Creative Reframing


A wise old gentleman had retired and bought himself a modest home near a school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. However, when the new school year began, the very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful exuberance and post school enthusiasm, came down his street, banging merrily on every dustbin they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action.

The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. He stopped them and said, “You boys are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favour? I’ll give you each a dollar if you’ll promise to come around every day and do your thing.” The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the dustbins.

After a few days, the old-timer greeted the kids again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. “This recessions really putting a big dent in my income,” he told them. “From now on, I’ll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans.” The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they accepted his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street.

“Look,” he said, “I haven’t received my Social Security check yet, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?” “A quarter?” the drum leader exclaimed. “If you think were going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you’re mad! No way, we quit!” And the old man enjoyed peace and serenity for the rest of his days.

The Use of Metaphors in Coaching


The word metaphor is from the Greek metapherein, which means to transfer or to change. For the purpose in coaching, I use the term metaphor as a symbol that captures or represents qualities of my client and of the journey he or she is making. Myths, archetypes, natural phenomena, animals, and common objects may all serve as metaphors. By way of distinction, metaphors are not are adjectives, literal descriptions, judgments, or assessments.

Metaphor is the language of archetypes, symbols, and essence. Because it is a language that is representative in nature, it simplifies and focuses perception. Our culture uses metaphors abundantly to capture an idea or essence. For example, we say things like: She has stars in her eyes; we are drowning in data; and, here’s some food for thought.

A a coach, I have found that using metaphors can capture the essence of the client and the coaching issue in a way that descriptions, cannot, because metaphors hold within them worlds of association and information. The pictures that metaphors paint are, indeed, worth a thousand words, because the images stay with us long after descriptions or data have faded from memory.

Application

Although there are countless ways to use metaphors in coaching, I share my experiences with clients using metaphors in two primary application areas: assessment and practice design.

First, an important distinction: I use metaphor to capture and explore the client’s issue, not the client as a person. A metaphor is but a lens through which to see. Just as it focuses perception, it also limits it (Morgan, 1996). If I confuse the metaphor for the person, I obscure from sight the person’s multidimensionality, the full mystery of who he or she is. When used as a lens on the coaching issue, the metaphor provides the coach with useful focus and depth.

Assessment

Metaphors have proven invaluable to me in gaining clarity about my clients and their coaching issues. For example, one of my clients had received feedback that she was seen as aggressive, arrogant, and prone to loss of control over her anger at home and in her workplace. Underneath this behaviour appeared to be an inability or unwillingness to yield, an orientation that she knew best and that her perspective was the right one. The metaphor we developed for the shift the client needed to make was to bring her from a dormant or dead oak tree to a weeping willow.

Another client came to me for leadership coaching. He seemed very together but had received feedback that he didn’t play the game according to the rules of the culture and didn’t connect well with peers and superiors. His superiors, however, thought he had the makings of a good leader. It was difficult at first to get any other impression besides how smooth and together this client seemed. Diagnostically, I used this feeling data” to uncover a metaphor that initially guided the coaching: tarp was the metaphor that surfaced. The shift that this client needed to make was to move from tarp: protective, tightly woven, and invulnerable, to tapestry: permeable, colourful, warm, yet solid.

These images were useful to me diagnostically, because they crystallised and simplified my understanding of my clients’ issues. Perhaps even more important about metaphors, however, is how much information they give back to us about the client issue. The oak to willow image was, first, a useful handle on my initial take. But what I found most amazing is how delving into the image itself could actually deepen my understanding significantly. For example, if we work with the image of oak, what else is true about an oak tree that might be true of this client? The oak holds onto many of its leaves in winter and even in death. What might this client need to let go of? The oak tree is associated with tremendous strength. Might this client be too strong, too forceful, for her own effectiveness? Then look at the weeping willow image. It sways in the wind. What might our client need to let move her? The willow weeps. Might grief be a component of the coaching journey?

Following the same brainstorming process, I began wondering about the tarp, metaphor. What was this image telling me about what I was seeing in this client’s dilemma? Tarp is efficient. This client was smooth, he did his job well, but he sensed that his superiors and colleagues were envious of him. How does that fit with tarp? That somehow they couldn’t relate? Couldn’t get through? Couldn’t see vulnerability? What else about tarp? It is useful when it is raining, but not that interesting to behold. Its texture doesn’t invite us in. What do tarps do that might relate to this client? It covers up, protects. Was this image pointing to the client’s need to raise the cover, go through life with less protection? Was this client efficient at the expense of being engaged in relationships? What is opposite of tarp? Tapestry. What does tapestry have that tarp, doesn’t? Rich texture, colour, a story, relief, warmth, weight. Can it still protect and cover? Yes, but in a different way.

