Motivation – Where Does It Come From?

Motivation is a really big discussion point for me.  I present so often around goals, visions and confidence – yet rarely about motivation itself.  Yet it impacts on not only these 3 things but also on almost everything we do in life, from getting up in the morning to climbing mountains.

Motivation! Were we born with it?  I imagine there’s a whole psychological debate on that one.  I believe we were, what else made us try to crawl, walk and talk.  Everything we do has a driver behind it and that driver is motivation.

But if it comes so naturally to us, why do we lose motivation?  I don’t believe we ever lose motivation, I believe we just lose the driver for it.  Imagine wanting to lose weight.  We go on a diet.  Somewhere along the way we lose sight of the end goal.  The reason we wanted to lose weight whether that was to look good or feel healthier.  The motivation was still there but without the need, the desire to continue, motivation doesn’t have a need to kick in.

So next time you feel your motivation is beginning to flag, or you begin to lose sight of why you’re striving for something, take a small step away from the situation and revisit your goals.  It works every time.

Lost motivation can really get in the way of what you want to achieve, so if you feel your motivation is preventing you from getting where YOU want to be, give Carolyn a call today on 07714 216388 for your free consultation to see what coaching could help you achieve.

 

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words and pictures copyright Reflections Coaching (2014)

 

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:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Style and Substance – Are Both Critical To Make An Impression?

Week after week Francis was critically  given feedback in the Great British Bake Off for putting style over substance.  And Paul Hollywood was right, substance is important in a bakery competition, first impressions do count but if the cake doesn’t back it up then its all going to fall a bit flat isn’t it?

Working life isn’t quite like that, nor is promoting a business.  In both case style is important.  You need to make an impression and stand out from the crowd.  Take a look at these cakes:

If you had to choose one, you’d choose the nicest looking because you have nothing else to factor in.  That may be the way your potential clients choose their next service provider.

However if someone recommended you to them they may be more inclined to try your services.  Just as you’d choose a different cake if someone told you the slightly collapsible one would taste better, you’d probably give it a go.

However if that slice of cake didn’t taste so great, you’d not go back for a second slice would you? And what if your cake wasn’t there at all?

So yes, its critical you make a first impression.  Make sure your LinkedIn profile has a decent picture, your website and business cards look professional and that you turn up for meetings/interviews looking great, clean, tidy and professional.

And do back that up with substance, make sure that you are prepared and know what you’re talking about.  Be credible, have integrity,  be congruent in all that you do.

You may be familiar with the following impact statistics.  They are used frequently in personal development workshops and books.  Does it surprise you that performance only accounts for 10% of your personal impact?  Yet at work we so often spend so much time being diligent and hoping we’ll get noticed.  Yes it matters, but what matters more is getting yourself out there and getting noticed.  Volunteer to attend and speak up in meetings, attend networking events, make an online presence, use social media positively.

Remember your pie and make sure your cake is out there and on show – metaphorically of course.

Reflections coaching are experts in helping you make an impact, speak confidently, congruently and with integrity.  If you need help with your credibility at work or in businesses, then call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation.

Snowballing

Its a little early to be thinking of snow I admit, though the word snowballing was the perfect word for what I wanted to talk about this week.

Have you ever found yourself agreeing to something and then it just taking over?

This very thing happened to me this week.  I was at one of my regular business breakfasts when someone asked the questions “Do you want to do some stand up?“.   I didn’t say “Yes” and then I didn’t exactly say “No” either.  I said “Tell me more”  It was at this point I knew I was involved.  I had taken that very first tentative step outside of my comfort zone.  There were 1001 voices in my head screaming, “You’re not funny“, “that’s scary stuff” and “what will other people think?” one loan voice was saying “what do you have to lose? It will be good for you“. And somehow the loan voice was shouting loader that ALL the others put together.

