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.

Do You Lie To Yourself? Be “True to Me” instead

“The biggest lie I tell is the one I tell myself everyday – I am inferior to others” – Carolyn Trafford

Hands up if this rings true with you.  I’ve stopped for a moment to question why I do it.  What point does it serve to continually compare ourselves with others and then only conclude where we are inferior.  We were not born with a self destruct button!!

It is this type of negative, destructive action that if used repeatedly damages self confidence, self esteem and can leave us struggling to be someone else.  A role that we can not naturally fit into.

For years as I was growing up I have labelled myself “not as good as…..”, “not as pretty as…..” but never “better than” because we are taught that it is not nice to be conceited.  Yet these thoughts, once they are ingrained stay with us until we take conscious action to change our thinking.

Stop and think for a moment, what phrases you’re currently using to describe yourself.  Are they having a positive effect on you?  What terms would you prefer to use?

It is possible to change this type of negative thinking – it just takes practice.

So simply take 5 minutes now to think about yourself in positive terms.  What do you like about yourself?  What is your best feature?  What are you really good at?

  • Take time to write these down in a special notepad – I call it a “True to Me” journal
  • Take 5 minutes at the end of everyday and aim to note down 3 great things you’ve done or achieved.
  • Next time you find yourself comparing yourself less favourable to someone else, get out your “true to me” journal and choose something more positive to call yourself.

Keeping and using a “True to Me” journal is just one of the techniques I use with clients requiring some help to increase their confidence and can be a real boost.  If you need more help then please get in touch with me on 07714 216388 to discuss how I can help you further.


copyright Carolyn Trafford

MOTIVATION – Top Tips from a Guest Blogger

If you have read recent posts on this blog, you will have seen some snippets about a client that I have been lucky enough to work with who has recently successfully achieved her near impossible goal. I have attempted to share her story with you and I really don’t think I have done it justice.  So I am delighted to say that Sandra has agreed to guest blog for me AND share her MOTIVATION tips.

Please enjoy:

I have the honour of being asked to write a guest blog post for Carolyn on motivation, following my recent journey up a mountain.  I’m no expert in this field, but I’m happy to share my journey and maybe, just maybe, something will inspire you to achieve your own goal too.

P1060319Sandra on the summit of Great End



I’d always been a bit of a fitness fanatic and a huge lover of the great outdoors.  An ex-gymnast, fitness instructor and personal trainer I looked after my body and truly believed that by eating well and keeping fit my body would reward me well into my old age. 


Oh what a delusion!  You can imagine my devastation when, just over 5 years ago, I acquired a disability affecting the use of my legs.  Going to the shops became an expedition needing help, support, crutches and a wheelchair.  I took the easy option and stayed home, isolating myself from the world in my own little bubble of safety.  I basically gave up on life.


In August 2012 I attended the Lake District Calvert Trust, a charity that challenges disability through outdoor adventure activities.  I had low expectations, low confidence and low self-esteem. I told my instructor of my one regret of not having got around to summiting Great End (a mountain in the Lake District on the Scafell range) before my disability.  He looked me in the eye, and said quite matter of factly “Don’t have regrets, go and do it then.”  As the week progressed a spark inside me ignited, and over the following months that spark became a roaring fire of passion, hope and self-belief.  I am proud to say that 9 months later I stood on top of that mountain, fulfilling a long-standing dream and raised nearly £2,500 for the charity the brought me back to me.


So what motivated me to achieve what others had said was impossible?  Here are my top tips:-


M   editate on your goal.  Imagine how great it feels to have achieved it, what it looks like, feels like, smells like, sounds like.  Doesn’t it just feel fantastic!  Hold onto that feeling every single day of your journey.

O   bserve your goal and your journey from every angle so you are as prepared as you can be to overcome any obstacles.  It’s ok to change your game plan, it’s the end result that’s important.

T    ell others.  This makes the goal real.  If anyone is negative, ignore them – that is their problem not yours.  Surround yourself with positive people and ask for their experience and expertise to help you get where you want to be.

I    nspire yourself.  It’s easy to give up when the going gets tough, but keep yourself inspired by focussing on a role model, google inspirational quotes, print them off and put them around your house.  I love the quote by Martin Luther King “If you can’t fly, then run.  If you can’t run, then walk.  If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

V     alue yourself, what you are doing and why you are doing it.  Yes, you are worth it!

A    ccept where you are now, and identify what help or support you will need to get where you want to be. This will enable you to set realistic goals and targets.

T    hink outside the box.  How could I get up a mountain when I cannot walk unaided and need to rest after a few steps?  Let’s think in a different way.  I can walk with assistance for a few steps and then need to rest.  I can repeat that process over and over again.  I can travel at 3.6 hours per mile.  It will take me 3 days.  I can do this if I camp in the mountains for 2 nights.  I will ask people to help me, support me and carry my kit.  Change your words, change your way of thinking and suddenly you will find a solution.

E    njoy your journey.  To reach your goal you need passion.  For me, failure was not an option.  My passion and desire to achieve my goal was so strong it drove me on when exhaustion wanted me to stop and when the pain was screaming through my body.  My passion of the great outdoors, being at one with Mother nature and standing in awe at the beauty of her artwork from the summit of a mountain is one I shall never forget.


I am humbled by the help and support shown by my team who shared this journey with me.  Sometimes a goal is just too big to achieve on your own.  Ask for help, work on yourself, dream, believe and achieve.


With love.


Sandra x

Do you network or do referal marketing? – What does this say about you?

The question do you network or do referral marketing is not so much because I’m interested whether you do or not.  Its more about how you perceive others and they perceive you.

It came about at one of my networking meetings.  I was having a chat with one of the attendees.  I tend to think of myself as a networker, they felt they did referral marketing.

Personally I prefer to ‘network’ – I see this as a really positive thing to do.  Building up great relationships with great people and making sure I keep in close contact.

My fellow ‘referral marketer’ held the opposite view.  She felt that net workers were people who just did the rounds, met lots of people and didn’t have close relationships.

I’m not seeking your views here – at the end of the day they are just words.  However it is for me a lesson in being aware about the words we use to describe ourselves, how we use them and how others interpret it.  We could just be giving the wrong impression.







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.

What Can Margaret Thatcher Teach Us About Business?

Politics are a funny thing in a fickle world. I also believe they’re a very private thing and not for discussion on my blog. However what is worth commenting on is the power of a Woman that knows her own mind.


Lady Margaret Thatcher was an extraordinary woman. She knew exactly what she wanted to achieve and set out to achieve it in a challenging environment and in a world dominated by men.


What is important to understand is not what her motives were but to examine the behaviour she displayed and how we can use this as learning in our own businesses/workplaces.


If we are to take one piece of learning from her and bring it into the business world it is this:


She was a lady that had a clear vision, undeniable self-belief whilst remaining true to her own values and that of her party at the time.  I know these are three things that are critical in running my business.  She is also a great role model for women and what can be achieved with clear goals and a “can-do” attitude.


Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)



I work closely with individuals around their values and goals in their careers and business and spend time working on my own self-development to bring this into my own business.
What three things do you need in your business and how will you get them?


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)


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. 


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 Great Things Have You Achieved This Week?

Have you ever been there?

Sometimes its like a black hole sucking you in.  No matter what you do or try it doesn’t get any easier and your business looks like it’ll never be a success.

Its a perfectly natural feeling or at least that’s what I keep telling myself?  But the question I keep asking again and again is:


“How do I know when my business is successful?”
2 years ago I would have defined success as having the flexibility to work at home, for myself with clients largely on a one-to-one basis.  Well, actually that’s exactly where I am right now so why do I not have the answer to the question?

Is it just my need for perfectionism.  I’ve previously described my perfectionism gene as my downfall, so maybe I just set very high standards for myself and keep moving the goal posts.  Maybe that’s a good thing – stops me stagnating or becoming complacent.

So here’s my one top tip about goals:

Goals – should be moving goal posts that way we always strive to be the best.  However its very important to give yourself credit for what you’ve achieved so far.  Keep an achievement list somewhere visible and add to it daily.  Review it monthly – you’ll be surprised how much you have actually achieved.

What great things have you achieved this week?


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