A health adventure – are you in?

My passion for the outdoors brings a smile to my face and allows me to explore all sorts of terrain including Scottish Islands, woodland hideaways and beautiful coastal routes. Health adventures can take all sorts of shape and form. I’ve eaten fresh fish on white sandy beaches and woke to the sound of the sea, or a nearby stream. I love indulging in planning new adventures, and visiting new places.  I haven’t always enjoyed getting outdoors and participating in activities that help me feel healthy and well.  I grew up in a city and in my teens I had no such interest in anything remotely healthy. I discovered sprint distance triathlons in my 20’s and two decades later, I still compete. I enjoy that there are three disciplines which all require being in the outdoors (swim, cycling and running). I love being in the company of inspiring people who are all championing each other regardless of ability and age. Some take these events very seriously, with the top of the range kit and the hard core training plans. Others like me just rock up (often after a night of copious wine and dancing) and just enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine and the ‘I can’ feeling that is generated knowing that, regardless of your speed or position, you have lapped those people sitting on the couch watching television. I have always loved running. In particular running in the woods in all sorts of weather,  the more dramatic the weather, the better. One of the simple pleasures of this is smelling the seasons change and spotting wildlife in the form of deer, woodpeckers, cattle and...

Dont let fear in the driving seat

Having given much thought to what is required to get out of our comfort zone of life, I felt compelled to write about fear. It struck me that in the face of change, even positive change, fear is inevitable. It can become a barrier and driver for anxiety and it can hold us back. Maybe it is time to create a dialogue with fear, allowing it to be on your life’s journey but never letting it take the drivers seat. It is important to clarify that fear is as normal as breathing. It comes from our thoughts, creates unhelpful emotions and can impact our actions. For some it will manifest as fear of failing, fear of looking stupid or fear of making the wrong decision. Believe it or not there is also such a thing as fear of success! In my coaching sessions where we address fear, I have heard people say “what if I succeed, and then I cannot handle it”. This is a great example of how fear can inhibit us. How does fear hold you back? My research on this matter led me to a fabulous quote Elizabeth Gilbert ‘your mafia mind is a bully’. This was a reminder to me that people who achieve greatness are usually people who ditch their fears. Marie Forleo talks openly on this matter. She advises us “Don’t be held hostage by your fear. My two most significant encounters with fear presented in the past two years. One related to leaping in and setting up my own business and the other came when my partner was diagnosed with cancer. In both situations, I noted that my...

Words of wisdom can come from the most surprising places

I was compelled to write about inner wisdom and advice to self having spend many coaching sessions supporting clever people to trust themselves to make good decisions. Sometimes we forget that we have great advice within us to give other people and because of this, we neglect to listen to our own ‘wise self’ as we face decisions and dilemmas in life. This leads us to look to other people in our lives to give us the right answers, when actually we often already know everything that we need to know. I would like to share advice with you from a diverse section of the population. In doing so invite you to become clear about those pieces of advice that struck a chord with you. I will invite you to tap into your wise words, and remember your own good advice that you can share with others or indeed take to heart yourself. I will begin with advice from an 80 year old man. You may had read something similar – a lovely list of great pearls of wisdom gathered over time. I selected the ones that I liked to share with you. He advises; Be the most enthusiastic person that you know. Always accept an outstretched hand. Be brave and if you don’t feel brave – fake it, usually people can’t tell the difference. Choose a life mate carefully – from this decision comes 90% of your happiness or misery. Keep a notebook by your bedside – the million dollar ideas usually come at 3am. Next we have advice from Andrea Mann, an author who wrote in the standard issue magazine....

Life lessons – What cycling taught me about life

  One of the activities that I enjoy doing as a life coach is creating a weekly challenge for my clients. It is aimed at inspiring and encouraging people to get more of what they want from life. One of my recent challenges was called ‘follow your best advice’. A few weeks later on a bike adventure that spanned three days, and one hundred and twenty miles of off road biking in the rain, I discovered that my notes to self for biking were also transferrable to life in general. I felt compelled to share these lessons with you, so here goes… The importance of being prepared: I found myself participating in a weekend of biking without making the time to prepare my equipment. I discovered on route that my waterproof jacket zip was broken. This prompted me to conclude that a mindful approach to a new challenge is beneficial and given that it rained the whole weekend. This was a tough lesson on the importance of being prepared. Safety net planning: In advance of this event, and having never completed it before, I was worried about not being able to achieve it. It is notoriously difficult and I had not completed the bike training that I had hoped to. I decided to ask myself What is the worst thing that could happen here? What is worrying you the most about this event? Once I had worked out what was concerning me, I could create a contingency plan to manage should this situation arise and then get busy doing it anyway. Take time to recharge and refuel: If you...

Cast off your shell and grow

When you learn to become comfortable with discomfort, its is possible to get more out of life. We can love life more we can create space to grow and we can become a better version of our current selves. The question that must be asked, Why is it that that certain things create anxiety for us and why is it that at these times, we tend to stick with what we know? Comfort zone conversations come up frequently when I am coaching, and a common theme that emerges when I support people in my role as a life coach. We can all  feel stuck at some point in our lives and experience the discomfort of wanting more but feeling uncomfortable about charging forward. We find ourselves making up excuses that keep us thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same feelings, doing the same old thing and ultimately getting what we always got from life. To make more sense of this, let’s explore the power of our thinking processes a little further. Dr Joe Dispenza describes how to break old habits and strengthen our synapses. Our thoughts, feelings and actions create our personality which in turn influences our ‘personal reality’. Doing something different to the norm means changing your mind and this needs new ways of thinking. This is often where life gets uncomfortable. The inner critic in our head starts to chatter in the background. Its intention is usually to keep us safe and this often leads us to sticking with what we know. At this point we have the option to either go back to the comfort of what we have always known or to get comfortable...

Micro adventuring – Creating possibilities (Part 2 of 2)

Let’s begin with the belief that it is possible to have more, to do more and to be more. What is it that you want? What gets you excited and what are you passionate about? If this is easy for you to answer, then now is the time to get doing these things. This blog is dedicated to the ‘here’s how’ part of enjoying your micro adventures. For many people the challenge of adventuring can be the uncertainty about what is possible. This may lead you to adopt an experimental approach; try new things in order to discover what you love and feel passionate about.  It can begin with the simple act of getting some ideas down on paper and having a go. Me? I want it all!! I want to get busy enjoying the numerous activities that I already love and I want to try new things…and I want that for you too! The last blog addressed the joys of micro adventuring as a great way to get started; start small, build bigger and see where that takes you. Everything begins with an idea, then it takes shape and you get started. This can snowball. That one thing can lead to another. You grow wings, can get inspired and new ideas pop up. Cunning plans get hatched and before you know it you are going places, seeing things and loving that you are making it happen. I love writing my ideas down. It’s the best way for me to get started. My understanding of this is that the art of writing things down can symbolise the act of committing to action. It is well recorded in solution focussed therapies...

Micro adventuring -what’s stopping you? (Part 1 of 2)

The turn of the year invited us all to start afresh. Here we are a month into our ‘happy new year’. It is a great time to stop and ask yourself…How is this new year working out for me? My guess is that your answer may depend on whether you got clear about what you wanted and whether you created the plan to make great things happen. It seems that everywhere we look there are advertisements telling us to be adventurous, to live life to the full and other such clichés.  These messages can lead us to feeling that we should have big hairy audacious goals; visiting exotic places, jumping off cliffs . If that is what you want…. Go grab it! If this doesn’t feel possible or reflect your idea of fun, it is easy to write off the idea that adventure could be part of your life. For me, parenthood an NHS job as a therapist and a life coaching business have led me down the route of micro-adventuring. I enjoy activities on a shoestring. I go on small but fun escapades on a regular basis. I have come to learn that adventures, no matter how big or small are at our fingertips on a daily basis. In my Adventurous Polly video series you will see me up a hill or on the beach, biking, wild camping, making a fire with the kids, having hot chocolate under the moonlight, exploring new spaces and other such things. None of this is rocket science but it gives me so much joy, allows me to meet people and creates time for family experiences...
Staying focussed on getting what you want (Part 4 of 4)

Staying focussed on getting what you want (Part 4 of 4)

Whether you are a professional wanting to explore and pursue a new career adventure, a parent looking to have more escapades with family, a veteran wanting to maintain adventurous activities whilst transitioning to a civilian lifestyle or just wanting to have a health adventure while getting fitter… you need a plan and you need to know how to make that a reality! Research suggests that people who succeed at implementing goals do so by breaking them down into smaller bite sized chunks and having some degree of accountability for whether they are on track with the plan. There are many ways to go about this and often when people get stuck, they hire coaches to assist them on this journey. That said it is also possible to become your own coach or use tools and tips to help you along the way. A personal favourite of mine is simple, write a letter to yourself. Why not? Write a statement of intent. Include in this some facts about your capability and your values that connect you to why this goal is important and possible. Tell yourself what you are committed to doing, when and how, with advice or notes to self. Either write a note on the calendar reminding yourself to open it at a specific point in time or give it to someone who you trust to keep it safe and who will deliver it back to you at an agreed point in time. Another effective method when it comes to applying goal setting principles is having a buddy. Find someone who you can share your future vision. Choose...
Your vision, your goals (Part 3 of 4)

Your vision, your goals (Part 3 of 4)

  Sharing from a life coach perspective, some of the ways in which people leave the old year behind and make a fresh start has been enjoyable. The topic of discussion in my previous blogs have been the value in taking lessons learned forward, working out what you want next and forwarding the action in a way that is fruitful. This comes from the belief that every situation we face is an opportunity to learn and grow and that our ability to achieve is closely connected to our ability to conceive the idea and believe that it is possible. This leads me nicely to making change. Having touched on ways to approach goal setting last week, I noted that guidance on how to do actually do it is limited in the texts that I have read. There are many ways to work out what you want and I would like to share some of these strategies with you. One way that can be used to make your goals clearer is to utilise a vision board. If you haven’t heard of them, look them up or contact me for more information about how they can be used. This is a simple and creative way to explore your hopes, dreams, values and desires. If you are looking for a creative tool to help you to capture themes and ideas, lifestyle choices, experiences and things you want to create, (even if you don’t know how to get this yet), then you will love this way of working. This process invites you increase your awareness of what you want and in doing so...
What’s next? A Life coaching perspective (Part 2 of 4)

What’s next? A Life coaching perspective (Part 2 of 4)

  Whatever you choose to go forward with in the next year, I invite you capture the wisdom, skill and knowledge that you have yielded from the year past and take it with you on the journey. In my last blog I invited you to tease out what the last 365 days allowed you to be fantastic at, the lessons learned and get clear about what does not serve you well. My best hope is that you will use these facts as a foundation for a purposeful and proactive year with clarity about your goals and your vision. Whilst some are excellent at clarifying ‘what’s next’, others take a little longer to focus and clarify goals in a more organic way. For me, unless I state my intentions, identify the activities that will get me to that outcome and set milestones along the way, then thing just don’t come to fruition. Sometimes my goals might seem optimistic to the point of delusional, but once I’ve said them out loud, I get attracted to the outcomes that I want and behave in a way to make this possible and indeed likely. I find this to be the case in my experience as a life coach. People come to me because they want more and despite their resourcefulness, they haven’t managed to get the outcomes they were looking for. Some people need help to fine tune the vision and get clear on what it will look like. Others know what they want but are unsure how to get it to happen or perhaps their previous efforts haven’t succeeded. Together, we discover...