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Hit the mid-year reset button and re-align with your goals this summer

We typically associate goals and checking in with ourselves with the excitement of New Year’s Eve.

That promise of a whole new 12 months on the calendar… and sometimes, that remorseful New Year’s Day pledge to never drink again and to ‘really’ get fitter this year.

But it’s summer now, and the winter festivities were so long ago.

So where are you on those goals you had?

I don’t ask to shame you if you’ve not conquered the world before hitting the beach for a well-earned break. I’m simply pointing out that an annual course-correction is never going to work.

Our lives are so busy and distracting that we need regular check ins with ourselves, and we could all benefit from more support in reaching our goals. So that’s what I’m here for, to give you a little encouragement and a boost in the right direction.

Think back to the last day of 2017 – what were you wishing for?

If those things stayed a wish rather than a goal (or current achievement), then the missing ingredient is a plan. Some achievable steps to bridge the gap between an idea and a reality.

Enter stage left – your summer holiday!

I think that the summer holidays are a wonderful time to take stock and get back on track with your plans for the year. It’s roughly the half-way point for 2018, and there is an abundance of blue sky to give you a positivity boost.

I know that ‘blue sky thinking’ has a bad reputation for being fluffy or indulgent. Maybe someone once told you your dreams were unrealistic. Personally, I’ve often found that those naysayers, who often brand themselves as “realists”, are in reality just a bit narrow-minded and grumpy. Sometimes they are even jealous. So don’t let them put you off.

Has there ever been a better time than now, in this surprising heat wave, to lie back on your sun lounger and allow yourself to imagine a brighter future?

If you could shut the “realists” (grumpy naysayers) out for 10 minutes and just listen to your inner guidance – what would you love to be working towards? And no, I’m not encouraging you to indulge in some over the top fantasy about owning a private island. I’m asking if you have a goal, a mission, or a calling to do something big with your life.

If you do, and if it’s within the realms of possibility, then you just need to make a sensible plan. The key really is to chunk it down. This would be the perfect time for an example!

Let’s say you wanted to switch careers. This might require you to take training, maybe an evening class for a while which would require some budget. It might mean changes to your daily life, including who looks after the kids, or who walks the dog on the evenings you need to study.

If you look at the whole big picture it is really easy to get pulled into the enormity of the situation. Money, time, childcare and other responsibilities make it feel impossible. But wait a minute…

What if you chunked down each issue and looked at just one at a time. Start with the smallest – who will walk the dog? There are many online sites for dog walking and pet sitting, and some of them don’t charge. If by some amazing coincidence my example is your exact problem, do check out BorrowMyDoggy.com – some people will walk your dog for free.

Once one problem is solved in theory, write that down and tick it off as addressed. Then you can tackle the next issue. When all the separate chunks have been addressed, then it’s safe to take a deep breath and look at the big picture again. Sure, it might still be a challenge, but it’s no longer as impossible as it once seemed.

If you get some holiday time this summer, why not take a journal with you and work out a plan for your own big dream. Turn it into a goal with realistic steps, and head towards the next New Year knowing that the world is your oyster.

 

 

 

 

 

Take a leap out of your Comfort Zone

Our comfort zone is the place where things feel familiar to us, where we feel we have enough of what makes us happy.

It’s where we feel we know what we are doing, so we feel in control, we don’t experience too much stress and anxiety and it’s where life feels pretty good.

When you put it like that, it all sounds very positive doesn’t it?

After all, we are creatures of comfort who are hard wired to avoid risks. We like to know what’s coming next so we can plan ahead to avoid any risky business.

I don’t want to burst your lovely, comfortable bubble but have a think – do you think you are getting a bit too comfy?

Are you holding yourself back because you are wary of taking even the smallest risk?

Could you challenge yourself a bit more?

Are you afraid of pushing yourself a bit further?

Are you frightened of trying new things, in case they don’t work out how you would like?

When we are slightly uncomfortable, whether by choice or through a decision outside of our control, we are able to push ourselves to achieve goals that we could never previously dream were possible.

A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking at a Wellness Event. It was my first ‘proper’ speaking engagement and I was totally out of my comfort zone.

Previously, I had been asked to speak at a few events and knew I ‘should’ say Yes to the new experiences, so that’s exactly what I did.

However, I wasn’t then prepared for the days that followed, when I went into total panic mode. All the feelings of not being good enough, what on earth am I going to say, why would anybody want to hear it, all the classic imposter syndrome worries.

For various reasons, the events were cancelled and I cannot tell you the relief that I felt, when I knew that I was no longer going to have to speak.

I had to have a word with myself, I needed to get over this because I was missing out on a chance to promote my business, to meet new people and also to see if I could actually be any good at this speaking lark.

So, when I said Yes this time, there were a few butterflies I must admit, but I had a different mindset.

I started to think what’s the worse that can happen? Maybe people won’t listen, maybe they will even get up and walk out. But then again, maybe they won’t. Maybe they will enjoy it, maybe they will actually clap.

I got myself prepared and on the day I walked into the event space, actually feeling pretty relaxed. When I walked to the front of the room to speak, the words came out and within 5 minutes, to my sheer disbelief, I was actually enjoying myself.

As a result, I have a booking for a workshop in three weeks time, I have lunch this week with a fellow speaker that I had a great connection with and I met some lovely people.

So, you see taking even the smallest risk is what helps us grow. If you only stick to what you know and keep to your same routine, how will you know what you could have achieved?

We are all so much more capable than we could ever believe. But to find out how capable, you will have to be prepared to leave your comfort zone.

What would you do, if you weren’t afraid to take a risk?

If I can help you to tackle a new challenge or if you would like some support in other areas of your life, please get in touch.

Enjoy this gorgeous weather and take care of yourself,

Toni x

 

Go on holiday and log out!

I want to talk to you about holidays.

I’ve recently come back from a fabulous time in the US – I spent time in the countryside and then in one of my favourite cities, New York. The first part of the trip was in a gorgeous town called Hudson, in upstate NY which is about 2 hours from Manhattan. It’s a good place for New Yorkers to go to unwind for the weekend.

At breakfast one morning, I met a lovely woman who was doing just that. She has a very high powered job and we were talking about how with mobile phones and constant email access, it feels like there is no getting away from work anymore. She had left her office on Friday at 3pm and on Sunday morning she showed me her phone – in that time she had received 628 emails, mostly emails where she had been copied in by her colleagues.

We are a similar age and we reminisced about the good old days when we still worked hard and long hours but that when you went away on holiday, you didn’t hear about work until you returned, refreshed and raring to go again.

Whatever you do for a living, it’s really important to take time for yourself, away from the workplace. Sometimes, I do realise that, particularly if you are freelance or have your own business, the lines between work and play are blurred. However, there is a difference between work being a passion or it being a burden.

You may worry about being seen to take time off and then when you do, you feel that you should be in constant contact.

Sir Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Manchester University says: “You may not want to work but you feel that you should check in. Then you find an email that needs answering and that’s it, you get sucked in. Today, staying in touch is triggered by insecurity and the need to feel valuable. Some see status in appearing to be a workaholic”.

He then adds “We have this crazy notion that we are indispensable and we are not, if you have a heart attack, the company will continue. It’s your family and friends that are indispensable.”

When you think of it like that, it shows you what is really important.

If you are planning to take some time off, here are some tips to ensure that you really do get some time away from it all – even if you haven’t actually gone away.

Tip No 1

Colleagues, bosses and clients will understand that you want (and need) to have time off. Once you have planned your dates, tell everybody that needs to know, well in advance, that you are going to be away. It’s less stressful to warn them, than for them to find out once you’ve gone.

Tip No 2

Before you go, finish as much work as you can and then leave an status update of what stage each of your projects is at. Arrange to delegate any work that needs to be done while you are away.

Tip No 3

Write an out of office email outlining your holiday dates. Give the name and contact details of the colleague(s) that will be covering your work. Do NOT put your mobile number in this email. If anybody needs to speak to you urgently, your number will easily be found.

Tip No 4

I’m not going to ask you to go cold turkey and not check your emails, but if you must check them while you are away, be strict with yourself.

Only check your messages once a day, ideally at the end of the day as in the morning you will be more inclined to engage and reply (although I appreciate you have to factor in time differences).

As the holiday goes on and you get into a more relaxed mood, try leaving the checking for a bit longer. Could you check every few days, maybe?

Tip No 5

If you have to respond, don’t respond with questions, give instructions. Otherwise you are encouraging the back and forth replies. This also allows your colleagues to progress the tasks rather than waiting to hear what to do.

Tip No 6

Try and get some perspective around this. You are not indispensable – while you are away people will cover for you. Just like you cover for them, when they go away. It doesn’t mean somebody is going to take your job because you have a holiday.

Tip No 7

If you find being on holiday stressful and want to check in with work all the time, maybe the problem isn’t your work? Maybe the issue is elsewhere, so perhaps you need to ask yourself some questions about how happy you are in your personal life.

Tip No 8

When you are on holiday, you owe it to yourself and your family and friends to be present and to live in the moment. So, relax and enjoy yourself!

Toni x

 

 

 

 

5 minutes a day to reboot your mind

Have you noticed when you ask people how they are, they often reply “busy”? Some are a bit more forthcoming and are “soooo busy” or “ridiculously busy”.

Busy seems like a badge of honour, something to be proud of. Busy can help people feel important and to the outside world give the perception of achieving lots of good, important work.

The fabulous Brené Brown covers this in her book, Daring Greatly. She says “one of the most universal numbing strategies is what I call crazy-busy. I often say that when they start having 12 step meetings for busyaholics, they’ll need to rent out football stadiums. We are a culture of people who’ve bought into the idea that if we stay busy enough, the truth of our lives won’t catch up with us.”

Mmm, interesting isn’t it?

Life these days is busy, we all know that, but being continuously busy can bring overwhelm, frustration, anger, denial and eventually burnout.

As a Life Coach, I support people to help them find the things they want to do, the jobs they want to have, the person they want to be and to conquer the goals they want to achieve. And I encourage those people to get out, get started and to do those things, in order to make the changes they want to make. Which in turn gives them the life that they want to live.

That can be a lot of ‘doing’.

However, I would like to add that sometimes I also say and I would like to encourage you to realise, that every waking moment of your life does not need to be filled with intent, purpose, added value, success, opportunity or reward – all those things that we believe create happy lives.

Don’t get me wrong, they are all part of the bigger picture of having balanced, happy lives but there is another thing that we seem to have forgotten.

I wonder if we have simply forgotten how to just ‘be’.

We have forgotten that sometimes we can just do nothing for a while. Maybe daydream, maybe sit and look out of the window without feeling that you have to fit something else in. We can sit by ourselves or spend time doing nothing with other people.

When we sit around doing nothing, the majority of us feel guilty. We feel lazy and unproductive because we have been conditioned to use every spare minute of our time to be productive, to organise or sort things out or to check our phones and social media.

There is a lovely letter that Richard Branson wrote about just being, that was published in Mind’s book ‘Dear Stranger, letters on the subject of happiness.’ He said we are called human beings not human doings for a reason and I quite like that. If you want to read the whole article, click here.

The truth is doing nothing for even 5 minutes a day is good for your health. Even the busiest of people can find that amount of time to help reboot their mind. Like a mini-meditation.

So, this Bank Holiday Weekend, I would like you to take some time for yourself. No phone, no TV and if you have to get away from the kids, lock yourself in the bathroom. Sit for a few minutes, breathe normally, maybe close your eyes and just be.

Once you start doing this and realising that it does help, it will feel easier and more natural to do. Maybe some days you will have more than 5 minutes. Oh, and the guilt about not doing anything will subside.

It could do more for your crazy busy life than you realise.

Toni x

How to find your Life Purpose

Do you ever feel a total emptiness inside as if something is missing and you can’t work out what it is?

I’m not talking about the feeling you get when you have experienced a loss or maybe a shock, I mean a feeling that can’t be explained and won’t go away, no matter how much you try to get on with things.

Often potential clients mention this emptiness and my usual reaction is to ask them what their purpose in life is, what gets them out of bed in the morning.

Over the last couple of years, I have learnt that this is a question that flummoxes people and I would say that the majority of them have no idea, at that stage, how to answer.

I have been working with one client for a while and I asked if I could share his take on it with you. He said “I struggle with purpose because it sounds like why are we here on earth and I don’t feel like I’ve got a calling.”

I know it’s different for everybody but I don’t believe that purpose has to be a calling although I appreciate that some people do experience this. I believe that there is not ‘one thing’ that we are meant to be doing, it is a whole bunch of things, sometimes over a period of time and sometimes all at once, as in a portfolio career.

Some people know from a very young age that they want to do a particular job or live a certain way and they structure their entire life to get them one step nearer to their life purpose. Other people go through life and don’t really question or think about their purpose, maybe not ever knowing what they really wanted to do or achieve.

The feeling of emptiness inside is a way of telling us that we are off-course and not leading the life that we want to live. It is highlighting the importance of getting on track to find the things that give you happiness – your purpose.

If you aren’t sure what your purpose is, here are just a few starter questions that you could ask yourself:

Who am I?

What do I do?

Who do I do it for?

Does it energise me?

What are the things I love doing?

Am I doing enough of the things I love?

If the answer to the last question is No, start to take some steps to do more of what you love.

You know how both your head and your heart help you make decisions? Finding your purpose is definitely one for your heart. It’s all about finding out what your passions are, taking actions to make sure you include them in your life and through that, you will connect with your purpose.

There is a lovely quote from Mark Twain that says: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Finding your passion and taking action to do the things that you enjoy is leading a purposeful life and I think your whole being hinges on this. When you no longer have the feeling that something is missing, you have found your purpose.

Toni x

 

If you have any questions about this or would like some help to connect with your purpose, then please get in touch here. We can arrange a complimentary call and you can tell me what is going on for you right now.