Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

First aid kit for the mind

"It's like a first aid kit for your mind" said someone, who had picked up my book in the throws of panic about their forthcoming exams.

She'd bought the book because I was a client, not real expecting to read it as she's not one for reading self help nor coaching books.

As her exams loomed and panic set in her ability to cope rapidly reduced and she found herself thinking "I can't see the wood for the trees", and remembered I'd said you could dip into the book and just read the chapter whose title resonated*.

With nothing to lose, she just read the Can't see the wood for the trees chapter, and did the exercises outlined there. Within 30 minutes, and much to her surprise, she was feeling much calmer, able to see the wood for the trees, and even wrote herself a to-do list and revision timetable.

Since then she's continued to feel very calm and grounded about her revision, even as her exam loomed closer.

She also commented that with every dog walk it was if the woods she was walking in were reminding her that she could do it - ie could see the wood for the trees.

She even went on to list how many people she knew who might benefit from having this book as a reference guide for when they're stuck - most of whom would never pick up a 'self-help' book.

Like any book, of course it can be read from start to finish, it comes into its own though when we're stuck, and just like the reader above you can just go to the chapter that resonates with how you're feeling and read that chapter. As she said the book is "a first aid kit" for reference and to dip into when your mind is unable to find options and solutions to the problems you're facing.

When we're stuck it goes without saying we don't know what to do - or should I say, the logical part of your mind doesn't. What each chapter does, with a little coaching from nature, is help us tap into our inner wisdom that does know what to do. The inner wisdom that doesn't speak in words but in metaphors.

The Landscaping Your Life (LYL) process outlined in the book uses nature as our coach, and nature's landscapes as metaphors for our lives. Which means when we can't see the wood for the trees the trees will have the answer - more here on one example on how that might work.

* There's over 13 different tools shared in the book - and they can all be applied to situations where we resonate with any of the following sayings:

  • Stuck in a rut
  • Can't see the wood for the trees
  • Up the creek without a paddle
  • Like a fish out of water
  • Out on a limb
  • In at the deep end
  • Treading water
  • Going round in Circles
  • Missed the tide

Whilst we don't normally self identify with the following sayings, there's also chapters on:

  • Making mountains out of molehills
  • Head in the sand

With the antidote to avoid going back up the creeks and into those ruts being:

  • To go with the flow (proactively and not passively)

Do you need a first aid kit for your mind? If so, let nature be your coach, nature's landscapes be metaphors for your life, and pick up a copy of Can't see the wood for the trees.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your life to get back on track 
Author of Can't see the Wood for the Trees

You'll find more about the Landscaping Your Life process on this website - there's also some video blogs over on my YouTube Channel - see the Landscaping Your Life or Can't see the wood for the trees playlists.

My favourite vlog is this one, although you will need to turn the sound down a little before playing it - it's about doing the same things and yet expecting a different result! And is a great example about how the LYL process can be applied to any situation you'd like more insight on

Monday, 1 October 2018

Can't - it would seem we and computers do have something in common

Next time you say you "can't" do anything you might want to remember that, since it confuses website search engines, it's no wonder it confuses your mind.
Let me explain - you'd think it would be easy enough to find the above book on online book sites?

Fuelled with the enthusiasm you'd expect from me as book launch got close, and the knowledge that Can't see the wood for the trees was being stocked by many a bookseller, I was disappointed I couldn't find it - just nil returns and being told there was no such book etc.

"How will anyone find it" I cried.   

Thankfully I eventually did find my book, with many successful searches being via other word searches, for example Alison Smith, Wood for the Trees, and Landscaping your Life. (Which means of course you can buy the book on all these sites Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
GoodreadsBarnes and NobleWHSWaterstonesDeep BooksInner TraditionsIndieBound, & Findhorn Press *)

The searches just didn't understand nor accept can't!

You know me I love a good metaphor - and this is SUCH a great metaphor. 

When you say you can't do anything, just like a computer, we're going to get a big juicy nil return. And I'm not sure that's what we want when we use that word.
  • I can't swim fast
  • I can't market myself 
  • I can't find the answer 
  • I can't get unstuck
  • I can't get back on track 
  • I can't etc
When I'm moaning about the weights my personal trainer has just increased, and I am saying "I can't do that", he often replies with "You mean you won't even try!"

He's right - like us when we use the word can't the website searches gave up and didn't even try! It's as if we get bored before we even get to the end of the sentence, and move onto another conversation!

The problem is, these are all statements where we're looking for an answer or alternative solution, and a nil return isn't going to give us that.

Which means, if we really do want to shift a situation we need to get clearer about what we do want.
  • I want to swim quicker
  • I want to learn how to market myself better, or find someone who can do that for me 
  • I want to find the answer
  • I want to get unstuck 
  • I want to get back on track 
Which then instils within us a desire to develop an action plan to achieve the goal. 

Even I can not is better than I can't as I support the belief that we can't compute not either - for example try not thinking about an elephant and let me know how you get on.   

Without the not at least it means we've translated the words to:
  • I can swim fast
  • I can market myself 
  • I can find the answer 
  • I can get unstuck
  • I can get back on track 
Which would have us finding ways of making it a reality.

As I say often in this blog WORDS HAVE POWER. You have a choice every day therefore whether the words you use help or hinder you achieving your objectives. **

Which of course that is what Can't see the wood for the trees is all about - using the words we're using to describe being stuck, and using the landscape contained within them to get unstuck.

Always happy to come and conduct a word audit for you or your teams to help you dispense with those unhelpful and downright barrier building words - coaching, speaking and training too.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life 
Unlocking the patterns that are holding you back

You'll find our more about, the book here, and the book launch where we visited four Fife landscapes here.

* Amazon UK's search has now learnt it needs to accept the full title, and when you start typing Can't see the wood for the trees it comes up as an option (which the geek in me find very satisfying).

** Posts written about the unintended consequences of the words we use include: No Pain no GainJuggling balls or spinning plateslife got in the waytreading water, needing to be on the same page as othersturning over a new leaftesting the water and even following our dreams.