This article first appeared on www.phoenixcoachingsolutions.co.uk
As I lay on my makeshift bed, I close my eyes and wait for the inevitable. It has taken a long time to get me to this point – this is where I check out. I lay unmoving, waiting. The next day I am still waiting. Err … ok, so my overdose hasn’t worked and I am still here. I guess I had better ask for some help! How did I come to this? I had been a functioning depressive for may years. Outwardly smiling and efficient at work, yet in my personal life – I was falling apart. I was in debt, I couldn’t afford to make repairs to my house and I quite simply stopped functioning outside of work.
The final straw that broke me was when my precious dogs were removed from my house. They were well fed, they were healthy, but their living environment – our living environment was chaotic and unkempt. What followed was a year of being apart from my beloved dogs (my only reason for living), being pursued by an uncaring (towards humans) animal charity and appearing in court on my birthday to answer charges of neglect. Fortunately, I was able to secure a barrister from London, and I was acquitted and my dogs returned to me. They both died of old age at 12 years and 16 years.
So what changed for me? What took me from the depths of despair to being in control of my life, happy and NOT depressed?
Personal responsibility is the key to happiness
It was so liberating.
“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies with their own hands.” __Anne Frank
Taking Personal Responsibility for Happiness Involves Surrendering
Not blaming others for your misfortunes or the way you feel.
Being happy regardless of the external circumstances or situation.
Your functional state is based on interpretation rather than reality.
You can be happy regardless of negative events in your life.
Taking personal responsibility is empowering
I hope that, from this article, you get a sense of how truly liberating learning to take personal responsibility is. It is so important, and has been so crucial to my own happiness and fulfilment, that it is the central tenant to my Coaching Programme: Becoming PHENOMENAL.
This article first appeared on http://www.phoenixcoachingsolutions.co.uk
Emotional intelligence is the new hot kid on the block
Now, personally, I am not a lover of Burger King. Not the organisation itself, but the product. If I’m going to have a burger (at all), it will be the gourmet kind. That said, their recent ad promotion is genius. Take a look.
Burger King is leading the way
This article first appeared on www.phoenixcoachingsolutions.co.uk
Taking personal responsibility not only shapes the action we take, and how we feel about our life, it also has the power to attract everything in life that we desire. Cassie Jordan
What is the greatest thing that taking personal responsibility has given you? What have you lost by not taking personal responsibility? Comment below, we would love to hear your stories.
I read something today that is not a new concept to me, but it made the blood in my veins run cold. In fact, I have been sat pondering why I feel so unsettled and a little weepy. I’ve only had a few mouthfuls of the glass of red wine that I poured for myself. My mind started churning over the possible reasons for the feeling of sadness that hit me square in the solar plexus, and forced hot tears to leak from my eyes. Yes, I am overtired after being away for the weekend, which included a LOT of driving – but being over tired usually makes me grumpy not weepy.
Could it be because I was thinking about my recently departed cousin’s widow, and how she is doing? Is this a latent form of grief for a much loved family member who has left us?
Perhaps I am over thinking this. I try to settle into the feeling and simply experience it without analysing it. As I try this tactic, I notice the sudden desire to eat something “really nice”. Hmmm … so I do comfort eat!
One thing you may have picked up about me, dear reader, is that asking myself just to “be” without over thinking and analysing to the nth degree of a fart doesn’t really work. I have an insatiable quest to understand things, and so my mind returns to my earlier thought. Hmmm? Oh – you want to know what I read that started me off on this tryst with naval gazing? It was quite simply:
We receive what we ask of life.
Erm. I’m asking for fakes to come into my romantic life? Really?
If you follow the teachings of the Law of Attraction, then yes. In some way, my psyche is inviting into my life the fakes who would relieve me of my hard earned cash if I wasn’t so stingy to part with it. Actually, I am being self deprecating – I would never be foolish enough part with cash to someone I had never met, regardless of whether their recipe of sweet words and attention has drawn me in.
So what unresolved issue in my psyche is the universe tapping into?
For those of you who don’t know what the Law of Attraction is, in the most simplest form, it suggests:
Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is believed that regardless of age, nationality or religious belief, we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the Universe, including the Law of Attraction.
It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. In basic terms, all thoughts turn into things eventually. If you focus on negative doom and gloom you will remain under that cloud. If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them with massive action.
This is why the universe is such an infinitely beautiful place. The Law of Attraction dictates that whatever can be imagined and held in the mind’s eye is achievable if you take action on a plan to get to where you want to be. http://www.thelawofattraction.com/what-is-the-law-of-attraction/
Really? I have been focusing on people who are inauthentic? Unless there is something going on in my subconscious I am not buying it. If anything, I have proven that I can remain positive in the face of adversity and that I haven’t let it put me off finding a romantic partner.
Law of attraction aside, I am left wondering if there is indeed something beneath the surface of my iceberg that I am not aware of. Intellectually, I am well acquainted with how early experiences in our lives can shape who we become as adults. Emotionally, I really thought I had excavated and dumped all unhelpful and inaccurate beliefs I had about myself.
It is true that in this day and age many people find love online, and that is why I have dabbled with online dating. It is not my preferred way of doing things, but it seems to be the only option that is open to me. I do create opportunities to get out and socialise – but so far it has brought nada in the men stakes.
Internet dating, like any other aspect of life, is a good idea gone rogue. Not because the concept is not a sound one, but because there are people out there who are looking for the next opportunistic way of making money without actually getting a job. Some of the scammers lament that there are not jobs available for them, and so this is how they must earn money to provide for their families. Maybe this is true. Maybe not. Either way – they are NOT getting my money, and I am hoping that twice bitten, I have now become immune to their charms.
So, dear reader, I am inclined to think I have just been unlucky. Perhaps given that I have not had that many dates, it is understandable that I should have a less than stellar view of online dating. After all, it’s a numbers game. If I had more dates I would increase my odds of finding that one special person that will save me from myself and t’internet. Wouldn’t I??
That brings me to my final point. Personal responsibility. It is our responsibility to ensure that we take the necessary precautions to safeguard ourselves until such time as we are able to meet our would-be-paramour face to face. Never get too emotionally invested with someone you have yet to meet, regardless of the sweet words and ego-stroking attention they put our way. The reason it works in hooking women in, is because they tap into the fundamental needs we all have for intimate connections.
Back to my weepiness. Who knows why I was having a “moment” – it seems to have passed, as I distracted myself with writing this blog. Naval gazing over. Bliss.
This post originally appeared on CassieJordan.co.uk
“I wish everyone could have all the money that I have, could have all the fame that I’ve gotten and all the attention, and have all their dreams come true, to realize that that is not the answer.” __ Jim Carrey
The Happiness Lie
I learned something new today. I learned that everything we think we know about how to be happy is WRONG. That’s right. Have we really been chasing our tail to try to achieve that elusive HAPPINESS? Before we look more closely at this, it is worth considering what the established formula for happiness is:
Have you spotted the clue?
Happiness at Harvard study
Broadly speaking, the perceived wisdom is that achieving success is the path to happiness, and that the path to success is through hard work. This is the model that we use in all areas of life and have done so for many years. What if that formula was wrong? What if everything that we have been doing for years in pursuit of happiness was only leading us to dissatisfaction and unhappiness?
According to American Psychologist, Shawn Anchor, living our lives to the accepted formula in pursuit of happiness is not only ineffective, but also detrimental to health. He argues that the way to be truly happy lies not in working hard to become successful, but in social interaction and connectedness. Not only that, he argues that our state of happiness impacts positively on those around us; and our happiness state influences other people’s happiness state. Nothing new there in my opinion, as one of my favourite sayings, is that behaviour breeds behaviour. I believe this wholeheartedly, and I consider it to be one of the most effective ways of influencing change in other people. Take a look at this case study for a demonstration on how powerful this can be.
Happiness is key to productivity
Shawn Anchor asserts that we are most productive and focused when we are in a happy state. Again, I don’t think there is anything very contemporary about this. If we are unhappy or stressed, it can become difficult to focus on anything, let alone work. It would seem that if happiness is the key to productivity, and success is not the route to happiness – we most definitely HAVE been chasing our tails! I think where Shawn Anchor’s argument does become interesting, is when he talks about the formula of happiness in relation to how successful we are, and that we need to reverse this formula to get ahead in the happiness stakes. This premise pretty much gives us permission (if ever we needed it) to get off the treadmill that many of us find ourselves on in pursuit of happiness that – no matter what we do – continues to elude us. There are many people who live their lives driven by the idea that great success will lead them to greater happiness. If I could only get that promotion, I will be happier.If I had more money, I will be happyIf I get my dream house, I will be happy
Shawn Anchor, in the his Ted Talk, makes a compelling argument that success does not make us any happier. He explains this in terms of brain biology.
He was asked why he studied Happiness at the elite educational establishment of Harvard: what possibly could Harvard students have to be unhappy about? In addressing this question, he goes on to explain that there is an implicit assumption that our external world predicts our happiness. It seems that only 10% of our happiness is predicated on our external world.If this is the case, where does the other 90% come from? If it has nothing to do do with what we have, how successful we are, or how much money we have, does this mean we are doomed to have only 10% happiness in our lives? That seems a pretty dire scenario.So, where exactly does the majority of our happiness come from? According to the latest research, 90% of our happiness comes from the way in which our brain processes the experiences we have in our day to day lives (taking us back to brain biology).
Getting back to the Harvard question, Shawn Anchor says that the initial excitement and pride of getting into a prestigious college diminishes within a few days and instead, the students’ brains focus on the pressure, the heavy workload and deadlines. He reasons, that this is because our brain never lets us be satisfied with our achievements. Once we have reached our goal – our brain is hardwired to not value that goal, and therefore we end up with a never ending loop of seeking success/achieve a goal to get that dopamine hit that makes us (temporarily) feel good when we have our desired result.
It seems that once we achieve something, it becomes the norm. Once something becomes the norm, we no longer appreciate the achievement as anything special. Why does this happen? It is all down to how our brain is wired. Once we have achieved our goal, what does the brain do? It moves the goal posts.
How to get ahead at work
One of the most interesting gems from the TED Talk is around how to achieve success in the workplace. Did you know that only 25% of job success comes from how intelligent you are? It seems that 75% comes from your level of optimism, your social support and your ability to see stress as a challenge rather than a threat. I guess this is where personality characteristics and mindset trump IQ. I think it certainly turns on it’s head anecdotal gripes about people who get ahead but “are not deserving, and are in with the boss”. Perhaps it isn’t nepotism that has been at play after all, but the fact that a can-do-attitude and solid inter-personal skills are more effective in teams and influencing others.
Why is any of this important?
It seems to me that, the breakthrough that experiences and connectedness is what leads to greater happiness rather than material possessions, is not new. Many of us have long known that true value comes from relationships that we have with the people around us; and that isolation (whether that be due to heavy work commitments or otherwise), leads to unhappiness, and even poor mental wellbeing.
This viewpoint doesn’t just come from an evolved emotional intelligence (it took a long time coming and so I claim it with pride), I believe it is replicated many times across society. The pursuit of happiness through material possessions or achievement of goals may be true for some people. Who those people are and why, is outside the scope of this piece. I started off this blog thinking that I had learned something new.
As I have been writing, I have realised that – actually I haven’t. I don’t know that all people do chase success in pursuit of happiness. I think people chase success for many reasons – including having a psyche that is defined by what they are externally, rather than who they are internally. Perhaps they are seeking validation. Or perhaps they simply want to make a difference in the world.
The success lie
I am wondering whether the issue here is more about the success lie, than the happiness lie. If everyone bought into this, then what would happen to ambition? What would happen to those that change our world for the good through their hard work, ambition and drive? If everyone gave up in the pursuit of happiness – where would we be?Are people who are successful, truly unhappy? I am not entirely sure that they are. Ok, so some people may measure their worth by what they achieve, and are never truly happy with the end result. Perhaps our brain biology simply then creates the desire for us to move forward again. Does that mean that we are unhappy with the success we achieved?
The key to happiness AND success is positivity
If happiness is on the other side of success, our brain never gets there. __Shawn Anchor
Within the 15 minute TED presentation, Shawn Anchor concludes with the premise that if we raise our positivity in the present, this gives a happiness advantage. He goes on to say, that the brain when in a positive state, performs better than when in a neutral or stressed state.
Where I really support Shawn Anchor’s views, is in how this formula reversal relates to education. Just not in the way he applies it. The education system (both here in the UK as well as in the US), is calibrated to the average student. This is advantageous for less than average students (who have something to strive for), but not for above average or gifted student who is not challenged within this model. Students should not be told simply that if they work hard enough they will be successful; running the risk of becoming stressed and impacting negatively on their mental wellbeing. Perhaps they should be taught how to live with a positive mindset (as proposed by Shawn Anchor). In doing so, they will increase their wellbeing (and therefore their happiness), as well as improving their capacity for learning as the activation of dopamine switches on the learning centres of the brain.
How to increase positivity in the brain
There are a number of ways to switch your brain into a positive state:
- Random acts of KINDESS
- Practising GRATITUDE
Effectively, this practice when done continuously over 21 days rewires the brain, leading to more optimism, which leads to more happiness and ultimately more success.
All it takes is a two minutes a day for the brain to create a more positive mindset.
LOOK OUT FOR:
NEXT IN SERIES: Happiness is equal to or greater than the events of your life minus your expectation of how life should be.
NEXT IN SERIES: How to rewire your brain to experience life more positively
You can watch Shawn Anchor’s Ted Talk here. It is not only worth checking out to learn more about the research underpinning a revised happiness (at work) theory, Shawn Anchor himself is a very entertaining presenter.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON PHOENIX COACHING SOLUTIONS WEBSITE. You can view the original article by clicking the link.
You get what you give: how your relationships will benefit from being more assertive
June 7, 2018
| An article by: Cassie Jordan, Relationship Guru
Have you ever heard the expression “behaviour breeds behaviour”? This is one of my most used and favourite expressions. Why? Because it is true, that’s why.
What does it mean?
Essentially, it means that the behaviour and actions that you put out there influences those around you. So if you are always happy and smiley when you meet people, then chances are people will be happy and smiley with you. If you are grumpy, well, your bad mood may just get you into one or two disagreements as people will respond negatively to your grumpiness, particularity if you are being snappy or rude alongside your grumpy demeanour.
So how does this link to being more assertive in your relationships?
Quite simply, this applies not only to your wider circle, but to your closest and most intimate relationships too. If you are struggling in your relationship and don’t know how to resolve the problems and the tension – then a good place to start is to focus on your own behaviour. Another favourite saying of mine is that “you can’t change people but you can influence them”.
I suppose in some respects this can be linked to positive reinforcement. For dog lovers out there, and indeed for parents, this concept will be familiar when trying to deal with unwanted behaviour in pets and children. (Just to point out, I do not put pets above children, it is simply that I am a poochy-mamma and don’t have children – so I tend to think of dogs first.)
So how does this influence relationships?
If your other half seems to be in a permanent bad mood, always snapping, shouting and generally being unpleasant towards you, it is a natural reaction to snap back. The problem with this, is that you then create a cycle of negativity. If you are not ready to give up on your relationship, and you want your partner to be nicer to you and to treat you the way you deserve to be treated, then you can choose not to react to poor behaviour. You can also choose not to accept the behaviour, and remove yourself from the situation. I often coach my clients to make a simple and clear statement such as:
“I am not happy with the way you spoke to me. As you seem to be in a bad mood, I am going to leave you to it for now. If you want to talk to me when you are in a better mood, then just let me know”.
The case study below illustrates how effective this technique is.
“J” came to me upset about her relationship. Her partner had ended it, and although they reconciled within a few weeks things were not good between them, and “J” herself was considering walking away.
I asked “J” to focus on her own confidence levels and assertiveness rather than her partner’s behaviour. Using statements similar to the one above, whenever her partner treated her badly, she would simply let him know she was unhappy with his behaviour calmly, and go home. This happened a number of times over the next 3 or 4 weeks and there did not seem, initially, to be any improvement.
“J” then shared with me that things were getting better and her partner was being much nicer to her. He was asking to come over to her place instead of her always having to go to his, and he was much nicer to be around.
“J” is still unsure what the future holds for them, but at least now communication is more positive between them she can make a decision based on the relationship as a whole, rather than reacting to negative behaviour.
Giving out what you want to receive back
Sometimes it is worth riding the storm and holding onto a relationship, and by making sure that we do not react negatively, we do not feed into the cycle of tit for tat and one-up-man-ship.
My client was able to positively influence her partner by not buying into his negative behaviour. It took a little time, but within a few weeks she began to notice that her partner’s behaviour towards her improved. As always, relationships are fluid and it remains a work in progress – as indeed are all relationships for every of us.
The other positive benefit for “J” is that I see her blossoming before my very eyes, into a more confident and assertive person. She asks for what she needs, and she says no when she needs to.
Underpinning these changes is a growing self esteem that had been seriously lacking for “J” in her past.
If you would like to work on your own self esteem, confidence and assertiveness, then take a look at these soundbite short online courses (click on the links below) .
If you have a specific question, you can also reach out to The Relationship Guru on our Facebook page @RelationshipGuru1 and check out our brand new group where you can get the latest updates and special offers. Click the link to join the group Relationship Guru Haven.
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31st May 2018
Ok, so I concede – I have ventured back into cyberland dating. Match.com lured me back with 600 views and 50-odd winks and 10 or so messages. I got curious so I paid my dues. Seems I never learn, as my heart sank at more of the same old same old. I was also seduced to try eHarmony again after reading a press article about a match to marriage within 9 months. (I guess I should have checked whether it was a sponsored storyline). This story caught my eye as he was in the UK and she was in the States. So, distance romance does work then! Of course, they were in the 30s age bracket and I’m not quite sure a 50-something is going to meet the man of her dreams in this way. Heck, I can’t even seem to meet the man-not-of-my-dreams. I am getting a lot of attention from youngsters though – and if they are canny enough, a bit of banter doesn’t go amiss.
Of course, as soon as distance-guy-fake-gate became the reality rather than a possibility, I tapped off a text to my nice looking sex addict. That reminds me, my new favourite line in response to anyone trying to engage me in sexy chat is:
If I wanted that kind of chat I have a very nice sex addict on speed dial!
Seriously, I actually did use that line yesterday!
I updated my profiles to take out the spikiness in the hopes of sharing that I don’t really hate men, I don’t think they are all fakes, flakes or frogs – but it doesn’t seem to have made much difference so far. Ok, so it is not quite 12 hours since I paid up – but a girl is ageing by the minute! Did I just call myself girl? Hmmm … my sarcastic retort to one guy calling me girl suggests to me that I have linguistic double standards.
So, I wonder what is in store for me? Instead of feeling excited at the prospect of getting to know a few new people and the possibility of a date or two, or three, I feel decidedly dejected and depressed. Am I really here again? Glutton for punishment does not begin to describe it – I really am unsure as to why I am putting myself through this again.
I did check out what is going on locally to see if there was anything I could rock up to that I might come into contact with a few guys – but nada. It also seems that I need to live in any other town in the UK to find a nice date. Without exception, all the guys I like the look of are over 200 miles away! The cynic in me wonders if the dating sites set their algorithms to only show good matches at a distance!
Oh, a lovely interruption there from my sex-addict-guy:
When can I see you?
I do think he is cute, and I do think that he is a much nicer guy than he pretends to be … and maybe one day I will meet up with him. Certainly the banter does make me feel a little better and is a distraction from my recent disappointment. I am not convinced though, that he is not already attached. A nice looking man in his 40s, single? It doesn’t make sense. Dallying with another woman’s man is a step too far and not one I intend to breach. I have challenged him on this a few times and he assures me he is single as:
I’m not very good at relationships.
Hmmm … that may be due to the sex addiction then. I do believe that we are all, as individuals, responsible for our own consciences, however, knowing, or even suspecting that a man is in a committed relationship with another woman is a non-negotiable boundary for me. Dating on the other hand, I don’t have a problem with a guy seeing other women, as long as he has no problem with me seeing other men (I should be so lucky). After all, initially, dating is about getting to know someone, trying them out, and seeing whether you want to take things further.
So, dear diary, it looks as though I have jumped back into the mire … ahem … ok, so that attitude is not going to attract many dates. I will be on my best behaviour, and treat it as the tool it is. No dear diary, I meant the dating sites, not the guys!
I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on.
p.s. I will be soooo grateful when I stop seeing “Siggy” when I glance at Mr Dahl’s pictures – one day at a time, I guess.