Joy

  • Authenticity is thriving not surviving

    The path to authenticity is one with twists and turns. At times, we shed a layer from our holding back or gain a new level of understanding. At other times, we shrug a layer back on or find a new reason to stop being as authentic as we can be.

    When I was asked “why are you doing all the boys’ subjects?” at school, I held my head high and marched on into the labs and workshops. I’ll show you just what I can do and I did. 

    I did it by striving to survive. Pushing hard. Extra hours. Tons of study. I embraced Superwoman pretty early.

    Was I authentic? To some extent, I was showing up as some of myself. I owned my talents and I stood my ground. I felt the weight of others expectations and with youthful pride, fought on.

    It took me several years to discover how to thrive would be for me.

    Woman at art gallery, mindfully looking at a portrait of an older women in historical dress

    Surviving became a habit. At university. At work. At home. 

    To prove myself as capable, as credible, as acceptable. I just had to work hard to be recognised as a valuable friend, colleague and member of my family. I clocked up qualifications, promotions, job titles, passport stamps and experiences that I thought matched who I was, what I stood for and what others would recognise and like me for.

    Yet I didn’t feel much joy. Happy? For sure but I craved an easier path. I craved doing things that brought me alive. I craved saying no to things that weren’t aligned with what I felt and believed.

    It took serious major surgery for me to say “Enough is enough”. I needed to change things. I needed to find the courage to hold my own as me. I needed to find where self-trust and bravery could work for me. 

    Woman on paddleboard, on greeny blue sea

    I began to find people who would be ok with me being a more true version of me and also to do things where I could push my comfort zone a little to build self-confidence. I started saying no a bit more often and used my playdates to explore the edges of my courage.

    I embarked on reigniting my self-confidence in my strengths, whilst accepting how I was different to the idealised version of who I was supposed to be in the eyes of others. It felt like putting on new glasses and really looking at my own reflection and smiling back at the person I am and can be.

    Redefining my values in my personal life, my career, and my relationships helped me filter my experiences, my behaviours and choices, and those of others. I gained a feeling of profound clarity. Now was a time for new choices. Somethings had to go.

    I invested my time, money and energy differently. I changed my work and switched my grocery shopping patterns for more zero waste and environmentally safe products.

    I choose to do new things like adventure holidays learning to paddleboard and kayak, indulging in art exhibitions and theatre visits. I spent more time outside in nature. I meet new people who like and value this me. 

    Then it hit me.

    My true friends and colleagues had seen elements of the true authentic me all along and they like her. The hardwork and striving to survive had diminished. I was feeling more joy.

    I was thriving and being more authentic more of the time. I was ok. Nothing bad had happened and whilst the path still has twists and turns, my faith in me means I know this is the right path to follow. I keep walking the path and doing the self-work as I peel another layer off.

    Finding your path and the courage to walk it can begin in surviving and striving. With support, you can thrive too.

  • Connecting with the seasons

    Autumn is upon us – clocks will soon be falling back, leaves turning shades of rich reds and rusty oranges, conkers on the path and darker mornings and evenings creeping in around the day. It feels like the energy around us is slowing down, starting to harvest or shed what we’ve had and move towards a quieter period of reflection, planning and renewal.

    The seasons ebb and flow around us, year in year out.  They lead us through their annual cycle around the year. Each offers different opportunities to connect with our own energy, efforts and bodies and also with our Powertypes.

    Let’s start with Autumn and it’s connection to Queen.

    Queen’s ability to recognise and learn from what came before, whilst envisioning the new horizon of us, connects to the autumnal cycle of nature, as leaves fall and our landscape changes.

    Things to do: Journal with gratitude on the things that have served you well, the successes that came you way and the times where your authentic self was valued and treasured. What gives you a sense of greater clarity and consistency for your purpose? 

    Then get your diary or calendar out: what do you need to organise or structure in the year ahead to achieve your desired milestones and intentions, whilst meeting your needs?

    Winter turns colder, the ground hardens as roots dig in and replenish with quiet stillness and calm. Days become their shortest and we long for warming foods and gentle rest.

    Things to do: prioritise self connection and connection with Source alongside being really present to the fun of the festive season and New Year. Meditate to forgive, forget and release any emotions, experiences or energies. Turn into your ultimate vision with Sorceress – draw upon her support from heavens above and earth below, use her creativity to generate ideas, develop hunches and craft your year ahead.

    Surrender to Her wisdom to slow down and revitalise your soul, your head and your body. Snuggle up with a book, indulge in a massage, sing festive tunes with others. Nourish and rest in readiness for Spring.

    The tiny shoots of green start to peek out, bright flowers emerging from bulbs deep underground, birds back out and about overhead. Hmmm, I love Spring and its sense of newness. So does Warrioress with her zest and vitality. 

    Things to do: move, get out and use that Warrioress’ energy to plan, start and deliver new projects and initiatives. It’s also the right time to connect with others and create support for you and your intentions.

    It’s a great time to start new habits – like healthier eating or exercise classes, or learning a new language or building a new skill. Use your soft play dates to try new things and meet new people.

    Early summer invites us to beautify our surroundings and connect with our romantic sides, as the baby birds, lambs and wildlife appear in our parks, ponds and countryside.  

    Things to do: Leverage the charismatic Lover energy in the air: find your new mentor, woo your stakeholders at work and shower praise and compliments on your kids, teammates and friends.

    Warmer evenings are made for walks in the evening, admiring works of art and investing in our intimate relationships, as well as investing in romancing ourselves, our brilliance and our talents through luxurious baths, massage and dance.

    Late summer welcomes in the Mother energy as the fruits of our labours ripen on the vine and we come together in celebration.

    Things to do: bring Mother’s unconditional love and acceptance to those who need it – as well as to yourself as you continue to tend your commitments and intentions. 

    Arrange moments to connect profoundly with others; family, friends, work colleagues. Team building, picnics, celebrations and training sessions allow your whole self to be seen and for you to see others as their true selves.

    This annual cycle mirrors our feminine month cycles and support the personal effectiveness and productivity tools I use myself and teach clients. By tracking your monthly cycle (by bleeds or by the moon) can help you spot each Powertype’s dominant time and arrange your diary and priorities to match your best energies. 

    Take this article into your week and add your autumnal Queen activities into your plans. Why not schedule time for each season’s things to do to maximise your connection with them and their Powertype?

  • Connecting with purpose

    How are you travelling at the minute? I’m hoping you’re enjoying the transition from summer to autumn – for me, it’s about putting on jumpers, orange and red leaves on my walks and big mugs of hot drinks to snuggle up to. It is also a time for more decluttering, sort of like a spring clean but 6 months later. I’ve attacked my cupboards, wardrobes and filing – shredding, recycling and my local charity shop are all doing well out of it.

    I’m also digging into my purpose and how I can achieve it with as much spaciousness, ease and joy as I can. Perhaps you’re also looking to shed some old leaves beautifully so you can be connecting with purpose looking ahead too?

    What do we mean by “purpose”?

    The VIA Institute on Character links purpose to the strengths of spirituality – saying specifically:

    Spirituality has many dimensions. Some of these include meaning, purpose, life calling, beliefs about the universe, the expression of virtue/goodness, and practices that connect with the transcendent.

    They also link it to an appreciation of beauty, gratitude, honour, hope and humour. 

    I quite agree – there is a sense of unfolding beauty in our intentional efforts and impact on the world, our families and our work. Holding them in that light, with hope, a giggle and practising gratitude for the results we see, the support we receive and our abilities to grow and use our abilities for our calling, vocation, purpose feels like a wonderful place to be.

    Why is having purpose important?

    Simply put it gives you greater meaning in life – greater than yourself. It gives us courage and drive, as well as creating a means to experience more self-acceptance, self-trust and confidence as we see our purpose take shape, find meaning with others and become nearer to our reality.

    People with purpose tend to have better well-being; both physically and mentally. They have lower numbers of issues with chronic issues, obesity and premature morbidity. In addition, they are likely to score higher in life satisfaction with lower rates of depression, anxiety and sleeping disorders. Having a clear purpose can also mean a developed emotional intelligence, especially around self-awareness and self-management – which is a fancy way of saying more “even keel” approach under stress or pressure with positive levels of resilience.

    Still not convinced?

    Sometimes even the phrase “connecting with purpose” is enough to trigger us. We tell ourselves it needs to be enormous, earth shattering or impressive to others. We tell ourselves we couldn’t possibly be the “that” person. We tell ourselves we’re not enough to be a force for good in the world. We tell ourselves we have too busy. We tell ourselves no one would help or nurture us along the way. We tell ourselves it’s simply too hard.

    Yet once you alight on an inkling of what your purpose might be, it itches at us.

    How do I do this “connecting with purpose” then?

    Finding meaning or purpose can take many forms. We might have multiple related forms or directions it takes. For example, my purpose to create a world where every woman realises the joy of living, working and loving as her whole self, without the fear of rejection or judgement is a golden thread carrying through a number of different paths.

    Obviously my work – I coach and train women (and some men) around their sense of self and what they wish to do or be bringing the brilliance of their whole self to the front. But also with my many goddaughters, I want them to grow up knowing to their very core that they can thrive and find happiness for who they really are. I bring that principle to my friends – I love, adore and treasure them for all their wonderful selves – with all the quirks, twists and scars that make them amazing.

    I bring it to my own personal growth and self-connection: how can I approach life realising joy, just for being me with utter authenticity. (Note this weekend, it involved clearing out my undies drawer of pants I wore for others and not for me. No more….be gone!)

    More practically, go looking at what brings your joy, when you light up in a situation or group, where you feel so in flow you skip time and for who would you give your time and energy for free to make a difference. Leverage Sorceress’ universal wisdom and playfully explore the wisdom of others through books, podcasts, talks or events. 

    And why not talk through what has meaning for you with someone who can accelerate your thinking and quash any of those “we tell ourselves” beliefs and blocks.  Someone like me in fact – I’m part of the WLA’s Coachathon 2021, raising money for the Microloan Foundation and support entrepreneurial women in Africa. You have a 45 minute coaching session and feel connected to a bigger purpose for a donation – interested? Go here, select Europe, UK and AFrica. You can then find me under Confidence Coaches.

  • Creating connections

    As we work towards lives, work and loves that are aligned and allow us to be our whole selves, we need to reflect upon our connections – the people around us who add to and support our best endeavours, those who advise and counsel us and those who deter and doubt us.

    One of our strongest desires is to belong, to be accepted and wanted. It is an inbuilt motivator and one that can drive wonderful friendships, relationships and partnerships. But it can also be a driver to conform, sacrifice and deny our true selves, as well as harmful comparisons.

    Belonging benefits our mental and physical wellbeing – did you know our immune system is buoyed by a strong sense of belonging? It also enables us to feel part of something bigger than ourselves or our singular efforts.

    How do we create our support network whilst avoiding the potential downside?

    Support comes in many forms. For some, our extended families can be a wonderful platform of love, acceptance and nurture. For others, not so much. Our friends and colleagues are also potential supporters.  

    It can come from experts, gurus and professionals. Or from spiritual leaders or community groups.

    Similarly, the type of support we need varies by what we are facing, how confident or comfortable we feel and the circumstances we find ourselves in. A smile in the moment, sharing a practical technique or some deeper teaching can all be valuable when given freely without judgement or expectation and from a place of expansion and growth.

    Define what you seek

    There are three areas to this: the outcomes you wish to achieve, what support you both have and need and how to fill the gaps. 

    Looking to the first: how would you like to feel more joy in your life, work and love? 

    Recognising where you wear a mask to hide the real you or when you shrink your true self to conform and fit in can be painful, however, it will shed light on areas where the work lies ahead. It can help you understand with clarity in what ways you can take action to bring out the authentic you in all aspects of your life. 

    Perhaps you need to transition your career from one employer to another or become self-employed? Maybe your focus is to improve your self-acceptance and confidence? Or it could be about leveraging your energy to create and hold boundaries that better serve you.

     

    Then consider the support you have already. Who enables you to feel courageous? Who celebrates your successes with joy or commiserates without allowing you to lurk in pity parties? Who feeds you energy and needs? Who’s wisdom creates new thinking and ideas for you to pursue? Who just “gets” you without exchanging a word? Who allows you to be fully expressed?

    Women tend to hang back from asking for help, especially when we feel exposed, vulnerable or any challenging emotions like shame, guilt or fear. In what ways could these people, who are already supportive, provide additional or different support as you remove your mask and stop hiding your true self? 

    Next what is missing from your support network? Is it an expertise or something less formal? And don’t forget you are also your own supporter!

    A mentor might help you avoid their mistakes and a subject expert might suggest books or courses. A friend might provide dinner when you’re under pressure and a bodyworker the skills to release your tensions and stresses.

    In terms of mindset shifts, a coach, counsellor or spiritual guide may expand your thinking, shift any outdated beliefs or limitations and enable you to create new foundations of self-forgiveness, compassion, self-acceptance and self-trust – as well as new behaviours that align to your value and needs. 

    Closing the gaps might require research, asking for referrals, attending events or meet-ups. Your social media accounts might be sources of great people – a question asked, a resource tip or by directly reaching out – and you can also use them to find places of expertise like professional association, specialist groups and gurus’ own pages or sites.

    You might also find your people at local classes, coworking spaces and community opportunities like volunteering. Our kin are also the people we choose, as well as the people we’re born to.

     

    Lastly, don’t underestimate your own brilliance and resourcefulness. Practice your self-connection habits: morning journaling, gratitude practices and solo soft play dates to access Source and the insights, bravery and grounding it can bring you. Your need meeting habits and self-care practices also firm up the foundation for growth and your energy to take action.

    Tell me, how can you expand your support network and enable yourself to experience more joy in your authentic life, work and love?

  • Making change stick

    I’m fascinated by ferns. I think it’s my inner child. She loves the unfurling of the fronds, their clever symmetry and their resilience. Yet no two ferns are the same. They follow fractal patterns – a form of Nature’s magic. Each part relates to another in perfect alignment and they make the best of their situation, finding the light through the forest canopy.

    Why am I bringing them up in this article? Making change stick is a bit like finding your own fern-like qualities. 

    Any change journey is like a fern sending out a new arm. Gently, inquisitively, carefully into new spaces. They react to the cycles of light and dark, the weather and what their roots are telling them. But out they go into the world.

    As you solidify your own future, you will test each expansion into a new space. Gently, inquisitively, carefully. You react to your cycles – menstrual, weekly and daily – and adapt to meet their various needs. You listen to what your body tells you; if you’re on track, if you need replenishment if you are aligned.

    By doing so you start to embody and embed new habits and intentions that will allow you to create and feel more joy.

    Ferns are beautifully resilient. They withstand temperature changes, shortages of water or sunshine. Being nibbled at by passing wildlife. Or being cut back by gardeners.

    To sustain your changes, you need resilience. The world will move at it’s own pace. Perhaps your ideal role pops up sooner than you expected, your team’s response to your new approach at work isn’t what you expected or your nearest and dearest need to recognise your joy in being the unmasked you.

    And what about naysayers? Here are four tactics for resilience in the face of worry warts:

    1) Repeat a mini mantra and breathe

    Focus your mind on “positive intent, terrible delivery” and breathe slowly and deeply. That removes the “sting” of what was said and allows you to let go of the emotion.

    2) Recognise their emotional “hook” and your own

    We all have them. Maybe they’re speaking from regret at not following their dream or have been badly burnt doing something similar? Maybe your hook feels like they don’t have your back or they think you’re an idiot? Once you can recognise both of your hooks, you’ve got a chance to explore their point of view.

    3) Listen hard and thank them for sharing with you

    Don’t dismiss too early; you could be missing something. Listen, thank them and then engage all your curiosity. Check anything you’re not 100% sure you’ve understood through open questions, to encourage them to say more about their point of view. By asking questions, you hold back your reaction or opinion and allow them to clarify or evidence their point of view.

    4) Ask them for their help and support

    One of the most effective ways to turn a naysayer into a cheerleader is to ask for their help in your change. Giving them space to share their worries, their experiences and their advice. Recognise their mentorship and allow them to feel good about contributing your journey.

    That said, be in your Queen – they are one of your advisors, providing data, insight and wisdom. You make the decisions with all the information at hand. 

     

    The fractal pattern each fern grows is similar but unique to its community of ferns. It defines itself and sticks to its intentions to be itself from core to tip. It is unashamed of its quirks and kinks. 

    You are connected to your peers, your family, your friends, your role models, mentors, advisors, influencers and the list goes on. You are connected around common alignments such as a cause or belief, a goal or intention, or around shared values and commitments.

    Yet, you are still unique. No one else is you and that’s your superpower, to use for good.

    Finding the core strength to reveal your whole self without fear of judgement or rejection can wobble as you start to branch out and feel into the reactions, opportunities and newness of your journey. 

    Take inspiration from the fern’s graceful and serene fronds – they start true to themselves with small fingers that unfurl into smaller fingers that unfurl into smaller…….and as they do this, you almost don’t see the base grow wider and stronger creating a foundation of strength.

    The same is true for you. Keep taking small steps that establish your authentic, aligned life – in your home, within your job or business and within your relationships. Before you know it, you will have a strong base of courage, resilience and new motivation to continue.

    All of us are on change journeys. I was reminded of this myself over the weekend as I shared some of my tactics, tools and experiences with a friend. I’ve come a long way from the me, who thought love and acceptance came from saying yes to others and ignoring my needs in life. The me, who lived between Mother and Warrioress, with an big dose of Martyr every day. The me who ended up having a fast growing tumour thanks to the stress I’d piled on.

    I keep going knowing I am a healthier, boundaried and balanced person, who channels her values into her personal and professional life without fear. Those who matter are still with me, as are new people who love and value me as I am truly meant to be.

    And I work with brilliant people who want their life to enable them to experience joy by being and doing their whole authentic self in all aspects of their lives, work and love. Is that you?

    Take time end as we approach the end of September and reflect on these four articles on change:

    • – Where are you at?
    • – Who has your back?
    • – What support do you need?

    The Haven is always a place for you to get support, inspiration and celebrate your wins. There’s a warm welcome there for you.

  • Getting unstuck during periods of change

    Your nudge, grudge or fudge comes along. You get really clear and specific on what your vision is, what the future holds and why that outcome holds importance to you. You get started then……..

    You need to make a decision and…… nothing. Nada. Nichts. 

    Life is full of decisions. Time of change and transformation are really full of decisions. Some are easy to answer. Others require a bit more investigation and thinking.

    But some…… well, they get you stuck. Going round in loops, seeking out an encyclopaedia of information, gathering opinions, creating stacks of analysis from every angle possible or potentially, you might choose to avoid the decision, ignoring it or pretending it doesn’t need to be made.

    The good news is all of those things are normal human reactions. Phew. The bad news is that there is no single, failsafe “magic wand” fix all I can give you. However, I do have some ideas on getting unstuck during change.

    Check your responsibility

    Ask yourself honestly “Is this a decision I have to make?” If that’s a no, then you’re carrying someone else’s monkey. Let it go.

    By caring for others, we can absorb their emotions, good and bad around the transformations we want. It’s a wonderful, kind, generous use of your energy – but does it really impact or influence how your change journey continues? Might it also take you off course, back into wearing your mask of inauthenticity, limited by external expectations of you? 

    You can also use your Women’s Powertypes to focus your decision making: Create a quiet, calm moment to close your eyes and travel within. Bring your mind to 5 years time and imagine how life, work and love will be, channelling your Sorceress’ connection to wisdom, magic and innovation – What’s changed? What are you doing? Who is supporting you? How are your values and needs met? What are you feeling being in alignment?

    Next, travel back to 3 years out from today and embody your Queen. Picture your vision – how are you serving the world around you? At work, at home, in your community or wider. What are you doing? Who is with you? What results are you witnessing?

    Then step closer with Warrioress – 12 months time, 8 months time, 4 months time: what are you doing to deliver your vision and the future you aspire to?

    Open your mind

    You may have heard of “analysis paralysis” – the whirlwind circling of being driven to collect facts, details and evidence and then review it from every conceivable angle, yet not quite getting to a conclusion – rather finding more avenues to travel down first.

    Finding the right amount of insight prior to making a decision is tricky. For example, you may be confident to move ahead based on a gut or heart reaction. Or you may feel the need to do more in-depth research. This will depend on how significant the decision is. Deciding to have an extra helping of dessert may be a positive emotional reward for a milestone achievement so gut happiness alone works. What if it could be breaking of a new healthy eating habit? Then combining the emotional and rational together could help make a more long-term decision.

    My suggestion would be to take any exit of the “roundabout” and trust your inner satnav to tell you if you’ve taken the right one. If you haven’t, you’ll get feedback – a feeling in your gut, a tight neck or a dream. Trust Source to have your back. If you’ve gone wrong, learn from it, come back and apply that learning to the decision and take an exit that now feels right.

    Get accountable

    If you don’t have a firm deadline to decide by, create one. Mark it in your diary. Post it on the fridge door. Adding certainty to the decision point enhances your brain’s comfort levels and helps to prevent decision avoidance. Leaving it open-ended encourages more turning in circles, avoidance of making the decision and typically, greater stress levels!

    Hello, overwhelm and fatigue!

    Accountability can come in many forms: a coach, a group of people with similar challenges or plans**, apps you can download like Todoist, Trello or Habitica, coworking spaces and meet-ups, like support groups or communities (like Weight Watcher weigh-ins). Find one that works for you – do you need a gentle nudge or a firm hand? Do you need an expert or mentor who’s travelled your path? Do you need organising and scheduling?

    ** PS have you been over to the Haven yet? Nope? It’s full of women making changes in their life, work and love to bring their whole authentic self out? RSVP here to join.

    Sometimes, you need to try something out of your norm to get new, fresh results. Edward de Bono (yes him of the 6 hats fame) talks about stepping outside your rivers of thinking. Picture a mountain with several routes for water to flow down it – the water is going to take the easiest option and soon a wide valley is created. But around the edges are little streams, creeks and brooks – the route less travelled. Add a dam and the water seeks new or alternative routes.

    Your brain is just the same – gazillions of neural pathways exist and the ones most regularly travelled become wider and stronger, just like the river. By switching your inspiration method, tool or source, you create a new pathway and like any muscle, with use, it will grow stronger.

    So, please have a borrow from some of my favourites. For small ‘a-ha’s of inspiration, check out:

    pinterest or Instagram – for words or pictures of wisdom and why not create a board of the thing you’re seeking to achieve?

    brainpickings – a collection of great thinkers, presented in an easy to read visual format

    twitter – a short sharp blast of exciting things from people you admire, desire, idolise, add you own word here

    – flick through an old book or two – you know the ones you could hardly put down and reminisce

    – change your workspace – clear the clutter, sit in the bath, face the window or go somewhere else

    – go for a walk – whether to grab a coffee or juice or around the nearest park, take 30 minutes out and try to really take in the sights, sound and smells

    – dance it out – stop, put some music on and do your happy dance, best dad dance, birdy dance..….whatever comes to get your blood pumping in time with your songs.

    And now the big ones:

    – free writing in your journal – grab a favourite pen and a big piece of paper, then write. Anything. Pour it all out. No editing. Everything is valid. Let your mind wander until it strikes gold

    – ask a friend to teach you something they’re passionate about – knitting, a new recipe or a mediation technique. All good at stimulating new ideas from your subconscious.

    – write yourself a letter – explain what you’re trying to do and what you need to get going

    – create a perfect patchwork role model of future you (or future job, house, body, etc.) from your various heroes and heroines. Let me give you an example, you might want a fitness patchwork you based Jade Jones’ abs with Laura Trott’s post-race glow (how does she do it!?!) and Ellie Symonds’ joy of being in the pool or your new career path might be stitched together from the atmosphere at your favourite coffee bar, a crowd of likeminded people and your personal favourite bosses’ style.

    – seek others’ perspectives – develop a list of questions you need answering and interview people who are doing what you want (or similar), those who have a “stake” in your change (your best mate, your mentor or your bank manager) AND anyone who can add a totally different point of view (your nemesis job holder, your overseas pen pal or a potential customer)

    …….and breathe – you don’t need to do it all at once and the best-made plans need to flex and grow over time to deliver the most amazing results possible.

    Getting unstuck during change will be a skill you hone by leaning into your feelings, your intuition and using your body as a compass for what is right for you. Don’t get stuck alone – lean into your connections. We’re all here to support, inspire and empower you: reach out in the Haven or drop me a line any time.

     

  • Shift your approach to improve your relationships

    In all relationships, we are trying to balance our needs, hopes and desires with those of others.  Together, we can create a space to feel accepted, supported and safe, where we can be vulnerable, courageous and our whole authentic self.

    And sometimes, relationships can be challenging, draining or confusing. At worst, abusive and damaging.

    As the last part of this month’s archetypes theme, I want to share how shifting your approach by stepping into your Powertypes can improve your relationships – with an intimate partner, family or work colleagues or clients. And perhaps the most important relationship of all, with yourself.

    The biggest transformation I observe with clients who have hidden behind the “acceptable” mask, is when they bring the Powertypes to how they see and feel about themselves. By rediscovering who they are, their values and needs through the compassionate eyes of Lover, they have been able to forgive, let go and stop negative self-judgement. Those critical voices or soundtracks in their heads are often silenced as self-acceptance blooms.

    Lover also enables us to practise effective self-care and replenishment – the gateway to being fully vital and resourceful in all of our relationships. Together with Sorceress’s ability to connect with our inner wisdom and to the unseen (see last week’s article), Lover set us up for success in our relationships with others.

    She’s evocative, magnetic and delights in the senses – bringing her ability to give and receive pleasure with your lover or to your work colleagues by recognising their efforts and contributions.  

    Warrioress offers a playful, dynamic energy to relationships. Helpful in making dull or routine work tasks enjoyable, she can improve your team’s engagement and motivation. Her “let’s do this” mindset neatly leads teams to achieve goals, milestones and deadlines through her organisational skills and the sense of empowerment she creates for others. With friends and children, Warrioress can also bring her physicality to creating safe “rough and tumble” and introduce new fun activities.

    She’s also a protector, an ally and a fighter for her cause, passion and people. She walks her talk and seeks to ensure participation and engagement. In terms of improving your relationships, bring Warrioress’ protection and drive to what’s important about the relationship, what needs to happen in it and why that person/those people are important to you.

    Combined with Queen’s vision, you can create a sense of certainty and purpose in relationships. 

    The Queen Powertype can feel like she only belongs in the workplace – setting the vision and mission for the department or team, making decisions with inputs and counsel from advisors and building opportunities to serve. Yet, she has a place in your personal relationships.

    Her strength in knowing what she must do to serve her family and friends includes meeting her needs without guilt and setting boundaries in behaviours and around her values. Imagine managing bedtimes or resolving family conflicts from Queen. She seeks inputs with an intention for fairness.

    This inclusivity and justice brings loyalty and a desire to provide for her – allowing you to ask for help without guilt or shame.

     

    Let’s turn to the Mother Powertype. The natural relationship for her is with children – her own or other children. Her unconditional acceptance and love for everyone creates a warm, safe space to be in. At work, she’s a patient teacher, nurturing skills and behaviours that benefit the teams.

    A place in her hearth, at her table or in her team makes us feel a solace, a safety and well, a sense of coming home to where we belong. During times of change, you can improve your relationships by inspiring others to try something new, be brave and honouring every individual contribution to the whole – valuable with children or teammates but also with partners who are switching roles or experiencing challenging times. 

    As your access to the Powertypes increases, your ability to transition between them will become more natural and authentic. 

    In your relationship with yourself, Sorceress and Lover create your foundation of energy, self-compassion and faith, whilst Mother brings out the best in you with gentle encouragement.

    In your intimate relationships, Lover provides a feminine sensuality and generosity of shared pleasure. Warrioress is the fiercest wing-woman to a partner experiencing a tough time – she has their back and knows how to support action. 

    With colleagues or customers, Queen establishes working practices and norms within shared values, whilst bringing people together behind a vision of the future, which Warrioress can deliver upon with her “go get ’em” style and raw energy.

    In same ways this article only scratches the surface of how the Women’s Powertypes can improve your relationships. I could write a book and still not be finished.

    Looking back at the other pieces of this month, I’d encourage you to reflect on your key relationships and identify:

    • – where you would like a new dynamic?
    • – when do you want to feel more empowered to be your whole self? 
    • – how do you want them to show up for you?
    • – which Powertype(s) can you leverage to improve your relationship?

    Do you know what your current access to the Powertypes? If not, why not consider taking the assessment and arranging a debrief with me to explore how you could enhance your familiarity with them?

  • Live your life with faith & connected wisdom

    When we feel like we’ve nothing but grit and determination to see us through, life, work and love can feel like tough going. There’s no magic, no unseen help or belief to support us. 

    Sound familiar? I certainly felt this way at times in my life, where I was trying so so hard to be accepted, valued and acknowledged for my talents and not just the quantity of things I could juggle or plough through. It was lonely. I felt abandoned. I was just the unpaid, unwanted housekeeper at home or the dog’s body at work pushing things across the line.

    I liked the idea of spirituality and perhaps was even considered by others as a bit “woo woo” through my Pilates and breathwork practices. When I started exploring the One of many® Women’s Powertypes™, connection to my Source and my access to Sorceress were both pretty low. I’d simply become so reliant on pushing through in Superwoman, I had no energy to bring to myself or to a higher connection.

    Over the last 5 years, I’ve lent into the Powertypes, releasing Superwoman and her three friends (see last week’s post to meet them). Sorceress is now my ready access Powertype and I enjoy her every single day.

    Take a look at the image below: what do you notice?

    For me, the image shows the first element of Sorceress. Her contentment with being with herself and the wide-reaching calm that flows when you live a life with faith and connected wisdom. 

    The reflection of the sun in the sky within its unseen stars and on the calm waters with the unseen currents and mysteries in its depths. Sorceress bridges what is seen and unseen, a conduit between heaven and earth. She surrenders to what she does not know and listens to her intuition and body for wisdom, sensing her higher power holding her in faith.

    Having a strong connection with self brings self-confidence and self-trust, two things often eroded when we hide our talents or mask them because we are or have been judged poorly for them. My connection through Sorceress enables me to feel a positive self of self-reliance from a place of deep resourcefulness, not one of duty or obligation and being alone. She’s who has my back when I doubt myself and my inner critic churp in my ear. She holds me centred and still when it feels like the world is spinning out of (my) control when I need to surrender to the process and just breathe.

    So what is Source?

    For some women, Source refers to their religion’s God or Goddess and for others, it is the Universe, Mother Nature, the cosmos, science or higher consciousness. It is the power that wraps around us and within us, connecting us all in this life. It wants us to live a life in faith and wisdom. Source provides the magic or miracles in life and Sorceress is adept at putting her finger on just the right thing at just the right moment, guided by her connection to self and Source.

    Sorceress revels in the mastery of her field and is often the recognised expert in her field – a guru to be learned from. Creativity and innovation flow through her initiatives transforming and healing challenges, rifts and relationships at work, home or in her wider community. You might even say she sprinkles a little fairy dust on things to make them extraordinary solutions, approaches or ideas. People go to share and feel her confidence and belief in resolution and progress. Her wisdom and advice are sought after by those around her.

    When accessing Queen to create your vision and make clear, sound decisions, Sorceress is a key advisor to consult and listen to. She knows you are provided for and supported, and can access the discernment of Source to filter information and knowledge.

    Living your life in faith and connected wisdom requires nurturing and effort to increase your connection to Source, whatever yours might be. Here are some ideas you could try that I use or my clients do:

    • – practice daily gratitude moments: I like to do this as I brush my teeth before bed. The two minute time goes on as I reflect on my day’s synchronicities, coincidences and joy makers
    • – walk barefoot in the morning dew soaking up the connection with the grounded support under your feet
    • – or sit under the stars in the evening and imagine their light being absorbed into your body
    • – spot and honour your rituals such as prayer, mediation or journaling. Perhaps creating a focal point for Source to do them in
    • – practice centring with a breathwork exercise or bringing mindfulness to your actions
    • – delegate to Source: ask for what you need: a car parking space, the rain to stop, a cheerful greeting when you arrive at the dentist. As my mother said, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”.

    By doing a little bit of Sorceress each day can significantly increase your access and familiarity with Source’s power and support. Then when the world spins or your confidence wobbles, you can leverage her understanding and energy.

    Pick an action above and give it a go – keep a note of your mood, your self-trust and how you show up to see what a transformation she can provide for you.

  • Leverage your Queen and Lover to enjoy better self-care

    Do you ever find yourself thinking “Crikey, I’m exhausted” as you suffer from brain fog juggling your mental load of work, life and all the rest, noticing your skin looks less than luminous than you’d like and more hair than usual in the plughole?

    Self-care can so easily become something functional – I shower so I don’t stink. I eat so I’ve got fuel. I sleep enough to get by. A bit like the random maintenance we give our cars just before a cold snap, having neglected it all year bar topping up the tank now and then. 

    Equally, we can ignore it as one of our disempowering archetypes, Superwoman flies in to save the day – cape on, big pants pulled up, ready to conquer it all single-handedly. Better that than prioritise, divide up and ask for help (all forms of self-care by the way). 

    Mental Health UK reported in autumn 2020 that 59% of working women felt they were more prone to extreme stress levels than 12 months previously. Factors influencing their responses included managing home responsibilities (including COVID’s homeschooling and lockdown impacts), lack of job security, financial worries and a lack of support from their employers. It is worth noting in the same polls, working men reported significantly lower results throughout. For example, 48% (verses 64% of women) felt the pressures on them could lead to burnout. 

    Burnout is defined by the World Health Organisation as: “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by three dimensions:

    • – feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
    • – increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
    • – reduced professional efficacy

    I’m curious – just reading that definition, does it resonate with you? Can you recognise times where you could “tick off” those bullet points? I know I’ve had times where I absolutely can for a several short periods and some longer ones. 

    Meet the Queen Powertype

    I’m going to propose you avoid Superwoman when under pressure from all sides and step into your Queen. Look at the image above. Notice how she has a firm, yet comfortable stance. She has an air of serenity and knowing. As she sees far into her realm, Queen knows she is driven to serve and to do so she must have the energy, vitality and mental agility she can to make that vision a reality.

    Therefore, self-care is an absolute necessity. Never a luxury or a flippant act. Self-care goes hand in hand with Queen’s vision in providing her with a platform to lead and change the world for the better. Her boundaries are clear and upheld.

    Queen also knows because self-care is essential to her, that guilt is not necessary. She feels no guilt in prioritising her physical, mental, relationship and spiritual needs in order to bring her best whole self to bear for her realm.

    Imagine if your diary proactively aligned to your cycles, the type of soft power you can leverage to succeed and replenishment of your needs? Yup, that’s what Queen does – schedules ahead the self-care to bring her back to being ok, in balance and fully vital. Got a big event to host? She’ll follow it with some downtime. High profile project going live? She’ll plan in small self-care activities to keep her in top shape. Time drained by a commitment? She’ll draft in support from colleagues, friends and family. 

    Queen will have her regular medical checks, like optician, dentist and physical therapist, in her diary. She is not too proud or ashamed to ask for guidance and her top advisors will be in her speed dial list for times where she needs experts to ensure her wellbeing is protected.

    So let’s look at what else self-care can be.

    Our access to self-care is through Lover

    The Lover Powertype can be described as one that thrives from giving and receiving pleasure through her 5 senses and experiencing her full range of emotions. She is the centre of self-love and self-care. Lover adores our lumps and bumps as much as any other part of us and will devote herself to being fully vital as she leads, lives and loves.

    Lover relishes the smallest of niceties from a slick of lippy before dialling into a zoom conference, gently massaging a softly scented cream into her hands whilst catch-up on an episode of a show or finding the perfect avocado for her salad. Equally, she knows what lifts her mood rapidly for those mid-afternoon dips or after the unexpected knocked her off course. A fragrant herbal tea or walk around the garden or 10 minutes of breathwork to a piece of enchanting music.

    Do you?

    I talk often about my #joymaker activities and use many of them as the small pick me up kindnesses to my body and soul. The beautiful rose and geranium crystal candle on my desk, which makes me feel wrapped in a deep love. The act of baking and then sharing goodies with my friends, neighbours and godchildren. The little lymphatic massage techniques I’ve learnt (thank you lockdown!) for loving showers, relaxing into bedtime with my evening gratitude practice.

    Having your list of joy makers made and placing the little self-care goodies close at hand is key to your Lover having your Queen’s back, bringing you back to ok and keep moving forward in your authentic self.

    If you’ve not started your joy makers list, go ahead, don’t delay. Delve into your Lover with some embodiment to your playlist songs and consider your sensual joys, your revival techniques, your shared pleasures and build your self-care practice ideas.

    So switch your self-care from an optional extra, that riddles you with guilt to an intention planful practice using both Lover and Queen that lights you up. You can’t pour from an empty cup as the saying goes. Top up regularly and deliberately; it benefits you and those around you.

    Just consider how life, work and love could be if you were easily fully replenished and proactively managing your energy and wellbeing day by day? How your self-acceptance, confidence and faith in your instincts could be boosted by the vitality and resourcefulness you have. How you can easily leap from activity to activity with little stress. How you can avoid burnout.

    Start small if this feels uncomfortable. 

    10 minutes of dancing between work and home “modes”, asking for help when you can see the wheels might wobble on your wagon, planning a great, no fuss meal at the end of that next manic day or applying lotion to your body with careful, loving strokes.

    The Queen and Lover are both within you. Let them support you in being your whole vital self.

  • August Shares – using Archetypes to be more authentic

    I don’t know about you but I’m loving the Tokyo Olympics and seriously can’t wait to see how the Paralympics continue through August. The grit and determination. The tears of and the cheers. The pride and camaraderie. The winners. The losers. The jokers. The leaders. Even the odd villain has been seen in the ring or in the stands.

    Within the various stadiums, pools, gymnasiums, lanes and courts are full of exceptional human beings……and a raft of archetypes at play. An archetype is a universally understood patterns of behaviours across cultures and communities. Carl Jung developed a series of 12 archetypes drawn from a wealth of stimuli – religion, the natural world, literature, archaeology and more.

    Archetypes have been utilised in a wide variety of tools, psychometrics and approaches used in personal and professional development. I use them in a tailored version that speaks to the archetypes women can experience – the One of many® Women’s Powertypes™. This month, we’re going to explore them and their anti-types (opposites) to boost, empower and create opportunities to bring your authentic self to all aspects of your life.

    I see them as my Olympic teammates – rooting for my success, my peace and my joy – and I’d love to introduce you to yours this month.

    INSIGHT

    Have you ever had a time where you wish you’d somehow brought the characteristics or behaviours of a role model or mentor? Or perhaps in hindsight, you’d have liked to bring forward an alternative version of the “you” who showed up?

    Archetypes can enable you to do just that. 

    I’m not suggesting for one minute that we all go around “acting” out some false character. I know that exploring and gaining connection with your flavour of archetype can build wisdom, confidence, and self-acceptance.

    That’s right – whilst archetypes are universally understood, no two people do them in the exact same way. Your version may share similarities with someone else’s, however, there will be differences unique to you. 

    When we have easy access to these parts of ourselves we can leverage them positively and with intention. Many of us, including myself, need to learn to increase our access or limit the overplaying of elements of them.

    For example, an overexpressed Queen can become an overbearing bully of a leader, losing respect whilst gaining fear from her team. Or an underexpressed Sorceress with little faith in her connections to others and the wider universe can feel alone and reliant only her own grit to see things through.

    The Women’s Powertypes actively tap into the soft power, we all possess. The energy to bring clarity, compassion and wisdom to our various roles and responsibilities, as well as to our many relationships at home, play and work. Learning to embody them each day, we build a deeper affinity with them in bringing our empowered authentic selves to the fore with confidence and trust. 

     

    At times when we feel like the odd one out, our courage can evaporate. We shrink back from opportunities to shape our futures, establishing our boundaries or from asking for help or advice.

    Being able to quieten our mind’s noisy commentary on our inadequacies, isolation or fears, the Powertypes can build our bravery in creating new ways forward into true alignment.

    Lover’s capacity for self-acceptance and great compassion towards ourselves (and others), with Mother’s belief in our potential to thrive combine to vigorously bolster our daring. Pulling upon Queen’s humble seeking of counsel ensures we test and refine our thoughts, decisions and actions with our trusted friends and colleagues, whilst holding our boundaries.

    Courage, bravery and might are foundational parts of Warrioress’ “get on and do” mentality for her passions and cause, at home, work and afar. 

    COURAGE

    LIBERTY

    Choice and self-determination can appear restricted or hindered by the options and expectations of others when we fear judgement or rejection. Meeting our needs so we can perform without sacrifice is a decision we can make with the support of Queen’s commitment to her realm. She knows she can only serve it when her needs are fully met.

    Finding the joy in our paths can be enhanced through a delicious combination of Lover’s ability to give and receive pleasure with Warrioress’ playfulness. You need to be open to hearing their calls and choosing joy over others’ judgment or views.

    That playfulness can also develop our self-confidence and self-trust in living, working and loving differently as we move forward into our authentic selves. Each small experiment or step towards greater alignment brings newfound choices to learn, grow and relish the joys you deserve.

    Powertypes and connection deserves a whole blog of their own – watch this space as one will follow. Today, I wanted to highlight 2 different elements of how stepping into our power impacts our connections. 

    Firstly, they expand our self-awareness and self-knowledge by enabling you to delve deeper into your values, life principles and also your fears and doubts. This in turn magnifies your abilities to bring our whole selves to crafting more authentic, satisfying relationships.

    Secondly, relationships based on what brings us joy, as discovered and honed by the Powertypes, are founded on authenticity. Where all parties bring their truest self at all times, trusting they are safe to be vulnerable, bold and aligned with one and another. Needs and boundaries are respected and upheld. Faith and support are mutually experienced. Joy is shared and reciprocated. 

    CONNECTION

    JOY

    The question I posed last week flows from the Powertypes. “Does this bring me joy?” is best answered in consultation with each of the Powertypes. Queen confirmed alignment to your vision and needs. Lover knows what activates your pleasure zones and those of others. Sorceress’ wisdom and intuition build trust in simply knowing this is joy. Mother adores nurturing your wellbeing and positive development. Finally, Warrioress’ vibrant, dynamic energy will either kick into action or kick off into something more joy making.

    I recommend soft power playdates to my clients as ways to get to know the joy makers of each Powertype. These solo hours indulging in new things, pastimes, experiences and activities bring us additions to our Needs Creed, especially for those tricky times when we need a supercharged replenishment. (I shared a heap on the Needs Creed during the 3rd Unlocking Lockdown Series – access to all 4 workshops free here.)

    And simply put, operating with easy access to our most powerful, impactful, genuine self is a joy – especially when you’ve kept parts of yourself hidden away.

    So are you ready to add five gold medal winning archetypes to your team? Watch out as I share more both in my blogs and social media during August. Do comment with any questions you have and I’ll respond. I’m really looking forward to sharing more this month!

    If you’d like to understand your current access to the Women’s Powertypes, did you know I offer a profile and debrief session where together we can walk through your personalised report and identify key areas of focus in leveraging them more? Want to know more? Just drop me an email.