Be Fearless in the year of The Rooster.

On the 28th January it was the start of Chinese New Year celebrated by thousands of people around the world. I was lucky enough this year, to be in the Far East to witness the colour and spectacle of this festival first hand.

After the tricky, ambitions, need for adventure, in the year of the Monkey in 2016 and all his high jinx, we have the Fire Rooster for 2017!

The Rooster will be a welcome change, however, there will be a periods of chaos and unpredictability until he settles in for the rest of 2017. Roosters see things in black or white, no middle of the road thinking, clarity and focus are the watchwords here. The Fire Rooster suggests that by applying his virtues you will accomplish your objectives.

The Roosters five virtues are listed below;

Courageous

Benevolent

Literary

Trustworthy

Military Prowess

In 496 BC a Chinese General who was a brilliant military strategist and philosopher called Sun-Tzu is quoted as saying,

‘Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.’

In turn you will know what challenges may lay ahead for you, because you have already explored the options.  You know what you want, but are unsure of how to implement it.  The challenge will be to remain courageous in the face of adversity, committed and focused.

On the Forbes.com  website, there is an interesting article by Eric Jackson. He writes about how to win in your life, work and the management of others. A great read with a list of 33 other quotes by Sun-Tzu. See it here

Sun-Tzu was a very insightful man, whose wise words still resonate today.

The clarity and focus needed to navigate this year must be set out at the beginning of the year. By using the first 3 months wisely you can adopt a positive mindset. This will give you a clear strategy and help you gain the tactics required to draw up a map or document that you can follow throughout the year. A blueprint, a plan if you will, with clear focused objectives, no shades of grey in 2017.

Be fearless!

If you would like a Compact, Complimentary, Coaching Session in March or April 2017
Call or Book Louisa on the website.
FREE 30 minute call – To Design Your Blueprint – Book Now

 

 

 

A gift and possibly the keys to that door.

KeysBlogphoto
I want to give you a gift that I hope you will like, actually I know you will, trust me.

When I was training to be a coach, as part of our homework one night, we were asked to give a 3 minute pitch the following morning. I went into total meltdown. Firstly, I felt I didn’t know enough as a coach, and secondly I get so nervous I physically shake. Statistically speaking I am not alone; public speaking is the number one fear for adults, with death being second!

That evening I spent hours trying out different ideas, getting no-where fast and frustrated in the process. I needed something that everyone could relate to, as I was presenting to a mixed gender and wide age range of fellow coaches. I scanned my room for inspiration and on the table were my keys. That was my light-bulb moment.

Your keys, like mine, have a specific use, their own identity, individual shape and colour. The set of keys in the photograph are mine, the first one is for my front door. This is a complex key that unlocks the door for family, friends old and new, but allows me to lock others out. A door that gives access to how I live, the colours I choose to brighten my home and the treasures I surround myself with. The walls covered in artwork collected from trips abroad and a mosaic of photographs that captured precious moments that were gone in a heartbeat but forever immortalised on my wall. Musical instruments ready to be played that give the house a soundtrack and the listeners are enveloped in a warm comforting blanket. I love this key.

Back to the presentation and what I wanted to share. Simple really. That coaching unlocks endless possibilities. Wow, big statement. How was I going to put my point across in 3 minutes and how am I going to give you your gift?

I walked into the room took a very deep breath and sat down at the conference table with my fellow presenters. I started shaking and a nervous feeling began to take over so, to get this done sooner rather than later, I asked to be second. My heart was banging inside my chest and my mouth went dry, I knew I had to do something to calm myself down. Then my name was called and I was off.

“I have a gift for you.” was my opening line, as I placed a small box in the middle of the table, I removed the lid and asked my audience to take one item each from the box.

The previous evening I had been out and managed to purchase a small box and made an array of interesting and individual key fobs.

Each person looked into the box and took a key, however I am still not sure what influenced their decision; the type of key or the fob itself. I asked everyone to handle the key and explained that it would unlock ‘That’ door. Throughout our lives we walk through many doors, some of which can be unlocked, others remained closed to us. These are clearly not our doors and we must move on. I asked my audience to shout out what door they wanted to unlock: confidence, happiness, money, success, to be a great coach, were all shouted back. My gift as your coach is to design a blueprint with You, that enables You to find the door that fits your key. The timer went off and my 3 minutes were up….whoosh! The time had whizzed by… I fell into my chair, took another deep breath and knew I had helped open doors.

So my gift to you is to share the knowledge that you have always had the key, however you just need to figure out which door you want to open.

Trust yourself and follow your heart.

New Apps or an Update?

May is a magical month where everything around us seems to be evolving, growing, gaining colour taking on strength and developing new shapes. I think of it as the springboard towards summer and the endless possibilities stretching out in front of us.

I also like May, as it is the month I give my Coaching time away for FREE!

As an International Accredited Coach with the IIC&M we support International Coaching Week that begins on16th May – 22nd May 2016.

Jerri Udelstone created ICW in 1999 so that everyone could experience the huge benefits of the coaching process. If you have never done it but always wondered how this would help, book an appointment here on the website or give me a call. See how coaching accelerates your personal growth, your professional development and improves how you communicate with yourself and others more positively.

There was a wonderful article in Forbes Magazine last year by Jason L Ma author of Young Leaders 3.0 on coaching and mentoring. Ma seems to suggests that you think of your mindset as your operating system be it; OSX, Microsoft or Android. I agree with this idea wholeheartedly. You would invest in upgrading your system, improving functionality, delete out dated software and thus become more powerful. He then goes on to liken the skills you have, to apps on your devices, metaphorically speaking. These apps (skills) will need updating over time and this is where a coach or mentor comes in, to assist you in refreshing your screen, rebooting your system, even upgrading!

You choose your apps for fun, to support you, educate you, measure your progress, share thoughts, images and ideas. The apps are always being up-dated, sent bug fixes, redeveloped, and expanded. I welcome the idea we are our apps, here is a screen shot of my phone.

New Apps and Updates!

 

I think it tells you quite a lot about me; a Scrabble playing, outdoor walking, weather watching, book reading, music listening, Mindful, rugby nut who likes to sleep!

What would your apps tell a coach and why don’t you ask for your FREE 30 minute reboot and delete some of those apps that don’t apply any more?

Look forward to talking to you soon.

 “Your most important work is ahead of you, never behind you.”

Steven Covey

 

Why flying a kite is good for you.

CliftonSuspensionBridge

 

I always wanted to be an architect and help design bridges, I know exactly when this seed was sown.  My family lived in Bristol for about 7 years and we regularly travelled across the Clifton Suspension Bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. This feat of design engineering was astonishing to me and I wanted to know all about how and why it was built and could I create something similar?

Why am I telling you this, well I believe this was my first experience of self-motivation. Do you remember what motivated you this morning when you got up, what made your heart sing, drove you onward and put a smile on your face? My motivation is to get up, walk with the dog then hit my yoga mat and get centered. This I have discovered is because I am intrinsically motivated.

Intrinsic motivation comes from within us, we do something because we enjoy it and do not require rewards or praise. We will therefore happily continue with the tasks, fitness classes, healthy eating, learning to play an instrument or other activities into the future. However there is also extrinsic motivation, where we are seeking a reward or recognition for what we are doing. If we are extrinsically driven the likelihood of succeeding and being happy is lowered drastically. The rewards we gain in the moment, of any form of success, money, or enhanced reputation will wain.

When I looked into how the bridge was built I became even more fascinated. Folklore suggested that a kite was used to carry the first string across the Gorge and once secured, a thicker line was pulled across, then a rope, then chains and lastly iron bolts were used to secure everything. The same principle can be used to connect you to your intrinsic motivations.

You design a kite with a specific goal in mind, something for you without need of praise, give it a colour, cover the kite in keywords and pictures. Then starting from where you are today let the kite go, each day visualise the kite, turn up the colour, see yourself realizing that goal. Every time you see the kite the string becomes thicker and in no time it is rope then become chains, which galvanise your motivation. The bolts are secured and not only have you reached your goal You have also built a bridge from where you were, to where you want to be. This is a difficult thought process but with practice you will be flying several kites at the same time. Try it and imagine of the possibilities!

I am sure you will understand that at the time of my initial self-discovery, the idea of Brunel’s kite took my 7-year-old brain off to the beach and needless to say I never became an architect. I am still a bridge builder and a kite flyer though!

P.S.

This is the Latin inscription on the Clifton Suspension Bridge:

SUSPENSA VIX VIA

Translation:    “A suspended way made with difficulty.”

Sometimes the things we really want, do not come easily and that is why we appreciate them more.

This is a wonderful TED Talk by Daniel Pink on Motivation

 

Marvellous Monkey!

Year-Of-Monkey3smll

Well here we are again, the 8th of February and a new animal for the Chinese New Year – The Monkey.

This somewhat cheeky little character will bring a fast pace to the year, oodles of motivation and the ability to actually get things done. All the things that are so important in achieving goals and releasing us from things that have not worked in the past.  So be on your toes and dare to be different, re think where you are and where you want to be and like Nike say, ‘Just do it’.

This year is not only about the marvellous monkey’s mental fitness, but how you feel physically too. Try something new and instigate regular physical activities from mindful practice to martial arts. This will raise your self esteem and send confidence through the canopy.

The Monkey is a risk taker with an agile mind who is encouraging you to invest in yourself or follow your heart’s desire. So if you have a project that you have been sitting on, now is the time to release it and enjoy this creative and innovative year.  A word to the wise, ensure you have all the facts and figures to support you in what-ever your venture is, as confidence tricksters abound. There will be some negative undercurrents and nothing should be assumed, check facts to limit stress.

This is a powerful year to take calculated risks, follow your heart, break free and harness the energies around you.

Enjoy the view from the trees tops with this marvellous monkey for company, in a year where anything can happen!

 

 

What is your Game Changer ?

 

 

Echo Game Changer Logo

 

How to make 2016 the Game Changer year.

Another January, another pile of New Year’s resolutions you will only stick to until the end of the month. The pressure we put ourselves under to achieve goals, drink less, get fit, travel more to name but a few, is bonkers. You need a Game Changer!

To create your Game Changer means you have to think in a different way; as Einstein said, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.

We can only get what we really want if we really want it and remain focussed. The Game Changer mindset employs strategies to galvanise this plan and keeps you on the road to success. There are several important elements or keys is creating a plan full of passion and purpose, that blends with your beliefs. These beliefs were being formed from an early age by your parents, teachers and elders and their evaluation on your abilities. These opinions will have added to or limited your belief in yourself. This is a whole other blog though!

The most important thing is that YOU decide what you want and plan how you are going to get there. Ask friends and family to support your ideas and do not let their voice override your self talk.

The Game Changer for me in 2015 was that I took the time to step back, grow from lessons learnt and plan my year ahead. Keeping fit and looking after my health are high priorities for me, but I have never been a gym bunny. I needed a new perspective that aligned with my belief that I really can do anything I choose to do. So after many hours of research I decided to train to be a Nordic Walking Instructor, this gets me outdoors, keeps me fit and enables me to travel – Bingo! I now also combine Nordic Walking within my coaching practice as we know that it improves mental wellbeing.

So I will leave this thought with you, explore new ideas, develop a new way of thinking, decided on your Game Changer and have the best year ever.

 

“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear”. Buddha

 

Definition from www.investopedia.com

‘Game Changer’

  1. A game changer has new and different ideas that stand out from the crowd. This person has an idea that completely changes the way a situation develops. Companies employ this tactic to create ideas or events that change the outcome of a plan.
  1. A visionary strategist uses creative innovation to alter their business plans, or conceives an entirely new plan by exploring new locations and different products.

Get sexy, get outside, get walking!

Walk & Talk

How does walking works wonders? Well it improves our cardiovascular system, burns calories, boosts libido, changes our mood and cultivates creativity.

