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I Don’t Belong Here!

Ever felt like you don’t belong? Like you don’t really deserve to be where you are? Maybe you feel like people overestimate your abilities or as though you only got where you are due to chance and you could be exposed at any moment?

Whether you feel that way most of the time or just now and again in moments of doubt following a bad day, the good news is… YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

This is commonly described as Imposter syndrome and it’s entirely normal to feel that way and entirely possible to overcome those feelings.

The first step to beating it is understanding it.

Overcoming imposter syndrome is easier when you understanding it. Imposter syndrome may not be the best name for it as calling it a syndrome implies that it’s far rarer than it actually is. Impostor syndrome is a very common experience. Different studies vary on the number of people affected one study showed that it impacts two thirds of women in the UK. That was just focused on the working environment where some people may not be concerned as much by how people view them as other situations. The key thing is, no matter what study you look at it is extremely common.

It is natural to have doubts about our own abilities. Imposter syndrome has been shown to affect all varieties of industry including those getting onto exclusive courses at respected universities and call centre employees.

Where does it come from?

A subconscious desire for survival encourages us to hold ourselves back and keep within our comfort zone where we feel safe and secure. Historically, keeping in line with our role within a tribe is much safer than trying to break free and achieve bigger and better things. So we are programmed for our survival to desire to stay consistent even when that consistency is holding us back from greatness. The problem with staying within our comfort zone means that we are not growing and if we’re not growing much like water that doesn’t flow we stagnate.

Imposter syndrome is partly influenced by that desire to hold ourselves back and tendency to avoid inconsistency.

Why is it a good thing?

If you are experiencing imposter syndrome. If you feel like you’re not deserving of your position or achievements, the chances are this is an indicator that you’re actually doing something right.

Yes, you read that right, it’s good to feel this way, because it often means you are challenging yourself, developing new skills and achieving something more than you would achieve if you stayed within your comfort zone.

When you’re good at what you do it’s easy to undervalue it when you’re experienced or knowledgeable enough that your work feels relatively easy it’s easy for that to impact your perception of the value such work holds. It’s easy to assume that ‘everyone can do it’ and reinforce beliefs that you aren’t as good as others say you are.

If something feels so easy that anyone can do it that’s probably because you’re on your way to mastering it!

If things feel particularly difficult it likely means that you are doing something new, stretching yourself and achieving more than you are used to.

Either way, it’s a good indicator that you are actually deserving of where you are at. Even if it feels like the opposite.

How does this help?

Now that you know that feeling that way is a sign that you’re doing something right, you are able to take a step back when you feel that way. Realise that it’s just one ‘part of your mind’ which is trying to protect you, creating that doubt. By recognising that, it then becomes easier to accept those feelings. Accepting those feelings allows you to move on from them. You may even be able to embrace the excitement you may be feeling at the same time. This is often present but hidden by the fear and doubt).

A different perspective

There are different levels to our psyche which inform how experience life. On a fairly surface level we have our capabilities, what we are able to do from our experience and skill set. The deepest level is that of our identity. (There are levels between but that’s a whole other article). When we feel inadequate it’s often a result of confusion between these levels. Here’s why:

YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.


When you think about where you want yourself and your business to be in a years time, do you want to be exactly where you are now? Or do you want to have progressed and moved forward? In order to see yourself moving forward and growing you need to be taking on tasks and challenges that are not yet within your capabilities. This is the very essence of growth. When it comes to your capabilities there is a very good chance that you will regularly find yourself in situations where your skill levels are being pushed and you are stretching yourself. In these situations you are not good enough YET to achieve the results you desire. This is a good thing.

The problem comes when we realise that we are not good enough (yet) on the level of capability and mistakenly equate that to not being good enough on the core identity level. This is an error as we are far more than just our capabilities. Every single human is born worthy. And as babies we don’t even doubt that. If we want something; food, attention, a clean nappy – we yell out until we get it. We don’t wait and question if we are deserving of it. It’s only as we grow older that many of us somehow ‘learn’ to believe that we are not so deserving and learn to hide away that very real sense of self-worth.

What to do about it

Next time you experience a situation where you feel like you aren’t good enough, stop. breathe and smile, knowing that it’s a sign that you are doing exactly what you should be doing. Each time you feel that way and choose to embrace it, it becomes easier to react positively and achieve even more next time.

If you find yourself thinking “I’m not good enough” ask yourself to clarify that. Not good enough AT WHAT and FOR WHAT? When you see it as I’m not good enough at X to achieve Y then you can see what action you need to take to get there, what you need to work on or what help you can find from others to achieve the desired outcome. Remember that it’s a capability thing – it’s not about YOU it’s about your current skill level. Well done for pushing yourself and finding a chance to learn and grow.

If you or anyone you know has larger issues with belief, confidence and self-esteem you may like to get in touch to find out how Mind Affinity can help you to stop beating yourself up and start building yourself up instead.

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Mind Magic

The Power Of Words 

It’s long been understood that words have the power to shape reality. From ancient pagan traditions to the eerie world of Voodoo, words have been used to cast spells. But it’s not some dark art lost and forgotten in the depths of history. Words are still being used to shape your reality every single day. That beautifully written prose that transports you to a different world right through to the art of persuasive advertising copy.

