blogging, coaching, eating disorder, life coaching, self-discovery, self-judgement

Knowing myself

I’ve been thinking a lot about what truly matters to me. I think it’s to do with the changes of becoming a mum and finding myself with different priorities. But it’s more than that.

It’s to do with me starting to know what I want from life and being clearer in my resolve to go after it. I know this is possible for me only because I’ve started to fully accept who I am and become comfortable in my own skin. Before I used to feel that I was too much. Too bossy, too headstrong, too headstrong, too different.

But now I am able to accept myself as I am with less judgement. I know I don’t need to base my decisions on whether I’ll please other people or whether my actions will make me seem less bossy/intense/headstrong. I accept me and know that’s enough. I’m enough.

It’s so exciting to feel this way; able to go after what I truly want. I feel able to follow what feels right to me and go after what I truly want.

But what does this mean in concrete terms? Well, an example of what I’m talking about is with my coaching.

Some of you may have seen my coaching pages on my website. For those of you who haven’t looked, they explain who I am as a coach and detail what types of coaching I do.

When I first started out coaching, I worked with people on every type of coaching under the sun and advertised all the coaching I did – coaching for those starting a business, looking for a change career, people wanting to improve relationships, increase their self-esteem or overcome comfort eating. Technically, I can coach on all these areas…but I realised recently that I don’t want to do all these types of coaching. Instead I want to coach in the areas which really light me up and where I know I can make a real, deep and profound impact in other peoples lives:

And so that’s what I’m going to do – coach in these areas and, if someone contacts me wanting career coaching, for example, I’ll refer them onto some great coaches who specialise in these areas.

It feels so good to know myself and to go after what I really want in life.

blogging, coaching, gratitude, life coaching, self-discovery, Work

I shine

As many of you know, I’ve been completing a coaching diploma over the past 6 months and have started to coach a number of people both in and outside of work. I was talking to a friend the other day about how much I’m enjoying coaching and she said ‘it sounds like you are really good at it‘.

Instead of being modest and talking about how far I’ve got to go on my coaching journey, I heard myself say “yes, I do think I’m good at it. I feel like I was born to coach. When I support people to go after their dreams, take steps forward in their life, reflect on where they currently are, I feel like I shine.” 

Don’t mistake me, dear friend, I don’t shine with the smugness of how bloody brilliant I am – I know that I have a long way to go in learning coaching skills, improving the questions I ask people, being more challenging when someone’s words don’t match their actions.

I shine because of how good it feels to support someone. It’s a bit of a natural high – feeling like I’ve done a good job and have made a difference in someone’s life.

But there is more to it than that, I think.

Seeing others step forward

You see, I know what it’s like to struggle with unhealthy patterns of behaviour. I’ve had a loud ‘inner critic’ for much of my life – a voice dissecting my every small failing to point out how hopeless, pointless, useless I was. I’ve struggled with accepting myself, and in the struggle, feeling unacceptable to everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong, these issues didn’t crush me completely, but they did impact my life. And the ability to help other people take steps forward in their life like I did – leaving behind those unhealthy patterns, starting to quiet the inner critic, learning to love and accept themselves – is so powerful and amazing to behold.

It makes me feel full with gratitude and a love of life. It makes me shine.

And yet it’s so much more than that too.

Removing the blinkers

We all live our lives a bit blinkered – we accept that which we know from past experience and this can so often guide how we interpret and make decisions in the here and now. I know I can be blinkered; make decisions based on my past experience without challenging whether there is another, better way. Another path that I can follow.

But coaching allows people to take off their blinkers. Suddenly new possibilities can be seen, new paths are revealed, dead-ends are turned into avenues of opportunities. And beholding someone in the process of seeing things anew is such a privilege, such an honour.

It makes me glow.

Connection

And it’s also about the connection. The humanity of seeing someone where they truly are, for who they truly are instead of just seeing the polished mask we all put on of ‘being ok’.

It’s something that lights me up inside.

I’m not saying that we should all go around lamenting how terrible our lives are and sharing all our woes. That’s not connection to me. What I’m taking about is reducing the amount of time in our life that is taken up with ‘surface’ stuff and sharing more of our hopes with each other, being more open about our fears, getting alongside each other. Being real with each other.

I dream of a world of greater connection and, in my experience, coaching can lead to this.

So I’ll keep coaching, I’ll keep shining and I’ll keep dreaming of what is possible with a life of greater connection.


Fancy seeing what coaching can do for you?

Fill out the form below to arrange a free 30 minute coaching discovery session with me.

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, life coaching, respect, self-discovery, Wellbeing

Permission

To all the people pleasers, all those who live by ‘shoulds’, all those who suffer from comparison-itis, I want to share with you a technique I’ve been using which has given me freedom in how I experience my daily life.

It’s one that I often forget, but one that has helped me on a couple of occasions and has brought me much joy….and it is the phrase:

“I give myself permission to…”

I had taken last Monday off work to recuperate from my coaching course, which can be pretty full-on and was feeling a bit antsy in myself. My inner dialogue was going something like this – “A whole day off – I should be doing something with it!” and although I didn’t really want to have a busy, packed day, I was forming a list of things I could be doing.

Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t noble things that would make a difference in the world, they were things like:

All lovely things, but things that missed the point of my day off and what I knew I truly needed – recuperation and relaxation. Yet I still felt antsy until I used my magic words:

“I give myself permission to relax”

And in the moment that I said these words to myself, I felt my body let go of the tension it was holding. I was able to breathe more easily, I felt pressure in my chest ease and I spent the next couple of hours lying in bed, reading and watching some of my favourite programmes. I got out of my pjs at 3pm and felt that I had really, truly had a day of recuperation that my body so desperately needed.

These words have the power to transform so much of my experience – both at work and in my personal life. I’ve got a note on my laptop at work which outlines the permission I give myself at work:

I give myself permission to be myself, get things wrong, have fun, respect my boundaries. 

Even this morning, a day I’m taking off to spend with my friend, Nadine, was filled with the ‘shoulds’ when I first woke up – we should have the best day ever, we should make the most of our time together, we should do loads of things with the day off and it was only when I gave myself permission to do some tidying around the house, to just be myself, to go to bed early if needed so I’m ready for work tomorrow…that I felt ready to experience this day without expectation or pressure.

So give it a try if you feel so inclined…give yourself permission for exactly what you need today and see where it takes you.

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, friendship, gratitude, life coaching, self-discovery, self-judgement

Going deeper

I had a coaching session this week and had chosen to talk about how I want more boundaries in my life. Not set rules that govern my life, I suppose I was looking for a greater awareness of what I wanted for my life and the ability to keep to it.

One of the things I discussed with my coach is how I want to have my priorities based around what I’ve spoken to you about in the past, dear friend – close family and friends, the work I love (both coaching and my HR role) and this blog.

I shared with Helen, my coach, how I prefer spending time with those who I have a deep relationship with instead of getting together with a huge group of people and was honest with her that I think judge myself for this sometimes. Because I’m not at ease being in a large group – it’s not where I shine my best or where I feel like I can truly be myself – and I’m sometimes not ok at not being ‘the best’ in every circumstance. Because I can sometimes associate ‘not being at my best‘ with ‘not being enough‘.

But today, a day that I’m sharing with my dear friend Nadine who’s visiting me from the States, just reminds me why I prefer spending time with those I can go deep with. These 5 hours with her have passed in the blink of an eye. We’ve laughed together, shared together, dreamt of future plans and it has been blissfully easy. Deliciously uncomplicated. I’ve just been myself without doubting what I’ve said or wondering if I’m ‘enough’ for her or for me.

And so why wouldn’t I chose these types of relationships over being in a big crowd? Why wouldn’t I follow what feels right, what feels beautiful, what sets my soul alight?

And I see that it’s not a case of not being ‘good enough‘ for a big groups. It’s a personal preference to spend time in smaller groups, with people I know really well. Easy as that.

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, Brené Brown, life coaching, self-discovery, self-judgement, trust, truth

The finished article

I’ve been wondering for a few months how my blog – this wonderful outlet for my thoughts, experiences and feelings – can co-exist with my desire to practice as a life coach.

I’ve keenly felt the tension of being honest with my struggles, openly owning my flaws and expressing that I’m not the finished article but also inspiring trust in other people that I can help them to achieve their goals.

I don’t know if there is space for me to be honest when I’m a hot mess whilst building myself up as a coaching professional with the tools, skills and experience to help others.

Sometimes the two things seem mutually exclusive, like I can either be authentic and work through my shit here (but put my coaching aspirations aside) or ‘sell’ a different version of myself that may attract clients but not be true to myself.

But it’s in reading Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong over the last few days that I’ve taken heart that I can maybe have it both ways. Both owning what I’m going through and owning who I am as a coach. You see, Brené in her book is openly honest about her struggles, and this doesn’t make me think any less of her as an academic, a person of importance on my journey or show her in a different light.

“‘I’m not enough’ is one of my go-to narratives when I’m hurt. When I’m in doubt, the “never enough” explanation is the first thing I grab. The blame story is another favourite of mine. If something goes wrong, feels bad or leaves me feeling too exposed or vulnerable, I want to know whose fault it is.” Brené Brown

If anything, reading her stories and seeing her reflect and grow and change acts like a beacon to me, it shows me that I’m not alone and it inspires the feeling I get when I’m around one of my best friends; a feeling of ‘me too!’ where I feel fully accepted, fully seen and fully loved for exactly who I am.

So yes, there may be people who read my blog and think “geez, Amy needs to get her shit together, I would never think of her coaching me” but there may be other people who think “thank goodness, finally someone who isn’t afraid of being authentic, vulnerable and real. That’s exactly who I need to coach me“. And those are the people I really want to work with – people who want to get vulnerable, who long to live a more authentic life, who are willing to step into their truth.

So I suppose what I’ve realised in writing these words to you today is that I need to keep on being real and trust in the process that the right people will be attracted to work with me.

And I’m going to take heart that I can both be my authentic self with you here, dear friend and be a boss with my coaching  because like Brené, I can’t help thinking that I’m meant to be like a beacon to others, it shows even just one person that they’re not alone and to make sure you know that you can be fully accepted, fully seen and fully loved for exactly who you are.

Want to see what having some coaching with me could do for your life? Why not take a look at my coaching information, dear friend, and get in touch with me.cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, life coaching, self-discovery, self-judgement

Conscious incompetence

So, this is my third post in a day…after a week of adventuring, hiking, exploring, snorkelling and being on the go it’s been so lovely to stop and just ‘be’ for the day, and I’ve been ruminating so much with ideas and thoughts and reflections.

I also gave in and bought myself a notebook – count yourself lucky or I might have written more like 10 posts today 😜

The thoughts I’ve been having this afternoon are about my journey to becoming a life coach and how uncomfortable it can be to be a student again – trying and so often feeling like I come short of being the coach I want to be.

A coach who is comfortable and confident, able to sit with silence for long periods of time if needed, ask succinct questions (mine are always so damn long, I can’t seem to help myself!) and get tangible outcomes for those I work with.

But the truth is that I’m learning. I’m not always going to get things perfectly right and that’s ok. At least I want it to be ok!

And I’ve realised today that I’m in the space of conscious incompetence, which is what feels so icky and tricky to me. But it’s part of any true learning experience and I think it’s something we can all benefit from remembering. So I want to share the four stages of learning (of which one is ‘conscious incompetence’) with you:

The four stages of learning

Unconscious incompetence – we are in this category before we start learning something new. We are unaware of what we don’t know and so, this space can often feel exhilarating, exciting, refreshing and full of possibility. It doesn’t matter that we have no mastery over the subject area (whether learning to play the guitar or take on studies for a change in career), the future is full of possibility.

Conscious incompetence – once we start learning, we are faced with just how much we are going to have to learn and how far a journey we’ve got to go to get to the point of mastery. Even if we are naturally gifted at what we’re learning, we are still aware that we aren’t fully competent and this stage in the learning journey can be uncomfortable, disheartening as we see how far we have to go and sometimes it can seem easier to give up than to keep on going and persevere.

Conscious competence – if we hang on in there, use our tenacity and grit and keep on learning, we will get to the point of slowly having moments of competence. Moments where we manage to play a whole song on our guitar, master a technique we’ve been studying, get some of the results we’re looking for. The timeframe may differ depending on the level of difficulty, but if we keep on trying, we’ll get there. To moments where we’re aware that we’re doing not that bad and are achieving at what we’re aiming for.

Unconsciously competent – this is the sweet spot I want to hit. The moment we’re able to perform with no real thought or effort. When we’ve integrated what we’ve learnt and it flows easily.

It’s good to remember this learning journey as it reminds me that it’s precisely that – a journey where I can’t expect to get everything right.

It also gives me heart that I will get there – finally, one day, to a space where I’m able to be the coach who is comfortable and confident, able to sit with silence for long periods of time if needed, ask succinct questions and support those I work with to get tangible outcomes for themselves.

So I’ll keep on going with my conscious incompetence and take heart at the moments where I think “you know what, I did something good here” and trust that the learning journey will continue and I will get there with time.

If you’d like some support on your learning journey, why not contact me to see what coaching could do for you. Since I’m a coaching student – still learning myself – I have an introductory coaching offer.

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, life coaching, Love, self-discovery

The power of being heard

You may know that I’ve started life coaching people both in and outside of work. As part of my qualification, I also need to be coached for a certain amount of hours and I’ve started working with two coaches to talk about different areas in my life, both personal and professional.

