Flaming June already?
Wow! I don’t know about you, but I can hardly believe that we’re at the start of June. In some ways the time has gone in a flash and at other times, time seems to have slowed down doesn’t it?
From many of the conversations that I’ve had over the last few weeks, I think many of us, myself included have settled into this ‘lockdown/social isolation’ lifestyle but the tedium and ‘ground-hog day’ element can still be a struggle.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been noticing an increasing pressure to “do something productive” with time or as lots of people seem to be doing learning something new. I fear that my biggest learnings thus far have been; how to open a gate with my elbow and how to make a meal for two with the dregs from the fridge!! I say that slightly tongue in cheek; but I know lots of us are feeling that we’re not doing enough. Or that what we’re doing isn’t good enough. So this week’s mission is to REALLY look at what you have achieved and to focus on the things that have been done well enough. No matter how small or minsicule they seem we need to start celebrating all the little wins…and what better time than now, to make a start!
Building your success list
Anyone that knows me will know that I’m a list super-fan. More often than not what we talk about in terms of lists is the good old “to-do list.” Which I have to admit is a personal favourite. I like my lists to be messy, rather than neat and perfect – and I have been known to add something, just so that I can have the satisfaction of ticking it off as complete minutes later!
In these weird times, lots of us are juggling a whole range of things, and a bit like a circus performer we trying to keep lots of balls in the air. With all that’s going on right now it can be easy to fall into the habit of just noticing what’s been missed. What didn’t get done to your usual standard and where we’ve fallen short in some way. That’s the voice of the inner critic, which we spoke about last week. It’s that judgmental voice that’s trying to keep us safe, but which more often than not make us feel even worse about ourselves.
So your “mental exercise” this week is to begin to turn that ship around and bring a more balanced perspective into how you reflect on what you’ve done or not done for that matter. What I’ve outlined below are a few questions that you can use to begin to create your success list;
What HAVE I achieved today? In answering this question, there may well be some big things that you can tick off as complete – in which case you can definitely do your own victory dance! However, what I’d also like you to think about are the small, seemingly insignificant things that you’ve done. I think it can be easy to discount and overlook the tiny achievements and steps that we notch up every day. Even if it feels minuscule or insignificant give yourself the credit for the little things that you’ve achieved – getting up, getting dressed and showing up gets a tick from me at a time like this!
What am I proud to have done today? This question might prompt you to remember something that was tough or even something that you’ve bene putting off. You know the thing that you keep bumping to the bottom of the list? Whether it’s getting the ironing done (my personal nemesis) or changing your mobile provider – find something that you’re pleased as punch to have done today!
What happened because of me? Personally I love this question as it prompts us to remember where we add value or make a difference, which might be tough to describe as a job that’s been done. So many seemingly insignificant things could come under this heading; your kids laughing; family time around the dinner table; the smile from a neighbour; a ‘thank-you’ from a work colleague or even a boisterous ‘hello’ from your dog…they all count here! What’s so interesting with these examples is that although they might go unnoticed, they’re probably also things that are really important – and they all happened because of you. Now surely that deserves another victory dance?
The idea of the “success list” is to begin to gather some data to counter the critical voice that’s making you feel bad right now. The key with all of this is to absolutely “sweat the small stuff” by which I mean, notice and acknowledge all the seemingly small things that you’ve achieved. I’m a big believer in starting small, and if was working with you to help you build your success list I’d be encouraging you to keep the list handy for those moments when self doubt and self criticism kicks in; in the hope that this list of successes will serve as a timely reminder of what EXACTLY has been done and that above all “you’re doing the best you can with what you have available right now!”
Please let me know how you get on (firstname.lastname@example.org) and if you’d like any more help with this you only have to ask!