Articles

GCSE Stress – Tips for Exam Success

Every couple of weeks I go to a local school and talk to the students about what I do.  They get to ask me questions about my role as a coach and find out about the profession.  I love it. It is a real highlight for me.

I love finding out about how kids think, what their priorities are and what they worry about.  So far this year, I have only met year 11 students (15/16 year olds) and their biggest focus is their GCSE exams and how to prepare for them.

I tell each group that I meet the same exact thing, and it occurred to me that maybe a blog post about it might help others too.

The advice I give is pretty simple – there is no science behind it.  But sometimes, the most important messages are the simplest ones.

So here it is – my guide to managing stress as you work towards your GCSE’s. Continue reading “GCSE Stress – Tips for Exam Success”

20 Seconds of Insane Courage

20 Seconds of Insane Courage

In 2011 a film was released called “We Bought a Zoo”.  It was a lovely film but not one that stands out in the memory against some of the bigger blockbusters that followed it.

What does stand out though is a single line of dialogue.  A line that has become famous in its own right.

“You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

20 seconds of insane courage.  It doesn’t sound like much does it?  And when you think about it, how much more courage do we honestly need when it comes to the big stuff? Continue reading “20 Seconds of Insane Courage”

Strictly Empowering Women – I am no Victim

The Strictly Curse

I love Strictly Come Dancing.  Seriously. I have the ringtone, my dog has a sequinned collar, Saturday nights are sacred.  I. Love. Strictly.

What I love less is the rumoured “Strictly Curse”.  The nonsensical theory that if you go on Strictly your relationship / marriage will die a grisly death.  The absolute certainty that you will surely have an ill-fated relationship with your celebrity dance partner.

A Sequin-Covered Bubble

There is clearly provenance here.  There have been many relationships forged through the hours of intense training that Strictly requires.  And hey, I get that.  It must be a very strange environment to exist in – like a sequin-covered bubble of glitter and sparkle and terror.

But the events of this week have surpassed anything I have ever seen in the 15 previous years of Strictly.

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Self Employment – Living the Dream or a Total Nightmare?

Self employment dream or nightmare

Having been away for a few days, I think it is fair to say that I am struggling to catch up with things at work. Self employment is by no means a fairytale of time freedom and a carefree existence. There is so much that you need to think about and it extends far beyond the things that might feel obvious for a coach to worry about.  

For example, to run a business these days, you need to have a strong social media presence. That means you have to have a strategy…yep….an actual strategy about what to post and when!

You need to keep on top of what you are spending, who you are talking to, building your network, developing your products. And for me, this is all on top of talking to clients and planning sessions!

Being your own boss is as exhausting as it is exhilarating. And if I am being honest, sometimes it is just plain exhausting! Continue reading “Self Employment – Living the Dream or a Total Nightmare?”

A Powerful Reminder: Choosing to Live in the Present Moment

Living in the present moment

Every morning my husband and I take our dog for a walk before breakfast.  It is our routine and allows me to clear my mind and focus my entire morning thereafter on my clients.  We always take the same route. Our dog is jumpy around other dogs.  We try and keep her to a route that is less popular with dog walkers.

We often see an older lady who walks alone, always with purpose, and we believe that she lives in the residential home along our route. She is always smiling and always wishes us a good morning and compliments us on how pretty our dog is and how nice I look (bless her!). We cross paths briefly and never stop for any kind of conversation beyond the same pleasantries.

Rain

This morning, she said her usual stuff about the dog being pretty and telling us both how nice we looked – but she also added that it was good that it wasn’t raining. We agreed, and we moved on as always.

Less than 15 minutes later, we saw her again. As we approached she complimented us on our dog and how nice we both looked and then added that it was good that it wasn’t raining.

I had often thought that she was someone who struggled with her memory.  But this morning it became clear that she has no short term memory whatsoever. Continue reading “A Powerful Reminder: Choosing to Live in the Present Moment”

Back to School Anxiety – What can we do to help our kids

Back to School AnxietyAnxiety – we all experience it to some degree.  Some of us are aware of it, others don’t notice it and for a growing number of people, it becomes life limiting and restrictive.

