Who am I?

What are some of the biggest fears you have about what will happen if you fully be yourself, speak your truth, and go for what you truly want in life? We all want to live happy, authentic lives, rich & full of purpose, we yearn to express ourselves more fully and be unconditionally accepted by others.  But the reality is that it’s often easier to remain and behave in less authentic ways rather than risk letting others see and experience who we really are.

It often feels like we can’t truly be authentic because it means we risk having others judge us, or worse, reject us. In the end, it seems easier to just be quiet, fit in, and hide who we really are rather than attempt to live more authentically around others. Still, we want to be more authentic, but at the same time, being more authentic seems very scary!  We are apprehensive to take an honest look at our hidden selves. However, if we want to live more authentically, we must move pass this fear.butterfly in hand on grass

A great metaphor for authenticity is an iceberg where the iceberg’s tip can be seen above the water’s surface, but the majority of it lies hidden beneath the water’s surface. We often go about life in a similar fashion, showing only a small part of our true identity and hiding everything else. We don’t want others to see and experience who we really are. To become more authentic may require us to lower our waterline and share more of who we really are.

We don’t want to share things that we feel people would look down on us for, such as:

  • Failures and disappointments
  • Guilt and shame
  • Fears and insecurities
  • Weaknesses and embarrassments
  • Resentments and jealousies

We also hesitate to share their positive traits such as:

  • Our hopes and dreams
  • Our vision of what makes us truly happy
  • Our accomplishments and future goals
  • What we love and appreciate
  • What excites us and give us childlike curiosity

The reason we can be equally hesitant to our positive qualities is because revealing our most hidden strengths, desires, and aspirations still makes us vulnerable. These positive qualities can still be judged critically by others, so there is risk associated with opening up to others, even in positive ways.

Being authentic means being willing to openly and honestly share all of yourself with others – both good and bad.  If you look up the definition of ‘authenticity’ in the dictionary, you would see the concept described as ‘the quality of being genuine.’ Being more authentic is more fully expressing all of who you really are, and this includes both the light and the dark.

When you are more authentic, you are also more vulnerable; there’s no denying this fact.  Still, isn’t risking a little vulnerability worth the potential gain of becoming:

    • More confident in yourself?
    • More willing to pursue your passions?
    • More free of other people’s opinions?
    • More connected with yourself and others?
    • More in a state of peace of mind?
    • More accepting and appreciative of your true self?

Keep asking: Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?

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How To Turn Your Longing Into Reality – 6 Success Habits

 My mission is to shape the way we see the world and our place in it. My vision is to empower women to confidently step into their power and to live their best lives. Sometimes I question the sanity of this, because I experience so much superficiality in life today– Who has the right clothes? Am I prettier/slimmer than her/him? What did Brad say to Angelina? I found that we long for success, but few are willing to take a deep, hard look at their inner world, change their  beliefs and install the habits. 

My previous blog encouraged you to start creating a vision for your life  and not to allow longing and discontent to follow you from one year to the next.  If you have done that, you are setting the stage for a brilliant new you!  Now that you have ignited the fire, I want to share six routines or habits that you can install, to ensure that you keep up the momentum.

    1. Make a dream collage – When it comes achieving our goals, many of us lose the motivation we had when we first started. Our best intentions are put aside as life takes over, and we struggle to stay motivated. In neuroscience goal representation is an essential part of goal pursuit. We create a clear How to turn your dream into reality- 6 Success habits (1)picture of the future in our memory. Creating and using a dream collage is an inspiring way to stay focused on your goals. The purpose is to turn something abstract into something conceivable and it’s a chance to unleash your creative side. Cut and paste and have some fun!
    2. Focus on your wins – Our brains are wired to focus on what we haven’t achieved and that often demotivates us. If you retrain your brain to focus on what you have achieved, dopamine (the feel- good hormone) is released and it is easier to stay motivated.
    3. Love yourself more – It is easy to be critical and hard on yourself. Learn to love yourself more and start focusing on what you do right and what you like about yourself. Focus on the gifts YOU bring to the world.
    4. Start the day with gratitudeHedonic adaptation is the term that positive psychologists use to describe the brain’s tendency  to start taking things for granted, making us less happy.    There is so much beauty in the world and you have so much good in your life.  Don’t take anything for granted. Start noticing,  retrain your brain and give thanks– it is not JUST another day. 
    5. Set an intention for the day and declare it at the beginning of the day. This simple, but powerful habit helps the brain to focus and tune-in from all the chaos, the demands and the distractions.
    6. Be seven again – Let go of the worry and the strive even for just a short while and do something that is fun and enjoyable. What you may ask? Learn to listen to the still inner voice, she/he knows the answer.

                                            Claim your tool here:Heart Language Tool


Sounds like too much work?  I have created an online journal template that will allow you to retrain your brain in just 10 minutes a day.

                                           Claim it here: Into The Heart Journal

 

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The Rest Of Your Life Is Waiting

The rest of your life is waiting…will you create a vision and set your course for an ideal outcome or will you simply drift along?

When considering what your future is going to be like, most people choose to simply drift along and this is a tragedy that happens over and over again. The most intelligent well meaning people in the world are relegated to an inferior existence, living a life less fulfilling and rewarding , because they did not set goals or dream about what they wanted for their future.

Consider the airline pilot who flies a plan from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Most of the flight is on auto-pilot, where the course is set at the beginning. But its not a straight point A to point B event. The plane is constantly making adjustments for wind, weather and other issues that may come up which could throw it off course.

It’s the same with your life.  Without first setting the course and without making the necessary adjustments, your future will just drift into any direction the wind takes it.

This is no way to go through life!

But it doesn’t have to be that way for you, not anymore.  Today you can decide how the rest of your life is going to look and feel.  Right now you can take steps toward a better life for yourself, your business, career and your family, simply by practicing the art of vis
Dreamscaping Cafe (1)ioning and goal setting.You may not agree with me, but science of visualisation is on my side.By changing your thoughts and actions, you can change your world to have better health, more fulfilling relationships, more prosperity and a greater sense of well-being,

Having a vision for your life is a beautiful thing. It makes your dreams feel more concrete and obtainable. It gives you focus, direction and a barometer upon which to make life decisions. With a vision, you live with intention and purpose because you know where you are going. Without the direction of a clear vision for guidance, it is unlikely you will feel fulfilled because you will not base your decisions on what you want and where you are headed, but instead you will base them on circumstances of the moment. Try creating a vision of what you want your life to look like in all areas of life, and picture it in your mind every day. Then create your plan to get there, take action with a resolve not to quit, and watch what happens. Even the smallest steps will lead you to your goals.

Today you have a choice of how you want the rest of your life to play out. You can either be someone who just lets the winds of fate carry you or you can set the course for the kind of life you want to live, the kind that will make you happy and fulfilled.

 For the next month I will send you weekly Vision Reminders to inspire you to do the work!

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Pause – A Zen Story

A number of students were sitting quietly with their teacher one day when a hunter passed by. The hunter was surprised to see the renowned teacher sitting there at ease and doing nothing at all, remarking that the man’s inaction appeared to be a waste of precious time.

“Take your bow, cock it, and fire an arrow,” the teacher responded quietly. The hunter obliged.

“Cock your bow and fire another arrow,” the teacher then said. And the hunter again obliged – again and again and again.

Finally the hunter spoke up: “Teacher, if I continue to cock my bow at this rate, it will break.”

“The same goes for all of us,” said the teacher. If we push ourselves excessively, we will break too. The right thing to do sometimes is to take a break and cease all activity.” (Source: Point of You)

Does your  “to-do” list have more on it than you can sanely do in a lifetime? ( This time of the year  is not called the “silly season” for no reason. )

Why is it so hard to pause and make time for ourselves?dance-with-possibility-imagine-space-to-breathe

So what if you did this…

Gift yourself a few  moments of tranquility and introspection, amidst the hustle and bustle. I love this quote  by Efrat Shani : Pause is a tool for creating clarity, calmness, a fresh look and internal peace…

What if you let go of the tight constraints of perfectionism today? What if you looked outside and saw the beauty? What if you  put away the worries and concerns for the future? What if you allowed  for new possibilities? What if you did that one thing that makes you happy? What if you adopted a new mantra –

“I do enough. I have enough. I am enough”

Now what better gift than that can you give yourself?

 

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“Monkey Mind” Brain Calming Sleep Tool

We all get ‘Monkey Mind’ from time to time – where our brain roams out of control – swinging from one thing to the next. Sometimes it’s exciting: plans we’re making, ideas we have. Other times it can be a long catalogue of things to remember, worries and ‘shoulds’. Often it’s a mix of both. Of course the worst time to have ‘Monkey Mind’ is when we’re trying to go to sleep. This super simple tool calms that ‘Monkey Mind’ so you can get the sleep you deserve!Young woman taking a nap in bedroom, focus on table in front

Simply write ANY and EVERY thing that’s on your mind on a blank piece of paper. Just put pen to paper and write. And no judgement please! The only rule is that there are no rules. Whatever pops up, write it down. Eg. Great ideas, what to have for breakfast, a feeling, memory,grievance or worry, that you need a haircut, to see the dentist or something else.

