International Happiness Day 2019

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It’s International Happiness Day today and I was searching for a good quote to post. I rather like this one from Eric Hoffer, who was an American moral and social philosopher. I like it because I think happiness can be yours right here, right now, regardless of your life situation. I believe happiness is a choice. If you’re constantly searching for it, then you’ll be blind to the fact that perhaps you had it all along. It was just waiting to be discovered.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Choices

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Beauty as well as bread. The things that many of us often pursue – the well-paid career, the lifestyle, the things – don’t necessarily make us happy. I read The Salt Path by Raynor Winn yesterday – an utterly beautiful story of strength and the will to keep going against some pretty awful odds. I love this quote from the book. What choices do we make in life? How much do we really need? Can you find perfect happiness in this spot of sun, this space of calm amidst the chaos, this tender pause? (Yes. And life is a collection of these moments.)

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

What are you spending your time on?

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I think every so often you have to take a step back and think carefully about what you’re spending your time on.

On a small scale, that’s stuff like mindlessly surfing social media or watching bad TV just because it’s there. At a higher level, it’s more like – how are you wasting your life? Honestly, if you’re unhappy, and it isn’t part of your long game, do something about it. Not next year. Do it now. Take time to evaluate what you want and what steps you need to take to get that. If you’re complaining and not taking any action, well – that’s totally pointless, stop that straight away, do not pass Go, get yourself in gear.

Ok? Call me if you want help.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Taking control of your career

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I had a cake and coffee date with a colleague today (well, it ended up being lunch and cake, but I really liked my swan from this morning, so here you go). They’d asked for a meeting a while ago for a conversation about my career break experience, coaching, and opportunities in general within the organisation. As it turned out, it was all quite serendipitous – we’re looking, they’re interested. It feels like there’s chemistry, so we’ll see what happens next.

When you’re seeking out new career opportunities, how active are you in your search? Do you rely quite passively on job boards and agencies, or do you like a much more active handle on things, for example with networking, informational interviews etc.?

Are you taking your career by the horns or letting it happen to you?

Do you love the life you’re living?

I was messaging one of my best friends last week and he asked me what my purpose in life was. I thought for a little while, and then I wrote: “Making life a little better for every person I come into contact with, whether it’s for a moment or for the long haul. Helping people to believe in themselves. This life has got to be about something bigger than yourself – working towards a greater purpose. Maybe that sounds a little worthy? I feel very strongly about it though.”

I’ve been thinking about that today as I reflect on the past few weeks. Why do you do the work that you do? Do you love the life you’re living?

What is your driving purpose – that particular thread that pulls everything together for you? Some people want to make a difference through the execution of their vision for a better world – social change, environmental work etc. None of that floats my boat much. My driver is wanting to touch people’s hearts and build them up at an individual level.

Some people are perfectly happy just being – in some ways that is the ultimate goal, finding perfect happiness in this moment. But that needn’t detract from searching for what it is that will give this life meaning and fulfilment.

If you’re searching, then you need to understand your values and how to turn those into something worth pursuing. You also need to understand your motivated strengths: the things you’re not only good at, but actually like doing.

While continual introspection without action is pointless, action without understanding why can be counter-productive. How do you expect to end up where you want to be if you don’t know where you need to be heading?

Those of you who have attended some of my workshops or have been coached by me will know that I love using cards as a coaching resource – used well they can really facilitate discovery of key strengths, skills, values etc., and they also make a great self-coaching tool.
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These are from Barefoot Coaching Cards (the Coaching Cards for Every Day pack, which I’ve been sorting through today while chatting with a dear friend about purpose and direction). Perhaps one or more of these questions will find impact with you this week.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Resilience and balance

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These past few weeks have been all about resilience. Things have been incredibly stressful and both physically and emotionally draining, and I’ve had to marshal all my resources to stay focused and to flex with the challenges.

That’s what resilience is: being able to adapt in the face of adversity. It’s all about steering your way constructively through difficulty and taking learning from your experience.

It’s not about ‘bouncing back’ – a popular characterisation that has the unfortunate suggestion that you’re meant to instantaneously recover from a crisis. It’s natural and ok to be reeling for a while. Take the time you need. Reflect. Learn. Grow. And then realise that you’re not back in the same place – you’re further down the road, wiser, and often stronger.

When things get tough, think 4S*. What skills can you draw on to help you in this situation? What strategies can you develop to keep you moving? What pieces of sagacity can give you comfort? And which supports – friends and family – can help to keep you upright?

Whatever life is throwing at you, you’ll get through it. Have faith.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

(*4S taken from Carole Pemberton, Resilience: A Practical Guide for Coaches)

Self-acceptance

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Carl Jung said: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

It’s a universal truth that not everyone will love you or what you do. Seeking approval is the surest way to disappointment, because loving yourself as long as you live up to a certain way of being isn’t self-love. It’s the path to self-destruction.

The key difference between self-acceptance and self-esteem is this: whereas self-esteem plots your worth in conditional and external terms, self-acceptance is no strings attached. If you allow your worth to rise and fall depending on other people’s approval, how you look in comparison to others, or how many followers you have on Instagram, you will never be happy.

Remember this today: You are entirely acceptable and worthy of love, exactly the way you are, and regardless of what other people think.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Managing negative emotions

How’s your week going? My life feels a little like this right now – constant motion and somewhat sick-inducing. (Coaches are human too; we don’t have it all sorted all of the time!)

It’s important to recognise that negative emotions are a natural part of life. But that doesn’t mean you have to let yourself get swept away by it all. You may not be able to control all the situations you find yourself in, but you can absolutely control the way you think about those situations. And the way you think affects the way you feel.

If you’re finding negative thoughts and emotions a challenge, it doesn’t have to be this way. Get in touch and let’s talk about changing that.