Let it Go!

Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out. Thema Davis

At this time of year, the trees are shedding their leaves to make room for new growth in the spring. We need to do the same so where do we start?

Firstly let go of negative relationships. Stop spending your precious time with people who put you down, don’t support you in your dreams or drain your time and energy. Make the choice to walk away and invest your time in people who support you and lift you up. Obviously, I’m not advocating walking away from friends or family members who are going through a hard time. I’m talking about walking away from toxic or one sided relationships that don’t serve you.

Secondly look at the media you’re consuming. Unfollow the whingers and the haters on Facebook. Unsubscribe from the e mail clutter and don’t watch the news just before you go to bed if it leaves you feeling upset and drained. Do we need to engage with what’s going on in the world and contribute as global citizens? Of course. But not just before bed, if that doesn’t work for you.

Let go of stories from the past. I failed that exam so I’ll never be able to… And, while you’re at it, let go of whatever rubbish you picked up from your teachers or parents as a kid- you’re selfish/ lazy/ disorganised. Change that to a new positive belief and start gathering evidence to support it.

We’ve talked before about the inner critic- that little voice that plays inside your head, holding you back and putting you down. Silence that critic right now, and as Tara Mohr, suggests in her brilliant book, Playing Big, get in touch with your inner mentor and let he or her guide you instead.

And finally, responsibilities- make a list of them and identify any you can let go. Where can you lower your standards to make more time for the people and things that really matter?

You have one precious life. Find what no longer serves you and let it go.

I’d love to hear from you. What do you want more of? What are you willing to let go to make space for that?

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Vision Boards

Last Friday I was joined by some lovely ladies as we got together to make vision boards.

 

What is a vision board?

Essentially a collection of images and words or phrases of things you love in your life and would like to attract more of.

Why vision?
It’s so easy to keep moving from day to day without stopping to reflect on what’s really important. We can find ourselves caught up in others’s expectations of us and find that what we’ve spent our lives focusing on the wrong things, or as Steven Covey says in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,

“It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busy-ness of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.”

The Law of Attraction
What you focus on you attract in to your life. So you want to make sure your focus is on what you want and not on what you don’t want. If you focus on feeling tired, ill etc, that’s what you’ll attract. If you focus on positivity and connection you’ll get more of that in your life.

Visualisation
We started with a visualisation of our ideal day, focusing on who we were with, what we were doing and the things that brought joy into our lives. This helped us to connect with our core values and purpose and formed a basis for what we wanted to focus on in our vision boards.

Vision Boards
We then used a variety of magazines to find images and text that attracted us. The process of sitting and creating is in itself therapeutic. Gradually the images were selected, collated and arranged on the page.

As the vision boards came to life I we could see a visual depiction of our individual hopes and dreams but there were definitely some common themes: to be great mothers and do our best for our children; a focus on health and well-being and career satisfaction. For some this is career change, a move in a new direction, a desire to give back and make a difference in the world and a desire for greater challenge and to fulfil potential and achieve career aspirations which may have been put on hold while caring for our children.

The most powerful part of the evening was the conversations that took place once the boards had ben created: our hopes and desires and finding the confidence to make a change and to live out our purpose.

My vision board is now hanging on my office wall and I know it will continue to inspire me, nudge me in the right direction and keep me going on days when I lack motivation and conviction.

This would be a great activity to do with the kids over half term or in the time between Christmas and New Year to reflect on what’s important and set intentions for the new year.

Some images below if you’d like to see….

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Love After Love

Love After Love….

The time will come
when, with great elation, you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, at your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

Sit. Feast on your life….

Derek Walcott

The past

Some years ago with two very small children, one house move too many, two returns to work to unfamiliar jobs, and a husband who worked insanely long hours, I had lost myself. I loved my husband and adored our two boys but my sense of self had gone.

I loved my children but… the days were long.  When older and wiser people informed me that it passes in a blink, having been up all night, and on not enough sleep, I struggled to believe them.

I loved my husband but… the long hours and nights took their toll.  I struggled to find the strength to support his career: Army Major to junior doctor to hospital consultant via three gruelling sets of professional exams.  It became a standing joke among friends and family who never saw him, that he was indeed a figment of my imagination.

Having had children ahead of the curve, my friends struggled to understand and gave their patient understanding as I declined yet another night out as I was essentially sole care giver to our children.

Last year I sat in a training course at The Coaching Academy and was asked to take myself back in time five years to when my tiny children were 4 and 1, and our youngest daughter was not even thought of. It was emotional. It took me right back to a time where I knew I was incredibly lucky to have a lovely husband, our little boys and supportive family and friends. However, it also took me back to times of frustration, exhaustion and resentment at my loss of identity and what I had sacrificed to support my husband’s success.

The exercise

Moving forward five years and into the present day I saw a different picture- my husband had been right: life had got easier and we are now blessed with our little girl and a much more balanced life. As I sat in that room, probably for the first time, I took time to think about what I really wanted.

Teaching had been my life for the past sixteen years, in fact, the awful events of 9/11 occurred in my first week of teaching. For me it is a vocation, a strong desire to make a difference and it never occurred to me that there would be anything else.

And the exercise took me again five years into the future, in which the first thing I saw was my tiny children now 14, 11 and 6. That in itself took my breath away. And I didn’t see myself, as I had previously imagined, working full time as a teacher, with an unsustainable workload, desperately trying to clutch on to time with my fast growing children, who all too soon would be gone. Instead what I saw was that I had re-trained as a coach, chose the hours I work and the people I work with and the energy and passion I have always brought to my work being brought to fruition.

The future

Coaching has helped me to focus on what really matters, listen to my inner voice and to let go of what others expect of me. No doubt the next five years will fly but I no have the courage to follow my heart and find my love after love.

Footnote-
Derek Walcott’s poem Love after Love is here.
Oprah Winfrey also claims this as one of her favourites in her wonderful book What I Know for Sure.

If you would like me to send you the exercise I described, please get in touch.

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