Category Archives: Coaching

What does “Getting out of your own way” actually mean?

It’s a phrase you’ll have come across fairly often if you read many self-help books or coaching blogs but in my experience it rarely comes with a translation into plain English.

I know I’ve been guilty of using it without an explanation myself, so I thought I’d take this opportunity of explaining what I mean when I use it.

And here’s the disclaimer – I can, of course, only speak from my own experience.

Your idea of what it means for you to get out of your own way may well be very different – and if what you read here doesn’t chime with your own experience, please join in the comments and let us know what it’s like for you.

There’s an old Chinese saying that I’m very fond of. It goes something like

The path is smooth, why do you throw rocks in your way?

and for me, that sums up the difference between life when I’ve got out of my own way, and life when I’m actively getting in my own way.

When I’m getting in my own way everything is a struggle.

I let the Saboteurs and Gremlins influence me and I doubt my own judgement. I talk myself out of ideas and I ignore my gut instinct. Everything starts to feel like a huge effort and if I’m not careful I can end up in a very dark place and feeling woefully out of control.

Not Nice At All.

Conversely, when I’ve got very firmly out of my own way life has a natural flow about it.

I have ideas and act on them and good things result. I follow my gut instinct and even better things result.”Coincidences” start to happen and undreamed of opportunities happen along. The Universe guides my hands and all is well.

And what’s the difference? Well for me it has to do with control, and specifically with letting my conscious mind or Ego take control.

When I’m going with the flow I’m acting on instinct. I know I can trust my gut instinct because it knows, for sure, the right things to do. I’ve called it The Universe before now and that has to do with it seeming to be connected with forces way beyond me in the way that apparently external things start to go right for me when I sit back and let The Universe take control.

When my Ego thinks it knows best is when things start to go wrong. That’s when the self-doubt kicks in and the Saboteurs come out to play and suddenly I’m stumbling over rocks that weren’t there before and everything goes to hell in a handcart.

So lack of control comes about from my Ego’s attempts to regain control from The Universe, and I end up the loser.

I’ve just been through a few weeks of being Ego-led and ended up dispirited, tired and unwell – but, as my dear friend Lisa said to me the other day, “at least when you’re ill it gives you the opportunity to think about what’s led you to this place!

And I can see that, as my Ego took over, so I stopped doing all the positive, nurturing rituals that were enabling me to keep put o my own way. My Ego decided I could do without them and persuaded me they weren’t necessary any more – one look in the mirror is all the proof I need that my Ego doesn’t know what it’s talking about (one is rarely so unattractive as when one has a heavy cold, I find…)

And why did my Ego step in?

Because it was feeling threatened. Again.

Because it knows that, for me to grow and develop and realise my potential, it needs to diminish and dwindle, and it doesn’t like that.

This kind of thing happens to all of us as we go through change – the habits and beliefs of the past can be like a ball and chain, holding us back and keeping us anchored in the ways of being that we’re trying to shake off.

We’re attracted to the familiar, even while we’re being tempted by the promise of more and better.

So while it’s frustrating I know that this past month is a normal part of the process.

I will shake off my ball and chain and I will get back out of my own way. It’s good to have had this reminder because it’s shown me that what was once a normal, comfortable, familiar way of being is now uncomfortable, unattractive and dispiriting.

I’m ready to clear the rocks from my path and stride back out onto my Journey again.

But first I’m going to have another Lemsip…..

Self, self, self…

I’ve been pondering the differences between self-confidence, self-respect and self-esteem recently as I’ve been creating workshops and online packages on these topics.

It’s no wonder there’s so much confusion about the difference between them, some people see self-esteem and self-respect as synonyms while others think they’re poles apart!

The definitions I like best and that I’ve chosen to go with for my work come from Dr Elias H. Porter who created the Strengths Deployments Inventory and the associated Relationship Awareness Theory.

Dr Porter’s theory states that “everyone wants to feel worthwhile about themselves as human beings” and that this comes from having self-respect and self-esteem, which he defines as follows:

  • Self Respect is being valued by yourself for the things you wish to be valued for
  • Self Esteem is being valued by others for the things you wish to be valued for

Self Respect and Self Esteem lead to Self Worth – which is, to my mind, another way of describing Self-Confidence.

So – if you feel lacking in Self-Confidence it might be worth asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I know what I want to be valued for?
  • Do I actually value myself for those things?
  • Do others value me for those things?

If the answer to any of those questions is “No”  then why not email me at cathy@colourinyourthinking.co.uk and we can have a chat about how I can help you.

 

What to do when it’s all Too Much

Everyone gets days when it feels like everything you do is doomed to failure and there’s no point in going on.

Anyone who tells you they don’t is telling porkies. Trust me on this.

When you’re feeling that way it can also feel like life is going AMAZINGLY well for the entire rest of the world and that no-one has ever been such a useless heap as you are. It’s a bit like being zoomed straight back into the teenage version of yourself, where everything was sooooooo unfair and no-one had ever suffered like you suffered, and no-one would ever love you and see you for the, like, really amazing person you were….

When that mood strikes there are all sorts of things you can do. You’ll find lots of advice from people telling you to meditate, or go out for a run or buy yourself some flowers or tap or do any number of other worthy things.

But what if you’re having the type of day where you can barely get yourself out of bed? If you’re in that sort of state, all you’re likely to do is to start beating yourself up for not feeling able to motivate yourself to meditate or go out for a run or even get dressed – and that just makes you feel even worse about yourself.

So if your down days really really get you down, here are my top tips for how to cope.

  • Instead of fighting the negative feelings, go with them. Try to trace them back to their source. You don’t have to get out of bed to do this (which is a good start) and the simple process of pinpointing what’s happened to put you in this state can have an immediate galvanising effect.
  • Allow yourself to wallow. I find that if I allow myself time to wallow there comes a point where I get sick of feeling sorry for myself and I am able to kick start myself. Refusing to wallow and trying to plug on regardless tends to backfire and makes things worse for me in the long run.
  • Tell people you trust how you’re feeling. Sometimes all you need is to verbalise the feelings for them to go away. If you’re as lucky as I am you will have people around you who will reassure you of how much you are loved and valued, and that will help enormously.
  • Give yourself a treat – whether it’s time to indulge in your favourite weepy movie, a luxurious bath with lots of candles and bubbles, a box of chocolates when you don’t usually indulge or even a day in bed with a pile of undemanding books, do something to show yourself that “you’re worth it”.
  • Remind yourself that this feeling is temporary, it will pass and you will rise above it when the time is right for you to move on.

A New Approach

OK peeps, listen up.

I have some fabulous new workshops on offer. I know they’re fabulous because they are distilled from coaching sessions I’ve had with clients, and everything that’s gone into one of these workshops has made a real difference to someone.

The thing is, they’re not selling and that’s a real shame because I know that there are people out there (maybe you) that could really benefit from them.

There could be any number of reasons why they’re not selling –

  • I haven’t done enough marketing
  • I haven’t done the right sort of marketing
  • the timing’s wrong
  • they’re too expensive
  • I’m still an unknown quantity
  • it feels too risky
  • other things I haven’t thought of

So I’m going to try a new strategy.

Instead of asking for a fixed fee, I’m going to try another way.

If you want to come along to one of my workshops, I’ll ask you for a nominal fee to reserve your spot. The fee will be just enough so that, when all the places are booked, I will have covered the costs of hiring the venue.

Once you’ve reserved your seat, you come along to the workshop and at the end of the day

  • you pay me what you think the day was worth

I’ll give you an envelope and a piece of paper for you to anonymously tell me what you thought of the workshop and why you’ve decided to pay me what you did.

You put whatever you like into the envelope, seal it and off you go.

You’re under no obligation whatsoever to put any money in, and your comments will help me to keep on improving what I offer.

How does that sound?

Personal development and coaching at a price that really IS right for you – because you set it!

You can see all the workshops I currently have on offer here.  Ticket prices for most workshops are now just £10 and places are strictly limited.

Some questions for all the Coaches out there

I see more and more people, many of them coaches, offering to show me the “one, guaranteed way” to gather lots of new clients.

Maybe I’m “the best kept secret” in coaching, or maybe I need to learn how to move from “one-to-one to one-to-many”. Maybe I need to learn how to package my knowledge or funnel my products or create my irrisistible offer, or do any one of a number of other catchphras-ey things.

But whatever it is I need, lots of people are all convinced they’ve got The Thing to help me.

And The Thing is ALWAYS the same at heart – whoever’s offering it and whatever they call it.

The Thing is a pattern of marketing that begins with doing free teleseminars that always include a special offer only available to the listeners. Then you move on to selling ebooks and recordings of your teleseminars, always with another special offer included. And so on you go, building up and selling up until you’ve got people begging to be allowed to pay you thousands of dollars to fly half way around the world to come and sit at your feet.

Now don’t get me wrong. I mean no disrespect. For some people this approach has clearly worked wonders.

I’ve tried aspects of it myself but never really bought into it as a concept – and certainly not as THE ONLY WAY to get yourself known as a coach. If that means I’m doomed to a life of muddling through and never making that magic “Seven-Figure-Income” that keeps on getting bandied about then so be it.

But what strikes me is how more and more coaches seem to be turning their practice into churning out this advice, in their own words, and trying to sell it to other coaches.

There are a number of things that could be going on here:

  • this method really IS the only one that works, it’s been enormously successful for these coaches and they now want to share their good fortune with others
  • selling “the formula” seems like more of a sure-fire winner than keeping on trying to get coaching clients and it’s clearly bringing in loads of dosh for other people so why not give it a try…
  • something else I haven’t thought of

I’m interested to know what other coaches think about all this.

Do you use the standard formula, and has it worked for you?

Do you use other methods to attract clients, and how do they work for you?

And what about potential clients? If you’re looking for a coach, what attracts you to one in particular?

What kind of marketing works for you, and when do you feel like you’re being “sold to”?

Please comment – I really do want to know what peoples’ opinions are on this subject.

I Could Never Do That!!

I’ve been hearing that a lot lately, as you might imagine. Whether it’s taking my clothes off, jumping out of an aeroplane, blogging about my deepest darkest feelings or wearing lots of bright colours all at once, I seem to be doing a lot of things that a lot of people think they could never do.

I had an interesting conversation the other day with someone who wondered what the point was – her view was that each of these things might make a difference to me on the day I do them, but that it wouldn’t really change anything in the long run.

I beg to differ.

The reasons I’m taking on these challenges are as follows:

1. To challenge myself out of constantly thinking “I could never do that!”

I’m as prone to thinking like that as anyone else and the older I get the more frustrating I find it because it gets in the way of my doing all sorts of perfectly reasonable things.

So I figured that, the more REALLY challenging things I’ve done, the less I’ll believe myself when I tell myself “I can’t do that” about apparently simple things like asking for what I want, or challenging something that I’m not happy with.

2. To keep myself alert and interested.

I thrive on intellectual challenges. I am a creature of the mind rather than the body, but there have been some significant occasions when I have learnt really profound things about how my mind works from challenging my body.

So I want to see what more can I learn about myself and how I operate – and it seems to me the way to do that is by challenging myself physically as well as mentally.

3. To give myself choices and opportunities.

The more we stay in our comfort zone, the less choice and opportunity we give ourselves. It’s like choosing to wear blinkers, and only ever changing them for bigger blinkers. We all have comfort zones but for many of us they are misnamed – they’re more like Familiarity Zones – and even though they’ve long ceased to be comfortable we cling to them because familiarity feels safe.

But sometimes we need to take a good hard look at our Familiarity Zone and recognise that actually it’s a wasteland, or a swamp, or a desert and it’s time to leave.

Only when we do that, can we begin to look around and see the amazing choices and opportunities that are available to us.

4. To encourage you to challenge yourself.

I’m no different to anyone else. I have my fears and hangups, my good days and my not so good days. But I see my purpose in life as being to help as many people as possible to get to know what they are really, truly capable of and to experience the joy and fulfillment that comes from doing so.

My hope is that, by seeing me challenging myself, you will feel inspired to challenge yourself to do something that you’ve previously thought “I could never do that!” about.

It doesn’t matter what it is – it could be jumping out of a plane or standing up to a bully or tackling your credit card debt full on or coming out about your sexuality or admitting that you’re finding something really difficult – everyone has their own fears to face and challenges to overcome.  What I want to do is to encourage you to think differently about yourself.

So, the next time you find yourself thinking

“I could never do that” ask yourself

“Why not? What’s the worst that could happen?”

I’d LOVE to know whether you’ve been inspired to set yourself your own challenge – do comment here and let me know!

 

 

Confronting My Fears

Well, I asked for challenges and you sent them my way, didn’t you!

As I type, I am facing the following LIVE challenges:

  • find an accompanist and sing at an open mic night
  • do a parachute jump
  • make my book the “must read” for anyone about to go to uni
  • work as a life model (ie take all my clothes off and pose naked for artists)

I also have some ideas incubating for later, including

  • coaching somewhere really challenging, like inside a prison
  • rebuilding a very broken relationship

At the moment, the parachute jump feels like the real biggie. I signed up to do it in a rush, knowing full well that if I didn’t do it there and then I’d find all sorts of excuses reasons not to do it.

Then I felt sick and spent the rest of that evening shaking, literally shaking.

And then I decided that, rather than letting the insane spiral of panic keep going round in my head, I’d have a conversation with it. And so I sat down and had a chat with one of my Gremlins, Little Miss Itstoo Scary.

Here’s how it went.

Me: Er, hello? Who’s there?

Little Miss Itstoo Scary: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: Ah, hello, I thought you might be here. Could you just stop running around in circles screaming for a minute so we can talk?

LMIS: No-but-how-could-you-do-this-you-can’t-jump-out-of-a-plane-you’ll-die-and-it’s-far-too-dangerous-and-scary-and …………………………….. well- noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

Me: OK, look, I understand you’re frightened and you’re concerned for my safety, I am too. VERY. But can you tell me EXACTLY what it is about this that frightens you?

LMIS: YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!!!!!

Me: What makes you think that?

LMIS: Because you’re going to JUMP OUT OF AN AEROPLANE!!!!! That’s NOT SAFE!!

Me: Well no, it wouldn’t be safe if that was all I was going to do, jump out of an aeroplane. But I’m jumping WITH a parachute and strapped to an experienced sky-diver, so it’s not like I haven’t mitigated some of the risks involved.

LMIS: Oh. Well, OK, but it’s still a MASSIVE RISK! People die in parachuting accidents every day!

Me: Do they? Every day?

LMIS: Well, maybe not every day…but it does happen.

Me: Yes it does. And people get killed everyday crossing the road or driving their cars but you don’t worry about me doing those things, do you?

LMIS: Er, well…no, I suppose not…

Me: Why is that?

LMIS: Well, because I’m used to you doing them. They’re normal things

Me: Just because I do something regularly doesn’t necessarily make them any less risky – it might even make them riskier because of complacency.

LMIS: Mmmm…I hadn’t thought of it like that. So – you’ll be strapped to an expert and they’ll make sure you’re as safe as you can be?

Me: Yes.

LMIS: OK then. I’m happy.

Me: Sorry?

LMIS: I said, I’m happy. You go off and enjoy yourself. Oh, and you’re doing it for charity, aren’t you? Well done, I hope you get lots of sponsors. Oh, and enjoy the singing and the modelling too. I’ll see you around.

Me: Er..right. So – we’re cool now?

LMIS: Yup, I just wanted to be sure you’d thought about the risks and you clearly have, so that’s fine. Bye!

And that’s REALLY how it was. Once I’d stepped aside from the primal fear mode and thought about relative risks I suddenly stopped being frightened and started to become excited.

And I still am.

Let’s see how long it lasts…