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Are We Nearly There Yet?

Coach and Cognitive Hypnotherapist Victoria Ward explores how to deal with overwhelm, impatience and fear on the journey to success

One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn from starting my own business is the need to be patient. It hasn’t always been easy though. Whether it was getting my website up and running, signing on those first clients, or researching systems to make my day more efficient, I have often heard that child-like voice inside moaning: “Are we nearly there yet?” and “How much longer will it be?”

Five years in to my business, and that voice is still there. How much longer will it be before I have enough clients paying me enough money that I can take the winter off to lie on a beach somewhere? Am I nearly there yet with all the blogging and marketing and networking so that I can focus more on the stuff I love doing? How much longer until I know everything I need to know to really believe in myself?

We all have destinations in our life that we want to reach but it feels like forever until we’ll get there, if we’ll ever get there at all that is. Wouldn’t it be great if we could jump into a time machine and fast forward to the moment of our success, without all the hard work and patience required to make the journey?

After all, no-one wants to forgo their favourite foods in order to drop a dress size. And who relishes the late nights necessary to get their own business off the ground while still working their day job? We want the results, and we want them now.

Waiting for something to be different

Part of the problem can be that the task ahead seems so big that you end up frozen with inaction, overwhelmed and giving up before you’re really started. Or deeper down, you’re scared you’ll fail so you don’t even begin and you just end up waiting. Waiting for something to happen that will make this time different from every other time you’ve told yourself you’ll do it, yet never have.

Sadly, there is no time machine yet. And without action, that waiting will just go on… forever. Waiting won’t make that book you’ve been planning write itself. It won’t make that language you want to learn magically flow from the tip of your tongue. It won’t grant you the qualification you need to take your business to the next level, or imprint the chords of Hotel California in your muscle memory.

It takes time to bring our goals into reality, and discipline to keep in check that foot-stomping little child who WANTS IT NOW! Instead, my advice is to slow down. Find the courage to trust things will come together, rather than always having to know exactly how, when or where. Acknowledge that if you’re taking steps – no matter how small – towards what you want, you’ll get there eventually. It’s only when you sit down and sulk at the side of the road, that all progress stops too.

 

How to deal with overwhelm and fear

If you find yourself facing a task that just seems too enormous in size to overcome, here are some ideas on how to deal with the urge to shrink away from it.

  • Look back on things that you have achieved that were once challenging to you. From learning to ride a bike, to understanding your accountancy software. Some things took longer than you expected, some were quicker, but consistent action got you there eventually.
  • Remember those times you worried yourself sick, yet it had no effect on the outcome at all. Does it help in any way to spend your time feeling uncomfortable?
  • Recall times in the past when you were patient and good things happened. If you’d given up, would you have been so well rewarded?
  • Stop waiting to be happy. Look around you and notice what you’ve already got to be grateful for that you’re forgetting to appreciate.
  • You might think you can see into the future – but you really can’t. Take care of what’s going on right now, the future will work itself out.
  • Let go of the need to get everything right ‘or else’. Make mistakes, fail. It’s all just something to learn from and leave behind. Give yourself permission to not be perfect.
  • Take action every day towards what you want. Notice what you’re putting off doing, and tackle that first.
  • Be patient. There’s nothing you SHOULD be doing, only what you choose to do. And if you’re choosing to do it, then you may as well enjoy the journey.

Victoria Ward is a Colchester Hypnotherapist and Life Coach in Colchester and Harley Street, London. Follow her on Facebook.

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post

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Step out of your comfort zone: Here Be Dragons.

*Article originally published on the Huffington Post here.

I love old maps. When I was a kid, we had a print of an old map on the wall of the upstairs landing. It was one of those ones where the globe is split into two circles, with each half containing within it the continents and landmasses on either side of the world. I enjoyed looking at the illustrations of the weird and wonderful creatures that the cartographer had drawn rising from the depths of the oceans or looming ominously across distant lands.

Hic sunt dracones. “Here be dragons.”

Although there are only two historical incidences of this phrase recorded as having been found on maps, the term has become synonymous with the idea that dangers lurk in unchartered waters. A warning for fishermen and travellers of the places to avoid in order to remain safe.

A natural alarm system

If we stray away from the ‘safe’ path in life, our subconscious will flag up that there be dragons nearby. It uses the warning to steer us away from setting a path towards something that it fears may be a threat to our survival. Sometimes, without even being aware of it, we unquestioningly listen to that warning, in the same way that fisherman and travellers would have looked at the razor-sharp toothed sea serpents depicted on their maps and sailed instead in safer waters.

That’s the job of our subconscious, you see. To keep us safe. Pretty much every action and behaviour we find ourselves undertaking has been carefully considered by the subconscious for its potential to threaten our lives. It takes the information that it has gathered about the world in the years that we’ve lived up until now, and plots the safest course to the end of our lives, with little regard for our happiness or fulfilment.

A different perspective

What it doesn’t see, is that while there may be dragons in the uncharted territory, so might there be lands filled with riches and opportunities. For the brave and the bold, those riches and opportunities are there for the taking, and with the right resources the dragons are there to be slain.

So whatever your endeavour, whatever your goal, whatever the dream that lies beyond your comfort zone, step boldly towards it. Arm yourself with the tools you need to slay the dragons. Arm yourself with self-belief, pack courage and resilience in your pockets (if those don’t seem to be available to you right now, seek the help of a good coach or therapist). And as you take your first tentative steps into the unknown, when you hear the alarm bells ringing (and ring they will), remind yourself that in the uncharted territory beyond the familiar, here be growth. In exploring the boundaries of what you once thought was possible, here be potential. And in growth and potential hic vita est. Here be life.

Victoria Ward is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Coach. Find more from her at her London Life Coaching and Cognitive Hypnotherapy pages, and on Facebook.

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Feel the Fear and Do it Because of It

Feel the fear – and do it because of it

(*Blog originally published on the Huffington Post)

I have been feeling a little disconnected of late. I’m self-employed, and as many people who work for themselves will understand, that can be quite isolating. Not being one to sit around wallowing in self-pity, I decided to create a collaborative events and coaching company with a friend.

However, there was an ulterior motive behind the move. You see, I have decided to go full out and embrace any fears that might be holding me back in my business this year, so that I can make this year my most profitable one yet.

Leaning in to the fear

What I’ve been aware of for a long time though, is that one of the things that I’ve been avoiding ever since I set up my coaching and Cognitive Hypnotherapy practice is public speaking.

I’ve been invited to speak at networking events, asked to run workshops, and even wanted to plan and run my own retreats for some time now – but I’ve always turned down those opportunities or pushed them to the bottom of the pile. That fear though, was an indication to me that I needed to start pushing through it if I wanted to get to what was on the other side.

As 2015 was drawing to a close and I began to reflect on the year, I noticed that I had some negative feelings about the progress I’d made. I’ve been very happy seeing clients 1-on-1, and I always knew that until my boy started school this business was going to be a part-time thing to me. But that milestone came and went in September, and I hadn’t pushed myself towards the next level. Which for me, has always been about getting out there more, speaking out louder about what I do, and sharing what I know with more people. I love the idea of doing a TED talk, or speaking at a festival such as A-Fest, but that was never going to happen if I kept telling myself I can’t do public speaking. I haven’t even been to any networking events, because I was worried I was going to be asked to introduce myself.

Going all in

So I decided the only way to face the fear and sucker punch it to the side so I could storm on through and reap the rewards, was to get out there and do it. And not really being one to do things by halves, I decided that rather than prep for a 60 second pitch at a networking event, I would set up a situation in which I was presenting for 45 minutes, all eyes on me – and I was going to ask people to pay to come and listen.

The funny thing is, I used to LOVE being on stage. I always wanted the biggest speaking parts in the school play. I’d always be the one to put my hand up to read out to the class, or to get up the front for a demonstration. It clearly wasn’t that I was uncomfortable being the centre of attention! I’d forgotten all that though as it’s been so long since I’ve had to do it, and was assuming that was all part of my fear now. Until I went to see stage hypnotist and mentalist Derren Brown a few weeks ago and realised that I was itching to go up on stage with him – in front of almost 1,500 people!

Faking it

After some detective work with my own therapist – in which we did also reframe some past events where my being centre of attention had gone a bit tits up – I realised that my fear was of being found out to be a fraud. That people would realise I didn’t know what I was claiming to be an expert about, that I wouldn’t really be able to find the words to say what I wanted to say because, perhaps, I didn’t have them. I was afraid of being called out as a fake.

As you read that, you might realise that it sounds quite familiar to you. It’s one of the biggest fears that people have, and it’s also known as imposter syndrome. Feeling like it’s only a matter of time before someone finds out you’re faking it.

So while I KNOW that I know my stuff, while I have the client testimonials, thank you cards, bottles of wine and flowers to prove it, I realised that I haven’t really had the absolute confidence in myself that I need to have to take this to the next level. I’ve been believing that I’m not good enough to go public with this, to put myself out there as an ‘expert’.

And, being a therapist and a coach, I know that’s all bullshit. I know it’s just the protective part of my subconscious trying to keep me safe from putting myself in a situation where I might be kicked out of the tribe and therefore face death fending for myself. And I know I don’t need to listen to it.

So, with the support of my wonderful business partner I put myself out there. We set a date, made a facebook page, a website and a flyer for the event. We got on the radio and in the paper, and we started to sell tickets. And there was no turning back.

Permission to fail

On Saturday, I faced my fear of public speaking and stood in front of 30 amazing women to talk to them about how they can collaborate better with their subconscious minds to produce incredible results in their lives. And it went fantastically. There was so much support in the room among everyone there, and when I finished I was buzzing. Sure, my voice was a little shaky, I’d had to keep drinking water to combat a dry mouth, and my hands were shaking too. But I gave myself permission for all of that beforehand, and I also gave myself permission to fail. I realised that if I was ok with making an arse of myself, then whether I did or not it was a win-win situation.

In my talk that evening, I hoped for people to get a better understanding of how the subconscious works, so that they can begin to notice ways in which they can influence it to give them more of what they want in life, and less of what they don’t.

I had to influence my subconscious into thinking that I loved public speaking, that I was choosing to do it and that it was safe to do it. I did this by telling everyone I met about the event and that I was really looking forward to it because I love speaking in public. Every time I noticed the lurching feeling in my stomach when I was thinking about the event, I called it ‘excitement’ and remembered times when I had felt that feeling before and I had been excited – first date nerves, anyone? And I used a self-hypnosis recording to visualise myself giving my talk confidently and calmly, and it being appreciated at the end with applause and cheers. And do you know what – that’s exactly what happened.

And now, I’m itching to get up there and do it again.

The next step for you

So I wonder what fears do you need to face to take your life or your business to the next level? Where did those fears come from, and what are you doing that might be reinforcing the belief that you’re better off avoiding facing that fear? And also how could you begin to challenge that fear and push the boundary of your comfort zone a little bit further?

Because once you stretch your mind to a new dimension through new experiences, it never, ever goes back, and your limitless potential expands with it.

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If at first you don’t succeed…

Happy New Year!

I hope that you all enjoyed the festivities of last night, or enjoyed sleeping blissfully through them. I celebrated with friends, and while I woke feeling a little groggy, a walk in the fresh air soon brightened me up.

So while the kids are quietly enjoying The Princess Bride on the TV, I wanted to share a little story with you all.

Yesterday, I was invited ice skating with my son. I wanted to decline, but knowing that my son would love it but was too young to go unaccompanied, I unenthusiastically accepted. I wanted to decline, because three weeks ago, I took him ice skating and completely failed at it. I couldn’t figure out how to move my feet in order to propel me across the ice, I was too concerned about falling over to really go for it, and after about five minutes I gave up. From the other side of the barrier, I watched my 4-year-old child fearlessly persevere on his own until he was able to skate about completely unaided.

I was too concerned about falling over to really go for it, and after about five minutes I gave up

So when I was invited to skate yesterday I wanted to say no. After all, I can’t ice skate. However, over the last few weeks, I’ve been engrossed in working on the talk I’ll be giving at our event on the 16th, “2016: Your Year, Your Way.” I’ve been thinking a lot about how the way we talk to ourselves and the stories we tell ourselves about what is and isn’t possible for us affect the results we get out of life. I realised that three weeks ago I had told myself I wouldn’t be able to ice skate, that I was going to fall over and hurt myself and make a fool of myself, that I’m no good at that sort of thing anyway. Historically, I’ve never been the most co-ordinated or gifted sportsperson, so I gave up before I’d even given myself a chance – a pattern I played out over and over in PE at school. And as Orr’s Law says, what the thinker thinks, the prover proves, and there I was, unable to even move a few inches on the ice.

What the thinker thinks, the prover proves – Orr’s Law

So yesterday as I swapped my boots for skates I decided to try a new approach. I told myself I can learn to skate. I told myself that falling over is ok. I said to myself I love ice skating no matter what my skill. I said to myself that I was choosing to ice skate. I kept myself focused on being able to skate, rather than on not being able to skate. And then, after a few circuits of the rink clinging on to the side, this happened:

Ok, so this happened first:

But… I did it!

You see the words we tell ourselves, and the things we believe about ourselves, have a very real impact on our abilities and actions. If you’d like to know more about how you can begin to harness the power of your thoughts and your mind to bring you more success in this new year, why not come along to our event on January 16th. All the details and tickets can be found here.

Victoria xx