Do you remember when you were a child and you were taught how to cross the road? The words ‘Stop, Look and Listen’ were engrained into my brain and I still do it automatically, whenever I come to a road to cross.
These three words can be applied to other areas of our lives. For example, when training to be a coach, they form a key part of developing the coaching competencies. In order to be able to really listen to what clients are saying, coaches have to STOP talking and pay attention. They learn how to LOOK at their clients’ body language and to see the signs of what is being said but not actually spoken. And then of course there is the ‘active listening’ skill where coaches develop the ability to truly listen to what the client says, the words they use, their tone of voice.
My invitation to you today is to apply the words STOP, LOOK and LISTEN to yourself, in particular to your self-care and where it sits in your list of priorities.
STOP: I encourage you to stop from time to time, even just for a few minutes every day. Imagine that you have come to a road you need to cross and you need to check for traffic before stepping forward. Check in with yourself and how you are feeling. Ask yourself, are you going in the direction you want to today? Do you even want to cross this particular road today or are you doing it out of habit, on autopilot?
Unless we take the time to actually stop and check in with ourselves on a regular basis, the hours roll into days, the days roll into weeks, the weeks roll into months and before we know it, years pass by and we can find ourselves stressed, overwhelmed, suffering from burnout and wondering how the hell that happened!
Stephen R. Covey’s story about sharpening the saw is relevant here, especially in our ‘always on’ world where it is so much harder to maintain clear boundaries between work life and personal life. We are so busy being busy (or chopping trees down to follow the theme of Covey’s story), that we have ‘no time’ to stop and ‘sharpen our saw!’
LOOK: In those moments when you do stop, take a look around you. What do you see? Where are you? Who are you with? What do you see yourself doing? How are those around you responding to you?
Notice what it is you look at and what you focus on. Is it the positives or the negatives of the situation around you? As I have said in previous blogs, energy flows where attention goes, so it is important to be aware of what it is that captures your attention when you consciously LOOK around you.
LISTEN: To the language you use, with yourself and with others. What is your external and internal voice saying? Do you hear the words ‘should, must, need to, ought to’ frequently from yourself or is it more along the lines of ‘could, want to, get to, like to’?
Please also listen to what is not being said, and by this, I mean your ‘gut instinct’ and your ‘heart’. There is research now that indicates that we have, in fact, three brains – head, heart and gut. So therefore, I would recommend you take a moment regularly to listen to what all three are telling you.
In my experience as a coach, I see a strong tendency in my clients to spend the majority of their time either listening to what others say or to their inner critic (which can be rather vicious at times!). They very rarely just stop, press the pause button and check in on how they are feeling and where their self-care is. It is often this very fact that draws clients to work with me in the first place, because I can help them to STOP, to press pause and take stock of what is going on around them and within them.
How different would your day to day life be if you took the time to STOP, LOOK and LISTEN on a regular basis? If you made sure that your self-care is on your priority list and that the direction you are choosing to travel in, supports you in a way which enables you to Burn Bright, not out!
If you would like to take the first step and actually just STOP, click here and get yourself booked on to a ‘Where’s My Pause Button’ session with me. Together, we will STOP, LOOK and LISTEN, and get you on the path you want to travel along, rather than the one you’ve ended up travelling on as a result of the ‘busy-ness’ of life!
Have a great weekend everyone and remember….it is time to Burn Bright, not out!