health, Personal Growth, Productivity

A new kickstart: Get yourself into action

No Comments

I’m trying to create a beautiful space where high motivation meets the relaxed feel of lying at the beach. I think I’m almost there.

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the beach these Summer holidays, and it’s been absolutely wonderful. Being with nature and off my phone has helped me reconnect with the simple pleasures of nature, and taken my mind off looking at the clock and checking emails.

Now that it’s “back to work” time, and although it’s taking me a little time to get motivated, I don’t want to completely lose those gorgeous feelings of freedom that being in nature without (much) technology brings. So, I’ve determined that I’m going to keep things simple, and just get s*** done. Get the work done while maintaining the magical summer feelings of freedom that #beachlife brings.

For example, this website. These blogs. It’s been far too long between writing. (In fact, I’m too embarassed to look back to when the last post was published. I have a feeling it was early 2016, if not earlier).

I’ve come to realise that to tick off the long list of things I want to do, I simply need to do them – while reminding myself all the while that nothing will necessarily take much time. Usuallyit’s the thoughts of “that will take so long!” that stop me before I’ve even begun. That’s probably because I expect perfection in everything I do. But, I have to remind myself of the wonderful advice from Sheryl Sandberg, “Done is better than perfect.”

It’s about getting s*** done –  getting a lot of s*** done -, and not expecting perfection. It’s about letting go of the thoughts and feelings related to my list of things, and just working through the list without those feelings having power over me.

Just take it one step at a time. As a mentor once said to me, think of it like you’re going to eat an elephant. It might seem like a huge feat, but how you get there is simple: just eat one chunk at a time.

And on that note, this is one chunk. Just a quick write-up on my site: nothing perfect, nothing worth angsting or worrying about. Just another bite of the elephant that is my long to-do list.

Onward! Time is wasting and it’s the only resource that exists which we cannot get more of.

/ Daisy

health, Personal Growth, Productivity

How to perform despite the anxiety

No Comments

If you’re anything like me, you tend to become a bit of a bundle of nerves when a large event is on the horizon and you need to perform. You feel the pressure start to mount, you think about all the opportunity that is riding on how you perform, and you start to feel perhaps just a little panicky. You realise that it’s a great opportunity, but you also realise that you need to perform up to a particular standard to ensure that the event goes well.

I’m here to tell you that there are some good ways to help overcome the anxiety, and to help your performance improve. Hopefully some of my tips-from-experience will help you for your next “performance”.

When I was in high school, there came a time when I had to choose which electives I would take up for my final years. After having initially selected French and Geography (which I knew I’d get high marks in), I changed my mind and chose Drama and Art. I had a feeling that I needed to study drama – I had been a painfully shy child and knew that taking up Drama might help me overcome this shyness. Thankfully, it did! Through studying Drama – where I had to memorise lines, get up on stage in front of people and perform as a character – I learned that speaking in front of people is a performance piece. Getting up on stage with all those eyes staring at you and all those people judging you is very daunting at first. You wonder what they think of you and what they think of your performance: good? bad? the worst they’d ever seen?

We tend to judge ourselves pretty harshly, don’t we!

Through forcing myself to get up on a literal stage and act in front of people, I realised that I was OK with it because I was acting. I wasn’t “me”: I was someone else. Whatever the audience thought about “me”, they were actually thinking about the “character”. This arms-length way of seeing the performance allowed me to step outside of “me”, and to get on with the job of performing without needing to worry about people’s opinions of me on top of what would already be a challenging task. By seeing the performance as an act, I find that it becomes far easier to perform.

Besides, the big secret that we tend to forget is that each of us has these fears. We are always wondering what other people think of us. Whoever gets up on that stage is wondering what everyone else is thinking of them. So, if we are all wondering what everyone else is thinking of us, your audience is too busy thinking of what others are thinking of them to really be that concerned with opinions of you. Once you realise that everyone else is worried about what everyone thinks of them, you can start to let go of the concern that everyone is thinking about you. No offence, but you aren’t that special 😉

The next time you have a “performance”: be it a presentation at work, a sales pitch, or a job interview; think of it as if you are about to get into character. You will be acting. Obviously, you want to be authentic and still be “you”, but the beauty of seeing the performance as an act is that you get to choose the character. You get to choose a character that inspires you. For me, it’s someone who is courageous, always passionate, dedicated, and out to make a difference. By getting into the zone of the “character” you aspire to, you can think through how a person with those traits would perform. Plus, by being a character on stage rather than “you”, you can blame any performance mishaps on the character rather than yourself, and therefore you have less riding on this performance and you can relax a little and just ease into the performance.

Does that make sense?

Time for an example.

How would a courageous, passionate, dedicated person act?

They would speak at a loud volume (not too loud), they would speak clearly – not too fast nor too slow – and with passion and energy in their voice. They would speak emotively and would be enthusiastic using a variety of tonality as they speak.

Now, get into character. Practice speaking and holding yourself in the way that such a character would. Practice in front of a mirror, a pet or a trusted friend. Are you convincing as this “character”?

Once you can feel that you are acting and in “character”, you can start to see the separation between yourself and the character. With this separation comes freedom. Any words spoken or actions taken are that of the character. You are channeling this character and bringing them to life in front of an audience. Any opinions of the performance therefore, are of the character and not of yourself.

Let yourself go. Enjoy the mode of performing and focusing your energies on delivering a solid, inspiring performance rather than over-worrying about what the audience thinks of you.

By focusing your energy on what actually matters – on a solid and successful delivery -, you will have more chance at success. After all, if you focus your energies on worrying about everyone’s opinion of you, you will be far more likely to stumble and let your nerves get the better of you.

Try this for yourself. I’d love to know what you think, and if you’ve experienced this kind of performance or if you’ve tried something similar.

Now, get out there and give it a good go! Inspire people with your words and your energy. You have so much to contribute to others, and if you let the thought of people’s opinions stop you, that’s a real shame. Don’t let those thoughts get in the way of what is possible.

/ Daisy

Personal Growth, Productivity

How to get out of a funk and get into action

No Comments

Have you ever found yourself sitting on a comfortable couch, thinking about all those things you need to do, but all the things you aren’t doing? You start feeling lazy, tired, and maybe just a little down. You know there’s plenty you could and should be doing but for some reason you just aren’t motivated.

It’s tough. It can feel like a downward spiral: once you get into that funk it can be hard to pull yourself back out.

So, how do you pull yourself out of a funk?

A few years ago here in Sydney there were some terrible bushfires taking place. On the radio I heard an interview with a psychologist who talked about how some people panic in such situations, and simply freeze; not knowing what to do. If you freeze even for a few seconds, this could be the difference between surviving and perishing. The psychologist advised that in such situations it is best that you start doing something, anything. Something simple and seemingly useless could actually save your life. Apparently, when you start getting into action – whatever it is that you do – something happens in your brain which puts you into an active state which then perpetuates. Hence you are starting to do the things you need to do.

Maybe this is the secret to getting out of a funk: get into action. Do something, anything. Even something simple and unrelated to what you want to do. Just do something that is active in some way, which will then put your brain into the active state and spur you into further action. It doesn’t have to be something extraordinary, just do something.

I tried this out recently. I was in an especially lazy state (watching a tv show, drinking some wine, starting to feel lazy), and I absolutely had to get something done that night. Rather than let myself settle too far into the lazy state, I had to do something to get myself out of the funk and into action. Rather than allow the procrastinating thoughts to overcome me, I pushed them aside and actually pushed the majority of my thoughts aside. I thought more about the Thing I Had To Do, and let that guide my actions. I therefore minimised my thoughts, narrowed my focus to the one thing I needed to do, and I got out of the funk. I simply took on a simple action which was unrelated to that thing, and I gained momentum and did what I needed to do, quicker than I would have thought possible. It all started with the thought of what I needed to achieve. And from that, a simple action led to the thing getting done.

I think it can be one of those lessons that can seem “easier said than done”. Breaking out of a funk can be darn hard!! However if you remember that you can take a simple action (a small step), that’s all you need to do to begin the chain reaction to productivity. Just take one small, active step and watch how your brain changes and you get yourself into action. You might even surprise yourself.

Best wishes