Today it is cold-not quite as cold as it is at the Winter Olympics, but nevertheless it is very cold. However, I am quite sure that Spring is already starting to show its sleepy head and brighter, warmer days are on the horizon.
I am a firm believer in hibernation and the fact that nature has definitely got the right attitude when it comes to dealing with the colder months of the year. But I am also an eternal optimist and believer in positivity as a tool for creating significant change in our lives.
Getting stuck is something that happens to all of us at one point in our lives or another, and the feeling of being seemingly unable to make any forward progress can cause us to either feel frustrated at our apparent stagnation or sometimes disappointed in ourselves and disenchanted with the hand that life has dealt us.
When we find ourselves stuck and unable to make any positive inroads into the life that we would really like to have, it is easy to give up and settle for what we have-convincing ourselves that good things only ever happen to other people, and that we will be forever on the outside looking in at everyone else’s seemingly perfect life.
Well here is the news my friends! Everyone else does NOT have a perfect life and we can all have the life we want if we are prepared to put the work in. It is increasingly harder to keep things in perspective in this age where every single minutiae of everyone’s life is shared on social media. It is easy to have envy, jealousy even, of the lives of sometimes complete strangers-people who we choose to measure our own lives against even though we have no connection with them. I would question why we invest so much in holding these people up as those we want to aspire to be-for the very reason that the perfect lives they appear to have are far from perfect.
In my book, having a purposeful and happy life with meaning and making a valuable contribution to your community does not equate to being the thinnest, riches, best dressed or perfect person that social media would have us believe. It means being authentic, real and honest and it means not giving up when we feel stuck but drawing on all the resilience and strength we have to get through those times by making positive plans for a brighter future that will bring us enormous rewards.
Take spring flowering bulbs as an example. We plant these dull, non descriptive and ugly brown lumps in the autumn-just as our gardens are planning their winter hibernation. And then we wait. We wait. And then we wait a bit more and then all of a sudden bright green, hopeful shoots start to emerge from the frozen brown soil like some kind of miracle. The cold weather does not deter nature from making a positive plan for the year ahead and neither should it deter you. The bulbs you see sprouting may appear to be making little progress and may even appear stuck but trust me-they have a plan and before you know it you will see the results of their plan-so now its time for you to make yours.
What are you waiting for?
Contact me today and book a no obligation coaching session with me for just £10 to see how I can help you to plan for a happy and authentic spring season and beyond.
As we hurtle towards the end of the year it is time to take stock and reflect on how our year has been. For many of us it will have been a ‘mixed bag’ of good, bad, happy and sad events but everything that has happened to us or around us will help shape what happens to us next.
By reflecting on what we have been through and the challenges we have faced we can take great strength and comfort that we are always continuing to grow. To make changes and move forward we need to have a clear pathway but we also need to reach levels of acceptance and develop resilience so that we can face challenges head on and turn them to our advantage rather than our disadvantage.
Many of the clients I am working with at the moment face daily challenges. They are rehabilitating from drug or alcohol addiction or from a life of crime and prison sentences. They are all doing well but their lives are hard. Many are full of regret, shame and fear for what will happen to them next. It is very difficult for them to see any of their challenges as positive but they are ALL doing really well as they work through the Write Your Life programme. Despite some initial resistance to the workshops they are embracing the idea of writing daily journals and creating mind maps and visions boards to help them focus on the future and give them impetus and motivation to keep moving forward. They are all setting goals for next year and beyond and I truly believe that with the support of the coaching they are all getting and by believing in themselves, they WILL achieve great things-we all have the capacity to make changes but we have to clear the clutter, define our goals and then believe in ourselves that we CAN do it.
My big goal for 2018 is to write the book of the Write Your Life coaching programme and create an online course to go with it. This way I can reach more people and help them to move forward with their lives by using the power and impact of writing, journaling and creativity.
So…there are my goals so far…get in touch and tell me yours.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Autumn has definitely arrived-tomorrow is Halloween, followed swiftly by bonfire night and before we know it, Christmas will be just around the corner.
This morning, here in Oxfordshire, we had our first frost of the season. My garden is still looking gorgeous with the last remaining blooms reaching out to enjoy a cold but blue sky day-it is day when we should all be glad to be alive and be out there taking in the air and enjoying a crisp autumnal walk-once this has been posted that is just what I will be doing!
I love autumn-I see it as a season of celebration. Quite apart from the bountiful fruits and vegetables that we are still enjoying, if the weather is bright and dry then surely we should see this as a positive. This morning I caught up with a friend-we both spotted a rambling rose bush that was still in flower with an abundance of gorgeous vintage pink blooms-it looked stunning against the blue sky as the sunshine bounced off its slightly crisp petals.
This was a visual treat and one that once the wet and cold of November kicks in will be a distant memory so I savoured it and enjoyed it in all its glory. My friend had another take on this and sighed-saying what a shame that summer was over and that soon there will be no flowers left until springtime. She saw this in a completely different way to me. While I saw the roses as a positive and uplifting seasonal punctuation to my morning, my friend saw it as a loss, a regret and something that made her feel low and lacking.
Autumn can be seen as the season that rids us of summer rather than the season that allows us to enjoy the final days of brightness before enjoying a period of rest and recuperation ready for spring. Nature is edging into a period of dormancy and consolidation and it is time for us to do that too. Rather than see this time of year as negative, we should take our lead from nature and conserve our energies and remove anything from our lives that will not serve us well in the future.
Self limiting beliefs can start to kick in more as the year progresses. We often feel tired, perhaps dread the cold and starkness that winter can represent and find it hard to deal with fewer daylight hours.
Instead of focusing on the perceived negatives of the season, grab your journal and write about the colours, the crispness and all that we have to be grateful for this autumn. Find joy in small pleasures-wrapping up in your favourite scarf or investing in some bright jewel-coloured knitwear, maybe treating your hands with a new luxurious hand cream or getting out and taking advantage of autumn light to take some fabulous photos. Take your coffee or hot chocolate or tea outside-wrap up warm and sit in the sunshine while you enjoy your warming beverage.
Stock up on logs for your woodburner, create delicious warming recipes and fill your home with candles, sumptuous blankets and throws and comfy cushions. Catch up on your reading and writing-and declutter!
Clearing your cupboards and drawers at this time of year is the ultimate therapy and clears the way for positive change in your life by giving you clarity and a new pathway to plan your goals for the coming months. So grab your notebook and start planning!
Set some short term goals, go through the process of decluttering and embrace all that autumn has to offer.
Are you a list lover? Do you have lists of lists or maybe even books of lists of lists? Personally, I am a bit of a fiend for a list! I love bullet points, ticks, different coloured pens, the odd doodle here and there and I REALLY love a mind map!
Just the thrill of making a list excites me-a clean sheet of paper or a beautiful new notebook and the perfect pen-what’s NOT to love! And as for the ticking off process-oh happy days! I remember a time when life was pretty tiresome for one reason or another and I was struggling just to get through the basic tasks of the day. Someone said to me “make a short list of simple tasks and try and complete one each day-you will feel much better.” Well it worked and now I use lists for all sorts of things but mostly for setting goals and personal development planning.
This week I have been working with a client who has hit a situation of list overwhelm. Although she also sees the huge benefits associated with list making and planning to set achievable goals, she has found that her lists are actually causing her stress rather than giving her clarity.
There are various reasons for this happening, one is connected with distraction, one with procrastination and another with hero syndrome. Sometimes when we are faced with challenging situations rather than grab life by the balls and deal with it, we don’t. Instead we find a million reasons to delay, distract, detract and deflect whatever it is that we really need to deal with.
This particular client has some big decisions to make around her career and job choices-she knows this because this is the very reason that she came to see me in the first place and signed up for some coaching. BUT-instead of applying herself to this she decided to make a long, complex list of things she must do-many of which actually related to things that don’t require any attention right now and one or two that are actually not her goals at all but someone else’s! As well as distracting herself from the real business of the day, my client is experiencing a bit of hero syndrome and feels responsible for sorting out things that actually are not her business.
This pathway is exhausting and will not help her to plan effectively for her goals. She is excited about making changes but has gone away this week to do a lot of decluttering and defining so that she can get back to using list making as a really useful part of the Write Your Life programme.
Are you a list maker? Would you like to know more about how you can use writing to change your life? Email me email@example.com for some free tips and to sign up to my monthly newsletter.
If you are anything like me (and I suspect you might be) you probably go through phases of having many, many ideas for ‘things’ you would like to do. Now, I am not talking leisure pursuits here (although they are good things to do anyway) I am talking about career development or business ideas.
Having lots of ideas is great-it shows that you have energy, dynamism, imagination, creativity and a desire for change, all of which are excellent character traits that will serve you well on your personal development journey. But-what happens when you find yourself in overwhelm or overload mode?
Often, when life is not quite working out the way we would like it to, we become very good at distracting ourselves from whatever the difficulty is. We do this by basically ignoring it, hoping that it will go away, and while we are pushing that particular challenge away we start to focus on something else-something new and exciting that will effectively distract us from the challenge that needs to be dealt with.
This challenge quickly grows a trunk and large ears and becomes the elephant in the room of your progress. It will sit there patiently day in and day out-waiting for you to acknowledge it and deal with it.
Here’s the thing about elephants-they are pretty massive and they can’t be hidden for ever.
The way I work with clients who come to me for personal development coaching is to tackle the clutter first and to do that we have to talk about what that clutter looks like. The clutter is the elephant in the room-whether you label it as a challenge, an issue, a difficulty or a massive pile of steaming crap-it is my friends undeniably clutter that will do a great job of stopping you from moving forward.
Trying to plot a positive path through life, setting goals along the way that will help you to achieve amazing things will NOT work if you do not deal with the clutter first-and all those brilliant ideas and notions that you keep having are just doing their best to divert your attention from what REALLY needs to be dealt with.
So the message today is this-continue to have your amazing ideas and write them down in your journal-then park them. Park them for as long as it takes you to de clutter whatever areas of your life need the most attention.
Here are three areas of your life for you to look at a decide if they need decluttering:
Physical decluttering-your home/office/car/handbag/briefcase-if you are surrounded by stuff you don’t need but are just hanging on to then it will drag you down and black your progress. Take one area at a time and tackle it.
Emotional decluttering-how is your self-belief system? Do you have doubts about your ability to change your life? Write down how you feel about the changes you want to make and identify any negative thoughts-then de clutter those thoughts and move on.
Friendships/relationships/colleagues: Negative people will drag you down-I am not suggesting you actually get rid of people in your life (although some of my clients have decided to end relationships and friendships) that is up to you, but if the people around you are not supporting you then acknowledge that and find people who will.
Having ideas is great-I have lots all the time but I have learned that the only way for me to reach my goals is to always return to de clutter mode first. Once I have clarity and can see a clear pathway forward I can pursue my new idea with vigour-make a plan and reach my goal without having to deal with any elephants blocking my way.
The first step towards personal development work is to declutter-only then can you effectively define your goals and start manifesting positive changes.
It is well documented that the daily act of writing a diary or journal can have a huge impact on personal development. Although for most of my clients, the prospect of HAVING to write something every day-ideally for 28 days to start with-can be pretty daunting. Yes, I do insist that they do it because I know how powerful a daily habit or ritual of writing can be and once they get into it-they generally love it and if they have a day off from journaling they actually miss it!
So why is writing such an effective tool in our personal development kit?
Here are a few reasons:
It focusses our minds and gives us a chance to write about what we are grateful for, how we feel and what we would like to be, do and have.
It gives our brains a rest from the digitised world we now live in.
It has a great meditative effect-helping us to stay calm, centred and in the moment.
My clients are introduced to my Write Your Life creative personal development coaching in the first session, and are given a lovely notebook to take away and start scribbling in. There is something special about a new notebook-full of possibilities, a place to jot down ideas, scribble illustrations and document how we feel.
Here are a few reasons I use the words CLEAR and WRITE to help my clients move forward:
C LEAR THE CLUTTER
L IVE WITH LOVE, AND LET GO OF LIMITING SELF BELIEFS
E DUCATE AND EMPOWER YOURSELF
A FFIRM POSITIVELY
R ECEIVE POSITIVE CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE
W HAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK?
R ETHINK YOUR PRIORITIES AND REFRESH YOUR ATTITUDE
I NSPIRE POSITIVE ACTIONS
T ELL YOURSELF THAT YOU CAN DO THIIS!
E NERGISE YOUR GOAL SETTING WITH EMPOWERING PERSPECTIVE AND EFFECTIVE ACTIONS
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