blogging, self-discovery, Work

The start of the start

I went into work yesterday to take part in my team’s away day. Before I went back over to my place of work, I have to admit, I was in a bit of a rotten mood. I realised that this was down to nerves and anxiety that I was experiencing in contemplating my return to the workplace. There were so many things going through my mind.

  • How Gregg, my husband, would find the day with Jenson
  • Whether my team would be accepting of me feeding Jenson during the day (and subsequently whether expressing milk at work is going to be problematic for my workload when I return to work or stifling for my career if I’m unable to attend certain meetings in order to express at the right time).
  • How my team would be with me – would they would prefer my amazing maternity cover to stay and be reluctant to have me back in the office
  • Would I be happy going back or would I realise that only taking 6 months of maternity leave (and my husband taking the remaining 6 months) was a big mistake

It’s not surprising to feel all these things – I’ve been away from the office for 4 months, my world has completely changed and things at the office have also moved on. At the start of the day, going back into work felt like the beginning of the end of my time with Jenson and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

But then we arrived in Worthing, where my work is based, and I felt like I was coming back home to something. I was reminded that the feelings I associate with work are really positive ones – feeling free to forge on ahead with my work without having to jump through loads of bureaucratic hoops, having the respect of those around me, the fun I’ve had whilst getting a load of work done in the office, my colleagues who supported me throughout the lead-up to my maternity leave, the happy anticipation I felt on the last day of work that I would be back in 6 months and able to pick up the work that I know is so vital – both to my organisation and to me.

I thrive at work. It’s a hugely important part of my life.

And so I realised that it wasn’t the beginning of the end, but the beginning of a new start. A start which I will have to navigate differently now that I have a baby and more responsibilities at home, where I will need to establish some boundaries about what I need as a mother returning to work. But a good start where I can continue to forge ahead with my work and my career.

And it feels good. I can’t wait to get back.

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blogging, courage, Work

The merging of worlds

I remember the day that I actively shared my first blog post. I had written five just for me – not showing anyone else – and had decided that I wanted to put myself and my thoughts out into the big wide world of Facebook and Twitter for my friends to see.

I was so nervous to be sharing my writing because I was being so candid online about my struggles as well as my victories, my conflicting thoughts as well as that which I’m truly passionate about. But I knew it was important for me to take this step and share my thoughts with others; it was important for me to start to speak up in this world. I suppose it came from the desire that I have put into action as a coach – a desire to speak up and be heard and a desire to now support others to speak up and be heard themselves.

And I’ve been surprised ever since by the support I’ve received – countless people who have read my posts and, in doing so, encouraged me and my writing.

It’s become so natural to share my words with friends that I don’t even think twice now about posting them online to you, dear friend – whether it’s about my struggles with comfort eating, tearing my hair out in frustration about my people pleasing habits, my worries about how I will be as a parent and whether I’ll be bored out of my skull as a mother… So thank you for the time you’ve spent reading my words because it’s such an encouragement to know that they matter to you.

But despite settling into the world of sharing my inner thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been feeling the call for a while now to post onto LinkedIn. I’ve been aware of the growing chasm between my personal life and my ‘professional’ online persona – two worlds yet to merge. I want to have no difference in how I show up in my personal life and at work. Still, I felt nervous about posting onto LinkedIn, partially because of the seesaw of conflict within me.

What if people read what I’m putting out there and think less of me? If they do think less of me, do I really care? Are they people whose opinion matters (or should matter) to me?

What if future employers read my words and decide that I’m not the right person to offer a job to? Would I really want to work for a company like that? And what if a future employer reads my words and reaches out to me because they decide I’m exactly the right person to offer a job to?

What if people see my coaching profile on LinkedIn and, as a result of the articles I share, choose not to work with me? My highest value – the thing that is the most important to me in life – is authenticity. How can I put myself out there as an authentic coach but only present my picture perfect persona?

And so regardless of my misgivings and anxiety, I started to post articles on LinkedIn…started to merge my work and personal life. I first shared things selectively – musings that had some relevance with the professional realm as much as they were to do with my personal life but, pretty soon after that, I just decided to let go and share everything – to see how things evolved…and I was blown away by the result.

Some people contacted me with thanks for what I had shared, others expressed interest in working with me as a coach and there were some who chose to click through to my website to read more about what I have to say. Like when I started to share myself on Facebook, I felt humbled, encouraged and so grateful for the connections that started to emerge.

So what have I learnt from this experience? A hell of a lot! And many lessons I hope will stay with me for the long run…

  • No-one will be liked universally by everyone but sharing of myself with honesty and authenticity is the one true way to find my band of people in this world.
  • I should give people more credit – all I have received from posting my thoughts to my professional network is acceptance and encouragement.
  • We all desire real, honest connection (whether in or outside of work) and sharing of myself in this way is how I can create a world where people feel able to show up just as they are.

So I’ll keep on writing, keep on posting and keep on merging my professional and personal worlds.

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blogging, self-discovery, Wellbeing, Work

What’s going on?

I went to an amazing training programme through work a little while ago and have found it truly transformational to how I think, see and interact with the world. I feel like this training has changed me but I haven’t been able to vocalise the change very well (it’s all a bit muddled in my head).

This morning, I want to work out how I might communicate it with others and so I thought I would start by sharing what I’ve learnt with you, dear friend.

It touches on how we interact with each other and how we interpret the world; how we make sense and meaning of what’s going on in each and every moment and in the words of what I learnt on the course, it’s all about perspective taking.

What do I mean by this?

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First Person Perspective

Well, we can all see things from our own point of view – what’s going on for us (how we feel and think about things). Sometimes it is all that we can see (especially when we’re feeling a strong negative emotion) and when this happens, it can limit our ability for connection with others.

Second Person Perspective

img_4042.jpgHowever, we can often also see things from another person’s point of view (what we think is going on for them – how they feel, understand and think about things). It’s not to say that what we understand about them is right, but the ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes impacts how we understand the world and other people. 
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Third Person Perspective

Another way we can see the world is by stepping back and asking ourselves ‘what’s going on here?‘ – looking at the dynamics of the situation between two or more people to get greater understanding.

In this example, where I’m cross and my husband is defensive, it’s more often than not because Gregg will have put his dirty plates on the kitchen counter instead of directly stacking things in the dishwasher. When he does this (and when I’m at my least generous) I get angry because I think he’s being lazy, inconsiderate and more importantly, I feel he expects me to tidy up after him, because invariably I’m the one who puts all the dirty dishes away.

Another more meaningful example of asking myself ‘what’s going on?‘ is when I meet new people and find myself comparing myself to them – looking at how I stack up against them in terms of looks, body size and what other people’s reactions are to us. They may be completely oblivious to this, but when I ask myself ‘what’s going on between us?’ I know that I’m feeling insecure and am making comparisons for reassurance of being ‘better’ or confirmation of being ‘lacking’. It’s not something I’m proud of, but knowing this can give me greater clarity and (hopefully!) help me to react differently.

Fourth Person Perspective
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The final way we can look at the world is through taking a further step back to inquire and ask ‘what is shaping how I view what’s going on in the situation?’

This step makes my brain go a bit funny if I think about it too much, but if I relax and answer the question without thinking too much, the outcome I get is truly staggering.

With the situation with Gregg and the dish washer stacking, I realise that my view is shaped by my desire for him to do things exactly the way I would do things. And I see that this leads to me having little patience for him doing things in his own way. I also realise that I equate his actions of stacking the dishwasher as a sign of how much he loves me. In asking myself what’s shaping how I view the situation, I’m not excusing his defensiveness or taking responsibility for the whole situation. It allows me to distance myself and, instead of just getting angrier and angrier over time, choose a different path.

It has enabled me to know that my way isn’t the only way of being. So I’ve started to leave his plates on the side and see that he eventually puts them in the dishwasher. Not in my ‘perfect-straight-away‘ time, but in his own ‘perfectly-ok‘ time.

It also allows me to have a conversation which cuts through his defensiveness:

“…when you don’t put the plates away in the dishwasher, it makes me feel like you don’t value me and expect me to do all the work around the house. It makes me feel like you don’t respect me.”

In short, this question and different way of looking at things gives me choices. It gives me options. It gives me greater clarity.

And what about when I’m with new people and find my comparison going into overdrive…? Asking myself what’s shaping how I view the situation is truly life changing. And here’s what I’ve been able to tell myself:

You’re feeling uncomfortable in a new situation and in the past when you’ve felt uncomfortable you’ve brought yourself comfort by reassuring yourself about how you measure up to other people. But now you know better, dear one. You know that who you are and your self-worth isn’t defined by other people or how pretty/slim/clever/desired you are compared to others. You know that your self-worth is defined by how much you love and accept yourself. And you love yourself fully and accept yourself completely. So stop measuring yourself against others and be present in the moment.

It is life changing. To step out of this cycle of comparison and look for feelings of security within instead of the reassurances I get from others. It makes me so happy, it fills me with such contentment, it allows me to be fully present in the moment with that new person.

When I started the training, I never dreamt that it would bring me such transformation. But it has. And I hope that what I’ve shared with you – these different perspectives – can also lead to transformation in your life.

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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.

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blogging, conflict, self-discovery, self-judgement, Work

Conflict – part 2 

I recently wrote about some conflict I was having at work and shared my thoughts and feelings about dealing with it. Having now resolved the situation, I wanted to spend a few moments exploring the situation and reflecting on what went well and what could have been done better.

Worthiness

I felt so nervous the morning that I was due to meet with the other person. I knew there were things I could have done differently to deal with the situation but I also knew I was right to put forward my views and not bottle everything up and pretend everything was all ok when it wasn’t. It was really helpful to spend a moment in meditation on the train to work and, through this meditation, to affirm that my worthiness – my inherent acceptability and loveability – was not dependent on the outcome of the conversation. My worthiness is something created and defined by me, not by situations and the views of other people.

Standing in the knowledge of my own worthiness left me able to express myself instead of looking for approval from the other person.

Perfection

I know in hindsight that it would have been better to resolve the issue face-to-face right from the start, but this was not possible due to me being sick, meetings that were taking up everyone’s time and some leave I was taking.

Ok, if I’m honest, this is not 100% true. I could have called the person straight away and I might have got through to them and sorted it out there and then. The reason I didn’t was that it would have been a call fuelled by my hurt and anger.

What I’ve taken from reflecting on this is that, yes, my response wasn’t perfect but it was the best I could do at that time and that’s got to be enough for me.

Generosity

My biggest reflection of this experience is how I interpret the actions, words and intent of other people. Because if I’m honest, when I read the email that the person sent me and which sparked this conflict, I didn’t interpret it in the most positive, generous way possible. I took it badly and she took my response equally badly too. I’ve been thinking about this concept of generosity since I read these words in Brené Brown’s book:

“Whenever someone would bring up a conflict with a colleague, [my tutor] would ask, ‘What is the hypothesis of generosity? What is the most generous assumption you can make about this person’s intentions or what this person said?’”

In hindsight if I had interpreted the actions of the other person in a more generous way, this whole situation could have been averted.

I’m not saying the situation was all my fault or that there was nothing they could have done differently, but if there’s anything I can learn, it’s to be generous with how I interpret the actions of others.

The child in me during those situations of conflict wants to scream and cry and have a tantrum – why do I have to be the bigger person and see things generously? It’s not fair that I am left without the enjoyment of letting myself be pissed off, annoyed and self-righteously angry – but I know I’d rather live a kind life, with generosity, even if it pains me sometimes. Because the opposite also leads to pain too – distancing myself from others, leading a life based on worst case scenarios and finding myself in situations of unnecessary conflict.

Letting go

Yesterday, once the confrontation and discussion with the other person had been resolved, I was still left feeling a bit icky.

But it’s time to let things go.

So whenever the situation has come up in my head again, I’m changing the usual dialogue of worry and anxiety. I’m remembering how I did my best. Telling myself that, yes, my best wasn’t perfect, but I don’t have to be perfect. I’m focusing on how much I’ve learnt through this experience and, who knows, maybe that was what this experience was meant to bring me.

And this self-talk is working, I can now let go of all this conflict, leave the past in the past and enjoy being at peace in the present moment.

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blogging, Brené Brown, conflict, Fear, Work

Conflict

I’m in a situation of conflict at work and I’ve been thinking about how I can handle it over these past few days with the support of my lovely friend, Nadine and my husband.

I don’t really do conflict – I’ll avoid it at any cost usually – but it felt like I needed to address it in this particular circumstance and I wanted to spend a few moments reflecting on what I’ve done so far and how I can deal with it in the best way possible going forward. And here are my thoughts:

Ego

When the situation first occurred, I felt confused, hurt and frustrated and so I took the evening before responding as I didn’t want to react out of anger. The next day, I tried to temper my response by asking myself how much of my feelings were to do with my ego being bruised – feeling personally snubbed and hurt by the situation and how much was to do with the situation. If I’m honest, it was a 50:50 split – feeling hurt but also the situation being a bit of a mess – but when I responded to the individual, I tried to keep my feelings out of it and just speak to the factual elements of the situation.

Generosity

When I did respond, I tried to imagine the other person’s perspective with as much generosity as possible and responded to them saying ‘I imagine that you did X because you want to support me but don’t have the time to fully engage with my project. I wish you had spoken to me before you acted though because…‘. I think this was really helpful and I hope they saw that I was trying to be generous and not think the worst about them.

Sometimes the circumstances aren’t the best

I wanted to speak to the individual once I’d had a chance to calm down but wasn’t able to get in touch by phone for a variety of reasons. I really wish I could have responded face-to-face or by phone instead of through an e-mail…but deadlines and the situation itself meant that I had to respond by e-mail.

I need to come to peace with the fact that it wasn’t handled perfectly and realise that it’s enough that it was handled to the best of my ability.

What do I want?

When I spoke to my husband about the situation, he was really helpful in asking me what I want out of the situation and suggested that I act in a way to reach the best outcome I’m looking for instead of blindly trying to resolve things without considering what I want. I suppose what I want is for the situation to resolve itself in the best way possible for the project I’m running. And I also want to maintain a good relationship with the individual involved, because we work alongside each other in so many areas at work and we’ve both been working on building as good a personal and professional relationship with each other as possible. It would be such a shame to lose that. As it’s relational, I know that I need to sit down with the other person and address what happened so we can work together well in the future.

The bigger picture

I’ve been watching some videos this weekend of Brené Brown speaking about her new book ‘Braving the Wilderness‘ and they’ve been really helpful to order my thoughts about this situation. One of the things she said really touched me:

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” 

Brené Brown

I realise that my discomfort with the conflict is partially about the situation – I’ve not often resolved personal conflict by addressing it head on (instead sweeping it under the carpet) and so it’s a new learning curve for me, which is uncomfortable.

But part of the conflict has emerged because I want to share my most authentic self with the world and being accountable to others and holding others accountable to me is really important to who I am. I know that I’ve danced around other situations with this person in the past – not offering gentle challenge when I really wanted to do so in my heart, not sharing my true self with her and in addressing this situation, this is the first step on my journey to being my most authentic self with her.

And when I stand in the knowledge of who I am and how this is part of expressing my most authentic self, I no longer feel overwhelmed with nerves about how the other person will react. I know that I did the right thing and I know that it’s part of the journey I’m taking to express my most authentic self in all areas of my life.

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blogging, self-judgement, truth, Work

The other person’s story

I was in a training course at work today. It was a really fascinating day; looking at the planet and what we can do as an organisation and as individuals to increase our environmental sustainability.

As part of the course, we were asked to share what sustainability meant to us and I shared that I was vegan mainly because so many other areas of my life are so unsustainable. Filled with luxuries that I know are bad for the environment – a car, regular trips abroad and so much more. One of the ladies in the course suddenly said “I feel sorry for you because you think you’re doing well being vegan but your diet is probably really high in palm oil and coconut oil which is really bad for the environment”.

My ego stung so much from this verbal attack. I didn’t see where it had come from – I’d not passed judgement at her meat eating habits and couldn’t understand why she had been so vocal in her opinion of me.

It wasn’t until the afternoon that I gained a bit of clarity about where she was coming from.

We were talking about what culturally would need to change in order for the organisation to become sustainable and one person said that we need to get better at hearing people’s views in the organisation. I added to this saying how hard it is generally to hear other points of view without being defensive and shared how my first response to the comment about palm oil had been one of outrage instead of curiosity.

For I knew in truth that what she was saying was right – palm oil isn’t sustainable and it’s causing destruction of large areas of forest. But hearing her criticising my lifestyle so openly had stung and hadn’t left me able to hear her message – I only heard judgement.

And then she opened up. “I got defensive because I work alongside so many vegans and they’re constantly judging me about eating meat. I eat organic and do my part, but it’s never enough.” 

And just like that, I could feel her pain. I understood what she had heard when I shared that I was vegan – judgement. Of her, her lifestyle, her choices.

And suddenly her cutting comment about my lifestyle didn’t matter so much. I felt her pain, I witnessed her isolation, I understood where she was coming from.

It reminded me that most confrontation or disagreement is never really about us. It’s really about the other person and it’s really about their story. And knowing that is really empowering and liberating.

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blogging, self-discovery, truth, Wellbeing, Work

It’s that simple

I woke up this morning dog-tired and feeling overwhelmed by the work in front of me for the day. To be honest, I had woken with a bit of a victim mindset – so much work to do, so little time to do it, so much expectation upon myself – and I felt like I wasn’t my usual rested self who would be able to bounce back and attack the day with zeal.

So I was a bit of a grumpasaurus with my husband who had a accidentally set his alarm for 6am and had ‘snoozed’ it twice in a sleepy haze. And I felt like crying.

I could see no way through these feelings or the day ahead until I sat down with my Danielle LaPorte journal and saw the question:

“How do you want to feel?”

And straight away I knew how I wanted to feel – rested.

So I asked myself what I could do to bring this feeling to my life, big things or small. And again, I knew straight away:

  • Have a lunch break (something I’ve been neglecting of late) and perhaps take a sneaky nap
  • Accept if I need to go to bed early tonight, despite having lovely friends staying with us in Brighton tonight
  • Ask for help – request a lift to the train station from my husband and perhaps see if someone can support me with part of my work today
  • Stop battling my feelings, pushing them down, and surrender to the truth that I’m just a bit tired and run down

It was really that simple. I knew how I wanted to feel and what I needed to do. I just needed to ask myself the question.

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blogging, eating disorder, self-discovery, self-esteem, Work

100

I can’t quite believe that this is my one hundredth blog post! It blows me away just how quickly time has passed and how much I’ve seen, grown, changed over a period of 18 months or so. And I want to spend a few moments exploring the changes that have taken place with you, dear one.

Work

I was prompted to start this blog whilst taking part in the Local Government Challenge, a work competition that turned me upside down and inside out. Competing taught me so many things about standing firm in who I am, stepping into leadership and challenged my view of success (from success = winning to success = doing my best and all I can from the process). From there I galloped onwards, standing firm in the value I bring to work. I managed to successfully negotiate a pay rise (something I would have been too timid to ask for in the past) and secured what, at the moment, is turning out to be the job of my dreams.

It has taken hard work, perseverance and a lot of soul searching but I’m living definition of success – giving my best and getting all I can from work each and every day.

Self

I’m not sure the me of 18 months ago would recognise the woman I am now. I look back on the early posts where I worried so heavily about what you would think of me, lovely friend, for writing things about myself that were in any way positive, confident, complimentary.

