Honestly Listen.

Today’s Thought: When you’ve spent your whole life listening to others, it takes courage to pay attention to the sound of your own voice.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to listen to others – I mean, if they are genuinely trying to help you then by all means listen! It’s when they are saying things that feed the fears inside of you that you need to stop and truth check.

When that chime of anxiety rings within, ask yourself, ‘where is the evidence that what they are saying is true?’ An opinion or a feeling is not evidence. Evidence is concrete facts that demonstrate truth. For example this week I was told I don’t hold people on my team to account enough. I was disappointed to hear this, but reflected on the evidence that led them to say this, researched what holding people to account should look like and found their assessment to be true. I don’t always follow through on my expectations of others – this means I am not always effective at holding people to account, therefore it is worth me making adjustments to improve this. I am still disappointed, because I want to be the best at my job, but the flaw is fixable so all is not lost!

If there is truth, then look at what you can do to change it (if it is something that needs to be changed and is holding you back).

If there is only opinion, then note the person’s opinion and then let it go. You are not responsible for their feelings (unless you have been intentionally rude or unkind)!

Create a positive voice, telling yourself what you are or wish to be: I am kind; I am considerate; I persevere; I am creative; I work hard and try my best; I encourage others. Tell yourself what you are every day. You will have evidence of this because of the actions and words you use each day. The more you tell yourself, the more your self-belief will build.

Make sure your own voice is louder that everyone else’s; be your own champion and you will win!

Honestly Strong

Today’s Thought: You are strong enough to face it, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

How often have you been consumed by anxiety before a specific event and felt as though you can’t possibly survive it and then found that the event is over and you are absolutely fine?

Maybe this is a good time to reflect on all those times and consider today’s thought. Yes, every time the anxiety bites, it’s terrifying and you feel as though you could spontaneously combust. Yes, your amygdala is screaming at you to run away or freeze in terror and you couldn’t hate it any more than you already do. But guess what, you survived!

You are strong.

You are kind.

You are creative.

You are honest (because let’s face it, everyone else feels exactly the same, but they’re not letting on)!

Fear is a reaction; courage is a decision and every time you choose to carry on regardless of your fear, you are showing how brave you are. Recognise your fear, then strap on your cape of courage and go out and face the world!

Know Your True Self

Today’s Thought: Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be someone we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything you are – and aren’t- that you will truly succeed.

This week I have been worrying myself silly that I am not good enough at my job again; that someone I work with would be much better at it than me. I have been undermining my confidence and putting myself down to the point where I have been looking at other jobs to see if there is a viable way out! There isn’t! I have to face the challenges that are coming my way.

Luckily, I had an appointment with my therapist this week and when I told her how I have been feeling and how anxious I am about the heavy workload I have coming up over the next few weeks, she set me a challenge – to name all the ‘bad’ things about some of my colleagues. I had sat there listing all the ‘bad’ things about me, saying everyone was better than me but I hadn’t said anyone else was ‘bad’ at anything.

It was an moment of realisation for me – of course we all have strengths and weaknesses, that’s totally normal, but why was I only focusing on my weaknesses and everyone else’s apparent strengths? Sitting with my therapist, we listed all the weaknesses my colleagues have – even the kindest, most lovely of them had weaknesses – and we compared the weaknesses to my strengths and saw how they balanced each other out.

I am still anxious about the next few weeks; I am scared I won’t perform under the immense pressure that is to come, but I have made a decision: I am going to play to my strengths – one of which is encouraging others to perform at their best, by developing their strengths and supporting their weaknesses. I am good at this! I have colleagues who are good at the things I am less good at – this is why we have a team and why it’s important we aren’t all strong at the same aspects of the role.

The next time you feel inadequate or have an attack of impostor syndrome, take a few moments to list everyone else’s bad points (don’t make it public, maybe only do it in your head – you don’t want a situation where someone finds your list!). Consider how your strengths counteract their weaknesses and how their strengths counteract your weaknesses. See how you play your part then get out there and play it well!

You don’t have to be perfect; you just have to be you.

Making Truth Visible

Today’s Thought: They are angry because the truth you speak contradicts the lie they live.

This week a colleague of mine had to have some tricky conversations with her team. Some of them responded in a defensive manner and both she and I felt infuriated by it. Why weren’t they as keen as we were to make this better for our clients? Why couldn’t they see the barriers to success? Why weren’t they passionate about what they do? How could they miss the point of their role so much?

Reflecting on the meetings, though, I can see that those colleagues have responded in fear, confusion and a deep need to protect what they thought they knew. It’s so difficult to challenge a long-held belief; even harder to do when it’s held by someone who is essentially a good human being, who works hard and is just trying their best to manage in a world of work that seems to expect ever more from individuals.

We must persist, though. It will be a bumpy journey for our colleagues, but if we can help them see the truth – that they are missing the point of some imperative aspects of their role, they we can help them fly. They will feel more successful and more satisfied in their roles than they have ever done before. Our clients will reap the benefits of the improved practice and resources: it will be a win/win situation.

The truth will cause pain for a while, but ultimately it will empower and heal. How typical of life that the route to freedom is not straight-forward and that enlightenment first requires discomfort!

Seeking Honesty

Today’s Thought: Trust starts with truth and ends with truth.

When reflecting on what helps me to feel less anxious and calm in general, I know that it is being assured I have access to the truth, whatever that truth may be.

Being unsure that you are being told the truth or knowing that you aren’t telling the truth lets the anxiety dogs out to run wild!

If you want to feel inner peace, tell the truth – especially when it is most difficult. Obviously there are times when it can be kinder to tell a tiny fib – ‘no your hair doesn’t look greasy today’ or ‘What spot? I can’t see one!’. Just make sure that when the truth counts, you tell it.

If you want to feel that all around you is real, ask for evidence that what you are told is true; surround yourself with trustworthy individuals who you are confident only share necessary truths and ensure your create conditions where people can be honest with you without fear of recriminations.

Be true, be kind, be calm!

Be Honest About Fear

Today’s Thought: Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.

This week I felt fear build following a difficult interaction with a client. They were furious with us and had planted a seed of doubt in my mind about whether we had covered all our bases when dealing with them.

I sat with the feeling of anxiety and uncertainty for a minute or two, then had a flash of realisation. I didn’t need to. There were things I could do to reassure myself and check our actions. As soon as I decided to follow that path of investigation, the fear seemed to shrink and shrivel.

Next time the fear creeps is. Explore where the feeling is coming from then ask yourself what you can do about it. Is there a way to check facts? Is there someone you can seek guidance from? Is there corrective action you need to take? This way you control the fear and it no longer controls you.

It will swell within you from time to time, but you have the power to diminish it, to put it back in its place. Fear: False expectations/evidence appearing real. Check the honesty in a situation and you will quieten the fear.

Honest Magic

Today’s Thought: Something magical happens when you’re completely honest with yourself. When that happens, no one can ever hurt you again.

I think this is true. If we aren’t honest with ourselves about why we are hurt; what has hurt us and how we are truly feeling, then we cannot start to heal. If we can’t heal, we can’t move forward and we will continue to hurt.

Look deep; identify the pain and be completely true to yourself about where the pain comes from. It will be uncomfortable and distressing, but you will then be able to find the antidote.

To begin with you will find the shame or anxiety or fear or anger is heightened and you will wonder why you ever started to pick away it it. Have courage. You are not alone and needn’t be alone. There are lots of helpers out there. Find yours and share your pain with them so your healing can begin.

You can get better. Never, ever give up, for you are loved; you are wanted; you are important and you are strong.

Honest Discovery

Today’s Thought: Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.

I can feel a change happening within me; it’s the beginning of a shift in courage and it is giving me the power to see things differently.

I have started to realise that I might be braver than I think! I haven’t turned into Winnie The Pooh, but I really believe that he might have been absolutely right with his wise words.

This week I wanted to do something at work and I needed to seek the permission of someone superior to do it. As I explained my idea to them, knowing that I was exuding the excitement I felt for the project, I could see fear form a shadow across their face! They weren’t excited; they were terrified. Terrified of everything that could go wrong and this is where their thoughts about the project remained. I was advised that it might be better the scale my idea down and keep it small and safe.

To begin with I accepted this, although disappointed, and just sat comfortably with the thought that I had obviously scared them with my courageous idea! This was enough for me. However, word of my idea reached another colleague, who spoke to my superior and said that they thought my idea was a good one and with some adaptations there was no reason we couldn’t go ahead!

This moment, along with others over the past few weeks where I have forced myself to do the things I am passionate about, that I feel are right for the organisation I am responsible for, are showing me that when I have the courage to be true to myself and therefore honest with those around me, things are more successful.

For this to happen, I have to keep my fear of judgement in check, my anxiety about making mistakes in check and give courage a chance. It’s thrilling and motivating and quite possibly addictive! It’s important, now, that I don’t allow this growing courage to become arrogance. Having courage doesn’t mean I will always win through; it doesn’t mean that I have nothing left to learn and will always be right. What it does mean, though, is that I can be truly honest with myself and those around me and I can be happy at the end of each day that I have lived well and done good things.

An honest life brings peace; it’s worth fighting for.

Honesty: Protection From Karma!

Today’s Thought: A clear conscience is far more valuable than money.

This week I realised that I had made a mistake at work. It was a genuine mistake, but it affected someone else greatly. As soon as I realised what I had done, I felt that stab of panic: ‘Oh no! This is my fault! What can I do? I don’t want to have messed this up for that person!’

For about a minute, I sat at my desk, penning a short email to the person who had reminded me of what I was meant to have done (the thing I had forgotten all about)! I initially thought I could write a half truth, claiming that I had only remembered to do part of it. Maybe saying that would enable the person impacted by my mistake to be less affected. I wrote the email and immediately deleted it. I wrote it again; I deleted it again. Something was telling me that this wasn’t the way to deal with this situation – an invisible Jiminy Cricket whispering in my ear!

I took a deep breath and went to find the person who was about to feel the impact of my mistake and asked to speak to them. I told them what I had forgotten to do and apologised and told them what I needed to do to put it right. I could see they were upset, but they didn’t shout at me and, just as important, I wasn’t sweating with the pressure of a half truth being told (and nor had my nose grown Pinocchio style)! Despite being genuinely sorry and embarrassed about my mistake, I felt confident in the conversation I was having.

As soon as I had finished confessing, I emailed the colleague who had pointed out my mistake and owned up to them as well. They didn’t admonish me, they simply asked me to keep them updated.

I was honest and the sky didn’t fall in, no one shouted and the problem was solved far sooner than if I had chosen to take the dishonest path.

Honesty – a magical and powerful character trait to calm anxiety and solve problems!

Honestly From The Heart

Today’s Thought: Kindness in words creates confidence; kindness in thinking creates profoundness and kindness in giving creates love.

Recently I have been having Reiki to help me manage my anxiety. It has had a powerful effect. I know I want to live my life without fear and full of love. This is the mantra I have held in my heart this week and it has made me feel more powerful than I ever have done previously.

I aim to approach all challenges with love and kindness. If I hold true to my values, I should be able to let go of fear. I might not be triumphant in all my endeavours, but I will be victorious in living a life of honesty, kindness and love and this will mean that I will have nothing to blame myself for if things don’t go according to plan.

In the past week I have been consciously making sure I am kinder than usual and sending out more love than usual. As a result, I feel more successful, more confident and more content than I have done before. Seeing the appreciation of my team; the change in their physical demeanour and experiencing the positive vibes throughout my organisation has demonstrated the impact that focusing my efforts in these areas have made.

Conscious kindness.

Conscious love.

It’s transformative; it’s powerful and it calms anxiety and creates happiness.

Imagine what could happen if all of us practiced conscious kindness and conscious love! Go on – I dare you!