I used to think there was something wrong with me. In my 40's after my marriage breakdown, I was at rock bottom, experiencing extreme grief and sadness. I had reached the bottom of a very deep well and I knew that I had to climb out and rebuild my self-esteem.

Over the next 10 years, I was determined to follow a path of self-improvement. I read a lot of self-help books including Caroline Myss's book "Why People don't Heal and How They Can." I discovered Louise Hay's" You Can Heal Your Life" book and went to many weekend workshops. I read a lot of self-help books but the writings of these two women stood out on my own road to recovery.

As women we are encouraged to aim for perfectionism. Through the media, we are conditioned to strive for the perfect figure, the perfect skin, hair and make-up. We learn early on to judge ourselves as not being good enough and to compare ourselves with others. We become increasingly disappointed in ourselves because we don't match up to the myth of how a woman should be.

There is little room to grow and evolve as women because we often feel 'less than perfect.' Our foundation is inherently flawed and we spend time on self-analysis and self-criticism, which gets us nowhere.

WHAT IF WE ARE ALREADY PERFECT?

What if you began each day believing this and living your life from this space?

How would you show up differently?

YOU would begin to TRUST yourself and OPEN UP to yourself.

Then spend time identifying any outdated beliefs you have about yourself. Root out any behaviour patterns that do not support your growth and future evolution. Instead of judgement, cultivate compassion. Discover how to become heart-based and heart-centred.

If you can do this, you will experience more peace and joy. You will learn how to take your power back and reclaim your self-worth.

During my coaching sessions, I encourage my clients to cultivate a loving relationship with themselves. As women we have often neglected our needs for years. From the new place of love, they learn to witness their own growth and transformation. They learn that everything is already perfect.

When you start from the place of I am more than okay rather than I am flawed you show up for yourself differently. You reclaim love and blossom and thrive from a space of essential goodness and perfection.

Let's set ourselves free from feeling flawed and imperfect!

The final transition phase as defined by Frederick M. Hudson, coach and consultant, is called GO FOR IT. This is the time when we have renewed energy and drive in our personal life and/or career. We have experienced an ending like a redundancy, gone through the doldrums, spent time cocooning and getting ready and now, here we are at a brand new starting point. When we are at the end of a career or life phase we can't believe that we will ever feel renewed and re-energised but it is a cycle and eventually the wheel turns round.

Remember a transition cycle can be a mini or major cycle depending on what else is going on for you e.g. you could be starting a brand new decade or newly single after a break-up or divorce ( major) or getting a promotion within your company (mini)

Whatever has gone before, as you enter this next phase you will notice shifts and changes in your energy, confidence and courage to try out new things. There will be a feeling of fulfilment but you may also be challenged by all the things you want to achieve! Risk-taking also increases with your newly-found confidence.

The main results I want my clients to achieve in the GO FOR IT phase are reaching the new goals they have set and enjoying the experience of success, however they define it. As individuals we can differ in our perception of success. We may want to redefine success, especially if we notice that our definition is outdated and/or based on other people's views rather than our own e.g. our parents, boss, friend or partner. The important thing is to celebrate being successful. High achievers are prone to skip the 'celebration' step and swiftly move onto their next goal!

You may be one of these and recognise this trait. I would like to encourage you to stop, take in what you have achieved and mark it in a way that has significance for you.

  • Here are some tips for navigating the high energy "go for it" phase:-
  • explore new networking groups and events
  • find ways to improve your time management skills to get more done
  • make sure you block out some work-free evenings and weekends
  • investigate which new professional organisations you could join





At some point during the cocooning process there will be a tiny spark that you notice. Something new is ready to emerge, like the butterfly unfolding its wings and coming out into the world. Renewal is here and with it comes a deeper sense of trust and hopefulness. You realise how necessary the other two parts of the transition cycle were and that you can't go back to who you were then, or the career or job that you had. Life is demanding something new and different.

Getting ready is a time of exploration and enjoyment. You may find that you have a yearning to learn or discover something new, to try something out that you haven't dared to before.

  • What experiences are you drawn to?
  • What new options might be available to you?

You notice you are feeling different. 'You are much more joyful and trusting of life. Your sense of humour, confidence and creativity are returning. You may decide to make some different choices about how and where you live. You experience a renewed sense of purpose and passion. You feel able to take more risks. Your intimate and close relationships feel revived and refreshed. You redefine what your 'inner sense' of work is and feel open to try something completely new.

Overall this is a very exciting time. You give yourself permission to do something with abandon! You take more risks! You enjoy the experience of 'being lazy' in a way that you haven't been able to do before. Maybe it's reading with abandon or playing more? You can explore your creativity beyond what you know and enjoy experimenting playfully like a child with a new paintbox!

2

The term 'cocooning ' comes from the work of Fredrick Hudson and Pamela McLean who studied transition cycles. We can go through a mini transition which is about improving a life chapter ( e.g. when we change jobs) or it could be the end of a life chapter. Cocooning is about renewal and inner transformation. It's a time of reflection and self-evaluation as well as a time of surrender and allowance. This means allowing your old world to fall away while surrendering to the in-between space, before the next phase begins. You could feel a sense of relief, but you may also feel lonely and sad at times. Grief may surface and you are offered an opportunity to process it.

We all have an inner sanctuary, a place deep inside of us. In the cocooning phase it's time to cultivate our relationship to it. Our inner sanctuary is the place where we can nurture ourselves and offer ourselves unconditional love.

Activities that could be beneficial during this cocooning are journalling (to help with self-reflection) taking up a new interest, travelling or taking a sabbatical. In some cases taking a transition job or part-time work will enable you to transition to something else when it's the right time.

You may not feel like doing anything much for a few weeks or months. It's very easy to get caught up in old patterns of self-judgement and view yourself as lazy. Know that you are going through a metamorphosis. Try cultivating patience and trust in the process. Eventually you will experience a sense of excitement and renewed purpose and passion.

Trust that this will emerge, like the butterfly, when you are ready.

The struggle to leave the cocoon is what strengthens the butterfly's wings so she can fly

Tricia Stirling

Here are my tips for navigating the cocooning phase:-

  • Cultivate kindness and patience towards yourself
  • Don't force things, rather ALLOW them to emerge
  • Positive solitude. Connect to your inner sanctuary daily (during meditation, when you are out in nature or taking quiet reflective time out)
  • Breathe into the softness of your cocoon and connect to the inner peace and safety there

2

We become aware that cycles are shifting when we reach the end of something, an impasse, a point where we can no longer sustain our position. This could relate to a career, a job role, a significant relationship, or a life phase. Perhaps a new decade is approaching and instead of looking forward to it, it feels daunting.

Endings are a place of exhaustion, deep despair, panic and often fear. You know something is coming to a close and it's time to move on, yet you still desire to cling onto the known world. The familiar, tried and tested territory, which felt safe and comfortable, no longer feels that way. In fact, it will probably become excruciatingly uncomfortable if you stay too long.

During my life, I have experienced my fair share of life and work transitions including moving from the city to the countryside, changing job roles, undergoing a restructure at work and moving from employment to self-employment. I have made navigating transitions a major part of my coaching work. I have worked with clients who are reaching the end of a career phase and those who are starting a new role after a promotion. Other clients are facing redundancy, a restructure or a relationship breakdown. Together we find a way to navigate the ending, and journey through to the next phase in the cycle called cocooning. I help my clients to recognise that an end point has arrived and that overstaying in an old place/role may be to the detriment of their health and wellbeing. Overstaying when things are not working leads to illness, burnout and depression. I view endings as our SOUL calling us on to greater, more expanded life. Even if the path ahead is misty and unclear we can acknowledge we are entering a new phase.

Here are some tips if you are near the ENDINGS point : -

  • Be gentle and loving to yourself. Allow time for what surfaces
  • Prioritise your own space and create silent time
  • Nurture yourself every day with fresh air, quality nutrition and exercise
  • Have patience and be true to yourself. Honour the ending of this significant career/life phase

When I relocated back to London from the West Country it surprised some of my friends and family. Many people  decide to leave London and the hustle and bustle of city life  and choose a quiet life in the country.

PBP_7142 RIt takes at least six months to re-orientate and to start to build up a new life. Even though parts of my new life were familiar (I lived in West London in my 20’s and came back in my 40’s for a year) the process was intriguing. I rediscovered many things that I used to love doing and had forgotten about, like visiting galleries and exhibitions and walking along the embankment by the Thames.

It’s been a refreshing and energising process for me so far!

 

When we go through a life transition, we can lose sight of the familiar landmarks as the habits and routines slip away and the new ones have not yet been established. Friends, places, relationships, old working patterns may come under the spotlight and be re-examined. Sometimes in the midst of all the changes we  feel "lost at sea," not knowing where to drop anchor. At other times there can be a rush of excitement and anticipation of what’s to come. I rediscovered a new sense of freedom as I began to redefine myself and try out new things.

The question of who we are and who we want to be arises. I had let go of many familiar roles and ways of being. This period of " in-between" is known as the neutral zone. It's a stage where the old has gone and the new has not yet arrived. It's a time when we may need to make some psychological adjustments.

What I learnt during this transition:-

  • To notice when, where and with whom I feel most at home and where I do not.
  • To surrender to the present moment continually.
  • To trust and take note of the synchronicities that show up.
  • To become curious about the everyday choices I make about my life

At the end of this " in between" phase we will have successfully transitioned into our new life. I'd like to end with this great quote:-

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.” — Maya Angelou

Autumn is a time of transition. The children have gone back to school, young people begin a new university term and we have arrived in a new season.

I want to share my thoughts on the topic of "letting go."

We may think we are ready to let go, but for many of us, when the moment arrives there is a heaviness and level of resistance that shows up.

Last autumn, I set myself the task of sorting out my storage. I had been living back in London for a year but I still had some personal items stored away.

Letting go of this personal "stuff" was a process because when I connected to "my things" they made me feel SECURE but I didn't really need anything that was there for my new life. In fact I had the urge to buy new things to match my NEW ENERGY.

My storage represented the parts of my OLD LIFE that I was NOT ready to let go of.

I am sharing this with you because there may be some exciting shifts that you are ready for but if you are still "holding on" to the past in any way then the new can't come in fully.

Here are some questions for you to think about:-

  • What are you holding onto that keeps you feeling safe and secure?
  •  What are you ready to let go so you can finally start a new life chapter this Autumn?

Once you decide to let go of some "stuff" you will start to feel completely different!

LIGHTER

EXPANDED

ALIVE

JOYFUL

SO if you are still holding onto things, people, places... even after you KNOW deep down that you should let them go, now is the PERFECT TIME to release this old energy.

Many of my clients tell me that they know they need to leave their husband/partner /job and move on but they feel very insecure about making the transition. What's holding them back is FEAR; fear of the unknown, fear of being alone and it is scary. We all want to feel loved and secure and supported.

The good news is that you don't need to continue to carry the shadows of the past around with you and by facing your fears with support they will diminish and be replaced with new feelings of excitement. I also use a new process in my work with clients that helps clear away fear and release anxiety.

If you know you are holding onto the past and you are feeling READY to begin the process of letting go contact me   now to find out how I can support you, so that you can start creating YOUR Vibrant Life NOW!

 

The month of February is the month of love. Everywhere I go shops and supermarkets are promoting Valentine’s Day offers on flowers, wine and chocolates.

When was the last time you gave yourself something?

Many of my clients have difficulty when it comes to prioritising their own needs. It always seems to be their time that gets squeezed. What I do is to ask my clients to block out some “ME” time in their daily schedule. When they feed back to me they often say that it’s been really hard for them to stick to it. We know that it takes six weeks to create a new habit and this one seems a real challenge to master!

Why do we find it really hard to say NO to others so we can say YES to ourselves?

  • We feel guilty because we feel we should be doing something else; we may start cleaning, sorting paperwork or other displacement activities.
  • It feels self-indulgent to give to ourselves
  • We value other people’s time more than we value our own.

As women we were brought up to please others and to put others first. We have to start by deconstructing some of these earlier patterns, as they are not healthy or sustainable for us in the long run.

When will you start prioritising you and gifting you the time and attention you deserve? I suggest that now is the perfect time to start.

Ask yourself what you would most like to be given as a gift, then go ahead and gift that to yourself.  (It doesn’t have to be expensive either, just choose something that would nurture you, nourish your soul and give you joy.) I’d love to hear what you come up with.

Remember you need to keep yourself topped up with love, only then can you fully give to others.

 

January can begin with a review of what we achieved in the past year and setting new goals for the year. One of those goals could be to change your career or to review your current role. It may be the time to think about whether you are actually doing the work that inspires and uplifts you. As we spend so much time at work, it's critical that we enjoy doing it and that it inspires us most of the time.  ...continue reading "New Year, New Career?"

As the summer holidays come to an end and September approaches, this new month feels like the start of something new. September is the start of a new  academic year and as I worked in education before I became a coach this month always has the flavour of a new beginning.

For many women in their fifties September is the time when our children embark on their journey to university. Their departure can leave us feeling empty and with a deep sense of loss. We wonder what to do with our lives now that we have more space for ourselves.

Like the change of seasons, change is a constant, but when change arrives it is not always welcomed or anticipated. Letting go of the old is part of a life transition and there will be a time when we are "cocooning."  Cocooning isn't a dormant phase, but rather a phase of gathering new energy around us, like a space " in between." Eventually we feel ready to start our next new cycle/life phase.

Here are some suggestions for new beginnings this month :-

  • Venture into new territory - find a different route to work or discover a new walk in your local area
  • Register for that course or evening class you have been thinking about for a while but have not got round to doing.
  • Buy something in a new colour. A new scarf or lipstick will bring in fresh energy.
  • Review your morning routine. Does it need a few tweaks e.g. a healthier breakfast or getting up half an hour earlier so you have more space for visualising/meditating/morning stretches.

Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself at the beginning of a new month:-

  • What would I like to initiate this month?
  • What needs to be brought back into balance?  ( e..g  finances, energy levels, quality time alone.)
  • What do I want to have achieved by the end of this month?

Wishing you a wonderful September........