Tag Archives: advice

Think the Snow Is A Nuisance? How to Change Your Mind

It’s still here. The snow, I mean. 

I heard this today: ‘It was fun at first. Now it’s just a nuisance.’

OK, I understand it’s difficult getting to the shops, you have to go without milk for a while and the schools are still closed, but this snowy time teaches us a lot about how we can look at life if we feel confident.

Here’s my Positive Spin on a snowy day. 

Snow is like Confidence. It transforms your life.

  • Snow smooths everything out.

Harsh shapes are rounded, spiky bushes are like balls, you can’t see the join between the path and the road.

When you’re confident you feel that your path is smoother. You see the way to diffuse spiky arguments, the differences between people are blurred. You become more tolerant.

  • Snow covers up imperfections.

Street litter is lost under the blanket, muddy patches become clean, every surface is garnished with a sparkle.

When you start to feel confident you find you don’t notice the imperfections in people so much. You focus on their good qualities, you try to see their point of view. You’re more agreeable.

  • Snow turns problems into opportunities.

So… you can’t get the car out of the drive! You have the opportunity to stay in, gaze at the beauty outside and reminisce about winters long ago. You are ‘allowed’ to watch DVD’s by the fire, make soup from those left over veg in the fridge, send friendly emails, and even write Christmas cards.

Confidence brings opportunities too. Instead of fearing changes in your ‘landscape’, you can see  new ways forward, possible new occupations,  new directions for your life.

  • Snow covers up tracks but lets you see fresh ones.

Muddy tracks disappear. The road is smoothed out. But we can see where the birds and animals have been wandering in our garden, under bushes and around trees.

When you learn to be confident (yes, you learn it), you learn to believe that very day is a fresh start. Yesterday has gone. You can’t change what you did/didn’t/do, wish you’d said/not said, the chances you missed. Today is like a fresh fall of snow on your ‘landscape.’ The new tracks you make are up to you.

  • Snow lets you use other people’s tracks.

Trudging up the lane is much easier if others have already made some tracks. It’s firmer, less slippery and you feel bolder as you stride along.

Confidence grows with encouragement, praise and positive feedback as you take steps towards your goals and make changes. Seeking and taking advice and help from others, walking in their tracks,  helps you make decisions.

  • Snowy weather lets you have fun!

It certainly brought out the ‘Inner Child’ in me. The lane was filled with neighbours and their children, all dragging sledges and throwing snowballs. A carrot was fetched for the snowman’s nose and mugs of coffee were passed around.

Confidence does that too. You can let yourself be child-like, try new things, travel to new places, have as much fun as you like.

Like the snow, Confidence transforms the ordinary into the extra-ordinary.

What would you be able to do if you woke up  to find your world covered in the soft blanket of confidence?

Header by cursedthing, post pic byAlice Popkorn

    

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The Secret Way To Make Things Happen

  

from Kara Allyson on Flickr

 

 It’s all very well having a goal. 

But I’m simply not motivated!’ 

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard that old chestnut, well, I’d have a few more pounds… 

Samuel, one of our Spinners, wrote this in the comments: 

Making the decision is just the first part. Making things happen, it’s different.’ 

He’s right, of course. 

Or perhaps he needs to look at ‘making things happen’ from a new angle: 

  

Making things happen is just like getting ‘turned on’!  

Yes, I know, it sounds like I’ve lost the plot again, but read on and see what you think. 

When you get turned on… 

1.   You get butterflies. 

You’ve just met. She’s drop dead gorgeous. (Remember, I’m writing  this for Samuel…!) You can’t take your eyes off her. 

Your intuition kicks in. 

It shouts at you! 

You want to date this girl! 

You choose her. 

You’re passionate about meeting her again…and again… 

It’s the same with making things happen. 

It’s a new project. 

You like the look of it, in fact it’s what you’ve been looking for all year. 

Your intuition kicks in. 

It shouts at you! 

You want to take on the world… 

and in particular, this project/goal/new job/commission/opportunity! 

You’re passionate about it. 

You can’t wait to start. 

  

2.   You make a plan. 

You find out where she works, 

you take steps to get her number, 

you imagine what she’ll say. 

You ask around to see where she hangs out and decide to be there. 

It’s the same with this new project. 

You make a plan. 

You set yourself some tasks and some dates to complete them. 

You research as much as you can. 

You even type the plan into your phone. 

You’re ready to be the best you can be, to work as hard as you can. 

  

3.   You’re thrown off course. 

You’ve prepared the ground, 

hung out at her places, 

asked her friend for her number and even made that call. 

But she doesn’t call back. Or text. 

 Sh**… 

 Might as well give up now. 

  

You’re finding this new goal tough. 

Not meeting your deadlines. 

You realise you may have taken on too much this time.  

Sh**… 

Might as well give up now… 

  

4.   It’s a new day. 

The sun’s shining on you. 

You talk to her friends. 

 They tell you she’s been unwell, not answering her calls. 

They tell you you’re in with a chance. 

You order some flowers and have them delivered. 

You’re smiling… 

  

You’ve had a good night’s sleep. 

The sun’s shining on you. 

You try a fresh approach. 

You take each new task  more slowly. 

Ask for advice. 

Follow it. 

You know you can do this… 

one step at a time… 

Now write the rest of the story! 

So, Spinners, here’s the Positive Spin. 

It’s all about YOU! 

  • Motivation comes from inside you.
  • You have to be passionate
  • You have to be enthusiastic.
  • You have to believe it’s the right path for you.
  • You have to walk the brambly path one step at a time.
  • You have to listen to you.
  • You may follow some deviations along the way.
  • You might want to give up.

Your eventual success will depend on you and how much passion, belief and confidence you acquire along the way. 

Ready to ‘get turned on’ to making things happen? 

‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’   (Anon, I think.) 

Header image by Abyreed on Flickr 

  

 

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6 Simple Steps To Climb A Mountain

‘I don’t believe it!’   

‘Surely not!’   

‘Whatever next!’   

Sorry, you mountaineers out there and I know there are a few (!), but it’s true.   

There’s a tarmac path on part of the ancient miners’ route up Mt. Snowdon!    

Snowdon is the highest peak in Wales and very popular with climbers, old and young. The Snowdonia National Park Authority say that they want to give easier access for those with disabilities. Fair enough but apparently people are now taking their children up there in push chairs. What do you think about that?   

There’s always been a train for those unable to make the summit on foot but this tarmac path does seem a step too far, and the locals who know the mountain well are not at all happy about it.    

Photo courtesy of virtualjacki on Flickr.

 

 Over on Zen Habits Scott Dinsmore has written an enlightening post about climbing the mountains of life. It started me thinking (off I go again…) about how we can put a Positive Spin on facing even the smallest of problems. We just need to look at how a mountaineer does it.   

1.   Decide.   

  • The climber must make up his mind to face the challenge that the mountain will bring.
  • For some of you, deciding to face a nagging problem will be a challenge in itself. That’s fine. If you like, you can decide that you’re not ready today. No problem. You’ve decided… not to decide. But you’ll know when you’re ready to face it with a positive attitude.

2.   Get equipped.   

  • A climber has to assemble everything he  needs for the climb.

And… he must carry it with him.   

  • You must prepare. too. Get information, ask for advice, and take it. You can’t face this blind. You must be well  equipped and take it all with you.

3.   Make a plan.   

  • The climber takes a map and compass. He needs to find his way. There might be low cloud. Mist. He can’t risk losing the path or falling.
  • You need to make a plan. Make a step by step list of how to tackle the problem. Tiny steps count. They add up. Taking it steady is the answer. Keep to the path.

4.   Find some buddies.   

  • The climber will be unlikely to set off alone. He’ll have fellow climbers with him who may be more experienced, who he can turn to when there’s a set back. They can support one another.
  • You need buddies too. People who know how it feels to have this problem, who can stand in your shoes. They’ll give you support when you feel like giving up.

5.   Take a break.   

  • The climber will need to rest. There’s no point in getting exhausted. A few minutes rest can make all the difference between success or failure.
  • You will need a break too. Sometimes you won’t feel like carrying on with the task for today. Just wait, until you feel refreshed and ready to continue.

6.   ‘Easy’ is not best.   

  • A climber will say that the easy way up Snowdon is not the best. The whole point of a mountain climb is the challenge it brings and the satisfaction that comes from  meeting that challenge. The tarmac path presents little challenge.
  • Don’t imagine that facing and meeting your challenge will be easy. What would be the point? Follow the mountain climber’s example. Approach your climb with foresight, common sense and patience and…  properly equipped in every way.You’ll be glad you did.

What’s your personal mountain?   

Will you take the challenge?   

For more on this subject you might like to read this post.   

Header photo courtesy of abyreed on Flickr

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How To Face Your Fears When You’re Too afraid To Try

‘I can’t…’

‘It’s all too much…’

‘I’ll never be able to…’

‘I’m so scared…’

Fear attacks us all.

It’s part of life.

Somehow it always seems far worse at night.

After writing about Night Fears yesterday, I’ve been thinking

and this is my Positive Spin on facing your fears.

Fear thrives in the dark.

It can be whatever it wants to be because we can’t see it.

It can take any form, any shape.

It can fill our minds with nightmarish imaginings and they multiply.

One fearful thought leads to another and before we know it we’re rigid, stuck, unable to face any of it.

Until…

we turn on the light.

As soon as we do that, fear cannot cope.

It shrinks, disappears, scuttles away into the corners where it thinks the light can’t go…

Light tells the truth.

It shows us how it is, not how we imagine it is. It makes everything clear, shows every detail. We can see the way we should go.

We’re no longer stuck.

In the darkness we say –

  • What if…
  • I can’t…
  • How can I…
  • I might not…
  • It might mean…

But when we ‘turn on the light’ we can say…

  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • I can…
  • I might be able to…
  • Tell me more about…
  • All I need to do is…
  • Could you help me to…

 

Here’s my Positive Spin on the problem.

How to face your fears when you’re too afraid to try.

1.   Be clear about what fear is.

Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat.

Notice the word perceived.

We all have different perceptions of fear.  I’m not afraid of clowns, others are!

What we need to do is reduce the perceived threat and the fear will reduce also.

2.      Take your head out of the sand.

Unless we accept that we’re afraid we can’t begin to face the fear.

Say it out loud. To the cat. To the dog.  You could even write it down.

3.   Turn on the light.

By this I mean, see it for what it actually is, not how you imagine it is. Stare your fear in the face. Decide to face it.

4.   Gather support.  Share the fear…shrink the fear.

There are many ways to do this –

  • google the problem,  
  • phone a friend/fellow sufferer,
  • talk to your GP/other half/mentor,
  • ask your family to help you.

5.   Take some action today, however small.

The longer we put it off the larger our fear grows.  You can say, ‘I don’t want to think about this right now. I’ll have another glass of wine…’

But tomorrow the fear will have morphed into a much larger fear.  It won’t simply ‘go away’. It’ll lurk in the dark corners of your mind.

With every ‘small’ action you will watch the fear start to shrink.

 As Dr Phil says,

‘If you want different you must do different.’

Dr Phil McGraw ‘Life Strategies.’

Last week I saw a challenge on Problogger.  As a newish blogger I immediately felt out of my depth, uncomfortable, incapable of taking the challenge. Others might be able to do it but not me.

Then, over on Jean’s Virgin Blogger Notes, I read her post about the challenge. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone. Gradually I began to face it, to at least try. The result was the post I wrote two days ago.

Jean read it and gave me the compliment of leaving a comment.

Wow!

I faced the fear, albeit a small one to some, but I perceived it as large.

I faced my fear when I was too afraid to try and learnt a great deal about myself in the process.

 It’s the same for you!

Whatever your fear is, small or large, just face it.

I know it works.

What fears have you faced?

What fears will you face, now that you’re not too afraid to try?

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How To Take a Challenge You Didn’t Know You Could

I’m a great fan of Problogger. It’s one of the many sites I follow  for advice about blogging. On the site at the moment is –  

The 7 Link Challenge . 

At first I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I’m going for it! 

The challenge is – 

to look through my blog and choose 7 posts for the 7  reasons they suggest, which will become clear as you read on (hope you’re still with me…) and link to them. 

Just click on each underlined link to read each post. 

I’ve posted this image because when I started blogging I felt very much alone… 

With a little help from my friends...

 

…but now, 

I have so many blogging friends with fantastic sites to help me. They’ve put a real Positive Spin on my efforts and I thank them for it. 

Here goes! 

Link 1  My first post. 

As I read it today, I can sense the trepidation! 

Link 2  A post I enjoyed writing

This post was fun. I was pleased to prove the doubters wrong! 

Link 3  A post that started a discussion. 

This was fun to write too, it even made me think! 

Link 4  A post I wish I’d written. 

Wellif you haven’t visited this site yet, you must. Such wisdom. I’ve changed my thinking about many things since I started popping over to Leo Zabutea’s zen habits. See what you think. 

Link 5  My most helpful post 

I believe this was helpful. I wanted to give my readers permission to show their true selves for a change!  I’ve tried it and already surprised some strangers… 

Link 6  A title I’m proud of. 

Yes, I’m proud of this. It was, and still is, one of my most popular posts.  It even caught the attention of Radio 2, here in the UK. They wanted to talk to me about it on the air, but sadly I got their email too late in the day. Hey ho! 

Gosh, this is taking ages but I’m determined…. 

so finally…. 

Link 7  A post I wish more people had read. 

I think Robben Island has got to be the most moving place I’ve visited in my travels. Just remembering the ‘hearts in the razor wire’ does it for me. 

There! I’ve completed the Problogger 7 Link Challenge. 

I’ve been thinking… 

They’re so clever over on Problogger because… 

  • this challenge has forced me to look back and judge my work with a fresh eye,
  • it has shown me I  how I’ve changed and developed as a writer, 
  • I can see how I’ve broadened my outlook and approach,
  • I know I must keep on ‘keeping on’, always seeking help and advice,
  •  I’ve joined a fascinating group of readers and bloggers,
  • and I love it!

Can’t be a bad thing! 

  

Over to you! 

What challenge will you take that you didn’t know you could? 

 

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A Brief But Useful Guide To Interview Success

After I wrote my post for Friday –     

‘9 First Impressions and 1 Thought’      

it dawned on me that everything I’d written could apply to   

making good ‘First Impressions’ for that elusive job interview!     

Is this too much, do you think??

 

Let me remind you…     

9 First Impressions for my blog –     

or an interview!     

  1. Be a bit different.  Let the interviewer see that you’re an interesting person who’ll be an asset to their business.
  2. Dress to reflect your personality, to stand out from the crowd (but not tooo over the top…)
  3. Be approachable.  Smile and give a firm handshake. Make eye contact, but again, not  too over the top…
  4. Be honest in how you respond to their questions.
  5. Don’t pretend to be an expert if you’re not. Don’t over state your abilities – it doesn’t work in the long run.
  6. Show you’re useful and  interested in the job and the company/organisation.
  7. Don’t clutter yourself with  jewellery or too much makeup. Wear clothes that show you’re confident but not too confident. (If you’re a man, ditch the cartoon tie and the purple shirt unless you’re after a job in the arts/media/graphics etc).
  8. Make sure you’re true to yourself and your image.
  9. Show that you will do your best to  meet the needs of your employer.

      

And 1 Thought…     

What advice can you add to this list for an interviewee?

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Too Hot?

Thirty degrees! 

In the UK!

Unheard of.

Yesterday the only European holiday destination that was hotter than here was Malta!

But, boy, do we moan about it.

They’re the first words on every one’s lips – the supermarket checkout girl, the postman, the person in the queue behind you in the Post Office – everyone is complaining about the unusual heat.

‘It’s soooo hot’, they whine. I wish it would rain!’

And so we seek the shade. Any old shade will do, so long as it get’s us out of the sun.

I’m very fortunate.

There’s lots of shade in my garden and so long as there’s a bit of a breeze, lounging in my deck- chair brings welcome relief from the sun.

As I gaze around my parched garden I start to  think about the shade. Nothing much thrives under my holly tree and I have to constantly water the plants that struggle there.  Dead, prickly leaves gather, rustling and clattering on the dry soil, later to be scooped up and thrown away.

The soil there is dry, dusty and dead.  And when it eventually does rain, the tree will shelter the soil from  most of the much needed water.

Shade provides respite from the intense heat, but is it always a good thing to stay in the shade?

Are you living your life ‘in the shade’?

  • Are you thriving?

Or are you keeping out of the light, afraid to take decisions, make choices?

  • Are you struggling?

Would you like some help? Some advice? Someone to motivate you and support you as you grow?

  • Are you dusty?

Do you seek new friends? Read books you wouldn’t usually choose? Develop fresh ideas and opinions?

Have you abandoned those dreams, plans, aspirations because it’s just too much bother, leaving them to be swept up and thrown away with the dead leaves?

Just try it.

Leave your safe, shady spot and try it.

Take one step into the sunlight, and be sure that you will begin to grow…

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