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Dealing with change

Dealing with the two ugly monsters: Fear and Doubt

This week I’m writing to you from a research study school I’m attending at the University of Johannesburg.

As I look around me, there are some really smart people in the room. They have done some amazing things. They have lots of experience. One person was on television just the previous evening as an expert panelist. I listen to one presentation after the other. What will be required of us in the coming years, the high level of research required and the strong focus on excellence. It feels overwhelming.

As I’m listening, two old ugly monsters are making their appearance. The first one I recognise by how all of a sudden my mouth is dry and my heart is beating faster. My palms feel a little moist. It’s fear – the same one from my childhood. What have I done….I feel panicky. Reality is setting in  and that is when the other monster arrives – DOUBT. Can I really do this? Everybody else around me seems to be so smart and confident. Who am I to want to take on a PhD? I’m just a mom/wife/business owner/…..fill in the blanks.

As I look around at the other students and look back at my own notes, I feel a strong urge to get up and leave. By now I am convinced that I am in the wrong place, that I’ve made a mistake, that they’ve made a mistake including me in the program.

“No, don’t leave. You need to be here. You’ve all been selected very carefully to be here.”, says the facilitator.

I decide to stay a little longer, hoping that by lunch time I would have regained some measure of composure. Towards the end of the session, one of my fellow students, a lady in her late forties, turns to me. Her eyes are as big as saucers. She leans over to me and whispers: “Are you also feeling so terrified or is it just me?” At that moment I realise that I’m not alone and we start chatting away, deciding that the only way to get through this is to work together and support each other.

At the end of  the day, after listening to all the presentations, the people at our table linger just a little longer. Everyone is somewhat doubtful, somewhat terrified of what is lying ahead in the months to come and concerned about whether we will finish proposals on time.

I’m sure this will be one hell of a ride ( our professors keep on reminding us) and I look forward to the future. I look forward to trying new things, to stretch my own thinking and be stretched by others. To take my work to a whole new level and be able to share all this new learning with my coaching clients in a meaningful way that would enrich their lives.

I encourage you to look at the things you fear. To sit with the fear and to wait it out, to not leave “the room”. To stay a little longer and meet incredible people on your journey. Allow yourself the gift of being stretched and moulded into a more fulfilling version of yourself.

wishing you many blessings
Rock On….

 

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From resolutions to reality to Las Vegas?

It’s a new year and the majority of people are  scrambling to make those new years resolutions happen. Talking to your friends I’m sure the old favourites will pop up again:

  • Losing Weight
  • Run 5km
  • Stop smoking
  • Drink less
  • Take more time off this year
  • Spend more time with the kids
  • Find a life partner

Feels a little….. blah, doesn’t it.

This year I decided not to have any new years resolutions. (Shock, horror, surprise!) Instead I’ve been thinking and plotting and mapping out what I want for this year. Situations and experiences that will invigorate my mind, body and soul. Initially I had a whole flipchart full of stuff “To Do” – really boring stuff and then some really exciting, almost crazy things that almost seem impossible. I’ve narrowed it down to 3 major things:

  • A week in Las Vegas with my husband – no kids!
  • Write a kick-ass PhD proposal
  • Create lives that Rock for 1000 people this year.

Considering that I am also a mom with three school going kids, this is going to be quite an exciting, interesting and dare I say challenging year.

If you are thinking “How the hell is she going to do that?”, you are not alone. I’ve been asking myself that question a gazillion times over the past month. And then it dawned on me that I don’t need a specific, precise plan to make all this happen. I just need to start with an intention and feel the excitement and emotion – get real fired up. Not hard to do, who would not be fired up going to Vegas?

Living in Africa, going to Vegas would mean travelling just about half way around  the world. Challenging – yes, but possible.

Instead of focussing how I’m going to make those 3 experiences a reality, my focus is on the end result and what it would feel like once I’m there/have done it.

Whatever you hope to achieve this year, I’m sure you could do it. Get help, get a mentor, get a coach, get an accountability buddy. Take action!

Until next time,
Rock on….

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Christmas Holidays Survive

How to survive the Christmas Holidays

It is that time of year, when we are all getting ready for Christmas. Family and friends might be visiting and who knows who else will show up at your door step? My friends and I have been talking about how one would survive this time, especially when you are living at the coast as we do here in sunny South Africa.

Survival tip 1:
Just remember that one day on your death bed, you will not be wishing you had spent more time cleaning your house. This should put things in perspective for you.

Survival tip 2:
Expect the unexpected when it comes to meal times. In our house over December I never know who will be showing up for supper. Prepare some pre-cooked items that you can take from the freezer and just pop into the microwave. Pre-cooked rice, lasagne, chicken, pumpkin pie have been some real life savers in the past.(Or you could just get everything from Woolworths!)

Survival tip 3:
Tell everyone where the washing machine is. If your clothes/towels are not in it, it does not get washed.

Survival tip 4:
Show everyone where the dishwasher is. That’s where plates and cups go after supper.

Survival tip 5:
When someone offers to help, say yes and have something ready for them to do. (Seriously, you don’t need a list).

Survival tip 6:
When the kids start asking “what can we do”, have something ready for them – here you do need a list. Our include: walk the dog, clean your room, play chess, play cards, go swimming, go for a walk, clean the back yard, reorganise your cupboard, do the dishes, sweep the floor, start supper, etc.

Survival tip 7:
Have glass of wine – sip it slowly. Breathe.

I’d love to hear what survival tips work for you. Leave us a comment below.

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Stepping through the open door

I have a great coaching partner. Her name is Jinx – she’s a 3 year old border collie. She is really well trained and well behaved and loves playing with the children. We taught her well not to just run out of the front door and she is very obedient. Perhaps we taught her too well, because even if the front door is open, she will just sit there. She’s ready to go and even if we prompt her she is hesitant to go outside  and play with the kids. Nothing is stopping her, except her own (OK ours) conditioning. And this I think is the problem with human beings….

We are “taught well and very obedient”. It is our own conditioning that keeps us back. Some people would say, Oh just get over it – but it is not always that easy. That conditioning has become part of our cells, or our physiology, it has become automatic, almost like a reflex. We don’t have to think about it. And some conditioning/automation is good – like breathing for example. We don’t have to think about it. We just do it. It frees up our brain to focus on other areas, like freeing up space on your computer.

I just wonder if we have not become so conditioned that we’ve put ourselves to sleep. We’re going through life not seeing and not living. We are merely existing. I’ve often wondered in which areas of my life I am asleep or have been conditioned too much.

I’ve found some things that don’t make sense to me any longer, like not going out in the evening on weekdays. Why, it’s a “school night”. I’m no longer in school…I could go out on a weeknight, and have been doing so for the last couple of years. And surprisingly the world has not come to an end and I’m still able to work the next day.

Some other conditioning that came to light was this: Oh, I could never do that, it must be expensive. And then someone asked me, well how much is it. Hmmm, I don’t really know, but it must be expensive. Not true. Once I took the trouble of finding out exactly what things cost, I realised that there were actually a whole bunch of things I could actually afford to to.

It was the years of conditioning ( from parents, teachers, uncles, aunts, other authority figures) that kept me thinking small and once I started asking the right questions, my world changed. And so one of my favourite questions to ask is: Is that the truth?

So perhaps this week you’ll look at your own conditioning and determine to what extent it is still serving you and perhaps identify other areas that you can let go off.

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Coaching Finish strong

Finish the year strong

My coach and friends have been encouraging me to write a blog. I’ve been resisting – OK I’ve just been plain stubborn. I didn’t want to do it. And then a friend of mine said this to me: “You are holding back – there are so many people who you could help if you wrote about the stuff we often talk about.”

I have to admit I’ve never really thought about it like that. I’ve always thought it has to be some sort of academic style article, thoroughly researched, with loads of references. So I’m going out on a limb here and writing about things that matter to me – love, life, work, marriage, relationships, friends, coaching, attempting a PhD.

I know it seems really silly to start something new when it is the end of the year. Most people are wrapping up and winding down, and I just wanted to do something completely different this year. Instead of winding down, I’m finishing strong. Taking on that one last project and writing just a few more proposals.

I’m not waiting for January before I start living more healthy – I’m seeing a nutritionist now. The work space that I’ve always dreamed of is happening now and I’m inviting my clients to  join me in this journey of redefining who I am and what I have to offer.

Instead of waiting for things to be just right, and the planets to align just so, and that special sign to appear out of thin air – I’m taking the bull by the horns and doing something – taking action. This will mean things are not perfect. All sorts of things could happen. You might even be offended at some of the things I write. I am very likely to make mistakes in the process. Some things will work out and others won’t. My intention is to immerse myself fully in living life the best way I know how, so that I can share with you what is working, what is not working and perhaps you’ll find your spark again. You’ll find that special something inside you, that you remembered having when you were just about 5 years old – when the world was magical and you believed you could do anything. I’d love to help you remember that and make it real now.

There will be no new years resolutions. There will be lots of intentions. (Could be the topic of the next blog!)

I look forward to your comments, questions and suggestions as you join me in finding my voice.

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Coaching Rocks! 5 steps to positive transformational change

So happy about my book, Coaching Rocks! 5 steps to positive transformational change. It’s available on Smashwords.com and www.mindz.co.za.