I was inspired to write this blog after watching X-factor. Now I know a lot of you have watched X-factor many times but I have to admit this is the first year I have really got into it. All I can say is that I am humbled by the bravery and passion of the contestants, and surprised that I actually like Simon Cowell.

We live in a society of prejudice where we judge others by what we see, what they wear, where they come from, what accent they have – but do we ever really know their story and who they really are? If we did would we change our minds?

Every week when I come into London I love to walk with my earphones on and just observe all around me as I wonder who they really are. Where they grew up, what their parents were like – if they even knew their parents – what their dreams are.

I am sure there are few that can say they never watched Susan Boyle auditioning for the X-factor. I went on to buy two of her albums as well as reading her biography as I really was moved by here bravery and the power of her voice.

If you didn’t see her then maybe you saw Paul Potts, the mobile phone salesman from Wales or you saw the latest audition in Wembley where a mother was entered by her 12 year old son who believed in her. Simon Cowell’s comment was that it was like she had swallowed someone else who just sang out with a voice so strong – it took a 12 year old boy to see what no others had seen. Never forget the impact you have on your children and how much they love and believe in you – they are your biggest fans and you never know you might just find yourself entered on a talent show.

One of the biggest reasons people look for a life coach is to build their confidence. A coach can’t make you confident, all we do is see the brave person inside. We champion and support you so you feel able to truly connect with your inner strength and believe that you are ok just as you are.

Sometimes all we need is for someone else to believe in us and tell us it is ok. I find it so humbling to see these awkward shy people up on stage in front of thousands (something I don’t think I could do) and when they open their mouths, we are not only silenced by what comes out, but emotionally moved as we realise we are all connected on the inside. That is the magic of music – there is no discrimination – just melody.

Next time you see someone who you have a negative view on – take a moment to wonder what their story is and how you would feel if they started to sing for you…

There is no escaping the array of red roses, hearts, chocolates and the endless emails and adverts suggesting what to give your loved one on the 14th February.

Love it or hate it – Valentines Day comes around every year and our attitude towards it depends very much on our personal circumstances. I thought this month, rather than focus on how many roses you may or may not get, use the date to look at who you are in relationships.

One of my key drivers for wanting to coach women was seeing too many not knowing their self worth, especially in their relationships. I am a firm believer that relationships are about equality – not measured in income, but in respect.

I find it sad that many women lose themselves in relationships. This happens as a result of not being true to ourselves as to what we want, and trying to change to suit the other person, as we think this will make them happy. The opposite is what actually creates strong relationships – being honest and authentic, and most importantly brave enough to know your worth and to not change to suit another, but to only improve as a result of being in that relationship.

One and one at the very least needs to add up to two. Relationships require constant effort and energy to keep them alive and thriving so why enter into a life long commitment that isn’t going to enhance your life?

The March edition of Psychologies magazine highlights some key points, which I thought, were worth sharing when it comes to being in a relationship. So whether you are married, in a long term relationship or single, think about the points below and if you don’t have anyone to buy you flowers on the big heart love day then buy your own – at least you will get exactly what you want and see it as a gift of love to yourself.

You don’t need another to complete you if you remember the following:

  1. Be Authentic – don’t pretend to be someone else.
  2. Bring romance to your friendships – enjoy your friends more so the focus isn’t just on your relationship.
  3. Bring friendship to your romances – take the pressure off by just having fun as you would with any friend.
  4. Meditate/pray – what ever your belief system, by spending time alone or in prayer you will discover that you have enough love within you and you don’t need to look for it in another.
  5. Forgive – don’t bring baggage from the past into the present as it is only destructive and prevents you from moving forward to the happiness you deserve.

A friend once said to me – ‘be true to yourself and you will have the happiness you deserve’. I have never forgotten those words as it was only when I was happy in myself that I started honouring my self worth and that was when I met my husband. Love really is out there for all of us to have and to hold.

It is safe to say that I have been experiencing ‘Bloggers Block’ for the last few months but I really appreciated the number of requests I had for more blogging so hopefully I am back.

I have had a very interesting last few months, a combination of highs and lows resulting from forced change and the mixed emotions it all brought up.

I had been living in my dream house for the last almost two years, and to be honest I could have lived there forever. It spoke so much to my biggest value of nature. Being able to sit quietly in our own wood sipping a glass of red wine at dusk waiting for the badgers to come out was truly a rare opportunity that I am not sure many ever get to experience, and one I am not sure I will have again. To have groups of wild deer crossing the driveway in the misty, cold winter mornings and to know that life was going on around me in perfect harmony always grounded me. I guess I forgot that it wasn’t really mine and at some point it was going to end.

Change seems to be the biggest challenge for people. Our natural instinct is to resist it, rather than embrace it. My recent experience of forced changed reiterated the importance of enjoying each and every moment so when something does end we can walk away without regret.

It has also taught me not to get too attached. By this I don’t mean hold back, but make sure you are able to open your hand and let go when the time comes. For the most part we have very little control over life despite thinking otherwise. It is often only when we experience forced change that we realise this. What we can control though is how we react to change.

We can’t stop that company making us redundant if they decide to restructure. We can’t stop someone ending a relationship with us if they decide they are no longer in love with us and we can’t stop someone dying when they have a terminal illness. When we think we are in control we often drift along not really being conscious of our lives and it takes forced change for us to learn to live more mindfully. I was sad that such a beautiful time in my life was over but I am grateful I was able to experience it in the first place.

I am now in another lovely house and mindful of the fact that I am only ‘visiting’ and so I am seeing each experience as just that. It is also time to commit to England being our home for how ever long that might be.

‘If my life is for rent and I don’t learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Cos nothing I have is truly mine’  – Dido

How many of you woke up today excited because it is Tuesday?

While there might well be something exciting happening for you today  – I am talking Tuesdays in general. It is an almost forgotten day of the week as it is isn’t the beginning, middle or the end.

Thursdays are great because they are going out nights as you only have to get through Friday, but what do we do with a Tuesday – apart from hoping it passes quickly and then we can say we are half way through the week and that much closer to the much loved week-end?

A lot of coaching is about re-framing how we see and feel about things. I tried this little exercise last week of reframing the way I think about the days of the week. Rather than just seeing them as days of the week I gave them themes. This meant that an arbitrary day like Tuesday became a tantalising, tasty and exotic day.

I decided I needed a word that excited me and triggered my senses. I spent the day really focusing on my five senses and it made such a difference. A normal day became a really interesting one with many things I previously didn’t notice as, like a lot of people, I was so focused on just getting to the end of the day and then I would be half way through the week.

So why not give it a try and make Tuesdays your sensory day – starting with today. Of course if you happen to read this on any other day then that is not to day that day can’t be your sensory day.

  • When someone is talking to you today – listen that much more intently to what they are saying – really hear them.
  • As you eat your lunch – take time to really taste the food with more intensity than you normally would.
  • What ever you touch today – really feel it.
  • What ever you look at today – really see it. Try looking at it from a different angle to what you would normally.
  • If you see any roses today – make sure you stop and smell them.
  • Lastly – what ever you say today – say it with conscious intent and really mean it.

Today is all about connecting with your senses and making every Tuesday a tantalising sensory day and no longer just that poor day wedged between Monday and Wednesday.

 

 

I’ve just got back from skiing and two things really struck me.

1)   Adults stop at the top of the slope spending ages peering down it.
2)   Kids just go straight down.

FEAR – ‘an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger’

– Oxford English Dictionary.

One of the things I love about skiing is watching the way little kids go down a mountain – totally relaxed and without fear. We seem to lose these characteristics as we get older. We invariably become more uptight and less fun – who said fun is just for kids?

What would be possible if you approached life like a 5 year old going down a ski run – arms outstretched, totally relaxed and not worrying about what might happen.

The longer we stand at the top of a slope the more fearful we become as our minds start to think of all the things that can go wrong. This only makes us stiffen up and invariably the law of attraction comes into play and we fulfill our fearful prophecies as we go tumbling down or worse, break a leg.

The challenge for all of us is to trust in our ability more and to let go of our saboteurs who are intent on holding us back.

It is never too late to address fear and once it is conquered there is no going back. We are all capable of skiing like a 5 year old so don’t wait any longer to take on that slope that you have been staring agonizing down fearing the worst.

Put your arms out, take a deep breath and just go for it!

Suggested reading: Taming your Gremlin by Rick Carson.

Are you on top of your personal admin and up to speed with your finances?

Do you know what your situation would be should you suddenly find yourself alone – either through death or divorce? Not nice to imagine but to have no clue should be even more unimaginable.

You might be thinking that this blog sounds more like an advert for life assurance or financial planning but I have been really surprised when talking to women recently how many haven’t got a clue as to what their situation would be should their husband/partner not be there anymore.


How come simple questions like these are not being asked – what sort of life assurance policies do we have? Will the mortgage be paid off? Is there hidden small print that says if we claim on one policy it cancels out another? What happens to the children should something happen to both of us?

Have you got wills in place and if not why not? Do you have a Living Will or will you be for evermore on life support? What investments do you have and when do they vest? How do you access them? Where are all the passwords? Who would you need to call and will your bank account be frozen? What will you live on when you are old?

Men and women are meant to be equal today so how come so many women still leave it up to their husbands/partners to deal with the finances and personal admin?

Death or divorce brings such grief and stress in its own right – to add financial uncertainty and surprise to the mix is just bad planning.

If as you read this you realise you don’t know what your situation is then make it a priority to find out. You will either be pleasantly surprised or downright shocked. Either way it will ensure you are in the driving seat when it comes to your personal admin and financial security going forward.

From April I will be running a light-hearted and enjoyable morning workshop giving women a simple step-by-step guide on what they need to do to get on top of their personal and financial admin. All you need to do is spend one morning with me and you will walk away feeling confident that you know exactly what you need to do to ensure you are going to be on top of things.

Only a few weeks to go…

Time seems to be going faster with each passing year (it certainly never went this quickly when I was at school…)

What did you say you would achieve this year that you are now going to roll over into 2012?  While I love good intentions – sadly most people haven’t achieved in December what they set out to in January.

I learnt at a recent public speaking course that people are generally able to retain three key messages at any given time. Below are what I believe are the three key actions that will define whether your intention becomes a reality or remains for ever more on that ‘to do’ list.

Number 1: Make a maximum of 3 resolutions for 2012.

That way you have a much better chance at success and will feel like you are in the winning seat, rather than feeling like you are never achieving.  If you have less to achieve you can dedicate more time and energy to achieving it.

Number 2: Write it down.

Until you commit your resolution to paper it just remains a thought. Once you can see it then it starts to become real and you can begin taking action.

Number 3: Keep the resolution SMART.

(Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time based). The only way to really achieve something is to define it, be able to measure it; and create realistic goals and deadlines in order to make it happen.

Rather than making lots of resolutions – resolve to make 2012 a year of action with maximum impact.

Have a fantastic Festive Season and I will be in touch again next year…

I have been thinking about the concept of discipline and I am coming to the conclusion that it is the key to success.

Think of a sports star – what makes them a star? While I agree they need to have a certain amount of natural talent, I believe it is their discipline to spend hours training that takes them to the top of their game.

Think of someone in great physical shape – they have the discipline to eat healthily and to exercise regularly. They aren’t always just lucky to have a fast metabolism as some might say.

Think of someone who gets good results in their exams – they have the discipline to study. They aren’t always just naturally bright.

Think of someone who is organized – they have the discipline to stay on top of personal admin.

Think of a Buddhist monk – they have the discipline to get up before dawn and meditate. I can go on but I am sure you can think of your own examples of people you consider to be successful – they didn’t just get that way through luck. While I don’t dispute that luck, natural talent or high IQ’s and EQ’s exist, without discipline they wouldn’t be there with the best of the best.

Now I know most of you are not necessarily wanting to go down the monk route or planning on playing in the next world cup, but if we could all be more disciplined in certain aspects of our lives, think how much more we could all achieve.

Some of you reading this might be saying that it isn’t always about improving ones’ ability, but being more disciplined can simply enable one to enjoy things more. I know if I was more disciplined to train regularly on my bike I would have a level of fitness that enabled me to enjoy every ride with my fellow club members – whether it be the regular 30miles or the occasional 100miles.

Think of areas in your life that if you practiced just a little bit more discipline how it might enhance your life.  Changing a small thing like opening your mail on a daily basis can allow you to be more in control of your personal admin and avoid any nasty surprises when you realise your tax return is late…