Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform


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The stress that passion brings…

I have been compelled to write quite a serious post this week, as I’ve recently experienced a flurry of new clients who have sought my help due that oh so familiar feeling of stress and overwhelm!

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Picture:  Edvard Munch, Sick Child

I write regularly about how we need to take care of ourselves in our lives and our businesses as do many other bloggers and business owners…this is not a new subject by any means.

So many of the posts that you will read as we pootle around the net looking for advice on how to handle stress and overwhelm tell us take time out.  Have a holiday they tell us….have a spa day…book a massage or treatment…have that glass of wine or cup of tea with a good book.  The list goes on.

But what do you do when you are experiencing more than a ‘I have a little too much on my plate’ to more of an acute stress or trauma in your life?

I know this feeling….

I am stranger to this.  In fact I experienced this very recently myself.

A few weeks ago, my beloved Grandfather passed away after a long and drawn out illness. On the day he died, my mother was taken seriously ill and was admitted into hospital herself.  The powers that be were feeling pesky that day, and so they decided I needed the added challenge of admitting my mother to the same ward that my grandfather had passed away on just hours earlier.

On top of all of this, I had booked a very expensive trip away the following day for 2 nights and I also a friend of a friend staying with me the same week, who I had said could stay with me to be nearer to a conference she was due to go to.  Of course I then had my ‘normal work’ that week including client sessions, writing deadlines and some University marking to complete.

I was on the verge of a meltdown!

This isn’t made better by a cup of tea!

I can tell you now, that a cup of tea or massage would not have cut it in this case.  In times like this we feel like we can’t focus on anything in our world, let alone our work or businesses.  This is really a fight or flight situation.  Look your situation in the face and deal with it or turn and run….metaphorically speaking.

The fact is that when you lead a full life.  When you have a life that is fortunately full of people you love, when you have real-life commitments and the need, and desire, to sustain a good income, life as they say, is going to ‘get in the way’.

I’m sure as you are reading this you can think of a time when you have felt like everything as going ok, maybe even really well and then suddenly the universe decides to present to you, as I like to call it an opportunity for growth : )

So what can you do…really?

I’m going to summarise some things that I recommend that can help you in times of crisis, acute stress or overwhelm.  These may not all work for you and maybe you do some of them already, but you may also not know what to do and so I hope you find these things useful.

# 1

GET CLEAR

The first thing I recommend you could do in a moment of crisis is to get really clear about what  the crisis is?  This sounds silly, but let me go back to my own example to help explain what I really mean by this.

Getting clear means taking stock of the things that I had control of, and those I didn’t.  In my case there was nothing I could do about what had happened to my Grandfather.  I knew that my grief, though it was there in all its glory would essentially have to be parked while I ‘took care’ of the things that needed my immediate attention, namely my mum.  In this case it was my priority to get her comfortable and put at ease. I could then set fourth cancelling my holiday, calling my insurance company and also contacting my friend regarding her stay.

Getting clear is often best done with someone in your world who can be rationale and calm.  This may be your partner, it may a specific friend or family member. This kind of person acts as a sounding board to your thinking through of the situation, and can be really helpful if you feel emotional or need help getting clear your execution of your plan or even by making calls/running errands and the like.

What happens when you don’t get clear, is that you end up fire-fighting and maybe even being pulled in all directions by others who are around you.  When you do this you are not putting your needs first and this can mean more stress in the long run.  Getting clear requires a strategic thinking through of what needs to be done and setting the wheels in motion.

Just having this clarity and a plan of attack can help us to feel like we have some control over the storm.

# 2

CREATE YOUR BOUNDARIES

When you are in this kind of acute phase of stress, your boundaries and fundamental needs are really important for both your immediate and your long term health.

Again, let me go back to my example.  When I was going through this, there were many people around me who had expectations of what I should or should not be doing (this is not unusual and I’m sure you can relate!).  One small example was the expectation that I would go home and stay with family while this was occurring.

So, I have a need to have my own space.  This was even more important while this was happening.  I knew that every night the ritual of driving home for an hour and a half, would allow me to decompress.  The ability then to go home and be at home and sleep in my own bed, was a need that I was not willing to give up during this time.  It may have upset people, but tough!

In this case, you should think about what boundaries you also have in your own situation.  What are willing to do/not do/  What are you willing to give up or not give up?   Again, thinking about what is important for you, so that you can retain some ‘normality’, some routine or activity that means that you retain a sense of self as well as a feeling of control over the situation you are in.

# 3

PLAN YOUR NEXT STEP

As you move further into this period of stress or trauma, I would be checking in regularly to reassess where I was in regards to the event/period to see how I felt.

Has your situation resolved itself?  Are you feeling better, more able to return to your version of ‘normal’ or ok to settle in to your ‘new normal’ depending on what has happened?

There will come a moment when you feel more able to look forward and plan in a conscious and comfortable way.  There might be things that you have missed doing too that you want to get back to.

Maybe you will have to go back to work or maybe you have put your business on hold and so have the desire now to get back into this.  Maybe it is as simple as getting back to your usual tasks of shopping and running your household, things that often get pushed to the bottom of our lists (funny how the washing being done isn’t so important after all?).

When we have been in a stressful situation its amazing how the most menial errands and tasks can actually seem exciting and fun.  I remember when I was going through my stuff…the thought of just going out for a coffee and sitting in the sun seemed just blissful and I couldn’t wait to do it.

During this time, you may want to try and re-establish these things as you feel more able to go forward.  Inevitably for some, there is no choice about when you go back to work or your business.  If you have to earn money, we do not always have the luxury of waiting until we feel ‘ready’ to go back to this.  In light of this, I would keep the practice of creating your boundaries as much as possible, in order to help you as you transition.  For example, it might be that you have to go back to work, but that you stick to your hours; that you take your lunch breaks; that you leave early if you can; that you take leave if you are able.

Do whatever you are able to to do to make your transition back to your ‘best self’, as easy for yourself as possible.

# 4 

MAKE LIFE ‘TWEAKS’

 So, here is the juiciest tip I have of all.

Based on what you’ve experienced or been through or learnt or ‘survived’….now what are you going to do?

What you have experienced may have been life changing?

Maybe it wasn’t, but if we work on the premise that we can learn something from everything we experience, what might you want to do differently because of it?

 Is that you you realise you want to spend more time with loved ones?  Is that you want to take up that course that you’ve been putting off?  Is that your whole life at home or even business or job need changing?

Maybe you’ve realised that you want to leave the job you are in and do something else?  Maybe you realise that you want to earn more money to give you more flexibility or that you want to be your own boss so that you don’t have to ask someone else for time off when s*+# hits the fan?

This is almost the most important piece of advice of all.  After all if we don’t learn from our experiences and change, what is it all for?

I can tell you that life, as it does, will throw stuff up again and that is when people who don’t think about what they want, end up doing the same things again. And we all know, that if you do the same thing, you have to expect the same results.  That can mean feeling even more stressed and overwhelmed the next time.

So, I invite you to ponder these questions…

What can I/what do I want to do differently?

What will make the biggest difference to my life and future self?

What do I owe to myself in light of what Ive experienced?

What do I know for sure?

Over to you…

I hope you’ve founds these tips helpful?  Maybe the next time you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed you can try some of these things to help yourself?

I’d also like to hear from you?  Maybe there are other things you can offer that would be helpful to others about the things you do when you are feeling stressed.

Please share and connect with other fellow readers by commenting below.

Til next week, when I’ll be announcing all the details for MPWC2015….finally!

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 Want to know more about the new 4 week course coming up in October for ‘How to brand and set up a website for your Multi-passionate Business’, then please CLICK HERE to be taken to last weeks blog post all about it and fill out the form to be the first in the know.

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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?

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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!


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Tell the truth and everyone’s a winner…

I’ve just had a wonderful half term holiday day trip with my nieces.

They are at the lovely ages of 10 and 8, which means that you don’t have to worry about taking bags of ‘supplies’ for them when you go out for the day.  They also like to do cool things and really explore, and that means we can generally do so much more together now that they are older.  We also have very, very funny conversations.

They make me laugh….a lot!

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What was so obvious when I took them out for the day to London, was just how different they are as people.

They have always been different since they were very little.

Jasmine, the older sibling is outgoing, gregarious, loves pink, loves make-up and also (much after my own heart), loves dare-devil activities and adventure.  The day before I saw her, she has spent the day roller-coaster-hopping at Alton Towers!  She talks about travel, singing and will try anything new whether that be food or experiences.

Her sister LiLi is so very different.

Quiet, a little shy and so caring and sensitive, she is happiest colouring in quietly or watching a film.  She likes her head rubbed and hates to wear anything really feminine, preferring her jeans, a hoody and converse trainers.  She is also a creature of habit, a little bit of geek, has the cheekiest laugh you have EVER heard and also in her words is ‘scared of everything Aunty Serena!’.

– ABSOLUTE HONESTY – 

What I loved about LiLi telling me this, was her absolute honesty about how she feels about the things that make her scared.  Don’t get me wrong, hearing that she is scared of everything doesn’t exactly fill my heart with joy.

I’ve known for a long time that she has struggled to do some things because of being wary or a little frightened, and so myself and the rest of the family lovingly and supportively have encouraged her to ‘get involved’ and try new things.  She’s getting better and I think with the same continuous encouragement and the experience of trying new things and ultimately enjoying herself, she is learning slowly to tackle these things head on.

The lesson here though is such an important one, you see I know people, adults, who cannot and do not own up to their feelings of being scared the way this little person can.

What this sometimes results in, is a ‘bending of the truth’ situation where people try and concoct all sorts of stories to get out of doing something.

I’m sure you are familiar with the situation, the friend who can’t come on that run with you because of an ‘ankle injury’, or the mate who can’t try the shellfish because they are ‘allergic’ or the friend who can’t come to your karaoke night because  they they have to help their partner with writing up their new CV?

[…or I have to add, given that I am also an academic, the student who can’t submit their work because of the death of a Grandparent…I’m not being mean! This is a researched and documented phenomenon, in fact an amusing article on the subject can be found HERE with links to scholarly articles). 

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– FEEL THE FEAR – 

In our desire to not look silly.  To not feel weak.  To not feel vulnerable.  To not feel inferior.  To not feel pain or shame or discomfort, we AVOID telling the truth.

We are FEARFUL. We are SCARED.

But here’s the thing.  The first step is in acknowledging what we are scared of, just like  LiLi and in doing so you might actually realise that there are things that you would like to have a go at, but you had already made a decision that you were scared or wouldn’t like it!

To actually say I am scared, out loud to those around you, is the first step towards change.

After all, people close to you can usually see what’s really happening. If you have friends who you are constantly ‘putting off’ doing things with, they may eventually get tired of your strange responses and may even stop asking you to join in or do things altogether?

If you have the ability and the can harness the desire to first acknowledge and tell the truth about what you are afraid of, people who care about you will certainly appreciate your honesty.  They may even have more understanding of your situation and feel sympathy or indeed empathy for what you are experiencing.

In doing this it will also allow you to look at why you don’t want to try something and maybe you can then make some headway towards changing it…if you want to that is, as clearly there are some things that you may never want to do, Karaoke being a good example!

I really encourage you to take a look at things that you feel make you scared?  Why is it that you don’t want to do them? What are you really afraid of?

When is the last time you tried it…maybe its been a long time and you could actually have another go at that thing?

Maybe change happens outside of our comfort zone!

Could you consider opening up to someone about what you are ‘scared’ of? If you did what might this change?  It may not having you bungee jumping next weekend, but it may help you feel freed up of your desire to show yourself in a particular light which can help you towards a more balanced, honest and truthful self.

Till next week!


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Stop your brain being your worst enemy!…

Hello everyone!

How was your week and if you were in the UK, how was your Bank Holiday weekend?

If you glance over at my Twitter feed, you will see that I spent my Bank Holiday on a fabulous camping trip with friends in the Peak District this year…happy times!

So, to todays post which is a short and sweet one today, as I present to you an article that you can find in this months’ Cosmopolitan Magazine (UK), which is a feature all about my advice for getting into action and getting done the projects you are currently working on or would like to work on!

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I’d like to thank Cosmo, for taking the time to interview me for this piece.  It was great to be able to contribute to the mag and I’ve had a great response from readers and also from the staff about the advice given, so thank you Cosmo.

More exciting news to follow about my courses that are coming up over the summer as well as MPWC2015 which, has had to be slightly delayed due to getting the amazing logistics ready for such a glorified, relaxing day. Apologies to those that have registered interest.  You will be the first to know the date and details and will be the first to be given the Early Bird Discount.

You will be updated as soon as I can tell you more….in the meantime to continue to express your interest to attend and if you too would like to receive notification of the Early Bird Discount, then please email me at serena@serenasimmons.com putting MPWC2015 in the subject line.

Till next week!


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Are you ready for a BIG leap outside of your comfort zone?…

I’m SO excited to share today’s post with you!

I’ve been wanting to share this news with you for some time now, but have been waiting until a few more things were in place before I set-to, so here goes…

I would love to present to you a new Programme that I am launching this year called Ape-athy!

Final Ape-athy Logo

I’ve been working on this programme behind the scenes for over a year now.  It is a programme that means an awful lot to me especially as I really consider this a culmination of my life’s work to date.

For me this is the programme that I have looked to do myself that doesn’t exist.

This, and noticing that there was a stark gap in the market for a programme that would help me achieve the change/have the experience I was looking for, is what inspired me to create it.  So here it is in all its glory, but let me first explain what it will do for you…

Ape-athy ist is a completely immersive, experiential programme that is designed to help you achieve a radical change and shift in thinking as well as a new lease for life!

Ape-athy is the programme for you, if you are the kind of person who ever wonders why they are here?  What are you supposed to do with your life, how can you be your best self and peak-perform on a consistent basis.

It’s for people who want to achieve, have success, feel like they are moving forward and also at the same time find an inner peace and calm.  It’s also for people who want to have fun, feel exhilarated, feel connected and learn something new about themselves.

Ape-athy is delivered in way that allows you not just to hear good information, like many of the other types of personal development type programmes that exist…in Ape-athy you will be taken through a series of talks, exercises, group activities, individual activities and other more unusual tasks that will have you experience and kineasthetically acquire the insight via your own experience.

To complete the programme, you have to be over the age of 18.  You will also fill out several batches of psychometrics before completion of the programme so that we know as much about you as we can before you enter.

On day one of this 2 day programme, you begin by handing over your mobile devices, sign your disclaimer stating that you will not discuss the programme on completion and then for the next 2 days you will be taken on a journey that takes you right from the evolution of man, through to your future self.  More than that, when you leave you will know exactly what you need to do in order to get to where you want to be.

During this course of the programme you will be ‘helped’ out of your comfort zone, you will get to know others, you will clearly know what you want from life, you will know what you need to do next, you will know what you need to do to keep evolving so to avoid the stagnation or ‘apathy’ that can oh so easily creep into your life.

Please do take a look at the latest advert for the programme below which gives you a feel for the programme…

Ape-athy is not for the fainthearted, as there will be activities that participants will have to complete that can only be likened to being on a roller-coaster…in more ways than one!

What you can be guaranteed of however, is that you will be taken care of, you will be safe and you WILL leave after 2 days with a new boundless energy, knowledge of who you are, an understanding of what your gift really is and thus how you can apply the knowledge you have gained lead a successful and happy life.

Pheeew!  So there it is.

On this project I am collaborating with leaders from across the globe in many areas, from my own passion of Psychology, to Physiologists, Biologists, Sports and Exercise Scientists, Philosophers, Artists, Economists and I’m getting a little help from Magicians.  As I said, you will taken on an experiential journey so the ride will be informative, challenging, a little scary but also fun.

If you would like to know more please go to the Ape-athy website at www.ape-athy.com

Here you have the opportunity to ‘sign up’, which means that you will be the first to find out about new information, dates for the programme and also other news from the Ape-athy World including Early Bird Discounts.  More information will also be coming to the pages soon, and this will also include details regarding the Ape-athy charity which is part of the business.  In this capacity money from the programmes will go to chosen projects that support the conservation of our planet, including several key animal charities…more about this soon!

I’ll also be talking about this on NOTTS TV next Monday 18th on the 6.30 Show and will be particularly talking about the ‘Pitch to Rich’ that I have made for business mentoring and funding from Richard Branson which you can see here:

(click on the link below):

Apeathy

I felt that this was an amazing opportunity to get the word out about the Programme, learn more, meet new people as well as having access to some of the best business minds in the country.  I would also be so honoured if you would consider voting for me between 9am Monday 18th and Wednesday 20th at 5pm.  All it takes is the click of a button and then verification of your email.  By getting more votes I have a chance to go through to the next round which would be immensely exciting.

Thank you again. I’m so pleased to be offering this course to you and others who are just as passionate about change and our own evolution.

I also look forward to sharing more news on these pages about the programme in the coming months, as well as more about the other events that are taking place for Multi-passionates and my usual goings on.

In the meantime, thank you for reading all about this new exciting project.

Till next week!

DO YOU WANT TO ‘TEST’ APE-ATHY?

I am looking for people for the first ‘test’ audience for Ape-athy later this year.

if you would like to know more about this, then please be in contact with me by sending an email to serena@serenasimmons.com writing ‘Ape-athy TEST’ in the subject line.

I look forward to hearing from you brave souls!


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Time for a dose of inspiration…or a kick up the butt?

The New Year is a great time to get motivated, get into action and get inspired.  At this stage, only being a few weeks in, we are in a good position to be making exciting plans for the year that lies ahead and looking for little doses of inspiration to help us on our way.

I’ve had the pleasure of coming across some wonderfully inspiring messages via the action of others over the years and I’d like to share a small selection with you today, to help you on your way at the start of our year.

I’ve decided, for this selection to share a selection of amazing ladies, who, though the years may have crept up on them, have not allowed a number to slow them down in body, mind or spirit….hold on to your hats people and get ready for a kick up the butt post!

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The first of the fine ladies I’d like you to meet is to inspire us is the wonderful Edith McAllister, see here in this fab picture and in the YouTube clip below. If you ever feel like you can’t do something, like you don’t have the energy, skills or ability to try something new then maybe Edith will help you change your mind.  Watch this clip to find out about a little something she likes to do that keeps her motivated, fit and inspired.

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Next up in the list of inspiration is Tao Porchon-Lynch. Another amazing power-house of activity, fitness and oh my, what a zest for life.  Tao is still teaching yoga well into her 90’s and hasn’t lost any of her passion, enthusiasm or her flexibility!  Watch her here in this amazing clip below…

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Last on the list I would like you to meet Sister Madonna Buder, who at the ripe old age of 84 is still competing in, wait for it, Triathlons!!!!

She has completed over 340 of them in her life time, having taken up running for the first time at the age of 47.

See here a short clip here (from 2009, she has done an awful lot more since then), to find out what she gets up to.

*If you would like to know more about Sister Buder’s life I can’t recommend enough the book she has written about her life with author Karin Evans.  You can find it at the following:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Grace-Race-Inspiration-80-Year-Old-Triathlete/dp/143917749X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423515771&sr=8-1&keywords=grace+to+race

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WOW!

I hope you found these women as inspiring as I do. Each one has done something so different, yet each has found a passion and fulfilment as well as an ability to stay fit, healthy, strong and determined at the same time.

It’s really important to have such inspiring role models in our lives.  When coaching people I often get them to look for people that inspire them so that they can learn to model their behaviour in their own life.

If you’ve found these women inspiring, I encourage you to think about why, and then maybe you can try and harness a little bit of what they exhibit in your own life.

Till next week…


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Want to change your career…why not give yourself a promotion?

How long have you been waiting to change your career?  How long have you been waiting to either find a new job that you love or maybe you just go to work every day in the hope that someone will recognise the good work you are currently doing and promote you.  Maybe you will finally get that upgrade to the next level, move up a spine-point or be given an opportunity to take on more tasks that you finds fulfilling as opposed to the one you’ve been doing for so long?

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In my experience, working with people who are usually really, really good at what they do, it’s rare that promotions and ‘perks’ or rewards just land on your lap, even when you are good at your job.

Even when you’ve been working really hard, and you try to show that you are going above and beyond the rest, usually everyone is so busy themselves or bogged down by bureaucracy that they fail to recognise what you have been doing.

I also meet many people that now find their ‘appraisals’, once something that might have helped you to progress up that ladder, are now instead focused on the institution or business and how you can help ‘it’ achieve success as opposed to any success for you as an individual.

There are ways to change this, and they all start with how we relate to what we are doing and we feel we can make a difference?

When you look at what you do, does it make you fly out of bed in the morning?  OK, it may not happen every single day….there are natural peaks and troughs in any work we do, even when we follow our calling.  But, if you are having more days that see you wanting to keep your head under the duvet or stay behind your closed door in the safety of your home, then maybe there are some changes that could be made to help start to shift that way of thinking.

As I meet so many people going through this process of struggling to make a career change, whether that be a change within their current work or a change that means that they want to shift away from their current role and into something more passion- making, I have designed a new on-line course that will help you to make this change.

It’s the first course I have ever designed for an on-line community and I am really so excited to present this to you.  The 6 session course is designed to help you ‘Give Yourself a Promotion’, regardless of what that might look like.  For some it may be help with finding out what they really want to do, for others to may be help to move into a new career or self-employment?

In this course you will discover what you are good at/when you are in your ‘flow’.  You will learn how you can start to make tweaks and changes immediately so that you can get more out of your working day and begin to feel more balanced. You will also look at what path you need to take in order to reach your full potential whether that be a different career path or being your own boss, but ultimately it will help you to identify how you can make money doing what you love while finding enough time to still do the other things you love!  A true multi-passionate life!

If this sounds like something you would like to know more about, then to get to the front of the queue and be given the opportunity for a limited time early-bird concession, then please fill out the form below and you will be the first to receive all the information you need.

I look forward to hearing from you and please do watch this space for more upcoming information and exciting new resources for those wanting to live a more multi-passionate life.

Til next week…


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All the gear and no idea….

Oh my!  I hope that the photograph below makes you giggle as much as it did for me.  Todays post is about people who seem to have all the gear and no idea.

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Photo sourced at http://abc1mamil.com/?p=26 …great little post on the same topic!

The fact is that we all know people who epitomise this.  They seem to spend most of their time accumulating ‘stuff’ for their new venture whether it be in the form of actual physical equipment, particular clothing, making their office look super pretty or accumulating books that need to be read….but does it make you better at what you do? I think the granny in the picture here probably would think not.

‘I want to do karate’

It’s the kind of thing some of us did as kids. I remember doing it with new hobbies when I was a child (sorry Mum and Dad), and I see my nieces do it now. ‘I want to do Karate’ says littlest niece. So Mum and Dad go out and buy her all the gear. Karate suit, belt, bag for carrying said gear, etc. You know what happened next in the story don’t you? Two months later, she didn’t like karate and she wanted to play football instead!

Sometimes this is a practice that even adults don’t grow out of I’m afraid. We take on new things, hobbies, jobs or businesses and sink funds, not to mention precious time, into buying ‘stuff’ (or doing stuff), so that might make it seem as though we are living a particular life before we are yet in a position to really do so.  Of course a flash gym outfit means we are super-fit, active and healthy, doesn’t it?

This can also translate to do doing expensive courses and training that really on reflection don’t add anything to our lives or businesses, especially in those early stages of transition.

Know where you are in the process

In my Coaching practice most of my clients are at a point of transition, most going on to do some really exciting things…setting up new businesses, changing career or finding new relationships. I see many people who have put so much time and money into buying things for something that they think they want to do, but really it turns out that they are not sure it was really what they wanted after all. Sometimes they are struggling to maintain a balanced and fulfilled life while feeling so stretched in maintaining something that they have lost passion their passion for.

What happens then when you have already bought all the gear?

Lessons to take away

So what’s the lesson? I’ve tried to summarise this into 3 big lessons to learn, so here we go…

Lesson #1: Don’t run before you can walk

Amazon was started by a bloke and his wife selling books on-line from their home. The books were kept in their garage and all over the house and every evening after work they would sit until the early hours packaging them at their kitchen table. Do not underestimate the power and future scale of a kitchen table based business.

The fact is, is that you may not need a separate office location. If you do, maybe you are seeing clients for example, then does it have to be that flash? What can you get away with? Does it really need that big desk or aquarium? What is the least financial outlay that will bring you the greatest return? Ask questions like, am I over-committing by signing up into a 2 year lease? Can I spread the risk and do this with someone else?

Consider that you might be better off staying at your kitchen table until you really NEED to move or even better can you transfer all your clients to Skype so you can have location independence like two fine ladies from my MPWC conference, Corrina Gordon Barnes from You Inspire Me and Marianne Cantwell from Free Range Human

Lesson #2: Be good at self-regulation

I love teaching my psychology students about self-regulation (Bandura 1991).

Picture this…A small child in a room with a big slice of chocolate cake on a plate positioned in front of them.

An adult then enters the room and says to the child, ‘See this lovely piece of cake? ’Yes’ says the child, licking their lips. ‘Well, I’m going to the leave the room now, and while I’m gone, you can eat the cake.’  The child gets very excited….’BUT’, says the adult, ‘ if you don’t eat the cake while I’m gone, when I get back I will give the rest of the cake as well…not just a slice, the whole thing!’.

This is self-regulation (put very simplistically!). This test at a young age shows us how good people are at self-regulation.  Some children launch into the cake and munch away immediately.  Some last a big longer, but still eat the slice of cake after much deliberation.  Then there is another group of children, who ‘self-regulate’.  They appear to see the benefit of waiting, a longer term strategy to getting what they want, which is ultimately MORE!

This is a super little experiment and is often replicated with sweets or marshmallows (see picture below) and the outcome is even more interesting as it seems to be, that how children behave is also a predictor of how they will behave as an adult.

Self Regulation

Image taken from http://rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=4622 (click on image to be taken to site)

So, the link here I hope is an obvious one. Learning to self-regulate early on in your transition can pay off!  If you can wait before sinking big money ‘buying all the gear’ or doing that expensive training course until you know you have enough income coming in, evidence shows us that the ground work and building a solid foundation may mean greater rewards in the long run**

*Please note that this is quite different from the ready, fire, aim analogy which doesn’t need a financial outlay or ‘all the gear!*

Lesson #3: Don’t be a Magpie

The last one is a simple one, which is just about not being taken in by shiny things. Another way I could have put this would have been to say ‘never judge a book by its cover’.

This makes me think of my old favourite restaurant I used to frequent all-the-time when I lived in Wellington in New Zealand. The restaurant was situated opposite to the hospital where I worked and it was simply called ‘The Mexican café’.

This place had a weird exterior, painted in garish colours. The interior matched, in that it had mismatched chairs, ugly paintings on the wall (none were from Mexico) and to add to the strangeness, it was run by a Chinese family…links to Mexico, unknown.

Now and I can tell you that this little restaurant was always fully booked and nearly always had a queue of people waiting to go inside. It was probably up there as being one of the most popular restaurants in Wellington, no mean feat as there are A LOT of places to eat in Wellington. It was also an arse to get to on top of all of that, so you knew people were making a real effort to get there.

Again, what’s the lesson here? Well, they had the fundamentals of a good business right.  They had a long term strategy, a la ‘self-regulation’.

They had excellent (really truly excellent) food. Also, although it was garish, it was super clean.  You could BYO a nice touch, and to add to all that, even though the owners didn’t speak the greatest English, they tried to get to know everyone’s names and always welcomed you with a smile.

They also remembered your order from your previous visit and asked you if you would like the same (yes, I went too much and mine was a vege burrito), and all in all it was truly awesome customer service!

So, did they need a flash spangly premises, no. They didn’t waste their time or money on just having the gear.  They had every idea of what it would take to have a super successful restaurant.  Great food, awesome atmosphere and fantastic customer service.  Job done.

What gear have you got?

So, if you are starting something new, maybe a new hobby, business or career, whatever it is, consider that it’s not really all about the gear. That sometimes the gear can really distract you from your true purpose which is just to do an amazing job.  It’s not that these things can’t come later on, but its more about how we self-regulate and don’t get taken in with ‘shiny means better’.

Sometimes, when we take our time building the foundations for change, the outcome can be so much sweeter!

What gear did you wait to buy?

I’d love to hear from you and the gear you waited to buy? Was it something for a new business, or maybe you waited to spend money on more studying for more qualifications until you felt you really needed to?

I’d love to hear from you.

Exciting Blog post next week!

Do watch out for a really different and super exciting blog post next week….I’ll be sharing something with you that I’ve never done before and I’d love to know what you think?

Tell next week…