How To Keep Going When You’re Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Single Mum's Survival Guide Illustration 5 001I have a challenge coming up this Wednesday. I will be one of the speakers at an event where the audience could number up to 50. They say that the fear of public speaking ranks up there with fear of death and the stress of divorce! Do I still get nervous? Every time! Is it worth the  discomfort? Every time! A lesson I’ve learnt in my life (especially during those intensely “character building” early years of single motherhood) that pushing myself out of my comfort zone is a good thing for me. They say that the regrets you’ll have at the end of your life are not the things you did, but the things that you left undone. For me, the joy of connecting with an audience, getting their feedback and feeling the energy in a room gives me an incredible buzz. If I can uplift and inspire just a few people in that audience, it has all been worth it.

So my question to you is: what are you putting off? What’s the one thing that would make the biggest difference to your life if you could only face up to it? For some of you it might be thinking the unthinkable and putting something in place so that you know that your children will be provided for if something happens to you. As a single mum, the idea of not being around to protect your children can be terrifying. So, imagine the feeling of reassurance and peace of mind you will have once you’ve made a will and perhaps even set up an affordable life insurance scheme. If finances are the thing you haven’t faced up to, try scheduling in a  money date with yourself to get clear about your current situation. Instead of ignoring financial difficulties, speak to your bank, speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau – or a free debt advice charity like https://www.nationaldebtline.org. My friend Bonnie Gortler is a wealth coach; here’s a link to download a free chapter of her book, Journey To Wealth  http://bgjourneytowealth.com/jtw-chp1offer/jtw-chp1offer/jtwch1/.

But what if you understand the need to take action to improve your life but it just doesn’t feel real or attainable? Or perhaps you’ve been doing well but you hit a wall and don’t feel you can continue. Here are some magic words that I learnt from my mentor, Dr Sheri Kaye Hoff:

“I decided to…”

“I’m in the process of…”

“I love the feeling of…”

I tried out one of these magic phrases just recently. I have been doing brilliantly with my running but this week I really found it hard to motivate myself. It was a cold, wet and windy evening and I’d had a busy day. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and enjoy being toasty and relaxed. However, I found myself saying to my husband “Although I don’t feel like going out running, I love the feeling of having just completed a run – the satisfaction, the sense of achievement”. Sure enough, I found myself out there pounding the pavements and even better, that was the first time I’ve run for 25 minutes straight with no breaks! You see, I’m in the process of training for a 5k run because I decided to challenge myself this year!

For a free and confidential Strategy Session with me, just use this link: http://meetme.so/VivienneSmith

http://www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com/

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Good Riddance to January?

Help!Are you glad to see the back of January? Not only did we suffer torrential rain and flooding, Blue Monday and Failure Friday (which was on 22nd January, the day when the UK’s collective willpower is most likely to be broken), yesterday was the final day for self-assessment tax returns to be completed. Still recovering from the culinary  and financial excesses, we wonder if our waistlines, bank balances and the weather will ever be the same again!

Even if statistics show that by now 80% of us will have failed in our New Year’s Resolutions by now, my friend and fellow coach Dawn Tarter suggests making a NOW Year Resolution instead. I love this concept – it means that now is the time to start and you can press start on a daily basis! Two other hugely helpful ideas I heard recently are the following:

Don’t set goals, set schedules instead.

Focus on practice, not performance.

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t set goals – you have to have a plan to feel a sense of purpose. The trick is to break it down into steps, actions, habits of movement, speech and thinking. Don’t start judging yourself too soon, just focus on putting one step in front of the other and before you know it those actions and habits will have become so deeply ingrained that they will indeed produce results and get you to your goal. If you look too far ahead it can be overwhelming.

To give you an example: I always hated running. Give me walking, swimming or badminton and I’m a happy girl. But running? Who wants to be pounding the pavements and gasping for breath? Surely people didn’t really do it for fun, did they? Well, this year I made a big commitment. I am doing the 5K Mud Monster Challenge in aid of Chestnut Tree House, a wonderful local charity. My plan is to get comfortable with the running first, before I get comfortable with the mud (don’t worry, no mud wrestling planned!) So I found an app called Couch to 5K. It breaks you in gently with a mixture of walking and running, gradually increasing the periods of running until you are used to it. I have completed fourteen runs since New year’s Day and guess what? I’m actually enjoying myself! Yes, it’s challenging but I am really rather proud of myself and I know this is a habit that I’ll continue, even after the charity run is over. I’m taking it one run at a time.

Do you need some help changing your thought patterns to support those positive habits you’d like to put in place? It doesn’t need to be a health goal – it might be to do with increasing your confidence and improving your communication with your ex, or creating a better bond with your child. For a free and confidential Strategy Session with me, just use this link to book a convenient time. Wherever you are based, the scheduling tool will show you availability in your time zone. I’ve worked with all sorts of situations and my clients are as far afield as England, America and Australia – that’s the beauty of Skype!

http://meetme.so/VivienneSmith

http://www.thesinglemumssurvivalguide.com/

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Clear out Your Wardrobe Clutter Before You Hit The Sales!

t shirtsThis year some clothes shops have begun their sales already but it’s traditional for retailers to discount after Christmas and then millions of women will be pounding the pavements in search of that elusive treasure – a complete bargain that not only fits and suits you perfectly, but is also good enough quality to last more than a few washes! Here’s my suggestion – why not de-clutter your current wardrobe to make some space for all your new clothes?

It’s a fact that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. This means that 80% of your clothes are just hanging in your wardrobe or closet taking up valuable space. To avoid making those mistakes again, let’s look at what made you buy them in the first place. Perhaps they seemed to be a bargain at the time but when you got them home you realised that it was a false economy because you didn’t actually like them. Or after a few washes they shrank or behaved strangely when you wore them (twisting, slipping or riding up when you least wanted them to!) Maybe the colour was draining to your complexion, the style too prim or outrageous, or the cut actually did make your bum look big. Or perhaps they were just too uncomfortable to contemplate wearing more than on just the odd occasion. Every item in your wardrobe should be a flattering shade for your colouring, a perfect style for your personality and the right shape for your shape. Above all, clothes currently hanging in your wardrobe should be the right size for the size you are now. Don’t buy for the size you will be once you’ve completed your diet and exercise regime – and don’t leave them hanging in your cupboard as a silent daily reproach that this toning and tightening of your body has taken you longer than hoped because they’re still a size or two too small. When you are assessing which clothes to evict from your wardrobe, bear this in mind: (unless it a balldress, a hat or ski wear), if you haven’t worn it for the last year, chances are you never will. Store it in the attic if you must, but otherwise: dump it, donate it, sell it or swap it.

If you would like more help with creating that ideal capsule wardrobe, today I have two gifts for you (UK readers only).

Find out your most flattering colours for clothes, hair and make-up. This fascinating 2 hour session will give you the knowledge and confidence to choose the right colours to look your absolute best. Email me at vivienne@thelifeyoudeserve.co.uk and tell me why you think it’s time to bring colour into your life. The best answer wins a free Colour Confidence session at my studio here in West Sussex.

If you already know what suits you: to fill in the gaps in your wardrobe and make it a colourful Christmas, check out this website: www.kettlewellcolours.co.uk Then call me on 07811956146 to order your garments, as I can get you a 5% discount, plus free Postage & Packing.single mum's survival guide logo

Add Some Colour To The Sea Of Grey

I attended a business networking lunch today. Part of my coaching business includes advising people on the colours (and styles) that suit them best; it’s an aspect of my job I love and it’s something I’ve been doing for nearly twenty years now. Dressed in violet, which is one of my best colours (I’m a Spring, for those of you who know about all this), I scanned the room to find some other colour amidst the sea of grey and black that constitutes so many business wardrobes in the UK. Spotting a woman in a coral jacket, I immediately went over to strike up a conversation. Coincidentally, we were seated on the same table for lunch and as we took our seats we were joined by another colourful character – a nattily-dressed architect in a bright yellow shirt! We got talking and discovered that we all felt strongly that people should express themselves a little more freely and that adding a touch of colour to a business wardrobe would add impact and make people stand out from the crowd. On the way home I continued to ponder the confidence that wearing the right colours can give you.

I remember when my ex husband first broke the news to me that he was planning to leave us. I remember that at a time when my heart was breaking and I felt like melting into a grey puddle of heartbreak on the floor, all my years of training kicked in and I made a special effort on each of those dark early days of single motherhood to wear my best colours, to put a bit of make-up on and to present myself to the world as an elegant and glamorous woman, not the drab and dishevelled victim. The funny thing is, my (ex) husband -distracted as he was with his impending new life-actually noticed and commented several times how attractive I was looking in that surreal period before he finally left. I wasn’t doing it for him. I was doing it as a way of making myself hold my head up high, of showing myself and the world that I was a woman of substance and to add some colour to a world that was then so dark and grey. I would urge all single mums to give themselves that gift.

My book, “THE SINGLE MUM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE – How To Pick Up The Pieces and Build a Happy New Life” is available to order now on Amazon and hits the shops on 1st July. For more details about my Colour Confidence Coaching, visit my website: http://www.thelifeyoudeserve.co.uk.

Time to shine

As a mother, you know how easy it can be to put the family’s needs before your own until the day comes when you realise that  you are now way down at the bottom of a long list of priorities. Your own personal  appearance and grooming can be hard to find time for when you have to worry about everybody else’s. Besides, who has time for all that when you are a single mother? And yet, after some 20 years of giving advice on colour and style, I can honestly say it’s not about spending a long time – after all: getting dressed in the right clothes takes the same amount of time as getting dressed in the wrong clothes – it’s more about knowing what really works for you, fits and flatters you. The difference – not just in how much better you look, but also in how much better you feel can be like night and day. I recently worked with a client who had long hidden herself under layers of extra flesh, covered by layers of baggy clothes. Everyone agreed that she was a lovely woman with a warm heart and a good sense of humour – a real rock for all the family and in many ways the one who kept them all on track. As a young girl she’d been a real knockout and loved clothes and shopping. But after years in an abusive relationship she’d found a way to hide herself under that excess weight and those layers of clothes.Her hair, though long and thick, was tied back in a pony tail and she hadn’t seen a hairdresser in 4 years. By the end of the session she’d rediscovered her joie de vivre and was heading home to book her cut and colour that very week and swap her grey tinted, purple framed glasses for some with a warm tint and tortoiseshell frames. As for the muted mauve T shirt she came in? That would soon be replaced by shades of violet, aquamarine, leaf green and corn yellow. She said that her new colours made her feel happy and we all saw how they lit up her complexion and made her eyes stand out. I s this woman going to feel more confident and more able to deal with whatever life has in store for her? Most definitely! Can she be an inspiration to her children and others by looking good and having fun with her look, even on a tight budget? You bet!

For more details on Colour Confidence, please send me a message in the form below.