Do you serve social media or does it serve you?

 

 

 

 

 

The actor and speaker Denzel Washington quoted:

“Are you using social media or is it using you?”

The majority of us enjoy being on social media (me included, particularly LinkedIn) either to browse our newsfeed, post, network with our connections, stay in contact with family and friends abroad, the list really is endless.  The internet serves as a tool to link us to people all over the world.

Those who run businesses, blogs and other can promote these online. You can network with people who have similar interests and share ideas on a multitude of platforms.

There is a wealth of information online and sometimes, just sometimes I feel it is information overload. Just how much information do we need? How on earth do we absorb it all amongst all the other thoughts running through our minds?

Like most things, social media has its good points if used smartly and you create a good balance. We are responsible for our productivity whilst on social media and the length of time we give to it.

Pros of social media:

1. Promotes your business, blog, other enterprise by giving you exposure

2. Keeps you connected to friends and family all around the globe

3. Instant communication

4. You have an insight into the lives of others without having to physically see them (in my opinion this also serves as a con and will be explored below)

Cons of social media:

1. Time consuming and if only browsing there is little gained and much time lost

2. Causes distraction when you should be focused on other projects/tasks or even people

3. Can be seen as unsocial if you are browsing on your phone whilst in the company of others

4. Serves as a crutch for the free moments you could be spending reflecting and now spend browsing your newsfeed. We are becoming a nation scared to be alone in our thoughts.  Every single moment needs to be spent ‘doing’.

5. Provides a false sense of relationship.  You can believe you are somewhat in someone’s life because you see snippets of their family/work/social life, basically what they choose to show you. Viewing photographs online in no way serves as a substitute for actually knowing someone.

So to round up, social media has its benefits, huge benefits in fact as long as we learn to manage our time and keep a clear perspective of reality. As long as we keep our eyes on what truly matters.

What is your view on social media?
How has social media benefited you personally?
Do you monitor your usage? How?

 

 

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Get out of your comfort zone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst remaining in your comfort zone may feel cosy and safe it brings no movement or progress whatsoever.  It brings more of the same which is of no use if you desire to move forward in your life. Our past experiences can contribute to our need to remain in our comfort zone. Perhaps we were rejected, overlooked, advised not to pursue a career or hobby due to be deemed as not quite good enough for it. Perhaps we failed the first, second and third time and feel defeated forgetting there is always a fouth, fifth and sixth time.

Over my life I have realised that some people really do find it easy to accomplish what I would deem as hard. The annoying type who pass exams with As and A* or receive 1st class degrees having done little or no revision. Or those who are walking encyclopedias and soak up every little bit of information that comes in their direction. I doubt such people struggle to push out of their comfort zone because they are confident in their abilities to achieve their desired outcome.

What if like me, it takes a while for you to process information in order to make an informed decision or that you have to spend quality time preparing to deliver a presentation/teaching or sit an exam? Do you decide not to take on new challenges or projects for fear of failing or not being on the ball every second of the day?

Once we are honest with who we are and our abilities, we are then able to work with what we currently have whilst developing ourselves . If it means you need to study for two hours a night in preparation for an exam then do so. If you need double the driving lessons than the average person, then book two a week or allow more time to learn. If at work, you need time to reflect and mull over your thoughts on key decisions, promise to provide an update later that day.

Pushing out of our comfort zone should be done with wisdom and an understanding that what works for one does not necessarily work for another.  Our personal circumstances dictate to a certain extent just how much leeway we have and it is good to be mindful of this before throwing ourselves out of the frying pan into the fire.

It can be frightening coming out of our comfort zone and resisting the urge to play it safe.  The unknown will always feel unfamiliar but we need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable as this is where we grow. This is where we realise we do not need to know it all, who does?

Maintaining a good attitude whilst waiting…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They say patience is a virtue.  It is one thing to believe you have patience and another to actually have it.

We are all required to wait for one thing or another and the true testing of patience is not how long we wait but the attitude we maintain whilst waiting.  We can choose to be miserable, resentful while waiting or we can choose to have good character. The waiting time does not change because our patience is running low. It would be great if this were possible!

Our patience is tested on a daily basis;
*The delayed train
*A hold up in your project
*An unwell child who you have to wait on hand and foot
*Being transferred to the fourth person in an organisation when making a telephone enquiry

We can become angry, irritated, annoyed and despondent and are likely to exhibit these behaviours to people who are either not responsible or can do little to change the situation. Whilst having an outburst may make you feel better for a nanosecond, it really does not get the root of the problem.

Personally I need more patience, I know it, my husband knows it and my children certainly do. Funnily enough a colleague of ten or so years ago mentioned I always have a calm demeanour about me in the office. I recall  looking puzzled and wondering how on earth she came to that conclusion. Clearly I have learnt the art of not losing my call whilst at work. Can the same be said for in the home? How we are perceived by others is often not how we view ourselves. Our body language and tone speaks volumes- far more than the words we utter.

Life does not always go to plan, we cannot just click our fingers and take action. There are challenges, protocol, delays all of which can hinder moving forward.  They are not necessarily permanent hindrances but because we do not know how long we will wait we grow despondent and lose hope along the way.

It will take time to grow patience and  just when you think you have mastered it, you will find yourself in a situation where you are yet again being tested.

Would you like to improve on your patience?
Or perhaps you feel you have?

How do you keep stress at bay?

Stress is real and can cause major anxiety. The busier our lives become, the more we need to juggle means the likelihood of stress is high. Trying to find a healthy balance between home, work and our social lives can be a struggle. I personally find 24 hours is not nearly enough time to get everything done. Perhaps I need to accept I will never tick off as much as I would like from my ‘to do’ list. It does not stop me from trying. I am not one to underestimate but I find tasks take longer than you first anticipated. Not allowing enough time to get from A to B or to complete projects will heighten stress levels.

Now both of our children attend full time school, everything arrives in two’s; parents evening, ‘dress up for this’ and ‘dress up for that’day, school trips, plays, sports day, birthday parties, homework and ironing ten sets of school uniform. I start to twitch when the letters and invitations arrive and my mind runs to;

“How much do I need to pay?”
“What costume do I need to buy?”
“Do I need to take leave from work?”

My husband and I alternate which events we attend or drop the children to according to our work and weekend schedules. The planning and discussion alone makes me a tad dizzy!

If like me, you rely on public transport to commute to work, delayed and cancelled trains can cause stress, particularly if you need to arrive for a meeting or seminar. The cold weather automatically affects the train timetable so not only are you late but you also have the privilege of standing in the cold!

Five suggestions for reducing your stress levels:

1. Delegate what can be delegated to others – learn to let go of tasks that can shared.

2. Take a good look at your movements and activities to identify if you have overstretched yourself.

3. Think before committing to anything else. It is better to say no from the onset than commit and do a half hearted job.

4. Factor in time to rest and reflect daily.

5. Always factor in ample time to complete tasks and for travel. Allow for delays and disruptions rather than live in hope.

How do you de-stress? 
Perhaps you are laid back and take life as it comes – how has this worked out for you?

Would you describe yourself as ‘nice’?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I think about the word ‘nice’ it conjures up the image of sugar and spice and all things nice.  Nice is kind. Nice is accepting. Nice is cosy and familiar.  I admit to overusing the word nice and I have had to caution myself not to rely on it when writing my blog. I have clearly failed on a number of occasions.

When people are described as nice, is it because they are facially attractive therefore you gravitate to them, is it because they did you a favour, spoke encouraging words over  your life or told you exactly what you wanted to hear? We tend to view people from different perspectives according to how they treat us. The fact that someone is spiteful or rude towards a waiter or shop assistant but in turn kind to you does not make them a nice person at all.   It means they choose to be courteous to those they feel they need to and not so to others.

We all have the ability to be pleasant but we do not always choose to and reasons for this will vary; anger, disappointment, resentment, jealousy, frustration, feeling unappreciated, feeling rejected and so on. Our emotions can often rule our thoughts and actions.  Speaking and acting in haste can mean we do exactly what we would not have done had we been thinking clearly.  I can think of many a time I have acted out on emotion and regretted it soon after. I do not feel very pleasant when I am raising my voice at my children to “get to bed” for the 5th time. This is followed by grumbling and my youngest saying something along the lines of “I like daddy and not you mummy!”

How we are seen by others matters of course but the way in which we view ourselves is even more valid.  When we treat people with respect and deliberately intend to give/bless others it impacts on the way we feel about ourselves.  When we learn to own our feelings and not lie to ourselves that another person is responsible for our actions, we can see our behaviour for what it is and somehow try to move on.

What does the word nice mean to you?
Would you describe yourself as nice?

 

 

Dealing with the twists and turns in life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life does not always pan out as one intended. We make plans, have dreams and sometimes they fizzle out or go a bit pear shaped. We only know what has been and what is happening right at this moment.  Imagine if we knew what was to come- what mayhem and terror that would cause! There would be nothing at all you could do to change “the script” – just sit back and wait.

A change in circumstances can turn our lives completely upside down in seconds; the passing away of a spouse, family member, failed exams, illness whether physically or mentally, breakdown of a relationship, abuse. There are many more examples I could give that would go on to alter the events of your life.  As a result your goals and dreams are likely to be placed on hold for a period of time. Some may be fortunate enough to return to what they would like to do whilst others see no way back and close the door on it.

As a teenager I had everything planned (in my head). Naively I assumed I would go on to do A levels which was the natural course for those who wanted to gain a degree. As it stands my GCSE results did not fall in line with my expected results (mocks). At that time I was struggling emotionally and was not in the frame of mind to study and focus. The evidence was clear when my results were revealed. Devastated does not even come close. In the early 1990’s I had no Internet to carry out research on career paths and there was little in the way of careers advice.

Eventually I applied to retake my GCSEs at college (I could not bear the thought of attending my school’s sixth form). I then went on to study for a GNVQ Advanced in Business and Finance which in a way has led me to my career today. In the mid 1990’s GNVQs were a fairly new course alternative and I remember receiving a few comments that they would never be as recognised as A levels.

Fast forward two years and I applied for a journalism course at a university in North London. I cannot recall the name as this was back in 1996/1997. I was excited and liked the area the university was set in; leafy suburban surroundings. My results from my GNVQ course meant the university was unable to offer me an unconditional place. Devastated again! To cut a long story short, I applied for universities via the clearing system and gained a place at West London University studying for a Media Technology degree.  I enjoyed my three years there but it was not the path I had expected to take.

We need a level of flexibility to cope with life. Of course there are some whose life does pan out exactly as they had expected, but there are many whose do not. There are often various pathways that lead to the same destination. It is our responsibility to find it.

Has your life panned out as you hoped?
How did you cope when dealing with changes of circumstances?
What advice would you give to others?

 

Leave regret at the door!

Regret can eat away at us and mean we are living in the past rather than moving forward.  The actions we take and in some cases do not take, does have an impact on our lives.  Living through the consequences leads us to self-blame and question our reasoning.

I believe there is not one person who does not look back on their life and wonder “if only I had”, “if only I went”, “if only I had said”.  I know I have and it opens the door to wallowing, reminiscing and basically feeling bad about ourselves. In hindsight we would all have taken different actions if we knew then what we know now.  Age and experience allows us to mature so it would be impossible for me to have had the same knowledge at 20 than I do in my 40’s. We are constantly learning, maturing, having to make decisions based on the knowledge and understanding we have right now.

With London prices at an all time high and many benefiting from rising equity , I have asked myself on a number of occasions “why oh why did I not buy after graduating 20 years ago?” Even buying with a friend or family member miles from my home town would have paid off.  It has stung and somehow I have had to get over it.

On a lighter note I cringe when I recall statements I made in the past due to feeling awkward, embarrassed and defensive.  I cannot go back and ‘unsay’ those statements so I have to move on and hope the person has too!

We cannot go back and change our past, however much we desire to.  We have to first accept our past, who we were, what we did and find a way to leave it there. Only then can we focus on living today and making decisions based on what we know now.

Do you have any regrets?
Do you see your regrets as a part of who you are?
Do you believe your choices, good and bad have made you who you are today?

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!

fisccollection

Welcome! fisc is an abreviation of 'flexibility is cool'. The site is a collection of blogs to promote the use of flexibility in our personal and professional lives, to help manage uncertainty and achieve growth.

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