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Creating awareness

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When it comes to awareness we usually mistake it as for what’s going on around and behind us. We look at what others are doing and how they do it. However awareness is what’s “in us”. It is understanding of ourselves, our reactions, knowing our mind, values and beliefs. There are many philosophical thoughts around it but it comes down to a question:

How well do we know ourselves?

Gangaji wrote in “Hidden Treasure”:

“All of these stories teach us that we aren’t who we think we are. How we have defined ourselves is not the truth of ourselves. What we think we must have is already present, and when we think we have lost the value of our lives, it is still here if we know where to look”

I got inspired by this sentence and I truly believe we can create the self awareness and uncover what heart is saying and in the end find the value in life.

There are many ways of creating self awareness but here is a simple way of starting and reflect on:

  • Write a journal and see if there are any patterns in your life you like/ dislike
  • Think of your strengths and qualities and how can you develop them further.

Sometimes by simply writing things down and looking at it we gain the clarity and understanding of situation. Good luck!

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Multitasking is passé!

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Multitasking has become the key and fashionable word that I see regularly in carrier coaching, job descriptions and in CVs.

We are constantly connected to communication networks and while we are performing our regular tasks and duties simultaneously we are trying to answer all emails, entries and requests from other people. With jumping from one subject to another we are moving forward but as a rule we rarely finish important job.

It might cause general dissatisfaction and feeling of lack of performance.

The key is to concentrate and focus on one activity at the time only. This is the simplest and nowadays the most difficult thing to do.

These are few simple rules that will help you to introduce one task mode:

1. Plan your day well!

Remember that 100% filled calendar is not effective at all. We need short breaks between tasks and meetings.

2. If you cannot finish the task in one day then determine at what stage you would like to be done in that day. Your mind will set on sequential operation so finishing the stage you wanted to finish will be a success itself.

3. Remember the principle DIFFICULT – SIMPLE – DIFFICULT. Performing tasks alternately supports the creativity and performance.

4. While performing one task we already often think about the next one waiting for us. If such a thought occurs, just make a note of it and return to it later on when you are done with what you are doing.

5. Don’t check your emails all the time and set your telephone for a silence mode so you do not waste unnecessary energy.

Remember – if everything is important then nothing is important! Establishing a hierarchy of tasks is essential in supporting your concentration!

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Do you want to be a leader or a boss?

Do you want to be a leader or a boss?

Some may say that you need to be born a leader, others that there are a set of skills that you can work on and develop in order to become one.

There are many skills that come up surrounding leadership. The leader:

• Values people and takes care of them
• Is able to communicate clearly
• Makes decisions and can enforce them
• Delegates the responsibilities
• Holds realistic and without a bias view of situations
• Is flexible and ready to change
• Honors his values and acts within them

If on top of that the leader has and intuition and vision, then you might think that they are on straight way to success.

However, having all these attributes will not help if you think you are the one who knows everything best.

Please visit International Coach Federation blog where my article was originally published to learn more.

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How to stay calm in the face of career change?


Are you changing your profession, job, or getting a promotion? Or have you decided to go on your own and despite the excitement of having an ocean of new possibilities ahead, you do not understand the fear you have that you might not handle it?

I have written this article originally for InterNations community (you can find it here)  but I hope that it is helpful to anybody thinking of a career change.

The most effective way to deal with this is to convince the mind that the change is not a revolution, but simply the transfer of skills. If you follow these small steps you will manage to do so:

Honestly asses the “now”.

What emotions arise when you think of the change? What doubts do you have about it? What gives you energy? What makes you happy and what worries you? The more honest you are, the better you can plan what you need for the change to happen and the ways of dealing with it. For example, when you leave your job to start a new business, you can think of how much money you need to feel safe and focus on saving it.

Adjust your mental image.

We usually picture the change in our minds. What image comes to you? Describe it. You have a chance to move it out of your subconscious state of mind and scan the change so it brings excitement instead of fear. If you get a promotion and the only thing you can think of is the new challenge with lots of pressure and you feel like a warrior on a battlefield, try to imagine yourself on the same field, but as an explorer discovering new exciting things.

Listen.

Listen to your internal voice of doubt, hopes, and plans. Answer these questions:
•How will I support myself during the time of the change?
•What can I do to be able to feel the joy of the change?

Give yourself time to hear your own answers as this technique takes the doubts out of your mind.

Review your resources.

Write down the resources (skills, attitude, energy, emotions)…
•…that you are using in your current job.
•…that you need in your new role.
•…that you need to increase your self-confidence in your new role.

This exercise is a remedy for the fear of defeat.

Give yourself the right to make mistakes.

You are usually your biggest critic and judge. When you do something for the first time you learn and grow and discover new ways of dealing with things. The sooner you accept the mistakes on the way, the sooner you will become more curious as to how to deal with them and you will find your own way.

Always notice your own successes, even the small ones.

Once you name what you do right, you get the energy, inspiration, and motivation to carry on. The more you focus on what you do right, the more your mind creates a picture of your competencies and skills, and your self confidence increases as well.

Find support that works best for you.

You might share your experiences with your loved ones and tell them about the challenges you face, or surround yourself with people who are already doing what you will do soon.

The time you take to prepare yourself for a change is a priceless investment towards your confidence and wellbeing.

Good luck!

 

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Word on mindfulness


Although “being present in a moment” has been a known philosophy for centuries somehow nowadays when the world is changing so fast and we cannot keep up with it anymore we started to look out for simple and primary solutions to it.

Mindfulness became the cure for modern fast life style.

There are a lot of good publications about the topic but I like the definition of Kabat – Zinn who describes as,

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

Paying attention “on purpose” means that we are conscious and aware. The easiest way to picture is when we eat and pay attention to what’s going on in our body, what can we small and taste and that’s mindful. Eating in front of TV and knowing that we are eating but focusing at something else is not.

In present moment – we stay with our experience so we can create a space of freedom where calmness and contentment can grow.

Non-judgmentally – the experience is neither good nor bad. We just notice experience and let it go. Whether it’s a pleasant experience or a painful experience we treat it the same way and observe it and create the distance between our emotions.

Mindfulness perfectly tunes in with contemporary need to release the burden of emotions or stress as it reduces tension and causes detachment from our own emotions.

However we should remember that emotions are primal reaction of our body and they allow us to assess the reality quickly and way before we process our thoughts.

In the end it is our choice in what situations we become consciously distanced and in which we are not.

One thought at the end. Mostly thoughts are about the past or future. The past no longer exists. The future is just a fantasy until it happens.

The one moment we actually can experience — the present moment — is the one we seem most to avoid.

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There is no failure there is a feedback


How often if our actions do not produce the expected results, we believe that we have failed?

In the moment of self doubt it is important to remember that the effects of our actions are neither good nor bad – they are just valuable information that we can use in the future and learn from it.

If you have done something that has not produced the desired effect:

  • sit back,
  • take a moment to reflect on your actions
  • see what is working for you and what might be changed

Instead of focusing too much on the past you can focus on finding effective solutions. If you release yourself from “failure mode” and move into “solution mode” you will most likely open up and see new possibilities and directions.

After all it was Socrates who said: ”The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but the building the new”.

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Do you act as you feel?


For many years I did not. I was taught to keep smiling and to behave in a way my parents and society were expecting me to behave. I was a good daughter, great student and reasonable teenager, what some might call “a young old lady.”

I thought it was perfectly normal and I didn’t realize until my late twenties that it has affected my whole life and in many ways closed my heart. Outside I had brave face; I was always smiley and seemed happy. Looking in from the outside someone might say that I had a perfect life, but I was wearing a mask. Inside I was lost and lonely. I forgot how to express how I really feel, what is hurting me and what makes me happy. I think I was living someone else’s expectations and it was not truly me. I had a good job, I bought an apartment and I had friends, but I was not feeling happy. I simply wasn’t in touch with myself and my feelings.

There was not one thing that happened that changed my way of thinking. It was a process of realizing that something is not right, shifting my perspective, starting to listen to my heart, and observing what’s going on with my body and mind and if my outside reaction is aligned with it.

Now I can honestly say that although I’ve come a long way, there is still room for improvement and work to be done. But over the years my self-confidence and belief in myself has increased. I trust myself more than I have ever in my life. I feel more like me, secure and happy.

I believe I am not the only one who has felt disconnected from herself and I believe that through the process of coaching you can build the fundamentals of internal happiness and external success in life.

If you would like to learn more and see how to practice the change of behaviour then you can find the whole article on International Coach Federation blog where it was originally published.

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Build a positive relationship with your inner critic


How many of us have a conversation with ourselves and say:

- I am not good enough?

- I am not worthy?

- I cannot make it?

How many times your inner voice tells you:

“The others are better than me”, “you are stupid”, “don’t even try”?

The inner critic can be ruthless and very destructive and in consequence you might not even try to achieve anything thinking “why shall I even bother if I am not going to succeed”.

The good news is that you can learn how to work with him and make your inner critic your best friend. If you mange to do it, your inner critic can become your biggest motivator and supporter in your actions.

There are many exercises to work with your inner critic but this is a simple task you can start with:

a) Listen to the words of critic – remember the situation when you have suffered / fail / been unhappy with the result. What thoughts come up in your head?

b) Focus on your body, the muscles, the breath – what do you feel?

c) Try to visualize your critic. Who or what is it?

d) Talk to your critic with arguments and facts:

e.g take the first critical thought from point one and answer the following questions:

• Is it really true or is it your opinion?

• What are your arguments?

• What proof/ facts do you have?

• Who says so?

• How do you benefit from such a self-perception?

• What do you lose by just thinking this way about yourself?

• What can you change in the future so you don’t feel or think this way?

The last but not least. Be gentle to yourself! Allow yourself to have shortcomings, to be pretty enough, and smart enough. If you mange to do it, you will release the tension and increase the feeling of satisfaction.

Stand always on your own side!

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The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand we listen to reply


I saw this sentence the other day on facebook. I think it is a great summary for power listening not only in coaching application but in our lives as well.

This reminded me of exercise I did with other peer coach back in my learning journey.

Each of us was supposed to tell the story from our life and first we were supposed to listen and ask questions “to reply”. We added our own opinions and searched for stories from our own lives that could be similar to story told etc. The conversation was going but did we learn anything from that? I was so focused on myself that I heard the other story but did I really understand it? Not really.

So we tried the second part of exercise: to listen to the same story but to really LISTEN. We started to reflect on what we were hearing, ask questions to go deeper and to learn more about the story. Great thing has happened as the story which at the beginning sounded like “the other day to day story” went to different level and completely different direction as in the first example.

This is not only good coaching exercise but the best way to learn more about the person w talk to. It is amazing what true listening does to making a real connection with other people.

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Goal is your dream only made realistic

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Are you a dreamer? Is your head in clouds? Mine too! I don’t know any person who is not dreaming of something. I love dreaming and wandering through the ways of my imagination but what would it feel like if you can make your dreams come true? Well it is easier than you think and more achievable than you can imagine.

In my Self Development Plan post I mentioned about the idea of setting SMART goals.

Let’s focus a bit on it and uncover what is really hidden behind SMART goal.

SMART goals are:

Specific –

To set a specific goal you should answer the six “W” questions:

  • *Who:      Who is involved?
  • *What:     What do I want to accomplish?
  • *Where:    Identify a location.
  • *When:     Establish a time frame.
  • *Which:    Identify requirements and constraints.
  • *Why:      Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

A general goal would be, “I need/ want to loose some weight.” This is a goal but how will you know how successful you are? How you are going to measure a progress? When will you know you have accomplished it?”

Specific goal would say, “I want to lose 5 kg in one month.” – Now we have a base to start working on.

Measurable – to know if you achieved your goal it is best when you can actually measure it. In our example we said you want to lose 5 kg. That is something you can control and measure your progress on.

Achievable – Ok so now you know that you want to lose 5 kg. It is time to ask a question. How achievable it is? See what tools you have to make it happen. In general words these are your skills and resources you can use to make the goal work.

Realistic – we have a goal we know we can make it happen so now the reality check comes into play. We need to make sure that loosing 5 kg in one month is a realistic thing to happen. If you have dinners planned, travels etc most likely you will not keep to any diet or exercise plan and in the end you will get frustrated with no accomplishments or progress.

Time based – if you close your goal with time line then you most likely have more chances to focus on it simply because you set yourself already on action. If you want to lose weight and you don’t set any timeframe then most likely you will find some excuses to “start next day”as there is always time to do it, right?:)

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