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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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invest in yourself without breaking the bank

You know that dream life you want? Or the career move or switch you’re itching to make? Or maybe you’re after changing up your fitness to a whole new level. I bet part of your prep includes a course, workshop or expensive textbook. Right?

I want to prove that gaining new knowledge and skills doesn’t have to break the bank. It is time to invest in yourself and we won’t be spending more than £15 for any one suggestion!

Yes, tailored bespoke learning events with a top guru, expert or school are fabulous in lots of ways, but I totally recognise sometimes, the upfront costs can be prohibitive. So here’s my go-to places:


Yep sad but true. Most things are Googleable. And what’s cool is the related searches at the bottom of your page. These give you a little insight into what other people search for that was similar to your search. Use them to get more specific, discover something new and to check out a tangent.

Online Videos

Ok, I’m going to say the obvious – Youtube – and rapidly move on, after saying check out your rolemodels or muses as many have vlogs (video blogs) with great content. Less obvious…..my favourites include:

No such thing as a stupid question here. Someone will have answered it. From plaiting your hair to fixing your computer back-up issues….your bases are firmly covered.

Free Training

Often found in small doses when you opt into someone’s mailing list, as well as devoted websites. My career ones include:

The Muse 

Apart from some great and entertaining content, The Muse provides a series of career related mini training classes. Signing up and getting going is easy.


Probably the biggest online school to date. Here you’ll find many of the major international Business Schools, plus some smaller specialist schools, handing out the goodies for free. From computing to film, food to science – you can take a class in pretty much anything! (Some even result in a certification for a small fee!)


The site describes itself as “the secret sauce to creating an extraordinary life” and is lead by husband and wife team, Brian and Alexandra Jaye Johnson. Their programme range includes health and wellbeing, mindset shifting, relationships, finances, meditation and yoga, and more – all taught by leading figures in their respective fields. Annual membership is just $8 (less than £5 or €6) or you can apply for a scholarship for fee free access. In addition, they also run virtual conferences and downloadable, guided meditations, called “Blissiations”.


Slightly more techy, Lynda offers a range of free and paid for training sessions and courses. Great if you want to develop your online profile with a webpage or adapt an existing site or perhaps you’re looking for a career management session?

Read all about it

Join your local library and access a wealth of free knowledge. Top books for your bedside, kindle or ibooks app (I’ve included the Amazon link for ease and speed):

The Escape Manifesto

Amazon Link

The review starts: “life is short; you only have one chance to live a great one. Be brave and start something you love.” Enough said in my mind. Read it and get out of your rut.

Do more great work

Amazon Link

By the lovely and funny Michael Bungay Stanier (who also has an accompanying inbox friendly course). His premise is that if we identify the time and energy drains and focus on the things we consider to be truly great and life value adding, we’ll be happier, better peeps.  Think about it, we all do mundane “day to day” stuff, when our time could be spent more productively on amazing life and world changing wonders!

And a real favourite of mine…

Brain Rules

Amazon Link

This book is brought to life via John Medina’s excellent, informative, yet witty, videos. 12 principles we can all do to create a thriving life. (He also has one for parents to inform how you help your baby develop)

Meet people

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there is a networking opportunity for you. I like these two sites to hunt down great events to join: http://www.meetup.com/ or https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/

Why not search out likeminded groups or clubs on Facebook or Twitter? You can like or follow along, waiting until you’re comfortable to join the debate.

Make this your week to invest in yourself  and gain new knowledge and skills and start to inform your change for minimum cash. Give us a shout out in the comments of what you’re going to do and let us know how it goes!

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