Active Meditation: Mindfulness in Action

Who has time to meditate with the fast pace of life and business nowadays?

No, you do not have to be sitting in the lotus position with your eyes closed to get best results as I first thought.

The reason I decided to write this article is because many of my clients are making themselves wrong for not making the time to meditate. They are telling me that they feel they need to create time for it to be most effective. In other words they are thinking they need to be meditating in a certain way for best results.

Can you relate to this?

I certainly can. Especially during my first attempts to meditate, with my head telling me that this is a waste of time, I have better things to do, where is this going to get me?

The monkey mind – chitter chatter – just wouldn’t slow down at all.

Yes, I had a very busy mind that would always be racing ahead.

How do I do this meditation stuff so that I can stop driving myself crazy jumping from goal to goal or project to project? Exhausting myself!!!

Trying to get it right. Only to find there is no right way. Let’s find your way.

There are many forms of meditation –
it is important to find what works best for you.

Ultimately, you want to feel like you are in a state of consciousness throughout your day for focused productivity, engaging communication and creative innovation. If not, you may find yourself reacting to situations and circumstances leaving you feeling exhausted at the end of the day.

  • This is where meditation and mindfulness can support you.

Yes, meditation can consist of sitting quietly and being with your thoughts and your breath. I don’t know about you, but as a high achiever and go-getter personality style, I found that style of meditation very challenging to do in the beginning. So I chose to start with creative visualization and deep breathing for only 5 minutes, and increased the time, as I gave myself permission to sit for longer.

Today, this has expanded into what I like to call ‘mindfulness in action’.

This means that I focus on my breath being conscious to my senses, as I take action throughout the day. This supports me to become a lot calmer, present and conscious inside of each activity, without reacting to outside circumstances. From this stance, I can make better decisions because of being grounded and connected with mind and body.

  • For example, if I am about to step into a meeting, I take a few deep breaths sending this into my body taking me out of my strategic mind racing ahead. With my first priority being to connect with my inner body being still in mind and body. My objective is to stay fully present to the environment, the people in the room, the language they are using, sensing what they are saying and what they are not saying.

Listening with a beginner’s mind, connecting with
all your senses will support you to become an
influential observer with inspiring presence.

Being the observer creates space to listen without judgment or pre-conceived ideas. Being the observer will support your active listening skills, which is much more powerful as you can take everything in using all your senses. If you jump in too quickly, you will not hear all. What is being said and what is not being said. You will then know exactly what to say or do that will make a difference inspiring everyone in the room.

I then take this home with me and remind myself to live being conscious using all my senses. Being fully present to my relationships at home, in my community, at work etc. creates a state of presence. This means taking powerful ownership of all your emotions.

If you have a busy mind, as I do, one of the best practices I choose is to focus on my breath as often as I can throughout the day. This creates space between your strategic mind and your creative mind.

For innovation and natural creativity to flow, it is important to create plenty of space for your mind to relax so that you can hear your inspiring vision and next steps from your innovative wisdom.

There are plenty of times I catch myself trying to work it all out from my strategic mind, to which I then push the pause button and take a deep breath; shifting my presence back into my body – not trying to work it all out in my head.

Notice whether you are getting in your own way by working harder or driving yourself to find the solution coming from force.

The best solutions will always come to you when
you are most relaxed.

I just noticed myself taking another deep breath with a slow exhalation, as I am writing this article. I caught myself realising that this is becoming more and more a natural practice inside my day.

  • Let’s push the pause button for a moment and ‘take a deep breath in’ – and ‘let it go’. I know, a little corny, but it works if done consistently.

It does take a conscious reminder in the beginning and with repetition; it will slowly become a natural part of your being.

This reminds me of when I was a personal trainer of the many times I would be coaching my clients to relax their mind and body for best results through the power of the conscious breath. It’s interesting how I find myself using this simple practice personally and with my professional coaching clients today.

  • Never underestimate the simple repetitive steps as they can create extraordinary results.

No matter what results you want in your personal and professional life, it is paramount to know who is showing up.

  • Are you being calm and relaxed from inside out?
  • Are you being present in a state of presence?
  • Are you fully listening with all your senses?
  • Are you communicating with language that inspires others?

Practice mindfulness in action throughout your day with greater self-awareness for best results in your personal and professional life.

If you are wanting to close the gap from where you are now to achieve next level success, contact me to book in for a 15-minute introduction to coaching conversation to discuss your requirements http://annettestanton.com/contact/

Coaching, Counselling, Mentoring and Consulting – What’s the Difference?

I often get asked about the difference between coaching, counselling, mentoring and consulting.  While the communication skills used by these professions are similar – such as asking questions, active listening, summarising, etc., they are very different methods, and it depends on what the client needs.

Here are some distinctions:

Coaching
According to the International Coach Federation, coaching is defined as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.” The coach is the subject matter expert at coaching, not necessarily the subject matter expert of the client’s coaching topic.

Counselling
Counselors are trained to diagnose and help the client with emotional problems, the past or dysfunction while coaches are not. The coach’s domain is future-oriented – what does the client want? And then coaching the client to get there.

Mentoring
A mentor is a wise and trusted guide and advisor. The mentor is the teacher that shares their experience while bringing the “mentee” up the ranks.  A coach is not necessarily the subject matter expert in order to help develop the client.

Consulting
A consultant is an expert who is called on for professional or technical advice or opinions. They are relied on to understand the problem and present solutions. Consulting is unlike coaching because, with pure coaching, the answers come from the client.

What are your thoughts about these distinctions?

When seeking a professional, it is important to know what your requirements are so that you can choose the right professional at the right time.

Coaching, Counselling, Mentoring & Consulting

According to the founder of CoachU, Thomas Leonard:

A Coach is…

  • Your partner in achieving professional and personal goals;
  • Your champion during a turnaround;
  • Your trainer in communication and life skills;
  • Your sounding board when making choices;
  • Your motivator when strong actions called for;
  • Your unconditional support when you take a hit;
  • Your mentor in personal development;
  • Your co-design when developing an extraordinary project
  • Your beacon during stormy times;
  • Your wake-up call if you don’t hear your own, and most importantly;
  • Your coach is your partner in living the life you know you’re ready for, personally and professionally.”

The Art & Science of Coaching

I am very passionate about coaching because since having a Master Coach in my corner over the past 17 years, the power of transformational coaching has delivered exactly that in my life – it has transformed my personal and professional life. This is what strongly supported my decision to become a professional coach studying the true art and science of advanced coaching.

If you are wanting to close the gap from where you are now to achieve next level success with a professional accredited coach, contact me to book in for a 20 minute introductory to coaching conversation to discuss your requirements http://annettestanton.com/contact/

Live a Stress Less Life

In your busy daily life, it is very important to make time for some form of relaxation. This can help to reduce the effects of stress on your body and your mind. If you take on the practice of daily relaxation, you will feel much more in control of your life. Relaxation involves both the body and the mind. To work on one is to work on the other. Even if you choose to take 10 deep conscious breaths every day as your form of relaxation, then that is better than doing nothing at all.

Relaxation does not mean being lazy. It plays an important role in the rejuvenation of your body and quietening of the mind. Taking time out for yourself may be a challenge for you. You might feel a sense of guilt about it. This is normal, especially if you are not yet practised in doing things just for you. You might even find that the challenge is in ‘being’ with yourself, especially if you are the type of person who continually needs to be ‘doing’ things with others or for others and the thought of being alone is not inviting. It does take practice and the more you do your chosen form of relaxation, the more you will want to spend time with yourself.

The benefits of daily relaxation go beyond the obvious one of reducing stress. You will also gain clarity of mind, your creativity and intuition will unfold, you will deal with challenges with much more inner peace, you will have more energy . . . the list goes on.

Live a Stress Life

 

Simple Relaxation Techniques

After many years of practising different quick and easy forms of relaxation, I would like to share with you some of the ones that have helped me to maintain a stress less life.

Mirror Work

Look into your eyes in the mirror every day for 1-2 minutes. Connect with yourself by staying focused on your eyes. Notice how you might want to judge yourself and your facial features. Let it go and keep coming back to your eyes. Take deep breaths whilst looking into your eyes and connecting with yourself. If you hear any negative head talk during this process, write it down after your 1-2 minutes is up and create positive affirmations from your negative head talk. This is your subconscious coming to the forefront, indicating beliefs that you may need to work on.

Conscious Breathing

Sit in an upright position or lie down. Close your eyes if you wish. Concentrate on your breathing, in through your nose and releasing the breath out through your mouth. Say in your head: “I’m breathing in . . . I’m breathing out . . .” as you stay focused on your breath. This will slow down your mind and reduce feelings of anxiety. Conscious breathing is beneficial if you are lying in bed and feeling restless. This will help you to relax for a better sleep. Try it.

Nostril Breathing

Place the thumb of your right hand over your right nostril. Take a deep breath in through the left nostril. Place the right index finger over the left nostril and release the breath out of the right nostril. Repeat this 5 times using your right hand, and then repeat the same process using your left hand. Notice how quickly any anxious feelings dissipate.

Open Eye Candle Meditation

Light your favourite candle and place it on a table in front of you. Place yourself in a comfortable sitting position with your back upright. Gaze into the flame of the candle. Take slow, long deep breaths as you hold a soft gaze on the flame. Notice the calm and serene feelings that pour through your body. Stay with the gaze from 5 minutes to 20 minutes or more if you desire.

Walking in Nature

When you are enjoying your daily walk out in the beautiful sunshine, practice being 100% present to nature. Let any thoughts drift through the mind and focus on the trees, the roses in the garden, all the nature surrounding you. Every step you take, be conscious and feel your body moving. Look into the sky and feel the expansion of your chest as you take in the next breath. The miracle of nature mirrors the growth of you. Just as through nurturing, a seed grows, so through nurturing yourself, you will flourish. Say your positive affirmations while you are walking and notice how tall you feel.

If you sick and tired of continually running on empty, feeling drained in your energy levels and this is affecting your productivity and efficiency at work with no energy left for yourself at the end of the day, contact me today for an introductory coaching conversation. www.annettestanton.com/contact/

Once you have read the article, leave a comment and let me know…

What’s the single most important action you can take right now towards creating a reserve of energy levels each day?

Close the Gap to Living your Vision

Closing the gap between where you are now in life and where you want to be can be challenging. I remember feeling frustrated at times about the size of the gap and wanting changes to happen ‘yesterday’! We tend to forget about the importance of developing a foundation for our new and expansive vision to build on. I often had the feeling of either spinning my wheels and going nowhere fast or feeling I was on a roller coaster, one minute up and the next minute down.

I knew logically how important it was for a building to be secure, with a strong foundation below the surface, so the building can withstand the forces of nature. Yet, even though I knew this, I had never experienced what having a solid foundation felt or looked like until I started taking the consistent steps I needed to take. I just kept moving onto the next project, the next vision, the next goal etc.

Then I hit rock bottom…everything changed all of a sudden…

Going through an emotional divorce, my health suffered and my business flat-lined.  Facing the challenge of starting all over again, I began to do the things that were important to me first and giving myself plenty of space for clarity to explore ‘where to from here’. This was different from my usual pattern, to push on regardless – I knew how to do that so well!

Hitting rock bottom or going through a challenging time can be really tough. The last thing you want is to be in this position. I certainly didn’t! But I knew that the old way of doing things was not working for me at this stage in my personal and professional life.

I decided to tune into my heart and not let logic and rationale run my life. This was so foreign and pretty scary at the time, but I persisted and allowed myself to feel this different way of being. In a short period of time, I transformed my personal and professional life for the better, which I would never have achieved if I kept doing it the same old way.

As time went by and I consistently took actions that made my heart sing, I noticed how I started to get out of my head and listen to the guidance of my heart. Yes, I began to become my own best friend and to feel rock solid about which I was and what I wanted in my life, in a way I never had before.

The most miraculous experience for me was the realisation that while I had a strong foundation in my sporting life, I had never truly had a foundation in my personal or professional life. I was so excited because I finally felt I had something to build on, something which would never leave me because I was standing on solid ground.

Wow! What a fantastic experience this now is in my life, as I can manage challenges that come my way with much more flow and ease. No more roller coasters in my life – I know what I prefer! This applies to all areas of life. Develop a foundation, and you will experience a calm inner strength to face the daily challenges because you have something solid to stand on that will not waiver.

Build strong foundations

Building Strong Foundations

I remember when I started my first business as a personal trainer and coach in 1994, how excited I was because I had a vision of helping people bring out their best physically, emotionally and spiritually. I ran my business on sheer passion, based on this compelling vision. As the years went by, the excitement of my passion and vision started to dim – and I felt exhausted.

The turning point for me was when I became aware that while I was very good at helping people with their own personal health, fitness and ways to balance their life, the last thing I focussed on was doing it for myself.

There were two missing links for me. Firstly, I did not do the key things needed for my health, fitness and balance. Secondly, I did not have my business systems set strongly in place as my foundation for the business. Remember the story of the plumber who is very good at fixing everyone else’s leaky taps, but never makes time to fix his own leaky taps at home? Sound familiar to you? It is important to have a foundation in every area of your life for you to have a fulfilling and sustainable life. If you have a leaky tap in one area, it will affect the other areas.

I started to write down where I was spending my time and those areas I wanted to make time for. As I became more aware of where I wasted time and the areas I truly felt inspired, this was how the 5 pillars to life success came about for me to which I live by each day. I needed a simple formula that would support me in expressing my whole self.

The 5 Pillars to Life Success

  • Personal
  • Career/Business
  • Wellness
  • Self-Leadership
  • Financial

Take a look at the 5 pillars in your life and see how your foundation is set up. Are you standing on solid ground or are there areas you would like to focus on building up?

Start building your strong foundations and make sure you close the gap from where you are today to living your vision with clarity. I have created a Free-Flow Zone Assessment that will support you in cleaning up your life and build strong foundations.

Click on the resource link and scroll down to the Free-Flow Zone Assessment and give yourself a score out of 100. Let me know how you go.

Resources

Looking through the Magnifying Glass

One of the most common things I hear from people I coach in the first three months of their coaching journey is that they are seeing more and more areas in their professional and personal life that they feel they need to clear up – areas they were not even aware of!

This is quite normal when looking at change and wanting to transform those areas that may not be working for you. I call it ‘looking through the magnifying glass’. All of a sudden, you feel as if everything is right in your face and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible for you to move forward.

For example, you may want to spend more time with your family and doing other things important to you, yet your time is locked into your business life.

As you begin to take a closer look into what is not working in your personal and business life, you might realise you have challenges in areas like staff not taking on the roles and responsibilities you hired them for in the first place, identifying all the areas where you are crossing your own boundaries, high expectations of self and others, doing everything yourself and not asking for support, etc. No wonder your time is locked up in your professional life, giving you no space and time for flexibility and freedom.

‘The key to persistence is to focus on your vision, tune into your values and stay on your path at all times. Do not get swayed by other people’s vision and values.’

This is when it is easy for frustration; resignation and a sense of being overwhelmed can overtake your commitment. The key is to always remember that whatever you are looking at in your life is being looked at through a magnifying glass, giving the illusion that it is bigger than it really is. This occurs because when you start to focus and take action on things in your life that you would like to achieve, there will always be areas that you were not previously aware of, that also need to be managed to take you to the next step of achievement.

Coaching Tip – Gaining Clarity and Direction

Whenever I go into those feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed, one of the things that help to clarify my thoughts and focus is to get a blank sheet of paper and write down everything that is filling my head.

Try this – get it all out of your head and break it down into bite-size action pieces. This will take away the magnified illusion and will also free you from the magnified feelings.

‘Overwhelm’ and ‘frustration’ are the most common words I hear at the start of a coaching session, but after breaking down the challenges by writing them down, they quickly turn into ‘clarity’ and ‘direction’.

Staying focussed on your vision, mission and values is paramount when it comes to sustainable success as a champion leader.

I hope you enjoyed this article.

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