Everything I love about my clients also makes me wince

My work leads me to some amazing women - smart, ambitious, successful, action-takers, and go-getters. They inspire me every day I work with them. They're working with me because they know more and better in their lives and careers is available to them as a right, and they want guidance to create their goals and make them happen.

Everything I love about them is also everything that makes me wince.

When did we become so hard on ourselves?

You see, these women have high standards and expectations - of others, and their level of work, effort and accuracy; but they hold themselves to an even HIGHER standard than they do of others.

To hold themselves to a higher standard, they raise the bar so high, they can never feel accomplished, competent, loved, accepted, or content. To live with that every moment of every day leaves a massive imprint on their brains of...

I'm not good enough.

Just imagine doing that to a child every single day. Imagine telling that little child, "You're hopeless," "You can't do that!" "You're not as good as they are."

You just wouldn't do it.

Think about that next time you're berating yourself for not meeting your self-imposed high standards.

I admire those ambitious traits you have, for what they can do for you, and what you can achieve in life and career with them.

Those same traits can also 'undo' you - in a big way.

  • Beating up on yourself on the daily when you don't measure up to the arbitrarily high standards you've set for yourself.
  • Experiencing extreme emotions when you are challenged in a work setting or when you feel you may not have all the answers, affecting your performance and relationships.
  • Feeling fiercely competitive, coming from a place of anger, frustration, and scarcity.

It preys on your well-being - emotionally, mentally, and even physically, with conditions like emotional eating, or over-training and injury. It affects your relationships.

It is exhausting to feel this pressure on a daily basis.

Does this resonate?

It resonates with me - at least, who I ONCE was.

What I practice now is FORGIVENESS: Allowing myself room to fail so I can learn from it, and see how I can do, be, and think differently next time; not, "What SHOULD I have done?" but "What can I do differently next time?"

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" Winston Churchill

What I practice now is ACCEPTANCE: that I am pretty bloody brilliant just as I am. My 'weaknesses' and failings make me human, and are an invitation to greater self-awareness, self-knowledge and self-mastery.

What I practice now is DETACHMENT: I have goals, of course, and I strive to achieve them. At the same time, by letting go of the outcome, I can ease into the goals, flow with the process, have faith that the goals will be achieved. It is a more abundant place to come from, instead of an angst-ridden, scarcity-based "What if I don't achieve my goals?" (The answer to that is, "I will still be pretty freaking awesome as Helen. It won't define me."

"Failure is seldom fatal"

You'll notice I said that I practice forgiveness, acceptance, and detachment - for that's what it is; a practice - every single day. I'm not perfect, and I know it,...and it's OK.

"Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it" Salvador Dali

Does any of this sound like you? Tired of beating up on yourself in this way? I'm currently offering a free Career Strategy call to help you turn down the volume on the inner critic so you can achieve your goals. Book a Career Strategy call to find out how to balance fierce ambition with fierce self-acceptance, as well as the 5 factors that might be slowing your leadership track.

Word on the street is...

I've been doing some research recently

I've been asking executive women what their main challenges are right now in life and career. (A big thank you to those who have taken part in the research!)

Here's a flavour of what I'm hearing:

"I don't know whether to try to move up or move on."

"Although I objectively know I'm good at my job and a great asset, I don't 'believe' it and it is holding me back in my career."

"I no longer feel passionate about my job."

"I can't find balance between work and play. It's killing my family life."

"I love my job, and I know I'm good at it. My personal life? That's another story!"

AND, (and this one is a biggie for a lot of you:)

"I hate the 'politics', and feeling like I need to 'play the game' to get ahead."

Any of it sound familiar?

Firstly - my heart goes out to you if you're experiencing ANY of these feelings. I get it. I was there, too.

Secondly - know this...

There IS a better way

- to rise above the politics, to find passion and purpose in what you do, to have balance, to have self-belief, to develop self-confidence - whatever "grinds your gears" or keeps you right where you are now.

If you'd like to speak to me about what's going on for you, click here.

If you'd like to take part in the research, click here.

Practice THIS every day!

When was the last time you gave thanks?

A truly, warm, heart-felt thank you?

Today I am going to do just that.

2017 is drawing to a close. It's been a weird and wonderful year for me, and you have been a part of it. You have kept me motivated and focused on my goal to see more women in leadership positions, and to add value to your life in some small way.

I want to thank YOU.

  • If you love me because you're related and you support me and my next big plan, I thank YOU. Having a loving family is second-to-none, and I love you right back.
  • If you love me because we're loyal, and long-time friends, and you love seeing what I'm up to next, I thank YOU. Knowing I have friends like you makes me stronger and feel safe in the world.
  • If you are an acquaintance whose paths I've crossed with in the past, and you like what I have to say, I thank YOU. You make me strive to keep learning so I can add value to your life.
  • If you signed up somewhere, (probably on one of those annoying ads on Facebook), and you read my posts now and then, I thank YOU. I appreciate that you take the time, and my goal is to give you more value so you read them more often.
  • If you signed up somewhere, (again, probably on one of those annoying ads on Facebook), and you're thinking about unsubscribing almost immediately because you didn't like what I had to say, or you thought I spammed you, I thank YOU. You make me stay humble, recognise that I can't be all things to all people, and be OK with that.

A lot is written about the practice of gratitude. It is an excellent daily practice to include in your morning routine. It is hard to stay negative when you are practicing gratitude - it's physically impossible to do the two things at the same time.

Write down each day what you are grateful for and why, and even better, tell one person each day.

FEEL the difference!

Merci, grazie, gracias, kia ora, danke, thank you!

I'm excited for 2018 and I've some big plans.

Do you? Do you want to kick start your 2018 so you make it your best year ever? Book a call and let's discuss how we can get you achieving all you desire for your life and career in 2018.

Are you in contraction or expansion?

Stop for a moment, and tell do you feel in your body?

Do you feel tight and tense in your shoulders and back, or your haunches?

How is your breathing? Is it shallow and fast?

Do you miss what's going on around you because you're focused on what's going on in your head, eyes to the ground? 

Does it feel like there isn't an easy answer to what's challenging you right now?

You may not have use this word for it, but I know you recognise how it feels to be in contraction. It's a tight, unnatural and uncomfortable feeling and we truly FEEL it in our bodies when we experience it. It feels like you're closed in a box too small for all your limbs, and you can't see solutions or opportunities even when they present themselves. You're too contained in your box.

Contrast contraction with expansion.

Expansion is light.

Expansion is openness.

Expansion is possibility.

Expansion is excitement.

Expansion is opportunity.

Expansion is creativity.

Expansion is asking better questions of yourself and others.

Expansion is having the same challenges as you do when you're in contraction, but you're coming at them from a very different, more open and abundant place, one that encourages "What if..?" questions. A place of no self-imposed limitations. When you're in expansion, you're able to think more creatively about your situation, expanding your options.

Contraction and expansion are like the difference between hope and desire, closed and open, fear and confidence, scarcity and abundance, surviving and thriving.

I've been listening to some mind-bending podcasts lately, that have had the unexpected outcome of expanding my mind to everything. When you listen to or read life-affirming material like this, it has a tangible impact on how you see the world. If you don't already listen to mind-expanding podcasts, do it now!

So stop and listen to your body.

How does it feel? Do you feel like you're in contraction or expansion?

PS Need help getting out of contraction and into expansion about your life and career? Book a call and let's discuss where you're at.

PPS Want to expand your mind? I'm very excited to announce I'll be launching my Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast shortly! Stay tuned for more info soon!


Naww...When Harry Met Meghan

Everyone loves a good fairytale romance.

We can't help ourselves. Whether you're a royalist or not, there is something that captures the hearts and imaginations of women the world over when a handsome young prince plucks his beautiful princess-to-be from amongst the 'commoners'.

It gives us hope that one day it might happen to us (or is that just me!)

It is true fairytale stuff.

And it annoys me that a Prince-Harry-engages-actress-Meghan-Markle story evokes this response in me. It tells me that, despite everything - despite the fact that I have created all I have in my life, despite the fact that I have been quietly determined to achieve a life and career I love - deep down, I am conditioned to desire to be scooped up and rescued.

It is conditioning.

Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist and writer of the 20th century, studied the stories of all the cultures in the world and identified there was a common theme - a story of a restless young person, called to a purpose, who faces struggle, and personal demons, and ultimately conquers. The theme appears in Bambi, Luke Skywalker, Greek mythology - it's the basic premise of just about every story ever written, spoken or shot on film...and none of these heroes are women.

You see, women wait.

In this scenario, women feature as mothers, wives, or daughters, waiting for the hero to return victorious. Women have waited for centuries - waiting for husbands and sons to return from war; waiting to be rescued by a prince or a knight in shining armour, waiting for Dad to 'fix' things...

And we're still waiting...

