Posts Tagged ‘life coach’

Lost your direction? How to get back on the right path…

October 12, 2014

 

I’ve written a few blog posts in the past about hill walking, and how it provides so many metaphors for life.

Today, I’m thinking about being lost – physically and emotionally – and how uncomfortable and frightening that can be.

Earlier in the summer, I took part in a beginners’ course on how to map read and use a compass. Based in the stunning surroundings of the Scottish Highlands, the course not only taught valuable practical skills…yet again it provided yet more parallels with life in general.

We all feel lost sometimes. Here are three thoughts from the hills that may help.

 

 

Lost

 

1) You are NOT lost – you are temporarily unsure of your position

Our lovely instructor Monty made this point at the start of the day: you are NOT lost. You are just temporarily unsure of your position. At some point in the recent past, you DID know where you were: what road you were on, what hill you were climbing, what loch you had just passed.

You might have wondered off that path, deliberately or otherwise, but you are still roughly where you were. In the same country. In the same valley. On the same hill. You are not as clueless as you might imagine.

The same is true of life. To feel lost is a horrible thing. To remind yourself that there was a time when you weren’t lost and you knew where you were, when you were confident and courageous, when you had a sense of purpose and direction – is the first step in getting back there.

Being lost is temporary. You can find your way back.

 

2) Your got here, so you can get back 

It might not feel like it, but if you’ve managed to walk somewhere and become lost (or temporarily unsure of your position), then you CAN get back.

The longer you’ve been wandering around the more challenging it might be, but the fact remains…you got here so you can get back.

You don’t have to resign yourself to being lost forever.

 

3) If you’ve been lost, you can learn not to be next time

One of the reasons that I chose to go on the course was because on a few occasions when I’d been out hill walking, whilst I’d not been completely lost, I’d not been completely certain where I was. Either that or I’d just been hoping that the people around me knew where they were and what they were doing.

Well, sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t.

In life generally, simply following the next person and not really having the skills or mindset to know where you are going is not a great place to be.

Once you’ve been lost and found your way back, reflect on how you got where you got, and how you got back.

Consider what mindset and skills you might want to develop so that you don’t wander too far off your chosen path in the future…or if you do, you can navigate your way back confidently.

 

If you’re feeling a bit stuck about which direction to take, please feel free to contact me about life and career coaching, at annabelle.beckwith@yaraconsulting.com

Stuck in a rut? Lifestyle changes #2: Why are you here?

July 16, 2014

choose your path

A few weeks ago I began this ‘In a rut’ mini series with a few questions around where you are now: that is, where are you actually, as opposed where do you like to tell people you are (or even pretend to yourself that you are).

In this second part of my blog mini series, I’m looking at three factors which play a part in WHY you are here.

 

1) You’ve made (or not made) decisions that have got you here

A while ago I read a book by Larry Winget called ‘Shut up, Stop Whining and Get a Life’ – if that’s not a challenging title, I don’t know what is. One of the key themes that Winget writes about is the fact that we are where we are because of things that we’ve done and decisions that we’ve made.

This might make uncomfortable reading. I read Winget’s book at a difficult point in my life and believe me, I didn’t want to take any accountability for where I was at that point: I wanted to blame anyone and everyone for putting me there.

Before I go on, let me say that I’m NOT saying (and nor is Winget) that anyone is responsible for being the victim of crime or abuse. Clearly that is NOT the case.

What I WOULD say, though, is that we have a choice as to how we respond to our circumstances in order to create better circumstances (or not, as the case may be).

Maya Angelou, the poet, philosopher, activist and generally remarkable human being who died earlier this year overcame the abuse and racism of her difficult childhood to become one of the most influential and respected women of our time.

Model Katie Piper, whose ex-boyfriend disfigured her for life in an acid attack, overcame the physical pain and emotional trauma of what had happened to her and is now a TV personality and a spokesperson for burns victims.

I could go on. The point is that both of them could have given in to misfortune, accepted that their lot in life was not a happy one, and settled into a rut of blaming others for their situation.

Others may have been responsible for these women’s situations…but they took accountability for their lives and chose to move on.

So. What decisions have you made – or shied away from – that have led to you being where you are?

What would you do differently if you could turn the clock back…and what can you do NOW?

 

2) You get something from being where you are

Dr Phil McGraw writes extensively on strategies for life. I was reading one of his books recently and was challenged by the idea that, if you’re not changing a situation that you’re unhappy with, there must be something about that situation that you ARE happy with, and that does something for you in some way.

Like the statement in my first point, this can be hugely challenging, and, if you’re in that situation it can be difficult to figure out what ‘the thing’ is.

By way of example, I used to work with someone who was always complaining that a pet project of his never got the support of the organisation we were working for, never received funding and therefore had never got off the ground.

He was taken aback when one of my team managed to get him the funding he needed, to the extent that he almost tried to talk himself out of the project: it was too late, there still wasn’t enough funding, and so on.

The point was, he seemed to ENJOY being able to moan about not having the funding. It’d be a fantastic project…but THEY wouldn’t let it happen. He could have achieved something…but THEY wouldn’t let him.

With the funding in place, he had lost the ‘they’ he liked to blame.

On a another note, I had a friend who often found herself being asked at work to deliver high profile projects to very tight deadlines. She was great at her job and always delivered.

However, what started to happen more and more often was that other people who hadn’t managed their time properly would turn to her for help at the last minute.

She was becoming stressed and exhausted to the point of making herself ill. And yet…..part of her really liked to be the caped crusader who could fly in at the last minute and save the day.

Think carefully: if you’re not happy about a situation but haven’t don’t anything about it, what is that situation doing for you? 

Are you prepared to lose that ‘thing’ in order to create a better situation?

 

3) You don’t realise you have a choice

This is always a tough one – so many people don’t realise that they have a choice.

OK, so sometimes in life that choice is between a rock and a hard place, but there almost always is a choice, even if that choice is just about deciding on your attitude in response to a situation that’s not of your making.

‘I’ve got no choice’. It’s the voice of defeat. Of dejection. Of giving up.

We’ve all been there and heard that voice from ourselves at some point…but it’s a voice that lies. We have choices. If we’re brave enough to make them.

Where in the past (or even now) are you telling yourself that ‘you have no choice?’

Look again. They are there somewhere. Ask yourself: if you did have choices … what choices would those be?

 

Next time I’ll be looking at ‘what’s your destination’…. join me then!!

Stuck in a Rut? Lifestyle changes #1: Where are you now?

June 11, 2014

Stuck in a Rut

I’ve been doing a lot of corporate work recently on culture change. Companies, it seems, are increasingly realising that ‘the way it is’ doesn’t have to be ‘the way it is’, and that steps can be taken, in time, to turn it into ‘the way you want it to be’…or at least, something close to that.

The whole corporate process has had me thinking about our PERSONAL environment, and the extent to which we accept our circumstances and lifestyle as just the way it is, and the extent to which we can do something about it.

Or, in short, do we recognise when we’re ‘in a rut’ and are we prepared to DO something about it and get out?

This is the first of a three part mini-series where I’ll be looking at ‘Where, Why and What?’ : ‘Where are you now?’, ‘Why are you here?’ And ‘What’s your destination?’

In this first ‘episode’, I’m going to be inviting you to consider where you are now.  And as always, I’m speaking as much to myself as to anyone else here.

 

Where are you now? Actually?

Take a look around. Where are you? I don’t necessarily mean ‘in the office’, ‘in my kitchen’ or whatever, I mean where are you REALLY, in terms of your lifestyle, and is it where you want to be?

It’s actually quite a difficult question to answer, particularly if you bear in mind that you’re not where you tell other people you are…you’re where you actually are.

What do I mean by that? Well, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing your own hype sometimes – maintaining a persona and an image that might not accurately reflect what’s going on in your life.

