Blog

Can you?

Do you ever question yourself about what is possible for you to do?

Leadership and personal growth guru John Maxwell writes in his book, "The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth", that how you ask yourself the question about your abilities greatly determines whether or not you will achieve something.

This is how he says it:

"At first glance, the questions Can I? and How can I? may appear to be very similar. However, the reality is that they are worlds apart in terms of results. Can I? is a question filled with hesitation and doubt. It is a question that imposes limitations. If that is the question you regularly ask yourself, you're undermining your efforts before you even begin. How many people could have accomplished much in life but failed to try because they doubted and answered no to the question 'Can I?'

When you ask yourself, 'How can I?' you give yourself a fighting chance to achieve something. The most common reason people don't overcome the odds is that they don't challenge them...

Continue Reading...

The art of complaining

Have you ever been told to stop complaining? Well, I don't think that we should stop complaining.

I believe that complaining is often a very good way to improve things. Effective complaining gives important feedback to people, it can result in better service from companies and employees and it can encourage people to change ineffective behaviour.

We do, however, need to complain in an effective way that is likely to bring about the change that we seek.

Here are the three essentials to an effective complaint:

1) Complain to the right person. Is the person you are complaining to in a position to make changes to what you are complaining about? If so, go ahead. They are the right person to complain to. This is the ONLY person that the complaint should be made to. Everything else is just whining and venting and tiresome to listen to!

2) Complain at the right time. We often make complaints and requests (demands!) for a change of behavior in the middle of a conflict situation. This not...

Continue Reading...

What responding looks like in real life

The time it takes to respond rather than react is not long.

Pausing to choose a value based response can be as little as ten seconds. The time and energy it saves you in not having to 'clean up' afterwards is immeasurable.

Let's take a quick example:

What reaction looks like: It is one of those mornings. Your 8-year-old took long to get dressed for school and is now rushing through breakfast. He spills the whole jug of milk on the table as he tries to pour it into the cereal bowl. You get angry, yelling at him, reminding him about how he is NEVER ready on time, how you will ONE DAY leave him at home so he will miss school etc etc. Sound familiar?

So now, you have spilt milk AND an upset child. You are feeling awful about yelling and are wondering on how you will make good on your threat of leaving him at home.

What responding looks like: It is one of those mornings. Your 8-year-old took long to get dressed for school and is now rushing through breakfast. He spills the whole jug of...

Continue Reading...

Getting in touch with your values

Did you practice pausing over the weekend? How did it go?

One of the ways that we can make the pause effective is to remind ourselves of our deepest values often.

Recently I have become aware of my temptation to become critical in conversations with certain people. This is not serving me at all. It makes me feel bad about myself as it goes against my values of supporting family and choosing kindness in all circumstances.

So whenever I am in a situation that has a pattern of triggering me, I do two things:

1) Before the interaction, I remind myself of my values related to this person or situation. Values that are much bigger and more important than the petty things that are causing me to be critical.
2) I repeat the words "be kind, be kind, choose kindness" softly to myself throughout the interaction.

I am realizing that it is SO much easier to stop myself rather than deal with the consequences of my inappropriate reactions later!

Here are the steps to doing this process for...

Continue Reading...

Your human tool box

Once your pause button is activated, it is time to delve into your human tool box and see which of the following tools you can use to respond rather than react:

Willpower: this is the ability to stop yourself. Sometimes we tell ourselves we 'cannot' stop ourselves. Not true. We all have willpower and can strengthen it with practice.

Conscience: we have an inbuilt GPS system that guides us regarding our deepest values. It does this by making us feel good when we act in accordance with our values and nags us when we go against them.

Imagination: we have the ability to imagine ourselves doing something other than what we habitually do. Imagination is a powerful ally in helping us move in the direction that we want.
Imagination also allows us to predict the future outcome of our present actions.

So how sharp are your tools?

Which will you use today to help you respond rather than react?

Continue Reading...

Your internal pause button

A powerful way to practice pausing is to intentionally activate your internal pause button.

As human beings we have the ability to stop ourselves before reacting by 'pressing our pause button'.

People use various ways to activate their pause button:

- By imagining reaching for a remote control and pressing pause
- By imagining that there is a pause button on some part of your body and pressing it with your hand to remind yourself to pause rather than react
- By imagining that you are slowing or freezing time

When learning to pause, it is an excellent idea to be intentional about creating and activating your own personal pause button. The more concrete it is in your mind, the easier it is to activate when you need it.

So go ahead.

Where is your pause button? Practice using it in conversation and in your daily interactions. Even when you think you don't need to.

The more you practice when you are not really triggered, the easier it will be to use when you do need it.

Continue Reading...

Learning to pause

If we can pause for just a moment and respond with intention rather than through automatic reaction, our lives would be quite different, don't you think?

Learning to pause takes some practice – the more habituated we become to reacting, the easier and more automatic the reaction is and the greater the need to interrupt this pattern.

The first step in learning to pause is to recognize the trigger/s that cause us to react.

Recognizing the trigger means to tune into bodily sensations that signal stress or upset. These signals are always present moments before we react. They are present in the form of 'knots in the stomach', clenched fists, tight muscles, a headache, fluttering in the heart or stomach, perspiration or some other sensation.

It takes practice to connect these bodily signals to what is happening outside of us and recognize them as a warning sign that we are about to (over) react.

Here is an example:

The phone rings, and it is your mother/mother in law. There is a...

Continue Reading...

Getting to know your pattern

The first step in learning to choose our responses is to become aware of our habitual patterns and reactions.

These patterns of reaction can look different for different people. What they have in common is the lack of conscious choice in choosing the response.

When faced with an outside stimulus, we can react in the following ways:

1) Be passive – do nothing. I like to call this reaction 'playing dead'. This is the ultimate victim mentality. If something is going on in our lives that is not serving us ignoring it is not a good long term strategy as it will breed feelings of resentment and powerlessness.
2) Be aggressive – blame someone or something outside of our control and attack that person or thing. Again not a great strategy for living a successful life or having healthy relationships.
3) Withdraw from the interaction – slightly different from 'playing dead' as the physical/emotional/mental exit from the interaction sends a very powerful message that we are...

Continue Reading...

Are you free?

Do you ever react to something or someone in the moment and later regret what you said or did? Me too!

For those of us who are highly emotional or reactive, it can sometimes seem like reacting in a certain way to circumstances or to people has become automatic, a habit that we are not able to control. It is almost as if we are locked into a pattern, unable to change it.

But conscious living requires us to realize that:

"Between stimulus (what happens to us) and response (what we do in response to what happens to us) there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Victor Frankl

Over the next few days, let us explore this "space" where we can choose our response. Why is this important? Because the ability to choose our response is what makes us human. That's why!

In his book Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl wrote that "everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to...

Continue Reading...

Using the circles in daily life

It is so tempting to hang out in the Circle of Concern. I need not take any action, or any responsibility. I can just vent and complain and momentarily feel that I am engaged in life. At least I care, right?

Not a great formula for a life well lived, though, is it? It is energy draining and ultimately powerless.

This is why I need to move out of the Circle of Concern as soon as possible.

Here is how: every time I am frustrated or upset over something, I need to ask myself a simple question: What, if anything can I do to impact this situation?

If I can come up with actions that I can take (they can be tiny, minute even), great. Let me start acting upon one or some of them. Now I am in my Circle of Control. The more time I spent in this circle, the larger my Circle of Influence becomes. Can you see how?

If I cannot come up with a single thing that I can do (for example, about the US election - SIGH), I need to remind myself that I am hanging out in my Circle of Concern which is the...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.