Continuing to Be Courageous in My Life

Continuing to Be Courageous in My Life

One thing I have learnt in my life is that if I want my life to change, I need to do the work – no-one else can do it for me. Yes, it can be challenging. However, when I am in these challenges, I remember to read and re-read the following quote by Brené Brown –

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

Today, I wanted to share with you one way I am continuing to be courageous in my life, even though it is uncomfortable at times. However, before I do that, I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page about courage.

 

What is Courage?

There are many definitions of courage including –

  • “the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery,” and “strength in the face of pain or grief.” ~ Google
  • “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” ~ Dictionary.com
  • “the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation” and “to be brave and confident enough to do what you believe in” ~ Cambridge Dictionary
  • “The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery” ~ Oxford Dictionaries
  • “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession,confidence, and resolution; bravery.” ~ The Free Dictionary
  • The Latin origin of cor means ‘heart’ and middle English denotes the heart, as the seat of feelings.

So looking at the definitions of courage, would you agree it would be useful to have some courage in your toolkit for your life, career/business and your relationships?

 

One Way I Am Being Courageous In My Life

A few years, ago I made a promise to myself to be my own best friend. Part of that process was to tell the truth about where I was in my life and where I wanted to be. Yes it was (and still is) uncomfortable, however I know it is important if I want to continue to commit to my purpose. Over the years, I have started to see there is a difference between honest and truth. Honouring these differences, has helped me to continue to be courageous in my life.

 

What is the Difference Being Honest and Telling the Truth?

Normally, when I discuss differences between words, I look up a dictionary. However, when I looked up honest in the Cambridge Dictionary, this is what I found –

“telling the truth or able to be trusted and not likely to steal, cheat, or lie.” 

Obviously, this presented a little challenge as they truth was in the definition of honesty. So to clarify, for me, I see them as –

  • Honesty – relating to me (i.e.. my thoughts, feelings, judgements, opinions about a situation) and expressing each of these things as accurately as possible, and
  • Truth – the accurate facts (i.e. data) representing the reality of a situation.

An example of how I have used honesty and telling the truth in my life follows –

  • Honesty – I am feeling guilty about spending so much on groceries this week,
  • Truth – I spent $90.80 on groceries and $8.00 of that was on cookies.

Once I develop awareness around these differences in my life (with my self-compassion of course), I can then consciously choose which steps to take in my life, so that they move me towards my dreams 🙂

 

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to one way I continue to be courageous in my life. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

 

How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?

How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?

This is the question I have been pondering of late – “How Do I Want to Express Myself as a Woman?” It is very real and raw as I continue to meet deep beliefs within.

Last week the tennis season started. Yes, I have been watching it on TV and was lucky enough to watch two days live with friends at the QLD Tennis Centre. I grew up in the world of tennis and the sport helped to shape who I am today.

However, I have also noticed a limiting beliefs reappear when I was at the tennis about being a woman and continue to do the work to release it. Subsequently, today I wanted to explore that idea about beliefs, so you can then choose to make conscious choices about how you want to express yourself as a woman. Let’s get started…

 

What Are Beliefs?

Let’s start with having a look at some definitions on beliefs. Beliefs are –

  • “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.” ~ Google
  • Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.” ~ Wikipedia
  • “Assumptions and convictions that are held to be true, by an individual or a group, regarding concepts, events, people, and things.” ~ Business Dictionary

Now let’s have a look at limiting beliefs.

“If what you believe is actually true, you don’t need to believe it.” ~ Ron Smothermon

 

What Are Limiting Beliefs?

A limiting belief is something you believe to be true that limits you in some way. The limiting belief could be about you, other people or the world. These beliefs may –

  • hold you back from making different choices in your life,
  • keep you from seeing the different opportunities presented to you each day,
  • prevent you from seeing you own gifts or accepting the gifts offered to you, or
  • keep you stuck focusing on the negative aspect of your circumstances.

One of the challenges with limiting beliefs is most of us don’t think we have them and they can be hard to spot.

 

Where Do Limiting Beliefs Come From?

Limiting beliefs can come from many places, including – family members, teachers, coaches, media, society and culture. They are formed by repeated thoughts and are mostly created in childhood from interactions with the people around us (N.B. this is not about blaming anyone, particularly our parents).

As children’s brains are not fully developed, they can take on many limiting beliefs from their immediate environment as they do not know the difference between what is real and what is not. For example – a situation occurred in childhood, interpretation about the situation was made, which led to making meaning, that lead to a thought. That person then believed that thought (whether it was true or not), kept thinking it as other similar situations occurred over time, Subsequently, it became a belief.

“Nothing binds you except your thoughts; nothing limits you except your fear; and nothing controls you except your beliefs.” ~ Marianne Williamson

 

Some Limiting Beliefs About Being a Woman

There are many examples of limiting beliefs. They can be general or specific. Specific limiting beliefs relate to specific areas of life – including money, family, friends, work, health and fitness and general beliefs are more global and can relate to many different areas.

Following are a couple of limiting beliefs I have had as a woman –

  • “Feminine means weak”,
  • Asking for help is a sign of weakness“,
  • “It’s not safe to show my feminine essence”,
  • “Expressing emotions are a sign of weakness”, and
  • “The masculine is more productive and gets the job done more effectively.”

Maybe you can relate to some of these? For me, I continue to untangle from these beliefs as I do not see them as true. I imagine a different woman now and am very clear on how I want to express being her. It is similar to the woman in the following poem – ‘Imagine a Woman’. Maybe the following poem will inspire you to imagine a different type of woman, like it did for me.

 

‘Imagine a Woman’ by Patricia Lynn Reilly

“Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who trusts and respects herself.
A woman who listens to her needs and desires.
Who meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the past’s influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs a personal spirituality to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.”

 

Over to You…

How do you want to express yourself as a woman? I hope this post has helped you identify a few limiting beliefs that some of the woman I work with also have about being a woman. Do you have any questions or comments? If so, feel free to share them below!

Ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards your freedom and opening your heart, why not join our Toolkit?

 

The Gift of Radical Acceptance

The Gift of Radical Acceptance

As identified yesterday, I have decided this year is the year of radical acceptance. After teaching mindfulness for a while and also self-compassion, I wanted to focus on and practise radical acceptance this year for a few reasons (maybe I will share that one day). However, today I wanted to share with you the gift a radical acceptance.

 

What is Radical Acceptance?

One of the clearest ways I have seen radical acceptance explained is by Tara Brach. She refers to the interconnectedness of mindfulness and compassion as radical acceptance. Brach uses the metaphor of a bird which has two wings – where one wing of the bird is clear seeing (i.e. mindfulness) and the other is our capacity to relate in a tender and sympathetic way to what we perceive (i.e compassion).

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is often referred to as the opposite of resistance. Mindfulness in everyday life is the ultimate challenge and practice. It is a way of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full range of our humanity – often seen in playful children fully experiencing life in the here and now. There are a number of definitions of mindfulness, including one of the most famous ones by Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994) –

“as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally” (p.4).

Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein (2010) report “in Sanskrit, it’s known as smrti, from the root word smr, meaning “to remember” and in Pali, the language of the earliest Buddhist scriptures, it’s known as sati (mindfulness)” (p.15).

 

What is Compassion?

There are a number of definitions on compassion, including –

  • “We define compassion as the feeling that arises in witnessing another’s suffering and that motivates a subsequent desire to help.” ~ Goetz, Keltner & Simon-Thomas
  • “…the desire to remove suffering from the other person” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
  • the wish that all sentient beings be free from suffering.” ~ Dalai Lama

Now if we shift this focus to the self in relation to compassion, the definition of self-compassion follows.

 

What is Self-Compassion?

There are a number of well-known definitions on self-compassion. Christopher Germer in his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions refers to self-compassion as

“… simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”

In Dr Kristin Neff’s book – Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, she talks about

Self-compassion entails three core components. First, it requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering. Third, it requires mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it. We must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.”

 

Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Working Together…

We need mindfulness and compassion to work together – mindfulness helps to ensure that self-compassion isn’t used as a form of resistance and we need self-compassion to feel safe enough to open mindfully to difficult experiences. The following graphic shares some insights in to mindfulness and self-compassion –

Over to You…

Can you see the gift of radical acceptance? Do you have any questions? If so, please leave them below

What is your word for the year? If you don’t have one yet, you can see the process here. Ready to reconnect with your heart and start living a more connected and whole-hearted life? Then click here to receive the toolkit 🙂

 

References –

Brach, T. (2003). Radical Acceptance – Embracing Your Life with the Heart to the Buddha. New York, USA: Random House.

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.

Goetz, J. L., Keltner, D., & Simon-Thomas, E. (2010). Compassion: an evolutionary analysis and empirical review. Psychological bulletin, 136(3), 351–374. doi:10.1037/a0018807

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever You Go, There You Are – Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York, USA: Hyperion.

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York, USA: HarperCollins Publishers.

Nhat Hanh, T. (2007). Teachings on Love. California, USA: Parallax Press.

Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E. (2010). A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. Oakland, USA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Welcome 2020 – My Year of Radical Acceptance

Welcome 2020 – My Year of Radical Acceptance

Well it is 2020 and after doing my End-of-Year Ritual, I am ready to go. I feel clearer than I have been in a while about the coming year and know in my heart I am ready to be here more. Yes, like a number of people 2019 was challenging, however I got through it with my toolkit. So this year, I have decided 2020 is my year of radical acceptance.

 

I Am Ready to Accept…

For me, the following poem articulates acceptance so well.

Poem: The Guest House by Jellaludin Rumi

“This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.”

Shifting from Resistance to Acceptance

When I first heard the Guest House poem at the MBSR Course I did – I loved it! However, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do today. I can see when I first started mindfulness, how much resistance I had to facing my challenges and discomfort within my experiences (especially my emotions). I love how Christopher Germer shares this as his five stages of acceptance.

 

The 5 Stages of Acceptance

In his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions, Germer shares his 5 stages of acceptance. The stages are –

  1. Aversion – avoiding or resisting what is going on,
  2. Curiosity – starting to turn to the discomfort with interest and curiosity,
  3. Tolerance – safely enduring,
  4. Allowing – letting the discomfort (feelings) come and go,
  5. Friendship – seeing the value of all experiences and befriending your experiences of life (i.e. sitting down with the guest and listening to what the guest has to say).

It is important to note, that this is not a linear process – it is dynamic. The stages are about learning to have a new relationship with life and the feelings/emotions and thoughts associated with it – moving from resistance to acceptance. As resistance creates suffering and acceptance alleviates it. So that is why, I have named 2020 – my year of acceptance 🙂

 

Over to You…

Do you have any questions in relation to acceptance? Remember, acceptance is not about tolerating disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour, it is about accepting what is happening emotionally and mentally in this moment. If you have any questions/comments, feel free to share them below in the comments section. I will be sharing more about 2020 – My Year of Radical Acceptance throughout the year as well.

What is your word for the year? If you don’t have one yet, you can see the process here. Ready to reconnect with your heart and start living a more connected and whole-hearted life? Then click here to receive the toolkit 🙂

 

“Accept, then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

 

Reference –

Germer, C. (2009). The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. New York: Guilford Press.

 

25 Years On – Advice to My Younger Tennis Playing Self

25 Years On – Advice to My Younger Tennis Playing Self

Yesterday was 25 Years to the day since I reached the 3rd Round of the 1994 Australian Open Singles event and appeared on A Current Affair.

This week, I ventured back to the Australian Open for the 2nd time since I finished playing in 1997 (the other time was when I graduated from the Elite Coaching Course and attended the Coach’s Conference).

Wow, so much has changed at the tennis and also in my life. I have been on the rollercoaster of life for many years, trying to discover who I am as a person, what I valued, how I can make a difference and transform the shame I so deeply held within about my tennis career (which I only recently realised)

Subsequently it got me reflecting, what would I say to myself now as a 46-year-old to that 21-year-old who played on centre court? This is what I came up with (in no particular oder)…

 

27 Things I Would Want My 21-Year-Old Tennis Playing Self to Remember

1. You Are More than a Tennis Player!

Playing tennis is what you are doing at the moment as a profession, it is not WHO you are. You are so much more than a tennis player and your achievements do not relate to your worthiness as a human being. You are already worthy of love, connection and belonging and you do not have to prove your worth.

2. Be Honest

Be honest with yourself and when you feel safe and comfortable, be honest with other people. As they say, the truth will set you free.

3. Know Your Responsibilities and Be at Cause

Discover what are your responsibilities and what are not. Then when you discover these, embrace them, be at cause, know your boundaries and live above the line with your inner circle around you.

4. Manage Your Self and Be Accountable

I know you are already managing your self. Continue to align your priorities and day-to-day activities to your values, vision, mission and purpose. Then be accountable with your actions.

5. Develop Your Life Skills

Throughout your life there are many important life skills you need to master. Some of these skills include emotional intelligence, communication, teamwork, self-management, forgiveness, planning and organising.

6. Train Your Mind

Yes you have a strong mind and are focused, however there are thought processes which drain you (e.g. limiting beliefs, comparison, control, overcommitment and self-doubt) and do not serve you. Learn mindfulness as this will help you defuse from these draining thoughts.

7. Listen to Your Body

Learn to tune in and listen to your body. Your body gives you so many signals and it is important to listen to it, so you can minimise injuries and burnout.

8. Trust Your Imperfections

Yes, you do not have to be perfect! Perfectionism is very draining and creates stress and suffering in your life. You are already worthy and life is not meant to be perfect as you are here to grow an evolved.

9. Invest Time in and Develop Your Inner Circle of Trust

Your inner circle of trust are the people who really know you, allow you to embrace your imperfections, vulnerabilities and have your back when things don’t go accord to plan. Invest time in building these relationships.

10. Continue to Express Gratitude

I know you already do this, however continue to show appreciation and gratitude towards the people who are supporting you.

11. Actions Speak Louder than Words

Just like your Grandma used to say – “actions speak louder than words”. Another way of looking at this is-

“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

12. Practice Self-Compassion

Even though it is unfamiliar to you, practice self-compassion NOW! In Dr Kristin Neff’s book – Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, she talks about –

Self-compassion entails three core components. First, it requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering. Third, it requires mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it. We must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.”

13. Manage Your Money

Stay connected with your money and develop your relationship with it. Know where it is flowing from and where it is flowing to. Have a team around you whom you trust and will support you with its management as your money matters!

14. Believe in Yourself

Yes, there will be some very challenging times and you will make “mistakes”. These times will push you to the brink and you will wonder if you can go on. Trust me, you can! You have the strength and resilience to get through the darkest days and nights. You are here for a reason (just like everyone else) and the world needs your gifts, so focus on them and believe in yourself (and remember number 11).

15. Embrace Change

Life will continue to change (that is part of the adventure), so embrace it and remember to –

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell

16. Question Everything

Be inquisitive and question everything. Learn for yourself to discover your truth.

17. Continue to Move and Take Care of Your Body

Moving your body is important, so continue to find ways to move it and take care of it through adequate nutrition etc., maintaining it and listening to it.

18. Develop Your Passions Outside of Tennis

Even though you enjoy tennis now, it will not be what you do for the rest of your life. Develop your passions and skills outside of tennis (e.g. complete educational courses / qualifications) as they will help you transition to life after tennis.

19. Give Unconditionally

When you give, give unconditionally. Yes truly, do not expect anything in return – just give (of course, as long as it feels good).

20. Celebrate Your Achievements

Maybe at the moment, you are not proud of your achievements, however it is important to celebrate them as you work hard.

21. Have Fun

Yes really, have fun and enjoy what you are doing.

“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie

22. Always Do Your Best

Show up and do your best. Mary Lou Retton was reported as saying it this way –

“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can; by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given.”

23. Take Time Out to Reflect

Reflection is a great tool that allows you to take notice and become more mindful of what is happening in your life. You can reflect on many areas of your life including – your day, week, match, training schedule. As you take time out to reflect you can discover what works for you and what doesn’t.

24. Patience is a Virtue

Continue to take small steps every day towards your vision. One day all of those small steps will add up, however remember patience is a virtue.

25. Healing Starts from Within

The most important relationship you have is with yourself. Healing starts from within, so invest your time to know, like and trust yourself 🙂

26. Be Kind

Yes, you know actions speak louder than words, however still be kind and treat people the way you want to be treated.

27. Begin Each Day With a Beginner’s Mind

Each day is a new day with new opportunities, so begin with a beginner’s mind.

 

So there you have it, 27 points to support you over the next 25 years. And remember –

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

 

Reference –

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York, USA: HarperCollins Publishers.

 

Expanding Your Identity – What Makes You, You?

Expanding Your Identity – What Makes You, You?

How do you define yourself? How do others define you? Do these match or they different?

One of the things I struggled with in the past, is the label of tennis player. Yes, I achieved a lot as an athlete, however when I finished playing the sport, who was I then?

People were still asking me about tennis and as I was no longer playing, I didn’t know what to say as who I was as a tennis player appeared to be much more exciting to them compared to who I was becoming post tennis (yes that is my interpretation).

A few years ago I came across the work by Robert Dilts on NeuroLogical Levels – this made so much sense to me and helped me expand my own identity and make conscious changes in my own life. Dilts’ Neurological Levels is based on Gregory Bateson’s Logical Levels of Learning.

 

Expanding Your Identity – What Makes You, You?

So what makes you, you? Here is a visual based on the NeuroLogical Levels by Robert Dilts.

As you can see by the above image, human beings are complex and are made up of a variety of elements – an identity is made values and beliefs, and then each value and belief relates to different capabilities, those capabilities relate to behaviours within environmental conditions. Some of these elements are internal and some are external, so is it any wonder expanding your identity can take time!

 

Over to You…

Now that you have read about what makes you, you, what are you going to do with this information in order to BE who you are born to BE? If you are ready to make a change in your life and create a life you love, it would be wise to align all of the NeuroLogical Levels.

Remember – you can choose to be at cause or effect in relation to change – the decision is yours!

Stop waiting for the perfect moment. Start living and creating your dreams today. Start making empowering choices and doing what brings you joy. Remember, it’s up to you as you are the Sovereign of your own life.

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

 

Reference –

Dilts, R. (2003). From Coach to Awakener. California, U.S.A: Dilts Strategy Group.

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