Writers Block – A Thing Of The Past?

Last week I told you about my new challenge which has involved my joining an online writing challenge group.

Its yet again one of those things that I’ve chosen to do that suddenly becomes the catalyst for a number of events.

It’s sparked conversations about writing and publishing.

I’ve completed a number of tasks.

I’ve learned about speed writing and how useful this can be for kick starting those thought processes to overcome writers block.

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The most important thing I’ve learned in this short week, is that starting out with a goal and allocating a small amount of time every day to progress it can work wonders.

What one thing to do you really want to achieve?   How much time each day would it take to make a difference to your goal?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and so would my readers, please take the time to let us know what you’re working towards by adding a comment to this page.

 

 

Words and picture copyright Reflections Coaching (2014)

What Is Stopping You?

We all had so many good intentions at the beginning of January, for most of us now, we’ll be finding some of those goals a bit of a challenge, especially those of us with weight loss, or ‘giving up’ type of goals.  Even those of us with achievement goals, i.e. ‘I want to start a business’ may have found obstacles in the way.

So what is your biggest obstacle?

Have you ever considered the answer to that question could well be “Me”.  The one thing stopping you achieving your goals could actually be you.  Psychologically we do this all of the time.  Those voices in your head that say “I can’t because……”, and it may be about money, or time, or family life.  The truth is these are just excuses you have made up for yourself.  If you  truly wanted to achieve something you could, if you stepped out of the way.

SO push aside those negative thoughts and instead of thinking why you CAN’T do something.  Think about all the reasons why you CAN.

If there’s something you want to achieve and your thoughts of CAN’T are taking over, give Carolyn a call today on 07714 216388 and book your free consultation.  Together we’ll get you thinking CAN.

P1080123copyright Carolyn Trafford 2014

 

 

How Do I Make Time For Me?

How many times have you said that?  “I don’t have time to” or  “If only I had more time….”

Modern lifestyles, juggling jobs, businesses, family, friends, is there any time left for me?

The easy answer is “No”.  If we settle for “No” then we’re seriously selling ourselves short and under estimating our abilities to prioritise, juggle, organise….. whatever it takes to find some me time.

It is January and we’ve probably taken on some new goals and resolutions too.  Where do we find that extra time from to run, go the gym, spend more time with our partners, something has to give if we are to be successful.

Try these 3 steps, to making some time:

  1. Make a list, make it big,  Write down everything you need to do regularly or as a one off.  This is the biggest to do list you’ve ever made.  Don’t miss anything.
  2. Now divide it into 3.  Be ruthless in your decisions.  Separate your tasks into  “What really doesn’t matter”, “What could be given to someone else”, “What has to be done by you”
  3. Make it a priority to talk to others that can help you, whether this is your boss, colleagues, partner, children, parents or friends, ask for help.  Ditch the stuff that doesn’t matter.  But make a task of doing it.  By that I mean don’t ignore them, make a conscious decision to remove them from your mind and your physical to do list.  Remind yourself they don’t matter. In fact exterminate them!            What’s left needs to be scheduled, your online calendar, or a diary – either will do – its the physical act of getting the information out of your mind and onto paper that creates the space and time you need to think and get on with the tasks you need to do.

Perhaps you need a bit more help creating a perfect work/life balance for you.  Carolyn regularly coaches business owners and employees alike on achieving a low stress, healthy lifestyle to create more time for what YOU want to do.  Call Carolyn now on 07714 216388 to see how she can help you achieve the life YOU want.

 

Exterminate your to do list!

P1060741copyright Reflectionscoaching

 

 

How Can I Challenge Myself In 2014?

2013 saw so many challenges, it was a year that saw my business gain more direction and focus and at the same time diversify, adapt and change.  There was a 3 day expedition for charity in the Lake District in May and a second fundraiser performing stand up comedy for Gingerbread.

I’m now looking ahead to 2014, and thinking that my few humble goals are nothing special.  A few carefully constructed action plans and a bit of dedication and motivation will see me through.  What they are lacking is the real challenge, the excitement of 2013.

How do I make my goals exciting?  How do I really challenge myself in 2014?

I’ve thought about this long and hard and concluded that most of the excitement in a goal comes from the challenge.  My goals seem flat and uninteresting because they are task based i.e.

  • I will take on x new team members this year.
  • I will do y task by z date.

These are just stepping stones to enable something bigger.  So I’m going to shake them up a little.  I’m talking more about missions than goals.  My mission should be all encompassing, challenging and exciting.  It should put my business on a new level and the tasks based goals will become obvious.

The mission will take my business to a new level.  And will look more like this:

I will be known as………..

Of course this question still needs to be answered.  It affects my goals, my branding, my business planning and I need to take time out to do this.

What will you be known for in 2014?

If you can’t answer that question, taking some time out for you to think about it can be a useful process and a coach can help facilitate your thinking and provide challenge.  If you want to know more about how a coaching session could help you or your business then CALL CAROLYN TODAY on 07714 216388

P1070982content and photo copyright Carolyn Trafford (2014)

 

 

Why Does My New Year Resolution Fail?

Why do I so often fail with my new year resolution? Are Goals and Resolutions the same thing?

Setting New Years resolutions are a bit of a tradition. I’ve been waking up on the 1st January for as long as I can remember and setting resolutions. Its something my mum first encouraged me to do.

How many resolutions last the year? Not many and that’s probably the case for most people. In fact if you start to research the topic you’ll find that stats suggest that most will be broken by the middle Monday in January. Frequently dubbed Blue Monday, this day is the accumulation of long nights, back to work syndrome, arrival of credit card bills and little to look forward to. Add to that, the fact that most people’s resolutions are about giving something up or doing something we don’t want to, then it can become a difficult proposition to maintain.

Properly formulated goals can be a very different proposition. So why are goals so different?

So ask yourself the question – Do you want to lose weight or is it that you want to feel better about yourself? Do you want to give up alcohol or do you want to live a healthier lifestyle?

Once you understand what’s driving your resolution then working toward achieving that goal is about having  positive motivation, rather than moving away from something you don’t want.

Goals should be specific. They should identify exactly what it is you want to achieve, this way you will know when you’re achieved it. This should include a quantity if appropriate and a time by when you will have completed it.

So if your goal is about getting fit, how will you know when you feel fitter? Perhaps a measure might be being able to run for 5 minutes without stopping by the end of March OR being able to walk upstairs without being out of breath.

Goals are much easier to achieve in small steps. If your goal is to write a novel by the end of the year, that’s one big task that you may put off until November and then it becomes unrealistic. Break your goals into small manageable steps, which in this case might be to write the outline by the end of January, 1st chapter by end of February and get feedback in March. Celebrate each achievement as you reach it.
And remember, don’t be hard on yourself. We all lose our way from time to time. It’s like riding a bike, the trick is to get back on when you fall off. So don’t be hard on yourself, just resolve to start again.

What’s Your NY Resolution?

If you need help with your goals this year, then having some support can really make the difference.  Give me a call now on 07714 216388 to see how I can help you make a splash with your goals.

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copyright Reflections Coaching

 

 

Comfort Zone Leap Part III – Gaining Context When It Doesn’t Go Your Way

Well, I’m about half way through the comedy challenge now and like most things that start well, there’s a point you reach when things are losing momentum or not going as well.  And that’s where I’m at.  Fortunately I’ve still got 2 weeks to get out there and iron out these niggling problems.

There were 2 things this week.  The first was at rehearsals.  Having made good progress last week, I hadn’t needed to tweak my routine that much.  Many of the others had, so really my material was old hat to them.  As a result the laughter wasn’t as rich.

Secondly the day after rehearsals I visited the local comedy club here in Leek and the sudden realisation of how good they were and how amateur I am hit me.  I also experienced how hard the 2 middle acts had to work for their laughs. These are the new comedians on the scene who are still forming their material.

For me this a great metaphor for life.

How many times do we compare ourselves less favorably to others and have unrealistic expectations of ourselves.    So here is this weeks learning point:

  • Be realistic – who should you compare yourself to?  In my case it would be better to compare myself to my peers who are learning comedy with me, and we’re all doing OK, some are better at delivery, others have better material but we’re all improving each week.

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If you apply too much pressure to be something you’re not or to achieve other’s standards, you could set yourself up for failure.  As a coach this is common with my clients, so if you’re giving yourself an unbelievably hard time and need some help taking the pressure off yourself, give me a call on 07714 216388 to see how learning some personal development techniques could help you.

Comfort Zone Leap Part I – The OMG State

How often do you step out of your comfort zone?  What motivates you to do it?

You may already have read Snowballing – a blog post a few weeks ago which favours taking a small action, a small step in the right direction to help you step outside your comfort zone.

Snowballing was written in response to me saying “Yes” which at the time was a very small step in the direction of a huge stretch of my own comfort zone.  I said “Yes” to doing stand up comedy for charity.

As I write this, its a whole month to the comedy event and I want to share with you my comedy journey and how I face my fears leading up to the event……..

 

It started a few weeks ago.  When The Gingerbread Charity asked for volunteers.  Saying “Yes” was the easy part.  I was motivated more about proving to myself that I could step outside of my comfort zone than anything else, so the fundraising part was just a bonus.

Yes, I get nervous about public speaking.  Its those butterflies that keep me on my toes, give me an edge when I’m presenting.  Comedy on the other hand is something else.  How can the person that can’t even remember a joke stand up on stage and perform stand up comedy to an audience of 300 folks.  Is it going to be a step too far for me?  Let’s face it BBC Radio Stoke christened me Staffordshire and Cheshire’s least funny person.

My emotions vary considerably.  I go from super-confident, its just another skill to learn, practice and put into action to the “OMG” state.  What if I forget my lines?  What if my timing is off?  What if no one laughs? or worse still, I’m boo’d off stage.

Like everything we deal with in life – its simply a matter of learning to tune out of the negative voices.  That’ll be Frankie. Frankie is the voice of my negative self belief.  Frankie is the enemy in my head, the one who is always telling me that I can’t do something, or I’ll be no good at it.  When I listen to him he’s right and I often fail in my achievements.  I need to listen to Carolyn – my true voice.  Carolyn is logical, intuitive and confident.  It is my true voice that knows I can do this.

 

Corporate comedy club

 

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
Henry Ford

 

The good news is that I’ve been to my first meeting about the comedy evening and met with 9 other equally nervous individuals.  When tackling goals having the right support is important.  We’ve started to talk about material and how to create it.  One of my fears was where would my material come from and already I think I have about 50% of it.

So right now my logical, intuitive and confident voice is on top and taking some very practical steps in writing some material.  Knowing that I have this will be one huge confident leap into my ‘stretch zone’.

Anyone wishing to support the cause can do so via my Just Giving Page every pound donated not only goes directly to the charity but also spurs me on and provides motivation – another critical aspect of working with goals.

My next step is to get my material into a usable format and start to think about my delivery. Focusing on these small steps keeps me moving in the right direction.

What’s your next step?  What takes you our of your comfort zone? What will you do to help you get there?

Improving your self belief is an empowering process.  Call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 for a free 45 minute chat to see what you can do to tackle your comfort zone.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Is Goal Setting Like Getting Married

Those of you that know me personally will also know that I’m not adverse to getting out a camera at the weekend and tagging along with my husband Brett Trafford to photograph a wedding.  We were at a wedding last Friday and it started me thinking about how working with your goals is a bit like getting married, yet it so much easier to divorce our goals than our spouses.

My VVW approach to goal setting is simple and could help prevent you from divorcing your goals.

Vows – Make a commitment to yourself as you would your future spouse.  During the ceremony the couple promised so much to each other and are unlikely to break them.  Ask yourself why you find it so easy to break promises to yourself?

Value – When entering into a marriage we value the thoughts and opinions of our loved one.  Its equally important to value yourself.  Its only when you achieve this that you will place enough emphasis on achieving your goals.  Lets face it – you’re worth it aren’t you?

Witness – Tell others what you’ve set out to achieve.  Tell no-one and it becomes too easy to back out when things get tough.  If you’re going on a diet, tell people, the risk of guilt if caught stuffing that chocolate bar into your mouth might well just stop you sabotaging yourself.

 

I’m currently working towards a goal of losing a stone in weight.  I know from experience that I often set myself a goal and give in.  So I’ve made my vows to 80 witnesses in my facebook Thin From Within facebook group and now potentially another 2000 here on my blog.  All I need to do now, is know that I am worth it.

 

P1060885copyright Carolyn Trafford

 

 

Reach For The Stars – What Could You Achieve With Some Creative Time?

I love stories.  They are a creative way of learning.  I don’t know where I first heard this story – it makes a great tale and a fantastic reminder that sometimes we should rely more on our creative elements.

Many years ago, a man who had not learned to read or write, left school and wanted to apply for a job as a dustman.  His application was refused when he was unable to complete the application form and he left dejected.

He was desperate to earn money and set up a small market stall selling plants and flowers as he loved gardening.  His market stall was a success and he soon had a second, then a third and a fourth.  Over the years he achieved business success, becoming well known for his drive, energy and enthusiasm.

One day, one of his employees suggested he write a book about his business experiences and the employee was rather shocked to find that he couldn’t read or write.

“Just think! _ What you could have achieved if you’d been able to read!”

“That’s easy” he replied “I would have become a dustman”.

Of course, in modern business, learning to read and write is useful, however its important to recognise that its very easy to stifle the creative side of our personalities.

Think for a moment.  What could you really achieve if you allowed yourself the creative space to do so?

P1060180Creating creative space is something that I focus on with my clients.  If you wish explore or develop your creative side – then take a peek at Reflections Coaching.  Who knows where it could lead…….

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?

 

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