Life Design Enables Mastering of Self-renewal and Generativity

10 skills  required to change yourself …

Managing the change cycle is a self-renewing process. It empowers people to be self-confident and generative. Generativity is defined as a process whereby we learn to follow our deeper interests and longings and bring about change. It helps us to avoid the dangers of self-absorption and stagnation because we learn to live in new ways that expand our horizons. The following are 10 skills for managing the change cycle. Each skill has a time in the cycle when it performs a critical function, however, all 10 skills are important at all times because to some degree parts of our lives are simultaneously at various places in the cycle.

Visioning or Dreaming the Plan – The dream or vision is the driving force for the life structure, a source of passion and values. The plan is the plot for making the dream happen.

Launching – Launching puts the plan to action; it requires commitment and personal mission.

Plateauing – Plateauing is the art of sustaining a successful life structure…. It is knowing when and how to keep enriching the dream/plan for as long as it makes sense to do so.

Managing the Doldrums – This requires coming to terms with decline, negative emotions, and feeling trapped in an increasingly dysfunctional life structure.

Sorting Things Out – Choosing what to keep, what to eliminate or change, what to add, and how to proceed into a revitalised life structure is the task of this step of the change cycle.

Ending a Life Structure – This requires an ability to say farewell with gratitude and clarity, which frees you to consider your next options.

Restructuring – This mini-transition can be used if the life structure could be improved through some specific changes.

Cocooning – The transition into a new life structure requires turning inward to take stock, to identify your own basic values, and to disengage emotionally and mentally from the former life structure.

Self-Renewal – Following successful cocooning, this step involves a rebirth of self-esteem, a re-evaluation of core issues and beliefs, and the recovery of hope and purpose.

Experimenting – Creativity, learning, risk taking, and networking give one a sense of purpose and power in creating a new life structure.


Finding meaning in our work is critical if we are to avoid stagnation and boredom (Bergquist et al. 1993). It is the responsibility of each individual to effect the change necessary to reinvent work so that it has personal relevance. Many companies are now requiring that employees take responsibility for their own professional development.

Some critical strategies required when being coached:

  • Honest assessment of self and skills
  • Genuine motivation and drive to establish and pursue a goal
  • Understanding and knowledge of the strategic challenges of their position and business
  • Commitment to establishing an action plan that is built upon realistic expectations and that draws upon available resources, both within and outside the company
  • Being able to accomplish successful career/professional development transitions within an existing organisation/life structure
  • Creating a new organisation/life structure requires personal motivation.
  • Successful transition is linked with one’s sense of autonomy or internal locus of control, and manifested in a willingness to learn and a positive attitude. It is the force that propels individuals to take the initiative in directing their own lives and careers.

Many people find value in their work as a source of new learning and challenge. “They return to school, enter training programs, or enroll in workshops and seminars to keep up to date in their current jobs or strike out on their own” (Bergquist). Others, hampered by lack of drive, fear of failure, or reluctance to exit company retirement plans by terminating employment, stay in unsatisfying and/or stressful jobs. Bergquist et al. ask if the sacrifice is necessary or worthwhile. “When does the time come for us to cease deferring gratification for the future and begin actually living the fabled future?”. Whatever their age, adults must find meaning and community in their work if they want to be generative and alive. Therefore, they must look toward continued opportunities to reinvent work as a central part of reinventing themselves.

“Life Design” takes all these factors into account both personally and professionally and helps you make the right choices for your future.

Success Doesn’t Happen By Sitting on Your Arse

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In order to be successful in anything in life, you need to take action. That begins by deciding on what it is you want to be successful at and this is the biggest hurdle of all. Yet all it takes is a little time to sit down and think about what truly motivates you, what makes your heart sing, your stomach turn over with excitement, passion and desire. we all have something in our lives that has this incredible effect on our mind and body, even when we haven’t realised it yet.

Once you know what that thing is, you can begin to take action and if you haven’t figured it out yet, almost of our learning in life comes from doing. If you want to learn how to talk in front of people, then find opportunities to talk in front of people as often as you can. If you want to learn how to do presentations, do more presentations. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to seek as much knowledge as you can get your hands on to help you become successful at what you want to do, it does mean you shouldn’t wait for complete knowledge before you take action.

A big reason for people avoiding taking action is fear of embarrassment. If you want to be successful at anything, you must learn to set that fear aside, because, it’s very difficult to look good and get better at the same time. Face the fact, you are going to screw up from time to time, that’s life and we learn by making mistakes. Instead of being afraid of how you look as you learn and grow, be afraid of not taking action and living your life at a fraction of your true potential.

As the saying goes from one of the presuppositions of NLP, “There is no failure, only feedback.”

When I was just about to leave school, and I left early, I had an appointment with my guidance teacher who sat me down and asked me what I wanted to do when I leave. Now I had known for a long time that I wanted to join the Royal Marines and I was at the bottom of a pile of former Royal Marines in my family, so I had a fairly good idea of what to expect. Well sort of, as nothing can really prepare you for the 8 months slog of basic training.

All I knew was that I had to be fit, so I had trained really hard for this and to the detriment of my exams. So I ultimately failed every exam and obviously my guidance teacher knew this and in this little conversation, when I told her my plans, she said “You’ll never be able to do that, you’ve got no qualifications and if you can’t get that, how do you expect to become a Royal Marine?”

This was like a red rag to a bull and needless to say, being a stroppy teenager, I told her exactly what I though of her opinion in no uncertain terms and walked out.

I was taking action, I had become extremely fit physically, however mentally I was letting myself down by not focusing on my exams and I let a nae sayer get under my skin because despite my stubborn streak, she got under my skin and knocked my confidence.

I did join the Royal Marines despite that and I lacked confidence which showed as mentioned by my training team on several occasions. They also told me that to work my way up the ranks, I would need to get some qualifications, so I took advantage of the Royal Marines education system and while I learned my job as a Royal Marine, I studied for my exams and, bit by bit I achieved far more than I ever thought possible with my education and personal development. I was taught many invaluable skills in the Royal Marines that have stood me in great stead and  will for the rest of my life and one of those is the unquenchable thirst for knowledge. To understand myself, what I’m capable of, because it’s always far more than we realise or think.

When we plan properly, take action and then review what we’ve done to learn from our mistakes and use that learning in our next plan, this is how we grow and become experts in what we do. It’s not an overnight process and it can be done.

What I’m saying is, embrace that fear, that uncomfortable feeling and take a leap of faith in yourself. You are capable of so much more when you push yourself and expand your comfort zone so that it incorporates more and makes all that feel normal and comfortable. The best thing is, this never has to end, it is a continuous process for the rest of our lives if we want it to be.

Here’s to your success.

Mindfullness Reminders

Recently I was reading a great post on a Facebook Group I’m on and it gave some excellent reminders of how to practice Mindfulness, which has become a lost art for many these days. The group is called Mind Over Fatter (the psychology of weightloss) and it is owned by a gentleman called Greg Justice. I think you’ll enjoy the discussions on there.

The Ten Guiding Principals of Mindfulness
1. Awareness. Stuff happens every second, and if seconds could be divided even those particles have moments that slip by too fast or too slow. The stomach tickles, to take a check into what’s going on inside of your head and your body. It’s like using those little emoticons and smileys in your texts and tweets that show immediately your awareness of what you are feeling on the inside – and projecting it outward!

2. Acceptance. You already know what you really experience –it is true for you, whether or not you like it– no matter what anyone else might say. This moment is the time to stop the fight over what goes on with you in your mind that you want to change, avoid, get back at, get even with, or on the other hand, even to crow about. In this moment you don’t have to be responsible to make a change or to change – merely to accept.

3. Compassion- It is commendable to be on the road to improvement. But usually you do it by criticizing your weaknesses, lacks, and you may even be down about what you did wrong, mistakes, missed plans. Take this moment to be as compassionate to yourself, as you would be to others in need. Give yourself the hug, the pat, the nod, the ok, that you would give to your dear friend or relative.

4. Invitation- Today we might be expecting to be super heroes and use your own power as a force–even if it’s for the good like Captain America or Black Widow. But this attitude is about the moment to just be curious about possibility, what will be will be without any you force or power to make things happen. Force causes a stiff neck which blocks the flow of energy or chi. Why do you think people, who seem stubborn, blocked and immovable are called – “Stiff Necked?”

5. Non-judgment- Of course you have opinions–that is part of who you are. But this is the moment to dispel judgment–just to ease and observe, take a load off because it’s a relief not to have to know where your philosophy is all the time.

6. Patience- The things you don’t like or want happen too quickly–bills come, deadlines come, preparations and intentions don’t always pan out, the best growth and discoveries usually take more time than you think, and are not easy, but that’s ok and that’s the way it is.

7. Practice- Thinking, planning, understanding, feeling inspired are all great, but like the saying, put your muscle where your mouth is. Until you practice it’s nothing more than interesting and entertaining ideas and thoughts.

8. Present moment focus- Luckily you remember the past– and are also planning the future–it’s life and what you have to do, and it is useful to think in all directions. But this moment is just to be aware of the moment, what is filling up this exact moment. It’s not empty, each moment to the next is willed with sight, sound, sensations, thoughts, emotions.

9. Tolerance- Into every life some rain must fall the old saying goes and nobody escapes some unpleasantness and pain and that’s just the way it is. In this moment learn to tolerate the bad, and appreciate a peaceful feeling that it is just there.

10. Validation. What you experience goes on inside you and is your thought, emotion, sensation. It is there for a reason because it is what makes you unique. You have your learning, your history, your genetics, your personality, and that is you and valid–whether you understand the moment’s experience or not.

Take away: It is interesting to note how successful 12-step self-improvement programs echo the Principles of Mindfulness above. All such programs owe their origin to the Oxford Groups led by Dr. Frank Buchman in the 1920s. According to Buchman the guiding principles of the “OGs” were: absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love. Another example of east meets west?

You can find the original post and the FB Group here:

Beat Stress Naturally

Stress! You have heard about it and probably experienced it in some way, shape or form. The word stress can be associated with different things and used in many contexts.

However, what is stress, really?

In simple terms, stress is a type of tension, strain or pressure that is exerted on something or some object. It can also be exerted emotionally or mentally on a person. It could occur as a result of fatigue, it may also develop based on the occurrence of traumatic, demanding and other adverse situations.

Also important to know is how to cope with or get rid of the stress that you may be feeling or experiencing and this leads to understanding another dimension related to stress which is referred to as the stressor.

Stressors provide a stimulus which causes stress. Hence, while stress is the actual feeling, the stressor is linked to causation. In busting, reducing or eliminating stress from our lives, sometimes, focusing on the stressor can be beneficial. There are different things that could help reduce or eliminate the stress that we feel including certain scents, foods and exercise.

Let’s look at 7 Great Stress Busters!

#1 – Tea

Sip your way into a renewed state of mind. If you do not drink tea, you may want to reconsider after discovering that drinking tea could help soothe away stress. Theanine, which is an amino acid that is present in certain varieties of tea such a black or green tea may cause a lifting of stressful feelings while promoting relaxation.

Green Tea

Green tea contains different types of polyphenols which are basically antioxidants that are able to fight oxidative stresses. There have been studies which link fresh green tea leaf polyphenols to oxidative damage that stress creates and it is suggested that drinking five cups of green tea in a day could reduce psychological stress [1]. The decaffeinated brands of teas are preferred in terms of reducing stress, because high levels of caffeine could do more to prevent a person from being able to relax, sleep or get sufficient rest.

#2 – Fruit


Blueberries, Oranges, Passion Fruit and More! Nutrition plays a big role in reducing or managing the amount of stress we have in our lives. Fruit can be a healthy food option for your waistline and perhaps you did not know that fruit could also help you relieve stress. The not-so-secret weapon of fruits such as blueberries lies in the high level of antioxidants contained in these foods.

Antioxidants target cell repair and the protection of cells. Hence, the body is fortified against conditions that could make it more susceptible to attack. Also, fruit can be rich in vitamin C which contributes to a healthy body, is capable of minimizing hormones related to stress such as cortisol and is also able to reduce blood pressure.

Foods like passion fruit have been known to have stress-relieving properties. The passion flower extract has been studied for its relation to anxiety order and results have shown that there can be some improvements related to quality of life and relief from anxiety [2]. However, there are opportunities too for future research in this area.

#3 – Chocolate!

Nibble in moderation. Yes, there may be many people who are glad that chocolate made it on this list. Indeed, chocolate could help to relieve some of the feelings of pressure and doom that a person is facing. This is why chocolate seems to be the food of choice for those who are simply having a bad day!


The challenge with using chocolate as a stress-reliever is not to overdo it, though. It can be very tempting to eat more chocolate than we should, as it may make us feel really good when we eat it. It tends to release a lot of the “feel good” or serotonin hormones.

However, too much chocolate could wreck havoc on our waistline. Hence, nibble in moderation, as this food can pack a punch in terms of caloric count. Overeating and weight-gain could be stressful by itself. So, it would be unwise to try to reduce stress by overeating chocolate or other foods and thereby repeating the cycle of stress.

There are also different varieties of chocolate and the darker chocolate appear to have the most benefit for reducing stress due to higher capabilities to affect levels of catecholamines and cortisol hormones which are linked to the stress a person can feel.

#4 – Asparagus

Time to eat your veggies! This may not be a food you usually eat. However, knowing that asparagus has been connected to folic acid levels and the ability to boost a person’s moods could make you re-think the way you choose to ignore this vegetable or begin to include it in your meals.


Compared to other foods that are loaded with fat, you really cannot go wrong by adding this food item and there are different ways you could gradually begin to eat more asparagus including options for grilling, sautéing or steaming asparagus. Simply steam some asparagus stems or add chopped asparagus to an omelet for a tasty dish that helps to reduce anxiety and stress.

In addition, being rich in folic acid contributes to the ability of asparagus in affecting serotonin levels in the body. Vitamin B and folic acid can create serotonin. Asparagus also has other favorable biological properties include being anti-bacterial, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory [3]. Apart from asparagus, there are other vegetables like spinach which could promote a state of well-being and provide a reduction in anxiety levels. A common effect regarding these vegetables is the ability to specifically target and regulate the cortisol stress hormone.

#5 – Lavender

Calming and relaxing. There are some scents that could provide a calming effect and one of such scents is lavender. There has been a lot of research regarding the use of lavender and how its use could be beneficial in treating various conditions. The lavender plant produces flowers and lavender-scented oils can be extracted from this plant for use in treating depression and anxiety.


Such aromatherapy has been deemed effective for these purposes in both controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials and research studies also reveal that taking well-defined essential oils from lavender as an oral supplement in dosages of 80 mg per day produced high quality or superior results when compared with some prescribed anti-depressants [4]. Hence, such data could give room to discussions with a primary care physician regarding the possible use of lavender oil to manage depression, anxiety and stress.

#6 – Avocado

Rich in B Vitamins. To reduce anxiety, it would make sense to tackle a trigger that could affect the level of anxiety that a person feels. When consuming avocados, the benefit we receive from this food that is rich in healthy fats, is an abundance of B vitamins. These B vitamins are needed for the healthy development and sustainment of brain cells and nerves.


In addition, the healthy fats and the high potassium content that is found in avocados [5], also helps to maintain adequate blood pressure levels which help to reduce stress and keep the body in balance. Half of an avocado can contain about 480 mg of potassium.

In terms of caloric content, avocados can have a high fat content, however, it is the right kind of fat to eat and a necessary part of your diet. Hence, consume in moderation or as a moderate spread on bread, toast or crackers. However, a big selling point for a healthy avocado snack is that it can also fill up the tummy quite well or provide the feeling of being full. Hence, this feeling of nourishment coupled with the fact that avocados contain healthy fats can be a significant stress reliever.

#7 – Exercise

Simple but effective! Yes, exercise can be a simple but effective way to bust stress right out of your life!! It does not have to be gut-wrenching, muscle-pulling types of strenuous exercise. A simple walk outside on a cool or mild day could help relax the muscles in your body, clear your head, expose you to the amazing scents of the flowers outside and fill your lungs with fresh air as well.


You could also do some exercise indoors, on a treadmill or with weights. Stretching and Yoga posses could provide some relief from stress as you purposely place you mind and being in a more centered place. Exercise does not only target a person’s physical state but could provide beneficial effects to mental capabilities as well.

In addition to exercise, massages, self-hypnosis and meditating can also prove to be very relaxing and effective in relieving stress.

Busting or getting rid of stress can occur through the help of mood-boosting foods, scents and exercise. When people get stressed, they can show signs so anxiety, pressure, overload, difficulty, nervousness, trouble and worry.

There is benefit in getting rid of stress as this condition could be linked to a diminished immune system, abnormal heart rates, heavy breathing, lack of sleep, high blood pressure, twitching nervously or other nervous traits, headaches, fainting, stomach upsets and tense muscles.

If stress is not checked or appropriately handled, it could lead to other behaviours or events such as problems in relationships, the abuse of alcohol, the abuse of drugs, overeating, not eating enough, withdrawal from social gatherings, mood swings and other possible conditions.

Using these 7 Stress Busters could help contribute to a life in which stress is well-managed!