Monday, April 30, 2012

How to find what you want !

What do I want ? Sounds like an easy question to answer right ? Not! I remember about ten years ago watching Oprah and listening to her speakers talk about creating a life that follows my bliss. It sounded like English only I did not know what it meant ? My bliss ? What is that ? What do I want ? I didn't have a clue. All I knew was that I hated the life I was living and could see no way out.
Even more disturbing, no-one had ever asked me that question before, in fact, speaking about what I wanted was a total no-no! You just did not speak about what it was you wanted! Ever! But here is the thing, if you don’t know what it is you want, how are you going to create it ? How do you create a life you want to live ? To move from reaction to creation you have to start living from vision which means you have to start answering that one simple question, what do you want ? Here are some thoughts that may help you get started.

1) List What you don’t want!
This is often an easier place to start because we are so engaged with what we don’t want (and then surprised when all we get is more of what we think about, but that is another blog post entirely). Take your top five things you don’t want and now, ask yourself this question, “If this was not in my life, what would be there ?” Start to reframe those things you don’t want into things you would rather have.

2) Let go of what you want and focus on what you want to FEEL!
Yes, feel, because at the end of the day what we want is to feel differently and how we do that is by creating a list of things we need to have in our lives. What will happen if you stop focusing on what you want and instead start focusing on what you want to feel…and then start doing things to create those feelings ?

3) Get a coach
The point of a good coach is that they allow you to start engaging with yourself and they help you start to answer that one question, what do you want ? I would not be where I am now without my coach and the ability to self coach. Coaching is a conversation where the coach listens and helps you not only focus on what you want to create, but also helps you become aware of the conversations that run your mind and so your actions. Can you do this without one ? I guess it is possible, although I know that I could not!

4) Start practicing and creating now!
Let go of needing a complete vision of the life you want to live and allow yourself instead to focus just on today. What do you want for today ? How do you want to make today different from yesterday ? What could you do today that will bring joy and contentment and pleasure into your experience ? The more you practice feeling good today, the clearer the answer will become.
If you are asking yourself the question, “what do I want?”, you are trying to move from reaction to creation and that is a process. It is possible to create the life you want to live, but first you need to know what it is you want to create! There are no right answers, there are no wrong answers. Every answer you find will help you become more aware and so help you move into your power. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself time. Know also that your answer will change as you grow and learn.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Facing your Fear to find your Courage!

The more I coach and speak to people about their dreams and how they can get there, the more the word fear comes up and the more obvious it became that fear is the one thing that stops people from moving forward. It occurred to me that perhaps we are a little too accepting of fear. There is fear…and then there is Fear yet we lump everything into one without ever really taking a look at what we are afraid of. Some fears can and probably should be ignored, others most definitely should not.
What should NOT be ignored ? Physical fear. Your life is precious and it should be protected, this is what fear is there to do. That is why we are afraid of small narrow ledges on the top of sheer vertical cliffs. It is a warning and attention should be paid to that warning (I know, some of you may read this and go huh ? But isn’t diving deep something that can affect your physical being ? The answer is yes, of course, but that was a fear I managed and dying was a risk I accepted)
What COULD be ignored ? Well the more emotional fears. The fear of failure, the fear of humiliation, the fear of being rejected. These are fears that affect how we see ourselves and how we position ourselves in the world. These fears support who we currently think we are and who we think we are is nothing more than an accident of our experience to date. It can change…if you have the courage to change it.
Yes, it is not quite so cut and dried because you most definitely would not want to give up your day job and become a travelling monk if you have a family to support and financial obligations and all the responsibility that comes with a modern life. Then again, you could take your weekends to start that, slowly building up your dream until it can financially sustain you. Which is where the concept of baby steps comes into play. For ever dream there is a step you can take right now, all you need to do is stop focusing on why not and instead focus on what is possible now with what you have. It should be a step that creates fear in your being…and some doubt because without those two elements all you are doing is repeating what you always have done…and the means living the life you have always lived.
Fear is something you can manage. You have a choice! You can choice something that petrifies or just scares you. Something that creates huge change or something that can be fitted into where you are. Yet somehow we choose all or nothing.
What if facing fear is nothing more than risk analysis ? What if there were only ever two basic questions you need to ask to determine if this is a valid fear or not ?
1) Will this physically affect me (or another) in a negative manner
2) Will this affect my ability to support myself physically (so my income, housing, all that good stuff) ?
If the answer is no to both then why aren’t you going for it ? Courage is not the absence of fear, it is getting on with it even though you are afraid! Courage is also something that is built over time. The more you face your fear the less afraid of facing your fear you become.
So, what step could you take right now that would take you from being comfortable and safe to being slightly uncomfortable and open ? What could you start practicing that would support your dream ? And most importantly, when will you start to practice it ?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Becoming a Dream maker - Lesson 1: Getting Going

One of the hardest things when bringing a dream into reality is getting going. What do I mean ? Well,  all dreams may not be world records, but for the person dreaming of something grand and different, the dream is as impossible and difficult. The whole point of a dream is that it is seemingly impossible and that you don’t think that you are good enough to get there, otherwise it would not be a dream, it would be your reality.

So, what happens when you find yourself talking about where you would like to be (my  dream job is an awesome example) and you find yourself saying, “But that is impossible !” Do you even hear those words or is the fact that you will never get your dream something that is so entrenched in you that you don’t even hear it.

Here is the thing – you can’t get there if you don’t start. You also can’t get there if the road to there requires someone or something else to suddenly notice you, adopt you, accept you, take you on board and miraculously make it happen for you. I know, it would be perfect right if that could happen. I mean breaking a world record would have been soo much easier if only Nuno Gomes (the current world record holder and friend) had just given in and agreed to be part of my team and show me the way. I spent years waiting for that to happen, years jumping through hoops to prove to him that I was worth supporting until I finally ran out of energy and got on with diving on my own. It is one of the things I am most grateful for because, if Nuno had been there, I would never have known who had acquired the record, me or him. This way the record is mine and the value I get out of it just never seems to end.

But back to your dream. When I hear people talking about their ideal job or ideal house or ideal anything, I seem to also hear how they are just waiting, waiting for the lottery so that they can get started. Waiting for Hay House to recognise their book and publish it and I get the waiting bit. It is scary to go out there and stand out from the crowd. Not only that, if you knew how to get there you would already be there, so you also have that whole debate on How, How do you get ‘there’. But that is the fun part of a dream, asking those questions and finding out.

My question to you is how long will you wait for your dream to be given to you ? What is the point of dreaming about something that will never happen ? Why not start to live that dream in this moment right now ? Because most dreams can start in your back yard and then grow into something universal. Most overnight successes took ten years of slog to create. What about using what you have right now to create a mini version of your dream ? What about actively finding new people who fit into and support that vision of yours ? Because if you can’t get into the club that already exists it just seems plain silly to hang around waiting to be noticed. Start creating it for yourself. What is the worst that can happen ? That ‘they’ will start to take notice and next thing you know you are there. That nothing happens (which is seldom the case). That you will fail ? Well, what is failure ? This is a journey, you are an explorer experimenting with ways to get there and learning, all the time learning more about yourself, about your vision and about how to make it a reality.

Stop seeing yourself outside of your dream. Start to visualise you in that dream, Really see it and feel it, especially feel it. Now, what do you need to do to start to bring those feelings into the here and now ? You don’t reach Everest in one step, so what step can you take now ? And trust that as you start moving the next step will become clearer, each building on the last as you slowly get nearer. With each step your ability to manifest your dream becomes stronger, so keep moving, keep dreaming and keep believing. You were borne a dream maker! Believe it!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Power of Falling into Myself

When everything falls into place, I fall into myself, into a place that is calm, protected and powerful. It does not matter what happens around me because I exist completely here. The world storms around me, pulls and pushes, demanding I do, I be…everything I am not, yet here I exist as me! I am whole! I am complete!
It is a place that always existed when I dived, especially on those dives where I was totally out of my comfort zone and it is a place I go to now when I need to operate from a place of complete authenticity. It is a place where every action, every thought trusts synchronicity and the divine. It does not matter what happens in that moment, all that matters is that I am in that moment and that the person who is in charge is not my fickle and vulnerable ego, but me, the authentic me, the me that lives forever.
So now I fall into myself and feel the power return. I am safe! I am protected! I am powerful! I am the creator of my dreams and contrary to what you believe, I know how to create my dreams and more importantly the experiences that are life. I am the master of me! Here, in this place, fallen into myself.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Life Lessons from a World Record – How to create a bridge from ‘here’ to ‘there’

Life Lessons from a World Record – How to create a bridge from ‘here’ to ‘there’
What I love most about my world record is the lessons entangled up in the diving. Don’t get me wrong, I could talk for hours about the challenge inherent in diving deeper than mostly everyone. The fun part (and yes, the scary part) is working out how to create a bridge from here to there. The thing about a world record is that it is completely useless until you unlock these lessons because until you do, the only place where you are able to live limitless is diving and let’s face it, what we all want is to be able to live without limits in a life where dreams are ordinary.
Which brings me to the life lessons part. One of my favourites is the ‘how - how do you go about creating an audacious dream ? Because whilst not everyone wants to become the deepest diver in the world, we all have dreams and the thing about dreams is that, to the dreamer, they are always intimidating and require moving from the comfortable familiarly of here to an often vague there with a whole lot of unknown steps in between.
So how do you create a path from here to there ? The first step is knowing where there is. Thanks to copious exposure to goal setting and visualisation most of us are able to define our ‘there’, which is about the time when we get stuck because we cannot see a clear way forward. Somehow we have been led to believe that before you can start you have to know exactly how to get there, and as we have never been there before, we never get started.
I know this because it is a place I spent a lot of time at. It took me forever to get from 75 meters to 121 and then, everything just stopped. I had been isolated from my usual diving crowd so was pretty much on my own, with meant I had no clear access to Nuno Gomes. For those of you who do not dive, Nuno is the deepest man in the world and also the man with the most dives sub 280 meters. He was also the man who taught me diving and the main reason why I ever thought becoming the deepest woman would be possible. It seemed an easy task when I had him on board, after all he had the answers, he had been there before. Without him the journey seemed almost impossible and infinitely dangerous – in deep diving not knowing often means dying and dying was not what I was signing up for.
If you have ever contemplated doing something totally new and different you will be able to relate to the worry that comes with that decision. I was worried that I did not know enough to be able to create dive plans that would get me out of the water. What would happen if something new appeared at 140 meters ? There is not much time to solve problems deep in a cave, would I be able to ? Would I even know what to do ? What if I did not have the skills ? What if I did not have enough equipment ? What was it I did not know ? How could I learn it without actually going there ?  Following exactly what Nuno had done was one strategy but I also knew that would not really work as I wasn’t diving in the same place he did which meant I would have to derive the basic principles out of his dives and then reapply them to my site taking into account its unique features (for the divers reading that would be a 3 minute swim at 110 meters, something every deep diver declares to be impossible). I was also not physically Nuno Gomes which meant I had to change my equipment configuration which then impacted on the dive plan. Everything seemed to be connected to everything else. Could I really dive without the huge cylinders Nuno’s diving declared to be vital ? What would happen if I changed that ? Was being female going to make a difference to the physiology I was using to base my decisions on ? What did I need to know to get the extra 60 meters deeper? How did the depth change what I knew ? What skills did I need to add ? With no-one to copy I finally realised the only way to get my answers was to go diving... and then it took another year or so to find the courage to get in the water and risk everything finding out.
What did I learn ? That there is always something you do not know, the trick is to trust and use what you do know to create a safe way of learning the rest.
I learnt that you seldom know exactly how to reach where you want to be and that is ok! In fact, not knowing how is what it is all about - that is the fun part. Learning is about trying and trying means that sometimes you don’t get the result you were aiming for. The world calls that failure, I call that  finding the essential facts that I need.
I learnt the freedom of letting go of the outcome and just existing in the moment and trusting that I would get there and if not there, trusting that I would get somewhere as good if not better.
Practically, I learnt that getting there is a series of steps and that invariably the only step that is clear and obvious is the next one. I also learnt that sometimes the next step is not that clear and that when faced with options that all look alike, to pick the one that moved me closer, even if closer was sometimes nothing more than a feeling. The thing was to pick one and then use that experience to pick the next one – you don’t get deeper if you sit looking at options wondering.
I learnt to always keep moving and to use my goal to target that movement in the direction I wanted to go. I also learnt that it is ok to adjust my goal based on what I was learning. In fact, the more you learn the easier it to see what is possible which means your goal will grow as you grow, but first you have to get moving. When I look back at my non-diving life I can see this principle in motion. I started off learning biology with the idea of becoming a marine biologist. Varsity introduced me to diving (which opened up the world record door). My honours degree also taught me how to think for myself and solve problems which was exactly what I needed when I started working in IT as a computer programmer. That led to defining requirements and then solutions to those requirement which created a passion for problem solving and analysis and taught me how to write (even if it was corporate speak). My diving gave me something to write about. My career got me interested in how people work and what successful people look like and act like...which got me into consciousness coaching, which took me back to writing...about my diving. No way I could have told you even ten years ago that I would be here in this moment...who knows where I will be in ten years ?
Like I said, I love my diving experience because everything I have ever needed to know about my real life is there, wrapped up in diving. My question to you is this, what is your next step ? Stop thinking about that end goal, just focus on what you would need to do now to get you closer and then keep on  edging ever closer. If you do just that one thing,, then one day your next step is certain to be you own world record moment.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

3 Affirmations to Cultivate Self Confidence & Self Worth

The one thing the world never seems to teach is confidence in who I am. Finding my own worth and value is a life long journey. So here are three affirmations that I use to claim this for myself :

I am supported! Because it is easier to stand out from the crowd when I know that someone has my back
I am enough ! Because I need to remind myself that even though I am not like you, who I am is enough to create my dreams.
I am deserving! Because I am! Success and reward are not things that are only given when I prove myself! Succes, reward and the life I dream about are my natural inheritance!

What are your three powerful I am’s ? How do you actively and consciously create self worth and confidence ?

Apples & The Meaning of Life

Hardly an obvious connection although I think most people would immediately jump to the Garden of Eden and the story that has haunted us woman for, well , ever. If only Eve had not taken a bit of that apple. In this story the apple is not portrayed in a very good light, in fact, some days I am surprised that people actually still consume apples as a result. But are apples intrinsically bad ? What about an uplifting story of two kids who sell candy apples to earn enough money to buy a bike ? Same fruit, different relationship to the apple. Here the apple is a hero, it does good which means we are able to ‘forgive’ the evil Eden apple.
Our relationship with apples is changed and all it took was a different story. The question is, should one love or hate apples ? Which story is the truth ? The answer ? Well, neither! It seems obvious when we are talking apples so lets talk pears for a moment.
The apple story affected how we felt about apples and how we feel about something either creates attraction or resistance toward it. This is our relationship to that thing. Now, stop thinking apples and start thinking about the stories you tell about your life. How about….your relationship with money ? What is the story you tell about money ? Is it the hero or the villain ? Or men ? How has your history in relationships affected how you feel about relationships and men ? Are they good or bad ? What is the story you keep on telling yourself ?

Can you see how the thing itself, the apple is never changed - an apple is an apple ? The only thing that changed is how you feel about it and that was totally affected by the story. The moment you start to become aware of your stories is the moment you can start to reframe and so change the ‘apple’ from the villain to the hero and in that moment you stop resisting and start attracting! And if you don’t yet believe in the forces of attraction, then how about this. Wouldn’t it be preferable to be thinking good thoughts about your life than subjecting yourself to the suffering that endless pessimism generates ?

What is the story that runs your life ? What can you change to turn your apples into heroes ?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just Who Do You Think You Are ?

I have some very clear memories of my father (amongst others) standing over me and shouting, “Just who do you think you are ?” I knew in that moment that I was nothing ! I was insignificant, barely worthy of breathing and how dare I even think that I could…. (insert here a number of things) -  how dare I think I could have an opinion, how dare I think I could do something extra ordinary, how dare I think I was better than everyone else and so special. Even writing these words brings up feelings I would rather not acknowledge. Intense shame, humiliation, guilt and also bewilderment! What do you mean who do I think I am ? I am me! Why on earth can’t I do what I am good at without it being seen as a direct challenge and insult to you ? Why when I am good at what I do does it mean I am demeaning and humiliating you ?

I was only seven or eight for most of these encounters so barely able to stand up for myself and with no language or reasoning skills to answer such an intrusive question. Even now as an adult, I find that moment encroaches in everything I do and say. It was one of the stumbling blocks on my journey to the label deepest simply because embedded in my psyche was this strong message not to upset the apple cart, not to be bigger than my britches, not to show up anyone else – an impossible task when your goal is a world record.

Just who do I think I am ? Normal, ordinary, just like you…. Oh, and I am the deepest woman in the world which basically means that so could you be. The question is, who do you think are ? Who you could be if you let go of who the world has told you you should be ?  What if you were deserving ?