Feeling Limited? If you work for a micro-management style company, if your every move is constrained by policy, if you work for managers who are control focused rather than acting as leaders and coaches, or, if you work for people who want to knock you down instead of build you up, the first point to recognise is that you are choosing to be there. In this acceptance, you reclaim a little of your power and can then assess the limitation situation.The fact is that we cannot change people. If we don’t change then nothing will change.
Consider this: Is everyone else feeling limited, or is it just you?
This feeling of limitation is happening to you and therefore, it is about you, it is not about the company or the management. So, Ask yourself, what is not acceptable this limitation?
I was working with a client on this very topic and her response to me was something like this:
‘You know, I really want to be in the management position. I can see so many opportunities to create a really positive environment, and I have thought about how we can develop the business and increase profits. But, I feel like I don’t have any opportunities to demonstrate my skills or share my suggestions. I could work for another company, but I really know this company now and I would love to be part of the development process. I have made some good friends here and feel part of it. I want to grow.
In that final comment, the reason for her feeling of limitation was clear. Once she recognised the true nature of her own feelings, she was able to address the matter, and make plans to take action for change.
Bullied? Is there someone at work who tries to bully you with their words or behaviours? If so, you can choose to accept it or choose not to accept it, in which case, to do something about it. The chances are, the most likely obstacle to doing something about it is fear. The knock downs and bully behaviour are about them, and their insecurities, but the fear is yours. You cannot change people. You can set set boundaries and ask for change.
Ask yourself, what is this fear about?
Another client was a manager of in a medical clinic. She believed that she did her job well, and was popular with her team and the patients. However, the director would frequently highlight anything negative she could find about my client. When asked to perform certain tasks that my client carried out with great efficiency, she would later be told she had done the wrong task, and be shouted at for doing things wrong. Even though she got in the habit of double-checking and writing down everything her director asked, she would be told she had written things down wrong. Her job was frequently threatened and she was beginning to feel anxious about going to work, because no matter what she did, she knew she could not win. My client loved her job with the patients, and it was the only availability in her home town. She really wanted to stay.
So I asked her: ‘What is the fear about?’
Once we worked through the fears, my client was able to recognise that what she feared the most would most likely not happen: if her boss was going to fire her, she would have done so by now.
This was when she made a decision to confront her director. The next time she felt bullied, she told this lady that her behaviour was not acceptable, that she felt bullied and that she wanted this to stop. The director was outraged and highlighted how grateful my client should be for the job opportunity and how lucky she was to be so well paid. However, the bullying behaviour stopped, my client felt empowered and better able to manage the bullies in her life, and some of her other fears. Three months later she handed in her resignation, leaving not in fear, but with courage and determination to take action for change in developing more positive energies in her life.
Not Enough Time?
The ‘inbox’ is over flowing, the ‘to-list’ is infinite, and people keep asking you to do more. The external picture looks hectic and overwhelming. If nothing changes, people will keep asking, the list will keep growing and the inbox will keep overflowing. The influx is about the environment and other people, but the reason it is continuing to happen is about you.
Ask yourself, what is it about asking for your needs to be met that is stopping you from asking for what you need?
When I asked a client what would happen if he said ‘no’, he gave me a rather awkward look and told me that his boss is a woman. I asked what this meant to him. He said that it reminded him of not being able to say ‘no’ to his demanding mother. I asked him if he went to work as an adult professional, or as the son of his boss? He quickly realized that he was indeed acting out his child state and needed to shift his own behaviour. One recognition of this, he was able to take action to change, as a result, his boss changed the way she spoke to him. Once this relationship dynamic had shifted, my client felt more in his power and able to ask for what he needed to manage the overwhelming admin. His boss however did not see eye to eye and my client returned feeling frustrated and angry about his position.
When I asked him why he felt frustrated and angry, he said he felt unable to do anything well, and is always behind.
I asked: 'If you were the manager, what would you have done differently?'
My client put himself in the shoes of his boss, and in doing realized, it was not an easy situation to change, and that employing someone else to help may be a cost they could not afford. It also became clear that no one every complained about his lack of skill or being behind, indeed, he started to see they needed him and that he really was doing his best. He just wasn’t living up to his own unrealistic standards. Soon, he was able to accept the situation, he started to feel better about his role in making the business function, and he started going to work feeling much happier. It was okay that they was not enough time in the day, he was doing his best and that was okay, and everyone was else was in the same boat.. With this, he took action to change the way he pressured himself, and is enjoy his job more now.
I had the pleasure of enjoying last Sunday lunch with a group of friends at the Urban Villa Boutique hotel. Nestled in the hills just above Marbella, this little gem stands majestically on the hillside, offering panoramic sea and mountain views, and the perfect retreat for a relaxing afternoon with friends.
The owner, Linda, welcomed us into her family lounge style restaurant, where drinks awaited on cosy sofas beside the log fire, and live music accompanied our prelude to a specially prepared vegan style Spanish Sunday lunch, and a conversation that has planted some new seeds...
As wine flowed among friends we shared recent and colourful stories of world travels and business ventures. A friend had just returned from a volunteer expedition in Africa, and brought with her sobering tales of the worlds we are so sheltered from, sparking thoughts about what world is the real world, and what are we really living for? Another friend shared ideas for her ladies empowerment circle, and sparked thoughts about what support Women multicultural Marbella really need and want?
New entrepreneurial projects designed to make a positive difference to people infused the discussion, with momentary inclusion of Trump's latest antics, brought in for questionable amusement and momentary horror, and we found ourselves considering affairs of the world, where we are going, what comes after Trump, and, in a world that we understand so little about, what vision we might create if we had the power to make a positive difference at a global scale.
We all had our opinions about what could and might and should happen, at times generating quite heated debates. By the time desert was served; a stunning buttery apply tart that might be quite possibly the best in Marbella, what arose seemed to me to be a far more important and specific question to consider: what political environment do we want to live in?
This question presented the first dilemma: how can we make a choice on political leadership when we believe the facts presented are not true and that promises made are little more than campaigns for winning votes. In reality, all we know is what we know today, and what we know today is based on what we have learnt from the past and on what we are experiencing now.
It was mutually agreed that most of us need far more education on what actually happens at the political level. So then how do we educate ourselves, when the newspapers are filled with sales promoting drama.
I think when the world stage is putting on a great show (and by great I am talking about the scale of the drama, not necessarily the quality of the performance), with an agenda we cannot know, it may be wiser to turn away from the performance playing out, and think about the show we want see playing out. I believe that we often get so lost in the dramas of our own lives, and those of the political stages, that we lose sight of this more important consideration: what we really want for our world, and indeed, individually and collectively.
My mind drifted momentarily into the sea and mountain vistas and I wondered if I were to hold the pen that wrote the story line and choose the characters for a play on the world's stage, what would the story-line be, who would the characters be, what personalities would they have, what values would they uphold, and what vision would they truly be working with all the passions in their heart to create?
I have the foundation for my play; it is based on a script that plays out positive values that serve the greater good and support my personal happiness. I am learning that my personal happiness grows in response to how I choose to think and perceive my current reality, and the choices I make in relation to my heart-centered values, with the feelings I gain from those I feel supported by, the moments of appreciation and gratitude I make time to include, the friends I share my time with, and the individuals who trust me to help them heal and grow. But when I consider the greater good; what the world needs as a vision to support harmony for all, I loose myself in a state of wonderment about what that vision may look like, what values uphold it, what practices bring it to life, and how we recruit those whose agenda it seems is only power and control at the cost of innocent lives, mass violence and suffering. When reality gives me a weighted jolt I am reminded that we cannot change people and I alone cannot change the world and make it better with a single vision. So then what can I do to contribute to the script of a world that supports the greater good.
I believe if we take care of the needs of those around us this has ripple effects that touch the lives of others and so in own small ways, with our random acts of kindness, positive words, care, support, love, encouragement, acceptance, gratitude, appreciation, forgiveness, laughter, interest, beauty and presence, we can make ripples that have positive effects, radiating from our individual hearts and minds.
