Fall and flexibility

 - by Gillian Flegg

September… Simple September. September to me has never really been given the focus and attention it deserves. This start of another season gives us one of the most inspirational backdrops of the year, “really?” You ask (or maybe you agree). September is one of the most attractive, interesting and truly amazing months ……why? Because this month like no other makes changes look easy and plausible.

Dealing with change and the ability to be flexible are important human attributes. This season reminds through the falling of a leaf, how letting go of something, or what we think we know can sometimes enable us to see things in another more useful way. Changing perspectives can visibly change our behaviour; this is undoubtedly can be one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal… and like September this is sorely underestimated.

Have you had enough of the analogy? Come on, there more to notice. September’s ability to adapt to the changing environment and climates offers us the ideas needed to consider our own changing needs and the ebbs and flows of volatile lives and markets. We like nature have to adapt and evolve with the environment if we are to bloom once again in the way we know or hope we can.

Don’t get me wrong, those who know me well will know, I am not for one minute suggesting that you alter your belief, values or even your central strategy. But your approach to your day to day life may well need a shake up or even a natural shaking off of the summer. Ideas that change in shape and colour, as the leaves would, are ever evolving; they have the potential to keep ahead of environmental factors like rising costs or the change in peoples priorities. It’s your thoughts that benefit from the change offered in this month, ever evolving and harvesting of natural growth through adaptation.

Thoughts turn to our children going back into a learning environment, “back to School” is the cry.

And what are you back to?  What will you do? How will show your flexibility, and changing colours? What opportunities will you seize as you look for change? What strengths will you display as you evolve naturally? Martha Nussbum the philosopher recently said “this is a GREAT TIME TO BE A WOMAN” if you are not aware of her work take a look at this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b012r6vg . She talks about having freedom from fear, is this relevant to you on any level? I feel she has many great words of hope and guidance to offer.

September gives us that chance to let go, to change, to be free from all fears. Shake of your doubts cast aside your inhibitions and go for change. Notice how it feels to be flexible in attitude, to not be stagnant. Notice what it’s like to turn up, to say yes, to look for chances, to be how you feel you could be if only ……..

Throughout this changing phase, have a go; enjoy new views, new outlooks and changing environments.  Will you flex or fear in this changing world. For me only autumn tells us how beautiful change is, through seeing the “flexibility of the fall”.

 

NEW YEAR, Reflect Mindfully…

 - by Gillian Flegg

Be wary of blogs and tweets, in fact any form of media that insists that you make changes or reflect on your life because its the start of a new year. Why? because they prey on the fact that we humans are vulnerable sorts who need support and encouragement to make change. Supporting change I am hugely in favour of, but if the starting point is because its a New Year you’re likely( according to reliable research), to ditch the attempts to have a better life after only a few weeks.

Change is great, but reflection is hugely important, choosing to take action is, and can be, like a form of freedom, but doing all of this because of a date could be awkward if you are not clear…

…Clear about Why,

…Clear about What,

…Clear about How,

Be clear, be excited this New Year, because you can make positive change, but go for this after a period of studious reflection and pause.

 

Do it the Victoria way

 - by Gillian Flegg

Victoria Pendleton shows us time and time again how women are amazingly versatile, focused, talented and full of determination.

 

A kind of determination that we all have, but chose to exercise only occasionally.

Victoria could have chosen to take time out after the Olympic celebrations had subsided, she could have decided to focus on relaxing knowing that she has achieved that goal, the big aim, finished the big ask.

But she didn’t. We all need to experience a Victoria moment and experience the win, but more importantly we could all look upon her efforts as a lady who above all else does not sit back and think that she has done enough. She has more to give, has not finished achieving,striving or giving. Asking more of herself everyday for now is seemingly good for her, and also shows the versatility of what it means to be a woman in the 2000′s. A steely determination with emotional responses is ensuring that she will achieve whatever it is she wants to achieve.

Ladies when you feel you cant give anymore, have a cry, be clear that you can be better any day you choose to be and do it the Victoria way. Bounce back and carry on. You are amazingly talented and endlessly endearing when you allow the facades to fall away.

http://victoriapendleton.co.uk/

WHY ITS OK TO BE smaller: Social BIGGYNESS gone mad

 - by Gillian Flegg

When friends of mine have decided to “leave social media tools” behind, the response is usually the same: either gasps from those who couldn’t possibly run their lives without documenting every turn (business or otherwise), or a silence followed by an acknowledgment of congratulations, as though an ADDICTION had been dropped.

