Monday, 31 July 2017

ls the grass always greener on the other side?


We live in a day and age where our lives are much more exposed and in the open than ever before. The power of social media often offers us a glorified, enhanced and filtered version of one’s life which might be just a fraction of what is happening in reality.

Seeing others doing well, having a better job, great partner and circle of friends, gorgeous, big and always tidy house, going on amazing holidays and so on, may make us put more pressure on ourselves to change things for the better or strive for more, which in some cases may turn out be a good motivator. In other cases this pressure can demotivate us, make us question our abilities, look for imperfections in our lives and effectively impact our mental health. It is easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others and constant lack of satisfaction which can lead to negative feelings, envy or loss of confidence and motivation.

So what are some ways we could deal with it?


Accept your reality

Maybe the best way to start is actually accepting our reality. You may not be 100% happy with it, but it is your reality and you are the only one responsible for it and the only one who can take action to improve or change it.


Practice gratitude

Sometimes bad and unfortunate events make us realise how fortunate and lucky we actually are, but rather than waiting to have this realisation it might be worth taking time to think about what we have rather than what’s missing. Sometimes life tests us and puts roadblocks in our way but I hope you will agree that most of us experience difficulties at some point. What divides us is how we deal with adversity when it happens. Some bounce back and some give up or blame others for their misfortune. No matter how bad your day or life is, there are probably people out there who would love to be in your shoes and have your bad days.


Mental workout

Just like the muscles in our body need exercise to make them strong and toned, our mind needs positive input and thoughts to stay healthy and strong. Build awareness of your thoughts and start neglecting the thoughts that make you feel bad, and increase those that make you feel good. Sometimes that's easier said than done, but one thing is certain, practice makes perfect.


Stop comparing

We are all different, we all have different values, goals and different circumstances.
We create our perception based on what we see and hear despite the fact that our impressions are not always accurate and pixels don't always reflect reality. People rarely share things that go wrong or make them unhappy.
Only those who lead their own life know the truth. A study conducted by the University of Utah actually found that young people's satisfaction about their own lives declined the more they looked at Facebook. If comparing yourself to others makes you feel inferior, then that's not going to make you feel good about yourself and your situation.
Is the comparison worth sacrificing your mental state?

So is the grass actually greener on the other side?

Maybe it is time to start watering your own lawn, as the grass will only be as green as you make it.


Friday, 30 June 2017

5 steps to take control over your limiting beliefs



Unhelpful beliefs are very powerful and not only can stop us from using our potential and achieving our goals, shape our decisions, but also can make us feel powerless and can be devastating to our confidence, self-esteem and state of mind.  There is no one magic formula of what to do to beat your limiting beliefs as different solutions will work for different people but there are some steps you could take to start taking control over them. Here are 5 steps that I and my clients often follow:


Recognise it

Building awareness of what your limiting beliefs are and when they creep up is a starting point. You can’t change something you are not aware of. Once you bring to the front of your mind what reoccurring thoughts are having negative impact on you, you will most likely start catching yourself subconsciously the moment those beliefs appear. When you do, try to make a record of how often during the day you talk yourself down.


Strip it down

Limiting beliefs all stem from fear and are simply a mechanism to try and protect us. Even though they can be unhelpful, they often serve us a higher purpose. Although we might want to let go of them, there might be a reason (often we are not aware of) that makes us hold onto them.  Sometimes we hold onto them because we believe they protect us from disappointment, criticism, hurt or failure.  Wanting to let go of the limiting beliefs and at the same time holding on to them can cause ambivalence, discomfort, an internal conflict and frustration therefore it is useful to build understanding and establishing what is the reason behind it. Take a moment and ask yourself:

What is the purpose of that belief?

What does this belief give you?

What impact letting go of this belief would have on you/ your life?

Letting go of beliefs that have been with us for a long time, especially those deep rooted beliefs formed in childhood is not easy and can take a lot of time.  You can however learn how to manage them and use strategies to prevent them from holding you hostage.


What is the trigger?

So you’ve established what and why, now let’s look at when...
What is the trigger that makes your unhelpful belief pop up? Is it a thought, a person, an action, a place or something else that activates your belief? When does it usually happen? Is there a pattern or a cycle you fall into? What would be the first step you can take to change it? 


Look for evidence

How old is your belief?

What is the evidence it is true?

What is the evidence it is NOT true?

Often, when we strongly believe something, we tend to look for things that confirm we are right rather than looking for things that prove us wrong. If you have been sabotaging yourself or established a habit of looking for things that prove you right, then I encourage you to think twice as hard about as many situations and evidence that prove that you may be mistaken.


Reframe it

Once you find evidence that have shaken up your old beliefs, create new positive beliefs in place of your old unhelpful ones. If your belief is “I am not good enough to ... (for example) get this job” you may change it with “I have a lot of skills and strengths  I can offer” or “The more I learn / prepare / believe in myself, the more chance I have got to get this job” or “other people can do it, so can I”.  Choose a new, personal statement that works for you. Repeat it as much as you can. If you are a frequent “talking myself down” person, then it is likely it may feel unnatural and fake to suddenly change your talk and habits (even if backed up by evidence) but in order to get results, you have to put some work in. It’s all good to have a positive statement but if you don’t do anything with it, then don’t expect great results.

It is totally natural to have believes that limit us and work against us but no belief has any meaning until we give it a meaning so be mindful of not falling into the trap of creating beliefs that hinder your potential.

Sharing is caring...


Share your thoughts or your tips for taking control over unhelpful beliefs. Also, feel free to share this blog with others who might find it beneficial. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

What makes your hero?





Yesterday was International Women’s Day, a time for all women to be celebrated. As I was thinking about inspirational women there was one person at the forefront of my mind. 

In this day and age with our obsession with internet it is very easy to find a “hero” on social media but if you look up from your phone you may find they are sitting right next you, and in my case, that’s my grandma ( “Babcia Marysia”).

Don’t worry, I am not going to dig into my personal life, instead, I will tell you what I think makes her so special to me and many other people I know she had impact on.

Strength

I don’t mean physical strength, although my grandma is well known for picking up my friends and rugby tackling my husband...
What I mean, is the mental strength and resilience. My grandma is a real tough cookie, I tell you that. She has had a very challenging and difficult life. She was born in Vilnius and immigrated to Poland with her family; she was looking after her ill bed ridden mother for over 13 years, tragically lost her 11 year old son, brought up her own family, including me in communist Poland which was a very tough and unpleasant time. Although she was the one who often needed support, she never asked for it, but instead she always offered it to anyone who needed it. She was the mainstay and example to follow not just for me but people around her.

Positive attitude

Everyone who knows my grandma will tell you that she is one of the most positive people they’ve met. Our house was always full of people. The door bell would ring constantly and people would pop in for coffee, a chat or to alter their clothing (my grandma was a seamstress). Despite her struggles and the hardship she has gone through, a smile hardly ever leaves her face. She always jokes around, chats to random people in a shop, and you may think... that’s annoying, however, she has this natural aura about her that makes people drawn to her and like her. She is one of those who doesn’t moan, doesn’t blame, and instead puts a smile on her face even if a little bit of pain creeps in.

Encouraging Independence

I was brought up by my grandparents since the age of 7. I grew up in the 80ties when there was hardly any health and safety guidelines, kids would play outside until it was dark, there were no mobile phones to check on me.

I remember when I was about 10 years old I joined a dancing school which was about a 20 minute bus journey from home and another 5 minutes walk from the bus stop. I remember travelling on my own by bus during cold, dark and snowy winters to go for my classes and I remember over hearing some parents criticising my grandparents for allowing me to travel on my own. You know what, in retrospect, that’s the best thing they could have done for me. They trusted me, they believed in me, they built responsibility in me, and that was the best way of encouraging me to be brave and independent.  Some people may think it was crazy and unacceptable, but if it wasn’t because of this, maybe I wouldn’t have had enough guts in me to take leaps in faith that brought me to where I am today.   

I admire my grandma for who she is, what she stands for and I am entirely grateful for everything she has done for me. We find inspiration in different people and for different reasons. We should cherish and celebrate our heros and if we have a chance tell them what impact they made on us. Who knows, maybe one day we will become somebody’s hero? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear what difference we made in someone’s life?

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

10 tips on how to bounce back from rejection

 
We wouldnt be human if we were not affected in one way or the other by our setbacks. Being able to adapt to challenges, cope with adversity and recover from difficulties is a skill many of us wish to have. Here are some tips to help you build your RESILIENCE. 
 
R Reflect on your performance objectively. What worked? What went wrong? What needs improving? If you could do it again, what would you do differently? Setbacks can feel personal so staying objective and looking at things from the observers perspective can help you see things rationally and logically, without getting emotional.
E End goal Keep your eyes on the prize and keep going. Dont lose sight of your goal and what matters to you because if it really matters, you will find the strength and motivation to achieve it. Most highly successful people failed on numerous occasions before they accomplished their goals. What often determines their success is the refusal to give up when they face obstacles; instead they find a way to overcome them. Knowing what it is you aspire to achieve and wanting it with every part of your body will help you carry on when things get tough.
S Strengths When things are not going our way, it is easy to concentrate on negatives and our weaknesses. In those moments arises the perfect opportunity to remind yourself about your strengths and triumphs and acknowledge your progress, however small it may be. Draw on your strong points, be kind to yourself, challenge your negative thinking and remember that if you have been resourceful before, you have it in you to be resourceful again.
I Internal dialog What do you say to yourself when you dont succeed or get rejected? Is your language positive and encouraging or negative, unhelpful and demotivating? Language and the words you use really matter as they impact how you feel and how you behave so pay attention to your language and chose your words wisely.
L Learning What did you learn from the experience that you can use in the future? How can you use this knowledge to your advantage? Life throws lessons at us every day and sometimes the more we know, the more we realise how little we know which can be overwhelming. Learning never ends...just remember Rome wasnt built in a day.
I Interrupt the negative cycle Stress and worry are caused by how we perceive a situation, not the situation itself. The choice of how you respond to a situation will determine your outcome. Lets say, you dont get the job you interviewed for. If you respond by thinking you failed, you are not good enough, the way you will feel will be negative and hinder your confidence. If however you decide to respond more rationally by saying for example that although you were not successful, having an interview was good practice so I will be better prepared in the future or that there might have been other candidates who were more experienced etc, the way you feel about the situation will not be as negative as in the first scenario. In order to get out of the negative cycle, something needs to change, the cycle needs to be broken. Build awareness of your beliefs about a situation, because they will determine your action and results.
E Expectations Are your expectations realistic? What are the gaps (in your knowledge, experience etc.) you need to address? What / who is preventing you from achieving your goal? If your expectations are realistic, you are more likely to achieve your goals therefore have more confidence and motivation to take action.
N Network of people Think about the people around you. Who are your drainers and who are your fillers? Who do you need to see less? Who in your circle of acquaintances do you respect and would like to learn from? Surround yourself with people who support you and have positive impact on you, rather than those who drain your energy. Having someone who you can bounce ideas off and someone you can talk to can really help when you feel down.
C Count your blessings and practice gratitude. No matter how bad your situation is, there is always someone out there who is in a much worse situation than you are. Always! Look at it this way; there are people out there who wish they had your problems and your bad days. Rather than concentrating on how unlucky and unfortunate you are, take time to remind yourself how lucky you really are.
E Evaluate Thinking about all the above tips, as well your own ideas, ask yourself: If you were going to do one thing that would help you feel better about your situation, what would it be? What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
I would like to leave you with this final thought by the great Ralph Waldo Emerson Dont be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.


Tuesday, 24 January 2017


“Prioritise your priorities”


 

You know how it works... at this time of the year people make half-hearted New Year resolutions through some sense of tradition and thinking that it is “the done thing”, without fully committing to making the necessary steps to achieve their goals. Therefore most people allow these goals to quickly fall by the wayside.

Goal setting shouldn’t be restricted to your January to-do list, but instead should be on your agenda throughout the year. It doesn’t have to be about one big fresh start, but it can be about attainable goals and taking small steps to help you actually achieve what really matters to you.

With too many things on our mind, it is often hard to know what to focus on and it is easy to lose sight of what is important to us. You cannot hit a target you cannot see, so to help you figure out your goals and priorities you might want to ask yourself the questions below. Before you do though... grab yourself a pen and paper, sit in a quiet corner with no distractions and off we go!

1) Think about your life. What things matter to you right now that you would like to change?

Write them down and put them in order of priority. Tackle each one at a time.

2) What actions do you need to take to draw you closer to your goal?

Be realistic and specific with order, dates, time of completion etc.

3) Which action will have the most impact or contribute to your success the most?

4) Write down: “The consequences of me not taking this action are..."

5) What obstacles are in your way and how can you overcome them?

Now that you thought about your goals and priorities all that is left to do is to take action. Action speaks louder than words. Before you know it with a little bit of commitment and determination, taking small steps will lead to a bigger goal and the change you want.

 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

A change is gonna come...



As I am writing this short blog l can’t help myself but experience a mixture of feelings and emotions like excitement and happiness as well as anxiety and fear at the same time as I am waiting for an inevitable and huge change to happen.

Any day now, I am about to have my second baby. Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited and part of me can’t wait, while the other part of me is trying to hang on to the last moments of some sort of independence , sleep, me time... The thought of another little person joining our little family is beautiful and thrilling and hugely rewarding but the thought of having another person dependant and relying on you for the rest of your life can be quite scary at the same time.

I had a conversation this morning with my husband about it. What he pointed out was that before my first son was born, I had total independence to do what I wanted to do and I wasn’t afraid to lose it. The change was somehow different: more unknown and the build up to it was more (dare I say) exciting. Somehow, this time maybe I appreciate the little independence I have more than ever and that's why I try to cling on to it as much as I can?

The benefits of this change far outweigh the worries I am having and I am very lucky to be going through this amazing experience but I am only human and sometimes when worry creeps in, I prefer to accept it rather than fight it. I wonder though, is it the change that makes me feel that way or knowing or maybe actually not knowing what's around the corner? It is quite fascinating to think that most people fear the unknown which I feared less and was excited about, and now knowing what's coming makes me more anxious... We all react to change differently. For some stepping out of their comfort zone and the unknown fills them with adrenaline and excitement, others get stiff with fear when they have to change their ways so there is no one solution that fits all when it comes to embracing change.

I personally think change is good and necessary. I've proven it to myself over and over again. Someone once said “if nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies”. I think it is just a matter of perspective. Change can be beautiful, we just need to look for that beauty. It is easy to talk ourselves out of change, allow the change to scare us. At the same time, looking for the positives and advantages of change will only help to get excited about it. As Wayne Dyer used to say, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. We will always gain or lose something. There is always some form of sacrifice we need to take in whatever we do.

Thoughts create our reality. I think it is safe to say that we all have moments of weakness, and that's ok; but then it is our choice only whether we will allow the fear and worry take over or if we embrace the unknown. I know what I choose: I choose to enjoy and cherish the beautiful change about to happen in my life.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

10 confidence killers and how to avoid them.

 
Some people are blessed with natural confidence, but the rest of us sometimes need to work on it. Below are 10 possible confidence pitfalls to recognise and avoid.

Negativity around you

 What I mean by that is things we are exposed to, things we read, watch, people we hang out with.  Unless you are very resilient, staying positive and confident around negativity can prove a challenge in itself. If you restrict seeing people in your life that make you feel negative, that doesn’t mean that you don’t like them. It just means that you respect yourself.

Language you use

There is tons of evidence that language can impact how we feel and behave. If you feed your mind with negative language, don’t expect to feel positive, motivated and confident. Build your awareness of what language you feed your mind with. Is your language generally empowering and positive, or weak and disempowering? Do you say to yourself “I am not good enough”, “I don’t deserve it” or alternatively “I know I can do it” and “I feel good about myself”.  Once you are aware of your narrative, you can work on improving it and increase your confidence.

Body language

You can tell a lot from looking at someone’s body language. You don’t have to be an expert in body language to tell just by observing someone’s body posture, eye contact or lack of, and handshake whether they are self conscious or confident. Similar to language, body language has a huge impact on how we feel and act. If you want to feel more confident, change your posture to reflect confidence. Take your eyes off the floor, smile, breathe deeply, have upright posture with shoulders back. Making these small changes can make a huge difference to your confidence as well as how others perceive you. 

Worrying about things you have no control over

It’s normal to worry sometimes. Unfortunately most people worry about the past and future and things you have no way of controlling. I even know people who worry about worrying. You are not going to feel good and confident if you worry, especially about things you have no control over. You have no control over your past and future (to some extent) but you are the only one who can control your emotions and how you react to a situation. Your attitude determines your aptitude!

Not treating mistakes and failures as learning

Going back to the previous point, how you react to a situation will determine your results. Let’s say you’ve just received a phone call saying that you didn’t get the job you had interviewed for. You have two choices. You either can react by saying: “I am such a failure”, “I am just not good enough”, “I am never going to get this job” etc. Or by saying: “Never mind, at least I had a chance to practice my interview skills”, “Next time I will be better prepared”. Failure is an on going process and if we are growing and taking risks, then failing isn’t abnormal. Your mistakes, but most importantly your attitude can either break you or make you stronger. The choice is yours alone!

Beliefs

Some people are more confident than others and one thing that distinguishes confident people from those who lack confidence are their beliefs about themselves and their capabilities. They take responsibility for their thoughts and don’t allow negative beliefs compromise their confidence. Those who lack confidence often react to their limiting beliefs with feelings and emotions rather than react rationally. They talk themselves into believing in whatever they choose, even when it’s harmful rather than helpful. As Henry Ford used to say “Whether you think you can, or you can’t – you are right” so pay attention to which beliefs are getting most of your energy.

Perfectionism

There is nothing wrong in striving for perfection. It only becomes a problem if you can’t move on or take action because you are bogged down with details and things that you think are not good enough. When do you stop listening to your inner critic? Where do you draw the line? If you don’t trust yourself to do something because of your perfectionism, then you are not going to feel confident. Confident people take action not because they think they are always right, but because they are not afraid of being wrong. Don’t let the fear of taking action prevent you from taking any action at all.

Always staying in your comfort zone

You can be amazing at what you do but even if you only do what you are amazing at you can lose your confidence in doing other things. Most of us prefer to stay in a comfortable, secure place, doing things we know rather than stretch ourselves to do things that challenge us. The more you push yourself to the edge of your comfort zone, the more it will expand each time you do. Challenge yourself, even if it’s not pleasant to start with, increase your flexibility and confidence a little more every day. What’s the worst that could happen?

Resisting change

Whether you love or hate change, the chances are at some point you will be exposed to it. Change is only bad if you believe it is bad. If you are not happy about whatever is happening in your life and if you avoid change, things will stay the same. To get different results, outcomes and feelings, we need to try something different. Work on developing your flexibility and positive outlook about change so you feel confident to approach it when it strikes.

Worrying about what others would say

People have their opinions about things and people, just like you have your opinion about others. Confident people don’t let the opinion of others define what they can or can’t do. They know that people don’t always agree on things, but that doesn’t make them wrong. Confident people listen to their intuition and trust themselves, rather than taking negative comments made by others too personally or trying to impress others. Concentrate on building quality relationships with people who support you, trust you and respect you and the opinions of those who don’t really matter to you will become less important. 

“Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable” Walt Disney