Staying in your comfort zone brings no progress

Though it is called our comfort zone, is it really comfortable in the long run? Staying in our comfort zone means we will rarely progress, enhance or develop. It means our situation is unlikely to improve in the future. Choosing to push out today means you will reap the fruit of your works tomorrow.  It will not feel comfortable, in fact at times it will feel downright terrifying. However those who can visualise their future and are focused will put in what is required in order to reap the rewards. There is no “cheaters guide” or “quick fix” otherwise everyone and their uncle would have joined the bandwagon.

Those who stay in their comfort zone miss opportunities to use their skills and talents. They miss out on living a life of purpose.

The reasons for this may include:

1. Fear of failure- the thought of trying and failing is worse than not trying at all

2.  Lack of self belief – choosing to believe the lies that you cannot achieve

3. Lack of support from those around – little or no interest from friends and family, the very people you expect to care.

Where possible I have aimed to live outside of my comfort zone as I know it will bring great prospects. It has been challenging as I have signed up to participate in activities and projects where I have certainly felt out of my depth.  Naturally I am an introvert and was  shy as a child. By the time I had reached my late teens I saw no benefit to being shy at all and instead recognised the hindrance it brought. As the years went on I forced myself out of my shyness. I signed up for public speaking and joined a worship team.  The nerves are still present but not to the extent that I feel nauseous – just a few butterflies in my stomach which keep me on my toes.

What small steps can you take to move away from your comfort zone:

1. Step out and do something you have never done before – go to the cinema alone, eat out alone – you could start with sitting in a coffee shop (I have done both)

2. Write down your goals and vision and identify the hindrance – you may notice a pattern

To round up, we all have fears and challenges. Some step out despite their fears and others allow their fears to dictate what they do and do not do. Which category do you fall into?

What did it take to move you out of your comfort zone?
Perhaps you are still in your comfort zone and are quite happy here.
Either way I look forward to reading your comments.

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Have you considered having a career coach?

 

 

 

 

Many employees and business owners are signing up to having career coaches, from junior level right up to CEO level. Coaches will more often than not be senior to the individual. They are not required to work in the same business area/department as the individual.

Career coaches assist with the following;

1. Give you an understanding of yourself
2. Assist with helping to identify the right role you will thrive in
3. Help you stay clear and focused on where to go next in your career
4. Provide an external perspective on you and your situation

I have had a career coach for just over a year. Initially I had my doubts; how much preparation would I be expected to do before each session, how long would I need to commit, what value would it truly add to my personal development? I have a heavy workload as well as line manage a team of officers and wondered how I would also accommodate this.

Fast forward a year and I am benefiting greatly from having a career coach.

I have covered;

1. Where I currently am and where I would like to be
2. Finding practical solutions to short term challenges
3. Identifying opportunities to progress in my current role and beyond 
4. Identifying my skill set

In my coaching sessions I find solutions to my challenges. My coach asks me a series of questions in order for me to explore further. More often than not the answer sat with me all along. I am learning about myself more and more. I take responsibility for my growth rather than resorting to laying the blame elsewhere. Without thinking, we can make excuses for our lack of progress and hide behind it.  The truth is nobody wants us to progress more than we do therefore we need to decide to follow the right steps in order to achieve the required outcome.

If you are considering taking on a career coach, reflect on what you hope to achieve. You should have key goals, objectives and a defined purpose.  You are responsible for ensuring regular coach sessions take place as this is your space, your learning, your development.  Always attend coaching sessions with a laptop and/or a notepad to take notes. Ideas will come to mind whilst you are in mid flow.

Do you have a coach?
What have you gained from the coaching sessions?
What advice would you give?

 

Let go of the past!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to move forward we MUST let go of the past. Our hurts, our challenges, our pain.  We MUST acknowledge that though we experienced pain, rejection, confusion we have a right to move on and enjoy life to the full.  Holding onto the past gives an element of familiarity and comfort even though it is not in any way productive. It is what we know and the thought of stepping away from the old us can be frightening.   Some would rather cling to a life and people that are damaging for them in every possible way. We become our past experiences. We tell ourselves that this is our life, this is our portion when the truth is at one period it WAS our portion but no longer has to be.

Regardless of what you have endured (I am fully aware some have endured much), you can slowly rebuild a new life for yourself.  You can decide that you want rid of the old you, that you want to have joy and peace, that you want to live a full life not half a life. It always starts with us. We need to want the change more than anything and we need to stand firm even when the negative thoughts come, even when those around us try to put us back into the box they believe we must stay in.

Our confidence often takes a hit and it is difficult to arrive at the stage where we believe we are worth more than what we have received so far.

I have struggled greatly in the area of letting go of the past. I allowed others to define me by their words and refused to see myself as I was but how they perceived me.  I had a lot of pent up anger and resentment at the power I allowed others to have over me, particularly when a teenager. The majority of the time I projected the anger and frustration at myself because I did nothing and said nothing when looking back I could have. I have had to learn to forgive myself otherwise the thoughts and feelings would have destroyed me mentally.  I could not allow this.

What steps can you take to let go?

1. Identify what you want from life. What have you always wanted to do but made excuses due to a lack of self-belief?

2. Think about the people you spend time with. Are your relationships/friendships healthy on both sides? Do you add value to people and vice versa?

3. Speak to a close friend in confidence or approach a counsellor.  You can go privately or on the NHS (if the latter you may have a long wait)

What are your experiences of ‘letting go?’
Do you struggle in this area?

 

Be happy being you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you happy being you or do you feel the need to emulate a friend, an acquaintance or another person you secretly admire?

Whilst some people are happy with who they are, how they appear and what they stand for, there are many who have a strong desire to be someone else. There are a number of reasons including a lack of confidence, self-doubt, criticism from others about their appearance or abilities.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with admiring someone whether up close or from afar but you should have no need to dislike yourself in order to do so.  When we look at others we only see what they choose to show us. We do not see the challenges they face or the insecurities they battle with.

We are told on a daily basis via advertisements in magazines, billboards, the Internet and television that we need to have x,y,z in order to be happy and fulfilled.  This sends out a message that we are not enough on our own therefore we need possessions and other character traits in order to be someone important.

The truth is we come in different shapes and sizes with varying personalities; some of us are introverts whilst others are extroverts. Both are required in society today.   Neither is of more importance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a teenager, my being an introvert AND shy meant other people could not easily read me or relate to me.  Friends and peers made comments about my being quiet as though they expected me to work on myself in order to pull a completly different personality out of a hat.  I felt frustrated with myself that I was not able to come out of my shell.  I knew nothing of the term introvert and extrovert and labelled myself as shy and awkward. I saw my personality (or lack of one) as a hindrance as I struggled in group settings and speaking out. I definitely was not fond of myself and often day dreamed of being someone else.

I grew to like and accept myself but it was a long and painful process.  I also grew to understand myself which is vital.  I embrace the introvert in me and even make the odd joke about my need to spend time alone whilst at work.  I can accept I will not be liked by everyone whether their reasoning is rational or otherwise.  What others think of me really is none of my business.  What I think of myself is my business.  We must stop hiding who we are when it forms part of us.

Are you happy as you are now?  How did you arrive at this point? If you are struggling what changes would you like to see? 

 

 

 

Do you empathise or sympathise with others?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you think it is truly possible to empathise with a person if you have not experienced what they are currently going through? Do you have enough self awareness to give all of yourself when listening to someone’s troubles?

Logic tells us that a person can empathise easily with another if they have experienced the same trauma.  An example can be a woman who loses her child to an illness and feels an immense need to set up help group sessions for women who have also lost children.  Let us say a woman felt a burning desire to set up a help group session despite NOT losing a child, would she be able to connect with the grieving mothers in the same way? Would she be perceived as authentic and in touch with their feelings?

My opinion is you can relate to others if you have the desire to, if this is truly your calling. Passion and purpose are important factors and will ensure you stay true to yourself even when self-doubt comes along. When I studied for my counselling diploma over ten years ago, I was required to undergo counselling as well as give counsel to my peers.  I was reluctant to ‘let go’ at first as these were people I studied with after all. I wondered what I would share – enough to be deemed as transparent but not too much that I felt completely exposed and vulnerable.  Clearly I had trust and control issues. I was most surprised that my counsellor was very present when I shared.  She was with me all the way.  I am unsure if my counsellor experienced what I had so cannot rule out whether she was able to relate to my issues.  I do know that the woman I counselled shared issues that I had not experienced but I was still able to recognise and share her pain.  I was able to ask inviting questions to enable her to explore further and stay connected whilst she spoke.

I learnt much about myself whilst on the counselling course; my fears, my hang ups, my trust issues and my expectations from others. I learnt that I care and have a heart for helping others and this was not restricted to those who have had similar life experiences to me.

What are your views on empathy?
Can you easily separate empathy from sympathy? 

 

 

 

 

How do you deal with your insecurities?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all suffer with one insecurity or another.   How we deal with these insecurities greatly impacts on our outlook on life as well as our behaviour towards others. According to http://www.dictionary.com when one suffers from insecurity they have a lack of confidence, lack of assurance and self-doubt.

Insecurities can derive from the following;

1. Having a negative mindset.  Negative thoughts come to your mind and you allow them to take residence there. You begin to believe the words spinning around in your mind.

2. Having negative words spoken over you as a child by parents, family members, peers, people in authority.  Growing up and believing you are less prettier/handsome, academic, talented than another.

3. A child hearing their parents/guardians speak negative words about themselves. The child then starts to believe they too are unworthy.

What are the effects of insecurity?

1. Lack of trust in yourself.  Self-doubt will reign in your mind causing a hindrance to decision making however big or small.

2. Lack of trust in others. Believing people do not have your best interests at heart. Believing people have a motive for befriending you. Expecting people to disappoint and let you down.

3. Low expectations of life in general.  Second guessing everything you do.  Doubting what you are able to achieve in your studies and career.

4. Becoming a people-pleaser due to believing the lie that you are not enough. Therefore you need to go over and above to sustain any form of relationship.   You continue to feel insecure in these friendships as you do not know if people are with you because they value you or due to all that you do.

I could write all day and night about the insecurities I had due to negative words spoken over me.  They consumed me and I trusted very few people. As an introvert I kept my feelings to myself and they tormented me.  I believed the lies that rushed through my mind. Whenever I faced challenges I would relate them back to past situations in which there was absolutely no connection. I truly felt nobody cared and if they did they could do little to help me.

I had to battle through my insecurities to be where I am today.  Negative thoughts still come to my mind but I have to bat them back as I cannot afford to go back to being that person bound by words, what people thought of me. It was crippling and I honestly lived half a life.

How can you work through your insecurities?

1. Write positive affirmations and speak them over your life daily.

2. Identify the root of your insecurity and come up with coping mechanisms to help you when your emotions get the better of you

3. Sign up to counselling sessions

How did you overcome your insecurities?
What advice would you offer to someone who struggles with insecurities?

 

 

 

 

Dealing with jealousy…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JEALOUSY is a touchy subject- very few admit to feeling it but most do at one time or another.

I will first state the difference between jealousy and envy as they are often confused. Envy is the emotion you feel when you want what someone else has.  This may be completely irrational as you may not be in the position to have it despite wanting it. Jealousy is the emotion you feel when you may be replaced in the affection of someone you love.

I will be vulnerable and give two personal examples; both were when I was a teenager.

Situation one
I had a friend, let’s call her A.  A girl named B moved to our school and became friends with us. She got along much better with friend A and I slowly became jealous that our friendship was changing. I was not the most confident of girls and I had very few friends at school. I worried that friends A and B would become best of friends and I would be the third wheel to the friendship.  The end result was friend B relocated to another school soon after. In all of this my behaviour did not change towards friend B, though I worried endlessly deep inside.

Situation two
My father was absent for pretty much all of my life and my friend’s father was very much in her life. Though her parents had recently divorced they would still spend time together; days out, weekends away and holidays. Whenever my friend mentioned her dad I would feel a pang of envy. One day whilst at her home, her father visited and checked her homework. I clearly remember looking on wishing it was me sitting there with my dad. I was envious that her father took that much interest in her whereas mine was completely removed from my life. I was insecure and regularly questioned my worth in the world and to people.

We find ourselves in situations almost daily in which we can feel either of the emotions. Sometimes we may feel ashamed or embarrassed that such feelings arise especially if involving people we love and like.  Feelings will come and the important factor in all of this is if we choose to act on them.  We are mature adults and should therefore have the ability not to allow these feelings to control how we act towards another. We need to own these feelings. We cannot blame others for what we do or do not do. Acknowledgement is the first step of moving forward; admitting we have a problem and identifying how we can overcome it.

Burying these feelings will not help matters. You can lie to the world but not to yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few tips on how to deal with jealousy and envy:

1. Choose to congratulate and celebrate someone each and every time.  It takes NOTHING away from you.

2. If you suddenly feel dissatisfied with your life, identify what steps you need to make to move forward.

3. Seek counselling or find a confidant to share your feelings and explore the root of the issue.

How do you deal with negative thoughts?
What advice would you give to others?

 

 

 

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!

Take No Fake

Listen to your inner voice and live your magic!

Word Bank Writing & Editing

Make Every Word Count

Emotionally Resilient Living

Embrace the power within you!

theracetoread

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