The art of the self-soothe – remembering to relax & wind down this week:
As Christmas approaches, are you reflecting on the year that has passed? Or even the decade? It’s been quite a turbulent few years in which the world has developed at an incredible pace, especially in technology. We are more connected than ever before, with a multitude of social platforms to choose from. Yet for many of us this can also present overwhelming challenges.
At this time of year, emotions can run high as we rush to complete projects at work, attend various school or social events, plan the ‘perfect’ Christmas celebrations, and present that ‘competent and confident’ persona at all times.
So, amidst the noise, how can you process your place in the world and begin to think about what lies ahead? How do you measure success or satisfaction at work or in relationships? What plans for your future excite you and drive you forward?
Many of us don’t have the luxury of a fjord nearby but there is growing evidence of the benefit of being amongst trees. They’re believed to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, and even give off an immune-boosting chemical. Getting outdoors, going for a walk and a having a change of scenery can be a great way to give yourself a mental break and refresh. I often incorporate this into my coaching sessions, as I find it’s a great way to help people relax and shift into a different mindset, often prompting exciting, creative or ambitious ideas that we then work on turning into reality.With a nod to the winter landscape, in the UK we often take inspiration from our Nordic cousins. The Norwegians have a slightly ironic phrase, ‘føling i fjæra’ – which (I’m assured) roughly translates as ‘feeling emotional while staring out to sea (or a fjord)’. Sometimes just being with your emotions can help to reflect on how we’re feeling, what we’ve achieved or what hasn’t gone quite the way we hoped it would. Without that time and space we run the risk of going through the motions, like a hamster on a wheel. But with all the pressures of modern life, this can lead to stress and burnout.
As the decade draws to a close, you may wish to think about new beginnings, or consolidating something you’ve been working on already. How can you build on your achievements as you head into 2020? Maybe you’re thinking of changing direction or facing a new challenge. Whether you’re staring out to sea, walking in the woods or having a cosy moment at home, now is a good time to slow down, step back, reflect on the past and think about the new year.
To find out how Life Matters Coaching can help you find the right balance in your work, your personal life and your business, get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.
This week I happily took part in a ‘press photo call’ celebrating the installation of a community based defibrillator on Mapperley Plains.
Originally the idea of Alan Dawson of the community group ‘Mapperley People’ – the purchase & installation of this potentially life-saving machine was a group effort via individual donations. I wanted to be a part of this initiative as it seemed ‘the right thing to do’, so Life Matters Coaching Ltd donated to boost the coffers.
I didn’t have to think twice about donating: it seemed natural, a great use of technology, and a worthwhile cause for the wider community. In life there are often these ‘no-brainer’ decisions or actions we take, each particular to ourselves, our values and our view on our world. It just seems ‘to fit’.
When we take these actions, be it volunteering at a church group or local Brownies group, or picking up litter on an organised litter drive, or collecting donations for the local Food Bank, we are supporting and playing a part in the society around us – it feels good.
This feel good factor comes from us supporting others and influencing the world around us, even in tiny every-day ways and it’s important, not just to our local community but it benefits our own mental health and satisfaction with our life.
Volunteering or supporting local groups gives us meaning and a connection to our world, which in turn increases our happiness and satisfaction with how we are living out our lives.
If you are looking for ways to increase your own happiness do something to support someone else – it’s a win-win!
1:1 coaching can help you live a more meaningful life and facilitate your own unique ‘happiness recipe’ – get in touch for an friendly chat today
Thursday 24th November marks the national holiday of Thanksgiving for our USA cousins over the pond for 2017. It’s now a holiday known the world-over as we become more and more of a ‘global village’.
The traditional origin of Thanksgiving dates back to the 16th century when it started to ‘Give Thanks’ for the fruits of the harvest. It became a national holiday with a consistent format in 1789 by order of George Washington. It’s now celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November with a generous meal based around turkey & pumpkin pie.
National public holidays can be an opportunity to shake off the usual work routine, gather together with friends and family spending quality time socialising and catching up, and of course indulging in some foodie treats. It’s an opportunity to press pause on ‘normality’ and get together to swap stories, reminisce and to create new memories in our personal lives.
But, how many opportunities do we have to pause and celebrate in our work lives…? Could coming together out of our normal routine help us to reflect, learn and create a new way forward for our ourselves and our team if we had the chance of a ‘Thanksgiving’ day at work…?
- How much creativity could we tap into?
- What learning could be enjoyed?
- What new connections could be made?
- How would we review our achievements so far?
Could you create a few moments of ‘Thanksgiving’ for you & your team this week…? Working with an independent coach or facilitator can improve the quality of these conversations and successfully set you up for the year ahead.
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!
Taken from ‘Female Business Hub’ – April 10th 2015
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.