How we see something is everything. It can make all the difference between happiness and success and sadness and failure- it’s all in how you look at it.
I’d like to tell you a short story about my boiler and how it has been teaching me a new way of looking at, and classifying, daily problems in the hope that it can help you too.
My boiler is a combi-boiler and so provides both hot water and heats my home. It’s old and will eventually need replacing, and so I’ve had several people out to look at it several times recently. Currently I’ve got some heating that comes and goes a bit randomly and a bit of hot water, there might be 30 seconds of hot water in a shower, or a surprise scolding ten seconds of hot water when doing the dishes! It’s infrequent, it’s unreliable, it’s infuriating.
And it got me thinking. Why was it bugging me so much? Well firstly because I’d like it to be fixed, probably with a new boiler. But at the moment, that’s not an option, therefore I currently have to make do with it for the near future – I have a “boiler problem.”
Have you got a boiler problem? Something in your life that isn’t how you want it and is currently beyond your control to fix, improve or sort and so you are having to make do for now? You are not alone. At the moment, there are so many people whom I talk to and interact with who tell me such, from small annoying things to very large and challenging circumstances. They all share the same characteristics- unusual circumstances- problem- cannot be solved for now-have to make do. We are all currently experiencing boiler problems, things that normally would not be an issue or a hassle, but are, through not fault of our own, currently a challenge.
Examples of boiler problems we are currently experiencing
A boiler problem- a difficult circumstance, which you are currently unable to solve and this make due, caused by exceptionally unusual circumstances
Here are some examples of boiler problems, which I have gleaned from family, friends and business colleagues recently:
• Having to queue for an hour just to go inside a supermarket and go shopping
• Going to a pharmacy and being told medicines will not be available for a week
• Not being able to leave the house more than once a day
• Having to cut your own hair
• Losing certain parts of your income for your business
• Not being able to hug anyone
• Not being able to visit family and friends
• Feeling a sense of helplessness regularly – usually daily
• Everyday activities requiring much more effort than normal
• Emotional exhaustion coming to the surface seemingly out of nowhere
Have you experienced any of these recently?
Can you relate to them?
What we can do about them
Here is a simple five step mental re-framing tool to help you to deal with these situations.

Recognise and classify

When you’re experiencing a problem, take a minute to classify it. If there’s something positive you can do to start a solution, go for it. If there’s absolutely nothing you can do, then leave it. But if there are small things you can do to make do for now, until a better opportunity comes in the future, then it’s a boiler problem – and there’s still plenty of positives that can come from it.

Accept and endure

If it’s something you have to endure for now, then accept it. There is nothing to be gained from denying something, or pretending it isn’t happening. Accepting that you will have to endure it for now sets your mental parameters and provides you with the fact that you are currently having to make do, and sometimes, that can be ok for a short time. Also, by accepting it, you will not be wasting mental energy trying to solve something that is at the moment, beyond your control. That acceptance will help to calm you down and allow you to move onto the next step, which is all about how to handle the problem.

Be kind to yourself

Boiler problems are usually not our own doing – so there’s no need to beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself and recognise that you are experiencing some situations and circumstances that are beyond your control – like the weather. Now is not the time for self criticism, that can come later. Follow the five steps and speak to yourself kindly, like you would a loved one or a close friend. Boiler problems can be the worst, because they can come out of nowhere and make us feel helpless – but you are not helpless. You can control your reactions; and even if you can’t and have moments when you freak out, that’s ok too. Be kind to yourself and you will get through.

Plan for the future

This last step is brilliant for helping take you mentally outside of what may be a currently challenging situation. Make some plans, dream, visualise what you can do in the near future to be happy and enjoy your life. It might be having a family party, going on a holiday, just spending time outside or growing your business. Whatever it is, actively spend time thinking about this, and it will remind your mind that part of what makes a problem a boiler problem, is that it is temporary. It does not last. So taking time to think about when it is solved will excite you, energise you and make you feel good about your future.
Hope must be built and nourished daily

Get curious and creative

Firstly, ask yourself what about the situation frustrates or annoys you. Is it that bad? Is it something you could learn to live with for a short time, like a bad hair cut or buying the wrong milk? Something that is actually quite small in the big scheme of things? If so, great, try that. If it is something larger and more serious, such as a mental health problem, then consider reaching out to get help and support from others – you would be amazed how much you can benefit from talking openly with a trusted friend. Keep bringing curiosity to your reactions to boiler problems and that will help to soothe the natural frustration that you may feel whilst experiencing them.

 

Here some suggested ideas of using your curiosity to make do and mend your potential boiler problems:

Having to queue for an hour just to go inside a supermarket and go shopping
Accept the challenge and just do it. Listen to some music or an audiobook. Be grateful for the fact you have a local shop that provides food for you. Try online click and collect – plan ahead for this – if you really struggle with crowds and shopping at the moment

Going to a pharmacy and being told medicines will not be available for a week-
Make do for now-can you use hot water bottles, abstain from certain foods? Can you change your schedule to make things easier for yourself until you get your medicines?


Not being able to leave the house more than once a day
Make that an exercise session and get hot and sweaty. Or do some mindful walking and look around at all the different houses and nature. Be thankful that you can actually leave your house. Stand outside your door and breathe the fresh air deeply

Having to cut your own hair or grow it
Embrace it! Give it a go. Don’t take yourself seriously. Everyone is having to do the same. Look forward to that exciting reunion with your hairdresser in the near future!

Losing certain parts of your income for your business.

Accept this and plan on what you can do now. Can you generate new sources of income? Plan for your future. Reduce your outgoings. Brainstorm, experiment, try new things. Be open to new possibilities- do not focus on giving in, focus on surviving

Not being able to hug anyone or visit family and friends
Visualise just how good it is going to be when you can, because it’s just a matter of time. Plan out a family reunion party to look forward to.

Feeling a sense of helplessness regularly – usually daily
Journal how you are feeling each day. Are there certain times of the day when you feel like this? If so, you can expect them, not panic when they come, and ride them out

Everyday activities requiring much more effort than normal
Plan for this. Ask for help if you live with others. Reduce the amount of quantity that you are doing and focus on quality. For example, rather than having 3 zoom business calls, have 1 and spend extra time doing follow up action work to create solutions and possibilities. Or do a menu plan for the week and stick to it, so you do not have to spend energy making decisions on what to eat daily.

Emotional exhaustion coming to the surface seemingly out of nowhere
This is a big one. Recognise that it has come and make time to regularly calm yourself down throughout the day. For example, first thing in the morning, just after lunch and dinner, stand outside and slowly breathe some fresh air. Take the time before and after activities that cause stress to actively calm yourself down – drink some tea, sit, breathe. Give yourself five minutes on your own. Do this regularly.

Final thoughts…

I had a recent conversation with somebody and they were exasperated by being told at work to “pick their battles.” They were being advised that they couldn’t win all the time, they had to make concessions, they had to compromise, and she hated that idea. So we talked about it a bit, and I suggested that sometimes you may indeed have to pick your battles, but she hadn’t been told the missing second part of that phrase, to win the war. Classifying certain situations as boilers problems, and so not having to spend mental energy trying to solve them or fix them right away, will allow you to focus on the long term wins, the end of the war, the peace and good times that are coming. And by doing this, you will receive the mental strength and enthusiasm to keep going, to remember that no problem lasts forever. And who knows, perhaps one day soon I’ll be writing to you having had a lovely warm bath, with a brand new boiler!

Love and best wishes,

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Hope is that beautiful knowing that good things are on the way, that your future holds wonderful possibilities, that the best days of your life are ahead.
But what do you do when you do not feel that hope? When it is no longer there for you? When you’re somewhere bad and you just feel panic, overwhelm or desperation?
Hope is a beautiful thing. If you have it, everything is better: you are excited for the future, you are more relaxed because you know good things are coming, and you feel a sense that what you do and who you are in your daily life is meaningful and fulfilling a deeper purpose.
But we all have times where we just do not feel that way at all. Although we know the sun is there, there have been too many clouds, for too long, that black out its warmth and so we begin to doubt. I have been there, many times and here are 7 ways that you can build, cultivate and encourage hope back into your life.

This was a sunset on a trip to Egypt. After an initial planned trip to Australia fell through, this ended up being the best trip I’ve ever been on

7 ways to build your hope this week

1. Identify that one thing

Not everything can or should be priority. We only have so much energy, so much enthusiasm throughout the day, and when you do not have hope, it can be very easy to busy yourself in small unimportant tasks, or equally to lie in bed and try and just forget it all. Neither is particularly helpful, so try this.
Identify one very important thing that you can focus on achieving in the day. And organise your day around it to make sure you do it as well as you can. You could do it first thing, or at the time of the day that suits you best. But make it your main priority for the day, and once you have successfully done this, anything else is just a bonus.
Here are some ideas:
Planning content for your business
Nourishing relationships through contact with clients
A workout hour
Cooking a healthy home made meal from scratch
Attending a networking meeting- in person or online
Meditation
Planning time
Time with family and friends
Depending on your situation, you will know what is most important for you, but just make it one main thing. Then by the end of the week you will have done 5, and that’s 20 main important things done in a month.

One of this week’s one things for me was creating brand new video content for you!

2. Train your brain with growth mindset phrases

This poster has been an absolute lifesaver for several of our clients
It’s very easy to get caught up in negative thought patterns, and when you do not have hope, it’s very difficult to fight these, or to know how to change them. But you absolutely can, and your brain consistently creates fresh new neurons, energy opportunities in your mind, that you can use to do so daily. Have a look on the left of the poster at the hopeless, defeatist, fatalistic, fixed mindset phrases. When you notice yourself thinking one of these, use the poster to think the corresponding positive, hopeful, growth mindset phrases instead.
The great thing about these phrases is how specific they are towards building positive future actions- they engage your brain instead into problem solving mode. Listen to the specificity of these phrases, and consider how just thinking them several times could help you to start to build some hope for yourself:
“What am I missing?”
“I am going to train my brain”
“I’ll use a different strategy”
Keep this poster or a photo of it where you can see it and use it every day, it will be time very well spent.

3. Create a routine with some flexibility in it

It’s very important to keep to a strong routine when you’re feeling hopeless, as your motivation will be low. But also, be kind and considerate to yourself; now is not the time to be very strict and unnecessarily critical towards yourself, as this will dissipate your energies.
Here are some suggestions below of what to include in a good routine that also allows you some flexibility. Use as many of them as you like, you could do them each day, or try to include them all throughout a week.
  • Get up at a regular time- you may need a bit more sleep than normal
  • Have some quiet time at the start and end of the day- get up ten minutes earlier to make time for this
  • Include some exercise daily- from a simple walk all the way up to high intensity workouts-try and get variety in during the week
  • Do something creative- draw, learn a new skill, try something- it really doesn’t matter what it is
  • Have an hour a week to self reflect- how are things going? What is brillant? What could be better?
  • Do something for someone else- no matter how small, they all count.

In February I challenged myself to learn how to do origami

4. Explore, experiment, try something new

This is a very important one. When we do not feel hope we feel bored, frustrated, depressed, unmotivated. One of the best ways to gently challenge this is with variety. Doing something brand new engages your brain, because you have never done it before, you will have to really concentrate and stay focused in the moment. It’s also a fantastic way to challenge self limiting beliefs you may have about yourself and explore what could be possible for you in the future. Use youtube and google, the resources are all there for you, you just need to pick something that interests you.
Here’s some ideas of what you could try:
  • Drawing
  • Origami
  • Make some music
  • Learn basic phrases in a different language
  • Learn how to tie knots
  • Learn some dance moves
  • Coding
  • Photography
  • Cooking
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Fitness challenges
This year I’ve been learning one new skill a month, it’s a very simple way of structuring it, so that it doesn’t become a hassle. Just pick one and focus on it for a month solid, and see how you get on.

5. Reflect on your past

So often we are so hard on ourselves, and when hopeless we only look into the past for problems that could negatively impact our future. So try this, write a list of all the difficult things that you have been through and overcome and what you are proud of yourself for. Then consider that if you can endure and overcome all these things, you have a real strength of character and will be able to handle anything that comes your way next.
And an even more positive way to see it is that your past has built you, challenged you and trained you for all that your life is now. And so you are more than equipped to handle it. What an exciting thought!
Here’s some ideas of what you could put on your list:
  • Survived childhood!
  • Overcame deaths in the family
  • All the illnesses I have successfully recovered from
  • My professional achievements
  • My academic achievements
  • My happy times with family
  • The hard times where I was there for my family
  • My heartbreaks that I got over
  • The horrible times I survived through
  • The ways in which I am a better me now than I used to be in the past

Look at how small our Kataholos mascot Cotchi was last September!

New life is here with spring- the daffodil heralds hope and optimism after winter

6. Consider Nature

Nature has evolved to create spring after ever winter. It doesn’t need to be motivated or even particularly hopeful. It trusts and waits and when the time is right it changes and adapts. I look at nature and am so inspired by its grit and determination and also its abundant beauty and endlessly giving ways. And I know that we can be like this. The daffodils of spring are stronger than any winter, and every tree contains within the hope of spring and of the next season to come.
The next time you feel hopeless, just look at a tree and consider these things and wonder at its magnificence.

7. Be The Hope for Others

No matter how you think or feel on a given day, through your actions you can be a source of hope for others. One of the best ways to help yourself is to help others, and when you can put on a smile, say a kind word of perform an action, when you are really struggling yourself, then you are operating from the deepest strength of your character. You can gain so much hope and joy and encouragement from helping others- just look into their eyes and see the positivity that you have placed there. It sparkles and lights up their whole face.

If you want to create wellsprings of hope, spend time with young people- they are amazing

Final thoughts….

The ability to keep going, especially when you can’t see a way forward, when you don’t feel like it and want to stop, is so difficult. But it is not impossible. And once you begin to cultivate that deep place within yourself, you will be living on a whole other level. Motivation and good feelings would be nice, but you won’t need them, because you have hope.
And best of all, you will have built it yourself.
Life is constantly looking out for you, opening doors for you, giving you chances to succeed
Everything is temporary, nothing lasts forever.
Do not give up.
Love and best wishes to you,

How to keep in touch with Kataholos:

Our Book
Online Course
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  • Develop your leaders?
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I would love to help you and your people to fulfil your potential and achieve the results that you deserve – and if you’re a lifelong learner, you’re a perfect fit for us!

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