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6 Questions to Pursue Your Purpose this Autumn!

6 Questions to Pursue Your Purpose this Autumn!

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What is it about Autumn that invites us to consider change?

Autumn is a season of transition; the temperature changes and there is a decrease in daylight. Autumn can also be a season of rebirth and renewal, a time to adopt a fresh outlook on your life.

To invite ‘purpose’ into our lives that has meaning and is authentic, it’s necessary to evaluate and understand the ‘here and now’. Great results start with great questions and often the most challenging questions are the ones we ask of ourselves. At Change Grow Succeed we have devised 6 Killer Coaching questions to provoke your thoughts and help you evaluate your purpose this Autumn.

Question 1: Review the year so far, what’s going well for you? What’s not working?

Take stock. Autumn is traditionally associated with harvest so take the time to evaluate and appreciate your achievements in 2019, noting any seeds that have come to fruition. Taking stock is a necessary process to ensure your behaviours and actions are aligned with the goals you have set. Remember, the first stage of any change is to face where we are right now, as we cannot change what we don’t acknowledge.

Question 2: If you saw yourself in 3 years time living the same life, how would that feel?

If this image is not a positive one for you- what needs to change? What do you need to start doing or crucially, what do you need to stop doing? This question helps us to create a vision for what we want for ourselves in the future. Certainly, it assists us in evaluating if we are moving in the right direction.

Question 3: What are you like when you’re at your best? What are you doing?

How often do you engage with the activities that you love doing?  How could you do them more often? I often task clients in transition to “reflect on the last time they had fire in their belly” and invite them to note what they were doing. This process prompts clients to bring conscious awareness into their day to day activities for example; at work- emphasis your strengths- don’t fix weaknesses. It’s far more lucrative and fun to leverage better use of your weapons instead of being in constant repair. Why? We are more productive and yield higher results.

Question 4: What gives your life meaning?

This may sound like an obvious question but bringing conscious awareness to what puts meaning into our life is crucial in determining  our priorities. We are products of a very dynamic environment and it’s important to appreciate that what we needed from life 2, 5, or 10 years ago may have been significantly different to now. For example the arrival of children, a bereavement, or general life experience can all alter our view of the world. Taking time to understand this helps us to gauge whether we are on the right path or not.

Question 5: If you could be a role model to yourself, what would you do?

The whole notion of a role- model gets us thinking about who and what inspires us and crucially, why they inspire us. Being a role- model to ourselves challenges us to evaluate our behaviours and intentionally make some changes. Perhaps we want to change how we respond under stress, it can be helpful to examine our triggers and our patterns of responses. With greater awareness comes choice points and where the mind goes, energy will flow.

Question 6: What’s the best thing that could happen to you next year?

This final question invites us to think about 2020 and introducing visualisation, encourages us to think about something that we want to achieve or complete. Napoleon Hill said that “A goal is a dream with a deadline” so, visualise where you plan to be this time next year. Imagine that it has been a fantastic year for you both personally and professionally. Now, make a note of what you accomplished (visualising 2020) and explore how you might achieve this.

At Change Grow Succeed, these are the 6 killer coaching questions we have identified to help re-wire your thinking and tap into your purpose this Autumn. No longer distracted by the summers’ long evenings we can actually commit to a chosen path and anchor it. Good Luck!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach, Public Speaker and Facillitator. For more information, go to www.changegrowsucceed.com

From Frazzled to Free

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There’s no doubt the summer break is perceived as a time to re-boot and recharge but what to do if you’re exhausted and are facing into the last quarter of the year completely frazzled and drained? Having the mental ability to manage the existing pace, overcome challenges, create a vision and achieve results requires mental energy- is there something we could be doing more of to cultivate this?

Here are my tips to eliminate  the ‘frazzle’ and free yourself to reap the fruits of the months ahead:

  • Go Back to Basics

Self- care is not selfish, it’s necessary to sustain us both mentally and physically. Be mindful of the change in season ahead characterized by a change in routines and pace. Sleep has transformative power. It renews us.  Healthy eating and regular exercise are also essential. Our needs are individual and no ‘one- size fits all’ but do take a personal pit-stop and evaluate if you are getting what you need.

  • Beware the Smart phone

Steven Johnson (popular science author) in his TED talk asks us to think about what the internet is doing to our brains. The constant engagement of social media and our smart phones kills both creativity and contemplation. We can all be very consumerist so creating boundaries around our phone usage can help us feel more conscious and present.  What’s your relationship like with your smart phone? Do you take it on holiday? Consider turning off after work or charging your phone downstairs rather than in the bedroom at night. Perhaps, if you’re attending a meeting or on a night out with friends, leave it in your pocket/ a bag. Earlier this year, I made the conscious decision to remove email from my phone, preferring instead to access email at a time convenient for me. It has proved transformative.

  • Get busy doing nothing

The business ‘epidemic’ is rampant. Yet, given that we are human beings and not human doings- the danger is that by having no time to ‘switch off’ we are actually depriving ourselves of the art of thinking. In fact, the over stimulation of data robs our brain of the opportunity to innovate and reflect.  We fantasize about having ‘down time’ but how are we using the ad hoc pockets that come our way during the day? Smartphones? Facebook? We all whinge about how busy we are but give us the chance to do nothing and we baulk!! Interesting isn’t it? Lawton Urnsey said “Idleness isn’t a luxury but rather a necessity to keep you at your peak… “ The challenge? Let’s Unplug and Be Idle- it really will make us all more effective!

