Ah, Strategy…

Had a lot of conversations recently about the difference between being strategic and dealing with day-to-day pressures. Interesting article here from HBR takes a look at why our mouths say one thing but our feet do something different!

Dear Coach: What Does It Feel Like To Be ‘Coached’?

dear coach by the sea

What does it really feel like to be ‘coached’? I can read about it, but it is difficult to imagine. How can I decide if it is worth trying if I have no experience of it?  Miss AP

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Summer Reading?

It’s nice to have some reading ideas for summer down time which are a little different from the lighter norm…88 ideas from TED here

Life Slug 1: Accept Lies

Lie is a really big uncomfortable word. It includes a lot of different things – knowing the truth but choosing to say the opposite, omitting the truth by saying little or nothing, picking half-truth and half-lie, ‘white’ lies to please or reassure, pretending to ourselves or others that we know something we don’t, denying the facts or choosing an interpretation which suits us.

Why does it matter? What you think shapes your reality. What you see as real shapes how you feel. What you feel shapes how you behave. How you behave shapes your life. So, if you want to be in charge of your own life, you need to look at the lies you accept. Pretty simple really. Read More

Is it Time For A Temperature Check?

Many of us fall into the pattern of looking back and forwards as a new calendar year starts. We set resolutions and new goals, often with patchy success by February! Yet there is value to be gleaned from occasionally stepping back to do our own ‘temperature check’ on how our life is lining up against what we planned or wanted. Have your priorities stayed the same or shifted? Is there a real gap that matters between what your mouth says and what your feet are doing? Are you feeling internally nagged by old ‘shoulds’ that just lurk on your mental ‘to do’ list but somehow never convert to ‘done’? Or have external events forced you to adapt yet you feel in doing so you might have also taken your eye off a couple of other important balls?

When people feel the kind of itch I’ve talked about that brings them to a coach like me, it is often a time when it feels as if the universe laughed while you made plans. As if there is a gap that you can’t quite see clearly enough yet to decide what to do and how. And it isn’t uncommon at all to realize in the process that the itch isn’t 100% what you thought it was…and there are a lot more roads to address it once you see it more clearly.

If this is where you are right now – other than contacting me, of course! – a useful starting place is with something often called A Wellbeing Wheel.

Made up of a circle with at least five dimensions that reflect our basic human needs – Physical, Emotional, Financial, Spiritual and Social – it is a simple framework for looking at your own achievements, needs and priorities. You might personalize it or add other specific dimensions, but it provides a straightforward way to take your own life temperature. And proving that I practice what I ‘preach’, as I’ve just moved house and moved away from some bits of my old life, I am sitting here using it too to plan a few goals and priorities for my next 6 months!

10 Life Slugs of Self-Destruction

More on each one over the next ten weeks as a little food for thought, but here is my Top 10 Life Slugs List FWIW….

  1. Accept Lies
  2. Think of Yourself As A Victim
  3. Don’t Stop To Think
  4. Think Too Much
  5. Spend More Than You Can afford
  6. Get Yes and No Confused
  7. Ignore The Gap Between What Happens and What You Do
  8. Manage Time Instead Of Priorities
  9. Treat People Like Things
  10. Lose Sight Of Your Own Plot

Quiz from Susan David

I really value Susan David’s work on Emotional Agility and her TED talk is well worth your time if you haven’t seen it. And if you have a few minutes, you could do a short ‘quiz‘ on her web site to look at your own current agility!

Seeds and Slugs

I was prompted this week by a combination of learning from some coaching conversations and some time spent on my (relatively new) work in progress allotment to think about the healthy and unhealthy sides of life. The times when things fall apart and the times when they almost magically unfold. The things we do that sow seeds for good fruit and things we do that let slugs and fat mice destroy our fruit.

The Internet is full of Top Ten Lists and I’ll be adding my 10 Seeds for A Good Life and 10 Slugs of Self-Destruction soon….

What would be on either list for you?

Living Life One Pause at a Time

A useful reminder from an interesting site of the gap that exists between what happens, how we feel about it and what we choose to do.


By Dr. Perry, PhD

“There is only one world, the world pressing against you at this minute. There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.” ~Anonymous

What if all we are is a fleeting and fragile physical manifestation of our thoughts; unconnected floating ideas that bind together to form the physical representation of your self and the world you live in?

The moment of complete awareness of the self is a sacred one that should not be wasted in anguish and confusion. Every moment is an opportunity to be fully aware and reconnect with your living force. One can create these moments of reconnection by pausing for any amount of time during the day and fully engaging in your self. Rushing through your days in a caffeinated trance will…

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Dear Coach: How Do I Get Out of A Rut I Resent?

dear coach by the sea

I’m really unhappy with how my life seems to be right now, both at work and home. I feel as if nothing I do is ever quite good enough and I’m exhausted. I feel really stressed and quite angry about being taken for granted by everyone to be honest. I’ve noticed that all I seem to do is complain when I talk to my friends but it doesn’t change anything or even make me feel better really. What should I do to break out of this rut?   Mrs SJ

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What an interesting idea from this blogger! The movie of your life? And would it be different for different audiences? And what about the sequel?

Fractured Faith Blog

Fionnuala and I went to the cinema last night. Without kids! We get to do this about once a decade. The movie was called ‘Adrift’ based on a true story of a couple whose dream of sailing across the Pacific turns to tragedy when their yacht is badly damaged in a storm leaving them thousands of mile from safety with insufficient food and water supplies. I won’t say anymore in case some of you are planning on going to see it yourselves.

There were only 14 people in the cinema (yes I counted them. I do have OCD you know) so we were able to sit back and relax without any distractions. I don’t like people sitting beside me in cinemas. Elbows touching, poor eating habits, annoying laughs and plot giveaways. The list is endless. Thankfully this lot were well behaved so I didn’t have to adopt my school headmaster…

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What is Written on Your Fear Wall?

I’ve found myself having quite a few conversations lately about fear and boundaries. When we feel stuck, it is almost always because we are afraid. Sometimes of making the wrong decision or no decision at all or even the consequences of what feels like a good decision. It is about what has not happened yet but the real fear is about what we think that means about us. It is as if there is a huge wall right in front of us with a big graffitied message that only we can see. Messages about failure or shame or not being enough or safe or loved or accepted. I have no idea what is written on your wall, or you on mine. In fact sometimes we don’t even know ourselves because the idea of even looking at the writing is so frightening that we avoid it until circumstances force us to look.

I often talk about boundaries using a metaphor of putting up a fence or wall around a garden. Perhaps with a gate. A boundary is for you; it is defining your own safe healthy space at any given point in time. And the conditions for other people to come into that garden….or that will make you decide to close the gate. We often think that boundaries are about setting conditions for others’ behaviour, but their real heft is more about getting a clear focus on our own needs and accepting that the only behaviour we control is our own. We choose where the fence sits, how high it is and how the gate works.

It occurred to me yesterday that there are two sides to the fence or wall. The inside facing you is what is written on your own fear wall. The other side of the fence is the bit that others see and how they interpret it. The interesting addition in a coaching conversation is about how you choose to write new messages on your wall, how that might make your boundary lines move and whether your walls are keeping you healthy or trapped.

What is written on your wall about an issue that is bothering you? What do you think is written on the other side of the wall? And how is the current wall helping you?

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