It is interesting when you stop and start to look at your own thinking, or at least it is for me. With our upcoming referendum I have been clear in my own mind about which way I am going to vote, but when talking with friends who were actively campaigning or willing to have some awkward conversations I noticed my reluctance to do that.
With my best coaching hat on I asked myself what was stopping me? I don't know if you know this, but it is very difficult to coach yourself, anyway I digress. The glitches in my thinking as best as I could discover were: fear of trolls (excuse), not wanting to have an uncomfortable conversation where being open to hearing the other side can get clouded with emotion perhaps not only on their part (chicken), concern that it could influence potential clients - not in a good way (excuse), and so on, no judgement as you can see here. I'll stop there I don't want to bore you after all.
So eventually I decided courage was the only way to go was put it out there with a video and deal with any consequences later. Here is the video or click on either image
When you drive your car there is a fuel gauge that lets you know how much fuel you have left in the tank. In some cars there is a flashing light or it tells you "you have 45km left to go". Then you know you need to stop and refuel.
You also know after 30,000km, or whatever distance your car manual tells you, your car needs a day in the garage to get the oil changed, water topped up, perhaps the tyres renewed. Again you may have information flashing up on your screen telling you to do these things.
What about you? What lets you know it is time to stop to
Repetition is a powerful tool that helps you learn and master skills. Just look at our rugby team. You can't turn on the radio or open a paper, digital or otherwise without reading about the possibility of our team (Ireland) winning the Triple Crown, the Grand Slam and we already have the Six Nations. Isn't it just fantastic? Fingers crossed and everything else as well.
But how many of us mere mortals consider the hours, days, weeks and years of repetitive practice drills that have gone into building our players to reach this level. We just see the team out there performing. What we don't see is the commitment of our lads going out on the pitch, hail, rain or shine (believe it or not, they are humans too) and no doubt some days they would just rather take the easy way out and say to themselves "Ah sure, I'll just dodge practice today, one day won't make any difference". But they know it would make a difference. It could make the difference between losing or winning. Just one little thing, can make all the difference. Like Sexton's kick against France. Can you imagine how many kicks he has taken in his life ( I know I can't) until it has become second nature and he goes into the zone automatically?
Now we all know that no one is perfect and sure sometimes there can be a misfire. But that's not important, what is important is to let that go, put it aside and get back into the zone, the zone of confidence in your ability, so the next time you are up for it.
Now you might be thinking to yourself all this talk about rugby leaves me cold and that's okay too. But just think about it, professional sports people are in the top percentile of their chosen skill. So there is a lot to learn from them.
As you think now of something you want to master, whether it is delegating, presenting, leading your team, communicating with colleagues, friends or family, managing your healthy weight and exercise or even learning to knit. What small tasks or drills can you set yourself to practice in both your mind's eye and in 'real' life.
Let's clarify; the goal of the repetition is when you are presented with a similar situation you automatically perform the new skill without even thinking. This is mastery.
Come on Ireland!
Oh! And Happy St Patrick's Day.
Have you heard the expression "Laughter is the best medicine"? You could say it's a bit cliché but we use clichés every day, it doesn't mean they are untrue. I'm curious, did you know deciding to chose to smile or laugh can turn your mood around if you have been feeling a bit down.
When you want to feel more positive, make sure you spend time with people who are upbeat. If you are with others who are down as well, you're probably going to not to help each other leave that mood behind, so find someone who is happy or smiling to help you lift yourself.
No one can truly be happy 100% of the time. If you are unhappy more than you are happy, it could be time to seek some help. Now part of your therapy could very well be to use laughter.
You may find it surprising, there are clinics that promote laughing as part of the group. It entails gathering in a circle and forcibly laughing while the group participates. There is also laughter yoga. If you don't believe me just look it up on YouTube. It is quite entertaining and the participants definitely seem to enjoy it. It may seem strange to outsiders, but participants are proponents of the methods. They get a good feeling after the sessions, and many say they make great friends in the process.
Laughter helps lower stress as well. It releases endorphins in your brain which are responsible for creating that feel good factor. It is also believed to help in producing antibodies which can fight disease. Perhaps this is why the phrase, laughter is the best medicine, came about in the first place.
You can incorporate laughter into your own routine. Of course you may feel it is a bit strange in the beginning. But, even if it is forced, as you do more, you'll get more used to it and you will stop feeling strange over time. Here is the thing, smiling and laughing are the tools you need to change your mood. After a while, you will find yourself laughing for real rather than forcing it.
Go on experiment with it - just for fun - it will improve your general outlook on life. People you associate with will also notice and want to spend more time with you. Do commit to it for a consistent period of time. Notice the changes that you experience in your feelings. It is likely you will never go back to the way you were. While no one can guarantee using laughter will make you live longer and happier, what is there to lose? So the question is, why wouldn’t you use it if you’ve got nothing to lose?
To help get you started with this fun experiment, watch this old video below. Let me know if you can watch it the whole way through without smiling, giggling or laughing. When you really choose to go for it and laugh heartily with it, you will benefit all the more.
Do you find there comes a time when you are compelled to set goals whether in life or business and the journey towards those goals simply must be embarked upon?
Sometimes when you are in search of success in your life you might find yourself focusing on the goal, instead of on the journey towards that goal. The challenge is when you do this, you miss out on many of the lessons to be gained along the way, which will support not only with this goal but also future goals.
When you begin a goal journey, there is often a tickle of excitement, the fun of experimentation, a sense of momentum and motivation. Then when you accomplish your end goal, there is a wonderful feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment. The starting point and the end point are something for you to celebrate and so is the journey in between!
So you don’t miss out on any of the lessons along the journey from beginning to end, here is a useful technique to use:
Depending on your goal, whether it is becoming a more effective and confident presenter, build a more profitable business, improve your performance as a professional athelete or weight loss...really it does not matter...keep a journal of the process.
Keeping a written journal (either paper and pen, or online) can help you discover your thought and behavior patterns, positive and negative habits and can help you discover the thinking process you use and make you more aware of the actions you take...or don’t take. Some of these things will be obvious to you – they will not be surprising, at all. But some of the things you will learn about yourself will come as a total surprise, and herein lie the valuable lessons - the difference that makes the difference.
By learning what works, and what doesn’t work, how you tend to react to when things go well and when they do not, you have an opportunity to begin to learn to adjust your course based on where you are at that moment. And being “in the now” is a life lesson that can’t be underestimated!
When you take the time to examine the how and why of your process, you learn valuable lessons about your action and reaction. These lessons can be used in all areas of your life to facilitate achieving bigger, better, more useful goals. When you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you can use that knowledge to play to your strengths and minimise your weaknesses.
But if you are unaware of the intricacies of your journey, you will miss these incredibly valuable insights and lessons.
Keeping your eye on the goal while becoming aware of the journey is the fastest way to embracing the success you’re after!
DOWNLOAD: My Task Journal
When you think about the advantages of behaviour-based goals, a few things come to mind immediately.
You might be excited to get more done. As you know yourself this possible with hard work and dedication, but setting the right goals makes it much easier.
Being a goal-oriented person means
You want to improve your performance at work but you start noticing your energy or motivation is slipping and its getting in the way of your high performance. When you drive your car there is a fuel gauge that lets you know how much fuel you have left in the tank. How about you, what lets you know it is time to stop?
NLP - Neuro Linguistic Programming - is a set of tools developed as a result of analysing people who achieve results. The great thing is the tools have been taken apart and structured as bite sized pieces in a logical sequence which means if you follow the steps anyone can up their performance. Curious to know more? Have a look at this short video...
Let me know your thoughts and what part of it makes most sense to you. If you've any questions ask in the comments and I'll be delighted to answer them.
Written by Julie Silfverberg
Thinking is like a bit like writing; it is a process. A lot depends on the order in which you do things either on the page or in your head. So if you were to write, “The dog bit the man” I suspect you would expect your reader to have a different experience, than if you wrote, “The man bit the dog” even though you have used the same words and only lightly changed the order. So as you can see the order and sequence is important.
Also if you were to add colour to your to writing by using adverbs and adjectives – you do remember those, don’t you – by saying “The big black dog charged the man and grabbed him by the arm…?” now you have even more of a response from the reader, possibly even a slight quickening of the heart rate (an unconscious physiological response) and a more detailed picture in the mind’s eye.
In your mind you can also adjust the quality of your thinking by adding or removing colour or other details. Now that may strike you as a bit odd. But just think about it for a minute – let’s pretend you have decided to buy a new barbeque and you want to get a gas barbeque but definitely not a charcoal one because you think they are slow, smoky and often don’t deliver a great result. As you think about it now, notice the pictures you are making inside your head....I suspect the picture of the food from the gas barbeque looks bright, big and maybe even a movie, in other words attractive, while the food from the charcoal one looks less appetising. Or think about ordering food in a restaurant, you possibly have a picture in mind of what the food will look and taste like. Now of course if the served food does not match your imagined picture - depending on the qualities of your reference pictures - you will be either disappointed or delighted. Of course this may be just my mind’s eye talking.
You might be thinking, so what? Just think about it, as you discover you can change the picture qualities in your mind’s eye you can learn how to change your motivation, make your goals more compelling and generally make it easier for yourself and others to achieve their goals and ambitions. So as you think about a future event now and if you discover you are feeling a bit unsure about it, just ask yourself are you seeing it completing the way you want it i.e. successfully? If not change your outcome picture until you are seeing the best result for you and notice how it feels. You might find any anxiety you had been experiencing simply dissolves and you have positive anticipation now.
Experiment Alert :-)
As you choose to begin noticing your anticipatory pictures more I would love to hear what you discover, so do comment below.
Julie Silfverberg has worked in the field of personal and professional development for more than 20 years. She works with a diverse and exciting group of people. Each with their own unique talents and potential.