What love language do you speak?

(The secret to great relationships)

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

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

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

Most likely- you speak different love languages.

There are 5 love languages and they are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll give you an example…..

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

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

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

Wrong!

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

It completely shifted everything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

However you approach it, you can only win!

Love Always,

Paula

Now, I’d love to hear from you!

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

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

Why you should stop trying to have and do it all…..

Sounds like a strange statement for a life coach to make but trust me on this…. For the past 8 years, I have supported thousands of women and men around the world who felt stuck, uncertain, at a crossroads and trying to figure out what their next step would be. The problem always came down to these three things:

  • Conflict of desires
  • Lack of self belief
  • Personal resources of time, energy and attention

We’ll start with conflicts of desires.

We all have things that are important to us, things we want to do, be and have this week, this year and in our lives. Often, and I mean really often- the things that we desire are in conflict with each other.

For example: I want to be here with my family and friends but I also want to travel the world and have adventures. I want to be a stay at home parent and have that time with my kids when they’re small but I also want to be my own person, have my own career, go to work and honour that side of me. I want to start my own business doing something creative and holistic but I want to feel secure and know with certainty exactly how much I’ll be earning each month. I want to meet a partner, fall in love but I want to keep my heart safe and myself protected from potential disappointment and heartache.

It’s so normal to have these internal conflicts and a lot of the time, we’re not aware or we don’t use the word ‘conflict’- we just think we’re nuts because we keep going around in circles and don’t make decisions on anything.

We have this expectation that we should and could be able to do it all- if only……

If only we were good enough, more efficient, smarter, fitter, more confident, better with our finances etc etc. We look at the highlight reels of other people’s social media accounts and we end up feeling like crap- she can do it – why can’t I? There must be something wrong with me. I’m too lazy, not disciplined enough, not pretty enough, not old enough, not young enough, not smart enough etc. I really want to call BS on this.

We have all been conditioned from an incredible young age to value certain things- marketers and advertisers have invested billions into making you think a particular way, feel particular feelings and desire certain experiences and products in your life. But when you break out of the brainwashing, do some deep personal work and detach from external expectations- you find that what you truly desire stands out more. The fog lifts and the truth hits you right between the eyes. You’re clear on what you want because you know, you truly know what you value. Can you imagine that- feeling crystal clear on who you are and what you will create your life around?

Then, once you have the clarity. Then comes the next obstacle!

Lack of self belief or confidence

So, you know what you want. You know what would make your heart sing and bring a big smile to your face BUT it’s really scary. Who are you to think you could do something like that? It’s too different.. It’s risky…. I could be hurt or disappointed……What will people think??

I find it interesting that when people have a big dream combined with bucket loads of fear- that they manage to tell themselves that obviously the dream isn’t meant for them. If it was, they’d just go and do it and not be afraid. They take the fear and resistance as a sign that this isn’t their path. Again- I’ve to call BS on this. If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing so get comfortable with being uncomfortable if you want to have a life that excites you and brings you new experiences.

We all have stories that we tell ourselves about who we are. A lot of the time, these are old stories that we’ve been carrying with us for years- allowing them to shape our beliefs and decisions in life. If these stories aren’t serving you well or if they’re holding you back- it’s time to look at them properly and challenge them. When did you start telling yourself that you’re no good at x,y,z? When did you begin to define yourself with limitations? What happened that caused you to stop showing that side of yourself to the world?

When self belief or confidence is lacking- you need to lean deep into your courage instead.

You will have a choice: You can stay where you are… Or you can be brave. Practicing courage means you may feel uncomfortable and vulnerable but that you are moving forwards. It doesn’t need to be leaps and bounds- just small steps closer to the truth of what you’re about and what you desire.

As the brilliant researcher and teacher Brene Brown says ‘Courage is a heart word.’ The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart’- being clear on who you are and showing up as that person each day.

Let’s look at the next reason why we should stop trying to have and do it all.

Personal resources of time, energy and attention

I want to shine a light on this issue as it has comes up regularly for both myself personally and for my clients. I’m talking about taking ownership of our personal resources of time, energy and attention in relation to our desires and priorities.

We can have as many goals and dreams and desires as we like, but we cannot have unlimited priorities.

 Our goals and dreams need our attention, they are worthy of our attention. What we forget is that the personal resources of time, energy, money and attention that we have- has limits. I’m not saying this to rain on your parade, I’m saying this because this is one of the main reasons why life tends to get messy and frustrating, especially for women.

You see, often, we give away our personal resources to others without thinking of it or blinking an eye. We take on extra work to be helpful even though we’re already a bit swamped, we help our partners sort out their careers even though ours could really do with attention as well, we babysit and help out family even though we say we never have time to go out and meet someone. Far too often, we give away our time, our energy, our focus and our attention and have little left for our own dreams, desires and plans. Like it or not, but we have been conditioned to do so and we barely realise.

 No more sweetie.

It’s time to step up and I’m challenging you to hold your personal resources of time, energy and attention as sacred. I’m not saying don’t be kind or helpful, but don’t be a pushover. Put boundaries in place and protect your own dreams. It is your time to pay attention to you, to spend your resources on you, to be aware, to be brave and to activate your true desires.

I am challenging you to hold your personal resources as precious – if you’re going to make changes and waves in your life in 2019- you’ll need to have your back. You are worthy of taking the time you need to create the life that you desire and it will take time, it will take effort, it will take attention and you need to be prepared to give yourself the resources you need.

I could talk for hours on this topic alone but just know, if this resonates with you that you are not alone. Self sacrificing, attending to other people’s needs, helping, supporting, nurturing those around us comes naturally to us as we’ve been raised with certain gender and cultural expectations and pressures. Now I’m asking you to shine a light on this, be aware of it and practice courage and self compassion if you need to make changes in that area!

Just be aware that if you get to the end of 2019 and are scratching your head wondering where the time went and wondering why you haven’t made any progress on your own desires- giving it away does tend to be the common culprit!

So, stop trying to have and do it all, simply for the fact that if you look deeply- I bet that a lot of what your energy and attention is spent on; isn’t actually important to you.

So get clear on what you desire, on what you value and set your goals based on that. Lean deep into your courage, sit with that vulnerability – it’s meant to feel uncomfortable and understand that you cannot have unlimited priorities. Be wild. Be bold. Make yourself and your hearts desires your top focus this year.

Love Always,

Paula

How to Have More Productive & Meaningful Mornings

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


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


They agreed that it was full.


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


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


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

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


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

How to Be Have More Productive and Meaningful Mornings…

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

1. Plan your day the night before

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

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

2.  Be realistic about your time in the morning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Engage in something that lights you up

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

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

Paula x

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