Tag Archives: life coach

Are you settling for less?

The reasons why people settle for less in life is quite complex. On the surface, it may seem simple- that they’re stuck in a comfort zone but the reality is that for most people, they have found attempts to go after they want extremely disappointing and they’ve been hurt. We all have a built in safety mechanism- an inner voice that tries to protect us. Back in the days of sabre-tooth tigers and woolly mammoths, that voice spoke up to protect us from physical danger. It’s how we survived. Nowadays, we don’t those physical dangers however, but that voice is still there and it still tries to protect us from danger- the new danger being emotional- shame, embarrassment, what other people think, disappointment, failure and fear.

Can you relate to any of these scenarios and thought patterns:

  • There are so many other people who are better than me. I’m not going to be able to do it perfectly so I better not try.
  • What would people think of me or say about me if I was to take this risk. My family/friends/boss/colleagues/partner would think I’m an idiot.
  • I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work. I’m not wasting my time on that again.
  • What if this is the best I can get, so I better just hang tight to what I have right now.
  • I might try to do this, and fail. What would I do then? I’d be mortified and everyone would know.
  • I don’t have the time, energy, resources to go after that. Now is not the right time, maybe someday….

If you’re desiring to date, meet new friends, leave your job, ask for a promotion or pay raise, start a business, start a family, set boundaries with friends and family- you start a dialogue in your head, you’ll start to think about it and the thoughts that you have will bring up certain emotions. If those emotions are fear based or you feel you may be putting yourself in a vulnerable position, then often we avoid following through on what we want to do. We don’t put ourselves out there, we stay stuck in our soul-destroying job, we don’t have the difficult conversations with people and what happens then is that we lower our expectations of ourselves in our own lives. Our standard for our own lives can drop gradually or it can be a drastic move after a major disappointment. We start to settle for less than because we feel we are less than.

We start believing that we can’t do or have the things we once dreamed about, that we aren’t as capable, as powerful, as special, as lovable, as smart as we once were. We start telling ourselves we don’t deserve it. This is also called learned helplessness and we become oblivious to the fact that the situation we’re settling for is a major compromise on our original dreams and desires.

How can you break out of this rut and start creating a more satisfying life:

How can some people bounce back from disappointment stronger and more determined while others let the disappointment define their future…. Is it because some people are better than others? No! It’s simply that they’ve learned a skill called Resilience. Could you do with building up your bounce-back ability? I think we all could! Here are my top 5 tips to build your resilience muscles:

Step 1: Understand and speak shame

Yikes, start with the hardest one but once you start practicing this, it will make the world of difference! When we’ve been hurt or disappointment, most of the time we stay quiet. We don’t tell people of our dreams and our desires. We brush them off with a laugh if someone asks. We deflect because we feel shameful or embarrassed. Even the word ‘shame’ itself can be a trigger.

Brene Brown defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”

Whenever we experience something that we feel shame about, we want to bury it, hide it, let no one know about it but that’s not the best approach. “The less we talk about shame, the more power it has over our lives,” Dr. Brown explains in her book Daring Greatly. “If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees.”

If you share your story with someone you trust, in my experience, what you get is a hug and a resounding ‘Me Too!’. Once its spoken, there’s no shame, there’s no hiding, you’ve got your power back and you get to write a new ending to the story.

Step 2: Develop a growth mindset

Carol Dweck in her book ‘Mindset’ outlines two different mindsets- Growth mindset and Fixed Mindset.

People with a fixed mindset believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

People with a growth mindset believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

A simple way of starting to develop your growth mindset is asking the questions ‘What did I learn from this?’ ‘ How could I improve on this?’ ‘What would I do differently next time?’

Step 3: Get Clear and Get Focused

A lot of the time, we settle because we don’t know what direction to go in instead. Take some time to really allow yourself to think about what you want and if you can’t define it in tangible terms, think about how you want to feel in a particular area of life and then work backwards’ What can I do to create this feeling in the area of my life?’. People who get what they want know what they want, they focus on it and learn what’s working and what’s not. Speak to a mentor, a coach, a career advisor, a financial advisor, a health specialist and get clarity.

Step 4: Practice Self-Care

This should go without saying but we all need reminding! Sleep, exercise, proper nutrition, proper hydration, time management, fresh air all impact our bounce-back ability, our optimism and our perspective on life. By practicing self care, you’ll also be teaching yourself that you are deserving and worthy of your own time and attention. You cannot pour from an empty cup so self-care needs to be a daily consideration in your quest for an incredible life!

Step 5: Take baby steps

One you’ve got the clarity on what you want, you need to start taking action. Often, we get stuck in overwhelm at this point because the task at hand seems huge and we’ve no idea where to start. Start by breaking it down into smaller steps, I’m talking really small steps that will enable you to start taking forward action while practicing the tips above. It will move you forward gradually, raise your standards gradually and change the course of your life gradually. Remember the tortoise and the hare, be the tortoise!

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