On creativity

I love art. I never used to think I was a creative person – I wrote poetry and short stories, but always felt like I was imitating others badly. I told myself I was awful at drawing and painting. I was too shy to act. In short, I put myself in the ‘can’t hack it’ box because I was afraid of not being perfect.

Fast forward to now and all the things I have learnt over the past few years, and I have discovered so much, including that I am, and you are, and everybody is – an artist. We just need to learn how to let ourselves be creative. So many things stop us: perfectionism, our attitude towards risk, lack of self-esteem, and ultimately fear.

I’ll be writing more in coming weeks about creativity. For now, I’ll leave you with these snapshots of pieces I saw when on holiday in Singapore a couple of weeks ago.

1) Robert Jahns, “NYC balloons”, Lumas Gallery
2) Milenko and Delia Prvacki, part of “Interchange”, Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, Singapore
3) Nancy Lee, “Umbrellas Movements”, Lumas
4) Sun Yu-Li, part of “Universal Language”, Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, Singapore
5) Andy Warhol, “Cans”, Lumas

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Now is the time!

Clocks

NOW is the time. Whatever time zone you’re in (you’re allowed to wake up first if you’re currently asleep 😉). The longer you play the waiting game, the longer you will have NO results. As one of my favourite authors says, you don’t want to be in the waiting place, for people just waiting. Waiting around for a yes or a no, for the fish to bite, for Friday night, a Better Break, for Another Chance. That is NOT for you.

No! You’re going to be the person who this year ditches the New Year Resolutions that are forgotten about after January, and instead makes the choice to get some lasting results this year. With bunting or with no bunting (although I always recommend bunting, because in every day there is a cause for celebration).

I’m really excited about the new career reinvention programme that Quiet Space is going to be launching in the next few weeks! I’ll be looking for people who’re fed up of waiting or making excuses and want to say YES to finally making some deep and lasting changes in their lives and getting a job they love in 2018.

The venue for the workshops has yet to be confirmed but they’ll be held in the Coventry and Warwickshire area. If you want to get an advance preview of some of the programme content before it’s ready for launch, drop me an email at natalie@quietspacecoaching.co.uk and I’ll get in touch!

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

The pilgrim’s journey

Camino recto camino erguido

Carved on all four sides of this sculpture outside the pilgrims’ museum in Santiago de Compostela is this quote:

Camino recto, camino erguido, camino buscando un sentido. Camino porque tengo un objetivo, y no pararé hasta alcanzar mi destino.

(I walk straight, I walk upright, I walk looking for meaning. I walk with a purpose and I won’t stop until I meet my destiny.)

The pilgrim’s journey is the same one you and I are on. Know your goals and understand your challenges. Face them head-on, tackle them with intention, and never give up.

Do you know what your purpose in life is? What would you say if someone asked you what your destiny was?

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Reclaim your freedom

Movement is the freedom of the body. But the mind finds its freedom in stillness. Let your body move. Find your mental quiet.

Too many of us have minds that never stop working and bodies that don’t work enough. Reclaim your balance and your freedom. Move. Find your mental quiet.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Action-priority matrix

Action-priority matrix

Need a boost with time management and prioritisation? Here’s an easy tool for you.

Everything you do has an impact and varying levels of difficulty. Where do you need to focus your effort?

High effort, but high impact: PLAN how you’re going to do this. How can you break down the task into manageable chunks?

Low effort, high impact: IMPLEMENT. These are your quick wins! How many can you get done today?

Low effort, low impact: CONSIDER how it would make you feel having done this. Good? Do it. Is it necessary? Do it.

High effort, low impact: KICK OUT already. If you think there’s some compelling reason why you need to do it, consider whether it’s actually in the right category.

I like to use this exercise with my clients. It’s a great way to focus, particularly when you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Draw the chart on a large sheet of paper. Write down all the things on your to-do list on post-its for easy rearranging and categorisation. Assign a category to each of them and stick them in the appropriate quadrant of the chart. Now challenge yourself to get everything in the right category. It helps with a coach guiding you 😉

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

What’s stopping you?

in brute reality there is no road that is right entirely
One question that often prompts a very enlightening discussion during my coaching sessions is “what’s stopping you?”

A great number of the barriers that hold us back from achieving our goals and dreams are in fact self-constructed.

Perhaps you don’t know where or how to start. You can’t see the woods for the trees, and become overwhelmed by how daunting everything looks. Perhaps you worry about making the wrong decision. Is this what I really want? What if it isn’t the right thing to do? What if I hate it? Perhaps you then over-analyse, exhaustively weighing pros and cons, and end up paralysed by all your options. Perhaps you’re scared of moving out of your comfort zone, and everything looks like a reason not to. It’s not the right time. It’s too risky. Maybe when I win the lottery.

The truth is, there isn’t one right road. There will always be reasons not to. And waiting for everything to fall into place can end up being a very long wait indeed.

You may have heard the saying ‘there’s no such thing as a wrong decision’. You see, how a decision pans out is dependent on a whole range of factors that aren’t necessarily within your control. Selecting the ‘right’ road or taking the ‘correct’ action doesn’t guarantee success. And the converse is also true – making the ‘wrong’ choice doesn’t mean that you’ve set yourself on the path to disappointment. Your action now does not dictate the rest of your life. It’s what you do after you set yourself on any particular path that matters.

If you place too much weight on making the ‘right’ choice, it’s very easy to end up becoming overwhelmed, getting decision paralysis, and stopping before you even start, waiting for something to change your life.

On the other hand, you can take control. Tune into your heart and gut to discover what motivates you and the things that really make you tick. Big goals can be difficult to digest, so think about micro-resolutions – any kind of definitive action, no matter how small. Start moving. Your dream isn’t going to come to you fully formed; it’s going to grow and evolve with every new experience that you have, because it’s your journey that shapes the destination.

Decisions are just decisions. Stop worrying about making the right decision and focus instead on how you’re going to make a decision the right one for you.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Coaching on the Run

This is me and my running buddy, Maria, on one of our favourite routes. We started running together in January 2016 and have since shared rather a lot of miles, not to mention laughs, tears, and confidences. We’ve compared bruises; talked about kung fu and rugby, religion, politics, relationships and much more; and supported each other through a mental health crisis, relationship problems and work woes. She is an amazing woman and mother whom I am very fortunate to be able to call a friend.

These photos were taken today on a gorgeous run, during which we talked about Gavin and Stacey and British Bake-Off, David Tennant’s red silk pants in Don Juan in Soho, Adrian Scarborough and Noel Fielding (although no one could actually remember his name), and also had a couple of rather exhilarating sprints.

Running’s been there in the times when things weren’t quite as jolly, too. Logging the miles, along with the supportive companionship, helped me stay sane and get the necessary headspace to deal with what life was throwing my way.

This is why I like to take my coaching clients outdoors for some of our sessions. Quiet Space’s Coaching on the Run programme brings a different dimension to the coaching process. The natural environment, distance from the stress of home or the workplace, physical exertion, more headspace – the combination can have a cathartic effect that can be a real kickstarter for coaching. Drop me an email at enquiries@quietspacecoaching.co.uk to find out more.

You don’t need to think of yourself as a ‘runner’ to reap the benefits that the outdoors can have for mental health and wellbeing – you can do any combination of walking, jogging or running and it doesn’t matter how slow or fast you go. A mile is a mile, and you’ve got this.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Wonder women

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls
I feel very strongly about the need to raise our daughters to think naturally of themselves as strong, capable, beautiful and deserving people whose horizons aren’t limited by stereotypes and other people’s issues. When I think about this, two memories come to mind.

There was this one morning when we were on the way out of the house and my 4 year-old suddenly announced that she wanted to look in the mirror. We were in a hurry, so I asked why she needed to. She said “because I want to see how beautiful I am.” For a brief second I wondered whether I should make some comment about modesty and then I stopped myself.

Because she’s four. Damn straight she’s beautiful. She’ll have plenty of time for the world to try and beat it out of her and I’m not going to be the one to start her on that slippery slope. So instead we had a lovely cuddle in front of the mirror and I said “yes, God made you beautiful!”

A second conversation occurred during a phase when she quite often came home telling me that she wanted to be a boy. On one of these occasions I asked, as I usually did, why this was the case. Her response? “Because boys are clever and girls are pretty, but I want to be clever.” Turns out it was another little girl at her nursery who had told her this. I had a word with the nursery staff who took the opportunity to talk to all the children about gender equality!

There are of course much larger societal issues at play, but I think it’s nonetheless true to say that a lot of the barriers all of us face in our lives are psychological ones of our own as well as others’ making.

How do you boost your own self-image and encourage a positive and healthy self-image in others?

Image credit: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli, https://www.rebelgirls.co/products/good-night-stories-for-rebel-girls

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Carpe Diem

The truth is, most of us discover where we are heading when we arrive
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of listening to a friend talk about her career history. She is a successful and charismatic administrative professional, but like many others in administrative careers, this wasn’t her answer to the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’

One defining quality of her career is that it has been almost entirely unplanned; she thinks of herself as a lucky person for whom things always work out one way or another. Her life has taken her from the army, through the dental industry, to the higher education sector, taking in adult education along the way. Her driver? Simply a desire for learning – on growing through continually seeking out new challenges and opportunities.

Planning is important, but so is remaining open to and seizing opportunities when they come along. Lots of us fall into career ruts because we get into a comfort zone and stop learning.

The takeaway? Stay curious. Keep exploring, learning and speaking with new people. Somewhere in these new experiences is the opportunity. Take the chance when it comes.

Image credit: Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Change: Choice and commitment

A boat is safe in the harbour. But this is not the purpose of a boat.
One of the things about changes that you actually want in your life and your career is that in the main, they don’t happen unless you make a choice to do things differently. That often requires a foray into the unknown.

Sometimes it’s a leap of faith. Taking a chance doesn’t need to be terrifying, though. Careful evaluation of the situation and your options, while remaining open to unexpected opportunities, can be a great start. Coaching can help you to make the change you’ve been wanting to see, focusing first on awareness and understanding, followed by an openness to learning, a call to action, and then commitment to making it happen.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd