Changing perceptions, change time

school run Changing perceptions, change time.

Everyday millions of us get the kids to school and battle against time to get them ready, looking fresh with  packed lunch and PE bag and a big kiss on their cheeks. Everyday after that school run, how many of you feel exhausted by it and often annoyed as you might even have lost your temper because your so-called child could not even be bothered to hurry up. If this is stressing you out, I can tell you that it has for me for years and I recently decided that it had to change as my son was increaasingly getting worried and annoyed by his usually good humoured mum suddenly changing from kind to being a mean bear a bit like in Toy story.

I started making it easier on myself

1/ Make getting organised a little ritual .  I now get organised the night before, if possible, and put neatly folded Leon trousers shirt, pants and socks on top of my wardrobe. I enjoy the folding and have considered where it is best to place it so that it will be visible to me and Leon in the morning. This was a big achievement as I am quite spontaneous and random but  once I realized that would save me looking in the morning and allow me to get dressed instead of rummaging to find some clean clothes

2/ I had already decided that I would not do packed lunch for my children. Some of us might argue that schools meals are expensive, is it really. Most of the meals cost £2 , a £10 , £390 a year but complete peace of mind and knowing that they will have a balanced meal and that your mornings are not going to be so stressful, is it not worth that amount?

3/ Change your perception of time- make time a friend instead of an enemy!

Our routine goes like that

We get up at any time between 6.45 and 7.10. We chat and play up until 7.30 then we have breakfast and at 8 we have bath and get ready to leave at about 8.35. Now at about 8 I used to panic and by 8.15 started to get anxious about being on time. I have decided to let go and not worry anymore and after a few morning hiccups,  this morning was magic

Both up at 7 am, Leon decided to write a party invitation on the computer, we decided on the date, which kids to invite and he went to do the invit. I started dreaming, picked up a book and started reading. At 7.30, we had breakfast and at 8 went into the bath and Leon joined, we talked and played for a short while and then i got dressed and sorted out his PE back and his snack. I did not look at the time but at 8.30 I was nearly ready. There was no “Let’s get ready , Leon we are going to be late”, only “Please would you brush your teeth” and when he went, no a few times to tease me. I said firmly but kindly, please brush your teeth. We were out of the house at 8.42 and on time for school and walking and chatting.

Feel the time instead of check the time- guess the time and then have a look but do not get obsessed . In dealing with kids let them be a bit, Have you noticed that you are ordering them all the time and telling them off when they do not do what you want them to do immediately? Some kids are dreaming, when playing they are so engaged in the present, they won’t hear you

Make it simple for yourself : breathe if you feel the tension, watch my video on Breathing 

  • Make small changes be worthy of your attention. i used to think that small things details as i called it were not important.  I now bring it them  to the forefront, to my attention to improve my life.
  • If you want to get rid of something in your life, like no more drinking coffee or  no more wine, replace them by something else that you enjoy, find a substitute, I love fizzy water so I drink gallons now when I feel like having a glass of wine. Not quite the same but overall ok. I do not restrict myself, just organise it so that i am not going to drink too much during the week and also drink when I am out

Helene is a mission to improve her life and the life of others and helps others to find their voice and overcome their fears of speaking in public, in meetings, in social gathering and in life. Find her on helenemusso.com 

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Helene is a dreamer, a poet, a trainer,  a coach, a mother, a daughter.  She is passionate about helping others to find their voices through her training. Get in touch with her helenemusso.com. If you want to book a discovery call with her, please get in touch on 07875627485. If you want to buy her book, click here.

 

Growing up and learning from the past

Letting go of the pastIn winter and after Christmas, it is a good time to reflect before fully engaging with the new year by letting go of the past. 

I used to be the enemy of small talk as I felt that talking about small things was just passing the time and, for me, talking needs to be about something of a deeper meaning, worthy of my attention. This arrogant attitude made me regularly say “I am not interested in talking about hair and nails, but I like talking about feelings and people”.

It was strange to understand that my willingness to talk about something of substance prevented me from deepening relationships with people and actually making long lasting friends. By showing a contempt for small talk, I have realised now that I have prevented myself from growing and learning. When meeting a stranger, I used to talk very quickly about my life, my aspirations, my ideas and, although people seem to be enthused by my enthusiasm, I have realised now that, more than often, they were put off by my directness and my over-the-top exuberance , and being bombarded  with information they did not need to receive straight away from someone they had never met before. I used to blame them for rejecting me as I thought it could be because I am a foreigner and that they could not understand my bubbly and forward manners. With reflection, I noticed that I was doing the same in France, during my younger years. Unconsciously, I wanted to get close to people very quickly, and felt that it needed to happen now!. I was failing to leave time for the relationships to mature and evolve naturally.

This realisation is not old for me but it has had three implications on my life:

1/ I have stopped blaming the past and my parents for this inadequacy. This has been liberating!  I changed schools so many times in my childhood that I had to adapt quickly and, in other terms, lose and make  friends easily. I wanted to get attached but could not as I was likely to move on. So I developed a shell to protect myself, so that the loss of friends was not so painful anymore. This has helped me to cope rather well, even if I am on my own. I now thank my parents for giving me this strength from a young age which has allowed me to be strong in difficult situations.

I can not change the past but I can change how I feel about it and then relish the  present in order to shape the future.  

2/ I have accepted that even if I do not like small talk, there is value in it, and that I listen more and talk less, not always though- still loves talking! I feel lighthearted in people’s company and, these days, much less desperate to make and have friends. I am more relaxed and happy as I will take what people give instead of expecting them to give (I can tell you I am still working on this one!)

3/ By being more relaxed, I have now accepted that some people will like my bubbly personality and will embrace who I am. Some others won’t and it is fine. Not everyone I encounter is going to like me and vice-versa, but with the people who do, and whose feelings I can reciprocate, we will be in a win-win situation. Our relationship will be able to grow and enrich both parties. As I heard once in a training, what other people think of you is none of your business.

I have made friends with the past and it is very liberating. Have you?

Helene is a dreamer, a poet, a trainer,  a coach, a mother, a daughter.  She is passionate about helping others to find their voices through her training. Get in touch with her helenemusso.com. If you want to book a discovery call with her, please get in touch on 07875627485. If you want to buy her book, click here. 

 

Thinking of buying a book for Christmas, choose this one!

The Power of Outrageous ExpressionThank you, John for writing this review and have it published in our local newspaper. Thinking of a book to offer at Christmas? a story from the heart to help overcome your fears and to support you to express yourself. Buy the Power of Outrageous Expression by Helene Musso

When Helene asked me to write a review of her book it seemed like a daunting task, because it is a book  written mostly for women about how to develop their self confidence. However as I began to read it I realised that our backgrounds in teaching had given us a lot in common. When I first met Helene, maybe ten years ago, she was teaching Drama at Harlow College, and I was at Chelmsford College, teaching Art. I also worked for a mental health charity, as my Degree had been in Art and Psychology. The Arts and Psychology obviously have a great bearing the subject of Helene’s book.

We are all brought up in our own education to be square pegs for square holes, apart from in whatever Arts our schools have included in the curriculum. There we are given an opportunity, if we have the right kind of teachers, to express our individuality, and many of us find we are round pegs who aren’t going to fit into societies plans for us as a workforce, and have plans of our own. In the Arts there is very little need for competition: there are many ways of doing things, but in Maths 1+1 always has to add up to 2. Creative maths in any great sense is not a possibility. In the outgoing  world of creativity almost anything is possible. We don’t need to be the same as others. We are all unique, and that is one of the main points Helene is putting across. She wants to coax her clients out of the shell that life has put around them to become themselves, and confident to be that way.

Helene looks at the polar connotations of ‘outrageous’ and what different outlooks put on them:    “That’s dreadful, how outrageous”, or with a positive spin “That’s outrageously good, why didn’t I think of that?” Which one sounds to you like a Drama teacher talking? You have to have confidence to go on stage to perform in front of other people, so who could be better to coach people to regain their Mojo and express themselves with confidence than a person experienced in the Dramatic Arts?

So how do you start? Helene proposes five key elements:

Be Yourself,

Be Kind to Yourself,

Practice,

Have Fun and

Discover your own  Extraordinary Story.

So the first stage is going to be self searching: what is my unique identity, and how can I bring it out so that I work to my strengths? Simple things like a name change: maybe a nickname you picked up that is more about your real persona than what it says on your birth certificate. Mannerisms: watch yourself, even do a short video. What quirks do you have? Don’t censor them, use them, they are what makes you what you are. People watch others. You may find more mannerisms you’d like to adopt. We learn by imitation. You see, you like it, you do it. Practice it alone and only you will notice yourself, then in public as your confidence grows. When you are involved in a situation that worries you slow down and take deep breaths to give yourself more clarity of mind: that’s yoga. Turn a ‘problem’ into a ‘challenge’ or ‘opportunity’. But don’t try this without preparing: to be in authority you have to be an authority. Helene doesn’t mention dress, perhaps as women have less restraints when being themselves, but if you want to feel comfortable, wear what feels comfortable to you not what you think people want you to wear. Uniforms breed robots, and we’re not talking about corporate identity here!

Be kind to yourself: don’t struggle with words you find difficult, find simpler synonyms. Admit weaknesses, not pretend to be good at things you havn’t yet mastered. When things are going badly teach yourself to roll through the wobble, we all make mistakes so make fun of them rather than panic. Grab a nap if you can rather that risk mistakes though working when over tired. Relaxation is yoga too! Take little steps when learning, don’t try to run before you can walk. Rest, play, breathe, move, eat healthily, and don’t judge yourself against the way others do things.

Practice: if you’ve ever heard someone learning to play violin you’ll know what this is all about. You’d certainly know if it was too early to go on stage and perform…only when you are confident should you try. But you do have to ‘take risks’ as you come out of your shell, you can’t stay there for ever …. but gently does it. Safety before big risks. Move at your own pace, not others, as you expand your horizons.

Fun: that can be passive, like people watching. Make work fun. You’ll enjoy it more if you can. Dancing is good exercise and fun, and after a few drinks no one is taking notes on what you do. Learn from young children and you’ll stay young. Dream.

Your own extraordinary story. You may think its boring as it was the one you went through it, but with a bit of thought you can pick out the parts that make it an interesting story. Write your own eulogy. How would you like to be remembered? If not like that, get on and make it interesting!

 

Helene’s book is full of games to put over points she is making, and anecdotes of people’s transformations, along with stories  by her clients, filled with praise, saying how her courses have brought about change. And of course it has to be said, as many of these stories do, that her very personality exudes confidence and charm without any stodgy authoritarianism, and that has to be her finest asset. What you see is what you get.

John Power

Buy Helene’s book here, £9.99 only.

Deep breathing exercises: how to harness the power of your breath when speaking

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 Breathe!

Best, balanced, beautiful,  basic, barmy, buoyant but

Bashful  and even Bizarre tool

which costs nothing and is always available, except maybe …. under water!

Let me introduce you to the power of YOUR breath.

Breathing is a natural process; we don’t think about breathing. We are born with the ability to breathe.  I believe we take 20,000 breaths a day in order to live, which is a huge amount of air going in and out. The air enters in an effortless manner into our lungs and meanwhile we rush around, get busy and ignore that powerful tool within us.

Actually, when you start expressing yourselves, especially in public, because you get nervous, because the attention is on you, you need to think about the breath and use it so that it is your ally, so that it supports you.

Often when you are speaking,  you are likely to be  standing and your whole body is engaged, and you need to engage your breath very quickly so your brain gets the maximum oxygen  for maximum performance.  By taking some very long deep breaths before speaking you will calm yourself, you will be more prepared and the added  oxygen rushing into  your brain will allow you to think more clearly  and minimise your mind going blank or your body setting into freeze mode.

Although this is not new-I am not reinventing the wheel here- a lot of people don’t use it.  BE DIFFERENT,USE IT. It is free, it is simple and it is available. Under stress we centre the breath in our throat and upper body making it difficult for us to relax. You can learn very easily  to re-programme or retune our brains to use the breath to your advantage.

Simple,  fun  and effective exercise:

Do it as often as you want/can/desire

Make it a habit and you will develop a more relaxed stance on life

  • Stand up and imagine you are making a speech in front of an audience
  • Shake your body, roll your shoulders back and allow yourself to relax
  • Take a deep long breath in through your nose and out through your mouth Most people will stiffen their shoulders at that point,  rest your hand on your chest and check your shoulders are relaxed.
  • Start thinking about   You need to go down, down, down.  Imagine you are in a lift, in a skyscraper for example,  and you  and the lift is going down. It is the same with the breath, take it from the top of your nose, allow it to enter your chest, and then finally into your stomach which is where you want the air to go.   It is a long journey all the way through your body.  I call this the long deep breath.

The air should stay in your stomach for a second or two, then as you exhale you will pull your stomach in and the air will come out. It’s important not to do it too fast, you may hyperventilate!.

Do this exercise with one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach.  You will feel the air fill your belly and then feel it being pushed out as you exhale.  Do this at least three times.  I hear you

say “But I’m just about to speak, to make a presentation, I can’t do that in front of everyone!” Of course you cannot.  But you can do it in the car, in the toilets, the lobby, anywhere you can feel calm and quiet, a little time on your own before you turn.

It does not have to be big and dramatic, it can be done discreetly, but it is one simple  secret recipe for success. Even if you are still nervous, you will  be calmer. Use the breath to your advantage.  The breath is automatic, but if you work with YOUR breath,  you will be on the road to success.

Get in touch with Helene – helenemusso.com 

Surrender or getting angry, what choice are you going to make today?

Surrender or getting angry: choose the best solution, a story to help come to terms with not getting your own way.

I went to do a day’s supply yesterday in a school.  I still teach and I run my own business and I have two children, I sometimes wonder why I’m tired! Anyhow, I was in the classroom with year one, they are 5 to 6 years old, and I’d been with them over an hour and break was coming up.  I got them ready for break and as they were lining up, I was sent a message that it was wet play, which meant they had to stay in the classroom.

This was my second day in this school and I was quite tired, it was Friday, the end of the week.   And I just had one moment of complete anger, thinking ‘what am I supposed to do now?’ And I did call to another teacher, I could see one bringing students back from the playground. I asked ‘What am I supposed to do?  What’s happening to break?’

businesswoman in anger

I had two choices there, the first one was to make my own life a misery, and I was getting quite tense with the kids, because I needed a break.  Then I thought, ‘Well, actually if I had a break that would be great, but I haven’t got a break, so I may as well be easy on myself  and enjoy being with the students.

They all took their coats off, I told them they could play, they took   some toys out and started playing and I sat there and started playing with them too.  Making faces, laughing, talking to them.  And you know what?  Once I had decided there was nothing I could do and I needed just to surrender, just to calm myself and just go with the flow I relaxed and I wasn’t half as tired, I didn’t need my drink now.  I would have been pleased to have a drink then because you get thirsty when you teach, but I could wait.

happy girl in yellow dress

By the time break was over I was ready to start again, then suddenly someone turned up and said ‘I’m here to relieve you so you can have a break.’  I thanked her, gave her some work for the children and left for 10 minutes.  But what was amazing was that if I’d been annoyed with the kids, carried on wanting my break, pushing and getting annoyed, I would possibly have shouted at the children, made myself feel bad, upset the children, and it wasn’t their fault, and by the time someone had turned up I would have been really, really wound up.  But I chose the easiest solution.  Just to surrender.  To think ‘Ok, let’s all have a break together, let’s make the most of it.  Just enjoy being together’.

The kids were having a good time, they weren’t misbehaving, they were lovely and I even gave them a few more minutes play.  So they were happy.  And I think that’s quite important when you want to think about expressing yourself. If you find the wrong time to say what you feel, I could have been really angry, and get really annoyed with the kids and the school.   But because I decided not to and I decided I was going to relax my whole body started to relax.  I didn’t feel as tired and although obviously I needed a break, it was less urgent.  And it is something that’s quite important when you start speaking or when you’re in front of other people and you have to speak.

3d imagen Attitude issues concept word cloud background

Often, it’s better not to worry and just take one thing at a time.   Hold the faith, think that it’s going to be OK.  It’s going to be alright. And realise that if you push too much you are going to make everything miserable, you and the others around you.   Also, what do other people need?  The children needed a break, but it didn’t really matter where it was.  They wanted to play and that is what we did.   Because they were allowed to play and because I relaxed, they were happy.

I think this is a really quite important lesson to learn.  To just relax and surrender.  To just think ‘OK, I can’t have it all my way, and does it really matter?  As long as we, as a group we are making progress.’   That’s what counts.

So, I just want you to think today about the analogy between that situation in the classroom and times when you might have talked to your team, you want them to do this and that,  you just barked orders at them instead of trying to see what else they need. “Are they ready to listen to me? Is it the right time for them?  How can I engage them?  How can I treat them so that they respond? Can I really control the whole thing? Shall I forget to try to get my own way?

If you like this blog, please comment below. Thank you

Helene is a dreamer, a poet, a trainer,  a coach, a mother, a daughter.  She is passionate about helping others to find their voices through her training. Get in touch with her helenemusso.com. If you want to book a discovery call with her, please get in touch on 07875627485 or email beconfident@helenemusso.com.