Thoughts and such like.....
As we prepare or continue to hunker down for a ‘long’ winter, I’m taking joy from little moments. Cherishing them as they appear:
I’m an introvert who’s always stepped into her costume and played the extrovert, now I don’t have to. I’m spending more time in reflection – asking myself much deeper questions than I might have if we hadn’t been in a pandemic, and lockdown.
My coach supervisor asked me: Who are you professionally, what is your coach Identity? A question I’ve been playing with. However, it prompts another question:
A fascinating question that’s asking me to look into my values, my inner self not just as I see me, but also as how I show up in the World.
As an immigrant to my Country of choice, I am a proud Canadian, however I’m also a proud Irish person. Neither of these countries were where I was brought up, I’ve always felt a bit of an outsider. Maybe it’s because of the roaming childhood, maybe it’s just who I am.
And I ask myself – where do I belong?
I know many are facing incredibly difficult challenges, loss of livelihood, business or profession, stress, pandemic burnout, family challenges with children, partners, parents. I can empathize, I vividly remember the phone call telling me my mother had passed, I was across the ocean thousands of kilometres away, at least then I was able to book a flight and get home to say goodbye, today that’s almost impossible. How do you manage?
I have a sweater I knitted during the final days of my father’s passing, it’s green silk extremely complex. When stressed, I knit. It’s my outlet, and the more stressed I am, the more complicated the pattern. I still have that sweater, and I take it out now and then, and it reminds me, of that time. A time when my family came together, a time of memories good and bad, however a time of honouring my dad in his final days, and in all I can say the memories feel supportive, I wrap them around me like a warm blanket, and I know I’m okay!
So I ask you, how are you managing? What are you taking from these extraordinary times? And what can you learn? And, what do you need?
I want to offer anyone who wishes a complimentary hour with me… to talk, to have an ear to listen. Contact me here and I will send you my calendar link. You will not be put on a mailing list, nor contacted again by me unless you decide to re-connect. This is my ‘Christmas gift’ to you, and me….
Take care and stay safe
As I sit and write, Christmas tradition dictates listening to the wonderful Dylan Thomas and his “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”, not my usual version taped in a noisy pub in the early 50’s, but rather a clearer version, as in my cleaning and clearing, I seem to have misplaced my original version. I love this story, and Dylan Thomas’s wonderful voice. ‘Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the colour of red flannel petticoats whisked passed the harp shaped hills”, who else has such a wonderfully descriptive vision of a little boys imagination and memory. In another sentence he talks of ‘snow growing on the roofs’! If you’ve never had the pleasure of listening to this, do it. It is such a wonderful description of Christmas long ago!
At this time of year, more so than ever, I love traditions that we have started. And, even when my kids are elsewhere I continue with them, they wrap me up warmly, the memories of the boys whining ‘why’ to Dylan Thomas, until they really began to listen and enjoy.
Another tradition, reading ‘The Night before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore. The boys would drag their duvet’s upstairs by the fire, we’d set up the sofa’s and turn out all the lights except one, which would be used to read. The snacks, whiskey for Santa (to keep him warm), and water for the reindeer, carrots and gluten free treats all on the hearth alongside the fire. The stockings waiting to be filled! The boys fought their sleepiness, willing themselves to stay awake, but failing miserably!! Sometimes if it had snowed, before settling, we would wander the neighbourhood, oohing and ahhing at the lights of decorated houses around us, when they were small I dragged them on a sled, great exercise in this hilly neighbourhood.
As we learned our new life together, the three of us developed new traditions and adapted from lessons learned. I learned early, that if I wanted to sleep into the morning, then Santa never gave Lego! The first Christmas, the three of us together I was awaken at 4:30 am to put together some complex form, never again. If Lego was on the list, I gave it, after breakfast.
Presents opened after a proper breakfast, alcohol free bubbly with freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit slices and bacon…. Table cleared, fire relit and Mom with her second cup of coffee, then presents, over in what seemed to be very few minutes, paper everywhere while Christmas carols played softly in the background.
The bookworm, a pet of Santas’ that stories always leaves out, always left a couple of books for each of us! And, so as the turkey cooked, the smell enveloping the house, we would settle and silence would prevail we each got stuck into a new book for a few hours…..
It isn’t the presents that we got, or didn’t get, it is the memories of those wonderful days, the scents that give me joy when my kids can’t make these holidays. And, the traditions of Dylan Thomas and Clement Clarke Moore remain part of my Christmas.
And you?What are the traditions that you keep, whether you are with family, with new family or on your own to keep you warm? What have you read, seen, or heard that you would like to adopt as your own. Let me know what you do, or have decided to adopt….
In the meanwhile I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and wonderful 2020..a new year, a new decade with so much promise….
We all have heard that we are experiencing the largest transition of employees out of the workforce. Businesses are experiencing leadership shortages as baby boomers move into retirement and they struggle to replace the experience and corporate knowledge lost through this transition. In the 60’s and 70’s there were six Canadians under the age of 20 for every person over the age of 65. Today there are approximately three young Canadians for every elder and this gap is getting smaller.
And yet, we still cling to the recent tradition of retirement!
Are you trying to figure out your retirement? What are the questions you’re think of? Many people think it’s about finance – do I have enough money to retire? I ask, What does retirement look like to you?
If you have a good financial person, they will ask questions around what it is that you want to do in retirement, ask questions about your health and well-being – you can’t sail around the world if you have to visit the doctor monthly or on a variety of medications that need to be monitored. However, that doesn’t mean you can never do it – it really means what are you doing about your health today, that will allow you to carry out the dreams you have for retirement. It may mean taking control of your health and working with health professionals to see how and what you can do to get you off those medications and into a lifestyle and exercise plan that meet your goal of sailing somewhere!
What about friendships? Many of us find the majority of our friendships come through work, how do you plan to keep those friendships going? Look at yourself as an example, how many friends have you had who you no longer keep in touch with now that they are retired? This doesn’t mean that all the friends you have within your professional circle will no longer stay in touch once you retire, but it does beg the question: What are you doing to develop friendships outside work?
Thinking about retirement can bring joy or fear, maybe both. We don’t have the structures that are there for us in our first and second Acts, we sort of left to figure it out for ourselves. And yet, for many of us used to structure, where to start? It’s about taking a holistic approach, breaking it down into four categories – physical, mental/emotional, spiritual and financial. Because if you don’t know what you want to do in your retirement, how will you know what you need financially!
We run a program called the Third Act, it explores all the questions above and more. Remember you only have one life to live, and Remember, life is for living. You only have this one life to live. Live it to the fullest, laugh each day, try to hug at least one person, be grateful for what you have and support others who are struggling. And, in the meantime if you are struggling to come to grips with your Third Act, send us an email and we can talk!
I am a believer in the value of preparing for the next phase of life, and deciding how you want to live. I would love to talk with you about the benefits of defining how you can transition successfully and the changes you want to make to ensure a healthy, happy third act. Please schedule a free 30 minute dream consultation to see how I might be able to assist you!.
‘It’s amazing the feeling you get, when you receive that piece of paper’, so went the opening sentence of a client who wanted to transition into his Third Act with intention. He was talking about receiving his senior citizen card and went on to describe the gamut of feelings he went through, disbelief, grief, anger – all negative. My response was to ask what was the positive in receiving the paper?
Age, what is it, a number, a feeling – really when we consider it, age is a time of being. We say ‘he has an old soul’ when we hear something profound coming out of the mouth of an eight-year-old, or when someone is acting goofy, ‘he/she should really act his/her age’, but what do we really mean?
Age as defined by Webster has a number of meanings, the best for me is:
‘the period contemporary with a person's lifetime or with his or her active life’
Research indicates that middle age runs from 40 – 64, and old age begins at 65. Who made this decision and does it resonate with you? I know many people who have decided they are old at 40, and yet I also know 90 year olds who still feel and live as if they were much younger.
To me age is a state of mind, however, it can also be a state of health. How do you envisage yourself as you get older – do you want to stride or shuffle into your nineties? Maybe you’ve been told that well you’ve no choice it’s your genes, however is that just an excuse? Dr. Neal Barnard suggests that there is a myth about the part genes play in our health in this short video.
Dr. Bernard is not alone in stating that our genes do not, and should not dictate our health, Dr. Michael Greger, in his book ‘How Not to Die’, talks about how ‘our diet can change our epigenetics and genetic expression’. So, we can’t change our genes, but we can change how they are manifested through diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Basically, what they, and others, are saying is that there is no excuse, it’s up to each of us individually to decide how much effort we are willing to put into looking at our health and how much we willing to change to ensure optimal health as we age. It really is about how you want to live out this third of your life. Me… I want to skid to that finish line without the aid of pharmacological drugs, drips and other such aids, so last year I overhauled my diet, and increased the amount of time I spent walking and exercising – my blood test results have improved dramatically in less than six months!
The other piece of optimal health is how we think and what we believe about aging, in his book ‘The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton demonstrates very effectively how every cell in our body can be affected by our thoughts, so if you feel miserable about aging, that misery may well show up in your body! Two questions for you:
What do you need to do that will allow you to feel and think more positively about aging and the gift of time you have?
Who do you need to recruit to support you as you move toward a healthy Third Act that motivates and excites you?
Oh, and by the way, that client, at the beginning, he too recognized if he wanted to achieve the goals he had laid out, he needed to lose weight and eat better – the excitement he felt in looking forward to this new Act certainly helped, as did having an accountability partner. Today seven years later, he’s lost a noticeable amount of weight, continues with his Third Act plan, travelling, studying and working part-time. And best of all, with this new attitude and way of life he’s found love, the second time around!
Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C. The Physicians Committee
Lipton, Bruce H., Ph.D. (2015) The Biology of Belief. Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles (10th ED). Hay House
Greger, Michael, Dr. (2015) How Not to Die. Flatiron Books, New York New York
Webster dictionary. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/age
In my last blog, I talked of the importance of taking vacations, and for me, just after Christmas (literally – I left home Boxing day!) I was lucky enough to visit my sister in Malaysia after really busy December. While away I was able to reflect on how I was feeling, physically and mentally, and boy did I feel wrung out. I’d juggled a number of jobs leading up to Christmas as well as hosting my son’s girlfriends parents and family over the Christmas break, strangers until they arrived! So I had pushed myself to my limits and really needed that break, which was wonderful.
Aside from the fact that it was great to visit with my sister and her family, she also understood my burnout and allowed me the space to recover, adding quiet support and time for me to recuperate from a long flight and the cold I’d caught. She thoughtfully laid on great treats, such as a mani/pedicure on the first day after I arrived, as well as travels to other cities, and asked for nothing.
Now, as I reflect back, I couldn’t have asked for anything better. When we work independently as solo entrepreneurs there is no one to say – ‘hey take a break’ or ‘how are you sleeping?’ We’re constantly trying to add value to the work we do for our clients, while at the same time hustling for new clients. We stress about our finances, we stress about the future, where will we find the next client all the while trying to serve the clients we have to the best of our ability! So all the while I was away, I was thinking about all these things and how my outlook reflects my wellbeing.
Coming home, I’ve decided to be kinder to myself…. First I had to get over my jet lag, which I didn’t struggle against, I let it happen and was gentle with myself, if I needed to take a nap, that was okay. However, when I was away, I walked – a lot! Exploring and comparing my fitness with my big sis, who also got me swimming, not something I do often made me realize how I sometime in busy periods neglect this part of my wellbeing. On coming home, I wanted to continue these great habits and began with 30 minutes walking each morning, a couple of 10 minutes upper body sessions last week, and, of course, my great yoga class.
That was the easy part, now to get back into my work routine – I completed a number of contracts in December, and so I was able to away without trying to juggle time zones and zoom calls. Coming home I needed to follow up with current clients, and connect with prospective entrepreneurs and emerging leaders who want to grow and develop. It’s also time to restart my blogging as well writing for other on-line magazines. I could get lost in the ‘tyranny of the urgent’, frantically worrying goals I’ve set, or what my bottom line will look like at the end of the month, but instead I’m going to focus on improving on what I know is the good value I bring to clients, and trust that growth will come with the investment I’ve made and continue to make in my business. I won’t get caught in the cycle of negative thoughts and energy thieves. I've got my weekly mastermind group and a new business partner to bounce ideas off, and catch me when I'm being too hard on myself. These are supports I needed to put into place to help me not become my own worst enemy!
When I began my entrepreneur journey, I wanted to spend more time on my hobbies, and although I have spent some time playing in this arena, it hasn’t been to the extent that I had in mind. So I’ve made a decision to give myself permission to play more, right now I’m cleaning up, and putting away my vacation clothes, as well as tidying up after Christmas. Yep still putting away Christmas decorations! However, as I go through my diary, I’m adding play time. I find I work best when I calendar in all my activities, I colour code everything, this gives me the ability to look at my week and see where and how I am spending my time – if I go over, say my volunteer time then I can reflect on what occurred, and what I might need to change to ensure that I balance my week. Notice I say week, I think trying to balance days is a little crazy, I look at my weeks and months to see how I’m spending time and compare it to how I’m feeling – sometimes it’s a mixture of too much of everything, others it’s one area of my life that’s a little crazy. This colour system allows me to keep track of my life, and rebalance it when necessary.
How do you ensure you have time for everything in your life? Do you have a system? I wonder at those that discuss work/life balance as for me it’s all about life, and the balance is in how we take care of ourselves and our loved ones, whether at home or work.
Remember, life is for living. You only have this one life to live. Live it to the fullest, laugh each day, try to hug at least one person, be grateful for what you have and support others who are struggling. Give where you can, sometimes that may be financially, but often it’s lending a shoulder or an ear, it can make a huge difference.
So, belatedly Happy New Year to you all, tell me what is the one thing you’re changing this year to increase happiness in your life? Leave a comment below, so we can all learn from each other.
Have you ever got caught up in the tyranny of the urgent when all the systems and habits you've been practicing for ever seem to disappear into the ether? This past few weeks has been a whirlwind of activity, some good some not so much! Clients coming and going, volunteer projects coming together, meetings, lots of phone calls and emails, as well as interviews as I work through a feasibility study. On the home front I've been winterizing my home and set in motion plans to visit family after Christmas! And, in among the frenzy of activity no real down time for me.
I was talking to a client this afternoon about the same problem, as things get busier, and energy gets used up in one area, we deplete the energy available for other things in our life and shortchange those we love, as well as those things we love to do! One of the things I do love about working with individuals is that I always learn so much from them, and in the process I grow! I can see my reflection in them as we work through the challenges they face.. the challenge of having too many balls in the air, too many people looking to them to get things done, and sometimes the challenge of taking on too much.
One of the biggest challenges I face, and a weakness of mine is giving my time to others and causes I believe in. And often, I offer free what I should be charging for... this was brought to my attention again at lunch by a colleague who is working on a volunteer project with me, I set about to pick his brains about developing my business. He went through the process of asking simple questions that made me really think and focus on who I serve, how much I give away either through reduction in fees, or just through offering services. He sat me down and questioned where my attention was, who my ideal client really is and asked why should anyone pay me for stuff when I was giving it away! He's made me aware that in the process of trying to help others, I've been shortchanging myself and my business. A challenge I've sorta been aware of, when it has come back to bite me, such as the time I gave free coaching to an acquaintance who then went out and hired a coach because of the value she'd received! I struggle between volunteer projects and expanding my business, however no one has ever called me on it - until now! And so what to do...
I'm taking time out to really think deeply about the questions posed today. My clients have varied from business to personal, and a mixture of both. I truly believe that life is life and we can't separate our work life from everything else - life is life. However in order to grow, I hear time and time again, that I should specialize, focus on one area and move my attention to there alone, difficult for one who loves to play the field as it were. I like people, I like working with them to delve into whatever challenges they face, however because of this I'm apparently seen as too generalist and should really focus on one area. I'm going away soon to visit my sister, and in the process it is time to refocus and decide what path I want to take. So, I know I have quite a few readers out there, tell me your thoughts - you've read my blogs over the past year, and heard my voice, now I'd like to hear yours, please.
How do you balance your volunteer life with work and life? What do you do when you realize you've dropped all those good habits you've cultivated and how do you travel back to balance? What about those big decisions and complex challenges, how do you make decisions on which way to go? I'm open and interested - talk to me!
Gerascophia is the fear of growing old or old age. Recently I have read and listened to a lot of negative conversations about aging, always negative thoughts of what is to come and just negativity about aging in general. I find I often get annoyed at people blaming their memory on 'old age', or stating, 'I'm too old to do that' without thought about whether they actually could, rather just making the assumption that it's not possible!
What is it about aging that makes people feel negative, fear the future, resigned to the frame of mind that from here on there will be slow degeneration of mind and body, and that the best of life is behind us? What is it that pushes us to pull out those grey hairs, try to hide the wrinkles and associate the word old with 'ugly'? Me, I often think that some of the most beautiful people are the elderly - I love the faces of older people, I associate their lines and wrinkles with experience and a life well lived. Women (me too), are often taken in with the advertising that tells us we can look younger, or recapture our youthful looks through using this potion or this powder! We forget you can't go back, however you can go forward and you have a choice of how that forward journey will go.
We often look at those who are in residential care as the poster people for old age, and yet in 2016, only 6.8% of Canadians age 65 and older were living in care, this did jump to 30% for those 85 and older, but 6.8% - why do we worry so much... What if we were shown advertisements of older people embracing their age and the changes it brings - like wisdom and the ability to do what we please without having to consider the impact it has on our children and family. What if we embrace our wrinkles as part of our success in survival! One article I read said that with old age comes the probability of sickness and various chronic illness, hum what? Living at any age comes with the probability of sickness and chronic disease, maybe we should ask how we live can reduce that probability, at any age!
If we look at ourselves at a certain age and find that perhaps we hadn't realized the contribution or level of prosperity that we had hoped for when we were younger, we can sit and feel disappointed and let that disappointment direct the rest of our life, or we can accept that we aren't where we hoped we would be, and think about what next. What do we want for the next 20 or 30 years we have left to us? We can wallow in a pity party and become the grumpy old person, or we can accept that which we can't change and move forward.
As we grow older, there are things that we can't avoid. There are often more people we know who die, others do get sick and need 24/7 support, but there are also things we can do to try and live as healthy a life as we can, we can invest in ourselves! Perhaps the most healthy change we can make is about the way we view growing older - really we can't do anything about it, everyone is doing it! What does worrying about aging bring us? Certainly worrying is not going to make us any younger, rather it eats up time and can actually make us sick. So what can we do:
Growing older isn't something to be afraid of, rather it's a time to embrace life. Many older people claim that as they age they become more of who they are, or were meant to be. Growing older doesn't mean that we should lose our appetite for life, rather we should look at it as a time to grow more passionate, to celebrate who we are and to care less about what others think of us. We can chose who we want to spend time with, rather than trying to fit in with people we feel we 'should' spend time with.
Growing older allows us the opportunity to continue our learning, something I'm passionate about, and don't believe what they say about being too old to learn a new skill - in this piece David Robson disproves the theory that an older brain simply cannot absorb the same information as a young child!
Don’t allow our cultural perspective of old age to hold you back so that you wake up one day with regret of having missed out on life. Don’t allow fear to rule you. Rather look at what brings you joy, look at each day as a gift and take pleasure in the little things - make a difference in your world and let fear go. If you do so, you will also probably avoid one of the key things that affect many of our elders today - loneliness. All of us need a sense of purpose, of belonging. So:
“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Do you use all your vacation time, or are you too busy? In 2017, according to Expedia's Vacation Deprivation report Canada ranked 9th in being the most vacation deprived! And that being said, those living in the US are not much better at taking their vacation time; that is, if they are given it - unlike other developed countries in the World, the US has no mandated vacation days for employees. And, although Canadians have mandated vacation, we have less mandated vacation days when compared to most other Western nations.
Are you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, out of balance and under the gun at work - do you tell yourself and others that you cannot take vacation because you are too busy? Do you think taking a vacation will make you look less dedicated to your workplace?
Let's debunk some myths:
1. I'll be seen as less dedicated and less productive -
Let's rephrase and talk about what a vacation or taking time off can do for you!
Now I'm talking about a real vacation, not a day here and there but a week, or even better two weeks away. To really benefit from a vacation we must - turn off e-mail and calls, and stop thinking about work. Even planning a vacation can change our outlook and make us happier. If you worry about someone dropping the ball at work, plan, delegate and then trust. Remember no one is indispensable, although we do sometimes like to think we are.. I'm often amazed when I go away, and really turn off, how many solutions I find when I return home, to challenges I had struggled with before I left.
It's important to take time away, whether you own the business, are an key team leader or a new employee. It's important to your health, which in turn is important to your company's health. Burnout is real and costly for companies, stressed out employees are not productive or creative, in fact they can be downright grumpy and disruptive.
Remember you only have this life to live, you are in charge of how you live it. Working yourself to the bone, suffering ill health and bad relationships because you are afraid of taking time away may mean it's time to re-access what's important. Take back your time! Live the life you have been given with joy, gratitude and happiness. And, if you need support to instigate changes, contact me and set up an appointment for a free discovery session.
Once would expect at a certain time of life that challenges with difficult people would either no longer bother us, or we’d be well versed in dealing/working with them. However, I’m finding even in this new life, where I can pick and chose my clients, that that is not always so! Sometimes when working with some clients, I wonder ‘how did they get so far in their career with that attitude?’ What on earth were the hiring committee thinking? And other such negative thoughts, judging and finding fault, something a coach shouldn’t be doing. When I have find myself in that position it is galling to know I’m not as immune as I would like, and that strangers can still press my buttons and tie me into knots.
Finding myself in this situation, where I don’t want to deal with a client any longer, where nothing is right, each suggestion comes back with the fact that they are the expert, they know how it should be done because they have done it before….. I have to bite my tongue where a nasty retort may sit about how their supposed expertise wouldn’t have led them to being sent to my front door. However this behaviour has had me researching and wondering if and how I might be able help this type of ‘know it all’ or negative person to see how their behaviour impedes them, their relationships, and reaching the dreams they hold dear.
When working with individuals, particularly if I find myself questioning something, I often go back to my first impressions and intuition… what did I first think and/or feel about the individual? What was it about them that gave me these impressions? My impression of ‘know it all's’ is that often they are insecure, lack empathy and may have an oversize ego. Harsh, maybe but often very true. In her Gamache series, Louise Penny’s protagonist poet Ruth published a book of poems called ‘I’m FINE’ . An acronym: F#*ked up, insecure, neurotic, and egotistical! I love this description of such a common banal way of responding to ‘How are you?”, it tickles me in the right way and in my mind fits this type of personality.
My research has led me to two possible ways to deal with people like this: I can just avoid them, or I can try and help and support them. My conclusion is that if I decide to work with them, I need to mix the two sets of advice. So if a client acts in this way, I try to:
However, it’s not so easy if you have to work with someone like this, or are dealing with a family member. My suggestion would be to follow the above rules, but also to avoid them as much as possible, negative behaviour is catching and you may find yourself following their example without realizing. If you’re working with someone who has this type of personality try and see the humour in the situation(s); who ever knows everything! Find a friend or family member outside work who you can confide in, however limit your time in doing so, or else they may grow tired of listening.
Remember life is for living and you only have this one life. You are in charge of how you live, surrounding yourself with negative people or ‘know it all’s’ will affect your mental health and happiness. So if you find yourself having to work or socialize with someone of this ilk, take time away and do what you can to ensure you don’t absorb the negative energy that surrounds them. Live the life you have been given with joy, gratitude and happiness. And, if you need support to instigate changes, or to stand up to negativity, contact me and set up an appointment for a free discovery session.
Authenticity, being true to oneself; understanding where we are coming from through reflection and understanding - working from the inside out. In the Third Act we talk of this inside out transition, doing a personal audit, how we view ourselves, how we treat ourselves and how we view knowledge we own, as well as how we use our experience and skills in the world.
When we talk of the Third Act transition we are challenging ourselves to look at who we are in the world, not who we project but who we really are inside - we can change how we are seen in the world, we can change our circumstances, our country .... but if we are unhappy inside nothing will shift for us until we change ourselves and do the inner work.
Inner work can be scary, we cannot hide from our true selves. We can try to ignore it, we can make up stories about who we are and how we became, but until we dig into those old hurts, all the wounds we have carried throughout the years, whether they are from childhood, or more recently from where we work/play, we will never truly be authentic. I believe we all need to challenge ourselves to look our fears in the eye, question self-limiting beliefs and toxic ways of thinking, and understand what our underlying fears are.
In the introduction to their book 'Immunity to Change' (amzn.to/2oGQ6pX), Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey talk of a medical study that showed when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don't change their habits, only one in seven will be able to follow through successfully. Their book is an eye opener into the human brain and the challenges we all face in overcoming resistance and transforming our lives. They look at what it is that prevents us from making changes that, literally in some cases, can make the difference between life or death. They talk about not only uncovering fears that stop us from making changes, but how we protect ourselves consciously, and unconsciously, from doing the very thing we want. Competing Commitments - an example being of a father wanting to be a better listener, thinking he 'may look stupid' to his teenagers, and thus feel humiliated. Therefore he acts in a way that protects him from this threat but in doing so prevents himself from achieving his goal of being a better listener and too, feeling closer to his children.
You can't wish to change and then expect it to happen overnight, it comes from deep inside and believing you can change is a major step in moving forward. Changing a habit of a lifetime is not easy, often it's easier to give up than to persevere, however, it can be done, and understanding that there will be setbacks is part of the journey. Even as we do begin to understand these fears and competing commitments, we often have trouble forgiving ourselves if we step off the path. It takes courage to step right back on and move forward, in AA they call it taking one day at a time. Some say it's easier to tell others and ask them to hold you accountable, others believe it is better to hold the change to yourself. I think you need to decide what works best for you!
Transition by its very nature means moving forward - there is no end, it's ongoing and that's the way is should be, we can rest, reflect on how far we've come but it's a journey, we can take a detour, but we should never presume to be at the end - nobody is that perfect! There's always something I want to change in my life, however one small step at a time, I'm not going to waste energy fighting who I am, what I'm doing is making small changes, working at them so that they become ingrained, and I'm no longer thinking about 'having' to remember, then I move onto something else. An example: I wanted to meditate each night: So I found an app I like and use it. It has become part of my night time ritual, however there have been nights when I've been too tired or simply forgot, I don't beat myself up about it, I just tune in the next night and continue on.
As you instigate changes in your life, now and then take time to reflect on how far you've come - celebrate those steps you've taken to becoming the person you wish to be. Our Third Act is a time when we can do this work, learn from it and make changes that can allow us to truly be who we were meant to be. It is not a time for regrets of what might have been, but rather a time of celebration, of a new and exciting adventure or journey, and a time for us.
If you would like help, find a coach and/or support team that will help you on your journey. Remember you only have one life to live, you are in charge of how you live it, take time to enjoy the journey and embrace the changes that continue to occur. Live the life that's left to you with joy, gratitude, positivity, and happiness while fulfilling the dreams you have carried throughout your life!
If you would like support in instigating changes into your life, why not contact me and make an appointment for a free discovery session.
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog