How asking the right questions always gets you to the right answers.

‘If you want to live a shallow and unchallenged life then walk back through those doors but I’m getting on the plane’

So I’d signed up to a workshop in Central America, although between you and me when I was first invited to attend, I hadn’t realised it was on the other side of the Atlantic having momentarily imagined that Costa Rica was one of the Canary Islands….

If I’m honest, I didn’t know that it was a workshop either, I thought that we were going on holiday with a bunch of like minded people that my colleague had met whilst working in the States.

I say colleague but she had actually been my coach for two years although we had recently mutually ended our professional relationship. My life had changed and improved immensely during that period, a combination of the questions she had asked me together with my determination to find answers however painful. I trusted her.

Our communication over the preparation of the trip was sketchy owing to busy lives, time zones and unanswered mail and no doubt, denial on my part.

On meeting up with the rest of the participants at the airport in San Jose, I finally learned the detail of what I had agreed to. An intensive experience, 7 days camping in the heart of the rainforest with a group of American strangers to learn and accept the difference and value of masculine and feminine behaviours with a facilitator who organised arranged marriages.

And so it was that I found myself standing on the runway trying to accept the bare truth of what boarding that 6 seater plane actually meant. Voicing my fears to my ex-coach and expecting a mini coaching session in order to reassure myself, she replied with those uncompromising words that have remained with me for over 10 years. I can still picture the doors but I got on the plane.

For a woman who believes that, ‘If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it’, it really, really didn’t feel right.In fact thinking about it, my adrenals would have been working flat out generating my fight or flight response so I would have been incapable of feeling anything other than fear in that moment. But fear isn’t only about fight or flight, fear can be about standing on a stage and speaking anyway, risking rejection but asking anyway, witnessing an injustice and acting, that day it was about feeling the terror but some part of me knowing that I had to get on the plane

My fears were proved right, it was intense. There were some truly hideous moments and there was no escape but as the week passed so the learnings and gifts unfolded.To live in a rainforest even for just a week is a deeply magical experience, the lessons I learned have stayed with me and shaped my life in truly wonderful ways and yes, I escaped an arranged marriage and yes, after 7 days I was very happy to get back on that plane to get out of there.

So my coach was right to invite me along and I was right to trust her, the questions that she had asked me, oh so gently over the previous two years meant that I found my own answers. I learned to trust myself to always know what’s best for me in a way that no other person will ever be able to, I learned to trust my gut feeling, I learned how to find my True North. The more you trust, the easier it becomes, it’s how I got onto that plane when my brain was screaming, ‘Run’.

So today I’m never far away from someone who’s going to ask me good questions then remain silent and although I have never repeated the extreme rainforest experience I do know I have never since lived a shallow or unchallenged life.

5 Sure Signs That You Need To Increase Your Resilience

We’ve all heard the word resilience but what does it mean in terms of you and everyday life?

1    You’re tired all the time which isn’t surprising due to your chronic insomnia, late nights and early starts. How many shots of caffeine do you need to get you going in the morning? Besides isn’t lack of sleep a badge of honour these days? 

2    That nagging injury is back again. Just how persistent are your aches and pains? Is it the same old or a new one today? Can you remember a day when you felt fit, well and healthy? Anyway, that’s what pills are for, right?

3    You’re unable to switch off. Is your brain constantly wired? Have you tried the apps, the exercises and the diet but are still unable to switch off your mind as it seemingly starts to eat itself? Are you completely sure that you want to switch off, I mean what would happen to Yours Inc. if you did just that? Are you worried that things may just fall apart without you? Perhaps you’ve decided that switching off can wait.

4    You live in a cloud of anxiety. How’s your stomach feeling? Does it contain a constant dread which is somehow physical? Or do you have sharp pains shooting at the thought of you being found out? Do you know what’s causing it or is it omnipresent and you’ve almost forgotten it’s there?

5    You’re impressively busy the whole time. Are you committed to achieving, lauded for being so driven? Do you do whatever it takes to stay ahead of the pack whilst others look at you in wonderment and awe? Is failure an option at whatever the cost?

 

We live in a society that enables us to treat our symptoms very successfully. There are no end of medications that can put us out of our misery and keep us going. However, that’s just what they do, nullify the symptoms, it’s a bit like cutting the bell on the fire alarm and enjoying the silence but the building’s still burning. We forget that bit.

I believe that strong personal resilience is built through the trilogy of thought, word and deed. Our physical symptoms are a last resort built over time caused by what we think, what we say and what we do. It’s essential to look back at how we have dealt with the big and everyday challenges of our past. By understanding and learning from our personal stories we can look forward to where we want to be, living the life we’ve always imagined. We can all benefit from putting some personal resilience strategies in place to help us get there, fit, well and healthy. You deserve to be You on a Good Day, Everyday.

Have you had enough yet?

In my experience, time and again there are moments in my life when I've had enough. I don't generally recognise them as that, as when I look back I can't remember the exact moments when I stopped doing certain things. How come I don't go to that gym anymore? How come I changed my brand of tea? Why on earth did I persist with those shoes when they were obviously too small? When did I stop wearing those jeans or using my favourite handbag? Why aren't I so close to that friend anymore? Why did it take me so long to change jobs? Why did I stay too long in that unhappy relationship?

I'm sure if I sat with a therapist for an enormous amount of time they'd enable me to get to the bottom of each and every change I've made that has led me to this moment. Some of them will have been easier to make than others requiring little thought and no effort, instantly forgotten although the benefits still being reaped. It's the biggies that I can still beat myself up about, I mean really? Why did it take me so long to end that relationship? What was I thinking of? I was suffering and still did nothing? So is it off to a therapist for some serious soul searching or is there an easier and quicker way?

I've come to recognise that I make changes in my life when I'm ready to do so. I don't always understand the timing but these days I'm picking my battles. I have a choice to overthink and analyse my actions or to accept them and move on, choosing to put my thoughts, feelings and energies into where I'm going, not where I've been.

It hasn't always been like this, so many times I've been obsessed with the why, hung up on the negativity, spending hours developing my self flagellation technique. These days I'm learning to honour and accept my past and realise that I am motivated to make changes when I've had enough. Enough misery, enough pain, enough hurt, enough discomfort; whatever my motivation I now know that trying to second guess my motivation for 'not doing anything about it' is a complete waste of time, energy and effort. From now on I know that I'll climb out of my next hole when I've had enough and do you know what? That's ok. There's no reason to beat myself up for doing otherwise.

Accepting this and letting the rest of the 'noise' go is liberating. I can finally stop beating myself up and wondering when I'm going to do something about my current dark chocolate addiction because I know that I will in the perfect moment for me and that moment will be when I've had enough.