I have just been lucky enough to attend a fantastic therapeutic coaching course run by Trevor Silvester of the Quest Institute. I always take away so much both professionally and personally from training with Trevor, the founder of Cognitive Hypnotherapy, but this weekend contained so many things that resonated with me and that I can't wait to use in my client sessions.
I'll be blogging about some of these over the coming month, but the first things that I really wanted to share with you is something that I have been thinking of for a while now but that we discussed much more over the weekend: The concept of Living Deliberately and what a difference it can make to the way we experience life and ultimately, what we get out of it.
It can be very easy to live with the attitude that life happens around us and to us, but that ultimately that we have little control over it. One of the main aspects I work on with people who come to see my at my Cognitive Hypnotheapy practice, is helping them to recognise that they are the ones in the driving seat. That they can have control, whatever that means for them.
In the 21st Century we can live such busy lives that it's very easy to lose awareness of the ability we all have to control our emotions, our state of mind and the skill of planning for happiness. Rather than just letting life happen to you, how much better might it be to consciously steer it, through your actions, thought and feelings, in a more positive direction? We often spend a long time worrying about things in our lives - focussing on how badly something might go, how much worse things could be, etc. 'Worrying' is one term for it and so is 'planning for the worst'! Perhaps, by spending all that time focussing on the negatives, you are in fact planning for it to go wrong. How about instead using all that time and energy planning for success?
As human beings we have to make choices all day long - choices about what we will eat, what will we wear, where we will sit on the bus, what book we might read etc. It can be easy to forget, but we also have choices about how we react emotionally to things around us. Will I be pleasant or grumpy towards my mother-in-law? Will I allow my mean spirited colleague to dictate my mood for the day? Will I allow the fact that I'm running five minutes late to cause me to feel stressed, or perhaps not? The trouble can be that we forget these are choices and end up feeling as if we are wafting in the breeze, waiting to see how people and things affect our mood. So how much better would it be not only to choose the road you take, but also to choose the mode of transport, the speed and how often you need to refresh the satellite navigation system, or plot in a new destination?
Living deliberately is about not just letting life happen, but about making lots of positive choices about how you feel and act, every day, that can steer you in the direction you'd like to be in. It's about taking off the automatic pilot and taking over the controls.
Does that sound like something you could try? As a very wise man once said (just this past weekend!), "It doesn't have to be easy, just possible".