• One Question To Ask If You’re Always Short Of Money/Time

    Short of Money and Time
     

    One thing I love about Coaching is that it’s a gentle discipline. It’s the most powerful tool I know of to completely revolutionise and transform a life, but it doesn’t usually need to use harsh methods to accomplish this. Very occasionally, though, my Coach can be a little in-your-face about things.
     

    There was one time when I hit a wall with my beliefs about money, beliefs I’d carried since childhood, which were seriously limiting my financial abundance back then. I had worked on them before but like a boomerang, the beliefs came back around and hit me in the face. Then my Coach asked something monumental:
     

    “How does being broke serve you? What about it makes you so reluctant to let it go?”
     

    My first reaction was protest. This was ludicrous: Being broke is awful, I don’t choose to be short of money! As I sat and thought about it, though, I realised that parts of me were ashamed to rise above so many of my equally skint friends, and worried I’d lose them if I became wealthy. I also felt like I was trying to be more than my family have ever been.
     

    Ouch!
     

    Of course, you may not have these beliefs at all. However, if you’ve been struggling with your finances for more than a year or so, chances are you’re getting something out of it. The same goes if you’re constantly pressed for time, always stressed, always busy.
     
     

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    The hidden benefit

     

    A heads-up before I say any more: You’re likely to feel a lot of resistance about this, just like I did that time with my Coach. I invite you to bear with me for a moment and just remain open to the possibility. Can you do that?
     

    With this openness, look at your life. Is there anything that you know doesn’t serve you? Any external circumstance that just seems inevitable, that you’ve been unable to shift? There might be “really good reasons” for it, but don’t dismiss it, please. If you know it doesn’t serve you and it’s still there, it’s a candidate for what I call hidden benefits.
     
     

    Which one is you?

     

    Ask yourself how this annoyance serves you. Here are some examples of what you might come up with, but in truth, your reasons might look completely different, so simply take these as inspiration:

    • Always being stressed and having too much on your plate makes you feel accomplished and in charge. It gives you the good feeling that you’re doing something in your life, that you’re going places.
    • Having no time keeps you in that comfortable place where you can say you’ll pursue your passion just as soon as the “busy period” is over (though in reality, it never seems to be over at all), without having to face the scary aspects of actually going for your dreams.
    • Being short of money can have the same effect: You’ll pursue your passion and live your dreams once you can afford it. By staying broke, you won’t have to actually step up and do it, risking failure, disappointment, and change.
    • You may have grown up in an environment that looks down on people with money, so you’re subconsciously making sure not to become one of the “filthy rich”.
    • You may have grown up with values that include hard work, and internalised the belief that you’re only a successful human being if you always keep busy.
    • You’re afraid your friends will think you’re greedy and not really passionate about what lights you up, if you start making money from your passion.

    Discomfort is your friend

     

    How do you move past these ingrained beliefs? I have to admit that I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my Coach, so if you’re having a hard time with it, I warmly recommend getting some support! In any case, finally leaving behind what doesn’t serve you will require you to leave your comfort zone behind.
     

    Find actions which make you uneasy around the area where you’re stuck. If you’re downright afraid to do something, or simply “don’t feel like it” for no obvious reason, although it might advance what you really want, you need to buckle down and do it. Warning, this is really, really uncomfortable! It’s also the No. 1 reason why so many people get stuck in situations they hate.
     

    It requires discipline, a lot of self-love, and persistence, but you can change your finances and how much free time you have. Stick with it, and you’ll surprise yourself with how much easier it gets after only a short time.
     

  • Get Organised Once And For All

    get organised
     

    I have a friend who does so many things it makes me dizzy just thinking of it. He’s the organiser of a major project whose aim it is to establish the first true eco community in Ireland, tirelessly lobbying and putting together proposals. He’s always attending meetings and conferences and wooing sponsors, as well as scouting out potential sites and keeping interested parties informed. On top of all that, he’s a musician, a teacher, and generally a multi-passionate with a million things going on at any one time.
     

    How he manages to stay sane through all this, is anyone’s guess! I develop a slight inferiority complex every time I think about my own need for copious free time to myself. I’m challenged just by trying to work a job and a business, and keeping the focus on my passions at the same time.
     

    If you’re among those people who keep resolving to get organised and make room for the right things in life, and never quite seem to manage, this article is for you. I have tried to implement many systems before I found what worked for me, and maybe I can help shorten that journey for you.
     
     

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    To get organised, know thyself!

     

    The first step is to know your own needs and to organise accordingly. Many of my failures came from aspiring to systems that simply didn’t suit my way of thinking and my need for space. Most of us wish sometimes that we could be like my friend I mentioned above. However, we also know by now that comparison is not the way to go. Your life is about you and nobody else.
     

    I invite you to sit down and really come clean. How much time are you willing to spend on the “necessities” of life? It’s no use resolving to go to the gym five times a week and have the house spotless every night if you need creative space for yourself after work and also have a family to look after (and this is just an example).
     

    I’ve long realised that I’ll never be a 1950s domestic goddess but I like a clear space, and so I do a minimum of housework regularly. I also spend a lot of time doing virtually nothing, and I’ve stopped feeling bad about it. This is gestation time for ideas and projects, as well as processing time for my emotions and experiences. It keeps me sane and happy.
     
     

    Ask the right questions

     

    A lot of being a Coach is about asking good questions. When it comes to sorting out your schedule in the long run, there are a few particularly interesting ones you should ask yourself, and then answer honestly:

    1. Does this give me joy/light me up? If it’s passions related, it should take priority.
    2. Is this task inevitable (such as tax returns; you won’t ever want to do them, but you can’t get around it)?
    3. Will doing this matter a year from now (exercise is just one example of an activity that’ll pay dividends in the long run)?

    If you answer “yes” to any of the above, then the task or activity should go into your schedule. If it isn’t, you need to think hard about whether you should really spend time on it.
     
     

    To save time, do more

     

    Some weeks ago, I mentioned Gay Hendricks’s idea of “Einstein Time” (you can read the article here). Part of this idea is the observation how time seems to expand when you do what you love.
     

    Therefore, paradoxically, I suggest you do more in order to have more time. More of the right things, that is! This is why my Coaching focuses on prioritising passions. It quite literally expands time and helps people get all their chores done along the way. I don’t know exactly how it works, I just know it does, every time, without fail.
     

    If you feel permanently stressed and pressured, it’s a sure sign that you’re not doing enough of what lights you up. The problem is that most people dismiss the idea of prioritising their passion, thinking they don’t have enough time. In reality, this is the one step that would stop them being stressed in the first place! Try it, and if you need any help, let me know. This is exactly what I specialise in.
     

    If you keep these priorities in mind and keep asking yourself the three questions above, you should end up with a schedule you can actually stick to for once. Do this weekly – I suggest either Sunday evening or Monday morning, but any day that suits you is fine – and feel yourself relax into a schedule that makes sense and fits your unique life and needs.
     

  • About Time!

    About Time

     

    When I was a kid, I was chronically late. My friend, who’d pick me up for school (in those days, we walked to school), unfailingly arrived on time and stood in our hallway, waiting patiently while I dashed around looking for stray books to stuff into my bag, and my mum tried to get me to hold still long enough so she could run a brush through my always-messy and untameable hair.
     

    Looking back, it’s funny, but there was a lot of unnecessary stress in my life when I was growing up! It’s even funnier when I, after learning punctuality and time management in my 20s, get told by people how “German” I am because of this (I live in Ireland these days). If only they knew how very “un-German” I am by nature! It was a big effort for me to come to terms with that elusive thing called time.
     

    Over the years, I’ve studied and tried out different time management systems, with varying success. It’s probably no accident that my Coaching specialisation – prioritising passions – has a lot to do with time management.
     

    Are you ready for some pointers on how to deal with the, quite literally, ‘time of your life’? Read on.
     
     

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    Systems failure

     

    I adore the work of the late Stephen Covey. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is my all-time favourite non-fictional book. It all makes so much sense, and I’m applying so much of it in my own life, and yet, the time management system attached to it is something I’ve never quite been able to implement.
     

    The same goes for all the other systems I’ve learned about over the years. There are always highly valuable elements I put into practice, but an entire system? Nah. Isn’t that strange?
     

    I believe it’s because time is a construct which doesn’t actually exist. Gay Hendricks acknowledges this fact in his book The Big Leap and introduces a principle called “Einstein Time”. He points out how relative time really is, how time can drag or fly depending on what we do, and draws the conclusion that it’s under our command. Humans created it and so we can decide how much of it we have. It sounds a little crazy – you’d really have to read it in the book to fully understand – but as long as you understand that time is whatever you make it, you’re getting the gist of it.
     

    When it comes to learning, I’m very eclectic: I take whatever suits me from the different ideas and approaches I study, and put them into practice. In the following, I’ll tell you some “time hacks” you can use to take control over the time in your life.
     
     

    Prioritise like a pro

     

    If you are one of those people who always have a million things on their plate, Stephen Covey’s quadrants could be a lifesaver. The idea is to focus on the things that are important, but not urgent, things like looking after your health (eating well, going to the gym), your relationship (it’s not urgent to spent quality time with your spouse; you won’t get divorced tomorrow if you don’t do it today, but in the long run, you will run into problems), and self care.
     

    The important, but not urgent quadrant II contains all the most important parts of our lives. In reality, it often gets pushed aside by things that are urgent, like the phone ringing, everyday chores like the grocery shopping or picking up the kids from school, etc. The idea is to schedule your quadrant II activities first, before everything else, and make them a priority.
     
     

    Master of time

     

    • What activities makes you feel like time stops existing? I mean the kind of feeling you get when you’ve just fallen in love, the way the hours spent with your lover somehow don’t exist, as if the two of you together were outside of time. Anything which makes you feel even remotely like that, is likely a passion and should take a central role in your life.
    • Watch out for your Einstein-Time clues. Audit your life: Are there obligations, clubs, meetings, even hobbies, that you are no longer passionate about? Don’t feel bad about cancelling something. It may have fulfilled you once, but you have outgrown it. Time to let go!
    • Remember that you don’t have to fill every minute of every day with activity. Downtime, simply being instead of doing, is good for the soul and slows down the overall pace of your life. You’ll suddenly find you’re much less busy and frantic, and find time for those things you actually want to do.
  • Language, Please!

    language

    In 2001, when I first learned about the law of attraction and the power of focusing on the positive, I was less than thrilled at the prospect of having to control my thoughts. If you consider that a human being has an estimated 50,000 thoughts every single day, you’ll realise that policing every one of them would be a 24/7 job.
     

    Fortunately, there are shortcuts to mastering the thought process, and the single most effective of these is language. There’s a reason why psychologists tell you to eliminate negative self-talk if you want to improve your self-confidence – language simply is that powerful.
     

    In fairy tales and folk myths, you’ll often have a sorcerer or a witch who alters the course of the hero or heroine’s life with a single word or curse. Another word or spell can set things to rights again just as easily. Rumpelstiltsken is undone by someone knowing his name, only one single word!
     

    As with all folk tales, there’s a kernel of truth buried in the fiction. If people truly understood the power of language, everyone would dedicate a fair amount of energy to learning about it. In order to give you a head start, I’m going to show you how to use the power of language and the law of attraction when it comes to the two most frequent obstacles to increasing your happiness and pursuing your passions: time and money.
     
     

     
     

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    Words of power: Time Management

     

    We may not realise it, but we all have our own stories and beliefs around time. In our day and age, most people’s “time stories” revolve around never having enough time, or running out of time. Our lives are so crammed full of responsibilities, distractions, and opportunities, it seems like 24 hours per day can never be enough.
     

    In his book The Big Leap (I know I keep recommending this, but it really is that good!), Gay Hendricks introduces a concept he calls “Einstein Time”. Basically, it’s about the realisation that time is a man-made construct. Time exists because we say it exists, and it’s anything but logical and predictable. We all know that “time flies when you’re having fun” and also that half an hour can seem like an eternity for a bored student or employee.
     

    You can make language work for you in time management. Here are three steps to take:
     

    • Observe language around time for a day or two. You’ll be surprised at how often you or somebody else say they’re “busy” or “must dash”, or similar.
    • Think of ways to express these situations without mentioning or implying busy-ness. Try: “I’m off to xyz” or: “I’ve got a few interesting projects going on”.
    • Now that you’ve defused the “busy language”, you can re-assert your control over time. Think of statements you consciously want to use in future, such as: “I am taking the time to…”, “Today, I’ve decided to spend time on …”

     

    Words of power: Money Management

     

    When it comes to money, most people think of either frugality or a positive mindset. The latter in particular can be a challenge, especially if you’re paying off a mortgage or a loan, and/or never quite make enough money to live your dreams. Simply thinking “I’m rich” will feel like a lie, and any intelligent, honest person will resist doing this.
     

    Instead, may I suggest simply adjusting the way you talk about money? Here are your three steps for this one:
     

    • Become aware of how often you or others talk about money in scarcity language, using expressions like “I’m broke,” or “I can’t afford it”.
    • Find alternative expressions for these, such as: “It’s not in my budget,” or “I choose to spend my money elsewhere this month/year”.
    • Now, insert positive statements about money into your language: “I’m so glad that’s done!” after you’ve paid a bill (instead of resenting it), or: “It feels good to be secure,” after your salary or any kind of payment comes in.

     

    Playful language

     

    The key to all this is to view it as a game, rather than a chore. Play around with language. Challenge yourself to use one of your new, empowering phrases around time or money twice or three times every day for the coming week, and reward yourself at the end of each day you’ve managed to do it.
     

    These processes may take a while, but after a few weeks, your new language will come to you easily. And then you’ll be ready to reap the rewards! Brace yourself, because the law of attraction may just blow your mind.