Monthly Archives: September 2013

Do you know how to make yourself feel happy?

Do you remember when you were a child and you looked at life in total wonder and awe? Everything was magical and exciting and the tiniest things were so fascinating and thrilling! The crunch of an autumn leaf under your foot, bright shiny conkers, ladybirds, a pretty rock on the ground or even a cardboard box could fascinate you for hours. You would turn it into whatever it needed to be for you in that moment.

You were full of excitement when you lost a tooth and if you were like me, you’d try and stay awake all night to try and catch the tooth fairy! Don’t even get me started on Christmas, Santa Claus, flying reindeers and the magic that went with that!

 Do you remember? There were fairies and elves in the garden, pets were like people and kept all your secrets, your toys had personalities, they came to life when you were out of the room and they protected you when you were scared, wishes were made on the stars and dreams came true. Your heart was full of joy, your imagination knew no limits, and you firmly believed that could fly if you could just figure out the right jump and arm movement to get started – life was amazing and full of magic and awe. You felt good!

This is an exquisite feeling which most of had as children, even though we all had some bad times and bad experiences, we held onto the feeling that everything was good, that every day promised more adventure and wonder and that nothing would ever take away our joy of the magic of it all. But then we grew up! 🙁

As we grew older into teenagers, young adults and real life grown ups- responsibilities, problems and difficulties took their toll on us, we became disillusioned and the magic that we had believed in as children disappeared. I don’t know about you but I love hanging around kids, playing with them and I’m so fascinated with how fascinated they are. My 2 ½ year old nephew Jamie made a caterpillar out of an egg carton and I swear he delighted in it for hours! He named it, he talked to it, he played with it, he made it rawr and squealed with delight as we joined his games.

Obviously I wouldn’t be talking about all of this if it was never to be a part of your life again! The magic of life is real. You may not see reindeer fly or a bunny hopping over your wall but those feelings of fascination, wonder, awe, trust and magic are within you and you can let them all out to play again! When you do, life becomes magical!

We don’t see it, we feel it.

What I find so amazing is that we were taught this by our parents and society as well, but the real message got lost over the years. If you asked a child ‘What’s the magic words? He or she will easily say to you ‘please’ and after they have received, ‘What are the magic words?’ they will tell you ‘Thank You’.

That’s it! That’s how you bring forth magic into your life, you must say the magic words, ‘Thank you’. When we actually stop and acknowledge the wonder and abundance of the life we are living, when we are thankful for it, we shine. When we focus on the good stuff we have, we feel good, we feel happy and then it’s so much easier to trust ourselves and focus on the good stuff we’re headed for.

If you practice gratitude a little, your life will change a little. If you practice gratitude a lot every day, your life will change dramatically and in ways you can’t even begin to imagine! Try it for yourself, take a moment now and close your eyes. I want you to run through all of the wonderful things and people that you have in your life right now, feel thankful for what you have and smile. I honestly don’t know any better way to shift your energy and emotions from down and dull to happy and energised!

‘When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around’ Willie Nelson

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress; that you got something valuable from it and could relate! Please get in touch on the facebook page and share what you’re grateful for this week! Can’t wait to see!

Until next week,

P x

Who Are You in Your Relationships?

Myself and Colly were out walking the dog last weekend, chatting and reflecting on our relationship, 11218467_10153286501107893_778273589560183537_nour marriage, our daughter and our lives and how it’s incredible……….. and for both of us, that fact is still quite strange!

I do have to pinch myself every now and then to remind myself that I’m not dreaming! Personally, I know I have changed a lot in the past few years. I’m really me now, here and present in this relationship.

In previous relationships, I was who I thought my partner wanted me to be and I wasn’t even aware that I was adapting my behaviour to suit him. We would be watching a movie at home or at the cinema and I would keep glancing at his face to see whether he was enjoying it or not. If I had picked the movie and I could see from his facial expressions that he thought it was lousy, it would seriously take away from my enjoyment of the film.

It was all little things, his favourite food, his favourite hobbies, his favourite everything. His favourites that I had never really had any interest in; became a part of my life. All of a sudden I had sports jerseys as part of my wardrobe and I was shouting at the TV on a Saturday afternoon!

This was all good and fine and I’m not for a moment saying that it’s wrong to embrace your partner’s interests but what happened was that after 6 years of morphing into this person I thought I should be, I got dumped. By text message might I add!

Of course there was heart break and sadness and anger and all of those emotions but they weren’t a patch on ‘losing myself’. During the course of those 6 years, I had lost myself in the relationship or to the relationship. I had defined myself by it and by what we did together. Without that, I wasn’t sure who I was!

