Head First – Giant Leaps Out of Your Comfort Zone

Leap of Faith - Krabi ThailandIn a previous blog post, Gina shared some tips for stepping out of your comfort zone especially in the face of fear & uncertainty; and in another, Chris looked at how staying in your comfort zone can lead to The Greatest Regret You May Ever Have. But for my first post in months, I wanted to be ambitious and explore those times when we need to truly jump head first…

With a giant leap of faith.

Throw ourselves into the deep-end.

And take massive steps out of our comfort zones.

It is scary though. Some people might never choose to face these leaps head on; but some of us do, and throughout our lives have chosen to step massively outside our comfort zone. Why is this so?

Why Leap Outside Of Your Comfort Zone?

The inspirational idea of “feel the fear and do it anyway” offers us ways to challenge our negative thinking, in order to move from feeling stuck or overwhelmed to happier and more assertive, but there are also times when no amount of logic or positive intention can shift us out of the rut we find ourselves in.

A lot of the time, confidence comes from the actual doing of something – not from the desire to do it, or even necessarily the preparation towards doing it. So by choosing to leap forwards into the unknown, we are automatically giving ourselves a confidence boost. We create the sense of being confident or of achieving confidence specifically because we’re doing something so radical – something we have no idea if we’ll succeed at! Whereas, sometimes the pressure of preparation and trying to work up the courage to do something simply ends up adding to it’s sense of overwhelming terror.

So instead of staying stuck, or struggling against the tide, there is on occasion a time and a place for a more avant garde approach…

I think of it as my “balls to the wall” approach!Continue reading

Christmas Traditions

Journal Your Christmas 2007 #9: TraditionsIf you celebrate the festive season, then chances are there are some Christmas traditions that you keep. These are things that add to the meaning & spirit of Christmas for you – that have perhaps been inherited from your family, or special ones you’ve picked up along the way. And as Paul & I discussed in a recent podcast, they can make the difference between enjoying this season or feeling left out in the cold.

In my attempt to be a little bit less Bah Humbug I’ve been reflecting on the things I love or think embody Christmas so that I can take more responsibility for enjoying this time of year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then the idea of traditions also applies to other special holidays that you might celebrate throughout the year.

What are Christmas Traditions?

These are going to vary widely depending on local, national, cultural & familial influences, as well as your beliefs, personal experiences and preferences.

Some of my best Christmas memories include a large family gathering with puns flying thick & fast across the Christmas table that is covered with seasonal specialities like Grannie’s cold chicken curry and enough blancmange to allow the men to fight over 2nd or even 3rd helpings, trying to play Christmas carols on my otherwise neglected keyboard so that my sister & I can sing (arguably badly) along, trying to pronounce “S Roždestvom Khristovym!” to my Russian grandparents, as well as Santa stockings of presents that promised to hold little treats, surprises & wonders that I loved individually unwrapping.

As I’ve gotten older (and spent more of my Christmases in the snowy northern hemisphere rather than the summery heat of my childhood home), I’ve added a love of steaming mulled wine to the list, along with Continue reading

Bah Humbug vs the Joy of Christmas!

A festive memoryHave you been feeling a bit “bah humbug!” about Christmas or the festive season?

For many people this has become a dreaded time of year. Increasingly the spirit of the season has been taken over by commercialism and competition, but there could be other more personal reasons why this time of year drags you down.

And whilst it might feel like there is comfort to be had in rejecting all things jolly, it is almost impossible to avoid it entirely – so it might be worth reframing the situation (for your own health & wellbeing at least!)

Bah Humbug vs Joy of Christmas

Whether you’ve struggled through the holiday season for the last few years or the last few decades, it is worth exploring how you feel about it.

Paul & Sam reflect on the causes of their own BAH HUMBUG feelings, and discuss how we can choose to reclaim the joy of Christmas or the festive season and the meaning it perhaps once held for us.

Loss, grief, conflict, distance, financial worries and a whole host of other things can impact on the pressure of this time of year, and whilst we often can’t change those circumstances – we can choose whether we let them mute (or spoil) our attitudes and how we feel about a time that is much more suited to gratitude, love & joy.

We wish you a happy & healthy festive season, wherever you are!

Resistance to Change: new YouTube video

Do you tend to see resistance to change as a problem to be fixed or an obstacle to be overcome?

If we can change our perspective on it slightly, resistance to change can be useful and positive rather than a hindrance and negative.

Our resistance then becomes a helpful tool or message, and can open up a range of new options.

RESISTANCE TO CHANGE – WHAT IS IT REALLY?

People resist change when they perceive it – consciously or unconsciously – as a threat.

Sometimes, these perceived threats can be quite obvious or easily identified. But these threats and fears can at times be very subtle, hidden or even counter-intuitive – especially when dealing with self growth, personal development or more immediate challenges.

Resistance to change often shows up as an almost physical block – a really strong sensation that wants you to run in the opposite direction or avoid it at all costs!

We don’t always spot the fear that underlies our strong response. It might be triggered by a new idea or a positive change we want to make that somehow threatens our sense of identity, confidence or connection with others.Continue reading

Only Human – Know Your Own Limitations

música 65We are only human, and therefore do have our own set of limitations about what is possible, feasible & even ideal. That’s not to say we can’t stretch or challenge that from time to time (as Felix Baumgartner recently demonstrated so dramatically!), but it is less healthy to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist.

We can’t be everything to everyone, whilst performing at maximum capacity for extended periods and continuing to say ‘Yes’ to even more things, without something giving. We are not machines – let alone well-oiled ones!

But we can get caught up in our own hype when we’re under pressure, and be fooled by our seemingly superhuman capabilities.

We forget how to say ‘No’ when someone asks us to take on another task or responsibility or to make time for something else, even if we recognise we’re already struggling under the current load. We think we can crank out even more productivity and peak performance – like an endurance athlete – despite the fact that we’ve not prepared ourselves adequately & certainly aren’t looking after ourselves properly in between. We feel like we’ve got to right all wrongs, or address all outstanding issues, just because we’ve managed to make some great progress on a few things we’ve been focused on.

Consciously choosing to push our boundaries and abilities is a healthy, natural and essential evolutionary impulse. It is what nurtures dreams and enables change.

But it is a wise man who understands his own limitations.

And a wise woman who knows hers too!

There is no sense in pushing ourselves until we break, or until we smash all the plates that we’ve been trying so delicately to keep spinning.

The human body and brain are truly remarkable, and the human heart and soul are fathomlessly deep.

So to honour both our ability to grow and evolve, as well as our innate humanness, we need to be clear about what our non-negotiables are:

  • What do you really need to prioritise (what’s most important)?
  • What are the things you aren’t willing to compromise on or let slip?
  • What areas does your persistence turn into stubbornness that really doesn’t serve you?
  • What is the cost (to yourself, others & your dreams) of ignoring your healthy limitations?

Could it be time to take off the cape, and forgive yourself for being only human?

Viral Happiness: new YouTube video

What if happiness was contagious? A viral kind of thing.

Where performing a small act of kindness or compassion can not only make us happy, but that kindness can make someone else feel happy too…

Latest research shows that happiness IS contagious. And that one small act of kindness can not only spread happiness to those 2 people, but to the friends of friends of both those people. How cool is that?!

Creating happiness is also a skill that can be learnt, despite being hard to define – as we’ll each have our own unique definitions.

One thing it is not, is a final destination to be arrived at. It is something we all seek continuously, yet we don’t always achieve; and there are times when we can feel decidedly unhappy.

Are we looking in the wrong places? Or maybe focusing on the wrong things?Continue reading

In Hindsight & With Hindsight: new YouTube Video

If we consider a past experience with the wisdom we currently have, it gives us the opportunity to reframe it – in hindsight and with hindsight.

Looking at things in hindsight doesn’t just have to be about slapping our own wrists for things gone wrong.

This amazing function of our brain allows us to transform a long-ago embarrassing situation into a funny reminiscence. A fear-filled time into evidence of how brave we can be even when we don’t feel like it. Or a difficult time of challenge into an inspirational story to share or a character-defining experience. Our perspective gives us the ability to choose a new way of viewing these memories.

Join Sam in this short YouTube video as she shares why looking at things in hindsight can be a powerful tool for the future, as well as the past.

For more on Hindsight, including a personal example, check out this earlier blog post.

This is the first video posted in our new YouTube channel – please do leave any comments below, or visit our YouTube Channel and subscribe for further video updates.

Summer Book Series #9: How To Measure Your Life, Find Happiness In Your Career

Clayton Christensen's book - How Will You Measure Your Life?How do you measure your life? And how can you be sure you’ll find happiness in your career?

The definition of a career (as a job for life) has well and truly changed over the last decade or so. Sometimes 7 years on one track can feel like a lifetime!

We are now faced with an abundance of choice for the directions we can take. And for a while now we’ve started realising (and research has proven) that financial or positional success in our careers doesn’t necessarily makes us happy. As we evolve, what we want and what makes us happy in our career can change too.

How to measure your life & find happiness in your career?

To understand happiness, we first need to understand what makes us tick as individuals. What motivates us?

In this podcast Chris & Sam discuss the fundamental motivators in our work – including those ‘baseline’ factors that are necessary and those that really enhance our motivation and sense of fulfillment in our careers – and then outline some poignant questions you can ask yourself as you take a moment to reflect on where you are at and how you can measure the happiness you find in your current role.

Whether you’re considering taking a leap of faith into a new role, company or career, or whether you’re only just starting to evaluate how happy you currently are – Clayton Christensen’s book – [amazon ASIN=”0007449151″]How Will You Measure Your Life?[/amazon] – will help inspire you to ask some of the questions that really matter, and find meaningful clarity in your life and career.

How do you measure your life? Have you found happiness in your career? We’d love to hear how these questions have inspired you, or whether you have different ways of evaluating your happiness in your life and work.

Brendon Burchard’s Three Questions For Lifelong Perspective

In ever loving memory ofLife is short. And at the end of the day, (as Brendon Burchard beautifully tells us) only three questions bear asking:

“Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?”

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a friend, and as the crematorium overflowed – there must have been about 40 or 50 of us standing after all the seats were taken – I am sure his answers to these questions were etched in our tears and our hearts.

At only 42, and leaving behind a beloved wife and gorgeous 5 year old daughter, Lindz left the world far too soon. He had definitely lived, as was reflected in all the humorous stories we shared about him at the wake; he had definitely loved, and been loved by many; and he mattered – as evidenced by so many of us (and many more who couldn’t make it) who had wanted to be there to celebrate his life and say our goodbyes to this unique character.

It has really reminded me that we never know when our number is up. We might be given a lot of notice, or we might be given none at all.

Lindz had a few short months: he stayed courageous, kept his good humour and was as true to himself as he could be during those last days.

I wonder if we can all say the same thing about our own lives?

What we think we want from life is subject to change. It can evolve slowly, shift dramatically or burn brightly in our heart and minds.

But these three questions can offer us a more enduring measure for how we are living our lives.Continue reading

Summer Book Series #7 Special: Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High with Ron McMillan

Find free resources at www.CrucialConversations.com

When high stakes, opposing  opinions and strong emotion come together, you know you’ve entered the realms of Crucial Conversations!

Not only are you facing a difficult discussion, but your body is wired to shut down the reasoning part of your brain so that you react rather than consider your responses – and for most of us this means we do our worst at these moments. Ironically, these Crucial Conversations are the 10% of our conversations that are also the most important.

The book [amazon ASIN=”0071401946″]Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High[/amazon] is one of the most important resources in my personal toolkit and I am delighted to be able to share this interview, with one of its co-authors Ron McMillan, with you today.

“If you can create safety, you can talk to almost anyone about almost anything, and they will thank you rather than being angry with you.”

Join me [Sam] as I interview Ron about the incredible impact these skills can have for transforming our relationships, the consequences of trying to ignore Crucial Conversations, and some tips for how we can:

  • Recognise when we’re in or entering Crucial Conversations.
  • Start improving, even if we are naturally conflict avoidant!
  • Learn a few simple techniques that we can start applying to immediately improve our ability to create safety in Crucial Conversations.

Fantastic free tools and resources are available at CrucialConversations.com.Continue reading

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