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Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What’s Your Obsession?


obsessessionWhen you think about obsessions, your immediate reaction is that these are necessarily bad; and predispose anyone to becoming sad. After all, they typically imply unwanted persistent thoughts you cannot easily dismiss; and when they’re very intense you’d think you’re on the verge of going mad.

Obsessions can stem from specific or random fears. Many times, and in typical psychological disorders, obsessions are associated with compulsions (i.e. behaviors) to reduce what’s feared. They put one in an addictive cycle like a hamster on a wheel. On and on the “run” continues with great difficulty to change the steer…

But, not all obsessive thoughts lead you to distress. For instance, think about the falling in love experience and how it puts you in a state of bliss. Think about finding your passion, doing it daily, and how consumed in it you become that you’d never consider the quits.

Such obsessions have a different lure. Not only do you allow these; you perpetuate your state. In a charming way, you’re clinging to something that makes you feel more secure. Perhaps, these dissolve every other fear and alleviate any other uncertainty that could leave you unsure…

It is obsessive thoughts about succeeding that lead, in the end, to highly achieving. It is exactly these kind of thoughts that can transform earlier failure to the “yes I can do it” mode of believing.

“To win your way, you need to be armed with Obsessive beliefs in your ability. Such focus, is your tool to act on every possibility.” ~ 3Ds

If you scan history for major accomplishments, you’ll find that this was the secret behind it all. Each falls at least a hundred times, but obsessively rises again tall.

See? That blind to failure obsession isn’t necessarily bad or evil. Each trial creates a new upheaval…

The obsession to succeed doesn’t take “no” as a response. It persists there till, eventually, it gets its applause… To thrive, think and then do; Think and then do; Think and then do… After all, isn’t that how legends eventually yell that woooohooo!!!? Keep preoccupied with it and, soon enough, people will seek your autograph in queue…

I’ll be standing with them in line too. Till then, my thoughts will remain with you….

Your Personal Coach 

 Dania

Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What’s Your Story?


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So what’s your story?
No, I’m not asking you to narrate how you lived since birth till now.
No, I’m not referring to those recent challenges you faced, or how.
Noooo, I’m not requesting you open the floodgates of thoughts you normally disallow….
Oh my! You’re talkative today; you know? 🙂

The story intriguing me, today, is about an area in your life that you always wanted to change, or improve, but never really started.

I’d like you to gather your thoughts around why you didn’t initiate the change till now. Notice the justifications you provide just to keep it all too guarded.

You think these are valid reasons that lead to the delay. Think again: are these truly reasons, or mere excuses? Both are what your mind introduces to hinder that start.

And the story commences each time you recount to yourself, & sometimes to others, what you want to do then directly justify why you cannot. As if your mind commits an act of treason to your heart with every reason offered to keep the “action taking” phase behind locked bars.

“The story you tell yourself for why you never start life changes, with time, magnifies. Break it into smaller steps & incremental changes will eventually actualize.” ~ 3Ds

You do need to transform that narration, though, before you embark. Let your heart speak what the change will bring you & how happiness will ultimately spa. On that instant beginning, allow it to have its call mark.

Let it say: “Enough delay!! i deserve a better life & I’ll find a way. No more reasons, excuses, hesitation, or dismay. I’ll do something differently day by day!!”

Absolutely stunning “change” starts with just a “move”; and that is just a thought away. Think it…. Again, with your heart….

Who’d have thought that the turtle would beat the rabbit in the long run, ha?

I have a brilliant idea: Let’s start messing with the circumstances & twitch things slowly today, ok?

Apres vous…

Your Personal Coach
Dania

Time For Your “Mind Gym” – What Do You Do When You Err?


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I wrote a status – more like a metaphor – on Facebook the other day that said: “Some people dig a hole too deep, realize they can’t move up, & then keep digging deeper trying to find a way out…” The post was understood in two ways despite my adding: “Mistakes become graver eventually …. if you know what I mean….”

Some understood the metaphor as digging within one’s psyche to understand, to heal, or to develop & grow. Once you start plowing the field, you’d want to go further & further. You become either addicted, or entrapped. Many commented on the value of being supported by others along the process. That’s an insightful perspective to look at the process of digging indeed.

Others did connect the digging with making mistakes – which is what I was referring to at the moment. Many cover up a mistake by doing another & protecting the new mistake with yet another. Just like lying once; then covering the lie with more lies.

What I want to highlight, today, is the after-maths of making mistakes. How quickly to you admit those mistakes? How soon do you learn from them? Consider, especially, the biggies – the ones with graver ecological ramifications. Do you persist in denying you’ve done wrong? Or do you change course, apologize to those afflicted, & start a new?

“When you err, there’s always a way to be proud: too proud to admit your mistake, or proud enough to admit having done one.” ~3Ds

You’re not expected to make none. You’re only human not an ostrich who can dig its head in the ground pretending to be safe. You know that’s an illusion…

So what kind of proud do you usually choose? Do you dig further down? That’s hardly the best idea. The antidotes of making a mistake are learning from it, words spoken to rectify, & new actions to proceed (like digging in a new direction). You can always dig diagonally back up, don’t you?

Don’t be too proud to recruit assistance either… Be selective where you dig deeper…

Need a rope? a ladder? or a shovel to arrive & thrive?

Considering the best case scenario always….

Your Personal Coach

Dania

Reflections of 2012 – Lessons Learned


DDD Progress is

I’m not claiming to be another Einstein, Oscar Wilde, or Zig Ziglar yet, but I am leading my own crusade in understanding life and human nature. My learning journey is that of continuous discoveries through observations and reflections.  I learn a lot through my own experiences, through observations around me, and from inspirational quotes of successful people.  Yes, I’m a big fan of powerful statements that say a lot with only few words. Over the past few years, I started coming up with my own.  What you will read next is a collection of my random thoughts (more like my own formulated quotes).  Most are made short to fit twitter’s 140 characters confinement. Some others are longer, so I’d throw them out there on facebook as a status. Oh, and I designed many into pictures to share on my facebook page (Coaching Your 3Ps; see example on the right). When I compile those of 2012 into one post now, I realize they make a good collection. Read on and please let me know which you like most…

–      “I have clients not patients. I have an office not a clinic. I describe, I do not label. I’m a counselor not a therapist.” ~ 3Ds a positive psychologist irritated by the use of negative language

–      “When I think of how much I still need to learn, to still do, and to look forward to, I could almost hyperventilate!” ~ 3Ds

–      “Of all shadows, that which hovers over your whole being is the scariest. Surf ahead…” ~ 3Ds

–      “The best love you’ll ever find is that which propels you into becoming a better version of your true self….” ~ 3Ds

–      “There is always confusion before clarity just as there is darkness before dawn” ~ 3Ds

–      “Of all the lies I hear, I find those reflecting one’s life being trouble-free as most appealing” ~ 3Ds

–      “When happiness seems to have gone on a long vacation, just remember, it always returns…. many times, fully charged.” ~3Ds

–      “What’s the point in calling “principles” “principles” if they’re OFTEN bended, then mended, or amended?” ~ 3Ds

–      “Perhaps one of life’s dictums is “Not having it all”… Most certainly its parallel is “Enjoy what you have before you lose it all”…~ 3Ds

–      “Ever wonder why good news are frequently off-set by bad news shortly after? Think again… it could simply be working the other way round…” ~ 3Ds

–      “Don’t you wish more people would shift from a culture of “stealing your time” to “valuing your time”? The imbalance is getting really irritating.. “ ~ 3Ds

–      “Tolerance becomes easy once all the nuisances are considered just background noise…” ~ 3Ds

–      “Isn’t it ironical how so many people waste their time gossiping about others’ problems instead of investing their time to solve their own?” ~ 3Ds

–      “There’s a fine line between self-confidence and conceit just like that existing between modesty and self-deprecation” ~ 3Ds

–      “To those who complain physical exercise is torture: Compare it with being forced to exercise your patience? Piece of cake, ha?” ~ 3Ds

–      “In the circle of life, it is always the strong helping the weak; the wise tolerating the immature; the healthy aiding the sick; the educated putting up with the ignorant; but what’s with  the insecure casting stones on those who rise above…?” ~3Ds

–      “Nothing beats distress like having a clear concrete plan for solutions. Now whether you carry it out or not is a different story.” ~ 3DS

–      Being “courageous” is daring to go for it despite your little chances.

Being a “fool” is daring to go for it despite having no chances at all.

Being a “courageous fool” is doing things left and right without even considering your chances; and arguing that the      statistics course you took back at the university is worthless…. ~ Meta-logic 101

–      “When you find out the true face behind the mask some people wear, just remain silent. Why feed malicious intent when you can use your energy to accept human imperfections?” ~ 3Ds

–      “Progress is: Cognition followed by Ignition. When you know what you need to do, MOVE!…” ~ 3Ds

–      “Unless you realize you’re part of the problem, you won’t be part of the solution. Some people stick to playing victim far too long”. ~ 3Ds

–      “We never lose the ability to love. We may just lose the ability to love the SAME person.” ~3Ds

–      “It’s not the words…; not the act..; not what happened … that matter …. It’s what it all means …” ~ 3Ds

–      “Sometimes you wish there’s this someone thinking of you somehow and in some way close to your secretly obsessive thoughts about that someone.” ~ 3Ds

–      “Laughter is most appreciated after pain. There’s healing power even in a sense of false gain. “ ~3Ds

–      “You know you have an issue in work-life balance if you have a passion for excellence” ~ 3Ds

–      عواصف العواطف…. حلو التعبير… مش دايما حلوة التجربة …

And here are some funny or sarcastic ones 🙂 :

–      “The only thing I’ll allow to bring me down is the elevator.” ~ 3Ds

–      When I said “The only thing I’ll allow to bring me down is the elevator”,  some people started appearing as elevators in disguise … ~ 3Ds

–      “That awkward feeling, when you realize it’ll take much less than a decade, when you’ll be called: Half a century old….” ~3Ds

–       “That terrifying moment when you dig for energy in your well of “I’m alright” pretense only to find it completely depleted ….” ~ 3Ds

–       “If dealing with stress, stressors, and stressed out people actually burned calories, I would have been a supermodel by now” ~ 3Ds

–      That awesome moment when you finish all your “to do list” and are seduced to just sit there… Well, I rarely, if ever, have it…. and I’m not complaining here…. ~ 3Ds

–      “A perfectionist is someone who never makes the same mistake twice. Just as many times as necessary to be sure it was in fact a mistake…. “ ~3Ds

–      “That straight eye contact moment, when it lasts 10 seconds or longer … reflecting either fatal attraction or ….contemplative murder!” ~3Ds

Lastly, “One of my wishes for the New Year is to see more professionals ACTING professionally…..” Perhaps reflecting on one’s own performance remains a habit un-adopted by many. No wonder why many so called professionals remain operating at mediocre levels and never progress…. And that is why I make the time to continuously assess and reflect. To me, life encompasses 3Ps: “Personal & Professional Progress”….

See you in 2013 🙂

Work-Life Balance (before you go off edge)


ImageOne of the first things I do with my clients at the beginning of a “Coaching” contract is to examine their wheel of life (see picture up there). I consider it an “eye opener” to start the process of progress. It gives a bird’s eye view of the levels of satisfaction (from 0 to 10; with 10 being most satisfied) on their: Career, finances, health, friends and family, romance, personal growth, fun and recreation, and their physical environment. These identify life areas that are not working well and needing change to live life more fully. Great deficits in fulfillment in any one area can spill over to the rest; hence, negatively affecting general well-being. We cannot neglect any one area. Just as a house cannot be built on one pillar, so is life satisfaction. It’s a whole; and cannot be reliant on only one source.

The concept of work-life balance is common and implicitly warns people not to get too consumed in having a career at the expense of nourishing the rest of their life support systems. It is a known fact that most of the working force spends their entire day on the job. They become so busy making a living that they forget to live their lives.  Even non-working house-wives assume the career of a “full time mom” or a “full time house-wife” that they sometimes drift in the mundane neglecting vital life ingredients until they feel a huge void. If you give it some thought, each of us has multiple roles (especially the sandwiched generation): the true self, career role, son/daughter, parent, spouse, friend, community volunteer, etc…. The true self, sometimes, suffers the most. Every so often, competing and conflicting roles and priorities can be very difficult to handle. We become defocused and find ourselves thrown off balance suffering health problems, depression, poor performance, stress, strain, or complete burn-out.

It’s not so simple to balance it all, but at least we can be more aware of maximizing the use of our time. Time being the most valuable, yet limited, asset we have which once used cannot be retrieved. Life can easily slip us by; and if we’re not alert to how we’re investing our time, by the end of our path, we may find ourselves filled with regrets. Just imagine you’re at your “death bed” contemplating your life. What would you be saying? Scary thought to many, huh? So, how can you best balance before everything hits the fan?

Here are some few guidelines to face the challenge:

  1. Fill in the wheel of life: Find out which life areas you’re very dissatisfied with and need your attention most. What can you improve? What are you willing to improve? (see? there’s a difference between “can” and “willing”). The first step to any change is awareness. It has been said that 50% of solving any problem lies in knowing what it is, so get clear on what’s not working for you. Then, start getting focused on taking serious gradual steps to implement changes. Things will never get resolved on their own.
  2. Set SMART Goals: Once you nail down the opportunities for improvement, set the baby steps to rectify. The acronym SMART for goals refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. These ensure rectifying the dissatisfied areas and having a map for a clearer journey ahead. For instance, if you found that you are not so content on the area of family and friends perhaps for being over-worked on the job, specify that you need to “spend more quality time on the weekend with family or friends”. The way about it may be to arrange for gatherings, or more outings. Always get specific: “how”, “when”, “with whom”, “number of times”,…  and make sure it doesn’t conflict with others’ plans. Gather your SMART goals with the specifics on a sheet of paper and read it every morning.
  3. Manage your time: Make the best use of those 86,400 seconds each day. Managing how you spend your time can be the key to your productivity on all levels. Many claim they don’t have the time, for instance, to read (i.e. feed their personal growth), or generate more income (i.e. feed their finances). Well… that’s not very accurate. You can always make the time for important things. It’s just that you may not have taken a deep decision to actually commit to doing things of importance. Why would most people adopt a certain regimen as per their doctor’s advice when their life is threatened? Suddenly, you find them having extra time, right? Think hard of that wheel of life. What should you do to become happier? Incorporate it into your schedule. This is when the SMART goals’ sheet needs updating to specify “when” to get things done.
  4. Establish healthy rituals: It can be difficult sometimes to kick off new habits when you find out that these are needed to feed into better balance. Take exercise for example. To kick it off as a habit requires a lot of planning and self-discipline in the beginning. Most research suggests a period of at least 21 days to establish habits. This is when the neural pathways in the brain become strong enough to make the behavior automatic. The habit, then, becomes an addiction that you cannot easily do without. The constellation of healthy routines (e.g. sleeping patterns, eating right, social media use, responding to emails,..…) eventually provide structure and make a big difference in your life. Rituals and habits are automatic acts you don’t spend much mental effort on; thus, allow you to have more energy to spend on other worthy and effortful tasks. So, what healthy routines can you plan among your goals now?
  5. Use a journal: Be it for your personal, or professional life, having a journal to plan your days in line with your goals will provide the necessary structure, clarity, and commitment. It facilitates organizing your time and taking the necessary steps to balance your life. Journaling your “to do list” will enable you to become more realistic in what you can achieve in one day, throughout the week, or for the whole month. Avoid writing one “to do list”. The sight of it may be overwhelmingly scary that many end up procrastinating about it. A dated journal has the advantage of allocating your targets over a period of time while ensuring you take care of urgent matters first. Remember to remain flexible as you proceed throughout the days and shift what you couldn’t do on a specific day to a later time. Your journal will eventually reflect your productivity and help you keep things on track.
  6. Manage your stress: Keep an eye on your life stressors and take measures to reduce their effects. After all, too many stressors can throw you off edge all of a sudden. When faced with stressful situations, focus on changing either the situation, or your reaction. Changing the situation means you either alter it (e.g. change your job) or avoid it (e.g. take a different route while commuting to escape traffic). When changing the situation is not possible, you can only change the way you feel about it. You need to stop fretting about what’s bothering you and accept that it just is (e.g. a negative colleague working in the same office), or adapt to it (i.e. looking at the big picture of what truly matters). It’s important that you avoid bottling up any tension by using quick stress-busting techniques frequently; like: deep breathing, positive self-talk, music, seeking social support, etc…

These are only the basic steps when your aim is to have a more balanced life. To really work it out, you have to have a whole hearted intention to have a new mission. Writing things down and organizing your path is a pre-requisite to succeed in doing that. Research after research documents that those who thrive have clear well written goals. You can assess and revise these as you proceed. Finally, and to add new things into your routines, entails giving up some other things in place. Why don’t you start off by making a “don’t do list” to identify your life “time-wasters”? Then, continue to MAKE the time to do things of greater value to balance it all….

The A to Zs of “Being” at “Excellence” Levels


Ever wondered about the mindset of happy and successful people who achieve “excellence”? Well, I often have. And examining these people, I found that they make the best of their being; and adopt some simple, yet, powerful strategies to be “outstanding”. They are brain-washed with a certain set of beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts when it comes to dealing with themselves, others, and their life challenges. These, eventually reflect in their best achievements. It’s like they play their cards right. The following guidelines are adopted from prominent self-development figures; and are summarized in an A to Z format of principles to “being” at “Excellence” levels:

A: Accept what you cannot change. Act today without delay. Actions speak louder than words.

B: Brand yourself as having unique qualities. Believe in yourself.

C: Choose to always be proactive as opposed to reactive. Challenge yourself to continually progress.

D: Dream of great achievements. If you can Dream it, you can make it happen.

E: Enjoy doing even the simplest things. Be open to new Experiences.

F: Focus on what you have in times of distress. Family and Friends make beautiful riches.

G: Give more than you’re asked for; and more than you planned. You’ll Gain 10 fold from multiple other sources.

H: Help others when you’re needed. Hear them out. The impact on their lives is what you’ll be Honored and remembered for. Make your memory a good one.

I: Ignore those who try to discourage you. Invest your time wisely in people and activities that help you grow.  

J: Joke around often, without being a Jerk (i.e. with decency and limits). Be the one to spread Joy wherever you go.

K: Keep learning and keep trying no matter how difficult things may seem. This is your Key to success.

L: Leave positive footprints where ever you go. Lead others into excellence.

M: Make things happen (don’t wait for them to just happen). Make the impossible possible.

N: Never accuse yourself of having failed. Nourish your mind instead with thoughts like: this was “yet another learning lesson”.

O: Obsess with your own self-development. Optimize on your personal and professional progress.

P: Prior Perfect Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Q: Quit fighting an endless Quarrel when you know your energy can be channeled to more worthy Quests.

R: Read and Reflect on those Readings. Race to know more, Repeatedly.

S: Surround yourself with people and things you love. Stop energy Sappers from invading your life. Smile often; it makes a big difference.

T: Teach others what you learned or what you want to learn. Talk about your learning. Train yourself to apply it somehow.

U: Under-promise; yet, over-deliver (in business and in your personal life). Unwrap your dormant excellence on every occasion.

V: Visualize your excellence coming to life, and it will. Visionaries were often ridiculed in the beginning, so don’t let emotional Vampires stand in your Vision of excelling.

W: Work hard on Writing down your thoughts, Wishes, and goals. Words clarify when you think in ink. Walking your Written down talk becomes easy.

X: Xccelerate your effort to beat procrastination. There’s so much to being productive each day even in small increments. X-out clutter.

Y: Your life is the most important project you can ever work on. Year in, year out, enjoy the ride.

Z: Zeal is your primary ingredient to achieve more and strive for excellence. Zoom in your goal, be in the Zone, and go for it.

When you model the best, you take the short-cut to excellence. Will you decide to live at your best? If “yes”, how about you start today? Take the short cut. Print this out, read it daily, and brain-wash yourself similarly. Make it your new modus operandis for optimal living. Play your cards right.

The Top 10 “Stress Busters”!


Stress….. Who hasn’t experienced it?  It’s the underlying fire-engine of much of our anxieties, depressed mood, and many physical ailments. We commonly use the term to imply negative psychological feelings or physical sensations. You’d say: “I am all stressed out!” to mean being off-balance or feeling unable to accommodate or cope well to your life circumstances. And you don’t have to get overwhelmed over one specific incident (e.g. loss of job, or a loved one) to feel the strain. The accumulation of daily stressors exerts its toll on our threshold of tolerance in general. This leads sometimes to “burn-out”. Stressors come in many forms like a hectic workload, difficulty in relationships, traffic jams, or endless multi-tasking of chores, to name a few. They compound to have negative effects on your health and performance with a drip, drip, drip effect that can push the best of us over the edge.

 No wonder we are advised repeatedly to blow off steam and engage in stress reduction activities. There are many ways to release all the stress pent up inside. Here are the top ten “stress busters” I often share with my clients. They’re more like armory techniques that you can use in combination, alternation, or adopt just few favorites. Stop and take stock as many as you can daily or over short time intervals:

  1. Deep breathing: One of the surest ways to decrease excessive physical and mental tension. Have a few minutes of focused attention on breathing slowly and deeply in and out (i.e. how you inhale and exhale). Breathe deeply at least 10 times while affirming to yourself that you are relaxing each time. One very deep breath can specifically help in situations that push you to a screaming-fit reactively. The old adage of counting to 10 as you deeply breathe relaxes you and can save you regrettable spontaneous reactions.
  2. Pray: If you’re the religious type, just pray. Praying is equivalent to drilling your psyche with hope. It shifts your attention to things getting better and away from feeling helpless. You can always decorate your thoughts with faith; it never goes out of fashion. Prayer is another form of positive affirmations that recruits the beyond immediate human power potentials.
  3. Listen to music, sing, & dance: Music is therapy, so it’s been said. Choose the type you like and indulge in listening for some time. In your mind dance your worries away. It really helps if you actually danced in front of the mirror especially if you chose to sing along as loud as you can. You’ll be laughing at how crazy you can get; and that’s far better than others judging you display any uncontrolled burst-outs.
  4. Exercise: Kick it off as a habit well ingrained in your system; and don’t give the often shared excuse that you need some company to do that. You can be the best company there is. You’ll get to resolve many mental issues during an hour of sustained physical activity. Moreover, your body releases the stress hormones necessary for your physical health topped by the “happy mood” neurotransmitters. That one hour could just be your “happiness” alternative medication.
  5. Connect with others: Resort to your social support system. Connect with friends, family, or anyone who is both a positive person and a good listener. It’s been said: “A problem shared is a problem halved”. Be careful not to drive close ones away by whining too much. Hire a life coach, or seek a psychotherapist if you have too much to say. At least they’re paid to support you until you clear things out in your mind.
  6. Manage your time: Much stress can be self-induced because of time mismanagement. Feelings of overwhelm can ensue when you’re in a race against time to have things done. Prioritize what you do. List your activities in terms of urgent and important (or valuable). Time wasted doing trivial things is time taken away from your life, so chose wisely. Work smarter, not harder. And if you write a “to do list”, use a pencil (not a pen) to remain flexible as you re-assess while you’re proceeding on it.
  7. Humor can heal: You know that smiling is good, but laughter is even better. Seek someone (a friend) who makes you laugh. He or she not available????  Get a funny movie and watch it. Want a quicker fix???? Stretch your lips in a wide smile and bite on a pencil for a while. This maneuver sends signals to your brain that you’re happy. Eventually you will be :).
  8. Back to nature: Going out in the sunshine or connecting with nature are enjoyable activities that provide you with energy, fresh air, and a global outlook at the world. It expands your focus to greater things in life. Just what you need to dissociate and look at the bigger picture. 
  9. Accept what you can’t change: you can get aggravated at your inability to change some things or people around you. Accept these, let go, and focus on what you have control over instead. Save your energy to what you can do for yourself and examine your alternatives. Fighting, resisting, and forcing things are energy zapping reactions.
  10. Day dream or plan a holiday: In your mind’s eye, day dream of what seems to be impossible. Guide yourself into a pleasant mental journey elsewhere. Think of the things you’d want to do, have, or be. This distraction can direct your attention on finding solutions instead of ruminating over suffering. It helps if you actually plan a vacation and be serious about its execution. The vacation can be a temporary escape to clear your body and mind, or to reward your self for milestones well accomplished.

The above are strategies to help you combat stressors, but listed on this page will do you no good if you don’t decide whole heartedly to adopt and commit to practicing your choice. There are more stress busters you can resort to, like: owning a pet, taking an aromatherapy bath, playing like a child (or with a child), learning to say “no”, etc…. The list of things that can work out well for you continues, so make sure to get some “ME” time every now and then. We need to keep those stress levels in check before they spiral out of proportion and necessitate more costly rectifications on all levels….

The Stigma of Psychotherapy…. And now Coaching!!


So I am a psychotherapist….. yeah, that line of practice surrounded by confidentiality, secrecy, pain, distress, and all sorts of tabooed venting….. I’d rather refer to myself as a counselor so as to avoid the “therapy” word in “psychotherapy”. Therapy connotes malady which already is disempowering to any prospective client. I, also, am a hypnotherapist. It still has the “therapy” word, but even if I change it to hypnotist, both are equally scary to those who have not tried it, or listened to my thorough explanation debunking all misconceptions. I, additionally, incorporate “Life Coaching” to my practice specifically to offset the harrowing effects surrounding the process of my dealing with too much psychological distress. Coaching, although confidential like therapy, is more upbeat and cheerful. People who seek coaching are those who function just well, but who want to become exceptional and more fulfilled. Those who seek psychotherapy are mainly dysfunctional, but are daring enough to face issues standing in their way of normal functioning like the average person does.

So what’s with that introduction about what I do? Picture this: The sign at my office door has my name and the several titles I hold below it: Life and Career Coach, Counselor, Hypnotherapist, and Trainer. I usually keep my door closed when I’m with a client. I keep my business card (that has my contact information) below the sign in case someone passing by is enthused to take an appointment. When the card is removed (which is often repeated), I replace it by a new one. I got a message the other day on my mobile by an anonymous asking whether I had another office elsewhere. Anonymous reflected concern and hesitation in coming to my clinic, so I simply explained that it’s not a clinic; it’s just an office. I stressed my theory on clients in counseling as individuals who are not coping well; and that they are not sick people. I added that the only office I met clients in was that little place. How I wished I could add I already pay a high rent for that location. A week later, I got another message from the same anonymous. This time giving her name and expressing the same concern. “I have a lot of issues to discuss with you, but I don’t know if I will have the courage to actually take an appointment. People know me on that floor and I don’t want to be seen there.” she explained. That’s it!! I called her. I didn’t want to keep discussing things through messages. When we talked, she seemed like a young lady who badly needed someone to talk to. After some give and take, I explained that I could see her at times when all other adjacent offices ended their operations. She said she’ll think about it.

Our conversation was like a kick in my chest. It dredged up all past misdemeanors which made me grapple with the idea of stigma surrounding psychotherapy in Lebanon. I was fully aware that my clients in counseling are not too comfortable letting others know about their seeking professional support. I never asked them for my website testimonial despite how much it would add. I base my practice highly on referrals, but people rarely mention undergoing therapy. Most of the time, it is knowledge of someone else who does. Gladly, I have hypnotherapy that branches out from my practice. Unfortunately, that, too, is unfathomed by many except those who have guts and are open to try it (and then ignorance around it transpires favorably). But hey…. I am, also, involved in coaching – the luxury service – that few choose to indulge in. I boost all up with NLP techniques. Helllloooo….I tackle self-development in a variety of ways. To my disappointment, lately, I feel the same reluctance to share with others the idea of being supported impinging and stretching repeatedly to include my clients in coaching as well. And I’m like: “what the heeeellll????” Whatever is discussed remains confidential, but the process of having your own personalized paid-for support system doesn’t have to be. Is it too ego-threatening to mention that they are visiting this hothouse of growth? WHAT’S WITH YOU PEOPLE????

OK, some self- therapy needed:

 Identify your emotion Dania: Frustration

Pin point the accompanying repercussions: boiling inside, disgruntled, feeling misunderstood, my office seems to trigger trepidation, this secrecy is counterproductive to what I do, people are ungrateful (I know they all benefit so much), powerless over this one, reaching an impasse, doubting my career choice, dim future vision, slowly sliding into oblivion, it’s going to be way tougher than I thought, more questioning: so is that why many say they will resort to being coached but never start?…….

Change perspective to feel better: Don’t get narrow focused on those who don’t talk about it. There are a few who do. Dania….., you know you’re good at what you do. You always say: “Stir it up or down; left or right; the cream always rises to the top”. Patience precious, patience….. The stigma will surround nothing soon. You’re just now fanning the flames of psychotherapy in the most positive attractive approach. You’re just introducing coaching to your community and even created an association to facilitate that. Your diligent approach on emphasizing self-development will come to fruition. You have friends who resort to you for psychological comfort all the time. Together with your clients who already engaged in the escapade and are experiencing the sing-song effect, these should suffice to eliminate any self-doubt. So what if a few remain secretive? It’s not like nobody is saying any good word about you, is it? Besides you are a psychology instructor and a trainer. There’s no stigma attached to these two areas. You get a lot of satisfaction there. Shrug it off!!

Identify new emotion: Mental toxins flushed out 🙂 Feeling better 🙂

Future vision: I believe I can support people change in so many good ways if they choose to. If they choose not to lift up the secrecy veil, then it’s their world and I cannot intrude or impose. I am building awareness with all these blocks being thrown at me. My efforts can’t but spell success; I am sure…..

Self-Therapy session concluded.

Feeling waaaaay better 🙂

Let’s Make Change Easy: 8 Simple Ways


To effect positive change is not as easy as we’d like to think it is. Most people (as not to say all) think of changing to the better one way or another. We think of changing our life style, overcome bad habits or kick in new ones, acquire new skills, or change the way we think, the way we look, react, or behave. We even consider changing our situations and dream of things to happen, but dreams remain mere fantasies. Many times we rightfully postpone the decision until we resolve some other battles first, but we never cross that bridge. At other times, the need becomes beefier and, finally, a shift to action from complaining takes over. We take the first step towards that bridge.

The impetus to change can be triggered by external or internal forces. External forces can be enticing; pushing us or pulling us to seek change. It could be someone else inspiring (or even threatening), or it could simply be an attractive other situation. The more powerful motivator stems from within. No doubt extreme dissatisfaction (and many times pain) can push us more forcefully towards change. And how many times do we wait to hit bottom before deciding that something should be done?

In all cases, change is not simple despite our highest motivation. It means we have to put in some effort; to give up an easier old pattern of living. Leaving the familiar and changing the status quo could be terrifying; so is stretching beyond our comfort of zone. What we need to keep in mind is that the catalyst of change is a moment of decision followed by commitment to effect that change. The “stretching” further can be facilitated through the following 8 simple steps:

  1. Identify what you want to change in a positive manner (your ultimate goal as opposed to what you don’t want). Make it a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Timed). Work backwards in creating the baby steps (mini goals) to simplify it and keep track.
  2. In writing, list the benefits and reasons for change. This wraps change in a sense of urgency. You need plenty of arguments to outnumber any resistance in expending the effort. Get clear on the advantages and how your life will be transformed. You need to appeal to your cognitive mind. And when that takes place, it starts to “feel right”. Eventually, it will similarly appeal to your emotions.
  3. Observe a role model who has already gone through the process of change. This enables perceiving that what you aim for is doable not impossible. Model what that person did and save yourself some “trial and error” attempts.
  4. Build on your own achievements. You surely have had a success (most likely many) of some sort in the past. Remember those times. Self-coach and self-motivate as hard as you can (see step 8 if you can’t do it on your own).
  5. Visualize yourself “as if” already having changed (how you behave, look like, the whole situation, etc…). The brain doesn’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s imagined. This is a process of instilling a new pattern and it takes time to replace the old one. Fake it till you make it.
  6. Pay conscious attention to your self-talk; to how you’re behaving or feeling. It’s easy to be guided by that same old autopilot and this is where most of the effort resides. You are now on a new mission.  Keep reminding yourself of your new purpose.
  7. Reward yourself on achievements periodically. We do have a tendency to forget to celebrate. “Little wins” and those baby steps have to be acknowledged. These are great motivators. Capitalize on such positive emotions.
  8. Hire someone who can give you an extra push to make it happen. Yes, pay for the service of a coach or therapist (I’m not advertising my services here J Naaah J ). The idea that you’re investing some money in the change process psychologically makes you feel obliged. You also have multiple other benefits beyond discussion here (a change in perspective, a listener, a cheerleader to name a few)

And once change is implemented in one area, other things appear simpler to control. The process kicks in and the momentum snowballs. Gradually, the sense that you are able to turn things round to your advantage makes you more empowered. Change begets change and life fulfillment is but an escapade. The process continues; it’s not another blue- print. You may also need to consider maintaining the change by surmounting the inevitable obstacles you face. These need to be considered mere challenges that are part of your dynamic journey towards change. To those who didn’t know these steps, of course change wouldn’t seem easy. But now you know. Let’s make it easy….

When You Can’t “Undo” It, “Re-do” it!


Wouldn’t it be great if we had the ability to press “undo” for some past events we don’t fully approve of just as we do on a “word document”? Unfortunately, in real life, the potential for unhappy life experiences is loaded; and we are not equipped with a similar opportunity when things go wrong. We often say things we regret. We find ourselves in embarrassing or painful situations. We even acquire many fears and phobias following just one ill-fated accident. And then, we beat ourselves up repeatedly with the memory until the negative feelings compound and restrict our ability to move forward. We get cornered in between self created confining walls and feel stuck because we carry a heavy baggage of all sorts of guilt, shame, or fear that keep one in place. So, then what do we do?

Well…. Maybe you cannot totally “undo” a previous incident, but there is a smart way to go about it if you have exhausted all other resources to rectify. You can learn your lesson, forgive yourself, minimize the importance of the whole event, and water down the intensity of any corresponding negative feelings. Time can surely heal, but things may drag. It’s more empowering to speed up the process, assume control and lift up your own spirits. Here is one sure way derived from NLP techniques to help you “re-do” what can’t be undone. It makes use of humor and visual minimization. We all know that humor can be a good coping mechanism to deal with difficulty. And we unknowingly and un-deliberately use both minimization and humor to deal with many tough realities. The following exercise combines both in a much more concentrated effort when the need arises.

Imagine yourself sitting all alone in a cinema holding in your hand a remote control that starts a movie on a big screen in front of you. You can control when the movie starts, stops, and play some scenes forward or backward. You can similarly control the sound, color, how fast the scenes go, and even the size of the image. This cinema is the “change workplace”. As you sit there, start playing the episode of that phobic or distressing situation. Watch it all happen slowly. You may experience some discomfort, but that’s Okay. Let it wash over you for the last time. If the anguish is too intense (in cases of phobias), stop the scene, rewind and play it again until you’re able to watch it all through. Tell yourself: “I need to face this for the last time”. When you succeed, stop and re-play the scene backward to the start. Watch it all in reverse (you or others talking or walking backward, etc…).

Next, run the movie from start really fast this time up to the critical moment (taking only a second or two); then run it backward as fast again. Do it a couple of times (i.e. fast forward and backward). The final stage is that of intervention and “re-doing”. Play the scene forward shrinking the image in size till it becomes the size of a postage stamp towards the end. Do this a second time playing forward adding some humor. You can insert the sound of some circus music in the scene and/or make the voices of you or others talking really funny. Add the voices of other spectators laughing as if watching a comedy sitcom while clowns jump around in funny maneuvers. Shrink the scene again as you play it forward. Repeat the same process playing it backward then forward as fast as you can until you feel that your worries greatly diminished and faded away.

When you think about the situation now, you won’t find it as disturbing or fearful as it was earlier. And if there are still any major residues, smooth it over by playing around that movie some more each time adding funny things and fading the colors and the size of the scene. The shift in your new experienced feelings will simply be magical. “Redoing” the episode this way will make you feel lighter and alters your state from that of bemoaning to owning a change in course. Why not save your time, attention, and energy to focus away from that experience and build new positive bridges. Whatever you nurture grows much bigger in size just as a shadow is of any respective object. And you need to accept that some “stains” are difficult to “undo”, and it is much easier to throw a garment than to dispose of our self-image. And unless you decide to let go, and actively shrink that memory, you will remain disempowered and stagnate. Active self-healing may be necessary to speed up the process of discounting the perils of a gloomy past episode, so better not rely only on time to do the work.

 

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