An experienced Coach, you’ll find me professional and non-judgemental, approachable yet challenging, with a track record of helping people achieve lasting, positive change. I am accredited as a professional Coach by the Association for Coaching – probably the only accredited AC Coach in Nottingham.
How would it be to be the director of your life, not just the participant?
One of the greatest joys for me as a coach is to witness clients moving from a place of resigned participation to one of positive choice and action. There are few things more depressing and overwhelming than feeling you have little control over what’s happening in your life, or work. Yet to grasp things with both hands, choose what you want to change and achieve, and get out there and do exactly that is awe-inspiring and wonderful.
Be the Director
Let me give you a couple of examples.
Our daughter was approaching her GCSEs with the prospect of a long summer post-exams ahead of her with little to achieve or do. She wanted some form of summer job but didn’t know where or how to start finding one.
She could have scoured the job advertisements for openings, but that might have taken lots of time and may have led nowhere. After all, she was inexperienced, young, and only wanted work for a few months over the summer.
So she took charge of finding something herself. Armed with an updated CV, an introductory letter, and ideas about where she could reasonably travel to and might be of interest, she knocked on doors. Lots of them. She asked to speak to managers. Dressed smartly, she introduced herself and said what she could offer and the sort of work she was looking for. She ended up with 3 jobs. Not bad for her first employment!
Then there’s my client who wanted to buy a house with her new husband. She had clear ideas of the sort of home she wanted – what it would look like, how big, where it would be and so on. Hours of checking out estate agents and websites were in prospect. She may have found the perfect house. Or she could have become demoralised as week after week her perfect home didn’t materialise.
Instead, she and her husband put together a letter introducing themselves and what they were looking for. They took the letters round to properties they liked in the areas they’d chosen, that weren’t yet on the market, and handed them out individually. They’re now part way through buying their lovely new home.
We can sit and wait hopefully. We can resign ourselves to our fate. Put up with things that don’t work for us or make us unhappy.
Or we can choose to be proactive. To make things happen. Take charge and be the director of our lives.
Want to change job or career? Go and make it happen!
Like a new home? Go and find one!
Want a better life? Go and create it!
I’d love to know any examples of when you’ve done this – made things happen, rather than hoping they’ll change – and how it worked for you. One thing is sure. You will have a boost having just had a go.
Work out what kind of life you want, then take steps towards it.
Instead of Doris Day’s “Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be” how about Wayne Gretzky’s “Just remember, 100% of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.”
I’ve compiled a 7-minute video to answer some of the questions I’m often asked about coaching – What is coaching? Why use a coach? What happens in coaching? How long does a coaching programme last? How much does it cost? What results can I expect?
What is Coaching? - YouTube
I hope you find it interesting and helpful.
Get in touch with any questions or to set up a chat. It will be great to hear from you!
It’s been a tough time. My Dad died a few weeks ago, and the sadness – and busy-ness – has engulfed us.
Yet, in between the moments of darkness, there has been much to find joy in. The coming of Spring. Blue skies. Gardens filling with life and colour. Even messages of warmth, and fond memories from people that knew my father. And flowers. Lots of flowers.
Tomorrow is International Day of Happiness. It’s also my birthday. How fabulous is that? To combine a birthday with a day to celebrate happiness! Even in the midst of grief, it is possible to find the positive and the joy.
Yet sometimes we humans seem hard-wired to only notice the negative or the difficult. We home in on the things that have happened to us that are unfair. We notice the mistakes we’ve made. We fear things that might go wrong even when we cannot know that they will.
Look a bit closer, and usually there’s another story. We start to see the things that have gone well. The ways in which we have found pleasure. The bright future that awaits us, if we change our approach or attitude.
It’s a funny thing. This world is full of pain, grief, conflict and suffering. It’s also full of positivity, happiness, pleasure and joy.
Like an optical illusion, it just depends which way you look at it.
This is about finding work that honours and fulfils you. If you’re unhappy in your current job, this is for you.
We can drift through school and college or university, and find ourselves in a job. Or perhaps we’re pushed there by parents or teachers. Then, further down the line, we realise we’re not happy. We’re not doing what we really want to do.
Finding work you’ll love is about discovering the intersection of 3 important ingredients – what you enjoy, what helps you feel appreciated, and what feels worthwhile. Awareness of those 3 elements hits the sweet spot of work you’ll love.
It is about creating a vision for yourself that is not influenced by parents, teachers, or your own inner gremlin about what’s possible.
What do you enjoy?
