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Celebrating Failure

Do you view brushes with failure as negative? When you fail, do you respond with self- ridicule and judgement? If you get things wrong does your inner saboteur use it as ammunition to keep you limited, safe and inside your comfort zone?

The Weight of Failure

Failure is an inevitable part of life. Making mistakes offers valuable lessons on the road to success and excellence. Your learning and experience from failure is ultimately determined by your mindset around failure. How do you hold failure? Is it weighty, full of high risk and dire consequences? Or do you hold it lightly, with curiosity and an opportunity to learn, experience, understand and adapt?

This point was brought home to me recently when I visited a local museum. There was a display, showing how locks work and how boats on rivers and canals navigate ascents and descents. I was trying to work out how the various buttons and handles worked the display so the model boat could move from one end of the display to the other. Every wrong button I pressed or handle I moved was met by a correction from the volunteer. Even though I said I wanted to work it out myself and use my mistakes as stepping stones to deeper understanding, the volunteer desperately tried to save me from error.

What was interesting was I felt the empowerment to learn from exploration drain away with every comment from the volunteer. I know it was meant kindly and to be supportive. Yet my experience was the opposite. It undermined my confidence.

Perspective of Failure

I think this volunteer’s perspective is a common relationship we have with failure. As if it is bad. As if we are wrong to get it wrong. If we chastised our children for falling when they were learning to walk, we would all still be crawling. Yet, every time little Johnnie falls over we encourage and champion him, in the belief he can do it. When little Suzie takes a tumble we enthusiastically suggest she try again, knowing full well she will succeed in time.

There seems to come a time when that unconditional support evaporates, encouragement gives way to ridicule and cheerleading is replaced by judgement. Very quickly we develop a perception of failure that is self- defeating. It justifies our unworthiness, lack of ability and missing resourcefulness.  Please remember:

You are able, worthy and resourceful.

Often, we need encouragement to tap into those qualities. Failure is one of those spaces in human experience in which we can be educated to view it as a sign of defeat or a chance for opportunity.

Celebrating Failure

What if we could celebrate failure? Rather than see our lack of knowledge or understanding as a condemnation and a road block to our learning. Perhaps we can develop a more empowering mindset? What if failure was met with an eagerness to delve deeper, create new solutions, explore different perspectives, investigate other paths?

What learning becomes available when you fail? The results tell you everything. 2017 saw me launch Mindful Movement workshops. They were met by my captive audience with enthusiasm and deep learning. I expected 2018 to continue that way. In reality, engagement has been poor so far. Why? After consulting enough people with experience, it has become clear marketing is the main issue. As a result, I have been on marketing workshops. Some improvement but still not great. The next step has been audience focus. Better results again. Now it is language. What words am I using in my marketing literature? Each step gets me closer. Every failure points to the next solution.

On a personal note I have been challenged with communication with my son. I have always reached out to him but he has never initiated contact. At 20 years old I was hoping for a more balanced relationship. I tried a few things- silence, texts, phone calls- none of it worked. I was seeing the endless failures as a sign there was no road through and it was upsetting to contemplate that I would have no two- way relationship with him. Instead, I had it out with him face to face, kindly, openly, respectfully. He responded beautifully to his great credit. It’s early days and so far, we are enjoying a much more balanced and open communication.

Failure as a Positive Force

I have a tendency to view failure as an end of the road. Perhaps you do the same?  It is no such thing unless you choose to put the road blocks there. It is hard sometimes to find the way through, the next step, another option. Creativity, openness, receptivity to advice and suggestions from others and a desire to find your way through are essential I believe. It is a challenge in itself to maintain these mindsets when you hold failure as a negative force. Held as a positive force, it acts as inspiration for creativity, receptivity and desire.

Failure is an inevitable part of the life coaching process.  Each session is an open space for exploration, taking risks and deep learning.  And sometimes when action steps are not achieved, the next coaching session is ripe ground for getting curious about what the obstacles to taking action were.  Is it something about realistic expectations?  Does the client have a relationship with that action that limits them?  Are they holding a disempowering perspective?  At no point is their judgement.  There is only the opportunity for more learning and growth.  Seeing failure as the route to success I think is a healthy view point. That you succeed is a wonderful by- product. Failure is the fertile ground of learning, growth and understanding.

We are all Roses on The Wheel of Life

As a wonderful teacher told me years ago, the rose grows strong and beautiful when you put lots of manure and water on it. Failure and the expansion out of your comfort zone that comes with failure held in a positive light is the manure you flourish in. All the manure and water can do is bring forth what is already there. Failure can entice you to dig deeper into yourself in any given area of your life. In fact, it is the manure your whole life flourishes in: health, business/ career, relationships, finances, education, contribution and any other segments of your Wheel of Life.

As a result, let’s celebrate failure- the barometer that points to your need to learn, expand, grow and ultimately flourish.

Over to You

Do you see failure as a positive or a negative? How do you hold failure? Is it a learning tool or a road block? How does seeing failure as a positive change outcomes for you? Where is the learning in your failure? Failure is such a common part of our lives if we wish to grow and move our lives forward. The alternative is stagnation and overwhelming fear to try. How can celebrating failure change that mind set for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, experience and realisations. Please share them in the comments box below, on social media or e- mail me at david@potentialitycoaching.co.uk. I look forward to hearing from you.

Pass it on

If you know someone who is struggling with failure, why not send them the link to this blog or share and retweet the posts? It could be just what they need to see failure as something to celebrate.

Christmas- celebrating the Light of the Human Spirit

The Festival of Light

What do Christmas, Hanukah and Diwali mean to you? Are they purely a time off work or do they have a deeper message? What messages, lessons and ideas can you take from Christmas, Hanukah and Diwali into the rest of the year?

This is the time of The Festivals of Light. Christmas, Hanukah and Diwali are all religious celebrations commemorating the Light of the Human spirit. Candles and fireworks are lit to remind us that hope, forgiveness and kindness are human traits to celebrate and practice for the benefit of others as well as ourselves.

Candles and fireworks are lit to remind us that hope, forgiveness and kindness are human traits to celebrate

The symbol of Light in this way is prevalent across the world and throughout time. It is a universal image to which all people relate. Fire has been used for millennia to accompany sacred ceremonies and mark sacred time and space. This fire can represent the divine, that universal force that creates all and, it can illustrate the indomitable spirit within each of us, which marks our uniqueness and our collective humanity. The human spirit is a flame that can be neglected, ignored and covered over. It can also be nurtured, nourished and fanned to create a blaze. The various Festivals of Light are a reminder that we need to cultivate this Light within. I believe people are naturally born with this flame inside them. It holds their Light, uniqueness, innate talents and skills that can be shared with the world.

The Light of the Human Spirit

When we are born, we possess a presence and power that radiates out. Babies light up rooms and bring smiles to people’s faces. Young children are open and free with their emotions, laughing one moment, crying the next, then all smiles seconds later. They show confidence in expressing spontaneous behaviour, sharing unsolicited thoughts and being their authentic selves. This unhampered Light shines as children play, learn and express their love.

Things can happen to cover this Light. By being made to feel wrong for expressing emotions and certain behaviours, by not being supported and encouraged, by denying feelings and longings that are deemed inappropriate, through abuse, neglect and so much more, this Light becomes dimmed and fails to shine in the world with the clarity and brightness that it did in a person’s youth.

This process can start young or later in life. For the person concerned it feels like a void, a gap, even a deadness inside that is filled with pain and a yearning to be given a voice and take action. To the outside world, it might appear as a lack of confidence or commitment, apathy, even indifference. To them it feels frustrating, exasperating and ignites a desire for change. Regardless of how it appears internally or externally, this Light still burns furiously within. It needs uncovering, oxygen and nurturing. Done consistently, we can shine brighter, burn stronger, share our Light more fully and embrace the joy of doing and being that more completely.

Uncovering the Light

How do we start the process of uncovering the flame that burns within so that we can feel fulfilled and live with meaning and purpose? There is the journey of uncovering the things of the past that stifle the flame. And there are the things that happen in the present that if left unchallenged can further diminish our Light. We can learn strategies to uncover the things of the past and the present. This in turn improves our resilience so that we are better able to face life’s challenges. There are lots of ways you can explore these strategies. Coaching is one such method in which you focus on your goals for the future and explore your habits and beliefs and ways of being that prevent you from achieving those goals. Here are some areas that might be powerful for you to explore:

  1. Mind sets supportive to your success. Very often you learn scripts from the past that actually undermine you. These scripts can stop you stepping into your best self. Scripts such as “not good enough”, “not deserving” and “I’m a perfectionist” can be self- limiting beliefs that stop your growth in important areas of your life. By challenging these old beliefs and finding new scripts that are supportive to becoming the person you want to become, you can update your inner landscape so that you can step into new roles and new ways of being. This acts as fuel for your inner Light.
  2. Living in line with what is most important to you. You probably have areas in your life that you are very keen to protect. Perhaps it is time with the kids, your workout schedule or commitment to your career.  You set these boundaries up to make sure things do not encroach on them. You might even think of them as sacred. Yet there will also be areas where you are less robust in maintaining your boundaries and your life suffers accordingly. You might not be consistent with your eating or exercise habits. You might say you’ll do something when you have the time rather than making time to do it. By living your values you make a statement to yourself and others that what is important to you matters. This really nurtures the inner flame.
  3. Self care. So many people put others first. They do it so much sometimes that they wear themselves out, making themselves ill. Alternatively, people are all for themselves. They are number one and no one else gets a look in unless it serves them to think of others as well. This idea of self- care is a delicate balance. To get it right you can think of it as caring for yourself SO THAT you can care for others. If you are someone’s long- term carer, it is important that you get a chance to recuperate and rejuvenate yourself from time to time. You can’t keep giving endlessly. If you do you might become tired, frustrated and even resentful. You have to take from somewhere so that you can continue to give where you choose to give. So many people feel guilty about this, as if to say “I don’t deserve it” or “I don’t have the time”. If you continue this way you will dim your inner Light even though it is your pleasure to give and share. The Light needs fueling. Self- care recharges the battery.
  4. Mindfulness and awareness. Sticking your head in the sand and not dealing with things that are instrumental to your growth are sure ways to stifle your inner flame. However challenging these things might be to confront, it is harder to deal with them the longer you leave them and the more painful they are when you finally feel them. Unresolved emotions have a way of surfacing in a destructive and unsupportive manner. Deal with them on your terms and they can be voiced in a healthy and healing way. This takes awareness in the moment. It will take practice if you are not used to being this way. Like all new habits, it takes some time before it becomes easier. It is worth the investment. As you lighten the burden of undisclosed feelings, your Light burns brighter and makes you stronger.
  5. Reflection and Contemplation. Life can be a relentless journey. You can move from one event to another and never take the time to reflect or consider what you have learned, what could be different and how things might change. Perhaps you are so focused on what is coming up you don’t take the time to enjoy the event you’re in? You also might not think about events in the future either or how you might want your future to look. By considering these things with reference to your sense of what is right for you and where and who you want to be, you can fan the flames of your inner Light, orienting your life towards values- driven goals.
  6. Inner Council. You have so many qualities and aspects of your character that can be developed and discovered. You can learn to embrace and cultivate these innate talents, broadening and deepening your range to make you a more fulfilled and purpose- focused individual. Noticing how people you admire and respect achieve their great success can inspire you to tap into those aspects of yourself, allowing you to make those qualities your own and enjoy success in the way that is most fulfilling to you. Another way to access your inner council is to work with your archetypes. Clients on the Mindful Movement courses and VIP coaching days with me work closely with these ideas.
  7. Whatever you achieve in life, you do so with the help of others. To surround yourself with people who will support and nurture you in your endeavours is an essential part of life success. Where you might notice you lack certain qualities, there may be no need to cultivate those skills yourself. Instead, find the people that fill that space. Whilst you might need to learn new things these may not be your passions. Work to your joys and strengths. Life can be a rich tapestry and a variety of friends, colleagues and associates can serve your growth, fulfillment and purpose a tremendous amount. True friends and other people you can trust bring more flames together to create a raging fire and allow you to enjoy confidence, support and faith in the human spirit.

As we approach this season of Light, please remember to nourish this inner flame. Be aware of it for yourself. Also be aware of it for others. Be an advocate of nurturing this inner Light for all. This applies throughout the year, not just for the weeks around these festivals. The human spirit shines eternal. The more you care for yourself and others the more empowered you are and give people permission to be empowered. I believe this is the message of the Festivals of Light. An eternal and universal message that you can carry in your heart all year and apply to every moment of your life.

Over to you

How do you view Christmas, Hanukah and Diwali? How do they influence your thinking and behaviour through the year? Have you ever thought of the metaphor of the flame representing the human spirit? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Pass it on

If you know someone who might find this article useful or interesting, please send it to them by e- mail or through social media. I’d really appreciate your spreading the word. Have a great Christmas and New Year. I look forward to connecting in 2018.

Archetypes- Rebel

Coaching is about evoking transformation. This means growing on the inside, overcoming self- limiting beliefs and expressing a new and more whole voice in the world. By consciously embracing your fullness, you share yourself more completely. To do this takes courage, heart, determination and persistence. This does not have to be a hard journey. It is a journey of blossoming and blooming into your fullness.

Introducing The Rebel

The Rebel challenges the status quo & evokes transformation

One of the archetypes that can be really powerful in this process is The Rebel. So often we create strategies to get us through this situation or that period in our lives. Frequently we discover later on that these strategies are no longer working for us anymore. They do not give us the results we desire, usually because we have decided that we want different outcomes.

Childhood Strategies

As children, we may find that if we lacked attention from our parents for example, that we developed a strategy to get as much attention as possible. We might have been really well behaved and strived for outstanding results at school or sports. We hoped for positive attention by doing this and may have strived harder still if we did not get the praise we wanted. Alternatively, we may have decided to create havoc and get the negative attention that this generally attracts. Attention is attention and people employ different strategies to get it for a myriad of reasons.

Strategies in Adulthood

Later in life we might decide that trying to be perfect so that we can get praise no longer serves us. We might notice that no matter how hard we try we never get quite enough praise from other people to quiet the voice of doubt or concern. We may get to the point that we realise that the only way we are going to have true peace and contentment is to do what makes us happy. No external reference points. Rather an internal motivation that can be pleased if we are strong enough to answer that calling. Instead we might rather do things to receive self- praise rather than praise from others. Our behaviour might look completely different, as we are no longer doing things to please our parents or teachers. Instead we act to please ourselves. We might go walking in a rain storm rather than stay indoors and clean the house or watch TV.

The child that sought negative attention through misbehavior may notice as an adult that people do not trust them or feel that they cannot be relied upon. Therefore, they may not get the partners they want or develop through their chosen career. Their behaviour in the past was to get attention, albeit negative attention, which is going to attract people into their lives that will give them negative attention in adulthood. Until they realise this pattern of behaviour, they may get in the way of their own success. Noticing this will also lead to behaviour change.

Breaking Free

When we notice this need to shift, we need energy that will break free of the old patterns of behaviour. We need a Rebel within us to buck the trend, overturn what isn’t working and break the rules that have kept us in this place for so long. This means we have to destroy the old and bring in the new. We have to shock the system we have created, challenge the status quo and be outrageous. This is how it will feel to us when we take on the challenge of transformation. This is not an external rebellion per se. It is an internal rebellion that will lead to change on the outside.

Think of the rebels of history who changed the world. Mahatma Gandhi transformed India into an independent country free of Empirial rule. Martin Luther King evolved people’s views of Afro- American rights. Richard Branson challenged the monopoly of countless corporations and said he could do it too and even do it better. Steve Jobs revolutionised computing, music, telecommunications, education and publishing. Of course there are many more examples.

The Internal Rebel

For our own internal world, we want this same energy and vision for our own lives. We want to step out of our Comfort Zone, if only for a while, and embrace the unpredictable seas of change so that we can grow into the next version of ourselves. This is a positive energy that has us moving forward, growing, evolving and transforming ourselves on the inside. The result is that our external world will change as well. True growth starts from within.

We want this force in our lives as and when we need it. Not all the time. Being constantly on edge can be due to excessive Rebel energy. We might see this in someone who is always up for a fight no matter what or someone on the edge of society who may turn to crime. Excessive Rebel energy can be destructive and have a negative impact on us, and the people around us. Turned negative the Rebel evokes negative transformation. This can manifest as the Saboteur. A force driven by fear that leads to low self- esteem and self- destructive behaviour, blocking our own empowerment and success.

Rebel Embodied

The Rebel feels edgy. Internally, the Rebel challenges conformity within you. You might feel that as an uncomfortable sensation as the Rebel pushes for change and you resist. The voice of the Saboteur holds you in check while the Rebel calls for something different. This might feel energising or exhausting. Consequently, your body may stand really strong, focused and buzzy. Alternatively, you might feel crushed by the internal struggle, stooped, conflicted and on edge. That embodied agitation can feel uncomfortable for you and others. It may be a sign that the need for change is growing within you. It might be time to listen.

Rebel Energy

The positive energy of the Rebel is very different from the Warrior or the Sovereign. Though the Rebel can be principled and values driven, there is an idealism and searching in its energy that is very powerful. Let me give you an example from one of my clients:

Sacha was a manager in a supermarket chain who wanted to create a better life for himself and his family. He sent himself back to school and then on to do a psychology degree so that he could earn more money and have a career that was fulfilling. He had to overcome the barriers he had within himself that told him he was not intelligent enough to get the qualifications needed. Sacha challenged his preconceived ideas of what life should be like for him and his family. He chose a path he felt was more in line with his values and what was important to him.   He now has much more of the life he wants.

The Rebel’s time

Without that Rebel energy he would not have had the inertia and power to make that happen. More content now, that energy has subsided. It is replaced with other energies to move him forward on that career path which may include the Warrior and Sovereign energies.

As in history, the Rebel has his time and then is replaced by other leaders who cement the new ways into practice. Then in time, things have to change again. So it is with us. We find the energy to change things because life demands it of us or we demand it of ourselves because we do not wish to continue as we are.

Then we settle into a new way of being. Until it is time to change again and transformation is on the cards. Career paths, relationship shifts, growing children, our own old age, health issues, changing goals may all be the arena of the Rebel. When we call on the Rebel, we have the energy, fight and determination to create something new and better than what was possible before. For this, the Rebel is unequalled.

Over to You

When have you needed the Rebel energy? Do you struggle with change or embrace it? How have you managed to evoke transformation when change was required? Do you recognise the Rebel energy in yourself and others? Have you noticed the more destructive side of the Rebel in others or yourself? I’d love to hear your comments and learn how the Rebel has served you, or been a disservice, in your life.

Pass it on

If you have found this article useful, please pass it on to someone you know. You never know when words might strike a cord at a particular time and inspire someone you love and care about to evoke transformation.

Taking Action and what you can learn from it.

Taking Action creates momentum

When you do something new and step out of your comfort zone there are mind sets that are going to inspire you to take action. There are other mind sets that will do the opposite. Therefore, it is essential that you give attention and energy to those mind sets that lead to positive and empowering action. Alternatively you can focus on why you can’t do something and remain where you are. 

There are of course advantages to the latter strategy. You are not taking any risks so it feels safe. You are a large fish in a small pond and so you feel confident in a narrow range of areas. As a consequence you do not grow. You do not feel you need to invest in learning, making effort and putting your neck on the line. 

Recent months have seen me move my business forward in ways I have wanted to do for some time. 2017 has seen me launch a beginners Mindful Movement course.  Below are some notes of thoughts, ideas and learnings I have had by taking that step. I hope you will see parallels in your life if you are looking to do something new and innovative.

  1. Waiting for things to be perfect- things will never be right. Do them anyway.  Do not let this be an obstacle to doing anything new. Excellence will come the more you try, develop and innovate. Perfection is not possible. 
  2. You know more than you realise. What you don’t know you can learn. You have a phenomenal wealth of experience and expertise. These skills can be invaluable in many areas. Do not think your skill set is restricted to a narrow field. If you focus your intention and goals firmly and pursue them persistently you will find out what you need to learn. Then, you can take the time to educate yourself, confident in the knowledge it is taking you where you want to go. 
  3. Be open to feedback. One of the things we fear most is getting things wrong. I think we learn this mind set at school where making mistakes is not necessarily turned into a positive learning experience.  Mistakes are incredibly fruitful if they are framed as an opportunity to learn.  Everything is a work in progress. Therefore learning to adapt to change is essential for success. If you are providing a product or service, you want to know it is exactly what your ideal clients want and need. If you are employed, growing into a role that is great for your career and personal development it is a win- win for you and your employer.  When you learn anything, there is a learning curve that means mistakes are inevitable.  Learning is impossible without mistakes.
  4. Be clear about what you want to achieve (and be open to change). When I set out to design the course I had clear goals in mind. For example: to develop awareness of mind and body to promote relaxation and resilience and reduce tension. I designed it around that. Every session has been altered before, during and after to create a better client experience.
  5. Don’t play it safe- taking risks is highly subjective. What is risky for one person may be not appear that way to another.  Try and push into that risky zone just enough to challenge you to get the best out of you.  Just outside your comfort zone is where risk and the creative magic happen.  
  6. You are good enough to make a difference. We all have talents that can serve others positively. Realising that for myself has been a long journey. Once your talents are used more and more, your skills to use them deepen and widen. Therefore, you become more of what you are meant to be.
  7. Don’t try to do too much- be prepared to chuck stuff away. It may be a director’s best scene or your best piece of work!  If it doesn’t fit the client like a glove, enhance the movie or make a better product, ditch it!!! Or adapt. Also, if you have more material than you have time you can edit it out as required. Depth and breadth of knowledge are invaluable.  They give you firm foundations and walls with which to give you and your clients confidence.  You don’t need to share it all in one go.  Think about “What does the client need?” not necessarily what you feel you need to show the client.  Also, life is a journey.  Do we need to get as far as possible?  Does that extra thing we achieve make all that much difference?  Can we enjoy the journey, take a little longer, connect a little deeper and laugh a little louder?
  8. Start from where you are- get traction. So often I have tried to run things based on skills I’d like to have rather than the skills I do have. When I have it never works.  Work with what you have. Continue to learn, innovate and grow. With perseverance and dedication you will become better, wiser and more discerning.
  9. Let things grow organically once the course started I realised I had so much material and scope I could comfortably run Intermediate and Advanced classes as well as bespoke workshops.  I’ll be keeping the website updated with new dates and locations as they are confirmed.