  1. Keep writing until your brain is exhausted of things to tell you about.
  2. Then ask, “If there was something/s I missed, what would it be?” Write these down, then continue.

 

Pause and take a look at the things on your ‘Monkey Mind’ list.

  • Let go of your ‘Cheeky Monkeys’:These are items you have no control over i.e. Where there is nothing you can do. Cross these items out. Take a deep breath and let go of each for now.
  • Identify your’Gorillas’:Circle the items that are really bothering you or that your mind keeps going back to – whatever it is – however big, small, silly, boring or illogical it may or may not be!
  1. Look at the’Gorilla’ items you’ve circled and pick an action for each that you will (ideally) take tomorrow. Phone dentist/hair salon, buy milk, brainstorm business/holiday ideas over lunch, Research personal trainers, call mom, set up meeting with school etc.

Tip: If you want your brain to calm, it needs to know you are listening. Your action doesn’t have to be big – it can be the smallest step you could take. But commit to yourself and do it as soon as you can.And remember your action could also be to ‘let go’!

What action will I take?                                                                  By when (ideally tomorrow)

 ___________________________________________________       ___________________________

Now check in with yourself. How busy is your mind now? _____ / 10

Once your mind busy-ness score is 2 (or less) out of 10, wonderful! Take a deep breath. Acknowledge and thank your brain for all these great thoughts,before reviewing your action plan one final time.

If your mind busy-ness score is 3 or above, out of 10, ask yourself:

“What haven’t I mentioned yet that needs to be seen, felt or heard?”

Then, just keep writing until you’re done. Look at your new item/s. What can you do about it – however small? If there is something add it to your action list, otherwise cross out your  ‘Cheeky Monkeys’  as before.

Keep going until your score is 2 or less, out of 10.

Great job! Now it’s time for sleep.Close up of sleeping puppy of labrador on the hands of female owner sitting on the sofa

Final Tip: Print a few of these tools(download below)and keep them next to your bed or simply do this exercise with a blank piece of paper!

                                                                                      Free_tool_monkey-mind-brain-calming-sleep-tool

 

 

 

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Quiz-How Well Do You Maintain Balance?

How Well Do You Maintain Balance?What you think and choose colours your life (4)

If trying to maintain balance in your life makes you feel like a tightrope walker, you’re not alone. Most of us have so many demands on our time and energy, life can feel like a three-ring circus. Take this quiz to see how well you are meeting responsibilities, while also recognising and fulfilling personal needs and wants

True  False

@      @  1. The only way I can successfully                         manage my life is to take care of                       myself physically and emotionally.

@     @  2. Nurturing myself enlarges my                             capacity to help others.

@    @  3. I eat healthfully and exercise                             regularly.

@   @  4. I get check-ups, go to the dentist, and                 take preventative precautions.

@   @  5. I set aside personal, quiet time for myself, whether I’m meditating or simply letting my thoughts drift.

@   @  6. I experience the gifts of each season: walks in nature; gardening, hiking, more time outside; camping, swimming, braais, spending more time inside, cozily tucked under a blanket.

@   @  7. Creativity nurtures me, too. I do what I love, whether that’s cooking, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, singing or another creative pursuit.

@   @  8. Reaching out to others enriches my life. I spend quality time with family and friends.

@   @  9. Contributing to the world provides connection and purpose, so I give my time, energy and experience where it is most useful.

@   @  10. I notice and heed the emotional signals that tell me I’m out of balance: irritability, overwhelm, resentment.

@   @ 11. If I feel that I’m catching a cold, I realise I may have stressed my immune system with over activity, so I stop and take care of myself.

@   @  12. When I need or want to, I say “no” to requests for my time.

@   @  13. I listen to and honour the requests my body makes for such things as a nap, a walk, green vegetables, hot soup.

@   @ 14. If I have something planned for myself, I don’t just toss that aside when someone makes a request of me.

@   @ 15. I’m busy, but I find time to do the things I want to do.

@   @  16. I’m happy. I regularly experience well-being, contentment, even joy.

If you answered false more often than true, you may want to take a look at the questions to which you answered false and see if you can incorporate something of its message into your life. Please don’t hesitate to call if you’d like to explore this issue further.

 

 

 

 

      Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications

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Do you know what I find really painful?

It is my passion and purpose to support professional women to be confident, happy and to live their best lives. Do you know what I find painful? There are millions of people who feel stuck, unhappy, confused or lack confidence and I know exactly how effective my support, guidance and facilitation is. But coaching is a relatively new field and skepticism and misunderstanding prevent people from making use of it. Therefore I would like to share an info graphic with some research recently conducted by the International Coaching Federation that prove that life coaching really works and that it is really effective.

This info graphic shows:
 the benefits of coaching
 the top reasons why people use a life coach
 why you need a life coach

Slide1Slide2 

 

 

 

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The Power of a Promise

Can you believe that it  has been already  months since we were rolling  into 2016,  creating big dreams, setting exciting goals, and making important promises?  “I’m going to make 2016 my best year ever”, “I’m finally going  to lose that extra weight.” “I’m not going to work so hard”, “I’m going to finally get my health back.”  “This is the year to pay off my debt.”Power of a promise

You know your promises – you’ve probably made them more than once in the past. Some you have kept; many are nagging reminders of unfulfilled commitments.

In Bill Phillips’ book Body for Life, he explains why keeping promises to ourselves is much more important than it appears on the surface.

Bill writes, “When you set an important goal you must promise yourself that you will finish what you start, no matter what.  That vow, although it might be very easy to break, is by far one of the most important ones to honor.  You see, the very essence of confidence is self-trust.  Would you trust anyone who repeatedly lied to you?  Someone who broke the rules of the game again and again?  Of course you wouldn’t.  So if you’ve developed a pattern of not honoring self-promises, this is a great time to make a change.  If you can’t honor, trust, and depend on your own word, well… that may be the root of a lot of challenges in your life – a lot more than you realize.”

This is a critical and eye opening – issue for each of us to face.

Most people have a very hard time answering the simple question, “Do I keep my word to myself?” (Or, should I say, they have a hard time answering it honestly.)

The thing about lying to ourselves is that we never, ever get away with it.  On the surface we may fool our minds into ignoring and not admitting what we’re doing, but deep down, in the place where all truth resides for each of us, in the place where we know and see ourselves as we really are – in that place, we are causing pain and damage every  time we’re not totally honest with ourselves…

…It doesn’t have to be like that though.  No matter how long it has been like that, it doesn’t have to stay that way.  Contrary to what many people think, it’s a lot easier to keep the promises we make to ourselves than it is to break them.

Keeping these promises unleashes enormous energy and potential.  That potential emptiness created by self-deception will become filled with strength, certainty – and yes, confidence – if you honor self-promises.  (We’ve all heard the phrase “The truth shall set you free”.  Well, nowhere is that more true than when we apply it to our relationship with ourselves.)

So how can you take this knowledge and apply it to your business, career, health, finances and relationships?  Are there promises that you are making and not keeping?  How does that affect your energy, motivation and progress?  How does it make you feel about yourself?

 So what can you do to make this shift?  How about starting small?  How about setting daily goals and sticking with them?  How about making the commitment to establish a business plan with activity goals and financial goals so you know where you are headed?   How about giving yourself permission to fail?  How about agreeing to measure and adjust along the way so you know you are not “stuck” with a plan that is not ideal?  What else can you do?

The significance of keeping promises to ourselves is profound.  Examine your own habits to see if in fact you break the promises you make to yourself.  And if so, make the shift to putting your promises at the top of your commitment list.

 

Exercises to flex your promise-making and promise-keeping muscles:PDF

 

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The Monkey-chatter In Your Head

 Monkey chatterWe all have negative voices in our head.  For some they are subtle, passive, and even deceive us into thinking they are there to protect us and keep us safe.  For others, they are much more aggressive, and downright mean.  Sometimes we are aware of their words and influence.  Most other times we are oblivious to their destructive messages, and they impact our beliefs, sense of self, motivation, and happiness.

One of the best ways to become savvy to the negative inner voices in your head is to practice mindfulness.  To be more mindful means to be more aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions in the present moment. Weaving mindfulness into your day – to be present in the moment rather than worrying about what you’ve just done or planning what you’ve got to do next – creates a sense of space and helps us feel a bit more in control and is one of the 10 keys to happiness, as identified by positive psychology.

The challenge  with not being mindful of our thoughts is that we treat our thoughts as if they are facts. We just simply accept whatever comes into our mind as truth without giving it a second thought. And we have these thoughts so often that we believe them as fact. But really a thought is not a fact.  A thought is just a thought. And when they are destructive (which they mostly are), they have very negative ramifications.

You may have the thought “I am no good at this,” or “I’m fat,” or “I’m not smart enough,” or “Nobody understands me,” or even “I am brilliant!” Does thinking it make it so?  Once or twice, probably not. But if we think it enough, our mind will accept it as truth, regardless of whether it is good or bad.

When you start to pay attention to your thoughts through mindfulness with gentle curiosity and no judgment, you can observe your thinking more objectively. You can notice your thoughts, assess them for truth, then either accept or reframe them more positively. This is a powerful tool. Imagine catching even a fraction of your negative thoughts, assessing them for truth (which most aren’t), and reframing them in a more positive and truthful way.     

To further improve your mindfulness, try this activity: The monkey-chatter in your head

Start this activity with mindfulness of your breath.  Focus specifically on your breath –slowly in and out. Perhaps even speak the words in your mind. “I breathe in deeply, filling my lungs, and then exhale slowly, emptying my lungs.”

Then as you continue to breathe, allow yourself to notice any thoughts that come into your head. Pay attention to these thoughts without judgment. Thoughts are just thoughts – it’s whatever is going on in your mind at this particular moment.

It may sound like this:

“This is different – O.K. I’m going to do this.  Hey, there’s a fly.  Breathing in, exhaling out.  Ouch, my back hurts.  I should just get back to work.  There’s me thinking about work again.  Give yourself a break for a minute.”

Then it may go to something like “I’m sitting here thinking of my thoughts…  O.K.  It’s a beautiful day.  My stomach is hungry.  Hmmm, I can’t do this very well.”

These are all valid, normal thoughts. And very often they are all over the place like the example you just read.  Allow yourself time to think about your thoughts. Don’t rush, don’t judge, and don’t stop.  Find curiosity, interest and even humor in your thoughts.

You can also imagine your thoughts floating by like clouds in the sky, or leaves in a stream. Notice each passing thought and then the one that comes after it, and then the one that comes after that. You may notice that just at the moment you become aware of a thought, it passes and is replaced by another thought. That’s what happens – thoughts come, and they go.

Finally, to end this exercise bring yourself back to the awareness of your breath.

The value in this exercise is to realise first how little attention we pay to our thoughts, yet how extremely powerful they are.  Then learning to notice them can lead us to better control them to serve us for the better.

Download your free sleep tool here.

 

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Mastering Your Motivation

Reaching our personal and professional dreams depends entirely upon our ability to motivate ourselves. We can have all the talent and resources in the world but without self-motivation we won’t get very far.Know

So what can you do to ensure your motivation stays in peak form?

Try implementing these critical skills into your own life to master your motivation.

Risk management. Does the idea of taking risks inspire you to take action or weaken your resolve? Tackling the right risks has as much to do with self-confidence as it does with the actual risk itself. Take small risks to build your confidence. You’ll learn when it’s best to take action and when to take a step back.

Accepting constructive feedback. No one likes criticism; it can shake our confidence and leave our motivation waning. But when we train ourselves to listen for the constructive feedback, even if it’s not presented in a constructive way, we give ourselves an opportunity to grow and get stronger. What helpful messages can you gain from the insights of others?

Dealing with setbacks. Overcoming obstacles to keep our drive alive requires resilience. In the movie The African Queen, both Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn’s characters must navigate a treacherous river to reach their final destination and confront dangerous killers. En route they overcome enemy gunfire, dangerous rapids, hunger and illness, as well as facing their own, and each other’s shortcomings only to end up giving up on their goal, unaware it’s just around the next bend. Are setbacks making you quit before you reach your goal? Dig deep and find your strength – your success may be just around the next bend.

Setting high, but achievable goals. We either tend to set goals that are too ambitious or not ambitious enough. Think like ‘Goldilocks’ and find the goal that’s ‘just right’ – a goal that pushes you just enough to keep yourself engaged and motivated, but not too big that it feels impossible and discourages you from even trying.

By developing your self-motivation skills you’ll begin to notice increased productivity, and efficiency, and you will experience more happiness in your life.

Incorporating even one of these new skills into your daily routine means you too can keep your self-motivation high and get to work on finding more success and fulfilling your dreams!

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