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Monday, November 2, 2015

Negative patterns are sapping your success

Deja Vu – all over again

Negative patterns are sapping your success... Read this and rise up

We’re all creatures of patterns. Good ones. Bad ones. Win seven games, lose nine. Most of us repeat and maintain these patterns throughout our lives and we often do so unconsciously. “From waking to dressing to eating, we’ve learnt to do things a certain way,” says Dr Alan Manevitz, an associate professor or psychiatry at CornellUniversity in the US. “While most of these behaviours are harmless, some can become serious handicaps without our realising it.”
Psychiatrists contend that these patterns are established early in life. “The relationships we had with our siblings and parents largely determine how we interact with the world,” explains Manevitz. “This includes our patterns of loving and choosing partners. Career ambitions are often affected by school and peer experiences.”

But why would be keep repeating a behaviour that didn’t bring positive results? “The answer is because we like the familiar,” advises Dr John Foreyt, Director of the Behavioural-Medicine Research Centre at Baylor College of Medicine in the US. “Our desire to stay within our comfort zone lulls us into cyclical behaviour. Furthermore, since most of us have difficulty seeing our patterns objectively, we often don’t realise we’re caught in them.”
Here are five principles to help break a losing streak and put some wins up on the board.
  1. 1. To break a pattern, you must first see the pattern
Here are four of the most common:
  • Get in shape déjà vu: you’ve tried numerous weight-loss methods over the years, dropping a few kilos but always gaining them back (and then some).
  • Serial job dissatisfaction: wherever you go, there always seems to be incompetent bosses, uncooperative co-workers or hostile circumstances. Your hopes inevitably dissolve into frustration and argument.
  • Continuous financial discontent: no matter how much money you make, you never seem to have enough. Your debt is up and your savings are down – exactly the opposite of how it should be.
  • Repetitive toxic relationships: you’re attracted to the same type of woman – and we don’t mean blondes, brunettes or redheads. For example, maybe it’s the Marriage Seeker, who’s constantly trying to get you to commit; or the Bad Girl who’s exciting but decidedly only a short-term phenomenon; or the Rag Doll, who goes along with anything but is so unchallenging.

If you are still having trouble seeing yourself in these descriptions, here’s a trick to help you focus: as you hold up the mirror to examine yourself, turn it just a bit to look at your parents. Think of five negative patterns you see in Mum and Dad, then pick the ones you are most likely duplicating.
  1. 2. You are responsible for your own misfortune
That’s because you have choices. Yes, you’re the one who chooses to be with the woman who hates all of your friends. You’re the one who chooses to stay at a terrible job with a nightmare boss. You’re the one who chooses to overeat. Rather than take responsibility, it’s easier to make excuses or blame others. We’re experts at this.
But if you’re going to break a negative pattern, you must accept responsibility for them. A simple way to do this is by eliminating excuse-oriented language, what’s called the “poor me” trap. (This includes blaming yourself.) For instance:
Instead of saying, “Losing weight is so difficult for me.” Say, “I’m overweight because I eat more kilojoules than I burn each day.”
Instead of saying, “There’s so much to do it’s overwhelming me." Say, “I didn’t prioritise well.”
Instead of saying, “This job is killing me.” Say, “I’m the one choosing to remain here.”
When you put the word “me” at the end of a complaint rather than “I” at the beginning, you confirm passivity and helplessness and allow a negative pattern to continue. Just by using “I” statements like these, you can often begin taking action that will help modify your behaviour in a positive way. You are the actor in your life, not the audience.

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  1. 3. Within every failure is opportunity
Don’t be ashamed of failure. So it’s you who’s been screwing up, not everyone else. Welcome to the club. As Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Failure is a misunderstood and under utilised asset.
Look back on your failures and try to extract one thing that you learned from each. These are the keys to breaking your negative patterns. And for inspiration, consider this man’s resume:

Age 22: Failed at business.
Age 23: Ran for legislature and lost.
Age 24: Failed at another business.
Age 25: Elected to legislature
Age 26: Girlfriend died.
Age 27: Had nervous breakdown
Age 29: Defeated for Speaker of the House
Age 31: Defeated for elector
Age 34: Defeated for Congress
Age 37: Elected to Congress
Age 39: Defeated for Congress
Age 46: Defeated for Senate
Age 47: Defeated for Vice President
Age 49: Defeated for Senate
Age 51: Elected for President
The man is ex-president of the US Abraham Lincoln.
  1. 4. If you want to see results, set specific goalsMost men spend more time planning their annual holiday than their lives. If you want to be as happy and content every day as you are for those two weeks at the beach, then you need to approach life just as thoroughly. Instead of saying you want to be fit, successful or in love with a gorgeous woman, you need to map a route for reaching that destination. Let’s say you want to lose 20kg in 12 months. But that isn’t specific enough to act upon. So break it down. You figure that in order to reach this goal, you’ll have to cut 2000kj from your daily diet and start exercising. Suddenly, the insurmountable thing called weight loss becomes more doable. Thirty minutes of jogging, a couple of fewer cans of soft drink…you could do that.
Use this same strategy for planning and reaching all your goals. Pick something bold and inspiring to aim for. Then break it down into detailed steps or sub-steps that will get you there. To run the marathon, you first need to make it to the next telephone pole.
  1. 5. Achievement is never an accidentNor is it an unconscious process. Those who realise their goals are continually assessing their progress toward them. To stay on course, use these tricks.
-Practice pro-active behaviour. Focus on what you can do right now to change this part of your life. Instead of leaving it up to chance to send you the ideal woman, make a list of all the things you are looking for – personality type, appearance, financial situation, everything. And only go out with those who fit the criteria.

-Repeat affirmations. These are strong, positive statements outlining something desirable as, in fact, attainable. (“I’m going to nail this interview and secure the job,” or “I’m going to ask her out and she’ll say yes.”) Speak them or think them to yourself. Talk yourself into believing. The effect
is magical.

Be opportunity ready. In order to achieve, you have to be ready and willing to act. You have to know what you want and when the opportunity presents itself, you have to muster the confidence to follow through. If you don’t break it off with your current girlfriend and realise she represents a negative pattern, you won’t be available to meet the one who will become your wife.

We really are the authors of our own lives and we can write a different outcome than the one we seem destined for. Start by changing just one small thing. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
Another legacy is Psychology "frames", interbehavioral patterns with predictable outcomes that people engage, they become subjective of the frame when all is needed is to face off and break the frame and change the outcome.
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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Depression – and the lies it tells soloists

One of the worst things depression does to a person is tell them they’re a worthless fraud. Well I’m here to show you how depression lies, and how to fight back.
So there I was, happily driving along the sunshine lit road of life. My new business name was registered, the website was built, business cards were delivered, social media was sorted and I was ready to launch my new coaching business out into the world.
I was confident it was going to be a huge success; after all, I had won a coaching award, I was very clear about my ideal customer, and I knew that I could help people from the numerous client testimonials I had gained over the years.
I was living my passion and my purpose, and the possibilities for me and my new business were limitless.

Then I turned the corner.

And was again plunged into the dark tunnel of depression.  The darkness was utterly complete, as if I were suddenly cut off from the world, all alone in an unfamiliar place. The direction I had been heading in, was lost and there was no GPS signal to help me find my way out.
"You compare yourself to everyone else and you can quickly convince yourself that you should just give up on your dreams because you will never achieve anything. "
The funny thing is, it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I find myself in that tunnel, it is always a surprise. There are never any warning signs (or at least none that I see).
Having been on a roller coaster of ups and downs in the last eleven years, it was suggested to me recently that I may have Bipolar Disorder, something which I have now had a formal diagnosis for.  Due to this, I have periods where my energy is greatly increased, I feel supremely confident and am full of brilliant ideas. These creative and slightly manic highs are swiftly followed by very deep and dark lows which seem endless. I go from feeling as though I could change the world, to barely being able to change my clothes.
The worst thing about these low periods of depression? It’s the lies.

Depression says things like:

  • Who do you think you are to believe that you can help other people?
  • How can you help others when you can barely help yourself?
  • You are a fraud and one day soon everyone will find you out.
It’s no use trying to think positively or focus on gratitude, because depression also says:
  • You’ve got no right to feel sad.
  • Think of all the people who are much worse off than you; you should be grateful instead of being lazy.
  • You are so pathetic; everyone would be better off without you.
As a result, you begin to question every skill you believed you had. You compare yourself to everyone else and you can quickly convince yourself that you should just give up on your dreams because you will never achieve anything.
Well I’m here to tell you that’s not true. Here are some of the many things I’ve achieved in business while also battling depression and mental illness.
  • In 2010, I was awarded ‘Best Newcomer Coach of the Year’ by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Coaching.
  • I successfully carried out workshops on managing stress and reducing anxiety for a local women’s refuge.
  • I was presented with an award for ‘Greatest Contribution’ for a women-in-business mentoring program.
  • I was part of a consultative team within a networking organisation for businesses committed to working with integrity, inclusiveness and equality.
  • I worked with clients both in Australia and internationally to assist them in managing their own lives and businesses. Here are what two of my clients had to say:
“Sharon has an amazing ability to communicate with warmth and sincerity and I particularly  like that she helped me realise I don’t need to be perfect and I can make small changes over time.”
“The best thing about working with Sharon is how open, honest and genuine she is, and how she instills in you a deep sense of trust – the feeling that she truly understands.”

Not bad right?

It’s important to remember depression isn’t rational, it’s not sensible and it does not work with logic. It is paralysis, fear, overwhelm, shame, emptiness, exhaustion and loss: loss of self, loss of purpose and in some cases, loss of life.
Whenever I find myself being pulled down into the abyss, I take time out to reflect on the above achievements and words from my clients.
It’s not a cure – but when depression is lying to me, it really helps.
Do you suffer from depression? Do you have any tools for managing your depression when it’s telling you lies?
If you are feeling sad for more than a few days, are lacking your usual confidence, feel hopeless, unworthy or lost, or you are tempted to self-harm or self-medicate, please take the first step.
Reach out to a trusted family member or friend.
Or call one of the organisations below:
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
  • Mens’ Line Australia – 1300 78 99 78
  • Salvos Care Line – 1300 36 36 22
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • In an emergency you can contact your GP or visit your local hospital.