ll attempt to give you easy steps to follow and to refer back to anytime you need. 


EXAMINE YOUR BEHAVIOUR

Let’s start by separating your behaviours, what behaviours are holding you back?
Do you allow other people negatively influence your behaviour?
Do you influence other peoples behaviour in negative way?
What are negative ways in which other people are able to affect your behaviour?
What behaviours sabotage your efforts to achieve what you want?


The best place to start is to look at your life as whole, then break it down into areas like:

Work, Education, Family, Sleep, Leisure, Hobbies, Friendships, Romantic relationship, Health, Spirituality, Personal development, Finances,  Interests…

It’s is totally up to you into what areas you want to separate your life into. 

Draw a pie chart, reflecting how much time and effort you currently spent on each of these areas. Next, you’re going to draw a pie chart reflecting how much time you’d like to spent on each of these areas. 

Now, notice the difference. What do you see? What do you notice? Are there any adjustments you need to make? Are you surprised about any areas?



TIME AND EFFORT

How do you spend time? Where’s your effort?
What gets in the way of living the life you want?
Are there any changes you need to make? Are there any changes you’d like to make?


The way you choose to spend time is your responsibility. You cannot blame your children for not having enough time to work on your CV, so you can apply for better job. The responsibility lies with you. If you really want something and if it is really important for you -  you will make time for it. 

Perhaps you are not making time to work on your CV, because you’re made a choice to stay at your current job because it pays well enough to cover all the expenses plus enough to save each mont. 

It is important that you acknowledge that it is your choice you made. 



SELF-MONITORING

Research studies show that one of the most powerful ways to change behaviour is through self-monitoring.


For example: Let’s say your financial situation is causing you stress, your account ends up in minus each months. 

By monitoring your spending, you’ll be able to identify where you’re getting of the rail, seeing where you’re money is being spent, you can identify and minimise the expenses. The goal is to spend less than you earn in order to get your account into plus again. 

Perhaps you notice that four times a month you choose to order take away and spend £10 more than you’d if you decide to cook the meal at home. 

Perhaps, you’ll uncover that your habit is to order take away each Sunday because that is your one day you get to just relax. What else could you do to maintain relax on Sunday but avoid ordering take away?


According to research, self-monitoring can be the most powerful step in changing your behaviour

What good habit would you like to monitor to so you’re able to keep them in your daily routines more often?

What bad habits would you like to monitor so you can start eliminating them of your daily routines?



How your EMOTIONS can be holding you back

Emotions accompany thoughts and together they affect your behaviour. As much as it is healthy to be feeling emotions and allowing yourself to do so, sometimes they might hold you back. 

DEALING WITH DISCOMFORT

When you find emotions you’re feeling uncomfortable, you may be choosing to cope in one of the 3 ways. Coping with discomfort brings short-term relief but may lead to long-term problems. :

  1. Seeking short - term relief with long-term consequences (leads to developing unhealthy habit of comfort eating, smoking, drinking

  2. Avoiding discomfort all together - you’re uncomfortable walking into gym class on your own, so you don’t go

  3. Compensating - leads to buying stuff you don’t necessarily need 



There’s a reason why I kept drilling into you that there’s connection between your thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Because you can use that to your advantage and here’s how. 


Changing your behaviour is first step to shifting your emotions. NLP and coaching often call this - act as if. But it’s not what I mean. You don’t need to act as someone else or pretend, instead next time you feel sad, take a walk. Get your body moving off the sofa outdoors. What would you be doing if you were not feeling sad? And do it. Emotions will follow and you come to different thoughts. 

Do you feel your emotions, your thinking or your behaviour holds you back? How so? I’d like to hear from you in the comments below.



Do you struggle with stress daily? Here’s solution. 

Teen business lady

Stress will affect us one way or another on daily bases. It can affect us at home and at work. When you aspiring to achieving something but don’t know how to get it. When you are bombarded by demands from other people especially if the demands are unrealistic or unfair. Anyone can and will experience stress and you cannot lead a stress free life. 


What you can do, and this is what I will attempt to teach you here is to understand the stress you’re experiencing and deal with it in better and more effective way so it does not claim your physical, mental or emotional health. 


If stress takes over you, you may end up developing negative habits like excessive smoking, eating or drinking and you will most certainly not be living up to your potential. Stress can result in damaging the relationships at home and at work. 


