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How to Make A Break-Through Despite Feeling Stuck…

By July 4, 2017 Balance, Blog, Career, Making Dreams Come True

So you have an incredible vision of something that you want.  Good on you.  You are special, and strides ahead of anyone who accepts an unhappy existence, not daring to dream of something better.  But what do you do when it doesn’t seem to be happening?  Maybe you know that you haven’t put  in a full effort to achieving your dream or haven’t fully committed to it yet.  Or maybe you have been putting in 110%, doing everything you can but things just don’t seem to be progressing.  Either way, (go ahead and assume that what you want is fully possible) and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is………(insert your dream) something I really want?
  2. Am I prepared to do everything I can to (ethically) make it happen?

If you answered yes then this article is for you.  (If you answered no, maybe it’s time for a different dream?).  In this post we are going to look at a few areas you can work on to unblock your path to success.  Sometimes a small tweak in approach might be all that is needed, sometimes a major mind-set shift is in order!

Not all advice applies to everyone at any given time.  So I have represented each point as a spectrum.   For best results try to identify which end you lie closer to, and consider how you can develop a more balanced approach.

  1. Keep your promises<…………………………………………………>be prepared to re-negotiate

Are you often late or find you don’t follow through on things you start?  Do you tend feel discouraged and give up when things get difficult? If so, focus on  keeping your promises to other people and more importantly to yourself.  Even something as small as committing to being on time consistently will start to change your mindset to one of following through and getting things done.  Then you will be able to trust yourself to follow through on bigger and bigger projects.

 

Or do you tend to stay on the same path even when there doesn’t seem to a good reason anymore? Do you tend to resist change?

It is essential to success to be able to persist when things get difficult.  But if it gradually becomes apparent that you no longer want what you are working towards, it may be time to re-negotiate the goal with yourself or others involved.

 

(Note: when you suddenly feel frustrated/like giving up, this is likely the natural resistance that comes with working through a challenging time.  Our minds are very good at coming up with excuses not to persist when things get difficult!  While uncomfortable, these thoughts are also a good  indicator that we are being challenged and are in a position to grow by pushing through the challenge.  On the other hand, when it slowly dawns on you after much thought that you need a change in your path/goal it may be worth exploring what that change might be).

 

  1. Don’t give up <…………………………………………………> try a fresh point of view

Some say doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.  True, but that doesn’t mean giving up.  Doing something differently  could mean means identifying the obstacles and figuring out ways around them. This could be a small tweak to the approach you are trying, or coming at it from a completely different angle.

“People think innovation is just having a good idea but a lot of it is just moving quickly and trying a lot of different things” Mark Zuckerberg.  So if something isn’t working, brainstorm, read around the topic, bounce ideas off other people.  Try a slight variation, a completely different approach or do both at the same time.

 

Part of not giving up and being creative in your approach is also developing a positive attitude to failure.  If you are not failing at something regularly, chances are you are not challenging yourself regularly.  Every failure not only started as an opportunity for success, but becomes an opportunity to grow and hone your approach.

 

Look at successful people in any field and you will see, a lot of the time it’s not that they are smarter/more talented than many other people who didn’t become successful.  But they were persistent and creative in their approach to reaching their goals.

 3. Cultivate a positive thoughts <………………………………>take action (don’t think too hard!)

The first step to success is expecting to succeed.  So it’s great to have a positive mindset and to feel inspired and enthusiastic.  But we all have days where that doesn’t happen.  On those days, I find it helps to have a list of tasks that I can just get on with regardless of how I am feeling without having to think about it too hard.  Sometimes the simple action of pushing myself to make progress is enough to pull me out of a negative funk.

 

4. Acknowledge negative thoughts <………………………………> take charge of your thoughts

You know that voice in your head that starts coming up with negative thoughts and doubts when you think about reaching for a goal?  The voice that comes up with excuses not to go ahead when you think about doing something difficult/uncomfortable even though you know it will help you progress?  Many coaches advocate giving this “voice” its own identity and name (Marcia Wieder calls it “The Doubter”, Carrie Green calls it “The Negative Committee”) .  I like to call it “the voice of negativity”.  Giving this voice its owns identity can help you to constructively tune into these negative thoughts, identify where they are coming from and separate them out so that they don’t have to colour everything that you think.  Then you can more objectively assess these thoughts, identify the pearl of wisdom within them (this voice is good at identifying obstacles which you can then construct a way around) and then remove any excessive melodrama which might block your positivity and path to success!

 

5.Ask for help <…………………>make it easy for the other person/make it a two way street

Most people actually like the idea of being able to help others. So don’t be afraid to ask.  But for your benefit and theirs, as Marcia Wieder says, “make it easy for them to say yes”.  For example saying “could you help me with this…. (really big project)…..” and not specifying how, requires that person to do all the heavy lifting/thinking and less likely to respond to your request.  But coming up with some options and saying “could you help me by doing….( a), b) or c))” makes it a lot easier for them to decide if they can do one or all of those things to help.  Be respectful of their time, be concise and always be on time.

It also helps to be considerate and giving and either make it so that the other person gets value out of helping you or make it clear that you will be available to help them out in the future.

 

6. Celebrate successes <…………………> keep the goal in sight

I have adopted the practice of celebrating success from 7 figure success coach Emily Williams and inspirational author and speaker Cara Alwill Leyba.  Both do this with inspiringly well with style, glamour and pizazz!  When it comes to keeping a positive mind-set, there are few things better than regularly celebrating small (and large) successes.  Whether with a glass of bubbly or lunch out with a friend, celebrating success is a great way to remind yourself you are moving forward, even when your ultimate goal may still seem far away.

On the other hand, keeping your eye on the prize keeps you from being complacent and keeps you continually moving forward.  It also helps to focus daily tasks by regularly reassessing whether what you are doing is in alignment with your goal.

 

7.Learn with an open mind <…………………> learn with a questioning/objective mind

Feed your mind with all the resources you can to grow and move towards your goal.  But take the time to monitor what you are taking in.  Be open to considering different approaches, but look for evidence to back up what you are reading where applicable and consider whether the advice is right for/applies to you at the current time.

 

8.Know and trust yourself <…………………> Get objective opinions

As above, separating negative thoughts/excuses which are motivated by a fear of something new/difficult from other thoughts is very useful.  But if you are used to letting this “voice of negativity” run the show, so to speak, it can be very difficult to separate it from reality/thoughts of reason.  This can take time and in the meantime it can be helpful to seek the advice of a wise friend, mentor or coach to help you sort through these thoughts when faced with difficult decisions/challenging times.

 

9.Love yourself as you are<…………………>never stop growing

As an example, if you are trying to get in shape, it is healthier and more sustainable to love your body and focus on caring for it getting it healthy than punishing it with restrictive diet and excessive exercise.  But I myself have fallen into the trap of using punishment/negativity as a motivator rather than starting from a place of self-acceptance and moving towards something positive.

I used to be motivated to achieve by the fear of not amounting to anything/not reaching my potential/not making a difference/being a disappointment.  I had no wish to get rid of these fears as I thought they were  useful and necessary motivators.  However, through my work in success coaching and self-development, I have found that a mind-set of loving yourself and looking forward to a dream that excites you is far more motivating and condusive to creative solutions.  Not to mention that it makes for a much happier and fulfilling life!

Of course loving yourself as you are doesn’t mean you won’t work to improve yourself/invest in yourself.  Think about what you want to achieve and then become the kind of person that would happen to.  Want to have a successful career? Work at your craft but also get well connected and network.  Want to meet an amazing life-partner?  Be inspired by your own dreams and you will glow, know and feel secure in yourself. Want to be an amazing performer? Build an image based on your most unique, winning qualities.  There is something unique and special inside you that only you can offer but it is hard for other people to see it if you don’t know what it is yourself or how to channel it.  Work towards being the best version of yourself.

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5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Worry About Making the Wrong Career Choice

By May 30, 2017 Blog, Career

 

  1. Your instincts will usually lead you in the right direction

If you are drawn to it in the first place, chances are it is at least a good place to start.

  1. You can change direction (which doesn’t necessarily mean the time was wasted)

Anything you do will build on your skills, experience and contacts in some way.

  1. You could create your own niche in the field

Many career fields have a huge range of  sub-speciality areas and even more potential areas which could be developed.  So if you find your dream job in the field doesn’t exist, just maybe, you could create it…

  1. Sometimes uncertainty is good

“Not knowing” what you want can open you up to amazing possibilities which you might not have seen if you were laser-focused on exactly where you were going

  1. You don’t actually have to choose just one thing

More and more people are having multiple jobs in their lifetimes or even simultaneously, because that’s what suits them.  Author Emilie Wapnick calls these people Multipotentialites  (you can find out more about multipotentialites on her website Puttylike, her book “How to be Everything” and her TED talk.

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Book Recommendation: Girl Code, by Cara Alwill Leyba

By May 16, 2017 Blog, Career, Making Dreams Come True

Cara Alwill Leyba is a Master Life Coach and author .  Her book Girl Code is an inspiring, kick-ass romp of a read full of empowering advice with a focus on celebrating the power of bonding with other women as a key ingredient in achieving happiness and success in life and work.

Girl Code outlines a great approach for driven women who have big plans; go for it, hustle, but its OK not to be perfect all the time…and its fun to add a little sparkle and glamour where-ever possible!

(I had the pleasure of meeting Cara recently her London networking meet. Cara is delightful in person and the event was everything she writes about; fabulous women getting together and making connections over sparkly champagne!)

 

 

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How to Stay Balanced When You Have A Million Things to Do!

By October 30, 2016 Balance, Blog, Career, Organsation and Planning

Sometimes it seems like life just gets busier and busier.  Are you constantly rushing around day long? Have even hobbies started to feel like a drain on your time? Or are you thinking “hobbies, who has time for hobbies?”?  It might be time to pause and restore some balance to your life.  Limiting time spent on certain things and taking the time to look after yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you will get less done.  To the contrary, if you have a defined time to get tasks done in, and start out refreshed and enthusiastic rather than exhausted and deflated you may be much more productive!

Here are 13 tips for finding balance in a busy lifestyle.

 

  1. Set boundaries and goals to stay focussed on what matters

Is work or some other aspect of your life taking over a lot more time than you think it should?  Assess what you want to achieve in this area, what is needed to achieve that goal and what is extra.  Create a timetable to allow you limits the time spent but that will allow you to reach your goals.

  1. Do a little each day; something is better than nothing

Having just been through one of the busiest periods in my life, I found exercise really, really hard to fit in/be motivated enough to do.  I am now fitting in just 10-15 minutes of exercise per day.  But it has actually made a huge difference in how I feel and is something that I can commit to as there is no excuse for not finding 10 minutes in the day!

  1. Actually…aim to juggle rather than balance

I’m a firm believer that if you really want to do something, then you can find a way to fit it into your life…at some point.  But no one can do everything every day.  There may be some things you can only spend time on a couple of times a week.  There may be some things that you want to try for a certain period at some point in your life (eg. run a marathon) but may or may not want to continue indefinitely.

  1. Take refreshing breaks, for example

-getting up for a few minutes after every hour at your desk

-having a mid-week evening out

-taking holidays; A great piece of advice I was given when I started working was that the best time to start planning a holiday is as soon as you get back from a holiday.  That way you always have something to look forward to.

  1. Indulge in a few little treats each day such as:

listening to an uplifting podcast on your commute, having a bubble bath, a hot cup of tea while reading a good book, a luxurious piece of dark chocolate…whatever helps you feel relaxed, positive or energised

  1. Take care of your body:

-have a generally healthy diet with some occasional treats

-get enough sleep, and ideally have a regular sleep pattern

-get some exercise, a little regularly is better than none at all

  1. Take care of your mind and spirit

-regularly stimulate your mind with new skills and information, thought-provoking books movies and  conversation, travel and generally get out of your comfort zone from time to time

-regularly relax your mind: read or watch something relaxing, consider trying a new stress-release technique (meditation, prayer, mindfulness, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation etc.)

