Tag Archives: stuck

Shifting Relationships

A brief video describing a simple life hack that expands your world of choice with relationships. Includes enabling you to:

  • turn a situation around
  • improve your understanding of other people
  • access your inner wisdom
  • reconnect with your own feelings and needs
  • Freshen up your thinking, feelings and happenings
  • ….. and more

The 27 Minute Rule

If you are not doing something that must be done, you may find it useful to call on “The 27 Minute Rule”.

The 27 minute rule is quite simple.  You make a strict deal with yourself to focus on the matter in hand for twenty seven minutes. You allow nothing to hijack that dedicated time. No excuses!

27 minutes… and that’s it – that’s the rule.

separatorWhatever happens in those twenty seven minutes, I know that I will emerge with something of value.

At the one extreme, I may get stuck in to whatever it is and the flow, well, flows and the deed is done!

Often, I find that I make serious inroads into the matter in hand during the allocated time and/or emerge with a do-able action plan to move it forward.

At the other extreme, I may spend my precious 27 minutes mumbling and grumbling, cursing and sulking (and I’m quite good at all of that). I can get something useful from this. By the end of the 27 minutes, I will have insight into whatever is stopping me getting on with it. Compared with the oblivion of inaction, such insight is gold dust – I can work with that!

In the process, I may gain insight in to what is stopping me. There may be lots and lots of different reasons (or is that excuses?) for why I am procrastinating so much that I have to call on the 27 minute rule.  There may be some FEAR (False Expectation Appearing Real)  – what if I do it wrong (better to do nothing than get it wrong)? Stupid, I know, but a big blocker even so.  Maybe there are too many unknowns (don’t know where to start, what to do, where stuff is that I need etc.). Perhaps I simply don’t want to (childish sulk mode, having a tantrum – and I can be quite good at that).

Stating the obvious, perhaps, but the most important thing about this rule is not the number of minutes, it is the concentrated focus during the time that you allocate. Occasionally, I catch myself thinking 15, or even 5, minutes is all I can possibly contemplate – and, sometimes, that is all it takes to break the stalemate and kick start a way forward.

If you’re like me, anything that you keep putting off (for whatever reason) starts to take on monster proportions and distorts out of all perspective. It is on my mind, all the time, like a wicked whisper in the background or a looming cloud that permeates and poisons my inner world.  Out of proportion, or what! At the very least, when I get to the end of the 27 minute window the matter is put back in to proportion. Well worth it, don’t you think?

Can if … or can’t because!

can if graphic

Images courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you are thinking “can’t because” about something, why not have a go at rephrasing it as “can if”. This may look like we are simply playing with words but we are not. It can make a huge difference to how you think about the matter in hand.

To illustrate:

say “can’t because” and you may have a list of reasons, issues and even, maybe, excuses.


  • change “can’t” to “can”
  • change “because” to “if”

say “can if” and you may emerge with a list of things to do, conditions to fulfill to achieve what you want.

Do you notice that “can’t because” items feel like blockers (reasons to not do, problems) and that “can if” items feel like puzzles to solve?

separatorI feel like I’m being blocked, thwarted when I say “can’t because”. I hate being thwarted.

I get thoughtful when I say “can if”. My brain goes into puzzle solving mode. I enjoy solving puzzles.

To get from feeling blocked to having puzzles to solve, I need to shift my thinking. I can’t just ignore the list of “can’t because” items. They matter to me, obviously – I wouldn’t have allowed them to stop me doing something if they weren’t important, would I? I have to acknowledge and work with/around them somehow – which is where the “can if” items come in.

The “can if” items are where I can express the things to do, the conditions to be fulfilled for it to become achievable. I am not ignoring the blockers that cause me to think “can’t because”.

Of course, I may still wish to not do whatever it is, and that’s ok. What I will have is a clearer insight into what possibilities may exist should I wish to move forward.

I have been “can if”-ing for so long now, it is almost automatic. If I hear the word “can’t” it triggers the “aaah, but can if” thinking.

If you want to find a way forward with a “can’t because” thing, why not give this a go?  It may be a way to shift your thinking.

Strike a Pose

Strike a pose – position yourself in a certain physical posture and change the way you are feeling – from the outside-in. How useful is that? Feeling nervous maybe, say, before an interview? Take two minutes in a private space, adopt a confident posture and emerge feeling, and looking, confident. Handy?

We all know that body posture reflects the way we are feeling. Take a look at these two characters.

Images courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Images courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At a glance, you can read how they are feeling, can’t you? How do you do that? You notice their body posture and, from that, interpret how they are feeling. Given that our feelings show up in our body posture, can our body posture influence how we are feeling?

Act as if

To get a real sense of how very effective and simple this is, why not give it a go? Adopt a posture, strike a pose and notice the way that your feelings mirror your pose. To illustrate, pick a way you would like to feel. Let’s use “feeling confident” as an example.


Relax. Consider, what does a “feeling confident” body posture mean to you?

Recall that feeling. Think of something, call up a memory of when you had that feeling of confidence.

Your own experience, a memory, is best. If, however, you are finding it difficult to call up a memory and that’s what stopping you from giving this a try, you can always use someone else’s confident posture as a reference model. Notice what you observe in their body posture that makes you think that they are feeling confident.

Notice your “feeling confident” physical posture – head, chin, eyes, arms, shoulders, upper body, legs, feet, lower body, facial expression etc. Notice such things as how you are holding your head – is your head lifted or bowed? Are your shoulders slumped or straight? What angle are your head, shoulders and upper body at? What shape is your mouth – smiling, straight? What expression is in and around your eyes? How are your feet placed? What is your breathing like – deep or shallow? Fast or slow? …

Notice as much of your “feeling confident” body posture as you can.

Relax. Shake it off.


Strike a pose.

What did you notice about your confident pose? Change your body posture to reflect what you noticed. Start anywhere you like. Changes may include such things as, say, set your feet slightly apart, straighten your shoulders, lift your head a little, smile a bit … a bit more, breathe more deeply, eyes looking forward …

Any aspect of your body posture may trigger the whole feeling. Often, but not always, the way you are breathing, holding your head and your facial expression may act as a trigger for the rest of the posture. Sometimes it can be something to do with how you place your feet.


I believe that you will know when your “feeling confident” pose is a good copy of the original. How? You will be, well, feeling confident (on the inside), matching your physical posture. It’s great to experience, isn’t it?

Supporting Research

This “fake it till you make it” or “acting as if” is an example of a positive feedback loop. The more you do it, the less faked it feels. Amy Cuddy’s research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body posture.

“ … don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it. Do it enough until you actually become it and internalise.”

Amy Cuddy TED Talk: “Your body language shapes who you are” (June 2012)

In the world of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) you may encounter “Anchoring” and recognise how this uses this body posture: inner feelings connection to good effect.

Like many of you, I have been doing something like this, unknowingly, instinctively, for a long time. I now think that this is what I was doing when putting on a brave face at my first day at school (I was determined to NOT cry – I was a big girl now!). This is what I was doing when gathering myself before giving a presentation to a roomful of people (without it I would have been in a million pieces, desolated and inarticulate). The scenarios and feelings where I call upon this ‘strike a pose’ are endless.

I have little doubt that we all, knowingly or unknowingly, strike a pose, put on a front at some time for a whole host of reasons. This means that we already have all the skills and resource we need to do this. We know that we read body posture so, having noticed what aspects matter, we can write it in our own posture. Just two minutes of your time to observe, do and know that it is possible. Just two minutes for you to make it so, at will.

This is a capability that we all have and one that I feel so lucky to knowingly possess.

In the future, whenever you want to feel a particular way, strike a pose (adopt the physical posture) and … like magic … the matching feeling (on the inside) will blossom. Enjoy!

Costs and Consequences – Ecology Check

Please do take the time to really consider each question carefully and fully. You will find brief notes on some of the questions below.

ecology check questionsWorth and Costs?

You may end up with more – or less – of something that matters to you. If less, include it as a cost in your calculations of the price you pay. Is it worth the price you have to pay? It may cost you in emotional as well as financial and material terms. Remember to consider things like your energy, effort, time, strain and inconvenience for you – and valued 3rd parties [friends, family, colleagues etc.] How would it be if you got what you thought you wanted, only to realise that it is more trouble than it’s worth?

Are all the resources [skills, creativity, energy, capital, relationships etc.] available to you in a timely and acceptable manner?

Beliefs, values and sense of Self.

In this context, consider beliefs as our guiding principles for what we do, influencing all our behaviours, connecting to our value systems and shaping our understanding of why things are possible – or impossible – for us. Beliefs are often assumptions based on our personal experience or “inherited” from others who influence us [family, friends, people we admire etc.]. Beliefs permeate our thoughts, what we say and what we do. Behaviour, what we do, is belief in action.

What if what you want seems to be in conflict with your values and beliefs? Be quite sure that you really own the values and beliefs – you live by them, after all. Adjust them until they are right for you. Only when they are truly yours, use them to guide you in what you want and what you will do.


How will your proposed course of action affect you and your relationships with others [lasting or fleeting, profoundly valued or just necessary]? Your life in context of those around you, in fact.

What would you have to give up or take on?

It is almost certain that something, maybe lots of things, will be different when you get what you want. Perhaps what you have to give up means losing something – maybe something that you are well rid of – or that you regret the loss of. Does it detract from your chosen life style, relationships, and other factors that matter to you?

Perhaps what you have to take on means gaining something you relish – or maybe something you would rather not have.

What would NOT happen?

We have been concentrating a lot on what will happen if you get what you want. It is a good idea to check whether anything has “fallen by the wayside” – what will NOT happen – accidentally or deliberately.

Pay attention to your “gut feeling”.

You know if you have a “gut feeling“, an instinctive sense of some kind – and whether it is warning you against something – or letting you know just how very “right” this is for you. Attend to that “gut feeling”.

What’s stopping me, right now?

What stops me from having what I want, right now? This is a good question to finish with. It will help to ensure that you have considered all the things that matter to you – and may be a catalyst for your subsequent planning and doing!

Future Test.

Now may be a good time to do a quick “future test”. Having addressed the questions, you have a much better sense of quite what you want – and the potential consequences and costs.

Think to the future, for a moment.

In this potential future, when you have got your outcome, you are watching a TV interview with the future you. When the interviewer says to you: “I have a friend who would really like to succeed the way you have done. If they were your friend, what advice would you give them? What really made the difference for you? How did you go about it?” – what would you say?

If you find there are some question marks, just start considering how you might address them to a satisfactory conclusion. If you find that what you want makes good sense to you and your commitment to act is building momentum [or perhaps already there], you may find yourself ready to go ahead.

separatorI do this ‘ecology check’ for various reasons. Different questions are the most thought provoking depending on the circumstances and the matter in hand.

Reality Checking.

When working on creating a compelling outcome, these are the questions that I use for a reality check. The answers (revelations sometimes) may inspire me to adapt my desired outcome (dramatically or just a tweak). Checking out costs and consequences engages me in analytic thought, creating and testing out the viability of future scenarios and paying attention to my gut feelings. Is achieving my outcome accompanied by acceptable and desirable costs, time-frames, consequences and benefits?

Exploring Reluctance.

These questions are also invaluable to me at those times when I find myself stalling, reluctant to act, not moving forward with something I thought I really wanted to do. Do you ever find yourself really wanting something while, at the same time, reluctant to act, reluctant to actually do anything, to achieve it? Perhaps you have a sense that something’s wrong” or a suspicion that, maybe, there is an unacceptable price to pay or undesirable consequences associated with achieving what you want? An ecology check can do harm in these circumstances and could highlight what’s stopping me and then I can deal with that as I see fit.