Sunday, July 24, 2011

Turn things around with this one easy technique

'I should take work home tonight.'

'I can't go to the movies because of the exam.'

'It's not my fault I didn't get the job.'

'I hope it doesn't happen again.'

'If only things were different...'

Do you catch yourself uttering disempowering statements like these?  You might as well scream 'I have no control over my life!'

Speak like this for long and you may notice a creeping sense of hopelessness and frustration.  That's because the subconscious mind does not think for itself.  It believes whatever is fed to it, whether the words are true or not.

The more we say things like 'I should' and 'I can't', the more weak and powerless the subconscious believes us to be.  Beliefs like that shape our behaviours, which shape our actions, which change our results.

The easiest and fastest way to improve your results is to change the ideas that you feed to the subconscious.  It can be as simple as changing a few key words.

Start today

Remove words from your vocabulary that imply that you have no options.  

'I should take work home' paints you as a trapped by your job and introduces guilt.

'I could take work home' introduces power and choice.  While the outcome might be the same (taking work home), it might not be - either way, the subconcious is hearing that you are in control of what you do, and that builds higher self-esteem and confidence.

'I can't go to the movies because of the exam tomorrow'.  The subconscious hears: Woe is me! I'm a victim - trapped and powerless because of an exam!

Say instead, 'I chose to do this course.  I could go to the movies, or I could study for the exam'.

'It's not my fault' is a disempowering phrase suggesting that things happen 'to' you, not 'because of your actions'.  It gets you nowhere.

Even if it's the case that the employer gave the job to his nephew instead of you, saying 'it's not my fault' is still disempowering, dead-end thinking.  

Taking responsibility for the outcome, regardless of the cause, leads you to find ways to improve.  Unless your interview performance was perfect, there's room for personal growth regardless of who got the job and why. 'I take responsibility for getting the job' is empowering language.

'If only things were different'.  BORING.  Whine, whine, whine.  Powerless.

'Next time, I'll do things differently...' This positions you in a realm where choice, options and opportunities exist.  It puts you in the driver's seat.

Start by observing and noting down how frequently you feed negative ideas to your subconscious.  You might be surprised at the extent of your disempowering self-talk.

Change one word at a time - why not focus just on replacing 'should' with 'could' this week, and see the difference that makes.

To read more on moving your language from 'pain' to 'power', see Susan Jeffers' best-seller, Feal the fear and do it anyway.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

What's the TOP reason you're not confident?

Don't ask, but I seem to have become addicted to America's Next Top Model (cycle 15, on Fox).

They're down to the final two contestants - Chelsey (experienced, self-assured, determined) and Ann - pictured above (awkward, gangly and a self-confessed nerd).

Whenever there's a hint of having to act dramatically in an upcoming shoot, do something sexy or anything outside her comfort zone, Ann shrinks into a quivering mess and feels sick with nerves.

Even so, she goes on to win the series convincingly because, right when it's needed, she absolutely shines.

Start today

Have you ever sat on your lounge, feeling nervous and unsure - thinking 'I don't have the confidence to do it!' (I don't mean enter a top modelling competition necessarily - something a little closer to home).

There's a reason you don't feel strong enough.  Confidence only shows up right when we need it.

It's not required while we're reclining safely on the lounge in track pants and ughs, with a cup of tea.

It's needed the second we walk out onto that stage, step in front of that podium, enter that job interview, jump off that bungee platform or walk down that aisle.

The only way to find confidence is to DO the very thing that you're afraid of.  Imagine the possibilities then.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How big is your stumbling block, really?

Somewhere along the course of my life, I formed a belief about myself that 'I am not an "IT" person'.

Perhaps it was back in 1984, when Garran Primary School introduced Year Five to a weekly class on 'Computers', which was held in the Art room, taught by Mr Corp (the PE teacher) and consisted of us writing a program in our exercise books on 'How to Make a Cup of Tea'.

There was not a computer to be seen.  I remember staring at the art easles and paint pots and the words 'Run' and 'Enter' on the blackboard and thinking, 'I don't get computers!'  (I was also thinking, 'how do you make a cup of tea?)

The belief was compounded a decade later when I lost several months' of revisions on my 4th Year Honours thesis at uni.  I bawled into the third-hand word processor that we'd inherited from my Dad's work and the corrupted floppy disc and wailed, 'I don't get it!'

Fast forward another decade when I started a new job at the Defence Materiel Organisation and my boss asked me to knock up a pivot table in Access on my first day.

A what sort of table?  What's Access?  I'm a Word person.  I can barely find the Excel icon, let alone that of its flashy cousin.

The belief slipped out of my mouth before I'd thought twice, 'I'm not an IT person...'  He gave the pivot tables to someone else.

All of this leads me to this week, when I ordered a brand new, full-featured, e-commerce website with all the bells and whistles, sat down to add content into it and had two choices.  Either 'I'm not an IT person' (in which case you'll never see the new site) or I can be...

I made a rule for myself:

Aim for 80%

During the development phase, for every page on that site, my goal is 80% of 'right'.  'Perfect' has no part in my '80% now, fix the rest later' approach.  It's a website.  They're 'fluid'.

The result?  I can't put it down! 

Start today

What negative beliefs have you held about yourself for a long time - and compounded with new evidence over the years?

How long have you been allowing this to stop you from trying something new, which might prove to be enjoyable or fruitful?  What if this stumbling block isn't as big as you perceive it to be...

When you're stepping out of your comfort zone, experiment with 'ditching perfect'.  Feal that fear and throw yourself in despite it.  You might find a new passion!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The 7 Types of Busy: Which one are you?

Frantic?  Can't possibly take anything out of your schedule?  Modern life is flat out, and that's that. 

Or is it?

Have a look through the following 'types' of busy (some of which are adapted from Soul Sisters Empowerment Groups), and see if you can identify your own style.

'Badge-of-honour' Busy

Being busy equals being significant.  Keeping your schedule jam-packed keeps you as important as everyone else - it's how you create your worth.

People say, 'I don't know how you do it!' (and secretly, you love hearing that).  The truth is, though, you don't know how you do it either - or even if you want to...

'Nobody does this as well as I do' Busy

You'd like to cut things out of your schedule, but you'd probably end up doing them anyway, because nobody else does things 'properly'.

You're the only one who can complete all that is expected of you at work and at home.  Well, technically others could probably do it, but would they do it well enough?

'Running away' Busy

There is something big that you really should attend to: perhaps it's an unhappy relationship or an unrewarding job.

Instead of tackling what should be first on your list, you fill your diary with unnecessary tasks so that you 'don't have time' to face the important stuff.  You could go on like this indefinitely...

'Comfort zone' Busy

There's something you'd love to try - a new hobby, online dating, a promotion at work - but it's a big step and you're scared.  What if it doesn't work out?

Staying busy keeps you in your comfort zone and protects you from taking the risk.

'People pleaser' Busy

You have a need to be liked.  'Yes' comes out of your mouth before you even consider an alternative response.  What if you say 'no' and they don't like you as much?

Is it easier and safer just to take the request on?  YES!  You'll do it!

'Scatty' Busy

You're disorganised at home and at work.  You spend a huge amount of time looking for things that you've misplaced.  You're regularly late for appointments.  You leave everything til the last minute.

Your lack of organisation creates chaos and manufactures extra work.

'Scared to ask' Busy

You're not sure you understand the task.  Rather than seek clarification, you go to enormous lengths to try to work it out yourself.

You're scared of asking 'silly questions' and choose to complicate your life in an effort to avoid these.

Start today

Think of the last five roles or responsibilities that you said 'yes' to.

What was the motivation in each case?  (Tip: if your answer is 'I couldn't avoid it - I just had to take it on', then search a bit deeper.)

Uncovering your motivation to stay so over-burdened is the first step in untangling yourself from a life that is 'busy' ... and creating in its place a life that is 'full'.

What a difference that makes.

If this sounds like something you'd like to explore further, perhaps you'd enjoy our new eBook: The Seven Types of Busy: How to disentangle yourself from doing too much

  • Find out the difference between a 'busy' and a 'full' life
  • Use a self-assessment tool to work out your own level of 'busy' and how close you are to burnout
  • Uncover how you 'do' busy (what's your strategy and how is it working or not working)
  • Apply 'First Aid' for the chronically overwhelmed (how to lift the burden in 30 minutes)
  • The seven types of busy, why people choose these, what this is costing you and how to address it
  • What do you really stand to gain from changing the way you're running your life?
  • How to de-clutter your life for greater balance and contentment
The eBook can be downloaded immediately from our online store, for $17US. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is your need to be liked holding you back?

Researchers have found that the part of the brain that activates when we experience physical pain also activates when we experience 'social pain' or rejection.

Some researchers believe that the brain has two related 'systems': one is to 'seek' new relationships, the other is to 'protect' from rejection.

Interestingly, while everyone has these two systems, one is often more dominant.  'Seekers' are motivated to make new connections - even if this puts them at risk of rejection.

'Protectors' will want to form new relationships, but will do this with caution.  They are motivated to avoid pain, and some might avoid relationships or sabotage existing ones to prevent being hurt.
  (For more information see Dr Roger Covin's book, The need to be liked.)

Start today

If you're a 'protector', be aware that you may be complicating your life because of your need to avoid rejection:
  • Perhaps you take on too much and burn out more quickly, because you struggle to say 'no'. 
  • Perhaps you avoid difficult conversations in personal and professional relationships, complicating problems and creating stress.
  • Perhaps you let people down, because you spread yourself too thinly in an attempt to please everyone.
  • Perhaps you feel resentful of others who have more time or freedom than you do, because they have firmer boundaries.
  • Perhaps you hold yourself back in your career because being a manager sometimes requires you to do or say things that aren't designed to win you friends.   
  • Perhaps you hold yourself back in your personal life, by not letting others get close enough to risk hurt.
The great irony is that people tend not to like people who have a strong need to be liked!  The constant need for affirmation from others, the 'giving in' and the lack of decision-making in order to please everyone can become quite wearing.

What's the solution?

Learn to be comfortable in your own skin.  Like yourself, and your need for others to fill that void will lessen.

Be true to yourself, even when it's uncomfortable... and watch as saying 'no' becomes easier and you prioritise the things that matter, improve situations through tough conversations, please the right people when it matters most, liberate your time, expand your career and experience deeper, more lasting relationships.     

What's not to like about that?