• Read this when you feel like you’re not enough

    Not enough: seated queue of people. One woman looking anxious as she waits.

    I worked with Ann as her coach as she was considering transitioning roles with her employer. She loved her specialism, her team and the clients she worked with. She enjoyed seeing her juniors grow into their talents and delivering new approaches to working in her clients’ organisations.

    People wanted to be on her team and saw her as a role model of female management. Seniors had high hopes she’d be a rising star and become a Partner in due time. She commuted long hours and worked on the journeys to ensure everything was done to exacting standards. Her mobile was connected 24/7 just in case.

    Just in case, anyone found her out. Ann feared being found as a fake, failing to achieve some invisible target or standard. She feared letting down her friends and family. Maybe she would be seen as lacking, not credible, not worthy of their time, respect or affection.

    But Ann wanted more. More in her career and more in her life. We worked on busting those doubts and building empowering ways forward to create clarity, confidence and spaciousness.

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  • Are you settling for less?

    Settling for less: black woman sat on stairs holding her phone and looking frustrated

    For years, I was settling for less without even realising it.

    I was seen as successful. I got two degrees. I had an international career, with recognisable named companies. I worked on impactful projects. I loved my partners and friends. I was seen as a tower of strength and nurturing.

    What wasn’t seen were the sacrifices I made. The yeses that should have been noes. The times I skipped lunch to help a colleague. The dance classes I cancelled to listen to a distressed friend. The opportunities I gave up to facilitate my partner’s choices. The nights when I held my stepchildren until they fell asleep. I stopped knowing what I liked or even preferred. You’d hear me say “I don’t mind. You pick” as I was overwhelmed with decisions.

    Whilst I don’t regret many of those choices, I do recognise I was merely functioning. I got up, worked, took care of home, supported my partner and family, went to bed. Hit repeat. 

    From the outside, I looked like a woman juggling the balls and not letting them drop. I got praised for my efforts, for my generosity, for my caring. From the inside, I was setting for less.

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  • In scary times, leverage your feminine energy to lead yourself and others effectively

    Leading in scary times: a diverse team, standing in a block formation, looking off to the right. They look focused with a mix of courage and fear

    A change to the planned blog -with the events in Ukraine, I feel compelled to switch out my cheery topic and simply be present to this heartbreaking, challenging time our Ukrainian peers are facing.

    Like me, I’m sure you have seen the coverage of babies being born in makeshift wards in underground stations, mothers and wives making cargo nets, and families fleeing their homes. Equally, the faces of young Russian men sobbing on camera and saying this is not my war, this is not what I want to do, but I’m being forced.

    Now, I’m not about to head into a politicised essay. I do want to acknowledge the devastation, helplessness and upset I feel as maybe you do too. I want to share some thoughts on what might help you lead yourself and others through scary times.

    The first image is the Motherland Monument in the central square of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. Ironically it marks the end of an earlier war and now finds itself at the centre of current actions. A brave woman, standing in her sovereign power, looking at at the possibilities the future holds and focusing in on her vision. I see a female leader, who knows her people’s pains, exhaustion and fear and still she stands to serve them, providing clarity and direction.

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  • Nobody is perfect so why am I trying to be?

    Perfectionism: Mixed race woman, sested in front of a bright orange wall. She's looking at her laptop in frustration with her right hand raised.

    Perfectionism comes in many disguises, yet is logically impossible to achieve. Whilst we all know that, we don’t necessarily believe it right into every cell in our body.

    We hear praise heaped on the “perfect” ones and wonder why we weren’t included. We see those with the perfect looks, figure or voice getting picked from the crowd, when we want to be the one. We watch other more perfect team mates get opportunities, promotions and bonuses that we crave.

    I know these stories. As a Pilates teacher, my story is the way I look as I demonstrate equals my credibility to teach – if I wobble or my tummy pops out, then my students will have less faith in me. As a daughter, my story is that I’m too sensitive to belong as that’s what has been said to me when I get upset. As a Coach, my story is I should be the example of the authenticity, vitality, joy that my clients crave or why would they work with me?

    None of these are true, but it doesn’t stop me trying to be perfect. Can you relate? What stories do you hold to be true about perfectionism?

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  • Increase your self-love

    Self-love: hands making a heart shape with a glowing sunrise behind them

    Hmmm, February is the month that love is in the air. Red balloons, cute teddy bears and cards proclaiming “you’re my Lobster”. Maybe you enjoy this season of romance or perhaps it makes you feel awkward about how you feel about yourself.

    “How can anyone love you, if you don’t love yourself?” is a question that is thrown out there quite a bit.

    Self-love doesn’t equate to being loved by others. You absolutely can be loved appropriately by others who see the joy you bring, when you find it difficult to love and accept yourself. 

    Our Lover Powertype stems from our need to belong and connect. She helps us access our true selves, with compassion, vulnerability and care. Lover is the centre of our vitality and self-acceptance. She draws people to her with her zest and energy, as well as her ability to help others feels seen and known. And boy, she’s fun to bring to any social event, romantic moment or team activities!

    What would life be like for you, if you had easy access to your Lover? 

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  • Get connected with small doable steps

    Small group of men and women enjoying a lively conversation in an informal workplace setting

    Human beings are built for connection; we’re pack animals. Some of us find it easier than others to initiate or maintain connections and some of us need more than others, but we all benefit from meaningful connections with others.

    How do you get connected? Do you actively seek it or does it happen by chance? Are you getting enough of the right types of connections?

    And boy, hasn’t the whole pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions changed our ability to connect?

    Loneliness has become part of our lives for many of us. Emotionally and physically, we’ve been cut off from not only our families and loved ones, but our colleagues and communities. Now as we “come out to play” in the world with our masks and hand sanitisers, we can still feel lonely. It can be a fleeting sensation or an overwhelming constant companion.

    We might feel embarrassed, stuck or frightened, especially if we’ve been burned by past relationships, difficult bosses or having had our trust or values disrespected. We might experience changes to our sleep or eating habits, a greater reliance on negative practices (like doom scrolling, alcohol or comfort shopping) or a sense of disappointment when we are with others and don’t feel heard or seen.

    The impacts of loneliness are not just in the present the moment. Medical research suggests longer-term impacts on our cardiovascular, cognitive and mental health, as well as reducing our immune system’s effectiveness.

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  • What would change if you defined success on your own terms?

    Woman in blue jumpsuit standing painting on an easel. Lots of blue tones of swirling sea

    From an early age, we seek meaning. In our interactions with others. Things we see happen to others. The words we hear spoken by public figures. It’s a very normal human behaviour.

    We like stories. Those we create ourselves. Some we pick up from others around us. The stories of historical events and people.

    Not all of them are grounded in truth or factual evidence. I mean the best bedtime stories as a kid were the most imaginative like when we trampolined on the moon and ate marshmallow pies whilst our pet dog played the guitar. how cool was that story, right?

    Our brains are wired for spotting potential risks and clusters of data that suggest that risk is likely to occur. It’s our Protector’s way of shielding us from the risk of disappointment, failure, rejection, judgement, complexity, success or conflict.

    Perhaps even reading that list makes your toes curl or your stomach cramp up.

    We’re asked to define what we want to achieve quite often – by our managers in appraisals or development conversations, by our families with regards to our careers, marital or parental status or financial circumstances, by our peer group as we grow up and even by society through the news, magazine and social media contributors. These are all foundation for stories we tell ourselves.

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  • Add little playful experiments to your day & grow your confidence, self-trust & joy

    SQuare image with 3 rows: loose tea in jars, small teapot and tea in cups with lady spooning tea

    OK, I admit it. I used to have days where I have zero idea what on earth I’m meant to be doing and question my decisions, my actions, myself. I get in a funk, a cycle of thinking, feelings and meanings that spiral around my head and resist change.

    My self-confidence drops and I lose faith in myself. Sound familiar? Maybe you also have days where self-doubt creeps in and all you want to do is pull the duvet over your head?

    The best way to explore and overcome this cycle is through experiments. Small little acts of play and learning. When these become a habitual practice, you can grow your confidence and your self-trust, and in turn, you feel more joy.

    Experimenting helps us create new evidence to challenge our thinking, feelings and the meanings we make – it allows us to ask what else might be true here? Each piece of evidence grows your confidence and creates greater faith or self-trust.

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  • How to make decisions when you feel uncertain

    At the start of any year, there are lots of articles, blogs and social media posts talking about new year resolutions suggesting you become a new you, a thinner you, a better you…….. Resolutions create feelings of self-doubt, anxiety or failure. Often they are reliant on negative motivations – ie away from what we don’t want, rather than what we do. They tend to induce “black and white” thinking when life is mostly filled with a variety of shares of thinking.

    You can probably guess I’m not a fan of the whole new year resolution thing.

    We often face a mix of certainty and uncertainty in our lives, our careers and our many relationships, which gets me to the point of today’s musings: how to make decisions when you feel uncertain.

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  • Saying YES to joy

    I want to share some of my thoughts for the year ahead to bring me joy. I’ve spent quite some time digging into what I want from the coming year. So here is my vision and hopes for feeling more joy.

    For this new year, I want to find joy in old and new ways.

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