In 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?
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
Do you ever feel that you could do better when connecting with other people?
Maybe it’s making a connection with someone new, or rekindling an old relationship that’s lapsed.
Often the fear of how someone else will react to our attempts to reach out to them can hold us back. Everyone gets a little nervous to some degree or another when they need to take that first step. It’s our expectation of how we are going to be perceived that puts us off.
For lots more ideas listen to the podcast.
If you have any other suggestions on how to connect with people more confidently, let us know!
Just a quick short message from the ActionPodcast team to wish you a very merry Christmas!
As little gift from us, we have reduced the price of our book 80 Tips over the festive period. You can now download it for free over at Amazon. So if you we're lucky enough to get a new kindle device, iPhone, iPod, or Android phone or tablet you can install the kindle app and download it instantly.
However you celebrate the holidays, we hope all your wishes come true.
Fom the ActionPodcast Team
If 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.
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
Have 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!)
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!
You might not realise it, but the ongoing effects of bullying or a painful experience could be influencing how you behave today even if the situation was long-since resolved, or happened decades ago.
Because when we react to something in the present, the strength of our reaction can be influenced by something that happened to us previously – like echoes of the past.
This podcast was inspired by Tamworth Grice, who left us a wonderful voicemail describing a recent experience where she was able to uncover what was driving the emotional intensity behind her response to a situation – the ongoing effects of childhood bullying – and diffuse it!
We’ve all had experiences of hurt & difficulty: whether it was a childhood experience, an embarrassing situation, being bullied or some other painful moment. Particularly (but not exclusively) when they happen early on in our lives, these distressing events can have an ongoing impact on us that we may not be aware of. Echoes of the past can shape our beliefs, influence our decisions & add to the level of emotion we feel when we have a new experience that is somehow similar or unconsciously triggers our unresolved feelings about a previous hurt.
When we start to become aware that our reactions are out of proportion to the particular situation we’re facing, or when we are confused about how we are feeling/reacting, we can start to explore what might be behind the emotional intensity in order to understand it, reduce the impact it has on us and be able to move on.
Join Paul & Sam as they discuss some of the ways in which they have reframed some of their painful past experiences, including the 5 Whys of Exploration that worked so well for Tamworth!
Bullying is a serious and widespread problem that can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other. If you are experiencing bullying of any form, there are many organisations available for support – including Bullying UK and Stop Bullying (US).
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.
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
Everyone’s experience of how to achieve goals most effectively is going to vary, and be to some degree unique.
Given the same mountain to climb, we’d likely all take slightly different paths up, require different amounts of preparation and approach it at different speeds. And the way we approach the big goals, challenges or mountains we set ourselves is no exception.
So as Sam tackled what would seem to be a mountain of a project recently, it is unsurprising that she & Paul both approach big projects with a totally different plan of attack! No matter how many self development books you read, podcasts you listen to or even coaches you have, only you can really decide what works best for you when it comes to how to achieve goals effectively.
When you set yourself a challenge, or decide you want to work towards something really important to you, how do you tackle the mountain of effort required?
When we commit to something we are passionate about or really believe in it, there is likely to be a significant amount of work required to reach the point where it is fully possible and real – climbing the side of the mountain. It is only once we’re at the top that we recognise just how far we’ve come, can admire the view, and see the route down the other side to our new self and new success.
It is important to recognise that we’ll all have our own approaches, and we’ll each find certain methods that work best for us – there is no right or wrong approach, only what is effective for you!
Join Paul & Sam as they share the very different ways they tend to tackle the mountain, and explore what route you take when you’ve set yourself a big challenge.
Are you the type of person that likes to focus on one big project at a time, or lots of little ones?
Do you go full steam ahead at the start of the project but lose speed as you reach the end or do you plod along at a steady pace and then go all manic as you reach the end?
Discovering how to achieve goals most effectively for you needs to start with a good deal of awareness and exploration as you tackle your mountain, which can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster ride – as Paul & Sam explored in podcast a few years ago: http://www.actionpodcast.com/2009/04/lifes-rollercoaster-ride-767/
We’d love to hear about the type of approach you tend to take, and what metaphoric mountain(s) you are currently tackling – so please leave us a comment below, or visit us at Facebook.
And we’ve set a challenge for Chris & Gina to create a sister-podcast exploring their own unique approaches too!
Our popular “80 Tips for Everyday Action” is now available on Amazon Kindle, download your copy instantly to your Kindle, or the Kindle app on iPhone/iPad & Android.
To get a sneak peak at Sam’s most recent mountain-climbing results, and who the programme currently under pilot is aimed at, visit HurdlesHappen.
We 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:
Could it be time to take off the cape, and forgive yourself for being only human?
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