curious cat

Getting Curious…

 

“Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there’s a garden. I will meet you there” Rumi

In loving memory of CH RIP ūüíĒūüĖ§ūüíĒ

What’s one of the best pieces of advice you have ever been given?

Mine was to find my Ikigai when I was in the process of redefining my path and kept experimenting with new business ideas.

For years, I had a deep-rooted belief that all I could do for work was the profession I was trained to do.  I had invested 25 years of my life in it after-all.

So I decided to become an explorer during which time I met a lot of people from different backgrounds.  I became a curious student again and asked lots of good questions.  I listened to the stories of many business owners at different stages of their journey.  Some were start ups, and others seasoned entrepreneurs.  Every single one had a viewpoint and a perspective worth listening to.

The new insights led to the doors of wonder being opened up in my mind where my logical left brain had dominated my outcomes up until that point.   It was time to allow the creative right brain to get a turn in determining my future path.   It was time to think differently.

I started to question my current limiting beliefs.  It was like putting new colour shades on which changed the way the world appeared!  I wondered what any of those people would do if they were in my shoes?  

I compiled a list of strengths and the traits others valued in me. ¬†The activities I enjoyed taking part in. ¬†I wrote a list of tasks that motivated me. ¬†To take an audit of the things I would gladly do all day every day even if I wasn’t being paid was a useful first step for sure.¬†

I was determined to find something that made my heart sing. ¬†And that’s what I now inspire and help my clients to achieve.

I present them with three questions to open the doors of wonder:

  • What would you do if you had all the time, money and resources in the world?
  • How would you choose to live if you knew you had a few months to live?
  • Who could you approach to seek different perspectives from?

I lost a dear friend yesterday.  She championed me to the end and was an inspiration.  She made everyday count because she knew the end was near.  What would you do differently if you knew the end was near?

Let’s remember. ¬†You only get one life. ¬†Why not live it on your terms. ¬†How can you ¬†get the life you wish for?

Reach out and let’s have a chat

What’s Your Lesson Today?

 

 

“This being human is a guest house. ¬†Every morning a new arrival. ¬†¬†A joy, a depression, a meanness. ¬†Some momentary awareness comes,¬†as an unexpected visitor. ¬†

Welcome and entertain them all!  Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture.  Still, treat each guest honourably.  

He may be clearing you out¬†for some new delight. ¬†The dark thought, the shame, the malice. ¬†Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. ¬†Be grateful for whatever comes,¬†because each has been sent¬†as a guide from beyond” Rumi

 

Found this beautiful and timely passage when I was looking through my library of inspirational quotes. ¬†Most of us are going through a roller-coaster of emotions and this text says it all. ¬†As always, we aren’t in control of the circumstances around us. ¬†But we are in control of our responses to each circumstance. ¬†

Next time you’re caught in the thick of it, ask yourself: ¬†

“What is happening here? ¬†What is ‘this’ trying to teach me?” ¬†Take yourself away from your environment. ¬†Concentrate on your breath. ¬†Mindful breathing calms the nervous system. ¬†You’ll be surprised at how much more resourceful you are at dealing with the situation at hand. ¬†

It’s so important to honour every emotion, but not let them take control. ¬†Being able to recognise and label the emotion is key to how it can be reframed

It’s vital to teach our kids a healthy mental resilience and be the examples they’d want to lead. ¬†Discussing our thoughts and our feelings openly will give them permission to recognise and acknowledge their own emotions. ¬†

I’ve been working with a number of school aged children, supporting them with their challenges. Reach out if you’d like a chat please.

 

Love and strong coffee

Vafa

How Do You Colour?

 

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

Albert Einstein

When was the last time you coloured outside the lines?   I mean, when was the last time you pushed outside of your comfortable boundaries?

I’ve been colouring outside the lines for a number of years now.  It all started when I began to challenge my beliefs and values that were deeply ingrained.

And when lockdown was imposed, I wanted to stay connected with my network.  So I decided to become visible on social media and started doing videos.  Something I had shied away from, partly because of my limiting beliefs of not being able to do a good enough job!

Not only I’ve grown used to sharing my views on video, I’ve been able to help many people who contacted me. ¬† I’ve also been invited on fb and IG lives to share insights. ¬†So, I’d say that I’ve fulfilled my purpose of providing a safe space for my audience to talk and make sense of their stories. ¬† It just goes to show that good stuff happen when you step outside your comfort zone. ¬†

I often challenge my clients on their limiting beliefs by asking them to “imagine” how they would be if they were less afraid? ¬†It‚Äôs only by exploring different experiences that we build new habits. ¬†Who knows what great opportunities you may stumble upon if you chose to be different!

