Serena Simmons Consultant Psychologist

Change. Motivate. Adapt. Improve. Perform


Leave a comment

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…

IMG_6337 IMG_6348  IMG_6350

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!

Advertisements


Leave a comment

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!


Leave a comment

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!


Leave a comment

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!

photo

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). 

woman-crossing-finish-line

– 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!


Leave a comment

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!

IMG_5839

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!


Leave a comment

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!


Leave a comment

Mind your language…

Do you remember the programme Mind your Language?

 

For those that don’t remember, or even weren’t around when it was aired back in the 70’s and again later I might add in the 80’s (!), the programme was about a group of foreign students who took an English speaking class in a local college.   I suppose it would be the equivalent now to something like a TEFL or TESOL?

As you can imagine, the cast were made up of a bunch of funny characters who every week, came along to class with stories and anecdotes and in turn they caused absolute havoc for the poor unassuming teacher…though there was usually a happy ending.

The funny thing was seeing, in a light hearted way, the problems people had getting to grips with English as a language.  In the process there would be inappropriate things said, funny things said, confusing things said and all in all you would be taken on this amusing journey for which it was easy to have sympathy for the characters who were clearly fluent already in another language or 3!

Why am I telling you about this?

The programme came to mind this week as I struggled, yet again, to get a response that was timely, coherent or even polite from someone I have been working with in my practice. This person was not ‘minding their language’.

But why is it a problem?

Well, I’m actually helping this person to grow and rebrand their business and having discussed the issue with them*, what we were able to identify was that this kind of communication IS NOT helping them to do these things.  In fact it is having the opposite effect.

It is something I see a lot in my work both as an Academic and also in my private work.  People can become lazy and take for granted their communication which can come across more as text speak. In this capacity I literally can get emails like this (which is made up based on experience!):

——————–

hey!

i’d like to see you thursday. i’m in at 11 and 2 so will see you then.

let me know which one.

also, which reference did you say i should include?

sarah

—————————-

Umm, this presents as just a slight problem.

Aside from no context (both in terms of the ‘references’ or who Sarah is?), no discussion re times or querying my own availability, there is also the huge issue of poor grammar and non existent evidence of manners.

Now, don’t be lulled into thinking that this is just something that ‘younger’ people do or that this is just an affliction of students.  I see the same type of communication day in day out from professional, and indeed more ‘mature’ people who are even running their own businesses.

Who you are being needs to be consistent

When this happens in my practice, I raise it with the person in question as I know it will be effecting their business and hence business growth. Why? because I know that who you are has to be consistent, and in turn your communication has to consistently portray who you want to/claim to be.  This is the same for a student in a university, someone in their workplace or even for someone running their own company.

Who you ‘show up as’, even in an email, is who you are to the person who receives it.

 When I work with a client on their business, we look at who they are presenting themselves to be across the board, maybe starting with their website or brochure and then looking at the spoken word.  I think you’d be hard pushed to find someone that would proclaim to ‘get back to you sporadically.  Will write to you in text talk and sometimes one word answers without context’.

Who are you presenting your self to be?

I’d ask you to think about how you are presenting yourself in your correspondence?

Do you like to see grammatically correct mail with some politeness or maybe you have also been on the receiving end of mail that has ‘put you off’ from hiring someone?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…till next week!

*This issue is always raised with a client and is therefore non-specific to any individual*


Leave a comment

Multi-passionate Addicts Anonymous!

P1010728

So, last Thursday I had the pleasure of meeting many other addicts like me.  Multi-passionate addicts that is : )

I gave my talk at Antenna in Nottingham, to a fantastic group of women who all came along to hear more about being multi-passionate (link to the talk to follow).  There was an amazing mix of women from all different walks of life, each with their own story and own reason for wanting to hear more about being multi-passionate, as well it being an opportunity to meet other women like them…like us!

So why am I an addict?  I can’t really speak for anyone else, but I’ve often likened my own multi-passionateism (!) to being addicted to something, and I discussed this with the women I spoke to.  As a psychologist I can see many similarities with that of basic ‘addiction’ models.  Now bear in mind, not all addictions are necessarily harmful.  But by their very nature they conjure up negative connotations.  The main reasons for its similarities to an addiction I feel would be because:

– Doing lots of things is how I feel balanced and happy – even if it seems bizarre/destructive and downright tiring to everyone else.

–  I’m often thinking of when I can get my next ‘hit’ – when I can do the next thing?

–  I’ve hidden this from people over the years – parents/ex-partner/friends.

One of the key things that stand out for me here is that I have felt a need to hide my behaviour from other people, as if this was harmful or dangerous in some way?

What I’ve learnt over the years is that negative reactions from people haven’t always been because people were worried for me as they may have alluded to….’Serena, don’t you think you’ve taken on too much?’…’Serena are you sure you can deal with that and expect to do well in X’, the list goes on (which I’ll be discussing some other time).  No, their concern, criticism or negative comments haven’t been because they were worried because I have been taking on too much or because I would be compromising something that I was really good at.  Often these comments have been thrown at me in an attempt to make me stop, because no-one likes to see a tall poppy, as they say.

I’m certainly not saying that everyone is the same!  I can think of many people who have always supported me, even if they haven’t understood or agreed with what I was doing.  I’m sure if you too are multi-passionate, you can think of similar people in your own life.  The nay-sayers versus those that have been your biggest cheer-leaders.

The fact is that, we sometimes need to limit our interaction with negative people.  People that bring you down and discourage your passions from being fulfilled.  Know who your friends are.  Know who supports you.  Always listen with an open heart and open mind.  Sometimes, we do need to slow down, stop or take a break.  The people who truly love and respect us will say this in a way that nurtures, not causes us to flinch as if you we are doing something wrong.

If you the person before you is telling you stop, slow down and warns you that you are taking on too much, and without good intention, then trust your gut.  Know that that your greatness is THEIR issue, not yours.

xx