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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

10 Qualities of Being Bold for Change That Will Inspire You (Part 2 of 2)

By amandaalexander | Courage

Welcome to the second part of my epic post on bold women! I started the post asking questions about being bold.

Questions like:

  • What does “BOLD” look like?
  • What kind of qualities does a “bold” woman have?
  • What can we actually achieve in our own lives – and therefore have an impact on the whole world – by being bold?

My thoughts turned to the bold women I know – clients, friends and guests on my Inspiring Women Interviews podcast.

I started asking my Academy members and Stepping Up members about being bold.

In this post, you’ll read another 5 stories of bold women. I’m sure that there will be at least one that will stand out for you!

1. They ASK (rather than waiting to see if it will happen)

Griselda Togobo is the Managing Director of Forward Ladies, an organisation that supports and connects women in business across the UK. I know Griselda well – I work with her as Forward Ladies’ Regional Director in the North West.

I interviewed Griselda for my podcast recently, and one of the things I wanted to learn from her was her ability to ask.

Before setting up Forward Ladies, Griselda worked for Deloitte Touche as an Accountant (and before that, she qualified as an Engineer!). She enjoyed her job and the long hours, but her husband also enjoyed his. This was an issue, as she was pregnant and she didn’t want to leave their new baby in the nursery for equally long hours, so she started to look at other options. Griselda discovered business blogging and business coaching whilst she was on maternity leave and she thought “I give advice to big companies already – I could do this!”

She started her business by just asking:

“I just put it out there that if anybody wanted a speak at an event, happy for you to invite me and I’ll speak. I got a few invites to speak at events and I got clients off the back of that. That quickly pulled me into starting the company and registering it and taking it seriously so that I had started the business even before my maternity was up.”

When Griselda finished her maternity, she spoke to her boss and said:

“I really want to come back, but I need flexible working because our family lifestyle is just too hectic and I feel guilty leaving a child in nursery all the time”. He said, “Well, the firm is going through a change and we need somebody in the office. You’re good in the teams…”.

So she handed him her resignation!

I love Griselda’s bold and down to earth “just ask” mentality! She puts this ability down to not being embarrassed to reach out to people and connect with people in a very genuine way. She simply says:

“Hey, I like what you’re doing. It looks really good. I’d like to know more”.

Bold women like Griselda have a genuine interest in people, what they might need and how they might be able to help them. This leads to the ability to ask. Bold women know the benefits of collaboration.

Bold women simply reach out and ask.

2. They are not afraid of their emotions (even the negative ones)

Billie Piper was interviewed by Chris Evans on his Radio Two breakfast show several weeks ago. He mischievously asked her about an award that she’s up for, as lead role in the play “Yerma”. He asked:

“What will you do when you lose to Glenda Jackson?!”

Billie answered:

“I don’t know, I’ll just roll with whatever emotions come up at the time”.

I loved this answer and it got me thinking about the importance of emotional intelligence. Bold women aren’t immune to negative emotions – they feel disappointment, upset, anger and despondency. But they allow their emotions to surface, without feeling ashamed of them, pushing them away or conversely, being defined by them.

Here’s the thing, there’s a lot of pressure from emotionally stunted people (and yes, there are a lot of them out there), to “just be positive” and “get over it” and “don’t feel down”. They are likely to say: “There there, I’m sure it will all work out fine – just put a smile on your face”, when your life has just imploded. Of course, they mean well – they don’t’ know what else to say!

But denying your emotions, trying to pretend you’re not feeling them, is not healthy, and ultimately, it doesn’t make you bold.

To be bold, you must accept and feel your emotions, even when those around you might not get it.

3. They pick themselves up when things go wrong and do something positive (even though they would prefer to hide under the duvet)

Sarah was very happy with her new life. Recently divorced, she’d met someone and things were going well.

Until one day, completely out of the blue, he dumped her!

She was shocked but, deep in her heart, she knew he was just a sticking plaster at the end of her marriage.

She was upset at the relationship’s sudden end, but she was determined not to let it plunge her into despair.

After allowing herself a couple of days to cry and feel the grief, she picked herself up and decided to focus on her business.

Even though she was still reeling from the impact of the sudden end to her relationship, she took a deep breath and re-negotiated her terms with her freelance clients and found them surprisingly open to the idea.

She knew that the increase was long overdue, and she still felt highly competitive in her work marketplace. She discovered that the bold move drew respect from her clients.

Sarah even stood her ground when one of her clients changed the brief halfway through, and secured full payment for her work upfront.

Sarah didn’t feel confident when she first renegotiated her terms – she was simply being courageous. But courage begets confidence, so, buoyed by her business success, her next positive move was to set about making her home her own – a secure and comfortable space where she could be herself.

A new bath, a bit of decorating and a few spring bulbs later and the sun emerged from behind the winter clouds. As the spring bulbs started to form new green shoots, Sarah emerged too, confident in her new life, secure and happy in her home, and ready to step boldly into new experiences ahead!

4. They are bold enough to stand up for what they believe in, even when they don’t like standing out

A few weeks before the European Referendum in the UK, in May 2016, I had already cast my vote for “Remain”, as I have a postal ballot.

I’ll resist the urge to digress and list my many objections to Brexit; suffice to say, I believe that the chances of global peace, wealth and wellbeing increase the more we are connected, and decrease when we are separated.

I was so worried about the outcome of the UK referendum, that I realised that simply casting my vote was not enough – I felt that it was my duty to do more. I couldn’t get upset about the outcome if I hadn’t at least done my bit to influence a positive result.

So I sought out “Remain” campaigners in my area and one day my friend Claire and I joined members from a local branch of the Labour party – the only party in my area that I could find who were canvassing for the “Remain” vote.

When we arrived at the town we were campaigning in, we found ourselves, as Remain campaigners, in a very small minority: We were vastly outnumbered by UKIP members, who were armed with stickers, badges, loudspeakers and banners. We tried to find a spot on the high street with our A5 leaflets, but wherever we went, we found ourselves surrounded by UKIP Brexit campaigners.

We behaved in the only way we knew how – with a smile and accosting passers-by as politely as we could. The response wasn’t, as you can probably guess, always polite or smiley back!

It was an eye-opener for me: At best, we felt as if most of the people we tried to speak to thought that we were sadly deluded. At worst, people were rude and ignorant. Again, I’ll resist the urge to digress into the kind of responses we got. The point is this:
It was the first time in my adult life where I have ever felt like a real outsider. People thought we were wrong, stupid and not like them. There is a natural urge for human beings to conform, to fit in with our ‘tribe’ and not to stand out. It was a very uncomfortable experience.

However, I’m proud that I did my tiny little bit for the Remain camp – I just wish I could have done more.

Since then, I have co-organised a demonstration outside my youngest son’s school to campaign for Fair Funding for Schools. To a lesser extent, it was still an experience in discomfort – in standing out in a way that might invite criticism. But it was much easier – and next time I decide to be a minority campaigner going against the popular local tide, it will be a bit easier. Because, once we’ve stretched outside our comfort zone, we create a new comfort zone that is bigger – and bolder!

Bold women don’t live their lives as passengers, keeping the things they care deeply about secret, just because people may not agree with them, or dislike them for having different beliefs or values.

Bold women might be fearful of standing up for what they believe in, but they will push themselves through that fear when it’s important to them – even when it means they stand out. In doing this, they become a bit stronger, a bit more courageous and a bit bolder. Each and every time.

5. They make courageous decisions (even though there’s always risk involved)

In 2015 Holly Ashford made the bold, some have even said stupid, decision to walk away from a highly successful 20-year corporate career to start her own business.

She’d had an idea, a dream, for many, many years of taking the skills she had in coaching and mentoring people together with her experience of interviewing hundreds of people for roles and designing and running her own assessment centres, and teaching them to university graduates so they too could be successful.

What started as an “itch” a few years ago, became something she couldn’t ignore, and coupled with a job she wasn’t enjoying and a feeling of being “stuck”, she decided it was the right time to leave. She knew if she didn’t do it then, then she never would. Holly said:

“if I never did then I’d never know if I could succeed at being my own boss and having more time and energy to devote to my 2 young boys.”

It’s easy to mistakenly believe that women who make bold decisions like Holly’s – quitting your career of 20 years to set up your own business from scratch – have some kind of special confidence that sets them apart. When you read it on the page, it sounds easy: “I made the decision to quit”.

Of course, there is always far more to any story like this than the headlines. Holly said:

“It sounds easy but it wasn’t. 2 years prior to that day we down-sized our house so that financial pressures wouldn’t become an issue, and I stuck the job out for 2 years in order to pay off a large chunk of our mortgage”.

Fast forward a year and a bit from the day she resigned, and Holly has her own company. She’s learnt new skills, such as building a website from scratch and creating online training courses. Holly says the bold move has been worth the learning curve:

“My brain feels alive for the first time in years. I’ve got comfortable with feeling uncomfortable – no mean feat for a complete control freak like me. I have no certainly over where the next £1 is coming from but it’s exciting figuring out what works and what doesn’t.

Our family life has benefited tin so many ways – my husband is able to pursue his dream job which wasn’t an option previously, I have a balance that I’ve never known before and the ability to attend all the school events for both my boys alongside building a business. We even have a family dog – something we could never have considered before!”

Bold women make courageous decisions that are certainly not easy, or even instant. But once they have made the leap into the discomfort zone, they discover that they are living their lives truly on purpose.

What You Need To Do To Get Flexible Working

By amandaalexander | Business

My latest Inspiring Women Interviews Podcast has just been broadcast on iTunes and Stitcher. This episode is an interview with Tina Freed, founder of E2W and a champion of flexible working to support talent retention and attraction.

