Your Inner Critic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do we have an inner critic?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P x

All You Need is Love

How is your relationship with Money?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s what to do:

Identify the characteristics of your current relationship with money:

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

Who are you in the relationship you have with money?

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

What is your all time favourite love story?

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

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

How would you describe the relationship the characters have?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week,

P x

Lessons from a serial dater…

This is a really hot topic at the moment with my 1-1 clients, and yes excuse the pun! Whether you’re recently or long term single, dating can be terrifying or absolutely brilliant fun- depending on your mindset!

I remember being in my mid twenties, when a 6 year relationship ended and enough time had passed to allow me heal, I thought about meeting someone new. But it was a completely different ball game, totally new rules, new environment- everything had changed. It wasn’t a friend of a friend ‘will you meet/shift my mate?’ type scenario any more, I was an adult now and I had NO idea what to do!

So, one Spring evening with my girlfriends, Chinese food and wine- we put together  a profile of the type of guy I wanted to meet including values such as ‘family needs to be important to him’, ‘he needs to be respectful, fit, intelligent, be able to cook, clean, look after himself and be great in bed!’ (Yes, we were drinking!)

I decided that I was going to start an experiment in dating, like going out on dates and being proactive in meeting new people. I wondered if anyone would even want to date me in the first place – it was something I hadn’t done before and it was scary and exciting! The first approach was nights out in town with friends, going to a club, having a boogie and it was great fun! 80’s music, just the girls in Eamon Dorans, McGowans in Phibsboro and all different random clubs! Absolutely fantastic nights out with my girls! Did it work for dating…No! Yep, I met a few guys but all they wanted was someone to go home with that night.

Next adventure was speed dating in the Church bar, again, good fun, good few drinks, boogie afterwards, fun with my pal and we met 2 nice guys we chatted to for most of the night, but again it was more of a short term affair they had in mind!

After that, I decided to give online dating a try. Firstly, I found myself getting sucked into checking profiles almost constantly so I had learn to start setting limits. I responded to everyone who contacted me and felt it would be rude not to engage with someone. Again, that was another lesson. I made a lot of mistakes and learnt a lot of lessons which I’ll share with you below. I met a lot of guys that year, probably close to 20. Two or three guys, I dated for a few weeks- the rest I never saw again.

I grew up a lot and changed a lot during that whole period. Towards the beginning, I felt a ‘need’ to have these guys like me, I wanted them to want me and desire me so I was flirty, tipsy and a bit outrageous. But then, I had a wakeup call. I had driven almost 3 hours to the guy I was ‘kind of’ seeing, getting there quite late in the evening, only for the next day for him to announce he was going golfing with friends. I felt like an idiot, hugely disappointed and I spent the 3 hour drive home vowing to make major changes. During that drive, I realised that I was desperate to be loved. That was what was driving all this behaviour so I took a step back, took a deep breath and paid attention to myself.

For want of a better way to explain, I started dating myself.

I started getting to know myself, appreciating myself, admiring my strengths, stories and passions. I started owning them and falling in love with them. That was still scary but at the time, I had just started my accredited life coaching course, which encouraged me to start looking after myself properly and treating myself with more respect.

I was progressing in my life, in my career, in my relationship with myself and so I continued to date but I changed the rules to better serve me. I met Colm a few weeks later online, he had no profile picture but I found his description of himself interesting so I got in touch and we agreed to meet the following week at 10am in a coffee shop in my local area and the rest is history!

Paula’s top tips for dating!

  1. Be Proactive

Yep, I can hear it now, the cringe and the awkwardness but that is the way it is now. You need to be proactive if you are wanting to meet someone. The level of pro-activity is up to you. A baby step is to start engaging more with people around you. Make eye contact in shops and cafes, say thank you to your waitress/waiter, hold your head up high as you walk down the street and smile and nod at people. It’s a small step that can help us boost our confidence and sense of self as well as making us more aware or how many people there are around us! Another step above that could be actively dating, starting small and easy and building up from there.

  1. Make it work for you

If ‘dating’ is too freaky or would make you feel awkward, then change it so it works for you. This is the mindset piece. I knew that part of my coaching course would require me to work with pro-bono clients which meant I had to learn how to meet new people, break the ice, build rapport and allow people to feel comfortable with me. I had no idea how to do that, it scared me so that was part of the motivation to start ‘dating’- I was learning and developing new skills that would help me in my career. I looked at it as an experiment and a challenge. I learnt a lot along the way and changed my approach until I was comfortable.

  1. No alcohol

A big mistake I made at the beginning was meeting people at night and having a few drinks. I’m not a big drinker anyway but wanting to be seen as ‘cool’ and fit in made me drink more than I should have. Alcohol does impair your judgement and meeting at night often means there will be an initiation to go back to their place or your place.

I changed my approach and met people for a coffee during the day instead and I have to say, it was brilliant and made it much more fun! The guys I met were much nicer, they were really genuine and I started really looking forward to my coffee dates! We’d meet say in Bewleys on Grafton street on a Saturday and take a walk up to the park, sit on the grass and chat. They were nervous, I was nervous but we both knew each other was being real. Do not underestimate the light of day! It also then made it easier to transition to the evening dates and dinners etc because we’d already met and I knew we liked each other!

  1. Have boundaries in place

One big fear about online dating or any dating is safety. From speaking to hundreds of women on this topic- the main resistance tends to be 1. It’s not how I dreamed I would meet someone and 2. What if I meet an absolute nutcase. Fear can stop us, it has a job to do which is to keep us safe however that doesn’t mean you have to stay home and wait for your dream guy or girl to knock on your door. I’d encourage you to challenge the fear. What measures can you put in place to make you feel more secure? I’ll give you some examples of what I learnt to put in place. 1. I never gave out my number or address online- I would arrange to meet someone at a certain place and time through the online messenger on the dating website, if they asked for numbers/address I said no and explained why, if they were disrespectful or slagged me about it then it didn’t progress. 2. I’d normally have a time limit on how long we’d meet for – if you’re meeting during the day then most of the time, you’ll have somewhere else to be! 3. I told my sister where I was going, who I was meeting and when to expect me home.

I didn’t do any of this at the beginning but as I experienced more and became more respectful towards myself, these steps came into practice then.

  1. Come from a place of wholeness

This is the most important aspect of dating. You need to be ready and come from a place of wholeness. Initially, I was looking for someone who would make me feel better about me and the result was I gave the other person too much power. I wanted to be liked, loved, desired so often I would find myself behaving and speaking in ways that weren’t authentic to me. It was like I was trying to be whoever my date wanted me to be. Ultimately, all that does is make you feel lousy about yourself.

It took a lot of work and a good few months for me to shift away from that nervous, flirty, yes girl in the club who felt desperate to be liked to being a strong woman walking down the street at 10am on a Wednesday morning looking forward to meeting someone new for the sake of be curious about someone new. I distinctly remember that morning, I felt really strong and happy within myself, I was wearing a vest top, jeans and runners with my hair pulled in a pony and felt like I was more than enough by being myself. It was an amazing feeling and quite liberating.

I hope my sharing my experience and lessons with you is helpful in some way! As I said, it’s a hot topic at the moment!

If you want to nurture and develop the most important relationship in your life- the one you have with YOURSELF, then please check out my course ‘All You Need is Love’.

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

Until next week,

Shine bright like a diamond!


P x

Detaching from Love and hardening…

In the early hours of the 21st November 2002, I held my Mams hand as she took her last breath. It was 14 years ago and I was just 18. We were in St Francis Hospice in Raheny; Mam had been there for 3 weeks. She had been sick for a good while and had put on an amazing fight but the cancer had spread everywhere. The days that followed feel like a blur but at the same time are etched so vividly into my mind that it could have been just yesterday. Time moves on regardless of what has happened in our lives, the world keeps spinning and everything goes on as if nothing has changed (it’s very bizarre)

We took time, cried a lot and somehow slipped back into day to day life. As the days, weeks, months and years passed though, I changed. I hardened. I’d also been particularly close to my Nan, my mams mam and when anyone asked of my own mother and I told them she had passed, I quickly followed it with ‘It’s ok, my nan raised me’. What absolute bull. Every time I said those words, I felt guilty and then hardened that bit more. I had detached myself from my Mam because it made it easier for me when she wasn’t going to be around. I told myself that we weren’t really that close, that we didn’t know each other, that she was always busy with work- all of these stories I told myself to harden my heart and to protect myself from the truth.

The truth is I love her and I miss her. The truth is my life changed completely. I miss her running her fingers through my hair as I sat on the floor in front of the couch watching Touched by an Angel and Dr Quinn Medicine Woman on the Disney Channel. I miss our chats and our fights, I miss Lionel Richie and motown music in the background. I missed her at my wedding and it breaks my heart that Sarah will never meet her Nan.

