Bullying doesn’t just happen in the playground…

I am sure you can recall with familiarity with the school bully. That person who you tried to cross the playground to avoid, yet they always seemed to come after you.

It is not just at school where we see bullies. Maybe the same sort of person carries that on into adulthood, or maybe, the bullied becomes the bully when they get a little power at work.  Continue reading “Bullying doesn’t just happen in the playground…”

How to cope with dark days

Very few people sail easily through every day of life (despite the impression they may give).  What makes it even harder for seemingly robust people (and maybe you are one of these), is that the crash from performing for the audience (this could be workforce, employees, family or friends) to facing your woes seems far bigger and painful. Imagine having the best day ever, then the next morning you wake up and find that your world has collapsed. For some, this type of day comes along far more frequently that you might imagine.

I first met Dr James Rouse a couple of years ago (first watch this video).  I was told to make sure I got to the front of the auditorium and to be as close to him as possible. Hearing from other Serenity financial life planners, I was told of the profound effect which his energy, enthusiasm and vigour had on them.

Aside from being a great speaker, incredibly fit, and full of energy, Dr James is unbelievably generous with his time.  There is no ego attached, he goes about his day helping others, inspiring them, and encouraging enthusiasm. I had a great dialogue with him over the course of the conference, which meant so much to me, that a headline speaker would take the time to share his wisdom on a one to one basis.

In the video, James talks about dark days. This made me sit up suddenly, as he is probably the bounciest, happiest person I can imagine.  Of course, behind what we show the world, there are frequently very different feelings.  We have all heard of unhappy comedians for example.

Here are 4 particular attributes  which contribute to dark days, and how to reframe how you are feeling :

  1. Perfectionism– when no matter what we do is good enough.  The answer – to realise that we are all students in life.
  2. Not Enoughness– where we feel we should be better and we are winging it through life, waiting to be found out. James advocates focusing on just one thing, and doing that intentionally well.
  3. The Human Doing– we all live busy lives, balancing commitments, obligations and duties. We are all consumed by ‘doing’ that we forget about ‘being’. After all, we are Human Beings,  so take some time to just be.  Have some time for you.
  4. Sadness – which sometimes just hits us. We wake up feeling just sad, then wallow in that without any real reason, maybe even beating ourselves up about it. Trying to be compassionate and present with the self is a great way to be kind to that most important person – you!

I hope that you find Dr James as uplifting an inspiration as we do at Serenity.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

 

Big Issues v Small Issues – which causes you the most upset?

The next time you have a major issue in your life, once you have dealt with the immediacy and handled what is essential and urgent, take a second to reflect on how you handled the situation. How did it work out for you, how well did you cope, function, and react to what was happening and what needed to be done.  The chances are – that you have handled something big and meaningful far better than a less significant issue – let’s have a look…

Dealing with a minor issue

Firstly, you are putting together a piece of flat packed furniture (not IKEA, as their stuff seems to go together really well), nothing seems to fit, a few screws get put in the wrong place, you have to rebuild it several times, you stand on (and burst) that little glue packet which is never any good, and gradually the situation builds to great annoyance and frustration. Tools fly across the room and everyone else in the household wisely stand well clear. Obviously a less than useful reaction to the challenge in hand.

Dealing with a major issue

Secondly, your child is ill, they call out to you in the middle of the night to find that they have vomited all over themselves, their bed, their floor, and are in quite a poorly state. Immediately you jump into autopilot, whatever is going on can be dealt with, and nothing phases you at all – wow, what a reaction.

Surely the big reaction should go with the big problem?

Take a step back, with a rational mind for a moment, what should be the toughest situation to deal with? A bit of flat packed furniture which will not quite go together, or a room covered in vomit and an ill child? Obviously, without any emotional attachment, as a snapshot, the DIY fiasco should be the easiest to cope with, but why is it not ?

Who is this problem really about?

Stand back and ask that question – I am making this all about me?

Take the ill child, the focus is on them, helping them, easing their woes, you dedicate yourself to others, serve them, and aim to make them feel comfortable.  Whilst the situation is not perhaps awfully savoury, that doesn’t seem to matter at all, you do what needs to be done.

Turning now to the DIY frustration, this is all about you, your failure, your frustration, your inability to complete the task. Anger towards the ‘useless instructions’ becomes a vent for your anger towards yourself, the annoyance also follows that path. You start to make up stories in your head, spiralling ever onwards into greater and greater anger.  It is all about you, and that is where the problem lies.

Is money the same as other emotional experiences?

Yes! In exactly the same way, decisions about money, investing and planning can also affect you in different ways.

Take an investment, if you can accept that the market is the market, and that no-one can predict the future, no clever fund manager can accurately time the markets, and that the person bragging about their ‘stellar performance’ will most likely be talking about a very short snapshot in time, then your investment journey will be far more peaceful (it is about someone or something else – the market not you).

On the flip side, trying to pick stocks, when to buy, when to sell and when to hold will lead you into the DIY avenue of frustration, anger and disappointment (now it is about you and your ego). Key to success is understanding that what happens just happens (that may not sound scientific, but it is true) in the markets, and that by sticking to a well thought out plan is wisest way not to lose money through emotional decisions.

Be it DIY, ill children, investment strategies or anything else which may cause you worry and anxiety, at Serenity we understand that it is about your whole life, not just the money. So remember, take a second to ask yourself ‘who is this about’. See if you are attaching stories to your own emotions and making them spiral out of control. It’s just about you, and most of it is made up anyway.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life

What’s more addictive – cigarettes or phones?

Is a phone worse for your health than a cigarette?

Back in the day (the 80s), if you came across a group of teenagers, the chances are that they were standing around, sharing their cigarettes, and engaging in some form of social interaction.  It may not have been for everyone’s taste to walk through a tobacco smoke plume, but hey ho, those lads and girls were interacting – even it it was also causing early damage to their developing lungs. Continue reading “What’s more addictive – cigarettes or phones?”

There are probably 5 holes in your bucket

What is a bucket list?

No doubt you have seen the film The Bucket List, the idea which has inspired many people to review what their most important tangible goals are.  Climbing a mountain, running a marathon, having a sports car, visiting a certain place, learning something new and so on.  Many bucket lists and plans tend to be focused around things, going, doing, seeing and having, yet surely there is more to life than just things?

There is a far deeper, more meaningful aspect which is easily overlooked and forgotten…  Continue reading “There are probably 5 holes in your bucket”

Is my ideal retirement possible?

Is there a chance my retirement may be different?

Many people find that their view and experience of their retirement may be very different from what they expect. Reality can be a pretty harsh awakener (especially if it’s your own retirement).

How do I get a picture of my income in retirement?

In the financial part of the equation, you can of course model, plan and adjust assumptions and figures as you head towards the big day and the rest of your life.  Of course it takes a high degree of  knowledge and skill to get the figures absolutely correct, and with the aid of technology, it is easier to get pretty close, even building in re-runs of the 2008 credit crunch (remember that?).

What if things don’t turn out like I thought?

Even if you have the financial plan in place, it may be that the other side of retirement – LIFE – can all of a sudden, not unfold quite as you had imagined.

What do I want from retirement?

Will your retirement be all holidays and lunches at garden centres? Will it be just looking forward to watching your favourite TV show with an eccles cake and a cup of tea at 3.30pm ?  Or, could it be full of purpose, full of fun, a brand new start?

What do I want to achieve when I finish work?

Frequently people who had such high expectations for their retirement, find that a year or two in, they have managed to find themselves in a rut of mundaneness (they may even be fulfilling their spouses retirement and not even thinking about their own). They may even look back and wish that they had stayed working and be paid to be bored, rather than sacrifice an income and lack little social interaction.

Should I start to plan my life and money?

People just like you are quickly realising that they need to plan their retirement just as they plan their future.  That planning is not just about scheduling in a month-long break to Malta each October, but figuring out how each day and week may look for you.  What will you do to happily fill the time, and regain your purpose and passions which may well have been put on hold for 50 years (whilst ‘grown up life’ for in the way).

Is there more to retirement than just money?

Finding your happy retirement is not just going to be attached to a number – a certain amount of income, especially if all those years lack fun, freedom and a real purpose. You will probably find that the things which bring you the most joy, may not even cost much at all, you just need to find them and not be trapped in a retirement bucket.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life