As you can see, these simple images led me to many questions that might never have been explored otherwise, for metaphor is the language of our intuition. At once, it both captures reality and reveals mystery. It mirrors back to us what we already know about our clients’ issues and, yet, also shines a light on what else might be waiting to be discovered.

Practice Design
Metaphors have led me to ideas about practices that my left‑brain might not have revealed. For the first client, the oak‑willow metaphor itself was a very physical one and surfaced my intuition that the client herself might be very physically oriented. Therefore, I gave her the practice of learning aikido to give her a physical way to learn that meeting force with immovability was ineffective. In this case, I shared the metaphor with her and explored the word arrogance in the context the metaphor provided, since that was a major piece of the criticism she had received about herself at work. Arrogance comes from Latin, meaning absence of questioning. I asked her to look at the oak tree as more absolute in its stance and asked her to explore through the willow image where she might need to be more open to questioning her own assumptions or conclusions.

For the second client, the tarp, metaphor led me to develop a practice to help the client shed some of the protection that had been so vital to staying invulnerable. His first practice was a simple one of looking at the world through the eyes of others with whom he had significant contact each day. He was to imagine what they were feeling and to notice how he gathered clues about their reactions to him. He was also instructed to notice when he had a feeling connection to someone and to be as specific as possible in writing about how he thought that happened. As time went on, the metaphors proved invaluable, as I learned how much this client actually feared being in relationships with others and had found strategic ways to manage within them without giving himself away. The outcome metaphor, tapestry, helped me see a way to move forward with this client to help him create and embrace his own tapestry with its own rich colours, warmth, permeability, and stability.

The Metaphor-making Process
Metaphor making is fundamentally an intuitive process and for more intuitive coaches (for example, high Ns on the Myers‑Briggs Type Indicator), metaphors may come naturally and easily. However, I would like to make metaphors available to all coaches who would like greater access to their intuitive wisdom. The following five‑step process for accessing and working with metaphors id a great place to start.

Step 1: Be clear and open. The first step for any coach is to be clear and open when meeting your client. Listen, observe, notice your own internal reactions and what the client is not saying.

Step 2: Describe the client with regard to his or her issue. Bring the client to mind, and visualise them in the domain of life in which they are experiencing difficulty. Think about what they look like, sound like, and feel like to you. Think about their gestures, their posture, the sound of their voice, what they evoke in you when they describe their issue or their words. What three or four adjectives or phrases come to mind? If an image comes to mind at this point, you’ve got your metaphor. But if not, just work on getting a short description. Try not to censor what comes out. You’re done when you have three to four adjectives or phrases that feel like they really capture the client in their struggle.

Step 3: Free associate images with the adjectives. When you picture the client and the adjectives you’ve described them with, what images come to mind? Free associate. Don’t censor these. Note the first one(s) that come to mind. Try to work as little as possible in your rational mind. If nothing comes up, you can scan a few different areas: something from nature, characters from movies or books, myths from any culture, types of transportation, or household objects. Usually, your first images are good ones to work with. It often helps to come up with a ‘from’ image (one which captures the client as they currently relate to the world or their issue) and a ‘to’ image (one which captures the client operating as they would like to).

Step 4: Turn your focus away from the client and fully explore the metaphor. Now that you have your metaphor(s), forget about the client for a minute and simply delve into the images themselves. List all the attributes you can about them, What are the characteristics of your metaphors (for example, tarp and tapestry)? What characteristics distinguish the first image from the second? What would help something transform from the first state to the second? It is helpful to speak these associations out loud with a partner or write them down without worrying about making sense or expressing yourself eloquently.

Step 5: Bring the client back into focus. What did following the metaphor tell you about your client? In what new ways do you see the client and how you might work with them? What are the metaphor’s implications for the self‑observations and practices you will design?

Conclusion:

In working with metaphors, I have found a rich way to assess situations and design practices to help my clients. I have also experienced some lessons learned that I want to share with you.

First, be aware that the metaphor helps you to create a hypothesis about the client’s situation. It is not an absolute. As a coach I cannot claim to know what is best for my client. My job is to offer possibilities to my client. Sometimes the client rejects the possibilities that I offer them, and there is data to be gained from that experience. More metaphors may surface for you. Follow your metaphors confidently but lightly.

Second, to share or not to share?. I don’t suggest that you always share your metaphors with your clients. I don’t always share mine. In deciding to share, base your criteria on what will be useful for the client. In the oak‑to‑willow work, I shared the images and they were useful. In the tarp‑to‑tapestry work, I did not share the images.

I have shared metaphors in a few different ways. Once, I wrote a poem about a client. The metaphors surfaced in the writing. Sharing the poem with the client seemed a natural thing to do, for it opened possibilities for them. Sometimes I ask the client to watch a movie that has the metaphor embodied in a character or situation the movie depicts. I often ask my clients to read books for the same reason. Sometimes we draw the images that show up for us. Sometimes we just talk about them.

Third, if you use and share metaphors that are within your client’s current world, you may run into trouble. Why? Because the client may make it more literal than is useful. Also, you run the risk of swirling in the loop that had them stuck in the first place.

Fourth, the metaphor does not have to work completely to be useful. For example, when I thought of a weeping willow, I thought of grace, flexibility, air, and movement. That was as far as I needed to go with that metaphor as it related to that client. There are other properties of the willow, however, that may not lend themselves to understanding this client’s movement.

Fifth, it helps to talk through your metaphor with another person. I have found that my understanding of my clients and my own approaches deepens with each metaphor conversation I have. I make time to do this and it has proven to be incredibly productive for me as a coach and also as a parent to two young kids.

If you haven’t deliberately used metaphors yet, I highly recommend beginning to practise creating and applying them as often as possible and notice what effect they have on your conversations. Most of all, have fun with it.

Simon

Life Design


For a long time I thought I was happy with my job, I was doing what I’d set to do in joining the Royal Marines. I worked with like-minded people, got paid to stay exceptionally fit, got fed four times a day and was provided with a roof over my head. The trade-off was that I was expected to do what I was told do whether I liked it or not and, some of the things I was asked to do I really didn’t like. However I was still happy living my dream.

Or so I thought.

Continue reading Life Design

NLP Practitioner Course


I am  planning ahead and I wanted to let you all know that we will be running a summer 10 Day Fast Track NLP Practitioner in Aberdeen.

The dates are:
Part 1: 20 – 24 July
Part 2: 27 – 31 July

Normal price is £2,395 + VAT

Early bird discount will be in three stages.
Stage 1: 30% from today until 31st May
Stage 2: 20% from 1st – 30th June
Stage 3: 10% from 1st – 12th July

The course requires a quite a bit of pre-study, so the earlier you book your place the more time you will have to prepare.

Pre-study consists of listening to audio tracks that accompany the manual which you will need to listen to at least twice with the manual in order to learn as much as possible. There is then a question paper to assess your learning, this must be passed before acceptance into the course, which is why we recommend booking well in advance.

A deposit of £500 secures your place and the balance must be paid 1 week prior to the course start date.

I appreciate that this can be a big outlay in one go, as such we offer the option to pay in instalments, if you choose this option, please call to discuss and arrange.

If you would like us to email you a course brochure, email me at:
simon@simonmaryan.com

Or call on: 01224 443003

Present Moment Awareness


During a far flung conflict, a man is captured by the enemy and thrown into a prison camp. That night he is unable to sleep because of his fears that the next day he will be interrogated, tortured, and executed. Then he remembers the words of his instructors as they flood back into his mind,

“Tomorrow is not real. It is just an illusion. The only reality is now.”

Tacking notice of these words as they ring through his mind, he sighs and feels a sense of peaceful relief in that moment and falls asleep.

Altering Perceptions


A wise old gentleman retired and bought a modest home near a school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in peace and contentment. Then the new school year began. The very next afternoon three young boys, full of youthful exuberance and after-school enthusiasm, came down his street, banging merrily on every dustbin they encountered. The crashing percussion continued day after day, until finally the wise old man decided it was time to take some action.
The next afternoon, he walked out to meet the young percussionists as they banged their way down the street. He stopped them and said, “You boyds are a lot of fun. I like to see you express your exuberance like that. In fact, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favour? I’ll give you each a dollar if you’ll promise to come around every day and do your thing.” The kids were elated and continued to do a bang-up job on the dustbins.
After a few days, the old gentleman greeted the boys again, but this time he had a sad smile on his face. “This recessions really putting a big dent in my income,” he told them. “From now on, I’ll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans.” The noisemakers were obviously displeased, but they accepted his offer and continued their afternoon ruckus. A few days later, the wily retiree approached them again as they drummed their way down the street.
“Look,” he said, “I haven’t received my Social Security check yet, so I’m not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?” “A quarter?” the drum leader exclaimed. “If you think were going to waste our time, beating these cans around for a quarter, you’re mad! No way, we quit!” And the old man enjoyed peace and serenity for the rest of his days.

Choice: Excuse or Success


My last post ended on the subject of choice, you have plenty in front of you and some of those in the past may have been considered as reasons for not doing things that help you achieve your goals. In truth, they’re not reasons, they are excuses. For one reason or another you chose a goal, or were given a goal that you did not believe in 100%, it wasn’t something that you were prepared to work hard to get or have, there wasn’t enough of a fire in your belly.

It’s actually really quite simple, your choice, you can either work to achieve your goals or you can stay as you are no keep making excuses as to why you can’t or won’t be able to achieve them. Whatever you decide is ultimately your choice and it’s you that has to live with that decision not me. What you must understand is that there is no third option and as Yoda said, “There is no try, only do.”

When you make the decision to work towards your goals, you will find that you discover a huge amount about yourself and for a large proportion of people that’s going to be quite a scary prospect, yet it can be one of the most significant times in your life as you discover more of who you truly are and what you’re capable of.

As part of this process you are going to experience a huge amount of change and despite every single person on this planet being familiar with change, there are still so many who are afraid of it and sometimes it’s inevitability. Change affects us on a daily basis whether we look for it or not and whether we like it or not and it can overwhelm our day if we approach it in the wrong way.

So, before you go ahead and make your choice, take some time to figure out the best way for you to accept change. To start with, accepting that everything changes, both good and bad, and when you look hard enough you can see the good and the useful/beneficial in every situation. Next, do everything you can to participate in the changes that happen in your personal and professional life and also in your community. Stop trying to react out of necessity and find ways to embrace the changes, that way you remove the fear of change. It boils down to you taking control of your life instead of letting others control it and dictate your outcomes. It is massively important that it is your actions and intent that influences your outcomes.

As I said at the start, the buck stops with you and you have a really simple choice to make, do or don’t.

You may think that this is putting a lot of pressure on you, and tough shit, that’s the reality of it, it’s just the way it is and you will either work toward what you want or you will make excuses to justify, in your own mind, why you won’t or can’t.

Any one excuse is as good as another so you can pick from a long list, some of which are quite creative, yet they are all still excuses. So now that you know that it’s all your choice is there really much of a choice?

Are you going to choose to work towards what you do want or make excuses to justify staying where you are? Your life of excuses will be pretty much as it is now, it will not be much different, change will continue to happen round you, you will carry on reacting to it out of necessity and your levels of satisfaction and disappointment will be roughly the same as they always have been. Sounds exciting doesn’t it?

Now, how different would it be if you chose to take control of your life by making positive choices about what you do or do not want to do, have to be as opposed to having your life dictated to you?

What would it take for you to make that decision?
What would you have to do?
What would you have to sacrifice?

Well the first thing you would sacrifice is making excuses, that’s not really much of a sacrifice when you think about it, is it?

This is a very logical concept when you think about it. You will either go find what you want or you’ll make crappy excuses and all they do is keep you where you are right now. And, agreeing to do nothing achieves exactly yah same thing, it holds you back from moving on and achieving.

Now we all have a threshold of sorts where we reach a certain number of excuses and then that seals the deal for someone to give up. They can give a long list of excuses yet the bottom line is their intention, desire and ultimately commitment to achieve that goal was not strong enough.

There is a very long list of people throughout history who have made a choice to achieve something that they felt compelled to achieve, something felt very personally, and they made some incredible sacrifices in order to make it happen. Yet day after day, I speak to people who have trouble making a commitment to themselves let alone to anyone or anything else.

Why is this, why do the majority of us make up such crap, weak and pathetic excuses to stay in bed a little longer and not get up and exercise. To eat that junk food because you can always start that diet tomorrow or next week. To take those drugs again because what difference does once more make and I can give up whenever I want to, I’m not addicted?

We delude ourselves, lie to ourselves, limit ourselves, criticise ourselves and demean ourselves time after time. Why do this to ourselves when other people do it to us as well at times? Trust me I know, I’ve done all those things to myself over the years and occasionally I still catch myself doing it and then I have a quiet chat with myself, reframe what’s going on in my head and get myself back on track. I also have a small, select group of friends that help keep me motivated and on the right track.

This is a massively important piece of the puzzle and if you have people you currently consider friends, who are anything but supportive, I’m going to let you into a little secret, they’re not your friends, they are called wankers. True friends will support you even if they think you’re mental for doing what you’re doing, so if you haven’t already, get rid and find people who will support you regardless of what they think about your goals.

Have you ever written down the kinds of excuses you’ve used yourself and the ones you’ve heard from other people. When you put them on paper and read them, they do look and sound a load of crap and much harder to justify, because externalising them takes you outside of the excuses and allows you to see them objectively making it much harder to back them up. Try it, I have a feeling you’ll be quite surprised.

Some of the excuses I’ve heard are:

I haven’t go enough money

I haven’t go enough time

I don’t know how to

There’s too much work involved

I’m not fit enough

I’m not healthy enough

I’m too old

I had a bad childhood

I have one word for all of these and the myriad of other excuses out there. Bullshit!!!

They are not reasons, they are all excuses and there are so many amazing examples of people who have smashed these excuses to pieces and this makes those of you who keep using them look more and more ridiculous. The only person you’re fooling is yourself. Stop bullshitting yourself and be honest with yourself, you either want to do something or you don’t. If you don’t that’s absolutely fine, you don’t have to do it, however, if you do want to do, have or be something and you keep making excuses then you have no one else to blame for your continued failure but yourself. Stop blaming other people, circumstances, the weather and get off your arse, make a few hard choices and commit to something…commit to yourself that you will move your life forwards, make positive changes one small step at time and keep moving forwards.

I have been in that place, making excuses, complaining about not achieving what I wanted, all be it I was a teenager. Then I joined the Royal Marines and I learned even more self discipline and I made a commitment to myself that I would complete training, which I did and I had a great time in my career. That set me up for everything else I have achieved in my life to date.

Now you don’t need to be a Royal Marine to achieve your goals in life, what you do need is a similar mindset. A stubborn, pigheaded desire to win at all costs, to make a plan that is flexible and adaptable, broken down into small manageable chunks, to remove the word excuse from your vocabulary, be solution focused. Once you know there’s a problem there is no need to focus on it, what you need to do is to focus on finding a way to resolve it, that’s a much more productive use of your time and energy.

The essence of this post is about taking responsibility and accountability for your own life, taking the lessons you can learn from your past and using them to create the future of your choice. From this moment on you can take charge of your present and your future and live your life full of positive intent, free from excuses and full of smart choices.

“Life isn’t measured by the quality of your excuses.”

“A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting.” Carlos Castaneda

What You Believe Leads to What You Achieve


In my last post, which was on Boxing Day, I talked about reviewing the last year and how much of what you set yourself to achieve came to fruition and to look at why you did or didn’t achieve that and your beliefs around it.

This is a continuation of that theme because throughout January I have had some interesting conversations with clients about this very subject as I helped them to review and plan for this year. It seems that there are certain things that my clients have been lead to believe that are not achievable for them or forbidden, they are not worthy of it. This is obviously complete bullshit and they have been conditioned to believe this by people they know, trust, respect, love even and most probably with the best of intentions. However some may have done this out of jealousy because they don’t want to see them succeed.

In my experience there are two kinds of people, those who do as they are told when something is forbidden and stay away from it, and those who rebel and flip a middle finger at those who say they can’t do it, have it, be it etc. I’m one of the latter and I find it hard to understand why some people chose the first option and limit their lives. Each to their own.

The thing is when things are forbidden, it generally fires off our natural curiosity as to why it’s forbidden, why we can’t have it and it’s been used by religion, politics, education etc for thousands of years to gain control and hold over over us. All this does is undermine the personal and sometimes global significance and validity of your goals and dreams, and no one has the right to do that.

So, what if this thinking is completely wrong and undermining the significance of our happiness, our purpose has the opposite effect. How can denial of our purpose, which has been driven by men and women over the years who were and are, bitter, frustrated individuals who want to control who and how you are through the illusion that you have no control over that be possible?

Since when has self denial made anyone truly happy, what does it really give you on a permanent basis. I agree that there are times when this is actually highly beneficial, however not for the entirety of your life. On a personal front, denial for too long makes me miserable and crave things all the more and this is where balance must be applied, because, short term denial can be a great motivator when applied in the right way for any individual.

The purpose of this post is to help you find ways to make you happier and make changes that you want to make and, it may say things that some people might not like or agree with and that’s ok. This can create interesting discussion and debate which I thoroughly enjoy.

I hope that this post and the ones that follow it will generate in you excitement and perhaps a little guilt. What do I mean by that? Well as I offer you the opportunity to create change for yourself you will also become fully aware of the other option, which is to stay where you are with your life and not change, improve, refine yourself and become better at being you. If you are happy being where, how and who you are for the rest of your days then I am very happy for you. If not then you have a choice or choices to make.

In simple terms, this series of posts are designed to manipulate you, not in some dark occult way, in a way that enables you to see the choices in front of you that you may not have been aware of yet. Now, you may have been a bit concerned over my use of the word manipulate, however, manipulation is at the very heart of all of our relationships.

We are designed to manipulate, we learn to do it as kids in order to get what we want and some people are better at it than others without even trying, they just have a flair for it. You’ve all met people like this before. They persuade and influence with consumate ease and seem to get whatever they want/need in life. In my humble opinion manipulation is neither good nor bad, it is the intention behind that makes it one or the other.
In order to understand and be able to manipulate others, you have to first learn how to manipulate yourself. How good you are at this depends on several factors:

Your personal happiness
Your satisfaction with your own life
Your current perception of your ability to get what you want

This series of posts may for some people be inappropriate, incorrect or whatever other way that can be perceived as negative and that’s fine, they are free to choose whatever perception they want of this. Those of you who read this and find your curiosity and interest perks up, you will find that you are going to enjoy them and get a huge amount from them.

There are no spiritual ideals, abundance, manifestation ideals, wealth awareness or any other such personal development principles or ideals, this is purely about helping you understand how to change the way you think and believe in order to achieve/get what you want out of your life.

I am not decrying any particular spiritual or any other concept here, I have my own and I encourage you to identify and develop your own too.

We all have needs, right from the most basic, essential life needs as brilliantly illustrated by Abraham Maslow and the updated version of his Hierarchy of Needs incorporates transcendence, which is the point where you are now able to help others to the point of self actualisation. When all our basic material needs are met and the nice to haves as well, it makes any path you choose in life much easier. A crucial step is to raise what you want above greed and spiritual enlightenment and make it the absolute essential piece of your journey.

By doing this you will develop a much clearer understanding of yourself as you identify your deepest wants and needs and the obstacles that my be in your way, this includes your own limiting beliefs, fears and excuses as to why you can’t or won’t achieve it. Being completely honest with you, this is going to happen from time to time along the way, and recognising, accepting and preparing for that makes it a much smaller hurdle to step over.

I want you to remember that there will always be people who do not want you to succeed and some of these people depend on your continued ignorance, desperation, poverty and dependence in order to control you. They do not want you to become independent and free thinking. You may think that at this moment in time you are free thinking and independent. Are you really, when you look closely at who and how you are?

Being independent and free thinking makes it much easier to get what you want in your life and this of course potentially puts so called gurus and consultants out of business because they are not needed, however, there are always going to be some people who are unwilling to take responsibility for their lives. They want to be told what they need to do by someone else in order to feel accountable for their actions and that’s ok too, it’s a personal choice.

The main advantage of this is that these consultants etc have an objective view of your life and who and how you currently are. When you learn to do this for yourself it makes life much easier and cheaper and you can learn to do this for yourself.

What you need in order to do this is take a global view of your life, as if you’re looking down on your life from a high point. This allows you to see it from a detached perspective where you can see each facet, your goals, objectives, obstacles etc and join the dots, rearrange, add or takeaway whatever needs to be adjusted. This has a huge impact on your ability to play the long game and be so much more strategic in your goal planning, as opposed to being reactive, it makes you phenomenally proactive and responsible and accountable for everything that you do in your quest to get what you want in your life. Choices and decisions become easier because you can see the big picture, from where you are now to where you want to be and it all makes sense.

The great thing for me is I don’t know you, so there is no emotional connection, and what I write here can be open and honest from my experience and for some of you what I say may seem harsh and get your back up. That’s a good thing because it means I’ve touched a nerve for you to respond that way and you need to take a deeper look at why you responded that way. Maybe I’ve hit on a truth that you have been shying away from, not admitting to yourself, embarrassed by. Whatever it is, identify it, accept it and and commit to changing what needs to be changed so that you can get what you want in your life and stop being the one responsible for holding you back.

It’s so important that you understand yourself on this level, that you “get it”, rather than it be externally driven because then, it’s you that drives the change and this internal motivation for change is far more powerful than you can imagine.

Mind you, you have a choice at every step, you can stop reading this and future posts on this theme and carry on regardless the way you have been, perhaps banging your head against a wall never quite getting where and what you want in your life. It’s entirely up to you.

This brings me nicely to my next point and something I really can’t stand. Victim culture and victim mentality. Are you one of those people that blames everyone and everything else for your situation, never taking responsibility for what happens to you. If you are, being blunt, you need to sort your shit out!! Grow a set and a back bone and start taking control of your life, be at cause not effect in what happens to you. What I mean is be proactive, take responsibility, accept that shit happens and do everything you can to keep yourself on track. Victim culture is rife in modern society and it really pisses me off. I see it in corporate culture on a regular basis, people, are afraid to make decisions in case they do something wrong, managers and leaders aren’t managing or leading because they are perpetuating this cycle by micro managing, they are not developing their teams and allowing them room to grow.

Stop being a Yes man, disagree, argue your point when you feel it’s needed, challenge the status quo otherwise you will not change and neither will society.

Victim mentality is based on the belief that emotions are reactions to circumstances and not choices. Choices give us power and control over our own lives, whereas being reactive leaves us a puppets on a string.

Despite what I have said here, shit does happen and bad things do happen to good people through no fault of their own, and we do need to show compassion for others when this happens. I am always delighted to see on the news or Youtube videos etc that are posted of people being selfless and helping others without being asked, just purely out of their own desire to show compassion for someone else in need. It’s a shame that it usually takes a significant event for this side of humanity to be openly displayed. My aim is to enable people to make better choices in difficult circumstances so that they can respond better when bad things do happen as opposed to reverting to the victim role.

As Human beings we all have a default setting/reaction when shit happens, this is not set in stone for life though, we can learn to change it to a proactive useful response. Transactional Analysis describes two ineffective roles that we will look at now. These are the persecutor and the saviour and both these roles limit our ability to freedom and flexibility of thought.

The persecutor responds with anger and contempt in the same way a victim responds by feeling victimised. TV dramas and movies are great for depicting this, you can see the characters flitting between victim and persecutor. Until you can step out of these roles you remain a puppet. The roles you take on manipulate you until you choose to respond in another more positive way, and until you do, you make it considerably more difficult for you to achieve what you want in your life.

The saviour is a role we take on when either the victim and/or the persecutor is in play by others and this role doesn’t bring much enjoyment or satisfaction because you feel you have to be the knight in shinning armour who has to save the day. Yet again this is reactive and not a choice and all roles like this are reactions not choices and seriously limit you and your life. In order to achieve what you want in your life, you need to create more choice for yourself.

Part of this is learning about your choice in your behaviour to other people and in how you assess others. Do you judge people on what they say or what they do, their behaviour, because there is a huge difference. We can all have bad days and say things we don’t mean when we feel stressed or under pressure and it is so easy to judge someone as being an arse because of that and decide to not like them. However, we are not what we say or what we do, they are just external expressions of our state of mind and not who we truly are and as such, we need to learn to reserve judgement at an identity level based on words and actions. Of course we can be pissed off with someone’s language and behaviour, this does not mean that that person is always like that and we may find on another day we actually get on really we’ll with them. So yet again it is a choice to reserve judgement and cut people some slack as we do not necessarily know what’s going on in their lives.

The foundation of this post is that there is no objective reality, it is purely subjective and all down to perception. Reality is a perceptual illusion and as such it can be what you want it to be. This can be quite disconcerting if this idea is new to you and may lead you to question everything. This is a good thing, trust me.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE!!

Getting what you want in your life is down to your perception of what is achievable and desirable. This is the same for getting what you want for yourself as well as what you want from other people and this is based on the tried and tested principle that when you control what someone else perceives you control them. It’s a scary thought I know and it happens day in day out.

Knowing this you can now turn your attention to yourself and your goals and desires and manipulate your own perception, therefore manipulating yourself just as you would someone else. This can be quite an eye opening experience, accepting that your perceptions and reality are not real, they are purely your choices at that moment in time, and you can make different choices to create the reality you truly want. Despite this knowledge being widely available, some people prefer to wallow in the self made prison of their own inadequate, ineffective subjective reality instead of questioning their current perceptions and changing their reality through different choices.

Guilt and shame, both self induced and imposed by others is what keeps many people in that self made prison and this is often from religion, gangs, political groups etc and used purely to control you. Understanding that you have other choices strips others of their power and control over you.

I truly hope that this and the rest of my posts in this series open up your mind to the endless choices available to you and help you realise that if you’ve felt stuck up till now, it has been your choice and that there is no discernible honour in self imposed poverty, whether that is financially, spiritually, emotionally or on any other level, unless those sacrifices are necessary for you to keep moving in the direction of your life’s purpose.

” Live for today because tomorrow is a gift, not a guarantee.” Simon Maryan

Making the Most of Your Heroic failures


quote_dream41 I am going to succeed 2013-10-08 06.58.45

Who you are matters.

What you’re trying to make out of  your life matters. The skills you are developing as a person and in your career matter. You won’t always be “winning” in your life, that is an unrealistic expectation for anyone to have.

What REALLY matters is that you don’t allow your setbacks or failures to become an excuse for you to give up on yourself. Whenever you feel yourself giving up on yourself or becoming discouraged on your journey to achieving what matters most to you – take heart in these stories:

  • Sigmund Freud was booed off stage the first time he presented his theories to a group of his scientific peers in Europe. He went on to win the Goethe Award for his work in psychology
  • Winston Churchill failed sixth year and lost every election he ran for until he was elected Prime Minister of Great Britain at the age of 62
  • Albert Einstein didn’t speak until he was four, couldn’t read basic words until he was seven and was expelled from school. He eventually revolutionised physics with his Theory of Relativity
  • Henry Ford failed at farming, at being an apprentice and as a machinist and went bankrupt five times. Yet he modernised mass production
  • Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was “too clumsy”. He won eight Davis Cup championships and is considered one of the greatest doubles tennis players of all time
  • Charles Schultz had every cartoon rejected that he submitted to his high school year book. He was rejected by Walt Disney. He went on to create the most popular cartoon series ever: Peanuts
  • Van Gogh only sold a single painting his entire life — to a friend’s sister for about $50. He painted 800 masterpieces, seven of which are together worth almost $1 billion
  • Leo Tolstoy flunked out of law school and was labelled “unable to learn” by his professors. He went on to become one of the world’s greatest novelists with War and Peace
  • John Creasey failed as a salesman, a desk clerk, a factory worker and an aspiring writer, getting 754 rejection notices from publishers. He wrote more than 600 novels and is considered one of the greatest mystery writers ever

 

What about you?

How will your story read like?

More importantly, how do you want your story to read?

Hopefully there will be a few failures for you along the way so you get to fully appreciate the success you’re going to become in your life.

That is my honest hope for you.

Because we all fail. The best of us fail most often! That’s because the best are always striving for success and as a result create more opportunities for failing. It’s those “failures” that are the stepping stones to your success.

And our “failures” make what we ultimately achieve MATTER all the more!

Here’s to Heroic Failures and the opportunities they bring.

Have an awesome week.

 

Simon 🙂

A Fresh Approach To Corporate Behavioural Change


Behavioural Change Cycle

Behavioural Change Process_Prochaska and DiClemente

I own a training company based in Aberdeen called HC Training and we started a training project with Aker Solutions in Aberdeen at the end of May this year which involved us delivering a 2 day Behavioural Change course for onshore personnel and a 1 day version for the offshore teams. It was an adapted version of my 3 day course called ‘Understand Yourself, Influence Others.©’

After 3 months my client has given us feedback that they have begun to notice observable positive changes and differences in behaviour within their onshore personnel. I am obviously extremely pleased for a number of reasons, mainly for them because it goes to show how much effort and commitment they have put into this training project and that without having to try and reinforce it, it is working.

One of the aspects that makes the difference is that we apply what we are teaching in how we teach and present it, that way the participants see, hear and feel it in action, and as they begin to think a little differently throughout the course, this is the first evidence for them that the material really works.

One of the common misconceptions that I have noticed over the last few years, is that organisations expect immediate changes in peoples behaviour after sending them on courses. They expect people to adopt what they have learnt and be able to implement these new learnings straight away. Human beings rarely work like that in terms of changing their behaviour, it takes time, and the need for change must come from within that person, they must come to the realisation themselves that it is a good thing for them to change. Without this internal recognition, it will either not happen or take a very long time.

A key aspect that we put across in the course is that during the behavioural change cycle, people will very probably relapse back into their old habits/behaviours and possibly several times before the new habit/behaviour becomes engrained and unconsciously rooted. In my therapy practice I actually prescribe several relapses and thereby reframing it into a positive, so that the person actually looks forward to the relapses as they then become milestones on their path to change. I have even had some clients feel slightly annoyed when they did not get all their relapses because they changed quicker then they had expected. Ironic really that this can happen and also goes to show the power of reframing.

Our course allows people the opportunity to not only become aware of habits and behaviours that need to change, it goes that step further by teaching them tried and tested methods that enable them to implement changes, either for themselves or for people who work with them, for them or for their family and friends.

If this is something you feel would be beneficial in your business, please drop me an email or call me directly to discuss how it can be of value to your organisation.

T: 01224 443003
E: simon@hctraining.co.uk