With the latest Chat Letter winging it’s way to inboxes this week it’s time to revisit some of the content from the last one which was all about inspiration.
The question I posed was:
“Where do you get inspiration from?”
We’re all inspired differently. By a person, a book, a film, you name it. It’s useful to know what works for you so that if you are feeling a little bit stale, stuck in a rut or dull you can get yourself going again.
I had a wonderful response from Amanda who listed all sorts of different types of inspiration. She’s obviously really thought about the question.
Here’s what she had to say:
“Sources of inspiration – so many!
- You, obviously (you did know that, right?);
- my other life coach, Pete Cohen, and the online community he’s created (Mi365), which is free and massively supportive of anyone who wants to make positive changes in their lives (I will understand if you decide not to mention him and them in your newsletter!);
- Books – so many, but off the top of my head “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod (packed with easily applied goodies and downloads to inspire you to tweak your life for the better) is inspirational;
- There can be things like websites, too – have you ever sat down with one (non-work) question and an hour spare at google.com? If you follow the search through with all the other questions that the answers to your first question bring up, you can end up in some amazing places! You can discover great new websites, which prompt ideas. Speaking of which, try “stumbleupon.com“. Brilliant.
- My cats – they are very much a driver of the positive changes I want to make because they are my family and my most loved creatures or people in the world (for other people it might be their children, I imagine, but this is the nearest I’ve got to that and they do inspire me forwards when times are hard)
- (Visual) the sea, a sunset or sunrise (a sunrise OVER the sea – that’s a double whammy);
- (Aural) the sound of the sea, waves lapping at the shore on a beach or even when you need a different kind of inspiration, the sound of the waves crashing hard over rocks;
- (Olfactory) the smell of fresh bread, fresh coffee (even though I don’t really drink it and was brought up on tea but it smells so gorgeous!), freshly-mown grass – you could go on and add tastes of favourite foods. Anything that comforts me shores me up against whatever it is that I need to deal with and inspires me onwards or even to entirely new things, fresh ideas.
- Nature – only I tend to work better with photographs or films of nature rather than having to go rough and ready to be in amongst the real thing, but whatever works for you, right?
- Anything you have at home which fits that quotation by William Morris about how you should only have things around you which are beautiful or useful – well, the beautiful stuff. That always inspires.
- Exercise – failing that, movement and action. Keep moving and you are bound to find something inspiring in your life.
- Oh and something I have learned BOTH through cognitive behavioural therapy AND life coaching is that if you need inspiration, take action *first*, even if you don’t feel like it. Trust the process, the inspiration will come *after* the action has been taken (and will inspire further action in future). Action is the key.”
It’s not all about the money, money, money.
Over the winter I tend to go into a semi hibernation. Generally speaking I’m not very outgoing but I’m even less so at the early part of the year. Though I need to be careful that I don’t take this tendency too far there is a positive side to it as well. It gives me time to reflect.
This winter it gave me time to realise that my last price increase has never really felt comfortable for me. Anyone who is self-employed is likely to understand that pricing is one of the hardest parts of being in business. Especially so in the service industry. It has certainly been an area of constant push and pull for me and last year I gave in to the push.
The push is the industry or business wisdom:
- If you don’t value yourself, how will others?
- Don’t under value the profession, you have to keep your prices high
- Charge high and work with fewer clients
- You can create lower priced ways of working with clients for those who can’t afford one to one
It all sounds reasonable and it’s not easy to refute these arguments but, and it’s a big BUT for me, sometimes it just doesn’t feel RIGHT.
That’s where I find myself. I have watched the coaches that I admire constantly creep their prices up, always being that bit too expensive for me to afford. I get that if I spend more than is comfortable to me then I’ll be committed to the process and I’ll do my all to get the very best from it. If that money still isn’t in the bank though I won’t go into debt. I wouldn’t expect my clients to either.
So I’ve looked at myself honestly to apply the integrity that is one of my highest values. I came into this work to help people who are ready to help themselves and I’ve always wanted coaching to be affordable to them. I believe it can change lives but only if it is accessible. It is my chosen career and I want to make a living from it but it’s never been my true desire to make a six figure income, I’ve just been lured into the prospect.
As a result I’m turning back my prices for any sessions booked from today. I hope that the rate that I have chosen means I will be able to continue working as a life coach and that those of you who wish to work with me can.
If you really want to change your life with the help of a coach, if you’ve had your introduction gift session and decided that coach is me and if you still can’t afford it…..tell me. Let’s see what arrangement we can come to.
100 Year Old Inspiration, Ivy
This week has been an important one for my husband’s family as his Nan, Ivy, celebrated her 100th birthday. WOW! Ever since I first met her Ivy has impressed me. She was a mere youngster of 86 then. She still did her own housework and shopping, regularly went on outings with her boyfriend and would be the first on the dance floor at family parties. That said she still lives in her own flat, has only just stopped going shopping and enjoyed a dance at her birthday party.
As the years have gone by I’ve been watching, listening and picking up some of her secrets:
- Have fun and laugh often
- Stay mobile (she stands while doing her jigsaw puzzles)
- Keep the mind active (there’s always a puzzle book on the go and she watches just about every quiz show on tv)
- Have interests – (along with the quiz shows she loves all sports apart from boxing)
- Eat a good breakfast (a bowl of cereal piled high with all sorts of fruits)
Of course this are great tips and we all need to find our own versions that will work for us. I’ve been trying to do some of my computer work standing up but haven’t been successful so far so have built regular walks into my routine. I’m currently a work in progress when it comes to over hauling my food and drink consumption and I love reading. There’s still plenty more for me to learn and implement though.
This week has taken my thoughts to a different question.
That thought stopped me in my tracks. Firstly because I simply can’t imagine living that long as that would mean another 52 years, I’m not even half way there.
In itself that’s a good wake up call. I meet so many people who are considerably younger than me who already feel it’s too late for them to change direction in life, they don’t have enough time. Well if they managed to follow Ivy’s example they’d have plenty of time!
So here’s a few questions for you to mull over assuming you live to 100:
- What would you have time to do?
- What steps would you need to take now to care for your body?
- How would you take care of your mind?
- What would you do to nuture your spirit?
- What plans could you put in place now to move towards the life you want for your remaining years?
I’ve always hated the idea of a bucket list as it implies a shortage of time. I understand that we sometimes need that wake-up call but what if were to focus on the potential time that we COULD have and how we’d like to spend that? Doesn’t it seem so much more full of possibilities and fun that way?
Thanks for the inspiration Ivy!
I’ve heard a couple of times now that my clients worry that others will think that they are going crazy. Is that because they are reaching for dreams that others think are impossible? Because they are making radical changes to their lives? Well maybe it’s those as well but the one thing that makes me chuckle when I hear it is the number of them who tell me that they hear my voice in their heads when I’m not there. How’s that for value for money?!
Today I had a catch-up with Julie so I could order some of her gorgeous cupcake bouquets and she upped the ante somewhat. A couple of days ago she ended up having an argument with me in her head. I’m pleased to say I won, and it worked out really well for her.
You see she was meeting a friend at a local café and she heard me (in her head) saying what a good opportunity it would be to take a bouquet and see if the café would be interested in stocking/selling them. Her natural shyness argued not but after a lengthy battle of wills she decided to do it. The café said no but she handed out cards to at least five people in the café that day who were interested in buying from her.
So, not only do you get coaching from me when you are with me but also when you’ve gone home. I like to think of this as carrying my cheerleading for you into your everyday life. What fantastic value for money, a 24/7 life coach.
Now I can understand that hearing voices in your head might not be everyone’s cup of tea but…..
If you’d like to order a wonderful cupcakes bouquet you can contact Julie on facebook.
Let’s start with the assumption that you get to create whatever you choose. It may not always seem like it I know but we do need to remember that we are the creators of our lives and we have more influence over it than we feel we do.
So let’s start the year on this positive note and look at what we really want from the year ahead.
If that flows well for you then why not look ahead as well. After all most businesses work on a five year plan, the Olympic athletes will already have 2020 in their sights. By looking ahead like this we can see what we need to achieve in the short term to be able to make these longer term dreams/goals a reality.
This was originally written for my local magazine Bletchley Buzz. It’s a topic that comes up regularly with many finding it harder to love themselves than to love and care for others. So with thanks to Bletchley Buzz I’m replicating it here for those who aren’t lucky enough to get a copy of the magazine.
As we move into February our thoughts turn to love and romance. From finding a partner for live to appreciating our soul mate. However, as Whitney Houston used to sing to us, the greatest love of all is loving ourselves.
It never ceases to amaze me how much harder we can be on ourselves than on those around us. I often hear people beating themselves up and yet if someone else had done/not done/said/not said the exact same thing they would think nothing of it.
This February why not start a new tradition for Valentine’s Day and make it love yourself day. If you were to show appreciation and love for yourself just how would you want to do it? Take some time to think about it, what would make you feel truly loved and cared for?
- Your favourite meal
- A glass of bubbly
- A long hot soak in a candlelight bath
- A bunch of flowers
- An evening curled up with a book
- Watching your favourite film
- Listening to music
- A pampering session
- Booking a holiday
- Switching off the phone, computer etc
Whatever feels right for you, do it!
If you don’t feel the love for yourself right now then a great way to build it is to make a ME book. Use it to record all the things about yourself that are good (these are the bits we often forget) and refer to it whenever you are feeling unsure, unloved or low in self esteem. It might include some of the following:
- Your good qualities
- Compliments you have received
- Things you have done
- Things you are proud of
- People you love
- Plans for your future
Make sure you only record the things you feel are good here. Then use it for an instant boost as and when needed. Try to remember to add to it, especially to include compliments and nice things people have said about you as these are the things we forget the quickest.
Happy Valentine’s Day You!
Show yourself a little love this month.
Book using code Valentine1 for a 14% discount or double the love with code Valentine2 for 28% off. Go on, show yourself you care!
When it comes to deciding what you are going to work towards in the future it can be more tricky than it might originally seem. At first it seems simple, you just decide what you want and then go about making it happen.
If you are anything like me though when you start looking at what you want there’s a whole range of things you’d quite like but there are so many that have the same priority for you. So where do you start? Can you have it all? If so can you work on it all at once? Looking at your list you may be able to answer that question immediately with a NO.
This is the point where overwhelm kicks in and sheer range of what you’d like to accomplish stops you from taking action.
Anyone who has been to me for coaching will know that I recommend a maximum of 3 new/big projects at any one time. However great you are at juggling different projects I have found that this is the most you can handle and make real progress while not swamping yourself completely. I’ve worked this out myself through trial and error (plenty of the latter) and I’m very good at juggling. In one of my employment roles I had about seven different hats to juggle and I maintained that for years.
So what does this mean for you?
Well rather than getting overwhelmed by that list just pick a couple, or even just one, thing that you want to achieve and make a start. Action is always inspiring and achievement even more so. Just get going on something.
In The Expert Experience I recommend spending at least one run period (28 days) on a topic. This gives you time to make a reasonable assessment of whether or not you really want this. You’ll have had to overcome some difficulties with enthusiasm and motivation and will be better placed to decide if you are just fining it a little more tricky than you expected or if you really don’t want it any more.
It may be that once you have made a start it becomes a new routine or habit and you can move on to something else on your list and make a start on that at the same time.
Whatever happens when the overwhelm kicks in:
- Take stock
- Take an action
- Don’t worry about the rest
If you’d like to know more about The Expert Experience and how you can use it to help you there are more details here.
New Year, New Options
New options is the way I prefer to see the whole business of New Year resolutions. After all the idea is about creating something different for the year ahead.
There is something inspiring about that first blank page of the calendar. A fresh start, a new beginning. Of course we can do this on any day but there is undoubtedly a different enthusiasm around the start of the year and it’s a shame to waste it.
I do find it incredibly frustrating though as so many programs are designed to start on the 1st January, resolutions are made with the intention of starting that day and, quite frankly, the timing is just wrong. On the first day of the year we are still in the celebration/post celebration phase. There is a strong likelihood of a full cupboard/fridge of food left over from the festivities, present often include food and drink as well. We’re also still in the holiday period. That said this year things are getting back to normal very quickly. I’ve never heard of so many people taking down their Christmas decorations so early.
Instead I prefer the idea of using the first few days of the year to get ready, to think about what I want to achieve, to ponder what may be created in the year ahead and to decide what I really want. Only then will I look at how I will go about achieving that and it very rarely means making a New Year Resolution. Here’s some of the options that I might use:
- Monthly resolutions
- Word for the year
- Goal settting
- Vision board
- Review of the year gone by
- Goal mapping
- Systems designed by others (Leonie Dawson, Susanna Conway,100 day goal)
I’ve used all these options before, with varying levels of success. Some feel right one year but not the next. It’s great to have them in my tool box as options but I also love to add new options and try new things. This year I’m going big with my own system.
This year I’ll be setting a 2020 vision. I’ll create a vision of where I want to be at the end of the year 2020 and it will involve all areas of my life. Then I’ll be picking one area of life in which I want to become an expert. It may not be easy to do but having read a lot of biographies I can see that to get ahead the being really good at something is what really propels you towards success. Then each day I will focus on how I can become more expert in that area.
It won’t stop me working on the other areas of my life I want to change but this will be my primary focus. It will be where the bulk of my effort and energy will be expended. I’ll break it down into bite sized chunks with clear measures and commit myself to it.
If this sounds like a good way of working to you then you might like to consider joining The Expert Experience Club. It’s a place where we’ll all be working like this and I’ll be bringing inspiration and techniques from the world of sport to help us.
What will you create this year? The next? The year after that? In 2020?
Have you heard the saying that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert? It would seem that the Olympics is proving that point. I’ve done the sums and if you work for 7.5hrs every single day for four years that comes to 10,920, so it would even be possible to take a day or so off.
It’s got me thinking. Even if I didn’t put in a full day but just did something consistently every day for 4 years then just how good could I get? Well I’ve been using a phone app to learn a language that is based around daily practice and it works really well. In fact recently I proved that to myself by only doing one day out of 5 and I really noticed the difference in just how bad I’d got!
So why don’t we take this concept on board more often? I know that looking back 2012 seems only a moment ago and yet had I practiced something every day since then I would be well on my way to being an expert by now.
I think the thing that often stops us is that we don’t know what to do. Be that for work, as a hobby or just as a skill for the sake of it. There are so many options available to us now and it feels like we have so little time. Where should we start?
Maybe we should start with that thing we’ve always wanted to try? Perhaps with honing a skill we already have? Maybe by doing something we simply enjoy? Maybe we should just try lots of different topics and have some fun with it?
Whatever it is maybe we should just give it a go……
Well I’m game if you are. Four whole years sounds very scary to me so what I propose is this…let’s just start with 28 days and see how we get on. If it works well we can carry on to the next 28 days and so on. Are you ready to join the Expert Experience Club?
In my last post I talked about who has success teams and what roles may need to be filled. Today I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts about how to select the people to fill these roles.
Like with any vacancy this is going to depend on the exact nature of the role and the skills/knowledge already available to you. In the Davina article there were references to trust, honesty and openness along with the ability to have a laugh together. When this is right you can see that it is possible to have very long and positive working relationships.
One of the key considerations is that the people in your team should share the same values as you. If you are working toward a healthy lifestyle then having someone who doesn’t believe that this is important in your team could prove distracting. To work out what your values are, or those of other people, talk about the things that are really important to you, the things that get you buzzing or the things that really, really wind you up. You’ll soon see what is important. When I carried out this exercise with my coach I was talking to her about how I get a kick out of finding more efficient ways of working and how long laborious processes really wind me up. Efficiency is a key value for me and I would want to have people in my team who were always searching for more effective methods for every process that was undertaken. It helped me to realise why I love the world of Formula One as efficiency is the watch word of all the teams.
Attitudes are also very important. However positive and chirpy you may be feeling if you spend time regularly with pessimistic and miserable people you are very likely to find it hard to continue with your optimism and will soon start to lose your joie de vivre. If you need a quiet and thoughtful environment to work in don’t surround yourself with chatterboxes, it’s a recipe for disaster! Just as for values it is essential that you know yourself before recruiting your team.
Skills and knowledge are the next point for consideration. Cut yourself some slack and remember that you don’t need to know everything yourself and you certainly don’t have to do it all yourself. There are people out there who specialise and they are the best to assist and advise in the areas that aren’t your own speciality.
Finally remember that everyone needs someone whose job it is to question and challenge them. Michael Neill mentions in his ‘Creating the Impossible’ audios that all kings had a jester whose job it was criticise and counsel the monarch. Who do you have on your team who challenges your assumptions and beliefs? These are the people who help you grow.