Monthly Archives: May 2013

What’s most important to you?

What’s most important to you in life? We don’t ask ourselves this question very often and the beautiful thing about this is that everyone is completely unique in their response! Some people say family, some say love, some say success, some say health, some say security, some say safety, some say adventure. What all these things have in common though, is that they are values.

Our values are the things that are most important to us in our lives.

They guide our every decision and therefore where we end up. If we’re not clear about what is truly important to us in our life, then how on earth could we ever expect to be able to make an effective decision? If you ever found yourself having difficulty making a decision in a particular situation, I can guarantee you that the problem was that you weren’t clear on what you valued more in the situation. It’s important to remember that all decisions really come down to values clarification.

When you know what’s important to you, making a decision is quite simple. However, most people are unclear about what is really important to them and therefore any decision making becomes a process of internal torture, second guessing and self esteem obliterating. Let’s be honest here, you feel like an idiot sometimes when you keep changing your mind and when you’re unsure about something, other people are often more than happy to tell you what to do!!

One of the biggest dangers for women in their 20s and 30s is not knowing what is most important to us. We are raised in a culture in which we aspire to have the nice house, car, clothes, stable respectful job, marriage, family as we have been socialised to value the same things as our own social circle. But at this stage, if you’re the type of person who is actually reading this then I know that you have realised that acquiring things simply will not fulfil you. Only living and doing what you believe is the ‘right thing’ will give you that sense of inner strength and peace that you deserve and crave. The ‘right thing’ is acknowledging and living in accordance with your own personal values.

Remember that your values- whatever they are- are what are guiding you to your ultimate destiny. They are creating your path by guiding you to make certain decisions and take certain actions consistently. Not using this internal compass intelligently always leads to frustration, disappointment, lack of fulfilment and that nagging sense that life could be something different or better somehow but you’re just not sure how. On the other hand, when you do use this internal compass intelligently and consciously you will experience a sense of certainty, flow and an inner peace that few people ever experience.

The only way we can ever feel truly happy and fulfilled in our lives in the long term is to live in accordance with our values.

“What I found most valuable was working on what’s important to me in life, and what I want to move away from. This ended up directly influencing a couple of huge career decisions I had to make a short time later. Ordinarily I can be very indecisive, but armed with the knowledge that our sessions had given me, I was able to make empowered decisions. When I made these decisions it was with confidence and conviction and I felt really proud of myself because I knew I was putting what mattered to me – my family and my health – first instead of just chasing more money.

The biggest benefit working through the sessions is that it has given me is a much firmer grasp of who I am, what I want, and how to go about achieving it. I just feel more grounded, like I have my s**t together and I’m ready to move forward with my life.”
K. Murphy, Quarter Lifer

Is it time you asked yourself the question

What’s most important to me in life?

Ask it over and over again until you get a list of at least 10 values! Then you will have a starting point! I bet you will be surprised about what comes up for you!

Check out for details of The Quarter Life Blueprint and Discover Your Purpose Packages which have intensive values work!

Who Are You?

Who are you right now?

It is never too late to be what you might have been- George Eliot

Who am I? Have you asked yourself this question before? Would you know how to answer it? Most of us forget this most basic question! The first time I asked this of myself I hadn’t a clue! I couldn’t answer it without just saying ‘Eh, em, hmm well I’m Paula.’

But really, the question is all about getting to the core of you. What makes you tick? What do you enjoy? What’s most important to you in your life? In your career? What do you value? What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about other people? What do you believe about the world? What shapes you? What did you love to do as a kid? What do you tolerate? What do you not tolerate? What are your boundaries? What makes you you?

You are completely unique! You have a unique set of skills, life experience, passions, characteristics, traits, thoughts and emotions to anyone else in the world! For most of us, we have been raised in a culture and environment that is all about conformity. We have been well trained about what our particular peers deems a ‘right life’. We share common values with the people in our own social circle, things like having a stable job, finding a partner, having a family, having a pension, looking after our parents etc.

A lot of the time, these influences can direct our decisions and ultimately where we end up in life. We do certain things because we feel we ‘should’- we feel it would be expected. Bottom line, we put other people in control of our lives by allowing ourselves to go with the flow rather than being a big girl and self directing our lives. The reason why we don’t self direct is because we don’t know ourselves, we don’t trust ourselves, we second guess ourselves, have major self doubt and listen to that mind monkey in our head!

The result of this that one day, you realise that you just aren’t happy. You don’t know yourself and the life that you’re living just doesn’t seem to fit you. You are nowhere near where you thought you would be and it’s so scary! There’s nothing really majorly wrong but you just don’t feel joyous or happy at all, nothing is really right either.

On the other hand, if we have a strong sense of self and know who we are- we will self direct our own lives based on our own interests, based on our own passions and the things that we love to do and be. When you know who you are, making decisions is easy because you know what’s important to you. When you know who you are and live your life in accordance, life just flows and you are more confident, more self assured, feel more self worth and whole.

Being able to answer the question ‘Who Am I?’ truly is the first step in the finding happiness in your 20’s and 30’s. Everything else rests on this, as you’ll see!
About the Quarter-Life Coach
Paula Coogan, The Quarter-Life Coach, is an accredited Life and Executive Coach. She specialises in working with women in their 20’s and 30’s, and are asking themselves ‘Is this it?’
Paula’s open, warm and personal approach means that she is the perfect coach to work with through the Quarter-Life challenges you face. She offers a choice of coaching packages, all designed to help you discover who you are, what you want, why you want it and how you’re going to get it.


Progress: Fear of Failure

“I haven’t failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

No one ever wants to think of themselves as a failure. We have such negative associations with the word! We think that if we fail at something, we will be embarrassed, we will lose respect from others and ourselves, we’ll lose our dreams, hopes and aspirations for that particular area we were attempting to master. It can be scary stuff and for many people, the fear of failure is what stops them from even trying.

What we always forget is that some sort of failure is inevitable if we are to succeed in life. My 14 month old nephew Jamie is fantastic at reminding me about this! He wasn’t afraid to try and walk and during his learning curve, he walked into walls, tumbled, fell down repeatedly but he always jumped up and went at it again! (Now I’m not for a moment calling my nephew a failure!)  It’s really interesting to watch babies and kids learn because they accept and know that it will take them a while to get the hang of something. They do it at their own pace and they have so much fun learning.

The rest of us grown-ups unfortunately, are very aware of the notion of failure. We’ve been conditioned to fear failure. The thing is that many people are unsure how to overcome obstacles and potential failure and they are stopped dead in their tracks when things go pear-shaped. The ability to pick yourself up and get back on the horse is one big difference between the people who succeed and the people who just don’t get there.

So, knowing that overcoming obstacles is essential to tackling your fear of failure, what should you do? Here are some tips to help you overcome failure:

1. Pick yourself up and hold no regrets!

When things don’t work out, we’re often tempted to think that we have completely wasted our time. But that is never entirely true! Like Edison when he was inventing the light bulb; we have found a way that doesn’t work so our time hasn’t been wasted. We’ve learnt a lesson and we won’t try that exact path next time. We will try something different. Each failure you encounter increases your wisdom and brings you one step closer to success. If you adopt this mindset, you will see failure from a completely different perspective. You will see failure as an opportunity to learn.

2. Keep dreaming big dreams

Always have your destination in mind; keep dreaming your big dreams. Spend time visualising yourself already achieving them. Use your imagination to help you foresee and overcome potential obstacles in your path. The process of visualization was investigated during the preparation of Olympic athletes between 1980-1990. The athletes were hooked to the sophisticated biofeedback equipment and were asked to run their event only in their mind. What they found was that the same muscles fired in the same sequence when they were running the race only in their mind as they were running it on the track. domains with traffic So use your mind to practice overcoming obstacles and avoiding failure.

3. What’s the worst case scenario?

One of the most powerful questions posed by Tim Ferris in the 4 Hour Work Week is: If you chase your dreams and fall flat on your face, how long would it take you to recover? Ask yourself this question and I bet you’ll be surprised by the answer. Another question posed by Susan Jeffers in her best-selling book Feel the fear and do It Anyway is ‘If the worst thing possible happened, could you handle it?’ We all underestimate our own strength and by knowing you could handle the worst case scenario can give you the inner strength that you need to take the first step! Is the fear of a few difficult months strong enough to keep you in a place you’re unhappy with for the rest of your life?

4. Take action

The best way to reduce your fear and build your confidence is by taking action. By actually doing the very thing you are afraid of gives you back your power. Break it down into small manageable parts and do it at your own pace- but keep progressing. Make sure that you reward yourself for each step you complete- you have many years of negative conditioning to overcome so give yourself credit! If you’re not sure what to do, ask yourself ‘What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?’ If you are truthful is answering this, you will see that it’s only your fear that’s holding you back and you already know exactly what you need to do.

5. Burn the boats

One to think about! In battle, the ancient Greeks established a well-deserved reputation for bravery, discipline, and determination. They were successful because they were well trained, well lead, and most of all, well motivated. The Greeks were master motivators who understood how to instil commitment and prepare their soldiers for victory. To infuse their army with a spirit of commitment, the moment they landed on the enemy’s shore, the Greek commanders would give the order to “burn the boats.” Imagine the tremendous psychological impact on the soldiers as they watched their boats being set alight. There was no turning back. Once their boats were burned, they realized that the only way they were going home was through victory.

Are there any boats you need to burn to cement your commitment?

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! Please feel free to get in touch and share any of your thoughts or ideas with me via email/facebook/twitter! I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you have a topic or question you would like me to address, please just let me know!

Until next time,

Love and Respect,


Progress: The Power of Perspective

“There’s no such thing as bad weather-only the wrong clothes” – Billy Connolly

A few years ago I watched a programme where Will Smith was being interviewed. The interviewer told him that she admired his work and that he was a positive inspiration to so many people. Will Smith stopped, thought about what the interviewer said and replied’ Thank you- thank you very much. But I have to say’ he continued, ‘it’s been easy for me- I’m black’.

When she asked him about this rather extraordinary point of view, he told her that ever since he was a boy, he has made extensive use of the power of perspective. In any situation, he looks for a truthful but highly selective way of thinking that makes him feel positive and gets him excited about making things happen.

Perhaps one of the most important concepts I’ve ever learnt is this:

Your experience of life is primarily affected by the perspective you view it from. Depending upon the meaning we give to situations or events, we will feel and behave differently.

Some people always manage to look at things in a positive way. They have an ability to frame any situation in a way that leaves them feeling empowered and strong. They can take a seemingly negative situation and reframe it to find the positive. For these people the glass is always half full, no matter how empty it may look to the rest of us.

The fact is: everything is relative. When you think one situation is bad, that is because you are comparing it to something you perceive is better.

A Question of Perspective

One of the most powerful framing tools we all use on a daily basis is also one of the simplest- the power of questions.

Questions determine the focus of our perception, as well as the amount of success, love, fear, anger, joy or wonder that we experience on an ongoing basis. A lot of the people I work with feel stuck in their lives because they are continually asking themselves negatively orientated questions.

Consider the question, ‘Why can’t I do this?’ This question assumes that a) there is something to be done and b) you can’t do it.

In order to understand the question, your mind automatically begins to search out all the reasons why ‘you can’t do’ whatever it is you perceive needs to be done. No matter what answer you give, you are accepting the basic premise of the question.

However what if you asked yourself ‘How can I most easily make this work?’ This question presupposes that a) this can work, b) there are a number of ways this can work and c) it can be done easily. These assumptions act as a directional compass and your mind then searches for how to make things work.

Questions direct your focus, and you always get more of what you focus on in life. If your quality of life is poor, examine your inner questions and ask yourself how much more empowering you could make them.

Some examples of common unhelpful questions are:

  • Why does this always happen to me?
  • Why don’t I like myself?
  • Why can’t I get a job?
  • Why can’t I lose weight?

Can you see how asking these kinds of questions can keep you stuck? Now, ask yourself a new question:

How can I ask this in a way that points towards the positive?

Start by asking questions that presuppose the positive, such as:

  • What is the most elegant way I can solve this problem?
  • How many different ways of solving this problem can I come up with?
  • What would make me valuable to any employer?
  • How can I lose weight easily and have fun?

These questions make your brain sort for different information and put you in a different and more resourceful state. If you are not happy with the answer you are getting back, you can either change the question or keep asking until you are. link checker Your brain will keep searching for you until a useful answer is found.

Your 10 day challenge

Rather than tips this week, I decided that a 10 day challenge would be a great way to fully understand and implement the power of perspective and the power of questions.

So for the next ten days, I invite you to raise your awareness of the questions you are asking yourself. Note whether it is positively directed or negatively directed. If it is negatively directed, I want you to practice looking at it from another perspective- to do this; you need to reframe your thinking and ask yourself empowering questions.

“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” – Decouvertes

Until next time,

Love and Respect,


Progress: Celebrations

Celebrate what you want to see more of- Thomas J. Peters

I made an interesting discovery two weeks ago, it was something I had discovered a few times in the past and vowed to do something about it but after a few days, weeks etc I fell back into my old ways and forgot about my discovery. So what was my recurring discovery?
It’s the need to Celebrate.

We’re all great at putting on the fancy dresses, make up and impossible to walk in shoes and throwing a party for a birthday, wedding, engagement, christening- any of the major celebrations but what do we do for all of our own small day-to-day victories? What most people do is either ignore them completely or give out to themselves for not doing that bit better!

It sounds a bit crazy but think about it for a moment. If you were watching your diet and normally you’d eat a whole bar (or two or three) of chocolate to yourself each day and on this day of your healthy eating buzz, you really want some chocolate so you have 3 pieces. Would you congratulate yourself at the end of that day for your success or would you berate yourself?

Most people would either give themselves a hard time or would just choose to ignore any kind of acknowledgement of what they ate that day. Very few people would give themselves that pat on the back and say to themselves, ‘Well done, I’m proud of me today. I’ve been doing really well and I had a bit of what I fancy and I feel great’.

Celebrating the small victories in life is important. There are so many of them and we’re letting them slip through our fingers without acknowledging them. In doing that- we’re missing out on a lot of joy and happiness. These small victories are really our opportunity to feel good and be grateful. They’re also a chance to reflect on how much we have already accomplished which can give us strength to keep going. Celebrating the smaller things in life is a key habit to develop if you want to live life to the fullest!

Often we don’t celebrate because we don’t know what to do to reward ourselves or we think our accomplishments are petty, we wouldn’t even consider the little victories as being accomplishments! But imagine if you did celebrate your little victories? What difference would it make to your life? What difference would it make to your happiness? Imagine the impact this would have on your day to day life? What are the little every day victories that you are allowing to slip through your fingers? Start paying attention to how magnificent you and life really is!

So, I am challenging you to celebrate! I am challenging you to feel good! Have a boogie around your kitchen! Allow yourself to smile, give yourself a hug or a reward because you’re awesome! Pop over to the facebook page and share what you’re celebrating!

Love life and celebrate!