Do you feel stressed and anxious because your life seems out of your control? Believing that you are ever really in control of your life is a fantasy. There’s only ever one thing in life that can you control, that’s you and that’s enough.
We often measure wellbeing against how “in control” we feel. That’s fine as long as we remember that the only thing we can really control is ourselves.
When life is peaceful, predictable, and going along nicely it’s relatively easy to be in control of your thoughts and emotions. But it doesn’t take much for that control to jump right out the window. The pandemic is one of those things that has thrown many people off course. The impact of other people, illness, or maybe even your own ambitions can throw your control of yourself off course.
Your Time is so Precious
Your time is the most precious thing you have. Without time you have nothing else. So why would you waste any of it stressing out about things that you have no control over?
The idea that your stress levels and emotions are the direct result of your thoughts, is relatively new. It’s easy to blame situations and other people for your emotions. You may even think it’s justified. But by taking responsibility for your thoughts and the emotional results of those thoughts, you’ll have so much more control over your life.
Knowing that upsetting yourself with things outside of your control is unwise, is one thing. Being able to manage your thoughts so that you aren’t upset is another.
Take Responsibility for your Thoughts
Taking responsibility for your thoughts is the first step to increasing the control you have over yourself. The next step is even more challenging because it requires consistent work. Work that ultimately only you can do.
Decide which thoughts serve you and will get you where you want to go. Hang onto those thoughts tightly. Put them up on post-it notes around your workspace or on your fridge. This is evidence that you can use to create more positive thoughts.
You may be surprised when you start observing your thoughts. They’re likely to be far more negative and critical than you expected. Sometimes you’ll want to give into them. But what will help you take control of your life is to challenge them. Challenge them with thoughts that are believable. You probably won’t be able to believe that you’re amazing at something. And there will always be people that are better than you. But you can believe that you’re good enough.
What if I’m Not Good Enough?
This is the underlying thought that undoes so many people. Don’t let it undo you. It’s a thought that won’t serve you. Keep reminding yourself that you are good enough. Keep reading your post-it notes, with all your evidence displayed right where you’ll see it. But if the thought persists, at some point, you’ll need to confront it if you want to have as much control over your life as you can.
Of course you’re good enough, everybody is. And good enough for what anyway? This thought is probably coming up for you in just one or two areas of your life. Take some time to evaluate the thought. Imagine an old-fashioned set of scales. Put this thought on one side and all the evidence you have to the contrary on the other side.
If your scales continue to tilt towards the side of “I’m not good enough,” then re-evaluate what you’re trying to do. Ask people who you trust what they think to make sure that your perception is valid. Maybe there are things you could do that would increase your confidence in yourself? Ultimately there’s no point pushing ahead with something that you have a strong underlying belief can’t work.
Pushing Forward with your Best Thoughts
The scales are a great visual reminder of what’s true for you. Maybe with more information it will no longer be true. That doesn’t matter. That’s something for the future.
Right now, if your scales tilt towards the positive evidence that you are good enough to do or have what you want, then align with your thoughts and get going. You can re-evaluate later and maybe change course if necessary. But right now, use your evidence to create more thoughts that put you in control of whatever you’re trying to achieve. If not consider one of our life-changing courses.
Fear is a powerful, primitive response that is supposed to alert you to a threat. That threat can be physical, psychological and even imagined. Unmanaged fear is an underlying cause of stress and anxiety, but the good news is that it can be addressed and used positively.
There is a huge range of fears. There are healthy fears of real dangers. It’s developmentally appropriate for example, for young children to have a certain level of fear around people they don’t know. It’s also realistic for you to feel a level of fear doing something new that’s potentially dangerous. At the other end of the scale, there is a multitude of mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorders, and phobias. These diagnosed disorders all have elements of fear at their core.
Fear responses are very individual. Some kinds of fear can be enjoyable and even seen as necessary to some people. Being scared by watching a scary movie or terrifying yourself on the Tower of Doom at an amusement park are sought after experiences for many people. Extreme sportspeople and adventurers even crave the adrenalin and excitement that comes with activities that create fear.
Other people seek to avoid fear wherever possible. This can be limiting because there is likely to be a level of fear whenever you move outside your comfort zone and try something new.
An old acronym you may have heard of to describe fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real. This can be a useful way of looking at phobias and other conditions where fears are unrealistic. But it’s not an effective way of looking at legitimate fears.
If you’re fearful because you’re investing your life savings in a new business venture, that’s a realistic fear. Many new businesses don’t survive. If you’re fearful about an exam, that’s legitimate because if you fail you may have to repeat a unit of study or not be able to work in the field that you want to.
An effective way of dealing with this kind of fear is: Face it, Evaluate, Take Action, Re-evaluate.
Fears that aren’t faced don’t go aware they fester. It’s far better to face a fear. Acknowledge it as rationally and realistically as you can.
When Roosevelt said to the American people during the depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he was talking about people rushing to the banks to withdraw their money. He went on to say: “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Before taking action it’s important to remember that when you’re feeling afraid you may not be thinking clearly. Evaluating your fears and options before taking action is a valuable investment of time. Get feedback from people you trust to make sure that your perceptions are logical.
Action needs to be reasonable, realistic. Don’t make bad decisions just to ease your fear if what you’re doing is legitimately scary. Fears can be managed by thoughts and actions. Keep your thoughts optimistically realistic, make the best choices you can and take the best actions you can to achieve the result you want.
Life is a constantly changing landscape. Decisions and actions need to be regularly reviewed to make sure that they’re still valid and meet the needs of all concerned.
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway is a book by the late Susan Jeffers. Jeffers claims that the underlying cause of fear is a lack of belief in your ability to cope with a certain situation or outcome. She says that only by doing the things you’re afraid of can you overcome your fears. In the process, you will build your capabilities and your confidence.
Are Your Fears Stressing You?
Find out by taking our quick Free Stress Quiz.
As always if you have any questions, comments or feedback we would love to hear from you in the comments below. Your comments help others by your sharing and they also help this post to rank in Google where people can find it amongst all the online noise. So if this is something you think is valuable please take the time to leave a comment below before you go.
At the moment just having a job can be a relief. But what can you do if you hate your job?
Hating your job is not a great idea. The declaration, “I hate my Job” can feel soothing, especially after a period of denial. It’s like a baring of your soul ……I HATE MY JOB!!!!! GET ME OUT OF HERE ASAP. Unfortunately, no amount of baying at the moon will do you any good. Your resentment, unhappiness, disinterest and disconnection will just make the toxicity at work worse. Your work quality and productivity will slip. You could lose the job that feeds your kids in a way that reduces your future options.
If you can afford to quit, or if there’s another better job on the horizon by all means go for it. But staying, for a while at least has its advantages. Being able to accept any tricky situation and find positives, is a valuable skill. You may no longer want your job. But while you still have it you may be able to use it to your benefit. If nothing else having a job that you don’t like is a perfect opportunity to practice a positive mindset.
Write a list of the positives for your job. I’ve started you off, but your list has to be unique to you, it has to make sense to you and it has to have meaning for you.
• A regular paycheque is always going to be a positive thing.
• Hating your job is showing you what you don’t want. Use this to figure out what you do want.
• Your job situation could be giving you the opportunity to learn how to manage a difficult relationship. It could be showing you a pattern where you’ve always backed down. You could take this and learn how to stand in your own power.
• Having something you have to do each day can be positive. It helps prevent you from being overwhelmed while you sort other things out.
• Keep your job but cut your hours back if you can. This gives you the chance to build a bridge to your new life. This is more comfortable than diving in to a swirling river of doubts and fears in order to get to the other side.
• If you haven’t decided what you want to do next, staying where you are for the time-being can work as a placeholder. It lets you figure out your next step. Use your current job as a guide to your next step by understanding which of your needs it meets, and which of your needs it doesn’t.
• Whatever your job is it will give you some opportunity to contribute. That’s great for your Power Needs.
• Not enjoying your job could motivate you to work your butt off on a new business, study for a new career or investigate a new job and prepare yourself to be a strong candidate.
• You can use vacation/holiday time and sick leave to work on creating the future you want.
The best way to create joy, peace and satisfaction in life is to properly understand and meet your needs. There will always be some way within your job for you to do that. Download our Free Needs Profile Questionnaire to better understand your needs. Use that information in deciding on where you go from here.
As always if you have any questions, comments or feedback we would love to hear from you in the comments below. Your comments help others by your sharing and they also help this post to rank in Google where people can find it amongst all the online noise. So if this is something you think is valuable please take the time to leave a comment below before you go.
Yes, it’s actually that simple. Learn how to deal with stress effectively and you won’t have to deal with anxiety and depression.
But what if you’re already anxious and depressed?
It’s not too late! Learning how to deal with stress will hugely improve your depression and anxiety. Sign up now for our quick stress quiz to see how well you’re doing that right now. This gives you are starting point so you can see what you need to work on.
… Things That Will Help
Don’t Do Things You Hate If You Can Help It
In fact, don’t do anything you don’t want to do. Find another way, negotiate, teach yourself to enjoy whatever it is, compromise if you must, but don’t keep doing something that you really don’t want to do. It’s very stressful.
Get Some Decent Shut-Eye ….Preferably Without Pills
When I hated my job and I was dealing with anxiety and depression I didn’t sleep well. Sometimes I didn’t sleep at all. Not sleeping at all is dangerous. So is regularly not getting enough sleep. It can lead to all sorts of problems.
When you have buffalo running around in your head and you can’t shut them down. Sometimes the only way to get any sleep is to take some meds. But there are downsides… they can give you a weird sleep, make you drowsy the next day and give you a dry mouth the next morning. They are also addictive. Use sleeping pills sparingly and learn some alternative strategies asap.
Keep your bedroom cool and as dark as possible
Don’t work late into the night. Put work away at least an hour before bedtime
Say goodbye to coffee after lunch
Reduce your alcohol use. It might help you crash at times but it also causes you to wake-up. Alcohol is a depressant so it just adds to depression and anxiety in the end
Set a routine for going to sleep and waking up
Stay away from computer screens before bed. If you must use screens at night use f.lux to adjust your screen for night use. It’s a free download
Relax your body, focus on your breathing and try to clear your head
… if that doesn’t work, get up and do something relaxing
If you have problems that are keeping you awake get up and write everything out. Including solutions
Learn to Manage Your Thoughts
Your thoughts have a direct impact on the way you feel. You can’t feel good when you think bad.
Don’t allow thoughts that make you feel angry, sad, depressed or anxious.
Change negative thoughts to thoughts that are kinder and more positive. “I have no friends I’m a loser” can easily change to “I’m grateful for the people in my life. I’ll reach out and work on making new friends.” Ask someone you trust for their ideas. They will see you much more positively.
If the negative thoughts keep coming, distract yourself by doing something that you love and that needs your focus.
Some gentle exercise every day will give you lots of helpful hormones. No excuses …Do It!!
Don’t Sweat What You Can’t Control
You can only control yourself. You will cause yourself a lot of unnecessary anxiety and depression by resisting things you can’t control or aren’t ready to. There is huge peace in accepting what is. You can still work to change what you’re doing. But you will be so much happier if you work towards change from a point of acceptance rather than resistance.
Is there anything in your life that you’re resisting and which is causing you to suffer as a result?
As always if you have any questions, comments, or feedback I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Your comments help others. They also help this post to rank in Google where people can find it amongst all the online noise. So if this is something you think is valuable please take the time to leave a comment below before you go.
PS: If you haven’t already completed the Stress Quiz give it a go. It really will give you a great idea of where you need to start getting on top of your anxiety and depression.
Are you tired of being less than you know you can be? Are you thinking about how you could be better? As you’re here reading this blog post I’m pretty sure it’s been on your mind.
Are you a bit of a self-development junkie like me or are you just feeling less than you know you can?
Sometimes there are things we want to change about ourselves because we can see that they aren’t working. We might be hanging onto something, but we really know deep inside of ourselves that it needs to go. Other times we can’t see the wood for the trees, we know life isn’t working for us but we don’t know where to start.
Personal growth isn’t just about learning. We can devour every resource that we can lay our hands on but if we don’t implement, at least some of what we’ve learned, we may as well not have bothered.
We can spend a lot of time absorbing information from a multitude of different sources: blog posts, books, podcasts, magazines, and videos, but unless we take steps to really implement what you’ve learned in a sustained way, very little happens.
I said Four Easy Steps and I meant it. Don’t worry I’m not going to get you to look at your whole life and address each and every area. Just pick one. The most important one. The one that is keeping you awake at night or sending you to the refrigerator when you aren’t even hungry.
Take that one thing, where you know you can do better, where you’re motivated to be better, and implement these four steps. Nail them. Then you simply rinse and repeat in whatever part of your life needs attention. Are you ready? Here we go: – WDEP
1 = What do you want?
2 = What are you Doing to get it?
3 = Evaluate
4 = Plan
1. What Do You Want?
Write it down as clearly and succinctly as you can.
When you believe that you aren’t being the best that you can be, it’s because you are making a comparison between how you see yourself, and how you would like to see yourself. The first thing to ask yourself is how realistic your picture is?
This picture of how you want to be is part of what is called your Quality World in Choice Theory. The Quality World is like an album of all the things that you believe are necessary for you to be happy. Sometimes these ideas are just not realistic and this can lead to a lot of stress. Changing or even tweaking some of your Quality World pictures can help you to work towards things that are achievable.
This could be as simple as changing your dream of being a full-time professional singer to accepting that you might be happy singing Saturday nights in a local bar. You could still keep our nice secure job that pays the mortgage and keeps the kids in designer sports shoes.
When you are thinking about What you want it’s also important to consider Why you want it. The Why is important for ongoing motivation. It also saves you from charging down a rabbit hole to find that it wasn’t at all what you thought it would be and that it doesn’t make you happy after all.
There is one more thing to consider in the What and that is perception. People see things differently all the time, in fact, rarely do two people see things in the same way.
People leave relationships all the time because they think that their partner doesn’t love them. It could just be their perception. Their partner might not demonstrate love in the way that their Quality World picture and their Love Language thinks love should look like. This is just one example of how your perception may not be serving you. In this kind of situation changing your perception can go a long way to being better.
So look at your What very carefully and consider whether it is realistic and whether your perception of the situation is valid. If not you’ll create a lot of unnecessary unhappiness and stress for yourself.
2. What are you Doing?
What are you doing to get what you want? Wanting without doing is dreaming, so write down everything you are doing to get what you want.
Evaluate the effectiveness of what you are doing to get what you want. Make sure that you are not trying to control someone else to get what you want because the only person that you can control, or that you should try to control, is yourself.
After you’ve evaluated the effectiveness of what you are trying to do to be the best you can be you can make a plan moving forward. This should include continuing what’s working and changing what’s not working.
In the end, everything boils down to the choices we make. We can’t control everything but we can control ourselves and that’s actually plenty. We have opportunities to make choices each and every day about what we do. Ask yourself next time you are reaching for a piece of cake or thinking about driving through MacDonalds: Is this being the best I can be?
Don’t expect perfection, no one is perfect, and your best is always a point on your own particular continuum. If you ate takeaways five days a week and you can cut it down to twice a week, that might be the best you can do right now. But making that choice not to drive through five days will strengthen your resolve and your resilience so that in the future you might be able to save takeaways for a once a month treat.
Please leave a comment below sharing what you are going to do to be your best.
If life is not going the way you would like it to be going right now take our Stress Quiz. By understanding what you’re doing to make yourself feel better you can start unravelling what is it is that you actually need and how you might achieve what you want.
As always if you have any questions, comments, or feedback I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Your comments help others by your sharing and they also help this post to rank in Google where people can find it amongst all the online noise. So if this is something you think is valuable please take the time to leave a comment below before you go.
I originally wrote this post for the solstice and because of the difficult times but it seems that there is a demand for this course at this price that has gone beyond the solstice. So I’m extending it as a special gift and thank you for taking the time to visit this blog. As a writer having an audience is important and I’m a writer, not a You Tuber or podcaster so if you will keep reading I’ll keep writing.
By all accounts, people continue to suffer from unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety. We know the material that Jeff uses with his counselling clients works and so we know that our course How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively will work to put you into the healthy stress zone that we call Eustress. This is the “zone” that top-performing athletes find when they are giving their very best.
This course is different from any other Stress and Anxiety Course we know of. It’s also different from most counselling therapy that you may have had. Here’s why: –
It goes further than simply advising you on how to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety, it gives you a solid plan for tackling the underlying causes of your specific stress and anxiety.
You will not have to dredge up your past. You are feeling anxious and stressed in the present and that’s where it’s most beneficial to deal with it.
This short video explains the difference between stress first aid and really getting to the bottom of your stress and anxiety once and for all.
Click here and let Jeff tell you all about it himself.
This offer will give you 24/7 access to support material, videos and activities for less than half of the cost of just one counselling session.
PLUS you can contact Jeff via the course comments and he will reply asap (not 24/7 😊 )
PLUS a number of the modules deal with Choice Theory Basics. This is learning the basics of Choice Theory in a nutshell, something most people spend days of face-to-face training doing. We have seen through Jeff’s offline work just how transformation applying this material is.
Give it a go, you will be very pleased that you did.
If I had known Choice Theory when I was younger I would have saved myself literally years of trying to meet my needs in some really dumb ways, with often disastrous results. This is a difficult post to write because it’s based on my story and it’s exposing. I won’t go into all the gory details but I want to summarise the basics of Choice Theory which have made a huge difference to the way I live my life. I’m writing it because I hope it can save other people from having to go through what I have, to get their lives working properly.
Ineffectively trying to Meet Needs
I grew up with high power needs in an environment with very few ways to meet them. It was a time when parents were quick to criticise and slow to praise, at least directly. I was pretty much doomed from the start.
I spent the first fifteen years of my adult life trying to meet my power needs via the success and adoration of my first husband. While that strategy worked for a while, eventually it wasn’t enough and my mental health began to suffer significantly. In my mid-thirties I was diagnosed and hospitalised with bi-polar disorder and told I would have to be medicated for the rest of my life.
I might not have known Choice Theory then, but I knew medication wasn’t going to work for me so I set about curing my “bi-polar disorder”. It took me over ten years, but I believe I have done that, although I know my behaviours can still cause bi-polar behaviours to recur. If I had been introduced to Choice Theory I’m sure I would have made the connection between my behaviours and my mental health a lot faster.
Stop Groping Around in The Dark
Without having a good understanding of my needs I see now that I was groping around in the dark, grabbing at any bright, shiny thing that I thought might give my life the meaning, happiness and peace I was desperately searching for.
Recently I’ve been writing articles for other people to use on their websites. I’ve had to make our Personal Need’s profile available for those people because just about every article comes back to pinpointing what people’s individual needs are and how they might be able to meet them. Life really is about meeting our needs and the better we are able to focus in on that the more successful we will be in all areas of our life. You can download your own Need’s Profile in the sidebar so you can target your needs more accurately, if this is an issue for you.
Focusing on What You Can Control
The only thing we can control is our behaviour and the most important behaviour to control is our thinking. This is because the actions we choose are a result of our thoughts. We can choose thinking that serves us, or thoughts that set us back. This has taken me ages to come to grips with because I didn’t think that I could control the things that I most needed to, in order to meet my needs. I believed I had very little real control over my life. I even made myself more powerless by giving myself a so-called mental illness. Instead of focusing on meeting my own needs I spent much of my life trying to “fix” others. Not surprisingly that didn’t work so well.
We can only give ourself the power to change our situation if we take responsibility for our part in creating it. Blaming someone else is a huge barrier to change because we relinquish our own power, and avoid self-evaluating and choosing more effective behaviours.
The behaviours we choose to meet our needs determine how successful our life will be. If our mental health is not what it should be chances are we are not meeting our needs very effectively.
In the end Willian Glasser, creator or Choice Theory, tied everything up very neatly in his simple four step strategy:
What do you want?
What are you Doing to get it?
Evaluate (i.e. how is that working for you?)
Plan (to meet your needs as best you can)
Even after meeting Jeff it took a few years for me to fully embrace Choice Theory and the work of William Glasser. The mental health industry has made mental health so complex and Dr Glasser made it so unbelievably simple that I found it difficult to grasp its depth. In fact if I hadn’t experienced its value first hand maybe I still wouldn’t have. There are after all, still many bright, shiny and expensive solutions out there.
If you don’t want to learn Choice Theory for yourself learn it for your kids and give them a great start in life.
Whether you’re entering the winter solstice as we are in Australia, or you’re in the northern hemisphere and are entering the summer solstice; I wanted to acknowledge this as a period of change in the hope that as a global community we are moving into happier times. To do this we’re giving out a 50% discount coupon over this solstice period, for our course “How to deal with Stress and Anxiety Effectively”. This course is different because it uses Choice Theory to deal with the underlying causes of stress and anxiety as well as depression and so much more.
Even if you aren’t Stressed and Anxious
At a 50% discount this course is great value even if you don’t suffer from stress and anxiety because it includes the core components of Choice Theory that will benefit you in your relationships with your family, your friends and even in your workplace.
The Needs that Drive all our Behaviour
Our Quality World
Our Perceived World
Our Comparing Place
What Do I have Control Over ?
What can I Change ?
The Road Forward
These seven modules are basic Choice Theory and comprise nearly half of the course. Being proactive and learning these core facets of Choice Theory may mean that you will never have to live through severe stress and anxiety. You will certainly improve your mental health, your wellbeing and the quality of your life. To get the course with the 50% discount click any of the links, including right here, I know you’ll be glad that you did👍
Thanks for reading, have a great week and an even greater life.
Maintaining mental health during a pandemic can be challenging. Fear, uncertainty, lack of control and the inability to meet your needs in the ways you have become used to, all have the potential to impact your mental health. The good news is that all these things are “figureoutable”.
If you are living in fear, you are not living in the present. Fear is always an imagining of something in the future.
Mindfulness is often prescribed as an antidote to fear, because if you are present and focusing fully on what is around you it is impossible to be imagining what might happen tomorrow, next week or next month.
Logic is another useful strategy to reduce fear.
Is imagining all the awful possible outcomes of a pandemic serving you in being able to enjoy your day in peace?
Would you agree that most of the thing things you have previously worried about never actually happened?
What things in the future can you control?
Only yourself, right?
Therefore, what can you do now that might be beneficial in the future?
Let’s look at this as a practical example. Maybe you are a flight attendant and your fear is that you will never work again in the way you have worked before, your career is in the toilet, what will become of you?
Possibilities: the airline industry might resume after a few months and after a year or so could be just as it was before Covid-19; or maybe it won’t, what happens then? What can you do about that possibility right now?
You could remain fearful of the future or you could invest in a new set of skills that you can use if your worst-case scenario comes to fruition.
Boom! Suddenly your days can become filled with imaginings of all the positive possibilities out there, rather than all the terrifying things that might happen which you have no control over.
Lack of Control
A pandemic is an opportunity for us to take a reality check and remember that we have a lot less control of our lives than we like to think we do. Normally we tend to live in a comfortable agreement with life that states: if I play by the rules, i.e. stay safe, work hard, be responsible, live healthily and be kind to others, my life will be predictable, and I’ll be OK.
We only have to look at someone who has lost a loved ones, had their home destroyed by a bushfire or a hurricane, or been struck down by a terminal illness, to know that is not a universal truth. At some point most people are severely impacted by something that they cannot control, so learning how to operate effectively under the law of control is a valuable practice.
The Law of Control
The law of control: The only thing I can control is myself.
There is absolutely no point allowing yourself to become upset by what you cannot control. Your response to anyone or any situation is what is important and that is something you do have control over.
Learning to take up that control is one of the most beneficial skills you can learn, but how do you do it? By learning to control your thoughts and your actions!
Feelings are the direct result of thoughts and actions. The more you think about doom and gloom and the end of the world the worse you will feel. The more you try to snuff out those thoughts with junk food, alcohol, drugs and any other unsuccessful addictive behaviours the worse you will feel.
It’s not easy because if your negative thoughts have been running rampant in your mind anything that will give you some relief can seem worthwhile in the short term. You probably won’t be able to change destructive behaviours and destructive thinking overnight, but if you can decide upon how you want to feel and what you want to achieve you can gradually begin to line up your thoughts and behaviours with your desired outcomes.
Question: Will this thought/action get me what I want? No? .… so choose again.
Meeting your Needs
If you were actively managing your mental health prior to Covid-19 and some of the strategies you used to feel better have been removed from your repertoire, you can replace them with something else that meets the same need.
If you have a a high need for love and belonging it is particularly important to find new ways to stay connected with other people. You may not find Zoom meetings particularly satisfying and feel frustrated that you can’t meet your family and friends the ways you used to, but if you can keep an open mind, online get togethers will help.
Meeting your need for success and acknowledgement (power), can be incredibly difficult during a pandemic if you’ve lost your job, or your business has been closed down. Many artists have taken to showcasing their work online, for no money or to raise money for others. They may not receive money for their performances but the joy of performing, and the pleasure and support it brings others is still an important way for them to meet their need for success and acknowledgement.
If you’ve lost your job, or you can’t operate your business what other ways are there for you to meet your need for success and acknowledgement? It could be something like focusing on a new goal e.g. losing weight, getting fit, giving up alcohol. It could be studying or creating something new, taking up a new hobby, renovating your house or garden. Only you can answer this question.
Identifying your Individual Needs
Everything we do every day is in an attempt to meet one or more of our five needs: survival, love and belonging, fun, freedom, and power (success and acknowledgement). We all have these needs to differing degrees, and our mental health is directly related to how successful we are in meeting those needs. Even during a pandemic there is still an enormous number of ways that most people can successfully meet their needs.
I’d love you to share some of the different ways you are meeting your needs during the Covid-19 crisis. Please share below in the comments section, you never know who you might be helping.
Have you ever asked yourself “How can I be the best I can be?” Perhaps not, most of us create goals and make choices thinking that they will lead us to being better, but most of us don’t consciously consider the question holistically.
No One is an Island
The book, About a Boy by Nick Hornby, which has became a much-loved movie starring High Grant, is a great illustration of how someone who believes he is an island, grows and makes an extraordinary contribution to the lives of others by taking a mentoring and coaching role with a boy who latches on to him.
The boy in the story, Marcus, clearly sees that if he is going to better himself he is going to need support. Everyone needs support; whether like Marcus we are just trying to survive, or whether we are consciously working towards being the best we can be, we all need a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, and someone to inspire the potential in us.
These days those connections that add value to our life will not all be on a physical level. Increasingly we are building valuable relationships online and this is a huge advantage in us being the best we can be because we are no longer dependent on allies, mentors, and coaches being in our direct vicinity.
How to Build a Support Network
The number of people currently in our life with the capacity to effectively support us towards being our best is a very individual thing, some of us have a great support network, while others virtually no network at all. Fortunately, most of us have a reasonable network of people in our lives and its made up of a mixture of people who lift us up and others who we can choose to lift us up or let bring us down. It’s all a matter of perspective.
It’s important that we become fully aware of who sits where on the continuum. Those people who are valuable to us in terms of drawing us forward towards our goals are people we want to encourage in our lives and nurture relationships with. These relationships are valuable alliances.
Other places to build our support team are more formal: some we will have to pay for, some are free, and some will be a mixture of paid and free support, but all of this support is important.
Investing in Ourselves
“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you have to keep moving,”Albert Einstein
There is room for every one of us to meet our needs and build a satisfying, successful life, as long as we are aware of the choices we are making and the consequences of those choices. Learning never stops, we are lifelong learners and we can either be proactive and direct that learning ourselves, or life will do it for us by serving up challenging experiences that may derail us.
Growth and success are achieved by small daily actions, repeated consistently over time. Even people deemed to be “overnight” successes, will tell you that they struggled away in obscurity for years before they became an “overnight” success. They will also generally tell you that they invested in themselves along the way and they continue to invest in themselves.
This doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money, although it does help to spend some because it saves time and unnecessary angst. For most of us a mixture of paid and free support according to our budget, is the way to go. All careers have professional development components, this is personal development and it’s just as important.
The Learning Habit
It’s not just a matter of what we learn, but creating the habit of enjoyment in learning. The more enthused we are about learning something the more we associate learning with excitement and pleasure, so the more we will want to learn.
Learning is only half of the equation in growing to be the best we can be after learning comes implementation, which is a continuing form of learning but which involves taking practical, physical action. All the learning in the world is of little value unless we use it to create and to make change.
Coaching is becoming a popular way of being better in a wide range of ways. Historically coaching was related to sports but now we can receive coaching for weight loss, career progression, finance, spiritual practices and even to get better at dating and relationships.
The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.”
A good coach will work with clients in a collaborative way, with both parties having input into the agenda. Coaches aren’t expected to have all the answers for their clients, but they generally have a higher level of expertise in the area they are coaching, than their clients.
This kind of coaching is very different from some old ideas we may still have running through our minds of bullying sports coaches. Rather than telling us what to do and how high to jump, coaches should gather information from us to help us to evaluate what we are doing and how we can do it better. Coaches operate from the perspective that we have many of the answers we need inside of ourselves and their job is simply to help us access that knowledge, evaluate it and then implement it.
Awareness and clarity are significant benefits to be found by working with a skilled coach. Quality coaches support their clients on their journey toward self-awareness and give suggestions and feedback on action plans that clients decide upon to move themselves selves forward. Throughout the journey, a new paradigm is created that allows the clients to scale obstacles that, in the past, have hindered their personal and professional development
Another benefit of coaching is accountability and tracking successful movement toward desired outcomes. Regular achievements and acknowledged milestones help keep clients motivated and resilient on their journey.
Mentors have more experience in an area than the person they are mentoring and they offer informal advice, support, and encouragement. Mentoring is generally:
loosely oriented towards growth
Mentors may work with developing co-workers or they may support someone outside of their own business or organisation that is trying to achieve similar skills. Sometimes companies will assign a mentor to an employee, but it is just as likely for mentoring relationships to develop organically.
Unlike coaches, mentors give advice based on their personal and professional experience and expertise. Support is generally driven by the mentee seeking advice related to challenges they are having or related to their development.
In reality many areas of coaching and mentoring overlap, and that’s fine because the overall goal is that we are being supported to be the best we can be, using whatever supports we have available to us.
Counselling is another important way that we can get support to be the best that we can be. Counselling benefits clients by creating a trusted and safe space for overcoming challenges. People generally seek counselling to deal with a specific problem or problems. Skilled, and experienced counsellors are comfortable sitting with the sometimes difficult emotions of their clients. Counsellors and psychologists use a range of theories to support clients. Historically these have used retrospective based solutions but increasingly counsellors using theories such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and Solutions Focused Therapy, are working on getting clients to self-evaluate their current behaviours in order to solve their problems. Choice Theory moves even further away from retrospective navel-gazing by clearly establishing a person’s needs as a basis for understanding their behaviours.
Whereas most forms of counselling have tended to be “why focused”, Choice Theory is needs-based and has a WDEP focus:
What do we Want?
What are we Doing to get it?
Evaluate: how is that working for us?
What is our Plan moving forward?
This cut-to-the-chase approach helps to ensure that counselling does not need to be nearly as long-term as it has often been in the past. In fact, a Choice Theory counsellor develops a coaching and mentoring role as the client is assisted to self-evaluate towards their desired outcomes.
It can be useful for us to have relationships with a mentor, a counsellor and a coach and to have all three supports working symbiotically. People will often have an organic relationship with someone they view as a mentor, while coaches and counsellors can work together and/or refer clients between each other.
An example could look like this:
Georgia enters counselling for alcohol abuse. After a number of sessions it comes to light that Georgia has a desire to start her own business. The counsellor could refer her on to a coach who was experienced in that area. The three of them work together on finding a concrete action plan for Georgia. If this was a Choice Theory counsellor, he could move into a coaching role to focus on any limiting behaviours Georgia might have that may be holding her back.
Coaches will generally have established relationships with counsellors and psychologists. If they are working with a client who presents with psychological issues, that only a trained counsellor or psychologist should be dealing with, they can then offer a referral to someone they trust to provide an appropriate service.
Coaches, counsellors, and mentors are all important people to have in our support network, but these services no longer need to be face to face. They can also now be accessed online via platforms such as Skype or Zoom, and also via learning modules. A mixture of Skype and Zoom, together with online modules and downloads can be a very cost-effective way to work and achieve results.
Great counsellors and coaches reach a ceiling in terms of the number of people than can physically work with. This is the reason why we created Choice Theory Online, so that we can make the work that Jeff has done with clients, on an individual basis, accessible to a much wider audience.
Our learning modules are coming soon but if you would like to receive Choice Theory Daily Quotes, or you just need some help to feel better right away, you can sign up for one of our mailing lists and we will be sure to let you know as new course modules are opened up. You can also book a Zoom online counselling session with Jeff at any time.
We hope that this post sets out clearly for you how mentoring, counselling and coaching can be effective components of your support networks to help you to become the best that you can be. Please share any questions or experiences below in the comments section. You never know who you could be helping.
Every day you nourish your body with food and you hydrate your body with liquid, but what do you do for your mind? Inspiration and motivation need to be topped up just like anything else you want to have available to use every day.
Jeff has been creating memes to keep Choice Theory in the fore front of people’s minds for the past five years. He has such a collection that we able to offer you a meme a day to lead you through your day with positivity, optimism and something meaningful to think about.
The more you can keep your mind on the bigger picture and positivity, the less room there will be for doubt and negativity. When you take charge of your mind you take charge of your life and your life is all that you can take charge of. You can only control yourself but you are all you need to control in order to build a great life.
Reading something positive each morning will help you create a mental and emotional attitude of expecting favourable results but also accepting not so favourable results, and not becoming disheartened when plans don’t go quite the way you want.
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