Monday 31 August 2009


A Coaching colleague of mine introduced me to the S.U.M.O. concept. It raised a smile so, thought I'd share it. It's an acronym and is entirely appropriate to help us move out of the 'Shock, Denial' syndrome we find ourselves in here in Ireland after so many prosperous years. It can relate equally well to any set of circumstances where you need to just 'get a grip'!

So what does it mean...?
S.U.M.O. means 'Shut Up Move On' It's written by an author called Paul McGee and is an easy read. There's a time for reflection, sadness and wonderment regarding our current situation but we also need to be realistic and accepting of things. This is especially true for things outside our control (the economy, negative media etc). Things don't always go according to plan. When they don't, they get better quicker when we adapt to our new circumstances. By managing ourselves and our emotions towards our personal goals, this enables us to get us back on track. Sometimes we take our setbacks and ourselves too seriously. I learned nobody else does! A lot of work is being done at present in terms of 'resilience coaching' which is in the same arena.

The most successful people are not blown off course less........they simply correct and get back on track FASTER, (we control that by the way!). So, if you feeling a bit hard done by, give yourself a quick talking to, dust yourself off and get back on the horse. Smile as you learn, it makes it all more fun!
If you've read the book or used the concept I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Eliminating the Fear of Failure

Eliminating the Fear of Failure

"Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality." Nikola Tesla
Here are some ways you can use meaning-making to instantly reduce (or even eliminate) fear of failure.
In the domain of science, an experiment is an approach for acquiring deeper knowledge about the world, while setting out to solve a particular problem or answer a particular question. Scientists design & perform experiments in order to find out what happens.
Experiments don't succeed or fail per se - they just have an outcome, revealing something about the world in the process. The insidious fear of failure

Lots of people set goals of one sort or another to help live the kinds of lives they desire. Yet all too often, goal-setting can be "corrupted" by fear of failure, which can...
· Stop people setting goals in the first place
· Put so much pressure on them to succeed that they crumble
· Create a focus on failure that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy
In addition, we've all been told how useful it can be to...
· "Detach from result" & "enjoy the process"
· Believe that there's no failure, only feedback
· That you only fail if you don't learn
However... if it's your 15th time trying to stop smoking, or your weight is still yo-yoing after 200 diets, or you're still broke despite setting big-hairy-goals to make a billion dollars, these aphorisms may fall a bit flat.
Here's an alternative. You can frame goals as experiments.
You can frame goals as experiments
Instead of framing goals as win/lose, succeed/fail affairs, you can frame them as experiments.
1) Read the following goal-pairs out loud & find out how they feel different to you...
Success frame
I want to get super fit & healthy, eat nourishing food & look stunningly great.
Experiment frame
For the next month, I want to find out what happens when I avoid sugar, eat plenty of protein & slow carbs, & take regular exercise.
Success frame
I want to become fabulously wealthy.
Experiment frame
For the next 90 days, I want to find out what happens when leave my credit cards in a drawer, live only on cash, & spend 20 minutes a day taking action on increasing my financial intelligence.
While the "success frame" goals can be quite exciting & motivational, they also run the risk of activating the succeed/fail polarity - fear of failure. While it's really useful to set big motivational goals, it may be worth then reframing them as action-oriented experiments.
Why? Because an experiment means something different. The purpose of an experiment is for discovering something, learning something about the world (and yourself).
2) For some change you want to make or goal you want to achieve, find out what happens when you frame it as an action-oriented experiment.
"OK" I hear you say "But what if the thing I'm afraid of failing it is bigger than an experiment. I want to embark on a new career, but I'm worried that if I screw it up, I'll wind up broke & at the bottom of the career ladder."
I was saying goodbye to a friend of mine recently, & I said "Take care." He replied to me "Don't take care - have an adventure."
In cases where an experiment isn't quite enough, you may need something bigger. An adventure!
You can always have an adventure
It's possible to frame any endeavour as an adventure.
· Want to try out a new career? You may love it, or you may loathe it, but either way, you'll have an adventure.
· Want to quit your job & sail around the world? You'll have an adventure.
· Want to start your own business? You'll have an adventure.
· Want to leave a relationship? Or start a new one? You'll have an adventure.
These days, I see my life as one big adventure. The great thing about this is that it doesn't require things to turn out a certain way. After all, adventures are full of twists & turns of one sort or another.
3) If you wish, you might like to find out what happens when you frame life as an adventure.
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure."Helen Keller

Friday 14 August 2009

This is a timely and beautiful story that puts the struggle with life into perspective using nature as the subject. Hope you enjoy it..!


One day a small opening appeared in a cocoon.
A man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to free its body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making progress.
It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could
and it could not go any further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and opened the cocoon.
The butterfly then emerged easily.
It had a shrivelled body and small crumpled wings.

The man continued to wait;
because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand to be able to support the butterfly’s body and become firm.

But nothing happened! In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life creeping around with a shriveled body and crumpled wings. It was never able to fly!

What the man, in his kindness and goodwill, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it had achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in life.
If we were allowed to go through life without any obstacles, it would cripple us.
We would not be as strong as we could have been. Never able to fly.

I asked for Strength and I was given difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom and I was given problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity and I was given brain and brawn to work.
I asked for Courage and I was given obstacles to overcome.
I asked for Love and I was given troubled people to help.
I asked for Favours and I was given opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted.
I received everything I needed.

(Source unknown)

Friday 7 August 2009


Our daughter, uses the teen expression 'CLILLAX' to get us parents to calm down and get a grip. It seemed in perfect union with the season and (this week's weather!).
This is an article that might strike a note............Enjoy!!

IT'S SLOW TIME; Decelerate Your Life If You Want to Achieve More, Says OCTAVIUS BLACK of the 'Mind Gym'.

A QUIET revolution has been occurring in some circles. While we rush around feeling that if we are not frazzled we are being lazy or falling behind, some chic, achieving urbanites are taking life at a distinctly slower pace.
But far from dropping out, or downshifting - the term used to describe people who give up a demanding profession to start an organic vegetable patch in Shropshire - they are still working, and becoming more successful than ever.
Strange as it may seem, the psychological research shows that we're more likely to enjoy our lives and achieve our goals when we rush less and consider more. There's evidence, too, that slowing down our approach to life can make us more creative and efficient.
Research suggests the brain has two modes of thought.
In his book, Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind - Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less, British psychologist and Chairman of The Mind Gym's academic board, Guy Claxton, calls them Fast Thinking and Slow Thinking.
Fast Thinking is rational, analytical, linear, and logical. It is what we do under pressure, when the clock’s ticking and delivers clear solutions to well defined problems.
Slow Thinking is intuitive, woolly and creative. It's what we do when the pressure is off.
Carl Honore, author of the book ‘In Praise Of Slow’, says 'Getting stuck in fast-forward takes the pleasure out of life.
Eureka moments seldom come in a fast-paced office or a high stress moment.'
However, 60 per cent of women report feeling continually short of time; the average couple manages to spend only two hours a day together; and 'more time' is one of the most popular items on our New Year wish lists. Slowing down seems almost impossible.
However, it is possible to take back control. Here are five practical ways to achieve more by slowing down.
CARL HONOR... started the Slow Movement when he caught himself speed-reading his daughter's bedtime story. In his desperation to pack more and more in, he realised that he'd forgotten the reason why he was doing things. Whether it's a delicious dinner, a country walk, don't just go through the motions of completing the task - enjoy it.
The passionate risk-taker may succeed in films, but it's those with stamina and staying power who come out on top in the real world. The wise person lets others rush in, and then learns from their expensive mistakes.
In economic history, the only major example of a successful business that was first to market is Xerox, with the photocopier. They were also first with mobiles and PCs. Not that it bothered Nokia or Dell.
THE major difference between doctors who get sued by their patients and those who don't is how much time they spend listening - even when there's no difference in the treatments.
The time and pleasure dividend you will get later, will more than make up for a few extra minutes listening to your lover's woes or your colleague's extravagant tales. You might even learn something useful.
SPOT where rushing often means you make mistakes: leaving your keys at home, your mobile on the bus or your shopping list in the car.
Pick a physical object that you are likely to see on these occasions and use it as an alarm call to prompt you to slow down. Your toothbrush could be the trigger that reminds you to ease your early morning dash.
NO ONE has enough time to do everything.
Some people are content with this. They recognise that, just like the fact that there is only one ace of spades in a pack of cards, having to work out how best to use our limited time is part of the game of life. These people are the time doves. The time hawks, on the other hand, are constantly frustrated there isn't enough time. In a desperate attempt to be perfect, they try to do it all, and often end up doing it all badly.
TO FIND out how much you feel the need for speed, fill in the questionnaire below. State the extent to which you agree with the following: * I underestimate how long it will take me to do something.
* I tell myself to speed up.
* I am known for being busy by friends and family.
* I worry about the next thing I should be doing.
* I often have to go back to get something I have forgotten.
* I eat on the move.
* I fail to notice beauty until someone points it out.
* I get impatient when I watch someone else doing something that I could do faster.
* I try to multitask.
* I tap my fingers/ jiggle my feet.
* I finish sentences for other people.

Score the above as follows: Always 5 Often 4 Sometimes 3 Rarely 2 Never
. If you skimmed each question and answered it almost before you'd finished reading it, add 5 . If you read each question and thought for at least a second before answering, add 3.
. If you read the question slowly and thought about each answer for at least a couple of seconds, add 1.
40-55 Harried and hurried YOU are a rushaholic and, if you scored in the top half of the scale, may be an adrenaline junkie, too. What requests can you say no to? Can you build in some down time between commitments? Sure, being busy is fun, but when you're feeling battered and beaten you may feel it's time to trade in for a calmer karma.
25-39 Pause and pace YOU are susceptible to becoming a rushaholic but the good news is that you aren't one, yet. Don't get caught in the speed trap where you assume that by doing things faster you will automatically get more done. Enjoy the times when you are feeling unhurried and pay attention to the times when you aren't. Make sure that you allow yourself time to reflect.
11-24 What's the rush?
HURRYING is not an issue for you. You may get accused of dawdling every now and then, and others may sometimes consider you slow. However, as long as you are using your more measured pace to think before you act, enjoy the pleasures around you, and give your undivided attention to what you're doing, you're onto a very good thing. There is a difference between not rushing and grinding to a halt. Be careful not to lose impetus altogether.
* DISCOVER hundreds more ways to find time in The Mind Gym: Give Me Time, published by Time Warner and at