How I face Life’s Challenges

My long weekend at the Calvert Trust has really given me a lot to think about.  On a daily basis I face challenges and sometimes when faced with challenges its easy to give up.  But last week at the Calvert Trust I got to try life in a wheelchair and it made me realise that when faced with certain things you simply have no choice but carry on.  If we applied that philosophy to everything we face in life, imagine what we COULD achieve…..

Brett Trafford Photography-8photo copyright www.bretttrafford.com

So what do you do when face with a challenge?

  • Do you give up and go home?
  • Do you tackle it for a little while until it gets really difficult and give up? Or
  • Do you never give in?

I know I could answer yes to all of these at some stages of my life.  So why give up sometimes and not others?  The answer is about how badly you want to succeed and if you want to succeed in everything you do, then you have to make yourself want that success.

I find it helps if I grab my notepad and write a list of everything that achieving  success will bring me.  Depending on what the criteria is, it could be anything from satisfaction of ticking off my to do list right through to earning enough money to take a dream holiday.

Add another column of all the things failure will bring one, and sure enough my first list looks a whole lot better.

I know one thing though, learning to use a wheel chair has really helped me get a better perspective and next time I feel like giving up on something, I’ll think again and question, has life really become that hard?

 

What would make the difference to you facing your challenges?

 

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.

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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

 

Reclaim Your Mojo

Autumn has been and gone with Christmas now just around the corner.  Those lovely sunny days have faded into just memories.  Darker mornings can be a struggle.  Sometimes just small events can knock us off balance.  It’s time to get your MOJO back.

Look inside yourself

Take a few moments out to think about what may have thrown your emotions out of kilter.  Is it something that’s happened at work? or home?  Its good at this point to write down your thoughts.  Make a note of the facts e.g. a falling out with someone and also the emotions that go with it.  Having a visual record will help you deal with it.

Spring-clean

And I’m not talking about your house.  But just in the same way that you would clear out your cupboards, and hoover the carpet, you can make the choice to throw away the negative emotions.  Make a deliberate choice to throw out the negative emotions and draw a line under events OR take a positive action to resolve them. 

A great spring-clean leads to a trouble free mind, a sense of achievement and the buzz of a fresh start.

Do something different

Right now is a great time to make a change or do something new.  A trip to the hair dressers for a new style could make a real difference to how you feel.  OR try a new hobby, pick up a book for the first time in 10 yrs or try that new restaurantJust one small change can leave you feeling refreshed.

Do Something For Pure Pleasure

Ever wanted to go fly a kite? Or skip through a wood?  What’s stopping you.  Perhaps the simpler pleasure that you don’t get chance to do, like taking a mid week soak in the bath – allow your mind to be free of your pressures just for 30 minutes will help you get a real focus.

 

My 4 tips will help you restore that smile this autumn.  Keeping emotions and life balanced is important to leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle.  If you need more help keeping your life in kilter perhaps coaching could help.  Give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 now to book your free taster session.

P1070226copyright Carolyn Trafford

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.

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copyright 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.

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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.

Saying “No” Can Be Hard To Do

If you’ve ever wondered why saying “No” is difficult – there’s a simple answer…..

Time is an irreplaceable priceless asset. Achieving a healthy balance in life is important and being empowered to say “No” when you need to helps in striving to achieve that balance.

We all know that working to our priorities is important, yet how often do we mean to say “No” but actually end of giving in and saying “Yes” simply because its good customer service, or is only a small thing to do.

And that’s great.  If you are able to say “Yes” to people then that can make us feel good, get known for providing that extra special customer service or just be a great person, however if that is impacting on your priorities, leaving you you without the energy for the things you need to say “Yes” to, or feeling like you’re being taken advantage of then something has to change.

So why then, is it so difficult?

To understand the answer we need to explore our belief system:

  • If I say “No” then I’m being selfish. – Saying “No” demonstrates trust and maturity.  Not wanting to say “No” is a common problem and others will respect you for it
  • People might judge me – people form judgements all the time and we have no control over this.  You’re not saying no for the fun of it, so back it up with the reasons you’re having to say no.  Again they will respect you for it.
  • People and customers may go elsewhere – they might and this will have to be a judgment call for you.  If you’re going to say “Yes” make sure that you have the time to do what you promise without letting something slip elsewhere, but remember that in most cases an extra 24 hours won’t make a difference to most people so be realistic about how many customers you may lose.  You have the option to negotiate  before you say “Yes” or “No” so perhaps this is an option to explore.

Saying “No” can be tricky and practice really helps.  This post was understanding WHY we find saying “No” so difficult.  Next week I’ll be exploring the topic some more and looking at HOW we can start saying “No“, so that’s one to look out for.

Until then if you want to know more about self belief, a coaching session would help, you’ll find more information at www.reflectionscoaching.co.uk or leave your thoughts below and I’ll reply as soon as I can:

 

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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

Is It OK To Always Be Right?

 

I’m always right at least according to hubby.  I’ve spent years educating him that way.  And proving it too.

 

If I look back it started when a teacher at school explained that he only ever placed a bet with someone when he knew he was right and would win.

 

I was quick to realise that if I only strongly stated my case when I knew I was right I would always be right and the competitive part of me like that idea. It meant I could win arguments more often and know when to walk away from them.

 

At what point this kind of thinking gets out of hand I’m not sure, but I now hold a much stronger desire to always be right, its built up over the years and now I feel as though I lose face if I’m wrong.

 

Accepting that its OK to be wrong is quite a change in thinking for me, however its one that I need to do.  Needing to always be right can put a huge amount of pressure on us, when we’re already in busy worlds leading busy lives.  And lets face it, if I’m wrong occasionally then someone is actually right in that instance and that’s OK – in fact its a bit of a win/win.

 

So have a bit of a think.  What is it that you do that just puts unnecessary pressure on you?  Please share your thoughts.

English: Cover of the 2009 print of Thinking a...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Actually in my role as a coach I have to put aside any feelings of being right or wrong and accept  my client’s views of their world. So I’ve had plenty of practice – its just a matter of transferring this to my personal life.  If you need help with something that holds you back, give me a call on 07714 216388 for a no obligation chat.

 

 

I Can’t Do That – A Case Study About Why You Can!

I’m a bit of a sucker for inspiring stories – so here’s a favourite one of mine.

One of my clients has been diagnosed with a disability that causes nerve dis-function, muscle wastage and severe pain.  Walking has become a daily challenge for someone who has led a previously active life, been a gymnast and fitness instructor.

Physical disabilities can have a dramatic impact on our mental ability to cope.  Formally positive people can start to ask themselves questions like “why me?” and feel that their only option is to give up.

Sandra has been fortunate in getting support, and through a process of understanding her disabilities and limitations and with that her abilities has been able to challenge her internal beliefs.  She has now set an extremely challenging goal of climbing a 3000 ft lake district mountain.  Quite a challenge when you consider that some days she struggles to get to the shop without using crutches.

Motivation is crucially important when setting goals, and Sandra has been able to increase hers by raising funds for an organisation called the Calvert Trust, who are a relatively small charitable organisation who challenge the limits of disability through outdoor adventure.

In a few weeks I hope to bring you good news of Sandra’s journey, however in the meantime I find it useful to reflect on my own challenges and goals.  Its all to easy to stop at the first hurdle.  As soon as we say “I can’t” we stop.  I think its was Henry Ford that said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”  So the next time you find yourself saying “I can’t do this” – turn it on its head and look at what you can achieve instead – its amazing what we’re capable of.

© Brett Trafford © Brett Trafford

If you wish to understand more about Sandra’s fundraising then she does have a justgiving page

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