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Your Inner Critic

Self doubt has been something I’ve always struggled with. It’s a pity I never joined a debating team because by the time I was in my twenties, I had plenty of practice! There was a never ending debate in my head about everything; it was as if I had a split personality. I would want to do something but then I’d have that little voice in my head saying ‘Oohh, be careful- you could screw it up and make a show of yourself’.

The more I wanted to try, grow, learn and experience, the more that little voice spoke up. It got to the point that on many occasions, I actually listened to it and I held myself back. I think one of those times was in fact the decision as to whether to join a debating society in college- the little voice in my head told me I’d make a balls of it so I didn’t even put my name down to try.

The inner critic is that internal chatter that tells you that you are not enough, it’s that inner voice that makes you doubt yourself, your abilities, makes you think you’re not ready, that you don’t know enough to offer an opinion. What I’ve learnt from years of coaching and working with other women is that one of the main reasons why women don’t behave in a loving and kind way towards themselves is because of an underlying belief of not being enough, worthy or deserving. The inner critic plays a key role in our ability to love ourselves as well as our ability to feel confident, take risks and trust our own minds.

All women struggle or as the case may be, battle, with self doubt. For some of us, the voice of self doubt and not good enough speaks up in relation to our career, for others it speaks out about being single or as a mother, for some of us it speaks out about our body, our weight, our aches and pains, getting older! For others, it speaks out about our passions, our dreams, our creativity. For most of us, it’s a combination of all the above!

The thing is that because most of us are so used to hearing this voice, we just believe that it is who we are! We believe it is our voice and since we don’t really chat to people about our insecurities and fears, we don’t learn or realise that other women – women we admire because they ooze confidence- hear the same mean, irrational, harsh crazy talk in their own heads too.

The inner critic costs us so much- think of all those times you stayed silent in a meeting, ideas you never put forward, all those times you didn’t ask for what you wanted or stated what you needed, all those times you didn’t ask the question, all those creative ideas that were parked, all those talents and strengths unused, gradually getting quieter and quieter. Think of all the joy and fulfilment women have missed out on because self doubt got in the way. It is everywhere and we have lost a lot because of it. That’s the bad news.

The good news is less well known. You don’t have to find a magical well of confidence, you don’t need to do past life regression to work through the roots of your insecurities and you don’t need to figure out how to banish fear and self doubt from the face of the earth! Instead, you simply need to learn how to live with that inner voice of self doubt but not be held back by it. To hear it, but not take direction from it. That’s what I want to talk to you about today!

Why do we have an inner critic?

The answer is that we’re hardwired for it. The inner critic is an expression of the safety instinct within us- the part of us that wants to stay safe from potential risk. It’s been with us since the time of the saber tooth tiger and various other animals with large teeth. Nowadays, we don’t have to contend with wild beasts but that instinct to keep us safe is still there and the biggest risk to us now is emotional risk. So these days, the safety instinct aka the inner critic tries to keep us safe from hurt, failure, criticism, disappointment or rejection from our community. It’s a smart cookie….

If your inner critic just said the words, ‘don’t apply for the job’. ‘don’t write the book;, ‘don’t fall in love’, ‘don’t put on a bikini’. These things are far too dangerous – you would laugh- if you listened to it at all in the first place! You’d probably tell the voice to get lost and that you were grand, thanks!

So the safety instinct has learnt to use a more effective approach, instead it says things like:

  • ‘If you leave your job you’ll end up miserable and jobless, you won’t find anything else. You’re lousy at what you do anyway, how have they not caught you out yet? You know that every success is a total fluke’ ,
  • ‘Your writing is mediocre, you really can’t compare yourself to the pros can you?’
  • ‘If you let yourself fall for that person, you’ll have your heart broken, it won’t work out and you’ll waste time and you can’t afford to waste time, you want a family’,
  • ‘How could he be attracted to you? You’ll look like an idiot if you let your guard down’
  • ‘If you put that bikini on, people will think you’re mental, they will look and point, and judge and stare’.

The critic has learnt to speak with a sharp tongue of viciousness and brings in something personal- something that triggers a fear of embarrassment, rejection, failure or pain.

Loving ourselves and following our passions and dreams puts us in a vulnerable place. I know a lot of people don’t like the word vulnerability but the definition of vulnerabilty is ‘exposure to emotional risk’ so if you ever want to grow, try something new, have relationships with other humans then you’ll have to experience it. However our own safety instinct seeks to protect us from that potential vulnerability by mouthing off self criticism and self loathing so that we stay where we are.

Your safety instinct doesn’t give a monkeys whether or not you feel fulfilled or self actualised- it doesn’t care if you’re self comforting every night to numb the feelings of boredom or loneliness.

The safety instinct is happy as long as you stay in the zone of familiar. What it says to you to get you to stay there isn’t necessarily true.

Its job is not to be honest, it’s job is getting you to avoid perceived risk.

When we start to understand that our safety instinct, which has been with us since the dawn of time, uses the inner critic as a strategy to keep us in the zone of the familiar, and that what it says is not actual truth or reality, we start to take away its power. We can say to ourselves in the moment ‘I hear that voice, but I know that’s not the voice of truth and I choose not to take direction from it’.

Self doubt will always be a part of our lives as we move forwards towards our true desires and the mission is not to eliminate self doubt. It will never be gone so that’s a fight we simply can’t win. The mission is learning how to let the inner critic be who it is and do its things, without taking direction from it. The goal is to hear the inner critics voice but not to let that voice determine your choices. The mission is to build a relationship with it in which you understand why it does what it does and for you to step up, do some adulting and tell it that everything is ok, that you got this!

If you want to learn how to manage that relationship with your inner critic then join my ‘All You Need is Love’ programme! Week 2 is all about the Inner Critic and we will deep dive into it so that you learn the tools you need to manage and master that relationship once and for all!

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent..including you!

Doors close on Wednesday 1st March so just go for it!

P x

All You Need is Love

How is your relationship with Money?

Today, I’m talking about your relationship with money because the topic keeps coming up again and again with my clients and for myself personally!

We all have a relationship with money and having a healthy relationship with money is just like any other relationship. You can break up,  kiss and make up,  get so mad and frustrated, fall head over heels, you can be wooed and become smitten, be impulsive, be cautious, you can feel unworthy, undeserving and push it away, you can get blinded and have ups and downs!

But ultimately we want to live happily ever after with our money and like all relationships- it takes love and attention to do that!

Money is an emotive topic so if this triggers you, get curious about it!

Your relationship with money really is an intimate relationship and one that perhaps you’ve been neglecting. Or perhaps you feel it’s the other way around, that money has been neglecting you or even abusive and causing you to play small in life. Perhaps you feel that money doesn’t care about you at all and forgets you even exist!

Trust me though, regardless of where you are; this particular relationship can be salvaged and you can turn this around into a caring and loving partnership.

I had a major realisation this morning, what we coaches call an ‘aha’ moment. The relationship I used to have with money reminded me of relationships I had with exes. It was neglectful, undervalued, dramatic and dysfunctional. Now, I have been working on my money relationship for a few years and it’s improving, but if I’m honest I still have a lot of work to do!  How about you? Does your relationship with money mirror other relationship history? Something for you to ponder…..

Let’s look at what money is; basically money is an exchange of value.

In life, there are transactions in which we exchange money in return for value. That value may be clothes, holidays, a home, a pair of boots, a smoothie, bin collection etc. We earn money in return for value. We provide a service or our time, a particular value is placed on that service/time and money is exchanged for it.

So, if we don’t value ourselves, if we tell ourselves we’re not good enough, not worthy enough then we undervalue ourselves and the exchange of money is reduced. Think about it;  performance appraisals, interviews, negotiations.. any time that you had to talk about the value you add- did you own it? Did you claim your own value or did you play it down?

In personal relationships, it took me a long time for me to realise that it was ok and safe for me to have a healthy, nurturing, respectful relationship. It wasn’t what I was used to. When Colm opened the car door open for me when we were dating, I thought he was a weirdo! Every single time, he would hold it open, wait for me to get in and then walk around to his side. Then I would lean over and open the door for him. We still do this 7 years later and my friends laugh about it but really it was a baby step for me in learning how to have more respectful relationship and it stuck with me.

Anyways, back to money! It is possible and more than ok for you to learn how to fall in love with money! Imagine that, a relationship with money that is full of love, respect and caring.

Here’s what to do:

Identify the characteristics of your current relationship with money:

Is the relationship neglected, respectful, dangerous, loving, thrilling, fun, abusive, nurturing…?

Who are you in the relationship you have with money?

Are you dismissive, are careless, are you nurturing, are you disrespectful, are you jealous, are you obsessive, are you caring, are you clingy? Don’t worry about what your current reality is because once we’re aware, we can start to make changes.

What is your all time favourite love story?

If you had to pick the most romantic or the best movie relationship, something that inspires you, what would it be?

Perhaps you’d choose The Notebook, perhaps any of the Love Actually couples, maybe Notting Hill, maybe Pretty Woman, maybe Mamma Mia! Have a good think about it? Look through your favourite movies! I would choose a movie called ‘Ever After’ with Drew Barrymore- it’s a Cinderella story but basically she does end up with her happily ever after and her prince but she rescues herself!

How would you describe the relationship the characters have?

So for example, is it exciting & sexy, is it romantic and respectful, is it empowered and enduring, is it loyal and stable, is it romantic and loving?

If you were to merge your love story and your money; describe what your relationship with money would be like?

  • How would you know you were valued?
  • How would you feel spending money on you?
  • Who would you be in this new relationship?
  • How would you show up and let money know you cared?
  • How would you expect it to treat you?
  • What would you be doing regularly to nurture the relationship?

 This is all for you to ponder! Answer the questions, give it some thought because sometimes looking at something from a new perspective can lead to massive change. So, for now please remember that it’s more than ok for you to have an amazing money relationship, it’s ok for you to feel supported!

But remember that you are responsible for what you bring to the relationship; you can’t be neglectful and then resent it because it’s never there when you need it!

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this topic so please feel free to shoot me an email or pop over to my facebook page!

Until next week,

P x

Watching Frozen with my 5 year old nephew……

I was minding my nephew Jamie after school on Monday and while I was cooking, he navigated his way to netflix with stealth speed and stuck on Frozen for himself and Sarah to watch! I’ve seen it a few times and of course, I found myself being pulled in gradually! I’ll admit that the words of ‘Let It Go’ are drilled into my mind but there was one line in particular that for me, really sticks out. Elsa sings ‘Conceal, don’t feel. Don’t let them know”. It sticks out because it’s a juicy topic, I can relate and it’s the focus of a lot of 1-1 work with clients when we’re working on emotional intelligence. Do you conceal your emotions or do you allow yourself to feel them?

It’s an area that I have been personally fascinated with for years. You see, I used to conceal – in fact, I was the queen of conceal!  I’d put on my poker face, I’d take care of others, I’d bite my lip, I’d say yes and get swamped with work and smile politely like a ‘good’ girl. It meant I didn’t have to really engage, I’d let things just wash over me. Or so I thought!

In my effort to conceal how I really felt, I was actively engaged in numbing. Numbing is pretty much anything you do to distract yourself from feeling the emotions that you don’t want to feel. I was trying not to feel angry, hurt, anxious, disappointed, loss, empty and all those other negative emotions and it took a lot of effort and practice- it wasn’t a natural thing for me to do. I had to work hard at it but after a while I excelled but little did I know what the real cost was going to be…..

‘We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” – Brene Brown

As the years went on, I lost my joy for life. I lost the magic, wonder, awe, curiosity and excitement that is present in everyday life. I lost myself. I wasn’t allowing myself to look forward to things or get excited in case I was disappointed. I wasn’t allowing myself to be happy for what I had achieved as there was always something else on the list. I wasn’t allowing people to get to know me and despite having a wonderful family and a wide circle of friends- I felt incredibly alone. Paula against the world. I put huge amounts of pressure on myself to be everything to everyone but at the same time, to myself, I became worthless. I was on auto-pilot, working hard and studying law (which I hated with a passion but ignored) because I thought that achievement or recognition from others would plug the empty feeling. It didn’t.

I had numbed everything, positive and negative and I lost myself.

But finally, after almost 10 years of actively numbing- I woke up to what I was doing! Cue meltdown, 6 year relationship ending, changing my career entirely, a lot of tears and a hell of lot of soul searching! I still have numbing days but life is amazing, inspiring and brings me so much joy now- in all areas! (The whole process and exactly ‘how’ is a long story!)

But as I said, this has been a hot topic with my private clients in the past few months. So many of them have been numbing for years and they’re recognising that their behaviour isn’t serving them and that they need to change. Some of the common numbing trends include cigarettes, alcohol, food, spending money (that they don’t have), casual sex, doing degrees, masters, PhD’s to bring them further up the career ladder (even though they know it’s leaning against the wrong wall) and the most common one I’ve seen lately is completely ignoring the whole sphere of their personal life and relationships and focusing almost solely on career! Do you know anyone who does that? Perhaps know them really well 😉

I wanted to share my experience with you so that you can be aware of what happens when we conceal how we feel- when we start to numb ourselves to life. Unfortunately, it’s far too common.

Why do we do it?

In most cases, we numb to avoid feeling vulnerable and exposed. We think we’re protecting ourselves but the truth is we are not. We’re hiding our true self from the world and the longer we hide and disconnect, the greater the risk we run of losing ourselves and our real connection with others.

“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow — that’s vulnerability. It sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” – Brene Brown

Can you live life without love?…… Can you live life without allowing yourself be vulnerable?

Food for thought xx

P x

****Check out my new 30 Day Programme ‘All You Need is Love‘ starting 29th May!****

This course is a 30-day program about the power of loving yourself. And, let me set this straight – I don’t mean a conceited, cocky self love; I mean a valuing yourself, going after what you want, honouring yourself, knowing your worth and expressing yourself openly type of self love!

It is so incredibly important.  All of the rest of it — everything else you’re wanting in your life like meaningful work, finding your voice, standing up for yourself, asking for what you need and want, putting yourself out there, making new friends as an adult, cultivating new romantic relationships, committing to romantic relationships, making decisions on your future…..- it all sits on the foundation of Love.

Without Self- Love and Self-Care, we take two steps forward and one step back, we get lost in self sabotage and then listen to our inner critic and mind monkeys and we lash ourselves out of it for not being enough, our motivation disappears at the first sign of struggle or we spiral into negativity and we suck the goodness out of everything.

We start on 29th May 2016 but you’ll have access to the materials from a few days beforehand as well as the community of a small private group to keep you on track, motivated and accountable!                                                                              

What we’ll cover…..

Building Your Strong Foundation:

Week One: Self Care vs Self Comfort

We focus our attention on Self Love and Self Care and what that currently looks like for you! We discover the difference between self-care and self-comfort, we look at your current habits and behaviours and develop new strategies for building a strong foundation of self love.

Week Two: Your Inner Critic vs Your Inner Mentor

In week two, we explore your inner critic (yep- that nasty little voice(s) in your head!). We look at where it came from, why it’s there as well as strategies to deal with inner critic. We also are introduced to our inner mentor- the most powerful ally and guide we have and we learn how to access her wisdom and resourcefulness.

Practicing & Maintaining Self Love in a Messy World!

Week Three: Your Confidence Rituals

In week three, we’re working on strategies to boost your inner confidence by learning to own your story! We’ll have your confidence sky rocketing to the moon as we make you the leader of your own life. At the end of this week, you’ll be more comfortable in your own skin, feeling more positive and creating your own rituals for confidence and success on your own terms.

Week Four: Moving Forward with Self Love & Integrity

In our final week, we look at your intentions from the start of the course, examine your new learning and how to integrate it into your life moving forwards. Life will always keep moving forwards and this final module will help to ensure that you are stepping forward with life from a place of self love, integrity and on your own terms.

Losing Yourself…..

So this is a really juicy topic and something that comes up regularly with my private coaching clients. It is the experience or the fear of losing yourself.

What do I mean by that? Let me explain..

I’m talking about the woman who suffers burnout, is off work for a month and has no idea what to do with herself, has only suits in her wardrobe and whose personal relationships with friends has disintegrated. She has lost herself to her job.

I’m talking about the woman who enters a relationship with a new partner and changes her behaviours, interests, time with friends and wardrobe! She has lost herself to her relationship.

I’m talking about woman who has had a child and now doesn’t pursue her passions, who is agitated and cranky with the world, who takes on so much responsibility and puts her needs second. She has lost herself to motherhood.

I’m talking about the woman who knows she has potential, who knows that deep down she was meant to do something incredible and make a difference in this world but instead, she is hiding, staying small, not going after her dreams and compromising. She has lost herself to her fears.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’ve been behaving in ways that have been very uncomfortable for me. I’ve been bitching at my husband, rolling my eyes when someone says something irritating (and finding the tiniest things irritating), shouting at our dog, shouting and cursing at drivers or at traffic lights; basically not being a very nice person! And when I have those moments of being a cranky ass or being short or dismissive with the people I care about, I always feel bad afterwards and it just causes me to spiral downwards.

But what really got my attention was what I would say, it was

‘I’m sorry, this isn’t me’.

Then it clicked, I’d lost myself. I was behaving and reacting in ways that simply weren’t typical of my normal behaviour. I don’t normally go around shouting at the dog, cursing at the hoover and wanting to punch anyone who rings my doorbell once Sarah is asleep!

I had definitely lost myself!

But lost myself to what?? Maybe life? Maybe new mamahood? Maybe Poor Self Care?

The lack of Self-Care really resonated with me and it was intriguing as I had never thought that thought before!

But it made so much sense!  Just think about it- if you’re hungry- are you being your optimal self? (Snickers/gremlin ad anyone?) If you haven’t slept properly- are you operating at your optimal level? If you have been putting all of your energy/time and focus onto other people and other projects- are you going to feel taken care of within yourself? If you’re not setting boundaries with people and saying yes when you want to say no- are you going to feel respected and strong? And if you put all that together, really, are you going to be yourself?

The answer is no.

You may be a version of yourself or a shell of yourself but you definitely won’t be yourself as best you can be!

We all need Self Care, Self Love, Self Respect and Self Compassion in place as the foundation upon which to securely build everything else in our lives.

If we don’t have that as our solid foundation, then everything else is incredibly rocky- our relationships, our health, our career, our finances etc!

I’d never thought of losing myself to lack of self care before but it made perfect sense and know quarter_life_blueprint_image3I know what I need to do to find myself again- early nights, turn off the tv, drink more water, book in for a massage and implement small habits that will have a big positive impact!

So, how bout you? Have you ever lost yourself to your career, relationship, lack of self care before? Or is that something that scares you? If you feel like you could do with putting that solid foundation in place then check out my ‘All You Need is Love’ programme starting 22nd February. It’s what I’ve been using to bring myself back to me and I’d love to support you to do the same!

Until next time, take care of you!

P x

 

Happy Halloween!

285635_10151107638055669_1257918381_nI love this time of year! I always have done, even when I was a kid! I mean, what’s not to love! Being allowed out late, sweets, dressing up in costumes and the thought of witches flying around on their broomsticks on Halloween night! That’s actually what I loved the most- I loved the idea of witches. Being able to fly, casting magic spells and making things happen! I used to play games as a kid pretending to be a witch, casting spells and making my wishes come true! I loved the idea of having the power to make things happen. And you know what, as I kid, believing in magic and personal power- life was magical.

Over the years though, in my teens and early twenties, I lost that sparkle, magic and power. Life became dull, negative and to be honest, a real downer. Like everyone, I lost people I cared about, things didn’t turn out how I had planned and my confidence and self worth got chipped away each day. Life just seemed tough, unfair and uninspiring.

Then I discovered something called ‘gratitude’- it was an alien concept to me at the time but I started practising it and when I did, I suddenly refocused from looking at things through my despair tinted glasses to seeing things from a completely different perspective. My mam had died- I was grateful to have had her as my mam. My family had fallen apart- I was grateful that I knew they would come back together in time when their hearts healed. I had no idea how to handle negative emotions and I self harmed- I was grateful I was alive because if I’m totally honest there had been times when I thought it would be easier if I wasn’t. By opening my eyes and starting to see the wonderful things that I did have, it started me on the path that I’m walking today. The more I healed, forgave myself and grew stronger, the more power I realised I had. I started feeling magical again, not all the time but magical moments- perhaps just a few seconds but enough to remind me that they existed but undoubtedly the best thing that I discovered was Magic Dust.

Now I promise I haven’t lost my mind but modern day magic dust does exist and you can sprinkle it everywhere and magic just starts happening. This is probably my favourite magical power! I can sprinkle magic dust on another person and change their day- how amazing is that!

How many people do you interact with on any given day? How many people serve you? I’m talking anything from the coffee in the morning to the milkman to a Pilate’s instructor to a salesperson in a shop to a chef in a restaurant and the waitress? Did you know that you can sprinkle fairy dust on them and change their day?

You can look them in the eye and say ‘thank you, I really appreciate your help. It means a lot’. The people who work in a service role are giving to you, you are receiving from then and most of time; we take it for granted. We bitch and moan and complain but the bus driver picks you up and brings you where you want to go, your coffee is made up for you to your specific request, the bins are collected, the grass is cut, flowers are planted in parks, the streets are cleaned, a meal is cooked and served to you and your water glass is topped up!

I love this! It honestly is an incredible feeling to acknowledge someone else and thank them. You will be amazed at the responses you will get- everything from disbelief and suspicion to a smile to a wave of gratitude from them back to you. It amazing, one simple thing done with sincerity is like sprinkling magic dust on your world! When you say thank you to someone, look them in the eye! That’s how the magic dust gets sprinkled!

I have a habit now of writing a note of thanks to the chef and kitchen staff in a restaurant when I’ve had a lovely meal! The very first time I did it though, it wasn’t my idea, it was my other half Colm who suggested it! We had just had the most delicious meal so when he suggested we thank the chef, I got excited and whipped a pen and paper out of my bag. It was humbling when the chef came out with tears in his eyes and told us it was the first time that a customer had ever thanked him. He was genuinely moved and grateful and so were we. It was so simple but it was magic. I also learned that day that Colm was a keeper! He knew how to sprinkle magic dust!

Every action always has an equal reaction. If you really mean it when you say thank you, the other person will feel it and you will not only have made the other person feel really good but your gratitude will fill you with happiness. The day we walked out of that restaurant, we felt indescribably happy.

So, this Halloween, how about you bring that sparkle back into your world and sprinkle some magic dust!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Love P x

Who’s afraid of The Big Bad Wolf?

An issue that has been coming up in recent months from many of my private coaching clients has been the sense of frustration and powerlessness they feel in relation to their career. There is a wide variety of reasons that I hear such as uncertainty about whether their contract will be renewed (whether they actually want it renewed or not!), being afraid to speak up for fear of losing their job, afraid to rock the boat, putting up with a manager that you can’t stand and the biggest one (drum roll please!!!!) is being in a job that you really hate!! A job that is draining your energy and passion for life!!

In the current climate, if you start complaining about any aspect of your job, you can almost be guaranteed that someone will pitch in with

‘Stop complaining, sure you’re lucky to have a job at all. Think of all the people who’d give anything to be in your position. Don’t be getting too big for your boots! Put your head down, keep your mouth shut and just get on with it’.

Unfortunately, too many people listen to this advice.

The amusing thing about this is that for many people- it’s the voice in their own head offering them up this fabulous advice! More than likely-

YOU are the big bad wolf!

We may try and convince ourselves that it’s the company, it’s our boss, it’s the economy, that we have no control and therefore no power. But I don’t buy that and the reason why I don’t buy it is because I been there, told myself the same thing as well and I’ve learnt from it and discovered the truth. Also, I’ve been working with private clients for the past 18 months on this exact issue who have been telling themselves the same thing as well but then we got to the truth.

The truth is that no matter how bad the situation is at work, for now, it’s less scary than the unknown and THAT IS WHY YOU ARE STILL THERE.

So how do you overcome this?

You start getting to know yourself and what you want!

Think about this for a minute, if you:

  • Knew what you’d love to do instead of your current work,
  • Knew what your transferable skills were,
  • Knew how much value you could add to any organisation,
  • Knew what your passions were,
  • Knew exactly what you needed from your career
  • Knew that you had a kick ass CV
  • Knew that you could ace an interview,
  • Researched and built up a network of people who could help you to move into an area you loved

 If you had all that information and knowledge, would you feel more confident in putting yourself out there and going for something you would love to do?

The answer is Hell Yeah!!’ (Just in case you weren’t sure!!)

This is something that YOU have control over! The answers are within you, you just haven’t been asking yourself the right questions!

If you need to get to know yourself, get to know what you want and bust out of your Career Crisis then check out my 8 week ‘Conquer Your Career Crisis’ Programme starting Friday the 12th September and get ready to take back control and make some big changes!!

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,

 Paula

 

 

Have you lost your muchness?

I found this blog post in my old files! I’d written it over 3 years ago but I thought it was still relevant so wanted to share it with you now!

I watched Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp during the week. I’d seen it once before, but this time around one particular scene really caught my attention.

The Mad Hatter is talking to Alice and telling her that the last time she visited Wonderland, she was muchnesswide“much muchier” and now she seemed to have lost her “muchness.” I was intrigued. Muchness is defined as “greatness in quantity or degree.” What the Mad Hatter was saying in his own way was that Alice had lost some of who she used to be. Basically that she had forgotten who she truly was as she had grown up. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t picked up on that before.

How many of you feel that we have lost some part of ourselves as we’ve grown up? How many of you, as kids, were kinda afraid to grow up because you believed you would become less of yourself? I was afraid that I would become a boring, careful person who followed the rules and thought it odd to walk barefoot in the grass. But guess what? I grew up and followed the rules and thought it odd of people who walked in the grass barefoot! I was thinking, ‘do they not realise the amount of dog crap there!’ I’ve been trying to reclaim my muchness for years now!

When I think back to my childhood, I can see myself as exactly the same person yet at the same time, completely different. I feel quite lucky in the fact that I’ve always managed to keep some of my muchness, that childlike excitement, wonder and awe. However the bold fearlessness, perhaps ‘muchiness’ is something which I feel I’ve lost a lot of.

I was skiing earlier this year (2011!) and I had been really looking forward to it. I had been once before when I was younger and back then, on the first day, I had skied down the mountain with my older (but still very young) cousin. It was exhilarating and wild.

Back to present day, 26 years old, up a mountain with a pair of skies and a snail would have gone faster than me. I was terrified and I was really surprised. I suppose as I grew up, I had just become a lot more conscious of the fact that my body is perishable and can break. I was really disappointed that I held myself back so much whilst skiing this year and it’s only now I realise it’s because I had lost my muchness. (Possibly why I threw myself out of a plane and walked through fire since then!)

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to lose my muchness. I feel like it’s a huge part of me and that I have already lost enough of it. I find it scary that we lose a huge part of who we are, simply by growing older. I understand that we are going to grow up and there’s nothing that we can do about the passing of time however just because we grow older it doesn’t mean that we have to lose sight of who we used to be. Many of my clients often find their true passions and strengths when they remember who they truly are.

So, today I invite you to embrace and reclaim your muchness! Take some time to figure out what your muchness is and whether you’ve lost the essence of who you are as you grew up. When you get down the essence of who you were — the heart of who you thought you would be — what do you come up with? What of that essence have you lost? Contemplate the following questions and I’d love to hear your stories..

6 Questions To Reclaim Your Muchness

  1. What did I enjoy doing when I was a kid?  When you think about what you enjoyed doing you may be surprised that you still like to do those things. Often the things we enjoy as kids are things we enjoy our whole lives (A recent client of mine is making a career change from pharmaceuticals to fashion- she had been styling her dolls/ friends and making outfits since she was a child but was told it wasn’t a safe career. She is definitely reclaiming her muchness!!). Give this some thought and you’ll uncover a lot about the essence of who you are. What you liked to do then says a lot about the kind of person you were. (Not sure what to say to the people who used to burn insects under a magnifying glass!)
  2. Did I stop doing those things and why? Some people continue to do the things they loved to do as kids however most of us have stopped. Think about what you did as a kid and ask yourself why you still do it or why you have stopped?
  3. Who did I think I would be when I grew up?  Allow yourself to be completely honest here because when you think about who you thought you would be, you’ll learn about the things that were important to you as a kid. I know that some things may be a bit far-fetched, for example a Super Hero but… think about why you wanted to be that person? What did you think that would give you? Respect, Strength, Fitness. If you wanted to be a pilot, it could have been that you wanted to travel and see the world.
  4. How am I like my childhood ideal?  Take some time to consider how you might actually be like your childhood ideal. You might not be exactly what you thought you would be, but you may be closer than you think. For example, I always wanted to be a published author which at the moment I’m not, but I do spend a lot of my time writing!
  5. What attitudes and beliefs did I hold as a kid?  This is probably the most important question. Though it’s essential to examine what you liked to do and who you thought you would be, the most important thing to consider is what your beliefs were as a child. What was important to you? In Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter believes Alice has lost some of her courage because she grew up. Consider how you may have acted as a child and then consider…
  6. How have my attitudes and beliefs changed?  As we get older, it’s no surprise that some of the things we hold as important change. But think about how your beliefs may have changed since you were a kid. What attitudes did you have then that you may not have now? If you witnessed an injustice, as a child would you have spoken up? Would you now?

The majority of individuals I work with are twenty-somethings and I believe a big reason why so many of us struggle in our twenties is because we have lost our muchness and it is incredibly frustrating. We can see what we want to do, be or have but we don’t the muchness to go after it. There’s something missing and we make the mistake of believing that it is something external but it’s not. Everything we need to fill the ‘emptiness’ or ‘the something missing’ is still within us, just hidden inside- we simply need to reclaim it!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! Pop over to the facebook page and let me know if you feel you’ve lost your muchness and what you’re going to do to reclaim it!

Love Always,

Paula x

Do you conceal or do you feel?

This is a hot topic with a lot of my clients at the moment! Do you conceal your emotions or do you allow yourself to feel them?

It’s also an area that I have been personally fascinated with for years. You see, I used to conceal – in fact, I was the queen of conceal!  I’d put on my poker face, I’d take care of others, I’d bite my lip, I’d say yes and get swapped with work and smile politely like a ‘good’ girl. It meant I didn’t have to really engage, I’d let things just wash over me. Or so I thought!

In my effort to conceal how I really felt, I was actively engaged in numbing. Numbing is pretty much anything you do to distract yourself from feeling the emotions that you don’t want to feel. I was trying not to feel angry, hurt, anxious, disappointed, loss, empty and all those other negative emotions and it took a lot of effort and practice- it wasn’t a natural thing for me to do. I had to work hard at it but after a while I excelled but little did I know what the real cost was going to be…..

‘We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” – Brene Brown

As the years went on, I lost my joy for life. I lost the magic, wonder, awe, curiosity and excitement that is present in everyday life. I lost myself. I wasn’t allowing myself to look forward to things or get excited in case I was disappointed. I wasn’t allowing myself to be happy for what I had achieved as there was always something else on the list. I wasn’t allowing people to get to know me and despite having a wonderful family and a wide circle of friends- I felt incredibly alone. Paula against the world. I put huge amounts of pressure on myself to be everything to everyone but at the same time, to myself, I became worthless. I was on auto-pilot, working hard and studying law (which I hated with a passion but ignored) because I thought that achievement or recognition from others would plug the empty feeling. It didn’t.

I had numbed everything, positive and negative and I lost myself.

But finally, after almost 10 years of actively numbing- I woke up to what I was doing! Cue meltdown, 6 year relationship ending, changing my career entirely, a lot of tears and a hell of lot of soul searching! I still have numbing days but life is amazing, inspiring and brings me so much joy now- in all areas! (The whole process and exactly ‘how’ is a long story!)

But as I said, this has been a hot topic with my private clients in the past few months. So many of them have been numbing for years and they’re recognising that their behaviour isn’t serving them and that they need to change. Some of the common numbing trends include cigarettes, alcohol, food, spending money (that they don’t have), casual sex, doing degrees, masters, PhD’s to bring them further up the career ladder (even though they know it’s leaning against the wrong wall) and the most common one I’ve seen lately is completely ignoring the whole sphere of their personal life and relationships and focusing almost solely on career! Do you know anyone who does that? Perhaps know them really well 😉

I wanted to share my experience with you so that you can be aware of what happens when we conceal how we feel- when we start to numb ourselves to life. Unfortunately, it’s far too common.

Why do we do it?

In most cases, we numb to avoid feeling vulnerable. We think we’re protecting ourselves but the truth is we are not. We’re hiding our true self from the world and the longer we hide and disconnect, the greater the risk we run of losing ourselves.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” – Brene Brown

I hope you enjoyed this weeks issue of Progress! I’d love to see your thoughts/opinions and comments on this topic so pop over to the facebook page and let me know – Do you conceal or do you feel?

Chat soon,

P x

I am nothing

“Your outlook on life is a direct reflection on how much you like yourself.” Unknown

“I am nothing.” & ” I am worthless”

Those thoughts plagued me for years. They would be what I closed my eyes to at night and they were what greeted me every morning when I woke up. I slept a lot then, always wanting to hide from my own thoughts and feelings!

Though, as far as everyone else knew, I was ‘ok’! I was moving forwards in my life- making progress- baby steps!

My self-esteem began to suffer as the months went by. I felt inferior to everyone else, completely insignificant and totally alone. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life—and I was starting to not even care.

But several months (years) and thousands of hours of self abuse later, I found myself at rock bottom which is not a place I’d recommend to anyone BUT in saying that, there was one good thing about it. From there, the only way was up.

I decided that enough was enough. I had spent years studying coaching and reading about coaching, reading about making your dreams happen, reading other peoples stories, reading and listening to other peoples successes and happiness. The ‘bad crap’ that I had been involved with for the past few years was really just dragging me down- just plain old negativity and self loathing!

So the decision was made to stop with the ‘bad crap’, both from myself and other people. I tried to silence the voice in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough (although the gag did fall off from time to time) and asked myself what would really make me happy.

I’ve always been very expressive and creative. I loved to sing, play music, draw and dance when I was younger. But my favourite thing was always writing and believe it or not, listening. I loved to listen to stories, write stories, read stories- it didn’t matter!

So, I changed a lot of things but a big change was my career! I turned my back on my Industrial Relations and Law background that I had spent over 5 studying in college and I enrolled on a life coaching course that changed my life. I moved from an employee to an entrepreneur. I started taking action and making changes. Every single day, I am terrified but it’s a great terrified! I am happy with my decisions and I feel better about myself because I make my decisions for me and for my happiness.

So, I’ve learned a few things about choosing the right path for you and focusing on what will make you happy. If you’ve been struggling to make that choice, here’s some tips:

Switch off your worries.

Worry puts the weight of the world on your mind, body, and spirit. It can develop into anxiety which can plague you all day and can keep you up all night. During my period of living in what I now fondly recall as ‘my pit of despair’, I relentlessly questioned every aspect of my life. I would go to bed frustrated and upset as I told myself I wasn’t good enough, that I was insignificant and by constantly bashing myself and worrying about every single thing that could happen to me and the people I cared about, I was missing out on all the good stuff.

So, the best thing to do to switch off your worries is to start a daily gratitude practice. It is simple in theory but can be difficult in practice because it is a daily practice! It requires that you actually do it! Every day, at any time, take out a piece of paper and pen and write down ten things/people/experiences that you are grateful for. Actually stop and think about these things and why you are grateful for this. I found it really tough at the beginning and to be honest, I couldn’t think of anything I was grateful for! It took a while but I kept it up and soon, the floodgates opened!

Believe.

When you start to figure out what you want in life, there will be obstacles. The biggest obstacle that you will have to overcome is yourself. This, I guarantee. You are the biggest culprit for getting in your own way and sabotaging your own success. But guess what….. that is the case for everyone. We are all our own worst enemy.

Use visualisation to help you overcome this! So basically, close your eyes and imagine yourself doing whatever it is that you want to do! It sounds silly but it really works- if you can ‘see’ yourself where you want to be, it really helps you get there. Remember, Seeing is Believing! Believe in yourself and believe in your decisions.

Surround yourself with positivity.

Limit the amount of time you spend with people who suck your energy and the very life force out of your body! Avoid naysayers, people who judge, belittle others and ridicule. Choose to  surround yourself with positive, inspiring people and influences. You will feel much happier and better about yourself if you do this. I also stopped listening to the news and I completely avoid radio chat shows!

The most important thing to remember is that you are worth it, you can go another day, and you can be happy. Life will not throw you anything you cannot handle or overcome. Whatever is the worst thing that has happened to you, you are still here and you should be proud!

Once you start to appreciate yourself and acknowledge that you want whatever it is that you want for your own life, the path will clear and you will see the way forward again. Be kind to yourself, look after yourself and life will feel a whole lot happier!

P x