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Self care- the benefits for physical, mental and emotional well-being

What does self care mean to you? Does it seem essential or indulgent? Are you at the top of your list for self care or are you at the bottom? Are you always looking out for others and disregarding your needs? Or are you taking care of yourself so that you can look after those you care most about?

Take care of yourself first

You all know the scenario given in the flight safety information announcement before the plane takes off: in case of emergency please apply your own oxygen mask BEFORE helping other people to apply theirs.

It seems like a no brainer and common sense in that situation. If I pass out through lack of oxygen how can I help my child or elderly parent in an emergency? Or anyone else for that matter? In the immediacy and short time frame of an emergency, it seems obvious.

It is an act of self care. According to the Self Care Forum, “Self Care is the actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others in order to develop, protect, maintain and improve their health, well-being or wellness.”

Yes, you are doing it so that you can help others, but first and foremost you have to care for yourself. Yet self care need not be an emergency situation. In fact, the vast majority of self care is the daily little things you can do that keep your mind and body relaxed, stress free and in a state of well-being and wellness.

Self care in action

I have known a number of people who have had strokes and heart attacks. They all say the same thing: when it first happened it was such a shock that I was jolted into taking action for self care. They ate more healthily, exercised more, worked less, reduced stress, had more fun and spent time with the people they cared about and doing things they enjoyed. Yet, as time went on and the shock of it passed, the immediacy subsided and the urgency is not so great. Old habits return and they find themselves in a similar situation a couple of years down the line. The only exception to that example I know is my Mum who still eats a very healthy diet, exercises regularly and has a personal trainer 5 years after her stroke. She is 87 years old.

Self care is not selfish. It ensures you are able to serve others as fully as possible as well as your self.

So what sorts of things can you do to take care of yourself? You know most of them: reduce fat and sugar in your diet, exercise for longer and more regularly, cut out smoking, reduce alcohol intake, eat more green leafy vegetables, rest more, sleep more, work less, reduce the things that stress you, increase what gives you joy and have clear boundaries to which you say “yes” and “no” to name a few. What others would you add?

Two items of self care I’d like to explore that are less talked about are honouring your values and living your life purpose. These are essential self care tools I believe because they are at the core of why you would care for yourself.

Self care and Values

Some of my values are kindness, trust, transparency, seeing people at their best and giving people space to be themselves. For me there is integrity and peace when I live in line with these values. It can be challenging but I feel less stress and more powerful when I act in alignment with them. I hold myself in that too so I am more self-compassionate and understanding as well as with others. It is a kindness I can offer other people and myself.

So, what are your values? What is most important to you? Get pen and paper and write a list. If you’re struggling, think of a time when you felt really alive, powerful, tingly all over and you didn’t give a hoot about what anyone else thought of you. What was going on? Who were you with? How did you feel? What impact did you have?

Alternatively, consider a time you were upset or pissed off. What angered you about that situation? What was being stepped on that was important to you? These exercises will shed light on what is most important to you- your values. Notice where these values show up in your life? And where they don’t? Where would you like to see them more in your life? How would your life be different if they were more present? Can you see how by living these values more you are doing what’s best for you which means you bring more of yourself to your life? That people would benefit more from your power and passion because you acted from what was most important to you? How stressed and less than your best do you feel when you don’t honour those values? It’s a win- win when you do? Doesn’t everyone lose when you don’t?

Self care and Life Purpose

Connected to values is life purpose. Now don’t get all worried because life purpose has to be something earth shattering that brings you to the Oprah Winfrey show! Life Purpose is about what lights you up inside. Isn’t that self care? What makes your heart sing? Wouldn’t the people in your life benefit from that as well as you? For some their life purpose is to create a bold and loving space for their family. For others it about creating a legacy to reduce suicide, or homelessness, save the whale or create a more compassionate world. Personally, my life purpose is about personal freedom and empowering people to live fully themselves, physically, mentally and emotionally. What is your life purpose?

Can you see how awareness of your values and life purpose make living a more healthy lifestyle, creating and maintaining boundaries and other acts of self care easier to do on a daily basis? They give a context in which your self care can sit. And they give an empowered perspective to keep choosing self care even in the face of challenging circumstances. Keep choosing you and you will always have the strength, clarity and power to serve others.

Self care and coaching

Exploring values and life purpose are central to co-active life coaching. They are some of the foundations of your coaching exploration and journey. Clarity on these so that you can live them with integrity and fullness is an act of self care you can keep saying “yes” to again and again. And the benefit to your friends and family and the world at large will be massive. 

Some may challenge and create barriers as you step into your values and life purpose and you may have your own challenges and barriers as you live them more fully. That is what the coaching journey is about as you grow into that person more fully. Support and having someone in your corner can help make that transformation more readily. Would you like to take that journey? If so, get in touch and we can have a discussion about what your goals are and how I may be able to support in that journey.

Over to you

How do you administer self care? What will you do differently now about your self care having read this? Every year in the UK we have Self Care Week. “Whether it is about self-treatable conditions, long term conditions, or lifestyle choices to ensure better physical health and mental well-being, (self care) week raises awareness of the huge benefits of people looking after themselves better.”

Here is a poster for Self Care Week 2019. Lots of additional resources are available at the Self Care Forum website and throughout the Potentiality Coaching blog posts. Here is a video with more information:

Pass it on

If you know someone who needs more self care, please pass on this blog or details about Self Care Forum to them. It may empower them to greater self care and allow them to make a bigger impact in their world which will be gift to everyone.

Being stuck does not mean you have to remain stuck

What do you do when you feel stuck? You name it!!!

Petra came to me feeling in limbo. She felt no motivation to do anything. No inspiration came to her to move forward. She felt isolated, stuck, mistrustful and withdrawn from the world. She was also unsociable.

When we agreed to work together, Petra’s energy and vitality were at a real low. There was a heaviness around and within her. She said she felt tight and constricted. I mentioned that this heaviness and constriction reflected how she was behaving. Naming something can be a powerful tool in life coaching to highlight to a client what might not be so obvious to them. They live with it day after day and it can become invisible to them. This touched her deeply and she resolved and committed to getting out that first week for some gentle exercise and perhaps some social interaction. I invited her to notice how things changed for her and what felt possible from this new perspective. We left this external exploration for a short while to see how it evolved.

The Client is Naturally Creative, Resourceful and Whole

As an alternative focus, we looked at her inner world. By doing visualisations we tapped into inner wisdom and knowing, that directed Petra towards some deep insight and support. Over the next few weeks, Petra regularly did these visualisations, building a picture of inner strength, peace and presence. This taps into one of the corner stones of Co-active coaching which is that the client is naturally creative, resourceful and whole. The answers come from within, as long as the client is in resonance with their power, confidence and inner wisdom. This empowers the client to think and act from a place of “I know the answers” even when they feel lost and confused. It just takes a shift in mindset.

Authentic Confidence

What also came up was a victim mindset. A voice that was derisive of the values Petra was beginning to tap into. Unworthiness and playing small were big themes that had played out throughout Petra’s life. Most especially in her relationship with her parents and partner. She committed to creating a new story that she could repeat to herself. It would allow her to build a better future- something to begin to trust and believe in. She also resolved to understand her victim mindset and apply her new- found values to her own inner journey of forgiveness and understanding.

This was the turning point- the beginning of something child- like, spontaneous, creative and joyful. Putting on a brave face and appearing confident had been a hallmark of Petra’s behaviour in the past. This was accompanied by a sense of being a fraud. Now things felt very different. She said there was an authentic confidence that erupted spontaneously that she was no longer willing to censor.

Life builds from Resonance

Ideas for her life came spontaneously too. Holidays she had only dreamed of, retirement plans abroad and learning new languages. A refreshed vitality to life was beginning to blossom. And all from aligning and resonating with the fulfilment, purpose and meaning Petra was beginning to discover for her life.

What do you do when you feel stuck? You name it!

People can come to coaching in a deep, dark place. Yet, this first step of reaching out for support is so important and powerful. We did not need to dig around in Petra’s past to find the answers. It is a common question from prospective clients to ask, “What is the difference between coaching and counselling?” Put simply, counselling looks to the past to unearth the answers. Coaching looks to the present to see how the client feels here and now and then builds resonance with an empowering vision from which the client can build their future. Rather than look into her past only, Petra asked her present self all the questions and the answers pointed her to what she needed to move forward. Her willingness to go deep and stick with it was a testament to her commitment and resolve.

Forward the action, deepen the learning

She recognises that the journey continues to unfold. She has tools now she can take forward to tackle the challenges of the future and she will learn more as she continues the coaching journey.

From whatever point in your life you are, coaching can support you in building alignment and resonance with your vision of how you would like your life to be. It takes action and often some challenging steps to build that future. Petra is a testament to that hard work and commitment towards a new and empowering future. With every action step comes learning and deepening understanding. In time the client transforms into the person who IS living the dream they imagined for themselves.

Over to You

Are you willing to look at what makes a truly fulfilling life for you? Do you want to live with meaning and purpose? Would you like someone to be with you as you tackle the challenging emotions that ultimately lead to growth and transformation? Do you want to connect to your inner greatness and have that be an active, creative and nurturing part of your life? If you are wondering whether coaching can help you create more of the life you want to be living, why not get in touch?

Pass it on

If you know anyone who is contemplating a life coaching journey please send them the link to this blog and give them the opportunity to learn about co-active life coaching and how it can benefit.  Alternatively, if you know someone who is stuck in their life and would be willing to take this beautiful, transformational journey, please send them the link too- it might be the inspiration they need to take that first step.  Thank you.

A Magic Carpet Ride- case study

Stuck in Overwhelm

A few months ago, Philipa (not her real name) approached me to see if coaching could help her overcome her feeling of overwhelm by the demands of her work and life.

She said that she had an internal dialogue going on that caused her to sabotage whatever she tried to do.  She was sick of it and weary of not being able to make any progress.

Lightening Up

The first thing we did was go on a Magic Carpet ride

We agreed to start working together and the first thing we did was take Phillipa on a magic carpet ride! She experienced what it felt like to have fun, feel supported, be full of energy and in a place where the destination was less important than enjoying what she was doing.

Philipa practiced this over the next couple of weeks, and this changed her feeling of being overwhelmed. It broke the belief that she needed to grind through and struggle to get anything done and freed her to hold lightly the things she had committed to.  Rather than diminish her resolve to complete them, this made her commit to them more. She was quite literally, enjoying the journey.

Because things weren’t such a grind, Philipa was being much more effective and an added benefit was that she had more time to spend with her family – something she desperately needed and wanted.

Enjoying the Journey

Philipa’s move from thinking about the destination and more about enjoying the journey was a pivotal moment.  It allowed her to think more about her relationships and enjoy the process as it unfolded.

However, this exposed a powerful sense of loneliness.

This was a tough area for Philipa to explore but she fought through it. The rewards were clarity, strength, resolve and confidence.

It’s quite typical that when someone starts coaching, they start by focusing on a small area of their lives.  Very soon, as Philipa’s journey demonstrates, it opens up into so much more. This in turn brings about broader and deeper fulfillment and a sense that life has greater meaning and purpose.

If you’d like to discuss how coaching could help you with issues that are causing you concern and would like to create your own magic carpet ride, give me a call!

Holding Vision

One of the most important things to me in all the work I do, be it life coaching, Mindful Movement workshops, writing, teaching and facilitating, is holding a vision for what is really possible.

Limiting Beliefs

Human beings are generally so much more capable, resourceful and creative than they realise for their own potential. In fact, these limiting ways of viewing ourselves can become so all- consuming that we forget what we are truly capable of, the resources deep within and the creativity that can emerge from us.

This limited view holds us in check. It may stop us being all that we can be, living the fulfilling life we want to live, directed with meaning and purpose. To break free of this, it helps to have someone beside you who will champion, acknowledge and hold the vision of your best self. A person who will support and encourage you throughout the journey. Most especially when you are struggling to hold that vision yourself.

Action

It takes time to tease out the details of an individual’s vision of how they want their best life to be. As a life coaching relationship develops and deepens, that clarity allows both coach and client to orient ever closer to the client’s greatest vision for themselves. Yet from session one, the coach trusts in the client’s resourcefulness and creativity to create whatever life the client truly wants for themselves. It will take many action steps. Along the way much learning will be had and growth and progress will be made.

Vision becoming reality

What is the vision for your business? What kind of parent do you wish to be? How do you want your life to look in retirement? Do you have a vision for your health and wellbeing? Painting a vision of what these things look like for you, how they feel, the values that are honoured by living this way, the compelling inspiration that touches you deeply within, all contribute to making this vision become a reality.

In his book “Think and Grow Rich”, Napoleon Hill advises creating a statement you say morning and night that sets a powerful intention about exactly what you want to achieve, a time scale and the ways in which you would like to do it. A commitment to life coaching can set a similar intention. You set out your vision, infused with the very heart of what is important to you.  You’ll show up every week or fortnightly to learn ever more deeply, test and challenge what works best.  Then, you will review, recommit and take action towards the next step.

Momentum

What builds over time is a momentum, strength and power that comes from within. In fact, it seems to have a life of its own. All you need do is steer the ship. There is a sense of congruency and alignment that lends conviction and strength of purpose to your life journey.

On those occasions when you are in doubt, your life coach (or perhaps a friend, mentor, guide or advisor in a different capacity) will remind you of that vision. Hold up the picture you so carefully created and ignite in you the forces that drive you to that vision in the first place.

Painting a vision of what these things look like for you, how they feel, the values that are honoured by living this way, the compelling inspiration that touches you deeply within, all contribute to making this vision become a reality.

Here are some examples of how holding vision can orient you towards a more fulfilling life:

Is your career or business demanding later evenings or eating into your weekends? Does the vision of spending evenings and weekends with family inspire you to creative solutions to get that life work balance right?

Is your intimate relationship struggling with emotional distance? How does your vision of deep connection and long term intimacy empower you to have those challenging conversations you might otherwise avoid?

Does your health suffer due to poor diet, lack of sleep and insufficient exercise? How can the vision of your vibrancy, vitality, strength and power well into old age inspire you to take action now and continue to take action for a healthier present and future?

Your vision of financial abundance can be the catalyst to get out of debt, manage money better and increase your earning potential.

The vision of close and supportive friends can be a drive to connect more with people.  Find hobbies that resonate deeply with your interests and foster loving and respectful relationships.

A vision for how life CAN be is a powerful reference point to inspire action here and now. It can help a lot to have someone champion that vision, acknowledge the effort you make and the success you achieve, and challenge you when you lose sight of it. These are some of the ways life coaching can support you in creating that life vision.  And keep creating it so that you live in fulfilment and on purpose throughout your life.

Over to you

What vision do you have for your life? Do you have one? Would you like one? How might a vision for your life inspire you? How would a vision for your life affect the decisions you make and the actions you take? What do you do to sabotage your vision? How does this disempower you? How might a life vision empower you?

Pass it on

I’d love to hear your answers, thoughts and ideas to these questions. Why not spread the discussion to your friends, family and colleagues.  Send the blog link to them and suggest they get involved?

Life Purpose- find Motivation and Inspiration for your life work

Do you lack motivation? Is inspiration missing in your life? Are you lacking the clarity in your focus to move decisively along your path? Or is that indecision only highlighted when you change course? Do you find yourself frustrated following the paths of others? Yet when you put your mind to it, you cannot think of what it is that YOU want to do? If you can say “Yes” to any of these questions, perhaps it is a question of gaining clarity on your life purpose.

Life Purpose that Lights you up

Life Purpose is your North Star on the Life Coaching journey

Does life purpose seem like such a big and grand topic? For many it feels overwhelming. For others the question of life purpose leads to blank stares or rolling eyes. Yet the benefit of gaining clarity on life purpose leads to a context in which important decisions can be made with insight, conviction and the confidence that this is what YOU want. Not goals imposed upon you externally that do nothing to light you up from within. You also have greater confidence that you are moving your life forward in a meaningful and fulfilling direction. Or at least as confident as you can be.

Life purpose does not mean you have all the answers. A ball park is a good start. A rough guide will do. You can fine tune as you go. In fact, you will need to fine tune as you go as you see things in keener detail the closer you get.

For many years I have loved helping people lead more fulfilling lives. Initially that involved martial arts and the self- development aspect that mental focus and intention bring. Now I include co- active coaching, giving more empowerment to clients than ever before to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. Mind and body focused on deeply resonating outcomes make for an awesome combination. As my skill base has grown so my capacity to help others more deeply has increased.

Life Purpose- A Joyful Exploration

So how do you turn life purpose into a joyful exploration that empowers and motivates rather than overwhelms and leads to resignation? In the co- active model there is a process near the beginning of the coaching called the Discovery Session. This is a powerful process of gaining clarity about the things that are deeply meaningful to you so that these can be present to you in the coaching. It is fun, exciting, revealing, illuminating, inspiring, surprising and full of learning.  It reveals to you your North Star so that you can navigate clearly through your life coaching journey.

Losing sight of these parts of your life that bring fulfilment and purpose mean you may drift aimlessly or live in pursuit of less meaningful goals. Perhaps you know that feeling already? Is it time to stop? Are you ready to take charge?

By answering questions such as “What do you really want?” and “Look ahead six months. Where are you? What decisions would you make today to get there?” you can create a compelling vision that gives you energy and momentum, inspiring you to take meaningful action as part of your every day life. And you keep revisiting this and checking in with it throughout the coaching to make sure it is accurate, relevant and on purpose.

This is not about doing more. This is about doing different, thinking different and being different. It is about holding to that vision. Stop doing the things that detract from that vision and start doing more of the things that make that vision a reality.

Leading from Within

Very often I notice that clients are following a path set out by other people. Rarely if ever have they questioned what they truly want. What deeply motivates them from within that will enable them to live and work with passion, power and fire? When you lead yourself from within, stepping out into the world and leading others becomes so much clearer and a natural expression of your values.

Then, every step you take is fulfilling. Every decision and action is infused with meaning. You gain greater focus. You walk with more purpose. In your body you feel more energised, vital, directed and engaged. There is less room for playing small. And if you do play small you are more likely to be aware of it and more empowered to take action to live and act in your power.

Taking Responsibility

Co- active life coaching and Mindful Movement are designed to give the power and responsibility back to you. In so doing you achieve greater freedom- physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Yes, life purpose can be seen as a big subject, too large to tackle. But, by breaking it down into fun manageable steps it becomes an exciting vision that can infuse and inspire every area of your life. You are a constantly evolving being. Recruiting all your resources, energies and potential becomes much easier when you are clear about what you want your life to be about and make a commitment to achieve it.

All this talk scares some people. I appreciate that. To think of breaking free of the life that makes you feel safe and comfortable can be scary. But, are you at all dissatisfied, curious about what more life can be, what more you are capable of achieving? If so, this is another way of saying you wish to be more fulfilled in your life. If you want to feel that sense of fulfilment instantly, keep feeling it and enjoy the sense of purpose that comes with it, then perhaps you are ready to take the step into life coaching and learn more about your true potential.

Over to You

Do you feel dissatisfied? Are you curious about what more life has to offer? What more are you capable of achieving? Are you clear about what your life purpose is? If so, how does it inform your choices and decisions? Have you had to take a dramatic change in focus or direction in your life? What was that like to reorient yourself to a new purpose and goals? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Please post below in the comments box or engage on social media about this post or any others on the Potentiality Coaching blog.

Pass it on

Why not share this blog or the posts and tweets for it with friends, family and colleagues? It might spur them on to take bold action and live with more fulfilment and a clear sense of life purpose.

Energy Recharge

Do you find that you always have new stuff you need to get done and more responsibility to take on? Have you noticed you work longer hours and that the commute is longer than it used to be? Have you got to the stage that you have nothing else to give, you have no energy and that you are stretched as far as you can go? Do you feel that something has to change? Are you feeling stuck and unable to work out what to change? And if you do know what to change, are you struggling to put that change into action?

Having more time seems like a good way to try to fit more stuff in. Yet, even with more time, does that actually feel like a relief or are you piling on more pressure, stress and dis- ease?

How do you get more time? By sleeping less, seeing less of the family and friends, eating convenience foods, working out less, resting less, taking less holiday time and living on the move? Taking time is always a good strategy. When you do it at the expense of your health, wellness and life- work balance it can be a recipe for stress, burn out and poor quality of life.

We’ll come back to time later. For now I’d like to offer a solution that includes energy. How much energy do you have? Of that energy, what proportion would you say comes from caffeine, sugar and prescribed medication? What amount of your energy comes from deep restful sleep, good nutrition, rest, living on purpose, with mission and passion?

The Artificial Highs

Though artificial stimulants like caffeine and sugar seem like a good short- term solution, they have a severe impact on your health long- term. Our society promotes the use of these things to the point that they are normal and encouraged. In spite of their common acceptance, they drain the body of the energy it does have and then deplete it further. This in time leads to illness and disease. Think how much poorer your mood is when you have not had enough sleep? A day or two is manageable. After three or four nights of poor sleep, it is much harder to keep your mood buoyant. Your ability to cope and make decisions is significantly impaired when your energy is depleted through lack of sleep. Tiredness through over- exercise, excess work, insufficient food and lows after sugar and caffeine highs are all examples of your depleted energy.

Recharging the Healthy Way

The energy of the body works like that of a battery.  It requires recharging.

The energy of the body works like that of a battery. If you do not recharge it regularly, the body cannot use the energy to move, think, live, repair, learn, grow and heal. Therefore, good sleep and rest are essential. Balanced nutrition and hydration are important too. Living with a sense of mission and purpose are excellent ways to maintain energy levels.

Energy rather than Time

In the future, when one more thing gets added to your must- do list, instead of thinking about time, I invite you to think about your energy. Will this thing increase or deplete my energy? If it increases my energy, then that’s great. If it depletes your energy, have you got enough energy in the battery stored up to see you through in a healthy and manageable way? Those things that deplete your energy may still need to be done, but at least you can take care of your health and well- being around those things. By thinking about recharging and understanding that you can’t take affective action without energy in your battery, you can change your behaviour and still get so much done while maintaining your quality of life. Let me share some of my personal examples:

