Blog Post 6 – Real Lives, Real Inspiration
A true life story can capture our attention. We love to read biographies and magazines to know more about people we either like and admire or don’t like. I find that when I am watching someone at a conference or event and they start with a real life story, my attention is immediately engaged, There is just something compelling about a real life story. Over the years I have read really sad stories about people being kidnapped or intimidated into human trafficking, I have read sad stories about people who have had tragic childhoods and my heart really goes out to them even though we have never met. A true life story transcends time and space. Someone on the other side of our beautiful planet could have a compelling story to tell and I will be right there with them as I read their story. Not only have I read sad and tragic stories (which usually end up inspiring in their survival) but I have read biographies about people I admire and their story stays with me even today. Real life stories don’t tend to leave us easily.
You have a story to tell. Your life is a real life that contains real inspiration. Did you know that your life can help and inspire people? Have you walked through the dark valley of grief or depression? Have you thought at one time that life was too hard but you got through and found victory? Have you had a tough time to become pregnant or start a family only to find that one day you miraculously found yourself pregnant? Have you had money issues only to find that you succeeded through that journey? Have you been in a tough relationship and suddenly realised you are too good to be treated badly and left that relationship to start a new life? You have a story to tell and it is very important that you share your victories and the journey to others who may need to hear what you have got to say.
You may feel as though no one would be interested in what you have to say but I don’t believe that is true. I believe that if you tell your story to people it will really inspire them, and help them understand you more in the process.
This week as you read this blog and ponder on the words above, think about your story and if you would be willing to share it. In a few months I will be posting longer real life stories on my CToT Facebook pages. I hope you find the courage to tell your story not only through my CToT pages but to those who come your way that need your very own unique style of inspiration.
On my CToT Facebook pages you will find that I am posting stories from CToT readers and how they find their own inspiration. Enjoy Real Lives, Real Inspiration.
Some say that change is as good as a holiday and if that is true, I personally have had a lot of holidays. Life is often a constant state of change. Often, things are working just fine and you are enjoying your life exactly how it is and THEN a big change comes. Change is not always welcome but is going to happen anyway. Regardless of where it is you are in life, you will face change. Sometimes our relationships change. People come and go, places come and go, trials and good times come and go. We never really stay the same and if we do, is that good for us in the long run?
This blog focuses not only on the fact that things do change but how to stay adaptable, focused, positive and resilient when you are going through a state of change.
I have faced many changes over the past few years. Changes in my career, changes in my health, relationships and even weight! Facing a chronic illness for the past 5 years has been a very unwelcome change but my positive mindset helps me through. In this blog will share some of the tricks I use to cope with change.
Not all changes can we control but early on I had an epiphany that if I was to succeed through all of changes I have faced I had to keep my thoughts, attitude and mind-set in check. I realised that I had to keep my focus, I had to be positive, continue to care for others and try to get a high level understanding about what was happening and why, all the while keeping my own personal dreams and goals in focus.
I recently faced a change in my career and it was during the start of this new season that my pre-determined mind-set kicked in and I have to say, I am enjoying this new thing I am doing, all the while keeping my big picture goals in mind at all times.
Attitude and mind-set
When going through change it may be hard but try to keep a positive attitude. I recently observed a manager I admire very much go through a change in her role that surprised us all. The organisation went through a change and her job was disestablished. We were all really saddened to see her go (although we knew she would do well regardless of where she worked) but what stood out for us most was her professional positive attitude throughout the whole process. Not once did she gossip, backbite or speak negatively about the situation and she left with more dignity than I’ve ever witnessed before.
When going through change, keeping a calm, positive, respectful attitude makes all the difference. Speaking negatively, showing and sowing anger and discord to our friends and family and complaining the whole way throughout a process of change is not helpful and in fact will make the process much harder for all involved. Gossiping and backbiting may make us feel good at the time but it kicks in the law of reciprocation which is something you want to keep on the positive side.
Stay resilient and adaptable
Resilience is a must for all of us. Over the years we will face change many times and if we are adaptable and resilient through the process it will not only help us but it will stand out to others.
Over the years I have seen leaders and managers come and go, people come and go and have had to be adaptable to the way they lead, or are managed. I didn’t always succeed at this but I knew I had to change my mind set to allow me to be happy with the new way of doing things. I also had to be supportive to them, or leave the situation.
Care for yourself and others
During any time of change we can potentially be worried or fearful. Please keep in mind that you may not be the only one feeling threatened. As often as you can, remember to check in with your friends and loved ones going through change to make sure they are ok. It may be that they simply need someone to talk to and you could be that understanding ear. Listening and being compassionate to someone when they are feeling worried could mean the world to them.
Get the big picture
Sometimes we don’t want change because we don’t understand why change is happening. I have learnt over the years that it is important that getting a handle on the big picture early on can help me get on board with the changes. Often change helps our lives progress and even though they may not be positive changes for us at the time, the big picture may be leading us into an awesome tomorrow. Trusting that change often leads to better things for all of us if we keep our focus can help us through.
Stay focused on your own goals
I have goals. I have focus and I feel as though I know where I am going in my life and career. Letting go of my goals and focus would be really stressful and harmful for me. I understand the power of positive focus. I also understand the power of negative focus. Regardless of what I go through, I know how important it is for me to keep focusing on the big picture of what I want out of my life and career. I realise that I can’t have everything right now but I know I can keep heading towards the brighter new tomorrow that I can see ahead. Remember to keep focusing on where it is you want to head in your career and make the best choices for yourself in the long run.
Your life is your own personal journey and regardless of what you go through or where you are now, please keep in mind your end goal and keep focusing on that. What you focus on tends to come to pass, what you believe tends to happen so be careful to keep focusing on good things ahead for you. You deserve it!
Remember to look after yourself and your colleagues, try to be resilient and adaptable and focus on a positive future, no matter how that may look today.
Author of Changing Trains of Thought
Blog post 4 – Angry letters
This week’s theme jumps from a positive focus to one that is more serious and personal – intimate even. I say intimate because I am talking about hurt and unforgiveness and that is a very personal, intimate topic. The official dictionary definition of the word hurt is very precise when it says that to hurt is to cause emotional pain or anguish to a person. Of course there are other types of hurt, physical pain, spiritual pain, and financial pain but today we will focus on emotion pain and the pain that unforgiveness can cause us. My friend Olivia once told me that unforgiveness is like drinking poison thinking that the person who hurt you will be affected by it. Nothing you do internally regarding unforgiveness can affect that person. Externally of course you could verbalise how you feel but most of us don’t. Most of us remain quiet in our hurt and unforgiveness and live with the pain it causes. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to invalidate the fact that you were hurt and that you have every right not to forgive but I have learnt by experience and watching others that if we remain in unforgiveness, we will remain in our own self-imposed prison. I have a person who hurt me over and over again and I eventually broke up with her. She was a friend and I loved her dearly but the way she was treating me was unacceptable. It hurt to break up with her and even now I carry a sense of guilt for hurting her but the emotional pain she caused me far outweighs allowing her back in my life unless she stopped her hurtful behaviour but I have forgiven her, over and over again. See the last words there? Over and over again. Sometimes it can take us years to really feel the freedom of forgiveness because our memory bank can be ruthless in how it replays old hurts but by committing to continue to forgive when those hurtful memories surface is a really powerful thing.
The angry letter
As a practical activity and so as not to have to contact or be involved with the person or thing that hurt me, I sometimes write them an angry letter. This involves writing in your journal the complete story about why you don’t forgive a person and why you are so hurt. If you want to try this, I recommend you get very detailed. Go hard out, don’t hold back! Take as long as you like to vent and write down all of your hurt and pain. When you have finished writing it, put your completed angry letter down for a time until your normal peaceful feelings have returned. Once you have returned to the angry letter, re-read it. Read it out loud if you can and acknowledge the pain that you feel. The next thing is the important part. Once you have written the letter and then read it out loud, you have to destroy it. Get rid of it and as you do, it’s time to symbolically let go of the hurt that person has caused you. This really does work. If you are a person of faith, a prayer of forgiveness will always surpass an angry letter but can work in conjunction with a powerful prayer of forgiveness. Please keep in mind that forgiveness is a choice and making that choice is the important part. The healing may take a while to come but if you resolve to continue to forgive then you will be set free. The fun part comes when the healing takes place. The old prison doors of hurt and unforgiveness will be unlocked and you will be free to enjoy the fundamental right you have to feel peace. You deserve that peace and forgiveness could be one of the keys to obtaining that peace. Who do you have to forgive today?
Have you ever noticed that laughter can completely lift any situation? As a Celebrant I officiate both weddings and funerals and have learnt the value of laughter in these situations. It’s ok to make people laugh at weddings and funerals (when appropriate of course) and I have been told that when I make people laugh, or when others make people laugh at events I facilitate, it creates good memories. They remember that event, whether it be a wedding, funeral, quiz or musical event, the people attending those events remember them more when there is humour involved. There have been times when I have been really discouraged or unwell and one of the things I remember during these times are those who brought laughter into my life. I may not have been feeling all that positive during that time but their laughter and humour was always a welcome distraction to an otherwise difficult day. Laughter brings a certain amount of life to us. It heals, it brightens and lightens. When I was really unwell I went through this really neat thought life transformation and during that transformation I discovered the joy of laughter and funny people. When it comes to finding humour, we have a radio station here in New Zealand and the hosts Jono and Ben are so funny I make sure to listen to their daily podcast in the morning and also make sure to watch their TV show in season. They are my daily injection of humour and never fail to make me laugh. My nephew is another person who makes me laugh every time I see him. Andrew Strugnell also helped me laugh when I was unwell. YouTube is full of funny videos. I especially love animal videos in the morning. It is always a great way to start the day!
Laughter can be just the medicine you may need for a tough day. Laughing at ourselves is ok too. Try not to take yourself too seriously. It’s ok to have a laugh and enjoy some humour and we don’t always have to be serious. You deserve happiness and laughter is an important part of being happy. Sometimes life can be really hard and you may be going through a really tough season. If this is you, trust me, finding laughter and making sure to keep your sense of humour can help you get through your day.
Finding laughter in life is powerful. Think about the people in your life who make you laugh, or even care about you so much that they make you feel good. Those are the kinds of people you should spend a lot of time with whenever possible. Love feeds you and makes you feel good. Find laughter. Find happy people. There is so much happiness, laughter and positivity in your day; all you have to do is look for it.
Did you know that by looking for laughter, you can unearth humour in people you didn’t even know were funny? Happiness attracts happiness. Laughter attracts laughter. Looking for laughter is a powerful way to Change your Trains of Thought. There is no shortage of humour on the internet. On another occasion, visit a humorous friend you haven’t seen for a while. There is a lot of happiness and laughter in the world. The happier and more you laugh, the more you will attract that happy vibe. People love a big smile and love to hear happiness. Will you be that person today? What you give out comes back to you, usually with interest. Why not share some happiness today?
You are rich. I know that you may have only $34.50 or $34,500 in your bank account right now but when I talk about you being rich, i'm not talking about just money. Being rich in many ways is what makes us human. We have this internal resource of richness in each and every one of us and to focus on this richness within will do you a great service. Having so much richness flowing through you is something you could be very grateful for. You could wake up in the morning considering the incredible depth of richness you have and it would make for a fantastic start to the day. One other thing is that other people are rich, and yes, even people you don’t like are rich! We all have things in us that some don’t appreciate. We have all hurt someone or have been hurt and funnily enough that tends to be all we focus on when it comes to looking at ourselves or others but if we were to put those faults and hurts aside, we could potentially start to see so much more to ourselves and others. You are rich in joy, kindness, happiness, ability, creativity, achievement and giving. The list is exhaustive and extensive. As a little exercise, and not everyone likes this one, write the name of someone who has hurt you in the past. Don’t choose someone who has hurt you in a major way to start with (you can do this later if you like). Once you have chosen someone, write down a handful of things that make them rich. Maybe they are rich in musical talent, helpfulness, good with communication etc. Once you have your list, for a while, when you think of that person, try to think of the richness within them, rather than what they did to hurt you. With practice, this will help heal you of the negative interaction or memory you have with them. You can do this!
"Sam, you are amazing, you always make me happy."
"Oh my gosh Anne, you look stunning today!"
"Chris, you are really good at your job".
We all have them but don’t always think about them.
They are more of a subconscious thing that you just accept as you hear them. Knowing that we all have labels, have you ever thought about the labels you have, or what labels even are? Labels are the things you have been called throughout your whole life, up until now.
Since you were conceived, you have been given labels.
People have called you things that either make you feel good about yourself, or have caused you insecurity or heartache. With this in mind, take a few moments to write down in your journal some of the things people have called you that make you feel like a good person.
Afterward, take the time to contact your close circle of friends and ask them to text you some encouraging words about who they think you are.
Once these words start coming in, you may be surprised by the amazing words that come your way. “Inspiring” “Kind” “Genuine” “Intelligent” “Clever” “Thoughtful”. You will find that as you read them, maybe over and over, you will start to see the more positive labels that people give you. It is human nature to reflect too much on the negative labels and believe that you are those things; but in actual fact, you are more of the positive labels than the negative ones. The negative labels come out of people’s negative thoughts, opinions and mind-sets, the positive labels come from the heart, the place where love resides. Which would you rather trust? The negative mind-set of people (no matter who it is, or how much you love and trust them), or the place where love resides; the heart? I know which one I trust more!
Once you have received all of the texts back from your friends and family, it’s time to write them down in your journal. Enjoy writing each wonderful word and accept that each is true. Reflect and dwell on these marvelous words because they are you. They are true! To go the extra step, make an audio recording of the positive labels you have received (on your phone may be easiest), and as you record them, say your name before the word “Sam, you are intelligent, kind, thoughtful…” Make a commitment to listen to your recording and read your labels list several times a day for at least a month. You will soon start to believe these labels more than any negative ones.