This Blog is for those who would like to dump the constant reaching out digitally but cant quite bring themselves to do it.

Many of the blogs aimed at women in business I notice are constantly hounding people to be “BIGGER” “BETTER” “IMPROVE your CUSTOMER REACH” etc. Enough of this pressure and nagging already.

This blog will tell you 5 key reasons why its OK to be as small as you wish.

1. When you have the blip in the universe mentality you realise that you or your business is not the most important thing around the corner, allowing space in your head for other smaller items to enter your life. You realise what your product is/what you’re all about more clearly. This will inevitably help when promoting, suddenly you are more authentic with a tighter grip on reality.

2. When you allow small things to think about and enter your head space, it highlights that you are not more important that anyone or anything else. What small things do you constantly ignore in the search for social biggyness?

3. When you give yourself time to “disappear from the digital social world for a while, you may notice that your neighbours don’t even know your name, that you don’t know the great things that could happen down the road. Would it be useful to hold a mirror to your relationships or awareness?

4. When you learn that the world is not at your fingertips on an iphone but all around you, you may take new energy from new ideas with the virtual element put on hold for a bit, enabling more “chance conversations”.

5. When you drop the virtual element in your life feelings may become more real, instantaneous, authentic and unleashed. Twitter followers are unlikely to come to your funeral, and don’t get me started on facebook “friends”.

#just saying …. for those of you that are constantly chasing the twitter credits or looking to gain business from the www, don’t forget yourself in the process. I have a strong feeling that great and good business was not built from a screen, but from a relationship that grew into something powerful. Take flight and be a small blip for a while. The world may suddenly look bigger again, leaving you with a secure sense of perspective.

Gillian

Is it OK to take time and own it?

 - by Gillian Flegg

Recently I made the decision to take 5 months off.

So this Blog is for working Mums, and those who are stuck on a constant treadmill.

As a Mum of 3, a business woman, a permanent university student and a passionate life lover, making a decision to take time to do ‘stuff’ isn’t easy. Couple the diary of that kind of person with a constant need to see and experience new things can make life a little if not very, tiring.

You know the stuff I mean when I say “time to do stuff”: go to an event, follow up on something that takes your fancy, see people you’ve missed, take time to read all day somewhere lovely, use the great recipe you’ve kept, browse is a shop instead of entering and leaving at one hundred miles an hour because you simply cant afford to ‘waste’ time.

Call it a personality trait, call it restlessness, call it whatever you like but I have a huge desire and passion for life; which means I see opportunities around me at every turn. I also have huge personal responsibility towards my future, my children’s future and the happiness of my family. As a women’s coach I “get” the guilt/balance/carer role/ career thing. I have always recognised though that as women our happiness is a product of our own making.

To the main point of this blog… my priorities shifted this year, and I feel fortunate (if not a little deserving) to be able to follow up on my whims, I am fully aware not every one can (although this is a product of my own planning I might add).

Probably because ill be celebrating my Fortieth soon and for one summer only I wanted to just BE… for me this means experiencing things in the moment without the constant need for drive or strive (which is definitely in my blood).

this is the last year my son will be at home in the day during school time, this is the last year ill have a tiny one around and I was not going to miss a moment to chase things… that right now have shifted in their level of importance.

Have you checked the importance of things lately?

I say yes a lot to opportunities, and these things are normally spotted as a client, a new contact, a new relationship, a new way of communicating (twitter, blog, web, etc), a new development angle, a new study, new news…. basically anything NEW. I love fASHION, Trends, in business and in products. I love ebbs and flows of peoples demands and most of all I love learning. But I recognise the drain this puts on me because most of all I want to have stopped the world for a time, to watch my children grow, to idle around Museums and exhibitions and delay decisions for a time, to listen to more music, to dance. I know my clients will be there for another day. I wont fret if I don’t post to Twitter, I will feel free to walk the beaches and laugh at the emptiness of my thoughts for a while. Who knows what thought ill have as a result? Who knows what thought I would miss if I didn’t?

Because I know, my agenda from October is packed, my learning opportunities are ever present, and my desire for new things is still being met through my new ability to say NO. Ive stopped my world and I’ve got off. Im proud I took the time to listen to me.

This is not easy, im so tempted to look at conference news, development meetings, hold another talk. But for now it can wait.

What are you waiting for?

What are you delaying?

What would you really like to do today? And what is really stopping you?

I’m taking my Own time, and owning it before the agenda comes back with a ferocious pace of which I am all too accustomed. I was beginning to think that pace was normal. Phew ;-)

Another Spring Rushes In

 - by Gillian Flegg

What will you do with it?

Do you need to do anything with it?

Well, yes actually maybe you do.

 

There are a few of us who will embrace the new energy of spring with gusto. New energy, enjoying new light,new ideas, projects, plans not to mention a longer chance of sunlight warming our homes, offices and lives ( thank goodness eh?).

Some of us however will not even notice the new warmth on the air, and the fresh new scents that liven up the pathway, or the fact that Spring is quite literally the best time of year to go and create. Some of us do not see a bright sun, a rosy future, or care about anything remotely to do with spring and newness. This Blog is for you.

I urge you to go out take a look at the sky, and slowly take in a full chest size gulp of air. Because as you let go slowly of that new air I ask that you let go of one thing that’s holding you back from experiencing life in a better more enjoyable way. Ditch the crappy thoughts, swap negativity for a positivity and see what happens to those internal batteries after just 30 mins of improved positive thinking. Caution… you must recharge regularly. Use the phrase that suits you along the lines of…

…Spring gives me a chance of new life and happiness.

…The sun warms my soul and reminds me I’m ok and things are fine.

…This new spirit in my chest is spreading across my mind reminding me that I’m not perfect, and no-one ever turned out to be.

…Knowing this helps me move forward today and take a chance on something I’ve been putting off, when I’ve done this thing I will feel so much better and have time to say ” I did it”.

This springtime reminder is sent to all those women for whatever reason feel under pressure and cannot see a new beginning or a way forward right now. Because, you know I’ve had my share of new beginnings and wanted to give this one away to someone who needs it as much as I did once.

xx Gillian

What or who is on your stage right now?

 - by Gillian Flegg

There is a deep power in you to move mountains and much more besides.

The trouble is, we allow that strength to be diminished as we give, care and share with other people, projects and things.

That’s OK isn’t it?

Well yes most of the time it is, humans need humans we are needy creatures. But at other times diluting time for ourselves can bring in unwanted chores, bad decision making, create burdens and drain you of that much needed positive energy. Energy for what lies ahead. And that is where I focus my concern, about who/ what is on your stage (your mind). For if the actors that play lines in your mind stay on stage longer than is useful, the show can become dull and confusing; the story line is lost and the plot indistinguishable.

 

David Rock http://www.your-brain-at-work.com/ knows a thing or two about what lands on your stage by minute and by day and how useful it is or isn’t to your plans, objectives and dreams. His book is one very useful read, and I urge anyone who sometimes struggles to stay focused, or is plagued by constant thoughts and unfinished aims to buy it today. I’m not on commission to sell this to you, but I would be silly not to mention a bloody good read. Filled with strategies to aid your thinking and sharing knowledge about how your mind works; I believe this is something we seriously underplay and do not focus on enough.

By the time you are this sentence I reckon you are already thinking about three-four other things. Not very good by my reckoning for my Blog or indeed your intake of information. So for now, ill let you go and google the book.

Get your mind straight, focus on today :)

Re-balance your strengths

 - by Gillian Flegg

Balancing your strengths.

 

  • write down 3- 5 strengths you have that you rely on at this time of year.

    • Circle 2 that you ‘know’ about yourself, that are definitively YOU and are at the center of what you do well.

  • Consider this; when you overdo those 2 strengths what changes for you?

    • What impact does that have on others?

    • What difference does that make?

  • Now look back at your list, what two other strengths do you have that you have that may be of better use at this time of year?

    • How could you better use those?

    • What would that give you?

  • Finally what would you most like to do this season that you believe to be possible but that has never been achieved before?

    • Which of the strengths will help you?

  • Finally next to your listed strengths write down one negative affect each one could have on your self and others if left to grow stronger and more determined; resulting in other desires and talents sinking into the dark. (you will have to be really honest here.)

These are your reasons for not overdoing what you do best.

 

 

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER?

What can you remember about the last time you were successful?

 

What else happened?

 

What defines success to you?

 

What strengths were you using to enable that success?

 

How are you applying those same strengths now to your current situation?

 

What have been your high points so far this year?

 

How have you selected these as your high points?

 

What makes them stand out to you?

 

 

 

 

Are you getting enough?

 - by Gillian Flegg

In this month of love I of course am referring to the art of conversation.

  • I don’t mean the kind you have with your friends: the same topics tend to get discussed don’t they ( useful, lovely but not artful)?
  • I don’t mean with your partner: who’s job it is to see things in a different way to you ( not always helpfully).
  • I don’t even mean with your closest confident/ mother or work colleague (although they help immensely).
  • I do mean good sound conversation with like minded people: Some people you haven’t even met yet.

I had the delightful experience of spending a short amount of time with a thoroughly good Coach at the weekend. Because Karen Williams http://www.selfdiscoverycoaching.co.uk/ naturally draws coaches around her it is of no surprise that I met people with similar concerns focuses and conversation matter to myself.  The worth found within interactions such as these, becomes immense, as you learn and discover things; the conversations are not predetermined as most are with our loved and dears ones. The boundaries of topics and subjects are very different to your normal relationships.

This day has replayed its usefulness over and over in my mind. I feel that it is so important ladies to get out there and just sit and listen and talk, talk and listen, listen and talk and learn ( you get the picture).

We do it, but we dont really do it if you know what I mean. When was the last time you really allowed yourself time to explore your fears, laugh at your fragility and aim for your passions through the tool of good conversations. Conversations with the aim to meet and explore ideas with new people gives you a sense of direction and newness. When shared with your family and friends this newness spreads like wildfire, all of a sudden people are engaging with you in new ways. Are you getting enough of this?

The thing about good conversation is it helps us to listen to ourselves in ways that average conversations don’t. So I ask are you getting enough? because the chances are you’re not.

Love yourself this month, listen to your own words, and thoughts in a way that you didn’t in January, have conversations that you know you ought to have but are avoiding, and give yourself the gift of a good conversation. Who has the same interests as you? What are you interested in anyway? When was the last time you invested in that interest? I’m interested to know… leave a comment if you fancy a good conversation.

2012 is not about clearing out THAT cupboard

 - by Gillian Flegg

This blog was inspired by my Husband. Who declared two days ago “IN 2012, we are clearing out THAT CUPBOARD!”

Seriously it was like music to my philosophical ears, this completely sums up the problem with making declarations just because its a New Year. The cupboard in question, for him, has been a problem for a while. You know the one where everything falls out but the thing that you are looking for.

The trouble is with the “That’s It!” cry is that at this time of year it takes the focus away from everything you have done that has improved how it all works holistically.

So I beg of you renew your cupboards maybe, reorganise and clarify… certainly, but without a shadow of a doubt do it after you have got down with your coffee cup and reconsidered WHERE DID I DO GOOD in 2011? WHAT DID I PROGRESS?

  1. What brought in the happiness?
  2. What gave you enjoyment?
  3. What made your family happy, that you personally did?
  4. Where have you invested time and it has paid you back double?

Because seriously, too many Businesses, Mums, Managers, Leaders are getting this bit wrong. KNOWING what made it a better year than it might have been is paramount. Dont make the age old assumptions that what brought you success was the same as the year before, or that focusing on problems is a good use of energy; Its likely it wasn’t/isn’t, its likely that the things that went brilliantly are being ignored, or left unrecognised because in fact there just too obvious and well metaphorically tidy. It can be quite elusive for us to think about what works, because it works. Our brain is not programmed to be conscious about this stuff, too busy looking for threats and falling cupboard items.

So before you reorganise and maybe de-clutter some aims and plans, consider… what did we do that made 2011 the year that it was for us? What could we do to keep doing what we do well better, so that the good times roll in abundance?

I wrote some better essays because I didn’t clear out that cupboard, and actually I enjoy catching the childrens’ water bottles it keeps me on my toes. Clear it out honey if it makes you smile, Id rather blog about it.

I predict that to have a great 2012 consider your relationships and have courage to do what you are good at.

Take a look at page “Re-balance with Strength” for some Coaching Questions to work with in January.