Why and question marks

Learning language skills can be so powerful. I can’t over-emphasise the importance of using the right word in the right situation. Asking the right questions, giving feedback, maintaining rapport – these are all incredibly valuable skills that will just make day-to-day interactions smoother, more amicable and more effective.

There is so much to learn and so many things to think about that nobody is ever going to be a perfect communicator. I am still learning new language skills myself, and just knowing them isn’t enough. You have to develop the habits to use them.

Take the question ‘why’, for example…

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social situation women chatting
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Social anxiety can be a subtle beast. There are a great many sufferers out there who may not even realise what is going on. When you are struggling with issues such as lack of confidence, low self-esteem, shyness and social awkwardness it is natural that you are going to be anxious in social situations. There can be various causes for this and there may often be several reasons why you are worried about interacting with others. But whatever your situation, there are things that you can do to help yourself deal with social situations better. Below, I suggest some specific social anxiety techniques that can help

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Weak as a kitten
Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay

We all have a weakness of one sort or another. An area where we feel inadequate or limited. Nobody is good at everything and most of us suck at many things. So mostly it’s okay.

There are times, though, when not being good at something can be a problem for us. It may be a personal skill, such as being confident in social situations, or getting up on time. It may be a whole big area of ability, like doing maths, grammar, or being able to draw.

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Robert Sanders - my daily routine

Having a daily routine can be a really important part of making the best of life. Everything that you do as habit or routine is one less task your brain needs to do consciously. Steve Jobs was said to have a wardrobe full of identical suits so that he didn’t have to make a decision every day about what to wear.

If you do have a routine, it can be a good exercise to write it down and unpick it a bit. Challenge the ‘stuff’ you don’t need to do, and find ways to make the banal and routine more enriching.

6.00 I get up and have a good breakfast. Sometimes just cereals and toast, but I find it easy to cook up a few poached eggs – just pop the bread in the toaster and the eggs in the boiling water and their done about the same time.

6.00 I spend some of my day working with kids at a breakfast club nearby. It is a matter of hopping on my bicycle and I’m there in three minutes. All of the work I do is local or home based.

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windy beach

It’s the start of Summer, right now and I’d love to go down to the beach. The temperature isn’t exactly balmy though, and down on the coast, with a stiff breeze, the wind chill factor will make it will feel even colder. I’m better off staying put in my back garden.

The wind-chill factor is the bane of my life sometimes. On a recent trip to Mallorca, even though the temperature was around 20 degrees. I would normally be sunbathing on the beach at that temperature but the wind chill meant that I was actually too cold. I couldn’t stay on the sand for any length of time.

Why does it feel colder when it’s windy?

Apparently, when there is no wind, our bodies create a protective layer of warmth around the skin. When the wind blows across our skin, this protective layer is stripped away and we feel cooler than it actually is. The greater the difference in temperature between the wind and the air around us, the greater the loss of heat.

Reading this fact put me in mind of a similar effect. When something unexpected happens – a negative event, it naturally knocks us back. It may take time to recover, but if other aspects of life are going okay we can often regain our balance, take action where possible, and recover.

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It is the beginning of Spring. All around me are the burgeoning buds of green as leaves erupt from dead-looking twigs and branches. Small animals look for food on the forest floor now they no longer need to hibernate. It is the time of emergence and new growth, the eternal life coach’s metaphor!

It’s true for many, that as the weather gets warmer and life restarts in nature, many of us feel motivated to begin new things. We begin new businesses, new relationships, new ways of seeing and being. Many of us feel we want to take action and seize the day.

If that’s you, then hunker down with your coach and get started.

What if I want to hibernate?

What if that isn’t you? What if you are the kind of person who just wants to hibernate a little longer? What if you are aware that you will need to wake up soon and start living again, but the world outside still seems grey and frosty.

After all, there is a lot going on in the world right now. It’s an uncertain time.

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When you set a goal, or plan a task or project, it is important to have a clear vision of the outcome. Visualisation, written goals, SMART outcomes and Well-formedness are all aspects of this same principal. Create the future in detail and then have a plan that takes you there.

Many of us who set out with a mission find that the reality is very different from the plans. Problems get in the way, costs spiral, a pandemic breaks out or even a war! It is no wonder that many people give up entirely on their goals because they go off course.

A core part of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) aa set of are it’s ‘presuppositions’. These are a set of guidelines that practitioners use to help them be more effective in their lives. One of these presuppositions reads:

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On Valentines day, the world goes a little crazy. For this one day everything in the shops turns pink and gets covered in roses. The price of flowers explodes, restaurants rearrange their seeting to look like school examination halls with rows upon rows of tables for two.

Husbands panic. Wives sigh despairingly. Couples of every kind step things up a notch in the bedroom, the kitchen and sometimes all over the house!

There are so many ways that we can show our love and appreciation, and many of these are a million miles away from the traditional Valentines activities.

My advice to couples everywhere is to enjoy the best of it and in particular avoid these Valentine’s day no-nos:

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epiphany

When you have been living your life in the same way, sometimes you need an epiphany to overcome it. An epiphany is defined in the dictionary as ‘a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization’. It is a moment in time when one incident – a thought, an experience – changes everything for good.

There are many stories in history of people who have made sudden realisations that changed everything. The classic epiphany would be the story of Archimedes, leaping from his bath, shouting ‘Eureka’ as he came to understand water displacement. Sir Isaac Newton is said to have had an epiphany when an apple fell on his head – illustrating gravity.

These events, if true, were significant enough to change the course of science and mathematics. An epiphany can also be experienced at the personal level too. Any experience that results in a major shift in thinking or a new way of experiencing the world is an epiphany. In his classic book The Dubliners, James Joyce explored personal epiphanies through his short stories.

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Hereward Kaye

Many people see success as a goal that you strive for, and then achieve. You tick the success box and you’re made for life. Of course life is a journey. There are many successes along the way – some of them daily. And when you really hit the big time, you still can’t know that it will continue forever.

Many of the most ‘successful’ people in the world struggle with confidence and self-belief for this very reason.

In the third part of my interview with Hereward Kaye, composer and writer, he shares with us one of his most successful moments – the premier of his West End Musical, Moby Dick.

To have a musical that you have co-written performed at the West End and produced by Cameron Mackintosh is unquestionably a successful moment for which many hanker.

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