Posts in Uncategorized
Stop trying to label yourself. You are not a cookie jar.

You know those little tests that say "describe yourself in three words" "What one word would your friends use to describe you.....?"

Those things SUCK! Everyone secretly hates them but can never really articulate why, or why it's so hard to decide on those three words. Well, I hate them too...

Because THEY MAKE YOU SMALLER.

Every single day in thousands of tiny ways we are asked to label ourselves. To put ourselves in a demographic and define who we are by someone else's standards.

It has to stop! There is nothing to be gained from forcing yourself to fit into a bunch of little boxes that then somehow tell you who you are.  Just because you're creative, doesn't mean you can't be organized too. If you adore dogs, why can't you enjoy the company of cats too?  If you like dramatic makeup, why shouldn't you be allowed to enjoy going bare faced as well?

Seriously though, generalizations just kill me. We're people, not demographics!

This whole "pick a side" thing that means you have to be one thing or another, very specific, and follow all the "rules" of what being that thing means is also crazy. Why do you have to shove yourself into a box?

Have you ever considered that maybe the fact that you're interested in so many things is actually GREAT?! That it shows curiosity, an intrepid and explorational spirit?

The fact that you still can't figure out what you're going to do when you grow up... at 35, is because you are capable of so much that settling for just one thing seems well, like settling.  Sticking ourselves in specific little boxes based on stuff we do is something that serves only one purpose, to make you easier to sell to.  Labels are for other people.

You are so much more than a bunch of labels.

YOU are not a machine with a single purpose in life. You are human! With a wild spirit, a poetic soul and a desire to LIVE. Don't squash yourself by putting labels on and narrowing down who you're allowed to be.

What a potential plane crash taught me about my money fears

A couple of weeks ago I was on a scary flight home from New York. There was massive turbulence, strong enough that several people actually screamed, electrical issues, the engines were making really alarming noises and the woman sitting across from me was completely convinced that we were going to crash and was crying almost the whole way. I was pretty convinced too for a while, but I sat quietly in my seat with barely a flicker of anxiety or even that nervous feeling in my stomach. I was pretty serene considering the fact that I was sitting there thinking about what It might be like to die.

I'm not trying to make light of the situation either, I honestly felt a moment of sadness that this may well be the end of me, but the reality is that in that situation, fear and panic is actually useless because I'm sitting in a giant steel tube several thousand feet above ground. If we go down there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it.

There is nothing I can do that will save me.

So why worry.

But I did start to think quite seriously about fear and was really stunned to realize that all of the fears that I do have are actually really small in comparison to death. My greatest fear is being broke.

Are you laughing yet? Probably not, because its by no means a unique fear. I bet you're a little concerned about that too!

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Seriously though, think about the fact that I am more afraid of being broke that I am of dying in a horrible fiery plane crash.  Then think about where that comes from.

We are constantly told that our financial standing is the measure of our worth. We are also constantly told that there is not enough to go around. That making money is hard work. That there's always someone around the corner waiting to take advantage of us. That we will lose everything. That any moment now the economy is going to crash and it will be horrible.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much time Ive wasted plotting and planning my bill payments in the past. Measuring to the cent what I can and cant spend and where. And you know what its gotten me? A lack of sleep and constant low level anxiety. The fear has not in any way improved my financial situation. Its not helped me use my money smarter. Its not prevented me from having debt.

So I'm sitting in this plane seat being bounced around by turbulence, having decided that I'm ok with this being my last day... and I started really exploring my fear; and it went something like this.

So what would happen if I ran out of money? I would have to borrow money and Id be in debt. Well, you already have debt, so what... Well what if I didn't have a job and couldn't make payments?! (this is me panicking...) Well you could always get a job, you know that right... But if I couldn't then Id have people calling me up telling me I have to make payments. (more panic) So what, you explain the situation and you do what you can to pay them. But if I cant then they will come and take away all my stuff. Wow. so you're worried about losing some stuff. really?  You know that no one will stop you buying more stuff right? And since when is stuff important to you?

BINGO

When I was little a family member found himself in this situation, and people came and repossessed everything he had. Now of course this was a shitty situation, but guess what. He kept going. He didn't fall apart, he didn't die, nobody dragged him away to debtors jail or anything awful. He is still very much alive actually and I clearly have far too active an imagination. And my fear is based on how I felt about a situation happening to someone else when I was a 7 year old.

How I felt then is not and will never be my reality now.

Even if I DID lose everything, I would react and respond totally differently.

So why does the fear still linger? Why am I still approaching that fear as though I am 7 years old?

Simply, because I let it. Because I never stopped to think about why, and because we often make decisions based on the fear of a situation that is not our reality.

Funny when you look at it like that isn't it!

All fear, is based on beliefs, and when you explore why those beliefs are in place and challenge them, they tend to dissolve.

So take a step back and focus on exploration towards being fearless. Or rather, to fear less.

Don't feed your fear, challenge your fear.

And being broke is definitely not as bad as being in a plane crash!

Integrity, a key ingredient to holistic success.

I’ve been thinking a lot about integrity recently, and about how it is so much more integral to our lives than we realize. When I was younger, the idea of integrity was just about honesty, about doing the right thing no matter what. The whole “do the right thing even when no one is looking”

But recently I started to focus on the other meaning of integrity. A friend of mine was talking about a building and used the phrase “structural integrity” which lead me to start thinking about how having integrity meant being “intact” with no cracks or weak spots. Something that only happens when a building is well built, and then well maintained.

Integrity – The state of being whole and undivided.

Isn’t that a wonderful way to think about oneself? Can you say that you feel whole and undivided?

I can’t!

But that concept has spurred me to start really considering the aspects of my life and work where I am NOT whole and undivided.

I started to apply that thought to something I started last week, where I’ve been unsubscribing from the (literally) hundreds of email newsletters that I get daily, keeping only the very small handful that I find really useful or inspiring.

With each unsubscribe I feel like I breathe a little easier and feel a little less confused, because each of those newsletters feeds a fear that I don’t know what I’m doing, that I have to copy someone else’s marketing/sales/development/social media strategy in order to be successful.

And it occurred to me just how much time I spend reading books and blogs and doing webinars and courses…. And being disappointed with each of them. Not because they aren’t good. Some of them are brilliant, but often they prey on the fear that without them I’m a lost cause, that I don’t know what I’m doing. Not one of them supports my value system, my grounding belief.

I have all the inner resources I need to be happy and successful.

In short, relying so heavily on these things is at odds with my integrity.

They also massively divide my attention and energy, which is really a detriment no matter how you look at it.

That divided attention thing is huge too. I’m an extrovert and I love being around people, but being an extrovert, I also tend towards people pleasing. Something that most of us, particularly women, are taught to do at an early age.

Make time for everyone. Give all of yourself. Just say yes and keep everyone else happy.

Um, no.

Someone recently gave me hell on my Facebook page over a quote that I posted which basically said “cut out negative people”. And I got the whole speech of how I was cold and mean and negative people need love too etc. etc.

And yes they do. I have a huge amount of sympathy and empathy for people who are trapped in a negative mindset, but I do not have to compromise my integrity, my wholeness, to try “fix them” or become embroiled in it.

The same is true of projects, clients, events, everything that isn’t in some way supportive of your wholeness and your focus. If it’s not the right fit, aligned with your inner integrity and purpose and you’re taking things on out of a fear or need to keep adding to your list of “stuff” you’re going to find yourself exhausted by it, drained and compromised.

Divided.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past spinning my wheels over opportunities and a to do list that’s jam packed with things I’ve come to believe I’m “supposed” to do, but that are really really really not things I actually even want or feel compelled towards.

And I’ve come to believe that integrity demands that I cut those things loose. They are not for me. I don’t actually want them and more importantly, they are keeping me from having the time to do the things that DO keep me whole and undivided.

So as a result, I’ve unsubscribed from a million emails, I’ve left several Facebook groups and unliked a whole host of pages and Instagram accounts. I’ve stopped sending out my own newsletter. I’ve stopped attending every event that I’m invited to. I’ve stopped feeling obliged to “catch up” with people if it drains me to spend time with them. I’m handing over the reins of a group that I run. And most important of all…

I’ve stopped thinking constantly about what I need to do to ensure my success. I’ve completely let it go.

Because at the end of the day, that isn’t what drives me. It’s not what gets me excited.

I’ve chosen to focus on what makes my life feel inspired and whole. What for me, supports my integrity.

Learning to fly

How long will it take me to learn to fly? This is a question I remember considering when I was about 9 or 10 years old, and I don’t mean flying an aircraft. I mean crazy magical levitation using the power of my mind.

Yes, I was an interesting child... but the question is one that I very seriously thought about and the fact that I asked it is really important.

I remember talking to friends of mine about a tv show I had watched featuring a magician who claimed to be able to levitate, something that I thought was a brilliant idea and I wanted to be able to do it too. But when my friends said that it wasn’t possible, my response wasn’t to give up and decide they were right. My response was to set about doing it because I believed I could do anything.

The question I asked myself wasn’t “Can I do this?” but instead “How long will it take me to do this”.

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I had no idea how the magician did it, I had no idea where to even start if I wanted to be able to do the same thing, but I automatically assumed that I was capable of doing anything, it was just a matter of time and effort.

That same mentality has created some pretty amazing opportunities in my life so far because I seldom stop to ask if something is possible, for the most part, I assume it is and I recognize that often my ONLY obstacle is not yet knowing how. And with determination and resilience,

I believe that we can learn how to do pretty much anything we put our minds to.

Yesterday I was thinking about the way in which we make our opportunities smaller by believing that there are some things we cant do, or will never be able to do, and I was wondering about that absolute belief that we have as children about what is possible. I wondered when we lose that amazing belief because I don’t think it's about being naive or not knowing what’s possible or not, I think it's about being open to possibility, even crazy possibility.

But being open to believing that anything is possible means that you’re often finding ways to MAKE things possible.

Oh, and I never did learn to fly, I got distracted by a new mission not long after. I decided that I was going to catch fairies instead.

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UncategorizedTarryne West
On redefining success.

Today I found myself thinking about success and fear and what they mean to me now vs what they used to mean.

When I was about 12 I realized that I could sing, and not just like “I have a nice voice” sing, but a “with some work I could be a major opera singer” kind of sing.This idea of myself as a professional opera singer formed my whole self-identity for most of my teens and a significant part of my 20s. I always felt like my “success” was just round the corner. Any day now I would be a professional performer and my life would officially start. Problem was I spent the better part of 10 years waiting for my life to start because life is only “real” when you’ve made it right?

The interesting thing about pushing for a vision of success that you don’t really buy into on a deeper level, is that you sabotage the hell out of yourself!

The reality is, I love to sing and I love opera. Here’s the catch though, I hate performing and more than that, I always felt like I was fighting to maintain the idea of being a professional singer, rather than being one. When I look back now and see the millions of ways that I sabotaged myself because I didn’t feel like I fit the model of success, it’s actually quite hilarious. I didn’t feel successful, so I made damn sure that I would never be successful. After all, you’re never going to make it if you keep dropping out of shows and not turning up to auditions!

Plus I only really have one sad expression. And too many sad songs!

As I’ve written about before, I’m glad that I never managed to become successful as a singer. Failing at that allowed me to follow a much deeper and more real (for me) dream. But when I first started coaching, I still dragged a lot of those beliefs about success with me.

One of my biggest struggles as a coach has been feeling like my work is good enough, because often I don’t match other people’s idea of success.

To show you how ridiculous this is, Consider my background as a coach.

  • I self coached my way out of serious depression and anxiety, before I had ever heard about emotional intelligence or coaching.
  • I started my blog having zero understanding of how it works and having no idea of what I was doing.
  • I had no money when I started for training! Seriously. I begged and borrowed training material, spent countless hours in libraries and online learning everything I could get my hands on. And I lucked out when a friend of mine who is a psychologist gave me all his university texts books so I could continue learning with his help. Then finally I ended up getting a university qualification with a straight A+ average.
  • I learned how to use WordPress, Facebook, PayPal, membership platforms, mail chimp, survey monkey and even InDesign (and I’m technologically challenged so these are a big deal for me!)
  • I’ve run self development workshops for anything from 2 -30 people at a time.
  • I’ve singlehandedly run my practice for 4 years.
  • And then I started self publishing books.
  • Oh, and then there’s the little matter of the hundreds (thousands if you add in my blog and FB page) of people who have been positively impacted by my work.

Yeah. Little ol me. I am a damn good coach and I worked my butt off to find ways to get to where I am now, so take a moment to consider that list, and then laugh with me as I tell you that I still have days where I don’t feel like I’m successful (and there are even drama queen days where I feel like a failure) because I’m still working on some of my goals, or because I don’t feel like I “look” successful. After all, I’m not Oprah or Tony Robbins yet.

Go on, laugh.

You should be laughing, it’s absurd.

Here’s the thing though, we live in a society that constantly preys on and encourages our fears, and teaches us that the end game is the only thing that counts. Whether the measure of success is the size of your bank account or your ass… If its someone else s measure of success that you don’t genuinely believe in, on a deep and value based level, then striving for it comes from a place of fear. But more that that, because we focus so constantly on the end result, all the time that is spent in that “Not ideal yet” space, is perceived as failure.

We need to change the conversation about success, we need to start evaluating why we are striving for a particular and narrow version of success. We need to question who we are trying to be successful for. And we need first to gain real clarity on what would truly make us feel successful, and go after that with passion and tenacity.

And enjoy the ride. After all, you don’t feel like a failure when you’re on a road trip and haven’t yet reached your destination do you?

 

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UncategorizedTarryne West