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fear – no place to hide (part 1)

Recently, I watched Monsters University – yep I know, late comer to that party! Mike, the loveable green eyeball, identifies his life ambition is to be a scarer. The monster that jumps out of your cupboard, creeps up from under your bed or creates those weird shadows on the wall. All this monitored and measured by the amount of screams generated.

Each of us has our own crew of monsters. They really enjoy the status quo and what it offers them but pop-up and surprise us, when we’re trying to add some stretch in our lives.

These monsters create a place to hide and stop you achieving by generating fear. They remove the certainty that nothing unexpected is going to happen. They prevent the risk of failure. They ensure no-one points their fingers and judges your decisions or direction.

They want to paralyse you. They want to keep you firmly in your current patterns of behaviour, performing your habitual tasks and routines.

Why? They’re comfortable and allowing you to change, grow and develop means them getting uncomfortable and ultimately, reduced to being memories.

Fear is a complex beast – if only it were as simple as making sure the curtains are properly closed and that final check under the bed before switching off the light. Some fears require counselling to release them, others can be transformed through positive coaching and some by investing your time and efforts in seeking solutions.

Here’s 4 strategies that I deploy when the monsters sneak up:

1. Practice, Practice, Practice

The first time for anything is scary. The second time is a bit more predictable and by the third it’s starting to come more naturally. How?

  • repeat the skills: a talented musician undertakes their show piece in its totality AND in its smaller components, whether a tricky phrase or a difficult fingering.
  • get an audience: ok, you can’t necessarily get in front of the actual people, but I’m sure you can find a friend or peer who will “sit” in and play your audience for you. They can do it nicely or they can play it mean, moody or emotional – whatever helps you build your best performance.

Experiencing something helps build your confidence, answer any concerns and can grow your motivation.

2. Worse possible outcome

Our imaginations are powerful tools, when they work for us. When they work against us, they can create not just monsters, but terrible disasters. We picture ourselves caught out, making fools of ourselves, laughter or screams ringing in our ears. You need to change the film genre. How?

  • make it a comedy: in this new version, you get to dress the characters in costume, change the scenery and location, add a twist with a rainstorm, add some new actors. Importantly, you get to make the outcome side-achingly funny.
  • make it a kid’s movie: this time the plot gets simplified. Strip out complexity by seeing it with a child’s eyes and knowledge. Words spoken are easier to understand, body language hides nothing and our perspective is altered – solutions appear and helpers drop in resulting in a happy ending.

Or pick your favourite genre, what ploys and story lines norms shift your rotten tomato reviewed film into a blockbuster?

3. Small steps

Fear sometimes comes from a sense of overwhelm – the change or stretch you want being just toooooo much for you. Imagine your goal and all it requires of you as a giant buffet. There’s dips and chips, there’s all sorts of colourful salads, then further along come the pastas and the fill ’em up items – fish, meat and carb-alicious potatoes and breads. Next up are the bakes. Then cakes, trifles, fruits all accomplished by juices, smoothies, waters, teas and more.

No-one can eat it all in one sitting or on their own – yep not even you, Ms or Mr Superhero! Take a plate and plan your first portion – pick something you know. Eat and digest. Pick a bowl, use your chopsticks, fingers or a fork. Be brave – go spicy!

Apply this principle to your goal. What are the different elements? What are you familiar with? What requires a little more effort or skill to complete? Where do you need to be a bit braver?

4. Recognise your progress

The best fear killer I know. Celebrate your successes. Big ones. Small ones. Let me share a personal and current example I’m working on.

In June, I’m launching an afternoon co-working event. My fear? That it will be a giant flop. No-one will come and those who do will hate each other, never to attend again!

Over the weekend, I found my venue. It’s perfect. High speed wifi, easy to get to, amazing menu and a quirky, upbeat vibe. What did I do? I had a little celebration on Facebook – check out those cakes!

Several people wrote me messages about attending. Others said how great the place looked. And my fears got squished – maybe not totally gone, but already smaller and less powerful.

What’s your fear and how are you going to bring it out of hiding this week? Share your fear killers, new movies and successes in the comments.

PS Interested in joining me in June? Watch out for more updates on Facebook by liking my page.

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can’t get no satisfaction? make the change

How are you doing today? Good day was it? Had fun? Spent time with great people? Got to do some rewarding work? Oh dear! I’m so sorry to hear it wasn’t all that you had hoped for – maybe tomorrow will be better…….

OK you know me. I can’t leave it at that. I want to help you make a change to give you satisfaction each and every day.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives the definition of satisfaction as:


1. Fulfilment of one’s wishes, expectations, or needs, or the pleasure derived from this:

“I looked round with satisfaction”

“Managing Directors seeking greater job satisfaction”

Let’s take the first part – having your wishes, expectations or needs met. Are you clear on what yours are? No? Try these questions to uncover them (for your life, career or any area of dissatisfaction):

  • If cash, time and help were unlimited, what would you want to do/to be/to have? (delete as appropriate)
  • What would you expect to give or share?
  • What would you expect in return?
  • How would doing or being this make you feel?
  • Who do you want involved?

Now, analyse your reality:

  • How does today match your identified wishes, expectations and needs?
  • How does today mismatch your identified wishes, expectations and needs?

This should provide you with what you should stick with – where you are getting some satisfaction – and what needs to change – where you’re not getting any satisfaction.

You’ve now got 2 choices.

Do nothing

Accept your lot. Live with it. Put up with the itch. Breathe through your frustrations. Wipe away those tears. Settle for a life less than ideal. Suck it up.

You know my opinion on this one. I’ve worked with clients, who on the brink of taking action, back out, hold back and decide they’ll just wait awhile and see if things improve. Sadly, I’ve yet to hear of this playing out to the extent that a client’s wishes, expectations and needs are fully met. Yeah maybe it gets a bit less sore for a short time, but then that nagging feeling is back…..only this time it’s worse.

I knew I wanted to run my own business way back in the last millennium. At that time, I knew it would involve working with people who shared my values and beliefs as well as my passion for enabling others to live a better life. I thought that was going to be a centre, a place where you could train, be counselled, massaged, talk, meet, socialise and more.

Then my relationship fell apart. I had to move out. I needed my job to pay my bills – how could I possibly go it alone and set-up a business? I took a new path. I worked my a** off to get a promotion and pay rise. I dropped a day at work and could still cover the bills, as well as studying part-time to teach Pilates. Then I switched jobs to a better paid firm and squirrelled away my cash to create a safety net savings account.

My vision changed track – I no longer want to run a centre. It’s too far from the action for me I now realise. I enjoy and thrive in the heart of it, right there in it with you. b-elastic was born and I’m loving it!

Go on – stretch your life!

Take that list you made earlier and work out your path to satisfaction – each building block, each skill, each piece of knowledge, each helping hand, each ££ or $$ – that will get you to a fully satisfied way of being and doing. Your path could include:

  • doing something different
  • stopping something
  • spending less time with someone or a group
  • devoting more time to someone or a group
  • trying a new route, like I did.

Then get moving. Take the first step and you’ll build momentum to complete it, begin the next and the next and the next.

Hmmm, not feeling ready to start tomorrow? Don’t go it alone – take a friend. Ask someone who has your best interests at heart to hold you accountable, to check in with you, to join you to drown out the sorrows and celebrate your successes! Or contact a role model who has walked the same or a similar path to yours and can mentor you. Or why not ask a coach?

You want to work with me? Fab! You can check out my coaching packages or drop me a line.

Can’t afford my rates right now? My birthday competition closes at 12 noon on Thursday 20th February. ENTER NOW for the chance to win one of 3 coaching packages worth £900+ or drop me a line as I’m looking to start a few group coaching programmes around common issues – career change, life goals, fitness goals and the like – these will be a more cost effective way to work with me.

This week, let us know in the comments how you are getting more satisfaction in your day. Big or small – share away as you’ll inspire someone else to take their first step too.

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Get ready for your new year: Decode 2013

Time for the second part of our 4 part debriefing and planning process to ensure your 2014 meets your hopes and ambitions. Were you able to take that little bit of “me time” to reflect fondly on how 2013 has been for you? If that slot hasn’t come up yet – schedule it now, along with time to do the second worksheet. You can download worksheet 1 – “Goodbye 2013” below in the bullet list.

To recap the full series, the 4 worksheets are:

Your cheesy grin inducing and tear jerking review of 2013 in worksheet 1 provides you with the raw data to now decode in this week’s worksheet. In this one, you’ll find a set of exercises to unpick, demystify and analyse 2013, as well as start to contrast it with your 2014 aspirations.

Download your worksheet here: Get_ready_for_your_new_year_Decode_2013

By the end of this wondersheet (yes I made that up and I like it!), you’ll have the building blocks and 2014 vision for our third instalment next week…..I can hardly wait….

When you get to the end of the worksheet, why not post your final exercise’s outcome? I’d love to see how your 2014 is shaping up! Either drop a note in the comments here or hop over to Facebook and share a photo.

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Get ready for your new year: Goodbye 2013

This the first of a four worksheet bundle to enable you to start 2014 with some proper added “tra la la la laaaaaaaa”!

Each one is a weekly stage of a larger debriefing and planning journey – my hope is that between your Christmas shopping, wrapping, pantomime horsing about and relaxing,  you’ll be able to hide out for a bit of “me time” and invest in your stretch for 2014.

To give you the big picture, the four worksheets are:

  • Goodbye 2013
  • Decode 2013 (out 12th December)
  • Prioritise 2014 (out 19th December)
  • Activate 2014 (out 26th December)

This week’s worksheet is intended to be enjoyed with a good brew (or yummy mulled wine depending on the time of day!). It’s a nostalgic reminisce, which delivers part cheesy grin and part awkward cringe as you fondly reflect on your 2013.

Download your worksheet here: Get ready for your new year – Goodbye 2013

Please share this with friends, family and colleagues to give them some added oomph to their 2014……have I just solved your present for the person who has everything!? Simply click on the share button on the image at the top of the page or alternatively, if you’ve got a Hootlet, Pinterest or Twitter extension in your internet browser, pop it out through there! (If not google can provide a download :-))

I’d love to hear from you on what comes out of your ponderings this week in the comments. Put the kettle on, grab a printout of the worksheet and a handful of coloured pens and start your year end stretch!

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Stay or go – making decisions

One of the reoccurring themes my clients, friends and colleagues bring to me are tough, sticky decisions that they are struggling to make. What causes their indecision can be a mixture of things: fear, impact on others or aspects of their lives, cash, time, ease of doing nothing and often, simply not knowing what they really want.

The good news is we all make 1000s of decisions every day, every minute, every second. And for the vast majority of time, things turn out right. Yes, sometimes things go bad for a while, but ultimately things will go right…really right.

Our brains rely on what they’ve seen, heard and done before. That childhood memory of falling off your bike. An article in a newspaper. The slogan of a famous brand. A friend’s comment on your new shirt. Plus all the rest and it stores them all up just in case each titbit can help you make some future decision.

I want to share a framework I use myself and with my coachees and  delegates: Head, Heart and Hands.

Head – the centre of logic and objectivity.

Ask your head what is its reaction? Can you write out the pros and cons of the decision? Can you state facts or evidence to support or squash the decision in front of you? Is there an expert to consult?

Heart – the centre of emotion and subjectivity.

Is your heart bumping with excitement or fear? How would you feel if you decide one way or the other – happy, peaceful and calm or regret, guilt and sadness? Would you want to shout it from the roof tops or hide it away in shame? Can you measure the decision positively against your core values and beliefs?

Hands – the centre of action and doing.

Can you see yourself in the midst of your decision fully motivated and energised? Does the decision enable you to be your best you, using all your talents and passions? Are you itching to get started or running to hide behind the curtains?

You need harmony and agreement between them all or to be able to acknowledge the disagreement and mitigate it. For example, is that shiny new role going to involve a task or attribute that you’re not super keen on – will it kill your “joie de vie” or would it be bearable for a while to achieve your bigger goal?

What are you making decisions about this week? Any you’re really  wrangling with? Maybe I can help. Give me a shout, drop me a line or maybe you have a cool technique or strategy for tough decisions, share it in the comments.

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