So I’m curious; how are you building new habits during these times?

What have you done differently that you couldn’t imagine doing before lockdown, and how have you felt about your new experiences?

 

Love and strong coffee

Vafa

Say No To Anxiety!

 

‚ÄúAnxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.‚ÄĚ C Spurgeon

I often ask my clients to make a list of all the negative emotions and actions they have been tolerating when they seek my help to reach their Personal Revolution.

I’m sharing mine with you today.

Anxiety! I tolerated it for such a long time that it almost became a way of life. ¬†I called it paralysis by over-analysis. ¬†until I learned how to collapse the most powerful step in this process and control “it” rather than let it control me.

Don’t get me wrong; a little bit of anxiety is needed to keep us safe, but I’m talking about the kind of anxiety that takes over your mind and body, stunts your growth and stops you from exploring new terrains. ¬†Do you know what I mean?

How do you label your feelings of anxiety?  How much headspace is it taking, and how much of your precious energy are you dedicating to masking it, fighting it and trying to control it?

Would it not be better to learn to combat it and free yourself up of this debilitating emotion?  I did!

As always, I’d love to hear from you. ¬†Let’s have a chat if you’re curious about eliminating the kinda anxiety that’s stopping you from reaching for the stars.

 

Love and strong coffee

Vafa

“Life Is An Evolution”‚Äč

 

“Life is an evolution, isn’t it mum” asked mini me on one of those bygone days when we used to travel to school.

Yes.  Life is indeed an evolution.  We are the product of the environments we grew up in.  The people we grew up with.  The beliefs and values we adopted.  The sense of connection and belonging we felt and still feel at every step of the way. 

Every new experience and interaction helps shape our reality and the lens we see the world through.  For some people, evolution is a slow process.

For some of us however, certain circumstances arise in our life at the most unexpected time.  They force us to re-evaluate our lives.  

Mine came when I suffered with burnout when I was juggling far too many balls in the air at the same time.  The overwhelm I felt paralysed my logical left thinking brain I so faithfully relied upon until then.  

I clearly remember articulating this as “my amygdala having hijacked my brain” to a friend. ¬†I had averaged 3 hours of sleep each night for the previous 5 months and I was simply incapable of making even the simplest of decisions.

That’s when I was forced to take time out and rethink the path I wanted to travel on.¬† As difficult as it was to go through that period,¬†it was a blessing in disguise.¬† It may have seemed like a huge “failure” to have lost the ability to be the old resilient me and keep on ploughing forward regardless. ¬†But it afforded me a great opportunity to get to know myself. ¬†To allow myself to get vulnerable and share “my story”. ¬†That’s when I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who felt like that.

That’s when the real transformation began for me. ¬†To allow myself to believe my own truth. ¬†To start the process of change which wasn’t a walk in the park, but so worth the pain and the discomfort.

Perhaps the period of discomfort we’re experiencing now is also a blessing in disguise. ¬†Not that many would recognise it as that YET!

You see, with change comes growth if you allow the vulnerability out of the box. ¬†And with growth, transformation into an individual who lives a fulfilled life. ¬†A life that’s congruent with one’s core values. ¬†I’m not suggesting it will be a fairytale “happily ever after” life, but a life on your terms. ¬†

It’s only then that you feel a certain amount of peace and gratitude you didn’t know existed when you lived your old life.¬† And hence, a newfound resilience and resolve which helps you deal with the unhappy times with a different kind of mindset.

And this is what I take my beautiful coachees through.¬† I encourage them to find themselves and what makes them tick. ¬†What’s truly important to them. ¬†Their truths, and how to reach for them unapologetically. ¬†They learn to evaluate how they communicate their desires to their community. ¬†

The realise what they’ve been tolerating. ¬†The learn how to embrace and emanate their values in every communication they conduct. ¬†I give them the tools to become attractive to themselves first and foremost, and to the people they cross paths with.

Trying to master the unknown we have faced for the last few weeks is yet another unexpected event where many of us have been forced to think and act differently from the time of life we called “normal”.

Isn’t this a brilliant time to redefine that “normal” as you knew it. ¬†Why not make it what you want it to be? ¬†To examine who you are, what you stand for and what you’ve tolerated unquestioningly during the time of life you used to call “normal”.

At this time of national lockdown and media frenzy, various stimuli are embedded in our subconscious on daily basis.  Be it the stories we tell ourselves or the propaganda and the scaremongering the media portray.  

Why not take a conscious effort to be different?  This is the perfect opportunity to switch the negativity off and put your creative, big blue sky thinking hats on and look at life differently.  

Let’s admit it… Many of us haven’t had time to get creative since we were kids; some of us had even forgotten what it was like to be creative till isolation happened.

Many people have lost their vocation, but admit openly how proud and fulfilled (as described by their social media feed) they feel in their new roles as healthcare assistants, supermarket employees and delivery ninjas.

Some business owners have had to think differently and take their businesses online. ¬†Families have had to get creative with budgeting as they’ve faced financial challenges. ¬†Look how many different recipes of bread are going around and the vast population who have attempted to make bread on fancy skillets to keep busy and sane.

I bet there have been many moments of laughter and pure joy as families have succeeded in making bread that’s half edible.¬† Who had time to bake bread pre CV19? ¬†That’s such a great example of getting creative and living differently by many.

If I was to encourage you to see this period as an opportunity to grow into a better version of you, what would you say?

Would it be a good time to evolve and reinvent yourself, even a little bit?

Why not make a list of all the things you’ve been tolerating in your pre CV19 life as a first step? ¬†Look for what you could eliminate from your new life?¬† Don’t forget to involve your loved ones and take them on this wonderful journey with you, so you can grow as a family and thrive together.

And please get in touch if you’d like any further exercises in the quest to start your wonderful and exciting personal revolution journey.

Stay connected and stay safe.

 

Love and strong coffee

Vafa

Time To Stay Deliberately Connected!

 

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own Being” Hafez

Being a proud Shirazi girl, I’ve visited this quote many times during the past year when I’ve been getting used to living by myself, especially during long weekends when mini me has been away from home and I haven’t had plans.

I know there are plenty of you who’d say “we enjoy our own company” but I’m curious to know if your answer is still the same in lockdown times. ¬†Because let’s face it, we don’t have the distractions we once did.

I’m an extroverted introvert and adore proximity to people and hugs. ¬†But I have to admit that I’m grateful for lessons I’ve learnt in the last year before having lockdown imposed on us, and for getting to like my own company or I’d have found this experience hard!

I’ve still experienced some cracks showing at times because I sorely miss adult human contact. ¬†But I’ve been fortunate enough to turn to my vast network of supporters to find relief. ¬†I’ve ensured I stick to a structured self-care routine to remain optimistic. ¬†

So today, my heart goes out to those of you who feel lonely and are suffering emotionally. ¬†This post is a shout out to all of you who live alone. ¬†And to those who feel alone even if in company at present time. ¬†If you are struggling, please know you’re not the only one; even if some are putting on a brave face.

People come together in time of adversity, so please don’t suffer in silence and ask for help.

 

Love and strong coffee

Vafa

A Trip Down Memory Lane

 

Imagination and memory follow the same neural path.

Have you ever considered how easy it is to snap out of the loop of negative thoughts you may be experiencing? ¬†All you need to do in that moment is to CHOOSE to be different. ¬†Stand up if you’re sitting down. ¬†Look up if you have your head down. ¬†Close your eyes and bring back memories of a beautiful event.

In fact, next time you’re looking at a site that’s taking your breath away, make a picture memory. ¬†You may be at the seaside, or the mountains, or your favourite restaurant, or a friend’s wedding.

Notice what you see, hear and feel. ¬†Notice the colours, the sounds and the textures. ¬†Notice the scents and the tastes. ¬†Then when you’re in need of cheering up, recall the picture memory and the sensations associated with it. ¬†It’s magical, it really works!

Mini me and I were in Venice this time last year and fb keeps on teasing me with memories of a year ago.

Looking at the crowds in this featured picture, I’m wondering…

About how silent, even eerie the side streets and the canals in the enchanted sunken city of Venice must be, feel and look today.

How relieved the locals must feel on one hand to have their beautiful city to themselves.  And yet how much of an economic struggle this must be for them on the other hand.

I’m also thinking about how I took life as I knew it for granted. ¬†The wonders of the world I was lucky enough to explore. ¬†The touch of my loved ones which I miss incredibly. ¬†The ability to jump in the car and enjoy a day at the beach. ¬†A short train ride to London to immerse myself in a few hours of culture. ¬†Even the simple pleasure of taking a trip to the local drugstore to buy hair colour and a new shade of nail polish just because… ¬†All of these and more that I had at my fingertips, I took for granted. ¬†We all did!

So today, instead of finding ourselves in another beautiful European city, mini me and I are going to look at old pictures.  We will use the power of our imagination to reminisce about a life we once knew and the precious memories we made at every location.  A life I hope we get back sometime soon in the future, albeit I cannot think for sure what that would look like anymore.  Because I know the world we knew has changed for good, as have the people in it.

If nothing else, I’ve learnt to be more present, to look for pleasure in the pain I face and to say thank you more often… There are lessons in every adversity we face.

Happy Easter everyone

 

Much love, Easter eggs and strong coffee

Vafa

This Too Shall Pass

 

“This Too Shall Pass”

 

I heard this from a dear friend of mine some years ago when I was really struggling to make sense of my story and I must admit, it’s been one of my go to phrases when situations have started to cause overwhelm.

When the going gets tough, there’s one important point to appreciate. ¬†That although what we’re experiencing at that moment is particularly unknown and tough to digest, that it’s our thoughts about the situation that keep us stuck in a negative state. ¬†

And as valid as those thoughts and emotions are at that particular moment in time, we are able to choose our response to the situation. ¬†A simple statement like “this too shall pass” will remind us that the difficulty we’re experiencing is temporary. ¬†It will divert our unconscious mind in a future positive direction.

I’m curious to find out how you’re feeling today? How are you finding the positives in the somewhat alien world we find ourselves in?

Remember, we’re not in control of this situation, but we are in control of the way we respond to it. ¬†We still have a choice! ¬†That liberty hasn’t been removed from us.

We’re in control of the meaning we give to our thoughts and feelings. ¬†It’s kind to honour the feelings we have, but it’s pointless to get lost in the vicious circle of negative thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

I too, have struggled with the real threats out there, but I’ve fallen in the more optimistic camp. Perhaps because of my NLP training and the ability to look at the threats with a different perspective. ¬†Or perhaps the war child in me tells me “this too, shall pass”.

To keep my sanity, I’m choosing to be acutely aware of simple pleasures in life, all the things I took for granted previously. I’m choosing to stay even more connected in times of social and physical distancing. ¬†I’m choosing to invest in my personal development.

How are you keeping your sanity?  Reach out when you need a chat.

 

Love and strong coffee

Vafa

Have You Defined Your Boundaries?

 

“Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal and necessary” D Virtue

Defining your boundaries is about loving and respecting yourself enough to take care of yourself.

Having been a “yes” and a giving person most of my life, setting the right boundaries haven’t come easy to me. ¬†So I’d love to hear from you and how effective you are at setting yours.

Are you amongst the people who are having to work from home?  Are you having to homeschool your children?  Are you finding yourself in close and constant proximity to your spouse or life partner?

Like me, have you found your boundaries blurred in the last two weeks or so?

Where have you drawn the line between being a parent, a partner, a teacher and a professional working from home? How have you felt if you’ve had to excuse yourself and attend to the needs of your children if you’ve been in the middle of a team or client meeting?

How have you defined your boundaries with respect to the space you’ve co-existed within? ¬†I hear the despair in clients’ and friends’ conversations because they haven’t had time to reflect on their working day on their commute home. ¬†Some are missing that time to “down-tools” and process the working day they’ve had.

They haven’t had the time to switch the world off, listen to the music or book of their choice or call a friend before getting home and stepping into the shoes of a parent and partner.

Have you been kind enough to yourself to find your mute button when you’ve been saturated with wearing different hats in the same space? If so, how? ¬†What’s your self care routine these days?

 

Love and strong coffee

Vafa

How Do You Define Yourself?

 

“Identity cannot be found or fabricated, but emerges from within when one has the courage to let go”¬†Doug Cooper

Today’s vlog is on the topic of identity. ¬†Who are you and how do you define yourself? ¬†Do you define yourself by the job you have, the role/roles you play? ¬†Or do you define yourself by who you are in your core, the values you hold dear, and what your bigger purpose is? ¬† Can you honestly say that you created your identity?

I often come across clients who are living life according to the values they’ve learnt to abide by. ¬†These values are shaped by the upbringing they had and how their physical and emotional needs were met by their care givers. ¬†How they were influenced by teachers, peer groups, work environments, religious leaders, and even the sports they played and sport’s teams they supported.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve spoken to so many people who feel lost, overwhelmed and angry. ¬†Because they feel out of control, they’ve lost their jobs or have been furloughed and simply don’t know what to do. ¬†Their identity was so intertwined with the job title they had, that without the job, they have lost their identity!

If this resonates with you, have you considered using this time to your best advantage and getting to know the real you?

When was the last time you thought about your values, and whether or not they’re congruent with your identity and your lifestyle?

As a first step, consider what your answer will be next time someone asks you “what do you do’? ¬†Remember… ¬†You are waaay more than your job title.

I’d love to hear from you and how you’re making the most of a bad situation? I’m happy to have a conversation if you’d like to make sense of your story.

 

Love and strong coffee

Vafa