  • Get Creative

Prior to the internet, an unanswered question would be met with pause for thought: can I work it out? Where can I go to find the answers?  Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important that knowledge”. There are many benefits to ‘getting creative’ one of which is to boost your brain function!  When was the last time you were creative?  Consider challenging yourself to take 20- 30 mins a day to paint, write, bake, garden, take photos or play! What do you do for fun? I’ve taken inspiration from Julia Camerons “The Artists Way” by journaling first thing in the morning. While I did find it challenging to rise a little earlier initially, I am reaping the benefits of having a clear head as I start my day feeling light and free.

  • A Perfect Pause

Creating calm is about being able to identify what is causing stress in our life.  In the world of wellness, the first step is to take notice. Critical to this is pausing to notice how busy your mind is. Do this authentically, find what works for you. I try to incorporate breathing exercises into my working day. Anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes can have an impact.  Sometimes, it can be hard to sit still so I will savour a walk. In fact, research suggests that when we walk we are engaging in a bilateral movement (eg moving our right leg, we stimulate the left side of our brain) which enables us to use all aspects of our thinking abilities. Being in the moment is hugely positive for our mental well being.

  • Forge Meaning in your Goals

September is an opportune time to embrace change. Know that you’re statistically more likely to achieve results if the change has meaning for you. You need to understand your ‘WHY’ . Equally, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your plans for the year and ask yourself if the path you’re taking is still relevant for you. Connect with your vision.

To finish…

The dawn of a new season can often feel like an opportune time to trial and embrace new routines and habits. I read recently, that “what we think, we become”- if that’s the case, this ‘busyness epidemic’ and our forensically focused days are preventing us from taking a leap or doing something differently. Slowing down can be challenging but is key to nourish and replenish yourself both mentally and physically for the months ahead. Remember, a busy mind is an unhappy mind. Aim to cultivate healthier habits – your mind will thank you!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, go to www.changegrowsucceed.com

Tribe Therapy

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Do you ever think about the people in your tribe? Who are they? What do they mean to you and how often do you get to connect and I mean really connect with them?

Let’s revisit the definition of tribe for a moment. It’s a group of people who share values and ideas, who listen to and support each other. It’s a kinship. Being part of a tribe is primal. It forms part of our identity. It provides us with a sense of belonging which is critical to basic human functioning. Perhaps a modern take on the term ‘tribe’ is having access to and connecting with those people in your life who nurture you, who make you laugh, who inspire you and who accept you, warts and all! Take a minute- can you identify who these people are for you?

Tribes are dynamic- they change, it’s not humanely possible to hold onto all the friends we make in a lifetime! Our tribe members are congruent with our own journey. The people we move towards (or away from!) tend to reflect our values and priorities at any given time. Think about the people you gravitated towards in your teens, your twenties, thirties- were the colleagues on the work nights out replaced with the ‘parents at the school gate’ for much understanding and support?

If, fundamental to the tribe experience is connection then the challenge is finding the time! How often do you connect with members of your tribe? We all have so many commitments and ‘priorities’ – we can often mistake a ‘What’s App’ message for a connection. In an era where we have access to our virtual connections at the touch of a button, people have never felt so lonely or isolated. In fact, a recent article in the Independent revealed that social isolation is becoming an epidemic particularly amongst young people, newly retired and even creeping in to the lives of stay at home mums!

We are all driving in our own lanes, it’s important to come out of these every now and again as connecting with each other is a core part to our existence. As a working mum of 3 and a solo/mumpreneur, I’m learning that the people in my tribe are more important to me than ever.  Finding those like- minded people who inspire me, understand and accept me for who I am is energizing! It’s invaluable to me and is nothing less than any of us deserve.

Last week, some great friends and I spent a night away together. This is really rare (like once a year rare!) Sometimes, it’s about making the the smaller moments count such as the odd lunch date, a walk or a catch up over dinner! The ladies and gents in my tribe have inspired this blog. Although we may not meet as often as I would like, enjoying some down time (when we can) with those that nurture me is a pure tonic and the benefits are far reaching…And I trust that they would say the same!

So put down the lap top, turn off the phone and arrange a meet-up with a fellow tribe member!

 

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For more information, go to http://www.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

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

3 Tips to make 2016 the best year ever!

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I love the beginning of the new year- It brings with it hope and excitement and a great opportunity to introduce the mind and body to some new habits! So, when a local newspaper approached me regarding my tips for 2016, I couldn’t resist the temptation of putting my thoughts on paper to share!

 

Tip #1- Ask Questions of Yourself

Great accomplishments and results begin with great questions. Questions like: “What would I like to do differently this year?” 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 supports)
  • Adapting to our environment (our ability to go with the flow) and
  • Diet (healthy body = healthy mind!)

What does resilience mean to you?

 

Tip #3- Take Time out for You

The saying goes “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. So, start 2016 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. 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.

These are my top 3 tips to ensure that 2016 is great.

Make 2016 YOUR Year! Have a great one!

 

 

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