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what to do when everything is going wrong

World in a spin. White washing came out pink. Missed the bus. Deadlines moved earlier. Deliveries late. Phone hasn’t stopped. Inbox full to bursting. Headache and neck tension creeping up on you.


When everything is going wrong.


Sit on your hands. Close your eyes. Count to 10 slowly in time with your breathing.
Now run down my checklist to get back on track.

1. Things will change

Regardless of how hopeless, complex or blocked the situation looks, I’m confident something will shift. Large or small. Things will change.

2. Reality check

You might not want to hear this, but…..Not everything is going wrong. Some stuff is ticking along quite nicely. It might not be going great or amazing, but it’s a ticking.

3. Get it on paper

Write down everything that’s on your mind – use different spaces or sheets to denote different areas of your life. For example, are you tripping up on a presentation deck because your mind is elsewhere thinking about finding time to get a hostess gift for that big dinner party.

4. Colour code

Grab your markers, highlighters or pencil crayons. Create a system to identify what’s urgent, what’s gonna cost you money, what’s dependent on others, what is needed by others and so on.

5. Point of control

Time to prioritise, list out what you can take control of the next steps. List out what you need help with – either as an extra pair of hands or some input or knowledge to guide you. List out what is out of your influence and control then work out who you need to pass these to.

6. Break it down

For each item, chunk them up and make each step a bite sized morsel. Set yourself a mini schedule and get going.

Still tough going? Repeat after me.

I’ve overcome bad times before.

Good will come out of this experience. 

I can handle this.

Now go rock it and set the world back on it’s feet.

What’s your way of coping in the manic times? Tell us in the comments.

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feather rufflers – who’s yours?

What’s a feather ruffler? It’s someone who gets others to get off their butts to take action and make changes. We need a good feather ruffler in our lives.

Yes, we’ve all come across feather rufflers who bang their drum, push their ideas on you or poke in places they’ve got no right or permission to do so. They expel a lot of time and air on a mostly one way dialogue.

So, what a makes a good one?

The best feather rufflers do it with positive intent. The ones who hold you in high regard and believe in you having the life, relationships, health and career you aspire to. These are the mentors, bosses, friends and coaches who ask that difficult question, point out what’s in your blind spot or offer the genuine reality check.

They provide the voice of reason, the shoulder of support, the ear of a confidante and a good old fashion boot up the **** when you need one.

How do they do this without losing face or rapport with you? How do they time their inputs to maximise the effect? How do they maintain the energy and passion for your stretch?

They make the exchange all about you. Their focus is singular – it’s you. The goals and directions they seek to support are yours. The emotions they want to understand and resolve are yours.

Take a few minutes now to consider:

1. In which areas of your life or career, do you have a feather ruffler?

2. What is it that they do, say or are, which enables and empowers you?

3. Are there any other parts of your life or career that you need to find a feather ruffler for?

4. Who can you be a brilliant feather ruffler for? (After all, what goes around, comes around!)

I’d love to hear from you today in the comments; where do you need a good ruffler and for whom will you be volunteering to ruffle?

PS If you need a firm, but compassionate feather ruffler to invigorate your life or career stretch – you know where to find me. OR perhaps your body is in need of a good ruffling, book a Pilates class or postural assessment with me.

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keep those butterflies at bay

You might remember a post a few months back about cost free or super cheap ways to invest in your capabilities, where I shared some online, book and downloads to boost you to a whole new level. (Oh you’re new round here – no sweat, here it is. Enjoy!)

Did you take a leap? Pick a course? Complete a “how to”? Or maybe read about a new perspective?

Well, you know me – I believe in authenticity and have just completed another of my 2014 new learning experiences. What was great is we got the results on the day – phew, passed that one. I’m completing my case study assignment on another and waiting for the results of my Coursera “Neurobiology for every day life”.


I’ve TOTALLY loved Professor Peggy’s teaching, her humour and ease at bringing extremely complex (and sometimes stomach churning!) materials to life. It’s given me a great knowledge basis to work from as both a coach and as a Pilates Instructor. The online tests went pretty well (ok, bar one but heck, I’m not a medical student or practitioner!)

But OMG! The wait for my final project submission to come back with a pass or fail is KILLING ME!!

Now I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s waiting on the outcome of something and trying to keep those butterflies at bay. Job interview. A promotion. Performance review. Proposal to a loved one. Selling or buying a new home. Safe and healthy birth of a child.

How you coping? Nail biting? Hitting the gin? Ripping up the roads as you run or cycle it out? Here’s what I’m doing to settle my nerves. I look at what happens around the answer, result or decision point.

My first and firm favourite is to stop, centre myself and just breath slowly and deeply into my ribs. This takes me out of the chaos or distractions around me and allows me to ditch stale air and replenish my body and brain with lovely fresh oxygen rich air. Now I’m ready to dig in to try to work out how I can best handle the outcome, whatever it is.

To help you do this, I’ve made you this easy worksheet to learn what’s making those butterflies so active. Download yours here: butterflies at bay worksheet

Got another way to handle feeling nervous and calm your butterflies? Share them in the comments.

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dealing with rude questions with style and elegance

This weekend was wonderful, we’ve just been to a family wedding. There was just the right mixture of laughter and tears, flowers and confetti, champagne and cake, grannies and babies. The perfect start for a long and happy partnership between two people, clearly besotted with each other.

Then the questions begin.

“Oooww you’ll be next – when’s the date?”

“Will you be starting a family soon?”

“Are you engaged yet?”

“Why haven’t you married her yet?” (In his defence, he’s asked and would willingly do so. It’s me that’s not interested.)

Hmm awkward, right? I don’t want to offend, nor justify myself. This is my approach to dealing with rude questions – I start small and scale up if the questions keep coming. Next time you get your version of this nosey, but probably well meant question, try them out.

1. Simply smile back

By keeping silent and acting coy, you omit responding whilst maintaining a level of politeness.

2. Be non committal

A generic “No plans/thoughts right now.” reduces the interest level in the question topic and hopefully dissuades them.

3. Switch tack

Now don’t be mean! Try to change the conversation’s direction by asking them/another a question or invite someone new to join the conversation.

If they continue, you’re left with three choices:

1. Leave the conversation with good humour

Have a sneezing or coughing fit, dash to the loo or offer to refresh everyone’s glasses. No storming off like a teenager 🙂

2. Firmly decline to answer

Recognise their good intentions and then try “That’s not something I wish to talk about” or “I’m afraid that’s personal”. Close the conversation. Full stop.

3.  Answer honestly and conclusively

Be authentic and answer the difficult question. If they’ve pushed and pushed, they may not be satisfied until you do – whether they like what they hear or not. If you value the person, be generous in your wording and say that you recognise others may feel differently, but this is your personal opinion.

So that’s how I kindly manoeuvred through a potential minefield of tricky questions this weekend.

I’d love to hear in the comments what kind of questions you get asked and how do you respond?

  • kate

    As if written for me – you’d sometimes think being a single woman at 35 was akin to being a social pariah (yes I’m happy, yes I’m having lots of fun, no I’ve just not met mr right yet) – great advice Sarae thank you! xx

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Find passion in life and career

When I was at school, I was good at maths, science, German and Geography. Our school career advice used a questionnaire that diagnosed me with a future in teaching, Volcanology or being a Navigator in a plane.

So I ploughed on with maths, physics and German – I enjoyed the challenge of exploring different routes and solving challenges in all three. I got a first degree from a great uni with wonderful life and work experience overseas. I began applying and interviewing for jobs in the sector.

Then I got the itch. You know the one I mean. That sensation of something not being quite right. Something out of sync.

How am I going to do this for the next 40+ years?

At the same time, I was elected to my Students Union’s executive committee to lead our student welfare services and spend 2 years working my butt off to facilitate change for all students in the South West. I got exposed to some fabulous training and work cultures plus the right person gave me some sage advice that helped me refocus on what I was really good at. I began the requalification process to move into a career working with others to reach their full potential.

And I love it.

I’ve loved debating with detail junkies. I’ve loved making the unwilling flip their view point and come on-board with new ideas. I’ve loved seeing people’s confidence and performance soar.

Only the itch arrived again. This time, it came with a heap more baggage – I got bills to pay, a reputation to maintain, a partner to support, and so on. Oh and then add in the social pressure. Family. Friends. Colleagues.

Again, the right person popped up and shared their experiences of career transition with me. Slowly, I began a stealthy move to realign my work again, to add greater balance with my personal interests and expand the opportunities before me.

Once I’d achieved a bit of success, I was able to become more vocal with those closest to me about the bigger ambitions I had and today, I work for myself in an evolving business. One that utilises my passions for exploration and solution finding. One that utilises my strengths to enable others to move ahead with stretching in their lives. One that can help you find passion and transition into a new way of being and doing.

I say that not because I’m trying to get salesy with you. But because I know it was having the right person on my journey that propelled me leaps ahead.

Working with me can be free – you get b-mails each week and lots more on my social media profiles (Hey are you missing out? Click here for Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, depending on what floats your boat). I run workshops and training days alongside b-more, my coworking entrepreneurial community. I also coach 1:2:1 on career and life stretches.

Looking ahead, I’m looking to bridge the gap in my free to more expensive services with a set of group programmes…..watch this space!!

In the meanwhile, when have you felt your passion disappear and how did you re-find it?

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