Awareness

Writing on a laptop

What to do when words just don’t come easily


I have a confession to make.

I’ve been avoiding you.

Don’t take it personally though, this is about me, not you.

You see I’ve been allowing my fear of not being ‘good enough’ to hold me back from writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had you on my ‘to action’ list for months.

~ Write a coaching blog
~ Blog regularly (weekly, fortnightly, even tried monthly to see if that would cut me enough slack!)
~ Write inspirations down as they appear

Actually that’s not true. It hasn’t stopped all my writing.

I’ve had a couple of articles published in the past few months, and one scheduled for next month, and I have no problem writing regularly for my boating blog.

So I know I CAN commit to writing – and importantly publishing.

Shining your light on the world

One of the things I talk to clients about is not waiting until everything’s in place and seemingly ‘perfect’ before they take action and move towards the place they want to be.

You may be under the impression people like Richard Branson and J K Rowling became famous almost overnight. They didn’t of course. It took them years and years of practice and refinement, of knock-backs and struggle. You just don’t see those journeys.

I’m inspired by the poem by Marianne Williamson, from her course A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, which begins with the words …

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

Why we all need a coach

I’ve chatted with my coaching buddies who’ve spurred me on (seriously, coaches coach each other, we know what a difference it can make to our lives). One challenged me to write and publish a post within the next week (thank you Meredith).

I did.

And it was fine.

Except I didn’t really write it that week.

I pressed ‘publish’ by mistake on a draft post I’d written just before Christmas last year! And in the seconds following that realisation I thought my heart was going to be delivered through my mouth having no idea what I’d written or whether it was one of my really rusty drafts.

Fortunately the Universe was on my side that day, and the post was an interesting one that connected with people.

Phew!

Last year I read about the possibility of a writing coach. It sounded amazing. Someone to help me write ‘Damn Fine Words’. Money was an issue, so I signed up to the newsletter and took what I could from it.

Then I forgot about it until earlier this week when I read there’s a competition. The winner gets a free place on the next DFW course – and the deadline is this morning.

Nothing like leaving it until the last moment!

All I needed to do was write and publish about writing, and why I felt I was deserving of this place. So here I am.

During the past four years I’ve known many amazing coaches, covering such a diverse range of areas such as …

~ The Dream Job Coach

~ Transitions Coach

~ Meditation Coach

~ Getting Unstuck Coach

~ Mindset Change Coach

~ Social Media Coach

~ Small Business Coach

You name it, there’s a coach out there with experience, knowledge and skills to help you become an overnight success!

Removing the ‘F’ word

“What you give energy to grows and expands.”

When we give in to fear, we’re more likely to feel that we’ve somehow ‘failed’.

Not that I believe in ‘failure’ per se. I prefer to see anything that doesn’t go to plan as a learning opportunity.

‘Failure’ is a dreadful word many people bandy about indiscriminately, without thought of the consequences for their selves or others.

I believe professionals continue to label some women’s labours ‘Failure to Progress’ – how awful is that?

What’s actually happened, in a high percentage of such cases, is someone with good intentions interfered in the normal progress of childbirth and buggered it up (we know it affectionately as ‘the cascade of intervention’). Consequently the baby and it’s mother’s body become so out of synch they meet obstructions which block the passage to the outside world.

In a physiological labour, the midwife acts as the woman’s coach and advocate. The woman is likely to have discovered as much as she can about her body, the changes going on, and what she can expect for the labour and birth.

Of course things don’t always go smoothly, sometimes she’ll need some some support and possibly ‘interference’. But it’s not the woman who ‘fails’.

I recently signed up and actively took part in Tim Brownson’s ‘Coach the Life Coach’ course. I want to continually improve my coaching skills so I can be there to support women in other significant phases of their life.

One of the many learning points that stood out for me, was his assertion that you can be the best coach in the world, but unless you’re good (fantastic even!) at marketing, few people will find you.

What have I been afraid of?