The words you are reading right now could nudge you to think about something in a different way, and if they do – who knows what that small change could lead to over time.

So why allow everyone else to hold that power over you? Imagine how different your life could be if you were to start to make conscious decisions about which spells you accept and which you reject.

The Spells That hold You Back

You cast spells that shape your reality all the time but there are no spells more powerful than those you are casting on yourself over and over again. 

Think about the phrases you repeat and the words that you when ‘speaking’ to yourself. Do you use language to beat yourself up and hold yourself back? Naturally, the language we use can have a very different impact on the subconscious than we may intend.  Your words may be leaving you spellbound and blocked from taking action and seeing the opportunities available to you.

Examples of common spells that people cast which hold them back come in the form of negative suggestions and limiting beliefs. Every time you tell yourself that you’re not good enough. Every time you repeat the words “I’m so stupid”. Every time you verbally beat yourself up, you’re just repeating the spells that you’ve been reciting for too long already. Giving them more energy and making the spell stronger.

Take a moment now to think about the spells you commonly cast on yourself and reflect on the wording you use. Write a few down now ready to refer back to later.

Examples: “I always give up when things get tough.”,  “I’m so forgetful.”, 

Your Spells, Your Way.

It’s not the words themselves that change our reality. It’s the impact they have on us which leads us to experience reality differently. Words about reflecting on childhood will evoke wonderful, carefree feelings for many where for others it can bring back memories of a traumatic upbringing. This is why it can be so powerful to learn how to craft the right spells for yourself rather than just learning a new spell from a book or blog.

I could give you a list of ‘affirmations’ (a popular modern use of magic words and spells) for you to repeat to yourself in a mirror every day. Sure, they could be helpful. They will almost definitely be better than spending that time focusing on the negative words some people may often use instead. But – they would be my words, with my meaning and my interpretation. Not yours.

As a hypnotherapist, I’m carful to find the words that work right for the client as an individual. I don’t just use a generic ‘script’ that’s one-size-fits-all. A simple example would be a client that has a negative association with ‘routine’ (after all, routine is boring and restrictive, right?), maybe they would prefer to view it a little differently,. Changing the focus to creating “positive patterns” may make the process feel completely different due to the different interpretations, beliefs and feelings that those words evoke.

Casting Better Spells

There are some simple ways to improve the spells you cast on yourself and those around you. As mentioned above, it’s about finding what works for you but here are some simple and important considerations when creating your own spells. At the end of each of these suggestions I’ll give examples based on developing the examples from above. You may like to take 

Say what you want

So often our language focuses on running away from something rather that running toward something. “I don’t want to feel X”, “I wish I could stop Y”, “I must stop doing Z.” These are all fairly common ways that people answer me when I ask them what they would like to gain from working with me as a therapist.

Turning that language around so that it’s focused instead on what they DO want can be surprisingly powerful in itself. When you find yourself focusing on what you don’t want, mechanically replace that with wording focused on what you DO want and over time your default mindset will shift more and more toward focusing on what you can achieve and, naturally how to get there will be more likely to follow.

Examples:

“I always give up when things get tough.” Becomes “I want to see things through.” Or “I want to embrace the challenges when things don’t go right first time.” 

“I’m so forgetful.” Becomes “I want to improve my memory” or “I want to be better at remembering things.”

Make It Happen NOW

Often, when we do have the right focus, we still use language that makes the makes the spell less effective – or possibly even more of a hindrance. We often talk about what we want as something we would like to experience in the future. Although this is not wrong on a subconscious level, this is like making it a job for your future self rather than something you can act upon right now.

“I want to be healthier” is not as good as “I will be healthier” but better still “I am choosing to be healthier” makes it far more real.

You may have noticed that the this example is also progressive. It’s not just about being better, it’s also about continuing to improve. This gives the statement even more of a positive and ongoing impact.

Examples:

“I want to see things through.” Becomes “I am seeing things through”

“I want to embrace the challenges when things don’t go right first time.”  Becomes “I embrace the challenges…”

“I want to improve my memory” becomes I am improving my memory or “I am focused on getting better at remembering things.”

Put It Into Practice

Look at the examples you thought about above (at the end of the ’Spells That Hold You Back’ section). For each spell, re-write it to make it positive and present tense – bonus points if it’s also progressive.

Which of these spells stand out to you most? Which do you need more of in your life?

Create a routine of repeating them to yourself. This could be as an affirmation every morning or in response to situations where you would previously have cast the negative spell.

It may feel forced and mechanical at first. Like when you lear to drive. To start with you need to think about every gear change, what your foot is going, where your hands are, where to move the gear stick to, etc. Once you get more comfortable you have muscle memory of how to change gear but you still need to be aware of when to change it. Eventually (after around 3000 repetitions) it becomes fully embodied and you change gear without even realising that you have done so.

Repeat these and they will become more powerful and more natural. Keep going and they will become an intrinsic part of who you are.

Taking It Further

The next step from here if you want to really unleash the amazing power of your own mind is to learn more about the subconscious and how to program it to work for you. Check out the details of the next Mind Affinity Self Hypnosis training here.

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What Is Acceptance

Why acceptance matters header image

What Is Acceptance?

You may have heard coaches, therapists and the like talking about acceptance. Maybe you’ve read about it in my post about how to create lasting change. But what is acceptance all about and why is it so important?

Acceptance is “the act or fact of being received as adequate, valid or suitable.” Within the context of personal growth and wellbeing I would say that VALID is the key word here. When I talk about accepting your emotions, for example, what I really mean is to recognise that your emotions are valid. Not that they are what you would choose, not that you don’t desire something else just that whatever you’re feeling is valid.

Acceptance Is A Choice

If acceptance is ‘the act of receiving something as valid’ then it’s absolutely a choice. We have the power to choose how we receive things. As with many things we may have already developed habits of how to receive things but that doesn’t mean we can change that habit and grow. Acceptance is a very natural thing for us when we stop allowing our beliefs and doubts to get in the way of it. At it’s core, it isn’t about doing more or feeling the need to fix anything – it’s about doing less and just allowing yourself to validate things as they are without needing to do anything more with it.

That being said, when you’re in the habit of overthinking things, doubting yourself, putting barriers in the way of that acceptance then creating new habits through actively practicing acceptance is a powerful way to grow. Of course, the more your practice acceptance – the easier it becomes and the more it will become your default response.

Why Is Acceptance Important?

Acceptance plays a big part in achieving positive change. The first stage in changing or feeling better about a situation is awareness. Once you are aware of something, it can be tempting to deny it to look the other way rather than face the reality. But facing it and accepting the reality for what it is (without then telling yourself stories about it and creating a problem beyond the reality itself) makes it far easier to move past.

Acceptance is transformative.

What Acceptance Isn’t

Acceptance does not mean liking, wanting, choosing, or supporting something. One of the most common barriers to acceptance is the idea that you need to be happy with everything. Acceptance underlies all of your beliefs and ideas. Ultimately things are as they are – what things MEAN is based on how you respond and react, it’s about how you frame it, what beliefs you have about it and how you interpret it. But acceptance doesn’t care about all of that. Acceptance is just acknowledging things as they are and being okay with the reality of the situation.

Accepting something doesn’t mean you can’t change it! In reality, it means the opposite. If you don’t accept the way something is then how can you be honest with yourself about what is required to change it?

The opposite of acceptance is denial. When we refuse to accept something it means we are denying the reality and in doing so, denying ourselves the chance to react accordingly and decide where to go from here.

Other antonyms for acceptance/accept include: unpermissiveness, displeased, discontented, discontent, dissatisfy and unacknowledged. Looking at the opposites helps us see why acceptance – and especially self-acceptance, matters.

Acceptance is not apathy – you can accept things and still commit to make changes about elements of it.

When Is Acceptance Important?

The simple answer is “always” but let’s explore it a little more.

Accepting everything for what it is may not always be easy but it can be hugely beneficial. I would suggest there are two different categories to consider:

Things that are in your control.

When you accept things that are in your control it makes it much easier to accept that control and do something about it. For example – you may desire to be in better shape than you are. Beating yourself up for it comes from all the beliefs you have around it and around why it is the case. Accepting it means recognising that it is valid and real but that you can improve upon it. Denying it or not accepting it to be true makes it harder to put in the work to change it as you’ll be seeking to ignore the reality, make excuses, justify it and generally not want to face it. Accepting the reality allows you to focus instead on being supportive toward yourself as you focus on what’s required to change it.

Things outside of your control

Things that you have no direct control over are worth accepting even more. If you can’t do anything about it then denying it will just result in repeated stress and dissonance when faced with the reality. If you can’t change it then accept it so that you can refocus on what you CAN control and what is within your power. This will allow you to start feeling more in control again.

What To Accept

Everything that is, is worth accepting.

Sometime accepting the reality can be tough when there are so many thoughts and feelings surrounding the situation. Each of those thoughts and feelings are valid too, of course. There may be plenty of those thoughts and feelings that aren’t pleasant. They may be based on beliefs and expectations. They may be completely illogical and driven by pain, fear, anxiety etc. but they are all valid too. If you’re feeling it – accept it. So often the struggle people feel isn’t because of the problem or even because of the way they feel about it – it’s because they refuse to accept how they feel about it. Grief is a great example of this that has many attached emotions. A common example is loosing a loved one who had been unwell for a while and required a lot of time, attention and hard work. While you miss that person deal there may be a sense of relief that they are no longer in pain and that you no longer need to prioritise your time around them. It’s okay to feel that way on one level and it doesn’t mean you don’t care. Equally, you’re likely to feel guilty about thinking/feeling that – that’s okay too. It’s all just human emotions, they don’t have to be logical and remember – all thoughts and all feelings are exactly that. They are thoughts and feelings, they are not reality.

Acceptance the thing. Accept how you feel about the thing. Accept all that has led to the thing. Then move on from it.

How To Practice Acceptance

As with many things, even those that are completely natural to us. We get better at things by practising them. Here are a number of ways that you can exercise more acceptance and things to consider.

  • Find the lesson

Some of the hardest things to accept are those outside of your control and those where you feel a sense of regret. Reflecting on the situation and accepting the reality can be easier when you observe it more objectively. Finding a lesson you can learn from the experience can make this easier and allows you to use it to your advantage too.

  • Be honest

Be honest with yourself and be honest about the reality. A difficult truth is better than an easy lie. And remember that your feelings and beliefs are not reality be honest about what the reality of the situation really is.

  • Accept yourself

Everything here applies to self-acceptance as much as it does to accepting external situations but accepting yourself first makes it much easier to accept the other things too. I accept that sometimes I respond emotionally in irrational ways to situations. By accepting that it allows me to recognise it and focus more on the situation itself and the reality, thus reducing that tendency to begin with.

  • Accept reality

That what this has all been about but it’s worth mentioning it again specifically. Be clear on what reality is and accept that no matter how different you may choose for things to be they are what they are and you can’t change the reality of where you’re at right now. You can change the reality of where you end up though.

  • Accept responsibility for what has passed

SOME of your choices and actions will likely have played a part in the reality that you now face. That’s okay. Blame isn’t useful but accepting responsibility for the part you have played allows you to move on from it far more easily. If you knew then what you know now and had the ability to do something differently maybe you would have but back then you didn’t and that’s okay.

  • Accept responsibility for what happens next

You can’t change what is already in the past but YOU and you alone can decide what your next action is, and the one after, and the one after. Take responsibility for creating the change you desire.

  • Make it about now

Having looked at the past and aspired to create a better future remember that acceptance is about this moment right now. Getting lost in wishing things were different before or worrying about how things could go in the future doesn’t help you to accept where you are right here and right now. The chances are, if you stop and focus on this EXACT moment you’ll realise that things aren’t as bad as the emotions you are building up by living in the past or stressing about a potential future.

  • Accept the barriers

If you want things to be different in the future and there is something you can do about it, take some time to recognise the barriers that are currently in your way between where you are and where you want to be. You can accept them too. Also accept the barriers that you feel are holding you back from acceptance right now. If you can’t accept something – start by accepting that you’re not yet ready to accept it… who knows, that may make it easier to accept.

  • Accept the good

Often you will be focusing on accepting the ‘bad’ stuff. Take a moment to accept the good stuff too. Appreciate the benefits if the situation. When accepting yourself, remember to accept the things you love about yourself as well as the things that don’t bring you joy. It’s all about balance.

  • Accept your biases and beliefs

Recognise that you will have underlying beliefs and natural cognitive biases that are playing a part in how you view situations. Become aware of them and accept that they form a part of how we think as humans. – I have a whole series of videos about cognitive biases if you’d like to know more.

  • Accept struggle

Life is not fair. People often seem to think that it ‘should’ be but why? Life is simply not fair, that’s the reality that we live in. Things are going to go ‘wrong’ and things will not always go your way. That’s okay too, it’s part of life and how things work. When you accept that sometimes thing will be tough it becomes easier to accept the tough things and to feel better about reality.

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Why I Love Failure

I Didn’t Always Love Failure

I used to hate making mistakes. I would hide my mistakes or try and argue my way out of something I said without admitting I was wrong. I saw mistakes and failure as a sign of weakness.

In fact, it was so important to me to not fail or not let people know I was wrong that it began to really hold me back. I wouldn’t ask questions to learn more about something because that would mean admitting that I didn’t know the answer. I would hold back from fully committing to things because if I didn’t really apply myself fully then it didn’t really matter if I didn’t achieve as much as I wanted to. I did just enough to get by but didn’t really push myself or apply myself and I’m sure I’m not alone.

A Different Way Of Viewing Failure

It took some time for me to begin to see it any other way. One of the things I learned along the way and started to repeat to myself, and others, feeling that it made a real difference was:

“There’s no such thing as failure – only feedback.”

It’s a different way of looking at it. Re-framing failure as a learning opportunity felt a lot more comfortable and allowed me to accept failure as well as feeling better about ‘risking’ failure by pushing myself.

It DID help a little, especially when repeated over time but it still didn’t really change much. I had to notice that I was thinking negatively about failure and remind myself of this. I needed to deliberately change my responses to align with this idea. 

That’s not a bad thing in itself and that practise of reminding myself to think differently was helpful but I much prefer the way I think about it now.

You’re Wrong About Failure

What’s the opposite of failure? Most people, when I ask this question tend to say that success is the opposite to failure – or other similar answers that relate to it. That is simply not true. You could say that they fail to get the right answer, this is because: 

learn to love failure
Failure is NOT the opposite of success. It’s PART of it.

The opposite of success isn’t ‘not success yet’ it’s running away from success. The best way of doing that is to stop yourself from taking action. To run away from opportunities because you’re scared. Failure is a step towards success. Attempting something and getting it wrong is much closer to success than sitting there reading this and doing nothing about the opportunities you really want to embrace.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Wayne Gretzky

Failure is THE WAY to success

I have spoken to a lot of very successful people. By that I mean people who consider themselves successful and those who are objectively seen to be successful.

(Remember – everyone’s idea of success differs)

Not a single successful person has got there without making mistakes along the way. Mistakes are how you grow. They are how you learn. They are PART of success.

How I see failure now

Failure definitely exists. I no longer feel the need to hide behind another word for it (like feedback). Yes, it does offer feedback and if thinking of it that way helps you, go for it. But to me It IS failure and I love it!!

Just because some other people see it as a bad thing doesn’t mean we have to. It does’t mean YOU have to. Let’s embrace failure together and learn to love our own and other people’s.

Like when we watch a child learning to walk for the first time. When they fall over, we know that this helps them learn to get up again and to use their balance to walk further next time.

It helps us get better

It helps us see that the ‘scary thing’ really isn’t so bad after all.

Failure Creates Learning Opportunities

Back To Square One?

It’s a common belief (and fear) that failure will put us back to square one. This is simply not true either. I “failed” at my first business (I was young and not properly focused on it) but when I started a new business I already knew what to do (and what not to do) in relation to getting started. I wasn’t at square one – I had lots more experience. Experience I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t failed first.

As with so many things in life, it can take a long time to change habits – like the habit of holding yourself back and fearing failure. But it doesn’t have to. When you engage with the whole of your mind and embrace the power of your subconscious, these changes can be much quicker and far more enjoyable. Get in touch to work with me one-to-one or check out my next Self Hypnosis Workshop and discover how to use the power of your own mind to change pretty much anything you can think about changing in your life.

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How Do I Change My Life?

How Do I Change My Life?

Change is a personal thing and we are all different but whether it's a small change to your daily habits or a complete overhaul of your life situation, these 6.5 steps will help you to create and maintain positive change for YOU.

We all have things we would like to change in our lives. Are you looking to make one BIG change in a specific area of your life? Maybe you want to build on and improve something you’re already doing but don’t seem to be achieving the progress you would like. It could be that you’re just not happy with your life situation and/or the person you are right now and are looking to change everything (in which case I would suggest focusing on a few specific things to move yourself forward).

Whatever you are looking to change and whatever there may be that you’re not happy with, the following steps form a great framework to help you create the focus and actions you need to make your goals a reality.

If you feel like you are ‘not good enough’ or the thing you really want to change most is YOU, then the following steps are even more important. Combine these with building your confidence and self belief and you really can achieve amazing results. If you’d like more help in creating positive change (and even enjoying the process) take the first step now by booking a free chat with me here.

The Six (and a half) Steps To Change Just About Anything…

There may be a whole range of different specific actions that you need to take to implement a specific change in your life but whatever it is that you want to change it all starts in the same place. Whether it’s eliminating an unhealthy habit, building and embedding a new one, becoming a better person or wanting a better life, it all starts in the same place…

1. Awareness

All effective change has to start with awareness. It is the most fundamental part of the process and yet it’s often the stage we are most resistant to. Whatever it is that you want to achieve you’ll find it far easier if you take the time to acknowledge things as they are first.

Growing your awareness can be uncomfortable at times. Sometimes it means recognising things that you’d would rather not focus on. With our awareness we always have three options available to us. We can choose to escape awareness: this may involve scrolling aimlessly through social media, playing games on a phone or zoning out in front of the tv. We can remain neutral and simply allow our attention to be dictated by our surroundings. Or, we can choose to increase our level of awareness. This is true for our self awareness as much as it is for our awareness of others and of situations around us.

A great example of the importance of awareness come from anxiety and panic attacks. Though it may seem like an extreme example I think it highlights the importance and power of acceptance nicely.

Often panic attacks often occur when there is SOMETHING uncomfortable, something undesirable, something difficult that we just don’t want to face (This could be the feelings of anxiety and worry in themselves). So we look away, we try to pretend it’s not a problem. We do whatever we can to shift our focus AWAY from the perceived problem. Unfortunately the problem doesn’t go away just because we are ignoring it. In fact, it just gets worse and the worry continues to grow. Eventually it reaches the stage where we can’t ignore it any longer and by then, the worry has grown so large that we are unable to ignore it any longer. By this point, when we are able to ignore it no longer, the worry has grown and it’s too ‘big’ an issue to do anything about. We feel like we have no control and that’s when the panic attack takes over. Imagine instead, taking the time earlier in the process to acknowledge the problem and decide to deal with it BEFORE it gets too much to handle.

How can we change anything if we don’t admit to ourselves that it needs to change?

Want to read more on awareness? Check out my article on How And Why To Increase Your Self Awareness.

Be intentional with your awareness.

2. Acceptance

Once you have awareness of the problem, the next step is to accept it for what it is. Acceptance of the way things are isn’t the same as settling for the way things are and it’s not about apportioning blame for the way things are. Whatever has already happened in the past has already happened. You CAN’T change the past. What you do have control over is what choice you make RIGHT NOW (like the decision to read this blog and put in to action what you learn). You can choose what you do next. Whatever has happened will never not have happened but it can lead you to somewhere better in the future.

You don’t need to consider things to be ‘desirable’ to accept them, you can love and accept yourself and still choose to improve and grow beyond that.

Example: Jane may not love her tummy as it is right now but she can accept it as it is, smile knowing that it’s a result of bringing her amazing children into this world and of having the ability to afford plenty of good food. Having accepted that it is as it is, she’s now ready to move forward and do something different.

Become aware of the way things are and accept everything for what it is. Only when you accept what is can you then identify the best way to change it. OF course, before you can actually put things in place to change it, there’s another step to take…

What to read more about acceptance and HOW to become more accepting? click here.

Embrace opportunities to accept things as they are.

3. Aspiration

Once you recognise and accept things as they, no matter how uncomfortable or undesirable they may be, you know what it is you want to change. The next step is to identify what you want instead.

For example: Someone wanted to quit smoking. They had the awareness that the habit was undesirable and they knew it would be better for their health if they quit. They accepted that the smoking had become a habit and that they did not want to continue it. They also realised and accepted that they had become an expert at making excuses for themselves and justifying ‘just finishing this packet’ or that “I can quit, I just don’t really want to yet” etc. If this person jumps ahead to the next step it will be harder for them to change their habits and behaviours because they will be focused on “giving up” smoking. Who really wants to work hard to give up something that they believe they enjoy? Taking some time to stop and become clear about what you really DO want – what you ASPIRE to – will make the process far easier and more enjoyable.

Rather than quitting smoking, focus on becoming smoke-free. Think about (and even visualise) what it will be like when you achieve the change you want to make. In this example it may be about having more energy, being able to exercise/play more without getting out of breath, enjoying uninterrupted time with friends or family in the warm (rather than not disrupting social events to go and have a smoke). You get the idea.

It’s different for everyone and every change but stop and get clear about what it is you really DO want. Focus on that and what you are moving toward rather than placing all your focus on what you are moving away from.

When you know where you want to be and keep you focus there, it’s a lot easy to get there and to notice when you’re course needs adjustment.

Want to read more about aspiration and how it can help you achieve your goals? Read my article here.

Be clear about what you want and aspire to be the person you need to be to make it happen.

4. Action

In the (paraphrased) words of Sir Issac Newton: An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

I think all of these steps are important and awareness has to come first on the list but without action the rest of these steps won’t get you to where you want to be. You’ve recognised (awareness) something that you consider undesirable, some kind of opportunity for growth, then you’ve accepted it as it is rather than denying the reality. You’ve decided what “good looks like” and the reality you want to create for yourself – GREAT! Now you need to take action!

You could sit and make an action plan, you could create daily habits that move you forward, you could reach out for some help and support form those around you or a professional like myself, There’s a whole load of different actions you can take depending on what you need most and what the change is that you wish to create but regardless of the details one thing is certain:

There is no change without ACTION.

4.5 Adjustment

After writing this I realised that there was another element to the process. Conveniently it also begins with an A.

The first three steps are in order but just because you were ready to move to step four doesn’t mean that you can forget all about the previous steps. It’s still important to maintain and increase awareness as this allows you to discover and learn more about yourself as you work through the ‘A’s. Keep learning as you go, driven by awareness, acceptance and aspiration. Take action to move things forward BUT… be prepared to make adjustments as you go. Keep learning and stay aware so that you can make sure you’re still on track and that you still have the same aspiration. Particularly with bigger, long-term changes it’s possible that the process of change may uncover new learnings and new opportunities for greater awareness that may impact your aspirations. 

Sometimes the best adjustment you can make is to your own thinking.

5. Achievement

With the right actions built from a place of awareness and acceptance, focused on what you aspire to and adjusted as needed to get you the results you desire, comes achievement.

There’s a good chance that there will be a number of different moments and levels of achievement along the way too. It’s not just about the end result. Remember to notice, enjoy and celebrate these achievements. Most of us are very well practiced at beating ourselves up and focusing on the things that we didn’t do so well. Remember to embrace your achievements as you go and recognise the results of the effort and focus you put in.

Celebrate your achievements with pride! 

6. Assessment

Congratulations. You achieved something. You have moved yourself forward you have created change. The journey isn’t over yet though. What you have now is greater experience and better understanding of yourself and of what it takes to generate change. Keep going and continue the great work you have put in and keep learning. By assessing the process and recognising the progress you can increase your awareness further. You can learn what worked well and what you can do better in the future.

Personal Growth is a life-long journey.

Are You Ready To Change?

The chances are, if you are reading this article (and especially if you stayed with me to this point) that you have already attempted to make some sizeable changes to your life. Realistically, you’ve probably succeeded to make some changes too. But that’s not why you’re here, you’re reading this because there’s a change (or series of changes) that you want to make and haven’t yet nailed it. That’s okay. (You may also want to check out my article about why relying on willpower alone doesn’t work)

One of the key factors to your success will come down to whether you believe that you’re capable of influencing events in your life enough to create the desired change. The good news is – you absolutely CAN make it happen. If you would like further support in making that a reality, especially if you’re looking for help building your own self-confidence and belief in being able to attain the positive results you’re looking for, get in touch to find out how Mind Affinity can help you to Empower Yourself.

You may also want to check out my older article about the six areas of focus that will help you improve your life.

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Why Am I So Stupid?

Why am I So Stupid‽ Blog post image

Why Am I So Stupid?

And What Can I Do About It?

Why am I So Stupid‽ Blog post image
Does it sometimes feel like you just keep making ‘stupid choices’ and bad decisions?
 Do you feel like you’re constantly beating yourself up for being so stupid? You are NOT alone and you CAN change it. Read on…

Most, if not all, people have asked themselves at some point “why am I so stupid?” Or similar. Maybe you keep making the same mistakes and just don’t seem to be able to change you behaviour. Maybe it feels like you can’t get through the day without saying something embarrassing. Maybe there’s a whole load of different reasons you find yourself asking this question, let me help you find the actual answer to the question.

Spoiler alert! – You’re NOT stupid.

What Does It Mean To Be "So Stupid"?

Before we answer the question, let’s actually look at what the ‘stupid’ really means.

When we talk about being stupid or not what we are normally referring to is intelligence. This is generally measured in IQ (Intelligence Quota). This is the first mistake that people make with this question… Often when we ask “Why am I so stupid?” We are asking the wrong question. If we were really stupid then we would be unlikely to look back and realise the error we made. It actually requires intelligence to reflect back on our actions, question them and come to the conclusion that we could have done something better.

Chances are, you’re reading this because you find yourself feeling stupid but have the intelligence to notice it and question it. Questioning and researching – that sounds pretty smart to me.

To put it another way – whatever made you ask the question “Why am I so stupid?” Was probably nothing to do with being stupid. You’re not stupid.

Emotions Aren’t So Stupid

One ‘guideline’ (because guidelines are better than rules) I have in my clinic for my individual clients is that we replace the word ‘stupid’ with ‘silly’. See, a lot of the things we do are silly. Overreacting, getting in a flap, making nervous errors, repeating old habits and behaviours and generally making ‘silly’ mistakes – These are all silly things that people often feel stupid for, but aren’t anything to do with logic and intelligence.

When we feel a certain way or impulsively act upon a feeling or stimulus it’s often caused by past learning or old beliefs. We generally know how we would prefer to act, especially when looking back on it rationally, we just don’t act that way in the moment.

Judging your logic and intelligence based on your emotional reactions is inaccurate and unfair. It will make you feel far worse than putting it in context and realising that it’s not your intelligence getting in your way. It’s your learned behaviour, habits and beliefs.

In short – you are not stupid.

Forgive Yourself

No one ever beat themselves up into feeling better about themselves. If you’ve been feeling stupid the chances are you’ve been pretty mean to yourself about it to. That’s normal but that doesn’t make it right. Recognising that your errors are guided by emotion and not logic should make it easier to see that it’s not about you not being good enough, it’s partly about you not being good enough TO YOURSELF. If a toddler repeated behaviour that wasn’t acceptable you wouldn’t beat them up the way you beat yourself up, would you? You’d probably be a lot more patient and understanding, knowing that this will help them learn. If a toddler does just get yelled at without fully understanding why it can be detrimental to their development and they are less likely to learn from the situation because they will be too overwhelmed with the emotions to really engage the logical think required to reflect on it. You’re not so different.

Beating yourself up makes it harder to think rationally, making you feel even more stupid but… You are not stupid.

Learning Not To Be So Stupid

If your mistakes were caused by stupidity, then you would learn from them and wouldn’t find yourself repeating them so readily. But there’s good news – You can learn to be less silly too. The first step to take that will make it much easier to learn and grow from your mistakes is to forgive yourself, as above.

You can’t change the past. What is done is done and will never not have happened. You can, however, use the past to change the future. Once you forgive yourself, it becomes much easier to focus on learning and growing from it. If you’re struggling to forgive yourself then focusing on learning from it, may make you better able to forgive yourself as you begin to grow from it anyway.

Every silly mistake is another opportunity for growth and learning. The “stupid” mistakes I’ve made in the past have become a part of the person I am today and I have learned a LOT more from my mistakes than I have ever learned from things going to plan.

The very fact that you landed here shows that you are looking for answers. This implies that you are not as stupid as you think.

Awareness Isn't So Stupid

It took self-awareness to decide that this blog was worth reading. You’re already on your way to improving.

Awareness plays a huge part in turning things around too. How can you expect to improve something if you don’t know what could be improved? By being prepared to forgive yourself you make it easier to recognise and notice your emotional reaction before you take action. Being aware of how you are feeling and reflecting on how you were feeling when you made questionable decisions in the past makes it much easier to choose to respond in different ways going forward.

Take the time to reflect (without prejudice) on how you were feeling at the time, what may have caused those feelings, what other times you displayed similar behaviours. The more aware you are of how and why your reacted the way you did in the past, the easier it will be to increase awareness of how you are feeling (and reacting) in any given moment now and in the future.

By now, I’m hoping you are aware that you are not stupid.

Accept The Stupid

Okay, so I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I don’t think you’re stupid. That said, we can all make foolish decisions from time to time. Some more than others. On some occasions we may even do things which are more ‘stupid’ than they are silly. That’s okay too!

Part of being human is being fallible. We all make mistakes and poor choices but no decision can truly be described as a bad decision until after the fact. We are really good at judging our behaviours and decisions by the outcome. It seems like sound reasoning, right? Wrong. The problem here is that after the result we have more information than was available to us at the time. ANYONE who has had the same experiences as you, with the same beliefs etc would make the same choice in that moment as you did. Regardless of how it turned out you did what felt best in the moment. Whether that was based on emotion rather than logic or a lack of understanding of the bigger picture. it’s just part of being human.

In summary, you are not stupid but you may sometimes act as if you are and that’s okay.

Know Someone who could benefit from this blog post? Why not share it with them and help them see that they aren’t so stupid after all?

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Creating Confident Live Content

For some people it can be daunting to broadcast live on facebook, or anywhere else for that matter. In this blog post I will offer you some hints and tips to increase your confidence for creating live video content.

Of course, I have also delivered this as a live video. If you prefer you can watch a version of it here:

Watch the replay of me delivering this topic as a live video.

The best advice I can give you is:

DO IT!

By completing your first live video you will realise how easy it really is. Many people feel a huge sense of achievement and empowerment when they look back and see what they have achieved by facing that fear. “I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner” is a really common response.Of course, the more you practice, the easier it will become. Each time you share a live video you will feel more comfortable and more confident until you almost forget that you ever felt any different about it. If that’s all you needed to hear then skip to the challenge at the end of this blog and GO LIVE!

Still reading? O.k. Maybe you need a little more help. Here’s some further thoughts about live video to challenge how you think about it:

Everyone feels that way

At some point in life and/or business, everyone has felt the same way. It is natural for humans to judge themselves more harshly that they judge others. The good news is: No one cares! – That is to say, people will accept you more readily than you will accept yourself. You may be your own biggest critic but the people watching you will have chosen to watch you so they are already more on your side than you are. People are generally too busy thinking about their own priorities to even notice (let alone question) how nervous you are.

Nerves are a good thing

Feeling nervous before Public speaking is a completely natural thing. That nervous response encourages greater focus. When we channel that nervous energy effectively it allows us to think faster and keeps us ‘on the ball’. Struggle to focus that energy in a positive way? Keep reading, I can help you with that too.

Plan it – but not too much

The idea here is to plan a basic outline, the key points you want to get across. If you write a script out and try to follow it word for word it’s more likely to distract you (and therefore your viewers) from your message. Jot down the key points – maybe have them above or below the camera on post-it notes (other sticky notes also available). This will allow you to flow and speak more naturally while still having a prompt to refer to so you know what to say next. As part of the planning process you may wish to rehearse what you plan to say. It’s not vital but some people find that practicing with the camera off makes it even easier to do it with the camera on. That’s it! That’s the planning and preparation done. All that’s left is to get out there and DO IT!

Still reading?

Either you’re really enjoying reading my blog or you are still not quite as comfortable as you want to be. Maybe it’s both… The next part talks about what you can do during your live presentation.You should only read on if you promise yourself that afterwards you will GO LIVE!

Slow down

Nerves have a tendency to make people speed up unnecessarily. So by slowing your speech down you will naturally slow your thoughts down, this will lead to feeling calmer. As a beneficial side effect it will make your presentation more enjoyable and easier to listen to. Spaces and pauses allow your viewers to process the information you have offered and make you seem (and feel) more confident.Another benefit to slowing down and adding in pauses is that it gives you more time. More time to think and more time to focus. This allows you to think about what you are going to say next. Leave that time, which is shorter than it feels, to calmly think about what you want to say next. You don’t need to fill the space with unnecessary sounds. (So, umm, like etc). there are 2 really simple and natural things you can do that will help you to slow down.

BREATHE – Taking deeper breaths allows you to have more time for you thoughts while also relaxing and calming you more.

DRINK – Have a glass of water available. If you begin to feel less calm that you would like, take a drink. It’s a great way to slow yourself and calm yourself down so that you can regain focus.

BREATHE + DRINK = TIME TO THINK

That’s it, It really is that easy. All that’s left to do now is refer you back to point 1

DO IT!

Not sure what to say? Just complete this challenge:

Mind Affinity Live CHALLENGE

My challenge to you is simply to share a live video. Create your own content or if you can’t decide what to say:

Just introduce yourself and explain that you are doing the live video as a challenge from Mind Affinity to help you boost your confidence. Tell us: who you are, what you do, why you are going live and of course I would love it if you say hello and give me a shout out on your video! Why not tag me @MindAffinity on facebook. I would love to see your results! If you ask really nicely I may even be willing to give you some free pointers on how you can make it EVEN BETTER!

If you have enjoyed reading this blog why not sign up to the Mind Affinity mailing list for more simple tips and advice. If you know someone else who could benefit from reading this, please do share it with them.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope to see you again soon.Want to learn more about what Mind Affinity can do for you? Feel like there is still a barrier holding you back? If the advice here is not enough, we can help you further. Why not arrange a free consultation to see how we can work with you?