Five tips to banish the post summer blues

Summer is a season the majority of us Brits are always sad to bid farewell.  It’s the warmth and the extra daylight that makes getting out in our stunning country such a joy.  BBQ’s, garden parties, farmers markets, country shows, sunny beer gardens, trips to the beach and picnics by the river are just some of the delights we will have enjoyed over past months, and as autumn makes its presence known, it’s no surprise that some of us may start to feel fed-up.

The light fades, the temperatures dip, the green leaves fade and drop and our sandals disappear under a pile of waterproof shoes and muddy boots again till next year – Boooo.

But, with summer still fresh in our thoughts and the suns energy still lingering in our bodies and minds, lets turn our attention to keeping our spirits UP this Autumn. Lets shake off those seasonal blues, like a dog shakes off a summer shower.

 

My Five Tips for Beating the Post Summer Blues.

 1. Don’t be too quick to put summer behind you. Slow the transition down by extending summer till you’re good and ready to say goodbye.  Throw another BBQ, (so what if you have to take shelter under a gazebo!), there’s still plenty of summer food and drink available, still plenty of fresh mint for a Pimms and those outdoor lights and chimineas will look even more delightful against a darker evening sky.

2. Take time to reminisce about your summer antics, to feel grateful for the fun you’ve had with your friends or family and share your summer snaps with those involved.   Photos are one of our greatest memory triggers; you’ll instantly recall those precious moments when the summers warmth wrapped around you and lifted your body and your mind.  Add your summer snaps to your computer desktop, to the screen saver on your phone and get copies printed off to display around your home.

3. Start planning your next day-trip and some enjoyable things to do this autumn.  Autumn is a such a beautiful time of year, all those stunning golden brown colours in the landscape; it’s a particularly great time for woodland and forest walks. So pack a flask and a brolly and go kick up some autumn leaves. Cinemas, Art Galleries, Spa’s, Museums, Heritage Centre’s, Country Houses, Concert Halls, Coffee Shops and Theatre’s are all welcoming, vibrant places to visit when the rain can pour down and it matters not a jot.

4. If your moods dips on a particularly dreary evening when you have nothing much to do, see if you can turn your thoughts outwards to those members of our community who might be more apprehensive about the darker evenings than you. Perhaps you know someone who finds it difficult to get out and about at the best of times?  Maybe a reassuring chat over a cup of tea would really make their day.  Most of us are now aware of the beneficial act of ‘giving something back’ and the positive effect it can have on both parties involved. Why not inquire at your local volunteer centre to see if there are any interesting projects happening locally which you could get involved with? Or, organise a coffee morning or a catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Its possible that they’re feeling the post summer blues too, and would love to hear from you.

5. And finally, when you’re feeling low – take extra good care of yourself.  Most people will experience feeling fed-up at some point at this time of year, and if you do, it’s particularly important to take good care of yourself.  Eat well; plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid skipping meals or opting for less energising comfort foods.  Take time to exercise; yoga and pilate’s are great exercise when you don’t feel high energy, although some uplifting music and aerobic exercise might be just what you need.  Get plenty of fresh air, sleep, rest and relaxation and if your mood still doesn’t improve, then please do seek out a friend or professional person to talk to about it, or speak to your GP.

Sandie x 

Be grateful for your good moods and graceful with your low moods.~ unknown

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Get Ready for your BEST YEAR YET!!

As we leap into a brand new year, now is the perfect time to reflect on the year gone by, on what you have accomplished and how you have grown, and to feel excitement for the year ahead and it’s promise of new beginnings! A new year is like a blank canvas upon which we can create a masterpiece.

May be you’ve had the most wonderful 2015 and you would like 2016 to be just the same with only a few minor changes? 

Perhaps you’d like to take some aspects of the past year forward with you into the next, but leave some things behind you so you can focus fully on new endeavours? Take those silver linings and leave the clouds back in 2015…

Or, may be the prospect of another year, no different to the last, fills you with dread?! … Please keep reading.

Whatever the case maybe, lets remember that as the saying goes: ‘We are here for a good time, not a long time.’  This new year I would like you to give yourself the gift of some personal time, just for you. Half an hour or an hour to turn your attention inwards, to think upon the year gone by, all its triumphs and disasters, and to meditate on the following four questions that might help you set the tone for a great year to come:-

 

1) What was the highlight of 2015 for you? What worked really well, that you wish to take forward and experience more of in the year a head?  Write it down and take time to understand ‘how’ you created this in your life, and give yourself a pat on the back or a hug of appreciation for making it happen. Well done you.

 

2) What were you tolerating and putting up with, from yourself or from anyone else, that you would like to deal with differently in 2016? ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got!’. If this is not what you want for your year ahead, remember that different belief’s, actions and behaviours will yield different results. What would you like to tackle differently in the year ahead? What do you need to believe in order for that to happen?  What are you going to work on, for a great 2016?

 

 3) What really must STOP or GO in order for you to START living your best year yet? Decisions are powerful. A simple but certain ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ can transform your life beyond your wildest dreams.

 

4) Finally, what do you want to create and experience in 2016 that is fresh, inspiring and new for you? Something exciting that could elevate you and your life and enthusiasm to the next level?  Don’t be shy, what would you go for if you knew couldn’t fail to succeed?

 

Success in life is within everyone’s grasp. Success can be your personal habit –  it is learned behaviour that consists of reflection & evaluation, creative thinking, decision making and positive steps in the right direction. And, all it takes to get started is a willingness to work at it, be curious, be resilient and be determined to grow, to develop and to reach your full potential. You deserve to shine.
No matter how tricky your situation may be, or how illusionary your masterpiece may seem, somewhere, someone just like you found a way forward, and in their success, left clues for you to discover, so you can do it too!

***New Year Offer – get your year off to great start with a Two for One Life Coaching discount offer!***

To help you get your year off to a flying start, I am offering my newsletter/blog readers a special ***Two for One Life Coaching discount.***

That is two one-to-one (or telephone coaching sessions) for the price of one – RRP £55 per one hour session (1:2:1) or £45 (telephone coaching).

In addition to this, you will still be eligible for your FREE half hour telephone consultation, when we can have an initial chat about your current circumstances, whether coaching is the right fit for you and if so, how we can make the most of your two discounted sessions.

Kick start your year with High Peak Life Coaching!

That’s 1X Free 30 min Telephone Consultation plus 2X one hour, One-to-one coaching session (at Riverside Wellbeing, Whaley Bridge) for £55, or 2X one hour Telephone Coaching Sessions for £45.CALL SANDIE ON: 07985 284 914

Please Note: This offer is valid until the end of January 2016 and is for new clients only – places are limited, so please get in touch soon!

Wishing you a wonderful, healthy and happy 2016.

Very best wishes,

Sandie Norbron-Shaw

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How to Harness Creative Thinking for More Effective Problem Solving

 

Encouraging Creative Thinking

For More Effective Problem Solving.

How to encourage ‘divergent thinking’, a type of thinking that allows new ideas to materialise and creativity to flourish.

Are you struggling with a problem that is sapping your energy and leaving you feeling, well… *big sigh* a bit ‘Mehh’?
Take a moment to consider how you think about that problem and how you’ve been managing it so far:-

 

  • How does your problem make you feel?  Give it a score out of ten: ’10’ being high, ‘0’ being low.
  • What level of personal energy do you bring to the problem, when you turn your attention to it?
  • On a scale of 1 – 10, how creative does your problem make you feel?

 

In my experience of working with people to help them find the way forward through and beyond their problems, I have noticed that people often get stuck in a pattern of thinking and behaviour which has proved to be ineffective, and often they will repeat the same pattern again and again with dwindling hope of getting a positive outcome. By the time people seek my help, their energy for the problem is on the floor and they will tell me that they are ‘stuck’.

Unfortunately, I don’t own a magic wand to wave over every problem (I wish I did!) but as a coach, I am  good at unsticking people and helping to unblock their creative flow, so they can explore new potential solutions.  Creativity is a plentiful renewable energy which is available to everyone. A creative person is experimental, playful, intuitive, fearless, adventurous, optimistic, limitless and resourceful, and we all have the potential to be a creative individual. After all, what cannot be explored and surpassed by an imaginative mind at play? However, play tends to decline when anxiety and worry set in…

When we think of creative people, we tend to think of musicians, artists and designers.  However, creativity is also the gentlest and humblest of activities.  We use it daily to make our lives run that little bit better, and frequently it goes unnoticed.  It’s that quiet little voice that says, ‘If I take a left at the next junction, I’ll avoid the traffic and get there quicker.’ or ‘perhaps I can use todays left overs to make soup at the weekend’.  And so, with lingering problems, when we feel like we’re  just not making any progress, we would all benefit from some input from our creative mind, if only we can provide the right conditions to think creatively.  Unfortunately, when we’re feeling stuck and frustrated, our creativity is often compromised.

What is creative thinking? We have many terms to describe the variety of recognised ‘thinking styles’. We have lateral thinking, vertical thinking, analytical, critical, strategic and solution focussed thinking, etc. And creative thinking takes it’s place amongst these styles. Creative thinking has come to be mostly characterised as the ‘lightbulb moment’, when ‘Aha!‘ an idea suddenly springs to mind.  The greatest creative thinkers use a combination of all thinking styles and go several steps further, by actually taking ideas from thought to physical action, allowing them to take form and change reality.

How can we provide our minds with the conditions it needs to think creatively? I often use a simple conversational structure in my coaching sessions from which to explore the problem solving process. Within the framework of the conversation is often an opportunity to find respite from the problem which can bring renewed energy to the table without avoiding the problem or burying heads in sand.  Here is how – I’ll use the GROW Model to demonstrate:-

GROW stands for ‘Goal’, ‘Reality’, ‘Options’, ‘Way forward’. Each stage required a good deal or research and reflection. Be realistic with a timeframe for how long you will spend in each stage; think about how long you would be with this problem if no solution was found and be generous with how long to give to this new problem solving process.  Begin by defining the problem, challenge or goal. The ‘goal’ is the objective you want to reach. Write it down and draw pictures or doodles, using images and colours to express how you would prefer things to be. For ‘Reality’, take time to digest all the facts and information you have on the problem. Remember where you started with this concern and know your position, how things stand right now.

Next comes the ‘Options’ stage, and a chance to quieten the mind so it can be illuminated with fresh ideas. Allow yourself as much time as possible to relax into this stage.  And, here comes the crucial bit, find activities which allow your mind to wander and be free from worry and analysis paralysis.  Listening to music, meditating, walking, art, craft, gardening, swimming, mindfulness, etc.  Any activity that feels good and does not require great levels of concentration will allow the creative side of your mind to open up.  All of these restful activities, particularly practicing mindfulness, the non-reactive observation of your thoughts over time, are activities that encourage ‘divergent thinking’, a type of thinking that allows new ideas to materialise.  Before and after each activity, ask gentle open questions of yourself with no demand for a response, such as: ‘If I had unlimited recourses and knew I couldn’t fail, what would I try?’  Or, ‘What have I seen others do, which might work for me?‘, ‘Who could help me?’, etc…

Since we don’t really know the exact moment when inspiration will strike, keep a small pocket notebook with you whenever possible. Write down any ideas, leads, curiosities and dreams as they appear to you.  Give yourself permission to take time out and ‘do nothing’ (responsibly and within the timeframe and the safety of the framework) whilst new ideas are being generated.   When you are ready, enter the final stage of the four-step process. The ‘Way Forward’. From your notebook of ideas, identify the most promising ones for further exploration and investigation, and take a step forward.

Give it a go, you might be surprised where this exercise takes you!

Best wishes,

Sandie

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What to do if you realise you’re in the wrong job

Discover the work you were born to do!

What to do if your career ladder is leaning up against the wrong wall.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are and you feel pleased with what you’ve accomplished so far in your career or your education. But what if you don’t feel inspired by your chosen field of work, or proud of what you do for a living?

These things are not only important, they matter greatly when it comes to your quality of life, as anyone who spends day after day counting down the hours till home-time, the weekend or their next holiday, will testify.

We all have our unique strengths, but just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it’s going to make you happy.

The simple truth is, that to be happy and successful in the work place (to frequently lose track of time because you’re so tuned-in and enthusiastic about what you’re doing) you need a job that not only matches your interests and your strengths, but brings about success simply by you being the person you really are.  My advice: Do what you actually are.

Here at High Peak Life Coaching, I specialise in helping people discover exactly that; who you really are and what work will bring you to life. I will help you explore your most valued transferable skills, what you actually enjoy doing and how you like to work.  Using a tried and tested career discovery process, I have been able to successfully redirect my clients when they have been unable to work out the best way forward for themselves. The process is simple, fun and highly effective.

To please yourself, you must know yourself.

Why is it important to ‘know yourself’ when it comes to career transition and progression?

This is an good question, because the process of understanding all aspects of who you are takes a good deal of investigation – you need to know a lot more than what is written on your CV. Creating a full inventory of who you really are matters because:-

  1. You will be more motivated to pursue your chosen career, despite any initial knock backs, because you will know in your heart that this is what you truly want to do (it’s who you really are)

  2. Knowing that you are going to find all aspects of job enjoyable (even your dream job) involves some element of good luck, however, now your luck has been calculated. You know it’s got the highest potential for success – you know your priorities and you are willing to compromise

  3. By knowing yourself well, you can describe in confidence and full detail exactly what you are looking for. This means that you can go beyond posted vacancies and use other modern methods of jobhunting. One of the best routes into the workplace is through people you already know; your network – accessing jobs which are not even advertised. Being able to clearly state what you want, to your friends, family, agency staff, LinkedIn contacts, etc., enables others to be your eyes and ears for you and they can introduce you into the workplace, and sometimes, will even get a bonus and a pat on the back for introducing you.

  4. You will learn that there could be several fields of work which interest you that match your unique strengths, skills and talents, and you can describe your suitability for this work in many ways. This means that you can approach more job markets, and not be limited by one specific ‘job-title’. If no-one is hiring for that job-title’ – well, that’s the end of your jobsearch. Now you will have passion and huge motivation to do many things, it’s just a question of what ticks the most boxes.. Your checklist will be there, in your hand.

 

Confucius, the great philosopher, said “choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” He also said, “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence”. Clever chap, that one.

If you, or anyone you know, would like professional help to build some strong foundations for lasting career satisfaction, then please get in touch today and get your career move off to a great start.

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Are you getting enough sleep?

It’s easy to forget the important role that a good nights sleep has in helping us maintain good mental and physical health.  When you sleep a number of changes take place in your body – your heart rate and respiratory system slow down and your blood pressure drops. Your endocrine system (the glands in your body) get to work on secreting the right amount of hormones into the blood stream, including  growth hormones which help to repair, regenerate and develop all systems of your body.  During sleep your mind also gets to work on a very important job – processing all the emotional and thought inducing events of your day and storing them as memories and information in the various layers of your subconscious mind.  All this sleep work is vital for ensuring good physical and emotional wellbeing.  As you can imagine, when you are feeling stressed and overloaded during your waking hours, you need good quality sleep more than ever.  When we don’t get enough sleep this important work simply doesn’t get done and you can find yourself becoming physically or mentally unwell.

Latest research suggests that we should aim to get between 7 and 9  (ideally 8) hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.  However the majority of us Brits get less than this.  In a recent survey conducted by The Sleep Council, it was revealed that “the majority of us (70%) now sleep for seven hours or less hours per night with more than a quarter (27%) experiencing poor quality sleep on a regular basis.” The survey goes on to say that nearly a third of us get by on just five to six hours per night, which is worrying considering the important role that sleep has in maintaining good health.

There is undoubtedly a problem amongst us known as ‘sleep debt’.  Losing out on two hours sleep one night means that you incur a ‘sleep debt’ of two hours.  And losing out on one hour every night for a week can be the equivalent to losing out on a full night’s sleep. When this occurs, it is important to try and pay off  any sleep debt by catching up on your sleep as soon as possible.

Sleep deprivation leads to a variety of identifiable short term symptoms including irritability, mood swings,  blurry vision, an inability to think straight, memory loss, aches and pains, muscle tension,  emotional disturbances, worry – the list goes on.  Long term symptoms include diabetes, obesity, hypertension, mental illnesses, memory loss and cell damage.

On the other hand, sleeping more than you need to is not the way to good health, either.  In fact, regularly sleeping for too long (hypersomnia) can also be linked to diabetes, weight gain and poor mental health.  Symptoms include depression, anxiety, an inability to switch on and wake up fully, low energy levels and constant tiredness and fatigue.

There can be many reasons why you are oversleeping or under sleeping, and whilst some of the stress reduction exercises I offer as a coach will help with stress related sleep issues, it is still advisable to speak to your doctor to rule out any other possible causes.

To improve the quality of your sleep, first you must respect sleep and the role it plays in keeping you well.  You must take responsibility for prioritising sleep and making enough time for it. Jessica Alexander from The Sleep Council suggests that there are three important factors involved in getting a good night’s sleep.  One, your sleeping environment; ensure at night, your bedroom is a cool, dark, quiet, clutter free sanctuary and you have a super comfortable bed.  Second is maintaining good ‘sleep hygiene’ in other words a good bedtime routine. Your body responds well to keeping regular hours and will programme you to sleep better.  Ensure you ‘wind down’ and get into sleep mode with activities like meditation, yoga, reading, doing a jigsaw – whatever works for you.  Avoid TV and gadgets which stimulate brain activity and keep you awake.  Also, avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol too close to bedtime.  And the third element is your lifestyle; what you eat, how much you exercise and how you manage stress and worry in your life will all affect how well you are able to sleep at night.

For more information on how to get a good night’s sleep, visit The Sleep Councils website:- www.thesleepcouncil.org.uk.

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Are you having a Quarter Life Crisis?

Are you having a quarter life crisis?

In my early 30’s, I recall having lunch with my Grandma when her first question to me was ‘Are you still seeing that nice boy you introduced me to last year?’  Her relief when I replied ‘Yes Grandma, actually I am’  was palpable.  ‘Oh, thank heavens’ she exclaimed ‘I didn’t think you would ever find anyone who could live up to your impossibly high standards’.  I couldn’t deny it – she had a point.

Nowhere was her point more valid than in my choice of career(s). Leaving school I aspired to be an artist. I had a good degree of talent, a portfolio I was proud of and a place at art college. By the time I left college I’d decided on a career as a photographer and shortly after graduating I became a photographer’s assistant. So far, so straightforward.

How was it then that less than twelve months later, I found myself in the rather less-than-creative role of Accounts Assistant with a well-known mortgage provider?!  I hadn’t fallen out with the photographer I assisted, or out of love with my camera and I certainly don’t recall a burning ambition to work in financial services. No, my decision was driven by a much milder ‘change of heart’; a desire to wear a suit for a change and in truth to earn a higher wage and to do something a bit different for awhile.  Besides, I could always go back to photography…

Over the following years I would sample three further (and entirely different) careers and I would also move around a lot, living a peaceful existence by the sea before heading to the bright lights and excitement of city life in London. When city living lost its’ edge, I didn’t hesitate for long – I took the bull by the horns and went off  to travel the world.  Indeed, I changed location so many times during those nomadic years of my life that my poor mum went through S (for Sandie) then T, U, V, W and X in her address book trying to keep tabs on me.  I would travel the world for the next two years before spending the final leg of my journey in Thailand, where my itchy feet got stuck in the soft sand for several months to come.  I was, I suppose, life shopping.  Trying lots of different things and thoroughly enjoying the variety of life.

Goldilocks syndrome – when having fun became my refuge in the woods…

At this time in my life, what was my attitude?  Well, I was determined to experiment with whatever ‘took my fancy’ in life, and thought I would do so until I was sure I’d found exactly what I was looking for  –  the problem was,  I didn’t really know what that was.  My attitude to  my career was the same, and relationships for that matter; I didn’t know what I was looking for in a man but what I certainly did know was that  I wasn’t going to settle down with any old Tom, Dick or Harry.  No, I was life shopping and I was going to shop around until I unearthed the right job, town, friends, man and life-style to suit me.  It would be perfect and  it would ‘feel’…  just right.

We all remember the story of Goldilocks & The Three Bears: spirited young girl goes about her way in a similar fashion, trying out this chair and that bed and every bowl of porridge on the table looking for ‘just right’. Along the way, Goldilocks’ got a nasty shock from a rather grumpy bear – and understandably so – but what I’d really like to know is, when Goldilocks curled up asleep in Big Bear’s bed, was she having a pleasant little nap or had she actually crumbled from the sheer exhaustion of all her investigations?

Was she getting weary from hours of wandering in the woods, sluggish from eating too much porridge and drained by all the choices she’d faced that day?  Or, was she  pulling that duvet up over her head because, quite frankly, she had absolutely no idea what she was doing, where she was going or what she was looking for?  Either way,  towards the end of my 20’s I was starting to understand how she felt.

With no clear sense of direction in my life and only the vague notion of finding something that felt ‘just right’ to guide me, it is hardly surprising that when I did return home, back to reality,  I would quickly find myself spiralling into my own ‘quarter life crisis’.

Qual der Wahl – The Torture of Choice

Back to my family home and bijoux box-room with no blue sky and warm sea to distract me – the reality was, I had no job, no money, no close friends, no belongings, no sense of direction and no desire whatsoever to head off on another adventure. As the first waves of panic crashed ‘OMG, I’m approaching my 30’s, I’m living at home and I don’t know what I’m doing with my life! About the only thing I did want to do was pull that duvet up over my head, and stay there, too miserable to face the challenges ahead of me.  But, when my dad observed, ‘Sandie, you’ve been moving about from one thing to another for some time now, and while I’m pleased you’ve been having fun, just try to remember  ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss’  I was surprised  just how much I really wanted some moss.

As worthwhile, educational and (let’s face it) exciting as ‘life shopping’ can be, there’s an inevitable downside. It eventually leaves the shopper feeling unsettled, disconnected, frustrated and directionless not to mention overwhelmed by the number of paths we could take. Paralysed by the fear that we might make the wrong decisions and our lives could turn out ‘less than perfect’ we can be faced with what Germans phrase ‘Qual der Wahl‘, simply meaning ‘The Torture of Choice’.

Great Expectations

A ‘quater life crisis’ can be defined as feelings of  confusion, anxiety, self doubt and low self esteem combined with an external and internal pressure to grow up and get your life in order.  A quarterlife crisis can effects young adults anywhere between 18 and 35, often after graduating college or university.  Part of us wants to avoid adulthood and the responsibility that comes with it and go out and party, yet another part of us might yearn for a great job, a great relationship and a great life by conventional standards.  Coming of age in 2012, during the toughest of economic conditions, sadly, you may feel you have fewer options than the generation that went before, and so you may feel that you have little or no choice but to move back in with your parents or take what work you can get just to pay the bills.  You may find yourself asking “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?  Why is everyone doing better than me?  Am I on the right career path?, Am I spending time with the right people?” You might even feel like time is running out.

But here’s some good news. This really is the best time in your life to be having this crisis.  Better now than when you are in your 4o’s or 50’s, trust me on this.  Ignore anyone who tells you that by the age of 25 or 30 you should have your life all figured out.  Your 20’s really are the best time to explore all possibilities, try different things, meet interesting people, develop your social skills, explore the full spectrum of your emotions, learn to live on a budget,  make the odd wrong decision and ultimately, discover who you really are.  When I look back at my own quaterlife crisis, yes, it was often a time of inner turmoil, frustration and disappointment but it was also completely life changing and life affirming as I made small improvements and moved from feeling stuck to steadily laying the foundations for the lifestyle, attitude and the peace of mind that I enjoy and thoroughly appreciate today.

 

If you (or someone close to you) are having a quarterlife crisis, then here are a few tips to help you through it:-

  • Find a healthy way to release some pressure, which in my experience, is rarely achieved by consuming unhealthy foods, alcohol or by any other stimulant such as shopping or casual relationships.  These can often make our problems seem more complicated and are best limited during transitional times when you seek clarity of thought. Try healthier forms of relaxation such as yoga, meditation, swimming, walking, writing, drawing, painting, music or reading.
  • Practice mindfulness in your daily life. Become consciously aware of where your thoughts are taking you. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the future? Or, do you get lost in thoughts and memories about the past? Either way, it is at the expense of your real life ‘now’. Practice catching yourself when you mind takes you away some place else and bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing fully on whatever you are doing right now, even if it’s nothing more than breathing. The more time you can spend in the ‘now’, the less vague life will seem as you realise that thoughts are not solid enough to stabilise you. When we are fully present in our lives, life is far simpler – all we really need in this precise moment in time are very basic things indeed.  Air, water, food and shelter. If you have access to these four things right now, then you can trust that everything is going to be ok.
  • Try not to compare yourself to other people. What other people are doing with their lives, no matter how ideal it may seem from the outside looking in, would not be right for you. You are your own unique person, enjoy your individuality. If you want a way to measure how your life is developing, only compare yourself to you, two to six month ago.
  • Laugh more, (a lot more!) Laughter is good for your soul. It helps us reduce stress so we can put things in perspective. It’s amazing how a bit of humour can diffuse the heaviest of atmospheres. It is an instant mood changer – even if you’re not in the mood for laughter, laughter can put you in a the right mood. Laughter clears the mind. When you lighten your mood you naturally become more resourceful and creative and better able to cope with the challenges of life. When was the last time you laughed? What kind of things make you laugh? Who makes you laugh? Go out of your way to find something to laugh about everyday… soon you might even be laughing at this crisis you’re having.
  • Put a set amount of time aside and set yourself a personal goal. Choose a specific amount of time and don’t go over it. Perhaps start of with an hour, and use it to think of one thing you could do which will move you one step forward in one area of your life.  For now, don’t look further than a couple of weeks ahead and make sure that whatever you decide to focus on follows a simple goal setting structure. Try the SMART model and make sure that your goal is: S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Attainable, R= Realistic, T=Timeframed.  Focus on doing one thing at a time. Celebrate every victory and use the positive energy to inspire you to set and achieve your next goal.  

 

And  for those of you who would like some additional support, then why not consider working with me as your personal life coach.  I have a wide range of tools and exercises that will help you remove mental interference and maximise your true potential.

I offer one to one life coaching in various locations around the High Peak and telephone coaching to those further afield.

Call Sandie on 07985 284 914

 

Sometimes it helps to stop thinking and start doing something proactive, if only to break the repetative cycle of ‘analyse paralysis’.

If workshops are more your thing, I currently offer two workshops which will help you find clarity and move forward in your life:-

 

‘They Key Ingredients for Career Success’ – for those who want to discover a career in which they will thrive.

“Self Discovery Workshop – for those who would like a complete Life MOT.

 

Call Sandie today for more information.

 

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National Stress Awareness Day

Taking a Positive Approach to Stress with High Peak Life Coaching

It is a beautiful morning here in the High Peak.  I am looking out over the top of my laptop, through the window, at the beautiful golden leaves gently falling from the tree tops and settling on the dewy grass below.  Stressed?  Me?   No – not today.  Although, I do have a strong personal interest in the subject – Stress Reduction in particular, and here’s why…

In my past-life, when I worked in the financial sector, there was a time when I suffered terribly at the hand of workplace stress.  It caused major friction in my life, both at work and at home.  Sadly, it went on for several months and eventually, played havoc with my internal organs.  I began suffering symptoms of a chronic and debilitating bowel disorder called Ulcerative Colitis.  I found myself in a vicious circle of stress and illness; invasive treatments and painful symptoms exasperated the stress I was already experiencing at work, and I found it increasingly difficult to focus on my job.  The more pressure I felt under, the worse my symptoms became and the harder it was to put things right.

However, this was also a time which motivated me to make some major improvements in my life.  I resolved to get some help, to break the circle, and improve my situation once and for all.  With the help of my coach and my health practitioner, I created a new daily routine implementing some brilliant stress reduction techniques & exercises.  My coaching sessions gave me  time to reflect and define a long term plan for my future happiness.  With more peace of mind, I began to resolve my issues at work, and my plans for the future began to take shape.  Over the course of a few weeks, I felt stress lose it’s grip of me, and, in unison, surprise, surprise, my physical symptoms began to improve too.  Less than 10 months later I had made a full recovery from a horrible condition which for many, can plague them for years.   And what’s more, I had got my life firmly on track for a truly rewarding and fulfilling working life.

Whatever you do for a living, you will, at some time, have experienced stress.  How did you deal with it?  Did it make you feel anxious, miserable, exhausted all the time?  Did it skewer your perception making it hard to see the best way forward?

Recognising when you, or someone you care about, is experiencing stress.

Some common symptoms are :-

 

  •  – Inability to concentrate, poor memory, unable to focus or think straight
  • – Feeling moody, emotional, irritable, tense, irrational and unable to relax
  •  – Prone to temper outbursts, withdrawal from usual activities
  •  – Changes in eating habits – eating more than usual, eating less than usual
  • – Cravings for sugary and salty foods
  • – Headaches, digestive discomforts, eye strain, fatigue, stiffness, aches and pains
  • – An increase in nail biting, smoking or alcohol consumption


However, it’s important to know that you may have been under pressure for so long that it you don’t realise you’re suffering from stress – some of the above symptoms may have become ‘normal’ to you.  It’s important to take stock regularly to evaluate how things really are.

It will come as no surprise that depression and work related stress are one of the main causes of stress reported by patients in the doctor’s surgery.  Stress experienced at home and at work can lead to depression & anxiety, heart disease, reduced immunity, high blood pressure, and as I experienced first hand, digestive system and bowel disorders.  Personnel Today Magazine recently reported that over 105 million working days are lost to stress each year – costing UK employers £1.24 billion.  This research is based on responses from almost 700 senior HR practitioners and almost 2,000 employees.

If you believe you are suffering from higher than normal levels of stress, don’t suffer in silence.

As a personal coach, I specialise in helping busy working professionals recognise and manage stress, use their time effectively and achieve much more. I help them to turn pressure into a healthy form of motivation, leading to peak performance and positive outcomes.

I have worked successfully with a wide range of clients –  from overstretched managers, disenchanted graduates, to exhausted Mums juggling the school run with a new business venture.  I have extensive knowledge on the subject of work-life balance, time management & goal achievement, and use a combination of coaching and NLP to help my clients maximise their potential.  I get a great deal of pleasure form watching my clients transform their circumstances, enjoy healthier lifestyles and move towards their own definition of life success.

‘Besides the noble art of getting things done, their is the noble art of leaving things undone…’ Lin Yutang‘The mind will answer most questions, if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.’ – William S Burroughs

 

Sometimes stress can become too much to manage on your own.  If you, or someone close to you is feeling the pressure, either at home or in the workplace, then why not get in touch for a free consultation today. Coaching is available on a 1:2:1 basis in the High Peak and my sessions have been designed to provide a powerful experience over the telephone.  Available to you know matter where you are in the country.

Call Sandie on 07985 284 914

or, email:  sandie@highpeaklifecoaching.com

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The Key Ingredients for Career Success Workshop

The Key Ingredients for Career Success Workshop

For Job ‘Plodders’, Career Shifters and for anyone considering a totally new direction.

 

Are you on the Right path?

Discover the KEY INGREDIENTS to a happy and successful working life and make 2013 the year you change your life for the better.
Deciding on what to do with your career can be a tricky business; some of us have no idea and go from one unfulfilling job to another, whilst others have too many ideas and fear making the wrong decision. Being in the wrong job can lead to frustration, boredom, workplace stress, problems at home and a mediocre life experience. In these career workshops I will share with you the secret ingredients for career happiness and success.

 

You will be given precious time to think and learn more about yourself and to reflect on what is important to you, what motivates you and where your true strengths lie.  You will leave with a personal ‘checklist’ which you can use to help you make better career decisions for the rest of your working life.

 

These careers workshops has been limited to six people per session to provide a friendly and personal experience. This is a great opportunity to make some new friends and create a support system to encourage you to make the most of your personal checklist and release your true potential.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


“A really thought-provoking and enjoyable workshop.  You realise how important it is to take the time to step back and assess things.  Thank you!” ~ Lucy Rolff

“Really well paced and constructed workshop.  A pleasure to be given time to consider my values and strengths – a very positive experience” ~ Annie Emery

“It’s a very useful starting point and provides plenty of food for thought” ~ Tracy Neil
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       


 

Please call to register your interest and to discuss whether the workshop is right for you.  Call: 07985 284 914
Or, email:  Sandie@highpeaklifecoaching.com

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


Coming soon to Manchester and the High Peak area. Career workshops will run on a Saturday afternoon from 1- 5pm. Date & Venue: T.B.C. Cost: £40
(including light refreshments and course materials)

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Getting Motivated

Getting Motivated

and Taking Charge of your Life 

Low motivation can affect us all, in varying degrees.  At worst it can become a genuine source of frustration and can lead to problems at work, at home and in our relationships, not to mention the disappointment, low self esteem and misery it can cause us on a personal level.

So, what happens when we shrink away from our best laid plans?  Well, the first thing we tend to do is get into a mental debate with ourselves about whether we’re going to do something or not.   Without this mind chatter, we would simply do what we planned to do.   I call this the ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ conversation and it can be the beginning of the end for many of our good intentions unless we are fully committed to them.  If we are not committed and our less-motivated self is given room to maneuver, we can quickly downgrade the plan and sabotage all of our best intentions. 

What motivates us?

Most people are motivated in two different ways.  Either we are motivated to move towards something we want or we are motivated to move away from something we don’t want.  Basically, we are either motivated towards pleasure or away from pain. Think about something you want.  Do you want it because it will make you feel good when you have it?  Or, do you want it because it will stop you feeling so bad when you move away from it?  Either way, if our feelings towards the outcome are strong enough, then we tend to react strongly to them.  We get motivated by things that trigger our emotions and our e-motions cause motion – they make us move.   For some, things have to get really bad before they do anything about it, which is a shame.  Others are able to clearly visualise what they want or where they want to be and are able to use this vision to inspire them to work towards getting what they want.  

When we think of the word ‘disturbed’ we may think it has negative connotation, yet being disturbed doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  Disturbed can also mean to ‘shake-up’ or to ‘invigorate’, which can also be quite refreshing.  When put to good use, negative emotions such as frustration and disappointment can be used in our favour. When these emotions stir us up enough to take some positive action, we can convert them into personal power.

Getting motivated!

  • Start by moving your body.   When we are feeling unmotivated, our body language will often reflect it.  Shoulders drooping, spine curved (sitting or slumping) , frowning expression, moving slow, breathing shallow. This is body language we do not associated with highly motivated individual, such as Olympic athletes.  How we feel emotionally will affect the way we use our bodies.  But the reverse is also true.  It is hard to feel unmotivated or sluggish for long when we have physical energy surging through our bodies. Turn up the music and move your body.  Movement affects our body chemistry and can put us in a better mood. Even a tiny movement in facial muscles (such as a smile!) can improve our mood.  Go on, Smile!

 

  • Be honest with yourself.  Do you use softeners to justify not doing things?  Softening the truth a little to placate yourself?  What do you tend to say to let yourself off the hook? Maybe you say something like: ‘I can always do it tomorrow’… ‘There’s plenty of time’… ‘I’m alright as I am’… ‘It’s not that bad’…   As Anthony Robbins would say ‘the only thing that keeps us from getting what we really deserve, are the stories we tell ourselves about why we’re not going for it’!  We must be honest with ourselves and drop any stories which are keeping us stuck.

 

  • Know your direction Do you want to move away from pain or towards pleasure? What are you holding yourself back from enjoying in your life right now? Peace of mind? A sense of satisfaction? A huge relief?  Excitement? Imagine what life will be like 6 months from now if you don’t change? And what if you do change?  What will life be like when you have achieved the result you really want?  Picture yourself now, having what you want and feeling great about it.  How will you look, how will you feel? What will you love more about your life now?  Draw a picture, write a description and imagine it in as much fine detail as possible. Use this vision to motivate you into doing something now, just as soon as you’ve finished reading this email.  Make a call, tell a friend, buy a book, make a start.  Anything that will move you one step further in the right direction.
  • Know the real goal.  If your aim is to lose some weight and you make going to the gym you number one goal, you’re missing the point.  Yes, going to the gym will help you to lose weight, but it’s not the goal.  The real goal is to lose weight and you can do this in so many more ways.  Have a plan but be flexible.  If the gym is closed for a refurb, it’s not ‘well, that’s the end of that then’, you can still keep moving forward.  Walking, swimming, cleaning, dancing … be flexible and you will find many more ways to achieve success.

 

  • Go with FLOW.  When we are in a great state we can achieve what personal coaches refer to as ‘flow’.  Flow is when we become completely absorbed in what we are doing, we’re not easily distracted and as a consequence, time flies bye.  When in flow we tend to forget our worries and concerns and become less self-conscious as we tune our thoughts in to the task in hand.  It get’s our full attention and we use our skills, knowledge and experience to the best of our ability.  This leads to peak performance.  If we can focus and give each task our full attention, we can experience more flow in our lives. We’ll achieve better results and be rewarded with a sense of satisfaction and achievement from a job well done.

 

If you’re feeling frustrated or stressed-out either at work or at home, or, if you know what you’d like to change but don’t know where to start and need some help, then why not give me a call.  I offer personal telephone coaching session to clients from all over the country and on a one to one basis in the High Peak.  I can help you get back on track. 

 

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Handling difficult conversations

“I’m sorry, it’s just not working out”

“Can we talk about my salary?”

“I strongly disagree with what you’re saying.”

There are certain conversations that we all find difficult, whether at work, at home or in a social context.  At some time or another we will find ourselves preparing  for a difficult conversation.

At times like this your heart may start to beat faster and your palms may begin to feel clammy.  It is easy to be distracted by these anxious feelings which in turn can hinder your ability to stay calm and communicate clearly what is on your mind.  At worst you may lose control of what you are thinking and saying and may even lose sight of how your words are being received…   the conversation can get ugly.

Lets begin my taking a look at how we might respond in such a situation.  The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Model provides a coaching theory I sometimes discuss with my client to help them consider how difficult situations may be affecting their communication and behaviour.  The diagram below highlights four different types of behaviour in terms of warm and cold, dominant and submissive.

Can you identify with one particular style of behaviour more than another?

The ideal communication style is outlined in the top right.  The characteristics of this are Warm and Dominant.  ‘Warm’  meaning friendly, approachable, honest and empathetic.  ‘Dominant’ meaning confident, strong, clear and focused.

If you find yourself leaning more towards cold behaviour; either aggressive or submissive, in preparation for, or during a difficult conversation, then it’s time to consider what to do to get yourself back into a more resourceful state. Taking a step back from the situation, even just for a second, will give you a chance to reflect. The desire to change your state will give way to changes in your body language, tonality and the words you use, and will have a positive effect on you and the person you are talking to.  As outlined in the diagram above, communication that aims to be warm, assertive and flexible will often allow you to think clearly and respond effectively to most responses.  Even if you don’t get exactly the outcome that you were hoping for, you will find yourself in a good position to negotiate and to propose a compromise that you can both be happy with.  Maintaining rapport and trying to keep the communication warm, friendly and clear allows us to find creative ways to explore and meet our own needs and the needs of others.

Six ways to successfully manage a difficult conversations.

  • Be prepared. Spend adequate time considering what you want to achieve by having the conversation. Write down the key point you want to raise and list any further points in order of importance. What would your ideal outcome be for each point? If you would like their input with finding a solution, or if you have a proposal for a solution of your own, write them down next to each point. Picture yourself confidently and assertively raising the issues on your list and explaining your ideas for possible solutions.
  • Put yourself in their shoes. How would you receive this information? Anticipating their response will help you to consider carefully your language and your body language and be more prepared for their response, including the possibility of an emotional response.
  • Consider the most appropriate time and place for the conversation. Chose a time and place when you will both feel comfortable, will not be rushed for time and without the fear of being interrupted. If necessary, reassure the person you’re talking to that the conversation is confidential. Have a time frame in mind before you start talking. If it becomes clear that the conversation is going to take longer, don’t be tempted to rush things through or run over time. The last thing you both want is to feel exhausted by the conversation and late for your next appointment, or worse, to make a poor decisions. Agree to meet again to continue the conversation at another suitable time.
  • Indicate that you want a constructive conversation. Think about what your body language is saying; does it signal that you are approachable, non-threatening and ready to talk and listen? Don’t skirt around the issue – once you have thanked them for their time, stick to the preparation you did in advance of the conversation. Stay in control. If you find your tonality changing, either speeding up and getting louder (getting frustrated) or slowing and getting quieter (losing confidence), adjust your posture. Whether you are sitting or standing, change your physiology to be more relaxed or more assertively and your tone of voice and language will follow suit.
  • Avoid hightening emotions by using ‘I’ instead of ‘You’. When dealing with inappropriate behaviour, instead of pointing the finger of blame, which makes people want to defend themselves, start by explaining how the behaviour effected you. ‘I was very disappointed that you missed the appointment yesterday…’ instead of ‘You missed a very important meeting again.’
  • Stay focused on solutions and future goals. It is more fruitful to ask ‘How can we do better next time?’ then ‘Why did it go wrong?’. We can not change the past but we can explore and identify the best way to move forward for future success.

 

If you are working through some tough decisions or need advice on handling difficult conversations, why not get in touch for a free consultation.  I can’t make the problem disappear but I can certainly help you to put your best foot forward.  Call Sandie on 07985 284 914.

Best wishes,

Sandie,
High Peak Life Coach

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Your Coach! Sandie Shaw

Call me today on 07985 284 914