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?

Embracing vulnerability and creating confidence – yes you can!


Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.’ Henry Ford

Do you frequently find yourself turning down opportunities to connect with other people?

Are you so afraid of allowing yourself to be vulnerable that you miss out on making friends, or decline chances of having some fun and adventure in your life?

In the late 1980s and through the 90s, as an often-lonely single parent, I kept a scrapbook where I placed inspirational sayings and articles to raise my spirits when I felt down, and spur me on to greater things than useless self-pity.

I recall one such piece titled ‘Confidence is a con’.  The words really resonated with me. They suggested people we see as outwardly ‘confident’, were generally similar in many ways to people who believed they were UNconfident.  Except of course, the major difference was they were putting on an act and pretending to be confident, even when they didn’t really feel it – in fact despite that! By changing their unhelpful thoughts, and believing they could be confident and acting that out, they enabled themselves, over time, to grow into that role.

So they believed they could, and they were correct …

The dreaded ‘fear’

I challenge anyone to deny there are many times each day when they feel that fear of looking foolish, or something going wrong; of not knowing the ‘right’ thing to say.

We can allow this fear to limit what we embrace and welcome into our lives, or we can recognise it for what it is.

Some people choose (consciously or otherwise) to allow it to place limitations on how they live daily. Others have found they can accept it as a part of them, acknowledge it, then forge ahead regardless.


They push past their fear – realising it’s just their mind playing tricks on them. We make up stories of what ‘might’ happen if we do or say something, but in reality, what we most fear is unlikely to occur.

Of course the dichotomy of this is that if you focus on the FEAR and give it energy – you’re more likely to MAKE that happen!

So you could consider ways to ‘con’ your mind into believing you are confident, laugh in the face of fear, and make up alternative stories – ones where you look amazing or say something interesting for instance.

Or you just allow yourself to be vulnerable, and open up to the thought that the people you’re afraid of, are probably having similar fears.

“Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves.” – Gene Fowler

Being vulnerable

Brene Brown, an inspirational social researcher, describes what is possible when we can open up and allow ourselves to be vulnerable in a ‘TED talk’ called ‘The Power of Vulnerability’. The presentation of findings from her research has elicited over one million views on YouTube. It seems certain then that her words connect with many. Take a look and see what you think.

In my Life Coaching training and practice, I’ve become aware of people being paralysed by limiting beliefs. These are generally associated with words such as ‘I’m not worthy‘, ‘I’m not loveable‘, ‘I’m not good enough‘, ‘I’m alone‘. They’ve lived for so long with these they’re often not even aware of them – this is their ‘comfort zone’, what is known.  Often the outcome is the avoidance of any chance of making friends or socialising, in case they’re let down, look foolish, or say/do what the feel are the ‘wrong’ thing/s.

If this resonates with you, see if you can break it down and discover where that originates? What story have you made your truth – and is it really the whole truth and nothing but? Then ask what opportunities you may be missing out on by denying your self vulnerability?

Marianne Williamson, in a quote often attributed incorrectly to Nelson Mandela, gives another clue as to why we feel the need to limit ourselves:

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. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

Appearing more confident

So what ways can you consider to create an appearance of more confidence – which will lead to this becoming a reality for you:

  1. Confidence is a trick – you can make yourself more confident by acting as if you are, until it becomes a natural behaviour
  2. Fear will paralyse you if you let it – so become bigger than your fear, break it down, what stories and limiting beliefs are you holding on to that are untrue?
  3. It’s okay to be vulnerable – we all are! But if we avoid doing things, going places, or meeting people, ‘just in case’ it doesn’t go as we anticipate, or we may be ‘seen’, we’ll miss out on so many amazing, magical experiences. 

As Wayne Dyer says ‘You’ll see it when you believe it’

How have you overcome your fears and vulnerabilities? Or how are they holding you back?  I’d love to hear from you if you’re willing and able to share …

Coaching for life

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there” ~ George Harrison

What do you DO?

One of the first things most people say when I tell them I’m a ‘Life Coach’ (in response to the habitual way we identify people with their ‘jobs’ by enquiring ‘What do you do?’), is to ask what that means.

The enlightened amongst them may have personal experience of coaching, or know someone who has – and I believe this portion of the population will increase in the not too distant future.

By the end of this post I hope, as a reader, you’ll have more clarity around what I ‘do’ as a Holistic Life Coach, the far greater importance of what the client does, and why Life Coaching could help increase the happiness factor in your life.

Life Coach Training

The reason I chose to complete my training with Life Coach Associates (Auckland, New Zealand) was due to their initial focus on coaching for the student – they believe coaches can only take people as far as they’ve been themselves, so as well as an amazing training course, with ten long-weekend workshops over eighteen months, we also experienced group and individual coaching – lots of it. Oh, and 100 client contact case study hours (50% ‘free’, then 50% paid), including 30 supervised sessions.

I wish I’d known and availed myself of Life Coaching years ago.

Instead, I continued on my journey, not really knowing where I was going, unaware there may be something/somebody out there that could help me. Looking back I recall feeling frustrated and often unhappy, repeating the same old familiar patterns year in, year out, in so many areas of my life including relationships with others (family, friends, partners) and in my career, and wondering why I was getting similar results. However, I only really heard about the concept in 2002, when I’d begun my journey of self-discovery after spending nine months on a solo adventure, in the soul enriching country New Zealand.

Life Coaching in 2013

Some lesser known facts about Life Coaching include:

›  ~It’s not currently a recognised profession – but it’s only a matter of time!

›  ~There are literally thousands of ‘Life Coaches’ across the world

›  ~The International Coach Federation (ICF) is the largest professional body

›  ~Currently anyone can call themselves a ‘Life Coach’

In 2012 the words ‘Life Coach’ entered into Miriam Webster’s Dictionary. Their definition is:

an advisor who helps people make decisions, set and reach goals, or deal with problems

Whilst it’s been applauded in the coaching world to have the words in the dictionary, it’s also been a concern that the definition is a little inaccurate – Life Coaches never use the term ‘advisor’ to define their role, as advice-giving is more appropriate to the role of a mentor.

As a coach I may question, probe, prod, reflect, clarify, challenge and many other things but virtually never do I advise, direct, instruct or provide recommendations. Together with the client I will suggest tools and exercises to use in between our sessions that may help to move them forward and shift their energy, and could bring those enlightening “Aha!” moments into their lives.

Holistic Coaching is an empowering relationship enabling people to create real sustainable change in their ’self’ and life.  With a holistic awareness-based approach, I can help identify opportunities and options to bring greater purpose, clarity and satisfaction for clients. I can weave threads into a coaching conversation so the client can visualise the cloth they’re describing for themselves at that moment.

We explore in depth:

The present: How to understand their current status quo and how they got there

The future: Look at creating a vision that fulfils their potential

Barriers: Possibilities to resolve the issues and patterns that stop them

Action: Find ways to develop a plan that will take them forward

The butterfly story

A man found a cocoon for a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared in the cocoon, so he sat and watched for several hours as the butterfly struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress, appearing stuck.

He decided to help the butterfly, and with a pair of scissors he cut open the cocoon. The beautiful butterfly then emerged easily. But something was strange. It had a swollen body and shrivelled wings, and as the man watched the butterfly expecting it to take on its correct proportions, nothing changed.

The butterfly stayed the same. It was never able to fly. In his kindness and haste the man didn’t realise that the butterfly’s struggle to get through the small opening of the cocoon is nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight.

Like the sapling that grows strong from being buffeted by the wind, we all need to struggle in life sometimes to make us strong.

Doing it for your self

When we coach and teach others, it’s helpful to recognise when people need to do things for themselves.

And that, in essence, is what Life Coaches like me do – we support and encourage clients to dig down into their belief systems, get curious about their behavior and patterns, why they do the things they do and find ways to look at what they want to, and can, change.

Life Coaches have been likened to ‘midwives who will transform the world’, which certainly resonates with me.

There’s an inspirational YouTube video by Wayne Dyer called

When you Change the Way you Look at Things, The Things You Look At Change

… that really shows how ridiculous it is to imagine someone outside of us can make us happy.

Life Coaches inspire in their clients the motivation to love themselves first and foremost, as only then will they find that mirrored in others.

I’d love to hear what experience you’ve had with a Life Coach, or what you’d be expecting from a Life Coach – the feedback from clients is generally that it’s not what they thought it would be, as they have preconceived thoughts of what’s ‘wrong’ with their life and what they think needs to be ‘fixed’.

I’ll be sharing some topics on this blog that could be helpful to support you to live extraordinary lives – or maybe open up a desire to explore a coaching relationship with me that could lead you into incredible “Aha” moments of your own …