Five GREAT reasons to overcome your fear of networking

I woke up feeling terrified this morning.

I went to sleep feeling scared and miserable last night.

Why?

It’s simply because today I’m attending a networking and learning event, in London.

Yes, the day has finally arrived, and it’s time for Soulful PR Live 2017, organised by the fabulous Janet Murray. The halls of The Trampery are filled with brilliant, warm female entrepreneurs and businesswomen.

Happily, in normal daily life, I’m confident, calm, and always delighted to talk to anyone about the wonders of hypnotherapy and coaching. Unfortunately, I’ve had a difficult week (I’m a human being) and a lot of my old fears and anxieties have been raising their ugly heads.

Feelings of not being good enough, ‘imposter syndrome’, shyness, and social anxiety are all bubbling away. Add to this the fact that I’m an introverted extrovert, so events like this can feel very draining (however good I’m feeling).

I guess you’ll either understand my terror, or you’ll think it strange, maybe even funny, that I could feel this way about a well-organised, friendly and professional event, populated by like-minded souls.

If you do empathise, then perhaps you have too have dreaded a situation that requires you to present and promote yourself, or your business. Perhaps you’ve even avoided such an opportunity.

Which is a great shame, because such an occasion really IS an opportunity, and one I believe you should seize with enthusiasm.

There are three vital reasons for this:

First, making connections is really important, because people do business with people. The truth is that there’s just no substitute for getting out there and meeting real human beings, putting faces to names, shaking hands, chatting over a coffee, sharing a laugh, and forging a professional relationship. Heck, you might even make a friend! No branding or email in the world can compete with a real working relationship, or the memory of a shared experience.

You’re an amazing human being, and there are other amazing human beings out there ready to meet and connect with you.

Second, every time you do something that scares you, you will boost your self-confidence. Nothing will make you grow faster as a person – and as a professional – than overcoming your fears and doubts. Ideally, you should attempt one such challenge every single day. I know it can be daunting, especially if you are feeling less than your best, but I have some tips for how to do this, and how to make a habit of it so that being courageous becomes second nature.

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Third, if you don’t go, your fears and doubts will actually INCREASE! Avoidance is the favoured strategy of the fearful, but in fact it adds weight and credence to phobia, because it reinforces our belief that the avoided stimulus is awful. Studies have shown that the fear of pain is much worse than actual pain endured, and this is also true for any activities that we dread. I’m sure you know what it’s like if you’ve got to have a difficult conversation: nine times out of ten you feel worse BEFORE you make that call than you do afterwards.

Fourth, you’ll gain something new (and often unexpected) from every experience of networking. Whether you pick up some amazing tips, develop wisdom, make a vital new contact, learn a trick of the trade, or just have way more fun than you could have imagined, every new experience and encounter leaves you smarter. And that will help you to grow in confidence, making the next one easier.

Fifth, and possibly most importantly, the world needs your magic, your unique gifts, your contribution. If you stay at home, or hide in your office, and do not get out there and let people know what you’ve got, you’re doing yourself (and everyone else) a huge disservice. You were not born to hide your light. You are here to shine! To sparkle, and dazzle! So take a deep breath, and smile, and let’s do this.

So then, just HOW do we do it?

I use positive visualisation with self-hypnosis on days like this, so that I can see myself walking tall, smiling with confidence, and enjoying the experience of meeting so many amazing people.

Yoga, meditation, keeping my blood-sugar constant, breathing properly and taking a few strategic ‘time-outs’ will all also help to boost my confidence and maintain my positive energy.

It’s not always easy, but I have ALWAYS found it to be worth the effort of overcoming fear and doubt.

There can be no courage without vulnerability, so the fact that we’re scared is what makes us brave. Using hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural techniques, I have learned to manage my anxieties and emotions, and you can too.

Practising courage and confidence over fear and self-doubt can become a habit, and it is one that will help you to succeed in life, no matter what challenges come your way.

I hope that by sharing this, I’ve helped you to feel braver. It’s my mission to help you to overcome your challenges and learn to shine, today and every day.

If you would love to know more about HOW to feel braver and more confident, then you can look forward to my next post, 5 ways to shine at your next event, or you can contact me at The Seymour Clinic. I’d love to help you!

Emma x

 

How it works

The whole process starts (and ends) with you. You are in control, always.

Making the decision to make a change is the first step, and actually, often the hardest. So once you’ve decided that you re ready to change something in your life, you’re on your journey. Congratulations!

You can get in touch in several ways (see Contact). We usually start with an informal phone or online consultation. This typically takes 10-20 minutes, and it’s free, with no obligation.

If you and I then agree that I can help you, we’ll arrange an appointment for a first proper session. Sessions can be in-person at our Bournemouth clinic, or online via Zoom or Skype.

During the first session, we’ll get a really clear understanding of your situation and discuss the best way forward. Together we’ll work out how many sessions will best serve you, and then I’ll create your personalised therapy or coaching programme. Most clients benefit from 3-12 sessions, usually one per week.

My approach is solution-focused, so we’ll be working together to get you where you want to be, as soon as feels comfortable for you. There is no rush, but equally, why hang about? My aim is to see you feeling positive, confident, motivated and ready to rock, and this usually happens within just a few weeks.

I can’t promise it will all be easy, but it really is that simple.

Two Easy Steps To Better Mental Health 

Hello, it’s Monday again. How are YOU feeling today?

Are you relaxed? Or stressed?

Do you find you’re always looking at a screen, but don’t know how to switch off, either your gadgets or your mind?

Do you have a to-do list that NEVER seems to end?

Would you love to reduce stress, take back control, make time for relaxation, and still achieve more every day? Then read on…

Busy lives can be stressful. We all know that stress is not good for us, but do we know just how damaging it is, or exactly what it does to our bodies and minds? And sure, we may know intuitively that relaxation has positive effects, but are you aware of just how beneficial it is for our bodies, minds and productivity? So just how can we stress less and relax more? I have a two step solution we can explore below.

In evolutionary terms, the stress response is vitally helpful, but it was only ever meant to be an acute survival mechanism. Problems arise when stress becomes long-term, because it affects your whole body: heart, lungs, stomach, muscles, skin, fertility, weight, pain and – crucially – your immune system, while increasing vulnerability to anxiety and depression.

Long-term stress is arguably the biggest health concern of the 21st century, because it is linked with so many serious conditions, and reduces productivity so that even the economy suffers. The key to managing stress is organisation, because this affords time for relaxation.

Physically speaking, relaxation counteracts all of the above, and can even lower the risk of stroke. Mentally and emotionally, it improves memory, libido and decision-making ability, and actually protects against anxiety and depression. It’s easy to see how one can offset the other. Yet with so many priorities to juggle, it’s little wonder that many of us neglect our need for time out.

The good news is there’s a brilliant new analogue tool that truly helps. This little miracle is a beautiful paper diary and productivity planner called Trigg. As the name suggests, it provides a framework for mapping out your life, using key points to navigate the things you need to do while keeping you on track with the things you want to do. With space for relaxation and reflection, it’s the perfect opportunity to improve your life-work balance and ensure you’re getting time to unwind.

It can be difficult to relax when there are constant demands on your time and the to-do list will never be complete. Too often, rest and relaxation are seen as indulgent, time-wasting, or lazy, yet taking time out for R&R is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health, and also (perhaps more surprisingly) for your productivity. Yes, taking a nap can be tactically efficient.

But for high-achievers, little downtime appears in the average week, so you need to consciously plan time for relaxation and fun, and ideally to create healthy habits so that this becomes routine. That’s why a good diary or planner is such a useful tool.

Short of retreating into a cave, we can’t remove stress from our lives, but there are two things we definitely can do: manage and cope better with stress, and consciously make time to relax. For both strategies, planning is key. In short, good organisation leads to better mental and physical health.

Working out all your priorities (separating the important and urgent from the rest) ensures you’ll take care of the big stuff, such as your long-term dreams, goals and ambitions that usually fall into the ‘important but not urgent’ category and as such are often sidelined by daily admin and pressing deadlines. Just knowing you’ve got it all covered can be a big relief in itself.

Unfortunately, often we use digital tools to manage commitments, so the intended solution actually adds to the problem. Too much screen-time adds to stress and decreases our ability to switch off. Using paper and pen rather than technology is massively beneficial.

First of all, it offers space for a digital detox: as we’ve noted, time away from screens is vital. Second, the act of writing helps us to focus our minds and organise our thoughts. Research shows that when we put pen to paper we learn and remember more effectively than when we use a laptop. Writing on a page also stimulates creativity and makes room for experimentation.

Furthermore, Trigg asks you to sketch out a personal manifesto, and provides space for daily focus, as well as a weekly opportunity for reflection, including both gratitude and lessons learned. The result is a time management tool that helps you identify values, priorities and stressors, reflect on successes and learn from mistakes, and to actually schedule relaxation.

So, how to unwind when you have the time? Physical exercise is an excellent stress-reliever, and it can be as simple as taking a walk. Spending time in nature is also really beneficial, and if you can combine the two, so much the better. When you can’t get away, simple breathing exercises can really help. Regular meditation, self-hypnosis and yoga are excellent and there’s plenty of information available. The trick is to find something you like, that works for you, and develop a daily habit. As with most things, consistency is the key to success.

A diary with space for notes and reflection is especially helpful, because journaling is a superb way of both identifying and soothing stress. By recording the cause of your stress, along with your thoughts and feelings, you can see how to address it.

It’s no accident that Trigg is so effective: the team consulted productivity experts, executives and psychologists to create their game-changing innovation. As a mental health practitioner, I was drafted in to help with the research and development of Trigg, and I can promise it’s a fantastic solution.

It’s exciting that just one change (incorporating a paper diary or planner such as Trigg into your daily routine) can have so many far-reaching benefits. Life is always going to involve stressful times, but it doesn’t automatically mean getting stressed out. If you love the idea of being organised while detoxing from the digital, having more time to relax, play, and focus on what matters while improving your mental and physical health, then I really can’t recommend it enough. Put pen to paper, find your flow, and you’ll marvel at the benefits in no time.

 

PLEASE NOTE: The gorgeous Trigg Life Mapper 2017 is available at Kickstarter ONLY until Wednesday 5th October, 10pm BST, for delivery in December, making it the ideal Christmas gift. Do NOT miss out!

www.kickstarter.com/projects/thinktrigg/the-trigg-life-mapper

 

 HOW TO MANAGE STRESS USING TRIGG

  • List ALL your commitments and use the quad to define your priorities: the fewer per day, the better. Focus is key.
  • Plan your time for everything, including relaxation and exercise. These are essential elements for optimum health and productivity.
  • Use paper and pen to manage your commitments, to better focus your mind and limit your daily quota of screen time.
  • Journaling: write down the cause of your stress, along with your thoughts and feelings. Once you understand the problem (and writing it down is a great way of clarifying the situation) you can begin to address it.
  • Be grateful for what you have: it’s scientifically proven to improve wellbeing.
  • Don’t beat yourself up about mistakes, but learn from them and move on.
  • Take the opportunity to create your own personal manifesto: what are your values? What does it mean to live as YOU?

OTHER GREAT WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS AND RELAX

  • Take a walk: this really helps with creativity and problem solving.
  • Spend time in nature: green spaces, trees, and coastal areas are all soothing.
  • Eat well and stay hydrated. Minimise your caffeine intake ( 3 cups max per day)
  • Listen to music (and dance if you like!)
  • Spend quality time with friends and family.
  • Foster good sleep habits.
  • Focus on breathing well. Here’s a great simple breathing exercise to try from the NHS
  • Meditation is fantastic for many people: try the Headspace app to start for free.
  • Regular self-hypnosis is amazingly calming and really boosts creativity.  Call Emma at the Seymour Clinic or visit the NHS-approved Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) to find a hypnotherapist near you.
  • Yoga: for information and local classes try the NHS Livewell page
  • Get professional help: if you’re overwhelmed and struggling to cope, make an appointment with your GP or contact Emma at the Seymour Clinic.

 

Take a leap!

Thanks to Thomas Jefferson for the wise words. If you would like help with a problem, or if you need some guidance to develop your skills and work towards a better life, please take a leap of faith and call, text or email Emma at The Seymour Clinic.

We’ll be delighted to help you achieve things you’ve never had, by doing things you’ve never done.

Emma x

Always follow your dreams

Always follow your dreams

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So, the annual Bournemouth Air Festival is in full swing this weekend (despite the unpredictable weather). I think it seems like a very good time to honour the memory and respect the sage advice of the late Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging, aka ‘Eggman’, aka ‘Red 4’ of the famous Red Arrows, who tragically died here in 2011.

I love this memorial to Eggman: named ‘Blue Skies’, it soars from the clifftop, out towards the sparkling sea. And engraved there is the message: “Always follow your dreams”. Wise words, and a beautiful sculpture. It’s a testimony to a courageous life, fully lived. 

So please, take a tip from this truly daring soul, and follow your dreams today. Here’s to you, sir x

Luminous beings are we…

…and great wisdom from Yoda this is.

Yes, there’s a lot we can learn from everyone’s favourite old timer.

Yoda is the philosopher-warrior-teacher-guru of Star Wars, who coaches young Luke Skywalker through the frustrating experience of learning to become a Jedi and use the Force.

For me, using the force is similar to understanding prana in yoga, or chi, or using hypnosis and mindfulness to clear the mind of noise. If we direct our energies towards that which we want, rather than focusing on our fears and anger, it opens up a world of possibility.

Yoda knows that if you want to achieve something, you must first believe that you can.

These are some of my favourite examples of his philosophy and teachings:

“Do or do not… There is no try.”

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

Already know you that which you need.

The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see the future is.

“Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.”

“Luminous beings are we…not this crude matter.”

“Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.”

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.”

“Always pass on what you have learned.”

“Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will.”

“Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.”

“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”

“Always in motion is the future.”

“To answer power with power, the Jedi way this is not. In this war, a danger there is, of losing who we are.”

Happy Star Wars Day, young Jedis, and May the fourth be with you!

Emma x

yoda-wisdom
Fear is the path to the dark side.

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It’s the truth…

Quote - if you want something youve never had...