How to set the butterflies free

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I woke up this morning feeling really angry at myself for not being on form yesterday during an interview and after some reflection as to why, I knew I had to share this golden nugget with you because this is so true of dating too.

Have you ever been so nervous or overwhelmed by meeting someone that your mind goes doo-lally and your brain just goes blank?

Well I have, whether on an interview, as proven yesterday, and in the past on dates!

Even as a dating coach, someone who speaks for a living, whether live on radio, on podcasts, to journalists or in front of a live audience, I also get a touch of the nerves every now and then.

It dawned on me that when you place so much emphasis on being ‘perfect’ or ‘on form’, the total opposite can happen. You can be so prepared mentally and physically and then when it comes to crunch time, you just turn to mush.

I was given the opportunity to have an interview on one of THE biggest podcasts yesterday and, with around 2 months to get prepared, I still managed to screw up, by my standards anyway.

What happened?

  1. I got the timing wrong by being an hour early somehow – although that’s not a bad thing, as it’s always better to be early than late!
  2. The mic didn’t work when it came to crunch time, even though I tested it out several times prior – can’t tell you how much I just wanted to cry at that precise moment, as this guy is as much about good sound quality as I am.
  3. Not having everything just so and as planned totally threw me, because I am after all a perfectionist and someone who prides themselves on ‘having it together’.
  4. The host sends you a flow sheet so you know what to expect and despite having read this several times and prepping my answers, I still managed to draw a blank at the outset and then this threw me further for the rest of the interview.
  5. I felt I warbled in parts due to a touch of the nerves and didn’t consistently represent myself as the confident speaker that I am known for being.

I came away grateful for the opportunity, but yet upset by the same token, because that’s it, it’s now done. I don’t have the opportunity to go back and make a first impression all over again. I don’t have control of the content, as it’s not my show, so I can’t exactly edit it to my liking. Moreover, I am now plagued by the prospect as to how it will be received, what will people think and how will people judge me, for what felt like a very poor attempt at giving what I had planned to be a value-packed interview.

So why am I telling you this and how is this in any way shape or form related to dating?

Here’s how…

This situation is so like dating, it’s uncanny!

I’ve been on dates in the past where I have built the person up so much in my head thinking OMG they seem so awesome and/or they’re so hot, I really hope they like me, that I am too focused on that and not really being present and getting a grip.

How many times have you been on a date, where you have been so consumed by nerves that any one or all of these things has happened:

  1. You feel all flushed in the face from nerves, and now feel even more embarrassed and nervous, because you are aware that you look and feel like a hot tomato.
  2. Your palms are all sweaty because you’re nervous, and then you get even more embarrassed in case they want to shake your hand hello.
  3. Your face or other parts of you are perspiring from nerves.
  4. You stutter or stumble over your words from nerves.
  5. You try and have a fluid conversation, but sadly your mind is racing so much that you’re not really able to connect to the conversation, or the words that you’re saying.

The list goes on and on, and you know what: it happens to the best of us!

So what now?

It’s all in the recovery!

I have been weighing up my options this morning, and this is what I deduced after seeing a post on the wall of the host that interviewed me yesterday, from a few weeks ago…

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.” Henry C Link.

“It’s time to get busy making a mistake.

I make mistakes every day and thrive because of it.

Stop thinking the world is judging you when in reality they don’t care.

They’re too busy caring about you judging them.

Focus instead about sharing your voice, your message and your mission with the world, make mistakes, make impact”

So now I feel a bit better, because you know what, he’s openly admitted on his Facebook and in other places too, that he’s not exactly perfect either. He’s made mistakes and probably still does. He also admits that he’s a work in progress, just like the rest of us.

He could have told me to take a hike, and to either get your you-know-what together and come back and try again, or to just forget it, because I didn’t seem as together and as prepared as I should have been, but he didn’t and the show still went on. In fact, he’s such a dude, that he used it as a learning experience for his audience when opening up the show, and made light of the situation instead. Was he upset or angry with me? Who knows? The point is he still let me have my 30 minutes of fame on his platform.

When I said I’d love to come back and do a follow up, he said he loves follow-ups. Therefore maybe one day in the not-too-distant future, I can redeem myself and give that kick-ass interview I had hoped for yesterday.

The point I want to make is this:

  1. Remember: people are so busy caring about how much you think of them or how you are judging them, to care about judging you first.
  2. No one is perfect and no one has it together all of the time.
  3. If you openly admitted to putting someone on a pedestal which in turn made you nervous, the likelihood is that you would not only flatter, but embarrass the person at the same time, because any decent human being knows that no one is perfect.
  4. Sometimes the way you see and judge yourself isn’t the same way others will. Get out of your head and come back to the present so that you can enjoy the moment.
  5. Whilst you can’t go back and make your first impression all over again, you can always recover the situation or figure out a way to redeem yourself.
  6. If you are on the other end of being with or around a nervous person, recognise what is going on and, instead of getting nervous or awkward, take control and work out ways in which to help them feel more relaxed.
  7. At the end of the awkward moment/meeting/date/situation, do what you can to make them feel like they didn’t just die on stage in front of you, but encourage them forward.
  8. Remember that you too have suffered these awkward moments in the past, so be kind and less judgemental.

And one last thing: s*** happens, so just roll with it, move on forward and most importantly laugh and learn your lessons.

After all, it’s only ever about your perception of a situation.

Are you too busy to date?

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Does the above picture feel like you sometimes?

I recently interviewed a time management coach for my forthcoming podcast show and we discussed the difficulties of dating in a society where pressure is high and time is short.
So, I thought I’d address this head on and offer up some suggestions, as this is a problem which comes up time and time again with quite a few of my clients.

Let’s take Sadie for example, a highly successful consultant in the city. She likes to enjoy the high life, attend a private members club, attend as many social activities as possible both during the week and on weekends, work out and… her commute is over an hour a day each way. She has little to no time to sleep, eat or breathe, yet she wants to find a man.

Her main problem? FOMO!!!

So I said to her, I want you to take your diary for the last 3 months and go through it.

I explained that she should colour code each and every activity outside of work using RED for a must attend, Yellow for optional and BLUE for totally unnecessary and FOMO related.

Sadie likes charts, so even better I thought. I said put all your data in to a spreadsheet and then once you’re done, turn it in to a pie chart. Only once you have a clear visual overview about how you’re spending your time, can you then say whether or not you have no time to date. This goes for everyone! Why not try this exercise yourself?

It turned out I was totally right, a lot of the activities she puts herself forward for are totally unnecessary and FOMO related.

We then looked at how certain activities could be grouped together, like having dinner parties instead of 1:1 time, when it turns out all her friends know each other anyway. Hey presto, now there’s more time available for going on dates with a man and she can catch up with all her friends in one go and so can they!

Then we looked at the time spent in the gym. To be honest, she’s not a gym bunny and she wasn’t really being as productive as she could be when at the gym, despite wanting to keep on top of her figure. So I suggested that she takes up an activity like dancing where most of the people in attendance are single. You not only get to exercise, but you get to socialise at the same time, meet single guys and make more single friends. I cannot stress how important having a group of single friends is to either go out with or in addition, who might be able to make introductions for you.

Then we looked at this calendar of events provided by the private members club. Yes it’s a great opportunity to socialise, but why not invite a date to join you or your friends for that matter. Kills 2 birds with one stone as they say. Events and activities should start to become more inclusive and less exclusive, so that you are now freeing up more time for yourself and the things which matter.

Remember, socialising is great, but you mustn’t neglect yourself either. Factoring in some ‘me time’ is just as crucial to your dating success as going on dates. More on this later….

Now there’s the commute. Thanks to wifi on the trains these days, there is no reason she can’t shave off a couple of hours from her work day, by either creating to-do lists for the day ahead so she becomes more productive at work, meaning less time pulling a late one here and there. Or, if material has to be read, emails need to be sent etc, this can all now be done on the train.

The list goes on, it’s all a matter of perspective and becoming a more productive individual. Seeing how activities can be swapped around to incorporate friends or dates will free up a multitude of time.

Another point to mention is running errands. Make sure you do the ones which are all grouped in the same location, especially if they’re not urgent, so as not to waste time commuting between point A and point B.

The buzzword here seems to be grouping. Get more organised with your time, be honest about what activities can be done away with and you’ll soon be able to make space for the things and people which are a priority for you.

As a result of reevaluating the way you spend your time, you will see that you have more hours in the day to play with, both during the week and at weekends. Time spent will feel more valuable because you will cherish the space you have made given YOU have chosen to spend it with people who mater, doing things which you enjoy.

People, and the activities you enjoy, DO NOT need to be mutually exclusive and there is a way to combine the two if you come from a new perspective.

If you need some help reevaluating how you spend your time so that you have more space to date and do the things which matter to you, then let’s talk. The last thing anyone wants is to either be clock watching or feel like they’re having to be squeezed in to someone’s busy schedule.

The truth is, no one wants to date a busy person no matter how hot you are! But, you can still be busy without being manic – that’s the key!

In a relationship we all want to be made to feel like a priority. That doesn’t mean living in each other’s pockets, but it does mean that your partner is there to show up for you both emotionally and physically and that you do not have to vie for their attention.

Should distance stand in the way of dating?

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This week’s question comes from Robert and he asks:

If you want to find someone, why not look outside of your immediate catchment area? However, why is it that everyone demands that you date locally?

As always, great question!

I totally understand your frustration. Opportunity doesn’t come knocking as ‘they say’ and it certainly doesn’t know where you live, that’s why to be successful at meeting someone most suitable for you, you need to be as openminded as possible.

Society in general is running at a faster page than usual with higher social and financial demands on the increase, therefore most – not all – like to reduce the amount of stress and demand placed on them.

Allow me to share my story…

About 10 years ago now I was dating long distance between London and Canada. Every few months one of us flew to see the other. I think it cost us each around £1500 or so a trip and this is back when flights were cheaper. There was a constant pressure to have a good time and to be on our best behaviour, because we wanted to make the most of each other when we got the chance to do so. The pressure of maintaining a happy status when we were together took its toll and so did the financial demand it caused. I did end up moving to Canada to give our future together the best shot at working out, but not everyone has that luxury or the flexibility to do so.

So why am I telling you this?

Well, when you are short on time and finances, travelling more than an hour or so to see someone can sometimes be strain, so the thought of dating in another city or country, normally puts off even the most positive of enthusiasts. Then you start to factor in the costs of petrol, trains and planes and it can really become a daunting thought all together. Not impossible, but on the most part, daunting.

Every person and situation is different, so my advice would be this…

If you are open to dating further afield, you will most certainly be opening up the possibilities to finding love at an accelerated pace. However, if the other person is very much settled where they are, then be prepared to make the extra effort and to be the one to move should things progress. If you are not able to move, then you owe it to yourself and the other person to be honest at the outset and if the situation is not feasible, to try and date more locally within a more manageable radius for you.

It’s always preferable to be able to pick up the phone to someone we love and care about and say are you free tonight, see you in an hour? Rather than, I love you and miss you and I can’t wait to see you in 3 months.

You have to do what’s right for you, your circumstances and for the success of the relationship. It will always come down to being open, honest, flexible and accommodating.

Robert, I hope this goes some way to answering your question.

Finding love is so much easier than you think. You just need your own set of ingredients and a manageable recipe to follow and that is my gift to you.

If you have a question for me, you can ask me here.

The power of words

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So, this past week I have had some interesting encounters and I wanted to share a concept with you.

 

image

 

Does that make sense to you at all?

If not, fear not…

Often times, we speak first and think later. Whilst the word sorry is great for back pedalling our way out of first having put our foot in our mouths, it doesn’t always cut it and your words can come back to haunt you in more ways than one.

So how can we combat the foot in mouth problem to start with?

Well, here’s my process for thinking before speaking:

  • First, don’t react right away
  • Take a deep breath
  • Then, sit back and with a cool, calm head on those shoulders of yours, ask yourself, how what was just said or done made you feel
  • Then ask yourself, why it made you feel that way.  The reason for this is, because sometimes when emotions arise it’s actually past emotions which are surfacing from whatever is taking place and it’s not the present that is causing you the real upset

Let me give you an example..

Jess was looking forward to seeing Dan on Monday night having planned this over a week ago. Dan tells Jess that his plans are running on and he’s going to be late. (By the way, Dan is never able to keep to the times arranged). Jess then feels devalued and taken for granted because she is now waiting around for Dan, yet again. Jess then reacts by saying, that she’s disappointed that their time will be cut short again after very much looking forward to seeing him. Dan then replies instantly with I’m busy, let’s just cancel tonight.

** Men don’t like to feel like they are letting you down and moreover, they don’t like to be nagged. Women on the other hand, like good manners and to feel appreciated and valued. **

The obvious response by most, is to react and play the blame game. However, despite Dan’s continued lateness for dates, Jess still sticks around having come to understand that this is his pattern.

So therefore, what Jess can’t do, is take out her real frustrations on Dan, because Jess has issues about people being late and this hurts her at the core. So what she must do here, is first explain to Dan that she understands he has business meetings which can run over and that she was hoping to get to spend some quality time together. She can also say that she is feeling a little hurt by his continued lateness for dates and as a result takes this quite personally as she has a sensitivity towards people being late and changing plans.

You cannot make someone wrong if they don’t know what your triggers are and unknowingly what it is which they are doing that fires the trigger.

So, the point I am trying to make here, is that it’s so easy to fly off the handle and react first and apologise later, but saying sorry is at times not strong enough to fix the break once it has been caused.

In order to create peace, harmony and understanding between you, your partner or a date, you have to help them better understand you, rather than going on the attack.