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

Category Archives: Knowing The Way Forward

Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, or in behaviour patterns that we can’t break out of. Here are lots of ideas and tips to help you move forward, to make changes and become your best self.

New seasons, with bits falling off

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On looking out the window this glorious sunny autumn morning, I spotted two wee squirrels scampering about and playing high up in the branches of a big tree opposite my window. I watched them for a while, impressed by their speed and dexterity on what was quite a small, bouncy branch. And then it occurred to me that the only reason I could see them was because many of the leaves had fallen off the branches around where they were playing. And me being me, that set me wondering about parallels in life in this season of autumn. Sometimes we can only see clearly what is going on in our lives when some other things are stripped away, fall off, are released. Sometimes in seasons of hyper-busyness, when there is much going on, fingers in many pies, everything externalised, we can’t see what is happening inside, what is happening in our hearts, or our relationships, or with other aspects of life that matter most to us. Sometimes it takes letting to of some aspect of life, some change in priorities for a season, maybe a stripping back of activities, to see what is at the centre, the core of us and our lives. Seasons are times of change and can be useful starting points for reflection on our own lives and changes that we might introduce to allow us to see more clearly what we otherwise might miss.

Life balance, or balancing life?

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Are you choosing balanced or unbalanced living? Are you stretched to the limit in some areas of life, aware that other important elements are neglected? I can help with this, work with you to regain perspective on what is important, to balance priorities and restore areas that are neglected. Live unbalanced for too long, and the costs become quite high – like the unbalanced human body trying to stand or walk, some parts of you become overworked, stressed and tired, and some parts waste away. Ultimately, this can lead to a fall. As we have explored, balance takes practise, but as always, it starts with an awareness of how satisfied you are with your current life balance, and then a choice to do something about it. I have spent many years working with individuals to help them regain balance in their body, and this of course goes hand in hand with regaining balance in mind and soul too. Is this what you are needing? Or wanting to explore more? It can be an exciting journey, with lots of wobbles along the way, but the goal? – a fully loaded pizza, each wedge piled high with delicious goodies (see last week!). Contact me via my website for your free taster life coaching session (Skype, phone, or in person depending on where you are) and we can start to balance you out!

It ain’t gonna happen overnight….

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I am still running. Eight months on, still running, still enjoying it, feeling the benefit and, lo and behold, getting better at it. Generally in life, if we persevere at something, exercise a degree of discipline and commitment, practise at it and don’t give up, whatever it is gets easier. More than twenty years of my life as a physiotherapist were spent encouraging people to keep going, keep working on it, small steps at a time, until they achieve the goal of their rehabilitation. I know this for myself of course, that nothing changes overnight. Having started running, I knew that I wasn’t going to become Eric Liddell in a month (or ever for that matter). I knew that time, perseverence, discipline, practise, sometimes getting it wrong – these are all required. So why, oh why do I expect internal changes to happen without the afforementioned preamble, hard graft, who-ha – call it what you will. Having identified those in my life who are most important, having examined what it might mean to cherish them, why am I surprised that I am not able to demonstrate that behaviour immediately? That perhaps valuing, affirming, and lovingly serving my nearest-and-dearest rather than taking them for granted, or being disgruntled at being taken for granted by them, might also take a bit of perseverance and practise? It ain’t gonna happen overnight, but if it is worth it, it’s worth the effort to achieve it.

Who are you at your best?

Imagine something with me – you are your best. What does that look like? Who is that person? What makes that person unique, in terms of abilities, characteristics, personality? Now here is the tricky bit – we don’t always behave or communicate as our best selves. Sometimes, what comes out in terms of what we say and do comes from our least best selves, and out of hurt, criticism, pride, insecurity, jealousy, fear – you name it. We know who we want to be, and what we want to do, but our behaviour seems quite in contrast with this. But like everything in life, we have a choice. Not necessarily a choice about life’s events, but a choice in how we respond. We can choose to speak or behave in a way that reflects us at our best. Before you make a decision, stop and think – in saying this, or behaving in this way, am I becoming more or less like the best version of me that I want to be? This self-examination is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality, as described by Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuits. Of course, it is not easy, and there is much more to it. But as a starting point this week, before you speak or react to someone or something, stop and think – who am I becoming as I make this choice?

It’s ok to get it wrong….

Yesterday my older daughter sat her first ever music exam. Well, technically she stood to do the exam, but you know what I mean. She was nervous, I was very nervous, having done quite a few music exams in my own (long ago) school days. But she played her pieces well, and came out expressing appreciation for how friendly the examiner was, and saying that she had enjoyed the whole experience. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you how proud I am of her, and how much she makes my heart sing. Throughout the lengthy practice period leading up to the exam, she would sometimes become paralysed into inertia when attempting a tricky passage for fear of getting it wrong. I was forever chuntering on to her that it is ok to get it wrong, but not ok to not try. If you don’t try, I would say (with, I regret, varying degrees of patience and grace on my part) you will never know whether you can accomplish it or not. Sometimes we are so afraid of appearing foolish or vulnerable, or not ever getting to the perfect end point, or attaining our idealised goal, that we do nothing. And thus miss out, not only on achievement itself, but also on the hard work, challenge and satisfaction of the journey to get there. Go on, take that first imperfect step towards your perfect goal.

What motivates you to be you?

What is it that motivates you to be you and behave the way you do? What are your strengths, and what are the downsides of your personality? At a recent study day on the Enneagram, those of us present were encouraged to look at each of the different types within that particular personality indicator, and consider both the strengths and weaknesses of each. But not in a beat-yourself-up sort of way, as is often the case when confronted with the less attractive aspects of our personalities and the subsequent behaviour patterns, but rather we were challenged to consider the downsides as aspects of ourselves that we have to take responsibility for. This is very freeing, as it allows us to see we have a choice in how we respond – when we recognise we are headed for negative behaviour (and there is often a definite, repeated pattern – see 10 things I like about you) we can choose to stop, see what is going on, accept and take resonsibility for what we have the potential to do or say at that moment, but then change it, change our response into something more in keeping with who we are at our best. Of course this is not easy, and takes a growing amount of self-awareness. But keep focussed on the best version of you that you are wanting to become, and celebrate small steps along the way.

10 Things I Like About You

Perspective. One of my favourite words (see previous posts like The Mona Lisa trick and Try something unpredictable). How often is it the case with our nearest and dearest, those who know us best or we are at our most familiar with, that we sometimes get stuck in negative cycles of behaviour or words, particularly when discussing or revisiting something important….I say something, you react negatively, you say something back that puts me on the defensive, I react badly and say something destructive and whooosh, off we go again, round and round and we’re stuck inside a washing machine of negativity, battered, bruised, sometimes managing to surface for air but generally left feeling like we are drowning a wee bit. And like being in a washing machine, it’s hard to get out from the inside, we just keep going round and round. We need a helping hand in the form of some Fresh Perspective. Try my new game called Ten things I Like About You. The rules are very easy – instead of the usual game of ten rounds with negativity, we take turns to list ten things we like about each other, but also ten things we like about ourselves (oooh, that can be a bit tricky too). It seems to stop the normal negative pattern mid-cycle and allow a bit of breathing space to reflect, re-group and re-focus on what is good, likeable, positive, and dare I say, loveable, about each other.   

Take the next step…..

So I now have a running mantra: take-the-next-step, take-the-next-step. This came about whilst attempting to run up a very steep, if short hill, and very much wanting to stop every time I looked at how far away the top of the hill seemed. It seemed to stay just as far away with every step I took, despite my bursting lungs and screaming legs. Hurumpf. On this occasion, looking up to the top of the hill just seemed too difficult, too much of a challenge. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a challenge. But sometimes life’s challenges can seem too big, too high, too steep, too overwhelming, or just plain insurmountable. On those days, there is something to be said for just take-the-next-step, take-the-next-step, take-the-next-step…..

Wanting some inspiration about the next step to take in your life? My self-coaching guide is full of ideas, inspiration and practical action points you can implement now to start making changes and taking those steps. Simply fill in the form (and keep an eye on your spam folder as the reply sometimes ends up in there).

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