Adult survivors of childhood abandonment and complex trauma abound in our society. Theirs is a sad reality shrouded in the darkness of shame that keeps their experience locked away only to be known by their volcanic overreactions or quiet avoidance that are triggered by present-day cues. They are our sisters, fathers, spouses, etc. They live fenced in by crippling fear and loss of identity stolen at such a young age. They’ve developed and matured as we all do, driven by survival and attachment, the same instincts they came into the world with, the same instincts that gave them a fighting chance at survival. However, the other component necessary for reaching potential, the social environment, was not favorable. It seemed as if this third ingredient almost wanted their destruction from the very beginning as if they were not meant to be alive in the first place. This environment, or soil, if you will, would go on to nurture beliefs deep in the psyche of the individual. These beliefs would become infused with the person’s sense of self, and so they would live out those beliefs as if they had to. They would live out those beliefs in ever reinforcing and destructive consequences. Those consequences reinforce a dark world view and a sense of self-value that is worthless. They live in a reality that holds no possibility for hope. Each day they walk past choice and opportunity only to choose what is familiar.
Read the rest of this superb article here. There’s a surprisingly positive twist!
There’s no class in high school on how to not be a shitty boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, we get taught the biology of sex, the legal ins and outs of marriage, and maybe we read a few obscure love stories from the 19th century on how not to be an ass-face.
Without clear ideas from adults, what we’re left with is basically trial and error, and if you’re like most people, it’s mostly error.
Enter: a string of toxic relationships as we fumble through an already complex dating world.
One of the problems is that a lot of toxic relationship habits are baked into our culture. We worship romantic love—you know, that dizzying and irrational kind that somehow finds breaking china plates on the wall in a fit of tears somewhat endearing. And we scoff at practicality or unconventional sexualities.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius
Ever gone on a date you weren’t excited about to discover, well, it was a waste of time?
Ever sent in multiple job applications or done an interview somewhat half-heartedly to discover, shock horror, you weren’t successful?
Or maybe you’re struggling to excel in your current role (or even get through the day..) because your heart’s just not in it?
I always say there are multiple parallels between love and careers. If you’re not excited, it’s not the right one! What happens when we settle on a half-hearted love? Yup, it ends in tears. Careers are no different as I explain in my short video here.
Do not, I repeat, do not, settle with your career.
Feeing disconnected 5 days’ a week is a BIG DEAL and will affect your mental health and wider life whether your love life, relationships with your children, wellbeing or otherwise.
If you think you’re lost, confused, stuck – you’re not nearly as lost as you think, trust me. I see these feelings ALL THE TIME with clients who invariably become unstuck within just 1-3 sessions. Confusion, apathy and frustration may alarm you but they excite me (!) because they are merely signs of unmet needs and when you work out what you need to be happy, the rest is easy.
Don’t believe me?
One creative career coaching client thought she was totally lost job wise and was sliding into depression when we first connected. She was also worried her career joylessness was endangering her relationship. By session 2, she was a different person – with a 360 energy / clarity turnaround once she got clear on her values. She wasn’t remotely crazy or even that lost once she had the space to explore what was really going on – she was just in the wrong role in a misaligned work environment.
She now has her dream job for a leading fashion house in Amsterdam and feels truly seen, heard and fulfilled.
If that resonates, hit me up for a free discovery call and feel the anxiety reduce and hope spike!
As an ex-lawyer turned career and life coach who works with smart, successful people in high-stress jobs, my superpower is helping ‘confused’ clients get unstuck fast and reconnect with careers that make them truly happy, fulfilled and excited to get up in the morning.
Remember: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs
‘Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life’ – Susan David PhD
Hands up if you’ve ever felt doubt, insecurity or the need for reassurance in a relationship? Cue all of us.
What causes relationship anxiety and when do you *really* need to worry?
What’s the difference between helpful and unhelpful anxiety in relationships?
How does relationship worry show up?
And how can we handle it?
I coach many life coaching clients on relationship pain-points whether work-related or romantic – in fact, it’s a favourite topic of mine, dealing with themes that go to the heart of what it is to be human – confidence, self-esteem, identity, values, communication, happiness, success and beyond.
The cost of poor quality or broken relationships is high, which is why it’s so rewarding teaching clients simple tools to overcome relationship challenges to minimise breakdown and optimise happiness.
A recent client mentioned the varied (mainly negative) advice she’d received from friends around her potentially impending divorce and one thing struck me – a real lack of balance, objectivity and hopeful guidance.
I saw something different to ‘let’s expedite the divorce’ / ‘what a d*ck’ / ‘things have ruptured so it’s game over after nearly 20 years’.
Underneath the anger and acting out was simply a breakdown in communication, a lack of tools around HOW to communicate effectively and a disconnect from their own selves since becoming busy working parents. Yes, that’s a few blockers but pretty resolvable blockers if there are enough shared values and vision for the future.
This is where coaching can be pretty game-changing, bringing awareness and balance to complex situations untrained listeners may be naturally more inclined to judge from their own frame of reference. This is what we call projection (!) which isn’t always helpful when we need to be heard and we want to connect to the truth in a balanced, non-polarised way.
If you’ve ever felt anxious in romantic relationships, wondered whether this is normal and what the difference even is between good and ‘bad’ anxiety, read my article below in Women’s Health. There’s a game-changing magic trick for dealing with anxiety in there which is as miraculous as it is simple. To read about this and the full article in Women’s Health, click here.
And if you’re looking to uplevel your relationships, whether in work or love, drop me a message to book a free discovery call here – I regularly help clients like these with tips to gain the clarity and tools to optimise dating, their relationships and love lives!
What’s stopping you from creating a life you love?
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, over him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know”
In many ways, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were an unlikely pair. They first met at Britannia Royal Naval College in 1939, where an 18-year-old cadet Philip was introduced to a 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth of England while she was touring the grounds. From then, it’s said, the young royal never thought of anybody else.
The two began to exchange letters throughout the war years. While Elizabeth’s character is captured by typically British epithets like ‘understated’, dignified’ and ‘stoic’, in many ways Prince Philip was anything but. ‘It’s a vast waste of space’, Philip said, entertaining guests in 2000 at the reception of a new £18m British Embassy in Berlin, which the Queen had just opened.
Known as the King of the faux pas, Philip was a cheeky chappy ready to inject mischief into any exchange, no matter how risqué. But though they were superficially as different as night and day, this was a love affair to end all love affairs. As different as they were similar, this is what made them so perfect for each other — he was the yin to her yang — what one had, the other didn’t — and vice versa. Where she was measured and impartial, he was expressive and provocative. Where she was understatedly British, he was more European in his heart-lead, impassioned self-expression that caught people off guard, disarming formality with wit and fun.
It’s impossible to celebrate the Queen without recognizing the powerful union that underpinned her magnificent sovereignty — and the enormously significant role she felt her right hand man played during her remarkable 70 year reign.
For brilliantly handsome and silly as he was, his charisma and quips belied incisive wit and integrity, just as Queen Elizabeth’s stability and impartiality belied her intelligence and power.
This was a one of a kind power couple, with Queen Elizabeth’s right hand man being far more than a devastatingly handsome seaman who swept her off her feet. Despite being the consummate man’s man, Philip gave up a prestigious career in the Royal Navy to assume the role of Queen’s Consort, subjugating himself to support her reign over 32 sovereign states during her reign of 70 years and 214 days, the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.
He was a man of serious honour, parking his ego in the way that only true men can, to support his remarkable other half to carry out a life of duty of service.
And though this may seem more of a tribute to Phillip than Queen Elizabeth herself, I’m not sure she would have wanted it any other way.
This was a man who cherished his Queen so deeply that he movingly orchestrated his own funeral to end with the National Anthem ‘God Save the Queen’, rendered all the more poignant as she sat alone in her pew in the midst of the pandemic, with only a black mask for company.
So while the Queen’s passing has been immeasurably sad for the British people, it’s also been a moment of great poignancy and comfort for the romantics amongst us: a moment which we are told brought her much comfort — when she would be reunited with the man she described on their golden wedding anniversary in 1997 as: ‘My strength and stay all these years’.
So as we mourn the loss of the inimitable, one of a kind figurehead that was Queen Elizabeth, let us celebrate one of her most longed for, treasured moments: the reconciliation with the man she counted as so critical to her happiness and success as a monarch.
For as Marianne Williamson reminds us in her powerful memoir, A Return To Love, those of us who find divine love are truly blessed, for it is the highest form of love that transcends all others and raises us up to everything we can be:
“The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test, That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best; The love that never falters, the love that pays the price, The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.”
A professional or an entrepreneur, a country bumpkin or a city slicker, a conformist or a free spirit? Or are you a hybrid – a suited and booted banker or lawyer with the ‘perfect job’ but a niggling desire to explore less well-trodden paths? Or maybe you’re just plain confused about where you fit and what really drives you.
Whatever category you fall into, most of us from Generation Y were bred by folks with far less opportunity than us professionally. With more conventional views of what constitutes a ‘proper’ job, our parents may have inadvertently left us stuck between a rock and a hard place – between what we should do and what we want to do. But ‘should’ is where it all goes wrong.
Expectations versus reality
Nobody knows this better than Kristen Kimball, author of ‘The Dirty Life’ and former freelance journalist and Harvard graduate from New York. After a chance interview with a hunky farmer, she upped sticks to set up farm with her green-fingered interviewee, leaving the city lights and life as she knew it in her wake. You heard right – East Village in favour of mud and veg in the middle of nowhere. This is a story of two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of an intellectual glamour-puss’ life – one with farming and the other with a man who milks cows for a living. A striking tale about love, happiness and the power of instinct, ‘The Dirty Life’ is a must-read for anyone feeling a little disillusioned with the daily grind or what life’s all about.
The product of a neat, middle-class world, Kimball’s novel charts the mental and physical challenges she faced leaving the glitzy world of ‘convention’ in favour of rural slog. ‘Writ[ing] with precision, authority and gratitude about what is evidently, despite its rigours, an idyllic life’ (New York Times Book Review), Kimball challenges our views about wealth, success and love, giving food for thought as compelling as the gastronomical delights she chronicles.
Kimball’s union with Mark, a rugged hulk of a man with a passion for food and farming, is a world away from the corporate sphere she might have settled into. But as with the different kind of ‘wealth’ she finds farm-side, Kimball takes us on a journey full of surprises, a journey which exposes some stark ironies about our perceptions of ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ of City life.
Does success equal happiness?
‘The Dirty Life’ makes us question our ‘values’ as we know them. In Kimball we find a cosmopolitan New Yorker who, like many of us, supposedly ‘has it all’. A woman with all the trappings of refinement, yet one who is, by her own admission, blinded by ignorance. Openly admitting her surprise that a ‘salt-of-the-earth-type’ person such as Mark could talk with dexterity and intelligence and that ‘the physical world – the trades’ was not in fact ‘the place you ended up if you weren’t bright or ambitious enough to handle a white-collar job’, Kimball shows us the danger of defining people by what they do. In Kimball we find a highly educated woman who has travelled the world with her job, yet whose eyes are opened by an entirely different world, stunned by the happiness she finds ‘pulling warm eggs out of a nest box’.
Shake things up…
So, what is the moral of the tale? Keep meeting new people, keep an open-mind and be true to yourself. Work out what is important to you and don’t be afraid to question reality as you know it. Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect of you and remember, the most successful life is one which unearths what makes you truly happy. Fulfilment goes far deeper than an impressive job title and it will bring you fruits that money can’t buy.
The Theory of Everything was quite something for Eddie Redmayne. He was already high on my list just for being a dazzling, redhead, for his (inoffensive) public school charm and for those stunning green eyes, but his performance in The Theory of Everything propelled him into unchartered territory.
I had assumed that The Theory of Everything would be about physics, planets and a famous scientist. And though it is, of course, about the incredible Stephen Hawking and his awe-inspiring achievements, it’s about far more than physical matter.
A Bit of A Game-Changer
This is a tale about the great themes of life – love and loss, strength and frailty, courage and fear, comedy and tragedy. This isn’t a perfect love story with violins and roses, romantic longevity untainted by challenge, this is a story about the varied and subtle shades of life at its most difficult and most beautiful. This is a story of reality and hope united, a story of a young couple bound by a love so strong that we are carried to dizzying heights with Jane’s passionate commitment to Stephen, a commitment at its most beautiful on his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease. Her inner courage is heightened by her miniature size, a gumption soaring way above the testing physical and emotional obstacles which are laid in their marital path. Stephen’s strength is as inspiring, manifest in his wicked sense of humour, sparkling eyes and remarkable scientific achievements despite his physical constraints. Nothing grips human nature more than strength in adversity and boy is this a hero’s tale – not just of the incredible scientist himself, but of his steadfast wife, unbending in love and sacrifice for the man she loves.
Where’s The Real Wow?
But for me, a more subtle ‘wow factor’ lies in the twist towards the end. The Hawkings’ ability to adapt to new and uncomfortable truths is established early on through Stephen’s illness but later, with the breakdown of their marriage, come some truly powerful messages. That the changed status of their incredible relationship didn’t undermine their happy ending bears poignant testimony to the power of the human spirit, challenging our perception of romance, commitment, happiness and success. For despite being the most brilliant example of ‘for better or for worse’, this ended up being a tale whose value wasn’t determined by whether the couple remained together or apart… this was a tale about success in a far wider sense – the ability to accept the twists and turns of life and adapt to changes thrown your way, no matter how unfair or futile.
What Can We Learn From The Theory of Everything?
In this respect, The Theory of Everything is aptly named, for it really is rich in messages about so many aspects of human existence. The aforementioned twist, set against a tale of such supernatural love and professional achievement, shows us that imperfection can still be inspiring and that magnificence is not always born of picture perfect endings. Intelligence is not just about brilliance and jaw-dropping achievement. It can be of a quieter kind, found in dignity, courage and the ability to adapt to change. In an increasingly digital society dependant on the disposable, this film shows us that those who don’t end up with perfect Facebook statuses can still find immeasurable success in their lives, looking back and looking ahead, whether personal, professional or familial, external or internal – together or apart. Indeed, any other type of ‘perfection’ seems rather superficial and mundane set against a tale so rich in challenges and beauty that follows – but a static snap from a virtual world built to dazzle. The Theory of Everything challenges this empty cultural norm, showing that real beauty shifts and moulds to the circumstances of life – a life which can be rosy, shady and just plain difficult. A real life where real brilliance goes way beyond a perfect picture, inspiring hope in loss, beauty in pain, humour in suffering.
And it is in this vein that The Theory of Everything finds its cosmic power – in the quiet beauty of one of the closing scenes which sees the former couple united in the Queen’s perfectly manicured gardens, sharing their pride in the children that they have created together. The dignity with which they move on to confront life apart from one another after their incredible love story, without compromising the deep respect that they developed for one another, struck me as a great perfection. Nothing supernatural, nothing cosmic, nothing to write home about on a Facebook wall but a flawed reality rich in hope, humanity and dignity.
Why Should You See The Theory of Everything?
The Theory of Everything is a remarkable tale about the power of the human spirit – a spirit which can be dazzling, other-earthly in abilities and passions and spell-bindingly inspiring but one which is also, just that – human – flawed, challenging and complex. A truly metaphysical tale, The Theory of Everything unites improbable points of likeness on so many levels to incredibly powerful effect – strength in adversity, humour in suffering, passion in frailty and happiness despite separation. I can see why Stephen Hawking said he was proud of Eddie Redmayne. Both seem to be remarkable men, probing life’s deepest questions in dazzling fashion.
“People are put into our paths according to who we can learn the most from at any given time. Like a giant universal computer, higher forces know exactly what combination of energies, in exactly what context, would do the most to further us” ~ Marianne Williamson ~
I recently finished a powerful book I’d begun reading at the end of a four-year relationship.
Among other things, Marianne Williamson’s bestseller, A Return To Love, shares potent insights into the three types of romantic love:
1. Love born of ego;
2. Love that helps you grow; and
3. Divine love.
She explained that while the third is the one that helps you reach your highest potential, the second, the transformational kind of love, can feel like the most powerful of all three.
You’ll find the below pearls of wisdom helpful if:
a. You’re newly single and wanting to expedite the healing process;
b. You’ve been unattached for a while and are feeling flat about the coming year; or
c. You’re in a relationship you’re not sure about and are struggling to get clarity.
Episode 11 of The School of Success Podcast Series is now live! An inspiring and eye-opening deep-dive into why becoming a parent doesn’t have to mean sleep deprivation!
This interview with the accomplished Baby Sleep Consultant, Creator and Author of The Sleeping Baby Routine teaches you:
– top tips around the key pain points that stress new parents out;
– what’s really going on in most mums’ inner monologues in the early days;
– myth-busting around the trials and tribulations of breast-feeding;
– the impact of birth hormones on women’s bodies and brains; and
– the surprising impact of birth on men
This is also for you if you have an interest in how to optimise sleep in the early days of parenting, why how couples interrelate with a newborn is so key and the ups and downs behind jolly social media posts many new parents don’t share. This is also for you if you’re not sure what a Baby Sleep Consultant is and the main benefits of investing in one!
In this super informative interview, Charmian shares her expert wisdom from over 20 years as a Baby Sleep Consultant working with clients across a whole host of industries and countries on why getting a baby’s sleep right is the greatest luxury you can give yourself (and your relationships!)
You can find Charmian at The Sleeping Baby Routine on Instagram and at www.thesleepingbabyroutine.co.uk
This inspiring interview with Fertility Nurse, Egg Freezing Advocate and Founder of Eggvice @bridgetbrennanrn, teaches you everything you need to know about egg freezing, the pros, the cons, the cost (financial + emotional)and everything in between so you can make informed decisions about your fertility + your future.
This is for you if you’re feeling anxious about aging, finding the right man in time to have a family, pressured into ‘settling’ down before you’re ready or with the wrong person or unsure about options around fertility treatment. This isn’t to say you should be panicking if any of the above applies to you – it’s about awareness + empowerment so you can reach aligned decisions that feel right for you.
This is also for you if you want to find greater clarity + peace around your love + family ideals + have found it hard to find information online outside salesy egg freezing clinic blurb or polarised articles either hard pro or hard anti-fertility treatment.
This is also a safe space for getting curious about more complex emotions around the subject which you may find comfort exploring through my own egg freezing journey which I was initially quite anti. I found it challenging to find balanced articles on the subject or the right support and information even at ‘leading clinics’ + hope that all those questions you may have will be answered in this episode by a woman with the heart and expertise to truly give you what you need. This is so essential to gaining the clarity + calm that underpins confident decision-making, especially on such an important and sensitive subject.
In this warm-hearted interview, Bridget lovingly guides you to discover all you need to know about egg freezing so you can make empowered decisions about your future.
I wish I’d had something like this as a one stop shop for all my questions before wasting months with the wrong clinic + struggling with the second one in the most surprising of ways.