I had an amazing session yesterday with my coach, Helen, where I was asking the question ‘how do I market my coaching business and attract the right people to me?

I was grappling with what I should do – get myself out there, pay for advertising, be a bit pushy in getting people to notice who I am, what I do and get them signed up to work with me. But at the same time, I felt uncomfortable about this (especially being pushy) as it’s just not me.

It’s not how I want to be. I don’t want to sell or market myself – I want to just put myself out there and welcome the right people to work with me. Those who want some space to explore their next move in life. Those who are struggling to find self-acceptance and could do with a helping hand to believe in their self-worth. Those who are on the verge of something new and need some support as they leap into the unknown.

But I’d got myself into such a tangle of what I should do, how I should market myself, what ‘putting myself out there’ looks like. I’d lost sight of the drive that led me to complete my studies and start this work in the first place.

The desire to help people.

Just spending an hour with Helen talking about my thoughts and the tension between my values and the ‘shoulds‘ allowed me to find myself again.

To center myself, my desires, my aspiration for coaching.

The hour of being listened to helped me to rediscover my dream for coaching, which isn’t to have a full time coaching business (although that might come in the future). My dream is to help people and to be a source of support and love and kindness to those who could use a helping hand.

And suddenly I was able to see that I didn’t need a flawless marketing plan, a strong sales programme or to even do any of my ‘shoulds‘ but to instead reach out in a way that is authentic to me and to welcome the right people to work with me.

I got so much from that short 60 minutes and, as well as gaining such insight into my coaching, I also rediscovered the power of being listened to. How having someone focus on me and my needs is such a beautiful thing.

And with the support from Helen and my new found clarity, I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me.

If you’d like some coaching to get some support you in your life, please look at my introductory coaching offer or fill in the form below to arrange a 30 minute chat with me. 

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, life coaching, self-discovery, truth

What truly matters

I’ve had to make a few life choices and scale back my life over the past couple of months for one reason and another.

Prior to this, I was always super busy, with fun evening plans and stuff scheduled in every weekend. Part of me loved this way of living – all I could do, everyone I could see, the buzz of being so busy – but part of me hated it too. I’d always get to the point where I’d feel like I was on an incessant merry-go-round, unable to stop my life and have some rest, find some peace. Or I’d feel like butter spread too thin on toast, with nothing left for myself.

I’ve realised in life that I can’t have it all – an awesome social life, a brilliant job, loads of friends, constant travel, a family, loads of studies, becoming a life coach, keeping my sanity, being happy…it’s just not possible. And I’m ok with that.

Don’t get me wrong, I know can have some of these things and, writing down the list of all I used to try to have, I know I don’t want all of these things in my life. But I’d like quite a lot of it in my life….and so the question I’m having to ask myself is:

“Amy, what truly matters to you?”

I know that if I don’t prioritise those things that are truly important to me, I’ll just end up just going with whatever clammers the loudest for my time and attention.

So that’s the question I asked myself today, on my rainy walk home from work, and I knew straight away what these things are…

  • Finding ways daily to feel how I want to feel (which is currently feeling rested and inspired)
  • My family
  • Friends who I have deep soul connections with and who light me up
  • Building a career for myself as a life coach
  • Finding fulfilment in my full-time job
  • This beautiful blog of mine

Easy peasy.

If I listen to myself and ignore what I should do or should want, I know straight away what is important, what truly matters. And suddenly the rest of the stuff that is shouting for attention is just background noise.

And I can suddenly prioritise that which truly matters.

I hope this helps you with any decisions you need to make over the next few days, weeks or months, dear friend. If something is important to you, go for it. If not, ditch it. It’s scary to do at first, but then so liberating! Let me know how you get on.

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, life coaching, self-discovery, Wellbeing

Finding my voice

This is my third post in less than a week…I just feel like I have so much to share with you, dear friend. I suppose it could be that important things have taken place recently or that I’ve started to find my voice and I’m overflowing with thoughts, dreams, ideas and opinions.

It feels so good to have courage, truth, love as a place to share all my musings and I want to thank you so much for joining me on my journey.

I’ve just come back from my second weekend of studies on transformational coaching and my mind is buzzing from everything that I’ve learnt during this past weekend. My biggest break through of the weekend gives me such hope and excitement of what is to come in my future…and I want to tell you all about it!

I was in a 1:1 session with another coach. We were going through a coaching model that explores negative automatic thoughts (those little niggling thoughts that dampen your spirit, you know, like ‘I’m not good at promoting myself’ ‘I’m such a failure’ ‘I’m a bad sister’).

For those of you who aren’t aware of the essence of coaching, it’s knowing that everyone has everything inside themselves to succeed and they just sometimes need someone to help them draw the answers out and to notice unhelpful patterns of behaviour. But in this practice session, the lady coaching me started to put her own opinions forward, her slant on what I was going through, and I found myself starting to tense up and feel agitated. I felt this way because some of what she was saying was true (and it was uncomfortable to see myself being judged by her) but mostly what she was saying wasn’t true at all. So I felt misheard and frustrated.

I’m not saying this to call her out. She was learning, I was learning. And the point of these sessions is so we can grow in confidence in how we want to use the tools and techniques on our own coachees. But I felt that I came to a crossroads in that moment with her…I could either bury my thoughts and feelings inside me, as I’ve done so many times before, or I could speak up for myself.

So I paused, I breathed deeply, I reflected silently on what was going on for me. And then I said “do you mind if I share something with you?” 

After she gave her consent to listen to me, I explained “it’s unhelpful to have you sharing your thoughts about my situation.” She thanked me for sharing, took on board the feedback and continued the session in a way that was much more aligned to what I needed.

This interaction took place over 30 seconds but it was so much more than that.

So much bigger than that.

In that moment I had expressed my needs in a way that was aligned to my values. I was polite, I asked permission to share my thoughts and then I cut right to what I needed to say without apologising or back tracking or justifying myself.

It showed me that my negative automatic thought of ‘I can’t do confrontation’ is wrong. I can be confrontational and direct and assertive.

I just hadn’t found a way to do it before in a way that was aligned to my values of respect, love and support.

But now I have.

And I feel that this can serve me in the future. I can use this model going forward of seeking permission to share my thoughts, waiting for that permission to be granted and then sharing what I want to see changed/what I need to say without apology.

I’ve found my voice and it feels so good!

Want to see your life transformed? Why not book in a free 30 minute session with me to explore what coaching could do for you? For more information, look on my coaching information page

cropped-cropped-ctl-logo-01.jpg

blogging, compassion, eating disorder, life coaching, self-discovery, self-judgement

Doing my best

As part of my studies to become a transformational coach, I’ve started to have some coaching myself. This is so that I can personally see the benefits of coaching in my life and to learn more about the coaching process as a participant.

I had my first session on Wednesday night and what I learnt from the process touched me deeply. I want to share this experience and what I learnt with you if that’s ok, dear friend.

Before I started my session, I wrote down what I wanted to get from the coaching process and decided that the main aim was about how I can become more comfortable in situations of conflict and in times where I need to challenge someone, be it at work or in my personal life.

We started by talking about how I shy away from conflict and what this was really about.  I soon discovered that it wasn’t about wanting to step up and become an authoritarian leader who commands what people do. That’s not who I am or how I want to be as I progress in becoming someone with influence at work and in my personal life.

So what was the problem about conflict that made me identify it as an area that I wanted to work on? And how do I want to be with situations of conflict going forward?

I was unsure at the start but after some questioning, I started to build an understanding of why conflict is such a big thing for me…it’s because I’m trying to protect myself from experiencing any discomfort. Conflict, which makes me feel very anxious, is a prime example of what I want to protect myself from.

Whenever I hear people arguing or there’s a moment of uncomfortable silence or I think I might have upset someone, it’s like alarm bells are ringing in my head, blaring “resolve it, stop it, distract from it!” Because it’s uncomfortable to be in that space of tension and animosity. To not know where I stand.

I then started to think how I’ve coped with these feelings in the past before – how I’ve protected myself. And I connected immediately to my past issues with eating.

  • Starving myself as an anorexic to stop feeling difficult emotions and experiences.
  • Bingeing as a compulsive eater to push down my feelings of discomfort.
  • Distracting myself and others from situations of conflict as I currently do.

And you know what, although I don’t want to distract and ‘protect’ myself by running away from conflict or discomfort for the rest of my life, I could see in that moment that I’m doing the best with what I’ve got.

Doing the best with what I’ve got

What sweet, sweet words of kindness I heard coming out of my mouth. Recognition that life is tricky. That I’m trying to find my way as best I can. That it’s ok to not constantly toil away for perfect resolution but to acknowledge how far I’ve come and how I am doing my best.

I felt in that moment that ‘my best’ is enough.

Perhaps not enough for forever – I’d like to be able to experience conflict one day without feeling the need to distract, to resolve or stop the situation – but enough for now.

I’m doing the best with what I’ve got and it feels so beautifully gentle and generous to tell myself this.