couple_holding_hands

Why coaching is a bit like falling love…well it is for me anyway

A couple of weeks ago I shared a link on Facebook called “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This”. To be honest, I shared it without actually reading the whole article, just reading the first few lines. I do this if I kinda know what is in the article, but the few potent lines I had read, rumbled around me for the follow week.
Basically, the article recounted an experiment from 20 years ago when couples had to ask each other a series of increasingly personal questions and then look each other in the eyes for several minutes. Enticingly, one of the couples married 6 months later!

The questions which you can see here, start off being quite light and gentle, but towards the end they ask things which evoke personal, deep, meaningful answers like “Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?” and lastly “Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen”.
These questions do many things and we might often ask these types of deep inquiry questions in coaching, depending on the context. They enable to client to share really important things. They elicit the core personal values that the client holds. In coaching we then explore these “core values”, raising our client’s awareness of them and relating them to the coaching topic or direction at hand, checking out the influence they may have.
It is a privilege for me as a coach to hear a client’s deepest self, their real loves, fears and passions. This sort of sharing involves us becoming vulnerable, which is safe within a trusting, resonant relationship. These “vulnerabilities” allows us to see how similar we are as human beings. When we see all of those things which we actual have in common, we start to connect deeply and see our shared humanity.
You might be worried? Jen falls in love with her clients? Ahhhhh “call the police, HCPC or ICF”. But no, for me I know that sharing this deep, resonant relationship with someone allows us to connect and enable me to see how brilliant people are. When you connect at this level, people’s talents, ideas, skills, creativity etc. start to be seen by the coach but more importantly by the person themselves.
Understanding this has also helped me see how people fall in love and perhaps in the past why I have also fallen in love far too easily! Ever since I can remember, when meeting someone, even for the first time, I strive to really “see” them. I am reminded of “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer:
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive….” You can see the rest here
Reading “The Invitation” about 15 years ago, fed my natural, inner coach and I think made me quite impatient with the usual “Hi, what do you do? Where do you live” kind of questions. After the brief niceties, I can’t help but get bored with surface stuff. I want to see the real person, what makes them ticks, what really interests them, what makes them get out of bed in the morning…yes, a natural nosiness, masquerading as coach like “curiosity”… hahaha.
So if you want to fall in love, or perhaps just connect with someone more deeply, ask them something different, invite them to share their soul…just a little bit. And if you meet me, be prepared to be asked some different questions too, but I promise not to fall in love with you x

hiker

All The Best Plans Start With A Party

To have a good party, you need to be able to plan in advance and make sure that you have everything in place. Whether it is the venue, food, drink, music or activities that worry you the most, there will always be something that gets you in a tizzy when it comes to planning a party. However, it is all worthwhile if the party goes to plan.
You may also find that your best plans for life come to you at parties as well. There are many factors at play and it could be any number of things that give you a push in the right direction. It could be the alcohol, it could be the inspiring and influential company, it could be the positive atmosphere and energy of the evening or it may just be the fact that you are aware from work. No matter the reason, it is fair to say that plenty of people stumble upon life changing ideas or positive notions when they are having a great time with friends.
The only problem, after you have slept off the positive effects of the party, you may not be as optimistic as you were during the night before. This means that the great ideas or the life changing attitude may revert back to normal. This is a shame because a lot of the fun ideas that come out at parties could actually help you to make a positive difference in your life.
Harness the party excitement
This is where being able to harness the excitement and energy from a party in a way that you can use in a forward movement will be of great benefit. This is where a discovery party can help you and your friends to turn those brilliant ideas into new ways of thinking or doing. It maybe doesn’t need too much to get you moving in the right direction and this is where having a life coach in attendance can help everyone to harness the positive nature of a party.
The thing about great ideas or big life ambitions, they are usually bubbling under the surface for quite a while. It is only when there is a fun and upbeat atmosphere at a party when these things come to the fore and this is having a creative life coaching party can help everyone to get to a place where they can focus on the things that they truly want to achieve in life. If you can’t be honest about your hopes and ambitions with your friends, who can you be honest with!
With a talented coach, a pleasant host and an affordable evening, there is the possibility to achieve so much, which should help folk to make the most of the evening. At the very least, you will be able to have a happy evening with friends, so even if you don’t feel as though you have any burning desires or life’s goals to aim for, there is some reason to turn up.
However, you just never know, the life coach may be able to dig something out of you or help you to develop a focus into what you want from life. There is a lot to gain for the life coach in this situation too and it is likely that they will be very focused and on their A-Game too!

The long term view?

The ultimate question.

Before I die, I want to…?  

This is quite a risky subject for a blog post, so my apologies if it is too stark or comes at a bad time, but it seems that this really is the ultimate question. And it’s a great question for this time of year, when we start thinking of what we will do, to fill up this empty 12 months that seems to stretch out in front of us!

There seem to be a lot of people around me right now pondering that question. There have been quite a few funerals to attend of late and lots of difficult news arriving.  Perhaps it’s my imagination – they say that if you start noticing something, you tend to notice it more and more. It’s like the thing where you get a new car and then see the same model and colour everywhere!

Having our mortality brought clearly into our field of vision does funny things to people.  Whether you have a close family member die, or find out that you or someone close to you has a life limiting diagnosis, or something else happens, it does tend to jolt us out of our normal reality.

When faced with the fact that we really do have a finite amount of time on this planet, we are forced to decide how we will spend that precious time. Some people will want to spend more time with family, others will set forth on an adventure and do the travelling they have always said they will do, some will just decide to get their affairs in order and carry on as before – we are all different.

I stumbled upon a great talk by Candy Chang , who on contemplating a close friends death, decided  to turn a disused building into a giant blackboard.  She then asked passing people to complete the statement “Before I die, I want to….” using chalk! (Do take a look at the video…its poignant and funny. The first man wrote “Before I die I want to… be tried for piracy!”).

I’ve been reading Steven Pressfield’s  classic “The War of Art” in which he notes that when faced with a terminal diagnosis, people will often just start doing the creative things they have wanted to do for years, usually painting or writing.

I am not seeking to scare you into action…that helps no-one,  but we can ponder this question with curiosity and see what it turns up for you.

So take a relaxed breath and ask yourself the “ultimate question”

“Before I die I want to….

Complete it anyway you like. I quite going for things in 10’s. So here are my 10 things I want to do before I die:

–          Paint furiously and get some sort of fine art qualification

–          Spend a night in a prison cell

–          Walk the Inca Trail (and find a way to get to Peru without flying!)

–          Appear on TV

–          Sleep outside under the stars on a clear, warm night!

–          Spend a whole week in bed, by choice

–          See my girls grow up and get oldJ (does that count?)

–          “Do” Glastonbury or another big festival

–          Get a tattoo…just a small one mind you and under anesthetic,  as I don’t do pain!

–          Learn to snowboard while my  knees are still willingJ

What’s good about the luxury of making a long list is you get to really think of lots of ideas but often find that its only 2 or 3 of them that are really important…I will leave you to guess which of mine are most important.

Have fun making your own list.

(And don’t leave it until you are pushed – take some small steps now?)

Happy New Year!

The tight rope walker

“mummy you are just like a mini circus” … on juggling, walking the tight rope and being a clown

The tight rope walkerI never liked the circus that much as a child. Scary clowns, people dangling upside down, at risk of falling. Juggling can be a bit tedious after a while. So looking at my life as a circus, using it as a metaphor, is really quite funny!

The juggling thing seems obvious. I am a working mother of two young children. We’ve  been trying to renovate a house, for the last 7 years, whilst building my business.  Juggling is actually quite a mild idea when I think about all the challenges I keep moving and all the balls I keep in the air  – having food in the house, having clean clothes for us all, making sure homework and reading is done, keeping the house clean(#fail), managing the family finances, working(!), keeping up with friends, keeping up with home emails (let alone work ones), planning a holiday (ha ha), keeping my marriage healthy, keeping my children healthy, keeping us all happy…ahhhh.  Balls get dropped.

Even the most skilled juggler has a maximum number of balls he can manage before it gets too difficult. For me, at home, I usually start dropping balls when I try and introduce something new, without letting go of something else.  I can’t just add in 3 exercise classes a week, without something else giving, a ball dropping….its just not doable. Or if one of my children wants to start a new class or hobby…that’s another ball a mother has to juggle! We have choices. Do we try and juggle more and more and more, do we decide to let something go, consciously accept we are not perfect and will drop something or do we get stressed and annoyed when we can’t manage it all? We are not super shero’s.

 

Last year,  I started writing and painting about how I felt like a tight rope walker. I had this sudden image of me wobbling along the tight rope of my life, trying to keep focussed and keep my ultimate aim in sight – my ideal life and business.  I realised quite quickly that I keep getting distracted by other things, things which cause me to look down, lose forward momentum, wobble and fall off!

I also realised all the helpful things a tight rope walker does to get to her destination – stay balanced, take small steps, keep moving, keep focussed on the goal/destination, ignore distractions and she certainly does not look down.  I also realised how much time and energy I spent working on making my safety net, tighter and stronger, so much so that I stopped moving forward.  My safety net was my old job, keeping money coming in, training in my old job….all things that were not related directly to my new goal, my new business, my overall vision for my life!

So what about being a clown? As I was writing this piece, I had a phone call from a business coach who is also a clown! I took this uncanny coincidence to ask him to sum up, in one sentence, what he feels being a clown is about….he said that for him, it is finding anyway he can, to make someone laugh – and that’s different for everyone!

 

I have realised the supreme value of laughing in recent years, and I often do things to make myself and my children laugh. Laughing breaks the downward cycle we often get into.  It makes you shift to a different place in side and often helps us see a different perspective, bringing more flexibility and resilience. It helps us realise how we take things far too seriously, most of the time. Laughing gives our bodies lovely happy chemicals, including serotonin and helpful endorphins. These all help us keep well. Laughing  helps our face and body muscles toned up (and reminds me to use the loo).  When we are with someone and we laugh, you realise that you both see something in the same way, that you are both human –  laughing  connects us.

So I strive to make people laugh. When I teach or speak, I often play the fool…I’ve often been told I should do stand up comedy!  At home, I point out funny things to the kids, laugh out loud when at all possible and be silly as often as I can.  Life is short. It a good idea to enjoy it!

So yes, I am like a mini circus. I juggle, clown and spend my life walking a tight rope, and like a circus, life is colourful, meant to be fun.  In the Big Top that is my life, I am the Ring Master trying to ensure that everyone, including me, enjoys the show.

Geniestatic fun

What Discovery Party is REALLY about.

If you have been to a Discovery Party, you will know that it is really fun and relaxed, but it has a serious side, which we approach in a light-hearted way – finding the life you love and thinking about things which you may want to do differently now or in the future.

But there is another side to the parties, which may not be so obvious. We believe that Discovery Parties help people come together, in communities, be they social communities or groups of friends or even perhaps groups of work colleagues.

As human beings, we used to do this much more often! Before the days of radio, TV and of course the internet and Facebook, we used to come together, sit and chat and connect much, much more often. In fact if we go back further in time, before the nuclear family became the norm and we started living in individual homes, we used to gather as groups of people, tribes or communities of families.  Sitting around the fire, cooking communally or taking as we grew or caught our food, might not sound appealing to you all, but it was the here that people connected and talked about all sorts of issues – they rarely seeked help from outside their local community.

Apparently, we all live increasingly connected lives…internet, mobile phones, social media, mean that we can “connect” with people without leaving the comfort of our laptop…..

I’m not dissing this. Our modern lives’ offers us so much, but can also lack the intimacy and naturally supportive relationships that used to exist years ago, including who to turn to, or who might have some knowledge or skills or help that you need.

So Discovery Party aims to reconnect people, either with their existing friends or new people who may live round the corner they have never met! It is about natural networks and looking at existing resources, especially local knowledge and advice. Rather than feeling isolated and stressed in today’s highly demanding world and turning to Google to solve your worries or going to your GP about your wellbeing, perhaps you might find you already have the resources inside you! or if you don’t someone else in your community probably does.

We always find that people go away from our parties with all sorts of unexpected benefits. As well as time to think and plan and coach themselves towards a different path, they often find that someone else in the party can help, be it a friend with some helpful knowledge or the party coach who can support them on their journey.

So next time you are feeling the need to reconnect in a way that doesn’t involve a “screen” or “charger”, why not through a party instead! You might just find something wonderful happens.

DIY spa

Fun and affordable…

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a day off and go to a local hotel for one of these cheapy Spa days. It was one of those voucher offers you get sent by email and it involved use of the pool and a mini massage (as opposed to a maxi massage, which is what I probably needed!). It was good value at around £20 but with parking and petrol, it all adds up. I enjoyed the day, but realized that £20 is still out of many peoples budget. I started dreaming…..I am good at that….and thought “ wouldn’t it be fun to do a DIY Spa evening!”

So we did.

Last weekend end, my best friends along with a couple of their daughters who are all about 11-16, we met during the evening and all brought dressing gowns, towels, face masks, nail varnish etc. I brought along a Foot Spa that we got for a fiver at the charity shop recently. One friend is a massage therapist, but we didn’t put her to work, she just gave us some tips and some nice massage oil.

So feet were soaked, bubbled and pummeled. Hand, heads and arms were massaged and nails manicured. Wine was consumed. Faces were smeared with all kinds of face masks from boots – everything from Strawberry Souffle which looked like a dessert, through to a posh, unused Clinique cream mask. Hair was plaited, smoothed and crimped (I do have a picture of me looking like a cross between a banshee and Cindy Lauper from the 80s). We had a tear whilst watching “Call the Midwife”….

It was a complete laugh. Admittedly I think the fun outweighed the relaxation and perhaps not having teenage girls might make it a bit more sedate, but importantly, it cost nothing apart from the wine, nibbles and the odd £1 face pack!

I got to spend time with my friends and do something that we would never usually do! It took very little planning and organisation – a big bonus in today’s over stressed world. Even if there had been just two or three of us, that would have been fine.

As you know, Discovery Party is all about coming together as groups of friends to have a fun, affordable life coaching experience, but I am fast realized how many other things we could come together to do! So if you come up with any novel ideas, do let me know!

keep calm

Keep calm and …

Did you know that the poster, Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster produced by the British government in 1939 at the start of the 2nd World War?  It was made to improve morale in case of possible invasion and it was never used. The copies we see these days, on tea towels, mugs and posters were due to a couple of original posters surviving and only being “discovered” in recent years.  It was the third in a series of posters, the second of which said “your courage, your cheerfulness and your resolution, will bring us victory

When I learned about this other poster, I thought was a great way to explore some strategies which we need to use, when things around us seem to be very difficult, when we start panicking and need to keep calm.

Your Courage…

Did you know that the word courage come from the word Coeur, meaning the heart, the seat of our feelings.  When you need to find courage, this isn’t always about putting on a brave face, being stubborn/rigid or carry on regardless. If you have things which you are really struggling with, we often need to listen to our heart. It says very different things to our head but often speaks quietly and is drowned out by our head. For example, if you have relationship problems our head might say “you can’t afford to separate…you need to stick with it or you won’t be able to afford the mortgage….you need to stay or you won’t meet anyone else “ “you must, you ought, you should, there is only one way, its all bad” these are things that come from our head. Our thinking, is often narrow and quite rigid, but this, is just one part of our knowing. Our heart has something different to say.

It’s often difficult to use “words” to describe what our heart feels and says.  Our knowing in our heart is often softer, more compassionate, more open, more intuitive.  Courage is often about being willing to seeing things differently, being willing to let go of our rigidity and things having to be a certain way. Courage is also about approach something wholeheartedly – with our whole heart, embracing all that is, all that could be. Trusting  what our heart wants, is usually the best way to go. Our heart is our power house, it gives us far more strength and courage than our head alone.

Your Cheerfulness

There is not much in life, that can’t be helped, solved or made better by a goodly dose of smiles, laughter or humour.  I recently wrote about being a bit of a clown in my home. How breaking a downward spiral by laughing or making light of something, takes us to a more resourceful place.  When things seems really tough, I always acknowledge how I am feeling, but then ask myself “what am I taking too seriously right now?”. This really helps me to keep things in perspective.  It also helps me see the sometimes ridiculously high expectations I put on myself and others.

If we start our day with the intention of seeing the joy in each moment, seeing the humour in each situation and letting go of being so serious about things, we allow things to flow much more easily. I have taken to watching 10 minutes of comedy on You Tube before I start my work! Other ways to do this are to keep some affirmations or pictures in your diary or phone, that remind you of happy things, joyful thoughts, funny moments. It could even be a joke that how ever often you hear it, it still makes you laugh.   This is not just smiling for the sake of it, but feeling an inner smile, that warms you throughout and reminds you that you are ok…you are safe.

Your Resolution

According to the dictionary, resolution  includes “the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure (and) … the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose”.

Resolution, our resolve to do something,  is often stronger if it doesn’t come too early on in a crisis, a knee jerk response if not as strong as pathway chosen after we have considered all options, given time to see how things might change/work out, tried some alternatives and listened to our heart and head.  I think if I was designing this poster these days, I might use a different word. I’m not sure that the word resolution allows for flexibility and adaptability which is a key strength in making sustainable changes.  If I am so resolved, so fixed and too rigid, I might not be able to do things differently. I might get really upset and stressed if I can’t control everything!

What I do like about the word  “resolution” is the action and method focus it has.  Life coaching often has an action planning element to it. For many it’s the main reason for coming to see a life coach “I need a plan” “I want a way forward”.

When we are faced a challenge and trying to “keep calm” we can often calm our fight and flight mechanism (the bit in our brains that makes us feel scared, anxious and fearful) by knowing that we can do something tangible to help, that we have a plan, even if the plan is to take very small steps like change our perspective, see the good things, talk to someone helpful,  take thinking time to develop different options so we don’t just have one, laughing more often…A plan isn’t always about taking massive action. The smaller our steps, the more likely they will “bring us to victory”.

So yes, keep calm and carry on, but with courage, cheerfulness and (flexible) resolution. This will all help you when you face challenging times. Remember you are resourceful, you do have the answers, listen to your heart (courage),  make a plan with small steps, remember to see the joy in each moment and laugh often!

Vampire

Vampire Alert!

Life these days is very full on. We may not be chasing buffalo or carrying water, but we seem to have designed a life full of demands and expectations, that runs at a very fast pace.

These days, it has become really important to be able to manage our energy levels so that we don’t become overwhelmed, unwell or just resentful of our lives, activities and relationships.

I have always struggled with my energy levels, but it took until my 30’s to recognize that certain relationships were impacting badly on my energy and ultimately on my happiness.

I imagine that you all know people who leave you feeling a bit discombobulated, tired or just plain irritated? Sometimes its not until a few hours later that you notice your energy seeping away or sometimes it happens immediately you start talking to them.

Please believe me, I am not intending to be unkind. Often quite sprightly, energetic people have this effect – we are not just talking about people who “dump” problems on you.  If we think at an energetic level, sometimes people act as energy vampires, but they are completely unaware of the effect they are having on others.

Should we completely avoid them? No, well not unless you really struggle to plug your energy leaks or just can’t find a way to make the relationship work well or it is taking its toll in a really unhealthy way.

How this relationship works, the way the energy feels like it is being sucked away, often says as much about you, as it does the other person. So it is equally your responsibility to manage your self and  your energy.

With energetic “thingys” I view them in terms of energy “drainers” and energy “gainers”. Sometimes good things can drain your energy and things which should tire you out, just don’t. For example, a very late night out with really good friends, doing something fun or interesting may well leave you with more energy than the draining effects of a late night? Sometimes being around a hyper energetic person can leave you feeling completely awful.  Sometime working really hard to complete a project, may feel exhausting but the feeling of satisfaction afterwards negates the tiredness.

So my challenge to you is this. Make a list (codified in case of people seeing it) of people in your life.  What is your initial reaction when you think about them? Are they an energy vampire/drainer or gainer?  After identifying your initial response, start thinking about the different activities you do with them.  Does that change things? (e.g. is a certain family member difficult to be with when you just sit in the lounge chatting but good fun to be with if you go bowling?)  Also do an audit of how you are feeling before you see them. Does this change things?

Often the energy is affected by the following:

– the activity we do with the person

– our expectation of the interaction/meeting (e.g. dread is not a good starting place)

– how we are feeling in ourselves (Is your self esteem a bit low already? Have you had a rough couple of weeks?)

– how much we can “protect” ourselves from the draining e.g. how much we prevent it from affecting us.

Discovery Party really know the value in friendships and health relationships, so we feel passionate about making as many of our relationships energy gaining, so do try the above and see if you can shift the dynamic in the relationships you find difficult, be they at home, work or play!

 

 

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September – the best month for new years resolutions?

September is such interesting month for many reasons. For many of us it marks the return of kids to school. Many will be starting new schools, university, college, looking for jobs or just starting school or nursery.( Even without kids, August is often the time for holidays and everything seems to grind to halt!).  Evening classes and courses often kick off in September, so if you want to learn something new or start a class, this is the time to do it.
September really is a month of new beginnings, much more so, I find, that January, which is why I use September to take stock and set plans for the year.
It can be so easy to allow September to rush ahead and push you towards the “ C” word (that’s Christmas in case you wondered).  “What are you doing at half term – you have to plan you know! You start getting asked about the works Christmas party…whose turn is it to do Christmas this year… and I have even heard people talking about booking next year’s holiday (I still have sand in my car and intend to leave there as a good reminder of this years holiday!!!)
Ahhh! World slow down. I am feeling  giddy.
In the natural world, September is about taking stock and harvesting. What would happen if you took time NOW, to take stock , look at what you enjoyed this last year, harvest the successes and planned what you want from this year?    This needn’t be a big job.  Just take yourself off for a ½ hour coffee somewhere, café, park with a flask and perhaps take a note book.  Ask yourself a couple of gentle questions and allow your mind and pen to ponder:
–        Looking at this past year, what am I really pleased with,  what worked  well.
What am I surprised about?  What did I expect to happen? What has been slower to work out than I expected? What has flourished and been easy?
–        Knowing that this is a time of new beginnings, what would I like to do differently in the coming year? What have I been putting off? What do I keep saying I will start, but never get round to?
–        Is there one tiny weeny thing I could do this week, to move towards something I really want? (by tiny weeny, I mean really small, so small you are hardly noticing yourself doing it…eg a 5 minute Google of local jewellery making workshops,  just seeing which swimming costume you might decide to buy, writing 3 sentences of a blog, finding where you left your trainers,  digging out your school certificates or old CV…..  Just choose one tiny thing. Only one. (pssst..If you do one tiny thing, you can choose another one)
Just for now be gentle with yourself – finding your way back to a work and school routine can all lead to a degree of frazzlement  (that’s a new but rather nice word).
Just for now, practice taking stock in this month of Harvest, before the year rolls ahead and we all wonder where the Autumn went , why on earth we are buying Christmas cards again and lamenting on how quickly the years seem to be passing by. Jen

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Disappointment is very comfortable

I recently entered a competition a bit like the Apprentice, much to my family’s horror. They were worried I would be torn to shreds and it would not be a positive experience.  As it turned out, I didn’t get through to the next round of the competition, which was being run by the BBC.

I was disappointed the evening I found out – I won’t pretend otherwise, but I woke up the next morning, feeling remarkably comfortable and very cheery.

My response troubled me!  I should have felt gutted….really disappointed….I had put many weeks work into the process, built up my hopes and sacrificed not an insignificant amount of money.  I had pretended I didn’t really care, but I really did, so I was puzzled why did I feel so OK the next day.

I’ve had a couple of weeks to mull it over and I think it comes down to the fact, that for most people, disappointment is an emotion we find easier to deal with, than success.  Yes we are very fond of disappointment, its like a comfortable pair of shoes.

I had supreme skills for dealing with disappointment.  I had a well used script that has had constant  use over the years, which goes “well it’s probably for the best…I tried my best didn’t I…I didn’t really expect to succeed…I’m just a housewife from Thornbury (yes that old chestnut)”

As children and young adults we learn very effectively to deal with disappointment. Our parents and others, try and protect us by saying things like “don’t get your hopes up” (Flashback to 1978 and my letter to Jim’ll Fix It which never got a reply). We also tend to look our parents and family and learn from their own disappointments and lack of fulfillment. We model disappointment.

We get to learn how to be and feel disappointed very very well but we don’t learn how to be comfortable with success.

Fear of success is often greater than the fear of failure…we have got the failure script sorted,  but don’t have such well rehearsed scripts for success.  Telling people we have done well, won something, got a great pay rise or created something we want to sing, about doesn’t trip of the tongue very easily. We don’t want to brag or feel we will upset someone.   Success often feels uncomfortable in our bodies as well…and our bodies are more in charge of our actions than we would like to think!

So I was prepped for disappointment in this particular case. I tried hard, gave it my best and failed. It meant that I could move on really easily , which is healthy and useful in other ways…but this is only half the story……next time I’ll tell you why we must must must learn to be more comfortable with success!

(of course although I was disappointed, I  have seen lots of positives since!)

We come in peace...

Mum…I’m bored

Saturday morning and in an attempt to reduce internet addiction and the time my children spend on the computer, I have turfed them off, saying “go and do something else”.

Thirty seconds has passed and  I hear the words that make every mothers heart sink….”I’m bored”.  I should point out that we are not a family that does a lot of out of school activities. The weekends aren’t ram full of clubs and sporting activities. They are very varied – some times we have stuff on, sometimes not. Sometimes we just chill at home, sometimes we visit people, its always different. So there is not a pre-planned menu to ensure each minute is filled!

The reason my heart sinks is that as I have got older, I have found it virtually impossible to be bored. Indeed I consider boredom a luxury!

Thinking about my “bored” children, I do understand completely. I can remember being their age, thinking “I don’t know what to” or “I’ve not got anyone to play with”  but the words that came out of my mouth were “I’m bored”. In reality, I had a lot of things I could have done, lots of craft stuff, toys, roller skates etc, but I think I needed help to really see what I could do and have help to start something off – I needed help to get started with something.

So my kids have a colossal variety of activities that they could do.  Although I don’t want them leaping from one form of electronic stimulus to another, we do have a playstation, computers, DS to name a few!  But we also have a least 20 children’s and family games they could play. I am a artist and crafter so we have enough craft stuff to sink a small vessel. We have a garden with various outdoor toys (yes it is raining again, but so what). They could make cakes or cook something. They could make a den inside the house or outside. They have activity books and comics which are unread. They could just read a book….

One of the problems, I believe, is overload – there is so much we could do, that we just can’t see it all properly.   You know how when you decide to have a toy clear out, and you unearth things that never get played with (charity shop, boot fair or bin?) somehow suddenly it starts getting played with again…ahhh! Part of me gets the hump because I wanted to get rid of it, but it gives us clues to why we have so much we could do but don’t.

Sometimes, merely opening the cupboard, finding the toys and letting them  be seen, reminds us what we could do!  So I sometimes open the toy cupboard and start going through it, not with the intention of a clear out, but just to draw my kids attention to what’s there! It works a treat.

I also think that we need to teach our kids (and ourselves) how to get engaged with an activity.  If we start our children off with a game, craft or activity, they are much more likely to get engaged. My husband is brilliant at this…he really teaches my children to become engaged in things especially when we are at the beach.  He is obsessed with making sandcastles – he is not doing this under sufferance, but genuinely loves it and vanishes with the kids for hours, just to make a sand village.

He is role modelling “engagement”. He is showing the children how to play, how to be so absorbed in something, so in flow, that their brains don’t have a chance to kick in and interfere.

I see it when we are in the garden at home as well. If we are busy doing some gardening or an outside job, the kids just “find” something to do. They just get on with it. They don’t need to be entertained.  My 7 year is particularly fond of digging with the only purpose of getting worms to fed to the chickens!  This can occupy her for hours:)

I know that if I get the craft stuff out and randomly start gluing, sticking or scribbling, that they will too.  This is not an overly structured activity, not a craft kit with a defined outcome or process. I just get pens, glue cellotape, paper, small boxes out of the recycling and put them on the dining table, and see what we all do with it!  Once they are engaged…really involved in making something…I can sneak off and do something I need to!

This is not about being a super mum who spends all day doing craft. I’m just helping them to learn how to get started, play, create and get involved.

I a lot about small steps leading to big results. All I am doing is helping them take the first step away from boredom, into engagement.  The first tiny step might be just “seeing” things differently…seeing toys that we forgot we had! The first tiny step might be seeing me stick some goggle eyes onto a baked bean tin and the kids thinking…yeh…let’s do that with all the food and see what great characters they make!  (I just thought of that one and now going home to do that..perhaps we might take photos and turn them into cards..hahah).

So next time you hear those immortal words “I’m bored”, don’t strive to entertain them, just think how you could help them take the first step to being engaged and ask yourself “Am I being a good example of how to be engaged”.

Off to get goggle eyes now..enjoy.

(although this post was written about children, we as adults should think about how boredom affects us too!)

Onions with eyes

 

Life's Journey

So my VA has asked me to write 300 words on why Discovery Party is different from other life coaching!

Well if I only have 300 words I have to choose them very carefully.

 

DP is very different to other life coaching. It’s a fun, relaxed, experience that you have with your friends or perhaps your team at work. It’s a bit like having a night in with a bottle or two of wine, but with some structure and a different purpose. We play some games and fun activities to help you look at what you love about your life but also what you may want different. You get to find out how coaching and personal development help people and we introduce you to some techniques which can really help.  It’s not a “sit and sob”. It’s a positive, easy going get together, which takes all the best from modern self help techniques and puts it into an easily understandable format that everyone can benefit from.

 

It’s different from other life coaching because you can experience it and gain the benefits without having to pay for individual coaching which can be costly. At Discovery Party we believe that coaching is for everyone and not just for rich people or those with high flying jobs or businesses. You also get access to resources after the party which help you continue your coaching experience and get further support with plans or goals you decide to make.

 

Some coaching is all about setting big goals, working harder and seems to put people under a lot of pressure. At Discovery Party, we believe that there is enough stress and pressure in the world and we aim to help people make changes, without making it worse!

 

It’s also different from other life coaching, because we also aim to teach you to coach yourself so you can support yourself, your friends and loved ones.  Coming together with friends or colleagues in this way also reminds us of how important our friends and local community are, especially in the busy, modern life we have these days.

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Gremlins

Most of my time as a life coach, is spent helping people tackle feelings of “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t think I can do this” or “I don’t think my idea is that good” or “I am not cleaver enough, thin enough, brave enough……etc” These Gremlins spend a lot of time chatting in our ear and over time they really don’t help us. Our self belief shrinks if we don’t find evidence that they are wrong or at least find ways of keeping them a little quieter. .

Every time I hit a problem or challenge with my business, my Gremlin starts saying things like:
“well what did you expect Jen, you are just a housewife from Bristol”
“are never mind, you knew deep down you would be disappointed about all this”
“only people with rich partners or lots of money can start business, of course it won’t work”
“ahhh…you tried Jen…never mind…perhaps go back to your old job”

I have started Discovery Party from scratch, my idea, my business and it’s not an easy road, but deep down I know it works and every time I run a party, I get such great feedback and even people who haven’t been to a party say “That’s such a good idea”. So I have evidence against some of those doubts. The personal ones are harder to tackle!

I try and shake off the “I’m just a housewife” I have worked part-time on and off since the girls were small. It’s not easy but I manage. There is no such thing as “just a housewife” – women juggle the demands of running a house, feeding everyone, making sure everyone is clothed and , in my case, vaguely presentable, doing all the school admin, home admin, holiday arranging, after school activities and that’s before looking after ourselves! We are masterful l managers…never ever forget that!

As for the “you knew you would be disappointed” thing, well that not my intuition speaking. That’s me bracing myself for disappointment, knowing that its easier to expect disappointment than to expect success. When I realised how comfortable disappointment is, I gave it a good kick, right back where it belongs!

I have tons of evidence against needing lots of money to start a business…I’ll share that over the coming months, but yes you can’t often give up your day job straight away, and yes you do need to start small, find cheap or free ways to do things, but many many people have made great businesses without a bean to start with.

Go back to my old job? Well it’s a safety net, its there if I need it, but I would have to be desperate to go back now.

I know that Discovery Parties are helping people in many different ways. For some its just fun evening with friends, but even then, many seeds are sown during the party and often people will say “Well actually it was at the Discovery Party that I started thinking about this” For many others it’s a golden opportunity to experience life coaching and make future plans so that we don’t look back on our lives and say “I wish I had…., but its too late now”.

So dust off your wine glasses (ha ha as if they ever gather dust!) get some nibbles in and your best friends round and have a Discovery Party at home.

Or talk to your boss about having a Discovery Party at work (teams that play together work well together).

Find out what all the excitement and fuss is about!

Discovery Party

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Discovery Party is now in full swing.  Parties are running every week, sometimes twice a week and I’m loving it. Every party affirms that this is a great idea: people are always intrigued by what they are coming to, not sure what its about, but always end up having a great time and say “that was really helpful and fun”.

Some parties have had around 7or 8 people, one had 17, and all the parties have been very different. Different age ranges, different sorts of people, different backgrounds, different expectations and different outcomes. All as diverse and individual as the people attending. All of them overran with people chatting for much longer (I gotta work on that!) but it does show how women are naturally good networker’s and support each other in a relaxed way.

Other progress over the last few months, include a new logo and brand identity, a new face book page and the website continues to develop.  I don’t feel like this is hard work – it just feels like I am growing a unique plant in a relaxed fun way.  Sounds good doesn’t it!

From April, people attending will pay £10 each, which everyone says is about right. For that small investment, you get a great evening with friends, access to a life coach, your own personal coaching tool to take away and other free goodies.  This charge allow the coach to cover their costs and time for coming to the party and we think you will agree its very good value and cheaper than most other party nights.

So over the coming months, we have other coaches coming on board, all over the country. I am so excited about this, partly because I am looking forward to working with some new people but also because it means we can start spreading the word further afield.   We want to develop a dedicated, strong network of enthusiastic Discovery Party Coachs all over the UK,so if you know of a life coach who would be interested in joining us, please give them our details.

How we develop this business is a hot discussion topic. Do we build it into a franchise, maybe operate a licensing system or something completely new.  I am up for breaking moulds and making it something different. Something not based on selling stuff alone, but something that is a win-win-win-win for all involved, us (Discovery Party), our coaches,the hosts and their guests.

So there you have it. Please let us know your thoughts. Get in touch if you want to host a party or become a Discovery Party Coach or just want to know more.  Talking is something we love to do:)

Changing lives, one party at a time whilst growing coaching for real people!