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E#211 How to Succeed by Showing Up

This episode is about how to succeed by showing up

Are you struggling to find enough clients, do a good enough job, or achieve your goals, and wondering how to make it happen? Let’s look at why showing up is the key to your success.

What is showing up?

Showing up refers to your ability to do things consistently and to be accountable to yourself for that. It’s a simple as that, but it’s also essential for achieving any outcome goals you have.

Losing weight.

Launching a successful business.

Attracting clients.

Completing a qualification.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is showing up?
* What does showing up create?
* How do you commit to showing up?

It doesn’t matter what you are trying to achieve – it’s the same principle. Showing up is required for success, and it means that you are committed, disciplined, and consistent with your efforts no matter what, which makes the results possible.

A lot of people I meet come to me for coaching because they are getting half baked results or no results. A lot of the time it’s about not showing up for yourself consistently.

A lot of things happen if you don’t show up.

For example, in marketing one of the keys to becoming visible and known is that you show up regularly and keep your promises to yourself and your audience. It might take 6 to 12 months before somebody even knows that you exist, so you need to be putting yourself out there consistently and regularly in the same places over a long enough period of time that people can start to see you and get to know you, let alone want to buy something from you.

A lot of coaches I meet try something here and there for a month and then give up saying that nobody is interested. Not long enough! And likely, not consistent enough.

The same goes for eating and exercise for example. If you want to be athletic, to lose 5 kg of body fat, to gain 3 kg of muscle, to run a marathon or to consistently follow a Mediterranean diet, then you need to show up for yourself and exercise, eat well or train several times per week and every week consistently for a period of time – usually at least 3 months.

It’s great to start with planning to do something, but that is the easy bit. You feel excited at the prospect of achieving the result. You feel satisfied that you’ve mapped out all of the steps appropriately. You feel like you are ready to go.

But the reality is, as you start to implement your plan life is going to throw you curveballs. That’s a definite – and showing up requires you to figure out how to keep showing up for yourself, or for others, or both.

I know for myself for example, at least two or three nights a week I sleep poorly at the moment. And while it might be tempting for me to take a day off the next day, I have responsibilities and things that are important for me to do so I dig deep, and I show up. I make myself get up on time, shower, get dressed in colourful clothing, eat something nutritious, and prepare myself mentally for the meetings and tasks ahead. Obviously there are exceptions, like if I am really sick, but otherwise I just get over the mind games and move forward.

ALL of us have obstacles in life that prevent us from showing up and that is why working with a coach to be so helpful because it’s about learning how to navigate, troubleshoot, and problem solve those obstacles so that you can be consistent and get the results you want.

Why is it sometimes hard to show up? Simply, because our brains work against us. Our brains are wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain and expend as little effort as possible. This is why we tell ourselves all the lies and excuses that stop us from taking action!

But if we work with our brains, we develop better habits that help us to show up and create results.

What does showing up create?

So, what happens if you do manage your brain better and show up consistently?

Well let’s look at some real life examples.

I have been running this podcast every week for over two years. I have committed to consistently publishing episodes every week no matter what. For example, my father just passed away a couple of weeks ago, and knowing that he was unwell I recorded a couple of episodes in advance so that I could keep showing up.

Some days I don’t feel like recording a podcast but I do it anyway because I am committed to this activity.

People ask, where do I get the motivation? Well, I have learned to embrace this process because it builds my audience over time with more and more people listening to this podcast. I don’t want to let them down by not showing up. If I don’t do an episode or two, or if I’m late, people will get the impression that I’m unreliable and untrustworthy – definitely not helpful! Therefore, I have strategies in place to make sure that I show up every week no matter what.

Actually, weight loss is a really good example of what’s required for showing up. In my experience of coaching people around weight loss, it often takes several weeks before they start to see the impact of habit they have changed. In the meantime, they may get sick, lose motivation, feel overwhelmed with stressors or feel tired as their body changes. But by committing to themselves they can overcome those challenges and still show up for themselves in order to achieve the result that they want.

The interesting thing is that it’s actually not so much about the result because that is a one-off thing. Showing up is actually about embracing the process and developing the habits that will make you a success.

Those habits become who you are, your new identity, and a new way of living.

In the weight loss example, people talk about losing weight and then gaining it again. It just means that they stop showing up for themselves and go back into their old habits which no longer serve them.

In another example, I think about myself as a business owner running my signature weight loss program in my local area for 3 1/2 years.

It didn’t matter how tired I was, or down, or what the weather was like, I showed up consistently for those groups of clients and got myself into a positive mindset to foster an exceptional experience for those clients and hold the space for them so that they could achieve their goals.

Sometimes I definitely didn’t feel like running those group sessions, but I had strategies in place to make sure that my clients got incredible value from those sessions and from working with me. After all, it was the results they got and the way they felt in those sessions that created multiple referrals and sold-out programs every time.

What do you think would’ve happened if I cancelled sessions because I didn’t feel like going, or if I showed up half hearted and listless?

Showing up – or not – creates your results.

How do you commit to showing up?

So how do you commit to showing up for yourself and for other people?

It’s really all about managing your mindset, your energy, your motivation, and maintaining your level of commitment to yourself and or other people.

If you want to show up for yourself or others consistently, the first thing you must do is to define a really good reason why you want to do a particular thing. In my example of podcasting, this is tied in with my ability to have an impact on the lives of other people and to help people to bring their greatness to the world. This is a huge part of my purpose, so if I don’t do this podcast consistently, I might lose my audience, and that might mean that I don’t get to fulfil my purpose.

The nutshell is that having a big why or lots of whys is really important for committing to something.

The second thing is that you have to be doing something that is truly meaningful and important to you. If you are trying to do something that you think you should be doing but don’t really want to do and then it’s going to be hard to stick to. This ties into your why, but is slightly different.

For example, reaching my audience is important to me, but my actions for getting there must be meaningful and aligned. When I tried to run a Facebook group over about a 14-month period, I struggled because I absolutely hated being on Facebook and so I wasn’t able to make myself be consistent and show up for that and I learnt a really important lesson by failing at that. I realise that I was doing something that I thought I should be doing but didn’t really suit me or feel right and it didn’t suit my audience either.

So, choosing activities and goals with importance and meaning is an essential part of showing up.

The third thing is that if you want to be able to show up for yourself or others consistently, choose habits or activities that play to your strengths, or find ways to use your strengths to complete those activities. It’s much easier to be consistent when you are doing something that you are good at or have the potential to develop skills in.

The fourth thing, and this is probably a really important one, is that you just have to stop overthinking things. It’s really easy if you’re tired or stressed to want to give up on yourself and to tell yourself stories about why you can’t do something. That’s just your brain trying not to make the effort.

If you think about it, it’s actually the discomfort of doing something under adversity that helps you to come out stronger and with a greater sense of self belief. If you give in every time and don’t be consistent, then you are just proving to yourself that you can’t. If you grit your teeth and get

through something challenging, you gain a sense of pride, efficacy and a glimmer of hope that you can do it again. This gives your untrusting brain the proof it needs to believe you can succeed.

It’s way better to find some strategies and cues and just make yourself do something and get across the line to prove to yourself that you can because that will create momentum and an upward spiral.

My best strategy to overcome mental hurdles is talking myself into doing the activity and outlining all the reasons it’s important.

The fifth thing is that planning is really important in terms of being able to show up for yourself. Imagine if I was trying to record a podcast every week but didn’t have any sort of activity put into my calendar. I’d probably forget will be trying to squeeze it in around other appointments or double booking myself and then it wouldn’t get done. Planning means you are intentionally making space – a dedicated time slot every week – to recording an episode, doing the gym workout, or posting on LinkedIn – whatever it is you want to commit to.

Planning offers you more than just the ability to complete the task. By making space for what matters to you, it prompts you to clear out the low return tasks so that you don’t waste time and become more efficient and productive. When your schedule is based around important but not urgent tasks and not too many of them, then it’s much easier to show up for yourself.

The sixth thing I want to talk about today in terms of showing up is that sometimes you’re going to need support from another person or some sort of system to help you show up. It could be a coach. It could be an alarm. It could be a ritual or process you used to get yourself into the right headspace. But whatever it is, if you find it hard to be self motivated and self disciplined at times, think about the things you can do to help you show up for yourself.

Using this podcast as an example once again, if I’m not in the mood or am lacking inspiration, I have a few uplifting podcasts that I listen to that help me to come up with a more positive mindset and create some of my own ideas for content. I also have content that I’ve created in the past and I can always go back to that and re-purpose it for a podcast episode if I need to. I have a system of dictating into my iPad or phone so if I get an idea while I’m on the run I can capture it in a document using the microphone function and that means I am constantly adding to the content when the ideas strike me. These are three of my personal strategies for making sure I show up and do this podcast every week no matter what.

The seventh and final thing that will help you to show up is the 7-minute rule. In the practice of yoga, there is a saying that if you just do 7 minutes then you will likely keep going. I apply the same principle to anything else that I need to show up for. Just seven minutes writing some notes for a podcast. Or just seven minutes getting my mind in order so I can still see my clients today and not cancel any appointments. You get the idea. Doing a tiny amount of something means that you get over the initial hurdle of starting, and that you are more likely to keep going

Summary

Today we talked about what showing up is and why it is important.

I also talked about seven ways to help you show up for yourself:

1. Define a specific why, or many whys

2. Focus on activities that are meaningful and important to you (linked to the why)

3. Choose activities that play to your strengths, or find ways to use strengths to complete them

4. Stop overthinking things and just do them with the help of strategies and cues.

5. Planning specific activities for specific time slots

6. Get the support you need from others, systems or tools

7. Commit to just 7 minutes so you get over the hurdle of starting.

Showing up for yourself means that you can do meaningful things in your own life and succeed at those things and feel like you are living a purposeful and intentional life.

It is about learning to embrace the process and become good at that, rather than just focussing on the result. This not only helps you achieve the result, it also helps you to become committed to the regular actions that create your results!

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#209 How Long Does It Take to Form a Habit?

This episode is about how long does it take to form a habit?

Are you thinking about making change but lacking in motivation, and wondering how long it will take to form a new habit that happens automatically and effortlessly?

By knowing how long it takes to form a habit, it can help you to manage your expectations, decide if you are ready to start, and hang in there long enough to be successful.

I’m sure you know what it’s like. At some point in your life, you have wanted to lose weight, or tone up, or establish a better sleep routine, but it can be hard to get started when you’re not clear on how long it will take, and whether you have enough time and energy to even start.

If you search the internet for “how long does it take to form a habit”, you will find a range of answers. Today I want to share the most recent research to answer this question, with caveats included!

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The Architecture
* What Type of Habit Do You Want to Change?
* What Type of Person Are You?
* What is Your Situation? What is Your Mindset?
* What Does the Research Say?

The Architecture of Habits

To set the scene, let’s look at the architecture of habits. I have done a deep dive on this in previous episodes, so for now let’s recap.

Firstly, any habit has a cue or trigger – something that causes it to happen.

Then there is a routine or process that you go through.

Then, there is a reward you receive by going through the process.

The craving for this reward can motivate you to keep coming back.

What this means for you is that if you want to change a bad habit or form a new habit, you need to work the elements of this ‘habit loop’ to help you get there faster.

Let’s look at how to do that, with some examples.

What Type of Habit Do You Want to Change?

Firstly, consider that the type and complexity of habit that you want to change. Let me give you two examples from my own life so you can see the difference.

If it’s a simple habit you want to form like flossing your teeth once per day, then you can bet that it will happen a lot sooner and become automatic more easily compared to a more complex habit.

A few years ago, a friend of mine told me he had started flossing his teeth each night. This is something I’ve wanted to do for teeth hygiene reasons, but never quite found the motivation and

momentum to be consistent. This is probably because I found it to be a rather fiddly and sometimes painful task, and I had told myself that I hated flossing my teeth, or that I couldn’t be bothered.

But as soon as my friend mentioned he was doing this, I decided that I’d have a go too. I didn’t tell him or anyone else – I just decided one day that I would have a competition with myself to do it every night for 12 weeks, as an experiment to see whether I could turn this into an automatic and effortless habit.

The trigger part of the habit was easy – I would floss before brushing my teeth each night. This is called habit stacking, or as I like to call it, piggybacking. I simply put a package of floss next to my toothbrush and voila, I remembered to even think about doing it each night!

I got off to a good start and in the first few weeks, I realised a few things.

Firstly, I realised that each night I was approaching this habit in the wrong way.

When I got ready to floss, I noticed that I was thinking about how annoying this was, or how I didn’t feel like doing it, or how yukky and gross it was – unhelpful thinking! Instead, I decided to come up with more neutral or positive thoughts as I was flossing. I started thinking things like “I did another night! Yay!” or “This is good for my teeth!”

Secondly, I realised that if I was going to be consistent with this, I would have to be clear on the process. I had recently been to a new dentist, and they’d provided some written instructions on how to brush and floss your teeth. To make it more interesting, I decided to geek it up and deep dive into technique, trying to bring some fresh energy and interest into the process.

I learned about flossing on angles and how long it should take.

Those two things kept me going in the beginning.

Then I started thinking about the reward in earnest, rather than just having that sense of achievement. Sure, that was a reward, but I also ran my tongue over my teeth and made a smug ‘ah’ sound, really celebrating the clean teeth and how I was maintaining the dentist’s good cleaning work.

Something funny happened about 11 or 12 weeks into the routine. I had had a late night and a few drinks and was getting ready for bed. And even being so tired, I realised that I simply couldn’t go to bed without flossing my teeth before brushing.

It was a huge win! I could celebrate more than just the fact that it had become automatic and effortless – I also wanted to floss my teeth because I had created an attachment to the rewards of achievement and cleaner teeth (as opposed to the old rewards of getting out of a boring task).

Now compare that with something like giving up smoking. Smoking is something you do multiple times per day, and your desire to smoke might be triggered by multiple different things.

I smoked socially in my late teens, and in earnest when I was 21 years old after a stressful series of events. It had become a coping mechanism and a way of fitting in socially (these were the rewards).

After a year, I decided it was ridiculous to smoke and I wanted to give up but it was difficult! This wasn’t just one habit loop – it was many habit loops happening in tandem.

For example, there were various cues or triggers for smoking.

After breakfast. While driving. After lunch. When stressed. While hanging out with certain friends. While drinking alcohol. At a pub or nightclub (a common hangout when I was this age). At the end of the day as a pleasant wind-down ritual on the balcony of my unit. Looking cool in front of boys (or so I thought).

Coupled with the perceived rewards of coping better and looking cool (yes, I am groaning about these), I also had a serious nicotine addiction by now so had chemical drivers.

