Can we put on resilience like a pair of killer heels?

As we head into the end of year festivities, I’ll probably be rummaging in my wardrobe a lot – looking for the dress or the heels that will suit the event and make me feel great.  I know it’s not all about clothes but a great pair of heels sometimes just give an extra sparkle of fun and confidence (and I love being a bit taller!).

However, a pair of gorgeous shoes can’t help with all of life’s challenges.  When challenging times hit us, or the day to day ups and downs are feeling hard to cope with, we need resilience, we need to believe that we have what it takes to bounce back and perform well despite the stress. 

We need to be able to show up and face the challenges as our best resilient self!

Who are you at the times when you show most resilience?   

A resilient person is able to work through challenges, drawing upon our inner resources, our strengths, our sense of optimism and our self-belief that we can cope (hard as it sometimes seems!) However, we each have a different set of challenges, and individual strengths and capacities that we can use.

So, what kind of person do you want to be when your resilience is tested?

best resilient self.JPG

4 Steps to envision your best resilient self

Just like travelling to a new location, to make successful change, you need to know what you are aiming for so that you can work out a plan to get there.  It’s also fascinating how strong the power of imagery can be.  Once you’re able to see a clear picture in your head, you’ll automatically start to move towards it because you’ll be primed to notice when you have an opportunity to do something relevant or make a good choice.  What we focus on grows!

We suggest you consider these questions to build a vision of your best resilient self.

What are you doing?  How do you want to behave when faced with a challenge?  Are you:

  • Taking a deep breath before responding?
  • Calmly making a to-do list?
  • Willing to ask for help?

What are you thinking? What’s the story you’re telling yourself? Are you:

  • Noticing negative thoughts and trying to replace them with more positive ones?
  • Reminding yourself of what you’re capable of, and have managed in the past?

What are feeling? It’s normal to have an initial negative emotional response but what happens next? Are you?

  • Noticing the negative emotions but trying not to be swept away by them?
  • Trying to re-frame your emotions – for example could you become excited about a new opportunity rather than dwelling on how it makes you nervous?
  • Accepting that you are human and strong emotions are normal?

Where can you find support?  In tough times support from others and our environment is critical. Are you?

  • Recognising how others value you and believe in you?
  • Looking after yourself physically?
  • Letting people help you in practical ways?

Just as we can choose to make a statement with a pair of shoes, we can also choose to show up as our Best Resilient Self

We encourage you to give these ideas some thought.  We’d love to see you finish 2017 confident you know how to dial up your best resilient self.  If you’d like some help brainstorming, please contact us for a free coaching chat http://www.flourishingmothers.com.au/free-coaching-chat now, or put it in your diary to contact us early in the New Year.

with our best wishes

Flourishing Mothers

killer heels for resilience and flourishing

3C's: 3 actions to end 2017 on a high and get excited for 2018

I know it’s still October, so why does it feel I’m already in the race towards Christmas? Try as I do, it’s hard to ignore the retail promotions, shop decorations, Christmas cards, bakery mince pies and Christmas junk mail! But the clincher was when I worked out that my kids finish up school in early December. That means I have just 5 weeks left of kid-free work time.

5 weeks left of kid-free work time!

What am I going to do with it?

Because I want to make this year really count. I want to end it on a high. And I want to greet 2018 (2018??!!) with a head-start and a whole lot of excitement.

"I want to make this year really count. I want to greet 2018 with a whole lot of excitement."

Like most of us, I have various exciting projects not yet finished this year (or even started!) and a task list a mile long. And though I’m confident that 2018 will be an awesome year, it’s an amorphous fuzzy shape right now with so many exciting plans and schemes. And it will be February before the kids get back to school and I have some breathing space again to make real progress towards my 2018 goals.

Does this sound familiar? Do you also find November to February goes in the blink of an eye? Would you also like to end your year on a high? A sense that you’ve done great work? And a belief that you have great things to look forward to?

Here are the 3 actions I’m undertaking to maximise the 5 weeks I have left to myself. I offer them for you to try too. Even better, write them down, to help you focus and get committed.

  • Complete. What is the ONE THING that if you put some focus on it and complete it, you will feel good about it? Which goal do you really want to achieve that will make you proud? Which project is really going to advance your mission?
  • Commence. What is the ONE THING that if you really give it some dedicated thought, give it some shape, and make even the smallest start, you’ll be ahead of the 8 ball for 2018? What is going to give you a sense of excitement and energy around what you will achieve next year?
  • Crop. What is the THING / THINGS you need to relinquish, relegate or delegate to free you up to do the two things above? What things seem urgent but are not important? What projects are depleting you and not energising you? 
end 2017 on a high - 3C's

As I complete, commence and crop, I feel the satisfaction of achievement, the thrill of anticipation for the future, and the relief of letting go what no longer serves me. 3 actions that pack a punch!

with our best wishes

Flourishing Mothers

“Cause we’re all searching for the Holy Grail.....!”

Soon after I started studying Positive Psychology I had the opportunity to hear Martin Seligman (considered the founding father of Positive Psychology) speak.  He started by asking the room of about 300 to think about what we most hoped for our children or other loved ones.  He then asked us to raise our hands if “happiness” was at the top of the list.  A sea of hands went up!  This seems to be the holy grail......

But what does that look like, what’s involved?  How can we help our kids find lasting happiness?

I don’t think there’s a foolproof plan, but I’m excited about the new study of Strengths based parenting which focuses on looking first for what’s going well rather than following our natural human tendency to rush to fix weaknesses. 

We all tend to notice problems faster than we spot what’s going well

When we were cavemen this was extremely useful as a survival tool, but it doesn’t serve us as well in today’s world.  For example, I confess that in the past I’ve read my child’s school report and honed in quickly on the 20% that could be improved rather than celebrating the good comments and grades.  This term I’ll try to focus first on the great stuff to highlight to my daughters what they’re capable of and to build optimism that effort is worth it. 

So, why give Strengths based parenting a go?

Recent studies show that children and adolescents who have strength based parents:

  • Have higher levels of life satisfaction
  • Have a better understanding of their own strengths
  • Cope with conflict in more pro-active ways
  • Use their strengths to help them meet homework deadlines
  • Have lower levels of stress

These are practical outcomes which help create flourishing, high functioning families.

Strengths based parenting involves deliberately identifying and cultivating strengths in our children

It’s about connecting our kids with their inborn strengths such as strengths of character (eg. humour, kindness) as well as their talents such as writing or sporting ability.

flourishing mothers strengths based parenting

To do this we can start with simply keeping our eyes open for the strengths in our kids.  We can train our minds to look out for the moments when our kids are awesome and work out what strengths are being used.  For example, imagine your child asks to take a piece of cake home for their sister from a party; you might be seeing their strength of kindness or fairness in action. 

As we become familiar with strengths we can start talking to our kids about them and let them know that we recognise and appreciate their best qualities.  This is what helps our children flourish.  If you’d like to learn more about character strengths the VIA Institute on Character is a terrific place to start.  http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths

But wait there’s more!

Making an effort to focus on the strengths of our children can also improve our own life satisfaction and confidence in our parenting skills!  The research also shows that parents who completed a course in strengths based parenting reported they were finding parenting more interesting and felt more confident in their role as a parent. They also experienced more positive emotions towards their children.  It all makes a pretty compelling case!

We’ve been inspired by the work of Dr Lea Waters and the stories of parents who are trying to be strengths based.  You can watch some parent stories here: http://www.the-strengths-exchange.com.au/parents.html 

Please contact us if you’d like to discuss how to get started with strengths based parenting and as this is a new and evolving field of study we’ll definitely tell you more about it in the future!

Best wishes

Flourishing Mothers