Month: April 2016
Be the Main Character of Your Life
This can be a difficult mindset to develop, but it is definitely easier to live as the person who “leans into their life”, solves their own problems, makes stuff happen and navigates their life from the helm. There is so much truth to the advice “it gets hard before it gets easier”. This involves learning to bounce back from failures, developing flexibility in your thinking, finding solutions to your problems and building your assertiveness skills.
Wait, what? Aren’t assertive people BORN assertive?!?! you ask..
Well, no actually! Assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive; and; in the field of psychology and psychotherapy, it considered a highly learnable skill and mode of communication. So ha! yes, yet again I am pushing you to build the skills that you need to be the most successful version of yourself. Yup, what a meanie I am 😉
Want to be more assertive so that you can have better control over your life?
Check this out
Showing Up in Your Own Life
Here are some guiding questions to get you thinking about what it really means to fully show up in your life.
Where are you showing up in your life?
Start with understanding where you feel the most at ease being your full self and then ask “why don’t I feel this in all aspects of my life?”
How do you show up in your life?
Do you tend to be cautious and hesitant in your life, perhaps waiting for others to do things for you? Showing up in your life with 100% effort is the only way to go. Whatever you do, wherever you go, be fully present and ready to show up BIG. Solve your problems, learn new ways of coping or thriving and design your life.
What keeps you from showing up?
Maybe you feel insecure or uncertain about how others perceive you. It’s almost always our own negative self-perceptions that block us from being our true selves, and showing up in the world. Acknowledge these fears and work with them. Experiment with new ways of doing things.
What does it mean for you to show up?
The idea of truly showing up in your life can be scary and invoke a sense of panic. Fears around not being accepted or acknowledged run deep in our bones. Showing up in your life now means trusting that you are enough, and that you offer value on many levels. Yes, you are interesting!
Where can’t you show up?
We all have limitations so be realistic about the places that are impossible for you to show up. Sometimes avoidance, being quiet or simply observing can be all that you need to be present and assertive in that moment.
Still Feel That You Just Can’t Move Your Life Forward?
Please check out this amazing and inspirational TedTalk, “Living Beyond Limits” presented by Amy Purdy. I challenge you to use 9 minutes of your time to change your mindset. You will be inspired.
How will you answer Amy’s question?
If life were a book, and you were the author, how would you want your story to go?
Assertiveness and Self-Confidence…
…are really great friends…
Here are some statements to help you get into the right frame of mind for writing your own story; making your life happen as you create it.
Assertiveness Bill of Rights
The “Assertiveness Bill of Rights” can really help you to develop a thinking framework that can shift you to a more self-respectful approach to your life, in balance with respect for others. This mindset shift can also help you to “lean into your life” and make your life happen and your story come alive.
- I have the right to be treated with respect.
- I have the right to have and express my own feelings, beliefs and opinions.
- I have the right to be listened to and be taken seriously.
- I have the right to set my own priorities.
- I have the right to say no without feeling guilty.
- I have the right to ask for what I want.
- I have the right to get what I pay for.
- I have the right to make mistakes.
- I have the right to assert myself even though I may inconvenience others.
- I have the right to choose not to assert myself.
- I have the right to be human.
To start building assertiveness, start with asking yourself the following questions:
- Am I comfortable meeting new people in social situations?
- Am I able to say “no” without feeling guilty or too anxious?
- Am I able to express strong emotions such as anger, frustration or disappointment if I need to?
- Can I easily request help and information from others?
- Do I feel capable of learning new things?
- Am I able to acknowledge and take responsibility for my own actions?
- Can I tell others when their behaviour is not acceptable to me?
- Can I speak confidently in group situations?
- Do I believe that my needs are as important as those of others and should be considered?
- Can I assert or maintain my beliefs even when the majority disagrees with me?
- Can I express anger and disappointment without blaming others?
- Do I value my own experience and wisdom?
If you said “no” to any of the above questions, ask yourself “is this something I want to change in my life?” and if so, “what small steps am I willing to take?”
What do you want yours to look like?
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
Last week, I was sent an email from a reader, Bella Campbell, a content coordinator for Online MBA Today. I was so honoured that she reads my blog! She created an inspirational infographic that illustrates the important role failure plays in our success. So many people think that if they are not successful when they attempt something that somehow that defines them as a “failure”.
Failure is just part of the process; and when you adopt that perspective you lower the risk of labelling yourself inaccurately. Just because you feel like a failure, does not make it true. Check out one of my previous posts addressing unhelpful thinking patterns; particularly Emotional Reasoning, to learn strategies for creating helpful thinking patterns that assist you on your road to success.
See the infographic below for some perspective, inspiration and an introduction to the power of paradoxical thinking. Ah, the paradox, seeing failure as a good thing helps you to gain perspective, focus on the task at hand with a brain state that is more receptive to retaining information.
Check this out!
Click Here for the original post by Bella Campbell.
- 90% of business startups will fail. 42% of those startups fail due to a lack of market for their product. Construction companies have the lowest 5-year survival rate at a mere 36.4%.
- J.K. Rowling herself claims to have “failed on an epic scale” and was “as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless”. Of course, once she introduced the world to Harry Potter, now a $15 million brand of her creation, things changed for her. Her estimated worth is now $910 million.
- Steve Jobs was fired from Apple and later realized it “was the best thing that could have ever happened to me”. He went on to build an empire that led him back to his own tech start-up and became a billionaire. 4,000 people now work for Apple.
- Bill Gates knows that, “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Gates dropped out of Harvard and his first start-up, Traf-O-Data went under, making him no stranger to failure. However, he went on to become the billionaire owner of Microsoft and is well known for being an extremely charitable philanthropist. He was 31 years old when he started Microsoft, and became the world’s youngest self made billionaire at the time.
- Michael Jordan is a man who knows that failures are necessary for success. In his younger years he did not meet the minimum height standard and was passed over by coaches. Now, he has a championship record and an apparel line with Nike. He is currently estimated to be worth $1 billion.
- “Success is failure in progress.” This is a famous quote from none other than Albert Einstein. He was once expelled from school, then refused entrance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. However in 1921, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in theoretical physics.
- Abraham Lincoln went on to become one of the most influential Presidents of the United States, but only after failing in business and suffering a nervous breakdown. He also lost 5 elections before he was elected to office. One of his best quotes on the matter of failure, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
5 Key Steps for Turning Failure into Success
…from the infographic
- Investigate what went wrong.
- Learn from your failure.
- Realize that you have nothing left to fear after failing, because you’ve got nowhere to go but up.
- Recognize that accountability is a very important part of turning things around. If you are the reason you failed, own it and move on.
- Innovation:Trying new things can often lead to failure, but at least now you are more apt to take risks.
There have been many epic fails in my life and career. Those were painful lessons; but memorable and powerful, and without those moments I would not have achieved so many of my personal and professional goals.
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD
eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
You probably are. Everyone feels anxiety at varying levels, at different times and in different situations; however, sometimes anxiety can get way out of control and take over your life. So scary…
Sound like you right now?
Well, you have come to the right place today. I want to make this post today very simple because having easy recall of strategies, in the moment, can help you ride the anxiety wave and bring you back to a state of balance. You are not broken, you are still learning about your brain and how to manage it.
Facts You Need to Know:
- Anxiety Has a Purpose: Anxiety has a function in our lives (motivation), we just need to learn how to get it to a manageable level so that helps us.
- Your Brain Can Change: You can learn how to tame it! Your brain does grow when you learn! (London Taxi Driver Research). With brain understanding, skills and strategies, anxiety can be managed to the point you hardly notice it’s there.
- Learning How to Change it: Psychotherapy, CBT combined with Motivational Interviewing, have proven repeatedly as the best approaches to learning to manage anxiety (research has found that psychotherapy, skill building, is the most effective way to alleviate out-of-control anxiety; and, even more effective than medication).
- Understanding Your Cool Brain: There are two parts of your brain involved in experiencing and managing anxiety; the Emotional Brain (Limbic System) and the Logical Brain (Neocortex).
There is this wee part of your brain, in the Limbic System, called the Amygdala that is the trouble maker when anxiety becomes overwhelming. To be fair, it is not always a trouble maker, it’s main function is to alert you to dangerous situations such as a bear, in front of you, licking it’s lips and imagining you as a wonderful snack, or toy to play with. The Amygdala then kicks you into a “Fight or Flight” state to help keep you safe. This is a good thing, except when it is not. Sometimes the bear is in your head, your thoughts, your memories and your Amygdala is doing it’s job by warning you of danger.
So, then what?
Well, the first step is understanding what is happening in your brain and then work with it. You have to calm your Emotional Brain, tell your Amygdala, “thanks so much for your warning, but I am actually ok and I got this”, so that you can move to building the skills you need to manage the situation (in your Logical Brain area). The goal is to override your Emotional Brain.
Step #1: Override Your Emotional Brain
How to calm your Amygdala:
*Click on the links for more information about the Amygdala calming strategies.
Step #2: Build Your Logical Brain
The logical brain is able to override the emotional brain….with practice.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to tackling mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression. CBT has been subject to countless clinical trials, and has even been shown to be more effective than medication in some long-term studies. CBT Changes Your Brain, by helping you to understand how your thoughts effect your feelings and then how your feelings effect your behaviour and so on through the cycle (see graphic).
Some CBT to Get You Started:
- Motivation Level: Are you motivated to change? Check out the stages_of_change_en-us. This is really important to acknowledge because learning new skills is a very hard process, especially when anxiety takes over. You need to be ready to change.
- Unhelpful Thought Patterns: Most of us have thought patterns that freak out our Amygdala. We can learn to recognize them, challenge them and then balance them into an accurate thought with perspective. Check this Thinking Patterns to see if you have unhelpful patterns.
- Track Those Thoughts: It is important to see what patterns you have, when you think them (themes/triggers) in order to be able to say, “Hey! That’s not completely true!” Here is simple thought record to get you started. If you like this tracking process, here is an expanded thought record to try.
- Challenge, Balance & Replace Thoughts: this can be hard to do on your own and a counsellor in your community/school can really be valuable in this process. Also, a trusted friend can help you with seeing your world in a positive and accurate way.
Technology Tip: Anxiety Management with Tech
Here is a really cool APP that is available for iPhones and Android based smart phones:
I highly recommend this app for helping you to manage your anxiety.
Always remember that you can book an appointment with a counsellor at your school, or in your community. It is such a valuable process to have help challenging those problematic thoughts that are freaking out your Amygdala. Anxiety can become your friend and your motivator.
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD
eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
Today, I want to focus on a sweet little tool that can help you with your emotional self-awareness, emotion regulation and emotion expression. I see so many people that get caught up in the Emotional Reasoning (CBT) cycle and make decisions based upon how they feel. They decide to say something, do something or act in a particular way that is not “them”.
Example from Pop Culture
Have you seen the hilarious Snickers “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” commercials?
Check this one out!
Even though this humour is meant to sell a chocolate bar, it is also very true and a great example of how our emotional state can be effected by something as simple as hunger.
The psychotherapeutic approach Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a wonderful collection of skill building strategies that all human beings need to navigate successfully in this world. DBT focuses on building Interpersonal Effectiveness, Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance. For this post, the concept of the “wise mind” is the DBT concept that I will focus on.
We need utilize both the emotional mind and the reasonable mind processes in order to manage our life in a way that supports our goals, our dreams, builds healthy relationships, helps in our pursuit of happiness and anything that supports you to flourish.
Achieving the Wise Mind State
One quick and awesome strategy that can help you to utilize both your emotional process and your logical process is H.A.L.T!
Have you ever experienced an emotional reaction, or a behaviour, in a situation that is uncharacteristic of you or not how you would normally behave? Well then, stop, be curious and ask your self the following:
- When was the last time I ate something?
- Am I angry about something else? Is something unsolved?
- Have I been feeling isolated physically or emotionally?
- Am I tired from a long week, a difficult time in my life or from a health issue?
If you can answer yes to being any one of these, hungry/ angry/lonely/tired, just stop, solve the problem, give some space before you decide to act. You are then asking your Logical Mind to participate.
Just because you feel something; doesn’t make it true!
Check in with your logical mind. Sometimes emotions are just telling you that you are not taking care of yourself, that you are in a similar situation from your past when you did not have the skills to deal with it or they are a result of being hungry/angry/lonely/tired.
My suggestion today is work on shifting your mindset from being a victim to your emotional state to being an empowered human that is curious about what your emotions are telling you. Listen. Overcome the obstacles.
Here is an inspirational TedEd video to get you started on the right track, with the best mindset and optimal state of mind (mood) to become an amazing translator of your emotional language.
with Steven Claunch
You know I couldn’t leave you without a bit of PsychNerd babble 😉
The research team of Yip and Côté (2013) found that people with high emotional intelligence make smarter decisions because they aren’t swayed by their current emotional state.
From their results, they found that great decision-making is not about eliminating all emotions: they are a vital source of information. It is important to acknowledge the emotional information and decide if it helps or hurts your current task. Those with high levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to ignore those emotions that have nothing to do with their decision.
Good news! Emotional Intelligence can be bolstered and enhanced! Start with H.A.L.T today and stop, reflect and decide before you act on emotion alone.
Being hangry is not an excuse for bad behaviour…
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD
eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Successheather.firstname.lastname@example.org