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July, 2017

Book recommendation: Making your Dreams Come True by Marcia Wieder

By July 28, 2017 Blog, Career, Making Dreams Come True

Marcia Wieder is a best-selling author, TED speaker, CEO of Dream University, repeat guest on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Marcia’s book Making Your Dreams Come true (also available as an Audible audio version) is a blueprint for finding your personal purpose, which will underpin and guide the dreams you pursue, how to live following your dreams (rather than being a slave to your schedule) and powerful strategies for those times when negative thoughts and doubts threaten to derail your path to success.  The writing style is accessible, engaging and very practical and the methods can be applied to any dream (even if at this point your dream is to have a dream…).

Marcia is always personable and down-to-earth in her writing and speaking appearances but has over 30 years experience in the industry and knows her stuff! (Which is why her Dream Coach® program was the very first training I undertook as a success coach).

If you have any questions about how to apply the methods to your particular situation I would love for you to ask in the comment section drop me an email at infochicbalance@gmail.com.

Alternatively if you feel one-on-one coaching through the Dream Coach® program might be right for you, have a look at the course outline here.

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Why I never got on the “gratitude” bandwagon…and the power of words.

By July 9, 2017 Blog, Making Dreams Come True, The Blog

“I got you a job in the fish factory…Little Miss Anya it’s time to take your place in life  and in line.  And be grateful”

-Phlegmenkof to Anastasia in the animated film Anastasia.

I love appreciating the simple pleasures in life as much as the next person, often stop to think how fortunate I am to have such supportive and wonderful family, friends and collegues and have recently taken on the practice celebrating successes, large or small on a weekly basis.  All sounds pretty similar to the concept of the gratitude movement right?  And yet there is something about the word grateful that…well…grates on me.

I’m sure it dates back to connotations formed in my childhood.  I don’t think there was any one moment where it happened, but an impression I got from society in general that to voice that you wanted something different to what you got was to be an ungrateful/a horrible person.  I remember my mother lovingly cutting up an apple for my lunch to make it easier to eat. I wished she wouldn’t because the apple would always turn brown and soft.  But I didn’t want to say anything in case that seemed ungrateful.  In retrospect I’m sure she would have been all too pleased not to have to cut and wrap an apple for each of 5 children!  Anyway, now I like to substitute the word gratitude for appreciation, feeling blessed/lucky/fortunate, or celebration.

Hope is a wonderful and entirely positive word right?  Maybe to most people it is.  But I  have been coaching a client whom it turns out the word hope has a disempowering effect on!  She had fallen into a pattern of not fully committing to things she set out to do because she didn’t expect them to work out, and this was becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.   Her approach became to put in a less-than-full effort and then “hope” everything would work out.  For her “hope” came to mean that she had little control over what happened in her life and that she was at the mercy of luck. So instead of “hoping”  she is now “believing/planning for/taking action to ensure” things work out the way she wants them to.

Success coach Emily Williams talks about not using the word “expensive” and instead taking about an item being high-end or quality.  This shifts the feeling of the item being unattainable and difficult to justify buying to being valuable.

I myself never used the word debt in relation to my student loan or mortgage as I see these as good/normal/reasonable investments and “debt” has negative connotations.

So, certain words can trigger certain negative emotions and thought processes.  Some words like “debt” and “expensive” are widely recognised to have negative connotations.  Some such as the examples of “gratitude” and “hope” here are highly personal/individual. The important thing is to become aware of these trigger-words in order to manage your thoughts and move them in a direction that is condusive to achieving the results that you want.  This may involve desensitising/forming new connotations with the word if you wish, or simply substituting the trigger words with other words that invoke a more positive/helpful thought process.

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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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