Falling in love with yourself

•July 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dreamstime_4096716It is thought that the most important relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself.  This rings true for me.  If you feel good about yourself then the chances are that this will be reflected back to you in your relationships with others.

Oscar Wilde said: “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance”

Loving yourself  means accepting yourself as you are – faults and all.  You may  wish to work towards self-improvement AND still love yourself in the process.  It’s about letting go of all the judgements and criticisms of yourself and treating yourself as you would your best friend.  It’s about having a healthy regard and self respect for yourself and appreciating all of your wonderful qualities.

Here are some tips for nurturing and loving yourself:

1) Be Your Own Champion!

You are unique, there is no one else like you in the world and for that you are a treasure and a gift to the world.  Stand up for yourself, cheer yourself on, give yourself a pat on the back when you’ve done well and treat yourself with compassion if you make a mistake.

2) Look After Yourself

Many people in our society are driven to work long hours, neglecting their health and their fitness. As a result their relationships and health suffer and stress levels rocket.

Good self-care is the foundation stone of a rich and fulfilling life. Self-care includes adequate rest and time doing things that bring you joy and energy, and having a balance between work and personal life. Practising self-care can make you feel you are being selfish. But taking care of your precious self is important for your present and future well-being. It also means you are in a better place to be there for others. One analogy is the flight attendant telling adult passengers to put oxygen masks on themselves before their babies in case of emergency, to be breathing well enough to care for their children.

3) Take Yourself On A Date

Enjoy spending time with yourself.  Set aside some time within the next fortnight to spend a few hours with yourself doing things that you love.  It could be anything – going to see a film, taking a walk, listening to music, taking yourself out for a lovely meal. Treat yourself as you would a precious loved one.  I’m going to be doing this too – I’ll be going to my favourite dance class, then having a massage and facial.  I can’t wait!

What are you going to do on your date…let us know here and inspire others.

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Self Acceptance and why it’s important for you.

•July 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dreamstime_4079863What is Self Acceptance?

It is thought that Self Acceptance is the basis of all personal development. Self acceptance is approving of yourself warts and all.  It’s liking and loving yourself NOW not WHEN!  It’s about giving up on self-denigration and  being your very own best friend.  It’s being on your side no matter how other people might see you.  It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being perfectly imperfect and loving yourself for who you are.

Self acceptance does not mean that you should become or BE complacent – it means that you can work towards goals and change without all the self directed anger and self flagellation which can lower your confidence, motivation and self esteem.

What is the difference between Self Esteem and Self Acceptance?

Self Esteem or to be more precise explicit self esteem tends to be conditional.  For example you feel good about yourself because of your achievements whereas self acceptance is unconditional.

Exercise on Self Acceptance

Find a photograph of yourself when you were a child and place it in front of you.  Look at how innocent and vulnerable you look.  As you look at the photograph imagine that this young child is within you now.  What would you like to say to this child to show that you love them and care about them?  Finish off by giving yourself a hug.

From now on as you go about your daily life, monitor your thoughts and if you find that you are berating yourself, remember that innocent inner child and replace any negativity with more neutral, loving and guiding thoughts.

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Personal values – the unconscious force behind our actions.

•July 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment


In order to start to take action towards your dreams and goals, you need to know what it is that you actually want – you need to know what you want to bring to the world, you need to know the destination. One of the best ways to find out what that destination is, is to get clear about your personal values.

Personal values are the unconscious force behind many of our actions and decisions and getting crystal clear about them helps you to understand what is important in your life and what motivates you, enabling you to be more self-directed and personally effective.

Getting clear about your values is often likened to having a compass for your life – once you know what you want it is so much easier to set a course of action.

When we are living our lives according to our own values and rules and not someone else’s then we are more likely to be happy and fulfilled because we’re not going against the grain, we’re not living someone else’s dream, we’re being true to ourselves and so our lives will have more meaning.

When I’m working with a client on identifying their top 10 values I always make it clear that it is important to choose their own values and not values that they think they should or shouldn’t have.

Getting clear about your values can help you to focus on what may be missing in your life and it can also help you to see if something that you thought you wanted is no longer important so you can stop wasting your energies trying to get it!

Once you have identified your priorities and what is important in your life it is then easier to translate these into goals. Unless we know what we really want and desire then we stay unfocused and kind of like wandering – directionless, drifting along.

Remember also to review your values every few years to make sure you are still on track, for what was important to you at 21 may no longer be important to you at 35 or 55.

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5 Tips To Inner Confidence

•June 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Three Teenagers

1. Stop The Comparisons

One of the quickest ways to lower your self-esteem is to compare yourself unfavourably with others.  It is so much better to compete with yourself!  When you find yourself comparing yourself to others, remember that we all walk our own path in life, and have our own challenges and being in someone else’s shoes might not be such a good fit.  STOP the comparisons and start to make a list of everything you have to be grateful for in your life. You are an amazing person because YOU ARE UNIQUE.  There’s no one else quite like you.

2. Put Your Mind Into Solution Mode

Often when we move out of our comfort zone and attempt something new a little voice in our head will say, “I can’t do this”, “it will never work”, “I’m not clever enough”, “creative enough”, “talented enough”.   The goal of this inner voice is to keep us safe and  to protect us from harm, unfortunately however, this voice is often being over cautious and can actually stop us from taking action towards our goals and dreams. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy – our inner voice tells us something’s not going to work out so we don’t even attempt to start it thus avoiding any uncomfortable feelings of having to learn or practice something new, so we never build up those confidence muscles and this leaves us feeling lacking in confidence, unfulfilled and dissatisfied. It’s like going round in circles.

The key to getting off that particular merry go round and to overcome this negative inner chatter is:

  • first of all to notice it. Sometimes we can have all these negative comments going round in our heads without being really aware of them and how they are stopping us from actually taking any action towards our goals.
  • put your mind into solution mode by looking for ways to support yourself in whatever you want to do; for example: if you wanted to write a book and your inner critic was telling you that you’d never be able to do this because you’re not talented enough or creative enough so you never even get started then ask yourself: “How can I resolve this”?   Your mind will then start to look for ways to support you in your task; e.g.:  You could take a writing course, you could read inspirational stories of how other authors began their careers.
  • forget perfect and accept that you might not get it right first time.  Personally, I find that accepting that I might fail at something and that it doesn’t have to be perfect right away  is kind of like a relief!  It takes the pressure off so you might as well have a go anyway because you have nothing to lose!  I think that not even trying is the real failure.

3. Make A List Of Your Achievements

When we’re feeling low we can often forget just how much we have accomplished.  We discount or under value many of our achievements as not being big enough or important enough.  Many people never stop to review and acknowledge their own achievements. As a result they have a skewed view of themselves and their potential.

So I invite you now to set aside all modesty and write down a list of all your achievements both personally and professionally. Take time now to think about everything you have achieved in your whole life starting from when you were a child and learned to walk and talk to being an adult and learning to drive, and getting your first job.

4. Identify Your Strengths

Realising what your strengths are will raise your confidence.  When we lack confidence then often we can only see our weaknesses.  Try this exercise to give yourself a confidence boost. Pick five people whom you respect, at least two who know you in a work capacity, and ask each of them to tell you what they believe are your three greatest strengths.  Give them time to think about it and make a written note of what they tell you.  Then pick three of these strengths that strike you as both true and enjoyable and think of an example of where you used that strength.

5.  Just Do It!

Following on from Point 2 above, often people will put off doing something or say that they can’t do something because they lack confidence.  The irony is that to build up self-confidence you have to actually DO the thing you most fear.  Trying something new or taking a small risk  can actually build up your inner confidence. Remember the greatest artists, entrepreneurs, writers and musicians started off as learners.  You will be a success because you tried!   What have you been putting off?  Decide now to make a start, and try something new today.

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Break Out Of Your Shell

•June 25, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Summer at the beachDoes your shyness make you feel uncomfortable in social situations?  Try these 5 tips to help you to break out of your shell.

1. Ask Questions

People like to be asked about themselves, it shows that you are taking an interest and it makes the other person feel valued.  Before your next social engagement think of a few open ended questions that you can ask. There are tons of icebreakers, e.g.: How was your journey? Hello, how are things with you?   Try to avoid questions where there is just a yes or no answer.   If you put your focus and attention over on to the other person then you are less likely to be thinking about how shy you are feeling.

2. Become a Good Listener

There is nothing quite like a great conversation with someone where they are listening intently to what you are saying.  The next time you are speaking to someone, make a point of really listening to what they have to say.  If someone is telling you about something that happened in his or her life resist the temptation to jump in with your own example.  Your shyness will soon dissolve as you become engrossed in their story.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

Often when we feel shy we can start to make assumptions about how other people perceive us.  We can assume that other people are judging us negatively or we assume that other people are more interesting, more talented more confident than we are, so we clam up, or walk away from a potential great friendship. Let go of any assumptions or limiting beliefs you have about yourself and start today to look for evidence of what a magnificent person you really are.

