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I had a brainstorm. I’ve changed URL as well!

Technological Brainstorm

You might be wondering what this new website address is all about! I had a brainstorm, and below I’m sharing what I wrote about it over at http://nikolahoward.com/blog/brainstorm/


I had a business mentoring session with Ross MacKenzie last week. It turned into a massive brainstorm of new ideas. And it is no understatement to say that it was a transformative two hours.

What did I learn?

I’d been keeping my “day-job in IT” to one side whilst I worked on mindset and nutrition change. This has been giving me an incongruency, as I’m as passionate about women in STEM as I am about mindset and nutrition change!

Because I was so in the middle of it, I didn’t connect my own dots. My mentor immediately pointed out that as well as people that need help with the technical side of setting up a new online business, there are young women that need inspiration to get into STEM. Women already in STEM that need mindset help, nutrition change and leadership guidance. Dieters that love gadgets and technology that help them with their journeys.

He showed me that there was actually a very natural overlap between all my passions.

What happens now then?

So, I’m shifting the content of http://nikolahoward.com  into being technology focused. The content will also cross over between my other passions. The brainstorm demands nothing less!

I’ve moved the mindset focused content over to this new website: http:/mindsetmaven.co.uk.

I’m happy that I’ve made these shifts, even though it’s work, they feel right. I’m definitely feeling far more congruent and focused. I don’t have to suppress or hide what is a large part of my knowledge and experience anymore, which fills me with joy.

I’m looking forward to the next steps in my journey and working with you!

Exciting news, I’m getting my certifications!

I’ve some exciting news – I’m about to complete my qualification as an ABNLP-standard Certified Life Coach and NLP practitioner.  I’m also currently working through obtaining various CMA (Complementary Medical Association), IANLPC (International Association of NLP & Coaching) and IAHT (International Alliance of Holistic Therapists) diplomas: Nutrition, Eating Psychology, Mindfulness, Meditation, Reiki and EFT.

As you know, I’m all about delivering huge value to everyone I work with, and adding this value to myself is going to help everyone I work with massively, as I can structure the information I have and the assistance I can give for best effect.

As always, I will be writing ‘blog posts and books, as well as creating accessibly priced digital resources, however, as at 09:00, 7th November 2016, the cost of my in-person sessions is going to increase:

My new in-person pricing structure will be as follows:
Ongoing Coaching/Mentoring per session –  Initial consult – Free. £67 per on-going session
The Clarity and Progress Session – £87
VIP day – £997

If you’ve been thinking about taking that next step with me, you can act now and lock in a set of sessions at the current pricing level: Simply visit the link above and invest in yourself now at current rates – there are discounts on bulk session booking for On-Going Sessions.

The future is exciting. Thank you for being a member of my tribe and I look forward to continuing to work with you, in whatever way is accessible to you, so that we can all start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

Forgiveness – a powerful tool for mindset shift

forgive yourself

As I’m sure you can guess from what I’ve keep banging on about ( 🙂 ), a huge part of Self-Change is re-framing our Mindset and the decluttering process is not just about clearing physical space, it’s about mental decluttering also.

“Don’t let it rent your head” is something my Mum said to me a long time ago, and what’s happened to us in our past can very literally “hold us back” in that past and that story. When I spoke about simply observing feelings in the letting it go meditation, the emotions we feel are often driven by our stories, and the top tactic for dealing with the ones that linger is forgiveness.

Mental de-cluttering can be very difficult – Lifting the memories and beliefs that shaped our current thoughts into the light of objectivity, feeling them and then asking “Does holding onto this experience serve me and my higher good?” can be very hard indeed, as our amygdala is usually telling us (very loudly) that holding on to the memory and all that entails is the “safe” thing to do.

However, as Anaïs Nin said: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Mental de-cluttering is something that we do again and again – yes, there are big pieces of the past that come up when we think about this the first time we do it, but mental decluttering and forgiveness is like an onion – it has layers. There is always more to de-clutter, always more to forgive, and we always feel better for working through the (very easy) process. After all, hanging on to the more toxic memories that drive our lives through pain, resentment or anger is like “eating poison and harming ourselves, yet expecting the other person to die.”

In the same way as when we physically de-clutter our stuff (and I recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo – an excellent physical de-cluttering system ) we de-clutter memories and experiences by topic, with a focus on “Love”, “Money”, “Work”, “Siblings”,”Parents” or any other life topic that we feel is “renting our head” –  naturally there is always cross-over, but don’t let that stall you. If you don’t think a memory would fit in where you want to do the work right now, then leave it for later.

The actual process is easy – Allow yourself some time, pick your topic, grab pen and paper  (because writing activates both sides of the brain) and start writing out emotional memories on the chosen topic. Include anything that still has an emotional charge – anger, resentment, embarrassment, shame, etc and write a short paragraph on each memory as it comes up. Keep going until you can’t think of anything else, aiming for between 20-100 memories.

Don’t get stuck or over think it, you may end up with pages and pages, or just a few lines. The memories that are “missed” this time aren’t yet ready to be forgiven. Just like cleaning out the wardrobe usually takes more than one go, emotionally charged memories that are driving current behaviours often hide behind each other.

Once you have the list formed, and you are ready to start forgiving (It’s perfectly fine to write the list and then leave it to one side for a short while if you need to do so) read the first memory, then take a breath and say out loud “I forgive you, I’m sorry, thank you, I love you.” and then physically cross the memory out with your pen. Repeat the mantra for each item on the list, crossing them off until you reach then end. You can then discard the list in whatever way you see fit; rip it up, shred it, burn it or just chuck it in the recycling.

Why these words? Because they release you from carrying the emotions –  it’s not at all about the cause of the memory, be that a person, organisation or circumstance. And whilst remaining engaged in the exercise, you don’t even have to mean the words that you are saying all that much. Remember, the Limbic brain doesn’t have “words” it has “feels”

Energetically, “I forgive you” is acknowledging the memory and the emotion, “I’m Sorry” covers forgiving ourselves for carrying the emotion for so long and clears any residual entanglements around the event (It’s not about “apologising to the other person”, there is no condoning of past grievances or victim blaming here), “Thank you” is about appreciating the lesson it taught you, even if that lesson was hard to carry or had negative consequences at the time, and “I love you” seals the deal, wrapping up the experience and energies with love and releasing them.

You may well feel some resistance to doing this (I know I have in the past) because letting it go is very, very scary. However, know that doing forgiveness work on the past will change your future life, so leave me a comment about what you are forgiving, and we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next time!

Image used, FORGIVE YOURSELF by miguel
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Intermission…

August was a very weird time – an all too brief 4 day visit from one of my partners, two funerals, a wedding and the Nineworlds Geekfest conference sandwiched in between them – All very exhausting emotional things – followed by a period of “brain fuzz” from “doing all the stuff”, so not much room for the inspiration needed to write to take effect.

I’ve wanted to write my next post (“You can’t do it wrong“) for the last three weeks, but my brain simply didn’t want to give me “words” of any shape.  I did manage to journal a little bit about one of the funerals (to aid creating white space in my brain) but I know there is way more in there that needs to come out. When I’ve not been at work (doing “the minimum needed to get by and keep projects moving”), I’ve spent most of my time either sleeping, fussing over my orchids/watching YouTube videos on Orchid care and finishing up re-watching S7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now, I could chose to beat myself up over this seeming “waste of time”, and a few years ago I very much would have done, feeling all the guilt around “doing nothing” and I would have tried to force “things to work”, which would inevitably lead to life not working at all and even more “things not happening” in life as I wallowed and flailed.

However, taking the Mindful view on things, I simply acknowledge that having had a very emotion filled and time sapping beginning to August,  I needed some time to reset. And my doing that self-care and taking that time to get back in the flow is not something that is “bad” or “wrong”, it is something that just “is”. And I have no need at all to feel bad about that at all.

Take my work here for instance. I dedicated myself to producing world-changing content once a week, and my lack of words to the world since the beginning of August could be seen as a massive failure. I could sit here in a puddle of self-recrimination and self-doubt, allow that negativity to enable me to listen to my amygdala and simply give up on my writing and myself  – because changing the world takes effort… and that equals resistance.

I do know that for the last week or so, where my brain has been up and firing again, that I have been very subject to resistance. I’ve been wallowing, “filling up my eyes” in a rather drastic way, doing anything to seemingly avoid writing or creativity (Although I have been spending lots of time with my Orchids!).

However, using that resistance as my compass, and knowing that my time-out allowed my brain to heal, enough is enough and it’s time to push on through! It’s time to give thanks and forgiveness in my life, open up to abundance and start shining again.

I’m hoping that I’ve given you reassurance and food for thought. Have you had a time where you felt that everything was just too much? How did you cope then? And are you now working Mindfully and with Gratitude to accept that sometimes life hands you a shit sandwich (to quote Marie Forleo!) and that you have to deal and move along. Leave me a comment below, and we can start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you shortly!

Image used “Intermission (5/7)” by jnyemb
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Why writing a goal list rather than typing it out has way more power.

my handwriting - Pen on notebook

I know that I always learn something way better when I write about it. Recently, I both changed job roles (with a promotion!) and moved fields slightly.  I moved from being an Information Security Technician into the SharePoint Architect role. As I sat with with the outgoing Architect, I sat there and scribbled notes and doodles as we chatted.

Now, my hand writing is legendarily awful, as you can see! (Yes, that really is my hand writing.) Even I have issues reading what I wrote later on, so, why would I choose to had write the handover notes when I could have used my laptop to type into OneNote to organise the same thoughts.

The reasons are two fold. Firstly, when you put pen to paper to write words around conversations, take lecture notes or form ideas, it forms far better memory pathways in the Neocortex, especially when you are summarising, as you are actively thinking about and analysing what you are writing about as you are writing it. This in turn activates neurons and forms complex memory chains, a real boost to learning. It also leads to far better understanding of the subject at hand.

Secondly, writing is also an act of creativity, to which the Limbic brain responds and acts upon, giving you emotions about what you are writing and creating life feedback from the feels created that motivates action. If you are keen to learn, or eager to visualise your goals as you write, your limbic brain will feed back this happiness, this sense of anticipation into your everyday life.

Conversely, typing is all about mechanical skills, and so drawn entirely from the Neocortex. And typed information, although generally more verbose (most of us can type faster than we write) is generally is less understood by the note taker; it gets rationalised, contextualised, and is then “filed away for future reference” by the Neocortex.

The brain is basically parking the information for future recall, but with no real understanding of this information typed. This is because the Neocortex is not at all in charge of acting/reacting to stimulus (yep, that’s the job of the Limbic brain) and so the information sluices through your brain without making a real impact or forming  the more complex memory chains you get from writing.

The upshot of all this?  The combination of Neocortex and Limbic brain working together to give both context/understanding and emotion means that the goal list you type is far less likely to actually happen than the goal list you write.

Have you a list of goals that are just all in your head? Do your goals never seem to happen? Take action now, grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down that goal list! Leave me a comment to tell me about it and we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!