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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

Why love makes you vulnerable (and why that’s ok!)

The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster, for me, for my family and for many of my clients. When I speak to people, the theme that keeps coming up over and over again is ‘feeling vulnerable’. We may call it being afraid, feeling weak or feeling powerless.

 Vulnerability is something we don’t like to feel, we’re uncomfortable with it. We try to avoid it by putting on a mask, telling people that we’re fine, not allowing ourselves to be enthusiastic about things that we really are excited about and detaching- basically putting on armour to try and protect ourselves and our feelings. Can you relate?

I’m getting married in 4 weeks and a little while ago, I had a nightmare that Colm had died. It really shook me. It was just a dream but I woke up sobbing and in a lot of pain. I got scared. The pain of loss, the fear that this could happen someday, the heartbreak all felt real. It really threw me for days.

Combine that with the fact that my 8 week old baby cousin was taken into hospital and it was a touch and go situation for a few days, not knowing if she would survive. My sister was also taken into A & E. Following my heart and running my own business and the ups and downs that go with that! Situations and life events that make you feel shit. That make you feel scared and make you want to hide and not face the world. That make you feel powerless and vulnerable.

I ponder things a lot, (especially when I’m feeling lousy) and what I realised was the following:

  •  Colm- I love him
  • My little cuz- I love her
  • My sister- I love her
  • My business- I love what I do

If I didn’t care for these people, I wouldn’t have felt bad. If I didn’t feel connected to them, it wouldn’t have bothered me. But I love them, I care about them and I feel connected to them. If I didn’t give a crap about my work, I wouldn’t feel vulnerable but I adore what I do and I’m passionate about it. Love is the common denominator.

Loving other people, pursuing careers that you’re passionate about, following your dreams and trusting your heart takes a hell of a lot of courage because we know that it could possibly cause us heartache, disappointment and pain. Love opens us up to vulnerability.

 But what if you want to avoid the heartache, the disappointment and pain?

It would mean that you would have to detach. That you would have to put on armour to protect ourselves. It would mean that people wouldn’t really get to know the ‘real you’ because you would be hiding under a mask or a duvet! It would mean that you wouldn’t have those strong connections with people. It would mean that your dreams and your hearts desires would be abandoned.

 The bravest people I know are also the people who are the most vulnerable. They are the ones speaking their truth, following their dreams and living and loving with their whole hearts. We admire these people. We look at people who put themselves out there, who are open about who they are and what’s important to them and we respect them.

 But we are slow to follow in their footsteps because we don’t want to feel vulnerable!

 To allow ourselves to be vulnerable takes a lot of courage, it means that we have to be real. It means that we have to be open and love and express ourselves. It means we have to connect with people. Love makes us vulnerable, whether that’s loving our partners, our families, our children or our work but you know what, even understanding that love and vulnerability go hand in hand, I’d still choose love anyday. How about you?

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear your thoughts on love and vulnerability so drop me a line and let me know!

Also, I was just wondering how you are follow your heart this year? What do you need courage for?

What if you had 24/7 access to an online community of support? What if you were held accountable to achieving your goals and going after your dreams in 2014? What if you learnt how to look after yourself properly? What if you learned how to follow through on your decisions? What if you learnt to be more loving towards yourself? The Quarter Life Club can give you all this plus more for less than €10 per month! Click here to find out more! http://myquarterlifecoach.com/working-with-paula/the-quarter-life-club/

Until next time,

Allow yourself to be vulnerable!

P x

Making Magic!

 ‘Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it’

Roald Dahl

 So, magic! Fairy godmothers, forests, streams, adventure, imagination, passion, aliveness, energy, Santa Claus and flying reindeer, Easter bunnies, magic!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magic operates in the invisible realm. We don’t see it, we feel it. What I find so amazing is that we were taught this by our parents and society as well, but the real message got lost over the years. If you asked a child ‘What’s the magic words? He or she will easily say to you ‘please’ and after they have received, ‘What are the magic words?’ they will tell you ‘Thank You’.

That’s it! That’s how you bring forth magic into your life, you must say the magic words, ‘Thank you’. It’s all about gratitude but for me, gratitude is magic. When we actually stop and acknowledge the wonder and abundance of the life we are living, when we are thankful for it, we shine. When we focus on the good stuff we have, we feel good and then it’s so much easier to trust ourselves and focus on the good stuff we’re headed for. Gratitude is the magic formula and something that all people who appear to lead a charmed life practice on a daily basis.

If you practice gratitude a little, your life will change a little. If you practice gratitude a lot every day, your life will change dramatically and in ways you can’t even begin to imagine!

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

I hope you enjoyed this weeks issue of Progress! I have a challenge for you this week! I want you to make a gratitude list for 2013- what happened that you are grateful for? What didn’t happen that you feel grateful for? Little things, big things, anything? Just sit down, write it out and share it over in the facebook group!

Until next week!

Live magically!

P x

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Let’s talk about Money

Money is a very personal topic and I know that many of us don’t like talking about it! Why? Cos we feel like we don’t have enough! It’s a major stressor for so many people and you know what, there’s even a name for it- Scarcity Mentality! I think we’re all guilty of having a scarcity mentality- it’s that feeling of not having enough and not being enough. Most of the time, I work with women who feel like they aren’t enough- not good enough, smart enough, brave enough etc but today I want to talk about scarcity mentality in relation to our finances.

January is a major month for money blues and scarcity mindset, there’s no denying that! Over the past few weeks, we’ve spent most of our cash on gifts, cards, food, going out, catching up with friends and we generally have had a good time. We look forward to the new year with high hopes and ambitions of what we’re going to change but then, January comes and we feel shit.

Why? Because it’s a long 4 weeks to payday so January can be like hell. We feel like we haven’t enough, we’re stressed and worried about our finances and we feel insecure. Money worries is one of the biggest reasons why New Year resolutions fall flat on their face before the end of January! It’s a major stress point and has an enormous impact on almost every aspect of our lives! When we’re stressed or worried in one area in our life, it can seep into other areas and then all of a sudden we’re comforting ourselves on the couch stuffing our faces with chocolate or alcohol to try and numb the feelings of anxiety.

So, what do we need to do? We need to get in control and confident with our finances. Now.

We will be dealing with money for the rest of our lives and if it’s a source of stress for you now and you continue to ignore it or avoid it, it’s not going to get better. Guaranteed.

So, let’s stop pretending we are ostriches and get our heads out of the sand! Here are a few top tips ostrichto break out of your scarcity mentality!

 1. Reality Check!

Do you know where you’re money is going? Do you have a budget? Do you need one? This is the first step in getting your head out of the sand, face up to reality! Look at your accounts, look at your savings, look at your income, look at your expenditure and budget for things (including fun). Once you know where you are right now, you immediately have more control and can make better decisions about your finances.

2. There’s always more

When you’re handing over money to buy something or pay a bill, say to yourself ‘there’s always more where that came from’. It might sound silly but there’s so much power in the words that we say to ourselves. It’s the truth. There is always more- you may not have it in your purse right now but you are capable of creating more, earning more. How much crap have you got in your house that you don’t use? Do a car boot sale! Clear out the mess and make a few bob!

3. Start a fun fund

We need to have fun, relax and treat ourselves. It’s vital and non-negotiable if you’re working with me! So, if you’re holding back and saying you can’t afford to go to the cinema or have a drink after work with friends, then you need to start a fun fund. It’s a savings account or piggy bank that has money set aside that is to be spent on fun and fun only! Having fun and treating yourself well is one of the key ways to break out of scarcity mentality!

4. Spread the wealth

Anytime you catch yourself worrying about money or stuck in scarcity mentality- I want you to give some money away. Donate to a charity or cause that you feel connected with! Another way to spread the wealth is to be generous with your friends and family. It’s a great feeling to say, ‘I’ll get this’ when you’re out with people you care about. Even if you just got a pot of tea and a cake to share!

5. Educate yourself

You probably know this already but almost half the world, over 3 billion people live on less than €2 per day. 80% of all of the people in the world live on less than €7 per day. That is the reality. Now, I’d be pretty confident given the fact that you’re reading this that you don’t fall into either one of those statistics. I get that you want more and that’s fine. If you have more money and resources, I know that you would spread the wealth and everyone would benefit! But we have to realise that true abundance starts with appreciating what we already have right now. You have a roof over your head, clean water, clothes and food. You are already financially abundant!

“Be thankful for what you have  and  you’ll end up having more. If you focus on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”- Oprah

I hope you enjoyed this weeks issue of Progress! I’m really curious as to what you think of this blog! Have you noticed that you have a scarcity mentality? Have you found a way to break out of it? Come over to the facebook page and share your story!

Chat soon,

P x

Stuck in a rut and can’t move forwards?

“The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum.”  -Tony Robbins

Have you ever hesitated to take action and ended up stuck in a rut not knowing what to do? There are some common reasons why this happens.  Sometimes we are waiting for some kind of sign to indicate that it’s okay to move forward. We might be waiting until we feel more confident because we don’t really feel up to the challenge. Or, we could be thinking that if we just wait a bit longer than all the obstacles will disappear and our goals will be easier to achieve.

But how often do we use those reasons as excuses to avoid leaving our comfort zone? Let’s face it, if we are looking to justify procrastination there is no shortage of reasonable sounding excuses.

Procrastination is the equivalent of going nowhere!

The longer we wait to take action, the harder it is to get started. Circumstances will never be perfect and waiting until they are means that in the meantime, you’re going nowhere. The truth is, it will probably never get any easier to move forward and every moment that we hold back will just make things worse.

When we avoid taking action it’s often because we have created resistance in our own mind. We have convinced ourselves that what we want to do is exceedingly difficult. But is that really true or is it just an avoidance technique?

Create momentum, create confidence

Momentum is one of those rare, self-perpetuation phenomenon. That’s what makes it so powerful. The perfect example of momentum is a snowball rolling down a hill. What happens? It grows and picks up speed along the way, we all know this! But how can you use this power to achieve your goals and start living the life that you want to be living?

Instead of getting bogged down by excuses, we need to create some momentum as soon as possible. Trust me, this is not something that is hard to do! That huge, fast moving snowball started out small and slow. The reason it grew was because it kept moving. We don’t have to throw ourselves into action at warp speed, but we do need to start moving and to keep moving so we can build some momentum.

3 Ways to build momentum

Commit to taking the necessary action steps first. That’s what you really need to focus on. What do you need to do first? What’s the most important step at this point? It could even be finding out more information on what to do!

One of the main reasons why people don’t achieve the goals that they set for themselves is because they lack commitment. Commitment to following through on the actions that will bring us where we want to go. Why do we lack commitment? Because we don’t begin immediately! Early on, action needs to be our main concern. Obviously, we want to keep our goal in sight, but the majority of our attention should go toward taking consistent and purposeful action. That’s how we build start building momentum as well as commitment!

Break the process down into baby stepsTaking small, consistent steps toward a goal is generally much more effective than mammoth action every now and then! (Think about, if you’re goal is to become healthier then which is best; exercising a little every day and cutting down on sweets or a 7 day detox once a year?)

Also, it’s easier to get ourselves to act on smaller tasks. Even tiny actions will eventually begin to build momentum and produce results, as long as we are consistent.  Making it your mission to move forward consistently will make it much easier to overcome obstacles because with each step your confidence will grow.

Don’t give up too early!  So many goals have been abandoned because people do one thing, they wait to see what happens, and quit when they don’t see the results they wanted.  Sometimes we don’t even see the results for a long period of time but change is happening below the surface- we just can’t see it yet!

So focus on building momentum, focus on keeping the ball rolling, even if you’re not seeing the results you want just yet. If you get discouraged and quit, that’s it, game over and you lose.

Use momentum to overcome procrastination

Taking action leaves procrastination in the dust. If you do something every day that moves you toward your goals, you’ll be too busy to think about making excuses. Dale Carnegie made this point nicely when he said:

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

So, what are you going to do today?

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! If you have any strategies for keeping momentum or have any stories you’d like to share, just pop over to the facebook page and let us know!

Until Next Time,

Keep going!

P x

Do you Know Your Own Strengths?

If someone asked you what you were good at, what would your response be? Would you find it easy to tell people what your qualities are, or would you mutter under your breath and change the subject very quickly? Generally people struggle to understand or articulate their strengths and their skills, what they are good at and where they excel. Many people find it easier to talk about their weaknesses. You may find yourself saying ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I’m no good at that’, or put yourself down, and find it hard to accept that you do have strengths and abilities.

Knowing your strengths and (yes of course, weaknesses) is part and parcel of developing yourself. With a better understanding of these factors, exploring what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about and ultimately what you want to do with your life becomes easier.

As you start to explore and take ownership of your strengths, you’ll also start to understand what you can naturally do to express them. You don’t see a fish trying to fly, do you? Or an eagle trying to swim? They do what comes to them naturally, because that’s who they are. They are just “being”. Imagine having a job where you can ‘be’. That’s something I hear from clients so often, they want to be able to be themselves in work! They don’t want to have to put on a mask and feign interest, they don’t want to living in fear that they’ll be caught out; they don’t want to continue feeling ‘not good enough’.

Strengths or Weaknesses

It’s the classic question: should you focus on your strengths, or should you work on addressing your weaknesses? It’s a question with good arguments on both sides, but personally I believe that you should focus on your strengths.

Competitive Advantage

Success depends on doing certain things extremely well, rather than doing a lot of different things at an acceptable level. By sharpening your skills and strengths, you give yourself a competitive advantage. Great will always win over mediocre. People will always choose impressive over acceptable just as you will naturally gravitate towards what makes you enthusiastic.

You Are Most Happy When You Enjoy What You Do

Achieving goals are external reasons to focus on your strengths, but there are inner motivations as well. Strength is a natural ability, an innate quality that comes instinctively. According to the renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced me-high-cheeks-sent-me-high!) who studied happiness and productivity, full happiness is achieved only when we are fully using the physical and mental talents given to us. Csikszentmihalyi describes this state as being in “flow.”

Is There Enough Emphasis on Strengths?

In a recent worldwide survey of employees in large corporations, it showed that only 20% of people regularly apply their strengths at work. Markus Buckingham, author of ‘Go Put Your Strengths To Work’ believes a major reason for this is that society puts too much effort on addressing weaknesses rather than improving strengths.

Think about school for a moment, if you got your report card and you got 2 A’s, 2 B’s, 3 C’s and 2 D’s- where would you be told you needed to put more effort into? Without a doubt it was your report_card_1weakest subjects? You would get grinds; you would have extra lessons and put so much effort into improving your weaknesses.  That’s fine if it’s necessary to pass an overall exam but if this becomes your pattern throughout your whole life- ignoring your strengths and focusing on your weaknesses then it’s not ok. It’s pointless and harmful. Some experts say that we have a natural tendency to focus on our personal insecurities but is it really natural or are we trained this way by being encouraged to focus on our weaknesses?

While your priority should still be on your strengths, here are some strategies to address your weaknesses:

 1. Improve it to just an acceptable level: For this strategy, you’re not trying to be good at it. You’re only trying to improve it to the point where it doesn’t affect you negatively anymore. For example, if you are taking doing a driving test, you may be a perfect driver and be completely in control however, parallel parking is your weakness. If you don’t learn to parallel park, you may fail the exam. So obviously here, you would spend some time improving your parallel parking to an acceptable level so that you can pass the test. Once the test is completed, you don’t have to park that way if you don’t want to. If you’re uncomfortable with it and would rather find a space you can pull into, then do that!

 2. Delegate it to another person: Collaborate with a partner who can work on this weak area for you and you could work on an area for them which to you is a strength.

3. Use your strengths to overcome the weakness: Sometimes your strengths can compensate for your weaknesses. If I was to take my own strengths and weaknesses, self control and discipline rank low for me which is quite bad for someone who is self-employed! But love is my highest strength. For me to be disciplined at a high level in my work, I need to link it to a higher purpose- supporting those I love. This is what I have done and it works beautifully, perhaps even a bit too well!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress and that you got something valuable from it! I’m curious though- do you know your own strengths? Pop over to the facebook page and let me know!

Until next time,

Focus on the good stuff!

P x

Conquer Your Career Crisis- 30 days to knowing what you want to do with your life!

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