In the book The Tools, which you can read more about in my book suggestion this month, there is a brilliant illustration of someone stood in their comfort zone. In between them and the box of endless opportunities is a box that says pain. I feel that this shows us that most things you dream of and wish for are actually possible if you are willing to go though pain and discomfort, and even make sacrifices to get there. Sometimes, we talk the talk – ‘I want to do that’, ‘I want to exercise’, ‘I want to find time to meditate’ – but we don’t walk the walk. Why? Because we are comfortable where we are and, to get what we really want (whether that’s from fitness, health or from life in general), we need to go though some sort of emotional or physical pain.
When I was an athlete, feeling muscular pain from training became so normal that I hardly felt it – I knew it was necessary to push myself and my muscles in training to fully grow and evolve in my sport, and doing so gave me an edge on competition day. I apply this strategy to many projects in my professional career now. I say yes to opportunities even if they scare me, especially when I notice myself getting a little too comfortable in my comfort zone. And yes, it’s not comfortable to do so at the beginning but the only way you can get to the endless possibilities is to get on with it and work though the pain, fear and discomfort. I want to make it very clear that success is not reserved for a select few it is available for everyone who is willing to take the necessary steps and actions.
Try this now: Turn a negative into a positive
Reframing is one of the most common tools that I use, both on myself and with my clients, and it’s a popular tool in therapy. When you reframe a situation, you allow yourself to perceive a situation that’s bothering you differently. When you are looking at it from a different perspective, the feeling and emotions around the situation change, allowing you to let go of the heavy feelings connected to it. We are really good at doing this for our friends – with friends it’s easy to offer a different perspective, and you have probably offered helpful advice to your friends many times, allowing them to see a situation more positively. But that’s not always as easily done with ourselves. Using reframing gives us an opportunity to provide ourselves with the same treatment, whatever the situation. Try this:
1. Bring to mind the negative situation you would like to change
2. Write it down in your journal or say it aloud. How is the situation making you feel?
3. Now, ask yourself: ‘If it was a friend telling me about this situation and I had to help them find a different way to look at it, how would I suggest they look at it differently?’
4. Imagine you are now looking at the situation with a new perspective, as if it’s the first time you’ve looked at it.
5. Write down what you see and feel now – what has shifted and changed?
Just by going through the process of looking at a situation differently, you will start a shift within and create some space in your thoughts that will enable you to consider a different and more positive solution.
What to read this month
The Tools – 5 tools to help you find courage, creativity and willpower and inspire you to live a life in forward motion by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels
This book is seriously excellent or, like motivational guru Marianne Williamson says, it’s ‘breakthrough material’. It’s full of such helpful advice, not to mention suggestions for the reader to bring into action immediately. It would be pretty difficult to read this book and not feel inspired, however, let me stress the fact that this is not one of those books you can skim through! As they explain in the text, it will take effort and work from the reader to reap the benefits. I love the chapter about willpower, in which the author explains how many self-help books have great programmes but often don’t talk about the importance of willpower when it comes to quitting. Something that I agree with. So many people start each year with great intentions and the want to improve something but, then, after a while, the novelty wears off. And it’s the same when you start making major changes in your life – you need willpower to keep going when you feel like quitting or things get hard. The authors explain exactly how to harness this willpower. This book is like a series of good coaching sessions!