Child, it's time to break the shell
This is the chorus from one of my favorite songs, from one of my favorite albums, from one of my favorite artists. India Arie’s Songversations album is full of all sorts of beautiful thought provoking songs. ‘Break the Shell’ is that reminder song for me that brings home the fact that the magic happens in that space of discomfort that is often filled with fear.
Fear is a natural and inevitable emotion. This is the first and most important point that we have to take in. The fear that I am addressing in this post is the fear that comes from when you are trying new things, or aspiring to hit higher heights in your personal and professional lives. Although I would be very happy to kick fear off of the growth train, I have learned that it is an essential and powerful emotion that is necessary. I venture to say that if you are never feeling any fear, you may not be playing big enough. Now, I am a little too practical of a person to tell you to throw caution to the wind and jump on the radical train, but I want to encourage you to examine your fear a little more.
Doing new things can be exciting. There will be failures. There will be discomforts. There will even be fears of failure and discomfort. The important thing is that you don’t allow these fears to dictate your pathway and your journey. Failures let you know what isn’t working and how you need to regroup. In order to grow, you have to push past the fear.
For those of you ready to try new things, build new relationships, and make changes in your lives, know that fear will be there. Fear can sneak in when you are saying ‘no’ to something in your life that is no longer serving your needs, or when you are saying ‘yes’ to a new opportunity…fear finds a way in. The key is not to allow it to paralyze you. Here are a few tips on helping you deal with your fears.
1. Separate yourself form the fear. Know that it is an essential emotion and that you don’t need to protect yourself from it. Accept it and then let it go.
2.Know that fear is universal. Sometimes we feel as though we are the only ones feeling fear. Everyone feels fear. It may look different for different people, but it is an emotion that creeps in for everyone.
3. Be mindful of your stories. Fear often comes as a result of what we have been telling ourselves. Be sure to check your thinking. Never discount the power of the mind as it will always show us more evidence of the things we want to see. When fear takes over, our mind searches for other stories to add to that narrative.
4. Understand your fear. Take the time to study it. Does it show up in particular situations? Does anxiety like to tag along for the ride? Notice patterns in it’s arrival, notice ways that you manage it that work for you, notice what doesn’t work, notice your triggers and make a plan.
5. Tap into your supports. Sometimes fear can become overwhelming. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a fellow colleague or entrepreneur, or coach, have a safe space that you can talk about your fear. Stewing in fear sometimes allows that fear to grow. Having a good conversation can reduce it’s power, put it into perspective and allow you to let it go.
Exhaustion, in many societies, has become a status symbol. If you are exhausted, you must be making big movements. If you are busy, you must be extremely productive. Recently I have tried hard to stay away from “busy” as a way of life. As a recovering member of the ‘busy badge’ crew, I know how easy it is to devote time only to the things that meet the needs of our families and businesses and that only move us towards our personal and professional goals. Sometimes we just feel like we have too much on our shoulders to take a break, right? You will break when it’s all done, right? Wrong. There will always be more to do. There will always be more productivity that can be achieved in family and professional lives. So, this points to our need to hit the pause button and be intentional about the rest and play that we incorporate into our lives.
Full disclosure: I am new to the rest and play club! Although intellectually I have known the value of rest and play for some time now, it is only in the last couple of years that I have been truly intentional about incorporating it into my day to day. I am certainly not at the amount of rest and play that I would like, but I am getting closer.
In order to make ‘rest and play’ work for you, you first need to move past any limiting beliefs that ‘rest and play’ are wasting time. Sometimes it may seem this way, but in fact it is the opposite. When rest and play are part of your norm, you will feel more alive, more open, more imaginative, more creative and have higher levels of happiness and productivity.
‘Rest and play’ looks different for different people and across different life cycles. If you are moving towards making rest and play more intentional, there are a few things to consider finding an equation that words for you.
1. Consider your personality. The list of rest and play activities for extroverts and introverts can look quite different. If you are someone that has to make an intentional play and rest plan, this is a step you don’t want to skip, as choosing activities that are not in line with your personality may be the fastest way to cut out rest and play!
2. Be honest with what you love to do. The first thing is really to take stock of what you love to do at this point in your life. Make sure this list is about YOU and not about what you think you should like to do.
3. Be honest about what family fun looks like. Making a list of what rest and play looks like for your family is a great idea. For some families a hike may bring great joy, for other families the idea of a hike brings on crying children, frustration and anxiety.
4. Choose a timeline. Whether you are incorporating your rest and play into your life daily, or on specific days, have a plan. It is easy for rest and play to be put on the back burner or completely pushed off the to do list when it hasn’t been scheduled in.
5. Be compassionate and realistic. For my fellow ‘busy badge’ crew members, moving towards intentional downtime can itself bring on anxiety. Be compassionate with yourself and ease your way into it. Plan what is realistic and will bring you joy for you at this point in your life. Constantly adjust and re-evaluate as you need to.
Reading is all around us. Whether you are reading Facebook status updates, Tweets by your favorite celebrity, or chatting with a friend on What’s App, you are constantly reading. We live in a society that thrives on bite size chunks of reading. I have a question for you though, when was the last time you read a book?
In a world where we are constantly bombarded by notifications, where binge-watching is a stress reliever and where multitasking often seems like an essential, many have let go of reading for pleasure. We look for quick and efficient blog posts that can be read in less than 5 minutes and summary articles on professional development topics that interest us. The thing is, pleasure reading should be part of our personal and professional growth game! The benefits of daily reading go far beyond the obvious that are often highlighted to children and teens. Adding an intentional 15 – 30 minutes of reading a day can be game changing to one’s personal and professional life.
Here are my top 5 benefits to daily reading.
1. Increased Knowledge. When you are reading, whether fiction or non-fiction, you are adding tons of new bits of knowledge to your reserves. In addition to gaining knowledge in areas of interest, you are also improving your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words will be added to your written and spoken vocabulary. The knowledge gained will increase your confidence and will come out when you need it. Knowledge is something that can never be taken away from you!
2. Mental Stimulation. Focused reading is mentally stimulating. Think of the brain as a muscle. In order to build and keep a muscle strong you need to constantly exercise. When you add consistent reading into your daily routine, you will gain the benefits of this stimulation which include improved memory, focus and concentration.
3. Stress Relief. Reading can provide a breather from everyday life. Personal and professional lives will be stressful at times. A good book can transport you to another world, have you laughing aloud uncontrollably, and in many cases, even giving you a sense of tranquility or inner peace.
4. Readiness. In life, many things often feel like luck. But is it really luck, or is it when preparation meets opportunity? Daily reading in areas of interest keep you constantly prepared and ready to jump on new opportunities.
5. Increased Empathy. When we read about the lives of others, the circumstances they have been faced with, and the paths they have taken, it makes us more in-tune with the needs of others. In turn, this helps us to understand and work with or be with people that are different from us.
Take the time to make an intentional reading plan for yourself. Choose a time and devote 15-30 minutes each day to reading. Challenge yourself to make it a habit and get it done. Then sit back and enjoy the benefits that come!
2018 is behind us! Hello 2019!
‘Hello 2019’ has taken a life of it’s own and I am so excited to share it! This game changing session is a little different than our usual workshops at Learn and Lead. It really gets to the core of who YOU are and what YOU want in life.
After much creating, changing and molding, it is ready to go! I am thankful for the members of my tribe that have been my sounding board during this creation process. My pre-launch sessions have also caused me to change the format slightly. Therefore, this Saturday’s session has been cancelled. Anyone who signed up for the Saturday January 5th session will be offered a private session. ‘Hello 2019’ is best suited for private sessions or small intimate groups for maximum impact.
‘Hello 2019’ is now available privately in person at Learn and Lead, online as a one on one live session, or in small groups of 2-10 people.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your session!
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.