Perfectionist

Perfectionist…

perfectionist

Am I a Perfectionist? I work incredibly hard to make sure I am faultless – which is an impossible task and therefore a fruitless and frustrating one. Why am I doing it? Well I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m trying to find some sort of approval or recognition. The thing is that I get plenty of that – I have wonderful people in my life who appreciate and value me, I just struggle accepting it. Through Conquering Life I’ve realized that the one person who really isn’t giving me the recognition I need, is me.

I am human and therefore cannot by definition be perfect – to be human is to err. By trying so hard to do everything exactly right I put myself in a vulnerable position that makes it difficult to take criticism as anything other than a personal attack. My point here isn’t that we shouldn’t try to be good or do things to the best of our ability, but that we shouldn’t put all our energy into being what we think perfection is.

Being a perfectionist has reached the comical category and I don’t think everyone realizes how stressful or difficult the reality is for those of us who function in this way. We try so hard. Often not just in our lives but in the lives of those that we love – we want to fix things. It is so much more than lining up our pencils neatly at the table, although pencil placement can be vital (lol).

 

perfectionist

 

I sometimes feel like I’m working so hard to keep from slipping up, so hard that I wind up missing the beauty of life around me. I’m watching the metaphorical ground so closely that the hole I do fall into is one of my own creation. With that stress comes anxiety which acts like gasoline upon the perfectionist fire. Fuelling a panic because now we’re running through lists of possible mishaps rather than just scanning the floor in front of us for them.

 

So how do we stop this cycle? First we need to pause and give ourselves a mental hug because we deserve it. A lot of it is self-awareness and self-recognition. Looking at yourself and acknowledging how hard you’re working, with love, then giving yourself permission to be human.

I can only be the best I can be. Sometimes that means I’m going to trip up and make mistakes – but I’ll do that whether I’m anxiously waiting for it to happen or not. I’ll probably fall back into perfectionist tendencies by accident too and the best thing I can do is acknowledge it with care and then work on changing. It’s important to stop holding myself to impossible standards while I consider others with kindness and patience.

perfectionist

Conquering Life has taught me so much in the way that I’ve learnt to process my life and sometimes I need to stop and refresh some of its lessons. Learning to recognize and appreciate ourselves is one of the hardest and yet beneficial tools we can attain.

So if you’re a recovering perfectionist like me, know that you’re not alone.

You too can find a way to Conquer Life without demanding perfection!

 

To Conquer Life and define your life, your way, click: Here

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Resolutions…

Resolutions…

Resolutions...

      It is a new year, fresh with the hope of resolutions made on the back of champagne and festivities. The New Year always seems like the Monday of the year – the beginning and therefore the time to start one’s new pursuit. Why start dieting on a Wednesday or working out on a Friday? It somehow makes so much more sense to start at the beginning of a week or the year, right? It’s funny how that happens with resolutions. Now resolutions aren’t bad things. They are born from a desire to better our lives – whether it’s quitting smoking or learning to play the piano.

    The issue with resolutions often comes from the broadness or multitude that we assign to ourselves. The bigger the resolution the scarier it appears and therefore the harder it becomes to stick to. I’ve spoken in previous blogs about incorporating changes into our lives incrementally and with patience. I think it’s important to talk about this now with all of the big life resolutions riding on 2019 because every resolution is possible – unless yours was world domination in which I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Jokes aside, every resolution from weight loss to lifestyle improvement is entirely achievable. They ride heavily on one’s approach and perception.

Resolutions...

     There is a big difference between deciding that your resolution is to drop to a size 8 and deciding to improve your diet and exercise routine. The difference is that the latter is more approachable and sustainable, as well as being healthier. The ultimate goal should always be about health and life improvement rather than weight loss when it comes to dietary resolutions. 

    The way we phrase things is important and so is the way we lay out our goals. No one is going to drop several stones overnight, definitely not in any healthy or sustainable way. Setting smaller attainable goals within the overall goal is a useful tool – especially if you take the time to consider what works best for you. If you want to exercise more but you hate the gym, look for alternatives. Group classes can be a lot more fun, and walking or running can be more private or peaceful ways to work out. The important thing is to set goals that feel comfortable and attainable for you.

     Resolutions are meant to help gear your year towards improvement rather than to affect immediate change or cause stress. This year I’d like to continue improving on my exercise routine and diet as well as finding more time for mindfulness and relaxation. I’m going to incorporate this this by setting myself weekly goals that both challenge me and encourage me to follow through.

Resolutions...

     At Conquering Life we believe that it is the small but sure changes we make to our lifestyles that affect the most lasting and positive changes. Conquer the New Year, one step at a time.

If you too want to learn how to conquer your life, click here

To watch people who did, here

Relaxing…

Relaxing…

relaxing...

 

     Recently I realized that I’ve been confusing relaxing with distracting myself. My mind can often speed along a million thoughts per minute – I’ll be thinking about an essay I need to finish writing, an idea for a new project, the housework I need to finish, the paper I need to buy for my printer, and oh dear I’ve gotten carried away again. My thoughts can feel like a surging river rushing through my mind. It’s no wonder that when I’m watching an episode of “The Great British Bake Off,” thinking about cakes rather than chores, that I think I’m relaxing. The problem is, I’m not. I might not be conscious of the constant current of thoughts going through my mind but that doesn’t mean they’re gone. The same goes for listening to a podcast and even reading a book because I’m not actively relaxing, I’m actively distracting myself.

 

relaxing     That realized, I then faced another dilemma, if that isn’t relaxing, then what is? How does one relax? Am I even capable of relaxing? Trying to figure out how to relax can be decidedly un-relaxing and frustrating. Shouldn’t relaxing just be easy? It sounds like it should be. We often tell people to ‘just relax’ –   as though there’s a magic button conveniently built on to each of us. Well if that is the case, I’ve had a button malfunction. Relaxing, it turns out requires some effort.

 

     

On my journey to find relaxation I’ve discovered that it actually requires a lot of one on one time with yourself and nothing else. That can be anxiety provoking as it is. I cannot pretend either that I’ve reached the end of this expedition. What I have found is that meditation, is key. You don’t have to sit in a cross legged position and chant ohm – we can find ways to meditate and be mindful in everyday activities. I’ve been trying to work these meditative moments into my routine. It can be hard work but it’s so important to give one’s brain a break.

     Conquering Life helped me to understand that in life we are always ‘works in progress’ – there’s always more to learn about ourselves. It’s a positive understanding because we’re always in a position to improve and grow. Circumstances can change and with it our way of interacting with ourselves and the world. That means that sometimes we need to pause and re calibrate. This isn’t to say that snuggling onto the sofa with a cuppa and watching an episode of your favourite programme  isn’t important too, but I’ve come to learn relaxing is an active activity. One that requires focus and dedication – taking space and quiet, even if just for five minutes. It’s something that I’m learning to work on and one that I would encourage everyone to work on too.

 

relaxing

   

   Relaxing is about breathing and tuning into your body, letting the thoughts drive by rather than through your mind. This month I’m Conquering Life by learning to relax, I invite you to join me in that pursuit.

Join us, and begin to conquer your life, here.

Watch people who decided to, here.

Irritation

Irritation

irritation

 

     Irritation is not an alien concept to anyone – We all have things that irritate us, things that annoy and wind us up to what feels like the breaking point. Whether it’s people eating with their mouths open, someone not listening to you properly or even waiting in line. Some of these things seem quite justifiable, of course it’s annoying when you’ve been interrupted mid sentence or the person behind the desk is being unhelpful. The problem is exacerbated when our irritation quickly leads to anger. Like a canister of petrol set off by a spark.

     All sorts of things can contribute to building up that bubbling fuel beneath the surface. Our daily stress, disappointments, worries, frustrations, pains, etc… All of these things just add to a baseline of frustration and create irritation if we haven’t been processing them in a helpful way.

