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how to renew your energy when the going is hard

During one of my coaching sessions, my client voiced her concern that she just didn’t know how she could muster the energy to keep striving for her goals. Over the last few months, she’s had some great results by balancing her current workload and future career change. She defined her objectives, understood what she need to do and learn, built a route map and has gain valuable new experience and discovered talents to support her aspirations.

Right now. Well, that’s a different story. Things have slowed down. She’s not getting much traction and that’s no fun.

Her commitment is there. She’s putting in the hardwork and nearer to achieving her new direction than ever before, but she’s starting to feel more drained.

Sound familiar? I know I’ve been there. You need to do these three things to renew you energy.

1) Check your feeling

If adding a little or a lot of stretch to your life was easy, you wouldn’t be reading this. You’d be out there living that in full glorious technicolour. Here’s a reality check:

Sustainable change needs you to be in for the game, the set and the match.

You are potentially wasting your energy focusing on every minute by minute forehands and serves. Some will go as you intend and some will get blown off track. This is energy you could be using to progress – harness your feelings towards the bigger end goal: is the game going your way and will you win the match?

If the answer is yes, great. Don’t sweat it, keep doing what you’re doing. Make time to reinforce this positive feeling about your goal, future life, new job and so on – I like Pinterest boards, quotes and postcards on my gadgets, walls and doors. Combining this with a little mindfulness practice envisioning how things would be once I crack it allows me to spend time feeling how that would be.

If the answer is no or not sure. Hmmmmmm. Time to move to my second suggestion.

2) Check your thinking

One of the coaching tools, I’m fond of in this situation is perceptual positions – it allows you to observe your situation from outside to gain new perspective – with which you can alter your thinking about your change journey.

Start by reflecting on how you thinking about your progress and change – this is the first positions of self. What’s your point of view? What beliefs do you hold about your ability, situation and means to achieve your plans? What excuses, barriers and worse cases are you thinking up? Jot these down – this could be a piece of brain writing (simple writing as it comes to you without judgement) or a journal entry to yourself.

Next, put yourself in the mind of a trusted friend or colleague – this is the second position of someone who knows you and your ambitions well. How would they answer if asked what they believe your thinking is? Do you’re best to “be them” in their responses. (Better still – ask them direct and then share your own answers!)

Last, imagine you were a “fly on the wall” looking in from outside – this is the final position of independence. What do you see from this impartial, unbiased perspective? What suggestions and observations about your thinking would you be hearing from them?

Bring all 3 positions together – where are the similarities and the differences – how do you need to reframe your thinking patterns to support your ambitions and renew your energy?

By ensuring your thinking is positively focused, your feelings will shift too. Which brings me to my 3rd element to renew your energy.

3) Check your doing

You’re human with 24 hours in a day and numerous demands on those hours. Whilst your desire, motivation and commitment could be through the roof, you need to strike a balance and give yourself a chance to recuperate to renew your energy.

Get out your diary or journal. In the last 6 weeks, how many times did you find time to do something just for the fun of it? That could be popcorn and a boxset of a favourite TV show or indulging in baking a la Mary Berry. I wouldn’t include things like your regular jog or exercise class – to me these are part of your norms and whilst they do impact your energy levels, they are less likely to give you a bigger boast.

Looking ahead for the next 6 weeks, follow the MoSCoW principle – add the Musts, Shoulds, Coulds and Woulds of your commitments. How much of your time approximately is skewed to the first two, do they help move you forward or perhaps they cover the basics of “existing” i.e. your job, chores, deadlines and the like? My suspicions are that the things that enable you to be reenergised and restored are probably the latter to – only to be squeezed into your day as could do or would do if time, others and waking hours allow.

What would your energy levels be like if you mixed it up? Prioritise some R&R time to the Musts and seek to reduce the former Musts to a minimum or with a longer timeline. OK, let’s be real, I’m not saying drop important items but maybe reschedule, ask for help or amend the expectations on the outcomes.

So if the going is getting hard, renew your energy with these 3 techniques to bring your feeling, thinking and doing into alignment.

Looking back across my 3 energy boosters, which one are you needing to use today to achieve your ideal tomorrows and what is your first step to addressing it? Shout ’em out below.

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are you as mad as a March hare?

As a child, I was a big reader. I’d wolf down books like they were the tastiest mouthfuls in a sweetie shop. New authors, old authors, kids’ books or my mum’s old ones. I loved imagining the characters, their looks, their voices and mannerisms.

Alice in Wonderland’s tea parties were a vibrant scene in my head, as the words came alive off the page and the characters interacted with one and other, creating a hubbub of clinking crockery, munching mouths and all sorts of conversations.

Mad Hatter's tea party from Alice in Wonderland

image from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alice_par_John_Tenniel_25.png

Sometimes creating change or adding stretch to your life and career can feel a bit like being at your own tea party. Are you the guest of honour taking it all in or dashing around fussing over everyone else or perhaps you’re the March Hare, pulling at your ears and getting stressed out?

Are you as mad as a March hare when it comes to moving your life and career forward?

You’re not alone. We all hit times when we get flustered, overwhelmed and anxious about what we should or shouldn’t be doing, if our reasons are right, is our progress at the right pace or what others are doing around us.

So before you start hopping about randomly, try these tips to leap smoothly ahead:

Recognise your feelings in the moment

This simple action of truly and openly accepting you feel the way you do can and does reduce the impact those feelings are having on you. I like to use a piece of paper folded in half – on the left, I jot down how I feel and on the right, how I’d like to feel. I then tear it in half, screw up the left hand side and bin it. I pin the right hand side on my wall, pop it in my note-book or photo it on my phone to remind me of how I choose to feel.

What’s the source of your madness?

Tracking down the origins of your madness and seeing it with fresh eyes can help you separate them out. Another of my childhood joys was playing “animal, mineral or vegetable” or twenty questions. To get your started, here’s a few I like to begin with:

  1. Am I the source of my anxiety?
  2. What task/action is causing me anxiety?
  3. Who else is influencing my madness?
  4. Is the pace of change causing my spin?

Take the next question that pops into your mind, as soon as you answer your first. Your gut reaction will be your natural, instinctive guide here – be open to its questions and you’ll get to the bottom – probably in less than twenty questions.

Jump on it

Identifying how you feel and the sources of your March Hare impersonation allows you to find the leaps, hops and jumps to leaving your anxiety behind. Prioritise the area(s) causing you the most frustration and break it down into manageable actions – that could be just starting or stopping some thing or changing your approach to your current one. Remember you can’t eat a whole elephant in one sitting – you got chunk it up into bitesize pieces.

Check the guestlist

Having the right or wrong people around you can make a huge difference to your madness and they don’t even have to be physically present. Maybe you’re experiencing a touch of “compare-itus” – that horrid process where you see what others are doing or achieving and that makes you feel like you’re failing, zaps the spring in your energy or blocks you completely. I say uninvite them. They’re not welcome at your party.
Who would be a great guest? Invite anyone who provides you were confidence, inspiration and compassionate support. Oh, and anyone who bakes yummy cakes too…..

Creating what you want in life can drive you mad at times and might feel like pulling your ears over your eyes, like the March hare. Follow these suggestions and give your ears a rest. Look forward to what the future holds when your goals and ambitions are achieved. More laughter. More satisfaction. More positivity. More balance. More of whatever you’re seeking.

Why not share your madness with me and I’ll provide you some answers and suggestions to put the spring back in your hare-ing about.

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a simple tool to explore your purpose

February is all about sharing the looooooovvvvvveee and I hope you are enjoy more love in your life with the tips from the Valentine’s inspired post.

Extra love coming your way in this b-mail with a free download with bonus inspiration! I’ve created just for you a “purpose on a page” worksheet to help you explore, ponder and reflect on the where, how and what your life and career could be.

Check out your free download - "purpose on page"

Download your copy of “purpose on a page” here.

Once, you’ve got your worksheet printed out, my suggestions for completing it are to go with your first thoughts or gut instinct. Get them on paper without “editing” or seeking to “validate” them. This is an iteration in a series of iterations. As you populate the page, your thinking will evolve and lightbulbs will switch on. No worries – erase, cross out, reprint and go again.

The second page is a selection from my Pinterest boards – are we connected there yet? No? Click here to go straight to my boards. I totally believe that if you can imagine and picture your goals alongside finding quotes or images that give me a boost when things aren’t quite going as I’d like and help my stretch myself to achieve more when things are going well.

Why not print this page out and pin up above your desk or on the back of your front door? Or create your own one from Pinterest? It’s really easy or if you have your own photo or favourite saying, why not use canva or picmonkey to make your own from scratch?

I’d love to see your inspiration page or Pinterest boards – drop a link into the comments or post them on my Facebook page

Now, go ahead and share “purpose on a page” with your friends and loved ones with the social media buttons – share the February love and enable they to explore their purpose too!

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love is in the air – today!

With Valentine’s Day featuring everywhere I turn, I wanted to reflect on how love can play a part in your life or career change. Only I’m not talking red roses, romantic gestures and champagne. I mean loving what you do. Feeling a passion each day to tackle the good and the bad of whatever’s in front of you.

As you move towards a new future, loving the “here and now” is still important. Yet that’s really tricky. Let’s think about it for a second.

You’re seeking a change – new habits, new role, new home, new relationships and so on. You’re likely to be motivated to achieve this, as something in the “here and now” isn’t working. It’s causing you pain and frustration or perhaps has gone stale.

Change takes time. The bigger or more significant the change, the more time it takes. It could be a case of little cumulative steps or needing an opportunity to arise. Loving your todays will make the tomorrows come more easily and with less ggrrrrrr.

So, how do you love the “here and now”?

Take stock each day of the good stuff

Take 5 minutes at the end of your day and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What positive things happened today?
  2. Why did those things happen?
  3. How can you use this tomorrow?

