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What is the ONE thing that's standing between you and your dreams?

Rebecca Morley

Quite often I get half way through writing a blog post and realise I’m writing it as much to myself as anyone else. This week is no different, and you’re getting this late for precisely that reason! This week I’m writing about fear. It’s the ONE thing that stops you getting what you want. This week it was the one thing that stopped me writing this sooner, I was scared of getting it wrong, scared of not hitting the high standards I set for myself and scared that I wouldn’t be able to tackle this huge subject in few enough words to keep you interested. But here goes...
 
Think about what you most want in life, or for your career? Why don’t you have it yet?
 
These are questions I ask a lot. They kick off the coaching relationship. The responses I get are diverse and varied. Financial constraints, concern over what other people might think, a lack of experience or skills, low confidence, a feeling of trepidation, self doubt... no crystal ball!
 
Once you break these things down, without exception, they are driven by fear. Fear of financial difficultly and a lack of security, fear of what people might think, the fear of failure and the fear of exclusion, not knowing how things might turn out, the list goes on. And each and every one stands between you and what you want to achieve. The reason for this is that all of these things, on the face of it, conflict with our most basic needs, those of security, belonging and esteem. The problem is, if we let those thoughts win, they also prevent us from reaching past that to achieve the thing we most want. Especially when there’s a previous experience lurking there to prove their fears were right all along.
 
We collect excuses and knit them into a huge protective coat to shield us from all the terrible things that will happen if our fears come true. But the coat slows us down and as well as protecting us, it prevents us from experiencing things and achieving what we most want.
 
So how do we overcome this and still go on to achieve big things? The key is to minimise the perceived risk. Here is my five point plan for facing your fears:
 

  1. Set goals – set a goal that has a timeline attached to it. It’s very easy to think something is impossible because you can’t do it right now. Decide what you’re going to achieve and by when and then…
  2. Break it down into small chunks and tackle each one in turn – it feels a lot less scary to take on a small task or step in the process.
  3. Work out the knowns and unknowns – think about the things need answers to to make you feel like it’s safe to take the next step. One of my favourite clients didn’t even know if her dream job existed when we first started working together, our first step was to find out. And then we found out what sort of people did it, and then we answered the next question and so on… she now has two offers of her dream job on the table and is trying to choose between them! Make sure you challenge the things you think you know too if they’re things that are getting in your way.
  4. Manage your stakeholders – draw a map of all the people that will be affected by what it is you’re planning to achieve. Then decide if they’re important, and if they are then talk to them about how they can support you or what you need from them, and even more importantly what they need from you. If they’re not important, then we’re not going to think about them again!
  5. Learn from others. Chances are, you’re not the first to step out and try and achieve what you’re setting out to do. Research other people who have been successful and find out their journeys. It’s easy to compare to the successful version of someone you aspire to but you will learn that they didn’t start out that way.  Success really doesn’t happen overnight! 

Do all of these things and you’ll feel that big heavy coat start to unravel. When you’re not carrying round the weight of it, and taking consistent action towards your goals, you'll start to feel as though anything is possible and that's because it is.

5 secrets of the most successful women

Rebecca Morley

I don’t know many people who love their job quite as much as I do. I come away from coaching sessions literally buzzing from head to toe. I know, I sound like a maniac, but honestly, there is nothing greater than seeing potential unlocked and dreams being allowed a chance to come true. It really can happen. With the right framework and mindset in place, it is possible to achieve whatever you want.

On the mindset point particularly, in my time as a coach I’ve noticed some recurring themes. To support my clients, I’ve also put many hours into finding out what the most successful women out there have in common. I wanted to share with you the top 5 habits shared by the women who really stand out:

  1. They believe in something

All successful women are absolutely crystal clear on the reason they do what they do. When your purpose is clear, everything becomes easier. Hard work, setbacks, tough decisions and even the competition are all very different when they’re viewed through the lens of a strong core purpose. When you’re committed wholeheartedly to your cause then you damn well keep on going until you achieve it.

Take Coco Chanel for example. She lost her mother at 12 and her father abandoned her in the same week. Her whole life caved in around her ears and she grew up in terrible circumstances. Her driving force? She was determined to overcome that poverty and make a name for herself. I think we can safely say she nailed that one.

2. They have goals

Goals and purpose go hand in hand. Very few people would set out on a car journey without knowing where they’re going but a surprisingly large number of people set out in business in exactly that way. When I work with a new client, the very first thing I get them to do is work out exactly where they want to get to and by when.

The beauty of well set out goals is that they give you a framework to stick to and, when it comes to making decisions they you a very simple way of making choices without too much emotional drain. When you’ve put all your emotion into crafting a set of goals you’re completely thrilled by you can be very clinical further down the line.

3. They get help

For me, there’s two types of help that are critical to success – Outsourcing and outside expertise. Outsourcing is a godsend for time poor, cash rich (and even not so rich) business women, and I strongly urge anyone to outsource as many time consuming tasks as they can. Cleaning, admin, even childcare… anything that costs you less than your own hourly earnings should be outsourced to a good quality provider. As Jessica Herrin of Stella & Dot put it, she “nearly died alone on I-Can-Do-It-All-Island” and no one wants that!

Outside expertise covers the likes of mentors and, more commonly now, coaches. It’s very rare to read a true success story without mention of that one person that provided a much needed break or some words of wisdom at a key moment. Get out there and speak to people about whatever it is you want to achieve, share your dreams and vision for the future. People love to help and every connection you make will shift you on in some way.

4. They take action

Successful women take action. In the words of Isaac Newton, ‘Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. Many people just can’t seem to get underway and as a result they simply don’t take action.’ It often takes courage and sometimes even a bit of naivety but the main thing that successful women do is that they take the first step and then keep going until they create consistent momentum.

No one ever got successful by sitting at home and thinking about it. High achievers get out and do. They take risks, learn from everything, good or bad and then fill in the gaps along the way. They have a bring it on attitude and they just go for it. For me, I tend to find that the most successful women I work with just don’t see barriers in the same way as other people. They focus on finding a way to overcome things rather than the barriers themselves.

5. They celebrate success

Anyone who practices mindfulness will already be aware of the power of gratitude and it’s role in building a positive and resilient mindset . It’s so important when you’re working hard to achieve your goals that you take time out to celebrate success and reflect on what you’re grateful for. Celebrating success charges your energy reserves and builds you up for the next stage of the journey, especially when you focus on just how much effort you’ve put in to getting to where you are now. As Oprah says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

All in all, successful women are rule breakers, risk takers, hard workers and bounce backers. Find as many as you can and make them your tribe.

Some words are louder than others

Rebecca Morley

If you’ve ever done any work on personal development, you know the statistic that only a very tiny amount of how you communicate is verbal.  In fact only 9% of communication is in the words we actually use.  In saying that however, for anyone that’s trying to convince people of something, whether that’s as a leader, manager or seller of products or ideas the language you use is phenomenally important too. 

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