Tag Archives: support

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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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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Are you Struggling To Reach That Goal? Let An Ant Solve Your Problem

Eyelashes to die for! 

The longest ever! 

I was overawed when I met him.

Utterly won over.

I’d never met an elephant before.

He wasn’t a bit how I imagined he’d be. I knew his hide would be rough but it was far thicker than I’d expected.  He was a gentle giant but I knew he could do a lot of damage to the trees in his habitat.

So I was amazed to read in the Daily Telegraph  that elephants are known to be terrified of ants!  

I know.

Sounds highly unlikely.

Apparently they can’t stand it when ants swarm up their sensitive trunks.

So they avoid any plants where ants will be found.

Scientists have seen this fear as a chance to help save the endangered trees and plants that elephants might damage. Colonies of ants are being introduced to protect vulnerable acacia trees in Africa, and it’s working.

The elephants are keeping well clear.

When I read the article it struck me how powerful ‘small things’ can be. 

This huge creature is terrified of an ant.

I wouldn’t have imagined an elephant even noticing ants, let alone fearing them.

Apparently they can smell them!

ants

So here it is …

 The Invaluable Life Lesson I Learnt … From An Ant. 

 One ant on its own would not terrify the elephant. But in a colony?  No problem.

 Think about this for a moment … 

You’ve set yourself a goal.  

But …

You’re putting it off.

You can’t even think about it.

Why?

It’s too much for you to even consider, unless …

You look for others to join your ‘colony’.

Here’re some examples where being part of a colony could help.

1.   You want to lose a few pounds? 

No need to do it on your own, join a ‘colony’!

Join ‘Weight Watchers’ or Slimming World. Ask a friend to come with you, or join an ‘online’ weight loss support forum.

2.   You want to write a novel?

Don’t know where to begin?

Join a colony!

Find out about a local writing group. Join an on-line course. Start a ‘colony’ of beginner writers.

3.   You want to make new friends? 

Join a colony!

Approach new mums/dads at the school gates. Invite them for coffee. Volunteer to help in school.

Look in shop windows for events advertised where you can meet like-minded people. A choir? Drama group? Church? Evening class?

4.   You want to learn ball room dancing? 

Join a colony!

Ask a friend to go with you and then find out where the classes are held.

5.   You want to travel to India? 

Join a colony!

Research travel companies who specialise in single travellers. Talk to others who’ve been there. Collect as much information as you can. You can’t make a decision without information.

Whatever you want to achieve, remember you don’t have to take huge steps to be effective and you don’t have to face it alone.

Little steps, each day, add up to make large strides. 

Dr Palmer, who researched this unexpected elephant fear, said this:

‘It’s yet another example of how the ‘little things’ rule the world.’

Think about this too-

‘Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprise.’

Demosthenes   384 BC

 

So … let’s learn from the ants. 

What ‘small step for man’ will you take today? 

And if there’s no ‘colony’ for you to join, (you know what I’m going to say, don’t you …) you can start your own!

Over to you …

Do tell us about a goal you’ve set yourself, and how the rest of the colony helped you reach it.

  

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What I Learnt About Friendship From A Goose In An Old Man’s Garden

  

Where's my breakfast?

 

‘What on earth is he doing there?’ 

‘He’s a long way from water!’ 

‘He looks tame!’ 

I met this goose up the lane. Perched on a garden seat, unruffled at seeing me. 

The house owner came out carrying some scraps in a bowl. 

‘Is he yours?’, I asked. 

‘Well, not exactly, but he comes twice a day to feed and sometimes he stays all day! I’d miss him if he didn’t fly in.’ 

I smiled and asked if I could take a picture. The goose didn’t mind, he just posed for me and then flapped over to his enticing bowl. 

As I walked home I thought about what I’d seen and realised that I’d just witnessed a touching scene of mutual friendship. 

Here’s what I learnt about friendship from a goose in an old man’s garden. 

  • Friendship can come in many forms.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see why people make friends. ‘What do they have in common?’, we ask ourselves. 

Perhaps the goose fulfilled the old man’s desire to be caring, to be needed, to be relied on. 

That’s what human friends are for. Friends care for and about one another, they fulfill a need, they rely on one another. 

  • Friendship helps us think outside our own lives.

We want to help, support, empathise with our friends. We forget about our own situation for a while and focus on our friends. 

The old man did just that. He cared about what happened to the goose. He made sure it was fed and watered. It took him out of himself for a while, every day. 

  • Friendship helps to shape us.

By sharing our happiness, our problems, our tears, our fun, we grow and develop as people. Friends point us in new directions, help us to spread our wings, overcome obstacles. 

That goose added something to the old man’s life. He looked forward to the goose’s visits, he valued them, he’d miss his feathered friend if the friendship ended. And I’d like to think the goose would miss the old man if he moved away. 

Aristotle said: ‘Friendship is essentially a partnership.’ 

Have you met any unusual partnerships, like the old man and the goose? 

When and where did you meet your best friends? 

We’d love to hear about them. 

   

Header image courtesy of 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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