Christmas Spirit is it just for Christmas?

Christmas is all about kindness and happiness.

We give each other gifts, visit friends and family, at the very least. Restaurants, Cafes, takeaways and even train stations through open their doors for the homeless. Businesses and individuals donate toys to hospitals, school children collect gifts in shoeboxes to send to countries around the world.

Then there are the small acts of kindness that many of us do, like visiting elderly neighbours with a mince pie and glass of what you fancy.

Doesn’t make you feel happy? All warm and fuzzy inside. Kindness has that effect. Giving and receiving make us happy.

Being kind is easy, it doesn’t have to cost much, it can even be free, but is so valuable to all those that experience it.

So why don’t we show more kindness to each other all year round? For a few days kindness is dolled out at industrial levels, but for the rest of the year, can be quite sparse in everyday life.

We do seem to be able to think ill of people, and say unkind things all too easily, normally to the people closest.

This year why don’t we resolve to have a kindness default setting. When we feel unkind or feel we have treated unfairly why don’t we put an opposite spin on it. If someone is mean they are most likely unhappy, offer your support and understanding instead of your sharp tongue. If you find that hard, hold your tongue, take a moment by yourself vent your frustration in private, then offer your support. Instead of shouting, listen then talk. And there you are, you are showing kindness. It feels good doesn’t it.

It is as easy as that, however our urge to defend ourself by attacking us strong, so kindness takes practice. Resolve to be kind at least once a day. After a year that is 365 acts of kindness at least. But then ramp that up for birthdays and Christmas we could have 500 easy. Each time you are kind tops up your happiness. After a year you could be 500 times more happy than you are now. It is a well researched fact that happiness and success are directly related.

So being kind makes you more successful at home and at work.

So don’t let Christmas Spirit just for Christmas!

How is your Christmas going?

We are midway through Christmas, so how is it going for you?

I always find this part of the holiday the most difficult, stuck between the 2 festivities. For many of us it is a time where we go back to work for a few days, before the New Year celebrations.

All in all 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th can be quite miserable if you let them. I have been known to be quite grumpy and fed-up post Christmas. Children can also be a bit fed up now all their presents are open and no doubt some of them have not lasted the rigours of Christmas.

The build up is always more enjoyable, the anticipation of time spent with friends and family, the excitement of preparing for the big day, buying presents, decorating the house, the Christmas carols, Christmas parties. It all goes towards that magical feeling that is Christmas.

Christmas Day comes and is full of excitement fun, and over eating, and for a morning of cooking and drinking. Once dinner is done, we play games, and then collapse in front of the telly. When I was younger I always felt deflated in the afternoon, thinking well that is it for another year.

Now being older and more philosophical I enjoy the moment and don’t worry about what has passed. The Christmas evening is a wonderful time for whatever you want to do. For me it was for eating, drinking and lazing about watching someone’s life unravel on Eastenders.

Boxing Day is a day for eating leftover turkey and watching City with my youngest.

The next few days is all about detoxing and catching up on some work without major distractions, before normal service resumes. It is also a time to reflect on the year gone by and celebrate how far we have come in the year and look forward to the adventures that are to come.

I hope you all had a Very Merry Christmas not matter what you were doing and are looking forward to a Happy New Year.

Coaching Conversations, and Christmas Jumpers

This week has seen my second week learning to juggle being a Teacher Practitioner and Coaching Lead. I wouldn’t say it is any easier, in fact it may actually be getting harder, however as I relax, I am enjoying the challenge more each day.

So after a busy weekend taking in the latest projections on the Deep as part of the Hull’s City of Culture, and battling the crowds at Beverley’s Festival of Christmas with my Wife and Mother I was a little tired starting work on Monday. To be honest I felt a little overwhelmed by it all, trying to juggle both roles. I was a little short tempered with someone first thing. It took me an hour or so to realise that it was me being a little unreasonable, so I took some time to rectify the situation, and I am so glad I did. It cleared the air and gave them some time to articulate what they planned to do and receive endorsement. We both left the meeting feeling empowered and enthused. That to be honest set me up for the rest of the week.

Monday and Tuesday were coaching lead days. Both were very productive starting the process of developing a coaching network. As it is early days yet, my week is a little mixed up with both roles encroaching on each other. For instance bang in the middle of Tuesday I had a Teacher Practitioner meeting developing an advice leaflet, and the previous conversation on Monday was as a Teacher Practitioner. Then on Thursday I had a meeting in my Coaching role. This does add to the challenge but is good fun.

I am excited about going to work every morning again. It is as if I have a completely new job. Having the extra role has changed the way I look at my Teacher Practitioner role. It feels like I have a brand new toy to play with.

Even though having two roles is stressful and occasionally overwhelming, I am having the time of my life. I feel reinvigorated, so much so that I have started to write my story again, after a 4 month hiatus, and I am excited about attracting new clients for my private practice. I really want people to feel as enthused about their career as I do. Through being coached I am convinced people can discover their real dream and realise it. I have spent the whole week having coaching conversations with people, some coaching me. When that light bulb moment happens it is quite incredible. This week I have experienced it and witnessed it. Don’t be shy about coaching it does change lives.

Oh as I mentioned Christmas jumpers in the title, I really should put it in my blog. So yesterday any coaching conversations held were accompanied by a singing Christmas Jumper. Well it is the Friday before, the Friday before Christmas.

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.