Letting Go for Halloween

It’s that spooky time of year again where we stock up on toffee apples, dress up as
witches and wizards and carve scary faces into pumpkins. But have you ever wondered about the true origins of Halloween? And how bringing the spiritual side of Halloween could benefit your own life today?

The history

Halloween, is said to date back to Celtic traditions, in particular the Gaelic harvest festival Samhain (pronounced Sow-in). This marks the end of the year and the final harvest and is celebrated in between the Fall Equinox and the Winter Solstice. This time marks the ending of many things, such as the end of the growing season in farming. At this time of year, I am sure you are all too aware of the endings you see all around you; the leaves falling from the trees, the nights becoming darker, the temperatures plummeting, and you may even find your own energy levels start to drop. Samhain marked an important turning point in the wheel of the year, a time for endings, and a time for death. Death in this context is however seen as a positive, a period of looking inwards, of rest and of stillness during the winter phase.

I personally find during this time of year my need to go out and socialize decreases dramatically, I find myself wanting to spend a lot more time indoors, doing cosy things around the house. Traditionally people would do less outside at this time of year, and it would be a time for rest and recuperation.  On a spiritual level Samhain represents a celebration of darkness, that is a celebration of intuition, the subconscious mind and the unseen and unexplained. It is a mystical time where the veils between the living and spirit world are said to be lifted. It’s at this time of year I find my pets start to do strange things and appear as though they can see things that are not there. During this period the ancient Celts would make good use of the thinning veil and perform rituals to celebrate those who has passed and to also tap into the wisdom of the hidden realms.

How can I bring the significance of Halloween into my own life?

Nowadays we tend not to fixate on the Celtic traditions at this time of year. But there are still many ways you can bring the Ancient traditions of Halloween into your
own life if you are feeling drawn to do so. With all the references to the Spirit world right now it can be a fun time to be open to the unknown whilst bringing in some magic and intuition into your everyday life. It is also a time to reflect and celebrate the ending of a cycle, and to release and let go of what no longer serves you. This could be lower vibrational emotions such as sadness and grief, and also energies or ties to
past situations thoughts or patterns. If you have anything that you are struggling to release and let go of why not get into the Halloween spirit and perform your own Letting Go Ritual by following these easy steps below.

Letting Go Ritual

  1. Take some time to cleanse your energy with a salt bath, a cleansing meditation, or just by consciously cleansing your energy with light and returning to love.
  2. On a piece of paper write down anything you would like to release from the last year, this could be a worry, fear, old pattern or situation
  3. Now hold the piece of paper and visualise all that you wish to release is now leaving your body and into the piece of paper you are holding
  4. In a well ventilated and safe place (preferably outside) light your paper and allow it to burn whilst you reflect on the past year and visualise all of your worries being released and letting go.

Letting go of the old can have such transformative effects on our emotional and physical wellbeing. Just as we see with the trees shedding their leaves at this time of year, we too can benefit from the power of the cycles of life. By clearing the way we can invite new and creative opportunities and possibilities into our lives. So why not embrace the spiritual meaning behind Halloween this year and see what a simple ritual could do for you.

We have our annual Letting Go Retreat every year.  Next year we are holding this in a stunning venue, right on the beach in Caernarfon.  Here’s a little taster below.  You can see a simple agenda here. Register you interest with info@inspireandrewie.com

To-do or NOT to-do

Are you someone who enjoys writing lists?

We sometimes think we are super organised when we write everything down. And while that is somewhat true for brain dumping, not everything needs to stay on the list. A brain dump can simply be just that, a dump that needs flushing away, it doesn’t always end up being a job which needs to be fulfilled. Are you able to recognise when your list is getting out of hand? And if this is the case do you know how to restructure your thoughts, using categories and simplification? 

Firstly, there are so many types of lists, creative bursts of ideas which seem great at the time but when we look back realise that was just a momentary fad, or lists of commitments where we add things to ensure we remember as we risk the implications of forgetfulness. Eventually, the lists can become never-ending and this can lead to anxiety, lethargy or procrastination.

We may even find that our lives have become dictated by fulfilling our many lists, without living the things we truly want to do with our heart and soul. It’s about balance, and it can be achieved. I know this because I have been there and still find myself there from time to time. 

The power to say no

When we get to this place of anxiety or procrastination we can apply saying ‘no’ to others, but also to ourselves! (see my 5 minute taster video on my 1 hour ‘saying no’ £5 for the video – message me for details).  I discovered that it’s not my boss that makes me do things, it’s me that needs to look at my own boundaries. How do I know this? Because I work for myself and one day, I realised I had no one to blame!

So how do you know when a list is helpful and when a list is risky? It was my partner that pointed this out to me, as I was huffing and sighing looking at the many lists on my phone. A solution to this was to make just one place where I stored my ‘to-do’ instead of a million note books, post-its, laptop notes and wall calendars!  And eventually, the way my lists were done, evolved. What seems key to this process is simplification.

Keep it simple

Sometimes we just need to simplify our lives. With so much stimulation and endless choices going on around us and can feel overwhelming, overstimulation.

It can be so good to cut back on the things which are really not important and may have to ask yourself some difficult questions to decide what these are. For example, if I need to buy a new pair of trainers, I’m not going to put it on my list anymore, if I walk past a shop that sells them it’ll trigger my memory and I’ll go in and buy it. If it’s not desperately important then you have to learn to not put everything on your list.

So how do we get the balance between remembering the important things but without making obsessive lists?

and how do we make use of the tools available without overdoing it excessively? 

What I’ve found that works for me

There are some different techniques and styles I’d like to share with you that I’ve found to be the least anxiety-inducing for me. I get a piece of paper and divide it by 4 (which can be done online).  People similar to me would be tempted to add even more categories but try to keep this as simple as possible. 

My work one is:

  • Quick replies
  • Quick jobs
  • Longer jobs
  • Business strategy

I keep my personal list on my phone and I can just tap into it easily as well as add any quick thoughts or ideas but I don’t leave these on my phone. I will later add them into my list with 4 quadrants and delete stuff that is not important.

Other ways to divide them are in 3’s:

  • Now, later, wish list
  • Today, this week, this month
  • Urgent, personal, work

Something I have found myself is I get really excited about new projects and new ideas but this is where a separate book for wishes and crazy ideas can be helpful just to get these out of your head. Chances are you may look back and realise those ideas do not suit you anymore and you can just cross these off rather than being hard on yourself that you’ve not completed them. 

Each day I take out of that list and decide to get the big jobs out of the way, then when I’m feeling fatigued, I go and do a lot of quick jobs, which helps me feel productive and gets them off the list. 

In summary 

It’s all about what works best for you so test them out and see what makes you feel the calmest, go with your gut.  Whenever you feel those anxiety symptoms coming up in your body:

  1. Step back – observe yourself
  2. Strip back – what can be deleted or moved somewhere, even delegated?
  3. Refocus – what is important NOW?

We are just one person, with 24 hours, 7 days a week.  We cannot do everything. Be strategic and choose. You can read more about when life gets overwhelming on my blog ‘NLP Life-Wheel’ with a great tool on there to manage it.

Drains and Radiators

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of self-care and taking some time out!  We often leave it until we feel we reallllllly need it or deserve it. In actual fact, we deserve it all the time. We all do.  And the best thing we can do for ourselves, and those around us, is to take care of ourselves so that we can be the best version of ourselves more often.

BUT, we can reduce them where we can. This is how we lead our life, how we work with our own internal struggles and how we make the choices that are right for us.  It’s just a little bit of tweaking here and there, with the occasional bigger choice.  Most importantly – no matter what storm you are going through, to survive it, you need ‘down’ time.

So, here’s a tool that helps with self-awareness and authenticity of what truly helps you feel better, versus what you think ‘should’ help you but can often take your energy.  It’s simple and often requires one main sit down to do it. Then it becomes acknowledged in the mind and just gets added to your mental list.

You can approach it generically, or look at it from the point of view of a specific day or week.  For example, look back to the working week, what things lifted you, and what brought you down? Sometimes we can feel guilty about things we feel ‘should’ uplift us, but yet we are drained.  It’s important here to differentiate if it’s a person, situation or event that is causing this drop, or that we are simply fatigued or drained mentally or physically and if we were to add some ‘me’ time in between.  If we were less busy, would things be different?  

We always have choice and need to be reminded of our empowerment to be assertive in claiming our space, especially when we put it into the perspective of ‘the greatest and highest good of all’

When I had severe adreanal fatigue, I looked more into saying no or yes, and how I approached my to-do list.  Sometimes lists are unknowingly draining and this is the danger. I’ve managed to look at my calendar and lists and make choices that my mind doesn’t want to make, but my higher self knows is right, and over time, have come to trust. 

So drains and radiators are a mix of 3 things; a) being true and authentic with yourself, b) padding the draining or challenging tasks around a buffer of silence, or ‘me’ time and c) knowing when to step I and be your own mentor/ your own guru, and saying yes/no.

Examples can be the following:

Note that for someone else, the opposites can apply e.g. when Sarah phones on an evening and wants to talk for an hour it can drain one person, for someone else it energises them.  Try not to judge your own truth.

You can then eventually look at how to shift the drains

E.g. if cloudy days get your down, prepare for winter with getting into a regime, getting out through the day, always when it’s sunny, have some exciting indoor activities that uplift you, book a break in the sun over winter

It’s just about becoming aware of the drains (your flags and triggers),  even the subtle ones, so you know where you are, what to mitigate and what to avoid, or what to sandwich between rest and ‘me’ time.

Other examples:

If you look back over your month what do you do for YOU, what do you do that you know brings you joy, energy, a recharge?  Sometimes it’s daily things, sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly like our mini retreat/spa days, or an annual getaway.

Summary:

Every now and then we need to step back and look at how we are living our life, and what small tweaks, or big changes we can make.

One thing I have come to know is that no one will do this for us.  Our mental health, relaxation, ‘me’ time is down to us, to carve that time out, to assert yourself for it, and protect it.

So whether this day is your life at the moment, and you’re doing the best you can to take some time out, or whether you are already doing great at maintaining your wellness, know this is a great step, sometimes a big step, but nevertheless, an essential one in your empowerment.

Or you cut to the core and decide what needs changing at work, and as Eckhart Tolle says; 

‘Influence change, accept it, or leave.  All else is madness’. 

I always like to point out at this stage that acceptance is different from suppression. If you choose this route, be sure to fully accept with peace and happiness in your choice, not pushing the issue beneath the surface.

Why not make some choices today and decide where you might need a bigger break, and how to add some smaller pauses into your daily life.  How about decide what needs to be dropped!?

See you next time.

Keep updated on all our mini-retreat/spa days, longer retreats and other workshops and sessions by signing up to our newsletter or following us on facebook 

NLP Tool for when overwhelmed

At the beginning of this year, I was ill for about 3 months on and off, and it was starting to become a real pain.  I was chomping at the bit to get going with all my business ideas but couldn’t even do the basics. I knew about slowing down, and not trying to do it all at once, due to the Adrenal Fatigue that I had experienced.  That experience was huge for me, and life-changing, especially in how I saw energy and time, my boundaries and my empowerment.

So why was I now getting ill again?

‘This is crazy’, I thought. 

Always ill or tired

You cannot underestimate how important self-love and self-care is.  Burn-out weakens the immune system, and as I kept getting ill, catching all the superbugs that were spreading through the country,  I was starting to feel the familiar symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue. I had gone to a lot of lengths not to feel like that again. Yet, here I was again, finding it hard to stay positive and keep going.   I had to drop things like exercise, or even the energy required to get excited about work projects, or even doing things that were nice for me because I only had the capacity for the basics; my job my daughter. 

Everything seemed to have dropped – housework, my cooking etc. and then, of course, becomes a negative spiral and the very things that would help me feel better had been discarded. It took me back to that first couple of years when I came back to the UK and felt like this for so long… it was scary to be fatigued again.

This to me, was a message for a clear-out, a cleanse, a big decision, a change – and so I did, I realised that although I had been working a lot with my mind on this subject, which is due to my passion and expertise in the areas, I had slowly begun to neglect my body.  Which we all know, indirectly then impacts the mind and mood. 

 ‘But I’m not that unhealthy, I do quite well’,

I was saying to myself. And this is because we are faced with all these products that are classed as ‘normal’ but not the best for our systems.  I say products because they are ‘produced’ and manufactured, and marketed.  While some can handle certain food and drink better than others, many of us can’t, and it builds up in the body – kust like it builds in the mind.

Cleansing and clearing

I decided to skip bread again – plus gluten, dairy, and sugar etc. and go full-on cleanse.  It didn’t take long for me to get back to myself.  

First, my mood, my energy, and my sleep improved.

As a bonus, I also looked completely different and back to myself.  I was determined that at the turning point of 40, that I would not continue down this route. I have a choice at this junction; continue this way, or make a big shift. An additional motivation was my daughter – having a baby a little later in life got me thinking about if she has a child in her late 30’s, I will be almost 80 and I want to be a fit and healthy grandma.

And so, I encourage you to also:

please listen to your bodies and your minds, and give yourself time and space to relax and breathe….

to prevent that happening.

I’ve missed doing those things that I love so much, and it does impact your wellbeing.

If you look back over your month what do you do for YOU? What about on a daily basis, what can you bring in or remove something?

What can we do about it?

Here’s a tool that I often come back to.  Even if you have seen and explored this before, it’s not a static document; it moves and it’s organic.  Every now and then we need to step back and look at how we are living our lives, and what small tweaks, or big changes we can make.

One thing I have come to know is that no one will do this for us.  Even with family members, friends or partners with the best intension cannot do this for us, if they do force you to relax and stop, perfect but that’s very rare.  We must do it for ourselves; our mental health, relaxation, or ‘me’ time is down to us – to carve that time out, to assert yourself for it, and protect it.

I always say ‘my ‘me’ time is for everyone else’s health and safety’.

NLP Life-Wheel

So this tool is called the life wheel. It’s part of the NLP tools.  It aims to help you categorise your life and see the bigger picture.  Whether you have seen this before, and very familiar, or new to it – it’s a snap-shot in time, so it can be done again and again.  It’s used when you are feeling overwhelmed, for you to reassess and make some new choices. Just filling it in can relieve some pressure, feeling more empowered.

Spend some time deciding which categories you’d like – I suggest 6 so as not to overwhelm, but many choose 8. 

For example, someone who is work-orientated might have 3 categories in work, L & D, career development, current work, followed by family, friends and ‘me’ time.

Someone who is health-conscious might have; exercise, diet, relaxation, self-development, family, friends.

Someone who is family-oriented might have; partner, child 1, child 2, parents, fun stuff, house or garden stuff.

For a larger category of 8, it might be the following as a standard one:

  1. Work
  2. Partner
  3. Children
  4. Friends
  5. Relaxation
  6. Exercise
  7. Food
  8. Hobbies

Once you have categorised it, you then decide what your satisfaction is at this moment. On a scale of  1-10, decide how satisfied you are currently in this area. Mark the number on each category and then join up the dots to reveal the shape of your wheel. This is where it becomes kind of subjective because satisfaction means different things to different people, but that’s ok because this is for YOU – no one else, and so as long as you know what it means then that’s what’s important.

If you are having a particularly busy time at work it might mean that some other areas are not as strong, such as family.  Or it might be that you are supporting the healing of friends at the moment and that is overwriting other areas. Or you might be going through a period of personal development and business development and not much time for anything else.

The purpose here is to show that we cannot have a perfect wheel.  We cannot be always flying high in all our categories, and that it’s ok, it’s normal.  It’s just about awareness. Accepting that in a calmer state of mind, and compartmentalising how things are right now.  It’s then up to you to look at it and assess whether you think certain areas are ok for now, or not.   

After some contemplation, return the diagram, and markdown on a scale of 1-10 where we would LIKE things to be.  In some cases, it might be the same number, even if that number is a 5 or a 6, because right now you accept and understand that for one of your other categories to flourish, you have to cut back on this one. In other cases, you might be already high at an 8 or a 9 but in that particular category, you want it to be a 10 for whatever reason.  In this case, another category needs to be reduced to allow for that expansion.

When we look at how we make those changes, we can bluff the system a little in 1 or 2 cases.  The best advice I can give, again, is not about overwhelming yourself with change, and trying to. You don’t have to change everything.  Also, sometimes if you change just one thing well – it impacts everything else beautifully.  

For example, if you are struggling with how you feel about yourself, and you would like to be more social and get out more, but your work is either not in line with your passion, or it’s too demanding or stressful – then you have choices. They all impact one another. So you could either start by going out with friends more, which makes things lighter at work. Or you could start with your health and wellbeing and this influences the choices you make about how you approach stress at work; impacting your satisfaction at work and therefore giving you time for your friends.  Or you cut to the core and decide what needs changing at work, and as Eckhart Tolle says; 

‘When you find yourself in turmoil, don’t make yourself the victim; Influence change, accept it, or leave.  All else is madness’. Ekhart Tolle

I always like to point out at this stage that acceptance is different from suppression. If you choose this route, be sure to fully accept with peace and happiness in your choice, not pushing the issue beneath the surface.

Come back to this tool any time you feel things are all over the place and check-in with yourself.  My definition of mindfulness is:

Mindfulness: Pause – check in with yourself (awareness)  and make a new choice

Be the leader in your own life and take hold of your empower

———————

Email info@inspireandrewire.com for info on our classes, workshops, memberships, retreats or to work with us as a speaker and retreat leaders

What Happens on a Retreat?

…and what should I bring?

You may have considered a retreat, or taking a break but a few things may be holding you back; money, guilt or fear of the unknown or expectations on you from the leader or the group? We spend so much time on useless energy around guilt with the ‘should’s’ and ‘have to’s’ which we set upon ourselves in our lives and these things can really drag us down over the months…creating anxiety and depression.

We put everyone else before us and get bogged down, overwhelmed and exhausted.  Sometimes we experience anxiety, or fatigue and our usual sunny selves turns a little flat and grey.

Mixing with like-minded people, but having time to yourself

Self-love to bounce back to life

By looking after yourself you build yourself back with energy, joy and peace.  This makes you feel lighter, free-er and happy. When we feel like this we give back in a way that is so natural and simply part of the joyous, peaceful and abundant energy we exude.

But when we feel tired, from saying yes to too many things outside of us, and saying no to ourselves, we feel obliged, maybe even bitter; the negative internal feelings become suppressed which can often lead to distress within the body, not just the mind.  When was the last time you took a break, even a small pause in the day? Do you check in with your mind and body to find out if you’re out of balance? Do you know how?

Some of you may have seen my blog on ‘Getting Back to YOU’, where I spent 2 days in a pod on my own with no wifi or reception, in the middle of Powys.  It has kept my fuel tank filled with self-love until now when I’m now looking into the next break that feels right for me.

Listen to the Niggles

Retreats are more than just a well deserved time out, they are a chance to learn a little more about you, discover your triggers, your red flags that are little niggles from your deeper consciousness trying to tell you when to change something. The tools and techniques help to find what works for you to get back to yourself, but also maintain your balance going forward and which ones can help you when you fall off the wagon. With this extra awareness we can make choices that feel right to YOU. How can we do this? By getting to know ourselves.  By pausing and listening to ourselves; away from the hustle and bustle and investing in our own personal development, learning and growing.

What you might find on a retreat is:

  • Checking into your venue
    • this might be basic or luxury but it’s usually about the location rather than the quality of the bedroom. Not all will be ensuite and some are only sharing rooms. I tend to always have single and ensuite options as this is what I like myself, then sharing a room is cheaper. Most will have photos of the rooms and you can always ask. I usually recommend people to bring their own pillow and some slippers for extra comfort.
  • Intro
    • this usually involves a short talk/ intro about the weekend where everyone gathers for the 1st time. It can be casual, or before a yoga class or over dinner, depedning on the time of arrival. The retreat leader would usually send and agenda or there be one in your room. I would always recommend coming in casual clothes in case it’s not clear that a yoga session is about to begin. Get a vibe for your yoga retreat leader by taking a look at their website or going to their class if they are nearby. Even a phone call can let you know if they are the right person for you and if the yoga style is for your liking. Check my blog on finding your yoga vibe
  • Yoga/ Meditation/ Mindfulness
    • Most Yoga retreats will have a welcome yoga class, then 2 per day. If it’s a weekend retreat that would mean Friday night, Saturday morning then afternoon/ evening and one on the Sunday. Some do more/less. I always do those 4 and people can opt in and out. Some do super early sessions so check what kind of style suits you. Would you rather be up with the lark, or take your mornings slow? I like a slower morning but we are all different. Don’t worry if you are new to it, drop all expectations and just go with the flow, bene
  • Food and drink
    • Food is generally vegan or vegetarian but you’ll often find that the food is amazeballs. The retreat hosts are experts at catering for all types of preferences and allergies and even meat lovers do not miss meat with the variety on offer. If you could take their chefs home I’m sure you would continue to eat this way. It’s a great easy to get back into a positive cycle. There are often fruit and tea available all day but bring snacks just in case. Most venues don’t sell wine but if you like a tipple you can always think about bringing your own. I find my groups bring something and connect in the evenings. Some retreats don’t allow because they are working more with detoxing on all levels so check that out with the retreat leader.
  • Connections
    • Even if you tend towards the introversion side, chances are – someone else will too. Over the blissful days on your retreat you may open up to someone, or simply connect through a smile. Friendships are made and that includes with yourself. Don’t worry if you have a ‘moment’, things can come up but you are in good hands. If you’re with me, I’m qualified therapist and can always be there to support at any time. Sometimes you may just want to retreat to your own space and chillax! But you can’t beat those deep chats with like-minded folks 🙂
  • Other bits
    • You might find extra stuff going on through the retreat such as walks, meditations, workshops so I would recommend bringing things on the list below. Remember everything is optional, never feel pressure or guilt. The retreat is for YOU and what feels right for you. There may be a theme so be sure to check what else…

What to bring?

  • couple of yoga outfits (leggings, baggy top etc.)
  • warm jumper
  • waterproofs (and umbrella)
  • walking shoes and flip flops (for easy access from your room to the yoga studio etc.)
  • notebook and pen
  • book (I often bring loads of books to lend people but it’s a good opportunity to read but don’t ad extra pressure by bringing 5 books!)
  • snacks?
  • pillow, pj’s and slippers
  • yoga mat (unless provided) and any other props like cushion/ block
  • chargers, phone, money (even though you won’t use them – hopefully)
  • any oils, incense/ fragrances/ candles and lighter

It’s easier than you think to make a shift, all it takes is a shift in the mind to say yes, to you.

Sometimes all we need is space to break the cycle to give our bodies and/or minds the opportunity to heal themselves and the domino effect is powerful in flowing up that positive spiral. When you try something for the first time it can feel scary, you’re not alone.  Every time I see a newbie join the retreat, they always come away feeling calm and so happy they came, and then it’s something beautiful that they know they can return to again and again. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort bubble to find what we have been looking for all along, ourselves.

If you tend to feel anxious even though there’s something you would really like to do, don’t worry I’ve been there! I have suffered high anxiety and found the things that work for me. You can read about my healing in my blogs, and my tips for relieving anxiety is one of them.

We have 3 or 4 retreats every year. For our current retreats head to our RETREATS page and see our lovely little video compilation below with our TESTIMONIES. Take a look at our Monthly Mindfulness sessions for small pauses within the month and our videos that can be purchased for just £5 on the same from our products section of our booking and buying page.

Topics include:

  • EFT (Tapping)
  • Self-Hypnosis
  • NLP
  • Saying ‘No’
  • My 10 Day Retreat at Home
  • Relaxation and Meditation Techniques
  • Insomnia
  • Pranayama Breathing techniques
  • and more….

Adrenal Fatigue Recovery

Previously

Last weekend was a huge turning point for me. 3 years ago I held my first retreat at #Trigonos in #Snowdonia where I was walking nearby last weekend. I had not long got back from my 8 years in Dubai, after leading a big team back in corporate land, arriving in the summer back to the UK. We had a terrible trauma in the family to work through together with the sudden loss of my brother-in-law who took his own life in the January.

It was of course a very stressful time and on top of everything there were so many life changes for me. When I got back I set up a business in that summer and by the following year I was running my first #retreat. I did a recce with my partner in advance and we went on a walk in the area. I had to lay down many times in the middle of muddy fields due to the extreme fatigue that lasted for more than two years. I was very ill and not just in my body – I had to work through a lot of stuff that was triggering extreme anxiety, insomnia, intense mood swings and more – not dissimilar to a break down.

Adrenal Fatigue

I was experiencing something called #Adrenal Fatigue which conventional medicine doesn’t acknowledge. I knew that it would be a long recovery and so a big part of my healing was to communicate this over to my family, and explain that I was exhausted to friends. Through their understanding and working with a mix of professionals in mind or body, I was able to build my confidence and peace in saying no and spending quality time alone. The empowerment of choice allowed myself time to look after me and through this I quickly discovered that this self-nurturing is not a selfish thing, I slowly came back to myself.

The Milestone

Now I am so lucky to say that I have Ayla and I still have Dan, unbelievably 🙂 we I recovered well after some dark days when my mind and body was quite ill, followed by a tricky pregnancy and trickier birth. Amazingly I recovered very well and was able to manage any birth trauma due to the ‘work’ I had already done with Hypnotherapy, mindfulness and other therapies. But also through my experience using Hypnobirthing.

So it was down to a mixture of mindset and modern science mixed with ancient techniques to remain calm.

So that weekend I walked two hours with Ayla on my back and she’s big! This was mainly on the flat but I also took her a little way up the hill on this photo and I plan to get stronger still. But in my own way, and time and without compromising anything. This was a big deal for me in comparison to those days when even ordering from Tesco online would drain me.

The Red Flags

I’ve always been an action orientated person but it has it’s downs with its ups and only through knowing yourself can you manage yourself. I know anxiety presents itself from a variety of sources. I categorise these into 5 main areas which you can read on one of my blogs tips for relieving anxiety (there’s also others on how to nurture yourself part 1 and part 2 and get back into things you love, as well as toxic friendships/ relationships) but I definitely think overactive go-getters are prone to burnout yet they don’t always see it at the time, living in a version of what they feel is a normal level of anxiety. This adrenaline can be addictive and mask other things in the process of being ‘busy’ so when our bodies force us to stop it can be huge transition with a feeling of identify crisis and loss. This can happen with any illness, or life change – including when recovering from child birth and being a new mum.

I feel I will never be as active as I was. Not because it’s not possible but because I don’t want to be. I know what humans are physically and mentally capable of and I pushed myself to my version of that maximum. But I want to smell the roses, and I do. It doesn’t mean I don’t experience fatigue or anxiety now, we all do. The difference is now I can listen to the niggles and underplaying subtle messages before they become big and with this self awareness I can make a choice. This is where empowerment lies. In empowerment lies lightness, joy and energy.

I still miss the red flags now and then or choose to ignore them and have to stop or cancel something in order to recover. It’s not that I’m feeling exhausted at that moment but in knowing myself -if I don’t cancel, I will be. With my little one now it’s a little harder and yet easier in some respects. Harder because I don’t know what mood she will be in and how much energy I will need to manage her, or if she may be ill. But easier in that I book even less things into my once hectic diary in to ensure I can flow with the process.

Going Forward

It took almost 3 years to slow down and actually start to enjoy a slower pace of life. I do try to add more things into my life but I do it mindfully. People who know me now might think I still look busy, and maybe there even more room to slow down, but in comparison I’ve come a long way.

These days there are so many things to do and distractions which also gives us a big fear of missing out or that dreaded ‘should ‘ word or things can also light our fire with excitement. I am a curious and passionate person and so I want to do it all, but as my Korean Mr Kiwan Kim, LG MEA CEO (at the time) from my corporate job told us: strategy is choice. We have to be aware that the technology that is around us 24/7 is also a distraction – it’s the same as watching a show or meeting someone for a chat in terms of energy – we spend it.

I didn’t know you could burn out. I thought you could be knackered and tired for a few days etc. but I didn’t know that the straw that broke the camels back really does exist. And that it can knock you out for years. The issue is that for this to happen there must be many straws that have been piling up for a long time for this last one to do the trick. And we often don’t know the warning signs until it’s happened to us. These becomes your red flags and show you that you’re coming off track. We have to try and become more aware of your own red flags.

So what gets you through this complex multitude of this kind of break down!? The naturopathic functional medicine mixed with mind work with gentle exercise was the key for me, with working on the ability to say ‘no’.  Carving out time for YOU and working on letting go of guilt surrounding that because to nurture yourself, you nurture others. Above all, trust in your own intuition to know what’s the right choice for you in any situation. Trust yourself 🙏🏼

Find out about our retreats

Monthly mindfulness workshops on tips and techniques for working with anxiety

Monthly Sound Healing

Yoga and Meditation

And also corporate escapes and workshops under ‘training and development’ and 1:1’s menus

Self-Hypnosis and Individualised recordings

Email us at nicola@inspireandrewire.com for your personalised hypno recording questionnaire and to receive the recording straight to your home

What is Hypnosis?

Have you ever seen old horror films and television programmes that portray hypnosis as a frightening instrument of mind control where unscrupulous villains enslave the will of helpless victims? Perhaps you have seen stage shows where a hypnotist seems to be able to use their “hypnotic powers” to make people do and say things that they would never do or say under normal conditions. If so, it is not surprising that hypnosis may seem just a little bit wacky, not unlike other seemingly mystical and unexplainable phenomena. This is unfortunate because hypnosis is, in fact, a serious therapeutic tool that can help people overcome many psychological, emotional and even some physical problems.

The state of hypnosis can best be described as a state of highly focused attention with heightened suggestibility. Hypnosis is sometimes but not always accompanied by relaxation. When a person such as a therapist induces hypnosis in another it is called hypnotherapy. When hypnosis is self-induced it is called s self-hypnosis.  The word hypnosis comes from the Greek word “hypos” which means sleep. It is an abbreviation of the term neuro-hypnotism which means sleep of the nervous system.

This term was used by the eminent neurosurgeon James Braid (1796-1860). However, hypnosis is not a sleep state. In fact, when in hypnosis a person is awake and usually aware of everything that is said and done. Realising this, Braid later tried to change the name to monoideaism. This means a marked preoccupation with one idea or subject. However, the term hypnosis stuck and is used right up to this day. Based on the work of Sigmund Freud – the human mind can be split into three distinct areas of consciousness; the conscious, subconscious and unconscious.  It can be useful to think of each part of the mind on a scale of depth.

Freud believed that the conscious mind is the top or shallowest part of the mind and is responsible for making sense of the things we are directly aware of – like stress levels.   The subconscious mind is below consciousness most of the time, a deeper level – it is therefore not so easily accessible and controls how we may feel or react to certain situations or circumstances, based on what we have learnt through experience, in the past.    It also controls and regulates our essential bodily functions, such as breathing. The unconscious mind is the deepest part of our mind and is much more difficult to reach – it can include suppressed memories of traumatic events.  Hypnotism works by reaching a relaxed state whereby it is possible to sink deeper into our minds and rewrite or reprogram our subconscious.

Through physical and mental relaxation, self-hypnosis can allow people to bypass their conscious minds and introduce positive thoughts and ideas into their unconscious.  Upon ‘awakening’ from the hypnotic state the new thoughts and ideas in the subconscious will, eventually, affect the conscious mind and can, in turn, lead to changed behaviours.  

What Hypnosis is and isn’t

Hypnosis is not sleep, more a deep state of relaxation, where your brain waves start to slow down.  Hypnosis slows our brain waves down to either alpha or, ideally theta, which are states we also experience when about to fall asleep, or when meditating.  This is the time when the mind becomes open to re-learning deep-seated beliefs.

Hypnosis is similar to meditation/ mindfulness because your brain goes into the same state, which can deepen with regular practice.  Your brain waves slow down in exactly the same way as in hypno.  What is different is we use this state to then do some work.  Being in the present moment is generally the main goal of most meditation. However, hypnosis goes a step beyond that to provide suggestions to the brain, to rewire thinking and therefore new patterns with a specific goal in mind.

You can find yourself in and out of hypnosis throughout the day – when you are in different ‘zones’  – the most obvious being when you are falling asleep or waking up (which is what hypnosis feels like – relaxed and very comfortable place where the body and mind are calm).  When we are in such a place, our nervous system is calm and we can be in a deeper brainwave and able to accept suggestions that our conscious mind may not readily accept.  Our conscious mind is just 12% of our whole mind.  A whopping 88% is driven by our subconscious understanding of the world including our patterns and beliefs.   

Imagine the mind as a metaphor of that of a library.  This library contains millions of reference books that all work as a guide to yourself about the way things work such as how to make a cup of tea, how to get dressed, how to deal with a cut on your knee, how to move house, how to respond politely.  These guides are based on your observations an experiences (some may be perceived bad experiences) and so we develop our view on the world and how we react to it.  We have a reference book for absolutely everything but of course if we have conscious access all of the time then it would be insane.  So we place the books away and get them out when we need them.  Most often we don’t know we are getting them out because they are so routine; brushing our teeth etc.   Yet this can also be applied to the way we respond to something or someone.  Hypnosis aims to rewire a new pattern of behaviour for a new preferable, when we would like to change one, when we marry the conscious and subconscious and through repetition for habit forming.  

This can be extremely powerful when the source is from a instinctual primal fear reaction such as amygdala base anxiety (which is a consequence of imagined fear that has created a deep trench as an automatic response with no seemingly obvious link or no obvious cortex based over thinking e.g sudden panic for no reason, insomnia when not overthinking anything, worry about large groups but no logical reason.  The chemicals take over the body as a fight or flight reaction overriding the cortex (thinking side of the brain). It also works with cortex based sources of undesirable patterns e.g. over-thinking).

 

Hypnosis is not:

  • Mind control
  • Brainwashing
  • Sleep
  • Unconsciousness
  • A peculiar altered state
  • A mystical state
When in hypnosis a person is:

  • Aware
  • In control
  • In a natural and harmless state
  • Able to come out of hypnosis when     s/he wishes to

How Can I Use Self-Hypnosis To Achieve My Goals?

Self-hypnosis is often used to modify behaviour, emotions and attitudes. For instance, many people use self-hypnosis to help deal with the problems of everyday living. Self-hypnosis can boost confidence and even help people develop new skills. A great stress and anxiety reliever, it can also be used to help overcome habits such as smoking and overeating. Sports men and women can enhance their athletic performance with self-hypnosis, and people suffering from physical pain or stress-related illnesses also find it helpful (hypnosis should only be used in this way after a medical diagnosis has been made and under the guidance of a doctor or qualified therapist).

A Self-Hypnosis Technique

I am going to introduce you to a simple but effective technique of self-hypnosis. This technique is called eye fixation self-hypnosis and is one of the most popular and effective forms of self-hypnosis.  We will start by using it as a method to help you relax. After you have practised this a number of times you can add hypnotic suggestions and imagery. 
Reduce distractions by going into a room where you are unlikely to be disturbed and turning off your phone, television, computer, etc. This is your time. You are going to focus on your goal of self-hypnosis and nothing else.  Then:

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair with your legs and feet uncrossed.

Avoid eating a large meal just before so you don’t feel bloated or uncomfortable. Unless you wish to nod off, sit in a chair, as lying down on a bed will likely induce sleep.  You may also wish to loosen tight clothing and take off your shoes. If you wear contact lenses, it is advisable to remove them. Keep your legs and feet uncrossed.

  1. Look up at the ceiling and take in a deep breath.

Without straining your neck or tilting your head too far back pick a point on the ceiling and fix your gaze on that point. While you keep your eyes fixed on that point take in a deep breath and hold it for a moment and then breathe out. Silently repeat the suggestion “My eyes are tired and heavy and I want to SLEEP NOW”. Repeat this process to yourself another couple of times and, if your eyes have not already done so, let them close and relax in a normal closed position. It is important when saying the suggestion that you say it to yourself as if you mean it, for example in a gentle, soothing but convincing manner.

  1. Let your body relax.

Allow your body to become loose and limp in the chair. Then slowly and with intention count down silently from five to zero. Tell yourself that with each and every count you’re becoming more and more relaxed. Stay in this relaxed state for a number of minutes while focusing on your breathing. Notice the rising and falling of your diaphragm and chest. Be aware how relaxed your body is becoming without you even having to try and relax it. In fact, the less you try, the more relaxed you become.  You can repeat the 5-0 count down as many times as you like to go even deeper.

  1. When ready, come back by counting up from one to five.

Tell yourself that you are becoming aware of your surroundings and at the count of five you will open your eyes. Count up from one to five in a lively, energetic manner. At the count of five, open your eyes and stretch your arms and legs.  Repeat this technique three or four times and notice how each time you reach a deeper level of relaxation. However, if you find you do not relax as much as you would like, do not force it. There is a learning curve involved so resolve to practice self-hypnosis on a regular basis.    * After deep relaxation do not drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake *

Difficulties Learning Self-Hypnosis

Have you ever experienced the frustration of having a name on the tip of your tongue? The harder you try to remember the name, the harder it is to recall. Then when you relax the name comes back to you. Sometimes, when we try too hard, we block ourselves from achieving our goals and remove expectations. The attitude you take towards self-hypnosis will determine how easily you learn it. Don’t try too hard or set unrealistic goals. Relax and take your time. Accept the pace at which you achieve results, however small they may at first seem. Believe in yourself and you will go on to achieve the success you desire.  You may benefit first from listening to a similar guided meditation/ relaxation to get used to it.

Steps to Enable Self-Hypnosis

Before you attempt self-hypnosis for the first time it is useful to have told somebody else in the nearby vicinity what you are doing.  Reaching a hypnotic state is a little like sleeping and you may be more comfortable telling somebody else that you are going for a nap.  By telling somebody else, you are not likely to be disturbed or worried that you may be disturbed.  

Post-Hypnotic Suggestions And Their Rules

As previously mentioned, hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility. Giving yourself suggestions when in hypnosis will enable an action or other response to take place after the hypnotic experience has occurred. These forms of suggestion are called post-hypnotic suggestions and will help you to achieve your goals. Over the years, hypnotherapists have developed rules of suggestion. These are guidelines that will enable you to achieve maximum success with the suggestions you give yourself. What follows is a summary of these rules.

  1. Say it as if you mean it.

Have you ever seen an actor mumbling his lines on stage, speaking in a quiet meek voice? The result is a performance that’s not very convincing. Unlike acting, hypnotic suggestions are repeated silently. However, you need to repeat the suggestions as though you mean what you say. Be reassuring, positive and confident.

  1. Suggestions need to be phrased positively and in the present tense.

Most of us will react more favourably to a positively worded suggestion than a negative one.  Which request would you rather hear: Do not leave that lying on the floor” or “Would you mind picking that up?”

The mind has a tendency to focus on the noun, therefore if you say ‘I don’t want to be scared’ and then try to change to ‘I’m not scared’ the mind will still focus on ‘scared’.  = ‘I’m scared’.  Suggestions are far more effective when you mention what you wish to move towards, rather than what you are moving away from. For example:  “I am calm” is better than “I am not anxious”. 
“I stop smoking with ease” is better than “I will try to stop smoking” as the word try implies difficulty and struggle.

Your suggestions are best phrased in the present tense, as though they are happening at this moment in time.  So, “I am relaxed on the aircraft” is better than “I will be relaxed when I am on the aircraft”. Or, “I am becoming more confident” is better than “I will try to be confident”.

  1. Make your suggestions specific and realistic.

Your suggestions are going to be more effective if they are specific and realistic. If you wish to improve your swimming performance, it would be unrealistic to give yourself the suggestion “I am a world-class swimmer”, unless of course you are, or are about to become, a world champion. Instead, ask yourself what specifically it is about your swimming that you wish to improve. So if you wished to improve your breaststroke, you would give yourself a realistic suggestion tailored to that specific aspect of your swimming. Structure your suggestions on changes you wish to see in yourself rather than things that are out of your control, such as external events and other people. Do not give yourself suggestions for two or three issues all at the same time. For instance, the suggestion “I am confident that I can lose weight and stop smoking” is probably not effective. Instead, work on one goal at a time, repeating suggestions associated with that goal. When you see some results, move on to your next goal.

  1. Repetition of suggestions

Advertisers know the value of suggestion, which is why they repeat television and radio commercials on a regular basis. One of the most important rules when practising self-hypnosis is repetition of your suggestions. That way you drive the point home and are far more likely to effect positive change.

Imagery In Hypnosis

While giving yourself hypnotic suggestions, visualise the situation, the action and the feeling that you desire. As well as picturing a desired outcome, you can utilise your sense of touch, hearing and even smell. You can create new images as well as using images from your memories and experiences. People sometimes believe they have to see a crystal clear image of their goal, as though watching a movie. However, a positive attitude and a belief that you are “in the role” is more important than clear imagery.   

Hypnotherapy does not claim to be a ‘quick fix’ – (commit these suggestions to memory and focus on them in your mind.  When you practise self-hypnosis the imagery you use and the suggestions you give yourself are only limited by your imagination.  Remember the more you put into any kind of healing the more you get out.  But always remember to be kind to yourself in your healing process including the blips and plateaus which are just as important as the successes because these teach us even more about ourselves.

* *Part of this information has been taken from a variety of hypnotherapy websites

Personalised Hypno Recording Questionnaire

In order to prepare your personalised recording there are a few questions below that are required to be answered to understand what it is your feeling and what you are wishing to feel, or generally wanting to achieve through Hypnotherapy.  Using Hypnotherapy is more effective than using willpower or affirmations alone using only your conscious awareness because the subconscious is 88% of your total mind and this portion drives your everyday thinking, feeling, behaviours and actions; therefore your quality of life.  Hypnotherapy works by relaxing the body and the mind to get to a slower brainwave which allows for suggestions to be placed in the subconscious. In a recording you may not be the same as an interactive one-to-one session but it will still be effective when listened to regularly.  You are fully in control at all times and your relaxation into hypnosis is a choice made through your willingness.  You can read more about Hypnotherapy on my blog  http://www.inspireandrewire.com/hypnotherapy-faqs/

 

How to get the best out of a personalised recording

It is important to note that you get out what you put in.  If you listen to your recording regularly and consistently over a period of more than 3 weeks then you will notice significant difference on how you feel.  Later once you feel you have embedded a new way of thinking and feeling you can use the recording as a ‘top-up’ every now and then.  Note also that your recording is not a replacement for long term belief patterns that may require more in depth one-to-one sessions to address underlying causes.  But in many cases because this is individualised you will notice significant progress compared to a general hypnosis recording or mediation.

You can use recorded Hypnotherapy for a variety of topics such as confidence, reducing anxiety, public speaking, fear and phobias, new ways of thinking, cutting cords with old belief systems or people/ situations/ experiences/ countries/ jobs, motivation, goal setting, finding your purpose, sleep, even pain.  The list goes on.  The more information and detail you provide in your answers, the more personalised the recording.  You don’t have to reveal personal information if you are not comfortable (although all information of course will remain confidential).  Instead if you prefer you can generalise or indicate something because your subconscious will know exactly what or who you are speaking of.

Listen to your recording when you are comfortable and will not be disturbed.  Earphones are the best to drown out outside interference. During your session where you listen to the audio, sometimes you may fall asleep and sometimes you may be very aware and conscious, either way is fine so long as you are relaxed.  Notice if you are seeing improvements even if you fall asleep.  If there are no improvements try to listen to the recording when you are not likely to fall asleep and perhaps sit up a little or fully.  When you fill in the questionnaire below take your time – you may need to spend a bit of time thinking about the answers, if you are not used to being aware of your thoughts it may take a little time to begin listening to yourself.  Try not to judge your thoughts or feelings; this is a great step towards self-awareness which is moving towards making mindful choices and making positive changes.

I look forward to preparing your audio and enjoy the process of the journey.

You can also see the FAQ of Hypnotherapy here

Order a personalised recording with us by emailing Nicola and discussing your unique request

Leading with Calm-Assertiveness and Self-awareness is mindful leadership.

The Key to balance starts with ourselves. Self-leadership is the source of mindful leadership and this comes through self-development.

Professional development IS personal development

Often we expect or select the strong charismatic person to be the leader in a group. While these are great traits, could it mean that we a prone to overlooking those who are perceived ‘quieter’ when selecting or recognising leadership? What do ‘quieter’ ones need to be recognised (if anything) or what do ‘louder’ ones need to be aware of? Or is it the leader’s leaders that need to increase their awareness?

It’s natural to turn to those who are openly confident and assertive in decision making; it makes us feel calm and confident and it also makes it easy for us to step back and relax while someone else does the thinking. Yet it’s worthwhile to remember that each person has their own way or style and opinion, made up of their own experiences that has developed into their own fundamental character. Therefore, we shouldn’t blindly oblige a certain type of leadership or have a favoured style within the workplace.  Leadership comes in various forms and a team of leaders can benefit highly from a combination of differing styles for a holistic and multifaceted team.

For a company to thrive it needs to be continuously creative, and a company is made up of teams, teams are made up from individuals.  For individual’s creativity to flow, and therefore flourish, they need the space to grow. This means not just the focusing on the positive achievements when it comes to learning and development but also making room for the perceived mistakes, which we know are the key to learning in the first place.

There are no right or wrong approaches as such with leadership styles – unless someone is intentionally hurting or sabotaging, but Balance is the key in every sense and an ability to manage our emotions or behaviours without suppressing them.

Insights

This is true in our personal community too; there is no right or wrong in our opinions, the way we choose to live, how we act, or our character. It is simply just how we see our world based on our understanding of it. An organisation is simply another community that we live and play a role in.

With the Insights Discovery (a tool some companies use for psychometrics and training – based on the Jungian philosophy) describes that there are four main categories of styles (represented using colours) that we each tend to fall under with varying compositions in each of us. They suggest that we lead from a dominant colour or energy which has attributes a main persona such as inspirational, direct, detail orientated or nurturing etc. Out of these we all possess variations and different weightage of these colours combinations in our character. If we are able to be flexible we can mindfully pull on certain colours when we need the support of that part of our personality for a situation or individual.

Insights shows us that a team (including a leadership team) working with a variety of colours together is a good option for the overall best results; each bringing something extremely valuable.  While the proactive energy is often seen in the leadership role due to their action orientation that’s not to say that their opposite type with their nurturing and calmness is not a leader. Nor the inspirational individual or the detail orientated people. After all, when we look at a leader such as Gandhi we can see his leadership style was dominant with a calm people-centred energy.

We are more complex

We often box people and roles through character association and this is helpful for us to begin to understand others and ourselves quickly when required for communication. But of course we are more complex and a total combination of many things; our childhood, our school, the country we were born into, society norms at the time, our experiences of perceived ‘good’ and ‘bad’, and as a result we are all very unique.  But as Insights suggests, we tend to lead with a certain style.

Potentially when something or someone is in the limelight we may notice it/them more whether it be a person or an event. It doesn’t mean it’s more common, or the right way, but potentially with our natural tendency to look up to ‘presence’ it could be subconsciously accepted as ‘the norm’ or right regardless of the quality of the actual leadership, individual or event. This can also be seen sometimes when we select people for talent management. Could it be that if you are in the main eye and are ‘seen’ then is there a possibility that you have a higher chance of being selected, promoted or rewarded? What are the implications of this?

Neither of these opposite types should be labelled negative, but awareness should be given to signs of excess in any of the styles e.g. if the confident or more extraverted types become extreme; self-centred, argumentative or overly ambitious with a selfish motive, or the quieter more introverted types become isolated, internally resentful or shy away from more public requirements that could impact their career.

There are great values in all types and drawing this out and recognising it can help keep a balance. A deep thinking individual with great insight, gently leading and encouraging from the back to help others around them become leaders in their own right. They often provide opportunities for their team to shine and develop their self-leadership, ultimately benefiting the whole company, in a less direct way. Again this is not to say those ‘louder’ personalities with charisma, motivation and openness do not also offer up these opportunities but they might already be recognised for doing so.

A Bird’s Eye View

As a leader of leaders, it’s important to have a balanced viewpoint and scan from a bird’s eye view across the board of personalities and skills as well as what is strategically relevant or required at the time, and not be tempted to overlook those with a quiet inner confidence when selecting leadership and team members. A understanding of learning and development at senior levels is also required for the knowhow on supporting personal development of any the extreme sides of great leaders in guiding and supporting personal style to reduce any negative impact on themselves, their teams or the wider organisation.

I mention balance again because we are all capable of extremes within our own personality and we are not striving to be perfect so it is a key word to keep in mind in many areas of our lives and it should also be applied to how this is tackled; we shouldn’t aim to change ourselves completely to fit in but there is an element of development on a personal level when behaviour is extreme.

It might be an idea to keep in mind that sometimes excessively louder individuals may often be forgiven for their aggression or personal ambition because they often are admired for their driven mindset and achievement. High achievers using this style can create short term great success, celebrated by the company, but longer term it can be detrimental to the company overall. It takes a very mindful senior leader to recognise these varieties in their leadership teams, and how to balance this while developing those individuals for the wider perspective. Therefore it goes without saying that these senior leaders would have had to either gone through, or going through, some deeper personal development of their own to achieve a high sense of self-leadership and awareness which is required to be able to scan the landscape and filter this positive example down throughout the company.

Our Opposites

When we look at opposite personalities there will always be some element of friction whether in the form of subtle lack of collaboration, passive-aggressive behaviour or even straight forward aggression or antagonistic behaviour, all of which negatively impact and create a domino effect in the company.  From working in leadership development I was observing that strong emotional reactions coms from personal perception but working with psychology in client therapeutic work, I have come to understand and cement that further. I have observed that this is largely due to an element of mainly subconscious discomfort, pattern or an underlying fear which essentially comes from a simple lack of understanding of others, and of the self. Much fear comes from the unknown.

Calm-Assertiveness

I remember reading a book by Caesar Milan, a professional dog trainer about how to lead a pack of dogs. I was a new manager at the time and as I was always fascinated by psychology and behaviour, in whatever shape or form, I was intrigued when I had learned of him rollerblading along with his pack of about 15 dogs off-lead, and how he had learned the behaviour of the dogs by observing their subtle body language. His training style was not typical of what we see in dog training, he led by example and trained through his actions. This was because he grew up with semi-wild dogs as his main entertainment and learned how the pack leader looked after the member’s needs individually and as a group, and how they worked together. He learned through observation the calm-assertive body language of the leader and found that this helped a troubled member calm down.

He adopted this to his own pack when he became an adult and took this role as his profession. He could see when he moved away to an urban area that many dogs had psychological issues. Whenever there was a traumatised dog that needed support he would introduce it to his pack. The newbie dogs initially exuded fear in the form of aggression or timidness (this can be seen in humans as the extreme opposites highlighted above i.e. the excessive ‘loud’ extroverts or the introverting ‘quieter’ individuals). He would let them enter the yard where his dogs lived and the dogs would eventually encourage and welcoming the new addition, showing them it’s ok and how to behave. The new dog would follow suit and sure enough they were all happy. Calmness returned.

We act in negative or excessive behaviour when we are fearful. When we can identify that, explore it and move forward from intense emotions, we can start to think, feel, and act differently for the wider good and not just from a personal perspective. We can move to an energy of ‘calm-assertiveness’- a nice balance of the strengths of two opposite types.

The above is why I believe personal and professional development are intertwined and it’s important to consider them both in learning and development.

How can we lead others if we are not able to lead ourselves?

Thus this comes from a deeper understanding of ourselves….It’s about providing experiences, a space to take a risk, to make a mistake and learn from it and allowing for that mistake. Most of our skills come from experiences as per the 70:20:10 model, where 70% is based on experiences. We recognise this when we reflect, learn, feedback this (the 20%). Only 10% is formal learning. These experiences whether at work or out of work are essentially personal experiences; working with our character, our flaws and our strengths, raising our self-awareness and therefore our self-leadership. This is also what I define as Mindful Leadership.

As a leader, it’s about having an inner quiet confidence to allow your team to take this risks and give opportunities for people to grow, and moreover, allowing yourself to make mistakes. Growing is not just about a functional understanding and procedural technicalities required for the physical day to day job, but the very human element of emotion which impacts people’s motivation, well-being, ability to get on with others/ collaborate, adapt to change and much more….which of course can impact positively or negatively on the wider company.

Leaders Make Mistakes Too

Leadership is like teaching and teaching needs to allow for mistakes, and this applies to all leaders too, not only team members. Mistakes may cause a short-term issue to your department to some extent, it may even make you feel you ‘look bad’ as a leader. However if you are quietly confident and can visualise the outcome that is salvageable then this can be an opportunity to coach, mentor and support the learning and development of that member (or a growth opportunity for yourself) which in the long term is much more valuable, on many levels. A quiet inner confidence is about seeing this longer term value and therefore riding the waves of your team member’s individual growth and wider team’s evolution, as well as how it looks from the outside.

Dynamics

When I run retreats the first day is always an interesting one; each person comes along with their own expectations, beliefs, values and experiences. Each person is out of their comfort zone and seeing where they ‘fit’, which is absolutely natural. As the leader of a group it takes courage and trust to know that any uncomfortable feelings towards one another (and sometimes to you) will subside, and it takes maturity and compassion to allow those emotions to come out either directly to you as complaints or as catharsis in some cases, or even negative talk, blame or worse. Then choose the right time and method to strategically bring that group together as a team and as individuals.

It’s natural to want to either fix everything immediately for fear of a bad opinion or gossip, or to even want to run away in circumstances that are out of your comfort zone, even in a leadership position. But if you can work through this pain you will gain results because when you are leading from a place of self-awareness and greater good of all then there is no other underlying motive and you will help to dissolve their fear, and people will see and admire that, and follow it.

Allowing Vulnerability

This is what I discovered on my latest retreat in Spain. As a group leader it’s important not to try to control or ‘manage’ these situations or feel responsible for other people’s’ reactions. All you can do is sort out practical issues where possible and the other areas to allow them to talk and work through but by making them aware you are available and supportive where possible. You cannot take responsibility for everything, everyone, or every emotion. You have a responsibility to get the job done, and to have a clear vision always in mind to guide you and your team, but the ‘how’ can be very different from leader to leader, from group to group, from season to season, and the impact on the organisation as a whole can have also very different results.

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable by being calm-assertive means not panicking over results and controlling everything. This builds strength, mindfulness, self-awareness, confidence and trust in yourself. To some, this leadership could even appear weak but this perspective is potentially coming from a lack of awareness of the bigger picture, lack of experience, ego or fear.

Look at dog pack mentality. Just because these individuals are calm and assertive, leading the pack encouragingly from the back doesn’t mean they don’t have ‘bite’ and the strength to stand up, but business should hopefully not get to that stage. There maybe flickers where required but calm-assertive leaders will simply exude the energy that followers admire and respect, not to mention learn from and are loyal to, until the natural time to move up or move on with the proud support of their leader. This is the opposite of shouting, dictatorship, creating unhealthy competition or coming from a place of egoistic ambition, or a more subtle form of emotional manipulation such as pulling on team members weak points to try to motivate others, or lack of support at all.

Self-Awareness

To achieve a calm-assertive leadership it all comes through understanding yourself first, developing areas of emotions that might need balancing. It’s deciding which parts might need working on and which parts simply you would like to accept about yourself. Instead of beating yourself up, always remind yourself of your strengths and reward yourself for your progress. Taking a decision to grow and be open is not an easy one. Ultimately it’s shifting from a place where thoughts, emotions, behaviours and actions based on fear to one of more acceptance, trust and calmness about situations, and essentially – openness. This is self-leadership, and this comes first.

How is your self-leadership going?

If you are interested in more of the above in the form of a retreat (Personalised Leadership, Insights, or Personal Wellness Retreats) as well as workshops and talks, NLP/ Insights coaching or consultancy you can get in touch on nicola@inspireandrewire.com

Happy ME Day – part 2 (how can one develop self love?)

Last week I talked about how Valentine’s Day is focused on celebrating the love between two people, sometimes the love between family members but very rarely on self love and the relationship that we have with ourselves.

So what is self love and how can one develop it?

I believe that peace comes from truly knowing yourself and being self-aware.  So what about starting to think about areas in your life that are not making you happy? I call this ‘the drains and radiators’ exercise.  What drains your energy and what brings up your vibrations? It could be a simple activity like a walk on a sunny day, or a chat with someone you are comfortable with, your favourite food, pottering around town or having a coffee with a book.  Start to consciously think about what you really enjoy and the simple pleasures in your day. Find out what shifts your mood when you’re feeling flat. To understand yourself more and what can send you on a downward spiral, it’s important to start giving some attention to uncovering what makes you feel bad.  It could even be the smallest thing.  When you become aware, you can stop negative feelings in their tracks and bring in something positive, to reverse the spiral.   This means building up to making new choices, saying no instead of yes when you can’t really commit or you have too much on.  But also saying yes to things that you might normally shy away from.  It’s an exploration.  Some things will work out great, others might make you feel uncomfortable or worse. The key is to try them.

Quick tips for feeling good and nurturing yourself:

  1. Have a go at ‘the drains and radiators’ exercise.
  2. Start saying no when you want.
  3. Or say yes when normally you would have said no! Put yourself out of your comfort zone.
  4. Explore different activities to find out what you like and mix with new people.
  5. Focus on your health – what a great time to be able to get healthy through nutrition and exercise. Through nourishment you will feel good in your mind, body and soul and this will naturally lift your mood and energy levels.
  6. Mindfully choose specific times to relax –  bath night’s, activity/ learning night’s, reading night’s, seeing friends etc.  Set up your week according to how YOU feel.  If you want to stay home all week and relax, go for it.  If you feel you might want some social time, book it in! If you want to save space for exercise then focus on that. It’s your choice.
  7. Why not have a movie night in (or out).  Grab your favourite food, pick a good movie and enjoy it- simply watch what you want. Have you ever considered a movie at the cinema by yourself?  Do it- it’s liberating!
  8. Make a list of all the things you’ve ever wanted to do, go to, learn about and start doing them step by step.  My first solo trip away was to a yoga retreat – I was taking a step by myself and at the same time knowing I was in safe hands and with like-minded people.
  9. Take a new course. Google stuff you’re interested in or look around locally and sign yourself up.  Learning new things is great not only for your brain but also for building confidence, social interaction and enjoyment of doing something you love.
  10. Write a journal in the evenings; we often push back our subconscious thoughts.  Record your thinking.  It’s not only therapeutic to get things out of your mind, but it becomes a support mechanism and you can also begin to see patterns and start working things out for yourself.  You can even take that one step further and start to shift your mindset.
  11. Walking in nature is also a great choice whether alone or with others. It helps to clear the mind and sort out things, without having to write them down.

The above are all the things I love to do to relax. As well as being around dogs, painting, learning, travel and dancing! Find the things you love! Happy YOU day!

Happy Me Day – part 1

When it comes to Valentine’s Day we tend to focus on celebrating the love between two people, sometimes we celebrate the love between family members but very rarely do we celebrate self love and the relationship we have with ourselves. At this time of year if you are without a partner you may feel anxiety, even if you are content on your own, and this sense of unworthiness may creep in because of the emphasis on being happy and ‘in love’.

As with anything, it depends on your mindset and perspective on how you approach things, such as social media and certain TV shows.  You can edit and filter what you are exposed to and engage as much or as little as you like; it’s a choice.

So why the emphasis on this date? Do couples suddenly realise that they acknowledge their love because the date says the 14th? Or perhaps this day is catered more for young blossoming love and is just a bit of fun and excitement? What I do know is that it’s hard to get a table at a restaurant and prices go up! And like any other annually celebration event, the stores get filled with the colours of the theme of the season to titillate your monetary taste buds. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a Valentine’s Day whinge bag, but if you’re a fan of Valentine’s Day or not – whether you’re single or in a relationship, how about taking a moment to look at your relationship with the most important person in your life – you.  After all, it’s the longest one you will have.

Self love if you’re single

Do you allow the time and space for yourself, to relax, have fun or to learn?  Do you take care of your mind and body? Do you look at your needs and desires? Do you know yourself? If you are single, then this is a great opportunity to build this.  Take all the advantages that come with this time to move and breathe and find your own rhythms.  If you’re not single, why not also set aside some time for this?

I was single for quite a few years living overseas away from family, and although there were ups and downs, this was one of the best parts of my life. I really got to know and understand myself, raising my self-awareness and uncovering patterns that I might not have exposed had I not had this opportunity to contemplate, explore and feel more open when I entered a relationship.

There is often an expectation that another person will make you happy or will ‘fix you’, and that another person in your life can really impact it in a positive way. This can be delicate for your wellbeing if you rely on the behaviour or actions of another for your sense of happiness, leading to an underlying unconscious need to be satisfied only through this person. If they do not act in a way that is in line with your expectation then you will find your mood becomes inconsistent and reliant on short-term, feel-good, external influences to feel good.  This can lead to toxic patterns, including toxic relationships.

Self love if you’re in a relationship

Intimate and healthy relationships involve three components;

  1. you on your journey
  2. them on theirs
  3. your journey or experience as a couple together.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, we feel a relationship completes us. We remember the ‘in love’ butterflies and forget the compromises and growing pains that are required to learn and build upon in a solid relationship.  Two people coming together for a real, loving and intimate relationship means a letting down of barriers, developing streamline communication for mutual understanding, moving through trust issues and childhood distortions and allowing yourself a vulnerability.

This isn’t to say that you cannot start a relationship when you still have ‘stuff’ – everyone is on a life long journey and we don’t aim to be perfect. There are many couples where one or both are fragile and working through things together, and/ or on their own.  Only you know if what you’re experiencing is growing pains or unacceptable pain for you and your life, and you can make that choice any time.  Ultimately we hear it time and time again but it is the truth – only you can make you happy.  There’s a beautiful moment of empowerment that comes when you truly realise this. You can read my moment of realisation on my blog called ‘The Graceful Gardener’,

So, if you are without a partner at this time, I only encourage you to make the best use of NOW. Living your life the way YOU want to live it and getting to know yourself in all scenarios and having fun with freedom.  Remember, freedom doesn’t need to end when you enter a relationship either, it’s about finding the right type of person who shares the same values and who is ready to open up and support each other’s real sides, and not just the fuzzy beginning bits.

The next post is about Self Love and giving you my top tips on feeling good and nurturing yourself!

If you find yourself struggling, not feeling good in your own company or anxious about meeting in groups, then perhaps take some time out to work on your self-esteem. Hypnotherapy can help with this and soon we will be introducing a monthly group called Anxiety T & T (tips and techniques with meditation).  Nicola also shares meditations online and soon will be introducing the 10 day mindfulness online retreat to support your daily activity and to help you rewire and reset your thinking.

Nicola also holds weekly yoga and meditation classes, monthly sound healing, yoga retreats and 1:1 sessions (yoga, hypnotherapy, NLP coaching, reiki and  Indian head massage).


© Inspire and Rewire 2019