The Joy of Text …

How do you text? Do you use punctuation? Do u get irritated by txt spk?

Are you someone that loves the English language with all of its peculiarities and quirks or can you really not see what the fuss is all about, after all it’s just words init?

I recently exchanged some lengthy text messages with a friend and it occurred to me, not for the first time, that the way we communicate is paramount in our relationships. The fact that we can now send a text message in seconds or a 140 character message to our followers via Twitter giving our instant view on anything, still amazes me and scares me just a little.

Our emotions, our thoughts and our reactions suddenly have the possibility of being ‘out there’ before they are fully formed. How many times do we see/hear friends and colleagues wearing their heart on their Facebook page? For some people this has become one of their primary forms of communication, for others it’s just a way to vent and air their views on any subject they chose.

When working with clients I can often get a good idea of the way they are feeling by the language they use when talking about themselves. Our negative language has a huge impact on those we communicate with, especially ourselves – see my previous article for more details on this destructive habit. The language we use on social media can be just as damaging. Being positive when sharing views and opinions or commenting on the latest reality show is the first step towards a healthier more positive outlook surely? The latest ‘Get Me Out of Here’ series will no doubt test the resolve of many serial tweeters and social commentators but just remember your comments are all a reflection of you!

So, with so much immediate, technology based communication available to the vast majority of us 24 hours a day, how do we stop our negative emotions and not so helpful comments/views spilling onto the keyboard? My advice to anyone that finds themselves turning to their phone or keyboard when feeling negative or in a ‘delicate’ or emotional moment is simply DON’T! It really isn’t worth it, far better to give yourself time to think of a suitable post or text or even better just move away from the device. Go do something so far removed from the technology based nonsense that might be drawing you in.

Do something creative or go for a walk/run – something that will get the endorphins moving around your body, something that will invigorate your mind and body. Let’s face it, if nothing else it will give you time to come up with a much wittier response, after all that is the Joy of Text…

Is procrastination holding you back?

Is procrastination holding you back? To quote the late Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society:

 “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” – John Keating (1989)

But how exactly can we do that when, let’s face it just making the move to realise that we are in fact putting important things off in the first place, was a struggle?

Since starting my own business a couple of years ago I have found a number of useful things that give me the kick I may need, some may call it a ‘call to action’, when I’m being less productive than I need/want to be.

1. Acknowledge the beast that is procrastination.

Firstly, just being aware of what it is you are avoiding/ putting off is a big step in the right direction. Self awareness is a major leap for many, as so often people are happy to amble through life doing what they’ve always done with little thought for the whys and wherefores. Take a minute to consider why you are putting off important tasks, is it a lack of confidence, self belief or are you feeling too comfortable?

2. The benefits of beating the beast.

Next consider what you will achieve if you do indeed “seize the day”. Make a list of the benefits if you need to see it in black and white but beware – list writing is like nectar to the procrastinator! One brief note just to see what you’re missing, that’s all that’s needed, even better just say them out loud as they come into your head.

3. Leave the beast standing and bask in the glory!

Now, this is the hardest, yet simplest part, GET ON WITH IT!

Once you have made that call, written that essay, had that conversation or whatever it is that you need to do but haven’t so far, you will feel the benefits of banishing the uncertainty and feeling the confidence that comes from a difficult task completed and you can begin to work on the next one.

4. Enjoy the glory and don’t look back.

As with most things, once you’ve done it the next time is so much easier. Start to look out for the signs of the beast creeping up on you again, nip it in the bud and keep ahead of it. After all you learnt the old behaviour of the procrastinator in the past, therefore you can continue to learn the more lucrative and positive behaviour of its nemesis, The Doer!

Now, I’ll just have another cuppa before I think about making that call…..

Fitting In or Standing Out?

We often read about how we can ‘ be different ‘ or how we must ‘ stand out from the crowd ‘, which can be useful information for those people that might be looking for that extra push – but what about if you just want to be, well, just you?

 For many of us our time at school was all about ‘ fitting in ‘, we wanted the latest fashion item (ahh… the ra-ra skirt… coveted yet never owned) or maybe it was the latest gizmo or following the latest band.  Whatever the era we grew up in we all pretty much wanted to fit in with our peers.  It’s certainly no different now as kids clamber to own the latest piece of technology that will make their life complete, well until the next thing comes out obviously.

 Yet, just when we seem to have got the hang of not standing out for doing, saying or being the wrong thing we grow up and everyone starts to tell us that we now need to ‘ stand out from the crowd ‘, ‘ do our own thing ‘, ‘ be different ‘. Little wonder that for many people that’s all too much.  Some people just want to get on in life with ease, enjoy what they do and be happy, they don’t necessarily want to be leaders, mavericks or entrepreneurs and let’s face it the world would be a difficult place if we were all wanting the same things.

 Now, I’m certainly not an advocate of the lemming approach to life (you remember, the little critters that jump off cliffs) far from it, but I do think that we need to be honest with ourselves about what sort of life we want to live and what sort of goals and aspirations are right for us.

 

The key to goal setting is making sure you set goals big enough to stretch you but for things that you really want to achieve.  I have often seen people say they want to achieve goals that quite clearly they don’t believe in but merely go through the motions, that’s like making the worst New Years resolution ever. Being honest with yourself about what you want and how you can achieve it is one of the first steps to being, well, you.

 To some people my view may seem too simple, but why complicate things? My advice for everyone, regardless of what your goals and aspirations are, is to be true to yourself, enjoy what you do, do what you do with positivity and always be mindful of the impact you have on those around you.

Who knows, you may end up standing out from the crowd but for very different reasons and this time it will be with an inner confidence we could only dream of in High School!