There are no "quick fixes" - personal development is learning to fix yourself
Ode to my job
I’m not there to “fix” you.
As a friend, I will support you.
As a psychologist, I’ll give you tools for growth.
As a coach, I’ll help you use them to unlock your inner strength.
…but I will not “fix” you.
Living is about knowing YOU have what it takes to fix yourself.
So what does it take?
“It” can be so many things…in fact the more the merrier.
"It" can be…
A positive attitude. Martin Seligman, chair of the American Psychological Association and “father” of positive psychology said the most powerful thing we can do for our wellbeing is the daily practice of recognising “3 good things” every day.
Friends who energise you. Relationships take time and effort – but when this is two way, what you give is multiplied. Yet many of us expend that finite and valuable resource on people who may simply take just because we think we want to give to them. One of the most amazing things is knowing the person whom you give love to not only appreciates it, but reflects it back to you – with extra glimmer – but it doesn’t always happen. Too often we get “trapped” in relationships that are one-sided (and draining) perhaps because we do not appreciate our own value enough to walk away; or because we think “they’ll change.” Ma
ybe they will – but how long are you able to wait? Instead – try identifying your top 3 values and living them every day with purpose – and you’ll soon find likeminded people crossing your radar…even from unexpected quarters.
Having a series of practices at your disposal – “life skills” if you will, such as reflection, critical thinking, methods to resolve conflict, even affirmations – that you can deploy in order to get yourself back on track.
Most of us get these through experience…it’s why we may get to aged 45 and suddenly think – Ohhhh, that’s what I could have done…
Some of us, usually at a point of crisis, seek intervention and for those sessions of coaching or counselling may be able to fast track…
A few of us start building them early…when we’re not at rock bottom; when we’re not fed up; when we don’t need them…but just in case…and if this is you, you might even prevent the point of crisis, and never need to have the mid-life epiphany. You might be able to avoid some of the derailments and while others are seeking to recover, you can be seeking to climb. You might be able to spend more time in a contented relationship rather than hope for second chances because you’ve already surrounded yourself with energising people rather than sinking time and money into energy vampires. You might even be able to focus on the fact you have a glass (which is refillable) at all – than fighting over whether it’s half full or half empty.
But there is no conclusive "fix"
What frustrates people is, as a coach, I don’t “give answers nor advice”. I signpost, and I give examples and observations, but I cannot tell you what to do.
Take this example – perhaps I can see that the key issue that you need to resolve is your relationship…manage that and the work stresses will somehow disappear too. One of the many reasons it wouldn’t be appropriate to advise anything specific is that there are many ways to “manage” a situation…only you know which will work for you. What I can do perhaps is explore the outcomes, but most importantly I work on YOU so you can be sure in yourself that whatever you do it MAY be hard but YOU WILL BE OK.
Remember, it’s not about any old fix – it’s about knowing HOW TO FIX YOURSELF…throughout life’s rollercoaster.
But wellbeing should not be a luxury so here’s what I do for free:
While I do set fees for coaching and training this is because I tailor those sessions to the specific requirements of those asking, follow up sessions and am available to my clients for discussion or Q&A; and yes I also sell my books - but my articles, podcasts and broadcasts are free for all.
The support in my "open access" platforms may be more generalised, and it’ll certainly be tailored to topics I enjoy – or that I have interesting (read “watchable”) exercises for, but everything I suggest I know works – if you do it regularly… I know that because I do it. If you think I’m generally “together” – you know what – I agree with you, (…and I used to be a complete mess…I still have what I call my “Bridget Jones” moments, but because I also have amazing friends, they call them “endearing”. )
At the moment I’ve even got a summer broadcast with Disruptive Live called “Psych Back to Basics” where each week I use psychology to explain and manage different leadership issues:
This week was on Self-Compassion (only when you help yourself can you better help others); last week was on leadership strengths. The show team includes award-winning coach Sharon Lawton, and Snr VP and Director of Planning & Landscape at WATG, John Goldwyn as well as Producer Ben Fower from Disruptive. Together we set you challenges, bring you discussion, analysis and top tips to start unlocking all the potential within you.
…and I know that works too because over the weeks the non-psychologists are looking at things like coaches, and I’ve been completing my environment challenges and my living space has never looked – nor felt – better.
Maybe doing everything we suggest won’t ensure a storm won’t come; it may not even give you everything you need to navigate – BUT what it will begin to instil in you is that you can learn, you can change, you can reflect, you can take control of your life – and you will captain your ship and keep sailing…and you will also get through - every time.
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; watch her psychology & coaching masterclasses on YouTube Or catch her hosting Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV where she and her team discuss how psychology affects our behaviours in the workplace and what we can do about it. Follow her on Twitter/IG @draudreyt