Tuesday, 30 December 2014

...thinkin' of a master plan...

So, this year, I took the "my one word" challenge and promised to let you know how I got on (see the post of the 2 January 2014). Well, in a nutshell, it started great and then kind of slid downhill after that. I've been reviewing my year (as you do at this time of year) and was about to start beating myself over the head for 'failing'. I was all set to go, with the cosh in my hand (metaphorically speaking of course), when the 'serenity prayer' popped into my head. That helped me to get some perspective, but it was only when I came across this quote by Maya Angelou, that I actually put the cosh down! She said "do the best you can, until you know better. Then when you know better, do better". That quote helped me to put my review in a whole different light.

Firstly, it reminded me, that I need to be wise enough to know the things that I can't change. My word for 2014 was health and a big part of that was becoming more physically healthy. Or at least that was what it was meant to be. Unfortunately, I slipped right back into my old mindset of equating physical health with weight loss. Since dieting in any form, makes me go completely loopy, you don't need to be a rocket scientist, to know that I didn't lose any weight! I'm not advocating being overweight, but what I am saying is that for me diets don't work. I can use fancy words to replace the word 'diet' but my head knows exactly what's going on and goes into full blown rebellion. Personally, to succeed in my quest, I am going to have to unpack what being physically healthy means to me and give up my unrealistic notions of what my body should look like.

My second point is the mirror opposite of the first. Knowing what I can't change, helps me to identify the things that I can. As I have said before, you can't change anything, if you don't first of all take responsibility for it. Much as I would like to blame it all on this pesky body, taking itself to the fridge and overeating, I know that's not true. The truth is, I have been a lot busier, more stressed and more tired recently. Instead of building time to rest, into my schedule, I have been eating instead.  I need to take responsibility for that and find other ways to deal with whatever is going on in my life, without medicating with food.

Lastly, as Maya Angelou says "when you know better, do better". Knowing what your challenges are, where things aren't working is the first step to being able to change. Taking responsibility is the next step and prepares us for taking action, which is the last step.  We often think taking action is the hardest thing to do. It is and it isn't. Trying to take action without taking responsibility is like trying to fill a basket with water ('nuff said I think) and that's when it's hardest. Taking action, once we've taken responsibility for our action or inaction is actually easier.  Still hard because we will certainly fail a couple of times, but easier than the first option.

So now that I've managed to get to this point, what am I going to do in 2015? Well I won't be making any New Year's resolutions, because I absolutely stink at those. What I am going to do, is take the "my one word" challenge again. This time I'm going back to basics with my choice. My word for this year is 'wise'. One of the definitions of wise is "having or showing experience, knowledge and good judgement". I think I've got the first 2 in hand and my hope is that the wisdom will come 
when I do better, because I know better.

Wishing you all a fabulous New Year, full of peace, joy and love.  See you on the other side.

Until next time, go well.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Got to be real (part 2)

Back in the day, when I was just starting out in the domestic violence field, I still measured success only in terms of a successful prosecution. It took me a while to realise that there were certain aspects of domestic abuse, where I was going to struggle to prosecute successfully. The two most common areas are financial abuse and psychological abuse. The law is good, but it's a pretty blunt instrument, when it comes to prosecuting cases of domestic abuse.

Below is the second part of our scenario and my co-blogger: finomics101 and I would love to continue our conversation, so please leave your comments on the blog or catch us on twitter at either @b2bbeautiful or @finomics101

Following Mrs. O’s revelations to Mrs. A about the details of her financial situation, Mrs. A extends an invitation for Mrs. O to attend the women empowerment seminar she is organising at no cost.  Mrs. A offers to provide transportation to and from the event to save Mrs. O having to explain the additional mileage on her car to Mr. O.

At the end of the seminar, Mrs. A introduces Mrs. O to Mrs. J - the women's empowerment expert who facilitated the event:

Mrs. A: “Mrs. J, I have someone I would love you to meet; Mrs. O is a good friend of mine.

Mrs. J: {giving Mrs. O a hug} “I’m very pleased to meet you! Always a joy to meet one of Mrs A's friends.

{Mrs. O responds with a smile}

Mrs. A: “ Please excuse me, I need to go and attend to that group of ladies over there, and that should give you two some time to chat.” {Mrs. A heads off in the direction of the group of ladies who have been trying to get her attention

Mrs. J: {noticed that Mrs. O seemed a little fidgety and anxious }
Mrs. A told me a little bit about your financial situation and thought it might help if we had a chat. How are things with you?"

Mrs. O: “it's just my husband. We are generally ok, it’s just that sometimes ...

Mrs. O goes on to tell Mrs. J about her current situation. Apart from the issues with money, Mrs O tells Mrs J that she doesn't really have any friends apart from Mrs A and in the past year, she's become estranged from her family. Her husband says that he doesn't want her 'corrupted' by those 'so called independent women and that he's all the family she needs. He also said that he couldn't live without her and that if she tried to leave he would kill himself.

Listening to her Mrs J comes to the conclusion that Mrs O may be a victim of domestic abuse.

Mrs. J: “Mrs O, based on what you've told me, I suspect that you are in an abusive relationship. I'd like us to talk some more, but in a more private setting. 

Mrs O starts to protest: "I don't want to take up any more of your time, I'm sure it's nothing really. My husband is just a little stressed at the moment and he wants to keep on top of things financially"

Mrs. O: "This is what I do and I am concerned about what you've told me. If it is domestic abuse, then I'd like to work with you, about keeping you safe, while you decide what to do in the long term. The first thing we need to look at is your financial situation, because it's hard to make long term decisions, when you are struggling financially"

Mrs. O {shaking her head and on the verge of tears}Thank you very much Mrs. J, I would really appreciate that.

Mrs. J: {giving her a big hug} “Don’t worry, you won’t be going through this alone anymore.

They then set up a follow-up appointment for the next week.

So back to our conversation.  Now that you know a bit more about Mrs O's situation, what do you think is happening to her? what would you say to her, if she told you what was going on with her? would you know where to go for help or advice yourself?

We would love to hear from you, so please keep the comments coming.

If you have been affected by anything in last week's or this week's blog, please contact us at the website.

Until next week, go well.

Friday, 28 November 2014

...got to be real...

You know when you watch a cartoon and a character walks over the edge of a cliff, but seems to survive unscathed? As a child, you don't realise that's impossible.  As an adult though, you know that the law of gravity stops for no man and if you try walking off a cliff, you're going down!

For me, that's a bit like how we look at domestic abuse sometimes.  We hear the stories of the abuse, but somehow, it doesn't seem to register.  It feels a bit unreal. As a jobbing prosecutor, I tried plenty of cases, that seemed stranger than fiction. For the next two weeks, we're going to switch things up on the blog. We're going to take a scenario, based on real life events and look at what it means to experience financial abuse. This is a collaboration between myself and finomics 101, my very clever, financial guru co-blogger.  We'd love for you to join in the conversation, by sending in comments, tweeting (@b2bbeautiful) and sharing with your networks.

The first part of our scenario is below and we've come up with some questions underneath, to help get the conversation started.

Mrs. A: “My friend, my friend, you know I am waiting for you to make your financial commitment to the women’s empowerment symposium I’m organising. As my person, you have to be there o.
Mrs. O: “I would really love to support you o my sister…” {shifting uncomfortably}
        “The truth is I can’t afford to pay for the access pass.” {tries to avert her gaze from Mrs. A}
Mrs. A: “Haba Mrs. O! Pay day was just yesterday now.” {frowning at her friend}
        You know I have the liberty of knowing that your performance bonus was also paid this week. If you don’t want to be a part of the symposium let me know, abi how can N1,500 stop you from being a part of it?  Please find another excuse jo.
Mrs. O: “My sister it’s not like that now, you know I always have your back and have encouraged you up to this point.” {Sighs}
        “How do I tell you this… the thing is my salary gets paid into my husband’s bank account as I don’t have a bank account of my own.
Mrs. A: “What?!  You don’t have a bank account?  You can’t be serious… with all the options of accounts being offered by the banks these days?   The account opening process is no longer onerous.  Not like it used to be.  In fact I will take you to my bank - my account officer will take care of everything.
Mrs. O: “Hmmm…  My dear, it’s not that simple o.
        {she contemplates for about a minute}
        “Ok, I will let you know what’s been going on.  Please let’s go somewhere private.
{They find a quiet place where the two of them can speak in private}
Mrs. A: "My friend what's going on?" {looking at Mrs. O with a lot of concern}
Mrs. O: {sighs}
"It is Mr. O o."
Mrs. A: "It is Mr. O that did what?"
Mrs. O: "It is Mr. O that won't allow me operate a bank account of my own."
{Mrs. A opens her mouth in shock}
Mrs. O: "Mr. O says it is better if he is control of all the money we make, that is why my salary gets paid into his account.  He takes care of all the household expenses and ensures I get a stipend."
Mrs. A: {barely managing to pick her jaw off the floor} 
"Stipend ke?!" {she utters in amazement}
"Hmmm...  Ok.  But what has this got to do with you owning or not owning a bank account?"
Mrs. O: "Ehn, to make it easy for us to ensure he sees all the money coming in - multiple bank accounts will make reconciliation difficult."
{Mrs. A is staring at her friend in amazement.}
Mrs. O: "Why are you looking at me like that now? It's because he loves me and does not want me to worry myself about these money matters."
Mrs. A: "Ehen... Ok o... But you were just paid yesterday now, shouldn't you still have your stipend? Abi you've spent it all in 24 hours ni?
Mrs. O: {fidgeting uncomfortably}
        “Remember when I told you I was going to the other side of town last month to see my Aunty when my cousin informed me she was in the hospital?  Well, I had to borrow the petrol money from Mr. O…  We agree that he would withhold that amount from my stipend as repayment.
Mrs. A: “Ha!
Mrs. O: “It’s ok, really… I just need to really watch my expenses this month so I do not get into any more trouble.” {attempting a smile but not quite succeeding}
{Mrs. A now realises that her friend may be in a seriously troubling domestic situation.}
Mrs. A: “Come here.” {she pulls Mrs. O towards her and gives her a big hug; Mrs. O suddenly breaks down in tears}
Mrs. A: “There, there… You really need to be at the seminar… We’ll work out a way that you will be able to attend without incurring any more expenses.  I have so many questions to ask o, but it doesn’t appear like you will be able to give me any answers just yet.
{rustling in her purse for some tissue}
Here - wipe your tears; you can quietly slip into the bathroom to compose yourself - I’ll help you get your make-up purse from your bag.
Mrs. O graduated as one of the top 5% in her class in the Banking & Finance department of one of the country’s top universities, and she is a middle-level manager in one of the new generation banks in town.  She met Mr. O during her national service year, and they got married upon completion of her national service programme five years ago.  Her compensation package includes a N500,000 monthly take-home salary, a car, and health insurance.  She receives a N25,000 monthly stipend from her husband, while he keeps the rest of her salary.  He directly pays for all household expenses, and demands receipts for any purchases Mrs. O makes on behalf of the household, which he would scrutinise.  He has given her a mileage allocation on her car (i.e. how far her car is allowed to travel, each month) and he periodically goes himself to check the mileage on her car to confirm whether she has been in compliance; whenever he considers that there has been a breach, he punishes her by withholding some or all of her stipend or banning her from going out with the car to “pay back” the miles.

So, I guess some of you are wondering at this stage: how did she get here? why does she put up with it? is this really abuse?

We'd love to hear from you? Your comments and your questions. Join the conversation on the blog, twitter and your other social media channels.

Until next week, go well.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Dream big, start small

My daughter is learning how to read. She's doing great so far, but now she's running into some tricky words that don't work phonetically.  Those words she just has to learn and we do that by going over them again and again (much to her annoyance!). It's a bit like the three tips, I'm sharing with you this week. They aren't new. In fact, you've probably heard them a gazillion times before. The thing is, sometimes it takes a while for things to sink in. You might have an 'aha' moment, the first time you hear something. It might take someone else another 8 or 9 times, before it begins to mean something to them.

For a few weeks now, I've been talking about the importance of living your best life. Living your life in such a way that it represents the best you there is.  Too many of us have been living small lives. Bent out of shape, because we've been trying to fit a mould that's wrong for us. Or living our lives, weighed down by the stress of other people's expectations of us or their opinions. That was the 'what' part of our conversation.  This week, I'd like to touch on the 'how'. How do I live a big life? Where do I start? What do I need to start this adventure?

Firstly, break your dream down into manageable bits. In other words: 'dream big, start small'. Let's say that like me, your dream is world domination. Clearly, that's not going to happen all at once, so perhaps you start with your neighbourhood. Once you're successful there, you start thinking about taking over the whole town. After that, world domination is a doddle don't you think? Although that was me, just being facetious, the system works for any goal. Start with the big picture and then break it down into smaller, achievable steps. You need to do this, so that you don't end up being overwhelmed by the size of your dream. Also, succeeding at smaller goals, builds your confidence and helps you keep going, when the journey gets a bit rocky. Everyone likes to feel that they have achieved something and having small goals, along the way, helps us to do that.

Secondly, I'd say, if you need help, get help. Somewhere along the line, a lot of us have bought into the myth that we are wonder women, who can get everything done by ourselves. Newsflash: we can't. Well, actually we can, but not without wearing ourselves out and leaving ourselves open to the very real risk of a nervous breakdown! So, I say again, get help. You can collaborate with someone who loves to do the things you hate.  I used to work with someone who loved numbers and data and all that sort of stuff, but wasn't so keen on text.  I, on the other hand hate numbers and data, but love text.  We used to divvy up anything we had to comment on, so she did data and I did text and we were both as happy as Larry! If you don't know something or need to learn a bit more, you can take a short course, do a webinar, read a book or surf YouTube. I am a big fan of YouTube. It has democratised knowledge in a most awesome way. Sure there are some cranks/quacks out there. But there are also some generous individuals who just want to share what they've learned and you can benefit from that.

Lastly, when is failure not failure? When it's a learning experience.  You know those strange individuals who are always perky and thankful (I know, very strange right?). I think they are able to be thankful, because they have learnt that failure is not failure, just the universe giving you a lesson. They've learnt that failure is not an event, it's a process and more importantly, it's not an inevitable process either. You get to decide whether you want to fail or not. What do I mean by that? Let's say you mess up big time on one of your small goals. You have the choice then to declare yourself a failure and stop trying to reach your bigger goal. Or, you could pick yourself up, work out where things went wrong, put things in place to make sure you don't make those mistakes again and then move on. And that my friends is the difference between failure and a learning experience.

I don't know if this is your first 'aha' moment, where these points are concerned. I don't know if it's your 10th or 15th 'aha' moment. Some of you might not even have had an 'aha' moment, more like a 'pah, heard it all before' moment. What I do know, is that we only have one life and we owe it to ourselves to make it the best that we can. I'm getting to experience life again, through the eyes of a 4 year old and let me tell you, it's great. The awe and excitement, with which she approaches even the most mundane of things, makes even the most curmudgeonly person crack a smile. I mean, who else but a 4 year old, would think it amusing to cover her face with soapsuds and pretend she's a polar bear, while she's having a bath???

 If you have a big dream and don't know where to start, or feel like you've lost your way a little, then contact us, through the website and we'll help you get back on track.

Until next week, dream big, start small and go well.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Live before you die...

If you thought today was the day you were going to die, what would you do differently? On Monday morning, I woke up to the news that Dr Myles Munroe and his wife had died in a plane crash. Dr Munroe was a pastor, gifted author and much sought after speaker, who impacted my life and the lives of countless others across the globe. Clearly, I don't know what his thoughts were, the day he died, but I wonder if he and the other people on board with him, thought "this might be the day we die". As I reflected on the tragic news, I thought: even though most of us don't start the day, thinking it could be the day we die, maybe we should.  Not in a morbid, panicky kind of way, but in a "I'm going to go out and wring everything I can, out of this day" kind of way. Too many of us are living small lives. Lives constrained by fear, guilt and worry about what other people think about us.  I don't know about you, but I'm thinking I really want to live before I die.  This week, I'd like to encourage us to be bold enough to live our best lives and 3 things that I think, get in the way of us being the best we can be.

The first and biggest stumbling block for most of us is fear.  Fear is a clever little critter. It sometimes comes disguised as caution.  How many of us have found ourselves in the position where we know what we want to do; we've done all our homework; we've done all that we need to do, but when it comes to taking that final step, we hold back? We tell ourselves and others that we're just being cautious and re-checking, but in reality we are actually petrified of taking action. It's easier to stay in the safe place of talking about our dreams, rather than risking failure by taking action. Friends, there is no perfect time to move forward with our dreams. If we look hard enough, there will always be a reason not to go for it. Having everything we need to pursue our dreams and not going for it, is like being Clark Kent all the time, without ever morphing into Superman!

The second thing that keeps a lot of us living small is the opinions and sometimes the disapproval of people around us.  I touched on this in my last post, but I want to reiterate the fact that not everyone is going to approve of what you are doing and that's okay. One of the joys of being an adult is that you get to live your life and let others live theirs.  Dr Munroe had a wonderful phrase "if you want to know the purpose of a thing...ask the manufacturer (Maker). A lot of us are being bent out of shape by people who either don't know or don't understand our purpose. Our responsibility is to find out our purpose, not to make sure everyone agrees with it.  It's our purpose, not theirs. We just need to find that wonderful thing which we were created to do and do our utmost to live it out. No more forcing yourself into a mould that doesn't fit. Trying to wear someone else's shoes will only give you corns!

Finally, don't let guilt stop you from living your best life.  If you've clocked up any number of years on this life, chances are you've done some things you feel guilty about.  Here's the thing though, feeling guilty and not doing anything about it, is like standing in the pouring rain, with a closed umbrella. Sounds pretty pointless doesn't it?  My advice? If you've done something you feel guilty about, firstly, see what you can do to make amends and do it. Without grumbling or complaining or making excuses. Secondly, forgive yourself for what you did- you're only human; forgive the other person- they're only human too! Lastly, move on. Using guilt to beat yourself about the head is not only painful, it's not helpful either. It's far more constructive to take responsibility for your part, make amends, extend forgiveness and then move on.

So there you have it, my top 3 things that keep us from living our best lives. What are your top 3? Is your life bent out of shape, from trying to live as small as possible? Or are you out there making every second count?  Either way I'd love to hear from you.  Let's get the conversation started here or on Twitter (@b2bb)

Until next time, live big, live courageously, live well.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure… We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? … Who are you not to be? … We are all meant to shine…
Marianna Williamson - Founder of The Peace Alliance

Friday, 31 October 2014

How much will it cost?

One of my favourite fantasies is that I can eat my own body weight in chocolate and not only not gain weight, but actually lose it! Sadly, even my delusional self knows that fantasy just ain't gonna happen. Especially, when these days it seems like I look at cake and immediately gain 5lbs (okay, some may have actually passed my lips). When it comes to maintaining good health, I think we all have a fairly good idea of what we have to give up or at least moderate, in order to stay well.

However, it's not something we grasp so easily, when it comes to dreams other than weight loss.  When we talk to our friends or family or all round cheerleaders about our dreams, we tend to focus mainly on what we stand to gain, rather than what we have to give up in order to achieve our dreams. When I work with clients, to set a goal for our work together, I often ask how the goal we set will affect other parts of their lives and what they are prepared to give up, in order to achieve it (all credit to Julie Starr for her very helpful framework in The Coaching Manual).  As the year starts to wind down, we start to take stock of what we've achieved and what we want to achieve next year. As we do this, I thought it would be good to think about what pursuing our dreams could cost us.

The first thing that pursuing our dream might cost us is the approval of other people. Most of us have worked out that we don't need the approval of everyone in our lives, to do what we want to do.  But what do you do, when someone you trust and admire and look up to disapproves of your dream or what you are planning to do in pursuit of it? Do you go go ahead, or do you start to doubt yourself?  Deciding to go ahead can feel quite scary. We start wondering: "are they right?" "Am I making a huge mistake here?" We start questioning who we are to shine so brightly. Everyone remembers Peter the disciple as the one who almost drowned, when he tried to walk on water.  Here's the thing though: he didn't just try to walk on water. For a period of time- even if it was just for a few seconds, he defied nature and actually walked on water. I don't know about you, but I think that was actually quite epic.  At least he tried. Can you imagine him trying to explain to the other disciples what it felt like? Isn't it better to try and 'fail', rather than not try at all and look back in regret later? I think about telling my grandkids about my adventures, including my failures and I never want to tell them, that I missed out on something, because I was afraid to try. We worry so much about failing, that we often aren't prepared for success when it comes. When I decided to train as a coach, there was a fair amount of scepticism and possibly some bemusement as to what a coach actually does. There was also a fair amount of advice about how I should stick to what I trained as, or at least something pretty close. But you know what? I'm on that journey right now and although it's been a bit scary at times, I wouldn't trade my experiences for the sake of safety and security.

And that leads me to my second point. Pursuing your dreams will probably cost you the certainty of knowing exactly where you're going and how to get there. I'm not talking about heading off without any kind of plan or goals. What I am saying, is that because these are likely to be uncharted waters for you, you'll be trying to find your way on a day by day basis (on a bad day, hour by hour!). Sometimes, I miss the simplicity of being able to tell someone that I am a lawyer. I mean, whether you like them or not, everyone knows what a lawyer does. Being a coach, involves several things, so sometimes a short sweet answer just isn't possible. However, the joys and challenges of working with different people, definitely keeps me on my toes and is all part of this new adventure.

Finally, pursuing your dreams usually means that you will have to give up your previous definition of success and how to achieve it.  When I worked as a lawyer, my measure of success was clear- a conviction. I knew what I had to do, to get the result I wanted and most of the time it worked.  Working as a coach, means rethinking my ideas of success.  Because really, it's not about whether or not I have succeeded. It's about my client's definition of success and how I can contribute to them achieving that success.  It's about the number of women who find the strength to make a change in their lives, after we have worked together. It's not better or worse, it's just different.

I hope that as you continue to pursue your dreams for the rest of the year or start to think about your dreams for 2015, that you will think about what it will cost you. Not so that you shrink back, but so that you have a clear idea of the cost; what the rewards are and whether or not you are prepared to pay the price.

If you'd like some help, identifying your dreams or working out the cost, then perhaps coaching can help. Contact us through the website or on +234 706 335 0864

Until next week, go well.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

...and the medal goes to...

I am not a super athlete or a brain box. However, there is one thing that I consistently ace and could definitely win a gold medal for. I know you're all curious now and wondering what superhuman feat I can perform. Sadly, it's nothing exciting. My 'achievement' is in the well practised art of procrastination. On a bad day, I could take home, the gold, the silver and the bronze. I can procrastinate about procrastinating! I'm not quite sure what it is, but some days (sometimes, even weeks), I just cannot get my act together. My 'to-do' list festers away on my fridge, whilst I do laundry; read a book or 10 or just veg out in front of the tv!  It's not like I don't know what to do. It's not even that I won't enjoy what I need to do, once I start. It's just that sometimes, it feels like too much hassle and all I want to do is crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. Clearly that's not an option, as it would leave me very poor and probably quite smelly too. So this week, I'd like to share 3 things to do, when the procrastination monster is about to swallow you up.

'Do something'. It doesn't actually matter at this stage what you do, in relation to your task, just do something. There's something about staring at a blank screen, that fills most of us with dread. However, if you get down a few sentences (just one, if that's all you can manage), it kind of breaks the procrastination trance. When time seems to be running out,faster than my hot little hands can flip the channels, I tell myself to do something, no matter how insignificant it may seem. The aim is to get moving. Sometimes, it's as basic as writing a 'to do' list (sometimes, seeing it in black and white is so frightening, I actually do something). Once you've broken the spell, psychologically, it usually spurs you on to carry on to do something else.

The next tip is 'do something today'. I don't know about you, but I am excellent at forming bad habits and a bit rubbish at forming good ones. This is a big one, because our daily routines are made up of our habits and our daily routines dictate where we'll find ourselves in future. Want to have a fair idea of where you'll be in the future? Take a look at your habits. Show me a major couch potato with a predilection for industrial amounts of chocolate and I'll show you a candidate for America's Biggest Loser. It might sound a bit extreme, but let's face it, no-one sets out to weigh 300kg on purpose. It's usually the culmination of poor dietary and exercise habits.

Finally, 'do something every day'. Many moons ago, when my sister was getting married, she gave me some good news and some bad news. The good news was that I was going to be her maid of honour. The bad news, was that a voluminous black shroud did not feature anywhere in her colour scheme. Seeing as I weighed far more than I should, it was either do something about it or be hideously embarrassed as I waddled down the aisle behind her! I chose to do something about it and got myself to a gym pronto. And I got myself there the next day and the day after that and the day after that too. I think you get my drift. The only way I was going to achieve my weight loss goal, was to do something consistently. It was hard at first, but then something magical happened along the way. It became a habit- one of my better ones, I might add. I've kept it up ever since and now exercise is something I do, a bit like brushing my teeth.

So there you have it, 3 tips to help you overcome the procrastination monster. All credit to Bob Gass for helping this award winning procrastinator start to change her ways. If you need a little help, overcoming procrastination, then take the first step and contact me through the website or call me on +234 706 335 0864.

Until next week, go do something, do something today, do something everyday.

Friday, 3 October 2014

"I'm fine, how are you?"

When you tell someone that you are fine, you don't expect them to ask if you're "mad, sad, broke down and disgusted?" do you? That would be a bit of a shock, to put it mildly! I can hear some of you saying, "whoa, where did that come from?" Someone, I know says that to put her point across, that many of us are very far from fine. But when we're asked how we are, we put our game face on and say we're fine or we're good, or some other phrase, that is actually very far from our current reality. A lot of us say we are fine, when in fact, all we want to do is run screaming into the night.  Part of my work as a coach is to help people discover their truth, own their truth, speak their truth and begin to live out their truth. We can only fulfil our purpose in life, when we are truly well. When we are whole, healthy and strong. We may not be where we want to be yet, but I hope that for most of us, we're not where we used to be either. It takes courage to admit that you are a work in progress, but it is in that place of honesty that we open ourselves up to growth and the possibility of change. I am most definitely a work in progress and sometimes that progress is painfully slow. I take my help wherever I find it and this week's post was inspired by a daily devotional that reminded me of the fact that we are God's masterpieces and that masterpieces take time to create.  All credit to Geri Scazzero for the inspiration and helpful framework this week.

First up, just like the body can't function without a skeleton, I don't believe that we can be truly functional without integrity. When I looked up the definition of integrity, there was the standard definition of being honest and having strong moral principles. However, it was the second definition that struck me. The second definition is "the state of being whole and undivided". When we say that we are fine, when we're not, we are not whole or undivided. We are wearing a mask, that prevents us from being authentic.  We are wearing a mask that keeps others out and ourselves locked in. We put on that mask as a safety measure, when it is the mask that is destroying us inside. Without integrity, we are in fact the opposite of being emotionally healthy and whole.

The next thing we need to do, in order to make sure that we are emotionally healthy is to pay attention to our inner rhythm. That's a big issue for many women. It's almost like we feel we're cheating if we take time for ourselves. Trying to be emotionally healthy, without paying attention to our inner rhythm is like trying to run a car on empty. Best result, it won't go, but more likely, is that it won't go and we'll also damage the engine. We've got to understand that it isn't selfish to pay attention to our own needs, it's self-care. You can't give what you don't have and it is impossible to fulfil our life's purpose, when we have no inner reserves left. What are the triggers that let you know when you've stopped paying attention to your own needs? I know that when I'm tired or hungry, it's not pretty. Impatience, snappishness and downright rudeness are all likely outcomes- none of which are very nice! Take the time to find out your triggers and take the time to be exquisitely kind to yourself, when you need it. When you can be kind to yourself, then it's easier to be kind to others.

The third and fourth points go together in my mind. In order to be emotionally healthy, we need to: set boundaries and let go of others. We need to set boundaries, but a lot of us don't know how to or don't want to. What happens then, is that we end up being involved in other people's lives, in inappropriate and unhealthy ways. Trying to control them and make them comply with our wishes. Being unable or unwilling to let them do life their way. Disrespecting their boundaries.  Contrary to being a bad thing, boundaries tell people how we want to be treated. Privacy, respect for personal space, the right to live without abuse. These are just some of the boundaries that we should have in place. When we operate without boundaries, it's like we're wearing a sign that says "violation and disrespect are both welcome here" How many of us are eating our pain over abuse/ disrespect? How many of us are trying to spend our way out of our hurt? How many of us are trying to chemically numb ourselves with alcohol or drugs. All those responses may seem easier than putting boundaries in place, but they don't work and only set us up for feelings of despair and shame, which start the cycle all over again.

Friends, there is a different way and I'd like to invite you to try it.  This week, go through the framework above and see where you need to make some adjustments. As you do this, remember to be kind to yourself, this isn't about shame, it's about self care and a commitment to becoming healthy and whole. I know where I need to do more and I'd love to have some company on my journey. So that when I bump into you one of these days and ask how you are, and you say "fine", it will mean that you really are emotionally strong, healthy and whole.

Until next week, go well.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

...Cause I'm free...

"...cause you're free, to do what you want to do. You've got to live your life, do what you want to do..."

These are lyrics from the 90's dance floor filler "Free" by Ultra Nate. Before you start to panic, I have not become a music blogger. It's just that the words seemed so apt, considering the topic of today's post. I came across a quote today by Tara Mohr, which says "your calling will never demand that it be the way you pay your mortgage. It is simply begging you for some amount of expression in your life". When I read it, all I could think was "word". I had one of those 'aha' moments when the lights come on and you think "now that's what I'm talking about!"

For those of you who read the blog regularly (I thank you), you'll know that I revisit themes on a regular basis. That's not because I've run out of ideas about what to write about (okay, sometimes it is). Mostly, it's because I want to bring things to your attention in as many different ways as possible, so that everyone can have at least one 'aha' moment. This week's revisit is that wonderful theme of 'calling' or 'purpose'. To me, the freedom in Ms Mohr's quote comes from understanding that whilst our calling may not be our regular 9-5 gig, as long as it's expressed in our lives somehow, then it still helps us to live out our purpose. If you want to make it your 9-5 gig, then go ahead, but you don't have to.
I re-trained as a life coach 3 years ago and I have to say that earning a living from it, is turning out to be a lot slower and harder than I thought. However, because I know what my calling is, I can still live it out everyday, whether I am formally coaching clients or not. My calling is to help women heal from abuse and coaching is just one of the ways by which I do that. I can also do it through writing, training, running workshops or by simply sharing useful information. When we truly understand what our calling is, then we can begin to recognise all of the opportunities that come our way, that allow us to live out our calling.
So I ask: what's your calling? How are you expressing it? What's stopping you from expressing it? what one thing can you do today, to express your calling?

Friends, when all is said and done, it doesn't matter when you discover your calling. It doesn't matter if you are young or old. It doesn't even matter how big or small your calling is. All that really matters, is that you pay attention to it and give it some space. Personally, I have no intention of retiring from helping women heal from abuse. I may retire from coaching or training or running workshops, but I won't give up my calling. Why should I? As far as I know, there's no age limit on living out one's calling, so I'm going to keep going.
How about you? Will you join me on this adventure? What's that insistent little voice in your heart calling you to? What's that issue that makes you so cross, you just have to do something about it? What's that idea that you eat, sleep and breathe? Pay attention, it could just be your calling. See where it takes you. Who knows, you might actually change the world (your small part of it at least!)

This week I challenge you to go do life as boldly and fearlessly as you can. Speak up, start a petition, change a life. Whatever you do, do it, knowing that you are being changed for the better.

Until next week, go well.