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.

 

We’ve All BeenThat Dog That Walked 30 Miles! (dealing with rejection)

Graphic via Daily Mail

Graphic via Daily Mail

Thousands  fell head over paws in love with  Lady, the gorgeous, greying Lab who walked almost 30 miles, despite being arthritic, to be re-united with her second family, who were unable to take her back. [Read the full story]

I’m guessing zillions of tears were brushed away.

It was  just so achingly sad and poignant.

Lady’s story got me thinking because we’ve all been there, haven’t we? I know I have!

And when it happens,  it’s painful. Oh boy, does it hurt to be shunned!

 

Graphic source - Copy Blogger, google images

Graphic source – Copy Blogger, Google images

We feel unlovable, unwanted, lacking, embarrassed  And as rejection can occur in  romantic, social, family or work relationships it’s going to affect all of us.

Of course, some professions invite rejection. My daughter is in the midst of editing her first novel, which will, hopefully, soon be published. Along the way, she has faced many rejections from literary agents.

Why Rejection Hurts

Much like Lady and her doggy pals, we are social animals and need to feel that we belong to ‘the pack.’  We want to feel loved and accepted.

This desire  is stronger when you are invested in a relationship. Somebody you don’t know well  gives you the cold shoulder and you shrug it off. If you’re turned down for a job, you can recover reasonably quickly and start the search again.

However, if it’s someone you really care for, then it’s much, much harder to deal with.

It’s to do with value and self worth. When someone important rebuffs you, it’s inevitable that you feel judged and found wanting in some way, Even worse, you may have no idea why the other person feels like that. So you’re left floundering, wondering what you did.

We tend to personalise rejection, and our brain runs an endless loop – ‘what should I have done differently? what’s wrong with me?’

And that feeling that you’ve done a few rounds with Mike Tyson is real – Recent research indicates that social rejection triggers the part of the brain  that causes the physical pain we feel when we trap our hand in a drawer or spill a hot drink on our hand.

Dealing With Rejection

“Rejection is merely a redirection; a course correction to your destiny.”  Bryant McGill

I love the sheer bravery of that quote!

It flies in the face of our natural tendency to shut ourselves away, to guard our hearts against future rejection.

And we can’t live like that. In fact, the fear of rejection can become greater than the hurt of the actual experience.

There are ways of dealing with rejection:

  • Don’t take it to heart. Ok, I know that’s easier said than done, but remember that you don’t always know all the factors in a situation. There may be a reason that you didn’t get that job that had nothing at all to do with you and your skills and experience.
  • Accept that you don’t always know what drives others, what inner hurts or pain that cause them to behave in certain ways.
  • Don’t anticipate rejection. It’s natural to want to protect yourself against further hurt – but stay open to new relationships, new opportunities. It’s Ok to be cautious but don’t lock yourself out of life.  If you do that, then you’ve given away your personal power.

 

  • Hang out with people who love you and encourage you. Believe what they say about you!
  • Write a list of all your skills, talents and positive characteristics. Ask others for suggestions. Keep reading it!
  • Forgive.  You may have to work on this over of time – and pray a lot – but it’s totally worth it. Forgiving the people who have hurt you frees you and enables you to move forward.
  • Pray for strength and wisdom. Jesus knows how rejection feels. He understands what you’re going through. His love never falters and He is your rock and your safe place when you are journeying through the pain of rejection. Ask Him to show you what you need to see.

And finally – Lady’s story had a  happy-ever-after ending – she was rehomed by a millionairess!!

You never know how your story will end – so keep on trusting in God’s plan for your life.

By the way, if you found this post helpful, you’ll enjoy this one:  Overcoming Hurtful Words

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.

 

Overcoming Hurtful Words

Source@ Google images

Joyce Meyer says that “Words are containers of power.”

 And we’ve  experienced that power. The kind word that lifts your spirits at the end of a tough day,  the compliment that makes you feel good, the encouragement you are given during a difficult task.

Words also damage.  Words can HURT. A LOT!  I suffered a lot of verbal abuse as a child and young woman. By the time I was a teenager I had developed anxiety and other emotional problems – anorexia, agoraphobia. The negative beliefs  that had grown deep inside me encouraged me to pick relationships with men who would continue the abuse.

“Words have more power than atom bombs.” (Pearl Strachan Hurd)


Humans are social creatures – we need to love and feel loved and share pleasant, meaningful interaction.

So the pain from ‘word bombs’ lobbed at you for whatever reason –    anger, blame,  criticism,  or venting over a situation that has nothing to do with you –  is excruciating.

And it’s worse if they are uttered by someone important to you, such as a valued colleague, friend, partner.  All kinds of emotions are triggered – shame, embarrassment, anger. And it can leave a permanent scar unless you deal with it.

deal with words

You can’t control what others say  but you can evaluate what was said:

  • Was it sparked by envy about something you have or have achieved? A backhanded compliment.  Can you put it in a more positive context?
  • Was there some truth in it? Is it highlighting an area you need to work on?
  • Was the speaker having an off day? If so, take a deep breath and let it go. As Christians we shouldn’t take offence.  Proverbs 19:11 states, “A person with good sense is patient, and it is to his credit that he overlooks an offence.” [GW] We’ve all said things we regret when we’re dealing with ‘stuff’ and we hope that others will overlook.
  • Is the speaker generally negative?  Some people just are like that. The best way to handle this,  is to accept that’s who they are and pray for them.

joyce meyer words

Action steps for overcoming hurtful words:

It’s OK to cherry pick the steps that are most useful to you – personally I’ve found steps 1, 2, 5 & 7 helpful.

  1. The most important and effective action step you is to choose to let it go, bless the person and move on. Yes, it’s difficult, but it is possible. It’s like they say – all you can control is your reaction to situations. Think of it as a gift to yourself, setting you free from someone else’s negativity.
  2. Write down how you feel in your journal. Putting words on paper clarifies your thoughts and brings insights. Plus, you can plan what to say if you decide to speak to the person about what was said.  Read more here.
  3. Discuss the situation with someone you trust. Another person’s input often reframes events, giving you objectivity, reassurance and affirmation.
  4. Write a letter to the person who spoke the hurtful words – pour out how you felt when they said them and how you feel now. Let it all out. When you’ve finished, don’t read it, either tear it up and flush it down the lavatory or burn it. Don’t send it!! 🙂
  5. Forgive. I’ve had to do this. It needed a lot of prayer and determination and sometimes it seemed like it was a case of two steps forward and one step backwards.  But it made a MASSIVE difference – forgiving others is one of the best gifts you give yourself.
  6. Remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to go back to the same situation – you can set boundaries or make adjustments. Sometimes, you need to ask God to bless someone and then let them go out of your life.
  7. Ask God to help you overcome the pain, anger, feelings of rejection etc then believe that He will.
  8. If you have been a long term victim of verbal abuse, you may benefit from seeing a counsellor or other expert.

It is possible to overcome hurtful words – I know this from personal experience of years of negative input.  Make a decision to move beyond the pain of hurtful words, pray, trust and believe.

If you found this post helpful, you’ll enjoy: Forgiveness and  We’ve All Been That Dog That Walked 30 Miles: dealing with rejection

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.

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.