Do we put ourselves in pigeon holes?

I was reading a blog this morning that what prevents us from making lasting changes to our lives is the assumptions we make about ourselves and how we should think and behaved. These assumptions are based on our identity, whether that be professional or social. For instance as a nurse I am supposed to be giving, patient and self less among other things.

So we end up living up to our persona and what is expected, instead of what really drives us.

So I asked myself what assumptions do I make about myself that may limit what changes I perceive I can make.

Well I assume that I am less important than people in positions of authority, professionals and those that wear expensive clothes. This is quite clearly ludicrous but is definitely there. I will often position myself to be subservient to those I assume are better than me. I recognise that this prevents me from being successful in certain situations. Now coaching challenges these assumptions, creating an alternative narrative to these meetings where equality is the dominant thought.

Now that is a crude example but hopefully gets the point across.

So what assumptions do you make about yourself?

One I hear a lot is, I can’t run I am not the right shape. Now I’m not being funny but have you seen me. I have a round belly and little legs. You may not be built to break a world record but you can still run.

So once you have examined your assumptions then ask yourself if these assumptions are helpful and positive and which assumptions are starting to get in the way of you making changes.

Once you have identified these assumptions, look at what you value in life and live your life to your values not the pigeon hole you are currently in.

Don’t expect an overnight change you have had these assumptions a long time, so you will have to stop and ask yourself am I assuming this about myself or does it reflect who I really am.

If you live in Hull and want to discuss how coaching could challenge my assumptions. Send me an email or message me

A brief look back at 2017 then full speed into 2018

New Year’s Day is a reflective day. Normally down to the over indulgence of the night before. I was a good boy this year and only had a few drinks, in front of the telly. Saying that I went for a run this morning and still felt the effects of a week of over eating and drinking.

Anyway normally when I look back at my life, like many others I get bogged down ruminating about all the events that did not go well. This is far from constructive and generally makes me feel rubbish about myself. No doubt that sounds familiar to many of you.

This year I decided to use a positive psychology approach, in fact an approach I encourage at work. Instead of constantly looking at what we don’t do well, why don’t we try to learn from what we did well. So I have looked at my achievements this year, and celebrate them. Thinking about them is easy enough, and is quite enjoyable, even inspiring. Writing them down and telling people is quite difficult, as no one likes a show off. But I am going to give it a go. Really telling people what you have done well is not showing off if you encourage others to share their successes. All it does is make us all feel happy and inspired to achieve more. That is the point of a review, to inspire your future plans using your previous recipes of success, rather than you recipes of failure.

So here are my highlights (my successes).

Most of my highlights are work related:

  • I have devised a document that incorporates a sepsis screening tool and sepsis checklist for children
  • I set up a new induction and rotation for newly qualified children’s nurses
  • I have coached 5 young people helping them to decide their future
  • I have coached 4 leaders to further develop their leadership skills
  • I have delivered human factors training to all the newly qualified nurses at our hospital trust in October, and now helping to roll out a programme for the all staff next year
  • I have started as coaching lead within the trust for a year
  • I am working in partnership with my local university, doing a meta ethnography on attitudes of young people with eating disorders to the care they receive in a general hospital.
  • I have started writing down my memories for my boys to provide them with a history of my family when I was growing up
  • I have finally accepted my depression and don’t let it control my life
  • I am optimistic now for the first time
  • I am starting to enjoy my own company and one day soon will actually tell myself how much I appreciate me
  • I am learning to share my job with someone else
  • I have started to write my own self help guide, and if it helps me I might share it with you all (for a small fee)

There may be some more achievements, but that will do.

You know what, I actually feel quite good. When you start writing it down you realise how much you have done. Give it a go, it really is inspiring. You may think that you have not done anything much. That is what I felt. It’s not true, you have, you are just conditioned not to concentrate on the positive, but dwell on the negative.

So now I have looked at what I have achieved I can look forward to what comes next. Now a number of what I have started will continue. In fact most of them will. Many of them will change and become bigger and better. This next year I also want to take part in some more research, start teaching coaching skills, further develop my coaching, and provide more coaching to more people (to make coaching accessible, and an important part of all of our lives).

2018 will be incredible and exciting if I make it. Your year ahead will be whatever you make it.

If you want to do something amazing, get in touch we can have a chat and decide if being coached is for you.

Is social media getting you down?

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Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are wonderful, for sharing what you are doing with your friends, connecting with customers and keeping in contact with friends and family far afield.

If we are doing something  exciting or different we love to put a picture on to let everyone know what that we are doing something of interest. Or if we do something as a group we can tag all involved so we can all share the fun we had. This is all positive we feel good because we had a nice time and we wanted to tell people, and your friends feel good because they can see you having fun.

However there are times don’t you agree where you can start to think that everyone you know seems to be having far more fun than you, going on more expensive holidays, than you, are far more photogenic, have more intelligent better looking children than you?

This time of year can be worst with everyone jetting off to warmer climes, taking the obligatory photograph of their naked feet pointing towards a pool with a fancy cocktail and the must read novel just in shot. Don’t forget the photograph of the 6am pint of beer at the airport. Don’t get me wrong, I am overjoyed that my friends are having a lovely time on holiday, and it is nice to see where they are getting sunstroke this year, it is just that when I am getting ready for work on a cold rainy August morning my envy neurones (might not be scientifically accurate) become activated, and resentment starts to kick in. Then I feel bad that I am having less than charitable thoughts about my friends. So now I feel bad because my life is shit and I am a miserable mean-spirited man. Thanks Facebook!

When this happens, which is often (daily in the summer, and Christmas, and in during the Winter, also around Bank Holidays), I have started to look through my own pages on Facebook, and Instagram. You know what? There are an awful lot of statuses where I am basically boasting and bigging my life up, just like everybody else, apart from these posts and me trying to drum up business for my coaching (if you are interested in being coached just message me). That is exactly how it should be, when I go on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram I am not looking for statuses telling me they had an alright day or a picture of someone sat with a cuppa looking bored, I want to see someone’s toes near a swimming pool, or a drunk at 6am in an airport.

What we have to do when we are looking at these statuses is that they do not represent the everyday reality of our friends but just the best bits they want to share with the world. We are always going to feel envious, however we don’t have to let it make us feel bad. Once you start to feel that way, examine your own life looking at what you have done, where you have been and how much fun you have had. When it all boils down we are all essentially the same.

As ever if you want to discuss how you approach your life and might be interested in having some coaching get in touch, the first hour is free and you don’t have to make a commitment to continue in advance.

matt@mattycoach71.com

Running for my mindfulness

Over the past 2 months I have been running a lot more frequently. I know try to run at least 5 times a week. I generally run 1 to 2 miles each time. Not far I know and to be honest I am painfully slow. I run mostly in the evenings during the week and in the morning at weekends. Sometimes I will mix it up and go to the gym where I will go on the treadmill and have a go at some weights.

As I said I have been doing this for a few months, in fact you may remember my previous blog posts on the subject. Naively I thought my body shape would change I would be all slim and lithe like by now. No chance I’m still a porker! I have discovered that you have to adjust you diet if you want to get slimmer, which is a shame, I am quite partial to a bag of crisps and the odd chocolate bar. Oh I will just have to be that fat bloke in sports gear.

Anyway I digress, the main reason for this blog is to describe how I now feel after running regularly for the past few months. I have mentioned before the mindfulness I experience when I run. Well now that has spilled over into everyday life. When I feel myself getting stressed out by events or thoughts I can now in most cases switch on this mindful state when I run. Even though I don’t run for long, so therefore I am only mindful for short periods everyday, that regular practice of mindfulness everyday allows me to employ the technique when I need to.

I will try to explain how it works for me. When I am running in generally hurts, mainly because I am in my mid forties and overweight, so my joints object quite strongly to moving this lump around at a greater speed. I also find that for the first couple of minutes my breathing is all over the place. So that is where I start I listen to my breathing. I don’t try to regulate it or slow it down, I just listen to it. I allow myself to be breathless for the first 2 minutes. I am then able to relax and work with my body rather than fighting it. After about 2 minutes my breathing settles down and gets into a regular rhythm. I can then use that breathing as a reference point along with the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. These are places I can bring myself back to say when my knees and ankles start hurting or when my thoughts wonder to unhelpful areas. I will also take in my surroundings, I notice the trees, the colour of the sky, cars passing by, the feel of the wind, rain or sunshine on my face. My mind quickly relaxes and allows me to experience what is happening to me now, rather than what has already happened or what might happen in the future. However if positive memories or positive plans of the future enter my head I do allow them to linger for a while, but I will always come back to the hear and now to help me through the run. (Remember I am only running for a few minutes so it does not take up big chunks of my day. Can you give up at most an hour 5 times a week).

Now I use that technique 5 times a week I find it so easy to bring myself into the moment when it all gets to much. As a result Foggy now has a much reduced impact on my life.

So if you are struggling with your mood, think about taking part in some exercise and employing mindfulness.

Don’t forget I am still offering free coaching sessions providing you contact be before 5pm on 1st August 2017

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My week as a Coach

I was holding a coaching session yesterday afternoon at work. I know I have said this before but it was one of the best sessions I have held. The member of staff wants to be coached, and she is full of ideas. All I have to do is ask a few questions to help her with focus and clarity and watch her work out what she needs to do.

I know I have had a good coaching session, when I hardly speak. The only times I do is to ask questions to either open expand a statement further or move the conversation on when it loses focus. I always allow the conversation to wander a little as often the journey to bring the conversation back to the coaching subject can reveal other issues that the client/coachee really wants to give air time to.

Coaching as a process for this member of staff and at least 4 other members of staff I coach is having a dramatic effect on their practise and outlook on life in general. These staff are not failing or very senior. In my eyes they are exceptional, however they would not describe themselves as such. What I am trying to say is, that are like vast majority of people (hardworking, bright, and good at their jobs). All 5 have benefitted from having a coach in different ways. They all approach the coaching relationship for different reasons, the one thing they have in common was willingly entered into the coaching contract.

Getting back to the wonderful session I had yesterday. As I said previously the coachee did all the hardwork and came up with all ideas on how to evolve her practise to ensure she develops in the way she wants to. The coaching experience allows her to take control of her own career. All of her action plans are formed by her, therefore she has believes in them.

How many times have you completed action plans created by others or created action plans based on what you think you should do? Well coaching gives you the space to create your plans based on what is best for you, using the route that you decide. That is not to say that you ignore external influences, such as corporate objectives. If you work for an organisation where you are strongly disagree with their vision and objectives, then maybe you should consider changing your job if you ever want to be happy and successful. Most of us generally buy in to corporate objectives and values, and when we set ourselves professional goals they tend to be in line with the organisation as we want to be successful there.

That really is a long winded way of saying trust your own judgement, and set your goals on what you want to do and not what others tell you to do. Having a coach gives you that space.

Seek out a coach at work, a lot of organisations have them now.

If you have a senior position in an organisation that has yet to adopt a coaching approach, and the best place to start is to get yourself your own coach.

If you are self employed definitely get yourself a coach, for a relatively small investment you will have a dramatic effect on how you approach future business planning.

If anyone is interested in coaching, please e-mail me. I will either be able to offer you some coaching or signpost you to a coaching network that may be able to help you.

my email: matt@mattycoach71.com

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Enjoy The Moment

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What a gorgeous weekend it has been. The weather has been truly wonderful.

I was cutting the grass this morning and was looking around my garden and thought to myself how lucky I am to be here right now enjoying the sunshine, listening to the birds singing and smelling freshly cut grass.

We spend so much of our time worrying about what we have and have not done, and planning what we are going to do next that we can miss what is right in front of us. The events of the past few weeks should make us all stop and take stock, as our lives can be snuffed out or changed forever in a blink of an eye. Live every moment, pay attention to what is all around you.

Now planning for the future is important, but it should never be at the expense of the here and now. How do you know what you want if you don’t really know what you have.

I am as guilty as the next person for ruminating on what I have done and what I am going to do. When I find myself doing this (usually in the morning), I start looking around me, I pay attention to my surroundings, what is next to me, what is above me, below me, and in front of. Before I know it I am appreciating what is happening to me now. My mood lifts immediately. I am alive, I can sense what is around me. As my mood lifts I feel more confident and more creative, and therefore more productive.

It is really important to plan and strive for a brighter future, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.

Mix Tape of my 30s and 40s

Here is my last mix tape, bringing up to date with music that I have been listening to for the past 16 years. A soundtrack to my boys growing up into young men, me losing my dad, getting promoted, moving house, struggling with my mental health, it has been an eventful 16 years and I am […]

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Here is my last mix tape, bringing up to date with music that I have been listening to for the past 16 years. A soundtrack to my boys growing up into young men, me losing my dad, getting promoted, moving house, struggling with my mental health, it has been an eventful 16 years and I am grateful for every moment of it. If a journey is going to be worthwhile it should be challenging. The view from the top of the mountain is always more satisfying if you have worked hard getting there.

Again my original list was 50 songs long, these are the songs that resonate with me the most at this moment, ask me again in a few months and it may well be different. I have provided a link for each song so you can have a listen. I will also provide a link to the playlist on iTunes.

30s and 40s mix tape

Rococo-Arcade Fire

The View From The Afternoon-Arctic Monkeys

Claire-Baxter Dury

Gossamer Thin-Conor Oberst

Make You Better-The Decemberists

My Sad Captains-Elbow

God is a DJ-Faithless

Ballad of a Dying Man-Father John Misty

Sixteen-The Heavy

Sequestered in Memphis-The Hold Steady

Club Foot-Kasabian

Jenny Was a Friend of Mine-The Killers

Ubu-Methyl Ethel

Hyper Music-Muse

House of Cards-Radiohead

Present Tense-Radiohead

Are We Really Through-Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs

I Still Want You-Richard Hawley

Adore-Savages

Under The Pressure-The War on Drugs