Posts tagged coaching
The moment I realised I am a 'heptathlete'

I had something of a game-changing realisation today.

I have always been one of those people that has multiple passions and multiple strands to my bow. I was cool with that and fully embraced my creativity (or so I thought)

But today I realised that very same understanding has been holding me back in my business- massively!

I realised I held the story (ingrained from school days, books and societies conditioning) that in order to be a 'master' at your craft you had to focus all in on one discipline.

You have a choice in life - either be good at lots of things, or be a master at the 'one' thing.

By default I firmly held onto the subliminal belief I was a 'good' coach, a 'good' designer, a 'good' writer, a 'good recipe developer...

So when it came to opportunities to put myself in font of potential clients, to chime in on threads in facebook groups, to network and engage with people... I so often held back, incredibly frustrated at myself for doing so, without seeing what was playing out beneath the surface.

I inadvertently told myself that these clients would be better served by someone who was a 'great' designer, or a 'great' coach - aka someone who I perceived focussed fully on that 'one' skill and therefore must better than me.

Now I am calling BULLSHIT on that story!

For the first time truly seeing it for what it is.

I am also reminded of how all these strands and multiple disciplines play out to offer a richness and depth that otherwise would not be. My coaching work infuses my design work, my mindset and creativity is a powerful driving force behind my approach to a plant-based diet. My love of food and recipe creation offers a an incredible dimension to my retreats and workshops.

It’s not always about homing in on and being a master of the ‘one thing’…

It’s also about recognising and bringing to life the interplay between the various strands and the strengths they offer each other… as well as acknowledging that just because I have multiple passions and I spread my focus across them all, it DOES NOT mean that I dilute my talents or my skills. If anything, I have now come to realise that the opposite can indeed be true.

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I was speaking with my coach at the time, and just before this realisation hit me and in order to try and prove my point I gave this analogy;

"It's like the example of an olympic athlete, they are world champions in their specific discipline, channeling their skills and practice solely on that narrow focus to be the best in the world".

There was a short pause and then she said to me;

"So, what about the heptathletes?"

So today, for the first time I call bullshit on my lifelong story of never being more than 'good'.

I am embracing my inner heptathlete. 

Now… it’s your turn. Do you have multiple passions and strands to your business or even your hobbies and if so are you holding yourself back? Is it time for you to embrace you inner heptathlete and allow yourself to shift from ‘good’ to ‘great’?


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10 reasons I'm NOT the coach for you...

When I first mention I'm a coach, it's understandable that people then ask me what kind of coach I am. For a long time I shied away from this question (l talk more about that here) as my 'title' seemed to change every other week!

But the beauty in this question is it gives me an opportunity to connect at a deeper level, to share what coaching means to me, what kind of coach I am and how I can support you on your journey.

It gives me an opportunity to lay down some clear foundations, because I hold my hands up... I'm not the right coach for everyone.

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10 reasons I'm NOT the coach for you...

  1. I'm not going to tell you what to do, I'm not going to advise you on the best course of action. However I may share my experiences with you and my observations on what you say which could translate into actions should you choose to take them. But I'm never going to tell you what to do.

  2. I have duvet days. I have days where I feel overwhelmed, anxious and not good enough. I also have epic days when I feel like I could literally take on anything that is thrown at me. I'll always show up for you 100% as the professional that I am, but I am not going to hide my 'human-ness' from you either.

  3. There is no quick fix with how I work with my clients. No structured SMART goal system to work to. We are in it for the long haul. I coach what shows up in the moment. We go deep, we strip back the layers, we get super vulnerable, there will probably be some tears (sometimes they could even be mine!) Working with me involves embracing the messy in order to get to the magical. If you're not down with 'messy', then I'm probably not the coach for you.

  4. I'll call you out and keep you accountable with your actions. I know excuses when I hear them and I'll pull you up on them. I am not here to be your friend. I will absolutely stand in your greatness and hold space for you potential in moments when you doubt yourself but I will not believe in your dream more than you do.

  5. I often talk about spiritual stuff. Not light and fluffy, not rainbows and sparkles but yes there will be spiritual vibes in the language, tools and techniques I bring to the table. If that's not your bag then I am probably not the coach for you.

  6. At some point I will probably disappoint you. You will probably disappoint me too. Let’s put that right there on the table. It is impossible to control others expectations of us regardless of how pure the intention is. The beauty is in the conversation in acknowledging this, in what comes next. We won't ignore the elephant in the room.

  7. I am a passionate creative and I infuse this into all areas of my life. We live in a multi-sensory world and I bring this powerful dynamic into all of my work. This may mean getting your hands dirty, it may mean getting out in nature, it may mean movement or yoga, or journalling or drawing or being a bit silly. This is not just ‘talking therapy’, this is a space where we will engage the body and mind at a multi-sensory level.

  8. I don't generally wear smart suits or blouses, I rarely wear make up and that's unlikely to change. Most of the time I'm rocking leggings and a sports bra. I'll do me and you do you. Embrace it.

  9. Most of the time I work with clients via audio not video call. I can listen more deeply this way. I can think more clearly this way. I can move my body if I need to. I can be outside in nature if that feels right for me in that moment. I encourage you to explore the same. If you prefer to always speak face to face, then I’m probably not the coach for you.

  10. At some point I will probably try to feed you! I'm a passionate plant-based foodie and it's been a huge part of my own evolution and my no.1 10/10 kinda client would be someone who aligns with these values or is as least curious to explore plant-based nutrition and how this can support the connection with a deeper sense of self. But hey, it's by no means a deal breaker... as long as you enjoy my homemade 'bliss balls' ;-)

I'm not the right coach for everyone.

We might just not be a fit and that's ok. That's actually more than ok, because the beauty is that when we give up on pleasing everyone, we give ourselves permission to find those folks who really make us come alive and who just ‘get' us.

… and that's the magic of a powerful coaching relationship.

If you are still curious and want to have a conversation… hit the button below.

I look forward to connecting you!


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How you do one thing is how you do everything...

A week or two ago a created a unique new package... something I didn't initially talk about on here directly because it relates heavily to my design work, but actually now as I reflect upon it more I realise how much it has to do with my coaching work - it's all about connection!

The new package I have just launched is 'The Visibility Package' 

(as showcased on my design website)

In my work as a health and mindset coach, I meet so many inspiring 'wellness-focused' people who have an incredible passion and a powerful mission that I know could help so many... yet their voice and online presence is struggling to be seen and heard above the noise.  Finding ways of powerfully sharing their message, the feels in alignment with who they are, is crucial! (I know from experience!)

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I was talking to a friend about the package yesterday, getting quite animated and excited as I talked, when from out of nowhere these words came out of my mouth...

"you have to connect with yourself to be able to connect with your client" *

...and there lies the truth, the fundamental principle that I am so passionate about as a coach.

In the wellness industry (or really just as regular people on our own personal journey) there is so much competition. But what really, truly, deeply sets you apart on your journey is your ability to rise above the noise and above the superficial to reach out and really connect with your people, your community, your tribe, your clients (*insert most relevant word for you there) BUT in order to do this, you first need to connect with yourself!

A massive part of The Visibility Package AND as I have begun to realise, my coaching work as a whole, is about digger deeper into your own story - you passion and drive but also the messiness and the struggles too. Really owning that.

Yes I know that might sound deep, and you might be thinking...   "but I just have a regular life, nothing special" ...well, actually no you don't.

I have often heard it said that...

"how you do one thing is how you do everything"

...and there's is your second truthbomb. Having an awareness of your actions, walking your talk and really owning and believing your message to the world speaks volumes. Your people will hear it and feel it. I promise.

So at it's core this is what my work as a coach is about, connecting to your deepest sense of self. I am reading a great book at the moment called 'The Highest Goal' by Michael Ray, and it's very similar to what he talks about.

I was going to leave this post here... with two 'truthbombs' for you to sit with and process, but then I figured i'd add the final section that was part of the note I sent out to my mailing list last night...

So now in the spirit of playfulness and curiosity, I have a game for you. Pick ONE of these three options below:

1) You're NOT interested in The Visibility Package but would love to have a conversation about what a deeper connection with yourself would mean for your life... hit reply and let me know where you are at!

2) You ARE interested in learning more about the package (there are two spots already confirmed, and more conversations booked for next week)...
hit reply and let me know asap why you are interested and we'll arrange a time to call/Skype. 

3) You're kind of skimming this post, not really interested in any of it, but these bullet points caught your eye ;-) Then do me (and you) a favour and take a few moments this weekend to have a think about how you are showing up in your world right now, are there some tweaks you could make to bring yourself more into alignment?

So which will it be for you? ;-)

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2017 close out: my biggest lesson (and my New Year intention!)

I hadn't planned to write a 'year in review' style post, as everyone else in the blogosphere had written them and to be honest I felt a bit overloaded with a case of comparisonitis creeping up on me in the lead up to Christmas.

But, now having had a few more days to sit and quietly reflect, a few truths made themselves know and it was a humbling process of self-acknowledgement that I wanted to share with you in the spirit of authenticity and as offering you a 'permission giving' of sorts. 

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It's 30th December and just over halfway through that 'odd' bit between Christmas and New Year when there is no sense of routine, time or direction. Time seems to stand still. Truth be told (apart from Christmas day) this is my absolute favourite time of year! The world slows down and time is suspended.

Space for reflection, creation, decluttering, reading and absolutely zero sense of expectation or obligation. Bliss!

So, it is pretty much inevitable that my minds bounced between looking back on the year whilst at the same time future focussing on the next.

There was one main truth that hit me. Quite hard at first, but then with a sense of gentle self-forgiveness and understanding. 

My biggest reaslisation this year...

I have been very lonely at times.

Gosh, it feels super vulnerable to admit that. I feel I need to back it up with an explanation, to justify it and make it seem less pathetic. 

The loneliness was a steady creep throughout the year hitting hardest this Autumn though I only realised it retrospectively! (often the way, right?)

When I reflected on how this came to be I realised there were two big contributing factors:

  1. At the end of 2016 I gave myself permission to step away from going to local networking groups and events that I felt I 'should' be doing as a business owner and instead focus on growing my business in other ways. I had noticed I was getting 'people-out' and drained from small talk (I've always hated small talk) so I just stopped going, BUT what I didn't realise was that, as a result, I was then spending a lot more time on my own in my own head where overthinking tends to happen!

  2. For four years I had been having weekly sessions with a Personal Trainer who was also one of my best friends. The sessions were at a regular time and outside. At the end of July he moved away and so suddenly I lost my time spent with a good friend, structured exercise, a weekly anchor point and time outside in nature come rain or shine... massively significant! (although I had not appreciated just how much until very recently)

What have a learned?

That small subtle consistent things can have a massive impact over time- both positive and negative.  

Just like structured consistent training with a PT can steadily increase your strength and fitness, the cumulative effect of not socialising on a structured consistent basis (which is basically what happened) can massively impact your emotional stability.

It was a massive eye-opener for me! The good news is, that now I have recognised what went wrong I can implement changes to address the balance for the coming year.

Instead of a New Year's resolution I set an 'intention' that I seek to grow into over the course of the year. This allows space for play and exploration and for messing up and learning in a way that a resolution doesn't (for me anyway!)

My intention is summarised in a word... a word for the year that has deep meaning for me and a need to explore more.

In 2016 it was 'experiences' (I travelled a lot and thoroughly lived out that intention)

In 2017 it was 'consistency', something I have struggled with. This does not come naturally at all for me- my ADHD brain sabotages feeling pigeonholed and so it is still a work in progress!

In 2018 my word for the year will be: 'Connection'.

Connection within myself and with others. I will seek to deepen the nature of my connections but also my boundaries in order to stay true and authentic to myself. 

I'm excited to explore where this may lead and what 'connection' might look like on my own terms!

There are plenty other things I could say about the year and about my goals for 2018 as I reflected on what had gone well and what not so well. But my most important lesson was our innate need for human connection that I had been depriving myself of without realising and so I won't dilute this significance with other side notes and thoughts.

It makes me smile as I have long been a fan of Brene Brown. I have all five of her books (having received the last two for Christmas) and a big part of her work is the role of connection. Therefore finding her quote “We are hardwired to connect with others, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives and without it there is suffering” brought it all full circle for me, and I enter 2018 with a new level of clarity.

Now, I'd love to hear from you, what was your biggest lesson of 2017 and what is your goal or intention to take forward into 2018?  

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What does your dance look like, and are you still stuck in rehearsal mode? 

I was looking through old photo albums a few weeks ago and found photos of me when I went to dance school in my early years. I was always an active child and though I didn’t dance for as many years as my friends (I quite quickly moved on to other sports- the more physical the better!) I loved performing on the big stage in the costumes my poor mum had to painstakingly hand sew - yep, she also had to make all the poms poms and all the polka dots in this photo of me as a clown aged nine! ;-) 

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Reflecting back to these times, and my hyperactive nature as a child and now as an adult, I realise I spend so much of my life feeling in a mental conflict as though I am 'dancing between the extremes’.

The extremes of my high and lows feel ecstatic, explosive, creative and mind-blowingly awesome, yet equally incredibly overwhelming, draining and confusing on the other extreme. Sometimes I wish I could simply turn the volume right down so that the dance was easier, smoother and slower, more consistent and the moves less intense. But I know that would make for a monotonous dance.

I have so many ideas spinning off at all angles and desires to chase them all, and indeed I do find myself bringing to life so many different ideas and spreading myself so thinly. But then in the same breath, I talk of simplicity and of decluttering and of tiny houses and of desire for a simple life and a clear focus (my Pinterst boards give some idea!)

I have spent time stripping back my belongings and getting rid of ‘stuff’ and material things. But at the same time I am collecting more art and craft materials and filling my kitchen cupboards with an array of interesting foodie ingredients to create recipes with.

I crave speed, the adrenaline kick, the hard-core gym classes and packing lots into my days. But at the same time I dream of solitude, silence, nature and yoga, a life away from the overstimulation of TV and technology.

I go from multi-tasking at every waking moment, then stop completely and want to run away from even the simplest task and sit in silence.

I talk of travelling the world with nothing more than a suitcase, of having no fixed abode and becoming a digital nomad. But then I create businesses that have a location dependence, I collaborate on physical events that are location specific.

I rebel against routine and sabotage any move that might box me in, yet in the same moment, I crave structure to ground me and keep me sane and my mind on track.

So many times I have been in conversation with coaches, colleagues or spiritual leaders voicing my frustration in not being able to reign in these extremes, of my desire for a more even energy flow, less fluctuation and more consistency. 

But when I sit with that energy, that frustration, and feel fully into my resistance I acknowledge with a sense of deep acceptance, that’s just how I roll. That’s my own unique dance… dynamic and spontaneous, filled with high energy and emotion, buffered by dramatic pauses for breath, bouncing between one extreme and the other. 

Life is a dance… you can speed up, you can slow down, you can pause for a breath, you can even repeat a few bars… but it's still all part of the rhythm and flow of that one endless dance and it makes for beautiful choreography.

My job as choreographer of my own dance is to work with the rhythm and not against it. To breathe deeply in the right places to create the intense energy, to stretch my limbs and test my balance and flexibility when the moment is right, to use the pauses to rest and recalibrate, to allow the repetitions for they themselves create a sense of structure, connection and familiarity.

The more I practice the less energy I will waste where it is not needed.

Curtailing and reigning in the highs and lows of my personal dance softens all the edges, it is not selective. It becomes like a rehearsal behind-the-scenes just marking out the moves before being ready to play full out.
 
I still find myself frequently falling back into this mode. But I now know that if I am always practising in rehearsal mode, I will never be able to truly perfect my craft, to grow and develop. Stepping out onto the dance floor, under the spotlights, playing full out, learning, falling and carrying on will always be better than never stepping out from the safety of the wings.

They say life is not a dress rehearsal and as cliched as it may sound, it is so very true. 

I still often wish my dance were smoother and slower, more consistent and the moves less intense. But that would never hold my interest, and it wouldn't hold your either. It’s simply not the nature of my dance and it never will be. I must honour that. If I try to reign myself in, life may feel easier but I will always be stuck in rehearsal mode… never playing full out. Never reaching my full potential.

What does your dance look like, and are you still stuck in rehearsal mode? 

Loving you always,

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'Friluftsliv' ...ever heard of it? (clue: the connection between mindset and nature)

'Friluftsliv' ...I'd not heard of it either until I began doing a tonne of research on the relationship between our natural world and the impact on our health and mindset.

Friluftsliv, a word coined by Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen, literally translating to ‘free air life’ is the word used to broadly describe the connection to nature that is so strong in Norway. The word first appeared in Ibsen’s poem, ‘On The Heights’ which describes a man who ventures out into the wilderness in search of solitude as to clear his mind and plan for the future.

The essence of 'Frilufstliv' is the simplicity with which people can engage with nature in a meaningful way,” says Børge Dahle. This philosophy embodies the idea that returning to nature, is returning home.

This is something I have been drawn to more and more over the last few years. I know the power it has on my own mindset and ability to dramatically expand my way of interacting with the world. It literally helps cut through the 'noise' in my mind and brings me down from the head to the heart.

This is one of the ways I'll be shifting my coaching practice.

I know it's not just me who benefits from the power of 'nature therapy' and so it will become an integral part of my work with clients to intensify the experience and the results that can be achieved.

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By living in a world of vast urbanisation, straight lines and electric lighting, we create a disharmony (or more correctly, discord) between natures rhythms and our own natural rhythms. We evolved in a world of 'fractal' structures: waves, mountains, fire, alongside seasonal rhythms, daily rhythms and different kinds of biological rhythms. These structures and rhythms are ingrained in us as we have evolved.

Now we live in a technologically advanced society, we don't rely on these natural rhythms anymore, or not nearly to the extent we did. So we are causing a disharmony with these rhythms which leads to stress, fatigue and low self-esteem.

'Friluftsliv' is about returning to nature and those rhythms and synchronising your body clock back to natures. We have a limbic system that takes in the senses and where we also have our memory. By opening these senses to nature, Dr Hans Gelter describes it as becoming "inter-connected" with nature.

Whatever the weather... Scandinavians don't run for cover on rainy days. This is about embracing the elements, throwing on a duvet coat and finding joy in even the gloomiest of forecasts - it's about changing your mindset.

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"Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost." That's the dramatic opening to a 2008 paper describing the promise of so-called "nature therapy" — or, as a non-academic might call it, "time outside.

Nature relieves attention fatigue and increases creativity.

Today, we live with ubiquitous technology designed to constantly pull for our attention. But many scientists believe our brains were not made for this kind of information bombardment, and that it can lead to mental fatigue, overwhelm, and burnout, requiring “attention restoration” to get back to a normal, healthy state. Researchers believe that being in nature restores depleted attention circuits, which can then help us be more open to creativity and problem-solving.

Go to a Forest. Walk slowly. Breathe. Open all your senses.

This is the healing way of Shinrin-yoku Forest Therapy, the medicine of simply being in the forest.

A University in Japan found that Shinrin-Yoku (translated as forest bathing in English) had a huge impact on our mental and physical health too. They believe that because humans evolved to be in nature that actually this is where we flourish best. F orest bathing literally means being in nature, sitting, walking and just being in forests. Throughout Japan they have different walks and trails that have equipment within it that can measure blood pressure and monitor heart rates as people are in the forest giving concrete evidence as to how nature is actually physically affecting them.

We can also consider the mindfulness perspective. Being in nature helps us to become present. Forest bathing refers to being in an environment where all your senses are engaged. Our sensory system evolved in the natural world and when we’re in those spaces, our brains become relaxed because these are things that we were designed to look at, hear and to smell.

Neuroscientists, especially in the U.K. and U.S., are starting to look at how people’s brains respond to different environments. What they’re seeing is that if their volunteers are walking through a city or noisy area, their brains are doing different things than if they are walking in a park. The frontal lobe, the part of our brain that’s hyper-engaged in modern life, deactivates a little when you are outside. Alpha waves, which indicate a calm but alert state, grow stronger. When psychologists talk about flow there seems to be a lot of alpha engagement there. Buddhist monks, meditators, are also great at engaging alpha waves.

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Ecotherapy, also known as nature therapy or green therapy, is the applied practice of the emergent field of ecopsychology, which was developed by Theodore Roszak. Ecotherapy, in many cases, stems from the belief that people are part of the web of life and that our psyches are not isolated or separate from our environment.

Scientists continue to debate the evidence around ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’. They ask could it be that, instead of being sensitive to changes in the seasons, we’re actually suffering from a disconnection with nature?

Psychiatrist Dr Norman Rosenthal, who first described SAD, attributes these positive feelings to sunlight. “When we’re outside, bright light coming through the eyes boosts the secretion of serotonin, while UV rays on the skin stimulates endorphins. All of this contributes to an improvement in mood.”

Dr Rosenthal also recognises the specific and significant role that nature can play in our emotional wellbeing. “Being indoors creates a world that’s compartmentalised from the changing weather, landscapes and feelings. In contrast, being outside enriches our lives. Experiencing the unpredictability of the weather – a breeze over your face or an unexpected rainfall – adds variety to our lives. Smells evoke memories and thoughts and connecting with nature allows us to escape monotony,” he says.

But as well as helping us to heal our minds, contact with nature can transform us. For several years, Steve Taylor (a psychology lecturer and the author of several best-selling books on psychology and spirituality) has been researching into what he calls ‘awakening experiences’ – moments when our vision of our surroundings becomes more intense (so that they become more beautiful and meaningful than normal), and we feel a sense of connectedness to them, and towards other people. The world may somehow seem harmonious and meaningful, as a strong feeling of well-being fills us

Of course, countless poets have written of the states of awe and ecstasy they've experienced whilst alone with nature too. This is what William Wordsworth's poetry is most famous for: his sense that nature is pervaded with what he called ‘a motion and a spirit which rolls through all thinking things, and all objects of thought.' 

But the main reason why nature can heal and transform us, I believe, is because of its calming and mind-quietening effect.

In nature, our minds process a lot less information than normal, and they don't wear themselves out by concentrating. And most importantly, the beauty and majesty of nature acts a little like a mantra in meditation, slowing down the normal ‘thought-chatter’ which runs chaotically through our minds.

As a result, an inner stillness and energy fills us, generating a glow of being and intensifying our perceptions. 

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Main sources of reference:

  • Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1995; Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2005; Psychological Science, 2012

  • Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 2012; Journal of Cardiology, 2012

  • http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/02/nature-fix-brain-happy-florence-williams/

  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/have-got-nature-deficit-disorder-ditch-gym-time-get-outdoors/

  • http://www.natureandforesttherapy.org/uploads/8/1/4/4/8144400/friluftsliv_scandanavian_philosophy_of_outdoor_life.pdf

  • http://www.macsadventure.com/walking-holidays/friluftsliv-a-norwegian-philosophy/

  • http://www.shinrin-yoku.org/shinrin-yoku.html

  • https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/econature-therapy

  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/out-the-darkness/201204/the-power-nature-ecotherapy-and-awakening


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Living fearlessly?

I hear a lot about ‘living fearlessly’, it’s bounced around in quotes across the internet. It’s heavily used particularly within the realms of female entrepreneurship, and the language typically has a tone of being highly prized, as something to aspire to. 

I appreciate there are many ways to interpret this sentiment, but for me this idea of living fearless, does not quite sit comfortably. 

The title of famous book ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers, connects with me much more deeply.  Within the book she says, “By re-educating the mind, you can accept fear as simply a fact of life rather than barrier to success”. 

I don’t think it’s about removing or diminishing ours fear and becoming ‘fearless’, I think it’s more about: 

Allowing them, 
Feeling them,
Leaning in to them, 
Honouring them,

…and forging ahead regardless. 

Being fearless to me implies almost a lack or separation of emotion or connection within. It creates a sense of distance from an aspect of ourselves and that is not the space from which I want to pursue my life goals. 

You CAN live bravely and boldly, without living fearlessly. 

Feeling the fear and acknowledging it gives me the cue that I am dealing with something meaningful in my life. It’s my radar in how I show up in the world and what is deserving of my attention. 

Do you aspire to living a ‘fearlessly’?

What does that idea mean to you? 


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THE 'REAL' ME… and why I am NOT a ‘health coach’

I woke up this morning (Tuesday 21st February 2017) as if from a dream with the following words on the tip of my tongue. Literally. I was scrabbling in my ‘eyes-half-open-sleepy-state’ for a pencil and notepad (yes, it had to be a pencil I hate writing in pen!) to put them down on paper before they left my mind with the morning light.

“I am a creativity coach. I work with people who have lost their mojo for life and want to access their innate creativity. I believe we were all born to create. I believe the essential ingredients for deep lifelong creativity are exactly the same for everybody: curiosity, courage, commitment, permission and trust - and those elements are universally accessible.

Moving towards a more plant-based wholefood diet is one of the key tools I use to optimise that process and set the body-mind magic in motion…”


Oh my gosh. When I re-read the words back to myself once written down, I felt euphoric. As if my mind and body had truly aligned and for the very first time and I was sharing 100% ME with the wider world. The resistance had gone and it was like my heart was saying ‘finally, you figured it out!’

By mid morning I had already updated my landing page and my social media accounts with this subtle- but oh so significant shift in words. My energy feels entirely different.. a huge lightness and I can’t stop smiling!

I realised I had been holding so much back from you all, because on some deeper level a voice inside still kept telling me that you were only here for the recipes and I shouldn’t stray too far from that as I am ‘health coach’ after all. Of course creating recipes was how Including Cake first began it’s life and indeed it is still a huge part of my world- arguably the biggest catalyst to literally EVERYTHING my life now is.

My biggest drivers in life are creativity and curiosity and that is not limited to recipes and mindset brain dumps. There are so many more things that make me ’come alive’ that I haven’t really dared share so much with you, things such as… making dreamcatchers, pole fitness, graphic design, yoga, sharethelove letters, handstands, dreaming about micro-houses, exploring other cultures, going barefoot, and so much more…

A handstand in wellies during a winter walk whilst volunteering at a Buddhist Meditation Centre.

A handstand in wellies during a winter walk whilst volunteering at a Buddhist Meditation Centre.

I realised in hindsight that labelling myself a ‘health coach’ was maybe the most detrimental thing I could have done.

But I had no idea what to call myself back when I began my health coach training with IIN in 2013 (which I totally loved by the way). So when people asked me ‘what do you do?’ (to be honest I still sometimes struggle with this part as my mind floods with all the things I love and I end up rambling like an excitable child) I would simply adopt the answer ‘health coach’ as it felt the most obvious thing to say… but I would cringe inside when I then heard people say to others in the room ‘Ooooh you should speak to Jo, she’s a nutritionalist’. I have nothing against nutritionalists, but I am quite simply not one- I am a full on creative with ADHD tendencies- I barely weigh my ingredients for recipes let alone know the technical stats! I see big picture. I work on intuition. 

I found that people were coming to me for help with their 'nutrition' issues and whilst of course I cared and wanted to help, I had no desire to coach specifically around it, it wasn't my passion. My heart did not reside there.

So I took a back step. I felt overwhelmed and confused. I told myself that maybe I wasn't cut out to be a coach after all. Maybe I should focus on my other endeavours such as Wholeplus and my design business.  I lost confidence as a coach as I couldn't see the bigger picture laid out for me.

The label I had created for myself was now my barrier...

A few weeks ago, early in the New Year, when I was reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (incredible book by the way!), it triggered a huge insight. I resonated so strongly with the message of ‘creativity’ in the broadest sense that I knew this is the direction I needed to actively venture. 

So here I am. A creativity coach… and I can’t wait to explore more deeply with you how that will manifest now that I am allowing myself to ‘own’ that title. Yep I’m owning it. Gonna wear it like a badge. ;-)

So, what does all this have to do with a plant-based wholefood diet…

Aha… sooooo much more than I ever realised, even though it’s directly been my own experience. Yep, another huge moment of realisation that hit me smack in the face!

I put the following question out into a few Facebook groups not knowing what would show up…

“Is anyone else here vegan? (or maybe even vegetarian, or have cut sugar out and switched to a wholefood diet). I'm doing a bit of research and I'm very curious to know- have you felt more creative since making the transition? 

I got so many responses, and to my joy, about 80% said they did indeed feel more creative!  These were some comments:

I went vegetarian the beginning of last year and have gone vegan this month, I have to say my creativity has increased! I am drawing and painting again, something I haven't done in a long time. Also in the way I am being creative in my wardrobe and dressing more how I want too!

Yes! absolutely it has! I have been vegan just over a year and it has had a positive impact on all areas of my life. I think on a deeper level, I am more connected to the earth and I am more peaceful (unless I am poorly!) I have had more creative ideas and energy to make them a reality.

I am much more creative since going vegan. I'm not sure if it has to do with nutrition as much as living a more authentic and value based lifestyle. It has pushed me out of the dissatisfied way I had been living. I'm also more fearless, I try new things all the time.

I'm not vegan, but I feel like a brand new person when I go vegetarian. I am in the process of switching back. I've been eating meat for a couple of months, and I feel icky.

Same..... when I eat REALLY clean and am well hydrated I'm like this AMAZING person, So why oh why do I keep falling off the wagon.

I am much more creative since going vegan. I'm not sure if it has to do with nutrition as much as living a more authentic and value based lifestyle. It has pushed me out of the dissatisfied way I had been living. I'm also more fearless, I try new things all the time.

A vegetarian for 30 years, I then embraced a raw vegan lifestyle about 3 years ago which totally changed me. I suddenly felt connected with the earth, with nature, with life in a way I never had before. Alive, creative, excited.... It was transformative! 3 years down the line I don't eat a wholly raw diet any more, I eat a mostly vegan diet (eggs from my pet ducks when they're laying) but with a high proportion of raw because when you eat raw foods you really feel the life-force, the energy, of those foods going into your body and it's wonderful

I can certainly relate to this. I’ve metamorphosed from a bored meal provider into an enthusiastic, energetic and lovable (well my family believe so) server of wholesome foods. Ones creative energies seem to open up in so many areas of ones life.

Yes, not only in cooking but other ways too. I always have been the type to look outside the box anyway, but this perspective on life has changed the way I look at things even more.

 

It was truly beautiful, and so my understanding shifted more deeply once again... 

I coach creativity in the deepest sense of a life being driven more by curiosity than by fear (to take Liz Gilberts words, thanks Liz!) My primary tool in accessing this innate creativity is moving towards a plant-based wholefoods diet. A total mind body connection that can set the amazing magic in motion. I had been practicing it myself all along along without even realising it.

It’s not just comments on Facebook that align with this way of thinking. I began a little research and found various articles also alluding to this sense of creativity and connectedness... 

Not hard core science? No, maybe not. But in truth I am not looking for science- I am simply focussing on sharing the inspiration that I know in my heart and mind can create the deepest results.

I feel I still have so much more to say, but i’ll wrap this up for now and include my thoughts and inspirations on books, TED talks, quotes and anything else that lights me up as a separate article.

Still with me? Wow… you are super hardcore. So much love winging it’s way to you!

If this resonates with you and you’d like to connect. I am all yours- please reach out and message me with how you want to create your most powerful life and we’ll take it from there. Or if you are still not sure, but you know that your creative energy has been stirred within, I’m all yours too.

 

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