I don’t mean for that to sound as dramatic as it does, what I mean is that I really didn’t know what my own interests were, what I enjoyed doing, who I enjoyed spending time with, what I wanted for my future. I actually decided to start smoking again, an actual conscious decision because that’s what I did before that relationship! I had been a smoker! I was trying to find anything that would give me that sense of security within myself. Anything I could cling to that I could say ‘I am a ……..’

Just to top it all off as well, I was made redundant within a month or so of the dumping and then shortly after that my sister and I were told that we had to sell our home! So needless to say, I wasn’t in the best space!

I was absolutely broke in every sense of the word but with my redundancy cash, I invested in a life coaching course- for me. For a solid year, I worked so hard getting to know myself. It was difficult and uncomfortable at times but I got me back! I got a new zest of life and I was so happy being me again!

When myself and Colm started dating, I resisted so much because I was afraid of being hurt but most of all, I was afraid of forgetting all I had learnt. I was afraid I’d go back to my old ‘people pleaser’ ways! The question that I had to find the answer to was ‘how to be in a relationship and not lose myself?’ How to be part of a we without losing me?8dc683cfe1f05ea2c75ea144ad45bd27

The goal was to be close in the relationship but still maintain my own identity so I went out and found people who I thought had great relationships and I asked for their advice! Here are some of their strategies! Trust me- it’s good stuff!

Top 5 tips for a great relationship without losing yourself

1. Spend time with your friends.

It’s great when your partner and your friends get along, but your friends don’t want your other half all the time! The time spent with your friends is different when your boyfriend is there and it’s important that you still have your girls’ nights out, weekends away and giggles!

2. Identify the hobbies and interests that you don’t share

You and your partner aren’t going to share the same interests so it’s important to identify the things you don’t have in common and to continue doing it. If you love dancing but your partner has two left feet and would rather get a root canal done than go to a club, do not let that stop you. If he wants to go to support his team at an away game, you don’t need to tag along! Support each other’s interests.

 3. Express yourself.

 While committing to someone is a lovely thing, giving up your needs for that person absolutely isn’t. Never compromise or undermine your own desires just because you’re scared that you’ll lose him if you need something different. A healthy respectful relationship makes room for what both of you need, and your partner can’t know what you need if you don’t tell him directly (he’s not psychic!). If he walks away when you do make your needs known, that is a good thing. Trust me, better that than losing yourself to someone unwilling to listen to you and respect your feelings.

4. Don’t become too dependent.

Being in a relationship doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook when it comes to managing yourself and your own life. It’s easy to look to your partner to protect you from the big bad world when everything makes you want to crawl under the duvet and hide, but continue to fight your own battles. When you have a bad day and want to talk, it’s nice to have someone who wants to comfort you, but make it clear that you don’t want your partner to ‘fix’ anything!

5. Never hold back in your own life

 Don’t resist further education, making more money, success or a promotion because of your partner. You should never need to boost his ego or spare his feelings by playing small in your own life. Someone who truly loves you and who is worth loving is secure enough to cheer you on.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress, that you got something valuable from it and could relate!

Until next week,

P

P.S My best selling programme ‘30 Days to Be Your Own Fairy Godmother’ is starting on the 22nd February and you could WIN a place! Click here to enter now! Winner will be announced on the 21st at 9pm!

 

To Love or To Loathe?

This ezine has been a long time coming! I’ve been thinking about it for so long and I am reminded to write it every day through dealings I have with some of private clients and dealings that I have with my inner self!

The question is whether to love or to loathe? It seems that for many people it’s an inner tennis match between these two attitudes! To love oneself or to loathe oneself? Which attitude is better for you? Which gives you that inner drive and the motivation to do things or change things in your life? Personally, I used to think the answer was to loathe (and to be honest, sometimes I still have that inner tennis match back and forth in my head!) But the really interesting thing is that I’m not alone in this.

Some people will say that they only way they can give themselves that kick in the ass to go to the gym, to change a job or to get through a degree is by looking in the mirror and loathing the person they see looking back. For these people, nothing they do is ever good enough, no achievement is ever enough. They are always seeking the next challenge, the next test, and the next chance to prove themselves. Great achievements are barely even acknowledged. There’s a word for this- perfectionism.

Many people think that perfectionism is a quality to aspire to. The word itself gives the impression of someone who is organised, calm and who has their shit together! We believe that perfectionist tendencies motivate people to do their best, to strive higher, achieve bigger goals and accomplish more in their lives. However, from my own experience I can honestly say that it feels like suffocating.

When we strive to be perfect, we strive to hit an impossible target. Answer me honestly; is it possible to be perfect?

What happens when we strive for ultimate perfection is that deep down we really know it’s impossible; we know that we will never reach it and all of a sudden it dawns on us that we’ll never be good enough! So we get scared of rejection and what other people would think of us should they ever find out just how imperfect, weak and vulnerable we really are.

The result of this is to self-loathe. We start to tell ourselves that we are imperfect, weak and not good enough, smart enough, talented enough etc. We abuse and harm our own minds and bodies because we loathe ourselves. We become our own biggest critic and worst enemy.

I feel I can speak about this topic because I know what it feels like. Self harm, self abuse and self loathing were all a big part of my life for many years. In the beginning, it did give me a kick in the ass but, after a while when I realised that I would never be perfect; it just dragged me down into what I now fondly refer to as the ‘pit of despair!’ That’s what it felt like; a dark, cold and lonely pit and I was trying to claw my way out but I kept falling back in.

It was birthday when things shifted. In the depths of the pit of despair, someone threw a rope and I grabbed it. That particular day, my phone had been buzzing constantly, my facebook profile was bombarded, there was post with my name on it and it wasn’t bills, there were flowers sent, friends called in, family called in – it just dawned on me all of a sudden, I was loved and I had been completely blind to it. It was my birthday and I had an army of love surrounding me and it was amazing. In that moment, I chose to love myself and to start with, I think I cried for 3 days straight! That’s where my life was about 7-8 years ago!

It’s my birthday tomorrow and my gift to myself is to allow myself to be vulnerable, to be the real me 58804_547399381959846_682211406_nand to share this part of my life with you. You see I now know what it’s like to love myself, to appreciate myself and to accept myself for who I am; warts and all! My mission for the past 3 years has been to encourage and support women in their 20s and 30s to feel good about themselves, to smile and honour themselves, to have self love and self respect and to choose a life that works for them. My life is completely changed and I feel incredibly lucky and blessed.

So ladies, to love or to loathe? That is the question. What will you choose?

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress. If you can relate to this, I’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts and your stories with me and the rest of the community over on facebook!

Until next week, be kind to yourself!

P x

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It’s my Birthday tomorrow! Yay, I’m 29 years bold!happy_birthday

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Do you believe?

I have a big question to ask you………………...Do you believe in you?

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years working on increasing my self- belief and one of the books that really caught my attention was Susan Jeffers well known book ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. In that book, the main question Susan asks is ‘Could you handle it?’ If the worst case scenario happened- could you handle it? Personally I didn’t like the book- it actually annoyed me but I know that it was because at the time I was reading it; I was still too scared to move on with my life! (I really should give it another try!)

But the question ‘Could you handle it?’ made a lot of sense because the answer would pretty much be yes (even though I refused to admit it to myself at the time!) I wouldn’t like it, it might hurt a lot, it might cost money, people might reject me, I might fail, it might make me cry, it might make me lose face, I might want to hide for a decade but ultimately whatever the worst case scenario was, if I was truly honest with myself; I could actually handle it. It was an interesting way to look at life!

Many people think that self-belief is just a buzzword that motivational speakers throw into their speeches and that a high level of self-belief is not something that is attainable for the likes of you and me- therefore it isn’t important. What do you think? Does it matter whether or not you believe in yourself?

Well, here’s an answer for you! In one of the most detailed studies ever conducted into the effects of self-belief on performance, the psychologist Albert Bandura discovered that a person’s genuine beliefs about their abilities can be a more accurate predictor of their future levels of performance than any actual results they had achieved in the past! How incredible is that!

In other words, the way you think about yourself in relation to the challenges in your life will have a profound effect on your ability to succeed. The mechanism by which this works is one you have heard before, it is ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’.

 You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe- Oprah Winfrey

 There is a story that when Michelangelo was asked how he carved such beautiful angels, he KnightsTavern.org-314replied, ‘I see the angel in the stone, and I chip away at everything around it’. Boosting your self-belief and self-esteem is a lot like that! It’s not about pretending to be someone that you’re not; it’s about recognising the magnificence of who you are already and allowing that to shine out!

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, believe in you and make it happen!

P x

Are you afraid of failing?

 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 nephew Jamie was fantastic at reminding me about this! When he was learning to walk, he wasn’t afraid to try 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, have 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. 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, don;t be so scared! You can handle it!

 P x