     I’m guilty of doing this, pushing back stress or my chronic neck pain only to snap at small things. The small things seem like big things when you’re not checking in with yourself. I’ve gotten so frustrated because I felt like someone wasn’t listening to everything I was trying to say (correctly so, but it was me that wasn’t listening to my body). Frustrated beyond what the situation called for.


irritation

     At Conquering Life we know that what we can control in our lives is our own actions and reactions, and that everyone else’s is outside our control –  even if they are chewing in the most obnoxious way! Often our actions and reactions can contribute to someone else’s actions and reactions. If we want someone to  pay  more attention or to be more helpful, is being aggressive or being impatient really going   to be more effective?

 

 

     While aggression might seem like the more tempting option, it is the option that does more damage – both to ourselves and to others. I’ve realized that in order to work on my irritation I have to: 1. Be more aware of myself and my needs in general (hear myself/my body)- making sure that I’m taking time to relax, caring for my neck with the appropriate exercise and treatment and that I’m getting enough sleep, and 2. Practice tactics for handling the situation if my irritation is emerging despite my better self care.

     These tactics can be as simple as taking a step back and doing some mindful breathing. Breath in through your nose, hold your breath for a moment and release through your mouth. Follow your breath with your mind and let your thoughts and irritation pass you by like a passing car or ambulance – acknowledging the sounds but not letting them distract you. Sometimes this pause is enough for you to be able to push through and calm your annoyance. Sometimes it will require more.

 

irritation

 

     The important thing is to not let your irritation overrun your life. If you need to walk away, walk away. Take the time you need to overcome rather than giving in to anger. We are all human and some days are harder than others! At Conquering Life we want to encourage people to take the time they need, and to learn the tools that lead them to a happier and healthier life. The more we work on our reactions the easier and more habitual it will become, until patience is second nature. Give yourself peace of mind even if the world doesn’t seem to want to at times.

Join us, and begin to conquer your life, here.

Watch people who decided to, here.

Our Daily Rituals

Our Daily Rituals

daily rituals

 

     We all have our daily rituals and routines, the patterns of activity that we fall into on a regular basis. What we do from the moment our eyes open to the moment they close. These things can be anything from a morning coffee, a daily run or even a midnight smoke. Good or bad they form the structure for our day to day lives, whether we realize it or not.

     A few years ago there was a video of a man from the military talking about the importance of making our bed in the morning. How that first accomplishment in the morning can positively shape the rest of our day.

     At Conquering Life we promote self awareness and positive action as well as teaching the tools for accomplishing these things. That’s why we believe that looking at and improving our daily routines can be helpful. Having positive daily rituals or routines not only provide us with a stable, and therefore comforting structure but also an opportunity to incorporate good habits. Something like waking up at a regular time and going to a yoga class or even just going for a walk before running to work can be incredibly beneficial in the long run.

     Routines can be difficult to create and to break but it is possible to do both – it just takes a little work. Instead of trying to break with or create an entire routine right away try doing it one step at a time. I personally would like to make more scheduled time for exercise and for writing. I know if I don’t make that happen then I’ll be trusting fate that it’ll happen magically on its own.

 

daily rituals     This doesn’t mean I have to start waking up at dawn, attend a new exercise class, devise breakfast menus and schedule myself in for three hours of writing a day. All of this at once would be overwhelming and even if I managed one or two days I would probably revert back to my previous routine. The trick is to incorporate small changes gradually. If I want to get up earlier then I can work on getting myself up a half an hour earlier everyday for a couple of weeks.Once I’m accustomed to that change I can work on another half an hour.

 

      This works for other changes to the daily rituals. We can do it step by step – that’s the way we make lasting change. The same is also true for eliminating elements of our routine – little by little rather than complete and abrupt eradication.

     When something becomes routine and part of our daily rituals, it doesn’t feel as daunting. Most change happens slowly, with decisive actions. You might not see an instant difference but the time and effort you put in, will pay off in more permanent ways. If you’re thinking of improving your daily rituals and routines, I encourage you to not only think of the things you want to be doing but also how you can incorporate them in a way that works for you.

 

To learn more about how ‘Conquering Life’ can help you in conquering yours click here

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Taking Time

Taking time

Taking time


     Taking time has been tough for me in the past couple of weeks. I found myself in a sort of depression, feeling anxious and detached from everyone and everything around me. It’s been especially hard because I’m on holiday and I should have been enjoying every moment of my European break. Instead I’ve been in a state of fight or flight. To be honest, it has been scary as hell. I didn’t feel like myself at all – instead I felt caught in a fog of bleakness. Everything positive seemed to have been sucked from my being and I was left feeling nothing but negativity.


     Thanks to the self awareness I’ve honed with the Conquering Life program I was able to recognize, address and tackle the issue. The first step was reaching out to the people I trusted and explaining to them what was going on. Talking about personal and intimate things can be really difficult but it is so incredibly powerful. The more I talked about it and explored my panic the sooner I realized that it was more than a fleeting fear over one thing. I have been heading down this road for a while. Time for taking time…


Taking time     Something I’ve learnt about myself in the past years is that I can detach emotionally when I’m stressed and under pressure – it seems to be a defense mechanism that activates when I have things to get done and “no time” to be emotional. It’s something that Conquering Life has helped me to work on. However, over the past few months I’ve been so stressed and working so hard that I didn’t pick up on the signs. I was slowly detaching and steamrolling ahead – every task completed wasn’t a satisfying ‘Ahhh’ moment, instead just a quick ticking off before I dove into the next task.


     Speaking to my aunt, in one of the most helpful conversations I’ve had in the past couple of weeks, I realized that I actually hadn’t been taking time for myself in a long time. I’d planned a big holiday but I’d planned it around other people – people that I love and want to spend time with but always with other people. Since my next semester of classes are due to begin I’m intensely aware of how important it is to find time to work on my own care into my schedule.


     Neglecting yourself might not always have instant effects but it can definitely have effects without you knowing as I have clearly learnt this month. I have so much more understanding and appreciation for how overwhelming depression can be. It isn’t a matter of just being positive, taking a trip or getting some exercise – you feel like you’re in a constant battle with your body for yourself. It’s a matter of taking time, having/getting support and it takes being kind to yourself.


Taking time     I don’t think there is any magic way of simply snapping out of depression or even preventing it but I do know that there needs to be less stigma and more understanding. I hope that I can take this experience and not only generate more care for myself but for those who suffer frequently. Conquering Life helped me become strong and self aware and with the tools I have learnt I was able to make my way through the fog. 

     Taking time for yourself and self-caring does not make you selfish!

 

If you too, want to learn how to conquer your life, click here

To watch people who did, here

Body and Stress

Body and Stress

Body and Stress

     

     Sometimes when we deal with stressful situations our brain might be able to process it before our body does. This week I experienced a situation that had my heart racing and my hands shaking – I found myself in an unexpected confrontation with someone I thought was my friend. This interaction happened over messenger and I was unprepared due to the unexpected nature of the conversation. My last blog covered how to deal with negativity coming from those closest to you and this seemed to be a leveling up test. I realized very quickly that this person was actively trying to manipulate my actions by using various forms of guilt.

     Anyone who knows me well can attest to the extremity of my guilty conscience – I’m very sensitive to hurting others and it isn’t something I relish. This attack was carefully targeted at that very conscience. Apparently though, this person didn’t or wasn’t aware of how far Conquering Life has allowed me to grow. I haven’t shed the sentiment but now it only appears when I have something to feel guilty about. I take responsibility for the things I do wrong and I work hard to remedy them but I’ve stopped taking responsibility for the things that aren’t to do with me.   

     

    Body and Stress As a child of a dysfunctional family, I used to take extreme amounts of responsibility for my mother’s discomfort. Every time she was stressed or upset I felt as though it was somehow my fault or that it was my duty to fix it. I know now that I can be there for her but I cannot fix something that is neither my duty nor my doing. Conquering Life teaches us that our happiness and our choices are our own and no one else’s – and that comes with a certain freedom.

     

     So the messages I received from this previously considered friend seemed to be constructed to pierce the person I was before. They knew what they wanted from me and weren’t afraid to use any ammunition they had. I could see this, I knew that the things they were bringing up were unrelated and unfair – I said as much, as cordially as possible. I attempted to bring awareness to the conversation to change the confrontational turn it had taken but to no success. My mind understood but my nerves took longer to follow.

     Body and StressIt’s curious how your body and your mind can sometimes be on different pages. The physiological response to a confrontational situation was a reaction I couldn’t simply will away. I’m proud of myself for keeping my head in the face of a tricky situation and removing myself from it when I realized that it was a pointless discussion. It took some time to calm down – a little stretching and breathing helped with that. I think that little by little I’ll be able to train my body to follow my mind, letting it take its cues from calm and rational thoughts rather than instinctual fear.

     Life is a learning curve and I definitely feel that I’m sent the lessons I need to learn from – thanks to Conquering Life I have the tools to face them, whatever they might be!

Watch some of our client video testimonials here

Begin conquering your life here

Negativity

Negativity

 

Negativity

 

     Negativity is a force we have to contend with everyday, it’s something that can come from external and internal sources. But what do we do when it seems to be directed at us from friends, significant others and family? When we deal with criticism and negativity from those closest to us it can be hard to ignore.

     Those closest to us are the people we look to for support and love no matter what and yet they are those we are most vulnerable to. If a partner criticizes the way you look, or a if a close friend questions your choices or a family member undermines your accomplishments we often internalize that as a fault within ourselves. That shame and hurt can seep into our own self perception in detrimental ways. So how do we deal with misdirected frustration from constant put downs?

    Here at Conquering Life we strive to help people create strong foundations, including internal self esteem so that their sense of worth comes from within rather than outside. This sense of inner stability is especially useful when assessing incoming comments or remarks. I’ve noticed this change in myself especially, when I get seemingly unprovoked negative comments from friends or family I don’t immediately personalize them. I pause and take a moment to assess where this comment is coming from.

 

Negativity     I’ve found that remaining calm and addressing the statement, often helps me get to the bottom of the situation. Recently during a conversation with a close friend it seemed that everything I said was receiving a negative counterargument and eventually I stopped and said very calmly, “I’m not sure what you want me to say, I feel a little like everything I’m saying is provoking a negative response from you.” She took some time to process that and eventually realized that her reactions were not based on me but rather on her own stress and worry. While it’s important to not personalize and to be able to assess situations, it is also incredibly important to know when a relationship has become unhealthy.

 

    Another friend, who has recently split up with their partner, was telling me about little comments that her partner made that slowly chipped away at her own self esteem. It seemed that, consciously or unconsciously, her partner was using weaponized negativity and keeping control over my friend by disturbing the foundation of her self-worth. While we all have gotten stressed out and said things we don’t mean to those we care about, it’s when it becomes a pattern of put downs that the situation becomes toxic and harmful.

 

   Negativity If your friend, partner or family member is a source of negativity and doesn’t respond to conversations addressing that issue, the best thing you can do is to take space from that person. Their conduct doesn’t reflect on you as a person but rather on their inner turmoil. People who spread negativity are often dealing with their own negative experiences and would surely benefit from Conquering Life. While this may be an explanation for their behaviour that doesn’t make it a justification. We are all responsible for ourselves in this life and just as we shouldn’t place our negativity on others, nor are we required to be the tar our relationships.

 

Life is a learning curve and we can all benefit from learning more about our relationships.

Watch some video testimonials from people who have taken advantage of our training programmes here.

 

 

Conquering perfection

Conquering Perfection

 

conquering perfection

 

          Conquering perfection- It has been a while since I last sat down and took some time to write a blog entry. It feels good to pause for a moment and jot down my thoughts and feelings on a page. I’ve been watching a lot of Ted Talks recently and I’ve found them not only insightful but thought provoking. I watched one in particular that got me thinking and that was one about poli potentialities- which loosely means people who are able to excel in many, sometimes unrelated, fields- whether academic or professional.

          I thought to myself, well here is something that makes more sense to me. I’ve never liked the idea of having to pick one thing to do for the rest of my life. I mean, how could I possibly pick one thing out of my many interests, especially if I include the interests I may come to form in the future.

          As the speaker went on, she explained that this concept of picking one career to last for a lifetime is a socially constructed one and isn’t necessarily founded in anything deeper. At Conquering Life, you learn to question assumptions and societal conditioning and this video rang true with my Conquering Life training.

 

          conquering perfectionThis Ted Talk speaker had spilled some more light upon the concept of fulfilling ONE true calling and now I could see all the cracks. I know that most of you reading this will have struggled, at least on some level, with this idea. The one that is constantly brought to our attention with the age old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And if you are like me and have passed into the “grown up” category you find yourself being asked, “What are you going to do with your life?”

 

          It is such a loaded question, whether you’re five or thirty-five because it makes you, first believe that there is such a thing as one true purpose for everyone and eventually it makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you for not being sure about what that one elusive thing is (a need for conquering perfection comes to mind…).

 

          conquering perfectionConquering Life enabled me to shed what I term as the “happiness checklist of life”- this concept that you follow an exact path of education, career, spouse, family and house in order to achieve complete happiness. It is a social structure that doesn’t guarantee happiness but often generates disappointment and discontent. That being said, I think on some level I was still looking for that one purpose that would identify me and give my life a specific and special meaning. And while I’m sure there are plenty of people who do find a calling or a passion that they connect with wholeheartedly, I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with being or studying just one thing.

         

conquering perfection          Life isn’t clear cut, nor are humans, personalities or life purposes (usually). I think the important thing is that we keep doing and reaching for things that make us passionate, whether that’s a clear practical objective or whether it’s a crazy jumble of interests. As long as you are dedicated to making it work for you there is no reason to twist ourselves in knots to fit into a very narrow societal definition of perfection.                          I’m Conquering Perfection and Life, by embracing difference and uncertainty, exploring my passions and working towards a perfection that suits me.

 

           Everyone’s ‘perfect’ is different and that’s okay, at least as long as your perfect doesn’t include cannibalism or world domination- as that would probably negatively affect other people’s perfection. Perfect is defined by the wonderful imperfections that make us happy and excel. So let go of doing what you think you should and do what you feel is right – even if that’s not clear or practical. Make your life, your life- however you need to.

Join us here, and begin to conquer your life today.

Watch others just like you, who decided to conquer their lives, here.

Finding Motivation

Finding Motivation

finding motivation

 

     I was asked recently to write a piece on finding motivation, especially in cases when you feel stuck or you find yourself very busy. Motivation is an interesting thing as it is something that is fueled within yourself, although it often needs external factors to keep it going. These external factors can be people in your life, the reward of the goals your motivation can achieve or even societal pressures. Sometimes these factors can be beneficial and sometimes they can make things feel harder.


finding motivation     I find that finding motivation for me tends to be lit by proactivity. If you give me a week with nothing to do, then I’m very likely to do nothing other than watching television and sleeping. Yet when my schedule is packed I find that I’m able and motivated to go to work, to school, to care for the dog, write essays and study for exams. I’m someone who needs activity to keep motivated. I like having things to do and I enjoy finishing tasks so for me having a schedule/a to-do list keeps me going. It’s important for me and anyone like me to remember, that it’s all right to take a break and do nothing occasionally (just not everyday!), even if you’re not someone like me.

     

    Here at Conquering Life we believe in the benefits of proactivity and accomplishing tasks, even the small ones. Coming up with a schedule and incorporating activities that are both interesting and constructive can help give your days structure and thus more motivation.

     Something else to consider is whether your lack of motivation comes from an emotional place or it is due to little or no interest in what you’re pursuing. University, for example, isn’t always fun and one might not find every subject fascinating or engaging, which makes it hard for finding motivation, but, if your whole university career is marred by a lack of motivation then the cause might be more serious.

     finding motivationAs I said before, we frequently have societal or parental pressure influencing our motivation – many people are encouraged to study subjects that are considered practical or economically beneficial. If this isn’t where your passion lies then it can be difficult to find the necessary motivation.     At Conquering Life we believe in people being their best selves and we know that everyone gets there in different ways. I think the key is finding that balance between being overwhelmed and underwhelmed. Having enough to keep you busy but not having so much that you lose your peace of mind.

Remember that the motivation that comes from within, is the only kind that really sticks!

Find what works for you and Conquer Life today!

For a little support on how to best motivate yourself contact us here.