5 lessons from my 5 year old

5 year old riding a bike

I love spending time with my son. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments when I can’t wait for a night away, when I just need some ‘me’ time but on the whole, he is growing into a funny, fiercely determined and yet sensitive boy.

This summer was the first time since he started nursery four years ago that I was able to spend an extended amount of quality time with him over the summer. That I was able to do so is thanks to my super flexible part-time job (thanks for being an awesome employer Wholegrain Digital!) and being able to cut back on my coaching hours and flex my writing projects around family time.

Altogether, we spent three weeks hanging out over the summer, with Mr.B joining us for a week of full-on family time. We went to the cinema, caught up with friends we haven’t seen all year, visited museums, ‘played’ schools (my sneaky way of making sure he doesn’t forget what he’s learned so far!) and learned how to ride a bike – mostly him. But me too, a little. Read on to find out what I mean!

Over the break, we had a lot of chats about life and I noticed him maturing and growing in confidence. He learned a lot, and reminded me of many things too. Here are the biggest takeaways that may be of interest:

1. Laugh every day

I wrote a poem about postnatal depression (PND) during the holidays and he wanted to know why the lady in the poem was sad. I explained as much as I could about depression, and he said, “If people feel sad they should laugh every day.” I asked what about when they don’t feel like laughing and he said, “Just do it anyway, like this: Hahahahaha” (with forced smile, then collapsing into giggles about how silly he sounds). Studies prove that faking a smile (or laugh) even when you don’t feel like it, can boost your mood. So he’s on to something there…

2. If you want to but you think you can’t, just try anyway

We were out and about one day, and being obsessed with bikes as he was learning to ride, he asked, “Is it true that you are still wobbly because you didn’t ride a bike for years?” I told him yes, and I was still a bit nervous when I try (this is true). He asked me when I’d last tried… It was when he was about two. He walked over to the nearest Santander Cycles stand and said “Get one of these and practice.” I wasn’t sure so I hesitated. He took my hand and said “It doesn’t matter if you can’t, just try ok? You can even just do it for only five minutes.” I tried. It was fine. Fun, even. I wobbled, yes… But I did it. He high fived me and I felt great. I am planning to buy a bike next year so we can go on family rides.

3. Be creative – for no reason whatsoever

Every so often during the holidays, I would leave him to his own devices. He’d often read a book or engage in imaginative play, which always tells me a lot about what is going on in his head. One day he was ripping up paper and arranging it on his rug. I asked if he was making a pattern. He shrugged “Not really.” So I asked what he was doing. He looked down for a minute, then said “I don’t really know.” I asked if I could join in and he said no, he had to do it himself. Curious, I asked why. He laughed and said “I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing, I just like to do it.” Doing stuff just because you like to. Brilliant. We made paper mâché with it that afternoon. Just because.

4. Walk everywhere

Inspired by Daddy, he wants us to do the Great Newham Family Run next year (we’ve watched Mr.B do the full run twice now). My ankles are recovering from being broken earlier this year so I’m not at the running stage yet. So when he wanted to ‘practise’ together for the run, I explained I can’t quite yet. He thought for a minute, then said “Ok, we have to walk everywhere then, if it’s not too far, until you can. It’s healthy anyway.” So now we walk everywhere. I thought we walked a lot before (we don’t have a car) but now? We walk more, we talk more, we sleep better… and I’ve lost a few pounds without even trying.

Walking

5. Only let go when you’re ready

When he was learning to ride his bike, we had the odd tantrum. The bike was “stupid”, and was thrown to the floor a few times and he said he would “never be able to ride.” Every time I said I was going to let go (and the few times I, or Mr.B tried to sneakily let go), he would shout “No, never let go!” After a couple of days, I stopped commenting on the tantrums and just moved the bike aside if it was in anyone’s way. Every time, he got back on and waited for me to hold the back. I didn’t offer to let go and I didn’t pretend to hold him either. After about 30 minutes that day, he suddenly said, “Ok Mummy, let go.” And he was riding his bike – wobbling less than I did. It reminded me of when friends sometimes say “I know someone you should coach, they really need to change/let go of (insert behaviour that the commenter feels is unhelpful)” and I always say “but do they want to..?” Letting go, of anything (not just bikes) needs to be the choice of the person letting go. Once he trusted me to hold him, he did it all by himself.

Being present (not perfect!) as a parent

While these are all great things to keep in mind for life in general, the biggest reminder for me this summer, was of the value of simply being present as a parent. Many of our best days were just me and him hanging out, not expecting anything from each other. We both had bad days, but at the end of the day we’d own it (well, I would. He was a bit more stubborn. He is only 5) and we’d say sorry and start over the next day.

After a challenging couple of weeks towards the end of the summer term last year, I was beginning to wonder if I was ‘failing’ as a parent and had been planning to scrap my Proudly Imperfect Parents e-course as I couldn’t in good faith promote something I wasn’t feeling myself. However, as I reviewed the material, spent time with friends who still referred to their pilot version and hung out with my son on a daily basis, I found that it worked. I came back to myself and was ready to let go again.

So, I am re-releasing this course in November! In the meantime, I have created a ‘taster’ version to help even more of you (and/or your friends) loosen your grip on the idea of perfect parenting. This free taster course, What is Perfect Parenting Anyway? starts on Monday 24th October (so if you have school-aged children in the UK then it could help you through half term!).

Find out more and sign up now to claim your free space!

Proudly Imperfect Parents_Week 1

 

 

Authenticity vs Consistency

Over the summer, I read a post from Jonas Ellison over on medium – Authenticity is overrated – and it got me thinking…. I kept reading and re-reading it, and thinking ‘this resonates so much, I want to say something about it too. But I didn’t… Why? Well, the same reason that almost stopped Jonas:

“Right now, as I type this, I swear to the gods and goddesses above, a part of me totally feels like I’m being inauthentic. It’s telling me that this has all been said before and that what I’m writing here is probably a cheap rendition of that.”

So, I’m taking his advice and just showing up here, now, with my thoughts on the subject.

*deep breath*

Here’s the thing. Being ‘authentic’ is a big deal for me. It’s a word I’ve probably over used at points… But it had started to feel a little… Wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it until I read Jonas’ thoughts and then I realised… What do we mean when we say ‘authentic’ anyway..? I used to think it meant being ‘real’, and that if we are being our true selves – so important to me after years of hiding behind various ‘masks’, that my twitter handle is @ReallyRachaelB – then we should be consistent… That if our core values don’t change then we should never contradict ourselves.

But things do change. Our circumstances change. We learn, we grow. I change my mind, often – hopefully for the better! So if you were to track my digital footprint back to my first ever website, or even read back through some of these blogs, you’ll no doubt notice that sometimes, I do contradict myself. And I’m sure that I will do again.

I am human.

This is me. All of me. Well, most of me – there are some things I choose to keep to myself! I choose to share some of that which makes me vulnerable, as (I think) that’s how we connect, as humans. I might not be consistent but I am honest, open and real. I guess that’s what I mean when I talk about being authentic.

What does ‘being authentic’ mean to you? And how important is it to you? Do share your thoughts in the comments below!

Are you stepping into your supersuit?

Clothes peg wearing a supersuit

I had a dream recently, one that has stayed with me for a few weeks. It was so vivid I remembered much of it well at first but it’s fading now so I don’t recall the start. The end of this dream remains just as vivid though, and significant to where I’m at, now. I’m sharing it here as perhaps it may be significant to you, too…

In the dream, I had been sidetracked from getting ready to go somewhere that felt important but probably wasn’t and was returning, late, to the flat I was staying in. This flat was on the first floor.

I stepped into the lift and looked at the buttons. There were only three: First, second and third floors. But the button that should have been for the third floor was replaced. In its place was a typed note, placed carefully under the glass: Rachael Blair. The idea of this terrified me. Who put it there? What would I find if I went up? What might happen to me? I reached for it, then lowered my hand and pressed the button for the first floor. The lift shot up to the third anyway.

Facing fear

When the doors opened, I was standing at the top of a roller coaster, which, in my waking life, is something I’ve avoided since my teens. All that twisting and turning and never really being sure what’s coming next… I found myself in a car, hurtling around this purple track, holding on for life, when I realised that there was no ‘end’ to this ride. It just stopped in mid air. I think I held breath and then…

I don’t know where I was or even whether I was sitting or standing, but I was watching this amazing woman in a superhero costume (again, purple). She was flying through the air, laughing. Twisting and turning, speeding up and slowing down with a big smile on her face. It looked like fun and I wanted to try – unlike the roller coaster, she was in control. ‘I wish I could do that’ I thought.

The dream ended with us lying next to each other, me voicing my wish aloud. She laughed, shaking her head and looked at me silently. I woke up.

Superhero or sidekick?

It was days later, when I had revisited the dream a few times in my mind that I realised… That superhero was me. But, so afraid of owning my power, I stepped out of myself and watched it happening instead. This can be how I do life sometimes – fear of all that twisting and turning and not knowing where we’re going – that’s what life is, is it not? And just sitting there holding on and letting it happen isn’t fun. Taking control however… Well that’s scary. But it’s also liberating. When I write – when I know I’m writing something good, and get into that ‘flow’ state, and after a great session with one of my lovely coaching clients, I’m in that supersuit. In between, however, I can allow my brain to make up stories that reduce me to the sidekick to those who came before me and did it better (did they, really? Or is it just different?).

This summer I’m starting to notice more when I slip back into sidekick mode, and allowing myself to step back into that supersuit and see the positive effect it has. Not just on me, but on those around me – that confidence stops me sweating the small stuff and allows me to take better care of myself, which of course makes me a better coach, writer, mother, wife, sister, friend etc. (not in that order!)…

So, I’m curious – do you have a supersuit..? When did you last wear it and how did it make your feel..? And, I’m most interested to know: Do you wear it all the time and if not, why not..? Do share in the comments below, I’d love to hear what your superpowers are! 🙂

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Networking, by any other name…

Network_Writing.People.Poetry

“I don’t like networking.”

I said this recently, while talking to friend and fellow coach Julie Fordham (who has recently released a series of YouTube videos on happiness – worth a watch!). As soon as I said it I felt uncomfortable, a bit like when you’re caught in a half truth you thought you’d got away with. I have actually been to a networking event recently that I really enjoyed. Although it was not without some awkward moments, I put that down to my tendency towards introversion – the event itself was really inspiring, as I mentioned briefly in my last post.

So, why did I feel uncomfortable? There was a pause on the line. “I always say to people not to think of it as networking”, Julie said… “It’s just talking to people.”

And with that, she’d hit the nail on the head.

It’s not networking

“It’s just talking to people.”

I love talking to people. Especially one on one. I love getting to know people’s stories, their challenges, how they ended up where they are and what they’re passionate about. I mean, it’s why I do what I do! It’s all about connections. Which, when you think about it, is just another word for networking.

Julie went on to say that those who are good at networking do it naturally, although they might not call it that. They are the ones who are genuinely interested in people. Although they might claim to have never attended a networking event in their lives, if you need someone, you know they will be the person who can help. Need a new hairdresser? They know someone. A local plumber? A friend of a friend they met recently could help you out. A web designer? There’s this woman they used to work with… You get the picture. That’s a network.

Building real relationships

I agree with Julie, and that’s why I felt uncomfortable when I said I didn’t like networking. What I meant was, I don’t enjoy certain types of networking events – the sort where everyone shows up with their elevator pitch and business cards and you don’t get a chance to really speak to people. When I reach out to someone, it’s because I genuinely want to connect and hear their story.

After reflecting on my conversation with Julie a thought crept in… ‘What if… I’m actually pretty good at networking?’ I might not be at any every networking events and I have a modest number of followers on social media (although that’s all relative) but the relationships I do have, both personal and professional, are long-term. I believe this is because I care, and that’s hard to do if I’ve only had two minutes with a business card and an elevator pitch.

Making networking work

So how do I make networking work for me? Well, as you can imagine, I tend to prefer smaller events when you can really speak to people but I have to give a special mention to Hub Dot, whose storytelling approach really appeals even though I still find the size of the events can be a little overwhelming.

I stay in touch with colleagues from previous roles – provided I get on with them! If we don’t have some level of friendship then I simply wouldn’t make the effort and of course all of my friends make up the inner circle of my network (it’s not all about work, remember!). I have also made many deep connections via social media. In fact, I met Julie through a Facebook group and many of the online friends I now speak to, if not meet with ‘in real life’, I met initially through twitter.

Some bemoan the way social media has replaced the art of conversation but I disagree. I think it’s a great way to build deeper relationships over time with people you might otherwise not have had the pleasure of meeting.

How do you feel about networking? Does calling it something else make it feel different to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please do comment below!

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From ‘meh’ to motivated in 6 steps

Motivation_WritingPeoplePoetrySome of you my remember my early March post, in which I explained that I had a tough month, and despite often saying all was ok, actually I was far from fine. In fact, if I’m really honest with myself, I was not fine at all from mid February to mid April. A lot of things happened in that time that led to my feeling overwhelmed and sad a great deal of the time.

I had made big plans for this year and for at least six weeks, I did very little to move towards them. A first I worried about this but I really didn’t have enough energy for that and after a while I decided I wasn’t bothered. I even thought about giving up the business. I had lost my motivation completely.

Then, one day I woke up full of ideas and the motivation to take action. This didn’t ‘just happen’ although it certainly felt that way at the time, I had been trying to get there for while. The problem was that I was trying too hard. When I stopped trying, things got better.

So, I thought I’d share how I went from ‘meh’ to motivated in case any of you ever find yourself in a similar slump. I don’t usually do listicles here but there’s a first time for everything! As with any of these sorts of ‘how to..’ life lists, what worked for me may or may not work for you.

1. Acceptance

A lot of things happened that were beyond my control. There was nothing I could have done to change or prevent them and feeling sad was a natural response to events. Fighting this feeling, pretending I was ok when I wasn’t and trying to get past it too quickly, only made it dig a deeper hole. Accepting everything that happened and my natural reaction to it meant I was kinder to myself, remembering that these feelings would pass, if I would only let them.

2. Stop

I stopped a lot of things. I stopped as much work as I could. Physically, I moved less (I was, and still am, limited by an injury but I was trying to rush that healing process as much as the emotional one) and slept more. Emotionally, I stopped saying I was fine and started talking. Of that which was within my control, I didn’t take on anything I didn’t have the emotional capacity for.

3. Breathe

Literally. I returned to meditation practice, and realised just how shallow the breaths I had been taking were. I allowed the feelings, including the messy ones I felt I ‘shouldn’t‘ have, their space – acknowledging them as necessary to the healing process.

This Too Shall Pass

4. Stop

I’ve put that twice because it’s so important. Once I started feeling a bit better, I started trying to do everything as before and quickly became overwhelmed. Something had to give and that wasn’t just about the tough start to the year, it had been coming for a while. I stopped my parenting blog, among other things, and while it wasn’t easy to say goodbye, I did breathe a sigh of relief as it opened up the space to shift my focus to where it was most needed. But instead of throwing myself into everything again, I stopped a little longer to truly recharge.

5. Get your good vibes group on

I’m pretty introverted so time alone usually recharges me. But after a while I needed a supercharged positive energy injection. So I thought about those friends I hadn’t seen for a while, who always leave me in a great place when I see them (they make me laugh, or they listen to all my sh*t without judgement, or they inspire me, or all of the above and more!) and made plans with them all. After a Skype call with just one of my good vibes group I was feeling more energised and ideas started to bubble below the surface…

6. Start

Once my ideas started to take real shape and my energy returned, I knew I was ready to get back into work again (that conversation with myself about giving up this business? The heartwork? No way) and needed to take action before my motivation left! So I began to say ‘yes’ again, starting with an invitation to an inspiring networking event that added more fuel to my fire.

And I’m now stoking that fire with more training, more of the work that lights me up and regular playtime – both creative playtime for my business and personal playtime for my soul. In short, I’m back, baby!*

*(that sounded better in my head).

If you are feeling a bit stuck right now and nothing seems to be working – I’ve been there more than once and know firsthand what it feels like! – consider booking a free half hour coaching consultation with me . I also know that sometimes, that 30 minute chat is all it takes to shift your story a little.

If you’ve been stuck before and got yourself out of it, how did you do this? Did you use any of the strategies above or did you do something different? Please do share your personal ‘meh’ mood busters below, you never know who your story might help!

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How are you? Fine..? Really..?

Today I’m feeling a bit sad. It’s been a tough month, personally, for various reasons and coupled with a fall down the stairs that caused a bigger injury than I originally thought, it’s meant I’ve been forced to take a big step back. I need to rest a lot, which of course means doing a lot less than usual.

Generally I’m not too bad at taking breaks, and I’ve become better over the years at making a little time for myself on a (fairly!) regular basis but it’s usually a short break, not an extended period of inactivity (and I am literally not very active as I can’t walk or stand for long at the moment).

Despite all this, I keep telling people I’m fine. We all do it…

“How are you?”
“I’m fine.”

Really, though..? Are you? Of course, in some situations this response is appropriate – no doubt the supermarket cashier would be taken aback if we got too real while picking up the weekly shop (although you might be surprised, when I worked in a supermarket those occasional real conversations made the day go a lot faster!) – in others we could try a more honest approach. Close friends can offer real support when we need it most, but only if we tell them we need it (a few of mine won’t let me get away with that ‘I’m fine’ BS and I love them for it)… and more importantly, we need to be honest with ourselves.

How are you_

Saying ‘I’m fine’, and practising gratitude is all well and good. I know things could be a lot worse and I have so much to be thankful for. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a bit sad should circumstances warrant it. How often have you buried feeling of sadness because you felt the situation wasn’t bad enough to feel that way..? Did it not simply return, slightly heavier than before..?

Sometimes, the only way to get through a tough time is to accept it for what it is and how it makes you feel, knowing that these feelings will eventually pass. We need to allow the feelings to pass through though, before we can honestly embrace the positive platitudes it would have been easy to post today, rather than this slightly uncomfortable truth.

So… With all this in mind, how are you today, really? Do share your honest thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to connect with the real you.

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Want to really feel proud of your (perfectly!) imperfect parenting?

Proudly Imperfect Parents_Week 4

Back in November, I wrote about why I was creating my first ever online coaching programme, Proudly Imperfect Parents. At the time it was still a work in progress, and there have been a couple of versions – one far too long, as I was trying to fit everything in, and another lacked the right level of support. But I got there in the end and the course is now open for booking!

Here’s what the lovely mums who did a test run of the course had to say:

“I love the intro videos, you come across as really approachable, warm and friendly. The course has a good balance of suggestion/direction and find your own path.”

“The worksheets are good but I especially liked that you say they are not compulsory, so it never feels like work… But it works! I now feel much more comfortable with my parenting approach.”

If you keep reading about being a ‘perfectly imperfect’ parent and you know this is all we can ever be, but somehow, deep down you’re still trying to live up to an impossible ideal – then this course is for you. Here’s what we’ll cover across the four weeks from 22 February:

Week 1 – What is perfect parenting anyway?
We’ll deconstruct our idea of perfect parenting so that we can begin to lesson our attachment to the idea that there’s a universal ‘right’ way to do things.

Week 2 – From Guilt to Good Enough
We’ll take a look at some of the things we might feel guilty about, what we can do about them and how we can let that guilt go.

Week 3 – Finding time for you
We’ll investigate how we really spend our time each day, and the importance of creating space for yourself.

Week 4 – Proudly Imperfect
We’ll further explore our perfect imperfectness, thinking about how this can benefit us and those around us, and why we should be proud of this.

Each week, you’ll get an introductory video, a worksheet to prompt your thoughts across the week, a weekly live Q&A with me in the private Facebook group and four Friday meditations on each of the themes.

You can find out more about the course and book your place over on the Proudly Imperfect Parents page. Booking closes before half term (on Friday 12 February) so reserve your place now!

Proudly Imperfect Parents logo2

If you’re not yet ready to take part in this programme but would like to know when future dates are available, and receive occasional special offers, you can sign up to the Proudly Imperfect Parents list here or by clicking on the image above.

Looking back to move forwards

New story starter_LookBack2MoveForwards_WritingPeoplePoetryIt might sound counter intuitive, looking back to move forwards… I mean, how can thinking about the past help with the future? All the stuff you’ve read about visualising your ideal future so that you can move towards it is at odds with my suggestion, is it not..?

But hear me out

Too often, we race ahead, towards the future we want to have. While having an outcome in mind is a good thing, racing forwards, often without even stopping to take a breath, doesn’t give us time to reflect, to consider whether we’re even still going in the right direction (because it’s ok to change your mind!) or, importantly, let go of difficult lessons learned and really celebrate our successes so that we can move into the future leaving the baggage of the recent past behind us.

Have you checked you ‘done’ list lately?

Perhaps you have a ‘to-do’ list (or some version of this), and each time you tick something off, you breathe a sigh or relief/satisfaction and move on to the next. The thing is, these lists can be never ending. For everything you complete there’s something new you want to achieve. Ambition is great but this constant game of catch-up can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety that you’ll never reach the end and if you stay too long this state, you might start to wonder whether it’s even worth trying.

I know this because I still find myself in this story sometimes. I try to remember to take the time that I need to but sometimes I forget, and sometimes I get so wrapped up in the excitement of a new project that I don’t take enough time to even think about, let alone celebrate, the positives of what came before.

Looking back at how far you’ve come

For me, the Christmas holidays are a time to not only reconnect with friends and family but also to reflect on the past year. However, our memories of what the start of the year was like when we get to December can be  little hazy and it’s easy to only focus on what’s present right now, which may or may not be helpful!

This is why I love FutureMe.org. Every December, usually at some point between Christmas and New Year, I take the time to sit down and write myself an email from the past. Sounds weird? It was the first time I did this, which was back in 2009. Almost every year since then (I forgot one. By that time it was weird not to have done it), I take at least half an hour to write whatever is present on my mind at the time first, before looking back over the past year at what went well and what went less so, and to think about my hopes for the future and whether these have changed over the past year (they usually have).

I then send this email a year into the future so that come New Year’s Day, when everyone is making resolutions, I’m reading my thoughts from the previous year.

This too shall pass

The biggest thing I’ve noticed from this exercise is that everything passes. I read about something that was really present for me a year ago and it has always passed by the time I’m reading about it. Reading about where you were a year ago can also help when it comes to celebrating success. Ideas that were just that – a spark of thought – a year ago can be so much more a year later and the realisation of this can be a real motivator for whatever comes next. It’s easy to forget how far we’ve come though, if we don’t take the time to look back.

Even if it feels like you’ve not come that far, sending an email into the future is also a chance to counter balance any negative self-talk with some real ‘cheerleading’ – an opportunity to talk to yourself how you might talk to you closest friend, to set you up with a positive start for the year ahead.

If you’ve not yet heard of Future Me, why not check it out and see what you think? It’s totally free to use (in case you were wondering, this is not an affiliate post!) and you can even read some of the public letters – people use it for all sorts of reasons but how you choose to use it is of course, up to you.

Why not try it out by sending yourself an email right now, either about something that seems big to you now, to see how it feels in a month’s time, or with a positive message for any time you think you’re going to need a boost? If you do send yourself an email in the future, I’d love to hear how it feels when you finally receive it – whether that’s a week, a month or even a year from now! Do come back and share.

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The leaves are turning…

2015-10-04 16.06.25

Beautiful, aren’t they?

They stopped me in my tracks last week. The leaves have been slowly turning for while but last week was the first time I’d really paid attention. The colours took my breath away but you know what my first thought was? “There’s no green left.” I like green. For me it signifies calm, and growth.

But growth is not always calm, is it?

These leaves are not young. They’ve been through a few seasons and soon they’ll fall, making way for something new. In the meantime, they’re turning. They’re no longer green. But they are red, orange, yellow… In one leaf, I see all the colours. A fire in my hand…

Earlier this week I watched someone cleaning up the park with a leaf blower. We always like to clean up the mess don’t we? And eventually (in the case of the leaves), it needs to be done for practical reasons. But nature is messy. There’s no getting away from it. I feel a bit messy at the moment. I’ve been too busy to think about it though.

That sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? I’m too busy to think? A conversation with my friend and brilliant career coach Hayley Wintermantle jolted me out of this nonsense today. I told her I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and when she asked me questions about how I take care of myself, I talked about all the stuff I was doing that meant I was too busy to take time out… Then I talked about stuff I was doing for me (not much)… and even as I spoke I knew I was making up stories (we all do it). I’d got sucked back into the ‘busy’ story once again.

When I stopped talking for a second, I noticed the language I was using… I ‘have’ to, I ‘can’t’, I ‘do’ x, y and z, I’m busy ‘doing’… Even when talking about relaxing, it was all about what I’m ‘doing’ to relax. Wow.

So when was I being?

You’d think, as someone who makes personalised meditations for coaching clients, that I’d place a high value on meditating myself, wouldn’t you? Well, lately I haven’t. In fact, it wasn’t until today that I even noticed I haven’t made time for meditation for almost a month now. How did that happen?

No wonder I’ve been feeling overwhelmed.

Back to those leaves… I tend to find that changing seasons also bring about change within me. As the leaves turn, I’ve been changing too. But as with the leaves, I wasn’t paying attention. Soon some of those leaves will fall. I wonder, when the leaves fall, does it hurt the tree? Or are they ready to shed? Am I..?

The honest answer is I don’t know. I’m changing some things. You may have noticed some changes on this website, I’ve updated some of the words but I’m not done yet. There are more changes to come so for the minute some pages are missing. I guess I’m shedding. But that’s ok. Things change. People change. I’m still me. I’m just making space for new leaves to grow.

New Story Starter_How do you make space

So, to make space, I’ll be taking a few days off in the next few weeks. How about you? Are you spending enough time just being? How will you make space for something new to grow..? Do share in the comments below – let’s just be, together.

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Coaching and connections: A not so small part of my story

Someone recently told me, “No-one cares about your story”. Their intention was positive, and I somewhat agree. You don’t land on my homepage to read my life story, you arrive because you need a coach, or a writer, so you’re interested in what I can do for you. But. The comment got me thinking… Is it really true that no-one cares…? Well, that kind of depends on who is looking.

When I’m looking to work with someone, I don’t just want the best person for the job (although that is important), I’m also looking for a connection. Why should I choose this person, over all the other fantastic service providers who will get me the same results? For me, knowing a little more of their story could be the difference that makes the difference, particularly when I’m looking to work with a coach, supervisor or therapist, where the relationship is key to my development.

puddles_WritingPeoplePoetrySo, with this in mind, today I wanted to share with you a part of my story* that is always present, and particularly today. On this date in 2007, my mum passed away. I won’t go into the details, except to say that it was sudden, unexpected, and, coupled with somewhat related events, wiped me out emotionally for a little over two years. It was around this time that I fell out of love with words for a while, as I struggled to connect back to my passions. Time does heal, but the grief still bubbles to the surface from time to time.

 

Fast forward two years to 2009, and my boss at the time (still a mentor of mine) suggested an NLP course for me. I was in two minds but I decided to sign up. Best decision ever. It was during this course that people started to say I was “a natural coach”. I used to think I was pretty good at giving people advice. Wrong! I was (and am!) good at helping people to find their own solutions, to change the direction of the less desirable stories they find themselves living. I’m good at helping people find inner confidence, move past ‘stuckness’ and overwhelm and gently guiding them to reconnect with themselves. I do all of this from a place of connection.

People_WritingPeoplePoetryGuess who role modelled the importance of connection in relationships? Mum. She was a master connector, forging deep and meaningful relationships and making friends for life everywhere she went. Sometimes, she talked a lot about herself. Sometimes people would share equally, others not so much. I realise now that this willingness to be open, and therefore vulnerable, is where the deeper connections were made.

So, I guess this post, on this date, is sort of a public Thank You, to Mum, for inspiring and motivating me to keep on and to remember that no matter what happens, as people, “we are here for each other”. And these connections live on even when we don’t.

So, maybe it’s true that no-one cares about my story. And maybe it’s not. Either way, I care about yours. Care to share a small part of your story in the comments below?

Like this? Sign up for more!*This post was just a small part of my story. I’ll be sharing more small parts, including thoughts from some of my mentors, teachers, clients and friends in the coming months. Be sure to sign up so you don’t miss any!