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How a conversation in the supermarket changed everything….

I just returned form the supermarket where I was dawdling around, pressing my lips tightly in deep thought over what I should make for dinner – when a group of three twenty-something girls gasped and one whispered to a level that was easily heard by most of aisle three “Oh – there she is!”. The three girls stopped in their tracks and looked back at me, one whispered to the other two “Do you want to get a photo with me?”.

I turned back – initially not sure what they were talking about, and caught them mid place looking at me and whispering to one another. I continued to check out the spice section and could see and hear them out of the corner of my eye whispering and staring and started to get a bit ‘nervy’ and had a few sneaky butterflies in my stomach, as I felt my cheeks start to blush and pulse start to raise.

 

I continued on as the thoughts started to race through my mind. Why the hell were they looking at me? What was I wearing, did it look ridiculous? (Surely they had seen a pair of running tights, runners and a white singlet before!!?). Had they seen me doing something somewhere and recognised me as a ‘wow – look at that weird’ passer-by? Had they known me from somewhere? (Kind of weird that they would want to take a photo with me if that was the case – a general ‘Hey there or Hi would have done!). Had they perhaps read my blog or followed my instagram page @_perfectlyshe_  and recognised me? (Don’t be so stupid – you are not a celeb lady, pull your head in!!).

It was puzzling me for the rest of the shopping trip (enough to the point that when I did eventually get home, I had forgotten half of the ingredients that I’d started putting together for tonight’s dinner – guess it’s stir fry with no noodles or tofu!!), and I remained in a state of wonder and anxious excitement, with a hint of feeling down in the dumps.

 

It did get me to start thinking about being more mindful of my thoughts, actions and responses. I had been working on trying to re-program my thoughts over the past few weeks to try and break out of the ‘instant negativity’ that had over-grown my brain like a crawling weed in my Grandma’s backyard. In this case – the girls were clearly looking at me and talking, which left me feeling really uncomfortable, particularly as I couldn’t quite hear the details of their giggly discussion.

My initial reaction was to think the worst as I felt my should start to lift closer towards my head, my body tense up and my expression turn to an almost tensely and over-concentrated look. I was so nervous and anxious to be honest!

 

Being able to step away from the situation and think about what happened, who they were, what they said, how they said it and how my body and thoughts started to react to it.

My brain instantly felt a sense of ‘safety’ in it’s usual way of thinking and told myself that it was definitely a negative perspective; they must of seen you do something stupid in the past or noticed that you looked or acted in an unusual ‘that’s different’ kind of way. Why would it be anything other than that?

The thing was – although it took me back and made me feel extremely uncomfortable and undeserving; who’s to say that they hadn’t read something I had written or posted? What gives my mind the right to take that excitement away from me and let me enjoy the moment of something that means a lot to me, that I have been working so hard towards building? Who says that I don’t deserve to keep a small (yeah, ok, VERY small!) positive outcome of the work I had been doing?

 

It’s funny – as a society, we are very quick to judge and to critique anyone who is either in the spotlight, who has achieved something or who is working they way into developing a brand or name for themselves (commonly known as ‘the tall poppy syndrome’). I’ve sat in a group and pretended to be a ‘fly on the wall’, as I just listened to the conversations others have had about certain people and things that they had done. It’s quite astounding how high the percentage of negative criticism takes over the large part of the conversation, compared to the one or two sentences that may be more positive, forgiving, realistic and reasonable, when much of the time that person of the conversation has done nothing wrong apart from getting their name to be hitting the line up of ‘dinner table conversations’.

I won’t say that I have never taken part in this type of conversation, it is partly human nature to be interested in delving into other people’s lives – but 90% of the time I am very conscious not to. The reason being – we have NO idea of how they got to where they are, who they are as a ‘real person’ and the hardships they may have come across to get to where they are now. Everyone has their story and deserves to be given the respect and praise that they have usually worked hard to develop.

Part of human nature and the way that we learn is through experience, so even if it was the case that the person did something in the past that wasn’t the ‘best’ option – who cares? Learn from it and MOVE ON!!

These criticisms have grown to not only be towards others in society, but how do we expect to think about ourselves in a positive light if we cannot do so for anyone else?

One thing that many of us have grown to learn is to never be ‘too confident’, ‘too happy’ or ‘too appreciative’ of ourselves. It’s terrible. And it is this thought process that leads many of us to develop huge confidence issues, mental health issues and an inability to trust ourselves enough to set challenges that we would never dream of. To think positively about your own self stems off towards those around you. Conversations turn from such negativity to more positive – including those conversations we have inside our own ‘crazy’ minds.

 

So – as I drove down the road home from the supermarket, I decided that I would take my last option of thoughts. I’d leave thinking that the attention was for something positive; maybe the development of my business (it’s funny, as I write this now I almost feel a sense of embarrassment, similar to that feeling of giving a speech in front of class at school!) and the related blog and instagram posts.

 

At the end of the day – not one other person knows what I am thinking. The person who benefits from this is ME. I would much rather go to sleep tonight giving myself a mini high five and feeling like a giggling school girl, than slouching under my covers of my bed in the fear of something that the girls (who – I don’t even know, so what right do they have in making me feel upset?!) MAY have said.

 

Be mindful. Listen to the thoughts in your mind and the physical response of your body – now focus on improving this. Before long, you will learn to do it naturally and let me tell you – a much happier, confident and better person to yourself and those close to you.

 

Sound familiar???

Get in touch – I’d love to coach you to being successful and in love with life!

Ready to start being optimistic??

We all have the ability to be optimistic about life (and yes – that includes the grumpy old man who serves you your morning latte!).

Each each of us are born with an innate level of optimism, and throughout life depending on our environment and the experiences we go through, this optimism can turn into more pessimism – some developing into severe mental illness.

For many of us to be able to ‘re-shape’, ‘heal’ and in a sense ‘re-wire’ our brains to be more resilient and optimistic about life, we need to think about the following elements:

Positive emotions – Surprise; we need to experience more positive emotions to over-come the negative thoughts each day. 

How do we learn to do this to the point that we can self regulate?

Start by writing down 3 positive events that happened to you each day before you go to bed.

According to research, each negative emotion, we need to have 3 positive emotions to re-balance – the reason being that unfortunately negative emotions tend to hang around for longer.

So – get that gratitude journal cranking again! If you’ve had a bad day, I’d challenge you to think harder to write down more positive events to balance it out (I mean ANYTHING – e.g the weather, a smile from a stranger, you letting someone drive in front of you at the merging lane on the way to work, a nice, crispy apple you had today).

Practice makes perfect – so do this each day for a couple of weeks and reflect on the difference.

Engagement – The more regularly we engage in things that give us a sense of ‘flow’, the higher our sense of well being and outlook on life. 

When we engage in things that we find ourselves getting completely absorbed in, challenged, feeling as if we felt a sense of ‘hey – that was fun’ or ‘woohoo, when can I do that again?’, and something that giving us a sense of jumping out of bed each day to participate in – we’ve found our flow, similar to a passion.

It might be something that is totally irrelevant to anything else we do in our day to day things, but just something that we can lose ourselves in – and do it regularly! (Think long runs, writing, meditation, reading, singing……..).

Think about creating a ‘vision board’; and posting photos, images, quotes, words or mementos of the things you enjoy doing to get you to focus on the things that might give you your flow.

Positive relationships – Arguably the biggest and most necessary – the types of relationships we have in our lives can impact greatly on our outlook. 

Think about the relationships that are important to you; circles of friends, community groups, family.

Which of these generally make you feel good about yourself and are supportive? Which of these perhaps do you not feel supported by?

Is this a relationship you wish to continue?

Who do you look up to in your life and why?

Meaning – Meaning is how we make ‘sense’ of the world – finding this reason why we get out of bed and what makes us tick is extremely helpful in getting us to achieve the things we want because it gives them meaning and value.

Ask yourself – what really matters to you?

If you could do anything you wanted (with no financial, social, work etc. barriers), what would it be?

What do you hope will be your impact on the world?

When you think about what is important to your life, question yourself as to why it really matters?

Achievement – Having a sense of accomplishment and success in being able to reach your goals gives you the confidence to try again! The more success we experience – the more likely we are to feel optimistic about life and a greater sense of well being. 

