As a small to medium enterprise business owner you will have no doubt heard of coaching, but you may not have taken the time until now to explore the significant benefits that coaching can bring to you, your team and ultimately your enterprise.
I completely appreciate that coaching may seem like a luxury at first glance, as there is a time commitment required as well as monetary investment. Both of which are precious commodities when you are running your own business. However, here’s my perspective as a Coach on why your investment could ultimately be significantly worthwhile on multiple levels.
Firstly, let’s take a look at coaching in its most commonly associated form, from a sporting perspective. As a business owner, at CEO/ Director level the buck starts and stops with you so let’s look at a solitary sport for now in this example, running.
Are you out for a jog or are you planning a marathon? From a coaching perspective the intent and clarity required to answer this question informs the approach and outcome. You see, in the first instance a jog can take you anywhere, you don’t need an excessive warm up regime, or to plan your breaks or meet a time limit. Your primary goal is on planning to exercise with no specific long term investment in the outcome of that jog or where it might be leading to, you’ll see how it goes. With a marathon however, a lot more is involved, it requires planning, commitment, training and mental preparation as well as having all the necessary gear. Most marathon runners set expectations and have made significant lifestyle choices to meet their goal. With this in mind most invest in a Coach to train with, to raise their awareness, focus their mind-set, shed light on blind spots and develop some fundamentals directed at enhancing their performance and meeting their goal. Same thing in business. High performers have Coaches to raise their game.
Here’s my couple of cents worth, or in fact 7 of them, on the value of working with a Coach at a small to medium enterprise level in business.
A Coach is skilled in creating the space to enable you to get clear on what’s important, to uncovered your core drivers and reminding you of the visions you’ve created, and how your present focus is aligning you purposefully, by asking the hard questions to challenge your perspective, known ability and consequently shed light on any unknown quantities for exploration where deemed appropriate. All the while ensuring you are working towards your required outcome. Your Coach is keeping the focus of the outcome in sight to align your discovery to what you need to achieve.
2. Setting goals and reaching them
Being a visionary and blue sky thinker is greatly required in business, but being able to relate those visions to specific, measurable and timely incremental goals is key to making the vision a reality. A Coach is accustomed to challenging, motivating and driving honest and relatable thinking into this process to support you in setting your strategy for success.
3. Accountability is crucial when working towards something
A Coach is a great partner in creating your strategies, testing your commitment to achieving your goals and checking the practicalities of your assigned actions through powerful questions that challenge your thinking, boundaries and expectations.
4. You can brainstorm and bounce ideas off your Coach
A truly great coach enables a safe, confidential space removing all judgement, preconceived ideas of right and wrong to allow you to open up to truly original, fresh and forward thinking concepts. Things you might have dismissed or resisted due to your personal self-limiting beliefs or fear. Through coaching you get to follow your thoughts through via answering powerful questions and create links, and master a self-awareness that you could have previously overlooked.
5. Provide opportunity for reflection
With a Coach you can explore what you’ve done, and what you’d like to learn from it, replicate or give a wide birth too in the future. Your Coach will hold a mirror up for you to ask the hard questions to get you to see different perspectives, possibilities and opportunities. In this space you can identify and break negative or damaging cycles, expose any self-limiting beliefs, patterns and shine a light on where your focus is needed to achieve more of what you want, and discard that which you don’t.
6. Be real and exposed
Who can you be truly real with about your business, talk about your vulnerabilities, concerns and actually be confident that the person you’re confiding in has only the best intentions for empowering you to develop strategies to build, strengthen, stabilise and grow? It can be hard to carry the fears or concerns single-handedly and will eventually take its toll, but there is no need to struggle alone with this. Once shared with your Coach you’ve given yourself permission to take action and deal accordingly without concern that you’ve impaired your credibility or reputation.
7. Team engagement
Working with a business Coach enables teams to become more efficient in their thinking as a collective. Creating a space for teams to engage in challenges together, devising team led appropriate solutions that everyone is signed up to is the Coaches focus. Allowing the team to recognise evolution, flexibility and adaptability in ever changing circumstances – thus building resilience, compassion, empathy and a collective desire to succeed.
The common theme in working with a Coach is that the Coach is there for you, driven by the outcomes you value, they are not personally or professionally attached to a specific outcome, they are impartial and that is how they are able to ask the hard questions and challenge thinking and beliefs through curiosity not judgement or expectation. It is crucial that there is a co-active collaborative way in which you and your Coach engage to build the level of trust, openness and honesty required for you to benefit fully in all of these aspects.
So the value of coaching resides in the mental toolbox the Coachee learns and develops throughout the coaching relationship, the resource of mental strategies that can be called on and applied in a multitude of different situations. All of which have been designed and developed through personal discovery and insights gained through the coaching process, helping to navigate toward success both personally and professionally. And as I said earlier a professional athlete works with a Coach to bring out their best performance, it’s the same in business!
With Immense Gratitude,
Alison Callan is The Clarity and Success Coach for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, as well as an Internationally Accredited Coach and Mindfulness Consultant, Facilitator and Speaker.
Committed to helping You mindfully align with your mission to create Conscious Business with Purpose, Confidence and Ease. So that you live a life you love and deserve with Clarity through Conscious Creation.
Have you been noticing insects creeping into the house lately, maybe you’ve remarked how the mornings are significantly darker now and even the winds temperament has changed. These are all the subtle environmental changes occurring to remind us that autumn is approaching.
Have you noticed how your moods or body might naturally be preparing for these changes also? Are you feeling slightly more tired, slower and needing to refuel more? Maybe even becoming prone to the odd sniffle?
Well, now is the exact time to notice these subtle changes, acknowledge and contemplate the need to adapt to them. Naturally when there is less light in the day and the temperature is colder we want to stick closer to home, stay warm and sleep more. Our diet changes also as we eat more hot meals as opposed to salads, in line with the seasonal produce that’s readily available.
So why do we feel that our personal and professional expectations should be consistent?
Human beings are made to be flexible, changeable – in accordance to our environment. In our digitally dependant 24/7 world we forget that our standards and goals are not always easily consistent to achieve and that we need to allow for cycles.
This is crucial in successful planning especially in business, although oftentimes the focus is solely on calendar events and not necessarily on the environmental and seasonal impacts on staff productivity, sickness and motivation.
The good news is that now you are starting to notice these changes, you can plan to adapt accordingly. Here’s my 3 step process to enable a smooth transition to the winter months while still feeling and being productive!
1. Notice and Acknowledge
The first step in adapting here is to notice what is occurring to you mentally and physically? Where are you at, are you seeing or feeling any subtle changes or are your preferences changing. And acknowledge what of these differences are related to the change in season.
Bringing your awareness to, by noticing and acknowledging the shifts you may be undergoing naturally allows you space to choose how you want to respond. This gives you a greater sense of control by enabling you to realise you have an array of available options to you in regards making any necessary adjustments. Choices open up.
2. Priority Review and Impact Assessment
Now that you have acknowledged there are natural subtle shifts occurring for you, this is a great time to review your personal and professional routines and reassess your priorities. Then you can assess the impact of switching up priorities and what effect that this may have on your routine, your habits and your productivity. For example;
Review your exercise routine, is it still highly important to you to maintain your fitness level and current routine as it stands? Maybe, if honest with yourself you will have to call more on your willpower to keep up with your classes that seemed so easy when it was light at 6am, but may be harder to go to in the dark. Once you have reviewed the importance of exercise in your life it maybe that you review the impact of doing less exercise would actually mean for a less satisfied you and so you assess your alternative options and decide that maybe you adjust from an outdoor activity to an indoor one.
Re-prioritising is such a key factor in giving your mind and body the permission to adapt as we naturally want to, without the guilt associated from not being 100% motivated, productive and alert. You are entitled to rest, reprioritise and renew!
3. Allow and Plan
Allow yourself to slow down and be in pace with the changing season, prepare for the darker days mentally and physically. Readdress your long term goals, for this upcoming time as you have now processed that you may not naturally be able to keep up the pace that you once were, nor may you feel inclined to. It is the natural order of things that autumn sets in to make way for the new and you too need the down time to do the same.
Get creative, reassess your progress on your personal and professional plans, where are you heading, have you made progress or procrastinated. Take stock and plan for the future once more. This mental workout and dedicated time to planning increases your motivation and desire to get stuck into making changes, and you will be surprised how little steps during this time and reserving energy will set you up to make bigger impacts later on to get you closer to your longer term goals.
Use this time to purposefully readjust, allow what is to be, get kind with yourself and curious about your changing needs as opposed to judging. Be adaptive, considerate of yourself and allow and nurture change. Some additional things to consider before the winter snap takes hold:
Consider supplements to ward off ills, having some vitamins on standby, echinacea or naturopathic or homeopathic remedies, maybe even some lemon, honey and ginger.
New decor or a change in your rooms layout of furniture, physically showing a change in environment, reminding you of the shift that has occurred.
Consider your heating options, get firewood delivered, buy a new heater or dig out the hot water bottle to get ready for the chill that may come – take your time doing it. While acknowledging that you are prepping ahead of time to take care of all aspects in your life.
Dig out the slow cooker and readdress your kitchen essentials, tins and herbs so you’re all stocked up and ready for good old batch cooking!
The time you put into noticing and preparing for these subtle changes to take hold will help you get mentally ready for the onset of the winter, and the natural change to come as a result. Give yourself this time to be quiet, to slow down and recharge ready for the Spring, when you will naturally want to spring into action and put all your good ideas and plans into play.
I would love to hear what you notice during this time of transition and what changes you put in place to prepare for it, let me know in the comments.
Alison Callan is a Mindfulness Consultant, Career and Business Coach. Committed to creating positive and lasting change for individuals, teams and organisations through Mindfulness.
I used to LOVE the promise of a new year, wiping the slate clean, starting afresh, EVERYTHING seemed possible. Yet after a while I felt disillusioned and New Years became anticlimactic – all the hope of anew but nothing ever really changed. NOW I know why, and I feel totally reconnected with the possibilities of a new year again.
So if you are feeling nonchalant about transitioning into 2017, keep reading and see if what I’ve discovered resonates for you too.
The KEY INGREDIENT to my epic New Year lies with my mindset. If I am not accountable for the changes and committed to making them, then it just isn’t going to happen. So in order to get myself in the perfect mindset to change I start by giving myself some space to reflect on what lessons I’ve learnt over the past year and acknowledge how much I’ve grown, evolved and experienced. That gives me the basis for setting my intentions for the year ahead of what I want more or less of by way of feelings, experiences and achievements. Once I’ve got those down I can use them as a compass of sorts when I’m navigating decisions, opportunities and challenges. If I’m in alignment with my Years intentions it keeps me accountable and observant and on course to my destination. I feel therefore throughout the year as though I am in CONTROL, purposeful and intentional and striving to achieve. To me that is what makes for an epic and memorable New Year.
Something to note in all of this though, as you follow the below process. You can only answer for yourself, your feelings, thoughts and behaviours as that is all that is within your specific control. This is usually something you may need to keep checking in on when you write your responses. So although it may be comforting or familiar to do so, try not to rely on someone else leading the way first when you create your responses and intentions, especially when it comes to letting go of things. Take ownership of your feelings, become accountable and either decide to let it go because its the best thing for you, or don’t – but do not kid yourself into thinking its the fault of someone else first. That right there is an illusion, an easy out. It’s far better to be honest with yourself and just confirm that you’re not ready to release that feeling or relationship or memory yet and that is ok. With this whole process there is no judgement at all, just a way for you to get to know yourself a little bit more at this time, this part of your journey.
So if you feel like following my lead and getting set to rediscover the promise of change this New Year IT’S NOT TOO LATE, grab a pen and paper and give yourself the space to answer the following questions and see how better prepared and more excited you feel to kick start 2017 – enjoy!
🌟 What were your greatest challenges and obstacles in 2016?
🌟 What did each of them teach you, how did they enable your growth?
🌟 What were your top five stand out experiences of 2016?
🌟 On the back of that reflection, What are you holding on to, a belief, a feeling or a memory that no longer serves you and would be of benefit to you to release?
🌟 What would it take for you to let that go? (Appreciating your own responsibilities and accountabilities here)
🌟 One the back of that reflection, What would you like to experience more of, or have more of in 2017?
🌟 What would it take for you to step into creating the space to welcome that new good stuff?
🌟 For 2017 to be a stand out Year what does it need to include?
🌟 How can you take action to enable those changes to come about?
🌟 Where’s your mindset? Are you open to making the necessary changes to grow, learn and experience? Or are you hearing a fixed mindset voice resisting?
🌟 What would it take to release those resisting feelings if they are self limiting and no longer serving you? (Again check your accountability here, you can only change what you are responsible for)
🌟 Set your intentions by way of a few sentences of what 2017 will hold for you
🌟 Now list your purposeful actionable steps to support your intentions, as you are the creator of your future.
You can also keep the answers to these questions and reflect back on them throughout the year. This isn’t just a one time only gig here, you are creating good habits to better control and navigate your life purposefully and intentionally. So dipping into these questions at any point you feel you need a good old dose of motivation or a jolly good reminder as to what you were doing and why, or even how far you have come, do it.
And if you’re keen to continue on with the process once you get into it you can follow this with some goal setting, check out my ‘7 steps to Create your Goal and Stick to it!’Having some goals in place to align with your New Year intentions will be great to compound your purposeful mindset and will have you noticing change, because you’re clearly defining your path.
As always I’d love to know how this works for you, comment below, email or message me.
A very Happy, Intentional and Positive New Year to YOU!!!
Alison Callan is a Coach, specialising in Mindfulness & Wellness, Life & Style and Career & Business. Her purpose is to empower YOU to live a life you love and deserve through her Coaching Approach of Clarity through Conscious Creation.
A great way of getting your plans clear in your mind is to write them down, which enables you to see your actions and prioritise them. To do this the majority of you will write a ‘To-Do’ list, with the hopes of completing it all in record time, which usually doesn’t occur. And as such ‘To-Do’ lists have started to get a bad rap. However, there are a few insights that I share with my Clients to help them better plan and prioritise their day so that they achieve and flow in equal measure, making their days much more organised, guaranteed to start right and feel good because they achieve what they set out to!
So when you start writing your ‘To-Do’ list, how many of you end up with a huge list to achieve at the outset of your day and barely manage to cross anything off, and you even end up adding more as the day goes on? I’m guessing this will resonate with a lot of you, and it certainly used to with me as well, until I changed a few thing about my list, which I’ll tell you about shortly.
But first let’s start with the basics. The purpose of creating a ‘To-Do’ list is to get all your plans and visions and required actions out of your head and down on paper so you can make efficient and effective decisions, by way of seeing your tasks and therefore plan your valuable time accordingly. Calling it a ‘To-Do’ list though is possibly the first issue, it gives you a false sense of overwhelm, feeling that you must achieve all that you have listed, which doesn’t get you off to a good start. Coupled with the fact your so called ‘To Do’ list is usually tasks to achieve on top of what you see as your routine actions or tasks. So you can see how this immediately starts to build up. So how about we switch it up and call it your ‘Plan’ or ‘Daily Priorities’ instead? All of a sudden just with the name change alone it provides a sense of ease, don’t you think?
The next thing I’d like to draw your attention to is the time of day that you happen to create your list. I’m guessing it is a first thing in the morning task that you set, hoping that it will get you in the zone to achieve and you write it while you look over your diary for the day. Well let me stop you there. I have suggested to numerous Clients and have had great results and feedback from this suggestion Im about to pose to you, so listen up – Write your list at the end of your working day, for the following day, let it be the final thing that you do to close that aspect of your work mind and set your plan for the next day. The reason this works so well is that you feel able to finish what you’re doing there and then as you have already got your plan sorted for the following day, so when you arrive in the morning you are set, ready to go and have clarity about what you are going to achieve. If you do nothing else from my suggestions except this one, you will notice a big shift in your competencies to plan, feel organised and in control and have the added bonus over time of leaving work at work.
The next suggestions are actually ways in which to write your list. If you create five columns and write the headings accordingly; (or you can scroll to the bottom and download the sheet Ive created for you.)
Like To Do
Flow & Gratitudes
When you start your list, you will need to categorise the task or item under one of these headings, have a read of the descriptions:
A ‘Must Do’ item is something that is plaguing you. You know that nagging task that you’ve been putting off but simply must get done. It is a task that is secretly holding you back from moving forward as its always there lurking and is usually left to the very last minute thanks to your old friend procrastination. Well, nows the time to face it and place it under this column, especially if it has a looming deadline or someone else is waiting on you to take action. If you are not sure if it is a ‘Must Do’ then ask yourself the following – If I were to get this actioned and be able to move past it, how would I feel? If the answer is an overwhelming sense of relief and a release in your body, then do not hold back it’s likely to fit here.
Like To Do
This is usually where a lot of little, shorter tasks sit. Things which are easier to seem important in order to enable procrastination to hang around a bit longer putting off those unenjoyable ‘Must Do’ tasks. The items categorised here are not necessary to achieve today, but they are on your radar for at least getting through this week. This is where you have to be honest with yourself about the validity of the items you place here, ask yourself the following – What would be the result if I achieved these later in the week? If the answer is not very much, and there’s no overwhelming feelings of resistance attached to the task it’s probably safe to say its in the ‘Like To Do’ column.
This can be a tricky one, as my list loving individuals are not great at sharing tasks – accountability and control is strong within them. However, this is a key component of being able to tackle more tasks during your week. You need to look at the tasks you’ve already assigned to the two previous columns and ask yourself the following – Am I the only person, realistically, who could action this task in full or partly? It may seem hard to face, as we all like to feel as though we are the only ones capable of taking on our list, but we usually have a whole team of people surrounding us in life who are happy to pitch in. So you should ask them where reasonable. If you truly have a difficult time with this concept then imagine how you feel when a colleague or loved one asks for your help with something – yup it usually feels great! Someone needs you, they trust you and rely on you and you’re honoured and happy to help. Now imagine being the person to give that feeling to another, thats pretty special. So step up and ask for help, delegate and you could just make someones day in the process as well as free up your time for tasks only you can achieve – genius right?!
Throughout the day we have a lot of inspiration and creative ideas, you need a space to capture them to develop at a later date. The thinking here is that you do not want to get sidetracked by your ideas and enable them to stop you from achieving your ‘Must Do’ tasks. So jot them down in a safe space, knowing that you can come back to them later and create from them tasks for the other columns.
Flow and Gratitudes
I Love this column, as in my day I actually achieve a lot but I tend to overlook it as a routine part of the day or as a moment of greatness but then I move my focus back to something else and it becomes lost. So I created this column to capture all the things you achieve in your day just through ‘Going with the Flow’, this can often show you how productive the day was in itself. And of course in line with ‘Going through the Flow’ is Gratitudes – things that happen and you are grateful for them. These are the moments you need to bask in to keep the momentum going for the first three columns and generally keep you in touch with the meaning of your day.
So there you have it, my suggestions for writing your Daily Plan or Priorities list. The tips to remember:
If you start working on your most difficult or least favourite ‘Must Do’ task first you will achieve something big earlier in your day. So that once it is completed you will have a much easier and free flowing day managing your other ‘Like To Do’, ‘Ideas’ and ‘Flow and Gratitude’ columns.
Keep your expectations small. You can always add to your list, but you need to start with one step before looking to conquer the mountain.
Be honest with yourself about what you need to do personally, and honest about what is something you’d ‘Like To Do’. Focus instead on the result you want to achieve and why to help keep you true to your allocations of tasks.
Write your list for the next day the evening before to get you clear and focused and finished for that day, knowing you’re organised and prepared for the next.
Change the name of your list from ‘To Do’ to something lighter like ‘Daily Plan’ or ‘Priorities’.
Remember to include in your list all the things you need to achieve in the day including what you deem to be your general or routine tasks – you will then acknowledge all of the work you do, along with your ‘Gratitudes and Flow’ and have a much clearer picture of your achievements!
Have a go at these techniques and let me know how they work for you, I would love to hear how you have incorporated them into your planning or the successes you now achieve as a result.
And my gift to you, a printable planning sheet, click here.
Happy planning and achieving!
With warmth – Alison
P.S – Keep your eyes peeled for my next blog on how to get your Mindset actively ready for the day and the importance of being aware of your Mindset.
If you are looking for more Goal based assistance please check out my blog post here on ‘7 Steps to Create your Goal and Stick to it!‘ These steps can be interwoven into your daily planning and work alongside it nicely when managing a long term Goal.
As a parent, do you feel like a Superhero? Maybe not, more like an authoritarian, chef, taxi driver, risk assessor, educator, coach etc? Maybe? Well fear not, here is a glimpse into how I shifted my perspective and started seeing myself as so much more than just working or performing in those roles and interestingly life started to open up for me. I see teaching and learning as fundamental aspects of my day, which is so exciting and I have stepped up into my Superhero status!
As a child I remember being amazed at how wise and wonderful my parents were. In my eyes they were literally super heroes. I vividly recall the day I saw my dad for the first time in his ‘Clark Kent’ form. We were in London and my Dad was walking backwards trying to find the perfect position to take a photograph of me and Mum laughing and playing. He lost his balance and in slow motion I saw him trip and fall. I couldn’t believe my five-year-old eyes; how could that happen to the strongest man I knew? At that age, I genuinely thought he was indestructible just like Superman. That memory has remained with me and was a defining moment in my understanding and appreciation of my parents’ humanness, their vulnerability.
As I grew older I remember occasions when my parents did not always have the answers to the challenges I faced or difficulties I was trying to overcome, but they did have the comforting words to help and the hugs to put my world right again. And throughout they had the unwavering belief in me that I could do or be anything. They are human, I have seen them make mistakes, be unsure and challenged.
Yet when I’m asked who my heroes are, I’ll always go straight back to my parents – my unwavering anchor and guides in this world.
Now that I’m a mum I’ve had many conversations with my mother about her first experiences of parenthood as she recalls memories that haven’t surfaced for her in decades. She remembers feeling as though she was fumbling in the dark, completely convinced she had no idea what she was doing, yet she was my everything, my superhero. And we giggle (a lot!) because as it turns out, she still feels the same about parenting, she still feels that she is learning, even now! I find it comical to hear her say ‘Alison, you have taught me so much, you might be my greatest teacher to date.‘ I mean, seriously?! How on earth am I teaching my hero?
Well, now that I am a mum myself, I totally get it! My two boys are showing me the world again through renewed eyes, with their fresh perspective and questions. I am learning how to navigate this world as a mum, responsible for two lives – it’s mind blowing, exciting and overwhelming all at once. My children are teaching me about the world through their experiences. I am in awe of their natural inclinations, their curiosity and presence. I am learning everyday as they push me outside of my comfort zone in challenging ways, and yet we always manage to get through the day.
Now anyone that knows me personally, knows I’m always keen to learn and open to new possibilities and opportunities especially around personal development and growth. However, I don’t think it had actually ever crossed my mind for a moment that I would ever be walking in my parent’s shoes. It hadn’t occurred to me until recently how as a child I looked up to my parents, and therefore it would be natural for my children to do the same. Freeze – I’m suddenly a role model, yikes, and someone’s hero! In fact, two someone’s!!!
I decided there must be a way to learn more about myself through the eyes of my kids in this new role as a parent. To better control and understand my emotions, to be curious and open to opportunities in the face of adversity, to reclaim balance and find my moments of peace. Children are so mindful and present in their actions and being, they have little to un-learn and such openness. So back to basics, I started parenting myself through the new-found teachers I had who were showing me this brave new world.
So how can you shift your perspective, and as a result your behaviours? Because it’s hard, it’s learnt and you’re tired. I understand. I’d love to reach out and give you a hug and say;
‘it’s ok, it’s never too late and you can let go of what’s occurred. This moment is a new one, you’ve never been here before and you can make it whatever you want, just try.’
Think about what you’re learning through your children and how it is evolving your parenting and you.
Try out integrating these six steps into your life to uncover your inner Superhero:
Write up who you are, your wonderful qualities, what you believe, what you stand for. It’s an empowering exercise that gives you purpose and shows you that you are complex, unknown, still being discovered and not just the sum of your emotions.
When will you have learned enough? When will you know everything? Have experienced everything? I’m guessing your answers are never, never and never. So give yourselves permission to make mistakes and enjoy learning from them. As you see your children learn and become resilient in the face of challenges, you can to.
You are a Superhero! List your super powers, give yourself a name. Revel in it, it’s fun, it’s true and you can imagine a costume of choice! When you allow yourself to feel supercharged you smile, you reclaim your power, you become positive, unstoppable. Tell yourself now you are a superhero!
Visualise, breathe and slow down – make this a habit, by practising. When in doubt focus on your breath and think of all the things you are grateful for. Put post-its up around the house to remind you. Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to practise.
Shift your belief on your mindset. In any given moment, you can choose what to think. Move into a growth mindset where you are open to all opportunities. When your inner critic tells you something negative, learn to identify it. Choose to talk back, turn the phrase around to a possibility.
Make your emotional, spiritual & mental wellbeing a priority and practice every day. By practising what you preach and implementing it for yourself you will naturally influence your little teachers too.
I am a Superhero to my kids, regardless of my vulnerabilities and mistakes, also now known as learning experiences. I have the ability to mend their broken hearts, support them through life’s challenges and make them feel safe and protected through the power of hugs. Little do they know they do exactly the same for me, but maybe one day when they are parents themselves they will.
P.s – I would love to hear how this resonates with you, what you find works and of course what super powers you have! So get in touch, drop me a message, email or call, I would love to connect.
Alison Callan is a Coach, specialising in Mindfulness & Wellness, Life & Style and Career & Business. Her purpose is to empower YOU to live a life you love and deserve through her Coaching Approach of Clarity through Conscious Creation.
The New Year is fast approaching and pretty soon you will probably find yourself compelled to set some goals to achieve over the next twelve months.
As you consider all the possibilities the new year has to offer you feel hopeful and excited. With a boost of positivity you think. ‘Yes, I can get that new job, lose that weight, go on that holiday, etc’ However, following these lovely thoughts how much time do you dedicate to planning out those goals and determining just HOW you will achieve them? Probably not enough BUT do not fear, I have you covered with my 7 steps to success in creating your goals and (most importantly!) reaching them. So, get yourself a pen and paper and let’s get started.
Step 1 – What do you want?
Describe in a few sentences what your goal looks like. For example, if you want to eat better, you may write something like ‘I want to eat healthy, delicious and nutritious food, by making conscious choices to prioritise my meal times, portion sizes and by reducing my sugar and processed food intake.’ Or you may wish to start exercising daily or meditating. Whatever it might be, expand upon the nature of the result you want, don’t merely state that you would like to lose weight. Instead write how you would like to feel when you lose weight, how much you’d like to lose and how this will make you feel when you achieve your goal. As an example your sentence might be ‘I want to feel lean and slimmer by losing 5kgs through improving my exercise regime and making healthier more conscious food choices, so I feel confident and happy in my clothes.’ Rather than ‘I want to lose 5kg by March.’ The difference being that the first example implies the change is permanent because you would always want to feel happy and confident in your clothes, whereas the second example seems as though you’re determined to make an impermanent change for an occasion in March.
Get specific with what your goal is and why and expand on its importance in your life. This way it has a greater importance in your life and is worthy of you spending your time and making the necessary changes in order to meet this challenge.
Step 2 – What help are you going to need?
List the resources you need to call on for help in order to achieve this goal. Following the healthy eating example you may choose to put reminder notes on the fridge, or cupboard, you may ask someone to give you words of encouragement. You may buy a cookery book, allow more time in your day to make meals and even tell your friends and family so that they can support you.
By checking at this stage what you could do to have support set up prior to starting on the journey of obtaining your goal, you are more prepared and building a level of commitment to achieving your desired outcome. Plus you are really exploring what this goal means to you and how prepared you are to communicate your intentions to others.
In my experience, having a supportive partner, friend or family member who appreciates your dedication to achieving your goal can make a real difference and becomes a beacon during the transition when you might otherwise feel alone.
Step 3 – What is your leverage?
This is the root of your goal, the big question ‘Why do I even want this?’ At this point you may struggle to find an answer as it’s not always an easy or logical answer that arises and it can feel uncomfortable. If you find that is the case, then ask yourself if your goal needs reframing or indeed changing all together.
Following the example of the healthy eating goal, if your leverage here was that in fact you wanted to look like a super model in a magazine article that you read, then firstly you need to determine whether it is realistic leverage, whether it’s a goal that you can and indeed should achieve. If it isn’t but you still want to pursue the healthy eating goal, find a sentence or image that you can hold on to that really embodies what you’re trying to achieve; be it exuding more energy, vitality or actually enjoying meals.
The point of understanding your leverage is so that you have an anchor to keep you on the path of achieving your goal. If you have something more meaningful to hold on to and visualise, like becoming healthier and fitter and able to go running or feel more confident in your skin then that is what will drive you forward. At this point it all sounds so easy to accomplish, but know now that you will wane in your enthusiasm while you are building your new habits. There will be days when you revert, or choose to take the easy root and ignore your plan to achieve your goal. It is at these times that leverage is so important. And in order to prepare, during the tough and low periods, that’s when you go back to your leverage. Leverage is key!
Step 4 – How are you going to specifically integrate this goal into your life?
There are lots of ways you can bring your attention to your goal throughout your day, through visual reminders, routine changes and through your language. It is important now to devise how you’re going to integrate changes into your life to support and drive you towards your achievement. It’s also helpful to experiment with different ways to reinforce your changes. Mix it up. Try out affirmations, routine changes using alarm reminders, vision boards, book into courses, find support groups – don’t hold back, list them all and see what resonates with you the most. Different approaches may work at different times. So, how are you going to change your current habits and lifestyle to incorporate the realistic methods for you to achieve your goal?
You might have noticed by now that I’ve not spent any time on timeframes or deadlines, and I’m not going to either, but I will explain why. From my experience goals are set, worked towards and achieved. If a date is set, it gives a deadline for the pressure to be on for, which works for some people and not others. However I am a firm believer that once a goal is achieved you don’t drop the new habits that you’ve built, you maintain them, sustain them and even adapt them to stretch for your next goal. Once you’ve achieved your goal it becomes your new baseline and you look for the next stretch, so you always progress forwards. There doesn’t need to be a timeframe as such, but more focus given to why you’re doing it so that the habits you cultivate remain and urge you forward.
Step 5 – Create your words and explore your feelings.
I believe that the language we use, our self talk, is highly crucial to our mindset, focus and belief in our ability to achieve our goals. Check out myPositive Self Talk and Languageblog post.
Identify your fixed mindset voice. The inner critic and what it is likely to tell you, to throw you off course and send you on a negative detour. Let me reassure you that we all have this voice, however we need to plan out our responses, psych ourselves up to be able to notice the critic and shrug it off by consciously replacing the negative phrases with positive ones.
You need to create some uplifting sentences and phrases that will support your journey towards your goal and quieten your fixed mindset voice. Personally, I love to use a three sentence mantra, it is my signature go to application ‘I can…. I will….. I am…‘ It’s so simple but powerful and shows that you are on a progressive journey and moving through the stages of achieving it, until you are it!
Now imagining that you have achieved your goal, what emotions do you feel, how does that sense of achievement become embodied for you? Identify your feelings of ultimate success and repeat your positive sentences. This enables the mind, body and word connection so that you are aware of how it feels for you when you achieve, how your mind and body are stimulated and saying the words in this state helps create a link for the brain to associate the phrases with the feeling of success and achievement reinforcing the connection between the two and boosting their effect.
Step 6 – How Committed are you?
I’m hoping that as you’ve gotten this far, the answer to this question will be somewhat telling.
On a scale of one to ten, one being not committed and ten being so excited to get started that you know you simply cannot fail! At this point how committed are you to achieving your goal? Be honest, as this is the point you need to be serious about the likelihood of you really achieving your goal, understanding the leverage and following through. This is the critical point where you can re-visit any part of this process and strip it all back and re-calibrate.
So what is your number and are you happy with where it is?
Step 7 – What do you need to up your level of commitment?
If you have found you are at a seven, eight or nine out of ten. The question here is simple… what do you need to up your number, what do you personally require to get more committed to achieving your goal?
This line of questioning gets you thinking more about the process you’ve just been through in planning out your goals and asks you a final time what might be a missing step to give you that extra nudge and support when you need it. Ponder on this question and see what springs to mind. You might be surprised, or it may reinforce that you are happy with where you’re at and with the goal you’ve set. Either way this reinforces your commitment to your goal and up-levels your plan in securing a successful outcome.
So there you have it, my 7 steps to creating a goal and getting you to stick to it!
Check out the image to the left if you need a reminder of the 7 steps and want to work within a worksheet – enjoy!
Good luck, although with this process I know you don’t need it!
P.S – I would love to get your feedback, how did this process work for you, what came up for you? And finally, did you achieve your goal? Get in touch and let me know!