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

Category Archives: You Are Unique!

Do you know how unique you are? What your special blend of strengths, personality, life experience is? Understanding and celebrating your uniqueness enables you to live a more purpose-full life.

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!


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.


Help! I shouldn’t need Christian Life Coaching!

So, as a Christian, you’re supposed to be happy, joy-filled, content with your lot and living the full life, right? We should be secure in our identity, confident in our purpose in life, and willingly surrendering our lives to God and not seeking to run them ourselves. Of course you shouldn’t need Christian Life Coaching, and what is it all about anyway?Christian Life Coaching

Do I hear a little nervousness, an inkling of discomfort? Hooray! Not just me then.

Because life can be hard, challenging, and lonely for any of us as Christians, and I believe that willingness to be honest and real allows us to share, learn and grow together. I have spoken here recently about the struggles affecting my marriage and the impact of depression on husband. Depression can be a particularly prickly subject for Christians to speak openly about. I am learning that pretending to be fine and putting on the front that you expect the world to value and like carries a high cost, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.


My faith is central to what I do, whether I talk openly about it or not.

And for those clients who come specifically for Christian Life Coaching, we have opportunities to explore issues like –

  • identifying the lies and negative self talk that can cripple and trap us
  • understanding where we seek approval, and the danger of feeling ‘not good enough’
  • understanding the ‘false self’ we often portray to others, and to accept and love our true selves as God sees us
  • breaking free of these lies, and living instead as the masterpiece God created each of us to be (Ephesians 2:10)
  • growing in self understanding and how your character engages best with God
  • how to have deeper, more relevant times with God that promote spiritual growth and development
  • living in relationship with God and not under a set of rules
  • practical steps towards better rhythms and practices that develop your relationship with God, plus support and accountability along the way
  • understanding where and why we seek to run our lives ourselves
  • the importance of resting in God, and learning simply to ‘be’ not ‘do’
  • growing in surrender to and reliance on God
  • learning to care appropriately for ourselves, so we can be the best of us for others
  • what am I good at, what are my values, strengths, experiences and motivators
  • how do these jigsaw pieces fit together into who God has uniquely made me to be?
  • understanding more what on earth is my purpose – or what is my purpose on earth?
  • restored hope for future roles and opportunities, based on a greater understanding of who we are becoming rather than what we are doing

In the words of one client –

Catriona helped me to name and identify the very real issues, but also to look positively at myself and at other things in my life. She encouraged me to look ahead and dream dreams; and to think about my strengths, skills, core values and God-given gifts. This was dedicated time for me – permission to talk about myself and my life and faith. I was in a place where I felt small and trapped. Now I’m in an open space – it’s still challenging and I’m learning all the time, but I have a sense of God’s presence and love with me all the way as I become closer to the person He planned for me to be.”

I lived for many years pretending to be fine, not really understanding who I was or how God could possibly use me. It is exhausting. I cheated myself and cheated God, who loves me the way HE made me, and simply longs for me to accept that and enjoy our relationship.

If you are reading this, and any of it resonates, can I encourage you to get in touch? Together we can work towards stronger foundations and freedom in who God has made you to be. Christian Life Coaching can open the door for you to live as the masterpiece God created you to be.

Help! My confidence is in my boots

Confidence – a bit of a thorny issue this one. How are your confidence levels on a scale of 1 to 10? Pretty confident are you? Great….but what about those negative or critical voices in your head that delight in pointing out how poorly you compare to so-and-so, or how badly you performed in such-and-such situation, or that push you to always have to prove that you are ‘good enough’…?

Confidence to be youNot got any voices like that? Then I would love to meet you and hear your story and learn from you, and I affirm and celebrate you in who you are, my friend. My hunch is that most of us have internal scripts or critical voices that worm their way into our thoughts and cause us to spiral downwards into

poor self belief,

negative behaviour patterns,

lack of self worth

unwillingness or inability to accept ourselves.

