Coming Out Of The Broom Closet

Happy Halloween!

I’ve always loved Halloween! I was 8 when the movie Hocus Pocus came out and I was obsessed with it! My mam came home from work one night with a gorgeous deep purple hooded cloak because I loved the witch Sarah from the movie! That’s who I dressed as for about the next 3 years straight! I loved the idea of witches, magic, casting spells and being able to make things happen!

As a kid I would study wise women from times ancient times- intrigued by how different things were then. Seriously, like when the internet became a thing- this is what I searched for……Gods, Goddesses, Magic….Back then women were different, or at least society was because men and women were both seen as equal. If anything, society was more matriarchal. The earth itself, nature was seen as feminine ‘Mother Earth’ and as women brought forth life, they were respected and revered.

I learnt about and adored the idea of sitting in circle, of sharing wisdom and the ‘moon tents’. Did you know In many ancient cultures, a woman’s cycle or “moon time” was considered sacred and she took time to rest, renew, and regenerate. Women gathered in ‘moon tents’ or ‘red tents’ because their cycle was often in sync with the women close to them and in sync with the moons cycle. In these places women slowed down, nurtured themselves and each other, took time to reflect on their lives, listened to the wisdom of the grandmothers who came to counsel and support the younger women; and looked forward to the coming births and the coming of age ceremonies for the girls. How amazing would that be? Could you imagine doing that now?

They were wise women, wild women and empowered women. They drew strength from within and the natural world around them. They worked with the earth and paid attention to their bodies and intuition. They were in touch with their power and they shared their wisdom.

Sadly, over the millennia things changed and because of war, greed, religion- women lost their place as sacred and became seen as property and subordinate. The passing of ‘wicce’- meaning ‘wisdom’   between women would see them hung, burnt or tortured for witchcraft -meaning ‘craft of the wise’. It was no longer safe for women to be powerful, to speak up or share their wisdom so we didn’t and so it was for generation after generation and the fear of being seen, being yourself, being real still remains for many women.

I’ve always been fascinated with this because I’ve always been scared to allow myself be myself. Always playing small, hiding part of myself, scared of what others may think of me if I allow people to see the real me. Through my personal development work over the past decade, it’s getting easier but even sharing with you guys my fascinations and interests is a bit scary.

But the truth is, I do believe that women are incredibly powerful. I do believe that the majority of us are playing small. I do believe the majority of us are afraid at some level to be ourselves, to fight for ourselves, to look after ourselves (in case someone calls us selfish). We spend so much of our time, energy and resources on morphing ourselves into what we think we should be, how we think we should look etc. Or maybe we don’t do that anymore, but we used to and the memory remains.

When I was pregnant with Sarah in 2015, I was so fucking lost! I was terrified, I was scared and felt incredibly restricted and controlled- I kept being told what I had to do, what I couldn’t do, I was SO tired and uncomfortable but societies message to me was ‘you’re not the only woman who’s been pregnant’ – basically ‘man the fuck up’ so I tried that, I dug in deeper, pushed myself harder and ended up having a panic attack outside the hospital on the day of my big 20 week scan, pre-natal depression and physical damage to my body which I’m still trying to repair. I wasn’t allowing myself to be a woman- strange as that sounds! I was pushing myself with masculine energy instead of allowing myself to be softer, gentler and more nurturing with myself.

My saving grace was going to a Women’s Circle on the Hill Of Tara in 2015 where a ceremonysurrender to support called the ‘Mother Rites of Danu’ was being performed under the full moon. I had NO idea what to expect but I went and for me, that experience felt like coming home. Finally! It was different, it was a rite of passage into the role of ‘Mother’. I sat in a circle with a small group of women(complete strangers!) and each of us spoke about what ‘motherhood’ or ‘birthing children/ideas/businesses’ meant to us.

We spoke of our hopes, our fears, our expectations and we were heard by each other, we were seen by each other and we were simply held in a safe space by each other. We laughed, we cried, we drank tea and had some biccies and it was an amazing few hours of my life. It changed a lot within me as it showed me a different world- it showed me the world that I craved does in fact exist in the here and now.

Over the past 3 years or so, I’ve been exploring it more and more deeply, allowing myself to be more myself. Allowing myself to tap into my natural wisdom and intuition that bit more. Knowing if I feel unwell or have cramps, that lighting candles, putting essential oils in my bath, making tea, going for walks- all with an intention of healing and self care- makes a huge difference. The same with anxiety or any other worry I may possess- I know that there are certain rituals that I can do to help me progress in my life. By the way, we all know what we need to do. This is our natural wisdom- our instincts, our self trust, knowing ourselves, saying no to others, yes to ourselves and allowing ourselves to be who we are. We just have been so conditioned to repress our natural wisdom and trust in ourselves because in the past it wasn’t safe for us to be vocal and visible. We kept our heads down, avoided eye contact and spoke quietly.

Thankfully, times have changed. It’s never been a safer time to be a wise and powerful woman. So why then do so many women still feel powerless? Why are we fearful that we won’t be able to make ends meet, why are we so afraid to be ourselves, why are we holding back, not speaking up and not coming close to reaching our full potential? And why do so many of us struggle with the concepts of ‘self-love’, ‘self-worth’ and ‘self acceptance’ and yet constantly carry around the weight of feeling ‘not good enough’, ‘anxiety’ and ‘unworthy’?

I honestly believe that it is because women have lost touch with their natural wisdom. We keep seeking approval and validation from everyone but ourselves, so much so that we’re unsure of our own minds, we don’t trust our own intuition and we’ve forgotten how to tap into our inner strength – in short, we’ve lost touch with our feminine side. And don’t even get me started on comparison and social media!

I’m still learning how to reconnect with that stronger, wiser part of myself but it’s been an incredible journey so far. I’d love to help teach you parts of what I’ve learnt so far, I’d love to hold a safe space for you to talk about this, I’d love for you to explore who you truly are at the core and allow your wise inner self to come out to play. Do you need to come out of the broom closet too? It’s a big dream for me in 2019 to start holding my own women’s circles- to hold space for real talk, truth and honesty and exploring everything we’re craving to speak about but don’t.

 

But for now, I’d love to offer to you my 30 day programme called ‘All You Need is Love’ and it’s the foundation piece that needs to be in place for everything else. We start on the 8th November. We’ll be exploring what proper self care looks like and how it differs from self comfort. We’ll be looking at the inner critic – that voice in your head that makes you hide, play small and hold back and we’ll be learning how to relate to that voice from a more nurturing perspective. We’ll also be looking at how to tap into that wiser part of you- that’s deep within and teaching you how to recognise her voice. We’ll be exploring the idea of ‘confidence’ and what that truly means. We’ll be looking at how there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to confidence and that is why a lot of what you tried in the past hasn’t worked. Finally, we’ll be looking at how to integrate all of this new knowledge and wisdom into your day to day life so that you get to experience lasting change.

It is ‘hard/heart’ work but I know you’re ready for it.

Love always,

P x

6 Steps to Overcome ‘That’ Fear!

Ok, so in coaching we talk about fear a lot! Fear is what holds us back, makes us hesitate, procrastinate, put off and ultimately kill our dreams. I’m sure you’ve read plenty of things about fear and I know you’ve felt it lots of times too!

Today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret and that is; Fear has Layers. Often if you think you’ve overcome your fear, what you’ve actually done is overcome a surface fear but underneath that, something else can be lurking there much deeper. So I thought with Halloween coming up it , it’s a good time to explore fear a bit deeper and today I want to talk to you about not being good enough at ‘it’

The Fear of Not Being Good Enough at ‘IT’

IT is different for everyone. Now, with this fear I’m not talking about the normal thoughts and fear we have around ‘not feeling good enough’- I’m talking about what happens when a fear of not being good enough becomes a habitual way of thinking aka a ‘fixed mindset’.

Let me explain: I used to do cross country and 100 metre running in school. Primary school sports days- I loved them! Within the first few weeks of secondary school, I had the nickname of ‘Sonic’ yes the hedgehog, yes I realise now it was lame but back then, I was just so proud of it and having that label pushed me into running faster. Then started the competitions- county and country competitions. All of a sudden I wasn’t the best anymore. In fact, I was pretty average and insignificant. My ability wasn’t good enough. What was the point then?   My mindset shifted quite quickly from ‘This is fun, I’m really good at this’ to ‘I’m not good enough anymore so I’m not interested.’

Truth be told, it wasn’t that I wasn’t interested, I desperately was but up until that point it had just been so easy and natural for me and I never learnt to work at it. Bottom line was I quit, and I started smoking to double up on the excuses.

This particular mindset of ‘not good enough’ in relation to my fitness stayed with me for years and it still my default setting. If I go to a class or a boot camp or anything, and it doesn’t come naturally or feel fun or feel easy- the urge is to walk away. But I KNOW it’s because I never learnt how to work at it, that I never learnt that effort and practice is more important than immediate results- does that make sense? I know it logically now which it why I have to push myself to follow through, to do it even when I don’t feel like it.

So, I’m curious- where has this story been playing out in your life?

What doesn’t come naturally to you anymore so the default behaviour is to avoid it or procrastinate? For many people I work with it’s in relation to their health, weight and fitness goals. Similar to me- it used to come naturally and easily until all of a sudden it didn’t and now that area of life just sucks! And no matter what meal plans you come up with, or what exercise regime you sign up to- you never follow through and stay consistent!

Or how about in work- do you remember when you used to do your work and you’d get a grade? You’d get clear comments- well done, needs improvement, good effort etc but then when you entered the ‘real world’- just crickets. No feedback, no praise, no ‘well done’. The rules are different- instead of waiting to be asked for your input, you have to speak over everyone else- maybe even interrupt others mid sentence. It feels hard, it feels uncomfortable so what’s happened for many people is that you back off, stay quiet, you don’t progress as you had hoped you would and your confidence and self esteem gets chipped away at a little bit more each day. The big dreams that you had for yourself and your life aren’t featuring in your thoughts anymore. You start believing that you’re not ‘good enough at it’ – whatever ‘it’ may be so it’s better if you just keep your head down.

The point I want to hammer home is that we avoid, deny, procrastinate, don’t follow through and don’t reach our dreams because we’re afraid of trying in case we find out that we’re not good enough at ‘it’. It’s easier to keep something as a wish or a dream that we can fantasise about rather than putting the effort in to make it happen and discovering that we’re not good enough (or so the fear will tell you!)

What I’m saying is that is just your current mindset.

You just haven’t learnt YET how to do it to get the results that you want. What I’m saying is that everything you could possibly desire is possible for you- it’s just that you haven’t learnt how to get it YET. You need to change your way of thinking to a growth mindset.

So be honest- what’s your big goal or dream? What is your ‘IT’? What is it that you desperately want but you’re telling yourself that it’s scary to try for in case you can’t do, be or have it?

Here are your steps:

Step 1: Identify your thing

Step 2: Identify the story you’re telling yourself about it

Step 3: Make the decision that you will go after your thing but be realistic. Give yourself the time to learn, give yourself the real time it would take to actually see results, give yourself milestones and measures, find someone to be accountable to or hire a coach. Start taking baby steps

Step 4: A simple way of starting to develop your growth mindset is asking the questions ‘What did I learn from this?’ ‘ How could I improve on this?’ ‘What would I do differently next time?’ each time you progress towards your thing

Step 5: Track it- Actually write it down somewhere- if it’s your fitness- track your distance or reps you can do so that you can see the progress. If it’s your weight, track it and what you’re eating. If it’s finances you want to get to grips with, start tracking your income, outgoings and savings each day, if it’s your confidence to speak up in work- track how many times you speak up and when. Where you put your attention is where the magic happens so whatever area of life you want to see improvements- start to track it.

Step 6: Be kind to yourself- this is hard and it’s something you’ve been putting off so go gently with yourself and manage your expectations. It’s not going to all fall into place, there will be a learning curve, it will take time and it will take effort. But if you keep on keeping on and keep your eyes on the prize, you will get there!

Until next week,

P x

Check out my Best Selling 30 Day programme ‘All You Need is Love’ where we ensure that the relationship you have with yourself is healthy and solid. This is the foundation to everything else you want in your life. We deep dive into your mindset and thinking as well!

Why You Don’t need Motivation

Do you ever feel like you’re simply not moving forwards? That you’re just not making any progress on your goals- be that your financial and savings goals, your fitness and weight goals, your relationship goals, your career goals. It can be incredibly frustrating, especially when we know EXACTLY what we need to do BUT we just couldn’t be arsed.

I just need motivation… that kick up the ass…. when I feel motivated and ready, then I’ll do it….

Sound familiar?

I can’t tell you the number of times I convinced myself that ‘tomorrow’ I’ll be ready. Monday I’ll be ready. Next week I’ll be ready. I lied to myself constantly (I didn’t realise it at the time of course- I thought my logic was sound) I bought into this myth that someday I would feel braver and more confident to make the changes that would enable me to be a better version of me, to live up to my potential.

But the reality was that the magical day of feeling ready and motivated never came, it just got pushed out further and further. Time passed, days passed, weeks passed. months passed and nothing changed.

Knowing you should do something and consistently NOT doing it chips away at your self-esteem over time.

I realised it was bullshit and that I WAS NEVER GOING TO FEEL READY OR MOTIVATED.

Why?

Because of science. As human beings,  our brains are wired and designed so that we avoid doing things that are uncomfortable, scary, hard or different- things that could lead to failure, disappointment, uncertainty or rejection.

  • Going back to the gym after a year
  • Applying for a promotion
  • Speaking up in work
  • Saying no to people and protecting your time
  • Giving up sugar
  • Doing up a budget and sticking with it to save money for a house
  • Moving out
  • Taking the next step in a relationship

While  all of these things seem like normal things that people do every day, they can also be uncomfortable, scary and hard enough that we want to feel ready and motivated before we start. But we never do. It’s a catch 22 situation.

When I feel ready and motivated, I’ll start speaking up and being more assertive in work BUT while you’re waiting and continuing to not speak up or be assertive; you’re actually chipping away at your confidence and self esteem which then makes it feel even harder to start and makes you crave the readiness and burst of motivation even more.” And so the cycle continues

The magical day of confidence, courage, motivation and self belief is not coming.

I hate to break it to you but honestly, deep down, you know this.

In order to make the changes you need to make and want to make, in order to set up your own business, in order to be the best version of yourself, in order to change your lifestyle to a healthier one, in order to be the best mama you can be, in order to get to where you want to get to and do all of those amazing things that you so desperately want to do with your life- you will HAVE TO DO THINGS THAT ARE UNCOMFORTABLE, SCARY, HARD AND DIFFERENT TO WHAT YOU’RE USED TO.

Which brings us back to our problem: YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO FEEL READY OR MOTIVATED TO DO THE HARD THINGS.

That’s the truth! You’ll never feel ready or feel like doing it. If you do manage to motivate yourself to start- from your own experience- how long does that last for you?

So if motivation doesn’t work, what the hell do we do when we need to psych ourselves up to make changes?

As Nike says- just do it.

The way to make the progress we desire to make is to begin- even when you don’t feel like it or you don’t feel ready. Mel Robbins talks about the ‘Habit of Hesitating‘ that we all have and I couldn’t agree more. When we have the thought to do one of these little things that we know will positively impact our lives- we hesitate. Even the teeny decisions we make on a daily basis- buy the thing we don’t need or save the money; eat the soup you made last night or order in; go to bed early or keep scrolling. We hesitate doing the small things we know we should do and we succumb to avoidance tactics. We’ve been hesitating for so long that it’s become a habit.

So take back control and when you feel yourself hesitating, take action instead. If you simply do that, take one baby step instead of hesitating and waiting, you will move forward on your goals so quickly you will astound yourself. This is Patricia’s experience of taking action:

” I don’t feel ready or motivated but instead of hesitating at the meeting, I spoke up and got my point across. I didn’t die, people didn’t mock me and the world didn’t end. My boss thanked me for my input. It gave me a bit of a confidence boost, even though it still feels uncomfortable and scary. I’ll definitely do it again next time’

The more you take action instead of hesitating, the easier it will become, the stronger you will feel, the more confident and courageous you will become.  You’ll also be building up your self esteem and your self belief that you can DO IT and you have the evidence!

Until next time, stop hesitating and do it.

Paula

Check out my best selling 30 Day Group Coaching Programme ‘All You Need is Love‘ starting on the 8th November!

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

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

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

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

Jim Rohn

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

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

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

I’ve done all of these and much more.

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

Taking care of yourself first Versus Selfishness

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

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

No, they don’t.

Why not?

Because everyone would be dead.

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

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

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

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

  1. Decide if you want to change it

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

  1. Put boundaries in place

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

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

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

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

People may not………..

  1. Start taking care of yourself

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Get Support

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

 

 

 

Get Crystal Clear on what you Don’t Want

Hey Gorgeous,

Happy Thursday! I hope you’re having a fantastic week so far!

Today, I want to talk to you about the importance of knowing what you don’t want. Of getting so crystal clear on what you hate, detest, despise that your spidey senses tingle when it even comes close.

Yep, it’s an odd tactic and an odd topic but I guarantee you that this one exercise will bring you enormous clarity. Most of the time, when we’re feeling stuck in a particular area of life; we can’t see the wood for the tress. We just have this brain fog and we’re not even sure what it is we want. Also, a lot of the time we don’t allow ourselves to want what we want because we’re afraid we’ll just end up disappointed, so we stay stuck. 

So, we’re stuck in this rut and we’re trying not to think about how crap it is and how much we hate it- you know all that positive thinking stuff! But at the same time, we’re not coming up with the next steps or clarity we need to progress. Enter getting crystal clear on what you don’t want.

This is called Clarity Through Contrast and it’s incredibly effective!

I want you to get a piece of paper, yes, right now and draw a line down the centre. On the top of the page write the topic- so this could be ‘Love life‘ or ‘Health’ or ‘Career‘ or ‘Money’– you get the jist! At the top of the left had column write ‘I don’t want‘ or ‘I fucking hate‘ whichever feels more you! Then set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write down everything that pops into your head.

So it could look something like this.

Health

  • I don’t want to feel so tired and bleh
  • I don’t want to eat crap all the time
  • I don’t want to feel fat and uncomfortable in myself
  • I don’t want to feel so stressed during the week because I’m constantly late
  • I don’t want to eat crap lunches from Spar
  • I don’t want to go to bed so late because I feel like I should have got more done

So you just go on and on as much as you can free writing and getting all this crap out of your head. Getting clear on all the things that you really don’t want. This is your contrast and from here……….. you get clarity.

At the top of the right hand side, in the other column write ‘I want…’ and then flip over each statement so it might look like this.

Health

  • I want to feel more energetic and excited about life
  • I want to eat good quality, nutritious food most of the time
  • I want to feel toned and comfortable in my body
  • I want to feel calmer, be more organised and on time
  • I want to bring in good lunches that I enjoy
  • I want to get to bed before 10.30pm and let go of whatever I didn’t get done and for that to be ok.

It’s a simple exercise, a simple shift and a simple turnaround to help you get out of a rut and get some clarity on what your true desires are. From there then, you must act.

So pick 2-3 things from your list that you say you want to break them down into steps. So what do you need to do to make this happen? When will you do it? How often will you do it? What do you need in place to enable you to do it? What if you fuck it up, what’s plan b? When will you start? What accountability do you need? What are the benefits of doing it? What are the results you’re expecting? Play with it, have fun with it, flesh it out and take the new actions!

It’s the little things that can make the biggest difference so do this exercise for yourself today and let me know how you get on!

P x

I’m a scaredy cat

scaredy cat

Is a quarter life crisis causing you to become a scaredy cat?

I’m a complete scaredy cat. When the going gets tough, my default state of being is hiding and sleeping myself into a safe cocoon of darkness. That’s what I’d love to be doing right now, being lazy in my bed, curtains drawn, lights down either sleeping or losing myself in a novel.

Why?

Well because I’m telling myself I am an imposter and not good enough because I’m a scaredy cat.

 But you know what, this is the real me.

I am a total chicken! I get so scared that I get stuck in limbo not knowing what way to go.  The future scares me, asking for what I want scares me, doing things I know I want to do deep down scares me, telling people the truth scares me, looking at my finances coming up to Christmas scares me, every time I write a blog post or tell you a bit of my story scares me, relationships scare me, making decisions scare me, running my own business terrifies me. Sometimes the thought of facing a difficult day scares me and I wake up with crippling anxiety in my chest, my jaw and throat tighten and I have such a strong desire to hide from the world. Life can be really scary but guess what? That’s ok. Also, I know I get scared and want to hide and that’s ok too. I’ve accepted this.

You might think that this is a strange blog post for a life coach to write- it’s a bit blunt, not exactly motivational and so far isn’t offering much hope or inspiration!! And you’re right! It is an odd post for a coach to write but it’s also me being honest with you.

I’m always afraid and fear is always present in my life but it’s not a problem for me. It doesn’t get in my way or hold me back. Anymore… (well, maybe the odd time!!)

But my default state of hiding used to win all the time, I hid for most of my late teens and early 20s. I never really stretched myself and I stayed within my comfort zone. It was boring and frustrating as hell!! I didn’t really do anything fun and exciting either!

So I started to study fear- probably to try and figure out what was wrong with me so you can imagine my surprise when all of the books I read and seminars I attended were actually telling me that fear was normal, what I was feeling was normal, my desire to hide was normal.

One particular book I read was Susan Jeffers ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’- it took me years to get through this book because it made far too much sense and I just didn’t want to hear it. The main message in the book is that fear comes from an uncertainty within ourselves of our ability to handle the situation should something bad happen. Susan Jeffers says, “All you have to do to weaken your fear is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.” So basically, cultivate self trust, self love and self compassion.

She talks about the 5 truths about fear, my favourite being ‘The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow’. Everybody fears doing, or being, something new because of the uncertainty within unfamiliar situations. If you do not fear, you do not grow.

This is why fear is no longer a problem for me.

I accept it and love that I continue to grow and push myself in spite of it. I said at the beginning that I would rather be hiding in my bed than writing this but I’m still typing so it’s more evidence for me that I’m progressing in spite of my fear and that I can handle whatever will come my way.

The reason I chose to revisit and write about this topic now is because life has been kicking my ass for the past few weeks! My mind, body and spirit have been taking their sweet time to come together and get on board with my plans and goals for 2018- like I cannot believe that there’s only 3 months left of this year!! Seriously WTF???

Getting back into my work groove after summer time has kicked my ass even with Sarah starting preschool and the fact that I have more time to myself. Getting back into any sort of self care routine and rituals such as exercise, proper food and sleep has kicked my ass as well! I’ve had lower back pain for ages which I kept dismissing; finally got tests done the other day and there is a problem which I’ve been aggravating for months. In short, fear had crept in and self care, love and compassion has taken a nose dive! Doing a reality check on your life is scary- especially when it means facing up to the fact that things are not as you want them to be. It can feel like we’re not progressing or we’re a million miles away from where we wanted to be by now. So looking at where you’re at is scary and making the changed necessary is scary! Either way- it’s scary! Oh, and the other thing- not making the changes and seeing where that will lead you is equally terrifying!

But what I’m so grateful for, is my work and being able to connect with so many other women like me all around the world and the message I’m hearing back is that …………...it’s not just me. Seems like the last few weeks have been kicking lots of asses! But hey, if you do not fear, you do not grow! Let’s all be scaredy cats for the rest of 2018 but push ourselves in spite of it!

Fear is my constant companion- how bout you? What can you do to break through despite your fear?…..

On that note, I’d love to invite you to join ‘Elevate’ – a 10 week high challenge and high support personal development course. I was planning to work with a large group but I’ve decided now, it will be less than 8 women so it will be more intimate, more personal and gentler for me in terms of energy demands! It is a combination of personal development training, accountability, group coaching, actions and follow through and 1:1 sessions- exactly what you need to finish off 2018 on a high! Check it out here, or book in for a call with me to see if it’s a good fit for you!

Until next week, Be afraid but move anyway!!

P x

Would you sacrifice yourself for someone else?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’d love you to join us

P x

The Green Eyed Monster!

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

It’s hard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attitude of gratitude…

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

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

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

With love and much warmth,

Paula

Are you settling for less?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Step 1: Understand and speak shame

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

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

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

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

Step 2: Develop a growth mindset

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

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

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

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

Step 3: Get Clear and Get Focused

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

Step 4: Practice Self-Care

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

Step 5: Take baby steps

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

Who am I? I’m a walking contradiction!

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

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

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

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

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

I realised that I am a walking, talking contradiction.  

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

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

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

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

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