Are you really a fraud? Will you be found out?

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Just been inspired to write about this so very common phenonema that strikes us down, regularly and unwittingly.

In my life I know that I have frequently felt inadequate and often had to battle with lack of confidence. Did I become a master of camoflaging the nerves before presentations or face up to the fact that I really was an imposter as my inner voice kept warning me. Young adults, graduates or those who have just passed their driving test are great examples of those who act brave to save face. They feel that now they have to show up in the world and compete with everyone else. ” Fake it till  you make it” Some put on a shiny new facade and tackle the world with defenses and bravado, sharing with nobody the absolute fear they carry within. Those inner voices of the imposter often arise and the voices can take over and riddle our confidence with holes.

Others hear their peers bragging about their great career paths and inside they crumble and want to hide. They are not worthy of an interview for they scrapped through training college or university and will be found out as a loser if put into the headlights in an interview room.

Imposters—- frauds — clowns— comics can present themselves and we can crumble or shine but how do we go about this without experience and maturity?

Firstly we have to be aware that we indeed are full of self conflict. I remember having a track record of getting “straight A’s” or “gold stars” in most things in junior school. Then frequently as a child I heard  I was the smart one in your family or peer group? Wow did this set me up for feeling like a fraud. I knew that I had to work really hard to achieve, so that did not measure up to being smart.

Sadly this fear of failure and not being good enough stayed with me until adulthood and parenthood. Facing  my fears and doing it anyway became such a very precious mantra for me. I was for many years so terrified of being found out as the fraud.

To be continued.

 

Mindfulness in East Lothian

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“Wherever you go, there you are”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn

If I know one thing then I am sure that I can only be here in this very moment. Nothing else is available to me for certain. I may feel as if this experience is the same as one in the past. I will know that I have visited this place before and that my memories connect me only with this new moment. Memories connect us with the past and dreaming and planning with the future. Giving my attention to this present moment is really all that is guaranteed.

I was born and brought up just a stones throw from where I now live. I left almost 40 years  ago and now I hold the fragile balance of past and present in my very being. Each day as I venture out through the vast expanses of this wonderful county, I see, hear and taste the freshness of being present right now. Little memory bubbles may float to the surface as friends and family recount tales or mention names and the rich tapestry of times gone by is being gentle sewn.

However, much more importantly, I am enjoying each day and each challenge, each new possibility as I step from one moment to the next. Mindfulness, maturity and a sense of truely being rooted, allows me the openess and curiousity that I perhaps lacked many years ago. “Mindfulenss in East Lothian” is  a new Facebook page where I would love to share with old friends , mindfulness colleagues and all those who are open to new moments together —– some caring , sharing and compassion.

Please join me and re-connect……………

Discovery through Mindfulness

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In life’s journey we have moments when we change jobs, locations or partners but we, as individuals, take all that we are, with us.

Our path is marked with points where we have decided to change our course or take a risk.These are often due to external factors around us prompting us to take responsibility for ourselves and often for our families too. Fear of failure may be a major obstacle and we all need to process logically how feasible this change is. However, I know that from practising Mindfulness for many years that the deep seated messages that I hold inside me often serve me well and are more dependable than just pure thinking. That intrinsic knowledge that is embedded in ever cell of our bodies is the best resource that we have.

Come along and taste how taking time to be with yourself, getting to notice how you think and where your fear is hiding by being gentle. Mindfulness gives you so many subtle ways of finding out how wise you really are!

Community Mindfulness Taster Haddington Session

The Art of Going Slow –2

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A year ago I wrote my original blog with the same title and said that this theme would be continued…….So what has changed in the world in which we live. What are we all craving for or striving to get. How much have we taken note of our own inner voices that continue to keep us moving forward, no matter what.

I know that you are all aware of how much we are conditioned by the external world. The voices of others ” should” “could” “must” are the words of others that we have adopted as how we must lead our life. The opinions around us at home, work, in the media can hold really powerful expectations for us. Here we are being dictated to by the world we live in. Our huge need to conform takes us by the nose and leads to decisions that we are not comfortable with. Even when we get little niggling feelings, irritating inner thoughts and critical gremlins, we may ignore them and remain living incongruently. That is we know that the truth for us is different than for those we are connected with. We however feel less than confident about speaking or acting on our own personal values and beliefs.

Are you just going along with the crowd? Will we watch and compare the slow process of Brexit to the fast impulsive rate of the new Trump Administration. Can you tune in to what your gut is telling you about the speed?

Can you find your own inner congruence and then choose how best to be with uncertainty. How will going slow benefit you?

 

Mindful Little Christmas

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“Mindful Little Christmas” came to me last year in the form of a Christmas Blog written by Harriet McGuigan  in ” My Mind”—– with her advice on how to practice mindfulness to combat the stress of Christmas. 

As Andy Williams sings, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year
with the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!’

She talked about how we all have good memories, sad memories, regretful memories, painful memories  of Christmases that have passed. We may have lost someone, have a new member join our family, have developed a serious illness or quite simply, be too much  of a perfectionist, thus creating self inflicted stress. Just being aware of the busy mind, feelings of panic and the reality of each day leading up to Christmas, allows us time to pay attention.

In daily life, it may take some courage to get up, put your feet on the floor and face the challenges but for many of our neighbours or for ourself, Christmas morning may be exceptionally difficult.  The getting through each day of the Festive Season means facing the day despite the heaviness we feel in our heart, the physical pain that we are holding or indeed the deep suffering of grieving. For others courage is being vulnerable with a loved one, asking for help or for some company.

Mindfulness allows us to stop and really notice how we are? There is no magic wand! However using the stopping, breathing and noticing may allow you to be a little less stressed, a little more loved and a little more loving if you can allow yourself to do something which is authentically you.

Have you ever sat with an elderly family member who spends the day reminiscing about past; how Christmas is not the same anymore! The negativity quells any momentary enjoyment of what we may be eating, sharing, smelling and gifting! Others escape the moment by hoping for a better future filled with financial security, health and happiness.

Mindfulness is about bringing yourself back as much as possible into your present reality – Taking one breath at a time. It is about being conscious of what ‘is’ rather than going off into fantasy and wishing for what you wish you could have in the future or getting drowned in the past when things were easier or at times harder.

With a little discipline, choosing to have a few mindful moments during the festive season could bring you inner peace, contentment and appreciation.

  1. Take a risk and breathe into your reality right now. Not the reality you wish you had, not the reality that you imagine your friends or family have and not the story the  TV adverts would have you believe – I invite you to breathe into your own life.
  2. It could help if you share your reality with a loving other (a friend, a partner,  or a person of trust) and perhaps sharing how celebrating the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ in your unique way  works for you this year.
  3. When you are eating just eat, when you have company just observe and absorb.
  4. Invite you guests to name one thing they are grateful for today.
  5. Forget the keeping up appearances and enjoy your Christams within your own emotional and financial budget.
  6. Make YOUR unique Christmas this year by allowing more of authentic you to shine through.
  7. If you are alone or know someone alone then step into that moment with them. Just a moment and the gift of time together

The key is to meet yourself where you are at.

Remembering that a little love shared and a little compassion for yourself and for others, goes towards  the original Christmas message. In the tradition of Christmas I wish you peace, joy and happiness in your unique heart.

‘…….and have yourself a ‘Mindful Little Christmas Now’


Taster Session


Letting Go

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It's natural to let go

It’s natural to let go

Letting go of control and relaxing into the flow of our lives is a theme that I bring into my Mindfulness practice and introduce as a teacher and as a coach, to my clients.

Sometimes, our situation is the way it is whether we like it or not.  Often Carers are there to offer support and love to those with chronic illness or conditions where emotional or mental disturbances are the living reality. When we fight the truth of a situation, we create a state of fear, upset, and tunnel vision. Often we believe that this is a permanant, concrete, forever situation and here we create the inner state of resisting. We remove the options and become fixed and try to tolerate rather than letting go of trying to control and handle things on our own – self sabotaging a possible new way.

Letting go is the inner process that removes the fear, upset, and tunnel vision.  Before we can let go however we need to know what we are holding onto. Ask yourself some big questions.

What am I most frightened of? What is not my responsibility? What is stopping me from letting go?

The moment we do let go, we can restore your ability to see clearly.  A good way to see how letting go works is to look closer at our fear. Fear is really created by our thoughts and is often compounded by not accepting or resisting a future event. For example, if you have a fear of losing someone, you are resisting the future event called, “losing the person.” The more you resist losing the person, the bigger your fear. The bigger your fear, the more you feel threatened. The more you feel threatened, the more you hang on and often push the person away.

I know that my fear can dissipate and lose its power, by being strong enough to do the opposite of what created it.  If I am scared of being left alone and unloved then I need to befriend the part of me that pushes others away. Relationships can morph into something new rather than ending a perfectly acceptable friendship, in a bitter and uncaring way.

Instead of resisting the future event, be willing for the fear to come true – not in your actions, but in your heart. If just for a moment  I sit with being alone and unloved, there is always, a new option for dealing with the person we are caring for or those who we depend upon. We begin to see clearly and become very effective in handling the situation. Solutions appear and this area of life starts clearing up. This is the purpose and opportunity of letting go.

 

Does Love Come into Coaching?

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Does Love Come into Coaching?

Rick Hanson asks in a recent newsletter “ How do you love – Freely?”

The power of coaching

The power of coaching

My own curiosity and moments of self reflection have opened many doors of enquiry through the years of coaching others.  I am  wondering how we as coaches bring love freely into our coaching and indeed how do we hold love in our own personal lives?  We are all very aware of working with empathy, compassion, kindness in the coaching relationship but how do we model love in the world of business?

Love is overly talked about in some circles, overly commercialised in others and almost completely avoided in the largest organisations of the world.
Let’s take it right back to basics and let our attention rest on our own self.
Love, the most powerful of all our emotions has for centuries created space for poetry, filled many music moguls pockets, brought deep passions to plays, operas and much that we relate to, deep inside ourselves. It raises questions, causes much pain and yet we all seek to be loved but do we always offer love when indeed it might bring healing, relief or freedom for others?
In our daily lives and coaching sessions do we openly communicate loving kindness?
How freely do we show, model or name LOVE?

How do you love?

When love flows freely we touch into so many other human feelings and actions; compassion, empathy, kindness, liking, affection, cooperation, and altruism are all in our nature, woven into the fabric of human DNA, the most social – and most loving – species on the planet. Love is a natural uprising of energy from deep inside us all. It doesn’t need to be forced or camouflaged, it needs to be released. If authentic love in any of its forms is bottled up, it hurts. For example, one of the greatest pains is that of a broken heart.

Has any aspect of your own love stopped flowing freely?
We know that besides feeling wonderful to be in love, opening to love heals psychological wounds, builds resilience, and supports personal growth. Neuroscience is rapidly informing us that, love calms down the stress response and reduces activation in the neural circuits of physical and emotional pain. It nourishes by increasing “oxytocin” which indeed facilitates milder behaviours and helps keep you out of conflicts with others. Coaches have much to offer in cultivating a loving heart, as we dance around the edges of spiritual practice and meaning and purpose in the work that we do.

 

Part Two of this blog  will be based on the contribution of coaches. So consider these questions and do pass comment please.

  • How do we contribute to bringing back human- ness into the workplace?
  • If we are suffering due to divorce, a broken relationship or the bitterness of a broken heart, can we hold a clean, healthy space for our clients?

Individuals Expectations in the Workplace

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I received this list of  human expectations when I first trained as a Nurse in the very early 1970’s. That was an era when trade unions stood up for the rights of the workers and professional bodies were recognised as the authority to be respected. We had code of conduct and acceptable ways of behaving in the workplace. These were the very basic foundational expectations that I know many of my generation were brought up with.
• to be treated with respect at all times
• to have our wishes, choices and preferences recognised, listened to and respected
• to have our beliefs in our culture and race, and our religious and political beliefs recognised, and respected
• to have our age, gender, sexual identity, physical and mental condition recognised, listened to and respected
• to be communicated with in ways we understand and which value us as people
• to have the right to say “No” when determining and managing our lives
• to have our feelings recognised and respected and to be allowed to express emotional needs
• to have our need for privacy and confidentiality respected

More recently in my work as an Executive Coach, I have witnessed a distressing lack of some of these very basic expectations being met in the workplace. Year after year we read studies by Gallup, CIPD and other bodies indicating the huge amount of dis-ease, low morale, mental health problems, prejudice and bullying in the organisations in which we are employed.

In certain situations a boss or line manager expects certain things from certain people and if those expectations aren’t met, then someone must “pay”. It’s the same way for us in our jobs. If your boss has certain expectations of you and you don’t act or deliver results according to those expectations someone must pay. In this case, that someone is you.

So if understanding expectations is so important, why is it that we spend so little time discussing expectations both individual and corporate?

One reason is that it is usually not a quick and easy exercise to formulate and communicate well thought-out expectations.

Now a days it seems to be about performance, hitting targets and showing that all is aligned to company goals. So when does the individual get the chance to discuss how relevant these are for measuring their own individual level of success for the time period in which these expectations are valid.

I wonder if indeed the list of basic human expectations written over 30 years ago becomes a very secondary consideration in todays working world?

 

 

 

Being Close to Nature

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“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ~John Muir, 1913

John Muir’s life and work has inspired people all over the world. John Muir was an explorer, mountaineer, conservationist, botanist, amateur geologist and writer of distinction.  Born in Dunbar in 1838, John Muir emigrated with his parents to the United States where he campaigned for the preservation of the Yosemite Valley in California and helped create the world’s first national park system.

I grew up very close to where John Muir was born although a few decades later. In Dunbar in East Lothian, Scotland we have much that is named after this amazing, nature loving individual.

In my work as Coach and Mentor I have been privileged to walk with my clients on part of their life’s journey. I have  often asked

“So what or where gives your life meaning?”  ” Where do you feel most at peace?”

The answer so often is indeed what John Muir said in the leading quote of this article. Being close to nature is a  place of solace, a place to connect not only with nature and the wider universe but that unique, deeper connection with self.

Each day of my own life, I know that the importance of the natural world around me has held me in a place of sanity through troubled times. The wonderful connection with growth, the seasons illustrating natural transitions and the amazing learning that comes from observing, still fills me with a strange sensing of all that is their for our exploration.

Inviting clients to step away from their offices into a place of retreat  is so rewarding. Incorporating that with nature, the use of mindfulness and the techniques from coaching has assisted so many find themselves —– whilst in nature.

Another of my favorite quotes is: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe”. ~ John Muir

As in mindfulness we repect that everything is interconnected and that we all survive in systems in this great universe. This can bring great meaning and purpose to clients in this frantic world, where religious beliefs no longer sustain them.

Sitting in a quiet seat somewhere you most love, is a wonderful way to stop and BE in nature. Close your eyes and listen. Listen to all the sounds around you, at distance and close by. Sense the air on your skin and observe everything that you are touching, smelling and seeing. Be mindfully aware of the connections and lessons to be noticed. For stepping out is surely going in.