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Do you ever wish you had a crystal ball?

Most of the decisions we make on a day to day basis are simple and straight forward: we decide on what to wear, what to watch on Netflix, what to eat for lunch etc. They don’t cause us too much stress or inner turmoil- most of the time!

However, the prospect of having to make career decisions can leave many people feeling completely stuck, powerless and scared. Our career is such a big part of our lives that ultimately, a new decision in this area will actually change your life.

 No pressure right?

Should you move city for work? Do you take that promotion? Do you walk away from the industry you’ve been in for years and start something new? Do you start your own business? Do you go back to college?

Making big decisions can be quite tough because the fact is that we don’t know how things will work out. We don’t have a crystal ball that we can wave our hand over into and see that 6 months down the road, everything has worked out well, we’re ridiculously happy and incredibly successful! None of us have access to that level of certainty when making new decisions yet we crave it.

So many of us crave that absolute certainty so much that it stops us from making any decisions at all So what’s going on here? Why do so many of struggle with making decisions, especially around our career and relationships?

What I’ve seen from my work is that so many of us don’t trust ourselves. If we find ourselves in a career that we’re not happy about and are stuck there for a while, we start to believe that we aren’t qualified to make decisions for ourselves in that area. The self talk goes a bit like this ‘well, at the end of the day, it was me who accepted this lousy job in the first place so who am I to choose better next time?’ What often happens then is that we bring out our inner pollster and before we know it, we’re quizzing friends and family, posing the question ‘what do you think I should do?’ and listening to everyone else’s opinion.

What’s really going on here is that by doing that is we’re telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough, that our own judgement isn’t enough, that we’re not capable of making decisions on our own lives. We’ve lost trust in ourselves and fail to show up for ourselves in our lives and careers.

One of the biggest influencers in my work over the past few years is Brene Brown, a researcher and author and her words ring true here ‘You don’t want to be at the end of your life asking yourself ‘What would have happened had I shown up for myself?’. We need to be able to make bold decisions and trust in ourselves, without the safety net of certainty. So let’s break this down and a bit and explore trust.

First of all, what the hell does trust mean anyway? It’s such a vague concept!

Brene Brown quotes Charles Feltman, author of ‘The Thin Book of Trust’ who describes trust of others as ‘choosing to make something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions’. Think about this for a second in relation to your career decisions? You are choosing to give your time, energy, passion, commitment, growth, development, sweat, most of your week to a particular company or role. These are things you value so trust is an incredibly important factor in your working life. However, what we’re focusing on in this article is self-trust and your ability to make decisions so let’s deep dive a bit more. In her research, Brene has uncovered the ‘Anatomy of Trust’- what needs to present for trust to exist and the ingredients are summed up with the acronym B.R.A.V.I.N.G

B.R.A.V.I.N.G in depth

B: Boundaries

 I trust you if you are clear about your boundaries and you hold them and you’re clear about my boundaries and respect them.

R: Reliability

 I can only trust you if you do what you say you are going to do, consistently.

A: Accountability

 I can only trust you if when you make a mistake, you are willing to own it, apologize for it, and make amends. You can only trust me if I can own it, apologize for it, and make amends. No accountability? No trust.

No accountability? No trust.

V: Vault

 What I share with you, you will hold in confidence. What you share with me, I will hold in confidence.

I: Integrity

 I cannot trust you and respect you if you do not act from a place of integrity and encourage others to do the same. Choose courage over comfort, and choose what’s right over what’s fun, fast, and easy: practice your values, don’t just profess them

N: Non-judgment

 I can fall apart and be in struggle and ask for help from you without being judged by you, and you can fall apart and be in struggle and ask for help without being judged by me. 

G: Generosity

 A relationship is only a trusting relationship if you can assume the most generous thing about my words, intentions, and behaviours. If I screw up, say something, forget something, you will make a generous assumption about me. 

So, flip this over to you now and it should shine a light on the exact reasons why you may be struggling to trust yourself to make decisions right now. Make a note of what resonates with you most.

Boundaries – Did I respect my own boundaries in my working life?  In my current or last job, was I clear about what was ok and what was not ok?

Reliability – Can I rely on myself? Do I do what I say I’m going to do? Do I follow through on my boundaries and decisions? Do I put other people’s needs ahead of my own?

Accountability – Do I hold myself accountable when I make a mistake? Do I take responsibility for it, own it and make amends or do I try to hide it, feel shame or blame other people? Remember, no accountability? No trust.

Vault – Do I respect the vault and share appropriately? Do I share my story with people who haven’t earned the right to hear it? Do I gossip and share other peoples stories?

Integrity – Do I act from my integrity? Am I honouring my values? Do I even know what is most important to me in my career? Where is the line? What are my deal breakers? How do I behave when something is in conflict with my integrity? Remember, choose courage over comfort, and choose what’s right over what’s fun, fast, and easy.

Non-judgment- Do I ask for what I need? Do I judge myself for needing help or for outgrowing a role? Do I judge myself for my own desires? Do I judge others for following their dreams?  What triggers judgement in me?

Generosity – Am I generous towards myself? When I’m fearful or scared or having a rough time- do I attack myself or do I practice self-compassion? 

When we have big decisions to make, there will always be uncertainty and learning to lean in to ourselves and trusting ourselves is the most powerful tool you can possess to enable you to move forward. Trust is a vague concept however Brene Brown has done a wonderful job in breaking it down so we can pinpoint exactly where we have breached our own trust in the past. From there, we can immediately understand it and start to make amends. Know who you are, know what you’re about and start to work on building up your self-trust and your relationship with you. You still won’t the crystal ball but you will have everything you need to make the next decision.

Now, I’ve written this with a focus on career but this is relevant to so many different aspects of your life, and in particular this often comes up when I’m working with clients on their relationships and love life. I hope it helps!

