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My 6-year-old daughter is obsessed with Matilda the Musical by Tim Minchin based on the book by Roald Dahl. It's about a 5-6 year girl who immerses herself in books and imaginative stories as an escape from her abusive home and tough school life.

My daughter loves singing along to the songs in the car so as a result, I know them well too!

The one I love is “Naughty” in which Matilda references the stories about Jack and Jill, Romeo and Juliet, and Cinderella and wonders why they didn’t just change their story.

Matilda sings:

“Just because you find that life’s not fair, it doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it. If you always take it on the chin and wear it, nothing will change.

Even if you’re little, you can do a lot you mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you.

If you sit around and let them get on top you might as well be saying that's ok and that's not right”.

“But nobody else is gonna put it right for me, nobody else is gonna change my story, sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty”

I'm happy that through this song my daughter is learning that you don't have to just suck things up and that you can change your story (even if you’re little).


People often come to coaching because they are at a transitional stage of life, for example entering a new decade. They want a change but they are finding it hard to do it on their own because they are stuck (in their story).

Examples of stuck thinking are:


“I’d love to start my own business but I’m no good at selling myself”


Either you’re committed to your career or to being a mum, you can’t have both successfully”


“It's hopeless. Everyone knows how hard it is for women over 40 to find a partner. You've seen the statistics”


“ With the cost of living crisis, people just don’t want to pay for ……x,y,z”


“Really you have no idea what it's like to be a single parent. I have no time to exercise and eat healthily ”.

Sure, there may be some truth in the above statements but they are not absolute truths. It may be that dating in your 40s is different from finding a partner in your 20s but is it hopeless?

Too often we take historical experience and make it into “the way I am” or “the way it is” whatever that situation is. As if we are powerless to have it any other way.


Perspectives are expressions of a “being condition” a state you are in.

If you think of your life right now today in terms of seasons of the year, would you say this is “the wintertime of your life” or spring, summer, or autumn? Each of these is a perspective a different way of looking at the same data, your life.

I'm soon turning 50, so I could say that I’m entering the autumn of my life or I could tell myself that I’m entering my second spring. If I see my life as autumn I could give myself permission to slow down or if I see my life as a second spring I might allow myself to look out for new opportunities. Whichever perspective I choose I will find evidence for it and as the saying goes “what you focus on grows”.

The event ( turning 50) is the same no matter what perspective I'm wearing AND the way of looking at the situation will have an enormous impact on the action I take.

A lot of women I coach, talk about their age as a constraint to moving forward in their career/work life. They use phrases like "the clock is ticking" or “my age is against me”. These are perspectives on age (supported by societal conditioning).

What if they changed their perspective to “experience is on my side” and back it up with evidence such as the UK government’s drive to get 50+ year-olds back into the workplace? Then what would be possible? See the New Package of Support for Over 50's.


3 Ways Coaching Can Help Change Our Stories

Changing Your Perspective

One of the great benefits of working with a coach is they will tune into your “absolute statements” and recognise that they are merely a way of looking at the situation. There are other ways of looking that are also true; it's just that often we have an automatic response. The goal of coaching at this early stage is to hear the default perspective and be curious about it. For example, a coach asks the client who views dating as “hopeless”: “What's it like to look at this in this way? What does it get you? What's the cost? The coach can help you stay with these questions for a while so that you have a deeper experience of this automatic perspective.

A coach then encourages you to come up with some other perspectives that are also true so that you can explore your experience and expand ways of looking at the situation. For example “What would it be like to look at finding a partner from the perspective of a “Love Island” contestant or from a teenager’s point of view or through the lens of Michelle Obama? “What’s another way of looking at this that is also true”.

A coach will listen out for your underlying assumptions and be curious and test them out with you. This then gives you choices and a new way forward.

Making Conscious choices

Far too often people believe that they don’t have the power of choice and it's the circumstances of their life that controls the outcome.

Its the job

It's the travelling to work

It's the limited income

It's the responsibility of parenting

It’s the lack of free time

The list goes on. Look at all of those circumstances. We are not victims of our circumstances our history or our judgments of ourselves. We can choose differently.

Coaching has helped so many women to identify their values - the guiding principles about what you want to stand for. Our choices in life are more likely to be conscious if they are in accordance with these values. Alongside your values your coach will help you to define your purpose; your “why” so that you feel confident with the choices you make and the direction you take.

Recreating Yourself Afresh: New Life Scripts

Eric Berne founder of Transactional Analysis (TA) proposed that dysfunctional behaviour is the result of self-limiting decisions made in childhood in the interest of survival. Such decisions culminate in what Berne called the Life Script, the unconscious plan derived from early experiences that govern the way life is lived out.

Transactional Analysis (TA) shows us that there are often unconscious “life scripts” pulling our strings from behind the scenes.

In the coaching process, once we are more rooted in our true values and purpose and have “refined” our desires. Then it’s possible to engage in imaginative and creative exercises, which invite new versions of ourselves, and help us to pull these into our present.

Working with a coach can help you to catch these unconscious life scripts and with this awareness, you can begin to start writing a different script for the rest of your life.

A coach can help you do this by asking you to imagine yourself in the medium-term or long-term future (eg 1, 5, or 10 years). You can become clear about what really matters to you and how you want your life to be.


If you’re feeling stuck in an aspect of your life, be it in your career, a business, or

juggling work and kids. You have dreams and ambitions but you’re feeling overwhelmed and unable to propel yourself forward. Then arrange a discovery call with me so that you can take start taking steps towards changing your story and living your life with clarity, purpose, and confidence.

I recently went to my first Hula Fit class. I’d seen the flier for it at the bus stop and it stuck out to me for being unusual and fun. I’d never been able to hula hoop so I thought I’d go along and check it out.

For a while now I’ve been regularly writing down lists of “20 things I’d love to do” or “20 things that bring me joy” and then making sure I do at least one a day. Or when I’m feeling depleted, I look at the list and do something from it to refill my tank.

Hula-hooping was not on the list but the mantra from another coach “the more frivolous the better” was at the back of my mind when I saw the Hula Fit flier. So I booked in for a trial.

There were 4 of us in the class. When I arrived, two ladies in their 60s were already hula-hooping away with bright pink and white hoops. It really made me happy to see it because it was so unexpected. It filled me with delight and reminded me of how I felt watching the scene from Ted Lasso, when Coach Beard gets up and starts hula hooping in the middle of a club. It was so unexpected and inspiring. The surprise element was that Coach Beard was so good at it because normally he is a serious character. This clip of him hula-hooping reveals his true spirit.

So at class, I started off tentatively, at first only managing to keep the hoop going for a few seconds but with good instructions from the teacher and cheers of support from the other hula-hooping ladies, I gradually started getting the hang of it and it felt great! And whilst doing it, I tuned out of my “to-do list” and was completely in the moment.

Lessons I learned:

  • Listen to and trust your inner voice When I saw the Hula fit flyer at the bus stop, it jumped out at me immediately as something I’d love to try. But my inner voice kicked in with “you don’t have time”, “you’ll be no good at it”. But because I’m focused on self-care and what will nourish me, I managed to override this sabotaging voice and contacted the instructor for a free trial. Working with a coach can help you to tune out the “inner dialogue” that talks you out of doing what will bring you joy. A coach will not buy into the limiting beliefs you hold about yourself such as “I’m too old, too big, too clumsy …to do…” and instead help you to tune into your own real desires so that you can spot opportunities for joy when they pop up.

  • Play and experiment with something new. (the more frivolous the better) Play, movement, and humour is one of Dan Siegel’s 7 keys to Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to grow and change. He says, in order to make mistakes without perfectionism or shame, we need to step into a place of playfulness and even humour. Being playful puts the brain in an open state for learning. All baby animals and humans learn through play, which allows mistakes to be made (and learned from) in a safe environment. I dropped my hula hoop so many times in that first class but it was a safe encouraging environment to keep going and improving. With a coach, you can play and experiment with ideas, think creatively about an area you may be stuck in, and get encouragement to get out there and do it even though you think you might fail.

  • Set a goal to learn a new skill It could be something physical like hula hooping, learning to paint water colour, or crocheting; something you have to learn how to master. Dan Siegel also says In relation to neuroplasticity “New experiences stimulate neuronal connections. If we don’t know how to do something, the cognitive patterns for it don’t exist in our brains, thus new connections must be made. In order to maintain the benefits, however, these experiences have to increase in challenge in order to create new growth”. Learning a skill that you could potentially master like hula hooping, adding on new tricks, and dancing to music with the hoop, ticks this box of improving my neuroplasticity. A coach can challenge you to set new goals and support you as you learn new life-enhancing skills, this could also be trying out new ways of being.

  • Put self-care first Use the practice of writing down 20 things that nourish you and make you feel alive/"up", on a regular basis. Most “up” activities are of two main types:

    1. Mastery: skills that we learn, and basic things we need to do to make life organised and run smoothly.

    2. Pleasure: things we enjoy doing e.g. taking a long bath, eating our favourite food, going for a walk, seeing a friend, watching a good film, listening to music, etc.

When people are very busy they tend to give up nourishing activities that seem less “urgent”. This tends to deplete energy rather than boost it. With less energy, they cut off even more nourishing activities - setting up a vicious cycle leading to exhaustion. To counteract this, it's good to choose to spend more time on “up” activities and less time on “down” ones. Hula Fit is definitely an “up” activity for me. A coach helps you to stay on track with your self-care, facilitates the generation of new ideas for “up” activities, and keeps you accountable to doing them on a regular basis.

  • Commitment There’s nothing like having an accountability partner. It’s easy to allow other people’s needs and wants to take priority over our own. Signing up for 4 x Hula Hooping classes has made me accountable to going every week to get better, even when I don’t feel like it or I feel I have more “important things” to do. Having a coach as an accountability partner helps you stay focused on your goal. Nothing will change if you don't carve out the time to experiment and play. Scheduling regular coaching sessions gives you space to focus on yourself and what matters to you so that over time you will create the changes you desire in your life.

So if you’re feeling stuck or uninspired trying to change career, improve a relationship, or start a project; counter-intuitive as it sounds, get inspired by learning something new or taking up a new hobby. Look at Jo Moseley who took up Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) aged 51 and became the first woman to stand-up paddle coast-to-coast, from Liverpool to Goole. She says she became “a warrior not a worrier”. How about BMX racing, lego building, ice skating… It may seem frivolous amongst the “to dos” but for me, going to the hula fit class gave me the inspiration to write this blog post and my coach gave me the accountability to finish it.

Do get in touch to discuss how coaching can help you ignite the spark to move forward in your life and keep you accountable.

When I watched the recent Dolly Parton documentary “Here I Am”, I felt so inspired by her life story and fascinated by what people said about her. The stand-out comment for me was from her friend Jane Fonda who said:

her life is the life of a feminist which means a woman who has fought to realise herself, to actualise her full self”.

Self-actualisation describes the fulfilment of your full potential as a person. Self-actualisation is at the top of the pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow believed that people have an inborn desire to be self-actualised, that is, to be all they can be. To achieve this ultimate goal, however, a number of more basic needs must be met. This includes the need for food, safety, love, and self-esteem.

Dolly Parton has overcome adversity and reached the top of this pyramid. What an achievement. She has broken so many glass ceilings in the music business while still remaining true to herself. How does she do it?


Find the courage to be yourself

Dolly’s favourite song “Coat of Many Colours” about the coat her mom made for her out of rags, is about confidence, bullying, and acceptance. She says “it's ok to be different, it's ok not to be like everyone else, it's wonderful that you are who you are”. Jane Fonda says “Dolly is very conscious of self, she has created a mythic, iconic character entirely real, but enhanced" and describes her as being “more unique than anyone else”.

Refine Your Talent

Dolly has a unique voice, is a brilliant songwriter, and is a fantastic entertainer. Alongside this natural talent, she has interest, dedication, focus, and persistence. She’s been performing on stage since she was ten years old and has always wanted to stand out and be a star. Along the way she has honed her craft by learning from legends like Porter Wagoner, appearing on his TV show for 7 years, then moving on to get with different record labels and management. She can connect deeply to her audience and she is funny. Her creativity is astounding, she has written over 3000 songs. In 2019 she celebrated 50 years since performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. She says she knows what it is like to build a career and not have it handed to you.

Carve out your boundaries

Dolly has been married to Carl Dean for over 50 years, she met him early on in her career but Carl is rarely seen in public. At that time her producers didn’t want her to be married, so she kept her marriage a secret for a year to demonstrate to them that she could be successful and married. She knew early on that she would have to carve out boundaries before she got eaten alive. She foresaw in her career what she was going to have to do, to keep her sanity, privacy, and space.

Surround yourself with positive supportive people

Throughout her career, Dolly has developed strong working relationships with her session musicians and when she tours, her band has mainly been made up of family members. Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda, her co-stars in the film 9 to 5, talk about the camaraderie they had on and off set and how they used to laugh hard.

Make decisions that work for you

One of the best decisions Dolly Parton ever made in her life was not giving the copyright of the song “I will always love you” to Elvis Presley’s manager. It demonstrated her astuteness as a business woman. 20 years on, when Whitney Houston recorded it, it made Dolly $10 million in royalties. She learned how to stand up for herself early on in her career.

Don’t be pigeon-holed Dolly expresses herself in any way she feels like: as a country singer, crossing over to pop with the song “Here You Come again”, becoming an actress in the woman-led film 9 to 5, returning to her bluegrass roots, and even headlining the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. Her ex-manager Sandy Gallin says “Dolly likes to move on”... “She only likes to chew her tobacco once”.

So if you want to channel your inner Dolly, please get in touch to discuss how coaching can help to increase your confidence, authenticity, and empowerment to help move you forward in life or career.

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