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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

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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