Process is The Path (why you can’t skip it)

khalliysgraphy.deviantart.com

Hello! Thinking about Process and The Path is a real ‘Aha’ moment in my coaching workshops. It triggers lots of discussion – then gradually, amidst all the fun and chatter, emerges a light bulb moment – that success or growth or change are neither mysterious nor instant.

To succeed at anything, means that you have set your feet on the path and follow the process – there are no short cuts. (Sorry!) But once you accept this, you are unstoppable! You’ll take the first step on your unique path and you’ll keep going until you reach the end of that particular road. No chasing after bright, shiny objects at the side of the road – something I used to do all the time alas.

It might sound dull or tough but truthfully it’s fun and exhilarating. You can see the results of what you’re doing fairly quickly and this motivates you to keep pressing forward. You have a plan to guide you and you’ll develop incredible focus to ensure that the plan happens.

I’ll put my hand up and admit that I used to hate having to wait. And I wish I had been more patient and trod The Path, because many of my outcomes would have been better. I’ve learned some valuable lessons the hard (read difficult, painful and often just plain dumb) way: that life is short and we regret not taking chances, that procrastination destroys hopes, goals and possibly relationships,  that nothing worthwhile comes instantly and about trusting God, His timing and the process.

Accept that it’s your responsibility to plant your feet squarely on The Path, utilising who you are, to take the actions needed to accomplish your goals.

Stages along the Path

  • You have to map and pursue your own path. It’s individual – what you choose to do is relevant to you, your life and your situation. You have your particular skills, strengths and life experiences to draw on. You have your unique vision of what you want to achieve and why. Pray for guidance with your vision and your plans. Ask for wisdom and discernment. (Proverbs 2)
  • Grasp hold of the vision because vision is slippery and if you don’t pay it enough attention, it disappears. Own it, understand it, appreciate the benefits, nurture it.
  • Do your research, read, watch YouTube experts, talk to people who have experience in what you’re planning.
  • Take action. Even if it’s only baby steps. Actually, I’ve observed that consistent baby steps can carry you a long, long way.

It’s an exciting, rewarding journey 🙂 It may not always be simple – you might need to learn new skills and habits or drop some pastimes to free up more time – but as you travel down  the path  you’ll develop more consistency and expand your aptitude and your capacity. How cool is that?

Yes, you may have a few slips or tumbles here and there – and that’s OK. Process is about learning and growing and becoming more.

It took me longer than it probably should have done to understand and value the Path and the Process and I’m grateful that the penny finally dropped because it’s had a positive and dynamic effect on my life and who I am.  Please don’t waste opportunities like I did. Start at the beginning by visioning your destination, setting goals and work your plan through to the end. Let me know how you get on!

If you have questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments or at ninafcoach@gmail.com & also connect with me on twitter.

Oh and by the way, if you wondered about the wolf – think dogged determination! 🙂

 

It’s Up To You! [the R words]

Jim Rohn

“Nina, you share so much about changing and growth and flourishing. What would you say is top of the list?”

Such a great question! The answer is both simple (taking responsibility for your life and its outcomes) and complex (understanding how self awareness and self management combine with responsibility.) But it’s worth the time and energy if you’re serious about moving forward with your life – and it’s always beneficial to learn more about how we tick.

RSASR

Self Awareness

Self awareness is essentially understanding the positives and negatives of:

  • your drives
  • your values
  • your strengths and weaknesses
  • your attitudes
  • your habits
  • your needs and desires
  • your emotional responses – to your own actions and others’ actions

By being totally honest with with yourself, recognising what works and what needs to be improved, you can act from a position of strength. This builds personal power, boosts self esteem and elevates your effectiveness personally and professionally. You can make good decisions, respond positively to circumstances and set meaningful and achievable goals.

Self regulation

Being able to deal with your emotions, no matter how difficult the situation, by:

  • not acting impulsively
  • not immediately looking for someone else to blame
  • acknowledging your feelings (and those of others) but not allowing feelings to get the upper hand
  • thinking before you respond
  • communicating clearly and calmly
  • staying focused on what’s important
  • looking for the best next step

Self regulation is basically self control to bring about the best result. With this self control we are well-fortified. Without it self-control we are vulnerable. tweet this

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” [Proverbs 25:28 ESV]

Hiding from the truth

Andy Stanley says that, “Irresponsibility is very difficult to see in the mirror.” He’s right!

Psychologists talk about the self-serving bias which is a tactic or process used to protect or enhance self-esteem, in every area of life. Basically, it means that we take credit for good outcomes and blame others for bad outcomes – regardless of how we ourselves contributed to the outcome.

“For example, a student who attributes earning a good grade on an exam to their own intelligence and preparation but attributes earning a poor grade to the teacher’s poor teaching ability or unfair test questions is exhibiting the self-serving bias.” [Wikipedia]

And it’s not helpful in the long term because it deludes us into being less than we can be, when we refuse or fail to take responsibility for our actions. It can also make us unpopular with friends, family and colleagues.

And yes – it is tough to face up to – I’ve had many moments of crying into my pillow when I accepted that I’d played a part in many of the things that had gone wrong in my life. But it’s also incredibly liberating and empowering.

Help yourself help yourself 🙂

It was totally worth the effort I made to overcome the bit of me that wanted to play the victim or the martyr. Like forgiveness, taking responsibility is a huge gift that you give yourself –  the benefits are incredible!

Thank God that it doesn’t matter what we’ve done in the past – every day offers you  a fresh start and an opportunity to plonk yourself firmly in the driving seat of your life and where it’s headed.

When you fully accept that you are in charge of the outcomes of your life and how you react to circumstances, then you can truly move forward. tweet this

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Areas of responsibility:

  • Your words
  • Your decisions
  • Your actions
  • Your health
  • Your finances
  • Your career
  • Your talents, skills and gifts
  • Your life
  • Your spiritual life

“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” [Robert Schiller]

Once we get a grip on self regulation and responsibility, we open the door to amazing changes.

You will feel more motivated and more excited about the present and the future. You will feel more able to deal with life. You can plan and set goals. You can stop blaming others (even if it is their fault, deal with the situation) and you’ll know that if problems come against you, you’ll find a way through.

I love the following verse – its sums up everything in this post.

“Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” (Galatians 6: 5 MSG)

Any questions or comments?  Share them both or email me at ninafcoach@gmail.com. You can also follow me on twitter 🙂

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.

 

Say Goodbye to Procrastination Forever!

“Someday is not a day of the week.”    Janet Dailey

“Someday is not a day of the week.” Janet Dailey

The truth is, we all procrastinate sometimes and it doesn’t matter much (playing Bubble Shooter is one of my distractors) but in some cases procrastination becomes a major problem with serious consequences.

But it is possible to say goodbye to procrastination forever and it’s not that difficult.

When procrastination damages lives

  • Thomas lost his business because he kept putting off sending invoices to clients.
  • Caroline could have got a first at university but only scraped a pass because she never handed her work in on time and didn’t revise for her finals.
  • Edward‘s friends and co-workers are fed-up because he’s always late, and he never keeps his commitments because he’s ‘always too busy.’

If you are going to beat procrastination, it’s helpful to understand something about it.

Two types of procrastination:

20% of adults are trait procrastinators who habitually postpone or stall, like Thomas and Caroline. In other words, they routinely procrastinate, putting off even essential tasks ‘until tomorrow’.

Edward falls into the Type B Procrastination classification – mentioning a long list of irrelevant tasks he ‘had to do’ rather than the tasks he was meant to be doing.

In fact, Edward is always scurrying from one place, one task to another. However, he fails to deliver, personally and professionally. “I’m so sorry,” he says, “I’ve been so busy lately…..” and he reels off a list of activities that ‘prevented’ him doing what had been expected of him. None of which impress or placate his friends or work mates.

The reasons for procrastination include:

fear of failure or fear of success

anxiety/low self-esteem – procrastination has a strong link to self-esteem. In fact, they feed off each other – if you have low self-esteem then you often procrastinate. This increases low self-esteem and it becomes a vicious circle.

perfectionism

inability to plan or start

inability to delay gratification e.g. it’s more fun to play computer games or chat to colleagues than start the report your boss asked for

The penalties of procrastination:

Disappointment – you don’t get a table at for an anniversary dinner because you didn’t book in time or you can’t wear your best suit for an important interview because you didn’t take it to the dry cleaners in time.

Self-sabotage – you don’t get the job because you didn’t apply in time. Researchers believe that trait procrastinators tend to have lower levels of wealth, health and happiness.

Increased stress – because things don’t get done which causes problems and also because putting things off causes people to feel guilty, irritable and defensive.

Lower self-esteem – which makes it more likely you will procrastinate in the future. It also encourages people to drink too much alcohol, overeat or smoke.

Increased stress in other people because we haven’t met our obligations to them professionally, personally or at church. This in turn causes us to feel stressed or guilty.

How to beat procrastination:

By changing your mind-set you can significantly change your habits and behaviours.

1) The vital first step is to make a conscious decision that you no longer want to procrastinate. You are going to be known as the ‘always does’ person and not the ‘never does’ person.

2) When the ‘I’ll do it later’ or ‘I can’t face it now’ thoughts start to take over, tell yourself “I ALWAYS perform tasks in a timely fashion. I am competent and capable. I can do it!” Say it over and over again until you genuinely start to believe it.

3) Find an ‘accountability buddy.’ Sharing your plans and goals with someone you trust who will keep you accountable is motivating and energising.

4) Writing things down is essential as it focuses attention. Write out a list of everything you have to do – either at work or at home. Then review it and assign each task a value:

Vital – for tasks that are urgent and important. If you have more than one Vital Task then the most pressing is 1, followed by 2 and so on. Write down why you need to get the task done and what will happen if you don’t

Important – for tasks that need to be done soon but are not urgent. Again, number them in order of importance.

Later – for tasks that can safely be left for a while.

Delegate – for tasks that you can hand over to someone else.

Start with the top 3 Vital Tasks – write them down and remind yourself of the benefits of getting them done. Work through all your Vital and Important tasks 3 or 4 at time.

5) Turn off all possible distractions e.g. close down facebook, emails etc. Remind yourself of the benefits of finishing the work in a timely manner.

6) Check you have everything you need before you start. Nothing is more discouraging than realising half way through a job that you haven’t got an item or a resource and that you are going to have to down tools and find it.

If you’re worried that you can’t do a task, ask for help or research how to do it before you start it.

7) Make sure that your work area – either at work or home – is well-organised and free from clutter. Clutter drains you emotionally. Keep tidying as you go.

8) Forget perfectionism! Instead focus on excellence – do the absolute best you can at that moment.

9) Learn as you go – so that next time you face the same task you know that you can do it successfully and to an excellent standard. This is highly motivating.

10) Reward yourself each time you accomplish a task! You deserve it and it will motivate you. Check your facebook, go for a walk, read the newspaper. It doesn’t have to be anything big – just something that will make you feel good. Plus you will be able to bask in the praise from others who have noticed the change in you 🙂

So, give these ideas a go and say goodbye to procrastination forever! Remember, that it takes 3 – 4 weeks to establish a new habit – so don’t give up if you slip back into old patterns – just start again. Let me know how you get on!

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Mistakes People Make With Goals

Just read this article in The Guardian.

There are reasons why people don’t achieve their goals. Do you know what they are? Here are some of the main ones.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, who led the analysis, said he and his team had asked 700 people about their strategies for achieving new year resolutions. Their goals ranged from losing weight or giving up smoking to gaining a qualification or starting a better rela
tionship.

Of the 78% who failed, many had focused on the downside of not achieving the goals; they had suppressed their cravings, fantasised about being successful, and adopted a role model or relied on willpower alone.

“Many of these ideas are frequently recommended by self-help experts but our results suggest that they simply don’t work,” Wiseman said. “If you are trying to lose weight, it’s not enough to stick a picture of a model on your fridge or fantasise about being slimmer.”

The way to reach your goals is to know what you’re trying to achieve and why and then break it down into small, manageable steps. And then take action.

Dr Wiseman also says that last minute goals don’t work because you dont feel invested in them.

Start planning your goals now.

I am interested in your comments and ideas on this post. And of course you are welcome to join the group – just scroll down and click the like button.

Journal Your Way to Success!

I am a massive fan of journalling. When I mentioned this recently, one of my students smiled wryly, saying “Come on, Nina, isn’t that a bit teenage angst?”

Everyone laughed.  But I knew what she  meant.

I have fond memories of my [ locked :)]  teenaged journals.  I never scribbled down anything earth shattering but it was a safe place to write out my thoughts and feelings. Then it  fizzled out. And in the throes of  de-cluttering I binned them,  an act I now bitterly regret. I’d love to read them today.

Fast forward a couple of decades [give or take :)]  I became a life coach and realised that writing in a journal regularly is invaluable. It facilitates so many aspects of our life, including our walk with God.

The Link Between Success & Keeping a Journal

The latest research suggests that success is a product of happiness – that the more upbeat and positive you are, then the more effective, efficient and successful you’ll be. The brilliant Shawn Achor calls this The Happiness Advantage.’

shawn achor

Basically, the old school theory that success makes you happy has been turned on its head.

Leading a meaningful life [getting involved, helping others, praying, meditating on the Word] is an essential component of happiness – rather acquiring possessions, money, status. [I love it when the world catches on to what we’ve read in the Bible]

According to Shawn Achor, using your journal to record daily at least 3 things that you are grateful for positively affects the way you see the world and enables you to relive the experience, which boosts your morale and motivation.

Additionally, reading through these upbeat entries now and again will encourage and inspire you.

Benefits to Emotional Health

Journalling gives you a chance to express your feelings fully and to reflect on how situations are affecting you. The act of writing, whether it’s fully coherent or ‘stream of consciousness’,  generates ideas. When you review what you’ve written you start to see issues/events more clearly.

1) Writing  clarifies your thoughts –  your ideas and thoughts are consequently more real and tangible than when they are ‘floating around’ your head.

This enables you to properly assess and analyse what you are thinking. Written down your thoughts and feelings become more comprehensible, so you can review ‘complete’ thoughts rather than vague, fuzzy unfinished ideas. Consequently, you can spot dumb or unrealistic thinking. As a result. you’ll make better choices and decisions.

2) Regularly writing down what is happening in your life lets you  identify recurring habits and behaviours.

Consequently, you have the chance to re-think/re-evaluate how you approach certain situations and, if need be, find a way to handle them differently. This results in improved outcomes for you and for others.

3) You can  track  what is happening in your life, what is working well and what needs re-planning or re-strategizing. You can make necessary adjustments and identify successes that need celebrating.

[Keep a section of your journal specifically to record successes – it will motivate you and cheer you up on ‘bad’ days.]

4) When things go wrong – use your journal to vent –  just let it all out. You can tear the pages out later if you don’t want to keep them.

This prevents you saying stuff that you later regret. Or stops you saying things that you later realise were based on your mistaken perceptions. After the vent, you can work out whether you need to take action and how to do so.

5) Use your diary to daydream. Just let your imagination wander freely and take notes. Words or pictures are fine but a combination of both satisfies the left and right sides of the brain.

You can analyse this later and see if any of it is genuine vision and needs to be added to your goals.

6) Use a section of your journal to record your goals. Make sure that you write in an affirmative style with an end date.

Read through them on a daily basis – ideally, read them out loud as it changes the way your brain processes them.

This keeps your goals fresh in your mind – remember that we move towards what we pay attention to. You can record your progress as well – which is highly motivating 🙂

7) At least once a week (every day is best) write down what you are grateful for – no matter how large or small it may be.

Having an attitude of gratitude has numerous benefits e.g. you are more productive, you enjoy closer relationships with people you love, you feel more satisfied with your life and thus happier, you discover new reasons to praise God

Benefits to Physical Health

Many of us tend to carry stress and negative emotions in our bodies. You know those feelings of tension in the shoulders or stomach when you’re upset or you’ve had a tough day at work. Or you get a bad throat when you’ve failed to communicate what you wanted to say to someone.

Writing down how you are feeling shifts the situation and your feelings surrounding it out of you and onto the page. This ‘space’ between you and the issue allows you to reflect, analyse and understand what is going on and work out a course of action.

How To Start Journalling

jou

All you need is a hard-backed note book and a pen. Have your Bible to hand as well as you may want to read it at some stage.

Make yourself a cup of tea, choose a warm, comfortable place  where be undisturbed, and just start writing.

It might feel a bit weird to start with, but it gets easier – promise:) – and remember, this journal is for you – no-one is going to check your spelling or grammar 🙂

You might sometimes find it easier to draw your ideas/plans or stick in pictures and why not use mind maps as well?

Thank you for reading this blog 🙂 I’d really like to know how you get on with journalling.

Please share your comments and questions below.  And, if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends.

Nina is a qualified life coach who enjoys learning and sharing about flourishing.  She is a novice blogger.