A self-help book to further your personal development. BALANCE - A Practical Handbook for Life's Difficult Moments by Suzie Doscher
Available in the Amazon Store of your country. In Paperback, on Kindle
or as an Audiobook narrated by the author. (Audible or iTunes)
Listen to the Audiobook narration by Suzie Doscher of the exercise: Work of Family Hijacked Your Life?
It is all too often that we feel our life is no longer our own. Too many commitments and responsibilities taken up all your time. No time for yourself and your self-care.
Listen to the exercise from BALANCE - A Practical Handbook for Life's Difficult Moments narrated by the author Suzie Doscher.
Paperback and ebook available on any Amazon store worldwide
Remember that life is complicated and can be more difficult at times. Sometimes it feels like a rollercoaster ride! Cleaning your life up, getting rid of the deadwood, and finding your place of balance forms a wonderful grounding foundation to build on. Feeling you are in balance is the best, most powerful place to work from and a place to come back to when things are difficult. Being familiar with the feeling of being in balance allows you to know exactly what you want to get back to. This also offers you the goal to strive for. Life will always contain difficult times. Trusting yourself to handle these difficult times gives you the confidence to deal with them.
If your life feels like it is a mess and you are ready to take some action, there are many different approaches to consider. Support from a professional or wise friend, meditation, spiritual beliefs, sometimes even just taking a “time out” holiday is incredibly beneficial. Find the option that suits your personality and lifestyle best. You are looking to be more grounded in the present, calmer, which will offer more clarity.
You are more likely to stay on track with making the necessary changes with a realistic clear mind.
To get yourself on track to feeling better and living the kind of life you wish for, ask yourself:
When you walk, your brain synapses fire in different ways
Great minds literally think on their feet.
Many of history’s famous philosophers, artists, scientists, writers, and creators valued value walking as much as they valued productive work.
Aristotle, Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Albert Einstein, Friedrich Nietzsche and many others made time for long walks.
They used long walks for contemplation, reflection and problem-solving.
They found walking helped them think better, ponder over ideas and get more done once they got back to writing, creating, designing or composing.
“The moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow,” Henry David Thoreau, a philosopher, poet, and environmental scientist, once said.
Aristotle used to conduct some of his lectures while walking on the school grounds. William Wordsworth once said walking was “indivisible” from the creative act of writing poetry.
Charles Dickens used to walk for 20 miles after writing in the morning.
Some are polar opposites of the typical cliche advice. Use them to unlock your high-performing future self.
The morning shapes your day in mysterious ways.
It shouldn’t as there are 24 hours in a day — but it does. Weird. I’m not one of those 4 A.M. cold shower peeps anymore.
I prefer a realistic start to the day. It’s even more important for me because I have no job or boss to report to. So if I stuff up the morning, over time, I can stuff up my life and end up warming an office chair in a skyscraper of broken dreams, dying to escape (again).
Do these things before 8 A.M. to crush your day.
Just as life is constantly changing, the brain is constantly changing. It is through repetition that thinking patterns, and consequently behaviour patterns can be shifted, tweaked, changed or completely replaced with more positive empowering ones. Through repetition the brain rewires itself.
Science has proven the brain can rewire itself. This is fantastic news especially for anybody wishing to improve the quality of their life and engaging the support of a coach for this 'change' process. Making, and more importantly sustaining, any changes in thinking or in behaviour patterns, would be very difficult, if not impossible, without this scientific truth. Knowing this offers coaching clients not only motivation but also confidence to continue on the path to 'change', which sometimes can be a difficult one.
Neuroscience has shown the brain can be rewired
2. Resist unnecessary mental time travel
Here’s how I think about mental strength:
Mental strength is the ability to control your mind instead of being controlled by it.
So becoming mentally strong doesn’t mean you are able to exert complete control over everything that goes on between your ears.
Mental strength means understanding which parts of your mind you can control and being able to do it well when it matters.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom”
There is nothing new under the sun. It’s an old saying, but it’s true.
The ancient world has always been a source of wisdom and wonder. Centuries of knowledge has changed millions of lives before us and continue to inspire, guide and show us better paths for a more fulfilling life.
Once every quarter, it pays to take a moment for introspection and reflect on your life. What could you change to improve your life?
What habits and behaviours can you keep to do more of what’s already working? How can you improve your relationships with those around you?
The process of becoming wise, healthy, and wealthy is through accumulating knowledge over time. Better wisdom can help us make the best life-changing decisions and lead a better life.
Aristotle knew all about how to make the most of your life.
He said that happiness is found in satisfying our basic needs like food and shelter first, but then we need to focus on people, activities, and things that fully engage us.
Core values are personal to each individual . They can be described as your code of ethics, your fundamental principles, your standards, or personal rules. I like to refer to them as the bricks you build your foundation on. Knowing what you truly value in life, what makes you feel fulfilled and gives you a sense of meaning, connects you to your true self and is an important part of your personal development.
Core values are about YOU – not what society, the media, your education, your colleagues and friends or family deem as important, or of value, but what is important to you, what you value.
Stress tends to set in when you are not treating these values with the respect they deserve.
Not respecting your core values means you are not respecting your true self. In turn your self-esteem could suffer, which of course in turn de-creases the quality of your day-to-day life. When the feeling of being calm and peaceful is present, and the quality of day-to-day life is high, you feel good about yourself and who you are. Your self-esteem and self-worth benefit from this.
Caroline Myss, a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness and mysticism says: “Being able to speak and live with the truth, your truth, means you have to become comfortable with having your power, be comfortable with all that is true about you, all that is beautiful about yourself, this is being okay with yourself.”
Consider the Core Values Process I offer as a gift to yourself.
The focus can be on your life, your overall life which would include your career, your career alone or your leadership values (this is a great exercise to do as a new leader or to update your existing leadership skills aligning them with your personality). Get in touch.
by Suzie Doscher
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Lessons from Rebekah Taussig on honoring and celebrating our bodies.
Self-acceptance is essential to self-care and our overall well-being. If we can’t accept ourselves, our well-being is going to suffer, regardless of how diligent we are about any other physical and mental health practices.
Still, even with all the progress we’ve made in recent years on body positivity and mental health, the radical act of accepting ourselves for who we are has never been more challenging. Our society surrounds us with images of what supposedly healthy and perfect bodies look like. And of course, much of that is fueled by social media, which, in study after study, has been shown to damage our body image and self-acceptance. So how can we learn to accept ourselves and show up for ourselves in a way that nurtures our well-being?
To begin to answer this question, I had the privilege of talking with Rebekah Taussig on a recent episode of Deloitte’s “WorkWell” podcast. Rebekah is a writer, teacher, and advocate, whose popular Instagram feed, @sitting_pretty, is filled with what she calls “Mini memoirs.” I was thrilled to talk to her about her new book, Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body, in which she chronicles her journey to self-acceptance with her trademark candor, humor, vulnerability, and authenticity.
Rebekah has been disabled since she was 3, and got her first wheelchair at age 6. She had a fairly normal childhood, with her “resilience and scrappiness” keeping her from realizing how differently she was experiencing the world. When she got to graduate school, discovering disability studies gave her a way to begin to understand herself. “It felt like the physics of the universe were transforming in real time,” she told me. “It just changed everything for me about how I saw myself and my story and gave me language to explain things I’d never been able to express before.”
A piece of simple old wisdom that’s desperately needed in the modern world
“You’re not going to believe it! You’re not going to believe it!” shouted the young man as he ran across the courtyard. “I just heard something about one of your friends!”
“Whoa, slow down,” replied Socrates lifting his eyes from the scroll he was reading to face the young man. “Before you tell me the news, I’d like to give you a little test.”
“A test?” the young man fired back frustrated his eagerness had been met with resistance. “What kind of test? I don’t like tests!”
“Don’t worry,” Socrates smiled. “It’s not very hard. In fact, it’s quite simple. It’s called the ‘Triple-Filter Test’. And as its name implies, it consists of three questions that will hopefully help you better filter information.”
“The first filter is Truth,” Socrates continued. “Are you absolutely positive that what you’re going to tell me is true?”
“No, I’m not sure it’s true,” the young man responded sheepishly. “I just heard about it and I thought you should….”
“Moving on,” Socrates jumped in. “Since you’re not sure whether or not what you want to tell me about my friend is true or not it’s time for the second filter which is goodness —Is the news you have about my friend something good?”
The world will put countless obstacles in your path but none will be as big as the ones you create for yourself
Self-sabotage occurs when your logical, conscious mind (the side of you that says you need to eat healthily and save money) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the side of you that stress-eats chocolate and goes on online shopping binges). The latter is your anti-self -- that critical inner voice that seems to hold you back and sabotage your efforts.
Self-sabotage involves behaviors or thoughts that keep you away from what you desire most in life. It’s that internal sentiment gnawing at us, saying “you can’t do this.”
This is really your subconscious trying to protect you, prevent pain and deal with deep-seated fear. But the result of self-sabotage is that we hesitate instead of seizing new challenges. We forgo our dreams and goals. In the end, we know we missed out, but we don’t understand why.
So what can we do to stop the self-limiting behaviors? Here are eight steps you can start taking immediately to stop self-sabotaging your success.
A scientific study proves self-care can only take you so far.
Forget meditation apps, Tony Robbins seminars and all-inclusive wellness retreats. Happiness’ business model is pyramid-shaped.
A research article in The Journal of Positive Psychology says happiness comes from “making others feel good, rather than oneself.”
Very in fashion with the pyramid scheme model: you can make your first steps towards happiness on your own — read self-help, maybe do some yoga — but if you really want to make it, get your friends and relatives involved somehow.
I think this is a refreshing pivot. Pyramid schemes used to be all about scammy tactics to trick people into buying over-hyped multivitamins and surface cleaners.
Now it could be the model that helps us understand what makes us happier.
Happiness’ secret ingredient is “relatedness,” researchers say
Relatedness is a basic psychological need.
Some people think if we were not restrained by laws and moral codes, society would immediately spring into a rioting rampage of rape and murder and robbery. But our brains are wired to feel good when we nurture a sense of collaboration and community.
We evolved to scratch each other's backs, and given how anatomically difficult it is to do it on your own, I believe Mother Nature wanted us to figure out we need one another after all.
Like in any pyramid scheme, happiness is rigged against individuality.
The researchers tested it: you can’t hack relatedness by sending good vibes back to yourself. And that’s why most happiness-seeking models don’t ultimately work: they lack this sense of community.
Self-help, for one, has ‘self’ in its title
That should be a red flag.
Although I’m not saying we should neglect ourselves. I eat healthily, meditate and exercise, get my hours of sleep and sunshine, and drink lots of water (and since that kidney stone catastrophe of 2019 I’ve been extra diligent with that last one).
I don’t think we could be physically and emotionally inclined to make others feel good unless we’ve done a bare minimum of self-directed work.
But you know. Self-care can only take you so far.
To keep improving your happiness levels, ditch the “self” and embrace the “help.” There’s no “I” in “next level.”
Can money buy happiness?
Getting the millions with a B is another one of those self-centered tactics that won’t work. It’s a pity some of us will remain skeptical right up until we’re crying in our Lambo.
Here’s the thing: material wealth only increases happiness as far as our basic needs go. Once those are satisfied, the Musk bucks and Buffet bills won’t make our lives any merrier.
Speaking of pyramids, do you know about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?
Money can take you into the first floor of the pyramid, the physiological needs, and up to the second floor, the safety needs.
But once there, there is no more material deprivation to relief. Money can’t buy a VIP ticket to the penthouse of that pyramid: self-transcendence. The pinnacle of human fulfilment, where we find ourselves transcending the ego and focusing on something bigger.
What about going spiritual?
Those who don’t know how to set up funnels to get rich may opt for detachment instead.
There are plenty of legitimate reasons why trying spirituality, studying Buddhism, going monastic, and meditating your way out of the illusion of the self.
But spirituality’s been capitalized into yet another product for the “Health and Wellness” aisle.
And if it were the ultimate solution, I’d expect Andy Puddicombe not to come back from the Himalayas after 10 years, meditating 16 hours a day, to create a subscription-based meditation app.
Some of us just crave the frenzy of the west. As for me, I’m a writer. I need to be one with everything, but through an internet connection — which I suspect is something the Himalayas are in scarce of.
Philosophy can make you wiser — and sadder
Tell me if a cheerful person could’ve come up with the trolley problem:
A runaway train is headed towards 5 workers on a railway line. The only way to save the workers is to operate a lever that would make the train go down a side rail. Problem is, there’s another worker on that one too. So, do you leave the lever untouched and have 5 workers killed, or do you switch the lever, killing the one worker on the side rail, but saving the other 5?
I get philosophy it’s meant to make us wiser, sometimes by testing our moral virtue with thought experiments. But it doesn’t work for me. I’d prefer to imagine the 6 workers and me over a barbecue.
In fact, it seems that if you drift too much into philosophical self-absorption, you’re bound to become depressive about existence. All for something that, in the end, no one cares about.
Or as Plato put it: “That man is wisest who, like Socrates, realizes that his wisdom is worthless.”
Self-centric tactics out of the way — how do we make others feel good?
Here’s how I’m doing it: I don’t try to force it. Because that would be inauthentic, right? That would be the ol’ self-centric impulse showing, trying to hack my way to greater happiness.
Instead, if the opportunity to make someone else feel good presents itself naturally, I take it.
Even the little things can make an impact. In one study, researchers approached people that had just park their cars, gave them a few quarters, and told them to either feed their own parking meter or the meter of a stranger. Participants showed a greater lift in happiness levels when they fed others’ meters.
But again, it’s the genuine gesture, not the quarters, that made them feel good. It’s the magic of relatedness, available to everyone and everywhere.
You don’t need a researcher approaching you on the street after parking your car. Just get your head out of your ass and pay attention to these opportunities.
One final tip from the pyramid scheme canon
Just recruit five people.
You know how it goes: make five people feel good, because if they make five more people feel good, and then those make five more people feel good…
It sounds like an impossibly large chain, but if you do the math, you’ll see we can repeat this cycle only 14 times. After 14 cycles, you run out of people on the planet. That shows the true, shady nature of pyramid schemes — but also, how easy it could be to spread The Good Vibes.
So now you have a legitimate reason to message your aunt on Facebook, without any pressure to segue the conversation into selling her a disinfectant.
Go make those five people feel good.
By Loudt Darrow
Photo by arash payam on Unsplash (modified by author)
I was standing by the lake one windy morning watching the waves crash up against some rocks and the ripple effect that followed. The wave hit one area and cascaded long the others closer to where I was standing. It was beautiful, full of energy and at the same time made me realize that this can be translated into how one negative thought tends to release a series of more negative ones. This seems to happen to ‘feed’ or confirm the first one. I have found that negative thoughts hate being alone ... they look for company.
In my own personal experience as well working professionally in the arena of personal growth and development, I all too often witness how this unfolds.
I am not a therapist or neuroscientist so cannot speak scientifically. Having said that I have enough evidence after 16 years of working in this area to be able to say the patterns are there.
It strikes me that our minds do not like to give up the negative thoughts. Our brain looks for further thoughts to confirm this 'truth'. The thought might be far from true now in your actual present-day reality, yet we treat it as absolute truth in our thinking. From what I witness these beliefs come from emotions, more often than not emotions from the past, even recent past (last job, last relationship). Our behaviour follows our thinking, so our behaviour will act upon what we think and therefore believe.
For example: If you believe you are not very good at something chances are you will act this way. Instead of taking the approach to learn how to, or improve, you shy away from it.
Of course, the very first step must be being aware of this thought pattern and the resulting behaviour. To make any changes it is vital to be aware of a pattern. If it turns out to be limiting belief that is holding you back this belief is best challenged and reframed. If is is there due to lack of clarity you know to get more clarity.
In order to stay calm and grounded it requires certain behaviours that feed being calm.
Each person will have their own requirements. What you as an individual need to feel calm will most likely differ from someone else’s needs. Each has their own interpretation of success as well as what feeling calm and grounded means to them.
Based on my own personal experience this also changes depending on our age.
I know when I was 30 my focus was very different to 40. At 30 I was focused on creating my family and being a wife and mother. At 50 I noticed that feeling fulfilled was my new goal and turning 60 was fabulous as I had completely grown into my skin by then and was more than happy to focus on my core values and needs. The 'older age' goal is answering the question ‘how do I want this chapter of my life to look and feel’… This one is still work in progress so watch this space.
Tips for what comes next
If you find yourself lost in a negative thinking pattern regarding an issue, observe any common denominators that kick the first thought off. What sets those wheels in motion? What happens next? Observe yourself, raise your awareness to your patterns.
Is it a recurring situation, a recurring interaction, an issue left unresolved, a lack of clarity?
It could be a number of things. Get to know yourself to find out what exactly it is.
It is worthwhile to observe what comes next. Which thoughts follow, how do you act, react, behave, or deal with it?
Always remember to be patient and kind with yourself during any process of growth or change.
by Suzie Doscher:
Coaching for Personal Development: Life Coaching and Executive Coach, Self-Help Author
Photo credit: Pexels and Shutterstock
I remember doing a Self-Esteem exercise while I was studying to become a coach. What I loved about the Noble Manhattan Coaching training was that we had to do all work on ourselves.
Talk about furthering your own personal growth and development.
How could I work with clients if I had did not know and experience all the growth myself.
I loved the changes that I was making to my own behaviour patterns as I was learning how to apply them professionally.
16 years later I still believe it to be the best coach training - even if I had not become a professional coach. The benefits from doing the work for myself improved the quality of my personal and professional life no end and still does.
Self-esteem evaluation Exercise
Answer the following questions, giving each one a score out of 10 using the following scale:
Totally agree with the statement
As it is out of a total possible high score of 10 you will gain an insight into where your self-esteem is at.
If you want to start with some self-coaching consider these thoughts:
One of the most powerful words in the English lexicon today is “trigger.” We are finally accepting that there is a spectrum of internal and external influences that can legitimately take us off course. We understand that a person, place, object, event, even a smell can trigger an emotional response so potent, we can be transported back to a trauma we’ve worked hard to forget, or come to terms with. These triggers can threaten our well-being and disrupt feelings around our core values. They can appear out of nowhere and make us feel powerless.
As an aspiring leader, a trigger can become your biggest obstacle. A strong, effective leader needs to be able to identify their emotional triggers, understand what can set them off, and steel themselves when these triggers threaten to topple everything they’ve worked for.
Here are some strategies to help you identify and deal with those triggers so you can grow and develop into the leader you are meant to become.
What’s your most cherished value? We all have driving forces that keep us inspired and motivated, whether it’s supporting our loved ones, giving to those in need, finding fulfillment in our work, or making a difference in our community.
Determining your most cherished value and using it to your advantage can drastically change your approach to your work, infusing you with additional internal motivation, says Rebecca Greenbaum, Ph.D., professor of human resource management at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations.
That’s where value triggers come in. Value triggers are items that represent something that matters deeply to you — for example,
Every summer, many people put aside their work, daily stresses and responsibilities and escape on a vacation, somewhere far away from reality. It may be a secluded retreat in the mountains, a camping trip with the kids, an arranged tour in another country, an Alaskan cruise, or days relaxing at an exotic beach or resort.
However, with the current pandemic including social distancing and travel restrictions, along with financial constraints for many, those plans may have to be temporarily shelved. But the desire to escape reality – for just a bit – is very much alive. So, with many people remaining in their homes, how can that off-work journey happen? We have some tips for making the best of the situation and creating cherished vacation memories without ever leaving home. It’s called a staycation.
What’s a staycation?
Ever been asked to say a few things about yourself? Perhaps you said you’re a good communicator, attentive to details, or a team player. The point being, we all define ourselves in a certain way.
Here’s the paradox, though; It’s not what you say that is an accurate representation of who you are, but rather what you show yourself to be. That’s how people judge you. They respond to the image you project. As such, it’s critical to focus on what you do rather than what you say.
If you want to sell yourself to the world in an authentic way, focus on these four really small things because they say a lot about you. This way, you’re guaranteed to make a lasting impression and command respect from people.
By Diana Raab, PhD, Award-winning author/poet/blogger/speaker
I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” ~ Hermann Hesse
The way in which you deal with the stresses and our ‘new norm’ bestowed on us by the pandemic, could be an indication of how resilient you really are. Resilience is defined as the ability to withstand or recover from difficult situations. It’s the ability to ‘spring back,’ in spite of all odds. It’s how you’re able to restore equilibrium in your life during or following upheaval. In recent months many of us have encountered many new challenges, personal, economic, psychological and/or emotional, and it’s certainly a good test of resilience.
Learning how to respond to a situation rather than just reacting to it brings huge rewards. Needless to say, it is one of those behaviour changes that is easier said than done. However it can be achieved.
Responding rather than reacting means you will have taken time to consider the situation and which response and consequent outcome best suits you.
The difference between reacting and responding:
To react means you are not able to influence your emotions and you act emotionally rather than from a place of clarity.
What you can gain by stopping knee-jerk reactions is a sense of strength, achievement, power to influence, calmness, plus an increase in your self-esteem. The rewards will be felt not only in your private life, but also at work.
By Marcel Schwantes at Inc.
In 2016, the World Economic Forum released its fascinating Future of Jobs Report, where they asked chief human resources officers from global companies what they saw as the top 10 job skills required for workers to thrive by 2020.
One skill projected for success in 2020 that didn’t even crack the top 10 list in 2015 was — you guessed it — emotional intelligence.
According to many experts in the field, emotional intelligence has become an important predictor of job success for nearly two decades, even surpassing technical ability.
In one noteworthy CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals, it was found that “fifty-nine percent of employers would not hire someone who has a high IQ but low [emotional intelligence].”
In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said they’re more likely to promote someone with high emotional intelligence over someone with high IQ.
Companies are placing a high value on workers with emotional intelligence for several reasons. In my own studies and observations over the years as a leadership coach, here are six that really stand out...
By Elaine Lipworth, Content Writer at Thrive Global
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a massive and widespread spike in anxiety. To cope, family members and friends are leaning on each other for support and guidance — looking for ways to alleviate one another’s stress and fear, and sometimes simply seeking help to get through the day. We all need someone to listen to us, and fortunately, you don’t have to be a professional therapist to listen well and help improve someone’s state of mind.
“If you are fully listening to someone who is upset, whether that’s face to face or virtually, it allows that person to feel connected and less isolated,” Vanessa Jung, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist in Torrance, California, tells Thrive. Listening with empathy is a gift. “We can’t solve the world’s problems, or an individual’s problems either,” says Jung, “but we can give someone the benefit of our time and our full presence.”
By Leo Babauta, Creator of Zen Habits. Vegan, dad, husband.
For the last dozen years, I’ve been living a (relatively) simple life. At times, the complexity of my life grows, and I renew my commitment to living simply.
Living a simple life is about paring back, so that you have space to breathe. It’s about doing more with less, because you realize that having more and doing more doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s about finding joys in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.
I’ve learned some key lessons for living a simple life, and I thought I’d share a few with you. ...
By Marcel Schwantes
Ever wonder if you're true leadership material? Perhaps you've been told you are, but the question is, by what standard? Thousands of leadership books are written each year, many of them with marketing agendas to rehash and repackage what has been talked about for decades.
What is true about leadership that will remain unchanged through the centuries is this: It's about people and relationships. And that requires that leaders have a natural bent for both. If you're not into either, you're not a leader.
And you can start with the proven fact that great leaders aspire to lead by serving the needs of their people. You don't need flavor-of-the-month books and expensive formal training to learn this concept.
But you do need to develop and measure yourself against the standards of great leadership (which I strongly propose to be servant leadership). Here are four top leadership characteristics I have witnessed that float to the top. Do any describe you?
Raise your self-awareness with this: