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!

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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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