How I face Life’s Challenges

My long weekend at the Calvert Trust has really given me a lot to think about.  On a daily basis I face challenges and sometimes when faced with challenges its easy to give up.  But last week at the Calvert Trust I got to try life in a wheelchair and it made me realise that when faced with certain things you simply have no choice but carry on.  If we applied that philosophy to everything we face in life, imagine what we COULD achieve…..

Brett Trafford Photography-8photo copyright

So what do you do when face with a challenge?

  • Do you give up and go home?
  • Do you tackle it for a little while until it gets really difficult and give up? Or
  • Do you never give in?

I know I could answer yes to all of these at some stages of my life.  So why give up sometimes and not others?  The answer is about how badly you want to succeed and if you want to succeed in everything you do, then you have to make yourself want that success.

I find it helps if I grab my notepad and write a list of everything that achieving  success will bring me.  Depending on what the criteria is, it could be anything from satisfaction of ticking off my to do list right through to earning enough money to take a dream holiday.

Add another column of all the things failure will bring one, and sure enough my first list looks a whole lot better.

I know one thing though, learning to use a wheel chair has really helped me get a better perspective and next time I feel like giving up on something, I’ll think again and question, has life really become that hard?


What would make the difference to you facing your challenges?


If you’re facing life’s challenges, coaching can give you the time and space you need to find solutions.  If you want to know if this could help YOU, give Carolyn a call today on 07714 216388 for your free consultation to see what you could achieve.

What Is Stopping You?

We all had so many good intentions at the beginning of January, for most of us now, we’ll be finding some of those goals a bit of a challenge, especially those of us with weight loss, or ‘giving up’ type of goals.  Even those of us with achievement goals, i.e. ‘I want to start a business’ may have found obstacles in the way.

So what is your biggest obstacle?

Have you ever considered the answer to that question could well be “Me”.  The one thing stopping you achieving your goals could actually be you.  Psychologically we do this all of the time.  Those voices in your head that say “I can’t because……”, and it may be about money, or time, or family life.  The truth is these are just excuses you have made up for yourself.  If you  truly wanted to achieve something you could, if you stepped out of the way.

SO push aside those negative thoughts and instead of thinking why you CAN’T do something.  Think about all the reasons why you CAN.

If there’s something you want to achieve and your thoughts of CAN’T are taking over, give Carolyn a call today on 07714 216388 and book your free consultation.  Together we’ll get you thinking CAN.

P1080123copyright Carolyn Trafford 2014



Me Time, You Time, Us Time, All The Time

Less than 4 weeks ago, I was enjoying sunshine in Cornwall and now autumn has arrived with vengeance coupled with cold damp mornings.  I’ve suddenly realised that the normal organised me has done some of my Christmas shopping by now. 

I wonder how many people have been thrown by the long summer and are now in a period of being extra busy, Christmas is on its way, self assessments are looming, and what about those year end goals?

I’ve stopped for a moment to think about me time. I’m a firm believer in balancing my work and my life.  There are certain things that are important to me, getting to the gym at least a couple time a week, walking Ziggy the dog, crafting, spending time with friends and not least Brett and I having some quality time together.

I do like to make sure that there is enough time for a bit of everything in the week.  My top tips this week help to achieve that balance:

  • Promise yourself you’ll finish your work on time 1 or 2 days a week and follow it through.  You and your home life are important.
  • Me time.   Schedule in some time in the week for ‘Me’.  Me time could be your gym sessions, a trip to the spa, or just some time to knit, read a book and relax.
  • You Time.  I regularly take out a couple of hours in the week to meet a group of friends in the day time.  Being self employed is perhaps easier to manage, but even if you work for someone else its often possible to manage your hours more flexibly to ensure you’re around for the important people in your life.
  • Us Time.  Schedule some “us time” in the week.  Whether us is your partner, kids, family, friends or dog, its all important and the people around you will love you more for it.  Take the time out to do something special as a reward for working hard.
  • All The Time.  Make this a habit not a one off.  It’ll become easier with practice.

Change Clock

Whether in business or juggling a home life, a few simple time management techniques could be all that’s needed to make a difference.  Give Carolyn a call today on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation to see how I could help you reclaim some more me time.


Its a little early to be thinking of snow I admit, though the word snowballing was the perfect word for what I wanted to talk about this week.

Have you ever found yourself agreeing to something and then it just taking over?

This very thing happened to me this week.  I was at one of my regular business breakfasts when someone asked the questions “Do you want to do some stand up?“.   I didn’t say “Yes” and then I didn’t exactly say “No” either.  I said “Tell me more”  It was at this point I knew I was involved.  I had taken that very first tentative step outside of my comfort zone.  There were 1001 voices in my head screaming, “You’re not funny“, “that’s scary stuff” and “what will other people think?” one loan voice was saying “what do you have to lose? It will be good for you“. And somehow the loan voice was shouting loader that ALL the others put together.

And that loan voice is right.  I’m comfortable standing up in front of an audience.  What I’m not so comfortable about is my ability to stand in front of them and be funny.  Its way outside of my comfort zone. That said, I have nothing to lose and a lot to be gained, but it all starts from one small step and will snowball from there.  Now that I have agreed to do it, I’m choosing to tune into the positive voices in my head.  I have confidence that they will be there for me as I take bigger and bigger steps beyond my comfort zone.

The next layer of the snowball is to start to tell people then it becomes hard to change my mind.  Once I start fundraising then there will be no backing out.

Snowballing is easy, its about taking that first step.  So next time you want to tackle something  but a huge part of you is trying to talk you out of it, just take that first step and let the rest of it snowball from there.

