Comfort Zone Leap Part II – Stepping Up To The Mic

In last week’s post I shared with you my thoughts on the OMG state – a state of mind where your inner voice continually tells you that you’ve made a mistake and its all going to go horribly wrong.

I met up with my fellow comedy challengers again last week.  We’d all prepared some material – short comedy sketches to test on each other and I felt OK about it.  But when we got to the meeting room – there was a microphone and a speaker.  How can one inanimate object scare me so much.  I panicked at the thought of using it.  I quickly realised that this was my negative self (Frankie) trying to sabotage me.  What a brilliant opportunity to practice and use the mic now rather than face it for the first time at the show.

Turning thoughts around into a positive outcome is a great technique to use when you start to panic over something.

P1070681copyright Carolyn Trafford

I’d also really worried about my material.  Having stood in front of a mirror and read it out, it neither sounded funny nor was delivered in a funny style.  I was really nervious when I stepped up to the Mic.

Yet I was greeted with laughter from my 14 strong audience.  Loud laughter! Imagine what that will sound like with an audience of 300.  And better still the feedback I received was that it was almost there.  So my second learning point today is:

No matter what you say, do or in fact believe, when delivered to someone else it will be interpreted differently, gather feedback and if its positive believe it as readily as you would if it were negative.

Well I’m off to practice for this weeks meeting, I’ve added a few bits, changed a few bits and streamlined some of it, so we’ll see what this week throws at me.

Sometimes we need help, encouragement and motivation to achieve the things we are aiming for.  Call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 if you need help with yours and to book your free 45 minute consultation.

 

 

 

 

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The Art of Saying “No”

Last week’s blog post – “Saying No Can Be Hard To Do” hopefully started you thinking about how difficult it can be to say “No” and why in fact you do this based on your belief system.  This week I wanted to take that thinking one stage further and start to look at how you can change your “YES” setting.

Whether you’re employed or running a business the pressure to work longer than nine to five are greater than ever.

There comes a time, when saying “No” is something you have to do.

However, if time management becomes an issue learning to say “No” with confidence and without offending anyone can be vital.  Do you find it hard to say?

It might be because you’re eager to please, perhaps you feel guilty when you say “No” or people have just come to expect that when they approach you or push the boundaries, you’ll say “Yes

Saying “No” with confidence is not difficult. Armed with a few simple steps you can learn to say “No” leaving you and the other party still feeling great.

My four steps to saying “No” with confidence:
Ground Rules –  Work out what’s important to you.  Maybe clocking off at 5pm means that you can spend some quality time with the kids or your partner.  Understanding its importance helps you to preserve it.  Consider also the priority of your values i.e. family, then health, then work.  How important is time with family and friends.  Knowing this helps you set ground rules e.g. you could accept phone calls up to a certain hour.  Should weekend be work free?

Make your ground rules non-negotiable.

Offer A Reason – When people know why, they will be more understanding because emotions are attached to the situation.

So don’t just say “No” – Say “No because……”

An example could be that “I like to get home by 6pm once a week so that I can have some family time with the kids“.  There’s no need to feel guilty about that.

And remember that saying “yes” to someone else means that you are saying “No” to yourself, your values, your beliefs.  You’re saying you don’t matter as much as the other person.

A Helpful “No” – Presenting the other person with a possible solution means that you’re still being helpful.  Probably one of the reasons you always say “Yes” anyway.

So although you may say “No” you can’t work late to finish the customer order you may be in a position to say that you can come in early the next morning or suggest a colleague who you know is wanting the extra overtime.

Seeking a win-win situation that makes the other person feel valued is important whilst maintaining your own ground rules.

Choose Guilt Free – Remember that it is the other person who needs the favour, they’re asking you to put yourself out – you always have a choice, so choose not to feel guilty.

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If you still find this quite alien, remember my “take one small step” process to goal setting.  This can be applied here. Look for little examples of where you can say “No”, where perhaps the stakes are not quite so high.  The more you practice the easier this will become.

I would love to hear your stories of when saying “No” has really worked for you.  Please share them here:

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 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

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

Are You Stuck In A Rut?

Its very easy to become stuck in a rut, especially at work, what can you do about it?

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Fortunately there are some easy quick win solutions to get you started on your climb out of the rut.

  • Ask yourself if there’s something missing? – it could be that you’ve been in the job too long, unchallenged and bored.  Write yourself a dream job checklist.  What do you need from your job?  Include earnings, hours, responsibility, commute.  This way you can start to make small changes to move towards your dream role.
  • Put some of the fun back – once we’ve hit that rock bottom boredom threshold it becomes quite tricky to change our thought processes.  So just do something different.  Why not organise a lunchtime or evening event such as a quiz or sports event, make some new friends and have a bit of fun too.
  • Network – Networking is vital and not just to those in business.  It is connecting with new people that could halp you with careers moves at a later stage or get you involved in projects.
  • Do something new – start something in your own time, do a part time college course or even start a part time business.  It could bring in a second income or even replace your first.  Do consider carefully though what it is you want to do and consider those items on your dream job checklist. Or you could ask for more responsibility at work.
  • Rewards – we all need to be rewarded for our efforts and this is often lacking at work.  So why not motivate yourself, I have chocolate treats when I know I’ve finished a project, you know what works for you.

And remember:

“If you always do, what you always did,

you’ll always get, what you always got” – unknown

So don’t be afraid to change something.

 

 

 

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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Do You Ever Wonder Where All Your Time Goes?

First published in The Economist in 1955 Parkinson’s law is often referred to in the way in which we utilise our time.

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

I hadn’t even heard of it until earlier this week, but I’m very familiar with the context.

We all have challenges to face in our day to days lives whether or not we recognise them as such.  For me I can get terribly distracted and can procrastinate about procrastination and I never seem to learn.  I can put off doing something for a whole week until I simply have to do it and then it only takes 5 mins to do.  Yet if I’d started it on Monday I might still be finishing the task on Friday.

The solution for me is about focus and time management.  Two skills that I have in abundance I just sometimes choose to ignore them.

  1. Remove distractions – emails, social media, texts, and yes blogs! can take up so much time if allowed to cause a distraction.  I check mine first thing, last thing and when I allow myself a coffee break, closing down the windows on my laptop afterwards – I have found this gives me back much bigger time slots in my day.
  2. Challenging deadlines – I create a false urgency by setting myself deadlines  and rewarding myself time out when I achieve them.  Things are getting done much quicker and I’m getting more free time – its a win/win.

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How do you get around Parkinson’s Law? Please share your ideas here:

New Year, New You?

 

As I start to write this blog post I’m worried about repeating myself. Why?

Well simply because as humans we are often creatures of habit.  I don’t know about you, but I feel myself going through the same motions every year.  1st January – come up with a barrow load of good intentions about what I’m giving up, losing weight or setting out to achieve.  The reality is that 25% of resolutions are broken within the first week or so I read somewhere on the internet so it must be true!!

So I sat down to write a post about having goals not resolutions.  Even the word goal suggests its something to aim towards rather than give up or deny. Only to realise that as a creature of habit I sat down to think all this through last year and even wrote a blog post about it.

So there we have it – a goal is a positive intention, something to aim for and if you wish to know more you can read about it in last years goal post (no pun intended).

I do however believe that the New Year is a really good time to be thinking about what we want to achieve and what we have already achieved.  So let me share some top tips:

  1. Complete a Personal Annual Review of achievements.  My post Achieving A PAR written last year tells you more, but just give yourself time to celebrate those successes.
  2. Make sure your goals have a positive intention, that is something that you want to aim for rather than give up.  My post about making goals count for you tells you more about making goals really work for you.
  3. Always keep goals in your vision.  Write them in your diary, create a vision board or whatever you need to do to remind you that you have them, but never ever be hard on yourself if you let your intentions slip or fall behind.  This is not a moment to give up, just the right time to refocus.

Happy New Year – I’d love to hear all about your goals and resolutions.  Please feel free to share them here.  Often telling someone else can help you remain focused.

 

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All I Want For Christmas ………

Are you feeling the pressure of Christmas?

 

There are so many demands placed on us at this time of year.  If it isn’t hard enough coping with a job, career, running a business coupled with your home life, this time of year (wonderful that it is) comes complete with lots of other pressures.

 

Those pressures can not only place increased demands on your time, and lets face it – all that socialising takes up time, not to mention the extra grocery shopping, gift shopping, wrapping, cleaning, decorating……..   Need I go on?

 

Then there’s the extra stress.  Where is the money coming from? Is the family going to get on? Will uncle Tom like his gift – should you change it now?  There’s pressure coming from all angles to get everything just so.  Just so – to make sure that everyone enjoys their festive season.

 

Have you ever stopped to ask where this pressure comes from?  Perhaps you should.  For most of us the pressure that we feel will be driven internally.  Those little voices that tell us to get everything perfect are not our friends and families.  They’re ours!!!!

And if you asked your friends and families what they thought.  I suspect the advice would be the same as mine.  So if you want to make more of this festive season, then replace your current internal dialogue with these simple words.

Stop and take some time out to enjoy your festive holiday.  Your friends and family will enjoy it more by experiencing the pleasure of your company and seeing a more relaxed you.  No one will notice if you fail to serve the cranberry sauce.

What advice do you have for others wanting to make the most of Christmas?  Please share.

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