Sure, I know I’m not perfect. I can be moody, insecure, shy, but I now proudly own all that I am and don’t mind sharing my self-love with you! I own both that which I love –  my optimism, my generosity, my imagination – along with that which is not so great.

I also own those facets of myself which I feel aren’t desirable in society. What I mean by this is what someone described as my ‘core of steel’. I look (and am) soft, gentle and compliant but there’s a strength in me, a determination, a power that will not be shaken. And I have strong views which I used to lock away for fear of being rejected, but now I let out. I don’t believe in the bullshit of pretending all is perfect – I own and speak up about my battles. These things may not be ‘acceptable’ but it’s who I am and I own it.

My body

Positive body image has been an issue for me in the past. I’ve struggled to accept that my body isn’t curve or fat free. I was trapped in a spiral of comfort eating and couldn’t find a balance between eating only the amount I needed to function (and not a morsel more) or free-fall binge eating.

I know my journey to full body acceptance isn’t over yet. Sometimes when Gregg touches me on the stomach or hips, I want to fling his hand away as these are the areas that I can find, on a bad day, ugly, wanting, fat.

And yes, sometimes I still comfort eat. But much less than before and when I do, it doesn’t hang over me like a cloud for the days that follow.

I suppose the main change over these months is that worries about my body take up less head space, and that I know that these struggles don’t define me. They’re not the whole me.

The whole me is someone who has body parts I love – my legs, boobs, height, bottom, cheekbones, skin. The whole me knows that my body isn’t the most important part of who I am. The whole me may not have the ‘perfect’ body, but would rather spend time doing that which lights me up rather than working on getting to physical perfection.

These are the thoughts and reflections that I want to share with you on my 100th blog post. I know I’ve come so far and I can wait to see where I’ll be when I get to blog number 200.

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blogging, gratitude, self-discovery, truth, Work

One moment

I’m so excited to be starting my diploma in transformational coaching with Animas Coaching today! I’d started to write a post this morning reflecting on why I’ve been drawn to this course and what I hope it will bring to my life but, in a moment of reflection, I wrote down all the things that had brought me to the point of starting my studies. And this feels like exactly the right thing to share with you today, dear friend.

So I scrapped what I’d written and hope it’s ok for me to share with you what I identified as key to starting my studies:

  • the coaching I did in 2015-2017 which helped me to identify the life I want to live and how I wanted to be equipped to give back through coaching other people
  • the kindness I’ve cultivated and shown to others over the years which has built my desire to coach
  • the joy deep inside me that blooms when I listen to people, make them feel important and learn about their lives
  • the bravery I had in asking work to sponsor me to do this course

Out of all these actions, I thought ‘what am I the proudest of?’ and I knew instinctively that it was the bravery in asking my manager, 6 weeks into my new job, to pay for the course.

But then again, boiling it down to one moment of bravery didn’t feel right.

It felt like something the ‘old’ Amy would do – basing my success on a decision made by someone else.

Sure, it took guts to ask for what I wanted in that moment, but really I was only able to stand up for what I wanted because of of all the hard graft I’ve done over the past years. The tears and pain I’ve shed, the discoveries I’ve made, the grit I’ve shown in owning up to hard truths, the courage, truth and love I’ve cultivated for myself.

So it wasn’t really one moment, but actually a million different moments that led to me having the courage to ask for what I wanted – to start this course.

These moments weren’t glamorous or victorious, and during these years of growth I frequently fell back into old patterns of comfort eating, retreating away from the world.

But they prepared me, bit-by-bit, for that all-so-important moment where I felt worthy to ask my manager for the financial support to do this course. And where I knew that I had the resilience that, if she had said ‘no’, I’d have been ok.

So I’m going to keep on appreciating the little moments in life that actually are so much more important than what they seem in the moment.

And I want to encourage you that although life might feel tough, and you may feel like you’re getting nowhere, chances are that you’ll look back one day and know that it was in the moments of hardship that you built the foundations for something much bigger in your life.

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