“If we don’t have a vision for our own lives, we’ll forever be helping someone else to fulfil the vision that they have for theirs.”


We do not have control over the things that happen to us in life, however what we do have is the control over how we react to what happens to us

This, of course, is easier said than done especially if you don’t have any idea how to react in any other way than the way you’ve always done. Behaviours you have are learnt behaviours which you repeat unless you purposefully unlearn them or change them. And that takes time and some tools and techniques. 


Stress affects our relationships, if we don’t know how to handle it in the right way, it can have very negative consequences. 

From the course I took, The complete stress and anxiety breakthrough, I’ve learnt analogy that by paraphrasing, goes like this: if you imagine, some of us have a tea cup for managing stress, others may have a bucket. By developing and managing yourself you can learn to handle more stress, therefore expand your jag. 


As I said earlier, we all have to deal with stress at some point of our lives. It’s the pressure we put on ourselves, others put on us, the demands from work, home, school. It all demands time from you which in the midst of stress you don’t have that’s why you feel out of control. 


Getting married, starting a new job, losing the job, break up, finances, all these situations present stress. 

If you think of them a bit more, they all present a change. 


Why change triggers the stress?

Change brings level of uncertainty. Wanting to know how the situations will work out, wanting to know if everything will be ok again. 

Most of us can cope with one or two major life changes at once. However, when they start piling up, you can easily become irritated with even the smallest things.


At some point, you feel, it is a bit too much, that is when your jag, tea cup or bucket fills up. 

When you’re unable to manage stress within you, what happens is, it’ll start affecting your relationships with your partner, co-workers, and so on. 


The answer is not avoiding the stress, because that is just not possible. What you can learn to do is to expand the amount of the stress you can handle. 


Out there, you’ll be able to find a lot of advice on how to cope with stress and stressful situations, what you will not find so often, is the advice and specific tools to prevent the stressful situations. And this is what my work is about. 


What’s the greatest problem you’re faced with right now?

From where you are right now to where you want to be, it’s the not knowing how to get to where we want to be. 


Have you ever felt stressed when you had enough time to meet demand?

What are you focused on in your life?
What you can get?
What you’re not getting?
How much time you have left? And how you’re going to spend it?


What is your perspective on life?

What are the things that cause you the most stress?

Which area of your life is a primary contributor of stress in your life?

What could you start doing right now to begin reducing the amount of stress you’re experiencing?

What could you start doing less of to begin reducing the amount of stress you’re experiencing?

What lesson could you learn form the stress you’re experiencing right now?

What advice would you offer to someone you care about if they were in the same or similar situation?


Name three daily habits that you could begin integrating into your daily routine that could start minimising the risk of you getting stressed out:


Habit 1:


Habit 2:


Habit 3:


How would this daily habit prevent you from entering stress?

As I said earlier, stress arises when we put excessive amounts of demands on ourselves or other people put demands on us. 

Let’s look in a bit more details how we could be inviting stress into our daily lives.

Be aware of the shoulds.
By the time I am 30, I should be married, I should have my own house, I should be financially secured. 

Who do you base your ideal life on? 

When you set unrealistic time-frames for your goals.

The only way to achieve your big goals, is by achieving your medium goals and they will be achieved by taking action and accomplishing short term goals consistently. 


How do you prioritise your tasks?

We always have a choice about how we use our time.

Important & Urgent 

Important & not urgent

Not important & urgent

Not important & not urgent


Here's how you can set priorities: 

What is the compelling reason for doing ..? 

What is the payoff of this activity compared to the time you will invest in it? 

Is this event or activity time critical or day specific? 

Can this task be delegated? Who could do this at least 80% as well as you? 

What is the worst that could happen if this doesn’t get done?

Identify what’s important to you by checking in with your main life areas. 

Life’s complex. That’s why, you’ll need to break your life into  main areas. Ambitions which include Career, Finances, Personal development and ongoing education, Lifestyle which includes Health and Wellbeing, Relationships, Pleasure and leisure. 

You may not always be able to achieve full contentment in all of the areas however you’ll be able to achieve sufficient balance between them if you keep coming back on constantly keep checking in and reviewing where you’re at. 

This is advised to do at least every 3 months. 

Do you get stressed out by working hard doing something that you love?

Do you get stressed by working hard doing something you’re naturally good at?

Do you get stressed out when you’re trying to do something that you don’t love and you’re also not good at?

Do you understand the difference between trying to do something and doing your very best?

Do you get stressed when you’re making positive difference in the lives of other people?

Would you have any work related stress in life if you were to commit the rest of your days towards doing something that you’re naturally good at and something that you’re actually enjoy doing?


The way people respond to stressful situations

Fight - explode, overreact, get angry

Flight - avoid but does not solve the situation

Freeze 

What’s your current approach to the stress?


SELF-AWARENESS

It is the first step to changing any behaviour. Once you know your natural reaction to stressful situation and are able to identify what’s causing you stress, you will be able to control the way you react. 

It is the power we all have but only a few know how to use it. Simply because it is hard work. It is easy to react and live by the same old preconditioned behaviours. To change them requires a lot of effort, a lot. 


VALUES AND STRESS

Unless you know what your values are and how to meet them, nothing will ever be enough for you.

If you think about it, meeting your values equals happiness. 


We all have different values, and our values differ. In a case you don’t know, the values are the things that matter, the things that are important to you. The ones you don’t want to compromise on and when you do it just does not feel right. They affect our decisions and our daily actions. The values you hold may be resulting in the level of stress due to expectations and perceived ideas. 


The values were instilled in us through pain and pleasure experienced during our formative years, through our parents, carers, peers, friends, teachers, religion, culture, employers, partners and society. 

They shape our life, they affect our decisions based on what we want most and what we fear most. They may very much often be pulling you apart. Remember last time you were attempting to make decision and you said something like: ‘Part of me wants to go, but part of me does not think it’s a good idea….’


Once you integrate into your life what matters to you, you’ll feel content, satisfied and fulfilled. It makes sense, right?


Example of values: Health, Vitality, Love, Warmth, Comfort, Passion, Honesty, Cheerfulness, Gratefulness, Learning, Growing, Contribution, Creativity, Fun, Happiness, Making a difference, Achieving, 


What would happen if you consciously chose your values and consciously chose to live by them daily?

The answer is obvious, your priorities would change, the way you think, feel and behave would change, you’d probably spent less time worrying about things you worry about now. 


In order to feel how you want to feel daily, in order to become the person you’d want to be, in order to behave how you want to behave daily, in order to live life as the best self, what values would you need to integrate into your life?


THE BEST WAY TO IDENTIFY YOUR VALUES

Find out what your values are right now, then rank them in the order of importance

For many of you, this could be first time you’ll take time to think about or clarify your own values. If you struggle to identify what’s important to you, ask yourself: Think about a time when you felt most fulfilled? What was the moment that touched you the most?

You could also think about a time when something angered you or frustrated you. That means you don’t approve or agree with it. And you could use reverse idea. For example: ‘I felt so angry when I found out that Jenny lied to me, I really don’t want to have anything to do with her. I must be able to trust my friends.’ The fact that someone lied means they were not honest, honesty could be one of your values. Or the trust. 


Then, ask yourself:

In order to become the best version of myself, what do my values need to be?

Create a list. Then compare it to the values you have right now. Do they match? Do you need to add some of the values? Do you need to change the order of importance with some of the values?


When you’re about to purchase a car, you create criteria to evaluate if particular model is what you’re looking for, for example: affordable, spacious, luxury, style, comfort, speed, reliability, economy… These are criteria that needs to be met in order for you to be satisfied with a new purchase. The fewer criteria are met, the greater dissatisfaction you’ll meet. 

Think of values as criteria for your life. You have them. Remember, they are what’s important and what matters to you, so the level of satisfaction you experience in your life is directly connected to the amount of values you are meeting daily. 

If you think about it, this is ultimate equation of happiness. 


Even with goal setting, you have more chances to achieve your goals if they are congruent with your values. 


Look at the way you spend your time, that’ll give you a good idea for identifying your values. 


You may have, what we call, Move forward values, for example: Happiness, Success, Comfort, Power, Growth, Peace, Passion


Or you may have, what we call, Move away values, for example: Rejection, Boredom, Sadness, Depression, Anger, Helplessness, Dependance


The values very much affect how you spend your time. 


Living according to your values means, you can do exactly what you want to do, be who you want to be, be where you want to be. It’s ultimate freedom. You’ve got free will to choose, you can choose to do exactly what you want to do, but you must really want to be there doing what you do. 


Many times, you may find yourself feeling unhappy with your situation, yet you’re not choosing to change it. 

What we do when we’re unhappy with our situations is, we justify to ourselves and come up with all sorts of excuses why not changing is the good decision for us. Think about being in the job you really don’t like yet you choose to show up every day for. 


Whenever you’re feeling dissatisfied with your situation but are not willing to change it, ask yourself:


What’s in it for you?

What keeps you in this place?

What are you getting from staying in the situation?

What’s the pay-off?

 

Many times, just by asking yourself these questions you may uncover the beliefs you hold about that situation (I do this because I want approval, Job offers good pay and pension, I’m scared of failing in another job). You may feel like you don’t have any other choices but to remain in this situation. This is where you may uncover the unhelpful thinking that rules your life. 

With the right support from you coach, you’d be able to work through the unhelpful beliefs and unhelpful thinking so they stop holding you back from living the life of satisfaction and fulfilment. For more information, become a member.


Do you struggle to stick to your new habit? Here’s why

A woman is holding flowers

The number one reason why so many of us don’t achieve the goal is we don’t connect this simple fact - To achieve any goal, you also need to change your habits. 

Yes, there are more points to consider however this is the big one! This is where most of us go wrong which leads us to giving up on the goal at first place. 


Who ever you were up to this point, being the same person will not get you where you want to go. Whatever you’ve been doing to get you here today, will not get you where you want to be in the future. 


Have you ever started year full of enthusiasm, plans and ready to start own business, get your finances under control, start a new course to redirect your career? Of course you have, we all do that on New year, right?

Only to find ourself in the same pit a few weeks later. 

Why is that? Where does that initial enthusiasm vanishes? How do you let the same cycle repeat?


Last year was really bad year for you. 

You lost the job. You got into debt. Or like me, you lost relationship. 

Whatever made your last year a bad one, you do not want to repeat it, right? And that’s why you’re here. 

Keep on reading, I am going to share with you the insights and strategies how we can make this year, a better one. 


So why is it that you did not achieve what you set out to achieve?


Well it comes down to blind spots, we are not aware of, that’s why they are called blind spots. However by going over the past year reviewing what’s been going on for you, writing a few points down, you may become aware of them. 

This is a simple process, all you need to do, write in bullet points your answers to these questions.

What has gone well for you last year?
What challenges did you face?
What did not go so well for you and why do you think that is?


You may be thinking, well how is reminiscing going to help? Well for two reasons. (1.) You will identify some positive experiences so you’ll boost your overall mood and feeling about past year and (2.) this is the big one, You want to identify what you need to avoid doing this year.


Blind spots

Let me explain what they are. It’s the negative thinking, beliefs you have about yourself right now, your values don’t align with the goal you have for yourself. It’s insecurities and self-doubt. Also, the blind spots are the areas of your life which lack your focus


This was certainly, the case for me. I am ambition and I’ve always been striving for more. In past 8 years, I put my career and personal development first, not checking in with other important areas of my life like relationships, health, finances. And the consequences are, you may be wondering? My 10 years relationship ended earlier this year, I started to smoke again and my finances are as bad as they were 8 years ago. 


I’ve been obsessing over those two areas for so long, that I have lost a very important part of my life. It’s as serious and heart crashing as it sounds. By no means, I am complaining. It’s a wake up call I’ve been needing for a long time. 


To become aware of your blind spots, you need to review past year. There’s no way around it. I gave you a questions you need to start with. Do that now if you have not done it yet. 


If I have learnt anything so far in past 30 years. Everything is fixable, repairable and can be overcome with the time, right strategy and action. This may sound harsh but the breakthroughs come from struggle. You persist and keep trying different ways, it’ll work out, you’ll get there. I mean, I will actually give you the steps you need to take to get you there.


Where is your focus?

What I want you to do now, is to review your main 6 areas. Here are 2 reasons why:


There is always another level you can move to. So how can you find out where you’re at and how to move further? By reviewing important areas of your life. Why? The number one reason we get burnt out, is that we place all of our focus on one area, for example: career and all the other areas suffer. This is how you end up having a year that totally sucks instead of successful one.

You get out what you put in. I know, this is common sense. But I feel I’ve got to remind you of this. Simple things are easy to overlook. 


If you are reading this article, thinking - This will not work for me. I’ve tried this before, please stop it right now. Or ask yourself, what if this will work for me? Have I really tried it with all of the effort and intention?


So you’ve done your assessment. Let’s get clear now, which area needs your full attention. 


Common pitfalls and reasons why we don’t achieve what we want. The 7 things to consider when you’re setting the goals. 


1. CLARITY

Without a clarity, you wonder, you get easily stuck, you become easily swayed into doing things what other people want for you, not necessarily what you want for yourself. 

Without clarity, you become unhappy. Because you never took time to clarify for yourself what you want, not only from a new year, or your life but from this week, month or from today. 

More clarity you use in daily interactions, less confusion you’ll experience. 


(Tips: Read Brendon Burchard, bestselling book High performance habits, which is now nominated to one of the best business books of the year. He spends a big part of the book explaining the importance of the clarity.)


Thinking of the 2018, what is it you want for yourself?

What one goal, if you achieved in 2018 would make the whole year - the absolutely best-est year yet? You’d walk with your head up high, feeling like you’re floating above the ground. What would make you feel like total winner?


• Is the goal you’ve picked going to change your life? Is it going to make a difference in your life? If yes, how exactly it is going to change your life? If no, what made you pick this goal?

• What makes this goal, more important then any other goal you could have picked?

• What will remind you daily, of this goal?

• How do you need to show up every day to achieve this goal? You need to be different person to achieve that goal than the person that got you to where you’re at right now. 

• What obstacles can you predict which will hold you back from achieving this goal?

• If you’re afraid of failing again, disappointed again, think what have you learnt from those past experiences? (Tips: Consider reading my article about Perspective)

• Once you take action towards your goal, more and more you do it, more confidence you will experience. Last week, I’ve attended psychology course on confidence. The advice given to gain confidence, no matter what you’re trying to get more confident in is Action and Repetition. Genius! So if you see out there any courses offering a quick confidence boost, forget it! You need to take consistent action and confidence will follow. In this exact order, not the other way around. 


An important point to mention is the clarity does not just appear. I think some of us have this idea that one day it’ll just hit us, or we will have aha moment where light bulb will turn on in our head and here we are - so clear about our lives and its meaning, our purpose and where we need to go and what we need to do. This is not how it works, you’ve got to try different things, see what’s the best fit for you. 


2. VALUES

If the goal is not in alignment with your values, you’ll give up on it or you won’t, you’ll achieve it but it will not make you happy. The simplest way to explain what values are - they are what’s important to us. 


Here’s how you can check if your goal is in alignment with your values:

• Thinking of the goal, all you can think of are external rewards? Example: Money, house, holidays. And that is fine, what i need you to do is to attach these external wonderful we all want rewards to internal ones. Let me explain. You want more money because having more money means security for your future. Having more money means you can support your struggling mother. More money means you can spend more time travelling. More money means you can enrol to a course and change your career. Let me give you another example, you want a house. Having house means you’ve got a tangible way of investment for your future. Having house means more security for yourself. Having house means, your mother can move in with you and you can look after her. 

• You get the point, no matter what you’re trying to achieve, connect your heart to it. You’re more likely to achieve it. In fact, when your goal is attached to an important value, it’ll drive you, motivate you, it’ll fire you up. 


3. FOCUS

I’ve mentioned focus earlier, you remember example from my life when I kept my focus on career and  lost focus of all the other areas of my life. To not do the same mistake, depending on the size and time frame of your goal, I’d suggest you download and complete this assessment every 2 months.


4. IDENTITY

This is a big one. I’ve mentioned it in the introduction. To achieve any goal, you also need to change your habits. 

This is where most of us go wrong which leads us to giving up on the goal at first place. 

Remember! Who ever you were up to this point, being the same person will not get you where you want to go. Whatever you’ve been doing to get you here today, will not get you where you want to be in the future. 

Can you see yourself living up into your goal?

Can you envision yourself in the future accomplishing this goal?

Or do you secretly believe, this is not me, I’ve always been this way, I don’t believe I can change?


Let me give you a concrete example.  I want to stop smoking this year. I can see myself as non smoker because I’ve done it before. I believe I can totally do it. 

What’s interesting about this example is:

⁃ it is easier for me to identify myself with a goal because i’ve got past experience, I’ve done it before so I know I’ll be able to do it again

⁃ personally, I need to work on the identity I am attaching to this goal and there are a certain points I will need to work on, because last time I stopped smoking I put 17 kg on. Since then I’ve slimmed down however I do not want to get to the same point. This image could be a big obstacle for me in achieving this goal. 


5. COST 

I am sure you’re aware of the economic term opportunity cost. Well, surprisingly this term does not apply only to economy, but also to goals, new habits and day to day life really. 

What this means is, when you’re deciding to do something, you’re giving up on other things. 

Let’s say you decide to study cognitive behavioural therapy course at your local college which will be costly and time consuming, so overall you won’t be able to meet your friends as often as you’re used to for the same reasons, time and money. 


When deciding on the new habit/goal, be sure to consider opportunity cost. What will you need to give up in order to achieve this goal. For you, it may mean spending less time with your partner, cooking at home oppose to eating out. Less time socialising because you won’t need to go for cigarette anymore with your co-workers. 

This is so often overlooked and it is one of the pitfalls of goal setting. 


6. TIME

Setting specific time is good for you, it’ll give you a push and urgency. But you also want to remember this one point:

When setting up the time frame, be sure,  it will probably take longer than you expect. So be realistic but also know that you may need to add a month or two. As long as you are aware of this at the start, you will feel less disappointed if you don’t get to the results you wanted in the time frame you originally set for yourself. 

I don’t want you to feel bad or be too hard on yourself. The last thing you want is chasing your dream making you feel bad about yourself. 


Thinking of your goal, when do you want this by?

I’ve got to mention here, that for many of us, if the goal is just too far away from present, it can actually demotivate us to extend we give up on goal all together. 

So let’s say, I always wanted to become a psychologist. This is my goal now, I am 100% sure this is what I want for me. I’ll start researching to find out it’ll take me 7 years to become a professional psychologist able to start my practice. 

Now 7 years is a loooooog time. It’s 7 years of study, 7 years of paying out 10 thousands of pounds to university, 7 years of minimum time for other activities or other areas of my life like my relationships, career… It’ll take me 7 plus years until my goal starts paying off. Considering this, I feel like I no longer want to become psychologist. 

This is just an example, for you this could represent something else. The point here is, if the benefits are too far away in the future and it’ll take you long time to get there, you  need to break it down into small manageable pieces identifying quick wins along the way. Otherwise your huge goal will scare and demotivate the hell out of you. Like mine did. 


And this is my favourite part, one of my top five strengths according to Gallup (American research-based, global performance-management consulting company where you can also take assessment and find out what your strengths are) is strategising. I am really good at planning out the critical steps for action. 

So what you do here is: list out all the steps you will need to take in order to make your goal happen. And by all, I mean from the smallest to the biggest ones. 

(Tip: For more information, check out my study case example of how this works which the real goal)



7. STRUGGLE

Are you familiar with the term loss aversion, wikipedia description: “It’s better to not lose £5 than to find £5”. Loss aversion very much applies to goal setting too. You may find yourself fearful of losing what you have. Let’s say you want to get a new job, you may be stopped and give up on the idea completely by thinking - what if the new job is not better than the job I have now? Or, but I like my co-workers what if I don’t get along with my new ones?


To avoid falling into loss aversion trap, ask yourself:

what is the worst thing that can happen?

will you be worse of than you’re now if you find that your new job is as bad as old job? 


You can be sure that achieving goal, no matter what that goal is for you or creating a new habit, changing the old habit, getting rid of bad habit, no matter what it is you want to achieve, it is going to be a struggle. 

The whole process will not go according to the plan, you’re going to have a bad days, you’re going to find it difficult and you will also want to forget it, give up and get back to the old ways. 


So when that happens, this is what I want you to do. 


C + R + R + S = SUCCESS


Consider: What are likely consequences of you not taking action and giving up?

Remind yourself: What difference were you hoping to create for yourself, for your life, for your loved ones?

Remember: As result of this change, what person did you want to become?

Sum up: Why was this important to you and why was it important to you now?