So…where are you?

 

The ‘boiling frog’

Most of you will have heard the urban myth about the boiling frog.

Rumour has it that if you put a frog in boiling water (don’t try this at home, folks!) it will leap out immediately, as the water’s too hot. However, apparently if you put the frog in a pan of cold water and bring it to the boil the frog will remain in the pan as the water gradually gets hotter, and will eventually boil to death (grim, eh?)

Whether or not this is true is neither here nor there. The point is that so many of us find ourselves like the frog in the gradually warming pan of water – we don’t realise what’s going on until it’s too late. The gradual evolution of a lacklustre lifestyle or poor habit has taken us unawares.

We might wake up one day and think “Hang on, how on earth did I get HERE?”

Or we might not. We might just chunter on, oblivious.

So where are you?

Which aspects of your life are you happy with….and which have you let slip, possibly without realising?

What did you used to enjoy doing, that you don’t do now?

What are you not doing that you know you really SHOULD be doing?

….What excuses are you making for not doing those things?

 

My mum’s a bit deaf…

Bizarre though it is, my mother’s unacknowledged deafness is also relevant here. She’s in her 70s, and although she really IS getting hard of hearing (answering a totally different question to the one that’s been asked, not hearing something until the 3rd or 4th repetition etc etc) she steadfastly refuses to admit that she has a problem.

Claiming that the doctor has told her that she’s fine “as long as people are looking directly at her and speaking clearly” (which I find hard to believe, quite frankly) in her mind, it’s everyone else’s problem: we ought to be speaking louder, more clearly …and my husband ought to do something about his Scottish accent.

There are two things to consider here. The thing is, if my mum had experienced this level of hearing loss overnight, she’d have been worried and addressed the issue.

The fact that it’s happened gradually over the years (not unlike the boiling frog) means that she’s barely recognised the incremental loss of hearing. It’s crept up on her.

The second thing is that according to her, if everyone else modifies their behaviour it would be fine.

Now it has to be said here that she may have a point – maybe it IS everyone else’s problem – we‘re the ones after all who get frustrated at having to repeat things and consistently talk in a voice several decibels louder than normal.

However, the fact is she IS missing out – we see her not taking part in a conversation that she would have taken an active part in in the past, not laughing along with everyone else at a joke, getting upset when her grandchildren give up trying to communicate with her because they know she won’t hear them. We see her, and we wonder WHY she won’t just go and get a hearing aid.

What are you in denial about?

And are you telling yourself that everything’s actually fine, despite evidence to the contrary?

Are you telling yourself that if everyone else would change (and they won’t, by the way), things would be just peachy?

….What factors are you writing off as other people’s fault or problem, when it’s actually YOUR responsibility to address them?

 

“I wasted the weekend”

One of the people on the village pub quiz team I’m part of is a keen hill walker. A few weeks ago he had said he was going to climb a particular mountain. When I asked the following week how his walk had been, he said that he’d not got out of bed early enough, and had ended up “wasting the weekend.”

This ‘waste’ appears to have involved doing a bit of gardening and generally pottering around.

Now, to many of us, that might have appeared a reasonably productive weekend – at least he’d managed to make some headway with the weeding.

However, it wasn’t what he’d planned to do. He was doing something…but not what he wanted.

Lifestyle is as much about what we don’t do as what we do. Wasting a weekend once in a while isn’t a life changing fiasco. But wasting EVERY weekend, and not being mindful about what you’re doing with your time IS. It’s the sort of hidden waste that can catch you unawares.

So…what are YOU wasting? Time? Money? Relationships?

What have you said you’d do that you just haven’t got round to?

Where’s your energy being spent?

…Where, on what, and on whom is it being wasted?

 

Next time we’ll have a look at WHY you’re where you are. Some of the answers might surprise you.

 

 

Self Coaching in 7 steps

September 29, 2011

I was delivering a workshop on coaching recently, and one of the participants said, “but you can’t coach yourself can you?!”

As a coach myself, I’m tempted to say, “no, of course not”!  However, whilst a business coach (or life coach) can be worth their weight in gold in terms of helping you to clarify direction, purpose and actions, investment in a coach can seem like a luxury to
many small businesses.

The truth is, if you allow yourself the time and space to think in a structured way, you can go some way towards coaching yourself.

This article (and the 37 page e-book ‘Take Yourself to Success’ that’s FREE to download at http://www.yaraconsulting.com ) focuses on 7 steps that will help you to self coach your way to setting and achieving your goals.

1) Know what you want to achieve

It sounds like a statement of the blindingly obvious, but you wouldn’t BELIEVE how many people find it incredibly difficult to focus for any length of time on what they actually want. Left to their own devices, they’d spend the entire coaching conversation talking about the current problems and situations that they face, rather than what they want to achieve.

Crucial to self coaching is to REALLY know what you want to achieve, not just what you want to avoid. So think carefully – what is it that you really want to achieve? What will success look like when you get there?

2) Tighten up your goals and aspirations

Many people think that they have goals, but these aren’t real goals at all – they’re aspirations.

There’s a big difference between thinking “I want to be rich and famous” (or whatever), which is a rather vague aspiration, and being clear about how you might become rich and famous (by becoming a Hollywood star? A successful business person? A
criminal?!)  or indeed understanding WHY you want to be so.

Consider any vague aspirations that you might have for the future, and distil them into clear goals.  What EXACTLY do you want?
Why?

3) Pin down some real actions

Many people have goals and aspirations, think about them often … but don’t actually do the spadework required to make something happen.  Consider your goals carefully, and work out what you actually need to DO to make them happen, and when you need to do it.

Be aware that most people will stop right here … they know what they want to achieve and they have a reasonably clear idea what they need to do. They just don’t do it.

If this is you, revisit and clarify your goal and the reasons why you want to achieve it, so that it becomes an inspiration to you.

There is almost always more than one way to the top, so how might you achieve your goals? What are you going to actually DO?

4) Build the confidence to achieve

This is one of the reasons that many people don’t achieve their goals, whatever they are: they simply don’t believe that they can, or (crucially) that they deserve to.

Have confidence in yourself and your goals. If anyone can, YOU can.

Do you believe in yourself? What do you have to do to become the person who will achieve those goals? What’s holding you back?

5) Assess your abilities; learn new skills

As evidenced by many fairly ordinary individuals who have risen to the top of their fields, inability in a given area needn’t put the kybosh on your endeavours, because you can either:

a) LEARN to do something new, in order to achieve your goal, or

b) get someone else to do it.

Let’s imagine that you want to set up in business as an interior designer. You’re great at interior design… but are you good at managing money, or promoting yourself – crucial areas if you are to succeed in business?

You could either learn to do this yourself (and you WILL have to learn a minimal amount at least) … or pay a book-keeper or marketer to do it for you.

Focus also on the skills, abilities, attitudes and values that have worked well for you in the past. How will these carry you forward? What do you need to change? What do you need to do differently? What will you need to learn?

6) Maintain momentum and motivation

I hardly need say that goals aren’t achieved overnight – it can take perseverance. Look back at your past at times when you’ve thrown in the towel (maybe a little too soon?) What can you learn from this experience? What (or who) causes you to
lose motivation?

Recognising what de-rails you is an important step in self awareness – if you KNOW what’s likely to pull you off track, you can take pre-emptive steps to ensure that it doesn’t do so in the future.

7) Start now!

You don’t have to wait until there’s a fair wind, conditions are perfect or YOU are perfect before you take your first steps towards your goal.  Once you’ve established your goals and decided on a clear course of action, just get on and do it.

Take action. Doing something – almost anything – is far better than doing nothing at all.

After all, what’s stopping you??

The  e-book ‘Take Yourself to Success’ is available to download free at http://www.yaraconsulting.com/downloads.html