Happiness

Happiness

It is my belief that there is never a bad time to ask yourself ‘what does happiness mean to me and what will help me have more happy moments in my life?’ This curious question offers a chance to focus life’s lenses and then to become attracted to those things that make you smile, add more and create joy in your life. One response to the question of what does happiness mean to you, in a coaching session gave an interesting response. ‘Happiness sits on the periphery of your vision. It’s not tangible or easy to grasp and when you try to connect with it… puff it’s gone’. Whilst to me this view felt defeatist and fear fuelled, it helped me to clarify my feelings on this subject. The feisty character within me wanted to respond with…boldly choose to grab happiness by the horns, look it in eyes and demand its presence every day. I was recently inspired by the author Elizabeth Gilbert. In her book Big Magic she describes ‘entering into a contract with creativity’. I decided that I wanted to strike a deal with happiness. I decided to give my full attention to discovering the mindset that I would need to adopt, the activities that I need to get involved in and the moments to cherish in order to nurture the presence of happiness. This has helped my happiness have the confidence to shine even in the face of worry, doubt, and fatigue. Since making this decision, happiness and I have began to collaborate, we co-created a plan and shook hands on it! If thinking about happiness...
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! (Part 2)

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! (Part 2)

Today is a particularly poignant day for me and my husband Rob. We celebrate a significant anniversary with a story of its own – Rob is two years cancer free today! Our story taught us the importance of adopting a solution focused mindset and of holding on to your best hopes when the future feels uncertain. We decided to share our ‘notes to self ‘ in the hope that you might gain in some way. Here goes … Pursue positive thinking Assuming that the best outcome is possible and believing in silver linings is essential. This will carry you far and help you to dig deep into your reserves on tough days. Rob decided that he had a chance to change the family cancer story into a survival story. It created a ‘can do’ way of thinking for us and fed a positive mindset. Overcoming ‘a touch of cancer’ seemed like a positive re frame of what felt like a devastating story. Keep forward planning Choose to forward plan and imagine life beyond your treatment. Ask yourself what you want from your life once treatment is complete. Assume it to be possible and plan for it. Acquiring the map for a bike challenge and beginning the research into it’s viability was a mission that I delegated to Rob. He was also tasked with finding and planning a fabulous holiday in the sun as a post treatment reward. Focus on what’s possible Rather than assuming that treatment will wipe him out, Rob decided not to jump to conclusions and listen to his body. Where possible he would resume everyday routines that boosted his sense of...
What doesnt kill you makes you stronger (Part 1)

What doesnt kill you makes you stronger (Part 1)

Each of us has a story to tell. We all have a story in us. Life events, and how we view what happens in our world, will shape the stories that we tell ourselves and others. This is a story about choosing to view life through a positive lens and holding on to your best hopes when the future feels uncertain. This is a story about my wonderful husband Rob. Here is a narrative about life’s unexpected twists and turns … of joy, bravery, second chances and adversity. It is about attending to what’s possible even when that itself is uncertain. It is also a story about cancer. Cancer has visited Robs life on several occasions in his 40 years on planet earth. Rob grew up with three strong role models; his grandfather Joe, his mother Lynne and his sister Tara. Their influence taught him three key lessons; The importance of hard graft to create your own success, respect for others, and good morals maketh the man. Rob modelling oddballs underwear as part of a Movember campaign to raise awareness about testicular cancer Because of these wonderful people, from a young age, Rob developed a strong work ethic. As a kid he could be found collecting sea coal on the beach to sell the locals. He learned his sales strategies selling perfumes to the beauty therapy department at a local college, usually for over treble their value, and always ensuring a tidy profit. He became a grafter and a salesman. Rob’s first experience with cancer began at the tender age of 20. His mother Lynne had learned that she had cancer....
Live your legacy

Live your legacy

You don’t have to be a billionaire or a genius to make a difference. People make their mark and are remembered for their contributions for all sorts of reasons. One year ago, a dear friend David Charlton died. He had lived a full and fabulous life but it was cut short prematurely . He served his country, he impacted people’s lives. David Charlton was an adventurer, a confidant, a triathlete, a doting father, a loving husband, a mischief maker and so much more. What a legacy to leave behind! His mark on this earth was purposeful and intentional. He chose to become all these things, he took time to reflect on his contributions and he lived as well as left his legacy. When discussing legacies, and best ways to make your mark, a wonderful person called Tim McNamara advised me to “CHARLIE” it. He later elaborated and shared the meaning of this acronym; Climb Higher And Reach Life’s Inner Expectations”. This brought a smile to my face and left me pondering how I might do such a thing. After some coaching and soul searching, I decided that for me, Charlie it could involve several things: Choosing to let go of the illusion of perfection Deciding on my new mantra for living life – Go forward fearlessly with the confidence to thrive Giving myself permission to trust the process and not being attached to the outcomes (otherwise known as going NATO) Realising that I need to say YES to more and then work on feeling ready for it later This led me to imagine what difference it would make, if...
Gifts that keep on giving

Gifts that keep on giving

It’s a given that people love receiving gifts. My favourite, are those gifts that keep on giving. It could be the gift of an experience that gives joy when opened and then creates memories. Perhaps an item that can be enjoyed more than once. Certain gifts when passed on, offer value to each new owner like a good book with well worn pages. Some people love giving gifts as much as they enjoy receiving them, and gifts just have that capacity to give pleasure more than once and I have numerous examples of these. Alas for now I will share only one; the adventure voucher. The adventure voucher was a gift that I gave this Christmas. Struggling with inspiration for a meaningful and inexpensive present, I stumbled upon this idea online. Put simply I delivered a certificate offering a whole year of adventure, for my partner in crime Rob to enjoy for 365 days. This involved an adventure envelope being delivered on the first day of each month for a whole year. The contents would describe the escapade that would unfold at some point over that month with no effort on the part of the recipient. So far, the adventures enjoyed have involved things like  a train trip to a new location, a month dedicated to sleeping under the stars, a beach fire, a day of fishing in the North Sea, a bike trip to Holland and a few more surprises yet to come. This gift is continuous. The added bonus, I get to participate in these adventures too. A great example of a win-win! Giving this gift has...

Choose wise words

Our words have immense capacity for good if used wisely.  For a moment, I invite you to consider the power of your words. You may wonder why this subject matters such that I have taken the time to write my words about your words. It is my belief that your words if used well could enable you to create your own success, help you to express yourself, share a point of view or influence important decisions that affect your life. Do your words help you to attract the things that you want more of in your life or do they focus on your struggles and your pain points? I invite you all to pay more attention to the words that you use day to day. Notice if they are limiting you or helping you be a solution focussed individual. Use your words to attract the outcomes that you want and need in life and to help you communicate what you want to share with the world! With only a ‘tweak’ it is possible to frame your sentences in a way that generates curiosity and creates a mindset that will allow more possibility into your world.  For example, I’m struggling could become I am in the process of working out how to manage this differently.  I never have enough to money might instead be I am working out how to generate more money. Furthermore, what if your words could change the course of someone’s day, give hope and motivate others to create a life that they love or even to aim high. When was the last time that you encouraged...
Passions rekindled

Passions rekindled

This year, I was given two gifts that delivered way beyond their point of receipt and rekindled passions that have been missing from my life. This year my dear friend Charlotte gifted me a map and poem about travelling. It reconnected me with my passion for travel. The map fills my wall with a world view. It also prompted me to find my old travel diary and reminisce, that then turned me into a storyteller. Her gift helped me to keep past travel adventures in my heart and future voyages in my vision. It inspired me to hatch plans to visit some of the new places on my bucket list and to re-visit the places that I adore. The second gift was a pair of walking boots. Having been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees 18 months ago, I gave up running.  As well as missing the act of running, I also stopped enjoying other elements of this activity; being outdoors and that invaluable headspace that comes with blasting along leaving all your worries behind you. For some reason I had forgotten to apply my ‘adapt and overcome’ mindset to this challenge till, much to my surprise, I was presented with my walking boots. To say that these are now my most favourite possession would be an understatement. These shoes have taken me on numerous twilight and sunset walks since I acquired them. In one week alone they stomped over 65 miles. I have discovered a new hobby, enjoyed a more sustainable way to exercise, and maintained my sanity and equilibrium. I have also enjoyed wildlife watching including foxes, otter, horses,...
Relationships that thrive

Relationships that thrive

The quote ‘no man is an island’ infers that we all thrive through our connections with others. Where possible we want to create and choose relationships that bring out the best in us and add value to our lives. That said, sometimes the relationships in our lives require kit gloves, toleration and management to sustain them because they serve a vital purpose. I feel confident that we can all think of examples of this sort of relationship. Counterbalancing this are those wonderful relationships that we feel motivated to nurture because they bring out the best in us and add to the rich tapestry of our lives. The challenges of managing and improving relationships often presents in coaching conversations with my clients. What each of us value and need from our relationships will differ greatly. My curiosity about this matter led me to carry out a survey. I asked people from all walks of life about the qualities they would desire in an ideal relationships. This elicited a wide range of responses including; ‘someone whose company creates excitement, minds meeting, a good listener, similar values and interests, someone who restores my inner calm, hatching plans together, honesty, someone who just gets me, an adventure buddy, people who help me not take life too seriously’. Some of these descriptions struck a chord with me. They reminded me of the importance of being clear about what qualities your relationships need to increase in strength and continue to grow. Coaching conversations often address the subject of how to nurture and manage different sorts of relationships. Some of the themes that we might discuss could include: The qualities that a good relationships needs to...
A health adventure – are you in?

A health adventure – are you in?

My passion for the outdoors brings a smile to my face and allows me to keep fit and healthy. I get to explore all sorts of terrain including Scottish Islands, woodland hideaways and beautiful coastal routes. Health adventures can take all sorts of shapes and forms. 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 the planning of a new adventure, and a trip to a new place. 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. It wasn’t till my late teens that I discovered exercise and sprint distance triathlons in my 20’s. 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...
Dont let fear in the driving seat

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 a 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 fears”. 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...