It’s that time of the month, yep … I’m hear to share my monthly update on my Own Your Fears process with AXA PPP healthcare, a 6-month coaching journey to help me work with one of my fears in order to live a better life. Read on to find out more about the process, what my goals were last month, whether I reached those goals or not, and what my new goals are for the following month. Wish me luck!
WHAT THE PROJECT/ FEAR IS
AXA PPP healthcare asked me to work with them on their Own Your Fears campaign, which is all about how we can change our mindset around fear.
The idea being that we can utilise our fear and use it to help us grow. This campaign sounded right up my street and exactly the kind of thing I want to work with and chat about on my blog.
And so, I signed up to spend six months working with experts at AXA PPP healthcare to address one of my fears. For these six months I share the process and my journey here on the blog as I work with these experts to work with my fear and I’ll chart exactly what effects it has on my wellbeing.
The fear I am working on is ‘Rejection’.
I chose this fear after spending time with myself sifting through my behaviour and circumstances, figuring out what is really going on in different parts of my life. And the conclusion I reach is this fear – the fear of rejection.
The fear I have of rejection is so deep-seated that it seeps out in different parts of my life. It manifests itself as acts of self-preservation. It occurs sub-consciously, only to be realised much later down the line. It weaves its way into almost every encounter I have with others.
Goal #2 – Continue with daily positive observations
Goal #3 – Continue with mindfulness practice
Goal #4 – Social goal – Set aside time each week to arrange a social activity, e.g. meeting for a coffee or even just phoning for a chat
Goal #5 – Business/social – Set aside time each week to send out invitations to take part in your new podcast
LAST MONTH’S PROGRESS
Goal #1 – Continue wellbeing time
This goal is such a useful one to work on. I notice a huge change in productivity, mood, and even how I hold myself physically, simply by whether I did my morning wellbeing activity. The days when I don’t do this I struggle to get motivated, I feel sluggish, my mind wanders easily, and I just feel a bit meh. However, the days when I do my morning wellbeing I feel amazing.
I don’t always manage to get out to the gym or swimming, which I wish I did. But I try my best to either take 5 minutes to meditate, do some writing, or read one of my personal development books. In fact, having this dedicated wellbeing time has given me the chance to ‘allow’ myself to read more.
I love reading, when I was younger I use to read all the time. But with age, and this job, I’ve found myself reading books less and less (I’m sure that’s the same for many of us). However, having my wellbeing time scheduled in every morning means I am actively giving myself permission to read and it’s expanding my mind and doing so much for my mental health.
Goal #2 – Continue with daily observations
Again, I’m not always managing every day, such is the way with forming a new habit… it takes practice! But I love it when we do our daily observations, or gratitude making. It’s giving me space in my mind to think about the things that are going well. I don’t dismiss the things that aren’t great, but instead of dwelling or focusing on them, I am replacing and prioritising them with positive moments.
Goal #3 – Continue with mindfulness practice
There is a definite difference between mindfulness and meditation. But I find that the more I meditate, the easier it is to practice mindfulness throughout the day. I am able to catch myself when I need to, stop, and take a few minutes to be mindful and in the moment. It’s an excellent tool for managing my anxiety, and maintaining focus on the present.
Goal #4 – Social activity
I did really well with this goal this month. I did so many social things! I went to London for a weekend, including attending a conference on my own (which I wrote about here), I had lunch with a local friend, I went to London again for a book launch. I even approached a friend at that event, something I usually hide in the corner at. Overall, this was a pretty social month for me, and despite feeling anxious at times, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to be sociaable.
Goal #5 – Business / social – invite people onto podcast
I almost achieved this goal, but not really. If I’m totally honest, I kept putting this goal off.
I’ve made a massive list of people I would love to interview for the new podcast and there are so many inspirational people out there to talk to. But I’ve been putting it off. I’ve tentatively asked a couple of people who are actually friends. But I had yet to ask someone outside of my Facebook friend list. I’ve still got the fear here.
Goal #1 – Continue with daily wellbeing time
Again, we’re continuing with setting aside daily wellbeing time so it becomes an active part of my routine. I am feeling the benefits in every area of my life, and if I make it a daily habit without question I know I will be a better person with a happier, productive life.
The daily wellbeing time will include any of the following – going to the gym (or a class, or swimming), reading a book, meditation, or at-home yoga.
Goal #2 – Positive Daily Observations
The same as above, I want this to become a daily practice without even thinking about it. I feel the difference it makes to express daily gratitude and I want that in my life without question.
Goal #3 – Mindfulness Practice
This goal is pretty similar to goal #2, both goals are about living in the present, being mindful of my life, how I feel, and what I am doing. This mindful approach to life is a great way to deal with anxiety and depression, something I suffer with, and using an app is super useful way to do this.
Goal #4 – Socialise
I will be continuing to accept invitations to go for coffee and meet up with friends and peers. I will try to make at least a couple of social dates this month.
Goal #5 – Podcast interviewees
OK, this is the big one. This is really is a case of working with that fear of rejection and reaching out anyway. The way I need to think about it is this, I may fear rejection but it doesn’t matter if I do get rejected. What is the worst that can happen? Somebody says no? That’s it. In the grand scheme of things it shouldn’t and doesn’t impact my life nor the value of my work. I have a huge list of people I’d love to chat to so I need to remind myself that there will be people there that would like to come on my podcast. I aim to message at least 5 potential interviewees this month, and schedule in some dates to do the interviews.
HOW DO I FEEL?
I am feeling pumped right now! Overall, I am feeling positive that the goals I’ve been working on for the last few months are on their ways to becoming habits, and these habits are having a positive impact on my life and wellbeing.
I love that I am following my intuition with these goals throughout each month as well. Instead of just going with one suggestion from my coach, I am building on it instinctively in ways that improve other aspects of my wellbeing.
For instance, goal #1 is about setting aside wellbeing time, something I struggled to do for years. Now, it started off as just getting myself out the house once a week to go swimming. But that snowballed into other activities that improve my wellbeing. Sure, I might not be able to leave the house every day, but I swap the physical exercise for something else that enhances my wellbeing, such as reading or yoga.
Just this process of setting goals is making me constantly think about my wellbeing. It’s encouraging me to be mindful of wellbeing, my life, my thought processes, behaviours, patterns. I am able to catch myself when I fall into negative thought patterns around my fear, and I’m able to start replacing those thoughts with gratitude, or mindfulness, or wellness activities.
And I’m finding that the further along this journey I go the more I want to dig deeper, learn more (I mentioned above that I am reading so much more now and it’s all non-fiction and about discovering new ideas), and broaden my experience to positively change my life. There’s definitely a compound effect going on, each day those tiny actions are building on each other and it’s shifting in such a positive way.