Are you Superwoman or a Busy Fool?

By amandaalexander | Mindset

“I’m feeling overwhelmed with so much to do at home and work. I have a big proposal that needs to be in tomorrow and then I have a presentation to prepare before Tuesday with Monday already full with stuff, so if I don’t get a move on I will be working the weekend which I haven’t got time for, as lots on at home with kids’ social schedules, building work and a poorly husband who can’t drive. I so need to be super efficient and effective right now, but telling myself that still isn’t getting me there! I just can’t mentally apply myself to anything important and I am procrastinating a lot and making lots of cups of tea!”

This is a quote from Eleanor, one of my clients. She’s not alone in feeling overwhelmed and the description of her week echoes those I’ve heard from most of my clients at some point. If I had a pound/dollar/euro for every time I heard the word “overwhelmed” from my clients over the past 16 years, I’d be a rich woman by now!

90% of the women I’ve worked with over the years have had caring responsibilities – usually for children, sometimes for ageing parents, sometimes as carers, and increasingly – as I get older! – I am noticing that many of my clients have both children and parents to look after. 21st century life is busy for most of us, but for women who are mothers or carers, ‘busy’ is taken to a whole new level.

I get the “jugging act” and “balancing act” of work, life and family. I get it because I speak on an almost daily basis with my clients who are striving to master that juggling act. I also get it as I’m at the sharp end myself! as a mum, with a coaching practice and a new business, maintaining a house, raising 2 energetic boys (and of course my 4-legged “boy”, Ernie) I often wonder how on earth I keep going! And just like my clients, I’m keenly aware of the dangers of burnout and conversely, the importance of carving out time for my own health, wellbeing and happiness. But how do we carve out that time when we have so much on our plate?

Of course, the more we have on our plate, the longer it takes to clear that plate. And the plate is never empty. Just as soon as you’ve cleared a space, something else appears on it. Looking at that plate, piled so high that you don’t know where to start, can be completely overwhelming!

But here’s the issue: For the most part, we are loading up that plate ourselves. We are largely responsible for our own tendency to fall into overwhelm, as we are so busy trying to be Superwoman.

Are modern women a “generation of control freaks”? Judith Warners, in her New York Times bestseller “Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety” thinks so – and control freaks who are unable to say “No” to boot: In “Perfect Madness”, Warners cites an article from Redbook, a women’s magazine about the cult of busy-ness amongst modern women:

“What has modern woman done with the four or five hours she used to spend at the wash line? Chances are she has let herself be dragooned into doing something that is just as tiring and time-consuming. She is working on one more committee, helping out at a pre-kindergarten art group or collecting furniture or clothing for the town swap shop.. permi(ting) the time saved by (the) mechanical devices to be wiped out by increased standards of performance”.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this is a description of a stay at home mum: The “modern woman” described above is also highly likely to be building a career, as well!

Here’s the rub…

“The obligation for working mothers is a very precise one: 
The feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, 
whilst raising one’s children as if one did not have to work”

There are 8 main reasons for overwhelm in talented women that I have observed over many years of coaching. Only the first two are external; the other six are about talented women getting in their own way by trying to be that mythical creature – Superwoman:

  1. Information overload
  2. Volume of work
  3. High expectations of myself
  4. Putting too much pressure on myself
  5. Trying to be perfect
  6. Needing to live up to other’s expectations of me
  7. Taking on too much
  8. Needing to do it all, “because nobody can do it as well as I can”


One of the best ways to let go of the habit of being Superwoman is to get real on your expectations of yourself. Superwomen with control freak tendencies tend to have unrealistically high expectations of ourselves. This inevitably leads to overloading your metaphorical plate which in turn leads to you becoming overwhelmed. Getting into a cycle of coping-overwhelm-coping-overwhelm is not, as you might have already suspected, a sustainable one. Ultimately it leads to burnout and this has some serious health implications.

Checking in with your expectations of yourself is simple, but not always easy. Simple because you just have to take a step back and ask yourself, “What am I expecting myself to do here?.. Is this realistic/reasonable?” However, it is not always easy – because you are likely to be so ingrained in the habit of handling everything and getting things done that your default position is to respond to each challenge with

“How can I fit this in?”

rather than

“Where are my expectations unrealistic?”

This is why it is helpful to speak regularly to a good Coach or a friend, to get them to reflect back to you. You need someone who can pull you up short and point out the obvious…

“Hang on, you’ve just told me that today you are going to do A, B, C, D and E at work. That’s going to take you at least ten hours, and you’ve only got six working hours in the day!”

Gina had a big list of “must dos” in her week but she was frustrated with herself, as she wasn’t achieving them. She said:

“There’s no reason I can’t do all of these things. I just need to be more efficient with my time”

We drew up a grid and sectioned into days of the week and waking hours in the day. We walked through every single thing that Gina wanted to achieve in an average week.

Gina had a picture of how her life was going to be completely perfect with every element of a balanced life incorporated. She believed that the only thing that was stopping her was her own lack of time management. She believed that, if only she could get it right, she would be able to “do it all : Time for work, time for the kids, time for herself, time for her community, time for her hobbies and time for many other projects she was trying to juggle.

As we listed all the elements of her ideal week, I asked Gina how many hours per week she wanted to spend on each activity in her life. As we went through every element of her week, I asked the same question and quietly added up all the hours.

She was shocked when I told her the total hours: In order to achieve everything, she needed to have over 130 waking hours per week. There was no room in Gina’s week for the unexpected curve balls that have a habit of popping up regularly and certainly no room for anything to deviate from plan. Most of all, there was no room for sleep! It left her with just over 5 hours per night. Hardly a perfectly balanced life!

This was a reality check for Gina and it was a useful exercise. But she was only doing what millions of women do – over-estimating what she could achieve in the time given and setting expectations that only Superwoman could meet!

You might have a to-do list, and you beat yourself up because you haven’t achieved it, try this exercise yourself. Get real about how long things take – by underestimating you will feel constantly disappointed with yourself and constantly anxious.

This is a painful way to step up – no doubt about it! Looking at how long things really take is uncomfortable. However, this is the only way to prove to yourself that you are setting your expectations too high.

Ever felt overwhelmed? This is going to help!

By amandaalexander | Uncategorized

What is a toleration?

A toleration is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as:

“Willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs which are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them”.

However, for our purposes within the context of our Get It Done Days, the word is used differently here – to mean something more along the lines of:

“something that needs to be done that is draining your energy, although you’ve been putting it off or ignoring it!”

This “something” could be:

  • A task that needs to be started or finished
  • A phone call you need to make
  • A clear out or declutter of somewhere in your home

A short, but expressive description of a toleration is “energy drainer”

We are all tolerating stuff, and the list of tolerations is infinite and each list will be different for each person.

What happens when we tolerate too much?

If I’m speaking about tolerations to an audience, one of the ways I demonstrate what they do to us is by holding a Styrofoam cup over a bowl, pouring water into that cup, then punching holes with a pencil into the filled cup of water.

The water is your energy and the holes are the tolerations. Of course, the more holes I punch, the quicker the water drains. Same thing with your energy – tolerations drain your energy away. So it’s a good thing to get rid of them!

Part of my work as a coach is to help my clients eliminate the mental and physical stuff that diverts our energy from investing in ourselves and our family. I occasionally challenge a client to call me on the hour every hour for a set period if she has been procrastinating on getting something done. This is where the idea of group Get It Done Days came from…

I know that we ALL have projects hanging around and things to do. Get It Done Days will:

1. Get rid of some of the things you are tolerating

2. Raise your energy

3. Help you feel more in control

4. Reduce your feeling of overwhelm

5. Allow you to “ring-fence” projects so that you don’t need to worry about them in between the sessions. This means you can get on with your life, knowing that these sessions will be there for you to “get it done”

This is why “Get It Done Days” are so powerful:

Get-It-Done days do exactly what they say on the tin.. They help you to get things done!

Get it Done Days work on a simple principle of accountability. You are declaring your intentions to me and to others. This means you are creating a structure within which to achieve those intentions. This is a much better way of getting things done than relying on your own willpower alone!

Dr. Richard Wiseman, in his book “59 Seconds” has concluded that people who are most likely to achieve their goals are those that declare their goals publicly. These successful people are also in the habit of breaking up their goals into sub-goals. This is essentially what my Get It Done Days are all about – helping you achieve stuff!

You work from your office or your home and check in on the hour every hour in a thread in our group. This is about sure you are getting the stuff done that will help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

You can use these sessions for ANYTHING you’ve been procrastinating about, whether it’s de-cluttering a bedroom, writing a report, making phone calls or finishing an important project that has been hanging over you.

How does a “Get It Done Day” work?

Easy peasy. You just commit to either posting in our FaFF Facebook Group on the hour every hour, from 10 am to 4 pm on the Get It Done Day.

Set your alarm so you don’t miss your check in times and when you report in, spend no more than five minutes reporting your progress and encouraging others in theirs.

The other 55 minutes is for you to GET STUFF DONE!

In the Facebook group, you will also declare your intentions for the next hour to others. This will really help you to actually DO what you said you were going to do

How do I join your Private Facebook Group?

Easy! Click here and request to join.
You will find one question to answer – How did you find out about this group?
Answer the question and once I’ve checked you’re a bona fide subscriber to my mailing list, I’ll let you in!

My private Facebook group is an online place I have created where you get me coaching you for FREE.

You’re getting the same kind of support as you would have received when I was running a paid membership site, but without paying a penny/cent! Zut alors! The way I am able to justify the time I put into this, is by combining the free coaching with my “Tropic VIP group”. Which means, you’ll also learn more about Tropic’s gorgeous natural, fresh skincare! You get offers, prizes and online pamper parties that only members of the group get access to. And I share my Tropic business with enthusiasm, love, humour and integrity. You can read my pledge and philosophy in the group. Of course, like all Facebook groups, you can leave at any time!

When do we start and at what time do you check in?

The Get It Done Days are taking place next week, Monday 4th to Wednesday 6th June

We start at 10 am UK time and you will check in on the hour every hour between 10 am and 4pm UK time.

Set your alarm for those times now!

What are the benefits, apart from getting stuff done?

  • Feeling of lightness
  • Feeling of accomplishment
  • Release energy to attract new and good stuff into your life!

Tips to Prepare For Our Get It Done Days

  • If you have someone who will support you at your office or home or wherever you are, let them know you’re doing this so that they know you’re a woman on a mission. Ask them to give you a poke if you start slacking!
  • If you are going to be at home with young kids during the Get It Done Days, don’t make your list of stuff too long and accept that you WILL be interrupted by children. I used to find that when I did this with with my kids around, it was best to choose things like clearing kids’ toy boxes or wardrobes out – the sort of stuff that you can do with your children around you. With a bit of luck, they will then find a long forgotten toy and happily play with it whilst you are trying to get rid of stuff!
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down every toleration/thing that you want to get done this weekend! BEFORE we start our Get It Done Days on Monday.
  • Have your list of tolerations handy for when we start and chose which tolerations you’re going to bust first. Be ready to declare what you’re going to do on Facebook.
  • Have fun!
    At 4 pm, you’re done for the day. I want you to mark the end of the day knowing that you’ve probably achieved more that day than you might normally in 3 days.. or more! What would you really like to do to celebrate, either at lunchtime, in the afternoon or the evening? What’s your TREAT to look forward to? It doesn’t have to cost money, but it’s important that you have something to look forward to after all your hard work. That’s what being in balance is about!

What if you can’t do a full day? Or you can only do an hour?

Then do just an hour! We can only do what we can do! I have decided to go crazy with this and do THREE FULL DAYS to give more people the chance to join. You are bound to have existing commitments, but my hope is that you may be able to do an hour or two over the space of 3 days. Don’t NOT take part just because you have prior commitments. Do what you can with the time you have – One focused hour can achieve a lot!

If you’d like to join us next week and get things done, click here to request to join my private Facebook group

The 3 Things You Need to Practise to Achieve Your Dreams

By amandaalexander | Business

“Every dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” 

There’s no preamble to this article:  The 3 things you need to practise to achieve your dreams are:


If you feel that you’ve been struggling to gain momentum to make the changes you yearn for, then this article is especially for you.

Let’s start with PASSION!

It is essential to have passion in order to achieve the success you crave.  But, contrary to popular opinion, passion doesn’t perform miracles in isolation.  You can’t just be passionate about something and expect everything to fall into place.

The PASSION bit is the spark; it’s where the desire to make a difference starts.  But what if your passion has gone poop?

Here’s my theory – If you ain’t got no passion, I think it’s likely that one thing needs your attention – YOU! You can’t be passionate about anything if you’re worn down, depressed, knackered, being unkind to yourself, dislike yourself. Easier said than done, but if this is the case, you need to take really good care of yourself.

Once you’ve put extreme self-care as your no. 1 priority, at that point you will be able to gently raise your eyes above the horizon of merely surviving or plodding along.

Occasionally in life, plodding along is all you can do – we all have our plodding periods – don’t kid yourself that you’re the only one. So when you find yourself in one of those plodding phases, it really is important to look after no. 1 first.

This ain’t airy fairy BS self-care advice: It’s the TRUTH!

The truth according to Amanda Alexander, anyway 😉

Here’s where your STRENGTH comes inIt takes STRENGTH to build yourself up when you’re in that plodding phase, so by gently lifting yourself, you’ll prove to yourself that you are indeed strong – and that will raise your confidence and increase your sense of hope. I promise you that as you’re working on it, you’ll soon notice that your plodding has turned to – oooh, let’s say – a speed walk!

And one day, you’ll find yourself hot to trot! Which means your inner STRENGTH muscle is shaping up very nicely! Guess what? PASSION will be a mere trot around the corner..

And what about PATIENCE?

You might be all fired up with passion leading the way, you have toned your strength muscle nicely. You’re on your way!  However, you’re also going to need oodles of PATIENCE for the dips that you don’t seem to be popping out of quickly enough. Those times when you’re wondering…

  • When will things turn around?!
  • How much more do I have to endure before this gets easier?!
  • Will I ever start making any real progress?!


The road to success has lots of twisty turny bits, potholes and unexpected detours. Nobody gets a perfectly tarmaced road to success.
Quite frankly, your twisty turny road to success may sometimes feel like it’s never going to end. BUT, probably when you’re least expecting it, when you’ve got PASSION, STRENGTH and PATIENCE firmly in place, you’ll discover that one of the unexpected detours leads to you achieving that thing your heart desires.Hang on in there.. you’re on your way!

This is the One Thing That High Impact Leaders Have in Common

By amandaalexander | Leadership

Yesterday I facilitated a leadership session for women in STEM on becoming high impact leaders, and I began by asking the participants –

“What is impact, to you?”

The answers almost universally, were that impact is the effect you have on other people and people remembering something you did.

But what do we remember about impactful people?

The quote from Maya Angelou comes to mind:

“People will forget what you said but people will never forget how you made them feel”

In her article in, Robin Camarote argues that high impact leaders all have 3 qualities: passion, persistence and kindness. Whilst passion and persistence are high up on the desirable qualities scale, I think it’s the third quality – kindness – that defines high impact leadership the most.

Camarote says:

“Kind leaders understand that kindness is both critical and universal. It’s not just about being polite in front of clients or drafting e-mail messages with heart. Kindness permeates high-impact leaders’ every relationship and every interaction. They leave every conversation with someone feeling heard and in a better place than before–even when delivering bad news. Kind leaders skip the cheap or easy opportunities to make someone feel bad for making a mistake and instead give words of faith and encouragement.”

Kind leaders leave conversations making people FEEL heard and in a better place – back to that Angelou quote!

I asked the participants in the leadership webinar:

“Who comes to mind when I ask you about a person who has had a (positive!) impact on you?”

I left the interpretation loose – I told them they could choose anyone – from work or personal life.

They ALL came back with examples of previous managers who had wanted them to succeed, who had supported them practically or emotionally and who had believed in them.

Here are a few of their responses about high impact leaders:

  • “A former manager who believed in me and gave me a chance”
  • “Previous manager – allowed me the freedom to use my initiative but always there to guide”
  • “Previous manager – believed I was capable and backed me up”
  • “A manager who was supportive and wanted to develop me not himself”
  • “One of my Directors who valued my contribution to the business – I felt that my work was wanted, appreciated and I enjoyed my work”
  • “Previous Manager – believed in me”

None of this is surprising, really, is it? We remember that one teacher who believed in us, acknowledged our strengths and encouraged us to reach higher. We probably don’t remember what that teacher said to us, but we remember how they made us feel. They made us feel that we could fly – so valuable because sometimes we don’t believe we can fly ourselves: Often other’s belief in our ability can work miracles for kick-starting our own self-belief.

Just like that one special teacher, you NEVER forget the manager who believes in you, who gives you a chance, who backs you up and who supports you.

I have my own – his name was Tony Cleary. He was my manager when I was a Project Manager in Tech. He believed in me enough to almost double my salary when he hired me. He held me to high standards and he stood up for me when I was threatened with redundancy when I was pregnant. Tragically, Tony died of cancer last year. I hadn’t seen him for many years, but I still grieved his passing. He may be gone, but I will always remember the impact he had on me.

  • Who has had a positive impact on you in your career? How did they make you feel?
  • What did they enable you to do?
  • Do you consider yourself to be a high impact leader?

Check in on yourself – who are you encouraging and supporting? No special management qualifications needed – only kindness and a genuine desire to see others succeed.

If you’re doing that, then it’s likely that you too are a high impact leader!

7 Top Tips for Successes, Failures and “Who Knows What’s”

By amandaalexander | Business

I’ve made 2 big decisions this month: I announced my resignation as a Regional Director of Forward Ladies at the beginning of the month, and yesterday, I informed my members of The Academy for Talented Women that I would be closing the club at the end of this month.

It feels very strange today – as my members react to the news and I prepare for our last ever masterclass (“How to Silence Your Own Inner Imposter and Own Your Expertise”), with one of my favourite guest experts Caroline Ferguson, AKA “The Mindset Trainer”.

Closing The Academy has been a tough decision and it’s taken a fair dollop of bravery to let go of my “baby”. I created The Academy almost 5 years ago, in February 2013. It was originally called “FaB Club for Working Mums” and it was born from an online fixed duration group coaching programme called “Fab for Working Mums”. The programme was incredibly successful in helping working mums to become “Fulfilled and Balanced” (hence FaB), but I wanted to provide continuous, cost-effective support. So FaB Club was born.

Most of the members have been with me since the very start of the Club – and I feel so lucky to have attracted such brilliant women and to have such an incredible retention rate (I believe that the average is 4 months – mine has been almost 5 years).

