Written by: Rosalyn Palmer, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
If you are like me, you will have lots of brilliant books on your bookshelf. Tons of shelf-help.
You may also have lanyards and folders from fabulous courses you have attended. You regret none of the investment and yet, on a miserable day, when the cat has been sick and yet another crappy email pops into your inbox, it is hard to remember just what that great leadership and life advice was, isn’t it?
So, I keep it simple.
All my core group courses such ‘The Realigned Leader’ are built upon my simple 5Fs for Joy philosophy.
The wonderful way to check daily if you are living a whole and balanced life is to think about the fingers of one hand. You have five fingers so you need always 5F’s.
Family & Friends
Wait, what? You promised six rules!
Yes, because there is a sixth and that is forgiveness. But more of that later.
Back to your one hand. When you look down at it now you can tick the foundational five categories off easily with each finger. As you do, ask yourself:
‘What will I do today to build my faith in myself or something beyond me?
What actions will I take to be fit in body and mind, even for 10 minutes?
How can I connect with my family or friends today?
How can I allow the flow of energy that is money & reward flow to me?
How can I have fun today?
Each week you can take time to dig a little deeper.
On a scale of 1 – 10 (with 10 being the absolute best place to be) rank each category in your life right now. Perhaps it is a 6/10?
Once you have this score, ask yourself: ‘What would 10/10 feel like?’.
Perhaps this would be something like ‘If I were totally fit then I’d feel better about my body so would be sexier and love life better’. This is getting to your ‘Why’ so now ask yourself: ‘Why is it important for me to have better, un-compromised health?’. The answers here could be to do with what you want (such as feeling sexy) and what you don’t want, such as having to take time off work as you keep picking up colds.
Repeating this exercise across all the five categories will then give you a 5F’s list that is true to you and that moves you to act. Keep it handy and remind yourself of it daily.
Let’s go deeper.
Here are the gamechangers in each category that create the blueprint for my life and my wellbeing therapy and coaching to free others. They are a synthesis of over 30 years of personal and professional self-development that started with working at Ab Fab Lynne Franks PR in the crazy 80s, through handling the PR for the likes of Tony Robbins and Edward de Bono in the 90 to ‘retiring’ to the Bahamas in the 00s and coming through cancer, divorce and more. Plus, a bunch of A-Fests and training with some of the greatest minds and healers in the world including Marisa Peer.
I’ve invested tens of thousands of pounds, dark nights of the soul and my very essence into this blueprint so I’m sure there will be something in it that works for you, however challenging a time you are having.
Sometimes we just put our faith in what is familiar. We are hardwired in the primitive parts of our brains to like patterns and habitual behaviours. Habitual equals safe. Familiar equals staying alive.
That is why when a relationship ends, or we are facing massive upheaval, it can feel almost as if we are facing death and destruction. To our brains this is the case.
Yet, as a species, we have come a long way since the safety of our cave and tribe. At some point someone ventured beyond the horizon and found new land, new animals and worked out ways to deal with them. We survived because we adapted so remembering that change is key to growth is wise.
Breaking familiar patterns is essential to create different futures.
The kind of people who change the world are disruptors. They have faith in the unfamiliar.
Many innovations came out of the second world war in this way, jet engines, for example. The first Allied plane to use jet propulsion took flight on May 15, 1941. Though jet engines didn’t really impact the war they transformed both military and civilian transportation in the following years.
Today, there are lots of disruptive innovators, a term coined by Professor Clayton Christensen at Harvard Business School.
So, think about your faith in your own ability to be a positive disruptor or change your life for good.
Like George Bailey in the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, you may need an angel, or at least the gift of perspective, to realise just how much you have impacted positively those around you.
We are all capable of this sort of disruption. To get familiar with it you can start small. Start by stopping resisting change or seeing things that are different as chaotic. Change your vocabulary about what is happening. Instead of saying it was ‘disruptive’ perhaps say it was ‘different’ or ‘made a welcome change’.
You will be amazed at the possibilities it can open you too.
To ground yourself and feel the faith in the world around you why not turn to nature or animals. This is my go-to grounding and true faith.
I start each day by taking care of our many animals. Including sheep, chickens, dogs, cats, and turkeys. Even when living in London, running my former PR company, I took my dog Rosie to work every day.
It’s great for one’s mental health.
According to mentalhealth.org.uk the benefits of having animals include:
providing companionship. Pets can give you a sense of security and someone to share the day with. Caring for them can help you feel wanted and needed. This can be especially valuable for older people or those who live alone
reducing anxiety. The companionship of a pet can help to ease your anxiety
boosting self-confidence. Pets can be great listeners, offer unconditional love and won’t criticise you. This can help your self-confidence, especially if you feel isolated or misunderstood helping you meet new people. Dog owners often stop and chat to each other on walks. But other pets can be a way to meet people too: in pet shops, training classes or online groups, for example
adding structure to your day. Having to feed, exercise and care for a pet can help you keep to a daily routine, which can help you feel more grounded and focused.
increasing your physical activity. Dog owners are likely to take their pet out every day for a walk or run. This can be a fun way to fit exercise into your routine
This last point brings us neatly onto the next 5Fs category:
Early in my RTT (Rapid Transformational Therapy) training I learned the mantra: ‘The mind controls the body and the body controls the mind’. If you study epigenetics or wholistic medicine you know that the two are intrinsically linked.
As a therapist I’m primarily focused on the mind and here are some of key points I guide my clients to understand.
There is a filter in your mind: The RAS (Reticular activating system).
I recently splashed out on a new computer. My old one was seven years old and really showing the strain and as this is an essential piece of business kit for me, I dug deep and now a shiny new orange Mac sits on my desk.
The old one was near its memory capacity and kept crashing when I downloaded things. Every time this happened, I started to think about how we are rather like computers as we can overload when we try to download too much at once.
Did you know that we can be bombarded by over 14,000,000 bits of information at any time?
To cope with this, we have a filter system called the RAS that is a collection of nerves in our brainstems. It is the portal through which nearly all information enters the brain. It filters out unnecessary stuff so that what we need to focus on gets through.
Like all systems designed to help us, it can also have its drawbacks.
This is the reason why when you decide to be different and buy a yellow car and take it out on the road you see yellow cars everywhere. It’s the reason that an exhausted mother will snap awake when her child starts to whimper, or why you are in a crowd but suddenly very aware that your name has been mentioned across the room. At a basic level the RAS will respond to your name, anything that is a threat and information that is needed immediately.
However, from our primeval hard wiring it also responds to novelty and looks for the new.
For example, you enter a room and spot something different or out of place. Great when you had to notice what was different to survive but not so great when you are trying to relax at home and keep seeing things that need fixing.
My regular mantra to my partner is: ‘Look for what is right and not what is wrong’ as having seen much dangerous active service he is primed to look out for what is amiss.
The RAS also seeks data that validates your beliefs. So, if you believe that all dogs are vicious you can walk down a road and not see the ten sweet dogs (that don’t correspond to your filter) but your RAS goes on red alert as you pass the one that’s growling. Thus, reinforcing your initial belief.
At its worst prejudice can develop. People see what they believe and disregard the rest. Even a heated debate on the radio or television will see people not change their views or let new information into their filter.
As with all things, understanding is power. So, understand your RAS and reset it for better results. This is called establishing your intent and it is rather like a goals list. By setting your intention for what you want to filter in, for example, beauty in nature or people doing kind things, your RAS will help you focus on such a way that you meet the people, find the information, and become open to the opportunities you desire.
This is crucial to overcome the second issue with the brain that can impair your joy. That is the Brain’s Negativity bias.
In the book: ‘The Power of Bad: How the Negatively Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It’, co-authored by social psychologist Roy Baumeister and New York Times writer John Tierney, not only is the fascinating science behind this bias exposed but also ways to overcome it are offered.
We have, as humans, a tendency to focus on the negative and disregard the positive.
Say the authors: “We want people to recognize that things are almost never as bad as they’re thinking and hearing and fearing. We want people to understand that the mind naturally leans toward noticing and attending to and processing the negative stuff, but that will be an overreaction. So, it’s important to take some time and balance it out and recognize the immense amount of good that is all around us.”
Most of the research shows that bad things have about two, three, or four times as much impact as good things. If you want to have a better life then you need to consciously create at least a five-to-one ratio of noticing and enjoying good things versus bad things. One of the most powerful tools they suggest using to do this is via a Daily Gratitude Journal where you capture what you are grateful for and what is positive.
The third mind insight I always share is about the vagal nerve.
Watching Dr. Mark Hyman’s ‘The Broken Brain’ about the new understandings of the mind/gut connection I had a light bulb moment. What if that was the key factor influencing many issues, including depression? Digging deeper I found that the vagus nerve held the key to unlock this. It is so named due to the way in which it ‘wanders’ like a ‘vagabond’ sending out tiny fibres from your brainstem to your visceral organs (they are the ones in your abdomen and chest including the lungs, heart, liver, pancreas and intestines). Crucial organs. Just like the brain. And this meandering superhighway basically links the brain and gut, extending from your brainstem all the way to your abdomen via all those crucial organs. It really is the missing link or X-Factor to your good health so it’s apt that it is also called ‘cranial nerve X’ as it forms part of your involuntary nervous system (also called your parasympathetic system) that directs all the unconscious body actions, like stabilizing your heart rate and making sure your digestive tract is working properly. Getting the vagus nerve into shape can then positively influence, even treat, chronic inflammation that can lead to issues such as high blood pressure, migraines, digestive problems, and arthritis. Naturally. A healthy balance in the vagus nerve is called ‘the vagal tone’. This is what activates your parasympathetic nervous system which is your ‘rest and digest’ system. It balances out your ‘fight or flight’ nervous system that was so essential to our survival as a species, but which now floods our bodies daily with unhealthy hormones such as cortisol when we are stuck in traffic rather than facing a sabre-toothed tiger. A good, or higher, vagal tone enables you to relax faster and brings a whole host of other benefits including:
Overall better functioning internal systems including:
Better blood sugar regulation
Decreased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease
Generally lower blood pressure
Better digestion due to proper production of digestive enzymes
Less anxiety (they naturally deal with stress better)
What scientists have discovered is that the vagus nerve constantly monitors your gut microbiome to determine if there are any pathogenic organisms, and if so, it initiates a response that then controls any inflammation that results from these foreign organisms, which can affect your mood, your stress levels (and your ability to cope with the stress) and your overall inflammation levels. The ventral branch of the vagal nerve affects body functioning above the diaphragm. This is the branch that serves the social engagement system. The ventral vagal nerve dampens the body’s regularly active state. Picture controlling a horse as you ride it back to the stable. You would continue to pull back on and release the reins in nuanced ways to ensure that the horse maintains an appropriate speed. Likewise, the ventral vagal nerve allows activation in a nuanced way, thus offering a different quality than sympathetic activation. When you are more present in your body and better able to attend to momentary muscular tension, you can wake up from a shutdown response. As you activate out of shutdown and shift toward fight-or-flight sensations, thought-restructuring techniques can teach you to evaluate your safety more accurately. The ventral vagal nerve affects the middle ear, which filters out background noises to make it easier to hear the human voice. It also affects facial muscles and thus the ability to make communicative facial expressions. Finally, it affects the larynx and thus vocal tone and vocal patterning, helping humans create sounds that soothe one another. Those with poor social engagement system functioning may have inner ear difficulties that make it hard for them to receive soothing from others’ voices. So, how do you increase your vagal tone? So far, researchers have stimulated the vagus nerve using a device that emits an electrical current but there are other ways to do this yourself. While the studies also reveal that people are genetically predisposed to different levels of vagal tone, with consistent practice, you can alter your tone to some degree using the following methods: 1. Humming You know all those people you used to think were “new age” because they would sit quietly and repeat the “OM” sound? Well, it turns out they are on to something. Because the vagus nerve is connected to your vocal cords, systematic humming can stimulate the nerve. 2. Speaking Likewise, people who speak more are more likely to be able to raise their vagal tone as talking is done through the vocal cords. Singing and laughter in general will also do the trick. 3. Wash your face with cold water A splash of cold water does seem to stimulate the vagus nerve. Whenever your body is required to adjust to the cold, your fight-or-flight (sympathetic) system declines and your rest-and-digest (parasympathetic) system increases. In other words, any kind of sudden cold exposure will increase vagus nerve activation. You can achieve this by either dipping your face in cold water or take a cold shower as Wim Hof espouses. 4. Breathing deeply using your diaphragm Breathing long, deep breaths from your diaphragm can stimulate and tone your vagus nerve. 5. Yoga Research shows that yoga, along with breathing practices, can significantly increase your vagal tone. 6. Meditation According to a 2010 study, people who meditate regularly and think more positive thoughts tend to have better vagal tone. 7. Increase Good Gut Bacteria While there are countless benefits to increasing the healthy bacteria in your gut, surprisingly, this also helps to create a positive “feedback loop” through your vagus nerve and thus increase its tone. Probiotics are a good source of healthy bacteria. All of the above methods are beneficial to your overall health simply for the fact that they also help reduce stress, which is a major factor in disease, but also knowing that you can help improve your vagal tone, and the specific issue of inflammation, is a powerful tool. Add these simple tips to your daily routine and see how much better you feel in a relatively short time.
The final mind hack I always share with clients is that of being able to rest and reset.
High performance athletes always put recovery and rest time into the schedules. The crucial element for rest is good sleep. Not just ‘enough’ sleep for you but also the right level of sleep.
As someone who didn’t sleep well for over a decade, I know what interrupted sleep feels like. I managed to conquer the inability to go to sleep only to find that I couldn’t stay asleep. I would wake regularly at about 3am with my mind whirring with thoughts, worries and a never ending ‘to-do’ list.
One particularly frustrating night, after having done a sleep meditation, stripped the Worry Tree bare and scribbled my thoughts down I was still lying awake so I decided to negotiate with my subconscious mind. ‘Look’ I said. ‘You have seen some of my scribbles from the 3am club and they usually make no sense the next day, do they?
Also, what seems insurmountable at 3am often takes 10 minutes to action during the day so let’s leave it until then. In fact, let’s do a trade. Whatever is worrying me at 3am will be top of my To Do list at 3pm!’.
Bingo. It worked. My brain had a nice trade-off between letting me sleep. I have used this method ever since and it works for me.
Why not try it?
FRIENDS and FAMILY
This part of the 5Fs formula is really about connection and your tribe. Not everyone loves their family. Some hate them and will never mend the broken bridges between them. Perhaps some of your family don’t deserve to be in your life. I’m not here to judge but I will point out why ‘family’ is such a powerful social construct. It is about connection.
We are fundamentally tribal people and hardwired for connection. Leave the tribe and you will be exposed to danger and possibly die is a part of our primitive reasoning buried deep in our subconscious.
And where does the most important connection reside?
Well, let’s ask why, after countless cosmetic procedures or spending millions of how they look are many people still unhappy? Why do they still feel empty inside?
Just look at some tragic celebrities, dead or alive. The pressure to look great and pretend it is all fun all the time just breaks them. They sit in their massive designer houses and binge on food or alcohol or drugs and it is never enough.
I discovered something interesting when I first found premises for my therapy practice. It was based in a very slick and successful aesthetic beauty clinic. I thought it would be impressive and that the clinic’s clients would come to me for help. Yet I found that my best efforts to get their clients to see me failed. It took a while to work out that I was trying to fix people from the inside out and many of them were trying to fix themselves from the outside in.
Not that I am against trying to look your best, take pride in how you look or even have cosmetic procedures, if necessary, like a friend who hated her crooked nose and was relieved when it was fixed.
What is crucial, is to realise that beauty (and feeling enough and not empty) really does start from within and you will never look or feel more amazing than when you learn to love the skin that you live in.
Start by creating a healthy relationship with yourself.
Develop an ability to give and receive love starting with you and actively engage in loving yourself. Determine to stop talking to yourself in such a negative and self-destructive way that makes every day a soul sapping experience. You can find a phrase that works for you such as ‘I am enough’ (although I’d up level it to ‘I am MORE than enough’) or one I saw recently ‘I’m the bomb’. For me I find that saying: ‘Just be the best version of you today!’ or ‘Rocking being imperfectly perfect 24/7’ works a treat.
Determine to stop comparing yourself to others.
Start with social media (switch off from it if possible). It is only ‘the edited ME’. It is not real, just people projecting the best of their day or highlight of their week. If seeing someone looking amazing makes you feel awful then say to yourself “This too shall pass”. And choose to do something about it such as eat better, exercise more, get more fresh air, sleep longer or whatever you need to nurture you.
You need to do the work here. I had to work out why I was feeling such a failure after my second marriage ended in divorce. I sat with it and realised I was in mourning. Mourning for the hopes and futures I’d hoped for. Mourning for my ‘youth’ and more. I let that go and healed before moving on and then worked with some of the world’s leading relationship experts. What I discovered is that the route to an amazing relationship is to become the person you want to attract.
If you want to attract someone driven, solvent, fit, adventurous, open, and passionate, guess what? Chances are they will want the same in you.
If you want a potential or existing partner to love what they see in you, then you need to look inside yourself and work out if you love what you see.
To have intimacy you need to ‘Into Me See’.
If you are filled with self-loathing then hiding it with any of the masks we wear; makeup; fine clothes; accessories; cosmetic procedures etc., may work for a while. Like a sticking plaster. They may even hold up long enough to get someone interested in you, but after five minutes, you are on your own.
Determine what you want from a love relationship.
Make a list of what your ideal mate would be like and look like. What are their values? What do you want? What works for you? Connection? Respect?
It is also important to work out what are your relationship ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’.
If you have a rule such as ‘they must be entirely faithful to me’ and their rule on being faithful is a ‘should’, then trouble may be ahead and the relationship can deteriorate into a nasty tit for tat battleground. Or worse, into apathy. The opposite of love is not hate. Both are powerful and passionate, think of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton who were trapped in a ‘can’t live with you or without you’ loop. The opposite of love is indifference. That is when trouble sets in.
So don’t live your life by becoming indifferent to your partner or to your desire to find the right partner.
Live an amazing life where you plan for joy, love, and connection. Love the ‘into-me-see’ that you have with yourself and soon enough someone will pick up on that energy and if the vibrational frequency between you is a match, well…. that is up to you as to where you take it!
As they so rightly sing in Cabaret, money does make the world go around. But money is more than the transactional currency we use every day. It is about reciprocity – give and take. It is about an energy exchange where you give of your time or talents and are rewarded in return.
In the ways I work with my clients there are usually very few money blocks in their lives as they are often big earners. What is usually the issue is how they spend it or how that energy exchange makes them feel. Do they feel undeserving of it? Do they try and give it away? Are they afraid that they may lose it?
These are the key issues.
As is creating a lifestyle that has balance and joy while you are busy being successful.
This starts with habits for success. I always get those I work with to ask (as I ask myself) the following questions:
Have you started the week well?
What are your habits for success?
Or are you habitually making plans and promises to yourself and then…well…not following through?
To keep it simple I have a HABIT for success guide. To create habits that make you feel great as they are achievable:
H: Have the right environment to foster success ✔️
A: Avoid triggers or use diversionary tactics at times they appear✔️
B: BBO – What is your Bigger Better Offer or reason WHY? ✔️
I: Install new routines ✔️
T: Treat yourself as a reward for creating and maintaining a new habit✔️
Here is some context and more information for how I arrived at this blueprint.
There is an overwhelm of advice about habits. Many bestselling self-help books are about creating healthy habits. You may have read several of them such as ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People’, ‘Atomic Habits, ‘Tiny Habits’, ‘The Power of Habit’ or ‘Make Your Bed’. Some also address how to break old unwanted habits. The combination of this freedom plus installing new desirable and sustainable behaviours is nirvana. Over 40 per cent of our daily actions are habitual. Think of them as repeat responses (that have worked for us in some way in the past) that are automatically fired by our brains as a shortcut to success. Sadly, your subconscious mind isn’t very subtle. Each day you are alive it regards its job as done. That’s because we are wired via the primitive part of our brain, to simply survive to ensure that our species continues.
Now, with extended lifespans we want lives that are more nuanced. Lives that include being happy and fulfilled and the ability to feel good about ourselves and our choices. So, when a ‘bad’ or undesired habit keeps cropping up we not only can find it hard to break but also suffer from feelings of failure that we can’t stop it. It is like we are living our own personal Groundhog Day with recurring habits that can keep us in pain or hold us back. Culturally, we then are then led to believe that if only we had more willpower, then we would be able to change. If ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ were true then all New Year’s resolutions would come true and everyone who went on a diet and has shown that they have the will to lose weight would do so. Permanently. Sadly, experience has probably taught you that intention means nothing and these well-intentioned actions can be thwarted and you end up feeling worse than before. So, know this; it is NOT because you lack willpower or are weak willed. Speaking consciously, it highlights the need to develop a proper mindset, framework, and systems to create the actions and habits to enable you to succeed. Plus, a compelling reason WHY.
According to neuroscientist Jud Brewer M.D., Ph.D., the secret to creating a habit that you can stick with is to become ‘enchanted’ with it. He says that when we try new things we are, for a while, really enchanted with them.
So, remembering how this feels and focusing on the “Bigger Better Offer (BBO)” of what that new habit will bring you (in other words the ‘why’ of doing it) is key.
Finding out your ‘why’ for your life (and your ‘who’ as in who is the one that motivates you to do what you do) is key to true business life success and being an authentic leader.
Being an authentic leader is literally in my DNA.
‘You live what you learn and you learn what you live’. In other words, many of our values, strengths and weaknesses are due to the way we were bought up.
I was a grocer’s daughter. My early years were spent living above the shop in a run-down suburb of Nottingham. The back-to-back terraces were torn down when I was five but my memory is of an Aladdin’s cave of food and hardware. Glass apothecary jars filled with sweets and unknowns, huge hams cooked and sold by the slice. To the locals it was the social services of its day. My parents knew whose husband gambled his wages away. The women, heads down to hide blackened eyes, opened threadbare purses as tears rolled down their cheeks. I recall looking up at my mother who would raise a finger to her lips to stop me from saying anything, while passing them wax-wrapped packages. I remember the women clutching my mother’s hand and exchanging ‘looks’ but often no money. Compassion in action so not surprising I ended up working for several major charities.
I read no books on leadership or business. I lived it. It is a part of me as is how to behave around others.
So how do you walk your talk?
There is a great quote by John C. Maxwell, which is.
“Your talk talks and your walk talks, But your walk talks louder than your talk talks”
In other words:
Don’t talk > instead act.
Don’t say > instead show.
Don’t promise and instead > prove.
I’d also like to share another quote that I grew up hearing in my home:
“After all is said and done, it’s what’s done and not what is said that’s important.”
So, let’s do some more work. Ask yourself:
Are you talking a good game and not following through with actions?
How are you showing up?
How are you setting a good example to others instead of talking about it?
Finally, how are you proving that you are true to your word and willing to do what you say you’re going to do?
It’s really about living your truth.
This is emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically important.
No one likes living a lie and lying to yourself or being incongruent with what you say and then acting differently is the most uncomfortable place to be. It creates a disharmony at the very core of your being.
As Shakespeare so rightly advises: “to thine own self be true”.
You need to do this for good health.
Please take a moment and be honest with yourself. Listen to your inner voice. Tap into what you know (at the heart of your being) is right and you will gain strength and a growing sense of being whole.
Even when things are hard and you’re having to walk a difficult path, and often we must, you will feel more at one with yourself by trusting this inner voice. What’s more, others will look to you and see that the path that you’re walking is yours and it is true to your values and vision. This way you will be living in integrity. You’ll be walking your talk and walking your own authentic walk.
I’ve had to do this many times and sometimes the path is hard and you feel like you are in survival mode. Yet the more you discover and walk your own path, the stronger you get. However rough the terrain becomes, there is a way of choosing the right path. On mountain paths, walkers leave Cairn stones at the side of the safest routes to guide other walkers who will come after them.
Your inner truth, your values and walking your talk are your Cairn stones.
Follow them to safety and that will bring you right back to the first of the 5Fs – faith as you’ll strengthen the faith in yourself and your inner guidance.
But let’s hit a lighter note as we look at the fifth F.
Several years ago, I took part in a one-day workshop on values. We undertook many exercises and ended up with a list of five key values for our lives. When we sat in a circle and shared them, I realised to my dismay that nearly everyone else had fun on their short list. I had not even had in on my long list.
It made me reflect upon the nature of business and life.
I have a wicked sense of humour and love funny movies, TV series and great comedians. I see the funny and ironic in most elements of life. But I have not always seen having fun as a key element of a balanced and healthy life. Rather, I have regarded it as a reward for a job well done. I was caught up in the curse of the When/Then syndrome.
You know. It goes something like this:
‘When I have finished this 20-page report, then I can have a walk and a rest’ or ‘when the kids are in bed and the house tidy then I can have some fun and watch that series on TV’. It is always conditional. It often doesn’t happen as the former activity (to enable the reward) takes so long.
Now I see having fun as essential and check in on myself daily.
In a business context, humour in leadership is key. Leaders set the tone.
Take your work seriously but yourself less so.
Laugh at yourself and be self-depreciating in tone.
Humour can be powerful for leaders in downward management. Studies show that leaders who use self-depreciating yet self-enhancing humour can improve the psychological safety of peers and subordinates in being open and talking freely with leaders about their concerns.
When leaders are authentic and able to show their own vulnerabilities, they reduce feelings of intimidation and that culture can allow others to be more open about their own vulnerabilities and admit more readily to mistakes and concerns and they will fear being judged less.
One way to have fun is to just do nothing sometimes. Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it? Bear with me a little longer and I’ll explain.
As the world opens again have you found yourself on social media watching your friends and colleagues declaring their joy at “getting back to normal.”?
OMG, look! They are now on a beach, tanned and happy. You look out of the window and it’s grey and drizzling. A sad person with a soggy dog is walking nearby.
That Itty Bitty Shitty Committee in your head pipes up. “Why aren’t you on a beach now, sand between your toes? What have you done with the last few months? Where is your killer online course? New income stream?”
This all stems from the fear of missing out (or FOMO).
It shows up when faced with the Edited Me of social media that showcases others allegedly having the best time ever or getting through tough times with ease and succeeding against all odds.
It causes mild, persistent anxiety, and it can negatively impact the quality of your daily experience and social relationships. Most of all, your relationship with yourself can be damaged as we kick into becoming our own Internal Corrections Officer, creating a harsh internal dialogue of self-criticism or the many internal voices of that Itty Bitty Shitty Committee.
We are all programmed to think that by missing out, we are flawed. It goes way back to our old cavemen thinking and need for connection, as the tribe only survived together. We are hardwired to fear separation, so we now fear missing out and fail to embrace the joy of being happy in our own company.
So, here is an antidote that I want to share with you. It spells JOMO for the Joy Of Missing Out.
Just say no! It gives you choices and boundaries and stops you from burnout.
Own the moment. If you are having a bad day, then be easy on yourself and remind yourself that this too shall pass.
Make what is right for you a priority
Only check social media/emails/voicemails/the news/etc. when you must. Instead, do what you love.
Then you will become who you love. The best version of you filled with the joy of finding more by missing out.
It is about knowing when to let go isn’t it? The strongest way to let go is via:
Game of Thrones used to be my guilty pleasure for TV viewing. As the various ‘Houses’ (families and tribes) fight each other to win control of the seven kingdoms there is not much mercy shown to ones’ enemies. They are like the mafia in a belief that: “Revenge is a dish best eaten cold. With a long-handled spoon”. The trouble is that no spoon is long enough to erase an act of revenge from your heart.
Hardly a day goes by when I don’t see the terrible price people pay for not letting go of past hurts. Forgiveness is key but for many clients I’ve worked with, the shift to forgiving some hurt done to them may just not be within their gift.
I’m a therapist, not a priest. It is not my job to force anyone to forgive any other person. Apart from one. Themselves. They must forgive themselves for ‘allowing it to happen’. They must forgive themselves for carrying around, to use a metaphor, a cup of poison meant for the person who hurt them but sipping from it themselves.
In the movie Analyse This, mob boss Paul Vitti (played by Robert DeNero) is losing his grip as the drive past killing of his friend has prompted panic attacks. He secretly seeks out psychiatric help from Ben Sobel (played by Billy Crystal), who finds that he has a client who does not understand the word ‘no’. It is black comedy but ultimately Vitti must let go of the guilt and burdens of his actions.
The most powerful example of what is called Radical Forgiveness that I have come across is from Rwanda. In her book ‘As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda’, Catherine Claire Larson says:
“What does forgiveness really look like? How can you forgive someone who seemingly took everything away that made life worth living: family, homes, and trust? What kind of power is it that can look someone who has hurt you in the deepest way and forgive them?
“If forgiveness is possible after the slaughter of nearly a million in a hundred days in Rwanda, then today, more than ever, we owe it to humanity to explore how one country is addressing perceptual, social-psychological and spiritual dimensions to achieve a more lasting peace. If forgiveness is possible after genocide, then perhaps there is hope for the comparably smaller rifts that plague our relationships, our communities and our nation.”
You may not reach radical forgiveness but you deserve to see the world through better eyes. Not ones clouded by the mist of anger or resentment or hatred.
If you keep sipping that cup of poison, guess what happens? It is you who will pay the biggest price as you compromise your life, your happiness, and your health. It may take intervention and guidance from a third party, a therapist or other, to enable you to let go but that is the goal as you deserve peace of mind and to reclaim your joy. You deserve it.
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Rosalyn Palmer, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Rosalyn Palmer is an award-winning transformational coach and therapist and one of the Brainz 500 Global 2021 list of Companies, Entrepreneurs, Influential leaders and Small business owners recognized for their entrepreneurial success, achievements, or dedication to helping others. Her work combines advanced rapid transformational therapy with clinical hypnotherapy & NLP-based coaching to create deeply desired changes. She works 1-2-1 with clients and via her group courses including the 13-week The Realigned Leader and The Realigned Life transformations. As the best-selling author of the award-winning self-help book: ‘Reset! A Blueprint for a Better Life’ and three other Amazon bestsellers, Rosalyn makes emotional wellbeing accessible to all. She enables high performers to live their best lives that feel as good inside as they look on the super-successful outside. Rosalyn draws on extensive business experiences in top London PR & Marcomms (‘retiring’ as a self-made millionaire at age 40 after a stellar career helping clients including Tony Robbins and Edward de Bono) and the insight of being conflicted when the outward vision of your life doesn’t serve you. Added to this are her deeper values and life experiences born from many challenges including cancer; redundancy; bereavement; menopause; divorce; a financial loss that broke her open to finding out what really matters in life and how to live a life of balance and joy. As a natural communicator, she is the well-being expert for the radio show Girls Around Town, has a monthly newspaper column, and two podcast series: Monkey Business and Life Alchemy.