Being The New Boy Again


This week I started a new role at work. I have not changed my job completely, I am still the Teacher Practitioner for the Children’s Unit of an Inner City Hospital, however the Organisational Development Department are borrowing me for 2 days a week to help develop a Coaching Service within the Hospital.

This role is a bit of a dream come true. Many of you who know me, know how passionate I am about coaching and its’ impact on our lives both personal and professional. So it will come as no surprise that I have been a nervous wreck all week.

My emotions have been all over the place all week, ranging from excitement and euphoria to anxiety and that feeling of being overwhelmed by the whole thing.

I am so flattered and pleased that people who I look up to and respect have faith in my passion for coaching, so much so that they would allow me to undertake this role. It is a lovely feeling but somewhat unsettling at the same time. When someone puts faith in us, we often heap pressure on ourselves to achieve, and if we don’t recognise it, it can quickly overwhelm us and hinder our performance. That is what I was feeling on Thursday morning when I was discussing what needs to be done with Lucy (Head of Organisational Development). As we discussed what was required it suddenly became real. I had a ‘oh shit this is really happening’ moment. Quickly followed by a moment of blind panic. The ‘I don’t think I can do this moment’. Thankfully Lucy did not appear to notice this moment of panic. I knew what I needed to do to control my fear was to get started.

Now I had seen what I needed to do, and Lucy had identified the priorities I needed, to stop standing at the side of the pool worrying about how deep it looked and get in. So I went off back to my office and got started making my own action plans to get myself started, and carry out some simple tasks calm me down. That started to work and the excitement returned. However I know full well that there is no quick fix to these anxieties and they will return, and in my opinion so it should. I don’t know about you but my anxiety guards me against complacency. In fact later that afternoon, my anxiety returned as I finished a piece of work that needed sharing. The self-doubt reared its head. ‘Is it detailed enough?’ ‘Am I on the right track.’ So I read it again and again, of course it was good enough, I was on the right track, it was just a draft after all, and the detail can come later.

Having those new boy anxieties is normal, once I reminded myself of this fact I felt much better. If I fight my anxieties, the feeling just gets worse. When I accept the feelings and even anticipate them, they end up being useful and short-lived.

Being the new boy this week was both exciting and terrifying. A brilliant week all in all.

Don’t let Insta-Christmas get in the way of Christmas

For many of us Christmas is a wonderful time of year. But it can be incredibly stressful, trying to create that perfect Christmas experience.

We are constantly shown on social media and the TV how to celebrate the perfect Christmas including the perfect tree, decorations, food, drink and gifts just to list a few. We are bombarded with this from at least November up until the big day itself.

It is so easy to get so caught up in creating that perfect Instagram Christmas that we forget to relax and enjoy ourselves.

Trying to live up to someone else’s idea of a perfect Christmas can also make you very unhappy, making you feel inadequate and like a failure.

If other people want to have a 20 foot Norwegian Spruce with decorations handcrafted by Franciscan Monks in the 10th Century and have a hand fed turkey roasted in a wood fire oven served with Nigella’s to die for roast vegetables smothered in a fuck off expensive Gin and giblets gravy, then let them.

Remember all those wonderful Christmas Days you have had up to this point. Remember what made them so wonderful. Like lumpy gravy, warm beer, mismatched chairs, eating chocolate for breakfast and sneaking downstairs to see if he has been yet. Remember all your favourite family traditions and do them, do what works, do what fills your heart with joy and don’t worry about making it look perfect on instagram.

My Album of The Year

american dream

As you all know from my blogs music plays an important part in my life. I take music with me wherever I go. Whether that be on my run, on the way to work, in my office and in the seminar rooms just before teaching. Music can provide a narrative to what is going on around me. When I rediscover a piece of music I have not listened to for a while it evokes feelings and memories of the time I first listened to it. Music can also create a mindful state to help me reconnect with myself when I have been over thinking. In essence music is my safe place. Therefore the music has to be pretty special to evoke these feelings.

I have chosen 10 of my favourite albums that have been released this year. At least 2 or 3 of these albums will live long in my consciousness and evoke feelings and memories in the future. All of the albums have provided me a safe place throughout the year. However my number 1 album this year I have no doubt will be a favourite of mine for some time to come. This from a band that I have paid little attention to for the past 10 years, and it took them to split up and reunite to produce in my opinion a classic album. If you have not listened to American Dream by LCD Soundsystem then I implore you to do so, every track is a delight,

So here is my top ten albums of 2017

  1. American Dream-LCD Soundsystem
  2. Pure Comedy-Father John Misty
  3. Popular Manipulations-The Districts
  4. Villains-Queens of The Stone Age
  5. I See You-XX
  6. Little Fictions-Elbow
  7. Deep Understanding-The War on Drugs
  8. Stranger in The Alps-Phoebe Bridges
  9. Everything is Forgiven-Methyl Ethel
  10. Sempa Femina-Laura Marling

I derive a lot of pleasure from music as many people do. So by putting together a top 10 list and talking about it, I am celebrating a positive part of my life. It is so important to consciously acknowledge what is positive in your life on a daily basis. It is so easy to dwell on what is not going well and miss what is good. I am not saying ignoring what is going wrong is the way to go far from it. If you look at what is good first you start to feel positive and put yourself in a far better frame of mind to tackle what needs to be addressed rather than just feeling about what is going wrong. There is always something positive in your life.



What does coaching offer?

Before I trained to be a coach I had no idea what a coach was outside of sports coaching.

I am not surprised then that most people really don’t have a clue what coaching really is.

As I have coached more and more I find it easier to articulate what coaching is, and what it can do for people. I say this because the experience of being coached and coaching is different for everybody. So the more coaching experiences you have the more you realise what coaching can achieve for you as an individual.

It all starts with self-awareness. We all like to think we are self-aware, but are we really? There has been plenty of studies done in this and the majority of them highlight that our self-awareness is not as great as we think. For instance some of you may have heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect. This was a study done by David Dunning and Justin Kruger in the 1990s where they showed that people generally over estimated their knowledge and skills. Without external clues we are not very good in realising how little we know. Worse still the less you know the better you think you are. So we need other people to tell us how little you know. We are rubbish at assessing ourselves. And what is even worse is, that if you are an expert, you often do not realise you are until it is pointed out that you know more than others.

That is why coaching is important to all of us in some form or other. It is like holding a mirror up to ourselves and discovering what we are actually good at and what we need to work on.

Coaching does not criticise or advise it just asks you why you think what you think and know what you know. It will drastically change the way you look at yourself and give you the motivation to get on with your life in the direction that is best for you and no one else.

If you want to know more and take advantage of a free coaching session email me.

Snowflake Generation

I have heard talk in the media describing my children’s generation as the snowflake generation, implying that they have never had it so easy. This is a statement that I heard when I was in my late teens, along with ‘the young nowadays don’t know they are born’…..’they would have never got away with it in our day.’

In many respects life is increasingly easier as each generation passes. In the West we are more prosperous than our parents and grandparents. Life is physically safer.

However the young generations are faced with other risks that just were not present when I was growing up.

The thing is our brains have evolved to protect us from danger and cannot differentiate between real and implied danger. This is a problem in a world of social media, and 24 hour news. Our children can be exposed to real and perceived threat almost continuously.

Now I am not saying they are any worse of than previous generations, just that learning to be an adult is full of hazards. It always has and always will. So let’s not compare their life with yours.

Let’s support our children to be the best adults they can and cut them some slack.

28 years


28 years ago today, I left my home in Chester and travelled to Hull to embark on my new life as a Nurse.

It was a Sunday as it is this year, I started my Nurse training on Monday 2nd October 1989. The 1st and 2nd October are two monumental dates in the history of my life. They marked the end of my childhood, the first day of my career as a Nurse and the beginning of my life in Hull.

I will always remember 1st October 1989, my emotions throughout the day swung from excitement, to fear, and to sadness. The excitement of starting a new life in a new city, was tinged fear of what the future held and a sadness of leaving my childhood behind. As well as leaving my childhood I was leaving my Mum. Me and mum had been a team for the past 5 years, it had just been me and her. She described me as her rock through a challenging period for our family. But she was the rock, she was and is my hero. Despite being her rock, she encouraged and supported me to pursue my dream, despite that meaning I would leave home. Throughout my career and my adult life she has always been there, supporting me and guiding me without imposing her own opinions and feelings. Thank you Mum for being my coach and hero.

As with everyone the first few weeks away from home were a struggle, getting used to cooking for yourself, and the dealing with being homesick (this was the first time in my life I had been away from my Mum for more than a weekend). When we are 18 we desperately want to be independent, until that moment comes when you have you wash and iron your uniform.

Being surrounded by some wonderful people (my fellow Student Nurses and Teaching Staff at Hull District School of Nursing) meant that it did not take long to adjust to my new world.

28 years later I am still here, and would never change any of it. I live in any amazing city, with my amazing family doing a job I love surrounded by some incredible people.

If you have just said goodbye to one of your children or to your parents, it is painful in the short-term, but keep focused on your ultimate goal. Remember no matter what happens or how it works out this moment is the beginning of an amazing adventure.

If you would like support with issues discussed above, get in touch. The first session is free.

My Motivational Playlist


As I have mentioned in previous posts, music plays an important part in my life and how I motivate myself.
This is all the more important when I am running. I am not exactly a natural runner, my default position is most definitely seated therefore it is always a challenge, and as someone once said running is always a series of arguments between my joints that want to stop and my mind that wants to carry on. So I need music to be playing to give me a soundtrack and help me get into a positive mindset to ensure my mind wins the argument.
I have recently started listening to new music. That is songs that have just been released and not necessarily what I would choose if I made a conscious choice of picking it out. I let apple music choose a playlist of the latest alternative releases. So every time I go for a run there is always at least 1 or 2 new exciting surprises. Putting on my music before my run has become integral to the whole routine of running and actually I now look forward to my run to hear something new and exciting as well as some songs that have become familiar. Below is a list of some of my favourite songs currently on the playlist. These are the songs that instantly take away the pain and add another spring to my step. If you get chance give them a listen. We can all to often get stuck in a rut and not try anything new. Just think listening to something new might just inspire you to do something amazing.
My Positive Playlist:
Dear Life – Beck
Nothing to Find – LCD Soundsystem
Domesticated Animals – Queens Of The Stone Age
Plimsoll Punks – Alvvays
War is Coming – Car Seat Headrest
New York – St Vincent
Burn it Down – Daughter
Desire – Everything Everything
Countdown – King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
Can’t Play It Cool – Sheer Mag
It Came to Me – The Barr Brothers
Vampire Again – Marlon Williams
Violet – Districts
Thomas County Law – Iron and Wine
Just Like That – Girl Ray
People and Their Dogs – Willie J Healey
Guilty Party – The National
Evil Has Landed – Queens of The Stone Age

Enjoy, and feel free to share your own.