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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:

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E#187 How Exercise Improves Mental Health with Zac Jefcoate

This episode is about how exercise improves mental health with Zac Jefcoate

Today, I interview exercise physiologist and health and wellness coach, Zac Jeffcoate to discuss the links between exercise and mental health, the cost of prevention versus injury management, and how the powerful combination of individualised exercise and coaching can empower improvements, save money and improve quality of life at the individual and workforce level.

MW: I’m pretty interested to start by hearing a bit about what you’re really passionate about.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The links between exercise and mental health
* Why changes are difficult, and how to overcome resistance
*  How individualised coaching and exercise programs can improve health and save money
* The importance of simple steps

ZJ: Well, firstly, that question gets asked a lot, and the way I answer that is, the passion for me is providing exercise and movement. Initially in my career as an exercise physiologist, we can impact people’s lives really positively. And as I progressed in my career, I found that it’s not so much what exercise does, but it’s more the fact of what exercise, obviously, how it improves the quality of life, and how people actually fit that into their day to essentially get to an outcome.

So my passion is actually educating people on the benefits of exercise my solution and what I kind of not sell them what solution is that exercise is a modality that fits into their lifestyle.

And it’s really important that we look at how diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation, and meditation fit into a physical mental model. My passion is really the profession, I’ll be honest with you. It is exercise physiology. And beyond that, it’s obviously providing education to anyone who wants to hear.

MW: Wow. And it sounds like you have quite a broad experience. We were talking just before we started this conversation about all of the things that you’ve done. Can you give us a quick recap of your world tour of Australia?

ZJ: Yeah, well, just I mean, I’ve, I’ve got a bit of ADHD probably. So I do a lot of different things.

Initially, when I graduated in 2008, I was offered a job in mining. Unfortunately, I turned up and I tried a uniform on and the guy said, Sorry, Zac, there’s no work here. We’ve lost the contract that’s mining.

It was a humbling experience. My rejection was the redirection to go on a journey, and I set up two AP clinics in medical centres. They’re a great company so did that for about five years. At that time, I was an ABC radio host, and had a skit on ABC.

I then worked in Surf Lifesaving as a performance coach and as a Cert IV lecturer in fitness. Then, after five years, I went into the Northern Territory in Tennant Creek, and I worked over there for about three months with a company called Body Fit. We provided access to exercise physiology in remote and rural indigenous communities. That was a great eye-opener.

And then after that, I went to Melbourne for a number of years and work down with Angelo and the team in Melbourne, in rehab, and then I had come back to Perth, to take on the role in rehab services.

MW: Wow, you’ve seen a lot of the country and by the sound of things, a lot of different sorts of people in different contexts regarding exercise.

ZJ: Yeah. And it’s the same message. And I guess the challenge is what you know, the message that you’re trying to portray, it’s about linking that to your target audience, or linking that in terms of value. So how does someone who’s recovering from kidney disease take your message, as opposed to someone who’s just been guys diagnosed with anxiety and depression?

So how do you as an AP, or as a health professional, essentially get buy-in or trust with the client? And that’s a hard skill, to be honest with you.

MW: I guess that’s where the coaching approach comes in for you.

ZJ: Definitely. Yeah. And the coaching principles. More importantly, that the client-centred approach is you really have to understand that putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, essentially, the empathetic approach. Second to that, what is it about what you’re offering do they think they need?

I mean, I’ll be honest with you, a lifestyle change is hard. And this is why it’s about the clients we have the range on the spectrum in terms of their levels of health. And it’s really important that when you coach them through each week or each session, they understand that your guiding principle of coaching is really important because of how you do your initial assessment, how you do your follow-ups, and then essentially how you educate them all comes down to that kind of format and modality that needs to really be targeted to them.

MW: I can hear that it’s very personalized, even down to the level of each individual client. That’s what you’re saying?

ZJ: Yeah, a tailored approach. So we don’t do cookie-cutter assessments. You can have two of the same people come in with the exact same diagnosis or a similar history and you need to treat them differently. The approach of, well, for example, the One-Stop approach doesn’t work, especially in coaching and health and wellness, the individuality.

So it’s really important that you understand, this is essentially going through the need to understand the biomedical markers of the person, you could ask them the physiology, and you have to understand the drive and direction in their psychology behind their motivation and their habits. You have to break this down, because what your intervention and what you’re trying to provide a solution won’t necessarily hit the mark if you can address those factors.

MW: It sounds like you have to be across a lot of stuff, generally. And then as well, on top of that the individual needs of the person or being able to identify those and be client-centred at the same time.

ZJ: Yeah, it’s difficult. And I’ve been doing it for 14 years, and I probably am still learning a lot, it probably took me at least a number of years to actually understand how to relate, also understand how to say what, when, and also how to formulate a plan to best suit my client. And this is life experience, number one. Number two, it’s understanding your trade, knowing what you can offer and also really having a thirst or a passion to continue to keep learning.

MW: It’s so important. Absolutely. I wonder if we could talk a bit about mental health because really, in this spotlight at the moment, there’s obviously a link between exercise and mental health. But I’m not sure that a lot of people really understand that link very well. So could you talk to us a little bit about that?

ZJ: Well, I mean, the link, over let’s put it this way, it’s definitely gotten a lot better in terms of the awareness, I think we have to be mindful with exercise and mental health, that there’s a component that they actually go hand in hand. But remember physical health, mental health, what comes first.

I think the main thing is understanding that from a, I guess from a medical model, so for example, in the GP, it’s about providing the lifestyle change. And then from a health coaching, and from a wellness perspective, you’re not just focusing on one part.

So the link between exercise and mental health is actually quite been studied a lot in the last probably three to four years, the rates of depression, anxiety, in particular, schizophrenia, and bipolar.

Also, there’s a lot of evidence in relation to exercise and how it modulates the brain improves, obviously, the feel-good hormone reduces cortisol, which essentially over time, what it does, it gives it a more locus of control, or competence to the client, about what they can and can’t do.

I’ll talk to you from a purely physiological point of view from the way the body responds. It improves oxygen. That’s the first point of Go.

So as we improve oxygen, when hemoglobin, obviously, blood flows for the body, that increases natural feel-good hormones, you need to do that in certain way over time to get a benefit. And the first thing I look at with mental health is called dose-response.

For example, you go walking for 10 minutes, get enough response for your body and change. It’s no different than medication now, where you’ve been diagnosed with depression, and you have 25 milligrams of sertraline or Zoloft. Does that do anything for the body? So it’s this it’s no different.

The second thing is looking at what is it about physical health that when you’re faced with a mental health condition or concern, why does that always go on the back burner? What is it about exercise and movement and eating? Well, so why does that always go to the bottom? And this is the crux of understanding that we need to break the relationship down so people can see the value.

Liking what you read so far? Listen to the whole interview by clicking the links above.

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#171 Pull Marketing – Attract Clients with Confidence

This episode is about pull marketing – attract clients with confidence

I was asked recently for tips on how to ask clients to work with you, or engage people in a sales process. This episode covers what I call a coaching approach to attracting clients with confidence and creating clients with ease. 

What is Pull Marketing?

I use the concept of ‘pull’ marketing. It means creating demand for your services or products, rather than pushing them onto people.

If you are a coach, you are perfectly equipped with the coaching skills that can help you do this easily. All you need to do is to flip your thinking and redefine the words that currently seem icky and uncomfortable, like “marketing” and “sales”. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is Pull Marketing?
* The 4 Step “Pull Marketing” Process
* How to get it right?

The essence of pull marketing, from a coaching perspective, is to speak with conviction about your why, to be aspirational and inspirational, and to build or tap into a community around that. Then to match your values and services with the people who need them, and offer to support them through a journey if and when they are ready to take it.

Here is a rough 4-step process that I use, that others have used, and that really works.

4 Step “Pull Marketing” Process

Step 1 – Start with the Why

Pull marketing starts with clearly communicating your big why and your bigger mission and really unpacking it.

The why naturally speaks to a huge problem that people want to solve – confidence, fear, isolation, self-doubt – or whatever it is. 

It paints an aspirational picture of what’s possible (and what we can achieve together). People see themselves in that and create a shared vision.

Speaking to the why regularly ignites the fire in people who are thinking about change but are afraid (it’s not you, it’s them!) – they move through the stages of change to become ready. 

They sit up and take notice. Your inspirational and aspirational approach gives them a sense of hope, of potential, and that you are the leader who can help them.

Step 2 – Give a Vehicle for Engagement

By communicating your why in your content, people are attracted and engage with you as they become readier and readier to change (and therefore buy).

They want to stay connected because it feels good to be around you.

They may not be ready to buy yet.

So, create a vehicle for engagement. Give them a place to go to stay in touch – a meetup group, a LinkedIn group, or some other ‘container’ for like-minded people.

They will want to be part of that community and they will have ownership if they can co-create it with you (and this is the coaching way). 

In that container, you can speak more to the journey they are on and help them solve day-to-day problems that they’re facing, and to get peer support.

Be authentic, and speak to both obstacles and wins. Keep the positive momentum going.

The community will become very problem aware, and solution aware, and are equipped to evaluate how important it is to change at this time.

Step 3 – Add More Value

With the help of your content in steps 1 and 2, some of the people in your audience will become more ready to change and will start to prepare for change.

You can add more value in an event of some kind – a workshop, webinar, etc.

In that session you would unpacking your why (related to their problem), and then introduce how you help people solve that problem. What has worked for you, and/or your clients?

What you are selling is support to walk people through a 4-step process or formula for helping them go from point A (problem) to point B (solution).

Engage the audience and make them part of it. Make the content specific and relevant to them. And right up front, let them know that at the end you’ll let people know how to work with you if they want to.

Step 4 – Make a SMART Offer 

There is an offer at the end of this event (and you can make this offer once a month at least, for your general audience). The offer is your vehicle to actually help those people to find the confidence and support they need on such a big journey.

The offer is essentially formulated like a SMART goal (I am patenting this idea) 

It talks about the:

  1. Specific problem you are helping with and type of people who have that problem 
  2. Two Measurable elements – how long it is (e.g. 8-week program) and how many people you have capacity to work with (e.g. 5 clients)
  3. Actions that 
    1. people need to take e.g. must be committed to attending weekly sessions, and, 
    2. the actions that you will take to help them overcome their obstacles and objections
  4. Realistic results that people will get if they take the actions – and the outcomes that those actions will generate e.g. have a bigger impact, be a role model for their kids
  5. Timing of the offer – e.g. contact you by a specific date, starting on a specific date

Then, you must have the next steps mapped out clearly to enquire or take up the offer.

I like to have a good fit call to see if the person is truly ready to change, and if they are a fit for working with me.

If they aren’t interested, it might not be the right offer or the right time.

If they aren’t a fit, you can refer them to someone or something else.

In either case, you can STILL offer them value through ongoing connection with you on (LinkedIn, email, community etc) and you can invite them to share the message with others who need the courage and confidence to navigate the journey.

Getting it Right

This method works for me, and others. 

Your courage to do it is borne from your bigger why, the thing that you MUST do no matter what – which is the kryptonite for your fears.

If you can engage people in your why and share the dream with them, and co-create a vision, you will both be able to put the fear of marketing and sales aside and focus on making a change, and a difference. 

Summary

Attracting clients and selling programs is a big challenge for a lot of coaches. There are mental and emotional hurdles and often limiting beliefs in the way.

Your courage to make offers is borne from your bigger why, the thing that you MUST do no matter what.

Pull marketing is a strategy that leverages coaching skills and strengths.

The four-step process I shared today includes:

  1. Starting with the why (as the focus for all your content) 
  2. Creating a vehicle for engagement where you dive into the what 
  3. Adding more value by offering events that truly help the people who are becoming ready to change
  4. Making a SMART offer that helps people connect with you so they can benefit from your skills, abilities and support.

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#170 4 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome

This episode is about 4 ways to beat imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome has been a hot topic lately and I have decided to talk about it again in this episode. 

I have worked with several clients in the last year who have been struggling with imposter syndrome. And through the process of coaching conversations, I have seen a few things that have been really effective in helping people to beat impostor syndrome.

The thing with impostor syndrome is that it creates an unhelpful downward spiral. If you are plugging negative thoughts into your head, then your brain takes that as an instruction and starts looking for evidence to prove the thoughts right.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is impostor syndrome?
* How to overcome impostor syndrome?
* What are the methods that I can use to overcome impostor syndrome?

That’s how our brains work. So you definitely need to learn some skills to manage those impostor thoughts and feelings.

Sure, there is no magical quick fix for imposter syndrome. But there are habits that you can form that will help to diminish impostor syndrome and keep it at bay. They’re things that anyone can use, and benefit from.

What is impostor syndrome?

Healthline defines impostor syndrome as follows:

Imposter syndrome, also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.

They say that Impostor syndrome may manifest as perfectionism, struggling to deal with anything that doesn’t come easily, the belief that you should be able to do things on your own, believing you should have all the answers and be an expert, or linking your competence to success in all areas of life.

In clients I’ve worked with, these patterns come up in conversation along with a sense that they will be judged or criticised if they don’t succeed, achieve perfection or have all the answers. 

If any of this sounds familiar, then you might have a bit of imposter syndrome going on. 

I want to point something out before we go any further. If you are learning anything new in your life, you know that there is going to be a steep learning curve. There is a period where you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, because you haven’t had enough time to practice your new craft. 

I see this a lot in  my work as in business startups and coach training within a health and wellness coach training school. I work mostly with mature adults who are going through a career change and have a lot of past success and knowledge – but who see their foray into a new career as challenging and disheartening. They are so used to feeling competent and now, suddenly, they are inexperienced newbies!

Enter the impostor syndrome.

Never mind! It is 100% normal to feel insecure when you are learning new things, to doubt yourself, and to feel like you don’t know enough, or aren’t doing it well enough. That’s called learning.

Just like a small child learning to walk, falling down and then getting up to determinedly try again, you can learn to develop new skills and persist without feeling like a failure.

How do you do that? Well, I’ve rustled up some of the ways that you can move past impostor syndrome more easily.

I want to share four methods that have come up in coaching conversations with my clients that have been really effective in helping and overcome imposter syndrome. These are not one-time use methods – they need to be done consistently.

Method #1 – Schedule time to recognise success 

Self efficacy is a key part of beating impostor syndrome. Self-efficacy means that you have a sense of competence around your ability to do certain tasks or activities.

For example, maybe you know that you are a good ballroom dancer, or that you are good at making cakes.

Knowing that you have skills and strengths in a particular area confers a level of self-confidence.

That’s why method #1 for beating impostor syndrome involves reflecting on wins in your daily life, or your progress with learning a skill.

Here are a few ways you can do that.

Firstly, if you are a coach, you can start working with practice clients and develop a self-reflective practice to implement after each coaching session that you do. Focus on being objective and non-emotive in your feedback, using neutral language. 

Note what went well or not so well based on the client’s behaviour and feedback, what you feel went well, and what you might have done differently and why.

A second way to build self-efficacy is to collect external feedback.

If you are a coach, this would involve reading through testimonials and feedback surveys from your clients on a regular basis to remind yourself of the value of what you do. 

This implies that you need to be collecting feedback after every coaching session as part of your business ‘habits’ or processes.

Outside of coaching or your business, external feedback involves asking friends what they think your strengths are, or what they like about you. Ask for candid feedback from people you trust. It might feel a little uncomfortable, but you will probably be surprised about what comes back…..and delighted!

Other than these ideas, you may have access to customer or colleague feedback at work, performance review feedback or simply the kind words of a compassionate friend who always champions you.

A third way to build self-efficacy is to reflect on the value of what you do in your life.

You could consider any area of your life. For example, the importance of being a parent. What is possible for your child because you care for them, house them, feed them and get them to school?

What is possible if you continue to run your business or do your job – what good can that create in the world? Who can you help? And, by doing that work and helping those people – what will THEY be able to do?

If you are new to coaching and are concerned about the value of your services, consider what is possible if your client gets to the end of their program and has made changes in a specific area of life? And THEN what is possible for them? And what else?

In other words – use the big picture coaching questions toward the client who shows up and does their work, to see what is possible because of their work with you.

Hopefully you can see that with a few questions and reflections, it is possible to recognise skills and strengths that you have, and to acknowledge how those things can have a bigger impact in your own life, or someone else’s. 

Method #2 – Say I don’t know

My husband recently told me a story about one of his first jobs in Australia. 

He moved here from California and had no connections. Moving into a new job, he felt such pressure to have all of the answers and was really impacting him. 

One day he was asked a question in a work meeting and he said simply, “I don’t know but I’ll get the answer and come back to you.” 

He describes the sense that a huge weight was lifted from him because he could be totally honest (one of his strengths), he could go away and learn something, and he could still fulfill the request and gain probably more respect than if he had tried to bumble through an answer, as if he knew what he was talking about.

I found the courage to do this a long time ago, and it was liberating.

Think about it – nobody ever has all of the answers all of the time. If you can learn to be ok with that, you can remove at least some of the weight of expectation that you have placed on yourself. 

To get a sense of this, see if you can recall a time where someone gave you an answer that you knew was a fake. How did it feel? What did you think about that person at the time?

Now, imagine if they had been honest and told you they didn’t know, but would find out?

I’m sure you can see the difference. And if we want to be really pointy about this – in those two versions of the situation, only one is an imposter – and it’s not the one telling the truth.

Method #3 – Tap into your purpose 

What I notice with all of my clients – literally all of them – is that when they feel like an imposter, they turn inward and focus on themselves and their own inadequacies.

It becomes an emotional and sometimes judgemental conversation in their head that plays on repeat. And as I  mentioned earlier, when you are plugging those sorts of thoughts into your head, your brain takes that as an instruction and starts looking for evidence to prove the thoughts right.

That’s how our brains work.

So a way to flip that and get out of the unhelpful thought loops is to tap into your purpose.

If you are a coach and/or a business owner, then your impostor syndrome might be around your ability to give value to your clients. It becomes a conversation all about you and your inadequacies. 

But coaching is all about the client! By flipping this, you can get back into that client-centric mindset and start delivering value. 

Reflect on some of those big picture, brain-opening questions.

Why does my work matter to the world?

What could this much-needed skill change in my community?

What will happen when I become masterful – how will it help me and my clients?

Why do I want to make a difference in people’s lives?

As you can see, honing your purpose is a great way to pull away from the useless impostor thought loop and to re-focus on the big picture – your why behind it all.

Method #4 – Accept yourself as a learner 

Finally, if you feel like an impostor, it might be that your expectations are greater than what is realistic or possible right now.

Being honest and objective with yourself and getting external feedback allows you to see clearly where you are at in the learning continuum.

And sure, you might really wish you were further along – but maybe it’s time to step back and accept yourself as someone who doesn’t have all the answers, can’t do it perfectly, and is on the journey toward becoming masterful.

This is the growth mindset!

Accepting yourself as a learner gives you permission to make mistakes, be curious, learn from your challenges and build strength.

Another perspective is this – they say it takes 10.000 hours or 10 years to truly master something.

Consider where you are on that timeline. Yes, it can be sobering. But also, it’s a good reminder that your persistence in doing something you love will lead to a good outcome and, persistence in itself is part of winning in a world where so many people give up.

Summary

After several conversations about impostor syndrome, I wanted to share some insights on how to move through it more easily.

Firstly, you can start scheduling time to recognise success. This could involve self-reflection on performance, reading client testimonials, asking friends for feedback, or reflecting on the downstream value or ripple effect of what you are doing.

Secondly, you can practice saying I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you. This single act will gain you respect and will ease the pressure you’ve been putting on yourself.

Thirdly, you can tap into your purpose. Stop focussing inwards on your flaws, and start focussing outward on the bigger benefits and impacts of what you are doing.

Fourth, you can accept yourself as a learner, on a journey to mastery, which takes 10,000 hours or 10 years – whatever comes first.

Hopefully you are feeling better equipped to tackle your impostor syndrome.

I’d love to know – which one of these methods will you try first?

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#169 50-Day Program Results

This episode is about 50-day program results

Have you ever started any sort of a health change program and wondered why you couldn’t stick to it? today I’m giving you an update on my 50 day program results and what I’ve had to do to stick with it.

Backstory

Around 44 days ago I got a bee in my bonnet and decided that I would make a transformation in my health. I was sick and tired of putting up with menopause symptoms including anxiety and insomnia feeling like I was on the coffee roller coaster and just wanting to clean up my body.

I have experienced changes in my thinking, my energy, my sleep, and it’s all because I’ve developed better habits around drinking water, eating cleaner and with less snacking, drinking less coffee, and setting some boundaries.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The progress of my 50-day program
* The backstory behind the program
* What does extending mean?

Despite the good start, I do love a challenge and I have decided that, 44 days in, I am going to the next level in this program.

Before I tell you about that I’m just going to recap on some of my key results so far.

FIrstly, I have a great eating and supplementation routine and I am no longer bloated and I am energized. I’m feeling calmer and more relaxed than I have in a long time. My digestive system, liver and nervous systems are having a good rest.

Secondly, instead of trying to flog myself with exercise, I’m working (right now) on gentler forms of movement that are more in keeping with what I need right now. 

My sleep has improved dramatically. I feel more positive and hopeful. I have a clearer and more focused mind.

My skin looks better – clear, soft and dewy.

My clothes fit better.

I am clearly seeing the thoughts and beliefs I had attached to eating and drinking for what they are – not serving me, and inaccurate.

I have let go of things that are unhealthy for me with surprising ease.

It’s probably because I”ve committed to myself and given enough focus on what’s important to me, to make this difference.

And now, as I have a few days left to go – I have decided to extend my program.

What does extending mean?

Extending means I will continue and deepen my journey for another month at least.

I am giving myself four more weeks to truly understand my newly refined and tuned up body and mind, to become familiar with them, and to get comfortable here.

I don’t want to go back to my old habits, so I am setting myself a new milestone to aim for and that is giving me the period of focus that I need to learn more about myself – most importantly, how to remain consistent and committed – so I don’t slip into old habits.

In other words, I”m working on strengthening my WHY behind this.

With several sick family members right now, I know how things can go sour. It doesn’t happen overnight though, it creeps up gradually. 

That is why I am continuing on this journey.

This was a QUICK update – but I’ll be sharing some more insights soon, including some secrets to my success, and some of the things that YOU can do for yourself.

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#166 50 day Program Update – Forming Habits vs Circadian Rhythm

This episode is about 50 day program update – forming habits vs circadian rhythm

This is the latest update on my 50 day program. At around 25 days in, I want to share some of my results and key learnings so far. 

I’ll also cover what I’ve learned about how habit forming is easier within a structure, but stickability is easier if you honour your more fluid circadian rhythm. This might explain to you why you have struggled to stick to programs in the past. I will also talk about a few solutions.

Results so far – Eating

I can certainly say without a doubt that some of my key results after 25 days on this program have been very impressive and important for me personally.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is the update on my 50-day program?
* Habit-forming vs circadian rhythm
* How do we juggle habit formation and circadian rhythm in our life?

In the last episode I mentioned macro tweaking – I used the app my fitness pal for a couple of weeks to track my meals and workouts, so I could work out calories, fat, macro ratios and nutrients to see what works best for me in terms of energy, focus, cravings, satiety and productivity.

My fine tuning has been impactful.

For starters, I know exactly which breakfast fuels me the best for energy, productivity, and focus in the morning.

I have a clear understanding of exactly what to eat at lunchtime to fuel an afternoon of even energy and without sugar cravings or hunger.

I am also very clear on the role that water plays in my mental focus, energy, and hunger, working synergistically with what I’m eating.

This is a great starting point for me because I am really clear on which types of meals to eat to optimise my mental and physical performance, so I don’t have to do any thinking work about that any more. I can plan my meals ahead prep them in advance and just enjoy them. No diet plan could ever have done this for me.

I am acutely aware of true hunger signals now. And I have noticed that when I get stressed, feel flustered, or feel rushed, that is when I am likely to want to eat chocolate. But I realise that it is a craving for chocolate and comfort food, rather than any need for food or energy. This has been a really important learning for me. 

Now that I am in a really good place with my hydration and my eating, it means that I can notice these stress-related chocolate cravings when they come up, and I can sit with the urge, allow it, and let it go. I realise that if I did not have my hydration and eating in order, then I would probably give in to that chocolate craving. And that is what has been happening until this program.

Results so far – exercise

My morning walks have happened on most days and they have been a great start to the day, and precious quality time with my husband.

Otherwise, I have been sporadic with my afternoon exercise, and it seems to be related to my work schedule and energy levels. 

I have a preferred time of day to exercise, which is in the afternoon. That’s when I feel strongest. The trouble is, that time often coincides with meetings. 

In this program, I have managed exercise better on days when I’m not teaching at night and when I don’t have late meetings. On those days, exercise ends up happening while I’m making dinner, which is not ideal. It means a shorter, less intense workout.

Also, if I have had a rushed or mentally busy day, I feel too drained to exercise in the afternoon.

Morning exercise doesn’t suit me, apart from walking.

I’m still grappling with this one. Stay tuned.

Habit forming vs circadian rhythm 

Through the process of analysing my progress and reflecting on what’s been going on, I have come to the conclusion that habit forming is really difficult for a lot of people because of the clash between our life schedules and our circadian rhythms.

I have had this same conversation with a client recently who is on her own program.

Let me explain what I mean.

We as humans living in society run our days via a fixed schedule. We set an alarm to get up in the morning, we have to be at work at a certain time and we have responsibilities outside of work that are also driven by the clock.

However, our bodies don’t run like that. Our bodies run on a circadian rhythm that changes through the year based on day length and temperature and a whole bunch of other environmental factors.

For example, we have certain times of day where we are more energised, and this is the best time to exercise and eat. However, your most energised time might happen in the middle of a board meeting!

What happens is that we end up exercising or eating at sub optimal times for our personal rhythm. And that’s why it might be so hard for you to follow a particular exercise plan, or keep going to the gym at the same time each day for a whole year, or be able to eat the same food at the same time each day.

Our bodies change in response to the seasons and our stage of life, and our needs change.

What this means for you is that if you try to follow a set exercise program at the same time every day, or the same eating pattern with the same foods at the same times every day, the likelihood is that you fail at some point because your biology will shift you in a different direction and your needs will change.

In addition to this, habit formation is easier with some degree of consistency, so having a set day or time to perform a habit makes sense in theory, but perhaps not in practice.

I learned all this in my biology degree, in my metabolic typing advisor training, my personal training qualifications, my coaching certification, and through over 4,000 hours coaching clients…. but I have only realised the gravity of this influence by doing my own 50 day program and experiencing this myself.

So how do we juggle habit formation and circadian rhythm when we have a fixed schedule for life?

I have a few ideas that i will sketch out now and flesh out in another episode.

Flexible work is one idea. Finding ways to adjust my start times, finish times, days off and/or meetings means I will more likely be able to honour and leverage my circadian rhythm.

Supplementing is something I’m currently doing and will continue. It makes a huge difference, and I know after using my fitness pal that it’s very difficult to meet all my nutrient needs, even with a good diet. I have been taking Usana supplements for 15 years because of their science backing, quality manufacturing process and proven efficacy.

Seasonal exercise is a no brainer for me, and I have been doing this for years. In personal training we talk about something called a periodised training program. This is when an athlete in a competitive sport breaks their year into segments where they do different types of training – their preparation phase, intense training phase  and competition phase and then the rest and recovery phase which is also called the off season.

For me, it’s the day to day fitting in of exercise that is more of the challenge, which I’m working on.

Seasonal eating is also a no brainer and I am a huge advocate. Research shows that eating in season produce gives you more nutrient rich food, and it’s also cheaper to buy in season stuff because there is a glut!

So choice of food is not the issue for me, it’s more about fine tuning my meals in each season so I can maintain energy and eliminate focus.

Reflection and planning are the last points I’ll make for now. All of the above are relevant, but to implement seasonal changes, you need to stand back from your busy life and take stock, then, plan each week or each day to fit in all of the health giving activities you need to do.

Summary

Today I updated you on my midway results of my 50 day program.

I also discussed the importance of honouring your dynamic circadian rhythm so you can be consistent and motivated, and the challenges of doing this within a more fixed framework of creating habits, and managing daily schedules.

I offered some solutions in the form of seasonal eating and exercise, supplementing, aiming for flexibility in your work schedule, and the importance of reflection and planning to make seasonal adjustments.

This is what I’ll be focussing on for the remaining 25 days… and maybe into another 50 day cycle!

Stay tuned for the next episode!

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#165 Busting Cravings and Firing Up Motivation

This episode is about busting cravings and firing up motivation

Are you doing a transformative program and have found that the magic is wearing off after a week, and you’re losing motivation?

I want to share my initial results with you and talk about how to stay motivated while you’re on a transformative program.

The first week’s highlights

I am pretty chuffed with my first weeks work in my own transformation program.

I did really well with everything this first week. After all, it’s the honeymoon period of the program where everything is new and exciting.

Here are some highlights.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What to do when you are losing motivation?
* How to get the timing right?
* What are the other motivation tips that we can use?

Water

I did especially well with drinking enough water, and this made a huge difference to my overall energy levels, my hunger, the way my skin looks and feels, and also my mental focus. My digestion has been better and I’ve tapped into my natural thirst and hunger signals.

That was an absolute winner to start with.

The way I managed to succeed in keeping my water intake up was actually pretty simple. I just filled my water bottle up every night so would be ready for the next day at my desk. I made sure to have 2 cups of uncaffeinated rooibos tea each day which added to my water intake.

Plus I had a glass of water as I was preparing dinner each night. I absolutely bossed my goal and my natural thirst mechanism has kicked in, so I will be doubling to two litres of water a day this week coming.

One of the things this has helped me to do is cope with sugar withdrawals.

Sugar and white flour

I have to be really honest and say the first five days without sugar was really hard.

After my birthday where I got a lot of cakes and some fudge and some chocolate, I had developed a bit of a habit of eating chocolate or cake in the afternoon when I had a bit of an energy lull.

But by God did I have some sugar cravings this week. I crave sugar after lunch, I crave sugar in the mid afternoon, and I crave sugar after dinner.

To cope with this, I use some really effective strategies to get past those cravings and I was over them completely by day five.

These include keeping my water intake up, including enough protein and fibre at each meal, and getting my meal timing right so I don’t need snacks.

That last part is important because snacking, especially on sugar or carb rich foods, drives false hunger and cravings so it’s important to stop those in their tracks.

Now by day 7 I have been free of sugar or carb cravings for two days!

This is pretty impressive for me because I have long been a fan of having what I call ‘lunch dessert’, plus at least a little chocolate after dinner.

Macro ratios

After busting those cravings by day 5, I turned my focus to getting my carb mix right because this is the secret for managing long term hunger, satiety, energy and cravings – and of course body composition and weight 

Once you sort out any blood sugar imbalances which are indicated by what I call ‘false’ sugar or carb cravings, then you can assess natural energy needs and can get a sense of how best to fuel your body for clear thinking and good performance with exercise.

So the past two days I’ve been following the Metabolic Typing fine tuning process to get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat at each meal and maintain good physical and mental energy, free of cravings and full of energy, completely satisfied for four hours after a meal.

Exercise

I haven’t gone as well as I hoped with exercise because I had a couple of days with really bad headaches and a stiff trapezius muscle so I had to work around those things.

I also noted I hadn’t planned around my work properly during a busy week and so I was short of time on a couple of days, and not wanting to exercise too late in the afternoon for fear of staying awake all night.

However, I achieved about 80% of my exercise goal this week which is fantastic. That means that on most days I did two exercise sessions per day, in accordance with the specific activities I set for myself.

What I learned is that I need to plan better for exercise.

I had to catch my naughty mind trying to convince me I was too busy to exercise on a couple of days, and pushed through using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 principle.

Staying Motivated

I wanted to talk a bit about how to stay motivated during a program like this one.

Let’s start with what I’ve seen in many of my clients. The first week of any type of transformation program is exciting and interesting. You’re doing new things, you’re getting some quick wins, and you are also starting to get into a rhythm.

But if you are a veteran of programs, or lacking in self confidence, you might start to lose focus or find yourself making excuses for things that you are not doing.

Let me just say that this is totally normal. It’s totally normal for you to start getting a bit bored or unmotivated or to feel challenged when it comes to habit upgrades.

It’s normal to feel a bit stuck or overwhelmed at times and feel like giving up. Although this may happen to you later on, it can also happen after the first seven days of a program.

I want to explain what I’m doing to stay motivated during my transformation program

Motivation Tip 1 – Get the Timing Right

The first point is that you should really choose the timing of your transformation program carefully. It’s crazy to try to do it when you are incredibly busy at work, or when you have a lot of stressful things going on in your life.

Generally those things mean that you’re at a tipping point of stress and a thing that would normally be challenging can become just that bit too challenging such that you might give up more easily.

Also, when you’re stressed it takes a huge toll on your physical and mental health, including your body’s nutrients status. Your nutrient needs increase, and your cravings for sugar and carbs and fatty salty food all increase when you are stressed. So it makes it a lot harder to improve your eating, just sleep well, and to be able to exercise effectively. 

In fact if you are trying to do something transformative in a period of life like this, you’re more likely to get a cold or a flu or to get otherwise rundown and sick and then not be able to complete the program.

So this timing thing is really important – choose a period of your life that is normal, routine, and average, so that you can more easily adjust to the disruption and challenge of the transformation program and face the challenges and discomfort of change without giving up!

Similarly, a bad time to do a transformation program is if you are out of a normal routine.

The reason that this isn’t a very good time to do a transformation is when you’re on a relaxing holiday. It may be harder to persevere or you might find it harder to stay motivated and focused.

One other reason that you should not attempt a transformation while you’re on holiday is that you may be establishing habits outside of your normal weekly structure, so that when you go back to that normal weekly structure, your new habits no longer fit into that typical week.

It totally makes sense for you to make changes within your normal routine, where you have more of a fixed schedule each day. That makes it easier for you to stack habits or piggyback habits on top of your existing ones and automate them much more easily.

Motivation Tip 2 – Measure and Reflect

One thing that’s been really helpful for me is to measure several things each day and really keep my eyes on how much better I am feeling when I do certain things and to reflect on the success of that.

After seven days on my own 50 day program, I have learned a lot about motivation. I realise that I approach each weekend ready to relax after a stressful week and have been tempted to let down my guard because of that.

Documenting this process helped me to see how important it is to have a strategy for weekends to stay motivated to stay on track – or choose to focus on habits that you can easily do 7 days per week – or at least consistently and without any sabotage.

Motivation Tip 3 – Don’t wait for motivation

Have you ever heard of the Zeigarnik Effect? 

The Zeigarnik Effect states that not completing a task creates mental tension, which keeps it top of mind. The only thing that will ease this tension is to complete the task. 

Starting something – like your daily exercise session – is usually the hardest part. If you can start focusing on the task for a few minutes, the brain’s desire to complete it should then take over. So next time you feel like putting off an action, just take that first step, and the rest will follow.

Summary

Today I’ve talked about all the things I’ve learned after 7 days on my own transformation program. 

I’m still in the experimental phase to see what works and what I can fit into my lifestyle and how to do that, but I’m already seeing amazing results with clearer skin, clearer thinking and a calmer, less anxious state of mind. The mental chatter has all but stopped and that’s been life changing for me.

I explained the changes I’ve chosen to make – water, food, exercise, boundaries around work, journaling – and how I’ve used journaling and metrics to learn about myself, and stay motivated, and tweak the plan.

This has been such a growth opportunity for me. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been extremely rewarding. I look forward to sharing what happens next week!

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#164 Getting Motivated to Transform

This episode is about getting motivated to transform

Have you ever wondered what it takes to get motivated and in the right headspace to commit to and complete a transformation challenge or program? Have you ever started a program and not been able to finish it, and feel really bummed about that?

I hear you! In this episode, I want to share with you a journey that I’m about to embark on to improve my mental health and sleep.

I’ve developed a holistic program that I’m calling “physically and mentally stronger”. 

And in this episode I want to share with you how I am getting into the right mindset and how I’m preparing to absolutely smash the next 50 days. 

In the coming weeks, I’m going to share what’s going on and what it feels like to be on this journey. I’m going to share all of the blood, sweat and years with you so you can see which of my hacks and methods are working, and my secrets for staying on track.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* How to get yourself motivated to transform?
* How to have a clear path?
* Finding out the why behind the motivation

The Background

Over the past 25 years I have worked as a personal trainer, as a nutrition coach, and as a health coach. I’ve participated in countless challenges and programs, but there aren’t many that I’ve completed. And I know a lot of other people in this same boat. 

It tends to happen that when spring comes around people feel motivated to get outside and to shed a few winter kilos or to get out of the winter slump and re-energise themselves or lose weight or whatever it is. 

But the reality of a busy life often gets in the way and it’s easy to slide back into old habits and give up on that program or challenge or whatever it is.

As I mentioned in a recent episode, I have been trying to hack my sleep and anxiety that have come about as a result of many stressors in the last 2 years but also with the onset of perimenopause. It’s been a really trying time and my productivity is down, my energy is down, and my mood has been low. I’ve woken up a few times feeling really anxious in the night with a tight chest. 

So over the past couple of months, I’ve been hacking a few different parts of my life to reduce these symptoms and get things back into balance, I feel like it hasn’t quite been enough and I want to do a more complete and holistic program that will get me some results and get my health and physiology back on track.

But I didn’t want this to be one of those programs that I would start and then never complete. I didn’t want to feel pressured  to flog myself at the expense of my health and my sanity. I didn’t want to feel pushed, restricted, or overtrained.

Speaking with a friend today, she said she’d hit ‘rock bottom’ and it gave her the impetus to make some changes and stick with them.

Then I thought – why is it that we have to wait until we are at rock bottom before we act? That gives us so much more shit to push up hill!!

I’ve decided to be proactive and start something now, and create the commitment to it.

Since I have the qualifications, skills and experience, I decided to come up with my own program and commit to doing it for a period of time that I felt was reasonable and that would yield results.

Given my past experience with this sort of thing, including some successes, I knew I had to make sure that I was 100% committed and that my commitment was foolproof. 

How on earth do you do that?

That’s what I’m going to explain – my three-step formula. 

Step 1 – The Plan

The most important thing for starting any program is to have a really clear plan of exactly what you are going to do and when. 

That might sound like a bit of a no brainer, but there is a nuance here.

How often have you gotten a plan that somebody has written for you and tried to copy, but have lost interest or found out it was too hard or not doable for you or didn’t get any results?

I have seen this countless times and so the important thing about making a plan is that it’s customised to you.

Here are three steps for getting your plan right.

Decide exactly what you are going to change. Be very specific.

For example, instead of saying I’m going to exercise each day, I’m going to say exactly what the exercise is, and what time I’m going to do it. 

And not just that, but I have scoped my calendar in advance to make sure I’m choosing days and times that are absolutely realistic, blocked out for myself, and most likely to succeed. 

I also have a plan B in case any of those times don’t work out.

Be selective

This one is really important. You can’t change everything at once. Studies show that the likelihood is that you can automate around 2 – 3 habits in 12 weeks.

So I’m not trying to change everything dramatically, I am choosing a couple of things that are new habits and a couple of things that are improvements to existing habits.  

Another point about being selective is that you need to choose activities that you absolutely 100% can commit to. For example, there’s no way I’m going to get up at 6 a.m. and run 5km. No way. So that’s not even on my agenda.

I am going to walk for 30 minutes each morning, and do 30 minutes of weights and stretching every afternoon. 

This is a stretch for me but I have done it easily before and so I know that I can do it again. Remember I’ve blocked this out in my calendar so that it’s not negotiable.

Make it foolproof

The third step is to make your chosen activities foolproof. What I mean by this is to write down all of the excuses that your brain is going to come up with when it comes time to do that activity and work out how you will counteract them.

For example I know that when it comes to exercise it’s going to be too cold or I’m too tired or I’m too hungry or I’m too busy and all of those other really good reasons that my brain is coming up with in the moment. I have a plan for all of those things. It’s foolproof.

Step 2 – The Why

Now you might think that making a plan is enough. And this is a mistake that a lot of people make.

A plan is definitely important, but unless you have some good motivators behind the plan, you’re probably give up by about the 2nd or 3rd day.

It’s great to think about your motivators from a really broad and deep perspective. For example, I know that bone health and healthy aging and so on are really important to me. 

I know that I want to reduce anxiety and insomnia. 

But in a recent session with my coach, I realised that these weren’t motivating enough for me. I had to come up with another three or four very important reasons why I would do this challenge and complete it no matter what. Many of those reasons are intrinsic – important to me – but some are also extrinsic – beneficial for others.

For some people one or two reasons might be enough, but I’ve realised that I need to have a lot of reasons to really commit to something like this, and feel like it is worth the effort.

Step 3 – The Terms and Conditions

The third step that I want to talk about is what I’m calling the ‘terms and conditions’. 

This is like my contract with myself, outlining what I want to do and how.

For example, I am not naturally a journaller but I feel it’s important to document certain things every day to keep me focused and to help me identify when or where I need to course-correct. I will also be visualising and rehearsing the steps I have committed to each day. I will use positive and supportive language. I commit to not complain or make negative or unhelpful comments to myself or about my plan.

I will recognise that it’s hard some days, and easy on others, and that’s ok and it’s part of the journey.

All of this mental stuff is so important to me because I am someone who may not take the time to reflect or celebrate my successes or my commitment to the process. So, it’s really important to record specific metrics each day to show that I am firstly taking action every day and secondly that I am checking in with my motivators, and my mindset, to ensure that what I’m doing is meeting my expectations.

Part of this recording of progress is going to be the recording of physiological changes in  my body. I am using Philia Labs system that monitors a specific part of the stress cycle, to inform me of how my chronic stress is tracking and also, to predict when my mental health, productivity or focus is likely to shift, so I can realign my day and use strategies to boost my mood and wellbeing. For me this is a critical part of staying on track.

And the last part of my terms and conditions are about my expectations. 

In terms of expectations, the only one I have is that I will learn how to persist with a process and follow through until completion.

At the very least I will learn something about myself and build trust in myself. At the most, I will also achieve some outcomes.

Summary

I’m about to start a 50-day journey to improve my physiological, physical and psychological health. 

Despite being a natural born quitter in the past, I am using all of the qualifications, skills, and experience I have to commit to a program I have devised and follow it for 50 days, no matter what.

Why wait until you hit rock bottom? Be proactive and start now, because it will be way easier, more positive and more enjoyable.

Today, I shared my own three step process to make this journey foolproof.

I have created a plan that suits me specifically.

I have identified the whys behind it – and that I need several immediate ones to help me commit.

I have devised terms and conditions to help me stick with it no matter what.

Hopefully, this has inspired you to think about what it takes for you to change and… to get on and do it.

Listen in next time and let’s see how I’m going with it!

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#163 Early Warning Signs of Mental Health Decline

This episode is about early warning signs of mental health decline

October is mental health month, and I am in the thick of Mental Health First Aid training. If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a fabulous course that equips you with some basic skills to more easily identify and directly help people who are struggling with mental health.

In celebration of this important month, I decided to share some of the common early warning signs of mental health decline.

A Few Facts

Let’s start with a few basic facts.

Mental health challenges affect your brain, your body and your behaviour. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* A few facts about mental health
* What are the signs of mental health decline?

Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. It can affect your brain, shrinking the hippocampus, and subsequently decreasing your memory, mood and learning ability.

The early warning signs and symptoms of chronic stress and subsequent mental health decline may be subtle and highly individualised. 

They may not be detected or reported until a crisis state is reached, and in that sense, it can be difficult to identify people who are at risk (1) .

Physical and Physiological Signs of Stress and Mental Health Decline

  • Tiring more easily 
  • Being tired all the time
  • Feeling sick and run down
  • Headaches
  • Persistent/resistant muscle aches and pains
  • Increased or decreased reaction times
  • Changes to sleeping patterns
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Dishevelled appearance
  • Gastro-intestinal issues.

    Behavioural Signs

    Behaviours associated with mental health concerns include:

    • Not getting things done
    • Unusual emotional responses
    • Inappropriate complaints about lack of management support
    • Inappropriate focus on fair treatment issues
    • Inappropriate complaints about not coping with workload
    • Withdrawing from colleagues
    • Reduced participation in work activities
    • Increased consumption of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes and/or sedatives
    • Inability to concentrate
    • Indecisiveness
    • Difficulty with memory
    • Loss of confidence
    • Unplanned absences
    • Conflict with others
    • Inappropriate use of grievance procedures
    • Increased errors and/or accidents.

    Many of these are ‘invisible’, may be easily mistaken for other conditions, or could be interpreted as non-significant, single events. It is only in a face-to-face (or virtual) interview with a mental health professional, who looks at a cluster of symptoms, that mental health concerns may be assessed and properly diagnosed.

    Outside of a clinical setting, or when workers are remote, it is difficult for peers, managers, clients (or for the individual themselves) to identify mental health risks.

    The stigma around reporting mental health issues is part of the issue, and this is indicated by the underuse of employee assistance programs (EAPs). 

    We know that 20% of people of working age will experience a mental health concern in any given year, yet typically only 5% of employees (across all sectors) access EAPs for mental health concerns[4],[5].

    For these reasons, mental health diagnosis is often reactive and comes too late, when things are at a crisis point.

    Filling the Gaps

    It can be tricky to know what to do when someone you know or love has these sorts of signs or symptoms.

    The best thing you can do is let them know tactfully, and directly, that you have noticed a change in their behaviour, and to ask how they are feeling.

    Better still, enrol for the Mental Health First Aid course. It’ll equip you with skills to better deal with your clients, your friends, family or coworkers.

    Summary

    Mental health can decline secretly and silently, affecting your brain, your body and your behaviour. Chronic stress is a precursor to mental health conditions. 

    The journey from not coping with stress to mental health decline can be subtle and highly individualised, and hard to see until it’s too late. 

    Today, I  described some of those signs and symptoms, and talked about mental health first aid, a course that can equip you with the skills to identify mental health concerns early on and help people in need to take charge and get back on track more easily.

    [1] https://returntowork.workplace-mentalhealth.net.au/

    [2] https://mhfa.com.au/

    [3] Robert M. Sapolsky. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide To Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping. 3nd Rev Kindle, 2004. W. H. Freeman ASIN B0037NX018

    [4] https://www.pwc.com.au/about-us/insights/non-executive-directors/mental-health.html

    [5] https://www.businessfirstmagazine.com.au/finding-health-and-wellbeing-in-the-workplace/16285/

    [6] https://www.ihealthcareanalyst.com/government-initiatives-public-awareness-propel-preventive-health-care-technologies-services-market/

    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#162 The Link Between Stress and Mental Health Issues

    This episode is about the link between stress and mental health issues

    Mental illness is a significant global issue. If we want to take a preventative approach, we need to understand the factors that lead to mental health issues. 

    In any one year, 1 in 5 Australians is affected by diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health issues.

    Mental health is a global issue, having the third highest disease burden of all diseases in Australia and globally. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that depression (in particular) will be the leading health concern in both developed and developing nations by 2030[1].

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What causes mental health issues?
    * How does stress affect mental health?
    * What we can do about mental health and stress

    We know that mental health issues affect a person’s thinking, emotional state and behaviour and disrupts their ability to work, carry out daily living activities and engage in healthy relationships. We also know that early, effective prevention or intervention programs maintain good mental health[2].

    In that sense, if we can understand the causes and etiology of mental health issues, we are better placed to reduce and manage them better.

    What Causes Mental Health Issues?

    If we are to intervene early and effectively to prevent mental health issues, where do we start?

    A logical place is the link between stress and mental health. There is overwhelming evidence that stress is a precursor to mental health issues and is tightly linked to mental health decline. Stress is also strongly related to depression[3].

    Since 15 – 45% of mental health issues are attributable to workplace conditions, understanding the workplace risk factors seems to be a logical next step[4].

    How Does Stress Affect Mental Health?

    One model of stress and ageing/disease suggests that an individual’s perception of stress and prolonged exposure to stress can change the brain, body and behaviour, all of which perpetuate a vicious cycle of excessive response, damage and poor recovery3.

    In the brain, an enlarged amygdala and diminished hippocampus are related to memory loss, reduced learning ability, and depression. The longer a person is highly or chronically stressed or depressed, the smaller their hippocampus gets.[5]

    In the body, elevated cortisol levels and a chronically active fight or flight response can cause symptoms such as elevated resting heart rate or blood pressure.

    A chronically stressed person may change their behaviour to help them cope or adapt[6]. Behaviour changes may include decreased exercise and sleep, increased smoking, changes to diet and reduced adherence to medication, all of which contribute to mental and physical health decline.

    In other words, an employee who faces stressors such as constant overwork, prolonged screen time, sedentary work behaviours, feeling pressure to work or respond to emails outside working hours, discrimination, bullying or harassment, constantly facing disgruntled customers or workers, or long/irregular working hours, is at risk of chronic stress, and both physical and mental health issues[7].

    The initial signs of mental health decline in the workforce may be subtle and therefore hard to detect at first, but over time will become more obvious in terms of health metrics and behaviour change.

    Workplace Impacts

    Chronic stress and mental health concerns in the workplace result in increased absenteeism, reduced contribution and participation, reduced productivity, reduced cohesiveness and cooperation and high staff turnover.

    There are concomitant increases in the cost of health services, insurance and supplementary employment benefits to the tune of $17.4bn per annum in Australia4.

    What We Can Do

    As a starting point, the hierarchy of control is a useful framework to identify and reduce stressors in the workplace, to reduce the risk and development of mental health issues.

    If workplaces can eliminate, substitute, or reduce exposure to stress and mental health hazards, provide protection and treat the negative impacts, then we may start to see mentally healthier, happier workplaces.

    But let’s go one step further.

    We all know that prevention is better than cure. From a preventive standpoint, workplace programs and initiatives that are proven to build employee resilience and improve individual stress responses will create a workforce where employees cope well, bounce back better, are happier and more productive in their roles.

    Summary

    Mental health issues are a global concern, and they have a significant impact on both quality of life and workplace productivity.

    An individual’s perception of stress and prolonged exposure to stress are key factors in the development of mental health issues, via changes in the brain, body and behaviour.

    We know that workplace conditions strongly linked to both chronic stress and the development of mental health issues. This provides us with a golden opportunity to get on the front foot by better-managing existing risks and by taking preventive action to improve resilience and create healthier, happier workplaces.

    [1] https://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GBD_report_2004update_full.pdf?ua

    [2] https://mhfa.com.au/

    [3] Epel, S. et al., (2018). “More than a feeling: A unified view of stress measurement for population science,” Front Neuroendocrinol, vol. 49,   pp. 146-169, Apr 2018, doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2018.03.001.

    [4] Carter, L and Dr Stanford, J (2021). Investing in Better Mental Health in Australian Workplaces. The Australia Institute, Canberra, ACT.

    [5] Doidge, N. (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself. Scribe Publications, Melbourne, Australia.

    [6] Cohen S, Janicki-Deverts D, Miller GE (2007). Psychological Stress and Disease. JAMA. 2007;298(14):1685–1687. doi:10.1001/jama.298.14.1685

    [7] Johnson, a. et. al (2020) A review and agenda for examining how technology-driven changes at work will impact workplace mental health and employee wellbeing. Australian Journal of Management

    2020, Vol. 45(3) 402–424

    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#161 Sleep Hacking

    This episode is about sleep hacking

    Today I want to share a bit of my journey around sleep hacking to overcome insomnia.

    I’ve had insomnia for most of my life off and on, and for me there is a clear correlation with the amount of stress that’s going on in my life. But with the onset of perimenopause, that has ramped up and there are other things that are also causing insomnia such as night sweats and even certain things that I’ve eaten or drunk.

    So I’ve been on a mission to hack my sleep. 

    I’m going back to my roots.

    That is, biohacking is something I’ve done for many years, but I just haven’t spoken about it much in the last couple of years.

    Biohacking is where you make small tweaks to your daily habit to improve certain areas of your health or your life.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What approach does one needs to take to remedy sleep?
    * What you can take to supplement your need to sleep?
    * What other factors affect our sleep?

    I want to share with you what I’ve been doing, what I’m doing next, and how it’s all working, so that you can get your own ideas for hacking sleep for yourself or perhaps for the clients that you’re working with. 

    Remember that everybody is different and has their own individual formula for improving sleep or any other area of well-being. So what’s working for me may not work for you, but it could be worth trying

    The approach you take to remedy sleep and the hacks you decide to use will depend on what’s causing your lack of sleep.

    Things changed

    My catalyst to get back into biohacking was the onset of perimenopause around 18 months ago, when a lot of things changed for me. 

    One of the first things I noticed was that my anxiety increased, and I developed insomnia again after many years without a hitch, and I had night sweats.

    Through self-observation, I realised these things were related and they tended to make each other worse. The more anxious I became the less I slept, and the less I slept the more prone to anxiety I was, and the worse my night sweats, the less I slept.

    Obviously none of these things are very good for mental well-being or productivity or health so I was motivated to experiment and make some changes. 

    Lack of sleep tends to make you grumpy, it tends to make you crave sweet foods, and to feel too lethargic to exercise.

    And all of that started happening to me.

    So here’s how I worked things out.

    Supplements

    I actually started the process of unpacking by experimenting with some supplements. The reason I started here is because it was the easiest and fastest way to effect change. 

    Firstly, I got back into a routine of taking a high grade multivitamin and mineral formulation that I have used on and off for years, because the research is clear that the more stress your body is under, the more that stress robs nutrients from your body (oxidative damage). 

    I won’t go into the complex biology in this episode and will save that for later.

    That was my baseline, and I also consulted a naturopath to get some specific supplements for my perimenopause symptoms. She gave me an Ashwaghanda formulation, a magnesium, vitamin B and zinc formula, and a herbal preparation to help with night sweats. 

    As a result, I got fairly rapid relief from stress to the point where I was able to sleep better, and I also felt calmer during the day. That took about three weeks.

    Before supplementing, I was waking up around five or six times at night with a hot flush that caused me to wake up and then stay awake. Falling asleep was not the issue, it was staying asleep, and particularly at that critical time of 1 to 3am. 

    After supplementing, my sleep was more regular, I had fewer flushes, and I was staying asleep better or more easily falling back to sleep.

    Stress – workload

    At the time all of this was going on, the pandemic hit and I had anticipated a downturn in workload through my contracting roles. As a result I decided to take on some new private clients running a pilot program. 

    What actually happened was that both of my contracting roles got a lot busier, so I was juggling too much busier contract roles in addition to my own clients. 

    The other thing was that with my own clients, it wasn’t a set and forget, rinse and repeat program that I had run before. It was developmental work and consideration to get what I was doing right. I believe that creativity is the opposite of stress. When you are feeling stressed and under pressure then your ability to think creatively is compromised.

    Also, going through menopause makes you realise that your capacity to do things is diminished. It’s a combination of brain fog, fatigue, and of course the insomnia and anxiety.

    That’s what happened to me. 

    So what I had to do was to reach out to my contract roles and talk about changing my roles, doing less of the detailed stuff that doesn’t light me up and which I find draining, and that took a load off.

    Switching off at 5 pm was also a critical part of this formula for me. 

    It was a hack that was well worth it. Switching off at 5 pm, I was finishing my screen time at that critical period around sunset where we want to decrease cortisol levels rather than keep them pumped up with artificial light.

    This helped me to wind down, reduce anxiety and sleep better.

    Before that, I was prone to catastrophizing and making everything seem worse or more urgent than it was.

    By lowering my workload and switching off earlier, I had time to unwind, relax and ‘de-focus’ so I could sleep better each night.

    I’ve since noticed that if I have to teach at night or if I watch an intense or scary movie, or read a thriller novel, it pushes up my anxiety levels enough that I go back to 1am wake ups.

    Food and Drink

    A bit of research and some experimenting on my own helped me to realise that certain things would trigger night sweats, or even hot flushes during the day. 

    For me these triggers included portion size, alcohol, sugar, or more than 2 cups of coffee per day.

    With portion size, I’ve worked out that if I eat after 7pm and/or if I have a meal that’s too big, I won’t fall asleep easily or stay asleep. I tend to sleep better if I’ve had a small serve of complex carbohydrate, plenty of veggies and lean protein for dinner. 

    Anything that’s salty, fatty, sugary or too starchy (like a risotto) will wake me up at an odd hour, either starving, with heartburn or thirsty.

    With alcohol, I have found that champagne, certain spicy spirits like cinnamon whisky, and some wines, will cause me to wake at 1 – 3am or to have night sweats. It seems related to the amount of sugar.

    Having one white wine with dinner, or a white spirit, seems to be ok. But regardless of the alcohol I drink, there is definitely a pattern of increased sweating and I wake at least twice per night with this and struggle to sleep again.

    I am still experimenting with sugar, but have found that evening chocolate or dessert might be a trigger for poor sleep, in the absence of alcohol, late work or other triggers. 

    It’s well known that when you are a bit depressed you crave carbs, and that is related to an increase in tryptophan and therefore serotonin which improves mood – in the absence of protein which can block this pathway. I have many more experiments ahead on this, so I’ll come back to you on it.

    With caffeine, I’ve worked out that I can have 1 – 2 espressos per day (I make mine with oat milk) and be ok and sleep well if I have them before 12pm.

    But, there are some exceptions to this rule. 

    If I’ve been awake since about 3 am and haven’t been able to get back to sleep, or if I am waking up tired and have two coffees on an empty stomach at a time when I have a lot of stress in my life, then those two coffees don’t help anything and I tend to have a peak and then a crash, followed by a jittery day and/or a restless or sleepless night.

    I remember one day waking up after having a terrible night sleep, where I perhaps only had three hours of sleep. I had coffee in the morning and I had a rocket fuel boost of energy followed by a big crash and I felt listless all day.

    What I’ve learned is that I have a tipping point for caffeine and I need to be careful not to cross the tipping point. If I am a bit fragile or tired or stressed and my capacity to cope with caffeine is lower and it has an amplified effect on anxiety, mood, sleep and energy levels.

    The optimum time to have caffeine is 60-90 minutes after waking or around 10am. The reason is that when you wake up in the morning your cortisol levels naturally increase in response to sunlight. If you inject caffeine into that equation then it prevents your body from creating its own natural energy at that time.

    Exercise

    I am yet to do any experimenting with exercise specifically – remember that good science means one thing at a time. 

    But for now, I wanted to say that I’ve always been somebody that likes exercising in the afternoon. As a personal trainer, I know that exercise done too late can be overstimulating and affect your ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

    I will come back to you on this one.

    Summary

    At different stages of life, we experience hormonal and physiological changes that tilt your world on its axis.

    When that happens, what used to work for you in terms of your biology and physiology might change such that you need to revisit things.

    With the onset of menopause, I’ve started experimenting with my body – biohacking – to help me understand my triggers for insomnia and anxiety. 

    So far, I’ve worked out some important things about supplements, stress, and food and drink so I’m much more aware of nights that I AM sleeping well.

    The real benefit of this experimentation is that I am super clear on my own personal formula for a good night’s sleep. I am following my own coaching framework to figure this out. 

    Working with a coach can be so helpful because they can help you to work out what to experiment with, and to focus for a long enough period of time to uncover your blind spots and reveal your own secret formula for healthy sleep, weight loss, stress reduction or any other challenge that you’re facing.

    If you’re looking for a coach and need a referral, please reach out and let me know.

    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#160 Trusting yourself

    This episode is about trusting yourself

    Trusting yourself as a key to developing self belief – and in creating a thriving business. 

    That’s because if you can’t follow through on your commitments, you will lack self-belief and self-confidence, and you will also be seen as unreliable or flaky by others.

    How can you learn to trust yourself more and build more self belief, so that you can show up confidently and achieve what you want in the world?

    That’s what I want to discuss today.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What Erodes Self Trust?
    * What gets in the way of self-accountability?
    * How do you find the motivation to do things?

    What Erodes Self Trust?

    I want to start by providing some backstory to this, and outlining some basics on how the brain works and how self-trust can be formed, or eroded. 

    Firstly, you will only believe something is true if your brain has enough evidence to prove it. 

    For example, if you have previously run and won (or come close to winning) a 5K race, then you probably trust that you can probably win a 5K race in future. 

    Here’s another example.

    Let’s say you have previously gotten up at 7am each day and created a daily work plan and then completed all of the tasks in your plan. You didn’t need anyone telling you to do it; you were self-motivated and just got it done.

    Because you’ve had that experience, you trust that you can do it again.

    Where I’m heading with this is that if you’re willing and able to be accountable to yourself, and do the things you set out to do, at least for a little while, then you will start to build self trust. 

    But if you consistently start things and give up right away, or focus on what you haven’t followed through on, then your brain will notice the unfulfilled promises and tell you that you’re only capable of making empty promises and that you’re not to be trusted.

    For example, if you keep meaning to walk each weekday after work but it doesn’t happen, maybe you never even start, then you will start doubting your ability to do things.

    Or maybe, you just can’t be bothered!

    Let’s talk about these two important pieces – self-accountability, and motivation – because they are so important for anybody who wants to achieve anything in the world. 

    What gets in the way of self-accountability?

    Have you ever wondered why it can be so hard to be self accountable?

    The first reason is that when you always put other things and other people first, you often end up doing that at your own expense, and therefore letting yourself down. 

    Or, if you have too much on your plate and so you constantly struggle to get everything done, you are also letting yourself down.

    In either scenario – putting yourself last, or having unrealistic expectations – you are eroding trust in your ability to start, persist or complete something.

    Let’s project this outwards for a moment and see how it feels to be on the receiving end. 

    Imagine that you were working with somebody who constantly let you down. 

    They would promise that they would do certain things by a certain time, or that they would have that report finished by Friday, yet they never ever met those deadlines. 

    How do you feel about that person? Would you trust them? Would you be relying on them for things? Would you believe in their capacity to do things?

    When you don’t meet your own goals and expectations, you end up feeling that way about yourself, and also, you become known as someone who is unreliable or flaky – which erodes trust from your client base!

    How do you find the motivation to do things?

    There are three things to think about here.

    Firstly, what looks like lack of motivation is often lack of energy. 

    That’s why people who are overloaded may find it hard to make decisions, feel overwhelmed and exhausted at the thought of doing anything new, or finding the mental energy to be consistent with habits. 

    Secondly, motivation may come after you have made a commitment to something.  

    Thirdly, motivation may come only when you know what to do and/or have taken the first steps. 

    So, if you have avoided making decisions or if you haven’t mapped a clear plan or pathway, you might get stuck in an avoidance pattern where you don’t take any action because you aren’t committed or clear on what to do.

    Three things to build more trust

    With all that said and done, hopefully you’re clear on why you might not trust yourself.

    But if you want to flip this around and start trusting yourself, you need to stop doing those things and change your behaviour.

    Here are three things that can help you to build trust.

    1. Honesty

    Firstly, be honest with yourself. If you want to be consistent with something but you don’t have the energy, time or commitment, be clear on that and park the idea.

    Schedule a date to revisit it when you think you might have some more breathing space.

    Secondly, be honest with others.

    Honesty also extends to your responsibilities at work and in your relationships. If you don’t have the capacity to do something, or the bandwidth to contribute, say so.

    Don’t burn yourself out for the sake of someone else’s happiness.

    Don’t put yourself last and expect to muddle through it. It won’t work.

    By being honest with yourself and others, you will be able to set boundaries that give you time, space and capacity to actually do things for yourself.

    Then you will be able to do those things, stick with them, and build trust.

    2. Decide what you will commit to 

    One afternoon when I was 14 years old, my best friend’s mother came into their kitchen and hung a rubber disc on the wall. It was the size of a dinner plate and it had writing on it.

    “What IS that?” we said.

    ‘It’s a round tuit.” she replied. Sure enough, the disc had those words on it.

    She said, “It’s a fun little reminder of all the things that I keep saying I will get around to doing one day.”

    We all have things that we’d like to get around to doing one day, but as long as those things are hovering around in your brain without any action, there is a clear lack of commitment, importance and/or energy.

    If you have a list of ‘round tuits’, I suggest you write them all down and look at the list with honest eyes and make some decisions.

    Decide what you’ll never do and cross it off the list.

    Decide which ones have merit and evaluate them. Visualise yourself actually doing them, and then, cross off any that aren’t important, realistic or likely.

    Decide which ones you will do at some point, and diarise time slots to revisit each one and make a project plan.

    When you have done this, your round tuits will become actionable projects that you feel honestly committed to.

    One last thing on this. We all have to do things that we don’t like doing or find difficult, like writing a blog, or exercising. 

    But we may need to do those things in order to succeed, so we can choose to make those things more enjoyable somehow, focus on the outcome we’ll get, or find ways to make those tasks a bit easier.

    When you are committed to doing something, this part is much easier!

    Rather than doing something ‘when you feel like it’, you will have a not negotiable, automatic habit that you do no matter what.  

    3. Set specific goals and build in self-accountability. 

    Once you have done the first two steps, you can create specific, tangible goals which are based on clearly defined, realistic actions with their own unique days and time slots.

    Be clear to identify whether you need training or support to take each action.

    Make sure your confidence of achieving each one is at least a 9/10.

    Troubleshoot in advance – plan away the roadblocks and create cues and support to help you succeed, like reminders to complete a plan, or developing a checklist you can use to complete the steps.

    This is the secret to setting and actually achieving all of your goals, and building self-trust through self-accountability.

    When you start doing this, you will start to feel good about yourself, and the outside world will see and feel it, too.

    Summary

    If you can’t follow through on your commitments to yourself, you will lack self-belief and self-confidence, and you will also be seen as unreliable or flaky by others.

    That feels terrible.

    It can be hard to commit to yourself if you normally put yourself last, overcommit, or otherwise lack motivation.

    Luckily, you can change ALL of these things, by

    1. Being honest with yourself and others about what you want to do and can do, 
    2. Making decisions on what you will and won’t commit to, and
    3. Setting specific goals with built-in self-accountability.

    The more you commit to and achieve your own objectives, the greater trust you will have in yourself, the more confident you will feel, and the more self belief you will have.

    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#158 What You Promise in Marketing

    This episode is about what you promise in marketing

    Are you worried about what you’re promising in your coaching promotions and feeling like you can’t deliver? 

    I want to explain a few basics about messaging, what coaches do, and how to describe your services in a way that is congruent, transparent and authentic so that by the end of this dialogue, you feel clear and comfortable with what you are promising.

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What Coaches Do and Don’t Do?
    * What are promotional messaging basics
    * Describing HOW your solution helps

    The Backstory 

    A lot of coaches tell me they are worried about making big promises that they can’t keep, or about giving people the wrong idea.

    Some coaches also feel they aren’t a good enough coach to help the person get a result, so they are worried about being able to deliver.

    Today, I am going to help you to clear up these myths and solve these challenges once and for all, so you can promote your services confidently and authentically.

    Let’s start with a reminder of what coaches do and don’t do, some promotional messaging basics, and then talk through some examples so you can be clear on what you ARE promising, and what you are NOT promising. Then we will finish with an explanation of what health and wellness coaches do.

    Remember – What Coaches Do and Don’t Do

    Firstly, and before we break down the marketing copy, remember that as a coach, you are not treating or administering any therapy to a client that would make you responsible for their result.

    As a coach you are helping people to create the time and space to focus on developing habits that will get them a result they want. And that’s very different.

    Please keep that in mind as we proceed with how we help people.

    Also remember that your promotional messaging is NOT about what you do or how you do it. You need to know how to answer that question if asked (and I will cover it at the end), but your promotional copy is ALL about your niche client.

    Let’s dive in.

    Promotional Messaging Basics

    I think part of the reason that coaches struggle with their advertising is that they don’t know what to say to attract clients and then explain what they do to these prospective clients.

    The foundations of good promotional messaging are built on trust, rapport and relationship.

    Good messaging creates these things by focusing on three foundational points.

    Right now, I’d like you to imagine a triangle that has those three points 

    1. Your niche clients’ big struggle in their words
    2. Your niche clients success or vision, in their words
    3. Your solution and how it fills the gap.

    Your advertising needs to speak to those three things.

    I think where a lot of coaches get caught up is in describing the problem and solution. When they do this, coaches feel kind of responsible for fixing the problem and creating the results.

    No, no, no.

    This is the first myth I want to clear up.

    The reason you describe the niche clients struggle and success is so that they recognise you as someone who understands their specific needs. 

    They can recognise themself in your words, so you become visible and attractive to them.

    Here’s a really bland example. It’s like me saying – are you wearing a red shirt and white sneakers, but wish you were wearing a fancy black tracksuit?

    In this example it’s clear that I’m not going to give you a tracksuit! I am calling out anyone wearing a red shirt and white sneakers who wishes for something more stylish!

    So that’s the first point – speaking to their struggle and success to show that you understand them. Your marketing copy needs to cover these two points in the triangle.

    The next bit is explaining how your solution fills the gaps.

    Note that this is not describing WHAT your service is – it’s explaining HOW it will help them. 

    Let’s break it down so you can get clear on what your role is in their journey, and how to convey it.

    Describing HOW Your Solution Helps

    When describing how your solution helps, you need to be clear that you are helping people to follow a process to get to the result they want – you are NOT promising the result itself.

    Your clients are the ones who are responsible for doing the work, not you. You can’t follow them home and make it happen.

    But you CAN help people to get a result by helping them follow a process. 

    It’s very clear that we want people to be attracted to the outcome that they want to achieve. 

    And you were going to speak to that outcome, but you’re not going to promise to deliver it. 

    You are going to show them the technique and the process for getting there and you are going to hold them accountable to doing that work. And that is the difference.

    Let’s use a fairly benign example to illustrate this point – dentistry.

    Let’s say you are a dentist who is also a coach and you are doing a promotion for your services.

    You know that you have to make the service sound really appealing and so you want to talk to the results that people are going to get. Then you’re going to walk them through how they’re going to get that result so that it’s clear that you are not responsible for the result but they are.

    The dentist example

    Let’s say that your program promises to help clients achieve clean, white teeth free of plaque and holes, following a proven, three step process.

    Sounds good, right? So what is the three step process?

    Well firstly the dentist is going to make sure that you’re accountable to brush your teeth every day three times a day following his recommended method. He’s also going to make sure that you are accountable to floss your teeth twice a day following his recommended method and at the right time in relation to brushing your teeth. 

    And thirdly he’s going to recommend that you use a specific toothpaste and mouthwash at the time that you’re brushing your teeth.

    So as you can see it’s a very simple three step process that anybody can follow. 

    The problem is that most people don’t follow the method or aren’t sure about the best way to do it, or they lack commitment and self responsibility to keep doing it. 

    And that’s why coaching is so important. If the dentist was a coach he would be helping you to figure out how to make those daily habits happen so that the result would follow.

    The weight loss example

    Let’s say that your program promises to help clients lose weight by developing a healthier relationship with food, based on two proven strategies.

    Sounds great. What are the strategies?

    You might decide that managing portion size and mindful eating are two techniques that are especially useful.

    So your program might include discussion and resources on managing portion size and how to eat mindfully.

    Your clients may choose to implement these (or not) in addition to their own weekly goals.

    Your program helps them to develop habits that are linked with weight loss, and that if done consistently, should see weight shift. The weekly goal setting and review process helps to create accountability and navigate obstacles.

    As you can see, in this case, the client may or may not have their own tools, but they might like to learn and implement ideas on portion size and mindful eating that will help them to slow down, manage portions better and effectively lose weight.

    The accountability around action is the secret sauce here! 

    Explaining what you do as a coach

    As you can see, it’s very important to be clear on using your client’s own words in the promo copy for your program.

    If asked, you should also have a clear and simple explanation of your role as the coach.

    There are many ways to approach this and it’s a whole separate podcast, actually.

    But for now, let’s assume you want to position professionally and give some info on the benefits to the client. That is the ‘rough’ formula for your statement of what you do. 

    The Coaching Psychology Manual by Moore and Tschannen-Moran discusses the fact that coaches facilitate client-directed neuroplasticity – in other words, forming new habits that change the brain. 

    Words to this effect, and/or discussion of coaching psychology and/or positive psychology are relevant to set the scene around what you do.

    In addition, remember that we help clients develop their own foolproof process for change, that they can enjoy and be consistent with, so that the result can be realised.

    Coming up with a simple statement is important. Make it relevant to your audience, but it could be as simple as something like this:

    Health and wellness coaching is based in coaching psychology and it facilitates neuroplasticity – your brain’s ability to change.

    My role as your coach is not to advise or direct, but to help you achieve the things you are struggling to do on your own.

    When you work with me, I help you to develop your own foolproof, automatic habits and process around healthy eating/sleep/stress management/other  so that you can do X consistently and confidently.

    Summary

    Marketing is all about your ideal client and it needs to focus on their story.

    It’s easy to get lost in explaining coaching services or being plagued by the thought of promising what you can’t deliver, or simply underdelivering. 

    As you can see, the thing clients are stuck with are not WHAT to do, but HOW. 

    Therefore, your job as a coach is to explain the process by which you help them, in words that they understand, so that your scope of practice is clear and that your offer is mouth watering!

    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#157 Discipline Vs Commitment

    This episode is about discipline vs commitment

    I want to make an episode today about discipline and commitment. I’ve just come out of a lot of conversations I’ve had recently where people are talking about wanting to be more motivated and needing to be more disciplined in order to reach an outcome that they’re striving for.

    I think the word discipline has a lot of negative connotations for so many people. They imagine this carrot and stick approach where they have to be hard on themselves in order to achieve something. 

    Think about that concept for a moment. 

    How does it make you feel?

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Comparison between discipline and commitment
    * What does the word discipline mean to you?
    * What can make someone commit?

    What does the word discipline mean to you?

    I was thinking about this the other day while coaching somebody. We were talking about how hard it can be to do new things and that you may have to make yourself do something you don’t enjoy for a period before you finally do it regularly.

    Using the word discipline – if it has a negative connotation for you – can make things feel harder!

    Take exercise for example. You may not like getting sweaty and feeling puffed, so when you start exercising after a long break, it can feel a little difficult and you may not feel very disciplined about your exercise sessions.

    Your brain starts coming up with all of the excuses why you can’t exercise, and you may not be very consistent for a period as you fight with yourself.

    This is where we think ‘discipline’ is required to do the exercise.

    So the work of doing the exercise is potentially much less pleasant than it could be. So change and consistency probably take a long longer!

    The interesting thing is that at a certain point you learn to love the exercise and you look forward to it every day. You have made a decision to do it, and you. are committed to it.

    This happened for me with teeth flossing a few years back. I found it fascinating to think that I had struggled with so-called discipline for several weeks and then I got to enjoy the feeling of commitment. I had decided not to break my record of flossing daily and I was totally committed to that. I tapped into my competitive streak to get to this point.

    And I thought to myself, why can’t we just get the decision and commitment up front?

    If we could do that, then we wouldn’t need to keep going back to this idea of discipline.

    The adoption of flossing as a lifelong commitment took me about 14 weeks. That’s quite long, and imagine if I’d been committed to it in week 2?

    What might have gotten me committed earlier?

    If I’d had a coach who had tapped into my competitive streak, that definitely would have helped. As it was, I didn’t realise and use that strength to help me until about week 10 of my flossing journey.

    This is why I love health and wellness coaching so much, because it’s such a strong component of our work and we can help people get there faster.

    Health and wellness coaches are trained in positive psychology and we do a lot at the front end of a coaching program with someone in helping them to tap into their whys, and develop that decision and commitment to a new habit that they’d like to form.

    I think this is a golden opportunity to take some of the pain out of developing or upgrading habits, and to rather focus on why we want them and why we are committed to them.

    Some people need a lot more work in this area than others.

    For example, it was only after several coaching sessions examining all angles of a relationship with exercise, that my client was able to finally decide it was a not negotiable activity and that she was ready to commit to it.

    But the fact that we had those conversations week after week about all of the things that were important to her, as a key part of her arriving at the place of commitment.

    Once commitment is in place, once you have made the decision to do something no matter what and you are totally committed to it then it becomes easy. You don’t have to rely on the easily-fatigued muscle of willpower any more. 

    You’re doing something because it is important to you and you want to do it, so the discomfort involved in doing the thing is minor compared to the sense of achievement and reward of doing it. 

    There is one caveat on this conversation of discipline versus commitment. In some cases, you might think that you want to do a certain thing and it may actually take a journey of experimenting and trialling and testing to figure out that you don’t actually want to do that thing. So if you are in this situation, then perhaps it is more relevant for you to focus on experimenting rather than trying to gain commitment. 

    On the other hand, if you are sure that you really want to commit to something and you have some very good reasons, then perhaps there is a language there for you to gain that commitment much easier so that habit is more enjoyable

    I challenge you now to think of a habit you are trying to form, or be consistent with.

    What could help you just decide to do it?

    What could help you commit to it, no matter what?

    Summary

    Today we compared discipline with commitment.

    We discussed the fact that discipline may have negative connotations for some people, and it may make a journey to form a new habit or be more consistent with a habit a little bit harder.

    On the other hand, if you focus on the benefits, the strengths that you can use, and the reasons why you want to make the change right at the front of the journey of change, and the more likely to make a decision to continue and gain commitment to that habit so that it becomes much easier and more enjoyable to continue.

    In any case, that commitment to the habit is where sustainability comes in.

    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#156 Overwork vs productivity

    This episode is about overwork vs productivity

    Today I’d like to talk about how overwork impacts your productivity and how to flip the switch so you can enjoy high productivity and balance.

    What is overwork?

    A lot of people have the belief that you must work hard to succeed. And while this is correct in many ways, I want to split the hair and separate working hard from overwork.

    When you hear the phrase ‘working hard,’ what comes to mind? What does it mean to you?

    Does it mean working to produce an outcome, or working long hours or to the point of exhaustion?

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * What is overwork?
    * What is productivity?
    * What leads to overwork or productivity?

    Our ability to work with balance starts by what we make things mean – in other words, the meaning we assign to words and phrases.

    To me, working hard is staying focused on a task, giving it my sole attention and finishing it in the allocated time. I define working hard as focused work that has an outcome of positive, empowered productivity without burnout. It is punctuated by dates, boundaries around a finishing time, and working to a step by step plan mapped out in advance.

    That means I define overwork as the opposite of that. 

    To me, overwork means spending long hours on a task and driving yourself to do it, with insufficient breaks, and with diminishing returns. 

    To me, a hallmark of overwork is long hours for diminishing returns. In other words it is inefficient and ineffective. We know that your productivity and focus declines after x minutes. So working longer usually means working softer, being less efficient and less productive.

    Overwork doesn’t mean high quality, and it may not even mean high output. It often means the opposite – a low to moderate volume of low to moderate quality work.

    Very few people who work long hours for long periods, are able to generate high quality work. Or if they do, it comes at an emotional cost.

    What is productivity?

    Productivity is the art of working in a focused way to produce tangible outcomes and results.

    It is not about the number of hours you spend. It is about the quality of focus and results that you create.

    Here are some hallmarks of productivity.

    I think a big one is the fact that you feel good and like you have accomplished something.

    Another hallmark of productivity is that you can see a tangible output. You’ve completed something. There is something to show for your efforts.

    A simple way to sum this discussion up is that productivity is about quality, not quantity. Overwork tends to be more about quantity, not quality.

    The problem with overwork

    Overwork causes problems for both individuals and organisations.

    At the individual level, overwork often leads to excessive stress. When someone becomes stressed, their behaviour changes. 

    They are prone to become emotionally imbalanced and reactive towards other people and situations. They feel negative emotions more often, such as irrationality, frustration, irritation, resentfulness. They more likely take things personally, and more likely catastrophise or amplify problems. 

    Thinking patterns of rumination and worry can result.

    Since the human brain can’t multitask (yes, that’s a myth), it makes sense that with all of those things going on in your brain, you have very little space left for productive work.

    Imagine the impact of this if you are running a solo business? It means that you’re left feeling flustered, lost and not getting anything done, and doubting yourself.

    Now, imagine the impact of that person within a team or an organization?

    If that overworking person is a manager (and I’ve worked with these) then their team ends up walking on eggshells to appease their boss and avoid getting sprayed. The team may feel pressured to also work long hours, may lose confidence in themselves. Everyone in the team feels stressed.

    If that overworking person is an employee (and I’ve worked with these), they may feel entitled to more money, better conditions or elevated status. But remember that overwork usually means poor quality output, and possibly a low volume of it, so the person who overworks 

    The overworking employee might become a prickly person who is hard to connect and interact with. Or they may become withdrawn or morose. None of these outcomes is favourable for team or client relationships.

    What leads to overwork…or productivity?

    Simply, it’s all about your values, beliefs, thinking patterns and expectations.

    If you value hard work and believe that you must work hard and long hours to get an outcome and that it must be perfect, then you’re probably on the path to overwork and actually lower productivity due to burnout.

    If you value tangible outcomes and efficient use of time without distraction, with a sense of balancing your energy on the journey to getting there, even accepting imperfect results, then I believe you’re more likely set up to be productive.

    Resolving overwork

    Since overwork is founded in beliefs and may be driven by workplace culture and policies, the answer to resolving it is two-pronged.

    Firstly, businesses (even solo businesses) can create policies that set boundaries around working hours, and can introduce initiatives to help people better structure and plan their work. 

    In other words, workplaces (and solo business owners) can change their work environment to make it more conducive to breaks, to manage expectations and to send a message about the importance of time off to rejuvenate.

    We’re talking about a positive workplace culture.

    But a lot of the resolution is in the hands of the individual.

    So the second prong is supporting individuals to set boundaries around their work and personal lives, to review their own expectations of themselves, to challenge old thinking patterns, and to better manage urges.

    Let’s use my old workplace as an example, in the 1990’s.

    I managed a business where we had very clear boundaries around personal time off, and encouraged employees not to work on weekends. We allowed them  to take some of their sick leave as ‘well days’ if needed so that they could rejuvenate themselves. 

    We were very progressive, and our CEO was big on creating a supporting culture that rewarded hard work and encouraged enough time to rest and recover.

    This went against the grain in our industry, because many other firms like ours were requiring their salaried staff to work many hours of overtime to finish work that was over budget.

    Our approach was to quote for jobs very accurately, to teach our staff tightly manage time budgets, and to ensure we have the right people for the right job so that they could work efficiently and effectively in their zones of genius, which is much more time efficient than trying to make somebody do a job that they’re not very good at.

    So as a workplace, we created the environment and policies to support productivity, and we created a culture that upheld those same values.

    That is the bit we could control. We also encouraged employees through our performance review system to work productively rather than excessively, and we engaged staff who fit this way of working.

    Summary

    As I mentioned earlier, simple way to sum this discussion up is that productivity is about quality, not quantity. Overwork tends to be more about quantity, not quality.

    You may be driven to overwork or to be productive in a balanced way, depending on your work environment, your beliefs and your values.

    If you’re in an organisation, the policies and structures can drive overwork or productivity.

    If you’re a solo business owner, then it’s up to you to create this framework for yourself.

    But as an individual, your values and beliefs may require examination to discover what drives you and if necessary, how to develop a more positive, self-sustaining perspective that promotes work life balance.

    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#155 The Value of (Pilot) Program Content + Emails

    This episode is about the value of (pilot) program content + emails

    Program content and emails are important program resources that help your clients to know what to do, grow into their new identity and make positive, lasting change. The right amount and type of content and emails can make your clients’ ‘know, grow and change’ journey more impactful, therefore adding incredible, tangible value to an intangible service – at least initially, before clients truly experience the value of coaching itself. 

    When creating content and emails, it’s essential to consider the customer journey and user experience so that you can meet clients where they’re at and meet their needs and wants.  

    Simply listening to and addressing needs is another great way to add value!

    I like to call content and emails ‘assets’ – the definition being ‘things that you own (e.g. your IP) that has an economic or other value. 

    In this episode, I’ll talk about 
    * Getting started guide
    * What are the monitoring tools that can really help?
    * How your personal experience can help you come up with great content?

    Content Assets

    Here are some of the content assets that you can create and use in your pilot and completed programs.

    Getting Started Guide

    This is a program road map and welcome guide for your clients, all in one. It explains briefly how the program works and includes housekeeping items like how to book appointments, log in, whitelist your email, etc. 

    Written and Verbal Quizzes

    Everybody loves to learn more about themselves. Everybody!

    And as coaches, we know that self-awareness is the first step to making change. It’s an essential pre-requisite for creating a compelling vision (where I am now, vs where I want to be).

    Quizzes, questionnaires and reflective worksheets are effective tools for raising self-awareness and/or changing perspective and negative thinking patterns that keep us stuck. They are fun and interesting methods of bringing curiosity and attention to who we are, what we like, and what we are capable of.

    As clients become aware of the symptoms, thoughts, feelings, behaviours and situations that they experience, and identify those which affect their motivation and habits, they will start to really ‘get it’ – that they have unique lifestyle challenges that they must master on their own terms. 

    In coaching programs, we tend to use quizzes more in the pre-work and first 2 – 3 weeks of a program (in the awareness phase), but they are also useful going forward for ongoing discovery.

    Quizzes can be sourced externally or you can create your own (Word doc, quiz software, Microsoft forms, Google forms).

    Examples include:

    Monitoring Tools

    We know that recognising success makes you feel like you are getting somewhere, and achieving a result – and that creates a sense of value.

    Yet so few of us take the time to recognise our efforts, our progress, and our incremental results.

    We live with ourselves every day, so the subtle changes that occur may be hard to see and acknowledge.

    Monitoring tools offer a powerful way to help your clients recognize some of the more subtle but important changes they are creating in life, body and/or mind.

    You can use monitoring tools from the first week of your program to help your client feel good and see hard data to show that your program gives specific benefits and results. 

    Useful tools include:

    • Weekly, in-session monitoring tools like a rating of 1 – 10 in any area, like energy, stress, hunger, sleep etc. Discuss and get the client to write them down.
    • Weekly goal review, including % success
    • Goal review (mid-program & final week) to give a big-picture view of change.
    • Wellness wheels (good ‘before and after’ visuals)
    • Reflective journals
    • Blank meal plans or other schedules
    • Checklists
    •  Progress charts or spreadsheets (e.g. for workouts done, glasses of water etc)
    • Anything else that helps a client ‘tick things off’.

    Homework Tasks (in Email, or Portal Resources) 

    In addition to a client’s own weekly goals, you may like to offer optional homework such as some activity or experiment you determine with the client in their session.

    Homework generally falls into the category of skills development (self-efficacy), challenge, or self-awareness.

    Here’s an example of each:

    • Skills development – invite a client to create their own tool for monitoring exercise based on their learning style, or to practice reframing negative thoughts.
    • Challenge – invite a client to say no to something, or set a boundary with a person, or themselves at work. Or, in a group setting, create 2 or 3 teams to complete a fun task such as highest total number of exercise minutes. 
    • Stretch – invite a client to complete one of the goals they set, with the option to stretch beyond it and do a little more (e.g. 5 more minutes of exercise.

      Other examples of homework tasks for coaching programs include:

      • Complete the VIA strengths inventory and identify one way they have used their #1 strength this week to help them with their goals.
      • Writing down 3 successes every night. This is a quick exercise that reinforces positive change – which is good for the client AND the perceived value around your program.
      • Saying ‘you’re worth it!’ into the mirror each morning.
      • Keeping a gratitude diary.

      Coaching tools

      Coaching tools are used to help clients get unstuck and/or otherwise facilitate change. 

      Like regular quizzes but with more of a coaching flavour, these tools can help to enhance a client’s self-awareness and facilitate a shift in perspective. Both are essential parts of change. 

      They may include: 

      • Decisional Balance, 
      • the VIA Strengths Test, 
      • Appreciative Enquiry, 
      • Energy Drains and Boosters, 
      • the ABCDE model, 
      • Reframing
      • Socratic questioning, 
      • a Positivity Rating. 

      Emails (or private / video / audio messages)

      Used wisely and in the right amount, emails, private messages and/or audio/video messages can add value to coaching programs.

      They can make it easier and more convenient for clients to remember to do this, such as:

      • log in to the coaching call each week
      • remember to complete their homework

      I once had a program for busy people and many of them wanted to remember to do a small daily task during the program. 

      To help them, I created an email autoresponder series was optional for my clients to subscribe to. It sent a simple email at 6am every day for 6 weeks, reminding them to do their activity. 

      It finished after 6 weeks, and didn’t sell or subscribe to anything else. They found it extremely useful!

      Emails, messages and personal video or audio messages can build connection, rapport and trust, if you use them to:

      • check in with progress on goals
      • let them know that you’re thinking of them or are ready to support them if they’re having trouble.
      • be a cheer leader for them
      • acknowledge their progress.

      In short, emails can support a client to deliver content, but also to remember to do things, feel supported in tough times, and feel acknowledged and valued.

      Experience Content

      Your own experience – what you did, what worked for you, how you felt at the time, and what worked for your client – is super helpful content to share with program members.

      It could be delivered as live or recorded videos, audios, blog posts or small snippets.

      There needs to be context added, for example, how you overcame a mental hurdle along the way, or a specific tool your client used to finally get out of bed at 6am, or a story of how someone redesigned their environment so they were no longer tempted.

      Stories are powerful and they help people imagine themselves in the same position, and succeeding.

      Value Adds

      Value adds are those unexpected little things that delight and surprise you – and add tangible value to a program, simply because you’re showing that you care.

      The goal is to make the client feel personally valued, supported and/or rewarded

      A great way to enhance ‘user experience’ (UX)! 

      Examples include:

      • A physical welcome gift (goodie bag, book voucher etc)
      • A personalised welcome letter
      • A blank journal and a branded pen (easiest to start) 
      • A beautiful worksheet that you create
      • Recipe booklets
      • Recommended Reading lists
      • Links to relevant Ted talks
      • Offering a private 15 minute chat
      • Links to ‘how to’ or ‘why’ style blogs or podcasts you’ve created (or others)
      • A completion certificate
      • A completion gift
      • A personalised thank you letter
      • A follow up postcard (e.g. 4 weeks after the program)

      For value-adds that can be used within a program, getting your clients to use them – in session, and for homework activities – can significantly boosts their self-awareness, achievements and results. 

      Value-adds used outside a program help a client to feel heard, acknowledged and valued.

      In a pilot program, actively taking on feedback and making changes to a program also demonstrate respect for and acknowledgement of your program clients. This is a way to add ’emotional value’ and to build trust and rapport.

      Summary

      Content and emails (and other media) aren’t about pushing your story or information on people, or forcing them to do or buy anything. 

      Content and emails (and other media) are an opportunity to truly support and help your client on a sometimes-challenging and uncomfortable journey to change and, to demonstrate that their journey and success is your priority.

      Best of all, you don’t need reams of stuff. You just need a few pieces of super useful stuff to support the journey to know, grow and change. 

      Based on what you know of your ideal clients, what could YOU create that would add the most value to your clients’ journey?

      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#154 The Why, What and How of Pilot Program Workflows

      This episode is about the why, what and how of pilot program workflows

      When you’re creating a coaching program or an educational program, there is SO MUCH that needs to go into the finished product that you don’t even realise. It’s like thinking you are putting together a 50 piece jigsaw and realising it’s actually a 5000 piece jigsaw. 

      In this episode I’m going to help you sort out the pieces of your program jigsaw and map out the basic roadmap or workflow of your pilot program so you can build it quickly and efficiently.

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * What pilot programs?
      * What are workflows, and why create them?
      * What is it that you are mapping out?

      Why pilot programs  

      I did a compete episode on the benefits of pilot programs a while ago. But to recap, in my experience of over 3500 coaching hours, I have had the best results in programs that have started with a pilot version. 

      Now, I firmly believe that you should always run a pilot program so you can develop and test a draft version of a program with real clients before you launch it so you can feel more confident, professional and give clients exactly what they want.

      The starting point for any program is to map out a workflow which helps you to develop a professional program outline that captures all the key things you need to do, in a way that maximises your clients’ experience and results.

      In this episode, I’ll briefly map out the Why, What and How of pilot program workflows to help you capture the key elements and make the build out a little easier.

      What are workflows, and why create them? 

      Workflows are essentially planning tools that help you think through and map out the individual tasks you need to do to build your pilot program from both YOUR perspective AND considering the needs and wants of the clients you will serve. 

      Workflows help you build your program in a way that is very time efficient – aiming to capture all the important steps and do them in a logical order, so you know exactly what to do and how to do it.

      For example, building a program isn’t just about working out what you are going to do in a session and what content you might need to create. 

      It’s also looking at those things from the clients perspective – like how to make your client feel excited and comfortable when they attend the session. Consider also the format and delivery style of content in your program.

      For example, some social media Guru might have told you that you need to send three emails each week with a long story to engage your reader. How is your ideal client going to feel if they hate getting lengthy emails? The answer is simply, turned off.

      Or, what if you want to build out some fancy expansive platform to share coaching resources with your clients, but they are virtually IT illiterate and hate being online?

      As you can see, workflows are definitely about creating your own step-by-step roadmap for building your program, but more importantly they’re about making sure that your client has an exceptional service experience with your business.

      After all, it’s exceptional customer service that creates raving fans, transformational results, and plenty of referrals.

      In summary, workflows are all about good planning and customer service. They ensure you don’t miss anything in the build, and to co-create the program and build it in exactly the right way for your niche clients to have the best experience and results.

      What is it that you are mapping out?

      Since you want your clients to have a great experience in working with you (UX = user experience), you want to break your program into chunks and ensure that the customer experience in each area is easy, seamless, and enjoyable.

      There are three main areas to map out with workflows:

      1. Key steps in the promotion-to-sign-up phase
      2. Key steps in the onboarding phase (payment, welcome, engagement)
      3. Key steps in how the program will be run and what needs to be delivered, and when.

      Along the way, you can liaise with a niche focus group to get their opinions at each step of the way. Here’s how that could work.

      Once you’ve mapped a workflow for the areas above, test each one out yourself, as if you were a customer. 

      What was the experience like to sign up, be welcomed, pay, receive the info etc?

      How did you feel as you did it?

      What could be different/improved?

      Refine the process if needed, then, ask a couple of focus group members to talk through it or walk through it with you to see if you’re on the same page.

      No need to ask the WHOLE focus group to do all three aspects – just a couple for each is enough.

      How do you create workflows?

      The workflows themselves can be as simple, visual or detailed as you like – YOU decide.

      Some people (e.g. visual learners) like to use post it notes. 

      They write one step on each post-it note, then rearrange them on a mirror, wall or window until it seems like all of the steps (for signing up, on boarding or working through the program) are in a logical order, easy to undertake without any frustration, tech issues or time wasting.

      Alternatively, they may like to draw pictures.

      Some people (auditory or interactive learners) prefer to talk through things.

      Asking clients for their opinions might be the best way for you to map things out – or to talk through it aloud on your own.

      Some people (visual / detail learners) prefer to write answers and/or use spreadsheets.

      Working through a series of prompt questions might be helpful to identify all the considerations.

      Having a detailed, step-by-step project plan in a spreadsheet might help you to capture all the steps and schedule/allocate time to each task.

      Remember, they can be as simple or detailed as you like.

      Some people are happy to go with the flow and build things on the fly as they go, so might prefer to start with little detail and just some main ideas.

      Other people feel like they need a detailed, step-by-step list of tasks in order to do it properly and feel confident enough to launch.

      Summary

      Pilot programs (and eventually, full programs) contain a lot of moving parts.

      Workflows are great tools to help you capture all the steps and put them in the right order for three critical areas: sign up, onboarding and program delivery.

      As you create workflows, it’s important to get client opinions, test them yourself as if you were the client, and even get clients to talk through or walk through the ideas with you. That way you build more than just a great program – you build a program that gives your niche the best possible experience in working with you.

      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#153 Some Better What ifs

      This episode is about some better what ifs

      A lot of coaches that I help with in business get held up by fears and it shows up in the form of unhelpful what if thoughts. I used to be like this too. I used to think, what if I fail, what if people judge me, and all of these other sorts of limiting thoughts.

      Today I want to show you what it sounds like when you problem solve and flip the what ifs, so that you can manage your fears, keep showing up each day, and find more calmness and enjoyment in running your business.

      Problem Solving Unhelpful What Ifs

      Unhelpful ‘what if’ thoughts happen when your brain latches onto your underlying fears and limiting beliefs. 

      Unhelpful ‘what ifs’ are a problem because they often get amplified into terrible catastrophes. Please know that although painful and scary, these what ifs are just thinking habits that you can change just like any other unhelpful habit in your life.

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * What are unhelpful what ifs in problem solving?
      * What are better what ifs?
      * How and when to do it?

      Let’s look at how to do that now, firstly by problem solving those unhelpful what ifs.

      First, I want you to notice how you feel when you hear these unhelpful what ifs. Just a few to get you thinking. 

      What if I launch and there’s just crickets?

      What if nobody buys?

      What if I crumble and can’t answer the questions?

      What if someone trolls me?

      What if I’m no good at this?

      What if I don’t like it?

      You’ll notice I added some emphasis and intonation to make it sound just like that scaredy-cat voice in your head.

      How do you feel right now, listening to these?

      Do they help you take action, or block you?

      I feel miserable and defeated if I think like this. And just to be clear, you can move into more positive statements which we will get to in a minute, but, it can be kind of interesting to answer those negative what if’s.

      For example – what if you go to all this effort and you don’t like it?

      If you were to problem solve this, there are a lot of options. One option is to go back to your old job. Another option, if your business has some traction, is to sell it. Another option is that it might lead you down another path toward something more meaningful, something that you can’t even conceive of right now because you haven’t persisted long enough.

      Right now, think about how much weight the what if has after you’ve really analysed it?

      Here’s another one – what if nobody buys?

      Great question. What if nobody buys, what does that mean? Does it mean you suck? Probably not. It probably means the offer isn’t relevant or worded right, so you can go back to your audience and find out what they truly want, and how they would describe it, so you can get the copy right. Or maybe you need more exposure so enough people see the offer in the first place.  In any case, you can get help.

      As you can see, writing down the what if’s that are buzzing around in your head gives you the chance to problem solve them and take away their power.

      It’s an interesting exercise – give it a go!

      This is one thing you can do to address the what ifs.

      But your computer hard drive – your brain – may be still wired to generate what ifs.

      So in that sense, you need to go back and rewrite the code.

      This is where reframing or flipping comes in.

      I want to give you an experience of what’s possible when you reframe these inner statements and create some better what if’s.

      Better what ifs

      As you listen to these, notice what happens in your body and mind.

      What if Instagram was a place you could have fun and connect with people?

      What if LinkedIn was a place to build professional contacts and find aligned clients and colleagues?

      What if professional photos were a way to highlight your strengths, best bits, and personality so you could attract more clients more easily?

      What if email campaigns were a way to find people that you love to be around, connect with, and help to achieve significant transformations and goals?

      What if people in your niche felt intimidated by perfection, and much preferred you to be only three or four steps ahead of them?

      What if writing was a hidden strength that you could harness and grow to build your business?

      What if you could hire an online business manager to organise everything that you need to do online regularly, so that you could just relax and stop sweating the small stuff?

      What if you only needed to work five hours a day to build your business, sleep soundly at night?

      What if people desperately needed and wanted the service that you want to sell and were so thankful and relieved when you launched your business?

      What if you don’t know what your business is about, but you were willing to keep going because he knew you would figure it out eventually?

      What if you didn’t have to try and please everybody, and you only needed to work with people that you were really excited to be around and had exceptional rapport with?

      What if all you had to do was be really good at one thing and do that one thing consistently?

      Reflect on those for a moment. How do you feel?

      How different is that to the first set of unhelpful what ifs?

      As you can hopefully see, it’s your brain that is your undoing. The work is to create a habit of problem solving and reframing those unhelpful what ifs so you can persist and learn to love your business, despite the unknowns.

      How and when to do it

      So, how often should you do this work?

      I would recommend daily at first, so you can develop a regular habit of getting stuff out of your head rather than ruminating on it.

      Make it easy – choose one What If that has come up that day, and then problem solve it, and reframe it.

      Over time, you might reduce this to a few times per week – but I’d suggest you start more frequently and maintain that for a while as it takes persistence to break an unhelpful habit.

      Summary

      Today we looked at what ifs that come up and sabotage your efforts on building your business.

      The key is to get the what ifs (monsters) out of your head, and into the real world, where you can problem solve them, and reframe them.

      Hopefully you felt the effects of hearing unhelpful what ifs, and better what ifs.

      Now, you have a choice. Do nothing, or start rewriting your mental code.

      Ultimately, your work is to develop a daily or weekly practice that will help you break an unhelpful thinking habit.

      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

      #152 7 Considerations for Choosing a Program Platform

      This episode is about 7 considerations for choosing a program platform

      When it comes to offering a program and content to your clients, there are SO many ways you can do it. Today, I want to help you break it down and get clear on how to choose a platform that is right for you.

      What is a platform?

      The word ‘platform’ refers to the online space that hosts the content for your program for both you and your clients to access.

      Ideally, a platform provides content in a way that is easily accessible, visually appealing and in a logical order/layout. 

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * What is a platform and its main functions?
      * What your audience wants?
      * What doesn’t the platform do?

      Platforms are many and varied. They perform different functions and have different levels of complexity.

      Here are seven main considerations for choosing a platform for YOUR program.

      What is the main function of the platform? 

      Is it primarily for delivering content, or creating a community, or facilitating communication between you and your clients – or a mix of these? 

      This is a huge consideration when picking a platform. It needs to be fit-for-purpose.

      What does your audience want?

      Do they prefer to go to a platform they’re familiar with, or something else?

      This is the second biggest consideration. If they don’t like the platform you’re using, or if it’s hard to use, they won’t use it.

      How user-friendly/intuitive is it?

      Trialing a platform before you buy/sign up is important. 

      If it’s not intuitive or doesn’t quite fit the structure you want, then it will be hard for you and your niche clients to use it.

      You can ask focus group members to test it for you during the trial phase (screen share on Zoom, or send them a test link) and again once you start building it out.

      How secure is it?

      Platforms have varying levels of security and this is a key consideration, especially with regard to national Privacy Acts, GDPR, etc – AND your intellectual property.

      Example: when you load content onto a WordPress website on a ‘hidden page’, it may be discoverable by random keyword searches.  Make sure you choose a system that doesn’t expose your IP or the confidentiality of your members.

      Also, ensure you have clear disclaimers and policies about privacy, use of personal information and precautions taken (including liability).

      What DOESN’T the platform do?

      If you like a platform but it doesn’t cover all the functions you need, look at what it integrates with, and/or what you might need to set up as a separate system.

      Examples include Zoom meetings, payment gateways, landing pages, email functionality, automation, booking links.

      This will help you decide whether you need to switch platforms, and/or set up associated systems to deliver your pilot.

      How tech savvy are you and your audience?

      Simpler platforms (even the more manual sharing of a Google Drive folder, or printing worksheets) might suit some demographics and live audiences better. In this case, YOU will still need a digital platform to store and create files in a logical, sequential order. 

      If your audience is familiar with tech, they may be interested in something more complex. 

      How long will it take to set up? Do you have the knowledge? These are two important questions to ask yourself.

      You can always pay someone to set up a platform for you – but this is a cost and, I think if you need to pay someone to set it up, that’s an indication that it’s too complex or big for your needs right now.

      How much do your niche want, and in what format?

      If your audience wants a lot of content, consider what the platform allows in terms of storage, and if web-based, how it might affect speed.

      Example: website membership plug-ins are great, but a lot of video files loaded onto a website take up space and slow site loading. In this case, you’d be better to host videos externally (e.g. Vimeo) and simply provide links within the platform.

      Some platforms allow hosting of a variety of content while some are restricted.

      Example: Facebook groups allow live videos, uploaded videos, written content etc).

      Example: you can’t upload audio files to Mighty Networks directly, you have to use a third party program like Soundcloud to store the file.

      Summary

      This is an overview of considerations when choosing a platform to host a coaching program.

      There may be other considerations not listed here.

      The message is – don’t jump in too quickly. Think about how it will actually work when you are ready to use it. Test it. Get your clients to test it.  

      Pick something that is the best fit, and then, start building it out in collaboration with your focus group clients.

      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#151 Commitment, Failure, Success

      This episode is about commitment, failure, success

      I love AFL football. And watching my team play the other day, it became clear to me how football is just like business. Today I want to use football as an analogy for committing to your business no matter what and getting through the failures so that you can succeed.

      Commitment 

      Commitment to your business is like commitment to your football team.

      I have followed the same football team since I was 14 years old and that’s a long time ago. I’ve been with that team through the celebrations, through the hard times, through the controversy, and I’m still here supporting that team.

      In this episode, I’ll talk about 
      * What is business self care?
      * How developing weekly habits and monthly reviews can help your business
      * How a support/check-in process can help your business

      And there are two parts to this that are relevant to business. 

      Firstly, your commitment to your business could be seen, generally, as your commitment to a particular sport. You love that sport and follow it like a true fan.

      More specifically, you might follow a particular member of that sport. At some point, you might shift your focus to a different player that you like better, or that has more aligned values with you.

      This is a bit like you changing your business model, or even changing your niche.

      You’re still committed to that sport, but you’re just saying things a bit differently and doing things a bit differently.

      Imagine for a moment that you could bring the same commitment to your business, that you bring to your favourite sport?

      How would that change your attitude each day?

      How would that change the action that you take?

      What would happen if you were 100% committed to your business, determined to persist, and you did that over a period of years?

      What would happen then?

      Failure

      If you’re any kind of sport fan, then you know that every team has failure. There is failure on a weekly level, on an individual level, at a team level, and even add a season level.

      No team ever, and no individual sports person ever, is always at the top of the ladder all the time.

      If you enter a sport or a business or anything knowing that there’s going to be failure along the way and committing to it anyway, what do you think would happen?

      One of the things that would happen is that you would be training for that sport no matter what and expecting to win, but being prepared to fail and knowing what to do when that happened.

      You don’t see teams and footballers and sports people throwing their hands up in the air, giving up, falling in a heap.

      They are committed to the process of training and being their best and skills development no matter what their win or lose count.

      If they lose a game, they watch a recording of it to learn what they did well, could have done more of, and what the mistakes were so that they can correct them.

      They know that if they keep doing the work, and the training, and the preparation, and keep focusing on what it takes to win, and learning from failure, they will get there.

      A friend of mine is a huge Richmond supporter in the AFL, and he has followed Richmond even when they failed miserably for many years.

      But more recently he has had his comeuppance, because Richmond has become a very good team and they won premierships in the last few years.

      Failure is easier when you accept that it will happen, learn from it, and also rally support around you to get through it.

      Sports teams and individual sports people have fans who relentlessly support their team no matter what.

      In your business, and in your life, you also need to have that cheer squad, and that support team who will help you to keep on doing the work and showing up and delivering every day so that you can achieve the success that you define for yourself.

      If you’re committed to a process, embrace failure and build a support network and fan base you are well positioned to wear the hard times and celebrate the good.

      Success

      If you commit to your business or your football team and you roll with the punches in the hard times, then success will inevitably come as a result of continual action.

      Success is not just an end result though. Success is also an opportunity to refine your message, do more of what you love, and create a singular focus to become a specialist.

      To learn what your zone of genius is, your most lucrative service is, and what you do best.

      This happens in football, too.

      Recently, while watching the footy, a commentator made an insightful comment: in an average team, it’s all hands on deck. In a good team, every player sticks to playing their best in their specific role.

      To reiterate – success is more than an end game – it’s a chance to refine, streamline, focus and excel.

      Summary

      There are many analogies for creating success in daily life.

      Today I explained how the AFL could be a metaphor for commitment, managing failure and leveraging success in your business.

      I invite you to reflect on the parallels and see what insights you gain.

      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: