The Secret to Making Lasting Changes

The Secret to Making Lasting Changes

Think you can’t change? Many of us already know that we need to improve our state of well-being in order to extend our lives as we age. Making lasting changes is traditionally difficult, but the good news is that it’s never too late to make changes for the better. The first step is to understand what’s important to you, and then determine the choices and decisions that represent where you want to be. Maybe you want to start a new career, lose weight, stop smoking or start exercising. Whatever the change is, be sure you understand why you want to make the change.

Take a moment to think about a time in your life when you made a successful change or developed a new habit. What was your motivation for the change? What was your attitude at the time? What obstacles or barriers did you have to overcome? Your level of readiness to change will determine how successful you are, and how much time it will take. Once you make the decision to change, you must practice that new behavior one day at a time until it becomes a habit – a lasting change.

Embracing the concept of change is a big thing, because interestingly, many people think they don’t have a choice when it comes to change. Why? For some it’s fear, guilt, love, pain, time management or even a court order. What motivates one person may not be the same thing that gets another person to act. Everyone reacts differently to changes, whether voluntary or mandatory.

To start making a change, let go of certain assumptions or ways of doing things, to make room for new ideas. Work on this one day at a time until you feel comfortable. This often comes into play when I work with sedentary people to increase their activity level (people who work a lot and don’t have a lot of time to exercise). One of my clients’ complaints was, “I don’t want to take an hour or 30 minutes to walk.” My solution was to suggest several two-minute intervals that would equal 30 minutes throughout the day — just stand up, walk around and visit people throughout the office, for example. The result was successful. He exercised and actually became more sociable as a result! Once he became comfortable with walking, I got him up to 10-minute intervals three times a day. Now he’s walking 30 minutes at one time and enjoying it. This all took place over the course of a few months.

To make a lasting change, you start wherever you are and stretch a tiny bit more each time. If you fall off the wagon, or experience resistance, identify the cause or circumstances— who you were with, where you were, or your emotional state. The key is to get up and get back on the path again. You may go back and forward a few times because making a lasting change is hard. Your level of readiness to change will determine how successful you are, and how much time it will take. But you need to be ready, able and willing to make change happen.

Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Overcoming Performance Anxiety

Everybody suffers from anxiety at some point or another. Anxiety is just a normal part of everyday life. It can actually be a useful emotion in helping us to cope with stressful situations. Other times, anxiety can be out of control and interfere with our ability to function normally in stressful situations even if the stress is just manufactured in our minds.

There will always be reasons to feel anxious. All ages experience anxiety. Children feel it in school before a test; even young babies feel it when separated from their mothers. Adults have plenty of opportunities to feel anxious whether it is from a job, finances, romance, or due to being self-conscious.

Sometimes anxiety comes about because people have to do something they fear doing. One of the most common anxiety-producing experiences is when it comes to public speaking. Many people fear being in front of the public, either as a speaker or just as someone being singled out or noticed in a crowd.

Do you have a fear of speaking in public or performing on a stage? If so, you could be suffering from a type of performance anxiety. Does any of the following apply to you? If so, you may have performance anxiety.

 

  • Worry about looking foolish in front of other people and being laughed at?
  • Worry that people can see how nervous you are?
  • Suffer from stage fright if you have to speak in front of others or perform onstage.
  • Experience anxiety in advance of the event simply from anticipating your fears.
  • Feel immediate and intense fear upon learning you need to perform in public.
  • Attempt to get out of public performances or not show up if you can’t get out of it.
  • Missed out on opportunities because of your fear of being in the public spotlight.

Performance anxiety is actually all in the mind of the sufferer. After all, not everyone fears going on stage, there is no danger in doing so. The fear comes from imagined dangers such as feeling like you are not smart enough or good enough to avoid ridicule. So the way to overcome your performance anxiety is to change your way of thinking.

There are four steps involved in overcoming performance anxiety. Let’s take a look at them below.

 

Step one: Self Assessment

  •  Get to know yourself, both as a person and as a performer.
  • Identify the problem thoughts that are holding you back and creating anxiety.

 Step two: Exposure And Preparation

  •  Find opportunities for limited performance exposure but not to the point your anxiety kicks in.
  • Practice your speech or performance. Tape it and watch yourself. Practice until you have it down pat. Always be totally prepared before giving your performance so you feel confident.
  • Learn relaxation techniques and practice them right before your performance.

 Step three: The Performance

  •  Visualize the audience as friends and family that wish you well.
  • Don’t think of yourself. Think of the audience.
  • Stay calm and enjoy yourself.

 Step four: After The Performance

  •  Don’t criticize yourself no matter what happens.
  • Congratulate yourself for doing your best.
  • Reward yourself for making progress

Train yourself to change your thoughts and instead of worrying about what people will think, just go ahead and imagine they are thinking good things about you. Imagine yourself as self-confident and thoroughly capable of completing the performance. As you change your thinking, you will see your performance anxiety start to slip away.

Mastering The Art Of Showing Gratitude To Ultimately Achieve Your Success

Mastering The Art Of Showing Gratitude To Ultimately Achieve Your Success

Gratitude.!

I’m sure you have heard of this word before and you probably know that it simply means a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. Gratitude may be a mouthful to pronounce but the act of showing it is actually rather simple and effective to implement. Knowing the power and potential of showing gratitude and subsequently applying it accordingly can be the single most decisive factor in ensuring better degrees of success for yourself.

 

Let’s dwell a little on exactly what gratitude can do for you and subsequently your success. Gratitude instills a positive feeling in you and the people you show it to. It alters your perspective of negative feelings, thoughts, or beliefs you may have of yourself or others by alerting these feelings, thoughts, and beliefs to the things you are grateful for. Gratitude raises your awareness and focus and it can inspire you to achieve better for yourself and the people around you.

 

In fact, there are numerous other benefits of gratitude. Yet, many people still do not or refuse to shower themselves or the people around them with gratitude. Instead, they put themselves and others down by criticism and condemnation. To see if you fall under this category, take the next few seconds to ponder over the following questions:

  •  What exactly are the obstacles that are holding you back from showing gratitude to yourself and to others?
  • How can you overcome these obstacles?
  • How can you unleash an onslaught of gratitude to yourself and to others?

 The obstacles stated above are mainly negative thoughts, emotions, and beliefs that you may possess that are probably not only hindering you from showing gratitude but are most probably also hindering you from success. However, the chief aim of my article is to show you the importance of showing gratitude and how you can go about doing it. As such, I will not touch in depth on how to overcome these negative thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. But if you would like to find out more, please refer to the resource box below.

 

Now that you are clearer about the benefits of gratitude, let’s first talk about how you can start showing gratitude to yourself. To start doing this, you must first be appreciative of all your achievements – be they big or small – that you have experienced so far in your life. Ask yourself: when was the last time you actually rewarded yourself for those achievements? If you have constantly been doing so, then good for you, and keep it up. If not, then it’s about time you start indulging or pampering yourself with some simple or extravagant (whichever is appropriate) rewards for all your past achievements and future ones.

 

Next, be appreciative of the things you have – your job, workplace, house, wealth, family, food, and surroundings. I know it can be rather impossible to directly show gratitude to these things but don’t fret. You can actually list these things and write down thank you notes for each of them to express your gratitude. Keep referring to this list when you’re feeling sad or depressed and you can instantly feel a surge of happiness or positive emotions.

 

So far, I have covered how you can show gratitude to yourself and the things around you. Now I will touch on how you can show gratitude to the people around you. There are many ways you can express your gratitude to the people around you but I will only list down the few I feel are important and simple to perform. You are however, free to find out or think of others of your own and implement them as you deem fit.

  • Instead of putting down, insulting, and complaining about the people around you or working under you, try complementing, praising, and appreciating them for all they have done for your well-being and your achievements. By doing this, you gain their respect and trust and they are more likely to continually assist you to achieve better.
  • Make a thank you list of all the people you are grateful for and constantly refer to this list to give yourself a better and greater feeling.
  • Give a simple verbal thank you note of appreciation or even a thank you e-mail to express your gratitude to the people who have assisted you in your achievements.
  • Shower the people you are grateful for with small or big cards, gifts presents, or rewards to clearly show them how much you appreciate them.
  • Or simply provide the people around you with gifts that cannot be bought with cash like your valuable time, your sacrifice, or something that is of utmost importance to you.

 

Gratitude. The word may be a little complex to pronounce but there is actually nothing complex about performing the act of showing gratitude. Always bear in mind that when you show gratitude to yourself, the things, and the people around you, you will definitely hold the key to unlocking your personal growth and ultimately your success. 

 

Know What You Want and Make It Happen!

Know What You Want and Make It Happen!

Do you know what you want? How is your life and/or your business doing? Is it stagnating, boring, or going nowhere? Have you become obsessed with meeting those loan repayments or trying to just survive until the next fistful of money comes in? Are you having trouble maintaining your positive expectancy about life and/or business?

The way to live satisfying lives is to simply dream up the things that we want to do and then make them happen. A simple statement but so few of us can put it into practice! You can put it into practice if you take these steps! First, find yourself in a quiet, comfortable location where you will be free from disturbances. Ensure that you have paper and pen handy as you will need to write some things down.

  • Brainstorm Ideas

For the next ten to fifteen minutes, write down all the things you’d like to do. A few rules for this exercise are in order- don’t evaluate as you write! For example, if you’d like to go overseas on holiday for twelve months – don’t stop and think about whether you can afford it. Just write it down. Evaluation can occur later. At this stage, write down all the things that you’d like to do assuming there was nothing that you couldn’t do.

  • Prioritize Ideas

When you have finished brainstorming, you will have a list of the things you would like to do. Your next step is to review your list and sort it into priority order. Again, do not evaluate any of these items while you are ranking them. Number the items from things you want most to least.

  • Evaluation

Now, look at the top three items on your list and ask yourself the question: “What is stopping me from doing these things? It will help to clarify things if you write down these reasons. For example, if your number one choice is to go overseas for twelve months, your reasons for not being able to do so could be: can’t afford it, can’t leave my business unattended, or afraid I won’t like it when I get there.

  • Create an Action Plan

Your final step in this process is to put your plan into action – and do it now! Don’t wait for a more opportune time – the best time is always NOW!

However, don’t let your big plans stop you from doing some of your smaller plans now. Pick a couple of activities you can do within the next month that won’t cost you money. DO THEM! You will feel like a different person for having done so.

Are You Stuck? Consider Changing Your Focus!

Are You Stuck? Consider Changing Your Focus!

If you sometimes feel as though you’re caught in life’s quicksand, trust me, you’re definitely not alone.

We work, we struggle, and we try to do everything we possibly can to move on to a higher level of well-being but it seems like the harder we work, the more stuck we get. If you’re approaching a Category 5 frustration level, you should give this a try…

Switch your focus and yes, to other people!

I realize that it’s important to watch out for our number one – ourselves;

We need to set goals, and layout plans, and then do those things we need to do, to make some progress towards our goals. We need to demonstrate personal financial responsibility, plan for retirement, and frequently just cover our backside so we don’t get chewed off by one or more of life’s rodents.

However, what frequently happens is that we become over-focused on ourselves and our well-being that we wind up building huge walls. Consequently, losing the ability – or even desire – to see the bigger picture and possibilities that life presents to us. We become so focused on “me” that we sometimes begin scrutinizing even the most insignificant events to determine their potential impact on our personal lives, which could make us victims of ourselves. And sometimes, we become so busy being busy that we lose track of where we thought we wanted our lives to wind up in the first place.

But one possible solution, as I earlier mentioned, is to change our focus from “me” to “others”; from being the receiver to being the giver. And no, I’m not even implying that this requires any major change in the things we do every day. Granted, It may eventually lead to that but it is not a crucial part of the initial process.

Here’s what I mean; No matter what you do to earn a living or keep the household moving in a logical direction, somewhere down the line, a real person will probably benefit from what you do. Think about it. The work we do is not just to stuff computer systems full of information or help machines work better. It is not just to take people’s money so we would have a paycheck at the end of the week. It’s not just filling out forms, nailing pieces of boards together, assembling electronic devices, hauling packages, going to meetings, etc. Somewhere, sometime another human being will likely be positively affected by what you do.

And yes, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that I’ve used a couple of cop-out words in the preceding paragraph – “likely” and “probably”. I had to do that because in the real world there are some individuals whose money-making efforts are focused mainly on “non-beneficial” activities. This is just the way the world is.

For the rest of us, however, our activities and work generally reflect a more positive endeavor. This leads us back to my original suggestion. If you are caught in the quicksand, take a few minutes to think about the people – the individuals who will be better off, healthier, or happier because of what you do. Think about how your time and talents will be beneficial to them.

Now, do you see what can happen here? 

When we change our focus from “me” to “others”, our work – the things we do every day – starts taking on a new significance. We are now givers and our lives become more meaningful. We begin to see that what we do is truly important to someone else. That’s pretty special, huh?

If you have to stretch your imagination to see at least one person that benefits from what you do, then it’s not fitting together, you might consider looking into a different occupation – or at least a different way to spend your free time. There are a bunch of people who could benefit from your talents. Think about what you do well and what you enjoy doing and how that could help others have a better life. Then go ahead and do it. This way, you’ll be out of the quicksand before you know it.

Don’t Zone Out! Find Focus With A Theme

Don’t Zone Out! Find Focus With A Theme

What happened to the time? When we are busy in our day-to-day lives, it sometimes seems like many seasons pass in a blink. And the goals we have? Well, they can easily slip by in that blur too. So, you want to WAKE UP: to get control of your time and meet your goals. But how?

In coaching, we sometimes talk about our lives in the process. That is, our lives are constantly flowing forward over and around the highs and lows of our everyday experiences, like a river. As humans we often try to minimize those ups and downs: We plan for the future, we dwell on the past and thus avoid experiencing the emotion at this present moment. As a result, we dampen our aliveness and sort of zone out. No wonder we suddenly “wake up” to realize minutes, even days or weeks, have passed us by!

Have you ever had the experience of driving a car only to find yourself suddenly at your destination? Where were you the entire drive? Not present, that’s for sure! But really, what does it mean to be present in your day-to-day life?

It’s quite challenging to focus all your attention on this moment. Try it: As you are reading these words, slow down. Experience the action of reading one word at a time. What sounds do you hear in the room around you? How comfortable are you? How are you breathing? Recognize that you are alive, right now, in this moment. What was that like for you?

Here’s another experiment. Go ahead and laugh but try this anyway. It may give you a whole new way to be in the moment: As you go through your day, ask yourself: Where’s my butt? On a chair? Against a wall? Walking past the consignment shop on Main Street? Crazy as it sounds; it is very difficult not to be present when you’re trying to figure out where your rump is! 

OK! Now you’ve tried rump-awareness and have probably heard all kinds of other advice for becoming present in the moment – breathing, mindfulness, meditation, and so forth. Now broaden the concept: how can you stay present and focused on a project or goal in your life? Select a theme.

Here’s how it works: As an example, my theme for my business this year is “fun and inspired action.” This theme serves as a filter. Each month, I review my business goals through the lens of my theme and prioritize those that will be the most fun and give me and my clients the most inspiration. Brainstorming projects to undertake, I look for those that best match my theme. My theme gives me a sense of exploration when choosing new opportunities: last week alone, I was on a radio show and was a guest lecturer at the University of Maryland. These are experiences I wouldn’t have imagined for myself in the past, but they came my way, fit the criteria, and were so FUN!

A client of mine has a theme for the month in regard to his job search: Action! Driven by action, he’s got some aggressive goals for landing job interviews. In every step he takes he asks himself, “does this forward my action toward my goals?” You should see the guy – he’s on fire!

Therefore, what is YOUR theme? It’s time for you to wake up and be on fire too!

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