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Timing is everything…..let it unfold in God’s time!

Have you ever noticed  how life always seems to be working out just right for you even when you think things are not going your way? Hindsight is so amazing. It gives you insight after the fact and highlights to you things you would not have been able to see in the moment.

I’ve often found myself frustrated when things don’t seem to be going my way. Only to find out later that the way it turned out was so much better for me in the long run. We don’t have sight of the bigger picture so we tend to see only what is right there in front of us at the time.

How often have you thought that you want something so badly but it’s not happening for you. You struggle and push and pull and you try to make things happen to go your way but in the end it just turns out badly for you. Whether we call the Higher Power GOD, The Universe, Spirit or ALLAH, knowing that there is a Higher Power who sees the bigger picture and is always orchestrating the events in our life, to bring only the best into our life, will serve us best in the long run.

When we keep out focus on the things that did not go our way and we continually keep reminding ourselves of the way we wanted it to be, we are missing the beauty of the way things are in this moment.

I used to be one of those people who decided how I wanted things to be and then pushed and pulled and prodded and poked in order to make it happen that way. But then I realised that faith requires that you decide on what you want and remain so sure that it will happen without you pushing and pulling eventually what you want will unfold effortlessly and in a way more beautifully than you could have orchestrated. That’s the power of the CREATOR.  All we have to do is ask and believe and leave the how and when up to HIM. Then watch how things fall into place to bring all of your desires into reality.

There’s an old saying “Give it to God and go to sleep”. 

It’s something few of us have learnt to do. We want to give it to Him, then tell HIM how to fix it, then check if He is infact busy fixing it, and then because it’s taking too long for our liking, we’ll decide to take it back from HIM.

Trust and believe that His got your back and while you are asleep, His working on bringing all of your dreams into reality.

Embrace-Uncertainty

Don’t let uncertainty be your dream killer!

What is it about certainty that seduces us into believing that we must have it in order to be successful? This question has been on my mind in the last few weeks as we enter another new year and start planning the year ahead.

As human beings we are always wanting, always needing. This is the nature of our mind, body and soul. Whether we know it or not, we are always on a mission to have more, to know more, to be more, to experience more, to enjoy more but we want the certainty that the more we seek will be easy to come by and readily available to us. We want certainty before we are willing to invest in really reaching and striving for our dreams and desires.

What I’ve learnt about certainty is that it seldom brings us what we truly want in life.  Life calls us to reach for more but gives us no guarantees as to how and when we can have it. In our need for certainty we shrink back, we remain stuck in comfort zones and we let opportunities pass, afraid to take the risk of failing or falling.

Intellectually we understand that life cannot guarantee us anything but emotionally we are not prepared to risk our hearts to reach for the things we truly want for fear that it may not turn out the way we want.

When we dance with uncertainty we leave ourselves exposed and vulnerable. Vulnerability is too high a price to pay we say. Let’s just rather play it safe and stay with what we know.

I’ve heard people say” I am so miserable in my job but at least I know my boss’s moods, so better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. With this mindset we go year in and year out commuting to miserable jobs, living in toxic relationships and convincing ourselves that we are happy and fulfilled.

There is no real fulfillment and satisfaction in reaching a goal or having a dream come true without knowing that you risked something in order to have it. It’s the thrill of the chase, the sweaty palms, the racing heart and the final lap to the finish line that makes the race so much more rewarding.

Whether we know it or not, we crave the adrenaline rush that uncertainty brings. It’s the fuel that makes us want to try harder, reach higher and give that little bit extra. There is a moment between when you want something and when you can see it come into sight when the adrenaline in your body feels too overwhelming to hold your focus on the goal. That’s the moments you need to breathe and self-soothe. That’s when the finish line is in sight and your mind, body and soul is so afraid you won’t make it.

As 2017 takes flight and January flows into February, I’de like to challenge you to  look uncertainty in the eye and reach out for the things you truly want in your life.

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If the shoe fits, own it!

I was busy finalising the content of my workshop coming up this weekend when it suddenly occurred to me that the practice of authenticity is such a beautiful thing. In a world where everyone is desperately trying to make their lives appear as perfect as possible, being real is such a breath of fresh air.

But did you know that being real is a choice we make not a natural way of being?

I certainly didn’t.

Until I became really aware of my own feelings and behaviours and I realised that most of the time I was not really feeling into how something fits for me but rather responding from a place of habit. Until I got to know me, I was not being real.

For example, exercise was not something I did naturally before because I believed that exercise was not “my thing”. How could it not be “my thing” when I didn’t even experiment with it?

And then I learnt to ride a bike and I loved it and recently I’ve started running and I’m loving it. Who knew that my body loves the rush of cardio and the movement. Certainly not me!

So coming back to the practice of authenticity. In order to be real and genuine we have to learn to know what fits for us not because society says it must but because it feels comfortable when we try it on.

It’s like going into a shoe shop and buying those stilettos because when you step into them you think you become that super model on the cover of Vogue magazine. How many times have you worn those stilettos? Once, twice  or maybe they still in that box with the price tag on? Let’s face it stilettos are not a fit for everyone.

It’s okay to be a sneakers or pumps kinda girl. If that’s your thing, own it and wear it with confidence.

We’ve been so bombarded with the perfect girl stereotype that we’ve lost our sense of self and we’ve lost the most valuable currency we have, our uniqueness.

When we bring the truest and realest version of ourselves to our relationships, we bring value to our own life and the lives of others.

This being real and authentic thing is hard work because it means you have to say what you really feel and you have to know what that is with certainty. It means you have to dig deep sometimes to establish whether something works for you and if it doesn’t it means you have to be courageous enough to say so.

It’s an uncomfortable place to lean into. It’s scary but it’s beautiful. It’s what’s missing in our lives and what we yearn to express without fear of judgement.

Whatever shoe fits you best, step into it, own it, claim it and go out there and conquer the world!

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It starts with YOU!

How can your coaching change my life?

This is the question I have to answer when I see a new client.

Instead of using marketing terms and sales pitch I’ve decided to get real and answer this straight from the heart.

Life coaching emerged in the 1980’s as a professional practice when people started realising that they didn’t have to go back in order to go forward. In therapy, patients are taken back into their past to relive, re-assess and rehash what happened, who was responsible and who needs to fix it in order for the patient to move on. As a healing modality, therapy has a place and can be useful for some patients.

But some people would much rather start where they are and move forward. Yes the past may have affected our lives but it does not define who we are or who we are capable of becoming.

The first thing that is different in a life coaching relationship is the client is not considered to be ill therefore is not called a patient. The client is seen by the life coach as a whole individual who have had life experiences that may have challenged her but has not diminished her worth or value.

Her life experiences have over time created beliefs, patterns and perceptions about the way she views the world. In many cases her perceptions are tunnel-visioned and she is locked into a view which  limits her ability to make different choices and get different results in her life. In a coaching relationship, the coach will help the client look at experiences  from different perspectives, challenge her beliefs and break destructive behaviour patterns.

A coaching relationship starts with the client needing or wanting to make a shift or change in one or more area of her life. She recognises that she has been perpetuating actions and behaviours which are not giving her the desired results in these areas.

Often I find that clients come to me because they are struggling in work or career but as the coaching unfolds she recognises that her patterns are spilling over into other areas of her life as well.

Because I understand feminine energies and have lived through some of my own life challenges, I can identify with my clients.  But identifying with the client only allows me to have a certain amount of empathy and compassion. The coaching requires that I am able to hold a safe, sacred space for her to share, unpack and examine her beliefs, thoughts, feelings and actions through a process of self-inquiry.

It is a dynamic process which unfolds effortlessly when we open the space and engage from a place of honesty and truth within the coaching relationship.  

Many people are turning to life coaches to help them get clear on their life goals and to help them reach these goals.  This is a great way to plan for success in your life but I believe that over and above setting goals and reaching them, one should set intentions which are aligned with who we are as individuals and the life we want to create externally and internally. A holistic approach will give us long term happiness and success.

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Own your worth, lose the hustle!

The first time I heard someone use the word “hustling” in the business world, I thought that’s interesting, what exactly does “hustling” mean?

Like most people, I’ve become quite friendly with Google to help me understand words and phrases. So here’s what Google said about the word hustle . It comes from the Dutch word hutselen which means “to shake or shove”. It could also mean “to sell aggressively” which is the context in which my business associate used it.

This got me thinking about how hustling has become part of our lives especially on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Intagram etc. These platforms have opened the door to a world of hustle like never before. Celebrity hustle has created a culture of it’s own, “ aggressively selling” everything from products, stories, status updates and pics.  It’s easy to get caught up in this culture on social media and fall into the hustle because it’s everywhere, in your face, 24/7.

But we are not only at risk of getting caught up in the hustle on social media platforms or in business. There’s another kind of hustle which I’m starting to see in my coaching practice as I coach and mentor more and more women.

This hustle is underpinned by our beliefs about our worthiness and it drives the way we show up in our relationships across the board. Although it appears to be evident in boss/co-worker relationships, it seems that it is more prevalent in romantic relationships, parenting and friendships.

Hustling in relationships is done unconsciously without us even knowing that we doing it. When we believe that we are not enough or unworthy, we hustle for our worthiness.

In the dance of hustling for our worthiness, we over-give, we perfect, we compete, we people-please, we compare, we perform and we constantly trying to prove that we are enough.

Worthiness is our birth-right. But somewhere between the day we were born and today, we’ve learnt that in order to have value and worth, we must appear to be perfect in all things. And because perfection is an unattainable goal the hustle begins and the dance keeps getting faster and faster.

If you are in a situation where you are ‘hustling” for your worthiness, chances are that you are pointing a finger outward and blaming someone or something for “making” you feel unworthy. You’re looking outside of yourself for someone or something to make you feel worthy when your access to worthiness can only be found inside of yourself.

Allowing the loss, creates space to receive the gain.Gracefully letting go is more powerful than forcefully holding on.

Allowing the loss, to accept the gain.

Most of us want something for nothing. We want to be fit and healthy without exercising, successful without taking a risk, and loved without losing anything. This “all blessings, no burdens” idea of how life should be is very American, since America is the only culture in the world that seems to expect life to be comfortable and relatively pain free.

However, in most spiritual traditions, we find countless examples of the inevitable relationship between joy and despair, fullness and emptiness, life and death. Philosopher, Alan Watts said,“Good without evil is like up without down, and . . . to make an ideal of pursuing the good is like trying to get rid of the left by turning constantly to the right”

We are so captivated by our collective myth of the happy ending, that we rarely acknowledge that in order to gain anything we need to sometimes lose something else.

We simply never move forward in life without losing something. No wonder most of us are in resistance to change, even when those changes promise to be positive. Surrendering to change means letting go of being in control. Yet, as much as we want our lives to be different, the truth is, we don’t like it much when our illusion of being in control is challenged. The feeling that we are in charge of our lives gives us leverage in our attempts to avoid the experience of loss. Yet, these efforts to circumvent loss are the very foundation of our excessive anxiety and worry. Many of us are suffering severe levels of angst in an attempt to avoid the natural order of life, which always includes periods of endings and passing away.

One of the most important skills we can acquire in life is the ability to respond well to loss and disappointment. The first step in doing so is to give up the assumption that, when we suffer a loss, that something is “wrong”. Nothing is wrong. Loss is a part of life.

Sometimes there is a sadness, a silence, a despair or a loneliness that just needs to be listened to.

Our lives are always in motion. As such, we will continually be asked to give up the life we have for the life that we are creating. For those of us who’ve suffered traumatic losses, particularly ones that occurred in early childhood, the feelings that we associate with loss, such as sorrow, fear and frustration, can be unsettling and frightening.

However, it’s important to learn how to feel these feelings without needing to numb out or act in ways that are hurtful and destructive.

When you decide to improve your life, the first thing you will experience is loss. It happens all the time. You think that, because you’ve taken positive action,things should start to look up. Instead, very often, something strange happens. Things actually begin to get worse.

That is because you have made a decision to grow yourself into a wiser, more-loving version of yourself. And that means that the “old” you has to die so that the “new” you can be born. The first act of creation is always destruction.

In order to live rich and meaningful lives, we must learn to undergo the necessary losses of life without having to distract ourselves with drama, or be rescued from the unknown.

We must learn to move forward even when we are afraid, embracing the very losses that we have been trying to avoid. For that is how we will transform our disappointments, our defeats and our sad tales into something valuable — a deepening of the soul, a growing in compassion, a leveling of false pride. These are the experiences that have the capacity to help us expand our ability to give and receive love.

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Enough already with the people-pleasing!

As a life coach and mentor for women I get really close to the struggles women have with their interpersonal relationships and how they continue to show up in their lives. I recently did a survey to establish what behaviours women were battling with and what their pain points were around it. An overwhelming amount of women responded that they struggled with people-pleasing.

People- pleasing combined with over-giving is lethal and normally results in exhaustion, resentment and disappointment.

Many of us believe that saying NO, especially to our family and close friends, is a betrayal. In some instances we agree to help or give even when we are down and out and really need some TLC ourselves. I’ve heard women say things like “I just don’t know how to say NO” or “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done”.

The thing about being a pleaser and/or a giver is that there are always takers who are willing to receive from you.

Blaming them for your behaviour and resenting them for not reciprocating is unrealistic and unfair. Typically, what the giver/pleaser says is “but why can’t he/she see that they are always the one’s receiving and I am always the one giving”.  This statement implies that the receiver should therefore willingly give and not have to be prompted or reminded to do so in the relationship. In a perfect world this would be the ideal but we are not living in a perfect world.

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Another reason why we become pleasers/givers is because we are seeking validation and approval.

If you go deep you will find that sometimes your behaviour and actions has nothing to do with helping others but more to do with seeking their approval and being validated for your “goodness”. This is not done on a conscious level so it may take some deep introspection and honest self-enquiry to determine your personal motives for being the pleaser. If you are anything like me, chances are that even once you see these motives clearly, you will rationalise them and turn them into something which counts in your favour. It wasn’t until I got really honest with myself and took full ownership of my real intentions that I shifted this behaviour in a meaningful way.

We all have various relationships that require us to play a role in someone’s life. In any one day we are called upon to step into these roles as the situation requires. They can seem over-whelming at times because we are not always able to switch between roles smoothly and effortlessly. The relationship between us and our children requires a different approach and a different interaction than the relationship between us and our husband/partner or even our parents.We establish patterns within these relationships which becomes our default patterns. Some of these patterns are established at a very early age and many of them are establish unconsciously.

They become our go-to relationship pattern and they are constantly working in the background of the relationship.

All interactions are being driven on a subsoncious level by these behaviour patterns. Our primary pattern is established early in life with our primary care-giver. In most cases our primary care-giver would be our mother but in some cases it could be the father or another person. The primary care-giver is the one who assumes responsibility for our well-being at birth.

In coaching we acknowledge the fact that all behaviours are established in a mutual relationship and we accept that in most cases you were not consciously aware when you were establishing unhealthy patterns of behaviour. Then we give you the tools to go within to identify your own behaviours and recognise how they are showing up in the relationships where you are struggling.

Once you can see these unhealthy behaviours and the role you are playing in perpetuating them, you can start changing them incrementally and thereby shift the dynamics of the relationship.

You have to be careful that you don’t confuse pleasing with over-giving. Although they can sometimes feel like the same thing they normally show up differently in your behaviour.

In both instances however the motivation is the same. If you are over-giving or you are an obsessive people’s-pleaser then you might want to examine whether you are trying to fix your internal sense of self-worth and value by using giving and pleasing as a bartering tool. In other words, if I give or please you, you will love me, approve of me, validate me and make me feel worthy and valued.

Whether you are a people-pleaser or an over-giver breaking this learnt patterns of behaviour and learning new ways of showing up can be difficult and uncomfortable but it is so do-able and so worth trying.

Here’s a few tips to help you break the pattern of over-giving and people-pleasing:

  1. Accept that not everyone is going to like you and that’s ok! – We struggle with this because we’ve been taught from a young age that we should be kind to everyone. Kindness is not the same as pleasing or over- giving though. When our acts of kindness does not include being kind to ourselves, it’s not healthy.
  2. Say NO with honesty, no excuses! – For people-pleasers and over-givers, saying No to someone feels like you are turning your back on the other person. In a healthy relationship though, the other person will understand when you are not able to do something or when doing something makes you feel misaligned with your personal values.
  3. Set boundaries! -Yes, you are allowed to have boundaries and hold them firmly in your life. When you live without boundaries and anything goes, you fall victim to all sorts of abuse and misuse. It’s your life, make sure you are living it within your own integrity and aligned to your personal values.
  4. Let go of vampires who drain your energies! – There are people who recognise your people-pleasing tendencies and capitalise on it for their own gain. They know how to trigger your inner pleaser and they will hook you every time. Let them go! If they are people who you cannot let go of because they are family then try and distance yourself from them as much as you can and when you do have to interact with them, make sure you’ve checked in with yourself and you are clear about your boundaries before you engageyes

In the process of unlearning patterns that do not serve your greater good you may slip back to the old way of doing things, but do not despair and don’t be too hard on yourself. As long as you trying you are already one step ahead of your old self.

trust-your-gut

In my gut I knew something was wrong.

You know that feeling you get in your gut when something feels off?  The one we often ignore or pretend we didn’t feel. Well what if I told you that feeling is one of the best ways to tap into guidance and wisdom.

We have this built in guidance system that connects us to our Creator.

I like to think of it as a little chip HE put inside us all to make sure HE can always communicate with us. When we are in danger even before it manifests itself completely, something in our gut tells us we should watch out. I know you’ve experienced this before, just like I have. It’s our Creator communicating to us through the little chip or our intuition or gut.

Problem is sometimes we ignore the communication. And let me tell you, we always regret it later.

We end up saying things like “ I had this feeling in my gut that something was wrong or off, but I did it anyway”. Sounds familiar?

What is it with us then? Why do we continuously make choices that goes against our gut hoping that this one time our gut will be wrong?

I guess because most times we can’t clearly name and identify what’s wrong or where the danger is. There’s just something in the gut that feels uneasy.

Ever been in the company of someone and they make you feel uneasy? You don’t know anything about them. Perhaps you’ve never even met them but something tells you they not to be trusted. It’s your gut sending you a warning. But here’s the rub, you have no valid reason to believe this person will harm you in anyway. So you shrug it off.  Sounds familiar?

We can rationalise ourselves into or out of  anything. 

Even though you haven’t seen a lion eat a human at the zoo, you still heed the warning when you see the sign “Don’t feed the lions”. Why then won’t you heed the warning when your gut says “Danger, do not go there”

Next time your gut red flags you, take a moment to get still and listen. Even if there is no rational reason, be careful, think again, proceed with caution or not at all.

WOMAN-be-kind-to-yourself

Loving you, loving me.

I used to be a perfectionist. Or maybe I was just trying to live up to a standard that I believed was the one I needed to measure myself against. Either way, it was difficult living with this type of pressure. Always trying to do everything “right”. The thing is we can’t get everything “right”.

It took me the best part of forty years to learn this lesson. Life has a way of teaching us the lessons we most need through the people we least expect.  It was fitting that I learnt the true meaning of living “right” when I experienced the passing of my brother, whom I thought was not getting everything “right” in life.

His beautiful departure from this world taught me the valuable lesson of living with compassion as opposed to living with perfection. You see, my brother’s life didn’t live up to my standard of a perfect life but he was one of the most compassionate people I knew. Watching him die the way he did, peacefully and content, was life changing for me. It set me on a path of unlearning some of my perfectionist behaviours and reconnecting to my true nature.

What I’ve since learnt about compassion is that it’s one of the measurements of  good character. But it doesn’t only include compassion for others, it also includes compassion for ourselves.

self compassion

Self-compassion is something we seldom practice because there’s this myth that self- compassion is self- indulgent and selfish. Another myth is that we have a limited amount of compassion therefore we have to give it to others incase we run out of it. The reality is that once we connect to the compassionate part of us, we access a deep well that can never run dry.

Compassion like love, is not a passive emotion. Both love and compassion is something we choose to do and we have to choose it every day in every moment.  It’s easy to choose to love someone and it’s easy to choose to show compassion to others when they are in struggle. Our children, our partners, our parents, our siblings and our friends are naturally the recipients of our love, attention, kindness and compassion when they are in struggle and experiencing difficulty in their lives. But what about when we are in struggle?

When we give ourselves the emotional resources that we need, we can more easily give to others and we can help ourselves and others move through difficulty easier.  

Self-compassion like self-talk is a way of being in relationship with ourselves. It’s a way of embracing ourselves with care and loving ourselves through our difficult and trying times. Often times when we are in struggle and pain, we use self-criticism and self-judgment instead of self-care and self-compassion.

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We are human, we make mistakes, we make bad choices sometimes. And often we find that our bad choices lead us to good lessons, so it’s not always a loss.

When we can recognise our own mistakes, take responsibility for our bad choices, own our story, the good of it and the bad of it and still remain soft and loving towards ourselves, we are in a better space to rectify, repair and make amends where necessary.

Self-compassion is not self-indulgent, it’s courageous. It’s you saying “ I love myself enough to treat ME the way I would treat others” .

wisdom path

Living in integrity is hard but it’s the only way to live happily.

The thing about living in our integrity is that we need to show up as the person we profess that we are. That’s not always easy because we are so much better at talking about values and integrity than living our values inside of our integrity.

Maya Angelou has a saying “ Courage is the most important value because without courage we can’t practice any of the other values consistently. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.”

The biggest barrier to living with courage and staying aligned with our own values in relationships is around BOUNDARIES. We don’t know how to identify what’s ok and what’s not ok in our relationships in order for us to move forward with integrity and extend the most generous assumptions about others.

Another barrier to living in our integrity and our values, is FEAR. The fear of loss and the fear of grief is too overwhelming for us. How many of us stay in relationships where we are perpetually resentful because it’s easier to do that than to say this is how it’s always going to be, I have to decide if this is ok for me and then I have to find a way to live with it? Or I have to accept that this person is doing the best that he/she can and cannot meet my expectations therefore I have to let him/her go.

We would much rather be angry and resentful because the other person is not able to meet our expectations because facing the truth about their limitation is just too painful.

Integrity requires that we act with courage, we give up the comfort zone and we live our values of truth and honesty in our relationships. And here’s the biggie, we have to start with our relationship with ourselves. Because when we are dishonest with ourselves and we pussy foot around the truth we make everything ok and we remove the boundaries in all our relationships.

If we want to change our relationships and the way we connect with people, we have to show up and live in our own integrity by relating to others as the person we say we are.