Self Identity – How Flexible Are You?

Sticky NotedSelf Identity refers to an individual’s perception of “self” in relation to any number of characteristics, including but not limited to gender roles and sexuality, racial identity, career choice and many others.

As humans we have a propensity to label everything – and that includes ourselves, even if we don’t always realise it!

Why is self identity important?

Because it isn’t fixed. As we grow and change through our life experiences and relationships, our self identity evolves too.

But ironically, our self identity can feel like the anchor that is supposed to stop us from getting washed away in the flood of change… which is why some of the most difficult points in our lives can feel so painful – because we are unknowingly resisting a shift in our identity, or need to grieve for an identity we are leaving behind.

Our self identity not only allows us to express ourselves as unique and individual, but also as belonging to and connecting with others who share certain aspects of our self identity.

How can we explore it?

A great place to start is with some very simple questions:

  • What do I say when I’m asked to introduce myself in a work or a social setting?
  • What labels or titles do I claim, either jokingly, or within a family/friends context?
  • I am …. (write this out on a piece of paper, repeating the start of the sentence at least 10 times down the page – and complete the sentences!)
  • I am not …. (write this out on a piece of paper, repeating the start of the sentence at least 10 times down the page – and complete the sentences!)

You can also keep an ear out for words you use to describe yourself (like: “Duh, I’m so silly!” or “I’m too old for that!”)

The more aware we are of our self identity and its significance, the more understanding we can be of our past and the more gently we might handle our next wave of self evolution. It might also help us be more flexible as we continue stepping closer to being the person we really want to be.

And for a bit of a laugh and some fun, have a look at some of the fabulous post-it note impressions on Flickr!

How to Cope with Major Challenges

We haven’t even reached the end of January, yet so far 2012 has been full of challenges.

I’ve been struggling with the discovery that one of our beloved cats, Patsy, has developed a cancerous growth on her leg. We had been told that it wasn’t the type of tumor that spreads. So the prognosis was that removal of the growth would be relatively easy.

We checked Patsy into the animal hospital early January to undergo surgery that cost more than £2000, and as far as we are concerned, worth every penny. During the operation the surgeon discovered a further two “nodules”, which he also removed and sent off for analysis.

It’s now two weeks since Patsy had her operation and her recovery has been amazing. She’s back to her old bouncy self. However one of the nodules tested positive for cancerous cells – just when we thought everything was going so well. We are now left not knowing if all the tumours have been removed or if they have spread to other places in her body. So we have no idea if Patsy will be with us in 4-6 months time, or live for another 8-9 years.

Coming to terms with not knowing can be a struggle, even at the best of times. When it’s something like this it’s even harder. You don’t know whether to grieve or celebrate and nothing seems to help. We’ve realised that no matter how long the uncertainty lasts, the main priority is for us to enjoy spending time with and loving Patsy – however long she’s got. Whether it’s a few months or a few years, we are now committed to cherishing every moment with her.Continue reading

Refresher On The Ups and Downs of Life

Refresher on the roller coaster of life!

Sometimes it feels like we’re swinging from one extreme to the other – one moment careening towards a crash, and a moment later, struggling up the mountain without a clear view of when (or if) we’ll reach the top.

Life can feel like a rollercoaster ride of heady peaks and stomach-churning troughs, and whilst we would all be terribly bored if it was just a flat track to the horizon… wouldn’t it be great if we could learn to balance out those pendulum-swings just a little? Even-it-up a bit so that it flowed more smoothly, and we could actually start to enjoy the ride?

Sam joins Paul on his train-journey of discovery into how we can keep the momentum and motivation flowing when we need it most!


Still Struggling With Motivation?

During a recent podcast with Gina, we talked about getting back into an exercise routine and going back to the gym. It was something that I’m very familiar with, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to give you a quick progress update.

I’ve now been going back to the gym for 3 weeks, 4-5 times a week. I’ve discovered that if I just go to the gym 2-3 times a week my days off become too tempting for me to have “just another” day off. Always promising myself “I’ll go tomorrow!”, which of course I ended up repeating the next day, until every shred of motivation had been stripped away.

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Are you sabotaging your dreams?

Self-sabotage may be at play, and if it is, the chances are you might not even realise it… but you might notice the effects it has on your attempts to achieve your goals and dreams.

Can you relate to the feeling of:

  • Making things harder for yourself than they need to be?
  • Allowing yourself to be distracted by something other than your priority?
  • Punishing yourself when something isn’t perfect?
  • Taking on too much when you know you can’t fit everything in?

Sometimes sabotage can show up in a way that obviously affects our goals, and other times it can show up more subtly. Continue reading

There Is A Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Tunnel under Plzen
Two people I know, quite independently, are going through the crappiest time right now. Both of them are under the threat of losing everything. Their homes being their main worry.

I wish I could tell them everything will be fine by the time they wake up tomorrow, but it won’t.

I wish I could ease their burden by taking away or fixing some significant part of their problems, but that’s just not possible.

I wish I knew exactly the right words to say: one magic phrase to help them through this. Sadly, I’m not magician.Continue reading

It doesn’t have to be hard work all the time

Being a coach, I’m very keen to “walk the talk” or rather, not just say coaching is good but have a coach myself because I know just how powerful it can be.

During a recent session it quickly became clear that I was on the verge of taking on too much. Over the last few months the power of being coached has resulted in some significant changes in my life and how I view situations. I’d been actively putting in a lot of work, spinning a lot of plates and generally been about as busy as I could physically be.

What surprised me was that I’ve now reached a point where pretty much everything is going to plan, on track and on schedule. I found myself looking for that extra thing that would put me back into the sensation of feeling, well rushed, busy and on the edge of coping.

I had become so used to “working my butt off” that now I had been able to schedule things better, automate them or even outsource them (my new favourite thing!) I was presented with a strange feeling of “what next?”!

Thankfully working with my coach I was able to see that, I was busy, very busy in fact. I was however, working smarter, better than before and I was now producing the results without having to work 16 hours a day. Ultimately I want to keep it this way, working at a pace that is healthy and even FUN!  As long as I’m still progressing, make moves in the direction that I want to go at a pace that works, then I’m doing the right thing.

I’d love to hear from others that have almost become so used to feeling rushed, that they often end up missing that feeling when everything is going to plan. What do you do to make sure you don’t overload yourself, just because you feel you should. How do you know when enough is enough?

Second that Emotion

What are you feeling?

CONNECTING TO OUR EMOTIONS can be scary for many of us. We’ve been brought up to hide, suppress or even completely deny what our bodies and feelings are telling us. We often believe we will be overwhelmed if we ‘feel’ too much – so we take the very unhealthy option of shutdown, or escaping down the proverbial rabbit hole. Not a great idea…
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Juggling Under Pressure

Photo by garryknight

To say I’ve been busy lately would be a gross understatement. I’m not going to list out everything I’ve been juggling – at least half of which has been on strict deadlines – but I’m talking about things on the level of starting a new job, doing a major college assignment, planning a 3wk trip to the other side of the world… and I’ve had about 8-9 of these things on the go for a few months now.

What’s got me through day by day has been simply putting one foot in front of the other – taking that next little step that would get me a bit closer to whatever was needed (as well as a simple ‘project plan’ that allowed me to keep track of it all). Not everything has been given equal attention, and I wouldn’t be human if some things hadn’t slipped down the priority list; but what is more interesting is what I noticed today.
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Stress is a part of life – there’s no getting away from it. But how we deal with stress really determines whether we move forward and onward, or drown under the weight of our problems. Gina and Sam share their own strategies for avoiding stress meltdown…