That’s a great question, and one I’ve asked myself a number of times. Mainly my answers have been such things as

  • People laughing at me, saying things like “Who does she think she is?”
  • Being inundated with clients – afraid of my own success
  • Feeling like an imposter – what do I know anyway (more about that shortly)

I had some fairly senior posts as a midwife over the years, involving leading teams, managing projects, educating other midwives and writing policies and guidelines to support women in labour. I’ve spoken at conferences I’ve been instrumental in organising, in front of hundreds of people. I’ve written for national publications.

During much of that time, I can recall thinking “Today could be the day that they discover I know nothing!” Or “If only they knew how little I know – they’ll discover I’m just winging it!”

Apparently this is known as ‘Imposter syndrome’, it’s a trait of ‘high achieving women (and men)’. I wish I’d known that years ago. Raising awareness of where our thoughts are leading us can be enlightening and liberating.

Making a difference

Recently a previous client shared with me a huge change she’s making. It’s something we alluded to about two years ago. She wasn’t ready then. Since that time, her mind-set has changed immeasurably. Now she is. She said “Thank you for inspiring and empowering me.”

She’s been building her ‘someday’ life, rather than remaining stuck believing where she was was where she had to stay. Bit by bit, she’s moved towards the life she wants that nourishes rather than depletes her energy and her source.

You see I’m not really an imposter after all!

And I’m going to make a commitment to you. Right here. Right now. Well as soon as I press the magic button at the top of my page that says ‘Publish’.

I’m going to get over my self. Because as I was told recently (thank you Tim), even if your posts only resonate and help ONE PERSON, then it was worth all the time and passion you put into writing it.

Like anything, the more energy I give to writing and reflecting on what works and what I can change, the more I’ll improve.

People may criticise and condemn something I say. That’s ok. We each have our own map of the world, our way of seeing things. I know sometimes the words I write won’t resonate with people, my coaching essence won’t appeal to everyone. Thank goodness! I’d be overwhelmed with clients …

I’m moving forward this year.

I’m going to build a bridge and get over myself.

I’m finally having a logo designed. It’s going to tie in with the northern hemisphere spring of new beginnings, with connections to my love of New Zealand. I’m moving this site from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, because I’ll be able to reach more people and have greater functionality to market my coaching services. You’ll notice design changes creeping in too.

January 1st isn’t the only time to start over, to look at where we’ve come from and where we’re going. To commit to the actions you want to take.

How about you?

Where and when are you playing and keeping your ‘self’ small because you’re letting fear tell you what to do? When will you let YOUR light shine in the world?

Is there a small step you can take today, that would inch you towards your someday life? Who do you know that you could reach out to for support?

See if you can even tell others in the comments below – your words may help one person. Now wouldn’t that be something?

How to let go of your dreams (in order to manifest them)


Birthing naturally

Birthing naturally

You know those times in life when you have a dream, a vision of something you really want to do, have or be, but however hard you try it just won’t work how you imagined it would?

It’s not easy to walk away and trust that life knows what it’s doing is it?

Sometimes however it’s the only way.

Maybe your timing wasn’t right, or maybe what you think you want and what’s for your highest good are two different things!

It’s usually only when we look back, with the benefit of hindsight, we realise and understand this.

Soren Kierkegaard said (this quote has profoundly affected my life):

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Talking about ways to bring new life into our days, takes me back to my quarter of a century in midwifery …

Natural birth

How was your birth?

No, not the birth of your children. YOUR birth.

Was it fast, slow, early, late, complicated, painful – or gentle and unhurried?

Do you even know? Have you ever asked?

I was born at home, which I see as a great gift. My mum may not agree, as she was alone for the whole labour – the midwife only deigned to arrive at the last minute.

From what mum’s told me, the labour was uncomplicated and drug-free. The only part that was a particular ‘problem’, was when the midwife finally came and proceeded to instruct mum not to push, as she hadn’t quite got her equipment ready!

Ridiculous woman. It’s just not something you can forcibly stop, once the baby’s ready. Having said that, entering the strange confines of a hospital whilst in labour can halt progress, but that’s another story …

I do wonder if mum did attempt to resist that forceful expulsive urge. She was only 26 years old, with no-one to support her (my dad was working away). In which case, it’s feasible I got frustrated, as the strength of muscle contractions would’ve been forcing me further down, despite mum holding back.

What has this got to do with anything you may ask? In a previous post I discussed the importance of breathing, and said I’d share this with you.

During our Holistic Life Coach training, we were encouraged to discover more about our birth story. It seems possible for messages to be processed by the brain during the process, which can subconsciously affect our life.

So I can postulate that my fear of being buried alive, and importantly my ‘fear of drowning’ that wasn’t overcome after the white water rafting incident, could have originated from being ‘forced’ to stay longer in the birth canal than necessary, at a crucial point, and feeling suffocated.

It sounds far-fetched, but who knows what information could be hard-wired in our brains?

I’m also aware of being prone to impatience. I figure being held back like that, could be one of the reasons! However, mum’s story is she told the midwife in no uncertain terms she was pushing whether she liked it or not.

I could also picture the fact that my birth was a fairly rapid one, with no obstructions. And I was early! Well, only a week or two, which isn’t exactly ‘early’, in fact it’s well within the parameters of ‘normal’. But I didn’t hang around.  Once I was ready I was coming out!

Mine was a ‘good’ birth. How often is birth in the twenty-first century as gentle, physiological and ‘normal’ as this I wonder?

The 4 Ps – Power, passenger, passage, psyche

During labour, there’s four major factors affecting progress:

1/ The Power is around the strength of the contractions, how well nourished is the mother, how well rested is she? What position is she in – lying flat on her back in bed is unlikely to assist the power of labour, though lying on her side if she’s exhausted could. Changing position frequently can also help. Standing up and walking around helps enormously.

2/ The Passenger of course relates to the baby as she/he descends the birth canal – or not! There is an ‘ideal’ position of course, head down and flexed (chin on chest), ‘left occipital anterior’. Or in layman’s terms, on the left side and looking down. In this position the fetus is optimally placed to negotiate the twists and turns of the pelvis. Other positions may birth vaginally, but could cause more challenge.

3/ The Passage relates to the anatomy of the mother’s pelvis. There’s a number of shapes and sizes, the measurements of which drifted out of my head as swiftly as I read them, like most anatomy and physiology! Suffice it to say, some dimensions work well and others not at all.

4/ The PSYCHE – such a vital P, and one that’s not always acknowledged in the production line assembly of birth in a modern, ‘keep to budget, get them through quickly’ labour ward. In a planned home birth the psyche is calm and in control, in a noisy labour ward such as those seen on dramatic TV programmes, adrenaline kicks in and can halt contractions in an instant, leading to a cascade of unnecessary interventions.

Little can be done about the woman’s anatomy, but the other three can be helped to progress in a variety of ways that can literally shift the process from ‘stuck’ to ‘smooth’.

Breathing, as always in life, is crucial.

One of the (sadly many) practices I found extremely distasteful in professionally ‘managed’ childbirth, was encouraging women to take a big breath, hold it, and push forcibly as long as possible until her face was beetroot red and she soon became exhausted.

What also happened during this process is that the oxygen supply to the fetus was interrupted.

When the woman is ‘allowed’ to adopt a position conducive to giving birth, and follows the spontaneous nature of breathing and automatic expulsive efforts, the baby is more often than not born gently and with as little trauma to either party.

No force, letting go and allowing nature to take her course.

Listen, learn, change your mindset and let go 

You have a dream.

You’ve hit a brick wall.

You’ve worked hard to push through the barriers that have been presented to you. But they’re not giving.

It can be frustrating. But continuing in the same direction regardless of the obstacles can be foolish.

Like the obstructed birth, it may happen eventually but at what cost in terms of trauma?

Consider what you can change that may lead to a different outcome? Maybe you can look at the dream differently? Or move the timescales you’ve put upon yourself?

Start to consider a change to your mindset …

Or is it time to let go?

If things aren’t moving, then don’t keep forcing it. Because when that happens, when you force against nature, you’re much more likely to encounter an obstructed labour!

Wait a while. Let go of expectation. Be open to possible changes of direction and opportunities that weren’t originally around.

“Don’t push it, don’t force it
Let it happen naturally
It will surely happen
If it was meant to be” ~ Leon Haywood

Your dreams

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences of following your dreams. When it worked well, what was different to the times when it didn’t?

As always, if you want to consider a coach to support you to birth your dreams, do get in touch.

Who are you working for – and why?


I love being approached online by people who’ve read a post that resonates with them.

This week it was a company called ‘wework‘, who state they ‘build communities that empower people to do what they love‘.

That sounded very liberating to me.

Emma emailed a link to a recent article on their site ‘One founder’s best productivity trick: Save time and do less‘, which she’d connected in some magical-internet-journey-way to this site.

The article asks its readers:

  1. Do you say no?

  2. Are you delegating enough?

  3. Is everything on your to-do list necessary?

  4. Are all of the recurring meetings on your calendar necessary?

  5. For one-off meetings is your default time too long?

  6. Do you even need a meeting at all?

  7. Are you a slave to your in-box?

I could definitely see similarities to many of my posts – apart from the perception that it was targeted at employed people or those employing others.

The endless 'to-do' list

Dipping in and out of emails and the endless ‘to-do’ list

Reading it also made my spine shiver in remembrance of many years of employment where I’ve been that ‘yes’ person, of definitely not delegating enough but having a ‘non-one can do it as well as me so I might as well just do it all‘ mindset, of a never ending ‘to-do’ list with little time to step back and look at what was really crucial (probably due to trying to do it all!), of far too many meetings where little got done going on and on in chasms of perpetuity, and of a mountain of endless emails that  I dipped in and out of throughout the day in no logical order.

I suspect I’m not alone in many of those feelings.

Taking many steps away to reframe and reflect, I’m now ever more powerfully aware, as Emma’s title suggests, that by doing less we can achieve more, which I also highlighted in a recent post.

Working for your self

There’s certainly advantages to being employed – that regular pay check tops the list! Someone else being accountable for ensuring your tax (and National Insurance in UK) is paid. And the camaraderie of colleagues.

Conversely, not (yet) making enough to pay tax or National Insurance, means anything I do earn is mine. Office politics don’t figure in my life anymore either, and I can generally choose when I work and focus on my businesses, and when I take time out to be with my self, my husband, my family and my friends.

I was quite dumbfounded recently to track back and discover that out of an incredible 31 different ‘jobs’ I’ve had since the age of 12 (seriously, I worked on a Saturday in a corner shop, having lied and said I was 13!), for 8 of these I’ve been self-employed – almost 25%.

The past 18 months though is the first time I’ve been totally working for my self and no-one else. Well maybe me and my husband!

I have less ‘stuff’ than ever, and little – if any – need to accumulate more.

We live on a narrowboat, not in a house, so our overheads are significantly lowered.

I have far more power and control over my life.

I want to discover what I’m capable of, without the constraints of having to clock in and out of a political driven organisation, having voluntarily stepped off the employment hamster wheel.

BUT …

It’s early days.

And there’s a lot to learn. Like saying no, delegating more, managing my to-do list (I’ve changed it to my ‘take action’ list, it feels better in some strange way), maintaining control and awareness of what meetings are really necessary, and definitely not being a slave to my in-box.

Counting the days to retirement?

I’ve known many people over the years, some of whom have been recent clients, who see their working life as a time for counting the days down to retirement, rather than making their days count.

Security comes at a high price for them – is it worth it?

I guess they’re the only ones who can truly answer that question.