Over to you

Does any of what I mentioned above resonate with you?  What have you learned by running new courses or stepping into new roles?  How do you feel about taking risks?  What are your thoughts about taking action and just doing it?  Would you rather stick with what you know or go for innovation and development?  As always, I’d love to hear from you.  Please post your comments below.

Spread the love……

Why not share this blog with a friend or colleague who might enjoy it?  If you know someone who is thinking of taking action steps to create something new, perhaps this blog might help.  Please pass the blog on to anyone you know who might benefit.  I’d really appreciate it.  They might really appreciate it too?  If this is the first Potentiality Coaching blog you have read, welcome.  If you would like to receive monthly reminders of blog posts, news and free training videos you can sign up to the Potentiality Coaching mailing list here.

Self- Growth, Realising your Potential and Building Confidence

Like all life you start your existence as a seed in fertile soil, full of potential that may, or may not, be realised

How do you know what you are capable of? What qualities do you possess that lie within you unnoticed and unfulfilled? How are you going to discover these hidden talents? How will these talents manifest in your life? What difference will they make to your quality of life?  How will they affect your confidence?  Finally, what does personal growth look like to you?

Seeds of Confidence

Like all life you start your existence as a seed in fertile soil, full of potential that may, or may not, be realised. It is only through life situations that you discover your talents and so grow in confidence. Some you are placed in by chance and others by design. That design can be your own or others.

By chance or design these situations shape you, drawing out skills, qualities and talents that drive you forward, see you grow and make a contribution to the world. Both play an important role in ensuring your growth and improving your confidence.

Growth by Design

Firstly, it is in design that you take control of your growth. By placing yourself in the path of mentors, teachers and guides you are introduced to new things, made aware of previously unseen skills and encouraged and inspired to step out of your comfort zone and grow as an individual.

Therefore, I am constantly seeking support from people who can teach me to grow my business, show me new skills to cultivate myself and ways in which to help others. Life is a never- ending classroom that can lead to on- going growth and development of that seed into something magnificent.

There is also self- directed growth. Learning does not need only come from outside of you. It can also come from within. Through exploring a subject you can get beyond text books, courses and external teaching and begin the process of innovation, integration and development. Your unique journey gives you a unique view on all of life.  As a result, will you bring that unique vision to life and share it with the world, your community or family? Would you walk the path less travelled and forge a way forward that creates something new for you as well as the world around you?  Can you purposefully step into the unknown and discover what lies in the void?

Growth by Chance

Nevertheless, in amongst all of this design there is the chaos of chance. New and unexpected events, opportunities and learning will come your way that contribute to your growth. Some of it will be painful, much of it exciting and inspiring. This is the nature of growth. Only by putting yourself in the charge of guides and stepping out and creating your place in the world will you grow and open yourself up to chance and chaos.  The opportunity for growth, on- going development and fulfillment will follow.

How will you know which direction to go? You can take the advice of other people who have experience in the areas you wish to develop.  You can also follow your Intuition.  This means asking “What are you drawn to?” and ” What do you get the sense you are inspired to do?”  For years I have had a sense that I am drawn to help people discover their life- purpose.  At one time that looked like running a martial arts business.  I helped people with their self- confidence and trust in their own ability and intuition.  More recently, that has developed to include life coaching.

Chance and Design

I never expected my previous career in science to come in any use once I walked away from biochemistry and neuroscience.  Now I am drawn to using that expertise in helping people with finding their life- purpose as well.  I am currently exploring meditation and seeing how that can be incorporated into movement.  Together they help combat stress, tension and encourage relaxation, self- expression and creativity.  These are all key elements in living your life- purpose.  The journey unfolds one step at a time and help and support comes in many guises, both internal and external.

Consequently, many of my clients are taking the steps towards living with greater fulfillment. By a combination of trusting their own intuition, creativity and resourcefulness they become empowered to follow their life- purpose and reach out for whatever help and support will get them there.  By living in- line with your life- purpose you ensure continual growth and fulfillment.  See yourself flourish and thrive in such a positive and empowering environment and grow from a seed into a beautiful, healthy and vibrant plant: strong in its foundations; fruitful in its creativity and furthermore; unique in its shape and expression.

Over to you

What is your experience of growth? How do you live your life- purpose?  How do you continue to grow?  I’d love to hear your comments and offer inspiration for people who are travelling a similar road.

Pass it on

If you know someone who would enjoy this blog and find it useful why not send them the link? I’d really appreciate it.  May be they will as well?  If you’d like to receive a direct link to the Potentiality Coaching monthly blog into your in- box, why not sign up here and receive a free e- course on Confidence as well?

 

How do I get over my nerves?

Nerves are a green light, not a red one, a sign that your body is getting ready to deliver on something, perform well & do the best it can.

Nerves are a green light, not a red one, a sign that your body is getting ready to deliver on something, perform well & do the best it can.

Do you let nerves get in the way? When nervousness strikes, is that a green light or a red light? Do you see nerves as bad or that something is wrong? Are nerves something only people lacking confidence feel? Are confident, powerful people without fear?

Nerves are something I have struggled with for many years and many of my clients find that too. For a long time I thought nerves were a bad sign, a red light, telling me to stop, when in fact they can be a green light, a signal that you are on the right lines, that you are doing something important, significant and meaningful.

Threats of the modern world

Let’s look at what the biology tells us about nerves and fear. At a primal level, your brain is programmed to do one of two things.  Either to move towards something that brings benefit and pleasure or to move away from something that is dangerous and may harm you.  In the caveman’s world, this was the difference between survival and extinction.  In the modern world, there are shades of grey that the brain finds difficult to distinguish.  When you feel threatened by something, no matter what it is, your brain kicks in this primal programming to stay and fight, or to run away.

Yet, there are many situations that may feel threatening in the modern world that you neither need to stick around and fight over, nor run away from, even though your brain and body might be reacting that way. Now it comes down more to what you perceive as threat, so that you have choice over how you respond.

What is that nervous feeling?

“Nerves” is a common name used to describe a physiological response to threat. Clammy hands, racing heart, quickened breath and a sick feeling, are common symptoms.  Usually you experience these when you feel at risk or threatened.  You are about to:

  • have a challenging conversation with someone
  • step on stage and perform
  • speak in public
  • compete in a competition
  • give someone bad news

Will you make mistakes, make a fool of your self or fail? People may think badly of you, dislike or hate you, think you unprofessional or incompetent? Will you be laughed at, ridiculed or even humiliated?  All legitimate fears, worries and concerns based on previous experience.

Something that to a greater or lesser extent, we all experience, no matter how seasoned, no matter how confident. I have always been intrigued by the fact that performers of all kinds say that they are nervous before they go on stage and that makes them perform better.  Without nerves, their delivery is flat.  So what is that?

What are nerves telling you?

I believe that this thing that makes you nervous is important to you. It is important to get it right.  Your body is doing whatever it can to help you with that.  Nerves is a sign that your body is getting ready to deliver on something, perform well and do the best it can.  So please do not think this is a bad sign, it is a great sign.  This is the green light you want.  Now you want to learn how to manage that feeling so that you don’t let it take over.

Here are 7 suggestions that work for me. There are many more so don’t see this as a definitive list.  Look around for your own answers and above all, learn from experience.

  1. Prepare your self adequately. Do your best to prepare what you are delivering. If it is speaking in public, know your subject, having practiced many times before (don’t learn a script word for word though- more on that later). Is it a challenging conversation?  Rehearse it as best you can, be aware of the key points. If it’s a competition, knowing your routine, knowing you’re fit enough, strong enough and capable is essential.
  2. Deliver with authenticity. Speak and perform from the heart in a way that feels like you. There is nothing worse than trying to be someone or something you are not. Even actors connect to their own authentic experience when portraying a character or an emotion. Do not regurgitate a script, know what you want to say and then speak spontaneously. More of your genuine self will come across and people will see the real you.
  3. You won’t please everyone. Not all people will like your message. Of course it hurts when you become aware of it. Don’t let that contribute to the nerves. I have heard that in any audience, you will have a 40%, 40%, 20% breakdown of people: 40% will love what you’re saying before you start; 40% are open and can be won over and; 20% will disagree. The figures may vary, but in essence there will be those that do not agree with your view. Know that and allow it to be OK.
  4. Managing how far this situation takes you out of your comfort zone can help you control nerves. I have written about this before. The rule is, playing it safe never produces nerves and so never your best performance. Pushing too far out of your comfort zone rarely brings great results.   Only by managing your self just outside your comfort zone will you challenge your self enough to get the best from your self.
  5. How does your body help you deliver your best results? I am a physical person.  Doing martial arts for over 25 years, my body likes to move. I find clarity and stillness in movement. Often when I speak in public or brainstorm ideas in a meeting, I am moving and it helps my mind create answers and perform well. When I am listening to others such as when I am coaching, it works better for me to be still, allowing me to be receptive. These are two of the ways my body helps me. I know other people who have to be still to be creative and brainstorm ideas- it is as if the stillness of their body allows them to be become aware of what is happening in their minds. I do not work that way. It can be helpful with nerves to recognise the strategies you can use with your body to help deliver.
  6. Get going. Just start. So often the anticipation of something is more nerve racking than the event itself. Once you get into the flow, the nerves take a back seat. You might be aware of them in the background and they may come to the fore from time to time. If so, have ways to get you back on track. Use bullet points to remind you and other memory aids. I find transparency helps a lot as well. Just own up to the fact that the nerves have got the better of you and that can have a calming effect.
  7. Have conviction in what you are saying or doing. You have the right to be heard and seen. Your opinion is as valid as anyone else’s. One of the voices of your saboteur is to question “Who the hell are you to say……?” This makes you nervous as you move towards self- doubt. Yet the truth is by speaking or acting with authenticity and having belief in what you are saying or doing or being, you are fully justified in being there and saying your piece.

Over to you

What is your experience of managing your nerves? How have these points helped you in dealing with your feelings of nervousness?  What other suggestions would you add?  As ever, I would love to hear from you so please post your comments in the box at the bottom of the page.  By sharing your experience, you can contribute to an on- line resource that can support people as they learn to manage their nerves and overall confidence.

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Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Growth happens outside your comfort zone

Growth happens outside your comfort zone

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “Do one thing every day that scares you”.  In this age of super human heroes in movies, fearless warriors in computer games along with the facade and bravado that people often display in every day life to show that they are fit and strong enough to compete for the greatest successes in their personal and professional lives, the idea of doing something that scares me is overwhelming.  It feels like I have to be this perfect ideal.  That shows no fear and never makes mistakes.  It feels like I have to up the ante each time.

Who can compete with that?  I certainly can’t!

Comfort Zone

The idea of doing things daily that seem to require super human heroism on my part often means that I don’t do anything.  Over time this has a negative impact on my self- worth and self- esteem.  Then someone introduced me to the idea of stepping out of my comfort zone just enough so that it was a challenge.  And importantly, not so much that it felt like over whelm.  I began to use Mrs Roosevelt’s saying in a way that enhanced my life.

Public Speaking- a common speak out of your comfort zone

Let me share, if you will, a personal example with you.  I have always had a strong aversion to public speaking.  What is interesting in that for years I have felt that I should do it.  I have written lectures TED style, courses to be delivered to classes over 6- 12 weeks and video scripts.  I’ve never been able to deliver.

On a recent CPD course it occurred to me that perhaps I was setting my sights too high in the first instance.  Perhaps the talks on video and in front of classes would come.  Even a TED talk.  For now though I felt like I needed to take a small step to prove to myself that it was possible.  So I did.  Although there was a sense of fear and anxiety there was also a sense of feeling alive.  It felt on the edge, challenged and at the same time manageable.  The feeling of success was elation and then what followed was a calmness and serenity that had eluded me for years.

I had avoided the stress of public speaking and other such things that made me feel anxious.  It was always accompanied by this gnawing feeling that I should be doing something more.  Now I had taken that step, mustered the courage.  It felt great to have taken myself to the edge of my comfort zone and survived.  A little melodramatic granted but that is how it felt.

Yin and Yang, pressure and serenity

In Taoism, the Chinese speak of Yin and Yang.  These are the polar opposites of right and left, up and down, masculine and feminine, light and dark.  Taoists and ancient Chinese understood that these concepts work in balance and in cycles.  In fact, there cannot be one without the other.  Just as darkness gives way to light, so challenge and the accompanying pressure to perform give way to a sense of calmness and serenity.  This is exactly what I felt.  It is strange to me to think that in order to feel serene I have to earn it in a way by stepping out of my comfort zone.  It is by this law of nature, as the Taoists would say, that things move forward and grow.  Humans are no different.  We are still subject to this natural and universal law.

“Do something every day that scares you”

Then, the serenity gives way to the gnawing feeling again and I know that I must move on and challenge myself again.  As Eleanor Roosevelt reminded us, this cycle lasts about a day.  It stops us becoming complacent, stagnant and bored and encourages us to be ever vigilant and searching, moving forward and engaged with the act of living and growing, in pursuit of achieving our full potential.

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