A couple of years ago, in line with my strategy to get FaB out to the corporate world, sell hundreds of memberships and get crazy rich whilst doing something I believe in, I changed FaB Club to be more “corporate” – The Academy for Talented Women. I even created a corporate brochure (it’s still on my website if you’re curious –

The “selling hundreds of memberships to corporates and getting crazy rich” bit never happened. I could make loads of excuses as to why. In short, I loved serving my members, I didn’t love anything about marketing to the corporate world. I didn’t give it my all.

But as we all know, the Universe acts in mysterious ways.… After banging my head on a metaphorical brick wall for quite a few months trying to convince the corporate market of the value of The Academy and to no avail, this year other pathways have emerged in ways I’d never have anticipated.

Much of my time at present is working as a leadership coach (for male rather than female clients, to boot!). My work as a workshop facilitator has been notched up many levels. And apparently, I’m now a Virtual Learning Event Expert. A what?! Who would have thought that all those years of trying to stay calm when my webinars crashed would lead to me being labelled as an “expert”?!!

I have also recently taken my first steps as a Coach Trainer with Performance Consultants International, an exciting opportunity to deepen my own coaching mastery with one of the most prestigious coach training schools in the world, and the natural evolution of my existing mentor coaching work.

Alongside all of these magical new career branches, I am developing a deep interest in neuroplasticity, positive psychology and the benefits of mindfulness, particularly in the leadership setting. Who knows where this will take me? I feel increasingly drawn towards using mindfulness to support visionary leaders… For now, I’ll focus on my own mindfulness practice!

Last but not least, as you may already have seen, in June I set up a business with the simply delightful Tropic Skincare whose products and ethics are spot on for me. It allows me to build a passive income business to accelerate my personal financial freedom goals. With a team of 4 already (of whom 3 are former clients), much of my “spare” time (LoL!) is learning how to build my own sales funnels and coaching my team. It’s something completely different to coaching, yet it enables me to use my coaching skills to support women who have similar aspirations.

With everything that I have achieved and experienced so far, I have been stretched beyond where I thought I could go. I have had to work on a fair few mindset monkeys and negative beliefs. And I have experienced many failures along with the successes

7 Top Tips For Your Success, Failures and Who Knows Whats

So as I have reached a new juncture in my life, I thought I’d share with you my 7 top tips to keep going, feel happy and do your bit as you travel along your own journey of success, failure and who knows what….

1. When it’s all going wrong and the more you try, and the heavier life becomes, it’s time to do the toughest thing – surrender. That means taking a step back, pausing and trusting. As my friend and former client @Jocowlin says, “EWOP: Everything Is Working Out Perfectly”. Even when it feels like EGTS: Everything is Going to Shit. 🙂

2. When something isn’t working any more, your intuition will tell you. Don’t hang on because of familiarity, comfort zones and a sense of obligation when you know it’s time to move on – life is too short and there are too many amazing things out there for you. Take the leap and the net will appear.

3. When you doubt yourself, seek to serve others – hand on heart, tune inwards and set the intention to focus on the people you’re serving. Taking the focus off yourself and putting it onto the people you’re serving reduces performance anxiety and fear of failure. Whether you’re coaching, baking cakes, giving a presentation, selling stuff or building a house.

4. Own your failures and look for the learning and opportunities they have given you. The best learning comes through tough times and multiple failures. Remember that EVERYONE fails and EVERYONE has periods in their lives where it feels like everything is going wrong. You are not alone. Share your failures with others with a smile on your face – it will inspire them to fail and keep going. There is too much bullshit in the world – we need more vulnerable and courageous people to tell it how it is (with positive intention and a smile on your face please!)

5. Celebrate your successes and document them. Keep a “champagne moments” folder – a physical folder or one on your computer. Our brain is hardwired to focus on the negative (it’s called the negativity bias), so you’ll need to operate on a 3:1 basis of celebrating successes to directing failures to remain mentally strong and build emotional resilience.

6. ALWAYS make career decisions through the lens of your core values. This way, even if it turns out not to be as you expected (and things always change), the decision will be the right one, because it will lead to opportunities that you don’t know exist yet. Which leads me to…

7. Say “YES” to opportunities that light you up, even if you have no idea if you can do it. Remember – you can’t see around corners. Saying yes to mad things that scare me has always been a life policy that’s served me pretty well – I’m still alive, still laughing like a loon and quite frankly, I love my life.

The question is – do you love yours?

And if the answer is “no”, what do you need to change?

Daring Greatly on a Grey Day…

By amandaalexander | Courage

Occasionally, I don’t want to be a blinking pioneer. I don’t want to be daring greatly or go for my big, bold f***g goals. I don’t want to stretch outside of my bloody comfort zone. I just want to be safely boringly plodding along.  

Sometimes I even have my stereotypical housewife fantasy. It goes like this: See the kids off to school, do a bit of shake and vac to put the freshness back, eat chocolates, watch Neighbours (is it still on?), make the kitchen floor sparkly clean with Flash and prepare a nice healthy meal for my kids.

Maybe whilst swigging a gin and tonic.

This post is about daring to be vulnerable. And I’ve decided to spill my guts (sparingly), because most of us are actually human and most of us tend to fall into the trap of being very harsh on ourselves when we’re not firing on all cylinders, whilst telling ourselves that we are the only one with a problem.

It’s just not true.

But how much shall I share? How vulnerable do I dare to be? In the big bad web world, where every word is recorded for posterity, where, once it’s out there, it’s out there.

One school of thought is:

“Post only positive and happy things”

Whilst another is

“Those who feel the need to keep telling us about their amazing lives probably have a lot of problems”

For the record, I find this particular perspective rather cynical and bitter. I tend to unfollow those who sneer at other people’s expressions of happiness.

I try to strike a balance. I post some of my joyful moments and some of my successes, when I’m moved to. I try to follow an 80/20 rule of focus on the good with the occasional rant about Trump/Brexit/injustice in the world/a utility company.

But I don’t think I’ve ever shared the deeply vulnerable stuff.

Until NOW!!

In this post, you’ll learn that (shock horror) I DO NOT HAVE MY SH1T TOGETHER ALL THE TIME.

You’ll learn that I am so far from reaching Buddhist enlightenment that I can’t even see the light whilst squinting.

You’ll learn that I don’t have a picture perfect relationship

You’ll learn that I don’t have unerring self-belief (but you probably knew THAT one already!).

You’ll also learn that, despite meditating every single day and practicing mindfulness for the past 3 years or so, sometimes I’m a VERY SLOW LEARNER.

You’ll hear that, very recently, I had thoughts like this:

  • Nobody likes me
  • I feel sorry for myself
  • I’ve got a cold and it’s the end of the world
  • I feel sad and lonely and scared
  • I don’t want to do anything

And I’ve decided to share this to help others feel ok about not always being ok. And why is that useful? Well, Brene Brown expresses it best:

“You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability”

A rainy Wednesday

I walked out into the pouring rain with Ernie, my labradoodle. It was 1.30 pm in the afternoon and I had delayed his morning walk because the weather was so foul, and I felt foul too.

I had a train to catch in 2 hours. Streaming with cold, coughing, spluttering and yawning, I threw up my hood and hunched up against the driving rain.

I felt really low today. Grey, grey, grey.

Two days ago, I’d had a blazing row with the bloke. It started with me making a comment about a light bulb. It had resulted in us not speaking to each other. Two days and counting. We were both sulking.

The boys had noticed and it was having an impact on them. I knew that it had upset them, made them feel vulnerable – is mum going to split up with John, they were wondering. After all, their parents are divorced parents; they’ve seen it, they know it can happen.

Guilt – I’m hurting my kids. I’m rubbish.

I was about to head to London for my very first gig with a prestigious coach training school and consultancy. I’d only been asked to do it a week ago and I’d cleared my diary to make it happen. I was thrilled to be asked – this would be a real “feature in my cap” for my coaching CV.

Last week I was thrilled – today I was just worried that I would be crap.

I caught up on some of my to do list in the morning. I did something that I’d been procrastinating on, that took me out of my comfort zone, made me feel vulnerable – because I was worried about rejection. I invited some friends round for afternoon tea. When I sent the invitation, I started to doubt myself.I was “daring greatly” to take this little action, and the negative self talk was loud:  What if they all said no? What would that mean about me?

Not worthy. Not likeable, not good enough. That’s what it would say about me!

Even though I was going to London to do something exciting and career-enhancing, I didn’t want to go. I felt lonely at the prospect of being “down south”.

  • I wanted to stay with my boys and heal the wound I’d caused.
  • I wanted to be friends with the bloke again.
  • I wanted to sink into a hot bath and hide.
  • I wanted to curl up in front of the fire and watch telly and have my mum bring me tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches. With tomato sauce.
  • I wanted to hold my boys so tight and infuse them with certainty and safety and love. A feeling of guilt so strong, I felt it in my gut.

As I trudged down the path, tears started rolling down my cheeks. It was all so grey.

My phone rang. It was the bloke:

“What time do I have to pick Fred up?”
A pause as he hears me sniffling, then:
“Are you crying?”
“Are you sure you’re not crying?”
“No. I’m not I’m fine” <snort, sob, sob>
“What’s the matter my love? Are you crying?”

The gentleness of his words almost imperceptibly cut through all the heavy greyness. And I let more tears flow, instead of biting my lip.

“Yes, I am crying”
“Why are you crying?”
“Because I’m snotty and my throat is sore and it’s raining and I don’t want to go to London I want to stay here with the boys and you and I don’t like not being friends with you and I don’t want to split up with you and I’m worried that nobody likes me and I’m worried I’ll do a crap job tomorrow and they’ll never ask me back. And I’m picking up an enormous poo”

A touch of laughter, a dollop of kindness, a whole heap of love.

It was all it took to break the entente discordiale.

The bloke listened, then said;

“When you get back from your walk, we’ll have a big cuddle. We’re not going to split up. It will be alright.”

And that’s all it took to help me to crawl back out of my poor little me rabbit hole. I took a step back from the dog poo (safely contained in a bio degradable poo bag) and I looked at the situation again:

  • My boys are loved by both their parents. I just need to keep that message very strong.
  • I am loved by those who matter. I am liked by those who matter. I am ok. I am enough.
  • I am not going to be away from my family forever. It’s just 2 nights.
  • I’m going to stay with one of my best mates, who I love and who loves me for who I am, with or without a cold, full-on gregarious or snotty, quiet and reflective.
  • I’ll take my London gig one step at a time. It will be an adventure. I will serve the people I’m there to serve, with my heart – that always works.
  • I’m so bloody lucky with my life.
  • I love being outside, I love walking with Ernie, even when it’s pouring with rain.
  • This too shall pass

So that’s the tale of an ordinary Wednesday when one ordinary gal felt a bit low and a bit sorry for herself.

It was nothing special, nothing heroic.

Most couples argue, most people get colds, most people feel guilt, most people feel self-doubt, most people have times when they just can’t be arsed with any of it.

Yet we hide it. We pretend that we’re ALWAYS OK thank you very much.

And mostly, “I’m fine thank you” IS fine. We don’t want to become negative psychic vampires, sucking the joy out of other people’s lives. Mostly, a measure of resilience is about feeling the pain, dealing with it quietly and getting back to OK.

But now and then, a little vulnerability can go a long way: It helps us to be more mindful, to put our worries, concerns and bumps in the road back into perspective. It allows us to bounce back more quickly. As Brene Brown has said in her book, “Daring Greatly”:

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.

So this post comes from me to you, sitting on my train to London. The the rain is still pouring down as I look outside the window. My snot is still snotting out of my nose. But the tears have stopped and I’m daring greatly despite the greyness.  Maybe there’s even a touch of sunshine in my carriage.

Whoever you are, wherever you are, however you’re feeling, you hereby have permission to not be ok, to be vulnerable and to get a bit lost in the grey.

Because this too will pass. And soon you will be back to daring greatly – even on a grey day!

Ever Compared Your Life to Others on Social Media? Then Read This!

By amandaalexander | Friendship

This week, I have written a little bedtime story about comparing yourself to other people’s social media posts. It’s one of many stories I could have chosen. It’s a work of semi-fiction. As they say at the end of a television drama, it is based on events that really happened.

If you know someone who is feeling a bit inadequate right now – because we all have those times, don’t we? – then please share this post with them. Because it might help them to stop comparing their behind the scenes with other people’s highlight reels.

She reads her friend’s shocking social media post. Who would have thought?…

She remembers that friend’s gorgeous posts less than 18-months ago. So many stunning, happy, loved up pictures of her and her new husband? She remembers the picture when they were lying on a sun-soaked golden beach, the crystal-clear sea glinting in the sunshine behind them. He was always giving her expensive presents. She remembers some of the pictures of the designer handbags, the huge bouquets of flowers.

Oh… What a perfect life. What a perfect couple!

She would sigh to herself and imagine what it must be like to be so deeply in those first stages of romantic love. What an amazing man her friend had met, how blessed and blissful her life is.

She thinks about her own husband of 15 years, a bit wrinkled around the edges, a bit squidgy around the middle. How he rarely buys her flowers and when he does, they are more likely to be a bunch of geraniums from the local petrol station when he’s feeling guilty. She can’t remember the last time she frolicked on a tropical beach with him and posed for selfies. Actually, she doesn’t think she’s ever frolicked with him on a tropical beach, although they once had a nice walk along Skegness beach – it was a bit windy, though.

In fact, the last time she was on the beach in the sunshine, she was running after her 3-year old and her 6-year old, trying to make sure they didn’t leg it into the sea whenever her back was turned, and trying to apply sun cream on their wriggling sandy bodies, pleading with them to stay still for just 30 seconds.

A few months after the frolicking beach photos, she sees that her friend is pregnant. She looks with envy at the selfies of her growing bump. And oh, what a neat bump it is. Her bump was never this neat-looking. And how has her friend kept her figure so trim, her hair so glossy, right through to month 9?

Then the baby is born and she sees regular photos of the most gorgeous little boy and his mum in poses of endless bliss. They have so much time to do so many lovely things together. She thinks of the chaos of her life – the military operation every morning to get the kids up, one to nursery and one to school. It’s relentless, exhausting.

And then, when the baby is one year old, she reads a long post that shocks her:

In this post, her “friend with the perfect husband, perfect baby and perfect life” reveals that her new husband had been sleeping with her best friend. Before she became pregnant.

The friend discovered the betrayal when she was just 2 months pregnant. Turns out, that she’d split up with her husband before her baby was born. She has been through labour, childbirth and learning to be a mum by herself. She has suffered heartbreak, humiliation, anger, anguish, loneliness and goodness knows what else. All those beautiful pregnancy and baby pictures – they hid so much pain.

And to think, she wished she were her. She thought her own life was so miserable, in comparison. Suddenly, her husband of 15 years with his sporadic attempts at being romantic didn’t seem so bad.

She had compared herself to her lovely friend and found her own life lacking. But she hadn’t been party to the heart-breaking story that was being played behind the happy pictures.

The “moral” of this story…

Next time you look at a social media post or photo of your friends and find yourself thinking:

  • She’s having so much more fun in her life than I am
  • She’s so much more successful than I am
  • They have so many more holidays than I do
  • She’s so much more beautiful than me
  • He’s so much more popular than I am
  • Their kids are so much more accomplished than mine

Remember that you don’t know WHAT is going on behind the picture-perfect life. The camera DOES lie – it shows just a moment in time. People tend to highlight their success and their joy on social media. Nobody has a perfect life.

The quote “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind” should be your mantra when you find yourself going into comparisonitis.

And let’s add a bit extra to that quote:

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. And be kind to yourself, whilst you’re at it!”

The Power of Acknowledgement

By amandaalexander | Leadership

I’ve been tuned in to the enormous power of acknowledgment ever since I left university and started work. Like most people, my general experience of acknowledgement has been from lack of it rather than abundance.

During my career as a Project Manager, I worked within a high pressure company culture where people were generally NOT routinely acknowledged for their work: it seemed that the only time someone noticed the work people did was when something went WRONG on a project. I recall submitting reports and the focus was always on the red and amber flags – very little time was spent acknowledging people’s hard work or positive results.

When I trained as a Coach, I learned about the importance of getting our needs met. In a personal development context, this means the needs above the basic Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Here’s a very quick and dirty introduction to why getting your personal needs met is so important: When human beings don’t identify their own personal needs and put processes in place to get them met, these needs tend to drive our behaviour. In turn, this propagates an unhealthy vicious cycle where we sub-consciously try to get our needs met. This ultimately holds us back from achieving our biggest dreams and goals.

A good analogy might be this: Imagine you want to get from A to B in a car. You’re determined to get to your destination and you keep putting your foot down on the accelerator. But you’re not getting anywhere because you’re also pressing the brake pedal at the same time. Getting your needs met is like taking your foot off the brake pedal so that the accelerator pedal can do it’s job and you can drive to your desired destination.

One of the core needs that almost EVERY person I’ve ever coached is the need for acknowledgement.

Back in 2006, I felt so strongly about the power of acknowledgement, that I submitted a proposal to a major high street bank for a workshop on acknowledging skills for managers. I wrote this proposal in response to so many of my clients expressing their unmet need for being acknowledged at work.

Acknowledgement in this context is about recognising something that someone has done; it’s the action of showing that we have noticed someone or something. And the power of acknowledgement in the workplace is the power to help people to flourish, to enhance their performance, to grow their confidence and create a virtuous circle of high performing, happy and fulfilled employees.

Let’s go back to my car journey analogy: If a company or organisation is like the car, then the unmet need for acknowledgement is the brake on the car stopping it from reaching its desired destination. When you build genuine acknowledgement into your company culture, not only are you taking your foot off the brake, you’re filling the car with turbo fuel to enhance the acceleration!

Professional athletes know that ongoing acknowledgement and celebration as well as cheers from their fans and encouragement from their team mates improves their performance. The power of acknowledgement is as useful to high performance in the office and raising confident kids as much as it is on the playing field.

It is an unfortunate fact that most company cultures constantly put the focus on what’s not working, on what needs to be fixed and what still needs to be completed. Whilst it’s important to fix and finish, I believe that taking the time to recognise and acknowledge people for the work they have done would act as a preventive measure and reduce the number of problems that get all of the focus.

Acknowledging is a powerful catalyst for action, but when it is absent, it leads to inaction, resentment and demotivation. Talented women and men who don’t feel valued vote with their feet. I know this because, during my years as a professional Coach, I’ve helped a fair few of them to walk elsewhere.

The power of acknowledgement is one of the most underrated and most important elements of leadership and of unleashing human potential. Whether I am coaching personal clients or corporate clients or whether I’m just going about my day-to-day life, acknowledgment is something that’s always been at the forefront of my mind. My radar is almost always switched on to spot opportunities to acknowledge people, whether it’s one of my boys at home, one of my clients or a waiter in a restaurant. It can be anywhere – close family member, colleague or stranger.

Last weekend I was in my beloved Lake District and I felt moved to talk about the power of acknowledgement at the top of Orrest Head in Windermere! I shot a Facebook Live which I’ve uploaded to my blog.

Click here to watch the video – You’ll hear hear me tell the story of the train conductor who seemed to grow a few inches taller after I acknowledged him, or my own recent story about being on the receiving end of acknowledgement for my own performance at work. And even better, you’ll also get to take in some of the finest views in England whilst you’re watching! 🙂

Click here to watch my Vlog on “The Power of Acknowledgement”

 I’d love to hear from you below in the comments.

  • Do you feel acknowledged at work?
  • Do you look out for opportunities to acknowledge your team or colleagues?
  • Are you better at acknowledging your family than your colleagues? Or vice versa?
  • And how about strangers? Do you go out of your way to acknowledge people you notice doing a great job, even if you feel a bit awkward doing so?

My 4 Simple Steps to Attracting Good Things Into Your Life

By amandaalexander | Mindset

I’ve made some big changes to my business and as a result, exciting opportunities are flying in thick and fast.

I’ve been thinking about how I am when I’m at my best and about how we can become irresistibly attractive. How can we “attract” more great opportunities, experiences, people into our lives?

“What does this even mean?” you may ask, if you are not familiar with the Law of Attraction.

Well, here is my own interpretation – you are irresistibly attractive when you are happy, content and full of life.

I have dined out on a piece of praise from one of my first coaches for many years. She said to me:

“Amanda, you could attract opportunities whilst sitting in a bath of cold baked beans, with a paper bag over your head, farting.”

Hmmm… a becoming image, n’est-ce pas? 😉

As a seasoned Coach, I’m a constant observer of behaviour, including my own. So I’ve done quite a bit of analysis around this irresistibly attractive thing.

Believe me, I am not always attracting good things whilst sitting in that cold bath of baked beans (and I NEVER fart, by the way).

I have had long periods of time when I’ve felt that I’m on a treadmill – giving my heart and soul, working my butt off and going round in ever-decreasing circles. I’ve had times when the harder I’ve worked and the more I’ve tried, the worse the results. It’s been one knock after another. Have you ever been on that treadmill?

Those are the times when I forget to walk my own talk. I forget my own “secret” formula for being irresistibly attractive.

So how do we get out of that rut?

It’s simple, but not easy: You have to surrender. You have to let go, stop grasping. You have to trust, trust yourself, trust that things will work themselves out and just ride with the waves.

The tricky thing, in my own experience, is that the waves don’t immediately calm down once you let yourself ride with the damn things. It’s likely you’ll still be buffeted around, even once you stop fighting them. You might have to brace yourself for a few more high rollers.

Eventually, you’ll come to the shore, but you have to practise the surrendering bit.

Here are my 4 steps for attracting good things into your life

1. Set your intention of what you DO want and practise feeling as if you already have it. Practise like a mad woman (or a mad man)! Practise practise practise – even when it’s hard. Even when you want to yell:

“How can I practise feeling as if I already have what I want when I’m facing so many obstacles, so many problems”

Just. Keep. Practising.

2. Make a decision right now, that no matter what is going WRONG in your life, that you will focus on being relentlessly and nauseously HAPPY and GRATEFUL. Look out for opportunities to feel joyful every single day.

Here are a few questions you could ask yourself to help with relentless happiness and gratitude:

  • What little thing would I love to do today?
  • How can I make someone’s day?
  • What do I notice around me that is wonderful?

There are many more questions you could ask. Let your creativity guide you.

3. Take baby steps.

Create positive daily habits that will take you inch by inch closer to where you want to be. Don’t expect to get there, just do your daily habits for the heck of it.

4. Let go of the outcome.

I’ll repeat – keep acting as if, keep being happy, keep spreading sparkles into the world. Keep taking baby steps with your daily habits.

And keep in mind this one thing – you’ll be fine even if you never achieve your desired outcome.

Trust me, you can do this.

Here’s my very own “how to be irresistibly attractive” formula in a pretty little picture..

When you find yourself worrying about the future of the world, do this…

By amandaalexander | Worry

Ever find yourself worrying about the future for our children?

We woke up on Sunday 4th June to learn of more heart-wrenching news of more deaths from another attack. And right now it feels relentless, doesn’t it? I’m reading posts from friends who have echoed my own words a couple of weeks ago: “It all feels very close to home”.

And also reading things like this:

“I’m worried about how dangerous the World is for my kids”.

The sheer volume of news and the dramatic nature of the way it evolves almost in real time, is giving us an exaggerated sense of danger. And that’s not good news for our kids, because kids pick up on things lightning fast.

My ten-year old, Freddie, has said he gets a bit worried about visiting London or Manchester and has made nervous jokes about something happening to me when I’m in either city.

But, I think it’s extremely important for us to remember that the world our kids are growing up in (in the West, that is) is no more scary than the world we grew up in, our parents or theirs before them.


Let’s look at a bit of history..

During World War 1, just under 9 million men served in the British army and just under 1 million of them were killed or died from wounds, disease or injury. Can you imagine your son going off to fight in a war where he had a 1 in 9 chance of dying?

Rewinding right back to the Middle Ages, the average life span was 31 years.

Except for people like me, witches with ginger hair, for whom life expectancy was approx 18 years. 😉

There was the cold war, the IRA and Bird’s Angel Delight when I was growing up.

My mum was sent to the Isle of Man as a girl with her sister during World War 2. The street she grew up on was heavily bombed:  Can you imagine shipping your kids off to stay long term with a family across a sea, because your home had a high probability of being bombed?

It’s not something we have to consider in the West. Of course, our kids would be facing a lot worse if we lived in Syria or Libya right now.

I could go on…


Then versus now

The difference is that now, we don’t just read frightening news in next day’s papers about humans committing appalling acts on other humans, we hear an explosion of INSTANT frightening news, which inevitably leads to grossly exaggerated and often false news. Which in turn, promotes an exaggerated sense of drama and fear.

The other week, my eldest son and his friends were snap chatting each other about a girl in one of their schools who was killed in the Manchester attack. I discovered a few days later that this was inaccurate….the girl referred to went to a school over 20 miles away. They didn’t know her.  But the kids were too hooked on the drama to concern themselves with the truth.  I don’t cite this to lessen the gravity of the news for that girl and those who loved her, but to illustrate how easy it is for our children to get a grossly distorted view of bad things happening.

When Fred was on a school trip a few weeks ago, he cracked his head. He was absolutely fine but as it goes with head wounds, there was a fair amount of blood. Reports of the blood spattering onto the floor led to one of his highly imaginative classmates creating a story from this that he was dead!

We had to issue a public statement to state that reports of Fred’s demise after falling over in the dorm whilst trying to catch a ball were grossly exaggerated. 😉


Fear of Killer Bees!

There’s a sense of drama that even most adults (me included!) get caught up in ….just look at Facebook as one example: It now has the functionality after a suspected terror attack to allow those in the general area to “mark themselves safe” or “offer help”.  No wonder we focus on the drama. Everybody knows somebody who could have been there!

This functionality on Facebook is a good thing in some ways, but let’s face it, we could be marking ourselves safe every day:

Picture this: “A car crashed in Cheshire today.  I live in Cheshire – I better mark myself safe. Thank goodness it wasn’t me in that car!

In fact, my chances of dying in a car crash are one in 19,000, as opposed to a one in 2,000,000 chance of dying in a terrorist attack. We should be more scared of our kids crossing the road or even going out into the garden, as they are more likely to die getting stung by a bee (700 people do).

I know how easy it is to wonder:

“What if that man over there is a suicide bomber?”


“What if I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time?”

On Saturday night, as I was queuing to get into the Ethiad Stadium in Manchester to see Robbie Williams in concert, with a sniffer dog passing up and down and armed police all around, the woman behind me joked darkly to her friends:

“Let’s go to the toilets in twos….if we die, at least it won’t be alone!”

I know how easy it is to feel scared for our kids’ future, but right now my big fear for our kids is that they will get drawn in by the fear-mongering that squashes free thinking, assessed risk taking and contribution. I want my boys to live full out, purposefully and as citizens of the world, curious about the world and its diversity.

When you find yourself worrying about the future of the world, do this…

Fear is essential when we actually need it: The fear response produces adrenaline in the moment when we DO have to use our limbs to MOVE – fight or flight. And I think it’s useful for us to learn awareness and risk mitigation against violent attacks. I’m going on an “Urban Survival” weekend tomorrow, so I’ll be able to give you some tips on all this as well as how to resist interrogation!

I wouldn’t have missed Robbie Williams’ concert on Saturday night for the World, even though it came just a week after another concert venue in Manchester was attacked by a suicide bomber.  More importantly, I wouldn’t want my sons to miss out on experiences like this out of fear of that minuscule probability (because it still IS a minuscule probability).

We need to remind ourselves to pause before we react to the fear-mongering. Because the next generation will pick up on our fear.

Let’s encourage our kids to keep on living full out, without fear. And let’s do that by teaching them to focus on positive things that they have control over and that WILL change the world: Things like looking after their health, random acts of kindness, standing up for what they believe in and grabbing opportunities.

Most of all, let’s teach them to grab life by the short and curlies and live the heck out of it. After all, they are the ones who have to take the reigns on this mad, bad old World. We do that by walking the talk ourselves: Grab life by the short and curlies, do something kind, be courageous and stand up for something important.

At the concert last Saturday, Robbie made a moving tribute to the late George Michael, covering his 1990 hit single “Freedom”. Those who are as old as me may remember the Katherine Hammett designer white T shirts that Wham! used to wear, with logos in thick black letters emblazoned on them. You might remember one of those phrases; it was splayed all over the big screen as Robbie sang:


And that is what you should do whenever you find yourself worrying about the future of the world!

There but for the grace of God

By amandaalexander | Worry

I was in Amsterdam on Monday evening when I heard the news, up very late. It was past midnight when I logged onto the BBC news website in anticipation of catching up on the latest political shenanigans, when I read “Breaking news in Manchester”.

At first, the news story suspected that it was a speaker that had malfunctioned, causing a very loud noise.

If only..

We are all reeling from this latest terrorist atrocity – and it’s touched so many of us very deeply, because it has targeted children. This is not the first time terrorists have targeted children, of course – they do it all the time in Syria. But it’s truly shocked us in the UK.

Human nature is such that we relate to what is closest to us.

For me and many people I know, this really does feel “too close”. Manchester is “my” city. I know it inside out. It’s the city I spent 6 years as a student, the city that I worked in for many years. I have lived in more places in Manchester than anywhere else! It’s the city I’m in at least once a month and my heart soars whenever I am there.

A girl in my eldest son’s class was at the concert – thrown by the blast, but thankfully alive and uninjured.

We feel grief, sadness and anger for the human beings whose lives were extinguished so suddenly and viciously. But then we think to ourselves:

“There but for the grace of God go I… it could have been my son, my daughter, my mother, my father…”

“Could have been”…But it wasn’t.

It’s another family, another set of friends and teachers experiencing excruciating grief.

And then another family, and another….

But right now, you and I are alive; our lives go on. We recognise that each new day is a blessing. We know deep down that we are lucky to be able to feel all the little irritations of life: frustration with our colleagues, bored with our jobs, angry with our children.

Those who use violence and murder to achieve their aims rely on us becoming fearful. And it’s oh so easy to let fear consume us. I know I’m not the only one who quietly wonders:

“What if I’m in the wrong place today?”

It would be easy to contract our lives just to stay “safe”: deny our children the joy of their first concert, just in case.

But human beings were not designed to be isolated from each other; we are meant to connect and grow. Focusing on our fear and wrapping ourselves in cotton wool is not an option that brings happiness or fulfilment.

I have no wise words or magic pill that will help make sense of a tragic loss of life or how to deal with fear. But I do know one thing – love is the only thing.

When the fear creeps upon us, there’s one thing that every single one of us can do – focus on love.

Love is the opposite of fear. When you feel frightened, think about how you can feel love instead and you’ll notice the fear dissipate. You could generate love through a random act of kindness to a friend or a stranger, by telling the person next to you how much you appreciate them. Feel love by hugging your loved ones. Or simply doing something that brings YOU joy and puts you in an expansive, loving state.

It’s so easy to be cynical about love, dismiss it as “hippy talk” and say; “Love won’t stop the suicide bombers or the bullets or all the bad things in the world”.

To those people, I say: “You’re so wrong!”

This week, we saw love in action in Manchester as the city wrapped its arms around each other; cabbies ferrying lost and frightened people home and to hospitals, homeless men pulling shrapnel out of children’s bodies and holding them; hotels providing shelter and comfort for the injured; the entire city holding a vigil in Albert Square in the city centre. The city was one, in love.

When you feel fear, focus on love.

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