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

Category Archives: Making Change Possible

Ever feel that you’ll never change? Well change is possible, and starts with understanding yourself and what your motives are, and believing that you can do and be more.

And here’s a lovely thing about being authentic….

Going from being caged in by your life to being free and able to take on anything….becoming fully alive again….

Free to be fully aliveHow exciting is that!

Would you like to be able to say that about yourself, about your own life? Maybe you are there already – yippee! Maybe not quite yet. Read on..

Last week, I was talking about being authentic, and what it means to start with who you are – living as the person you are rather than the person you feel you should be or are supposed to be.

The starting point for this is knowing who you are in the first place. You cannot begin to accept yourself and start living as that person until you know yourself and what your own, unique life means.

What are your skills, strengths, values, dreams? What are you passionate about and motivated to do? What have your life experiences taught you, and what do you uniquely bring to the world?

Yes you – not the person next to you. You are not them. That is the whole point.

This then enables an unpicking and an untangling. I often describe the work we would do together in coaching like this:

Your life is like a treasure chest, and what we are going to do with coaching is take everything out,

look at it, keep and celebrate the good stuff, and ditch the unhelpful stuff.

The unhelpful stuff, as it were, can take a little longer to unearth, and includes negative self talk, lies we believe about ourselves, bad habits, to name the commonest. But by far the most significant thing for a client to work to remove from their life is negative self belief: I’m not, I can’t, I’m worthless, I’m a failure, I’ll never be able to….

This week I received the most lovely and affirming review from one of my wonderful clients. It fits so well with this theme of being authentic and starting with who you are and what you can do. Confidentiality is central to my work, and anonymity for some clients is important – people don’t always want their world to know what is going on internally, so no name. She is a teacher, she and I had face to face sessions over 9 months, initially every two to three weeks, and then much more spread out as she implemented and lived out her new habits and way of being. In a bit of shameless self-promotion, this is what she wrote.

When I went along to my initial taster session with Catriona, I instantly knew that working with her was going to be a great thing. I instantly felt at ease, and that feeling has increased as time has gone on.

She is truly an amazing life coach and person, who really cares about what she does. She is so skilled at helping you identify where you need to do some work on yourself.  There have been so many times when I have had ‘aha’ moments with her when I have thought… I have never thought about that that way!  Those moments have been transformative for me.

I truly have changed my entire life by going to see Catriona. She is totally forward thinking which I particularly loved. No dwelling on the past, more making a plan for right now and the future.  I have gone from someone who was caged in by her own life to someone who now feels free and able to take on anything! And that is thanks to Catriona!

I cannot recommend her highly enough! I even have people across the Atlantic Ocean talking about how marvellous she is!  Truly, everyone should have Catriona as their life coach! Without a doubt, the best thing I ever did!

Shucks. This is why I love what I do, why it is such an enormous privilege. This lovely, transformed and exuberant woman got to where she is now through a lot of hard work, along with my questioning, listening, support and accountability. But for her, the results speak for themselves. For everyone, the process is different as the starting point is different, and the time involved for everyone varies hugely. Change is rarely easy. The question is, is it worth it? What is the cost of not changing, of staying where you are?

At the top of this post I asked if you could describe yourself as ‘free and able to take on anything….fully alive’.

If you read that and something stirs in you that thinks, I want a bit of thatget in touch. I would love to hear from you!

 

What do we rely on in times of change?

Times of change

Change is in the aaaaaaair….everywhere I look around….

A misquote I know, but it seems fitting.

Change seems to be the lowest common denominator for many just now. In my own small world, there are many facing huge change. Starting school for the first time (I remember well the first day tears and the stomach-clenching-knots of anxiety, and that was just me). Leaving school and heading off into the adventure that is university. Graduating and moving onto work or internships. Illness – there is a lot of that about, sadly. Moving house. Getting married – love is in the air too, which is lovely.

Times of change are often associated with changing routines.

Last week I was musing about how we can get stuck in certain ways of thinking, and that climbing out of the box altogether and walking away can be inspiring, stretching and freeing.

So it is in our house. My weekly routine is changing as youngest Nearest-and-Dearest starts secondary school. And thus, my 10 year association with our local primary school comes to an end, and the routines that have book-ended my day all these years stop.

That opens up more possibilities for my time and my work. But more than that, it opens up mental space for change and the new. Sometimes this can be scary – many and varied emotions run turbulently below the surface of change, threatening to derail us and swamp us with their force and intensity.

Fear of the unknown. Fear of losing what has gone before. Anxiety about being able to cope with whatever is ahead. Sadness or regret at loss of what was.

There are also upbeat emotions that can lift us out of the mire and propel us forward – excitement, anticipation, fun, enjoyment, relief, satisfaction, achievement.

The tricky aspect to this is that emotions – our feelings – are flaky and unreliable indicators of what is going on. How we feel can change with the wind, and this can have a huge impact on how we perceive what is going on at the time. I know this to be true all too well and all too often. As MB will observe wryly, I don’t do ‘even keel’ – extremes of emotion are my normal way of operating, which I know can be exhausting to live with.

But in the times of change, when there is such a huge range of emotion that threatens to completely destabilise us just as we need to be strong and courageous, what to do?

We can choose to rely on what we know to be true. External facts that we can see. People we know we can trust. The knowledge that we can choose our own response. We, and only we, have responsibility for ourselves and therefore we can be proactive rather than sliding into passive victim mentality. We can make good choices based on our value system and priorities.

For me, the foundations of what I know to be true are my faith. In times of change when emotions can be overwhelming, I can ask  –

what do I know to be true?

Irrespective of how I feel, and even what is going on, what do I know to be true?

What am I thankful for – always a good question for building a more stable foundation in the face of change.

What times of change are you looking at? And in the face of how you feel, what do you know to be true?

 

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.

Do you love a list?

Do you love a list?

Do you love a list?

I love a list.

And my nearest-and-dearest know this about me because for Christmas, I was given a new list book. It is such a thing of beauty, inspiring me to list-writing greatness and new dizzying heights of ticking-things-off joy. Here it is in all it’s glory – four different colours of pull-off wee marker tabs, and three different sizes of list – one complete with boxes to tick. My happiness knows no limit, my joy is complete.

Ok, that might be overstating it a bit, but I suspect it is not just me that loves a list. You perhaps?

Here’s a separate, but related question:

Do you love a good old read of a self help book?

Maybe like me you enjoy standing for hours in a good bookshop poring over the pages of the latest manual or volume that is no doubt going to change your world view/eating habits/body shape/priorities/relationships. All good, all important. But maybe also like me, you tend to put the book back on the shelf and walk away because buying it means that you then perhaps have to read it …. and then, deary me…you might have to Do Something About It.

Sometimes that seems too hard, too much work, simply setting yourself up to fail. Not a cheery thought at the start of the year, despite the plethora of new self help books available.

Which leads me on to my third question:

At the beginning of a new year, would you like to gain more understanding of yourself, and confidence in who you are and what you are doing?

Imagine getting to the end of this year and having much clearer priorities, more direction in life, doing more of the things that are really important to you? Having been encouraged, stretched and challenged out of your comfort zone/procrastination/overwhelm into making positive changes to the way you live?

Now, that is a thought. So – if you ticked yes to all three questions (I did say I like a list) I have a tool for you.

All the fun and satisfaction of a list with the benefits of a self help book, and the individual encouragement and support of someone alongside you cheering you on as you join up the dots of your own life. Yippee!

It’s called The 10 Things Challenge. Pat Marsh, an Author and Retreat Leader, recently completed the challenge, and this is what she said about it –

This exercise has helped me in ways above and beyond anything I could have imagined. In the analysis section of the challenge it was so helpful to see all the aspects of ‘me’ written out in front of me and quite amazing to suddenly be able to see underlying threads and patterns that I had not previously made a connection with.  It was tremendously insightful and a real catalyst for change. Your final coaching conversation was absolutely great, giving me much encouragement and many pointers for a way forward.  It has been a privilege and a joy to work with you.  The whole process has been enormously helpful and I no longer feel the sense of overwhelm which led me to you in the first place.”
How would you like a piece of that?
Think about your life now – your life this time last year, and the year before…. Stuck? Scunnered? Needing clarity and focus?
The 10 Things Challenge combines 30 lists about YOU (worry not – one a day!) with questions that make sense of it all, and a coaching session with me to draw out themes, ideas and pointers for moving forward. Don’t want to give too much away, but the lists vary from ‘favourite places to visit’, ‘ways you could care for yourself more’ to bigger questions like ‘what you want to be known for’ and a whole host in between.
Intrigued? Want to start off the year with a new way of making a list? Find out more and sign up here.

How often do we keep score in our relationship?

Do you keep score in your relationship?

Do you keep score in your relationship?

Who does what in your household? And do you keep score? An inflammatory question to begin with this week, but I like to get you thinking and no point beating about the bush. The fourth common relationship lie we will bring out from under the duvet is –

I am owed by my spouse/partner for all I do.”

A nasty one this one, because of how quickly frustration and resentment can accumulate. And depending on your character, this might boil over into expressed anger and full blown shouting matches. Or the passive-aggressive respondents amongst you might seethe inwardly and take the martyrdom route. I confess to both. Again, not pretty, not character building nor relationship strengthening behaviour.

But lets be honest and face what is common in many established relationships, to a greater or lesser extent. We keep score in our heads of all that we do for the other – chores, household and administrative tasks, time. Sometimes we even jokingly (without much laughing) label ourselves as the household PA, cook, social secretary – perhaps us women more than men? This can quickly slip down the dark and murky plughole towards martyrdom:

“Look at all I do for you and what do you do for me in return? You owe me….”

This is linked to our emotional needs because we can very quickly feel taken for granted and ignored. We are not being shown appreciation or respect for our role and therefore a downward spiral ensues. We keep score of what we do, and notice all too quickly what the other is not doing. We choose to focus on the negative of not being appreciated and very quickly slip into blame, resentment and become entrenched in our thinking.

But who ultimately can assess what your actions or those of your spouse are worth?

We usually overestimate what we do and underestimate what our partner does.

We sometimes choose to view our relationship through lenses clouded by our expectations and past hurts.

Unmet needs surface, and we can oh-so-easily keep a record of past wrongs. The impact of this is to almost be blinded to the good in our partner and for the negative to be highlighted in neon flashing colours.

Imagine with me a different scenario that moves away from a need to keep score.

What if we were to start noticing and appreciating what our partner does do, and verbalising it? Especially the mundane, repetitive stuff of life that can quickly suck the joy out of a relationship. Rather than criticising our partner for what they have failed to do, noticing what they have done and affirming and encouraging.

I feel you throwing things at the computer and I realise how trite and simplistic this might sound. And I am just as much in the mire of this one as you might be.

But what is the cost of staying stuck where one or both of you keep score in the relationship? Where ultimately is that going to lead? How much joy and connection does that bring to the relationship?

This week, try a little experiment with me. Pay attention to all the times you are tempted to keep score with your partner – of all that you do, and of what the other fails to do. Dig a little under the surface of why this is so frustrating, and see what needs you might come across. And next week, we will look at a different way forward.

Help! My relationship is a bit stagnant

Is your relationship a bit stagnant?

Is your relationship a bit stagnant?

A little smattering of relationship musings this week. MB and I celebrated 23 years of marriage at the weekend…quite a thought. Along the way, we have – like all couples – had some pretty awful lows and challenges, as well as much joy and connectedness.

And an awful lot of mundanity. Therein lies an observation I have made of many of my clients.

I am a Life Coach, and do not promote myself as a relationship coach. But so often, for clients who are in a relationship – especially one that has been maturing for a number of years – the challenges, frustrations, and tetchiness of living with someone else raises it’s head during coaching sessions.

The problem?

We can get stuck.

Stagnant, lacking in the joy and fulfilment we once felt in the relationship.

Perhaps a little bored, perhaps a little lonely, perhaps succumbing to “this is as good as it’s going to get” thinking.

Believe me, I have been there – our own struggles with MB’s Black Dog have produced many challenges, before even touching on the normal changes, vagaries and gerbil-wheel-busyness of normal life.

Perhaps –

  • you are both a bit stuck in entrenched ways of thinking and behaving towards each other. Conversations end up in well-worn well-rehearsed battles that leave you both digging in your heels further and feeling utterly misunderstood
  • life is just busy and that which matters a lot to you – your relationship – has fallen by the wayside, through no fault of anyone. But you now know not how to remedy the situation
  • a week can flash by without any conversation with your spouse/partner that goes beyond the functional, practical or organisational (who’s turn is it to…have you paid/arranged…etc)
  • you seem not to be able to speak each other’s language any more. Neither of you feels connected, valued, heard or respected much within the relationship

Not a pretty picture is it.

And not really the kind of relationship any of us would choose to live in for years on end, and yet so often we do.

Sometimes it feels like life just takes over. Children, if they appear in the relationship, complicate things and take up energy, time and focus. Shared values and connectedness are lost.

But does it have to be thus? Does your relationship have to be functional, possibly a little dull, rather than a source of life, encouragement and wholeness?

From experience working with clients, some aspects of your relationship that could be improved with Life Coaching include:

  • recognising what is and is not your responsibility
  • identifying values, and the impact of life choices
  • from understanding your values, identifying how time is used and where priorities are
  • recognising entrenched patterns of behaviour and thinking that are negative and dismantling them
  • growing in self awareness and understanding, and what is at the root of behaviour
  • learning to understand the language of yourself and of your mate, and how to love him/her

And ultimately, and most importantly – none of us can change our partner.

We can only change ourselves – relationship success is more about being the right person than finding the right person.

Looking for help getting your relationship unstuck and moving forward? Get in touch and we can do it together!

 

Help! I’m self-employed and out of balance.

Time management for the self-employed. Sounds like a book title or a this-will-completely-sort-you-out-all-singing-all-dancing course. It is neither – it is a key problem that faces those who work for themselves, some of whom have sought my help.

Self-employed and out of balance?

Self-employed and out of balance?

Of course, time management, work/life balance, work boundaries affect all of us. But I am discovering for myself and from clients that when you are your own boss (especially in a one man business) it takes quite a level of self discipline and proactivity to manage well your own resources when no-one is telling you what to do or how to do it. No imposed organisational structures, no manager, no time sheets, and possibly no set office hours. These are some of the attractions of being self-employed of course, but are accompanied by their own challenges.

Challenges for the self-employed include –

  • not knowing when to stop or when what you have done is ‘enough’
  • sole working and always having to be proactive, sometimes with little support
  • not taking proper breaks or time for self care and rest and running out of energy
  • struggling to switch off when away from work, with negative impact on sleep, family relationships, self care
  • difficulty saying ‘no’ to work so risking becoming swamped
  • no clarity about the mission and values of who you are as your company that then enables clear choices in what to take on
  • prioritising what is important over the urgent never-going-away pressing demands
  • little time or head space to look at the bigger picture and develop goals

I can help! I have had the privilege and challenge of working with a number of clients who have come to me with some of these issues – who have left large organisations to improve their work/life balance and ended up feeling swamped, overwhelmed and a little at sea. From my own experience, I have some understanding of this. I left the behemoth of an institution that is the NHS after more than 20 years to work for myself. I can tick all of the above off my own list of challenges, some of which have caught me completely off guard and have almost stopped me in my tracks. But together we are learning, and as one client expressed it

I would highly recommend life-coaching to anyone who has ever wondered if chaotic life-work balance could be improved – it can!

Imagine instead having –

  • a clear vision/mission statement for your work that helps clarify your niche, provides motivation and passion, where to focus your time and energy, and better boundaries within work choices
  • the ability to be proactive about personal and career development because you have a clear understanding of purpose and direction
  • clear boundaries on work and non-work life and resources, including time, routine and structures that work for you
  • a clearer understanding of how you work and your own character that enables better management of energy drainers and gainers
  • specific, practical and SMART time management frameworks that work to increase productivity
  • accountability, support, encouragement, challenge and a sounding board throughout the process

I would love to help – if you, or someone you know, are self-employed and feeling a bit swamped, get in touch!

 

Take a chance on … what?

What chances are out there?

I wish I had taken more chances.

Do you ever feel like that? How about getting to the end of your life, and looking back at lost opportunities, the ‘what ifs’, the fizzled-out dreams?

This next deathbed regret follows on the heels of last week’s: not only doing something as a means of moving forward, but going even further and doing something that might be a bit risky or involve the possibility of falling flat on your face if it all goes pear-shaped.

Now risk-taking is not everyone’s cup of tea, nor does everyone thrive on the challenge, the new, the adventure. For some, knowing the parameters within which they live, and remaining safe and under control within those parameters is part of how they are wired.

But I wonder if for most of us, there are situations in life that ask us to take a chance, try something new, step out of our comfort zone.

Why don’t we? Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Loss of control. Fear of what others might think. All possible and valid reasons.

But imagine if we did…..take that chance, try out that new idea/skill/relationship/business opportunity. Imagine the potential benefits: the opportunities to learn about ourselves, to give something back, to be more fulfilled and bring fulfilment to others, to expand our world view, to simply have fun.

Worth the risk?

Want to win the battle over clutter?

more space, more energy!

I came clean recently and confessed that clutter is my No.1 Energy drainer.

The top thing that leaves me sapped, frustrated, mentally fatigued if you will. But dealing with and winning over clutter is entirely possible. It starts in your mind, addressing the internal obstacles that stop us dealing with clutter. Understanding that we own it, it doesn’t own us. 

Having taken charge of our internal mindset, we can move on to the very practical outworking of that. Again, some very simple steps can help –

  • Decide on how much time daily is realistic to specifically allocate to decluttering.
  • Start with something achievable, like 15 minutes a day. 15 minutes a day will make a huge difference by the end of two weeks.
  • Consider which area is most pressing, then spend your allotted time on the first element of that first area  – one drawer, one pile, one shelf inside one cupboard.
  • Work systematically through that area with three possible outcomes: deal with it/put it away/file it; throw it out; take it to charity.
  • Work in a concentrated fashion without being distracted for your 15 minutes, or however long you have chosen.
  • Stop after your chosen amount of time, put bags in the bin or at the door to go to charity.
  • Move on to doing something else, feeling very pleased and satisfied with yourself!
  • Repeat the process the next day, and over time, this will become habit forming.
  • If and when required, go back to your internal processing and your goal for what you want the cluttered area to be like eventually, to refocus and re-energise yourself for the task.

None of this is new, none of this is complicated. But at the same time, it is a problem for many of us and therefore often we are missing something in our approach. Understanding what matters to us, why the clutter is a problem, and that we can be proactive enables us to deal with this insidious, pervasive energy drainer and regain our mental clarity. And yippee to that!

 

Happy Thanksgiving – it’s that time of year again!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week sees the celebration of Thanksgiving taking place across America, and further afield for those with links to that marvelous tradition.

I have written and reflected often on the power of being thankful – how it shifts our perspective, prompts us to be aware of what is good even in the midst of what is hard, and inspires in us a more outward looking view of our lives.

As a Scot, I have no authority or experience from which to discuss the origins or traditions of Thanksgiving. But from what I have gleaned from American friends, and a little research, it is a celebration of family, food, football, parades and shopping. It is a time to stop, be thankful for an abundant harvest, or an abundance of whatever the modern equivalent.

A day to go home, to be with loved ones, to stop and celebrate all that is good about life.

And it strikes me that there is no better way to prepare for the coming of Christmas, and the season of Advent which precedes it, than a time of stopping and being thankful.

Advent is a season of preparation, expectation, waiting and hope.

In reality, advent is often a time of crazy busyness – shopping, cooking, preparing, wrapping, card writing, parties, plays, pantos – and stress – the cumulative effect of all of the above, plus fraught relationships, office party politics, burning the candle at both ends, trying to please and appease everyone.

So what better way to start the Christmas build up and preparations than with a time to reflect, take stock and celebrate all that we have and are.

A time to be thankful for who and what really matter to us

so that we have a right perspective as we buy presents and cook food.

So this week, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, and encourage you to take a few minutes to simply stop, look around you at your life, and be thankful.

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