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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?