Can You Truly Know What Others Are Thinking?

Someone once said to me, that although you can walk with someone on their journey, you can never truly understand what someone else is thinking or feeling because unless you are them, you are not actually wearing their shoes.

I have taken this quite to heart over the last few years and always carry the thought with me when I am coaching, it’s very easy to think that we know what others are feeling.  However it is only when we create some detachment from our emotions to their situation that we can truly help them by giving them time and space to resolve their own issues.

I have just got back from an amazing weekend of personal development at the Calvert Trust in Cumbria.  The Calvert Trust are set up to support and encourage people with disabilities to tackle outdoor activities.  I tried lots of activities I wouldn’t normally consider such as ghyll scrambling and kayaking, despite being physically able to do them.  Most importantly I spent half a day in a wheel chair.  It was great fun, wheeling around the Calvert Trust after all they are set up for wheel chair users, with lifts wherever you need one and ramps.

Of course, I knew that at any point I could get out of my chair and walk if I couldn’t get where I needed to be and what’s more when I get home to my house with its narrow front door and porch step, or need to nip down the road to the shop that is on a 15% hill, things wouldn’t be quite so easy.

Yes, I believe its given me a greater insight into the difficulties a wheelchair user might experience.  Do I fully understand what it feel like? How could I?

So next time that you have to deal with someone in distress do ask yourself if you fully understand what they’re going through.  The likelihood is that whilst you do have empathy you don’t know for sure.

If you’re facing life’s challenges, coaching can give you the time and space you need to find solutions.  If you want to know if this could help YOU, give Carolyn a call today on 07714 216388 for your free consultation to see what you could achieve.

 Brett Trafford Photography-4copyright brett trafford photography

 

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Personal Development – what does it really mean to you?

I take quite a simple definition, its about anything that you want to change in your work, home or personal life.

 It can be about:

 How you react in different situations

  • Controlling your stress levels
  • Your work/life balance
  • Achieving your dreams
  • Work aspirations
  • Dealing with other people
  • How you perform a task

I could go on, although I expect you have the general idea.

 Self development can take as little as 10 minutes a day.  In reality, we forget in our busy lives to set aside this time for ourselves.  We place a low priority on what we do for ourselves compared to helping and supporting other people.

 So if you’re to make just one small change this week, allow yourself just ten minutes a day to think about what you’d like to change in your life and how you’re going to do it.

If you’re not sure where to start with your own personal development, ring Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation.

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words and pictures copyright Reflections Coaching (2014)

How I Deal With Negative Emotions

I’ve had a week off and come back to a pile of emails etc, its part of the course being self employed.  Yet one email has caused me frustration and anger – both are negative emotions and both well within my own sphere of control.

So what do you do when frustration hits?

It takes an incredible amount of energy to stay angry.  Energy that I know I would be much better off putting to other things, things that could result in a positive outcome.

I’ve tried to answer the following questions.

  • What do I gain from being angry?
  • What can I do to improve the current situation?
  • What would I gain if I put my energy into doing something else?

When I have the answers to these questions, it become clear where best to direct my energy.

Negative emotions can take up a huge amount of energy, give Carolyn a call today on 07714 216388 for your free consultation to see what coaching could help you achieve instead.

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words and images copyright Reflections Coaching (2014)

 

 

 

 

Why Do I Always Do My Tax Return Last Minute?

Well, last weekend saw me racing to get my tax returns sorted.  OK, so although it wasn’t completely eleventh hour, as I don’t like leaving things to the last minute I was feeling the pressure of it.  Every year I promise myself that I’ll be more organised, and every year I complete them in January.

I have no excuse, I’m an organised person.  I’m just an organised person with a tendency to procrastinate.  So this year I’m going to take these 3 simple steps to my accounting with a goal of having my tax return done by the end June.  Having the finalised accounts will help me with my business planning for the following year.

  • Schedule 30 minutes every week, this is to go through my diary and record my weekly miles and expenditure, number the receipts and record my earnings.
  • Place a diary entry end April to chase the additional information required.  I.e. getting tax certificates on my savings accounts, etc.  Check that I can log onto the system.  Check stock etc
  • Diarise a half day in June to pull together all missing information and enter onto system

The advantage of doing this is that all the information is fresher in my mind.  You can use this 3 step diary approach to any tasks that you keep putting off.

If you find yourself procrastinating over important tasks, get in touch with Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to take advantage of your free consultation.

P1080106copyright Carolyn Trafford (2014)

Comfort Zone Leap Part IV – Am I Consciously Competence?

Am I consciously Competent?  Simple answer? No not yet!    And for those of you who don’t know yet what I’m talking about – let me explain….

In learning we go through 4 stages of competence when learning.

(You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you are blissfully ignorant: You have a complete lack
of knowledge and skills in the subject in question. On top of this,
you are unaware of this lack of skill, and your confidence may
therefore far exceed your abilities.

Level 2 – Consciously Unskilled

(You Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you find that there are skills you need to learn, and
you may be shocked to discover that there are others who are much
more competent than you. As you realize that your ability is limited,
your confidence drops. You go through an uncomfortable period as you
learn these new skills when others are much more competent and
successful than you are.

Level 3 – Consciously Skilled

(You Know that You Know)

At this level you acquire the new skills and knowledge. You put your
learning into practice and you gain confidence in carrying out the
tasks or jobs involved. You are aware of your new skills and work on
refining them.

You are still concentrating on the performance of these activities,
but as you get ever-more practice and experience, these become
increasingly automatic.

Level 4 – Unconsciously Skilled

(You Don’t Know that You Know – It Just Seems Easy!)

At this level your new skills become habits, and you perform the task
without conscious effort and with automatic ease. This is the peak of
your confidence and ability.

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_96.htm#sthash.SrfZRNRe.dpuf

Stage 1 – Unconsciously Incompetent

How can you know what You Don’t Know?

This assumes complete ignorance.  Because you don’t know what there is to know you have no sense of how little you do know or what skills you are lacking.  Therefore it feels OK. 

I was at this stage when I first volunteered for stand up.  I hadn’t considered the range of skills I would need to know and therefore concluded I was OK.

Stage 2 – Consciously Incompetent

You Know that You Don’t Know!

This is the stage at which your lack of knowledge and skills can hit you.  You may find that there are others that know more or are more skilled than you. You become aware of your lack of skills and your confidence may dip as a result.  It can be uncomfortable learning when others appear to be ahead of you.

I quickly hit this stage during weeks 1 and 2.  Other people seemed to be naturally funny and I knew I had to work at this.  The realisation that  I would need microphone skills too came as a shock.

Stage 3 – Consciously Competent

Knowing You Know

This is where you start to learn the new skills, but it can be tricky and takes practice.  You have to think about each stage of a process where in others it seems natural.  Confidence starts to build.

This is where I’m out now.  I have my comedy routine, my practice audience have laughed at it.  I know its funny.  Yet I still have to work on remembering it, framing it correctly, using the right tone and language makes such a difference and if I stop thinking  about it I get it wrong.

Stage 4 – Unconsciously Competent

You Don’t Know that You Know

This is the stage we’re aiming for, the stage where it all becomes 2nd nature, natural.  Confidence is high and we don’t need to think about what we’re doing.  The new skill has become a habit.  We are polished in what we do.

I’m not here yet, I still have 10 days.  I’m practicing regularly perfecting my piece, so that the words flow and are natural.

So the next time you feel a dip in your confidence, do think….  Is it just because you’ve suddenly realised that you don’t know what you need to know – up until that point you were blissfully unaware you were lacking knowledge so felt OK about it.

Remember – you haven’t become stupid overnight – you just didn’t know you needed to know.  Put some simple steps in place and you’ll soon be confident again.

Many of my clients come to me because their confidence has dipped, coaching provides a supportive environment in which to analyse and change.  Call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to see how Reflections Coaching can help you be super-confident.

Gingerbread Man - Babka

(Photo credit: avlxyz)

Level 1 – Unconsciously Unskilled

(You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you are blissfully ignorant: You have a complete lack
of knowledge and skills in the subject in question. On top of this,
you are unaware of this lack of skill, and your confidence may
therefore far exceed your abilities.

Level 2 – Consciously Unskilled

(You Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you find that there are skills you need to learn, and
you may be shocked to discover that there are others who are much
more competent than you. As you realize that your ability is limited,
your confidence drops. You go through an uncomfortable period as you
learn these new skills when others are much more competent and
successful than you are.

Level 3 – Consciously Skilled

(You Know that You Know)

At this level you acquire the new skills and knowledge. You put your
learning into practice and you gain confidence in carrying out the
tasks or jobs involved. You are aware of your new skills and work on
refining them.

You are still concentrating on the performance of these activities,
but as you get ever-more practice and experience, these become
increasingly automatic.

Level 4 – Unconsciously Skilled

(You Don’t Know that You Know – It Just Seems Easy!)

At this level your new skills become habits, and you perform the task
without conscious effort and with automatic ease. This is the peak of
your confidence and ability.

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_96.htm#sthash.SrfZRNRe.dpuf

Level 1 – Unconsciously Unskilled

(You Don’t Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you are blissfully ignorant: You have a complete lack
of knowledge and skills in the subject in question. On top of this,
you are unaware of this lack of skill, and your confidence may
therefore far exceed your abilities.

Level 2 – Consciously Unskilled

(You Know that You Don’t Know)

At this level you find that there are skills you need to learn, and
you may be shocked to discover that there are others who are much
more competent than you. As you realize that your ability is limited,
your confidence drops. You go through an uncomfortable period as you
learn these new skills when others are much more competent and
successful than you are.

Level 3 – Consciously Skilled

(You Know that You Know)

At this level you acquire the new skills and knowledge. You put your
learning into practice and you gain confidence in carrying out the
tasks or jobs involved. You are aware of your new skills and work on
refining them.

You are still concentrating on the performance of these activities,
but as you get ever-more practice and experience, these become
increasingly automatic.

Level 4 – Unconsciously Skilled

(You Don’t Know that You Know – It Just Seems Easy!)

At this level your new skills become habits, and you perform the task
without conscious effort and with automatic ease. This is the peak of
your confidence and ability.

– See more at: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_96.htm#sthash.SrfZRNRe.dpufWant to know more about my comfort zone stretch in learning to do stand up comedy for Gingerbread – catch up on the last few blog posts below:

Style and Substance – Are Both Critical To Make An Impression?

Week after week Francis was critically  given feedback in the Great British Bake Off for putting style over substance.  And Paul Hollywood was right, substance is important in a bakery competition, first impressions do count but if the cake doesn’t back it up then its all going to fall a bit flat isn’t it?

Working life isn’t quite like that, nor is promoting a business.  In both case style is important.  You need to make an impression and stand out from the crowd.  Take a look at these cakes:

If you had to choose one, you’d choose the nicest looking because you have nothing else to factor in.  That may be the way your potential clients choose their next service provider.

However if someone recommended you to them they may be more inclined to try your services.  Just as you’d choose a different cake if someone told you the slightly collapsible one would taste better, you’d probably give it a go.

However if that slice of cake didn’t taste so great, you’d not go back for a second slice would you? And what if your cake wasn’t there at all?

So yes, its critical you make a first impression.  Make sure your LinkedIn profile has a decent picture, your website and business cards look professional and that you turn up for meetings/interviews looking great, clean, tidy and professional.

And do back that up with substance, make sure that you are prepared and know what you’re talking about.  Be credible, have integrity,  be congruent in all that you do.

You may be familiar with the following impact statistics.  They are used frequently in personal development workshops and books.  Does it surprise you that performance only accounts for 10% of your personal impact?  Yet at work we so often spend so much time being diligent and hoping we’ll get noticed.  Yes it matters, but what matters more is getting yourself out there and getting noticed.  Volunteer to attend and speak up in meetings, attend networking events, make an online presence, use social media positively.

Remember your pie and make sure your cake is out there and on show – metaphorically of course.

Reflections coaching are experts in helping you make an impact, speak confidently, congruently and with integrity.  If you need help with your credibility at work or in businesses, then call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation.

Me Time, You Time, Us Time, All The Time

Less than 4 weeks ago, I was enjoying sunshine in Cornwall and now autumn has arrived with vengeance coupled with cold damp mornings.  I’ve suddenly realised that the normal organised me has done some of my Christmas shopping by now. 

I wonder how many people have been thrown by the long summer and are now in a period of being extra busy, Christmas is on its way, self assessments are looming, and what about those year end goals?

I’ve stopped for a moment to think about me time. I’m a firm believer in balancing my work and my life.  There are certain things that are important to me, getting to the gym at least a couple time a week, walking Ziggy the dog, crafting, spending time with friends and not least Brett and I having some quality time together.

I do like to make sure that there is enough time for a bit of everything in the week.  My top tips this week help to achieve that balance:

  • Promise yourself you’ll finish your work on time 1 or 2 days a week and follow it through.  You and your home life are important.
  • Me time.   Schedule in some time in the week for ‘Me’.  Me time could be your gym sessions, a trip to the spa, or just some time to knit, read a book and relax.
  • You Time.  I regularly take out a couple of hours in the week to meet a group of friends in the day time.  Being self employed is perhaps easier to manage, but even if you work for someone else its often possible to manage your hours more flexibly to ensure you’re around for the important people in your life.
  • Us Time.  Schedule some “us time” in the week.  Whether us is your partner, kids, family, friends or dog, its all important and the people around you will love you more for it.  Take the time out to do something special as a reward for working hard.
  • All The Time.  Make this a habit not a one off.  It’ll become easier with practice.

Change Clock

Whether in business or juggling a home life, a few simple time management techniques could be all that’s needed to make a difference.  Give Carolyn a call today on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation to see how I could help you reclaim some more me time.

Do You Lie To Yourself? Be “True to Me” instead

“The biggest lie I tell is the one I tell myself everyday – I am inferior to others” – Carolyn Trafford

Hands up if this rings true with you.  I’ve stopped for a moment to question why I do it.  What point does it serve to continually compare ourselves with others and then only conclude where we are inferior.  We were not born with a self destruct button!!

It is this type of negative, destructive action that if used repeatedly damages self confidence, self esteem and can leave us struggling to be someone else.  A role that we can not naturally fit into.

For years as I was growing up I have labelled myself “not as good as…..”, “not as pretty as…..” but never “better than” because we are taught that it is not nice to be conceited.  Yet these thoughts, once they are ingrained stay with us until we take conscious action to change our thinking.

Stop and think for a moment, what phrases you’re currently using to describe yourself.  Are they having a positive effect on you?  What terms would you prefer to use?

It is possible to change this type of negative thinking – it just takes practice.

So simply take 5 minutes now to think about yourself in positive terms.  What do you like about yourself?  What is your best feature?  What are you really good at?

  • Take time to write these down in a special notepad – I call it a “True to Me” journal
  • Take 5 minutes at the end of everyday and aim to note down 3 great things you’ve done or achieved.
  • Next time you find yourself comparing yourself less favourable to someone else, get out your “true to me” journal and choose something more positive to call yourself.

Keeping and using a “True to Me” journal is just one of the techniques I use with clients requiring some help to increase their confidence and can be a real boost.  If you need more help then please get in touch with me on 07714 216388 to discuss how I can help you further.

P1060970

copyright Carolyn Trafford

Snowballing

Its a little early to be thinking of snow I admit, though the word snowballing was the perfect word for what I wanted to talk about this week.

Have you ever found yourself agreeing to something and then it just taking over?

This very thing happened to me this week.  I was at one of my regular business breakfasts when someone asked the questions “Do you want to do some stand up?“.   I didn’t say “Yes” and then I didn’t exactly say “No” either.  I said “Tell me more”  It was at this point I knew I was involved.  I had taken that very first tentative step outside of my comfort zone.  There were 1001 voices in my head screaming, “You’re not funny“, “that’s scary stuff” and “what will other people think?” one loan voice was saying “what do you have to lose? It will be good for you“. And somehow the loan voice was shouting loader that ALL the others put together.

And that loan voice is right.  I’m comfortable standing up in front of an audience.  What I’m not so comfortable about is my ability to stand in front of them and be funny.  Its way outside of my comfort zone. That said, I have nothing to lose and a lot to be gained, but it all starts from one small step and will snowball from there.  Now that I have agreed to do it, I’m choosing to tune into the positive voices in my head.  I have confidence that they will be there for me as I take bigger and bigger steps beyond my comfort zone.

The next layer of the snowball is to start to tell people then it becomes hard to change my mind.  Once I start fundraising then there will be no backing out.

Snowballing is easy, its about taking that first step.  So next time you want to tackle something  but a huge part of you is trying to talk you out of it, just take that first step and let the rest of it snowball from there.

If there’s something that you want to achieve, and are struggling to take the first steps, give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation to see if coaching is the solution for you.

P1060951copyright Carolyn Trafford

Case Study – Facing Change

Sometimes its useful to share case studies with you. Although data protection prevents me from sharing personal details, I can give you a flavour of the case and an idea of the decisions the client made.

This case study is about Peter, with a comfortable job in middle management, well paid and well thought of for a large organisation.  Peter was comfortable and happy in his role.

His organisation was going through a number of changes and restructuring. Peter had already accepted additional responsibilities and a pay rise he hadn’t really wanted as an alternative to a reduction in responsibilities and pay freeze, when out of the blue it became necessary to relocate too.  Peter was against the change and it had unsettled him. He’d lost focus when I started to work with him and felt forced into a corner.

Peter and I talked about his long term goals and his options.  His goals were focussed around the long term financial security for his family and these conflicted slightly with the immediate need to get home at a reasonable time and spend time with his family.

P1060709

copyright Carolyn Trafford

 

We spent some time exploring his options and Peter was able to acknowledge that he had a choice.  That choice was around spending extra time now with his kids or funding their universities fees.  There were two key realisations:

  • Choice.  He could choose to spend quality time with his kids now, at the expense of funding university.
  • Empowerment – His employer wasn’t forcing him to take the relocation, that was exactly in his control.

So he had choice and empowerment – this didn’t change the fact that he had new responsibilities and a commute – it simply allowed him to understand that it was all within his control – not his manager’s.  And once he moved on he was able to think about how he could manage his work’life balance more effectively.

If you are facing difficult choices or change it can help to talk to someone who will help facilitate your thinking.  Reflections Coaching has experience working with people and change, please get in touch if you want to know more about how Reflections can help you or your company. 

Contact Caro@reflectionscoaching.co.uk or call on 07714 216388 today

 

 

 

 

 

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