Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

More musings inspired by Dr Seuss…and fish.

teach a man to fish

Teach a man to fish…

As part of an occasional series of thoughts and musings based on Dr Seuss words and quotes, here are another couple of my favourites:

 Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky!”

There has been much in the popular press recently about the scientifically proven power of gratitude. I can testify to this in an entirely unscientific way. Furthermore, I have anecdotal evidence of several clients. Each of them is choosing to record three things daily that they are thankful for, or that are good in their lives. And each one speaks to the huge perspective shift they are enjoying –

immensely helpful

empowering

“focusing on positive outcomes and feeling much better”

Try it for a week – at the end of each day, simply write down three things you are thankful for. And see what happens Duckie.

 

It is better to know how to learn than to know.”

I LOVE this. If there is one sentence that sums up the power of life coaching, then this is it. If I tell you the specific solution to one particular problem that you have in your life, then once that problem is resolved, you potentially find yourself back to square one when the next problem comes along – stuck with a new problem and no solution.

However, if I enable you to come up with solutions for yourself by learning how to problem solve, then you are potentially set up for life. Each of us has the ability within ourselves to come up with creative and unique solutions to our own problems. What we sometimes lack is an outside perspective, and some objectivity to think outside of the box and learn how to problem solve.

Put it another way –

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.

Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. 

‘Twas my grandfather who used to say that, not Dr Seuss. Ancient Chinese wisdom was considered to be the source of this saying, although doubt is now cast on this. It matters not a jot.

What matters is the ability we each of us have to learn how to learn, and therefore be better equipped for the rest of our lives.

Need help learning to fish, metaphorically speaking? Get in touch – I can help! Find out more about what life coaching is and how it can help you here.

 

Why would I need Life Coaching? Part 2

Here are a few more pointers and areas in which life coaching can make a life changing difference –

What can life coaching do for me?Stuck? Going through transition and no idea what to do next?

Coaching can help you assemble the jigsaw pieces of your skills, strengths, values, life experience and motivators to get a clearer picture of what is next and where you want to go, and action steps to get there.

 

 

 

 

 

Confidence in your boots? Tired listening to the negative talk inside your head, but feeling trapped and unsure of how to break free?

Coaching can help you identify the roots of the negative self talk, grow in self belief and self acceptance, and become free to be the real, wonderful you!

 

 

In a relationship that is – well, ok, but not great….stagnant and functional and not what you thought it would be?

Coaching can help you identify patterns of thinking and behaviour and change them for the better, create shared values and priorities for your relationship, and build a more fulfilling and rewarding relationship. 

 

 

 

 

Had your eyes opened a little? Thinking, wow, that would make such a difference to my life, and I’d love to find out more?

Well – look no further!

Find out more right here about how to book your free taster session and explore further what life coaching can do for you.

Why would I need Life Coaching? Part 1

Why would I need life coaching? What would I get out of it? What kinds of things does a life coach deal with?

All good, valid and important questions. And this week and next sees a little summary of some of those issues – 

Too busy? Always rushing, living a to-do list, overwhelmed and feeling like you only are only able to react to events that life throws at you?

Coaching can enable you to regain control of your life, time, and make good choices that enable you to live proactively and with greater freedom.

 

 

 

 

Feeling a bit trampled on and taken for granted, and that your needs never get a look in? A bit run ragged by expectations and demands on you, and no breathing space to stop and make changes?

Coaching can help you build good, healthy boundaries around what is most important to you.

What can life coaching do for me?

Self employed and working all the hours under the sun, feeling a bit swamped and out of balance?

Coaching can help you create a vision statement for your business to bring clarity and focus, set up systems to manage time and energy that work for you, and be empowered to invest in yourself.

 

 

 

 

Maybe one or more of these issues strikes a chord, and you think: that’s me. I’d like to find out more about that.

Then get in touch for your free taster session, and we can explore together how life coaching might transform your life.

Make a difference the Glasgow way.

Make a difference

Make a difference

Sometimes the problems our world is facing seem so complex and multi-layered that overwhelm and paralysis set in – as an individual, what on earth can I do that would make a difference?

Not a very cheery place to start this week, but let me expand a little. Famine, terrorism, complex political wranglings, injustice, social breakdown. All have been in the news this past week. And all are subjects that can lead to a numbing and mental shutdown at their extent and ghastliness. Sometimes the temptation is to switch off to it all because it is all too big, too complex – we feel utterly powerless to do anything of any use.