It took me sooo long to admit this truth and I’ll admit that even writing this hurts, my throat is tight, my eyes are watery and I know there will be tears later! But I wanted to share it with you because I know I’m not the only one who does this- who detaches from love, who closes their heart,  who puts on armour to protect themselves from feeling all the crappy feelings of hurt, pain, loss, grief, disappointment, anger.

Also, it became a pattern for me in many different areas of life. If I felt like something wouldn’t work out, I would detach and harden. If myself and Colm were having a rough few days, I would detach and harden. Put on the armour and pull up the drawbridge. F**k that, I ain’t getting hurt so I’m not going to care. But I did care. I always care.

I see it all the time.

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

Love opens us up to vulnerability.

If you want to avoid the heartache, the disappointment and pain?

Then, you would have to do what I used to do. Detach. That you would have to put on armour to protect yourself. It would mean that people wouldn’t really get to know the ‘real you’ because you would be hiding under a mask or a duvet! It would mean that you wouldn’t have those strong connections with people. It would mean you are not truly honouring yourself and the other person. It would mean that your dreams and your hearts desires would be abandoned.

Over time, I learnt that this wasn’t serving me. I did care and I was tired of carrying this tonne of armour with me. Through coaching and counselling, I learnt to be more expressive, have a better connection between my head, my heart and my voice. I learnt to have the courage to be real and feel.

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

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

To allow ourselves to be vulnerable takes a lot of courage, it means that we have to be real. It means that we have to be open and love and express ourselves. It means we have to connect with people. It’s a richness that we all desire in our lives- that true feeling of connection, of being seen, of being who we are. Real Love makes us vulnerable, whether that’s loving our partners, our families, our children or our work but you know what, even understanding that love and vulnerability go hand in hand, now;  I’d choose love any day.

How about you?

I’m going out tonight with my gorgeous sis Lyn, to a restaurant that the three of us used to frequent and we’re going to raise a glass to toast the incredible woman that we were so lucky to have as our Mam.

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

Cheers x

P 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!

natural-witchAs a kid I would study wise women from times past- intrigued by how different things were 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 generations after generations.

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 LOST! I was terrified, I was scared- 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. 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 where a ceremony called the ‘Mother Rites of Danu’ was being performed. I had NO idea what to expect but I went and for surrender to supportme, 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 2 and a half years, 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. This is our natural wisdom- our instincts, our self trust, knowing ourselves and allowing ourselves to be who we are. A few hundred years ago, saying these things would have had me hung as a witch. I went to a women’s circle talk in the RDS a while ago and the facilitator Karen echoed the same sentiment- that a few hundred years ago anyone of us sitting in that room listening to her words would have been hung, burnt or tortured.

Thankfully, times have changed. It’s never been a safer time to be a wise woman. So why then do so many women still feel powerless? Why are we fearful that we won’t be supported, 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’?

I 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.

I’m still learning how to reconnect with that 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?

I’ve put together a 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’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



Surrender to your Support

Firstly, out of curiosity- what was your 1st thought when you read the heading ‘Surrender to your support?’. Whatever it was, just make note of it. The 1st time that title popped into my head as the title for a blog, I felt my throat tighten and my body clench up. The word ‘surrender’ hit a nerve deep within me and I didn’t like it.

Earlier, I had been listening to a teaching from my spiritual teacher and she had been speaking about support and our ability as women, to receive it. It was an uncomfortable lesson to listen to because it resonated with me. As women, we have been raised and told from the time we were tiny people to look after others, don’t be greedy, don’t be selfish, don’t get too big for your boots, don’t ask for too much, be a good girl etc. We were taught to share, to care, to love and to give. All of that is wonderful and beautiful except, we were never thought how to receive. We were never taught how to accept kindness, compliments, support, help. We were never thought how to honour that within ourselves as well.

So, what does that look like as grown up women in today’s world?

It looks like loneliness.

Every day, I meet with or read emails from women all over Ireland and beyond. Women who are craving connection, truth, to be themselves, freedom, to go after their big dreams, women who are living a life or feeling stuck in a relationship or job that they know is not right for them but yet they stay there. Often, it’s because their confidence has taken a hit and they feel like they’re on their own. That is the perception but the truth is that often, they are surrounded by support but don’t know how to receive it.

I’ve been doing this work for 6 years now and I wish that I could weave a thread through all of these stories, to join them up so that these women know that they are connected to each other, that they are not alone or isolated. We have become so fearful of what others may think of us if they know how crappy we feel inside; so we stay silent.

Surrender to your support….

Imagine speaking truthfully, openly and honestly when you’re having a low time. Imagine saying to the people who are around you ‘I need you to carry me today’ and then surrendering yourself to the support all around you. Saying yes to that cup of tea, allowing yourself to rest and put your feet up, giving yourself permission to do nothing except let others take care of you.

Often we really don’t think we can but I would urge you to challenge that assumption. If a friend, a parent, a child, a sister, a stranger even looked you in the eye and said ‘I’m having a rough time, I’m feeling really low- can I lean on you today?‘- how would you respond? Would your heart open to that person or would it close? Would you step forward or step away?

I think I know what the answer would be for the situation above and I’m curious- would you have the courage to be the one to ask for support? What needs to happen for you to allow yourself to be held? What needs to happen for you to allow yourself receive (without guilt!)? What needs to change within you? Do you need to feel worthy of support? Do you need to learn to see your own support?

I want to share with you an exercise I’m practicing, which has already had a huge impact on my life……….

Take a few minutes, either in your mind or with a pen and paper and start thinking about or surrender to supportlisting everyone in your life who has supported you/encouraged you/rallied for you/stood up for you/looked out for you/got your back… just think of all of those people from the time you were a teeny tot up to present day. I’m a visual person so I start to picture all of these people around me- from my parents, my sister, my husband, to my cousins, my friends, my clients, my 6th class primary school teacher, my dean in college, the staff in the hospice when my Mam was ill, my neighbours, my pets and it goes on and on.

Whenever I need to now, I picture them all in my head and heart and I call them in. If I’m about to do something scary and if I need someone to lean on- I  see them all around me and I surrender to that support. It gives me courage, makes me feel stronger (and incredibly grateful) and it teaches me to be supported. That helps give me the courage to ask for help in the real world when I physically need it.


Practice in real life….

I wrote this blog on Sunday afternoon as far as the last sentence above; then on Sunday evening I was so ill. I had been at a women’s circle in Bray, had a headache for most of the evening and on the journey back, I knew I was just holding myself together until I got home. My dad was at my house, he had been minding my little girl, I walked through the door and then I locked myself into the bathroom. I was violently ill, cold, shaking, light headed.

I text my Dad saying I was sick and didn’t want to go near Sarah, he said ‘no problem’. I text my husband asking if he could come home from work early, then do. Normally, I would never  do that, no matter what I needed. I made it upstairs and lay on the bathroom floor. 10 minutes later Colm was home, I was being looked after, brought to bed, nurtured and Sarah was looked after downstairs. The universe was testing me…. and reminding me to surrender to my support and I did.

Not enough time, not enough money….

For as long as I can remember I’ve suffered from not-enough-itis.

I hated the empty, anxious feeling in my chest and heart, the tightness around my throat and jaw- it was like I was always feeling behind, lacking in some way. I dreaded the sinking feeling that would come up when the circumstances of my life didn’t go as planned. So, I did what any normal person would do and I tried to take control of things. I did whatever I could to avoid it or to try and control it. I worked harder, strived and achieved in the hope that getting more would ease my inner ache and when that didn’t work, I turned to food, spending and mind numbing TV to try and not think about how inadequate I felt.

I know I am not alone in this lack mentality. This nagging feeling of inadequacy and not enough. It plays out in our relationships with money, in our career, with our partners and within ourselves. There is this constant feeling inside eating away at you. You try to avoid it. Sometimes you can. But then something will happen – your bank account drops, that guy doesn’t text you back, you put on a few pounds, a friend gets a promotion and then all of the sudden it hits you and you’re crippled with not-enough-itis.

This way of thinking drives us to be mass consumers with excessive to do lists. We find ourselves constantly seeking and searching but never putting our finger on what we need to light us up. We’re like a hamster on a wheel- round and round we go! Searching and seeking out more love, more money, more recognition, more stuff. But we still feel empty.

Symptoms Of Not-enough-itis aka Lack Mentality aka poverty consciousness

The lack mentality is a constant feeling of not enough.

From my personal experience and working with hundreds of clients over the past 6 years, I think that the root cause of lack mentality really is the fear that ‘I am not enough’.

Feeling like you are not enough or are insignificant or inadequate or however you want to call it, is an incredibly difficult feeling to feel. It can be so difficult to feel like you’re not enough and at the same time, summon the strength and courage you need to tackle it. It’s a double edged sword- ‘I am not enough’ – I need to do some inner work on personal acceptance and self love but I don’t deserve to because I am not enough…..round and round we go and we tell ourselves it is because we’ve not enough time or not enough money.

We don’t want to face up to that feeling so we will try keep our focus outside of ourselves, trying to make it go away by doing and getting more.

Lack mentality is always thinking about what is missing, constantly comparing and coming up short. Our mind is consumed with thoughts of what I don’t have, why I am not enough, what I did wrong, why I’m not where I thought I would be by now, what’s missing from my life, why things are lousy, why everything is so hard and it goes on and on and on and round and round..

We find ourselves stuck in this mindset. Going round in circles, obsessing, dropping into really negative emotional states. The more we focus on what we don’t have, the more we drop into unresourceful states and then the more we experience lack because we’re too drained to make a change, so it becomes this perpetual cycle.

Now, of course every now and then, we may strike gold and have things work out really well but for those stuck in lack mindset, that hit of satisfaction is only temporary and we find ourselves back in the same pattern and cycle again quite quickly. No matter how much money we have, it’s still not enough to ease that tight feeling of lack and worry. No matter how loved we are, we still feel that deep insecurity. No matter how qualified we are, it doesn’t quieten that internal voice telling you that you don’t measure up.

So, how do we change this? How do we break the cycle and learn to light ourselves up without constantly striving for more money, more love or more stuff?

  1. Practice awareness

The first step is always becoming aware of what you’re doing. Grab yourself a pen and paper and jot down some main areas of life- your health, your career, your personal development, your money, your family, your friends, your fun & relaxation and whatever else is important to you. Then, reflect on each area of your life. Ask yourself what’s going on for you in that part of your life and check in with how you feel inside. Where in your external world do you feel you don’t have enough? Where do you feel you are lacking? Compared to who? And now, look inside. Where do you feel not enough? What parts of yourself have you deemed as not good enough?

  1. What Do you Really Want?

Everything we do, we do because of how we think it will make us feel….. So, if you got what you were striving for- how would you feel? If you had the raise, the job you wanted, the money, the loving sexy partner, the gorgeous house, the toned yoga body – how do you think you would feel? Start to get clear on what you are really seeking here. This is one thing that really made the biggest difference in my life. I realised I wanted to feel confident and happy and I was pursuing things that ‘society and media’ were telling me would make me confident and happy. I didn’t need them and my own confidence and happiness came from doing the inner work, letting go of who I thought I should be and embracing who I actually was. Do you want that job because it’s meaningful, fulfils your values, is your unique expression and contribution to the world? Or because it’s the next step on the ladder and everyone says you need to keep climbing?

  1. Light Yourself Up

Once you are aware of what you truly wanting and desiring, the real work begins. As I mentioned earlier, often we look to our external world for fulfilment and to plug that empty feeling inside. We seek praise, promotion, approval, love, and so many other things but that approach is a temporary fix. You get the promotion, you’re pumped and then next week you’re down again. You hit the target for the mortgage deposit and it doesn’t bring you any long term joy- just the question ‘What next? It’s not a long term plan and what you need is to learn how to light yourself up from the inside. Easier said than done, I know!

How do you want to feel? Loved, appreciated, successful, happy, at peace, relaxed? And what have you been wanting from your external world (eg: your job, your friends, your partner, your bank account etc…) to make you feel that way.

This will be tough initially, but start to think about how you can start to experience those feelings now, without needing anyone or anything external to you to give it to you. What shifts can you make to how you think, what you focus on, your lifestyle and your actions, so that you can experience more of the feelings you’re desiring?

  1. 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.

feeling gratefulMyself 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?’

When you view the world from an abundance mindset- it looks completely different even though the circumstances might be exactly the same.

I hope this has resonated with you and that you take something from it! As always, I’d love to hear from you!

With love and much warmth,


Are you using your personal power?

“Your power to choose can never be taken from you. It can be neglected and it can be ignored. But if used, it can make all the difference.” – Steve Goodier

In the world of coaching and self help, you will come across the term ‘personal power’ quite a lot! I use it a lot as well so I wanted to write a bit today about what it actually means!

What does personal power mean?

To be honest, it will be different for each person but how I define personal power is ‘your ability to take action’. For me, my ability to take action and follow through equates to how powerful I feel within myself. We all have those times when we feel stuck, uncertain, indecisive, overwhelmed, anxious- all of those negative emotions that come into play in our lives. Often they have a lot in common and that is that you’re more in your head and not in action.

The most powerful way to shape our lives is by taking action- it’s not by talking about it, thinking about it or dreaming about it, it’s by going for it. Every action we take is a cause set in motion and it builds on our previous actions to move us in a particular direction. When we’re moving in a particular direction, eventually we will arrive at our destination. That destination then depends on you- have you been moving towards what you want or have you been moving towards what you don’t want.

Every action is a cause set in motion (as is every inaction) but it’s what we do on a consistent basis that brings us to our destination. So for example, if I haven’t been taking action and have sat on the couch night after night, my destination will be that my jeans are tighter and that my energy is low.  If I’ve been saying yes to extra demands on my time in work, my destination may be resentment and burn out. If I’ve been taking action and going out running on a consistent basis, my destination could be a personal best time and a sense of pride and achievement.

So, what comes before action? The answer is decisions. You have, whether you like it or not, have been making decisions and choosing your path in life. Everything that happened in your life, whether your thrilled about it or bummed about it, began with you making a choice and making a decision. The decisions that you’re making today will shape your life for the weeks and years to come… where will you be in ten years time based on the decisions you’re making today? It’s something to ponder….

Is it our life circumstances.. or our decisions?

Now, I’ll admit, I didn’t want to believe this to be true but the more I worked with different people the more evidence I gained that it’s our decisions rather than our life circumstances which impact our direction in life most powerfully. We all know people who have had a really rough time, that were dealt a pretty bad hand in life yet, they have turned their lives into something amazing! And, we all know people who had every advantage that was possible to have yet they’ve always been miserable. It’s our decisions that make the difference, not our conditions.

The really interesting thing is though that the majority of my clients don’t trust themselves Are you using your personal powerenough to make big decisions anymore. A main reason being is that they’re focused on the circumstances- perhaps you chose to study accountancy in college, graduated and went to work as an accountant- and hated it! You have an idea of what you’d like to do instead but you don’t make the decision because you don’t trust that it will work out. You tell yourself, I’m the one who chose to do the accountancy so obviously I can’t be trusted to make decisions on my life.

I see this over and over again and you’re missing the point. You were the one who made a decision, invoked your personal power and brought yourself there; you are the only one who can get you out of there as well by making a different decision! This is personal power and the majority of us are choosing not to exercise it.

There are no failures in life, only results.

If the first thing didn’t work out, try something else. If that doesn’t work, try something else, if that doesn’t work, try something else.

What could your life look life if you invoked your personal power? What new decision would you make? I’d love to hear your comments and feedback!

Until next week,

Don’t wait, Make it Happen,

P x


Do you have big dreams for yourself but keep getting in your own way?

If your answer is yes then the ‘How To Play Big when You Feel Small‘ is for YOU!

Join me on Wednesday the  7th September at 6.15pm for this FREE 60 minute Master Class and dive deep into this topic with me.

I’m A Scaredy-Cat!

I’m a complete scaredy cat. When the going gets tough, my default state of being is hiding and scaredy catsleeping myself into a safe cocoon of darkness. That’s what I want to be doing right now instead of writing this. I’m feeling anxious, scared, unworthy. I’m writing this post and I have the self talk of ‘who do you think you are?’ and feelings of being an imposter because I’m aware I’m scared and anxious.

 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 when business has been quiet 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 am a scaredy cat 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 write about this topic now is because life has been kicking my ass for the past few weeks! The past few weeks have been really tough, it was my baby girls first birthday and I was missing my mam and my nan. I was so busy that I wasn’t looking after myself properly, not getting enough sleep or rest, feeling that I was doing a half arsed job with everything which for me, feeds into the feelings of not being good enough. I know this space, I lived here for years and it can be really disheartening when I go back there. The negative self talk chips in with the ‘Who do you think you are? and ‘You obviously haven’t made any progress in your life if you’re back here again feeling low and anxious’. My mind, body and spirit have been taking their sweet time to come together and get on board with my plans and goals for the 2nd half of 2016. Getting back into my work groove has kicked my ass. Getting back into any sort of self care routine and rituals such as exercise, proper food and sleep has kicked my ass as well! In short, fear has crept in and self care, love and compassion has taken a nose dive! 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 …………’s not just me. Seems like this summer has been kicking lots of asses! But hey, if you do not fear, you do not grow! Let’s all be scaredy cats but push ourselves in spite of it!

Fear is my constant companion- how bout you?

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear your thoughts so pop over to the facebook page and say hi!!! Also, check out my brand new group coaching programme ‘Elevate 2016′– there are 6 places left and I’m so excited about it! We start in 6 weeks- xx

Until next week, feel the fear and do it anyway!

P x

Build Up Your Courage Muscles

Ships are safe in harbour but that’s not what ships were built for- Anon

To me, courage summons up images of the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz and fireman bursting into burning buildings to save someone. The word courage isn’t used very often in day to day life; it’s more associated with these brave acts of heroism. My thoughts would have gone along the lines of ‘I’ve never risked my life to save someone so therefore I’m not courageous.

Often we have a very black and white view of what it means to be courageous and by looking at it through that lens, it means that you won’t ever see yourself as being courageous. But….guess what…

Courage actually means ‘the ability to do difficult or scary things in spite of fear’. If we adopted this way of looking at courage, we would allow ourselves to acknowledge our own courageous behaviour.

I was working with a client recently who needed and wanted to really go for a new career but she was scared. She was adamant that she was neither brave nor courageous so I asked her ‘What scary or difficult things have you done in spite of your fear?’ Well, the floodgates opened and the list went on and on! Everything from a rollercoaster to ending a long relationship.

By looking at courage this way, it’s much easier to see examples of when you have been courageous and then much easier to give yourself the kudos for it!

Journaling Prompt:
A question I would like you to answer is: ‘What difficult or scary things have I done in spite of fear?’

Grab a pen and paper and write them down! (Seriously, STOP right now and just take a few minutes or at least think about it for a few minutes- it’s a great gift to actually give yourself the credit for it!) Discover how courageous you really are! I bet you’ll be surprised!

Courage can be viewed as a muscle; you need to use it regularly so that it is more toned and supple so I’ve put together 5 tips for building on your already amazing courage muscles!

1. Be a Beginner

So many of us have things that we want to do, new things that we want to try but we never get Steve-Jobs-Courage-quotearound to it because we’re afraid to be a beginner. We’re afraid to put ourselves in an environment where we know nothing! It takes guts to try something new so just go for it. Whether it’s a new career path, painting, singing, driving, flying, acting, pole dancing- whatever! Be a beginner!

2. Go somewhere you’ve never been before

I know that comfort and familiarity are great but the same thing all the time can get a bit boring! A few years ago, I was mortified when I rang for a take away, just gave my address and the guy at the other end of the phone recited my order exactly. Definitely time for a change! I bet you that if you’re going for a meal out, you tend to go to the same few places. I bet that there’s at least one movie that you can recite word for word. For a holiday or day out, you’ve gone back to the same place. Why? Because you’re certain that you’ll like it! Do something different next time, try something new. Be bold and brave and take a risk!

3. Say what you really think

This is a big one! How many times a day do you bite your tongue and say nothing? Whose company do you tend to be in when you hold yourself back? What would happen if you actually said what was on your mind and in your heart? I don’t just mean telling your boss that you disagree with current practices (or that he’s an idiot! The best time to do this is when you have another job secured!), I mean also telling someone that you care about how important they are to you. That often would take more courage than anything else because it can make us feel vulnerable to acknowledge how deeply we are attached to other people.

4. Speak to someone you don’t know

For many of us, there are people outside our circles who could be extremely beneficial to our dreams, progress and aspirations. If there is a particular career path you are interested in, find someone who currently works in it and speak to them. The wonderful thing about life is that there are surprises around every corner! That person in front of you in the queue could be the love of your life, that stranger sitting across from you in the train could be your next business client. Often we hold back, keep our eyes down and arms folded when we’re around people we don’t know. Next time, strike up a conversation and see what happens!

5. Stand up for someone else

If you see someone being treated unfairly or unfavourably, what do you do? Say nothing or stand up for them? When I was working as a consultant, I was always surprised at the bitchy gossip that went on in offices. The crazy thing was that most people who participated in it felt uncomfortable about it! But no one would stand up for the individual being talked about in case they were targeted instead! Can you relate? Do you really care what bitchy gossipers think about you? Next time, be courageous and stand up for someone else.