You might prefer to write these up, draw them out or add them to your calendar to review on tough days. Doing this, increases the love you feel by drawing your attention to the positives and is a proven method for increasing happiness, whilst reducing depression. (PS You’re more of an early bird? Switch today for yesterday and tomorrow to today and complete this with your early morning tea)

Do something good for someone else

I’m a big believer in helping others and it doesn’t have to be big to help you feel more love. Doing something simple like making a cup of tea for a busy colleague or dropping off a favourite treat to a friend develops a happier mindset and sense of connection with others – bathing your brain in yummy hormones.

Setting up a weekly or regular volunteering or charity activity also works. Think about a cause that is meaningful to you or an organisation solving a problem that annoys you. Many will have a variety of ways you can contribute to their work – from a few hours in their shop or centre to supporting members in your neighbourhood.

Move it!

Yes, get off your butt and add some exercise to the mix. The UK’s current recommendations for healthy adults is 3-5 x 20-30 minutes a week of “gets you out of breath” activity.

Obviously, gym and studio workouts or classes count alongside cardio-vascular outdoor activities. But have you thought about your commute or housework as exercise? 20 minutes of hoovering your home top to bottom, in all the nooks and crannies counts. Or a fast march home from the stop before yours. Walking to buy groceries includes some strength work too. You could also stick on a favourite playlist and dance yourself silly whilst your dinner is cooking.

Be with others

Investing in those close to you improves your experience of the “hear and now” as well as providing you with a supportive network of people to enable your change.

Sharing your plans, ambitions, hopes and fears can build more trust and gain you some valuable insights into making your new future real. Likewise, hearing what others are up to can add perspective. Oh and hanging out with family and friends is just lovely anyway!

I hope I’ve brought a bit of love into your life as Valentine’s Day swings by – next time, I’ll be sharing how to identify the passion and purpose with a simple process you can use alone or with a friend.

How do you add love to your days as you shift and change to meet your goals? I’d love to know what works for you or what holds you back from loving your days.

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seize the day

Over the festive break, I was honoured to be asked by Ritu Ashrafi of The Lifester to be part of her #2015Queen project and share my reflections on 2014 and my hopes for the year ahead of us. (Not met the amazing women yet? Let me introduce you.)

My final question was “What will you be Queen of in 2015?” My reply? Of Carpe Diem. Of Seize the Day. To set aside fear and do it anyway. To enjoy the present without worries about the future.


Heck, that’s not much to ask of myself is it? 🙂 Let me put it in a little context. I’ve got great plans in mind for b-elastic to improve and grow what I can offer you as you stretch your life. I’ve got a house move on the horizon. I’ve got some big joint venture opportunities explore. I’ve got projects to deliver. And like you, I’ve got family and friends to spend time with all over the world, chores and errands to run, and, and, and, and…. Sound familiar?

Achieving change in your life and career isn’t all plain sailing. It can be a roller coaster, for you and those around you. It can feel easier to procrastinate, to postpone or to give up.

Here’s what I’m doing to seize my day:

Say yes to others

My typical decision making process works on being fairly conservative. That said, I have had huge success by putting myself out there. So for now, I’m saying yes and holding to the thought that whatever plays out will be a positive in some way. Changing my mindset and being open to what good might comes really helps me to say yes with confidence.

Declutter my head

Allowing the spin of dithering to stay in my head just enables it to grow and grow. I stay stuck. Putting it on paper gives me a way to reality check it. One of the consulting tools I learnt was MoSCoW – Musts, Shoulds, Coulds and Woulds – it’s a prioritisation tool. Using this, I can do a quick review: Must I do this? Should I, Could I? Would I? I gather what’s important and urgent as well as what’s exciting and motivational.

Seek smart integration

Like many of you, I’m a sucker for a great combo deal and if they let me get more from my day – brilliant! I’m not talking multitasking; I mean clever combining of tasks with treats, musts with woulds. For example, don’t put off exercise for a webinar – stream it live or replay as you run. Visit a favourite coffee shop and do your online grocery shopping over a yummy snack. I find time blocking really helpful across hectic weeks – 90 minutes focus on writing a blog, 30 minutes on my accounts, all evening spoiling my partner – that way I can see when I can fit in something new, something strategic, something I’m putting off.

Acknowledge the fear

Don’t fight it. Don’t ignore it. Don’t let it rule. Easy words, right? And I’m not saying I’m fearless. Creating change and stretch in your life and career means overcoming fears holding you back. Some will be reasonable and you can manage those risks sensible – such as having a rainy day fund to cover any expenses of changing roles. Some will be more self-perception than reality – other people’s reaction or opinions might bother you. With both, I suggest asking for support from your trusted friends.

In the movie Dead Poets Society, the English teacher John Keating, played by Robin Williams, famously says: “Carpe Diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” That’s what I want for us, extraordinary.

One of things I’m great at doing is helping my coaching clients move from goals to action – empowering you to seize your day. If this b-mail resonates with you, don’t forget you can reach out to me. I offer coaching in a minimum of 3 sessions with a variety of payment plans.

Today is a brand new day, tell me in the comments, what are you going to do to seize your day and be extraordinary? I’d really love to hear!

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