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How to control that voice in your head! The 4 step Voice Exchanger strategy

Here is a proven way to get that negative voice to shut the hell up.

This is only a quick article so I don’t have the time to explain why you need to do this but a client just messaged me to tell me how powerful this little technique is that I created that I thought I would share it with you too. As always let me know how you get on and of course my books and courses are packed with strategies, tools and techniques that work so let’s work together and make you more successful.

I call this the 4 Step Voice Exchanger strategy for when your head is full of negativity and you tell yourself bad things like;

  • Where did that wrinkle come from?
  • Is that what I really look like from the back?
  • They are never going to want to work with me!
  • Why am I so useless?
  • Wow, I suck at maths, grammar, public speaking, asking for what I want!
  • I can get anything right!

Whatever negativity that voice is giving you I see it damage clients success and happiness all the time, it even destroys your confidence and undermines your ability to believe you can achieve and not fail again and again and again. So let’s get rid of your negative voice and get a healthy one in your head. Here goes…

  1. Start to notice what you say to yourself. Notice the negative things you say to yourself for 1 week. Don’t try to change them, don’t try to explain them, just notice them. If you want to make this step mega powerful write down what you notice. You will need to carry a pad and pen with you or store what you discover on an app on your phone – it could make step 3 a lot easier.
  2. Say No! We often assume the next step would be to change that voice. Change is sometimes easy but often hard so let’s make this an easy process. In the 2nd week every time you hear a negative statement in your head tell it No! Actually for a lot of clients they don’t tell it no, they tell it “Oh you, F**k off!” Sometimes this step is made easier by imagining that voice has a body to go with it. For one client we imagined it was a squawky brightly coloured parrot. You will see in step 4 what we did with the parrot! For another client we imagined the voice was an evil version of themselves. I asked them to tell me what it said to them and I said to them. “I really don’t like that person” my client agreed and said the nice version of her who took her to yoga and out for cake was going to tell her to naff off – get’s to the point right? Don’t think you need to be imaginative to make this work. If saying NO is enough for you then that’s fine. Do this for 1 whole week. If you don’t manage it, then notice what happened. And start week 2 again. This is about bringing lasting positive change to your life so don’t assume you will fix it straight away. For some clients they come back and tell me they failed and we work on the reasons why it failed and discover what was causing the lack of progress – so you see even failing is achieving if it moves you forward!
  3. Say the positive. In step 1 you ideally wrote down what you were saying to yourself. All that negative self talk. For every statement write a positive statement. For instance; “Why are you so rubbish at that!” becomes “I am proud of what I know about this and would like to know more” or “Wow fatty lay off the cake” becomes “I love my food and I love my body” You can be as creative or as blunt as you like. It’s in your head and it is only for your ears. As a rule to guide you if you wouldn’t say it to me, your best mate or the love of your life then you can’t say it to you EVER AGAIN! If you struggle with this stage (and many clients who lack confidence or have something holding them back do) then post to my mastermind group and I/we can help you create new positive sentences to say to yourself. At this stage (and this is very important) you don’t have to believe these sentences, you just have to choose to say them for a whole week.
  4. Notice. For week 4 just notice what is happening in your head. It will be one of a few things; either 1. You will notice your voice is changing, you may slip up but on the whole you are getting a far kinder, helpful supportive voice in your head. Notice how it impacts on your actions and results, this will become a good motivator to keep going. Remember the client with the parrot as their negative voice? They came back 2 weeks later and told me that every time they heard that parrot they cooked it with chips! Chips were their favourite and they had joked with me that they could eat anything as long as it came with chips. Such a daft flippant statement turned out to be the perfect way of destroying their negative voice. I last spoke to that client 2 weeks ago and they told me they had achieved an amazing promotion with a very healthy pay rise and it couldn’t have happened had they not destroyed that voice in their head that told them they weren’t good enough – this strategy seriously works! 2. You notice you are getting no improvement but you are noticing all the bad stuff you tell yourself (this is still an improvement, so praise yourself for it. 10/20+ years of telling yourself bad stuff doesn’t always get fixed overnight.) It’s all too easy to only tell yourself off for failing at this proven strategy that Mandie uses with her clients and not appreciate how far you’ve come. Don’t go it alone, ask for help. I’ve been developing strategies to help people achieve and overcome adversity and confidence issues for many many years I know this to be true. 3. You gave up half way through week 2 and never got to week 4! If this is you look to what makes you disciplined and stick with things. How can you migrate those skills to this easy 4 step exchanger? If you don’t do this ask yourself this question (and write down the answer) “

If I don’t do this 4 step process what will I be agreeing to?”think it’s a load of crap and doesn’t work

4. You think this is a load of rubbish and it doesn’t work. In my experience when I’m coaching teams I’m often confronted with someone who thinks my methodology is a load of rubbish and that I’m a tad flippant and far too jokey to be doing any good. And that is fine. They are usually the first to be asking me questions on the practices I use and tell me how life changing they are. So if you do think this is a load of rubbish it tells you more about what you think about yourself and your ability to change than it does the strategy. And that in itself is worth investigating, in a coaching session it would probably tell us why you do what you do and how to get the better results you want.

So that’s it, it’s a lot longer than most techniques I teach which can make changes to your life and success within a few hours, but for something so deep rooted this is a powerful way of getting that negative voice disintegrated and get a voice in your head that says “Wowsers you are amazing, let’s do great things together!”

As always let me know how you get on and feel free to get in touch any time. I know how to make your brain work powerfully for you so you get amazing results in all areas of your life.

 

  • August 12, 2020

Can a coach get a dip in confidence and how can you fix it fast?

One of the surprising things to come out of Lock down is a dip in confidence. And I’m not immune.

I was invited to speak at the worlds biggest online conference for Luminary Learning, a company that works with some of the biggest organisations in the world – 18 speakers, 17 hours. (They are doing a bigger one in October and I’m speaking at that too!)

And in the lead up to the big day I had meetings with the team to see if I would fit. I was keen for this to happen because I’m not your usual conference speaker and I didn’t want to stand out (for all the wrong reasons) like the proverbially sore thumb!

I rarely have slides (unless the hosts really want them) and I don’t’ usually follow a set script. Choosing instead to find out what they want for their audiences and what they want the result to be. In that way I will create a mass group coaching style session that is really powerful and ensures people get personalised solutions rather than generic ideas.laughing with mandie holgate business and life coach

As I chatted with the hosts, I ended up showing them my Disney mug of coffee, my tiny dog and even my Olaf Keyring… such a grown up. They loved my honest, fun style and said that with my exceptional knowledge on growing businesses and people I’d be perfect.

So all good right?

Except when you don’t see your audience whether you are a speaker, professional or a business leader it can be tough.

Are they getting what I am saying?

Usually body language gives us massive clues on this. The crossed arms changing to hand at face in deep thought is always a good one to aim for. Along with obviously the laughter and relaxed poses.

So with our world moving to online can you deliver to the same high standard?

Yes of course but watch out for the confidence levels.

As the day of the big event got closer, I found myself writing copious amount of notes on the subject of leadership and building great people. You know, the subject I spend my life coaching people and teams on!

How ridiculous I found myself thinking you know this stuff inside out. “Why are you writing it down?” “Why are you adding stats that you could recite in your sleep!” I shrieked at myself. “Are you likely to lose your mind between now and Saturday!”

It was a dip in confidence. Not to be confused with a sensible level of nerves because you want to do well. One is good for your performance, the other can destroy it. (If you aren’t sure pick up a copy of Fight the fear where I help you reduce your fears to a sensible level often getting rid of them all together but being mindful that sometimes a little nerves is good for you.)

So I did what any good coach would do and I talked to another coach. Me and Gordon Tredgold have been proverbially kicking each other’s butts for years. In fact it’s thanks to him I’ve achieved more and I know I’ve been able to help Gordon too. (I love relationships that are win win like that. I highly recommend Gordon’s books, and yes you guessed it Gordon highly recommends mine too!)

So I messaged Gordon. Something along the lines of “Hey Gordon, I’ve got the major wobbles about Saturday. I know I can do this with bells on but still….”

Gordon replied with the right words as we usually do for each other, but when you are bordering on a dip in confidence that can induce fear (and trust me as author of Fight the fear I know this stuff (again inside out!) if you don’t fix the confidence then fear is only a step away.) So despite the fact I believed Gordon and if Gordon Tredgold tells you, you are an awesome speaker, then you are an awesome speaker I still was feeling concerned at a level I didn’t want to take to the event.

So, I used a tool I created for a client and use all the time…

“Where is your evidence Mandie?” I asked. “Have you got on a stage before and tanked it?”

“No”.

“Have you let an audience or hosts down?”

“Er again, I’m going to have to say No”

“Have you made audiences laugh and learn and have eureka moments that changed lives and business?”

At this stage I was beginning to hate myself just like my clients do when they are faced with the facts that they don’t suck and they are awesome! I knew how my coaching clients felt under my scrutiny and it wasn’t easy to accept but accept it I did. I’m good at my job.

I wanted to share this with you because people often say “You are so confident I bet you never doubt yourself” As a human we all do it, the difference is as a coach I can get myself back into a great mindset and get the results I want because I coach myself and control what is allowed to go on inside my brain. Hence the new book Taking control of your mind is so popular because it helps you do just that.

And just so I don’t let that dip in confidence come back I printed off the amazing words that one of the team sent to me.

Just a quick note to say...thank you very very very very very much for trusting me and for coming on board....your energy was so great that we fed off that....your stories were pointed and you were able to bring it home with each example....it was fantastic.....    It so lively....and hilarious..but drove home a very string point!!!    Thank you so much and both T and myself simply love you and your vibrancy and zest for life!!!!    We are fans and friends for life!!! Will chat soon...

If you want to stay positive it’s important you give yourself visual clues so you don’t revert to negative and stay there because that’s not good for you, your team or your business. And remember people like to be with positive people. People that inspire and motivate them. Those people make tough days and obstacles to success so much easier to overcome.

If you would like to know more about any aspect of this feel free to get in touch and if this made you rethink what you allow to happen in your head a donation on the button on the right would be appreciated, thank you.

I can also request white labelled copies of Fight the fear for your company – minimum order 100 copies.

 

 

  • June 23, 2020

You, Your team and time management – how to achieve more every day.

Not getting as much done as you would like?
Please don’t read another book.
Please don’t write another list.

In my experience and I’ve helped individuals, mums, CEO’s, teams of 10 and teams of 200+ to achieve more and even apps aren’t enough!

You need to go back to the beginning.

As a coach people mock me for some of the questions I ask thinking they are wishy washy, however having achieved awesome results with my clients (they do most of the work, I’m just the catalyst) these woo woo questions are the ones with the power, so for starters;

What do we stand for?
What do I want?
Why do I want it?
What will this give me?
What are my values?
How do I want to impact on the world?
What do I fear?
Can I confidently say No?

What will my actions lead to?
What are my goals?
Where will they take me?
What stays on the to do list that I never get around to?
How does that make me feel?
What to I assume will happen?

Ditch or deal with everything on your to do list.
Money making first.

And if you really want to achieve more, I share at The BWN and speaking engagements and with clients my 10 day week.

So damn powerful and makes even me achieve more. (I can’t share it here because it’s too visual to work).

And lastly if you have more than 5 things on your list of to do today, you are setting yourself up for long term failure.

There’s a ton of other things but time management and achieving big things is not rocket science. It is about understanding the power of who you are (not an author, guru or expert) and utilising that power, stepping up to the stuff that you fear and having the accountability and focus to get on with it.

I love coaching because it’s so powerful. And the silly little thoughts that crossed over your mind just now, they could hold the key to maximise the use of every hour from this moment on!
Cool right?

There’s more that I teach and share – communication rules and laws, boundaries, respect, open door policy and when not to. Company policy, mission and vision. So much, but this should get you and your team achieving more.

Remember if you want to achieve more you have to create space to and that means making time – time management coaching enables you and your team to do this.

  • March 4, 2020

The joy of 20.1.20

Writing 20.1.20 makes me so happy.
It’s about the science of who you are.
I always thought I was a haphazard, go lucky kind of girl, but through years and years of emotional intelligence and personal development work I’ve learnt that is not true.
You could perceive me to be that way but that perception would not tell you the true story and understanding the true story could tell you some very important truths about you and your happiness and success too.
I’m actually a person that is so organised my family joke that I’m so OCD, I’m CDO (I don’t take mental health of any form lightly however for me I’ve always found that to jest helps me to deal with situations that sometimes are hard. Like being rushed to A and E, I’m the one cracking jokes. So I hope my honesty doesn’t offend. What does that tell you and how does it impact on your success?)
Going back to the CDO Before I jump to inappropriate humour, the date 20.1.20 sums up how I like things, organised. I like things that work, that flow, that glide effortlessly. I never cope well working in a messy office and had to train myself if I was working from home not to tidy the kitchen before I started work.
I’d ensure I got on with work instead of heading for the dishwasher and hoover by asking myself things like;
  • What would your boss say about you washing the kitchen floor instead of getting that coaching report sent out?
  • What does it say about how much you care about your customers that you are doing the recycling instead of following up their emails?
  • Are the kids and your husband any less capable of doing this?
  • Are you sending out a message to your family that your work is not as important as your work? What impact could that have on your success?

Tough questions, but they ensured that I’d get on with work and light a candle so that I had something nice to look at instead of concentrating on the thing that was annoying me.

Jump to inappropriate jokes and I’ve learnt that if I’m with new people I will apologise and explain “I’m sorry I make bad jokes when it’s stressful, it helps me reduce my stress.” Honesty, fallibility and sharing – instead of disconnecting you from those around you, it can connect you on a new powerful level, but it takes internal confidence to be able to do that;

  • What if they don’t agree?
  • What if they think I’m an idiot?
  • What if they don’t like me?
  • What if I lose the job?

I’ve learnt that the right people will always accept you, hey they may not get you but they will accept you. So what about your natural style could stop you from connecting on a deeper level with those at work and at home?

How could you style be the polar opposite to others and what impact could it have on your communication skills success?

How could you overcome that? And turning into a whole new person is rarely the best option.

So what has this got to do with you?

  • Learn to know who you really are.
  • Don’t try and fit trends.
  • Don’t try and fight who you are – it makes it nigh on impossible to flow and get awesome results.
  • Remember you are unique – no other person on this planet has the same experiences, values and beliefs – they make you, so uniquely you. Own it.
  • Build your confidence and if your confidence is impacted on by those around you, the outcome of the day or the spot on your nose – your confidence levels need a boost. My clients learn that confidence is an internal job and when you get it right you build self belief, self esteem and a sense of faith in yourself and your ability – trust me, there’s not a person on the planet that doesn’t need this! I wish we taught it in schools.

Coaching clients learn with me who they really are and how to utilise that knowledge so that no matter what they face or want to achieve they can fall back on the knowledge of who they are and own it.

If you’d like to learn more about understanding the science of who you are, who your team are and how to get better results at work and at home – even reducing stress and working less hours, get in touch. I’ve a proven track record of coaching individuals and teams to achieving more. And I’m happy to give you references that you can call to share their views on why this 2020 I’m their coach of choice. 01206 381482.

 
  • January 20, 2020

Stress Free Guide to Exams – Works on anyone looking to achieve more at stressful times too!

As I sit next to my snoozing poorly daughter who has another migraine (In the hope we can starve it off) I want to talk about stress and its impact on your success.

The irony is that my gorgeous girl used to have a 3 to 8-day migraine every month until she started on Tessellate CBD so it’s a shocker to find her suffering a 2nd one after only 4 days from the last one. She’s being investigated for Lupus like her Mum and so while we expect it to be a big tougher for her, the exam stress is already getting to her and they aren’t for another 4 months!

I’m impressed by how many emails her school send me about revision guides and after school revision sessions, but devasted that I’ve not heard one word mentioned relating to;

  • Overwhelm.
  • Overloaded.
  • Burn out.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Stress.
  • Mental health.
  • Wellbeing.
  • Time management.
  • Planning.
  • Achieving goals.

Shall I go on?

According to a study by Girl Guiding Organisation “More than half of girls (52%) say exam pressures affect how happy they are, yet four in five say they don’t get the support they need to manage exam-related stress.”

And in my role as a coach I see many women who suffer a lack of confidence and if you’re happy and positive about your capabilities guess how confident you feel? I honestly question if there is a direct link between the drop in confidence in our young adults and the pressures of teen life.

It is something I’ve long wanted to be involved in schools, because so many of my coaching clients are;

  • Overworked.
  • Unproductive – or no way near as productive as they become through our coaching.
  • Working ridiculously long hours – clients soon learn how to achieve more and leave the desk at a decent hour.
  • Stressed bordering on burn out.
  • Uncreative – their brains are far too full of life and stuff!
  • Have no social life – there’s not enough hours in the day for that!
  • Bordering on being mentally unwell.

It is not a crime to look after your mind so that you can look after the body and your success so I really struggle to understand why the school is only dealing with the knowledge and not the vessel they hope to store the knowledge in!

AS I advise clients, you are not a robot or a superhuman so if you don’t listen to your body it will play up just when you need it most. Do you get ill just before a holiday or Christmas? My clients not only achieve their goals they also find they get ill less – no shocker is it that our minds impact on our bodies is it?

So for all teenagers out there about to sit exams, all worried parents and any one else that loves supporting the success of teens here’s a top tip guide to creating a stress free exams tool kit.(For the record it works just as well on executives, business owners, CEO’s, job seekers, parents and everyone else on the planet that wants to achieve more.)

Communicate

Teens aren’t the only ones that hide what’s really going on. And they aren’t the only ones suffering as a result. To change the results, you get you need to be honest about what you are experiencing. In coaching I raise awareness to what is going on, help clients take ownership of it and responsibility for it (believing it’s just life or it’s nothing to do with you, stops you from creating lasting change) and then they can create a plan of action. So, find someone to talk to. It could be multiple people;

  • A coach figure to help you create a plan of action, to visualise the results you want, keep you motivated and supported.
  • A parent that you can off load to. Not expecting any help, just a hug and 2 good listening ears. (If that person talks more than you then they aren’t a good listener and you aren’t getting what you need from that relationship.)
  • A friend who will take you away from all that.

Think about what kind of support you would like and who in your world could provide it?

Be honest – ask for help!

None of us like owning up to needing help. Remember as I talk about in Fight the fear even the cross-channel swimmer gets someone else to rub on the Goose fat otherwise they can’t see where they are going because their goggles are greased up! No one successful get’s there on their own. A perfect example of this is the clients who I helped get life in order and now they still see me because they want to keep life in order. Asking for help is not a sin in it’s a saviour! So, look for the reasons why you are not honest;

  • What are thinking?
  • Have you assumed that person won’t help?
  • That you can’t be helped?
  • That there is no solution?

Challenge your thoughts to be able to get over yourself and speak up.

Study and play

Studying together is great if you make time to veg out, watch TV, hang out at the shops, slap on face masks, share dodgy Memes, and anything else that takes you out of your daily life. We all need down time, ideally don’t be attached to your phone, but phones are useful too (see below). So, ask yourself if I had a go to wish list of things to do with my friends over the next 5 months what would they include? Make it visual. Tell your friends. Get the diary out and book something and don’t cancel it! Your brain needs space to process what you are learning. (That’s not an excuse not to revise!)

Phones are friends, not foe.

I struggle to understand why phones aren’t taught in school. We have never seen so much anxiety and mental health in this planet and I think it is in no small part down to our inability to use our phones for good, not destruction. A successful person has apps that;phones for business and happiness safe use

  • Monitor your productivity
  • Monitor your social media time.
  • Calendars.
  • Mind maps to process thoughts and goals.
  • Productivity tools to ensure your to do list gets done in priority order.
  • Music.
  • Even games that bring mindfulness and calm.

Just research apps for stress and you will find something right for you. Not convinced it’s never been so important to master your phone.

Phones are not currently listed as an addiction, is that because they aren’t addictive or because the list has not been updated! Phone issues I see in clients include;

  • Unable to step away.
  • Fear of missing out.
  • Convinced they must answer everyone immediately.
  • Stress, overwhelm, sadness and a fear of failure because their lives don’t look like those on their social media.
  • Distress that the world is ending and nothing good ever happens!

These are signs that you aren’t controlling your social media – your social media is controlling you! Here are a few ideas to take phone control;

  1. Create rules for answering people – i.e. “I will not answer text/email/social media messages between the hours of 8pm and 8am.”
  2. Change who you see – if you have a social media friend that only shares disturbing, destressing and upsetting content whether you feel it at the time or not that is impacting on your mindset (and we don’t’ have time here to talk about the damage that has on your success!) Snooze them or unfriend them, they won’t know. And if they say anything just say, “you know those algorithms!” your social media should inspire you, motivate you and make you feel good about life – if it doesn’t you need to change it.
  3. Notice how your time on your phone makes you feel.

Perspective

When my children sat their 11+ they were the only children that ran out of school with big grins, parents would often remark “Why aren’t your kids stressed out?” The reason my kids stayed sane was because we discussed them before hand;

1. We talked about how the exams were measuring the school’s ability to teach and not them.

2. The secondary school they were going to had already advised they took no measurement from the 11+ so it was not important, their overall attitude and learning capabilities were far more important.

3. If they failed and couldn’t get into their perfect school, it was not the end of the world.

Failure is good for you

For most of our children this is their first big adventure into the scary land of failure. As a child your parents would ensure that you got what you wanted (or Father Christmas did!) then suddenly it’s landed on their shoulders. After GCSE’s many want to go to University, some can see dream career paths (my daughter wants to be a cardiac thoracic heart surgeon!) and suddenly there is a potential block in the road.

Successful people understand that when obstacles arise, we can always overcome them. Failure helps us to understand who we are, it helps us define what we want out of life and how we will get it. And it helps us appreciate how much passion we have to ensure we always have the drive to keep going.

It is not this has to work or that won’t happen

As I advised my daughter, if she is not suited to passing exams there will be other ways to help people. It could be that cutting people open and saving lives is not what she is meant to do in the form of a surgeon but that won’t stop her from training as a paramedic, there’s no denying their brilliance!

There is always a way and GCSE’s are not the end of the road, they are just the start. So don’t think so laterally. Think big picture.

Perception

I’m really unhappy how much pressure is created in schools. You must pass!

For the record I only got a C in A level English and I have a book that is in 5 languages sold around the world and made it to WH Smith’s top 10 books! Miss Grimstone, My English teacher, told me I was a lousy writer and here I am writing for Lifehack that has over 150 million readers!

Check out the celebs that failed too; Lord Alan Sugar only has 1 GCSE and he is worth about 1.4 billion! And poor old Richard Branson left school at 16 and now has 200 companies in 30 countries around the world, while loser Steven Spielberg was rejected from Film School! And there’s plenty more including Adele, Harry Styles, Zoella, Eminem and Leonardo DiCaprio.

My daughter’s own Grandad has severe dyslexia, rarely attended school and had an automotive business that he sold for well over a million pounds. Not through what he achieved at school, but damn hard work, dedication and commitment. Exams are not the be all and end all – sorry teachers, they really aren’t. Look at how you adjust your perception of where you are right now.

Values

As you look to shift perception, look at what values matter most to you and then no matter where you go in life you will find true happiness and success that matters to you.

Values may include anything you like;

  • Fun
  • Money
  • Family
  • Travel
  • Success – what does that look like?
  • Learning.
  • Respect
  • Kindness
  • Music
  • Art
  • Creativity
  • Helping people

Come up with 10 values that mean the world to you and then use the values exercise in chapter one of my book to see how essential that knowledge is for life.

Eat

You can’t fuel your body on sugar and crap. My daughter makes herself a proper breakfast every day – she will have a variety of things including scrambled eggs with salmon, toast, fruit, cereal, but always  a proper breakfast and she prepares a proper meal every day for lunch and often cooks the evening meal . You may ask why I’m not doing this?

  1. Within 2 years she will be at University and I won’t be there to do it, so she needs a repertoire of dishes she can rely on now, that way at university everything else that is new can be handled and cooking a decent meal will be second nature.
  2. Time out from study gives your brain space to process what you are learning and practice “Do I really know Pythagoras theory”?
  3. It is unrelated to work in any way so it’s good for reducing stress, calming down and switching off. Ever made a cheese sauce and noticed you get a Eureka moment on something you’ve been struggling with? Your brain will create solutions if you give it the space (and time) to do it.

Breathe

There are various breathing exercises that have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety in seconds. Life hack mandie holgate overwhelmed mindOne practised by the Navy seals is called the Box method.
Breathe in for 4 seconds, then breathe out for 4 seconds, smile right? Do this for a minute and notice the results.
According to Examined Existence this works because (and here’s the science)

“This breathing method works because of the physiological effect breathing has on the nervous system. Breathing slowly and deeply activates the hypothalamus, which is connected to the pituitary gland in the brand, to send out neurohormones that block stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline from being released. This thereby triggers a relaxing response from the body.  Additionally, breathing deeply and slowly triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to secrete hormones that decrease blood pressure and heart rate, which also induces a relaxation response in the body.”

Notice your breathing and practice at bedtime, there are lots of apps that help you do this.

Walk

Getting out in nature has been proved to reduce stress, so don’t be a slave to your studies, record your revision on your phone and get walking. This interactive way of learning has many benefits. And a change of environment is good for you. Many business owners tell me they do 16-hour days, that’s not impressive, it’s foolish. Step away from your desk at least every 60 minutes (smart watches are great for reminding you to do this!) Read on for more on this…

Time management

Don’t work harder, work smarter, I’d love just a penny for every time I hear this. Here is a quick down and dirty guide to actually doing this, what will you include in your stress-free exams tool kit?

  1. Boundaries – tell people what you are doing by when.
  2. Honesty – if you fear you can’t complete the tasks by when, ask for an extension, don’t whine, show your teachers/parents your planned actions for today and this week and ask “Where will I have time to do this? Ensure your planner outside of school includes a walk, reading for fun time, reading for revision time, self-care time and don’t move it.
  3. Be open to working in a different way. Listening to what works for others can lead to top time management strategies. “Only if you put them into action!) None of us know everything so try new techniques.
  4. Be realistic, you do need to study too! Showing your peers your planner and your teachers and parents helps them and you to be accountable to the solution.
  5. Clear goals – be realistic on what can be achieved in an hour. And set chunk goals – 40 minutes to do X, 20 minutes to do X. Any task that takes longer than that needs breaking down again, but don’t get bogged down in planning – wow I’ve seen some great flow charts, mindmaps and gant charts from new clients – heck they’ve done none of it, but hey it looks pretty.
  6. Show your plans in a way that suits you – not trends. I have only 3 to 5 tasks per day on a small piece of paper, it keeps me motivated, accountable and focused. I also have a 10-day plan on a large piece of paper, and you guessed it only 3 to 5 tasks towards my goals (that are written on the top of the paper) per day. This works find a plan that suits you.
  7. Time it – if you procrastinate, hate it or just loathe doing it time how long a task takes. Interestingly clients that do this report that the things they love take longer than the things they hate, so set a stopwatch and get going! Sorry, but that includes tidying your room, helping out with chores and other things you think you can shy away from. In the big wide world of work, you will have deadlines and commitments, learning now how to juggle personal and professional life will put you way ahead of your peers (and other job seekers!)
  8. Look for weaknesses, my weakness is social media, so I turn it off. I leave my phone out of reach but in ear shot. Be honest here, you are only fooling yourself. If I really can’t be trusted to not go online then I give my phone to my daughter!

Panic stations!

Know on a good day how to deal with a bad day. It’s not easy looking for solutions when you are stressed out, so know today what would help you change your mindset, calm down and get back on tract. Write a list, create a vision board, make it visual to remind you.

Music

Choose different music for study, for relaxation, for fun, for stress release – don’t choose the same music, it loses its power.

Hydrate

Students who take water into the examination halls may improve their grades; a study of 447 people found. As reported by the BBC water could improve your grades, so don’t always wait for the exams to ensure you’ve water at hand!

A little helping hand.

I have always used a bit of Rescue remedy, when I was petrified of public speaking, I would use this, whether it was the placebo effect or the remedy it helped. So, I’m getting my daughter some. (For the record, that is why I’m so good at fixing people’s fear of public speaking because I know how it feels!)

My daughter is good at reaching for the aromatherapy. Rosemary for study. Lavender for sleep. We have over 80 oils in our house and she will explore how she is feeling, look it up on her phone and choose and oil accordingly.

Tessellate CBD. I have been taken this since May last year and it’s changed my life (I know how crazy that sounds so I rarely talk about it) it’s not illegal, it aids sleep, anxiety and many many symptoms my daughter and I used to suffer. I’m going to get my daughter on the higher 10% dose for the next 5 months to help. She has only ever taken the 5% before.

Lastly, over to you.

Yoga, running, dancing, painting, singing, hobbies, tai chi, look for things in life that make you feel good and at them too!

Very lastly (promise) make it visual.

You won’t stick to these stress-free exams tool kit unless you make it visual;

  • Make an info-graphic or poster and stick it on your phone as your home screen.
  • Pin it up in your wardrobe door.
  • Paint a picture that reminds you of your plan to stay stress free, focused, calm and avoid the overwhelm, over load and overworked that I see in so many professionals (before they start working with me) It will be a game changer for your future self

 

  • January 16, 2020

How to actually have a holiday – guilt free, phone off, not overloaded on your return!

This time of year our social media is awash with golden beaches, azure blue pools and half naked friends on holiday in locations around the world. While I adore sharing your moments and feeling your happiness I am a bit confused.

Why are you not actually on holiday? It’s a bit like business owners and employees who work in the business but don’t work on their business.

These holiday makers are in the holiday but they are not on the holiday.

  • I want to share why that’s not good for you, your happiness or your success.
  • Why you do it
  • And how to fix it.

Ready?

Let’s start by looking at why you are probably shouting at me in scorn right now saying “You don’t get it, it’s not that easy to disappear for 2 weeks….” I really get it, honestly I do. I hear this from new clients all the time. If you care about your career/business you want to do all you can to look after it don’t you?

You don’t step fully away from business when you are on holiday because;

  • You fear something could go wrong and you won’t be there to fix it.
  • You fear something great could land on your desk while you are away and you won’t get the job/opportunity/contract/promotion because you weren’t there to answer it.
  • You fear you could be missing out on something.
  • You fear the people that are in the office won’t do what you would have done and damage your or your business’s reputation.
  • You fear someone else will get an awesome opportunity that you wanted!
  • You fear someone will get the praise for your work.
  • You fear what people will say about you not answering your email/phone/messages for 2 weeks.
  • You hate the idea of coming back to 700+ emails and it’s easier just to answer them before you hit the pool/beach/bar/slopes. Isn’t it?

The list is long and I’m sure I’ve not covered all the excuses I hear as to why it’s good to keep your phone on this holiday, however would you like some evidence to shock you into considering truly walking away from the office, before we crack on how to achieve it and what kind of results you could get for your professional life with your phone turned off?

  • In a great book called The Decisive Moment, by Jonah Lehrer writes about 2 Israeli judges who were observed in their ratio of allowing parole for prisoners. If the judges missed their 2 allotted breaks that day the percentage that they would put forward for parole eventually dropped to 0%! This is known as Decision fatigue and I personally see it happening to teams all the time (before we work together). This is a syndrome coined by social psychologist Dr. Roy F. Baumeister, based on the Freudian hypothesis of ego depletion* And if you look into this for yourself, you will find that if decision fatigue isn’t handled well eventually you can’t even make basic decisions like what to have for dinner. (And if you don’t eat right that then also impacts on your ability to work well. Scary right? 
  • If you want more proof, Researchers at Yale discovered that stress reduces the volume of grey matter in the areas of the brain responsible for self-control. So experiencing stress actually makes it more difficult to deal with future stress because it diminishes your ability to take control of the situation, manage your stress and keep things from getting out of control. And guess what working without a break causes? You guessed it, stress!
  • Okay, so Kuoni may have an invested interest in this study, however it still makes for fascinating reading that your health and even your ability to sleep can be impacted on by a good rest, a real rest, not an “I’m by the pool working” rest. https://www.kuoni.co.uk/holiday-health-experiment#

Great Mandie you’re guilt tripping me here and while I know this stuff, that doesn’t mean its’ achievable, business never sleeps right?

I get that, I really do, so between us we have a good idea why you don’t turn off completely and we also know why it’s imperative you do. What about if I shared how I get to go on holiday (and my clients do too), turn the phone off, get the holiday automated message on and have a guilt free fabulous holiday AND grow their business and gain new opportunities?

Would that help?

As an example I’ve just had 9 days away from my business (I’ve already had a 4 day break in the winter and 17 days in Disneyland in April and I’ve got more holidays booked for later in the year too – I tell you this so you can see this is not a one off, this is a lifestyle and business model that is sustainable long term.) And on every occasion the phone is off. I really am out of the office. I’m only back to work for 5 hours and already I’m aware of these great things that have automatically happened for me;

  • Gained sales for events to the end of the year – I’m not even promoting these yet!
  • Gained a speaking engagement.
  • Been asked to assist with an event.
  • Gained sales in my CBD oil business and gained 2 new team members. (That’s my part time for fun business because it’s helped me.)
  • Gained 2 new enquiries to join The Business Womans Network coordinator team and 5 enquiries to attend events in the Autumn.
  • Gained an enquiry asking if I’d like to be an affiliate for a large organisation.
  • Been asked to supply previous printed articles for two large publications that would like to promote me and my books.
  • Gained 4 coaching enquiries – 1 has already turned into a client and I’m due to hear from the others over the next 7 days.

And I’ve not even finished opening all my email and social media messages yet!

How is that possible?

Here’s some ideas for you so you can enjoy that holiday 100% (guilt free.)

Plan months in advance. My retained coaching clients and BWN team already know when I’m on holiday to the end of the year and are already aware of my developing Summer 2020 plans. Whenever I see a client, a connection, lead or opportunity I finish by ensuring that they know when they will have whatever it is I’ve promised them and when I’m not able to assist further. (I also will include an emergency number, usually my husbands number, not mine, so that they know its for genuine emergencies only.) If you are doing your very best for people then this is adequate. See below for what that is.

Trust. I too used to check my phone on holiday. It takes only a few minutes to jump online and check there is nothing to be worrying about, right? However if you know anything about flow it takes us on average 15 minutes to get back into the flow of what we doing (Just as good to remember for at work too, so turn off your phone, turn off your laptop sounds so you can concentrate and get more done!) This means that when on holiday you are constantly being propelled back into work mode, work thoughts, and automatic pathways, Here’s some examples for you;

  • Got a member of staff that is always negative? Then guess what you think when you see their name on an email while you sip your cocktail? (And no, it’s not positive thoughts, emotions and mindsets!
  • Got a big contract coming up when you get back but left the office feeling confident, you’d got everything ready for your return? Guess what? You are having that gorgeous meal, looking at that gorgeous view with your gorgeous loved ones and suddenly you are running through your working week!

I completely understand how this feels, and the additional ideas below will help you create a better way. But for now trust is key. Trust you have done all you can for everyone you work with, trust that on your return you will do an awesome job as you always do. And remember that  great bosses, teams, customers and suppliers will respect you and trust that you will do your best for them – and they will say things like they do to me “Mandie we know how much you care about our success, go and enjoy your holiday and we look forward to working with you on your return. You deserve it”.  Working with the right people is good for business too – I only seem to attract driven passionate people who want to do their best for themselves and their teams and as such they care about me as their coach too – they pay on time, don’t get in touch late at night or at the weekend and really care that we have a win win relationship. If you find you are not convinced of this, ask yourself for what reason? That will help you create a plan of action to allay your fears and tackle theirs too.

Respect – If you want people to respect you and your life then you need to respect theirs too – don’t dump last minute jobs on people’s metaphorically desks. If you need something urgently then ask yourself “What is this persons preferred way of communicating?” Again this is also good for long term success too.

Fire fighting – Fire fighting is not a long term solution to professional success and if you are constantly doing this then leaders aren’t leading, staff aren’t self sufficient, and adequately trained, boundaries aren’t in place and a clear vision, mission, goals, plans, actions and expectations are not being created. Create these and everyone feels safer at work, every day. Getting rid of the fire fighter approach is not just good for stress free holidays it’s also good for sustainable business growth and happier, less stressed staff – and do you know what less stressed staff are great for? Creativity, productivity, better health, happier work environments and even higher profitability! A good reason to know your vision, mission, goals, plans, actions, expectations right?

Think of the children (and your trusted network!) If I am faced with a client that really can’t see a way to change from Mandie holgate work ethic business valuestheir current mode of thought and actions then I will quite often ask if they have children or people that they love working with (as we all do) and I will ask them this; “Would you want this for your son/daughter/colleague/boss/team?” This invariably gets a “of course not!” to which then they have to admit “OK so why is it good enough for you?” If you work 24/7 and you are never allowed a day off or a life away from work ever again, what does that say to those around you who you are a role model for? (And we are all role models for someone). I hear antiquated dangerous and not good for success comments like “You can only be successful if you work 24/.” Really? Guess how much harder success is going to be with that mindset? Is that really inspiring you and spurring you or killing off your passion? And think about how that may impact on those around you and their own beliefs, scary right?

Whether it’s fact or fiction that Archimedes came up with his great principle of buoyancy in the bath or not the fact is that he was a great thinker and didn’t just do his thinking at a desk. If you’ve ever found your mind wandering and then noticed and pulled yourself back to reality you will know how freeing it can feel. What were you thinking about? It doesn’t matter, because that down time enables your brain to keep working even when it feels like you aren’t! I remember a few years ago I was strolling along a beach in the South of France looking at shells and splashing in the waves and I suddenly had this thought “How can I help more people that don’t necessarily have the  budget?” And I just left it and jumped in the sea. Only for me to emerge from the sea, legging it across the too hot sand back to my lounger thinking “How great would it be to have a confidential 24/7 mastermind group – we could create a bank of ideas and support that was accessible every day!” And behold The Insiders was born! Was that magic? Of course it’s not! I’d given my brain the space and permission to work on anything it fancied! True holiday’s can do that for you too.

Start of the new year. For me my year doesn’t run from January to December, they run September to July. It all started years ago when I read about the English Rugby team who’d been performing horrifically until they worked with a life coach. The premise was that at half time, they’d come back out in a clean kit. Because it made them feel like the start of the game and that anything was possible. This and other ideas they put together with their coach enabled them to become great again. I come back from holidays refreshed and buzzing with ideas. So August (I hadn’t missed it out accidentally!) Is my planning month. I review the previous 11 months and assess what I want to achieve by the end of the true year end (31st of December) and that then is a mini goal stage to my big goal for July. Creating your own agenda ensures you stay motivated, focused and accountable to your goals. And August is a joyous month for me as I concentrate on my own growth, happiness and success. So ask yourself when do you create the time to work on your business/professional success?

When did the holiday message not become an acceptable “I’m sorry I’m out of the office” reply? When did it become a success requirement that you would be attached to your professional life 24/7? Seriously I’m intrigued. I was working with a team of 55 people and many lamented that email were a hell of their working life. It didn’t take long to discover that everyone had different beliefs on what should be answered as a priority, what could be ignored (reference only) and what was expected of everyone. Putting our thoughts together collectively they were able to create a far more powerful strategy to email and free up a lot of time in their working day. If you have a message that says I’m out of the office today in the event of an emergency, etc,etc then abide by it too. In this way you are helping to reduce the stress for those that you work with too. We can’t have a change in professional culture without the brave.

Automate your marketing. I’m one for real conversations but if you consider the evidence for why you need time out, you can see that sometimes you need to automate and schedule. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The same principles can be used for when you are mega busy. It’s not just your marketing you can automate. Create standardised letters that you personalise for things that you find yourself repeating, separate emails into separate folders so you prioritise. There’s a ton of apps to help you get organised, find the ones that work for you and your time management improves too!

Don’t fear asking for help. I can be guilty of this. We feel like we have to be super human don’t we? fight the fear mandie holgate coach and author businessDoing everything for everyone, well guess what? You don’t! And if you ask for help when you want to holiday guilt free others will help and then you know you are truly part of a team. All striving for the same goals. Get over your fear of asking for help (My book -Fight the fear looks at this) and you could find this a lot easier and life in general a little easier too.

From FOMO to JOMO – Fear Of Missing Out? Try Joy Of Missing Out! I love being connected to you and your lives and sharing in your special times, your tough days, trials and celebrations, however I also love not having a clue and then meeting up with you and hearing all about it. We are so used to knowing everything instantly we’ve forgotten the joy of  being completely absorbed in our own worlds. And if you are a highly sensitive person (I am, it’s nothing to be ashamed of if you handle it well. It can actually be a blessing in business and life) then being connected all the time can be really damaging. Just like the news always being delivered is bad and drags us down, so too do other people’s struggles that we can’t fix. You have complete permission to disconnect. I think that is why I adore my caravan so much. To get into nature, away from people and disconnect makes me feel amazing. Try some JOMO and see how it feels. At first it may feel alien, but trust me it will feel good in the long term!

And lastly I was in a conference call today and of the 10 people in the call, I’m the only one that said “ I won’t be about between these dates. I’m away” Everyone else said things along the lines of “I’m away but I will be answering my emails.” Not one person was giving themselves a true break. And one even said “Wow, you’re brave!” I replied, “No, I’m organised”. It’s no good just going on holiday and hoping it will all be good when you return. It’s all in the planning, communication, boundaries and goals that you guessed it I started planning last September! So if you are going away on Monday, you may find that you need to do an extra level of work this week to get even a third of this in place, but wow will it be worth it. And then you can plan how all of this factors in your future to make the holiday after this one stress free and guilt free too!

If you’ve never done this before start small. Get strict. If you say you are finishing work at 6 pm, then don’t look at your phone again. If you say you are away this weekend. Don’t look at your phone. When I’m major busy and buzzed up at my clients success I can be tempted to live on my phone. My go to actions are 1. Give my phone to my hubby and tell him that under no circumstance is he to give it back. 2. Let my phone go flat – good for the planet too – just think how many hours of energy we could save! 3. Remind my teenagers that 2 hours before bedtime you should not use your phone and that they are to remind me that if I expect them to do something, I need to be a role model and do it too! What go to actions do you need to get strict?

We care passionately about our customers, colleagues and those around us, however I’m often fascinated by the fact that rarely do people put themselves on the priority list too. Time to change? Because you’ve now got the evidence and the ideas to make it a reality.

If you have a hardworking passionate team I’d be honoured to group coach you to action these tools and many more especially tailored to you. Just get in touch to learn more.

  • July 22, 2019

How saying ‘no’ can positively impact your business success

Recently I spoke for WEConnect International. Here you can access the full webinar: ‘How saying ‘no’ can positively impact your business success’ I hope you enjoy the session and learn a lot about how saying no can make you more focused, less stressed and more productive!

And below are additional links to further learning and support. Let me know how you get on and if you aren’t signed up to WeConnect you – please do!

Webinar Recording
If you’d like to listen back or if you weren’t able to join us on the day, the recording of the webinar can be found here: https://youtu.be/mAHT7Zrfq5E

Slides
Accompanying slides can be found here.

If you have any issues with any of these links, you can also access them online here.

Resources
You can find details about my best-selling book Fight the Fear (now in 5 languages) that looks at the 12 biggest fears that impact on success including our fear of saying no and our fear of what people think of us here: https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/books/

And here are the additional articles as mentioned:

http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/stop-being-a-catherine-wheel-its-wrecking-your-focus/

http://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/the-shiny-thing-syndrome-the-sts/

Courses on powerful communication anywhere, building confidence and other business related subjects – https://www.mandieholgate.co.uk/shop/

And the confidential mastermind group that is a very powerful group for female business owners https://www.thebusinesswomansnetwork.co.uk/bwn-insider-benefits/  – a great way to access a coach 24/7!

If you found the webinar useful and are able to leave a review on Linkedin or Google that would be greatly appreciated.

Mandie offers team coaching, 1 to 1 coaching and mentoring to help women and their teams achieve more and is very happy to offer a discount for all our WEConnect International webinar attendees (not reviews). Please contact her to avail of this!

Please Register!
Finally, if you have not yet registered your business with WEConnect International, you can register with us for free online here: https://weconnectinternational.org/en/womens-business-enterprises/self-registration.

Jay McLeod

eNetwork and Operations Manager for Europe

WEConnect International

Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

  • June 26, 2019

Fear, Success, CBD and is that really you Mandie Holgate?

It’s the weirdest thing. I’ve had 8 years of being pretty much trapped in my home due to ill health (Lupus) and for the last month I’ve been feeling really well. Not put on a fake smile and act well because people are so bored of you talking about pain and exhaustion, but genuine bouncing out of bed, looking forward to the day well.

The weird thing is that while my body is well my mind doesn’t seem to have caught up yet.

For instance I was up early to take my son to his last day of college today (that’s a sad but exciting milestone right?) and as I drove home I knew the morning was starting with a coaching session and I thought “Oh no I’m on my own all day.” (Client was only on the screen so not there in person to have a cuppa and chat with first.)

Usually if I’m coaching for 2 hours I’d need a few hours to recover. Then I could work for a couple of hours and then I’d need to rest before my children got home in the hope I might have some energy to talk to them and maybe help cook tea.

But I had to physically remind myself today “You can do more Mandie!” and so I went for a walk. 45 minutes may not seem big to you but 4346 steps is epic to me.

Usually I would even have to limit my time on the phone (pacing is not just about your physicality as I learnt the hard way – your brain uses up a lot of energy too.) But today I’ve made and had over 10 phone calls already!

This all reminds me of clients who I’ve worked with for a while and in a session they will say something and I’ll challenge them on that thought. Often it’s because they are still using the same language they used before we started working together. Not really appreciating how much has changed.

For example a client said to me “But I’m rubbish at marketing.”

“Are you?” I asked “What evidence do you have to that statement?”

They smirked at me because they realised that this wasn’t true anymore. The person they are now is very different to the one of a year ago. But that negative thought had still sneaked in.

We have to be mindful of every thought we have and ask ourselves if it is empowering us or demotivating us?

Is it moving us forward or holding us back?

But even that is not enough. You then need to take ownership for what you thought and focus on what you actually want.

I’ve started mentally noticing the little things that I’d forgotten about;

  • Like dancing to Radio 1 while I brush my teeth instead of leaning against the radiator for dear life.
  • Bruises because I’ve got over enthusiastic gardening instead of the meds making my skin like paper.
  • Being able to jump in the car and go anywhere whenever I like because I’ve not had to plan 2 days in advance due to the severity of my medication.

I find these and so many other things are making me grin, but there’s a but. And it’s one I didn’t think I’d ever have again.

Fear.

Walking along the beach I realised that I still haven’t factored in anything in the evenings. The last time I went out at night was to End game on the 25th April, before that it was the 16th December, regular right?

The hardest thing about balancing a long term health illness is that you have to ditch so much of your life. A social life is something I know exists because I watch Facebook friends having one. But now can I have one?

I’m scared to speak these thoughts.

I even have found myself using my clients words “What if?” And unlike me, I’m not assuming it’s going to be awesome! I’ve been assuming with real terror;

  • “What if this doesn’t last?”
  • “What if the CBD oil stops working?”
  • “What if I am forced to be in this house all the time again?!”

How ridiculous!

Lucky for me I am uber speedy and epic at reframing. I can be in a bad/sad mood and flip to being positive/happy and ready for anything with a lightening speed thought.

So that’s what I’ve been doing;

  • What if this is permanent?
  • What if you can get back on your bike?
  • What if you can work more?
  • What if you can travel?
  • What if you are well?

Of them all the last one makes me hyperventilate. I’ve worked so damn hard on being happy and as well as possible despite Fibromyalgia, Lupus and a myriad of other illness and problems. Even before this mini miracle I felt truly happy and joyous with my life. This? Well this just makes me feel super human!

My friend is 94 (Sorry Irene, I told everyone your age) and she is one of my role models in life. Flying around the world visiting nephews, ski-ing (Ok just the apres ski – you can’t blame her!) and living life to the fullest. Irene summed it up today when she said “Sometimes to go forward we have to go back”. How perfect is that sentence?

I have absolute gratitude to be able to go for a walk. To be able to drive a car and work. Things I would guess that 9 years ago I didn’t really acknowledge. And having to gain a level of tenacity, determination and self belief that Iron Man would be proud of, how well set up am I for going forward?

If feeling ill I can walk 27000 steps around Disney Land Paris (okay, with enough medications in me to rival any A and E Department!) what can I achieve without the brain numbing, gut destroying, nausea inducing, sleep robbing drugs in me?

I like that I work with a coach, and I like that I can coach myself. The fear is going to be allowed to stay (just a little) why? Because it’s sensible to go a little steady. As Dinah Liversidge (Wow I love that woman!) said “When I was on the road to recovery I only walked for 10 minutes a day, and I didn’t try to push it. Go little and often to build stamina.” (Dinah is also the awesome lady that told me that to get through Lupus I’d need Cannabis and a hot tub. I got both, well the legal version of the Cannabis!

The point of this article is this;
  • Never ever give up – Winston taught me that and on bad days I remind myself I’ve stood in his bedroom at Downing Street and I keep going.
  • Acknowledge every thought – own it. Process it. And learn how to move on. Ensuring it’s working for you and not against you.
  • Smiling at bruises and dancing while you brush your teeth is because I have immense levels of gratitude. And yes one tear has just leaked out of my face and I’m so bloody chuffed. Gratitude keeps us going when everything feels lost.
  • Share – don’t hide your crap, your pain or your needs. People can only care if they know. And trust me the right ones do care and will be there for you – as I now can be there for you too!
  • And lastly a little reminder Mandie Holgate “You’ve spent 8 years watching box sets and usually only leaving the house once a week, don’t try and get too Iron Man on this body – you are not a robot and will need to respect it will take time. Time is something you have. And as you get there – bloody keep loving the ride!

I never stop working on my emotional intelligence, beliefs and personal development, if you’d like to explore this with me, get in touch. I’m also that in love with CBD I’ve signed up with Tessellate to sell it!

  • June 3, 2019

How to Stop Living in Fear and Start Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone

My latest article for Life hack

Let me know what you do with this information. I hope it helps you too.

I think I may know why we are so obsessed with super heroes – good versus evil.

Good overcoming no matter what — no matter how big, scary or evil the arch enemy.

It’s because it symbolises how we wish it could be in the real world.

Imagine it…your life is now a movie…

You have music in the background because you are off to work/college/meet friends and your life is pretty normal (all appears well) then on screen, we get a few scenes where your life looks great.

You water your plants (or shrug at your ability to kill anything green), walk the dog, feed the fish, kick back with a good book or hugging a loved one on the sofa with a bucket of popcorn, then all hell breaks loose…

Within 20 minutes, if your life were a film you are feeling, like nothing could ever be the same again and that no one understands what you are going through.

Fear is not the word that springs to mind. It’s more likely to be:

  • Why me?
  • Life will never be good again.
  • I can’t fight this.
  • I don’t know where to start.
  • This is too big.
  • I can’t do this alone.
  • My life is over.
  • We are all doomed!

If your life were a movie, then it’s all fine (you really don’t need to worry) because at this stage in your film life, when life is so all consumingly going in the wrong way with no way out and death is likely imminent, along comes:

  • A scientist who can’t necessarily get you back to “Normal” but can make you a nifty suit and help you become a super hero that everyone loves; after some quirky, funny and lesson learning scenes where you get a few things wrong but learn tons.
  • A rich tycoon who already has a team of super heroes they secretly work with, can see true potential in you (after the “you’re rough around the edges kid” scene) they introduce you to the other superheroes and you learn that it doesn’t matter what you are like; you will find a network of people that will love respect, trust and help you.
  • An evil so big that everything you’ve ever believed in as at risk of the worst case scenario, therefore no matter how petrified you are, you somehow find a way to save the world (and your pot plant, dog and/or loved one).

Okay back to reality.

Alas there are not many super heroes’ around (if you know otherwise – I can keep a secret), however I think we feel more than ever we need to feel that there is a solution.

Life is fun exciting, challenging (in a good way) fast paced, energised and a ton of other awesome things – but it’s also overwhelming, scary and sometimes feels like you are fighting a super villain and you don’t have the super hero kit to get through it.

I’ve never had a client ask me to help them make them a super hero, however I’ve had plenty ask me to help them feel more in control of their life – and I think that is something we all desire to some degree.

Control of our lives can be eradicated when we feel frightened, un-powerful and like we are trapped in our lives. And often the first sign that we actively recognize is a comfort zone or stress.

But if you think back to our super heroes, no matter how trapped they are, they always find a way out. A solution that no one ever thought could work and that’s often what coaching is about – coming to a problem and looking at it in a unique way that enables you to find solutions to fight fear and get out of your comfort zones. And you won’t need a scientist, a rich tycoon or a devastating intergalactically incident to find those solutions.

I want to share with you some of the winning techniques I’ve used with my clients to help you too.

1. Rethink the Question “Am I Weird?”

I’ve had so many clients ask me this question, I think I should call my next book “Am I weird”!

Everyone thinks that the way they are responding, acting, feeling and thinking is unique; that they are the only person to feel like they can’t face work or their friends or their day because of a fear or a comfort zone.

We all have times like this and it’s important to remember 2 things:

There is no such thing as normal in my book

Everyone is just who they are. It doesn’t need analysing, or questioning if you like who you are. Or if who you are serves you well, respects those around you. And if giving you the life, career and happiness you want, then no, it’s not weird. And it’s all good.

The issue becomes when you find yourself trying to compare your weirdness (or lack thereof) to everyone else and how that then impacts on you.

Weird is good

Check out the best characters in film, book or TV, and you are likely to see that someone else has tried to insult them with the term “weird”.

Weird is used when you want to suggest that someone or something is different. Different is not bad, the hard bit is finding the confidence to be who you are – to embrace your differences and your weirdness.

A little useful side note – according to the Oxford English Dictionary:[1]

“ Weird – The adjective (late Middle English) originally meant ‘having the power to control destiny’”

And who wouldn’t want that?

Truly, hear me when I say – embrace your weird.

2. Listen up

Just as the newly discovered super hero struggles to accept their super skills, limitations or fears, so do you have to do the same. And if you strip back any successful story (fictional or real), you will discover it’s not a magic potion or a superior race that enables the hero to achieve success, it starts with who they listen to.

How many times in your life have you heard yourself saying:

Why didn’t I listen to my gut instinct?

Why didn’t I listen to my Mum/Aunt/Friend/Boss?

Just as being weird in its original meaning meant to be able to control destiny until you can actually do that, you do need to learn who to listen and when to listen.

Here’s how to take action on this:

Listen to yourself (sometimes)

I was working with a client who told me that they could never upset the way things worked in their company. They couldn’t tell their boss they felt there was a better way! This meant that they felt trapped in their career, incapable of achieving more and like they weren’t meeting their true potential.

Enter frustration, anger, stress, work hatred and a sense of being trapped – if only they could get out of their comfort zone and tell their boss what they thought!

Learning to trust what they knew meant that they could rationalise and justify their thoughts and reasoning and work out what to do (if anything.)

We worked together to understand why they wanted to say something:

  • Was there envy at the boss’s job or was this genuine belief that they knew a better way?
  • Could they prove what they felt was possible and the benefits to those involved?
  • Did they have ulterior motives that weren’t positive?
  • What would be the best way to move forward and why would it work best for them?

If you need to learn to listen to yourself, start by asking questions (not looking for solutions) and you will start to ask some really smart questions that help you analyse your feelings, actions, etc without guilt, stress and other negative emotions getting in the way.

This process also allows you to find answers personalised to you. In my experience, so often it’s the silly little ideas that have the most power. Okay so Dumbo is not considered a super hero – but think back to Dumbo and his magic feather that enabled him to fly, was there any magic?

Nope, but there was a belief that the magic existed – this process helps you do that.

This process also enables you to know when your own thoughts are doing their best to keep you trapped. You can become your own Kryptonite telling yourself the most awful things (that are usually not even true!) So be cautious of what you say to yourself and the questioning will help you to become more aware of this.

Choose your network wisely

We’ve all trusted someone and later questioned “How could I have let that person have had an impact on my life, thoughts and actions?”

Back to weird being a good thing, right?

But the fact is the people you choose to spend your time with can in their selves become a powerful tool to getting out of your comfort zone – but could also trap you there!

So look out for the heroes in your life, that say things like:

  • “What’s your thoughts on that? Do you think it’s a good idea?”
  • “Where did your desire to do this come from?”
  • “Do you really want that or are you hiding something from yourself?
  • “Hang on a minute, you can do this, remember the time you did xxxx”

People that can supply you with evidence of your brilliance and who reinforce the positive and your goals, but also challenge your beliefs, thoughts and actions are like gold dust (or super hero serum.)

They will enable you to be able to take a step back and really understand why your comfort zones are controlling your life. They are there to celebrate your wins, appreciate your frustrations when it doesn’t go to plan and give you the faith and confidence to keep going – don’t think you can do it all on your own.

Everyone, even super heroes get an element of confidence from their network. It’s not all internal!

And look out for the super villains who say:

  • “Are you sure you want to do that?”
  • “That sounds like a lot of work, are you up to that?”
  • “Why would you want to do that, I thought you loved your life/work/partner/house plant.”
  • “You should tell them what you really think.”

People that make comments like these aren’t looking at it from your point of view, or with your ultimate wants and needs at the heart of their responses. They are seeing it from their perspective of life and their own limitations on what they feel can be achieved; and this influences the way they respond.

Yes, there are a few social vampires out there that will try and ruin your belief in anything better but, most super villains are far subtler than that.

3. Go Deeper

In life, we often get an inkling of what needs to change or feel like something is not right. If you dig deeper, you usually find it’s not the first thoughts that were the issue.

When I work with clients, the “Go deeper” exercise always (and I genuinely mean always!) produces the big Eureka moments. It’s almost as if they are hearing their own voice for the first time.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Firstly start with a thought (any thought related to why you feel like there is a comfort zone or a fear) and write it down.
  2. Now write below it the answer to this question: “And that means?”
  3. Now below that ask yourself: “What does that mean?”
  4. Keep going asking further questions like:
    • “So how does that affect me?”
    • “What does that mean to me?”
    • “Is that really what I think?”
    • “If this is the case what does that mean I must believe?
    • Does that serve me well?”
    • What does that mean?”

This process enables you to really explore what’s going on in your brain and can be used in so many elements in your life.

4. Be Your Own Coach

I’ve worked with coaches and mentors for many years and I don’t think I could be without one to challenge me in the ways I’ve share with you.

After years of challenging questions and realities, creating goals and getting great results, I know to a degree I can coach myself. As one coach told me “Mandie, you don’t need anyone to kick your butt – you do it for yourself” That was a good session.

So sometimes, it’s enough to coach yourself. By taking on the role of your own coach, just give yourself a little time once a month where you actually challenge what you think.

Here’s a few ideas to help make that a powerful moment:

Free write

Don’t think about what you write, just let the pen go to the paper and write anything – in the random thinking there is often the right questions and thoughts to follow – if you create the space to do it.

If you crave order and structure, don’t free flow.

If you love art, then draw. If you hate numbers and lists, steer clear of them. You want to create a new way of thinking that is natural to you, not what you read in a book or heard in the office as “a good idea.”

Learn to explore your natural style. Ask yourself: When set a task, how do I love to work, think, explore, learn and act? This will guide you to the best approach to coaching yourself.

Create your own discipline

Do you need to diary time to be your own coach or is it enough to know that you want to do this and get results? Just like finding your natural style, you need to learn how you will create your own definition of discipline.

Get this wrong and you’re highly unlikely to be taking action in 3 months’ time!

Tell someone

I’ve seen some awesome planners laid out in many colours with lots of tabs and tons of ideas. But as that new client realized, great ideas are little use without action.

The first step to the action is to actually tell someone you are going to do it. Do you need to declare your goal online? Phone a friend or just stick a picture on your kitchen wall?

You will learn what makes you take action, which leads to our last idea…

5. Know When to Start And Stop

Knowing what to do and actually taking action and knowing when to stop and when to go for it are 2 very important skills.

If you take action on what we talked about today, you will not only challenge yourself, but also challenge those that can manipulate and mould you.

You will learn to trust and have faith. Llittle by little (not always – some clients see massive levels of change after just a couple of hours), you will step out of your comfort zone. As I described it to one client years ago:

“Some people like to slowly step out of their comfort zones and others like to leap so far out that they can’t see it any more. Learn to know which you are.”

Neither is wrong, neither is right. Some people like big challenges, big goals and big actions; others like no one to know what they aim to challenge but quietly work through their action plan to achieve it.

The true super hero in any film learns to know what works for them, accept it, love and go for it. And they don’t need a scientist, a tycoon or super villains either.

Reference

[1] Oxford English Dictionary: Weird
  • May 21, 2019

Fuzzy Patch

So as me and Hubby had that special moment before bed (stop it!) you know the time where the jobs are done, the plans and progress for the whole family has been discussed and you can just be 2 people that love each other having a chat and being together before you snuggle up to sleep (it’s the moment in Madam Secretary I love too. I didn’t realise I had something in common with Elizabeth Accord!)

And without actually saying….Hubby noticed something about me.

Then this morning I turn on the TV to hear there’s a thing….(You are likely to shudder…) Hairuary.

If you haven’t guessed it’s the month where women don’t shave.

Now for me that’s just the plain old fact that I’m wearing at least 100 denier tights (or thermal ones) jumpers, shirts and dresses with sleeves down to my wrists (if you can see my hairy armpits coming out of my cuffs I’ve got a problem!)

It’s no conscious decision. If I had a posh event to attend in a strapless dress etc and my armpits were going to be on show, for personal preference I’d probably defur….

However maybe I wouldn’t.

Because there on TV there was a man spurting on about how it’s lazy and that “something died inside” when he saw Julia Roberts with hairy armpits and men didn’t fancy them. The female presenter gave a weak response (with no back up) and on with the show. (With of course a few mentions of tweets, etc throughout the show to confirm the male presenter is of course right.

I didn’t have a problem with Hairuary, and I probably still don’t (do what you like I say!) however I do have an issue with 2 days in a row there have been pointless articles in the news about women.

  1. Hairuary
  2. The French author who says women over 50 can’t love.

Why?

Firstly can I point out that true men and any partner doesn’t love you if you don’t have hairy arms, they just love you. I’ve been on meds that killed all hair (on my head not so good, but great for cutting down on body hair removal!) and I’ve been on drugs that have made me have hair in places I didn’t know was possible. Take it further I’ve had meds that have made me throw up so much that I’ve not left the loo in days and what a great body I had and then I’ve had meds that have made me balloon up like a moon faced chipmunk. Regardless that gorgeous man of mine has said “I don’t notice, it doesn’t matter to me, you are just you.” He is northern and apparently that is why he doesn’t say I love you, but I know what that means. Your mine, it’s all good.

Secondly why are we giving energy to these stories? (In any reference to these stories I’ve not included any links to newspapers etc. They won’t get any traffic via me.)

They aren’t news.

They aren’t fact.

They are opinions.

At the most Hairuary is that story just before the news finishes. That’s it.

The reason I write this post is because these articles in the news (wow the news had a different meaning years ago – years ago it was someone investigating stories from around the world and around our shores and reporting them to the public, so they knew the true facts. Not opinion, not propaganda, not aggrandising. Just fact.) is because I question do people not realise the damage this does to our society?

To constantly be attacking half of society is ludicrous. Whether we like it or not (and without getting my feminist hat on which even that has become something to be wary of) women are paid less, exploited, lacking in confidence, missing from sectors of industry and working harder to achieve the results they want in their professional lives. Add on top of this constant (unnecessary) pressure you can see why women have never felt so unhappy about their figures and worried about who they are, how they look and everything else you could imagine.

We aren’t just talking about a horde of 40/50+ aged women we are talking about all females. My 15 year old daughter has grown up in a home where you are who you are and the people that matter will respect and honour that. That authenticity, mindset and working hard is the right way to get results in life. But how many girls will hear these “news” stories and without even realising it pour more pressure on themselves to look like something that isn’t real.,

Trust me. I don’t mind how I look (I’m no beauty or no Halloween mask) however I can be ready to leave the house in about an hour. When I’ve done photo shoots for magazines it’s taken the whole day to get the look the magazine wants. With hours of deliberating over which shoes, jewellery, hair, dress, etc, etc. It’s not real.

And as long as we give kudos and weight to pointless stories like these what we expect women to be isn’t real either.

ACTION;

Don’t share their links.

Do what you want.

Build your own confidence, be you. It will make success a lot easier to not fight that.

Oh and to the TV presenter this morning, if anything I would have defurred tonight but you just made me feel strongly that maybe I won’t, and you’ve probably massively damaged Gillette for women’s profits for January too!

  • January 9, 2019