Monthly Archives: June 2013

Are you living your life for someone else?

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine- Bruce Lee

 When I Grow Up…

When you were a kid, the answers to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” were limitless and varied. My future career plans included being a pilot, an astronaut, the president of Ireland, a writer, a teacher and a supermarket checkout clerk because I liked the sound of the beeps (a desire which has been satisfied since the introduction of self-scan!) Your answers may have been similarly ambitious or bizarre – but there were at least focused on things you were passionate about as a child.

When we were kids, we didn’t worry about things like getting a mortgage, eating sensible meals, promotions or biological clocks! We saw adulthood as a place of amazing freedom: when you’re an adult, you can cross the road on your own, buy as many toys as you like, go to Disneyland by yourself and eat cake for breakfast.

But somehow by the time we reach our early twenties, this world of vast possibilities has completely narrowed. We go to college, because that’s what everyone else is doing. Then we look for a sensible, entry-level job, because that’s what everyone else is doing. Pretty soon, we think about buying a house, getting a better car, working towards a promotion, watching crap on TV … because that’s what everyone else is doing!

What Happened to our Amazing Life?

Life isn’t supposed to be a dull, day-in-day-out routine where work is just about bearable and evenings are spent going through the motions: eating dinner, watching TV, surfing the net … waiting for it to be time to go to bed, sleep, get up and repeat.

Life should be an adventure, it should be fun, it should have you at the edge of your seat in anticipation sometimes, it should be a leap into the unknown, a chance to grow, and an opportunity to do something that makes a difference after you’ve gone. This is what you wanted at one point in your life! What went wrong? How can you escape from just going with the flow and the life that you’ve fallen into, and start living a life that actually means something to you?

Don’t Let Other People’s Expectations Box You In

Some women have no problems with “peer pressure”: they’re self-declared rebels who have forged their own path since they were two years old without any worries about what mam, dad, nana or their friends might think!

The rest of us though, find that other people’s expectations can begin to rule and run our lives. In some ways, this isn’t surprising at all. As humans, we’re social creatures and if we behave in a way that raising a lot of eyebrows and causes disapproval amongst our social group, we risk being excluded or rejected by our community. An extra factor in this is that girls especially have been raised to be people pleasers: as children, we delighted in praise from parents and teachers, and we continue seeking this as adults.

As I see it, the top three problems with living a life designed around other people’s expectations, are:

  • Their expectations could be based on a very inaccurate impression of you
  • You just can’t please everyone
  • Your values could be completely different from their values

 1.      Their Expectations May Be Based On an Inaccurate View Of You

You family often fail to recognise how you’ve changed and grown over the years. You’ll always be the ‘baby’ to your parents if you’re the youngest or the ‘responsible one’ if you’re the eldest! They tend to label you – and it’s very easy to end up conforming to these labels because you believe them. “Oh, Amy’s always been scatty” or “Lyndsey always was the quiet one” or “Rebecca never could get her point across.”

Remember, you’re the only person in the world who knows what’s happening inside your head. You might have a huge amount of potential that no-one else recognises. Your parents, your friends or your teacher might have decided what you’re capable of – but you know there’s more to you than what they see. If you do have habits and characteristics that you’d like to change, you have the ability and the power to do that if you so choose!

2.      You Just Can’t Please Everyone

I’ve always liked Aesop Tale about “The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey”:

A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way.  But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster; he lets his father walk while he rides.” So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey.  By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them.  The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at.  The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey with you and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do.  They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders.  They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole.  In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them: “Please all, and you will please none.”

The point isn’t hard to grasp: trying to please everyone is impossible, and will result in failure to please anyone -especially yourself.

If you’re trying to live up to all the expectations that are coming at you (from parents, friends, and society at large) – you’ll end up feeling miserable because you’re not living the life you want to, and you’ll inevitably fail to meet all the competing demands!

3.      Your Values Could Be Completely Different From Their Values

This is the biggest problem with trying to meet other people’s expectations: they more than likely will have a completely different agenda to yours. Perhaps your mam thinks the most important thing you could do with your life is have a very “important” job, whereas you value creativity, design and art. It’s no wonder that your mam wants you to “make the most of yourself” – but if you follow her advice to become a doctor or lawyer, you’ll be making yourself miserable.

You need to get clear about your own values and priorities: then you can figure out what you want to refocus your life around.

Your parents might think you’ve flipped and that you should be committed. Your friends might laugh at you. Your siblings might call you names and say you’ve sold out. Don’t ignore their advice … but don’t be afraid of what they think of you and how you choose to live your own life.

Why Do You Worry About What Other People Think

Does the voice in your head go something like this?

  • I really don’t want to go out to the pub tonight, but the girls will think I’m no fun if I stay home and they’ll be talking about me when I’m not there.
  • I’m under pressure and struggling with my workload already but I can’t say no when someone asks me to do a favour as they might think I’m mean, a bitch or that I’m struggling with my workload!
  • I know that this relationship isn’t working, but how can I say that to Tom? He’ll hate me and he’ll be devastated. It would hurt me to hurt him so I’ll go with the flow for another month and see what happens.

If it was your best friend saying something like the above comments to you, you would give her a swift kick up the ass; tell her to cop on to herself and to do what she wanted and what would make her happy. “Who cares what other people think!” you would say.

Remember, no-one else in the world knows what is going on inside your head (thank god says you); you can’t read mind and know what’s going on in their heads either. It really is a waste of time to worry what other people will be thinking: more than likely we will be wrong and we end up dramatising everything into gargantuan proportions! Even if other people are thinking negatively about you, what real impact do other people’s negative thoughts have on your life?

I’ve often worried what people will think and I used to hold myself back to a huge degree. I’m self employed and I really struggled to put myself out there when I set out on my own – I was terrified of ‘being exposed’ to a mass of strangers. I had no idea how people would react to a nervous 28 year old giving a seminar on ‘Self Esteem’ and I would dramatise it in my head, playing out different scenarios, each one worse than the last. (In my mind dramas, no-one threw anything at me, but many people muttered under their breath and walked out mid-seminar). If I had allowed worrying what other people thought of me to run my life, I would not be where I am right now. I would probably be living a miserable life always wondering ‘What if?’

I’m going to finish this issue of Progress as I started!

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine- Bruce Lee

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress, that you got something valuable from it and could relate! Don’t forget that the ‘30 days to be your own Fairy Godmother‘ programme is closing shortly! Don’t miss out!

Until next week,

P

GradIreland 2013 – Self Esteem and Your Career

 Good Afternoon! My name is Paula Coogan, I am the owner of The Aspirations Coach, which has recently rebranded at The Quarter Life Coach, and I work with individuals in their 20’s and 30’s to help them discover their passions and make life work on their own terms!

I’m here today to talk to you about Self Esteem and Your Career.

 You may be thinking that self-esteem is a strange topic to cover at a Graduate Fair and I could have spoken to you about networking, how to choose the right course for you, how to figure out what you really want to do in terms of your career, interview techniques but instead I decided to talk to you about self esteem because to be honest, right now for many people it’s more important.

In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. From my own work with private clients and also from speaking to my coaching colleagues, I know that this is an area that people are really struggling with!!!

We all know that the current economic climate is challenging. Some of you are in the process of looking for suitable employment, some of you are currently working but you all have something in common. You’re here today because you are trying to find a way to bridge the gap from where you are now to where you want to be.

It can be a scary place to be, looking out to the horizon, trying to figure out the best way forward. No one wants to waste time and money if there’s uncertainty about whether it will be the bridge you’re looking for. I don’t know if you’re anything like me but I spent 5 years in college, worked in my qualified profession for 3 years and then realised it wasn’t for me. I woke up one day and said ‘Oh crap is this it?

It was in a vicious circle- I knew I had to do something, I hadn’t a clue what ‘something’ was going to be, questioning myself, doubting myself and constantly comparing myself to others who seemed to have it all figured out! My self esteem was taking an absolute beating!

From my own experience and my work with private clients, I‘ve seen the effect that self-esteem can have on your career and the decisions that you make. Your levels of self esteem come across in your CV, it can come across when you’re networking and of course it comes across in interviews.

This is why I felt that I wanted to address this with you guys today. We’re going to do a crash course on the main areas which I would work with clients to address their self esteem and also to ensure that they had a strong and healthy appreciation of what they offer and the value of who they are.

 We’ll discuss 3 main areas:

1. 2 Questions vs. 4 Questions

2. Your Job Titles vs. Your Transferable Skills

3. Overcoming the Gremlin aka That Little voice in your head

We’ll dive straight in!

When it comes to our career, most of the time we ask just 2 questions. They are

 Just Two Questions

What do I want?

And

How Do I get it?

But the funny thing is that often, we’re not 100% sure what we want so we look around us to try and figure out what we should want. We’re told by others what we’d be good at, what constitutes a ‘proper job’. We are influenced by our friends, our families, our parents, media and our culture. web mentions We are conditioned to move towards things that we’re told we should want.

For example, if you were very academic in school, you’re pretty much guaranteed that you would be shepherded towards a ‘high points’ career choice such as medicine or law!

So many people make decisions based on what they think they should want or in other words, based on their conditioning.

So anyway then we ask the second question, How do I get it? We’re told the path- it’s generally work really hard, put your head down and keep going. So we duly oblige, we work really hard and pursue that path only to get there and realise that it doesn’t really fit us!

If we’re lucky and have the resources, we may be able to go back a step and ask the first question again’ Ok, what do I want now? And what happens, we spin ourselves right back into the same loop again.

 Just Two more Questions

I was spinning for a good while before I realised that I needed to ask 4 questions, not two. These 4 questions honestly changed my life and have changed the lives of so many people that I’ve worked with.

The four questions you need to ask, in this order are:

1. Who Am I?

2. What Do I want?

3. Why do I want this?

4. How Do I get it?

 1. Who Am I?

How could we forget this most basic question? The first time I asked this of myself I hadn’t a clue! I couldn’t answer it without just saying I’m Paula. But really, the question is all about getting to the core of you. What makes you tick? What do you enjoy? What’s most important to you in your life? In your career? What do you value? What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about other people? What do you believe about the world? What shapes you? What did you love to do as a kid? What makes you you? You are completely unique! You have a unique set of skills, life experience, passions, characteristics, traits, thoughts and emotions to anyone else in the world!

Do you think it might be worthwhile to figure yourself out first before you decide what you want to do with your life?

 2. What do I want?

We’ve met this question before but I assure you that the answer for a lot of people is quite different if they’ve taken the time to really figure themselves out first. There is clarity, confidence and a huge boost to your self esteem when you ask this question aligned with the knowledge of who you are.

 3. Why do I want it?

This is the safety net question. If the word ‘should’ is in your answer then I want the Star Trek Red Alert noise to play in your head! By asking this question, you are making sure that you ‘own’ your decision! To make sure that there’s no influence or interference from people who are not you! To make sure that it is in sync with who you are.

 4. How do I get it?

If you approach your career asking the above questions, you’ll have greater clarity about who you are and what you want to offer the world, you’ll know exactly what you want and what you need to prioritise, you’ll know the motivation behind your desires and that will be the driving force to get you to take action and because of your confidence, focus and passion, you will figure out how to do it.

(Note: If you haven’t already done so, please visit www.myquarterlifecoach.com and on the homepage, subscribe for my free ebook ‘The Secret to Quarter Life Happiness’ – I discuss these 4 questions in much more detail!)

 2 questions vs. 4 Questions.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal but it is one of the most powerful and simplest ways to take control of your career path and how you feel about the decisions you make and more importantly how you feel about yourself!

Anyway, we’re going to move on to:

 Your Job Titles vs. Your Transferable Skills

How does a lack of self-esteem show up in your career? What would be a tell-tale sign? Well for one thing, it can have you box yourself off from certain roles or opportunities because you don’t believe that you can actually do it.

So often, I work with individuals who are seeking a new direction or new role and they look at their past job titles and based on that, they decide what positions they will or can apply for in the future. They completely box themselves off from other career choices and opportunities.

This is so important I need to repeat it- You are not your Job Titles– they do not define you or indicate what you can or cannot do.

What you need to look at are your ‘Transferable Skills’.

In terms of options open to you- you are your transferable skills. Transferable skills are those skills that you have picked up in your current role or in previous roles; that you can actually ‘take away’ for use in future roles. Looked in this way, your past becomes a mere prologue to a future full of possibilities. Everything you did in the past remains with you, for it has been added to your transferable skills piggy bank. Nothing was wasted!

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Transferable skills help you:

  • Clarify what it is you have to offer
  • Target the right roles
  • Make your own unique sales pitch
  • Tell people what you are about
  • Summarise your career to date to an interviewer
  • Maximise the impact of the profile at the top of your CV
  • Highlight any skills gaps that may require up-skilling on your part

Example:

In order to demonstrate this properly to you, I’m going to use one of my past clients as an example. Names and details have obviously been changed!

Susie came to me because she had aspirations to move into a career of interior design. She had a huge passion for it but she couldn’t see how, how she’d even get a look in, how she’d get anyone to talk to her, how she’s even get started. What she was doing was looking at her job titles and she just couldn’t see how interior design and what she had done to date could relate. She was boxing herself off.

What we did was to analyse and clarify her transferable skills.

I broke her skills down from her different roles in the past. This is what she actually did there. They are the skills that she had developed and the situations in which she had demonstrated them. The aim is to break it down so that we can see which of these skills can ‘be lifted’ and taken away for use elsewhere in a different role, situation and context.

Soft skills

What we also considered were Susie’s soft skills. Soft skills are our set of skills which influence how we interact with others and all things being equal- it is our soft skills which will determine whether we our chosen for a role over another candidate.

Deficit to Abundance

Susie had gone from a place of deficit in terms of 6-7 job titles that had boxed her off from what she wanted to do. When we sat down and went through her transferable skills, it opened the whole world up to her because she could see how many roles her skills could be transferred to. Now she could see the link between what would be required in an interior design role and what she already possessed. And she could see where she needed to upskill- she felt so much more confident in investing in a further qualification as she could see that it would be enhancing what she already had to offer!

This gave her such a boost in confidence and in her self esteem. She was able to start making connections; she was able to see that her past was a mere prologue to her future and that nothing had been wasted. Before this, she had been looking solely at her job titles and seeing them as a huge weight around her neck which would prevent her from moving forwards and keeping her firmly stuck where she was.

She now owned her transferable skills; she got really clear on exactly what she had to offer. She acknowledged her skill set, appreciated it and valued it. When she spoke to people in the industry with this new-found clarity and appreciation for herself and her abilities- people responded so well to her. They were open with their advice, support and encouragement because they could see she was passionate, talented and valuable. Pretty soon, she had offers of freelance work and apprenticeships and is now well on her way to doing exactly what she wanted.

She now believes that if she had stayed were she was, looking solely at her job titles- that the interior design industry would still be boxed off for her.

I know that transferable skills is a big topic, it’s quite meaty and to actually clarify your own transferable skills will take time. However I would highly encourage anyone who hasn’t done it yet, to make the time to do this. It makes such a difference in terms of how you feel about yourself, in your ability to present yourself and in helping you see clearly the areas that you need to upskill and give you an understanding of what qualifications will enhance what you already possess.

So we’re going to move on to one of my personal favourites!

 Overcoming the Gremlin aka That voice in your head

Self-esteem was always something I struggled with. It’s a pity I never joined a debating team because by the time I was in my late teens, I had plenty of practice! There was a never ending debate in my head about everything; it was as if I had a split personality. I would want to do something but then I’d have that little voice in my head saying ‘Oohh, be careful- you could screw it up and make a show of yourself’.

The more I wanted to try, grow, learn and experience, the more that little voice spoke up. It got to the point that on many occasions, I actually listened to it and I held myself back. When I left college and was looking for my first real job, there were so many occasions that  the little voice in my head told me I wouldn’t be good enough, that there were going to be so many better candidates and that I was going to be rejected so there was no point in even putting in an application.

Listening to that negative voice in your head leads to self-doubt which is that feeling of uncertainty about your ability to accomplish something. It can be like a dark shadow of insecurity that follows us around and it can lead to hesitation and indecision. If we don’t do anything about it, it can cause us to abandon our dreams or radically lower our expectations of ourselves.

I really want you to know that what you say to yourself has an enormous effect on your entire being. It affects your energy levels, your physiology and of course, your self-esteem.

It’s important to know that everyone has their own little gremlin inside their head! Call it what you will- your saboteur, your inner critic, mind monkeys- whatever! Often people think that their inner critic is who they really are and who they ever will be and that is a lie. It is simply doubts and fears which you have learnt and adopted as you went through your life and ……..anything that you have learned, you can unlearn.

The people that you admire who seem to ooze confidence and charisma has simply learnt how to deal with their own gremlins! There are strategies and techniques that they have used or are using and I’m going to share with you some strategies that myself and my clients have found useful for dealing with your inner gremlin!

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1. Recognise and acknowledge your doubts

You cannot overcome something until you first recognise and acknowledge its existence. If we ignore self-doubt, it will still be there whether we like it or not and it will stop us from moving forward. Bottom line, you need to deal with it because it won’t go away unless you sacrifice your progress. The better you become at identifying hidden doubts, the easier it will be to overcome them.

Ask yourself ‘What triggered this and why am I feeling this way?’ Information is power and you are beginning to take back your power.

 2.  Is there a pattern?

You probably know the answer to this already! Doubt tends to have favourite places to hang out so the chances are that you have experienced it in a similar situation before. Think about it, public speaking?  Talking to your boss? Ringing to enquire about a vacancy? Networking?

Is there any situation that you’ve experienced doubt before but you overcame it? If so, what did you do? What steps did you take? If not, what could you do differently next time around?

3. Create a plan

So now, you have acknowledged its existence, you are aware of the patterns and you have a good idea as to what you could you differently. Now, I want you to sit down and plan out a strategy for defeating your self-doubt. For example, if you have an interview, then make a plan to prepare and practice your interview skills until all your doubts are obliterated and you know that you are capable playing at your best. Make an educated decision about what to do next? Ask for help if you want, two heads are always better than one. Put your plan in writing.

4. Take action and be flexible

Once you have your plan in writing, try to identify some possible challenges along the way and decide what you will do about them. This will add to your confidence as you will feel more prepared. Using the above example of an interview, hire a professional interview coach to help you or ask a friend. Sometimes, a little support and encouragement is all it takes.

So that’s our mini crash course for today! My intention was to demonstrate to you the importance of the link between self esteem and your career.

We talked about:

 Two Questions Vs. 4 Question

Who Am I?

What Do I Want?

Why Do I want It?

How Do I get it?

 Job titles vs. Transferable Skills 

How by focusing solely on your previous job titles, you can box yourself off.

Look at your Transferable Skills instead

In terms of options open to you, you are your transferable skills.

We talked about:

 Overcoming the Gremlin aka That Little Voice in Your Head

Listening to that negative voice in your head can lead to self-doubt, hesitation and indecision.

We talked about how everyone experiences that inner gremlin and we discussed some strategies for overcoming it.

1. Recognise and acknowledge your doubts

2. Is there a pattern?

3. Create a plan

4. Take action and be Flexible

As I said at the beginning, in the current climate people’s self esteem is taking a beating and when an individual’s self-esteem is low- it shows. It comes across in your CV, it comes across at an interview, it comes across when you’re networking, and it comes across in the decisions you make in your day to day life.

That is why I felt that I wanted to address this with you guys today and provide you with some strategies and tools that you can use to boost yourself up whenever the need arises. It’s important that you feel good about you.

Remember the cat, the mirror and the self portrait!

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Having strong self-esteem says a lot about you. When you smile, you’re showing your self-confidence. When you look someone in the eye, you show that you respect others and aren’t easily intimidated. When you give someone a firm handshake, you show that you are sure of yourself. As a candidate, you need to show an employer you are proud of who you are and what you have to offer.

You want to show employers that you have faith in yourself and that you know that you’re going to find a company that will be worthy of having you on board.

So to wrap up, I just want to say thank you so much for your time, your energy and your effort. This is just the 5th time that I have spoken in public like this and coming into it, I was quite scared. All week, I’ve been using the strategies and tools that I’ve speaking to you about so I hope that by my being here instead of under the duvet as my inner gremlin was suggesting I do, acts a just a little bit more evidence that these strategies are valuable.

If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks again!

Paula

P. S

Please don’t forget to claim your free copy of ‘The Secret to Quarter Life Happiness’report 1 available from the homepage at www.myquarterlifecoach.com

 

Feeling a bit disconnected?

We all know the feeling, those times when we just don’t feel quite ourselves. We’re never too sure what’s wrong….In fact, often there’s nothing really wrong but at the same time, nothing really feels right either. But we’re in a strange humour, feeling like there’s something missing, feeling indecisive, a bit down and lost in our own little worlds.

So, what’s going on here and what can we do?

I’ve learnt through my own experience and from working with private clients that whenever someone says that they feel disconnected and describe feeling lost, it’s because they are. They are disconnected from their authentic self.

I’ve written before about the social self and the authentic self but a quick recap!

The authentic self is the part of you that knows your preferences for everything; it knows what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about, what brings you joy and what you love to do. The authentic self knows that you want to order dessert in the restaurant whereas the social self will tell you not to be a piggy as no one else is having anything! The authentic self is that part of you that is spontaneous, curious, fascinated with the world and playful.

The social self is that part of you that has been influenced by your culture, your environment, your peers, your family and society as you have grown up and throughout your life. It has taught you to value the same or similar things to most other people in your circle such as stable job, being financially secure, owning your own home, meeting a partner, having a family, having a pension, looking after your parents – being a ‘good girl’ shall we say!

Bottom line, the authentic self knows what you truly want and the social self helps you make it happen. The feeling of disconnect occurs because over the years, your social self has gagged your authentic self in order to make sure you fit in and behave in a socially accepted manner!

This is where the disconnect feelings come from! Your social self and your authentic self are disconnected, leaving you uncertain and lost. For many people, this has been going on for so many years that you’re not even sure what you’re authentic self even wants!

This is what I want to talk to you about today, how to listen to and notice when your heart is saying YES!!!!

Here are some of the most common ways that the authentic self says ‘Hell yes, I want more of that!

1. Good Mood aka Warm and Cuddly feelings

The key is to notice the good mood from wherever it comes from! It could be from flirting with the waiter on your lunch break, sorting out your wardrobe and getting rid of all the crap you have, it could be from getting a seat on the bus when you’re wearing heels, having a good boogie around the kitchen, spending hours creating and building something special or singing your heart out in the car! Whatever it is that makes you feel good, pay attention! By noticing these good moods and the activities that produce them, you’re connecting with your authentic self and learning what makes it happy.

2. Super Turbo Interest

Each of us has our own interests, passions and path. The information that I’m passionate about and that interests me could bore you to tears and vice versa. I have no interest in designing jewellery and the detailed processes involved with that and to be honest, within a 5 mile radius, probably no one else is interested either. But that is exactly my point!! That is what makes you special- that is what makes your particular super memory in this area special. So often, we think that because we’re good at something and because it comes easily to us, that it’s not anything spectacular and everyone else probably finds it easy too. That is not true! By paying attention to your particular interests and the types of information that you recall easily, you will really get to know what your authentic self is drawn to and fascinated by!

3. Abundant Energy

When you’re engaged in an activity that your authentic self is saying yes to- you feel vibrant and alive. We all know how quickly the shift to abundant energy can happen-(think about a time when you were in work, sitting at your desk like a zombie and then you were asked to nip out to the shop or post office. You would go from zero energy to skipping out the door in a matter of seconds! Or you’ve been making small talk politely with your house-mate and feeling your energy draining but then you’re awake half the night totally engrossed in a book!) There are certain activities that will boost your energy levels- what are they? Does spending time with certain people boost your energy? How about places? Do certain places make you come alive- being at the sea, boarding a plane for an adventure??

4. Getting lost in Good Times

When you’re following the desires of your authentic self and engaged in activities that are more aligned with your purpose and values, you enter what is commonly called ‘flow time’. Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, claims that mastery comes with a 10,000 hour rule attached and the people we refer to as lucky and successful are not exempt from this -if you look at everything from the (not-yet –famous) Beatles playing inhumanly long hours in Hamburg to Bill Gates putting in excessive hours of unpaid computer time as a teenager in the University of Washington. What ultimately drove them was the love of the craft– they were ambitious yes but they had no guarantee that they would have any success at all. But they completely immersed themselves in their work and they entered ‘flow time’- that state in which you become completely lost in the activity. What activities do you get lost in? What does your authentic self love to do?

5. Being comfy in your own skin

There are certain people or groups of people that we simply feel ‘at home’ with. We feel like we can be ourselves and are completely relaxed. With people like this, we feel like we have known them for years even though it could only just be a few minutes. website traffic It’s natural and they just understand us. This is our authentic self saying ‘yes’, I like this person or these people- hang out with more of them!!

Have a ponder of these points the next time you feel yourself feeling a bit disconnected! Listen to your heart, pay attention to your authentic self and it will show you what you need to do to reconnect!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! Drop me a line or share on the facebook page how your authentic self says yes!

Until next time,

Look after you,

P x

Would you like to meet your ‘Two Selves’?

So, out of curiosity, do you ever self sabotage? Do you frequently miss the bus by just a few seconds? Completely forget about something until it’s the last minute and then have to rush around like a lunatic! An interesting theory that I have come across is the question

‘Is the behaviour really self sabotage or is it actually in harmony with the desires of our authentic self?

Allow me to introduce you to the two selves…

The social self is that part of you that has been influenced by your culture, your environment, your peers, your family and society as you have grown up and throughout your life. It has taught you to value the same or similar things to most other people in your circle such as stable job, being financially secure, owning your own home, meeting a partner, having a family, having a pension, looking after your parents – being a ‘good girl’ shall we say!

The authentic self is the part of you that knows your preferences for everything; it knows what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about, what brings you joy and what you love to do. The authentic self knows that you want to order dessert in the restaurant whereas the social self will tell you not to be a piggy as no one else is having anything! The authentic self is that part of you that is spontaneous, curious, fascinated with the world and playful.

Having a well developed social self can be a great asset, however when it is too dominant, it can essentially cut us off from our authentic self who has all the information that we need to discover our true purpose and our true desires.

The metaphor I use for this is that the social self is the car but the authentic self is the destination. The car might work perfectly but if we don’t know the destination, it means we’re wasting a lot of time driving around in circles. The feelings that we have of feeling down and sad are not just us the fact that we’re unhappy in our careers or in our lives, our authentic self is actually mourning the loss of our life’s purpose and true desires.

Now, in saying this the social self and the authentic self can work beautifully together when they are both in sync however this is not the case for the majority of women in their 20’s & 30’s in today’s society. A lot of us, without realising it, have put others in charge of directing our paths in life. (Be it from ‘going with the flow’ and seeing what happens as to whether we get a promotion to asking anyone and everyone what they think we should do!). We very rarely consult with our inner selves and most of the time we steer our lives based on the instructions of other people (who most of the time do have our best interests at heart) but who really have no idea what we’re passionate about and therefore they have no idea how to help us find our true desires or purpose. As a result, naturally we end up driving in the wrong direction. But there is one word that the authentic self has to get back on track – that word is No!

Do you remember the word no? It was one of the most wonderful discoveries of your early childhood! My nephew Jamie is two now and he goes crazy for the word no. He uses it constantly and very loudly. He has no problem whatsoever telling me and anyone else within a 5 mile radius what he does and doesn’t like. The problem here is that according to the adults and experts around, Jamie is going through the ‘terrible two’s’- you see we think it’s terrible because as adults, it’s our job to socialise children and that doesn’t work very well when Jamie is running around like a mad thing shouting no all the time. He’s doing the opposite of what society in general wants him to do- socialisation basically means learning to say yes to all cultural demands whether you want not to or not. Girls especially are trained to be pleasers and have good manners etc.

So, if you take the age you are right now and subtract twothat’s the number of years you have been forcing yourself to say yes when your authentic self might have really wanted to say no. Think about it, school, family, friends, work, all of those times when there was expectations and pressure on you to behave in a certain way, make certain choices and decisions and lead a certain kind of life. My point is that your social self no longer knows what you want or need or desire, its main focus is getting you to fit in! Scary eh?

The most basic way to reconnect your two selves is to pay attention! Notice how you feel in certain situations and around certain people. Teach your social self to pay attention to when your authentic self says no! By doing this, you begin to rewire the inner guidance system that can lead you toward your best life by making decisions that are actually in alignment with who you really are and what you really want!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of progress!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please drop me a line!

Until next week,

Paula

 

What are your Personal Rules?

Hi!

I hope you had a great bank holiday weekend! I know I certainly did! I had the privilege of taking part in the womens mini marathon on Monday and I had an absolute ball! (I wasn’t able to walk afterwards and every muscle in my body was aching but it still felt great!)

It reminded me of an experience a few years ago that I wanted to share with you! I hope you enjoy this weeks issue of Progress, that can relate to it and that it makes you smile!

What are your Personal Rules?

Our experience of reality has nothing to do with reality, but is interpreted through the controlling force of our beliefs; specifically, the rules we have about what has to happen for us to feel a particular way.

What needs to happen for you to feel good? Does someone need to appreciate you and tell you that they respect you? Do you need to have a certain amount of money in the bank? Do you need to have achieved all your goals? Do you need to feel like your day was productive? Do you have to go to the gym or exercise at least 3 times a week?

The truth is that nothing needs to happen for you to feel good. You don’t need recognition, respect, money, ideal weight to feel good. You could feel good right now for no reason whatsoever! Think about it……. Achieving everything you set out to achieve in your day doesn’t give you any pleasure. It’s your rule or belief that says ‘When I hit this mark, then I’ll give myself permission to feel good’. In that moment, you decide to feel good.

We all have different rules and standards that govern not only the way we feel about things that happen in our lives but how we’ll behave and respond in a given situation. Ultimately, what we do and who we become is dependent on the direction that our values (the things that are most important to us in life) have taken us. But equally or even more importantly, what will determine our emotions and behaviours is our beliefs and our personal rules. Our personal rules are the ultimate judge and jury.

They determine whether or not a certain value is met, whether we’ll feel good or bad and whether we’ll give ourselves a hard time or self praise and appreciation. If I were to ask you ‘Are you successful?’ your response would be based on whether you think you meet a certain set of criteria that you believe constitutes being successful.

You might say ‘Yes, I am successful’ and I could discover your rules by asking you ‘how do you know you’re successful? Or ‘What needs to happen in order for you to feel successful?’ You might say because I wake up in great form every day or because I have good relationships or because I’m financially free or because I’ve found my passion in life or because I like myself!

On the other hand, some people don’t feel that they’re successful. Is this because they aren’t successful or is it because their personal rules are quite intense and harsh? This is important to think about it as a lot of people who we would consider to be successful don’t feel it themselves because their rules about success don’t allow them to feel it.

I lived like this for so long! I did the mini marathon a few years ago and even though I completed it, I gave myself a hard time becuase I ‘should’ have done better. My rule was that in order for me to feel successful doing the womens mini marathon, I had to complete it in X minutes. When I failed to reach that mark, I failed. I didn’t allow myself to feel good or proud of myself. This was a pattern for me in many areas of life, I would set difficult targets for myself and quite often fail to reach them. (Example: My daily to -do list probably would take 3-4 days to actually complete, ensuring that every day I was setting myself to fail!!)

This would lead to feeling not good enough, giving myself a hard time and I know that on many occasions when I would have the opportunity to do something nice for myself, I would say no because I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I hadn’t earned it based on the harsh criteria I was applying to myself. Needless to say, I was quite miserable!

This predicament of not feeling the emotions we deserve is not limited to success. Most of us have rules that are just as harsh for feeling like we have made a difference, security, intelligence and just about everything else. Everything in our lives from work to play is presided over by the judge and jury of your rules.

Most of us have created numerous ways to feel bad and only a few ways to feel good. I’m always amazed at the overwhelmingly number of women whose rules wire them to feel shitty! (I thought it was just me!)

You could be winning and feel like you’re losing because the scorecard you are using is completely unfair!! You probably have a system of rules that causes you to feel not good enough, anxious, angry, hurt or unsuccessful or you have no clear rules for knowing when you’re happy, healthy, worthy and so on!

A lot of it has to do with cultural conditioning. Many of us are afraid that if we don’t have very intense rules, then we won’t be driven to succeed; we won’t be motivated to work hard and achieve. But the truth is that we don’t have to have ridiculously difficult rules in order to keep our drive! If a person makes their rules too intense or too painful then pretty soon they will discover that no matter what they do, they can’t win and they begin to experience what is called learned helplessness. This is not a great place to be in, trust me, I’ve been there and have a few t-shirts!

You can take back control though, awareness is always the first step! Once you acknowledge what you’re doing, you give yourself the power to change it! So raise your awareness, take the first step and ask yourself ‘What needs to happen for me to feel happy?’

Drop me a line and let me know what rules surprised you!

With Love and Respect,

Until next week,

P x

What do you think of my new pup?lilo Her name is Lilo!