Personal Development – what does it really mean to you?

I take quite a simple definition, its about anything that you want to change in your work, home or personal life.

 It can be about:

 How you react in different situations

  • Controlling your stress levels
  • Your work/life balance
  • Achieving your dreams
  • Work aspirations
  • Dealing with other people
  • How you perform a task

I could go on, although I expect you have the general idea.

 Self development can take as little as 10 minutes a day.  In reality, we forget in our busy lives to set aside this time for ourselves.  We place a low priority on what we do for ourselves compared to helping and supporting other people.

 So if you’re to make just one small change this week, allow yourself just ten minutes a day to think about what you’d like to change in your life and how you’re going to do it.

If you’re not sure where to start with your own personal development, ring Carolyn today on 07714 216388 to book your free consultation.


words and pictures copyright Reflections Coaching (2014)

Lets Take Some Time Out

I’ve just had a lovely slightly longer than average weekend.  A really good friend came to stay, a friend who I probably see 3 or 4 times a year.

I’m sharing this with you because, having my friend in the house meant that both myself and my hubby who also runs his own business, switched off our computers, and put down our tablets for 3 whole days.  I don’t know when this last happened other than over Christmas.  Even when we go on holiday we take a tablet each and seek out the wifi.  Its almost as though facebook would fail without us, let alone our businesses.

I don’t know if it’s the fear that if we don’t get back to someone straight away that a business lead will simply go cold, or our absence from social media means that we lose our presence. Either way those thoughts are unfounded.

The weekend is now over and there are no lost clients, just a bigger than average inbox to go through.  We have however had a lovely relaxed weekend that simply wouldn’t have been achieved had our guest not have stayed.  I even managed to try my hand at making crumpets, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

So the moral of this story?  Just once in a while, either with friends or on your own – switch off your social media – its one sure fire way of getting some balance back in your life.

If from time to time you find balancing home and work difficult, using a coach to help you make personal boundaries can make a huge difference. Give Carolyn a call on 07714 216388 today to make an appointment for your first free consultation – what do you have to lose?


Do I Love Me Enough?

Its valentines day – everywhere is full of hearts and flowers and couples who are all loved up.  And its lovely because it makes us think about what really matters in our life.  Things tend to be a little different in the Trafford household as its Hubby’s birthday so I have to work extra hard to spoil him.  On the whole I think we get the balance right.

And its balance that I wanted to talk about today.  Its important when we talk about who we love to remember that we should love ‘me’ too. 

How often do you take time out to really appreciate the things that you do for yourself or even make time for yourself. 

So when you’ve finished with valentines day and the flowers have faded, set a date for “Love Me Day” and do something special  – just for you – to appreciate you, what a wonderful person you are and to thank you for simply being you.

You’re worth it.



If you struggle to appreciate you and who you are, it could be that your self esteem is feeling a little low.  Give Caro a call on 07714 216388 today to book your free consultation to see what you could do to feel “worth it” again.

Why Does My New Year Resolution Fail?

Why do I so often fail with my new year resolution? Are Goals and Resolutions the same thing?

Setting New Years resolutions are a bit of a tradition. I’ve been waking up on the 1st January for as long as I can remember and setting resolutions. Its something my mum first encouraged me to do.

How many resolutions last the year? Not many and that’s probably the case for most people. In fact if you start to research the topic you’ll find that stats suggest that most will be broken by the middle Monday in January. Frequently dubbed Blue Monday, this day is the accumulation of long nights, back to work syndrome, arrival of credit card bills and little to look forward to. Add to that, the fact that most people’s resolutions are about giving something up or doing something we don’t want to, then it can become a difficult proposition to maintain.

Properly formulated goals can be a very different proposition. So why are goals so different?

So ask yourself the question – Do you want to lose weight or is it that you want to feel better about yourself? Do you want to give up alcohol or do you want to live a healthier lifestyle?

Once you understand what’s driving your resolution then working toward achieving that goal is about having  positive motivation, rather than moving away from something you don’t want.

Goals should be specific. They should identify exactly what it is you want to achieve, this way you will know when you’re achieved it. This should include a quantity if appropriate and a time by when you will have completed it.

So if your goal is about getting fit, how will you know when you feel fitter? Perhaps a measure might be being able to run for 5 minutes without stopping by the end of March OR being able to walk upstairs without being out of breath.

Goals are much easier to achieve in small steps. If your goal is to write a novel by the end of the year, that’s one big task that you may put off until November and then it becomes unrealistic. Break your goals into small manageable steps, which in this case might be to write the outline by the end of January, 1st chapter by end of February and get feedback in March. Celebrate each achievement as you reach it.
And remember, don’t be hard on yourself. We all lose our way from time to time. It’s like riding a bike, the trick is to get back on when you fall off. So don’t be hard on yourself, just resolve to start again.

What’s Your NY Resolution?

If you need help with your goals this year, then having some support can really make the difference.  Give me a call now on 07714 216388 to see how I can help you make a splash with your goals.


copyright Reflections Coaching



Comfort Zone Leap Part II – Stepping Up To The Mic

In last week’s post I shared with you my thoughts on the OMG state – a state of mind where your inner voice continually tells you that you’ve made a mistake and its all going to go horribly wrong.

I met up with my fellow comedy challengers again last week.  We’d all prepared some material – short comedy sketches to test on each other and I felt OK about it.  But when we got to the meeting room – there was a microphone and a speaker.  How can one inanimate object scare me so much.  I panicked at the thought of using it.  I quickly realised that this was my negative self (Frankie) trying to sabotage me.  What a brilliant opportunity to practice and use the mic now rather than face it for the first time at the show.

Turning thoughts around into a positive outcome is a great technique to use when you start to panic over something.

P1070681copyright Carolyn Trafford

I’d also really worried about my material.  Having stood in front of a mirror and read it out, it neither sounded funny nor was delivered in a funny style.  I was really nervious when I stepped up to the Mic.

Yet I was greeted with laughter from my 14 strong audience.  Loud laughter! Imagine what that will sound like with an audience of 300.  And better still the feedback I received was that it was almost there.  So my second learning point today is:

No matter what you say, do or in fact believe, when delivered to someone else it will be interpreted differently, gather feedback and if its positive believe it as readily as you would if it were negative.

Well I’m off to practice for this weeks meeting, I’ve added a few bits, changed a few bits and streamlined some of it, so we’ll see what this week throws at me.

Sometimes we need help, encouragement and motivation to achieve the things we are aiming for.  Call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 if you need help with yours and to book your free 45 minute consultation.





Comfort Zone Leap Part I – The OMG State

How often do you step out of your comfort zone?  What motivates you to do it?

You may already have read Snowballing – a blog post a few weeks ago which favours taking a small action, a small step in the right direction to help you step outside your comfort zone.

Snowballing was written in response to me saying “Yes” which at the time was a very small step in the direction of a huge stretch of my own comfort zone.  I said “Yes” to doing stand up comedy for charity.

As I write this, its a whole month to the comedy event and I want to share with you my comedy journey and how I face my fears leading up to the event……..


It started a few weeks ago.  When The Gingerbread Charity asked for volunteers.  Saying “Yes” was the easy part.  I was motivated more about proving to myself that I could step outside of my comfort zone than anything else, so the fundraising part was just a bonus.

Yes, I get nervous about public speaking.  Its those butterflies that keep me on my toes, give me an edge when I’m presenting.  Comedy on the other hand is something else.  How can the person that can’t even remember a joke stand up on stage and perform stand up comedy to an audience of 300 folks.  Is it going to be a step too far for me?  Let’s face it BBC Radio Stoke christened me Staffordshire and Cheshire’s least funny person.

My emotions vary considerably.  I go from super-confident, its just another skill to learn, practice and put into action to the “OMG” state.  What if I forget my lines?  What if my timing is off?  What if no one laughs? or worse still, I’m boo’d off stage.

Like everything we deal with in life – its simply a matter of learning to tune out of the negative voices.  That’ll be Frankie. Frankie is the voice of my negative self belief.  Frankie is the enemy in my head, the one who is always telling me that I can’t do something, or I’ll be no good at it.  When I listen to him he’s right and I often fail in my achievements.  I need to listen to Carolyn – my true voice.  Carolyn is logical, intuitive and confident.  It is my true voice that knows I can do this.


Corporate comedy club


“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
Henry Ford


The good news is that I’ve been to my first meeting about the comedy evening and met with 9 other equally nervous individuals.  When tackling goals having the right support is important.  We’ve started to talk about material and how to create it.  One of my fears was where would my material come from and already I think I have about 50% of it.

So right now my logical, intuitive and confident voice is on top and taking some very practical steps in writing some material.  Knowing that I have this will be one huge confident leap into my ‘stretch zone’.

Anyone wishing to support the cause can do so via my Just Giving Page every pound donated not only goes directly to the charity but also spurs me on and provides motivation – another critical aspect of working with goals.

My next step is to get my material into a usable format and start to think about my delivery. Focusing on these small steps keeps me moving in the right direction.

What’s your next step?  What takes you our of your comfort zone? What will you do to help you get there?

Improving your self belief is an empowering process.  Call Carolyn today on 07714 216388 for a free 45 minute chat to see what you can do to tackle your comfort zone.






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


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

I Wish I Could….

How often do you hear yourself say that? “I wish I had……”, “I wish I could…..”

Isn’t it time you started to put these things into action?

What is it that is actually stopping you?

I find myself doing it so often. Sometimes its about big things, my long term goals and tackling them means lots of goal planning, breaking it down into baby steps, action plans etc. But at least I can make a start, take a step in the right direction.

But its those little ones that are most troublesome. The things like, I wish I spent more time with my friends, I wish my house was tidier…. It’s a bit of a no-brainer really. If I spent less time wondering why my house wasn’t tidy and more time actually keeping it tidy I wouldn’t have so much negative energy around it. And is for seeing more of my friends, well that’s only a text or a phone call away isn’t it?

So here it is. The next time you find yourself saying “I wish I…..” run through the following three steps and take some action.

1 Analyse it, is it in your control? If not let go of the negative feelings around it and move on or it will continue to have a negative effect on you.
2 Is it too big a step? Take some time out to plan it and work out if its realistic to tackle, break it into baby steps and start taking some small steps towards your end goal.
3 Is it easy to build into life? Then stop wishing and just get on with it and do it.


believe stones

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