Monday Sparkles: Information Overload vs Action

Information overload, coaching, pursue your passion
A few years back, I went to see Peter Gabriel live (again), and in between two songs he talked about, in his typical insightful way, how these days dictators can no longer get away with “disappearing” people in secret. People will spread the news via the internet to every corner of the earth. He went on to say that ordinary people have never been so powerful, and that we have yet to realise the full extent of that power we hold through modern media.

I’m tickled by the potential, the endless possibilities of this. In a way, I already participate in this with my one-woman freelance business which is conducted through Skype, with people from all over the world, people I never would have connected with if it wasn’t for the internet. Peter Gabriel is right, we have only just scratched the surface of what we can do.

There is, however, a danger inherent in the immediate accessibility of information. That danger is that we will get better and better informed all the time, learn more and more, but fail to actually do anything. And with the constant bombardment from advertising and cute but pointless Social Media stories, we often end up spending a disproportionate amount of time on trivial bits of “news” instead of taking action and living our own lives.
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Information Overload

Have you ever scrolled through Facebook, commented, reacted, clicked and read articles, and suddenly realised you just spent two full hours doing nothing but stare at your computer (or phone)? It’s scary how these things can eat up your time, even if the articles you’ve been reading were actually useful.

Marie Forleo says: “Clarity comes through engagement, not thought.” We try to figure out our lives and move forward, and to that end we tend to collect and consume more information and learning, hoping that this will give us direction and purpose. In reality, though, only action – moving forward, making mistakes, performing course corrections and gaining ever more experience – will give us the clarity we crave.

 

Striking the balance

Some people reject the internet and especially Social Media altogether, but that’s throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I don’t think we should forego all the amazing benefits of the internet just because we can’t restrain ourselves and “overdose” on information. In the following, I give you some steps to take towards sanity and a productive balance between information and action.

Be smart with your online time. I used to have my email open in one tab and Facebook in another at all times when I was at the computer. Every time I saw a new notification or email, I’d interrupt what I was working on and check it out compulsively. It scattered my focus and made my work take twice as long.

These days, I check email and my social media accounts three times a day. When I receive newsletters (yes, I too am subscribed to some newsletters, just like you read Monday Sparkles!), I save them in a special folder and read them in the half-hour I have allocated each day for “educational reading”. I quickly scan through offers and promotions, reply to business and personal emails, look through my social media accounts, respond to comments etc, and then I close these tabs again. Done.

To cut it short: I recommend using the internet, but use it on your own terms and in your own time.

Spend “offline” time with people who matter. I have recently ramped up my work on my Coaching business, and whilst this is one of my passions and lights me up, it also means more time spent on my own, working, because I also have a daytime job. To balance this, I make a conscious effort to have fun in between, and most especially to meet friends “in the flesh” regularly. I often don’t feel like I’m missing something and only afterwards realise how good it’s done me to actually hug and talk to people I love.

To cut it short: Your passions are important, but so are the people in your life. Make sure to spend quality time with loved ones regularly.

Take action. Forget waiting for the right time, or until you’re ready. If you want to do something, start! Get Coaching (the shortcut to action!), get a teacher, do whatever it takes to get into action mode. If you just keep reading and learning about it, you might get smarter but you’re no step closer to actually living what you really want.

To cut it short: Stop overthinking and take a first step towards your goal today. You can thank me later!

Monday Sparkles: Which Money Type Are You?

Money Coach Sibylle

Some would have us believe that we are purely rational beings, but that’s quite simply not true. If we were, we’d all eat healthy, get enough sleep, and be rich and happy! Money seems to be an area where we are particularly irrational, although most of us are completely unaware of this and think their way of dealing with money is universal. This belief is at the root of many a marital row!

There are many different systems of “money mindsets” or personalities, with as many as 8 or 10 distinct personalities identified in each. Personally, I’m always in favour of simpler, clearer systems, so here’s what I’ve found in my studies and my work with clients. I’m outlining them below; you’ll probably recognise yourself in at least one of them, as many people are blends between at least two types.
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Saver

If you are a saver, you like to hoard your money. The thought of the proverbial Rainy Day keeps you from taking financial risks. Investing in yourself or taking out a loan to finance something you really want, or an education or course (or Coaching), seems reckless and frivolous to you.

The advantage of being a saver is that you’re unlikely to ever get into financial trouble. The downside is that you may deny yourself and those around you the joy of adventure and risk-taking.

In order to challenge yourself to become more daring, make a finance plan allocating percentages of your monthly income to things like fun and personal development, as well as gifts for others. Commit to spending that money every month (or the accumulated amounts every three months or so). Money makes you safe, yes, but it can also provide the means for you to grow and evolve, and enjoy life.

 

Spender

Money never stays with you for long. As soon as you come into any amount of money, you find ways to spend it. No matter how much money you make, you never have anything left in your account at the end of each month.

This money type knows how to enjoy themselves. They are generous and love treating others as well as themselves. However, larger financial goals which require saving up, tend to elude them, and if anything untoward happens, they are woefully unprepared and may find themselves penniless.

Perhaps you’re saying that you only buy what’s necessary, but that’s not really true, is it? Most spenders tend to “leak money” as I call it, by buying impulsively. You’ll think you can’t afford going after your passion(s) or sign up for that course (or for Coaching), but the harsh truth is: As long as you have money for a TV license, for buying clothes or for any number of subscriptions from Netflix to the gym, you actually have money. It’s just a matter of allocating it differently.

Like the Saver, you need to make a budget and stick to it. Be sure to allocate plenty of cash to fun, so you’ll actually stick to it, but also include saving.

 

Avoider

This is the type who will tell you that money isn’t important. They dislike dealing with money, never so much as glance at their bank statements, and leave bills unopened for weeks. Spending isn’t a problem for them, until they find to their surprise that they’ve exhausted their bank account including the overdraft because they had no idea how much they had in the first place.

Avoiders are free of worries and easy-going when it comes to money. Sooner or later, though, they will run into trouble because flying blind only works as long as there are no obstacles.

In order to come to grips with being an Avoider, you will have to force yourself to actually deal with your finances. Set a date every month to review your finances, or if you’re in a relationship, involve your partner so you can hold each other accountable. Then, make a monthly budget and stick to it. This isn’t stuffy and unadventurous, it’s the key to the adventures you most want in life, as you’ll be able to actually afford them when the opportunity comes along.
Money habits are hard to change, as they are very deeply rooted in our personalities and our perception of ourselves. It’s worth doing the work, though, as it will put you in control of your life like no other change of habits will. Get your finances sorted (if you want to turn around your situation fast and with dramatic results, contact me about money Coaching), and then do exactly what you want in life! If you start today, you won’t know yourself a year from now.

Monday Sparkles: Breaking Free

Some weeks ago, I wrote about what it means to be financially free. My motivation for this came from the new Coaching program I’m working on, “Wild and (Financially) Free“, which focuses on getting enough money for our passion(s) – to pay for any expenses and to create the necessary space and time in our lives.

Money can translate into freedom in very real terms, but it’s not the only aspect, and that’s how I had the idea to this article today. I’m going to explore different paths to your personal freedom, and I’m also making a strong case against anyone else trying to tell you what your freedom should look like.

This includes freedom without any money. It may seem counter-intuitive for me to talk about this, as a Coach who helps people achieve better cash flow, but it’s actually very much in line with what Coaching is all about: Empowering the client to achieve their dreams, instead of simply teaching them to reach the same dreams the Coach is pursuing.

 

The meaning of freedom

If you ask ten different people what freedom actually is, you’ll probably get at least eight different answers. There are so many ways to be free. Before I delve into definitions, I’d like to state the rather sobering fact that nobody actually is completely free. We all live in the context of society, our loved ones, or at the very least we are restrained by the living conditions of our planet and our basic physical needs. Freedom as an absolute doesn’t exist, and that’s where the contradictory definitions come from – they are all equally subjective, and so they reflect what’s important to an individual, rather than a universal truth.

Having said that, here are some ways to look at freedom:

Financial freedom. If you remember that article a while ago, being financially free means to be able to live comfortably off the interest of one’s financial assets without having to touch the invested capital. I’m starting out with this one because it’s the only term on this list which actually has a clear, verifiable definition, but there are still a few subjective aspects to this one as well.

To be financially free of course means that you can do what you wish with your days, and that is definitely freedom. if you are, however, stuck in a scarcity mindset and feel the need to constantly increase your wealth to still feel secure, you aren’t free at all. Even for the extremely wealthy, mindset determines the fulfillment they feel around their money.

Freedom from finances. Now this one is probably not going to be relevant for you, as you are fairly certainly using a computer or other electronic device to read this, and that implies you live very much “on the grid” and as part of our regular bill-paying, grocery shopping society, like I do. Getting away from all that is a fairly effective way to free yourself, though, and so I thought I’d mention it. I personally know people who either on their own or as part of an eco-village project, are growing their own food and making their own things, at least for the most part. They have become almost or completely independent of money, jobs, and consumerism.

Freedom to live a joyful life. This is the one I’ve chosen for myself. I would love financial freedom but have decided that I don’t want it enough to do the work required. Instead, I have chosen to grow my Coaching business, which is my calling, and to use my financial savvy to make sure that I’ll always have sufficient money for my passions and to have an ecstatically joyful life every single day. It’s a viable choice, either as a temporary stage in life or a permanent solution; I’m honestly not sure which one it’ll be for me.

This approach is all about the freedom to do as I please, within the limits set by earning money and organising my life. It works for me, as I couldn’t do archery or swordfighting or dancing all day anyway, and I love both my daytime job and my Coaching business.

Your own situation is just that, your own. We all come from different backgrounds, face different challenges and enjoy different advantages. What’s important is that you understand that “freedom” is a subjective term and up to your own interpretation, because frankly, living according to someone else’s idea of freedom defeats the very idea behind being free.

Nothing’s more worth figuring out than your own version of freedom. It’s precisely that which I work on with my clients, and why I chose this particular focus of my Coaching.
​​The above is the lead article in this week’s Monday Sparkles. Join the tribe to receive the full newsletter, exclusive offers and insider info (100% spam free), by filling in the short form below. You will get:

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Monday Sparkles: Is Your Life Balanced?

 

One of the most universal bits of wisdom is that there should be a certain balance in our lives: We need a degree of material security as well as emotional and spiritual fulfilment, we need success both in the “outside”, public world and in our private lives, and we’d all agree that body, mind, soul, and spirit all deserve equal attention and fulfilment. Holistic medicine tells us that this is the key to well-being.

I used to struggle with this. My life tends to focus on one area at a time, rather than balancing everything nicely. For years, I felt like I was missing a crucial skill to keep things even, and spent a lot of energy trying to change. It took me a while to learn what balance is really about, and I have since come across a lot of other people – including my Coaching clients – who face similar challenges, and so I decided to give you my own take on the subject.

 

When life takes over

In the introduction to his book First Things First, Stephen Covey writes how his daughter once told him she felt like she was failing at the “7 Habits” and at keeping things in balance, because she’d just given birth and suddenly everything revolved around the baby. Covey told her that there are times in life when certain areas in life take over and there is nothing wrong with that. As a new parent, of course you will focus on your baby for a while. It’s natural and how it should be.

Where, then, does balance come in? The answer is: Weeks, months, or even years later. Babies grow up. Whatever situation we might find ourselves in, which may lead to us focusing on only one or two areas of our lives above all others, will eventually make way to new developments. As they say, nothing is as permanent as change. As life turns into a different direction, a new focus will command our attention.

 

But what about balance?

I remember a long-ago biology lesson in school, when we were taught about something called a “dynamic balance”. What this means is not a state where things are smooth and even at all times, but a dynamic situation with many swings, even extremes, in either direction. The “balance” happens in between those extremes, meaning that all in all, things cancel each other out.

In other words, instead of having a continuously even life, flowing steadily like a river, you can have an emphasis on different things at different times and swing up and down, and still be in balance overall. The highs and lows, the different areas, are in balance when you look at them as a whole. Does that makes sense?

In other words, there’s no need to frantically try to pay attention to everything at the same time. You do not fail at life if you’re studying for an exam and fail to go to the gym for a few weeks. There’s no harm in falling in love and spending less effort on your other relationships for a while – just as long as you eventually go back and catch up with whatever it is you left behind.

 

Peace of mind

The reason why this principle is so important to understand is that our lives have a lot of different aspects, and it can be very stressful trying to keep all balls in the air at the same time. Realising that there’s nothing wrong with putting down a few of them and juggling just one or two at a time, can be sanity-saving.

You can dedicate yourself to your family, or your creativity, or your health when you feel called to do so. Obviously, you need to keep up a basic level of functionality in other areas of your life, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking they all need equal attention. Life just doesn’t work that way, and there’s no need for you to force yourself into trying to fulfill a theoretical ideal.

With my own Coach, I take stock at regular intervals to see where I stand in different areas of my life. These are the times to make adjustments and maybe pay a little more attention to something I’ve let fall by the wayside for a while. I do the same thing with my own clients, and if you’d like to try it too, simply schedule a review in your calendar twice a year. If you keep track of things, you needn’t worry when life tilts “out of balance” – you’ll know you can always make a shift in the opposite direction at your next checkpoint.

​​The above is the lead article in this week’s Monday Sparkles. Join the tribe to receive the full newsletter, exclusive offers and insider info (100% spam free), by filling in the short form below. You will get:

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Smart Routines For Wild Success

 

 

Some reactions are fairly predictable. When I tell people I’m a Coach, they usually assume I teach people what to do (which I don’t, as explained in this article). When I talk about routines, people roll their eyes and think of a boring, restrictive practice designed to keep them from being spontaneous and having fun.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I’d actually say that the opposite is the case: Routines, used in the right way, will free you up to be spontaneous and make time for that which brings you joy in your life.

Routines are a Wild Spirits best friend. To make them work for you and avoid pitfalls along the way, I’ll give you a detailed roadmap below.

 

The science

A lot of people assume that their minds take in all the information and all the sensual impressions around them all day. In fact, it would be absolutely overwhelming for us to try and process the billions of details and information our brains are bombarded with all day. Therefore, most of them end up as quick impressions stored only in our subconscious. We aren’t even aware of them.

What we consciously notice is what the brain has deemed important information. We have a degree of control over this, for example someone who cultivates a positive focus will consciously notice things which re-inforce this focus.

The lesson behind this is that our minds have a limited capacity. That’s why, when you are preoccupied with relationship trouble or a pleasant memory of the weekend, you find it so hard to concentrate on the work in front of you!

 

Routines to the rescue

Habits and routines help us free up “mind space” because they become, well, habitual and therefore take up much less attention. Think of actions you perform every day, such as taking a shower or brushing your teeth. Your mind is completely free to wander, because you hardly have to concentrate on what you’re doing.

The idea behind implementing smart routines is that they will become almost automatic and use very little of your mind’s power, thereby leaving you with plenty of energy and focus to do what’s actually important to you.

Here are examples of useful routines. Simply pick what sings to you and spend the next weeks implementing the new habit. Remember, you need to stick with it for at least three weeks for a new routine to become automatic!

Morning routine – If you start off your morning in the right way, it’ll set the tone for the rest of the day. Consider things like 15 minutes of reading a positive book, five or ten minutes of meditation, yoga, or simply sitting with your tea or coffee for a few minutes and relax before leaping into the chores of the day. It’s well worth getting up a little earlier for this.

Workout routine – Research has shown that we are more likely to stick with a workout if we do it around the same time every day (or twice a week, or whatever suits). I have a friend who goes for a run as soon as he comes home from work, every day without fail. If a practice becomes this automated, it’s hardly a question of motivation anymore. He told me he’d feel weird if he didn’t go!

Self Care routine – A Self Care routine could be 15 minute bath in the evening or daily journaling, a walk in nature, or something really simple: I’ve found that I need a little space for myself when I finish up work, around 15 minutes just to wind down. I honour this need even now that I work from home, and it’s doing me very good.

Evening routine – Saying your prayers before bed, or reading a book for half an hour, are little habits that are easy to acquire and maintain. A bedtime routine also helps you to fall asleep more easily, as any parent with a toddler can confirm! It’s not just for children, though – if you try it out, you might be surprised at the beneficial effects.

I hope this list inspired you to think about routines you might already have, and new ones you’d like to implement. You can always tweak an existing routine if you find something else works better for you; our situations change, and so do our needs. Once you have working routines in place, you’ll discover how wonderful it feels to have the everyday things taken care of. And then you’re free to focus on your joy and passion(s)!

 

​​The above is the lead article in this week’s Monday Sparkles. Join the tribe to receive the full newsletter, exclusive offers and insider info (100% spam free), by filling in the short form below. You will get:

  • A weekly newsletter with free Coaching magic every Monday
  • Special offers exclusive to subscribers
  • Insider “behind the scenes” info about Wild Spirits Coaching
  • A free worksheet and the valuable “One-Year Goals Workbook”