I am very fortunate to be able to coach people in my role as a Consultant. It is a privilege to be able assist people in fulfilling their dreams and reaching their potential.
Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t always practice what I preach. Whilst much of what I have learnt as a coach comes from my own personal struggles and triumphs, a great deal has come from research and the observation of other successful and fulfilled people. As a coach it is common for someone to not necessarily be an expert at performing the skills they are teaching, although they are always working hard at the fundamentals of it.
I have recently realised there are a number of common areas that come up in a majority of coaching conversations when someone is trying to shift their thinking. Most of these relate to personal resilience which I have found to be the most important aspect of coaching. These include:
- Self-discipline – the core to happiness and success
My favourite footballer of all time (Leigh Mathews) once defined self-discipline as “doing the things you don’t want to do but you know you should be doing”. This goes for what you do at home and at work. It’s the discipline to do what is important, not what comes easy. Examples include preparing agendas for meetings, managing your calendar, preparing for one-on-ones, planning your week, following up opportunities, having tough conversations and so forth, regardless of whether you enjoy them or not.
- Regular health and fitness – the core to resilience and happiness
I never met an unhappy jogger, but I’ve met plenty of unhappy people who are unfit or unhealthy. Exercise is fundamental in building a fulfilled and meaningful life that requires the self-discipline to receive a huge reward. Exercise releases endorphins, gives you focus, builds routine, reduces health risks and generally contributes to a happier lifestyle. It is a no brainer, yet so many of us don’t prioritise it. It takes self-discipline and I don’t believe that there is a bigger pay off activity you can do in life.
- Weekly reflection and planning – the core to shifting our thinking
Journaling regularly and planning our week are the key methods I have observed where people can really shift their thinking. Unfortunately, many people have a tendency to over analyse things in their heads, and unless we write it down through weekly journaling and planning, our thinking won’t shift. In fact, if we don’t write it down, internal analysis can often increase stress levels. I am a big fan of practising gratitude at this time of reflection as it focuses our mind on the positive and increases our self-belief and self-care. Follow this time of reflection up with planning for your week and the do/dump/delegate process to ensure your week is organised, prioritised and structured, and you will consistently set your weeks and mind up for success. This takes self-discipline but through weekly repetition is a powerful way to shift your thinking and decrease stress.
- Spend half a day each week doing something that you are passionate about – the core to internal energy
Core to fulfilment is energy and you can’t be energised if you are not doing things you love. If every day of your life revolves around activities that drain your energy i.e. for some this may be working, cleaning, cooking, fixing stuff around the house or looking after kids/grandkids then eventually you will wear down. You can survive for a while but even the most resilient people eventually burn out if they don’t have at least ½ day per week doing something that they are passionate about and energises them. This may include walking in nature, playing sport, working in the garden, or sitting by the pool. The key is that it must energise you.
There are many strategies you can adopt, but in my experience the above four are the ones I have found to work for me. I would love your feedback on what works for you.