Joy

  • Are you settling for less?

    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.

    Settling for Less: Young woman sat on stairs looking confused

    Less of what I needed. Less of what I stood for. Less of me and all I could offer in the world. 

    My confidence was diminished and old anxieties raged under the surface. I became smaller as my fears of being rejected or excluded if I asked for what I wanted or expressed what I felt – I’d be admitting I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t comfortable with the norm and that I wasn’t happy with what I had.

    I wanted to live in alignment with my values. I craved more freedom in my work. I needed to balance everything out to find space for me in my life. Even just writing this now, I can feel that old guilt, the sense of selfishness and the shame creeping through my chest and throat. How could I put myself before others when they needed more than me?

    Settling for less: young black woman sat on ornate stairs, holding a large piece of paper filled with ideas

    You can’t serve form an empty cup.

    My self-doubt and self-worth hit a low. Being small and settling for less didn’t bring me the love from others or from myself that I’d expected. Nor did it make me more accepted in my family or my workplace. Nor did it make me an easy person to be around (saying “I don’t mind” causes the fuss I was trying to avoid!). My physical and mental health took a dip. I was exhausted trying to be all that I could without respecting myself.

    If any of this sounds even vaguely familiar to you, please know that settling for less is actually at the core of what is blocking you from growing, from thriving, from laughing every day.

    Saying yes to you, to your joy, to your needs, to your values, to your hopes is possible and won’t risk much of what you think it will. I promise.

    By not settling for less, you create the conditions to have more energy and space for all that you want into your life. You give yourself and others the permissions to honour your wellbeing, spiritual and social needs. By identifying your values and vision, the boundaries you set can be upheld and supported. Speaking your truth – the things that make you authentically you – leads to more opportunities to serve, to have impact and to feel more joy.

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

    Learn to think differently about your thinking and behaviours, that drive your human instinct to protect yourself from potential risk, pain, fear or those icky, crunchy feelings of guilt and shame. 

    Ditch the doubt, find self worth, self acceptance and self love – trust yourself to be who you need, to know the people who have your back and want the best for you, to be fully able to successfully walk your preferred path through life.

    Choose with wisdom. Choose with yourself in mind. Choose joy.

    Not sure where to start – give me a bell, drop me a message and I’ll help you out.

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

    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.

    Leading in scary times: Ukraine's Motherland Statue with a clear blue sky behind her.

    From a Powertype perspective in this frozen moment, she’s our Queen – a role model in prioritising her needs without guilt in order to give her best self to her realm, whether that’s her family, her church group, her charity buddies or her team at work. Her best is in using her talents of advice and counsel then discerning the most impactful course to set before inspiring others’ desire for future outcomes, joys and benefits.

    In scary times, ask yourself what is your vision for you and for your realm? What do you need to know or discover to make decisions and create clarity? What do you need to be your best self?

    If you imagine this statue had been a real woman, she would also be leaning into her Lover and Mother Powertypes. 

    For yourself, Lover provides the invite to others to join your efforts with her warmth and ability to truly see people for who they are. She sells the sizzle of excitement of what membership means. Her expressive nature allows for emotions to be felt, space for vulnerability to be shared and integrity through action. |for herself, she creates her own time to explore and release emotions and soothe tensions in her body, mind and soul through self-care.

    In scary times, ask yourself how can you bring life, creativity and emotional engagement to the vision? Where are the energy levels at – for you and your people? What replenishment is needed?

    Mother’s unconditionality allows people to belong, regardless of who they are, what they can do, where they have come from. She is the home for psychological safety – to be, to do and to speak up without fear of judgement or persecution. Celebrating successes and nurturing growth as cheerleader, coach and teacher fall into Mother’s sweet spot of strengths. Her children, colleagues and friends can feel her trust and belief in them – calling the best forth in each of them in a firm but fair way.

    In scary times, ask yourself what you can do to build an even stronger sense of belong and acceptance? How can you encourage performance? What can you offer yourself to feel safe?

    Leading in scary times: a white woman with blond hair, hiding behind a door resisting entering the room

    These three are supported by the feminine power sources of Warrioress and Sorceress.

    The firestarter of action is Warrioress; she sees the necessary steps within the chaos of change, heighten emotions and confusion, delegating with care and seizing the opportunities to move forward with a pacey agility. Her fierce advocacy for her people is legendary – she will defend and hold the boundaries necessary to achieve the Queen’s vision for the realm. Her hand are dirty as she leads side by side to her people. 

    In scary times, ask yourself what small doable actions can we take? How can you create flow between the tasks and the people, bearing in mind where they are at? Can you protect yourself and your people from challenging emotions, unhelpful distractions and overwhelm?

    Sorceress has a secret weapon for scary times. Her grounded nature and connection the potentiality of the Universe. She says yes to innovation and new approaches, untying the knots holding progress back. When you watch a leader connected to her Source, you can’t really see or observe her process – she just knows what comes next, sees where the hitch lies or spot the patterns. Almost like a kinda of magically wisdom. She is more faith-driven than evidence-driven – her “hunches” tend to prove to be right. Time seems to move differently around her.

    In scary times, ask yourself what you can do to increase your faith and connection to your Source? Can you listen to that whisper of inspiration, a-ha or wisdom? When could you trust your gut in ambiguous or fast moving times?

    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

    Leadership also requires masculine energy to thrive – you may need short specific orders or to leverage competitive natures. During scary times, especially emergencies a more masculine take on Warrioress’ JFDI nature or Queen’s preference for consultation can keep people safe. However, Mother’s nurturing, Lover’s compassion and their combined powers to meet others where they are and support them can also be a real boon.

    Whilst you may not be faced with the reality of the Ukraine, change happens to us all. It can be terrifying, triggering and tip us into the disempowering archetypes of Bitch, Martyr or Victim, my hypothesis is leveraging the Women’s Powertype will give you additional energy, effectiveness and a greater sense of resourcefulness and self-belief.

    Travel with an open heart and compassion this week, my friends – we are stronger together, when we lean in. 

    If you feel unsure of how to help, please check out Sara Price’s excellent advice on contacting your MP and if you have the ability, you could donate to the Red Cross’s humanitarian appeal

  • Increase your self-love

    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? 

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

    Yet, many of us at some point will have experienced times of low access to Lover. 

    Our trust gets broken. Values and boundaries crossed. Hearts broken. 

    The expectations or needs we have of family, friends or intimate partners can go unmet – sometimes deliberately, sometimes unknowingly. 

    The relationship we have with self-love and self-acceptance alters and distorts. We no longer care about our wellbeing, appearance or joy. Keeping people at arm’s length can become a pattern of safety seeking or we over give, martyring ourselves to try to find love and acceptance from others. Conversations, looks and gestures can reply in our heads as we try to find meaning to explain our emotions, thoughts and behaviours.

    Sound familiar?

    Self-love: black background with hands holding a glowing red heart light

    These challenges, negative experiences and meaning-making stories can hold us back from self-love, self-acceptance and self-belief. We do this to protect ourselves from hurt – rejection, judgement, abandonment, dependency, feeling overwhelming hopelessness or recalling old pains.

    Self-love gives us the ability to feel all the feels and experience all the nuances and colours of life. It gives us compassion for others and ourselves – to see and feel that perfection isn’t a reality, rather the ebb and flow of life needs empathy and care for us all to thrive without doubts.

    What would it be like to create greater self-love by exploring and resolving the memories, experiences and meanings of the past, shaping a future in which you feel more joy?

    Self-love: looking up throw a forest of trees, a hand is held up against the sky, holding a heart shape leaf

    If you’d like to become your own best lover and open life up to being bolder and more courageous in your relationships at home, at work and at play, I’d love to introduce you to how you can achieve deep healing in a few hours of work with me and shift to self-love and access to Lover.

  • Get connected with small doable steps

    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.

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

    What can we do to improve our connectedness?

    First connect with yourself. 

    Start with your Lover Powertype: shower yourself with self- care, love and compassion. Meet your needs as best you can: focus on the basics: hydration, eating fresh foods, sleep and movement plus any radical replenishers that work to boost your wellbeing.

    Then activate your Sorceress Powertype: practice daily connection: a mediation, a piece of breathwork, time out in nature, a beautiful piece of music or art. Use your morning pages and gratitude practice to be thankful for the good stuff and extend an invite to Source for “this please and more”. Do something creative – cook a new dish, sketch the view, or try something crafty – to express yourself.

    A dinner table with a feast spread out and diners toasting as they chink their glasses together

    Connecting with others could be a mixture of old and new people and active or passive experiences. 

    Be intentional with your existing relationships: plan time together, trip or visits away from home, beloved activities together – allow the anticipation to awaken your excitement and joy. 

    Try new options to find the people who lift you up. Eventbrite and meetup are good places to start as are professional networks or associations. Why not pick up an old hobby? A netball team? A choir? Volunteering with a local cause or community group you feel drawn to.

    Why not consider passive experiences? Times when you can be with others but not necessarily interact. Watch a show or film and laugh or cry with the audience. View an exhibition and note how others are drawn to the same piece as you. Hike a path or walk through a garden and smile at those you pass. Attend a public service. Notice how connected you feel with limited or no direct interaction.

    You may want to apply some logic by mapping out your connections in the key needs areas and spot those who lift you and help you feel seen and heard, those who dismiss, minimise or devalue you and where you have gaps. How is the balance across the areas you’d like to get connected? Too many or too few? Where do you want to invest more time and energy to maximise your sense of belonging.

    Again, apply your own scrutiny to the names that come up – it is ok to be grateful for friendships or acquaintances that have served their purpose and let them go. By valuing your own self-worth, you create the boundaries for the right people to come along and crete your support safety net and not just for the tough times, but also to celebrate and enjoy the good times with.

    Women seated in rows at a conference or networking event all facing away from the observer

    What one small doable step (or steps) can you take to create, reinforce or sustain your support safety net over the next week?

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

    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.

    three women smiling and walking towards you after suceeding in the meeting they just left

    I’ll never meet their expectations.

    I’m not good enough to do that.

    It will never happen for me.

    I’m not worthy of that.

    They’d never forgive me if…….

    None would consider me that way.

    So, what do our stories tell us about how we define what success is? Well, the stories above are pretty skinny – the former consultant in me wants to shout “where’s your evidence?”. “Eek you got me”.  That story is likely based on few data points. 

    Let me give you an example. A client I’m working with struggles to set career intentions. Why? A teacher once told her “You’ll come to nothing”. and it’s stuck with her. It is a story her Protector whispers in her ear when new roles or projects that are perfectly suited for her talents and strengths – just in case the risk of rejection, disappointment and yes, success might happen.

    She has other stories that tell her success is likely to cause further risks. It simply isn’t safe to try to become something.

    Yet, she is a well respected senior leader in a well known blue-chip company, with a supportive, diverse culture, she has a loving partnership and is a fabulous mom to a little one. Hmmm, perhaps there is another side of this story her Protector fails to take into account. She is someone and she has experienced successes.

    Working together, she was able to change the story she was telling herself, along with the protective belief and its associated feelings and actions. She’s chase down her ideal role within the company and launched a huge strategic programme which will significantly change the way her department functions. Her relationships with her partner and child are liberated as she’s doing them on her terms and as a side effect, her stress levels are down, as she’s sleeping more easily and enjoying looking after her wellbeing. You can see her radiating a new found self-confidence and faith in herself.

     

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

    I’m curious – do you have stories like this one and would you like to change how your Protector is  telling it?

    Grab yourself paper and pen. Select one aspect of your life that is important to you right now – eg career or work, intimate relationship, finances, wellbeing, learning or growth, friends, spiritual, fun, travel, volunteering, community, creative outlet.

    I want you to imagine that you are fully resourced, everything you need is available for you. For that aspect, define what great would look and feel like as well as what you’d be doing with ease and the outcomes you are getting. Try to be as specific as you can. What do you want deep down inside for yourself? (Top tip: if you get stuck on how it feels, why not look at an emotions wheel? Here’s one I shared previously.)

    You can repeat this for other aspects of your life.

    Now you have your definitions, do check in with the stories your Protector is telling you. Are they yours? Or did you hear them told in your family, workplace or community? Maybe they are memories of others’ experiences you witnessed and stored away.

    One final question: what other stories could be true? (If you need to find new evidence – why not experiment? It’s a brilliant way to challenge your library of stories.)

     

    Black multi-generational family gathered around kitchen island, celebrating with a feast and cake

    I’m excited to be launching a new standalone coaching session – it has 3 parts: a questionnaire, a 90-minute session and a 30-minute accountability call about 4-6 weeks later. These will specifically help you tackle your difficult stories and bust them – you’ll leave feeling liberated, confident and motivated to make change happen. 

    These sessions are based on the in-depth, research-backed training I’ve been doing with Sas Petherick, Master Coach and founder of the Self-Belief School – having been coached by her and my practice pod in exactly this, I can tell you the difference it has made to my stories is immense!

    If you know your stories block you from achieving your success, revealing your true authentic self or finding more joy and want to be one of the first, drop me a line at sarae@saraepratt.com

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

    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.

    Rows of loose leaf tea in jars, tea cups and a lady spooning tea

    What types of experiments can I try?

    1) Find a song that makes you feel the emotions you need to move forward. Play it to boost your mood and motivation.

    2) Change your environment – stand up, move to a different view, add flowers or a scented candle, beautify your space.

    3) Ask for suggestions from people, who have your back and get accountable for doing at least one of them.

    4) Book a workshop and try a new skill, like a craft, a language or a relaxing practice.

    5) Seek new gurus, experts and role models – do the things their research or experience say work.

    6) Write a list of small challenges to hone your ability.

    7) Play tourist in your own town or city: visit a museum or gallery, see a show or join a guided walk

    8) Be a tourist somewhere else.

    9) Draw, paint or sculpt someone or something to create your own mini exhibition (Pop it on your fridge or wall)

    10) Lock your tech and go phone, tablet and computer free. 

    Lady lying on her back with another lady administering reiki to her head

    11) Spread positivity – smile at strangers, share a compliment with a colleague, express thanks, offer a helping hand, brings doughnuts……

    12) Take a walk in nature: along a river or coast, around a farm or wildlife sanctuary, climb a hill or bathe in a lush green forest.

    13) Try a type of bodywork – reiki, osteopathy, breathwork, a different type of massage.

    14) Volunteer with a charity or local community group to do something for others.

    15) Say yes to invites, you might usually turn down.

    16) Explore meetup.com or Eventbrite and find an event to attend and meet new people.

    17) Create a bridging ritual to connect with Source – meditation, dance it out, pray, sing or journal.

    18) Ask to take on a new responsibility, at home at work or within a group.

    19) Dress in a new combination of your favourites: pair trousers with a dress, two contrasting colours, wear a long forgotten sentimental item or something you normally reserve for special occasions.

    20) Shake up your daily routine – switch your meals, when you exercise or add more self-care.

    Lady in a pottery studio, using a pottery wheel

    and of course, do anything that gives you a sense of what you desire to change: how do you want to feel, what do you want to think or do and what small experiment can give you an experience of them?

    Be playful and have fun. Take the learnings and keep experimenting. Check-in with yourself regularly – what happens to your previous cycle of thinking, feeling and doing? Keep experimenting and before you know it, a new cycle that serves you better is created. Your confidence and self-trust will have grown, and you will feel more joy every day.

    So tell me, what’s the first thing you are going to try?

  • 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.

    I want to share 3 ideas to help you make decisions when you feel uncertain.

    Stop the going round and round

    Picture this: you’re at the supermarket, looking at the shelves filled with things to go on toast: jams, marmalades, peanut butter, almond butter, marmite and vegemite, all kinds of honey, chocolate spreads, and on the choices go. What do you pick? Something familiar and certain but not aligned with your needs or something new, which you might not like yet provides you with extra goodness. You go round and round in your head – which one!?!?

    The fancy name for this is analysis paralysis, or to you and me, overthinking. We try to think of every possibility, concern, bump in the night that might occur given the right circumstances – however unlikely, improbable, or even untruthful.

    Of course, I’m not saying decide something without considering the reasonable impacts – absolutely mitigate any risks or potentially negative impacts but then just pick the best option. Spread it on your toast and there’s your feedback: if you like it, great and if not, move to your next best decision. By elimination, you’ll hit gold.

    Become an explorer

    Do you remember the advert where you were told to “suck it and see”? By reframing your decision into a series of adventurous experiments, you benefit in ways beyond creating certainty around your decision. You also build momentum and motivation as you progress through.

    Making experimentation part of your journey towards achieving your experiment can reduce the stress and worries about making the wrong decision. 

    Let’s say you’re enjoying your current role and know you’d like further promotions in the future and then an offer comes along before you’re ready.

    By adding in regular career adventures, you can better understand your potential future directions and work out whether the offers, companies and bosses who come your way are the ones you wish to work with. Perhaps you read up on trends or from gurus and influencers in your field. You could take a broad range of training courses to dip your toes in new skills and new arenas or maybe you can work shadow leaders you admire. 

    Each adventure adds new certainty to your career path, so when decisions are required, you can do so from a place of knowledge and experience.

    Involve others

    I’ve often talked about the value of your connections, both your formal and informal networks and communities. Who are your advisors, your listening ears, your wise women? 

    As part of my coaching and training, I use a tool called One of many Conscious Network Design – by actively looking at the pillars of our lives, we can identify who has a back in each area, as well as our sponsors, experts, mentors and practical supporters.

    Do an audit of your connections and the role they play in your decision-making area: let’s say you want to make a change to how you meet your physical needs you need to know:

    – who is an expert in nutrition, sleep, exercise? 

    – who can hold your hand to try new things or go new places?

    – who can provide help to free up your time or cheer you on? 

    – who will hold you accountable on the wobbly days?

    and so on. Expand your thinking: your network can also include people you haven’t met. I value Dr Rangan Chattergee‘s wellbeing books, as much as Fearne Cotton‘s podcast on it – I don’t personally or professionally know them (yet?!), but they form part of my network.

    There you have it 3 ways of how to make decisions when you feel uncertain. Have you set resolutions or intentions this year and how are you dealing with uncertainty? Which of my suggestions might you try?

  • 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 for 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.

    Joy being with people. My loved ones, my friends, the kids I get to mess about with, the clients I walk alongside, my peers, my neighbours, my community and those who I’ve not yet met. Joy being with them in ways that already deliver joy and also trying new ways. 

    I envisage cosy cottages, sea and river views, long walks, deep conversations and good food. I hear laughter and tears, singing and compassion. I feel my heart bursting with love and companionship. Pizza outings with my goddaughters and reading with another. Spa time with my sister and book launches with a university mate. Retreats with clients at beautiful venues where real transformation takes place and thriving memberships of my group coaching and The Coaches Club. More opportunities to collaborate with wonderful people, I admire.

    Joy of pushing my limits. Each month, I intend to go out and do something new – a thought provoking exhibition, a pottery class, a solo trip away – and to set myself new challenges like a long distance trek for charity and putting myself out there more as we hopefully overcome some of the recent restrictions and concerns. I’m going to connect with people “IRL” at events such as the How to Academy, Enterprise Nation and One of many and by joining new clubs and groups. I want to be brave and be the person that says “Hi I’m Sarae, we haven’t met yet. Who are you?”

    Joy of connecting with the world. I want to see forests and beaches, to swim in oceans and in lakes and to taste fruits and dishes from far off places. I want to lie in the grass and watch clouds float by and dance in rainstorms. I want to let go of what holds me back as I observe the full moons and connect to Source, knowing I’m held safe. Safe to be and do without knowing all the answers, the whats and the hows. 

    I want the joy of my body and appearance. Over the last 3 or so years, it’s changed a lot and I’ve learnt to go with it, rather than battle the changes. Now I want to find joy in my body’s brilliance, my laughter lines’ memories and invest in caring for my insides and outsides more. I want to enjoy time in self-care, movement and acceptance of who I am becoming.

    And I will find joy in releasing old burdens, fears and memories. That pollute my choices, erode my mood and reawaken challenging emotions. Joy in letting go of things that no longer serve me by decluttering my home, my life admin and my work systems, saying no instead of a polite yes and being clearing about my needs as a priority.

    For the new year ahead, I am saying YES to joy in every way and I can’t wait to begin.

    What are you going to be saying YES to?

  • Dream, create and plan your new year

    The horizon with the new year on it is tantalisingly near. Just a few weeks away after the festivities and all they bring. Then beyond are the hopes, expectations and perhaps also some doubts about what the new year holds.

    For me, I’m enjoying wrapping up this year and dreaming about what could be on and beyond that first horizon. I’m preparing to start next year strong and this week, I hope to inspire you to consider how you want to approach your new year.

    You’ve heard me say it before – start by replenishment first. I’m planning extra early nights, long walks by the river, extra greens and fluids (not including bubbles or Baileys!). I’m dancing and singing my way through Christmas tunes (This playlist is my current wintery favourite) with my gals, the five One of many Women’s Powertypes. I’ve got time with loved friends and family planned in, as well as time just for me on my own.

    Next, I’ve created a wall of flip chart papers. I’m trusting in Source to help me add, build and create what could be in my new year – for work, for fun, for love, for my continued growth, for the causes I care about and so on. Every time a possibility, idea, or carryover from this year (and last if I’m honest) I make a note on the left hand side. At this point, I leave any critiquing or validating out until I’m all poured out. You might not need a whole wall – a life of being a trainer and writing on flip charts means my handwriting is pretty large and a tad messy – you might find a couple of A4 sheets or a favourite notebook works for you. You might like to write, draw or use images from magazines or photos from your phone – you do you ☺️

    I have two half days booked to explore, refine and plan from that wall of potential pieces of my new year. I stock up with my favourite tea, wrap up in my cosiest comfy clothes and select a soundtrack. Again, you may need less time or prefer to do it on one “sitting” and do it in your favourite coffee shop or  coworking space (I like the window seats at the top of the Royal Festival Hall or the cafe in Tate Britain or Tate Modern)

    The first half day is feeling into what could be – read through it all and tuning into what emotion comes up. Fear? Excitement? Uncomfortable? Itching to dig in? Anger? Committed? Understanding how each item makes me feel helps me judge it’s importance and value to me – I know the best intentions needs to include some stretch, as well as some easy wins for me to grow. That said some journaling or a belief challenge and release can be helpful (I teach these tools as part of my coaching programmes if you’re curious)

    Anything that hits my mark gets a circle around it to “prioritise” it for the next step.

    Then I bring my Queen’s clarity, structuring and discernment to bear. I prioritise again – this time for work, for life, for me. The questions I use is “will this bring me joy?” and “how is this aligned with my authentic self’s desires and needs?” My top 3 priorities for each area answer those two questions completely and without hesitation.

    The second half day brings up the Warrioress’ playful planning, tempered with a helping hand from Mother and Lover to ensure I put me at the centre of my choices and plans without risking overwhelm, stress and burnout. I sketch out a rough flow by month, adding anything that is time-specific first – such as a birthday trip or an exhibition I want to visit. Some prioritises may need chunking up into manageable chunks or detailed considerations to work out the “how” of the “what”.

    I also include regular review time where I can sit back and focus on how I’m travelling on, what is working well, what I need to adapt or ditch based on new, more current insights and “is this bringing me joy?” 

    Lover’s mindset helps me to consider who I want and need to support me – my coach, my peers, my friends and so on. If I can’t put a name to it, I add the “job title” or purpose of that person. She also sprinkles regular self-care practices that go beyond my usual day to day practices and habits. For me , that include my annual mammogram, osteopath appointments and time outside on water (show my the way to the paddleboard!!)

    Mother brings her sense of nurturing and nourishment to the plan, by adding any learning, reading or personal growth I need to enable me to complete my priorities without sacrifice or exhaustion. I’m pretty good at overestimating how much I can tackle – thank you corporate career for that false belief!

    For the coming year, I’m keeping my habit of using my Passion Planner‘s structuring of months and weeks to me on track and intentional. I highly recommend them – if you fancy trying it out, you can download free pdf versions to play with. Oddly, most notes and writing I do on my iPad apart from my Passion Planner, which I prefer in paper form – each purchase also makes a donation to an essential charity, making joy from value of purposeful spending.

    This is my process – keep what works for you and flex what doesn’t. Do also explore other people’s process – ask your friends, mentors or colleagues what the do and take what appeals to you.

    Let me recap the whole thing as simply as I can: Dream all of the what could be things for your 2022 with Sorceress. Bring Queen’s serene decision making to consider and prioritise and then Warrioress’ “make it happen with fun” vibes to your year’s flow. Lover and Mother offer the people, supports and additions to enable you to achieve your intentions with compassion and joy.

    If you’re curious about how you can leverage the Powertypes to create your plans for the new year, why not buy a discounted Powertypes assessment, personalised report and 90 minute debrief with me with the END21STRONG code – you get 21% off the usual price! I’m always amazing at the lightbulb moments these bring in such a short time and how much clarity and direction clients find in them.

  • Authentic presence and presents

    Thanksgiving just behind us and with the countdown to Christmas getting shorter and shorter, your attention might have gone towards gifting and celebrations. 

    We want to bring our authentic presence to all aspects of our lives and in the holiday season. With it, we can be in the moment and fully experience what’s going on around us in every way, but can we bring our authentic selves?

    Authentic presence is a combination of feeling, doing and being your true self. Others will see, hear and feel your presence – the human brain is tuned to detect authenticity through congruence in our words, our actions and our body language. It’s why children can spot a liar a mile off. It’s why our skin crawls when we sense someone isn’t quite ok to be around. It’s why we worry about being  our true authentic selves and how others will react.

    Having authentic presence means showing up as you, honouring your values and needs, setting your boundaries clearly and making decisions aligned with who you want to be.

    It also requires you to honour the values and needs of others, respect your boundaries and decisions, and meet them where they are on their journey.

    The holiday season can throw up some challenging moments. Family meals and visits. Company or team social events. Gift buying and giving. Here are some tips on maintaining true to yourself:

    1) Tap into your Sorceress Powertype and envisage yourself, showing up as you want to using all of your senses. What are you doing? Who are you doing it with? What words are you using? How does your voice sound? What are you feeling emotionally and physically?  The more specific you can make this, the better it will enable you to achieve your desired outcomes.

    2) Avoid surprises – check the guest list, understand the outline of events and know your options in advance. “Forewarned is forearmed” – you create your personal tactical advantage by doing your preparation.

    3) Get clear on what is fixed for you and where you might choose to flexible. Perhaps someone who is toxic might get temporary membership to your Hearth for the good of wider family well-being. Fix how you wish to be around this person and how you will mitigate their impact on you.

    Or it might be around sticking to routines and practices that support your authentic life, such as eating and sleeping habits, or things and activities that don’t bring you joy.

    4) Practice saying no and setting boundaries from Queen. Rehearse conversations with a trusted friend: prepare your words and practice fully embodying Queen. 

    5) Make space for you – plan your replenishment, your self-connection time and your………whatever it is that gets you to ok, connected to your joy.

    6) Stretch your joy spotting muscles and up gratitude routines. Being intentionally aware of the small things like a corny cracker joke or a heartfelt greeting in a card to the bigger things like making snow angels with your family or friends. Pause to absorb the moments, the emotions and the physical sensations. Remember to complete your gratitude routine with thanks and asking for more.

    7) Bring your authenticity to your presents – nope that isn’t a typo. Shopping with authentic presence can mean making different choices. Choices that match who you truly are and gifting things that create joy for you and the recipient. Maybe it’s supporting small, local businesses or opting for things that are more environmentally friendly. Maybe rather than things, you pick out experiences to share or donations to charities. Maybe it’s giving the gift of knowledge through books, lectures and courses.

    8) Being authentic also means exercising self-compassion and self-acceptance. You might allow yourself to out on a mask hiding your true self away, bend to someone else’s expectations or let a boundary be crossed. Be kind to yourself, give yourself time to process and recognise what you can learn from.

    Having authentic presence for me this last few months has been putting my coaching skills onto paper and publishing the Feel more joy journal – a self-directed exploration based on my coaching process. Perhaps it’s the authentic gift to give yourself, a sibling or a colleague?

    It’s available in print and for those conserving trees, in digital format for tablets all for under a tenner! 

    And until 31st December, I’m offering a perfect part to it in the form of a Powertype package at 21% discount – yep for less than £120 you or the recipient get a One of many Powertype assessment, personalise report and a 90 minute debrief. It’s a great way to end your year strong and begin the new year with clarity and confidence. Use code ENDD21STRONG to get your discount.

    You can buy the journal and book your package here.

    Happy Holidays!