Tag Archives: focus

Mapping Your Resources

possibilityCreating your own treasure map is possible…. When you map the resources you have and identify what you need, then you are better equipped to start your journey.

Have recently completed a course to become a Professional Supervisor, I came across a great exercise in the textbook we had to read and have used it in some sessions I have already taken.

You need a large sheet of paper and lots of coloured pens or textas. If you feel so inclined, you could also have on hand some old magazines, scissors and glue – to create a collage – very similar to vision boarding.

In the centre, draw a representation of yourself – it can be a symbol or a picture but make it large enough so that you can draw or write symbols/diagrams or words that represent your INNER resources. If there is no room, that’s fine – just attach them to the original drawing.

Next, think about all the things, people, events that support and sustain you, yet are external to you. Place them around the symbol/picture of yourself.

  • Are they near or far,
  • evenly spaced or grouped,
  • are the links strong or weak?
  • What is missing?
  • Do they lift  you up or weigh you down?

Use as much colour and texture as you feel necessary.

Take completely different colour and draw symbols or pictures of things that BLOCK you, or are in the way to fulfilling your dreams.

It could be FEAR – when it comes down to it, we all have fears and the three most basic fears are:

  • Fear of not being loved
  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of not belonging

and these are what hold us back.  Fear of not being good enough can lead to a fear of failure and yes, even fear of success. Strange but true! Many people have a fear of success, because they think that in being successful they may lose friends and therefore no longer “belong”.

The object of identifying the fears and the resources both within and around us it to allow us to work on building new and stronger resources. We have a choice – we can “feel the fear and do it anyway”  (as Susan Jeffers so succinctly put it in her book) or we can choose to feel the opposite…. appreciation. I wonder what feels better!!

Going back to your resource map … what treasures have you discovered?

What tools, people or things do you appreciate for having got you to where you are now?

What do you need to move forward?

Is your inner compass set right to get you to your destiny?

Well, you are the mapmaker in this case… so look to your inner resources and review them. Cast your eye over your external resources and blocks and decide what to keep and what to change. Dig deep enough in the centre and you will find gold.

Balance

boldnessWe seek to balance our lives on a daily basis. Work – Life balance can be tricky to manage.

But what if the very balance we are seeking is holding us back?

If you think about a bicycle, the balance you need to ride it, is what enables you to move forward. Imagine if you find your inner balance.  Now seek out your unique strengths that you can use to  take your life to the next level. Will you use that strength to move forward or remain balanced and motionless?

We all have a choice about the emotions we feel, the decisions we make, and these choices or decisions lead us  to the way that we live our lives. The journey is different for each person, but there is a key…. and that key is focus.

Rather than focussing on what you DON’T want or what you think you SHOULD  do …..focus on your passion, something that challenges you to move towards success. Life will be everything that you expect it to be…..it can be an adventure or tough. Your beliefs shape how you life your life and colour your perceptions. Your emotions and beliefs will attract to you what you experience.

What are you choosing to experience?

Are you choosing depression, overwhelm, self-pity or joy, exuberance or happiness?

When you are aware of what emotions or beliefs that you are experiencing, you can choose either resourcefully or unresourcefully. Notice how you hold your body, decide whether you want to continue feeling this way or not.

It’s your choice……

Meditation

There are many forms of meditation around and there is sure to be one style that suits you. Make it a regular practice and you will enjoy the lasting health benefits too.

Four styles of meditation that I teach and practice are

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Focused
  3. Relaxation
  4. Visualization

Mindfulness Meditation is simply that. Being mindful of what you are doing now. I read recently that the future is only an illusion and it is important to be mindful of your actions and be fully present. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere and the more you do it the sharper your focus becomes. For instance, I am typing now and mindful that as my thoughts come on this topic, my fingers move automatically over the keys. I am aware of the touch of the tips of my fingers on the keys and the difference in texture of the home keys under my index fingers. I am also aware of my eyes tracking the characters as they appear on the page and the cursor acts as a stop, thereby focusing my attention no further than the word being typed. I can then turn my attention to how I am sitting and the ambient air temperature – a chilly Melbourne morning! I am also aware of the sound of the keys as I quickly type this post and the gentle hum of the computer hard drive as it processes the information.

Focused meditation is just that. Focus. You can focus on anything you choose. Starting with the breath is just fine and creating an easy rhythm of in and out breath is very relaxing. Using a candle is another simple and accessible method. Light the candle and focus on the area between the flame and the wick – it’s usually a blue colour. Why focus here? The flame will move around with drafts and the process of burning  and that can cause your attention to wander. The centre of the flame is more likely to be still.

Relaxation meditation such as clenching various muscles & then relaxing them, from the top of the head down to the tips of the toes combined with breath awareness is a wonderful way of winding down after a busy day. Doing it with the eyes open or closed doesn’t matter, but if you have your eyes closed and then gently open them at the end of the relaxation, then you will notice that your perception of the light and surroundings will have changed. If you are doing this in a group, take a few moments to gather your thoughts and you may even notice how different other people look as well. The tension that was stored in the facial muscles has miraculously melted away.

Visualization meditation is only limited by your imagination.

Where do you want to be today?

In your mind’s eye, you can go anywhere, create anything. This form of meditation is often used as a guided meditation where the facilitator will take you on a tour using metaphor and your imagination provides the images. Not just for escape, as by using the creative power of your imagination, you can gain insight and clarity for problems that you previously thought were insurmountable.

Work Life Balance

Speaking notes of the talk given at the Monash Women’s Business Network meeting on Wednesday 10th November 2010, where I was part of a panel of 3 speakers talking about Work Life Balance. This followed on from Ann Barker (State Member for Oakleigh) and Jane Riley (owner of Set 4 Life)

The consequences of not achieving a good work –life balance

For business, the consequences of poor work life balance translate into decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

For the employee, particularly women, there are a number of issues to be considered.

The home workload is often as great for the working woman as her paid work commitments, even if she is only working part-time.

An article in the Age (August 4, 2010) stated that there was an increase in the number of people who felt that their jobs were interfering with their family time. Interestingly, a survey by the University of South Australia, quoted in the article, found that while Australia has one of the worlds highest percentages of women in part-time work, they demonstrated the same stress levels as men who were engaged in full-time work.

Who is at risk? What are the issues?

Middle aged professionals such as accountants, lawyers and teachers are at greater risk of a diverse range of health problems, divorce and even early death if they don’t get their work life balance right. This is most apparent with achievement orientated people and those driven to succeed.

The result of long and intensive stress is disease. The stress comes from working harder and longer but not necessarily smarter in our technology driven world. The very machines that were to free us from labour have enslaved us in other ways. There is the expectation for women to do more things in less time. Our feminist forebears would turn in their graves if they could see the outcome.

Stress, in itself, can be either a positive or a negative experience, but regardless of how one perceives it, the flight or fight response is activated. The experience can become addictive.

Hormones such as CRH (Corticotrophin) and AVP (Arginine-vasopressin) are released and activate neurons in the hypothalamus.

Cortisol – This is a primary stress hormone, releases sugar and increased glucose into the bloodstream. This inhibits function in the digestive, immune and reproductive systems and affects growth and development.

Adrenaline – another hormone and a neurotransmitter, which when released, increases the heart rate, the respiratory rate and blood pressure.

The hormonal changes can cause symptoms which manifest as palpitations, rapid heart rates, nausea, vomiting, digestive upsets such as diarrhea or constipation, cold clammy hands and muscular tension.

Stressors can be mental, emotional, physical or psychological. The consequences of sustained stress are (& this is not an exhaustive list)

Irritability,

Restlessness,

Agitation

Moodiness

Sleep disturbances

Anxiety

Social withdrawal

Depression,

Higher blood pressure,

Increased weight

Anger

Exhaustion

With any or all of these stressors continuing to occur, the immune system becomes depressed and chronic stress sets in. So how does this happen?  The cycle of stress costs us more than an unhealthy body.

As Cortisol levels rise – as a result of stress – obesity becomes an issue. Chronic stress affects the production and storage of fat in our bodies. We are already at risk of obesity with our eating habits altered. Time poor we reach for the fast food solution, which is often high in fat and sugar, altering our blood chemistry and increasing our risk of high cholesterol, diabetes and heart failure.

Stress related illnesses cost not only family, but the community.  We are seeing an increase in stress related immune diseases, such as Glandular Fever, Shingles and Lupus. The immune system is further weakened by poor eating habits and our addiction to tea, coffee, sugar, salt, alcohol and other substances. Our sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise, pollution and drugs and medicines all contribute to compromise an overloaded system. So often we are “running on empty” and when we finally get that holiday and relax, we get sick.

Other indicators of stress can be alopecia – for both men and women

Facial stress lines

Behavioral stress, often leading to family conflicts, divorce

Alcohol or substance abuse

Coronary heart disease and stroke

Diabetes

Depression and for some, the pressure becomes too much and suicide becomes their option.

In searching for a work life balance, we need to look at what support we have. Many women feel like they are on a merry-go-round of exhaustion and lack family support. The traditional family structures have disappeared and with relocation from our original homes, the modern professional woman may have no backup to relieve them from the exhaustion of their daily grind. They may even find that their work life balance fluctuating wildly from chaos to perfect balance.

Setting personal goals is valuable and they need to be clear and achievable.

I could use an F word here – in fact I could use at least 6!

The first is FOCUS

Focus on:

FAMILY

FINANCES

FRIENDS

FUN

FUTURE

Focusing clearly on goals for all of these areas will help to prioritize needs.

Just a tiny adjustment and stroke of the pen will change those F words to P words….

Prune what is necessary. The garden often flourishes once the old, dead wood has been pruned out.

Focus will help remove those noxious weeds of guilt and overwhelm. Ask yourself “How much responsibility will I take on? (Jane spoke about exercising the “NO” muscle)   How will it impact on my wellbeing?”

By being present and not taking work home (if possible – teachers will have difficulty here) and outsourcing tasks (if affordable), stress can be reduced.

Prioritize what is important to you – your health or the housework?

Good childcare is hard to source and if you can get it, take it. It is there for you.

Make some time for yourself – make an appointment for you

Principles for Success

An important principle for success is to know what it is you want to achieve. If you are going to be the master of your own destiny, you must take action to make choices that will lead you to your outcome, rather than sitting back and waiting for life to happen.

Many people live their lives without specific goals or outcomes and very little effort. Life just happens for them. It seems that in life when you are focused on your problems, then that is the most probable outcome.

Conversely, if you know you have a goal or outcome and focus on that goal, then you will improve your chances of success. It may not come immediately, but with persistence and application, you will improve your results.

So what is your intent for today?

What is it that you are aiming to achieve?

Make your intent or goal specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Using this proven method of goal setting, you will find that you will achieve your goals more easily. Once you have decided what outcome you want, then take action. You could have a brilliant plan, but it’s no use if you are firmly set behind your computer screen or sprawled on the couch watching TV.

Check in to see if your actions are effective and you are producing the results that you want. If the outcome is not what you want, then be flexible enough to change and do it differently.  Einstein said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. “ Be willing to change as often as is necessary to get the results that you want.
Success will come also, when you believe it to be possible.

Create a body language that assists you to achieve. Stand up tall, breathe in and breathe effectively. Pull those shoulders back. Project an aura of success, even when the going gets tough and make an effort to be even more determined in your intention to succeed.  Change really comes from within and the subconscious mind will accept as true that you are living a successful life, the brain secretes endorphins and you feel the excellence!

Change your mind and believe that anything is possible. Re-frame negative thoughts and beliefs into something more sustainable. Your thoughts will affect your emotions and once you are focussed on your successful future, anything is possible!