Tag Archives: who am I?

How the real you says No!

I know that you’re reading this or following my work because you know that there’s something 484318_10151361617128460_1077609347_n else, something more that you are meant to do, have or be but you can’t put your finger on it right now. I know this because it’s exactly how I felt as well and how most of my clients describe their feelings.

It’s like there’s something inside you that is reaching out, longing and yearning and sometimes you feel like you could just explode! What I’ve learned is that there is something inside you. That something is YOU– also known as your authentic self. You see, through my own journey and exploration over the past number of years, I have come across many teachings, books and articles which talk about us having different ‘selves’. The concept that resonated most with me and with most other women in their 20s & 30s is the idea of the ‘authentic self’ and ‘the social self’. Let me introduce you:

 The social self is that part of you that has been influenced by your culture, your environment, your peers, your family and society as you have grown up and throughout your life. It has taught you to value the same or similar things to most other people in your circle such as stable job, being financially secure, owning your own home, meeting a partner, having a family, having a pension, looking after your parents – being a ‘good girl’ shall we say!

 The authentic self is the part of you that knows your preferences for everything; it knows what you enjoy, what you’re passionate about, what brings you joy and what you love to do. The authentic self knows that you want to order dessert in the restaurant whereas the social self will tell you not to be a piggy as no one else is having anything! The authentic self is that part of you that is spontaneous, curious, fascinated with the world and playful.

 Our authentic self is great because when we tap into it, we can use it a bit like a compass and it will let us know when we’re moving in a direction that is completely out of sync with the ‘real and authentic’ us. The key is to learn how to read the compass! The following examples are a few ways in which the authentic self says ‘No’ and this can tell you whether you’re truly happy with the path you are on.

1. Sick as a dog!

 When you are forcing yourself on a particular path, struggling to repeat exams, trying to fit in and basically saying yes to things when you really want to say no; you’re not happy. There’s a general unhappiness, tense and anxious state that after a while becomes even normal. Bottom line, you’re under stress but you’ve probably been under it so long you don’t even realise it. When you are suffering with stress, your immune system is affected and its functionality decreases leaving you open to all sorts of illnesses. People with an over developed social self who keep putting other things and other people ahead of the needs of their authentic self can be under immense stress for years without realising it. They never consciously and deliberately recognise what’s going on- they may not even get to the point where they can say that they they’re unhappy in their career or with something else in their life but the authentic self is very aware and the effect on the immune system is disastrous. The result is what clients describe as overwhelmed and burn out.

 2. Vibrancy Vampire

 This is a really interesting one and something I know you have experienced! It’s 3pm and you’re sitting at your desk wishing that you were back in school in the baby class when your teacher would say ‘Put your head on your desk and go to sleep’- How I wished for those moments when I was working in my last job. I would be staring at the screen like a zombie, zero energy, trying to shake myself every time I noticed I was nodding off and terrified that I would be caught! So, I’d reach for the coffee and biscuits to give me a pick-me- up but even being stuffed with caffeine and sugar it didn’t help.I’d put on two stone in my last job as well  ( I kept snacking because I was so bored and or unhappy!)

 I had dragged myself out of bed that morning, dragged myself through most of the day and as soon as 5.30pm came- I would be heading straight home and crashing on the couch forever if not longer (possibly getting a take away because I had no energy to cook). This is what I call the vibrancy vampire- when we are way off course it’s like there’s a vampire that sucks out all of our vibrancy and passion for life. This is really one of the best tell tale messages that your authentic self can give you! As yourself ‘when do I feel drained and when do I feel vibrant and alive?’

 3. Feeding the ‘Nothing’

 I don’t mean for this to be as scary as it sounds but when your authentic and social selves nothingare disconnected, you will feel a void. Everyone describes the feeling slightly different as everyone experiences it in their own unique way. Physically, I felt it in my chest and it was like an anxious clawing feeling. Some describe feeling it in the pit of their stomach and others describe it differently again! For me, it reminded me of the film The Never Ending Story and how their world was being threatened by the ‘Nothing’– that’s how it felt- like nothing. There was nothing really wrong but nothing really felt good either- everything was just bleh, -grey, dull and boring. The feeling of nothing or void or emptiness was always there and I tried so hard to feed it, fill it, and do anything to make it go away. When it was really intense, a cigarette helped for about 30 seconds! Some people, they’ll go out and have a few drinks to try and numb it, others will exercise excessively, others will sleep around, some will eat excessively, some will shop, and some will hide from the world.

 Everything that we do, we do because we’re trying to change how we feel and feed this nothing! If we did manage to find something that dulled the feeling, it easily became a habit and something we would do on a regular basis- we all know that some habits are good but others can actually ruin your life. For me, it was cigarettes amongst many other self destructive habits- I believed that they took the edge off the nothing or anxious feeling.They made me feel better but only temporarily, pretty soon afterwards I’d be feeling pretty lousy about myself again! The reason I behaved that way was to try and change the way I felt, and the reason why I wanted to change the way I felt was because I was so miserable and the reason I was so miserable was because I had gagged my authentic self! I wasn’t allowing myself to listen to what I truly wanted, I wasn’t trusting myself and I wasn’t being kind to myself.

 Over the years, I have learnt that it’s quite difficult to break free from bad habits and addictions until you start acting more loving towards yourself, until you feel that you are worthy and good enough. I could only do that once I aligned my two selves and came back to the path of my deepest sense of purpose.

 I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear your feedback so get in touch!

 Until next time, notice when no means no!

 P x

 To read more on this topic, check out

http://myquarterlifecoach.com/feeling-a-bit-disconnected/

Making some space…..

About 3 years ago, my sis, Lyn and I had to sell our family home- very quickly! I think it was about 4 months from being told it had to be sold to walking out the door for the last time. Needless to say, it was very stressful, especially for Lyn who was 6 months pregnant at the time! We moved in with my Dad for a while until we got ourselves together, refocused and were able to figure out the next step. Life goes on and the past is the past but last week, we were brought back there!

We had left boxes of our ‘stuff’ in my Dad’s house for the past 3 years. He had been very patient with us, but there were two whole rooms in his home taken up with boxes and he had started to remind us every time he saw either one of us! Anyway, we agreed and we set a date- we would tackle our stuff and get it sorted!

As I tore the brown tape off box after box, there were loads of ‘ooohhhhs and aaahhhhhs’ but mostly I was wondering why I still had all this stuff! I had boxes of notes from college courses I had done almost 10 years ago, I had clothes that I hadn’t worn in about ten years (it was a bit depressing to see how tiny the tops were and perhaps a bit embarrassing as well!). Basically, I had piles of crap and so did Lyn.

It was a great lesson for me in how much I have changed in the past few years. When we had to sell the house 3 years ago, we had been so reluctant to let anything go and we had packed up box after box, clinging to our ‘precious’ stuff. Scratched cd’s, old clothes, old cosmetics, broken ornaments & videos! Now, I will admit that I am sentimental and that I do have old shoe boxes with pictures, cards and keepsakes that mean something to me but what we found in those boxes was really pure shit!

But this day was to be a major overhaul and de-cluttering initiative. There would be no mercy and we had three options: Bin, Charity Shop or Keep.

It really got me thinking that when we embark on a major de-clutter, what we are actually engaging declutter_life_2in is a complete re-evaluation of our lives.  We’re letting go, paring down, purging, prioritising, re-evaluating, discovering, risk-taking by letting things go and even developing a new level of trust in ourselves. So this de-cluttering day actually became an extensive tour of our entire lives — past, present and future. 

Our mam died ten years ago and we had a lot of her clothes packed away. Clothes that we would never wear but 3 years ago, we had thought that if we threw it away or gave it to a charity shop, it would be like snipping the umbilical cord and letting her go, shoving her off into the cosmos saying ‘Thanks a mill, see ya around! Bye!’ There was so much guilt at the idea of getting rid of ‘stuff’- especially stuff that we feel connected to in some way.

But what we realised during that day was that we had fused together our mam and the jumper that she used to wear.  Putting her jumper into a bag for charity doesn’t mean we love her any less.  The emotional connection and sense of closeness we have is to our mam — not her old jumper with the holes in it! And of course, we have so many other keepsakes which we enjoy so much more than a bag of clothes gathering dust in the attic. We were ready to let a lot go and as I said, it was a great lesson for both of us in how much we had changed in the past few years. After the realisation I had with being able to let go of a lot my mams’ ‘stuff’, I was easily able to let go of my own stuff aka crap!

And on the other side of the clutter purge was…a wonderful sense of freedom.  I really think that the more we let go, the more space we open up for new stuff to grow in our lives.  At the end of the day, we only have so much emotional, psychological and physical space.  But clutter and holding onto ‘stuff’ represents so much more than just that — it’s symbolic and energetic too.  The ‘letting go’ forces us to trust that the unknown or the future will be ok.  We can’t let go of boxes of old college notes unless we trust in our own decision that we aren’t going to pursue that particular path. For example, last week I sent very expensive law books to a charity shop and recycled a huge box of notes. I had been holding onto them just in case I lost my mind and went back to law but this time, I was ready to acknowledge that there was no going back for me! Onwards and upwards! Consequently, each box I packed for charity was an exercise in deepening my confidence in myself and in my future.

Each time we choose to get rid of a possession, we are taking a symbolic pair of scissors and cutting the energetic connection we have with the item.  To do that, we have to make some choices in our life and examine who we were and what we were about in the past, who we are and what we’re about today and about who we want to be and what we want to be about in the future. The more we trim down all our stuff, the closer we get to living in the present moment and being comfortable in the current reality.  You see, the more we purge, the less we attach to the past and the less we attach to the future.  We’re making the decision to live in the present moment.  The past is over and can’t be changed, the future is ours to make of it what we will…and we trust ourselves to blossom without a backup supply of jeans that no longer fit you, broken suitcases, videos, scratched cds and 12 half used bottles of perfume!

We felt so energetic and lighter at the end of our de-cluttering day.  We really hadn’t realised how much we had changed in the past few years, but we were able to acknowledge it that evening over a bottle of wine! Now, we’re living more in the moment! We were able to let go of a bunch of stuff that represented old dreams, unfinished projects as well as stuff that caused guilty twinges from an impulse buyer’s heart! I actually felt much calmer and freer from clearing all that space in my Dad’s house that I’m already pondering tackling the junk room in my own place next week!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! I’d love to hear your feedback so get in touch!

Until next time,

Make some space!

P x

 

 

 

 

Who do you need to be?

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

George Bernard Shaw

 An important question that many twenty-something find themselves asking is ‘Who Am I?’ It’s usually asked during a stage in their lives when things are changing- when there’s a full blown identity crisis going on. They’re asking the question ‘Who Am I? – because they genuinely don’t know anymore. Perhaps a career that they have invested 5 or 6 years in wasn’t what was expected or a relationship has ended but the real crux of the issue is that the life that they had expected to be living just hasn’t materialised. On top of that, they’re realising that the life they’re currently living just doesn’t fit them anymore! Where do you go from there?!

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 learned 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 too lazy to do this’
  • I’m a bit shy
  • I’m too young
  • ‘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! As I said, a lot of my clients start by asking the question ‘Who Am I? and searching for the answer to that question. Once you find it, the next question to ask is ‘Who do I need to be?’ I guarantee that you’ll know the answer!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Progress! If you’d like to read more on this topic, then check out my blog ‘Who are you right now?’ and ‘Why you need a life vision?’

I’d love to hear your feedback and who you’re choosing to be?

Until next time,

Step up!

P x

Don’t forget- Registration for my 30 day programme ‘Be your own Fairy Godmother’ opens tomorrow!

What’s most important to you?

What’s most important to you in life? We don’t ask ourselves this question very often and the beautiful thing about this is that everyone is completely unique in their response! Some people say family, some say love, some say success, some say health, some say security, some say safety, some say adventure. What all these things have in common though, is that they are values.

Our values are the things that are most important to us in our lives.

They guide our every decision and therefore where we end up. If we’re not clear about what is truly important to us in our life, then how on earth could we ever expect to be able to make an effective decision? If you ever found yourself having difficulty making a decision in a particular situation, I can guarantee you that the problem was that you weren’t clear on what you valued more in the situation. It’s important to remember that all decisions really come down to values clarification.

When you know what’s important to you, making a decision is quite simple. However, most people are unclear about what is really important to them and therefore any decision making becomes a process of internal torture, second guessing and self esteem obliterating. Let’s be honest here, you feel like an idiot sometimes when you keep changing your mind and when you’re unsure about something, other people are often more than happy to tell you what to do!!

One of the biggest dangers for women in their 20s and 30s is not knowing what is most important to us. We are raised in a culture in which we aspire to have the nice house, car, clothes, stable respectful job, marriage, family as we have been socialised to value the same things as our own social circle. But at this stage, if you’re the type of person who is actually reading this then I know that you have realised that acquiring things simply will not fulfil you. Only living and doing what you believe is the ‘right thing’ will give you that sense of inner strength and peace that you deserve and crave. The ‘right thing’ is acknowledging and living in accordance with your own personal values.

Remember that your values- whatever they are- are what are guiding you to your ultimate destiny. They are creating your path by guiding you to make certain decisions and take certain actions consistently. Not using this internal compass intelligently always leads to frustration, disappointment, lack of fulfilment and that nagging sense that life could be something different or better somehow but you’re just not sure how. On the other hand, when you do use this internal compass intelligently and consciously you will experience a sense of certainty, flow and an inner peace that few people ever experience.

The only way we can ever feel truly happy and fulfilled in our lives in the long term is to live in accordance with our values.

“What I found most valuable was working on what’s important to me in life, and what I want to move away from. This ended up directly influencing a couple of huge career decisions I had to make a short time later. Ordinarily I can be very indecisive, but armed with the knowledge that our sessions had given me, I was able to make empowered decisions. When I made these decisions it was with confidence and conviction and I felt really proud of myself because I knew I was putting what mattered to me – my family and my health – first instead of just chasing more money.

The biggest benefit working through the sessions is that it has given me is a much firmer grasp of who I am, what I want, and how to go about achieving it. I just feel more grounded, like I have my s**t together and I’m ready to move forward with my life.”
K. Murphy, Quarter Lifer

Is it time you asked yourself the question

What’s most important to me in life?

Ask it over and over again until you get a list of at least 10 values! Then you will have a starting point! I bet you will be surprised about what comes up for you!

Check out www.myquarterlifecoach.com for details of The Quarter Life Blueprint and Discover Your Purpose Packages which have intensive values work!

Who Are You?

Who are you right now?

It is never too late to be what you might have been- George Eliot

Who am I? Have you asked yourself this question before? Would you know how to answer it? Most of us forget this most basic question! The first time I asked this of myself I hadn’t a clue! I couldn’t answer it without just saying ‘Eh, em, hmm well I’m Paula.’

But really, the question is all about getting to the core of you. What makes you tick? What do you enjoy? What’s most important to you in your life? In your career? What do you value? What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about other people? What do you believe about the world? What shapes you? What did you love to do as a kid? What do you tolerate? What do you not tolerate? What are your boundaries? What makes you you?

You are completely unique! You have a unique set of skills, life experience, passions, characteristics, traits, thoughts and emotions to anyone else in the world! For most of us, we have been raised in a culture and environment that is all about conformity. We have been well trained about what our particular peers deems a ‘right life’. We share common values with the people in our own social circle, things like having a stable job, finding a partner, having a family, having a pension, looking after our parents etc.

A lot of the time, these influences can direct our decisions and ultimately where we end up in life. We do certain things because we feel we ‘should’- we feel it would be expected. Bottom line, we put other people in control of our lives by allowing ourselves to go with the flow rather than being a big girl and self directing our lives. The reason why we don’t self direct is because we don’t know ourselves, we don’t trust ourselves, we second guess ourselves, have major self doubt and listen to that mind monkey in our head!

The result of this that one day, you realise that you just aren’t happy. You don’t know yourself and the life that you’re living just doesn’t seem to fit you. You are nowhere near where you thought you would be and it’s so scary! There’s nothing really majorly wrong but you just don’t feel joyous or happy at all, nothing is really right either.

On the other hand, if we have a strong sense of self and know who we are- we will self direct our own lives based on our own interests, based on our own passions and the things that we love to do and be. When you know who you are, making decisions is easy because you know what’s important to you. When you know who you are and live your life in accordance, life just flows and you are more confident, more self assured, feel more self worth and whole.

Being able to answer the question ‘Who Am I?’ truly is the first step in the finding happiness in your 20’s and 30’s. Everything else rests on this, as you’ll see!
About the Quarter-Life Coach
Paula Coogan, The Quarter-Life Coach, is an accredited Life and Executive Coach. She specialises in working with women in their 20’s and 30’s, and are asking themselves ‘Is this it?’
Paula’s open, warm and personal approach means that she is the perfect coach to work with through the Quarter-Life challenges you face. She offers a choice of coaching packages, all designed to help you discover who you are, what you want, why you want it and how you’re going to get it. www.myquarterlifecoach.com