Posted by: gbcoach | March 30, 2009

Podcast: Feeling overwhelmed?

No doubt we’ve all felt overwhelmed at various times in our lives. Not fun! Especially when you can’t see a way out.

Together with Paul Bailey (see our podcast site at www.actionpodcast.com)  I discuss action steps you can take to overcome these debilitating feelings and emerge the other side – lighter and happier!

Feeling%20overwhelmed.mp3

Posted by: gbcoach | March 28, 2009

Twitter: To Tweet or Not To Tweet?

LANCE ARMSTRONG has just had his bike nicked – and broken his collar bone, Jonathan Ross is taking his sick dog to the vet, Stephen Fry is enjoying his day off in Bali (and looking very tanned and svelte I must say), Ashton Kutcher is missing his missus… and Marj from Cincinnati is gonna have a quick … (!) before she picks up the kids from school.twitter-logo

And how do I know these gems? From the 140-character world of the latest social networking craze – Twitter. Move over Facebook and MySpace – Twitter is the SMS (short message service) of choice among 25s and overs.

What is Twitter?

What the hell’s a tweet? And, more to the point, what IS the point of this latest addition to social networking? Does anyone really care what you’re thinking? For the uninitiated, Twitter (Typing What I’m Thinking To Everyone Reading) was set up by California net nerds, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams in March 2006. A February 2009 Compete.com blog entry ranks Twitter as the third largest social network (behind  Facebook) and puts the number of users at roughly 6 million and the number of monthly visitors at 55 million.[1] And climbing… Backed by venture capitalists – to the tune of around $57 million – as of January 2009, Twitter still sells no advertising space and makes no obvious revenue. Interesting… Although the founders are in constant talks with other tech giants, most recently Google.

Tweet here...

Talk, Talk

Simply put, a Tweet is a message sent on Twitter. To send or receive a Tweet, you have to create a free account with Twitter via your mobile phone or your computer. It’s a good idea to encourage friends and contacts to create accounts, too, and start following people you find interesting. You can also download specific Twitter apps (applications). They are sometimes called “twitter tools”, “twitter add-ons” etc, but are simply websites which have built-in scripts that complement Twitter. For maps, try Twitter Atlas, Mr Tweet will do a people search for you, Twidget is a widget application and Twitterific and Twitrank will give you the current top 50 Twitters in the world. Barack Obama is numero uno, closely followed by Stephen Fry with an incredible 352,359 followers (as at 28/3/09).

Tweets can only contain text, you can’t yet include pictures, video or other computer files with Tweet messages. Members who want people in their network to look at multimedia content must find a Web page to host the files, then send a message containing the page’s address to their networks. Twitter converts all addresses more than 30 characters in length into tiny URLs – links that compress the full Web site address to conserve space.

News feed

Twitter really became known to a wider public when news of the Hudson River plane crash earlier this year reached Twitter users well before the newsrooms. Now, every news gathering organisation in the world has a presence on Twitter. They are finding their stories on Twitter and from blogs. And as for the celeb influx to the medium? The New York Times reports that musos such as 50 Cent, Kanye West, Britney Spears and politicians like Barack Obama and Ron Paul all rely on teams of personal assistants to ghostwrite their tweets (!) to an ever-hungry public. So celebs and news agencies are harnessing the power of immediate communication, what about business?

Twitbiz

Some companies are using Twitter as a marketing or public relations service, much like an extension to their corporate blogs, while others allow their employees to tweet for them. Using search tools such as search.twitter.com or desktop applications like TweetDeck makes it easy to keep tabs on talk about the company, its product names, or even the industry as a whole. This way they can eavesdrop on early warnings of problems and gain valuable feedback on product issues or ideas.

The future?

Well, it all looks pretty rosy for Twitter. The latest numbers from Nielsen Online indicate that Twitter grew 1,382% year-over-year in February this year, registering a total of just more than 7 million unique visitors in the US alone for that month. Users elsewhere are catching on fast too. In fact, according to last Wednesday’s Guardian (25 March 2009), the British Government now wants children to learn about “social and collaborative communications, including e-mails, messages, blogs, wikis and twitters”, as part of the English curriculum. They must gain “fluency” in handwriting and keyboard skills, and learn how to use a spellchecker alongside how to spell. So it’s goodbye to Beatrix Potter and hello “click, click”. Looks like Twitter will soon have a wider demographic than its current older fanbase.

