Are you "living the dream"?

Have you ever imagined how your life would be if everything was perfect? ...Where you have a job you love, a fulfilled life and are looking forward to your bright future? What would you be doing? Where would you choose to put your energies? How would you live and where? Who would be in your life?

Big questions, we know! However, how can we “live the dream” unless we know what our dream looks like? ….You need to know what success and happiness at work and in your life means to you.

Now, we can’t predict the future, or anticipate random opportunities that come our way, or avoid life’s red herrings that send us on other tangents. And our dreams can and do change.

But having a vision of our “best possible life” gives us a reason to strive, and a direction in which to travel. Our vision can be clear. Or clear-ish. Or it can be fuzzy for now, becoming clearer over time. The main point is to be able to start aiming somewhere.

Having a vision of your “best possible life” will give you a reason to strive and a direction in which to travel

And not coincidentally, when we have a vision for our dream life, we’re “primed” to notice opportunities, and then take action, that will help lead us in the direction of our dreams. Our path becomes more smooth. We attract what we wish for. Things start to manifest for us.

So, how can you plot out what “living the dream” means for you? Here are 3 exercises you can try, to build a picture of your “best possible” life at home and work.

1. Skite sheet

Understanding what you love about your current work and life gives you clues for what you may wish to continue or do more of in future.

  • Note down the developments in your life that have given you the most joy (e.g. your kids? doing half marathons? your promotion?….)

  • Write about your passions. What makes your heart sing? (e.g. causes such as climate change? hobbies like rock climbing? innovating a new product? .…)

  • Think about what you could not do without in your life (e.g. your 20 minute commute? working in a team? your yoga class? .…)

  • Catalog the successes and achievements you’ve had at work to date. What work are you most proud of? What types of tasks or projects gave you a real buzz? What are you doing on your very best days at work?

2. Irritations inventory

Understanding what is currently frustrating you gives you an opportunity to avoid or circumvent these in your vision for your future. Knowing what you don’t want also helps you figure out what you do want.

Catalogue a list of irritations in your life and work right now. What do you not like about your work? What parts of your day make you frazzled? When do you feel out of control? What gives you a feeling of dread when you wake up each day?

3. Letter from the future

This is the ultimate tool for creating future positive possibilities.

  • Write down a free-flow letter to yourself, from yourself, at some future date - 1 year, 5 years, 10 or 20 years from now.

  • Describe what you've done and have achieved as a result of your life turning out exactly how you wanted.

  • What are you thinking, feeling and doing?

  • Describe the things that brought meaning and joy in your life or at work.

  • Don’t limit yourself to what’s likely or realistic - in this exercise, let your imagination run wild!

Once you’ve done these three exercises you start to make explicit (clear) what might have been implicit (less obvious or even unconscious) up to now. Getting clearer about the hopes and dreams you carry around inside you is a starting point to making plans for the future. From here, you can start to set some more concrete goals for yourself, with the confidence that you’re moving in the direction of your dreams.

We’re in your corner,

Debra & Kate

 
 
Live The Dream
 

Two confidence zapping words you should never use!

Have you ever planned an exciting party for your child (or yourself) and despite the fact that planning is going well, doubts start to creep in?  

What if no-one comes? What if it rains? What if people don’t have fun?

Then on the day of the party, people turn up, fun is had, guests were undeterred by the light rain showers and you all finish up with big smiles. “See?” you say to your child, “it all worked out, no need to have worried”.

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When my kids start with the “what if’s”, I say to them “what if your moustache was made of spinach?” This is so completely ridiculous it helps remind them of the futility of worrying about something that may never happen.

As adults, we’re guilty of the “what if’s” regularly in life and at work.

When we finally get our dream jobs, doubt can kick in. What if they realise I’m actually not that good? What if I stuff up? What if I don’t like the job as much as I thought I would? What if I don’t belong here?

These thoughts are normal and we all have them. But when we let them take hold, they zap our confidence and make us anxious. They get in the way of bravely exploring the possibilities in our new roles, and impede our chances of success. “What if’s” are just not useful.

The French philosopher Michel de Montaigne once summarised this truth when he quipped:

“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened”

If you find the “what if’s?” undermining your confidence at work or in life, here’s what to do:

  1. Be your own cheerleader. Back yourself. Imagine things will go well. Allow enough time at work to do things well.

    At the end of the day take a minute to reflect on what went well and give yourself a high five.
     
  2. Bring your best self to each day. Get enough sleep, look after your health.

    Know your strengths and make sure you get the opportunity to use them every day. Make sure you can use your strengths in your job (Hint: if you don’t know what your strengths are, see a strengths-based coach!)
     
  3. Reflect on the worst-case scenario. If the “what if?” actually came to pass, what would you do? Write your answer down in this format: “If (insert the worst-case scenario), then I would (what you would do?)”.

    If you get derailed, knowing what your intentions are gives you the confidence that if need be - you’re capable of rising to the challenge and coping with the event. This diminishes the power the “what if” has over you.
     
  4. Change your perspective. Reframe your difficulties or even failures as an opportunity to learn something worthwhile. What you learn will help you set the right direction next time, and improve your performance in the future.

    In the end, you can only grow by moving towards challenges, not away from them.

We recommend you banish the confidence zapping, party pooping words that are“what if?” from your vocabulary! Those two words only rain on your parade, and chances are, they’ll never actually happen.

In the unlikely event they do happen, don’t let them undo you. Rather, be confident you’ll be able to cope and even grow from the challenge. And then you’ll succeed in at work or in life.

We’re in your corner

Debra and Kate

 

Help! Can I really do it?

Did you ever climb trees as a kid, feeling excited about the view you’d have from the top?  Do you remember that feeling of being half way up and then suddenly being hit by doubts? You’ve been making great progress but suddenly you’re paralysed, and you feel like you can’t even find the next foothold…..

In that frozen moment of no confidence it’s hard to imagine getting to the top isn’t it?

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Our journey to finding work we love, work that fulfils us and fits in with our family, can be a really tough climb.  Moreover, it’s often very specific fears that cause our crisis of confidence.

Women we coach say things like:

  • I'm going to fumble in the first interview!
  • I'm too scared to ask for the hours and conditions that I want!
  • I'm struggling with all the technology!
  • Is it even possible to find a rewarding flexible job?

These are real fears getting in the way of your achievement.  To succeed we have to push through confidence obstacles.

How can we push through a crisis of confidence?

First of all – Re-ignite your motivation!  Remember WHY you started climbing

To fire up your desire for change you can remind yourself of the details of your dreams.  What exactly have you been striving for? Think about how dissatisfied you’ve been feeling with your current situation.  What are the specific issues you’ve been wanting to fix?

If you’ve already written down your goals this is a great time to review them (or put them into writing now!).  As you look at your goals, imagine that you’ve achieved them – you’ve made it! How would that feel?

I know why I want to make change but it’s so hard!

Consider your choices!

When you’re actually climbing a tree you don’t have a lot of options – it’s really just up or down.

But when we’re striving to change our careers we could also choose to just stop – to decide that it’s all too hard and stick with the status quo.

But think what you’d be missing out on!!

To keep going towards your goals, your mindset becomes central!  We need to believe that we’re capable of learning and making the most of opportunities.

What can you learn that will help you make progress?

When we believe that we can develop our skills it feels easier to take a risk and try something new.  We’re able to recognise that it’s our effort and our attitude that most influences our success.

Try to remember times in the past when you’ve learnt new skills and coped well with a challenge.  Try to recall when you’ve felt most confident in recent times – what were the key factors that helped you in each situation?  By noticing what works for us and doing more of it we can create a circle of growing self-belief and confidence.

And now it’s time for action!

We encourage you to make a plan and get excited about renewed progress!  Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What’s the first thing you need to do?
  2. What can you do TODAY that will help make some progress – is there a phone call you’ve been putting off?  A LinkedIn profile to start writing?
  3. What resources are available to you?
  4. Who can you reach out to for help?

Please be assured that you’re not alone!  We all get stuck and doubt ourselves. If a chat about some of these ideas would help you right now you can book a free coaching chat with us

We’re in your corner and very much want to see you do work that you love!

Best wishes,

Kate and Deb