This week’s guest is John Hotowka, who started off life as an Optician. Having been made redundant 3 times in 7 years, he fell back on his hobby of being a magician. He chose to follow his passion and became a full-time professional.

Flying all over the country to deliver the corporate messages of top blue-chip companies, John did very well until 2002 when he experienced a crisis of confidence. Cumulative events, and the rise of the internet, combined to put him under pressure. He took a step back and chose to think and reflect. This is what many of us do. We may be going through tough times but often these give us a chance to slow down, pause and work out what we really want. This time to ourselves, can often be far more beneficial than we like to admit as it gives us a chance to decide who, and what, we are.

What happened?

This period did the same for John. He worked out what he had to offer, and that his tips and suggestions helped people in everyday situations who gain considerable value from listening to him. He’s learnt to bounce back or come back quickly from lows. This is what he passes on to others.

“People have a talent to forget” he says

They forget the stuff they’ve learnt, and don’t realise how much of it needs repeating and practice. Even a book you read may need reading again to master the principles. Taking charge of what goes on in your head such that you focus on the principles that do help, or work for you, is part of it. Otherwise, the sub conscious mind tends to sabotage things we do in a natural effort to protect us!

This forms our beliefs

Protecting us is one thing but thinking negatively can become a habit and in time a belief. This encourages us to think negatively about ourselves, others, life, and our talents. Repeating the wrong thing to ourselves in this way, which we may do out of habit, isn’t helpful and just telling ourselves to think positively doesn’t seem so easy!

So, what’s the solution?

John feels one of the healthier habits is to turn self-talk in to questions. Asking the question ‘How can I do this?’, or ‘What should I do?’ has the helpful effect of stimulating the search for solutions. Our minds are goal seeking mechanisms so if we give them something positive to search for, it has the effect of solving the problem rather than perpetually worrying about it. All of us can do this as it’s a very simple solution to a tricky behaviour!

Then, as we go through other situations in life we can remember and remind ourselves of the situations we’ve coped with previously. So, too, can we go back to what worked then and repeat it now. This is why I encourage people to journal about their experiences when I coach them, because it’s the re-reading of the tools they applied, that can often be applied again.

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