Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Having a Wobble? Me too, and that's OK

 "Mum, why is everything going wrong?"

I told myself I'd be the kind of parent who would always encourage questions from my children and who would answer them all as honestly and openly as I could but this one caught me out.
He'd just asked me to turn off the radio which was reporting news of Roy Hodgson's resignation after England's shock defeat to Iceland at the Euros.  This, on top of the referendum result and the ensuing chaos, was the last straw.
He was scared, upset and unsure.  It felt like each day there was a new, unwelcome surprise and a new area of uncertainty.  He didn't understand why it was all happening and he didn't know what was going to happen next.
In some ways I wish I could magic away his concerns but I also know that acknowledging worries and learning how to work with them is such a useful skill.  So, instead of dusting off my magic wand, here's what I'll be telling him tonight:

Having a wobble is normal

Everyone feels scared, unsure or worried sometimes.  When things take us by surprise or when we're not sure what's going to happen next, it can make us feel like everything is out of control and that feels uncomfortable.  Make a list what is worrying you, that way we can look at each thing separately.

Yes, you still have to go to school

Today you went to school, played with your friends and went swimming, just as you did last Tuesday.  This morning you ate cereal, just like you did yesterday.  This afternoon you'll play Clash Royale just like you do every day after school.  And tonight, I'll make tea and you probably won't want to eat it.  And I'll make you, just like I do most evenings.
When we have a wobble we can focus on all the stuff that's changing or all the things we're unsure about.  Remembering and noticing all the things that are the same helps us get the changes in perspective.

Stop picking the scabs

I know that picking the scab on your knee can be interesting and even fun but it also stops your skin from healing properly.  When you're upset by something, it can be easy to listen to and watch things that keep you feeling upset.  When you switch off those things and do something else, other thoughts and emotions get a chance to come in and give the upset bits a chance to heal.
My social media feeds are generally positive and uplifting.  I'm not engaging with the posts and discussions that aren't.

Tidy your room

No, it's not some kind of trick to get you to do stuff! Having a clear out is about taking control and thinking of the future.  You decide what is important and what's not, what stays and what goes.  Whatever else is going on "out there", you can still take charge and make a difference, even if it's just in your bedroom.
Maybe he'll have forgotten all about it by the time he comes home.  I hope so. But I know it won't be the last time he has a wobble and I know that his question helped me recognise my own wobble for what it was and reminded me that it's normal, that not everything's changed and that it will pass.  Oh, and that my bedroom could do with a good sort out!
Stephanie works with intelligent individuals and teams on leadership, personal impact, choice and change. Find out more at

Holidays - Are They Worth The Hassle?

Everyone looks forward to taking a holiday, right?  We yearn for the days to go more quickly, to fast-forward to the point where we are on that beach or holding a cold beer or frolicking in the pool.
We promise ourselves we will use the time wisely; keep up with regular exercise, capture all the creative ideas we'll have, take stock and re-charge.

From dreaming to dreading

This blissful, mental-escapism probably lasts until about a week before your departure.  At this point, the word "holiday" may well set your heart racing for all the wrong reasons.
The must-do-before-leaving list is not getting any shorter.  Your diary is already full for the week you return.  The complexity of handing over multiple projects to multiple people makes you wonder whether it would be easier to can the holiday and just get on with it yourself.
In fact, a study of 96 employees in the Netherlands, mentioned in an article by the British Psychological Society, found that indicators of health and welling actually worsened in the week immediately before taking annual leave.  Other studies noted that physical illnesses increased in the first week away from work due, they surmised, to the impact on the immune system caused by a sudden shift from a high-stress environment to a low-stress environment.
And most of us are familiar with the feeling (usually by day 2 of returning) as though we've never been away.  I've even heard people question the value of taking time off work at all!
Logically and intuitively, we know this isn't how it's supposed to be but when we're in the middle of it all, it can be hard to see a workable alternative.  So what can we do to make the holiday reality feel closer to the holiday dream?

Preparing to leave:

Remember, no one is irreplaceable at work. 

If you think things will grind to a halt while you're away, you may represent a single point of failure.  Without being too maudlin, what would happen if you didn't turn up at work tomorrow....or ever again?
While it can feel good to feel needed, if you are so essential you can never take a break, it can have the opposite effect on your well-being.
What are the things that only you can do?  You want that list to be short and specific to your skills and experience - and even these items can be shared or delegated for certain periods. Don't confuse being needed with adding value.  After all, leadership is what happens when you're not there!

Take more (smaller) holidays

Building up to one, big break can feel overwhelming.  Consider taking a few long weekends or a couple of mid-week days off during the year.  These shorter absences are good ways of training yourself to step away from work.  Major things are unlikely to go wrong while you're away for such a short time and you can build on what went well, and what didn't, ready for your next break.

Run, jump or walk away on your last day in the office

My last day before holiday was always a long one.  Leaving work late in the evening often meant I was still mentally processing well in to the night or even the next day.  Exercise, whether the gym, a class or a walk, counteracts stress so you can mentally and physically leave work behind.


Set your own rules and stick to them

Some people turn everything off and forget about work.  For others, not knowing what may be happening or what they may be coming back to is a source of stress in itself.
Think about what would work for you.  If you'd prefer to keep on top of your Inbox or make a couple of calls, talk to the people you're holidaying with.  Agree on a plan that suits you all.
Personally, checking my emails for a maximum of 15 minutes, twice a week is sufficient for me to know what's there and to deal with it if required.  This leaves me free to enjoy every last bit of my time away.

Make it last 

Apparently we are most likely to remember the best, worst and last moments of an experience.  Often our last days away involve mundane tasks so think about what you can also do to create a positive lasting memory.

Coming back:

Break yourself in gently

Avoid Mondays!  Starting back on a Wednesday (or Thursday or Friday) gives you time to ramp back up with the weekend not far away.  This is particularly useful as returning from holiday creates work at home too (unpacking, washing, food shopping etc.) which can feel like a double whammy downer!

Bring more holiday to every day

Did you sit in one place for days on end while you were away?  Even if you spent a lot of time on a sun-lounger, the chances are you also moved a bit, even it was just from pool to bar to restaurant.  So why is it that so many of us find ourselves "stuck" at our desk or in back-to-back meetings within hours of returning to work?  This is not how we thrive.
While it may not be practical to take a daily siesta, moving regularly and getting fresh air, even if only for 10 minutes at a time, has a positive impact on our concentration, memory and stress levels.

Smoothing the transition

As I write, I am noticing that the main theme here is about the shift from work to holiday and back again - the transition.  We talk about switching on (at work) and switching off (not at work) as if it were as simple as completing or breaking a circuit, but it's not.  The more we can smooth these transitions, the better it will be for our mental and physical well-being and, I suspect, for our productivity.
But I'm not suggesting we maintain a laid-back "manana" throughout.  Colin Wilson, CEO of coaching and training organisation Business Athlete, highlights  the significance of transitions for elite athletes.  Watch top-seeded tennis players between points or a rugby team re-grouping during a match.  It's these mini "holidays" taken at key points that actually support their peak performance when it counts.
I wish you a lovely holiday whenever, wherever and however you choose to take it and may you return to work energised, refreshed and raring to go!
If this still feels like an impossible task, do get in touch.
Stephanie works with intelligent individuals and teams on leadership, personal impact, choice and change.
Find out more at

Sorry? What are you really saying?

Several years ago I had cause to apologise to a Director in another part of the organisation. I had made an error. I can't actually remember what I had done (or not done) but it was a mistake and it was big enough that I do remember feeling slightly sick about it at the time.
I took my time to craft an email apology. Before sending, I asked my senior manager to review it. He looked at me incredulously.
"Too much?" I asked.
"Rather than sending this email," he replied, "why don't you just go over there and sacrifice your first born? It'll have about the same impact."
This exchange came to mind when I read Melody Wilding's Forbes article "Stop over-apologising at work" which suggested that saying sorry too often can damage your self-confidence and harm your career prospects.
It's an interesting thought. At the time, I wouldn't have described myself as insecure or requiring external validation but the email told a different story.
So, should I have ignored the mistake and said nothing? I have worked with people who truly believed an apology was a sign of weakness. Personally, I think being able to apologise well is a sign of strength.
But making a good apology is harder than it sounds.

Saying "Sorry" is not the same as apologising

"Say you're sorry!" is a well-worn phrase in many households with small children. Usually this instruction is followed by a shouted or muttered "So-reeeeeey!" which actually means the complete opposite.
And it's not much better in adulthood. We Brits are well known for our frequent verbalisation of "Sorry" to the point that it doesn't mean anything, it's just an instinctive response. At the other end of the scale, everyone has heard so-called apologies from politicians, sportsmen or wealthy business owners who don't actually apologise at all.
An apology allows us to be vulnerable. It says "I got it wrong", "I have more to learn", "I want to do better". A genuine apology is powerful.

Say what you mean

In my original apology email, I wanted the Director to know that I had integrity (I owned my mistakes), that I was competent (I understood the error and would correct it) and that I had courage (I was emailing a senior person to 'fess up). However, I had made (at least) two BIG mistakes.
  1. I had allowed emotion to interfere with my communication
  2. I had forgotten the recipient was a human being
Emotion gets in the way of clear communication. I am an emotional person. I do not subscribe to the view that there is no place for feelings at work; however I know that it is important not to let emotion obscure your message.
In addition, I hadn't thought about the impact on person reading the email. Everyone's inboxes are congested and time is precious so it makes sense to consider how the words may be received and what opinion might be formed as a result.
My first draft, rather than apologising for my error and committing to resolve the issue, was the email equivalent of sobbing incoherently at his feet. Neither useful nor comfortable for either of us.

So what?

The process of re-drafting and sending that email was exceptionally useful. It made me think about my message, my tone and what I wanted him to know/think/do by reading it. It helped me become aware of the language I was using every day and whether it aligned or conflicted with my values and sense of professional worth.
I realise now that genuine apologies come from understanding our values and the values of others. Acknowledging when we have not acted in accordance with our own values or have not respected someone else's values is the beginning of an authentic apology.
That's not to say I am an expert apologiser. I continue to make mistakes, am clumsy with words or, I accept, may appear disingenuous at times. I am learning, as we all are. I will fail at times and that's OK (just about) and I give you permission to call me out if my words don't ring true.

What next?

If you think you over-apologise at work, answering these questions may help;
  1. How often do you use the word "Sorry" (either over email, text or in person) during the day?
  2. When you say "Sorry", what do you really mean? What proportion of times do you actually intend to apologise for something?
  3. Of those times when you do intend to apologise, what, specifically, are you apologising for?
  4. When you apologise, what is your intention for the other person (i.e. what do you want them to think, know, do as a result)?
  5. What is the most sincere apology you have ever received at work? What made it so effective?
And if you've got any tips you'd like to share about authentic apologies, do get in touch!
Stephanie works with intelligent individuals and teams on leadership, personal impact, choice and change. Find out more at

Is being selfish the secret to happiness?

It's 6.30am and I'm kissing my half-asleep son goodbye before I leave to catch the train.
"Ditcher!" he mutters, sleepily.
This is a word used frequently in our household by my 10 year old.  It has become his stock response to any situation where someone other than me will be looking after him outside school hours i.e. he's being "ditched", hence I am a "Ditcher".
The word is usually accompanied by a cheeky grin and I am comforted by the humour in those exchanges but, that day, I left home with a feeling of discomfort that lingered for a couple of days.
The discomfort was, I realised, because I was putting myself first
My (tangled) thought process went something like this:
  • That piece of work sounds amazing! I want to do it!
  • Q: But what about the impact on others? 
  • I want to do it! I can do things to reduce the impact on others! 
  • Q: But what about the impact on others?
  • They'll be alright!  I want to do it.  I'll do it anyway!
  • Q:  But what about the impact on others?
  • I am a selfish, horrible person and a bad mother.....
And even though I've been here before and I know this is not the truth, it still felt rubbish.
This situation isn't specific to working parents either.  A passing comment from a friend, an instinctive reaction from your spouse, even sarcasm from an unpleasant colleague can have us questioning ourselves.
There's nothing wrong with a bit of reflection.  But what happens when we give others opinions, feelings or requests far more weight than our own?  And what about when we discount an option without even discussing it because we are concerned about someone else's reaction? 
I'm not suggesting you ignore the impacts on or opinions of those around you. Asking, listening, talking and exploring options with people who matter to you can be a powerful part of the decision making process.  The secret is using that information (rather than guesswork or presumption) alongside your own area of expertise - you.
You know what brings out your best.  You know what fulfills you, what drives you and what gives you goosebumps.  You know what is most important to you and what you want and need around you to be successful (whatever your definition of success).
When we are doing things we enjoy, with people we enjoy, we feel good.  When we feel good, we are nicer to be around.  When we are nicer to be around, our relationships with others improve.  There's a positive ripple effect which benefits us and those around us.  
I know I am a better person when I am fulfilled.  I am a better coach, a better friend and a better mother.  It can feel like a delicate balance at times and one I will certainly get wrong on occasion.  But only I can decide where the balance lies.
So whether it's investing in that course, going to the gym before you go home, exploring a new career path or choosing exciting work rather than the school run, if it makes a positive difference to you, it will also make a positive difference to those you care about.
I'm going to be a "Ditcher" again shortly and I'm fine with that.

The Value of Failure

I was in a room of about 30 people, all sitting in a huge, unwieldy circle. The course leaders were setting out how we were going to work together over the days ahead.
"Be open and honest." Check. "The more you put in, the more you get out." Check. "This is a safe space. We will all hold confidentiality." Check. So far, so normal.
Then: "Give yourself permission to fail. You learn more when you try something and fail than when you get everything spot on." WHAT??
I didn't DO failure. I was a high performer; always had been. In reality, this meant I only did things I knew I was good at. At the first whiff of challenge or self-doubt, I'd lose interest and turn my sights on something else. (Translation; I got scared of failing and quit!)
The concept that failure was not only going to be accepted but actively encouraged was both exciting and terrifying.

The inevitability of failure

Generally, we don't set out to fail at things. We set goals by imagining success. We motivate ourselves and others by focusing on positives to actively balance out the fears and doubts which hold us back. This is how we find the courage to make decisions and take on new challenges.
However, at some point, on some level, things will not work out exactly the way we had in mind. I’m not talking about BIG, life-changing failure. I’m talking about the choices that didn’t bring us the results we wanted, the projects that fell short, situations that make us squirm when we think about them.
The ability to accept and learn from both success and failure is a fundamental element of resilience; failing, feeling upset or frustrated and knowing that, in a day or so, you'll be able to reflect on what happened and ask “So, what's next?”

Designing success to include failure

In that room of around 30 people, we were asked to consciously put aside our desire to be "right". It wasn't easy. I let others take the lead. I watched their reactions as they tried something and failed. I held my breath, imagining how mortified I'd feel if I were them.
Then I realised the sky hadn't fallen in, no one was laughing at them, no one was squirming in embarrassment. In fact, we were cheering them on, celebrating their failure. Far from thinking they looked or were stupid (one of my own biggest fears associated with failure) I thought they were brave. They knew that the only thing that mattered, at that moment, was having a go and seeing what happened. They were the smart ones. By failing, they were actually succeeding.
Eventually, I joined them. Scary at first, the more I accepted failure was a potential outcome, the easier it was to enjoy it when it happened. Yes, there were times when failure was actually enjoyable!
I still struggle with failure. It's not something I specifically aim for but it doesn't hold the same fear for me as it once did. I know that it is more important to try something, learn from it and move on than to do the same old thing and stay stuck. I accept (just about) that, for me to be successful, failure will also be inevitable.
And when I fail, I remember what Richard Branson said "You don't learn to walk by following rules, you learn by doing and by falling over."
Stephanie works with intelligent individuals and teams on leadership, personal impact, choice and change. Find out more at:

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Why looking for your life purpose may not give you the answer you're looking for!

If you're of a certain age, you'll probably know the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.*


The people who had waited 7.5 million years for the super computer to work this out weren't too impressed either. 

"I want to find my life-purpose!"

According to countless articles, identifying your life-purpose is as close as we can get to answering the "ultimate question" in the absence of our own super computer. Knowing your life-purpose can bring you happiness, energy, fulfillment and success. If you are feeling increasingly disconnected from what you do in your daily life and are wondering whether there is something more or different available to you, the question of life-purpose may well rear its head. 

"10 questions to find my life purpose? Perfect! Question 1......"

And so begins the quest to find the "thing" we are missing. The "thing" that our life-purpose will point us towards. The "thing" we are meant to do, to create, to build, to change. This "thing" will make us fulfilled. When you find it, happiness, meaning and success will follow.

But as we answer the 10 or 15 or 7 questions that will "reveal" our life-purpose, all we see is a jumble of words, memories and wishes. The light-bulb moment isn't forthcoming. 

"What's gone wrong? Didn't I answer them properly?"

Now an element of panic sets in. If we don't find the "thing" now, we'll miss our chance and be destined to be unfulfilled forever!


Take a breath. Relax.

If you're struggling with your life-purpose, here are four important points to consider:
Life-purpose does not have to be one "thing".

Wouldn't it be easier if we could identify one neat purpose for our lives? Bear Grylls' might be "always an adventure", Jamie Oliver's might be "food passion and education". But if you can't see the particular "thing", don't lose hope.

We are conditioned to categorise and label things according to what we already know. And yet human beings are multi-dimensional and complex. We have a wide range of passions, motivations, interests and experiences. Rather than looking for a specific subject, job or answer straight away, stay curious and open-minded. Allow tangents and randomness. 

There is no expiry date. 

Ok, I suppose death is a natural expiry date. That aside, the only time pressure comes from you. Rather than thinking about what's missing and how you want thing to be different in the future, acknowledge what matters to you now and relish it.

Mindfulness, gratitude, living in the present, enjoying the journey, - whatever you use or call it, being more conscious of ourselves and our mindset helps us recognise our impact and choices. You can do this every day, starting now.
Accept you ARE unique.

You are the only version of you that has ever existed. The word unique can sit uncomfortably with some people but we are, unquestionably, unique. Even genetically identical twins have different thoughts, feelings and experiences from birth. (Don't believe me? Ask identical twins about whether birth order matters!)

Focus on what makes a difference to you and the difference you make. This is not a time for hiding your light for fear of being "big-headed" or "too big for your boots". Acknowledge and respect who you are. 

Trust yourself to be you.

You are naturally creative. You are resourceful. You are not deficient or lacking or broken. Trust your instinct. Trust your knowledge and experience. Trust your emotions. Imagine you are your own closest friend and listen to yourself without judgement. 

"So what now?"

Maybe finding your life-purpose will involve changing careers or locations or the people you are with. This can feel quite overwhelming, hence people seek a clear "thing" to guide them and make them feel this kind of change will be worth the risk.

But what if finding meaning in your life means making conscious choices about how you spend your time, taking charge of how you respond to aggravations, or changing how you think about and treat yourself. Those steps are absolutely within your grasp right now. Who knows, those kind of small changes may even help you find your life-purpose after all.

*from the brilliant Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Things "...." People Do Everyday

We've all seen the articles.  "15 small things successful people do everyday" "The 6 things the most productive people do everyday" "5 things happy people do everyday"

I enjoy them.  I don't always agree with them but they are quick to read and digest.  Many sound like common sense, describing actions or behaviours that we know, intellectually and instinctively, would make a positive difference to how we live our lives.  So how come we're not all doing them and being successful, productive and happy all the time?

In the opening sections of executive coach Marshall Goldsmith's book "Triggers", he acknowledges that some readers complain "I didn't read anything here that I don't already know".  His response? "True, but I bet you read plenty here that you don't already do.

There is a BIG difference between what we know we should do or even what we want to do and what we actually do.  It's the end of January so I'm sure I don't need to mention the statistics on broken New Years Resolutions to prove this point!

Let's look past the strategies, mindsets and activities for a moment.  The common theme with these articles and, as it happens, a key element of Goldsmith's book, is the frequency; everyday.

Every day. Not just today and tomorrow or this month. Not twice a week. Every single day, including weekends!

I have quite a strong reaction to the thought of doing something every day.  It feels like a combination of restriction and monotony. It feels like it would be a chore. 

I enjoy variety and value autonomy.  Doing something every day, is so far removed from my normal way of operating (or so I tell myself), it would only be imposed on me by someone else.  My mental rebellion begins and I intellectualise all the reasons daily actions can't/won't work for me.

On reflection, there are plenty of things I do every day that don't feel like a chore.  From social niceties such as washing, cleaning my teeth and getting dressed, through to those I have consciously chosen like sending my children off to school with the words "Have a fun/wonderful day!"

I am physically and emotionally capable of doing something every day so I can't use that as an excuse.  None of these things feel restrictive or monotonous because they are natural.  They are just what I do, how I behave and who I am.  Making a successful change, therefore, means doing something different or new until it feels natural.

This is where size matters.  We tend to think that change has to be BIG to make a big difference.  We are looking for the "light bulb" moment or the life-changing decision. As exciting as this may sound, it can also feel overwhelming and scary.

In my experience big, positive differences often come from small, subtle changes. The articles named above and Goldsmith's book seem to agree. Things like how we treat ourselves, how we make decisions and how we speak to people all make a huge difference.  And changes in these areas are pretty easy to integrate in to our lives every day until they become part of who we are.

So if you want to make a positive change in your life this year, try the articles above, read Goldsmith's book or connect with me and consider what you will do every day to make a difference.

Stephanie works with intelligent individuals and teams on leadership, personal impact, choice and change. Find out more at

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

What are you Waiting For? A Coach's Confession

It was red and shiny.  Its message, "Wake Up Be Awesome Repeat x 365" made me smile so, this time last year, I bought the 2015 diary you see in the picture.

Rather than routine things like appointments or to do lists, I was going to use it to record my successes and adventures in the year to come.  I know how powerful it is to celebrate both big and small achievements when they happen and this would capture them all.

I carried it around every day.  I saw it at least twice a day as I drew out and put away my laptop. 

My first entry was Friday 15th May.

So what happened for the first four and a half months of the year?
There were many times I considered writing something but, each time, I decided it wasn't "enough" to warrant an entry. 

Awesome is a tricky word.  Many people dislike it or feel its overuse has rendered it meaningless.  For me though, it's about being brave, adventurous or doing something totally out of the ordinary and nothing I did really met up to my expectation. 

I realised what was going on quite quickly.  Doing what I do for a living means I am self aware and, once identified, I can usually coach myself to a different mindset or behaviour.  That it took me four and a half months is, frankly, embarrassing. 

Human beings are gloriously complex.  If we weren't we'd all be predictable, stable and rule abiding.  But, thankfully, we are individuals and, as such, there are times when there is a disconnect between what we think, what we feel and what we do.

I know I'm not alone.  Other intelligent, experienced professionals get stuck too.  Particularly when the actions concern their own personal development, success or growth.  Ask them to do something for someone else's benefit? Done, there and then, with bells on and a smile.  Do something for their own benefit?  Still waiting......

But what are we waiting for? For more time? For the time to be "right"? For something to be good enough? For someone else to do it?
All this time spent waiting/planning/postponing/tweaking/justifying could be time spent doing something about it and enjoying the benefits! 

So, if you have an action that you are continually putting off, try answering these questions honestly;
  • What do I want to achieve? Write it down. Notice how much wriggle room you give yourself and edit it until it's clear, concise and you get a nervous/excited feeling when you read it back.
  • What is the smallest action I can take right now? If the action feels overwhelming, break it down.  The key thing is to so something NOW. Once you've done that, the next bit feel easier.
  • Who can help me be accountable?  This is so simple and effective. We make excuses to ourselves but it's much harder to make excuses to others.
  • What am I waiting for? Being totally honest, what would make you get started on your action right now, today? Permission from someone else? A guarantee you wouldn't fail? 
  • What's the worst that could happen?  The reality is rarely as scary as we make up so instead of hiding from it, treat it as an adventure.
As for me and my shiny red diary?  We've become much better acquainted since Friday 15th May.  Flicking through it today, each entry makes me smile and reminds me of the event that triggered it.  In fact, I've enjoyed it so much, I'm going to keep making entries through 2016! The faltering start to 2015 is a fading memory that will serve to ensure I don't take four and a half months next time I set myself an action.

Creating a change, however small, can feel a bit bumpy.  It can take time as well as mental, emotional and physical energy.  But when it's done and you're on the other side, loving the impact, you wonder what took you so long.
If you have tips on how to get out of your own way or if you are holding back on taking an action that will make a positive difference to your life, I'd love to hear from you.

Stephanie Smith works with intelligent individuals and teams on personal impact, choice and change. Find out more and book a sample session at:

Change Ahead? Where's Your Magic Wand?

Let's face it, we'd all have a magic wand if we could wouldn't we? 

Not sure which direction to take? *Swoosh* A clear path is revealed!
Fearful of the next step? *Ting* Fast forward a few months and you're loving it!
Holding yourself back because you want to fit in? *Swish* You are fully being yourself and the world is your oyster!

In my experience, most people are quite clear about what decision to make, how to handle a situation or how exceptionally unique they are, so why do we yearn for a magic wand?  Because there is a gap between knowing something (deep down) and acting on that knowledge.  And that gap can be scary.

Change is a funny beast.  Sometimes we feel safer staying stuck; somewhere on a range between "Could be better" and "Arggggggh!" rather than open ourselves up to something unknown.  It doesn't matter that the change could turn out way, way, waaaay better that your current state.  The sheer possibility that making a change might result in something less than ideal can be enough to keep you feeling "stuck" for weeks or months!

A magic wand would offer a guarantee that everything will be OK.  It would remove any element of risk.  It wouldn't just reduce the gap, it would remove it entirely.

But if your retailer of choice is out of magic wands, remember these points:
  • Trust yourself.  You have more insight, vision and knowledge than you realise.
  • Decisions rarely seem as big or daunting once you are on the other side.
  • Know that you are creative and resourceful enough to deal with the impact of the change you want to make.
  • Choosing not to make a change is still a choice.
  • You are your own magic wand.
This is a follow on from my previous post "What are you waiting for?", accelerated by a great post from Ghilaine Chan "Why are we so scared to fail?". Do take a look!
Stephanie Smith works with intelligent individuals and teams on personal impact, choice and change. Find out more and book a sample session at: or call 07824 839367.