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Coaching

If not today, then when

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Then when?

(Currently pulling myself out of my bank holiday torpor to try and get some things done, except lying here with some escapist reading is a tad too pleasurable, particularly as my body is wrecked from deadlifts and climbing this morning.)

Coaching

Through the eyes of a child

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
– Little Gidding, T.S. Eliot

I grew up in Singapore but have now spent more than half my life in the UK. When I go back to see my family, the place is simultaneously familiar and strange. I’ve learnt that the best way to appreciate things is to look at them not just as a visitor but like a child, valuing the wonder of it all.

This world is waiting for you to see it from ever-new perspectives and to keep discovering it, as if for the first time.

Journey

What is to give light must endure burning

What is to give light must endure burningYou will gain strength from the things that have broken you, and be filled with light from the things that have burned you.

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in”
– Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Inspiration

A message of hope

IMG_1412Whatever your faith, Easter brings a universal message: that no matter how dark the day, there is always hope. For all your Good Fridays, may there be an Easter Sunday. Wishing you peace and joy.

Latest posts

Perspectives

IMG_1579Learning to view a situation from different perspectives can be a game changer. What we see isn’t usually the whole picture – shifting position helps us make sense of much more of the world and our relationships.

Identity

Alter egos

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We all have alter egos of a fashion – a community of selves, multicoloured, multifaceted, sometimes complicated. The shadow does split. We flex and adapt to different circumstances that require a slightly different us each time.

Mindfulness

Look up and pay attention

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How much do you actually look at the things around you when you’re walking? I’ve been watching people going about their lives today – all so focused, eyes dead ahead, intent on getting somewhere else, absorbed in their phones or inhabiting some other world while plugged into headphones.

We all do it, but you know, it’s so much more satisfying to notice the clack and echo of your heel on the ground, the ebb and flow of sound as it sifts its way around you, and the patterns of light and shadow.

Also, when you look up and pay attention, you see gems like this cow on a yellow wall that I saw in Digbeth on Saturday while admiring the graffiti.

Goals and dreams

The Knife Angel

I spent much of Friday in and around Coventry Cathedral meeting new clients; contemplating life, art and the world; having deep conversations; and meeting the Knife Angel. He is pretty spectacular. So is life. Don’t take it for granted. Go out there and grab it with everything you’ve got.

Articles

Self-care isn’t selfish

I’ve always loved Scott Adams’ funny and astute observations about the working world in Dilbert and these delectable strips on work-life balance are no exception.

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Those of you who have come to one of my talks on this theme may remember me saying that I don’t really like calling it ‘work-life balance’. I think the trouble with the word ‘balance’ is that it seems to imply some sort of tradeoff between work and not-work, whereas life and work is usually much more tightly knitted than that. I prefer thinking of it in terms of integration instead. How do your work and the rest of your life fit and flex together in response to any given set of circumstances?

I often find that clients will come to coaching with a particular conundrum like ‘help me get a new job’ or ‘I want to make a career change’. Once we start exploring their situation, however, it quickly becomes apparent that the approach that needs to be taken is far more holistic in nature. Work may be the presenting challenge, but there are often issues relating to confidence and self-doubt, identity, relationships and clarity of focus all tied up in that. The nature of lots of work these days is that you can take it with you – which of course is a huge part of the problem, because thanks to mobile and cloud technology, you can now not only work from home, but everyone else’s home as well. Hurrah!

There will always be times in which you’ll actually need to work through an intense, demanding and stressful period at work. But many of us get into the habit of always being ‘on’, which never gives the mind and body a chance to recover. And typically what happens, because burnout builds slowly, is that the continual pressure goes unacknowledged until you experience some sort of crisis.

There are always signs that point the way to impending burnout – exhaustion, irritability and impatience, loss of perspective, emotional volatility, and a decline in physical health. The key thing is catching these well before you get to the tipping point.

When someone talks about ‘self-care’, what do you think about?

“Cancelling plans is ok. Staying home to cook is ok. Disappearing for a bit to get your life together is ok. Resurfacing in a foreign country with a new name 10 years later is ok. It’s called self-care.”
– A meme all over the Internet  

It seems to be a bit of a health buzzword these days, but I want to encourage you to look at it as something sustainable for the long haul, not some wellbeing fad, and especially not something that is intrinsically self-centred. I’ll tell you now – if you’re the kind of person to worry that self-care is selfish, it’s a fair bet that you probably aren’t selfish. And, funnily enough, you’re probably also not taking care of yourself.

It’s time to change that.

Get a paper and pen now, because we’re going to do a bit of work. Do you know what’s in your self-care recipe? By which I mean, do you know all the things that re-energise you and bring you peace? Take a moment now to reflect on that, and then make a list of ten of those things.

Done? Let’s take a look. Here’s my list.

  1. Solitude and quiet
  2. Allowing myself to not achieve
  3. Plenty of sleep
  4. Books, music and headphones
  5. Exercise
  6. Saying no
  7. Massage
  8. Remembering that not everyone has to like me
  9. Deep one-on-one conversations
  10. Not sweating the small stuff

What’s on your list? What are you doing well, and what are you not doing enough of? What changes are you going to make to rebalance your life?

Self-care isn’t selfish; it allows you to recalibrate and replenish yourself so that you can continue to give. It’s a bit like putting on your own oxygen mask first so that you can make sure you’re able to put on someone else’s later. You can say no (and still be a good and kind person), and it is absolutely fine to not always ‘live up to’ the expectations placed on you (both by yourself and by other people). Allow yourself the breathing space – you will find that you come back all the stronger for the rest.     

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

 

 

Coaching

My life is better than your holiday

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(I’m not talking about my life vs. your holiday. That would be unbearably smug.)

I’ve had so many conversations in the past couple of weeks about people who are unhappy, whether that’s due to their work (or work culture and environment), their life situation, or because they’re drifting through the world without direction or purpose. Then they go on holiday and for one moment the world is great, the sun is shining and they’ve got a fabulous tan.

And then they come home and it’s back to normal programming, counting down to the next time they can get away.

Life shouldn’t be something you mostly try to escape from. If this is you, a better life could be just one decision away. Don’t settle. Make changes – small steps that are going to lead you towards a far more fulfilling existence.

What one thing are you going to do today to get you closer to the way you’d like to live?

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd