Steps to Success: Let Go Of The Luggage
‘Bonjour’ from my travels in beautiful (chilly) Paris.
A decade ago, I lived a year in this ‘city of lights’, but then I got kicked out of Clown School and haven’t been back. Yes, you read that right. Why I was in clown school is another whole story with it’s own life lessons – mainly ‘read the fine print before signing up for anything’. But whether I’d intended to be there or not, getting the boot (or if you like, the Ronald MacDonald-esque, oversized shoe) was devastating at the time.
It was my first time ever failing anything. I took the rejection to mean the end of my potential acting career, crushing a dream I’d held onto since childhood. My confidence and courage were undermined and I carried the weight of that disappointment with me for a long time.
Now it’s easy to look back with perspective and see the comedy value, and appreciate how not becoming the next Marcel Marceau led me to where I am now – a position I wouldn’t trade for all the glass boxes on the street corner.
If only we had the ability, in those dark moments, to see the future, to grasp where new paths might take us, be reassured that with the right attitude we can make the best of any situation.
Sadly, we can let negative events define us. At times, we all face various degrees of pain, (hurt, disappointment, loneliness, fear). Things happen, beyond our control, and life alters – sometimes immeasurably. And we can drag those stories around with us like heavy suitcases. Get stuck, torturing ourselves with ‘if only…’ Become victims of our circumstances.
Or we can make the conscious effort to focus on what we have got, what we can do and who we can be in light of (or despite) what befalls us. See the likes of Stephen Hawking, Oprah Winfrey, any Para-Olympian… for inspiration.
It’s easier said than done. I found myself throwing a pity-party or two over the holidays, lamenting something ending, a change of plans, familiar stories recurring. ‘Woe is me’ crept into my handbag and began to weigh heavy. But the truth is:
Events only have the meaning we give them.
Change the meaning and our perspective shifts.
Instead of focusing on what’s missing, we can ask: what is something that’s awesome about this?
What old meanings/stories are blocking our joy? Stopping us living, loving, giving or reaching our true potential (albeit perhaps differently than we originally imagined, but successfully all the same)?
What weights do you carry?
Can we put that baggage down (let security destroy it!) and skip into 2015 with free hands and heart to embrace all it brings?
Lighten the load. Happy New Year!
P.S. There are still spaces for the ‘Renew Retreat 2015’, to help get your year set for happiness, health and success!
**This article was also published in the The Royal Gazette
Sitting in a colleague’s coaching studio the other day, I was drawn to an embroidered banner bearing the words: “To bring Peace to earth, strive to make your own life peaceful” - a Buddhist teaching.
‘Peace on earth’ - a favourite yuletide sentiment, but I have never considered how to actually make that happen. Or where I could personally contribute to that seemingly vast global wish.
But it doesn’t surprise me that, as the Buddha suggests, it starts with us.
The irony is that I’ve been feeling anything but peaceful at this time of year – racing around for last-minute purchases, anxious about who I may have forgotten, that it is not enough and concerned about everyone else’s happiness. I certainly haven’t taken the time to slow down and become aware of what I’m putting out there and ‘bringing to earth’.
Nor thought about what I really want that to be. I say I want peace on earth, but what does that mean? What does ‘peace’ look like to me - its component parts and measures?
When I dig in there, I realize that the peace I’m wishing for is not just the end of war or a quiet day. It is tolerance - people dialoguing, relating, finding common ground and bringing their best selves to collaborate and contribute to long-term goals that benefit all peoples and the planet.
And while the end desire is lofty, I don’t just want this for global leaders, or in the Middle-East, or Russia, but this peace in our community and even within our personal relationships and households. My household!
And indeed that is where we have to start - for as much as we might like to, or try to, we cannot control others… only ourselves. But if we each strive to make our own lives peaceful, we can at least model those intentions and behaviours as a form of positive influence and leadership.
The word ‘strive’ is important here. It may sound easy on paper, but remaining peaceful in the face of a world of distractions and the general tumultuousness of life is something that takes work and conscious effort and can understandably go awry. But when we slip off the peaceful path (have a meltdown, get caught up in the Christmas craziness, argue over boiled carrots or steamed) it’s about continually coming back to it. Berating ourselves for messing up is not very peaceful after all! Can we keep striving for our objective?
These same principles apply for anything we want to bring to the world, or more directly to our community, our family or simply to our own lives. If we want joy, can we strive to be more joyful? Love, Can we be more loving?
What do you desire to bring to the world in 2015? How can that start with you? What objectives will you set to guide your actions and strive towards through the new year?
Anyone looking for inspiration and to set themselves up for happiness, health and success may want to check out the ‘Renew Retreat 2015’, happening on January 18th - see my website for more details.
Wishing you all a very happy holiday and a peaceful new year!
Julia Pitt is a trained Success Coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on (441)705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com.
So this guy gets into a taxi. The driver says, “where to?”
The guy replies, “I have this rough idea where I want to go, not exactly sure where it is or how to get there… but it’s definitely not Old Street or Been-There Lane. And can you step on it please, I’m expecting to be there yesterday!”
Where does the driver take him? Round and round in circles perhaps… but probably nowhere.
Last week I highlighted how using negatives and focusing on what we don’t want often just brings us more of that very thing. The other downfall of resolutions like: ‘avoid chocolate’, ‘be less stressed at work’ or even ‘find a new job’ is that the objectives are too nebulous and vague. Basically we’re giving our subconscious directions like that guy in the cab… it’s really no wonder if we’re not getting anywhere.
So how do we get our drivers to take us where we want to go?
We give good directions – we set good goals! There are some rules for good goal setting – rules that, when followed, will increase the likelihood that you will see your goals through to completion because your subconscious driver will be working hard to get you there.
Firstly, you have to know where it is you’re going. Last week I invited you to start thinking about what it is you really want. What do you want to be doing, having or being? With this in mind, create for yourself an End Goal. This is your ultimate aim; what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it by, whether that’s sometime this year or in 5 years time, or by the time you’re 94 years old… whatever fits. This goal is how everything will be when this area of your life just as you’d like it.
Next make sure that your goals are SMART and PURE – this is like giving your cab driver the GPS coordinates of where you’re headed.
Specific – Make your goal as detailed as you can. Envisage exactly how it will be when this goal is accomplished. E.g. if it’s a goal about weight, how much to you want to weigh? What clothing size will you be wearing when you’ve achieved it? If you have a goal around saving money - how much money exactly?
Measurable – How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal – what is the measure of your success? What will you be doing, seeing, hearing, feeling when you’ve accomplished it?
Actions – Break your goal down into action steps that you can start to take almost immediately (we’ll be covering this next week!) Tony Robbins says never leave the site of setting a goal before you’ve taken at least one action (no matter how small) towards achieving it.
Realistic – this doesn’t mean easy. In fact you need your goals to be challenging to inspire you to do them. Realistic means that you are giving yourself enough time and breaking the goal down into manageable enough chunks so that you will be able to follow through in the time you’ve set yourself.
Timed – when you set a deadline for your goals, you are grounding them in your reality. Put them in your calendar/diary! That will make it real for you. By June 30th, 2012 I will be…, By Friday next week I will be…
Positive - when your goal is stated in the positive, it means the subconscious is focusing on what you WANT, not what you don’t. Instead of quitting, stopping, losing, not… etc. spin it around. If you’re having trouble seeing it, ask yourself: what is the opposite of the undesirable thing I have now? E.g. to be healthy/fit/saving money etc.
Up to you – we can only set goals for ourselves and that are within our control. There is no point setting a goal that your husband will pick up his dirty socks, or that you will win the lottery (not suggesting the odds are as likely) but neither of these things are within your control. You can only control and take responsibility for your own actions, through which you will achieve what your outcome.
Recorded – VERY important. You must write your goals down! Brian Tracey says the mere act of writing down your goals, taking that one small action to get them out of your head and root them in the physical world will get the ball rolling towards achieving them. This is the first place to start. Write down all your goals. Then look at them, often! Keep reminding your subconscious of what you want it to achieve for you.
Ethical & Ecological – not just ‘earth friendly’ (hopefully this too). We each operate within a system (family/friends/colleagues etc) - consider the impact of your goal on the people around you and keep in mind that your goal is part of you as a complete person. How will attaining this goal affect the rest of your life?
When your goals are SMART and PURE, your driver will know exactly where you’re headed, by when and even what it’s going to look like when you get there. You are well on your way… Next we just need to make sure he has a map!!
It’s not realistic to think you can just jump there, there’s a route to take. Those are the actions, step by step towards where you want to be. Next week we’ll be looking at that map, how to get you from here to there, whilst enjoying the ride along the way!
Read this article in The Royal Gazette
New Year’s Resolutions – remember them?
It wasn’t that long ago that we took those noble vows to: lose weight, quit smoking, drinking, avoid spending… the list goes on, and do it all as of January 1st.
How’s that working out for you?
Same old story? When the hangover eventually cleared, maybe you gave it a go: eating only carrot sticks for lunch, going cold turkey on the nicotine etc. Perhaps you managed a few days of being ‘the new you’. But a couple months later are you still doing it?
What happened? On the scale after a week of wretched carrots sticks and you GAINED a pound!? A little thing can throw us off course and we throw in the towel.
By now for most of us, New Years and all its promises are long forgotten, if we bothered to make any in the first place: “I haven’t got the willpower - maybe next year.”
Why do so many of our good intentions, our ‘resolutions’, end up in disappointment and giving up? What if I said it has nothing to do with willpower?
Instead it’s the way we make our resolutions that can set us up to fail. Allow me to share with you some insights into how our minds work, and you’ll see it’s no wonder we can’t keep those resolutions very long.
A few things to know about our minds:
We get what we focus on.
Have you ever noticed that when you’re aware of something new, suddenly you start seeing it everywhere? Ever broken up with someone only to find every radio station is playing sad love songs, every channel is showing a romance, there are couples kissing on every corner. Or for example, when I found out I was pregnant, suddenly there were pregnant women EVERYWHERE. Had there actually been some freak fertility boost or had my subconscious just not been paying attention before? Whether good or bad, we see what’s on our mind, usually lots of it…
That’s the thing about our subconscious… it is like our simple, faithful servant, wishing to answer our every command. The subconscious doesn’t make judgments or consider if something is helpful or unhelpful, it just provides supporting evidence of what is asked of it. So just like with break-ups and babies, whatever’s on our minds, the subconscious works hard to manifest it.
Another thing about our subconscious - it does not work in negatives…
Example: if I ask you NOT to think of a pink elephant with blue polka dots, what is the first thing you think of? You can’t help it. In order not to think of something, we must think of it first. So all of our resolutions about not smoking, not drinking, giving up cake… if we remove the negatives, what do we get? What is our brain now focusing on and our subconscious wanting to provide more of? Exactly what we don’t want! More cigarettes, booze and calories! Can you really be blamed for not avoiding those things you’re trying to give up, when that’s all you see?
What can we do instead of fighting our subconscious and wasting time and energy making resolutions that might leave us even worse off than we were before?
Make resolutions that set us up to achieve what we want!
In coaching, we call this goal-setting. Goals are a fundamental part of the coaching process. The thinking is, if we don’t know what it is we’re heading for, how will we know:
a). what direction and action to take to get us there and
b). when we’ve even arrived?
There is a ton of research showing that goal setting, when done properly, leads to higher achievement rates and greater success in both personal and professional endeavours. Top athletes, wealthy business tycoons, successful politicians have all cited goal setting as part of their success strategy. What makes their goals different to our new years resolutions that we set each year and fail to keep? I’ll bet that it doesn’t come down to willpower, or intelligence, or financial resources. It’s that these high achievers know the secret to successful goal setting. It’s also likely that they have had some coaching around it. Personal development gurus like Tony Robbins and Brian Tracey put coaching on the map twenty years ago as an invaluable tool to boost performance, create positive change and help people achieve their dreams. And that road to success for all of us starts with setting good, strong goals.
It’s never too late to start making those changes you want to see in your life, and actually stick to them! Start thinking about what you do want for the rest of this year going forwards, instead of what you don’t and let your subconscious start working for you. It’s spring time, a time for new beginnings Next week I’ll be helping you to turn your resolutions into goals and start turning intention into action. Together we can make this the New You Year you’ve always been resolving towards!
What’s the latest buzz-word on the island and the top trend accessory for success?
In the past month alone, Bermuda has hosted three international coaches who have been brought here to give public talks and presentations offering ways to improve our careers, our communities, our health, and ultimately our lives. Coaching is no means a new phenomenon. The concept has been around in the US and UK for decades. Any upwardly mobile and successful, Americans in particular, consider having a coach as necessary as we might think of having a dentist. And now Bermuda is catching on...
So what do these coaches do and how does it work?
It’s generally assumed that great athletes and sports teams have a coach. The coach’s job is to offer an objective view of their game, to encourage and support the player, help them develop plays and get the best performance possible from the individual and the team as a whole.
The same thing works for your life.
‘Coaching’, an umbrella term including Executive Coaching, Life Coaching, Leadership coaching etc. is a process designed to get the coachee/client or shall we say, ‘player’ (in this game of life) from where they are now, to where they want to be, faster than they could on their own. It is not to be confused with counseling or therapy, nor is it someone telling you what to do. Coaching, as a rule, is future focused and non-directive and concerns the individual’s aspirations, choices and actions towards positive change. Coaches have at their disposal a toolbox of questioning techniques, exercises and information about how the human mind works and how to make the most of it to achieve the results that the individual (the player) really wants to see, in whichever aspect of life they choose to work on. This could include their career, health, relationships, finances, family, creativity, - the tools are applicable to virtually any areas of a person’s life where they want to see improvement. Some coaches choose to concentrate in a niche area or market, for example ‘Wellness Coaching’ or ‘Youth Coaching’. But there are core elements of the process itself applicable to all coaching which include: effective goal-setting, harnessing motivation, examining limiting beliefs, aligning with one’s values, accepting personal responsibility, generating options, understanding team dynamics, to name a few. Simple tools that can have a dramatic effect on the way people live their lives and the success they achieve.
So, what’s stopping people rushing out and getting their own personal coach?
Of course many have. Coaching at executive level is well established in Bermuda’s corporate world. And now the benefits and success stories have filtered down to the rest of the population. However, the other catch phrase of the New Year is ‘this current economic climate.’ And how ironic that during a financial downturn can often be when a coach can be most useful, to assist players in establishing their priorities, considering their options and facilitating change to create a positive future.
I have seen numerous clients literally transform their lives and themselves through coaching, and personally feel these tools should be available to everyone willing to make a commitment to themselves, regardless of their current income.
To this end, as a certified, practicing Personal Development and Success Coach who’s recently returned to the island from the UK, I would like to share with you some of these really helpful even transformative tools of coaching. Hence this blog, each week I will be covering an aspect of coaching, how it can apply to you, and I’ll include questions and exercises to assist you in moving forward towards achieving your goals and dreams, all right here. Although nothing can replace the experience of working one-to-one with a coach dedicated to your success, I aim to provide information and tools to support and inspire those of you willing to engage in the process and take action. And taking action is the key. If you just read this blog it’s an article, it’s not coaching. I can give you the tools but it’s up to you to use them to carve your path to success. And not to worry, it’ll be one step at a time. So if there’s any area of your life that you would like to improve your performance, I invite you on this journey and look forward to the coming weeks and the progress in store…
Next week we’ll be starting with an introduction to the goal setting process…
Just think of the buzz you’ll be creating.
Also see this article in the Royal Gazette...
Julia is a trained Personal Development Coach, certified NLP Practitioner, writer and public speaker. Using coaching methods, tools and conversation, Julia helps her clients achieve the goals they set for themselves and transform their lives. Here she shares her own personal development journey on her life quest for authenticity, growth and having a good time!