-indulge your creative side: cook, bake, draw, paint, write, make music, dance, whatever you like

  1. Take the time to look fabulous

Ever noticed how the way you dress and groom can affect the way you feel and behave? Wear something that makes you feel confident and together.

  1. Invest in quality time with those you care about

-talk, have fun with and relax with family and friends

  1. Consider regularly doing something to help someone else

It might just help you feel better/more balanced/in perspective too.

  1. It’s OK to go “all-out” for short, defined periods of time

We all go through periods in life where there is some sort of major deadline (such as an exam) and one thing can take over almost every waking minute.  That’s OK, just try to make sure there is a defined end to this crazily busy time and maybe plan something to look forward to when it’s over.

  1. Remember…things change

Life is dynamic, circumstances change, we change… Roll with the punches and regularly reassess how things are working.  Consider if your schedule needs to be tweaked or if something doesn’t fit your life anymore and needs to be let go to create room for new things.

Have a wonderful week!

 

*this article first appeared as a guest post on www.nzgirl.co.nz

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Turning Dreams into Reality –the Game Plan…

By July 30, 2016 Blog, Career, Making Dreams Come True, Organsation and Planning

Once you are clear on your goals, it’s time to make things happen!  Planning, organisation and regular reflection on how things are going can turn a lofty dream into an achievable goal.

Tips for turning a goal into reality:

  1. Use  the SMART approach (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound), to further define your goals.
  2. Make a Master Plan/Timeline

I like to make the master-plan/timeline pretty and pleasant/motivating to look at, including tick-boxes to check-off as I complete things.  I also place it somewhere I can see it and refer to it each day. There is something very satisfying about crossing or ticking things off as you go!

  1. Each day look the timeline and think about what you want to achieve for that day or week and make a list of things to do in the immediate future
  2. Each week , briefly reflect on how things are going and if anything needs to change
  3. Customise the timeline to the goal and the way you like to do things.

For example,   if there is not a definite deadline eg. the goal is to run a blog… the plan could be structured as follows…

 

dotstable

 

If there is a definite deadline, eg the goal is to pass an exam, then the master plan might be organized as below. It’s a good idea to build in contingency time.  Things often take longer than expected.  I always include a plan to “celebrate” after the deadline has passed.  It seems to help me maintain a positive mindset and remember what I am working towards!

 

flowertable

Good luck with your dream-making, planning and achieving.  If you decide to try any of these tips, do let me know you go in the comments below!

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Live The Dreams –that’s right, plural…

By February 21, 2016 Blog, Career, Making Dreams Come True

Some people might be brilliant at and passionate about one thing only, others of us need to pursue several different interests to feel balanced and complete.

“Can I pursue more than one “serious” dream?”

Yes! Though you might have to pick one or at most 2 at a time to really concentrate on and become really good at. (No one wants to be a jack of all trades but master of none!).

Make a Plan to Concentrate on One or Two Things at a Time

You don’t have to pursue every goal you have for your life at the same time…For example if you want to play a sport professionally, you probably need to start as early as possible. If you want to write a book, that can potentially wait until later in life. Often, the skills you develop in one area can give you a unique edge in another and you can use this to your advantage (eg. you could write a sports book or write about something which helped you succeed in sport as well as other areas of life). Just because you are concentrating on one thing doesn’t mean you can’t have other things on the boil in the background. For example you may spend all day training for a sports competition but you might find it do-able, even enjoyable to spend an hour in the evening writing your book.

You may have to adapt some goals, particularly if they are further down on your list of dreams to pursue

If something you want does not seem realistic, consider what it is about that thing that you actually love and decide if you can achieve that another way. For example one particular dream I had as a little girl was to be a ballerina. As I grew into my teens, I knew this was not going to be possible if I also wanted to pursue a career as a scientist or doctor. So I took up a number of other forms of dance which required less rigorous and ongoing training, and for a time was able to fit in dancing gigs between other commitments. I still dance but have now moved on to focus on writing/blogging as you can see!

So there may be no need to choose between the things that you love. If you plan it right, you may just be able to have your cakes and eat them too!

sandakan high tea

 

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How Decide to Which Dreams to Pursue…

By January 17, 2016 Blog, Career, Making Dreams Come True

Of course no one else can tell you what you should be doing with your life.  Only you can decide that.  Also, no one single approach is going to suit everyone. Some people don’t mind jumping in with both feet and quitting their day job to pursue their dream, trusting that everything will work out. That is fantastic and I really believe that if you really want something, you absolutely should pursue it. But I myself like to be reasonably sure of financial stability and some chance of success before putting in a lot of time and resources. So here is my slightly risk-adverse take on making major, potentially life-changing decisions….

“What should I do with my life?!” 

Remember daydreaming about what you might “be” when you grew up?

I have one amazing friend who, as a child,  said she was going to be a scientist (and has written proof of this!), and then proceeded to do exactly that.  But we don’t all have such foresight! I myself had a list of any number of things, which would change from week to week depending on how I felt at the time.  I have never been able to map out my career years in advance with any certainty, but have taken up opportunities as they arose.  I have no regrets about where I am now and the path I have taken to get here.  So I guess, the point I am making is that:

  1. It’s OK not to know exactly where you want to be in 10 years. There is no harm planning, of course, but be prepared to adapt and change your plans. That way, you will be open to opportunities that might lead you to something even better.
  2. Do have an idea of what sort of thing you might want to do and start there.

I generally set off in the general direction I want to go, and then make more specific decisions and take up various opportunities as they arise.

Say you are interested in science but you are not sure which field.  So at university you try papers in botany, biochemistry, biology and psychology.  You develop a particular interest in one of these areas, start a project with a professor you admire and thus find your way into that field.

 

What If I think I want to do something but am not sure?”

Thinking in terms of these questions usually helps me to clarify if I am really prepared to put in the effort to make something happen.

  1. Is this something I am really prepared to work hard for?
  2. Would my life feel incomplete if I didn’t do this?
  3. What is the chance that I might realise it’s not what I want after all?
  4. If I tried but couldn’t achieve the goal, what would I lose?
  5. Would having tried give me the closure to move onto something else?
  6. Is quitting an option if it doesn’t seem to be working out? If so, how will I decide when to stop?

 

“ Can I really make this happen?”

There is no fool-proof way to eliminate the risk that your time, efforts and other resources might not pay off, but you could consider the following:

  1. Honest self-appraisal. We might be wrong about ourselves of course, so don’t stop there, but it’s the obvious place to start!  Gather all the information you can about what it might take to succeed and then consider your abilities.
  1. Consider the opinion of a trusted family member or friend.  Take their opinion into consideration, but remember those close to us may have  pre-conceived ideas about what we can or can’t do, so this is only one consideration.
  2. Consider getting an opinion from a professional in the field if applicable/possible
  3. If possible try to get some experience in the area you are interested in or take a course to see if you like it and might be good at it.

 

Just for fun, if you are considering pursuing a new path, try this!

Copy, print and fill out the table below…..

 

whichdreamstable

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Why you should R-E-A-C-H for your dreams

By January 7, 2016 Blog, Career, Making Dreams Come True

Why should you reach for your dreams?

So that you can be fulfilled and happy right? And because you almost certainly can make at least some of your dreams come true.

The more pertinent question is:

“Why shouldn’t you?” (What is stopping you?):

Lack of funds? Time? Too much effort? Don’t think you have what it takes? Commitments to others? Lack of opportunity?

Ok, not every dream anyone ever thought of is going to be realistic. But you owe it to yourself to at least go through the process of figuring out what will really make you happy (if you don’t already know), exploring what it would take to happen, and if you are prepared to do what it takes.

Going this process, if nothing else, will at least allow you some closure if you decide not to pursue a given path. At best, it will start you on the path to fulfilling your wildest dreams!

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