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Goal setting- do you only set professional goals, or personal goals too?

Do you set personal goals for yourself?  If you do, are they only for work?  Or do you set goals for your personal life as well?  Are you focused on the journey or the destination?

I have noticed with clients that they are often focused on setting goals for their business or career. Less so do I notice clients taking their personal life in hand and asking the question “What do I want to achieve in my personal life?”  When I realised that, I took a look at my own life and noticed that I had few personal goals outside of my business and almost all of those were long-standing and no where near being achieved.  It was a slap in the face.

As a result, I brainstormed ideas and goals that I would like to achieve that had nothing to do with work.  It was tough at the start.  Eventually I got into my stride and the list got really long: holiday destinations, charity work, new learning experiences and skills, building plans and so on.  It was a wonderful and joyful experience.  It continues to grow, and I tick off things off the list on a regular basis.  Life feels more fulfilling, fun and enriching.

Let me share with you some of the things I have learned by setting and striving for personal goals in general and one in particular: climbing Helvellyn via the Striding Edge route.

Expectation and Anticipation

In this instant, have-it-now modern culture, it’s quite a rare experience to have to wait for something.  There is a mounting pleasure with delayed gratification.  I set the date 8 months ahead in early June and did some early planning in a fit of enthusiasm.  But then, I had to wait.  It drifted to the back of my mind, but every now and then, something would happen to remind me, and I got excited again.  I asked friends if they wanted to join me- another reminder and a sharing of my dream and passion.  There was also the feeling of acceptance and rejection as people committed, said no, changed their minds, said may be and made stipulations about details.  I bought equipment, maps and booked accommodation, planned the route.  It all added to the anticipation and expectations.  It was a very joyful journey to June 8th, 2019.

Alone or together

I made a commitment to go, happy in the knowledge that I could do it alone. I had practised map reading and using a compass and I had all the equipment I needed for a solo trip.  In spite of that, I asked people to join me- it honours my values of friendship, connection and inclusion.  I was also honouring the values of solitude, down time and getting away from it all if no one accepted my invitation.  So, I was happy either way.  When I asked people to come, I still experienced the feeling of vulnerability.  I am a relational, people person and thrive in good company.  I also get energised by time alone, so I organised my trip to The Lakes with a day walking and exploring by myself as well walking with a friend. Does that make me an ambivert (both an introvert and an extrovert?)

It’s not all in my control

Weather is highly changeable in The Lakes.  The higher you go, the more extreme and changeable the weather.  We had driving rain and 80 mph gusts throughout.  For safety and self-responsibility, I had to be OK with committing to the trip in the knowledge that I may not be able to achieve what I had set out to achieve.  Committing to goals and at the same time being able to let go of them if something more appropriate comes along is a hard lesson for me to learn.  Getting too attached to an outcome may not deliver the best results.  Events beyond my control may intercede.  I then have choice about how I respond to the situation.  For me, this is the real meaning of responsibility- to be able to respond consciously, thoughtfully and in a centred way.  Not unconsciously, reactively and out of a sense of habit or rigidity.

The famous Striding Edge is an exposed, rocky ridge leading to the summit of Helvellyn

Danger

The famous Striding Edge is an exposed, rocky ridge leading to the summit.  People have died on it.  In fact, the week I committed to the trip I saw a poster at a local café that said that the owner’s son had died on Striding Edge that year in high wind while doing a charity walk.  The father was raising money for the charity in other ways and to commemorate his son’s death, charity and bravery.  It was a sobering thought.  And I committed to it anyway.  Goals require some risk and sacrifice.  In order to say “yes” to something you have to be able to say “no” to others. You may have to let go of others- perhaps even your life.  Extreme I acknowledge, but it tests your resolve and makes the journey more vivid and achieving the goal more delicious.  I think I enjoy the journey more with this mind set, rather than fixating on the destination.

Patterns

Doing something different reveals your patterns and where you feel comfortable and safe: exposed to the elements rather than in the security of home or work environments; spending time in the company of people I know less well or completely new to me; different food to fuel me for the long walk as I listen to my body tell me what I need to eat rather than my head saying what it thinks I should eat; being more active rather than sedentary; rugged hills of the North rather than manicured countryside of the South; camaraderie and friendship with fellow walkers; developing a new level of relationship with the friend I walked with; the glory of a cup of tea after a long day in the hills; a really deep sleep after a strenuous day on the mountain; noticing where my body is weak and strong; where my mind takes me when I am tired, lost or cold; missing loved ones.  Exposing these patterns can be revealing and you can use them as a growth edge in your development if you choose.  I’ve been listening to my body about what and when to eat ever since with remarkable results.

Surprises

Walking in the high mountains of The Lakes, I came across benches that commemorated Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.

However much you plan things, you will always be surprised by the ultimate outcome.  Things will never be exactly as you imagine them.  Walking in the high mountains of The Lakes, I came across benches that commemorated Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.  People must have carried these benches up mountains, over styles and finally positioned them so that they were safe to sit on and enjoy the views.  They went to tremendous trouble to bring pleasure to unknown walkers and in honour of the sovereign.  I think that is wonderful and extraordinary.  It is a legacy.  A reminder that things are bigger than you.  That your actions have a consequence for the future.  What do you choose?

Letting go of rigid control of the plan allows things to unfold organically, naturally and as they will.  Imposing your will only leads to tension, resistance and discomfort.  It is a fine balance to set your intention, allow things to unfold and flow and be a willing co-creator in the process as it unfolds.  Some of the greatest moments of my life have been when I have played an active role in creating something and allowed others to create it with me as equal partners.  I used to run martial arts sessions for 12-13 year olds on extra-curriculum days at a local school.  Each session was different as the children created with me what they wanted to perform to their peers.  It takes humility and responsibility.  I often stumble upon it by accident and find it hard to do on purpose.  I think coaching sessions are the closest I get professionally.  Travel and social situations in my private life provide beautiful platforms for such connections.

Completion

There is something satisfying about achieving a goal- or even seeking to attempt it without success.  When you get to the end, do you celebrate, reflect and learn from the experience?  Life moves on at a pace, and it is all too easy to move on to the next thing without savouring the experience you have just had.  Part of the journey is to come to the end, stop and rest.  All cycles go through this rest period (like the four seasons, Winter is a time to rest, rejuvenate and assimilate what has gone before).  As a culture, we are less good at the resting part, eager to move on to the next thing.  But we lose so much because we do not savour, integrate and process the experience.  Talking it over, looking at photos, considering what could be done differently and what you would do more or less of.  These are valuable exercises is embedding the experience and how it enriches your life.

Over to You

So, there you have it.  Some of the learning from setting personal goals and trying to achieve them. What do you learn from setting personal goals?  How might you do things differently?  Do you focus more on your personal goals or professional ones?  If you’d like that to change, how would you go about that?

Pass it on

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What is life coaching- and what can it do for you?

Have you ever wondered what life coaching is? Or perhaps what it isn’t? The word “coaching” is used so broadly it can be a little confusing what people mean when they say “I am a coach” or “I offer coaching”. One of the first questions prospective clients ask me is “What is coaching and what can it do for me?”

What is Life Coaching

From my understanding, the roots of coaching are firmly embedded in sports performance. Timothy Gallwey may well have written the first life coaching book with The Inner Game of Tennis.

He talks about using the body to learn new habits, embodying the feel of movement to create great, high-level performance. It’s a short step to embodying any new habit, including feeling confident, empowered, powerful and engaged in any number of daily life situations.

Any high performing athlete needs a coach to motivate, inspire, guide and improve physical and mental performance. So why not any person who wishes to perform at a higher level in any area of their life? Success is not assured, but the likelihood of improvements and achieving desired goals is highly increased.

Life Coaching for Everyone

The parallels with everyday life are massive. We all have goals. We all want to improve our performance, be it at work or in our private lives. Mind sets around showing up in relationships and creating the life you long for are essential for success. Life-limiting mind sets keep you stuck in old patterns. Finding mind sets that are aligned to your goals and values make success more likely.

Now, there are many ways to make this happen. There are books and courses and retreats, webinars and seminars, both on-line and off-line. There are executive coaches, therapists, financial coaches, counsellors, relationship coaches, consultants and life coaches.

When the word “coach” is made to mean the same as “consultant“, you might get an expert in a particular field. The client or coachee is expecting input from the coach/ consultant based on their experience in business say to advise and guide. Incredibly useful. I myself have used business coaches at certain points in my business development. This type of coaching or consulting is a step-by-step, incremental development as the client grows in knowledge and experience.

Co-active Life Coaching

The kind of life coaching I do, co-active life coaching, is transformational. Rather than step-by-step, incremental growth, the client experiences transformation. Evolving from caterpillar to butterfly.

For over 20 years I have taught martial arts. The Japanese word for that role is “sensei”. That roughly translates into English as teacher. Yet, as is so often with different languages, the work “sensei” means much more. It is one who cares for the physical, mental and emotional well-being of those that are supported by him. There is love, patience, compassion and a fierce longing for their true strength and power to reveal itself and manifest in ever area of their lives. It comes to each individual in its own time. Yet the sensei never stops longing for that truth and working with them to make that real in the world.

When I went into life coaching, I felt a natural affinity towards this type of coaching. It was a great fit. An extension of my “Sensei” role. And I could bring physical embodiment to my life coaching and greater emotional intelligence to my “Sensei” role. You can learn more here.

Life Coaching and Transformation

An example of this transformative process with one of my clients follows. Changes in perception and perspective in almost every call lead to massive shifts in action that gave new and exciting outcomes. The client’s life was literally transformed.

“I have been lucky enough to share a coaching journey with David that has been and still is a transformational experience……….What David brought to the game that was priceless, was an in depth exploration of these ideas and plans to put any changes into daily action. That’s where the real power of coaching is and with this depth has come great personal rewards….. I found that the positive benefits of exploring these concepts actually manifested themselves very powerfully after the sessions and are still going on now.

“David is an empathic and passionate coach who held my wishes as a client foremost in our relationship and gently but very firmly held me to my decisions and personal promises without distraction. It’s not new knowledge that to change old habits, reach new heights and achieve ones goals, powerful and sustained focus on them is required to empower them, but theres a vast difference between just knowing how to do it and actually doing it, David helps make it happen.”

Evoking Transformation

The caterpillar needs to dissolve away old ways of being and doing that support old goals. Instead, embrace new ways of being and doing that are aligned to new goals. The shift is not incremental. It is transformational. New perceptions and perspectives that drive deep, inner change.

That is what I want for any client that comes my way. If I know I cannot walk along side them to support that change I will suggest appropriate coaches I think can. Then the client can decide. And if I can, I will use all my love and compassion to evoke transformation in my client. An on-line dictionary defines evoke as “bring or recall (a feeling, memory, or image) to the conscious mind.” Coaching tools delve into exploration and awareness. As you become more aware, you have access to inner resources previously unavailable to you. Those inner resources ignite new levels of consciousness or being which result in different doing.

Over to You

On and in it goes, revealing more potential at every exploration. If you would like to make those transformational shifts, perhaps you are ready for co-active life coaching with me and bring new inspiration to your career, relationships, health, wellness and life as a whole.

Pass it on

If you know people who want to make transformational change, please forward them the link to this blog. Alternatively, if this has inspired something in you, please get in touch and we can have a conversation about how we might be able to walk the path together towards a more fulfilling life for you.

Resilience- 15 things you can do to top up your Resilience Bank Account

I was recently asked to run a workshop for The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) on resilience.  A dictionary definition of resilience is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”.  The concern was that employees have tools and resources that can make them more resilient.  This not only makes them more inspired and empowered in their personal lives, but also more effective, creative and productive at work.  Resilience is a multi- faceted quality that can be tackled from numerous angles.

Resilience Bank Account

Your Resilience Bank Account will have resources coming in and going out

As is so often with complex ideas, a metaphor helps to simplify.  I like things to be simple.  So, as a working example I use the idea of a Resilience Bank Account.  Like all bank accounts, the Resilience Bank Account has to have money coming in and going out.  We are all familiar with our own bank accounts and the many demands for withdrawals there are.  Often, our source of income is limited to only one or two.

Any strategist will tell you, this is a weak and vulnerable place to be.  If that single source ceases due to redundancy, illness etc., suddenly there is no way to top up the account and the demands for withdrawals remain the same- perhaps even increase.  So, it is good practice to have as many sources as possible.  To be truly resilient, the more sources of income your bank account has, the better.  If one source of income dries up, you have others to buffer the loss and give you some time and wiggle room.  This might be in the shape of savings, stocks and shares, part time jobs and other investments.  You may even have passive sources of income.

Your resilience and your Resilience Bank account are the same.  You want to top them up from as many sources and as often as possible so that in the event of withdrawals, you have plenty there to cover the cost.  If one of your sources is not delivering at this time, there are others to cover the shortfall.

Resilience Deposits

We will look at the withdrawals later.  For now, let’s look at the deposits.  Deposits are the things that build your confidence, grow you, strengthen you, make you feel enlivened and empowered, move you forward, get you thinking with positive focus and intention. Here are some examples:

Mindset

The attitude you bring to a situation often determines how successful you are, how quick you bounce back when derailed, your ability to adapt and generate positive outcomes. So, a positive mindset which is solution focused is best.  This leads to more creative thinking.

Goals

Setting goals is a positive step to help you move forward. Large goals get split into smaller manageable pieces.   Achieving these smaller goals bolsters your confidence.  Savouring the victory has even greater positive psychological impact.   You may not achieve your larger goals.  Whether you do or not, these smaller steps moved you forward in life, created experiences and learning which all add to your Resilience Bank Account.

Values

It is important for your values to be honoured and appear in the goals and activities in your life. Doing so leads to feelings of fulfilment, contentment and well- being.  Gaining awareness of your values means you can make life choices aligned to them. More deposits for that account.

Boundaries

Have strong boundaries and keep to them. These are the things you don’t want to negotiate on based upon your goals and values.  If you value health and fitness you may want to say “yes” to exercise and “no” to sugary and fatty food.  If family is important to you, you may want to say “no” to working evenings and weekends and “yes” to individual time with each family member (for me details see bogs on “yes” and “no“).  There is no right or wrong.  It is simply a question of creating boundaries for yourself and others to respect and honour so that you live with integrity and contentment.

The Body

Feeling great in your body is a powerful resilience tool. Good diet, exercise, sleep, rest and relaxation are essential to this end.  Correct hydration and breathing are invaluable.  Use massage, meditation and mindfulness to aid in health, rehabilitation and restoration.

Emotion and mental health

Do not suppress your emotion. It leads to all kinds of mental and physiological distress.  Gain awareness and notice your emotions.  Build an emotional vocabulary that becomes more discerning over time.  Finding the right word to describe how you feel is a liberating experience.  It’s like you can “name” it, see it for what it is.  As a result, it loses some of its power.  Find ways to express your emotions appropriately in writing and speaking to the right people who will really listen and give you time and space.  Develop emotional mastery and your life will blossom in SO many ways.

Family and friends

Surround yourself with supportive, positive and nurturing people. One’s whom you respect and enjoy and enjoy and respect you.  Have mentors that can guide you.  Cheerleaders who are in your corner.  You want to have limited access to people who leave you feeling “less than”.  Instead, surround yourself with people around whom you feel great.  Make deep and meaningful connections with people, share life’s moments with them and the bond will deepen.

Environment

Make sure your working and living environments are tidy, clean and ordered. Have calm spaces, places for family activities and space to be alone, restful rooms for sleep and garden space that allows you and the family to do more of what you love to do.

Self- Care

Ensure you have “me time”.  What do you want?  Go out and get it.  It’s so easy to put others at the top of your priority list while never meeting your own needs.  Sometimes put you at the top of the list.  Buy yourself gifts sometimes.  Take yourself away or go on a trip with a friend.  You’re worth it.  So often, you forget about your needs.  Please don’t.  Sometimes it’s because you cannot think of what you want.  This is something I struggle with.  It may be because you are out of practice recognising what you want.  Please, get practising and begin to notice what you desire in life and go out and make it happen.  Like all things it gets easier with practice.  If you are not well cared for by you, you cannot be fully of service to anyone else.

Spirituality and Contribution

Do you have a spiritual practice(s): Meditation, prayer, contemplation, reflection, mindfulness, writing, music, charity and movement?  Anything that connects you to something larger (Source, God, Universal Energy).  If that seems too big, what makes you feel like you contribute in a significant way?  Moments shared with others, or alone, nourish the flame within that burns in your heart or soul and makes you feel alive, connected and enamoured with life.

Hobbies

What brings you joy? What activities beyond work, with or without family, with or without friends, also makes you feel alive?  Adventure, exploration, learning, new places, people and cultures, exercise and fitness or things that bring pleasure to the mind and senses like gardening, collecting, making and designing. They all deepen your connection to life.

Short- term Stress

This is the good stress.  Things that make your heart pound and quicken your breath can really deepen your resilience.  The little things that scare you can give you a buzz.  Most especially if they are aligned to your goals and values.  You sign up to give a talk or attend a networking event and beforehand you’re wondering what possessed you to commitment to it.  Once you’ve done it you feel pride and achievement.  It also takes your life towards new directions, experiences and learning.

Balance this with Relaxation

It’s important to relax too. Sleep, rest and rejuvenation are essential.  Weekend breaks, holidays, spa days, adventure days with friends, dinners, lunches and get- togethers are all active relaxation opportunities that help you thrive. Chilling on the sofa, reading a book, watching TV or soaking in the bath can all rejuvenate your body and soul.  Just don’t do too much- it has the reverse affect if you do!!!

Education and Growth

Constant learning, challenging, experimenting and enquiry help to keep you sharp physically and mentally. Education can bring you all kinds of information and learning experiences that may come to be really useful as resources towards resilience.

Energy

You are not a robot. Nor can you work all hours, sleep little, rest little, eat poorly and drive yourself endlessly.  You are human- in need of change, variety, and diversity.  Humans adapt to subtle cycles and nuances through the day.  If you were a battery, you would need to recharge regularly (see blog: Recharge).  Much of the above points will do that for you.  Energy is an essential resilience resource.  Learn to conserve it as well.  Use your boundaries to protect yourself.  If your energy drops too low, your health and well- being will suffer.

Resilience Withdrawals

That is a list of the things I have learned to use to make deposits into my Resilience Bank Account.  Together they make a formidable set of resources that can give you a cushioning when life gets tough and set- backs occur so that you can bounce back.  The more of the list you use, and the more often you use it, the more resilient your Resilience Bank Account.  Not all of them will work for you.  Perhaps you have some of your own?

Keep track of them and use them to keep your Resilience Bank Account topped up.  You have control over these fifteen inputs.  You can choose.  Make changes to build your Resilience Bank Account up every single day from multiple resources.

You will enjoy better health, contentment, meaning and purpose.  Life will feel more fulfilling.  You’ll have more fun, feel part of something larger to which you positively contribute.  You will love and be loved.

And so when the inevitable pains of life come: the annoying work colleague; someone cutting you up in traffic; redundancy; relationship breakups; disloyalty; death; illness; financial issues; machines breaking down; internet going off- line and so on…….. you will have plenty in the Resilience Bank Account to ride the storm.  You’ll be able to make the withdrawals required for yourself and others and still have resources left.

And, if you run out of resources, you know there are at least fifteen ways you can build yourself up again.

Over to You

How do you stay resilient?  What do you do to keep your Resilience Bank Account topped up?  Which of the one’s listed do you use?  What one’s are missing?  Do you find that you bounce back from set- backs and challenges quickly or do you struggle?  What does resilience look like to you?  How could you become more resilient?  Why not post in the comments box or on social media and let us know your thoughts and experiences?

Pass it on

If someone sprang to mind while you were reading this because you thought it might be useful to them, please pass it on and send them the link.  Please share the tweets and posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  Thank you.

The Journey of Life

Without a distant view of the horizon, it is impossible to keep moving your life forward in the right direction & have the patience & perseverance to reach that destination

Without a distant view of the horizon, it is impossible to keep moving your life forward in the right direction & have the patience & perseverance to reach your destination

Life is a long journey, we hope. Yet, is there a destination?  Do you ever “get there”?  Where is “there” for you?  Is it that house, retirement, that special person, a car, a certain salary or a spot on the career ladder?  Is it peace of mind?  Whatever it is, it is a larger purpose that drives you and informs many of your choices in life until you reach those distant goals.  You will deny your self of other things so that you can achieve your goals.  As a life coach, I am drawn to ask clients these questions, for it is at the root of these that fulfilment is lived on a day to day basis. It is these fundamental questions that drive you along the long journey of life.

I was reading a National Geographic article when it struck me that we share these driving urges and qualities with the animal kingdom. This article was discussing long distance migrations and the qualities animals show to achieve those long term goals. The main one we share is the ability to defer short term gratification for long term gain. Without that distant view of the horizon, it is impossible to keep moving forward in the right direction and have the patience and perseverance to reach that destination- all essential qualities to achieve any long term goals.

Making goals a values- based choice

The context you create sets the tone of your journey- will it be one of slogging your guts out or will it be joyful? Will it be work centred?   Will it be friends and family centred? For each step along the way to be fulfilling, you require a clear context around the qualities that are most important to you- in coaching speak, these are called values.

A house holds no importance in and of itself. It is the value- systems you place upon it that gives it significance. Is it an investment? It is a retirement fund? Is it a home, a place to rest or a place to share with family and friends? Therefore, whatever you decide, it is based upon the things that are important to you and it is in serving those important things that makes the house significant. And so it is with the long journey of life. Whatever those distant goals and final destination, it is how you have honoured what is important to you that makes life fulfilling.

Why goals are important

It is important to have destinations, goals that give you a focus and direction. Without them you would go nowhere, achieve nothing and life would be boring and dull. And yet, in all the goals you have set for your self, when did the path to that destination go smoothly? When did it ever run as you expected it to? The answer is probably rarely, if ever. That is certainly true for me.

Migrating animals will overcome huge geographical and physical challenges to reach their chosen destination. So too will you, especially when you set your goals so far in the future you cannot truly imagine or conceive of what it really looks and feels like to be there. Setting that destination in the context of your values makes the journey bearable, enjoyable even valuable and will give you the patience and determination to carry on when you may want to give in or become diverted by less important things.

The journey not the destination

The logo for Potentiality Coaching implies this concept. It comes from the Japanese art of Kyudo, The Way of Archery. You are given the target, not to hit it, but to have a reason to fire the arrow. The flight of the arrow is determined by your inner demeanour. How calm are you? What is your state of mind? Are you agitated or are you serene? Do you fire the arrow in anger, in fear, for duty, for love or personal expression? Whatever the reason and motivation, it will come out in the flight of the arrow. How you are being in the world says more about your journey than about your destination. The goals are important, just as the target to the archer is. They set your path. What is most important is how you are when you release the arrow, for that determines how your arrow flies.

The power of congruent living

So on the long journey of life, what is it that you strive for and how are you going about achieving it? Are you working from values that make your life feel fulfilling on a daily basis or does it feel empty? Do you feel listless, frustrated or despondent? Are you joyful, content and deeply fulfilled? In short, the answer to those questions depends on how congruent you are living to your values. If you feel that you are not living more in- line with your values and you are ready to take action so that you can live your life in a more fulfilling way, why not contact me for a free consultation about identifying what is truly important to you and how you can manifest that more in your life?

Over to you

What makes you fulfilled? What is important to you? How do you make sure you keep living with those important things in the centre of your life? What do you do if those values change and you have to re- orient your self? How does changing your goals change your life path? I’d love to hear from you and learn more about what makes life fulfilling.

Pass it on

If you think someone would like the content of this blog and others on the Potentiality Coaching website, why not send them the link or share it on social media?  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

How to make the dream happen?

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Sometimes I wonder how I’m going to achieve what I have dreamed.  How am I going to realise the vision?  I worry about finding the money, creating the opportunities to bring my vision into reality. How am I going to generate the networks? How can I build the audience that loves my message and wants to benefit from what I have to share? Do you find your self posing these questions about your own journey? If so, please read on as this may be useful to you.

Know your “Why?”

Simon Sinek talks about the three circles of how leaders inspire action: ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘how’. As passionate creators who want to make a difference, people with a message get what Ben Tristem calls ‘mad how’s disease’. We obsess about how we are going to achieve our goals.  Without deeply considering the ‘why’ and the ‘what’.  These are the source of our drive and the manner in which we share it with the world. I have spent years working out my ‘why’ and my ‘what’. I want to know ‘HOW!’

For those of you interested, my ‘why’ is simply to bring people to their fullest potential.  The on- going process of growth and development that keeps driving people to ask ‘Is there more to life and my self than this?’ Through embodiment, mental and physical awareness (both rational and intuitive) as well as a connection to your soul I believe you travel on an unending spiral of maturity and understanding that brings you closer to your answer to this question. This has driven me on my journey to connect with the mysteries of life.  It has led me to encourage others through one- on- one sessions, workshops and weekend retreats.

When the way forward isn’t clear

Recently, in a state of frustration over how we are ever going to achieve our master plans, I committed Emma (my partner) and I to a Sunday afternoon brainstorming session. Bravely we stuck at it for a while.  We got progressively more despondent and bogged down in facts and details without any flashes of inspiration.  Nor did we have the lightness that so often comes with sessions such as these.  In the end it was Emma who said ‘Perhaps we just have to hold the vision in our minds.  May be that is enough for now until things become clearer?’ Instantly, the weight lifted and the joy of our lives’ works returned.

In her flash of insight she made me realise that the ‘how’ comes in stages and often in unexpected ways. The journey is convoluted, making it exciting, frustrating, educational, inspiring, insightful and so much more at different times. To know the whole plan is an illusion or the insistent delusion of a control freak. To hold the plan gently and consistently in the mind keeps the intuition awake for any possibilities.  The mind can work with these to create action and results in the knowledge that one is in fact far less in control than one imagines.

Creating Vision Boards

One of the spin offs of Emma’s insight was to create a vision board. It is a work in progress.  Every time I look at what is already on the board I am reminded of my commitments, desires and dreams. I notice that I think about the vision more.  I make the connections to that vision when events and opportunities present themselves. The ‘how’ becomes clearer daily as I grow and develop along my ever moving path.

So this blog is a thank you to Emma and her insight which greatly helped me and us both. I hope you are reminded of her wisdom the next time the frustration gets the better of you when you insist on answers more concrete than the present allows. Stay focussed on your dreams, most importantly know your ‘why’, be clear about your ‘what’ and the ‘how’?…… Well, let that unfold.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.


 

A Healthy Way to Success

Build new habits into your life gently

Build new habits into your life gently

You’re serious about your health

Every time you attempt to lose weight you manage it for a while, and then the weight returns as you return to old habits and patterns.

You want to get fit. Each time you set time aside you find something more important or pressing to do and the work outs rarely if ever happen.

You’re aware that you eat too much sugar and fats and not enough fruit and vegetables. Perhaps you know you drink too much alcohol for a healthy, balanced life style.

It can be a challenge to find the mind set that makes the change in behaviour stick and consistently move you towards a healthier and fitter life style.

The All or Nothing Mind Set

Very often we diet and exercise in a compulsive way. We deny our self certain foods like chocolate, biscuits and cake and over load on others like fruit and vegetables and wholemeal this and that. We set our self a punishing exercise regime thinking ‘no pain no gain’. This works for a time and often not for long. The reason I believe is because we are still acting within the confines of the ‘binge culture’.

Just as we binge eat and drink, we can binge exercise and work, binge TV and computer/ on- line gaming, going over- board without a sense of continuity and longevity. We run the risk to burn out, living to excess. With this mind set there is no hope of sustainability. We may get fast results, without a hope of keeping it up.

Slow and gently does it

What has worked for me is a slow and steady mind set. Change your diet step by step, gently reducing the intake, the sugars, the fats and slowly increasing the fibre, the fruit and vegetables and more healthy meats and fish. Alter your exercise habits piece meal- increase the duration, regularity and intensity slowly over time. I am a martial arts instructor and I do this myself- if there is something I cannot do I build up to it until I can. It may take years. Often it doesn’t. I am not gifted, I am not special. This attitude works for all my students. It will work for you.

When we are looking to break habits, we are looking for sustainable change. We want quick results so we blast it. It shocks the body so we are forced to push through, focussed and committed until something distracts us and we take our eye off the ball.

Slow and steady is more gentle. We may get distracted- that’s to be expected. New habits become engrained and we can more easily reintroduce them when we are side tracked.

Over to you

Try it. I’d love to hear about your results. It will work with anything. You will want a healthy dose of patience and a commitment to change. Be gentle- it is the way nature works and the key to uncovering your potential is all aspects of your life.

Would you like to join and expand the community?

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

Do you lose your Focus & Confidence?

Confidence & focus can ebb & flow in life- how can you get it back?

Confidence & focus can ebb & flow in life- how can you get it back?

Have you noticed that some days you are flying high? As a consequence,  everything you do is ‘on purpose’, feels directed and meaningful?

Then other days you are not quite on it? You get side- tracked by other things and your day runs away with you? Therefore, you feel less directed towards what is meaningful and ‘on purpose’ for you.

 

And sometimes your heart just isn’t in the game.  On those days your mind won’t focus on what is really important to do at that time.

On days like these it feels like you have taken two steps forward only to find you are right back where you started? Isn’t that right?

First of all, let me tell you this is not the case. If you have made strides forwards towards your goals those steps can never be lost or taken back. How you are feeling in this moment may be very different to yesterday or even this morning, but that does not mean you have taken a back step. You feel different is all!  There is learning and growing in managing that shift with skill and compassion.

These shifts in our feelings as a human creature can be seen most clearly in sport. I am a fan of tennis and I marvel how the tide of a match can be so firmly with one player. They cannot put a foot wrong……. and then something switches. Suddenly the ball starts going long or wide, it erodes the player’s confidence and then the other player is in control and dictating the match. You see it in both individual sports and team sports.

Focus and Confidence

So here are some tips for those days or moments when you are ‘off your stroke’ or just not ‘feeling’ it:

1. Remember what to focus on and focus on it. It is easy to get caught up in what is NOT working rather than focusing on your life purpose or your specific goal or target.  Consequently, issues must be addressed and can be in the context of your bigger plan.

2. Stick to the basics. You know what works. Go with what you know to be effective. Very often the simple stuff gets forgotten in the larger plan. If you are new to an arena then learn the basics and keep doing them.

3. It’s not about perfection. It’s about excellence. Be as excellent as you can be today and may be recruit assistance if you feel you need it. Feeling a little low or under par is normal for all of us at times. Consistently striving for excellence means your base line performance rises over time. Perhaps building a team of people around you can off- set these inevitable times.

4. You’re having a bad day? May be look at that? Take a look at why you are feeling what you’re feeling?  You may find learning in that.  As a result, that may be the inspiration for your next step forward.

5. Breath deep and take stock. Reflect and review and see if you have missed something. Did you prepare well enough? Is there something going on at home that you cannot shake? Is there an health issue? Be honest with your self and address with compassion whatever comes up.

6. Always keep learning. One of the sayings from a great martial arts teacher was ‘You are always training for the fight you cannot win yet.’ There is always a situation that is too challenging for you to deal with in an excellent manner. Great! There is more to learn and experience to gather. It will continually make you better at what you are dedicated to.

7. You have come so far. Look back at where you were 6 months ago, a year. If you keep a diary or journal, look back at the hard times of the past or simply reflect on where you were and understand you have grown so much. There is always further to go, more to learn, more potential to uncover and realise.

Over to you

What do you do if you are having a difficult day? How do you shake it off and rally your self? Do you let your self run with the funk or do you carry on regardless? I’d love to hear from you and build a resource of on- line wisdom that allows people to tap in to their true potential.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ .  When you do, you’ll get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

When Inspiration Strikes

 "Passive Thinking" not only taps into the creative mind, but also allows for deeper subconscious thoughts and feelings to surface

“Passive Thinking” not only taps into the creative mind, but also allows for deeper subconscious thoughts and feelings to surface

I don’t know about you, but I find sometimes that I am so busy doing stuff- the next appointment, the next trip, the list of chores- that I give myself no time to sit back and look at my life and ask the question: where am I going and how am I getting there?

We live in a society of rushing and frenetic activity.  More often than not you may feel guilty for stepping out of the race.  This may include taking time to enjoy the view, to contemplate and reflect. You may feel you are not doing enough unless you are active in mind and body.

In spite of all this activity, it can still feel like you are not moving towards that fulfilling life.  If indeed you know what that fulfilling life may look like.

A little less action and more reflection

Action is important. Without it, nothing gets done. And yet, if not done in reference to a bigger picture, a greater context, a larger goal, you may do much and achieve a lot and still feel like you are treading water rather than moving forward along the river of life.  Quiet contemplation can give you the space to think in this larger context. Sure, meditation can be a great way to have time and space to allow new ideas and inspiration to bubble to the surface. There are other means of allowing that:

  • journaling is wonderful for jotting down ideas and reflections;
  • movies, documentaries, music, art and literature can offer ideas that spring board you into new creative directions;
  • walk in nature gives space for more open thinking;
  • good conversation with someone to bounce ideas off can be inspirational;
  • a spa day;
  • a retreat;
  • a holiday;
  • a day trip.

Noticing Inspiration

So you have a three stage process: the inspiration, the planning and the action- here I am talking about creating the opportunities for noticing that inspiration. I believe that inspiration is bubbling away beneath the surface of the mind- you just need the time and space to notice it and hear it. There is the “active thinking” of planning and working out the plan.  There is the opportunity for “passive thinking” which also has great value.  For as well as tapping into the creative side of the mind, it allows for deeper subconscious thoughts and feelings to come to the surface.  These are often the forces that bring us most joy yet we work in conflict with them because we do not give ourselves the opportunity to reflect on them and allow them time and space to grow and develop.

Coaching using the co- active model can offer that opportunity.  In coaching there is the chance to find that inspiration.  You can work out how to use it to drive your life in a fulfilling and meaningful way.  Towards greater personal and professional potential.

Over to you

What place does inspiration have in your life? How does it drive your goals and habits? How do you set time aside for creating space and allowing inspiration? What methods of contemplation and reflection work for you and what hasn’t worked? I’d love to hear from you. Please share your experiences and offer support and inspiration to other people in our community.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and interesting please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.

The Impact of Choices

You make choices every moment of every day.  Even by not choosing you are deciding NOT to take action.  All is choice. So, the life you lead right now is a product of your choices.  The question is, are your choices taking you closer or further away from the things that are really important to you?

Being clear about what is of value to you gives you clarity.

Being clear about what is of value to you gives you clarity.

It does not have to be the huge things that this affects.  Although the answer to this question will influence the quality of your life.  As well as the path you take upon that journey.  Each step along that journey also has a flavour, an ambience and a resonance.  That either aligns with the things that you value in life, or it does not.

When my wife and I got married, we made a purposeful commitment to have a wedding celebration that honoured the things that we felt were important to us: family, children, close friends, fun, good food, elegance, homeliness, beautiful surroundings in nature….. the list goes on.  The day was beautiful.  Along the way to organising the day, we were faced with decisions that were full of often overwhelming choices.  It was challenging.  On the whole we did not allow ourselves to become distracted from what we felt was most important.  At times we made choices that others did not like.  These moments were dealt with in a compassionate way and for the most part people were very understanding.

Clarity makes Choices easier

Being clear about what is of value to you gives you clarity.  Taking a little time out to reflect on what is important may be invaluable to you to make sure you are moving in the right direction.  This can be particularly important when faced with the fast pace of modern business and personal lives.  Living aligned to your values helps to keep you focussed and energised.  It may even give you the confidence and belief that you are heading in the “right” direction.  Even when you are not necessarily totally sure of where you are headed.  The beauty and wonder of life unfolds in its own time.

You build your future here and now.  So make sure you are building a future that is full of the things that are really important to you.  As these things change, you will change your future accordingly.  Being aware of the process keeps you in touch with the shifting sands of your life and its passions, drives and motivations.

Determining your Values

So how do you know what your values are?  One such way is to connect to a “peak” experience.  A moment when things felt perfect and you were in the flow.  I had one such moment at my wedding:  looking out over the small crowd of loved ones who had come to celebrate our special day with us, the venue, the setting, the games, the music and feelings of connection that came with it.  When I make choices in my life I do so in reference to these values.  They inform my choices, creating my present and my future and building a past that I am becoming increasingly proud of.

Your turn…..

I’d love to hear your stories of how value- based choices have enhanced your life.  How have they built great memories and helped to create wonderful futures for you and your loved ones?  It is the unfolding of your potential in its many forms that helps to create a life of meaning and fulfilment.  Live it well.

Why not………..

If you found this article useful and informative please pass it on to other people you think would be interested and spread the word.  I would really appreciate it.  And if you are new to Potentiality Coaching, why not sign up to the e- mailing list at https://www.potentialitycoaching.co.uk/ and get an e- mail straight to your in box when I post my monthly blog and be first to hear about news, information and insights at Potentiality Coaching.  I’d love to have you be part of the community.