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?

Finding ways to prioritise and simplify your life


Time Pressure On A Woman With Red Background

Overwhelmed and time poor?

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when life feels like a series of juggling acts between work and home.

At times it can feel as though you’re trying to keep a dozen or more plates spinning on poles, like they do at the circus, never really getting anywhere but too afraid to stop in case one of them is sent crashing to the floor and you lose all control.

I’ve been feeling a little that way of late, and one of the casualties has been this blog.

Apart from a hastily put-together short post after I was contacted to see if I’d publicise Bear Grylls ‘overcoming personal challenges’ TV programme, I haven’t turned a draft into a ‘publish’ since late February (and there’s a few filed waiting their turn).

Overwhelm

I’ve learnt over my too many years to mention on this planet, there’s times when you feel so bogged down by unexpected events, that in order to reduce the unmanageable stress in your life you need to prioritise where you put your energy.

And that means allowing, and being okay with, a plate or two dropping.

One of the ways I’ve discovered is to ask myself whether each thing I do HAS to be done by me.

The two minute rule

Some years ago found a really useful ‘two minute rule’ which I printed out, attached to my computer, and followed when I worked as a ‘Midwifery Educator and Quality Co-ordinator’ in New Zealand:

Delegate it

Defer it

Delete it

Drop it

It’s mainly for email correspondence, but you get the picture.

Using your time and energy wisely

Living one of my dreams cruising the canals and rivers of UK on a narrowboat is an incredible experience, and one I hope we can continue for a long while.

However, returning to live in England has meant my closer proximity to family here brings responsibilities, as well as wonderful times together. My elderly father (he’s an amazing 94 years old), hasn’t been too well in the past few months. I know time with him is precious, and that’s been a priority.

But like most other people, we do need to earn money, both to live day-to-day and for my kiwi husband to apply for the next round of his British residency visa.

And whilst one-to-one coaching is something I love to do, supporting people to let go of limiting beliefs and discover what’s stopping them from living their dreams, I’m mindful that a nomadic narrow boating life will only allow me to take on a limited number of clients.

So this year I’ve begun another income stream, quite similar to an aspect of life coaching where we support clients to connect with their inner child. And I’ve discovered I have quite a talent for it – face painting! The delight on children’s (and adults come to that!) faces when they see themselves transformed is so energising.

I also write a blog about our boating, and have done since 2009. It’s one of the aspects of marketing for my husband’s business ‘The Home Brew Boat‘ which he’s set up on board and on-line this year. So again, that’s a priority.

Slow coaching

Last year I wrote a post called ‘Introducing the SLoW coach’.

It’s been one of my most popular posts.

And it’s also led to another opportunity to support people to find more life in their lives.

Many life coaches promote themselves as being there to support and encourage you to have and do more. And that’s great – for some people.

But what about doing less and BEING MORE? That’s what the evidence is pointing to currently, the tide is turing on the busyness we’ve been engulfed in.

Seriously, by stopping and reflecting, by being more mindful about what’s serving us and what’s slamming doors in our faces, we can focus on one thing at a time.

Prioritising your life

* In what ways do you deal with the feeling that you can’t possibly fit everything you ‘need’ to do into each day?

Contact me if you’re interested in knowing more about Slow Coaching …

Are you stuck in your story? Ways to get out of the drama …


What's the drama of your story?

What’s the drama of your story?

They fuck you up your mum and dad.

They may not mean to, but they do.

They fill you with the faults they had

And add some extra, just for you.

I recall reading that poem (along with another two verses) during the decade of my thirties. It was part of my ‘scrapbook’ of inspirational quotes, sayings and articles which served to motivate me as I did my best to bring my two daughters up ‘successfully’ as a single parent, while shift working as a midwife. Looking back, I’m not sure at the time I REALLY appreciated the meaning of the words. I did, however, sense their importance and hoped I wasn’t filling my children with too many of my ‘faults’!

Those children are now inspiring and beautiful adults. One of them is a parent themselves (meaning I’m a grand-mother), whilst my parents are amazingly still alive at 93 and 80 years old. I’m very aware of how blessed I am to be in a position to spend time with these special people, and continue to explore some of the limiting beliefs I’ve formed over the years.

One of these, from my perception of my father’s authoritarian position, is ‘I’m powerless’. Now he’s the one who’s relatively powerless, and my life has brought me to a place where I can support him to retain some control over his finances and destiny.  Ironically, my younger sister and I have recently signed a lasting power of attorney for if/when he becomes incapable of financial decision making.

Identifying life’s gifts amongst the drama

As my relationships strengthen and grow, with my parents, children and grandchildren, I find myself reflecting on the sentiment expressed by Mr Larkin in a much deeper way. However, I’m also recognising the importance of identifying all the gifts my parents gave me – which are varied and numerous.

Returning from NZ the first time, in 2002, I vividly recall my sudden realisation that all the striving, proving and working so hard since leaving my second husband, had been to show my dad that I was ‘good enough’ to replace the son he’d always wanted, that I wasn’t a ‘failure’ because I was born a female. I could see how much I’d missed out on by trying to be everything to everybody, thinking that if I was ‘the best’ midwife, was endlessly promoted, earned more and more money, that he’d love me. Of course this wasn’t his ‘fault’, of course he loved me, it was merely the drama I’d concocted for myself.

Since March 2011, during my ‘Holistic Life Coaching’ training and subsequently with every client I’ve had the pleasure of coaching, my story and theirs are heard and reflected upon.

It’s such a huge honour to listen to people, and realise how immensley powerful these stories have become, and what meanings we’ve given to them.

From birthing babies, and empowering midwives and women along the way, I’ve changed direction to support people to birth a new life for themselves; one that serves and nourishes them.

Now in my fifties, I find myself reflecting with my three sisters too; discovering what meaning they’ve given and carried along from their childhood, and why.

It’s fascinating!

Because when we break it down, however ‘traumatic’ and/or ‘dramatic’ we each believe our individual story to be, there will always be someone else who feels they’ve ‘had it worse’ than you.

And then, when you look at the stories your parents could have manifested into their lives which shaped and limited them, you can begin to look on the poem in yet another way.

If you can ‘get over your self’ even more, and focus on what you gained from your childhood, however ‘bad’ it may have seemed, you can enable those to strengthen and lessen the power of the drama.

Getting out of the drama

It’s not about making excuses, or feeling sorry for your parents, it’s about:

  • Standing in their shoes to feel how it would have been to walk their respective journeys
  • Accepting that we’re all human and therefore prone to fallibility
  • Realising we do the best we can, with what we know, and which resources are available to us at that time and place
  • Allowing ourselves to let go of the need to ‘hang on tight’ to staying stuck in the drama of our story
  • Reflecting on why we believed what we did and how it helped us to feel ‘safe’ at the time
  • Seeing all the amazing love and gifts your parents DID give you
  • Loving your self first and foremost, then finding it in your heart to love your parents in spite of what you feel they did or didn’t do for or to you
  • Making the most of this life – because for things to change in the ways you desire, YOU need to change

Choosing to change

We may not realise it, but we all have a choice to change.

We may believe our happiness is dependant on others, and once they change, our lives will be different and/or better.

But they have their own stories to work through and let go of.

We are responsible for getting out of our own dramas.

Alternatively we may choose to remain there, acting out the victim role and blaming everyone and everything else for whatever happened and continues to happen ‘to’ us.

Looking back, what have you made the story of your life mean to you? And importantly, what will you choose for the next chapter – and why?