Love Paula

P.S If you want to work on this topic- trusting yourself and having your own back as well as much more- then join me and a wonderful group of women for my online group coaching programme All You Need is Love starting Monday 1st July. This is the beginning and you are so worth it. It is your time and you are ready for this. I’m here to support you!

How to Make the Right Decisions for You

This is one of my favourite topics and the reason why about 90% of my coaching clients come to me for support! Decisions! It’s the core of the quarter life crisis- some of the biggest decisions that we make in our lives happen in our 20s and 30s in relation to travel, love and dating, career, where we’re going to settle, what we’re going to do with our lives. It’s overwhelming for so many people because a) there’s so many choices and b) we don’t know how to make decisions!

What happens then is we tend to get quite paralysed, get into cycles of over-thinking, start feeling anxious and feel unable to make a decision out of fear of choosing the wrong thing. So many of us are so terrified of making mistakes that we’re searching for absolute certainty in our decisions- which simply doesn’t exist. So we end up feeling powerless, unable to decide so we stay exactly where we are and wonder why we’re not making any progress on the big dreams we had for ourselves.

So if you’re struggling with making decisions or is there’s a big choice that’s keeping you up at night? Then this will really help you make better decisions. I’ve loads of tips to share with you.

1. Head or Heart

This always comes up and I know you’ll understand what I mean. This is when everything looks good on the surface and on paper BUT you know in your heart that something isn’t right. This could be a decision you need to make about your career, a relationship or  travelling etc.

Your head is telling you that this is how it should be, you are where you’re supposed to be but your heart is aching knowing that you’re truly not happy. Do you hand in your notice and do the scary thing you dream of? Do you have that difficult conversation and end the relationship even though you’re comparing yourself to all your friends who are engaged, getting married and having babies. So- do you make decisions from your head or your heart?

I believe you should always make decisions from your heart. Absolutely make use of your head- use it for the practical planning, the maths, the logistics. But for happiness, your bigger picture and the feel of the decision- always go inwards and check with your heart.

2. Lean into how the decision feels

When you think about the decision ask yourself ‘ Will this expand me, will this help me grow, will it expand my future, will it expand my possibilities, is it in alignment with my values- with what’s truly important to me?’ If the answer is Yes, then the decision is Yes no matter how terrifying or out of your comfort zone it may feel.

Ask yourself ‘Will this make me smaller, will it silence me, will I be holding back part of myself, will it shrink me, will it inhibit me or my growth in any way?’ If the answer is Yes, then the decision is NO- no matter how safe or easy that path may feel to you right now.

3. Understand The Long Game

The short-term impact of heart based decisions

This is a really important aspect to decision making which is often overlooked. When faced with a decision, often we just think of the immediate impact and feeling. Think about it- a relationship that you know isn’t working and you know your heart is saying that it’s decision is this relationship needs to end. If you just focused on the short term impact and emotions- it would make it more difficult to make that decision. Often the short term impact of our heart based decisions are terrifying because it means change. It means starting something new, putting yourself out of your comfort zone, going into unchartered territory or having really difficult conversations with people. These things are always uncomfortable so you need to brace for impact, get some support and practice self care as you’re going through it.

The long term impact of heart based decisions

This is a whole other ball game! If you allowed yourself to visualise and really picture the long term impact of a heart based decision- it can really be a game-changer. This is where all the good stuff comes from, it shapes us, it shows us that we are courageous, that we value ourselves and our happiness. This is where your best life will come from- living a life that is true to you not one that you just ended up living because it was safe.

4. The Power Of Objectivity

This is like a Jedi mind trick- it’s basically the ability to make a decision from a 3rd party perspective. You know the way we’re all great at giving advice to others? Well, there’s a reason! When you don’t have a direct emotional tie, the decision-making process can be much clearer. And research backs this up–we make better decisions for others than we do for ourselves!. So the solution here is  to take an objective, zoomed-out, third-party objective stance on the decision to be made.

Think of someone you admire- what would they do in this situation? If it was a friend in this exact situation, what would you advise them and why?

5. Take time to reflect but don’t agonise

Your life comes down to the decisions that you make. I’m not joking. We make, on average 35,000 decisions each day. Most we’re not even aware of, but yet some we agonise over for weeks, months and even years. It’s important to reflect and take time on big decisions that will impact your life but set a deadline on it. Get support if you need to so that you can make the decision and start making progress in your life.

6. Learn who you are and what’s best for you.

I wrote an ebook years ago about this, it’s called ‘The Secret to Quarter Life Happiness’ and you can get a free copy from my website. Most of the time, we ask ourselves ‘what do I want?’ but we’re not sure so we either start polling other people, we look at what others are doing and we make our decisions from that space. Then we put our heads down and get on with it- we choose a particular degree because that’s what our parents wanted us to do etc. The biggest reason why so many people struggle to know what they want is because they don’t know who they are.

It may sound dramatic but it’s the truth. So many people don’t know what they believe in, they don’t know what’s important to them, what their values are, they don’t know how to recognise their successes or praise themselves, they don’t know what energises them, they don’t know how to say yes to what feels good and how to say no to what feels bad. We don’t want to be rude, we don’t want to put people out, we don’t want to have difficult conversations so we bend, shift and contort ourselves into the shapes of who we think we’re supposed to be- into who we think society wants us to be. Then we try to make a decision for our own happiness and we get stuck…..

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to spend some time getting to know yourself, understanding your likes, your dislikes, your passions, your pet hates. Get on your own side and learn all about you because it’s when you really know yourself, you’re in a much better position to decide what’s best for you.

Love Paula x

I’d love to chat to you about how we could work together so please book in for a free 30 minute discovery call here!

What love language do you speak?

(The secret to great relationships)

Myself and Colm have a great marriage and we’ve had an amazing relationship for almost a decade. Obviously we do of course have arguments and frustrations and I want to slap him when he’s snoring and keeping me awake- but for the most part we’re a really good team!

