What Do Ducks Know About Being Promoted?

I had an early start this morning to attend my regular business breakfast meeting.  I was slightly startled by two mallards who decided to land on the other carriageway of the A53.

I had been quietly rehearsing what I might say during the 60 seconds round of my meeting and it occurred to me that Mr and Mrs Duckie might have been rather startled to land on the hard asphalt with a car hurtling towards them than the nice soft luscious green grass or still calm blue pond that they are more used to.

I rather imagine this feeling to be like the one I experienced during one of my promotions when I worked in the corporate world.  One day you know exactly what you’re doing, and the next, wham! a whole new set of responsibilities and other people’s high expectations of you.  Let face it – they appointed you so you were the best person for the job. Yet you still have doubt.

Bird - Duck - Mallard

Bird – Duck – Mallard (Photo credit: blmiers2)

All too frequently employer support can end there, and sometimes confidence issues can creep in however with a bit of support we can pick ourselves up  and settle into the new role.

Here is my top tip to help if you find yourself like Mr & Mrs Duckie:

Remember to seek out someone who can help.  Even at its worst you may feel like you really can’t fulfill the needs of the role, its usually just your inner voice talking to you.  Enlist the help of someone and use them as a mentor and confidant.  It could be anyone, a more experienced colleague, your line manager, someone you know elsewhere in the organisation who has been through a similar promotion, someone from outside the organisation, or employ a coach. 

Struggling with the changes that a new role requires is not a weakness – it is simply a natural reaction and one that most employers would expect.


Mindfulness – In The Moment


Mindfulness – what does it me to me?

When I first heard the term mindfulness I must confess I switched off a little.  I felt it was more about meditation and that’s not really my thing.  But the term mindfulness continues to crop up time and time again so I decided to understand what it meant to me.

I found this definition online:

Mindfulness is purposefully paying attention to things in the present moment without judgement. It is about taking a step back, being aware of what is happening on a moment-by-moment basis, and accepting things as they are.”

A friend described it as:

being aware of the present“.

The easiest way I can find to describe it is when I’m taking Ziggy the dog for a walk in the morning.  Its very easy to treat it as just another chore, and taking Ziggy along the same old routes every day can at times get a little boring – or does it?

Now when I walk Ziggy, I try and tune into my surroundings, the sounds of the birds overhead, the feel of cold morning air on my cheeks, the sight of the crocus buds poking through the grass.

As I sit here thinking about what I’m writing I’m hugging my warm coffee cup.  Its very easy to practice mindfulness by tuning in and out of how the cup feels as it warms my hands.

Mindfulness is about enriching

the experience of the little things in life.

However lets not forget the practical elements that we can bring to our daily lives.  When life gets hectic mindfulness can be helpful in our daily activities.  Practice doing one thing at a time, focusing attention on those simple mundane tasks such as brushing your teeth and then use the same skills to focus on what someone is saying in a meeting at work, or when the kids are yelling.

Multi-tasking is still inevitable in today’s busy world, however it should become a a conscious choice to do this, keeping an awareness that perhaps you’re won’t be as “there” as you could be.

So practice mindfulness every day. Over time, it will be second nature – and if you’re still not sure? – here’s 5 reasons you should:

  • Understand yourself better
  • Be more compassionate (with yourself and others)
  • Cope better with stressful or challenging situations
  • Have a more relaxed attitude
  • Improve your concentration and creativity


Looking at the world from a dog’s perspective. 

Ziggy always takes in the sights, sounds and smells of his environment. 


Are You Stuck In A Rut?

Its very easy to become stuck in a rut, especially at work, what can you do about it?


Fortunately there are some easy quick win solutions to get you started on your climb out of the rut.

  • Ask yourself if there’s something missing? – it could be that you’ve been in the job too long, unchallenged and bored.  Write yourself a dream job checklist.  What do you need from your job?  Include earnings, hours, responsibility, commute.  This way you can start to make small changes to move towards your dream role.
  • Put some of the fun back – once we’ve hit that rock bottom boredom threshold it becomes quite tricky to change our thought processes.  So just do something different.  Why not organise a lunchtime or evening event such as a quiz or sports event, make some new friends and have a bit of fun too.
  • Network – Networking is vital and not just to those in business.  It is connecting with new people that could halp you with careers moves at a later stage or get you involved in projects.
  • Do something new – start something in your own time, do a part time college course or even start a part time business.  It could bring in a second income or even replace your first.  Do consider carefully though what it is you want to do and consider those items on your dream job checklist. Or you could ask for more responsibility at work.
  • Rewards – we all need to be rewarded for our efforts and this is often lacking at work.  So why not motivate yourself, I have chocolate treats when I know I’ve finished a project, you know what works for you.

And remember:

“If you always do, what you always did,

you’ll always get, what you always got” – unknown

So don’t be afraid to change something.




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



Dare To Dream

Do you dare to dream or does fear of failure stop you from doing so?

I’ve been doing a great deal of dreaming lately.  Like many people, I sat down in January and worked out what my goals should be. Trouble is, a lot has happened since then.  I’ve taken redundancy, had three months off, and am now coaching full time.  Things have changed.

It would be so easy to just plod along for the rest of the year but I know my business focus has to change, I know my business needs a change of direction.  So I sat down to figure it all out.

Coming from a corporate financial services background it would be so easy to stick to tried and testing goal setting techniques such as SMART.  However it is one of those rare occasions in life when I am faced with a completely blank sheet of paper. How exciting!

I’ve also been fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend a couple of taster sessions with Robbie Birchall from Invent A Better Future.  He uses a process based on Michael E Gerber and the E-Myth.  Like coaching, its a process that helps open the mind to new opportunities, new ideas and dreams.   And that’s where its starts – with the dream.

So just like I would with any client, I’ve taken my blank sheet of paper and that’s where I’ve started with my dreams.  Its fantastic having a blank sheet, in fact a new notepad is even better.  Make it large, use flip-chart paper, anything that gives you space to think, dream and grow your ideas.  Using colour, making it visual, I’ve had clients use texture before, glitter and little felted shapes.  Whatever makes the imagination flow.  For others it might be spider diagrams, lists and action plans.  The important bit is to start with the dream and allow those dreams to develop without stifling them or dismissing them.

I’ve used my dreams to create a dream/vision board.  I’ve simply googled pictures that represent each of my dreams.  They won’t mean anything to anyone else, but they each represent something to me.  I’ve pasted these into an A4 word document so that I can print it off and put it somewhere where I will see it everyday.  No matter what my day to day actions are, keeping a focus on my dream board will help me stay focused on what my longer term dreams are.  I’ve also used Pinterest so if you want to you can see what they are.

I have more work to do to shape my business, but I hope you’ll follow my progress here at Reflections over the next few weeks/months.

I and my readers would love to hear what goal setting techniques work for you.  Please comment and share below:

Roast Duck, Bow and Arrows and The Wisdom of Children

What can children teach us about achieving goals?

I decided on Tuesday to take a couple of extra long sneaky coffee breaks in the sunshine and was struck by the noise of children from next door but one’s.  I couldn’t hear the whole conversation however, I picked up snippets and could tell that they were playing.

I heard

“would you like roast duck?”

and a little later

“you’ve just killed somebody with your arrow”

and it struck me then, how different we become as adults.  At the age (5-8 ish) there are no limits to their imagination, no boundaries and nothing to stop them serving roast duck if they really believe they can do it.

Yet as adults, we listen to those negative voices telling us we can’t.

So next time I find myself telling myself that “I can’t” – I’m going to practice stepping back into my 5 year old shoes and imagining I have no limits.


What could you achieve if you had no limits?  Please share your ideas here:



Redundancy – 2 common responses and how to deal with them.

“I’m sorry but your team is being relocated!” – these were the words I heard – and I knew then that meant for me leaving the organisation I‘d worked for for 20+ years.

I’ve heard different expressions “your role is being deleted”, “you’re redundant” being amongst the worst.  It’s a fact of life.  With a struggling economy and worse happening in Europe, companies are being forced to make cutbacks and there is rarely anything personal when managers make such decisions as to who stays and who goes.

Its very easy to sit here writing a blog post and making that statement. Its quite different when you find yourself in that situation.

Two common responses are:

“Why Me?”.  This is a natural response to any kind of change.  The Reflections Coaching Change Curve © demonstrates the responses we go through when we face a change and is useful in understanding the range of emotions that go with it.

 “I’m redundant”.  Frankly this statement stems from what we choose to say, or what others have wrongly phrased it.  Redundancy is not about you or me its about a financial decision being made about the role that you currently do.  The individual (you) are not redundant – in fact quite the opposite.  You have a huge range of transferable skills and knowledge .

But here’s the real conundrum – right at the very moment you need every ounce of confidence, someone has possibly dealt you one of the biggest confidence knocks of your life.  And right at the time when you should be investing in YOU – someone has removed your financial safety net.


Coinage (Photo credit: Simon Greig (xrrr))

If you’re looking for another job, getting some help with CV writing and interview skills is a must.  Times have changed and as I’ve discovered recently CVs need to be much better and good networking skills a real must in finding work.

Whether you’re looking for work or thinking of starting a business then networking and confidence skills are paramount too.

I’ll be covering more of both networking and interview stuff in  future blog posts, however if this has sparked your interest then coaching could help too.  Why not visit Reflections for more information.


Change – How we deal with it

Change can be uncomfortable for all of us. It’s perfectly normal to experience a variety of feelings even if you’re the one driving the change, or supporting the change.

The change curve is a model that many people identify with, some if not all of the stages. Even those committed to change, as a steady state, sometimes feel momentary DENIAL.

There are lots of variations of the Change Curve, the most notable is the Kubler Ross Curve that is specifically used for grief.  Here is a version that can be used for a wider number of applications:

The Coaching Change Curve ©2011 Reflections Coaching:



The first stage of the Reflections Coaching Change Curve is Shock.  This is likely to occur the first time you find out about the change.  Have you ever heard that voice in your head saying “I can’t believe it” or “this really isn’t happening to me”.  Yet there you are.  Right in the middle of it all and you’re facing change.

This shock can be as simple as the culture shock we sometimes feel when going on holiday.  Just simply slowing down our bodies and relaxing away from the pressures of day to day living makes us feel out of kilter.

From a personal point of view I recall vividly standing in a room full of my colleagues and being told that my job and my two team colleagues were being transferred 50 miles away.  At the time it felt as though my world was ending.  Here was the career I’d been in for 22 years and I was suddenly going to have to travel for 3 hours a day or have no job!  I was filled with horror and uncertainty and I felt as though my freedom was being taken away.

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