Monday, 28 March 2011

Let go of the past

Kriss Akabusi gave the after dinner speech at the recent CIPS dinner and asked us to 'reference the past don't reside there'. I shared one learning from his speech on my Supplier Management blog. However as I reflect on March's theme of well being there's something else I'd like to discuss.

I'd like you to imagine that we all have 100 watts of internal energy to use everyday. These 100 watts are available to achieve everything we want in the day: all the thinking, all the moving, all the feeling, all the doing, all the being etc. Our eating , exercise , sleeping and thinking will of course impact whether these 100 watts are available but lets just assume for the moment that we're doing all the right things and have 100 watts available.

Which brings me to what other activities will reduce the level of internal energy available to get what we want done: our emotions. Or more importantly emotions directed at the past or the future. Whether that's reliving not getting that job 3 years ago, anger at your boss for something they said 6 months ago, frustration at ourselves for not taking action sooner or fear about the interview coming up in a month? These all take some of those 100 watts. On a very basic level the past has gone and the future has yet to arrive. The problem is we can spend all of our 100 watts revisiting the past or imagining the future and then find we have no energy available to undertake the tasks of today. Emotions are great and do let us know how we're feeling in the moment. However recycling the emotion so it becomes learnt behaviour and a belief rather than real emotion isn't helpful. The key is being aware when we're in the past or future, and therefore allowing our energy to drain away, and bring ourselves back into the moment.

How many of 100 watts did you lose today? and what do you need to stop doing to ensure you do have 100 watts tomorrow?

Alison Smith

Helping purchasing relationships maintain their energy 07770 538159

Friday, 25 March 2011

Childlike Wonder

This model used by Stephen R Covey in the 8th Habit demonstrates the relationship between all aspects of our life. That is each one of the elements impacts the other. So far in this blog this month I've shared my suggestions on how changes to your mind and body can significantly impact your life. This week I want to touch on the impact our Heart and our emotions can have. There's lots I could say but I was hoping I'd find a story from life to share and only got that last night!

Talk on the Chris Evans show of the new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang stories took me back to when I saw the musical. I just love musicals and when Chitty flew into the auditorium I'm not sure there was a child in the theater who had a smile wider than me :-). Which had me reminiscing about the Mary Poppins musical and the fabulous dancing to supercalifragilisticexpialidocious - or rather to suoicodilaipxecitsiligarfilacrepus. And then what about when Bert tap dances his way up the side and along the top of the stage curtains! Which meant last night there I was listening, and yes even dancing and singing, along to some of my favourite songs from musicals (you might want to turn your sound down little before using any of the links):

  • Seasons of Love from Rent - how do you measure a year?

  • Defying Gravity from Wicked - I still get goosebumps

  • Circle of Life from Lion King - what about those costumes?

  • Which had me remembering other acts that have amazed and inspired me:
    Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba - the trampoline sequence just has to be seen

    and finally I moved onto my other sing along at the top of my voice songs including:
    Affirmation from Savage Garden

    It's easy to buy into the current situation and believe it's that that's making us feel as we are - especially when it's not as we'd like it to be. We're upset because X did or said Y to us. The reality is we have a choice how we react and sometimes when life is getting us down we simple need to find that child like wonder to get that spring back into our step.

    What would bring some child like wonder into your life this weekend?


    PS I've so loved revisiting these again this morning and hope you all have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious weekend.

    Friday, 18 March 2011

    Babies do it best

    I stayed at a friends house late last night after attending the CIPS dinner in London. At 4 in the morning their 6 month old son woke and communicated he was hungry in the time honoured tradition.

    In my rather sleepy state I realised that babies are very good at noticing and then asking for their needs to be met - whether that's:

    • to be changed

    • to be fed

    • to be entertained

    • or just receive some TLC

    As we grow older it's as if we stop noticing we also need these things and certainly stop communicating to others how they can help.

    I wonder how your weekend would be different if you took a few tips from when you were younger?

    Wednesday, 16 March 2011

    "You just needed your brain re-tuning"

    My final blog this week was always going to be on exercise but I wanted it to be topical rather than just restating what we all hear time and time again about exercise. Which explains why I'm here again so soon after my last blog because I've got my example and blogging it on Friday pretending it had just happened wouldn't have felt right ......

    I woke this morning in one of those moods - negative, achy, dizzy and struggling to motivate myself. I'd even managed to convince myself that I might have a cold coming. I wondered about cancelling my personal trainer and taking to my bed. I realised, however, as he is often a better judge of my health than me, and since he's got me to the other side too many times in the past to ignore, that he might help again today.

    He arrived and very quickly decided to do something different and cut short the warm up and proceeded to give me my most strenuous session for a long while. Boxing - kick boxing - running!! He repeatedly asked me to push through my resistance and keep going when every muscle (and my head) just wanted to give up. At the end he just pointed out that all I had been thinking before the session was in fact not true and I had just done better than I had for many months "your brain just needed retuning."

    There was a lot going on not least the need to push through but please don't under estimate the power of exercise to shift how we're feeling. I know when we're in one of those moods it's hard to find the motivation and that's one reason I have a personal trainer - but there are other means of ensuring we keep on track e.g. I arrange to go to yoga with a friend to keep us both committed etc. For others it's simply finding a more convenient time.

    My plea is just ensure you do something because it really can make a difference.

    Sleep Scotland - England and Wales too

    It was announced yesterday that a teaching pack created by the charity Sleep Scotland is going to be used to help teenagers in Scotland to get enough sleep.

    In addition to highlighting the benefits of getting enough sleep they are also going to be advised on the impact of watching TV, using mobiles and computers late at night.

    A great example of a simple thing we forget about that can seriously impact our well being. Like all of what I'm sharing this month it's not new. I just hope, like me, you find the occasional reminder useful. If you have all the energy you need and are getting all you want done in life then you're already doing the right things for you. Of course that's the challenge - what works for you might not work for someone else. It's about finding what mix of work, rest and play, and all that encompasses, works best for you.

    So today's question is

    • Are you getting enough sleep?
    That is:

    • Do you know how much sleep allows you to operate at your optimum level?

    • Do you know what personally impacts your ability to get this much sleep?

    • Are you taking appropriate action to make any changes needed?

    Tuesday, 8 March 2011

    Loving what you do isn't enough

    I was listening to Aled Jones talking to Katie Melua this morning and she mentioned having to cancel her last tour due to ill health. She said it had come as as shock because she so loved what she did and thought that was enough. Aled then commented that when on tour himself he's constantly reminded by others not to live on junk foods.

    We don't have to look far in the media to be reminded "we are what we eat". Or the benefits of cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and processed foods. The difficulty, for me anyway, has been taking that information and making it meaningful enough to act as a motivator to make different choices. At some level we all know that too much of all these foods can have a negative impact on our health, weight, mind, energy, vitality, well being and yes even longevity. Yet many of us keep eating too many of these - or is it just me?

    As someone who is very sensitive to the impact of caffeine and alcohol it's not been difficult to cut them out (although I may have something to drink at the CIPS dinner of Thursday). However living on my own and working as I do has always meant I find it easy to skip meals and/or choose ready meals and also reach for the sweets mid afternoon to give me that extra oomph to get through the rest of the day.

    3 weeks ago I went on a food4life workshop that seems to have provided the motivation to start to make healthier choices. I'm sure much of what went on over the 3 days contributed to the change in mindset but 2 statements come to mind and, so far, have stopped me making choices that include ready meals, refined sugars and processed foods. These statements are:

    * Food is medicine
    * Our body doesn't recognise processed foods and doesn't know what to do with them!

    I'm not suggesting that these statements will miraculously change your actions. However if life isn't as you want it I'd strongly encourage you to find your own motivators to making healthier choices because they will ultimately make a big difference in ways I'm not sure we can always expect.

    Please do share what motivates you to make healthier choices - you never know it just may make a difference for someone?

    Alison Smith
    Helping purchasing relationships remain healthy

    This week I'm moving onto our Body's contribution to well being and our ability to have the life we want and get things done. Last week my blog touched on the Mind's contribution.

    Talking to yourself

    The theme this week is the Mind's contribution to us having the life we want. You see for all it's complexity and ability to do amazing things it's also very simple. If your mind hears something enough it believes it. So if you say "I can't" you probably wont!

    Yes it's that simple and before you start saying "I really can't" then just have a look at a previous blog that demonstrated a remarkable change around in my running times during PT. The only difference was I stopped saying "I can't", "It's difficult", "It's impossible", "But".

    Dr David Hamilton has written a number of books detailing the scientific changes that take place in our body when we're positive, kind, or show gratitude. These things really are as important as our five a day. Yes they can improve our health and therefore our ability to achieve things.

    So if you only do one thing this week can I encourage you to observe what you're saying to your self about: you, your abilities, your future achievements and reflect on how these are impacting how you're feeling and what you're choosing to do - or not do. If you think they might not be helping just try cutting them out of your dialogue and even better finding more positive and supportive wording instead. In fact don't just 'try' - DO IT.

    Do let me know how you get on.

    Seek first to know yourself

    Self awareness is the first step in emotional intelligence and it's certainly the first step when wanting to change things when you're not happy with your life. Without self awareness how would you know where to start? How would you know for example:

    * The truth of the current situation
    * What impact fear is having on the current outcome
    * What beliefs you have that may be helping or hindering you
    * How your language is impacting how you're feeling
    * Whether you need to push a head or pull back
    * What you get passionate about
    * Whether what you get passionate about is aligned with those around you
    * What you're motivated towards (pleasure) or away from (the pain)
    * Whether you're better working with others on the changes you want to make, or
    * If you're better doing it on your own, and
    * Which of mind, body, heart and soul is the best place to start.

    Understanding your answers to the questions above will certainly make life easier if you're wanting to make changes.

    Alison Smith
    Helping Purchasing Relationships become more self aware
    This blog is part of a series of blogs on making changes when life is just getting you down. Here's the first in the series I wrote earlier in the month.

    You have to put yourself first

    People often complain about their lack of energy or concentration, not getting anything done, hating their jobs or about failing relationships at home or work. That is people tell us they're not happy with their life.

    The challenge is we can all shout from the roof tops and tell them that they can do something about how they're feeling, that they can improve their relationships or can achieve more. But the crux is it requires doing something different and even more it requires them to make their life a priority.

    If a friend or colleague was not happy with their life what would you do? I bet you'd spend your time trying to get them back on track, to make them smile, to encourage them to take time for themselves. Why is it so often different when we try to do the same for our own lives?

    I was reminded about us having to put ourselves first today in a yoga class when someone was replying to texts between tracks. Her priority was the person needing the reply, and certainly not the tranquility she might have got from an hour of uninterupted yoga. She may have been right. How often, however, do we put others first when we know that it's really us that need the attention and tender loving care?

    The tips this month require those wanting to make changes to be prepared to put themselves first - even if it's only for 5 mins a day.

    Thursday, 3 March 2011

    Don't let it get so bad you smash up a cup cake shop!

    Source: via Alison on Pinterest

    My blog this month is going to explore the following plea from me:

    Please don't allow yourself any excuse for not exploring how to make improvements in your life. And I mean practical things you can do that could dramatically improve your energy, positivity and overall well being and joy for life. Thus allowing you to more easily achieve your goals and live your dreams rather than purely exist.

    In other words if you're not happy with how you're feeling, acting or the things you're achieving or not achieving in life, then please do stop using those excuses and do something. You know the excuses don't you:

    * I don't have time
    * I can't
    * It doesn't matter
    * I can't be bothered
    * I'm happy as I am
    * It wont change anything
    or even
    * It's my age you know

    The homeplay last weekend involved observing how you were feeling and then noticing the impact it had on other people and the impact it had on the outcome of what you were trying to achieve.

    If your answer was 'I was enthused, energised and very happy and it was contagious' you may already know what I'm going to say. If you didn't then for me the crux is this - if you're feeling negative, tired, anxious, angry, or just down right grumpy it can't but have a negative impact on your life e.g:

    * You don't go out to meet friends because you're too tired
    * You fall out with a close friend over something silly
    * You still don't take up that hobby you've been promising to do for years
    * You put on the video for the kids rather than go outside and play with them
    * You sit in front of the TV all weekend and eat rubbish
    * Your blood pressure sky rockets
    * You smash up a cup cake shop or worse (yes someone did just that)

    We often act as if that's what life has thrown at us and just get on with it and put up with the anxiety, the grumps and negativity. My blog this month will explore all those small steps we can all take to make the necessary changes - and some of them are sooooooo easy, and even more effective, and WILL make a difference - or your money back.