We may not be able to initiate change from above, in our current positions, but we can initiate change from within, and we can make ripples that promote happiness and love and peace and freedom. We write the scripts of our lives in every moment, while dramas play out on the world stage. We can choose to watch the big dramas playing out and distract us from our core power, or we can accept what we cannot change, accept our world is full of violence, corruption and suffering, and put our focus on the choices we can make, the power we do have to create change from within. I believe when we recognise our power to accomplish our inner peace, happiness, freedom, and love, then we will be the people who have the power to develop this more in our communities, and it will be real and true. I do not believe the new scripts we need to form the stories on our world stages can come from anyone who has not done the inner work, and such a person needs voters who have done the inner work. I think if we are going to make the world better, we all need to become the leaders in our lives and the writers of our scripts, and take ownership of our stories. Perhaps when the people are ready, this leader will appear, but such a leader cannot help those who do not want to do the inner work that is the key to making the level of difference that this world needs. The power is on our hearts and minds and the choices we make about how we own and use our power.
I am eager to continue the depth of discussion that evolved on Sunday, and so I have decided to launch a philosophy club. This is an invitation only club. As subscribers to my newsletter, you are invited and you can request to invite your friends.The philosophy clubs meets monthly with adults and teenagers welcome.
The next meeting will take place on Friday March 31st
Details are on my website: http://www.antoniabehan.com/philosophy-club.html
If You Are Going to Lead, Then Lead.
Leadership is about becoming the writer of the story of your life. I believe that to be a true leader requires:
Vision: It is your vision, something you believe, see or feel called to do. It is where you see a need that you can serve, or hope that you can give. No one can give you this vision, other than to inspire you to give birth to your own. Leadership asks you to turn from the status quo and seek new vistas, hopes, dreams and possibilities. Leadership requires you to be a visionary.
Faith: A true leader has faith in their vision; they may not see what will be, how it will be attained, the actions ahead, or how the chapters will be filled. They just know it can be realized and that it matters. They know this because they believe in what they see or sense, and they trust in their own dedication, commitment, and ability to try. A true leader knows that true faith is simply the bold choice to choose to believe in yourself and your vision, over fear, no matter what.
Love: A true leader knows that real success will only be achieved when their journey is fuelled by love, because love gives a true leader the light they require to build success and attract others into their vision.
Truth: A leader must be authentic. People sense a lack in authenticity, they feel the words unspoken and they see the actions above the facade on show. A true leader must honour their values and truth in actions, if their leadership is to succeed.
Courage: There will be challenges. There will be dark nights and days of glory when you are called to demonstrate your leadership skills. There will expectations placed on you, demands made of you, responsibilities chosen by you, and there will be fears that hound you; some real, others ghosts in your mind. Courage, the ability to believe in yourself, silence the ghosts, and to trust life will be your ally.
Connection: A true leader understands that true success is bringing about transformations that benefit the whole and so care for the whole and the ability to communicate with clarity, care and compassion is key to cultivating powerful connections.
I know that to truly lead, I must write the story of my life and be accountable for it. I must manage my mind, conquer my demons with all the power of my love, and project faith, courage and positivity onto the script of my mind and onto others. I must stay true to my truth and be fierce in breaking through clouds of doubt to let the light shone through. I must choose my vision, choose faith, choose love, choose my truth and choose courage, and keep choosing these qualities every day of my life. True leadership is an art, and requires practice and dedication every single day.
Always believe in your vision, faith is the light that brings your dreams to life.
Christmas celebrates the consciousness of Christ, also known as the consciousness of illumination, awakening or enlightenment. It is a magical time of year that brings the spirit of peace, joy, connection, giving, and love; qualities of a lightness of being. The consciousness of the Christmas spirit also represents for me the teachings that this last year have brought me.
2016 has been very much focused on the art of acceptance; accepting things that happened years ago, accepting situations and people, accepting things done and said, or those things not done, accepting things about myself, accepting current situations I may not like or want, and accepting all the feelings and emotions that came with all of this. I had been intending and trying to accept certain themes in my life for some time, indeed acceptance takes the time it takes to integrate. I think it takes our time; the time we need to truly embrace it, and this to, this patience in the process is part of acceptance.
Acceptance has meant letting go of holding on to thoughts, feelings, images, situations, and beliefs that do not serve me. The power that has facilitated this process is love; when we choose to accept in the name of love; because we want peace within, and in our world, the strength of love grows like an emerging flame; at first a flicker that dares to rise and then shine a brighter light if we keep fueling our inner light with loving thoughts and actions.
In making the choice to accept, something beautiful arose out of an intention seeded years ago. I had always intended to forgive, but I just wasn't there yet, and for a long time I was not there yet. I understood that it would come through acceptance, but I had no idea how long it would take, or exactly how it would manifest. I had tried to make the choice, but it just wasn't fully happening.
Forgiveness happened when acceptance meant that the darkness in my life was embraced and accepted as part of me, my experience and my world,. It happened when I allowed my truth to arise and dominate above the beliefs, perceptions, and truths of others that I had taken on and given more power to than my own, truths that had been lost in the shadows in some recess of my mind. The conflict of inner truths brought only a sense of dis-ease and suffering, and it in these conflicts there was no peace. When, in a moment that I accepted my truth, myself, my life and my world, and took actions to support this, as if a seed sprouting and coming into bloom the moment it was touched by the light, forgiveness blazed and radiated peacefully from a place within as a natural consequence of true acceptance, and what arose in this forgiveness was a radiance, and an expanse of being, as the past was laid to rest and the present embraced, I was set free, and in my freedom, there was peace.
I believe that the way to love, peace, freedom and happiness, for ourselves and our world, is found when we do the inner work to resolve our conflicts and make peace with who we are and how things were in the past, are in the present and may be in the future; dissolving any projected fears into the mists of faith, for one soul purpose: for love. I choose faith, because I choose love. When fear shadows faith, I suffer. When faith outshines fear, I am strong. I choose strength because I choose love.
I believe that when we are in peace, we react less to the world and respond more from a conscious place of peace, love, freedom and happiness, if we choose this, because by walking this path, we become this.
I also recognize that it is one thing to experience this peace, freedom and love, in a moment and quite another to maintain. It is a practice for life, an art to be mastered, an art of a lifetime that brings together mindful awareness and heart-centered conscious intent. The beauty of this path is that when we fall, doubt, fear or get lost in darkness, because we are human, we have only to accept where we are, and to forgive, and the light returns. I perceive that as long as we practice this art and pursue what makes our hearts happy, we can live in love, peace, freedom and happiness.
Christmas is a time for peace, a time for acceptance, a time for love, a time for giving, a time for joy, a time for gratitude, a time for connection, and time for the consciousness of illumination, awakening and enlightenment to be remembered, embraced and integrated, so that in these few days of rest, we realign ourselves with our deeper truth about who we are and why we are here, and we carry this light with us into the new year, practicing the art of learning to live in peace, freedom, love and happiness every day.
I wish you a happy, peaceful, love and light filled Christmas
'Put others before yourself' - it was one of the religious teachings of my blended Protestant and Catholic upbringing. I understood, from a young age, that I must put the needs and wants of others before me, that the happiness of others mattered more than my own, and that if I surrendered things that I wanted, to pursue the interests, wants and values of others, I would be a good person. It took a lot of therapy to dismantle this belief! And now that I finally 'get it', I feel passionate about sharing what I have learnt.
When I do what makes me happy (living from my heart, being positive, helping people, creating, dancing, making more choices that support my happiness) then I know I have a much stronger, lighter, and positive energy. People around me benefit I am sure. When I am not doing what makes me happy, I think my aura alone quite possibly works efficiently to keep people at bay, while the darker tones of my mentality serve no positive benefit to me or others.
Following lessons in happiness, came lessons in love. 'Love yourself', 'Love yourself first', I was encouraged by my therapist. And, in a disturbing way, disturbing because the concept of loving myself was new, these statements made me curious about what loving myself would mean and how it could change my life. As I started to embrace this new way of living and being, I wondered why such precious, empowering, positive and essential education had not been given to me, by anyone! Of course, if no one teaches us to love ourselves, it likely because no one taught our caregivers, leaders, teachers and family members. If life situations do not lead us to the books, into therapy, or to those spiritual circles where such matters are openly discussed, then there is no exposure. I believe we need exposure. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT LOVING YOURSELF, at school, in the home, in our social circles, and in the departments of education, social care and in the offices of Government.
Loving Yourself Means:
Greater wellness - 'Love and intimacy are at the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well...I am not aware of any factor in medicine, not diet, not smoking, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery...that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness and premature death, from all causes' Dean Ornish MD (1997)
Being kind to yourself - Hold kind thoughts in your mind about who you are and how you live. When you stumble and fall, accept and forgive yourself for your humanity. When you are tired, rest. When you put effort in to what matters, reward yourself for taking care of your values.
Doing what makes you happy: Discover what makes you happy and pursue it. This is your life. Why would you want to live it any other way.
Holding positive thoughts about yourself: Our minds are programmed from a young age to think a certain way, which will be dependent on our life experience, our perception of that experience, and what others have told use about ourselves and how we have processed this. When we learn to see our thoughts, choose how we react and respond to what enters our mind and choose what we grow in our mind in the way of our chosen thoughts, we learn to influence how we feel. Taking time to manage and master the mind is an act of love, to you, to me and to our world.
Choosing to manage how you feel in a caring way: Some will hurt themselves with addictive, negative and abusive acts, some will hurt others in the same way. When we decide to do what we need to manage how we feel; take time out, rest, speak with kindness, breath through the feeling, scream. cry, punch a pillow, or express how we feel to another with maturity, instead of holding back and suppressing or avoiding, which only builds resentment and darkness in the soul, then we are loving ourselves. Everyone benefits when we manage how we feel in a caring way.
Accepting who you are, no matter what: To accept is a choice. To not accept means to judge in a harsh or negative way, to deny, to avoid or to bury. When we accept who we are, what was and what is, there is no suppression, no denial of self and no self-bullying. Acceptance is an act of love and sets us free to be who are are. The only person who can truly decide to accept is you. There is no waiting for something to happen; some change, attainment, accomplishment or success, because true acceptance is about accepting mind, body and soul, today, as it is, without reliance on anything external to who we are. Accept yourself, and by all means go for what you want, but don't make your acceptance dependent on anything but your own choice. Accept yourself, no matter what. This is an act of love.
Forgiving others, because we deserve peace: It may not be that another deserves forgiveness; they may have done great harm, inflicted pain, suffering, abuse, betrayal or cruelty, but what has been, has been, and while scars may remain in body or soul, focusing on the scars and their stories only repeats the pains; we are the only ones who suffer. When we forgive, we set ourselves free, and we find peace. We forgive because we decide we deserve to love ourselves, no matter what.
Choosing faith in the dark nights of fear and doubt, because fear and doubt cause pain and suffering, and faith brings peace. The outcome is an unknown either way, so love first and choose to create more inner peace and less inner fear.
LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE
I am offering a teen talk for schools (Gibraltar to Malaga) on learning to love and accept who we are. Please get in touch to schedule your complimentary talk for teenagers:
Tel: +34 620 741 361 Email: email@example.com Web: www.antoniabehan.com
You cannot change people. You cannot tell people what to do and be surprised if they do not respond. You cannot make people change their beliefs, behaviors, habits or indeed who they are, but, when the people that we are talking about are teenagers, sometimes, often, changes in behaviour, attitude, perception, belief and habits are essential to their well-being, performance, health, happiness and success, and indeed the family and school environment. So, what can you do?
According to research psychologists Dr James Prochaska and Dr Carlo DiClemente (1982), who developed the “5 Stages of Change” model to describe what happens when people make major life changes, it is possible to support change in behaviour by stimulating a change in perception.
Stage One: Pre-contemplation: At this stage, the idea of making the change is just that, an idea, often suggested by you the parent: 'You need to get more organised', 'You must do your homework at the same time each day', 'You have to be ready for school on time', 'You have to stop shouting every time you do not get your own way'. Instruction does not work! What needs to happen, is that the message about changing needs to be delivered in a way that gets your teen to contemplate the idea.
You can try asking your teen open questions like this, that can trigger an opening of the mind, rather than a defensive retort:
Stage Two: Contemplation:
Arriving in contemplation is a process that the teenager needs to be allowed to get to, which can be supported by your open questions. Contemplation is a time of ambivalence, where the idea of change may be explored.
Your teen may start to think that 'Actually, I do need to stop shouting, because it is creating an unpleasant energy in the home, and it doesn't make things better', or 'I do need to believe in myself more, I could achieve so much more and feel better about myself', or, 'I really do need to sort out my homework pile, I would feel better if things were organised'.
Stage Three: Preparation:
At this stage the determination to make the change is initiated. This phase needs to be allowed to happen, without expectation of immediate results; some people can go cold turkey on their habits and behaviors, while others take stepping stones or make gradual changes. During this time, it is better not to push your teen ahead with plans about what they are going to do, but to support the space they are in and use positive reinforcement when you notice positive changes. If they return to old habits, gently remind them to think about the reasons they want to try to change and what they may gain from this.
Stage Four: Action
At this stage, changes have been made. This is the time to talk about how your teen feels about the change they have made. Continuing to use positive reinforcement, can help to encourage the maintenance and development of this process.
Stage Five: Maintenance
By this stage, the new behaviour has replacing what has been for several weeks. Your teenager may still return to old behaviors, and if this happens, make time to talk with each other about what can be learnt from this and what your teen wants to try to do now. Remind them what they achieved, how they were feeling about their success, and the benefits they were getting from this.
Change takes time. It is possible. You can do it if you really want to and if you believe that you can.
A choice given in innocence and stolen in abuse of that innocence. A value cultivated over time and broken in a moment. A quality built on a courage and broken by fear. A power built on love and broken by its absence.
I was naïve. I trusted people, and I got hurt. But, I do not regret trusting, because it is who I want to be; I was true to myself. Trust was broken by those who I was close to and those who pledged a professional and legal commitment to confidentiality. As a result, for a time, I held the belief that, ‘nobody is safe to trust’. And for a time, this belief filled me with fear and chained me to a life of solitude. Thankfully, it was not long before I decided that I was not going to allow the untrustworthy to stop me trusting other people and life; there are good people in life. And I was not going to allow my fear to break such an important quality, because a life without trust painted a desolate road that I did not want to walk. In a sense, the untrustworthy gave me a gift, because they taught me that even when the people we are supposed to be able to trust the most, break that trust, and break us, in the experience, I learnt that I can still choose to trust myself, and my senses about other people; to discern when trust could to be developed, only this time without such nativity and blindness. This time, I went slowly, and as result I began to see the qualities that help trust to grow. I learnt that I can trust others when they are:
Open and Authentic: When a person is willing to share a part of themselves; their truth, their feelings and emotions, hopes or fears, or vulnerabilities.
Accepting: When I see a person who shows me they are able to accept themselves; the good and the bad, this tells me that they are more likely to accept me, and less likely to project any of their negative judgements onto me.
Responsible: When I notice that someone takes responsibility for something they have done, commitments made, words spoken, or actions taken.
Caring and Kind: When a person treats themselves and others with care and kindness they seem safe to me. But, if they are harsh with themselves, I may think they perhaps unconsciously project this into others, and onto me.
Reliable: To count on a person to be there when I really need them.
Consistent: When other people are consistently reliable, accepting, responsible, open and authentic.
Integrity: When I see a person put positive values first.
Through learning to trust slowly, by trusting my senses and learning what it is about the other person that I am choosing to trust that is enabling this trust to develop, I now know what I am looking for in the people with whom I choose to trust.
Now, on reflection of learning to trust others, I am looking at what it means to trust me.
In asking myself these questions, I can see where I can cultivate more trust in my life. I can see that if I take a risk in being vulnerable and exposing more of my authentic self, this courage will enable others to trust me more, while building my strength, which will serve to build more trust in my belief about managing life and taking risks in trusting others. This is not because they will stop hurting me or breaking trust, but because I know that whatever happens, I have the strength to manage. I can see that in making a choice to love myself more, I will become more accepting of myself and others.
The bridges of trust are built not by choosing to trust others in blind faith, but in learning to trust ourselves; to trust our senses about people and life, and by being the person we can trust, so that we become the person that others feel they can trust. The only reason I was able to learn to trust again, was because I knew I was and am a trustworthy person, and so it stood to reason that there could be others. I recognise that trust is about fear and courage; the fear to expose my truth to myself, and the courage to love myself enough to accept me for me; the good and the bad, and to be committed to my values beyond the veils of self-deception, by breaking down my walls of fear to reveal my truth and live by it. In this pathway, true acceptance, authenticity, openness, care, kindness and respect is built to forge deep trust, and its foundation is love, because when we love, the power of love ignites courage and fuels acceptance.
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With examinations just a few weeks away, I want to give you some simple and effective tips for your teens or your success. It’s time to elevate your mind to that of a winner and take action for success! Revising can be a tedious task, with far more pleasurable activities available; indeed, sometimes staring into space seems preferable to sitting down and focusing on the task at hand. So let's begin by changing the focus and preparing your mind not only for success, but, for actually wanting to revise!
Shift Your Focus: If what you are currently thinking about is not working for you,stop thinking. and change your focus. When it comes to exams, this can often mean shifting your thoughts from 'having to revise' and what you may be missing out on by revising, to focusing on the ultimate goal that you want to achieve; the grades you want, the feel good factor of knowing you have done your best, to realising your highest grade score, being accepted into your chosen University, a career opportunity or being able to demonstrate your aptitude, discipline and potential for initiating an entrepreneurial project. You are not just revising for an exam, but through the act of revising, you are elevating your mind to that of a winner; to someone who is prepared to do that hard work, and to dedicate time and effort for something greater, outstanding, beautiful, rewarding, spectacular, inspiring, monumental and important to you. See revision as a practice round to a bigger picture; to the story of the type of person you want to be. See it as an act of patience, dedication, commitment and loyalty to your greater good.
Task #1: Ask yourself: What is your big and exciting dream? How will exam success support you in achieving this?
If you don't have a big and exciting dream yet, ask yourself, how will you feel knowing you have given this examination your very best? And, how will you feel if you don’t get the grades you are capable of because of short term pleasure distractions? What do you really want?
Believe In Yourself: You don't have to believe in yourself, to start believing in yourself, you just make a decision to start believing in yourself, and to tell yourself all the reasons that you can succeed.
Task #2: Make a list of 10 reasons why you can do well in your exam if you give it your best shot, starting now?
Manage Your Stressors: When you can identify what exactly is creating anxiety and stress for you, you are then in a position to select appropriate management tools. Stressors appear to be the people, situations, or events that create feelings of stress, anxiety and fear in you. However, this is a common misconception. The actual stressors are the thoughts, beliefs, fears, or images you hold in your mind about yourself or your life.
a) Make a list of everything that is creating feelings of stress or anxiety for you now.
b) Beside each item listed, explain why this is creating stress for you?
c) Ask yourself, is this actually a true fact, or, is it a fear or a worry about what may be?
Common stressors include statements or beliefs that begin with:
These statements generate stress responses in the brain. If you notice these statements in your own words, I would like you to change your language to calm language:
Use Calm Language: Calm language does not generate stress, but rather opens you up to solutions and possibilities which actually generate feelings of calm. Replace you stress creating language with the following solutions orientated and calming language:
Once you have identified your stressors and analysed how your own language may be contributing to this, and what you can do to change this, the next stage in preparing for exam success, is to create a stress management plan.
Stress Management Plan:
The first thing to recognise is whether stress is working for you or against you? Some students wait for the pressure of last minute revision, believing this aids focus, and for some people this works. Others experience stress for many weeks, during a phase of procrastination. This can easily be averted by commencing revision early. The question is, is feeling stressed worth it?
The Benefits of overcoming procrastination: When it comes to procrastination, think of the underlying stress you feel when you are being distracted. In the back of your mind, you know fear of failure or the pressure to revise is there. By creating a balanced study plan, with time for rest, relaxation and fun, and committing to study at the designated times, through organisation and time management, you prevent stress build up and you get to have better quality relaxation and fun time, knowing you are on track with your revision.
Revision Preparation Skills:
Target/Goal What I need to do? With help from? Target date Date completed
Visualise Your Success: See yourself going calmly into the exam, knowing you have done your best, that you have revised well and now all that remains is for you to do your best. There is no need for worry now, the work is done and what shall be, shall be. Visualise yourself sitting at your desk talking a calm deep breath and with the papers in front of you, feeling calm, knowing you can do this, and that everything is going to be okay, no matter what happens. See yourself feeling calm and enjoying the exam that you have worked so hard for, feeling happy with yourself for your commitment to the revision process and the rewards that may soon follow. Finally, see yourself opening your examination results letter and feeling happy with yourself.
GOOD LUCK!!! :-)
Get in touch to ask about Exam Success Coaching, to improve study and focus skills, stress and anxiety management, organisation, time management and confidence. +34 620 741 361 firstname.lastname@example.org
This month I have been giving psycho-educational talks on themes relating to how thoughts, obsessions, addictions, and attachments can lead us into ways of thinking, feeling and living that are not necessarily our truth, but rather, are just our state of mind in a moment, or a period of time. I see the mind as an ocean of currents, swirling in constant motion, if we allow, so that just as emotions come and go and flow, so do our thoughts. However, sometimes we do not let go, but hold on to an idea, a fear, an obsession, a belief, a want, a need, and we fixate, holding it and ourselves in a timeless space, in limbo: out of the natural currents and flows of mind and life, and in a state of dis-ease. In most cases, holding on to anything prolongs the agony of desire; of wanting, of needing, of what was or what could be. In this state of mind; out of the natural rhythm and flow of mind, we miss life; we are not living in the world, but lost in thought; acting out the stories and dramatizations of a mind that often is not serving us well, indeed, living a story that may not even be our truth.
Our thoughts are not our truth, they are many truths, from many people and situations, from impulses, automatic reactions, experiences and events. These are all limitations of a greater truth. Your truth, is what matters to you; your values,your perception, your unique feeling and expression. Select those thoughts and images that support the story you want to experience, then expression of yourself you want to be and share, and the responses you choose to make.
By recognising that what we are thinking, feeling and doing, and then asking: ‘Is this serving my highest good, my real truth, my growth and the direction in which I want to walk?’ we can then decide if we need to hold on to these thoughts or behaviors, or to try to allow the thought to keep flowing, guiding the mind to a more positive, lighter and brighter place. Writing a brighter story begins with the choice to do so, and the dedication to our truth; to the story we want to write, as we let go of those stories in our mind that we no longer want.
I believe that life offers every potential imaginable, and every potential that we cannot even imagine. This is why, in times of uncertainty, the place I try to put my mind is on an intention that has proved itself many times to be a beholder of magical qualities; to decide to ‘allow something better than I can imagine to occur’. This intention does not come without its challenges: there are haunting fears; some based on past evidence, others on self-created doubt and negativity that at times appear as the only truth! However, within the casting of such intentions, it does not seem to matter if I cast waves of fear and doubt, as long as I return to the choice to have faith in my surrender, and allow life to unfold in a way that will be positive and supportive of my dreams, and even better than I can imagine.
I am not saying that the intention will bring the dream to life, because the truth is, anything could happen! However, by making the choice to ‘allow something better than I can imagine to occur’ my experience of the moment is magical, positive and open to seeing the opportunities, possibilities, and wonders in life that a closed and fearful mind misses, and sometimes, dreams really do come true.
It seems to me that the supportive actions I take to try and ‘make’ my intentions happen do not always produce the wanted results. This only goes to show that I cannot control my world. However, as long as I keep coming back to making the choice to ‘allow something better than I can imagine to occur’, I have found several times in my life that the sum of my efforts produces a greater outcome that I could have foreseen. In the past, I would only speak of these matters after realising the manifestation. This time, I am in the process, and life is teaching me to let go of what I think should happen, how I think the path will unfold, and surrender illusionary control to the design on my life, to take a chance on life. My fears tempt me into inhibiting states of thinking, overflowing with fears and doubts, but, I am also learning that fear can be reduced to a tiny speck of paint on my finger nail, in the presence of the choice to have faith.