As I write this, the sun is shining and it feels like spring might (finally) be in the air. We’ve been having a bit of a spring clean here at LifeMatters, reflecting on our achievements and thinking of the exciting possibilities ahead. We’ve refreshed our website, as we look to the future and build on our successes.
Spring is traditionally associated with new life and new beginnings. As the landscape turns from brown to green, and buds burst into colour, we’re reminded of the cycle of life and growth. Wonderful things can emerge if given time and a little nurturing.
Just as we spring clean our homes, it can be a good time for a mental spring clean too. Winter is a wonderful time to hibernate but, as with nature, at some point we must shake off our winter woolies and face the daylight.
Why not try this simple exercise?
Set a goal, no matter how big or small. Is there something you want to achieve in your career? Or do you just want to manage your time better? Whatever it is, visualise that goal. Write it down. Say it out loud.
Now, write a list of all the things that are stopping you from achieving that goal.
From that list, is there anything you can stop doing? What’s holding you back?
Now think about the things you could start doing. What do you need to do to reach your goal?
Here at LifeMatters, we can to guide you through the obstacles and support you in reaching your potential. We take a creative approach to coaching, building a safe space for our clients to test out ideas and work on their challenges.
We’re delighted that May is National Walking Month, as going for a walk is one of our favourite ways of working. Especially in this beautiful weather! So if you are ready to face the sunlight and spring into action, why not get in touch? We’d love to hear from you.
In addition to being a Bon Jovi lyric for ‘Livin On A Prayer’ – we are indeed ‘half-way there’ in terms of the calendar year right now. This milestone in the year has reminded me of those conversations about resolutions we seem to have at the New Year. Personal resolutions such as: getting fitter; joining a gym; spending more quality time with our family and so on. Lots of us also make work-based goals: secure a promotion; find a new job in a new company; build better work relationships; make an impact at work etc.
Yet despite our best efforts, research shows that just 8% of us fully achieve our New Year’s resolution with 25% of people who make goals giving up within the first week! http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/
With that in mind, and to support myself in achieving one of my goals this year, I joined an online community and made a public commitment which was tracked via an app. Crucially, I was ‘rewarded’ with feedback and ‘thumbs up’ icons and I felt my achievements were celebrated. I lasted a full 6 weeks doing it this way – definitely longer than I would have done normally and it encouraged me to add new elements into my exercise routine, which, continue to this day.
If you made a resolution or a commitment to a goal earlier this year – how is it going? Have you achieved what you set out to do? Have you changed behavior and habits you previously struggled with?
Even if you haven’t yet fully reached your aim, it’s still worth thinking about how far you have come and celebrating the small changes that often add up and create a more positive life. Perhaps, that original goal is no longer relevant – that’s fine, things change. But what new goal is now more relevant and excites you…? Have you drifted and now want to ensure you realise at least one new goal this year…?
To help you achieve a goal in 2015, you could try this simple exercise:
- Write down the goal you want to achieve & set a timeframe
- Think about the behaviours and actions you now need to initiate:
- What could you STOP doing – ie: what are you currently doing that makes it hard for that goal to be realised..?
- What behaviours or attitudes could you MINIMISE/REDUCE to help support your goal
- What new actions could you START doing
- What’s going well that you should CONTINUE that supports your goal
- Think about your environment including your support network that will help you achieve your aim and any ‘tools’ you might need
Remember, identify a goal that you are motivated and committed to achieve. Be bold and be public in your commitment. Write it down or use a vision board. Track your progress – one small step at a time. Find an advocate to support you & don’t forget to celebrate when you achieve it!
A good coach can be the ideal advocate when tackling big life-changing goals. A coach is a cheerleader supporting you and offers important constructive feedback to keep you on track, and when you have achieved – they can help you review and celebrate your efforts!
March Blog – Your Personal Census
On this day (March 10th) in 1801, Britain undertook it’s first ever national census. This event has taken place in Britain every ten years since – with the exception of 1941 due to WW11. By the time of the next one in 2021, I’ll be looking forward to celebrating my half-century, one child may be about to leave home for University or travels and my coaching practice will officially be 10years old! There’s got to be at least one thing in that list to celebrate..?!
The OED definition of ‘census’ is: An official count or survey, especially of a population: & the word originates from Latin ‘censere ‘ to assess.
In daily life we are constantly assessing: which route to take to work; is there time for a second coffee; whether to accept an invitation to an event; even what’s in the fridge for lunch! Things are the transactional assessments we have to go through to navigate our way through daily routines at work and at home. There is also the need to assess issues that may affect us longer-term: a job-offer; school choices for our children; save for something or use credit; give up smoking or not.
Then there are assessments on a deeper level, which require us, like a census, to take stock, identify common themes, celebrate diversity, and celebrate our achievements to date. In the rush to ‘do’ in our daily lives, it’s easy to forget that some assessment or re-assessment of our status quo, is healthy and needed on a regular basis, certainly more frequently than once every 10 years!
Here are some questions that you could ask yourself in your personal census:
- Am I living the life I dreamed of 10years ago…? If not, which bits could I change to work better for me (and/or those around me)
- What am I most proud of at this moment in time?
- Which 5 values do I hold dear and symbolise the way I live my life?
- What’s the 1 thing I couldn’t live without?
- Do I surround myself with people who lift me up; inspire & energise me?
To fully benefit from this personal census, you may need to take action to change something or share your thoughts with your nearest and dearest. It may be that for now, simply acknowledging this personal assessment is enough.
If you would like guidance on undertaking your own personal census, or support in making some desired changes, you could try coaching.
Personal coaching is a great way of identifying areas for change and working with an independent support resource to make it happen. Get in touch today – firstname.lastname@example.org www.lifematterscoaching.co.uk
January 2015 Blog It’s Your Story….
Saturday 31st January marks the start of National Story-Telling Week in the UK. The objective of which is the ‘promotion of the oral tradition of storytelling, the very first way of communicating life experiences and the creative imagination.’ www.sfs.org.uk
When I stopped to think about this theme, I realized I use story-telling more than I first thought in every-day life. I use it when discussing ‘learning points’ with my children, perhaps to steer the conversation onto positive things that come out of tricky & new situations they’ve encountered that day at school.
I use it when I’m re-counting something that’s happened at work to my husband. I use it when I’m justifying a decision I’ve made, as it helps to create a picture & set the scene.
I’ll definitely be ‘story-telling’ this Saturday when I’m out for a birthday meal with friends and family – certainly embellishing and adding effects for comedy or dramatic value in the same way the old oral traditions of folk-lore, fairy stories, and local legends started many many years ago.
In a digital age, we are still surprisingly reliant on the old fashioned principle of story-telling. In an organizational setting, leaders tell stories to engage and ignite passionate staff into action to follow a strategy or adopt new ways of thinking. As teams, we tell stories to our staff as a way of making personal relationships, finding a connection, a common goal and as a way of explaining why we do certain things in certain ways.
As individuals, we often have a ‘background story’ that limits us – we label ourselves as ‘a bad parent’; ‘a results driven manager’; ‘uncreative’; ‘lacking networking or person skills’ – we then act out our lives to match the story we’ve been given or we’ve given ourselves.
Sometimes in a coaching session with a client, their story is like a script. The same words are used in conversations or arguments, the same actions and behaviours are followed. I hear that it’s ‘what they’ve always done’, yet often those old stories and behaviours don’t feel right anymore, and clients want to change the ending. Coaching a client in this situation means challenging the benefits of sticking to their usual script and asking the questions that help them see an alternative narrative, one that offers a different or more positive end to their story. Some good questions to use are:
‘What benefits are there to changing your behavior…?’
‘If you could go back in time, what would you do differently..?’
‘What do you want to stop doing?’
‘How can you forgive yourself (others) & move on..?’
Try telling a new story about yourself during National Story Telling Week 31st Jan-4th Feb.