Tag Archives: Life Coaching

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!

Are you giving it away?

I could feel the anxiety creeping up my chest, my throat was getting tight, my heart started pumping faster and my mouth was dry.

I was at a group coaching session with a coach I deeply admire and we had been working on goals. She was asking how committed we were to achieving them and the rest of the group were really enthusiastic shouting out Hell yeah, I’m 120%, it’s gonna happen, I can’t wait to get started!’

Then it was my turn. I wanted the ground to swallow me up.

‘So Paula, how committed are you?’

Heart pounding, anxiety rising Em, honestly, I’m about 50% committed, no really actually about 40%’.

The iron grip of anxiety was on me because I honestly felt so half arsed about my dreams! And, it was the best I could do! (For a second, I thought I was going to be politely asked to leave!)

I so desperately wanted what I wanted but I just didn’t have the drive I needed to get really excited or passionate about putting in the work. It seemed like so much effort and it made me tired and overwhelmed to even think about it. I had no clarity of thought and no idea how to get started. Sound familiar?

Then my coach said the magic sentence. She said:

‘The percentage of your Wellness equals the percentage of your Success’

Then it clicked! She had me sussed! No wonder I was only about 40ish% committed to achieving what I wanted! I was exhausted, I was stressed, my sleeping pattern was all over the place and my recycling bin was brimming with takeaway Chinese and pizza boxes!

I realised that I had to change my goals drastically!

Originally, I had wanted to grow my business, take on more clients, get more speaking gigs, create new programmes and make a bigger impact. This was to be on top of everything else I was currently doing! Then it dawned on me that I knew that there was no way that I could achieve these things at my current physical and mental energy levels.

I had to slow it down and instead of focusing on the external things I wanted to do and achieve, I had to focus on me and my own wellness. The percentage of my wellness equaled the percentage of my success.

To me, wellness means:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Having fun and relaxing
  • Eating a healthy balanced diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Daily gratitude practice
  • Spending quality time with the people I care about
  • Spending time in spiritual practice
  • Feeling in control of my finances

Basically, it means taking care of me and my needs!

At the time, sleep-wise I was probably averaging about 6-7 hours per night but I was going to bed at 3-4am. Sometimes I got 3 hours sleep, sometimes I crashed for 12 hours.

I felt like I didn’t deserve to have fun or relax because there was so much to do and I hadn’t earned the right for time out. I was eating crap, getting no exercise, going to bed stressed and annoyed with myself and feeling guilty when I was with my family and friends because I wasn’t really present with them, my mind was distracted and on over-drive! I was almost always feeling ashamed of myself. I hadn’t even contemplated changing my lifestyle! I was doing and being it all, giving away my time, energy and attention to everyone except myself.

There’s a brilliant researcher and author called Brene Brown and in one of her books she described a conversation she had with her therapist, she said

I feel like a turtle without a shell in a briar patch. I need a shell, what can you give me? What do you suggest? The therapist replied saying ‘I have an idea. Why don’t you get out of the briar patch? You’re getting poked and prodded and hurt, not because you don’t have a shell but because you’re living in a briar patch’.

That resonated with me so much! I wanted a shell. Something that I could just put on and get going, to keep on keeping on! But (reluctantly) I realised that I had to get out of the briar patch and change my lifestyle.

I’ve made a lot of changes and I still have a lot of changes to make but I’m definitely making progress! My goals are balanced now to ensure that self-care is as important, if not more important than external achievement and the difference that has made to my life is incredible! I may not be at 100% yet but I’m a hell of lot better than 40ish%

How about you? Are you trying to push yourself to do more, be more and achieve more when you’re operating at reduced wellness? Where are you at now? What is your wellness percentage? Have you ever thought about this concept before and does it resonate with you? I’d love to hear your feedback and get a discussion going so pop over the facebook page and drop me a line!

Update December 2016: This is actually an oldie blog! I wrote it based on an experience I had in 2013 and I’m revisiting it now because it’s sooo relevant right now! Not only for me personally but for so many of my clients in recent weeks.

We need to stop giving it away.

By ‘it’, I mean our time, energy, care, attention and love – leaving nothing for ourselves!

permissionDecember is a time of busyness and our own wellness often gets pushed to the bottom of the agenda. This year, give yourself permission to take some time out for yourself. Stop giving it away and start nourishing yourself xx

Until next week, be well!

Paula x

P.S If this article resonates with you, then check out my programme Get Clear, Get Brave, Get Going– This is is a yearlong journey for determined, open hearted and playful women who want to make 2017 the most incredible year of their life so far.

Just imagine what you could do with a year spent paying close attention to your life, your goals, your dreams. 12 months of inspired accountability and bucket loads of loving support! We spend a lot of time on this programme ensuring that you have the right self care practices in place so that your wellness supports your success!

Applications are open now

This is a bit personal…..

There’s no hiding it anymore, the bump is literally out! Yep, I’m pregnant.. very pregnant! 30 weeks in fact and it has been really hard to keep it quiet! This is why my newsletters have been a wee bit irregular the past few months!

Myself and Colm are thrilled and I feel very lucky and in awe of the whole thing. But if I’m completely honest, it really threw me. It’s only in the past few weeks that I really felt I’ve got a grasp on it. It’s something I’ve always wanted but I’ll admit that seeing that positive result on the test completely freaked me out. I was terrified, wondering was I ready? Can I really do this? Will my life ever be the same? The past few months have been a real rollercoaster and it’s only recently I’ve started to get that excited buzz. A new adventure is about to begin and life as I know (and love it!) is all about to change!

This is probably the most personal blog I’ve ever written and for those of you who have been reading my blogs for a while, know that I’m not really one to hold back on my story and who I am. The reason this is personal is because it’s still raw and uncomfortable and challenging but I wanted to share it with you because after all, it’s going to impact my work as The Quarter Life Coach.

The last few months have been tough, really tough. I don’t want to moaning and groaning about everything, but seriously, I never expected it to be this tough. The lack of sleep already, the total and utter exhaustion, the physical pain to turn over in bed or walk, the hormones, the crazy emotions, the heartburn, the anxiety, the reality of being a self employed expectant mama and trying to stay on top of everything with The Quarter Life Coach!!!

To make things a bit more tough, my nan passed away last Autumn, about 10 weeks before I found out I was pregnant and even though its months later, there’s still tears as I write these words. My Nan was my soulmate, best friend and absolute rock. Most of my childhood was spent hanging out with her and my cousins and when my own mam died 12 years ago, my bond with my nan just got stronger. The idea of becoming a mother without these two incredible women by my side has been really hard.

The baby is due to arrive in August and we’re choosing not to find out whether it’s a boy or a girl (which means right now, we have 34 potential names on a list!). It’s a completely wacky ride and one which is asking for total surrender- which for a bit of a control freak is quite difficult.

But for now, I will say this:

Just over 5 years ago, my life was completely different. I was in a relationship that wasn’t good for me and that wasn’t working, I was living at home, I was in a job I hated and I was absolutely miserable. I had zero energy and was just living day to day going through the motions.

Within the space of a few weeks, that relationship ended and I got redundancy from my job. I had some big decisions to make about what I wanted from my life in the future. I made those decisions and started to work on making them happen.

  • I wanted a strong, happy, loving and healthy relationship with someone I absolutely adored and who adored me.
  • I wanted to do work I love and to make a difference.
  • I wanted my own home with a garden and an office.
  • I wanted a dog.
  • I wanted to feel strong and happier within myself.
  • I wanted to get married and have a family.
  • I wanted to be work from home so I could be at home with my kids, dog and husband and have that freedom!

You see, often we accomplish our dreams but we forget to notice because we quickly move on to the next thing, so I just want to take a moment and say:

Yay me! I did it!

What a difference a few years can make when you know what you want, why you want it and are working towards it.

Believe it or not but it was actually this time 5 years ago that the seeds were planted! Watching the eurovision with pals, having a chinese and a few drinks putting the final touches to my ideal life and relationship plans.

So thank you 25-year old self for having the dream that I get to realise 5 years later. Thanks for envisioning this amazing future which is my current life today. And even though life has its ups and downs and challenges- thank you for putting systems in place which meant that I have so much freedom, that I was able to spend so much time with my nan in her final weeks, that now I can nap as much as I want and do whatever I need to do to take care of myself and baby bear! I’m just so grateful to my 25-year old self for having this dream and even though it was scary and I didn’t know how I would achieve it, I took it a baby step at a time and I grew faith in myself.

Phew, ok so on a lighter note! One of the main reasons I wanted to share all this with you is because there are going to be some changes with The Quarter Life Coach over the next few months! Everything is a bit up in the air – hence the total surrender! I will absolutely continue with my newsletters but it will be every fortnight from August instead of weekly!

I also plan to add a new-mama programme to The Quarter Life Coach and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and if this is something you expectant mamas and mamas would like? I’ve heard so many people tell me how they were afraid of losing themselves when they had kids or like me, having a new mama meltdown. The Quarter Life Coach is me, it’s an extension of my life and so it’s only natural that it will evolve with me!

I’ll be running my ‘30 days to Be Your Own Fairy Godmother‘ programme once more this year in June, to secure a spot now, click here.

But the biggest offering I want to make to you is my ‘Thrash It All Out‘ session. This is basically what my 25-year old self did- took some time out, invested in myself and my dreams, made some big decisions, created a plan and put it into action. It is an intensive session and we spend half a day together thrashing it all out with a few coffees and treats! I have 6 of these sessions available before I take a step back for a while so if you want to work with me privately this year, this is your chance! Drop me a line now to find out more info and see if this is suitable for you!

So, now over to you!

Everything you’re doing today is preparing you for the life you’re going to live tomorrow.

So, what is your big dream? What seeds are you planting for your future? What actions are you taking to specifically nurture those seeds? I’d love to hear what you’re creating so please drop me a line or join the conversation over on the facebook page!

P x

Do you know her?

She is a smart woman, she found school interesting and fun yet she would never let on! She always enjoyed exams and tests because she was able to stay calm. She accepted that what she knew then would have to be enough and she felt empowered. She enjoyed that feeling as she felt special, everyone else seemed to be panicky and stressed. Part of her misses that school but again, she’d never let on!

She gets an anxious feeling in her chest or around her heart every now and then, she’s not 100% sure what it is but it bothers her. It means that she knows she’s holding back from something- that there’s something that could be better but she’s too afraid to do something about it.

She’s a very open and warm person and tries to see the best in everyone. Sometimes though, she can be played and people take advantage of her. She doesn’t like to be angry and feels guilty at the idea of hurting someone else’s feelings. She would rather take the hit herself than to hurt someone she cares about. This causes her to numb her feelings quite a lot. As a result, she tends not to really know what’s important to her or what she really wants. She’s quite open to other people’s influences and suggestions.

She is curious and imaginative and loves new things, exploring, parades and gatherings of people. She loves having something to look forward to although she doesn’t allow herself to get excited until it’s actually happening. She has a bit of a short attention span and can get distracted easily. She will start new courses and projects, make big bold resolutions and then not follow through.

She speaks to herself harshly, she is her own worst critic and her own worst enemy. She is a sensitive soul and she needs to be alone every now and then to soothe her soul and recharge. She will get upset if she doesn’t have a chance to do this and the only reason she won’t get the chance is because she is too harsh with herself. She will look forward to a massage or something special for herself and then she won’t allow herself to do it or have it because she doesn’t deserve it, she hasn’t earned it.

In a relationship, she can be easily taken advantage of as she would never want to hurt someone she cares about and if her partner knows this, he/she can exploit that. She is very loyal and loving and will always try to help her partner as much as possible- often she would end up in a relationship with someone who needs a bit of help and support– a lost soul. She will always fight for the underdog and help make him top dog and it will be really hard for her when he turns and bites her. She is very low maintenance and easy going.

She loves the little things in life and in a relationship, the little things are just as, if not more important than any grand gestures. She loves to feel she can talk to her partner about anything. She wants someone who will treat her with respect but she would never demand it.

In work, she is really hard working. It is important that she feels authentic- it’s important that she knows what she is doing and feels confident. She suffers from imposter syndrome sometimes and is terrified that she will be caught out or that her boss or colleagues might find out that she doesn’t have the answer. Relationships in work are important and it is vital that she has respect for her colleagues and most importantly, she needs to respect and admire her boss. If she doesn’t, she will never feel comfortable or honest in her career.
If she finds herself in a career or relationship that doesn’t ‘feel right’ for a long period of time but doesn’t do anything, her self esteem and confidence start to suffer. Her values start to get fuzzy as well as her sense of who she is and what she’s about. Because she’s a sensitive soul, not wanting to hurt anyone else, it will normally take a lot before she does anything to change her situation.

The straw that broke the camel’s back is normally what happens for her. Something simple, something silly, something small- just a moment when she just thinks

“Oh my god, is this it? Is this me forever? Is this my life?”

Once she reaches this point, things start to happen. She rebels a bit, she notices that she doesn’t really care about certain things, she’s not really sure who she is anymore and starts looking for answers. She is entering a metamorphosis and knows that she needs to make some changes……

Do you know her?

She is me. I wrote this about myself a few years ago. If you’ve read up to this point, then I’m guessing she is you as well!

I’m often asked what I do and who I work with.

I work with her. I adore her. I work with her to help her find her own place in the world, to practice self love and self respect, to be real and authentic. I work with her to help her find her answers. To help her find meaningful work and loving supportive relationships. I help her to adore herself and be happy within herself.

I’d love to hear if you resonated with this! I really would love to know if you know her? Please drop me a line to paula @ myquarterlifecoach.com or pop over to the facebook page and let me know!

Here’s to her!

Paula xx

What’s your label?

Probably one of the biggest obstacles that you will face anytime that you want to make a change in your life is……….Your Label. You have been branded and labelled from infancy and the extent to which you have bought into this labelling, is the extent to which you’ll find it difficult to discard. As much as I cringe to say it, but for many of us, we are who we have been told we are. We’re wearing our own brand and it can be quite restrictive. Your labels, positive or negative, have boxed you in quite nicely!

A label/branding/story- call it what you will, that really seemed to stick to myself and my sister Lyn was that, at some point in our childhood,  someone said ‘Lynda got the looks and Paula got the brains’ or something along the lines of that! That statement stuck to us like glue! It was a label that defined both of us for years. Lyn assumed that she wasn’t academic or smart and gave herself a really hard time about that; I just didn’t bother with my appearance and had really low self-esteem about how I looked!

Some people say that your culture and environment determines your personality and character. Others believe that you are born with your character intact and your destiny is already sewn up. What do you think- does biology or the stars decide your fate? Are we purely the products of what we have been raised to be? What I believe anyway is that we always have free will. Who you are right now is of importance but what is paramount is who you will become.

Who you are is who you have been up until this moment. It is our choices and how we respond to our environment that ultimately shapes our lives. Once the deck has been cut, you’re the one dealing the hand. It sounds easy doesn’t it? That we can just choose to respond to our Words that stick on youenvironment in a different way than we have done for the past 20 years! I agree that it sounds easy but putting it into practice can be quite difficult. Now remember, I said difficult; not impossible.

How to Create Yourself

Step 1: Start Picking!

First you must free yourself! Awareness is power! Lyn and I both knew that this statement had been made and we both knew that it had defined us. But when we talked about it, it began to lose its power. You know the way if you buy a new item of clothing, the label might be stuck on but as soon as you see it, you start to pick it off. That’s exactly the same here, as soon as you see it, start picking off the old, untrue and outdated labels! So, who predicted your future? What label might be boxing you in?

Step 2: What’s stuck on you?

Make a list of the labels that have been stuck on you that do absolutely nothing for you. For example, have you been told that:

  • You’re always late
  • You’re easily distracted
  • You’re lazy
  • You’re brutal at sports
  • You’re argumentative
  • You’re too soft
  • You’re really shy

Now, I want you to see these as they are – someone else’s perspective. In fact, they’re more than likely meaningless, throwaway comments that got stuck on you and have been stuck ever since! These are the easiest labels to pick off, when you can see them for what they are- a throwaway comment on a report card from 6th class or something like that- they tend to just drop off

 Step 3: Re-Brand!

If you’re someone who has been labelled as ‘always late’ and it’s something that you no longer want to be true; then drop it now. This actually is one of mine! I was always late for school, probably because I wasn’t bothered about it but I was always told my friends, by teachers, by the person in charge of detention ‘Paula, you’re always late.’ That was a label which stuck with me for years; I was always late because that’s who I was. I was someone who was always late. I definitely wanted to re-brand that aspect because I hated being late, it made me anxious and tense! So I picked off the label and rebranded as someone who is on time. I developed new habits by modelling people who were on time. I actually plan to rebrand myself again and someone who is always early!

 What’s your new story?

You are the author of your own life. Only you can take the credit. Only you can take the blame. You are writing your story every day based on how you choose to respond to your environment! The question is not ‘Who Am I?’ but ‘Who do I want to be?’ This question takes you out of the box that you’ve been hiding in, forces you to look at the labels and decide if you want to rebrand because the truth is that your story could be amazing!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear what labels you’ve decided to pick off and how your story will change as a result! Drop me a line and let me know!

Also, I was just wondering how are you going to change your life this year? What are you going to do differently?

I’m running the Fairy Godmother Programme for the last time in 2016 next week! It will be a whole month focused on YOU! You will walk away with focus, clarity, confidence and determination to make it happen. It’s an amazing way to spend a month! Check it out here!

Until next time,

Choose your story!

P x

Who do you need to be?

Life’s not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

Some people say that your culture and environment determines your personality and character. Others believe that you are born with your character intact and your destiny is already sewn up. What do you think- does biology or the stars decide your fate? Are we purely the products of what we have been raised to be? What I believe anyway is that we always have free will. Who you are right now is of importance but what is paramount is who you will become.

Who you will become is who you need to become. It’s completely up to you how far you stretch yourself. If your life goals are non-existent, if you want to just ‘see what happens’, get by, be able to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head; then you will become someone who will strive towards that.

 If your life goals are vast and exciting, for example to pay off your mortgage within 10 years, have adventures, travel the world, swim with sharks, go in a hot air balloon, learn a foreign language, have a passionate relationship full of fun and excitement, be financially free; then you will become someone who will strive towards that. Even if you don’t hit the mark every time, your life will still be fuller and much richer than if you were just trying to get by.

 Stepping Up

A lesson I have learnt over the past few years is to step up. I was working with my own coach at the time and we were discussing my life goals – (what I wanted my life and my business to look like) and the fact that I wasn’t really getting anywhere with it! The issue was that I was scared; I was afraid of everything. Afraid it wouldn’t work, afraid of what people might think of me, afraid of putting myself out there and I was even afraid that it would work! Some of the excuses and reasoning I came up with included:

  • ‘I’m a bit shy’
  • ‘I’m too young’
  • ‘I’m too lazy to do this’
  • ‘I’ll get bored and distracted by something shiny’
  • ‘I couldn’t handle it if I failed’
  • ‘I’m just not the type of person who could actually do what I want to do!’
  • This is my dream and if I try and it doesn’t work then I’ll be devastated. What will I have to dream about then? It might be best to keep my dream as a dream and that way it’s safe!

 ‘Who do you need to be? she asked. The question hit me right between the eyes and stopped me in my tracks. This is what we coaches call an ‘Aha’ moment. I knew the answer.

I had to step up and be a better, stronger, more confident version of myself if I was to do the things I wanted to do and have the life I wanted to have. That was who I needed to be. I needed to be Paula 2.0!

 Who you are is who you have been – up until this moment. It is our choices, how we respond to our environment and the goals we set for ourselves that ultimately shapes our lives. Once the deck has been cut, you’re the one dealing the hand. It’s all up to you!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! If you want to set yourself up properly to STEP UP in 2014 in all areas of your life; relationships, career, health and fitness and financial then join me on December 29th at 2pm for a FREE live webinar that will teach you the four steps you need to turn your New Year resolutions into Real Results! (Click here to register now)

This webinar will walk you through the four steps that you need to have in place to make lasting change in your life and help you create the momentum that will you drive you to get there!

You’ll gain clarity about where you’ve been, where you are now and where you want to go! I want to help you create a simple plan to set up your 2014 so that it excites you, compels you and is finally Your Year!

Make sure you’ve got a pen and paper handy and I’ll chat to you on the call!

In the meantime, Step Up!

P x

Click the link below to sign up for your FREE spot on New Year, New You webinar on Sunday 29th December at 2pm!

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3180840215197156098

Setting Better Boundaries

This is a work in progress for me! It’s something I’m much better at, but I still need major improvements. Every experience I have where I’m being polite and obliging when I feel frustrated, pissed off and a firey rage is slowly building on the inside is a ‘learning experience’.

 I had a ‘learning experience’ the other day!

 I pride myself on having a very free and flexible working life. I work from home and it’s fabulous. The problem is, sometimes it’s a bit too free and flexible. If I get a spur of the moment invitation for lunch, I would often say yes! A friend who has been away for a while was back home and text me to see if he could call over for lunch, I said yes; that I was working but was happy to stop for lunch with him. He said no problem, he’d be over in an hour for an hour. Great stuff!

He arrived anyway, 2 year old nephew in tow! We couldn’t really have a catch up, he was too busy running around after a 2 year old and I was running around after my puppy, Lilo, who was so liloexcited to have someone her own size to play with. (How cute is she!!!)

Ninety minutes into this one hour ‘pop in for lunch’ visit, we finally sat down and had a sandwich. At this stage, my shoulders were tense and I had that tightness in my chest where I could feel the rage rising in me.

The mind monkey chatter in my head was yapping away, having a great debate saying things like ‘Tell him to get lost, he’s totally disrespecting your working day’ ‘It would so rude to ask them to leave’ ‘what would he think of you if you behaved that way?’. ‘He’ll think you are a right bitch if you say that’ etc etc.

So, what was going on here? I was getting annoyed with myself because I was allowing my friend to disrespect me and my time. Oh yes of course, I wanted to blame him for the fact that he was hampering my working day and putting me under pressure. But it wasn’t his fault at all! It was all me. I was the one offering more tea, I was the one who wouldn’t speak up, I was the one who wasn’t setting clear boundaries, I was the one assuming that he would know that I was very busy. On the outside, I was a hospitable hostess. On the inside, I was a raging, irritated crazy psycho bitch!

As I said, I’m normally much better at this which is why I think today made such an impact. Because I hadn’t seen this particular friend for a while, I simply fell back into an old pattern of behaviour. I hadn’t clearly established my new boundaries.

I know this isn’t just me! I’ve had so many emails and questions from other women in their 20s and 30s asking ‘How do I say no without feeling guilty? or ‘How do I set clear boundaries and stop letting people take advantage?’

 So, why do we do this??

From the moment we are old enough to curl our hands and snatch toys from our fellow playschool companions, we are told not to be selfish. We’re told to ‘put others first and don’t be so greedy’ etc etc. It’s no wonder that we’re all so concerned about being perceived as selfish or mean; that we now feel terrible for ever having the audacity of putting ourselves first and saying no. We may win friends with our selflessness, but the damage this causes to our own self-respect is huge!

Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and a healthy life. Setting and sustaining boundaries is a skill. Unfortunately, it’s a skill that many of us don’t learn! We might pick up pointers here and there from experience or through watching others. But for many of us, boundary-building is a relatively new concept and a challenging one.

Having healthy boundaries means ‘knowing, understanding and communicating what you will tolerate and what you will not.’ Here are a few tips on building better boundaries and maintaining them. (I’m reviewing my old lessons and journals to bring you these tips as I need them myself today!)

1. Tune into your feelings.

There are two key feelings that can be red flags that our boundaries are being crossed. They are: discomfort and resentment. If in any situation you are feeling strong feelings of resentment or discomfort, ask yourself ‘what is causing that feeling?’ ‘What is it about this situation or person that is bothering me?’

Resentment usually comes from being taken advantage of, disrespected or not appreciated. It’s often a sign that we’re pushing ourselves either beyond our own limits because we feel guilty or because someone else is imposing their expectations, views or values on us.  Women in general tend to have weaker boundaries than men due to our upbringing because we’ve been raised to be ‘good girls’, polite, respectful etc!

2. Give yourself permission.

Fear, guilt and self-doubt are big potential pitfalls to setting boundaries. We might fear the other person’s response if we set and enforce our boundaries. We might feel guilty by speaking up or saying no to a family member or friend. Many women believe that they should be able to cope with a situation or say yes because they’re a ‘good/nice person’, even though they “feel drained or taken advantage of.” Boundaries aren’t just a sign of a healthy relationship; they’re a sign of self-respect. So give yourself the permission to set boundaries and work to preserve them.

3. Make self-care a priority.

You need to make self-care a priority – this involves giving yourself permission to put yourself first. When we do this, our need and motivation to set boundaries become stronger. Self-care also means recognising the importance of your feelings and honoring them. These feelings serve as important cues about our wellbeing and about what makes us happy and unhappy.

Putting yourself first also gives you the energy, peace of mind and positive outlook to be more present with others and be there for them.” And when we’re in a better place, we can be a better partner, friend and co-worker.

4. Seek support.

If you’re having a hard time with boundaries, seek some support! A great thing to do with friends or family is to make it a priority with each other to practice setting boundaries together and hold each other accountable.

Setting boundaries takes courage, practice and support. And remember that it’s a skill you can master.

I actually did decide to speak to my friend and explain how I had felt as a result of his visit. I took personal responsibility for my feelings and said that I hadn’t explained my boundaries to him but that it was really important to me that I honour my working day and structure even though I work from home. His response was

 ‘Awww, Paulie, I’m really sorry, I didn’t realise.

You should have just said!’