Welcome to The Life Studio a place where you can rest up, take off your shoes and be yourself

Thursday 27 February 2014

Are you iLost?

I am watching a couple sitting in a coffee shop, well I'm assuming that the fact they have walked in together and kissed each other on the cheek means they are together. But now I'm not so sure, they haven't made eye contact since, both are engrossed in a small plastic touch-screen they are clutching. He is smiling at his screen, and she is frowning at hers. Maybe they are emailing each other? Maybe by some freak of nature neither of them are able to talk and so they email each other to communicate. Occasionally they look up and share a snapshot of what is taking their attention. It's not an invitation to a conversation, more of an excuse for their absence. Only their bodies are in the coffee shop, the rest of them are iLost out in the ether, connecting with millions of others who have also left their bodies parked somewhere. Their sex life must be electric...not! Or maybe I'm old-fashioned, I mean, you don't even need to touch a real human to access sex at the touch of a button.

A mother and cheeky faced toddler come back from the till with a tray loaded with sugary bribes. She sits down, he wants her to play. She gets her phone out and becomes engrossed in the screen whilst trying various different distractions with her left hand which look like she is reaching out for a light switch in the dark. He isn't fooled by her remaining body, he knows she has left the building, is iLost, so up's the anti of his noise. All he wants is her quality time but he only knows three words, iPhone, iPad and mum.   

Relationships can't be made using technology, relationships come from conversations and shared experiences, relationships build-trust and true intimacy. This is why we get annoyed when a computer voice calls us from our bank, why we avoid the computer tills, the computer petrol pump etc. It creates a barrier to trust. 

At any one second there is a gazillion terabytes of stuff inviting you to leave your body, the trick is to be in charge of it. These terabytes love to fill your unattended and unvalued space, so unless you want your candy crush score etched on your gravestone, put the god damned thing down sometimes and go ask another human being how they are today.

Last year I saw many clients with an addiction to their iPad in the 50-65yr bracket. They had rewired themselves to get achievement from their word search scores, instead of their businesses. (I mean who is going to ask the CEO what they are really doing?) Spending time in chatrooms and only grunting at their partners for six months, inventing excuses to sneak off and spend time online. One guy even booked himself into a hotel so he could indulge in candy crush guilt free. Pixels are the new mistresses and affairs of 2014.

So ask yourself when you get the urge to escape through the plastic screen 'Where do I need to be present right now?' Get in charge of your technology and use it to create more time to have the freedom to spend quality time with those that you love.

Right I'm just off to do my emails....

Thursday 31 October 2013

10 Certain Ways to Achieve Unhappiness

In the UK, we all love a good moan, the weather, sports, our politicians, the news, who did what..the list goes on. When does a moan get out of hand? We've all had 'that friend', the one we start to avoid because they spend hours banging on about the same thing over and over and over, yet invest nought minutes doing anything about it.
Years ago I used to have a flat mate that talked at me so much, I once went for a shower, came back and she was so stuck in herself she hadn't even noticed I'd gone! Moaning can be addictive, it keeps us in a whirlwind of self-obsession which is like driving the mind round and round a roundabout. The faster it goes the less likely it is to notice an exit. What a waste of creative energy and investment of time. Check your moan-o-meter.
Here are 10 certain ways to achieve unhappiness :   
  1. COMPLAIN - keep going on about the bad things that happen and ignore the good. Keep quiet about the real issues
  2. AVOID YOUR PROBLEMS - Sleep, eat, over work, drink, procrastinate, go on a rebound, denial, blame others, blame yourself, fill time with social media - anything to avoid dealing with, or understanding the real issue
  3. COMPARE YOURSELF NEGATIVELY WITH OTHERS - frustrate yourself over things that others have, or have achieved and you haven't....yet! Become an expert at thinking you are not good enough
  4. WORRY ABOUT THINGS THAT HAVE NOT HAPPENED YET - after all there is no end to ones worries, especially imagined worries
  5. LET YOUR PROBLEMS OVERWHELM YOU - focus obsessively on the problems and give keeping them all your energy
  6. DO THINGS YOU DON'T LOVE FOR AN END RESULT YOU DON'T WANT - clear goal setting down the super highway of misery
  7. STAY IN RELATIONSHIPS THAT NO LONGER SERVE YOU - surround yourself with energy vampires, critical people, and folk who want you to stay as you are always
  8. TRY TO CHANGE OTHERS - it's much easier to tell others what to do and be a control freak
  9. TRY TO PLEASE EVERYONE - and please no one in truth, which then makes you feel guilty, which then makes you try and please everyone again
  10. BECOME OBSESSIVE ABOUT GOALS/OUTCOMES/STATUS/PEOPLE/THINGS - and let them define all your emotions and who you are  

Do any of these look familiar to you? If so, it's time to change. What small change could you make today?

Need a hand overcoming these?

Monday 16 September 2013

How 'Thank You' can change a life

Is that 'Sunday night feeling' returning with the theme tune of Downton Abbey? Are the darker evenings and a craving for carbs slowly bring a sepia into your life?

January resolutions are so last year, September is the real time to take stock of your life, your relationships, your finances, your emotional well being, and anything else that is important to you as the pace of life picks up again as the tan start to fade. 

I want to share with you a heart-warming story that a recent client shared with me. It really touched my heart, brought some warmth, and certainly got me thinking;
I had worked with *Jane some months before and since then she had been in touch to say she was exploring fostering children to join her family of husband and biological daughter aged seven.

*Mia was the first foster child to arrive, a girl, aged eleven. She had been kicked out of two other placements previously for bad behaviour and had a heart-breaking story of abandonment. Jane didn’t find her much of a problem in the first few weeks, and was really enjoying having a new edition to her family. Inspired by a conversation we had in a session about the power of gratitude, she had a sudden idea to get a chalk board and put it up in her kitchen. She decided that whenever she wanted to ‘thank’ any members of the family for something she would write it on the board. After a few weeks of doing this, as and when, one day she opened the airing cupboard, a place only she went to, and there was a yellow sticky note from Mia saying ‘thank you for making me feel loved and part of a family for the first time in my life’

Now Mia and Jane leave each other notes in the airing cupboard whenever she can’t say something or is worried about something. Jane and her husband are now in the process of adopting Mia forever.
*names have been changed

All it took was a genuine ‘thank you for….’ To change someone’s life, install trust, change behaviour and create a future. Since then others she has told have put up boards in their companies, or found other ways of showing gratitude. Gratitude isn't just for hippies!
Look what Dr Masaru Emoto found the words 'thank you' did in his famous water experiment.

Who do you need to thank today, and when was the last time you thanked yourself?

Thank you for reading my blog


Thursday 9 May 2013

21-Day EASY Procrastination Detox

Time to stamp your feet, and say 'no more' to excuses, denial and procrastination. Step forward and roll up your sleeves. It's time to take massive action. You will be amazed by the positive impact on your emotional well-being and your body this 21 day Easy Procrastination detox will give you.

Hands up who have done at least a 2 day detox in 2013? I see people running around drinking green stuff, juicers flying off the shelves, friends jetting off to Thailand to gorge on psyllium husk and fresh air all in the name of cleansing their bodies. They return, bronzed, concave, regular, and two weeks later the croissants and red wine are back.

It is said that if you want to see what your thoughts were in the past, look at your body now. And if you want to see what your body will be like in the future look at your thoughts today.

Constipation of the mind is caused by procrastination. All those 'things you need to do', or 'stuff you should do' backs up until the backlog has you trapped. The mind keeps all of those files open, ticking away, until they are dealt with. Its' a bit like when you are using your computer and have every screen you have ever opened minimised at the bottom of the screen. And then no surprise when...crash, it all comes to a halt.

Many of us have become experts in excuses and denial, the shadow of guilt or fear gets larger, and only when it brings more pain than the avoidance, will we be motivated to take any action. Chances are you will then do just enough to get out of pain, and then the entire cycle begins again.


STEP 1 - Write down your intention for this detox. What exactly is it you want to get out of it?'

STEP 2 - Write down and ask yourself these two questions

'What do I need to STOP doing?'
'What do I need to START doing?'

STEP 3 - Cut out excuses, even good excuses
Even better, have a detox buddy who can just make an agreed 'cough' sound if they think you are using excuse language. 'I haven't got time' being the biggest culprit. We all have 24hrs in our day.

STEP 4 - Each day before you go to bed write down one thing you will do the following day that you have been avoiding. If it seems too big a task to deal with, break it down into small achievable tasks that work towards it. i.e it could be to call someone, or open three of the fifty letters with clear windows you have hidden in a draw. It could be to forgive someone, or say 'no' to somebody.

Easy right? Go for it...

Keep me posted on your progress Laughing

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Motivational sheep - 10 ways to avoid a self-help Guru

Watching a US reality TV show recently (I know, I know!) I felt the vomit rising up in my throat as a guy with ego infused eyes and a cheesy grin introduces himself as a 'motivational speaker', 'life coach', and 'life strategist'    (WTF). He then begins to spout cliche's and rehearsed drivel, which is like catnip to the lost, but won't really change your life past Tuesday. The camera pans round and you see an audience of a few hundred people looking trustfully up at this church less evangelist.

A life coach???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *looks at self in horror

As I chew the edge of my wooden coffee table to cleanse myself of his imprint, I add a snapshot of him to my mental image bank, to recall when I next need to run up a steep hill, or give birth to a rhinoceros. These narcissistic cuckoo's tell you what to do, and nest in your own lack of self-direction with their pseudo knowledge. The difference between knowledge and wisdom is, knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. I have had conversations with many people who, thanks to guru's, are ignoring the reality stop signs in pursuit of someone else's implanted delusions. It's not their fault, they were looking for hope, new skills, and the road to happiness.

I had coffee with an unknowing victim, what I got was a seminar for one I didn't sign up for. A good man at heart, he had invested a lot of money in courses to help him to 'make a million speaking' or 'live an amazing life doing what I do', he had learnt not to value all the unique things that made him relatable, and human, and had become a puppet. He was detached, emotionally unavailable, further away from finding himself, and helping people was way down his list after Ferrari. The clue is when they talk at you in quotes and slip into a hybrid Anglo/American accent.

This plague is not to be confused with a heartfelt speaker that has an incredible story to tell where they have achieved something, triumphed over adversity, or royally messed their lives up, and got up again. Not to be confused either with someone who is so passionate about helping people they have turned their life into a living lesson. There are some incredible people who are dedicated to helping you too change your life, Anthony Robbins for example. These people have important recipes for survival and enjoyment of life, seek them out. Let's distinguish them by calling them teachers. When they start to speak, something deep within your soul warms, when the latter speaks you have to watch you don't sprout wool and start to 'baaa'.

So here is my guide to avoid becoming the sheep of a false shepherd or 'Guru' as they like to call themselves. This includes wanna-be Guru's who dream of being on stage to experience feeling important.
  1. Guru's begin most of what they say with 'i', a favourite is 'I can make you xyz'
  2. Guru's take 'best friend forever' style photo's of themselves with other Guru's to reinforce your belief in their status
  3. Guru's behaviour off the stage does not mirror the values they talk about on stage
  4. Guru's often should read their own books to take their own advice
  5. Guru's imitate each other and pass off each others stories as their own because they lack any real experience helping individuals to change their lives
  6. Guru's have followers that don't really blink properly and make you feel nervous, or get angry when you ask questions
  7. Guru's have a set of rules, or a program, and get annoyed, or blame your lack of commitment for their failures
  8. Guru's don't really listen in life, they only know how to output
  9. Guru's have forgotten how to talk to people normally, they only do 'seminar mode' i.e asking all the questions, and answering in questions
  10. Guru's have an overinflated sense of self-belief....until they step off the stage and mime their way through life
And the biggest one of all

    11.  Guru's need you to believe in them, to believe in themselves

If you are low on hope and want to get back on the road to happiness find someone wise who will support, and help YOU, to trust YOURSELF, to change YOUR OWN life and create your own resources and solutions.. They come from a place of service and wont be driving a yellow Ferrari, or peddling their lives as a show home.

Monday 8 April 2013

Calling all worriers - take the anxiety test

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere. We all worry at times, but if your worrying is running you, it's time to get out of that chair. Like Mr Worry are you addicted to worrying?

In the olden days, when the threat of being eaten by something, or charcoaled by dragon fire (according to Ruben, age 6) us humans were on constant alert for threats. The daily quest for water, food, hatching babies and staying alive was a full-time job. There were no 28 days holiday, duvet days, or sabbaticals to search for the meaning of life back then. Our ancestors legacy is a deeply installed, and hormonally supported blueprint to self-protect and stay alive.

Forward wind to 2013 and that legacy is active in all of our everyday lives. When faced with any perceived threat our mind and body reacts. The film, TV, advertising, book and gaming industries tap into engage our brains to emotionally react to what is being viewed. Our imaginations are a key portal into the mind and body connection. Imagination doesn't know the difference between an imagined experience and a real one. It tells the body to react for a moment as if the imagined threat was real. Think of a picture or time when you couldn't stop laughing...bet you have just started to giggle. That's the power of the imagination on the mind and body.

Today the dragons have been substituted by more of an invisible and internal threat, ' a fear of the future' produces anxiety. Anxiety is a mind and body response to an imagined fear in the future. The fear could be that perhaps in the future someone won't like you, or that you will get something very wrong, fail, or that you wont have enough money to live. Either way the message to the mind is that there is something significantly painful coming at you like a high speed train from the future. You can't avoid the future.

We all get nervous when stepping out of our comfort zone doing something new, or when something is demanded from us that we believe we lack the skill or experience for. If your thoughts, anxieties, or fears are impacting your quality of life, or you are constantly trying to avoid your fears by over-controlling your life -

Take the Anxiety test

Choose the one description for each item that best describes how many days you have been bothered by each of the following over the past 2 weeks

7 or more
Nearly Every day
Feeling Nervous, anxious or on edge
Unable to stop worrying
Worrying too much about different things
Problems relaxing
Feeling restless or unable to sit still
Feeling irritable or easily annoyed
Being afraid that something awful might happen

Total scores for each question
  • None = 2
  • Several = 1
  • 7 or more = 2
  • Nearly every day = 3

Total score _______________________

  • A total score of 5-9 suggests mild anxiety
  • A total score of 10 + suggests moderate to severe anxiety

If anxiety is holding you back in your life, stop coping with it, there is so much that can be done to overcome it and get your freedom back. Talk to someone, you will be amazed at how many people suffer with anxiety. Speak to your GP about CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or talk to me about the amazing Thought Pattern Management system. Time to turn your Mr Worry into Mr Happy.

Monday 14 January 2013

2 out of 5 people unhappy with their career

That's a lot of hours doing something you don't enjoy. All relationships go through some tough times, and not everyone adapts to and embraces change in a positive way. The impact of forcing yourself to be somewhere you hate for the long-term is damaging to your relationships, family life, and most critically your health. The latter, often, and sadly it's the last warning flag.

'In 2009/2010 an estimated 9.8 million working days were lost through work-related stress. On average each person suffering from work-related stress took an estimated 22.6 days off - HSE'

Some extracts from a recent interview I did on the subject:

* If someone is looking to change careers in 2013, what tips could you give them to help them build confidence/make a change?

1.      Decide ‘by when’ do you want to be in your new career. (even if you don’t know what it is, or how you can do it)

2.      Commit to taking action – be in the driving seat, don’t wait until you are pushed out

3.      Embrace all change as positive. If you don’t like it change it again.

4.      When you meet self-doubts ask yourself ‘if I wasn’t afraid, what would I do’. Listen to your answer.

5.      Explore your talents. You won’t see your hidden talents because you do them naturally. Ask others around you for feedback about what you would be really good at?

6.      When someone is unhappy they can try and change their job, car, relationship etc instead of changing themselves. Make sure that you are changing career for the right reasons.

* Why do you think some people get 'stuck' in a career rut?

Most people wait until the pain of not changing is unbearable, and then the need to get out of pain motivates them to overcome their fear of change. When you have career, family, relationship goals you can avoid this kind of constipation.

* Is setting goals/keeping a to do list important for development?

More important to write the goal down and picture yourself achieving that goal. Then break the goal down into smaller, achievable steps to work towards.

* If someone wants to work towards promotion, are there any tips you could give them?

Ask their line manager what they would need to be doing for that job to be theirs. Ask ‘what do I need to do more of,  or less of, and what strengths do I currently have that would be an asset to that role. Find out if there are any skills that you need to acquire. Step your game up and be consistent.

* If someone is feeling frustrated/confused about their career direction, what would you suggest they do?

Stop wasting time moaning, instead talk about what the problem really is to key people and friends. Decide what you really want to do. Secretly most people know, but they have buried it because they see their dream job as impossible or see too many barriers. Remember the man who says he can, and the man who says he can’t are both right. If your passion for your career can’t be reignited create an exit plan immediately, life is too short to spend 9 hours a day feeling unhappy. There are infinite choices, you just have to create them. Build your self-confidence in your abilities by doing some activities that are out of your comfort zon

Visit this link for more info and resources:  How to Make Career Changes in the New Year