This habit was a lot more complex than teeth flossing!

In the end, I dismantled my smoking habit one piece at a time.

Firstly, I switched from menthol cigarettes (tasted better) to plain cigarettes and the worst-tasting ones – in other words, I made the habit more unpleasant.

Next, I substituted those cigarettes to ones that tasted bad AND had the lowest nicotine.

Then, I started delaying my first cigarette. So instead of around 9am, I would wait until 10am, then 11am, then after lunch.

By now I was smoking fewer per day, so I started buying smaller packets.

I started hanging out with different friends – friends who didn’t smoke. This was a game changer for this habit because it removed temptation and also helped me frame a healthier identity – by hanging around people who placed a higher value on health.

I was going to nightclubs to dance instead of smoke. I was going to the beach in the daytime instead of pubs to play pool.

By the end of about 6 months, I was down to one cigarette per day – the one on the balcony late afternoon. This was the hardest one to give up because I had a positive ritual and feeling of me time. However, I made the decision to stop and do something else at this time.

Voila, the habit was gone.

I had cravings for a while, but it was easier to ride them out once I got this far.

As you can see, more complex habits take longer to break or form and are more involved.

Some people go for substitution for gum or other things, but for me, I wanted to break the habit and rewire all the different areas of my life rather than swap one vice or habit for another.

What Type of Person Are You?

Complexity aside, I think a lot comes down to the type of person you are.

If you are motivated, focused, achievement oriented and proactive, it’s probably easier for you to form a new habit or break a bad habit.

Some people have more addictive personalities – and I am one of these (as revealed in a genetic test I had done a few years ago to look at disease risk factors).

Some people like putting others first and even at their own expense, which can get in the way of forming new habits.

These are all factors that affect your ability to form new habits and the time that it takes.

What is Your Life Situation?

Your life situation impacts your ability to form a habit and the rate at which it happens.

Why? Because making change is hard. It requires a lot of focus and energy from your brain, and brains like taking the easy, low-cost, low-effort route.

That means if your life situation is busy, overwhelming, stressful, painful, difficult, or involving major shifts or even crises, forming a new habit is going to be pretty difficult. Not just in terms of starting but in persisting.

The best time to form a new habit is when there’s little stress in your life, when things are on an even keel, and when there aren’t many other pressures in life.

This is not always possible, but at least you can clear the decks to make time and energy to focus on doing something new, or something different.

The less stress you have, I believe the faster and easier change will be.

This is where working with a coach can be so helpful, because they help you make the time and create the focus, and clear the decks, so that you have enough brain power for forming a habit.

And not too many at once!

What is Your Mindset?

Finally, your mindset is a critical piece of the puzzle.

You heard me say earlier in the teeth flossing and quit smoking examples, that I had decided to do it. And after 13 years of coaching, I can say that the majority of my clients use similar words.

They say that they have decided, or they are in the right headspace, or they are really ready. There is determination in those words.

And to be successful and persist for long enough so that you can form and automate a habit, you need to have a good enough reason which is meaningful to you, because this is your motivator to keep going.

What Does the Research Say About Time Required to Form Habits?

I’ve just given you a lot of backstory about habit formation that sets the scene for discussing the research.

A 2009 paper by Phillippa Lalley et. al. was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

The study involved 96 volunteers over 12 weeks. Those volunteers chose an eating, drinking or activity behaviour to carry out daily in the same context (e.g. after breakfast).

The time it took to form the habit and for it to become largely automatic was 18 – 254 days, with an average of 66 days (9.5 weeks). A huge range!

It is known that behaviour is likely to become habitual when it is frequently and consistently performed in the same context, this study found that a habit could be formed and become automatic even if it was missed a few times.

More recently, a longitudinal field study considered how self-control capacity affected the development of habits over a period of 90 days.

Contrary to expectations, self-control capacity did not seem to affect the habit formation process and opened the opportunity for future research.

The recent research reveals a few keys to easier and potentially faster habit formation and habit automaticity:

· Habit strength increases steeply at first then levels off

· The more often the behaviour is completed, the quicker the habit forms

· The more inherently rewarding the behaviour, the easier it is to form a habit

· If the environment is comfortable (no threats/obstacles), habit formation is easier

To me, these findings back up my experience with my own habits and with clients.

The recipe for success seems to lie in the goal-setting process and the situation, as described earlier.

If you clear your decks to make time, set specific goals around behaviours that are rewarding, and you commit to doing them frequently, you will more likely succeed.

Having the support of a coach will probably help you get there faster!

Summary

Today we talked about how long it takes to form a habit and covered some of the factors that influence the timing and ease of habit formation.

There is a lot of scope for future research in this area, with the most recent studies having shown that your capacity for self-control is not critical to the process!

Rather, the intrinsic reward, frequency of behaviour, commitment, environment and in my experience, situation, mindset and personality, might all play a role in the timing.

 

References

Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C.H.M., Potts, H.W.W. and Wardle, J. (2010), How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 998-1009. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.674

van der Weiden Anouk, Benjamins Jeroen, Gillebaart Marleen, Ybema Jan Fekke, de Ridder Denise. (2020). How to Form Good Habits? A Longitudinal Field Study on the Role of Self-Control in Habit Formation. Frontiers in Psychology 11. URL=https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00560

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#200 How to Coach Around Nutrition and Eating Habits

This episode is about how to coach around nutrition and eating habits

I was recently asked, ‘how do you coach around nutrition and eating habits without being an expert’? Today I’ll illustrate a few ways to do this with some examples.

When Clients Ask You What They Should Eat

Let’s say a client comes to you and wants to be told what to eat, and whether she should follow a diet plan.

A good starting point is to ask what the client already knows and acknowledge why that matters to them – what is behind this change in eating and how will that impact their life? Their answers may reveal some important values that will help them to create a compelling vision.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* When Clients Ask You What They Should Eat
* How to Discuss Portion Sizes
* Coaching for Weight Loss

Next, you would explore what they know already about healthy eating. Most clients have a reasonable amount of knowledge – just not how to fit it into their busy lives. But if your client doesn’t know much, you might point them to relevant guidelines, or refer them to a professional who is qualified to help.

The most important thing is that you are not here to educate clients or tell them what to do. Instead, your role is to draw out what your client knows and help them make sense of it, identify any knowledge gaps that require referral, and otherwise help them to create safe and effective goals to achieve their vision.

How to Discuss Portion Sizes

Let’s say your client isn’t clear about portion sizes or serving sizes but sees this as an important part of eating well. How do you tackle that?

Firstly, there are published guidelines on these aspects that you can share with a client. The way to introduce them is to ask permission – would you be interested in looking at the guidelines on portion sizes and serving sizes?

In sharing the information, you can ask the client questions that will raise their self awareness. These might include questions like:

How much of this did you already know?

What surprised you?

What have you learned?

How might you use this information?

What would you like to experiment with?

There is much to be learnt about healthy eating and there is also a lot of mis-information out there. Your job is to support your clients as they consider changes they may to make, provide well documented information when required and step in if they are planning to set goals that are unsafe in any way.

Coaching For Weight Loss

People might want to change their eating habits and diets for many reasons including to reduce arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, to lower blood pressure, or address a chronic illness like type 2 diabetes or an autoimmune condition, or to boost their energy.

But a lot of clients who want to change their eating habits are concerned about weight loss, either as a stand-alone concern, or coupled with one of the other aspects.

So how do you have conversations about plateaus, popular diet trends and supplements?

The starting point is always about finding out what the client knows already, and what their perception is about this area.

What do they know about this diet trend or supplement, it’s safety and efficacy?

Or in the case of a plateau, what do they know about energy balance?

What is attractive about the solution they’ve found?

And what’s behind that?

Often clients are drawn toward things that seem to offer a quick solution to their challenges. Unpacking conversations can reveal underlying fears, concerns or motivators, and awareness of these can lead a client to reasonably assess whether their thought processes are helpful.

If there are any remaining concerns or desires to try certain approaches, you can easily refer a client to a doctor or dietician for more specific advice.

But often, you get the chance to turn the conversation back toward the longer term goals, the sustainable habits they are doing, how they feel about the habits, and also, basic principles about mindful eating and tuning into natural hunger and satiety signals.

You may invite a client to watch their thoughts and/or track their responses to food, any ‘rules’ they set around eating, how they feel in social eating settings, what thoughts they are having about other people’s results etc. In doing this self-reflection, the client can learn the valuable skill of critical thinking to help them work out for themselves if they have legitimate concerns or not.

A little information and some self-reflection can be used to help your clients develop the skill of understanding what their bodies are telling them, so that they can self-regulate their behaviour more easily.

Two key drivers of unhealthy eating habits and weight concerns are stress, and faulty thinking patterns that lead to unhelpful feelings and beliefs. In that sense, while the initial work in weight loss

coaching is around more superficial topics like what to eat and how to get organised, the deeper work for lasting change is around the individual’s ability to set boundaries, manage their lives and their emotions.

Summary

Today I shared three examples of how to coach around nutrition. We covered:

1. What to do if a client wants to be told what to eat

2. How to coach around portion sizes, and

3. Coaching for weight loss including popular diets, supplements and other people’s success.

We’ve only just skimmed the surface of weight loss coaching, but these are three common questions that I have been asked by coaches who want to coach clients around nutrition and eating habits.

I hope this episode was useful. Please subscribe to my podcast on iTunes and I’d appreciate your rating and feedback if you are enjoying this!

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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E#191 Share Your Brilliance!

This episode is about sharing your brilliance!

Today I want to talk to you about sharing your brilliance. After all, you are an amazing practitioner who wants to change the world, and therefore, you need to be able to let people know how you do this, and then, to do it well.

I am talking through the lens of a summit I’m speaking at shortly and will share some tips and insights to help you get your brilliance into the world!

In the show notes, I’m sharing a link to your FREE ticket to the Share Your Brilliance Summit, being held from May 23 – 27, 2022.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What Sharing Your Brilliance is All About
* What Gets In the Way of Your Brilliance?
* The FREE Share Your Brilliance Summit
* Three Steps to Share Your Brilliance

What is “Sharing Your Brilliance” All About?

Brilliance means splendour or magnificence. And in a business context, I think that sharing your brilliance is about bringing your greatness, your zone of genius and your special skills and talents into the world.

Why does this matter?

Because as an authentic person who is in the business of helping and supporting others, you are on this world to make a difference, to have an impact, to help others to overcome their fears, challenges and find the joy and fulfilment they deserve.

Further, if you have greatness and the power to help others, it would be an absolute travesty if you DIDN’T share your brilliance.

Everyone would be missing out on the impact of your superpowers!

What Gets in the Way of Your Brilliance?

I think you and I both know the answer – it’s the stuff between your ears. Your fear, your lack of confidence, your scattered thoughts, your impostor syndrome.

Feeling not good enough.

Not knowing where to start.

And when you say those sorts of things to yourself repeatedly, they become beliefs. This is how beliefs are formed!

Now, I know how confusing business can be – especially if you are running an online business.

You’re on the journey of building a client base and getting things right in your business. But if you have any sort of impostor syndrome or self-doubt, there are a billion people out there trying to sell you the magic solution.

With SO much noise and information out there, so many people to compare yourself with, so many shiny objects….it can lead you away from your integrity.

It can be a challenge to work out how to get started and succeed in sharing your brilliance, and, find business strategies that suit multi-passionate, intuitive types like us.

The Share Your Brilliance Summit

That’s why I’m so excited to tell you about the Share Your Brilliance summit from May 23 – 27!

Most importantly, this event is totally, 100% FREE. No cost.

For 5 days, May 23 to 27, Natasha Berta of Connected Marketing is bringing you presentations from 25+ heart-led business owners who have found ways to grow their business without selling out on their soul. You’ll hear about everything from mindset, sustainable business foundations, content creation + creativity, your offer, how to reach more people, and more.

It features 25+ amazing presenters who are ready to teach and mentor you on how to book more sessions and have greater clarity about your value.

Let’s face it, these things are the secret sauce for building a purposeful, profitable business. Communicating your value and booking more sessions with paying clients.

The goal for this summit is different than most. It’s going to be more like an online retreat than a summit with morning movement sessions, daytime learning sessions and wrapping up each day with a sound healing to integrate it all.

Plus, there is a theme for each day tailored to people in business who are just like you – waiting and wanting to share YOUR brilliance.

For example, I am going to be speaking at the summit, on How to Create a Client Centric Program that Sells.

I am so excited to be featured alongside some pretty big names in business, including:

· George Kao
· Danielle Gardner
· Karen Humphries
· Lucine Eusani
· Bridget Avgoustakis
· Claire Kerslake
· Aesha Kennedy
· Chantal Khoury
· And a whole lot more

There’s a free option and an affordable VIP pass with tons of goodies.

Each presentation will be available to you for 24 hours, but you can also get lifetime access (along with some other amazing bonuses) by grabbing the VIP All-Access Pass.

There’s more I’d love to tell you about this summit, but I’ll let you check out all the details for yourself – and you can grab a free ticket for the Share Your Brilliance Summit using this link!

How You Can Share Your Brilliance

So, how do you share your brilliance?

Here are some ideas to get started.

Firstly, clarify the value of working with you and the service you offer.

  1. Write down all the skills and strengths you have – think about the things that come EASILY to you but are hard for others to do.
  2. Make a list of your top three strongest values. What drives you, and what makes you passionate about your work?
  3. Write down three important reasons why your work is so meaningful. If you can do this work, what sorts of impact or result does it have?

Secondly, define the turning point that causes people to reach out for help.

  1. What is the moment of realisation that they need to change? Where are they, and what is the situation?
  2. If you’ve been on the same journey, what was YOUR turning point?
  3. What is the pain that becomes so big, that the person reaches out for help?
  4. What is the result they know they desperately want?

Finally, work out who your target audience is, and where they might be. 

  1. Think about the people that light you up, who ‘get you’, and who you love to be around. What kind of people are they? 
  2. The saying goes that your niche is the version of you from 5 years ago. What kind of person are you?
  3. Think about where you like to hang out and find out about or buy services in your area. Where would you go, and what would your requirements for buying be – would you need to follow someone on LinkedIn for a while before speaking to them, or would you listen to their podcast, or something else? 

    These three sets of questions help you to define your value, your people, what they need help with, and where to find them. Feel free to write out your own set of questions in these areas to help you get clarity. 

    Also, go back to my previous episode 186 Three Proven Marketing Roadmaps for Coaches to help you get clarity on using your communication strengths to build your audience. 

    Summary

    Today I talked about what sharing your brilliance is, and some of the things that get in the way of that. I mentioned a totally FREE summit in May 2022, with over 25 experienced speakers to help you learn how to share your brilliance. A link to your free ticket is in the show notes.  

    Finally, I walked you through a three-step process to share your brilliance. What are you waiting for? Get out there and share your greatness with the world. I dare you! 

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#190 Fear Vs Faith-Based Business

    This episode is about fear vs faith-based business

    Today I want to talk to you about running your business from a position of fear versus a position of faith. This is such an important conversation to have. If you’re operating from a place of fear, it can really hurt your business. But if you can switch that and operate from a position of faith that you’ll succeed, of optimism, and hope, then it’s a totally different ball game.

    If you’re a new coach, if you have just graduated with your qualification, and you are getting ready to start your coaching business or practice, it’s a really exciting time. You have so much opportunity ahead of you!

    You have so much enthusiasm about making a difference in the world!

    But for a lot people starting out as a coach in business, there is this challenge around self-confidence self-worth and self-value.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What a fear-based business looks like
    * HFlipping the Switch
    * What a faith-based business looks like

    Impostor syndrome is incredibly common.

    And that’s why today I want to talk about the impact of starting your coaching business from a position of fear, verses starting your coaching business from a position of faith.

    I want to give you some practical tips and tools to help you come from a better place, so that you can build your coaching business easily more quickly and to be more successful.

    What a Fear-Based Business Looks Like

    I want to start here so that you can see the impact of having this fear-based mindset on both your ability as a coach, and on your business.

    From a business perspective, a fear-based approach reduces your ability to make money, attract clients, and get ahead.

    A fear-based mentality is a little bit like a circular reference. It might start with impostor syndrome – who am I to coach? I’ve never run a business before – how will I ever succeed?

    You might be comparing yourself to others who have spent 10 years of blood, sweat and tears to build their business.

    And as a result, you feel like you won’t get things right, or you’ll fail or you won’t be able to find enough clients, or you won’t be good enough.

    That puts you into this repeating cycle of not taking action and worrying about the action that you do take – giving your brain the proof it needs that you’re not good enough.

    There is a confounding factor in this cycle that I want to alert you to.

    Here is a pro tip – If you start working with practice or paid clients who are ready, willing and able to change – even desperate to change – chances are they will love coaching with you and get great results.

    A lot of coaches starting out with this fear-based mentality want to find anyone with a pulse!!

    But, if the client is not ready, willing and able, they’ll probably be resistant, disinterested, unfocused and uncommitted.

    The kicker is that YOU will feel like the failure, but it’s actually probably not you!

    See how this fear-based ‘I need any clients I can get!’ mentality is hurting your self-value and self-efficacy – and your business?

    The fear-based approach sets you up to start looking for – and finding – evidence of failure. In other words, if focus on your fear of failing, then all you will see is the evidence that this is true.

    How does this kind of mindset affect your ability to start marketing your business?

    What happens to your ability to proactively go out to meet new people, talk about what you do with confidence, or become a specialist in a particular niche area if your head is full of this negative stuff?

    I know that when I started my own coaching business, even though I had been incredibly successful in other businesses, I had that same mindset.

    I kept asking myself questions like, where will I find clients, and what if they don’t get very good results, and what if I can’t make a living out of this, and what if I’m no good at this, how would I ever know?

    What happened is that I started to get more and more agitated and wound up about not succeeding, and I started to doubt myself, and feel threatened and judged by everybody around me who knew what I was trying to do.

    I felt disheartened. For the most part what was going on for me was that I didn’t have a specific enough niche, so people didn’t understand my messaging, and I wasn’t going to the right places therefore to find the people who I wanted to work with.

    If this sounds like you, then stick with me because now I’m going to talk about flipping the switch and having a more faith in yourself, and having a more positive attitude to your business so that you can start attracting clients more easily and becoming a better coach more quickly, and make more money.

    Flipping the Switch

    A turning point for me was doing some research to find out that there was a need and I want in my community. Identifying a need isn’t enough. After all, lots of people need help, but not many are

    ready, willing, and able to seek and pay for help. So I had to find those people who were motivated to change and were willing to pay to get my help.

    As soon as I did this, everything changed. And it’s a story I have seen time and time again with other coaches who have been successful.

    As soon as they committed to one thing that they knew people were willing to pay for, everything changed.

    If you do that, you create an upward spiral of thinking and acting positively – and this is how that can play out for you.

    My second pro-tip for this episode is to create a little roadmap of how to beat the imposter and get started. Here’s how.

    First of all, find some practice clients to work with who REALLY want to change and are ready to do so.

    Then, invite interest to be part of a pilot program, which is a safe, confidential environment for you to be imperfect, for them not to expect the world, and to get their honest feedback without too many expectations upfront.

    Be vulnerable and let them know it is a test for both of you, and that their opinion and feedback will really help you to help others in exactly the right way.

    If you get that combination right – the right people and a test environment – then invariably those first pilot clients will stick with your program and finish it, and then, they will more likely to succeed.

    And THEN, they will refer others to you!

    Imagine how you would feel having coached a handful of people who really wanted to change, and then were able to succeed and feel and look amazing?

    What would your mind be telling you in that situation?

    Would it be telling you that you were a failure or that you weren’t any good or that your results weren’t worth the money or anything like that?

    Of course not. And that’s the whole point.

    Once you start working with the right people and getting some initial results and focusing on them rather than your fears and inadequacies – a totally different region of your brain lights up.

    It’s the region associated with positive emotions, optimism, and hope.

    What a Faith-based Business Looks Like

    For me when I started my coaching business, as soon as I got those clients that were successful initially, I started wondering where can I find more of those people, and how can I share those wonderful results, and how can I help those people to continue to succeed?

    The initial results that my first successful clients got totally shifted the language in my head. And instead of focusing on me and my supposed shortcomings, I started to focus on the possibilities of change in my business.

    And pretty soon, most of my language was very different.

    Instead of asking why can’t I? I started asking how can I?

    I had the confidence that what I was doing was working. And I started to look for more opportunities. Everything just unfolded as it was meant to because I was moving forward in my mind.

    I was believing in what was possible based on some initial results. And I was totally focused on pursuing opportunities knowing that I had something of value to offer, rather than being frightened of speaking to anybody in case I couldn’t figure out the words to describe what I was doing or in case I couldn’t prove my results.

    This is such an important episode. It takes courage and a bit of confidence to take those first steps into your profession, once you get those couple of important wins on the board it gives you the confidence to gain momentum to keep going and getting traction and continue taking action in the right direction.

    Your brain will switch from how will I ever do it, into where do I go next?

    Of course you will probably need support to face and work on your fears, and probably your own personal and/or business coach.

    But please know this – as Henry Ford said – If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.

    Summary

    Today I covered the difference between a fear-based versus a faith-based coaching business.

    One involves getting bogged down in everything you can’t possibly do or succeed in, and keeps you stuck there. And unless things change, you’ll probably fail in your business and as a coach.

    But, if you commit to a more faith-based approach, where you develop faith in your method and in your ability to succeed, and you put your clients first and find the right people, it will flick the switch in your brain and reveal a positive path of traction, momentum and success.

    Today, I walked you through a simple plan to develop a faith-based coaching business.

    What are you waiting for? Go out and get started.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#187 How Exercise Improves Mental Health with Zac Jefcoate

    This episode is about how exercise improves mental health with Zac Jefcoate

    Today, I interview exercise physiologist and health and wellness coach, Zac Jeffcoate to discuss the links between exercise and mental health, the cost of prevention versus injury management, and how the powerful combination of individualised exercise and coaching can empower improvements, save money and improve quality of life at the individual and workforce level.

    MW: I’m pretty interested to start by hearing a bit about what you’re really passionate about.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * The links between exercise and mental health
    * Why changes are difficult, and how to overcome resistance
    *  How individualised coaching and exercise programs can improve health and save money
    * The importance of simple steps

    ZJ: Well, firstly, that question gets asked a lot, and the way I answer that is, the passion for me is providing exercise and movement. Initially in my career as an exercise physiologist, we can impact people’s lives really positively. And as I progressed in my career, I found that it’s not so much what exercise does, but it’s more the fact of what exercise, obviously, how it improves the quality of life, and how people actually fit that into their day to essentially get to an outcome.

    So my passion is actually educating people on the benefits of exercise my solution and what I kind of not sell them what solution is that exercise is a modality that fits into their lifestyle.

    And it’s really important that we look at how diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation, and meditation fit into a physical mental model. My passion is really the profession, I’ll be honest with you. It is exercise physiology. And beyond that, it’s obviously providing education to anyone who wants to hear.

    MW: Wow. And it sounds like you have quite a broad experience. We were talking just before we started this conversation about all of the things that you’ve done. Can you give us a quick recap of your world tour of Australia?

    ZJ: Yeah, well, just I mean, I’ve, I’ve got a bit of ADHD probably. So I do a lot of different things.

    Initially, when I graduated in 2008, I was offered a job in mining. Unfortunately, I turned up and I tried a uniform on and the guy said, Sorry, Zac, there’s no work here. We’ve lost the contract that’s mining.

    It was a humbling experience. My rejection was the redirection to go on a journey, and I set up two AP clinics in medical centres. They’re a great company so did that for about five years. At that time, I was an ABC radio host, and had a skit on ABC.

    I then worked in Surf Lifesaving as a performance coach and as a Cert IV lecturer in fitness. Then, after five years, I went into the Northern Territory in Tennant Creek, and I worked over there for about three months with a company called Body Fit. We provided access to exercise physiology in remote and rural indigenous communities. That was a great eye-opener.

    And then after that, I went to Melbourne for a number of years and work down with Angelo and the team in Melbourne, in rehab, and then I had come back to Perth, to take on the role in rehab services.

    MW: Wow, you’ve seen a lot of the country and by the sound of things, a lot of different sorts of people in different contexts regarding exercise.

    ZJ: Yeah. And it’s the same message. And I guess the challenge is what you know, the message that you’re trying to portray, it’s about linking that to your target audience, or linking that in terms of value. So how does someone who’s recovering from kidney disease take your message, as opposed to someone who’s just been guys diagnosed with anxiety and depression?

    So how do you as an AP, or as a health professional, essentially get buy-in or trust with the client? And that’s a hard skill, to be honest with you.

    MW: I guess that’s where the coaching approach comes in for you.

    ZJ: Definitely. Yeah. And the coaching principles. More importantly, that the client-centred approach is you really have to understand that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, essentially, the empathetic approach. Second to that, what is it about what you’re offering do they think they need?

    I mean, I’ll be honest with you, a lifestyle change is hard. And this is why it’s about the clients we have the range on the spectrum in terms of their levels of health. And it’s really important that when you coach them through each week or each session, they understand that your guiding principle of coaching is really important because of how you do your initial assessment, how you do your follow-ups, and then essentially how you educate them all comes down to that kind of format and modality that needs to really be targeted to them.

    MW: I can hear that it’s very personalized, even down to the level of each individual client. That’s what you’re saying?

    ZJ: Yeah, a tailored approach. So we don’t do cookie-cutter assessments. You can have two of the same people come in with the exact same diagnosis or a similar history and you need to treat them differently. The approach of, well, for example, the One-Stop approach doesn’t work, especially in coaching and health and wellness, the individuality.

    So it’s really important that you understand, this is essentially going through the need to understand the biomedical markers of the person, you could ask them the physiology, and you have to understand the drive and direction in their psychology behind their motivation and their habits. You have to break this down, because what your intervention and what you’re trying to provide a solution won’t necessarily hit the mark if you can address those factors.

    MW: It sounds like you have to be across a lot of stuff, generally. And then as well, on top of that the individual needs of the person or being able to identify those and be client-centred at the same time.

    ZJ: Yeah, it’s difficult. And I’ve been doing it for 14 years, and I probably am still learning a lot, it probably took me at least a number of years to actually understand how to relate, also understand how to say what, when, and also how to formulate a plan to best suit my client. And this is life experience, number one. Number two, it’s understanding your trade, knowing what you can offer and also really having a thirst or a passion to continue to keep learning.

    MW: It’s so important. Absolutely. I wonder if we could talk a bit about mental health because really, in this spotlight at the moment, there’s obviously a link between exercise and mental health. But I’m not sure that a lot of people really understand that link very well. So could you talk to us a little bit about that?

    ZJ: Well, I mean, the link, over let’s put it this way, it’s definitely gotten a lot better in terms of the awareness, I think we have to be mindful with exercise and mental health, that there’s a component that they actually go hand in hand. But remember physical health, mental health, what comes first.

    I think the main thing is understanding that from a, I guess from a medical model, so for example, in the GP, it’s about providing the lifestyle change. And then from a health coaching, and from a wellness perspective, you’re not just focusing on one part.

    So the link between exercise and mental health is actually quite been studied a lot in the last probably three to four years, the rates of depression, anxiety, in particular, schizophrenia, and bipolar.

    Also, there’s a lot of evidence in relation to exercise and how it modulates the brain improves, obviously, the feel-good hormone reduces cortisol, which essentially over time, what it does, it gives it a more locus of control, or competence to the client, about what they can and can’t do.

    I’ll talk to you from a purely physiological point of view from the way the body responds. It improves oxygen. That’s the first point of Go.

    So as we improve oxygen, when hemoglobin, obviously, blood flows for the body, that increases natural feel-good hormones, you need to do that in certain way over time to get a benefit. And the first thing I look at with mental health is called dose-response.

    For example, you go walking for 10 minutes, get enough response for your body and change. It’s no different than medication now, where you’ve been diagnosed with depression, and you have 25 milligrams of sertraline or Zoloft. Does that do anything for the body? So it’s this it’s no different.

    The second thing is looking at what is it about physical health that when you’re faced with a mental health condition or concern, why does that always go on the back burner? What is it about exercise and movement and eating? Well, so why does that always go to the bottom? And this is the crux of understanding that we need to break the relationship down so people can see the value.

    Liking what you read so far? Listen to the whole interview by clicking the links above.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#177 Tragic Optimism

    This episode is about tragic optimism 

    Are you sick of the relentless stream of drama and bad news and just wish you could find something positive to read and share? 

    Then you might be interested in tragic optimism and the opportunities it might bring you to feel more positive and purposeful in these challenging times.

    What is Tragic Optimism? 

    If you’ve read the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, you will know that he discusses this concept through the lens of life in a concentration camp.  

    He talks about making suffering meaningful, seeing guilt as a chance to improve ourselves, and interpreting life’s fragility and unpredictability as motivation to find meaning.  

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What Tragic Optimism means, and the research behind it
    * Avoiding the ‘happiness trap’

    He found a way to transcend suffering through his own inner decision-making. 

    Frankl defined ‘tragic optimism’ as a state of optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which, at its best, always allows for: 

    1. turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment 
    2. out of guilt, defining the opportunity to change oneself for the better, and 
    3. out of life’s transitoriness, defining an incentive to take responsible action. 

    He doesn’t claim that we must suffer to discover meaning, but rather, that meaning can be found despite or because of suffering. 

    Where does real happiness come from? 

    Frankl says it comes from finding meaning in our lives because this is what provides our reason to be happy.  

    More recently with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, research by Anna Gotlib (1) backs Viktor Frankl’s concept of tragic optimism.  

    Her study indicates that people who cope better in crisis can do so because they can acknowledge suffering without being pulled under by it.  

    Gotlib says it’s not about finding happiness or even distraction from sadness. It is about repairing our narratives and our lives – about learning to let go of the stories around isolation, defeat, loss of control and worthlessness – and to create new narratives and recast a more meaningful future where hope exists. 

    I would consider myself to be a tragic optimist in many ways. I believe that the negative stories we tell ourselves are instructions on how to act. It is only when we define new stories that we provide clear instructions to our bodies and brains on how to step into our future selves and flourish. 

    Let’s be clear – this is not a ‘don’t’ worry, be happy’ concept. 

    It is about honouring uncertainty and encouraging hopefulness. It is about recognising that we can turn inwards to find new words, ideas and valuations, and then share them outwardly and begin again. 

    So, how do we do this?

    Avoiding The Happiness Trap 

    Well, for starters, we can avoid the Happiness Trap. 

    What is that? Well, it’s a concept offered by Dr Russ Harris (2).  

    In his book of the same name, Russ describes an empirically supported model known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an effective model that can help you to address suffering and find meaning. 

    And sure, there are many ways and disciplines that can help you to tackle suffering and find meaning, such as self-compassion, mindfulness and cognitive behaviour therapy. 

    ACT includes aspects of all of these and more.  

    Rather than focussing on striving for happiness, it teaches you to undermine struggle, avoidance and loss using mindfulness, acceptance, cognitive defusion and a focus on values-based living. 

    ACT has over 35 years of evidence in treating conditions from anxiety and chronic pain to weight loss and performance enhancement, and over 300 randomised controlled trials that support the efficacy of ACT in alleviating suffering and promoting human flourishing.

    Isn’t it amazing to think that by changing your relationship with your thoughts and feelings, you can transcend both physical and emotional pain? 

    In my opinion, if you want to find meaning and become a tragic optimist whose life is based on meaning and fulfilment, I think Russ is the best person to help. 

    He teaches you how to blow your own mind, so to speak, by naming your stories and becoming a better storyteller, by separating yourself from unhelpful thoughts, and by learning simple tricks and techniques to defusing those thoughts and find true acceptance. 

    By doing this, you can stop chasing happiness (which is the trap he describes) and transform your relationship with painful thoughts and feelings to lessen their impact and influence over your life. 

    In turn, you create space for a rich and meaningful life, a sense of vitality and fulfilment that is satisfying and long lasting.   

    Now I know that some people might rail at the thought of having to ‘accept’ things.  

    But have you considered the true definition of acceptance? 

    It’s not tolerating or putting up with things – it literally means taking what is offered. It is opening yourself up to what is happening right now.   

    And it is your first firm foothold to stop suffering and to start taking action toward more of what you want in life. 

    Summary

    In these uncertain times, it can be hard to feel positive or find hope in the difficult circumstances that are affecting us all. 

    But there are pioneers and researchers such as Viktor Frankl, Anna Gotlib and Russell Harris who have done great work to prove that we can rise above the painful thoughts and feelings we have, to become tragic optimists – people who are able to transcend the unhelpful thought loops and re-craft stories that give us more meaning, purpose and ultimately, freedom. 

    References 

    1. Gotlib A. Letting Go of Familiar Narratives as Tragic Optimism in the Era of COVID-19. J Med Humanit. 2021;42(1):81-101. doi:10.1007/s10912-021-09680-8 
    1. Harris, Russell. The Science. The Happiness Trap Website accessed 26.1.22. https://thehappinesstrap.com/the-science/ 

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#176 Burnout and Rust Out – Are You At Risk?

    This episode is about burnout and rust out – are you at risk?

    Have you been working at home, including supporting your clients or teams through mental issues, over the past two years? Let’s talk about some of the mental health impacts that people in supporting roles may face – burnout or rust out – so you can understand and identify these two elements that have the potential to impact your role as a leader, manager, mentor or coach.

    This is the first in a series of conversations I’d like to have with you about understanding burnout and anxiety, and how to recover and build resilience.

    These are such important topics because our working world has been turned upside down and this has impacted our mental health – and let’s face it – our mental health underpins both our personal and professional success

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Burnout, Rust Out, and Consequences
    * Risk factors for burnout and rust out
    * Managing or Reducing Burnout and Rust Out

    Background

    Over the past two years, we have seen significant changes in both working conditions and the mental health of workers and business owners.

    If you are an employee, or if you are a manager leading customers or teams, your daily role has invariably expanded to include dealing with other people’s emotional challenges.

    If you are a business owner and especially those in coaching businesses, it’s been more than just business as usual – you have faced a multi-pronged challenge of running your business while supporting your clients through greater than usual mental health challenges related to lockdown, home schooling, isolation, separation, loss of income, grief and the consequent depression and anxiety.

    On top of this, all of us have been dealing with our own emotional and situational challenges that potentially lead to mental health issues like anxiety or burnout.

    In simpler terms, it’s difficult to support others when your cup is empty.

    It’s hard to be an effective listener, leader and coach if you are struggling with anxiety.

    It’s hard to think clearly and make decisions if you’re overwhelmed.

    It’s difficult to be effective if you have lost purpose and direction.

    We need to understand what’s going on so we can deal with things more effectively and thrive in spite of what is going on around us.

    Burnout, Rust Out, and Consequences

    We all recognise the risks of burning out in such circumstances, but there is also the risk of something called ‘rust out’.

    At a simple level, we can describe burnout and rust out in terms of the number of challenges being faced, versus the resources we have available to meet those challenges.

    In the case of burnout, you may be facing substantial challenges but few resources to cope.

    Consider the effect of the pandemic. So many people are dealing with more stress, grief, isolation above and beyond what we they normally experience, or may be in roles where there are high levels of physical and/or emotional demand.

    Examples might include mental health counsellors who are trying to cope with an increase in emotionally challenged calls or clients, or on the other hand, there businesses that are thriving in the pandemic and may be working long hours, struggling to keep up with demand.

    In either case, workers may eventually lose the energy or ability to meet those demands, and this puts them on the road to burnout.

    And the result?

    Chronic and excess stress that leads to a sense of overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment, a sense of ineffectiveness, and a lack of accomplishment (professional efficacy) (1). These are the hallmarks of burnout.

    Compare that with its’ opposite, rust out, where you may be facing few challenges but have plenty of resources to cope.

    Consider again, the effect of the pandemic. Perhaps your work has dried up to the point where you have very little to do, and you’ve started clock watching at 10am. Perhaps your career prospects have dwindled and you’re doing mostly menial work, shuffling papers and attending endless meetings.

    The result?

    You may become bored, disheartened and directionless. Your day feels monotonous, and you are developing a sense of dissatisfaction with a career. You are also at risk of anxiety – a sense of – where is this all heading? – or depression.

    It’s pretty clear that your ability to identify the risks and warning signs of either burnout or rust out means you can adjust, course correct, and stay on top of your mental health and thrive, in spite of what is going on around you.

    Risk factors for burnout and rust out

    In various studies, burnout risk factors are cited as gender, age, tenure and occupation, but there is variability in each of these.

    Generally, though, burnout seems to affect all industries and since the pandemic, it has occurred on a larger scale. In a report by Microsoft, interviews with 9,600 frontline workers revealed that some workers reported feeling an increased sense of connection with co-workers due to shared stress from the pandemic, but many felt underappreciated by supervisors and that lack of communication had contributed to their burnout.

    Further, 51% of non-management position frontline workers did not feel valued and wanted help to address physical exhaustion and mental health.

    In the mining industry in Western Australia, a pre-pandemic (2018) survey of fly in, fly out (FIFO) workers showed that 1/3 of workers surveyed experienced high or very high feelings of anxiety and depression, and burnout was significantly higher for FIFO workers than the benchmark group.

    Within the FIFO-based occupations of all mining employees, highest risk groups were makes 30 – 34 and 40 – 44 years of age, with eight people per week taking their lives in Western Australia.

    Other factors contributing to burnout in FIFO workers higher workload, high job demands, reduced engagement, work-family conflict (which had a negative impact).

    Burnout was found to be detrimental for safety compliance, contributing to more accidents and unsafe behaviours.

    The most influential resources for burnout were social support, leadership and a positive safety culture, good management skills and reasonable job demands.

    Looking at these two specific occupations, it’s clear that burnout is more than just about the demands of the job. It’s as much about isolation, loneliness, relationships and leadership.

    Managing or Reducing Burnout and Rust Out

    There are many strategies to avoid, manage and reduce burnout and rust out.

    I will cover many of those in future articles, but for now, I would like to quote my colleague and friend, David Carroll, a Trainer and Leadership Consultant who has extensive experience in this area.

    David says:

    “It’s important to differentiate between regular work-related stress and the state of being burned out. Stress is usually temporary and easily overcome. Stress is usually short-lived or tied to a specific goal. And when that goal is accomplished, the stress usually goes away.

    On the other hand, burnout is an extended period of stress accompanied by emotional changes. Burnout is a long-lasting condition that may need the help of a professional to treat. Regular stress, on its own, is not harmful. Burnout is damaging to both the individual who feels the burnout and those involved in that individual’s life.

    Developing your self-awareness and establishing coping mechanisms are the keys to building resilience, replenishing your energy reserves and regaining your passion and purpose in life. It’s all about establishing a healthy business mindset, healthy business body, healthy business relationships and healthy business development tools.”

    Summary

    The past two years of the pandemic have thrust change up on the way we work and have exposed us to greater, chronic stressors.

    Today, we talked about how changes at work may add to the intrinsic mental health risks we face at work and could result in burnout or rust out.

    Burnout is a situation of lacking resources to cope with too many challenges, leading to overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment, a sense of ineffectiveness, and a lack of accomplishment (professional efficacy).

    Rust out is a situation where your work had diminished and/or become menial, resulting to a sense of boredom, monotony and dissatisfaction which may lead to anxiety and/or depression.

    We know that healthy relationships, supportive leadership, and personal care are critical to resolving both of these. I look forward to diving into those topics in coming episodes.

    1. Boring-Bray, W. 2020. Behavioural Health Providers are Burning Out or Rusting Out. Psychology Today website accessed 17.1.22

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#170 4 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome

    This episode is about 4 ways to beat imposter syndrome

    Imposter syndrome has been a hot topic lately and I have decided to talk about it again in this episode. 

    I have worked with several clients in the last year who have been struggling with imposter syndrome. And through the process of coaching conversations, I have seen a few things that have been really effective in helping people to beat impostor syndrome.

    The thing with impostor syndrome is that it creates an unhelpful downward spiral. If you are plugging negative thoughts into your head, then your brain takes that as an instruction and starts looking for evidence to prove the thoughts right.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is impostor syndrome?
    * How to overcome impostor syndrome?
    * What are the methods that I can use to overcome impostor syndrome?

    That’s how our brains work. So you definitely need to learn some skills to manage those impostor thoughts and feelings.

    Sure, there is no magical quick fix for imposter syndrome. But there are habits that you can form that will help to diminish impostor syndrome and keep it at bay. They’re things that anyone can use, and benefit from.

    What is impostor syndrome?

    Healthline defines impostor syndrome as follows:

    Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.

    They say that Impostor syndrome may manifest as perfectionism, struggling to deal with anything that doesn’t come easily, the belief that you should be able to do things on your own, believing you should have all the answers and be an expert, or linking your competence to success in all areas of life.

    In clients I’ve worked with, these patterns come up in conversation along with a sense that they will be judged or criticised if they don’t succeed, achieve perfection or have all the answers. 

    If any of this sounds familiar, then you might have a bit of imposter syndrome going on. 

    I want to point something out before we go any further. If you are learning anything new in your life, you know that there is going to be a steep learning curve. There is a period where you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, because you haven’t had enough time to practice your new craft. 

    I see this a lot in  my work as in business startups and coach training within a health and wellness coach training school. I work mostly with mature adults who are going through a career change and have a lot of past success and knowledge – but who see their foray into a new career as challenging and disheartening. They are so used to feeling competent and now, suddenly, they are inexperienced newbies!

    Enter the impostor syndrome.

    Never mind! It is 100% normal to feel insecure when you are learning new things, to doubt yourself, and to feel like you don’t know enough, or aren’t doing it well enough. That’s called learning.

    Just like a small child learning to walk, falling down and then getting up to determinedly try again, you can learn to develop new skills and persist without feeling like a failure.

    How do you do that? Well, I’ve rustled up some of the ways that you can move past impostor syndrome more easily.

    I want to share four methods that have come up in coaching conversations with my clients that have been really effective in helping and overcome imposter syndrome. These are not one-time use methods – they need to be done consistently.

    Method #1 – Schedule time to recognise success 

    Self efficacy is a key part of beating impostor syndrome. Self-efficacy means that you have a sense of competence around your ability to do certain tasks or activities.

    For example, maybe you know that you are a good ballroom dancer, or that you are good at making cakes.

    Knowing that you have skills and strengths in a particular area confers a level of self-confidence.

    That’s why method #1 for beating impostor syndrome involves reflecting on wins in your daily life, or your progress with learning a skill.

    Here are a few ways you can do that.

    Firstly, if you are a coach, you can start working with practice clients and develop a self-reflective practice to implement after each coaching session that you do. Focus on being objective and non-emotive in your feedback, using neutral language. 

    Note what went well or not so well based on the client’s behaviour and feedback, what you feel went well, and what you might have done differently and why.

    A second way to build self-efficacy is to collect external feedback.

    If you are a coach, this would involve reading through testimonials and feedback surveys from your clients on a regular basis to remind yourself of the value of what you do. 

    This implies that you need to be collecting feedback after every coaching session as part of your business ‘habits’ or processes.

    Outside of coaching or your business, external feedback involves asking friends what they think your strengths are, or what they like about you. Ask for candid feedback from people you trust. It might feel a little uncomfortable, but you will probably be surprised about what comes back…..and delighted!

    Other than these ideas, you may have access to customer or colleague feedback at work, performance review feedback or simply the kind words of a compassionate friend who always champions you.

    A third way to build self-efficacy is to reflect on the value of what you do in your life.

    You could consider any area of your life. For example, the importance of being a parent. What is possible for your child because you care for them, house them, feed them and get them to school?

    What is possible if you continue to run your business or do your job – what good can that create in the world? Who can you help? And, by doing that work and helping those people – what will THEY be able to do?

    If you are new to coaching and are concerned about the value of your services, consider what is possible if your client gets to the end of their program and has made changes in a specific area of life? And THEN what is possible for them? And what else?

    In other words – use the big picture coaching questions toward the client who shows up and does their work, to see what is possible because of their work with you.

    Hopefully you can see that with a few questions and reflections, it is possible to recognise skills and strengths that you have, and to acknowledge how those things can have a bigger impact in your own life, or someone else’s. 

    Method #2 – Say I don’t know

    My husband recently told me a story about one of his first jobs in Australia. 

    He moved here from California and had no connections. Moving into a new job, he felt such pressure to have all of the answers and was really impacting him. 

    One day he was asked a question in a work meeting and he said simply, “I don’t know but I’ll get the answer and come back to you.” 

    He describes the sense that a huge weight was lifted from him because he could be totally honest (one of his strengths), he could go away and learn something, and he could still fulfill the request and gain probably more respect than if he had tried to bumble through an answer, as if he knew what he was talking about.

    I found the courage to do this a long time ago, and it was liberating.

    Think about it – nobody ever has all of the answers all of the time. If you can learn to be ok with that, you can remove at least some of the weight of expectation that you have placed on yourself. 

    To get a sense of this, see if you can recall a time where someone gave you an answer that you knew was a fake. How did it feel? What did you think about that person at the time?

    Now, imagine if they had been honest and told you they didn’t know, but would find out?

    I’m sure you can see the difference. And if we want to be really pointy about this – in those two versions of the situation, only one is an imposter – and it’s not the one telling the truth.

    Method #3 – Tap into your purpose 

    What I notice with all of my clients – literally all of them – is that when they feel like an imposter, they turn inward and focus on themselves and their own inadequacies.

    It becomes an emotional and sometimes judgemental conversation in their head that plays on repeat. And as I  mentioned earlier, when you are plugging those sorts of thoughts into your head, your brain takes that as an instruction and starts looking for evidence to prove the thoughts right.

    That’s how our brains work.

    So a way to flip that and get out of the unhelpful thought loops is to tap into your purpose.

    If you are a coach and/or a business owner, then your impostor syndrome might be around your ability to give value to your clients. It becomes a conversation all about you and your inadequacies. 

    But coaching is all about the client! By flipping this, you can get back into that client-centric mindset and start delivering value. 

    Reflect on some of those big picture, brain-opening questions.

    Why does my work matter to the world?

    What could this much-needed skill change in my community?

    What will happen when I become masterful – how will it help me and my clients?

    Why do I want to make a difference in people’s lives?

    As you can see, honing your purpose is a great way to pull away from the useless impostor thought loop and to re-focus on the big picture – your why behind it all.

    Method #4 – Accept yourself as a learner 

    Finally, if you feel like an impostor, it might be that your expectations are greater than what is realistic or possible right now.

    Being honest and objective with yourself and getting external feedback allows you to see clearly where you are at in the learning continuum.

    And sure, you might really wish you were further along – but maybe it’s time to step back and accept yourself as someone who doesn’t have all the answers, can’t do it perfectly, and is on the journey toward becoming masterful.

    This is the growth mindset!

    Accepting yourself as a learner gives you permission to make mistakes, be curious, learn from your challenges and build strength.

    Another perspective is this – they say it takes 10.000 hours or 10 years to truly master something.

    Consider where you are on that timeline. Yes, it can be sobering. But also, it’s a good reminder that your persistence in doing something you love will lead to a good outcome and, persistence in itself is part of winning in a world where so many people give up.

    Summary

    After several conversations about impostor syndrome, I wanted to share some insights on how to move through it more easily.

    Firstly, you can start scheduling time to recognise success. This could involve self-reflection on performance, reading client testimonials, asking friends for feedback, or reflecting on the downstream value or ripple effect of what you are doing.

    Secondly, you can practice saying I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you. This single act will gain you respect and will ease the pressure you’ve been putting on yourself.

    Thirdly, you can tap into your purpose. Stop focussing inwards on your flaws, and start focussing outward on the bigger benefits and impacts of what you are doing.

    Fourth, you can accept yourself as a learner, on a journey to mastery, which takes 10,000 hours or 10 years – whatever comes first.

    Hopefully you are feeling better equipped to tackle your impostor syndrome.

    I’d love to know – which one of these methods will you try first?

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#169 50-Day Program Results

    This episode is about 50-day program results

    Have you ever started any sort of a health change program and wondered why you couldn’t stick to it? today I’m giving you an update on my 50 day program results and what I’ve had to do to stick with it.

    Backstory

    Around 44 days ago I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that I would make a transformation in my health. I was sick and tired of putting up with menopause symptoms including anxiety and insomnia feeling like I was on the coffee roller coaster and just wanting to clean up my body.

    I have experienced changes in my thinking, my energy, my sleep, and it’s all because I’ve developed better habits around drinking water, eating cleaner and with less snacking, drinking less coffee, and setting some boundaries.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * The progress of my 50-day program
    * The backstory behind the program
    * What does extending mean?

    Despite the good start, I do love a challenge and I have decided that, 44 days in, I am going to the next level in this program.

    Before I tell you about that I’m just going to recap on some of my key results so far.

    FIrstly, I have a great eating and supplementation routine and I am no longer bloated and I am energized. I’m feeling calmer and more relaxed than I have in a long time. My digestive system, liver and nervous systems are having a good rest.

    Secondly, instead of trying to flog myself with exercise, I’m working (right now) on gentler forms of movement that are more in keeping with what I need right now. 

    My sleep has improved dramatically. I feel more positive and hopeful. I have a clearer and more focused mind.

    My skin looks better – clear, soft and dewy.

    My clothes fit better.

    I am clearly seeing the thoughts and beliefs I had attached to eating and drinking for what they are – not serving me, and inaccurate.

    I have let go of things that are unhealthy for me with surprising ease.

    It’s probably because I”ve committed to myself and given enough focus on what’s important to me, to make this difference.

    And now, as I have a few days left to go – I have decided to extend my program.

    What does extending mean?

    Extending means I will continue and deepen my journey for another month at least.

    I am giving myself four more weeks to truly understand my newly refined and tuned up body and mind, to become familiar with them, and to get comfortable here.

    I don’t want to go back to my old habits, so I am setting myself a new milestone to aim for and that is giving me the period of focus that I need to learn more about myself – most importantly, how to remain consistent and committed – so I don’t slip into old habits.

    In other words, I”m working on strengthening my WHY behind this.

    With several sick family members right now, I know how things can go sour. It doesn’t happen overnight though, it creeps up gradually. 

    That is why I am continuing on this journey.

    This was a QUICK update – but I’ll be sharing some more insights soon, including some secrets to my success, and some of the things that YOU can do for yourself.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#166 50 day Program Update – Forming Habits vs Circadian Rhythm

    This episode is about 50 day program update – forming habits vs circadian rhythm

    This is the latest update on my 50 day program. At around 25 days in, I want to share some of my results and key learnings so far. 

    I’ll also cover what I’ve learned about how habit forming is easier within a structure, but stickability is easier if you honour your more fluid circadian rhythm. This might explain to you why you have struggled to stick to programs in the past. I will also talk about a few solutions.

    Results so far – Eating

    I can certainly say without a doubt that some of my key results after 25 days on this program have been very impressive and important for me personally.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is the update on my 50-day program?
    * Habit-forming vs circadian rhythm
    * How do we juggle habit formation and circadian rhythm in our life?

    In the last episode I mentioned macro tweaking – I used the app my fitness pal for a couple of weeks to track my meals and workouts, so I could work out calories, fat, macro ratios and nutrients to see what works best for me in terms of energy, focus, cravings, satiety and productivity.

    My fine tuning has been impactful.

    For starters, I know exactly which breakfast fuels me the best for energy, productivity, and focus in the morning.

    I have a clear understanding of exactly what to eat at lunchtime to fuel an afternoon of even energy and without sugar cravings or hunger.

    I am also very clear on the role that water plays in my mental focus, energy, and hunger, working synergistically with what I’m eating.

    This is a great starting point for me because I am really clear on which types of meals to eat to optimise my mental and physical performance, so I don’t have to do any thinking work about that any more. I can plan my meals ahead prep them in advance and just enjoy them. No diet plan could ever have done this for me.

    I am acutely aware of true hunger signals now. And I have noticed that when I get stressed, feel flustered, or feel rushed, that is when I am likely to want to eat chocolate. But I realise that it is a craving for chocolate and comfort food, rather than any need for food or energy. This has been a really important learning for me. 

    Now that I am in a really good place with my hydration and my eating, it means that I can notice these stress-related chocolate cravings when they come up, and I can sit with the urge, allow it, and let it go. I realise that if I did not have my hydration and eating in order, then I would probably give in to that chocolate craving. And that is what has been happening until this program.

    Results so far – exercise

    My morning walks have happened on most days and they have been a great start to the day, and precious quality time with my husband.

    Otherwise, I have been sporadic with my afternoon exercise, and it seems to be related to my work schedule and energy levels. 

    I have a preferred time of day to exercise, which is in the afternoon. That’s when I feel strongest. The trouble is, that time often coincides with meetings. 

    In this program, I have managed exercise better on days when I’m not teaching at night and when I don’t have late meetings. On those days, exercise ends up happening while I’m making dinner, which is not ideal. It means a shorter, less intense workout.

    Also, if I have had a rushed or mentally busy day, I feel too drained to exercise in the afternoon.

    Morning exercise doesn’t suit me, apart from walking.

    I’m still grappling with this one. Stay tuned.

    Habit forming vs circadian rhythm 

    Through the process of analysing my progress and reflecting on what’s been going on, I have come to the conclusion that habit forming is really difficult for a lot of people because of the clash between our life schedules and our circadian rhythms.

    I have had this same conversation with a client recently who is on her own program.

    Let me explain what I mean.

    We as humans living in society run our days via a fixed schedule. We set an alarm to get up in the morning, we have to be at work at a certain time and we have responsibilities outside of work that are also driven by the clock.

    However, our bodies don’t run like that. Our bodies run on a circadian rhythm that changes through the year based on day length and temperature and a whole bunch of other environmental factors.

    For example, we have certain times of day where we are more energised, and this is the best time to exercise and eat. However, your most energised time might happen in the middle of a board meeting!

    What happens is that we end up exercising or eating at sub optimal times for our personal rhythm. And that’s why it might be so hard for you to follow a particular exercise plan, or keep going to the gym at the same time each day for a whole year, or be able to eat the same food at the same time each day.

    Our bodies change in response to the seasons and our stage of life, and our needs change.

    What this means for you is that if you try to follow a set exercise program at the same time every day, or the same eating pattern with the same foods at the same times every day, the likelihood is that you fail at some point because your biology will shift you in a different direction and your needs will change.

    In addition to this, habit formation is easier with some degree of consistency, so having a set day or time to perform a habit makes sense in theory, but perhaps not in practice.

    I learned all this in my biology degree, in my metabolic typing advisor training, my personal training qualifications, my coaching certification, and through over 4,000 hours coaching clients…. but I have only realised the gravity of this influence by doing my own 50 day program and experiencing this myself.

    So how do we juggle habit formation and circadian rhythm when we have a fixed schedule for life?

    I have a few ideas that i will sketch out now and flesh out in another episode.

    Flexible work is one idea. Finding ways to adjust my start times, finish times, days off and/or meetings means I will more likely be able to honour and leverage my circadian rhythm.

    Supplementing is something I’m currently doing and will continue. It makes a huge difference, and I know after using my fitness pal that it’s very difficult to meet all my nutrient needs, even with a good diet. I have been taking Usana supplements for 15 years because of their science backing, quality manufacturing process and proven efficacy.

    Seasonal exercise is a no brainer for me, and I have been doing this for years. In personal training we talk about something called a periodised training program. This is when an athlete in a competitive sport breaks their year into segments where they do different types of training – their preparation phase, intense training phase  and competition phase and then the rest and recovery phase which is also called the off season.

    For me, it’s the day to day fitting in of exercise that is more of the challenge, which I’m working on.

    Seasonal eating is also a no brainer and I am a huge advocate. Research shows that eating in season produce gives you more nutrient rich food, and it’s also cheaper to buy in season stuff because there is a glut!

    So choice of food is not the issue for me, it’s more about fine tuning my meals in each season so I can maintain energy and eliminate focus.

    Reflection and planning are the last points I’ll make for now. All of the above are relevant, but to implement seasonal changes, you need to stand back from your busy life and take stock, then, plan each week or each day to fit in all of the health giving activities you need to do.

    Summary

    Today I updated you on my midway results of my 50 day program.

    I also discussed the importance of honouring your dynamic circadian rhythm so you can be consistent and motivated, and the challenges of doing this within a more fixed framework of creating habits, and managing daily schedules.

    I offered some solutions in the form of seasonal eating and exercise, supplementing, aiming for flexibility in your work schedule, and the importance of reflection and planning to make seasonal adjustments.

    This is what I’ll be focussing on for the remaining 25 days… and maybe into another 50 day cycle!

    Stay tuned for the next episode!

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#165 Busting Cravings and Firing Up Motivation

    This episode is about busting cravings and firing up motivation

    Are you doing a transformative program and have found that the magic is wearing off after a week, and you’re losing motivation?

    I want to share my initial results with you and talk about how to stay motivated while you’re on a transformative program.

    The first week’s highlights

    I am pretty chuffed with my first weeks work in my own transformation program.

    I did really well with everything this first week. After all, it’s the honeymoon period of the program where everything is new and exciting.

    Here are some highlights.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What to do when you are losing motivation?
    * How to get the timing right?
    * What are the other motivation tips that we can use?

    Water

    I did especially well with drinking enough water, and this made a huge difference to my overall energy levels, my hunger, the way my skin looks and feels, and also my mental focus. My digestion has been better and I’ve tapped into my natural thirst and hunger signals.

    That was an absolute winner to start with.

    The way I managed to succeed in keeping my water intake up was actually pretty simple. I just filled my water bottle up every night so would be ready for the next day at my desk. I made sure to have 2 cups of uncaffeinated rooibos tea each day which added to my water intake.

    Plus I had a glass of water as I was preparing dinner each night. I absolutely bossed my goal and my natural thirst mechanism has kicked in, so I will be doubling to two litres of water a day this week coming.

    One of the things this has helped me to do is cope with sugar withdrawals.

    Sugar and white flour

    I have to be really honest and say the first five days without sugar was really hard.

    After my birthday where I got a lot of cakes and some fudge and some chocolate, I had developed a bit of a habit of eating chocolate or cake in the afternoon when I had a bit of an energy lull.

    But by God did I have some sugar cravings this week. I crave sugar after lunch, I crave sugar in the mid afternoon, and I crave sugar after dinner.

    To cope with this, I use some really effective strategies to get past those cravings and I was over them completely by day five.

    These include keeping my water intake up, including enough protein and fibre at each meal, and getting my meal timing right so I don’t need snacks.

    That last part is important because snacking, especially on sugar or carb rich foods, drives false hunger and cravings so it’s important to stop those in their tracks.

    Now by day 7 I have been free of sugar or carb cravings for two days!

    This is pretty impressive for me because I have long been a fan of having what I call ‘lunch dessert’, plus at least a little chocolate after dinner.

    Macro ratios

    After busting those cravings by day 5, I turned my focus to getting my carb mix right because this is the secret for managing long term hunger, satiety, energy and cravings – and of course body composition and weight 

    Once you sort out any blood sugar imbalances which are indicated by what I call ‘false’ sugar or carb cravings, then you can assess natural energy needs and can get a sense of how best to fuel your body for clear thinking and good performance with exercise.

    So the past two days I’ve been following the Metabolic Typing fine tuning process to get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat at each meal and maintain good physical and mental energy, free of cravings and full of energy, completely satisfied for four hours after a meal.

    Exercise

    I haven’t gone as well as I hoped with exercise because I had a couple of days with really bad headaches and a stiff trapezius muscle so I had to work around those things.

    I also noted I hadn’t planned around my work properly during a busy week and so I was short of time on a couple of days, and not wanting to exercise too late in the afternoon for fear of staying awake all night.

    However, I achieved about 80% of my exercise goal this week which is fantastic. That means that on most days I did two exercise sessions per day, in accordance with the specific activities I set for myself.

    What I learned is that I need to plan better for exercise.

    I had to catch my naughty mind trying to convince me I was too busy to exercise on a couple of days, and pushed through using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 principle.

    Staying Motivated

    I wanted to talk a bit about how to stay motivated during a program like this one.

    Let’s start with what I’ve seen in many of my clients. The first week of any type of transformation program is exciting and interesting. You’re doing new things, you’re getting some quick wins, and you are also starting to get into a rhythm.

    But if you are a veteran of programs, or lacking in self confidence, you might start to lose focus or find yourself making excuses for things that you are not doing.

    Let me just say that this is totally normal. It’s totally normal for you to start getting a bit bored or unmotivated or to feel challenged when it comes to habit upgrades.

    It’s normal to feel a bit stuck or overwhelmed at times and feel like giving up. Although this may happen to you later on, it can also happen after the first seven days of a program.

    I want to explain what I’m doing to stay motivated during my transformation program

    Motivation Tip 1 – Get the Timing Right

    The first point is that you should really choose the timing of your transformation program carefully. It’s crazy to try to do it when you are incredibly busy at work, or when you have a lot of stressful things going on in your life.

    Generally those things mean that you’re at a tipping point of stress and a thing that would normally be challenging can become just that bit too challenging such that you might give up more easily.

    Also, when you’re stressed it takes a huge toll on your physical and mental health, including your body’s nutrients status. Your nutrient needs increase, and your cravings for sugar and carbs and fatty salty food all increase when you are stressed. So it makes it a lot harder to improve your eating, just sleep well, and to be able to exercise effectively. 

    In fact if you are trying to do something transformative in a period of life like this, you’re more likely to get a cold or a flu or to get otherwise rundown and sick and then not be able to complete the program.

    So this timing thing is really important – choose a period of your life that is normal, routine, and average, so that you can more easily adjust to the disruption and challenge of the transformation program and face the challenges and discomfort of change without giving up!

    Similarly, a bad time to do a transformation program is if you are out of a normal routine.

    The reason that this isn’t a very good time to do a transformation is when you’re on a relaxing holiday. It may be harder to persevere or you might find it harder to stay motivated and focused.

    One other reason that you should not attempt a transformation while you’re on holiday is that you may be establishing habits outside of your normal weekly structure, so that when you go back to that normal weekly structure, your new habits no longer fit into that typical week.

    It totally makes sense for you to make changes within your normal routine, where you have more of a fixed schedule each day. That makes it easier for you to stack habits or piggyback habits on top of your existing ones and automate them much more easily.

    Motivation Tip 2 – Measure and Reflect

    One thing that’s been really helpful for me is to measure several things each day and really keep my eyes on how much better I am feeling when I do certain things and to reflect on the success of that.

    After seven days on my own 50 day program, I have learned a lot about motivation. I realise that I approach each weekend ready to relax after a stressful week and have been tempted to let down my guard because of that.

    Documenting this process helped me to see how important it is to have a strategy for weekends to stay motivated to stay on track – or choose to focus on habits that you can easily do 7 days per week – or at least consistently and without any sabotage.

    Motivation Tip 3 – Don’t wait for motivation

    Have you ever heard of the Zeigarnik Effect? 

    The Zeigarnik Effect states that not completing a task creates mental tension, which keeps it top of mind. The only thing that will ease this tension is to complete the task. 

    Starting something – like your daily exercise session – is usually the hardest part. If you can start focusing on the task for a few minutes, the brain’s desire to complete it should then take over. So next time you feel like putting off an action, just take that first step, and the rest will follow.

    Summary

    Today I’ve talked about all the things I’ve learned after 7 days on my own transformation program. 

    I’m still in the experimental phase to see what works and what I can fit into my lifestyle and how to do that, but I’m already seeing amazing results with clearer skin, clearer thinking and a calmer, less anxious state of mind. The mental chatter has all but stopped and that’s been life changing for me.

    I explained the changes I’ve chosen to make – water, food, exercise, boundaries around work, journaling – and how I’ve used journaling and metrics to learn about myself, and stay motivated, and tweak the plan.

    This has been such a growth opportunity for me. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been extremely rewarding. I look forward to sharing what happens next week!

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#164 Getting Motivated to Transform

    This episode is about getting motivated to transform

    Have you ever wondered what it takes to get motivated and in the right headspace to commit to and complete a transformation challenge or program? Have you ever started a program and not been able to finish it, and feel really bummed about that?

    I hear you! In this episode, I want to share with you a journey that I’m about to embark on to improve my mental health and sleep.

    I’ve developed a holistic program that I’m calling “physically and mentally stronger”. 

    And in this episode I want to share with you how I am getting into the right mindset and how I’m preparing to absolutely smash the next 50 days. 

    In the coming weeks, I’m going to share what’s going on and what it feels like to be on this journey. I’m going to share all of the blood, sweat and years with you so you can see which of my hacks and methods are working, and my secrets for staying on track.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * How to get yourself motivated to transform?
    * How to have a clear path?
    * Finding out the why behind the motivation

    The Background

    Over the past 25 years I have worked as a personal trainer, as a nutrition coach, and as a health coach. I’ve participated in countless challenges and programs, but there aren’t many that I’ve completed. And I know a lot of other people in this same boat. 

    It tends to happen that when spring comes around people feel motivated to get outside and to shed a few winter kilos or to get out of the winter slump and re-energise themselves or lose weight or whatever it is. 

    But the reality of a busy life often gets in the way and it’s easy to slide back into old habits and give up on that program or challenge or whatever it is.

    As I mentioned in a recent episode, I have been trying to hack my sleep and anxiety that have come about as a result of many stressors in the last 2 years but also with the onset of perimenopause. It’s been a really trying time and my productivity is down, my energy is down, and my mood has been low. I’ve woken up a few times feeling really anxious in the night with a tight chest. 

    So over the past couple of months, I’ve been hacking a few different parts of my life to reduce these symptoms and get things back into balance, I feel like it hasn’t quite been enough and I want to do a more complete and holistic program that will get me some results and get my health and physiology back on track.

    But I didn’t want this to be one of those programs that I would start and then never complete. I didn’t want to feel pressured  to flog myself at the expense of my health and my sanity. I didn’t want to feel pushed, restricted, or overtrained.

    Speaking with a friend today, she said she’d hit ‘rock bottom’ and it gave her the impetus to make some changes and stick with them.

    Then I thought – why is it that we have to wait until we are at rock bottom before we act? That gives us so much more shit to push up hill!!

    I’ve decided to be proactive and start something now, and create the commitment to it.

    Since I have the qualifications, skills and experience, I decided to come up with my own program and commit to doing it for a period of time that I felt was reasonable and that would yield results.

    Given my past experience with this sort of thing, including some successes, I knew I had to make sure that I was 100% committed and that my commitment was foolproof. 

    How on earth do you do that?

    That’s what I’m going to explain – my three-step formula. 

    Step 1 – The Plan

    The most important thing for starting any program is to have a really clear plan of exactly what you are going to do and when. 

    That might sound like a bit of a no brainer, but there is a nuance here.

    How often have you gotten a plan that somebody has written for you and tried to copy, but have lost interest or found out it was too hard or not doable for you or didn’t get any results?

    I have seen this countless times and so the important thing about making a plan is that it’s customised to you.

    Here are three steps for getting your plan right.

    Decide exactly what you are going to change. Be very specific.

    For example, instead of saying I’m going to exercise each day, I’m going to say exactly what the exercise is, and what time I’m going to do it. 

    And not just that, but I have scoped my calendar in advance to make sure I’m choosing days and times that are absolutely realistic, blocked out for myself, and most likely to succeed. 

    I also have a plan B in case any of those times don’t work out.

    Be selective

    This one is really important. You can’t change everything at once. Studies show that the likelihood is that you can automate around 2 – 3 habits in 12 weeks.

    So I’m not trying to change everything dramatically, I am choosing a couple of things that are new habits and a couple of things that are improvements to existing habits.  

    Another point about being selective is that you need to choose activities that you absolutely 100% can commit to. For example, there’s no way I’m going to get up at 6 a.m. and run 5km. No way. So that’s not even on my agenda.

    I am going to walk for 30 minutes each morning, and do 30 minutes of weights and stretching every afternoon. 

    This is a stretch for me but I have done it easily before and so I know that I can do it again. Remember I’ve blocked this out in my calendar so that it’s not negotiable.

    Make it foolproof

    The third step is to make your chosen activities foolproof. What I mean by this is to write down all of the excuses that your brain is going to come up with when it comes time to do that activity and work out how you will counteract them.

    For example I know that when it comes to exercise it’s going to be too cold or I’m too tired or I’m too hungry or I’m too busy and all of those other really good reasons that my brain is coming up with in the moment. I have a plan for all of those things. It’s foolproof.

    Step 2 – The Why

    Now you might think that making a plan is enough. And this is a mistake that a lot of people make.

    A plan is definitely important, but unless you have some good motivators behind the plan, you’re probably give up by about the 2nd or 3rd day.

    It’s great to think about your motivators from a really broad and deep perspective. For example, I know that bone health and healthy aging and so on are really important to me. 

    I know that I want to reduce anxiety and insomnia. 

    But in a recent session with my coach, I realised that these weren’t motivating enough for me. I had to come up with another three or four very important reasons why I would do this challenge and complete it no matter what. Many of those reasons are intrinsic – important to me – but some are also extrinsic – beneficial for others.

    For some people one or two reasons might be enough, but I’ve realised that I need to have a lot of reasons to really commit to something like this, and feel like it is worth the effort.

    Step 3 – The Terms and Conditions

    The third step that I want to talk about is what I’m calling the ‘terms and conditions’. 

    This is like my contract with myself, outlining what I want to do and how.

    For example, I am not naturally a journaller but I feel it’s important to document certain things every day to keep me focused and to help me identify when or where I need to course-correct. I will also be visualising and rehearsing the steps I have committed to each day. I will use positive and supportive language. I commit to not complain or make negative or unhelpful comments to myself or about my plan.

    I will recognise that it’s hard some days, and easy on others, and that’s ok and it’s part of the journey.

    All of this mental stuff is so important to me because I am someone who may not take the time to reflect or celebrate my successes or my commitment to the process. So, it’s really important to record specific metrics each day to show that I am firstly taking action every day and secondly that I am checking in with my motivators, and my mindset, to ensure that what I’m doing is meeting my expectations.

    Part of this recording of progress is going to be the recording of physiological changes in  my body. I am using Philia Labs system that monitors a specific part of the stress cycle, to inform me of how my chronic stress is tracking and also, to predict when my mental health, productivity or focus is likely to shift, so I can realign my day and use strategies to boost my mood and wellbeing. For me this is a critical part of staying on track.

    And the last part of my terms and conditions are about my expectations. 

    In terms of expectations, the only one I have is that I will learn how to persist with a process and follow through until completion.

    At the very least I will learn something about myself and build trust in myself. At the most, I will also achieve some outcomes.

    Summary

    I’m about to start a 50-day journey to improve my physiological, physical and psychological health. 

    Despite being a natural born quitter in the past, I am using all of the qualifications, skills, and experience I have to commit to a program I have devised and follow it for 50 days, no matter what.

    Why wait until you hit rock bottom? Be proactive and start now, because it will be way easier, more positive and more enjoyable.

    Today, I shared my own three step process to make this journey foolproof.

    I have created a plan that suits me specifically.

    I have identified the whys behind it – and that I need several immediate ones to help me commit.

    I have devised terms and conditions to help me stick with it no matter what.

    Hopefully, this has inspired you to think about what it takes for you to change and… to get on and do it.

    Listen in next time and let’s see how I’m going with it!

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#163 Early Warning Signs of Mental Health Decline

    This episode is about early warning signs of mental health decline

    October is mental health month, and I am in the thick of Mental Health First Aid training. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a fabulous course that equips you with some basic skills to more easily identify and directly help people who are struggling with mental health.

    In celebration of this important month, I decided to share some of the common early warning signs of mental health decline.

    A Few Facts

    Let’s start with a few basic facts.

    Mental health challenges affect your brain, your body and your behaviour. 

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * A few facts about mental health
    * What are the signs of mental health decline?

    Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. It can affect your brain, shrinking the hippocampus, and subsequently decreasing your memory, mood and learning ability.

    The early warning signs and symptoms of chronic stress and subsequent mental health decline may be subtle and highly individualised. 

    They may not be detected or reported until a crisis state is reached, and in that sense, it can be difficult to identify people who are at risk (1) .

    Physical and Physiological Signs of Stress and Mental Health Decline

    • Tiring more easily 
    • Being tired all the time
    • Feeling sick and run down
    • Headaches
    • Persistent/resistant muscle aches and pains
    • Increased or decreased reaction times
    • Changes to sleeping patterns
    • Weight loss or gain
    • Dishevelled appearance
    • Gastro-intestinal issues.

      Behavioural Signs

      Behaviours associated with mental health concerns include:

      • Not getting things done
      • Unusual emotional responses
      • Inappropriate complaints about lack of management support
      • Inappropriate focus on fair treatment issues
      • Inappropriate complaints about not coping with workload
      • Withdrawing from colleagues
      • Reduced participation in work activities
      • Increased consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and/or sedatives
      • Inability to concentrate
      • Indecisiveness
      • Difficulty with memory
      • Loss of confidence
      • Unplanned absences
      • Conflict with others
      • Inappropriate use of grievance procedures
      • Increased errors and/or accidents.

      Many of these are ‘invisible’, may be easily mistaken for other conditions, or could be interpreted as non-significant, single events. It is only in a face-to-face (or virtual) interview with a mental health professional, who looks at a cluster of symptoms, that mental health concerns may be assessed and properly diagnosed.

      Outside of a clinical setting, or when workers are remote, it is difficult for peers, managers, clients (or for the individual themselves) to identify mental health risks.

      The stigma around reporting mental health issues is part of the issue, and this is indicated by the underuse of employee assistance programs (EAPs). 

      We know that 20% of people of working age will experience a mental health concern in any given year, yet typically only 5% of employees (across all sectors) access EAPs for mental health concerns[4],[5].

      For these reasons, mental health diagnosis is often reactive and comes too late, when things are at a crisis point.

      Filling the Gaps

      It can be tricky to know what to do when someone you know or love has these sorts of signs or symptoms.

      The best thing you can do is let them know tactfully, and directly, that you have noticed a change in their behaviour, and to ask how they are feeling.

      Better still, enrol for the Mental Health First Aid course. It’ll equip you with skills to better deal with your clients, your friends, family or coworkers.

      Summary

      Mental health can decline secretly and silently, affecting your brain, your body and your behaviour. Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. 

      The journey from not coping with stress to mental health decline can be subtle and highly individualised, and hard to see until it’s too late. 

      Today, I  described some of those signs and symptoms, and talked about mental health first aid, a course that can equip you with the skills to identify mental health concerns early on and help people in need to take charge and get back on track more easily.

      [1] https://returntowork.workplace-mentalhealth.net.au/

      [2] https://mhfa.com.au/

      [3] Robert M. Sapolsky. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide To Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping. 3nd Rev Kindle, 2004. W. H. Freeman ASIN B0037NX018

      [4] https://www.pwc.com.au/about-us/insights/non-executive-directors/mental-health.html

      [5] https://www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au/finding-health-and-wellbeing-in-the-workplace/16285/

      [6] https://www.ihealthcareanalyst.com/government-initiatives-public-awareness-propel-preventive-health-care-technologies-services-market/

      Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

      Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

      Learn more here:

      Posted on

      E#147 Being Prepared (Getting Ready)

      This episode is about being prepared (getting ready)

      If you are thinking about embarking on a big journey or a big change like starting a business, losing 10 – 20kg, training for a marathon or having a family, or changing careers, then you’re probably thinking that you need to be prepared or organised before you can start.

      It’s great to be prepared because it can help you to feel confident, but on the flipside, trying to be too prepared means you may never feel ready to take a step.

      As somebody who totally knows this from lived experience, I want to invite you to think about what being prepared creates for you, and how to do it in a way that doesn’t sabotage your success.

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * The meaning of getting prepared
      * When to know you are ready
      * What and who can help you

      What does getting prepared actually mean?

      A lot of people talk about needing to be fully prepared before they launch their business, or to be totally ready before they take action in some area of their life. But what does getting prepared actually mean? It’s like the ubiquitous “I need to get organised” statement that people say. 

      When I question my clients on this, they’re often not very clear on what it means to get prepared. They’re often not really sure about what getting organised means or when enough is enough. So I invite you to think about that right now, and to get some clarity around the specific things that you must do to be prepared enough to take action in some area.

      I can give you a few ideas to get you started.

      In business, getting prepared means you have done enough market research to define a viable niche. 

      Logistically you need to have a business number set up, a separate bank account, a LinkedIn profile set up, and to have clarity on a core service you will sell and the benefits of that service.

      You need to know what you’re charging and how you will collect money.

      You need documentation to run that service, and you need a marketing plan to start reaching customers and building your professional networks.

      If you have those things then you are prepared.

      Even though that’s a business example, you can follow the same process for life.

      For example let’s say you’ve been studying something and you need to know whether you are prepared enough and ready to sit the exam.

      So in this case, you might have read the text book a couple of times, you might have answered the study questions, you might have done some practice practical sessions, and you have reached a point where you sense you know the answers when you hear or read certain questions being asked.

      On paper, for both of these examples, it looks like you’re organised and prepared.

      But when will you be ‘ready’?

      So here’s the other half of the equation. Logistically you’ve ticked all the boxes, but do you feel ‘ready’ to take action, in terms of your confidence, your motivation and your energy?

      Being prepared is one thing,  but feeling ready is another.

       If you have ticked all of the logistical boxes but you’re not feeling very confident or sure about your next steps or whether they will be successful, then there is some mindset work that you might need to do and some limiting beliefs that you need to overcome before you can actually start taking action.

      I see this a lot in students studying health and wellness coaching, but also people who’ve made any sort of change in their lives.

      I’ve seen people lose weight in an 8 or 12 week program, and then not feel ready to make lasting behaviour change and wanting to go back to their old ways.

      I have seen people get study completed and get everything ready to set up a business, and then back away from it because they lack the confidence in themselves or their knowledge of this skill to start the ball rolling.

      Any sort of change into a new direction requires you to change your identity. This isn’t an overnight thing. 

      The first critical step to changing your identity is developing the belief that you can become a different sort of person.

      This is a hard step, but a very important one. This belief in your ability to become successful is required to find the motivation to get started and to persist, even when things are hard.

      You need to draw deep on your strengths and get support, and to create the environment of success to persist and succeed no matter what.

      If you’re a long time listener of my podcast, you might recall me telling the story of my motorbike trip across Australia. A key point in that story  is that everybody I told about the coming trip either laughed at me or told me I was an idiot. Nobody was backing me to do that trip. My boyfriend at the time thought I could do it, my two sisters were neutral and said please be careful, but everybody else tried to talk me out of it and told me that I couldn’t do it. Luckily I had enough self-belief that I could ride a motorbike through all sorts of terrain that I had never experienced and get to the other side and return unscathed.

      You can see how easy it could have been in that situation to let myself be talked out of the trip. I was terrified about it, having never ridden a motorbike before in my life and only having just got my licence.

      But while I was vulnerable to the opinion of all the ’nay-sayers’ around me,  I was still able to imagine myself persisting through the difficult times, using the support of my boyfriend at the time and my mental strengths and skills, and a physical strength program I’d developed and used to get me to the other side.

      While this was a physically- and mentally-demanding trip for me with a risk of injury or accident, many of the things that we are terrified doing in life are actually not life-or-death situations.

      In many cases, the consequences of failure are a lot less than what we make them out to be.

      I had a business coaching client once who booked a coaching session with me but could not take any action until she had spoken to her supervisor at work about her plans to build a business in the background. She couldn’t even bring herself to do market research!

      I had a weight loss client who wouldn’t start making any progress into her journey until after her one-week holiday overseas, which was 6 weeks away.

      So to answer the question, when will you be ready, I suspect it’s more to do with making a decision, waiting for something to occur, picking a start date, and finding the courage and support you need to take action and get traction with your new venture – whatever it is.

      What and who will help you?

      In my example of the motorbike trip, I mentioned that I was relying on the support of my boyfriend at the time, my own strengths, and my own physical and mental preparation. 

      The question is for you now, what and who will help you on your journey?

      What are the character strengths that you have to that will help you through the difficult parts  more easily?

      What are the strengths and skills you bring to the project that will ensure your success or at least give you confidence in some areas?

      What sort of mental and/or physical preparation will you need to do?

      Who are the people you need to rally around you and help you to stay motivated, to brainstorm ideas, to download to, and troubleshoot problems as they come up?

      I’ve never heard of any great success being achieved by one person completely on their own. If you know of one, please let me know because I would be very interested to hear that story.

      What is your platform for action?

      Let’s bring these elements together for a moment and talk about your platform for action. 

      Whatever your project is, whatever the thing is that you wish to do, there are going to be some logistical aspects you need to complete to be prepared.

      What are those things?  Write a list.

      Now, there are going to be some mental or self confidence aspects you need to work on before you feel ready to start.

      What is the decision you need to make?

      What do you need to commit to?

      What do you need to believe in advance?

      Why is that important to you?

      Finally, there are the strengths and supports you need to put in place as your backstop to help you be consistent and persistent.

      What are those strengths?

      How will you draw on them?

      Who are the people who will help you?

      How will they help you?

      I encourage you to put these things into a plan with specific activities scheduled into your calendar.

      When you have all of your ducks in a row, you will finally be prepared and feel ready to take action and get traction.

      Summary

      Today, we’ve really dug into the idea of ‘getting prepared’ but behind that, ‘being ready’ to take action.

      Whether it’s your business or your life, you certainly need to tick a few boxes but you also need to manage your thoughts, get support and make some commitment to when and how you will take your first steps.

      A lot of people give up before they even start, even though the consequences are often not exactly life or death.

      The worst that can happen to you is an emotion.

      If you can just do enough to get started, then it might free you up to work and live on purpose and do what you were meant to be doing in the world.

      I invite you to reach out if you need support for this – it’s exactly the work we do in the Passion to Profit Program.

      Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

      Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

      Learn more here:

      Posted on

      E#146 Enough!

      This episode is about having, doing and being enough

      If you have ever struggled with being good enough, doing enough, or having enough, let’s unwind that and get to the truth in this episode so you can make peace with these feelings and let them go!

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * Idealism vs realism – Separating the dreamers for the doers
      * Having a genuine desire to help people
      * The search for more purposeful work

      Having, Doing and Being Enough

      One of the common denominators of discomfort is the sense of not having, doing or being ‘enough.’ It comes up a lot for people in business and life, and any of these three ‘enoughs’ can be a roadblock to your success and satisfaction.

      Today I want to talk about the signs that you might be feeling like you don’t have enough, do enough or that you aren’t enough, the results they cause, and how to overcome them.

      Please know that all of these attitudes come from a place of lack or inadequacy. If you think with a ‘lack’ mindset, it will show up first in your self-talk – in other words, the thoughts you have – and that will affect how you feel and act, and the results you get.

      Lucky, these are things you can change. We will talk about that at the end.

      You Have Enough

      Even if you think that you have enough, the internet, media and marketing that’s out there in the world tries to convince you that you don’t have enough – usually so they can rope you in and sell you more stuff.

      This shows up in various guises. 

      For example there is the guise that your home needs to be redecorated and so you need all of the latest trendy colours and styles. 

      Another example is that the clothes that you’re wearing might be “out of date” and so you need to buy some new clothes so that you are dressing in a way that is socially acceptable and ‘on trend’.

      In the business world,  you have all of these people telling you that they have the perfect formula for growing your business, or the perfect way to beat your money mindset issues, or the perfect training to help you to grow your Facebook audience, or that you need extra training to become good at what you do in your profession.

      While some of these things may be true, while it may be good to update your stuff, learn more or perhaps develop some new skills, the truth of the matter is that what you have is perfectly good right now and it probably is enough. 

      When I was growing up, there was a saying that people needed to “keep up with the Joneses”. The Free Dictionary.com defines this as when someone deliberately buys or does the same things as the people around them so that they appear as successful as them.

      Whether it’s about your own lack of self-confidence, or the desire to appear as successful as other people, this sense of not having enough is a huge impediment to you being authentically you and to succeeding and growing as a person and in your business.

      Here’s why. 

      When you are so busy trying to have enough, it means that you are probably collecting or accumulating things that you may not necessarily need. 

      This is where overwhelm starts, and here’s what the signs of overwhelm look like. 

      If you are feeling overwhelmed with your business and/or life, you might be telling people you are ‘juggling a lot of balls’ or have ‘too much on your plate.’ You might not be making time for your own self-care and rejuvenation. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you took a holiday. You might be worrying about not remembering everything in all last year’s training courses and needing to go and learn more stuff. Any or all of these are signs that you have too much going on. 

      RIght now, look around at all of the training courses and books and clothes and things that you have, then imagine how you’d feel if you had to move house right now. What would that bring up for you? 

      I bet you would feel stuck and wonder where to start, or put it off until ‘later’ because the job is too big to tackle.

      If this sounds like you, then you might want to consider listening to my previous podcast overcoming purpose blocks. In that episode, we cover things that get in the way of you being your authentic self and clearing away that clutter so you can define who you are and what’s important to you.

      When you truly accept that you have enough, then and only then you will be able to spend more time making the best use of all of the things that you have. You will get to savor them, cherish them, enjoy them, and make good use of them. 

      In contrast, when you have too many things to worry about, then life and business becomes a tick and flick exercise as you strive to keep up and get onto the next urgent thing.

      When it comes to training, we are constantly sold the fact that we don’t know enough. 

      I recently heard a very good commentary on the Bible as a metaphor for learning.  A religious person doesn’t go out and buy hundreds of different sorts of books and read them in order to develop spirituality. They have one book that they read over and over again, so that they truly know, understand, and embody the wisdom within it. 

      Imagine if you did that with the latest training course that you completed? Imagine if you actually applied what you learnt? How would that change things for you?

      I encourage you to consider what serves you in life and what doesn’t, and to make a list.

      Stop keeping things “just in case.” 

      Then, start getting rid of things that no longer serve you.

      You Do Enough

      The next thing to think about is whether you are ‘doing enough’. 

      Maybe you’re on social media looking at a bunch of happy, successful people who are doing amazing things and living amazing and successful lives, wondering why you can’t have this too, and wondering if you are doing enough to get there.

      This 100% smoke and mirrors. It’s your brain working against you.

      I’d like to illustrate this with a story.

      A few years ago I made a vignette movie, capturing some really great surfing moments from about a dozen surf sessions that my husband had enjoyed. 

      The movie was set to a 3 ½ minute, heavy rock song that created a lot of energy and fit with the carving turns and cutbacks he was making in the surf. 

      We shared the movie with a few people to show the surf highlights from that year. 

      What I found interesting was that a couple of people came back to us and said, “Gee all you guys do is party and surf, doing a lot of stuff, being all pumped up and energetic. When do you find time to work and clean your house and stuff?” 

      Isn’t it interesting that someone could look at 3 ½ minute movie – out of a total of 525,600 minutes in a year – and believe that that was representative of our whole life? 

      This is what we do on social media.

      We see the person who has lost 30 kg and we forget about the months of toil, mental challenge, and physical effort required to get there.

      We see the successful person in business who has 40,000 followers and makes a 6-figure income and forget about the years of toil, trial, experimenting and failure they’ve endured.

      But at the end of the day, doing enough is really just about staying in your lane, focusing on one thing and doing it well and persisting until the end. 

      It’s not about doing lots of different things all at once.

      In business, doing enough is about researching and developing a solid plan, getting advice and help to test and implement it, and persisting until it’s complete.

      Doing enough doesn’t mean that more is better – doing enough means that being selective, focused and persisting in a smart way is better! 

      In life, doing enough is about acting and giving within your personal capacity, and giving as much to yourself as you give to others. It’s finding the sweet spot between pleasure and achievement.

      According to psychologist Chris Skellet, excessive focus on pleasure can lead to guilt and inadequacy, and excessive focus on achievement can lead to frustration and burnout.

      I invite you to answer the question right now and to just give an immediate reaction – do you do enough?

      Although I’m not a betting person, I bet you $100 that you do enough. 

      If you’re not sure, then I recommend that you give your brain the proof – write down all of the things that you do for yourself and others, and for the world. Then ask the question again.

      The truth will reveal itself!

      You Are Enough

      Most people have a deep-seated fear of not being enough.

      Feeling that you’re not enough can show up in your life as comparing yourself to others, buying into feedback from others (no matter what the feedback is), rating your self-worth through your achievements or developing an excessive need for approval or to be liked. 

      If you feel you’re not enough, you might also attach negative labels to yourself or overgeneralise about how terrible, helpless or stupid you are – those sorts of things. 

      And further, if you think this way about yourself, please know that your brain will start to seek proof that it’s true. 

      When someone doesn’t reply to your text, if they don’t return your phone call, if you didn’t get a perfect score on your test, the ‘not good enough’ thinking person will turn those events into proof of inadequacy.

      As I say this aloud, it probably sounds illogical. And it is. The problem is, if this dialogue is running in your head, it’s not easy to see that illogical talk for what it is.

      I coached someone once who said they were no good at following through on anything and they were always giving up. The funny thing was they had just completed a year-long program that they’d persisted with even when they wanted to give up!

      Reflecting that back to this person created a sharp realisation that the belief was not true.

      Now it’s your turn. I invite you to think differently – because ‘not good enough’ thinking will 100% NOT help you to get to where you want to be.

      That is just going to keep you in the cul-de-sac of frustration and misery.

      Stop focusing on perfection, feeling dissatisfied with what you can’t do, and why you can’t do it.

      Start asking a better quality question.

      Instead of asking what’s wrong with you, ask what’s right with you?

      Make a list. Find the evidence of all the strengths, skills and wisdom you have.

      Instead of thinking about how far you have to go, reflect on how far you’ve come!

      Instead of talking about what you can’t achieve and why, talk about what you are determined to achieve and how.

      Reframing

      You might see that a common pattern in these three cases is negative self-talk. 

      It’s your inner critic.

      The way forward is to watch your thoughts, and start reframing those sentences so you can turn your lack mentality into a mindset of adequacy, or even, abundance. 

      Hire a coach to help you if you find yourself falling into a hole.

      I am working with clients on this right now and at times it’s hard for them but boy, have I seen some transformative thinking and feelings as a result of doing the work!

      Reframing is simple, not easy, but it’s extremely powerful and the effect is long lasting.

      Of all the habits you could possibly develop in life, this is by far the most important as it reduces stress, builds resilience and most importantly, builds self-belief.

      When you have self-belief – anything is possible. ANYTHING!

      Summary

      Today I talked about three common ‘enough’ thinking patterns.

      Not having enough, not doing enough, and not being enough.

      They all come from a place of lack rather than abundance.

      And none of them are helpful.

      The way forward in all cases is to develop a habit of thought watching and reframing.

      It is the most powerful and transformative habit that you can develop because it will change the way you approach your life, it will build resilience and it will build self belief.

      It will help you to find your purpose and passion, and to live a more satisfied life.

      If you need coaching support for this important work, hit me up on my contact page.

      I currently have space for three new clients.

      Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

      Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

      Learn more here:

      Posted on

      E#145 Overcoming Purpose Blocks

      This episode is about overcoming purpose blocks

      A lot of people say that they want to find their purpose. They start the journey but end up getting stuck. Why is that? What do we actually need to do to find purpose? 

      Today I want to talk about some blocks that a lot of people face. They might be blocks that are stopping YOU from finding your purpose. I’m going to talk to you about how to work through them so you can finally find your purpose.

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * Finding your locus of control
      * Pleasing yourself and not other people
      * Finding yourself

      What Is Your Locus of Control?

      If you are struggling to find or define your purpose, check your locus of control. 

      Your locus of control is the degree to which you believe that you have control over your life, as opposed to external forces that are beyond your influence. 

      Conceptually, this ‘locus’ is either internal – a belief that you can control your own life, or external – a belief that your life is controlled by outside factors which you can’t influence – that things are all down to fate or chance.

      If your locus of control is largely external, you tend to think things like:

      “It’s too hard to succeed.”

      “The market is saturated, I can’t stand out.”

      If your locus of control is more internal, you tend to think things like:

      “I can learn how to become successful.”

      “I can learn how to become attractive to others.”

      Notice the difference in the language – internal control is signified by sentences that begin with the letter “I”!!

      If your locus of control is largely external, then you have probably always left your purpose to chance or fate, or blocked yourself from considering the notion that you could succeed on your own terms.

      Consequently, you may not have given much thought to what your purpose could be – perhaps your focus has always been on what it couldn’t be.

      According to Psychology Today, researchers found that of more than 7,500 British adults who were followed since birth, those who had shown an internal locus of control at the age of ten were less likely to be overweight at age thirty, less likely to describe their health as poor, or show high levels of psychological stress. The major explanation for these findings was that children with a more internal locus of control behave more healthily as adults because they have greater confidence in their ability to influence outcomes through their own actions. They may also have higher self-esteem.

      What could this mean for finding your purpose?

      There is something you can do right now. You can start watching your thoughts and changing the language to what you can do, rather than what’s stopping you.

      This takes daily work but is worth it!

      It’s going to take a few months, but over time, changing this dialogue will make so much difference to the way you see the world, and possibilities will start to show themselves because you have shifted your focus.

      Try it and see for yourself.

      Create a dedicated practice of intentionally pursuing your future and letting go of the internal dialogue that it’s out of your control.

      Notice what changes when you do this.

      Hire a coach to help you with this if you need to. This is a long game and it is life changing but you might need some support along the way.

      Are You a People Pleaser?

      People I’ve coached who like to put others first often have very little idea of who they are and what they stand for, and consequently what they want.

      If you’ve spent many years trying to fit in, trying to please other people, wanting to be liked, then please know that those things are more outward focused. 

      And if you are trying to find your purpose, it can be pretty difficult if all you have ever done is worry about other people and what interests them and what they value.

      Knowing that this can be a block to finding your purpose is a great thing, because it frees you up to finally start paying attention to what’s important to you, and to what you value, so that you can finally find your purpose.

      Putting others first often means being busy all the time, not sitting still to be mindful and present, and both are great ways of avoiding getting to know and understand yourself.

      The first step – Finding yourself

      Before you can identify your purpose, you need to go on the journey of finding yourself. 

      This is a scary but very interesting and rewarding journey . It is an enriching journey where you get to learn what you like and don’t like, what you do and don’t want, and what’s important to you and what you value.

      You will invariably feel some discomfort as you start to realise that there are people and things in your life that no longer serve you.

      There will be some pushback from people who don’t like the new you, or who are affronted by the fact that you won’t be so focused on them and their needs anymore.

      That’s ok.

      Be prepared.

      If you want to find your purpose, you need to clear away everything that doesn’t serve you in order to find what does. 

      You need to create the space and stop being busy and stop attending to everybody else’s needs so that you can focus on what it is that you want for your life.

      Then, you can truly start to find your purpose!

      Summary

      If you’re stuck finding your purpose and don’t know why, or how to move forward, I invite you to consider some things that might be getting in the way:

      1. Shifting your locus of control to a more internal and empowering state
      2. Pleasing others less and yourself more (get a good balance!)
      3. Start working out what you do and don’t like – who you really are

      If you would like help with finding yourself, I’ll be developing a short course on this later in the year. Hit me up on my contact page if you’d like to be notified of the release.

      Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

      Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

      Learn more here:

      Posted on Leave a comment

      Episode 85: What You Can Control

      In pandemic times, there are four skills you can use in a four-step process to dial down the intensity, feel calm, take charge and gain a sense of control.

      I’m not sure about you but sitting at home in isolation has bought a bunch of things to the forefront of my mind, and my life.

      I think right now we are all faced with it – the overwhelm of all the unfinished things in our house and in our lives, the clutter we have accumulated, and the onslaught of media and negative headlines.

      We normally have the ability to physically escape these things and to continue on with the doing work of life, rather than attending to this unfinished business. 

      But now living in pandemic times, it’s an extreme experience to face the internal clutter as well as the external tragedy, risks, loss, grief and uncertainty. 

      Few people have prepared themselves for these times. 

      It’s more than just stocking your pantry – it’s also about feeling in control.

      After all, right now we are winging it, pivoting, adapting and trying to take steps toward our goals in a new way. And we may also have had to throw our goals out the window!

      That’s why I want to talk about feeling calmer and less overwhelmed – by taking control of the things that we CAN control.

      What’s really in our control?

      If you think about it, most circumstances are outside our control.

      Six months ago you had no idea this pandemic was coming – and that’s just one of hundreds of things you could never have predicted in life.

      What is within our control is what we think about things, and how we act.

      And, we create certainty and a sense of control by making decisions about what we do and don’t want, and what we will and won’t do.

      What is within our control is what we think about things, and how we act.

      So right now is the perfect time to stop thinking about what we can’t do, and to get clear on what we can do, so we can take back control of our thoughts and actions.

      It’s time to stop the spread of fear, anxiety, and worry, and instead of just coping, we need to bounce back and start thriving, coping with challenges and feeling strong.

      It’s all in the mindset.

      Let’s stop letting our thoughts run wild, unfettered. 

      Let’s talk about the skills we can develop to manage our minds and to actively cultivate healthier thoughts.

      Compassion

      Firstly, we can develop compassion for ourselves and for others. Compassion is a practice as well as a response to the circumstances around us, but it starts with self-talk.

      Compassion is being kind to ourselves and others (instead of judging). It’s about recognising the common humanity (we are all suffering and it will pass) and to be mindful of what we can do in this moment (I can control my thoughts in this moment).

      We can only focus, think straight and make decisions when we are calm.

      Factualising

      The second thing we can do is to stop catastrophizing. 

      As an expert in catastrophizing with many years of experience, I want to take you through a three step process I have developed to calm things down – a process I call factualising.

      The premise of the model is that catastrophizing is a sense of heightened emotion that we create in our brains. It’s exaggerating and expecting or even predicting the worst possible outcome.

      Obviously, that’s very unhelpful!

      So this model I’ve developed helps us to step back from that heightened emotional state and out of our ‘feeling brain’, into a more neutral, calm and logical state, by engaging our more logical, ‘thinking brain’.

      The three steps to the model are to 1. write down your negative, catastrophizing-style thoughts, 2. trim it down to just the non-emotive facts, and 3. to reframe it with an ‘even-though’ statement.

      Here’s an example.

      Negative thought:

      I am so irritated with myself because I didn’t do my exercise session today. I was too cold and tired, and now I feel terrible.

             Just the facts:

             I didn’t do my exercise session today.

             Reframe:

      Even though I didn’t do my exercise session today, I feel determined to do my session tomorrow.

      Finding Strength

      The third thing we can do is to find strength, because this helps us to feel grounded, and to gain a sense of our capacity to cope.

      The process to finding strength could include reflecting on past challenges and how you overcame them.

      Maybe it’s identifying all the people and networks around you who can support you, and who have been there for you in the past.

      Strength also comes from cultivating positive thoughts. This could include practicing gratitude each day, creating an oasis for yourself at home – a quiet place to rest, relax and reflect.

      Strength includes looking at the upsides and shifting attention to what has been learned or discovered despite the challenges. 

      Strength can be more easily maintained when you are consistent with self care. We gain physical and emotional strength and resilience by going to bed early, waking up at a consistent time, eating nutritious food, doing exercise, breathing deeply, meditating, thought modelling, journalling, factualising and practicing self-regulation.

      Make Decisions

      The fourth thing we can do is to make some decisions about how we will think and act in the next period ahead. 

      When we have no plan and have made no decisions, we are floating around in the sea of chaos, feeling helpless.

      But when we decide what we will and won’t do, how we will do things for the next week, what we will experiment with, and which tools, support or resources we will use to give our plans a good chance of success, it feels like we’re taking charge again.

      A lot of people think that decision making is where they should START in the process of taking charge.

      But in uncertain, pandemic times, decision fatigue is a real thing. It means you don’t have the capacity to make decisions.

      That’s why I started with the three steps of compassion, factualising and finding strength – because these are the foundation of good, rational decision-making and planning. 

      As you might have noticed, there are a lot of things that ARE in your control right now.

      Probably more than you imagined!

      If you follow this four-step process, it will help you to take charge of the things that are in your control so that you can feel calmer, more confident and more resilient in the face of uncertainty and chaos.

      Summary

      In any case, even the most calm, balanced people may struggle in uncertain, stressful times. 

      My four step process for taking charge of the things that you can control is:

      1. Practice compassion and self compassion
      2. Start factualising instead of catastrophizing
      3. Find strength in the past, your networks and appropriate self-care
      4. Make decisions for the next period of time to regain your sense of control.

      Instead of just coping, we need to bounce back and start thriving, coping with challenges and feeling strong.

      In the longer term, consistent self care is the foundation of mental wellbeing. It is therefore an essential precursor for building resilience, for effective decision making and for remaining calm in the face of adversity.

      If you would like to find out about working with a coach, visit melaniejwhite.com/contact

      Ready to feel calm and in control?

      Focus on the things you CAN control. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

      Learn more here: