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3 Tips to get Results from your Resolutions!

2018 is well and truely underway. Have you set any goals or intentions for yourself this year? They say that ‘there’s no timelike the present’ so if you want to make some realistic changes that ‘stick’, have a read of the article I wrote below which was recently featured in the Cork Evening Echo

The start of the year brings with it a sense of change and a general atmosphere of excitement and potential. We might pause to think about our new year’s resolutions, we might ask our friends and colleagues to share theirs.  We might even go a step further and think about what we might achieve if we stick to “a plan”- a holiday? A 10K run? No more stress? Losing a few ‘lbs’? A new job?

Resolutions or goals are tools for focusing our lives and for getting us to take action. They consist of objectives and tend to reflect our priorities and principles. Creating change doesn’t necessarily determine that we will get results. Our success depends on how clear we are about our motivation for change. Don’t be fooled into thinking that any action will move you forward (even a dead fish can float downstream!)

Having identified the goals we want to achieve, we should work back to determine the actions we need to take. For example, if you are looking for more work/ life balance in your day to day- what do you need to do more of or less of to achieve this? “Begin with the end in mind” is one of Stephen Covey’s   author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and it means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired destination. Statistically, goals are more effective if they are supported by detailed action steps or ‘mini- milestones’.

Now that we have discussed the role our motivation plays in achieving our New Years Resolutions, here are my 3 tips to ensure you get results from your 2018 goals!

Tip #1- Ask Questions of Yourself

Great results and accomplishments start with great questions.  When it comes to making changes, the most powerful questions are definitely the ones we ask of ourselves for a number of reasons; you go into the ‘open to change zone’ e.g. “What would I like to do differently this year?”  This question is directed at a positive outcome and it fosters ownership and action as you start looking at what you need to do. Having identified the changes you need or want to make, take time to determine the relevant actions and GO FOR IT!!

Tip #2- Explore Resilience

Life can be tough. There are a lot of daily demands on us, and moreover, we expect so much of ourselves. Having resilience can be a powerful ally in our day to day survival. Resilience and building resilience can mean different things to different people but it usually involves some or all of the following:

  • A shift in outlook (sometimes the way we see the problem is the problem!)
  • Recovery and learning (how we bounce back after a fall)
  • Asking for help (linking in with your supports or network)
  • Adapting to our environment (our ability to just go with the flow) and
  • Diet (healthy body = healthy mind!)

What does resilience mean to you?

Tip #3- Take Time out for You

I read a quote recently that resonated with me (and I’m sure to a lot of others), it said “A gentle reminder that “doing your best” does not mean working yourself to the point of a mental breakdown”. So, start 2018 knowing that you are going to gift yourself with some time. Busy schedules can be sabotaging and by saying ‘Yes’ to the chaos, we are saying ‘No’ to the calm and the benefits that downtime can bring. Taking time out is necessary to sustain effort and productivity at home or at work. Therefore, aim to take some time for yourself during the week- do something fun, laugh, reconnect with friends, with nature, do some yoga, go for a run, or whatever downtime means to you.

So, what do you want to get out of this year? What questions will you ask yourself to kick start the changes you wish to effect, so you can live the life you want?

Make 2018 YOUR Year! Have a great one!

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Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business coach. For more information, you can contact her at http://www.changegrowsucceed.com

Are you an Imposter?

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“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it”

JM Barrie, PETER PAN

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Ever think it’s just a matter of time before you’re ‘found out’? Ever feel that your success in work has been based on ‘being in the right place at the right time’ rather than on your merit? If so, you may be a sufferer of Imposter Syndrome.

Andrea Marr (officemum.ie) interviewed me on the subject recently and this article can be read in this months’ edition of Magpie magazine. I was prompted to explore ‘Imposter Syndrome’ last year following several (female) clients who were all well accomplished in their careers but who were distressed and anxious about “not feeling good enough”.…They felt like frauds.

Through research, I learned that the term “Imposter Syndrome” is largely a female phenomenon.  It’s a term used to describe women who experience ’imposter feelings’ and worry incessantly that they will “found out . Often, despite evidence of an abundance of workplace skills and achievements, sufferers live in fear that their peers and superiors will realize that they’re not “as good” as they had initially thought.

At this point, you would be correct to think “we all experience feelings of self- doubt or low confidence from time to time” but to help qualify this issue, it’s important to examine frequency and impact.  For example, if you are living under a constant veil of worry and self-doubt, the impact for some women is anxiety, stress, low self-confidence and even depression. Lack of confidence becomes self- sabotaging and FEAR steps in. Sufferers are afraid to explore new experiences. These talented ladies are pressing the ‘PAUSE’ button.

So how can we banish these thoughts?

Quite simply, if you want to stop feeling like an imposter, you have to stop thinking like an imposter. As Imposter sufferers tend to live in their heads, the challenge is to foster different thinking habits! Here are my tips for taking some control back over those thoughts!

  • Label those thoughts as they trickle in. Acknowledge them and create a distance. Detach yourself.

 

  • Understand the root cause: Eg. In a presentation, you might think a colleague looks so confident and get swept away with thoughts such as “I could never do that! I wish I could be like her!” When you have no idea what’s going on for that individual. It’s therefore possible that you’re making unfair comparisons i.e. you’re comparing your inside with their outside!

 

  • Reframe. Substitute “Oh My God, I have NO idea what I’m doing here” with “this is going to be a great opportunity for me to learn something new- I’ve got this” or replace “I’d say they are sending me on this business trip to test me ” with “I’m looking forward to bringing something different to the table!”

 

  • Focus on the external value or service you are contributing instead of your internal thoughts! Think about yourself less!

 

  • Journal. Identify your accomplishments to date, skills, qualifications, projects etc. Label what you’re grateful for. Over time, this will become a habit a foster a more positive and confident mindset.

 

  • The scariest strategy? Envisage the worst case scenario! Make a mistake. Get feedback that you were incorrect! Remember being wrong doesn’t make you a ‘fraud’. It makes you human.

 

In summary, none of us chose to feel like an imposter. We all want to feel confident but unless we actively tackle our thoughts on this, progress will be limited. Know there will be good and bad days ahead but as long as you remain focused and disciplined on the thoughts you wish to change, getting yourself back on track will be easier. Over time, this will become your new way of being! Make a change. Grow. Succeed.

 

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, contact her directly at Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

My freedom from fear

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“Fear is born of a story we tell ourselves, so I chose to tell myself a different story. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave.” Eckhart Tolle

I was reminded of what fear is at the start of the summer. You know, that knot in your stomach? That sinking feeling often accompanied by pure dread? I discovered that I would need surgery. I found a lump on my neck and was terrified. Following a battery of diagnostic assessments spanning 8 weeks (scans, biopsies, consults etc), it was decided that removal of half of my thyroid was unavoidable. I was terrified, not so much by the surgery but by what they might “find”. I knew I was handing myself over to the medical professionals fit and well and equally that I was signing up to enforced time out for an indefinite period of time, rendering me vulnerable and dare I say, ‘in need’. I am an active working mother of 3 young children. I should also add that I also had major surgery less than 3 years ago which was challenging to recover from. I could feel panic setting in.

Ekhart Tolle, who wrote The Power of Now (and whom I cited in the opening quote) tells us that fear stems from our mind creating an anxiety gap around something that MIGHT happen, as distinct from something that is happening right now. Fear feeds off our mind living in the future!  He argues that we can cope in the present moment but that it’s difficult to cope with something that is a mere mind projection!

Thankfully, my ‘inner coach’ knew that I was not about to spend the whole summer mentally torturing myself about what might happen. I couldn’t change my situation so I actively decided to focus on what I could do to support myself and a healthy mindset! I decided to challenge myself by seeking pleasure in and participating in the Now! Before I share what worked for me, I must add that there were blips and melt downs along the way- but being able to get myself back on track was the real win.

  • Distraction– A little project directed my focus from the surgery. I decided on changing our bedroom and invested time scouring through websites for ideas and inspiration.
  • Connect with people that ground me – I consider myself lucky to have some wonderful people in my life. I was so grateful for time with my children, for the evening walks with friends and the chats over coffee
  • Create comfort in my home e.g. consciously lighting a candle or popping flowers in a vase
  • Indulge in my favourite things e.g. using my favourite tea cup or spending time at the sea
  • Perspective & Gratitude – there are a lot of people who endure far worse with less. Zoning in on what I am grateful for was and is hugely transformative. And finally,
  • Have faith & Decide to be ok!

The operation went to plan and thankfully I’m on the right side of recovery and enjoying the new perspective my enforced time out has provided me with! Lastly, I love this quote by Robert Tew and wanted to share it with you:

 “Trust yourself. You’ve survived a lot and you’ll survive whatever is coming”

If you’re struggling with something, I truly hope you feel better soon.

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork Based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, contact her directly at Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

5 Tips to build your Confidence

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Has a lack of confidence ever held you back?

Have you ever thought about doing something but deliberated “If only I had the confidence to try…” or “I’d never have the confidence to change that…”

Confidence is not something we are born with. What if we could choose to be confident? Imagine feeling positive, empowered and optimistic all of the time? If having confidence helps us to believe, achieve and succeed in life, developing and strengthening our confidence is of huge benefit t o us all. The good news is that confidence can be learned and strengthened throughout our life. Nurture triumphs in this nurture vs. nature debate.

Where do I start?

Confidence is our belief in our ability to meet the demands placed on us in a particular situation and is developed over time through our experiences and by the people in our environment. Albert Bandura, a Canadian psychologist said that confidence can be learned as long as we are willing to give it a go.

Converting your “I can’t’s into I can!”

At it’s core, having confidence is an active personal investment, so:

  1. Listen to that Supportive Inner Voice

It’s the experience of learning and doing that creates confidence. Chose your supportive inner voice to nudge you on your way! Step out of that comfort zone. Say things like “ Give it a try…” or “What’s the worst that can happen?” Or even “This will help me in the long run…” Encourage and reassure yourself, show compassion.

  1. Praise your effort and not the result!

We show compassion to our children when they miss out on team selection. We say things like “I’m sorry it’s not what you wanted it to but look at what you achieved!” We teach them that once they ‘do their best’ that it’s ok.  However, we, as adults tend to get attached to outcomes or results and often beat ourselves up if we miss out. We need to practise reframing and resilience, choose to take the good and learn from a situation and then,  bounce back.

  1. Contribute/ Participate

Take part in your discussions and groups. Don’t be a passenger! Despite what you may think, your thoughts and opinions are valuable to others. Challenge yourself to offer one idea or suggestion in your next group or meeting. You will feel great afterwards! After all, it’s the experience of participating that will boost your confidence.

  1. Surround yourself with people who care

Your relationships have the capacity to boost. They also have the capacity to keep you stuck. Your commitment to surrounding yourself with supportive people sets you up for growth and success. Our world is filled with virtual ‘friends’ or ‘followers’. Ensure that you have meaningful connections. Take a moment to consider the key people in your life- are they supportive and encouraging? Don’t settle for less that you deserve.

  1. Recharge and Renew

We live in a society that’s driven by goals, deliverables, tasks and activities. Quite often, pushing ourselves when we are exhausted can rob us of our confidence as we are running on empty. It’s also counterproductive. Let’s remember to stop and take time out. There’s nothing like a fresh perspective to have you in tip- top mental shape!

So, make that personal investment. Make that commitment to yourself and watch your confidence grow! “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think…” A.A. Milne

 

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, contact her directly on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

Live. Laugh. Love.

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Did you find January and February a bit of a slog?                                           

Did you struggle between your need to curl up by the fire, eat and sleep more and the need to obey your environment that screeched “New Year New You!” messages at you?

We try to take on New Year Resolutions and make changes in winter time when our natural tendency is to rest and nurture. Our bodies try to keep up with the powerful mind that wills us to get up, get out and make changes. It highlights a resistance between the body and the mind.

This resistance creates much stress within ourselves which often manifests itself in the weakest part of our bodies for example throat infections, bronchitis or my personal gripe: sinusitis. Once this grabs hold, we fall like wilted flowers and wait for the sun to bloom to pick us up again.

However, in this country, we could be a long time waiting for ‘the sun to bloom’, so, is there any way that we can reduce the impact of this stress? Here are a few tips:

  • Stop – when you’re still, you leave yourself open to thinking differently
  • Become aware of your thoughts and feelings- look to disprove them if feeling overwhelmed
  • Be mindful and ask yourself: what do I need ?(Mind, Body and Soul)
  • Connect with your friends and hobbies
  • Laugh – find moments of joy with friends and family, laugh out loud!
  • Finally, show yourself compassion, give yourself permission and show gratitude!

Only very recently, I was reminded of the therapeutic power of laughter. A few friends and I took off for a well earned night away and belly laughed for 24 hours! It was ‘chicken soup for the soul’ and I am still living the benefits! I had forgotten the positive impact that laughter has, in fact, some research states that “laughter increases the level of antibodies in the body by 20% helping to destroy viruses and tumour cells”[1] . Of course, it’s also a mini work-out (think facial and abdominal muscles), it helps to relieve stress (by decreasing our stress hormone, cortisol and releasing feel good endorphins). Laughter connects us with others and oh! It also burns 1.3 calories per minute!

So, be aware and take note of any resistance between your body and your mind as we enter March and the rest of the year. Aim to minimise stress by living, laughing and loving!

Go Gently.

[1] psychofactz.com

Building Resilience

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I have wanted to write a blog on ‘Resilience’ for a few months now. I threw the topic “out there” with friends and colleagues and what became apparent is that this is a subject matter that seems to attract lots of different viewpoints and opinions.

I asked, “WHY do we need resilience?” Again, the response was varied as we all face and experience different stressors in our day to day, but it did come down to one thing: survival.

  • How do we survive our day to day without feeling overwhelmed?
  • How do we survive the chaos that is being a working parent?
  • How do we handle rejection? (this could be the job seeking process or a child who no longer wants your help!)
  • How do we manage tricky relationships (personal or professional) or even some challenging behaviours?
  • How do we deal with bad news?

There is no doubt that reminding ourselves on how we can build resilience will benefit us all.

 

Developing resilience involves 5 key areas:

  1. A mental shift in attitude and outlook. Changing how we think about a challenging task or situation can optimise our resilience- perhaps you’ve come across the saying “it’s not the issue but how we view the issue that can be the problem.” So, instead of sighing “why does this always happen to me”, reframe with “this is not personal, I can move on from this…”

 

  1. Adapting to your environment and being flexible. Consider a bamboo tree- even in the strongest wind, it will bend but not break. It’s deeply rooted but flexible enough to deal with adverse weather conditions. Being able to “go with the flow” while facing life’s challenges is important in building resilience.

 

  1. Sometimes, resilience is all about the recovery– how do we recover when we fall off track? Resilience comes from our ability to learn from “the fall”, restore ourselves and renew. Growth is the core message in recovery. Empower yourself. Ask yourself- what is your healthy way of coping? Make a list and review when needed!

 

  1. Ask for help!! Having awareness around when to ask for help is important in building resilience. “A problem shared is a problem halved”- who is the person that you turn to? Is it a friend? A sibling? A Partner? Maybe it’s your Life Coach or GP?

 

  1. Healthy body = healthy mind. A good diet and exercise will help to build your resilience. Patrick Holfords book “The Feel Good Factor” offers a useful breakdown of food groups and how they can benefit us. Of course exercise feeds both the body and mind, so try to get that blood flowing- there no excuse now that there is a stretch in the evening!

 

The 5 key areas listed above are my tips but I’m sure it’s not definitive, get in touch and let me know what boosting resilience means for you! Let’s share the message and stay strong for ourselves and each other!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Life and Business Coach and Trainer and founder of www.changegrowsucceed.com who resides in Cork. For more information, please contact her on Gillian@changegrowsucceed.com

DIY Career Change

February is upon us.

It’s the time of the year when people really begin to think about their careers. January’s atmosphere of change has dissipated and we begin to slow down and start reflecting on where we’re at, where we want to be etc. Have you found yourself saying:

  • Nothing has changed, it’s still the same ‘ding- dong’…
  • Today was crazy busy but I feel like I got nothing done…
  • I suppose it’s a job so I’ll just stick with it until something better comes along…

Feedback from the women I meet is that this feeling can often trickle into their personal lives and they begin to feel that the load they are carrying is heavy. Their personal lives are impacted by the frustration and the stress of being in a job that they don’t really like anymore. Changing job or even career is definitely on the cards but where to start? Recruitment Websites? Update a C.V.? And then, there’s the challenge of time “I’m already up to 90 with meetings/clients/ the kids- where would I find the time to research a new job- I wouldn’t even know where to start!”

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My advice is to start at the beginning which is around identifying your skills and interests. If you think about it, your skills and experience are catalysts in evolving who you are. They change. So, do we. Thus, what may have attracted us to a position a few years ago may not appeal to us anymore.

Here are the tips I would like to share with you if you feel the need to professionally re- evaluate:

  1. Buy a notebook (create your own ‘Career Change 2015’ portfolio!)

 

  1. Reflect on your previous roles/ jobs and make a note (in aforementioned notebook!) of the aspects you enjoyed while working there- think specifically about the tasks and responsibilities, the environment and the people

 

  1. Make a note your top achievements in your career history and what gave you the greatest sense of pride

 

  1. Complete an interest inventory. These questionnaires are designed to capture your interests and map them onto career sectors! There are some great websites out there and I would recommend http://www.careersportal.ie/ and navigate to the ‘Self- Assessment’ section. Remember the input will determine the output so take the time to answer the questions and go with your gut!

 

  1. Psychometric Assessment is a fantastic resource to further understand your strengths and abilities (and areas for development!)- alot of the ‘good ones’ are licensed and thus, come at a fee but there are some nice freebies out there which will help to boost your awareness. I recommend http://www.humanmetrics.com/ and http://www.cmi-lmi.com/kingdomality.html

 

  1. Start looking for patterns in the feedback above and align this with your own notes from pointers 2 and 3 (above). Start harnessing your strengths!

 

  1. Now, you have the opportunity to make informed choices about employment sectors/ roles or maybe you have now decided that you need to retrain? If this is the case, look no further than qualifax.ie which is a centralised resource for ALL COURSES running in Ireland. Enter your county, some keywords (again, based on your research) and away you go!

A career coach will assist you in this journey, provide support through your research, educate you on tips and tricks of the trade and offer you choices and resilience as you prepare to make the change.

Make a change. Grow. Succeed.

Good luck with it!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business coach who also specialising in career change. She is founder of www.changegrowsucceed.com. For more information, please contact her directly.