The Perfect Murder

It was still dark. We huddled together drinking coffee and dunking rusks, not talking much. snake1Following a signal from our leader, we set off.

The two uniformed men led the way, their rifles slung casually over their shoulders. The rest of us followed closely, walking in single file.

 As our group snaked quietly through the bush, I watched the sky lighten. I breathed in the fresh air. I took in the beauty of the wilderness area.

 This is what feeds my soul”, I thought as I took it all in.

 After about an hour of walking we approached a hill and started to climb. There was a huge rock on top of the hill. The strong roots of a fig tree clung sturdily to the rock.

 As we got close to the top, our group started to murmur.

 “What was that smell?”

 I covered my nostrils with my hand.

 Nico, the leader, commanded: “Wait here. Something has died”.

 As Nico disappeared around the rock, my imagination played happily. Maybe there was a kill! Perhaps we’d see some lions or hyenas. Maybe feeding vultures…

 After a few long minutes Nico appeared, his face scowling.

 “It’s a rhino”

 Using his tracking skills, he pulled the pieces together and took us through the scenario.

 The well-worn game path went up the hill, forming a gulley between the hill and the huge rock.

The poacher sat on top of the rock.

He was shielded from anti-poaching helicopters by the shade of the tree.

 The poacher just had to sit and wait. Plenty of game would have passed by him but he was waiting for something special.

 Eventually he spotted the big, grey, lumbering animal come up the path. He aimed his gun towards the path beneath him.

 AS the rhino passed directly below him, he made a noise.

 The rhino lifted his head.

 One shot – right into the brain.

 The rhino dropped.

 It was the perfect murder.

rhino2

The bullet hole shows clearly on the left of the skull

 The murderer swiftly sliced off the two horns with one sweep of his panga.

 As we dissected what had happened, the passionate rage of our two rangers poured out. Our emotions dipped between devastation, depression and frustration.

 This is a war.

 The park rangers and anti-poaching units require military training to deal with this situation.

 The villains who kill rhinos to feed the Asian market are often professionals with military training themselves.

 The people who deal in rhino horn WANT extinction – this will drive the price of their precious commodity through the roof.

 We, the rangers, the South Africans and many others, WANT to preserve the rhino for generations to come.

 Sumatran and Javan rhino populations are almost extinct. North of our borders other African countries are losing the war. South Africa is holding its own, but we have NOT won the war.

 In the future, South Africa will have the most important role to play – re-stocking the rest of the continent with rhinos.

 We have to win this war.  

 How can I help? How can you help?

 If we all do our bit, we CAN make a difference, and we can save our rhinos.

 Here are two ways to help:

I’m helping in my own small way.

Will you help too?

Rhinos are critically endangered

In 1901, there were around 1 000 000 rhinos.

In 1970, there were around 70,000 rhinos.

Today, there are fewer than 24,500 rhinos surviving in the wild.

WORLD RHINO DAY 22 September

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Warning: stories can destroy your life

iStock_000015344866XSmallStories can ruin your life.

I’m talking about the stories you tell yourself – those particular sentences that you repeat to yourself and others OFTEN.

A client of mine frequently said this to me: “I haven’t made any money this year.”

Think about the feelings of inadequacy and resentment and failure that she experiences every time she thinks this.

Once I recognized the pattern, my client and I completed an exercise where she totalled all her invoices for the year. She was astounded and how much she had actually earned.

Sometimes she still tells me that. I remind her and she lets it go.

These are some of the stories other clients of mine tell themselves:

  • I haven’t done as well in life as I should have (Despite having a job he enjoys, good remuneration, solid relationships etc)
  • My boss has it in for me (all the bosses from her last 3 jobs??)
  • I don’t get enough sex (I remember a story about Woody Allen who said “We hardly ever  have sex – only  3 times a week.”  His wife said, “We’re always having sex – about 3 times a week”)
  • I have no energy (Despite the fact that she is extremely productive and gets more done in a day than anyone else I know)

These stories are destructive because of the feelings that are generated every time we buy into them. These negative feelings lead to a consistent loss of self-esteem. This leads to unhappiness, loss of focus and an inability to achieve goals.

The main reason these stories destroy is because we tend to notice only the things in life that support the story. We totally ignore anything that proves the opposite of the story. This way we can believe the story. We continue to repeat the story to ourselves – over and over. The destruction continues.

We live the story.

Here’s what you can do to change this:

  1. Become aware. Listen to yourself when you are chatting to friends. Listen to yourself when you are driving your car or in the shower. Make a note of the things you are telling yourselves and others about you. Do this for a month. You will soon pick up the most common negative story you are telling about yourself.
  2. Choose one story that you wish to change.
  3. Start an evidence diary. Take a few minutes every day and write down anything you have done or thought that provides evidence for the opposite version of your story. For example: if your story is that you are stupid, write down EVERYTHING you do that shows your intelligence: I wrote a good report today; my boss praised me in the meeting; my husband was impressed with the catering I did for his Birthday. Keep collecting evidence, big or small,  until you have pages and pages that disprove your story. Eventually your subconscious mind will adopt the new story.
  4. Let it go.Every time you start telling yourself of someone the story, stop yourself and  merely let it go. Even if you stop mid-sentence that’s better than nothing. Eventually you will train yourself to not tell that story.

Practice these steps every day. If you forget for a day or two don’t give up. Just start again and continue doing the steps.

One  day you will notice that the destructive story has become a powerful and constructive one.

Well done!!

Is there another story you’d like to change? Get going!

Oddly enough, we come to rely upon our own stories so much

that it seems that all we can tell ourselves are stories as well.

Roger C. Shank

 

Posted in Feelings, Life Mastery, Self esteem, Thought Patterns | 4 Comments

Video time! Women Hating Men looking at Woman

 

Popcorn

VIEW VIDEO

 

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Don’t Say No To Yourself Before They Do

 “Should I ask?” I wondered. 5580127313_e8436f8756

One thing I know, for sure, is that my father loves ice-cream. He had been through a horrendous time of surgery and recovery so when his meal was delivered I wanted to get him some ice-cream to cheer him up.

The lady who delivered the meals was in a hurry and had loads of meals to deliver.

“I can’t really ask her” I decided.

Then I remembered something I’d learnt in May this year.

So I asked.

“I’ll have to go all the way downstairs and I still have all these meals to deliver”, she grumbled.

“Oh well, I tried” I thought and promptly dismissed the possibility.

 Twenty minutes later she walked in with the ice-cream for my Dad. Yay!

That was all thanks to Ed Tate ( http://www.edtate.com/) – he was a speaker at a conference I attended, and one of the things he spoke about was asking for things you want. So often we feel uncomfortable to ask for what we want, for various reasons – so we don’t ask.

Ed says – “Don’t say no to yourself before they do.”

I’ve been practicing ever since.

It doesn’t always work – on Friday night we went to dinner with our three kids to a local restaurant. There was a huge TV in the corner.

Now I don’t know about you, but if there is a TV on in front of me, my eyes keep drifting to it, even if I don’t want to watch. It’s so distracting and frustrating.

My kids, as kids will do, reminded me about Ed Tate. So I asked.

I got a NO. They had a good reason to keep the TV on.  The lights in the ceiling weren’t working – so the TV was providing light in the restaurant.

I didn’t win with that one. It also didn’t matter. What mattered was that I asked.

Yesterday we were at breakfast with friends, and my friend wanted something that wasn’t on the menu.

Naturally I told her about Ed Tate – so she asked. 

She had to explain exactly what she wanted – croissant with cream cheese, rocket and fried baby tomatoes – it was a meal created from different options on the menu. She got it – exactly as requested!

Don’t say no to yourself before they do.

My challenge to you:  Every time you want something during the next two weeks – ask for it. See what happens.

Let me know how it goes….

(Image by marc falardeau on Flickr)

 

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From the mouths of babes … (in this case my daughter)

african american businesswoman reading smsThis guest post was written by my daughter. Thanks Tash!

FIRST WORKING EXPERIENCES

To gain work experience as soon as you can is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your future.

Most jobs require experience and a degree for you to be considered. The problem is that it is difficult to find that work experience

There are two important things about searching for vac jobs:

PLAN and USE your CONTACTS

Plan: It is important to plan in advance because the company needs time to prepare what they are going to do with you for the time you are there. If it’s not arranged in advance it will probably not happen.  

Use your contacts: The biggest influence on your ability to find a job is who you know, or in my case (a varsity student) who your parents know! I have been fortunate enough to have parents that have connections in the line of work that I want to go into.

It has been such a new and different experience working in companies. Here are some of the things I have learnt.

Lessons from doing  vac jobs:

Lesson 1: Only listen to your boss, not others.  A huge part of your working experience revolves around the people you work with. The first vac job I got last year was with a small company where I worked with about five people.The first thing I learnt that you have to be careful from whom you take orders.

One day when my boss was off sick, another lady told me I could leave work early. I thought this was great because I wanted to get home. That night my dad told me something that made a lot of sense: he said that the only person I should listen to at work is my boss. This is because if my boss had come back to work that afternoon and I was not there, I would be the one with the bad record.

Lesson 2: Don’t take things personally. The second thing I learnt was from my work experience (in a much bigger company this year) was that you will meet a wide variety of people. Every person will treat you differently and you have to be aware of who and what you let influence and affect you. You will meet some great people from whom you will learn a lot. You may also encounter a few nasty people. I had to learn quickly how to not take things personally.

One woman in particular was quite verbally aggressive and antagonistoc towards me, although she knew nothing about me. I was taken aback. I wanted to shout back at her or throw something at her but all I did was sit and smile at her. I did not respond to anything she said. If I had reacted she would have gotten exactly what she wanted, to make ME look like the fool. Instead I chose to feel sorry for her and her issues.

To my delight she eventually left me alone. This was a huge eye-opener for me – I never thought I would meet unprofessional people in such a professional environment.

You have to prepare yourself to meet all kinds of people and think of how you will deal with them.

Lesson 3: Go outside your comfort zone. I learnt that going out of your comfort zone to do what is required of you will help you to grow as a person. This helped me to overcome some of my fears.

I am quite a shy person when interacting with people that I do not know.  In this vac job I had to phone many people. I often had no idea of how to pronounce their names. I would get so nervous before calling them.

What I decided to do was to just dial the number without thinking of the task and when the person answered I had to just go with it. It became a lot easier for me in the end because I had learnt that, even if people were unfriendly on the phone, I was doing a good job.

Lesson 4: Fake it till you make it. Appear confident and friendly even if that is not how you are feeling inside. It can be extremely nerve-racking when you are in a new job, but appearing confident will allow others to feel confident in your abilities. Once you have acted confident for a few days it will feel more natural. Suddenly you will truly feel confident in yourself and your abilities. 

Nothing is a waste of time

if you use the experience wisely.

Auguste Rodin

Posted in Communication, Life Mastery, Self esteem, Thought Patterns | 5 Comments

One word can make a difference

MarkBrownOne word in particular causes lots of misunderstanding.

Communication is often cited as the issue when conflict arises. We communicate all day, every day and yet, somehow, we are still not good at it.

Mark Brown, the 1995 World Champion of Public Speaking, addressed us yesterday on this very topic.  He gave us many gems and lessons in communication.

 

This is the lesson that I loved the most:

There is a word used in (and outside  of) business today that just does not cut it in terms of clear communication.

That innocent sounding word is ASAP.

We all know what it means …. as soon as possible.

BUT what does that actually mean?

Picture the scene: You send an email to Jack.

“I need that report asap”

In your head you know and understand that you need it by 16h00 today.

What’s happening in Jack’s head? Jack is already working on a deadline and decides he’ll do your report tomorrow. He’s going to do it as soon as possible for him, not as soon as possible for you.

What happens? You get really tense with Jack because he does not deliver. Jack gets really tense with you because he was doing the best he can, and you just don’t understand him.

It happens so easily, doesn’t it.

Yet, the responsibility for Jack understanding your communication lies with you NOT him.

It such a simple thing, such a tiny word and so easy to avoid the misunderstanding.

How do you do this? Tell Jack by when you need the report.

“Please can you get that report back to me by 16h00 today”.

In this case, a few more words, and yet – much clearer communication.

Of course, Jack may come back and say he cannot get it done, in which case the two of you negotiate and decide on something that’ll work for both of you.

There are three reasons that we get into a mess around communication:

  • We assume the other person knows what we mean
  • We get into bad communication habits, like using ASAP instead of being clear on the deadline.
  • We don’t check that the other person actually understandswhat we have said.

Become aware of the kind of language you are using.

Are you guilty of any of these three points?

Thanks Mark!! for an inspiring talk and effective tips on communication.

Remember: one word can make a huge difference.

You want to be clear when you communicate deadlines with someone?

Here’s the deal:

Never, ever use ASAP again!

 

Posted in Communication, Life Mastery | 6 Comments

You’ve got it all wrong.

The rewards of setting and achieving goals are not what you think.

When I made a decision to study Applied Life Coaching in 2004, my goal (obviously!) was to pass. I would day dream about doing really well (I did) and about leaving teaching (I did) and about working from home (I did).

True, there is joy in having achieved my goal. I can tick it off my list. I can say it’s done. I can live the way I planned.

(An aside: much of this is thanks to the support of my husband – thanks my darling!!)

My story supports the common belief that when you set and achieve goals you will be happy. This is seen as the ultimate value of goal setting.

True – It is a value, but it’s not the ultimate one.

When I compare Kirsten before Studying and Kirsten after Studying there is quite a difference.

Herein lies the true value of setting and achieving goals.

It’s about who you become on the journey to achieving your goals.

I learnt, and am still learning, a great deal on my coaching journey about people, about relationships and about human emotions. The biggest learning for me, however, has been in understanding myself. My awareness of my inner state and the affect that has on me and others has allowed me to view myself and others in a more empathetic light. I am also aware that I am still on this journey! There is always more. More to understand and learn…

Who you become on your journey to achieving a goal is the ultimate value in goal-setting.

Working on achieving a goal allows you to grow as a person.

Amongst other things you’ll probably acquire self-discipline, knowledge, new skills, wisdom, and courage and so on. These rewards are the ultimate ones.

Working towards a goal is not so much about the destination, but more about who you become. That is priceless!

WATCH THIS SPACE: Erich Viedge, a leadership guru, and I are hosting a mid-year success accelerator. Let us work with you so that you can move more effectively toward your goals and becoming the person you are meant to be. More details coming soon.

The virtue lies in the struggle, not in the prize.

Richard Monckton Milnes
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/4505968571/sizes/s/
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Liberation from inhibition

One of the things I hate most is walking into a crowded room. If I know a few people, it’s half OK. If its a room full of strangers my anxiety levels rise sky high.

 Anyone else out there like me?

 In his book “The new psycho-cybernetics”, Maxwell Maltz says that “excessive concern over what other people think inhibits personality more than any other factor.”

 When I walk into a room of strangers I become excessively self-conscious. I’m convinced that everyone, EVERYONE, is looking at me, judging me, disliking me, wishing I wasn’t there.

 The silly fact is that most people are worrying about the same thing – they’re too busy worrying about themselves being judged that they won’t really notice you.

 Feeling self-conscious and shy is uncomfortable. Most people hate feeling like that.

What’s more serious, is that when you are feeling self-conscious, you do not behave like your ‘normal’ self. You may speak more softly, or not contribute to a conversation at all. You may keep your opinions to yourself. You may giggle instead up laughing heartily.

Being self-conscious inhibits your authenticity.

How do you overcome this? The answer that people hate to hear:  With practice and determination. (No magic pills here!)

Here are some of the things that have worked for me:

  • Always arrive at a function early. It’s easier to strike up a conversation with one other person than facing a room full of people and wondering who to talk to.
  • Turn your focus outwards. Instead of worrying about what people are thinking of you, and imagining that they’re all looking at you, focus on others. Who is looking uncomfortable? Go and speak to them and see how soon you can bring a smile to their faces.
  • Spend some time imagining whats its like in a social situation with friends you enjoy. Focus on letting that feeling wash over you as you walk into a uncomfortable situation.
  • Remind yourself that we tend to believe that other people think about us far more than they actually do. It doesn’t matter what other people believe about you. What YOU believe about YOU is far more important.
  • When you notice that you are feeling self-conscious, focus on someone else. Ask them a question. Pay them a sincere compliment. Become more interested in the other than in yourself.
  • Focus on truly listening to other people. When you are feeling self-conscious you barely hear what the other is saying, and spend time formulating your next response so that you make a good impression. Drop this technique, and focus on listening to the other person.

What are the kinds of things you’ve tried that have helped?

Overcoming self-consciousness is possible. You have to decide, then practice different techniques, until you find something that works for you.

You’ll know when you’re getting it right because you’ll behave authentically in difficult social situations – and you’ll feel better.

“Shyness has a strange element of narcissism,

a belief that how we look, how we perform,

is truly important to other people.”

Andre Dubus III

 photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/timparkinson/4326736085/sizes/n/in/photostream/

Posted in Life Mastery, Self esteem, Thought Patterns | 1 Comment

Stress secrets

Whenever I’ve asked subscribers and followers what they want to know more about, invariably the subject of stress comes up.

There are many tools and techniques out there that help with stress.

They all work (if you do them)…

However, one technique is essential. I wrote an article about it for All4Woman.

Read about it here.

Like most things, you have to practice this technique. It’s worth it!

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

Mohandas K. Gandhi

 

Photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/22964099@N05/2204059683/

 

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Stress Busters from YOU!

Here are some stress busting ideas from some of my followers.

Thanks for sharing. I know there’s wisdom out there amongst my followers and subscribers. This way we’ll all learn.

If you’d like to share yours, add a comment below, or mail me on kirsten@coach4life.co.za

Dear Kirsten,

Very briefly, my Top Stress Busting Tips:

  1. Five-minute meditation.
  2. Breathing. There is a special technique. It is called Pranayaam. I will describe it on a separate e mail.
  3. Waking up at 4:00 a.m., drinking 4 glasses of water, breathing, meditating, thereafter going out for a walk.
  4. Yoga.

Kind regards, Vasudev Popatlal

Hi Kirsten
My tip would be meditation along with prayer and faith. It works every single time.

Sophia Ramautar

I feel that no matter how difficult a situation, it inadvertently builds stress – my handling mechanism is as follows :

  • Assess what actually is stressful (practical or emotional) – take a strong focus into dealing with what you have/do for that moment (present) as this inevitably will dictate your future.
  • Do not dwell into the past as these weave into the present  – Negate the past as nothing can/will change it regardless of time and effort.
  • Do not concentrate/focus on the future as the present will eventually take its course and embrace the future.

However, the best result will always be a successful future.

Kind Regards,  Delaine Manuel

Also see comments from the previous post.

 

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