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E#222 What to Stop and Start Doing in 2023

This episode is about what to stop and start doing in 2023

Do you have this nagging sense that there are things you should stop doing, and things that you should start doing in your business? Does business feel like a grind at times, sapping your energy and creativity? If so, then it’s time to create your business plan for the next year to work out the kinks and start getting what you want with more ease and flow. That’s what I’m here to help you to do by sharing my 4-step process to developing a 2023 business plan. 

It’s that time of year I start to think about the year ahead and start creating some plans for my business. I figured that you would be doing that too and that you might be wondering what sorts of goals to set.   

Sharing my process will help you get clear on not just how to create a plan, but how to make an exciting plan to get you where you want to be. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Two steps to get clarity
* How to map out new ‘business habits’ for 2023
* Defining your achievable outcome goals

Step 1 – Reflect on the Past 12 months 

A good starting point is reflecting on how this year went for you and what you’d like to do more of and less of. 

When I do this process, I start by thinking about what I really loved doing this year and why I loved it, and which strengths I used. I sit with the feeling of my favourite types of work and the things that I’ve achieved and what I did to get there.  

For example, this year, I loved doing the strategic thinking work behind projects and business ideas, because that taps into my strengths of creativity, innovation, problem solving and brainstorming. 

Next, I think about the things that drained my energy and dragged me down or that I found awful and difficult. 

For example, this year, I found it really draining to do very detailed intricate work, logistical stuff, and anything that required a lot of very deep research-based work.  

I really sat with that and thought about why I didn’t like doing that work, and it was because it created a lot of anxiety and stress. It dampened my creative thinking. Anything with too many detailed moving parts create a sense of anxiousness that I might have forgotten something or not done something properly.  I do like some types of detailed work, but not many. 

Thirdly, I look at where I earned money and spent time. I spreadsheet this based on time documented in my calendar. Funnily enough, the work I love to do most takes the least time and earns me the most money. The work I dislike the most takes the most time and earns me the least money – probably because I have to do the grind to complete it. 

Finally, I reflect on my most important achievement of the past year. This is important because it shows you what your toil created that you are most proud of and gets you thinking about the bigger picture. If you don’t look at the bigger picture you might end up just planning another year of doing rather than thinking about your overall direction first. 

My greatest achievement this year was fulfilling four important professional roles, and even though the juggle was hard at times, it gave me a bigger picture view and understanding of two important knowledge areas (menopause and mental health), and of three bigger macro trends (psychosocial risk legislation, supporting and recognising women at work, and improving mental health at work). 

With this knowledge, I have a good idea of which business ideas will succeed in 2023, where the focus and money will be in the broader economy, and what my best opportunities are. Those insights allows me to set some tangible and meaningful goals that leverage these opportunities. 

When you reflect on the past year, ask yourself these questions and write some notes; 

  1. What did you love doing in the past year and why? 
  2. What drained your energy in the past year and why? 
  3. For every type of work you were paid for, which was the best return on investment in terms of time and money? 
  4. What was the most important outcome you achieved this year? 

This should give you a good summary of your past year, what worked and didn’t, in less than a page. 

Step 2 – What did you learn about yourself? 

When you reflect on what you learned about yourself, you can potentially see the work that you need to do and the obstacles you need to face, and the skills and strengths you can leverage. 

I learned a bunch of things about myself this year. 

Firstly, I am persistent and can work hard to get things done. 

I’ve realised that I am a sore loser – and this costs me emotionally and energetically. 

I’ve noticed I prefer to fly solo so I can create my own ideas, I tend to avoid groups, but I do enjoy collaboration if it is a bit hands off and not too intimate or intense. I’ve always known this at some level but have really experienced and felt it this year. 

My greatest strengths are creative brainstorming at a strategic business level and with clients, and summarizing, simplifying, and creating processes to get things done. When I do these things I am truly in flow. 

Finally, I can do about 10 coaching sessions or meetings a week before I start to get overwhelmed and find it hard to focus and be present. 

Having given you some examples, I now invite you to reflect on your year.  

  • How were you operating when you were at your best? 
  • What are your greatest strengths and moments of flow? 
  • In which situations do you thrive? 

Once you’re clear on steps 1 and 2, we start to consolidate. 

Step 3 – Map out your new business habits for 2023 

It’s one thing to think about what you have done and achieved and loved doing or being drained by in the last year.  

The first two steps in this process allow you to evaluate the past, so you can look ahead with clarity and map out your new business habits for 2023. 

In other words, it’s time to use your reflections define what you want to keep doing, stop doing or start doing next year.  

Some people like to start with their outcome goals first, and you can certainly do that. To me it makes more sense to find my flow in the process – then decide what I will create with that new way of working. 

I’ve learned in my first two steps that what’s important to me is to work more strategically, to simplify things, and to scale, so I can earn comfortably and remain in flow, and be at my best with the clients I work with.  This is how I will work. 

Tangibly, to define the habits I’ll stop, maintain and start, my next stage of planning is to: 

  • Knowing I dislike some types of detail work, I will evaluate the detailed tasks I do each week and decide which ones I can delegate or stop doing. A really easy one for me is checking email once per day instead of 4 times. 
  • Knowing how I feel about being in groups, I’ll review the group work I have tentatively planned for next year and decide what I’ll commit to and how I’ll show up (this is both professionally and personally). 
  • Based on what I learned in 2022 (knowledge and market trends), I will decide which areas I want to focus on in 2023. 
  • I will rewrite my vision, mission, value proposition and elevator pitch so I’m clear on what my focus is and how I work with people  
  • I will ask my VA to update my online platforms to reflect the updated pitch 
  • To become a better loser, I will start journalling about challenging situations where I lose, or fail, to change my perspective and rewire my beliefs about those things. 
  • To manage my volume of appointments, I will change my booking calendar to allow a maximum of 12 meetings or coaching sessions per week, which should be achievable when I make the other changes I’ve decided on. 
  • To manage my volume of appointments, I will also put out an invitation to my hand-picked 1:1 clients with the terms of engagement for 2023. 

What would your next stage of planning look like? 

  • What would you decide to stop doing, or delegate? 
  • How will you choose to work – for example more networking and groups, or more 1:1, more strategic or more detailed?  
  • How might your weekly schedule change as a result, and how will you maintain those boundaries? 
  • How do these changes affect your vision and value proposition? Do they need review? 

Step 4 – Defining achievable outcomes goals for 2023 

Having completed the previous three steps, you’re ready to think about outcomes you will be able to realistically achieve with this new way of working. 

I personally feel it’s important to keep the goals simple and few, so you can do a few things really well. As Robert Kyosaki says – the word FOCUS stands for Follow One Course Until Successful. 

My outcome goals for 2023 will be achieved if I do the things previously mentioned. Here are mine.  

In my business, I will be: 

  • Working 20 hours per week, Tuesday to Thursday to earn my target income. 
  • Helping my VA to earn a comfortable living doing the tasks that I dislike, that she is good at 
  • Working collaboratively with intelligent, energized people for a common purpose 
  • Supporting 100,000 professional women to thrive at work through appropriate education, coaching, allied health services and resources 

    In the area of coach training and advocacy for our industry, I will be:  

    • Teaching 2,000 health and wellness coaches to create sustainable businesses that they love, in their unique way, leveraging the coaching methodology 
    • Advocating (through HCANZA) for appropriate standards, definitions and consistency in our industry, and promoting the benefits and quality of what we do as professionals 

    In my personal life, I will be: 

    • Tackling one hard thing each quarter, focusing on a consistent practice in a creative pursuit, and reframing my negative thoughts 
    • Exercising daily in nature to give my brain a break and recharge 
    • Completing 20 hours of personal or professional development (including working with my own coach) each quarter. 

    This is my plan, now over to you. 

    What are the outcomes you want to achieve next year in your business? 

    What are the impacts you want to have in the world? 

    What will you do in your personal life to grow and evolve, show up better and function at your best? 

    I look forward to seeing what you create, with intention and purpose, in 2023. 

    Summary 

    If a business feels like a grind at times, and you have that nagging sense that things need to change, you now have a four-step process to start getting what you want with more ease and flow. The steps to follow are: 

    1. Reflect on the highlights and lowlights of the past 12 months 
    2. Reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself 
    3. Map out your ‘business habits’ for 2023 – what you’ll stop doing, maintain and start doing 
    4. Define your achievable outcome goals 

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#220 Rebecca Taylor – Coaching Compassion Fatigue

    This episode is about Rebecca Taylor – coaching compassion fatigue 

    Are you curious about what compassion fatigue is, the signs of compassion fatigue, and how to coach around compassion fatigue? 

    We answer these questions in today’s interview with Rebecca Taylor of Exploring Wellness with Coach Bec. Bec is a vet nurse with 13 years’ experience in vet clinics and animal shelters and a recent graduate of Wellness Coaching Australia. 

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is compassion fatigue?
    * What are the signs of compassion fatigue?
    * Compassion fatigue vs burnout – what’s the difference? 
    * How are you getting traction as a coach?

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#219 Becoming a Confident Coach

    This episode is about becoming a confident coach

    Despite extensive training, a lot of professionals talk about having impostor syndrome and fear of not being good enough. But what do you do about that? How do you flip that on its’ head and tackle impostor syndrome so that you can become a confident coach?  

    Why you need to be enough 


    Impostor syndrome is rife in many professions – I know, because I’ve been through it, and I’ve spoken to a lot of people who struggle with it. 

    Today I want to talk to you about WHY you need to be enough and stop impostor syndroming yourself.  

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Why you need to be enough
    * What a digital legacy strategy is
    * Four steps to creating your Digital Legacy Strategy

    I think the key reason that you need to feel that you are enough, good enough, worthy, and competent, is that then you can switch your focus off your own shortcomings and onto your clients. 

    Let’s face it, if you’re worried about your own performance, then you’re not giving all of your attention to the people you are purporting to help and support.  

    I think this is SO critical. This was a realisation I had when I started coaching. I was so busy worrying about what to do, whether my questions were good enough, whether they got something out of the session, whether they were engaged and so on, that it was taking up a LOT of real estate in my head.  

    I was feeling anxious and would be nervous going into each session. 

    THEN one day I reflected on how my feelings and energy would be seen and felt by the people I was coaching. What would they say? 

    By worrying about my performance, I was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was creating tension where there wasn’t really any. 

    But most importantly, I realised this behaviour was about me spending too much time thinking about ME and my shortcomings, rather than my client. 

    This aha moment flicked the switch for me and allowed me to totally change the way I showed up, coached and the impact of my coaching. It was amazing. 

    Here are some benefits and outcomes of dealing with your impostor syndrome. 

    Giving your best to clients 

    Firstly, when you invest in overcoming your impostor syndrome you become more confident as a person and as a coach. You feel good about what you do and your ability to give value. That means that you invest more time thinking about the people that you’re helping, rather than your own shortcomings. It means that you are flipping the switch from a focus on you into a focus on your clients.  

    Imagine how that changes their experience of working with you. Imagine how that changes their relationship with you in a coaching sense. And imagine how that therefore impact their results that they get from the coaching relationship. 

    Secondly, if you deal with impostor syndrome and start believing that you can do this, that you are good enough, you be willing to invest enough in your own personal and professional development – because you know that it is worth it for your clients, and that you are worth it. The ripple effect is more advanced skills that will make you a better coach, giving your clients better outcomes. 

    I think it’s really important when you’re starting any new career to know that you are not going to get it right all the time – ever. It’s important to manage your own expectations and to know that you will do things wrong and get things messed up along the way. And that’s totally okay. 

    What’s more important is your commitment to investing in your own self-belief, personal development and professional development so that you can deal with those mistakes more easily, with grace and candour. 

    So how do you get there? How do you beat it and become the best coach you can be, so that you can help people create their desired outcomes and impact the lives of more people? 

    How do you beat impostor syndrome? 

    Personal Development 

    Start by working with your own coach. That way, you will improve your own thoughts habits, well-being and sense of purpose, so that you can be a role model for your clients. Being a strong role model promotes self-confidence. 

    A reflective practice is also a must for all graduate coaches. After each coaching session, reflect on what went well, how you used your strengths, the verbal and nonverbal feedback from clients, and any areas for work. Write it down. Then, set specific goals to polish up any areas. One thing I like to do is focus on a particular coaching skill for all clients within a given month, so I can build and hone my craft. 

    Ask for feedback and testimonials from your clients. Their feedback is really valuable as it tells you what they liked and didn’t like. Make sure to ask how things have changed for them – not just an assessment of your skills (remember, it’s about them, not you). 

    Start hanging around more experienced coaches and having conversations and unpacking challenges so that you can more easily develop the habits and language of a masterful coach. 

    Professional Development 

    You can also do deep-dive training courses into specialty areas and practice those with your clients to become a better coach. For example, mental health first aid training if you are working with clients who have stress, anxiety and so on. 

    There is a caveat on that. A lot of people see education as a tick box thing and they get really interested and they do more and more and more courses but without actually applying the learnings. And I think impostor syndrome comes from this too.  

    I know some incredibly smart people who have numerous qualifications, who are full of self-doubt because they haven’t actually used their knowledge and practised with clients and seen the sorts of results that can be gained. 

    If you complete a lot of educational courses but you never apply it, then you become potentially a very good teacher but maybe not good at the practice that you have studied.  

    I recommend that you invest in practising new skills with clients. Ask permission to try new methods if you know them well, or find practice clients to test new skills and education with.  

    Always, always, do market research – keep asking your clients what they need and want – keep learning about other people and their lives and how you can help them – that’s where you can overcome your own self-limiting beliefs, shift the value to what your clients want, and find ways to give it to them. 

    Summary

    Today we talked about why you need to beat impostor syndrome and start stepping up to be a more masterful coach.  

    In short – if you’re focussing on yourself, you can’t focus properly or be present for your clients. 

    Flip the switch by investing time, energy and money as needed into personal development and professional development. 

    When you do this, you’ll feel more confident, and be able to truly serve your clients in a more authentic, impactful way – because your work will truly be about them. 

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#216 Why and How to do a Coffee Detox

    This episode is about why and how to do a coffee detox

    Are you struggling with energy rollercoasters, anxiety or poor sleep? A coffee detox might be part of the solution. It may be a helpful way to give your nervous system a break and feel calmer. Going cold turkey on caffeine can be hard, so this episode outlines how to do a coffee detox so that you can go through the process with ease. 

    On my investigation of nervous system health and calming down, I’ve decided to do a coffee detox. 

    This isn’t one of those fad things – I’ve had a few important realisations and am doing as an experiment to see if it can help me to unwind anxiety, feel calmer, and improve my sleep quality. 

    Part of this is working out whether I’m consuming too much caffeine for my body weight, and whether removing coffee all together has a bigger impact on my symptoms. 

    So today let’s look at recommended caffeine intakes, who may be susceptible to negative impacts of caffeine, and then, how I’m doing a coffee detox. 

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Recommended caffeine intakes
    * How do you respond to caffeine?
    * Do you need a coffee break?
    * My Coffee Detox Plan

    Recommended Caffeine Intakes 

    Food Standards ANZ states there is no acceptable daily intake of caffeine but mentions evidence of increased anxiety levels with caffeine consumption at about 3 mg/kg body weight per day. 

    This equates to: 

    • About 120 mg per day in children (about 2 cans of cola) 
    • About 240 mg per day in adults (about 3 cups of instant coffee). 

    These are based on standard body weights, so you’d need to work out your recommended intake based on your own body weight. 

    For example, I weigh 52kg, so at 3 mg/kg, I can have 52 x 3 = 156 mg caffeine per day. 

    The challenge is partly that caffeine can come from different sources and in different amounts, so it may be hard to keep track of what you’ve consumed. 

    To make it a bit easier for consumers, Food Standards Code restricts caffeine in soft drinks and energy drinks and requires labelling of all sources of caffeine, including guarana, tea, coffee etc.  

    Soft drinks must not exceed 145 mg/kg of caffeine in the drink, whereas energy drinks must not contain more than 320 mg/L of caffeine. This is the amount in the volume of drink – you then must convert that to what’s reasonable for your body weight. The label should state the amount of caffeine per serve.  

    Foods that contain caffeine include chocolate, cola drinks, sports supplements, energy drinks, kola nuts, cocoa beans, coffee beans, tea leaves (and all kinds of tea including green tea), and many weight loss supplements. 

    Typical amounts of caffeine in different foods are: 

    • 145mg caffeine in a 50mL cup of espresso 
    • 80mg caffeine in an energy drink or caffeinated beverage 
    • 80mg in a cup of instant coffee 
    • 58mg in a long black (100mL cup) 
    • 50mg in a cup of black tea 
    • 36.4mg in a can of caffeinated cola drink 
    • 13mg in a cup of green tea 
    • 12mg in 20g of dark chocolate with high cocoa solids 
    • 10mg in a 50g bar of milk chocolate 
    • 6mg in a 200mL cup of hot chocolate 

    So if my caffeine intake is recommended to be 156 mg per day, I can get that amount from either: 

    • One espresso and 20g of dark chocolate 
    • Three cups of black tea 
    • A cup of instant coffee, a cup of black tea and a chocolate bar 

    You get the idea – it’s about quantity. 

    How do you respond to caffeine? 

    Everyone response differently to caffeine. 

    Some people get the jitters after one weak coffee, and some can drink 8 coffees a day and still have a solid night’s sleep. Why is that? 

    Well, your weight sets the scene for your recommended intake as I’ve just described. 

    On top of that, you might either process and get rid of caffeine quickly or more slowly than other people. On average, it takes between 3 – 12 hours to metabolise and excrete caffeine. 

    What you eat can affect caffeine metabolism and clearance. For example, large quantities of vitamin C and eating brassica vegetables can speed up your caffeine clearance, whereas alcohol or grapefruit consumption can decrease caffeine clearance. 

    Depending on your genes, you may be a fast clearer or a slow clearer, and some genotypes are less sensitive to the effects of caffeine. 

    I had a genetic test years ago that indicated I was a fast metaboliser, but I know that I am sensitive to caffeine because it gives me a noticeable lift and I start talking, thinking and doing fast – sometimes too fast. 

    More recently, my HealthType test shows I am a Sensor type, and coffee is generally recommended to be avoided, or consumed about once per month. 

    Do you need a coffee break? 

    Coffee or caffeine can certainly help you feel pepped up, but caffeine is addictive and withdrawal can have side effects including depression, low energy, shakiness, anxiety, headache, irritability, fatigue, trouble concentrating and/or constipation.  

    I recently discovered that going from one espresso to none triggered a terrible headache, brain fog, trouble concentrating and irritability 

    And having gone through burnout, have been regularly experiencing anxiety and insomnia, and more recently went into menopause, I suspect my adrenal glands have been working overtime and my nervous system has been heavily taxed. 

    This probably explains my night sweats and some of the other symptoms I’ve mentioned.  

    I decided I didn’t want coffee controlling me, and it might be worth experimenting with a detox to see how I feel when I don’t regularly drink coffee or consume caffeine, especially during menopause. 

    Here’s is my protocol for giving up coffee temporarily to see how it affects me. I will update you once I’ve done a few weeks without coffee on what has changed! 

    My Coffee Detox Plan 

    There are lots of ways to do this, but I will be starting slow and tapering gradually down to zero so I minimise any withdrawal symptoms mentioned above. 

    Also, I will be making sure I reduce caffeine from other foods sources at the same time. When I tried quitting coffee last time, I found myself wanting more chocolate – obviously my body was looking for sugar and caffeine as a source of energy. 

    Step 1 

    Taper from 2 – 3 coffees per day down to one espresso daily for at least one week. 

    At the same time, I’m making sure I’m getting 2L of water into my diet to ensure good that my digestion and elimination is not affected. 

    I’ve done this step already at the time of writing. 

    Step 2 

    I have previously started mixing regular coffee with decaf in my espresso and that has worked, but this time I will swap to black and green tea and taper that way. 

    So my step 2 will be to have two black teas per day, and I’ll do that for up to a week depending on my symptoms (or maybe longer). I’ll start this tomorrow. 

    Step 3 

    Next, I’ll reduce to one black tea per day. 

    Step 4 

    Finally, I’ll go down to rooibos tea only. 

    I will stay caffeine free for 3 or 4 weeks to see what changes for me, knowing that after my body has adapted, it will take up to 3 months being caffeine free before I see the full physiological effects of reducing caffeine. 

    Summary

    Today we talked about the recommended caffeine intakes and how caffeine may affect different people differently, especially in terms of anxiety, insomnia and other symptoms.  

    We covered why some people might want to reduce caffeine, and how to taper gradually and take time away from coffee and caffeine. 

    You can develop your own protocol for this, I’ve given mine as an example, and hopefully, this helps you to experiment and discover how coffee and caffeine affect you, and whether it’s something you want to continue using. 

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#215 Reducing Anxiety with Vagus Nerve Stimulation

    This episode is about reducing anxiety with vagus nerve stimulation

    If you’ve struggled with anxiety or other mental health concerns, you know how debilitating it can be. Today we’ll discuss how vagus nerve stimulation can help you to improve these conditions, and 6 ways you can do this simply and effectively at home. 

    If you’ve been following me, you know that I talk about anxiety and sleep from time to time as I am dealing with those things myself. 

    One thing I’ve realised lately is that I regularly have a racing heart, racing thoughts, body tension and/or gut issues. A common thread for all these things is the vagus nerve. 

    As I explore vagus nerve stimulation as a treatment for myself, I wanted to share the idea with you and explain what it is, how it works, and how you can try it for yourself to gain a sense of physical and mental calmness.  

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is the Vagus Nerve?
    * Applications of Vagus Nerve Stimulation
    * 6 Ways to use Vagus Nerve Stimulation at home

    What is the Vagus Nerve and How Does it Work? 

    The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body and is one of the main components of your parasympathetic nervous system (the ‘rest and digest’ system).  

    The word vagus means ‘wandering’. It ‘wanders’ from your brain stem through your throat, heart, lungs and digestive tract before descending to your abdomen.  

    It plays a role in regulating your metabolism and neuroendocrine-immune function, and it does this by monitoring and receiving information from your major internal organs. 

    The vagus nerve maintains homeostasis (maintaining a stable environment) – it does this by sending and receiving information to and from the brain and vital organs.  

    If there’s danger about, your vagus nerve will respond with a racing heart, but if you are relaxing with some good music, the vagus nerve that will regulate your breathing and slow things down. 

    This nerve contains both sensory and motor fibres, so it deals with both sensation and movement. 

    It’s also a key connection in the gut brain superhighway, explaining why diet plays an important role in mental health and immune response. It is influential in inflammation through activation of the immune system in response to stress. 

    In fact, 20% of the vagus nerve fibres are efferent which means sending information from brain to body, whereas 80% of the vagus nerve fibres are afferent, meaning that they send information from the body to the brain. 

    By now, you can see that the vagus nerve is a big part of our mind-body connection. It can drive calmness and balance from the brain down to cause bodily relaxation, or from the body up to create psychological ease. 

    The vagus nerve’s sensory and motor functions, afferent and efferent actions and mind-body links are precisely why vagus nerve stimulation can be a powerful tool in reducing anxiety. 

    Neuroscientist Stephen Porges developed a theory called the polyvagal theory, which argues that the stress response can be managed through the sensory, emotional and motor pathways that are controlled by the vagus nerve. 

    That’s where vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) comes in.

    Applications of Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) 

    Studies into VNS state that VNS is an approved therapy for epilepsy (with 40% of patients showing up to 50% reduction in seizures). 

    It has also shown promising results for chronic inflammatory disorders including sepsis, lung injury, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, to control pain in fibromyalgia and migraines. 

    VNS has great potential for a wider range of applications including inflammatory bowel disorders including Crohn’s disease, as well as Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease.  

    VNS has shown effective as a supplemental treatment for some people with treatment resistant depression. There is evidence in its’ efficacy for treating obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), PTSD, and panic disorder, and promise as a treatment for anxiety disorders. 

    Further study is required to overcome research challenges like small sample sizes, variability in study participants, test invasiveness, and the interaction of other factors. 

    But based on what I’ve just described, it’s clear that VNS can be a powerful tool for a wide variety of health concerns related to the nervous system, major organs, or both.  

    6 Ways to use Vagus Nerve Stimulation at Home 

    Having explored the application and potential power of VNS, let’s just say it won’t work for everyone, but it may help you to feel calmer, more peaceful, and lower inflammation. 

    The 6 ways to use VNS at home include methods that stimulate organs and muscles which are innervated by the vagus nerve – lungs, heart, vocal chords, gut and so on – so that those signals can be sent back to the brain to let it know that all is ok, you can calm down. 

    1. Take long, deep breaths 

    The 4-7-8 breathing pattern is a good example, where exhalations (8-count) are twice as long as inhalations (4-count) (the 7 is a pause in the middle). 

    This breathing pattern, through the nose 5 – 10 times, can slow your heart rate and send messages back to the brain to calm down. 

    2. Cold water on your face 

    Cold water on the face stimulates the vagus nerve and this may be useful for slowing or regulating a racing heart and reducing pain receptor sensitivity. 

    3. Singing loudly, humming, or laughing 

    Stimulating the vocal cords can stimulate the vagus nerve to create calmness and well-being. 

    4. Coughing or gargling 

    Coughing or gargling can stimulate the vocal chords much like singing, humming or laughing.  

    5. Dancing 

    Dancing affects the neural pathways linked to posture and balance and can communicate a sense of calmness and well-being back to the brain. 

    6 Yoga and/or meditation 

    Yoga and/or meditation involve breathwork and physical positioning that can create calmness partly due to VNS.

    It would also be reasonable to suggest that exercise and healthy food stimulate the VNS through both motor and sensory pathways. 

    There are a couple of ways to use these techniques to help you calm your nervous system and potentially reduce anxiety. 

    Firstly, develop a regular practice of one or two of these activities, so that you are doing them a few times per week and habituating the calming response in your body. 

    Secondly, learn to recognise stress in your body and to then respond by using one of these activities in the moment (rather than what you are currently doing). 

    For example, if I check in with myself and notice my heart is racing, I might use deep breathing for a minute to calm it down. 

    Or, if I feel anxious about something, I might start humming to myself instead of reaching for a square of chocolate.  

    To help you experiment with what works and habituate those techniques, you might like to work with a coach, or to at least start writing down your plans and intentions so that you remember to take these actions regularly and stay accountable to yourself.   

    Summary

    Today we discussed some of the research into vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), a key part of your nervous system that promotes homeostasis of metabolism, neuroendocrine function and immune function. 

    VNS shows promise for the treatment of various neurological and mental health concerns. There are six ways you can practice VNS in the privacy of your own home to help you calm down the nervous system and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety, panic or stress. 

    These include long deep breaths (with longer exhales), splashing your face with cold water, singing or humming or laughing, coughing or gargling, dancing, or meditating. 

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#214 Six ways to boost your professional credibility

    This episode is about six ways to boost your professional credibility

    Are you finding it difficult to gain credibility with other health professionals? Are they confused about what you do, or facing lots of questions about your qualifications? Today I’ll outline six ways you can boost your professional credibility so that people understand what you do and have trust and confidence in your qualification, training, skill set and capabilities.

    I wanted to create this episode today because I’ve had two conversations recently that really got me fired up.

    In one conversation, a recent graduate who is out marketing her services said she’d been constantly questioned by professionals about her qualifications – not by potential clients – but by health professionals.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What professional credibility mean
    * Why people question your qualifications
    * Six ways to boost your professional credibility

    In the other conversation, a seasoned coach is starting a degree, following what I would call professionally bullying – being told by a health professional that she isn’t qualified enough to have enough expertise in wellness, and needs to do higher education.

    After I got up from pounding my fists on the floor, I decided to develop this episode to help you to understand why these sorts of things happen, and what you can do about it.

    What professional credibility means

    To set the scene, let’s define professional credibility.

    It can be simply defined as your education, experience, performance and demonstrated professional development in a particular field.

    This definition gives some clues about what it takes to be a credible professional that is trusted and respected. Let’s dig a bit deeper.

    Why people question your qualifications and professional credibility

    According to an article in the Organisational Behaviour in Health Care book series, “…professional credibility is a source of legitimacy.” The chapter says that when professional credibility is combined with leadership, you can create respect and trust by peers, and engagement with followers.

    So, when people question your qualifications or professionalism, they are looking for evidence that you’re trustworthy, capable, and skilled.

    In a healthcare setting, it’s understandable that people might question anyone’s professional credibility because you may be dealing with people in health critical or l

    complex medical or psychological conditions, and other professionals with significant experience in patient care and medical systems.

    Somebody showing up with a coaching qualification may not fit into their paradigm.

    In Australia, Health and Wellness Coaching is a relatively young profession and people don’t understand what it is or how it fits with existing medical frameworks, or within health professions.

    Part of the challenge is the range of untrained and unexperienced people giving themselves coaching-related titles and offering services that are clearly not coaching related.

    Another part of the challenge is the diversity of coaching professions around – you can be a life coach, a wellness coach, a health and wellness coach, a health coach, an executive coach….and so on. What’s the difference? Which is the appropriate setting for each one?

    I’ll address these three issues in a moment.

    But to finish up this section of today’s topic, I wanted to say that there is something of a turf war going on in Australia. I have heard of this first-hand from a psychologist a few years ago, who told me that psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors are fighting about who is credentialled enough for what.

    Let me ease your mind a bit by saying that professional skills are important, our profession definitely needs some good promotion and PR, our scope of practice needs to be clear, but please also know that human ego and professional bullying exists and is potentially always going to be there, no matter how well known, recognised and accepted our profession is.

    In fact, the reason I left my previous career as a biological scientist is that I was sick of all the egotism, barrow-pushing and bullying that was going on in my industry back then. I wasn’t personally affected but I was disheartened by the behaviour, generally.

    That said, there are things going on and that you can do to move past the questions and to gain the credibility and respect you deserve.

    Six ways to boost your professional credibility

    Let’s look at 6 ways you can start boosting your professional credibility.

    HCANZA – Look for the Logo

    If you’re a regular listener of this podcast, you might remember an episode I did in May 2022 called how to boost your professional credibility. This episode was about showcasing the health coaching profession at the inaugural conference of our industry association, Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand association (HCANZA), and how attending could give you ideas on how to communicate what health coaches do, and what our profession is achieving.

    As a current board member of HCANZA, I can say that HCANZA is working hard in the advocacy of our profession at the highest levels of government, insurance and medical sector in Australia and New Zealand. HCANZA serves multiple purposes, including building the knowledge, understanding and reputation of health coaching in Australia and New Zealand. We are running a Look for the Logo campaign that educates the public and health professionals on how to choose an appropriately qualified health and wellness coach.

    If you are a member of HCANZA, then you have access to resources to help you also advocate for our profession, and to promote yourself in a professional way. Hot off the press, HCANZA members now have access to a 25 page booklet called The Doctors Guide to Health Coaching, authored by Sandra Sheinbaum from the Institute of Functional Medicine and provided to HCANZA members for the purpose of awareness-building, advocacy and promotion of our profession.

    If you’re a current member, this would have been sent to you by email and it’s available in the member toolkit. The document has been sent to 2,000 doctors in this past week.

    Professional branding

    Whether we like it or not, first impressions count.

    That means that any imagery, documents, flyers, email footers, social media pages, websites etc that you have need to look professional.

    Professional branding can cost as little as $200 or up to $15,000 but before you leap in, you need to work out your target market and ideal customer and get to know them intimately.

    Why? Because your branding colours and styles need to appeal to your specific demographic, psychographic and desired feelings.

    Before tackling branding formally, when you are getting started, at least develop a professional looking email signature and a formal LinkedIn profile with a professional headshot and a well written bio on it.

    Mentioning your qualifications, training and HCANZA membership is valuable for your professional standing and to raise awareness of our industry association.

    Your main goal initially is to have consistent visuals and messaging across any promotional material. If you start with LinkedIn and an email footer, and any other online presence, they should all look similar, use the same fonts, and have the same feel about them.

    If you are a HCANZA Professional member, log into your account and look inside your member toolkit for tips on creating a professional bio, getting noticed on LinkedIn, where to use your HCANZA logo, and crafting an elevator pitch (who you work with and the general area – e.g. I help professional women in their 40’s who are struggling with menopause). We also have a HCANZA-badged brochure that talks about the benefits of working with a HCANZA-accredited coach.

    A clear value proposition

    When you can clearly and confidently describe who you work with (elevator pitch) and how you help your niche (value proposition), it lends credibility and professionalism – and legitimacy.

    A value proposition describes the tangible results someone will get from using your products or services. I did an episode unpacking how to do this recently using a tool called a Brand Ladder, which you can listen to, here.

    A value proposition might be longer than an elevator pitch and speak more specifically to the tangible results. For example, comparing to the elevator pitch I just mentioned, a related value proposition might be something like:

    “I use an evidence-based methodology help menopausal women to become aware of what impacts their menopausal symptoms, and to develop health-giving routines to help them reduce their symptoms naturally and feel healthy, productive, energized and calm”.

    When you can clearly explain how you help people, they see the value in working with you.

    It’s clear that you know what you’re talking about, and that you are confident in what you do and how it helps people.

    Endorsement

    Personal or professional endorsements are great ways to build credibility. If someone else likes and trusts you, and if you have proven success, this builds your legitimacy as a coach.

    Endorsement can take on various forms, such as:

    · Being a HCANZA Professional member and listed on their website

    · Client testimonials (on your website or social media platform – or a widget like TrustPilot)

    · Client case studies

    · Professional recommendations (LinkedIn is a great example)

    · Media references

    · Employer references

    · Corporate or business client case studies

    Even as a new coach, you can cover at least some of these.

    Professional networking

    While networking itself isn’t necessarily credibility building, the act of consistently showing up in professional networking spaces creates visibility and recognition and helps you to build relationships with like-minded people who can become your allies and advocates.

    For example, when I started my weight loss coaching business, I made an effort to send introductory letters to prominent health professionals in my area and meet several of them for coffee afterwards.

    I also attended various events and presentations in my local area such as Medicare presentations, health expos and health practitioner lunches, where I could leverage those initial contacts and become known in the area.

    Also, I started my business by running a pilot program that involved my clients seeing their doctors or health professionals for a health clearance before starting. This gave those professionals firsthand experience in the success of my coaching program, and therefore professional endorsement and recognition.

    In the end, GP’s and podiatrists, chiropractors and diabetes educators were referring people to me for weight loss, having seen improvement in my clients weight, BMI, blood pressure, insulin, etc.

    You can do this in your local area (four or five surrounding suburbs) or nearest health hub.

    Publishing and speaking

    Finally, being published in online articles, interviewed on the radio or podcasts, published in print newspapers or magazines, all give you visibility and credibility.

    After all, nobody will publish you or interview you if you’re not credible.

    While this is a marketing activity, it also gives you a chance to be seen, heard and known by different audiences, so they can validly assess (in their own minds) how professional you are.

    Summary

    Today we talked about the challenges we face in being recognised as credible professionals. The truth is, no matter how experienced and qualified you are, someone will always take a shot at you or doubt your credentials.

    That aside, there are six things you can do to boost your professional credibility right now:

    · Being a HCANZA member

    · ensure you have professional branding

    · develop a clear value proposition

    · gain endorsements

    · professional networking

    · publishing and speaking

    Passion to Profit

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#211 How to Succeed by Showing Up

    This episode is about how to succeed by showing up

    Are you struggling to find enough clients, do a good enough job, or achieve your goals, and wondering how to make it happen? Let’s look at why showing up is the key to your success.

    What is showing up?

    Showing up refers to your ability to do things consistently and to be accountable to yourself for that. It’s a simple as that, but it’s also essential for achieving any outcome goals you have.

    Losing weight.

    Launching a successful business.

    Attracting clients.

    Completing a qualification.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is showing up?
    * What does showing up create?
    * How do you commit to showing up?

    It doesn’t matter what you are trying to achieve – it’s the same principle. Showing up is required for success, and it means that you are committed, disciplined, and consistent with your efforts no matter what, which makes the results possible.

    A lot of people I meet come to me for coaching because they are getting half baked results or no results. A lot of the time it’s about not showing up for yourself consistently.

    A lot of things happen if you don’t show up.

    For example, in marketing one of the keys to becoming visible and known is that you show up regularly and keep your promises to yourself and your audience. It might take 6 to 12 months before somebody even knows that you exist, so you need to be putting yourself out there consistently and regularly in the same places over a long enough period of time that people can start to see you and get to know you, let alone want to buy something from you.

    A lot of coaches I meet try something here and there for a month and then give up saying that nobody is interested. Not long enough! And likely, not consistent enough.

    The same goes for eating and exercise for example. If you want to be athletic, to lose 5 kg of body fat, to gain 3 kg of muscle, to run a marathon or to consistently follow a Mediterranean diet, then you need to show up for yourself and exercise, eat well or train several times per week and every week consistently for a period of time – usually at least 3 months.

    It’s great to start with planning to do something, but that is the easy bit. You feel excited at the prospect of achieving the result. You feel satisfied that you’ve mapped out all of the steps appropriately. You feel like you are ready to go.

    But the reality is, as you start to implement your plan life is going to throw you curveballs. That’s a definite – and showing up requires you to figure out how to keep showing up for yourself, or for others, or both.

    I know for myself for example, at least two or three nights a week I sleep poorly at the moment. And while it might be tempting for me to take a day off the next day, I have responsibilities and things that are important for me to do so I dig deep, and I show up. I make myself get up on time, shower, get dressed in colourful clothing, eat something nutritious, and prepare myself mentally for the meetings and tasks ahead. Obviously there are exceptions, like if I am really sick, but otherwise I just get over the mind games and move forward.

    ALL of us have obstacles in life that prevent us from showing up and that is why working with a coach to be so helpful because it’s about learning how to navigate, troubleshoot, and problem solve those obstacles so that you can be consistent and get the results you want.

    Why is it sometimes hard to show up? Simply, because our brains work against us. Our brains are wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain and expend as little effort as possible. This is why we tell ourselves all the lies and excuses that stop us from taking action!

    But if we work with our brains, we develop better habits that help us to show up and create results.

    What does showing up create?

    So, what happens if you do manage your brain better and show up consistently?

    Well let’s look at some real life examples.

    I have been running this podcast every week for over two years. I have committed to consistently publishing episodes every week no matter what. For example, my father just passed away a couple of weeks ago, and knowing that he was unwell I recorded a couple of episodes in advance so that I could keep showing up.

    Some days I don’t feel like recording a podcast but I do it anyway because I am committed to this activity.

    People ask, where do I get the motivation? Well, I have learned to embrace this process because it builds my audience over time with more and more people listening to this podcast. I don’t want to let them down by not showing up. If I don’t do an episode or two, or if I’m late, people will get the impression that I’m unreliable and untrustworthy – definitely not helpful! Therefore, I have strategies in place to make sure that I show up every week no matter what.

    Actually, weight loss is a really good example of what’s required for showing up. In my experience of coaching people around weight loss, it often takes several weeks before they start to see the impact of habit they have changed. In the meantime, they may get sick, lose motivation, feel overwhelmed with stressors or feel tired as their body changes. But by committing to themselves they can overcome those challenges and still show up for themselves in order to achieve the result that they want.

    The interesting thing is that it’s actually not so much about the result because that is a one-off thing. Showing up is actually about embracing the process and developing the habits that will make you a success.

    Those habits become who you are, your new identity, and a new way of living.

    In the weight loss example, people talk about losing weight and then gaining it again. It just means that they stop showing up for themselves and go back into their old habits which no longer serve them.

    In another example, I think about myself as a business owner running my signature weight loss program in my local area for 3 1/2 years.

    It didn’t matter how tired I was, or down, or what the weather was like, I showed up consistently for those groups of clients and got myself into a positive mindset to foster an exceptional experience for those clients and hold the space for them so that they could achieve their goals.

    Sometimes I definitely didn’t feel like running those group sessions, but I had strategies in place to make sure that my clients got incredible value from those sessions and from working with me. After all, it was the results they got and the way they felt in those sessions that created multiple referrals and sold-out programs every time.

    What do you think would’ve happened if I cancelled sessions because I didn’t feel like going, or if I showed up half hearted and listless?

    Showing up – or not – creates your results.

    How do you commit to showing up?

    So how do you commit to showing up for yourself and for other people?

    It’s really all about managing your mindset, your energy, your motivation, and maintaining your level of commitment to yourself and or other people.

    If you want to show up for yourself or others consistently, the first thing you must do is to define a really good reason why you want to do a particular thing. In my example of podcasting, this is tied in with my ability to have an impact on the lives of other people and to help people to bring their greatness to the world. This is a huge part of my purpose, so if I don’t do this podcast consistently, I might lose my audience, and that might mean that I don’t get to fulfil my purpose.

    The nutshell is that having a big why or lots of whys is really important for committing to something.

    The second thing is that you have to be doing something that is truly meaningful and important to you. If you are trying to do something that you think you should be doing but don’t really want to do and then it’s going to be hard to stick to. This ties into your why, but is slightly different.

    For example, reaching my audience is important to me, but my actions for getting there must be meaningful and aligned. When I tried to run a Facebook group over about a 14-month period, I struggled because I absolutely hated being on Facebook and so I wasn’t able to make myself be consistent and show up for that and I learnt a really important lesson by failing at that. I realise that I was doing something that I thought I should be doing but didn’t really suit me or feel right and it didn’t suit my audience either.

    So, choosing activities and goals with importance and meaning is an essential part of showing up.

    The third thing is that if you want to be able to show up for yourself or others consistently, choose habits or activities that play to your strengths, or find ways to use your strengths to complete those activities. It’s much easier to be consistent when you are doing something that you are good at or have the potential to develop skills in.

    The fourth thing, and this is probably a really important one, is that you just have to stop overthinking things. It’s really easy if you’re tired or stressed to want to give up on yourself and to tell yourself stories about why you can’t do something. That’s just your brain trying not to make the effort.

    If you think about it, it’s actually the discomfort of doing something under adversity that helps you to come out stronger and with a greater sense of self belief. If you give in every time and don’t be consistent, then you are just proving to yourself that you can’t. If you grit your teeth and get

    through something challenging, you gain a sense of pride, efficacy and a glimmer of hope that you can do it again. This gives your untrusting brain the proof it needs to believe you can succeed.

    It’s way better to find some strategies and cues and just make yourself do something and get across the line to prove to yourself that you can because that will create momentum and an upward spiral.

    My best strategy to overcome mental hurdles is talking myself into doing the activity and outlining all the reasons it’s important.

    The fifth thing is that planning is really important in terms of being able to show up for yourself. Imagine if I was trying to record a podcast every week but didn’t have any sort of activity put into my calendar. I’d probably forget will be trying to squeeze it in around other appointments or double booking myself and then it wouldn’t get done. Planning means you are intentionally making space – a dedicated time slot every week – to recording an episode, doing the gym workout, or posting on LinkedIn – whatever it is you want to commit to.

    Planning offers you more than just the ability to complete the task. By making space for what matters to you, it prompts you to clear out the low return tasks so that you don’t waste time and become more efficient and productive. When your schedule is based around important but not urgent tasks and not too many of them, then it’s much easier to show up for yourself.

    The sixth thing I want to talk about today in terms of showing up is that sometimes you’re going to need support from another person or some sort of system to help you show up. It could be a coach. It could be an alarm. It could be a ritual or process you used to get yourself into the right headspace. But whatever it is, if you find it hard to be self motivated and self disciplined at times, think about the things you can do to help you show up for yourself.

    Using this podcast as an example once again, if I’m not in the mood or am lacking inspiration, I have a few uplifting podcasts that I listen to that help me to come up with a more positive mindset and create some of my own ideas for content. I also have content that I’ve created in the past and I can always go back to that and re-purpose it for a podcast episode if I need to. I have a system of dictating into my iPad or phone so if I get an idea while I’m on the run I can capture it in a document using the microphone function and that means I am constantly adding to the content when the ideas strike me. These are three of my personal strategies for making sure I show up and do this podcast every week no matter what.

    The seventh and final thing that will help you to show up is the 7-minute rule. In the practice of yoga, there is a saying that if you just do 7 minutes then you will likely keep going. I apply the same principle to anything else that I need to show up for. Just seven minutes writing some notes for a podcast. Or just seven minutes getting my mind in order so I can still see my clients today and not cancel any appointments. You get the idea. Doing a tiny amount of something means that you get over the initial hurdle of starting, and that you are more likely to keep going

    Summary

    Today we talked about what showing up is and why it is important.

    I also talked about seven ways to help you show up for yourself:

    1. Define a specific why, or many whys

    2. Focus on activities that are meaningful and important to you (linked to the why)

    3. Choose activities that play to your strengths, or find ways to use strengths to complete them

    4. Stop overthinking things and just do them with the help of strategies and cues.

    5. Planning specific activities for specific time slots

    6. Get the support you need from others, systems or tools

    7. Commit to just 7 minutes so you get over the hurdle of starting.

    Showing up for yourself means that you can do meaningful things in your own life and succeed at those things and feel like you are living a purposeful and intentional life.

    It is about learning to embrace the process and become good at that, rather than just focussing on the result. This not only helps you achieve the result, it also helps you to become committed to the regular actions that create your results!

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#209 How Long Does It Take to Form a Habit?

    This episode is about how long does it take to form a habit?

    Are you thinking about making change but lacking in motivation, and wondering how long it will take to form a new habit that happens automatically and effortlessly?

    By knowing how long it takes to form a habit, it can help you to manage your expectations, decide if you are ready to start, and hang in there long enough to be successful.

    I’m sure you know what it’s like. At some point in your life, you have wanted to lose weight, or tone up, or establish a better sleep routine, but it can be hard to get started when you’re not clear on how long it will take, and whether you have enough time and energy to even start.

    If you search the internet for “how long does it take to form a habit”, you will find a range of answers. Today I want to share the most recent research to answer this question, with caveats included!

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * The Architecture
    * What Type of Habit Do You Want to Change?
    * What Type of Person Are You?
    * What is Your Situation? What is Your Mindset?
    * What Does the Research Say?

    The Architecture of Habits

    To set the scene, let’s look at the architecture of habits. I have done a deep dive on this in previous episodes, so for now let’s recap.

    Firstly, any habit has a cue or trigger – something that causes it to happen.

    Then there is a routine or process that you go through.

    Then, there is a reward you receive by going through the process.

    The craving for this reward can motivate you to keep coming back.

    What this means for you is that if you want to change a bad habit or form a new habit, you need to work the elements of this ‘habit loop’ to help you get there faster.

    Let’s look at how to do that, with some examples.

    What Type of Habit Do You Want to Change?

    Firstly, consider that the type and complexity of habit that you want to change. Let me give you two examples from my own life so you can see the difference.

    If it’s a simple habit you want to form like flossing your teeth once per day, then you can bet that it will happen a lot sooner and become automatic more easily compared to a more complex habit.

    A few years ago, a friend of mine told me he had started flossing his teeth each night. This is something I’ve wanted to do for teeth hygiene reasons, but never quite found the motivation and

    momentum to be consistent. This is probably because I found it to be a rather fiddly and sometimes painful task, and I had told myself that I hated flossing my teeth, or that I couldn’t be bothered.

    But as soon as my friend mentioned he was doing this, I decided that I’d have a go too. I didn’t tell him or anyone else – I just decided one day that I would have a competition with myself to do it every night for 12 weeks, as an experiment to see whether I could turn this into an automatic and effortless habit.

    The trigger part of the habit was easy – I would floss before brushing my teeth each night. This is called habit stacking, or as I like to call it, piggybacking. I simply put a package of floss next to my toothbrush and voila, I remembered to even think about doing it each night!

    I got off to a good start and in the first few weeks, I realised a few things.

    Firstly, I realised that each night I was approaching this habit in the wrong way.

    When I got ready to floss, I noticed that I was thinking about how annoying this was, or how I didn’t feel like doing it, or how yukky and gross it was – unhelpful thinking! Instead, I decided to come up with more neutral or positive thoughts as I was flossing. I started thinking things like “I did another night! Yay!” or “This is good for my teeth!”

    Secondly, I realised that if I was going to be consistent with this, I would have to be clear on the process. I had recently been to a new dentist, and they’d provided some written instructions on how to brush and floss your teeth. To make it more interesting, I decided to geek it up and deep dive into technique, trying to bring some fresh energy and interest into the process.

    I learned about flossing on angles and how long it should take.

    Those two things kept me going in the beginning.

    Then I started thinking about the reward in earnest, rather than just having that sense of achievement. Sure, that was a reward, but I also ran my tongue over my teeth and made a smug ‘ah’ sound, really celebrating the clean teeth and how I was maintaining the dentist’s good cleaning work.

    Something funny happened about 11 or 12 weeks into the routine. I had had a late night and a few drinks and was getting ready for bed. And even being so tired, I realised that I simply couldn’t go to bed without flossing my teeth before brushing.

    It was a huge win! I could celebrate more than just the fact that it had become automatic and effortless – I also wanted to floss my teeth because I had created an attachment to the rewards of achievement and cleaner teeth (as opposed to the old rewards of getting out of a boring task).

    Now compare that with something like giving up smoking. Smoking is something you do multiple times per day, and your desire to smoke might be triggered by multiple different things.

    I smoked socially in my late teens, and in earnest when I was 21 years old after a stressful series of events. It had become a coping mechanism and a way of fitting in socially (these were the rewards).

    After a year, I decided it was ridiculous to smoke and I wanted to give up but it was difficult! This wasn’t just one habit loop – it was many habit loops happening in tandem.

    For example, there were various cues or triggers for smoking.

    After breakfast. While driving. After lunch. When stressed. While hanging out with certain friends. While drinking alcohol. At a pub or nightclub (a common hangout when I was this age). At the end of the day as a pleasant wind-down ritual on the balcony of my unit. Looking cool in front of boys (or so I thought).

    Coupled with the perceived rewards of coping better and looking cool (yes, I am groaning about these), I also had a serious nicotine addiction by now so had chemical drivers.

    This habit was a lot more complex than teeth flossing!

    In the end, I dismantled my smoking habit one piece at a time.

    Firstly, I switched from menthol cigarettes (tasted better) to plain cigarettes and the worst-tasting ones – in other words, I made the habit more unpleasant.

    Next, I substituted those cigarettes to ones that tasted bad AND had the lowest nicotine.

    Then, I started delaying my first cigarette. So instead of around 9am, I would wait until 10am, then 11am, then after lunch.

    By now I was smoking fewer per day, so I started buying smaller packets.

    I started hanging out with different friends – friends who didn’t smoke. This was a game changer for this habit because it removed temptation and also helped me frame a healthier identity – by hanging around people who placed a higher value on health.

    I was going to nightclubs to dance instead of smoke. I was going to the beach in the daytime instead of pubs to play pool.

    By the end of about 6 months, I was down to one cigarette per day – the one on the balcony late afternoon. This was the hardest one to give up because I had a positive ritual and feeling of me time. However, I made the decision to stop and do something else at this time.

    Voila, the habit was gone.

    I had cravings for a while, but it was easier to ride them out once I got this far.

    As you can see, more complex habits take longer to break or form and are more involved.

    Some people go for substitution for gum or other things, but for me, I wanted to break the habit and rewire all the different areas of my life rather than swap one vice or habit for another.

    What Type of Person Are You?

    Complexity aside, I think a lot comes down to the type of person you are.

    If you are motivated, focused, achievement oriented and proactive, it’s probably easier for you to form a new habit or break a bad habit.

    Some people have more addictive personalities – and I am one of these (as revealed in a genetic test I had done a few years ago to look at disease risk factors).

    Some people like putting others first and even at their own expense, which can get in the way of forming new habits.

    These are all factors that affect your ability to form new habits and the time that it takes.

    What is Your Life Situation?

    Your life situation impacts your ability to form a habit and the rate at which it happens.

    Why? Because making change is hard. It requires a lot of focus and energy from your brain, and brains like taking the easy, low-cost, low-effort route.

    That means if your life situation is busy, overwhelming, stressful, painful, difficult, or involving major shifts or even crises, forming a new habit is going to be pretty difficult. Not just in terms of starting but in persisting.

    The best time to form a new habit is when there’s little stress in your life, when things are on an even keel, and when there aren’t many other pressures in life.

    This is not always possible, but at least you can clear the decks to make time and energy to focus on doing something new, or something different.

    The less stress you have, I believe the faster and easier change will be.

    This is where working with a coach can be so helpful, because they help you make the time and create the focus, and clear the decks, so that you have enough brain power for forming a habit.

    And not too many at once!

    What is Your Mindset?

    Finally, your mindset is a critical piece of the puzzle.

    You heard me say earlier in the teeth flossing and quit smoking examples, that I had decided to do it. And after 13 years of coaching, I can say that the majority of my clients use similar words.

    They say that they have decided, or they are in the right headspace, or they are really ready. There is determination in those words.

    And to be successful and persist for long enough so that you can form and automate a habit, you need to have a good enough reason which is meaningful to you, because this is your motivator to keep going.

    What Does the Research Say About Time Required to Form Habits?

    I’ve just given you a lot of backstory about habit formation that sets the scene for discussing the research.

    A 2009 paper by Phillippa Lalley et. al. was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

    The study involved 96 volunteers over 12 weeks. Those volunteers chose an eating, drinking or activity behaviour to carry out daily in the same context (e.g. after breakfast).

    The time it took to form the habit and for it to become largely automatic was 18 – 254 days, with an average of 66 days (9.5 weeks). A huge range!

    It is known that behaviour is likely to become habitual when it is frequently and consistently performed in the same context, this study found that a habit could be formed and become automatic even if it was missed a few times.

    More recently, a longitudinal field study considered how self-control capacity affected the development of habits over a period of 90 days.

    Contrary to expectations, self-control capacity did not seem to affect the habit formation process and opened the opportunity for future research.

    The recent research reveals a few keys to easier and potentially faster habit formation and habit automaticity:

    · Habit strength increases steeply at first then levels off

    · The more often the behaviour is completed, the quicker the habit forms

    · The more inherently rewarding the behaviour, the easier it is to form a habit

    · If the environment is comfortable (no threats/obstacles), habit formation is easier

    To me, these findings back up my experience with my own habits and with clients.

    The recipe for success seems to lie in the goal-setting process and the situation, as described earlier.

    If you clear your decks to make time, set specific goals around behaviours that are rewarding, and you commit to doing them frequently, you will more likely succeed.

    Having the support of a coach will probably help you get there faster!

    Summary

    Today we talked about how long it takes to form a habit and covered some of the factors that influence the timing and ease of habit formation.

    There is a lot of scope for future research in this area, with the most recent studies having shown that your capacity for self-control is not critical to the process!

    Rather, the intrinsic reward, frequency of behaviour, commitment, environment and in my experience, situation, mindset and personality, might all play a role in the timing.

     

    References

    Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C.H.M., Potts, H.W.W. and Wardle, J. (2010), How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 998-1009. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.674

    van der Weiden Anouk, Benjamins Jeroen, Gillebaart Marleen, Ybema Jan Fekke, de Ridder Denise. (2020). How to Form Good Habits? A Longitudinal Field Study on the Role of Self-Control in Habit Formation. Frontiers in Psychology 11. URL=https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00560

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#208 How to Interpret Sleep Data

    How to Interpret Sleep Data

    Are you trying to get better quality sleep and want to know what your sleep data means? In this episode, I’m going to explain sleep hypnograms and how to use them to understand your sleep and help you sleep better.

    Sleep is becoming recognised as a national health priority because it affects so many areas of life. More specifically, sleep quality and quantity are strongly linked to mental health, cognitive function, and physical injury. Sleep is regulated by multiple systems in the body including your circadian control as influenced by light and dark exposure (see previous episode).

    So if you want a good night’s sleep, where do you start? Let’s consider sleep data and how you can use it to make positive changes for a better night’s sleep.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is sleep data?
    * What is a sleep hypnogram?
    * What does your sleep data mean?
    * How can sleep data and hypnograms help improve sleep?

    What is sleep data?

    Sleep data includes any information collected about sleep.

    It can range from information that you manually collect or write down, to data you can collect from a wearable device to data that is collected by experienced practitioners in a sleep lab.

    Manual sleep data could include a sleep diary, where you write down information such as:

    – the time you went to bed,

    – the time you woke up,

    – a subjective rating of how well you think you slept, and

    – any factors that might have influenced your sleep (e.g. caffeine intake, alcohol intake, medications, use of devices, or any worries or anxiety).

    The data is relatively subjective compared to other methods.

    A wearable device can be used to capture physiological data while you are asleep. The data captured may include:

    – the time you fell asleep,

    – total duration of sleep

    – sleep phases and how long you spent in each phase,

    – sleep quality,

    – movement during the night,

    – heart rate during sleep,

    – oxygen saturation during sleep,

    – the time you work up.

    These data may be available on a wearable itself, or in an app that syncs wearable data. Commonly, these data are combined using artificial intelligence (AI) to provide an overall sleep score that is visible on the device and/or on a related app. Examples include Whoop, Oura Ring, and Apple watch.

    Other ways to capture sleep data can include nearables (non-wearable trackers that are placed near the bed which measures motion, temperature, respiratory rate, and other data), or mobile sleep apps (that detect motion in the night and/or may wake the person at the right time in their sleep cycle).

    The data collected by devices like the ones mentioned may be more accurate than self-reported data but are likely to be 50 – 60% as accurate as data collected in a formal sleep lab using purpose-built equipment, according to some studies.

    Many consumer wearable devices and apps use AI that is built purely from subjective data such as questionnaires, which may be biased and affect accuracy.

    There is an emerging interest in wearable devices and apps such as PhiliaHealth, whose algorithms are based in actual physiological studies in a lab, and who report other unique and more actionable data. In comparison to wearables, clinical sleep studies monitor aspects such as:

    – limb movement

    – respiratory flow

    – electrocardiograms (heart signals)

    – electroencephalograms (brain activity and eye movements)

    – electromyograms (muscle movements).

    For most people, it is that manually-collected data or data from a wearable that is most relevant and accessible, empowering you to take action to improve your sleep.

    What is a sleep hypnogram?

    There are a few different ways to look at sleep data, and a sleep hypnogram is one of them.

    A hypnogram is a graphical representation of your sleep cycle. It is a graph of polysomnography (PSG) data that is collected during the hours that you sleep.

    The data is captured by a wearable as an activity, about every 30 seconds while you sleep. While not very precise, it allows you to capture data for different stages of sleep and graph them. These stages and the time spent in each are:

    · Times you are awake and moving

    · Non-REM 1 sleep (lightest sleep) (10% of sleep time)

    · Non-REM 2 sleep (slightly deeper sleep) (50% of sleep time)

    · Non-REM 3 sleep (also called deep sleep or slow wave sleep) (20% of sleep time)

    · REM sleep (rapid eye movement, dream state, increased brain activity) (20% of sleep time

    We cycle through these stages of sleep around every 90 minutes (plus or minus 20 minutes), and each person typically has 4 – 6 of these cycles each night.

    Overall, 20% of sleep is spent in the REM, dreaming phase, and about 80% is spent in non-REM (also known as N-REM).

    The hypnogram plot of your sleep cycle data looks something like this:

    In a normal hypnogram, we might see more N-REM (Stages 1 -3) or deep sleep in the first half of the night (early sleep). Our hormonal balance is such that stimulation effects are lower at this time. 

    Then, in the later part of sleep, we might notice more REM sleep in the hypnogram. During this time, the hormone acetylcholine increases to help you to process information and memories without disrupting sleep.  

    People who have disruptive sleep show variations from the normal graph. They might have multiple awakenings, shorter or irregular sleep cycles, less deep sleep, and/or absent sleep stages. These changes can indicate psychiatric disorders, narcolepsy, sleep disorders, or medication effects (for example). 

    Where can I find my sleep data? 

    If you are using the PhiliaHealth app, your hypnogram can be found by clicking on the sleep icon on the daily dashboard, then scrolling down and click on your sleep session. 

    The sleep icon shows an overall score, with total sleep time and your resting heart rate during sleep. 

    Below that, the score is explained in terms of: 

    • contributing factors to good sleep (time spent in each stage and efficiency) which are colour coded in a traffic light system to show good, ok and not so good, and 
    • penalties that lower the score (restlessness, elevated heart rate and number of awakenings). 

    Scroll down to see your hypnogram including the % time spent in each stage. Remember that 20% of time spent in deep sleep is ‘normal’. 

    Below that, the other biometric data collected during sleep, and data on your sleep disturbances (based on arm movement). 

    The traffic light colour system used in the sleep score section and the biometric data section make it easy to differentiate the positives (green) from the negatives (red). 

    What does my sleep data mean? How can hypnograms help improve sleep? 

    Sleep data can empower you with information that can help you make better choices to improve your sleep. According to Villanova University, sleep data can be used to: 

    • Improve knowledge and treatment of sleep conditions 
    • Identify root causes of sleep disorders 
    • Link behaviours to sleep quality 
    • Improve mattress design, and 
    • Personalise recommendations for better sleep. 

    Even without going into the detail of the hypnogram and without the accuracy of laboratory-based methods, you can work out whether there are issues with your sleep and when they occur. 

    • Using your hypnogram, biometric data, sleep scores and disturbance data, you can figure out whether you’re getting enough deep sleep, and when there are potential sleep issues. 
    • You might notice that your sleep score, hypnogram and biometrics are abnormal on days that you do certain things like work late, drink alcohol, experience anxiety, use devices before bed or have noise or light nearby.  
    • Your hypnogram can show at a glance whether your sleep cycles are normal or not. 

    With this information, you may be able to experiment with modifying your daytime or evening behaviours or situations to improve sleep. The data might reflect positive changes in response to behaviour change. 

    By looking at trends over time and whether behaviour changes cause improvements, you can work out whether you are on track or need to get professional help from a doctor or specialist. 

    Summary

    This episode was a deep dive into what sleep data is, what hypnograms are, what the data means, and how you can use it to improve your sleep or identify a need to get help. 

    References 

    1. Lavery, Michael & Stull, Carolyn & Kinney, Michael & Yosipovitch, Gil. (2016). Nocturnal Pruritus: The Battle for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 17. 425. 10.3390/ijms17030425.
    2. How to Use Sleep Data to Effectively Improve Rest. Master’s in Data Science.org website https://www.mastersindatascience.org/resources/sleep-data-to-improve-rest/ accessed 23/8/22.
    3. Neubauer, David N. MD. (1999) Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center, Baltimore, MD in American Family Physician, 59(9):2551-2558, May 1, 1999.
    4. 4. Schellenberger Costa, Michael & Born, Jan & Claussen, Jens Christian & Martinetz, Thomas. (2016). Modeling the effect of sleep regulation on a neural mass model. Journal of Computational Neuroscience. 41. 10.1007/s10827-016-0602-z.
    5. 5. Wahaj Anwar A. Khan, Russell Conduit, Gerard A. Kennedy, Melinda L. Jackson, 2020. The relationship between shift-work, sleep, and mental health among paramedics in Australia. Sleep Health, Volume 6, Issue 3, 2020, Pages 330-337, ISSN 2352-7218, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2019.12.002.

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    E#207 Sleep Hacks for Insomniacs

    Sleep Hacks for Insomniacs

    If you’re like me, sleep can be hit and miss at times and getting enough sleep can become a drain that affects your performance and productivity. In this episode, we’ll cover a few sleep hacks recommended by leading neurobiologists that can help you to improve your chance of falling asleep and staying asleep.

    In the last episode of this podcast, we discussed sleep chronobiology and its impact on health and wellbeing, along with a few simple tips to identify your chronobiology and how to align your routines to your personal type.

    Now let’s get specific with some hacks! Many recent (2022) journal articles have revealed how ocular light exposure – that is, light entering the eyes – affects our circadian rhythms and sleep, endocrine function, and cognitive function, which in turn influence human health and wellbeing.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Evening sleep hacks for winding down at night
    * Sleep hacks for falling asleep and staying asleep
    * Tips for setting your sleep clock

    This conversation is partly based around “melanopic light”, which describes the way that blue light frequencies restrict melatonin production in your body until after dusk, after which time melatonin washes through the body to help you sleep.

    The recent advances in our understanding of the relationship between light exposure and sleep have led to the development of new standards and practices. By understanding how different light sources and timing of exposure work, neurobiologists have been able to develop recommendations for improving sleep quality and quantity.

    Let’s take a look at some of the hacks that you can use, for free, to improve your sleep.

    Evening sleep hacks for winding down

    An interesting hack is the recommendation for morning sun exposure (outdoors) which can mitigate any undesirable effects of indoor light exposure (during the day and at night), so that you can wind down more easily and sleep better.

    We also need to dim the lights in our houses. Recent advances in our understanding of circadian rhythms means that light manufacturers have been able to produce blue light components so that artificial lighting systems in our homes and offices are very similar to actual daylight.

    But while this is great for productivity during the day, it is not so good at night when we want to wind down and fall asleep. In that sense, after sunset, the experts recommend dimming the lights in your home, in the evening at least 3 hours before bedtime. This reduces the amount of light entering your eyes and helps allow the melatonin wash to occur.

    This also applies to electronic devices. Televisions, computer screens, tablets or mobile phones all emit blue light and are often close to your eyes, so turning off in the around sunset might help you to fall asleep and stay asleep.

    While we’re talking about sunset, one interesting study showed that when you couple daytime outdoor light exposure with early evening light exposure (e.g. sunset), it can help to decrease the sleep disruptive effects of nighttime light exposure.

    And if you have bright lights on late at night, you will suppress melatonin, the hormone that helps you relax and feel sleepy, which obviously affects your quality and duration of sleep.

    Aside from light, there are other things that can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

    Food and exercise can affect your ability to fall asleep.

    People who are early risers (see episode 206) might do better with an earlier dinner, exercising earlier in the day, and minimising socialising at night so as not to disrupt sleep.

    In contrast, people who are night owls (see episode 206) could eat later without disrupting sleep but might need a lighter dinner, and to finish exercise before 7pm so as not to disrupt sleep.

    Otherwise, and more generally, alcohol intake at night might help you fall asleep but might wake you up between 1 – 3am.

    For some people, a high-carb meal (more specifically, higher in simple carbs) might delay sleep onset – in other words, it takes longer to fall asleep – or cause them to wake up hungry.

    Similarly, caffeine or other stimulants after 3pm might disrupt sleep in some people, as it takes 3 – 15 hours to metabolise and excrete caffeine.

    A heavy meal at night or overeating at night often disrupts sleep. Either can cause indigestion, heartburn, or simple discomfort before bed or during sleep. That’s because, during sleep, our digestive processes slow down but can also create competition for resources in the body if you have an undigested meal in your stomach.

    Eating a heavy meal or too much food may cause you to wake up the next day without an appetite or even feeling heavy or sluggish because you’re still working through last night’s meal.

    The remedy for this is simple – and twofold:

    1. it takes around 4 hours to digest a meal, so finish eating at least 3 hours before you go to bed, and

    2. eat a lighter meal before bed with lots of vegetables, and the right amount of complex carbs, fats and/or proteins for your HealthType.

    Sleep hacks for falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up energized

    The science shows that inadequate daytime light exposure is as detrimental as too much electric light exposure at night, with both of these having adverse effects on your sleep, circadian rhythms and health outcomes.

    So, in order to set yourself up for a good night’s sleep, the experts recommend that you get outdoors and get daytime light exposure within 30 – 60 minutes of waking up, if possible during the day, and also around sunset.

    During the day (before sunset), aim for at least 2.5 hours of bright light exposure including your early morning exposure, and another hour in the late afternoon or evening.

    In terms of light exposure while you’re asleep, the experts recommend that your sleep environment is as dark as possible. If you do need to get up for the bathroom during the night, the recommended

    maximum exposure to light is 10 lux (which is a unit of measure of light). You can download an app on your phone that measures light as a rough guide to help you determine exposure.

    That aside, anxiety and worry can add to sleep issues. I have discussed this extensively in other episodes but it’s worth mentioning here – get some help, keep a worry diary and/or get on top of your task list to help you sleep easy at night.

    Having some light, fun activities that aren’t too stimulating in the early evening can help you switch off!

    Shift workers – a special case

    Light exposure for shift workers is still an area of study and a challenge that neurobiologists haven’t yet been able to solve.

    At this time, there is evidence that increasing melanopic light levels at work (e.g. office lighting) can improve alertness, as measured subjectively (e.g. questionnaire) and/or objectively, but this requires further study in the shift work population.

    In any case, I speculate that even shift workers can create some improvements in sleep, and we will look at that in another episode in more detail.

    For now, let’s assume that eating and exercise can be modified to improve the chance of a good night’s sleep, and further, block out curtains and getting the timing of light exposure right might help to create a rhythm that facilitates sleep.

    Setting your circadian rhythm

    In the previous episode of this podcast I talked about determining your sleep chronotype – in other words – the time you wake up and the time you go to bed. Whether you’re an early riser, a night owl or an in betweener, being consistent with wake and sleep times can help you establish a regular daily light-dark cycle which can further benefit sleep, cognition and health.

    And as described earlier in this episode, getting outdoor light exposure soon after waking and again late afternoon can help you to sleep more soundly, and wake refreshed.

    Summary

    And as described earlier in this episode, getting outdoor light exposure soon after waking and again late afternoon can help you to sleep more soundly, and wake refreshed.

    If you want to sleep well, also consider the timing, quantity, and quality of food and exercise in the context of your chronotype – nothing within 3 hours of sleep, and reducing or avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and high glycemic foods or heavy meals.

    Think about switching off devices after sunset and dimming your house lights.

    There is so much coming out about sleep right now, and today’s summary of research includes a few tips to help you manage your sleep better.

    References

    Brown TM, Brainard GC, Cajochen C, Czeisler CA, Hanifin JP, et al. (2022) Recommendations for daytime, evening, and nighttime indoor light exposure to best support physiology, sleep, and wakefulness in healthy adults. PLOS Biology 20(3): e3001571. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001571

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    E#206 Understanding Sleep Chronotypes

    Understanding sleep chronotypes

    Are you intrigued by the concept of chronotypes and want to know how it can help you (or your clients) to optimise sleep, performance, health and wellbeing?

    Your sleep chronotype indicates whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, and helps you optimise your sleep patterns for better focus, performance and productivity.

    As someone in menopause, I want to get rid of night sweats, insomnia and brain fog as well as anxiety and low mood. For me, the research indicates that aligning with my sleep and other chronotypes will help me to reduce or eliminate these pesky symptoms.

    I am trained in assessing and understanding chronotypes, so stick around to the end or check the show notes to find out how about a specific test I can help you with, to determine your chronotypes for sleep but also other areas of life like eating, exercise, focused work and so on.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What Sleep Chronotypes Are
    * Are you a night owl or an early bird?
    * Benefits of knowing your sleep chronotype
    * Aligning to your sleep chronotype

    What Are Sleep Chronotypes?

    Feeling tired all the time has a massive impact on your mood, work performance, motivation to exercise, and willingness to get out and socialise.

    We hear a lot about sleep hygiene and pre-bed routines to work out how to sleep better, but nobody is talking about chronotypes.

    Chronotypes are what make us unique. Specifically, your chronotype is the behavioural manifestation of your circadian rhythm (also known as your ‘body clock’), such as when you prefer to sleep and when you are most alert and energetic.

    Your natural rhythm also affects the timing of other events in your body like hormone release, meal timing, exercise timing and bowel movements.

    In the dawning era of personalised healthcare, we are realising that the old, general rules like “you must get 8 hours of sleep per night” or “we should go to bed by 9pm” are not true.

    The truth is – sleep is personal. You are unique in terms of your sleep needs. Emerging evidence suggests that there is a strong genetic component to sleep chronotypes, and that variations in chronotypes might have evolved in hunter gatherers who took turns sleeping so there was always someone to keep watch.

    And once you know your needs, certain elements of your lifestyle affect your sleep and should be considered as part of the solution.

    Are you a night owl or an early bird?

    While there are several quizzes available that can indicate your sleep chronotype, your own personal experience is the key.

    It can be challenging to identify your chronotype if your body is ‘out of whack’ for example if you are a shift worker, if you are carrying a sleep debt, or if you are going through menopause or acute stress that is affecting your sleep.

    A simple way to work it out is to keep a diary over a week or two, perhaps when you’re on holiday, without work stress, deadlines, over exposure to devices or stressful travel to and from work.

    During this holiday time, notice when you naturally feel sleepy and record the time.

    Complete your usual pre-bed routine and let yourself fall asleep naturally.

    Then in the morning, notice what time you naturally wake up, and record the time.

    Over a period of days, without the normal external pressures and influences, you will start to see consistent sleep and wake times, and your natural sleep chronotype will be revealed.

    Although we often hear the term night owl or early bird, there are four recognised chronotypes in a quiz by Dr Michael Breus, which are:

    1. Lion – the early bird who likes to wake up early and be productive in the morning

    2. Bear – accounting for about 55% of the population, their sleep and wake times tend to follow the sun

    3. Wolf – the night owl, thought to make up 15% of the population

    4. Dolphin – tend to be insomniacs

    This is just one chronotype classification systems.

    Benefits of knowing your sleep chronotype

    If you know your sleep chronotype, you’ll be better able to manage your daily schedule and be alert, productive and focused at the right time.

    Imagine of you knew how to structure your day so that you could get things done, get enough rest, feel motivated to exercise, and feel energized and at peace – and then have a good night’s sleep? That’s the power of knowing your sleep chronotype.

    Sleep has a huge impact on your appetite, exercise and core temperature, so it also affects your ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

    Various studies show that your chronotype is also associated with some of the ‘Big 5’ personality traits. Lions or early birds (‘morningness’) tend to be associated with conscientiousness and agreeableness, while neuroticism and openness, impulsivity, anger, anxiety and using substances tend to be more common in Wolves or night owls (‘eveningness’). The same studies show that morning people tend to do better in school, and evening people might be better at creative thinking and musicality.

    Evening people also tend to be less physically active and sleep less during the week, and more on weekends which can lead to a higher stress response, elevated cortisol levels and a higher resting HR which are risk factors for a variety of sleep, metabolic and mental health concerns.

    These are trends, not set in stone, because each person is subject to various external influences that might affect their sleep patterns and overall wellbeing.

    Having said that, by aligning your schedule with your chronotype, you will more easily reduce adverse outcomes and be more productive, energized and calm.

    Aligning your schedule to your sleep chronotype

    Once you know your sleep chronotype, how do you align your schedule so that you can optimise focus, sleep, performance, productivity and recuperation?

    While I’ll cover some specific hacks and tips in the next episode, these are some general guidelines to start implementing.

    A good starting point is to experiment with going to bed at the time that suits you best, for example, 10pm every night.

    Once you establish this time, work backwards and start experimenting with pre-bed routines that will help you have a good night’s sleep and allow you to actually get into bed by this time.

    When you have a handle on those two things, your wake-up time should naturally set itself, and you’ll start waking up at a set time every day.

    From there, you can work with your energy during the day to adjust your schedule if you can.

    For example, early risers might have more energy first thing in the morning and so might do better with exercise, detailed thinking work and any sort of focused action-taking early in the day and could try scheduling those things in the morning if possible. You might also find it better to socialise in the daytime or late afternoon rather than at night as you’ll be winding down.

    In contrast, night owls who go to bed later e.g. 11pm might have more energy late in the day, and so could need a more relaxed morning, where you ease into the day slowly, leaving exercise, socialising and intense work for the afternoon and early evening.

    If you’re an in-betweener, you may find your energy peak is closer to the middle of the day and could prioritise focused work and exercise from late morning to mid-to-late afternoon.

    It may be possible to rearrange your work duties to fit with these frameworks.

    A key takeaway is that we are all unique, so experimenting is key as is a need to remove the overlay of stressors, overwork and responsibility that often get in the way of us living our best lives.

    Summary

    Sleep chronotypes are about more than just optimal bedtime, sleep quality and quantity. By understanding and aligning with your sleep chronotype, you can unlock your full potential in terms of productivity, focus, mental health, motivation to exercise, getting your eating right, and maintaining a healthy weight.

    Contact me for support with determining your personal chronotype.

    References

    David A. Kalmbach, PhD, Logan D. Schneider, MD, Joseph Cheung, MD MS, Sarah J. Bertrand, PhD, Thiruchelvam Kariharan, PhD, Allan I. Pack, MBChB PhD, Philip R. Gehrman, PhD, Genetic Basis of Chronotype in Humans: Insights From Three Landmark GWAS, Sleep, Volume 40, Issue 2, 1 February 2017, zsw048, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsw048

    Gjermunds, N., Brechan, I., Johnsen, S.Å.K. and Watten, R.G., 2019. Musicians: Larks, Owls or Hummingbirds?. Journal of Circadian Rhythms, 17(1), p.4. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jcr.173

    Tristan Enright & Roberto Refinetti (2017) Chronotype, class times, and academic achievement of university students, Chronobiology International, 34:4, 445-450, DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1281287

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    E#198 The Impact and Potential of Health and Wellness Coaching

    This episode is about the impact and potential of health and wellness coaching

    The recent HCANZA conference showcased some of our leading innovators and impactful coaches, as well as the impact and potential of health and wellness coaching. This article summarises how health and wellness coaching is at the cutting edge of health behaviour change in a variety of contexts, and how huge the opportunity is right now for qualified health and wellness coaches.

    The inaugural HCANZA conference on June 2-3, 2022 was an incredible opportunity for like minded graduate and professional health and wellness coaches to come together and learn about opportunities for our profession. The conference was made possible by the incredible work by HCANZA Chair Linda Funnell-Milner, whose tireless efforts (supported by the board and leadership team) ensured that everything ran like clockwork.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * The Award Winners
    * The Speakers
    * The Networking Opportunities

    The conference kicked off on the evening of Thursday 2 June with a cocktail party, a keynote address from Grant Schofield, and an awards ceremony which I was invited to MC.

    The Award Winners

    Let’s start by recognising the movers and shakers in our industry, in Australia and New Zealand. The awards winners were:

    1. Giovanna Stewart: Best Emerging coach of the year

    Giovanna is a dietician who is gaining success by combining her dietetic expertise with client-focused coaching skills.

    2. Jaala Dyer: Coach of the year in a clinic setting –

    Jaala has developed a collaborative and creative platform for the most important chronic disease drivers that many in our communities face, and it is now being shared across the wider community.

    3. Karina Morris (WCA graduate): Health & Wellness Coach Advocacy Award

    Karina shows dedication in delivering coaching to a truly underserved population within the disability community, showing both courage and leadership to take Health and Wellness Coaching to areas that will make a significant difference to people’s lives. Karina is striving to have Health and Wellness Coaching recognised as a professional service within the NDIS that can be funded under many other parallel funding-based systems.

    4. The Change Room (employs WCA graduates): Business Achievement Award

    The Change Room has successfully adapted to the challenge of Covid and has created and provided resources for the unprecedented health and wellbeing issues arising in this time both for the individual and for organisations. They have adapted their use of technology to facilitate the ongoing

    delivery of their core mission – supporting clients involved with return to work via insurance company funding.

    5. Sharon Tomkins: Health & Wellness Coach of the Year

    Sharon demonstrates committed to ongoing learning and training, individualises her client programs according to needs, and has engaged in many models of delivery and has been active running community programs. Sharon clearly works collaboratively with other health practitioners and shows leadership in her role of training health coaches.

    6. Brad Hulcomb: Outstanding Contribution to Health

    Brad is an influencer across multiple layers – medical, coaching and sports – and has impacted many on his journey, from his medical work to his ski instructing to now his health coaching. As the director of the Urgent Care Clinic on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu ski field, he led doctors, nurses and radiographers providing high-quality care in austere environments. He ran medical conferences to provide participants with more than just knowledge, but also focus on their own well-being. He is also a coach trainer with PreKure. He is someone who walks the talk.

    As you can see, there are many ways that health and wellness coaches can have an impact, and these are just a few – the top six of over 50 coaches nominated for these inaugural awards.

    The Speakers

    On Friday, the audience was treated to a jam-packed day with speakers from different realms sharing knowledge and innovation from the coaching front.

    Session 1 was about thinking big and exploring the possibilities.

    Michael Arloski talked about how important it is to deepen our craft – and he discussed the concept of craftsmanship, which is very close to my own heart. Michael says that in the face of global well-being challenges that our clients face, we can double down by focusing on masterful coaching and staying within our scope of practice. Practice, patience and presence are required to become good at what we do, and focusing on this will help us to deliver incredible value to our clients.

    Paul Taylor presented a summary of his new book ‘Death by Comfort’ – why modern life is killing us and what we need to do about it. Paul discussed some of the latest research around the benefits of ‘uncomfortable’ things like exercise, cold therapy and heat therapy, and how they can truly improve quality of life and longevity.

    Suzie Carmack talked about creating value as a coach, and about building your personal brand and business with a portfolio career. A portfolio career is the idea of having multiple income streams as a coach, but also organising your days and working in batches to avoid burnout.

    Session 2 shared exemplars of partnerships from the field.

    We heard from Grant Schofield, Troy Morgan, Dr Sandra Scheinbaum, Bee Pennington and Sam McBride.

    The speakers illustrated various ways in which coaches can build and leverage partnerships to build their businesses and have an impact.

    One thing was definitely clear – as a coach, we need to engage our target market and build relationships there to truly understand their needs, before going in to ‘sell’ anything. It is truly relationships that give coaching a platform to really shine and make a difference.

    Troy Morgan discussed two ways to succeed in corporate – firstly, to develop strong partnerships with all stakeholders, and secondly, to collect data that proves the impact and value of the work you are doing. Those two things can make you indispensable within an organisation.

    Sam McBride’s ‘Men’s Muster’ in NZ was a particularly interesting example of how to engage men with the idea of health behaviour change, with a little beer and a lot of engaging outdoor activities.

    Session 3 was about breaking business ground.

    David Carroll, myself, Philippa Flowerday and Michelle Yandle discussed how coaches can establish thriving businesses in a variety of contexts.

    We explored different models that can create income and add value, and discussed coaching success in organisations, workplaces, communities and solo businesses.

    Michelle showcased a unique ‘ Empowered Eating’ model that is based in the ancient wisdom of her ancestors, and which is relevant to the issues upstream of eating – family,

    A key message is that being specific about the problem that you want to solve, is the best and easiest way to build your business and have an impact.

    Session 4, the final session, included speakers who are inspiring best practice and stepping into new specialty fields.

    Dr Cam McDonald, Shivaun Conn, Sarah Rusbatch and Fiona Cosgrove talked about cutting-edge research and emerging niches in coaching.

    Cam discussed the power of combining coaching and technology, focusing how we are extremely variable in terms of our exercise, nutrition, psychology and medication needs, and how digital metrics can identify and predict the needs of individuals so as to fine-tune their habits and protocols in these areas.

    Shivaun talked about trauma-informed care – what it means and how to work with it and manage your own triggers as a coach. She explained the signs of a dysregulated nervous system (stuck ‘on’ or ‘off’) and the language that someone might use in either state, as signs that a coach could use to identify a need for referral or support.

    Sarah outlined how (and why) her grey area drinking practice has skyrocketed in the past 14 months and shared the personal story behind her journey to becoming a grey area drinking coach. Her talk hit home with a lot of questions and commendations related to her work.

    Fiona Cosgrove discussed her PhD research into the development and care of the health and wellness coach, and the four key areas that changed for coaches themselves during their coach training journey. These are self-knowledge and acceptance, better relationships, professional optimism, and personal health and wellness. Fiona’s was a fitting final session that pulled together the essence of the conference – that Health and Wellness Coaching has important impacts on both coaches and clients in terms of physical, mental and emotional health.

    Networking Opportunities

    The networking sessions created invaluable connections for all who attended. As the MC on the Thursday evening session, I invited everyone to introduce themselves to someone they hadn’t met before, to forge new connections.

    By Friday, the ice was well and truly broken, and everyone was eagerly swapping contact details and sharing ideas in the breaks between speaking sessions. Several people were discussing opportunities to work together or to try the services of someone else. All in all, there was significant cross-pollination and the generation of new ideas.

    Summary

    The recent HCANZA conference was a huge success. It was an event that bought coaches together, showcased new and innovative research in our field, and highlighted coaches who are breaking ground and having an impact. Further, the conference showed that success is available to all who qualify in this field.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#196 Andy Hampson – Launching her Breast Cancer Coaching Business

    This episode is about Andy Hampson – launching her breast cancer coaching business

    Andy Hampson of the Inspire Network is on a mission to change lives. Andy has just launched her coaching business with a pilot program to bring out the best in breast cancer patients. Andy is leveraging her skills as a Practice Manager and her professional network to help patients she has previously supported, in a different and more inspiring way.

    Connect with Andy https://www.linkedin.com/in/andy-hampson-the-inspire-network/ 

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Starting her business and the journey
    * Her business traction point
    * What her aspirations are

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#195 Danielle Dobson – Breaking the Gender Code

    This episode is about Danielle Dobson – breaking the gender code

    Danielle Dobson is hot property right now. As Author of the Gender Code, Professional speaker and executive coach, Danielle is making an impact in the corporate and small business worlds by helping women unlock their potential in leadership and life. In this episode, Danielle talks about her own career progression and Gender Code limitations, and how she broke through to create a successful business that is breaking ground and having an impact.

    Connect with Danielle

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielledobsondna/ https://www.codeconversations.com.au/ 

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What she’s doing now in her business
    * Starting her business and the journey
    * Her business traction point
    * Challenges she overcame to succeed

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

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    E#194 Kristine Gardner Having an Impact With Metabolic Balance

    This episode is about Kristine Gardner having an impact with metabolic balance

    Kristine Gardener of Melbourne Wellness Coaching is a wellness coach, naturopath and Metabolic Balance Coach who is running a successful weight loss coaching business. But in the beginning, she wasn’t sure how to get traction and where to start. This interview uncovers her journey to success, and what it took to get there.

    Connect with Kristine

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristine-gardener-consulting-coaching/ https://melbournewellnesscoaching.com.au/

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What she’s doing now in her business
    * Starting her business and the journey
    * Her business traction point
    * Challenges she overcame to succeed

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#193 Ruth Morgan: Creating Healthy Careers

    This episode is about Ruth Morgan: creating healthy careers

    Ruth Morgan of Creating Healthy Careers shares her insights and lessons in developing as a coach and creating a viable, inspiring business. Ruth is a coach, author and speaker who knows what it takes to create a more meaningful and purposeful career – and how to remove the blocks that get in the way.

    In this interview, Ruth tells the story of how her business came to be, and how her own journey inspired her business.

    Connect with Ruth https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruth-morgan-creatinghealthycareers/ https://creatinghealthycareers.com/

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What she’s doing now in her business
    * Starting her business and the journey
    * Her business traction point
    * Challenges she overcame to succeed

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#190 Fear Vs Faith-Based Business

    This episode is about fear vs faith-based business

    Today I want to talk to you about running your business from a position of fear versus a position of faith. This is such an important conversation to have. If you’re operating from a place of fear, it can really hurt your business. But if you can switch that and operate from a position of faith that you’ll succeed, of optimism, and hope, then it’s a totally different ball game.

    If you’re a new coach, if you have just graduated with your qualification, and you are getting ready to start your coaching business or practice, it’s a really exciting time. You have so much opportunity ahead of you!

    You have so much enthusiasm about making a difference in the world!

    But for a lot people starting out as a coach in business, there is this challenge around self-confidence self-worth and self-value.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What a fear-based business looks like
    * HFlipping the Switch
    * What a faith-based business looks like

    Impostor syndrome is incredibly common.

    And that’s why today I want to talk about the impact of starting your coaching business from a position of fear, verses starting your coaching business from a position of faith.

    I want to give you some practical tips and tools to help you come from a better place, so that you can build your coaching business easily more quickly and to be more successful.

    What a Fear-Based Business Looks Like

    I want to start here so that you can see the impact of having this fear-based mindset on both your ability as a coach, and on your business.

    From a business perspective, a fear-based approach reduces your ability to make money, attract clients, and get ahead.

    A fear-based mentality is a little bit like a circular reference. It might start with impostor syndrome – who am I to coach? I’ve never run a business before – how will I ever succeed?

    You might be comparing yourself to others who have spent 10 years of blood, sweat and tears to build their business.

    And as a result, you feel like you won’t get things right, or you’ll fail or you won’t be able to find enough clients, or you won’t be good enough.

    That puts you into this repeating cycle of not taking action and worrying about the action that you do take – giving your brain the proof it needs that you’re not good enough.

    There is a confounding factor in this cycle that I want to alert you to.

    Here is a pro tip – If you start working with practice or paid clients who are ready, willing and able to change – even desperate to change – chances are they will love coaching with you and get great results.

    A lot of coaches starting out with this fear-based mentality want to find anyone with a pulse!!

    But, if the client is not ready, willing and able, they’ll probably be resistant, disinterested, unfocused and uncommitted.

    The kicker is that YOU will feel like the failure, but it’s actually probably not you!

    See how this fear-based ‘I need any clients I can get!’ mentality is hurting your self-value and self-efficacy – and your business?

    The fear-based approach sets you up to start looking for – and finding – evidence of failure. In other words, if focus on your fear of failing, then all you will see is the evidence that this is true.

    How does this kind of mindset affect your ability to start marketing your business?

    What happens to your ability to proactively go out to meet new people, talk about what you do with confidence, or become a specialist in a particular niche area if your head is full of this negative stuff?

    I know that when I started my own coaching business, even though I had been incredibly successful in other businesses, I had that same mindset.

    I kept asking myself questions like, where will I find clients, and what if they don’t get very good results, and what if I can’t make a living out of this, and what if I’m no good at this, how would I ever know?

    What happened is that I started to get more and more agitated and wound up about not succeeding, and I started to doubt myself, and feel threatened and judged by everybody around me who knew what I was trying to do.

    I felt disheartened. For the most part what was going on for me was that I didn’t have a specific enough niche, so people didn’t understand my messaging, and I wasn’t going to the right places therefore to find the people who I wanted to work with.

    If this sounds like you, then stick with me because now I’m going to talk about flipping the switch and having a more faith in yourself, and having a more positive attitude to your business so that you can start attracting clients more easily and becoming a better coach more quickly, and make more money.

    Flipping the Switch

    A turning point for me was doing some research to find out that there was a need and I want in my community. Identifying a need isn’t enough. After all, lots of people need help, but not many are

    ready, willing, and able to seek and pay for help. So I had to find those people who were motivated to change and were willing to pay to get my help.

    As soon as I did this, everything changed. And it’s a story I have seen time and time again with other coaches who have been successful.

    As soon as they committed to one thing that they knew people were willing to pay for, everything changed.

    If you do that, you create an upward spiral of thinking and acting positively – and this is how that can play out for you.

    My second pro-tip for this episode is to create a little roadmap of how to beat the imposter and get started. Here’s how.

    First of all, find some practice clients to work with who REALLY want to change and are ready to do so.

    Then, invite interest to be part of a pilot program, which is a safe, confidential environment for you to be imperfect, for them not to expect the world, and to get their honest feedback without too many expectations upfront.

    Be vulnerable and let them know it is a test for both of you, and that their opinion and feedback will really help you to help others in exactly the right way.

    If you get that combination right – the right people and a test environment – then invariably those first pilot clients will stick with your program and finish it, and then, they will more likely to succeed.

    And THEN, they will refer others to you!

    Imagine how you would feel having coached a handful of people who really wanted to change, and then were able to succeed and feel and look amazing?

    What would your mind be telling you in that situation?

    Would it be telling you that you were a failure or that you weren’t any good or that your results weren’t worth the money or anything like that?

    Of course not. And that’s the whole point.

    Once you start working with the right people and getting some initial results and focusing on them rather than your fears and inadequacies – a totally different region of your brain lights up.

    It’s the region associated with positive emotions, optimism, and hope.

    What a Faith-based Business Looks Like

    For me when I started my coaching business, as soon as I got those clients that were successful initially, I started wondering where can I find more of those people, and how can I share those wonderful results, and how can I help those people to continue to succeed?

    The initial results that my first successful clients got totally shifted the language in my head. And instead of focusing on me and my supposed shortcomings, I started to focus on the possibilities of change in my business.

    And pretty soon, most of my language was very different.

    Instead of asking why can’t I? I started asking how can I?

    I had the confidence that what I was doing was working. And I started to look for more opportunities. Everything just unfolded as it was meant to because I was moving forward in my mind.

    I was believing in what was possible based on some initial results. And I was totally focused on pursuing opportunities knowing that I had something of value to offer, rather than being frightened of speaking to anybody in case I couldn’t figure out the words to describe what I was doing or in case I couldn’t prove my results.

    This is such an important episode. It takes courage and a bit of confidence to take those first steps into your profession, once you get those couple of important wins on the board it gives you the confidence to gain momentum to keep going and getting traction and continue taking action in the right direction.

    Your brain will switch from how will I ever do it, into where do I go next?

    Of course you will probably need support to face and work on your fears, and probably your own personal and/or business coach.

    But please know this – as Henry Ford said – If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.

    Summary

    Today I covered the difference between a fear-based versus a faith-based coaching business.

    One involves getting bogged down in everything you can’t possibly do or succeed in, and keeps you stuck there. And unless things change, you’ll probably fail in your business and as a coach.

    But, if you commit to a more faith-based approach, where you develop faith in your method and in your ability to succeed, and you put your clients first and find the right people, it will flick the switch in your brain and reveal a positive path of traction, momentum and success.

    Today, I walked you through a simple plan to develop a faith-based coaching business.

    What are you waiting for? Go out and get started.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#189 How to boost your professional credibility

    This episode is about how to boost your professional credibility

    When you start a new profession, one of the most important parts of marketing is developing professional credibility and a good reputation. Today I’d like to share a golden opportunity for you as a professional health and wellness coach, to do just that in June 2022.

    Starting out in your health and wellness coaching business is exciting and challenging. And initially, you need to put in a lot of work to become seen, known, liked and trusted.

    Further to that, you want to be more than just known – you want to be seen as a reputable professional who is properly qualified and who is confident in what they’re doing.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * 7 Reasons Why the Conference is a Must Attend Event
    * How This Event Can Rocket Fuel Your Coaching Business
    * Why We All Have a Role in Putting Health and Wellness Coaching on the Map

    How do you do that?

    Well, there are many ways, and I want to talk about one specific golden opportunity for you to boost your professional credibility if you are a health and wellness coach in Australia or New Zealand.

    This opportunity is the HCANZA conference, being held on the Gold Coast on 2 – 3 June 2022. The conference is called Health and Wellness Coaching Conference – Breaking Through – Health and Wellness Coaching in a Post-Pandemic World.

    Before we unpack this, I’d like to say that any professional conference attendance gives you similar opportunities, but this particular conference gives you a one-time-only opportunity to be seen, heard and recognised as a professional.

    7 Reasons Why the HCANZA 2022 Conference is a Must-Attend Event

    There are several reasons why this is such an important event and such a significant opportunity for you as an individual health and wellness coach.

    Not in the least, is the fact that the world we know, our workforce, what’s important to us, the awareness of health and the willingness to change have been irrevoc

    Now more than ever, coaching is a viable career option, and it’s a golden opportunity to put Health and Wellness Coaching on the map as an important part of navigating health and wellbeing into the future.

    1. Showcasing Health and Wellness Coaching as a Reputable Industry

    This inaugural conference provides the opportunity for our industry association and its members to showcase the skills and the breadth in-depth of knowledge and experience that health and wellness coaches have and share those with the world.

    We have global experts Zooming in or attending live to speak at this event. Some of them are founders of the industry and have played a significant role in building our profession from the ground up over the past 20-odd years.

    With global key opinion leaders together in the room, it gives a huge weight of credibility and reputation that we can promote and advertise to medical professionals, allied health professionals and the general public to promote ourselves as an evidence-based, high calibre profession.

    This alone puts health and wellness coaching squarely on the map.

    2. Showing the Value of Health and Wellness Coaching, and Where it Fits

    This conference is our chance to explain our scope of practice and highlight how we complement other health professionals so that their clients and patients can achieve better health outcomes more easily and in a shorter time.

    We show our value with case studies, storytelling and real-life examples of business and client success.

    We’ll share how coaches and coaching organisations have changed lives by working in a complementary way with other health professionals, giving everyone who attends a clear understanding of exactly how and where coaching adds value to existing health professionals and treatment frameworks, and independent businesses.

    Remember, this is the first time in Australia and New Zealand that such a conference has been held, and it’s our opportunity to share these facts and success stories for huge media coverage and collective recognition.

    3. Clearly Explaining How We Work

    Have you ever had trouble describing what you do and how you work?

    The stories, case studies and expert presentations at this conference will equip you, the attendee, with clear insights and anecdotes to share with prospective clients, partners and advocates in your own practice when you get home to explain clearly how you work with people and what sorts of results and outcomes are possible.

    You will learn how to describe your profession and skill set in a more succinct way.

    You will develop a confident spiel about the important conditions for change such as self-awareness as an essential first step, and how health and Wallace coaching empowers self-responsibility, which saves the health system and the individual billions of dollars each year.

    4. Improve Networking Skills and Confidence

    Another great reason to attend this conference is that it gives you skills, experience and confidence in networking.

    Networking with other health professionals pretty much an essential part of fast-tracking your marketing and gaining success in your business.

    By attending this conference, you will get to polish up your skills of breaking the ice, having friendly conversations, making your contacts, and starting conversations that lead somewhere, with like-minded people.

    How will you feel, having brushed up your networking skills in a safe environment with trusted colleagues?

    How much easier will the next conference or networking event be?

    What impact will that have on your business or coaching practice?

    5. Build Important, Business Building Alliances

    I’ve just touched on the skills of networking, but have you considered what they might lead to?

    If you think about it, conferences are networking events that offer business-building opportunities.

    The #1 challenge coaches tell me they have is running their business in isolation, feeling alone, with nobody to bounce ideas off.

    Attending this conference in person gives you a more personal connection with other coaches that you’ve only ever met online. That live meeting will cement your relationships and help them grow.

    Through those conversations, you might even find some opportunities and leads to help you in your business.

    Think of how you’re going to feel after walking out of a conference with a handful of really great contacts that you can stay in touch with and possibly even collaborate with or get help from to grow your practice?

    Or finding someone who is doing complementary work and you find an opportunity to help each other?

    Or simply being inspired by one of the speakers and discovering strategies that you can apply right away to your own business?

    One way or another, you have the chance to learn some important skills and develop some strong support networks and alliances.

    6. Increased Confidence, Belief and Action-taking

    How are you feeling so far, having thought about all these benefits?

    I bet you are feeling pretty pumped up. And that leads me to my next point – this conference is essential to your business development, your confidence, and your personal and professional growth.

    You might hear that and think, “well that’s a pretty big claim to make”.

    Yes, it is – but it’s 100% true.

    Think back to the last time you attended a conference or event – how did you feel?

    If you have ever been to any sort of sizeable event, you probably remember the huge buzz, sense of enthusiasm, inspiration, energy, confidence, optimism and hope that you felt.

    You probably left that session on a high, with so much belief and a readiness to take action based on what you learned or discovered.

    There is a saying that we are the average of the five people closest to us. In a professional context, it’s important that you are rubbing shoulders with people who have more experience, more knowledge, and a greater sense of conviction about what is possible with your modality, so that you can continue to hope, believe, and create success that you wish for in your profession.

    Listening to professional coaches speaking gives you the sense of what’s possible for you. It makes your discipline in your profession relatable and within your reach. And it gives you the opportunity for some personal growth and to identify what you need to focus on in order to keep moving forward and growing as a coach and as a person.

    Remember that we are in the relationship building industry, and your ability to be self-confident is critical to your success. You can learn how other people have built their own self-confidence and their skill as a coach so that you create a roadmap to get there yourself.

    That leads me to my last point on why attending this conference is so important.

    7. The Ripple Effect

    The final benefit of this conference that I want to talk about is the ripple effect.

    For this inaugural conference to really help to put our profession on the map, we need to sell all the tickets and speak to everyone we know about it.

    If it’s down to the HCANZA board and few members to do this, we’re not going to get very much media coverage or excitement or visibility.

    But if the conference is a sell out and we’re all sharing the word and the success stories, it is a totally different ball game.

    It shows that there is a strong collective of coaches who are qualified and who uphold a standard of practice, and who stand together as a united voice to speak about the benefits and opportunities that health and wellness coaching provides.

    And at a larger scale, the success of our industry depends on the commitment of every person who is certified and working in the capacity of a health and wellness coach, to find their voice and speak up about the profession, this event, and every one that follows.

    It’s not something that a few people can do on their own. For this to work we need to have everybody putting their hand up turning up and being part of something that is bigger than the individual, and which has the potential to create a significant impact on our health systems, longevity and quality of life.

    Yes, the number of people attending the conference and telling everyone about it, is important for our profession.

    But it’s also important at the other end of the conference long after it’s finished. Because you’re going to walk away feeling inspired and enthusiastic and excited, and you’re going to have a head full of new knowledge, ideas and cutting edge information.

    And what’s going to happen to that information?

    You’re going to be excited to share it with everybody you know.

    You’re going to be equipped with information and words that will help you to network with other health professionals, reach potential clients, find collaborative partners, and find cross referral opportunities.

    The more people that attend and promote this conference at the same time, the bigger the visibility and impact we can have.

    This really is a critical time and event in the development of our industry.

    Summary

    Today, I got pretty ranty about boosting your professional credibility, and more specifically, using the inaugural Health and Wellness Coaching Conference – Breaking Through – Health and Wellness Coaching in a Post-Pandemic World – as a vehicle to really showcase our profession.

    I outlined just seven of the many benefits of attending.

    In summary there are so many opportunities for personal and professional growth at this conference. So much rich content, information and relationships to be found in this conference. All you need to do is attend. https://www.conference.hcanza.org/?_ga=2.5600117.73171265.1650423249-552347760.1650423249

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#186 Three Proven Marketing Roadmaps for Coaches

    This episode is about three proven marketing roadmaps for coaches

    If you’ve finished your coaching qualification and are ready to launch a business, it can be daunting to realize that you have no idea of how or where to find clients and to create a consistent income. On top of that, the word marketing might conjure up a sense of dread and that you need to do all these things that the experts say you should do.

    This couldn’t be further from the truth. Forget the Facebook ads or webinar skills training courses – in this episode, I’ll discuss three marketing roadmaps for coaches that play to your natural communication strengths and help you start promoting with authenticity, integrity and confidence.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Playing to your communication strengths
    * The Writing Roadmap
    * The Speaking Roadmap
    * The Networking Roadmap

    Playing to your communication strengths

    When I started my coaching business, I was convinced I needed a Facebook page and Facebook group. All the gurus told me it was the only way to ‘get clients’ – and to set up some ads.

    The trouble is, I feel incredible anxiety when I go onto Facebook. But I persisted as I thought I had to be on that platform and that it was the only way to succeed.

    So, what happened?

    I felt anxious every day. I had to force myself to open the app and create posts.

    I spent hours debating over the words, trying to get them right, and picking images. I cringed at the lack of engagement, and I stressed over the future of my business.

    For a good six months, I did Facebook training courses, paid for mentoring and joined support groups. I felt miserable and hopeless.

    Then I reflected on my communication skills and strengths and worked out that this was not how I should be doing marketing. I needed to do it MY way, so that I could feel energized, motivated and excited about connecting with my audience.

    From there, I went on a journey to explore how best to market my business.

    I realised that I feel most comfortable and authentic when I’m talking to people, networking and to a lesser degree, writing. My main skills are active listening and relationship building, so these options make sense to me. I get to express my opinions, listen and reflect, and draw on my extensive technical writing skills and experience.

    Fast forward to today, and these are the ways I do my marketing.

    As part of my ‘visibility’ marketing, I write an article each week and turn it into a podcast, where I speak about things that my audience wants to know about. These build trust and relationship.

    I’m pretty busy with contract work and as a board member of HCANZA, our industry association to do much more than this. But If I wanted to go really big online, I’d be looking to be a guest blogger on a nationally-recognised online magazine, or guest on a podcast that is nationally-recognised, or on the radio.

    As it is, I share links to articles and podcasts on LinkedIn and Instagram. These are my best promotional platforms because I feel comfortable and more connected with my audience – it’s where ‘my people’ are.

    But actually, my preferred way of marketing is networking, so I do a lot of connections with others so I can meet and learn more about what people do, where there are synergies, and work collaboratively via cross-referral and cross-promotion.

    As you can see, I have a mix of marketing channels that leverage my communication skills and help me build visibility, and the ability to scale if and as needed.

    It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but when you’re starting out, it’s better to start more simply. Let’s talk about three rough marketing roadmaps for coaches that leverage your communication skills and can help you get visibility, new clients and traction more easily.

    Please note that it’s highly likely that your ideal clients within your niche have the same communication strengths and skills as you. By playing to your strengths, you’ll more likely attract your people.

    Here are three roadmaps that I think are the most effective for building coaching businesses. There are other marketing strategies out there, but these three are more effective because you get the chance to connect more personally and emotively with potential clients or referrers.

    As per my previous episodes – it’s the emotional connection between you and your clients that builds the trust and rapport that clients need before they commit to buying from you.

    Now, let’s explore the three roadmaps!

    The Writing Roadmap

    If you’re a great writer and you love writing, chances are your audience is the same.

    You’re probably someone who:

    • journals a lot
    • likes writing lengthy passages/stories
    • is creative with the written language
    • writes emotively and descriptively
    • If this is you, then it’s entirely possible for you to engage your audience in this way.

    As a skilled writer, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by guest blogging on highly visible online publications like MammaMia, Forbes, Thrive Global or other platforms.

    You could also write case studies, stories and articles for your own blog and build a following, or longform posts on social media platforms where your audience hangs out. Mine is on LinkedIn, yours might be elsewhere.

    You can write for your local industry association and/or industry publications to gain visibility.

    Of course, any writing you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), and on social media and your client email list.

    If most of your audience are readers, then your website can offer a well-written lead magnet (e.g. a how-to guide) that they can download, and join your list.

    As you become more comfortable with writing and build a presence, you can start to offer live webinars or 1:1 calls to connect with you.

    Writing as a stand-alone marketing tool can take more time than speaking or networking, so if you are starting here, you would aim to build in another marketing strategy later such as networking or speaking, events or PR, to speed up the process of becoming known, liked and trusted.

    The Speaking Roadmap

    If you’re a great speaker and you love talking, chances are your audience is the same.

    You’re probably someone who:

    • enjoys socialising and in-depth conversation
    • likes speaking at length, teaching and/or telling stories
    • has a good vocabulary
    • speaks confidently and articulately and likes public speaking.

    If this is you, then it’s entirely possible for you to engage your audience in this way.

    As a skilled speaker, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by being a guest on a highly visible podcast or getting interviewed on the radio or scoring a regular community radio spot.

    You could also develop your own podcast or YouTube channel, where you build a following by posting audio files or video files and inviting comments.

    You can deliver a signature talk to local groups, allied health professionals or clients. You could engage your local public library to help you promote and deliver a workshop and present your signature talk (promotional) in their space.

    You can present at conferences, expos or other events.

    Of course, any speaking you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), on social media and your client email list, or the list of the event organiser.

    If most of your audience is speakers and listeners, then your website can offer a well-scripted video or audio that they can watch that invites them to join your email list or meetup group.

    As you become more comfortable with public speaking you can offer live webinars or workshops that promote your service offering.

    Speaking is a fabulous marketing tool that requires confidence and practice. It’s easiest to start small and with people, you know, and build up to larger audiences and/or more complicated means of delivery (e.g. in-person vs online).

    One thing is for sure – public speaking is one of the fastest ways to become known, liked and trusted because there is an authentic connection in real-time, and you can build trust and authority easily if you know your subject matter.

    The Networking Roadmap

    If you love interacting and meeting people to share ideas, chances are your audience is the same.

    You’re probably someone who:

    • likes meeting people, breaking the ice and having in-depth conversations
    • likes speaking but is also curious about other points of view
    • enjoys collaborating and brainstorming to build on ideas
    • is comfortable with sharing opinions and exploring differences.
    • If this is you, then it’s entirely possible for you to engage your audience in this way.

    As a skilled networker, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by attending events that are hosted by business, social or online groups, or joining networking groups or social media groups.

    You could also develop your own group (e.g. a Facebook group), WhatsApp messenger chat, or live MeetUp group if you don’t like social media that much (MeetUp is a platform to facilitate groups that meet.

    You can offer interactive workshops, breakout rooms or discussion/opinion topics with allied health professionals, complementary businesses or potential clients. You can co-host workshops with other professionals to share knowledge and gain insights.

    You could also host events like movie nights, book clubs, meditation sessions or other such events that bring people together to meet, connect and share insights and ideas.

    This is a lot like the ‘speaking’ roadmap, with a key difference being that you are more interactive and collaborative, with the focus on sharing ideas and listening more.

    Of course, any networking you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), on social media and your client email list, or via the event platform.

    If most of your audience is interactive too, then your website can offer a live session with you (could be virtual) as a 1:1 on a meeting platform, VR, or to attend an introductory group event.

    If you are attending networking events hosted by other people, it’s important to define a goal for the event and complete that goal so it advances your marketing effort. For example, I make a point of finding one or two people at each event that I like connecting with, and to email them afterwards and set up a coffee date. This could be a potential client or a potential referrer.

    As you become more comfortable with networking, you can start your own group or simply schedule connections with like-minded people that you’ve built connections with. An allied health professional near me does this well – he emails me every quarter to set up a coffee date.

    Networking is a fabulous marketing tool that requires confidence and organisational skills. It’s easiest to start with small local groups and build up to attending larger groups or even creating your own group (which requires learning a bit of tech in some cases).

    Networking is one of the fastest ways to become known, liked and trusted because there is an authentic connection in real-time, using both auditory and visual cues to gauge and develop rapport.

    My opinion is that while speaking can build a sense of authority, networking can build connection and engagement.

    Summary

    Today we talked about three marketing roadmaps for coaches.

    To create your roadmap, it helps to play to your communication strengths and style to build confidence and to be truly authentic.

    Depending on your personal skills and strengths, I outlined three roadmaps:

    1. The writing roadmap
    2. The speaking roadmap
    3. The networking roadmap

    There are other marketing strategies, but these are known to be more effective because you get the chance to connect more personally and emotively with potential clients or referrers. If you need help to develop your proven marketing roadmap, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July 2022, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business. Click the link to learn more about the program.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here:

    Posted on

    E#185 How to Write a Magnetic ‘About Me’ Story

    This episode is about how to write a magnetic ‘About Me’ story

    Do you want to attract more clients to your business – and the RIGHT kind of clients?

    As part of my Passion to Profit course, I ask my students to write an About Me story as a critical part of their marketing. In this episode, I’ll explain how to write it in a way that attracts the right kinds of clients more easily, and with fewer objections.

    What An About Me Story Is – and Why It Matters

    Statistics show that your About Me story is one of the most-read pieces of content on your website.

    So, what is an about me story?

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What an About Me Story Is – and Why it Matters
    * Four Things Your About Me Story Must Cover
    * How Your About Me Story Attracts the Right Clients
    * Four Steps to a Magnetic About Me Story

    It’s the story that describes your journey from tragedy to triumph, to arrive at where you are today.

    It is an emotive story that captures four important things:

    1. Who you are as a person (your personality)
    2. How do you relate to your niche (your story)
    3. Your values
    4. The position and value of your business

    In his 2015 book called Dotcom Secrets, founder of Clickfunnels Russell Brunson describes this as an Attractive Character Avatar – a public persona that people immediately relate to and connect with.

    Why does the about me story matter?

    Well, because first impressions count, and your About Me page is often the first thing people look for on your website. A well-written story builds connection, rapport and trust with the reader.

    Four Things Your About Me Story Must Cover

    Remember that people buy you, not your service. There are four things that your About Me story must cover in order to build trust and rapport in the reader. It must show the reader:

    1. What they have in common with you – in terms of age, stage of life, problem, values, journey and personality

    2. How deeply you understand their day-to-day struggles with the problem

    3. That you are a role model for success, giving them hope and a sense of what is possible and achievable for them

    4. That you have more than just professional expertise, but personal lived experience with an issue – and how best to overcome it.

    Think about how much trust that generates!

    How Your About Me Story Attracts the Right Clients

    Think about any more generic About Me story that you’ve read on a website or one that is full of qualifications.

    How did you feel when you read it?

    A dry, boring, linear account of your academic history can cause readers to skim at best, and switch off at worst.

    Yes, qualifications matter, but it’s personal engagement that actually sells.

    By telling a heartfelt, emotive story of tragedy to triumph, the reader will see themselves in your words.

    They’ll know that you ‘get’ how they are feeling.

    They’ll get to know you a bit more personally, and to understand your personality, values and approach.

    By the end of your relatable story, the reader should be clear about how aligned they are with you, and whether you are the right person to help them or not.

    In other words, a well-written story can either attract or repel the reader – so you end up with enquiries from people who are pre-sold that you might be a good personality fit for them – and very few mismatches or tyre kickers!

    How To Write a Magnetic About Me Story

    Start by doing some exercises to prepare to write your story.

    If you haven’t had a journey yourself, you might have had experience with many clients in a niche, or friends and family around you with a certain problem.

    Your About Me story can convey your story OR your experience with others.

    You might like to think about and write some notes about:

    1. Your best and most likeable personal traits
    2. A clear journey that matches the niche you work with (your story, or someone else’s)
    3. Your strengths and values
    4. What matters to you most or your vision
    5. Your struggles (or your client/friend’s struggle) to get there
    6. What the turning point was (for you or your client/friend)
    7. How it felt to make the decision, and what the decision was
    8. The success and how it felt

    Once you have done this, you probably have all the elements to write a great story about a journey that you or others have had.

    It needs to be real, emotive and compelling.

    Here are some tips for getting it right.

    1. Start with a defining event

    You can draw the reader in with a specific event that triggered a chain reaction.

    For example:

    “The year I turned 35, I was living my best life. I was travelling extensively for work, partying hard, and playing golf and tennis. Then I married my best friend and we knew we wanted to have kids right away. It would be the icing on the cake of a perfect life.

    But after 6 months of trying, we were unable to get pregnant, and it was then that I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

    Suddenly my world collapsed, and we were faced with some hard decisions about what to do. We were facing expensive treatment, a hormonal rollercoaster, and no guarantee of success.”

    Notice in that example, I outlined how good life was, and how this one specific event was so big that it stopped the person in their tracks.

    It covered specific events in a timeline and described all the emotions that were felt along the way. Remember, this could be your story or the story of a client that came to you for help and succeeded (written in the third person).

    This part helps the reader connect with you as a person on a similar journey, or who has helped people like them. It is where resonance and trust start.

    Are you someone that they could relate to and work with?

    2. Define the emotional turmoil

    Next, you want to talk about the pain of this – the cost of the struggle. This highlights the personal reasons why getting help and seeking a solution are so important. In doing this, you get to share your values and motivators, which might be the same as your client.

    For example:

    “We were told by the specialist that if I went ahead with treatment, life would change dramatically. I would need time off work and our income would drop.

    I would have to deal with uncomfortable side effects of the treatment. It would make me more emotional, and it would change my body.

    My husband and I talked about the consequences. He would have to be the main income earner, and on top of that I would be relying on him for more emotional support.

    We would have to decide whether we really wanted kids badly enough to go through with these massive changes and this uncertainty.”

    Notice in this example, I am talking about that initial stage of diagnosis and talking about things that the reader with this problem might be going through. The reader who relates to this would be thinking – YES – this person gets it!

    This part helps the reader connect with their version of the problem, and to weigh up how big of a problem something is for them right now.

    Is the reader going through this too, and are they ready to make a decision?

    3. Describing the turning point

    Whenever there is a problem that someone is facing, they weigh up the pros and cons of change before deciding what to do, as we heard in that last point.

    Humans are driven to avoid pain, so when there are more benefits to change than not, it creates the motivation to act and seek help.

    Describing the decision-making and action in detail – what you realised, what was decided, how it felt and what the next steps were – helps your reader to make their own decision, and get some ideas on what getting started might look like.

    It also gives them ‘permission’ to ask for help. After all, if a competent role model like you sought help – then the reader might be able to do it too!

    On the other hand, what happens if you were to write about how you did it all yourself? It might be off-putting for the reader. They might feel that it’s too hard, or they’re not good enough to do it themselves!

    If you manage to weave in the importance and value of getting support, it could help the reader to find the courage to reach out to you. This is important from a marketing perspective (not so much the resonance of the story itself).

    For example:

    “Being undecided was an excruciating place to be. We needed to make a decision one way or the other, and we both felt so much pressure to choose the right option – but we had no idea what it was! We had so many unanswered questions.

    How would we pay for the expensive treatment?

    Were we up for this, financially and emotionally?

    Could our marriage handle it?

    Or could we face a life without kids?

    What would that look like?

    As our next specialist appointment drew nearer, we decided to go for it. But it would be hard on our own, and between specialist visits. I would need to make sure I was doing everything possible to make my body healthy and better equipped to handle potential pregnancy.

    My specialist recommended a health coach who specialised in optimising health for women trying to fall pregnant.

    She was amazing – not just in helping me be consistent with positive habits like eating well and exercising safely, but also with the emotional support I needed. She helped me to set boundaries at work so I could finish earlier, get more rest, and also accept that I needed to slow down!

    I have achieved so much in so many areas of my life, but without the support of my coach and the community she offered, I would have truly struggled with so many things.

    Notice in this example, I am talking about the fear and questions, the process for getting support, and how the support benefitted the person.

    This part helps the reader to understand that help is available, and how it helps them get through this situation. It helps to generate hope and optimism, relief and other positive emotions.

    4. Amplifying the outcome

    Change is hard, and it is often a struggle. It requires focus, dedication and persistence, and to set time aside.

    A person will only go through that if there is a reward at the end – and if it’s the reward they want.

    Your ability to articulate that clearly, at the end of your About Me story, is essential for helping someone feel ready, willing and able to change – and that you are the right person to help them.

    If your reasons and benefits are the same as theirs, they will likely reach out to you for help.

    For example:

    “Fast forward two years, and we have an amazing little girl who is healthy and happy. We managed to fall pregnant on the second round of treatment, and my coach was invaluable for helping me keep my physical and mental health in check.

     

    I went on to study Health and Wellness Coaching, because I wanted to help women like me who were taking that leap of faith, to do so with their best foot forward.

    And even though I’m a qualified coach now with a Professional Certificate of Health and Wellness Coaching, I still check in with my coach every 2 – 3 months. I am healthier than I’ve ever been, thanks to her ongoing support.

    Right now, she is that objective, non-judgemental person who helps me to navigate the challenges and the joys of raising a baby while running my business. She helps me make better decisions and to be consistent with the habits that keep me healthy and happy.

    I have been working with my own clients for 12 months now and am so excited to be doing this important work.

    I am so excited and relieved that things worked out. Finally, we get the family we wanted, and we are even talking about baby number 2! For us, making this decision was the best thing we’ve ever done.

    If you are reading this story and going through this right now – please take your time to think about all the angles of your decision.

    And if you have taken that deep breath and decided to go for it – please know that there are people who can support you and help you through it, regardless of the outcome.”

    This part fast forwards to the joy and reinforces the benefits and importance of getting help. It speaks to what’s possible, helps them to connect with the desired outcome, whether you are the right person, and once again, to work out if they are ready, willing and able to do the work.

    Summary

    Today we discussed what an About Me story is, why it matters, and four things it must cover.

    If you get it right, you will build trust and attract the right clients to your business, and they will be ‘pre-sold’ that you are the right person to help them.

    There are four parts of a magnetic About Me story:

    1. A defining event

    2. Defining the emotional turmoil

    3. Describing the turning point

    4. Amplifying the outcome If you need help to write an About Me story, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July 2022, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business. Click the link to learn more about the program.

    Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

    Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

    Learn more here: