Nothing could have prepared us for the last 18 months. Living through unprecedented times has meant many struggled with feelings, emotions, and purpose due to the upheaval and change of the circumstances they unexpectedly found themselves in
As humans, we deal with things differently. While some ploughed themselves into the community spirit and helped those in need, others questioned and reassessed their current life choices and the impact on their future. Perhaps you did both? The likelihood is we all came out of it with questions. But what now?
Looking deep into our existence is not something many do unless faced with serious illness, but the pandemic gave us time to reflect and question what it is which is important to us and whether we are genuinely living the life we want to lead.
It is unlikely that anyone came away completely unchanged in either their lifestyle or their thinking, but if the whole situation has left you feeling a little bit lost, take comfort in knowing you’re not alone.
Maybe you don’t want to go back to your old life? Perhaps you found your passion doing things a different way and this has actually made you reassess your priorities, or made you feel you’ve been working for materialistic things rather than doing what your soul actually enjoys. You might have discovered new loves and interests during lockdown that you want to carry on with but don’t know where they fit into this new post-covid world.
This is where a qualified coach can help you. Values based coaching not only provides clarity in a time of uncertainty, but can guide you to identify and focus on what is important to you. Using proven strategies we can construct a goal-based plan to help you find your unique purpose and start to live the life you desire.
Now is actually a really good time for people to work on their personal development and drop their “Shoulds” For example, ‘This is what I should be doing” or “This is where I should be in life”. It is a good time to let go of everything we think we ‘should’ be and instead think “What do I want to be doing?”, “What really makes my heart sing?”. Because of pre-conditioned ideas of who we think we should be, the expectations of family, work and society, many people understandably walk around with an ongoing internal conflict
I like to use the analogy that we are all born as diamonds, but through life and society we end up covered in dirt and mud, so we try to coat ourselves in nail varnish to make ourselves sparkle once more, when really we need to buff away at that outer cover and find our inner diamond – to be ourself.
Coaching conversations not only unlock feelings, they can help find your confidence and the motivation to go back to your core, let go of those limiting beliefs and live your truest life.
Get in touch today to have a coaching conversation all about you, your potential, and your aspirations.
You can contact me in the following ways:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – https://twitter.com/loulifematters
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/louise-startin-coaching-development-resilience-change/
Website – https://www.lifematterscoaching.co.uk
We’re going back to the 90’s….
Often during times of uncertainty we go back to a ‘simpler’ time..we get a little rose tinted in our retrospective and think back to when we (we think) were happier, or more carefree, or able to socialise more freely, or enjoyed our job, had a memorable relationship maybe and so on…..
In uncertain times, it’s useful to have ‘anchors’ around us, routines and habits that keep us ‘on track’; friendships that provide unconditional support, hobbies that allow some ‘me time’ or specific pieces of music that just fill you with past emotions and feelings. One band’s music that does that for me is U2 who I saw in Paris on the ‘LoveTown’ tour in 1990. Their 1991 Album ‘Actung Baby’ included the song One, with lyrics hinting at the end of something, a change of routine, shifting priorities & maybe altering needs of individuals. Sound familiar…?
If your retrospective glance back at simpler times to help you get through these current challenging times isn’t quite doing it for you, try reaching out to a professional who can support you and offer a chance at re-connecting with the inner you, the potential you.
I’ve re-commenced face to face session on Saturday mornings at Sage Therapy Centre in Nottingham, and of course virtual online sessions are also available at flexible times to suit you too.
Take time out to make yourself number #ONE soon & get in touch
Have a great week
With all the talk of a second lockdown and facing the coming winter months with so many factors out of our control, I’ve decided this week that I’m channelling all things related to ‘mindset matters’.
By this I mean: I’m aiming to keep showing up, being consistent in what I’m doing, have faith that I’m on the right track, staying up beat and not getting too caught up in being ‘busy’ with no real progress being made….a tricky balance at the best of times.
As the evenings draw in, I’m also trying to find time to ‘just be’. This slowing down in the evenings becomes almost an art-form, as I gather blankets around me, light candles and sip a hot chocolate, actively practising Danish hygge https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygge or the Norweigen version: koselig https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/koselig
After spending the last weekend in the Cotswolds with old school friends enjoying each other’s company in real life with good food and a real fire it’s set me up for a calm, positive, & optimistic week ahead. I’ve also enjoyed reading a recent article https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/sep/26/dreading-a-dark-winter-lockdown-think-like-a-norwegian by David Robson via The Guardian, which is focussed on how mindset matters for the inhabitants of the most northerly point in Europe as they prepare for the long, dark (sunless) winter ahead. Choosing to adopt a different thought process about the challenges they face for an extended 5 month wintertime, the local population actually thrived and maintained positive wellbeing scores in studies.
So, my aim for the coming weeks is to not only act in looking after myself and taking positive, constructive steps to deal with challenging situations, but to also to think & speak more positively about these situations. Verbalising our positive intentions can be so powerful. That’s why working with a coach is so beneficial – you are expressing your intentions positively, powerfully & out loud.
Get in touch to chat about how we can prepare you for future challenging situations, don’t face them alone, reach out – email@example.com
Which way is right for me right now…?
In all of this talk of ‘slowing down’ and ‘embracing our true selves’ or ‘now having time to achieve those long-held aspirations’…you may feel (as I have) that you could be & should be taking some really crucial potentially life-altering decisions right now.
Maybe some people are and good luck to them. For me (and I suspect others), just making those small everyday decisions to get through the day is enough at the moment. We are faced with decisions such as:
- How much do I enforce the home-schooling routine whilst still juggling my own working responsibilities…?
- As I’m furloughed could I / should I be undertaking some career enhancing online training…?
- How do I maintain relationships with others virtually…?
- What is my role in society now…how can I help others…?
- I’m still earning, I’m healthy, I’m enjoying extra time with family…but is this ‘too good’ to be true…?
We all make decisions in different ways, some taking advice from friends & family; some looking to others for comparison; others undertaking in-depth research; others going with their ‘gut’ – all have their place. In being occupied with the multitude of every-day decision making we can over-look or put off the bigger potentially more crucial decisions as it feels too hard or we ‘haven’t got the time’ or we simply feel over-whelmed with all of our possible options.
As a coach my role is to provide a space where all methods of decision making and all available options can be explored and time can offered for you to go through your own process in finding your answer to your question. We sometimes forget that we are our own experts and we have the answers we need……often it’s just a little nudge from a ‘critical friend’ supporting you to dig to discover (or re-discover) what really matters.
Get in touch to see how we can work together in a few short sessions to help you end your decision paralysis and unlock the answers to your future life – in your career and in your self-development.
The art of the self-soothe – remembering to relax & wind down this week:
As Christmas approaches, are you reflecting on the year that has passed? Or even the decade? It’s been quite a turbulent few years in which the world has developed at an incredible pace, especially in technology. We are more connected than ever before, with a multitude of social platforms to choose from. Yet for many of us this can also present overwhelming challenges.
At this time of year, emotions can run high as we rush to complete projects at work, attend various school or social events, plan the ‘perfect’ Christmas celebrations, and present that ‘competent and confident’ persona at all times.
So, amidst the noise, how can you process your place in the world and begin to think about what lies ahead? How do you measure success or satisfaction at work or in relationships? What plans for your future excite you and drive you forward?
Many of us don’t have the luxury of a fjord nearby but there is growing evidence of the benefit of being amongst trees. They’re believed to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, and even give off an immune-boosting chemical. Getting outdoors, going for a walk and a having a change of scenery can be a great way to give yourself a mental break and refresh. I often incorporate this into my coaching sessions, as I find it’s a great way to help people relax and shift into a different mindset, often prompting exciting, creative or ambitious ideas that we then work on turning into reality.With a nod to the winter landscape, in the UK we often take inspiration from our Nordic cousins. The Norwegians have a slightly ironic phrase, ‘føling i fjæra’ – which (I’m assured) roughly translates as ‘feeling emotional while staring out to sea (or a fjord)’. Sometimes just being with your emotions can help to reflect on how we’re feeling, what we’ve achieved or what hasn’t gone quite the way we hoped it would. Without that time and space we run the risk of going through the motions, like a hamster on a wheel. But with all the pressures of modern life, this can lead to stress and burnout.
As the decade draws to a close, you may wish to think about new beginnings, or consolidating something you’ve been working on already. How can you build on your achievements as you head into 2020? Maybe you’re thinking of changing direction or facing a new challenge. Whether you’re staring out to sea, walking in the woods or having a cosy moment at home, now is a good time to slow down, step back, reflect on the past and think about the new year.
To find out how Life Matters Coaching can help you find the right balance in your work, your personal life and your business, get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.
This week I happily took part in a ‘press photo call’ celebrating the installation of a community based defibrillator on Mapperley Plains.
Originally the idea of Alan Dawson of the community group ‘Mapperley People’ – the purchase & installation of this potentially life-saving machine was a group effort via individual donations. I wanted to be a part of this initiative as it seemed ‘the right thing to do’, so Life Matters Coaching Ltd donated to boost the coffers.
I didn’t have to think twice about donating: it seemed natural, a great use of technology, and a worthwhile cause for the wider community. In life there are often these ‘no-brainer’ decisions or actions we take, each particular to ourselves, our values and our view on our world. It just seems ‘to fit’.
When we take these actions, be it volunteering at a church group or local Brownies group, or picking up litter on an organised litter drive, or collecting donations for the local Food Bank, we are supporting and playing a part in the society around us – it feels good.
This feel good factor comes from us supporting others and influencing the world around us, even in tiny every-day ways and it’s important, not just to our local community but it benefits our own mental health and satisfaction with our life.
Volunteering or supporting local groups gives us meaning and a connection to our world, which in turn increases our happiness and satisfaction with how we are living out our lives.
If you are looking for ways to increase your own happiness do something to support someone else – it’s a win-win!
1:1 coaching can help you live a more meaningful life and facilitate your own unique ‘happiness recipe’ – get in touch for an friendly chat today
As winter approaches, the dark nights find many of us doing our best to hibernate. Whilst we may have to settle for a few extra hours under the duvet, we naturally seek solace indoors at this time of year. Yet without realising, many of us will probably be enjoying some aspects of life-coaching.
Whether it’s settling down with a good book or spending time with friends and family, we have a tendency to find comfort at home during the colder months. Candles and fires are lit and we begin to embrace the simple pleasures in life. As the year draws to a close, we often reminisce with loved ones, friends or colleagues. That’s because talking over events of the past year helps to put it into perspective. We might feel grateful for what we have, or some of us may be adjusting to unexpected challenges.
These long, relaxed conversations can really help us to consider where we are and where we’d like to be. Chatting over a meal or drink is almost like an informal coaching session. Talking through ideas and aspirations can motivate us to make changes and plan for the year ahead.
Experts in enduring long winters, the Danes even have a word for the most enjoyable aspects of the season – Hygge.
Being ‘hyggeligt’ doesn’t involve buying things – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s more of a feeling – the kind we might experience over a meal with family, or a drink with friends. Or even just alone, curled up watching your favourite movie. There’s an almost meditative element to hygge. Most of all it’s about being present in the moment and savouring the experience.
Our Scandinavian friends also gave us the word ‘Yule’, which is still in use today. Many of our favourite festive traditions come from the midwinter festivals of hundreds of years ago. The Christmas tree, wreaths on the door and of course the Yule log.
In the northern hemisphere, winter solstice historically celebrated new beginnings, as the sun of the previous year ebbed away. Nowadays we celebrate the new year in much the same way. We reflect on the year that has passed and imagine what the new year might bring. It seems like the perfect time to nurture ourselves and our relationships. The slower pace of life gives us time to contemplate where we are and, as our ancestors did, think about new beginnings.
Of course, there is also Christmas to think about. With so much pressure to have a magical time, it can often make it difficult to find a peaceful moment to gather your thoughts. If this sounds familiar, why not treat yourself to some one-to-one coaching? We provide the space for you to think, breathe, reflect and think about where you want to be in the year ahead.
A helping hand
As Christmas approaches, we often think about loved ones we may have lost or those less fortunate than ourselves. International Volunteer Day is held in December. It’s a celebration of the hard work and kindness of people who give their time to help others. For the thousands of volunteers in the UK, winter can be an especially busy period.
Many members of our community need extra help and support at this time of year, yet this is often provided by volunteers. Whether it’s doing a shift at the local library to help keep it open or providing companionship to those who are lonely, volunteers are all around us. Their time and effort help to make the world a better place to live in.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to give something back and connect with people. At LifeMatters, we can help you explore your passions and think about how you can use them to support those around you. Whether that’s at work, at home or in your local community. Get in touch to find out how we can help you make positive changes in your life.
Finally, however you’re planning to spend the winter months, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and hyggeligt winter. We look forward to seeing you in 2018.
In addition to being a Bon Jovi lyric for ‘Livin On A Prayer’ – we are indeed ‘half-way there’ in terms of the calendar year right now. This milestone in the year has reminded me of those conversations about resolutions we seem to have at the New Year. Personal resolutions such as: getting fitter; joining a gym; spending more quality time with our family and so on. Lots of us also make work-based goals: secure a promotion; find a new job in a new company; build better work relationships; make an impact at work etc.
Yet despite our best efforts, research shows that just 8% of us fully achieve our New Year’s resolution with 25% of people who make goals giving up within the first week! http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/
With that in mind, and to support myself in achieving one of my goals this year, I joined an online community and made a public commitment which was tracked via an app. Crucially, I was ‘rewarded’ with feedback and ‘thumbs up’ icons and I felt my achievements were celebrated. I lasted a full 6 weeks doing it this way – definitely longer than I would have done normally and it encouraged me to add new elements into my exercise routine, which, continue to this day.
If you made a resolution or a commitment to a goal earlier this year – how is it going? Have you achieved what you set out to do? Have you changed behavior and habits you previously struggled with?
Even if you haven’t yet fully reached your aim, it’s still worth thinking about how far you have come and celebrating the small changes that often add up and create a more positive life. Perhaps, that original goal is no longer relevant – that’s fine, things change. But what new goal is now more relevant and excites you…? Have you drifted and now want to ensure you realise at least one new goal this year…?
To help you achieve a goal in 2015, you could try this simple exercise:
- Write down the goal you want to achieve & set a timeframe
- Think about the behaviours and actions you now need to initiate:
- What could you STOP doing – ie: what are you currently doing that makes it hard for that goal to be realised..?
- What behaviours or attitudes could you MINIMISE/REDUCE to help support your goal
- What new actions could you START doing
- What’s going well that you should CONTINUE that supports your goal
- Think about your environment including your support network that will help you achieve your aim and any ‘tools’ you might need
Remember, identify a goal that you are motivated and committed to achieve. Be bold and be public in your commitment. Write it down or use a vision board. Track your progress – one small step at a time. Find an advocate to support you & don’t forget to celebrate when you achieve it!
A good coach can be the ideal advocate when tackling big life-changing goals. A coach is a cheerleader supporting you and offers important constructive feedback to keep you on track, and when you have achieved – they can help you review and celebrate your efforts!
March Blog – Your Personal Census
On this day (March 10th) in 1801, Britain undertook it’s first ever national census. This event has taken place in Britain every ten years since – with the exception of 1941 due to WW11. By the time of the next one in 2021, I’ll be looking forward to celebrating my half-century, one child may be about to leave home for University or travels and my coaching practice will officially be 10years old! There’s got to be at least one thing in that list to celebrate..?!
In daily life we are constantly assessing: which route to take to work; is there time for a second coffee; whether to accept an invitation to an event; even what’s in the fridge for lunch! Things are the transactional assessments we have to go through to navigate our way through daily routines at work and at home. There is also the need to assess issues that may affect us longer-term: a job-offer; school choices for our children; save for something or use credit; give up smoking or not.
Then there are assessments on a deeper level, which require us, like a census, to take stock, identify common themes, celebrate diversity, and celebrate our achievements to date. In the rush to ‘do’ in our daily lives, it’s easy to forget that some assessment or re-assessment of our status quo, is healthy and needed on a regular basis, certainly more frequently than once every 10 years!
Here are some questions that you could ask yourself in your personal census:
- Am I living the life I dreamed of 10years ago…? If not, which bits could I change to work better for me (and/or those around me)
- What am I most proud of at this moment in time?
- Which 5 values do I hold dear and symbolise the way I live my life?
- What’s the 1 thing I couldn’t live without?
- Do I surround myself with people who lift me up; inspire & energise me?
To fully benefit from this personal census, you may need to take action to change something or share your thoughts with your nearest and dearest. It may be that for now, simply acknowledging this personal assessment is enough.
If you would like guidance on undertaking your own personal census, or support in making some desired changes, you could try coaching.
Personal coaching is a great way of identifying areas for change and working with an independent support resource to make it happen. Get in touch today – firstname.lastname@example.org www.lifematterscoaching.co.uk
10 Tips to overcome the challenges in maintaining and enhancing human connections in a virtual workspace
During the last 6 months I have been working with several clients in the banking sector, helping them to prepare for redundancy, taking practical steps such as CV reviews & interview prepping, and also working on building confidence and resilience for successful job campaigning. It’s reminded me that when individuals face life changing challenges such as redundancy (especially in these strange times) a human connection is as important as ever.
As social animals humans need connections with others, especially when navigating uncertain scenarios and environments. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we have all been dis-connected in some way from colleagues, friends and family.
In my work I have been ‘meeting’ with clients solely through online platforms, learning tips and new skills along the way. For many, meeting ‘virtually’ is a whole new experience and the challenge in ensuring that the individual feels important and of value, requires additional focus and attention from my side.
Here are some tips that I find work well in providing a human connection within our virtual world:
- Check your broadband connection – if you are working from home, do you have a solid connection? There is nothing worse, dropping out of a meeting, picture freezing or having to cancel the meeting. I have invested in additional connectivity to reduce this risk.
- Check your equipment – is your camera and microphone working?
- Check your background, does it look clear and uncluttered?
- Are you prepared for the meeting…both in terms of your agenda and ideal objective (think WIN:WIN), and also with the equipment or resources you may need to refer to.
- Turn-up a few minutes early to the meeting (if you are hosting). Breathe & be calm and relaxed.
- Turn on your camera. I know this sounds obvious, but from experiences and hearing others who are having virtual meetings/interviews – turn on your camera. Remember, Humans use body language to communicate. There is nothing worse than speaking to an empty screen.
- Do not be distracted by your phone or email. Again, I have witnessed people checking emails or scrolling through their phone when on a call – be ‘present’ throughout the meeting.
- Active listening and pause in between verbal exchanges. Humans tend to consider their responses, if you need to pause to consider your response, then take it.
- Treat the person in the virtual meeting with respect, behave how you would if you were there in person with them.
- Finally, wrap-up, agree actions or next steps and conclude on a positive note. We are building long-lasting relationships human to human.
If you want to develop further skills and confidence in having challenging and complex conversations with your teams and colleagues, then please visit my Solutions page for additional services.