Research has proved it once again: your actions can have a significant effect on your happiness and satisfaction with life. Whether it be in the area of personal mastery and leadership or leading a team at work, here are proven ways to increase your wellness and thrive! Click here to download the poster “10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy”.
DId you know that we can change our feelings by changing our thinking? When an event occurs, we interpret it in our thoughts, but not always in a rational way. When we learn to identify the ways in which we allow our thoughts to hijack our feelings, we can dispute these thoughts and begin to make lasting changes. Here then are the 3 M’s, some main ways in which our thoughts can misinterpret events:
1) Magnifying – exaggerating and over-generalizing, leading to all-or-nothing thinking (“this one setback means that I will always be a loser in every aspect of my life”)
2) Minimizing – underplaying, using tunnel vision to dismiss either positive or negative elements (“there is only bad [good] in this relationship”)
3) Making up – personalizing or blaming, emotional reasoning based on fabrications (“I feel rotten, therefore I am a rotten person”)
When we dispute these erroneous interpretations of reality, we actually change our old neural pathways and create new ones. By asking questions (“is my conclusion tied to reality, or am I ignoring something important?”) we can act as advocates for ourselves. So be your own lawyer and dispute your irrational thoughts – you’ll feel a whole lot better!
Have you ever noticed how some of the simplest questions can actually provide some of the most transformative answers? Here’s one of our favourite questions which we use with great results: “Suppose tonight, while you slept, a miracle occurred. When you awake tomorrow, what would be some of the things you would notice that would tell you life had suddenly gotten better?”
Helping clients to imagine that the miracle has already happened has powerful implications about the clients’ need to do something different. As their reflections begin flowing, they frequently describe improvements in detailed, behavioural terms – and they recognize their own involvement in implementing solutions!
We like to follow up with other questions such as: ” What would be the first thing you would do?”; “What would you have to do so that it would happen more often?”; “What else would you be doing differently?”.
What are some of the questions you could use to jump-start positive changes in your life and work?
The American psychologist James Hillman first proposed the “acorn theory” in his book entitled “The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling”. He suggested that every individual already holds their potential inside themselves from birth, just as the acorn already holds the pattern for an oak tree. Each individual’s unique energy becomes actualized through their choices and actions in life once they answer their life calling, much like an acorn turns into an oak tree and matures when it finally blossoms. Without denying the existence of both nature and nurture in human development, let’s look at our own individual achievements, character, and aspirations and ask ourselves: “How am I responding to my inner acorn?”
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen Covey begins with Habit #1: Be Proactive.
“Look at the word responsibility—’response-ability’—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.”
He goes on to say: “The commitments we make to ourselves and to others, and our integrity to those commitments, is the essence and clearest manifestation of our proactivity.”
Think of the goal you would most like to focus upon in the weeks and months to come. What commitment will you make today to manifest your proactivity? How can coaching be a part of ensuring your success?
Have you ever how wondered why some people manage to create tangible results and consistently reach their goals, while others just turn in circles and miss the mark completely? One simple way to understand the difference is to compare the mindset of STATES (or values) to GOALS (or outcomes).
When focusing on STATES:
- we state our outcomes ambiguously; when focusing on GOALS, we state our outcomes specifically
- we write affirmations; when focusing on GOALS, we write our desired outcomes and goals
- we think we should have it now; when focusing on GOALS, we acknowledge that time is involved in creating the necessary conditions for success
- we have no steps in mind; when focusing on GOALS, we start with the end in mind and work backwards to see the steps needed to get there
- the desired state seems immense and infinite in scope; when focusing on GOALS, we focus on measurable outcomes
- values are stated for self and/or others; when focusing on GOALS, they are stated for the self only.
Clear values are essential to inform us of our driving forces, of what provides meaning in our lives. We would invite you use them as fuel for your desired outcomes, and to fully enjoy the fruits of your success!
As my birthday approaches I think about what I’ve learned, allow me to share my thoughts:
Love the small pleasures of life. A jog in the evening light, a square of rich, dark chocolate with a strong coffee, a good book to enjoy after a productive day, a moment of quiet as the birds sing…
Want little and you are rich. You can have a lot of money and possessions, but if you are always looking for more, you are not as well off as she who has little but is satisfied. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.
Be grateful for the life you have. Every day is a gift, not to be full of deadlines but to be savoured and appreciated, spend time enjoying it, not devouring it.
See life as a garden, not a road. Where we go matters less than what we notice.