First work out what motivates you and brings you energy:
what do you love to do?
which skills do you enjoy using?
what are your strengths (that come naturally to you without much effort)
what gives you energy, makes your heart sing?
who are you when you are not holding yourself back?
which elements of the above do you wish to bring to your work?
When do you feel appreciated?
Work out what makes you feel appreciated:
positive feedback? From whom – your boss? peers? partner? yourself?
what motivates you at work? e.g. leadership, challenge, people management, producing a product, being of service, money, team working, creativity, flexibility, freedom
what needs to be the case for you to feel appreciated? right organisational culture? attitude/approach of your boss? own positive self-talk?
What makes work feel worthwhile?
Finally work out what makes your work feel worthwhile:
making a difference? How? To whom?
feeling your work fits with your values? What are they?
feeling your work fits your life purpose? What are you here for?
what do you want to look back on when you’re 95?
what would be your ideal life? What (personal and professional) future do you want to create for yourself?
Finding work you’ll love
A word about money.
It’s very easy to be led by that and the apparent need to earn ever more. But there’s only so much we need to earn. Often we don’t even know exactly what income we need – we simply haven’t done the maths.
What’s more, it’s easy for a more expensive lifestyle to feel needed because it ‘props up’ unfulfilling or stress work e.g. paying for ready meals, gym membership or regular holidays, simply to cope with the demands of your job.
do you want to die rich but unhappy?
what would you change or decide if you had all the money you need?
Work out your realistic budget – what you need to pay for and what must come in to cover that. Then make your decisions based on reality, and from a feast rather than famine mentality.
Once you’ve worked out the intersection of the 3 elements – what you enjoy, what means you feel appreciated, and what makes work feel worthwhile – it’s about having the confidence and courage to take your first steps to your new future. Confidence to:
not hold yourself back
find out what’s out there
knock on doors
present yourself to the appropriate people in the best way
turn your thinking into action and change
make the work you’ll love become a reality
Read more about finding work you’ll love here and here.
You can find the work you’ll love. It’s about working out what that is for you, and then going for it!
Get in touch if you want some professional support in helping you find work you’ll love.
I wonder if you’ve kicked off your year setting yourself a challenge? Dry January perhaps? Losing weight or getting fit? Taking more exercise? Seeing more people?
If you have, congratulations!
The idea of making your challenge last 30 days is a great one, and you can take it on at any time. It changes something that might feel impossible with no ‘end date’ to something you could see your way to achieving. Bringing it down to size.
Like the saying about eating an elephant – one bite at a time. Eating an elephant sounds a phenomenal task (not that I’d ever want to try!) But if you take one bite at a time, suddenly an almost impossible task becomes possible.
Once you’ve started, its easier to continue and complete the task – one bite at a time – working out what your next step is at each point.
What might be your 30 day challenge?
There’s plenty of focus on getting fit and healthy, especially after a festive season of excess. But I wonder what else might have a big impact on your life (and on those around you)?
Working out how you want to spend your next 10 or 20 years?
Connecting more with friends and family?
Building new hobbies or activities?
What about a digital detox?
Recently I was watching a programme about twins which showed that even having our phones near to us can have a negative impact on our IQ. It’s already been proven that the use of phones and other digital devices disrupts our sleep, compromises our concentration, interferes with our relationships, and mars our sense of happiness and wellbeing. Yet we often find ourselves checking phones, emails, and social media regularly throughout the day every day.
What would be the impact if you were to set yourself a 30-day digital detox challenge?
I’d guess it could lead to
improved focus and concentration
and you’ll feel happier
What’s more, with more time to spend connecting with friends and family, science shows you’ll have less illness, your risk of heart disease will lower, and your mental capacity will reduce less as you age. In fact, with greater happiness and wellbeing, you can even lengthen your life span (and you’ll be happier and healthier living that life!)
How do you go about a digital detox?
Well, it’s up to you. Any improvement can make a difference – remember that elephant? But here are some ideas:
decide when you will detox – every evening, each weekend, between certain times of the day
schedule this in your diary – set alerts, remind yourself, so you commit to it and know it will happen
plan what you’ll do with your new-found time – with family or friends, getting outside, new activities
avoid temptation – switch off and put away your devices
enjoy the difference – notice the impact, savour your improved relationships and wellbeing
decide if this is important enough to continue beyond 30 days – and plan that in
Happy New Year! I hope it’s a really positive and healthy one for you.
I’ve recently been sorting through some stuff I’ve collected over the years, including some fabulous, inspirational quotes that speak wisdom on a variety of topics. Some are just too good to miss. I’d love to share them with you today to help you kick off your year positively.
When life gets tough
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.
Building confidence and self-belief
You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.
Glinda (The Wizard of Oz )
If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.
When you are down on yourself
Don’t try to think less of yourself…try to think of yourself less.
Handling life’s knocks
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.
Dealing with failure
Failure is the only opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
Reaching your potential
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.
Just remember, 100% of the shots you don’t take, don’t go in.
Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.
Sometimes you have to turn the page to realise there is more to your book of life than the page you’re stuck on.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Achieving your goals
It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.
If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh
On being you
The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.
When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough. If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.
On looking after yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.
Living your life
The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating.
Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
I wonder which ones speak to you?
There are many more ideas to help you thrive in my blog including:
Once you stop sabotaging yourself with unhelpful self-talk, identify and deal with other elements that get in the way, and plan and create your own momentum, you can and will overcome your procrastination.
And if you would like any professional support along the way, just get in touch.
I had a client whose ‘gremlin’ sat on her shoulder, koala-like, digging its sharp claws into her skin and whispering endless put-downs to her. “You won’t be able to do that”, “You’re going to fail”, “You’ll look stupid”, on and on.
I wonder whether you also have a gremlin? A voice that tries to do you down, that wipes away your abilities and confidence, that holds you back?
Many of us do, it appears. But why is it there and what can we do about it?
How do we prevent it getting in the way of confidently greeting the challenges we face and being our best selves?
Why your gremlin?
It’s almost always the case that our gremlin has been there for some time (years even). He’s been sneakily chipping away at our confidence and determination. It’s a form of self-preservation, keeping us ‘safe’.
It goes something like this…
You have an important presentation to do for work. You’ve made presentations successfully before. But inside you can hear a voice saying: “You’ll dry up. You’ll look stupid. You’ll get tongue-tied. You’ll fluff what you want to say. People will think you’ve failed. You’ll think you’ve failed…”
Then the nerves start. You feel anxious and stressed just thinking about the forthcoming presentation. You dream up all sorts of embarrassing failures in your head. The nerves make things feel worse. Your gremlin has a field day. Now you know you’ll fail. Perhaps you’ll dream up some excuse for why you can’t do it, or even go off sick…
Great! It’s worked. Now you don’t have to do the presentation. Thing is, there will be more. Each time you go round the same circle, get more nervous, and put off your chance of success. And you feel worse about yourself each time you put it off and don’t step up to the plate.
What can you do about your gremlin?
Chances are, you’ve already started. Just by reading this, you may have identified the gremlin that you give room to. Simply noticing your gremlin, and the tricks he (or she) plays, mean you are in a position of power. Power means choice. Choice means you can choose to do something different.
Recognising your gremlin, and how he tries to undermine your success, allows you to take control of your thoughts. You can then choose to think differently about your challenges.
Once you notice your gremlin at work, you can silence him. The client I mentioned chose to imagine a cage in the corner of the room. That’s were she put him, then locked him in and kept the key.
Sounds ridiculous? Maybe, But it worked. The gremlin himself was imaginary, yet he played havoc with her confidence. So creating an imaginary cage to lock him in allowed her to take his claws out of her shoulder, and to walk away from his jibes.
Your gremlin is often built on very flimsy evidence. Perhaps you once fluffed one presentation. Perhaps once or twice you had some negative feedback from a presentation you gave. Maybe you could have given a recent presentation better. So what? We’re all human. We cannot always operate at the top of our ability.
Yet, there may be many occasions when your presentations have been at least adequate and maybe even good. Perhaps not for you own exacting standards, but for the vast majority. It’s easy to draw a negative conclusion from one or two instances and then ignore all the positives.
Once you have silenced, or at least recognised your power over your gremlin, you can then use your thoughts to help, rather than hinder you. Instead of listening to your gremlin, what would you like to hear? What would be helpful for you so you achieve success? What might even be more truthful?
This might be: “You can do it!” Or “If I prepare, remind myself of when it has gone well, and then just do my best, I will be fine.” Or “Remember that presentation I gave to x that went well? I can do that well again”.
The great thing is that every time you silence your gremlin, and choose more helpful thoughts, your chance of success grows. Similarly each little success leads to more chance of success. Your comfort zone grows and you are able to take on more and more challenges confidently.
So, go recognise and silence your gremlin. Remember the awesomeness of you. And go and be great!