Blue Sky Blog

Be your own Rainbow – Part Three

Posted by on Mar 28, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“If you don’t like the world you see, change the prescription of your glasses” – (Chu, 1995, p41)

Be your own Rainbow – Managing your Focus

This is largely about your choices and what you actively decide to focus on and attend to. It’s about where you consequently choose to direct your energy and time.

Getting this right will help you to make the time to pursue the things that lift and inspire you, to actively seek out new and fresh perspectives.

Some of this will involve your ‘self- talk’, the things you are habitually saying to yourself. For example when I am particularly tired and low, I can find myself repeatedly telling myself “I am so tired”, which is by in large true. But I think the continual repetition of this phrase doesn’t help me to feel better about myself or my situation. All it seems to do, is keep me ‘stuck’ in not such a great place. I might well be better off saying, “I need to rest and recharge” and then actively plan how I will achieve this.

So, take the time over the next few days to notice the messages you are habitually sending to yourself and the affect they are having on you. What are you are choosing to dwell on at this present time?

Also consider what others might be picking up from you. Are you inadvertently leaking or sending out ‘unhelpful’ or negative messages?    

Do you have a tendency to focus and dwell on the problems you face rather than on possible solutions and opportunities? There’s a balance to be had between recognising that there is a problem and then focusing on getting through.

You might also find it helpful to consider whether you are naturally more inclined to think things are generally within your control Internal Locus of Control or that things are generally outside of your control External Locus of Control.

People with an Internal Locus of Control, generally feel more control and ownership of their destiny. They tend to attribute success and achievements in life to their own efforts and they tend to take the control they can in any given situation. Making them in general, happier, less depressed and less stressed.

Be your own Rainbow – Managing your focus

However people with an External Locus of Control, will tend to feel that they are at the ‘mercy of fate’, that there is little they can do to change things.  They can find it difficult to identify and take the control that is available to them and may use negative ‘self-talk’ to maintain a position of ‘victimhood’.

If you have a tendency towards an External Locus of Control, you may well need to work a little harder to refocus and identify the ways in which you can take greater control. Some strategies for this include:

1) Accepting and recognising, that you have a choice – you just may not like the choices that are available.

2) Learning to generate ideas, when feeling trapped – brainstorm options either on your own or with a friend. Be playful and open, the one idea that initially sounds ‘crazy’ might just be the thing that will move you forward.

3) Using different stances to explore the ideas you’ve generated. You could take the stance of Dreamer, Realist and Cynic to explore an idea and evaluate the pros and cons.

4) Noticing your language and changing it – change ‘I have no choice’, ‘I can’t’ to ‘I choose not to’ or ‘I don’t like my choices, but I will……

Focus Boosters

  • Find a hobby, an alternative focus that absorbs and engages you.
  • Find the things that give you joy and make the time do them.
  • Look for the humour in situations. Most will have one, even if you have to dig it out
  • Look for ways to be creative and playful
  • Be grateful, ask yourself on a daily basis, what am I grateful for today?
  • Use quotes and or affirmations to shift your focus and broaden your perspective, ‘tomorrow is another day’, is a favourite of mine.
  • Seek out those things that uplift you:- for me this can be a as simple as looking out of the window at some clear blue sky  

So in terms of your focus:

What do you need to let go of? – What unhelpful language, phrases, beliefs?

What do you need to take on? – What activities, places or people will help renew your perspective?

What are you actually going to do, now?

Be your own Rainbow – Part Two

Posted by on Feb 28, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you” – Carl Sandburg

Be your own Rainbow – Managing your Time

I would also add be careful that you don’t allow ‘things’ to spend it for you.  So what do I mean? The phrase ‘less is more’, sums it up for me. 

A ‘Less is more’ approach involves finding ways to work in tune with your natural rhythms and not cramming your day with a long list of (uninspiring and uninteresting) tasks, so you are left desperately trying to manage everything at the same time.

If you were a member of a gym, you wouldn’t go along to the gym and spend hours working on just one part of your body. Most of us would go along and use a variety of machines to exercise different parts in different ways.

The same principle can be applied to the way in which we use our brains. Give different parts of your brain – time to rest and recharge. Allow ‘greater space’ for your brain to do what comes naturally, ‘problem solve’. In other words start learning to ‘get out of your own way’.

Allow time for different types of thinking, relaxed, creative thinking and more, focused and concentrated thinking. Identify when you are at your most alert, most creative and use this to your advantage.

References:

David Rock, Your Brain at Work

Managing your time and energy is not just about getting stuff done, but getting the right stuff done at the right time. It is about having the time and energy you need to do more of the things you really want to do.

Think of yourself as a ‘dancer’ with one partner at a time, rather than a ‘juggler’, struggling to keep all the balls in the air.

It’s about Focus too

To achieve this you will need to decide to focus on one thing at a time. Give it your undivided attention and the chances are you will get it done in a shorter period of time. Splitting your attention over several different tasks at the same time, trying to multi-task is simply not effective.

It’s not just about your time, it’s about your focus and attention and it seems to me that time spent without these can turn a task into something that just drags on and on.

So why not have a look at your ‘to do’ list and ask yourself:

  • Is this a task that really needs to be done?
  • If yes, am I the only person able, or the best person to complete it?
  • If yes, when will I get it done and what will this enable me to do after?

 Go through for each of your tasks and see how your list looks now.

Time Boosters:

  • Stop It: – what would happen?
  • Delegate it, but don’t dump: – who else could do it and benefit?
  • Partner with someone: – might be quicker and more fun to work with someone else
  • Partner it with another activity/task: – for me singing and cooking go nicely together
  • Plan out the time and stick to your plan, you may be surprised by how much you can get done in fifteen minutes of focused attention.
  • Identify and make time for those activities that you enjoy and that give you a boost.

So in terms of your time:

  • What do you need to let go of? – Do you really need to do it all?
  • What do you need to take on? – Who else can help and support?
  • What are you actually going to do, now?

Be your Own Rainbow – Part One

Posted by on Jan 28, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“Do not draw your sword to kill a fly” – Korean proverb

In other words are you expending your energy as effectively and purposefully as you could be?

This month it’s all about managing your energy, particularly useful I think as we start the New Year.

Be your own rainbow – Managing your Energy

Generally, the word energy is used to describe the idea of vigour, movement and vitality. Something that has power to exert and make change.

I also believe that it is about having that ‘spark’, that extra ‘zing’ in your step.

Without your spark, you might feel like you are ‘wading in treacle’ with just enough energy to cope with what’s on your plate right now.

So take a moment now to consider what metaphor or image you would use to describe yourself when your energy is high and you have your ‘spark. It might help to either write/ draw your metaphor or image.

Now also take a moment to consider the image or metaphor you would use to describe yourself when your energy is low and your ‘mojo’ has simply gone missing. What do you notice? Are they similar, completely different? What might tip you from one to the other?

How wisely are you using your energy? How might you be squandering the energy you have? Are you fighting battles that are no longer relevant?

When I was younger I had ‘bags’ of energy and ran around climbing all sorts of ‘mountains’ simply because they were there. In those days I had the time and energy to get away with it. Now, I am far more aware that my time and energy are a finite resource and that I need to choose where to direct my energy and focus to best advantage.  Sometimes this does involve me putting myself first and simply saying no to requests from family, friends, colleagues etc.

So how do you know, when your energy is at the right level? What do you notice about yourself?  Where do you feel it physically?  For me, my stomach is a good indicator. That’s where I will feel it when I’m not quite operating at my peak – when my energy is low there is often a corresponding dip in mood.

Energy Boosters

  • Daily time out, physical change of scene.
  • Make it a priority to get outside and appreciate the outdoors.
  • Take regular breaks – time to just, ‘be’.
  • Find a hobby, an alternative focus that absorbs and engages you.
  • Make a list of five energy drainers – then do something about them. ( A cluttered desk, wardrobe full of unworn clothes are some of mine)
  • Make sure you are eating a well-balanced and nutritional diet

So in terms of your energy:

  1. What do you need to let go of? – are you using your sword to kill flies?
  2. What do you need to take on? – What activities, people will help recharge you?
  3. What are you actually going to do, now? 

Choosing to thrive

Posted by on Dec 9, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This month’s post from careerresilience all about thriving despite how you feel. 

As I write this, I must admit that for a variety of reasons October and November are difficult months for me. It’s the same each year as I find that everything drops like a stone, my energy levels, confidence and motivation. These are the months when I’m most likely to feel like sh*t and can barely be arsed. Though to be fair this usually disappears once Christmas has passed and normally I am content to wait it out. But this year I am going to try something different, just to see what happens. Instead of hunkering down in survival mode, I am making the decision to thrive, despite how I feel.

So, this month’s post is all about what it means to thrive and I’m going to use this simple statement:

I am choosing to thrive, despite how I feel.

Thank you Pixabay!

If you want to read thr rest please click here: 

Hope you enjoy!

A short story:- Elizabeth and Anne

Posted by on Oct 31, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

I have long had an interest in Tudor history, particularly, around Elizabeth I. However, thanks to Hilary Mantel I have more recently, become as intrigued by her mother, Anne Boleyn. To me it is deeply ironic that it is Elizabeth, Henry the VIII’s second daughter that reigns on her own for over forty years, when he was so preoccupied with begetting a son.

But sad, too, that Elizabeth never really knew her mother, so this is my imagining of the two women having the opportunity to talk frankly about their lives and it’s my small tribute to them, both.

So, without further ado I give you:

Elizabeth and Anne:

A conversation between daughter and mother 

If you would prefer to read the story in full please visit here

 

 

 

Driven, rather than motivated….

Posted by on Oct 5, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Looking back over my life and career so far, I have come to realise that I am quite driven and that changes in my ‘drivers’ have coincided with key points in my life.

My ‘drivers’ haven’t felt quite like motivation in the normal sense to me. I’ve experienced them as more visceral, in the gut, ‘fire in my belly’ sensations to quote the ubiquitous Lord Sugar 😉. Internal forces that have propelled me in different directions at different points in my life.

In my twenties at the start of my career it was all about the money and attaining some financial security. I left my Polytechnic as it was then with a job to go to in East London as a graduate engineer.  Then spent about six years bouncing around London, living in shared accommodation until I was able to buy my own place for the incredible sum of £25,000. You would just about get one beach hut in Brighton for this now. Glad I bothered to fact check this as my original guess was two ;).

In my thirties, it was all about time and flexibility. Finding ways to save it and then moving across to self-employment. A period of juggling between further study, starting my own business and towards the end of my thirties becoming a mother for the first time.

To read the rest, please click here

The power of journaling……

Posted by on Aug 9, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This month’s post from careerresilience and it’s all about journaling and the difference it is making to me and my business.

For me there is something both powerful and wonderful about regularly and consistently putting your thoughts down on paper, rather than having them interminably rattling around inside your head.

I’m fairly, new to journaling, but I have been keeping a daily journal since December 2017 as I a result of starting with a weekly writing group. And, because I have been so very pleasantly surprised by the benefits I’m perceiving, from the process of writing daily I decided to share my thoughts here.

To find out what journaling means to me and what it might do for you, please click here and I hope you enjoy.

Having some self-belief

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This month it’s all about self-belief and taking those bold steps towards change. There is only one of you and you may need to take some risks and chances to achieve your full potential. Two bold steps I’ve taken this month is to enter two stories into two different writing competitions. I have absolutely no idea what will happen, but if I am going to develop as a writer, I need to start taking some bold steps and sharing my ideas and stories.

So for this month I say to you:

 

 

What problems are you solving?…………

Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

An extract from this month’s post on careerresilience, my thoughts on how we might stumble across the problems we are best suited to solve or the situations where we are most likely to shine.

So here is the extract:

Today’s post has been inspired by a game called the Cortex Challenge, a Brain party game, given to us as a Christmas gift last year. A game that requires each player to compete in several different problem-solving tasks so that ultimately the winner is the first person to accumulate the four pieces needed to complete a brain.

But what intrigued me most about this card based game was the range and variety of problems and tasks that were a part of it. With each of the eight categories, listed below requiring the player to process and manipulate information in a different way. Either through touch, logical reasoning, pattern recognition or through the use of your short-term memory.

  • Finding the correct pathway between two items via a maze.
  • Being the first to identify a word written in its own colour.
  • Completing a physical coordination task
  • Identifying and then being the first to name the one item that is duplicated
  • Recognising which item is repeated most frequently from a jumble of items
  • Using logical reasoning to select the one shape that fits the ‘gap’
  • Using touch to identify an object
  • Memorising and then recalling all the objects shown on a card

If you want to read the rest please click the link here

Until next time

Janice Taylor

Setting your own pace……

Posted by on May 8, 2018 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s all about travelling and working at your own pace in this post. I have noticed that people are often overwhelmed when forced to work at someone else’s pace. So, my advice this month is, be you and work at your pace.

You are the only one who knows the speed at which you really need to travel.

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