Crippling isn’t it.  Lack of confidence, in any shape or form or of any magnitude, can cause us to feel we are walking on our knees with our hands tied behind our backs.

I know, as do all the clients I have worked with. This may not be the initial issue that prompts someone to work with me as a Life Coach, but root around long enough, and the chances are that negative self talk will make its’ ugly presence felt. Confidence can take a battering, and it can be hard to recover.

But that is a great start, and self awareness is the first and key step to self acceptance.

We can’t change our behaviour until we truly understand it, and the root of it.

And growing in confidence starts with greater self acceptance.

Now, let me be clear here – I am not a counsellor, and am careful not to tread on the toes of those who do such excellent and important work. What I do offer is the chance to

  • gain understanding in your own strengths, values, life experiences and motivators – all the components of the amazing package that is you
  • see and learn from the common threads and themes that you uniquely have to offer
  • understand where the negative voices are coming from, and therefore how to start to get rid of them
  • grow in confidence, self belief and self acceptance and therefore gain clarity in decision making, setting boundaries, and understanding what is – and isn’t – your responsibility.

One happy client put it like this –

I truly felt empowered and reminded of who I am and who I am on a journey towards becoming.

Yippee!! I love this – I love to see people thrive  and live with lightness and freedom simply as themselves. So, if your confidence has taken a battering, but you would like to be able to understand and celebrate who you are, get in touch and we can work to rebuild you together.

It doesn’t have to be following a very dramatic crisis or crash – simple, small gains in self awareness and self acceptance can facilitate huge gains in self confidence and promote much greater enjoyment in life. Don’t you want a bit of that?!

Help! Transition is coming and I’m stuck

Finding a way through transition

Finding a way through transition

Long gone are the days when we left school, college or university, walked into a job and kept that job for the 40 plus years of a working life. Nowadays, the expectation is that each of us might have several different careers, if we even manage to get that far – there is much more uncertainty around working lives, career structures, and how we use our skills to the best. And thus it is more likely than ever that we face a time of transition in our lives that may make us stop short and question who we are and what we are best designed to do. Perhaps this is you –

  • you are stopping something you have done for a long time – a paid or unpaid role – and have no idea what to do next; you feel redundant and purposeless and stuck as to where on earth you might go now
  • you are approaching retirement, a career break or redundancy, but your identity and self worth has always been tied up in your job and you face a crisis of confidence and purpose without that role
  • you have spent a lot of time in a particular role giving out a lot to others – as a parent or carer, volunteer – but have lost sight of who you are, what you enjoy and what you have to offer
  • your children are leaving home and you suddenly realise that all this time is opening up to you, but what do you do with it, and who are you without them defining your time?

Transitions can be very hard but can also often be the making of us.

Taking the time and courage to stop, look objectively at strengths, values, life experiences, passions and motivators can enable us to formulate a picture of

  • who we are at our best
  • grow in self awareness and confidence
  • better understand what kind of role would be a good fit next
  • how to live with greater fulfilment and freedom day to day.

Life coaching is a perfect way to work through transitions and get unstuck. Life is not a linear pathway – I know from my own experience of having changed career after 22 years. There are huge challenges, opportunities, obstacles and growth opportunities to be faced, and doing so alone can be daunting and overwhelming. As one satisfied client expressed it –

I have shifted from a confused, tired place through to a position of hope for my future

So are you, or someone you know, facing a time of transition in your life – perhaps you fear that what you are good at is ending, and where does that leave you? Life coaching can help you regain purpose and move forward with greater freedom and hope for the future. Get in touch to find out more!

Accepting compliments means accepting yourself

Receiving compliments wellHow well do you receive compliments? When someone comments favourably on something you have done or are wearing, or your new hair style, how do you usually respond?

Many of us seem programmed to bat away such compliments, with a dismissive remark such as “it was nothing really”, or “what, this old thing?”.  The effect of this can often be to shut down the complimenter and actually make us feel worse about ourselves – the exact opposite of the intended effect.

