It could be today …


Hopefully not today that I die if you’re following from yesterday’s post!

It may be the day this site magically transfers to WordPress.org thanks to the assistance of Mike from DK Media who’s been holding my hand as we make the move. Once that happens the current wordpress.com site, and hence this post (because it’s not coming with me), will disappear in a puff of smoke I’m reliably informed.

What we may not have been able to configure, is bringing everyone who’s currently signed up to follow this blog along with us. The website site address www.awakenlifecoach.com will remain the same, so if you don’t hear from me for a few weeks it’s likely you’ll need to re-affirm you want to continue reading by signing up to the new site.

It’s taken me two and a half years to finally take this plunge – and it’s nowhere near as scary as my thoughts have imagined.

If there’s something on your ‘to do’ list that you keep carrying forward, because it feels too scary, dig a little deeper. The likelihood is the more you learn about it, the simpler it will become to jump off the cliff, find your wings and fly.

I hope you choose to stay with me on this journey. If not, farewell, it’s been a pleasure.

Carpe diem

Today I may die …


Quite a sobering thought isn’t it? Not in a gloom and doom “what’s the point in living” type of way. More in a pragmatic, “... let’s face it, one day my number will be up, so what’s my intention to make the most I can of THIS day“, kinda way.

Or a “Death is inevitable, for me and everyone I love, so why am I getting so worked up about so many trivial things?”

The reality is that you can put off moving out of your comfort zone and venturing into unchartered territory towards the life you want for too long. And miss the boat in the process.

Right now you’re probably thinking “But Sandra …

  • I don’t have enough money
  • I don’t have enough time, I’m so busy
  • I’m all on my own, I don’t have enough support
  • I don’t have the confidence”

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera – as Yul Brunner said in The King and I (for those of you old enough to remember) …

Blaming others

A major component of the work I do with clients, is supporting them to identify what stories they’re holding onto from the past that limit their lives.

You may identify with such beliefs. The ones where your story backs up how you’ve been wronged by someone, something – or maybe life in general? The mother who had her own emotional issues and wasn’t as loving and caring as you wanted, or the teacher who had so many of his own issues all he could do was criticise you. As a child you couldn’t distinguish between the truth and someone else’s pain.

There’s a whole heap of ways we limit our lives, usually without even realising it. The only truth I am certain of is we’re here only once, and it’s time to make the most of it.

We’ll have periods when life seems to be swimming along quite nicely thank you. Everything goes smoothly. People smile at us. The car hums along happily. We have money in the bank, food in the cupboards, an okay social life, someone to love who loves us in return.

Then bam! Something unexpected happens. The Universe decides to turn your life upside down.

Have you garnered sufficient strength and resources during the days of plenty to keep your head up when the going gets tough?

Or do you allow it to knock you sideways and spend ages getting up, feeling sorry for yourself, getting sucked into the ‘poor me’ and ‘why me’ syndrome?

A saying you can remember at such times is ‘The sun is always shining, even when it’s above the clouds.’

That’s another truth!

Think about it. Rain or shine, the golden ball remains in the sky, we just can’t see it for a while (a long while sometimes I’m remembering now I’m living in the northern hemisphere again!).

It doesn’t take a genius to work out if we allow such things as the weather to influence our happiness, we’re letting something out of our control dictate our feelings.

Peaceful deaths

My elderly (almost 95 years young would you believe?!) father, who’s been sadly ‘gifted’ with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, had a nasty fall a few weeks before Christmas. After four weeks in hospital he was moved to a nursing home. His family have done their best to keep him at home, but his condition is such that he now requires 24/7 supervision and care.

His grandfather and only sibling, a brother, pre-deceased him, and his father died at the age of 59 when dad was just 14. Dad didn’t allow the fact that he was the only child of a single mother in the 1940s to stop him.

He travelled extensively when it wasn’t the norm to do so, and never allowed lack of money to stop him. He worked and saved hard, married the love of his life when he was 35, had four daughters, always took us on a family holiday each year, played squash and tennis to keep fit and healthy (until he was 90!), and in retirement he continued to grasp opportunities. For his 82nd birthday I took him and mum for a stream train ride while they were on a five-week holiday visiting me in New Zealand.

When the time comes, I want him to have a peaceful and pain-free death, and I’ll do my utmost to ensure this happens. However I know I can’t predict when or how his amazing life will end. Just as I can’t be certain of my own departure.

It could’ve stopped at any time I was living in abroad for eight years, but he wouldn’t have wanted me to not follow my dreams.

In fact, I could die first, in a car accident on my way to visit him …

Generally though, we have no choice as to when we’re going to die. One thing IS certain – it will happen one day, however much money, or time, or love we have or don’t have.

Choosing to live

What we DO mostly have a choice in, is how we LIVE each of the days before that inevitable moment.

If you could break down the excuses you’re using, could you see ways around any beliefs you’re allowing to limit you? Can you awaken a curiosity about potential small steps you could take each day towards making your ‘someday’ life a reality?

Who could you can ask for help? How can you save money if you need it, rather than spending it on ‘stuff’ that isn’t serving you or taking you closer to the place you want to be?

Maybe you could engage a coach to help you find achievable ways to make different choices?

Four ways to awaken to life today

I want to share with you four ways you could consider to wake up to appreciating life today:

  • You’re given six months to live – what would you do? Write it down.
  • It’s your 70th birthday party and you’re giving a speech to your guests. You have time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Imagine what that speech would say? Write it down.
  • You die suddenly and unexpectedly. What would people say about you at your eulogy? Write it down.
  • You have no idea when you’re going to die, you just know it could be today. What intention will you set to make the most of it?

If you’re still not convinced, ex palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware used her experience of spending time with people during their last days, in ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing’

5 – I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

Remember that your thoughts shape your life. By setting an intention each morning for the day ahead, you can help discover your best self, even during challenging times.

What would be your wildest intention today, if it turned out to be your last?

Image by Gary Blakely/Shutterstock.com

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?