Category Archives for "Worry"

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.

The Best Gift for Women Who Are Trying to Get Things Done

By amandaalexander | Guilt

Have you seen any of those provocative memes on social media that warn people not to mention Christmas until 1st December?

I don’t comment that I covertly started buying my first Christmas presents in October, when I happened to see an advert in a paper for toys that I thought my nieces would enjoy.

When my youngest son mentioned an author he likes, I checked Amazon one evening and pre-ordered his latest book for Christmas from shhh.. you know who. Also in October.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those incredibly organised people who finishes all their Christmas shopping by 1st November and who has written, addressed and stamped all their cards ready to be sent on 30th November.

But I AM a woman who is mum to two boys and aunt to three girls.

And I am also a woman who thinks about what we’re going to eat every evening and who plans, shops, cooks.

I am a woman who suddenly remembers, smack bang in the middle of my working day, that my youngest son mentioned his friend’s birthday party next Saturday. Who emails the boy’s mum to ask for details, because the party invitation has gone astray.

I am a woman who makes packed lunches every day and constantly reminds them to pick up their towels, make their beds and clean their teeth. I am a woman who drives her eldest son to football practice, with 15 minute notice, because he’d really like to go.

And as well as all that, I am a woman who runs a business full time.

In short, I’m a woman who is constantly trying to get things done.

So when I see those social media memes that tease people who start thinking about Christmas in November, I quietly wonder if their life might be a little less jam-packed than mine!

I suspect you will get this completely! Whether you start thinking about Christmas in November or not!

Because for so many women who are always trying to get things done, particularly at this time of year, the dial is turned up high on freneticism.

The danger is that you constantly feel as if you are falling behind or that you have not done enough.

You might feel that you are somehow not efficient, fast, smart, disciplined, organised enough. You may have a running commentary in your head at the end of the day chiding yourself for what you DIDN’T get round to.

The multitude of amazing mini achievements that you DID clock up are mentally ticked off without a second thought. You probably rarely stop to acknowledge yourself.

The cumulative impact of feeling like you’ve never quite come up to scratch is insidious. Mental self-flagellation becomes a painful habit. It’s as if you are fighting the same battle day in day out, that always ends in defeat and despondency. How can you ever catch up? Get it all done? When will you ever be enough?

So I wanted to give you, as another woman who is always trying to get things done, a little gift in this week’s post. It’s actually a very precious gift.

It’s called “enoughness”

I’m giving you explicit permission to tell yourself that, whatever you did, or did not achieve this week, it was absolutely enough. And that most importantly, YOU are enough.

Let me repeat that:

You have DONE enough.
You ARE enough.

Here is one of the most comforting, reassuring and empowering quotes I have ever read for busy women like you, who achieve so much each day. It’s from Brene Brown. I’ve printed this out and stuck it on my office wall. I read it at the end of every day. I am sharing it to remind you of the gift of “enoughness”:

“Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. it’s about cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough”

Enjoy your gift of enoughness at the end of today. Give yourself a pat on the back and ​tell yourself: “I have done enough today. And I AM enough”

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please use the social media share buttons to pass on the gift of enoughness to all those other busy women!

Three Things You Can Do Now to Help the World AND Be Happy

By amandaalexander | Inspiration

Before writing this post, I sought advice from a few wise women.  I did this because I felt compelled to “speak my truth”, but I wasn’t sure if I SHOULD!

One of those wise women was Heather Bestel, founder of .

Heather said:

“I think you have two choices: share your truth or don’t share your truth. It’s that simple. If you share your truth, you will lose subscribers and you may get trolls.

If you don’t share your truth, you will feel that you haven’t stepped up and been courageous when you believe you should be.

Whatever you do needs to be right for you. You already know the consequences. So, now it’s a question of choice. If you go one way, you’ll need to be prepared for other people’s feelings. And if you go the other, you’ll have to be prepared to deal with yours.”


Why I’m sharing my truth

“Get naked with your truth, offering the world your greatest gift: your authentic self.” -Gabrielle Bernstein

I’ve made my choice: I’m sharing my truth. I’m doing so because I want to inspire you to step up, be courageous and to speak YOUR truth. Because your services to this world are required!

I urge all my clients to live purposefully, not accidentally, but we can’t do that whilst being complacent and letting other people do the scary stuff that makes a difference. Living purposefully does not come with a guarantee that everybody will like us.

We can’t step up whilst keeping our heads down. And when we do step up, we’ve got to keep going: We can’t step up and stay within our comfort zone – we’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We can’t change the world, live our life purposefully or step up into our brilliance by doing nothing, keeping our head down and saying “it’s not my bag”.

And we can’t tell our kids to be brave and “go for it” whilst shrinking in fear ourselves.


Let’s get the truth speaking out of the way!

Like billions of others, I am reeling from this week’s US presidential election results. I am aghast that so many people have voted for a man who has such blatant disregard for PEOPLE. I am intensely concerned for the World we live in;  worried that the racists, bigots, misogynists and haters have been granted carte blanche to come out of the closet.

I have spoken my truth! But this aside, let’s make no bones about it – the World is volatile and uncertain right now. Which means that we need talented men and women to stand up and get their talents out into the World.  (I wrote about this on Wednesday in my guest blog for The International Coach Federation – “Coaching in a Volatile and Uncertain World”.)


So here are three things you can do now – and from this day forward to help the world. AND be happy whilst you’re at it!


Three Things You Can Do NOW to Help the World AND Be Happy

The world needs you in all your uniqueness and with all your talents. The world needs you to step up, live your best life and embrace it more than ever. Here’s how you can help the world AND be happy:

1. Speak your truth

“What if you had the courage to speak up?”

Speaking your truth is about being in alignment with your core values and standing up for what you believe in: It does not mean shoving your opinions down other people’s throats – you can speak your truth kindly and elegantly. The distinction is assertive versus aggressive. I hope you’ll notice that in this post, I have spoken my own truth succinctly and resisted the urge to rant!

As you’ve also read, it’s flippin’ scary to speak your truth – as my friend Heather says, you have to be prepared to deal with the consequences: “The haters are gonna hate”.

You’ll need courage, but if you don’t speak your truth, if you leave it to someone else, then what? How many people are also “leaving it to someone else”?

You’ll find an excellent short article on speaking your truth on Oprah’s website .


2. Live your life fearlessly

“Do one thing every day that scares you”

Living fearlessly is not quite what I mean: We all feel fear, but we need to keep practising feeling the fear  – and doing it anyway.

I want you to live your life fearlessly, because fear is the biggest baddy of them all: Fear trumps Trump.

Fear endeavoured to stop me writing this post. Fear endeavoured to stop one of my clients from picking up the phone to speak to a recruitment consultant this week. Fear endeavours to keep us small, quiet and complacent. When good people let fear win, bad things happen and lives are never fully lived.


I had to make a difficult phone call earlier this week. I sat with my finger poised on the dial button of my phone for several minutes. The little voice of fear inside my head gave me plenty of excuses:

  • You can do this tomorrow
  • You won’t get a good reception. Wait until you’re in a better area. Tomorrow.
  • Send an email instead. Tomorrow.

But I made the call, because there’s another voice in my head that I’ve trained well. Eventually that other voice piped up: 

“FFS! Amanda, get your big girl knickers on and MAKE THE DAMN PHONE CALL”

So I faced the fear head on and made the call.  And the fear disappeared.  

You don’t need me to tell you that the only way to live fearlessly is to face up to fear. But the only way you can do that is practice. So keep practising and you’ll notice the fear melt away. It won’t ever completely go, but you’ll be able to dance with it rather than shrink from it.


3. Practice random acts of kindness every day

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do”


Many “ordinary” people feel powerless in the face of World events and politics, but we are NOT powerless.

In a volatile and uncertain world, we have a choice: We can either give up and become victims, subject to the whims of those in power. Or, we can do what we can. When many people take many small positive actions, change happens. And what could be a simpler way to change the world in our own little way than through random acts of kindness?

  • Have you ever let the person behind you in the supermarket queue go before you, even when there was more in their trolley than yours?
  • Have you ever sent someone a card to tell them how much you appreciate them and why?
  • Have you ever picked up litter and taken it home?

These are just a few examples of random acts of kindness. Performing random acts of kindness is one of the best ways you can help the world AND feel on top of the world at the same time!

On Wednesday, I did something I’ve never done before: At the end of my Forward Ladies business breakfast meeting in Manchester, there was a lot of food left over – about 40 freshly baked bagels with cream cheese and prosciutto. I asked the manager if we could wrap them up in individual packages so that I could give them out to homeless people. He was so kind – he helped me to wrap them and gave me a plastic vegetable basket to carry them. I ventured out with the basket of goodies into the city centre feeling a bit nervous. I was actually nervous about other people looking at me, and I didn’t know what reaction I’d get.

I needn’t have worried. Each of the homeless people I offered those bagels to accepted and thanked me graciously. This little exercise made me put my own fears about “the next 4 years” into perspective.  I am so fortunate – I have never been in a position where a stranger has offered me their leftover sandwiches wrapped in tin foil. I might have created fearful thoughts about what the future might hold, but I am not homeless. My fear was all in my head – the people I spoke to were living the fear.

Be the change the World needs by bringing your gifts into the world, facing your fears, speaking your truth and doing what you can.  


Reach out… and then get on with it!

By amandaalexander | Friendship

I was like a pressure cooker maxing out… I’d kept on going. I’d slogged my guts out and felt as if I wasn’t getting anywhere. I had worked long and hard, not had enough sleep and it felt that life was always accelerating, forcing me to do more and more, faster and faster.

I suspect you probably know exactly what I mean.

I think the pressure had been building for many months! This year, I feel as if I have worked my little socks off to take my precious business to the next level – and I’m not quite there yet!

If we were rewarded in proportion to the hours, heart and soul we put into our work, most of us would surely be sitting on a million bucks right now!

I bet you’ve had your fair share of challenges as well. What are YOU dealing with? What is stressful about your life right now? What is taking your attention or demanding your energy, I wonder?

Let’s face it – we are ALL dealing with stuff. Every single one of us. I know this because one of the things I do on a daily basis is listen to people.

You only have to scratch the surface to discover that pretty much everyone you know is dealing with some kind of challenge. Here are just a few of the things that my own circle is dealing with, in no particular order…

Marriage difficulties
Chronic insomnia
Debilitating periods
Feeling like a failure
Chronic stress
Parkinson’s disease

The list goes on… !

Right now, as I sit here writing to you, I can’t take away your challenges. I can’t offer you a magic pill to melt away the health problem you might be grappling with, nor can I dampen the grief you might be living with. I can’t magic away your money worries or make your toxic boss disappear in a puff of smoke. I can’t fix your relationship, un-mood your moody teen or do a supernanny on your endlessly tantrumming toddler.

But I CAN do this: I can assure you that we’re all in this together. You’re not alone. And guess what? That means that you don’t have to deal with it all by yourself. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should dump all your problems on everyone you meet, but you ARE allowed to reach out and say;

“Help. I’m fed up. Please can I talk?”

This is what I did when the pressure came to a head last week. I told a couple of friends I trusted – and my mum (of course):

“I’m done with this and I’m bl**dy fed up!”

One listened and acknowledged me – “Yes, this is tough!” she said! And then sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers
One listened and told me she loved me and it would all be alright
One listened and told me I was brilliant
One listened and connected me with a great business contact

And so, aided with a boost from my friends and family, I got on with it. I got on with putting my own sh1t aside and helping my wonderful clients. I got on with marketing my programme for coaches and I got on with building my business.

And I got on with being mum, making soup and sandwiches and washing clothes and buying presents for birthday parties and taxi-ing and reading bedtime stories!

Just as YOU get on with it. Because you simply have to, don’t you? And you will get through it, because you’re even stronger than you think and even smarter than you give yourself credit for.

However, YOU TOO are allowed to let down your guard and reach out. Because we all need to be heard and perhaps even have a good cry. Think of it the way a tropical thunderstorm clears the air and lifts the oppression of a hot and humid day. Talking it out – and being listened to – will help you to reset.

Talking won’t magically resolve everything and it won’t mean that things will immediately get better. But it will release the pressure and top up your reserves, so that you can face the next day with renewed vigour and possibly even a little bit more perspective.

We’re all grown ups and we have to get on with life with all its ups and downs. But we don’t have to do it alone. So my message to you this week is simple..

Reach out, talk it out … and then get on with it!

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