Why do we do this? It is seen as terribly un-British to accept compliments for fear we might become big-headed or arrogant. This seems especially so amongst west coast Scots.

I was at a wedding a few years ago, and was complimented a number of times on my dress. My response? To tell everyone that I got it for a few pounds in a local charity shop. I could just have smiled and said a gracious thank you to my complimenters. Partly, I was gleeful about my purchase as I love charity shops and how much more do I love a bargain. But on a deeper level, it was easier to deflect the attention away from myself and onto the unlikely provenance of said dress.

I read an interesting article on the psychology of receiving compliments recently in the free health and beauty magazine of a large, well known store. You can read the original here – it is a simple wee article, not rocket science, but it made me think. The link is made between learning how to receive compliments well and graciously, gaining self esteem, and becoming more generous in giving compliments. The Complimentee becomes a more willing Complimenter.

One observation I have made in my work as a life coach is that those who are least confident in themselves and least self-accepting find it hardest to receive compliments from others. Not a radical observation I know, but stay with me.

If you are not aware of your gifts, strengths and unique purpose, compliments might come as a surprise, and not sit well with you, and therefore be argued against.

If your self-esteem has taken a battering, the Complimenter is likely to be met with a verbal barrage of negative, self-deprecating remarks. The Complimenter’s motive is good – to build up the self esteem of the Complimentee. But it serves to have the opposite effect, and can drive complimenters away.

Those who struggle with addiction to The Comparisons Game – “I’m not as….as…./I wish I was more….like….” will deflect the compliment off themselves onto someone else, thus further entrenching their own negative self view.

This makes me sad.

Not because I am the pillar of self contentment and acceptance, and am brilliant at receiving compliments without having the ego the size of Cumbernauld.

But because I believe strongly and passionately that each of us is an amazing individual with a unique set of strengths, personality and purpose, and it is a joy to be able to affirm and encourage each other in this.

I met with a friend yesterday who is a very generous-hearted listener. Another friend tells fascinating and very engaging tales of life that I love to hear. Someone else makes me laugh like no-one else can. Another is very thoughtful at finding just the right gift.

These qualities about these precious friends are gifts that they uniquely give to those in their world. And I love to affirm and appreciate that, and to have them know how much they are valued. It can be as simple as that.

So how do we get there?

When you are not sure of what you are good at, what your strengths are, what your life achievement are and what your life experiences have taught you, how do you start to receive compliments well?

Well… I have a tool for that. It is called The 10 Things Challenge, and is a simple, and very freeing way to invest in yourself and gain more awareness and confidence.

You get to the end of the Challenge with hundreds of individual items on your lists that are all about yourself – imagine that! – but in an achievable, affirming way.

You gain a much clearer view of who you are and what you can do, so when someone compliments you on something you have done well, or an aspect of your character that they appreciate, it is easier to simply thank them. Your confidence grows, and you share more of that part of you with others.

Everyone wins. Yippee!

Imagine that for yourself – well you can do more than imagine it, you can take up the Challenge and find out more here.

Grow in your acceptance of yourself, receive compliments well, and have fun complimenting others!

My body, your body, everybody?

you only have one body!     Taking better care of my body –

a bit of an ironic death-bed wish don’t you think?

Depending of course what you are dying of…But without getting all morbid, we only have one body, and what we do with it and to it matters. Taking care of our physical bodies is an important part of caring for and replenishing ourselves, so we can be the best of us and do what we do best.

  • How much sleep is the right amount for you, and what would it take for you to regularly get that?
  • What goes into your body, what do you consume and what are the effects of that?
  • And exercise – what, when, how often, what works and what small changes can you make that will up your energy levels through exercise?

Not very glamorous or exciting I grant you, but the implications of this are both very practical and very important. We look after the physical containers for all that makes us us, live a full life, and on our death bed, avoid looking back with regret that we took our frail beings for granted, or failed to maintain them in a way that would enable them to function at their best. 

Is your life a custard cream?

Confectionery as life

Is your life a custard cream?

This is the question that was put to me by Younger daughter last week on the walk to school. We often have philosophical discussions in this precious time together – Do slugs get sunburned? Which is more fun – zombie tig or disco tig? What would my top three favourite [insert almost any subject you can imagine] be?

But this one really made me smile, and stop and think. Custard creams – nice and tasty certainly, good with a cup of tea, but also conventional and predictable, been around for ages, safe and a wee bit dull…..

Is that how I describe my life? I’d like to think not. Instead, I’d like my life to be a bag of space dust (I’m of a certain age to remember that, I think popping candy would be more clearly identifiable!) – colourful, fizzy, exciting, a bit unpredictable and unexpected, fun to share and a bit of a challenge (try putting a whole packet on your tongue, not eating it and keeping your mouth shut – very happy childhood memories!).

Her assessment of her own short life is that it is a triple layer iced chocolate cake with a cherry on top and extra cream on the side. She doesn’t do things in half measures, and certainly loves life and lives it to the full, so I like this image of her.

What about you? What confectionery best describes your life and why? A largely pointless question, I concur, but hey, on wet and miserable February day, quite a fun one.


New year, same difference?

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If you could make a difference in this life, what would you do? That’s this week’s beginning-of-a-new-year thought to get you chewing on. We’re all aware of amazing individuals like the late Nelson Mandela who made a staggering difference to the world in many ways, and who is hugely inspiring. Of course, we are not all going to make a difference on quite that scale – but that in no way should allow us to dismiss who we are and what we can do as insignificant. How would you start discovering what difference you want to make in the coming year? In your lifetime? Do you know what your strengths are, what you are good at, what you are passionate about? What really sets you on fire, inspires or motivates you, gets you really riled up? Each of us in many ways, big and small, can make a difference to those around us – be it doing Random Acts of Kindness, going the extra mile or choosing a different path, getting involved in something that ticks all your boxes.When we know and embrace who we are and what we are good at, and understand what we are passionate about and motivated to do, then wow – exciting times and exciting opportunities to make a difference!

Got you thinking? Like to explore more of this, or stuck knowing how to proceed? Working with you to encourage you to know who you are and how you can make a difference is what I am passionate about! Get in touch and we can make a difference together.

How do you measure your worth?

Oct 2013, blog 078 

Where do you get your worth from?

What do you use for a measure of how others perceive you?

This came up as a tricky life lesson in our house this week for daughter number one. It turns out that she is the only person in her class who does not have a mobile phone. This clearly is Not Cool, and, poor child, she has had many questions asked of her as to why she doesn’t own such technology and when she will. Now she doesn’t really know what she would do with a phone – she sees her school friends all the time, and calls them on our home landline if she wants a blether. She also couldn’t really tell us what her friends do with/on their phones (they are not allowed to use them in school anyway). But the point for her was that she felt like the odd one out, and that her peers viewed her as being un-cool because she did not have a phone. On the one hand, my heart breaks for her, as this is a tough one and many of us have been there or can really relate to being the not-cool-kid. But, as we told her, this is the start of one of the most important lessons in life that she will learn – she is cool, and loved and of worth because of who she is not because of what she does or what she owns. We told her that she is not going to get a phone (or any other technology for that matter) purely because of how it will make her look, she will get one when she needs one as she becomes more independent. But we also sought to pour into her heart-sore wounds what it is that does make her cool – her caring nature, her sensitivity, her ability to encourage and bring out the best in others, her sense fun, her artistic abilities. As grown-ups, we don’t necessarily desire coolness, but we certainly want to know that we matter, that we fit in, that people like us. Do we need or rely on props to do this, or do we understand our unique worth and that being free to be who we are, to grow into our best selves, is what matters most?