Judgement

Someone once said to me ‘Don’t let others judge you’ Whilst their advice was well intended I’m not sure it was truly accurate.

We cannot prevent others from judging us but what we have total control over is how we choose to react to their judgements.

Of course a lot depends on the circumstances in which judgement is being made;

  • Competition (sport, for example)
  • Exams
  • Job interview or work performance appraisal

All these are formal environments where one would expect honest and constructive feedback that one can choose to act on, or at the very least, evaluate.

The other types of judgement occur as we go about our daily lives, and much of it is baseless – influenced by the prejudices, false beliefs and insecurities of others.

As I’ve already said, you cannot stop others making these judgements about you. The most important thing is that you maintain a firm belief in yourself.

For many years I’ve been subjected to criticism, opinions stated as fact and pure resentment about my abilities and my goals. In the early days I really struggled to cope with this and my self belief and self worth took a significant nosedive. I felt and believed I should live my life according to the needs and beliefs of others.

However as I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser!!) I’ve re-learned the belief I had in myself, gradually step by step. It’s been a long and at times painful journey but I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m able to react appropriately to unwelcome judgements made by others.

I’m no longer interested in what others are saying and thinking about me – in fact I find it quite flattering that some people want to dedicate so much of their own lives to concerning themselves about my life!!

All the while I’m just getting out there in the world, aiming high and focusing on my goals, and gradually, step by step, I’m moving forward.

As they say – haters keep hating – but I’m too busy trying to be awesome to care.

Thanks for reading – now go out there and make yourself awesome!!

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The Power of Primary Focus

There’s so much going on in our lives nowadays. We seem to be bombarded with information from many sources. How do we shut out the unimportant noise ad really focus on our really key goals?

I use a technique that I’ve developed over time. I call it the power of primary focus. This is all about focusing on the one or two key priorities that move your life forwards.

Let me demonstrate how this works by using the example of a football team (for my friends in the US that’s soccer rather than NFL). A football team is made up of 11 players, plus subs, each with a specific role to play in the team.

Goalkeeper

Midfielders

Attackers

Each of the three groups have their own primary focus during a game, that when combined create the final outcome.

Goalkeeper and defenders primary focus is to prevent the opposition from scoring

The midfielders primary focus is to be the link between defence and attack. In other words they break up the oppositions attacks and create opportunities for their own team’s attackers to score goals.

So whilst each group within the team have their own primary focus the overall primary focus of the team itself is very simple- to score more goals than the opposition. That’s it as simple as that. You score more goals than the opposition then you win.

The power of primary focus is all about controlling the events that you can control and not the external factors that can end up controlling you. It’s about removing excuses and understanding your role. It’s about changing your thinking to what can I do to influence the outcome?

I’ve used an example of a football team to help explain how this works, however this principle applies across all of life’s experiences.

Take a few moments to think – what’s your primary focus right now?

Why???

Why do my best intentions disintegrate daily?

Why can I never remain focused on my goals?

Why am I constantly feeling anxious?

Why does my relationship suck?

Why do I hardly ever keep my commitments?

Why?

Why?

Why?

We have too many why’s in our lives

Why do we never learn?

A Worryers Tale

Why do I worry so much? So often?

Why am I always so anxious?

I worry that there’s nothing to worry about at times. I want to learn to let go – but I can’t.

Worry strips me of my enjoyment of life, like being naked in a field of thorns.

Restless sleep and tired days makes life a chore where it should be a joy.

Why can’t I just learn to relax and chill a little? Just once in a while would be bliss

I really envy those people who make life look effortless

Worry, fear, anxiety are like a paralysis of the soul. Draining energy like a leaking bucket – do I deserve to be punished like this?

I don’t deserve a good, decent life until I can conquer this affliction – but how? and when?

I must be pathetic living my life like this, but it’s all I know and am used to.

Who’s going to help me turn it all around?

It has to be me. I have to take responsibility for making it happen. Oh how wonderful it would be to wake tomorrow with the sun at the centre of my soul

It can be done; people can turn their life around. With purpose, positive energy and a real desire to better themselves. It takes time and it’s never going to be an overnight miracle but by focusing on each day as it comes, looking for small incremental improvements and building on these, change does occur. It’s about taking personal responsibility and ownership.

I should know – I’ve been there and don’t intend to go back.

Getting Back on the Horse

As an avid cricket fan I’ve been watching the recent two match test series between England and New Zealand with interest. An exciting and enthralling battle with highs and lows for both sides, and a fair 1 – 1 series draw in my humble opinion.

But what really caught my attention was the mental approach of the New Zealand team. Having played an exciting and very positive brand of cricket in the first test at Lords only to finally lose pretty comprehensively you might have expected them to approach the second test at Headingly with some apprehension, whilst most English supporters must have been feeling pretty confident of their side’s chances to take a series win. The turning point for England in what’s been a difficult winter perhaps?

Brendon McCullum and his team had other ideas however – taking the match to England from the start on the first morning.

Controlled aggression, teamwork, a strong work ethic and a positive focus throughout. The final ingredient was effective and correct decision making in the heat of the battle. But for me, the one single quality that impressed me was the Kiwi’s unfaltering commitment to their team values and beliefs – positive, attacking cricket with both the bat and the ball. After the crushing first test defeat it could have been easy for them to take a cautious, defensive, defeat-avoiding approach to the second test. But no, they played to their strengths and followed their principles, eventually overcoming that first test defeat by inflicting one of their own on England, thus providing a fitting analogy for getting back on the horse.

As in life, when things get tough – stay positive, stick to your principles and make the right decisions.

You won’t always win, but you’ll win more than you lose!!