Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform


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Why you must follow your dreams…

With the New Year looming, it’s usual to start thinking ahead to the things you might want to do.  New projects, holidays, new exercise regimes and diets, or bigger changes you might want to make in your personal life or career?

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Everyday in my work as a psychologist, I get to talk to people about these kind of things.

I get to encourage people to take the time to look at how these things might be achieved in a realistic way and figure out some of the potential stumbling blocks that might occur along the way.  These might be due to circumstances or emotional and deep seated patterns that means we work against ourselves, hindering our own ability to get to where we want to be (we are great at sabotaging ourselves!).

Now, I’m a big, big fan of the practical.  I love to-do lists, goal setting and working within the confines of our physical, tangible reality. In other words, though thinking positively is hugely, hugely important, just sitting on your bum thinking positively aint gonna cut it.  After all, we can’t merely ‘think’ ourselves thin/rich/successful etc. etc….I think you get the picture!

But for a moment, I want to consider how important it is to for a moment to forget our daily reality and go inwards a little more and focus on what really lights us up?  This isn’t thinking, so much as dreaming.

– What are your dreams for 2016? – 

Remember when you were a child.  What did you dream about?  What did you want to do…really?

What kind of things did you sit and imagine or daydream about?  What did you or indeed do you get excited about?  Do you sit dreaming about travelling to different places?  Do you dream about another career or job where everyday you get to go and do something that truly inspires you!  Do you dream about being in a loving relationship or finding more time to devote to your passions?

It is SO very important to not lose sight of our dreams.

Our dreams and what we picture and imagine in minds that make us feel happy, content, excited…all positive emotions, are an insight into what is in your heart and therefore what your heart desires.  Indulging our dreams keeps us in touch with what we want is also hugely important as it can give us access to an understanding of our purpose or what we feel we should be here while we live this ‘one precious life!’.

It is so easy in the throws of every day life, to get bogged down with the day-to-day grind.  Getting up to go to work.  Looking after those around us.  Keeping our homes clean and tidy. Staying on top of the washing/e-mails/chores and life admin.  Sometimes the closest we get to ‘dreaming’ is day-dreaming about having finished the cleaning after dinner and being able to find 5 minutes to have a cup of tea!

Before the New Year gets under way, I invite you to stop for just half an hour and with a notebook and pen to help you solidify/keep note of your thoughts, take a moment to free your mind and go into that place in your head, and hearts, that allow for you to dream for just a moment about the things that you desire.

What is it you dream about?  Has it been a while since you indulged these thoughts?

Do you think, and fantasise about the same things regularly…for example leaving your job and starting your own business?  Or maybe you think about moving to the coast or packing up and travelling?

What fills your heart with joy and gets you feeling excited?

What would your life look like if you indulged this feeling and even dare I say it, pursued some or all of these things now!

Then consider, what is stopping you?…what are you afraid of?…what are your blocks?

Not all dreams are destined to become reality.

Some dreams are designed to be just that; dreams….I mean I dream about flying but let’s face it, that’s not going to happen any time soon!  But my dream about living near the sea is one I’m going to take more seriously over the next year or so, therefore I’m going to focus on figuring out how I could make that happen.

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Dreaming goes you access to your hearts desire and purpose.

With the right focus and planning we can then work on bringing some of those dreams into reality….how exciting!

So as the New Year approached and you think about changes that you might want to make, I encourage you to dream.  Take note f what you dream about and the recurring themes you see. Maybe then you can also look to make some of your dreams a reality…what could be more fun than that.

Til next week!

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If you would like help focusing on planning for next year you may which to take advantage of an hour and half coaching session for the price of one hour if booked before 31st December.  For more details click HERE to be take to the SHOP PAGE.

Also, more discussion, tips, advice and inspiration can be seen over on my Facebook page.

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Do you have the Power To Create?…

A bit of a different post this week, as I’d like to tell you all about what I did at the weekend.

Well…what a fantastic Saturday I had!

I got up early in the morning, had a hot shower, a hearty breakfast, donned my clothes and headed out to Antenna in Nottingham where I was going to be a part of an amazing conference that was hosted by the Nottinghamshire RSA .

The conference was the Power To Create Conference and was set up to ‘ignite imagination and collaboration’ in the Nottinghamshire area around the key themes of Public Services and Communities; Creative Learning and Development & also Economy, Enterprise and Manufacturing.

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Fantastic Artist Cara from Graphic Change created this fantastic graphic note-taking representation.

– Like minded people, like-minded conversation – 

The day was so much fun.

I met so many wonderful people, heard about some super inspiring things that are going on in our community, as well as across the UK and the rest of the world, and made many great connections.  I have a lot of coffee dates set up!

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The talks that were presented were all important and thought provoking and really got you thinking more about what we could all do to contribute more, do more and continue to be a part of the dialogue that makes a difference to our society and the individuals in it.

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I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to present a workshop on the day in which I got to speak all about a really exciting project I’ve been working on called Mind Clubbing.

Mind Clubbing is a brand new event that I will be launching in the New Year.  I’ve been working really hard on this and I’m going to be telling you all about it in a few weeks’ time…I can’t wait.  But for now, I got to tell all the wonderful people at Power To Create all about it.  It was SO well received and I lots of people signed up on the day.

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– What can you do? – 

There will be other events in the area so I really encourage to find out more about the conversations that are going on.  What conversations might be important to you and your community? What help might you be able to provide via your own skills, ability or expertise?  Maybe you too just want to meet other like-minded people having these fantastic conversations about creative learning, taking care of our environment, forming community groups and things like the incorporation of technology into our lives and businesses.

If you are not UK based, is it that these conversations are going on in a different format in your own countries?  If not, could you start something?

I’d loved to hear from you about what you would like to create or maybe what you have already created?  And if you are local, I look forward to seeing you at one of the future events.

Til next week!

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When should I stop listening to feedback?…

Ellie is just about to launch her new product.  She’s been working on this behind the scenes for the last year and now and she is very excited about sharing this with the world.

She decides, reluctantly, to tell a few people close to her about what she is doing in the hope that they might give her some feedback.  She hopes it will inspire her to push on and makes some small tweaks before she releases her work to the world!

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Ellie gets the feedback, buts it’s not what she’d hoped for…

‘Gosh Ellie, what do you hope to achieve doing that….have you thought about the cost as I wouldn’t be able to afford it!’

‘I don’t think that works.  I mean I already know about nutrition and I can get that all on-line if I Google it’

‘I can see what you’re trying to do, but do people really want to look at that with someone.  Can’t they do it on their own?’

‘I think you should only do 4 sessions, not 6’

‘I think this would work better in person not on-line’

‘ I think that you have to make it more accessible to people like me who can’t use a computer’

‘I think…’

‘I think…’  ‘I think’..

Agggghhhh!

– Information overload – 

I hear this all the time from clients, and also friends who have been in this situation.  You share your work that has been so precious to your heart.  You’ve worked so hard on this and all people seem to do is find fault.

It feels deflating, it feels uninspiring and you worry that you are going to fail. Well, having been in this situation myself (many, many times), I’m going to share with you 3 things that I find help me to filter out the stuff that is helpful versus the stuff that makes me want to stop it all and go and work for Waitrose!

#1

Ask the right people

So, who are you asking about your work/new product?

This makes all the difference not only to your mindset and general wellbeing but also the future success of your business.

For example I know that if I want an opinion on what new car to buy, advice on my leaking roof, or anything in general to do with property I ask my Dad. When it comes to my business however asking my Dad for his opinion/advice is like consciously giving him a cleaver and asking him to chop my arm off…basically he is that helpful!

Now, he’s a clever man and knows a lot of about running a business.  He’s done it himself for a long time, but as his daughter I’m too close for him to see clearly what I should do, for two main reasons;  One – my business is psychology and he struggles to understand properly what I do and how I make a living from it. And two – he loves me and worries that anything I do will be too risky and he wants to take care of me.  All this equals a recipe for disaster.

The ‘right’ people to ask are basically those that I have learnt will give me constructive and useful feedback and those are typically people who have ‘done it’ already.  In this case I go to my friends in business who are successful at what they do.  Not only would they have been where I am before, but they are able to give constructive critique and offer advice to help and move forward, not just point out what is wrong.

It’s constructive, it’s useful and I can use it to actually go forward. Hurrah!

#2

Ask specific questions

Another thing you can do is to be specific in how you ask your questions.  That is instead of just saying for example ‘what do you think of this?’ or ‘do you think this is a good product/idea?’.  This gives people too much reign, and there is then a tendency to go mad on trying to say everything that they think is relevant.

I find that asking specific questions is often more helpful and often more helpful to get feedback on the things you really need/want help with.

A good way of doing this is to do your market research before you create your product using survey tools like Survey Monkey or Smart Survey.  Both are free tools and you can easily collate information to make sense of what trends there are in your sample. You could also choose to interview people, asking a series of set questions that do exactly the same thing.

Doing this also allows you to ask questions at different stages of your design which you can incorporate on-goingly.  It also allows you to be really specific for example you may want help with pricing, so questions from people about ‘willingness to spend’ might be useful?

It’s also a really great method for you if you don’t want to get direct feedback from people you know and you want feedback to remain anonymous or be sent to people outside of your friendship groups or family.

# 3

Know when to stop listening

The last thing is simply to listen when you need to and to stop listening when you don’t want to hear anymore.

It is good to have feedback.  It is good to do your market research.  It is nice to hear the good stuff as well as areas of improvement as these will all help you in creating your product, however the truth is, as you are well aware, is that you will NEVER please everyone!

You are not making your product or putting together a service that is for every man and his dog, so we have to know that not everyone will have helpful advice, possibly just through not understanding what you do.  Also, people like to feel important sometimes and maybe in the process of giving you feedback, they actually start to try and twist your product to something that THEY would do….guess what?  If you did that, it wouldn’t be YOUR product anymore!

On that basis, similar to last weeks post on feeling tired of inspirational blogs, books and social media messages, you have to just know when to walk away from feedback and trust that this is your product that has come out of your vision and you are gonna big, fat do it anyway.

For more information and amusing video about feedback particularly on writing, click on the lick to Jenna Moreci‘s YouTube video about ‘haters’ in the writing process.  It’s again a good reminder, even if you are not a writer, that you have to stick to your path and your own vision of what you want this to be!

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So, I hope you’ve found this helpful.

I’d love to hear from you if you have ever encountered ‘unhelpful’ or even strange feedback?

What did you do and did you make any changes to your product as a result?

Remember you can also come over to my Facebook page where much of the discussion happens and please do also sign up to my newsletter by signing up in the below box.  Those that get my newsletter also get first dibs on Early Bird tickets to talks and events and some exciting things I’ll be doing before Christmas and in the New Year.

Til next week!


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I’m tired of growing…what to do when you’re sick of hearing about stories of inspiration and enlightenment!

Open up your Facebook page or read one of your favourite blogs and it’s very likely that you will encounter some kind of story or message that tells you about how someone has overcome something and wants to share evangelically about their experience.

You read all about how this person has fought back and made big changes in their life and now wonderful things have happened.

How through hard work and determination and seeking enlightenment they’ve achieved their hearts desire.

How reading this amazing book that ‘you’ve got to read’, they’ve changed their life and are now implementing little things every day that make a difference. Oh, and how they appreciate everything!  Even the morning dew on the flowers in the….blah blah blah…

How they took up a life changing course or training and now they are up at crack sparrow every day drinking green juice, running 10 miles and meditating all before their kids wake up and then they have the rest of the day to focus on their multi-million pound business.  Agggghhhhh!…

…the list goes on…

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– I’m so tired of it all! – 

Well, it’s not surprising that sometimes it all feels like too much.

Sometimes when you feel like you are struggling just to get the day to day tasks done that you need to survive, like go to work, clean your house, eat proper meals and not contribute any more to that little paunch of a belly that is now peeking over the top of your trousers, then hearing stories of others’ wonderfulness feels like the least helpful thing EVER!

But is this reality?  What is really going on here?

Well, if you find yourself going through a period like this, where it all feels a bit much and you feel like ‘personal growth’ stories and sharing might just tip you over the edge, there are few things that might help your mindset…and help you not to strangle the next happy-clappy person that wants to share their super-duper amazing news with you….Grrrrr!

#1

– The feeling doesn’t usually last forever – 

I’m no stranger to feeling like this.  I call it ‘inspirational burn-out’.

I get to stage where I feel like I’ve read so many self-help books, looked at so many pretty and ‘inspiring’ blogs, read so many friends’ stories on Facebook about how they are so in love with their partner or that their business is going so amazingly well or the kid that they were complaining about last week is now their little angel and they love them so much < enter picture of angelic sleeping cherub> that I want to crawl under a blanket…maybe with a good bottle of red!

At times like this though I try to remember, just like the parent who wanted to throttle her child last week, that the feeling is short lived.

I know now when I feel like to this to step away from the book shelf, to turn off pretty pictures on Instagram and beautiful blogs of  ‘perfect’ houses, to turn off Facebook and to take a breath and focus on something real.  In other words to actively participate in my ‘real’ life.

When we feel like this, it’s often a sign that we need a break and time to refocus on the here and now.  Taking one step at a time just doing the things that we need to get done and being active takes us out of our head and back to reality. Sure, take what you will from the books and things you’ve seen in a way that feels helpful, but you don’t have to see it as a road map for your own life.

After a while, when you feel more grounded and maybe have done more things that are important to you in your own life you may begin to feel like you’ve really accomplished something, and that you haven’t merely been focussed on other peoples stories of success and growth.

I know for me, that when I’ve taken time to stop measuring myself against outside sources of perceived ‘perfection’ or happiness then these books and stories and pictures are just things that I can dip  in and out of with little more than interest or amusement.  They also have more ability to make me smile and not affect me on a deeper level.

A good way to put some of this in perspective and an example of how fickle some of this stuff can be is in the funny Instagram account for Sociality Barbie who just basically takes the mick out of ‘pretty’ and deep and meaningful photos.  Tee hee…enojoy!

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# 2

– It’s not real anyway!- 

Following on from this is just recognising the fact that what you are seeing/reading is usually not a true representation of real-life anyway, especially when it comes to social media.  If you are reading a book, the book usually always has a happy ending.  If you see something on Facebook it’s through someone else’s filter which often is geared to portray the ‘best side’.

The best way to highlight what I mean is by watching this fantastic video that was made by the Higton Brothers in Norway which shows how easily these things, especially social media, can help you to portray a wonderful looking life if you want to?

Really, it’s well worth watching and SO helpful as a reminder to anyone who feels bombarded by others stories of happiness and success.

Remember, we tell people what we are comfortable telling them and show them what we are comfortable showing them.  The reality is often quite different.

(Also, you may want to read this interesting Telegraph article about the same HERE-Telegraph Article re Higton Bros Video)

# 3

– The journey is only inspirational when it’s a story told – 

The last thing to note here is simply that when we read a book to help us; when we look at the stories of others and witness their growth, and amazing journey of inspiration it’s so useful to remember that it is just that.  It is THEIR individual journey and story.

It is much easier to portray something when we have been able to get our head around it and present it as a story with a clear conclusion and therefore messages of courage and inspiration.

 A really good example of this is Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller Eat, Pray, Love.

In a recent interview she interestingly says the following:

‘I love helping people. I think there are much more efficient ways for me to do it…like, I give money to good organisations, I vote and I volunteer and I do all that kind of stuff.  My art though is mine.  And even the art that I make that ends up helping people, like Eat, Pray, Love- for instance people will say ‘thank you so much for your book it really helped me, it changed me’ I didn’t sit down to write that book saying ‘it’s high time I changed peoples lives!’

‘You know, like I was such a hot mess at that point in my life.  Like I could barely tie my own shoes and that moment like, the last thing I had any business doing, was like and now people….let me give you the answers’.

(for the full interview please CLICK HERE)

 I love this, as Elizabeth is really clear that the books she wrote were for her.  That when she wrote Eat, Pray, Love it was really just her account of what happened and it had been a very difficult and painful journey.  What people took from it was up to them.  If it helped them great.  But that was not her intention.

It also highlights the power of the story.  Like I said, a story has a beginning , middle and end and the end is usually a good one…just like Eat, Pray, Love.  This book was so good in fact that they made a film of it, in which you see the journey of this young woman who ends up finding love in the arms of her now husband after a long and inspirational journey of discovery.  The fact is, is that you know there is a good ending and so the journey just seems easy…the truth however is as Elizabeth Gilbert describes it….a hot mess!

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So, if you find stories of others inspiring that’s wonderful, but it’s important for us to remember that the reality is often oh so different.  That really so many of us, even those that have a ‘story of success’ or challenge that they have overcome did so in their own time, in their own way.  It doesn’t mean it has to be YOUR way.  You get to choose.

I hope you found this useful, if not a little entertaining. Remember, don’t believe all your read and see.  Grow when you want to in the way that you want to and find your own path to happiness, dipping in for inspiration when you need to but more importantly focussing on your real life, because that is where it all REALLY happens!

Till next week.

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Hacking your way to the top…

To hack…
1- To cut with rough or heavy blows
Hak/verb
2- Gain unauthorised access to data in a system or computer
Noun
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– Hacking gone crazy – 
You don’t have to search for very long on the internet before you will encounter all manner of sites and articles advising and giving tips on how you can ‘hack’ your way to where you want to be…
Maybe you want to know how to lose weight really quickly?
 
Maybe you want to know how you can be able to coach people tomorrow instead of training for the next 3 years?
 
Maybe you want to set up your own business and know how to earn 10,000 in your first month?
 
Maybe you’ve seen a course that will get you that qualification in a weekend?
We’ve all been a position where we desire to have something NOW, versus having to wait for it (see my post on self regulation/delayed gratification).  It’s difficult to wait for something sometimes when we know we desire it now and that the path to getting to where you ultimately want to be feels so far away.
It takes long term commitment to lose weight the ‘old fashioned’ way.
It takes time to learn how to coach people.
It takes experience and building a community to know how to grow your business and make money.
It takes dedication, and money, to study for a qualification in your chosen area.
We live in a society however where people are quick to give advice on how we can all achieve these things quickly by merely learning how to ‘hack’ our way to where we want to be.
One Google search on ‘hacking’ revealed the following sites:
17 Weight loss hacks that have nothing to do with diet or exercise:
9 weight loss hacks:
Forbes: 9 money hacks:
This list goes on. These were just a few selected examples of the kind of help and advice you can get if you search for a quick way to achieving your hearts’ desire.
– So what’s wrong with hacking? – 
Well, you may argue that there is nothing wrong with getting a foot up.  A little advice on the side that might help you achieve what you want, to have a little help from those that have been there and done it.  But let’s look at what is really happening here when you enter the world of  hacking.
#1:
You are missing out on the journey of discovery
Arguably the whole point of doing something, is to experience it.
It is our journey that makes us who we are and it is our journey that allows us to figure out on the way what works for us and what doesn’t work for us.  Tis the path of self-discovery.
By merely ‘hacking’ your way to a result or end game, you have missed the entire journey of discovery to that point. Take any of the examples I have given here from losing weight through to making money in your own business.
The person who takes a weight loss pill, or who uses diet hacks to lose weight is now reliant on that as the ‘process’ to achieving weight loss.  This is versus the person who learns to regulate their diet in a healthy way.  To learn what works and what doesn’t work for them.  They will also learns what exercise suits them and what helps them retain any gains in the long run.
Hacking might get you to the end result, but you will the be reliant on that process, which is what a hack is.  It is not a process that allows for healthy growth as all you would have done is followed someone else’s blueprint to get there!
#2:
You are missing out on the detail
Following on from the last point, and by missing out on the journey, you are missing out on truly understanding what works, but also more importantly HOW it works FOR YOU.
Human beings are all entirely different and that is why when we make a model of something, that model really only acts as a starting point.  A good one maybe, but nonetheless something that is not bespoke to you.
Take my work in psychology.  If I assumed that everyone was exactly the same, and everyone experienced things in exactly the same way, I would treat everyone in the same manner regardless of what they told me.
In hacking a process you have forgone your ability to problem solve and figure out what works for you, to assimilate that knowledge effectively into your own life and ultimately make any adaptations that will allow for a long term life of success in that area.
Basically its a quick fix, that has a short life span.
#3:
You are missing out on making important connections
When I studied for my degree in New Zealand, I was surprised to find out when I returned home and worked for HM Prison Service that my lecturers from NZ were known to some of the people that I worked with on the Offending unit here in London.  I was then even more surprised when, while working at Rampton Hospital, we had a visiting guest speaker come over from Australia who had also been a guest speaker on my course in New Zealand and was also friends with my old supervisor in NZ….
Those connections continue, through to my work as an Academic here in the UK.
The people I knew in NZ know that people that I have worked with here at home in the UK in all of the settings I have have entered bar none!
One of the important things to note here is that those connections have served me.  Not only because I have been introduced to some important people in my field which have led on to great things, but because I have learnt from the right people and made super important connections for my future and therefore future success.
You CANNOT achieve this by hacking…nuff said!
#4
You are going to piss off your community
 So, it’s taken me over 20 years to get where I am today.
I’ve pursued my passions.
Worked hard to get qualified (and paid out tens of thousands of pounds for these pieces of paper that represent my hard work).
I’ve worked hard to get to know people, to learn from these amazing giants in my field.
I am humble.
I am considerate.
I am a life-long student willing to learn from everyone at all times.
Why would I want to ‘hack’ that…and why should someone else want to hack that from me?
Think about what you’ve taken a lifetime to learn. What has taken your time.  Your blood, sweat and tears and then imagine that someone stands before you wanting in at the top!
You are gonna piss off your community and I’ve illustrated in Point 4, the world you are entering is much smaller than you know….
…piss them off and see what happens!
– Know when to step away form the hack – 
I hope that you see the serious and the amusing side to this conversation about hacking.
I’m certainly not here to make you wrong for trying to hack.  It’s human nature to some degree to choose the path of least resistance.
I suppose the important thing is that we know when it might be appropriate to take a short cut and when it might actually not serve us in the long run; in fact it may even cause more damage to us and those around us….
…ultimately we have to know when to hack and when to step away from the hacking!
I’d love to hear from you about your experience of hacking.  Have you hacked where it’s back-fired or maybe someone has tried to hack your business brain?
I look forward to reading your comments as ever.
Til next week!


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How can I help you?…

One of the parts of my work that I love most is the opportunity I get to give talks to groups of people about various aspects of Living a Multi-passionate Life.

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I love to be able to talk about what it means to be Multi-passioante, to find your Life-Life Balance or even to help you figure out what it is that you really want to do with your life.

I just love being able to interact with people at these events. I thrive on giving advice, putting people in the direction of resources and problem solving to help people be able to craft their life to look a little more how they want it to.

– Where do you fit in? –

I’ve had a flurry of talks that I’ve given of late and most of them have been for aspiring business women, or women already in business.

What I’ve learnt from working with these women, based on the kind of questions that I get asked all of the time, is that people seem to fall into one of three main categories when asking questions about their own life and business.  These areas are:

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When women are struggling around IDEAS, what they are usually asking for help with is help figuring what they could even do to start their own business?  They usually doubt their own skills or ability to make money in a way that is not via a promotion at work or merely taking another job that might pay a little better.

If you are in this category, you will be unsure as to what you could do to leave your job or change your circumstances in a way that doesn’t fit in with the typical conventional methods of doing so. You will be unsure of what skills you bring to the table.  Uncertain of how you could possibly make money, and may find yourself saying things such as….

I don’t know anything

There’s nothing I can do that I could be paid for outside of a ‘normal job’

I could never earn enough money to be able to live if it was just up to me

I really can’t think of anything that I could even do for a business 

I’d like to have my own business one day, but I haven’t thought of the ‘right’ idea yet

I’d love to do ‘X’, but I couldn’t do it because of money/finances, my children, my family…etc. etc. etc.

The list goes on…maybe you identify with this or maybe you are in the DEVELOPMENT category?

Popele in this category, usually have an existing business, but don’t know how to progress it. Now they’ve started and the gusto and energy and enthusiasm taken to do it has died down, they are struggling to know where to go next with their venture.  They don’t know how to reach their audience or are unsure as to the next step to take.

These people are usually very much at the start of their venture. If you are in this category, maybe you find yourself saying things like…

I’m not really sure what to do next

How do I even find my customers

Do people actually like what I’m doing

I’m still trying to find my feet and figure out how this fits into my life

Can I make more money from this or is this it?

Should I be doing something different?

Do I need a better website/brand/logo etc. etc.

The final category is GROWTH.  This can mean that you are happy with what you are doing and are looking to literally grow and expand, but it can also mean that you need to grow but at tho stage in the game, maybe as you have already gained an ‘audience’ with your business, are not sure how to take your business forward.  Maybe you want to change it, but are worried about how people will react?

Usually these people have been doing some form of their business for a while.  Maybe you you realise that something isn’t working for you anymore or that they have been ‘ticking along’ and have become bored, stagnant and are looking for a change.

This could be because of personal circumstances changing or because you feel you have changed as a person and the business no longer fits your identity.  People in this category will often say things like…

I loved my business when I started, but I don’t feel inspired by it anymore

I’m not really sure where to take things at the moment

I dont really think that my business represents who I am now

I did my business to fit in with my life, but now its doesn’t fit in the way that I’d hoped

Things feel stagnant and I don’t really know where to take them

I feel like I’ve outgrown what I’m doing

Maybe growing means changing, but that’s scary

– How can I help you? – 

If you find yourself in any of these categories, I can tell you that you are not alone.  I know this first hand as not only do I meet women all the time, at various stages of this journey, but I’ve been through it myself.

It’s taken many years of hard work and self development to get to where I am now, and I’m still learning..I’m still evolving and I’m still changing and making tweaks to my life and business as a result of what I learn and how I grow and change.

As a result of doing so many talks lately and being privileged to hear what stories directly form people abut their own struggles, hurdles and questions I want to be able to help more women and men on their journey too. That is why I’ve decided to put on a short series of free talks helping people through these stages of Multi-passionate Entrepreneurship.

In order to be able to do this I need help from you!

What I need is for you to be able to tell me what you would like help with and also to tell me which of these categories you feel you are in and why?

What I will then do is set up the first talk to happen before Christmas at a Nottingham city location.  But don’t worry all of you who are reading this from other parts of the globe.  I will make sure that the talk is recorded and made available to you afterwards, so nobody misses out!

So, over to you…

Please either comment or fill in the form below, telling me which category you fit in and why and also what you would like to see covered and I’ll get straight on it.

I’m super excited to be able to bring this to you and to be able to provide information that you really need to make some big changes ahead for 2016!

Til next week!


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Do you want a coach or do you want a friend?

A little while ago, I sat down with a new client for what was going to be our first session.

Louise (not her real name), was seemingly a lovely woman who had opted into Coaching sessions with me, which had been provided by her workplace.  Sessions were offered to staff in order to help figure out things like goal setting, work-life balance (what I call Life-Life balance), progression and leadership opportunities, to name a few things.

Some months earlier I had provided a group workshop to a team of people in the company and Louise had been one of the people in the group.  All the people involved were offered, if they so wished to, 4 individual coaching sessions with me on completion of the workshop, should they want to have some psychological coaching input into their work.

So, here we were face to face in a room a couple of weeks later and I asked Louise what she wanted to get from the sessions? She looked at me blankly, so I repeated the question…

‘Louise, what would you like to focus on in our sessions together over the next few weeks?’

Louise frowned and then said, “Ummmm, to be honest, I’m not really sure’.

‘Ok’ I said.  ‘Is there anything that came to mind during the workshop?  Something that you felt you might benefit from looking at with someone else?  An objective view that might be useful in your role perhaps?’

‘Ummmm, not really’ she said.

‘Well, there will be a reason that you said that you wanted to have sessions with me?’

‘Ummmm, not really’

Finally I asked, after a little more probing and a few more questions…

…’well Louise, why exactly did you want to have sessions with me if there’s nothing that you want to look at?’

‘Oh’ she said.  ‘You just seemed really nice and interesting and I wanted to speak with you.  I thought it would be fun.  I thought that, well, I could get to know you a bit better’.

– Getting clear about what you want – 

Though I’ve clearly changed the name here and also made a few slight alterations to this story, it is actually true.

It’s also not the first time that someone has opted to see me for sessions in the same vein.

It usually happens after someone has seen me give a talk, watched one of my videos or I have come into their workplace to deliver some training.  It has resulted in being sat with someone I think is a client, but is actually a person who seemingly desires more of a friendship.  At the very least it is certainly not an ethical client-practitioner relationship.

Silhouette, group of happy children playing on meadow, sunset, s

– I see it all around me-

This isn’t new.

It’s something I see all the time. I fact it’s happened to friends and colleagues too, where people have attended their events, networking meetings and training not really because they are all to interested in what they are saying, but more in a desire to get closer to them. Kind of like a pop-star or guru!

Now, I want to be clear here.  It’s great to admire the people that you work with or even wish to work with!

I have been privileged to work with many people I admire.  Over the many years that I have worked with these people, some have turned into genuine friendships.

A good example of this is a fantastic friendship I now have with someone who started off as my Undergraduate Psychology Lecturer while I was at University in New Zealand.  I really admired this lecturer, and what began as standard lecturer-student-relationship, progressed to a peer relationship when I became a postgraduate student and then a lovely friendship. Now some years later I am good friends with him and his family.

Although I certainly admired this persons work prior, this was obviously a natural progression of events and not outside the realms of our given relationship to start with.

Further to this, I also admire and would love to sit down and chew the cud with lots of people that I would say I admire, like the people I  ‘follow’ on Twitter or Facebook, like my favourite authors for instance.  The difference is, that I know and understand my reasons for admiration. More importantly I am also aware of my boundaries…and theirs!

The difficultly occurs when people are unable to see the difference between admiration and therefore wanting to learn from someone or indeed work with them as opposed to just being ‘attracted’ to them as a person and therefore wanting to be near to them in the hope that either some stuff will rub off or you will get to be friends!

– Set your boundaries, and know when to help- 

As a psychologist my boundaries and ethics are clear in this instance.  It would be unethical to befriend my clients so I will stop working with someone if I think this is what they really want or are confused by.

I think it is important as a practitioner to recognise when you have someone come to you for work, and they appear confused by this.

What is it they are really searching for? For example…

Can you help that person see what it is that they really want?

Do they recognise that there is maybe something that they see in you that they want?

Do you portray something that they desire for themselves, like confidence, happiness or contentment.

I did have one client, who after she had said that she came to see me because she ‘liked me’, realised after some discussion that what she really meant was that I seemed confident.  She on the other hand lacked confidence so much, that as someone who seemed to have it, maybe I could help her?

So, it may be appropriate in that first session to go a little deeper and look at a persons reason for ‘liking you’ or ‘wanting to be friends’ with you.

If after discussion it appears that someone really does just want to be friends, I will always refer people on to a colleague or at the very least will refer them to some useful resources like books, blogs and articles (if appropriate to their needs).

So…

We are always going to encounter we admire…how wonderful to find people to look up to or mentor us! But we always have to know the difference and sometimes there is great power in just recognising this.

Til next week!

I’d also love to hear from you about  this topic…

Maybe you are also a Coach or Psychologist and have found yourself in a similar situation.  What did you do? Did you help someone discover something about themselves or did you refer on?

Maybe you are on the other side of the coin…did you admire someone and realised this for yourself.  How did you handle it…what did you learn?

I look forward to reading your comments.


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There is calm in nature…

I’m on holiday as you read this, so a brief post this week in which I would love to share with you the photographs shown here which were taken on the Chatsworth Estate a couple of weeks ago.

A couple of good friends came to stay and it was such a beautiful day that, being only an hour away, it was just too lovely outside to resist not going for a little wander around the grounds of the Chatsworth Estate for a little outdoor fun, so off we went…

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It was a super hot day and after we had had picnic on the lawn at the front of the house, we then wandered up through the woods at the back; up through the trees and towards the waterfall (seen above), which I have to say a couple of the group ended up in!

But why am I telling you about this little outing?

It’s because nature for me, is one of the places I get my strength or maybe to put another way it is where I feel a calm and connectedness that I crave if I have not ‘had it’ for a while.

I try to get out in nature as much as possible to get this ‘fix’ or feeling at being one with nature and the seasons.  It’s something I don’t get from walking around a town or city and I’m fortunate enough to live near some lovely woods which serve well as a running route for me during the week so little mid-weekly trips are possible for me to indulge in.

It’s something I talk about a lot on the pages here on my site, and that is finding your calm.

In this busy world we live in, we need places that we go to to find peace, relax and reconnect with ourselves. And it’s even better if we can build some of those things into our daily practices.

It may not be the woods or nature for you, it may be that you are one of those people that want the buzz of the city or maybe you need to go swimming or maybe you curl up under a duvet?  Maybe for you it’s your daily meditation practice or some form of exercise…the point is, that you have a place that you can ‘go to’ to find your little island of calm.

As the summer holidays are fast approaching, and as you read this I will be sunning myself on a sun-kissed Mediterranean beach, I encourage you to think about where you get your little place of calm and make a plan to go there very soon.

Til next week….where I will be announcing where you can buy tickets for MPWC2015!


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What’s your passion….really?

Journal - 6

Oh, I’m so passionate about reading…

I’m so passionate about interior design…

I couldn’t be more passionate about running…

I’m SO passionate about being a teacher…

I’m super passionate about my yoga business…

Oh, there’s no one more passionate than me about cooking/gardening/dancing/writing/make-up/making my own clothes!  You fill in the blank here.

We’ve all heard people tell us about what their passions are.  I’m sure even as you are reading this, you can think of things that you have said you are passionate about too.  I certainly can, but when I tell people what I’m passionate about, am I really communicating what my passion is?

Digging deep to know what your passion is…

One of the things that used to say I was passionate about, especially in my ‘early days’ straight out of university, was psychology.  As a psychology graduate wanting to be ‘fully understood’ (how deep), about what my passion was, I would tell potential employers/write in my CV/tell friends and family all about how much I loved psychology and how passionate I was about all it could offer in terms of our understanding of human behaviour, and therefore the career I was going in to.

Now I was, and indeed am still passionate about psychology, very much so, but what do I really mean when I say this? After all ‘I’m passionate’ has become a term that is banded around so much that sometimes it feels like the phrase has lost its meaning.

It’s because of this, that I feel we have to dig a little deeper to the heart of what we mean when we say ‘I am passionate’, after all I’m passionate about ice cream, but the two are clearly not the same thing.

When I think about what is beyond the phrase for me, in light of psychology, I can see that I am drawn to any opportunity  to help someone ‘make a change’ or more specifically the chance to aide someone in ‘breaking their routine’.

I notice this as a running theme in both my teaching at University, my private practice with clients, the packages I write, the book I am working on and the courses I am compiling.  Although Psychology is the label or umbrella term if you will, that I work under, I am driven by this greater force and it is THIS, I am truly passionate about.

Keep your passions, whatever guise they come in!

So, what I’m not suggesting any one does is stop using the phrase ‘I am passionate’.  How wonderful it is to be able to say that about something…what a rich and full life you will live when it is full of passion and action that is from your heart.  What I’m saying is, that there is great power in taking time to think about where this descriptive statement comes from for you?

What does it mean when you say you are passionate about cooking for example?  Is it that what you are really drawn to, is putting time and love into something that brings people together around a table, and this is your passion?  When you say you are passionate about exercise, do you really mean that you have a fundamental belief in having a strong healthy body that will carry you through to old age, and this is your passion?

When we realise more deeply where our passions come from, it’s interesting how you may start to notice a pattern in other things that you do in your life because it has the same underlying theme or element that we are drawn to (your deeper meaning for passion)….this can help  things to make sense, and can also help you plan future steps in your life and business as you have a clearer view of the driving force behind your decision making and also enjoyment.

It was like this for me when I started teaching, I couldn’t understand why it felt so addictive, and then I realised that it was the ability to help ‘change’ someone via learning, as it had been when working with patients who were ‘changed’ by therapy, that was the theme for me!

What themes do you notice?

Sometimes, it can be easy to figure out the underlying reason for your passion and sometimes it can take some time to get to the bottom of when the ‘real’ reason is for you.  The fun is in the exploration and as we delve deeper we learn more about ourselves and others.

Now there is something to be passionate about.

Til next week!


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I want IT…whatever IT IS?…….

What is it that you want?

Is it a different career?  Is it a better relationship?  Is it nicer clothes or maybe you want more money and lots of it!

Maybe what you want is much simpler than that?

Do you want space, peace, clarity? To be able to finish a cup of tea or have a pee in peace before someone is banging on the door asking for something?

Maybe you want more time to do the things you enjoy, like gardening, painting, yoga, walking, pottery…maybe you want a holiday?

Maybe you don’t know what you want and there in lies the problem.

Do you want a GOOD LIFE?

Have you ever seen the programme The Good Life?

I happen to love it just a little bit. I watched it as a child and thoroughly enjoyed the fun that Barbara and Tom used to have in the garden with a menagerie of animals not to mention their hilarious relationship with Margot and Jerry.  My love for the programme was only enhanced when I lived in new Zealand as an adult as the true ‘Englishness’ of it all made me feel a little closer to home.

But this isn’t just about my love of this quirky British sitcom and the characters in it (or anything to do with the fact that I own the box-set!).  This is about the premise behind why the characters chose to live the ‘good life’ in the first place and how the reason itself is so closely related to real life, in fact our own lives and how we live on a daily basis.

What are your goals and where do you want to be?

Let me explain, the first episode begins with Tom Good celebrating his 40th birthday.

Tom heads to work that morning and notices his feeling of boredom and apathy about what he is doing.  No one in the office recognises him for his work, he doesn’t feel acknowledged he doesn’t feel inspired by his work and he feels that what he doing is actually a joke.

He also notices that no one recognises his passion for fun or really, even knows his name! You also witness him realising that he wasn’t invited to play cricket with the office as he is considered, wait for it…..too old!

Tom seems to realise quite quickly that he is downright miserable, and so that evening after his birthday dinner with Barbara he starts a conversation about this very issue and how he is missing ‘IT’ in his life.  If he could find ‘IT’, he says he might be able to solve the problem.  After all he says that he doesn’t want to ‘feel the same way when he is 41’.

He decides, after an entire night up writing lists and drawing up plans that IT for him is…

“…breaking the circle.  Going to work, to get money to translate into things, which you use up, which makes you go to work again!”.

And that is how their Good Life begins…

What is it for you?

Not everyone can just sit down with a piece of paper, stay up all night and solve their life problems, therefore figuring out what ‘IT’ is.  But what this programme is a great illustration of (even though it is only made up!), is that if you dig deep and ask yourself some big questions, starting with noticing what you want/desire, then we owe it to our future self to get started on the path that we feel will take us there.

Maybe if you don’t know what ‘IT” is for you, you can try some things to help you rediscover what that might be?

What is it you need to do?

Do you need to take some time out of your daily grind so you actually have a moment to reflect?

Is it to take up an old hobby or activity that will allow you to ‘reconnect with yourself?

Do you need to protect time in your day every day just to sit and write down in a journal about the things you have enjoyed or appreciated that day?

Maybe you want to seek some external help to help you figure out your IT?

——————————————–

There can be great power in figuring out what “IT’ is for you.

I encourage you to take some tome to reflect this week on what ‘IT’ is for you.  If you already know, then brilliant!  Are you therefore living your own Good Life? if so I’d love to hear about it and maybe you have some tips to share about the things that work for you in allowing you to stay focussed on your path.

For now I’ll just leave you with one last piece of advice from Tom Good…

“What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself”

Fancy that.

Till next week!