Tag Archives: beliefs

What type of Echo are you? Positive or Negative?

??????????Just another Monday. As for the past few months, I was at London’s Heathrow airport, bright and early at the yucky time of 5:30 am, to catch my weekly commuter flight to Copenhagen, Denmark. Those of you who know me, will know, I am not (and I repeat), most definitely NOT, a morning person. Having armed myself with enough tea to wake up an elephant, I settled down at the gate to await my flight’s boarding call.

Suddenly, I noticed the rather penetrating echo of a newscaster’s voice. Every few yards, along the gate side of Terminal 5, there is a large, free-standing Samsung TV set. The sets were a few seconds out of sync, from one side of the building to the other. At first, I was a little irritated, however, then I started to notice the quality of this echo. The ‘outofsyncness’ now became a work of art, and turned out to be in sync in a miraculously Mexican wave like echo – quite astonishing, even at 5:30 am in the morning.

That got me thinking.

We are Echoes

We do this all the time, just like these misaligned TV consoles, we also broadcast our thoughts, our feelings, our body language, our words, our actions into the world, to others and, critically, into ourselves. Our bodies receive and resonate with these constantly echoing messages. Most of our messages are repeating day in, day out, and often are unconscious. According to research, we think over 50,000 thoughts day and most of these are not even positive.

Positive Echoes

“It only takes a split second to smile and forget, yet to someone that needed it, it can last a lifetime. We should all smile more often. – Steve Maraboli”

During the boarding process, one of the flight attendants gave me such a lovely and genuine smile and chirpily wished me a great day. I smiled in return and was still smiling as I entered the plane, highly unusual for me at 6 am in the morning. The smile and her tone of voice vibrated right through my body. I had a deeply felt sense of that smile. Interestingly, me smiling at one of the other passengers caused this man to also smile – a regular on this flight, who I suspect hates early mornings as much as I do. Previously, I had never seen him smile before now. The felt sense of the smile stayed with me for most of the day, making my day more enjoyable.

Anything we do, say or feel causes some sort of resonance in others whether we intend it or not. And it causes resonance within our bodies and energy fields. As my whole mood shifted because of that gift of a smile, me echoing the smile, my fellow passenger’s mood also shifted, and he started being a positive echo.

Negative Echoes

We can also be negative echoes. Most of us, at some point during our day, experience some negative thoughts about ourselves, consciously and often unconsciously. We put ourselves down, feel guilty, blame ourselves, and compare ourselves to other or to impossible personal standards, to name but a few examples. Each negative thought and word, reverberates through our bodies as feelings, sensations and emotions, echoing in every cell of our bodies and our energy field. Our body language, demeanour and even our tone of voice demonstrates this to the outside world.

Some ‘negative’ echoes move through the body quickly before they dissolve into thin air. These are the ones we learn from and then move on. Others get stuck and keep echoing on and on and on, in our body, mind and energy field – stuck echoes can lead to health issues. In coaching we often call them limiting beliefs, false identities, stress or low self-esteem. These are echoes that have become chronic.

Changing our echo

If we wish to be positive echoes, the first step is to notice what we are echoing at any given time:

1.       What are we actually broadcasting?

  • Do we know and/or notice it?
  • What emotions, feelings and sensations is my body giving me?
  • It is positive or negative?
  • Does it stay with us or move right through us?

The second step is to observe what impact our current echo has on our bodies and our environment.

2.       What is the impact this echo has on our body, others, the world around us?

The third step is to make an active change. When we notice what we are echoing ,and it might only be a feeling or an emotion rather something we can put direct words to, we can change it to something we want to echo.

3.       Every time you notice that you are echoing something you don’t want to give out, connect to the emotions, feelings and sensations you want to give out.

Some options for doing this are:

  • Connect to a memory of an experience that contained the emotions, feelings and sensations you wish to echo
  • Laugh or smile at and into your current state – that helps to turn it
  • Consider possibilities of action – often when we echo negatively we feel stuck or without options. Opening up to other ways of being or acting, helps to unstick the state.

Enjoy being a positive echo.

