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Stressing Over Christmas And Your 2020 Success

Do people really stress about Christmas?

You know one day in a whole year of days?

Did you stress about last Wednesday?

Or June the 22nd?

Okay so if you were waiting for your loved one to come out of surgery then you had a good reason to stress right?christmas stress mandie holgate

If you were walking into the biggest most important meeting of your career then being stressed, excited and just a bit scared was probably right, wasn’t it?

But for one day that doesn’t include any job interviews, big meetings and hopefully no trips to hospital then it’s not something to stress about. Is it?

If you forget the sprouts, Uncle Ted’s present or the matching napkins, no one is going to stress about it, heck it’s doubtful if anyone will remember one year on, so what’s the stressing for?

If you do find yourself stressing at Christmas here’s some things that could help and for the record, they work all year around to give you some stress free times, time management strategies, goal success and happier more successful life.

Share the load

You may be the most amazing host but don’t think that means you can’t have help. Share the load. If you don’t want to share the cooking because you family could burn a pizza, what could you share? If anything family and friends love to be involved so share the load, it’s not your job to make Christmas perfect. The same goes for life, whatever you wish to achieve it is easier if you know you can trust others to take on some of the responsibilities and daily tasks to free up your time and head space.


Never is it more obvious than at Christmas (and in business) that we don’t communicate powerfully. You don’t share what upsets you, they don’t share what they don’t want to do, no one has told them that you want the washing up done (or not done) before the Karaoke and Charades begins. And so often the reason why is because we are scared of how we will be interpreted? We worry about what others will think of us. You won’t agree with everyone over everything, however clear communication enables everyone to feel respected, listened to and understood.

Perfect is boring

I remember the year I was 9 and a mouse short circuited the cooker so Dad spent most of Christmas afternoon trying to get the fried morsel out so we could get the Turkey in. I don’t remember the meal, I do remember my Nan getting stressed and us 3 kids and my Mum laughing. I do also remember the yellow plastic wardrobe I got for my favourite dolly, but I don’t remember any the meal at all – really important obviously! Perfect is not perfect. Perfect is stressful so don’t aim for perfect, aim for good enough and done. And in business I would say I see this practically every day “I will get it out there when we’ve just….” Or “I just need to do this and then I will launch it” Many professionals are the worlds best kept secret!

Emotions and feelings not presents and wrappingschristmas 2019 stress mandie holgate coach

Concentrate on how you want to feel. For me Christmas is a month of pretty lights, 20+ year old decorations bought from around the world, late night shopping where you hardly shop just laugh and eat and lots of games and walks. My teenagers have already thrashed me (first time ever!) at a 2 week game of Monolopy and I’m now winning the 2nd game (I hid my money and property so they couldn’t nick any!) You get to decide how you spend your Christmas and if you can’t control which side of the family you are with or what you get to eat, you are in total control of how you feel. Don’t let others dictate that too. This is absolutely essential for every aspect of your life. So often we have little control but we can control our emotions.

Spit Spot!

I love a clean house I even love an immaculate office, everything in its place. But 8 years of illness so extreme I had to learn to like the occasional missed cobweb or go insane trying to ignore it, because I was too ill to do it for myself and funny enough 10 year old children aren’t perfect cleaners! I’ve learnt that no one looks back on life and says “Wow do you remember how clean the floors were?” So if you are running out of time, concentrate on what is really essential and now what you think should be essential. The two are different and learning this skill could make you very successful!

The right gifts

I can honestly say that if there was nothing under the tree I wouldn’t care very much. I’m not saying you need to be like this. christmas 2019 stressful christmas life hacks with mandie holgate coachWhat I am saying is that you need to know and honour who you are. For me I love looking after others and making their eyes light up with happiness. I feel I was put on this planet to make a difference and that makes me feel so alive and happy. Knowing how I feel about my role in life reflects itself on my actions at Christmas. I like to give to charity and to those that aren’t expecting a helping hand and I like to give gifts that have meaning. I’d rather spend 8 hours painting a picture for my Mum than buying something expensive that she is not sure she even wants or needs. Think about your choices for under the tree and how it represents the kind of person you are. For me as long as there is a hubby, a scruffy dog and 2 wonderful teens, I’m happy. You don’t have to be like that, but you do need to learn to honour who you really are. This is a fast track to professional success!

Don’t buy into the hype

Most people dread the Christmas food shop, I don’t. I get my daft Christmas hat, the Christmas jumper that makes me look like a huge Marshmallow man and me and Hubby (Sometimes other family members too) hit the supermarket, grocers and butchers. There’s queues, there’s stressy people trying to take your heels off with a trolley and the more that happens the more we sing, skip and laugh. I’ve been in an over crowded veg aisle and sang Indiana Jones and squeezed through like I’m in the jungle on a life and death adventure to the milk aisle that is empty shouting “Mum, I made it, save yourself!

At first people look around and ask “Whose the idiot?” but quickly most people realise how ridiculous we look clambering to get a sprout top and some red cabbage. I like to remember we are all human, going off to various homes around the country (and world) to smile, love and share. It never ceases to ground me and remind me of the big picture and heck if I don’t go home with brandy cream no one’s going to get hurt are they? In our lives we are often surrounded by others hype on what is important and what is essential. Don’t buy into this, find your own path and stick to it.

Lastly keep it in perspective

This is important for us all in every moment of our lives. When I’m coaching someone, sometimes we are dealing with really difficult and tough times for that client and yet before we’ve achieved anything together they feel better, how?

Because we changed their perspective on it.

And if worse comes to the worse and Uncle Ted doesn’t have a gift, you can’t buy Brandy cream, a mouse decides to fry itself in your cooker and your tree falls down, in years to come you will at the least be able to say “Wow, how resilient am I!? And that is something else we actually all need, to appreciate and know we have the ability to get through anything!

Merry Christmas and if you are thinking of coaching for you or a loved one for 2020 please note I’m nearly fully booked for January, however I’d still love to help. It would be my honour.

  • December 17, 2019

What you really need to know to be a powerful speaker (anywhere!)

I’ve presented hundreds of presentations on powerful public speaking and communication skills although today took a slightly different angle and wow was it powerful!

The irony is never lost on me that 15 years ago I couldn’t (and wouldn’t!) speak to a large audience. I was the person pretending she had a call just as it was my turn to talk. My fear was not just in my head, it manifested itself as a closed throat, a red face, a heart that felt like it was trying to escape and the inability to even remember my name let alone something useful, relevant or interesting to say!

While I could sell ice to Eskimo’s on a 1 to 1 basis (My boss’s word’s not mine) or in the good old letter format, my skills had not grown to actually communicating with people in groups. That had to change if I was going to succeed…

So over the years I read books, studied, went on courses, listened to a plethora of experts (and realised a few of those knew little more than me they just had the confidence to stand up and recite the same stuff I’d read!) and wind forward to January 2019 you could phone me and say “We’ve been let down and we need a speaker for tomorrow!” And I’d say “Great, see you at 9!”

I wouldn’t be panicking about;

  • “What will I say?”
  • Or “How will I handle difficult questions?”
  • Or “What if I run out of things to talk about?”

Things have changed drastically. And having coached thousands to overcome their fears of public speaking I can say with hand on heart that I can fight the fear of public speaking for you too and help anyone become a better speaker.

So what was so powerful today and how can you benefit too?

  1. If you’ve heard me speak about powerful communication, you will know that I say that I could write you the best speech in the world however if you lack confidence or have an internal dialogue of negativity then you will damage your results. And in business that means less sales, profit, opportunities and success. So get your head in order. ACTION – Listen out for what you let hang out in your head. I’ve enough stuff for free, low cost in books and courses (maximum cost is £25) articles, reports and solutions to help you shift your mindset permanently.
  2. Check out some of the best speeches in the world and you will see that Gandhi, King, Pankhurst even Thatcher were themselves. They didn’t pretend to be someone else. Not sure this is true? Think of Mahatma Gandhi and ask yourself if his style of communication would suit Dr Martin Luther King? Would Gandhi shout and gesticulate in the same way? How would his style differ? I know it can be scary to be yourself (see point 3) however by being yourself people can buy into your passion – without you selling once! And passion is addictive! ACTION – Check out powerful speakers you love and ask yourself what is their style? How is my style similar or different? If I could be any kind of speaker what style would I have? Who are my role models? How do they behave, act, talk, stand?
  3. Be yourself. The true authentic you. This means you have to find out what stops you being you. What fear is hiding? For my audience today we discovered that they feared what people were thinking, or what would they do if they said something wrong, or what would happen if they fumbled their words? I’m the only person I know that is invited back despite saying sex instead of success in multiple speaking engagements! The moral of that story is that if your passion, genuine authentic you is shining through then your audience will forgive (and forget) your mistakes. However big you think they are! Which leads on to…
  4. After a great debate on social media (are we connected there? I’d love to.) I asked “Could charisma be taught or was it something you had to be born with?” Interestingly it depended on the individual and if I’d coached them or not! My clients absolutely believe they can change and that it will work, those that were less convinced felt trapped by who they are and that change wasn’t possible, doesn’t that speak volumes? If you check out the definition of charisma in the dictionary it is “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others.” Translate that into your professional life and it’s going to be good to learn how to be more charismatic. That in itself is a blog article so for now;
  5. Concentrate on being an awesome active listener (Da Vinci was an expert on this and so many of the skills we still utilise today are from ancient Greece and the renaissance period).
  6. Ensure you are thinking nothing as the other person talks.
  7. Make quality eye contact – dodgy eye contact makes your audiences nervous. It says “What do they have to hide? Or What are they not telling us?”
  8. Ensure you are totally in this moment. Not looking at your phone. Not gazing out the window, not wondering if you had a reply to that email. I have tons of little techniques that help you be in the now. Although you may already know one. Google it, because that way you will find a simple tool that will resonate with you and can help you to feel calmer on a tough day too. Win win, right?
  9. I’m fine one to one!” Most people who fear public speaking or feel their communication style is letting them down are over thinking. They think that to be a powerful communicator it has to be more complicated than it is. Have you ever convinced a love one to do something for you? That you need a certain necklace/car/holiday/phone? Have you ever managed to get your own way? Then you already have the ability to be a powerful communicator! A great tool I use with many clients is looking at how to migrate skills. If you rock at it else where, what skills, attributes, styles of communication were working for you? Now migrate them to the area you feel you are lacking.
  10. And lastly fear. Of all fears I hear about (and I hear them all!) the biggest fear in the world that is hiding behind all fears is usually the fear of what other people are thinking. As a speaker usually you are in an environment where the audience want to hear what you have to say. It is only in your head you’ve assumed they don’t. When I break down that fear for my clients they can see how their head has the facts on what they are capable of (and what they’ve achieved) but their heart is running into fear land and wanting to run for the hills never to return and usually with untruths that escalate the fear. As humans we like smiles and reply with smiles. We are saddened by other people’s losses and want to hear of people’s wins, which means people are looking forward to hearing you speak!

There are a ton of things that I touched on today including how with the right body language you can talk gibberish and still get a positive outcome.

And that being comfortable in your own skin comes down to constantly re-evaluating your own emotional intelligence and checking who you think you are and what you think is going on. Our perception of reality and assumptions can cost us dearly.

And that the confidence to love who you are makes you concentrate on successes which help release the right biological chemicals which then helps you further to come across as the passionate, successful, powerful person that everyone should know and not as the bumbling brain fried fool that you feel you become on a stage.

Whether you feel your presentation skills need a boost, you are so awful at it you’d rather chew off your right arm or you feel you are damaging your success because of something you feel you do (or don’t do!) I’m happy to have a chat anytime.

And if you are on the Insiders I will add some work sheets that we touched on too. I love to over deliver, because I never want anyone else to wish their gall bladder would explode to get them out of a speaking engagement, as I did.

Not one person.

  • January 27, 2019