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)

 

 

 

 

Lets Take Some Time Out

I’ve just had a lovely slightly longer than average weekend.  A really good friend came to stay, a friend who I probably see 3 or 4 times a year.

I’m sharing this with you because, having my friend in the house meant that both myself and my hubby who also runs his own business, switched off our computers, and put down our tablets for 3 whole days.  I don’t know when this last happened other than over Christmas.  Even when we go on holiday we take a tablet each and seek out the wifi.  Its almost as though facebook would fail without us, let alone our businesses.

I don’t know if it’s the fear that if we don’t get back to someone straight away that a business lead will simply go cold, or our absence from social media means that we lose our presence. Either way those thoughts are unfounded.

The weekend is now over and there are no lost clients, just a bigger than average inbox to go through.  We have however had a lovely relaxed weekend that simply wouldn’t have been achieved had our guest not have stayed.  I even managed to try my hand at making crumpets, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

So the moral of this story?  Just once in a while, either with friends or on your own – switch off your social media – its one sure fire way of getting some balance back in your life.

If from time to time you find balancing home and work difficult, using a coach to help you make personal boundaries can make a huge difference. Give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 today to make an appointment for your first free consultation – what do you have to lose?

 

Comfort Zone Leap Part VI – The Final Countdown

The anticipated big day arrived. All the emotions I have ever felt in my life before came to the fore. I slept surprisingly well the night before however nerves really kicked in on Thursday afternoon. No matter how much I rehearsed complete with a makeshift hairbrush microphone, nothing flowed, bits got forgotten or confused and in front of my mirror it just didn’t seem funny at all.

Time out was in order and I grabbed Ziggy the dog and took myself out for a walk. I’m a big believer that fresh air and exercise is as good for the mind as it is body. Thankfully no one saw me walking around talking to myself as my act slowly came together.

By the time I arrived at the venue my nerves subsided as I immersed myself in practicalities.

I stood tall,  delivered, paced myself and the audience laughed and applauded. I walked off stage a whole foot taller than I walked on it.

So the learning from this is simple:

When something is standing in your way. Check first that it’s not you. Comedy was so far out of my comfort zone that I very nearly didn’t do it. The nerves I felt that afternoon were all “what ifs” that were all unfounded. Had I have listened to those thoughts that were telling me I couldn’t do it then I wouldn’t have made that stretch to my comfort zone that has ultimately led to a huge shift in my confidence.

2013-12-07_1733copyright Brett Trafford Photography

Comfort Zone Leap Part V – How To Deal With Nerves

Do you suffer with bouts of nerves?  Does your stomach turn over at the thought of standing up and talking to people? My heart pounds too!

Last week saw the last rehearsal for the comedy night.  I delivered what I felt to be a pretty good performance, well timed, confident and people laughed.  I forgot one joke that’s all. A couple of adjustments based on feedback but I’m now at the stage where there is nothing more I can really do.

The only thing is – every time I think about Thursday, my stomach turns over and my heart starts pounding.  So how do you make sure that these symptoms don’t get in the way of your delivery.

Accept them for what they are – our bodies are designed to react to danger, we have a flight or fight response, so acknowledge that feeling sick and racing heart beats etc are all about the adrenalin rush we get and adrenalin we know is good – right?

Don’t let these feeling get in the way.  There is a simple breathing technique I use to calm the nerves and take my mind off what is happening.

Breathe in to the count of 7

Breathe out for the count of 11.

This works in two ways.  Firstly concentrating on your breathing in this way focuses your mind on something other than what lies ahead of you.  Secondly the longer out breath expells some of the stale air and carbon-dioxide sitting in your lungs, your body will naturally need to take in a fuller breath of clean air and lots of oxygen, critical in aiding your brain to work effectively.

Try it – it really works.

If you’re facing an uncomfortable or stressful situation, coaching provides a supportive environment in which to prepare.  Call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to see how Reflections Coaching can help you be super-confident.
P1070814copyright Carolyn Trafford

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:

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:

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

 

 

 

 

 

Failure Or Success? – It’s Your Choice

I was asked last week to do an interview for BBC Radio Stoke about coping with failure.  If you wish to listen to it I’ve loaded a copy onto my website here.

They were interested in my thoughts around failure specifically because of the GSCE results being out and the number of teenagers coming away disappointed with they results they get.  I remember collecting mine at 16 it was the biggest event of my life and so important that I’d done well.  Part of me is still ashamed at having failed French, and a little annoyed that my friend who is was in a lower set than me had passed hers at CSE grade 1 level and therefore considered to be O level equivalent.  My exam must have been harder.

Yes, I passed everything else and yes I got grade A in my maths, plus in those days we took 11 subjects so it was still a great achievement.  Yet it was so easy to focus on the one fail and not all the positives I’d achieved.

Its so easy to focus on the things we haven’t achieved and that can really erode our confidence especially if we label ourselves with the word ‘failure’.

Its also easy to compare ourselves less favourably with others.  My friend would be the first to admit that her maths results were not as good as mine.  She was off to study tourism so to be fair French was fairly important to her.

So next time you face failure, follow my 4 simple steps for turning failure into success:

  • Acknowledgment – yes its happened.  The result isn’t what you’d set out to do.
  • Acceptance – accept that its actually OK that on this occasion you’ve not got it right. Also accept who you are.  In my example it was OK to be good at maths and not languages.
  • Congratulations – remind yourself of the positives, this might be learning for the future, it might be to thing back to ALL your great achievements in the past.
  • Move on – it won’t help to dwell, start to think about your future, set your next goals and focus on those.

P1060707copyright Carolyn Trafford

Sometimes we all need a little support with our confidence.  Reflections Coaching provides confidence booster sessions to help to take you from good to great.  Give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 for a free consultation and taster session to see how we can help you.

What Does Success Mean To You?

Watching Murray win Wimbledon certainly made me stop and think about success.  Success can mean so many different things to different people.  Have you stopped and thought about what it means to you?

This week we’ve seen Murray finally win Wimbledon.  Year after year the British have pinned their hopes on him, supporting him, willing him to win.  For many of us we’ll view his success as holding up the cup.

But what does success mean?  Lets face it success is different for everyone and whilst we can use it as a good example we have to relate the stages to our own dreams and ambitions, after all we don’t all hold the ambition to win Wimbledon.

Yes we can all see success in this photo and it is likely that winning Wimbledon was up there in Murray’s top goals list.  But how does he go from starting a tournament to holding up a cup?

Its important to break all goals down and celebrate success along the way. So winning Wimbledon is broken down by winning a numbers of matches, including a quarter, a semi and a final.

Each match requires you to win a number of sets, each set a number of games and each game a number of points.  Surely therefore it’s critical that each point is celebrated and if you follow Wimbledon you will see players like Murray celebrating each one.  It may be a punch in the air, a smile or a wave of a racquet, its still a celebration.

Its simple to apply this to our own dreams.  If realising our dream was just one step we’d have achieved it by now.  So what is your dream?  How can you break it down?  And do you celebrate each step as you get closer to the overall goal?

 

Woosh!! & You Missed It – Was That Your Goal?

Somebody reminded me this week that we’re half way through the year.  When on earth did that happen?

I’ve achieved lots already this year, I’ve joined a really great new networking group, I’m almost at the point of relaunching my website, supporting the Princes Trust and picked up an international client.  Some of these were goals at the start of the year – others have been happy surprises.

Either way the start of July is an excellent opportunity to review where you are with your goals and here is my 5 step plan:

  • Review Your Goals – Dig that action plan out from underneath the pile of filing, dust it off and take a good look at it – it could surprise you.
  • Celebrate What You Have Achieved – don’t be hard on your self for what you haven’t.  Write down your successes, record them in a journal, open some bubbly, share them on facebook (or in the comments below)  – it really doesn’t matter as long as you celebrate it.
  • Review What Is Outstanding – are they still relevant to you? Change some, dump some, create some and then create a new action plan for the second half of the year, but make sure its focused on what you really want to achieve.
  • View Them Regularly – its no good creating an action plan and shoving it to one side.  And if like me you find SMART goals a little tiresome, create your goals in a way that will inspire YOU. Draw them, cut pictures out of magazines, create a vision board.  I have my vision board in Pinterest feel free to take a look.  Some of the picture won’t mean anything to you but they mean a lot to me.  Having your goals in a visual format can really help them become meaningful.
  • Share Them – one of the biggest motivators in achieving goal success is to tell someone else you’re going to do it.  So share your goals with someone.  You could even share them here. I’d love to hear all about them.

© Brett Trafford(c) Brett Trafford Photography

What if? What if it was empowering to make a decision?

How many hours do you think you waste in a lifetime worrying about decisions?

I know I’ve done it.  I agonize for ages about the “whats ifs”. There are consequences of making a decision, whether its the right decision or otherwise. 

I recall being told my job was relocating.  I had to decide whether or not to go with it.  I didn’t want to go, the commute was too much and I didn’t really enjoy the job, the alternative was to start my business, but with hubby having just made his own first steps in business it really wasn’t the right time for me.  But then when would be?  What if we both failed?  What If I failed?  Why give up a well paid job?  I found myself in this virtuous circle, never concluding the answer.

I slept on it.

The next day I knew what the answer was.  I had to give my business idea a go.  From that minute on I felt empowered.  I had control of my life back again. It enabled me to take the next steps, start the ball rolling and release myself from the shackles I felt with work.

Angelina Jolie 2003

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have blogged abut this before and I don’t like to repeat myself, however I felt it tied in with the news about Angelina Jolie and her decision to have a double mastectomy which has been publicised this week.  It can not be denied that this would be a tough decision to make, and Angelina has been quoted:

“On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”

For me, the lesson is simply, as in my own situation, the act of making a decision on something personal and emotive is an extremely empowering thing to do.  Cast aside the fear of making the decision, without a crystal ball we’ll never know the alternative outcome and must make the decision based on the information we have now.  We can not look back afterwards but to make the decision, frees the mind.

What has empowered you? Please share your stories here

 

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