The whole world seems to be shaken and stirred these days. I truly believe that as we are on the cusp of big changes that will be happening not just on the world stage (macro level) but for each individual (micro level).
So what could that personal big change be? What if 2020 is your year of perfect vision, where you have clarity and focus like never before? What if that clarity and focus was the foundation for an empowering new decade for you?
Here’s my challenge for you. I’ve got 3 things to get your 2020 vision on track:
(1) Think of something important that you want but has eluded you till now.
Something you want to be different in the next year and the coming decade – and that would really enhance your life:
- Improved relationship with your mother/ brother/ partner/ child
- Becoming healthy
- Feeling comfortable in your own skin
- Knowing your life purpose
- Being in a loving relationship
- Creating financial security
- Moving into a career that you love
(2) Imagine you in late 2020, and this thing no longer eludes you –
you either have it or you have clarity around the next steps to achieve it.
How do you feel?
Confident, relaxed, energized, happy, strong, loving?
How do you look? Is your body different? Are your clothes different? Do you carry yourself differently?
How is your life different because of that thing that has come into focus?
What do you know about that thing that you want to bring into being in 2020? E.g. what would an improved relationship with your mother look like? What expected impact on your life would there be to you knowing your life purpose?
Play around with this imagining and feeling into how you would love it to be in late 2020, if this thing no longer eluded you. You could journal about it or just let yourself daydream for a while.
(3) It is a journey to get there. What one step could you take towards that 2020 vision now?
Look with fresh eyes. Just because you didn’t achieve something in the past does not mean you can’t achieve it now. You are an evolving being and maybe this is the perfect time for this to finally fall into place for you!
10 or 15 years ago a friend of mine Conrad was giving up smoking, yet again. I’ll always remember his remark ‘one of these times it will be my final time’. And he hasn’t smoked since. Just because you didn’t succeed in the past, please don’t let that stop you going for that important change again now.
My sister struggled with her weight for 20 years. She tried many things over the years but none had a dramatic impact. About 2 years ago she lost over 5lb (32kg+)!! I’m so proud of her! She now loves the gym, eats well, still parties hard, and overflows with vitality and enthusiasm for life.
So have a real honest look at what stumped you in the past? How could that not trip you up again?
What support (professional or otherwise) could help you and stop that same issue sabotaging you again now?
E.g. if you want to lose weight would a personal trainer, a nutritionist or a weight loss coach provide the knowledge and support you need?
My sister loves her personal trainer and that wonderful relationship really kept her motivated. Now its how much better she feels physically and emotionally that keeps her motivated.
So who can be your supporter, who keeps you motivated and believing in yourself?
Would an accountability buddy help you to take consistent action?
As a transformational mentor, I love guiding and supporting people on empowering journeys. I connect you to your inner knowing so you are taking purposeful confident actions to create a powerful change.
However you embark on the journey to bring your 2020 vision into being, the 3 key components for you to keep in mind are support, knowledge and continuous action.
So in summary your challenge is:
- Chose one important thing
- Visualise how you want to be in relation to it in late 2020
- Get support, build knowledge, take ACTION
And make it an enjoyable journey to the next awesome version of you!!
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Brene Brown says it best when she tells us that we can’t selectively numb. If you numb your difficult emotions you are also numbing your joy and gratitude. So often we don’t even realize that we are numbing. Those habits that help you ‘switch off’ from life’s pressures are often what’s numbing us.
When I became comfortably numb
When I was 26 I started living by myself for the first time, having always shared my abode with many people. I loved my home and painted it beautiful colours. But I felt extreme unease at being alone. I went out as much as I could, but I couldn’t go out every night. When I stayed in I turned on music and the tv to distract me. Solitude felt like loneliness and loneliness ached. Soon enough I started smoking joints in the evening, which I hadn’t been at all interested in before then. I’d roll up before the anguish set in. Inhale, ‘take the edge off’, and think ‘oh look even the adverts are interesting now’. It got the hook in me and became my avoidance technique of choice for a couple of years. It didn’t make me feel better. My mind felt groggy. I didn’t feel in control of my habit, it seemed to control me.
Ignoring something doesn’t change it; instead there is an increased sense of discomfort or pain.
Eventually I realized that the crutch that helped me to adjust to living alone, was actually preventing me from really enjoying my home and my life. So I threw the crutch away and faced the silence. The very thing that I was then avoiding – spending quiet alone time, connecting to my feelings and thinking deeply about my life – is actually something that now nourishes me immensely. Facing whatever you are avoiding can be a powerful up-leveler and can take you to places far greater than you can even imagine.
You’re numbing techniques might be so normal to you that you don’t even recognize them as an avoidance of anything. You know when you come home and pour yourself a big glass of wine – but you do that automatically most nights.
Or out of habit you pick up your phone to scroll through Facebook several times a day. Of course doing these things at times is no real harm – but our lives are meant to be ‘switched on’ and engaged so we are living a quality existence. It is always worth asking yourself if there are difficult emotion such as loneliness, or a dream for a bigger life that you don’t think is possible.
Maybe you’ve just been pushing too hard and are oscillating from stress to switch off. I’d recommend you check out my vlog Avoid burnout – flow with the low for guidance on getting back in balance.
Let’s address the smaller numbing habits. So what step can you take today to become more ‘switched on’ instead of ‘switched off’? Being engaged and present enhances the quality of any experience.
You could phone a friend instead of having a Whatsapp exchange? Real connection is invaluable.
Cook something from fresh ingredients instead of throwing something convenient in the oven.
Read or research something that inspires you?
Your shift might be limiting your social media time to particular slots in the day instead of them infiltrating every quiet moment.
What if you sense there is a bigger avoidance going on? The bigger the avoidance, the bigger the growth opportunity!! If want to proactively up-level is it time to work with a mentor to help facilitate meaningful change? What change would you love and what sort of mentor or teacher can help you get there?
I love to support people to move from self doubt to listening to their heart and what its calling them to do, feeling supported, confident and taking actions that inspire them. You can book a complimentary ‘discovery session’ with me here today to start the empowering journey. You’ll know after one session if it feels right for us to work together more.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. If you have slipped in to ‘comfortably numb’ then one decision and one action can switch you on and turn it all around. Enjoy!
It’s Mental Health Awareness week so a perfect time to start or deepen your Mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is a way to connect to serenity and a feeling of peacefulness, which is much needed in our fast paced stressful society. A Mindfulness practice is even more valuable for those suffering from mental health issues – big or small.
The Mindfulness practice of taking slow deep conscious breaths and keeping your focus on your breath coming in and going out, may seem very simplistic yet this trains you to release anxieties and step away from stressful thoughts. You are ‘rewiring your brain’ so as to notice your thoughts and then to refocus your attention on your breath instead of those thoughts. By ‘rewiring your brain’ I mean that you are over riding your default pattern (e.g. of letting your thoughts rule your mood) to create new neuropathways in your brain and consequently new patterns.
With regular practice of a Mindfulness meditation you create a habit of connecting to calmness instead of engaging in those thoughts that spiral into feelings of anxiety or depression.
Slow deep breaths are also an effective way to physically release stress in the body and bring your nervous system back into balance.
In addition a range of mood enhancing chemicals can be produced when you meditate such as serotonin (‘the happy neurotransmitter’) and endorphins (resulting in the ‘feel good effect’). So yes, you can feel a bit blissed out after a meditation!
As a regular meditator, over time you’ll start to notice changes in your everyday behavior – maybe feeling relaxed when you’re in a traffic jam instead of being angry that these things ‘always happen to you’! Noticing these changes in yourself is very rewarding and uplifting. Allow time for these changes to start happening – Mindfulness is also about being kind and non-judgmental in our practice. The more you do a Mindfulness practice, the stronger that neurpathway becomes, and the more engrain the pattern becomes of connecting to peacefulness instead of get caught up in anxious thoughts.
So right now … take a slow deep breath in, filling your abdomen with air and slowly exhaling, emptying your abdomen of air. And then another, keeping your full conscious attention on your breath as you do so. Continue this for a few minutes and enjoy your increased feeling of calm in body and mind.
We live in a busy world and out busyness can seem like real drudgery sometimes. When life is dominated by ticking off as many mundane chores as you can from your checklist, then life has lost its spark. Enough is enough; it’s summertime and it’s time to have fun! I’m not going to tell you about some fancy pants task manager, instead here are my top three suggestions to shake up life’s incessant to do list.
1. Outsource what you do not enjoy. It’s common to think that we should complete as many of the tasks in our life ourselves as we can – because they are things we are able to do. Actually though for productivity and enjoyment, your time is best spent on the things you are good at and enjoy doing. Don’t let mundane chores steal all your precious time. What are the things in your week that hang over you, take up too much time, that you don’t relish?
There are endless possibilities for outsourcing, from personal clothes shoppers, cleaners, companies that deliver ingredients and recipes or home-cooked meals, accountants (maybe you can do your tax return yourself but do you really want to!), VAs (virtual assistants), a personal trainers etc. Employ others to do their thing, and give yourself more time for what matters to you. This is part of orchestrating a better work-life balance.
2. Prioritise playtime. Yes indeed I am suggesting to you – the busy professional that you are, that you play and have fun! Don’t tell me that singing along to your favourite power ballad (or other guilty pleasure music) doesn’t make the washing up more fun. Or that a bit of silliness with your 9-year-old, or your partner, or your best friend is not going to lighten your mood, no matter how much you have on your plate. According to Dr. Brene Brown, the researcher, and author, ‘doing things just because they’re fun and not because they’ll help achieve a goal, is vital to human development.’ We need play for our own health and happiness.
3. More mindful moments. We can get bogged down in seriousness, and overwhelmed by all that needs doing. Stop worrying, busying and planning, instead take a few moments in your day to be really present. Fully savour the food you are eating, notice the blossoms on the trees, feel the ease with which your body moves as you walk. Mix in some gratitude to power it up, and you will start connecting to the simplicity and joyousness of your life even more. Those little magic mindful moments are a great way to lighten up and get some perspective.
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To download FREE audio ‘Leave work worries behind’ click here
Listen to or download the audio blog; Finally stop work from zapping your energy
If work is draining your energy there are a number of things that you can build awareness around, that once changed will start energising you.
It’s important to recognise if you recharge your batteries by engaging with people or by quiet time alone?
I am neither definitively an extrovert nor an introvert. So, when my energy is low I ask myself if the company of others, or being quietly focused and reflective, sounds most appealing. Following my instincts, basically listening to what I want and following that with a corresponding action always helps to raise my energy levels. I recommend you test the waters for yourself. Ask yourself what would feel good then either make an effort to talk to someone or create some time where you won’t be disturbed.
Ok so we don’t always have the choice at work– sometimes the situation dictates what is required such as needing to be outgoing to give a presentation. However, if you are pushing yourself to be continuously outgoing or being continuously insular, and it is against your true nature then you are heading for burnout or demotivation.
Who are you spending your time with?
Pay particular attention to how different people are affecting you. Limit time with ‘Debbie Downers’ and ‘Moaning Mikes’ – also known as energy vampires. If you engage in negative gossip it will bring your mood down, putting you in a negative headspace and thus diminish your energy. Seek out people at work whose company you find uplifting. Make a habit of regular interactions with them, even if it’s just a 20-second exchange at the water machine.
Are you trying to do everything at once?
How much multitasking are you doing? Studies show that it takes more energy (and is less productive) to keep switching from task to task. So it’s best to focus on single tasks for longer periods of time. Create the habit of completing one thing before moving onto another, including checking your emails.
What’s your body saying?
Look at your posture – are you sitting upright with a straight back or are your shoulders hunched, and your body slouched over your desk? An upright and aligned body posture enables energy and chi flow more easily in your body, plus it is easier for you to feel more centered and grounded.
Have you developed a sugar overload or caffeine habit, especially on the busy days? Don’t fool yourself; you know that leads to a crash at some stage. There are a huge variety of tasty healthy bars out there now – I tend to stock up on a brand of bars called ‘nakd’ and variety of nuts so I’ve got tasty go-to snacks that won’t lead to an ‘afternoon slump’.
Finally, gentleness and self care are very subtle yet powerful ways to both stop you getting too exhausted and to slowly bring your energy up. This can include being kinder in how you talk to yourself, taking some more mini breaks – even taking a minute to look out the window at an expansive sky or a 5-minute walk outside, taking some slow deep conscious breaths and nourishing yourself with some good food. Explore such simple things that feel good and nourish body and soul. Discover how energising that is.
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