The Light Bulb

The Light Bulb

A blog for any of you who feel you are working very hard and not getting very far.

‘The light bulb did not come about by continuous improvement of the candle’ Oren Harari

A friend was talking to me recently about her role as a governor in a school. The staff were working very hard to make changes but things weren’t really moving or improving. All that was happening was that the staff felt completely exhausted and lacked energy and motivation. They were working even harder, filling in more forms, staying later, doing more marking and still things had not changed. Something different had to happen. I mentioned the above quote and she really took a step back, because it was true.

The staff were following the same processes and methods, even doubling their efforts with ever increasing frustration and exhaustion. Sometimes, what it takes is a complete sideways step and a chance to look at the situation in a new way without bringing along what worked previously.

A little history….

Candles were quite a brilliant invention, they seemed to be developed in several countries at different times, but more than likely dating back to 200 BC and the Qin Dynasty in China. Jump forward around 2000 years and you will find Edison and his contemporaries looking at another source of light. The light bulb, whilst generally credited to Thomas Edison in 1879, was probably conceived as an idea much earlier by Italian Alessandro Volta in 1800. He observed that copper wire glowed when an electrical current was passed through it. As the ideas developed over the century it is certain these brilliant minds were not looking at candles and how to improve them.

So how is the history of candles and light bulbs relevant for you? Are you wanting to make improvements and changes but still using the same skills and tools? It often takes more than just ‘let’s do it in another way’. It takes a required leap of faith, a genuine desire to leave behind what doesn’t work anymore and a will to embrace the new.
Coaching is a great way to make shifts and changes and start new habits, change behaviours and thoughts with the support of an objective and trained coach. It can offer you a chance to see things in a whole new light and from a very different perspective that will help move you forward.

Do you need a chance to look at things in a new way? Are the previous tried and tested methods no longer working and tiring you out?
Do get in touch.

The Daily Plan

The Daily Plan

Don’t bother about the end goal – have a daily plan you LOVE and enjoy the journey

As a professional coach who is serious about my field, I regularly invest in my own continued professional development. On a recent hunt around the internet I came across a reasonably high profile American coach by the name of Kevin Hogan; Danish by descent, Kevin had some interesting things to say about end goals.

He advocates not fixating on the final goal, but instead creating a broad aim. Progress is only really made by setting clear journey goals, aligning them to the broad end goal and MAKING THEM HAPPEN!

I have to say, I resonate with this sentiment. I know many successful people who were clear about the broad outcomes they wanted. When the going got tough, they kept motivated because they had a love for what they did on a daily basis.

We must enjoy the journey; otherwise, really what is the point? I came across a quote yesterday that said “a good traveller does not need a map”….interesting food for thought.

Who Makes The Rules

Who makes the rules? Is it time to throw away your rule book?

One of the things I notice in coaching and listening to others is how we establish rules for ourselves and others around us. With an *N.L.P. background, I’ve found the language we use with ourselves, especially on a consistent basis and over a period of time, has a dramatic impact on our thoughts and behaviour. It can have both a positive and negative impact.

Take for example:

‘I’m 30 soon. I ought to have sorted out my life by now.’
‘I’ve always been shy and retiring so would never apply for that job.’
It’s just a thing I have about management – I have to rebel.’
‘If there’s a challenge, I have to take it.’

In N.L.P. terms these phrases are rules. Rules can dictate far more than just thoughts; they can impact on behaviour at a much deeper level. In a way it almost amounts to ‘brainwashing’ You feed yourself these thoughts and rules and find they have a big influence on the way life your life. It is possible you don’t even know you are doing it, however if you find you are using words such as ‘should’ and ‘ought’ and ‘must’ , ‘have to’ a lot then that’s a bit of a giveaway. Take for example the first phrase ‘I’m nearly 30 I ought to have sorted my life out by now.’
Is this a rule that you have designed for yourself? And if so is it true? Finally – says who? Often looking at the root of these rules you find it isn’t your belief at all; you’ve adopted someone else’s!

Coaching can help with challenging these rules in a positive way and allow you to redefine them. So perhaps… ‘I’m almost 30 and I should know it all by now.’ could become…
I’m almost 30 – time for an adventure!’

If this sounds familiar and you’d like to throw away your rule book, do get in touch.

