(Here I am about to get ready to keynote at the #TeachMeetYork - a HUGE dose of self belief and belief in others is there in that photo.)
Last week I gave a keynote at an event called a teach meet .....
A what's meet?? I hear you say.
A teach meet, and for those not in the know, it is essentially a large gathering of teachers (in this case over 200) where they can listen to speakers, network, and generally grow their own knowledge to help them help young people. This was my first teach meet ever and to be honest I had a ball. The passion for teaching, the excitement for knowledge, the drive to change lives in that room was palpable, it spoke so much to the goals my colleagues, Jayne and Frederika, and I have set for our RWS programme. There were quite a few pertinent themes that presented themselves through the meet - resilience, well being, mental health, stress management, etc, but one theme that I touched on in my talk, and that quite a few teachers approached me about afterwards, was self belief and believing in others.
The power of believing in yourself and others is so potent - when you can truly back yourself and others you make the impossible possible. Obstacles and problems don't seem insurmountable, and you really start to see the possibilities in life, even if it seems hopeless. You see, having self belief and belief in others is really about having faith (and I don't mean just faith within a religious setting, but faith in the fact that if you put something out there, in the ether, either an action or a word, it will create the conditions for a reaction). Having faith in yourself and others means that you come to expect results, you acknowledge that the results may be different then what you initially expect (or they might end up being what you expect - that is life), and you start to see the patterns of action and reaction really come alive.
So what does belief look like?
It looks like the 5am training sessions I used to go too, it looks like staying back at work to help a colleague put the finishing touches on a project, it looks like the baby lifting his head for the first time ever, it looks like the twenty-something stepping off the plane into a foreign land, it is all of these things and so much more.
So how do you develop a healthy, inherent belief in yourself and others?
1. You have to recognise that all have potential to fill, you, your family members, your friends, and strangers all over the world. When you recognise this you can see that there is a place for everyone and their ideas, actions, and intentions. Recognise that we all start from the same point of potential to make or do something; the ability to create and give to the world is universal.
2. Inspire and be inspired - this is a given. One of my many job descriptions is that of Inspirational Speaker, and even though I love inspiring others to achieve great things, I am human and I need inspiring too. I have quite a few people I look at that inspire me to be bigger and better and greater then myself, and this is in every area of my life. Business-wise people such as Leonie Dawson, Gala Darling, and Danielle LaPorte inspire me, life-wise people such as The Minimalists, Sarah Wilson, and Sprinkle of Glitter. There are colleagues and friends who inspire me and believe in me, people like Jayne Snell, Frederika Roberts, and Richard McCann. If you really look you can find so many people that will inspire and motivate you, even while you inspire and motivate others.
3. Join a Mutual Admiration Society (or MAS) .... okay, don't go googling for a local MAS, Mutual Admiration Society is what I say I'm a part of when I'm with friends and we start telling each other how wonderful and awesome we are ... so that being the case, it's dead easy to start your own whenever, and with whoever you wish. Don't be shy handing out compliments, and don't be embarrassed to receive them, just as you want people you admire to know that you see them and you love them and you think their ace, other people will want to do the same for you.
Follow these three tips and I guarantee that your self belief and belief in others will sky rocket, right up there, through the clouds, up, up, and away.
A HUGE thing I was taught as a swimmer was how to focus on my own job, what I had to do in my lane every step of the race. Stepping up onto the diving block I would grip the edge with my toes and fingers, and keep my eyes on the water, still and inviting, below me. It didn't matter what the person on the diving block next to me was doing, they could be picking their nose or scratching their bum for all I cared - what was important was what was right in front of me.
You could say that this took years to develop, and it wasn't just about cultivating focus, but also attitude towards yourself, your goals, and those around you. Here is where the problems lie, when your focus is taken from your "job" (and really, in this context, "job" means any goal you have set yourself, i.e., lose weight, run 10km's, read 5 books in a month, business stuff, sports stuff, or life stuff), you start to become more open and aware to what other's are doing, what society is wanting you to do, what is expected of you over what it is that you expect of yourself. This kind of awareness starts in childhood and develops attitudes that can be detrimental to your success later on in life; it's an unfortunate start for us all, but with the right support and encouragement, negative attitudes developed early on in life can be reset into a more positive outlook - and a big part of this is being able to focus and concentrate on your own stuff, on being true to yourself, and acknowledging that other people's expectations are not fact.
So what steps can you take as a teen or adult to remedy your mindset and develop a great positive attitude?
1. Acknowledge and remind yourself that you are in control of you and no-one else. When you realise this you can see that you have more power over your reactions and actions then you know. With this knowledge of your own power your attitude shifts to reflect a "can-do" attitude.
2. Reflect on what your good at, it could be something as trivial as being good making a great cup of tea, or as complex as being good at solving complex maths problems. When you focus on what you are good at it can help you realise that your talent, your gift, no matter how trivial, has the capacity to do good in the world. Acknowledging your strengths and embracing them can cause a huge shift in attitudes and behaviours whether your a teen or adult and hence help you see the good in yourself.
3. Be aware of the journey that you are on. In this world of instant gratification a lot of people, especially young people, can cultivate bad attitudes towards themselves and others if their expectations of what life should be aren't met immediately. Most things in life will not happen with a click of your fingers and to expect otherwise is inviting bad juju into your life. When you focus on each step you have to take on your journey and get done what needs to be done to help you progress, an optimism creeps in, because your actions affect your attitudes.
With a bad attitude your life journey, your goal journey, will be littered with broken dreams and tattered promises - because that is what you are expecting. Change your attitude, place your focus "in your own lane" (to use another swimming metaphor - I can't help it!), and reap the rewards of success.
I have done something lately that I had forgotten I loved to do. It really was a sweet feeling of completeness, oneness with my purpose, a reminder of why I moved halfway across the world in the first place ... I traveled and I saw.
Yes, I traveled to Switzerland - for work - but in the process discovered a country I had not been to before and hence, like a huge sledgehammer to the noggin', I was reminded of my passion for traveling, my love to discover beauty in the big wide world we live in, to meet people from other cultures, to see humanity as it is. What can I say ... Switzerland is beautiful, the people are so lovely - though I did struggle with the change in dialects, one place people spoke a little more French, other places a little more German, and to be fair, my French is better than my German - but we all tried together to communicate and there is inherent beauty in that. The thing is it's bitten me with the travel bug again, I loved the feel of going out for the day, walking down to rivers and restaurants, returning the hotel and sleeping in a foreign country, hearing the birds as you wake up the next morning, the sun peaking through the cityscapes. It's pure excitement, and adventure, and discovery. Isn't that what life should be?
(Above is a photo I took from the train between Bern and Basel)
What have you forgotten about your truth lately?
Sometimes it happens, there is something that you love to do, but you never seem to have the time to do it, life leaps in and takes over ... until you randomly do it again and fall in love with the activity, things, events, people, all over again. So how do you get it back, how do you remember?
What I would like you to do is to take a moment today to think back over the past few years and write a list of some activities, places, people that you were involved with in some way, just write down whatever pops into your head.
(Here's an example of part of my list: Travel, Europe, Canada, Family, Drawing, Colouring, Swimming, Trying new foods, Cooking, Theatre, Music Festivals, Cousins here in the UK ....)
The list can be as long or as short as you wish, now grab a highlighter and highlight some of these you can get involved with again right now, if not today, then this week or month. AND go out and see these people, actually do these things, and see thee places. Make time in your diary and do.
Let me know how you get on either in the comments below, or on my Goal Journey Facebook page.
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright