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Is fear of failing holding you back?

I haven’t failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. 

–Thomas Edison

No one ever wants to think of themselves as a failure. We have such negative associations with the word! We think that if we fail at something, we will be embarrassed, we will lose respect from others and ourselves, we’ll lose our dreams, hopes and aspirations for that particular area we were attempting to master. It can be scary stuff and for many people, the fear of failure is what stops them from even trying.

What we always forget is that some sort of failure is inevitable if we are to succeed in life. My daughter Sarah has just turned 2 and she is an incredible teacher for me. When she was learning to walk, she wasn’t afraid to try it.During her learning curve, she walked into walls, tumbled, fell down repeatedly but she always jumped up and went at it again! It’s really interesting to watch babies and kids learn because they accept and know that it will take them a while to get the hang of something. They do it at their own pace and they have so much fun learning.

The rest of us grown-ups unfortunately, are very aware of the notion of failure. We’ve been conditioned to fear failure. The thing is that many people are unsure how to overcome obstacles and potential failure and they are stopped dead in their tracks when things go pear-shaped. The ability to pick yourself up and get back on the horse is one big difference between the people who succeed and the people who just don’t get there.

So, knowing that overcoming obstacles is essential to tackling your fear of failure, what should you do? Here are my top 5 tips to help you overcome the fear of failure:

1. Pick yourself up and hold no regrets!

When things don’t work out, we’re often tempted to think that we have completely wasted our time. But that is never entirely true! Like Edison when he was inventing the light bulb; we have found a way that doesn’t work so our time hasn’t been wasted. We’ve learnt a lesson and we won’t try that exact path next time. We will try something different. Each failure you encounter increases your wisdom and brings you one step closer to success. If you adopt this mindset, you will see failure from a completely different perspective. You will see failure as an opportunity to learn. The Quarter Life Coach is my 2nd coaching business- my last one was a spectacular failure! I failed big but I picked myself up, nurtured my bruised pride and ego and learnt the lessons from the mistakes I made.

2. Keep dreaming big dreams

Always have your destination in mind; keep dreaming your big dreams. Spend time visualising yourself already achieving them. Use your imagination to help you foresee and overcome potential obstacles in your path. The process of visualization was investigated during the preparation of Olympic athletes between 1980-1990. The athletes were hooked to the sophisticated biofeedback equipment and were asked to run their event only in their mind. What they found was that the same muscles fired in the same sequence when they were running the race only in their mind as they were running it on the track. So use your mind to practice overcoming obstacles and avoiding failure.

3. What’s the worst case scenario?

One of the most powerful questions posed by Tim Ferris in the 4 Hour Work Week is: If you chase your dreams and fall flat on your face, how long would it take you to recover? Ask yourself this question and I bet you’ll be surprised by the answer. Another question posed by Susan Jeffers in her best-selling book Feel the fear and do It Anyway is ‘If the worst thing possible happened, could you handle it?’ We all underestimate our own strength and by knowing you could handle the worst case scenario can give you the inner strength that you need to take the first step! Is the fear of a few difficult months strong enough to keep you in a place you’re unhappy with for the rest of your life?

4. Take action

The best way to reduce your fear and build your confidence is by taking action. By actually doing the very thing you are afraid of gives you back your power. Break it down into small manageable parts and do it at your own pace- but keep progressing. Make sure that you reward yourself for each step you complete- you have many years of negative conditioning to overcome so give yourself credit! If you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself ‘What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?’ If you are truthful is answering this, you will see that it’s only your fear that’s holding you back and you already know exactly what you need to do.

5. Burn the boats 

One to think about! In battle, the ancient Greeks established a well-deserved reputation for bravery, discipline, and determination. They were successful because they were well trained, well led, and most of all, well motivated. The Greeks were master motivators who understood how to instil commitment and prepare their soldiers for victory. To infuse their army with a spirit of commitment, the moment they landed on the enemy’s shore, the Greek commanders would give the order to “burn the boats.” Imagine the tremendous psychological impact on the soldiers as they watched their boats being set alight. There was no turning back. Once their boats were burned, they realized that the only way they were going home was through victory.

Are there any boats you need to burn to cement your commitment?

So, is fear of failing holding you back? Is it stopping you in your tracks before you even get some momentum going? If you can relate to this, please click the link and book in for a free 30 minute Clarity Call with me and let’s get you making progress on those big dreams.

Until next time,

Much warmth,

Paula

Who are you in your relationships?

I’ve been very quiet lately and it’s because of my guilty pleasure- I’ve been spending a lot of time over the past few weeks just hanging out with my hubby Colly ( We’re almost a year married now so still in the honeymoon period!) We’re not being productive in any way or getting things ticked off our growing to do list around the hourse, we’re just being ourselves and being together and being happy!

This fact – that I can be myself, be with Colly and be happy, is something that I don’t take for granted. It’s something I’ve learnt, honour and respect.

I wasn’t always like that though……

In previous relationships, I was who I thought my partner wanted me to be and I wasn’t even aware that I was adapting my behaviour to suit him. We would be watching a movie at home or at the cinema and I would keep glancing at his face to see whether he was enjoying it or not. If I had picked the movie and I could see from his facial expressions that he thought it was lousy, it would seriously take away from my enjoyment of the film.

It was all little things, his favourite food, his favourite hobbies, his favourite everything. His favourites that I had never really had any interest in; became a part of my life and a part of me. All of a sudden I had sports jerseys as part of my wardrobe and I was shouting at the TV on a Saturday afternoon!

This was all good and fine and I’m not for a moment saying that it’s wrong to embrace your partner’s interests but what happened was that after 6 years o doing this, I had morphed into a different person, a watered down version of myself. Then, the relationship ended, after 6 years , I got dumped. By text! (Classy!)

Of course there was heart break and sadness and anger and all of those emotions initally but they weren’t a patch on ‘losing myself’. During the course of those 6 years, I had lost myself in the relationship or to the relationship. I had defined myself by it and by what we did together. Without that, I wasn’t sure who I was!

I don’t mean for that to sound as dramatic as it does, what I mean is that I really didn’t know what my own interests were, what I enjoyed doing, who I enjoyed spending time with, what I wanted for my future. I actually decided to start smoking again, an actual conscious decision because that’s what I did before that relationship! I had been a smoker! I was trying to find anything that would give me that sense of security within myself. Anything I could cling to that I could say ‘I am a ……..’

Just to top it all off as well, I was made redundant within a month of the relationship ending and then shortly after that my sister and I were told that we had to sell our home! So needless to say, I wasn’t in the best space!

I was absolutely broke in every sense of the word but with my redundancy cash, I invested in a life coaching course- for me. For a solid year, I worked so hard getting to know myself. It was difficult and uncomfortable at times but I got me back! I got a new zest of life and I was so happy being me again!

I decided that I wanted to date, just to meet new people and have some fun so the summer of 2010, I joined an online dating site and met loads of people over a few months! I think I went on a coffee date with about 15 different guys! Initially I was terrified, it wasn’t ‘like me’ to do something like that but then I started having fun and met some lovely people (yes, I met a few crazies as well but I was always careful, never gave out my number, met in public places and never drank alcohol).

Then I met Colly on a Wednesday morning at 11am in a small little coffee shop called the Cheese Pantry in Drumcondra (pavlova there is yummy!) and we talked for hours and after a few weeks, started to ‘officially’ date. I liked him and it scared the life out of me! I resisted so much because I was afraid of being hurt but most of all, I was afraid of forgetting all I had learnt. I was afraid I’d go back to my old ‘people pleaser’ ways! The question that I had to find the answer to was ‘how to be in a relationship and not lose myself?’ How to be part of a we without losing me?

My goal was to be close in the relationship but still maintain my own identity so I went out and found people who I thought had great relationships and I asked for their advice! Here are some of their strategies!

Top 5 tips for a great relationship without losing yourself

Spend time with your friends.

It’s great when your partner and your friends get along, but your friends don’t want your other half all the time! The time spent with your friends is different when your boyfriend is there and it’s important that you still have your girls’ nights out, weekends away and giggles!

Identify the hobbies and interests that you don’t share

You and your partner aren’t going to share the same interests so it’s important to identify the things you don’t have in common and to continue doing it. If you love dancing but your partner has two left feet and would rather get a root canal done than go to a club, do not let that stop you. If he wants to go to support his team at an away game, you don’t need to tag along! Support each other’s interests.

 Speak up for yourself.

 While committing to someone is a lovely thing, giving up your needs for that person absolutely isn’t. Never compromise or undermine your own desires just because you’re scared that you’ll lose him if you need something different. A healthy respectful relationship makes room for what both of you need, and your partner can’t know what you need if you don’t tell him directly (he’s not psychic!). If he walks away when you do make your needs known, that is a good thing. Trust me, better that than losing yourself to someone unwilling to listen to you and respect your feelings.

Don’t become too dependent.

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook when it comes to managing yourself and your own life. It’s easy to look to your partner to protect you from the big bad world when everything makes you want to crawl under the duvet and hide, but continue to fight your own battles. When you have a bad day and want to talk, it’s nice to have someone who wants to comfort you, but make it clear that you don’t want your partner to ‘fix’ anything!

Never hold back in your own life

 Don’t resist further education, making more money, success or a promotion because of your partner. You should never need to boost his ego or spare his feelings by playing small in your own life. Someone who truly loves you and who is worth loving is secure enough to cheer you on.

So, 4 years on, 3.5 years living together, marriage, house buying and dog raising- I can happily say these tips work! Woohoo!

wedding

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress, that you got something valuable from it and could relate!

Until next week, be yourself, be together and be happy!

P x

 

Growing Pains at 27?

I came across an old diary entry last week which I had forgotten I had. The entry was over 18 months old and at the time of writing it, I was in Australia meeting my partners family for the first time. We were there for 3 weeks and there was such much stuff going through my head at the time. I was quite emotional while we were there; it was really unnerving that I wasn’t able to put my finger on why I felt so raw and just not myself! I was able to blame jet-lag for a few days but after a week I knew that couldn’t be the reason anymore so I went off for a long walk on my own, took my diary and a pen, grabbed a coffee from a little coffee hut and I plonked myself down and began to write.

 Here’s what I wrote:

“I’m very aware that a change is taking place. I’m holding onto the past I suppose. I’m growing up and it’s quite bittersweet. I don’t really want to – but at 27 years old, I have to ask myself is it not about time? Am I being overdramatic? To be honest, I don’t think so. I think that this is another part of growing up. It’s the in-between-y stage.

Obviously I’m not a child anymore but I really don’t feel like an adult. I have a bank account, pay bills, live with a boy, drive a car and have my own business which is all very grown up but the next big milestones and major events of my life –the traditional markers of adulthood like buying a house, getting married and starting a family are coming soon. I wonder if everyone experiences these feelings of apprehension and uneaseiness?

It’s kind of scary and I find myself looking back an awful lot. Being carefree, having fun, playing with bubbles and going to amusement parks and parades has always been a big part of who I am and what makes me smile but it’s all very childish- I mean does that all get left behind now?? I think it’s scary because I don’t know who I’ll be as an adult.

But in saying all this, I know that something great is coming- I feel like a caterpillar entering a chrysalis- she may know that she’ll emerge as a butterfly and be able to fly but I bet the caterpillar is frightened of losing herself in the process! I think that’s where I’m at.

When I think back on how far I’ve come, all of the changes I have made in my life so far, how wonderful things have been- there really should be no reason to be frightened so why am I?

I think it’s because I’m not focused on the future, I keep looking back instead of forwards. I know if I look forwards and direct my focus on where I want to go, it will feel lot more secure. Who do I want to be? “

 *******************************

 I find diaries really fascinating! I had no recollection of writing that until I actually read it again and immediately I was brought back to that moment! At the time, I really did feel nervous and anxious about growing up! I was having growing pains at 27 years old which may seem ridiculous, but at that particular time in my life, it was real and it felt scary! I had to accept it, embrace it and decide who I wanted to be as an adult! Interestingly, I got engaged less than 3 months after writing that diary entry and less than 12 months after writing it, I had bought my own house. Very grown up indeed! At some level, I must have been aware that is was on the horizon!

But anyway, I was very grateful to have stumbled across this last week and I thought I’d share it with you! I honestly would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! Have you ever experienced anything like that? Can you relate to it? Please get in touch and share your thoughts and stories!

Until next week,

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