A fresh perspective: how we’ve got stuck working in our minds

‘Working in the business or on the business?’ A common phrase to shift attention out of the day-to-day. Up and out into strategy and external insight. But have you ever considered this in the context of your mind?

This week I was one of a group of parents at a meeting with the Head of my kid’s school about changes and improvements they’re making.

At one point there was the suggestion that they ask parents for help more; a wealth of knowledge and experience on their doorstep and from very differing backgrounds and industries. read more

Restricted or Bountiful?

We moved house on Monday!  We’ve been living with my mum for over 7 months – she’s definitely gone above and beyond the job description!  Now that we have our own place again I popped to a large wholesale store yesterday to stock up on exciting things like kitchen towel and loo roll.  This is the second big batch of kitchen towel I’ve bought in my life – 20 in a pack!!  #awesome  When I used to buy 2 or maybe 4 rolls at a time I would save it for real necessity, using it only when it really felt like the best thing to use.  Otherwise reaching for a cloth.  Since switching my shopping habits my attitude to kitchen-towel-use has changed*.  There’s something about knowing you have a bountiful supply of absorbent paper available that makes you free and easy with its use.  Split some milk there, no problem, let me wipe it with some kitchen towel.  Red wine on the carpet, no worries, kitchen towel will soak that right up.

Kitchen Towel

When something’s in plentiful supply we feel we can do anything!

I experienced this effect with my perspective on time after my op-recovery when I went from things being hard work, kinda painful and taking a long time to suddenly being able to do lots, quickly and pain-free – this sense of maximising my time was also assisted by more exercise which boosted my resilience, thinking abilities and sleep quality.

We all have a finite amount of time in a day, and a finite amount of money or resource to do things with.  So here we have a choice – we can choose to think we don’t have enough of either, or we can choose to think that we can invest what we have in a way that is most important to us.

So, what is there in your life that you feel is in short supply?  What do you feel you’re most restricted by?  Find that and then do something with it.

Oh, but there’s a thing there.  Choosing how we invest our time / money / resource needs us to know what’s important to us so it can act like an anchor for our decision-making.  What’s most important to you?  What are your big priorities or goals?

How clear are you on this?  How clear are those around you?  Are you and your team aligned on what counts as important right now?  And if you’re working in a business where ‘important’ can be dictated from elsewhere, outside of you, it will change – sometimes frequently.  How will you know that it’s changed and adjust your sails accordingly?

So there’s another thing, stuff changes – frequently – so to help our thinking on that I rather liked this image from Carl Richards (HT Brene Brown for sharing) because sometimes we can’t be absolutely, definitely sure that what we’re choosing to do is the most important right now.  At those times, embrace the uncertainty, choose to do something and do it.

Carl Richards Embrace Uncertainty.png

[Here’s Carl’s article if you’d like to read it]

I’d love to hear about what restricts you and how you have, or are going to, choose BOTH what’s important to you AND embrace the uncertainty.

* P.S. – I appreciate this attitude to kitchen towel probably isn’t best for the environment. Sorry about that.

This is me……..www.wildfigsolutions.co.uk

WFS Tree

Ice Cold Coaching

I seem to be developing a blog-posting Disney theme…First the Lego movie http://wp.me/p45I4E-6t then the Lion King one http://wp.me/p45I4E-7T and now a bit about how coaching can help, thanks to the Frozen movie. It’s about the journey that I’ve experienced from being coached, as well as seeing clients have the same experience. And it can often start here….

“People make bad choices
If they’re mad or scared or stressed
But throw a little love their way
And you’ll bring out their best”

So true. Feeling mad, scared or stressed has our primitive brains on alert, blood flows there instead of our logical human brain, getting us ready for that (now unhelpful) fight, flight, freeze response. Not a state for good thinking or decisions.

Caring for someone as a unique human being who’s capable of amazing things will have them feel safe and valued and much more capable of being at their best. And this belief is what great coaching is based on. I’ve seen the difference it can make with clients first hand, and not just with them but also the difference they can then have on those around them.

And although not everyone shows extreme anger, fear or stress, people who benefit from coaching tend to be in a state of change….

“Let it go, let it go. Can’t hold it back any more”

Do you ever get to that point when things just get too much? When you reach a tipping point which pushes you into a state of change because staying the same is too uncomfortable? Our thresholds for when this happens are all different. And it’s not always a negative experience. Stepping into big positive opportunities can still feel challenging and uncomfortable even if we believe they’re the right thing.

At these times you have two choices. You can ignore the situation and hope it will go away – although if it doesn’t you might find yourself in the same place as the people at the start of this post. Or you can take positive action to change. And this second one is what coaching’s all about – to help you feel empowered and take control of the situation so that you really can let it go. I love being able to help people move from a state of ‘cluttered and stuck’, to ‘clarity, focus and mobility’.

Sometimes to start to make that change possible we need to get some perspective on it…


“It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small”

I find I sometimes have things buzzing round my head that feel big and difficult. And sometimes all I need is to talk to my coach about it – just talking it out loud is enough. And sometimes he helps me put this in perspective in the grand scheme of things. But sometimes I might just go for a quick walk or swim to clear my mind and let it run free for a while (and burn off some cake!).

How do you create space for yourself? When do you think about these things that are bothering you? Who do you talk to when you need perspective and objectivity?

Once you’ve got that you can move forward to think about possibilities, and what’s stopping you…

“It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong
No rules for me
I’m free!”

Doesn’t that just fill you with hope and possibility? Maybe you need to sing it to get the full effect!!

So creating new options and possibilities is part of finding a way through your change that helps you feel in control and liberated! But in doing this you sometimes bump into unhelpful rules which are stopping you.

We live our lives constrained by rules – from society, from our workplaces, from our families, and even from ourselves. It’s amazing how many of these rules and beliefs we hold in our head that we’ve collected through our lives. And it’s these that I’m really interested in because it’s about getting to the root cause instead of dealing with superficial symptoms – plus this can give you resources for life that last well beyond a coaching relationship.

You can usually spot these rules as the voice in your head that you hear just before you feel an emotion and take action. A common one is the rule that ‘everyone should be a good driver’ so that, when you’re cut up on the road, you feel anger and then act with swearing and gestures! A more helpful rule is one that says ‘some people are awful drivers’ – it makes for a much more positive response!

Do you know which rules you live by? How do they help you? How do they stop you?

So, you’ll have noticed that coaching has a lot to do with change – positive, future-focussed change. And yet, as the trolls rightly sang….

“We’re not saying you can change him
Cause people don’t really change”

And they’re right. We are each unique with our own one true version of us – and that doesn’t fundamentally change. But if you consider that you’re the DJ at the mixing desk of your personality, there can be aspects of ourselves that we can dial up and dial down to help us have the impact we want. And sometimes we might need to first reconnect with who our ‘one true version’ really is because it can get lost along the way.

What do you think makes you, you? What would others say? What would you want them to say? What could you adjust to be even better?


So, what about you?
– How do you feel about your business?
– What do you want to change?
– How will you create space for yourself to think about it?
– What possibilities are there?
– And what’s stopping you?
– What’s the best true version of you that will help you achieve what you want?

If these questions are resonating and you feel there’s lots more to say and resolve beneath them, then coaching might be just what you need to turn the change you want into an ice clear reality (well, I had to get one more Frozen reference in there!).

And if you haven’t seen the movie I’d recommend it, even if you don’t have kids, and especially if you love a bit of singing!

[Photo Credit: http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140602183635/disney/images/thumb/6/66/Frozen_castposter.jpg/727px-Frozen_castposter.jpg]