Back to School

We are now coming to the end of of the school summer holidays in England and I know that there are many children and young people out there who are feeling anxious about what lies ahead for them in September.   Continue reading “Back to School Anxiety – What can we do to help our kids”

Self Esteem – Something our children can no longer rely on?

Childhood self esteem

Self esteem is a fragile yet essential ingredient for a happy and fulfilling life right? I realise that I may be viewed as biased on this subject. After all helping people raise their self esteem is kind of what I do!  But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be a much happier person if I knew in my heart that my services were no longer needed.

I honestly believe that having a high level of regard for ourselves as people is our birthright. But I am also keenly aware that we live in the age of filters and airbrushing and Kardashians. The chances of our children and young people holding on to their own self esteem is getting slimmer.

Fake Perfection

Through all forms of media, we are constantly bombarded by images of perfection.  The press get excited when a brand announces that their latest model has un-airbrushed stretch marks.  But honestly, one or two teeny stretch marks does not make a model real – in my opinion anyway.

So how do we as parents ensure that our children grow up without having their minds melted by this constant onslaught of fake perfection?  What support exists for us to help our children? Continue reading “Self Esteem – Something our children can no longer rely on?”

Snapchat Dysmorphia – When a Filter is no longer enough

Has it ever occurred to you that in the world today – with all of it’s technology and “progress” – it is getting harder and harder to maintain our self esteem?  We exist in a culture of perfectionism.  Our children face a barrage of comparison and constant sharing of images.

Social media has created a culture that screams “look at me”.

For some, the pressure that this creates can lead to very real issues with body image and self esteem.

And this “look at me” culture was amplified when the concept of the selfie became popular.  Suddenly it was okay to take a picture of ourselves pouting and share it with the world.  I thought that was a bit odd in all honesty, but I couldn’t see the harm in it unless it became an obsession.

But then things got a bit more advanced and filters were introduced.  We could add bunny ears to our pictures or distort our faces in ‘hilarious’ ways.  Again, all pretty harmless right? Continue reading “Snapchat Dysmorphia – When a Filter is no longer enough”

The Power of Doing Nothing – Why being still is so good for your health

power of doing nothingI have noticed something rather disturbing about myself recently.  I have become a person who cannot just sit and be still.  No longer am I able to settle into doing nothing.

If I sit down, then I reach for a device – a phone, my iPad – whatever is nearest to me.  Then I surf, check social media, play a few games of mahjong…..and there goes an hour of my life I’ll never get back!

I tell myself that as an online coach, I have good reason to be no further than six inches from the internet at any given moment of my life.  But in all honesty, is that good for me?  Nope.

And now I notice that my 15 year old son is unable to be anywhere without his earbuds in.  Constantly streaming music or chatting to his friends on Skype, FaceTime or whatever the latest and greatest app is.

So my question is, when did we lose the ability to just be still and comfortable doing nothing?  Continue reading “The Power of Doing Nothing – Why being still is so good for your health”

Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Living in your comfort zone

Imagine spending thousands of pounds to build a beautiful home, that is everything your dreamed it could be….and then not living in it.  Crazy right? Now imagine the investment of time, effort and achievement that has gone into making you the person that you are today.  Are you maximising that?  Are you relaxing in your dream home?  Or are you dwelling in the safety of your comfort zone?

It’s an interesting question, and somewhat ironically, it’s one which I was required to pose to myself, when writing this (and every) article.  Writing is not my trade.  It is not something that I would list as one of my key strengths.  Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) always feels like a pretty big risk.  Would I be good enough, could I write something worth reading?

The Comfort Zone is defined as a behavioural space where your activities and behaviours minimise stress and risk.  This is something that we should all recognise as being pertinent to at least one area of our life.  And this is because the creation of a comfort zone is a necessary choice for much of our daily lives.

But is it healthy in all aspects of life?   Continue reading “Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone”