12 Ways to Be Powerful in 2015

New YearHow are your resolutions going?

Instead of the usual suspects of exercise more, get out of debt, save more, drink less, eat more healthily, etc. how about committing to taking on the habits of thought and action that will make you more powerful in 2015?

After all, without a foundational strength of character what chance do any of your other resolutions have of succeeding? Not much!

If you can adopt even one of these lessons, you’ll find it far easier to gain control over your life, your emotions, and all your relationships this year – not least your relationship with yourself.

So in 2015, let’s:

1. Stop being a victim

Stop being caught up in getting attention by playing the victim or trying to tell everyone your sob stories. Focus instead on solving the issues and problems in your life as quickly as possible, and moving on.

2. Stop whining

Losers always whine about the reasons why they didn’t achieve something. Winners simply work out what they can learn from the experience, count it as a step towards their goal, put it from their mind and move on.

3. Learn to bounce back

Failure is not getting down, it’s staying down. Failure is simply feedback so see it as that and work on your resilience in bouncing back quickly.

4. Stop being a drama queen

Don’t see every little thing that happens as so significant and create dramas out of small things. It’s an addiction! Stop doing it – keep things small and move on.

5. Live with integrity

Focus on your personal integrity and honoring your values, ethics and agreements with people and yourself. Especially with yourself.

6. Stop just doing what you ‘feel’ like

Powerful people don’t run their lives based on what they ‘feel’ like doing at any given moment. Powerful people value their commitments and their agreements with themselves and others and when they don’t ‘feel’ like doing something they ignore those feelings and do what they agreed to do anyway.

7. Communicate with clarity

Powerful people communicate clearly and powerfully, without drama. They make requests and never make excuses for why things don’t happen.

8. Speak with power

Focus on making eye contact with people when you talk to them, lift your chin and speak in a clear audible voice. Softly spoken people are very dominating to those around them as everyone needs to lean in to hear them. It’s subtle manipulative control vs. clear powerful behavior.

9. Stop feeling sorry for yourself

The universe doesn’t care about your bad day and neither does anyone else. Pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

10. Stop gossiping

Never talk badly about other people. Bored people talk about other people. Powerful people talk about the big games, projects and exciting things they are doing in their lives.

11. Stop worrying if others like you or not

Stop giving a damn about everyone liking you. There is a clear T-junction when it comes to this point – you can focus on being liked or you can make a difference in life. Both of these items cannot always be true together.

12. Stop complaining when life isn’t fair

Life isn’t fair so people will talk about you behind your back and be horrible even if you don’t deserve it and have always been nice and supportive to them.

This is because most people will only do whatever they do to forward things for themselves so don’t expect that your good deeds and actions for others will always come back to you. Simply do your good deeds and actions for your own reasons and not to get anything back – this way you won’t be disappointed or constantly feel hard done by.

Think you can take on the challenge and become far more powerful this year? I know you can.

Let this be a wonderful, empowering 2015!

Share your thoughts below!

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Go on, give yourself permission to climb into a Porg-hole!

Porgie-300x275When I was little, I had a bull terrier named Porgie. I loved her so much so, that I would greet her on all fours, hide her in my bed so she wouldn’t be cold and even come home and climb into her dog basket with her. She was an absolutely mental dog and I loved her craziness and zaniness. Porgie however, was no ordinary dog. She harbored a secret.

Not only did she chase her tail with joy, sit in the pantry and slip in her own drool waiting for a dog biscuit and eat noisily like each meal was her last, she had an inner wisdom which far exceeded her dog years.

I truly believe that Porgie was a guru in a previous lifetime.

Every few months, Porgie would be in a bad mood. Who knows what caused it – perhaps hormones, a phantom pregnancy, or Pluto aligning incorrectly with Venus. When this happened, she would go to the bottom of the garden and go dig a hole. She would then crawl into this ‘Porg-hole’ and growl if anyone came near her. I would attempt to coax her out with food but she didn’t come out and she let me know that I was not welcome. 3-4 days later, she would come out of the hole, cover it up and come bounding back as if nothing had happened.

porghole-300x200I used to think this was more evidence that my dog was weird and unwell but actually thinking back on it today – it was sheer genius.

In today’s society, we don’t ever allow ourselves to dwell in a bad mood. We are told to ‘snap out of it’, ‘cheer up’ and be happy. The dawn of Emotional Intelligence has created an international outbreak of suppressed human beings who don’t allow themselves to just be grumpy and to just be with their grumpiness, unhappiness or depression until is passes. Instead we must apply an emotional avoidance trigger or tranquilize ourselves with alcohol, drugs or antidepressants until ‘rational intelligence returns’.

GROWL. What Daniel Goleman didn’t realize when he wrote his NY Times bestseller ‘Emotional Intelligence’, was that he helped contribute to the mass suppression of emotions which is commonplace in today’s society. Instead of expressing raw emotions, feeling them authentically, crying, screaming and just being grumpy when we feel grumpy, we are expected to be cool, calm, collected robots who smile politely, play political ping pong with the sales guy we hate and certainly don’t flinch in the boardroom when someone missed a deadline and messed up our project.

Your EQ is now more important than your IQ as this man managed to convince and advise nations that suppression is healthy, balanced and somehow good for us.

In describing the importance of acknowledging our emotional states, American psychologist Dr Maurice Elias says, “Emotions are human beings, i.e. warning systems as to what is really going on around them. Emotions are our most reliable indicators of how things are going in our lives. Emotions help keep us on the right track by making sure that we are led by more than the mental/intellectual faculties of thought, perception, reason, and memory.”

In her article titled ‘How to Understand, Express and Release your Emotions’, author Mary Kurus, a renowned psychologist based in New York, writes that emotions control our thinking, behavior and actions. If you ignore, dismiss or repress your feelings, you’re setting yourself up for physical illness.

The understanding is that emotions that are not felt and released can spawn a host of ailments: cancers, arthritis, and many types of chronic illnesses. The explanation is that negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, negativity, frustration and depression cause chemical reactions in our bodies that are very different from the chemicals released when we feel positive emotions such as happiness and contentment and also when we’re feeling loved and accepted.

Signs that you are repressing your emotions

When we have an experience that is painful or difficult we often dismiss the emotions or bury them under busyness, exercise, comfort eating or drinking. The problem is that our suppressed emotions don’t like being hidden. Our negative feelings stay with us; in the muscles, ligaments, stomach and midriff. These emotions remain buried within us until we allow ourselves to feel them and deal with them, thereby releasing them.

Short Term Emotion Avoidance Triggers (STEATs) and other ‘methods’ we use to suppress or avoid our emotions:

  • Ignoring feelings.
  • Pretending something hasn’t happened.
  • Overeating.
  • Eating foods loaded with sugar and fat (‘comfort eating’).
  • Excessive drinking of alcohol.
  • Excessive use of recreational drugs.
  • Using prescription drugs such as tranquilizers or antidepressants.
  • Exercising compulsively.
  • Behaving compulsively.
  • Excessive sex with or without a partner.
  • Excessive busyness.
  • Constantly intellectualizing and analyzing situations.
  • Excessive reading or TV viewing.
  • Spending hours watching romantic movies or fantasizing about ‘the one’.
  • Working excessively.
  • Keeping conversations superficial.
  • Burying angry emotions under the mask of peace and love.

You cannot control your emotions BUT truly acknowledging them and feeling them, allows them to move on

You cannot change or control your emotions. Think of the people who trundle along day after day, seeming to function normally. And then one day they’ll suddenly explode over something seemingly trivial or harmless. This behavior is a result of a pressure-cooker syndrome; apply a little heat in the form of a tense situation and repressed emotions boil over. The more you try to control your emotions the more your emotions resist. Eventually you lose emotional control. It’s a vicious cycle.

It’s not popular in today’s society to express negative emotions in public. Seeming out of control is interpreted as a sign of weakness. We’re often uncomfortable around people who express strong emotions. As a society we’re taught to hide our emotions, to be ashamed of them and to be afraid of them.

We spend a great deal of time talking ‘about’ our feelings and emotions and very little time actually processing and feeling them. We attend workshops, visit therapists, and they describe how we feel.

We talk and talk about our emotions, intellectualizing and analyzing them, but how much time do we actually spend feeling them?

We are emotional creations and we must learn how to know our emotions, be with them, and release them in healthy ways.

Although I disagree with Daniel Goleman and his thoughts on intellectualizing our emotions before we give ourself permission to feel them – taking out our frustrations on others is also not particularly evolved. I know he wrote his book to prevent irrational rants in the workplace but the problem is we have become deader and more resigned than ever. Depression rates have never been so high as they are today and some psychologists believe that depression is simply long term suppression of emotion.

So Porgie had it right after all.

pawFeeling crabby? Go dig a hole away from others and go BE crabby and do not stop being crabby until you feel pruney with your crabbiness. Growl. Its really fun actually. Surrender to the emotions, feel them and be them until they naturally pass and peel away like layers of an onion. The crabiness is concealing a deep sadness, fear or anger so get to the root cause of your emotion so you can release the tension in your body and prevent long term illness from happening.

So, to hell with your EQ, smiling when you don’t mean it and fake bubbliness- its plastic and weird. Let people know how you feel in life. Give yourself permission to be a glorious crabby depressed mess until you are sick to death of it. Give yourself permission to climb into a Porg hole today – you will feel a hellava lots happier tomorrow and guarantee longer healthier life too.

Thanks be to Guru Porgie…

Till next time

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Don’t Eat That Cookie! Are You Healing or Avoiding?

foodWhen you were young did your mother use to say, ‘Don’t cry. Here have a cookie and you’ll feel better.’

And you ate the cookie, got distracted and yes you did actually feel a bit better. For ten minutes. Then the pain came back, and it was time for another cookie.

Does this sound at all familiar? If that child was you, perhaps you grew up to associate fixing your emotions with food, or other short term distractions. Instead of facing the pain and actually healing properly. The fact is:

If you don’t confront your emotions, you’ll never heal!

The example of the daughter and her cookie comes from John James and Russell Friedman’s great book ‘The Grief Recovery Handbook’, where they talk about confronting your emotions rather than filling your life with things that fill your time, but only provide a short-term relief.

When you eat that cookie the fact is there’s no emotional completion of the pain caused by the event. The event and all the feelings associated with it are simply buried. Ready to keep coming up throughout your life no matter how many cookies you eat.

What are Your Short Term Emotion Avoidance Tactics?

Short Term Emotion Avoidance Tactics (STEATs) are things you do to avoid feeling the pain, numb the pain, or to take the pain away in the short term. They are often escapism-type activities where you keep SO focused and busy that there is no time to think.

They help you feel better in each moment BUT you’re not feeling better for real – it’s a false sense of security – a false feeling of recovery. And if you fill your life up with lots of STEATs your healing will not progress.

STEATs are so common after divorce

The sad thing is that for most people struggling to get over their divorce they’re engaging in a cycle of feeling the pain, applying a STEAT, feeling the pain, applying another STEAT, until over time they feel numb and they think this numbness is them healed from their divorce.

STEATs prolong the emotional roller-coaster of your divorce. So you never fully grieve for long enough or experience the loss critical to healing for real. Your emotional roller coaster will go up and down, up and down. Until you stop. And start to heal for real.

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Your recovery exercise – which of these common STEATs do you use?

It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself.

Try to identify two short-term relief activities you’ve been doing to distract yourself and displace your feelings since your divorce or break up. This can be a lot harder than it seems, but it’s going to take your absolute commitment to honesty to truly heal.

Here are some common examples: Excessive socializing. Over-exercising. Fantasy or escapism activities (books, TV, movies). Shopping/retail therapy. Work and becoming a workaholic. Pretending something hasn’t happened. Overeating. Eating foods loaded with sugar and fat (‘comfort eating’). Excessive drinking of alcohol. Excessive use of recreational drugs. Using prescription drugs such as tranquilizers or antidepressants.

The list is endless, and it could be something totally unique for you.

So, what STEATs do You use?

Can you share a few with the world?

I’d love to hear them!

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You are 30% more likely to divorce THIS FRIDAY!

divorceHow incredibly sad? There is actually a D DAY where family law firms and lawyers see a SPIKE in people inquiring about divorce and that day is the first day back to work after new years.

More than any other day, there is a 30% spike in inquiries on this day. Here are the 10 classic mistakes to avoid as written by lawyer Marilyn Stowe on her awesome blog. Let’s take note of what a top lawyer thinks about divorce before you get yourself into muddy water.

1. Giving up at the first sign of trouble

The grass elsewhere is not always as green as it may seem. Studies show that subsequent marriages are just as likely – more likely, in fact – to founder. If you are both committed to fighting for your marriage, can it be rescued?

2. Refusing help

If your partner insists the relationship has broken down and will not budge, pretending it isn’t happening or refusing to accept the decision is not going to help. You will only make the process more painful, stressful and expensive in the long run. I have known people to continue to harbor vain hopes of reconciliation, even to the point of ignoring the pile of solicitors’ letters building up beneath the letterbox. This approach, while understandable from an emotional point of view, can take its toll on your finances and on your health. I often recommend professional counselling to clients: I have observed that when clients have been to counselors, the results are often swift and truly amazing. Don’t sit there worrying.

3. Thinking that when it comes to family law, you know it all

The truth is that unless you are a trained family lawyer, you don’t. You wouldn’t pull your own teeth out, would you? Or conduct an appendectomy on yourself? Following the disappearance of much family law legal aid, we are seeing increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, for financial reasons.

However there have always been those who have represented themselves out of choice. Why they think they can provide their own, sound legal counsel, I do not know. The legal issues can be complex. A divorce will affect your life, and your children’s lives, for years to come.

‘Proof is always in writing. Even in amicable cases, don’t rely on something agreed verbally. Your spouse may promise one thing but, unless it is clarified in an official settlement, it won’t hold up in court’

4. Thinking that legal aid is available

In most cases, it isn’t. New legislation, which came into force in April 2013, removed certain areas of law from public funding. Family law legal aid has now been limited to very few cases which involve domestic abuse. It is still available for mediation.

5. Panicking about legal fees

Instruct a solicitor in whom you have confidence, who can give you a guide from the first appointment as to what to expect and why, and reach an agreement as to how much you will be charged and how the fees are going to be paid.

6. Throwing money away

Always be pragmatic. Be ready to negotiate and to settle. On the other hand, if the other side isn’t playing ball and is intent on racking up costs, let the court take control and move to a hearing as fast as you can.

7. Withholding information

Don’t be tempted to conceal little details or keep things to yourself. Instead, be honest and upfront with your solicitor. Keeping things hidden can be a way of trying to retain control of the situation, but by trying to pull the wool over your lawyer’s eyes you are potentially putting yourself at a disadvantage. In order to do their job properly, your solicitor needs to know the truth.

8. Hiding money. Don’t even think about it

Forensic accountants who specialize in tracking down secret bank accounts and other assets are becoming more and more commonly involved in divorce cases. At our firm, for example, we have an in-house forensic accountancy team. Even if evidence of hidden finances are found after a divorce is finalized, an existing court order can be overturned retrospectively and the guilty party may be landed with a hefty bill.

9. Thinking verbal agreements count

Proof is always in writing. Even in amicable cases, don’t rely on something agreed verbally. Your spouse may promise one thing but, unless it is clarified in an official settlement, it won’t hold up in court. Remember, matters can easily turn nasty. This isn’t just about how the wedding presents are divided. It is your future life and can affect how pensions are shared or who gets the children over the Christmas holidays.

10. Settling your finances before you are ready

Timing is essential. Settle too early before all the assets have been fully investigated, and you may settle for too little. Settle too late and circumstances may have altered irrevocably. An economic recession or upturn can have major effects upon a case. And don’t settle because of financial pressure. Your lawyer can advise you through it all.

Wishing you all the best till next time!

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New Year, New You: Create a Healing Goal To Move On!

dribbble-newyearnewyou_1xEvery New Year is an opportunity to become clean, fresh, new and shiny bright. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and make some decisions about your life. It’s all about believing it’s possible and then going out there and making it happen. First step is to have a HEALING GOAL.

This is a vivid movie in your mind that you can day-dream about and work on every single day. It has colours, sounds, feelings and a beginning, middle and ending. It’s a little vision of yourself healed, better, living a wonderful life.

So, here it is – my gift to you to use and enjoy:

HEALING GOAL EXERCISE

1. Choose a very specific HEALING GOAL that you will work with on a daily basis. Make sure that this goal is something that is really important and meaningful to you. It should make you feel good imagining yourself having achieved that goal.

2. Create a picture in your mind’s eye that would indicate to you that your goal has already been accomplished. For example, if your goal is to heal from your past relationship and be even better off than you were before, your inspiring outcome might be that you are walking down the street, your head held high, looking gorgeous and feeling empowered, amazing, light and free. Your ex walks past you and calls your name. You wave and feel grateful and inspired. There is no worry or angst remaining as you go over to say hello. Your inspiring outcome is the end result. (You don’t have to have your ex in your goal, this is just an example).

3. To find your inspiring outcome, ask yourself the following three questions:

a. “How would I know that my goal had been accomplished?”

b. “Where would I be and what would I be doing when my goal has been accomplished?”

c. “What will I see, hear, and feel when my goal has been accomplished that will indicate to me that my goal is realized?”

4. Write out your HEALING GOAL describing in exact detail what you will see, hear, feel (emotionally and physically), taste and smell when your goal is complete.

Express your goal in all five senses:

• V – Visual (sight)

• A – Auditory (sound)

• K – Kinesthetic (feeling, both touch and emotion)

• G – Gustatory (taste)

• O – Olfactory (smell)

As your mind experiences reality, it filters reality through your five senses i.e. it receives input from what you are seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling.

Research shows that when you use your imagination like this, you can create an imagined experience so real that your mind cannot tell the difference between your imagined experience and reality. When this happens and your mind believes that your imagined experience is actually real, chemical reactions take place in your brain, effectively storing your imagined experience into your memory banks as if it were a real memory.

As you repeat this process of imagining over time, you can program new false memories into your mind. Your mind can then use these false memories as the basis for creating your reality.The end result of all this is that you can begin to think, feel and behave in new, more productive ways that will lead you closer to your goals. New ways of thinking, feeling and behaving have you attract new opportunities and resources into your life to help bring your dreams and goals into reality.

Note: You can hear each suggestion and can RELAX in the knowledge that YOU are making POSITIVE changes to your subconscious mind.

Example HEALING GOAL

Imagine that your inspired outcome for realising your perfect HEALING GOAL is to see yourself dancing and looking incredible and being adored by all the men around you. You feel amazing! Here is an example of what you might write down describing your HEALING GOAL.

Visual: (sight)

Flashing lights, bodies moving to the music, smiling people, arms up in the air, catch reflection of myself in the mirror looking amazing, gorgeous guys smiling at me and making motions towards me, champagne in tall glass…

Auditory: (hearing)

Hearing the music, glasses clanking together, murmuring of voices, laughing, guy asking me to dance etc…

Kinaesthetic: (touch)

Cold champagne in hand, feel warmth of a body next to mine, the touch of the fabric against my skin etc…

Kinaesthetic: (emotions)

Happy, contented, empowered, at peace, warm heart, excited, peaceful, grateful, appreciative, joy, mind quiet etc…

Gustatory: (taste)

Salty as I lick my lips, champagne etc…

Olfactory: (smell)

Champagne, after-shave etc…

Note: Before you program your mind, it is important to get specific about what you want to program your mind with. Fill in your HEALING GOAL using single words or short phrases. An example of what a completed HEALING GOAL looks like can be found below.

VAKGO sensory elements

To help you extract the VAKGO information from your HEALING GOAL, I have included a list of some sensory elements that make up each of your five senses.If you find yourself having difficulty creating some of the sensory information in your HEALING GOAL, go through the list below for the particular sense that you are working on, and see if it jogs your imagination.

Visual elements:

Objects

People

Shape

Size – big / small

Color

Brightness

Contrast – light / shade

Texture

Auditory elements:

Volume – loud / soft

Distance – near / far

Quality – clear / distorted

Background sounds

Kinaesthetic (touch) elements:

Temperature – hot / cold

Wind / water / rain against skin?

Texture and pressure

Clothing – how your clothes feel against your skin.

Are you holding anything in your hands? / Are you touching anything?

Are you sitting or lying down – if so, what does that feel like?

Movement and posture

Kinaesthetic (emotional) elements:

Emotional quality – e.g. joy, excitement, pride, gratitude etc…

Intensity – strong / weak

Location in your body – e.g. heart area, solar plexus area, head area.

Gustatory elements:

Texture

Intensity of taste

Hot / cold

Sweet / sour / salty

Olfactory elements:

Pungency / intensity of smell

Smells good / bad

Distance – close / far

MY HEALING GOAL

Date: ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

My HEALING GOAL is (no more than a simple paragraph):

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

My inspired outcome is…

(write one or two sentences summarizing your outcome):

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Visual (sight)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Auditory (hearing)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Kinaesthetic (touch)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Kinaesthetic (emotions)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Gustatory (taste)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Olfactory (smell)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Till next time,

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