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

 

How Do I stretch Myself?

Its an odd question isn’t it?  My job is to support individuals with their personal development.  Personal development is all about stretching yourself, but what exactly is a stretch?

Well a stretch is anything that you wouldn’t normally do.  If you are a regular reader, you’ll have read in November last year I took a huge comfort zone stretch into performing stand up comedy.  This has helped me immensely when I stand and present any talk or speech to a group audience.  Stretches can also be about skills and tasks.

I’ve taken on a challenge for the next month to take part in a 30 day writing romp.  I stumbled across it on Facebook.  I write regularly for this blog, yet rarely give any time to improve my skills.  My core drivers for the blog are to:

  • write from the heart
  • Share my knowledge and experiences for others self development

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So I have pledged that I will dedicate 20 minutes a day to working towards creating my first ebook and improving my writing skills.

Pledging as part of a group on Facebook has made me accountable to others for my goal, for me this is critical to support my personal motivation.

What skill set would you like to improve?

Part of my role as a personal development coach is to support individuals in theiir own self development.  If you need support in this area, then please  give me a call today on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation.

 

 

words & images copyright Reflections Coaching (2014)

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:

What A Window, A Shovel & A Bear Have To Do With Making Goals A Reality

I hadn’t realised until now, however this is my 100th post.  I blog weekly so it must be almost 2 years.  Normally I’d rack my brains trying to think of something particularly outstanding to write about.  I don’t need to this week I knew what it was going to be all week.

Last week I went on holiday.  We don’t tend to have 2 weeks in the sun like everyone else, we tend to have a week walking in the lakes regardless of the weather.  We’ve walked in mist, rain, thunder, ice, snow, hail, wind and glorious sunshine on the odd occasion.

But last week was different.  Last week wasn’t about having a walking holiday, it was about making someone’s dream a reality.

So if you wish to know more about why I set out with 7 volunteers, spent 3 x 12hr days on a mountain, and we took with us 4 tents, 2 pairs of crutches, 1 teddy bear, 1 bathroom window, 1 shovel, a Chevron (all terrain wheelchair) and a mountain of chocolate then please read on……….

My client has always been fit and active.  She’s been a fitness instructor and a keen hill walker.  Sadly a little while back she started to suffer when walking.  Since then she has been diagnosed with a progressive debilitating condition that means she suffers with painful spasms in her leg.  The condition now means that she has to resort to crutches or a wheelchair to get to the shops.

But Sandra, who can sometimes be a little crazy and more frequently a little stubborn was determined to climb a 3000ft mountain.  No one would have thought less of her if she had decided to sit in front of the TV, maybe a walk in the park, but no all 3000ft of the mountain.  Rather than deciding it wasn’t possible, she sat down and figured out what she needed to do to get up there.  The result was a very clear goal, a strategy which involved a support team and a shovel load of motivation.

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What Sandra did was rather clever and this is where the lesson lies:

  • She set herself a clearly defined goal – she would climb Great End in Cumbria and give herself 3 days to do it in.
  • She considered what would stop her achieving that goal.  This included needing help over difficult bits, not being able to carry her own rucksack, needing plenty of rest and found solutions to these challenges.
  • She provided herself with motivation to achieve her goal.  How?  Telling everyone she was going to do it and getting sponsorship for a charity meant there was no backing out, particularly when we were offered a substantial amount of sponsorship to carry the window up as well.

We can apply these lessons to any goal.

  • Set a clearly defined goal
  • Know what your stumbling blocks will be and plan for them
  • Ensure your motivation is strong

If you have any top tips for achieving a goal please share with my readers.

Www.justgiving.com/sandra-pryor

Spring Is In The Air

What does Spring mean to you?

I love this time of year.  The snowdrops are still around a gentle reminder that we  may still be working on New Years Resolutions, and so should not forget them, but for me Spring is about new starts.  As the daffodils and crocuses start to pop through the still frozen soil as green shoots and slowly open up into a burst of colour – I start t think about what my green shoots should be.

Spring is a time society accepts for new starts.  People think about moving home, getting married – even spring cleaning.  Out with the old and in with the new!

Image

Spring was when I made the decision to embark on my coaching journey. A complete career change.  An idea that started with green shoots and slowly but surely metamorphosed into the concept it is now and Reflections was born.  Its an idehttps://reflectionscoachingblog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2085&action=edita I’m still working with and changing all the time just as the daffs form their golden trumpets.

This spring – my new start is all about my new up and coming website.  I’m refocusing my business and defining my niche so watch out for some changes.

What new starts will you make this spring?

http://verawoodhead.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/willyoubeblossoming/

What were you born to do?

When was the last time you asked yourself what you were born to do?

Its that time of the week when I sit down and write my blog post, sometimes the inspiration flows and others I just get stuck.  This week, is damp outside, the light is starting to go and I’ve a stack of emails having taken a week off.  Inspiration was alluding me and I fell into the procrastination trap.

I write a lot about how we should avoid procrastination and I hope I don’t have to eat my words but rather than open up my blog to write I procrastinated – checked my emails and there it was – inspiration -via a weekly LinkedIn email and someone had posted a forum “What were you born to do”

I confess, I haven’t read the forum – the words were enough.  Its my favourite topic.  Its why I coach.  My job is about helping square pegs find square holes not force them into round ones as so many employers choose to do.

In short, I coach people who really aren’t happy in work, to help them to resolve their situation.  It isn’t necessarily about finding them a new job, sometimes its about making the round hole that they’re trying to fit into a bit more square.

And its a very good question.  I believe I was born to help people so, what were you born to do and what are you doing about it?

Reflections Coaching supports people in their roles with stress, work/life balance, career change, new business start ups so if you feel like a square peg in a round hole, please get in touch for a no obligation chat to see how we can help get in better fit in your working life.

Email caro@reflectionscoaching.co.uk

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Joie de vivre

How do you stop life getting you down?

 

I’ve had a couple of low moments recently.  I won’t go into the details because my blog is about support and motivation not self pity.  But sometimes when I’m low its really hard to pull myself out of it.  I was thinking about this when out walking The Ziggy Dog the other morning.

 

Cue Ziggy:

Obviously Ziggy is very important to me, however it is his pure joy of life that inspires me.  His desire for the simple pleasures, just running free across an open field so frequently reminds me that it is often the simple things in life that are important.  To love and be loved, to care, to be healthy.  The other stuff, well sometimes that’s just stuff to provide challenge and keeplife interesting – there’s no right or wrong answers. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

 

What small stuff do you sweat?

When Your Self Esteem Has Run Out Of Steam

So what do you do when you’ve been getting along perfectly happily and someone says to you that one thing?

It doesn’t even have to be a big thing.  But they said it.  They can’t take it back.  In fact they probably said it with a completely different intention that you received it.  They might even be horrified if they had any idea how much damage they’d done.

But they said it and Wham! Your confidence has been blown.

Well we probably all have been in that situation – I know I have and here are my 5 top tips to help restore your self esteem:

  1. Think about the person that said it.  If they know you, how likely was it that they meant it?  If they didn’t then what the heck do they know anyway?
  2. Face yourself in the mirror.  Smile, look at who YOU really are and find something you like about yourself.
  3. Think back about something really good that you’ve achieved today.  If you’ve had a really bad day then it might just be that you congratulate yourself for getting through the day regardless of what its thrown at you.
  4. We all have someone that makes us feel good.  Give them a call.  5 minutes might be all you need.
  5. Know what activities make you feel good and go and do it.  For some of us that might be hitting the treadmill, reading a book or getting some fresh air.

“Dance as though no one is watching you.

Love as though you have never been hurt before.

Sing as though no one can hear you.

Live as though heaven is on earth.”

Can exercise really lower those feelings of stress?

 

Anyone who follows me on other social networking media such as Twitter and Facebook will have observed that I regularly declare the health benefits of a Lake District Walking Holiday or long walks in the Peak District.  In fact I believe them to be good for the soul…..

….. and in fact good for the body too.

Actually any exercise is as good for the mind as it is the body.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve come away from a really stressful day at the office, feeling tired and worn out, headed to the gym for my favourite exercise class and left all my stresses behind me.  In fact its one better than that! It gives me a real energy boost for the rest of the evening.  Well at least until about 9.00pm when shattered I fall asleep. That’s good too because the decent nights sleep I get sets me up afresh for the challenges of the next day.

Fresh Air & Exercise – so good for you.

Copyright http://www.reflections coaching.co.uk

 

In fact, I read an article recently that talked about studies into people with depression and that significant improvements in their mental health were seen as a result of combining exercise such as running, with their normal medication.  The article suggested that the effect of exercise on metabolism could increase serotonin, but also that exercise could act as a therapeutic distraction, diverting attention from an individual’s worries and concerns.

For me this is evidence enough of a link between the well-being of body and mind of which I have always been an advocate.  In my life coaching, I include a “walk & talk” session for suitable clients.  It really helps them to think.

As a coach I maintain I will never tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.  That is for you to decide, so I’m not going to tell you all to go out and increase your exercise regimes, however I know for me it helps so if you feel you need a bit of stress release, why not consider exercise as an option.

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