Have you recently gone through a big life change? It can be tough to adapt. Here are my top tips to help.
Emotional baggage is something most of us are carrying around to some degree. After all, we are all shaped by our experiences. But it’s less about what the experiences do to us than what we do with them. We are shaped by what we choose to make those experiences mean about who we are, what we deserve, and what we are capable of.
Six years ago I made a decision which changed the course of my life.
I gave up my ‘big’ corporate job which had seen me flying all over the world, supporting and advising key executives, and generally trying to get people to do the right thing for themselves and the business. I constantly put the business first and was in a permanent state of stress. My health was suffering, but, as a single parent bringing up two boys I felt I had no choice but to stick with it. Then, one day, in a meeting room everything changed.
The global business where I worked was steeped in difficult politics, and there was blame and bad behaviour everywhere you looked. The values that I live and work by were being compromised daily, especially how people were treating each other and it got too much to bear. On this particular day, in this particular meeting, something inside of me switched and I heard a voice deep within say “you are done”.
I’d reached a pain point which meant I could no longer go on.
So I didn’t. I resigned from my job, without another job to go to and did something I had always wanted to do. Set up my own business. I’d been in the ‘people’ game for the best part of 25 years and knew I could use my skills too help people and businesses make better decisions for themselves and others.
Don’t get me wrong. This was far from an easy decision. Like most people I had a mortgage and all the usual commitments that accompany being a single parent, but the pain of staying on the corporate treadmill became too much to bear.
I completely re-evaluated my life.
My journey continues, but now I run a successful wellbeing clinic and consultancy, where I help people become better versions of themselves. And in 2017, I wrote my first book “Your Life, Your Way”. I am living proof that you CAN make a positive change in your life. So here are x steps that I took to help me make the change in my life.
So how can you do the same?
Be Honest With Yourself
Being honest with yourself about your current situation, is SO important. When many of my clients and patients first walk into my consulting room I always encourage them to be honest with themselves about the context of their lives. It’s so easy to ignore warning signs (physically and mentally) that deep down we know exist, and it’s I realise it’s sometimes much easier just to ‘carry on’ hoping things will change. However, I can guarantee that if this is the case then your happiness is being compromised by something which is in your power to change. Some people think that what the past has created for them and the experiences associated with that is the best they are ever going to get. I am telling you there is much more life and joy waiting for you than you realise.
Look At The Bigger Picture
In my course “Five Weeks to Freedom” I encourage people to look objectively at everything which influences and impacts their life. Their environment, work, relationships, family, friends, health and habits and anything else that provides their map of the world in the present.
Surround Yourself With Cheerleaders
One of our biggest inhibitors to change is….. other people! As human beings we hate change. We are hard wired to maintain the status quo. Doing the same thing day in day out, surrounding ourselves by the same people, doing the same things, is something which gives us comfort and security. Therefore, it’s not too surprising that when you announce you are going to make a major change in your life some people won’t like it. You play a role in their life story. If they see that role changing it will disturb them. A true friend is a cheer leader. Someone who will support you through whatever change you desire to build yourself a happier, successful, and more fulfilled life. Start to remove the naysayers out of your life, most of the time their reactions will be about them and not you. You don’t need them, they are like vampires, and will suck the positivity energy out of your soul!
Be Prepared To Make Big Decisions
Every day we make decisions, even if we don’t decide to do something that is STILL a decision!. Most of this decision making takes place in our sub-conscious. For example: have you every driven to work and not noticed the journey? Much of our life is operated on ‘automatic pilot’. So, when a decision comes along which is going to make a fundamental difference to all those sub-conscious decisions then this is going to make us feel a little funky. Changing jobs, houses, relationships are all huge decisions that often involve a radical change in our daily story of who we are and what we do. And, it is often the fear of change, and the thought of impacting lots of areas of our life which moves us away from making the big decisions which will, ultimately, lead us to greater happiness.
Trust Your Instincts
The human brain is a remarkable organ. This complex piece of machinery is designed to undertake many complex tasks every second of every day. But there is one thing it does exceptionally well: wherever possible it keeps us safe. Our human instincts have evolved over many thousands of years, but the instincts which keep us safe are pretty much the same as they were when we were living in caves. When something isn’t ‘right’, we know it, it’s our intuition kicking in. Deep down we know when we are faced with a situation which doesn’t feel right. And the same goes for where we are in our lives at any particular stage. You know if you aren’t happy in a relationship, job, or particular situation. Your body and mind will be telling you. You may feel in a constant state of stress, you may have trouble sleeping, perhaps you are drinking little too much, or you are seeking pleasure through other addictive behaviours. These are all ways in which the brain is telling you that something isn’t right. Listen to your body and your brain, and if something isn’t right… it’s time to make a change.
To Sum Up
Following these five steps will definitely start you on a path where you can shift your thinking and move away from the story of your current situation. I do understand how hard changing a situation can be, especially when it presents seemingly unsurmountable challenges. But, I promise you, it can be done. I am living proof of that!
If you want a little more information or help in understanding how you can make a change why not register for my latest webinar: Finding your purpose, living your change. It’s completely free and will give you some valuable tips on making those changes in your life that will bring you happiness and success (both at home and at work!).
Let me leave you with this thought: maintaining the status quo, putting on a brave face, smiling for the camera when you really want to weep, is no way to live, it is robbing you of the love, joy, accomplishment and amazing future you deserve.….today! Now!
Do you ever feel unsure of yourself? Like a failure? Do you ever wish you had more confidence? Do you put yourself down in front of others or resent other people’s success? Do you often find yourself saying “yes” to requests when you really want to say no? Are you constantly worrying about something, but don’t do anything to deal with what you’re worrying about? You could have imposter syndrome.
If so, have you ever wondered what would you do if you believed you could not fail? What would you try? Are there things in your life you’d like to change, or new adventures you’d like to pursue, but you’re too scared to take the plunge? If so, then your self-esteem and confidence may need a boost. Here’s my top tips to help you.
How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is closely related with our self esteem and confidence. In fact, most of us have some kind of confidence issue. Some people may be confident about the way they look, for example, but not about their intellect, or vice versa. Perhaps you are confident about a particular skill set, but that confidence doesn’t translate to relationships or communication skills.
No one is perfect. But we live in a world that tells us we should be. We are reminded daily what we should and shouldn’t look like. What our lives would include if we were “successful”. Social media, the press and TV all provide unrealistic, imaginary benchmarks for us to judge ourselves against.
When it comes to self-esteem and confidence there are some unusual paradoxes. On one hand, we are often told to behave “as if ”. In other words: While confidence is an internal belief about our abilities in a certain area, even if those beliefs are not rock-solid we can pretend to be confident. In turn, actually makes us feel more confident. It’s a physiological as much as a mental thing.
Why “Fake it ’til you make” Doesn’t Make You A Fake
You may have heard the statement “projection is perception”. In other words, what we project to the world is how other people will perceive us, whether that projection is true or not. So even if we don’t feel strong and self-assured, we can demonstrate that assuredness outwardly. As long as we don’t go overboard into arrogance, we can convince ourselves and others that we are confident.
However, the flip side (and, hence, the paradox) is something called the “imposter syndrome”. If we constantly pretend to be more confident than we feel, but don’t learn strategies to increase our genuine sense of confidence and assimilate our learning to move from “faking it” to “making it”, we can end up feeling like a fraud. It is also something experienced by high-achieving individuals who are unable to internalise their accomplishments. Those who live with the persistent fear of being “found out”. Women are particularly adept at the imposter syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome In The Workplace
Too frequently, women in highly demanding jobs believe they got there by luck, or some other kind of subterfuge, and feel they have to be better than their male peers. However, imposter syndrome is certainly not an exclusively female issue, as plenty of men have it too. First identified by clinical psychologists Suzanne Imes, PhD, and Pauline Rose Clance, PhD, in 1978, imposter syndrome is something I come across frequently in my work as an executive coach.
It can arise when someone is promoted into a role they don’t feel worthy of, or they land a job they never dreamed they would actually get. Or they enter a relationship with someone they believe is “out of their league”. Secretly, they believe that they are not intelligent/creative/attractive/likeable enough to be in the position they find themselves. As a result, it’s only a matter of time before they get exposed, marched off the premises or dumped for being the imposter they believe they are.
Everyone Feels Like An Imposter Sometimes
When it comes to imposter syndrome, it’s important to note that all of us feel this way from time to time. If we are learning new skills on the job or flying by the seat of our pants, it’s absolutely normal to feel out of our depth. But that shouldn’t stop us stepping out of our comfort zone.
If you find yourself feeling a fraud, remind yourself of the existence of the imposter syndrome and just how common it is. Also, take the time to remind yourself just how hard you have worked and how many times you have done a good job, been successful or helped others be successful. Or how much you bring to your relationship.
We don’t always know what we are doing – and that’s fine! We still need to do new things, embark on new relationships, take new opportunities and experiment with life.
Want to learn more about imposter syndrome? My latest book Your Life Your Way contains plenty of practical tips, advice, and strategies for living your life more fully and confidently.
My work often involves encouraging people to think differently about whatever situation they find themselves in, to create a different narrative and a way of thinking which will drive a different outcome. We are not our thoughts we are whatever reality we make for ourselves.
Secret to feeling happier?How many cartoons have we seen that feature an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other? It’s a well-worn trope, but it’s a useful one.
Change of any type often initiates an internal battle. Think of this as a battle between the devil and the angel on your shoulders. Call the devil “Quo” (advocating the status quo) and the angel “Go” (advocating change).
Quo is going to try to discourage you from facing your reality; she wants you to carry on doing what you’ve been doing. Now, if you stop for just a minute and really think about where you are, you might just admit that “what you’ve been doing” isn’t working. But Quo knows if that happens, you might just do something about it, so she’s going to remind you of every reason, excuse, and justification for staying stick. Expect Quo to dredge up all your well-worn reasons for not acting and whisper them in your ear.
Quo’s objective is to “keep you safe” in the familiar, even if the familiar sucks. Quo wants to prevent you from taking the more challenging road. Quo is probably mocking what you’re reading in this blog right now. Am I right?
You need to actively engage “Go” in the conversation. For every excuse Quo comes up with to keep you stuck, ask Go for two ways to get unstuck. She’ll know.
If something in your life isn’t working, or you’re aware of changes you need to make, don’t wait for something to break. Don’t wait for things to magically change. Don’t wait for someone else to change or someone else to see the error of their ways. (That’s what Quo wants you to do.)
If something in your life isn’t working, it’s time for action. (That’s what Go is whispering into your ear.)
I understand: Stasis is comfortable. Even if you are miserable, it’s the miser you know. The status quo is known – even if it’s terrible – and there is comfort in that situation’s predictability. There’s a fine line between complacency and contentment.
Feeling happier Quo Vs Go? Don’t Get Complacent
Maintaining the status quo, putting on a brave face, smiling for the camera when you want to weep, is no way to live, and it is robbing you of the love, joy, accomplishment, and happiness you deserve.
But it’s not just about you. Go wants you to get your own sh*t together, and not just for your own benefit. That allows us to help and support others to do the same.
I have lost count of the people I’ve come across who are brimming with talent and ability, but who constantly thwart that potential by getting in their own way and the way of others, simply because they don’t have their sh*t together. All the luck, ability, talent, opportunity, or advantage in the world can so easily come to nothing if we don’t learn how to get a handle on our emotions, develop our cognitive and emotional intelligence, and foster our mental resilience to deal constructively with the inevitable highs and lows of life.
It’s time to unleash your potential, whatever that looks like for you. Be open, be honest – with yourself and others. And remember, “Fortune favours the brave.”