One of the things I credit with that, is knowing each other’s love language. Many years ago, I came across a book called the ‘5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman’ and wow- it made so much sense!

Imagine you’re in a relationship, you’re dating or you’re married- you know that there is real love and connection there but why oh why do they irritate or frustrate you so much at times? Why are there times when you feel disconnected or unloved?

Most likely- you speak different love languages.

There are 5 love languages and they are:

  • Words of Affirmation– this would consist of compliments, heartfelt spoken appreciation and acknowledgements, deep conversations about your relationship, life, love etc
  • Quality Time- this is exactly what it sounds like. It’s undivided attention, no phone, no TV, no distractions, just you and your partner together doing something that you enjoy.
  • Acts of Service– sounds odd but this means doing things that you know your partner would appreciate- picking up something you know they need when you’re on your way home, sticking on a wash for them, picking them up from a night out
  • Receiving gifts– again, exactly what it sounds like but it doesn’t mean it has to be expensive things. It can be a token that shows ‘I saw this and I thought of you’
  • Physical touch– this can be affection, holding hands, kissing, hugs, cuddles and of course, sex.

According to Gary Chapman, we all have a primary and secondary language in which we express and feel love. My primary love language is ‘Words of Affirmation’ and my secondary is ‘Quality Time’. And Colm… he’s completely different!

The key thing is that we all tend to give or show love the way we want to receive it. That’s what feels natural to us. If our love language is different to our partner- we can run into challenges.

 What are your thoughts- would you have an idea as to what your primary love language is based on the above?

So, even if you can identify your own love language- how do you know what your partners love language is?

The advice given by Gary Chapman is to really pay attention to how they’re naturally drawn to expressing love and bear in mind, it could be completely different to you! It’s about paying attention to their needs, their wants, what they’re asking for and what they give out about as well!

The secret to a great relationship is communication and you need to know your partners love language in order to communicate love to them.

I’ll give you an example…..

When Colm and I first met, it was the typical dating/start of a relationship. We spent quality time together, we bought each other little gifts, we did nice things for each other, we affirmed each other with our words and we were physical. All of the love languages were demonstrated at the beginning…..

But when that honeymoon period wore off and we were living together and had our normal day to day life- there were challenges. Yes, we would have loved to be able to stay in that care-free honeymoon period but that’s not real life! He annoyed me with what once was his cute quirks and vice versa!

 To me, Colm was prioritising getting things done more than having those long, late night chats that I loved. He was doing all these things for me because his love language is ‘Acts of Service’ but to me, him doing all these things meant absolutely nothing to me, it simply wasn’t important so I didn’t feel as connected to him. And I, at every chance I got, was trying to have a meaningful conversation with him as an expression of my love but it just frustrated him! Sounds like the beginning of the end right?

Wrong!

I’d forgotten about the love languages but I brought them in and everything made sense. I realised that for Colm to feel love, I had to express that through ‘Acts of Service’ and for me, he had to express it to me through ‘Words of Affirmation’.

It completely shifted everything.

I started doing more of what I know is important to Colm- little things like looking after admin, booking his car in for a service, anticipating things that he would need to do and looking after some of them for him. And he started using words of affirmation to express his love for me. So we thrived.

It took/takes a lot of work and we have to stay on top of it because it‘s not natural for either of us but we know it works.

So, whether you’re single or in a relationship, my advice is to spend a little time exploring what your love language is and what it means to you.

If you’re in a relationship – get curious about what love language your partner speaks. If they happen to be the same as you, then you’re a lucky duck and you probably won’t have a hard time feeling loved by one another!

And if they aren’t the same, then like myself and Colm- you’ll have to work at it as it won’t come naturally to you. But it’s such a great opportunity to learn how to love each other better, meet each other’s needs more and take your relationship to a new level.

If you’re single, start loving yourself more based on your own love language! Talk to yourself in a loving way, book a regular massage, go away by yourself for a couple of days, make yourself a gorgeous meal each week, declutter your environment or buy yourself a gift because you’re you and you love you!

However you approach it, you can only win!

Love Always,

Paula

Now, I’d love to hear from you!

Get in touch and let me know your thoughts on this! Do you know your love language? Do you want to explore it more? How do you think it’s impacted past relationships?

Also make sure you book in for a free 30 minute discovery call with me to explore how we could work together to help you show up with more joy, courage and confidence in your life and work. Book in here and I look forward to chatting with you!

How to Have More Productive & Meaningful Mornings

The following story is one that’s been circulating for awhile.


A professor of philosophy stood before his class with some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full.


They agreed that it was full.


So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and watched as the pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The professor then asked the students again if the jar was full.


They laughed and agreed that it was indeed full this time.


The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled the remaining open areas of the jar. “Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar signifies your life. The rocks are the truly important things, such as family, health and relationships. If all else was lost and only the rocks remained, your life would still be meaningful. The pebbles are the other things that matter in your life, such as work or school. The sand signifies the remaining “small stuff” and material possessions.

If you put sand into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks or the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are truly important.


Pay attention to the things in life that are critical to your happiness and well-being. Take time to get medical check-ups, play with your children, go for a run, write your nana a letter. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, or fix the disposal. Take care of the rocks first – things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.

How to Be Have More Productive and Meaningful Mornings…

How we start our day tends to set the tone of the hours that follow. Regardless of your obligations and responsibilities, we can all make tweaks to our daily routine so that we can pull as much joy, meaning and passion from our day. I’ve compiled a list if tips that I’ve embraced over the years and have shared them below. Even if you take one that resonates with you and leave the rest, it’s a positive change.

1. Plan your day the night before

I would be lost without this and I’ve been doing it for years. Each evening, I would set out what I need to do the next day, so I set my priorities. You decide what your own priorities are but pay attention to what you’re planning- is it all pebbles and sand or are you prioritising the truly important things like your health, your rest, your relationships, your joy?

If you’re finding at the end of each day that things didn’t work out, or you didn’t get the time you wanted to work out, or have some time alone, or whatever it is that you wanted for yourself- that’s ok. The key is about awareness, understanding why and what’s happening and then what you can do about it or tweak moving forwards.

2.  Be realistic about your time in the morning

So say you want to have some quiet time, have a shower, eat breakfast, do a yoga with Adrienne YouTube class, prepare a healthy lunch or put dinner in the slow cooker- how much time realistically will it take to do those things?

Most of us don’t set ourselves up for success in the morning, we’ve a vague idea of what we need to do but then if we oversleep by 10-15 or 30 minutes, that’s everything out the window and before our feet even touch the floor, we’re behind. We’re lacking, rushed, haven’t done enough, aren’t enough.

So be realistic each day- if it’s 12am, you’re still awake and you’re planning to be up at 6.30am – just check in with yourself and see if this is realistic. Don’t beat yourself up about it either, learn from it and what needs to change.

3. Prepare your food, your clothes and what you need the day before

This is a huge time saver in the morning. Choose what you’re going to wear and lay it out- everything from your bra to your socks to your mascara. If you have kids, do the same. Get everything ready the night before that they’ll need. If I do this in the evening, it takes 5 minutes. If I do it in the morning with sleepy brain fog, it takes about 3-4 times as long!

Same with food.  Get your breakfast sorted, set the table, soak the oats, prepare a fruit salad. That way first thing in the morning you’re starting the day with clarity around what you’re wearing, what you’re eating and instead of rushing, there’s much more ease to the start of the day.

The same goes for lunch- prepare it in advance. If you’ve kids, do theirs as well and pop it in the fridge.

Whatever you need for the day, set it up the night before. Pack your gym bag, put your laptop in your bag, check your purse and keys are ready, schoolbags are packed, forms are signed. Imagine putting your hand to absolutely everything you need in the morning with ease..

Doing all this the night before will free you up in the morning.

4. Get to bed early enough to get the rest you need

How much sleep do you get? How much do you need? Or do you even know? This is where so many of us trip up. We go to bed far too late and are too tired in the morning. So, set a realistic bedtime for yourself and decide to stick with it at least x numbers of times per week (be realistic again). Even if you’re awake and you’re reading, that’s so much better for your wellbeing than watching Netflix.

5. Engage in something that lights you up

In the morning or even on your way to work, find something that lights you up and makes you feel alive! It could be your favourite coffee, it could be hopping off the bus one stop early and walking though the park, it could be a phone call that you make to a friend, a sister or a parent during your commute, it could be listening to a podcast or a ted talk that inspires you. For me, it’s music. Putting on my spotify playlist in the kitchen is an effortless way to increase my joy in the morning! Try something!

I hope you found this helpful! I’d love to hear your tips on what you do to have more productive and meaningful mornings or what you’re going to try from this list! Pop over to Instagram or facebook and let me know!

Paula x

How to Prioritise Yourself in All Relationships (And Why!)

“The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development.

I used to say, “If you will take care of me, I will take care of you.

“Now I say, I will take care of me for you, if you will take care of you for me.”

Jim Rohn

This is a difficult lesson to learn as it’s the polar opposite of what we’ve been taught for most of our lives. We’ve been raised to share, to give, to look after others. Really we’ve been raised to be caretakers, to our detriment. Many of us have been conditioned since we were toddlers to sacrifice our own needs for the benefit of others. This tendency is often so much a part of who we now believe we are; we don’t even realise when we’re engaged in this type of detrimental caretaking behaviour. But we do it often without noticing- we frequently give up our wants, our desires, our energy, our power, our ideas, our time and dreams; telling ourselves we’re doing it out of love  and compassion. But really it’s conditioning and habitual behaviour and thought processes.

If you feel like you’re drowning in the needs of others; you feel that way for a reason and you probably are.

I’m sure reading this that you can recall numerous times when took care of someone else to your detriment- perhaps it was an ex who you felt needed you so you stayed longer than you should, perhaps it was a boss who demanded ridiculous things from you and you worked and worked and worked until you burnt out – physically, emotionally or both; perhaps it’s family drama and you have been the designated mediator since you were far too young; perhaps it’s showing up in your dating life, going for guys that need to be minded, fixed or looked after- we do it because it’s familiar.

I’ve done all of these and much more.

Sacrificing my own needs for the benefit of others so trust me when I say it’s not a healthy place to be. I suppose personally the most recent challenge has been motherhood. Now I’ve done a lot of work in terms of boundaries, putting myself first etc but holy shit, a baby is a whole other story. I had pre-natal depression when I was pregnant (yep it’s a thing!) and I also ended up with post natal depression a year after Sarah was born and it hit me harder- probably because there had been warning signs for the year of detrimental caretaking which I had been ignoring. Cue burnout/breakdown and having to put myself back together again gently- with even more boundaries and self care in place so I know what I’m talking about and this is why I’m so passionate about it.

Taking care of yourself first Versus Selfishness

This is a huge fear- I don’t want to be selfish and by prioritising myself- is that not being selfish. Great question and a valid one but the answer is definitely not. If this is your fear then my guess is that you actually care deeply about others- so much so that you have made given up a lot of time and energy for them, and neglected yourself. This without a doubt leads to imbalance in relationships and can show up as bitterness, resentment, guilt, and feeling like you’re stuck. We end up hurting ourselves and sometimes even the people we care about.

You know the way when you get on a plane and the flights attendants go through the safety demonstration. Do they say ‘In case of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you. Please look around and make sure that everyone else is safe and has their mask secured before you look after yourself?’

No, they don’t.

Why not?

Because everyone would be dead.

So, what to do and how to turn it around:

  1. Recognise that there is a problem and how it started

This sounds strange but it’s a really important step and it is Acknowledging that you have a Problem! If you’re in denial or don’t think that there’s a problem, then you’re not going to do anything to change your behaviour. So ask yourself ‘Am I a people pleaser?’ ‘Do I give more than I get in relationships- in my love life, with friends, with family, in work?’ ‘Do I feel guilty when I try to set boundaries?’, ‘Do I feel selfish when I try to do something for myself?’

If the answer is yes to these questions, then it’s likely you’re engaging in detrimental caretaking in some areas.

  1. Decide if you want to change it

So, if you do think you have a bit of a caretaking problem- it’s totally up to you then if you want to do something to change it. But if you do, it has to be a conscious decision. And with every decision we make, our lives are defined just a little more, because decisions ultimately shape our path.

  1. Put boundaries in place

To start putting boundaries in place, you need to practice self-awareness. For example, pay close attention to the situations when you lose energy, feel a knot in your stomach, or want to cry. Identifying where you need more space, self-respect, energy or personal power is the first step.

So finish off the following statements with whatever comes to your mind.

In order to protect my time and energy, I will say yes to…….

In order to protect my time and energy, I will say no to……

People may not………..

  1. Start taking care of yourself

Start with baby steps and consciously do 2 things every day for yourself. Martha Beck came up with this idea ‘Your Catalogue of Sensory Delights’. The idea is to finish these statements by coming up with at least 5 answers for each one:

  • I love the smell of…….
  • I love the sight of…….
  • I love the sound of……
  • I love the feel of…….
  • I love the taste of……..

Then you incorporate these little pleasures into your day. They’re tailor made to you and you can mix and match them to create a really joyful and pleasurable self care experience for yourself. So for example, I love the smell of apple spiced Christmas candles, I love the sight of the ocean, I love the sound of the rain outside, I love the feel of new sheets on the bed and I love the taste of chocolate- any chocolate! Or strawberries!

Now, this is pleasure not necessarily proper self care but it’s a great starting point if you’ve been neglecting yourself.

  1. Have a plan in place to deal with your emotions

If you start to do these steps, it’s likely you’ll experience a lot of resistance from either yourself or others (Or it’s likely that you’ll create resistance! I used to pick fights with Colm when I was learning to state what I needed). But the emotions that tend to come up here are either feeling a lack of worth aka ‘I don’t deserve’, feelings of guilt or feeling you’re being selfish. Expect them and be ready to remind yourself that you’re putting on your own oxygen mask.

  1. Get Support

I know that I could not have learnt how to take care of myself without support. From my sister, my friends, from counsellors when I was feeling depressed and from my own life coaches to help me set up new habits and behaviour. You have to invest in your own personal development, it has to be important to you and having someone holding you accountable for the changes you want to make is priceless. ❤️

If you want to work on this and more- then join me and a wonderful group of women for my online group coaching programme All You Need is Love starting Monday 1st July. This is the beginning and you are so worth it. It is your time and you are ready for this. I’m here to support you!

All You Need is Love

Would you sacrifice yourself for someone else?

We’ve received a lot of messaging saying that if you take care of yourself, if you spend your personal resources of time, energy, money and focus on what makes you happy- then you are selfish. It would drive you crazy but yet it’s stuck in our heads and embedded into almost every decision we make- whether or not we’re aware of it. If you’re exhausted, depleted, running on empty what do most of us do? We get a caffeine hit, we dig deep and push on. Until we burn out, have a breakdown or get sick.

Why? Have you ever asked yourself ‘Why?’ Why do I do that? In whose interest is it for me to be unhappy, burnt out, depleted, exhausted or sick? Is it what someone else wants? Is there needs more important than yours? Is it in society’s interest? Will it have you spending money seeking answers and solutions? Will it keep you numbing out all of the things that you’re unhappy about because you just don’t know where to start in changing anything and you’ve also no idea where you’d get the energy you’d need to make that shift?

It can get to the point where slowing down the pace of life feels tortuous because then we have head and heart space to feel and see things a bit clearer. I’ve totally been there. I’ve driven myself beyond the point of sanity trying to please other people, to take care of them, nurture them, make sure they were ok and it came at such a high price.

I remember having a conversation with an ex, a couple of months after we broke up and he was telling me how much he needed me, how hard life was without me. (He dumped me by text) I found myself contemplating going back to him even though every fibre in my body, soul, heart and mind felt it was the worst idea. I’m not even sure why I was having those thoughts but it was something along the lines of, I can make him happy and it would be horrible for me not to give him what he needs. I freaked out. Something clicked in me and I lost it- in the weirdest way. I felt like I was drugged, just totally spaced out. I was sitting outside a coffee shop in Drumcondra having this conversation, then totally zoned out and starting seeing elephants walking up the road. It scared the life out of me, I thought I was losing my mind.

He was concerned as there was obviously something up with me and walked me home. I lived less than 5 minutes away. As soon I got through the door I burst into tears and I wailed at him to just leave me alone. That I loved him, I cared about him but that I couldn’t be responsible for him or his happiness. That it would cost me everything. I think I scared the shit out of him too then.

I’ve only ever told a few people this and I’ve no idea why it’s coming up now but I feel it’s important. I was seriously contemplating sacrificing everything to make someone else happy and I blew a fuse. It caused an emotional breakdown and to be honest, I’m glad it did because the alternative of agreeing would have been much worse.

It was around 2009 that this happened and it put me on a different path. It’s fed into my work with other women and it’s one reason  (of many, I’ve lots of stories) why when I hear of women who are experiencing emotions of selfishness or guilt around taking care of themselves, I get passionate.

It’s not you. It’s the messaging you have received about who you are supposed to be that is complete bullshit. You have a right and a responsibility to take care of you and do what lights you up and makes you happy. When you do that, it fills your well and then; only then, do you have the capacity to care for others.

Take care of you, first and foremost. If you want to learn more and really commit to focus on this, then join me in my 30 day programme ‘All You Need is Love’. This programme is choc-a-bloc full of practical support to teach you how to elevate the relationship you have with yourself. This is the one thing that will lead you to your everything.

This is the last time I’ll run this programme so I’m offering €50 off the price AND a complimentary 60 minute one to one coaching session worth €150!

I’d love you to join us

P x

The Green Eyed Monster!

I’ve been desiring to write this for so long however I’m still learning to juggle all of my roles, dreams and responsibilities so it had to go on the back burner for a while.

It’s hard.

When you have dreams and ambitions for yourself, when you have deep burning desires of wanting to express yourself more fully, to show up more fully in life but have limited resources of time and energy.

The past few months have been challenging, my daughter is 2 and a half and I can count on one hand the number of times she has slept through the night, I’m growing my business while at the same time cutting back on 1-1 clients as my childcare is only 12 hours per week by choice, so I’m working from home and around my family, trying to ensure myself and Colm stay deeply connected and have quality time together, make sure Sarah has all of her needs met physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, I’ve been trying to eat well, drink plenty of water, get the dog out for a walk every day, keep the house clean, have dinners made, pay bills, spend time with family and friends, exercise, keep an eye on finances and budgets, do up the house, spend time on my learning and development as a coach and personally, have fun and be happy.

I feel like I’ve been doing a half arsed job with everything and my inner perfectionist has been having a field day.

Recently, I found myself glued to my phone regularly, just scrolling down and down and down. As my mood and energy went down and down with it! When I look at facebook or LinkedIn or instagram, I fall quickly into comparison- looking at the grace and polished-ness of other coaches, mothers, entrepreneurs, wives, sisters- basically anyone who is giving off the impression that they’ve got it together. I get envious of their clothes, their washed and brushed hair, their confidence, their success, their happiness and I start to think ‘I suck, big time’, I’m not good enough, I can’t do this, I’m not a good mama, I’m not a good person’.

I was at a full day CPD training a few weeks ago and the facilitator asked everyone to raise their hands if they have the thought ‘I am not good enough’ and every single person in the room raised their hand. It surprised me- I personally knew many people in the room and greatly admire them. She posed the same experiment for the thought ‘I can’t do it’ and again, every single person in the room raised their hands. It was interesting. ‘There are no new thoughts- They’re all recycled ‘ she said. There is nothing that you have thought about yourself that the majority of people within a 5 mile radius hasn’t thought about themselves as well. ‘Thoughts aren’t personal. They just appear, like raindrops. Would you argue with a raindrop?’ It’s the fact that we attach to and start to buy into this particular thought that becomes problematic.

I’m naturally an introvert, I’m shy, I’m quiet. I love long walks on the beach at night time when no one else is around. I love my own company. I love having meaningful conversations one on one. I love silence, candlelight, writing, singing in the car and dancing in my kitchen. I mostly go around in jeans, a vest top and a pair of skechers with my hair pulled in a ponytail and no makeup. I love to read, I love to teach, I love to engage with groups with purpose and connection. I love to learn and watch TV programmes that teach me something new. I love to be open minded. I love to be free. I know myself, quite well and I do love who I am.

But when I start to think the thought ‘I am not enough’, I swiftly go into comparison and spiral quickly. I start to think ‘I should’ be doing what other people are doing, I should be more polished, I shouldn’t write blogs like this one, I should just get it together and make sure other people can see I have it together and put on a good show!

We don’t compare when we feel good about ourselves. When we feel good about ourselves, we don’t allow ourselves to attack our own worthiness. When we feel good about ourselves, we look for the good in others and the world around us. Comparison kills happiness, creativity and resourcefulness. It gets us stuck in a negative spiral and then we start to really believe the thought ‘I am not enough’ because in that moment we feel so empty, lacking and paralysed to be able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and take a step forward.

So, how do we change this? I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to walk myself through this practice!

Attitude of gratitude…

One of the quickest ways to help you lift yourself up and out of lack mindset is to practice shifting into abundance mindset. This basically means opening your eyes to what you do have in your life- perhaps you have an abundance of friends, an abundance of energy or passion for a particular topic, you have a roof over your head and food in your press, you have your skills- your ability to read and write and how much pleasure you can receive just from that, you have the beauty of the world around you. When we start opening our eyes to what we already have, it can help us shift our attention from what we lack. I will admit though, the first time I tried to do this, I found it very difficult to do because I was deeply rooted in lack mindset. Myself and Colm used to turn it into a game, asking each other ‘What was the best thing about your day? or ‘name three things you’re grateful for right now?’ – we’d do it in bed before we went to sleep and it felt really good.

The chance is that what you’re truly desiring to feel is probably present in your life right now in some shape or form but you’re not noticing it. Do you pay attention to what lights you up? Do you know what makes you feel good? When we start to acknowledge areas in our lives where we are truly abundant, things start to shift and we can ask ourselves ‘Where else do I already have what I want?’ ‘What is already part of my day to day life that I love?’

I hope this has resonated with you and that you take something from it! I’m writing this as a kick in the ass for myself but I’m guessing it may resonate with you too! As always, I’d love to hear from you!

With love and much warmth,

Paula

Are you settling for less?

The reasons why people settle for less in life is quite complex. On the surface, it may seem simple- that they’re stuck in a comfort zone but the reality is that for most people, they have found attempts to go after they want extremely disappointing and they’ve been hurt. We all have a built in safety mechanism- an inner voice that tries to protect us. Back in the days of sabre-tooth tigers and woolly mammoths, that voice spoke up to protect us from physical danger. It’s how we survived. Nowadays, we don’t those physical dangers however, but that voice is still there and it still tries to protect us from danger- the new danger being emotional- shame, embarrassment, what other people think, disappointment, failure and fear.

Can you relate to any of these scenarios and thought patterns:

  • There are so many other people who are better than me. I’m not going to be able to do it perfectly so I better not try.
  • What would people think of me or say about me if I was to take this risk. My family/friends/boss/colleagues/partner would think I’m an idiot.
  • I’ve tried that before and it didn’t work. I’m not wasting my time on that again.
  • What if this is the best I can get, so I better just hang tight to what I have right now.
  • I might try to do this, and fail. What would I do then? I’d be mortified and everyone would know.
  • I don’t have the time, energy, resources to go after that. Now is not the right time, maybe someday….

If you’re desiring to date, meet new friends, leave your job, ask for a promotion or pay raise, start a business, start a family, set boundaries with friends and family- you start a dialogue in your head, you’ll start to think about it and the thoughts that you have will bring up certain emotions. If those emotions are fear based or you feel you may be putting yourself in a vulnerable position, then often we avoid following through on what we want to do. We don’t put ourselves out there, we stay stuck in our soul-destroying job, we don’t have the difficult conversations with people and what happens then is that we lower our expectations of ourselves in our own lives. Our standard for our own lives can drop gradually or it can be a drastic move after a major disappointment. We start to settle for less than because we feel we are less than.

We start believing that we can’t do or have the things we once dreamed about, that we aren’t as capable, as powerful, as special, as lovable, as smart as we once were. We start telling ourselves we don’t deserve it. This is also called learned helplessness and we become oblivious to the fact that the situation we’re settling for is a major compromise on our original dreams and desires.

How can you break out of this rut and start creating a more satisfying life:

How can some people bounce back from disappointment stronger and more determined while others let the disappointment define their future…. Is it because some people are better than others? No! It’s simply that they’ve learned a skill called Resilience. Could you do with building up your bounce-back ability? I think we all could! Here are my top 5 tips to build your resilience muscles:

Step 1: Understand and speak shame

Yikes, start with the hardest one but once you start practicing this, it will make the world of difference! When we’ve been hurt or disappointment, most of the time we stay quiet. We don’t tell people of our dreams and our desires. We brush them off with a laugh if someone asks. We deflect because we feel shameful or embarrassed. Even the word ‘shame’ itself can be a trigger.

Brene Brown defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”

Whenever we experience something that we feel shame about, we want to bury it, hide it, let no one know about it but that’s not the best approach. “The less we talk about shame, the more power it has over our lives,” Dr. Brown explains in her book Daring Greatly. “If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees.”

If you share your story with someone you trust, in my experience, what you get is a hug and a resounding ‘Me Too!’. Once its spoken, there’s no shame, there’s no hiding, you’ve got your power back and you get to write a new ending to the story.

Step 2: Develop a growth mindset

Carol Dweck in her book ‘Mindset’ outlines two different mindsets- Growth mindset and Fixed Mindset.

People with a fixed mindset believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

People with a growth mindset believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

A simple way of starting to develop your growth mindset is asking the questions ‘What did I learn from this?’ ‘ How could I improve on this?’ ‘What would I do differently next time?’

Step 3: Get Clear and Get Focused

A lot of the time, we settle because we don’t know what direction to go in instead. Take some time to really allow yourself to think about what you want and if you can’t define it in tangible terms, think about how you want to feel in a particular area of life and then work backwards’ What can I do to create this feeling in the area of my life?’. People who get what they want know what they want, they focus on it and learn what’s working and what’s not. Speak to a mentor, a coach, a career advisor, a financial advisor, a health specialist and get clarity.

Step 4: Practice Self-Care

This should go without saying but we all need reminding! Sleep, exercise, proper nutrition, proper hydration, time management, fresh air all impact our bounce-back ability, our optimism and our perspective on life. By practicing self care, you’ll also be teaching yourself that you are deserving and worthy of your own time and attention. You cannot pour from an empty cup so self-care needs to be a daily consideration in your quest for an incredible life!

Step 5: Take baby steps

One you’ve got the clarity on what you want, you need to start taking action. Often, we get stuck in overwhelm at this point because the task at hand seems huge and we’ve no idea where to start. Start by breaking it down into smaller steps, I’m talking really small steps that will enable you to start taking forward action while practicing the tips above. It will move you forward gradually, raise your standards gradually and change the course of your life gradually. Remember the tortoise and the hare, be the tortoise!

Who am I? I’m a walking contradiction!

I’ve been pondering this topic for ages and I knew I had to write about it. It is a bit of an odd one but if you’ve been following me for a while, I’d say by now you know to expect a bit of oddness every now and then!

One of the biggest questions that people struggle to answer is ‘Who Am I?‘. I mean the first time I asked that of myself about 10 years ago at the beginning of my quarter-life crisis, I couldn’t answer it. All I could come up with is I’m a Virgo (Seriously right?) Full disclosure, back then, I really leaned into star signs, tarot card readings, oracle cards, magic 8 balls to make decisions and to try and give me a sense of me and what I should do with my life!

Anyways, I couldn’t answer that question because I didn’t know.

Over the years, through coaching training and bucket loads of personal work, I got more and more clarity around who I was and what I was about. I got firmer foundations in place and as I got clearer on me, I got clearer on what would be a good life for me, on the work I wanted to do and the relationship I wanted. My true desires were uncovered and so was I.

Fast forward to 2018 and I’ve been struggling with the same question again ‘Who am I?’ and the answers I’ve been coming up with have been really confusing.

I realised that I am a walking, talking contradiction.  

I am ambitious but I’m also incredibly lazy, I will always seek out the easiest route possible. I can be quite selfish at times, but I’m also selfless and give my resources of time, energy and attention to others when they need it. I am such a scaredy cat, I mean I’m always scared- of what people will think of me, of making an absolute balls of something but at the same time, I’ve got bucket loads of brave and I still step forward even if I’m scared. I love parties but I’m shy and quiet. I’m shy and quiet but I put myself out there and show myself to the world though my work. I feel lovable and loving but at times I don’t. I can be passionate and another day be apathetic. I love flexibility and spontaneity but I’d be lost without a plan for the day and my to do list! I value security and safety yet I’m a risk-taker. I am extremely patient but not when sitting in traffic (unless there’s great music on and I have a coffee). I’m an introvert but I’m also a leader.

This for me, feels like the next level of knowing who I am and yeah, she’s sounds confusing but she’s much more real! But what I’ve realised is I don’t have to choose between ambition and ease, between being selfish and caring for others, between being brave and being scared, between being with people and being by myself, between being passionate and not giving a shit. I can be all of those things because I am, I can’t deny it and I’m guessing you’re the same – a walking talking contradiction.  Being real, being truly yourself will mean that you are both. Sweetie, you are allowed to be both.

Years ago, this realisation would have left me feeling very unhinged but now, as I honour myself more, I can tap into how I’m feeling and understand what I need in this moment. Then I can respectfully give myself what I need and know the reason why- because I’ve given myself permission  to be both.

I’m so curious to hear your thoughts on this? Can you relate? Are you really a walking talking contradiction trying deny parts of yourself? Let me know and share your examples over in my private ‘I am more than Enough‘ facebook community.

Also, don’t forget that the next round of my FREE ‘7 Days to Boost Your Confidence’ course starts on the 19th February. You’ll get access to the private group, your own printable workbook walking you through each day as well as 7 training videos walking you through topics such as ‘letting go of what other people think’ ‘Being Really You, ‘Claiming your own Worth’, ‘Dealing with your inner critic’ and much more! Sign up here!

The Seasons of Life

From working with hundreds of women over the past 7 years, I’ve come to the realisation that that life is cyclical. We move through cycles and more often than not, we’re completely unaware of it. 
 
They’re like seasons, and interestingly there’s no set time frame for each season but it goes something like this:
 

The Season of Discomfort

The 1st stage is the Season of Discomfort- you’re going along in your life and it’s not great. You feel agitated, uneasy, frustrated- it could be in your relationship, career, you want to settle down, it could be financial. You know that you need to make a change. You need to make a new decision, do something different and it is really scary. You try not to think about it as you don’t know how to start or what to do. There could  also be a lot of anxiety and uncertainty during this season and it can last a while, until you make that change or you make that new decision and then you move into stage 2.
 

The Season of Pulling Apart

The second stage is the Season of Pulling Apart- you feel like you are pulling apart at the seams. You’re having to break down relationships, maybe you move house or country, maybe you change career or go back to college, maybe it’s a period when you’re no longer tolerating certain behaviours or people in your life and it requires you to be firm and put boundaries in place. A lot of what you are doing feels really uncomfortable and alien to you. You may be engaging in a lot of self-comfort or numbing behaviours. Maybe you feel like you’re hurting people you care about, or you’re doing things that are causing you pain right now but you know you need to do what you’re doing for you. You are pulling apart, tearing down the old to make way and make space for the new. You’ve started a transition of who you are and what you’re about and you move into stage 3.
 

The Jigsaw Season

Stage 3 is the ‘Jigsaw Season’- you’re now in the process of putting together the new picture of your life. You’re finding the pieces that still fit, and carving and creating new pieces. There is, of course still uncertainty and you feel a bit wobbly but you are feeling more determined now. You’re gaining clarity and focus. You’re starting to see what that picture could look like and it’s exciting- still scary and oftentimes difficult but you’re putting in that work and you’ve built up your resilience and you move into stage 4 which is progress.
 

The Season of Progress

The fourth stage is the Season of Progress and it is so welcome! You finally feel like you’re in the right groove, you’re gaining confidence, momentum , you’re seeing the results of your efforts. You’ve got that business plan done, you’ve been on some really great dates, you’ve lost that weight, you can run that 10k, you’ve saved that deposit- whatever it is for you! You’re thinking life feels good here, it feels charmed and magical. You’re moving forwards and closer to your dreams and you feel aligned- comfy in your own skill and strong within yourself.
 
The latter parts of this stage can be difficult to navigate- you’re so close to the big result, the big dream and fear often kicks in. We self sabotage, we procrastinate, we fear failure and often we fear success. Mind monkeys show up and question you- who do you think you are to have what you want? Who are you to be happy? To be successful?
This is normal and so so common and you need to keep moving forwards. Bring in the support teams in this period, bring in the coach, the trainer, the financial advisor- whatever you need to keep you on track! Far too many of us get so close, and then give up. Know that this doubt is often part of the process! When you stay on track, then you hit stage 5!
 

The Season of Joy

The final stage 5 is the season of Elation- you’ve done it! You’ve hit the big dream, you’ve done what you set out to do, you’ve published the book, you’re actually travelling the world, you’re engaged or you’ve bought the house, you’ve had the baby, you’ve got that promotion, you’ve started the business, you are living the life you have been desiring and you know that you DESERVE it!
This season is all of that good stuff! You’re there! This is the year that everyone wants to have and when you’re here, savour it!  Suck as much goodness out of it as you can! You’ve up-leveled your life and you have those feelings of certainty and being in control- you know everything is ok.
 

But guess what happens then?

When we are comfortable, have a sense of security and certainty about our lives? Guess what happens?
We get bored, we get agitated, we get uneasy! And we slip back into stage 1 again!
 
This isn’t gospel! Maybe you’ll get bored and go back into the jigsaw season and change a few pieces and then can go back to joy, maybe you’ll stay in joy for a number of years.
 
All this is a framework upon which you can try and place your year, the past 12 months and then for you to try and place what you’re expecting 2018 to bring- what resonates with you the most and if you’re were to make a guess- where have you come from and where are you going?
 
Something to ponder anyway and I’d love to hear your answers!