What’s Your Survival Plan?

Survival plans? Hmmm.  I’m not talking about what happens if a fire breaks out and you need to exit the building.  I’m talking about those very core things that get you through your week.

Survival planning in an exercise I’ve done with a number of groups.  They’re often the very rewards we give our self.  They can be huge, although sometimes even the littlest of things can help us survive our day.

Your survival plan should apply whether you’re self employed, working or coping with a family.  They’re there to reward you for all the great things you’ve done today or this week.  Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • Buying yourself a treat when you do the weekly shopping, perhaps a magazine, or chocolate bar.
  • Having a luxury bath once a week, lock the bathroom door, light some candles and use your favorite bath products.
  • Go out for a walk with your partner once a week.
  • Have half an hours me time before bed.
  • Taking a family holiday once a year
  • Having one weekend a month with no work!




Remember though once they’re in your plan they’re there to stick to.  I’m an advocate of sticking to the plan!!

So what’s in your survival plan, would love to hear your ideas, please share them by commenting below.

In this busy world, many of my clients need help making time for themselves.  If you need a little ‘me time‘ back in your life, then give me call today on 07714 216388 to take advantage of your free consultation.

The Art of Saying “No”

Last week’s blog post – “Saying No Can Be Hard To Do” hopefully started you thinking about how difficult it can be to say “No” and why in fact you do this based on your belief system.  This week I wanted to take that thinking one stage further and start to look at how you can change your “YES” setting.

Whether you’re employed or running a business the pressure to work longer than nine to five are greater than ever.

There comes a time, when saying “No” is something you have to do.

However, if time management becomes an issue learning to say “No” with confidence and without offending anyone can be vital.  Do you find it hard to say?

It might be because you’re eager to please, perhaps you feel guilty when you say “No” or people have just come to expect that when they approach you or push the boundaries, you’ll say “Yes

Saying “No” with confidence is not difficult. Armed with a few simple steps you can learn to say “No” leaving you and the other party still feeling great.

My four steps to saying “No” with confidence:
Ground Rules –  Work out what’s important to you.  Maybe clocking off at 5pm means that you can spend some quality time with the kids or your partner.  Understanding its importance helps you to preserve it.  Consider also the priority of your values i.e. family, then health, then work.  How important is time with family and friends.  Knowing this helps you set ground rules e.g. you could accept phone calls up to a certain hour.  Should weekend be work free?

Make your ground rules non-negotiable.

Offer A Reason – When people know why, they will be more understanding because emotions are attached to the situation.

So don’t just say “No” – Say “No because……”

An example could be that “I like to get home by 6pm once a week so that I can have some family time with the kids“.  There’s no need to feel guilty about that.

And remember that saying “yes” to someone else means that you are saying “No” to yourself, your values, your beliefs.  You’re saying you don’t matter as much as the other person.

A Helpful “No” – Presenting the other person with a possible solution means that you’re still being helpful.  Probably one of the reasons you always say “Yes” anyway.

So although you may say “No” you can’t work late to finish the customer order you may be in a position to say that you can come in early the next morning or suggest a colleague who you know is wanting the extra overtime.

Seeking a win-win situation that makes the other person feel valued is important whilst maintaining your own ground rules.

Choose Guilt Free – Remember that it is the other person who needs the favour, they’re asking you to put yourself out – you always have a choice, so choose not to feel guilty.


If you still find this quite alien, remember my “take one small step” process to goal setting.  This can be applied here. Look for little examples of where you can say “No”, where perhaps the stakes are not quite so high.  The more you practice the easier this will become.

I would love to hear your stories of when saying “No” has really worked for you.  Please share them here:

Perceptional Stress

Is your self perception of time management skills linked to your stress levels?

For SMEs poor time management skills can impact on stress levels causing key staff or business owners to become ineffective.

I took part in a fun little quiz about time management skills and shared it via my facebook page. If you wish to have a go you’ll find a link dated 25th July 2013 here:


A conversation with a client gave me some food for thought. Her idea is that being over organised and managed can cause you stress rather than avoiding it. So whilst creating a to do list can be a fantastic means of getting this tasks organised and all in one place, placing too much emphasis on having to achieve everything on that to do list in a short space of time can be the root cause of high stress levels.

I call this perceptional stress because its your perception rather than the reality of the situation that causes the stress.

So this week’s lesson is deliberately short and sweet. When creating your to do list be realistic about what you can achieve in a single day, work out what’s really important and place a realistic timescale for achieving it. Everything else will wait.

What causes you stress and how do you deal with it?


No time for a little R & R?

I’m a little late posting the week – not because its a bank holiday but because we’ve taken a few days out for a bit of a holiday.  We’ve had three lovely days on Anglesey at Church bay ands its reminded me about the importance of a bit of R & R.

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the day to day stuff. Emails that pile up and post. To do lists that are longer than shopping lists. Mobile phones……

Our break was about getting up earlyish and taking the dog to the beach before a lazy breakfast then going exploring and walking lovely expanses of beaches and trekking coastal paths to lighthouses. Leaving technology behind. A space to breathe in.

Its critical having that space to breathe and not always practical to escape to Anglesey so I thought I’d share a very simple mindfulness technique with you. I use it a lot to calm me down when stressed is nervous and even find it useful in helping me sleep.

Simply take deep breaths. Breathe in for the count of seven and out for the count of eleven. Simply concentrating on your breathing focusses your mind back on the hear and now and makes you aware of focussing on you!  Scientifically its also helping by expelling lots if carbon dioxide and taking more oxygen into you system in turn aiding your brain and concentration levels.

Why not give it a try. Would love to hear your thoughts.

What were you born to do?

When was the last time you asked yourself what you were born to do?

Its that time of the week when I sit down and write my blog post, sometimes the inspiration flows and others I just get stuck.  This week, is damp outside, the light is starting to go and I’ve a stack of emails having taken a week off.  Inspiration was alluding me and I fell into the procrastination trap.

I write a lot about how we should avoid procrastination and I hope I don’t have to eat my words but rather than open up my blog to write I procrastinated – checked my emails and there it was – inspiration -via a weekly LinkedIn email and someone had posted a forum “What were you born to do”

I confess, I haven’t read the forum – the words were enough.  Its my favourite topic.  Its why I coach.  My job is about helping square pegs find square holes not force them into round ones as so many employers choose to do.

In short, I coach people who really aren’t happy in work, to help them to resolve their situation.  It isn’t necessarily about finding them a new job, sometimes its about making the round hole that they’re trying to fit into a bit more square.

And its a very good question.  I believe I was born to help people so, what were you born to do and what are you doing about it?

Reflections Coaching supports people in their roles with stress, work/life balance, career change, new business start ups so if you feel like a square peg in a round hole, please get in touch for a no obligation chat to see how we can help get in better fit in your working life.

Email caro@reflectionscoaching.co.uk



Do You Ever Wonder Where All Your Time Goes?

First published in The Economist in 1955 Parkinson’s law is often referred to in the way in which we utilise our time.

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

I hadn’t even heard of it until earlier this week, but I’m very familiar with the context.

We all have challenges to face in our day to days lives whether or not we recognise them as such.  For me I can get terribly distracted and can procrastinate about procrastination and I never seem to learn.  I can put off doing something for a whole week until I simply have to do it and then it only takes 5 mins to do.  Yet if I’d started it on Monday I might still be finishing the task on Friday.

The solution for me is about focus and time management.  Two skills that I have in abundance I just sometimes choose to ignore them.

  1. Remove distractions – emails, social media, texts, and yes blogs! can take up so much time if allowed to cause a distraction.  I check mine first thing, last thing and when I allow myself a coffee break, closing down the windows on my laptop afterwards – I have found this gives me back much bigger time slots in my day.
  2. Challenging deadlines – I create a false urgency by setting myself deadlines  and rewarding myself time out when I achieve them.  Things are getting done much quicker and I’m getting more free time – its a win/win.


How do you get around Parkinson’s Law? Please share your ideas here:

Being The Best You Can Be


How do you ensure you’re the best you can be?

When I do something I like to do something well.  Perhaps it’s the perfectionism gene that I touched on last week.

So starting up Reflections Coaching was a really big deal for me.  It had to be done properly and that included the training.

Sadly, coaching isn’t yet a regulated industry. In fact anyone can call themselves a coach.  A lot of my work involves goal setting, planning futures, chasing dreams, providing support for clients when they’re facing challenging situations.  Confidence and motivation can be fragile, imagine for a moment that a coach just wades in without skills, not thinking, not listening, imagine the damage that could do.

It was for these reasons I wanted to ensure I was fully equipped, fully trained to deal with anything my clients can throw at me and understand the fine line between needing a coach and needing a therapist.

What we need to do to be the best we can be will vary from sector to sector.  Here are the things I do to make sure I’m the best I can be at coaching:


  • Keeping Up to Date.  I undertake CPD regularly to ensure I’m up to date with the what’s going on within my industry.  I am also signed up with the Association of Coaching who are key players within the coaching sector.
  • Supervision – I’m good at coaching clients, because I can provide the challenge they need.  This is difficult to achieve in myself.  Having a good supervisor ensures that I also get the challenge – for me this is the most important factor in being the best I can be.
  • Review Time – Ensuring that I regularly take time out to think about me and my business.  I take review time after every client and ask what went well and regularly review these learnings.



What do you do in your industry to stay on top?

Suffering The Perfectionism Gene

Can personal development and self improvement be taken too far?

I always like getting my inspiration to write from something that’s happened to me – it feels more real that way – and a rather strange thing happened to me this week.  It was such a small thing, but my gym instructor commented about the fact that I always asked her questions after class.

Its so easy in these situations  to allow your limiting self beliefs to tell you that you’re being a pain – but I know better than allow this voice to take over so I took a step back and thought about it.  I’d  thought my behaviour was the same as everyone else – clearly not – we held different perspectives.  So I thought again.

And I’ve concluded that one of my positive traits, the one that is about attention to detail and getting things right is a little out of balance and I’ve turned a trait that is about getting things right into a perfectionism gene.  I was being driven my a strong desire to get my exercises perfectly right ALL the time – driven by my limiting self belief that despite working really hard to ‘perfect’ my technique for the last 6 years – I’m really not as good as everyone else.

There’s no right or wrong answer.  In fact in some circumstances this would be a perfect skill to take to a job interview, however exposing your gym instructor to it week after week might be taking it a bit far.  I am of course exaggerating a little (I hope) just to make the point.

So I believe sometimes we have to consider our habits, look at them from differing perspectives and question whether we take things too far.  This is just as important as considering the aspects we think of as weaknesses.

I’ve touched on this before in a previous blog post

So, what are your strengths? And do you ever take them to far? If so what impact does it have?

7 Easy Steps To Stop Procrastination – Direct From The Expert

What do you procrastinate about? 

I’m qualified to talk about procrastination, others might say I shouldn’t be one to preach about it, a case of the pot calling the kettle black etc.  Yes I procrastinate so much I can put off procrastinating about something because I need to procrastinate over something else.

Well now you know about one of my biggest challenges in life! So what?


There’s something I’ve been putting off for some time.  What it is really doesn’t matter except what started off as something straight forward became one huge chunk of rock in my way that I haven’t been able to get on with anything else. And this has gone on for two to three months

Every time I sat down to deal with the huge chunk of rock I couldn’t deal with it.  It was too big and I didn’t know where to start.

I knew I couldn’t carry on like this, so I took the following 7 easy steps.

  1. Take a step back – the closer you are to a situation the more confused it can become
  2. Break it down into simple steps – the smaller the better
  3. Make a list or action plan of all the steps
  4. Give yourself a deadline for the task
  5. Give yourself a deadline for the first task (this is especially important to get you started)
  6. Look to friends, family, contacts as to any help they can provide.
  7. START!


Its amazing how quickly it all came together in two or three weeks.

What I can’t tell you is exactly how much better I feel.  I still have a couple of weeks to go to finish, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel or rather a pathway to climb over that huge rock.


What do you procrastinate over and how do you overcome these challenges?

Networking – not all about business suits


You know that networking is important to your business, but are you put off by the business suits?


Networking is crucial to my business.  As a life coach it really helps when my potential clients see the ‘real’ me.  I have strong values about openness and honesty and I hope that this comes across when I meet people.

When I first started out in business, I have to admit to being more than a little put off by the thought of networking.  I had images of walking into rooms full of business suits, and yes some of the networking meetings can be like that, but I’ve found that those suits are about creating the right first impression, the people underneath are, well simply just people.

Yes, the jury is still out on whether or not you need to wear a suit at networking events to make the right first impression, however I know a number of people who chose not to simply because they feel more comfortable and confident in casual dress.  There’s no right or wrong.

And who could deny Mark Zuckerberg to be a business success, yet most often seen looking casual.


My choice, I’m a coach, a caring, listening, nurturing profession.  I choose to wear something smart to network but that will rarely be a business suit.  I choose colours that complement me.  And I make sure that whatever I leave the house in, I feel confident in.

If you need help feeling confident in networking situations or simply advice on how to get the best out of networking, then why not visit Reflections Website.



What’s your view on what to wear when networking?  Please feel free to comment here.  I’d love to hear your views.



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