Written by Lucy Higgins, ICF Life & Mindset Coach
The pandemic has pushed many of us to breaking point. Women have felt stressed, overwhelmed and been running on adrenaline.
Since training as a transformational life coach, I have a broad range of coaching tools and techniques based on psychological and wellbeing theories which I use with my clients.
It was an absolute godsend to have this knowledge, whilst dealing with four big life events recently, which would have been challenging, even without a curveball like COVID-19.
One of the well-being tools that helped me was mindfulness. But not in the way you might think. For many of my clients, ironically the word mindfulness feels heavy – it feels win-lose, black-white – judgemental - like they’re striving for something – for a mind free of thoughts – for inner peace. And if they can’t achieve it, then they’re “doing it wrong” or “have failed”.
According to Jon-Kabat-Zinn who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in 1979:
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally”.
“In the present moment” are four words that make my shoulders instantly drop. Presence is an essential ingredient of a successful coaching relationship and it’s something that’s very easy for me to find when I’m working with a client. But it turns out it’s not so easy when faced with home-schooling, domestic duties, my business, a pandemic and other unpredictable life events.
I knew two things for certain: despite hours of training and practising over the years, I had to accept the facts - traditional meditation was not going to help me feel grounded. I also knew I needed to reframe “mindfulness” and lean in to “presence” instead. So I got creative.
I went for walks in nature, focused on my surroundings and each of my five senses one at a time, I stroked and cuddled my dog, I sat in the garden for 10 minutes and did some simple breathing exercises, I spent 1-1 time with my children actively listening to them, observing them and cuddling them. And during moments of crisis, when quick decisions had to be made or actions had to be taken, I used my core values of authenticity, contribution, personal growth, integrity and love to guide me. My core values grounded me – because they define me.
What are core values?
As a friend and fellow coach said to me recently, who knew the King could be so profound?! A core value is a principle or belief that a person or organisation views as being of central importance. They help you decide what is right or wrong.
In an organisation, they serve as cultural cornerstones for employees guiding them with how to act and behave in order to achieve the vision and strategy.
In an individual they are unique because they have been developed and influenced by a person’s past conditioning, events that have happened in their lives as well as their own individual personalities. So even if two people were brought up in exactly the same way, their core values can be dramatically different.
A short cut to success
Core values can be thought of as a “code of conduct” that we have developed to help us choose how to act and react in a way that is congruent with the things that we value most. They come from a place of authenticity. They drive our actions and choices, our feelings of satisfaction about where we are in life, and our relationship with others.
Knowing our values provides us with a short cut to success. We make faster, better, more confident decisions about work, relationships, how we spend our time, and ultimately what really makes us happy.
It all starts with self-awareness.
Download my FREE Discover your Core Values workbook. Go to @bigtalkformums on Instagram and click on the link in my bio.
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