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If you’ve got something on your mind do you ever write it down?

If not, give it a go.

Let me explain what I mean.

Do you have times when things don’t feel right, everything feels like hard work, your head is spinning or you feel like you’re carrying round a heavy weight?

It can help to get those feelings and thoughts out of your head – somewhere where you can see them.

Sit quietly

Find somewhere to sit quietly, with pen and paper and just write (or draw) what comes into your mind, it can be sentences, words, or sketches, whatever works for you.  

It can be surprising what comes up if you let your mind go wherever it wants to.

Sometimes it shows up what’s really at the root of how you’re feeling – here’s some examples that I’ve heard from clients I’ve worked with (and some of my own too) 

What shows up when you declutter your mind?

“I just feel like I’m waiting all the time for something to happen, for someone else to decide”

“I’m not putting myself first”

“I need to sort myself out”

“I’ve lost my confidence”

“I’m a failure” 

“I feel like a fraud”

Once it’s out there (on paper) you can see how a thought or feeling looks in the light of day; whether it’s true or false; and what can you do about it.

Ask yourself a question

Another way to approach it is to focus on one thing and channel your thoughts and feelings about that.  

It can help to repeat the same question to yourself.

The other day I did this exercise for something I wanted to achieve and asked myself the same question (“How can I do that”?) eight times before I got to the answer that I needed to hear.

It’s so simple, you can use it in so many ways.  

The only stipulation is that you need to get it on paper – otherwise it just stays as a jumble in your head.

You can use this for thinking about anything.

It can be great preparation for a coaching session.

Get in touch if you’d like a free 45 minute call to talk about what’s on your mind.

You can book a call here

The Wheel of Life or Work is another good exercise to do for yourself –

Check it out here

The post How to declutter your mind appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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Something on your mind?

If you’ve got something on your mind do you ever write it down?

If not, give it a go.

Let me explain what I mean.

Do you have times when things don’t feel right, everything feels like hard work, your head is spinning or you feel like you’re carrying round a heavy weight?

It can help to get those feelings and thoughts out of your head – somewhere where you can see them.

Sit quietly

Find somewhere to sit quietly, with pen and paper and just write (or draw) what comes into your mind, it can be sentences, words, or sketches, whatever works for you.  

It can be surprising what comes up if you let your mind go wherever it wants to.

Sometimes it shows up what’s really at the root of how you’re feeling – here’s some examples that I’ve heard from clients I’ve worked with (and some of my own too) 

What shows up?

“I just feel like I’m waiting all the time for something to happen, for someone else to decide”

“I’m not putting myself first”

“I need to sort myself out”

“I’ve lost my confidence”

“I’m a failure” 

“I feel like a fraud”

Once it’s out there (on paper) you can see how a thought or feeling looks in the light of day; whether it’s true or false; and what can you do about it.

Ask yourself a question

Another way to approach it is to focus on one thing and channel your thoughts and feelings about that.  

It can help to repeat the same question to yourself.

The other day I did this exercise for something I wanted to achieve and asked myself the same question (“How can I do that”?) eight times before I got to the answer that I needed to hear.

It’s so simple, you can use it in so many ways.  

The only stipulation is that you need to get it on paper – otherwise it just stays as a jumble in your head.

You can use this for thinking about anything.

It can be great preparation for a coaching session.

Get in touch if you’d like a free 45 minute call to talk about what’s on your mind.

You can book a call here

The Wheel of Life or Work is another good exercise to do for yourself –

Check it out here

The post Write it down appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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I seem to have spent the last few months sorting stuff out. 

I’ve been sorting clothes, household stuff, paperwork and general clutter.  I’ve found things that I don’t need anymore and other things that need to find their rightful place.

I would say I’m pretty minimalist.  I don’t collect much.  Or so I thought.  I could never move quickly or make a quick escape anywhere – let’s just leave it at that!

The whole process of sorting has made me look at other things I’ve collected along the way too.

Clearing the decks

Things like routines, habits, beliefs, and stories I tell myself.  Some are really outdated.

Why do I carry on doing things that I don’t enjoy, that are no longer serving me?

It’s a bit like a jacket that doesn’t fit any more.  It looked good last year but now it’s not comfortable and it’s time to let it go.

Or it might have fitted properly in the first place.

Google’s definition of ‘clearing the decks’ is “to prepare for an event or course of action by dealing with anything that might hinder progress”.

I’ve been hindering myself.

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about Marie Kondo.  If you’ve missed all the hype and you haven’t read her book or watched the Netflix series then they are both worth a look.

Marie talks my language you see (I don’t mean Japanese).  I’ve spoken before about finding my joy and Marie’s definition of identifying things that ‘spark joy” definitely resonates with me. 

Making space also gives a better sense of perspective.

Finding treasures :

By sorting things out (whether it’s your pantry, your wardrobe, or your thoughts) you start to see what you’ve got, and what’s missing.

I’ve found a few cobwebs along the way which I’ve needed to dismantle.  There are a few dusty corners that I haven’t looked in for a while which I’ve needed to sweep out.  

I’ve also had some lovely surprises when I’ve found something I’d forgotten I’d got.   

Like a lovely ring I bought on my travels a couple of years ago.  It’s bright blue turquoise, and makes me smile and reminds me of fabulous Santa Fe skies.

Or rediscovering my quiet morning routine and weekend afternoon naps.  

When you get rid of things that no longer serve you, you make room for things that you do want in your life.  

And the treasure shines even brighter.  

Are you hindering yourself?

Could you move quickly if you had to?

Or are you weighed down with outdated routines, habits, beliefs and thoughts.

Are there things that you need to get out of the cupboard to take a good look at?

Is there something that’s outdated that you need to let go?

How can you make space for other things to come into your life?

What’s in your forgotten corner?

What gems have you got stored away that need to be bought into the light?

How coaching can help

Coaching can shine a light into those cupboards, corners and nooks and crannies that you haven’t looked into for a while.  

It can help you dispose of those thing you don’t need any more.

Coaching can help you (re)discover your treasures.

If you’d like to know more about coaching with me then you can book a call here.

You get 45 minutes of my time for free – I love a bit of decluttering – let’s go on a treasure hunt!

What are you waiting for?

The post Making Space appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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What does investing in yourself mean?

Well it probably means different things to different people.  

The word “invest”  implies that money or finances are involved – but there are lots of other ways you can invest in yourself, so let’s start there – here’s some ideas : 

You can spend time on yourself.

You can take the time to do something you want to do – it could be anything – read a book, meet up with friends, learn something new, get creative.  

You can look after your mental and physical health.

You can exercise, eat healthily, get out in the fresh air, find someone to talk to when something is bothering you.

You can be kind to yourself.

You could try not being so hard on yourself; treat yourself with some compassion and respect once in a while.

You can put yourself first (sometimes at least).

You’ve probably got a lot of demands on your time and attention from home and work – but sometimes you just have to say no.

There might be money involved.

Perhaps there’s something you want to learn, a course you’d like to do, or a piece of equipment you need for a hobby that’s important to you – and that’s how you want to invest in yourself.

But if you’re not investing in yourself – what’s that about?

You think you don’t have the time, (or the money) or both.

You put everyone else’s needs before your own.

You feel you’re at the end of a very long queue, and you’re not the priority.

You don’t think you’re worth it – you don’t deserve to invest in yourself.

BUT – and here’s the thing –

IF YOU DON’T INVEST IN YOU THEN WHO ELSE WILL?

So how could you start investing in yourself today?

If you’re not investing in yourself, what are you investing in, and is that working for you?

Any investment should (ideally) show a return.

So if you invest in yourself what could you get out of it?  It may pay dividends!

Likewise underinvestment has an outcome too and it’s not a particularly happy or healthy one.

Coaching can be an investment of time and money but mostly it’s about putting yourself first.

If you’d like to know more about what coaching with me would be like then you can book a call here.

You get 45 minutes of my time for free – a first step to investing in yourself – what are you waiting for?

The post Are you investing in yourself? appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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Are you single minded?

If you want to do something – do you do it no matter what?

Some people have a laser focus. 

What they are doing is what get’s done. 

And other people have to fit around them. 

Is that you?

Or do you put everyone else’s needs before your own?

Perhaps you decide you’d like to get fit, eat more healthily, give up alcohol, start a new hobby, get up at 5 a.m. to meditate every morning, change career, do a challenge or just do something differently.

But.  

You’re worried about rocking the boat.  

You might disturb the equilibrium.  

You think about how it will affect other people.  

You’re bothered about what people will think.  

You would need to put yourself at centre stage and you’re not used to that, you’re more used to being the support act.  

So you talk yourself out of it or put it off until later.

Let’s think about why you might not do that thing and put your needs first.  

Well, it let’s you off the hook to start with.  You’ve got an excuse for not doing it.  

It means you’ll have to explain yourself and say what you want – and you’re not used to that.

You’re worried that people will scoff.

So what can you do about it.

Make a start

Be singleminded about something you want to do and follow it through.

Start small if you want, or go mega!

It can be anything from setting aside some time every day to read a book, to planning a cycle challenge across a Continent or something in between.

Make a list of things that might get in your way and be ready to deal with them upfront so you don’t get derailed.  

If you start to talk yourself out of it, ask yourself why.

Is it something you really want to do?

How important is it to you?

Are you doing it for yourself or someone else?

What difference will it make to you if you achieve it?  

How will it make you feel?

What will happen if you don’t persist?

And how would that make you feel?

Be determined! 

Be resolute!

I can help you be more singleminded.

You can have 45 minutes of my time for free and we can talk through how you can achieve something for yourself.

Book your call here

The post Are you single minded? appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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Things will be better when …..

“This week will be different”

Have you said that to yourself?

You’ve decided that this is the week when you won’t let work take over, you’ll be organised, get to the end of your to do list, go to the gym, cook healthy food, not be grumpy when you get home from work.  You want to feel more like your old self.

You get organised at the weekend.  Early to bed Sunday evening.   The week starts well. 

But then it happens.

That feeling overtakes you.  It’s all slipping through your fingers again; your head is ready to explode; you can’t think straight.  It feels like you’re wading through concrete.

And it’s only Monday lunchtime.

I know that feeling and so do many of my clients.

You’ve probably tried to sort it out for yourself –  bought self-help books and read copious magazine articles to try to snap out of it.

You might have found yourself googling 

  • How to make life better
  • Hacks to improve your life
  • Stressed at work
  • Unhappy at work
  • Feeling stuck
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • What job should I do

Yes, me too!  But none of that gave me the clarity I was looking for.  

I looked at other people and wondered how they managed – and why I couldn’t.  Everyone else looked like they were doing o.k. 

I realise now that I probably looked like I’d got everything sorted.  And you probably do too.

I was looking outside for the answer – for the magic solution.

But what I needed to do was to look to myself for the answer.

I spent the best part of a year trying to figure it out myself. 

Things will be better when ……

Then I found someone to talk to about it.  Someone who listened to me, didn’t judge, but also didn’t just tell me everything would be o.k.

If you’re feeling like a bit of elastic that lost it’s stretch;

Like you’re in a maze and you can’t find your way out;

or that you’re not living, but playing a bit part –

then get in touch to find out how coaching can help.  

Coaching changed my life.  It could change yours too.

Book a free introductory call here to find out more.

The post This week will be different! appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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The Balance Wheel

It’s amazing what you can do with a circle drawn on a sheet of paper.  

If you divide that circle into 8 segments it can tell you a lot of about your life, your work, or both.

This is an exercise I do with a lot of people I work with. 

Clients often come to coaching wanting to work on something specific in their life or work.  It can be difficult to work on one thing in isolation.

We all know that our work is impacted by life, and vice versa.  And that life can be complicated. 

We often juggle and wear lots of hats.

So how do we make sense of it?

Well, get a sheet of paper.

Draw a circle big enough to divide into eight segments.

Ask yourself what eight areas of your life* are important to you?

(Don’t worry if you can’t think of eight straight away – work with what you’ve got to start with)

Score each segment out of 10 for satisfaction (with 10 being very, very, satisfied)

Now you’ve got your wheel of life.

What occurs to you when you look at your wheel?

Any surprises?

Which segment needs work?

Which segment could you work on which would make the most difference to you?

What could you change with little effort?

There are often surprises along the way.  

You might notice an area of your life that’s really important to you but you are neglecting completely. 

If you want to discuss your wheel or want to talk through how to make changes then get in touch.  

I’ll give you 45 minutes of my time for free. 

You can book a call here

*There’s no right and wrong to the segments in your wheel.  Everyone’s wheel will look different.  But as an example your wheel segments might be something like : money, work, family, friends, relationship, health, travel, learning.

The post How’s your balance? appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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Self doubt and your inner critic!

I’m an introvert so I live in my head a lot, with Derek, my inner critic.

Derek is like a broken record and I often have to turn the volume down.

Derek wants to keep me safe, not let me look foolish, embarrassed, get things wrong or be irresponsible. 

It usually shows up when I’m planning to do something new or ‘dangerous’, when I might be pushing myself physically or doing something that’s outside of my comfort zone.  

It tells me I’m too old, too slow, too quiet or that I’ll get it wrong or look stupid.

If I listened to Derek I’d probably never go out of the house or do anything new.

I can’t just ignore it and it’s no use arguing with it.  So we regularly do a deal.

I listen to it, examine what it’s telling me (to see if there’s any evidence to support it), and then I put it away somewhere, or to the back of my mind.  (That last bit is a bit tricky and takes a bit of practice).

We all have self doubt and an inner critic – some are harsher than others. 

Our inner critic :

is a narrator telling a version of a story that’s based on instinct and emotion, not evidence.

is all about survival

knows all about our vulnerabilities and fear of failure

focuses on problems not solutions

sees things in black and white

takes inspiration from other critics in our life – now and in the past – even the well meaning ones

BUT your inner critic is not you!  

(Which is why I’ve given my inner critic a name – although I’ve no idea why it’s called Derek)

So, how about you?

When does self-doubt show up for you in the shape of your inner critic?

How does it show up?  

What do you criticise yourself for?

What is your inner critic saying? 

Where has that story come from?

Is what the voice saying true?

Do you have any real evidence that it is true?  All of it or just in part?

What’s the real truth here?

What does the evidence say?

(My blog on imposter phenomenon describes how to build a confidence wall which can be helpful for overcoming self doubt.)

If you want to put your inner critic in it’s place get in touch and we can talk it through. 

You can have 45 minutes of my time for free.

If you want to read more about self doubt and your inner critic then this book is a good one to read or listen

The post What does Derek say? appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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Have you been told that you’re quiet, low key, reserved, or that you need to speak out (or up) more?

Do you need to spend time alone to recharge your batteries?

Introverts recharge by spending time alone and lose energy when they’re around too many people for too long. (On the other hand – extroverts gain energy from other people – their energy is sapped when they spend too much time alone).  

If you’re an introvert you probably don’t make a song and dance about things and don’t feel the need to make a lot of noise.  

I’m an introvert – I’m not noisy, but I’m definitely not shy,  and if I appear to sit back it’s probably because I’m listening and thinking things through.  

And I get stuff done.

Management might not be at the top of the ‘place to be’ list for many introverts – but introverts can be really good Managers and are often natural leaders.

So, what does it mean if you are a Manager and an Introvert?

You’re a good listener – which can be a great asset as a Manager.  You prefer listening to talking.

You’re probably not into small talk, chatting or gossip – this could appear a bit stand-offish – so make a conscious effort at some point every day to look up from what you’re doing, have a walk around the office, and have a chat.

You live in your head a lot and you can concentrate for long periods.  But you sometimes zone out so much that you might respond blankly when someone interrupts you.  

It can take you a few seconds to get out of your head and back into the world.

Be mindful how your concentration can look to others.  Susan Cain author of Quiet calls it thinking about how to “arrange your face” – referring to the frowning and various facial expressions of the deep thinking introvert.

You prefer to think things through and like to take your time to make decisions. 

You prefer one to one problem solving rather than throwing it open to everyone.

But make sure others don’t feel excluded from the decision making process.  Colleagues won’t know what you’re thinking about or what stage of the thinking process you’re at – so be sure to involve and update others on where you’ve got to in your thinking.  – even it it’s just to say “I’ll get back to you”

You’re not particularly interested in self-promotion.

But don’t forget that your team might be – and they might like your help with that – so remember to recognise and celebrate what goes well.

You prefer to meet colleagues one to one or in small groups.  You find meeting with large groups of people exhausting.  

Managing a team could be exhausting if you don’t get enough time to yourself to recharge your batteries.  Think about how you manage your diary with high and low energy activities so you’re not wrung out at the end of the day.

If you’re working in open plan offices a lot then you’ll need some time to yourself during the day – go off for a walk on your own at lunchtime or find a place to escape too.

There will be times when you need to step outside of your comfort zone and jostle a bit for attention.  

And if you want career progression for yourself then make sure not to get overlooked.  Find ways to get noticed.  Build some networks, get yourself out there.  

On your own terms of course.

But above all “have the courage to speak softly” (Susan Cain again)

I’ve generalised from my own experience as an introvert and as a manager – there are different types of introverts – you can find out more about personality types here

For more information about introverts see Susan Cain’s book and the HBR article – The Power of the Introvert in Your Office

Or if you want to talk about your personality type at work you can book a free 45 minute introductory call with me here

The post “The courage to speak softly” appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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Are you about to be found out?

When I was in my twenties I had a great job working for a multinational company.  I enjoyed everything about the job.  But, every time I was away from work on holiday I always felt my boss or colleagues would find me out.  

I was convinced that while I was away they’d discover I couldn’t really do the job and I’d been faking it all this time.

Or, they’d find out I’d done something wrong with catastrophic consequences.

So much so that I dreaded going back after my holiday. 

I would creep through the door on the first day back with my head down ready to be told I’d got the sack.

It never happened.  They always seemed glad to see me.

When I look back, I’d got the job on my own merit. 

I’d survived a tough interview and practical test and worked there for a few years. 

I always had great feedback (apart from my poor filing habits – but that’s another story) and was promoted and given more responsibility.  

Despite all that I still didn’t believe that I deserved to be there. 

I felt I’d just been lucky – the other candidates couldn’t have been much good. 

It was all a bit too good to be true. 

Does this ring a bell with you?

Might you have imposter phenomenon?

Imposter phenomenon isn’t just feeling nervous about doing something new, going somewhere for the first time, or starting a new job.

Imposter phenomenon is when you don’t recognise what you’ve achieved; when you minimise your successes; focus on what you can’t do rather than what you can; when you don’t think you’re as good as other people seem to think you are; and worry that you are going to be found out.

I’m not sure where my own imposter phenomenon started and it still crops up every now and again. 

But now I recognise it.

There are lots of ways to deal with Imposter Phenomenon.

One of the practical approaches that I’ve used with my coaching clients is The Confidence Wall which I heard about at a conference*.

Make a list of positive things – like your experience, qualifications, strengths, successes you’ve had, positive feedback you’ve received.

Each thing in your list becomes a brick in Your Confidence Wall.

Build Your Confidence Wall.  

When Imposter Phenomenon rears it’s head, take a look at Your Confidence Wall and reaffirm the positives.

If you want some help in building Your Confidence Wall I’m offering you 45 minutes of my time for free.

You can book a call you can book a call here

*You can find out more about Kate Atkin (the speaker at the Conference) and her work on Imposter Phenomenon here

The post Are you really a fraud? appeared first on Karen Foyster | Life, Work & Small Business Coaching.

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