Tina has been helping highly talented women in the city to continue with their careers since 2002, when she and her husband formed E2W, a company with this objective as its primary driver.

Tina’s philosophy is:

“Flexible working is not an obstacle, it’s an opportunity – and we can prove it” 

Before setting up E2W Tina worked in the city within financial services for over 15 years. When she had a baby, she realised that the choice, then- 16 years ago – was to either have a child OR have a career – not both. But she didn’t think that was right, so she did something about it.

She saw a gap in the market –  the opportunity for people like her to continue working in the city AND to fulfil her aspirations as a mother were nonexistent, so she started her own business.  E2W was created so that Tina could be a mum without sacrificing her career.

She knew that she wasn’t alone in wanting this balance, so she set out to find a way to offer flexible working for women who wanted to develop their hard-earned careers and still be a mother.

She also felt that the city-based firms that she’d worked for could benefit from the experience of such women, and potentially it would be a much more cost-effective way of using these talented women.

Tina sought to tap into the big resource pool of mainly women who’d left the city when they were excluded from financial institutions, because those firms couldn’t offer that true work-life integration. E2W set up offices where the women lived, as opposed to where they were working. This obvious solution helped women to overcome the challenge of juggling the daily commute with childcare.

Tina understands that flexibility means different things to different people. Some want to work short days, some want to work 3 long days. For others, an ideal flexible working week might be a traditional 9-5 day, simply because they are currently working 6pm -11pm.

Whatever people’s definition of flexibility, the point is that there are may different patterns that companies can put in place to enable women to continue to work. It starts with thinking creatively.

 “Some of our employees work 9:30 to 2:30, and they do as much in five hours as they would if they went into the city and worked eight hours.”

Many women in middle management face career stagnation, not advancing because of a fearful mindset about the scarcity of opportunities for professionals that also advocate flexible working patterns.

These talented women feel that they can’t leave their current company or seek promotion, because they won’t be able to retain the same level of flexibility they’ve enjoyed.  There is a commonly held belief that flexible working patterns are only offered to those who have served their time and proven their loyalty.  This results in many talented women staying in roles that they have outgrown, simply because they see it as the lesser of two evils.

Challenging a limiting mindset is one of my favourite things to do as a Coach, and it’s also a big driver behind me launching the Inspiring Women Interviews podcast. I want women to learn from role models who have proven that it IS possible to combine a great career with having a life!

I’ve coached many such women over the years and I know that the only way around this is to challenge them to be courageous. Often easier said than done, of course, especially when well-intentioned family and friends reinforce the fearful belief.

My clients frequently tell me that their partners or parents urge them to keep their head down and make the most of it –

“You’ve got a good thing going here, it’s not that bad – don’t rock the boat”.

We need to actively support and encourage more women to challenge the status quo, perceived or otherwise. Ultimately it is up to them. This requires courage and often a suspension of disbelief, but also confidence in their abilities.

Tina agrees: She encourages women to thinks about what they can offer, how they might be able to support a new company, and to position themselves from this perspective.

“It’s about saying, ‘Look, I’m valuable. I have lots to offer. I have lots of experience that you would benefit from. For me to be able to do this, I would like to work in a flexible way. Flexibility to me means … Whatever it is’.”

I encourage the women I support to change their internal language from:

“But why would they employ me and offer me flexible working?”


“Why wouldn’t you employ me? Because I can do this role and make a valuable contribution.”

Attracting and retaining middle management women is crucially important to filling the leadership talent pipeline. There’s an onus on companies  to give these women explicit permission to  step up and fulfil their potential. This means that employers need to be open-minded and creative about flexible working and communicate this position loudly and clearly.

But equally as important is the onus on women themselves.  They need to take a deep breath, screw their courage to the sticking place and step up.  Try this for a career affirmation…

“Flexible working is not an obstacle, it’s an opportunity – and I can prove it”

And then… go and prove it!

Keep reading . . . now that you know what you need to do to get the career you want AND flexible working, I’ve created a fantastic, 3-part video coaching programme to help you with the confidence you’ll need.
Career Confidence 101 will help you get clarity on your strengths, focus in your career direction and the self-belief to achieve your goals.  However, the full Career Confidence 101 coaching programme is available for a VERY limited period. Within about a week, it will be shortened and you’ll get part 1 only. If you want to get all 3 coaching sessions of Career Confidence 101, sign up now!
CLICK HERE to sign up for Career Confidence 101
Career Confidence 101

Two Powerful Alternatives to Goal Setting

By amandaalexander | Uncategorized


“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.”  -Roy E. Disney

A week last Friday I wrote a post about goal setting in January. The premise of that post was that you don’t have to set goals in the first week of January! For many people, the transition from Christmas to January needs to be a little gentler and with less pressure to feel all fired up and ready to conquer the World!

In today’s post, I’d like to offer you two powerful alternatives to goal setting. If you’re feeling stuck or you’re not yet inspired to set any goals for the year ahead, you might find one of these 2 alternatives might be just what you need instead!

1. A Values Based Alternative to Goal Setting

Perhaps you are riding a wave of happiness right now and you’re having difficulty in thinking about what’s next on your list to achieve. Sometimes life is good and you don’t necessarily have to be always striving to be better.

Perhaps you’d just like to take a break from achieving the next thing and enjoy your present circumstances. That’s ok!

Or perhaps life is not so shiny or sparkly and you’re feeling completely uninspired and unmotivated. Also fine!

Try this instead… Coach yourself Exercise 1:

a. What is working well in your life right now? (There’s always something!)

b. What is making you smile or is making your heart sing in your life at present?

c. What are the values that are being expressed within these – what’s working well and what’s making your heart sing?

d. Identify these values – write them down

e. Write a values-based statement for the year ahead. The idea is to set your intention for the year based around your values. This works because when we orient our lives around our values, things tend to fall into place more easily. You don’t have to know what you want to achieve – this isn’t about goals. You just need to understand the values that are most important to you. `

f. Put your values-based statement somewhere you can refer to it frequently – daily if possible. This will help you to recognise what you want more of in your life and what you want less of.

g. If you veer off track, you can refer back to your values-based statement to identify what’s not working through the filter of your values. Here are the only 2 questions you’ll need to do this:
How are my values being honoured in this situation?
Which values are NOT being honoured in this situation?

2. An Imagination Based Alternative to Goal Setting

Emile Coue (1857-1926) was a French Pharmacist and Psychologist, who discovered that “when the imagination and the (conscious) will are in conflict, the imagination invariably wins the day”. This is known as Coue’s Law of Reversed Effort. And it explains why, when you’re lying in bed desperate to sleep because you’ve got a big day ahead of you, you can’t get to sleep. You’re imagining how awful you’re going to look, you’re imagining how difficult that full day with important long meetings is going to pan out if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep.

Your imagination beats your conscious will to sleep. Coue’s Law happens when our imagination and our will are opposed. So we need to think about what we want to happen rather than what we fear happening.

In a nutshell, we’re talking about positive visualisation here, folks! Even if you can’t create clear goals, you can still express how you want to feel this year…

Happy? Calm? Joyful? Accomplished? In control? Loved? Healthy?

Any of the above?

Try this, Coach Yourself Exercise 2:

a. Pick an aspect of your life or career that you’d like to improve. You might find it easy to think in terms of the various roles you play in life. e.g. manager at work, parent, friend, child, sportswoman, writer..…

b. Once you’ve identified the situation or role, identify how you want to feel in that specific situation:
e.g. “I want to feel happy when…”
“I want to feel accomplished when..”

c. The next step is simple, but you need to take the time to actually do it! Find a quiet space and spend a few minutes on your chosen situation visualising what you want to happen and how you want to feel. If you find this difficult, don’t fret it – be kind to yourself. Don’t expect to be a master at positive visualisation until you’ve got into a habit. It takes time and repetition.

d. A little tip which might help – try renaming this exercise as “daydreaming” or “fantasising” if you find yourself stuck with “visualising” Daydreaming and fantasising are words that have gentle, easy connotations and tend to reduce the risk of performance anxiety. Have you ever imagined winning the lottery, lying on a hot beach or read a novel and imagined yourself as the protagonist? Everyone can daydream!

If you’re stuck with your goal setting, I hope that one of these exercises will help you. And my last word – whatever you do, leave space for magic and miracles in the year ahead. As I said in my previous post on goal setting:

“The year will unfold and there will be plenty of opportunities ahead”.

Are you ready for Christmas?

By amandaalexander | Uncategorized

Do you know which question I mean?….

“Are you ready for Christmas?”

NO!!!!! I am NOT!

Someone said to me the other day: “I haven’t got time to be ill now, just 2 weeks before the day; I have too much to do”. None of us “have time” to be ill, do we?! Particularly at this time of year. And yet, when illness hits us, we are forced to re-evaluate the things we thought were priorities. You didn’t hear from me last week for this reason – I came down with a nasty December cold, which is taking it’s time to disappear. I was forced to re-evaluate my priorities and it got me thinking about the pressure we put ourselves under with the false concept of “getting everything done” at this time of year.

You know what time of year it is when the usual “How are you?” question in polite society is replaced with “Are you ready for Christmas?”

Yesterday, Peter “the shed man” came to measure up for a wood store/shed. When he was about to leave, he asked, with a look of panic on his face, “You don’t want it before Christmas, do you?” He was so relieved when I replied “Erm, no, Christmas is not dependent on the shed!” We had a brief discussion about the pressure to “have it all” and “get it all done” before the day.

Peter told me his wife was insisting that she needed to clean their windows. And that most of his customers were pleading for their sheds in time for Christmas day.

Do we really need to have it all and get it all done?

But despite not insisting on having my shed built within the next week, I’m just as guilty of this kind of thinking as the next woman. I have my fantasy “things I want to get done by Christmas” list… I wanted to finish off several work projects (yeah right!) clean the oven (this has been on my list ALL YEAR) and clear out the boys’ wardrobes and the under-stairs cupboard (the expression “I’d rather have root canal surgery” comes to mind).

What’s this all about?! Why make a list of additional things when there is plenty to do at this time of year anyway? Why add this pressure? It’s crazy, isn’t it? None of this is actually important. So what if you miss the last post and your Christmas cards arrive AFTER Christmas? Is it really going to mean the end of the World? So what if you haven’t ordered your turkey/beef/goose/nut roast and you have to make do with what’s left on the the shelves on Christmas Eve? In my experience, there’s never been a shortage of turkeys! What if, (like me) you are not 100% organised and not only have you not yet WRAPPED your presents, you’re also not entirely sure where you’ve hidden them all! The fact is, the presents will get wrapped!

So my message to you – and reminder to myself – in today’s post is that we don’t have to have it all or do it all before Christmas Day.

Perhaps we should look to the true meaning of Christmas for reassurance and to give us permission not to be “quite ready” or “done”:

Mary did not have a private maternity suite booked. She had to make do with a stable.

Jesus had “no crib for a bed”. He made do with a manger full of hay (so you’ll be fine if that new sofa doesn’t arrive in time)

Despite the many things that weren’t in place for Jesus’s birth, it all worked out. The shepherds managed to find him, the three Wise Men managed to cobble together 3 gifts – and I bet they didn’t go shopping for them weeks earlier. 🙂

So whatever your faith or your beliefs, please take comfort from knowing that the origins of Christmas were humble. The messages of simplicity, kindness, trust, hope and love can still be at the heart of our own Christmas time, even though our own lives may be very different.

Remember to enjoy this run up to Christmas as well as the day itself – of course there are things to do, but do them with lightness and let go of the need for perfection. What doesn’t get done, doesn’t get done!

I wasn’t expecting that – Build Resilience

By amandaalexander | Uncategorized

Do you have an Advent calendar in December? There’s always at least 2 in our household. I have just received 2 DIY Advent calendars for the boys that I ordered a couple of weeks ago. They each consist of 24 little envelopes with pegs on a string so that you can fill each one with a gift. I’m a bit late as they have just arrived yesterday, but my idea is to write a little love note to include in each daily envelope for the boys to read each day. However, I suspect they will be more interested in the daily chocolate or sweet than the love note!

Before you read this week’s post, I need to warn you, have a tissue nearby if you watch the video – It’s a tear-jerker!

I wasn’t expecting that

Have you heard the Jamie Lawson song, “I wasn’t expecting that”?

If not, then please watch the video on YouTube to it before reading the rest of today’s post, as there’s a spoiler! In fact, DO watch the video, even if you’ve heard the song.

The first time I listened to the song, I thought, “This is such a beautiful love song”. It’s so true to life – none of us ever expect to fall in love, it just happens!

“Isn’t it strange how a life can be changed
In the flicker of the sweetest smile?”

I loved this song as it rolled on because, as a mum and a woman in her (ahem) mid life, I could relate to the story…. the years rolled on. In fact, it even made me feel quite young because in Jamie’s song:

“Time doesn’t take long, three kids up and gone”!

Hurrah! I’ve got a few years ‘til the kids are up and gone yet! One thing I’m noticing at present is that my friends and clients seem to be getting younger, so I particularly welcomed that line. Smiling face (black and white)

As I listened to this song for the first time, I felt all smiley inside, romantic — and young, but then Jamie kicked me. He takes a sharp turn in his lyrics:

“When the nurses they came, said it’s come back again
I wasn’t expecting that”

What?! Eh? What’s going on Jamie? You’re supposed to be telling me about loving your wife and having time together now the kids are grown up!

Then he finishes with the cruelest sting in the tail:

“Then you closed your eyes, you took my heart by surprise
I wasn’t expecting that”

It took my breath away. I certainly wasn’t expecting that.

Every time I hear the song now, I know what’s coming, but I still hope vainly for a different ending. But there isn’t a different ending, no matter how much I might hope.

So many women spend far too much of their precious lives worrying about things that might never happen. I know, I’m a recovering worry addict. 

Do you try to predict outcomes and waste your energy creating stories in your head about “if the worst happens”. Yet I wonder how many times this mental “disaster planning” has actually served you? It’s more likely to have kept you wake at night, made you feel anxious or stopped you from enjoying the present.

There are a few places for disaster planning – when managing projects or anticipating zombie apocalypses, to name a couple. And it’s good to create “reserves” in your life, for example reserves of energy, time, money…and toilet roll.

But really, you must STOP mentally planning for disaster and getting lost gazing into imaginary crystal balls. Even if you have the gift of foresight, what can you do if that’s what’s going to happen anyway?

Life’s big moments tend to be those that we are least expecting – whether they are moments of joy and bliss or moments of horror and heartbreak. We WILL, as human beings, experience the full range, whether we like it or not. You can’t love without loss, you can’t live without death, you can’t experience happiness without having experienced sadness. We simply can’t STOP those things.

Instead, start focusing on all the little moments of joy that you weren’t expecting. What might happen tomorrow when you wake up? Really, you have no idea what tomorrow brings. It could be “good”, it could be “bad” or it could be just “so so”.

But try this: When you wake up tomorrow morning, approach your day as if it is an exciting adventure and resolve to throw yourself wholeheartedly into that adventure. You might have some wonderful surprises along the way, because you are more likely to discover moments of joy when you focus on being joyfully playful.

I can’t promise you that everything will go your way. I can’t promise you that you won’t experience pain, sorrow or fear. But I can promise you, that if you shift your thinking so that you are curious, present and open to the unknown possibility in each day, you will be much happier and much more to build resilience.

Do you have a bucket list?

By amandaalexander | Uncategorized

“I don’t have a bucket list. But my f****t list is a mile long”

I watched a programme one evening this week called “Before I kick the bucket”. It’s about Rowena Kincaid, who has stage 4 breast cancer. She’s single and 39 years old. The documentary examines the concept of having a “bucket list” and how the issue is forced when, at such a young age, Rowena discovers she has only months to live. It was a thought-provoking documentary, made by a courageous and spirited woman.

We’ve all heard of a Bucket List: Described by Google as “A number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.”

But SHOULD you have a Bucket List?

Here are the conclusions made by Rowena, me and a couple of wise women, on why we think you should KICK your bucket list!

1 – Nobody in this World will ever be able to do/see/experience everything, so choose what’s really important to YOU, rather than all those things you have convinced yourself you should do, because someone else said so.
Stop comparing your life with other people’s lives. Just get on with living your life though the lens of your own values.

2 – Quality beats quantity when it comes to experiences.
Have you ever seen Japanese tourists on a whirlwind tour of Europe? I often notice them in Grasmere, perhaps the most famous village in the Lake District (it was William Wordsworth’s home). These hapless tourists never get the chance to walk up the fells and soak in the amazing views above Grasmere. Instead they are herded on and off coaches to speed off to the next place. Whilst they are ticking off plenty of places on their itinerary, they never get to fully experience the beauty and wonder of those places.

3 – People who are dying invariably regret the people they didn’t spend time with far more than the experiences they missed.
Life is about people and love rather than things or even experiences. I remember a coaching exercise I did some years ago. The idea is that you ask yourself a series of questions:

“What would I want to do if I knew I had only 10 years to live?”
“What would I do if I knew I had only 1 year to live?” and so on down to just a day to live. Focuses the mind!

What you’ll find – it will be no surprise – is that the shorter the time period, the more you’ll focus on people, not places or experiences.

4 – Having enriching experiences doesn’t mean you have to streak naked through the town centre or jump out of a plane every day. It simply means appreciating the little moments of joy we ALL have in each day. Need I say more? Live in the moment as much as you can!

5 – Kim shared this: “You don’t know how long you have left, and that’s only genuinely driven home when the reality of that actually hits you for real. It becomes a wake up call rather than a set of words we all joyfully bandy about. Don’t therefore live each day as if it were your last, but instead live each day to its fullest and with joy, love and gratitude for the people and the world about you, and the opportunities that they bring for love, laughter, work, beauty, and for doing the things that you love doing.

6 – And finally, this, from Lisa, is brilliant: Instead of a “Bucket List”, choose to have a “Lived List”. “We should be living our lives and soaking up the treasured memories they will give us. Not worrying about when we will die and ticking things off a list. Just live and enjoy your lived list.”

So, kick your bucket list, soak in the view, enjoy each precious moment of your weekend!

Amanda x

This week’s ramblings..

This week I discovered banana pancakes. 2 ingredients – 1 banana, 2 eggs. I added a little vanilla extract and cinnamon to the ‘batter’. Simply blend and pour small quantities onto a griddle. The flipping is the trickiest bit. I have since been advised to grill the top side to avoid flipping altogether.
They were, quite simply, delicious. I ate mine with blueberries and coconut chips. Highly recommend you try them if you haven’t done so already!


Useful Links

3 secrets for overcoming self-doubt when you’re “on show”

By amandaalexander | Uncategorized

If you get nervous about networking, imagine HOSTING a networking event! That’s what I did this week when I hosted the monthly “Power Business Breakfast” in Manchester for Forward Ladies in my new position as their North West Regional Director.

These are the thoughts and feelings that came up for me on Wednesday:

 I noticed slight nerves at the beginning.
 I noticed the uber-confident woman and how she made me feel. My thoughts: “Wow… I wish I was as confident as her” and “Yikes”.
 I noticed the shy, nervous women. My thoughts: “I want you to feel comfortable and confident. I want to do everything I can to help you succeed”.
 I noticed how I felt when I did the introductory and welcome spiel: *”Am I waffling? Do I appear calm and confident? Do they think I’m being ‘salesy’ telling them about Forward Ladies?” Now, there’s a limiting belief I’m still battling with!

All I could do was show up as myself – with all my imperfections, insecurities and quirks – and trust that I am good enough. That’s all we need to do, but often easier said than done for most of us when we are stretching outside our comfort zone.

So how can you do this, in practical terms? Here’s what works for me:

 I tried to learn as many names as possible and as much as I could about a few people I had longer conversations with.
 I marvelled at how different we all were – and yet how we all shared that common bond of quietly wanting to “look good” on several levels. Even the uber-confident lady!
 I did my welcome spiel – even daring to suggest that some of them might consider the fantastic sponsorship opportunities for our forthcoming Women in Business Awards! 🙂
 I thought that the meeting had probably gone well, but you never know, as people are generally polite when they leave! But I didn’t chew it over. I trusted that I’d focused on the lovely bunch of women who had invested their time to come to the meeting, rather than on my “performance”
 I put my focus on being ‘of service’. This works most of the time for me as a Coach. In fact it is something I often share with coaches I mentor: Focus on the person you’re serving and forget about whether you’re being a “good” Coach. It works a treat for nervous new coaches!

In short, these are my 3 very simple secrets for overcoming self-doubt when you are on show:

1. Be gently curious about what’s going on in your head. Be very kind to yourself. It’s about simply noticing the inner dialogue without getting attached:

“Interesting….I’m feeling a bit intimidated”. _ 
“Interesting.. I’m worrying about how I look”_

Simply be interested. The thoughts will come and go.

1. Be of service. This means focus on others, not yourself.
2. Be yourself. You ARE enough. Honestly. Cross my heart and hope to die!

And of course, remember that everybody else is probably too busy worrying about what you think of them to be judging you!

This week’s ramblings..Helping Migrants

Like most people, I feel shocked and appalled by the increasingly desperate and complex refugee crisis. I don’t have all the answers and I know that we can all argue until the cows come home about which injustice or horror “deserves” our attention more. But debate rarely saves lives.

I’m a bit of an action woman and I believe that any type of action makes a difference. Doing something, however tiny, is better than doing nothing and shaking our heads. And it only takes a TINY bit of action by many individuals to make a BIG difference.

One thing we can ALL do is donate a tiny bit of our money. I discovered a wonderful charity today – MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station).

MOAS was started by the Catrambones family after the 400 migrants drowned near the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013. It is dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea by providing assistance to migrants who find themselves in distress while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe vessels. To date they have saved 11,124 lives. I love this – it’s getting on with doing what needs to be done.

I have donated and if you like the ethos of MOAS and their very practical and immediate intervention, maybe you would like to join me and donate just a little bit of money to help them too? Any action is better than no action. Even £1.. it might seem an insignificant amount, but when many people donate £1.. BIG impact!

The Catrambones family hope to dispel Pope Francis calls the “globalisation of indifference”. I read a quote today about indifference: “The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.” It’s harsh, but it makes you think, doesn’t it? The positive flip side is that when we care in a practical way, we are acting with love.

If you’d like to donate a tiny amount to MOAS, you’ll be making a difference.Here’s the link to their donate page

Useful Links

“Inspiring Women Interviews” – Amanda’a Podcast on ITunes 
“Inspiring Women Interviews” – Amanda’a Podcast on Stitcher 
“Inspiring Women Interviews” – Amanda’s Podcast Episodes and Transcripts on her website 
Get Amanda’s FREE “Imposter Syndrome Quit Kit” – Take the test, get strategies to increase your self-belief. For women who feel as if they are going to be “found out’ – and it’s FREE! 
Amanda Alexander’s Facebook Page 
Connect with Amanda on Linked In 
Connect with Amanda on Twitter 
Amanda on Forward Ladies 
Migrant Offshore Aid Station

Revealed! The 3 Core Essentials to Getting The Life You Want

By amandaalexander | Uncategorized

revealedOnce upon a time, there was a young woman who had a career as an IT Project Manager and that was fine. She earned a good salary, travelled quite a bit, experienced some exciting times and some miserable times. She achieved some stuff and she failed at some stuff.

Then one day she became pregnant. When she was 5 months pregnant, her husband was made redundant. Two weeks later she too was threatened with redundancy. Her life was most definitely in transition!

It was as if a Pandora’s box of self-doubt, fear and uncertainty had been opened in that young woman’s life.

One day, amidst the uncertainty, she stumbled upon the concept of life coaching. She hired a Life Coach and this is what she wrote to her new Coach before they spoke:

“I am very worried that my life from now on will just be a struggle.”

“I am due to go back to work in October, and I am dreading it.”

“We cannot afford for me not to work, or for me to take a job on a much lower salary.”

She didn’t sound very happy, did she?

She told her Coach what she most wanted:

1. To find a way of making money that I am passionate about, and that allows me to have time to bring up my son – to achieve that work/life balance
2. To have the courage, energy and tenacity to go for whatever I do.
3. To feel good about myself – instead of constantly being dissatisfied with myself.
4. To stop worrying and enjoy today.

The above was copied word for word from the original document, in case you’re wondering….

Fast-forward almost 14 years. A lot has changed in that young woman’s life. For a start, most people would not call her “young”! 😉

However, she is in a very different place and has achieved what she most wanted:

She has plenty of courage, energy and tenacity.
She feels good about herself
She is bringing up not 1 but 2 sons
She still worries occasionally, but MUCH less than she used to.
She is able to see the gift in each day, even when there are challenges.
She knows how to live in the present.
Even though she is always too busy, she relishes her life and actually has a pretty good work life balance.
She rarely “disses” herself now. She is much kinder to herself. She is clear on who she is and what makes her unique… even though she still can’t express what differentiates her from other Coaches in 5 seconds!

No prizes for guessing…You might have suspected that this young woman was me.

I am sharing this very personal glimpse into my own life all those years ago because I want to reassure you that, you too can have what you want, be who you want and feel good about yourself. No matter what your situation.

And you can start getting the life you want now, and this is how..

Revealed! The 3 Core Essentials to Getting The Life You Want

1. Really knowing yourself and being yourself
2. Trusting yourself
3. Understanding what’s most important to you – your core values

And the great news is that I’m going to coach you around these 3 core essentials…

Introducing SELF-DISCOVERY 101

I’ve created this FREE 3-part video “coaching” programme so that you can start with these core essentials and get the life you want, right now. You can start with the first video TODAY.

When you enroll on Self-Discovery 101, you’ll get access to 3 video coaching sessions with me. You’ll also get FREE interactive workbooks to accompany each session. And by the way, the workbooks are GORGEOUS! Just sayin’… !

Coaching, not Telling

In each video, I’m NOT going to tell you what to do. But I AM going to coach you. And I’ll tell you why I’m taking this approach – Because coaching you is much more effective than telling you. Coaching is much more powerful than 5 Top Tips, 3 Sexy Secrets or 7 Super Strategies.

This is what my coach approach in this unique 3-part video programme will do for you:

1. Give you space to do some quality thinking.
2. Hold up a “mirror” so that you can see yourself clearly
3. Get you pondering on via a series of incisive questions that will prompt you to access your own inner wisdom (yes, it’s in there!)

Coaching is based on the principle that you have the answers within you, and this is why I am so excited and delighted to bring you this unique programme These questions are designed to help you to:

Once you know yourself, I will ask you questions to help you to start to: LIKE YOURSELF

And once you start to like yourself, I will ask you questions to help you to: ORIENT YOUR LIFE AROUND YOUR CORE VALUES

Once you’ve done this, the final piece of the “self-discovery” jigsaw is self-belief. Which is why, in Video 3, I’m going to coach you through my 10-step process so that you begin to:

Self-Discovery 101 will get you to hop off the treadmill and get a clearer perspective on what a successful life mens to you. Starting with who you are and what’s important to you. In turn, this will help you make informed decisions about your life and your career. Self-Discovery 101 is where it all starts…

Click here to enroll NOW on Self-Discovery 101 (it’s FREE!)

Please spread the word about Self-Discovery 101!

As you can probably imagine, Self-Discovery 101 has taken time, effort, thought and money to create. By putting it out there, I’m building my authority by sharing my skills and giving people a small taste of what it’s like to be coached by me.

You can do something marvelous that will “pay it forward”, add great karma to your life and that will “thank” me with one simple action. Please share with your friends and colleagues. It’s fast and easy:

You can either:

1. Share this link for Self-Discovery 101 with your social media channels
2. Forward this email Thank you! 🙂

Sign up for Self-Discovery 101 here

p.s. You can access Self-Discovery 101 video coaching programme for 3 weeks only, so do enrol now.


Random Ramblings

This weekend I’m hoping to improve my bushcraft fire-lightning skills, roll a Cuban cigar, meet Cerys Matthews, throw an axe, learn the essential parts of a pig, skin a rabbit and listen to Ben Fogle around a campfire.

But most of all, I’m hoping that I can erect our tent by myself this evening.

We’re heading to “The Good Life Experience – a Weekend of Fun and Discovery with Music, Books, Food and the Great Outdoors”

I’ll let you know what new skills I’ve learnt next week!