4. Practice With Strangers

The next time you are in a supermarket queue practice engaging in small talk with the cashier or person standing next to you.  Practising with complete strangers who you are never likely to meet again can help you to overcome your shyness and give you more confidence.

5. Give Yourself A Confidence Boost

To give yourself a confidence boost, set all modesty aside and write down 50 things that you like about yourself – strengths, talents, attributes, and skills.  These could be anything from: being kind to animals, being a great driver, being a good mum or having excellent computer skills.   Don’t stop until you fill up a page.  People who are shy often unconsciously put themselves down and it’s important to get a more realistic picture of who you really are.

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Is it time to leave your job?

•June 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

iStock_000006748666XSmallIn this day and age it is quite common for people to change career at least once in their working life.  It’s an important decision though – one which will affect you and can affect your close family.  Before you do anything hasty, find yourself somewhere quiet and peaceful, where you wont be disturbed and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do you hate your job or just the boss?

It’s important that you make this distinction.  If you love what you do and it’s just the boss or even work colleagues that you can’t get along with then changing careers might not be the answer for you.   If you are not able to make it work with your boss on your own then seek help through your human resources department, if you have one, or get some coaching on this specific matter.   If all else fails then before you take the leap into a different career, look at other employers in the same field or even consider becoming self employed doing the work you love!

2. Do you feel like a square peg in a round hole?

  • There could be many reasons why you feel that you just don’t fit it with your current career.
  • It could be that there is a conflict between your own personal values and ethics and those of your employer’s.
  • The job is more stressful than exciting and you feel burnt-out.
  • Your job is no longer challenging – you’ve gone as far as you can – got pretty much all that you can out of it and there are no opportunities for promotion.
  • You could be in a job that was chosen by your parents rather than in one aligned with your own true interests or passions.
  • You fell into your job without really thinking about your career goals and wonder how you got here!
  • What interested you at 21 no longer excites or motivates you.

3. Do you have a calling or are you searching for your life purpose?

Sometimes, you just have a sense that there is more to life – that there is something you are meant to be or something you are meant to bring to the world.  It feels literally like you are being called!

If you feel like this and can’t really explain to yourself why you have this feeling,  then have a think about the things in your life that you are drawn to.  It could be hobbies, interests, types of people, jobs that catch your eye, areas of study that pull you time and time again.

Do you have unique talents and gifts – something you’re naturally good at?  Do you have a need to express yourself in some way?  Is there something you have always wanted to do but have never admitted it to anyone or even to yourself?

4. Is there the possibility of redundancy?

In today’s uncertain climate there is of course the possibility of redundancy.  Having myself been through redundancy I am aware that it can be a time of upheaval and also I must stress an opportunity to try something new, something that you’ve always dreamed of doing.  If you have already made the decision that you are going to leave your job then before you take the leap into a new career,  find out whether your current employer is considering offering redundancy packages – it could just be the cushion you are looking for while you train or look for something you really want to do.

Please make sure you get financial advice from an expert before volunteering for redundancy.  You will need to know how much money you need to live on if you are going to study or re-train and how long it will last.  Redundancy lumpsums often look like a lot of money but in reality could only last a few months or a year.

5. Do you know you want to change careers but don’t know what you want to do next?

Most of us haven’t thought about what we wanted to do since school – even then people often jump into the first job without really thinking about long term career goals or what really matters to them about work.

If you have decided that you really do want to change careers but don’t know what you want to do next then consider getting some career counselling or coaching to help you to discover a new career aligned with your true interests, passions, values and life purpose.

10 Step Career Coaching Programme

If you are interested I am a certified life coach and licensed career coach.  I have a very well thought-out and developed 10 step career programme which can help you to decide what you want to do next.

You can view details here

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8 Tips to Promote Good Health

•June 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

health clubOur health is precious. If we are in good health we are more energised, alert, motivated and ready to take action towards our goals. However according to a study carried out by the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) which is to be published in June 2009 the number of adults (in America) who follow a healthy lifestyle is actually declining! What happens in America often follows suit in the UK.

MUSC researchers urge people, especially the middle-aged, to adopt healthier lifestyles:…

“Regular physical activity and a prudent diet can reduce the risk of premature death and disability from a variety of conditions including coronary heart disease, and are strongly related to the incidence of obesity.” says Dana King M.D.

Life is going to throw us all sort of things and depending on how we deal with these things and how we look after ourselves we can sink or swim. We can be our own worst enemy or our greatest ally.

About 18 months ago I realised that my health and fitness was not what it should be. I had allowed myself to become overweight, I was still smoking and was easily drinking too much red wine than was good for me. And while I did the occasional yoga based class I really wasn’t doing enough to maintain a good level of fitness or healthy weight.

So I decided to do something about it…I stopped smoking with the help of nicotine substitutes, I started going regularly to the gym, taking it easy to begin with and I have cut down my alcohol intake, having 4 non alcohol days per week and restricting my intake to within the UK government guidelines.

Taking charge of my health has given me a tremendous feeling of accomplishment…and it’s not all hard work. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is filled with fun, delicious and nutritious food and has left me feeling amazing!

If you feel that your health could do with a boost then try these 8 Tips to Promote Good Health. Please note I am not a health expert, these are all things that have worked for me and that I do now.

1) Learn About Nutrition

Make sure you’re meeting all of your bodies nutritional needs by reading up on nutrition.

I think we all know by now that we need to be eating five portions of fruit and veg a day, quit smoking and drink a moderate amount of alcohol but did you know that according to qualified nutritionist Maggie James, of Nutrition To the Rescue, the ‘Recommended Daily Allowance’ of nutrients stated on food packaging is actually the minimum that you need to prevent deficiency diseases in most people.

For low cost e-books on nutrition from Maggie James see here:

Nutrition to The Rescue

2) Check Your Body Mass Index

Find out what is a healthy and appropriate weight for your height by checking your BMI (Body Mass Index). You can do this here:

NHS BMI Calculator

Please note that this is just for a guideline – people who are pregnant or who have a lot of muscle may weigh heavier and still be healthy.

3) Be A Healthy Weight For Your Height

If you are underweight for your height then think healthy, fit and toned and not skinny! The first step would be to see your doctor for a check up.

If you need to lose weight you need to burn more calories than your body needs to maintain it’s current weight.

To lose 1lb of fat per week you need to burn an excess of 3,500 calories on top of your everyday needs. That works out at 500 calories per day. So for example if according to your level of daily activity you need 2000 calories a day to stay the same weight then you will need to eat 500 calories less to lose weight.

4) Check Those ingredients and Count those Calories

When I started to lose weight I was really surprised by how many calories were in some food stuffs that I assumed were low in calories. Low fat does not necessarily mean low in calories – watch out for the sugar content.

Get into the habit of reading labels to check for ingredients and calories. If you are trying to lose weight keep a written record of how many calories you are consuming each day. Even if you only do this for a couple of weeks you will soon be able to keep score in your head.

5) Stop eating when you feel content rather than full.

This is something I am learning to do. I was brought up not to waste any food and it feels somehow wrong to leave food on the plate. I’ve now started to make less and give myself much smaller portions and not piling up my plate. It’s also a matter of being aware while you are eating of how you are feeling and stopping when you feel content.

6) Get Active!

There is loads of evidence to support the benefits of having a regular exercise routine. See what BUPA says here.

Health benefits of exercise

You can start off small and get creative about types of exercising. If you can’t manage or cant stand the gym then getting off the bus a couple of stops earlier all helps. It all adds up!

Exercise really can be fun and can leave you feeling amazing. The trick is to find something that you really enjoy doing so it feels more like play than hard work! Perhaps you enjoy walking the dog, playing with the cat or gardening. Some people enjoy running on a treadmill, while others love dancing, playing team sports or going to gym classes. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I’ve recently, started to attend Body Pump (weight training) and Body Attack (aerobics) at my local gym. Or get a Wi Fit!

If you haven’t exercised for a while, are over or underweight or have any health issues then get yourself checked out by a doctor beforehand.

7) Adopt A Healthy Work/Life Balance

Good self-care is the foundation stone of a rich and fulfilling life. Self-care includes adequate rest and time doing things that bring you joy and energy, and having a balance between work and personal life. Practising self-care can make you feel you are being selfish. But taking care of your precious self is important for your present and future well-being. It also means you are in a better position to be there for others. One analogy is the flight attendant telling adult passengers to put oxygen masks on themselves before their babies in case of emergency, in order to be breathing well enough to care for their children.

8) Have a really good laugh!

Laughter is very powerful and research has shown that it triggers the release of endorphins and can boost the immune system. I make it a point to watch as many comedy shows as I can and spend time with people who make me laugh.

Here’s something to make you smile…

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