• Charli

Wellness Matters 04.02.2022

Are You Easily Distracted?

A recurring theme from a number of my clients has been how to overcome their challenge with distraction. Not just the irritation of endless emails, or meaningless notifications on their phone or laptop, but being distracted by choice.

Let me explain: for the adults looking for a change in their careers, this can result in a frenzied self-talk into believing that they can do a variety of jobs, but without carefully considering the consequences or potential impact. The desire to move on becomes greater than the ability to focus on what is achievable.

For young people, it often is about social media, but again, it can be because they have too much choice available to them, which can make decisions harder to commit to. Pupils arriving in secondary school in Scotland can have up to 15 different teachers a week, and then a myriad of after-school clubs filling their downtime.

Whatever happened to guddling about in the park after school and at weekends, only returning home for food or when it got dark? We have become over-protective of our children and this is leading to an increase in anxiety and a reduction in resilience.

On the one hand I am delighted that more opportunity is available to adults and young people, certainly more than I had when I was younger, but with it there is a sense that we can do anything. We can, but we can’t.

For me, deciding to leave a secure, well-paid job was terrifying but exhilarating. I knew I wanted to be a life and career coach, and have invested in my personal and professional development accordingly. However, I couldn't decide to be a doctor or vet without years of training, and at this stage in my life that isn’t something I was prepared to commit to.

So how do we learn to focus or re-focus on what we are inherently suited for?

I work with my clients and ask a series of questions designed to give them the chance to visualise where, what and how they see themselves in a certain role: a bit like how you see yourself as healthier, fitter, more content. By creating a safe space to narrow down potential opportunities, clients identify what is right for them.

When I set up Catching Light Wellness, I envisaged working with young people, and also in my local community. I have wandered down a few paths, but quickly turned around because it wasn’t the right time or the right opportunity. However, I learned to rely on my gut instinct, my intuitive brain, focused on the images in my mind, and made myself visible, open and accessible. I now have a number of younger clients, and am delighted to reveal that I will be working with Columba 1400 during the East Lothian Leadership Academies which begin in March.

Columba 1400 was a significant turning point for me in October 2019 and I am very excited to be able to pay it forward with a new generation of young, aspiring leaders, who will be empowered and motivated to become leaders of their own lives and destinies.

An opportunity presented itself to work within my local community and if I am successful, I’ll let you know next week, but either way, I can volunteer to support a growing movement which encourages us to talk more openly about dying, death, loss and grief. Have a look at Truacanta’s site if you are interested.

Reading has always been a joy for me, but over the past few years it has been harder to read a paper book, often because my green screen restricts the flow of text (I have mild scotopic sensitivity).

Reading on a green screen on my Kindle app and laptop helps, but I have also re-invested in Audible.

Most recently I have been listening to Johann Hari: Stolen Focus and I would encourage you to read or listen if you can. Johann uses compelling evidence to explore how, as a society, and over many generations we have lost the ability to focus on any given task at a time. Much of this has to do with social media and the ingenious ‘Tec-Giants’ who create an alluring display of choice and possibility, but it is also about our take-away and throw-away society which is resulting in obesity, increased pollution and over reliance on technology.

Since I started listening to Stolen Focus, I have turned off all notifications on my phone, I actively put it out of sight when I am working and I have started buying more fresh food, trying out new recipes and not relying on quite so much processed frozen food. I feel healthier and more alert.

Whether you are overwhelmed by choice or confused by too much information, step away for a while, think about your real options and begin to make a plan for that. It works.

I’m preparing to meet my amazing daughters shortly, and have butterflies of excitement bursting to escape.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Photo: Walking through Aberlady on a warm winter's day: Sunday 30th January.

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