Welcome 2013! A new year – a blank new page to start on for your personal brand

I have asked my friend Valerie, a brand expert, to contribute this article –  this time of year, is a great time to review your personal Brand.

Looking back at our achievements, failures in 2012 and moving towards our aspirations, our personal brand is one of the best tools we have to attract what we want. Getting to understand how our “magnet” worked in the past and how we can make it stronger opens the door to more avenues of realising our dreams.

How does personal branding work?

Personal branding takes place in many ways. Your communication style, your emotions, your values and beliefs systems are all part of a personal brand. It is who you are, what you like, what you do, where you come from. Knowing yourself inside out helps to know which part of your brand you would like to communicate more, which part needs strengthening, which part is not serving your goals. 

Brands evolve over time. Your current brand embraces beliefs that are congruent with your life experiences. Beliefs are part of the invisible part of the “iceberg”. Your communication style is part of your public brand.

Personal branding takes place all the time: when we are dating, going out with friends or mingling with the family. Our values, cultural norms, emotional management determines who we attract as friends, potential partners, clients. The status of our relationship with family members is determined by how well we understand what makes or breaks a relationship. 

What we use to brand ourselves depends on the contextual situation, the person we are interacting with and how high are the stakes. If punctuality is a core value and having to work with people whose relationship with time is more fluid requires an assessment of how important punctuality is as our core value. Expecting people to change so as to suit our needs is not realistic. Meeting the person halfway is a possible option as it encourages the other to do same.

In short, personal branding is not about having great PR skills. It’s more about knowing what emotions are not serving us and how to move to more empowering ones. It is communicating clearly on our core values so that we attract like-minded people, organisations sharing the same values. Without clarity on who we are, we tend to attract only part of what we aim for or we tend to continue experiencing repeated patterns in our relationships…most of the time, the ones that we do not like.

For your “magnet” to be aligned to your aspirations, get to know yourself to your deepest core, honor your feelings and love who you are!

Updating your brand

So take a bit of time this week to consider your brand – your pre-dominant values, emotions, patterns, habits, beliefs, qualities …

  • How do you perceive yourself?
  • How do others perceive you? How do you come across? Relationships are mirrors. What you see in others is part of you.
  • How do you want to be perceived? You attract what you are and not what you want.
  • What would like to update, change or add to your brand this year?

One key tip to updating your brand is to do it one attribute at a time, rather than completely change everything from day one. Patience is a virtue and be kind and non judgmental towards yourself. Especially, when it comes to values and habits, for example, punctuality – if you are regularly late, then being on time from now on is a new habit that takes time and some work to embody. 

Aligning your New Year’s resolutions with your brand

If you set New Year’s resolutions or intentions, check those intentions against your desired brand.

  • Do they support or dilute your brand?
  • Or do you need to additional or different intentions this year to update your brand?

Valerie & Bettina

You can find out more about Valerie Cheong Took at  www.valeriecheongtook.com

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How your judgements of others can limit you!

A blog article by Margie Warrell, a fellow life coach, on – What your judgements say about you? – got me thinking about my own judgements, my clients’ judgements, and how our judgements affected us, our experience and relationships with others.

In her article, Margie reminds us that our judgements close the door on possibilities; and, in my view, not just possibilities, they also stifle potential.

What are judgements?

In essence they are (often) unconscious decisions against a standard that we make about events, people and things. Beliefs are often built on judgements we have made in the past. Judgements usually result us labelling something or someone as good or bad, right or wrong, worthy or not worthy, better or worse, safe or unsafe etc.

Where do they come from?

Judgements are incredibly useful when time is of the essence and you have to make a decision about a life and death situation. We are well quipped for this from your Neanderthal days. Being able to label and recognise an approaching animal as dangerous/friendly, and based on that judgements being able to take appropriate action was a very valuable skill. Nowadays, judgements are useful in situations such as who to trust and not to trust, who to let into our house, whether something is valuable or not valuable. These kinds of judgements keep us safe and protect us.

And there are those other situations where we tend to pass judgement almost all the time, on others and ourselves, for no real reason. Who has not at times thought on meeting someone, maybe a friend or colleague, “she could lose a few pounds”, or “she must be better than me…”, or “She is only ….”. These kinds of judgements say more about us than the other person we are judging, and they can be limiting for us as well as the other person.

Why?

Because, as soon as we judge someone to be a something less or more than we believe they ought to be, we stop being interested or curious about that part of the relationship or the person. We may avoid the person or treat the person in way that might lead to a dissatisfying interaction or limit the potential of the interaction and the relationship.

In judging others we project our own beliefs, standards and criteria onto them. And these beliefs, standards and criteria are also what we judge ourselves against.

Let me give you a recent example: Sarah (name changed for confidentiality), one of my clients, told me about a new colleague, Lena, who came to work in ‘casual’ clothes and not the well coordinated suits with high-heeled shoes most woman wore in the office. Sarah was resentful that Lena was allowed to get away with dressing differently to everyone else. She felt she could not take her seriously and had decided to avoid her. When I probed, it turned out that Sarah was envious of how comfortable Lena seemed in her own skin, how easily she has been accepted and integrated into the team. Sarah felt that she herself would not be accepted if she showed up authentically. 

After our session Sarah decided to have a coffee with her colleague to get to know her. She was amazed that Lena was not only very experienced and very friendly, Lena also offered to help Sarah develop in one particular area that she needed for her promotion. Had Sarah stuck with her judgements, she would not have gotten to know this wonderful person, now a good friend, and she would have most likely not been promoted as quickly as she did.

Does Sarah dress differently now? No, she does like her heels and skirt suits, however she realised that there were elements of her work life where she was not being true to herself because she felt she would not be accepted as herself, and was able to make significant and successful.

What opportunities are your judgements shutting down for you?

If this resonated with you, consider noticing your judgements throughout the day. Pick a situation where you remember what the judgements were and use the following questions as a guide. Ideally write your answers in a journal.

  1. Where do you pass unconscious judgements about others? What do you feel when you do that? And what are those judgements? And, what were your actions based on those judgements?
  2. What do your judgements reveal about you? What do you believe about life, yourself and others? What are your hidden standards for yourself? How is that judgement impacting you? Is it limiting or enabling? And in what way?
  3. If you could suspend judgement, how would you act then? What questions might you ask the other person? How might those different actions have impacted the situation or the relationship?

This process also works well with a relationship or a recurring situation that is not working so well for you at the moment. When you meet that person again or the situation recurs, try out the different actions that you came up with in question 3 and notice what is changed.

Feel free to share your stories in comments box.

Enjoy busting your judgements.

Procrastination is just signal that something is not right!

Who has not been there? You have a deadline or a target, and should really be doing something about it, yet, you procrastinate. You do everything else, even the admin or the dreaded ironing rather than tackle that particular task or goal. And not even iron will power or super discipline help. You still procrastinate. Often, procrastination is an unconscious process that we only become aware of when we are running out of time to complete our task or goal by the deadline or target time/date.

Why do we procrastinate? And how can we make procrastination our friend and not our enemy?

Both those questions are linked. In order to make procrastination our friend, we first need to become aware why we are procrastinating.

1. Why do we procrastinate?

It is very simple, we procrastinate because there is something not quite right with what we decided to do or how/when/where or with whom we decided to do it. This something wrong is a gap or discrepancy of some sort.

In my experience, these gaps or discrepancies that cause us to procrastinate tend to fall under the following categories:

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Beliefs we hold about ourselves
  • A values violation
  • Overwhelm
  • Lack of knowledge or skills

And how can we make procrastination our friend and not our enemy?

Once we know what motivates us to procrastinate, we can address these reasons. Being aware is half the battle.

Every behaviour has a positive intention

So does procrastination. We do what we do because it gives us something positive or satisfies some need we have, we just might not realise it. So when you examine the reasons for any procrastinating behaviour, observe the behaviour from a neutral point of view and refrain from judging yourself. Look for the positive intention:

  • What is procrastination protecting you from?
  • What is it helping you avoid?

Consider the list of reasons for procrastination above, if nothing comes to mind. And remember, procrastination does not necessarily have to be a bad thing!

Addressing the reasons for procrastination

Fear of failure

This is a biggie for most people. What if I fail? Most of us fear that we will then no longer be appreciated by others or fall in their estimation. It is so drummed into us from early age that failure is something terrible, but is it? Or is it simply a form of feedback that the way we did something did not have the desired result?

So ask yourself:

  • Is this really true that we will lose others respect, esteem and/or appreciation if we ‘fail’?
  • What is the worst that could happen?
  • What is failure anyway? Edison had a 1000 odd so-called failures before he invented the lightbulb. He chose to call them steps or feedback. If you ‘failed’, how will you take that feedback, learn from it and change your strategy to achieve the task or goal?

Fear of success

This may sound weird, however it affects a lot of people. What happens once the goal is achieved? If there is nothing beyond that goal, a lot of people procrastinate about achieving the first goal. So if that is your reason for procrastination, look beyond your immediate goal.

  • What does this goal help you to achieve?
  • What doors open up for you once you achieved this goal?
  • And what is your goal beyond the goal?

Beliefs we hold about ourselves

Negative or unhelpful beliefs we have about ourselves hold us back from achieving what we want. Common examples of such beliefs are ‘I am not worthy’, ‘I don’t deserve’, ‘I am stupid’, ‘I am clumsy’ etc.. We tend to acquire these kinds of beliefs during childhood through repetitive experiences or decisions we made about ourselves. The way belief work is like unconscious programmes that run in the background and cause us to make choices that support those beliefs.

  • The first step is awareness and identifying the belief you hold about yourself. Listen to your excuses and self-talk about your task or goal, and pick our any ‘I am’, ‘I am not’ or ‘I am too’ statements.
  • The next step is to ask yourself: Is this belief about myself totally and utterly true everywhere and in any situation? What other evidence is there for the opposite belief?
    Give yourself permission to entertain the thought that your belief about yourself could be false.

Dealing with unwanted beliefs can be a challenge on your own, so consider asking for help from a qualified coach, NLP practitioner or therapist.

A values violation

Values are what is important to us. When something we want or have been asked to do goes against what is important to us, we have a natural tendency to dig in our heals and procrastinate.  The task or goal may be important to someone else, however, if it does not satisfy our core values, we are not likely to give it priority. So, check if what you are procrastinating about falls into this category:

  • What is important to you in this context?
  • Why is that important to you?
  • What other options are there to change, remove or delegate this value violating task? Be open-minded when considering this question.

Overwhelm

You have bitten off more than you can chew in the time you have available. Often procrastination is a stress avoidance mechanism. So if you have too many things to do in a short space of time and you do not know where to start, consider the following:

  • Prioritise! Prioritise! Prioritise! Which tasks are super urgent and which ones will keep? Are all of them equally important?
  • Who can you delegate to? Who can help you?
  • If the task is too big, and seems to loom over you, break it down into small pieces, and start with one piece at a time.

Lack of knowledge or skills

If that is you, and you know you have a knowledge gap or skills gap, consider the following:

  • Is it absolutely necessary that you do the task personally? Or can you outsource the task to someone else who has the knowledge and the skills?
  • If you need to do the task yourself, then think about creatively how can you acquire the knowledge you need and learn the necessary skills?
  • We often don’t know the how of a goal or a task. And in many cases we only find out the how by starting the task. So what you can do today to start this task? And even if the next step is to discover where to acquire the knowledge or where to find someone who knows how to do it!
  • Some people use procrastination as a creative space – they do something else so their mind can sort out a solution or way forward in the background. If that’s you and you usually achieve what you set out to do, then don’t worry about procrastination.

This list of suggestions for dealing with procrastination is by no means complete, however it will give you a great starting point. Once you tackled procrastinating about one thing, you will find it so much easier the next time. Be patient with yourself and make sure you acknowledge the positive intention of the procrastinating behaviour.

If you have any specific questions or challenges, feel free to share these via the comments box, and I am more than happy to answer your questions.

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