How to deal with the delusional optimist

  • Can you think of a friend who haphazardly or even recklessly makes illogical decisions without first considering the consequences or potential outcomes?
  • Does your line manager or business partner easily sweep issues and concerns under the carpet with careless dismissal of the impact this would have on workforce morale or workload?
  • Is there a member in your family who is quite good at ignoring common apprehensiveness or unease, who may come across as a bad listener?

If there is someone in your personal or professional life showing these kinds of behaviours, it could be that you are having to deal with a delusional optimist.

During a week-long school trip to Shrewsbury in year 6 (ages 10-11), our year group were divided into smaller groups for a group activity. I really loved this group activity, and even now I tend to use it as a team-building exercise for already existing working groups (or families)! One at a time, we had to wait outside the room whilst the others discussed which animal he or she was most like, and to describe his or her qualities. When it came to my turn, I was described as a nightingale because I sang and because I was an optimist. It was the first time I’d ever heard the word optimist (to my recollection); and have felt close to it ever since! 

What is ‘optimism’?

We have all heard of optimism. Optimism’s root, called ‘hope’, is a foundational virtue for its rise in the human heart and provides its nourishment. Loss of hope results in a loss of optimism, for optimism cannot survive without hope. Judeo-Christianity defines hope as the ‘greatest of all God’s gifts’, together with the other theological virtues of faith and charity. One of the earliest use of the term ‘optimism’ is in the work of Leibniz in the early 1700’s, but in modern history, the scholarly works into mental health of Fromm (1955), Freud (1966), Taylor & Brown (1988) and Seligman (today looked up to as the father of positive psychology) bring us to the popular definition of ‘optimism’ as we know it today, which is ‘a generalised expectation that good things will happen’ (Carver & Scheier, 2009) and is regarded as an attributional style (Seligman, 2006), a trait (Carver & Scheier, 2009) and an inherent human characteristic (Sharot, Riccardi, Raio & Phelps, 2007). 

Excessive optimism

As with all things of nature or spirit, balance exists and must be attained. It’s one of my life’s missions, to acquire balance in myself, and to help others attain it too – not just physiological balance (what is called homeostasis), but in all things that ontologically touch a human’s personhood. What we need for optimal performance must be at the right amount. Otherwise, it’s not good for us. This is a truth as pertains to both natural and supernatural law. 

A helpful analogy for balance is our daily intake of vitamins. Let’s take vitamin C. We only need 40mg of this vitamin a day for optimal performance. A chronic deficiency in this vitamin will eventually cause problems. Likewise, too much of this vitamin will eventually cause different problems (you can check my vitamin C factfile for more info about this). Imagine… we only need 40mg of vitamin C a day, and yet, people take 1000mg daily of this vitamin daily, believing that the more it’s consumed, the better the body will be for it. This is, quite simply, delusional, and potentially dangerous or painful (as it can exacerbate issues like hemochromatosis or oxalate-formed kidney stones, etc.). In fact, as a water-soluble vitamin, our bodies have a very, very clever way of eliminating any excess or unmetabolized vitamin C through our urine, so that we don’t have too much of it in our system at any one time.

The same concept must also be applied to the amount of optimism we require for peak performance as human beings. Ironically, people tend to think of the opposite of optimism as pessimism. However, I would disagree with this. I would argue that the opposite of pessimism is something called acedia (a hopelessness or spiritual depression. In the Christian faith, it is a desolation of sorts). The scope of this blogpost isn’t to deal with acedia or even explore it. However, I have done a lot of reading on this state and would be happy to write about it if it’s of interest to readers. The scope of this blogpost is to develop thought and gain insight on how to deal with a ‘delusional optimist’, but what is that? In 1988/89, ground-breaking work by psychologists Taylor and Brown claimed that although optimism is normal and natural, positive illusions, as differentiated between ‘inflated positive self-perception’, ‘exaggerated assessments of personal control’ and ‘unrealistic optimism’ present an inaccurate view of reality. With this realisation came the warning that illusions can be taken to excess, and when the ‘margin of optimal illusion’ is surpassed, we end up battling with the costs of delusional optimism.

Actions, behaviours and attitudes of delusional optimists – and how to deal with them

Please note that this list of actions, behaviours and attitudes are not strictly limited to delusional optimists. They could be signs and symptoms of other issues, conditions or even be a regular trait in certain personality types. 

Stubbornness

Delusional optimists are often very stubborn about the end to which they’re being optimistic about. This is just a result of their strong conviction that ‘things are going to be fine / work out the way they should’. This conviction can cause their ears and their hearts to disregard the genuine worries of others, which is why it’s important to remember that when dealing with someone operating in this mode, they are not purposely ignoring YOU. Also, it is understandable why one might become suspicious of their actions when they don’t openly communicate their intentions aloud. Don’t take their disinterest in your concerns personally. They are just highly convinced and are already committed in their hearts to a course of action that they fundamentally believe is best for everyone, and nothing but a crisis can wake them up from this delusional stupor. If the course of action leads to disaster, it may be easier to accept it as such, and to learn big lessons from it. However, if the course of action proves to be a success, then this delusional optimist deserves credit and praise for their dedication and commitment, as well as the courage it took to achieve the success (no matter how blind or ill-considered it was). 

Over-confidence

This behaviour makes sense if we ruminate on Taylor and Brown’s ground-breaking work as mentioned above. A delusional optimist may possess an inflated positive self-perception. This is when his/her subjective judgement signals self-possession of ‘better than average’, or maybe even ‘the best’, in quality or quantity: attributes, characteristics, skills, or abilities compared to others. They can tend to make exaggerated assessments of things they believe they have more control of or in, than they do in reality. This is due in part to the idea that what is objectively considered risky, may not be subjectively deemed so by the person. The phrase ‘throwing caution to the wind’ would ring bells here. A delusional optimist is a risk manager’s worst nightmare! In practice, the unrealistic optimism of such a person could cause an underestimation of resources and requirements to bring a project to success, or equally cause an overestimation of planned outcomes that would result in major losses (e.g. in money, relationships, time, reputation). However, being over-confident can have two distinct advantages. 1) Should a project work in favour of the delusional optimist, they’ll become a genius or somewhat of a hero figure among the pack, and 2) in the face of challenges, the delusional optimist has an uncanny ability to raise morale, motivation and performance, thereby increasing chances of success. Risk language doesn’t really work in convincing a delusional optimist to hit their pause button. If anything, it will only drive them further and more headstrong into their pursuit. In this situation, one must find a way to keep the motivation of the delusional optimist up whilst tactfully communicating the potential benefit or advantage of pulling back the reigns as attractive and positively aspirational. Killing their confidence wouldn’t be a good way to gain healthy results.

Irresponsibility

It might appear that the delusional optimist exhibits flagrantly irresponsible behaviour. The issue with this perspective is that, this would not be their perspective. When combining my points on stubbornness and over-confidence above, we are left with this: the unease of having to deal with decision-makers appearing to ignore responsibility. Where decisions have little to no impact on people, assets or liabilities, then objectively, responsibility lessens. If decisions have major impact on people, assets or liabilities, then responsibility understandably increases, and quite drastically. In a world where all things are equal, simple ‘what if’ questions may suffice for alerting someone to address their responsibility – however, this rarely works for the delusional optimist. The coaching style here would alter slightly to – in a way – work ‘backwards’. Helping them foresee any ‘fire-fighting’ activity that might come their way post-event, could be the best eye-opener for them.

Conclusion: Behaviour change through motivational interviewing

The best time to inspire behaviour change so that this optimist can continue to be an optimist, but a realistic one, is when they’re not focused on a project that they are already certain would be a crazy success! Working during a time of lull or when enthusiasm isn’t heightened would be helpful for bringing in some objectivity into their subjective reality. Motivational interviewing is a highly recognised technique for supporting clients see reality more clearly, and to make healthy life changes.


I’m Claz, a personal health, life & career coach as well as a massage therapist based in West London, accredited in the UK. You can book a session with me here or sign up to my workshops on my Eventbrite Page. Upcoming workshops include personal resiliency training.

Learning Emotional Intelligence according to your Learning Style

Learning Emotional Intelligence according to your Learning Style

I’ve recently been engaging in a few Emotional Intelligence (henceforth EI) conversations on LinkedIn and it dawned in me that it might be helpful for people to see some tips for learning emotional intelligence according to their learning styles. For the sake of this article, let’s assume you already know what your learning style is. If you don’t already know what it is, the diagram to the right, which is based on Honey & Mumford Learning Style theories will help you determine what it (or they, if you have a blended approach to learning) is.

The next thing is to understand what EI is and which EI model is being referring to below. Salovey & Mayer (1990), prominent researchers in the field of EI defined emotional intelligence as “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s own thinking and action”. This line of work has helped us to understand that people vary in their capacity to recognise, comprehend, utilise, communicate and manage emotions and that these differences influence people’s performance in a variety of contexts, including relationships and work.

In 1999, Salovey, Mayer and Caruso developed a model that considers one’s ability as a set of competencies within the parameters of the above definition. This Ability Model presents 4 domains:

  • The ability to perceive emotions
  • The capacity to use emotions to facilitate thinking
  • The ability to understand emotions
  • The ability to manage (or regulate) emotions

The most recent model of emotional intelligence was developed by Petrides and his team in 2007 and consists of four components:

  • Wellbeing: Confidence & self-esteem, optimism, and happiness
  • Sociability: Social competence & awareness, assertiveness, and the capacity to manage other people’s emotions
  • Self-control: Stress management, low impulsivity, adaptability, self-motivation, and emotion regulation
  • Emotionality: Emotional perception of oneself and others, emotion expression, relationship, and conveying empathy.

It is this model, the Trait Emotional Intelligence model that I’m applying the Learning Styles to. Let’s explore how emotional intelligence can be learned according to your learning style. 

For the ACTIVISTS among you

The best way for activists to learn to perceive emotions, improve capacity to use emotions for thinking, and understand and manage emotions, is by experiencing these things personally and absorbing the lessons presented experientially. When those things are lived out in daily life or a life event, activists are better able to connect dots in their minds and hearts that were once hypothetical or assumptions-based about their emotional intelligence. Turning their personal EI into a life project or short-term practical assignment that is measurable and tangibly impactful is the most natural way for activists to develop those skills. Activists are generally self-development oriented, so they’ve got this motivation behind them.

A draw back with this learner style is that activists tend to look for the next big challenge without really having reflected on the learning from the previous lesson. Once this blind-spot has been recognised, it’s really important for the activist to take their time to reflect well, instill deep in themselves all the learning that they took out of those lessons, and to figure out how they can translate that learning into actions that improve their wellbeing, sociability, self-control and emotionality in the future. 

Here’s a few ideas for activists:

  • Take the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (short version) (you’ll need to make a £30 donation to the company) and then see where your strengths and weaknesses are. Decide what you might want to develop. Self-analysis is very important to do every 1-3 years of our life.
  • Seek feedback from others in order to gain wider perspective. You might come to an emotional conclusion on something that another has not come to the same emotional conclusion on. This requires real two-way communication.
  • This one will take a lot of humility, but it’s a super effective one: ask others to give you their opinion on your reactions to things. You will learn an awful lot, or an awful lot will be affirmed for you! This will serve to educate your self-control as well as your emotionality.
  • Perseverance is key for you to reach that potential for growth in emotional intelligence. Where the temptation is to skip onto the next thing that you might be good or better at, you are in the here and now… so don’t lose out on this opportunity that could potentially be a game-changer for you in the future. Think ‘slow down, reflect & absorb’.
  • Take responsibility for how you’ve made others feel. Then put into practice your action points. Here’s where you up your sociability game.
  • Connect with your own emotions, come to understand them in your inner reality and accept that they exist. People have different ways of doing that. My way is to shrug my shoulders, smile and say… OK! Well to wellbeing, I say!

For the REFLECTORS among you

Reflectors learn primarily through observing credible and experienced role-models. The method that works best for them is in-person but standing back from the action and pondering from the sidelines. They like to discuss reflections and plans with a mentor who they feel can walk the talk. Having said that, reflectors surprisingly also pick up these lessons from books, articles and case studies. As the most cautious and most reluctant risk-takers of all four types of learners, reflectors tend to come to emotional conclusions after they have had a good, long and thorough think-through of the situation, collecting and analysing as much data about the experience or event in order to come to the most informed decision possible. Is it any wonder they tend to make the best listeners, and be the last to speak in meetings and discussions! They’re often the last to jump to conclusions or make rash judgements too.

Because of their extremely cautious nature, reflectors may delay their learning in emotional intelligence. This is mainly due to the foreseeable risk-taking involved in being emotionally intelligent. Reflectors will understand well that emotional intelligence is proven in practice.

Here’s a few ideas for reflectors:

  • Start. Just start. Trust in your own abilities to learn along the way. Once you’ve started, don’t stop. Build up your courage to keep going. Learning by mistake is a much better outcome, than by not learning at all.
  • Approach role models for their stories and/or ask friends, family, acquaintances to share with you how they learned to manage risks, build confidence, become socially aware, develop self-control and regulate their emotions.
  • Watch YouTube videos on the subject.
  • Observe yourself as much as you observe others. Since reflectors generally love taking notes, note down how you react to people and how you make judgements about a situation. Reflectors tend to do really well with journaling.
  • Learn more about risk management.
  • Use your wonderful observational and reflection skills to spin the mirror on yourself. What are you learning about yourself? What needs working on, or a different approach? If there is a blockage on self-reflection: a) imagine this experience took place in third person (don’t habitualise this though) and write down your learnings, and b) address the inability to self-reflect.
  • Self-evaluate against the 2007 EI components above.

For the THEORISTS among you

Concepts. Theorists love to understand and rationalise concepts. Consider concepts and theories as the foundational building blocks to a Theorist’s learning. Anything nonsensical is often anathema to a Theorist, and therein lies a potentially huge problem since some of the most acute emotions we experience are seldom logical! So emotions can become a problem to be solved in the Theorist – and they’re likely to do that through theory-based courses with well-qualified and experienced trainers, well-written manuals or books and articles. Our Theorist friends are the most analytical and rationalistic of all four learning types because of how much they naturally value principles, theories, models and systems thinking. 

The greatest struggle for the Theorist when it comes to learning emotional intelligence is the two-way blind-spot of assimilation. Firstly, the theorist may automatically separate one’s own personal experience from the analysis – as if it were a hypothetical situation. Take for example, grief. To learn and grow from grief requires a genuine lived and felt experience of every nuance that comes as part and parcel of grief. Theorising the situation removes from it authentic human experience. Sometimes, the human experience is beyond theory and logic, so must be lived rather by mystery and what is super (above/beyond) – natural: supernatural. Secondly, should the theorist be able to rationalise the experience into a logical scheme and thought, the risk is to leave it as such, and not use this new-found knowledge to learn about oneself, and to reach the deep human lesson of the self from it. The potential detachment between theory and lived experienced, and discomfort caused by subjective judgement is something that theorists need to watch out for in their learning.

Here’s a few ideas for theorists:

  • Spend time, on occasion, focusing solely on knowing yourself. I’ll repeat that. Knowing yourself. Not rationalising yourself. Just… knowing yourself. There is a greater intimacy between knowing a person and rationalising a person. EI is personable. Yes, it might be unnatural at first… but build a routine habit of it. Getting to know yourself will be a huge step in learning EI.
  • Get in touch with your perception of the world – living and non-living things. This will boost your wellbeing and emotionality levels.
  • Yes, facts and the objective is very, very important. In fact, it’s critical. But so is the subjective experience – otherwise, how can one say something is ‘real’? Philosophers have spent many years exploring the balance between the intellect (the guiding force behind rational thought) and the will (the guiding force behind subjective experience).
  • Theorise on this: Realist Phenomenology
  • Find a way to systemise or analyse your emotional reactions over a longer period of time. Study the data, what does it reveal to you?
  • Even though you may be able to detach your subjective experience from a logical occurrence, it doesn’t mean that others can do that as easily. If for example at some point you’re perceived as ‘indifferent’ or ‘uncaring’, this is a sign or a signal that someone else’s feelings have been triggered or impacted by your actions or words at a deep emotional level.
  • Take responsibility for your words and actions, and make efforts to listen ‘to the heart’ of the people in your life. Learn to be sincere in your apologies.

For the PRAGMATISTS among you

Pragmatists who actively develop their EI are their own real-life project and are perhaps the most keen of all learning types on self-development and self-growth. Transforming their learning into practical use is one of a pragmatist’s greatest strengths, and this is why they greatly value the help of someone who gives valuable feedback and coaching. Knowledge can’t just remain theoretical to the pragmatist… they’ll want to see it brought to life in practice, and enjoy trying out new things, new ideas and experimenting. So when it comes to learning EI, they are generally open to constructive criticism and tend to be more open to change in themselves. Pragmatists really do thrive on knowledge and have a special love of learning. Others who support pragmatists would be encouraged to champion the energy and excitement of some new idea or project proposal that has generated a speed of action, confidence and motivation. They’re fast learners and fast movers generally though – so supporters can equally be encouraged to help pragmatists pause for a moment and consider all option.

The danger of the pragmatist is that they can enjoy experimenting so much, that they risk bringing this ‘experimentation’ into their most valuable and important relationships, doing some serious damage along the way. In order to progress and develop themselves, pragmatists might be willing to, or adopt an attitude of, using or ignoring the other person to achieve this. The warning signs of this are when the subjective reality (the feelings and experience) of the other person is no longer of concern to the pragmatist. This is when the pragmatist has the most amount of learning and self-reflection to do! Having said that, they are real natural problem-solvers, and an emotionally developed pragmatist will have both the knowledge and the means to restore relationships (at least from their end). 

Here’s a few ideas for pragmatists:

  • Know that a lot of decision-making is pragmatic for you. Sometimes, this isn’t always the best course of action. Consider other options on occasion too, before taking action.
  • Take the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (short version) (you’ll need to make a £30 donation to the company) and then see where your strengths and weaknesses are. Decide what you might want to develop. Self-analysis is very important to do every 1-3 years of our life.
  • Attend an EI course or workshop.
  • Have a long-term coach in your life who will help you increase your awareness of personal wellbeing, sociability, self-control and emotionality. Hire a coach specifically for this, and watch your EI growth accelerate! 
  • Don’t forget to examine your reactions to distressing situations. Develop action plans for mitigating risks in making same mistakes over and over.
  • Check in on your emotional wellbeing for yourself, but also through the feedback and opinion of those closest to you.
  • Accept that you’ll always be a work-in-progress (WIP)!
  • Build in a routine of ‘preparatory work’ into the early stages of your learning journey. Ask yourself: “how will my actions affect others?” “How will my decision impact others?” “How can I help others manage the impact of my decision?” 
  • Remember that we can’t change other people. We can only change ourselves. Other people aren’t problems to be solved, but human beings to be loved.

I’ve opened up this post for comments and discussion! Feel free to share your thoughts, corrections, opinions, suggestions etc! 


I’m Claz, a Life & Career Coach working with individuals as well as organisations, accredited in the UK. I am also a holistic massage & wellbeing therapist based in West London. You can contact me through my website www.touchofclarity.com and sign up to my workshops on my Eventbrite Page.

12 Weeks to a healthier YOU: 2021 REVIVE ME CHALLENGE

FB cover - 12 week healthy eating wellbeing programme - Jan 20-4

A 12 week action-focused community-led Health & Wellbeing Programme designed to progress you into looking, feeling and BEing healthier by Spring 2021!

Education. Accountability. Support. Action plan. Fun. Achieve.

Dates: On Wednesdays from 6th January – 31st March 2021 @ 20:00 GMT (London time). Half term (17th February) is taken into consideration.

Location: LIVE online webinar (Presentations delivered live online, and live community forum available for accountability and community support).

Presented by: Claz Gomez – Health & Wellbeing Therapist and Accredited Life Coach.

Cost: This will cost you: – your effort, – your time, – your commitment, – your heart, – your sweat, – your tears, – your sacrifices. BUT… you will see long term health changes that will prevent chronic illness, disease and pain. The benefits of a more balanced and healthier life far outweigh all the costs… most especially when hitting your 60’s-80s.

Format of the session: 1hr total: 20-30 min of webinar teaching. 10 min breakdown of weekly activities. 20 min live Q&A or free discussion with coaching.

Format of the week: Each person will be challenged with a set of tasks or activities to strive toward throughout the week. One of these is to motivate and support each other on the Winter 2021 Healthy Eating & Wellbeing Programme online forum (only nicknamed the HEW crew).

Who is this programme suitable for? This programme is for:

  • Individuals or families wanting to manage their weight and prevent obesity
  • Health enthusiasts needing a systematic boost in planning and motivation
  • Chronic disease and illness sufferers in need of relief from their physiological aches and pains
  • Individuals who want to optimise their physiological balance & performance
  • Smokers wanting to approach their cessation holistically
  • Stressed & burned out workers who desire to build a healthy routine into their lifestyle to promote recovery
  • Fitness fanatics recently rehabilitating from injury
  • Anyone who is simply striving to achieve better work/life balance
  • Those who are struggling with sleep issues

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Outline

Week 1: Know your body, your lifestyle & your history

Week 2: Establish your goals

Week 3: Integrative energy intake

Week 4: Menu planning & Healthy food preparation skills

Week 5: Self-awareness, Moderation and Portion Sizes

Week 6: Healthy Eating Check-in + Review

Week 7: Wellbeing Check-in + Review

Week 8: Metabolism & Physical activity

Week 9: Sleep, Stress, Self-care

Week 10: Detoxing, Fasting and Finding what might be right for you

Week 11: Movement & Exercise

Week 12: Living out your sustainable change

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Get in touch if you have any questions about this programme. Watch my video to learn about why I am putting on this programme.

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REFUND POLICY: No refunds within 7 days prior to start of the programme.

Bookings now open

hewsum19 booking button

ToC Tips for Sleep Wellness

Introduction

When we look up at the world, it’s not difficult to see how and why sleep wellness is reputed to be at its lowest point in terms of human priorities in all of modern history. We tend to try and find so many solutions to our physical, emotional, social, spiritual and psychological ailments during our waking day, when actually, the best solutions and remedies to these ailments occur naturally at night, when we sleep.

We need to wake up to the following facts:

  • Tiredness and fatigue are the primary cause of one in five (21%) GP consultations in the UK.[1]
  • The NHS in England is spending almost £50 million each year to ensure the nation gets a good night’s sleep and insomnia is a significant problem which now affects more than one in three adults.[2] 
  • Sleep deprivation in the UK workforce costed the economy £40.2 billion in loss of productivity in 2016 and it is estimated this will steadily rise to £47 billion by 2030.[3]
  • Workers who sleep less than six hours per day report on average about a 2.4 percentage point higher productivity loss due to absenteeism or presenteeism than workers sleeping between seven to nine hours per day.[4]

With all the things we would like to fit into our day, a really good starting point ought to be our sleep – since the quantity and the quality of it greatly influences our daily activity, energy levels and productivity, which in turn affects our daily achievements.

There is a multitude of techniques, methods, hints and tips on sleep wellness online. But here are my top tips for sleep wellness (learned from experience!).

Sleep Environment

Your Bed: Your mattress, your pillow, your bedding, it has to be right for you! It is really important to invest a good amount of your attention and time to getting the right bed and sleeping environment for yourself. Yes, it’s easier to buy beds and mattresses online, but how do you know it’s the right firmness for you and that you will be comfortable recuperating in it every day for the next 8-12 years? During this Covid-19 period, where we are seeing many shops closing down, one of the types of shops that I’m really praying doesn’t close down are bed stores – for the simple reason, that is very difficult for people to buy the right mattress and bed for them unless they’ve tried it out.

Bedding: We can be more flexible with bedding, but I’d say the main thing to consider the material that you choose. Cotton is a natural fabric. It is breathable, wicks moisture and stays comfortably cool against skin. Polyester, on the other hand, is a synthetic fabric and does not absorb water the way cotton does. It will trap moisture and heat in hot environments, which can make for sweaty and uncomfortable nights.

Room temperature: Another critical element to a good night’s sleep. In the summer we all know how difficult it can be to sleep well. If you don’t have an air conditioner in your bedroom, then we can learn about room-cooling techniques from the Mediterraneans. Provided you do not use the bedroom for any kind of daytime work, close the curtains and blinds during the day, as well as all the windows and any doors. In the evening, as it starts to get cooler, open curtains/blinds and windows wide to let air in to cool the room.

Light & Sound: Invest in real sturdy black-out curtains. If you’re choosing windows, opt for windows that not just look great, but block sound efficiently. Sometimes blocking out light and sound needs to become a priority, and extra measures need to be taken. My next door neighbour has the most enormous dog with arguably the most enormous bark, and if there’s a fox that sets him off at 02:30 in the morning, it instantly wakes me up. And I don’t mean snoozy kinda woken up. I mean really awake. So I know that if the dog hasn’t been taken to Richmond Park for a good workout that day, I know I have to stick earplugs in the ears. So… aids such as earplugs and blackout night masks can be most helpful sometimes. Note: Make it non-negotiable to pack these two things in your travel kit!!

It took me a month to find the perfect bed, mattress and pillow for me. That’s partly down to the fact that shops such as Dreams and Bensons for Beds exist! Thank you Dreams! And the other part is the fact that I did not want to regret my decision of beds further down the line. #JustSaying

Nutrition

Cut down on caffeinated drinks (note: green tea has caffeine in it). If possible eliminate caffeine from your diet except for treat days and special occasions.

Don’t eat 2 hours before going to bed, with the optional exception of an organic camomile (infusion is better than supplement) only – or organic ginseng infusion around 60 mins before bedtime. Another thing that can be considered in your diet is an organic magnolia bark supplement, which affects your HPA nervous system and has been known to regulate cortisol spikes during sleep – please do not take supplements without speaking to your GP, Nutritionist or Eastern Medicine Specialist first, especially if you are on existing medication.

De-Stimulation Techniques

Don’t look at a screen of any kind (including tv) at least 30 mins before bed to reduce visual stimuli. A Lumie clock is great for gradual de-stimulation of your optic nerves through the technique of light reduction. Another light-reducing technique is to focus on the flame of a single candle 5 minutes before you sleep without any other lights on, inhaling and exhaling in deeply and slowly. These techniques will help you fall asleep easier.

Rest-Inducing Techniques

Build into your routine (aim for fall-asleep time to be between 21:30-22:30) a relaxation ritual. Something like a self-massage (on feet, hands, neck, shoulders, arms & legs) or a 30 min hot bath will do wonders. You could soak unscented bath salts in some of the suggested essential oils in point 6 to increase the relaxing effects of bathing, preparing you for a good night’s sleep.

If you’re not into massage, perhaps just the thought of spreading a lotion might be a better option. There are lotions that can be spread on your skin to aid a good night’s sleep. I have two different brand lotions. One contains magnesium, lavender and camomile, and the other contains magnesium and melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in your body to encourage sleep and controls your sleep cycle. If you do this, just enjoy the process – make an effort to go slow with the lotion spreading, avoid rushing and be tender and caring to yourself and your skin. Put some love into it, and just that in itself will help you to relax.

Consistent Routines

To be frank, all the above and below suggestions can be built into a consistent routine. But there is one routine that requires extra special attention: that of your wake up time. Try to wake up every morning at the same time. I know the thought of weekend lie-ins seems absolutely glorious, but the effect of a lie-in on your circadian rhythm can be brutal as you head into the weekdays. Take a nap during the day if you need to try to make up for some sleep deficit, but try to stick to the same wake up time. Irregularity in this will affect your hormone balance, which in turn effects your immunity and your metabolism. Homeostasis is greatly disturbed when sleep regularity is disturbed, which is why quality of sleep is as important as quantity of sleep.

Important: Often, people who are trying to make health-related changes in their lives give up far too soon or too quickly. Don’t do this! Don’t just give up after one week and think that you’re not getting the results you’ve been hoping for. Likewise, 4 weeks is not long enough for your body to have made its changes for long-term effects, even if you have been super consistent and faithful to the plan. I would highly recommend that you give yourself 12 weeks (that’s just 3 months and only a quarter of the year) to give your body a chance to adapt to internal changes, thus seeing results. 12 weeks is applicable for any health-related changes and works as much for sleep as it does for body recomposition (let’s just cross-reference that to weight loss for this purpose), or smoking cessation, or healthy eating habits, or gut re-balance… or anything health, really!

Physical Exertion

Aim to ‘spend’ built-up energy caused by stress on a physically demanding activity at some point during the day. Human stress response is most naturally impacted by the secretion of cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine (although other hormones also impact stress responses) into the blood stream – and these can be regulated by exercise. Even something as simple as a 10 min hard plié workout (and example of a load-bearing, strengthening exercise) or a HIIT workout (which promotes supramaximal expenditure of energy /or anaerobic exercise) will help you re-balance, and work toward physiological homeostasis.

Natural Therapies & Remedies

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy solutions work wonders! I recommend an ultrasonic diffuser or nebuliser to release the oil fragrances for up to 4 hours into your sleep without burning the properties out. If you don’t use equipment, you could blend with carrier oils and massage the mixed oil onto your skin (use only therapeutic grade essential oils for this), or dab the oils onto a tissue that you have close to your nose when you are sleeping.

Calmative Oils (C): Calms and sedates the nervous system, mind, and reduces anxiety

Soporific Oils (S): Induces sleep

Hormonal balancing Oils (H): Motivates the endocrine system or balances hormone levels.

OILS: Valerian (S/C), Lavender (all), Sweet Orange (C), Petitgrain (C), Mandarin (C), Sandalwood (C), Clary Sage (C/H), Chamomile Roman (C/H), Neroli (C), Sweet Marjoram (So), Maracuja (C – not an essential oil, but a great sedating carrier oil for massage).

Important: Please seek professional advice from an aromatherapist if you are on medication, are pregnant, have sun sensitivity or have serious underlying issues as the effects of essential oils have an impact on the effectiveness of medication and pregnancy.

Herb remedies

Two very popular natural remedies in South Asian medicine for aiding sleep are ashwagandha extract and tulsi. They’re known to reduce stress & anxiety, buffer anti-oxidation in the brain, lower cortisol, increase muscle growth & strength, and improve fertility & reproductive health.

Vitamins & Mineral remedies

Some of the most important vitamins and minerals for aiding sleep are:

  • Magnesium
  • Iron (needs vit C for absorption)
  • Calcium (needs vit D3)
  • Boron
  • Vitamin C (necessary for iron absorption)
  • Vitamin D3 (necessary for calcium absorption)
  • Vitamin B

[please do not take supplements without speaking to your GP, Nutritionist or Eastern Medicine Specialist first, especially if you are on existing medication]

Pre-Sleep Release Techniques

Activities that help you to recollect yourself, your feelings and your mind may help you let go of the weight/burdens of that day. Meditation / Prayer, reading and spiritual moments or activities will help you to achieve this. The practice of examination of conscience helps me to find peace, and to also learn to accept my humanity in all its wonders and imperfections.

Brain dumping for the day – get all the last vestiges of the day’s worries, struggles and pains onto paper, and then throw the paper away, symbolising that you’ve let go of the day’s burdens and anxieties, and allow yourself to be at peace with who you are that very moment you fall asleep. Alternatively, journaling allows you to store those thoughts and feelings somewhere other than your head!

Understand your Sleep Wellness

Monitor your sleep activity every night using a Sleep app. I’ve been using the Sleep as Android sleep cycle app for at least 7-8 years now, and it gives me a lot of helpful information that helps me to monitor my sleep wellness.

Sleep Retreats

Particularly if you’re close to burnout, please, just STOP! Book yourself into a hotel and make a sleep retreat for yourself. Approximately every 2 years, I book myself into a sea-view hotel room for 7 days with the intention of recuperating physically and mentally, in order that I don’t burnout! About 50% of the focus of these 7 days is my sleep. If you have an interest in the programme I set for myself, please do get in touch with me and I would be delighted to share that with you. It would make this post too bulky to include it here, and there is a lot of wellbeing practice in it that needs thorough explanation. Note: I make other retreats that focus on other dimensions like my spiritual and emotional wellbeing. My point being that I don’t try to cram too much or set too many goals into one retreat.

Conclusion

So I have given you some techniques, methods and concepts that work for me. I’m of course also open to any thoughts you might have on this subject too! Feel free to leave comments below. I’m always learning new things, and love to learn about sleep. But I leave you with these words from The Sleep Council & The Sleep Charity:

“While diet and exercise have their parts to play in a healthier Britain, SLEEP is the catalyst that makes diet and exercise more effective – whilst also delivering significant additional health benefits. Clinicians are already ‘prescribing’ exercise, it is now time to ‘prescribe sleep’ to the nation.

A good night’s rest is essential to a healthy lifestyle – protecting you physically and mentally as well as boosting your quality of living.” ~ The Sleep Council & The Sleep Charity


I’m Claz, a holistic massage & wellbeing therapist based in West London, accredited in the UK. I am also a Life & Career Coach, working with individuals as well as organisations. You can contact me through my website www.touchofclarity.com and sign up to my workshops on my Eventbrite Page.


[1] National Hydration Council. GPs reveal UK ‘tired all the time’. https:/www.naturalhydrationcouncil.org.uk/press/gps-reveal-uk-tired-all- the-time/#footnotes1 (accessed December 2019)

[2] Daily Telegraph (2012). https:/www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/ news/9257191/Sleeping-pill-cost-to-NHS-almost-50m.html (accessed December 2019)

[3] Hafner M, Stepanek M, Taylor J, Troxel WM, Van Stolk C. (2016) Why sleep matters — the economic costs of insufficient sleep: A cross- country comparative.

[4] The Sleep Council & The Sleep Charity, 2020 Sleep Manifesto. Sleepcouncil.org.uk

Dear leader, use positive assertiveness at all times. When necessary, use ‘no’.

When I was 13 years old, I went on a retreat. At the start of the retreat, we were put into the same group and had to remain in that same group throughout. In our final group exercise, we had to come together with our group leaders. One person would be asked to leave the room so that the rest of the group could pick an animal that he or she could be compared with, and to explain why. Believe it or not, I still use this as a team-building exercise for already existing teams if I deem the individuals in the team to be mature enough to see the analogousness of it, because I appreciated what it did for my confidence and for my trust in my little group. It’s surprisingly effective! When it came time for me to be compared with an animal, I was not expecting the comparison I received! I was compared to a nightingale. The group listed many reasons for the comparison, but the one word that really stood out for me was ‘optimistic’. In some mystical way, that word has shaped my life; my beliefs, my attitudes, my behaviour. Until I first entered the corporate world, I was as liberated in my ‘yes-ness’ and optimism as I was in my creativity. And then… I learned all about risk.

About positive assertive communication and the ‘NO’

What has this story got to do with positive assertiveness or saying ‘no’? Let us first establish what they are. Assertive Communication is a style of communication in which a person stands up for and respects their own needs and wants, whilst also taking into consideration the needs and wants of others, without behaving passively or aggressively. Positive Assertive Communication is about framing your thinking in a way that inspires a movement of love in your heart – so that your ‘no’ doesn’t close you off, but opens and frees you up to something (or someone) else! When you look at all the definitions on the web for the word NO, you’ll find the key word that stands out is negative (e.g. a negative vote or decision; an act or instance of refusing or denying… etc). These acts essentially block and close up – not just the other person, but yourself as well. As a natural ‘yes’ person, I have had to learn how and more importantly when to say ‘no’. We find ‘no’ more so in the corporate sector than in the charity sector, where there is naturally more generosity and spirit to serve within the organisational culture, and desire to make a difference.

Positive assertiveness is now something that more and more people are looking to assimilate into their personal and working lives. That’s why I am launching my first positive assertiveness & boundary setting workshop on Saturday 27th June 2020 at 3pm on Zoom. It will be an interactive opportunity to explore practical ways of positive assertiveness, as well as the ‘why’ for it all. The purpose of this blog is to speak a little more about the ‘no’ in relation to leadership, and when it is necessary to use it. This is where I say: Dear leader, use positive assertiveness at all times. When necessary, use ‘no’.

When is it appropriate to use ‘no’, then?

The leadership styles (I won’t go into leadership or management styles in this blog post) in which we would most frequently see ‘no’ is in the authoritative and bureaucratic styles of leadership. The best leaders in the world know how to use all 5 styles of leadership to suit the situation and the people, and have nailed their communication styles in order to implement the best courses of action in their team. Of course, this isn’t a step-by-step formula that leaders learn. They learned this through experience and decent self-knowledge! In management training, managers identify the two most common ‘no’ styles of management in the ‘tell’ or ‘sell’ management styles. Again, the best managers in the world master all 5 styles of management to suit the situation and the stakeholders involved. So when ought the ‘no’ come into ones leadership or management? Here are 3 key moments when the invitation of positive assertiveness needs to be put aside and a ‘no’ steps up:

  1. When there is a high risk of danger or severe hurt to yourself or to others. So many people knock health and safety. But guys, it’s a no-brainer. This shouldn’t be classed as a ‘duty of care’ exercise at all. It should be built into our intrinsic nature to care for and protect each other from danger or hurt for the due reason that we are human beings. When I’m driving on the road, I seriously appreciate ‘no’ signage – because it’s a prevention and deterrent to me putting myself in danger. This ‘no’ is a crisis prevention or crisis management measure. If a leader/manager sees a catastrophe or a crisis impending (i.e. it will happen, and it’s not speculative), they will rightly start putting on the breaks. What’s important here is that the good leader/manager will brief their team, ensuring that the team are fully communicated with and feel a part of the crisis prevention.
  2. When positive assertiveness has been exhausted. I get it. Sometimes, there is only so much positive assertiveness that can be applied until a ‘no’ must kick in. Someone who has set a boundary and now needs to make sure the other person understands and respects that boundary must do so by communicating that with them. My workshop explores how to do that positively in more detail. But what happens if the recipient isn’t responding as you would like to the positive assertiveness? There are two further courses of action. The first course could be to use a slightly more aggressive assertiveness. At no stage should the assertiveness be passive. One ought always to be aware of and sensitised to their impact on the other person. To be passive assertive is to allow oneself to be indifferent to their impact on the other. This is neither caring nor emotionally intelligent! Slightly aggressive assertiveness pushes on the firmest edge of ‘firm’ and the most uncomfortable end of ‘comfort’. The second course could be to put in the strict ‘no’. Just remember two main things if this option is the last recourse to action: a) The ‘no’ must come from a place of goodwill for others and the main people involved, not from an abuse of manipulation, control and/or power, and; b) it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. It’s worth thinking how the other person would best respond before jumping into this last resort.
  3. Compliance. We touched on this briefly with health and safety in point 1. When it comes to compliance, there is no airy-fairy way of ensuring legislation is complied with, unless there is clarity on the boundary. These sets of rules are not optional. Most people will see the benefit of the rules quite naturally, but some people do like to consider themselves as ‘rule-breakers’, and get a kick out of pushing their limits. At some point, the ‘no’ kicks in here. If you are a parent, this balance is one you will already be familiar with. The only difference is that you’re not parenting a toddler, but managing/leading grown ups. Having said that, some of the best leaders and managers in the world are looked up to as ‘father-figures’ and ‘mother-figures’, and there is something very beautiful and life-giving about that.

Risk management plays a big part in the ‘no’ word or action. Good leaders and managers have superhero risk mitigation and management skills – either learned through study, experience or naturally developed whilst growing up. It is for this reason that ‘no’ can and should be used, when necessary.

What if I’m the person used to being told ‘no’, and it really gets to me?

Flip the other side of the coin… if you are the recipient of the ‘no’, then the method I use to give the other person the benefit of the doubt as to whether his/her ‘no’ was personal (on either side) or not, is to think about all the risks that the ‘no’ was preventing. Undertaking this small analysis tells you much more about the priorities of the leader and any underlying issues than most outward communication from the leader would. That is, unless your leader or manager is very open and very honest (I appreciate these leaders very much!). The reason why I brought up the ‘no’ as a personal affront or defence, is because in some cases, a manager might feel threatened in some way by their direct report, and so they develop a habit of saying ‘no’ to their direct report; even if the direct report’s suggestion or action is actually good for the team and the organisational mission. This is personal. On the other extreme, the direct report is constantly being told ‘no’ without any clear business justification. This is likely to be personal. A key example of this latter one would be racism or any other form of discrimination in a team. If any of these are you, then I recommend coaching to address those issues and to help you make the right decisions for yourself moving forward.

 


I’m Claz, a Professional Career Coach based in West London, accredited in the UK. I am also a Life & Wellbeing Coach, working with individuals as well as organisations. You can contact me through my website www.touchofclarity.com. Sign up to my first positive assertiveness & boundary-setting workshop on Saturday 27th June 2020 at 15:00 on Zoom to learn more about the fundamentals alluded to in this post.

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February 2020 Newsletter

On Top 5 tips for weathering the storm called GRIEF

12

12 week LIVE online Healthy Eating & Wellbeing Programme – Winter 2020

 

12 week healthy eating wellbeing programme - Jan 20An action-focused Healthy Eating & Wellbeing Programme designed to progress you into looking, feeling and BEing healthier by Spring 2020!

Education. Accountability. Support. Action plan. Fun. Achieve.

 

Dates: On Tuesdays from 7th January – 31st March 2020 @ 20:00 GMT (London time). Half term (18th February) is taken into consideration.

Location: LIVE online webinar (Presentations delivered live online) + Live community forum available for accountability and community support.

Presented by: Claz Gomez – Healthy Eating & Wellbeing Therapist and Accredited Life Coach.

Cost: £54 for the entire programme. Includes online forum support. Individual coaching is available at additional cost. No refunds permitted within 7 days of the start of the programme.

Format of the session: 20-30 min of webinar teaching. 10 min breakdown of weekly activities. 20 min live Q&A with coaching.

Format of the week: Each person will be challenged with a set of tasks or activities to strive toward throughout the week. One of these is to motivate and support each other on the Winter 2020 Healthy Eating & Wellbeing Programme online forum (only nicknamed the HEW crew).


Outline

Week 1: Your Current Lifestyle & History

  • Description: Change behaviour and its impact on our general wellbeing, Personal eating history, Assessment of daily routine, Your weekly diary, Identify ‘red zone’ issues, Your body type.
  • Knowledge: Know thyself and thy history!

Week 2: Goals

  • Description: Establish your SMART goals for long-term effective change.
  • Knowledge: Your Why, Set Better Goals, Behaviour Goals

Week 3: Integrative energy intakeTOC - 8 Wellbeing Keys - White Background

  • Description: Enhance your intake of energy into the ‘healthier’ zone in all 8 areas of wellbeing. Primary focus on nutritional energy.
  • Knowledge: Essential nutrients for the human body, choosing the most appropriate diet for your goals that doesn’t allow you to compromise on the other 7 areas of your wellbeing. Time vs money vs wellbeing.

Week 4: Menu Planning & Healthy Food Preparation Skills

  • Description: What’s in your kitchen? What shouldn’t be in your kitchen? Re-arrange your diary so that you make time to prepare your own meals. Plan for the week.
  • Knowledge: Kitchen clean up, Being prepared, Weekly meal planner, Healthy snacking available from your own cupboards.

Week 5: Self-awareness, Moderation, and Portion Sizes

  • Description: Eat for your body type. 3 strategies to prevent overeating. Self-awareness, body awareness. Tracking your fullness level. Change what isn’t working.
  • Knowledge: Macro breakdown for your body type, Recommended portion size guide, Moderation, Calorie education.

Week 6: Healthy Eating Check-in + Review

  • Description: Use this week to catch up on the lessons and guides, really plan your shopping list and meal prep, ask questions, share where you are stuck, get involved in the community forum, etc.! Repeat often until things become a habit!
  • Goal check in – how are you doing? Struggle? Schedule a meeting/call?

Week 7: Wellbeing Check-in + Review

  • Description: Use this week to review your progress, assess the impact of your changes on the other 7 areas of your wellbeing (e.g. emotional, occupational).
  • Overall wellbeing check & impact assessment. Behaviour change checklist.

Week 8: Metabolism & Physical activity

  • Description: Adding exercise to the picture.
  • Knowledge: Metabolism education (incl. hormones leptin & ghrelin), HIIT + Strength Training

Week 9: Sleep, Stress, + Self-care

  • Description: The difference between self-care and self-comfort, the impact stress has on your body (and goals), and creating a healthy sleep routine.
  • Knowledge: Hydration, Good + Bad Stress, Caffeine effects, Self-Care, Sleep, Recovery, Wellness Pyramid

Week 10: Detoxing, Fasting and Finding what might be right for you

  • Description: Detoxes, gut health, and intermittent fasting…
  • Knowledge: Detoxes, Gut Health, Pre-biotics and pro-biotics, Fasting

Week 11: Movement

  • Description: While strength and cardio work is useful, your most optimal results you will come from NEAT movement and healthy eating as becoming a daily priority.
  • Knowledge: NEAT Movement

Week 12: Living out your sustainable change

  • Description: Your change journey
  • Knowledge: The Change Formula & using it to your advantage moving forward.

 

Bookings now open

with a 25% discount until Christmas Day!

 

hewsum19 booking button

12 week online Healthy Eating & Wellbeing Coached Programme

12 week healthy eating wellbeing coaching programme 02

Coaching you into a sustainable healthy lifestyle for life.

Education. Accountability. Support. Action plan. Fun. Achieve.

UPDATE: This programme has been postponed until January 2020.

More information to follow.

 

Dates: On Wednesdays from 5th June – 18th September 2019 @ 21:00 BST (London time). There is a summer break on dates 7th-28th August, resuming back on 4th September.

Location: Online (Presentations delivered live online, and community forum available for accountability).

Presented by: Claz Gomez – Accredited Life Coach and Healthy Eating & Wellbeing Therapist.

Cost: £36 (+processing fees) for the entire programme + online forum support. Individual coaching is available at additional cost. No refunds permitted within 7 days of the start of the programme.

Format of the session: 20-25 min of webinar teaching. 10 min breakdown of weekly activities. 20 min live Q&A with coaching.

Format of the week: Each person will have a set of tasks of activities to strive for throughout the week. One of these is to motivate and support each other on the Summer 2019 Healthy Eating & Wellbeing Coaching Programme online forum.


Outline

Week 1: Your Current Lifestyle & History

  • Description: Change behaviour and its impact on our general wellbeing, Personal eating history, Assessment of daily routine, Your weekly diary, Identify ‘red zone’ issues, Your body type.
  • Knowledge: Know thyself and thy history!

Week 2: Goals

  • Description: Establish your SMART goals for long-term effective change.
  • Knowledge: Your Why, Set Better Goals, Behaviour Goals

Week 3: Integrative energy intakeTOC - 8 Wellbeing Keys - White Background

  • Description: Enhance your intake of energy into the ‘healthier’ zone in all 8 areas of wellbeing. Primary focus on nutritional energy.
  • Knowledge: Essential nutrients for the human body, choosing the most appropriate diet for your goals that doesn’t allow you to compromise on the other 7 areas of your wellbeing. Time vs money vs wellbeing.

Week 4: Menu Planning & Healthy Food Preparation Skills

  • Description: What’s in your kitchen? What shouldn’t be in your kitchen? Re-arrange your diary so that you make time to prepare your own meals. Plan for the week.
  • Knowledge: Kitchen clean up, Being prepared, Weekly meal planner, Healthy snacking available from your own cupboards.

Week 5: Self-awareness, Moderation, and Portion Sizes

  • Description: Eat for your body type. 3 strategies to prevent overeating. Self-awareness, body awareness. Tracking your fullness level. Change what isn’t working.
  • Knowledge: Macro breakdown for your body type, Recommended portion size guide, Moderation, Calorie education.

Week 6: Healthy Eating Check-in + Review

  • Description: Use this week to catch up on the lessons and guides, really plan your shopping list and meal prep, ask questions, share where you are stuck, get involved in the community forum, etc.! Repeat often until things become a habit!
  • Goal check in – how are you doing? Struggle? Schedule a meeting/call?

Week 7: Wellbeing Check-in + Review

  • Description: Use this week to review your progress, assess the impact of your changes on the other 7 areas of your wellbeing (e.g. emotional, occupational).
  • Overall wellbeing check & impact assessment. Behaviour change checklist.

Week 8: Metabolism & Physical activity

  • Description: Adding exercise to the picture.
  • Knowledge: Metabolism education (incl. hormones leptin & ghrelin), HIIT + Strength Training

Week 9: Sleep, Stress, + Self-care

  • Description: The difference between self-care and self-comfort, the impact stress has on your body (and goals), and creating a healthy sleep routine.
  • Knowledge: Hydration, Good + Bad Stress, Caffeine effects, Self-Care, Sleep, Recovery, Wellness Pyramid

Week 10: Detoxing, Fasting and Finding what might be right for you

  • Description: Detoxes, gut health, and intermittent fasting…
  • Knowledge: Detoxes, Gut Health, Pre-biotics and pro-biotics, Fasting

Week 11: Movement

  • Description: While strength and cardio work is useful, your most optimal results you will come from NEAT movement and healthy eating as becoming a daily priority.
  • Knowledge: NEAT Movement

Week 12: Living out your sustainable change

  • Description: Your change journey
  • Knowledge: The Change Formula & using it to your advantage moving forward.

 

Bookings open up on Good Friday

with a 10% discount available over the weekend!

 

hewsum19 booking button

10 reasons why ‘failure’ is actually good FOR us

10 reasons why ‘failure’ is actually GOOD for us.

 

10. Failure builds up our resilience. Resilience is widely recognised as an essential life skill. One that enables us to fulfil our potentials, despite setbacks, difficult circumstances and adversity.

9. Failure gives us an opportunity to reflect and reassess ourselves. Whether that’s about skillset, character, motives, mindset, heartset, or current circumstances. An action plan is then likely to come out of this reflection! A life coach can help you with this.

8. Failure invites us to creative challenge. Rarely is failing an excuse to move or change the goals set for ourselves. This means reassessing the journey toward the goal. We might have to be more creative about it, and think out of the box as to how we’ll reach that goal. Either way, it’s a great opportunity for inspiration to take root and innovation to make an appearance.

7. Failure teaches us about what works and what doesn’t! This valuable knowledge is transferrable into all arenas of our lives. We must use this experiential knowledge wisely.

6. Failure exposes us to the depths of human brokenness – not just our own, but others’ as well. If someone is delighting in our failure, there is a reason for it. What is this reason?

5. Failure calls others to empathy and compassion… for US. Yes, my friend. We are loved… and sometimes, that love is best expressed through someone’s compassion and kindness toward us. Believe it or not, that compassion may just benefit you far more than it benefits the giver. Welcome to the economy of kindness!

4. Failure reminds us to remain humble. Where others would argue that failure helps us develop skills and character, we ought to remember that failure helps us to grow in virtue too. Virtues are keys to our spiritual potential – especially if one is Christian. If ever there was a rocket propellant to maturity, it’s failure!

3. Failure turns us into natural problem-solvers. Thomas Edison famously failed nearly 10,000 times on creating a commercially viable electric lightbulb. He attempted to solve the problem that caused each failure, remembering them all. It took nearly 10,000 problem-solving attempts to reach his success.

2. Failure brings us extraordinary life experiences, borne out of pain. Think about that one for a moment.

1. Failure only exists because the goal to reach has not been abandoned. Every failure strengthens our resolve to reach the goal, the target, and empty ourselves in authentic love. This is the most noble and greatest definition of success – to give everything of ourselves. During the Stations of the Cross I am always struck so deeply on the third, seventh and ninth Stations, when Jesus falls. For Our Lord, the goal of this particular journey was the Cross. Not the Resurrection. For each time He fell, LOVE lifted Him up to continue to the end. He gave it His all. He gave US His all. Love is worth falling for.

 

There is a distinct difference between something (or someone) being good to us, and being good for us. Certainly, it won’t feel that occasions of failure are good to us, but certainly, good comes out of all these the things, that they are ultimately good for us. Although we do benefit, it is still important to keep our eyes fixed on the ultimate goal.