Personal Development

The art of Acceptance

There are moments we find ourselves having an extremely hard time to accept circumstances, especially those unpredictable changes we are not comfortable with.

 

We fight against acceptance in so many ways, mainly putting a lot of time and energy complaining about how unfair things are or constantly overthinking our unpleasant lack of control.

 

However, it is in the middle of these moments of mental and emotional struggling where we can create opportunities for our personal growth and even move forward effectively.


We just need to practice the art of dealing with acceptance.


Why is it so hard to accept?


Mainly because we tend to misunderstand the meaning of acceptance, by thinking we are ok with what is going on, or that we are giving up or that we are failing in taking control over the situation.


When we are in this mindset, it is reasonable that we will remain in a loop of unhealth obstinacy and anxiety.


Furthermore, being in the middle of a stressful situation, emotions enrage us due to the disruption of expectations and internal conflict in relation with the unfairness we experience.


How could we become better dealing with acceptance?


The art of dealing with acceptance lays in understanding the true meaning of acceptance:

  • Acceptance does not mean that we are giving up
  • Acceptance does not mean that we are ok with what is going on
  • Acceptance does not mean that we are failing.


Acceptance true meaning is that we acknowledge what is going on right now. This acknowledgement is valid for the current situation and only for what it is in this present moment.


It takes a lot of courage to dare see things as they are and stop refusing facts, but the moment we perform the acknowledgement of the circumstance we are in, we can clear our mind and focus all our power and energy in what really matters and stop the pointless and exhausting debate fighting what is already happening.


Acceptance is the strongest and wisest form of authentic awareness.


Finally, the next time you have the impulse to fight what is not under your control, keep in mind that practicing the art of dealing with acceptance will also strengthen your effectiveness, problem solving, strategic thinking and decision-making skills, because of the simple reason that acceptance is also a relevant component of a powerful self-leadership.

Mental Tools - Goals & Motivation

Did you know that mental tools used by athletes are also great tools that can help us to optimize our performance in relation to goals?

 

An exceptionally good technique to keep motivation when dealing with goals is that instead of working with only a result goal, we work with three parallel goals: result, performance and an emotional goals.

 

The concept states that when striving to achieve goals, it is not only about winning, but also about the way we reach them and how we feel about it.

 

Could this be applied in other areas? The answer is YES.

 

Let´s try an example.

 

Objective: You want to become a great public speaker

 

First goal-Result:

You can set the result goal with something that can be measured as for instance a feedback form where the audience can score your presentation from worst to best with 1 to 5.
You could formulate the result goal as “getting a score 5”

 

Second goal – Performance:

This goal is about thinking about your personal best.
You might get a result score lower than the 5 but the performance goal will help you to improve as the target here is only compared with your own previous performances.

It could be that this time your presentation is performed without notes, your body language is more relaxed. The performance goal is much more under your control than the result goal, as it is only your performance that matters.

This can involve feedback comments added to the score form so you get assessment from the audience, or subjectively assessing your own progress in relation with past presentations, which can either be a self-assessment, a coach, friend or a mentor making an assessment of your performance improvement.

 

Third goal – Emotional:

This goal is about that nice feeling of having done your best and know that you could not do better than you did.

 

The sweet thing of the performance and the emotional goals is that we have all the power to always reach them. Even though the result goal can feel motivating in the beginning, it has the disadvantage that we do not have full control over it.

 

We often devote too much of our goal reasoning only to the result but adding the performance and the emotion, we are allowing ourselves to identify our progress with specific parameters that will reinforce our motivation when most needed.

 

At the same time, we are becoming better to reveal and appreciate those unnoticed efforts that are already leading to that final success achievement.

Self-discipline & Will power

Have you ever felt weak to overcome negative habits or impulses such as unwillingness to act on your goals or experienced an absence of determination to move forward?


Then you need to strength your self-discipline and will power!


But aren´t these terms the same? What is the difference?


Self-discipline is the continuous methodical training we consciously perform with the purpose to develop and get positive outcomes in our life. Self-discipline use the behavioral cognitive system, where reflection and assertiveness remind us why we need to keep committed to our goals, while we deal with emotional impulsiveness.


By other part, will power, has been defined by psychology as the capacity to turn down a short-term temptation with the purpose to achieve a long-term goal.


Both will power and self-discipline, are powerfully connected to each other and when self-discipline becomes stronger, willpower becomes stronger too.


Furthermore, when we strengthen both skills, we feel more confident, more in control over our behavior and mentally stronger.


Below you will find three easy tips that will help you to boost your self-discipline and will power:


  1. Identify one reason to enjoy doing the things you need to do, to avoid resistance.

    For example, if you know you need to exercise more but you don´t like to do so, probably a good way to start doing it is by taking 10 minutes’ walk applying something you enjoy doing. Let´s say you love taking pictures. Then you can take the walk with your camera. Suddenly, the walk will become longer, better for your health and pleasant; as you are connecting the happiness of taking pictures with a healthy exercise.

  2. Make sure to formulate your goals clearly and divide them into easy small parts to spark your deepest motivation and facilitate the measurement of your progress.

  3. Create a learning environment around you, where failure is an important component to the path of your successful growth as a person, take daily reflections and learn from them.

Keep in mind that self-discipline and will-power are relevant to our personal development.


Additionally, both skills help us to have a more purposeful and mindful life, while becoming the better version of ourselves.

MINDTOOL


VISUALIZATION

Mental imagery, best known as “visualization” is a powerful tool for goal achievement and as mental training. It has been used for a long time, mostly by elite athletes to excel their performance.


But visualization is much more than just that. Visualization can be used in many other areas as for example create a “room for relaxation” to reduce stress, or even to create the life we want. This certainly has nothing to do with people living in a fantasy world, but several studies found that the visualization process itself has the power to prime our brain to look for signs to act on around us to facilitate the manifestation.


Visualization is used already by many of us. Many times, we visualize things we are afraid, worried about, or don´t want to happen. One example of this kind of visualization is the time we worried about how nervous we would be in a certain situation, that this happened for real. Another example is the time we trust our skills and competence to do something new that we later achieved.


If we are just aware of how powerful visualization is and use it focusing in what we want instead of focusing in what we don´t want, it can change the outcome in many aspects of our lives.


Below you will find three simple steps to help you perform your visualization process. Take a piece of paper and write your answers:


Step 1:
Decide what do you want and make sure to create a clear description of how your vision look like


Three questions that could help you with this step is:

What do you have for goal/vision?
How does this goal/vision look like in detail?
What do you have by your side that helps you to face challenges and keep motivated? Formulate in detail


Step 2:

Imagine your emotions and senses when your goal/vision come true, in detail


How does it feel achiving your goal?


Step 3:
Repeat the two steps above and establish the daily routine of identifying one thing that can help you to get closer to your goal/vision.


This will help you to create the foundation of continuity and grit that is needed to support your manifestation process.


Remember that the key of the visualization process is to know what we want (step 1). Once we are very clear and concrete of what we want to achieve, the step 2 and 3 will become both easy and engaging to carry on.


Give it a try!




The 90/10 Principle

One of the most powerful concepts for a life in balance, with decreased stress and increased wellbeing is Stephen Covey´s 90/10 Principle which states that 10 percent is about all the external factors that happens to us and the 90 percent is about the way we react to them.

 

What does this mean?

It means that unpredictable things happen, but we own the power of decision to choose the way we will respond to them.


Then, the circumstances we get into after our choice, will be the product of our own decision.

 

We can basically apply this principle in many situations and in any area of our life.


Let´s take an example:


Situation:

You are stuck in the traffic and you are on your way to an interview


Reactive choice:

You get angry, stressed, frustrated and get stuck in the negative thoughts.

It doesn´t matter if you make it on time to the interview, you are already poisoned by the negativity and the day will continue this way.


Responsive using the 10/90 Principle:

You understand this situation is not under your control and in a calm way think what you can do.

You call the recruiter; explain the situation and you get the interview moved to a time/date you can make it.

You are relaxed, feel you have control over the situation and you just continue finding opportunities and positive things around you during the day.


Effect:
The situation is the same, but the results are different depending on the way we handle the situation.

The reactive choice escalated stress, frustration and negative feelings during the rest of the day.
The responsive choice decreased stress and provided a more positive result, for the rest of the day.


The 10/90 Principle is simple to apply.


We just need to be aware that the first step is our full responsibility of taking the conscious and thoughtful decision to respond to get the best out of a situation, instead of being reactive.


Try it!


Remember, adopting a healthier approach to situations by choosing responsiveness can change our life for the best to evolve with the right mindset, while keeping a balanced life with wellbeing by our side.

The Pomodoro Technique

As most of you know, Time management is not about managing time but developing our ability to prioritize when and how specific activities should be done to improve our efficiency and productivity. We know we have great time management skills when we can keep both work and life in balance.


A great technique which goal is to increase focus and reduce distractions is the Pomodoro Technique, developed in the late 1980s, by the Italian author of the Pomodoro Technique Book, Francesco Cirillo.


The technique is named “pomodoro” which means “tomato”, after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer used by Cirillo.


So how does this technique work?


  • Start your day picking up your first task from your to do list
  • Set a timer for 25 uninterrupted minutes. Once the timer rings, it is time to stop even if you just have some minutes left.
  • Leave your desk and take a 5 minutes break to disconnect from work.
  • Put an "X" after each “pomodoro” (25 minutes) until the task is finished.
  • After 4 "Pomodoros", take a longer break, between 15 to 30 minutes.
  • At the end of the day, review the number of “X” you marked for each task. This will give you relevant information such as how long time it will take you to complete future tasks, activities or projects. You will also be more aware of how much time you focus on work during the day.


Remember that it is very useful to test techniques in order to understand them better, know when these are more effective to use and what results we can expect from them.


The more we try new techniques, the more insight we will also get about our own behavior patterns.

Our powerful spheres:

Control, Concern and Influence

American educator, businessman and author Stephen Richards Covey, most known by his bestseller "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", categorized proactive people as those who has the ability to focus on what they have control over and what they can influence, while reactive people focus on what they can´t control adopting a victim approach.


Covey’s concept spheres of concern, control and influence were mentioned back in 1989 in his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", where he states that focusing on what we can control, will have a positive effect expanding our sphere of influence, which also provide us the possibility to have an indirect impact of control.

 

Once we understand how to deal with what we can influence, can control and simply can´t, this fantastic approach gives us the power to canalize our energy, focus on significant efficiency and wellbeing reducing unnecessary stress.


The method is very simple to use by determining:


The sphere of concern which is all the things in our life that we might have limited or no control at all as for example the past or other people´s perspective.


The sphere of influence is all those things or situations that we might be able to impact as providing an inspiring speech or being a good role model.
The sphere of influence expands over time as for example by building and nurturing strong relationships for mutual cooperation and contribution.


The sphere of control is everything else we have the power to decide to do such as to change our point of view, or create new healthy routines.


As you can see the concept is straight forward and easy to use with a fantastic outcome: we become better focusing in where our power of influence and control lays, while accepting our current situation as it is and letting go what we can´t control.


Below three coaching questions to help you reflect on your current situation and start applying this effective method:


  1. Which sphere is taking most of your time and energy?
  2. Which sphere needs your focus now?
  3. What could you do to boost you sphere of influence?

Find your strengths

Our strengths are powerfull skills that help us to reach our dreams and deal with life challenges. However, it is not always easy to know which these are.


Often, we know best our weaknesses because our natural ability to focus more in problems or the negative part of things, which is the logic tendency of our brain to keep us both alert and safe.


Did you know that behind our weaknesses, some of our strenths are hidden? This happens because often our weaknesses are the version of our strengths lacking balance, are excessively to the negative extreme or are overused.


Examples:


Sometimes the unrealistic person, with a dose of balance, might be the visionary. Other times the impatient person, might be the one with the driven power.


By putting together a list with our weaknesses and then identify the strengths by balancing the weaknesses, we can easily find our strengths and discover more valuable skills about us.


Theodore Levitt once said "Anything in excess is a poison" and this is the case when our strengths are out of balance.


Therefore, it is recommended to perform this valuable assessment from time to time in order to find our strengths and be aware of what triggers them to become the weaknesses that need to be adress in time.



Your hidden Super Power


We all have a hidden super power that we all share but seldom use, a special talent that is waiting to be explored and fully embraced.


This super power have the strong ability to transform situations we might be seeing as devastating or hard to handle, into priceless ones. It  reveals to us every day, everywhere, when we need it the most. It is called insight.


Insight supports us through the process of discovering new perspectives and angles daily and it is so powerful that it can open the doors of amazing opportunities for self development and most of all kindness to ourselves, removing feelings of failure or self-criticism. We start loving ourselves for who we are and for the insightful ways we manage challenges.


Below you will find three situations and how the insight super power can bring you valuable and relevant discoveries to your growth:


  1. When we are rejected

    It is difficult. A sense of failure and uncomfortable feeling might take over our thoughts and the inner critic shows up.

    Using insight, we discover that rejection benefit us in many ways. It helps us to build strong resilience, development applying the lessons we learn to future adversities.

    Rejection is also proof that we are trying and that we are courageous getting out our comfort zone. Rejection is a sign that we are moving forward.

  2. When we get negative feedback

    It is easy to perceive it as we are doing things wrong, impacting our self-esteem.

    However, what if we bring some insight to the situation and focus on WHAT has been said to us instead of HOW?

    We would be able to find concrete areas of improvement that we become more curious to develop, without getting emotional on the way it has been given.

    Then, we will feel encouraged to ask questions to understand more about the gaps we want to strengthen and, probably, even ask about tips or recommendations on how to get started in this journey of change.

    Insight allows us to see this kind of feedback as the gift it really is to our personal development.

  3. When we make mistakes

    It is hard because our seek for being good doing things doesn´t allow us to use the insight to see that mistakes are the learning blocks that is needed to become good at something.

    Mistakes can´t be a failure as long as we use the insight super power and understand that these are the lessons we need to become as good as we want to be and the possibility to become ingenious, during the journey, transforming mistakes into growth.


So, the next time you face situations that might challenge your inner critic, try your super power INSIGHT to see the good things life is giving you to become the best version of your uniqueness.

DEALING WITH OBSTACLES

Obstacles are annoying and can distroy the flow we are in. The shock, the uncertainty and the stress obstacles bring to our state of mind, can paralize us.


To deal with obstacles requires that we make use of specific skills in order to take us away from being stuck and find new ways to keep moving forward.


Below you will find the five ones:


1. Stop, take a step back, observe your feelings and the relationship you have to this obstacle:
What happens?
What would you recommend to do if someone else was in this situation?


2. Acknowledge and accept:
Your feelings and think about facts about the "situation"
The fact that obstacles may exist on the road and will become part of the process that will lead you to achieve your goal.


3. Take a decision by:
Avoiding impulsivity
Choosing to be objective
Keeping the final goal in mind. Sometimes larger obstacles have smaller obstacles to overcome. Break them down and tackle them into smaller pieces


4. Be flexible and willing to consider different ways to reach your goal


5. Finally, remember to always find the lessons to learn and the wisdom behind every obstacles. This action will boost your personal development and your leadership skills in many ways.

The act of delegation is powerful


When we are willing to delegate, we forster an atmosphere of trust


When we start delegaiting, we send a clear signal: "We trust people to achieve the desired results while we respect their skills and commitment to do it"


In order to know when it is the right moment to delegate, ask yourself the following 5 questions:


  1. Do you have to be responsible for this task or can someone else take care of it?
  2. Does this require your fully attention to succeed?
  3. Do you have time to teach someone how to do this job?
  4. Will this work help the other person to develop?
  5. Do you expect similar tasks in the future?


Remember, the beauty of delegation lays in the fact that both you and the other person grow. You become sharper in decision making and leadership, at the same time you develop a strong culture of trust, while developing people around you with an extra dose of engagment and in close collaboration.

Feedback is a gift that contributes to our personal development. However, it is not always easy to handle it due to many reasons, such as to avoid rejection or criticism.


Below you will find a very simple and effective method to receive and handle feedback, while getting the most out of it for your own benefit and personal development:


  • When you get feedback, focus on listening to WHAT the feedback is about and not on HOW it is provided
  • Thank for the feedback
  • Show interest to understand more about the feedback by asking specific questions or specific tips to improve


This three step method will help you not only to improve the way you handle feedback, but you get the opportunity to learn more about yourself, while strengthening collaboration with the feedback provider.


Effectivity Tips

Worrying already for tomorrow´s work to do?


Stop worrying and use the Ivy Lee Method!


How does it work?


1. Write in a piece of papper 6 things in order of importance that you need to do tomorrow .


2. Start the next day with the first task of your list and take the next tast once you finished the first one, and so on,


3. Repeat this rutin daily and you will see a lot of positive changes.


This method will help you to start your day in the most effective way because:


  • It is easy and simple to work with
  • You save a lot of time thinking where to start and you have already a prioritized list of things to focus on
  • It helps you to master concentration.


Remember, we create our future focusing on here and now.

Reverse Brainstorming

Are you having a hard time finding solutions and brainstorming is not working?


Then you should try the reverse brainstorming technique!


Reverse brainstorming is based on our natural tendency to see problems easily rather than finding solutions.


How does it work? Just follow these 3 simple steps:


1. Start brainstorming all the ways you can make your plan go wrong

2. Write all these problems in a piece of paper
3. When you are ready, it´s time to start thinking of all the
ways you could create the reversed effect.


This technique has two great advantages: it is easy to work with and increases effectively the amount of ideas that might lead to solutions faster


So next time brainstorming doesn´t work, go for the reveresed technique

Are you looking for more effectiveness & productivity?


Then Single-tasking is the best tool!

The 80/20 Rule, also called Pareto principle was named after the italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, which consist that 20 percent of the efforts produce 80 percent of the results.


Pareto found out that 80% of Italy was owned by 20% of the population and when he did similar studies to other countries, the principle applied as well.


The 80/20 rule can also be used to many areas of life. Here are some examples and how to work with this rule:


80% of the company´s profit comes from 20% of the customers

If I could find more customers as those that represents that specific 20% of customers, what do I need to do?


80% of my enjoyment is caused by 20% of the people I spend my time with

If I want more enjoyment as I have with this 20% of people how could I can spend more time with them?


Practicing the 80/20 rule is simple and very rewarding so finally, here are a couple of last questions to provide you a great start in this journey:


If you could choose one thing that gives you the most happiness what would that be?


If you could choose one task at work that gives you the most productivity what would that be?

According to several studies, multitasking causes people to take longer to perform simple tasks, increase anxiety and even have the same negative impact as losing a night's sleep.


On the other hand, research also found that to focus on a single task, called single-tasking, has a lot of benefits such as improve concentration, experience "flow", feel less stress, more creative, productive and happier.


Improve your focus, productivity and well-being with this simple tips on how to single-task:


1. Remove distractions and focus on a specific task
2. Allocate time (around 20 - 50 minutes)
3. Take a break