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Entries organized under True Work

Following the thread to fulfilment

In True Living, True Purpose, True Self, True Work on April 3, 2017

“Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks–we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.” Parker J Palmer

Life is a precious gift. Yet I, maybe you, forget it too often.

Sucked into the busyness, the pressures, roles and expectations bestowed upon us or chosen by us, we loose our thread, our sense of meaning, ourselves.

Yet all of us, however busy we are, press pause at points along the way. Maybe it’s a holiday, a journey or an illness, enforced or chosen, these times create space and help us to see and feel with a clarity we rarely experience.

In these moments we remember who we really are, what we believe deep inside and what really matters. We realise what needs to change and how much we crave it.

Sometimes all it takes is a moment, or a series of moments sprinkled over time, to change course and steer our life deliberately. To make that change and feel we’re living our life our way. To contribute in our own unique way to this world. And isn’t that true fulfilment?

I know, all too well it would seem, when I haven’t found the pause button often enough.

I feel myself drifting further and further away from being deliberate to being on auto-pilot. I feel totally set adrift from the thread I’ve been following and find myself filling my time with mindless activity to ease the emptiness.

What I’ve learnt, time and again, is that it doesn’t take much to reconnect with your thread, with yourself.

It doesn’t need to be a 10 day holiday or a year long training course.

What it takes is space and a dedication to you. Start with a cup of tea, a minute sat in the sun or a walk in the woods. Start.

Find yourself and your thread and follow it with all you’ve got.

“If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your purpose to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life” Charles Bukowski

 

 

 

 

30 questions to uncover your true self and your true contribution

In True Self, True Work on March 21, 2017

 

When I feel lost, when I’m searching for clarity or am at a crossroads I turn to questions to help me find answers. Not the answers expected of me, but my answers. My truth.

Questions shine a light in the hard to reach crevices we’ve been unable to reach or have ignored for too long and make the invisible, visible.

As a coach, questions are the tools of my trade, a powerful means to guide my clients towards their truth.

As a writer, questions are my starting point from which words roll out of me and creative ideas reveal themselves to me on paper.

In fact, in all the roles in my life, personal or work related, questions help me to be my true self and contribute my true work in the world more than just about anything else.

I wanted to share with you some of the questions I often ask myself when I want to get closer to my truth. Sometimes one is all I need to bubble clarity to the surface. On other occasions I will ponder on a few at a time or even take one a day for a series of days.

Questions require space so when you’re ready, press pause and write, draw, talk or think about your answers and see what truths reveal themselves.

 

  1. What would you do if you didn’t need anyone else’s approval but your own?
  2.  What are you afraid to show the world?
  3. What would your work look like if it was an expression of your true self?
  4. What do I value most about myself?
  5. Why were you born as you and not someone else?
  6. When do you most feel touched by life?
  7. What do you have to contribute to the world?
  8. What would you say to the world if nobody was listening?
  9. What burns your soul with desire?
  10. What would you love to be possible in your life but you often doubt?
  11. What is your greatest hope for yourself?
  12. Where or with whom do you feel most yourself?
  13. What do you wish you could let go of in your life?
  14. What are you devoted to?
  15. What makes you uniquely you?
  16. What energises you?
  17. What excites you most about your life right now?
  18. What feels too hard in your life right now?
  19. What matters most to you?
  20. Who are the people who have meant the most in your life?
  21. What stops you from being yourself?
  22. What would it take to put yourself in the centre of your life?
  23. What do you care so much about you are moved to take action?
  24. What fascinates you?
  25. How could you get to know yourself more?
  26. What makes you lose your inhibitions?
  27. What is your greatest hope for the world?
  28. What are you most proud of in your life?
  29. What would it take for you to feel fulfilled?
  30. How committed are you to yourself?

 

May your answers reveal themselves to you and guide you towards more of your true self and true work in the world.

The Weight of the World

In True Living, True Work on July 20, 2016

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“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard.

Do not let the pain make you hate.

Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.

Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree.

You still believe it to be a beautiful place.” Unknown

 

On Saturday, my five-year-old son and I were getting ourselves changed for the day whilst listening to music on Spotify. A new song came on and my son said, “that’s a sad song mummy, isn’t it?’

He listened intently to the words as the sadness visibly enveloped him, his eyes brimming with tears and his body descending heavily to the floor.

Instantly, I felt his palpable emotion spread to me. I lowered myself down to hold him in my attempt to ease the pain that this precious, emotional sponge was feeling.

Every day we’re bombarded with emotions. Some of these emotions we gladly welcome, whilst others feel like unwanted trespassers invading our space.

From the simple act of looking at the face of another or reading the black print in a newspaper, to watching a sitcom or sitting in a meeting, emotions are everywhere.

We ‘re encircled and right now it feels like it ‘s reaching a new level of intensity on a global scale. Whether it’s Brexit in the UK, racial violence in the US, terrorist attacks world over or political instability, it all takes its toll.

Yet, we can’t carry it all because if we try to we literally become weighed down. We become unstable and unable to function or move freely, or even move at all.

We would never expose our children to all of this, wishing them a degree of innocence and protection, yet we do it to ourselves.

I believe in being informed and having an awareness of what’s going on in the world but not to the extent that we need to absorb it all, solve it all, hypothesise or catastophise every single possibility. Aware but not hyper-vigilant.

Hyper-vigilance leads our nervous system to feel  overloaded and in pain and not long after, so does our body. And that pain leads us in so many directions, none of which are good.

So how do we cope in this global age, this time of uncertainty and pain? How do we lessen the load so we can continue to live unconstricted?

Choose wisely

“No matter what the situation remind yourself “I have a choice”” Deepak Chopra

When we boil it down, we get to choose how we live and this applies to so many areas of our life. Often we forget this choice because we haven’t exercised it for so long, but it’s still there, hidden deep down.

I was brought up in a household where the newspaper landed on our doormat every day and we sat around the television together watching the morning and evening news so we were suitably informed on the state of the world.

For years to come, I felt I had to observe this news hungry routine religiously if I was to be a good person. I forgot to ask myself if it was serving me. I forgot I had a choice.

Now I’m deeply aware of my choices and exercise them with conviction once I’ve got crystal clear on the answer to my guiding question; what feels true for me today?

This goes with everything. Yes, there are some things we can’t change, but most things we have a degree of control over, so be your own friend and choose what you need today.

Power down

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes….including you” Anne Lamott

We live in a world of speed, activity and achievement. A world in which there is little space to be still, to restore and to opt out.

Gift yourself with the treasures that come from feeling space encircle you, comfort nurture you and stillness soothe you every day.

For me, some days that looks like meditation and a walk in nature, others its yoga and a long lunch sat outside whilst others its sleep and a book. Listening to my deep need for rest has been a long journey, one which will never end, but I savour the joyful rewards, deeply knowing that when recharged I can engage with the world in a more grounded and mindful way.

Let it out

“Don’t keep all your feelings sheltered – express them. Don’t ever let life shut you up” Dr Steve Maraboli

When emotion comes in and takes up residence, we can be left with its ramifications for days, weeks, months or even lifetimes. Emotions flow in two directions, inwards but also outwards.

When I was striving hard in my corporate career I forgot this. I forgot to let them out. I pushed them down, drove through them fearful of what might happen if I stopped to fell them.

Then I was forced to stop. Forced to feel. Forced to let them flow in the form of tears on my cheeks, ink on the page and words in the air.

Let them out by giving them the space they need to feel heard and understood. Cry, write, talk, move your body, whatever you need to get them out.

Marvel at the world

“When you look at life through the eyes of gratitude, the world becomes a magical and amazing place” Jannifer Gayle

The world we get to inhabit every day, is a miracle. It’s filled with incredulous beauty that boggles the mind when we allow ourselves to be mesmorised by it.

My favourite way to unravel when life feels stressful is to lie on my stomach in the grass and stare at the blades growing infront of my eyes.

I notice their colour, their uniformity, their differences, their ability to sway in the wind, their gentleness to touch. All of it. So utterly amazing and I feel beyond blessed in that moment to experience it and be grounded by it.

Look around you and be mesmorised by this world, see the goodness and blessings that encircle us and feel cradled by it.

 

I’m not sure how you’re going with the world’s course right now, but I do hope you find your way to listen to what you need and give yourself permission to receive it and take the weight of the world off of you.

For my son, he knows the answer. After a big hug and wiping his tears he asked me to put on a ‘happy song, one that takes the sadness away’.

Everyone’s ‘happy song’ looks different, but knowing where to find it is key.

What really matters?

In True Living, True Self, True Work on June 8, 2016

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If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re the kind of person that believes life is precious.

From time to time I imagine you stop to think about what really matters and how you want to live your life.

You care about this stuff but, if you’re like most people, it inevitably slips off your radar amongst the everyday busyness of life. I get it, I really do.

This week someone whom I admire deeply, have been inspired and supported by, passed away. Way too young and way too suddenly. It hit me in the heart and I’ve been enveloped ever since in a deep sadness for her beautiful family.

It has made me stop and think deeply.

We’re good at pushing through, striving, keeping going, getting it done and keeping quiet.

We’re good at wearing blinkers to shelter us from how we really feel and what really matters.

I wonder how many words, emotions, wishes and desires lie inside each one of us waiting to be let out? How many are buried so deep that they struggle to be heard?

When do we take the blinkers off? When do we halt the activity, press pause and lean in for long enough and deep enough to feel, to hear, to know what matters?

I pressed pause this week and listened to the whispers inside. Checked in, grounded myself and made adjustments.

I would love the chance to sit face to face, soul to soul with you and press pause on life together.

To allow you to hang out with yourself.

To rekindle your relationship with your inner being and gather all the bits of yourself you’ve lost or buried along the way so we can put them back together and see, unfiltered, who you are at your precious core.

To witness your friendship with yourself blossom as you trust yourself, hold your own hand and walk your journey of life with meaning.

Maybe one day we could do this (drop me a line and I’d love to) but until then stop a while from your journey of keeping going and striving.

Take a seat, a sojourn, a rest.

Switch off the noise that encircles you and feel cradled in space.

Breathe.

Intimately scan your body and tune into how it feels.

And start a conversation with yourself. Write it down or speak it out loud, but mainly listen.

  • Deep down, what’s aching to get out?
  • Where do you feel lacking in your life?
  • What do you crave more of?
  • What are you ignoring?
  • What feeds your soul?
  • How intimately do you know yourself?
  • When do you feel alive?
  • Who understands you?
  • What truly matters?

When you truly know what matters, I believe in;

  • saying it, compassionately and honestly, not leaving it unsaid
  • doing it, with dedication and courage, not leaving it undone
  • living it, with love and intention, not pushing through life unlived.

And remember you matter, not a little bit but so much. So;

 Ring your bell so we hear it.

Shine your light so we see it.

Share your soul so we feel it.

How your work really can feel like home

In True Living, True Work on October 7, 2015

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Coaching, followed by writing, has showed me what it is to feel at home and truly alive when it comes to my work in this world – and I’m reminded of this every single day.

Let me try and explain what happens to me when I coach.

Regardless of whatever it is I’ve been doing before I step into coaching, either physically or virtually, my mind and body disappear. I become an empty vessel into which my clients’ words and emotions wash, passing through me, before the right words bubble to the surface for me to share.

In part, this is built from years of experience, but mostly it comes from trusting what lies within. There’s no censoring or filtering to apply. No ‘what should I say here’ moments or ‘my, that’s a tough one’.

It’s as if my clients are waves breaking over me, enveloping me. It’s like I become one with them and can listen to what’s in their mind, body and soul. As the wave retreats back, we part momentarily. The words flow effortlessly out of me as we navigate our journey together, based around a deep, combined knowledge of who they are and what they truly desire.

For me, the core of coaching is not doing, it is being. It’s absolutely an art, not a science. That’s not to say that tools and techniques don’t have their place and aren’t hugely important (I geekishly love them), but they have to be guided by the core, the treasures within.

Writing is the same.

When I was recently asked by a friend what my process for writing was, I was perplexed. I couldn’t articulate it. This seemed absurd as I write all the time and I love it! I grappled for words and talked jibberish.

There is no process. The words are in my soul. They have been deeply planted within me and when I connect deeply with my soul, they pour out onto the page without any consciousness. Again, this is the core of writing: being.

Explaining this to my procedure-driven friend was a tough one, but it really is my ‘process’. Writing and coaching are home for me:

▪ finding the treasure I have been blessed with and courageously bringing it unfiltered into the world
▪ nurturing a soul-based connection, both with myself and another
▪ being totally absorbed: no doubts, no sense of time, no distractions, no ego
▪ being open to, curious about and at peace with what is

When we find the treasures within and bring them fully and courageously into the world, in whatever way reflects who we truly are, we find our career home.

And trust me, when you take up residence there, you will never want to leave.

 

If you yearn to feel at home in your career, drop me a note and let’s unearth your path home together.

The Treadmill of Self-Change

In True Living, True Work on June 17, 2015

D. Antoinette FoyEvery time I worked hard to ‘change’ myself, I thought I’d made it to ‘the end’. To a complete state where no further change was ever going to be necessary.

I’d been focusing on ‘changing’ one area of myself. An area that seemed so big, so pervasive and so fundamental in helping me be ‘happy’.

Yet, without fail, and always upsettingly, that fleeting moment of ‘making it’ disappeared. The next thing to ‘work on’ came along.

Then, I’d feel as if I were starting again, back at the beginning. More energy was required, more effort to be expended. I had to gear myself up to begin again.

Yet again, I thought that when I nailed ‘this one’, I would really be ‘there’ and life would be ‘perfect’. I would think that this was the biggie. This was the one that would change everything.

I did it every time, and each time after a moment of elation I felt I was back at the start.

I was on the treadmill of self-change. Always pushing for more, never accepting I was enough.

Then I was forced to change. Forced to stop.

Chronic exhaustion hit, and I had no choice but to listen. It made me come face to face with who I really was and who I will always be. The real me.

Having chronic exhaustion forced me to look myself straight in the eye and see my truth, and my beauty. To see my softness and innocence. And, once and for all, to befriend who I saw.

I realised denying this person and trying to change this person didn’t work. I no longer needed to fight. I just needed to be me.

I needed to be the person who is sensitive as she is. The person who thinks deeply. The one who hears souls whisper. The person who loves deeply. The person who loves dreaming and thinking about the future.

All. Of. It. Me.

It sounds easy. It was not. It was so hard, so painful, so excruciating, not what I wanted and yet so utterly life changing.

I will forever be grateful to my body for flooring me – and for giving me the chance to rise, just as I am.