authentic self

Productivity: A Guilt-Free(ish) Alternative To Balance

07 31 2016

A bit later than scheduled…. but we’re back from a weekend at the beach where we’ve been enjoying the sunshine (sun here in the UK believe it or not).  It really was family time at it’s best.  The only thing on the agenda was to just be.  How refreshing!

Have you ever had that feeling where you’re doing one thing and feel guilty that you’re not doing the other?  Feeling like you should be with your family when you’re working and then mentally running through your list of things to do when you’re having some time-off with your nearest and dearest?

Yep, I know that feeling very well.  We’re old friends.  But a new way of looking at it all has shifted the guilt (well, at least some of it) for me.  So, this weekend I was able to enjoy and be present without my mind running ten-to-the-dozen.  (This is a major breakthrough for my Type-A brain!)  Want to know the secret sauce?

There’s a bit of science to it but let me give you the distilled version: create seasons to go after your big goals and to enjoy.

Sometimes, you have to go all out.  You may be going for a promotion, you may be launching a business, or leading a big project.  The thing matters to you – you want to do your very best, and so you’re going to go all in.  Your focus, your energy and time are going to be skewed in it’s favour.  

The toughest part is accepting that, for a defined time, other things will have to take a back seat.  But there’s the magic – it’s for a defined time.  Mentally you know there’s a time when you’re taking your foot of the gas.  You know the seasons will change.

It might be followed by a season where you focus on fun and pleasure and time out.  Your focus, energy and time is used entirely differently.  The pace is slower.  The perspective may be more inward – focusing on replenishing your energy, feeding your soul.

The big red flag here is that it’s not about stopping and starting in areas, it’s just that you can’t do and be everything at once.  It’s a recipe for burnout and guilt in huge doses.  But what you are doing is giving the biggest share of your attention to one area at a time.

And I’ve been trying it out.  You see, I’ve been fighting the losing battle of trying to be supermum and grow a business (and the many other things fighting for my attention) and I felt like I was doing a crap job at all of it.  The proverbial Jack of all trades, master of none.  After a busy 12 months of trying to do it all, more recently I’ve been in a bit of hibernation mode for the “winter” season and taking more care of me, focusing on revitalising my ‘reserves’ and soon I’ll be ready to go again.  (It feels like spring is coming!)

And so this weekend I made my peace with taking time out.  This is exactly where I was meant to be and what I was meant to be doing…. and with the people I care about.

What ‘season’ would you say you’re in at the moment?  And can you see how you could apply this to your life (and take a bit off the pressure off trying to do it all)?

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3 Ways To Deal With Changes & Life Transitions: Coaching Call

07 14 2016

The ‘average Mo’ has about 10-20 transitions in their lifetime.  I reckon I’ve had my fair share in the past five years alone!  How about you?

I see transitions as those BIG things – marriage, moving home, babies, career changes – as well as those smaller internal shifts which can have just as much impact.  Really, it’s a matter of perspective – whatever feels like a big deal to you IS a big deal.  

This coaching ‘hangout’ was designed to give you some reassurance that you’re NOT losing your marbles – there is a science to coping with change.  I also share some tips and tools to help you as you ride the rollercoaster!

You can watch the recording of the first Cocktail Hour coaching call below.  

Think back to times of change for you: how did you negotiate the change?  Share your tips to help someone else!

NB: The Cocktail Hour will be a monthly get-together.  Submit your question for next month: hello@emmagwillim.com

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Times They Are A-Changing: A Note On Being Authentic

07 03 2016
Things here feel in ‘transition’ at the moment. Have you ever had that feeling that you’re getting ‘tugged’ inside to make a change?
 
In the (almost) five years since we got married, and had our two boys, it’s been an ongoing transition… and I feel like the bigger transition has been INSIDE ME. 
 
If you’re a mum, you might be like me – what you want to create for yourself and your family has shifted a little.  YOU have shifted a little.  Yes, you’re still that same girl at heart but maybe the 2.0 version!
 
How about you?  What was it that you felt called to do or be pre-kiddos?  And how has that shifted now?  Who were you before and who are you now that you’re someone’s mum as well as YOU?
 
One thing is crystal clear for me – that’s who I want to help and my BIG WHY. 
 
But how I want to work and create that has (and is) shifting.
 
So, I’m going against the grain.  The ‘perfectionist’ in me wants to only present the finished product to you, once I’ve worked it all out, but I’ve decided to share the behind-the-scenes with you as I work through the process of change…. (I’m sharing this behind-the-scenes with my gang in a secret group – click here to get in)
 
So, my ‘why’ (aka the thing, the purpose, the cause that inspires me to do the thing I want to do) is:
 
I want to help mums to be seen as who they really are.  Helping you to rediscover your true you, who you want to be and what you want to be known for.  To use my mindset expertise to help you clear the ‘stuff’ holding you back.  And then to help you design a crystal clear ‘personal brand’ so you can be seen and shine – and inspire your children to do the same.
 
This is awkward.  I can usually find the words I want but here I struggle to put it succinctly.  (Personal brand sounds superficial as it’s way deeper than that…. Hmmm?) So, how about this? 
 
“My purpose is to help women be seen for who they really are so they can nurture their passions as well as their family – and be role models for the little eyes watching”. 
 
What do you think to that?  That’s what inspires me and I’m going to be in ‘creation’ mode as I evolve what I can do to help do that (and craft a clearer way of articulating it!).
 
I truly value your opinion so if you have something to say comment below and share your thoughts.  When it comes to how you feel about you, what is it that you struggle with or have a negative feeling about?
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Get That Holiday Feeling... Without Needing To Leave The Building

06 27 2016

Back in my corporate days, I made my desk home.  I had a few subtle photos of family and friends on the backboard of my cubicle, and a happy holiday memory as my computer desktop background. 

The vast (and noisy) open plan office with sealed windows didn’t really suit my introverted work-style.  The political game too forced me into avoidance mode. In fact, truth be told, I craved quiet time, fresh air and an environment of collaboration and, sat there, I was screaming inside.  But then, one look at that holiday picture and I breathed a little calmer.

That ‘holiday feeling’ washed over me and I felt an escape.

What is that strange magic?  Can you feel it too? 

Revisit a holiday memory and you get that wash of calm and bliss and contentedness. 

“This is the life”.

The beauty is that you can go there whenever you like.  You may have heard this before – your mind knows no difference between what is real and what is imagined so you can fake that holiday in your mind to kick that feeling into action.  BUT, what you know and what you do are two entirely different things.

Crikey, I’m trained in this** but still I get elbow-deep in the day-to-day and forget this super-power…. We can be on holiday at the flip of a mental switch.

Ironically, it took a break away from the routine to remind me of this.  The science bods call this a ‘pattern interrupt’.

With two pre-school children our household runs on routine.  It’s a team effort to get us all up, fed, dressed and out the door each morning… and that works great for running a tight ship but it does run the risk of hours blending into days then into weeks before you take a breath and just be.  You know, like those moments on holiday when you have no plans, no agenda and can just enjoy a drink in the sunshine with your closest kin.  Bliss. 

So, here I am suggesting you create your own pattern interrupt, a mental mini-break.  Find a space where you can clear your calendar and just be.  (*Cocktails optional)

Does that feel uncomfortable?  Think, if you can, of being in holiday mode.  The time is carved out for respite and relaxation and to just enjoy the moment with no set plan.

The funny thing is, just like when on holiday you get that fresh perspective, by taking a mental mini-break you’re more likely to get the clarity and breakthroughs you’ve been over-looking.  By slowing down you can speed up when you get back to it.

Good old Einstein had it nailed: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Or maybe Madge put it best:  “If we took a holiday, took some time to celebratejust one day out of life – it would be, it would be so nice.”

Give it a try! 

Here’s to a sparkling week ahead, Emma  x 

**NLP Practitioner

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Well THAT was embarrassing. Did you see it?

06 19 2016

Let me just acknowledge the elephant in the room.  I disappeared for a while.

Maybe I owe you a little explanation.  I’ll come to that in a moment…

The reason for sharing with you is I believe I can shed some light on what NOT to do if this story is something you can relate to.

I’ll also share what happened when I took the leap – and it totally back-fired!  

So, back to the point, I disappeared.  I checked out for a bit.

If truth be told… I was hiding away from you guys.  You see, my passion is helping people to be their best selves, helping them to live their sparkle and yet, rewind a year, and I felt so far from that myself.

I felt a fraud.  I felt I needed to be the finished product to be able to help you.  I thought I needed to go away and fix parts of my life first.  It’s the perfectionist in me – I wanted to do this thing right.  If I was to help you then surely I’d need to be an expert in, and perfect in, all areas.

Writing this to you now I realise how ridiculous it sounds.  Yet still a part of me whispers “who am I to be able to help anyone else when there’s still things I’m working on?”  Old habits die hard, as they say.

But striving for utopia is perfectionism on over-drive.  It’s me procrastinating on the one thing I feel really called to do – to help, to write, to show up in ways that help you create your best life.

So, what not to do?

Don’t wait for the perfect time. There never is one.

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to show up.  It won’t.

Don’t wait to feel like you’re ready/perfect. You won’t – nothing changes unless YOU change.

What’s standing between you and what you want?

I’ve spent the best part of my lifetime hiding and actively avoiding attention.  But deep down I know that standing between me and what I want (helping people on a bigger scale), I need to come out of hiding and push my comfort zone

So this week I decided to be brave.  I love to write to you but I know sometimes I hide behind the written word. Speaking up is my challenge.  I made a commitment to my awesome coach to “show my face”.  I gave my word that I’d share on Facebook Live.

This was majorly uncomfortable.  By showing up on Facebook Live I had to do the opposite of my default attention-avoidance, as if I was saying “look at me, I’m here and I have something to say.”  That is hugely out of my comfort zone.  It’s LIVE people – there’s zero room for perfectionism.

My insecurities were laid bare – insecure in the value of what I had to say, how I was saying it, how I was looking while saying it.  To me, I was raising my head over the parapet and opening myself up to being judged.  (That’s not to say that’s what I expected of the gorgeous peeps who might see it but they were the warning bells clanging by that ‘chimp brain’ of mine that’s trying to protect me.)

And I can’t tell you how (embarrassingly) long my finger hovered over the scary “Go Live” button.

BUT THEN… The utopia came to mind.  The life I imagine and the ‘me’ in it tapped me on the shoulder and, instead, I asked: “What would that Emma do?”  So, I pressed the button and I did it.

(Did you see?  It was a disaster.  The sound did not work!!!  I  chatted to myself for 8 minutes! EMBARRASSING. But I did it and I left it up there as proof, imperfect as it is!)

And here’s the lesson I’ve learned that I want to share.

I’ve come to learn that success is in the little victories.  I’d been focusing on the end game – striving for that finish line of success before I can help.

What’s courage anyway?  To me it’s letting your want/need for something be just a fraction bigger than your fear.  It’s a succession of moments like that, each moment getting you that little bit closer to your desired you and desired destination.

So, I ask again.  What stands between you and what you want? And what can you do to have courage (that’s just a tiny bit bigger than your fear) for one bold moment this week?

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The Selfish Heart Myth: and what it means for you

06 14 2016

You’ve heard me say it before: slow down, nurture yourself, fill your tank so you have energy to overflow to others.

But who has acted on it?  The idea is nice – who could refuse some ‘me-time’?  But, in reality, has looking after you and your needs made you feel a bit guilty?  Does it seem a bit indulgent?

There’s a fine line.  Focusing on your needs alone to the sacrifice of others could be deemed as selfish.  Focusing on your needs to be of benefit and value to others, it’s an investment.  It’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself and others.

I struggled with this until I heard Vishan Lakhiani speaking about “the theory of awesomeness”.  During his keynote speech, he talked about how the heart could be seen as the most selfish organ in the body:  “it keeps all the good blood for itself. It takes in all the good blood, the most oxygenated blood, and then distributes the rest to every other organ.  But if the heart didn’t keep the good blood for itself, the heart would die. And if the heart died, it would take every other organ with it. The liver. The kidneys. The brain. The heart, in a way, has to be selfish for its own preservation.

And it is that attitude I encourage you to have when it comes to taking care of you and your wellbeing.  Feel more inside to give more on the outside.  

What are you thoughts on this?  What do you do that ‘fills your tank’ and revitalises you?

Image: {1}

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The Love Letter... Totally Revealing

06 14 2016

Here it is.  The love letter.  Heart on sleeve, holding breath…

Dear Reader

You are truly special.  I know that to be true.  You have a unique magic inside of you, a sparkle that is just yours – no other person in the world has exactly the same elixir of talents and experience and personality and gifts as you.  You are one of a kind.  And that special combination has something to offer everybody else.  When you shine your unique sparkle, others can feel it.  Other people want to be around it.  You inspire other people to shine bright too.  Accept it.  Claim it.  Show it off!!  It’s been gifted to you for a reason.  Don’t let it grow dim.  Dust it off.  Make today the day that shining becomes your role – it’s the kindest thing that you can do for you and everyone that knows and loves you.

From Me

Read it.  Read it again and feel it.

I feel a tad uncomfortable wearing my heart on my sleeve but this is what I believe for you.  It’s my belief that every, single person has something special to share and I feel that, in my heart, I want to help people to hear it and come to feel it…. And ultimately to live it. And here’s the best part – you role model the way for other people (especially the little people).

The reason I’m uncomfortable?  I fear I may sound … rose-tinted.

But I know for any number of people that think maybe it’s a little idealistic, there may be one other person that needs to hear this and remember it.  Because deep down you know this, right?  You are my people.

When you were a little girl you may have been told you were special and precious.  Maybe you weren’t told that but, whether you heard it or not, it was true nonetheless.  And, it’s still true now you’re a grown-up.  It never stops being true.  It’s just sometimes we forget it…. Or don’t let ourselves believe it.  It feels uncomfortable to truly be you.  

(And here we come back full circle to me feeling jittery sharing this).

But I’m feeling the fear and writing it anyway.  My reason is I feel I can help.  I’ve been unofficially learning for almost twenty years now, and have officially equipped myself with training and skills over the past 5 years to move people from fuzziness and overwhelm to clarity and direction so that they can shine.

Now I’m now opening up a limited number of spots for the summer for my Luxe Intensive sessions – these are private, 1:1 coaching days to help you to get clarity of your unique value, gifts and inner sparkleso that you can de-clutter, re-focus and consciously design your future.

Here’s how it works:

Within the Luxe Intensive programme you will get:

  • Private 1:1 coaching and my signature treatment tailor-made to suit your personal needs and requirements.
  • A preparation pack in advance of the Luxe Intensive to elicit ‘spotlight’ areas for our session.
  • A personalized feedback report to summarise your Luxe Intensive session.
  • A 45-minute ‘Completion Call’ within one month of the Luxe Intensive session to create accountability, review and future focus.

What we’ll cover:

Our time is 100% focused on you.  You will get access to my personal toolkit and the session will be uniquely tailored to you and your transformation.  It can include:
Getting absolute clarity on what you really want.

Understanding your unique value, your gifts and how to use your inner sparkle to design life on your terms.

Decluttering the doubts, fears and beliefs that are keeping you stuck.

Crafting an inspired action plan.

Defining your signature style and unlocking your true identity.

Your investment:

This complete package is £250.

What you can expect:

You’ll have a ‘temperature check’ of how things are working for you right now.  You’ll get clear on the things creating ‘mental clutter’ in your life, as well as the patterns that have been holding you back.  You’ll craft a clear vision and blueprint for your future, the key ingredient for designing a life on your terms.  You’ll create an action plan so you begin creating your future in a way that feels authentic and achievable, and have a rhythm for continuing this once our work is finished.  You’ll feel energized and confident about the future.  You’ll have fun!

The lowdown:

I am offering a limited number of spaces throughout the summer.  If you feel this is a YES for you, click HERE to book your complimentary call.

 

p.s. I’ll be sharing a bit more about this whole thing via Facebook Live this week.  Make sure you’re in the group to take part – I’ll be doing a Q&A as part of this.  

 

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What More Do You Want? 5 Tips For The Girl Who Has It "All"

06 09 2016

Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” – Plato

Appearances can be deceptive.  What looks glossy on the outside might be very different when you take a closer look.

Social media has got to be a prime example of this.  Someone’s newsfeed is a highlights reel of their life but maybe not the truest reflection.  You might be like me – posting pictures of the magical moments with your kiddiwinks when everyone is fed, happy and absorbed in play…. You’ll find the meltdowns and dinner-time battles on the virtual-cutting-room floor! 

Just think for a moment: maybe your life looks picture perfect to someone else?

How does that make you feel?  If you’re content and at a point of bliss, you’re likely to feel proud and grateful.  Positive.

If, on the other hand, you know that what your life looks like isn’t true of what it feels like, then you may feel a bit of discomfort.  Guilty?  A bit of a fraud?

Life can look good but you might still be craving something more.  And that’s ok.  It’s just a whisper from your intuition that is nudging you to explore it.  It’s like an itch you need to scratch.

You can have what many people desire and still want more.  Not in a greedy way, but in a way that means a part of you is looking to express itself, or to be more fulfilled in some way.

Feeling guilty about that or trying to ignore it isn’t the answer.  It’s there and it’s simply a message to do something about it. 

So, how can you dig a little deeper and find out what that niggle is? 

There’s no simple answer as it can take some exploration but, on some level, you already know the answer.  Here’s a few suggestions to help you listen in to that whisper:

  • Be quiet: Spend time in silence.  We’re so busy doing that often we lose connection to who we are being.  By slowing down you’re allowing the time and space to tune into yourself, your inner knowing.  Try guided meditation, or mindfulness or simply listening to some relaxing music with your attention on your breathing.
  • Free-flow: Flow of consciousness writing is a great way to connect to your intuition.  Grab a journal, a pen and some quiet space and just allow your pen to write whatever comes to mind.  No censoring just let it come out.  Don’t be tempted to second-guess or correct what you write, or even to question if it makes sense, just keep going.  Let it be an outlet for any of the thoughts in your head or any of the emotions you may be feeling.  Once you clear past the clutter you’ll then find that you get deeper-level insights.  By doing this regularly, you’ll get into the practice of connecting with your true self and you’ll be surprised at the insights you’ll get from this.
  • Get support: Like a blind spot when you’re driving, sometimes you just can’t see it yourself.  You may need someone to ask you the right questions to get to the answers that are already there.  Your thought patterns and beliefs are hard-wired and there to protect you.  Often a niggle can be a need for something to change so your brain goes into protection mode.  By having someone else guide you, you get a different perspective and can ‘see round’ old patterns of being and behaving that have kept you stuck.
  • Follow your yes: Any opportunity that comes your way, say yes (well, within reason!).  Don’t think and question – if it feels right, go for it.  Experiment, play, have fun.  Follow your bliss 
  • Accept the help: I created the FREE Clarity Session workshop to help feelings just like this.  If you haven’t yet accessed this mini workshop I gifted to you, you can access it here. 

I’d love to hear from you.  Share your behind-the-scenes story, the more ironic/funny, the better.  When have you posted a photo on social media when things weren’t quite so rosy in reality? 

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Do You Do What it Says On The Tin? How to (begin to) craft your cocktail line.

05 23 2016

Social etiquette lesson courtesy of movie favourite, Bridget Jones’ Diary: “Introduce people with thoughtful details…”

In Bridget’s case, her introduction was “(she) works in a publishing house and she used to play around naked in (Mark’s) paddling pool.”

How would someone describe you?  Can you think of a recent occasion where someone’s introduced you?  What did they say?  And how did it make you feel?

If you have a job, or you’re a mum, chances are you get introduced by your role.  These days I often get “this is Louis’/Joe’s mum”. 

But how much do you think this introduces YOU?

As adults we get badged by our roles: someone’s wife/partner, mum, professional status.  And let’s be truthful, the person on the receiving end will probably make some snap judgement about who you are based on what they hear.   How true is it though?

Before marriage, babies, career, you were still YOU, right?

I LOVE seeing little children make new friends.  They say their name full of importance and that’s it.  No pre-conceived ideas, no badges of honour.  Just, this is me.

If you were to strip away all the roles and titles, how would you love to be introduced?  What words would truly describe the real you? 

Many of the women I work with have forgotten, at least on a conscious level.  Somewhere, underneath the layers of responsibility, she’s still that young girl with that unique sparkle… but sometimes it just needs a little dusting off.

So, get your duster out and start to polish-up your cocktail line.

–       What is your special talent?  What do people come to your for help/advice on?

–       What can you do with ease?

–       What do you do that, when you do it, time flies?

–       What lights you up?

–       What have been some of your happiest moments?

–       What do you stand for?

Free-flow with a pen and paper.  Write down anything and everything that comes up.  Start to reveal the words, the feelings, the uniqueness that makes you you.  Don’t censor.  Start with “I’m (your name) and this is me….”  Read it aloud and see how you feel now.

Tingles?  Tears?  A stirring?  If so, bingo, you’ve scratched the surface.

I’d love to hear from you.  What came up for you?

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How to Impress... And Do Yourself Proud

05 19 2016

That question:  “So, tell me, what are your strengths?”

Why asking that one question can increase confidence, reduce stress and help you perform better.  Fact. 

Interviews, pitches, any experience when you’re sat across from an interview panel – not anyone’s favourite experience I’d imagine, especially when the stakes are high.  You do your homework on the company and the role/opportunity, you get your most stylish outfit ready and you prepare for those unknown interview questions.  One that often comes up is the standard “what are your strengths?”.

What would be your answer?

Maybe you have a stock response on this.  Maybe you (ahem) ‘cherry-pick’ the strengths you think the interviewer wants to hear to match you to the role or opportunity in question. 

If you did have a mental list of things pop to mind, great.  But stop a moment and ask ‘how true do those list of strengths feel to the real you?’.

You see, outside of situations like this, it’s not a question that is asked often.  And it’s even rarer that we ask if of ourselves.

But, knowing your true strengths, talents and value is golden and here’s why.

When you are clear on the value you offer you will perform better in any situation. 

Have you been in that situation where the pressure is on: a job interview, a first date with someone you really like, meeting someone influential in your industry.  You’re trying so hard to impress that your mind races with the right thing to say and when something comes out you think “why on earth did I say that?”  You’re in your head and all the time not bringing your best you to the table.

But studies have shown that when you know and affirm your strengths and the values most important to you ahead of any significant situation, your body chemistry works with you (rather than kicking in that fight/flight response that often sabotages your efforts) and so you are able to be more present.  More you.

Test it out.  Think of an event/situation coming up this week where you want to do yourself proud.  Decide to test it out yourself.

–       In advance, write down the attributes you’re most proud of e.g. I’m funny / patient / driven / intelligent.  They don’t have to be attributes relevant to the situation/event, just the ones that feel most authentically you.

–       Write down what people come to you for help/advice on.

–       Add to the list the things that you value you most about you/your life.  E.g. I most value my family / friends / my body / helping others.  Write next to each of these why they are important to you.  What emerges will be your core values.

–       Right before your event, read and feel the words you’ve written.  Remind yourself of you at your best.  Remind yourself of the values most important to you.  Watch your posture change.  See a different perspective on the event ahead. 

–       Then reflect.  Often stressful situations leave you lost for words, later finding the perfect thing to say but just that little bit too late.  When you’re at your best, you’ll find you do yourself proud more often.  Reflect on what went well. 

Give it a try and share your experience with us in the comments below.  Now, go forth and sparkle!

To your best week yet, Emma x

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