Tag Archives: decision

What Will You Risk For The First Time This Week?

I thought I was good at it.

Taking risks, I mean. I’ve certainly faced some fears (see my This Is Me page) and taking risks? Not a problem. Except this week…

The fear of an event is nearly always worse than the actuality, so I’ve read. I believe it’s true but I have to force myself to act on it sometimes.

I remember the waterfall in the Lake District.

We'll have to turn back

The roar of the torrent, the spray everywhere, the sheer height. I was overawed by it but somehow we had to cross over to the other side or else turn back.  I stood and stared, fear fluttering in my chest. 

As I stood there getting more and more scared, my attention was caught by a child in a red jacket, and his dog. He was running along, in front of his dad, clambering up the grassy path towards me, heading for the edge of the water fall. Then he disappeared from view and I assumed the path cotinued through the gorse bushes at the side.

I was still wondering whether we should turn back and take a different track, when there he was, on the other side of the waterfall, his red coat zig-zagging away and his dog following.

His dad was close by where I stood.

‘He’s crossed over! How on earth has he done it? Surely it’s too risky!’

He smiled.

‘We often come this way. If you go round the corner you’ll see the stepping stones! They’re slippery but it’s OK to cross if you take care!’

This week I’m taking a ‘risk’ with my blog.

I’ve decided to update this site and move on to the next stage of blogging.

Here’s how it’s going so far:

  • I decided I want to make the change.

Making the decision to make any change is often the easiest part. It’s only in your mind at this stage. No risk yet.

Writing it down can make it more real, so long as you don’t tell anyone, then you can still ‘turn round and go back’.

I did exactly this: I wrote down my plans to up-grade, but kept it to myself.

  • You seek support

If you’re scared to take the risk by yourself, look for someone to guide you.

Want to change career? Travel alone? Learn to ski? Write a novel? Talk to those who’ve’ been there, done it and got the t-shirt.’  I love this Danish Proverb: ‘He knows the water best who has waded in it.’

I did exactly this: One of my blogging friends, Arvind Devalia has indeed ‘been there, done it…’ and he is a consultant in this area. He will guide me through the whole process and I need have no fear.

  • What if?

Yes! I said it.

What if… I can’t manage the change?

OK, but what if I can, with Arvind’s expert help?

There’s always another way, just like the stepping stones that were hidden from our view that day. When we want to make a change or take a risk, it seems scary at first. But once you’ve thought it through, decided, and found support you’ll be so glad you did.

And, by the way, the view from the other side of the waterfall was stunning…

‘Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.’

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now it’s your turn.

What will you risk for the first time, this week ?

Header image by cursedthing, post image by 

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What Two Ladybirds Taught Me About Friendship

It was the bright red that caught my eye. It looked stunning against the dark green of the mint leaves that grow by my kitchen door. They shouldn’t have been there, not  in November.

Constancy...

I bent down, feeling my eyes widen with a curious smile. I sat down on the step and watched them.  What a privilege it was.

As I watched I knew they were ‘friends’ for that was how they behaved and the sight of them stayed with me all the rest of the day. Now, every time I pick some mint I look for them, but they’ve flown away. I hope they return…

These two tiny insects taught me so much that morning and because I like to notice the ‘small stuff‘ I knew I’d have to write about them. A new blogging friend, Kathy Sprinkle, of ‘Bliss Habits’,  said she was wondering what I could possibly write about ladybirds when I told her my idea, so this post is for her in particular.

Here’s my Positive Spin about…

What two ladybirds taught me about friendship.

1.   They were on one  another’s side.

They were crawling up the mint stem, side by side.

Sometimes we don’t agree with what a friend is doing or saying.  We listen and watch and although their decision may not be ours, we’re still on their side. We defend them and help them get where they want to be.

2.   They took turns to lead.

It was strange. First one of them was way out in front, then it seemed to wait for the other to catch up, even allowing it to overtake.

Friendship should be like that. We take turns to have the ‘good ideas’ or the ‘fantastic’ plans. We are delighted for our friend when they succeed at something, just as they are for us. When my friend overtakes me in, say, cooking, travelling, keeping fit, losing weight; that’s fine. It’ll be my turn another day.

3.   They eased one another’s path.

They really did! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! One ladybird actually seemed to hold down a leaf to help her friend across a ‘chasm’! She waited while her friend slowly clambered over and then they continued up the stem, one behind the other.

That’s what friendship is all about, isn’t it? Easing one another’s path? Listening when they cry down the phone, helping when they’re not well, enabling them to make a decision, giving advice if they ask for it. 

4.   They withstood the ‘storm’ together.

There was a sudden breeze, disturbing the mint. For those tiny creatures this was a ‘storm.’ The stems swayed about and I expected at least one of them to fly away but she didn’t. She stayed where she was, quite still, beside her friend.

The phone rings in the middle of the night. There’s a crisis. You drive to the hospital with her. Or her car breaks down, or her she’s worried about her teenager who still isn’t home. You stay with her, because she needs you. As she’d stay with you. It’s called constancy.

I won’t forget those ladybirds. Some might say I’m silly with my imaginings but it’s noticing the small stuff that makes my life fascinating and thought provoking. I could easily have missed them. And their message.

Do you notice the ‘small stuff’?

What can you notice today, that’s easy to miss? Do you look for the ‘small stuff’ too?

What positive message does it have, for you, and for me?

Header image by cursedthing, post image by nutmeg66, on Flickr.

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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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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Any pianists amongst you Spinners?  

Imagine this:  

  • You’re ten years old.
  • You suffer a serious accident.
  • You have both arms amputated.

What do you do?  

You learn to play the piano with your toes.  

    

I read about Liu Wei, who learnt to play the piano this way.  

He recently appeared on ‘China’s Got Talent’ and got rave reviews.  

Take  a look at the video in the article at the end of this post and you’ll see what I mean…  

I think he should have rave reviews for even considering doing what he did, let alone achieving it.  

   

I started thinking about how we react to change in our lives.  

  • The kind of change we can do nothing about.
  • We winge, we wine, we stamp our feet, but we don’t deal with the change.
  • We don’t even accept it. We rail against it. Wait for it to go away. And when we’ve exhausted all our emotions…. it’s still happened….

  Here’s my Positive Spin on  

What To Do When You Don’t know What To Do  

There's always another way...

 

1.   Sit down and ask your self this:   

  • Is this change ‘life-threatening’?
  • If it is, there is a lot of professional help out there,
  • But if, most likely, it’s not, then breathe a sigh of relief.
  • It could be much worse. Liu Wei could have been left with only one foot….

2.   This as bad as it will feel.   

  • Tomorrow you’ll feel a little less afraid, and the next day too.
  • By then you’ll have distanced yourself from the issue a little, and be able to think more clearly.
  • Don’t rush into any decisions. There’s no need.

3.   What immediate, small, action can you take?  

  • Perhaps you failed some exams.
  • What do you want to do?
  • Retake?
  • Wait a year?
  • Choose a different course? Go with your gut feeling on this. 
  • Look at all your strengths and skills. How could you use them?

4.   Change your expectations.  

  • If one avenue is now closed to you, there are many others. Really! Oh yes…
  • Whatever your goal, there is more than one route to reach it.
  • If you have to wait to take the course of your dreams, what can you do meanwhile, to gain valuable experience? Travel? Voluntary work? Further study? Shadow someone in the role you hope for?

5.   You’re made redundant, out of the blue.  

  • It’s a shock, so do nothing until it fades a little.
  • Now get busy. Start updating your CV, (there’s free help out there for this), visit prospective employers and ask for an appointment with their HR person, scour the internet and press, talk to everyone and anyone who might have a lead. Work on this daily.
  • Look for support amongst fellow workers, friends, redundancy help lines and forums. You know you’re not alone!

Now look again at the article below and view the video of Liu Wei playing the piano.  

Will the sky fall in because you have to make this change?  

I don’t think so. 

Please pass the article and video on to anyone you know who is facing an unwelcome change in their life

 What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t know what to do?  

How have you dealt with sudden change in your life?  

   Related Articles  

 Header image by abyreed, post photo by Chris_Starscream, both from Flickr   

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Why You Must Rock That Boat To Make That Change

stress

‘It’s all too much!’ 

‘I don’t know where to start!’ 

I’ve been reading about stress and how to deal with it.

It’s so common.

Many of my clients have told me …

  • I think I’m hopeless.
  • My life is one big muddle.
  • I wake up everyday with a headache.
  • I’m overwhelmed.

I tell them: ‘You must rock the boat!’

Dr Phil writes in his book ‘Life Strategies’ that we are all accountable for what happens to us. And, yes! He’s talking about you too!

Here’s the thing …

You are not a victim. 

So what’s the solution?

How do you magic the stress away?

It’s time …

1.   Time to acknowledge your responsibility for your situation. 

You cannot blame others for where you are because …

  • You made the choices that led to the situation you find your self in.
  • You allowed the behaviour that you don’t like to continue.
  • You failed to take action.

2.   Time to sit down quietly and think about this…

If you could make one change in your daily life that would bring a smile to your face, what would it be?

One client said this:

‘I’ve never really focused on what I want to do. I don’t like to rock the boat.’

Well – just one problem –

if he doesn’t rock the boat, nothing will happen. Everything will stay the same… 

3.   Time to start rocking that boat.

Write down exactly what you want to change.

  • I want to be more consistent with my children. Result? Less stress
  • I want to stop commuting. Result? Less stress.
  • I want to feel valued in my work. Result? Less stress.
  • I want to go back to work now the children are at school. Result? Less stress.
  • I want to have less to do in my day. Result?  Less stress,
  • I want to say ‘no’ to having my in-laws for Easter Sunday lunch … again. Guess what? Less stress all round.

It’s time.

4.   Time to make a plan and rock that boat.

As soon as you do, the stress will begin to lift.

To sum up …

We are all responsible for where we are today, 

and … we are all responsible for where we’ll be tomorrow. 

‘You just can’t keep walking away. At some point you have to turn round and face life head on.’ 

Chris Cleave in his novel – ‘The Other Hand.’

 So …

Are you going to rock that boat? 

When? 

How? 

We want to know! 

Image courtesy of http://www.quidditchcanada.com/athletes-trick-beating-stress/

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Why You Must Tell Your Tale

What are you hiding in the darkness?

 

So many stories.    

All waiting to be discovered.    

Inspirational stories, biographies, memories, murder mysteries.    

I was browsing in the library today. All around me, wherever I looked, books were waiting…    

  • for someone to choose them,
  • for someone to listen to what they had to say,
  •  to tell their story,
  • to explain their idea.

I  wondered if there were any books that had never been taken out, that were still waiting to be appreciated, explored and enjoyed.    

Every day they would be aware of the other books around them being selected, while they remained rejected, their tales untold.    

     

I considered  my fellow browsers.    

If a ‘thought bubble’ was floating above their heads, what would it contain?    

What’s their story?
What are they thinking about?
  • a nagging problem that keeps them awake at night?
  • a difficult decision to be agonised over?
  • an exciting plan for a trip away?
  • an idea for an invention, a novel, a poem?
  • a possible change of job?

I hope they won’t stay in the darkness, on the shelf, unseen, unnoticed, their tale untold.    

I hope they’ll tell their story, bring their ideas, worries, plans out into the open, where others can help, encourage, support, enable those hidden stories to become a reality.    

I have the same hopes for you and for me.    

  • We must tell our ‘story’.
  • We mustn’t  hide in the darkness.
  • We must bring our stories, our hopes and ideas to life.

     

What about you?    

Do tell us your ‘untold tale!

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4 Steps To Escape From Prison

On Friday I wrote about being imprisoned.

I asked you what you’re imprisoned by at the moment.

Your job perhaps or a difficult relationship?

A decision you want to make but just can’t get round to so you put your head deep into the soft sand of denial?

Feeling trapped is not a comfortable place to be.  There’s no way out.  You struggle and struggle but whichever way you turn there always seems to be a very good reason to stay trapped. Barriers present themselves and you believe you cannot get over or round them. Stress begins to creep insidiously and invisibly towards you and before you know it you’re at the doctor’s, asking for help.

One emotion that sometimes imprisons us is Fear. Today I’m going to try to shed some light into the dreaded darkness that we know as Fear.

Isn’t it strange that our fears nearly always seem far worse at night?

We lie awake, in the dark, imagining all sorts of situations. Fear is very clever.  It follows us into our dreams, our moods. 

You can follow these 4 steps and escape.

1.   Imagining things

When we’re afraid and we do nothing about it, except lie paralysed by our thoughts, we imagine all kinds of things. We’re immobilized, completely helpless, trapped.

We need to switch off our powerful imagination and get real.

We need to acknowledge that we’re afraid and then we can start to do something about it.

We must put on the light , and write down all we know about what is frightening us. If it’s illness for example, then we must get more information. The more we know about it, the smaller and less powerful our fear will become. We need to know exactly what we’re facing.

It’s silly to allow our minds to take control.

Instead we must take control and begin the process of dispelling the fear.

2.   Next we must get support.

We will immediately feel stronger when we speak to someone about our fear.  Fear thrives on our isolation but as soon as we share our worries fear begins to recede.  It really is true that two heads are better than one.

So, for example –

 if it’s our job we’re afraid of losing, and so many are, then talk to someone who may be able to help with a fresh idea, a strategy to try, a new direction to go, a workable plan.

Join a Redundancy Help group perhaps, pooling  ideas with others.    Talk to HR about what may lie ahead at your work place so at least the fear is out in the open. Google it, consult your GP, do anything to arm yourself to tackle the problem.

3.   Get your head out of the sand.

When I’m afraid I try all sorts of strategies to hide and pretend it’s not happening.   It’s self preservation because I don’t feel able to face it just yet. Well, that’s OK for a while but there’s only so long I can stay in that sand and not suffer.

The fear will not go away until you make it. 

It will not shrink until you face it.

Get out of the sand, shake yourself down and look this fear in the face.

4.   Practise makes perfect.

Remember, a life without fear doesn’t exist. There’s always going to be something that gives you butterflies. But the more you face them and shrink them the easier it becomes. 

We must practise handling the hard stuff. Start taking small risks at first.

In  her book, ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ Susan Jeffers gives this advice –

‘The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.’

When fear creeps up on me I always ask myself the old question,

‘What’s the worst that can happen?’

Imagine the worst case scenario and plan to deal with that, then anything other that the worst is a bonus!

My message today is –

Don’t stay imprisoned by fear: there’s always a way out, even if it isn’t obvious at first.

It just takes some lateral thinking, some support and motivation.

Stuck? Imprisoned by fear?

Take my 4 steps and escape.

‘Fear has the biggest eyes of all.’

Pasternak.

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