Start by setting yourself one or two small, achievable goals each week to build your confidence in your abilities, your satisfaction with life and your place in the world. This could be something as simple as ‘I will have breakfast each day this week’, or ‘I will walk on Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week for 45minutes at my lunch break’.

By working on all of the above regularly, we are more likely to be resilient when things don’t necessarily go our way, build on our own strengths and values, cultivate and enjoy the things that are going well in our lives, have an increased level of hope and optimism, have an increased sense of empowerment, and be more grateful for the things around us – positive and negative!

Sounds exciting doesn’t it!

It all comes back to the idea that we are responsible for our own lives and happiness, and can control the way we react to and think about life.

Love it or hate it – it’s up to us!

I know which I’d prefer!

 

**(www.positivityratio.com – a great site to test your in-built ratio of optimism vs. pessimism).

 

Ash Xxx

 

Found this article helpful? Check out my one on one coaching programs.

Let go of what you can’t control…. how to succeed the ‘easy’ way!

In my experience, life can be pretty complicated. Although most of us have plenty to manage in our day-to-day lives—jobs, relationships, family, exercise, sleep, you name it—there are really only a few things we truly have control over. I changed my life by identifying these variables and learning how to master them. And I think you can too.

Happiness and success (however you define either one) have a lot to do with each other. In fact, greater happiness has been found to lead to greater success. I think both can be achieved with some simple and straightforward habit hacking, or making small tweaks to your routine which, little by little, add up to major changes in how you’re living your life.

We make millions of little decisions all the time, and the result of each one is either net positive, net negative, or neutral. The more net positive decisions we can make (and the fewer net negative ones), the better. Net positive decisions—brushing your teeth before bed, eating healthy meals, and regularly going to the gym—help you feel good and bring you one step closer to your goals despite the effort they entail.

Net negative decisions, such as filling up on food that doesn’t make you feel good, skipping the nightly teeth-brushing, letting that downer friend cramp your style, or forgoing the gym—make it difficult to reach your goals because your decisions don’t make you feel good, empowered, or confident. They take more out of you than they give, interfering with your energy levels, sapping your motivation, and clouding your focus.

Let go of all the stuff you can’t control and start using your time to master what you can control.

While the healthier choice may seem harder, it pays off bigger. And you’ll be surprised by just how easy these choices can be once you make the effort. By learning how to master the seven things that are within our control, you will start to make more net positive decisions, fewer net negative ones, and find that empowering, positive behaviors become second nature. So let go of all the stuff you can’t control and start using your time to master what you can control. Before you know it, you’ll be living your best life ever!

1. Your Breath

Most people don’t even think about their breathing (I myself used to talk for many seconds at a time and forget to breathe!). Breathing is obviously important, but so is the ability to focus on it. Can you feel your chest expand when you inhale, and get softer when you exhale? Where do you feel the rise and fall most? Breathing is the ultimate hack to relax and slow racing thoughts. As soon as you experience something unpleasant, just take a few deep breaths and focus not on how horrible the situation was, but on your breathing. When you focus on your breath, you can count “one” as you inhale, “two” as you exhale. When you get to 10, start over. I bet you’ll start to feel better and more grounded immediately.

2. Your Self-Talk

We all have a voice in our heads. That voice can often be critical and get in the way of our happiness and success. Try to count the times you engage in negative self-talk each day. It may surprise you how often you criticize yourself. If you can learn to recognize this Debbie Downer of an inner voice and replace it with encouraging statements, your attitude will start to change. Try talking to yourself with compassion. For example, instead of telling yourself you’re not good enough, remind yourself that you are worthy of love and attention, or that it’s okay to make mistakes—we all do!

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3. Your Gratitude

If you can practice being grateful on a daily basis, your happiness and productivity will increase.  Cultivating gratitude trains us to focus on hope, to remain inspired, and to be optimistic, lending us the courage and resilience to persevere in the face of setbacks (on top of giving us a mood boost that keeps us coasting).

4. Your Body Language

According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, you can demonstrate power and confidence simply by changing the way you hold your body. For example, adopting a powerful stance—arms on your hips and feet planted wide, causing you to take up more space—increases testosterone and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. The result? This “power posing” will make you feel more confident. Think about this before you meet with a potential client, go to a job interview, or even just before you leave the house.

5. Your Mental and Physical Fitness

I don’t know about you, but I come up with my best ideas while I’m on the elliptical. Exercising is a chance to just listen to my music and think about nothing. It’s glorious. You don’t have to go to the gym, but we all ought to take 20 minutes out of our days to get up and move. Motion helps free your mind and body to better tap into your creative potential. Walking has literally been found to increase creativity. Getting in some movement will help creativity and also focus.

Giving your brain a workout is as easy as it is important for you to do. Whether you play Sudoku, do crossword puzzles, or read non-fiction books, your brain will feel the difference. You can get a similar benefit from meditation. Just 20 to 30 minutes has been shown to increase focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and even dial down physical pain. 

6. Your Diet

Even though it might taste great, junk food is a net negative. It makes your brain and body slow and sad. Consuming too much sugar has been linked to all kinds of medical conditions (including metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease), not to mention mood swings and crashes that kill productivity. Plus, processed foods have been proven to exacerbate, if not cause, chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, and even breast cancer.  Simple fixes like keeping a bag of carrots or a bowl or some nuts y help us pick up the healthier choice when we’re depleted and hungry and reaching for the closest snack. Easy-to-whip-up, convenient-to-carry portable snacks can be delicious and nutritious.

7. Your Sleep

Sleep is critical for focus, concentration, job and academic performance, keeping your appetite under control, and a host of other positive health outcomes. In order to hack sleep, you have to set a routine. I’m asleep by 9 p.m. and I wake up to watch the sun rise. Watching the sun rise is beautiful, and it’s a net positive that I’m grateful for. If your brain can’t calm down while you’re trying to fall asleep, tell yourself, “I’m proud of the work I accomplished today, I’m going to let my brain and body rest now.” Or try other trusted get-to-sleep-ASAP methods, including cutting back on alcohol (since people who booze more sleep less). 

3 Tips to Achieve Your Goals

1. Visualize it.

Whatever it is you most want to be doing, you must be able to see yourself doing it. For most of us, the work we do while procrastinating is probably the work we should be doing for the rest of our lives. Practice visualizing this concept with your eyes closed for a few seconds. Where are you working? What’s the room like? What’s the temperature like? How’s the lighting? How do you feel? Are you drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of water? What time of the day is it? The more senses you involve the better. Keep imagining this for yourself in order to increase the likelihood of these visions becoming reality.

2. Believe in it.

You have to believe that you already have everything you need to be successful. Remember: You don’t need money to try out an idea. There are plenty of free and low-cost ways to get started with all kinds of projects—social media, blogging, smartphone apps, or fundraising sites, just to name a few. And when it comes to having the courage and can-do spirit to get going, well, that’s something you already have in spades.

3. Talk it up.

Talk about what you do everywhere you go. You won’t believe the people you stumble upon who are willing to help. Whatever pain you’re healing or problem you’re solving or project you’re launching, share your knowledge and experiences with everyone who can benefit from them. When you help as many people as you can, those people will connect you to all kinds of resources—everything you need to get started. Just let it happen, and smile as often as possible.

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Do you sabotage your goals with your own fears? Learn to fly past them….

Put your hands up if you have ever had an awesome idea, a dream, a goal that gave you a feeling of butterflies that lifted you with exuberance out of bed in the morning?

Put your hand up if the closer you got to reaching your goal, the further it seemed – to the point where you gave up?
Yes – I completely relate! And I know that there are many of you who would feel the same way.
It  can be quite exhausting and leave you feeling flat and burnt out to have ‘all these grand plans’ in the forefront of your mind, but then over-think them to the point that they become too hard or with too many obstacles for it to be realistic.

Sometimes rather than being REASONS for not being able to reach our goal, we think of EXCUSES – both internally and externally.Sometimes these excuses aren’t even real – they may be fed to us by the media, through speaking with other people (and the ‘reasons’ or excuses that have prevented them from reaching their goal), or perhaps it is something that is subconsciously in our thought processes from something our parents or another said to us a child.
More often than not – these are NOT real, and unfortunately are destructive; keeping many of  us from doing what we are really capable of.

In actual reality – these thought processes form the actions we do to get  ourselves closer to where we want to be or what we want to be doing. These are the very often (and I do understand that sometimes certain things  are simply difficult or unattainable at THIS point in time) only thoughts and the excuses or boundaries we place in front of ourselves. So – in fact, it is US that are holding ourselves back!

Think about some of the following ‘excuses’ and see if they resonate in you?

1) You’re not smart enough.
There is no reason why you should be any less capable than anyone else. So you haven’t been to the best uni course, or even finished school – did you know that some of the most successful people have come from backgrounds where school was almost a ‘non – event’ or was the most horrible academic experience of their lives!) My brother and best friend are two examples who I admire greatly.
Both only just finished year 12 (very disinterested in the whole idea of study and school). My brother now runs his own successful arbor business and makes more money than a lot  of people I know, and my best friend has gone on to complete her PHD in exercise science focusing on altitude  training and elite athletes. Don’t get me wrong – it hasn’t always been the easy road for them – but it just shows you that if you have drive and passion, you can do a ‘hell of a lot’ with your life!

2) You’re too young.
Just think about the guys who developed Facebook and Myspace and even google – these guys certainly weren’t in the older age bracket  when they become leaders in the business and finance world! If you’re keen, and willing to learn from everything around you – you’re probably much more receptive and able to grow and be THE BEST in your chosen field than someone who is older and quite often stale or set in their ways within their industry. Ever heard of the saying – ‘Fresh and new talent’?
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3) You haven’t been to university.
Again – think back to my first point! There is ALWAYS a way to around it. Experiences, ideas, commitment and passion get you a long way in any field of work. Even if you wanted to go to university down the track – this IS possible!

4) You don’t have what it takes.
If you are  willing to work hard to ‘have what it takes’ – then here’s some words of advice – you HAVE what it takes! Most people fall by the wayside and don’t want to compromise, sacrifice or put in the hard work to get them to where they want to be. If you do – you have just put yourself a head in front of MANY. Just remember to stay focused on the stuff that matters and let go of some of the things that don’t.

5) You haven’t ‘done your time’.
To some extent and in some industries this is true – but you know what, if that is where you want to be, there will be a few small sacrifices you can make to STILL get there (and gain the experience along the way). Experiences also don’t mean the same for every person. you might be in your workplace for five years and not move forward fro your current role, compared to someone who has been in it for two years and have brought forward several new ideas to achieve and add value to their organisation. Put yourself out there and have a go at  trying a few of those ‘great ideas’ inside that head of yours!

6) You’re unskilled.
Have you had a look at the hundreds (even thousands) of training organisations and volunteer opportunities on the internet recently? Get out there and ‘up-skill’. They don’t always have to cost money either. Simply volunteering at an organisation in the industry you want can be incredibly helpful. Keep yourself ‘read up’ on new trends in the industry you want to be in.

7) You don’t have the money to make it happen.
Have a closer look at your weekly spending – what do your really NEED? What do you WANT? (Think buying lunches and dinners, coffees, Foxtel, clothes……). Many courses or business start  ups come from either borrowing money or simply starting on a smaller scale until the business/goal builds to a point where they can continue to grow it. You don’t go out and buy a million dollar inner city house for your first home do you? No – but if you’re smart about your money, in years to come you will. Loans can be an option if you are willing to work the money back and look closely at where you can keep costs low.

8) I’m not ready to make a change.
Who is ever ready??! Most of us fight change and resist change because it is new and uncomfortable. If we need to change something – it is usually because whatever we are doing NOW is no longer working for us. Yes, it will take courage, persistence, energy and commitment – but think about your future and your life happiness. If you aren’t where you want to be – what do you need to change to get yourself there?
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9) What if it doesn’t work out?
“But oh – what if it does!”. Think about your vision. How will it look, feel, sound when you reach your goal. What will change if you reach your goal? There is no point in letting something you desire NOT happen because you are afraid of something that has NEVER even happened? If worst case scenario it doesn’t work – you will deal with it. The most  successful people are those who have tried to build their dreams, fallen and learnt from the experience to build something BIGGER. Use the resources around you to help fine tune what you need to do differently and to get through it.

So – Think about the excuses that  are  currently stopping you from doing the things you dream about or want to do.
What can you do/think differently to get the result you want in the future?
What resources do you need to help you get there?

Need some extra guidance?

Get in touch babe!!!

ashleewalshcoaching@gmail.com