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Uncertainty undermines your sense of purpose

Uncertainty undermines your sense of purpose. You’re not sure what’s going to happen, what direction to take, or whether you are doing the right thing. You feel disempowered, no longer in control, at the mercy of other people or events, or prey to your mind and its fears.

It might be that this is due to events. Brexit could have put a halt to plans. Your organisation might have put investment and hiring on hold. You’re not sure whether you’ll have to move countries or whether you’ll have a job. Business conditions might have turned unfavourable. Maybe your landlord wants you to vacate your flat but you are sure where to go, or what you want.

Or, its personal. Your partner isn’t committed or is hinting at getting out. Or you’re not sure if you want to be in this relationship. Should you jump ship or stick around? Perhaps things are unstable and you’re not sure where you are.

You might lack a clear sense of direction yourself. You find it hard to commit when you don’t know what you want. Many people spend whole chunks of their lives sitting on the fence.

When we hesitate and hold back from action, the universe goes on hold too. We don’t say what we want. So how can the universe send you what you want? Uncertainty gets mirrored back to you, in the lack of commitment from others. We get back what we put out, or don’t put out. Doubt and confusion takes its place.

It doesn’t have to be like this: we have choice

What can be hard to recognise is our own part in our process. We are at cause in our lives, though it feels like we are at the effect of it. In other words, we feel things, events or other people cause what happens for us. In reality, we are the cause of what occurs, strange though that can seem.

This is about our thoughts and in particular our beliefs. What we think and believe is what occurs. It creates a state and that emotion goes out there and comes back in certain configurations.

Thus if we feel uncertain, that is what we get. And we disempower ourselves.

But we can choose. Even when it seems like we can’t. We can choose to think and feel differently.

It might take working on, which is why people do personal development and learn skills in managing the mind. But we can learn to step back from our egos, witness them, and enter a calm, peaceful state.

Anchored in your Self

When anchored in your Self, you are at peace. You have then stepped aside from the whirring of the mind, and your state, which in this case is uncertainty. It isn’t you.

When we are in this space, we can choose. We can let go. We can take charge. We can create our own purpose and have our own intentions. We are once again aligned to the creative force of the universe, who can now send you what you know you want!

Doesn’t that feel better?!

To feel better, plan how you can take charge of your life, and get some coaching.

Contact me

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Have you lost confidence recently?

Confidence – that ability to believe in yourself and your capability – can be present one moment and gone the next. It can help us to sparkle, impress and be effective at what we aspire to do, and its absence can weaken, undermine and inhibit our potential and what we accomplish. When we’ve lost confidence in some area of our lives, we really know the difference because there’s a gap between what we really want and what is occurring right now. We can feel undermined, held back and limited in some way. And it’s likely we don’t know what to do about it, otherwise we probably wouldn’t feel like this for long.

You might have lost confidence recently because something’s happened to undermine it. It might be some knock-back, a blow that affected your belief in yourself, like losing a job or some severely negative feedback that led you to doubt your abilities and your worth. It might be that some change has occurred that might be unexpected or you’ve only just woken up to, like you’ve always flourished at what you do but you’ve now noticed that the world has moved on and somehow you are behind the curve. It could be that something has changed in your environment, like you’ve fallen out with someone and broken up with them, and the old certainties have gone, or so it seems. You might have reached a certain stage or age in life and in reviewing your situation you might have realised that all is not so comfortable as you had imagined.

Thus people lose confidence for a whole manner of reasons, both in their work and their personal lives, like redundancy, change at work, a new role, divorce or breakup of a relationship, operating in an unfamiliar environment, reaching a certain age or an awareness of aging, illness, an accident or some other health issue, not coping with stress, moving house, bereavement – there are many possibilities. Yet these can focus our awareness in on our capabilities and our faith and trust in what we can accomplish.

Yet how we respond to it can be crucial to our future. It might be that we are otherwise limited in what we can accomplish unless we deal with the challenge. It might be that we just need to let go and move on. It’s not obvious and we can feel left in some no-mans-land where we don’t feel so good.

It’s a classic reason why people come to me for life coaching or business coaching. There is something they want to accomplish and yet, when we explore the underlying issues, one that comes out is that people want confidence to do what they want to do. Confidence to take action, confidence in dealing with people, confidence in presenting themselves, confidence in public, confidence in managing high-profile situations, confidence in developing their careers, confidence at being at the top of their game, confidence in staying on track and accomplishing what they really want, confidence in completing what they set out to do and in taking the profit from their endeavours.

If you are at a point in your life when you feel you’ve lost confidence recently and need help to re-build it and succeed in what you are trying to accomplish, and you are interested in coaching to help you, contact me here.

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Lack of self belief limits us until we choose to think differently

How often do you not attempt something you would like to accomplish because you don’t believe you can? If you were honest with yourself would a lack of self-belief hold you back? You’d not be alone. Huge numbers of us, even “high achievers”, have areas of their lives where they doubt themselves.

It is not uncommon to find people at the tops of organisations who think they are frauds, that one day they’ll be “found out”, exposed for who or what they really are, “not good enough”. When we don’t believe in our capabilities, we put a limiting thought out there, even if it is a subtle one and not expressed as such. Thus we rule out certain actions that we don’t really know about but have ruled out before even attempting it. Or we perform it at a lower level, perhaps not stretching ourselves as we might.

We might worry about what others might think and say of us. We might fear the perceived negative consequences of failure. We might not think we can perform an activity “very well” and not make a perceived level of acceptability. We may fear the shame we may feel at others’ negative views of us. We may have been ridiculed in the past. We may not have been encouraged as children. A common “truism” of education is that pupils deliver to the level of expectations of their teachers. Our parents may not have praised us but been critical instead. We weren’t as children able to go out and experiment and learn to deal with and overcome lack of success. There’s lots of factors at play here.

Underlying much lack of self-belief is firstly the lack of significant others’ positive mirroring of us as children and a view we develop as children that we weren’t “good enough”.

You can probably tell that a lot of this stuff is around belief, ie a thought we hold, in this case about ourselves. Beliefs can be changed, and often are. They are also relational, in relation to others and what view we think they hold of us. Also it is about a social consensus, or what we think is the consensus, about a standard of behaviour. A lot of this can be illusions, ie stories we made up on the limited and imperfect sets of so-called facts we garnered as children. At core there is often a “root thought”, such as thinking we’re “not good enough”.

All of which is around perception, which we can also choose to change, if we choose to! And that means the self-belief to change it! A vicious circle.

This is where we cut through it and change our beliefs by the simple action of deciding to do it. Carpe diem!

I coach people to think differently about themselves and what they can and will accomplish. Click here

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Are you ever satisfied with what you have got?

Aren’t we having glorious weather here in the UK! Or is the satisfaction tinged with a qualification, like it’s too hot or stuffy, or you can’t get out to enjoy it and you’re sure it’ll be wet by the time your holiday arrives? It’s worth checking what you do with something positive that happens and whether you negate it to some degree. Taking satisfaction in what occurs is something that does not come so easily for many of us.

Being satisfied with what you have got can clash with a deeply held belief that what we have isn’t enough. We tend to think of the grass being greener on the other side. We might for example be heavily invested in the idea that we still have more to do with our lives in some way, like a higher salary, more material possessions, a certain lifestyle or a relationship. What we have now may even be a cause for dissatisfaction, like something is missing. You might from the outside have everything you need but from the inside it isn’t quite right in some way. Such dissatisfaction can eat away at you and you can get frustrated or depressed.

In some aspects of life not being satisfied with the status quo can be seen as a good thing and thus in business for example one might strive to innovate or improve, questioning whether there’s something more or better that can be done. You might notice how businesses use words like “more than” in their strap lines. While you might seek to improve your lot, you could also take satisfaction in what you’ve achieved and it is good to celebrate these. In your personal life however, and in your career even, it can be worth checking the degree of balance and whether dissatisfaction tends to predominate.

In personal development it is quite common to find people who have worked a lot on themselves and yet don’t fully engage with valuing what they have achieved and simply what they have and who they are. Self questioning can be overdone. We can get stuck in introspection and don’t engage enough with the world. We can get into spirals of questioning where what is somehow still isn’t quite right.

It might be worth exploring what the standard is against which we are making these judgements of ourselves, because the bottom line aspect might be low self-esteem, like the belief that “I’m not good enough” that can lurk hidden away inside. Thus instead we can be constantly driven, seeking, wanting, needing, and never quite getting “it”. Instead we’re “wanting of it”, the want of it.

Thus it can be vital to pause, breathe, let go and simply take in where you are at, and see what that’s like. Being in the moment and being mindful, we can appreciate what is right here, that you and I are alive, present, aware, magnificent just as we are, and this world right now is beautiful beyond measure and beyond comparison.

Now if you struggle with that notion, then it’s worth exploring where you go and what that’s really about, and deal with it. Because for some of us there’s a little voice inside that questions this kind of experience. You might for example find yourself disengaged from the experience of the moment and questioning it, or questioning yourself and your value. Being present in the moment invites us to value ourselves and see our own glory, because in being in the moment we’re being in our body, in awareness terms, and sensing and feeling ourselves. Now, if there’s an element that doesn’t like ourselves, we’ll feel it.

Thus the journey becomes one of loving oneself, as well as life, because the self and life are really One.

You can learn more about this, and about how to value yourself and take satisfaction in you and in life, on this course: click here.

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People need to feel more connected to you

Do you find yourself talking about a matter perhaps quite close to you and somehow people don’t seem to quite understand? You might for example be talking and there’s a non-reaction in your audience, like there’s no energy in the room, and people looked switched off, and perhaps bored and distracted. It’s likely that they’re disengaged. So how do you get them so they’re more connected to you and what you’re saying?

Today people need to get from you how it really is. Which sounds good, except that often you don’t know how to convey it, at least not in a way that people really get it. This can be about moving from your facade to how it really feels.

Talking from your facade can be quite easy. It might be habitual. Your facade might be what you present to the world, what you think works with others, behind which you can operate quite safely. Jung called it the “persona”. That way you can keep people from getting uncomfortably close, especially those that haven’t passed the entry test yet.

A clue can be in that you talk “about” something. You might use words like “it is” rather than “I think” or “I feel”. “It” is further away, at the level of the facade. It’s not that you’re being false necessarily, and then you might be, but just that you’re keeping it “out there”, not close in “here”. “Aboutism” is how we talk about what’s going on in a detached, not so emotional way, as if we’re describing something that tells the listener “about” the matter, without bringing them in close to how you really feel about it, what it does for you, and how really plugs into your emotions.

To move to how it really feels is to make it more personal, like what lights you up about it, what it has to do with your life and with your passions, and how it really matters to you in some way. People then feel they can connect with you, resonate with you, feel like they are more at one with you, like it could be their journey too but it’s your’s that you are talking about.

Some people I think seemingly do this a lot, although even this apparent self-disclosure, tears, warts and all cannot necessarily take you close to them. It’s about how you authentically feel. People can put on a good emotional act. One test is how you feel around them.

Thus, to be able to let people in so that they get you authentically, you may well need to do your own journey to get what your authentic self really is. People often don’t know that and you may not know that either! Also you may need to cross the self confidence and self belief threshold about speaking about yourself in front of others. That can involve letting go of the fear and feeling good about you around others. The two can often go together. Then when you’re clear about that, you can trust to let go and be yourself with others, and truly bring people into your world and know that space truly for maybe the first time.

Knowing who you really are, and being yourself, also involves letting others in. Then it comes full circle and we then really know ourselves completely. For it is also through others that we can come to know ourselves. It’s a paradox.

This is why the journey to being authentic is not just about helping others to really get you, but also to finally help you to fully get you.

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Belief in yourself is often the key to what you really want from life

As a coach I get a lot from watching talent shows – well at least one or two of them! – and see what it takes for participants to learn and grow. Watching the Voice recently (wasn’t Leah great!)  I’ve noticed how much a common theme has been about belief in yourself . It struck me because I so often encounter this area in coaching people. It is often core to their success in pushing past their barriers and getting the results they want.

It’s so palpable, the uncertainty in their eyes, their body language and in what they say in their pre-performance coaching sessions. If you contrast this with one who is grounded, centred and strong in how they talk and come across. Of course this needs to be authentic and one who has manufactured this probably wouldn’t carry conviction and get engagement. We can feel a connection with those that are struggling and we probably share in their efforts to succeed. It’s almost as though their struggle is also our struggle, such can be the process of identification. It might even be worth asking yourself whether you find yourself feeling more for the loser in the result than in the joy of the winner at each knock-out stage.

One area that has also stood out has been those who had already made up their mind that they weren’t going through to the next stage, as they admitted, and it left me thinking about the part that our prior thoughts can play on how we perform. If we believe we won’t be able to do something, that’s a pretty strong set-up for not getting there. Our thoughts and our beliefs in particular play a hugely important part in our outcomes. Remember Mohammad Ali’s famous saying, “I am the greatest”, even when he hadn’t won yet, and he became the greatest, for that time.

Learning to believe in yourself is for many of us perhaps the most important journey we can undertake. Depending on where you are at, it can be about identifying and then challenging those limiting beliefs we hold on to, especially the repeat ones, the ones we default to under pressure. It can also be about learning to connect with the part of you that does believe in you. That part does exist, although we might very well not know it. There is a Self inside that is whole, strong, at peace, centred, knowing, certain. Often we’ve disconnected from It at some stage in our early growth. Sometimes, it shows itself briefly, when things just seem to work just right and we feel at one. Then we feel we can do anything, and that anything is possible, and all is right with us and with the world. And it disappears again and we’re left with that self that is, let’s say, anxious, uncertain, worrying, doubting, frustrated, lacking in focus and direction, and not on purpose. Then when we’re in situations where it’s challenging, we may duck out, not quite fulfill what is possible for us. Until, that is, we learn how to connect with that much greater Self inside, who we really are.

You can learn more about our program to support this learning here.

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How to value yourself even on a bad hair day

To value yourself, warts and all, can seem like an easy thing to do on a good day, but what about when it’s not such a good day?

It’s like getting up in the morning and looking at yourself in the mirror and all you see are the less flattering features, regardless of what others say to you. It’s when you’ve gone into work and had some less welcome news or had some negative feedback, and end up feeling bad about yourself. It’s like when you’ve had a disagreement with someone and sense they might not like you so much at the moment. It’s like when things won’t go as you want them too and you feel useless.

When life doesn’t so easily go the way we’d like it to, a default position can be to revert to taking it out on ourselves in some way. This can be an old pattern of course, re-awakened by less positive events. In fact the way events go can be to repeatedly remind ourselves of our low opinion of ourselves.

Yet it doesn’t have to be like this.

To know, respect and be OK with ourselves needs to have some strong anchors to persist in the face of this stuff. This is an aspect of resilience, our ability to bounce back or to keep going in adversity, surely something many of us are being tested in during present times.

To be able to manage those negative thoughts, to be able to centre yourself, to distinguish between what the ego is telling you and your own inner knowing of who you are, and be able to hold to this in the face of adversity, these are core life skills for the seeker.

It can be so easy to have all sorts of uplifting and inspiring thoughts and ideas, but what about the real world of the everyday, what I call the mundane level of living? How do we re-affirm and sustain that core underlying awareness? Because if we don’t have that core inner faith, at some level we could be living a bit fraudulently with ourselves. Then no wonder we experience that in the world, a prevailing theme in present civic discourse (see public life around integrity, honesty, etc).

Here’s when it’s good to take time out to review where you’re going with yourself? It’s good to look at the relationship between how you live your everyday life and what you believe, and between how you view and feel about yourself both in theory and in action. And to connect and consolidate your inner faith in who you are. So you can live more as That.

Come and do that on 18 May 2013 in beautiful Wiltshire, UK. Come and take part in a course designed to consolidate you in your own empowering value of who you are. After all, you’re worth it! Book here.

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Self belief involves developing inner strength

It can be a prevalent theme in one’s life, fluctuating in one’s opinion of oneself between self doubt and positive self belief. At one moment we can be plagued by low self esteem and confidence, worrying about whether we’re “up to it” and “can make it”, what people must think of us, whether we’ve “got what it takes”, and whether we’re really OK. Then in another moment, for some reason, it shifts and we know we can do it, that we’re fine and OK, and it doesn’t matter what people think because we know we’re OK.

Whole groups, organisations and countries can do this too, and so it can be a collective thing, each in our own way, outside of awareness supporting each other in self doubt. The UK is an expert in self flagellation and we seem to be going through a mega-phase of beating ourselves up, finding fault here, there and everywhere. Nothing’s sacred.

And this is the point. The Self is sacred. At our essence we’re love, beauty and truth. Who can find fault with That? Yet even those that hold some understanding of the essential worth of the Self can indulge in periodic bouts of self flagellation. No wonder religion has a field day of it in certain cultures.

Of course we do need to be easy on ourselves, but somehow people can miss this. Self blame and thinking ill of ourselves might be where we’re at, but it isn’t who we really are. Yet, we can flip so violently into the other polarity and not believe in ourselves that it might seem that we’ve lost it, and that what we believed wasn’t true. Some people can even go so far as to ditch their whole belief system in their rage, fury and upset and some kill themselves in the process, the ultimate in retroflection.

What is important is that we have our own recovery mechanisms, and the process of self awareness and self development through some practice can help grow this strength. And inner strength is often what this is all about. We need to forgive ourselves for the hard times we’ve been having, let go (which is real forgiveness), and re-connect with our inner strength. In doing this we’re developing resilience.

I’ve been seeing a lot about resilience in the organisational development literature and practices. Businesses have been seeking ways to build resilience, both as organisations and for their people. There’s this awareness that so tough have times been that pepole go down and can’t get back up. So too in people’s personal lives.

Inner strength is a journey, not a quick fix, much though people continue to seek the latter out. The latter often is about avoiding the inner journey and yet the inner work needn’t be a hard one but needs more a sustained process to become aware of and let go of those tendencies we have to think ill of ourselves when times get difficult, become more aware of our core of inner positivity and self belief referred to above, and develop the will to bring ourselves back in touch with that core. The more we know that inner core, the stronger we get. So commitment and steadfastness is the name of the game.

I have a workshop that is designed to help you develop these abilities around self belief that I am referring to. Click here.

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To value yourself gives you your well-spring for action

As any who has battled with self esteem will tell you, a powerful impulse for action comes from a sense of inner knowing of your self-worth, when you value yourself. We’ll use different words for it and will often refer to things like self belief, valuing ourselves, knowing we are OK, that we’re worth it. We can often limit our actions, and the strategies we choose, and even the insights we come up with on which we make plans, by how we’re feeling inside about us ourselves.

It’s like, what’s the flavour of the moment today? If I’m not feeling so good, a bit down, I might not go out and see someone. If I need to maybe be looking for a new job, if I’m not so sure of myself today, I’ll not take any action or I’ll not be so adventurous or creative in the ideas I come up with for what I might go for. I might not dress myself so attractively to as to be seen in a positive light because I’m not feeling good and don’t want to “make the effort”. I could go on. What on a good day might be easy to do, effortless, and productive, may on a bad day be ruled out or not considered.

The power of getting to know inside who we really are, and to feel OK about what we find, is that we get a more effective metric for readiness for action. We can also more easily develop ways to manage our state, and deal with the ego, because we know what it really is we need to manage.

Our society is so accustomed to teaching that there are external metrics, social conventions, rules of behaviour, expectations, that we are supposed to live up to, either overt or assumed, or ones we’ve made up ourselves and internalised and made unconscious, outside of awareness. What isn’t so easy is to develop your own, inside. For starters, we many of us avoid doing that because we’re afraid of what might be revealed. After all it’s a bit of a contradiction: I limit my potential because of how I see myself but I’m afraid to go inside and find that it isn’t what I thought it is!

It’s very easy for people like me to write that we are inside beautiful beyond measure. But it’s really all just words, until each of us in our own way take that journey and find it for ourselves. When we find our own way to peel back the onion skins and make contact for example with the pure love that dwells naturally within, then we know from personal experience what that means.

Then we can live as That, in whatever that means personally for me or you. It’s a tremendous liberation. No wonder Eastern mystics use exactly that word. When you find your own inner Self, it’s so much easier to go “out there” and be as who you are.

So, you can take this journey if you wish, at your own speed, and at whatever stage in your own growth you’ve reached. You’ll know the stage by the results you get, what occurs and shows up in your life, and how you feel.

Here’s a really good start, a day to explore who you are, to develop your knowledge of yourself within as who you really are, to connect more with the love and joy that is really you and be more as That in your everyday life.

Then, as you develop this knowledge, when you need to take action, you can do so from a more positive base of inner self-knowledge, of Self-knowledge with a capital “S”. Life is then so much easier.

So, you can read more here and book your place here in beautiful Wiltshire at the height of gorgeous spring, in May 2013.

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Building self confidence can mean being more assertive

It’s common theme for those who are challenged by their self confidence that one aspect involves dealing with people more assertive than they are.

A lot of people who are working on building self confidence find that they need to be more assertive. It’s often for many the really hard part, because it can involve them in standing up for themselves with seemingly stronger, more dominant people, and can involve conflict or the fear of conflict.Thus confidence very often has an interpersonal dimension.

A part of this is how we think we are perceived by others. Will they be displeased, angry, or ridiculing? Will we be seen to be at fault in some way? People are very often influenced by their image in the eyes of others, particularly in large groups or in organisations. Another aspect is the fear of another in the sense that they worry they might come to harm. Past experiences can come into play. We might have been bullied or teased at school or in our neighbourhoods. It might be that our upbringing was subject to a very critical eye by a parent. We might have learned not to think well of ourselves, to hold back from certain situations and to avoid confrontations that might remind us of difficult times. We might have spent a large part of our time avoiding potentially dangerous situations. We might have learned to be the quiet one in class and at college.

Thus in adult life we still can play out these old stories, even if the same situations no longer happen. So, when we meet stronger, louder, more strident, more self opinionated, and extrovert people, we might hold back.

What we might need to learn is how to first of all strengthen our resolve so that we can meet the situations in adult life that we might otherwise avoid, and also to learn to communicate effectively, to state what want in clear, straight, direct open terms so that others respect what we want to respond constructively. Assertion is about challenging our own inner dialogue, where we negate our capabilities and possible actions, and choosing effective words and phases that communicate from a position of power, not power over but power with, not at your own expense nor at the expenses of others, where there is mutual respect. It involves building up your self belief so that, come what may, you know in your self that you are OK.

I would suggest that this last point is the most powerful part of assertion, coming from a space of believing in yourself and knowing that you are OK. So much of the time we make ourselves not OK and give our power away to others. With learning assertion, we are changing that – forever.