Courage

I am going to give a big shout out to my colleague Ben who encouraged me to write my next post on courage.

As we continue to enjoy the new decade, starting new things can be scary. What if it is too difficult? What if I fail? Can I really be bothered? Is this going to make me happy? Will it be good for my wellbeing? Is this going to be waste of time? Basically, a lot of questions to make you chicken out. It is as discussed previously, discipline is what is the difference between success or failure.

When I look back on 2019 with a fresh pair of eyes, I remember that I was constantly battling between wanting to be this incredibly determined and courageous individual vs f*** it – I am tired and I want a more comfortable life (i.e. eating snacks in my T-Shirt and watching Netflix). By the end of the year, I was definitely the latter. I had set out to achieve many things in 2019; in my mind, I was going to become this incredible influencer who would blog twice a week and organically build a loyal and dedicated following. Reviewing my timeline, my readers were lucky to have one post in the six months! As a result of my inconsistency, writing was became a chore and my creative juices struggle to flow. I did not build the discipline or habit. Blogging has became an increasingly difficult thing to do, which in turn had meant I avoided it even more. A lose-lose situation.

Why? Why is it so hard to keep determined/have willpower in what you want to do? The beauty of a new year is that you can start again and do things differently. I know I had more to give and I want to achieve more as I was not okay with the status quo.

The Choice

The choice is ours: “We can either stay in bed where it’s comfortable, warm and there are no critics to judge us, or we can face the world and push beyond our limits”. Courage as a muscle that has to be exercised which starts with the simplest, yet daunting, step.

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen – Brene Brown

Brene Brown discusses courage in-depth in her books, in addition, she has a Netflix special which I highly recommend to watch as it introduces some key ideas that I have tried to exercise in my life in relation to vulnerability, courage and relationships. Personally, I think she is much better speaker than writer so save yourself some time and watch the show or her TED talk.

Courage

I have recently met an extraordinary individual, who I am going to shamelessly introduce on my blog – Rachida. She is a career coach and blogger, I would encourage anyone to read her articles as they are inspiring and easy to digest. I know she will become a life long friend, especially if I have anything to do it with it!

I only spoke to her for 15 minutes during an event, but in that short amount of time, she concluded that I need to pick up the courage and just do it. She said it is not necessary to make any grand announcements or get buy-in from others. If I felt that something was right then I should just go for it, no excuses, nothing should be holding myself back. *Phew* that 15 minutes was one of the most intense conversations I have ever had in my life. After recovering from the shock of her energy and message, and letting myself process what she was trying to tell me, it left me invigorated and I sat down to consider what was holding me back. I realised that I spent most of 2019 unhappy was because I was stuck in my comfort zone; I knew that my job was not providing the mental stimulation I required.

Taking Rachida’s advice to just do it; I finally picked up the courage to hand in my resignation letter at the end of November! I decided that there is no point continuing to work in a job that I could not give my 100%, but instead to focus on moving to a new industry that I have a passion for. Now, I am not going to lie to you, it wasn’t this awesome WOW moment, instead, I had to battle the creeping dread that I might have done something rash. However, since that day, I have become a more and more excited. I have been offered a role in a company that I admire. By taking a bet on myself, it has enabled me to work in something I care deeply about and align with my values.

I am certainly not telling you to quit your job (but totally do if that is what you want). As I blog this journey, I hope it will prove that taking the courage to do something different will give great rewards.

So here is the call to action: Be courageous and start something new, change something you don’t like. Take that first step and show up!

Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

Discipline

The start of January is always the start of something new, but how do you keep up the momentum for the rest of the year. Many of you have heard of the astounding statistics about the gym, where 80% of individuals do not go after 5 months or 14% who signed up in January drop out by February. Keeping disciplined and motivated is hard work; though I know that some individuals find it easier than others (lucky sods!). My partner has tunnel vision when he has an idea in his head. He is an absolute force to be reckoned with; he just lives and breathes the project – constantly researching and working at it. I, on the other hand, would get distracted by the latest Netflix series (Have any of you watched Messiah yet?).

2020 is a year of discovery; I start a new job in February and I want to make sure that I have enough time to develop my coaching skills as well. How can I be a good performance coach if I do not test theories/advice of others? I read a lot of blogs and books on self improvement. The only way to know what works is to test them out. Hence, this blog will log my journey of discovery and I would encourage you to join in with me and share your experiences with other readers too! Sharing is caring 🙂

It is very timely that I have decided to talk about discipline. It has taken me a whole day to write this post because I spent 6 hours of my day house hunting with my other half, instead of dedicating time to write this blog. Self-discipline is partially a mental battle and the development of a habit. I understand that discipline is intrinsically linked to motivation but that doesn’t help much either!

 “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.” – John C. Maxwell

Jari Roomer wrote that building strong habits and creating a supportive environment would help with motivation and making the right decisions. I think this is better than solely focus on self-discipline. It seems more practical, so here is a list of a few tips that seemed to make some sense.

Tracking progress towards a goal

You have a goal or project. You know the end result, but you need to know how you are tracking towards your goal. If not, it is easy to lose sight of what is required. I really like the idea of getting a diary/calendar and marking it off. Each day you have worked towards the goal, cross it off NICE AND BIG. Enjoy the process – exaggerate it! If you didn’t work towards the goal, leave it blank and set a target on how many days you are allowed off. E.g. you can’t have two consecutive weeks without working towards the goal. You will feel guilty when there are too many blanks – that is exactly what you want! Feel the guilt and start working towards the goal again.

Journaling

Let me be honest, I am rubbish at journaling but others really swear by this. Similar to tracking above, writing your thoughts and recording your memories and feelings is a great way to reflect. Honestly, I feel like this is a lot of hard work, so my shortcut is to use the Daylio app where it gives me smiley faces to rate my general “feel” of the day and you can log the activities with easy to click icons and a SMALL box to write a couple of notes. Simple and it takes me about a minute to record the day – perfect. I have been doing this for a few months now. How it helps is that I can assess my moods and what activities are associated with a positive mood. The more positive you are feeling, the easier it is to be disciplined.

Meditation

Before you roll your eyes, this is a habit that I have tried to develop and I genuinely think that this has done great things for my patience and emotional consistency. I can’t say that I have noticed any significant changes to my focus. However, I am at the beginning of my journey with meditation and once I have completed more sessions I will let you know whether I note any other changes. When many successful individuals preach this practice, there is no harm in giving this a go and I really encourage it – truly one of the best things I did in 2019.

Working Distraction-Free

Being on my smartphone is the worse thing for my productivity. Whatsapp, Telegram, Instagram, YouTube & Netflix are my worse culprits. I moved Instagram from easy access from my phone and just that simple move did wonders to changing my habits. I didn’t spend hours aimlessly scrolling through posts and stories. I had so much more time to read and learn. Social media detox is one of my most recommended tips for self-discipline.

Dopamine Fast

Similar to working distraction-free, one level up is to have a “dopamine fast”. No internet/electronics, no books, no sex, no food, no talking, no music or coffee. Let’s be honest, there is not much more left for someone to do. However, it has been suggested it is possible to go for a walk, writing with a pen, meditate, sleep and drink water. No stimulation whatsoever – how horrifying! I have yet to try this, but I will let you know when I plan it. Personally, this seems really daunting, but I believe a detox from time to time is necessary for the body and mind.

Let me know how you get on and share with me any tips for me to try out and “review”!

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most – Abraham Lincoln