You may consider writing answers to these for questions on the small card so you can carry it with you. Or write it on the post it note and stick it somewhere you will see it daily, mirror, kettle, desk, mac, back of your phone… set a reminder. Pick what is the best way for you to keep these for 4 reasons on your mind. Especially when you want to relapse. 


That is all you need to know to stick to new habit, follow-though on your goal. I would love to hear from you in the comments below, what new habit or goal you working towards or if you have any questions relating to this article, make sure you write them in the comment below. 

Must-do reading list

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Dr. Carol S. Dweck - MINDSET - Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential

Brendon Burchard - HIGH PERFORMANCE HABITS - How extraordinary people become that way

“Sometimes the fastest way to get back in the game is to expect something from yourself again.”

John Assaraf - HAVING IT ALL - chieving Your Life's Goals and Dreams

“If everything in the universe is energy, then all that really matters is to understand that everything has a different frequency or different vibration.”

“For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction in nature. If you send out good harmonious thoughts, good harmonious thoughts come back. If you send out negative thoughts, negative thoughts come back. If you send out thoughts of doubts and fears and anxieties and worry, that’s the energy field that must come back, and that is not what you want.”

Brendon Burchard - MOTIVATION MANIFESTO - 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power

“None of us wants to be the cause of our own failure in life - yet most often we are. It is our own inept thinking, our own bad habits that rip the vibrancy from life. We are the ultimate oppressors of our own happiness.”

“Unless we are being chased by a deadly animal or deranges human, or face imminent physical harm like falling to our death, fear is just bad management of our mind.”

“The mother of motivation is choice. Every state, emotion, and mood available to Man can be generated at will in our mind.”

Mark Manson - THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK - A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

“Whether you realise it or not, you are always choosing what to give a f**k about. Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a fuck about what’s truly fuckworthy.”

“What are we choosing to give a f**k about? What values are we choosing to base our actions on? What metrics are we choosing to use to measure our life? And are those good choices - good values and good metrics?”

Mel Robbins - The 5 SECOND RULE - The Surprisingly Simple Way to Live, Love, and Speak with Courage

“Forget motivation; it’s a myth. I don’t know when we all bought into the idea that in order to change you must ‘feel’ eager or ‘feel’ motivated to act. It’s complete garbage. The moment it’s time to assert yourself, you will not feel motivated. In fact, you won’t feel like doing anything at all. If you want to improve your life, you’ll need to get off your rear end and kick your own butt. In my world, I call that the power of a push.”

Mel Robbins - STOP SAYING YOU’RE FINE

“What about yourself are you willing to shed to become who you were meant to be?”

“You need to hear this loud and clear. No one is coming. It is up to you. It has always been and will always be up to you. You may never feel inspired or clearheaded enough to seize a moment, but you have to force yourself to do it even if you don’t want to. Nothing is changing unless you make it change.”

“You miss an enormous number of opportunities to change your life on a daily basis because you are not focused on what you want. You are focused on your problems and maintaining the illusion that you are fine.”


Brene Brown - THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION - Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

“People may call what happens at midlife ‘a crisis’, but it’s not. It’s an unraveling - a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re ‘supposed’ to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.”

Brene Brown - RISING STRONG

“If we’re going to put ourselves out there and love with our whole hearts, we’re going to experience heartbreak. If we’re going to try new, innovative things, we’re going to fail. If we’re going to risk caring and engaging, we’re going to experience disappointment. It doesn’t matter if our hurt is caused by a painful breakup or we’re struggling with something smaller, like an offhand comment by a colleague or an argument with an in-law. If we can learn how to feel our way through these experiences and own our stories of struggle, we can write our own brave endings. When we own our stories, we avoid being trapped as characters in stories someone else is telling.”

“When we stop caring what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. But when we are defined by what people think, we lose the courage to be vulnerable. The solution is getting totally clear on the people whose opinions actually matter.”


Brene Brown - BRAVING THE WILDERNESS - The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone 

“There will be times when standing alone feels too hard, too scary, and we’ll doubt our ability to make our way through the uncertainty. Someone, somewhere, will say, ‘Don’t do it. You don’t have what it takes to survive the wilderness.’ This is when you reach deep into your wild heart and remind yourself, ‘ I am the wilderness’.