Liberty

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

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

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

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

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

    Not enough: queue of people, one woman who is looking pensive

    Do you recognise those kind of behaviours, thoughts and feelings too? That nagging sense of you’re not enough can be fleeting or more constant.

    It might manifest in your body as an ache or cramp. It might affect your behaviours, such as avoiding eye contact or not engaging in discussions. You may find your thinking becomes foggier, hesitating in procrastination or self-critical. It’s also possible you might engage in people pleasing tactics or try to prove yourself by working extra hard.

    All of these are where your inner Protector is working to keep you safe. It shows up for good reasons – you’ve identified potential risks. Maybe it is the possibility of being judged or rejected? Or the levels of complexity have gotten overwhelming.  You may fear disappointment – of others or yourself.

    Your Protector has one purpose to help you avoid pain, upset, discomfort. It wants the very best for you. It supports your day to day healthy adult self to be, think and feel all the good stuff in life, and help you build resilience to the not so good stuff.

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

    So when that icky feeling of not enough crops up or you spot yourself behaving or saying things that aren’t your authentic self, I want you to pause and slow breathing. You may even find closing your eyes helps you to connect with yourself. Lightly hold the sensations and feelings you’re experiencing for a moment and notice how as you breathe, they lessen their grip on you physically and mentally.

    The Protector has no way to make your fears real. It simply wants to signal a risk to you. It isn’t the truth. So, what can you learn from your Protector?

    Get specific – what exactly do you feel you’re not enough of? In what ways and in what circumstance?
     
    Then flip it, when and how are you specifically enough, maybe even more than enough? How do you feel in that moment? What are you thinking and doing (not doing)? What do you believe? Make a note of this belief.
     
    What can you choose to take from those moments into this uncomfortable one? How can you think, feel and do differently with that supportive, empowering belief? If you act from that belief what is possible? 
     

    Hey guess what? The icky sensation of not enough has passed. You’re back in your more resourceful, powerful self, capable of compassion towards yourself and others, and able to take a small doable step forward. So, go on, take that true authentic step.

    Not enough: women with head in her hands with people hodling out mobile, notepad, watch to her

    His Holiness The Dalai Lama proclaimed at the Vancouver Peace summit in 2010, “The Western Woman Will Save The World”. He continued championing female leadership last year for International Women’s Day, saying “Since they are especially skilled in nurturing compassion and human values, we need women to take the lead in creating a more compassionate society.” 

    You are a much needed person on this planet with all its challenges – you bring something no one else has or can do in your way. You are valued and loved in every way. We need more women, like you, to step out and lead – at home with their families and friends, in the workplace to drive collaboration and inclusivity, and in our wider communities such as sports clubs, religious groups and social activities.

    You are needed. You are brilliant just as you are. You are enough. Come as you are.

  • 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.

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

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

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

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

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

    Perfectionism: Woman with her hand over her eyes, looking tired and frustrated with the task ahead of her

    Why do we believe perfectionism is important?

    It protects us by giving us a sense of purpose and control, as well as an excuse. It protects us from feeling big emotions like shame, failure or even joy. It protects us by enabling strategies like avoidance, fantasising or overworking. 

    We believe in perfectionism as an ideal, an absolute or right way, something to aspire to.  We believe it will allow us to fit in, to meet the standards and expectations of us, to satisfy those around us of our value or worth.

    Perfectionism pairs beautifully with over working and over giving. That bitchy mode we sometimes find ourselves in with ourselves and with others or the martyrdom we create to feel needed as we rescue people, tasks or events.  Let’s not forget it goes hand in hand with unleashing our critic’s irritation in our perceived slips or trips.

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

    Where you try to be perfect?

    I’ve noticed my perfectionism shows up in differently in different aspects of my life and more strongly when I’ve not met my needs. Is it similar for you?

    Anything work related I tip into either do more and more depending on how confident and comfortable I am with the task to avoid negative feedback, judgement or disappointment. Or I avoid doing anything all together if things I am really invested in but feel unsure how to move forward.

    With my loved ones, I have tended to become all consumed with overgiving and burning myself out in order to feel loved and a sense of belonging. 

    Avoidance also crops up for me when I believe I can’t achieve my personal desires and thus risk feeling inadequate or like I’m letting myself down. It opens up a raft of excuses I can use to deflect decisions, avoid action and fake acceptance of my “lot”.

    Take a moment to reflect on the last week – where did perfectionism show up for you? What did you do or not do? How did your thinking and feeling change? What was the story you were telling yourself?

     

    Perfectionism: woman on white sofa, arm outstraetch across the back and her head hanging back.

    I’ve been reminded this week of the saying “done is better than perfect” as my desire for perfectionism before I launch a new idea has kicked in. 

    I’ve moved forward slowly last week – I’m nearly done and it feels good. My story of the “perfect” I should achieve isn’t true and I can play with new ways forward safely. Can you?

  • 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?

  • 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! 

  • Using your authentic voice

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a number of conversations around using your authentic voice. What is it? How will others react at home and at work? Where will your courage to use it come from?

    Curiously, anxiety and concerns around finding and using your authentic voice can be both an enabler and a blocker to greater alignment and more joy. As we discover how we want to filter our experiences through our values, gain certainty in our vision and develop our inner wisdom and strengths, we want to use our authentic voice.

    We crave new conversations to set or reestablish our boundaries. We want to share our needs in order to have them met without guilt. We know how our brilliance can make a difference if spoken.

    Yet, we stay quiet, speaking them only in our heads.

    Our concerns can block us through fear of judgement or rejection, as well as self-doubt.

    If you use your authentic voice, you share an intimate, vulnerable part of yourself. It can feel too raw, too exposing to use. Yet in doing so, you deny yourself the aligned life, work and love you yearn for. It feels like a huge risk. Better not to try, right? Or to wait a bit and see first?

    This inner dialogue is a type of self-protection by our subconscious, whose role is to keep up safe. Safe from pain and hurt. Safe from ridicule or embarrassment. Safe from guilt, shame or anger.

    But also safe from an unknown future. One which you would bring joy, new connections and a sense of vitality in all that you do.

    And it’s in this way that finding your authentic voice can enable you to step into and further create your future as you wish.

    I teach 3 habits of self-connection in both my coaching and workshops. First, the practice of joy spotting throughout your day and expressing thanks for it each evening. Second, journaling each morning to clear your head and set your intentions for the day ahead and third, solo dates – time by yourself doing something that stretches your comfort zone at least a little. Each helps discover, explore and embed your authentic voice.

    Each allows you to gain deeper insights and self-awareness of your fears, your strengths, your allies and your future vision and purpose. Joy spotting “trains” your brain muscle to recognise and value the smallest of joys to the grandest, where planned or coincidental – Thank you Source, this please and more rounds off your evening gratitude practice as you set the cycle to continue and expand. Journalling is a private way to distil our inner thoughts, wisdom and doubts before our Ego wakes and we step into the day ahead with clear intentions. 

    Lastly, solo dates provide us with ways to safely explore being and voicing our authentic voice. For example, in a climbing class, you can bring out your Warrioress’ playful tigress as you make your way to the top of the wall. Or perhaps you have a luscious body treatment to awaken your self-love. Or you join a Toastmaster event, allowing your Queen to speak her truth.

    It’s in the manner that you can test, embody and feel what it’s like being your whole true self without fear or judgement. Only yourself. It’s also where you can experience others’ reactions to this new you. 

    Like you, I’ve been finding more of my authentic voice and wondering how I can share it with you. Yes, I’m feeling fearful – what will you say? How will you react? 

    But there is also excitement, hope and joy in my anticipation……more on that next time.

  • 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.