Tag Archives: coaching

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.
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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.

Body Issues, what Body Issues?

Last night I went and took all my clothes off in front of a group of total strangers.

And a dog.

For 2 hours I sat completely still (on an electric blanket, surrounded by fan heaters) as 7 people stood at easels and painted/sketched/drew/charcoaled their own versions of me, to a soundtrack of old ska music and the odd surprising interjection of hip-hop (that Biggie Smalls, he was a laugh, eh?!)

Apart from the tutor and one girl who didn’t stay for the entire session, the group was entirely male – including the dog – and two of them appeared to be younger than my son.

It didn’t feel even slightly odd, though. There was no hint that any of this was in any way unusual or unpleasant and apart from the fact that everyone else in the room knew each other and I knew no-one, it was a perfectly ordinary, comfortable evening.

So – it seemed that for me there was no real challenge and no fears to be faced in getting naked.

And then I made the mistake of looking at some of the pictures.

I didn’t know what the etiquette was – does the model express an interest in the work going on around her and chat to the artists, or does she sit in a corner and mind her own business during the tea break?

So I combined the two. I sat in a corner stroking the dog and drinking my tea, and indulged myself with sneaky peaks at the pictures every now and then.

And that’s where the challenge and the fear came in.

Because, notwithstanding the varying degrees of skill of the individual artists, the difficult thing was seeing myself as others see me.

My fist instinct was to recoil at what I saw as ugliness. I’m under no illusions about my shape but I suppose I had expected to see something like this:

Beryl Cooke painting courtesy of the Canterbury Auction Galleries

And instead what I saw looked more like this:

The Venus of Willendorf

But without the hat and with my delicate lady parts far better hidden. Ahem.

Beryl Cooke’s work celebrates the female form, particularly the amply endowed female form, and does it in a way that smooths out the lumps and bumps and shows only curves and smoothness and generosity. Beryl’s work allows perkiness where there would, in reality, have been droop and sag, and satin skin instead of stretch marks and cellulite.

The Venus of Willendorf, in contrast, is much more lifelike, as are the paintings of Rubens which show bodies, male and female, as they really are rather than as we might wish them to be.

So – given that Rubens and that ancient sculptor had it right, what was I actually recoiling from? One of the paintings from last night was clearly made by an artist of real talent – he had captured the musculature under my skin and the fall of light and shade. There was a quote on the wall of the studio that said something about how painting the human body was a combination of architecture and landscape painting – and I think this artist last night had done both.

His work contained no judgement of me – the judgement was entirely in my own head.

And what was my judgement based on?

My external appearance doesn’t make me any less worthy as a human being.

It doesn’t make me any the less capable of doing the work that I love.

It is how it is in part as a result of 2 caesarean sections and breastfeeding 2 babies.

It also is how it is in part because I’ve never exercised regularly and I have a sweet tooth.

It is how it is also in part because of my genetic make-up.

And it is how it is because that’s who I am. If I looked different, I would have had an entirely different life and I wouldn’t be who I am today.

And who I am today is in a really good place, so why would I want to look any different? Do I really want to spend the rest of my life recoiling from The Real Me?

Hell No!

And so I am content. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience last night and I’m told that I made an excellent model because I had no difficulty sitting still. I shall do it again (especially if the dog turns up every time).

And next time I catch sight of a painitng, I will enjoy the artistry that’s gone into creating it and I will celebrate what it shows of the life I’ve lived to become who I am.

I have a couple of questions for you to ask yourself if you feel insecure about your appearance:

  • what POSITIVE impact has your appearance had on creating the person you are today?
  • if you’ve read this blog and thought “I could NEVER do that!” have a conversation with that fear and find out what it is you’re REALLY afraid of – you might be surprised by the answer.

More Fear Needed…

I’ve been ruminating on why The Saboteurs and the Resistance have been so active of late and I realised that some of it’s because I’m bored. Not just bored as in “everything’s in other people’s hands now” bored , but bored as in “where’s my next big challenge?” bored.

I’m doing something that stretches me every day, but the stretches are starting to feel too easy and I can feel myself becoming a bit complacent.

So yesterday I decided to follow up on my naked photo shoot experience from last year. That was a REAL challenge and was amazingly empowering. My relationship with my body and how I feel about myself generally has completely changed since then, and I’ve decided to capitalise on that – so next Tuesday evening I’m going to a local art school to pose – in the nude – as a Life Model.

Today it feels exciting but not quite challenging enough – I’ll let you know next week how it feels on the night!!

So I’ve pondering on what other challenges to give myself – and then I thought I’d ask YOU what challenges YOU’D  like me to undertake and then write about…that’s right, from now on, My Fear is in Your Hands!

Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • challenges that will test and stretch me
  • challenges that will allow me to write about my experiences in a way that will be helpful for you to read about
  • challenges that will inspire you to challenge yourself and face some of your fears and gremlins

Here’s what I don’t want:

  • suggestions for things that are going to cost lots of money

Please give me your challenges here – I’ll rate them out of 5 for how much of a challenge they feel to me (where 1 is “I do that sort of thing every day” and 5 is “Holy Shit I could NEVER do THAT!!! Oh…OK then…if I must…”) and then take them one at a time…

Gulp…

I can already feel the adrenaline starting to flow and I haven’t even published this yet – what on EARTH have I let myself in for?!

Why Don’t We Do What’s Good For Us?

As you’ll have been able to tell from my recent posts, there’s been a lot of Sabotage and Resistance going on around here and quite frankly I’m fed up with it.

I know what changes I want to make in my life and I know why I want to make them. I know the benefits they will bring and I know why staying in my old patterns isn’t going to help me.

I know that resistance is a normal and natural part of any change and that it has to be worked through.

I know that the eventual benefits will far outweigh the discomfort I will feel during the time of Resistance.

But it still pisses me off something chronic that, despite knowing all this, I still need to go through the process and I still seem to “come round” and find myself having been resisting like fury without apparently even noticing it happening!

In one way it’s reassuring to know that I’m perfectly normal – everyone goes through this when they want to change, and it allows  me to empathise and understand when my clients talk about their own Resistance.

But it does get very wearing after a while.

However, I do find that there comes a point at which I get so fed up with the Resistance and the effect it’s having that something snaps inside and I say “No More!” I harness my Inner Gandalf and stand square in the face of the Resistance and proclaim “You Shall Not Pass!!!”

And once I’ve done that, I pick up the threads of the changes I want to make and get back on track, knowing that I’m moving ever further along my Journey and ever further towards reaching my true potential.

And that feels good.

How to talk about Life-Changing Experiences

So. You’ve just had this AMAZING experience.

It was LIFE-CHANGING and INCREDIBLE and AWESOME and everything you ever thought you knew about anything has changed and OH. MY. GOD!!!!!

And so, naturally, you want to rush out and let the world know about this AMAZING experience so they can enjoy it too.

So you do.

And they look at you as if you’re a bit odd.

They don’t seem to understand. They don’t seem to appreciate how important this is for you and how important it could be for them, too.

Some of them don’t even seem to be interested, for heaven’s sake!

What’s WRONG with these people?!

Can’t they see how INCREDIBLE this is???

Well – no. They can’t. And actually, some of them don’t want to.

Some of them will feel threatened by this sudden change in you and they will want to do everything they possibly can to persuade you that you’ve got it wrong or you’ve misunderstood or it would be much better if you forgot all these silly new ideas and went back to how you were before. They may not realise that that’s what’s going on for them mind you, they’ll just know they don’t like what you’re saying and don’t want to know about it.

Others will be more encouraging but won’t want to hear about it more than once. Although it’s been life-changing for you, it really hasn’t for them because they’re not inside your head. And even if they went through the exact same experience as you did, it STILL might not be life-changing for them because they’re not you.

But what about when you go through something that’s going to have an impact on your nearest and dearest? What if this life-changing experience is something that you really need to share with them so that they can appreciate that something profound has happened for you that is going to change the dynamics of your relationship?

Clearly, you need to have a conversation, and just as clearly you need to be very careful not to freak them out.

So the one thing you don’t want to do is to start leaping around shrieking about how you’ve just had this AMAZING experience that was LIFE-CHANGING and INCREDIBLE and AWESOME and how everything you ever thought you knew about anything has changed and OH. MY. GOD!!!!!

That won’t help, but it really WILL freak them out.

No, what you’ll need to do is to prepare the ground first. Tell them that something has happened and you’d like to have a chat about it some time.

Don’t whatever you do, use the phrase “We need to talk” unless you want them to understand that you’re about to break up with them.

Once you’ve sold the idea of having a “chat” with them, start talking very calmly about the FACTS of what happened – so something along the lines of “You know that course I went on? Well yesterday we did x, y and z” or *ahem* “You know I’ve been working with this fantastic coach? Well this evening were talking about x and y”.

Then say something along the lines of “I really want to tell you about what I learned because it feels very important for me and I want to share it with you”.

Hopefully you’ll get a positive response.

If not, you might want to say “We need to talk”, and move the conversation in a different direction…

If they’re up for it, then now is the time to tell them, calmly and soberly, what you learned and how you feel about it. And then give them time to process what you’ve said and ask you questions.

If it sounds to you like they’re being dismissive, or disinterested, or defensive then CHECK OUT YOUR PERCEPTION before reaching for your shotgun.

Throughout this conversation it’s really important that you remember that the person you’re talking to IS NOT and NEVER WILL BE inside your head and so will NEVER be fully able to appreciate exactly what you’ve gone through.

All you can hope to do is to help them to understand that something profound has happened for you, and then leave them to decide how they want to react.

And remember – the whole, entire world neither wants nor needs to know about your epiphany. Well, unless you’re the Queen or the President, and you’ve suddenly decided to give it all up and move to an Ashram in India. And even then, most people will really only want the headlines…

So – think very carefully about who NEEDS to know about what you’ve been going through, and then plan how you’re going to tell them.

And good luck 🙂

The Significance of a Clean Oven

Something VERY WEIRD has been happening in my house this morning.

Very Weird indeed.

So weird that, even as it’s happening, I’m thinking “Blimey, this is weird. I must make a note of the fact that not only is this weird, but also that I’m deriving a great deal of satisfaction from it, which is even weirder“.

If you know me personally, I suggest that you sit down at this point and take a deep breath because this is going to freak you out.

Ready?

OK, here it is.

This morning I had a client re-arrange a session, so I chose to clean the oven instead.

And I enjoyed it.

And I’ve taken the opportunity to load the dishwasher a couple of times and clean the kitchen.

****slight pause to allow time for hyperventilation amongst my nearest and dearest*****

I put this bizarre behaviour down to an Affirmation that I chose for myself on January 5th and have repeated to myself every day since.

It is this:

I take pride in creating and maintaining a beautiful, welcoming home

Again, those who know me will know how utterly radical this is as I have been famed for YEARS for my lack of interest in and appetite for housework – my mantra has always been that, as long as everyone is happy, well fed and knows that they are loved then I don’t care what kind of a state the house is in.

But over the past few months as I’ve been developing workshops and online packages, and working with clients face to face, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking around the subject of how we show others and ourselves how much self-respect we have, and how much we value ourselves.

And I realised that the state of my house was sending a message to me and to others about self-respect and personal pride.

For years I’ve fought against the idea that the state of my house is in any way reflective of my morals, seeing it as a reactionary throwback to a Victorian notion of a woman’s place. I also saw it as a reaction to my Mum’s way of doing things, as she has always been the epitome of tidiness. And then, of course, there’s always been good old Mr Can’t B. Arsed telling me how boring housework is and how my time would be much better spent watching a film or reading a book or sleeping or just generally vegging out. After all, who needs clean light switches?

I still firmly believe that this attitude is genuinely helpful if you have small children around – there are far more important things to worry about than the housework when you’re in that situation.

But I’m not any more, and I started to think deeply about what messages I was giving myself by continuing to live in a disorganised, cluttered mess. And I realised that actually what I was doing was very successfully getting in my own way by making life far more difficult than it needed to be.

When you live in a mess it takes ages to find anything because you never know where it might be. When you do find it, it’s probably not clean so you can’t use it anyway.

When you’re surrounded by clutter you lose any sense of what’s important and to be treasured so nothing gets looked after properly.

And my God, you don’t half spend a long time hiding stuff and frantically tidying up (not very well…) before you have visitors!

I spoke to My Lovely Husband about this, and we both decided that we didn’t want to live like that any more and so we began a process of de-cluttering and re-organising and a gradual re-awakening of pride in our home.

It’s not been going for long and it’s been too cold to tackle the garden yet but the place is looking much better for our efforts.

And the daily repetition of “I take pride in creating and maintaining a beautiful, welcoming home” has clearly sunk in – so much so that, today, finding I had some unexpected free time, I chose to clean my oven.

And it felt good.

And as I look around my home, I find I’m itching to get on with finishing tidying my office rather than writing this month’s newsletter.

This may, of course, be a subtle form of displacement and procrastination but actually, if I concentrate on the housework today, when I feel like it, that will free me up to spend ALL of tomorrow at the computer, when my deadline is nearer.

And that will feel good.

So – more proof of the power of affirmations, and no-one is more surprised than I am!