And that loan voice is right.  I’m comfortable standing up in front of an audience.  What I’m not so comfortable about is my ability to stand in front of them and be funny.  Its way outside of my comfort zone. That said, I have nothing to lose and a lot to be gained, but it all starts from one small step and will snowball from there.  Now that I have agreed to do it, I’m choosing to tune into the positive voices in my head.  I have confidence that they will be there for me as I take bigger and bigger steps beyond my comfort zone.

The next layer of the snowball is to start to tell people then it becomes hard to change my mind.  Once I start fundraising then there will be no backing out.

Snowballing is easy, its about taking that first step.  So next time you want to tackle something  but a huge part of you is trying to talk you out of it, just take that first step and let the rest of it snowball from there.

If there’s something that you want to achieve, and are struggling to take the first steps, give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation to see if coaching is the solution for you.

P1060951copyright Carolyn Trafford

Learn To Take Your Own Advice

How often do others suggest we take our own advice?  What prompts them to say it? We’re probably very good at dishing out our own advice but are we as prepared to take it?

I had one of those moments last week.  You may remember about 2 weeks ago I wrote a post about The Art Of Serendipity and how Serendipitous Happy Accidents more often occur as a result of our own engineering.  If you want more of those chance meetings, you need to make sure you’re in the right place at the right time.

Its great advice.  Yet once again I found myself debating whether or not I should attend a new business group.  Not just any business group, a group of professional speakers.  I do talks, seminars and training sessions, but these people are the peers I want to have, they are the best speakers in the area.  If I want to raise my game this is where I need to be.

Yet I still debated my own advice.  The meeting wouldn’t be finishing until late and it was an hours drive.  I asked a business colleague who I knew was attending if he thought it was worth it.

He suggested that if I wanted to grow my business that I needed to make the opportunities and put myself out there (that’s not quoted verbatim but it was the essence).  It was almost like he was throwing my own words and thoughts back at me.  How daft did I feel?

So I went, I met some fantastic people, and delivered one of the best speeches I’ve ever delivered without pre-planning.  It was a great meeting and I met 10 great new contacts.

So my top tip for today is, learn to take your own advice.  Next time you’re debating a decision ask yourself:

“If it was my friend asking me, what would I tell them to do?”

and then act on it.  Its the best advice you’ll ever get.

Perhaps you’d like to share your thoughts about when you last took your own advice and it really paid off.  Please feel free to comment below:

 

P1060895copyright Carolyn Trafford

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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Get The Right Brain Into Gear

Its Monday as I write this.  I suffer Mondays just as much as everyone else  despite being fortunate enough to work from home.  Some Mondays I spring out of bed and get stuck in to my week, others I’m a little more sluggish in nature and am better off focusing on more admin based tasks than creative ones like writing my blog!

Yet here I am this morning – in slightly sluggish mode, slightly lacking inspiration, brew in one hand and the other I’m using to scratch my head in a metaphorical way.  I have a few rules about how I write my blog and run my business and top of the list is that it needs to be true to me and have an honest approach.  And that can mean admitting to being sluggish some Mondays (perhaps Tuesdays, maybe even Wednesdays…..)

So, I figure that lots of you, reading my blog struggle with inspiration from time to time and that’s OK – we all do.  I’m working hard to use my right brain more.  Right brained thinking is all about using our creative elements.  As a naturally left brained thinker, when it comes to problem solving I have a tendency to use the same problem solving techniques as I always do.  Brainstorming, list making etc.  Yes I sometimes use mind maps but they’re still very word based.

And you know what they say:

“If you always do, what you always did,

you’ll always get what you always got”

So now, when I become “stuck” I pull out my coloured pens, a blank sheet of paper and get to work.  Its amazing the difference it makes. I still use lists, but they’re lists in glorious Technicolor and my mind maps are pictures not words.  My favourite is when I’m creating notes for a presentation as these are made almost entirely of pictures and a few key words. Even if my artistic talent is sometimes lacking.

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So, next time you find yourself lacking that all important inspiration, grab some coloured pens, a piece of paper and start drawing.  Let you mind go – you’ll be amazed what you come up with.

I Googled right brain for those of you that want to understand this more and this article seemed to sum it up nicely.  Click here for more info.

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