bestyoucanbe.me

My life coaching journey. Finding a niche they say is the key...

I am a life coach. I love to help people. I love to help everyone and anyone and I truly believe that any block we have in our life is manifested, developed and delivered through our own feelings, emotions and thoughts. The outcome of any problem we face is determined by how we choose to manage it. How we manage that problem comes from our inner voice and the language we use to speak to ourselves, the basis for NLP. However, I believe there is one thing in most of our lives that we are all unconsciously being influenced by.

I am talking about technology and how we allow it to show up in our lives.

I feel there is a level of unconscious behaviour that is creeping in - almost beyond our control. If we don't wake up to this fact sooner rather than later,  technology will start to use us rather than us using it. In fact it's a common belief that the internet is being developed to become one huge marketing tool. Getting to know us on an intimate level so it can throw appropriate advertising our way and sell us what we think we need. It's being developed to suck us in, to shine brighter and more attractive to us everyday. We spend millions of wasted hours online - buying, gambling, gaming, watching, because it makes us feel good. In this case the internet is being extremely effective. It's too convenient. Whatever you want to watch, whatever pushes your buttons, is right there, at your fingertips. On an individual basis too if we allow it, so we are all scattered around our homes, in different rooms. Apart. 

Many of us have a definite screen addiction but when confronted are in complete denial. In fact, it goes beyond that. We are even developing new fears related to technology. Fears that we will be inundated with messages, emails etc that we won't be able to keep on top of if not checked everyday. Emails lead us onto screens and before we know it we're sucked into a social media void. 

FOMO - which most of us have heard of. Let's think about the "Fear of Missing Out" for a second here. It's a double edged sword. We are so used to knowing what all our friends are doing now, almost on a daily basis that we want to check in, NEED to check in and like posts to feel like we're being a good friend. When we check in from a place like wintery, cold, wet London and see friends in the Southern Hemisphere on holiday - lapping up the sunshine and apparently enjoying life more than we are, a lot of us start to question our life choices. We lose sight of the fact that as a rule people only post the positive aspects of their life.  We see friends meeting up, doing fun things together - the mind starts to chatter - why wasn't I invited? In this moment of self talk we forget that this is how it's always been, the big difference is that we never knew about it. It really comes down to how we manage all this in our own heads.

I've done a recent blog on screen wars with our kids so I won't go over that again. But this is also a huge problem many parents face. Interesting fact - that many of the parents who are behind the development of this technology don't let their kids have screens. In fact they go as far to send them to low tech or no tech schools. If you ask me there's a massive stench of fish floating around that rumour. (Will post a future blog on this). 

So.... I feel like my energies need to move towards helping people change their relationship with tech and help individuals and families find a way to use it to enrich their lives and bring them closer together. At the end of the day the power of any tool we use boils down to how we use them and how we allow them to show up in our lives.  We need to remain in control. Technology for the most part has creeped into our lives with no hand book or rule book. We are all left to stumble through the dark and find our own way.

There are many great things about technology but there are also many pitfalls. After all, our life experience is what we pay attention too.  If most of our life's attentions moves away from the people who are really present in our lives then what? It's almost like the biggest regret of the dying may change from - "I wish I didn't work so much and spent more time with my loved ones" to "I wish I spent less time off screen and more time in the real world with the people who really loved me." After all how can we even compare the people who are walking through this life with us to those who we never even meet?  It's fascicle. We need to adopt technology to buy us more time in the present moment rather than robbing us of life itself.  We can use it to create stronger bonds with the people who truly count in our lives.  It won't be an easy battle but it's a battle worth fighting.

So - this is going to be my focus, my niche if you like. My background lies in IT. A few moons ago now I'll admit but it's always been a healthy presence in my life. Tech is moving at such a rapid rate, it's impossible to keep up. A healthy relationship with tech starts with the what, when and how. What we want from it, when we use it and how we use it. It also starts with knowing when we need to turn it off and what we choose to pay attention too. This all needs to be consciously defined. We need to create rules and boundaries and we need to create a healthy inner voice around social media. We could start by banning the 'LIKE' button....but that's a WHOLE other blog. Stay tuned. 

An article that may be of interest:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/23/screen-time-v-play-time-what-tech-leaders-wont-let-their-own-kids-do

SCREEN WARS

Our challenge

Love em or hate em. Screens are here to stay. Every generation of parents has its challenges and I'm gonna put it out there - screens cause 99% of the fights in our household, I bet they probably do in your household too. I believe they're a far greater threat to family relationships than ANY other generational invention to date.

In my day as a kid (and ok this is going back a little way now) it didn't take too long to get bored of Donkey Kong or Mario or the 2 or 3 TV channels available for our viewing pleasure. If boredom didn't end your session than completing all levels eventually did and it would be at least several months before you would be able to get your hands on a new game so you would end your time and go outside and play - or at least indoor creative play with friends or siblings. Now there is an endless supply of games available to them on a multitude of platforms - too many for my boys to even check out - let alone play. If kids aren't into gaming then there's always endless hours of youtube to watch or youtube videos to make. Girls seem to be drawn more to social media and can spend hours upon hours lost down the abyss of whichever social media portal they choose to throw themselves down. They now also have 100's of tv channels to choose from. Let's face it - we as parents know all too well how easy it is to spend all day on screens - in fact most of us do wether it's for work or pleasure - we're all just as sucked in as our kids.

Harmful to health

A mate of a mate recently filmed a documentary for the BBC on teenagers living in the UK. The good news is UK teenagers don't seem to be into alcohol and drugs anymore. Great news right? Maybe, or maybe not. What's replacing house wrecking parties fuelled by booze and drugs? Lone teens in bedrooms, boys wanking themselves senselessly to mind numbing porn and girls "socialising" for hours and well into the night on screens. Most parents have no idea how to restrict their internet for child or teen appropriate content so for all we know they could be watching absolutely anything - and nowadays that's a truly scary concept. You can watch anything from beheadings, murdering psychopaths and deep throating with a few easy clicks. Seriously makes me queasy just thinking about it.

But can we blame this purely on the invention of screens? Maybe one day we'll actually notice that the logo for apple is a bitten apple - hello people... a bite from the forbidden fruit?! (Half joking). Perhaps because we have also managed to scare ourselves and our kids into the idea that playing on the street is dangerous, that someone "might" kidnap them. I don't think that's helping our cause much. We've become a society dominated by fear and with what MIGHT happen. The school my kids goes to has as much security as a low security prison. What's that teaching them? Be afraid kids... be very afraid of people on the outside. We will keep you safe. Bollocks to that! Some security sure - but swipe cards on every door? Honestly. So - the fear of letting our kids OUT to play has never been higher, so what choice do kids have?   

Teenage suicide is at an all time high. There are kids and teenagers suffering from sleep deprivation, obesity, vision problems, aches and pains, loss of social skills and aggression due to screens. Somehow this seems so much scarier than kids fooling around with drugs and alcohol and at least they were doing that together and learning how to socialise. 

So how do we overcome our great screen battle? Firstly we need to think off our kid as junkies... screen junkies! So rules MUST be adhered to.


#PHASE 1

Rule 1 - restrict screen time. Maximum of 2 hours a day and that's including TV.

Rule 2 - If a screen is needed for homework than that screen should be used in a common area where you can monitor what it's being used for.

Rule 3 - Don't make screens available to kids outside of screen time - NO EXCUSES! They might say that they want their device for music etc. but no is NO!

Rule 4 - Don't let kids use screens to suit you. This is probably the reason for why our kids may have an addiction in the first place. (Pretty sure it's why mine do - I put my hands up.)

Rule 5 - NEVER...EVER let your kids go to bed with a screen.

Rule 6 - Lead by example. Minimise YOUR screen time as much as possible.


#PHASE 2

Once your kid has got a grip on what an acceptable time frame for screen usage is and turning it off doesn't create tantrums or tears then it is time for us to teach them how to use screens to benefit them. I don't believe everything available on line is negative. Far from it. There is a world of creativity, learning and valuable information. There are some great games that require a lot of skill and imagination. We can also connect with our kids through screens. Sometimes as a family we sit down with youtube and take turns in choosing clips to watch and it can be a great way to bridge the technology gap. 

Most importantly of all - monitor what your kids are watching and get some restrictions put on your IP address.


Social Media

When kids are using their device predominantly for social media, it can be a much harder challenge to restrict their time but it's not impossible. As their anger and pure hate for you simmers down you'll find that they'll start to spend more time with the family. Ultimately we are sociable creatures. Invite more of their friends over with the rule of no screens. Bake cookies together, build lego, draw, make Christmas cards. Get them playing an instrument, sing together and laugh together. Our first step to reconnecting is getting rid of screens but we need to replace it with human contact (seeing we don't just turf them out to play on the streets anymore).  Play games with our children again, build a cubby house - teach them the games we used to play - charades, musical statues, it's never too late. And before you use the sorry excuse that you don't have time....remember the number one regret of the dying - I WISH I SPENT MORE TIME WITH MY FAMILY  and LESS TIME WORKING! Besides that - they're kids for a millisecond  - now is our time to embrace them. If you happen to have someone else caring for your kids before you get home from work, ensure that they are spending more time connecting directly with your children and not using screens to do their job. After all your paying them a big chunk of your salary to replace you... so make sure they're doing their job properly.

Side Note #screenfreesundaychallenge

I'm up for starting a national screen free challenge on a Sunday to reconnect the old fashioned way if only for a moment. Imagine walking the streets and no one has a phone, or sitting in a cafe where people are with people and not laptops. Our kids deserve to see what a screen free world look like. Who's In? 

Here's a great post from the Huffington with some very useful tips:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/06/26/how-to-limit-childrens-screen-time_n_7663476.html

 

 

ROLLER COASTER

We all experience the same physical feelings. It’s what we do with these feelings and how we build on them that will ultimately create the outcome.

For instance.  My identical twin sister and I are lining up to go for a ride on a roller coaster. Standing there I have butterflies in my stomach. I look over at my sis and recognize that she is feeling nervous as well. These butterflies start to flap harder and harder as the line moves on and we get closer to our turn.

“Oh man….” I say to my sister, “This is so exciting – it’s gonna be so awesome! I can’t wait to go on!”

My sister looks hopelessly at me … “Marnz – I don’t know if I can do this… I’m scared shitless, listen to all the screaming, it doesn’t sound like fun. I don’t think I can do it.”

I try to convince her “What are you talking about Nits? This is going to be so much fun!!! Look at everyone getting off the ride. They love it! C’mon Nits – you can do it – just hang in there, it will all be worth it.”

So, whilst I’m busy turning my butterflies into feelings of excitement my sister is busy turning her butterflies into feelings of fear.

The initial feeling for both of us was the same. The feeling you get in your stomach starts to grow the moment you decide to go on that ride and it escalates to the point where you’re either strapped in and ready and excited to go or you’re left standing on the side lines, fearful and watching. 

I made the conscious decision as soon as I felt my very first flutter to be excited; my sister chose to feel fear.

So – what does this mean? 

We can harness our physiological responses to either work for us, or to work against us.

The next time you physically feel a negative emotion, be it fear, anxiety, loneliness – whatever it is, think it into a positive state and it will be so. Turn fear into courage, anxiety into calm, loneliness into time alone and ride the roller coaster of life on your terms and not on the whim of your physical self.