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The Life I Could Have Lived

January 12, 2017

Maybe it’s because it’s because it’s the beginning of a new year. It could be because I had a pretty big milestone birthday at the end of last year. Perhaps it’s the fact that my eldest is leaving for university later this year. Maybe I just need to eat more greens! Whatever it is, I’m in a fairly reflective mood.  

It’s inevitable at some times isn’t it, to consider the person you could have been? What if I’d turned a different corner? Gone to university at 18 instead of 40, how would that have made my life different? In that life, would I have had my kids earlier or later? Would I have had them at all? What about the ONE who might have been? Would I have worked harder to sort that out? Would I have married the man I chose, remained single or would there have been someone else? The friendships that fell away alongside house and work moves. The friends I have now, would they still be there? We perhaps may have met in some parallel universe? The job, the career, was as my becoming a coach inevitable? All roads leading to Rome?

  The lives that might have been, the choices we didn’t make, would they have made me a different person or would I just be a different version of the same me?  

We lie awake at night contemplating the options, sometimes giving ourselves a metaphorical kick, as we view a portion of our past with nostalgia or regret and wish we had acted in a different way. Other times remembering the nerve of my youth, I wonder where that girl went? Was she replaced by choices, or did I just grow up and grow into the woman I am now?

  I wonder if these lives are presented like doors off a corridor. Choosing and then opening that door, being akin to walking through the back of the wardrobe into a whole new Narnia? Is that how this works?  

I suppose the answer is that none of us knows and not to confuse reflection with melancholy, I’m largely more than happy with the way things have turned out. Sure I’d give a couple of tweaks here and there, but who wouldn’t? And who knows what I’d have got in return? I’m not looking over my shoulder with regret, it’s just that sometimes, like the rest of us, I wonder…

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Are you ready? Not quite? Almost?

January 5, 2017

Jools Holland was on the telly, the champagne was open, the streamers ready. Cut to Big Ben, the familiar chimes start and the first BONG of 2017 rings out to millions of houses across the UK. Cheers, jubilance and excitement. A whole 12 months of exciting plans…

Except I’m not quite sure I’m ready, I’m not sure my plans are finished and my feet aren’t quite on the starting blocks.

I’m feeling the pressure to pull a “whole new me,” out of the bag and to attack each day. To fizz and sparkle and to sprinkle it everywhere.

We do this though don’t we? Put ourselves under huge amounts of stress, to be more, say more, do more, than we did in the previous year. We spend the last few days of December looking at all the things that have gone wrong in the last 12 months and then make a vow to put them all right in one fell swoop come the first of the first.

So, let me say that again…. Having spent several days of the Christmas holiday telling ourselves what an almighty cock-up we have made of the previous 365 days, we promise ourselves we will rectify the whole situation as of midnight.

Overwhelm? Much? My head hurts even thinking about it, and that’s without the champagne! So when you ask if I’m ready, I’m going to say, I’m thinking about being ready. No, that isn’t to say that I don’t have goals, ideas and plans, of course I do. I’m taking this planning shit seriously. However, I’ve no interest in the knee jerk reaction of resolutions, the pressure or the overwhelm and the feeling of failure come the end of January, as yet again I realise I tried to do too much. Sound familiar?

Plans, moves forwards, goals, life changes, whatever you want to call them, are all about the next smallest step. Sure I have grand ideas of where I’d like to be this time in 2018, but for now, I’m going to concentrate on the small stuff.

I’m going to concentrate on showing up. Because the smallest thing can also be the most difficult. Following your heart, your dreams and your goals with the tiny steps that it takes for change to take place, is all about showing up. It’s all about persistence, it’s about showing up each day rather than giving up. It’s about taking the crappy days and still walking, even if it’s with the teenyist and most unsure of steps, it’s about being in it for the long haul.

And as for being late to the party, I like to make sure I’m at the right one, with the right people.

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Oh heck its nearly Christmas and I’m already overwhelmed

December 20, 2016

Ola Maverics

Are you thinking like me, FFS! It’s nearly Christmas?

I’ve a shed load of stuff to do and to organise, I’ve got work deadlines coming out of my ears and a credit card which I am relying on to be my “Flexible Friend.” Not forgetting the monumental task of producing some festive magic, seemingly out of nowhere.

I have 3 teenagers who some days seem to exhaust themselves with just one grunt, yet would be devastated if I didn’t arrange for Father Christmas to draw his sleigh on our rooftop on the 24th.

I’ve also got to fit some time in to do that mammoth food shop and fight for sprouts, fresh cream and a ton of other stuff that nobody will actually eat, but that everyone buys ‘just in case.’ I’ve to cook, socialise, visit family AND take some time to relax, cos all the magazines tell me that I should be looking after myself too…


I’m probably very much like you…. I think I’m superwoman, especially at this time of year. I’m inclined to try and run on on all cylinders, whilst wearing glittery shoes, carry a lap-top and notebook and only fuelled by the odd glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.

Now the ridiculous thing about this survival plan, is that it really isn’t designed to help me survive at all, infact, it’s more guaranteed to have me fighting off bad skin, exhaustion a threatening cold and the dreaded overwhelm.

At this time of year, we almost expect that we will take on too much and despite my pleas to the contrary here, you’ll probably do similar again. But there’s an enormous difference in between being productive and busy and turning into an arsey cow because you’ve got SOOOO much to do.

The trick to dealing with overwhelm is, like many things, having a plan. i must confess, I’m not a natural planner, I’m more of a

fly by the seat of your pants kinda girl.

But I’m also the kind of girl who has been overwhelmed, stresses and still up at 3am wrapping presents, ready for the 5am role call of “He’s been…”


1.MAKE A LIST –A proper list Yes, I know you can keep it all in our head, but this way you can see what you’ve done and what is still to do and you won’t forget anything.

2. EDIT THE LIST Everything feels important at this time of year, but let’s have a little reality check. Are all these tasks as important as you’re thinking, could you perhaps buy a cake as opposed to marking up your entry for next years GBBO? Would anyone notice?

3. DELEGATE SOME OF THE LIST – Get other people involved. Another classic for us perfectionists is the ‘Nobody can do it like me. I like it just so.’

4. SET PHONE REMINDERS Sometimes the days and the weeks just run away with us and we genuinely forget. This is a great way to ensure you prioritise the important stuff. School play, lst posting date, collect the turkey from the butchers… 5. AVOID THE NEED TO MAKE EVERYTHING PERFECT – Yes I know that this is a difficult one, even more so at christmas time. However, practising perfectionism, really is a sure fire way of making yourself miserable. 6.YOU DONT HAVE TO ATTEND EVERY PARTY YOU’RE INVITED TO – FOMO (Fear of missing out) is a real thing these days. Working or socialising to the extreme because you’re worried that you may miss something vital if you’re not there is an exhausting process and guaranteed to take it’s

7. PLAN SOME GOOD STUFF – Sometimes in the anticipation of an event we forget to enjoy the run up or consider it to be all work and ‘must-dos” Factor in some stuff which makes you feel good on the inside. Go to a carol concert and sing your head off. Volunteer and give something back. Plan some real cosy time… see the Danish idea of Hygge. Make a consious effort to take time out, even if it’s only 10 minutes to grab a coffee or a cup of tea…. Set a phone reminder to make sure you do it.

8. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT – I’m not talking about finishing the Quality Street or the ability to finish more than 1 mince pie in a sitting; but high carb, high sugar, high alcohol diets will add to feelings of stress and overwhelm. I know that they’re the quick fix of choice when we’re busy and it’s dead easy to over indulge without even noticing. However over indulgence leads to headaches, sluggishness, tiredness, inability to focus, I’m not saying don’t, because we all know that ain’t going to happen and anyone who knows me, would be howling at the very idea. I’m just saying be aware, notice what you’re doing.

9. BE WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU SMILE – At this time of year, we see lots of people because we feel obligated, because we feel we should! If those people hoover your mood, dampen your spirits or generally piss you off, perhaps you need to ask yourself why? (Family members are exempt from this – you have to suck that one up, with your best smile and an additional sherry as a reward!) But seriously, spend time with people who make you feel good. Smiling and laughing is proven to increase endorphins – our happy hormones, and to reduce stress levels.

10. BREATHE REMEMBER IT’S ONLY 1 DAY – And if that doesn’t work, a glass of wine! Mine’s a large one!

See You Soon


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Let that shit go…

December 13, 2016

I’ve had a situation buzzing about in my head and working it’s way into my life for way too long. My subconscious has been giving me indicators that I’ve had enough. Little signs, things which would ordinarily have bothered me, didn’t. I began to see truth, I began to see lies and more importantly I wasn’t bothered by any of it.

Previously, I’d been so keen to make this project work, that I’d missed the curve balls and the hoops I’d been throwing myself through. Suddenly I hit the wall, “Holy crap woman, what the hell have you been doing to yourself? Why are you tolerating this utter nonsense?” Admittedly, this was a bit of a shock to the system, there’s nothing like seeing all your dirty washing, laid out in front of you to make you really take stock of a situation and the impact it’s having on your life.

I suppose the process begins unconsciously. It starts with little niggling questions, doubts and a quest for the truth. As a coach, you learn the knack of asking particular questions, questions that you may indeed already know the answers to. The answers provide confirmation, to your inner sat nav, that you’re on the right track and sometimes even if you’re not conscious of asking the questions, the same thoughts keep cropping up. Call it coincidence, universal indicators, signs, 6th sense whatever you will, but they amount to the same thing… it’s time!

Somewhere, somehow, I’d processed the ins and outs of the stuff that was going on for me and woken up to the fact that I didn’t have to tolerate the half arsed BS I’d been allowing. The decision, when it came, the realisation that things could and would be different, was so simple and so easy that it was a total no-brainer. And, in this moment, I also realised, that I’d always had the choice to see things in this way. I’d always had far more control than I’d realised. I just needed a bit of space to get my shit together.

Sometimes we push hard for change. We decide we need something and want so badly that the pushing can be the very thing that keeps us stuck. This time of year is classic for that. We’re reflective, picking over the hopes and dreams that may have been dashed and looking slightly more pensively at the future and in that, become more gung-ho and determined to hit the next year with a roar. The adrenaline rush of that initial push can feel amazing, but rarely is it the momentum we need to carry things through. Some things maybe take a little longer to hatch than others.

But, when they do and you finally see… When you finally notice the lightness of your load and realise that you discarded some seriously unnecessary bleugh. When you notice the space in your head and that you’ve let go of the anger and the bitterness, the resentment and the constant pull on your self esteem, because you always knew, deep down inside that you deserved more.. When you notice all that, I reckon you’ve let that shit go!

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