  1. I experience that putting things off is a huge energy drain. If I procrastinate, the energy I expend thinking about doing it is immense. It stops me concentrating on what is important now and wastes a lot of time as I spend valuable moments thinking about it. If I had acted as soon as possible, I would be free to think about life affirming things rather than life- consuming things. It feels like such a waste. As much as possible, I try to act as soon as I can rather than put things off.
  2. Make sure the important stuff is at the head of the list. What is important? The things you value the most like your health, enjoyment at work, quality time with your partner and the kids, time with friends, holidays and anything else that increases your energy. The important things that deplete your energy, try and get them done by doing a little at a time or giving them to someone else to do. That might cost you money, but if you can afford it, its better than putting it off and having to do a long stint with resentment and frustration in your heart.
  3. Making sure you get sufficient sleep. Most of us need about 8 hours sleep a night. Very often deadlines, travel, children, illness, caffeine drunk late at night, lights from laptops, tablets and phones, stress, anxiety and worry hamper our body’s rhythm to shut down and go to sleep. Therefore we struggle to go to sleep or we might wake up in the night and be unable to get back to sleep.  I went through a period of struggling with sleep. Finally reading Ariana Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution showed me the many small moves I could make to have a better night’s sleep.
  4. Rest.  I am a person who does what he loves.  I used to believe that rest wasn’t necessary. “Rest is for people who hate their jobs” was what I used to say. Nothing could further from the truth. Rest is important for everyone. It is different from sleep. Rest is unplugging, slowing the pace right down. It has the benefit of making the conscious mind a little quieter so that the big picture view of the subconscious can come through. Some of my most productive and creative periods come after a rest period in my working year. Meditation, exercise, socialising, playing games, art, music, writing and reading are all activities that can rest and energise mind and body.  Therefore I make sure I do as much of them as I can which boosts my energy further.
  5. The movement- stillness balance. As a society, we spend way too much time sat down. We spend 13 hours a day on our bums it has been estimated. As well as the cardiovascular implications, the body simply does not like to be still for too long. Every part of your body likes to move. The use of standing desks is a breakthrough in some working environments. However, a still body gets drained of energy just like a battery unused loses its charge. It’s just not what it’s designed for. Use your body actively throughout the day. The benefits are immense. Energy is just one of them. Exercise can really energise the body. Make sure you do exercise at a level that is in line with your fitness and health otherwise this can deplete you of energy. Light and regular exercise is better for you than a short, sharp blast. Building movement and exercise into your day if you can is a sure way of staying active and fit. Walking, cycling and roller- blading might be better ways of getting around than car, motorbike or public transport.
  6. The life- work balance. Life needs to have balance in it. If we do too much of anything, it begins to drain our energy. The Wheel of Life is a great example of demonstrating this concept. This coaching tool has you look at all the areas of your life from intimate relationships, finances, health, contribution, family and friends, work, recreation and more. By seeing how fulfilled you feel in each category, you can see where you might want to put your energy into creating more of that in your life. Consequently, you can create balance in all areas of your life so that you feel fulfilled throughout. Each area feeds the others and so you end up feeling more energised more of the time and your life can more smoothly roll towards your desired goals.
  7. Living on purpose. Purpose gives you a real energy boost. To feel that inner compulsion draw you towards your greater goal is like a surfer riding the wave to the shore. It is powerful, energising, compelling, motivating and thrilling. In part you are not in control.  You are pushed along by a force that is beyond you. Where your control lies is in staying on the wave and giving yourself to the journey. Some people become scared of relinquishing this control and become drained in their energy as they try to control things. I have struggled with this for years. More and more I am learning to trust and allow myself to be led. The journey on the wave is so thrilling and is a wonderful experience that I try to do it as often as I can.
  8. Nutrition and hydration. What you put into your body significantly affects your energy levels. Good quality food makes all the difference. Just that extra piece of fruit or veg each day adds to your energy in a healthy and balanced way. Drinking water is also really important. Hydration ensures the body works efficiently and makes you less susceptible to injury. One big tip…….. try to avoid taking big intakes of water at one time. The body cannot absorb it all and the rest goes out as waste. Instead, little sips throughout the day are best, keeping you topped up. Same with food. Eating smaller portions is easier for the body to digest and is less demanding, so that you are less likely to have that mid- afternoon energy crash.
  9. Charity and random acts of kindness. Doing something for someone else gives a huge energy hit. It lightens the heart and the mind and simply feels good. You may not get the reaction you were hoping for so make sure you are doing it from a place of doing what you can rather than with a sense of achieving particular results.
  10. Your living and work space as well as the people you connect with powerfully influence your energy. Some people and places drain your energy. Others energise you. Learn which feed you and those that drain you so that you can make informed choices about the places you go and the people you surround yourself with.

Self- Care

There are many more examples I can use, but these ten are a good start. Learning what energises you means you have more to give, and when you do give you can do so more fully. Prioritising what energises you in an act of self- care. Sometimes you have to do things that drain your energy: those boring tasks; meeting people you don’t like; the daily commute; perhaps work drains you because it is not in line with your values. If we can fill our lives as fully as possible with things that recharge our battery, we have the energy reserves to do the things that sap our energy and still have some left in reserve to make the small changes to remove those energy drainers from our lives in time.

Taking the Time

You only have a limited 24 hours a day. That time is precious. Time is the ONE thing you can never get back. Being energised allows you to live as many moments of that 24 hours as fully as possible and making each second count as much as you can. I know that balance is hard and I am forever getting the juggling act wrong. If you are at the point when you feel the pain of having too much to do and not enough time and energy to do it, taking the time is one thing and having the energy is another. Look after your energy and the time is easier to create. Take care of the time and your energy is easier to maintain.

Over to You

How are you about energy management? Do you actively work on maintaining your energy? Are you depleted of energy a lot of the time? What can you do differently to give yourself more energy every day? How can you build your energy reserves up so that you can deal better with the things that sap your energy? What things do you do to increase your energy? How do you avoid the affects of energy depletion? I’d love to hear from you so please post your comments in the box below.

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Archetypes- Sovereign

When I speak to clients about fulfilment in their lives, I often hear them say that they fell into their careers, relationships and the places they live. The skill of making the best of what we have is an important one. We can create wonderful lives for ourselves this way.

Taking control

How about creating your life? How about taking control & being proactive?

Rather than always reacting to life, how about creating your life? How about taking control and being proactive in creating the career, life style, relationships and home etc. that you desire?

We all require self rule. To control our lives as we see fit and within the larger context of a global arena. In order to be Sovereign over your life, you want to take responsibility for your place in the world and the part you play in it.  To live confidently, with purpose, well- being and a sense of balance and harmony.  You also create and follow rules that allow your life and the lives of others to flourish.

If you do not do it, others will. Then, you become a pawn in the game of life. You may feel like a victim, disempowered when you see life’s events unfold against you. And when they are for you, you may feel no sense of power that you helped to create such fortune.

The Light Touch

To feel the weight of responsibility crushes some people and inspires others. Some thrive under the pressure of making sure people are cared for, that abundance flows in other people’s lives as well as their own. Standing in the Light of this role, they embrace the need to plan, strategise and take action decisively for the greater good. To own this responsibility is to take control of your life and plan for the future you dream for yourself and bring your friends, family, colleagues and partners along for the journey.

The Unsavoury side of Control

For those that do not embrace this role in Light, there is always the dark. Weak and manipulative, the Sovereign in Shadow is a tyrant. The school bully is a classic example, picking on the weak to demonstrate his strength.  This need comes from an inner weakness that leads to over bearing control, paranoia and cruelty.

As adults this can manifest as the dictator or the destructive leader who exploits others for his own gain. He takes the glory but never the blame. Modern rulers such as Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein are well known as tyrants. Anwar Sadat and Nelson Mandela might be considered leaders of benevolence.

Sphere of Influence

The archetype of Sovereign, the King or Queen, is a daily commitment to controlling the aspects of your life that are within your sphere of influence.  Consequently, understanding what is and is not in your control is the first step in leading with calm, confidence and effectiveness. To lead and give people autonomy comes from self assurance and humility. A great leader must have these qualities. He or she controls through freedom without fear of losing control.

The Sovereign applied

In coaching, it can be the Sovereign within the coach that guides the session towards empowering the client towards finding his or her own Sovereign.  As a result, the client has autonomy. This is how it should be. A client must feel totally independent to be fully empowered. Through this process inner transformation can be evoked. This is the true power of coaching.

Every week I see clients work at taking control of their careers, relationships, health and well- being, businesses, finances, education, personal development and more. And when life throws curve balls I see them working to create outcomes that serve them and the people in their lives.

One client for example was in a long career that he felt served him less and less. Through coaching he found a much more fulfilling career path in which he makes a huge positive difference to young people’s lives. That strength and resolve to take control and create a life of meaning, purpose and beauty is the Sovereign in action.

Over to You

Where does your Sovereign show up in your life? How can this be of benefit to your life? Can you see where your Sovereign might be over controlling or not controlling enough? If you’d like to take more control and create more of the life you want for yourself, why not get in touch and we can discuss your needs?

Pass it on

If you know someone who would benefit from this article, why not pass it on? People are just waiting for the right inspiration to take that next step forward in their lives. Perhaps this blog could be that inspiration for someone you care about?

Post Script

You are a complex combination of qualities, some of which are obvious to you and many others that are not.  The archetypes are a useful tool to explain and demonstrate how to bring these qualities forth and how they manifest in your life.  There are the qualities that are supportive of your best self (the Light side).  There are those that are detrimental to your best self (the Dark Side made infamous in the Star Wars series).  In my Mindful Movement Courses I work with the archetypes to bring forth the qualities that can be supportive to realising your best self.  There are many archetypes, too many to cover in a single course.  I have chosen six: Warrior, Lover, Rebel, Magician, Jester and of course Sovereign.  I hope by writing this series of blogs, I will be able to explain their power and usefulness to you in your life.

Archetypes- Magician

Many of my clients are successful in their careers and enjoy the benefits of material wealth. In spite of attaining these perceived goals, they still feel like they are missing something. They may feel that the magic of their youth has been replaced by the practical considerations of adult life: paying the mortgage, career progression, the responsibility of child care and aging parents for example. Of course, these things are important. Yet, when they are done to the detriment of our dreams this can often lead to discontentment, disappointment and discord. When the magic of life is lost to us, we can call upon our internal Magician to find it again, bring it alive in us and create a magical life of joy and adventure.

Magician Introduced

This Magician is one of Karl Jung’s original archetypes and can manifest in us at any age. As an archetype, the Magician is a universal figure, a reluctant teacher who understands the way of the world and knows how to harness this wisdom for the good of all. You might be familiar with the Magician in popular culture as Obi Wan Kenobi (Luke Skywalker’s guide and teacher in Star Wars), Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter’s mentor) and Aslan (C.S. Lewis’ wonderful Lion Magician in the Narnia Series of books). These figures are more than teachers. Learning their ways equips us with skills to create the life we really want for ourselves at a deep level. As ever with these archetypes, they live within us all. They are not only characters in our lives.

When you were young, you may have been full of ideas about what you were going to be when you grew up. Astronauts, Fairy Godmothers, Firemen, Princesses, Journalists, adventurers and so on. This was the Magician talking to you, filling your head with dreams of what could be. How many of us actually do those things? Not many of us it must be said. There is something about that childhood innocence that makes it so straightforward, when as an adult, we understand that life is more complex than that. Social pressure to live a certain way, take a “sensible” job or career path, have a certain standard of material wealth, keeping up with the Joneses often crush the childhood dream. We cannot see how we can make a living doing our dream and still live up to the responsibilities that society and life place upon us.

Magician Ignored

It is important to realise that we take on these responsibilities, consciously or unconsciously. We also play our part in allowing the voices of society to win out over our hopes and dreams. That voice from the media, teachers, parents, politics, family, peers and society at large is so loud, it drowns out our childhood wishes. That innocent voice becomes quieter and quieter as the years progress and we lose touch with the Magician’s voice. It lies dormant, yet it’s yearning to be fulfilled is still powerful.

The voice manifests in a longing to do something different to what you are doing. It shows up in discontent, a nagging feeling (blog) that there is something more to life, if only you could work out what it is. When it gets really bad, it feels like a hole inside you, a void that cannot be filled. Some people try to fill that void with food, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, shopping and friends, yet it does not fill the gap.

Crisis starts the Search

You can spend a lifetime filling the gap rather than looking for the answer. Most return to the search for that answer due to some crisis or other: divorce, death of a friend or relative, health issues, redundancy, financial ruin, personal touches with death and so on. Neither do you need to wait that long, nor for things to get that bad. If you feel that void, that is the sign to start searching again and begin listening to that inner voice.

As a child you probably spent lots of time at play. You created whole worlds in your imagination that felt so real, you might have mistaken fantasy for reality.

How do you begin to turn it around? If you cast your mind back to your youthful fantasies, you might recall you spent lots of time at play. You created whole worlds in your imagination that felt so real, you might have mistaken fantasy for reality. Yet, in that play the Magician worked it’s wonder. You were in awe, passionate, inspired, motivated and lost in a world of imagination and creativity. That force of your mind need not disappear as you grow older. If it is alive in you, it acts as a force that continues to inspire you and continually create an exciting life journey. To remain connected to it you must give it time and energy.

Finding time and space for the Magician

Too often we are told to stop wasting our time on childish things and grow up. Magic is not only something for the young. It is for all ages. I do not mean the conjurers tricks, the “little, peddling magician who works by rules and books” (C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, Narnia Series). Rather I am talking about the Intuition, Instinct and Insight. The real magic of life in which we have a vision and strive for it, we see life as a mystery and marvel at it and we know life to be an adventure to be lived as fully as possible.

In our hectic lives of responsibility, pressure, stress, tension and endless demands, we need to find some space to connect to that part of ourselves. I know it is hard, yet the benefits are astounding.   Time to unplug and give you the time to relax and remove the almost relentless tension you feel in your body, mind and emotions. Writing, drawing, painting, poetry, music, movement, meditation, singing, crafts, reflection and contemplation are all examples of connecting to the Magician. You get a chance to create and be free to explore your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Over time this connection deepens and you begin to get insights into what other things you might want to explore. The journey is endless. Your potential is unlimited. If you begin this journey, it may start as a hobby. It may grow into something larger and more important to you. It may even grow into a new career path.

Support on the Journey

You may like to join a group. Art classes, music lessons, choirs, yoga groups, discussion meetings, evening classes, bands, meditation or contemplation groups. There is so much out there to join in with. Find the thing or things that really light you up inside and remove the feeling of that void that feels so painful now. Notice the contentment that begins to grow within you.   Surround yourself with like- spirits, for the journey is easier with other people who are traveling a similar road.

So, begin to find that silent sacred space to access the Magician in your life. Only by stepping away from the frantic pace of modern living, if only for 5 minutes, can we hope to hear the voice of the Magician. When we are silent we can listen to our intuition, the voice of the Magician. I am struck that “silent” and “listen” are anagrams. It is interesting that to truly listen we must be silent inside, still and calm, and then the message comes through loud and clear.

As human beings, we are so much more than our conscious mind, the part of the brain that deals with logic, lists and reason. We are also an intuitive and creative being, skills of the subconscious that get drowned out by the loud conscious mind. In its insecurity, the conscious mind or ego, creates a need to be listened to. This is only part of your full potential. To be fulfilled and at peace, we must listen to both parts of the mind. The Magician’s realm is the subconscious, the world of imagination and creativity. When fantasy becomes reality and we live our dreams, the power of peace and harmony, as well as no longer being in internal conflict, is profound.

Over to You

Do you feel that void inside? If so, do you fill it with food, alcohol, cigarettes and the like, or do you seek out the Magician? How did you start your journey to discovering the Magician? Would you like to start your journey to hearing the Magician’s voice? Did you have dreams as a child and wonder what’s happened to them? Would you be willing to go on a journey to explore what your Magician wants for you?

If so, please get in touch.  We can discuss how we can make this happen for you by working together. These first steps can be made more easily with support.  A life coach can be an ideal person to keep you accountable to the changes you commit to and the direction of growth you have decided upon.  If you think you might want to work with me through this process, you can reach me by e- mail on david@potentialitycoaching.co.uk. Please post your comments at the foot of the page. It would be good to get a conversation going about this fascinating subject.

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Archetypes- the Warrior within

How can Warrior help you in areas of your life?

There is so much more to us than we realise. How can we begin to access the strengths, wisdom and talents we do not know we possess? Archetypes are a way of connecting to qualities that are within us, even though we might not know they are there.

We tend to think of ourselves as having particular strengths and skills of which we are aware. You might notice that you have particular qualities that make you good at certain tasks or jobs that lead you towards a specific career or field. For example, I followed a career in science because of my logical and rational way of thinking, I am good at following complex instructions and I have great patience to repeat things many times.

In my experience though there are depths to us that are covered, which are yet to be explored. It can have great value to examine these areas of our being. We can surprise ourselves with qualities we never dreamed we had and get results in life’s situations that are beyond our expectations. We may even live a wonderful unexpected adventure because we have uncovered once- hidden potential. In my life I have grown to become a prolific writer and have the capacity to give people space and freedom to explore themselves, which I use with coaching clients and in my charity work.

 Archetypes introduced

There are many routes to accessing these subconscious qualities and develop them consciously so that they can be cultivated. One such idea is the archetypes, originally introduced by Carl Jung and developed in a number of ways by Joseph Campbell and Caroline Myss amongst others. Jung believed that archetypes appear across all cultures and throughout time as common features of the human psyche. They embody particular qualities in both the Light and the Shadow of the mind. Do not think of them as gender specific. Archetypes are beyond stereotypes.

I find them useful because they are instantly relatable. If you think of a warrior for example, you might visualise a man in armour, holding weapons, ready for battle. Perhaps Boudica, the Iceni warrior queen, comes to mind?  You might think him courageous, principled and ready to face death. When we find ways to relate to these archetypes, we can embody them ourselves. We can take on some of these qualities, feel them and use them to make us stronger if we need courage for example. I use the archetypes in some of my Mindful Movement courses as a means to access qualities in people that they might find useful in exploring themselves, over- coming barriers to growth and creating the life they want for themselves.

 How Archetypes are used in Mindful Movement

Being introduced to archetypes is like meeting old friends, some long lost, others very familiar. Accessing them helps us get in tune to parts of our character and personality that can be very powerful when used in the right way. There are literally hundreds of archetypes if you trawl the internet. I use six that allow people to rise to the challenge of:

  • living life on purpose
  • deeper relationships
  • personal responsibility
  • managing stress and relaxation
  • greater confidence
  • resilience
  • values- based living and more.

Let’s look at these six archetypes in turn and explore how they can make you more mindful about how you behave, the choices you make and the actions you take. We will start with Warrior.

Warrior

Think of warriors in popular culture and you might conjure up King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, a Norwegian Viking, a Japanese Samurai or a Jedi Knight. Warriors are all about facing death and living life with principle and purpose. They are values- based people, here to protect what is most important to them. Warriors are about focus, courage and standing up to the plate. They possess great confidence through their long training and expertise. They prove their worth through battle in many ways. Hardship and going without (minimalism) are a way of life.

 Light and Shadow

The wise warrior understands that fighting is the last resort and that other strategies are best employed beforehand to avoid direct conflict. These great leaders stand in the Light. Conversely, the weak, masochistic or sadistic warrior acts through fear in Shadow. He will inflict pain on others or himself because he lacks the confidence and courage to stand shoulder to shoulder with others. He fears he is weak compared to them and so will act to cover his own weakness.

Warrior Embodied

The embodied feeling of the warrior is one of physical power and strength, icy focus and deep compassion or profound emotional detachment (depending on whether in the Light or the Shadow). Standing tall, in anticipation and eager to get going, Warrior’s responsibility is to protect at all costs. He takes his role very seriously. It is about win or lose and to deal with your adversary with respect and humility. To embody this, watch how the great Warriors of our modern day behave: athletes such as Mo Farrah and Jessica Ennis, leaders like Tony Robbins and Gabrielle Bernstein, politicians such as Barak Obama and Aug Sang Suu Shi.

 How does Warrior show up?

How does this manifest in your every day life? Clarifying your values, giving you focus on what is important to you so that you can priorotise is a powerful warrior trait. Dedication to life- purpose and living life on purpose is the warrior’s way. Warrior will support you in achieving skills for goal completion and ensure you adopt habits for success. The minimalist qualities of Warrior will help you declutter, simplify your life such as getting out of debt. Warrior will help you during that important interview, presentation and talk. Warrior will also support you when you need courage in challenging situations.

Be careful of less positive traits such as emotional detachment that can lead to hurtful behaviour towards others. Also, the antithesis of warrior’s can- do attitude could be taking a passive role in areas of your life so that you allow yourself to be manipulated.

Learning to embody this archetype has been invaluable to me over the years. It has given me confidence when I’ve needed it. Confrontation has not often resulted. Usually, I can see the trouble ahead and take action well before it gets to that. When I get that wrong, I know I have Warrior’s power to carry me through with confidence.  For my clients, Warrior embodies a particular energy that carries them through to completing their goals.  Playing full out to ensure total commitment can overcome obstacles that would otherwise get in the way.

 Over to You

How could Warrior help you in areas of your life? Do you recognise any of the traits listed in the blog that you relate to? Are there any areas that you could work on to strengthen your warrior that would enhance your life? Do you use Warrior in the wrong context? Where could you use Warrior more in your life? Do you think it might be better to use Warrior less? I’d love to hear your thoughts and notices in light of this blog. Please post your comments in the box below.

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Self- Growth, Realising your Potential and Building Confidence

Like all life you start your existence as a seed in fertile soil, full of potential that may, or may not, be realised

How do you know what you are capable of? What qualities do you possess that lie within you unnoticed and unfulfilled? How are you going to discover these hidden talents? How will these talents manifest in your life? What difference will they make to your quality of life?  How will they affect your confidence?  Finally, what does personal growth look like to you?

Seeds of Confidence

Like all life you start your existence as a seed in fertile soil, full of potential that may, or may not, be realised. It is only through life situations that you discover your talents and so grow in confidence. Some you are placed in by chance and others by design. That design can be your own or others.

By chance or design these situations shape you, drawing out skills, qualities and talents that drive you forward, see you grow and make a contribution to the world. Both play an important role in ensuring your growth and improving your confidence.

Growth by Design

Firstly, it is in design that you take control of your growth. By placing yourself in the path of mentors, teachers and guides you are introduced to new things, made aware of previously unseen skills and encouraged and inspired to step out of your comfort zone and grow as an individual.

Therefore, I am constantly seeking support from people who can teach me to grow my business, show me new skills to cultivate myself and ways in which to help others. Life is a never- ending classroom that can lead to on- going growth and development of that seed into something magnificent.

There is also self- directed growth. Learning does not need only come from outside of you. It can also come from within. Through exploring a subject you can get beyond text books, courses and external teaching and begin the process of innovation, integration and development. Your unique journey gives you a unique view on all of life.  As a result, will you bring that unique vision to life and share it with the world, your community or family? Would you walk the path less travelled and forge a way forward that creates something new for you as well as the world around you?  Can you purposefully step into the unknown and discover what lies in the void?

Growth by Chance

Nevertheless, in amongst all of this design there is the chaos of chance. New and unexpected events, opportunities and learning will come your way that contribute to your growth. Some of it will be painful, much of it exciting and inspiring. This is the nature of growth. Only by putting yourself in the charge of guides and stepping out and creating your place in the world will you grow and open yourself up to chance and chaos.  The opportunity for growth, on- going development and fulfillment will follow.

How will you know which direction to go? You can take the advice of other people who have experience in the areas you wish to develop.  You can also follow your Intuition.  This means asking “What are you drawn to?” and ” What do you get the sense you are inspired to do?”  For years I have had a sense that I am drawn to help people discover their life- purpose.  At one time that looked like running a martial arts business.  I helped people with their self- confidence and trust in their own ability and intuition.  More recently, that has developed to include life coaching.

Chance and Design

I never expected my previous career in science to come in any use once I walked away from biochemistry and neuroscience.  Now I am drawn to using that expertise in helping people with finding their life- purpose as well.  I am currently exploring meditation and seeing how that can be incorporated into movement.  Together they help combat stress, tension and encourage relaxation, self- expression and creativity.  These are all key elements in living your life- purpose.  The journey unfolds one step at a time and help and support comes in many guises, both internal and external.

Consequently, many of my clients are taking the steps towards living with greater fulfillment. By a combination of trusting their own intuition, creativity and resourcefulness they become empowered to follow their life- purpose and reach out for whatever help and support will get them there.  By living in- line with your life- purpose you ensure continual growth and fulfillment.  See yourself flourish and thrive in such a positive and empowering environment and grow from a seed into a beautiful, healthy and vibrant plant: strong in its foundations; fruitful in its creativity and furthermore; unique in its shape and expression.

Over to you

What is your experience of growth? How do you live your life- purpose?  How do you continue to grow?  I’d love to hear your comments and offer inspiration for people who are travelling a similar road.

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