I wonder how the great Bard would have coped with a 140-character sonnet? Under sufferance, methinks.

Happy tweeting tweeps!

If you have a Twitter account, you can follow me at londonlifecoach

And on a final note, check out this hilarious tongue-in-cheek look at the Twitter phenomenon, courtesy of John Stewart’s The Daily Show.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Twitter.com

1. Kazeniac, Andy (February 9, 2009). “Social Networks: Facebook Takes Over Top Spot, Twitter Climbs”. Compete.com. http://blog.compete.com/2009/02/09/facebook-myspace-twitter-social-network/.

Posted by: gbcoach | March 14, 2009

Podcast: Create your road map for life

PODCAST: You use an A-Z or SATNAV to find your way geographically, so how about creating your own personal road map for life?

Create your road map for life

Posted by: gbcoach | March 13, 2009

Spring into Action

leapingGive yourself a boost with these 5 steps into spring!

  1. De-clutter your home and your work environment.
    Clear surfaces and floors. Give all the clothes you haven’t worn the past year to charity. Throw out old newspapers and magazines. You’ll feel more energized and be able to think more clearly in a clean, clear space!
  2. Spring into action.
    Start a realistic and achievable exercise programme. Get off the bus one stop earlier. Walk the children to school. Swim, gym, pilates and yoga are all wonderful body toners. And you’ll be releasing those feel-good endorphins too!
  3. Spring clean your mind.
    Identify one area of your life that’s crying out for change. Make a list of short-, medium- and long-term goals. Then take regular, small steps towards achieving them. Your confidence levels will soar. And you’ll be moving to a brighter future.
  4. Reward yourself
    Remember to always acknowledge your achievements, big and small. Giving yourself a regular pat on the back will help motivate you. From new make-up, or a facial, to a girls’ night out. Be your own cheerleader!
  5. Get a life coach
    If you’re ripe for change, want to achieve your goals, and just need a guiding hand to get there, life coaching is the perfect springboard. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve in just a few sessions.

Posted by: gbcoach | February 12, 2009

Valentine’s Day: What’s love got to do with it?

What’s love got to do with it?

The heart of the matter…

The heart of the matter…

Hurrah for the Patron Saint of Love – St Valentine! The official day for lovers everywhere! Book that table, buy that card – tell her you love her…

There’s a scene in the seminal Seventies movie, Love Story, where the leads – doomed lovers Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal – share a poignant exchange on her deathbed, where she utters the immortal line: “Love… means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Familiarity
Well, sorry love, but it’s been quite the opposite for me. It’s all too easy to take someone you profess to love for granted, particularly after the first flush of lust begins to fade; sleepy-to-urgent, early-morning sex is a distant memory, and certainly after a few years’ cohabitation.

Bad day at work? It’s not the dog or cat who gets it, but your ‘boo’, your ‘baby’, your sweetheart with whom you got jiggy only a few hours earlier. This thing called ‘love’ can diminish just as soon as it begins.

This thing called ‘love’
So what exactly is ‘love’ anyway? Meshing neuroses? A chemical reaction? Nature’s sneaky way of ensuring we continue the species? Or something completely intangible and inexplicable that could only be the meeting of soul mates? Until it all derails, of course.

We’ve all felt that very physical heartache when someone we love has left us. As Al Green sang so eloquently: ‘How can you mend a broken heart?’ Indeed. The pain is tangible; visceral even. And yes, people do die from broken hearts – although you‘ll never see it on an autopsy report. So it must be real, right?

Romancing the stone
The romantic notion of love, favoured by fans of Austen, Cartland and more contemporary chick-litters, is a powerful force. In fact, it’s a billion-dollar, heart-pounding, stomach-churning worldwide industry. However, many of the emotions we associate with ‘love’ temporarily blind us to our beloved’s irritating habits that emerge later. And this chemical reaction often has little to do with freeing someone and loving them just as they are. Instead, we seek to change, alter, sculpt and even grow to hate the object of our desire, simply because we do desire them, ergo they have power over us. We are suddenly, painfully, aware of our vulnerability. What if they leave us? Possessiveness, insecurity, jealousy. How many couples do you know are soldiering on in complete denial? Having failed to take their respective exits, they remain resolutely tied to each other’s masts.

The real deal
In short, we’ve been sold up the Swanee with this whole romantic love lark. And despite singletons everywhere protesting their woe – or complete indifference – this Saturday, most of us would still welcome some regular love action, in its myriad forms. But what is ‘love’, actually?

Pure, unconditional love is something we feel for our children – as most emotionally healthy parents will recognise. But it’s quite another thing experiencing it for life, for a partner. So, what’s it all about then?

“Love explains love,” announced Rumi sagely – as only he can. And he has a point. It just is. Why try to explain something as inexplicable and intangible anyway?

Know thyself
In my experience, how we receive – and give love – very much depends on our relationship with our selves. And how much we love and honour ourselves. Without these vital ingredients, any external relationships will always be lacking.

As for our much-celebrated St Valentine, the guy had nothing to do with love. According to legend, he was a Roman priest, beheaded on February 14th, and only associated with the day as his death coincided with the Roman festival of Lupercalia – a celebration of Pan (god of chaos and wine) and Juno (goddess of marriage). Sweet irony, dear bedfellows!

Happy Valentines!

Posted by: gbcoach | February 7, 2009

Circles in the Sky

Strange phenomena…

Thought I’d share these two photos with you. Two years ago, I had just left Central Park, walking north by East 71st Street. Something made me look up into the sky. Unbelievable! Three circles right there – no plane in sight. Made me realise how I often look down when I’m walking – not any more!

[All photos subject to copyright]

Third circle just visible far left of photo

Third circle just visible far left of photo

In this second, zoom shot you can just see the edges of 2nd and 3rd circles:

Who's blowing smoke rings?

Who's blowing smoke rings?

A couple shots of Central Park…

Winter in the Park

Winter in the Park

Such a beautiful city

Such a beautiful city

And a sea-cloudscape at Montauk, at the very tip of Long Island. I especially love the cloud formation in this photo – looks like the UK!

Messages – all around us

Messages – all around us


Posted by: gbcoach | February 4, 2009

Road map for life

Cant' see the wood for the trees?

Can't see the wood for the trees?

Where’s your road map?
Whether you’re a SATNAV fan, or you prefer an A-Z, access to a road map is essential for exploring new territory – and reaching your desired destination. Most of us need one or the other to guide us when driving to a new place, since our intuitive faculties are rarely that honed they can get us from A to B through sheer guesswork.

So why do we so often eschew the idea of a road map for our lives? It’s very easy to drift from job to job, location to location, relationship to relationship, without a clear plan of action. Back in my twenties, I did just that. My life fell very much into the… “Well, I’ll see what comes up’ category. I had no grand plan of action, no specific goals (other than to earn enough cash to pay my mortgage, buy clothes, eat out, travel and have fun). It was fun, but somewhat precarious. And often I felt like I was going nowhere – fast!

Set your course
The million-dollar question: how can you reach your destination, if you don’t know where you’re going? Having direction doesn’t mean you can’t change your destination whenever you want. Or revise your goals. Allow yourself to be flexible. A great starting place is to make a list of your short term (1 week to 6 months), medium term (6 months to a year) and long term (1 to 5 years) goals for each of the following areas of your life: Career, Family, Environment, Spiritual Life, Relationships, Creativity, Friendships. Then look at each area again and mark each one from 1 (least satisfied) to 10 (most satisfied). This will instantly tell you the areas that require your immediate attention.

Realistic plan of action
Once you’ve established the area(s) you’d most like to change, then set yourself weekly, realistic and achievable goals to take yourself to your final destination. It’s important that you keep these ‘journey’ goals achievable. Baby steps. This will keep you motivated. For some, their goal may to become fit. Even joining a gym can be a major deal for many, so don’t run before you can walk! Take your time to build up to that half-marathon. But do nudge yourself out of your comfort zone. Regularly.

Resources and options
What resources do you already have that can help you achieve your goals? Do you have friends who can help you? Are there colleagues at work who can supportively nudge you in the direction you’re headed? What have you done in previous jobs that you can take with you as a skill set into your next position? Take a look at all your options for success. Brainstorm. Then pick an action point that’s the easiest for you to achieve that week. Then another one… and so on.. Challenge yourself. And reward yourself with each success.

Values and beliefs
Goals are great. But you won’t achieve them unless your values are in alignment with your beliefs. Values are the things that we get out of bed for. The things that motivate us. This could be family, money, recognition… Make a list of your top 10 values. Things you will do anything to achieve. Then put them in order of hierarchy. Then make a list of 10 things you’d do anything to avoid: this could be loneliness, embarrassment, recognition. If you see a clash between your goals and your values, then redefine your goals. For example, if one ‘going to’ value is recognition, but you’d do anything to avoid rejection, then you are unlikely to put yourself into career or job position where you will be held up and judged on your performance. No matter how hard you try, it simply won’t work. Another example: an employee who is given a promotion involving regular international travel will have a values collision if his main priority is his family, whom he will rarely see as a result. There will be tension and a lack of happiness.

Results
The key to succeeding in reaching your goals is to firstly identify them – what do you love? What would you love to do? Where would you love to live? What kind of relationship would you love to be in? Then take regular, committed action towards achieving them. Daily, weekly, monthly… Small, achievable steps taken regularly will give you the confidence and motivation to change every area of your life – successfully. You will begin to trust in your own innate ability to make the right choices in life. As a result, your dreams most certainly will become reality. Focus with laser-like intensity and commitment on your desired results, and your subconscious will do all it can to bring that goal to you. It really is as simple as that. Whatever you focus on, you will attract to you.
This is a universal law.

Posted by: gbcoach | February 3, 2009

Are you addicted to struggle?

The gate's wide open!

The gate's wide open!


Give up the fight!
Ever find yourself taking the longest, most arduous, most emotionally, mentally and physically taxing route to where you’re trying to reach? Stressing and stressing, adrenals on full alert, till you reach your goal – exhausted, yet victorious! Are you addicted to the ‘hurts so good’ syndrome? Are you addicted to struggle?

I’ve been on what seems like a permanent cycle of super-charged “let’s go for the uber challenge” route most of my adult life. And only recently have I made a conscious decision to get off the bloody hamster wheel. And let myself off the proverbial hook. There’s a good reason why Wayne Dyer chose to call his seminal book: Life Was Not Meant To Be A Struggle.

When I first flicked through his homilies, 20 years ago on a road trip from rainy Adelaide to sweat-stained Darwin, I could barely contain my cynicism. What did he know!? Life was tough, of course it was. How could it be anything different? Arrogance of youth, or rather ignorance of youth. I’d never know it to be anything else. So I left that book of wisdom in a mall bookshop in Alice Springs, and never looked back. Until years later, when I finally understood what the guy meant. With the benefit of hindsight – and 20 year’s life experience – I can see he was right all along.

Survival
As human beings, we are consciously, or unconsciously attempting to improve ourselves to test ourselves and become ‘better’ in some way. Nothing wrong in that – it’s natural evolution. And we often define ourselves by the challenges in life we successfully overcome. Again, nothing wrong in that, either. But I’m not talking about healthy, inspiring challenges here, such as learning to paint, starting a new job, moving to another country or leaning a musical instrument. I’m talking about an ego-induced sense that survival itself has to be a struggle. I AM, I exist, because I struggle. I am driven and motivated by struggle. Get the picture?

Trade off
Clearly there has be a trade-off with this battling, military mindset. Even someone’s language is a clue to their belief system: It’s a minefield/battleground out there. I’m going to soldier on… Rally the troops…

So what are we getting out of this perpetual battle? Firstly, when we are seen to be struggling, it shows everyone else that we are not a quitter. We’re trying hard, but it’s external circumstances that refuse to play ball. It means that at a profound subconscious level, we feel powerless to affect change in our lives. That we are not fully able to take responsibility for our selves in some way.

Battling away is also a method of eliciting sympathy from others. Itself a huge energy boost. Everyone loves the underdog – especially in Britain. Hey, don’t get too successful, otherwise we’ll shoot you down. The tall poppy (another battleground imagery/alliteration) syndrome.

Purpose
Many of us have a profound fear of boredom, of having no purpose in life. And a profound fear of commitment… Just two reasons out of many for choosing to live life on (often) java-fuelled red alert, and resist take a calmer, steadier, self-responsible and easier route to achievement.

How many of you know friends and acquaintances who are actually doing well in life, but still would prefer you to think that the going is tough for them? Someone, at some point in their lives has told them, either verbally or by living example, that life is a battle. They are living under the false assumption that if they are successful it has to be hard going. Hard work, yes, and persistence are two vital ingredients along the road to success. But not struggle.

Some of us firmly believe that life owes us a living. Why bother to shift when someone else, ie the state, can pick up the bills. This mindset of lack of contribution creates great internal struggle. Like many of these issues, it’s connected with self-esteem issues.

Avoid asking for help?
Too many of us feel that we have to achieve it all alone. We fail to realise that other people are our greatest resource and that it’s actually fun to co-create with others. You can be stimulated, share your knowledge and feel supported. So much better than battling on alone. Go on, reach out and ask someone for help today. Not only will you be receiving something special, you are also, very importantly, giving someone else the chance to give.

That old reptilian brain
Survival struggles are not about creating opportunities, they are more about remaining in our reptilian brain of instinct and survival. It’s all about the survival of me, myself and I. And has nothing to do with being part of the collective. Of being of service to others.

Another reason for the continual battle is that we fail to recognise values and beliefs collision in our lives. Hence we never quite achieve the success we desire. One half of us is going in one direction – towards happiness, and the other is yanking us back in an attempt to avoid potential pain which we may have to endure to achieve our idea of happiness. A double-edged sword.

Self-denial
Another reason for this internal battle, for the enemy always lies within, is a mindset that denies us the very things we love. We refuse to give ourselves the very things that can make us happy and fulfilled. Therefore we choose unhealthy relationships, bad food, careers that don’t satisfy us, toxic environments. And the excuses we give ourselves not to be creative (no time, no money, no good…) the list is endless. The internal battle continues… Ouch!!
Indeed, many of us on the struggling route worry that if it all became the Big Easy, a) life would be boring. b) we’d be somehow less deserving of our successes. c) we’d lack the drive to achieve further success. How nuts is that?!

Turning struggle into opportunity
As with most habits, after years of practice they become subconscious. So, the first way to stop the struggle is to become aware that we have a habitual behaviour of struggle. Look at all areas of your life: job, family, creative/spiritual life, finances, and environment. Which areas are you struggling in? Is this a pattern or a new circumstance? What are you getting out of this pattern of behaviour? Is the trade-off past its sell by date, leaving you frustrated or angry? Or are you still getting what you want out of life because of it? Be honest with yourself. And be kind to yourself.

Practise living and being in your intuitive (right-brain). Creative. I dwell in possibility. Instead of ego personality survival, take up activities to boost your intuition and your connection to spirit/source. The paths that will take you there include oga, meditation, playing music, “me” time, walking in nature. Look at the trees: as above so below. Firmly rooted in the earth, yet reaching up to embrace spirit. For we are all spirit descending into matter, and matter arising into spirit simultaneously.

Practise moments of stillness. Just before you go to sleep, review your day. And again, just a 5 minutes of mindless being before you get up is wonderful. Practise gratitude. Make a list of 10 things in your life that you are thankful for. Make another list of 10 things in your daily life that make you happy. This could be a smile from the postman, a hot shower after exercise, sharing a beautiful sunset with someone you love, to the smile on your child’s face as they are sleeping.

What do you LOVE?
Most of us are well practised in telling ourselves exactly what we don’t want in life, but we ain’t so good at listing all the things that we love. Another great boost to yourself is to write down all the things you love. What would you LOVE to be doing in life. No obstacles. What makes your heart sing? And what do you love about yourself. If you struggle with this one, ask your friends what they love above you. Pin this up somewhere you can see it daily. Believe it. And be live it….

Above all become conscious when feel yourself entering into a struggle cycle… Stop. Look. Listen. Acknowledge and feel into the tension but refuse to be drawn into battle with it. Observe it, play with it and above all, don’t take life, or yourself, too seriously. Life really was never meant to be a struggle.

Posted by: gbcoach | February 2, 2009

Podcast: Negotiating the recession

The current recession is a great time to look at your values and reassess your priorities. Look for the opportunities out there and be resourceful!

Negotiating the Recession

Posted by: gbcoach | February 2, 2009

Podcast: Relationship crossroads

PODCAST: Have you reached a crossroads in your relationship? Here, we discuss how you can make the right decision

Reaching a relationship crossroads

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