This week I have had the massive (and I mean MASSIVE) pleasure of spending time with two of my most treasured friends. They are both dynamic career women with families, lives and a healthy amount of down to earth normality.
They are both making great strides with all sorts of things and doing very well, but one of them has come up against a potential threat to her progress and this has almost stopped her in her tracks, and the other told me she felt like a failure because she has been unwell.
This really surprised me because these are two of the toughest, genuinely loveliest people I know. Both are very supportive of other people and champions of progress.
When I work with clients to get clarity and make a plan to achieve new things we always go through the well tried and tested SWOT test. It may be old fashioned but it works and I use it all the time. We look at our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for change and threats and while we are always pretty good at looking at our weaknesses and can usually spot an opportunity that will help us, the strengths and threats bit of the formula often causes us problems and keeps us stuck.
Women in particular really struggle to see their own strengths and yet are very good at identifying everyone else’s! Of course adopting a daily writing habit is the first step towards unravelling all of this and will really help to discover our strengths in all their glory, as well as anything that has the potential to sabotage or threaten our progress.
One of the biggest threats is often ourselves-fear holds us back, fear of failure, fear of what people might say about us and just fear of not being able to achieve what we want to.So what do we do? NOTHING! so fear wins!
Another is striving for perfection or the right time. These don’t exist! Whatever you are working on will never be perfect and as for the right time? Well the right time is NOW!
Another threat is other people-people who claim to be our friends but in actual fact are jealous or threatened by the fact we are making changes, doing something different and are just happy with our life the way it is. I pity these people and would urge them to try and live a life that is more glass half full than empty, and more importantly to leave those of us alone who are pursuing our dreams and ideas and working bloody hard in the process!
But the big thing to remember is this. Life is not always happy and easy and we cannot be positive all the time-it’s impossible and unrealistic. I am a generally pretty optimistic individual but I am only human and I certainly don’t feel an abundance of positivity all the time!
Threats to our progress are serious inhibitors of happiness and we all need strategies for dealing with them. Whether you are doubting yourself, feeling under the weather and not perhaps coping as well as you would normally or if you have people in your world who are not supporting you, YOU need to have a plan to acknowledge the threats you are facing and move them on quickly.
I know, through years of daily writing and creating the Write Your Life course, that journaling and writing down how you feel and what is worrying you is a powerful first step to making transformational change in your life.
So when I do have a difficult, challenging or worrying day I write-I write until I have edited those things away and I am free to start the next chapter. There will always be threats that have the potential to derail even the most positive person, but if you have a strategy for dealing with it YOU will always be able to make progress.
A good writing exercise to try is the good old SWOT test. Spend time writing in your journal all your:
STRENGTHS (abilities/skills/characteristics/experience/character traits)
WEAKNESSES (don’t see this as negative-identify challenges you are facing because then you will understand why you might be stuck and you can make a plan to address them and stop them from holding you back)
OPPORTUNITIES (who or what can help you move forward? do you need information? advice? support? to learn something new? Sometimes a coffee with a friend is enough to give you some much-needed clarity and confidence to take the next step)
THREATS (This is the big one! who or what is stopping you and why are you allowing it to happen? You need people in your world who will be your cheerleaders and celebrate and support you on your journey. If you don’t yet have your team of champions then start a decluttering process and make some changes.)
And please don’t wait for everything to be perfect or the time to be right before you start to make changes. Life is short and we need to get on with it now! New goals should excite you a lot and frighten you a little so a bit of fear is a good thing! Get out there and do whatever it is you want to do. Be the best possible and most authentic version of yourself and stop worrying about those people who can’t or won’t support you—that’s their problem NOT yours!
Let me know how you get on via email firstname.lastname@example.org