Self belief

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?

A unique opportunity to overcome a personal obstacle in your life …


Put your courage to the test with Bear Grylls I had a phone call this afternoon from someone who’d read a blog post of mine “How to push past fear to awaken and liberate your life“. Nicola, the caller, is searching for people to take part in a TV show.

They’re seeking anyone who fits their criteria, from around the world.

What an amazing opportunity to push past your fears!

Read the information below and see if it resonates with you …

“Do you want to take part in a new TV series with Bear Grylls & overcome a personal obstacle in your life?

Television production company betty are currently making a brand new series for Discovery International. They are carrying out a worldwide search, for people who may be interested in participating in this new show with world-famous adventurer, Bear Grylls. The series sees Bear travel to a remote and wild location with a travel companion, who has a personal challenge they wish to overcome. These companions are not survivalists themselves, but rather real people who have stories to share and the urge to overcome their individual hurdles, to regain confidence within themselves.

They are looking for people who have been struggling with a fear or phobia, a physical challenge or disability, or someone who is generally unhappy with their lifestyle and in desperate need of a change – be it weight issues, anxiety, obsessive behaviours or unusual eating habits – they would love to hear from people who are willing to face their fears and issues head on to make a change. Each episode will aim to achieve the impossible and hopefully change someone’s life for the better through determination and courage.”

Contact Nicola.Barnes@betty.co.uk if you’re interested, or share this post with anyone who you think may be interested – it could be life-changing!

 

What’s in a name, and how can it define you?


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What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.” ~William Shakespeare

Does a name ‘make’ a person, or do you ‘make’ a name for your self during the journey that is your life?

I’ve recently had a few experiences that have prompted me to consider how we gain a sense of identity from what we’re called, and what others call us, at different times in our lives:

  1. My father, at the grand age of 93, introduced me as ‘Sheila’ a few weeks ago. I have no idea where this came from – as far as I’m aware he doesn’t know anyone of that name. The only similarity to ‘Sandra’ is the first and last letters! When he said the name, I didn’t at first register he was talking about me, and wondered who he was about to describe. As he’s becoming more confused with each passing day, it didn’t take me long for the penny to drop and I laughed it off as he realised his error.
  2. On a supervised session with a client, my supervisor called my client by the wrong name. Again, the first letter was the same. I was unsure whether to interrupt her train of thought as she gave feedback, but decided that actually, if she wasn’t talking to the client using her ‘real’ name, the client would be less likely to resonate with the words she was saying. I didn’t know who my father had been talking about when he called me by someone else’s name. So I did point out her ‘mistake’, and the supervisor was extremely grateful for having it pointed out, as was the client.
  3. Having decided not to pay to remain on the nursing or midwifery register in UK this year, I hadn’t realised this would mean I’m no longer able to call myself an RN (Registered Nurse) and RM (Registered Midwife) in this country.  I can say I’m a ‘qualified’ nurse and midwife, but not registered. Reading the letter from the Nursing and Midwifery Council, I felt part of my identity stripped away. Why? I’ve chosen not to work in either field anymore, so the only benefit to me of paying £100 a year to stay on the register, would be to have those letters after my name. I guess because I worked so long and so hard to obtain them, it’ll be a gradual process of letting them go and finding other ways of being.

Registering a birth and giving a child a name

In the UK, all births must be registered, with a name or names, within 42 days. I recall in Junior school, aged about eight, being so inspired by my teacher that I wrote her a letter stating I would name my first daughter after her. It wasn’t until some years later, after I’d birthed and named both my girls, that I remembered this ‘promise’.  Her name was Cynthia. As I can’t recall anything else about her now, it would’ve been inappropriate to use such a name.

What I hadn’t really considered when naming my daughters, was using a family name. My grandmothers had beautiful names – Alice Maud, and Alfena May. In fact it was only when writing this blog that I realised they share the same initials! Living in New Zealand for eight years, I’ve been privileged to be present at the birth of many Maori babies, and was fascinated and envious of the way many proudly chose ancestors names for their children.

Names we’re called by others

I vividly recall, during the 1980s, my second husband rarely calling me by my name. Instead he referred to me as ‘wench’, as in “Make me a cup of tea wench”. It’s a Black Country ‘term of endearment’, but not one I related well to. I temporarily lost my soul in that marriage. Being in the forces, we were also referred to as ‘Wife of …’ or ‘Child of …’ Hmm, not the best for feeling a sense of pride in your self.

Following my second divorce, I reverted to my maiden name, and vowed never to change it again. My father had wanted a son, and after four daughters was saddened to admit defeat. So none of his children had kept his name on marriage – well I was going to, even though my children were also both girls so it made not a scrap of difference in that respect! But it made, and makes, a difference to me.

I do not ‘belong’ to my third husband, I retained my surname, and the title ‘Ms’, and feel we’re equal partners in our relationship. I did suggest he could change his name to mine, as that is a right most women don’t even realise they have – unsurprisingly he declined. He has a long complicated surname, of Germanic origin, and frequently uses my surname when we need to give one as it’s so much easier to spell! But his name is his identity, and his children share it – one of whom, as a son, may one day carry it on.

Interestingly, J.K.Rowling recently published a book under the pseudonym of ‘Robert Galbraith’ – and sold only 1,500 copies until the secret was divulged. Following that, sales rocketed 5,000 places to top the Amazon sales list. I bet the publishers who turned her down, and the book stores who only stocked minimal copies, wish they’d chosen differently!

Is there such a thing as a ‘bad’ name?

Can a ‘bad’ name really affect you?

Professor Helen Petrie, from the University of York, recently studied the psychological effects of having an unusual name.

“I found that people with unusual names had a really hard time, particularly when they were children,” she says. “They described getting teased and how traumatic it could be – because all children want to fit in. But when they became adults, they are often glad that they have something to help them stand out from the crowd. People with very common names sometimes feel that they aren’t unique enough. So I think there’s a happy medium to be struck.”

So there’s potentially a lot in a name, isn’t there?

Maybe parents could give more thought to the potential long-term consequences of naming their child Messiah, Hashtag, Sanity, Google or Hippo (yes, those really are genuine 2012 names)!

What do you think? How has your name or title defined you during the course of your life so far? As usual, I’d love to hear from you …