*Neuro Linguistic Programming

Sell By Date

Have your beliefs gone beyond their sell-by date?

A common topic arising in my coaching sessions is around limiting self-beliefs. Most of us have an internal critic or voice which tells us how things should or must be, for instance, ‘I must always be on time’, or ‘I should deliver the perfect presentation’. When explored more deeply, these ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’ are rules for living that we have imposed on ourselves, possibly since childhood, and may reflect beliefs and values that are no longer helpful for us.

Once we’ve worked to identify the limiting value or belief, it can be helpful to try to understand how it arose, and what purpose it once served. For example, the belief that ‘in order to succeed I must always put 100% effort in’ may have served a useful purpose in enabling someone to do well academically or survive school, but is not a necessary rule to adhere to in all areas of work, and can lead to constant pressure and high stress levels.

Having established the self-limiting belief and gone some way to understanding the purpose it once served, we can look at ‘de-bunking’ the myth, and finding out what belief or value might be a more helpful replacement. A part of the process is cross-examining the assumption – what evidence is there that says this rule must always apply? What would happen if you didn’t follow this rule? Who do you know who successfully lives by a different set of values?

What I like about this approach is that rather than demonising our old habits of thinking, and therefore attacking ourselves still further, we try to understand what’s behind the belief, before accepting that its purpose has been served, and may no longer be helpful.

Do you have any self-limiting rules that have out-lived their purpose?

Pull Yourself Together

Pull yourself together

Have you ever felt like you are being pulled in different directions; or more to the point, different parts of you want different things? This might manifest itself in being unable to make a decision, mulling the same thoughts over and over again, or suffering from that old friend procrastination.

It’s what psychologists call ‘parts separation’ which essentially means you are experience some kind of internal conflict which is pulling you in different directions. This state of mind can sometimes play out for decades and can really get in the way of fulfilling your potential.

This issue has cropped up several times recently, but my coaching has offered clients some very useful insights into their thought patterns and habits. The work we have done has really challenged them to shake out new and different ways of thinking which has let them get on with their lives.

I truly revere my client’s humility to understand more about themselves and what might be holding them back. Getting clarity over our deep aspirations can be very liberating and helps us get in touch with who we really are.

If you feel you have some internal conflicts to address, then maybe consider giving me a ring and take advantage of some pro bono coaching.

Whatever you decide, make it a positive one!

Warmest wishes


Working at the boundary – Intuition

The ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.
synonyms: hunch, feeling, feeling in one’s bones, gut feeling, funny feeling, inkling

Yesterday I attended a coaching workshop entitled ‘Working the Boundary’. It was a fascinating insight into we can create breakthrough moments and deep awareness by really taking notice of our intuitive thoughts.

During the workshop we had great discussion about the ‘hunches’ or ‘gut feelings’ we might experience, but that we might hold back on acting on these feelings. This could be for a number of reasons; it could be that you need more evidence to back up your thoughts, you sense sharing your insights could damage a relationship, or realising that insight may be scary in some way.
What was very clear from this workshop is that our intuition is a hugely valuable asset which is often not given sufficient space in hectic, modern world. Every day we experience billions of bytes of information every minute, and our brains must filter out what is not important and filter in what is. In this process, awareness of our intuition can dip.

Many of my clients will come to coaching with no idea about what to do for the best, but finish coaching being clear. There are many things that contribute to this shift, however one key lever is for the client to notice their head, heart and gut feelings. My job as a coach will be to REALLY listen to you, to hone in on your slivers of intuitive thought which will shift your thinking from confusion to focus. Einstein has something to say about this subject too…!

Personal Coaching Bristol

The New New Year

The beginning of September signifies the beginning of the academic year, with pupils returning back to school in their shiny new shoes and pristine jumpers. The weather starts to change and our thoughts turn to our autumn and winter wardrobes and even Christmas! September can also be a time for ‘out with the old and in with the new’ and a time for reflection. I’ve noticed lots of my friends and family have been busy enrolling on evening courses, joining exercise classes, clearing out the garage and sorting out the car for winter driving. There is no avoiding it; it’s time to pack away the suntan lotion and bed down for autumn. Like January, September can be a great opportunity to mentally spring clean and face up to the challenges we might have been avoiding during the summer.