Blog and News
May 2012 - The journey to confidence through anxiety
Guest blog for B Legal Limited, Marlow solicitors - Case studies in coaching http://blog.b-legal.co.uk/?p=248
April 2012 - Value for money
March 2012 - Who's not worthy
Learning our lessons - should we allow our children to make mistakes?
This week there has been a lot of coverage in the press about protecting children from failure with the Telford Junior Football League changing statistics to avoid humiliating defeat. As parents, it’s our job to prepare and support our children for their journey into the big wide world; how many of us have never failed or felt disappointed? We are producing a generation of children who are afraid to try for fear of getting things wrong, such is the pressure that is put upon them. By allowing them to take a chance and to fail we are allowing them to see that nothing terrifying will happen to them if they make a mistake or an error…that giving it a go produces a rush of adrenalin and real feelings of achievement which are all the sweeter for learning the hard way.
Children need to feel achievement to help them to strive for greater things and to push themselves, but getting it wrong often helps them to learn valuable lessons about how best to approach things and to develop successful strategies for the future. Learning how best to succeed needs support and courage. In education we endeavour to facilitate learning by breaking things down into small steps, this may mean getting some components wrong, but by the time we are able to piece it all together, we should have ironed out the potential for errors.
Children need to learn that the reward is worth the effort, and if it’s too easy and straightforward we will have children who always expect to succeed and for whom failure is so distressing that they never have an adventure.
Sometimes the effort can be its own reward. If we only do things that we are good at we will not be doing things just for the sheer enjoyment of doing it…taking photographs, dancing, playing music, fixing or building things. We need children to realise that taking part is an experience that is intrinsically rewarding. I love to sing, I will never win the X-Factor or star at the Royal Albert Hall, but it fulfils me in so many ways and I try to pass this passion on to my children. Do it because it feels good, not because you are the best at it.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but from rising again when we do fall”
Stress - Twisted sister or useful friend
Exam prep and anxiety management
It may only be the spring, but the summer exam series seems to begin earlier and earlier and the January module results may have been a wake up call. So what now, as a former teacher and confidence coach I can offer candidates coaching for exam preparation and anxiety management. Here is some advice to help you through the exam season.
- Most importantly, learn your syllabus, it will give you an idea of how questions will be phrased and the vital components that the examiners will focus on
- Have a clear timetable of your exams and revise in that order to give yourself as much time as possible, try at least 30 minutes per subject at any one time
- Make colourful and attractive charts, lists and mind maps and stick them up around your room & other areas of the house where you may have a few minutes during the day to glance at them…around a mirror is a good place, this way you can quickly be revising stuff without having to find a book or a folder
- Give yourself a break. You cannot maintain attention for a prolonged period of time and be productive, take breaks away from your books at least every hour, but remember that the break time should not exceed the revision time, limit them to 20-30 minutes each
- Learn to relax, tune out stress. Go for a walk or take time out with friends at the weekends
- Get your negative voices under control. During exams or stressful events you may hear a voice that tells you “You can’t do this” or “You don’t deserve that” and this will throw your attention. Spend a while listening to just how that voice sounds and where it comes from and then play around with the voice, imagine it in a different pitch or coming from a different place. Play around with it until it is as silly as possible and it will lose its power
- Remember successful exams from the past, allow those feelings of success to fill you with confidence and remember how that feels
- Eat and sleep well, especially before the actual exam day
Advice for parents:
- Know the exam timetable
- Ask in advance what equipment is needed for each exam and endeavour to have it ready
- Get them to school in plenty of time for the exam
- Try to keep the household free of distractions
- Relax, they need to want it for themselves
My clients often hold limiting beliefs about their own abilities; coaching helps them to shed these and to gain the confidence to achieve their full potential. Whatever happens, be kind to yourself and stay calm.
Below is a link to: "Steps to confidence and happiness" as featured in Families magazine (Thames valley west edition)
Tips for surviving a family Christmas:
Man is a social being, but some of us are more sociable than others and the old adage is true, you can’t choose your family. It seemed like a good idea back in the summer but now, faced with the family descending upon you, you may wish you’d sloped off to a hotel somewhere. Fear not, you can have a thoroughly enjoyable time if you just follow this advice.
Remember the good intentions behind behaviours; they are your friends and family and they love you, even if sometimes it’s hard to see it.
Choices; other people cannot make you feel something – it is your choice, be the bigger person and rise above it, smile or laugh.
Other people cannot not respond to us: think about how you are affecting the situation, if others are grumpy and fed-up, are you the life and soul of the party? Other people will feed off of your positivity, and negativity!
Count your blessings and decide to have a great fun Christmas with your family and friends, you may just enjoy it!
Setting achievable goals for a more successful 2011:
OK we all do it, New Years resolutions are possibly inevitable but we can make them in such a way that they are attractive and achievable. The answer is to think really carefully before making the commitment, i.e. well before that stroke of midnight!
Have as clear an idea as possible about what you want, develop a rich exciting image, and see yourself achieving this new behaviour.
State your intention in the positive: making your language more positive increases your chances of success, so “I want to stop smoking” implies restriction, try “I want to be healthier”
What steps do you need to take to achieve this goal, have you been realistic, can you maintain this commitment: write a list of pros and cons
How will you know when you have it? What will you see, hear, and feel? This will help you to develop your more attractive mental image and help to encourage you
When do you want it? Sometimes this new behaviour may be a hindrance, think carefully about the ramifications and boundaries you want to place on it: “I want to be more successful” this may interfere with your home life, be careful what you wish for!
Is it worth the time, effort and financial costs: again, write a list and work through the potential problems.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself; if you find yourself slipping and losing sight of your good intentions just treat it as a learning experience. “Oh! When this happens, that is how I react.” Learn from it and start again, don’t dwell on it, just move on. Good luck.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and successful New Year