And yet.

Sitting alongside the dark events in the world are little vignettes of hope.

At the weekend, I took part in a community event that, when pitted against the monster of social injustice, seemed almost entirely inconsequential. But there were lots of us who worked together as a team, each person contributing their unique skills, enthusiasm, and energy. None of us on our own could possibly have done all that was required to make the event a success. And yet each person working as part of a much greater whole created something collectively that brought ripples of blessing and generosity bobbing outwards into several areas of need within our immediate world.

Last Friday saw the fundraising mega machine that is Comic Relief. Tens of millions of pounds were raised to help many in desperate need in the UK and Africa, including those affected by the current horrific famine. Again, watch the stories of human suffering, and the need is utterly overwhelming. What difference can I possibly make? But recognise that no man is an island, that we are all part of this world, and we work better together, and each of us is empowered to do what we can. Those millions raised consist of many, many single contributions of individuals moved to do their small part.

And yesterday, a little reminder of the difference one person can make to your day. Whilst walking through the centre of town, I encountered a busker seeking to earn a few quid singing. He was very good, and alongside him, a young business man had started dancing, watched and cheered by his business colleagues. Smart suited and smart shoed, he pulled off some nice moves in the middle of the street, purely for fun. Then a young woman joined in, and two blokes in anoraks.

For no reason at all, except the enjoyment of the dance.

At 9 in the morning.

I love Glasgwegians. I love the human spirit at it’s most free.

I smiled broadly as I walked past, and noticed the same effect on other passers-by. All these be-suited office workers, business people, delivery folk – I watched their faces shift from single-minded-Monday-morning focused-seriousness to a broad smile of enjoyment at the nonsense in the street.

We each of us have it in us to make a difference. Sometimes it will feel of so little consequence that it is hardly worth bothering about.

But who knows this week, you might be just the person to meet a need – be it a smile, a word of encouragement, a helping hand, a strong shoulder, or a few quid. Each of us can choose to do what we can to make a difference, knowing that together, real change is possible.

Thank people before it’s too late – or, a good goodbye.

Thank people before it's too lateThis week saw us say goodbye to some dear friends. It felt like one of those before-and-after moments: a defining goodbye that marked the shift in life before-and-after them. I cried many tears at the goodbying, and startled myself somewhat at the extent and depth of my sobs – I cry easily and often (it can be a real nuisance) and many who know me know this about me, but even so.

I have been pondering deeply about what was at the root of this volcanic well of tears. And what crystallised for me is that these dear friends, these lovely generous hearted people, have played a key role in my own inner growth over the many years I have known them. Over the past two decades, I have learned to let go of lies about myself, grown in self acceptance, gained more confidence and freedom to be the me I was made to be, and stepped out into a new career. And I realise that this in part has been because of my participation in events and experiences that these dear friends made happen. I am deeply indebted to them for their creativity, inspiration, facilitation and for often stretching me quite a long way out of my comfort zone.

I have been able to express my gratitude to them, through the tears and in writing. It has been very important to be able at least in part to articulate specifics of how they have impacted my life and what a difference they have made.

But I wonder – how many other people are there in my life who are also significant, precious, dearly loved, and how often do I thank them for their role in my life? Now these friends are neither dead nor dying, and we will see them again. But how often do we wait until the person is dead to fully appreciate out loud what they meant to us or tell them that we love them – and by then it is too late.

Between MB (My Beloved as he is known here) and I, we have received emails and letters that have expressed gratitude to us for what we have meant to the sender, and why. These are precious and treasured communications. They have often come out of the blue, sometimes prompted by a significant birthday.

Recently, I heard about a project called The Living Eulogy Box on the radio (Radio 4 Saturday Live, Feb 25). The premise is a simple one – to tell people when they are very much alive and well how much they mean to us, and to honour and thank them for their role in our lives, of whatever magnitude, rather than waiting till they are dead. By that time, for the deceased, it is too late to know of and enjoy the recognition and affirmation of others – how much more would it impact us whilst alive?

Perhaps this is something we could choose to do in Lent, which can be for some a time of reflection – to thank people before it is too late.

Perhaps there is someone in your life who means the world to you but you’ve never told them – you just kind of assume they know, right? Or someone who made a positive, significant difference to your life at a certain point, no matter how far back, but you’ve never let them know?

MB had a card a few years back from a friend, thanking him for his role in her life when they were students more than 20 years previously. He was deeply touched and humbled to read the words, as to him, he was just being her friend, but to her, it meant so much more, and she took the time and trouble to write and thank him.

Thank people before it’s too late – let’s not wait for the goodbyes to tell people how much they matter to us.

Don’t look back in anger (cue for a song….)

Look back...

Look back…

How do you look back at your past life experiences? What lenses are you wearing and how do they affect how you see?

I have been doing a fair bit of musing and reflecting of late on how I got to where I am now. This has in part been prompted by goals I have set myself for this year. And in turn, these goals have grown out of my experiences of the last few years, and what I want there to be more or less of in this coming year. The soul weariness I spoke of a year ago, an understanding of good boundaries and appropriate rest, and the importance of continuing to learn and develop as a life coach have all prompted an unusual-for-me degree of introspection and reflection.

Recently I was listening to a radio programme about whether we are glass-half-full or half-empty people, and how this affects our perception of event.

This struck a chord.

My life has changed hugely in the past 15 years. And how I look back over those years has a huge impact on my view of the future, and expectations thereof. If I allow the impact of MB’s depression, plus my own experiences of soul weariness and over busyness to be the lens through which I look at life thus far, what tends to dominate is regret and sadness at the hard stuff, the things missed, the struggles. And therefore this clouds how I look forward to this year – expectations clouded by negativity and pessimism.

But it need not be thus. We can learn to look back through a different lens.

At no point 15 years ago, even in my wildest dreams, would I have believed that I would be running my own coaching business at this point, with the fulfilment, challenges, joys, freedom and flexibility that this life brings. And I am where I am now because of so many things coming together over the years – opportunities, conversations, huge support from family and friends, MB believing in me, self awareness and growth, access to great training and learning, financial provision. So much to celebrate and be thankful for.

Thus I change the lens on how I look back, and the over-riding emotion is gratitude. And looking back with gratitude changes how I view the present and the future, and I look forward with hope and optimism because I see what is possible. Change can happen.

It’s a simple formula, and nothing to do with the Oasis song that is buzzing round in my head –

Look back with regret and only see the negative, and you will more likely

look forward with fear and pessimism

Look back with gratitude and see and acknowledge the positive, and you

look forward with hope and optimism.

This is not to diminish difficult life events and circumstances. We learn most through the hard stuff. But we learn, we let go, and eventually we move on and the negative then loses it’s power. We can then focus more on the positive and see all that is good.

How do you look back at life, and how does that affect how you look forward?

Dr Seuss inspired thoughts Part 2

Think and wonder, wonder and think.What I love about Dr Seuss is his ability to encapsulate huge concepts in only a few words.

And to do so in beautiful, succinct and often very funny rhyme and rhythm.

This is such a small phrase, and such simple concept.

And yet, in this multimedia, technological world, how much more important to take time to switch off, unplug, and create physical and mental space to think and wonder.

Everyone around us has an opinion. And the extraordinary assault on our minds that is social media ensures that those opinions are entering our lives and homes and minds all the time. But we have a choice – a familiar refrain here. And that choice is to switch off sometimes from the opinions and views of others, and instead choose to wonder and think our own thoughts. Not necessarily that we might then share those thoughts on those very same social media platforms. But that we might simply again stop in wonder like small children at the extraordinary natural world around us. At the enormity of our own capacity to think original thoughts and wonder our own original wonderings.  And that fits well with –

You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

What did you miss last week because you had your eyes shut, metaphorically speaking?

We can keep our eyes shut to what is around us by being glued to technology – smart phone engaging part of our brain, half listening or half paying attention with the other part.

By being focused with tunnel vision on what is The Next Thing we need to do, driven by our to-do lists.

By being emotionally absent because we are trapped somewhere else in our minds due to negative self-belief or self-talk, worry or anxiety, our own selfish agenda.

What would it mean to open our eyes instead, that we might really see what is around us – to see and notice the wonders of the world in the small, everyday moments?

To not miss the body language in conversation that indicates more is below the surface if we would only draw it out?

To see the emotion behind the words and be present in that, entering into that space we might otherwise miss?

To receive the compliment as it was intended, and not bat it away with our own negativity? All this can be learned and it starts with keeping our eyes open. And sometimes, when we keep our eyes open and don’t miss what is actually going on, we might find ourselves opening up to new opportunities or perspectives:

If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”

If we are honest, perhaps that is what we are afraid of….that our own agenda and carefully crafted and controlled plan for our day/week/life will be derailed in a direction over which we seem to have no control.

Maybe that is just me……

…..but I am learning to sometimes let go of my own agenda, and get myself out of the way.

To practice opening my eyes to what is most important in that moment, and in so doing, to catch the emotional connection, or conversation opening, or spark of silliness that I would otherwise have missed, that I might not initially have thought there was space for.

Sometimes I need to recognise that my need to control often clouds or blocks entirely opportunities that make my life richer and allow me to learn more about myself and others, and take myself less seriously.

And surely Dr Seuss would approve of that!

Dr Seuss inspired thoughts Part 1

Last week’s post on not living out someone else’s values prompted a fabulous Dr Seuss quote from a dear friend:

Today you are you, that is truer than true; there is no-one alive who is you-er than you.”

I had a little fun looking up more Dr Seuss quotes, and re-reading some of our much-thumbed copies of his books.  And I thought we could have a little more fun looking at some of the thoughts that other quotes inspire.

Dr Seuss inspired thoughts

Dr Seuss inspired thoughts

This is another way of saying ‘Carve up the elephant’, which was one of my wise old grandfather’s favourite expressions.

Mountains are solid, huge, and look entirely immovable. What situation are you facing in your life that you would describe in similar ways? Perhaps a problem at work, an assignment or training need. Perhaps a relationship.

Perhaps a tread-mill way of living that is unsustainable but you have no idea where to start. Well, start with the first step.

 

 

  • Where do you want to get to? What is the mountain, and what would it mean to move it? Create that image in as much detail as you can, adding in how it feels to get there and what success in that area looks like.
  • Then work backwards – what would the steps be to get there?
  • And therefore what is the first step?
  • Make it small, achievable, and recognisable once completed.
  • Then take the next step.
  • And the next.

Before you know it, that mountain has moved.

 

And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed!)

Success is often achieved in the mind. That is not to say hard work, determination and resilience are of no use. They are incredibly important.

And of course, nothing in life is fully guaranteed (except that you are going to die, sorry).

But our mindset forms either the starter block or stumbling block to success.

If you believe you can do something, you are much more likely to succeed. If you fill your mind with negative thoughts of how much a failure you are, how little you have to offer, how you’ll never be able to be able to do whatever it is, chances are you will become your own self-fulfilling prophecy. Your efforts will be hamstrung at your own hand.

What we believe produces our thoughts, our thoughts dictate our emotions, and our actions follow on from this. Believe you will succeed, your thinking patterns will be more positive and success-oriented. You will feel more optimistic, energised and motivated. And your actions will put you well on the path to success.

 

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

This follows on nicely – we often fall in to the trap of believing we are victims of our circumstances or of the behaviour of other people. Actually, most of the time this is hogwash, but it can be painful and quite exposing to acknowledge that.

But we choose what we fill our minds with, and we choose how we respond to other people.

Event A happens and I respond like C. I then all too easily believe that A causes C. And therefore I blame A for my response or reaction. I believe I had little choice in what happened, and in so doing, put my circumstances in control rather than being in control myself.

But, as I said, hogwash.

In that gap between the two there is a choice – B. B is what we tell ourselves about the event A – the role of the ‘brains in our head’. Event A will have evoked certain beliefs I have about myself, which may or may not be true. I can then choose to identify what I am believing, correct it if necessary, and make a choice to respond differently – to steer myself any direction I choose.

This takes time, effort and practice, but if I have a positive mindset and expect to succeed, and take one step at a time to move the mountain, all things are possible!

Ever tried living out someone else’s values?

Living out someone else's values?

Living out someone else’s values?

As we come to the end of this little series of musings on values and the impact of living according to them, one thought remains. What happens when we try living out someone else’s values? When we take on for ourselves what we see others valuing, and try and make our lives fit with that whilst simultaneously denying what is central to who we really are?

Our internal workings go something like this:

That person is doing such-and-such, and he/she is much more clever/successful/wise/popular/spiritual than I am, so that must be the right thing to do so I should/ought to do that too….I will therefore squash my own needs and priorities and conform to what I think is expected of me to fit in.”

This internal dialogue is often subconscious, and I have helped many a client to unearth it and look for its roots. Only when we understand the root of our behaviour can we start to address it and make changes.

A clue is in the ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts‘.

“I should behave like this because that is expected of me, and therefore I will ignore what is important to me, and who I really am to conform or fit in.”

“I ought to get involved/help out/serve in some way because that is what that popular/successful/spiritual person is doing and I can’t therefore say no.”

You get the idea. It is insidious, pervasive, all-too-common, and – like a rampant weed – very hard to uproot.

Now hear me on this – I am not saying that serving, duty and responsibility are not important. Nor am I suggesting that we all become inward looking, selfish narcissists who are only out for ourselves and what we want.

But what I am saying is this –

no one else can be you and no one else can live your life for you.

Nor can you live someone else’s life with integrity because you will not be being true to who you really are.

Let me ask you some questions –

Who is the person that you are, that no one else is, that only you can be? What is the cost of not only not being that person, but trying to be someone else – to live out someone else’s life, living out someone else’s values?

To live governed by ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ – seeing how other people are living their lives, and seeking to live with their priorities, or what we think THEY think we should be doing.

Striving. People pleasing. Hiding our real selves and not prioritising what we think is important because somehow it seems less valid or worthy than someone else’s life.

You are a unique and amazing individual. No one else on the whole planet is quite like you. Just absorb that for a minute…..

…..No one else sees the world  like you do, expresses him/herself quite like you do, has your unique blend of personality, values, skills and characteristics.

Therefore – what would it mean to simply be the person that you are – to live the life that only you can live, the way only you can? To be the thing you were created to be, and do what you’ve been created to do.

How often do we exhaust ourselves and become all twisted up trying to be someone else, or to live according to some list of qualities or characteristics or values that will make us more worthy or loved or valid or fulfilled?

How often do we get stuck trying to be someone we are not, to be someone that people outside of ourselves wanted us to be? Or that we thought we had to be to prove something or to achieve happiness, or to hide who we really are on the inside?

Perhaps instead of listening to external voices that might try to define who we should be, how we should use our time, what should be most important – perhaps instead each of us can start to understand, embrace and celebrate who we ACTUALLY are and what is most important to us as unique individuals. Of course that does not mean that we are perfect and the world has to accept us just as we are. There is always growth and inner transformation for all of us.

But we can’t really start to change from the inside until we know who we really are and are free to be that person. To let go of shoulds and oughts, of negative internal voices and loud external expectations.

Until we stop living out someone else’s values, and start living according to our own.

 

Stopping to pause

Stopping to pauseToday…a little hiatus. A humpluck if you will. Somewhat unexpected and very out of character. This day started with six clear hours to work, and a list of things-to-do. Some, practical, dull and long-put-off. Others, more inspiring and of the longer-term investment type. But a day filled with tasks. Tick. Tick. Tick-tick, done. Achievement, satisfaction, on to the next thing.

Because there always is a next thing.

And in that, there started an unravelling of this planned day.

Because in the end very little on my list was ticked off.

Instead, I sat looking out the window….read…..listened to music…..wrote – inner thoughts type writing, not writing to be read by others. Ate toast, drank coffee.

I have long been a just-get-on-with-the-next-thing sort of person. But in talking and writing about letting my soul catch up, creating and maintaining good boundaries, understanding my values and living accordingly, what is surfacing is simplicity, rest, love.

And it turns out, what was most important today was to switch off to the lists and achievement, and sit and be still instead. To pay attention to what is going on inside, and silence the external voice in favour of a much quieter, less familiar internal one.

A voice that was hoarse, out of practice, somewhat croaky.

What am I feeling?

What do I want?

What do I need?

What am I starting to learn about myself, and how I want to live the next bit of my life?

Learning to be stillThis isn’t about narcissistic navel gazing. But it is about the process for me of learning to stop, and pay attention to what is going on inside rather than live at full pelt, always rushing on to the next thing without necessarily stopping to enjoy the current thing. The present, this moment, now.

I am not alone it seems – there are others I know who, like me, are realising that a change is required.

Non-stop-gerbil-wheel living is not sustainable.

Living according to what matters requires self awareness and self examination, and that takes time, stillness, stopping. Which I did today.

The list remains, but even had I completed today’s list, another list awaits tomorrow.

There is no end to the lists.

I love a list, but I am learning to love stillness and quiet too. To give myself permission to stop and be quiet, still, rest.

You?

 

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