As reported in The Daily Mail, Dr Craig Williams a sports science lecturer at the University of Exeter explains some of the other benefits of walking;  ‘It can improve muscle endurance as well as muscle strength, especially in the lower body.’

Take a look at all the other benefits and best of all, walking is FREE.

Essential equipment before you start is a comfortable pair of trainers, loose light-weight clothing and some water. Hydration is important in keeping our energy up and essential for brain function. Start slowly and when you feel ready increase the distance and up the intensity.

Health Benefits

Regular walking at a moderate intensity is key, which is when you raise your heart rate and break a sweat. If you can sing a song or recite a favourite quote you need to up your speed. Walking has been shown to cut heart disease by up to 50% and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and the risk of some cancers.

Calories

A little known fact that a brisk walk at a moderate intensity burns as many calories as a run over the same distance. The older you get, walking is kinder to your bones than the high impact damage that can be caused by running. Nordic walking burns even more calories and gives a total body workout.

Libido

Research at the University of Texas suggests walking boosts sexual arousal in women. This activity, changes the chemicals in the brain and the nervous system a win win for everyone!

Mood

How we walk has a profound effect on mood, sad people slump, happy people bounce! In a study at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, candidates were asked to walk with a slower pace and minimise their arm movements. This in turn made their shoulders roll forward and created a slumped profile and affected their mood in a negative way. When we exercise outdoors, we begin to connect with the environment and stress levels begin to fall. If we use Mindfulness Techniques we can double the positive effects of walking instantly.

Creativity

If you could raise your creativity by 60% would you? Well do as Steve Jobs, the  late co- founder of Apple did, have walking meetings, Mark Zuckerburg also employs this technique – need I say more! The Walk and Talk sessions offered by Echo will give you all this and so much more.

So book a session, put on your walking shoes and see how walking really does work wonders!

Living or just existing?

Life Loading

Next week is International Coaching Week from 18th -24th May 2015 and we would like to offer you a FREE 30 minute online coaching session.

Why do I need coaching I can hear you ask?
Why wouldn’t you want to realise your full potential either professionally or personally?

You will have a complimentary 30 minute, 121 session with Louisa, who is a fully accredited International Coach and Mentor. She works with professionals at Director level and has a vast array of Personal clients worldwide.

Coaching delivers focus and support with a non judgmental approach to;
Realise your goals
Create an environment for growth and change
Give clarity
Encourage you to commit to taking action
Develop personal competencies
Improve motivation and passion
Get back your VaVaVoom!

To take advantage of this amazing experience book by clicking Free Coaching .

There is only one session available per person.
Usual cost would be £45 for 30 minutes, this is a great investment in YOU!

We look forward to working with you and designing the life you deserve.

Vision Board 2015

Visions of 2015

So here we are at the end of January, you have probably made resolutions, you have been to the gym, you may even have had a ‘Dry January.’
How has it been for you, this first, exciting month of 2015?
Well ours has be spectacular and it is all down to The Vision Board Workshops, a real boost for everyone that attends.

The doors open, music fills the air and everyone finds a suitable table, ready to begin. We take time to be mindful of why we are here and ask ourselves what do we want for us?
Laptops are plugged in, paper cuttings appear, poems, pressed flowers from the garden, family photos, maps and even pieces of sculpture.
This vast wealth of positive imagery or chosen words of wisdom, will become part of the visual signposts, to direct you through the year.

There is no right or wrong way of making a vision board, it is a map, a reference page, reminding you of your intention.
Some of our clients use only words, that set their internal compass and guide them throughout the year.
Others assign themes; Career, Health, Relationships etc.sorting images or words into each area. They can be bright, colourful, complex or simple, it is YOUR vision board. When we focus more on what we do want, we move closer to realising our goals.

The wonderful thing about creating vision boards with others or sometimes 1:1 with a mentor, is that you drill down to who YOU are and what YOU really want.
There are no outside distractions, no phones and obligations to anyone but yourself.  Those who attend are surrounded by similar people, investing in positive growth, change, possible new friendships and accountability. The friendships that have developed from the workshops have been a fantastic bonus.

So that is it, time to step away from illustrator, put laptops away, clear the paper and the glue away until next year.
It has been a privilege to see these personal maps and vision boards come together.
As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “You will see it, when you believe it.” 

Echo Motivate Blog

Mindful of the Seasons

Well here we are 2015 how does your year look so far?

I use this time to reflect on the things I have achieved, the things I have learnt and the experiences that have given me tools I didn’t have at the start of 2014. It is all part of being Mindful and appreciating the moments, taking time to notice the little things and listen actively to our loved ones. This heightens the colour in our lives and we in-turn feel more fulfilled and connected – why wouldn’t you do it? I would like to suggest for at least 10 minutes everyday you try this, it really works.

10 Minute Mindful Exercise
Take off your shoes and loosen any tight clothing, especially a tight waistband or belt. Sit comfortably. If you’re sitting on a chair, put your feet flat on the floor – if necessary support them with a block or cushion. If you’re sitting on a cushion then sit in such a way that your knees are supported either by cushions or on the floor; you can sit either cross-legged or kneeling (Japanese seiza posture). Aim for a posture of stability that can’t be pushed over – like a doll with a weight in the bottom, which just bobs back upright again.

Straighten the back and raise the sternum, opening the front of the body so you can breathe easily. Keep the head straight and balanced directly above the spine, not tilted forwards or backwards or to either side. Imagine a ‘skyhook’ gently lifting the crown of the head, slightly stretching the spine. Relax the shoulders as you breathe out.

Place your hands on your knees, or in your lap in the meditation mudra – palms up, right hand resting in palm of left hand, thumb-tips very lightly touching.

The eyes may be closed, or slightly open with a soft gaze, relaxed into peripheral vision.

Let your attention travel around the body, checking in with every part, and release any areas of tension. As you become more aware of your posture, make any little adjustments you need to until you find a position in which your body is entirely at ease.

Your posture should be conducive to a state of relaxed awareness. During your meditation session, keep still, avoiding unnecessary movements or fidgeting; however do make whatever slight adjustments may be necessary to maintain your posture – habitually recurring tensions may need to be noticed and eased repeatedly. If physical discomfort arises during your meditation session, sit with it for a few minutes (it may go away); if it persists, just change your position to a more comfortable one and continue as before.

You may like to recall a previous instance of experiencing calmness and clarity; or if not, imagine what it would be like to experience that now. Use that calmness and clarity now to help you enter meditation.

Begin your practice of mindfulness of breathing by becoming attentive to the physical process of breathing, the actual physical sensations. Let the attention rest lightly wherever you experience these sensations most easily: the entrance to the nostrils, chest, abdomen, or maybe even the whole body. Simply be aware of the breathing, noticing a long breath, a short breath, a sigh, making no attempt to tinker with it or change it in any way. Just relax into it and enjoy the process. As you breathe out, release any tension, whether physical or mental, so you are relaxing with each out breath.

If you find your quality of awareness becoming dull or even sleepy, sharpen your attention and focus on the sensation of the breath entering and leaving the nostrils. If you are becoming distracted by thoughts, relax even more and rest your attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen.

If you like, you can mentally count the breaths: count from one to ten, then start again at one; if you lose count, just start again at one. Count on the in breath if you have a tendency to dullness, on the out breath if you have a tendency to distraction.

Keep the sessions short, not more than 10 or 15 minutes to begin with, or even less if necessary; a short, good quality session is much better than a long session full of distraction and dullness. But do maintain some discipline: decide in advance how long you are going to sit, and stick to it.

It’s good to get into the habit of spending a few moments at the beginning of each session reflecting on your motivation, why you want to do this, what is your purpose; then take a few moments at the end to reflect on what you have learned and to dedicate the positive potential of your meditation for the benefit of yourself and others.

If you want to harness this skill this Mindful Workshop is the best in Somerset run by Nicki Hughes.

PS I was given this exercise however I do not remember by whom – many thanks and I hope that you do not mind me sharing.