Category: Truth

How to be YOURSELF – Even when talking to important people!

By , February 27, 2013 2:34 am

Be Yourself“Leadership is not about holding on to territory, it’s about letting go of ego, bringing your spirit to work, being your best and most authentic self.”

~ James A Autry, The Servant Leader

Why are people sometimes so afraid to be themselves?

One of the key principles of self-leadership is the importance of being you.

However, some of us hide who we really are and instead present an image of how we think the other person wants us to behave in the hope that we will be accepted or liked.

I see this happen a lot in business, especially when leaders are stepping out of their comfort zones to play a bigger game. In corporate you might be attending a meeting with senior managers. As a business owner, you might be meeting an influential client or someone who is a role model and you feel star-struck to work with them.

Whoever the person, it’s easy for us to feel small, unworthy, inferior, or of lesser value. We perceive them as being so much more important and fall to pieces in these situations instead of being our normal, confident and articulate self…

Our internal thinking has a huge impact on our confidence and self worth. Our social and parental conditioning is against us being authentic and over time we have created rules, such as:

  • It is disrespectful to disagree with our elders, seniors or those more important than us.
  • Only speak when you are spoken to: We are taught what to say, when to say it.
  • Who you are is shaped by those who have influence over you. (You hand over your power to them.)
  • Don’t brag about what you’re good at as it might make other people feel uncomfortable. Push it down… (This is why most of us struggle to talk about our own successes.)
  • You have to be submissive with people more important that you.

Society creates ‘norms’ and we measure ourselves to them. We are under pressure to fit in. So here’s how we respond:

  • You want to keep the peace and hope they like you. So you say what you think they want to hear in order to become a people-pleaser.
  • You believe that your opinion is of lesser value and doesn’t count or it doesn’t matter. You perceive the other person’s opinion is of far greater value.
  • If you challenge or disagree with something, then you’ll be shot down or seen as difficult or negative.
  • You should keep your head below the parapet and blend in.

We live up in our heads most of the time, believing our thoughts to be the truth (you literally are what you think!).

Most of us go through life not knowing who we are or what we want. We settle, survive and keep our heads down. This is easier than trying to be yourself. Being real exposes you to vulnerability and judgment – this is scary.

The perception that someone is more important than you is often based on old concepts of power, especially in business. We try to work out where we fit in in the hierarchy.

True power comes from your personal power as a human being. By building trust and support you naturally attract other people.

Here are some tips on how to be you:

1. STOP WORRYING about what other people are thinking about you. You have no idea what they are thinking. These assumptions aren’t real. They are probably not thinking about you at all! This distraction only makes you get your own way of success. Instead of worrying about what to say, or how you look, focus on your intention for the meeting. Be 100% present for the person who is talking.

2. KNOW YOUR VALUE – Be useful as a leader to those you serve. Know WHY you’re attending the meeting.  Understand the value that you bring. You are there to provide information or  expertise so that others can make an informed decision. You are helping them to understand and make sense of things and prevent them making mistakes: Here’s how I can help you…

3. BE AN EQUAL –As human beings we all have the same worth and dignity. We are all equals no matter what role we play. See yourself as a consultant, not as a sub-ordinate. Let go of ego (theirs and yours) – it’s a distraction. Understand that some personality styles are different to yours. They package their language in a different way. It’s normal, not personal.

4. ALWAYS BE YOUR REAL SELF – Be the same person at home as you are at work… because you are! Be your authentic self – It’s who you really are. You have the same values whatever role you are playing. You already know how to interact with people at other levels – This is no different – Just be YOU. Find the language to help you say what you want to say.

5. FIND THE COURAGE to be you. Learn to listen to your heart as well as your head. People want an honest opinion, not ‘lip service.’ Be authentic and respond assertively, even if it is a difficult message. Remember, you are just talking to another person – we are all the same.

Be the person YOU want to be… from today!

It’s really okay to be YOU – Take yourself to work!


Stop Blaming and Start Claiming Responsibility for Your Results

By , October 1, 2012 9:35 pm

“This is YOUR life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait. Make the time now.” 

 Natalie Goldberg, author.

A few years ago a HR Director asked me to come into her organisation to coach a senior executive called John, who desperately wanted to be a director.

John was a technical expert in his field but had no idea how to interact and lead people. He lacked self-awareness and empathy.

He struggled with people skills and had upset a lot of people. Some of his own team had even complained to HR about his behaviour and approach.

I was brought in to help him to develop his emotional intelligence – He was a very talented guy.

When I met him for the first time, he was sat behind his big desk with his hands behind his head. The first words he said to me were:

“Hello dear, now aren’t you the girlie who’s going to make me a director?!”

I politely explained that I wasn’t going to MAKE him a director. He was going to make himself a director, but that was totally up to him and only if he REALLY WANTED to do the work!

As a coach one of the hardest things to coach is responsibility and ownership…

You cannot make someone change – they have got to want to change.

There have been occasions when I’ve wanted success for my clients more than they have wanted it for themselves… I am responsible to my clients as a coach but THEY are responsible for their own results – In other words…They have to do the work!

My client has to take it, walk the talk and own their own results.

Forward motion, stretching out of your comfort zone and making change all begins from the inside. It’s not something that can be done to you.

There is a huge difference between interest and commitment

…Your success is totally down to YOU.

Your business, career, aspirations, relationships, family time and fun time are ALL down to you.

It’s your choice…

Some people like to whine, moan and collude about what is not working and how it’s someone else’s fault. In fact, it’s a full time occupation for some people! It’s okay to get things off your chest, as long as a line is drawn and the individual then steps into their power to take responsibility for their own thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

Here’s how Stop Blaming and Start Claiming Responsibility for Your Results:

Own your results – Being successful in work and life is ALL about your relationship with YOU. It’s about taking responsibility for the thoughts you are thinking, the feelings you are creating and the actions you are choosing to take. Remember you create your own outcomes and you ALWAYS have a choice.

Stop blaming everyone else – It’s socially acceptable to blame someone else. It’s easy to point the finger and blame other people or circumstances because it conveniently allows you to remain stuck and play small. You create a barrier of external excuses of: why I wasn’t successful or how everyone else has got it in for me (victim mentality). Blaming others is your ego’s way of avoiding ownership and responsibility for something that has or hasn’t happened!

Be the power point in your life – Claim your power back and STOP waiting for someone else to make things happen. I always used to give my power away to others, expecting them to save me. My coach made me realize that I was the power point in my life and that I had to get out of my story and claim my power back. I learned the importance of clarity, the power of intention and that I always get to choose. I have  to re-decide each day to keep making forward motion towards my goals and dreams.

Stop trying to change others – Don’t wait for someone else to change – because you’ll be waiting a very long time! It’s all about you and how you show up. Get back on track and take responsibility for what you can do. Get out of other people’s stories and focus on what is important to you – Your goals and dreams. Use that energy instead to make things happen.

Your ability to respond – I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Responsibility IS your ability to respond. This is all about increasing your self-awareness and knowing when things aren’t going well, choosing a different approach, even when you don’t feel like it… This is TRUE self-leadership. Lead yourself through by taking responsibility and ownership for your actions and results. And remeber that it’s okay to be imperfect!

Yes…taking responsibility can be painful at times, but it always brings you back to your true self.

Owning your power changes your life.




Why being vulnerable makes you a better leader!

By , September 19, 2012 11:30 pm

“Being vulnerable takes a great deal of courage because it means letting go of the old notions of control, forgetting forever the illusion that you can be in control.”

~ James A Autry, Author


Here’s how I see it…

Being vulnerable is an essential characteristic of being an authentic leader because you transcend to a deeper level of connection and meaning to your work, your life and your dreams. It evokes your spirit of self-leadership and gives you permission to be your real authentic self.

There’s always an element of discomfort and self-doubt at the start of any leadership workshop, as the participants inwardly compare themselves to the other people in the room.

I recently trained the first module of leadership programme and was surprised to see three different levels of management on the same workshop. How can you be fully open to learning if you have your boss or your team members in the same room?

It was a risky experiment…

Would people be open to learning? Would they be open and honest or would they just pay lip service to each other in order to seek approval?

This risk paid off BIG time…

What I witnessed in the classroom was transformational… I observed a deeper human connection to each other and the meaning of work. Egos and fixed mindsets dissolved before my eyes as people openly shared their growing pains and were prepared to learn from each other.

The whole experience actually made me a little teary!

Here’s why being vulnerable can make you a better leader in your life…

We are more similar than you think. Whoever we are, however we look and whatever role we play in the world, we all have similar hopes and fears, ambitions and desires. We all experience loss, grief, love and achievement.

People who develop a fixed mindset perceive the world through a distorted lens where some people are superior and others inferior. Their ego protects them by constantly comparing them to others and they feel a need to display their superiority. They don’t take their weaknesses seriously because it’s too risky.

Here’s how the EGO sees it: There’s a huge risk in stepping away from what you do well in order to try to master something new… don’t do it!

You get to be yourself. Sometimes we sacrifice who we are for the sake of what we perceive other people think we are. The best gift you can give the world is an authentic YOU. Knowing yourself gives you the confidence to hold the same values in whatever role you are playing in work or your life. You are the same REAL person in every situation and you’re not trying to be someone or something else. You are living true to yourself, being honest and open irrespective of status or ego.

It takes great courage to be vulnerable because you’re letting go of an illusion of control. Our true power comes from our ability to recognize that we can’t always be in control and it’s okay to ask for help and the support of others. You can openly admit when you are wrong. Being vulnerable isn’t always a safe option because it means playing outside of your comfort zone, where it can feel unsafe and uncomfortable. It’s easy for others to ridicule you, especially when you’re trying something new. Remember that ridicule and criticism is a reflection of the other person’s fear because they feel threatened (it’s not about you).

You connect with yourself at a deeper level. You’re being honest with your feelings and open to doubt, fear and uncertainty. Most of us learn to hide our feelings and protect ourselves in early life because it is perceived as a sign of weakness, so you push them deep down inside and repress them. Knowing yourself helps you to have a deeper faith in your intuition.

You don’t seek approval from others. Acceptance is more important than approval. You listen to others and accept people without judgment. You don’t tell people what you think they might want to hear. You deliver the truth with compassion and empathy. It’s not about winning or losing. You accept disagreement as a natural part of human interaction.

You’re a risk taker. Vulnerability is a risk you have to take if you want to create and experience deeper connection and success in your life. Putting your real self out into the world can feel daunting. However, I see a greater risk in hiding your true self by contorting, twisting and pretending to be something else instead of expressing your ideas or sharing your value in the world.

You stay in your power. When faced with a vulnerable situation, you get grounded, clear and deliberate with your intention holding authenticity as your goal. You stand in your power rather than playing small and shrinking to protect yourself.  Vulnerability is infectious! You lead the way by role modeling your bravery to others… Pass it on!

Being vulnerable takes a great deal of courage and it’s not an easy choice.

When you choose to be your REAL self, your world changes. People start to connect with you at a deeper level; they perceive you as honest, open and authentic. You stop contorting yourself to ‘fit in’ and ‘people please’ – You become the leader in your life.

Give yourself permission to be vulnerable…


Are you the real deal or just a cheap imitation? Are you modelling or stealing your way to success?

By , June 13, 2012 8:05 pm

I had an interesting discussion with a client this week about the difference between these two concepts. My client is an entrepreneur who has recently been the victim of Shiny Bright Object marketing in the UK. She realized afterwards that she’d been seduced by a workshop that was a cheap imitation of someone else’s expertise.  She felt disappointed by the basic level of knowledge given by the coach, who professed to being an ‘expert’.

Unfortunately, this stuff happens too often!

It reminded me about the explosion of what some people are calling ‘cookie cutter’ coaches that are coming off the production line, offering revolutionary ways to build your six-figure business in twelve months!

Sign up TODAY!!

This claim is a Bright Shiny Object for many entrepreneurs who are struggling to find clients. They line up to hand over cash to get their hands on that secret formula for success! Only to find that it is re-purposed or poor quality material.

If you dig behind the ‘sales page’ and slick marketing techniques of some of these coaches and their claims, you’ll realize that they are NOT the real deal. They are just a pale imitation of someone else’s original cool idea and expertise.

They too have probably attended a workshop or course and are copying the tools of their coaches in hope that can build their six figure businesses in the next twelve months! These people haven’t made six figures yet either! They’re just waiting for folks like you to sign up so that they can!

It feels very false and sticky… when someone is claiming success rates that aren’t true!

There’s a lot of ‘copying and pasting’ going on in the business world!


As a leader of learning, I advocate copying as part of the learning process. We’ve all done it!

As an apprentice (or newbie), copying is a helpful tool that provides a framework for you to build your confidence and help you to find your own voice. I remember doing this in art class at school, following the techniques of a famous painter and then applying my own interpretation of their style to my empty canvas. This is an important part of the learning process.

There is a difference between:

Copying (cutting and pasting!)


Modelling (taking the concept, creating your own adaptation and adding your own voice.)

Finding YOUR OWN VOICE is an ESSENTIAL element of business success.

Stealing words, models and concepts to build a business does not create a recipe for business success.

Here’s why:

1. You remain passive and stuck in yesterday’s trends, because you’re waiting for others to create the ‘next best thing’ so you can copy it. I’ve heard people use the term ‘cutting edge’ in their marketing, when really they were cutting and pasting other people’s ideas and models, but claiming them as their own.

2. You’re searching for the ‘next best thing’ instead of creating it first for your clients. You might be searching the Internet daily for new things to copy. Looking for that ‘next best thing.’ Find your own voice – create your content from within and be uniquely YOU.

3. Your understanding remains at a surface level – There’s no deeper understanding to your offering because you’re just re-purposing things that other people have developed. Your understanding is only skin-deep. The original deeper understanding is diluted, as you create a copy of it. The real understanding stays with the person who created it.

 4. It’s not authentic and other people will see through you when they start to dig deeper. You have not experienced what your clients are hoping to learn from you. You have the theory but not the practice and you become an inferior version of someone else. You’re stuck in the thick of thin things!

5. You’re incongruent with the real you. You’re trying to be someone else. You are just imitating the person you are copying rather than stepping into your own power and being YOU and doing it YOUR way. You may struggle to talk about your work passionately because you’re not really clear on your own WHY (and it’s not really your work!)

Here’s how to know if you are stealing or modeling…

Ask yourself the following question:

Who’s done most of the work here?

If it’s someone else, then you know you’re stealing and copying!

Finding your OWN VOICE isn’t easy. It takes time, experimentation and persistence. It can be scary because your head is filled with doubt and uncertainty. But it’s worth the journey because YOU become AUTHENTIC and REAL.

Here are a few tips to help you become authentic and real:

1. Make YOU part of your service. Other people might steal your ideas and concepts but know that they can’t steal your ENERGY or your UNIQUE approach to what you do. Adding YOU is the vital ingredient!

2. YOU become part of your own brand. Inject YOU into everything that you do to create marketability and leverage through the power of you.

3. Know your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What do YOU bring to the party that is different? How is it different? Offer something that no one else offers. Approach it in a different way.

4. Be authentic. Being YOU and doing what you do IS ENOUGH. Stop playing dress up and pretending to be somebody else. Be a bigger, brighter and unique version of yourself.

5. Be a risk taker. Reach through your fear and doubt to find the courage to try out your ideas and new ways of doing things. Stop waiting for someone else to go there first.

YOU are unique… Let it shine through and model the way!

Finding the Courage to…

By , October 28, 2011 3:01 pm

“When courage finally comes you never see it coming. Right out of nowhere you open your heart and that changes everything. You’re going somewhere and all you need to know is that you’re free to go”

Christine Kane, Mentor, Singer Songwriter

This year so far courage has been a huge theme for me. I have experienced it on many levels and in all aspects of my life.

Sometimes I’ve found myself praying for courage; other times I’ve found myself writing in my journal about how grateful I was for receiving some. A few people closest to me have also shown extra-ordinary courage this year. They have been great teachers (including my kitty, Charlie!).

Courage was overflowing recently at Christine Kane’s Gold Mastermind that I attended in Asheville, NC, USA.  I watched people as they got clear and reached a deeper level of courage. Despite being scared, they decided to take some real action steps to seriously Uplevel their business and their lives. This is a BIG deal and life changing for those involved. Yes, there were tears as people faced their fears and decided to let go of playing small.

Finding your courage creates a whole new level of freedom.

Here’s what I’ve learned about courage…

I have many examples to share from this year, but my personal story below is one of ultimate courage between a Father and Daughter and how it changed everything…

My Dad passed to spirit on 25 June 2011.

When I arrived at the hospital (after a 270 mile race up the M1!) my Dad whispered to me that he was so ready to die, but didn’t know how. He was frightened. I was so scared for him and felt helpless. What do you say? How should you act in a situation like this?

So I did nothing except sit next to him and hold his hand. I was physically present, but inside, my heart was falling apart. I continued this vigil for several hours.

These hollow words kept echoing in my head: Be strong and be brave.

There were 11 of us around the bedside (family and friends). We just sat in silence waiting and watching as he stopped interacting with us and drifted in and out of sleep. The silence in the room was broken only by the sound of his breathing and this became our focal point. I felt the room fill with a thick blanket of fear that surrounded and engulfed us all.

We were all scared of hearing that final breath.

I couldn’t stand the intensity and felt compelled to do something. So I left the room and spoke with Ward Sister. I asked her if my Dad could still hear us. She said that she thought he could. She told me that he was very strong and he may not die for a few days. Then I remembered my Dad’s words from the morning: “I’m so ready to die now, I just don’t know how.”

Something happened inside of me at that moment and it changed everything.

I got clear that I wanted to help him find his own courage to let go. I sat beside him and decided to coach him through this last journey.

I had no idea what to do! And Yes! I was shit scared!

I had no idea how to help someone pass. I’d never seen anyone die before. Deep inside I opened my heart and my intuition took over. Something told me to talk to him about his life and to support him through this ultimate challenge. I remembered how he’d taught me to drive and encouraged me through. His words of encouragement had always made the difference.

Something shifted for me. It was like changing gear. I opened up my heart, leaned through my fear and reached out to him.

My Dad was so courageous. He opened his eyes and connected with me, smiled, tried to speak and within 20 minutes he had passed peacefully. I spoke with him constantly through this time, talking about his life and through my words I helped him to let go.

It was the most beautiful and profound experience of my life.

I am no different from anyone else on the planet. Everyone has to be brave at times in their life, whether it’s standing up to someone, sharing your heart and speaking honestly about something, quitting the corporate world to start your own business, or saying goodbye to a loved one for the last time.

There are times in our lives we all have to find extra courage. When you need courage the most you never see it coming, it appears as if outta nowhere and creates a positive ripple effect on you and those around you. It can change everything.

This is so poetically described in the lyrics of Christine’s beautiful song called Right Outta Nowhere (see the lyrics at the top of this article). I never realised the true depth of what they meant until this year.

I know that courage is always waiting at the other side of fear. If you get clear and reach through your fear, you’ll find a deeper level of courage that is pure, beautiful and always there for you…Always. It’s deep in the core of your existence waiting to be let free.

What are you finding the courage to do?

Connect to your heart and reach through your fear.

When in Doubt – Ask!

By , January 30, 2011 11:10 pm

“What a week! Meeting with John went really well thanks, I had nothing to be worried about! We got really clear about our expectations of each other which went really well, so I feel like I’m making a good start to the year!”

Jenny, A Private Coaching Client (Email received after our coaching session)

Jenny had recently been acting as team leader while a new replacement was being recruited. She’d enjoyed the experience but was happy to step down now a replacement had been found.

The new manager, John,  had previously been Jenny’s colleague in the same team. He had a reputation of being quite dominant and assertive and had a totally different approach to Jenny. She was nervous about him becoming her boss and how she could influence this change of roles in their working relationship.

John had also not been in the office much since his promotion so the team continued to ask Jenny for help and support in his absence – There was no one else to ask!  Her own workload was suffering as she was now covering two roles! Jenny was worried because she wasn’t sure how to approach John about this.  He’d not spoken to her since his appointment. She had not received any clarity or direction for her transition out of her team leader role.

Jenny was frightened to approach John because she was scared that he’d think she was negative and become aggressive. She was worried about his reaction, after all he was quite dominant!

So she procrastinated…

We often make assumptions and then make decisions based upon those assumptions because we believe the thoughts in our heads to be true.

Jenny was afraid of what she didn’t know.

  • She wasn’t sure of what John was thinking about her since their relationship had changed: he was now her boss.
  • She assumed that he would get angry when she brought up the challenge of still having to manage the team because he was never there. They had no one else to go to.

So she avoided arranging a meeting with him. As time progressed she felt more frustrated and John’s absent behaviour reinforced her assumptions.

Here’s some thoughts about assumptions:

1) Assumption often comes from fear – because we’re not sure about something and we’re frightened to ask, we assume that we know what the other person is thinking, feeling or going to do.Assumptions are often fear-based.

2) Assumptions can cause people to collude and reinforce their assumptions. We can base our assumptions on other people’s opinions and believe them to be true.

3) Assumptions mean that we don’t have to check it out – Because we’ve created some facts for ourselve instead.

4) We have our own in-built self-fulfilling prophecy of doom and will always imagine the worst when we don’t know what is true.

Jenny was unsure of the boundaries for her new sideways move in the department. She’d stepped down from being the manager but no one had given her any direction.

Successful people don’t waste time on assumption. They get clear by checking things out…

Here’s how to handle assumptions:

1. Get Clear – What do you know already? What do you need to know? You can’t make decisions if you don’t have the real facts. Get clear on your understanding of the situation so far. What is important to you? What do you want to say? Set an intention for the meeting. Don’t try and guess what the other person is thinking or feeling – You’re not them, so YOU really DON’T know!

2. Talk with the other person – Arrange to check it out with the other person. Ask them for clarity. Get answers for your questions. Facts are much better than assumptions because you are more informed and can make better decisions.

3. Understanding is everything – Just by having an open conversation you can create an understanding, manage expectations, set boundaries and ask for what you really want. We are all human beings and have equal value, worth and dignity. No one is less or more important. We are all the same. Sometimes we can read another person’s behaviour wrongly. Creating understanding between you enables both parties to explore what is real and enables you to base your actions on the truth. You get clear up front so there is no conflict later on.

4. Build a relationship – Checking out your assumptions improves communication and strengthens the relationship between those involved. It makes life easier because you’re clear, aligned and by working together you can get better results. You are proactive in the relationship NOT reactive. You check things out rather than waiting for your assumptions to become reality.

What are YOU assuming just now?

New Year – New Approach?

By , January 13, 2011 11:56 pm

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