Tag Archives: goal

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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How To Achieve Your Scary Goals

Ever met a wizard?

I have. I was waiting at the station entrance and there he was. Tall, with a purple silver cloak covered in stars, a pointy, black  hat and a deep voice. And specs. The specs didn’t really ‘go’ with the wizard image but I guess he needed them to decipher his spells. They were a bit ‘station office manager’, but never mind. Even a wizard can’t be perfect all the time.

It was Wizard Week at the Preserved Steam Railway and I was waiting for my two gorgeous grandchildren.  They came bouncing along, wondering what we would see.  Witches waited at the dark entrance to their ‘cave’ with a tempting Lucky Dip, and thick cobwebs hung across the door in swathes.

It’s hard to explain a wizard to a two-year old. It’s hard to explain about pumpkin lanterns, broomsticks that fly and why witches have green faces. It sounds a bit silly when you say it, especially when you don’t want to frighten the listeners.

Zeb (two) held my finger, (he was only a little bit scared,) and Ruby, (four), ran ahead to where the steam engine was gently hissing. As it began to pull the carriages, vast clouds of steam rose into the autumn morning air and I was remembering the ‘Railway Children’ story. There was even a tiny allotment, marigolds still in bloom, for the signalman to tend.

It was scary, just a bit, for Zeb, being in the company of magical creatures, but holding my finger made it safe and it was even safer when his daddy scooped him up in his arms. He could be scared, but from a safe place.

Up on the green metal bridge that crossed the railway line we had different, amazing view. We could look down on the engine, steaming away, tiny witches and wizards waving from the platform, and grinning parents wishing they were still allowed to believe in magic. Perhaps they did. I hope so.

How amazing is this...

Ruby found  a real spider in its sparkling web, carefully attached to the metal struts of the bridge. We all examined  it, admiring its spots and sparkles and wondering at its skill.

On the drive home I started thinking about the cobwebs in our mind.

We’re so used to thinking in certain ways. We adopt prejudices, opinions and attitudes. We have ‘mind-sets’ about stuff that we refuse to change. We’re right. And that’s that…

Except… perhaps we’re not?

Here’s my Positive Spin on –

Why we need to ‘stand on the bridge … and look at the cobwebs.

1.   We saw a completely different view from that bridge.

‘I couldn’t possibly go back to work.’

Why not?

Sweep away those artificial cobwebs and take a different view.

Really think it through. Perhaps you could take a part-time job. Or start by doing some voluntary work. Whatever it is that scares you about making a change, try looking at it form a new perspective.

2.   Is it so scary?

You have a goal in mind. You haven’t told anyone because you’re scared. But you know in your heart it’s achievable. But what will people say? They’ll laugh. They’ll try to put you off. 

Or… they might support you. They might help. They might not put you off at all.

That real spider was beautiful. Delicate, friendly looking and fragile. Not fierce at all. Only scary in our minds.

 3.   Spiders’ webs aren’t all bad.

Spiders’ webs are amazing. I wonder how long they take to create? They’re so versatile, to provide a ‘home’ and a ‘food store’ for the occupant. Brilliantly designed.

Don’t try to clear away all your cobwebs at once. After all, it would be unkind to the spider if you did that, she worked so hard.  Let light in to the corners gradually, when you’re ready to make changes, large or small. Climb up slowly on to that bridge and stand and stare.  Enjoy the fresh view. For as long as you like.

What is getting in the way of your ‘view’ at the moment?

Which cobwebs are lurking in  your mind?

Are you going to get out that cobweb brush?

Tell us about that ‘goal’ that scares you, then it won’t be so scary!

 

Header image by cursedthing and post image by Bagoogoo, on Flickr.

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Want to Find Your Confidence? Start Here!

Like my new penguin suit?

‘I want to re-gain my confidence.’

‘I want to believe in myself again.’

‘I want to feel the same as everyone else.’
 
If I had £1 for every time someone has said that to me, I’d be rich…
 
Carsma asked me to write about how to re-gain her confidence, in the comments on my request post,  so this is for her and any one else who would like to start to feel more confident.
 
Who’s your best friend?
  • Known them long? (It’s alright, you don’t have to say…)
  • What do you do when you meet? (Apart from giggle/talk about sport…)
  • What do you talk about? (Apart from the children, the husband/partner…)

Let’s take a closer look at those points…

because the way to start to find your confidence is to be your own best friend.

One of the keys to being a confident person is receiving positive feedback.

When you’re told you did a good job, you grow a little.

Let’s take a look at how you are with your best friend and how this applies to how you treat yourself.

1.   You’ve known them for ages.

You know what makes them ‘tick’, their habits, their skills, their ‘faults’, their taste and style of living.

Same with you! You know yourself very well. 

Would you tell them they were hopeless at, say, cooking? Bringing up their children? Dealing with their grumpy/bad-tempered OH?

No, of course not.

Because you wouldn’t hurt their feelings. You’d give them as much positive feedback as you could.

It’s what best friends do.

 

2.   What do you do when you meet?

Do you hug? Smile? Sit down and have a glass of wine? Go out for lunch at their favourite place? Admire their new outfit/haircut/holiday plans?

Would you tell them the new outfit was too young for them? Do you make them feel uncomfortable?

No. Of course not. You do all you can to make your visit fun.

 It’s what best friends do.

 
3.   What do you talk about?
 
I chat all the time to my best friend.  We share our problems,  try to solve our  problems, give compliments and praise for fantastic meals, pool our ideas.
We support one another. We try to lift the load when sadness happens. We listen to one another, we pay attention to one another’s needs.
Do we put one another down? Not mention the fantastic meals? Get jealous?
No.
Of course not.
It’s not what best friends do.
 
You want to find your confidence?
  • Start by being your own best friend.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Recognise your ‘good stuff’.
  • You can even talk to yourself! I do! (Ooops, did I really write that???)
  • Give yourself that valuable positive feedback.
  • Build up your own list of  ‘What I know I can do well’.

If you find it hard to believe in your abilities, it will show, and others will treat you accordingly.

Just say to yourself: ‘Would I treat my best friend like this?’

You’ll be surprised how it changes your thoughts about yourself, little by little.

Do you have a confidence area you’d like me to write about?

Just let me know and I’ll give it some thought…

Any confidence tips to share?

Please do!

Header image by cursedthing, post image by Adam Foster, 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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5 Life Lessons I Learnt From Chickens

Chickens pecking at feed
Image via Wikipedia

 

‘Chickens needing a good home. 

Give me a call on ….. ‘ 

I smiled when I read the card in the shop window. 

As I walked up the lane I started thinking about those chickens. I realised that they can teach us some important lessons, about what we all need in our lives.  I’d have to provide for their needs if I wanted to give those chickens the home they seek.  Sadly, I can’t do it, although I’d love to. 

Here are 5 Life Lessons I learnt from those Chickens… 

  

1.   Chickens need the right kind of food. 

Apparently they tend to know what’s OK  to eat and what’s not.  They need the special food you buy in a feed store but they also love kitchen scraps all boiled up. They eat insects and slugs (!) and most kinds of ‘greens’. 

We need the right kind of ‘food’ too. 

We need books, films, conversations: in fact a variety of stimulation to broaden our thinking, to make us stronger, more confident in our opinions and ideas. 

Are you getting the right kind of ‘food’? 

What are you going to do  to get it? 

  

2.   Chickens make a difference. 

One chicken can produce 250 eggs each year! 

Amazing. 

what one little hen can do… 

We can make a difference too. 

Are you a carer, teacher, nurse, librarian, writer, parent, gardener? 

What’s your role? 

And… more to the point, are you fulfilling that role the best way you can? 

Are you making a difference? 

How? 

  

3.   Chickens need a nest-box. 

It must be warm, safe and provide protection for those eggs. 

We need a ‘nest- box’ too. 

A special place – a corner, a room, a seat by a window, where we can simply ‘be’. Where we can think, not think, rest, allow our minds to wander, to create, to absorb, where we feel protected from the world of busi-ness, hassle and noise. 

Where’s your ‘nest- box’? 

  

4.   Chickens get bored! 

You can tell when that happens because they start to peck one another. Not good. 

I read that they need a few logs to perch on to give them a different perspective, some ‘greens’ hanging up to peck at and enjoy. 

We’re just the same. 

We get bored. We become ratty, bad-tempered, irritable. We need variety in our lives, something to aim for, whether it’s a goal, a project, something we can feel proud to achieve. 

We need ‘logs’ to perch on- to give us a different perspective, so we can look at life from a new angle, stand in other people’s shoes for a change. 

‘Same old, same old’ isn’t enough. 

‘If you want different, you must do different.’   Dr Phil Life Strategies 

  

5.   Chickens need to be safe. 

They need to be protected from foxes and rats. Predators can carry diseases and pose a real threat. Tall fences must be  built and electric ones installed. Once the fox gets that electric shock, it’ll give the hens a wide berth. 

We need  protection from the ‘foxes and rats’ in our lives. We must protect ourselves from people who love to criticise, us, discourage us and try to prevent us from making changes or taking risks. 

Unlike the chickens, we don’t need to be fenced in. 

We need to live our lives free from all the ‘shoulds’, ‘oughts’ and ‘can’ts’. 

We need to be free to make the choices and decisions we want to make. 

What’s fencing you in? 

  • What life lessons will you learn from the chickens?
  • Can you think of one more, to add in the comments ?
  • It’s OK,I haven’t lost the plot!

  

Header image by abbyreed 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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The Bees’ Simple Guide To Approaching Any Problem…

The lavender path in my garden delights me.

Every day I brush past the stems and enjoy the fragrance.

I love it …

and so do the bees.

This morning, a bustle of bees darts and dances on the lavender bushes and I pause to watch them.

Each bee seems unaware of its fellow workers, focusing on the task in hand, unfazed by its enormity.

The bush they’ve chosen is large, bursting with purple flowers. Bees settle all over it, only for a few seconds at each flower, before moving on to the next one.

As I watch the bees at work I realise that they show us how to approach problems – large or small – goals that seem impossible at first and dreams that appear out of our reach, just too enormous to contemplate.

So here’s the Bees’ Simple Guide To Approaching Any Problem –

  • Whatever our task, goal or dream, we have to break it down into tiny, achievable steps. We must focus on one ‘flower’ at a time, not worrying about all the rest waiting.
  • When the task seems out of our reach we must persevere. Perhaps we should leave one small task for a while and start another, coming back to the previous one with renewed vigour.
  • We mustn’t rush. The bees take all the time they need and so must we. Results will appear if we take our time.
  • We must remember we don’t have to do it all on our own. The bees certainly don’t!  We can ask for help, join forces with an ally and get the job done together.   

‘Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.’

Robert Collier

How about you?

  • Are you concerned about a problem, worrying how you’ll ever get it sorted? 
  • Do you have an important choice ahead?
  • Are you stuck in a seemingly impossible situation?

 

Think how many flowers are on one lavender bush…

and follow the bees’ simple guide.  

One bee cannot produce a whole jar of honey without a little help from its friends !

How’s your honey production going?

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