We all have our golden rules, often ones that we aren’t even consciously aware of. However it can be a problem for us when we find that our rules aren’t serving us well. Here are just three that you might need to rethink from time to time… or on any given day you might want to break one or even all three!
Rule #1 – Put others first. Many of us have been conditioned to put other people’s needs before our own. This is laudable and obviously essential in situations like caring for babies and children, elderly family or poorly friends or neighbours, where their own ability to do this is limited. Some people need to feel needed, and it can even become addictive. However, from time to time it’s worth making sure that you look after yourself, and cater for your own needs – the best analogy is the one of being on the aircraft, in the unlikely event that the oxygen mask drops in front of you, that you are instructed to put your own mask on first, so that you can then attend to other people. One coaching client I worked with became very emotional when we discussed what her needs were; as a mum who had raised a family, she said it was the first time in years if that she had the opportunity to think what she wanted for herself. If you really value yourself and what you are capable of, you will recognise when your energy is depleted and you need to recharge in whatever way makes sense for you. Looking after your self is not necessarily “self-ish”!
Rule #2 – Think. Our world places high value on great thinking, lateral thinking, weighing up and evaluating empirical evidence. Sometimes, with hindsight though, we can review a decision we made and find that, while it looked good on paper, perhaps it wasn’t the best decision. We often recognise that something in our gut told us not to do it. A client Roger that I worked with, said that he had invested a few hundred thousand in a business venture that looked good on paper, but something told him it wasn’t right. He went ahead with it but quickly realised that he should have trusted his intuition. If you have a decision to make, try not just to think about it with your logical mind, but see how you FEEL about it – if you could come up with an image or a symbol for the problem or decision, what would it look like? This helps your subconscious and intuition to take a different approach to solving the problem. Many of the most exciting discoveries were made not through thinking and logic but by a flash of inspiration or non-thought! “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
Rule #3 – Be in control. Planning, being prepared, thinking ahead (again with the thinking) are all valuable skills to have at our disposal. But we can become over-reliant on them, and feel the need to always plan ahead, always be in control – and often that need for control can spiral out of control! So look for ways that you can allow yourself to be a little out of control, to be able to go with the flow, and just be in the moment. When that friend calls by for a cup of coffee and a chat, can you balance your desire for discipline and finishing what you’re working on, with taking some time out and perhaps coming back to what you were doing with a fresh perspective?
So maybe today or tomorrow, you could do all three, put yourself first and take some time out not to think but just to be and enjoy the moment. That would probably take some thinking ahead and being in control today though, right?
Which of your own rules would you like to break now & then?
Liz Barron, Realize Coaching – www.realize.ie