Rock the Edge

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Rock the Edge

Wavering back and forth over a decision?  Yes. No.  Yes.  No.  Maybe.  You feel completely lost.

You are not alone. In fact, if you are a thinking, intelligent and capable person you are more likely to have this “wavering disorder”. 

 

People like us see all angles and want to know all angles. The problem is choosing one. That’s risky and many of us have a certain intolerance for this particular kind of risk or uncertainty.

Unfortunately we cannot create certainty.  I know we try by gathering information and then more and more information. We try to cover every possible angle. We wait for the sign. The perfect moment.

And often we remain frozen, waiting until the last moment, the pressure point that forces us down one road or another. Our dreams remain the other side of the Edge.  We can’t cross into that bigger future so we get pushed and it may not be the direction most truly aligned with our deepest values, desires or intentions.  I know that has happened to me. Putting a decision off until I got knocked into something.

It hit me at one of life’s branching points. I found myself standing in the same place I’d stood before, beginning to walk down the same path. It was a crazy making Groundhog Day moment. It made me mad enough to fight back.  And I came up with some strategies I’d like to share with you in hopes they will be of some help.

Ask  “So what?” Instead of  “what if?”

‘What if’ is an anxiety producing position.  It generates more ‘what ifs’ and rarely any solutions.  It creates not infinite possibilities, but infinite problems.  Problems and situations that right now exist only in our imaginations and may never happen. Yet so many of us bleed energy into trying to live risk free by planning for all alternative futures, by covering all bases.  We believe’ what- ifing’ is a way to problem solve, create certainty, prepare, to motivate, to lower risk.  

“So what?” has a swagger rather than a cower.  “So what?”  honours our capacity to cope and meet challenges. So what is the language of possibility. Think of any amazing individual. Did they achieve by taking a ‘what If’ position or a ‘so what ‘ position? When you hear yourself asking ‘what if?’, change to ‘so what?’.  So what would be so awful should my most feared outcome happen?   The worst has not yet happened.  Act as if you can tolerate not knowing. As if you can handle whatever comes.  Do not be bullied by ‘what if’.  Do not let fear crush your dreams

Be Rather Than Do 

Yes you may be heartily sick of the mindfulness craze. Nevertheless recall the most memorable amazing moments of your life? My bet is that those times were all about being. Your mind was not in the to-do list.  You were not in the past or the future but in the now. You were fully there, experiencing with the totality of your engagement.  Those are my standout moments.

That’s what all our doing, our busyness, is often about - frantically trying to create standout wow moments.  Yet those moments are actually everywhere there, abundant and available.  In being mode we connect with our deepest values and strengths and that keeps our intentions ringing true.  We experience those moments. Frantic doing actually prevents being.  Oh and by the way ‘what if?’ keeps you in doing mode.

Live With Intention Not A Plan 

Intention is full of possibility. There are multiple ways to satisfy intention.  When I ask myself what I want, I might answer I want wealth. When I ask myself, “what would wealth give me that I don’t already have?”, I might say, time freedom, a reduction of feeling vulnerable, freedom to travel.

Then I ask what would each of those mean for me? Time freedom means time to learn to dance, sing, play an instrument, spend time with friends, pay more attention to my health, practice yoga, run, time for my relationships.  Fun.  Play. All this means more quality of life, less vulnerability to health crises.  More connection. Travel.

Ok so now I have a lot of intentions and most of them I can do without ‘wealth’.  I begin to prioritize, to put more into my day, create more balance.  Just a bit. It wasn’t so long ago that I was raising my daughter alone, working two jobs, completing my PhD. At first I set a goal and made a plan. I soon realized I was unhappy even as my goal was realizing.  My goal was to get my PhD. I caught myself and re-focused on intention. What was my plan intended to give me. My intention was to have meaningful work with family time,  autonomy, decent remuneration and security (the security bit had a lot of ‘what if’s?’ in it by the way so I applied strategy 1).  Those intentions could have been met in many ways but all would have been congruent with my core values and longings.  Only then could I create a truly strategic plan. A plan does not precede intention but is derived from it.  So focus on vision and intention first.

Accept Your Current Reality

 I know - yuk.  And yes, face it in the white light of the 360 degree mirror room. Be in the moment. Take it with a swagger. Remind yourself this is only for now. Don’t add the suffering caused by resentment, self-judgement, or regret to the actual pain of the situation. Life has pain, but the suffering is optional and is added by our position on the pain and our attempts to avoid it. Acknowledge where you are. Yes I’ve lost my job or my relationship. Yes my lifestyle is unhealthy. Yes I will never be a ballerina or a rock star or marry Prince Harry.  I’m not the earner I want to be. Yes I am renting an apartment. Yes I want children and it’s not happening. Yes I cannot afford to take that trip. Yes I’m afraid something is wrong with me.  Yes I am lonely. Yes I made a huge mistake.  Yes I hate my job. Yes, yes, yes to the reality of this moment. Don’t hide in denial or avoidance.

It is the only place to begin.  When you know where you are going and where you are right now, it is much easier to find the path.

There is often deeper work involved in learning to manage risk intolerance. These steps are just the bare bones.  If these ideas in any way resonates with you and you are ready to rock the edge, give me a call. I’d love to talk further.

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Anxiety:  The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Anxiety: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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There is an old Clint Eastwood western titled, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’.  The three main characters represent the good, the bad, and the ugly but they are not actually so simply defined; each has nuances and flaws.  So too with anxiety. It is also nuanced.

I’m an anxiety expert. I get it inside and out. As a psychologist I see how even moderate levels of unmanaged anxiety can limit people from taking strategic risk and moving forward.  Like so many successful people, I have also had to learn to manage anxiety in myself.

Are you under a bit of pressure right now, going through a challenging time? Vibrating with energy? Or are you so stressed you snap at others, move into over control, perhaps heading towards an unhealthy state of mind or body?  Are you shutting down?  Then perhaps anxiety is walking the Edge with you. And that edge can be good, bad or ugly.

The Good:  Anxiety is working for you.

Anxiety is just strong enough to sharpen your senses, your motivation, even your brain. You are in the zone, skimming the edge with everything just a little heightened. Vibrating with the exact tone needed for whatever you do. Anxiety in the good is not really about being afraid, it’s about being ready and alert like an athlete with all senses tuned to the moment, your entire physical and mental system ready to excel. You move in flow. Here anxiety gives you an edge. And you can easily turn it up, down or even off. It’s working for you and with you.  But this type of energy can also lead you to half thought out decisions and strategies.

If this is your edge I would be delighted to have a conversation around how to prime, harness and direct this energy in the most effective and meaningful way.

The Bad:  Anxiety is getting in the way.

Anxiety constantly nibbles away at your motivation and confidence. It whispers “what if?”, “be careful”, “stay with what you know for sure” (even if it’s not actually working so well for you).  This level of anxiety can be very seductive because there is frequently an element of possibility in the “what if worry” as well as “what if I can’t cope?” worry.  But only a possibility and you would survive. Frankly sometimes hopes and goals manifest completely differently than first imagined.  I’ve written before on how many people struggle with uncertainty.  So when you “what if?” yourself into paralysis, you narrow your future or get pushed into a future not aligned with your values and goals.

If you are at the edge and find yourself stuck I would love to have a conversation about how you can move forward with greater clarity and confidence.

The Ugly:  Anxiety is bullying you.

Anxiety intrudes everywhere in your life.  It takes over your thoughts and your behaviour.  It is a bully, demanding more and more time and space until your life closes in upon itself.

Since anxiety is part of the fight-flight-freeze continuum, it can show up as explosive anger, as numbing, withdrawal, or as addictive or obsessive thinking and acting.  Anxiety can take many forms but the common feature is that it significantly impedes all parts of your life.

If anxiety slides into this zone don’t be ruled by the bully. Check out some of these resources and contact a trusted professional:

Anxiety BC

Local Psychological Association

CBT Centre (Vancouver)

Changeways Clinic (Vancouver)

DBT Centre (Vancouver)

Crisis Line

Family Doctor

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We all hit edges. Life happens, the unexpected knocks us down, and we come up against ourselves or wonder if we really even knew ourselves.   My passion is helping you put your unique puzzle together, decide where on the continuum you are, how I can work with you, and if necessary direct you to where you might most usefully begin at this time.  While your dreams and your intentions can almost always be realized, the precise way they are realized may look different than you first imagined. My clients tell me that figuring this out is energizing and relieving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Therapy or Coaching:  What Do I Need/

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Therapy or Coaching: What Do I Need/

 

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Therapy or Coaching?

You will find a variety of perspectives on this question. And so to begin, I want to acknowledge that this is an opinion piece based on my perspective and experience.

Rather than two discrete categories marked “therapy” and “coaching”, I find it more useful to use a continuum with therapy at one end and coaching at the other. Between are 99 degrees of overlap and positioning.

The closer to the therapy end, the more acute the mental health crisis, the more challenging one's day to day functioning. If you are in a relationship where you are being physically or emotionally hurt or if you are dealing with a significant current or past trauma, engaging in criminal behaviours, substance misuse, self-harm or are feeling suicidal, then I believe that before anything else you need to face and address these things.

At this end of the spectrum whatever is going on for you is significantly affecting all areas of your life. You are best to begin with a professional clinical evaluation and treatment plan that may include both therapy and medication. Talk to your doctor or other trusted professional.

The closer to the coaching end of the continuum the more easily or simply the end goal can be defined. While life may be complex and challenging, a clear vision can be constructed around one thing or only a few things. You know what your goal is or you have a pretty good idea about how to articulate it. Coaching helps fine tune vision and develops and supports a strategic realistic plan.

Ends aside, I believe most of us walk the middle of the continuum. In general people have complex multilayered challenges and concerns. And not all coaches or therapists have equal skill in all areas, so before you sign up ask yourself where you currently fit on this continuum and where you want to focus?

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In what areas am I struggling – where are the edges in my life right now?“What do I need to move forward at this moment?”

Vision: I’m discontent or needing to move forward but I don’t really have a clear sense of what my bigger future looks.

Skills: I know what I want but I am not clear how to get there. Is my skill set adequate? How can I develop the skills? Do I want an accountability structure?

Old Stuff: Past experiences, including old thinking patterns and core beliefs seem to get in the way. I always end up in the same place.

Current Stuff: The unexpected inside or outside of ourselves and our control, existential crises (divorce, illness, job loss, loss period).

Environment: Responsibilities, limitations, opportunities, relationships, finances, time.

Physical Capacity: Age, health, wellness, energy

Reality: Is my vision or goal at all realistic. I want to be a rock star but I can’t sing and I hate crowds? I want to have a child but I’m 49 year old woman. (Ok it’s possible but realistic?). What can be changed? What needs to be accepted?

Emotions: Fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, grief, anger, resentment ....Bring these insights to your initial conversation.

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We all hit edges. Life happens, the unexpected knocks us down, and we come up against ourselves or wonder if we really even knew ourselves. My passion is helping you put your unique puzzle together, decide where on the continuum you are, how I can work with you, and if necessary direct you to where you might most usefully begin at this time. While your dreams and your intentions can almost always be realized, the precise way they are realized may look different than you first imagined. My clients tell me that figuring this out is energizing and relieving.

gail@GailHJones.com www. GailHJones 604-351-4359

 

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The Universe Sending a Message or Just Me Making Meaning of a Situation? Why It Does Not Really Matter.


We hear a lot about the universe giving us stronger and stronger messages when we do not pay attention to more gentle nudges. One day we are facing a huge problem - financial, health, relational, or professional.  And as human beings always do, we seek to understand the ‘why’, to create a narrative - a story about what happened in order to make sense of it and carry on in an unpredictable world.


Some years ago I set my intention to have a business that was meaningful in terms of connecting and working with individuals facing a life Edge whether by circumstance or choice. I wanted to walk the Edge with them because I did not believe it’s necessary or even useful to walk it alone.  It’s just too lonely and takes too much precious time.  If you read my story at gailhjones.com it will help you understand my motivation and what still drives me in this work.

I also wanted flexibility and time freedom to engage in and enjoy people, activities and self-care but a full on professional life as a clinical psychologist and entrepreneur left little time or energy for anything like that.


I thought I was doing okay in this unbalanced life, believing the future would reward me.  More importantly I thought I had all the time in the world and could avoid the risk of making 'premature' choices. Then I had a health scare.  I realized that my health was something I had always taken for granted.  I couldn’t continue to do it all at superwoman intensity. Or if I did, it was going to take an unacceptable toll.  I had to make some choices and take some risks.


My point here is that I resisted and whined and then concluded that because of this Edge I needed to become more focused - or refocused on my original intention.  I had gone off track. I wanted my decisions to be risk free.  The outcomes certain. I agreed to roles and responsibilities that were not truly aligned with my intention but taken on from fear, obligation, apathy, guilt and so on.


Now was my health scare a nudge from the universe? Or was I simply creating a meaningful story around an unexpected challenge? And did it really matter which it was? The outcome was a needed re-evaluation of how I was living my life and how I wanted my future to look.   I needed to embrace uncertainty and tolerate my fears around taking risks and choosing.

 

 So refocus and recommit to your intentions. It’s ok to make meaning around setbacks or challenges. Whether it is the universe outside or inside, something is nudging you. Pay attention.

My passion is helping people find their way beyond hard Edges and begin to play in a bigger future.  If you are committed finding your way beyond the Edge I would love to talk.

Gail@GailHJones.com

604-351-4359

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Busy Life Mindfully

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Busy Life Mindfully

Admin Slayer recently launched a free Ebook called The Entrepreneur's Survival Guide

We created The Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide specifically for you. We put a call out to our strategic partners, professionals we trust, and business leaders we admire. We asked them to share their best advice about your next steps: how to maintain your momentum, and build on it.

To read my contribution to The Entrepreneur's Survival Guide. , download your free copy here and go to page 2 of the table of contents. Click page 79 for Busy Life Mindfully.

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Forget Resolutions and Improve your 2018 Bottom Line

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Forget Resolutions and Improve your 2018 Bottom Line

 

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I no longer make New Year resolutions and I tell my clients to forget them as well.  Why?

Because Resolutions Have a High Failure Rate.

● Too foggy - such as “I want a better relationships”,” I want to meet someone”, “I want to make more money”,” I want to lose weight or get in shape”.

● Or avoidance focused – such as “I want to stop smoking”, “I want to avoid…. X Y or Z”.

 

There was a time I made resolutions. At best the outcomes were weak tea versions of my hopes. I made a resolution to get in shape.  I think I made it to the gym a few times a month.  I made a resolution to stop wasting time and ‘get on with my life’.   I don’t know if I actually stopped wasting time because I really had no clarity around what that meant.  I do know my life didn’t go anywhere different.

Then a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of envisioning.  She insisted I read a couple of books along the lines of attracting what we want in life.  I did it to stop her nagging at me.  Yes that was my only reason.  But surprisingly something in the ideas resonated and kept turning over in my mind.

So I ignored the parts that I found too unlike me and kept the parts that felt right. I began to set intentions - a bit sheepishly and on the QT to be honest.  The results? I cannot tell you in this brief article how amazing things became as I moved from resolutions to intentions. And I have not looked back.

Admittedly, setting intentions can be a little more time consuming but intentions have energy and stamina. They create a sense of possibility in our lives. They keep us accountable and are a constant guide and benchmark for both conscious and unconscious choices.

 

SO HOW DO I CREATE INTENTION?

Keep Reading

Two Amazing Ways I Create Intention

Vision Mirror

And

Power Word

 

One of my first power words was ‘Leap’.  And leap I did - past the Edge – into change, into life, into a whole new world.

Another subsequent important word for me was Fearless.  I did things during that time that set off a flurry of butterflies in my belly. And the sky did not fall on my head.  In fact I began to thrive.

Last year the word that came to me was ‘MOVE!.  And move I did – travel, relationship moving forward, moving to a home I love, work and private practice transformed.  It was a marvelous time as this word ‘moved’ through my life in ways I had not at all expected.

The second thing I did was create a multidimensional image of what my vision looked like.  I got really specific and at the same time just let my imagination run a little wild. 

 

I want my clients to experience success.

So I tell them forget resolutions.

And then I talk to them about setting intentions.

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Two Amazing Ways to Create Intention

Vision Mirror

And

Power Word

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If you are seriously committed to change or just want to navigate an edge in your life with greater chance of success call me to talk about my intention setting program. Or check it out on my website under services.

GailHJones.com               604-351-4359

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The Edge

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The Edge

Life is full of edges, some soft but some very hard and painful. Whether you welcome aspects of a change or not, being in the EDGE zone presents challenges to your sense of self, the world and others. 

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