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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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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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Shedding Skin. Beliefs, Behaviours & Judgements

December 6, 2016

I talk too much and I laugh too loud. My skirts are sometimes too short and my hair too blonde. I swear too often and drink too much wine…

I’ve a piercing in the top of my ear that my mum thinks is ‘common.’ And, let’s not get started on the leather trousers or the disco ball in the dining room, the driving too fast or the fact that I just love crap telly. I embarrass my kids and perhaps ‘shouldn’t’ wear a bikini. I work too hard and stay up too late, I’m rubbish in the morning. I cry at the ridiculous and will fight tooth and nail for something I believe in. And, for the first time in my life, I can honestly say, I don’t give a shit if you approve or not!

Hallefuckinglujah! After all, it’s only taken me the best part of 50 years to get here! To get to the place where when I wake up in the morning, I recognise the woman who stares back, groggy eyed from the bathroom mirror.

She’s the woman without the layers. The woman who has peeled the judgements and the criticisms of other people, away from herself and discarded the opinions, feelings, beliefs and behaviours which were no longer relevant and prevented me from being the very person I needed to be most. ME!

Now that sounds easy doesn’t it? Rather like discarding a couple of layers of clothing when the weather gets warmer. Perhaps for you, it may be like that, but for me, it was on occasion a bit like peeling my skin. Because I was so attached to those opinions, feelings, beliefs and behaviours; that I wasn’t sure where they ended and I began.

This shedding of layers is different for all of us. The first step for me was a feeling that the life I was living was several degrees off course from the true north I wanted to follow. It wasn’t about sameness or difference. It was about being me.

Me. You. Whoever you are, is a feeling that doesn’t need you to think too much. It’s an instinctive knowing; an ok from your internal satnav, which lets you know you’re headed the right way. It’s something that doesn’t require you to brainstorm, ask the opinion of others or take notice of their judgements. It’s an inner confidence that allows you to know you’re doing ok.

Like any new situation, it needs some practice. It’s a work in progress to feel your way in. Some days I’m on fire with being me; others I’m a little wobbly and I need to take time out, to check that the inner glow is still there… A walk in my own, some space to just sit, some peace from the external chatter that can often surround us and the chance to consider which rules to break next in the quest for being me!

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“Spaghetti Arms! This is my dance space”

November 29, 2016

Personal boundaries are always a bit of a pain in the
bum aren’t they?

Creating a set of rules for yourself that feel both comfortable and acceptable is one thing, sometimes putting those into place can be totally another I don’t know about you, but sometimes, even if I’ve felt uncomfortable, I’ve chosen not to say anything, for fear of upsetting the other person or just in an attempt to keep the peace.

Sure, there are instances when this is absolutely applicable, but there are other times, when I should perhaps have stood my ground and said  ‘Hang on, this isn’t right for me.’

For years, I found it quite tricky to let people know when they’d overstepped the mark with me. I’m not great at confrontation and so I’d put off saying anything, then put it off some more, until finally I’d be so fed up and frustrated that I’d just explode – not a great way to handle things, but I know loads of other people who do similar. Or even worse, I’d just put up with whatever was happening and choose to say nothing.

That just made me irritated or resentful towards the people involved and then angry at myself. We’ve all been that person who says nothing is wrong; when on the inside, we’re totally fed up, feeling like we’ve let the same thing happen again, for not taking control or not speaking up.

When you’re setting boundaries for yourself, whether they be emotional, physical, work related, or maybe even as seemingly trivial as lending a book, or as big as lending money, to a friend; you need to work out what is acceptable for you. What are you comfortable with? Can you live with the decisions you’re making or will they constantly piss you off? Is this what you want? Are you ok with someone speaking to you like that or behaving in a particular way? Are you ok with people taking advantage?

Do you even feel they are taking advantage? ( Remember these are YOUR boundaries, you’re not making them to please other people. )

Are you happy with the way things are?  If yes, that’s fine, there are no judgements, this is all about you.

See if you can step out into the future and ‘try on’ the feelings, how do these situations make you feel, how do you feel about the decisions you’ve made? If your answer to this is uncomfortable or miffed, this is a sure sign you’ve breached your own boundaries …

The next thing to ask yourself is how will you feel if you let yourself off, get involved in a particular situation, do something you aren’t really sure about, compromise yourself in some way?  Knowing what’s right and wrong for you is perhaps the easy bit. Being able to let people know they’ve “crossed” a boundary without turning the conversation into a confrontation is perhaps more difficult. I think the trick is to nip things in the bud, say something early on, don’t let the situation build and build, because then, it’s become a ‘big deal’ (even if it’s only in your own head) and your way of dealing with it will reflect that.

Choose your words carefully and calmly. Just saying ‘No, I don’t think that’s what I want.’ or ‘That’s not for me.’ is fine, easy and doesn’t need to you metaphorically roll your sleeves up. I know it may take a bit of practice and a deep breath beforehand, but you’re a big girl now – you can do this! I have faith. And like most things, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Boundaries are all about putting your own feelings first – not in a selfish way, but in a way which says to both you and to others you are valued – in short, cos you’re worth it!

Remember, your reputation with yourself is more important than anything else! What’s your own experience with boundaries, do you find them easy or difficult?  Are you able to stay with them, or do you let things slide?

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