If there’s something that you want to achieve, and are struggling to take the first steps, give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation to see if coaching is the solution for you.

P1060951copyright Carolyn Trafford

The Art Of Serendipity

Hubby and I had a conversation about serendipity this week.  He’s read an article somewhere about it and the irony that perhaps serendipity isn’t perhaps as serendipitous as you might expect.

The idea of a ‘Happy Accident’, all things falling into the right place to cause a positive event whilst being great suggests a certain amount of randomness.

However the other view is one that suggests there are things you can do to ensure that ‘Happy Accidents’ occur more frequently and I’m not talking about asking the universe for it.

Take for instance the example that you want to meet a specific person.  This may be conscious or unconscious.  To walk into a room and find that specific person there might indeed be termed “serendipitous”.  However it could also be because you have done something different.  Doing something differently is a conscious act.

Therefore if you continue to do something differently, that opens up lots of new opportunities, each one leading to a potential event that couldn’t have happened without that change in your actions.

So, want to make more contacts?  The answer is straightforward, try going to more events, meetings, parties etc.  The more events you say ‘yes’ to the more likely that serendipitous events will occur.

I’d love to hear your stories about serendipity, and whether you think that they are truly so or more as a result of your actions.  Lets debate it here:

Carolyn Trafford is a career coach that believes in opening up opportunities.  If you need help with your career then get in touch via her website at Reflections Coaching


P1060696copyright Carolyn Trafford

Saying “No” Can Be Hard To Do

If you’ve ever wondered why saying “No” is difficult – there’s a simple answer…..

Time is an irreplaceable priceless asset. Achieving a healthy balance in life is important and being empowered to say “No” when you need to helps in striving to achieve that balance.

We all know that working to our priorities is important, yet how often do we mean to say “No” but actually end of giving in and saying “Yes” simply because its good customer service, or is only a small thing to do.

And that’s great.  If you are able to say “Yes” to people then that can make us feel good, get known for providing that extra special customer service or just be a great person, however if that is impacting on your priorities, leaving you you without the energy for the things you need to say “Yes” to, or feeling like you’re being taken advantage of then something has to change.

So why then, is it so difficult?

To understand the answer we need to explore our belief system:

  • If I say “No” then I’m being selfish. – Saying “No” demonstrates trust and maturity.  Not wanting to say “No” is a common problem and others will respect you for it
  • People might judge me – people form judgements all the time and we have no control over this.  You’re not saying no for the fun of it, so back it up with the reasons you’re having to say no.  Again they will respect you for it.
  • People and customers may go elsewhere – they might and this will have to be a judgment call for you.  If you’re going to say “Yes” make sure that you have the time to do what you promise without letting something slip elsewhere, but remember that in most cases an extra 24 hours won’t make a difference to most people so be realistic about how many customers you may lose.  You have the option to negotiate  before you say “Yes” or “No” so perhaps this is an option to explore.

Saying “No” can be tricky and practice really helps.  This post was understanding WHY we find saying “No” so difficult.  Next week I’ll be exploring the topic some more and looking at HOW we can start saying “No“, so that’s one to look out for.

Until then if you want to know more about self belief, a coaching session would help, you’ll find more information at or leave your thoughts below and I’ll reply as soon as I can:











How To Get What You Want

We’d all like that wouldn’t we?  To get exactly what we want.  Would you be surprised to know its actually a lot simpler than you might think?

I’ve recently joined a new networking group.  It brings together a brilliant motivated group of people and this week it was my turn to tell them about my business.

I talked about a client I helped a little way back.   The client had a well paid job that she didn’t like.  She wanted to be an actress and had registered with a number of agencies.  Nothing was forth-coming.  As we worked through possible solutions, one option was to call the agencies.  My client had a little apprehension as she feared the possible rejection, but we worked through this, she faced her fears and had some really positive conversations with the agencies, resulting in the walk on role on Coronation Street she had wanted.

It was good to share these thoughts with the group and a great reminder to me to remember to ask for exactly what I want – otherwise how will others know how to help me?

I’d love to hear your stories about how you’ve managed to get what you want simply by asking.  Please share them here.


A replica of the The Rovers Return pub, from t...

A replica of the The Rovers Return pub, from the British soap opera Coronation Street. This pub, open to the public, was located on the Granada Studios Tour Manchester, England, in the same complex as the set used on the show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Domino Effect

Do you ever wonder why when one thing goes wrong other things keep going wrong?

Confidence and self esteem can be fragile things.  Add to this the fact that we are our own worse enemies and probably far more critical of our own actions than those of others, so when we find that we do something wrong or make a simple mistake, from a psychological perspective to seek to confirm that we are right in our thinking.

So if our inner voice tells us we’re stupid, the next time we do something we look for other examples of our own stupidness, our Reticular Activating System kicks in and hey presto! Inner voice you’re right we are stupid.

I refer to this process as the Domino Effect because once we do something wrong, mistakes then appear to keep happening.

The solution is simple.  Just being aware that our inner self is seeking to find these mistakes is enough.  Once we’re aware its possible to talk back to your inner self then we can talk ourselves in/out of anything.  It just requires a little practice, so don’t be afraid, give it a go.

I met someone once who named his – and if you consider this a little crazy, he’s making money selling a book on the topic.

Original caption: I decided to see if I could ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.




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:

Previous Older Entries

HTML for stats

_gos='';_goa=649602; _got=5;_goi=1;_gol='free website stats';_GoStatsRun(); free website stats New from GoStats: Record On Time an app for managing expectations. Advertise with GoStats
%d bloggers like this: