I thought I was handling the lock-down well, here in Spain we are already in our third week of full lock-down, only being allowed out to go to the supermarket or walk the dog, and only when absolutely necessary. I was getting on with things, keeping positive, trying to hold on to some semblance of a routine until I couldn´t access a streamed yoga class I wanted to attend and things fell apart.
I cried, not the usual tears of frustration that sometimes flow when I can´t get a handle on technology, but tears of sadness, a sadness that had been just below the surface for days. Oh I had noticed it there, but I had been so busy working and being a container for other peoples experiences that I wasn´t allowing space for my feelings. On reflection I´m not surprised- I´m grieving, we all are!
Communication is the cornerstone of all relationships and yet we pay very little attention to it until it goes wrong. Whether it´s the family member expects you to read their mind or the boss who is clumsy at giving feedback, we all know someone who could do with a crash course in communication skills.
But how often do we take the time to reflect on our own communication skills and styles? And how often do we take those reflections and use them to inform our next difficult conversation or to actively build deeper connections?
Not very often, and the thing is, by paying a little bit of attention to how you communicate and making small changes you can make a huge impact on your relationships.
In this 3-part series I´m going to look at 3 powerful ways to communicate better so you can have deeper, more meaningful connections.
Every year there is a mad dash to make promises on New Year’s Eve, New Year, new me and all that jazz, and every year begins with a spate of broken promises, some new start that is. This year there is the added stress of the turning of the decade, social media is rife with it, talk about pressure. So this year I suggest you throw New Year’s resolutions out the window and here´s why.
Whether 2 months or 20 years have passed, when you’ve lost a loved one Christmas can be hard. We are sold the myth that we get over grief and can be caught off guard when a sudden wave of emotion comes over us and leaves us feeling like we have been transported back to an earlier part of our grief journey. These waves can happen at any time and often unexpectedly but they are perfectly normal. Here are 5 simple things to do to help you get through the festive season when you are feeling the absence of someone you love.
We live in an increasingly complex world and with digitalization and information overload we are in a constant state of distraction. When we feel stressed and overwhelmed the added pressure that comes with the holiday season can be enough to tip us over the edge. The greatest gift we can give ourselves this year is the practice of mindfulness: the gift of attention, of being fully and non-judgmentally in the present moment.
With its origins in Buddhist philosophy the practice of mindfulness has been around for thousands of years. The benefits are wide-ranging and no longer anecdotal with prestigious universities such as Harvard and Oxford adding to the growing body of empirical data that shows that practising mindfulness can lead to stress reduction, increased focus, emotional resilience and a greater ability to respond rather than react. It increases creativity and empathy and our overall well-being; physical, emotional and mental. The best thing about it is you don’t need anything other than your full attention to start building it into your routine or your festive activities.
Deciding to hire a coach is a big decision. Whether you are feeling stuck and unsure where the ‘stuckness’ is coming from or you want to work on a concrete topic like communication skills or stress management or you are looking for accountability to get a new business moving forward consistently, partnering with a professional can be daunting- but it doesn’t have to be. If you are considering working with a coach, here are some tips to help you make the best choice for you.
Understand what coaching is
Coaching has a positive impact on your thoughts, behaviours and emotions allowing you to move forward in new ways using internal resources that were previously unavailable to you. There are many highly trained coaches out there using research based methodologies to facilitate this, however it is not therapy and is not designed to help you overcome trauma. And while we are happy to share information that will allow you to further your growth we do not teach you how to develop your skills in a specific area in the way a mentor would, nor do we give advice like a consultant. Coaches use different enquiry techniques to help you develop awareness, grow personally and professionally, access your potential and design and move towards a future that is the greatest expression of you as an individual in every area of your life. If that´s what you´re looking for read on.
I was speaking to someone recently who lamented the fact that no matter how much inner work she does she never seems to be finished. She wasn’t impressed when I told her the inner work would never be finished!! But that´s a good thing, and I´ll tell you why.
How we speak is something we take for granted, and something we think of as fixed (that´s how I speak) and inconsequential. We pay little attention to the words we choose and they could be holding us back, dis-empowering us and leading to less than ideal results.
Women, in particular, are more likely to engage in ways of speaking that are dis-empowering and very often we don´t even realise it, we make ourselves small with our speech so as not to offend or out-shine others. We are taught from a young age that it is better to be polite than honest, to the detriment of our own well-being. We apologise for our existence in a way that suggests we should be grateful for being allowed to occupy space. Enough is enough! It´s time to take back our power and our right to not only exist but to be authentically us no matter whom that upsets or threatens or displeases. Caveat, I am not advocating being insensitive, unkind or mean in any way but I am urging you to be unapologetically you.
This week I invite you to pay close attention to how you speak, the words you choose and to where in your speech patterns you are making yourself small. Identifying and changing even one of these habits can have a powerful effect. Start by doing one thing differently this week, make one new choice-the world won´t stop spinning on its axis and you will feel an internal shift that is powerful.
If your get up and go has got up and gone and the joy, energy and enthusiasm you once felt for your goals is turning into exhaustion, frustration and a sense of obligation you may suffering from goal fatigue.
Goal fatigue can happen to anyone, but recognising the signs and putting some simple procedures in place will help you maintain your motivation and drive and keep moving towards those dreams of yours.
In part 1 of this 2-part series, we looked at 5 of the most common misconceptions about grief; things people say ad-lib that we have come to believe to be true. These false beliefs can often make us feel like we are doing it wrong when it comes to our grief, but each grief we experience is as unique as a snowflake. Your grief for a particular person or situation will be very different from someone else who is grieving that same loss, and you will likely never grieve two losses identically.
Before we dive in, take a deep breath, put your two hands over your heart and appreciate yourself for every step you have taken so far on this difficult journey, acknowledge that you are exploring new territory without any maps or signposts and that you are doing your best, whatever that means in this moment, and your bet changes from day to day, moment to moment.