We have made great advances so that we can choose, to a large extent, how we desire to live and work, and yet:

  • We wait for our good work to be recognised, rather than actively being more visible, or asking for a promotion.
  • We wait for the company to pay for our personal and career development, rather than proactively making learning and growing a lifelong mission. (Really? Your own personal development is someone else's responsibility?)
  • We wait for a raise to be offered before actively asking for one.
  • Sometimes, we'll even stay in an unhappy or dysfunctional relationship or job because we're waiting for something (the kids to grow up, the mortgage to be paid off, etc).

So I urge you to STOP WAITING.

Write your own story and be your own hero and inspiration.

How are you waiting in your life and career? What are you waiting for? What obstacles are you putting up that are really just excuses in disguise?

If you'd like help to break down the barriers you've created to living and working as you desire, book a call and let's discuss where you are now, where you want to be in the future, and how to get you there. 

Eureka! The secret sauce of success!

Wow. Event over. I'm tired. Excited. On fire.

I have spent the last 3 days here in Paris with over one hundred of my entrepreneurial soulmates and my coach and mentor. Where other events I have experienced key personal breakthroughs that have led to my growth over the last 18 months, this event was different. I have experienced a bodily shift. It's hard to explain but I feel completely connected with my vision to see greater diversity, and more creativity and innovation at board level to change the face of business.

This is what I have learned this weekend, in a bodily way, about the path to achieving success:

1. Have ABSOLUTE CLARITY about your vision and goals: If you're not crystal clear about what you want to create, and what you want to achieve, how will anyone else? How will you be able to articulate it so others see it, share it and connect with it? How will the Universe, God, or whichever source you believe in, know when, where and how to deliver, if you are not clear in your request? Get absolute clarity.

2. BE FIERCE! Be fierce about your vision and goals: If they don't stir you, make you go goose-y, cause you to well up with emotion, and your heart to race, you cannot expect success to follow with ease. Without that ferocity, your focus will falter, your energy will shift to something else; you'll get 'Bright, shiny object Syndrome.' Relentless drive and focus is what ferocity brings. Napoleon Hill, in his essential reading, "Think & Grow Rich" calls it the "white heat of desire;" that burning desire to see your vision to reality. Be fierce with your boundaries to protect your vision and goals from energy-suckers.

3. Be INTENTIONAL about who you surround yourself with: I've learned the hard way. At one time, I surrounded myself with some low vibe people who dragged me down, and left me feeling drained energetically, stuck in my Poor Me archetype for way longer than was necessary. The magic of surrounding yourself with people who inspire you, from whom you can learn, that love and support you and celebrate you is priceless. If that means you need to go outside your usual circle and even pay for it by joining a Mastermind group, do it! Success cannot be achieved all alone in a vacuum. All the best have their own success team. Begin creating yours.

4. Have CHILDLIKE SELF-BELIEF: You've seen it on any number of television talent shows featuring Simon Cowell on the panel. This little button of a girl will stride out on the stage, all giggly and sweet, declare she is going to win the show, and open her mouth to belt out a tune with pipes that logically shouldn't even fit into her tiny body! THAT'S the childlike belief required to succeed - the unwavering belief in yourself that you will achieve your vision and goals; the absolute belief you can. Be nice to your inner child and tell her she's wonderful - often. 

5. GET PHYSICAL: It is science - the body and mind are connected. When you FEEL into your vision and goals, and have a physical as well as an emotional response to them, that's when success comes calling. Movement opens up the neural pathways, the body cells, and the mind to connect to our goals, energising us, bringing our bodies to life. Success and creativity was not achieved lying stagnant on the couch, or with arms folded sitting in a boardroom. My aim is to see everyone at a conference, training course, or board meeting dance before they get down to business! Imagine the innovation, and feel-good success that would spill out of that room!

Take a look at your vision and goals now - have you got any? Put them to the test by viewing them with these eyes. Do they evoke a physical and emotional response in you? Does the desire burn inside of you? Are you connected to them?

If you'd like to share your vision, and practice articulating it until you're truly connected with it, go over to my private Facebook group. Join the tribe and declare your vision to us! We'd love to hear!

Change is in the air...

Even if you're not a believer or a follower of astrology, you may have heard that this August is pretty special in the astrological world. (Honestly, I'm somewhere between skeptic and believer. I'm dubious about the science behind it, if any truly exists; but I'm also open-mindedly curious and often surprised at its accuracy.)

We've got a partial eclipse, a total eclipse, something called a Lion's Gate (what the?), Mercury in retrograde - truly, the planets are going nuts.

I've seen it most succinctly written by Jennifer Racioppi (I am absolutely no expert on this stuff!) 

"Eclipses are potent harbingers of change, often lacking the clear understanding of how they will impact you in advance. Eclipses are known to bring startling news to the forefront of your life."

This is why astrology is curious to me, because what Jennifer describes is exactly how I feel (wondering: do you feel the same?) I am feeling shifts personally, releasing what no longer serves me or makes me feel good (including my relationship!), and it's also happening in my business. I'm shedding the skin of my first year of entrepreneurship. I feel like I'm evolving rapidly, and my business is running out of breath trying to catch up with me. It's like looking in a steamed up bathroom mirror - I know there is a shadow of my face looking back at me, but I can't see the detail.

All this to say, change is afoot.

I'm piecing things together as I receive the downloads about my business, and I am trying to be patient about it (not my most developed trait!) As my mentor says, "You wouldn't rip open a flower." So, I must let it unfold, even though I am so tempted to "rip it open." All I can say at this point is that I will continue to serve ambitious women who desire more from their life and career, to live and work more confidently (is that you?) Just what form that takes - well, you'll be one of the first to know.

Watch this space!

And if you're feeling shifts of change, I'd love to hear about it. Comment, (or hit reply) and let me know, or join my private Facebook group and share away there.

I've done it all wrong!

I’ve been quiet the last month or so for good reason. I’ve experienced personal and health issues, and only now am I bouncing back. I have withdrawn into a cocoon (have you ever felt like doing that?) of self-evaluation and digging deep, and here is what I realised…

I’ve done it all wrong!

The first time I came to live in Paris, I was over the moon to have been transferred by my company. I lapped up living here, enjoying the lifestyle, working very hard, but still...something wasn’t quite right, and I was prone to bouts of, if not depression, then downright gloom. I didn’t ever feel quite where I was supposed to be. After all, I was here for work.

The second time I came to live in Paris, I was surprised at my move - I thought my previous years in France were well-spent but ultimately over. I came here this time for l’amour, lerrrve, and again...something wasn’t quite right. In fact, that is what I have been dealing with these last few weeks. I walked away from my reason for being here in la belle France. It’s what’s called a course corrector, for sure! So the last few weeks I have spent wondering, "If not here, then where? What does breaking up mean for me and where I live?"

In a way, I feel like this is now the third time I have come to live in Paris because now,...

I am here for me.

I had a moment last week on le quatorze juillet - Bastille Day - as I watched the pomp of the military parade, and the rouges blancs bleus jets (the Patrouilles Acrobatiques de France who spew red, white and blue smoke out the back as they fly low along the Seine to celebrate the national day) - THIS is where I am meant to be. I am here for me. I can now redefine my relationship with Paris and France instead of being here for someone or something else. I can go back to the time in my life as a young 20-something arriving for the first time in Paris and literally weeping when I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time.

And that’s what I have been doing wrong all along.

I have made decisions to please others, backing my own desires into theirs. It's called self-abandonment, and women are very prone to doing it to themselves. Self-abandonment runs deep and can show up in many ways including giving more of your time, energy, love and care to others than you do for yourself. Sound familiar? This is quite possibly the first time in perhaps 15 years I can truly say that where I am is where I want to be - for now.

Who knows what the future has in store, but I’m excited about what may come, especially now that I am breaking a pattern of self-abandonment.

Bisous xx

P.S. Does any of this strike a chord? Are you dressing up the desires of others and calling them your own? Do you want to find a way to have exactly what YOU DESIRE? Is lack of confidence and self-abandonment making you accept someone else’s desires as your own?

Let's talk - we’ll discuss where you are now, where you desire to be, and how we can get you there. These calls are super-valuable, and whether we decide to work together or not, you’ll come away with value and ideas about what to do next. These calls are not for everyone. It's for those ready to create change in their lives - that's why there is an application process. Is that you? Apply now.

Had an amazing call with a potential client last week!

I wanted to tell you a little about it!

Rita booked a call with me because she felt completely lost in her career. She had taken a job that she knew would be challenging (and not in a good way) primarily because it served her personal needs of moving to a new city to be near her beau. Other than that, though, it is not serving her at all. She feels horribly stressed, with long hours, and she feels at this time of her life, she is over that type of working. She sets up milestones, saying to herself "If I can just get through to June, I'll be able to do something about it then". Of course, the milestone date keeps shifting. She takes on new projects and opportunities all the time, hoping she'll find that sense of fulfilment from her career she once enjoyed.

She doesn't.

Does this resonate with you?

We dug deeper and found something critical is influencing everything right now. She is undergoing fertility treatment - a second round - an emotional rollercoaster at any time of life. Rita has been compartmentalising in her head this massive life event because that's what she has been doing at work - keeping her personal life from view. So it isn't just the stress of her unsatisfying career that has her unclear on her future. She is trying to hold it all together on a personal level, wondering whether this treatment will take, and if it doesn't, what happens then, and if it does, what happens then, and,...and,...!

She was grateful for the insight of how her personal life is influencing EVERYTHING right now. It seems straightforward to us on the outside. When we're in that place, though, where our thoughts are swirling, our energy is being sucked, stress is high, our brain is soup, there is no clarity and objectivity goes out the window. We can't see the wood for the trees.

I'm going to put my hands up and say that I referred her to a fellow coach, specialised in the fertility journey. Rita goes to her now with a much clearer understanding of her goals - what's really important to her, and where she needs to focus her energy, so she can get much more out of a coaching relationship.

Why am I telling you about a client I DIDN'T sign, and for whom I felt I didn't have the expertise?

Two reasons:

1. Even if you're not sure what your problem is right now and why you feel like you're not getting where you think you want to go, having a call with me helps you sort it out in your head so you can take the action you need, and in the right direction, and with the right support.

2. I won't BS you - if I can help by working with you as your coach, I'll do so happily, and we'll have a blast. If I feel you'll be better served by someone else (and I have a large network of coaches I can draw on), I am not so proud that I won't admit that. #keepingitreal

Suffice to say, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by talking with me.

So, let's do it! Let's chat!

Is Lack of Trust Getting in the Way of Your Success?

I felt inspired to re-publish a post today. It was inspired by a call I had with a potential client this morning. 

Before we even start, let's just pause...

In all the world, whose opinion and ideas do you trust without reservation?

Husband, wife, partner, mother, father, bestie,...?

Did you say YOU at all?

Whether we're taking decisions in our personal lives or in business, we frequently ask for the opinion of others, "What do you think I should do? What's your view?"

Nothing wrong with it. It's great to get another viewpoint. Perhaps we have missed something that's staring at us in the face that could be the perfect solution.

The problem is, it can also mess with your head.

Everyone has a different perspective, experience, belief systems grounded in social, cultural, ethnic, religious norms, their own baggage, their parents’ baggage, and their own agenda. So while it's interesting to get an alternative viewpoint, be aware that they are coming at the problem from a different place that may also work to your detriment.

I found this when I first started as a coach entrepreneur. Two respected coaches had two very different opinions and experiences regarding effective marketing. As a new entrepreneur, I was keen to learn, absorbing all the information I could to ensure my business was a success (I still do!) So I sought their opinions. The problem is, their opinions were at either ends of the spectrum. One would say one thing, the other would say the polar opposite. I was completely conflicted about what to do.

I lost self-trust, and confidence in my own intuition, and in what ‘felt good’ for me and my business, giving more weight to them and their opinions. All it did was make me procrastinate. Instead of deciding on a clear strategy, I did a 'little bit of this, and a little bit of that', a scatter-gun approach to marketing - ineffective, and spreading myself too thin.

My seeking their opinions was less about getting their perspectives as it was about me being afraid to ‘get it wrong’, to fail in some way. Perfectionism or a fear of failure and lack of self-trust simply stops us from trying, putting ourselves out there, from taking a decision, or from learning from our failures. I’m learning to quell those annoying perfectionist tendencies ("better done than perfect" is my new mantra!), but they creep back in from time to time, when I become fearful of ‘getting it wrong.’

Ultimately, in business and in life decisions, we have to trust ourselves first and foremost.

Listening word-for-word to others' advice, solicited or not, is giving up our power to someone else. Seeking opinions from more experienced people is great, but consider how their advice applies to you, your business, your life, and ask yourself, "Is this true for me?" "Does this feel right for my business/life?"

So, who do you trust most?

Feel like you need to help to trust yourself more in life and career decisions? Let’s chat to find out how you can uncover your unshakeable power and confidence so you can create your kind of wonderful in life and work

P.S. Self-trust and self-confidence can be real hurdles to women achieving success - whatever that looks like. Book a call so you can uncover your unshakeable power and confidence today.