I think when we reflect badly about others, it is because something is perceived as not going well in our own lives. Our psyche tries to make is feel better by being mean about someone else. So how does this reflect on us?
In a mean moment, as it dawned on me that perhaps I felt dissatisfied about an aspect of my life, I reflected. What's that about? Often life doesn't look like or turn out how we imagined. More often than not it is better but we don't see it as we are blinded by our feelings that we are not where we want to be. So what did I do in my moment?
I breathed in. Through my nose. As I listened to my favourite 80's music I reflected on letting go of the stress, anxiety and present feelings. They were not serving me, nor putting me in a position to help others. This is not the place I wanted to be in.
So what can I do, in general, to help myself? I can be grateful for absolutely where I am for a start. Things are not as bad as they seem. In fact, they are great. I can also take a small step forward in some way. In coaching we often ask clients to think about what one small step can you now take towards your goal? I had to take this step for myself.
When we are in a mean state, we need to stop and turn it around. We will lack authenticity in a mean state as people will sense something is not right. A compliment will sound sarcastic or a little rude, our actions might not reflect our real thoughts and intentions. Are we mean on purpose? I don't think so. But be careful, as we might appear rude.
In my light bulb moment, I stopped, looked inside and thought, what am I missing here? What do I need to do to regain a feeling of forwardness or positivity? At the moment, I am not exercising much at all, have put on a few kilos and find myself doing things I know don't help me. I am in a spiral downward. I often think in terms of a cork screw. We can spiral up or spiral down. We are never stagnant and never always going in one direction, but catching yourself before you spiral too far down is a good idea.
Habits came to my mind. What can I change now that will help a little?
Again, what small step can I take the will allow me to feel a little better. When you feel on a downward spiral, what do you do? How far down do you go? I am not suggesting to feel the feels of where you are on the spiral, but I don't want you to get caught somewhere. Likewise too high as this doesn't function long term either.
For me, this idea is simply about awareness and reflection. What can we do to help ourselves in these moments, gain perspective and see which way we want to go? Up or down. I choose up and hope you do to.
We are often confronted with new experiences. Our first day of school, a new workplace or perhaps just making a new friend can sometimes bring about anxiety. I recognised this in myself the other day when I turned up for rehearsal in a new city, meeting new people, singing new repertoire. Hoping people would like what I brought was a large looming thought. Would it sound ok, will they like me? We have all had these times. The insecurity it brings is huge. So what can we do?
For one, we can breathe and know this is where we are meant to be. Often the fear we feel, is based on a perception rather than what is actually present. I see this in my classes with people. Learning a foreign language is not easy and if people on top of that have anxiety this doesn't help. We need to turn the randomly flying butterflies in our stomachs into a formation that helps give us energy and strength.
New things are inevitable and we can help ourselves by learning how to deal with the newness of an experience. Of course, the rehearsal for me wasn't a new thing but I hadn't done it for awhile so it felt new. The feeling was like an old friend coming to say hello again. This is why I wanted to share this with you in this blog post. It showed me where I was now.
As a speaker and Trainer I have no problem getting up in front of people. I love the opportunity as I can give something to someone and provide value in their lives. This for the last few years has been new for me. New clients, developments and other things. So what was different about singing? That is also my voice right?
In the end, there is no solution or deeper insight into my feelings from the rehearsal and the next day felt great. The music came together, my voice worked well and I felt elated at the end of the Mass. It was my first sung Latin Mass. Perhaps the nervousness the night before allowed my body to remain vigilant. To prepare and take it seriously. To out my best foot forward and to allow my development, skills and talents to shine. It certainly felt like it. Rather than be laissez faire about it, I gave it gravitas and respect.
So respect the new things that come your way. Aim to manage the butterflies and help them fly in formation. Trust that the signs you are being given can have a positive impact.
As Spring comes to Europe, the sun starts shining more often. Spring is a wonderful part of the year and a time I truly love. As I was working towards the building of a client the other day I felt the sun on back, the smell of Jasmine and other flowers filled the air. I spotted people eating breakfast on their rooftop balcony and generally everything felt good in the world. I had dropped my son to school in time and had arrived at my destination with enough time to grab a coffee! So far so good. I felt good, like sunshine. It really enabled me to truly feel like I had the chance to share that sunshine, so having practiced more German I wished the receptionist a 'Wunderschönen guten Morgen!' like they do on Guten Morgen Österreich. Gosh it felt good and the receptionist responded kindly.
We all know people who are absolute sunshine, who spread it everywhere they go and help others feel a little bit better than before they came into your life! I want you to be one of these people too. Like a Smiler who spreads smiles, spread sunshine. What exactly is sunshine though as it relates to someone?
I think someone with sunshine is:
Often we meet people though who seem a bit grey. They don't shine. They are not interested in greeting you positively, perhaps you feel like a burden to them, they don't make you feel important and they drain you of energy. We all know some of those people. We need them though as then we know when we are around someone who is sunshine. As people, we are also a mixture. Too much sunshine all the time is just as boring as too much grey.
But where does your balance fall? Are you sunshine? Do you delight in the small things, take stock of where you are and aim to improve your life in small incremental steps, or are you a little grey, taking longer to achieve tasks, needing more motivation and energy and feeling less enthusiastic?
For me, I enjoy being sunshine. My small acts of care and kindness, leave me feeling energised. I am an extroverted personality and these things help me. I remain aware though that my mission is not to change others, but to simply offer the opportunity. Smiles are not always received or met openly and I am not trying to change the world. I am trying to change myself. To not fall into a victim mentality and to slow my personal growth and progress by feeling grey. I instead aim to embrace all things and share what I can, with those I love, while I still can. Life is short and time is a limited resource. Therefore choose wisely. Smile and be sunshine when you can, because we all know sometimes we won't. Embrace your surroundings, remain aware and see what possibilities and opportunities open up for you!
Most of us go from activity to activity in life. We do what is on our calendar as best as possible. We make new appointments and fill up our time. Often we leave the weekend free to relax. Is this effective?
John C Maxwell in his book the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth has a whole 'Law of Design' based around the idea of strategy. A personal, Life Strategy. One that includes your career AND your personal development, family, life goals and intentional growth. The depth to which we go into this though can really determine our present and future success. John also says that our Daily Routines have to support this strategy and we must take effective action. But in small ways. Let's explore this more.
In my first article for this year, I discussed making a New Year's Evolution. Making a small changes in your current life and schedule. Not massive changes but continuing what is working well, stopping what doesn't support you now for 2018 and seeing what you improve, adapt or make better for the future. To do this though we need a strategy. We must also begin with the end in mind.
What does the end look like?
Often at times in my life, I have found myself feeling more anxious, almost panicked, when I cannot vision the end, or the way to the end. Without an idea of what my end looks like, I cannot see the way forward. I recognise this in small things, about my day, how I see myself and certainly in the development I want to see for myself. Where am I going? Does my work and life support this end or not? Am I developing toward my end in mind.
For now, I can see myself as a successful Trainer. Strengthening all my activities to support this goal. Building my capacities and experience each day, by seeing all training I deliver as an opportunity to gather ideas and feedback. I strengthen my skills and enhance my strategy by being on the look out for things I can share on my Instagram account @resonanttrainer. This means I am active in my surroundings, looking out and fulfilling my potential. How does each action I take effect my goal to be a great Trainer? Most things I do reflect this desire.
We need a strategy in all parts of our life though not just our work or career. Our personal strategy is the most vital. I often reflect on how am I nourishing my mental, physical, social, spiritual and emotional self. What things do I do daily that influence each area? How is my daily routine allowing me to excel in all parts of my life? This takes a strategy, review of the strategy and measuring the goals and steps taken.
I do activities in my day that are part of my personal strategy. One of the recent changes I have made in my life is to ad 20 minutes of German/Austrian television to my day. Usually in the morning watching Guten Morgen Österreich. It is a good way to strengthen my language as I let the sounds, words and phrases simply wash over me. To attune my ear. I should have been doing this everyday for the last several years, but my resistance to learning German was strong until I admitted I couldn't learn it by actually just being in the country. I still need a strategy to help my learning. I have to be active in the decision.
It is this 'being active' in your decisions that I think is the main part. You must choose what you want in your life. The choice, plus the action equals the strategy. With the end in mind, it then lets everything start to come together. Perhaps the end will change and of course when you get to the end it might also change, but a strategy lived daily helps to focus the mind, energise the spirit and perhaps lead to a more fulfilling day! Try it.
We are now at the end of April. How are your daily habits going? Mine are in need of some consistency. I started off the year quite well, regularly getting through my podcasts, FB live posts and other content, but I also need to remain consistent in other areas which have slipped a bit.
My rebounding for 10 mins a day has dropped off, I still make my bed, but I don't meditate pretty much at all. Sometimes it is about time, on other occasions about a lack of motivation. Sure, we are all human and I don't beat myself up and focus on what I am not achieving, but I need to remain aware and aim to correct my course. I once heard someone talk about all the books they hadn't read on their bookshelf as an anti-library. A reminder of the learning that is still there, the things you do not know yet. I like this. My unachieved goals on my daily to-do list are also like this. Perhaps they are a reminder to keep striving, to make the use of my time. To not let myself slip too much.
Gary Vaynerchuck is constantly reminding us that time is all we have. And we have more of it than we think. It just depends on how we use it. Using it consistently over time is key. So, what behaviours do you want to put in place to help you create habits, that produce results over time? What small steps can you commit to that will keep you moving forward towards your goals and dreams and eventually help you achieve what you want?
Here are some of my commitments for consistency of the next 3 months.
The important part here is to recognise what I need to do to be consistent. To know when in my day I can do Duolingo for instance. Usually it is on public transport, but at the moment I am driving more than usual for my work, so I need to change this habit to fit it in. Perhaps when I get up in the morning. To do the minimum I have set for myself. To not let it go all together (which is easy to do). 5 mins is better than nothing. Don't shoot for 1 Hour when you only have 10 minutes. Know your minimum for success.
What is the result? Perhaps in time, the length of activities naturally grows as interest and habits change. Perhaps they don't. When I first used a Fitbit, I drove my family crazy as I paced the lounge room to achieve my goal, but now I seem to achieve it more easily. It just took time and consistent effort. My mind and body adjusted to the challenge and I found ways to be active without completely reinventing my life. I have also been consistent.
Take a moment to check where you can be consistent. To work out your minimum and to build this over time. We have time and it will take effort, but it is worth it.
David Corcoran is a Personal Development Trainer who specialises in Voice and a professional Opera Singer. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.