The Story You Live By

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Our lives are like a book, made up of different chapters, a series of stories within one massive novel. Every day we have interactions, relationships, successes, failures, things that happen, things we do and so on. Some of these events are more memorable than others and can have a profound or long-lasting impact upon our lives, influencing how we think and behave. If we were writing a book of our life, then some of them would make into one or more of the chapters.

It is so easy to become bogged down by the past, to live your life by what has gone on before and this influences everything you do today. I have spoken about responsibility in a previous blog which you can access using the link below,

Be Responsible for Your Life

Sometimes it is difficult to get to a place where you are taking responsibility for your current situation because you are living your life by the same story you have always done. The question to ask is, how does this story serve you? Does it hold you back or does it inspire you to drive forward in creating the life you want and living life to the fullest? How does the story you are choosing to live your life by, affecting how you think?

There is a correlation between what you think and the results you get. Let me explain further using the figure below. This is a tool for you to use to redefine your story and ultimately, your outcome.

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You are thinking every minute of every day. Experts estimate we have anywhere between 50-80,000 thoughts per day. You have a thought or often, a series of thoughts, on everything that goes on in your life, but especially when it comes to making a change or doing something which is meaningful to you. For example, maybe you are wanting to go part time at work so that you have more time at home. You'll have a myriad of thoughts that go with this, arguments for doing this, counterarguments against it, experiencing the see-saw effect of weighing up all the pros and cons of going part-time or staying full-time. Some thoughts will be positive, some negative, some thoughts don't even register that much, but others will be so intense they are difficult to ignore. All these thoughts generate feelings which influences what you do next. Sometimes the feelings we have affect the thoughts we generate which can lead to an even greater intensity of feelings. There is a rapid interchange between thoughts and feelings, but what follows is the actions you then take, how you respond, effectively what you do. The actions are the culmination of what you are thinking and feeling but what you choose to then do, determines the results you get; what you see and experience.

It is these outcomes which influence what you think next. And the cycle begins again; each time you go through this process the intensity and energy which you cycle through increases. Think about the story you are living by and how this might influence the process and ultimately the results you get. If the story you live by is one you have been telling all your life and it is one that isn't serving you, it is one full of negativity, anger, hatred, shame, guilt or blaming others then what are you going to choose to do and what outcomes will you achieve?

If you want to change an outcome then change the thought; change how you view what you’re looking at, this is going to change how you feel about it. Feeling differently will impact on the choice of actions you can take, giving you a different outcome. But what if, even if you have the same thoughts and feelings, what would happen if you chose a different course of action, how might that influence the outcome you achieved? Even though your emotions are running high you can still choose to take a different course of action.

Consider what might happen if you changed your thoughts, thought about what your story now consists of. If you told yourself to create or choose a different story, how might the thought of doing this and where it might lead make you feel? We are constantly creating stories; it is in our DNA. 

The stories we create are the ones in which we live our lives by. The story you choose will determine whether you see something as an opportunity in which you will gain a positive outcome or whether you focus on what you will lose. Your story can be empowering, or it can hold you back. Only you can change your story so what’s stopping you? What story are you telling right now? Is it one in which you are creating your best possible future life? If not, then change it. The story you tell yourself and the world will not only define who you are, but who you will become and what you will do as you create your future. A story can change your life, so go create your next chapter.

Life Coaching? What’s That?

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I often get asked when meeting new people or when I see a former colleague, "what do you do?" My response is that I am a Career and Life Coach. They tend to get the career element but then ask, "what's life coaching?" Today's blog is all about defining life coaching, identifying who coaching is for and who it isn't, my style as a coach, what the process is like and what you could get from life coaching if you were to experience it. The aim is to give you a bit more clarity about life coaching by the end of this blog.

Defining Life Coaching

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential."

Coaching is an empowering process whereby a trained professional, the coach, supports and guides an individual to make transformational changes in one or more area of their lives. Using techniques and models grounded in psychology, a coach can, amongst other things, help an individual identify future goals and a plan on how to achieve them, develop their existing strengths and skills, overcome limiting beliefs which prevent them from taking action or boost their confidence in a variety of settings or situations.

The aim of life coaching is help an individual move from where they are now in their life to where they want to be, learning along the way to take full responsibility for the goals they set, the choices they make, how they behave and the creation of the life they want. The focus throughout the sessions is both on the present and the future.

Life coaching is solution-focused. Any challenges or problems are addressed for the client to be goal orientated. Within the coaching process, the coach will help navigate the client to go beyond their realms of possibility in the present and create goals which encourage transformational change in the future. Change which is long lasting and driven by the desires of the client.

Who is and isn’t coaching for?

Life coaching is for anyone who is looking to achieve more, to grow and learn, and take their life to the next level. Clients who seek out life coaching, already have the necessary skills and resources to bring about change in their life or they have the ability and the willingness to develop those skills. The coach then works with them to enhance these skills, put them into practice for the client to realise their potential. From a coaching perspective, the client is not broken, in need of being fixed as might be the case within therapeutic areas. Life coaching is not therapy or counselling, which is often about resolving past issues before being able to move on. If, as the client, you are looking for someone to give you advice or the answers to your problems, then coaching is not for you either. You are the expert in your world, you have the answers you need, even if right at this moment you don't know it yet and can generate a whole host of solutions. You also know what is best for you and what you want from your life.  Coaching is for people who want to take what they have in the present and look forward to creating the future they want.

Life coaching isn't for people who want the answers provided to them. It's not for people who don't want to put the effort and work into making a change in their life. A coach is not someone to use as a friend to offload to. Every conversation is one with a purpose, designed to move the client forward, to act in order to achieve the desired goals.

The Coaching process and style

Within the coaching environment, powerful conversations take place between the coach and the client.  It is an open and safe environment where confidentiality is paramount. The coaching relationship develops over time and as deep rapport is established; long lasting change can be achieved. The sessions are a collaboration with the client's agenda firmly at the forefront of the conversations. Each person is unique and the challenges they face, the outcomes they seek and the support they need, are individual to them. The coaching sessions are tailored to each individual client, coaching is responsive and requires flexibility in the approaches within a session all with the aim of supporting the client meet their goals. As coaching sessions progress, more information comes to light and as a coach my role is to respond to this information, helping the client create more choices which makes the relationship dynamic and the flow of conversation fluid, taking twists and turns where necessary. Goals often do change throughout the coaching sessions are greater awareness is achieved.

There are no assumptions or judgements made and throughout the coaching process there is acceptance and respect, from the first Discovery Call to the final session. The relationship between coach and client is one of equal partners with the aim of the coach to empower, encourage and motivate the client to identify and achieve their goals. With the focus firmly being on the client, there is a strong emphasis on active listening and where my coaching is concerned, a genuine curiosity, being fully present throughout with allows us to have deep conversations giving us the space, time and opportunity to get to the heart of the matter and bring about change. My coaching space is a high challenge, high support environment because this is the best and quickest way to achieve the results the client is looking for. Both within the sessions and when the client leaves the room, there is accountability, again in line with what the client is wanting the outcomes to be by the end of the coaching programme. 

Life coaching provides the space for self-reflection and for the client to learn and improve aspects or the whole of their life in order to progress and create the life they want.

My coaching philosophy is, it is your life, your hands, your future.

What can you take from coaching?

Whether you have a dream you want to follow, want to make significant changes in your life or just tiny tweaks in specific areas, want to discover your life purpose, or want to show up in the world being true to who you are and who you want to be, life coaching can support you to achieve those goals and many more.

Coaching helps you:

  • Find direction and gain clarity on your goals.
  • Create more choices.
  • Map out what routes you can take on your journey.
  • Identifies what you're going to need to get there and achieve your outcomes.
  • Focuses in on what steps to take between where you are now and where you need to be.
  • Focuses in on what steps to take between where you are now and where you need to be.
  • Plans for obstacles/barriers and ways for you to get around them.
  • Maintain motivation and provides you with accountability.
  • Gives you tools to use outside of the coaching sessions to use every day and within a variety of contexts.
  • Understand your thinking, feelings and behaviour in way you had not considered before.
  • Find inspiration to make the changes you want to make.
  • Celebrate your successes

Whilst you can achieve a successful outcome on your own, life coaching can help you get where you need to be more efficiently and will, along the way, help you create choices and opportunities you have not been aware of or consider before. I would not be where I am at this moment in time, if it had not been for the coaches I have worked with and continue to work with now.

If you feel coaching is something which could help you achieve your goals and create the life you want, then you book a free 30-minute Discovery Call to discuss further and give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have.