As you will remember I have been writing my story, to help me make sense of myself as I get older and leave a legacy for my children.
Regular readers will also remember that over recent weeks I have been struggling with January blues. In fact according to the media this week is the week where people feel their lowest, and Monday was labelled Blue Monday. As you will remember exercise has helped chase away those blues, but this week those blues have been harder to chase away, so I decided to jump back into my story.
I have been delving into my memory banks, bank to when I was a toddler, like my memories of making Christmas decorations, going cockle picking with dad and my uncle George and auntie Sheila. That made me smile, in fact it gave me warm feeling. A feeling of love and happiness. Now my childhood was by no means perfect but there was a lot of love. That love has helped me chase those blues a little further away.
After a few stuttering starts I am finally back on track writing my story.
I have wanted to write a book for years, but never really had the confidence. Then last year you may remember that I started with a mind map or several on paper. Then it sort of got stuck there as I got bogged down with detail of the mind map and lost my confidence.
Then just before Christmas I decided to give it a go again. I transferred the work I did onto an electronic mind map with much less detail.
I finished this map yesterday. This time I decided to write an overview of my story using the map as a reference point to develop the story.
I started writing up the overview this evening using google docs. As it gives me the flexibility to write when the feeling grabs me, and I can then go back to the map to remind me of any details I may forget.
Now I know I may falter again, I also know that I can adapt my approach and go again if it becomes a struggle again. My reason to write is stronger than my reason not to.
We all like a good moan. In fact moaning and complaining can be quite comforting, as we examine our circumstances critically and then on balance decide that we are generally satisfied with our lot.
There are a number of people who feel trapped in their current lives and are deeply unhappy. I have been there, I was felt I was trapped in a job that I was making me deeply unhappy. The behaviours that I perceived were expected of me were not in line with my personal values. I didn’t think I had a choice to change my circumstances, I didn’t have the self-awareness to see that I did have choices. It was only later when I changed my role that I realised that I had a choice to be happy at work if I wanted to take it.
The key to exercising choice is to raise your self-awareness. Get to know what you like, and what you dislike. Know what really makes you tick and what you are capable of. For most of us we are much more capable than we think we are. We often work and live well within ourselves and rarely step outside of our comfort zones. This is understandable to some extent, most of us would find constantly being outside of our comfort zone quite stressful and tiring. However it is important to challenge ourselves regularly.
If you are unhappy in your job or your life you need to know what it is that is making you unhappy, and why it is making you unhappy. Is the source of your unhappiness within your power to change? If not what are you prepared to do? Can you walk away from the situation and start anew somewhere else? What would be the consequences of this action? Can you accept the consequences, are they better or worse than what you have now? If you think you can live with the consequences and take responsibility, then you need to set yourself a goal and make a plan of how you are going to achieve it. If you are not able to live with the consequences of walking away, you need to accept the situation that makes you unhappy. That does not mean that you have to be unhappy. You have to change what you think about the situation. Once you have accepted that you can not change the situation you are in and that you are not prepared to leave the situation behind, you need to spend time looking at all the positives that are in your life and how you can make them more prominent in your life than they are now. This is also a good time to examine your aspirations, and concentrate on those aspirations that compliment all that is positive in your life. Once you have identified those key aspirations, it is time to set yourself some goals, and then plan to make these aspirations a reality.
This is by no means an easy exercise to undertake alone. Having a coach will help you work through every step. The coaches role is to guide you through a process. You provide the content and all the ideas the coach provides the process and challenge to help you raise your self-awareness, set your goals and evaluate your success. Coaches do not give you the answers, they just hold the flashlight for you.
If you think you could benefit from a coach get in touch. We can discuss your situation and see if coaching is for you.
I was 46 this week. Which is no special landmark, in fact it is something or nothing. A non-entity of a birthday I suppose.
Throughout the week building up to my birthday I had been asking myself what has brought me to this point in my life. It certainly doesn’t feel it has been part of a master plan. Saying that I can think of a number of goals along the way.
I thought it would be interesting to piece them all my stories together from birth until now to actually see what has brought me to this point. A memoir of sorts.
I suppose there was a couple of things I wanted to achieve:
- I wanted to see if I had the memory to be able to remember enough events in my life to make it meaningful
- To map out events in my life that have shaped who I am
- To document my life for future members of my family to read when I am no longer around to tell them
As some of you will know I am a sucker for a mind map. So that is where I started. I first drew a mind map of my life. I find this method of bringing my thoughts together incredibly easy and within minutes I had filled a page with recollection from different times in my life. I don’t think in straight lines so that is why I like working with mind maps as they allow you to leave a subject and then come back and add more at a later stage.
Once I had my life mindmap I could then move onto more detailed maps of each aspect of my life. This again was suprisingly easy to do and I found myself triggering memories in the dark recesses of my mind, some of them that have not seen the light of day for over 30 years. Below is a picture of my mindmap for the first 10 years of my life. It started quite slowly and then it just started flowing, and I found myself coming back again and again to add more.
This is project is really still in its infancy, but I can tell you it is really satisfying and enlightening. At times it has been quite emotional, which I suppose is not surprising really for someone who cries watching X Factor.
Now I have a mindmap for each stage of my life I have started writing my stories. When I have a few put together I may share them on here, we shall see.
As an exercise so far I have found it enjoyable, which I suppose is all you can ask for. When you are trying to make sense of your life and think about your future it is vital to know where you are and how you got there.
I will keep you posted on my progress.