Every now and again we have the opportunity to see the world through different eyes. Mine has been the last 2 weeks through our new puppy.

One of the key skills you learn as a coach is curiosity and the power of perspective. We all see the world in a certain way but coaching reminds us that there are many ways to see the same situation.

The power of curiosity is about stepping back and just observing through eyes different to your own – a puppy’s or a young child are great perspectives to try, as everything is new and exciting – without judgment or history. It is the rawness of this perspective that excites me as it is for the very first time when there is no previous experience or awareness.

What perspective do you tend to find yourself mostly in? What opportunities do you think might be available to you if you approached your life with a puppy’s eyes?

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…

 

If we knew what lay around the corner would we behave differently? Would we say the thing we wanted to but our stubborn pride or sense of principle stopped us?

Would we say sorry or would we forgive?

Would we make that change we had been thinking about but were too scared to or thought we could put off until another day? Would we call that person we had been avoiding? Would we get our house in order so there was no mess for others to sort out?

If you had been a passenger on MH370 or MH17 what would you have done differently if you had known there was going to be no hello?

I wrote a blog a few years ago about the Fragility of Life – we really do walk a fine line each day so make sure you don’t have any regrets…

Thinking of all those who said good-bye but never got the chance to say hello again.

When I first moved to London and joined the world of commuting someone told me that those who walk up escalators go after life and those who stand wait for life to come to them…

Being someone who always thought they went after life – I was never going to stand on an escalator after hearing that. No matter how hard my heart was beating I would never let it show as I glided up the moving steps feeling virtuous over my fellow commuters who were waiting for life.

It was only the other day – almost 20 years later – that I decided to stand on the escalator and watch who walked, and who stood to see if there really was anything in this statement. I noticed two things: – the walkers always looked stressed and in a rush and those standing were either looking at phones, listening to music (or both), eating (yes lots do eat on the escalator) or talking or laughing with someone. So are they really waiting for life to come to them, or are they just the patient, calmer ones actually being in the moment? Is this really how we measure success and ambition in our society – by the speed at which we move along, versus those who take time to enjoy the journey?

Maybe as we get older we move from the left side of the escalator to the right side and it is about taking time to notice what is around us and not just being focused on getting to the top as quickly as possible.

So do you walk or stand on an escalator?

Unless you live under a rock or have zero interest in the Olympics you will definitely have been talking about Oscar Pistorius and like most people, be asking the question – ‘what happened?’

How does a young South African, who became the first paralympian to compete in an able-bodied race in the 2012 Olympics, go from being a national hero to standing in a dock with his head hung low accused of murdering his beautiful girlfriend? Is this another case of just a jealous guy with a dark side who can’t control his temper or really a tragic accident? 

We have now seen so many sporting stars who we think are special because of what they have achieved in the sporting arena, only to discover the real truth behind the likes of Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and now The Blade Runner.

Do we ever really know anyone? When someone is beautiful or has acting or sporting talent, why do we put them on some sort of pedestal to be admired with the belief that they are not capable of any wrongdoing?

Is Oscar really just a very angry man who had a tough upbringing and had to always compensate for the loss of his lower limbs or could this event have happened to anyone?

If he is found guilty of murder then how do we feel about him? Does it take away all that we thought was impressive and brave or do we see him as two separate halves – the man who ran before us or the murderer? The fact that even the Hollywood Oscars are being overshadowed by this case shows just how affected the world is by seeing someone go from hero to villain.

It doesn’t sit well when you find out something that you thought was – isn’t. How can we ever be sure who someone really is and should we try to know them or should we keep a distance and focus on what they do – not who they are?

When you are feeling grey – go Fifty Shades greyer…

Why is it that a book about S&M and bondage is having women all over the world literally squirming in their seats as they excitedly hang on every word about what Christian Grey is doing and going to do next to Anastasia?

What is it saying about society that we as women are all obsessed with reading how a woman can be submissive and totally controlled by a dominant and clearly very disturbed man – does this really turn us on?

I bought this book for my latest holiday which I have to say was the perfect accompaniment to the hot Sicilian sunshine and the Italian passion for love of life. There is no denying that this is a great read and will spice up anyone’s relationship.

However, the other side of the coin is what are younger readers going to do with this information? I was talking to a doctor yesterday who said there is growing concern amongst mothers whose daughters – as young as 15 – are reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Is this how the next generation are going to view sex – that it is all kinks, doms, subs and vanilla is out?

Below is a real life account of a woman who found herself in the situation of being a submissive and the harrowing effect thereof. The reality is we need wisdom and life experience to know the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy sexual relationship and what our boundaries are.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2174824/Fifty-Shades-Of-Grey-Real-life-Anastasia-Steele-warns-dangers-abusive-relationship.html

When it comes to coaching women I find the essence of all issues stems from how they value themselves. How then can women have good self-esteem and self worth when they allow themselves to be in situations where they are dominated and treated as a sex toy?

If women find themselves voluntarily entering into relationships where they put the man as a dominant figure that can surely only lead to further issues of lack of self worth and diminishing self respect often resulting in depression and self deprecating behaviour such as drugs and alcohol.

When it comes to the Fifty Shades Trilogy – enjoy the fantasy and take out of it what ever you deem to be healthy and fun remembering that there is always a fine line in life…

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.

 

 

This blog isn’t your obvious championing of life, but rather about the raw fragility of it….

It is a tribute to a close friend of mine who has sadly lost his long and very brave fight against a vicious and ever so cruel cancer. Only those who have experienced cancer first hand can appreciate what it is like to watch someone literally disappear before your eyes. Where once a strong person stood, a mere, and hardly recognisable, shell remains on that final day.

Death of someone our own age leaves us confused as to what we should be doing with our lives, as it could have been any one of us. Why the good ones are taken is possibly explained by a belief system, but for most, it just isn’t fair. Why would God take a hard working, fun, loyal and loving husband and father of two young children? A five year old doesn’t even know what death is.

I experienced death first hand when I lost my mother to cancer. She was only 2 years older than I am now when she got cancer. When it was happening she seemed so much older. Now we are there we realise how very young being 40-something really is. I suspect it is the same in each decade.

None of us know how long our journey is meant to be or what is in store for us, but it is never to early to do your bucket list and make sure when the day comes you can say ‘I lived my life without regret‘.

Take a moment to look at your life and ask yourself if you are truly living life without regret, and if you are happy with where you are and what you have achieved. If not, then do something about it.

In memory of Craig Ross Junior who died 6 January 2012.

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…

 

You can count on me like 123…

I love the song Count on Me by Bruno Mars. It makes me feel good and I think about my friends when I listen to it. I think about how they support me and I look at how I support them and what I can do to be a better friend. We are all so busy today (too busy in fact), but that just seems to be the speed the world is moving at right now. A close friend who is going through a really tragic time said to me that she doesn’t feel like anyone has really been there for her. A client said to me that her friend just doesn’t seem to have time for her anymore.

What is friendship?

What does ‘being there’ for a friend mean?

Who will you call when you need a friend?

Who do you think will call you – will you be there when they do call?

I am reading a really interesting book called ‘Is That All There Is?’ by Julia Neuberger who is a female Jewish Rabbi. She talks about Facebook and what the term ‘friends’ means. I always find it fascinating how many people seem to have so many ‘friends’ and yet they seem inherently lonely. Are we deluding ourselves that we have a support group because we are all connected online? What happens when we actually need people to give of their time and to be there to do things for us – things that take time and can’t be done in a few minutes on Facebook, Twitter, MSN and the rest….

Count how many friends you really do have – they always say if you can count them on one hand you are rich in friendship. If you have more than 5 really true friends then know you are lucky and remember to make time for them as true friendship is pretty special.

Now go and enjoy Bruno Mars.