Tag Archives for " goal setting "

This Is The One Thing Successful Women Do Consistently!

By amandaalexander | Business

I was at an event last weekend and I asked 2 female millionaires this question:

“What differentiates you – as millionaires – from others? What are the attitudes you have or the things that you do differently that have helped you to become millionaires?

They each had different answers. But there’s one thing they both said and it stood out very clearly to me:

They both said that no matter what, they keep taking action. Even when they don’t know what to do, they take the next action – any action.

After the event, another successful woman messaged me on Facebook. Her name is Jane Cassell and she runs a company called JC Independent Wills & Probate. Incidentally, she’s also the woman who is about to write my will (she is brilliant)!

This is what she said:

“You asked a great question on Saturday evening – characteristic / distinction. My answer to that question is action. Without a doubt, action. We continue to take action, even when we’re tired, and life gets too busy to take action. We still take action.”

But it’s not the millionaires or even the brilliant Jane Cassell who have inspired this week’s post. It’s a lady called Lyn, who emailed me this week after attending my “Set Backs and Stepping Up” presentation for The Global Women in Leadership Summit. She thanked me for my session telling me it had made a huge difference to her. She described herself as “the stereotypical shy person in a room full of strangers”.

Despite being a stereotypical shy person, this is what Lyn did after my presentation:

“I have genuinely spent the last few days thinking about all the things I can do in order to connect with people – I’ve accepted an invitation to an event; I’ve started my Fabulous 50 list; I’ve contacted 7 people so far, from that list; I’ve been through my Outlook contacts to see who else I should be speaking to!

I’ve also applied for a job I saw advertised online – it was one of the headline jobs in an email, I took a look and decided to send off my CV – usually I would have agonised over whether or not to send it, and whether or not I’m actually capable of doing that role. I used to spend an hour a day poring over the websites, trying to find something that I can do (without a degree!). Today, I just thought, ooh that looks good, it’s in London, it’s a better salary (and different level) to what I usually look at; I’m sending my CV! I have just proved to myself that I don’t have to spend hours overthinking these things – and that’s probably a bigger deal than the actual application!!”

Did you read that last bit? I’ll repeat it, just in case!

“I’m sending my CV..I don’t have to spend hours overthinking these things.”

Wow! How’s that for a bit of weekend inspiration, eh?!

Quite simply, Lyn took action. Even though she’s shy. And I bet you agree when I say that she’s got a big chance of getting the job she wants because of taking these actions.

We can talk ourselves to death about WHY we don’t take action – too shy, lack of self-belief, don’t have time, no energy, don’t know what to do, don’t have the support, don’t know where to start, too tired at the end of the day.

There’s some tough love coming with this week’s post. Let’s cut through the c**p and get straight to the point: In brief, you gotta take action!

How do you do that? Well let’s imagine you don’t have ANY excuses – what is one action you COULD take towards your goal?

Now do it!

And then…

Rinse and repeat.

But maybe you really DO have a valid reason for not taking action? Let’s deal with that now, shall we? 🙂

Take for example this common and understandable reason amongst busy women with multiple responsibilities:

“I’m too tired at the end of the day”.

OK – I get that. Don’t we all? 🙂

But if you have a goal and you really want to achieve success, whether it’s with your career, your money, your relationship or anything else in your life, you’re going to have to take action anyway, even if you’re too _____________ (fill in the blank with your excuse)!

If you don’t know where to start, just start anywhere. Do it EVEN IF….

Keep taking action – just like Jane, just like Lyn and just like those millionaires.

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”.

Goal Setting in January? You don’t have to!

By amandaalexander | Goals

It was about 3pm on Sunday 2nd January, the rain was incessant and the sky was dirty grey. I had spent 2 hours taking down the decorations and hoovering the pine needles and before that another 2 hours clearing out Freddie’s wardrobe.

I laid a fire, made myself a cup of tea and lit some candles in the living room. I had already printed out a workbook.

I was finally ready to review my year and set my fabulous goals for 2016.

But it didn’t quite go as I’d expected. I pretty much drew a blank with every question in the workbook.

I tried to answer questions like this:

“What amazing things did you achieve in 2015?”

I thought of some things I’d achieved, but they didn’t feel particularly amazing.

“What tools and resources have helped you succeed this year?”

I couldn’t think what helped me succeed. I could, however, remember the “tools” that had sucked up my time and caused me grief and frustration when they didn’t behave as expected.

“What made you happiest this year?”

Ah… now this was much easier. I scribbled down:

“Being outdoors, moving, getting muddy, swimming in lakes and rivers, dancing, larking around with the bloke, the company of good friends and fascinating people, cuddling my boys, laughing, being silly. Doing what I love in my business – connecting, coaching, speaking”.

Feeling more positive, I got to the part of the workbook inviting me to “manifest” an amazing year.

I couldn’t think in terms of amazing. I wasn’t feeling inspired or fired up. I started feeling like a fraud. Surely I should be able to describe my plans for the year without even pausing?

On Sunday 2nd January, the day after the hangover from hell (because I’d had a REALLY good New Year’s Eve larking around with lovely friends dancing and being silly), with that incessant rain still falling from the lowest, darkest of skies, the only amazing thing I could think of manifesting was a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

Then I read 3 words that were supposed to inspire me, but which actually made me feel like crawling under a blanket and hibernating…


Have you heard that phrase yet? More than once, perhaps? I’m guilty as charged – it’s a phrase that I have used myself in previous years. But “best year yet” wasn’t doing it for me. I wondered how I’d feel about this phrase if, like many people, I was in the middle of a big life challenge.

Of course, we can set intentions and get really positive and follow through on our intentions. But there WILL be downs as well as ups throughout the year. Let’s face it, none of us will come to the end of 2016 with jaw-ache because we had a fixed grin on our faces for 365 days.

And that’s perfectly normal and fine.

But I could feel myself getting anxious about it. One of the voices in my head – Ms Inner Critic – had already piped up:

“Call yourself a Coach? Call yourself a positive person? You’re a FRAUD. How can you coach people when you can’t even set your New Year goals”

Ms Inner Critic got into her stride:

“If you can’t even set goals and be positive, how on earth are you going to succeed this year? You’re just going to meander through the year and get nowhere. You’ll be a failure.”

I listened to Ms Inner Critic, stayed with the anxious feelings and got curious…

What if it doesn’t matter if I’m not feeling inspired?
What if I’m just buying into a load of self-development “thou shalt” dogma without applying my own common sense to it?
So what if I don’t feel particularly excited right now?

Which is when the other strange voice in my head – Ms Inner Coach – gently whispered…

“I bet there are LOTS of people struggling with goal setting in January”

So I created a little meme on my phone to express my feelings, thinking it might help one or two people to read it. I wrote:

“Actually… you DON’T have to set brilliant goals in this first week in January. It’s all OK… the year will unfold and there will be plenty of opportunities ahead.
With love from Amanda xx”

I posted it on my personal Facebook timeline. The response has taken me by surprise. To date, 113 people have liked it, 13 have shared it and the comments? Well.. they can be summed up in one word:


If you’re all fired up, you’ve set great goals and you’re convinced that 2016 will be your best year ever, then this is GOOD and I’m cheering you on. And of course, in this case, this particular post isn’t going to float your boat!

However, if you are feeling a bit “meh”, not quite ready to take on 2016 or just a bit unclear as to what a great 2016 will look like, then this is for you..

Here’s what to do instead:

1. First of all, here’s your PERMISSION SLIP:

* You hereby have my permission to feel less than brilliant or amazing in January.
* It’s OK if you’re not ready to set goals.
* It’s OK if you’re still transitioning from Christmas.
* And guess what, you don’t even have to set a date by when you WILL set goals.
* Let it be – I know it feels uncomfortable. You want to feel good and that will come. Just go with the flow!

2. Here’s what you absolutely do NOT HAVE to do this month:

* Set any goals
* Set the intention that this will be your best year yet
* Take part in Dry January
* Take part in any challenges
* Go on a detox
* Stick to your resolutions
* Beat yourself up because you broke your New Year’s resolution today, yesterday or even on 2nd January.

You can if you want – but you don’t HAVE to.

3. Seek your moments of “flow”

When do you feel “in flow”? Being in flow is when you are so captivated and happy in your present moment that you forget to tell yourself that you’re rubbish or that your life isn’t perfect and that you’re a rubbish parent because you haven’t created a balanced meal plan for the week.

It’s when you are absolutely present in the moment. It might be walking in the countryside, laughing with your best friend, when you’re in a team meeting and you’re brainstorming ideas. It might be when you’re in a warm bath reading a trashy novel. You could be swimming, dancing, climbing, singing, playing the ukulele or driving your car with the radio turned up loud with one of your favourite tunes.

The trick to finding your moments of flow is tuning into your core values. What makes you feel that you are truly alive, living in integrity, soaring? Usually, our moments of flow are fully aligned to one or more of our core values. For example, I love being outdoors, I love meeting new people – values of freedom/adventure and of connection. So I’m in flow when I’m doing something outdoors or engaged in a fascinating conversation.

And here’s the thing – The more you can seek out and indulge in your moments of flow, the more you’ll start to feel inspired, see opportunities and get clear on what you want in 2016.

Next week, I’m going to share with you a great alternative to goal setting this year. It’s come about, funnily enough, from a fascinating coaching conversation with one of my clients, Grace Marshall, who always inspires me.

Until then, relax, be kind to yourself and go with the flow!

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!

Achieve Your Goals in the 2nd Half of the year:Mid Year Review

By amandaalexander | Goals

If you want to achieve your goals, you gotta have a plan! 

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” _
~ Jim Rohn_

Ouch! This quote is a bit edgy, isn’t it? Edgy because it’s true: If you don’t design your own life, then you tend to become an element of someone else’s plan. That doesn’t mean to say your plans must be grand, you don’t have to quit your job or move to the Outer Hebrides.

But it’s always better to know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. Is it part of a bigger picture? Or are you doing it just because it was the first thing that came along and time just flies and you’re so busy and you really MUST get round to doing something about it…

Quite often, people get stuck in “comfortable discomfort”. What this means is that they are plodding along living a life which is kind of “meh”!
It’s o.k. but it’s not really the life you’d dreamed of for yourself.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but we are almost exactly half way through the year! It’s almost July. How did that happen? Which brings me back to the importance of having a plan for your life. We all know about goal setting and traditionally we set goals in January.

▪ Did you set any annual goals in January?
▪ If so, are you half way to reaching them?
▪ What have you achieved so far this year?
▪ Has the year run away with you?
▪ Have you been too busy to make time for the bigger picture?

If you’re squirming a bit now, don’t beat yourself up – you’re human and you are NOT alone. Life happens and I KNOW how busy you are (aren’t we all!)

But nothing changes if nothing changes! So let’s do something about this, shall we?

The Mid Year Motivation Workshop: Tuesday 30th June at 12.30pm BST

Join me for this FREE no fluff, no theory all action lunchtime workshop this Tuesday 30th June at 12.30pm. This will be a short, fast-paced webinar where, in 30 mins, I will take you through a set of questions to review the 1st half of the year and create a PROPER PLAN for the second half!

This workshop is 100% free, 100% action-orientated and 100% positive.

What’s in it for me? You’ll get to experience my style and approach as a Coach and Trainer. If you benefit from the workshop (and I know you will), then you’ll say good things about me to your colleagues and friends – and my business grows from referrals.

Click here to register your place on the Mid Year Motivation Workshop with Amanda, Tuesday 30th June at 12.30pm to 1pm UK Time

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. You can share this with your friends – all welcome! I’ll record this webinar for you and let you have access for a week after, but no longer, as it defeats the purpose of getting your goal plan created fast!

Hope you can join me for some mid year motivation and plan creation!

Here’s the link again to my complimentary Mid Year Motivation Workshop to register your place.

Why you should never threaten to “eat your hat”

By amandaalexander | Career

Have you ever said “I’ll eat my hat if that happens”?

It’s been a breathtaking, shocking, tumultuous rollercoaster over the past 24 hours in the UK: A majority win by the Conservatives, a landslide victory for the SNP in Scotland and 3 resignations from 3 party leaders. Last night, the Exit Poll started indicating that the Conservatives were on course to win and that the Liberal Democrats would lose dozens of seats.

Paddy Ashdown, Chair of the Liberal Democrats reacted to the poll with utter incredulity. He said he’d “eat his hat” if the exit poll was true. Which just goes to show: None of us can predict the future and the UK election results have demonstrated this very clearly!

Yet often, we are certain that we do know what our future holds. I have lost count of the number of times I have worked with clients who had a specific goal, but who were certain they could never achieve it and it’s all down to lack of self-belief. I get such a kick out of it when my clients go from not believing that they can possibly achieve their big dream, to starting to see new opportunities, taking action and then suddenly… the “impossible wonderful goal” happens.

Oh, how many hats might have been consumed over the years…

Once upon a time…

Here’s a wonderful real life story to inspire you and it’s almost as fresh as the election results. It’s the story of one of my Stepping Up clients, Claire, who had a dream of a an “impossible, wonderful” job. She came to Stepping Up wanting to believe in herself more and have the confidence to be bolder and go for opportunities.

She achieved more than she had ever believed possible. In fact, Claire would probably have eaten her hat if you’d told her THIS was going to happen.

Here’s her story in her own words:

“I should start by saying that my objective for stepping up was improving my self-belief, confidence and resilience to get clear on what I wanted in my career and make a much needed change.

I have achieved that and so much more. Whilst on Stepping Up I reconnected with an ex colleague / friend. This person was an amazing boss and years previously had picked me to be on a new team they were setting up on a large national project on which we both worked. We went our separate ways and had lost touch. When I looked at their details I noticed they now run their own successful business and had a vacancy that matched my skills perfectly!

The company sounded amazing, the job sounded amazing and I already knew the company founder was brilliant. So I decided to step up, take a punt and approach that person for the job (in a creative way that helped me stand out). It took a lot of courage to do this and I can honestly say that I would never have been this brave or bold without the stepping up programme or Amanda’s amazing coaching.

After being so brave and getting an initial response I had a real wobble but Amanda refocused my perspective and kept me focused on the faint possibility of me nailing my dream job.

Fast forward a few weeks… I’m negotiating a package for my dream job in my dream company with my dream boss. I can hardly believe it..but it’s real!

And I wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told me last year that I would take these actions and be on this path.”

Hmmmm…. I wonder if Claire might has eaten her hat?! It’s a great story isn’t it? And I want to share it with you because I want you to believe that something like this could happen to you too.

What do YOU want that you believe might never happen? Beliefs are funny old things.. they are in fact stories that we make up in our heads based on a set of experiences that we have usually distorted in our minds.

The fact is, YOU JUST DON’T KNOW what is possible for you. And I want you to know that if you can have more self-belief, if you dare to be bold and if you take positive action, then you will greatly boost the chances of going from…

Impossible to Improbable to Absolutely Possible to REAL!

By the way, this is what I’m good at – believing in yourself, getting you out of your own way and getting on with it. And my Stepping Up programme has just helped 12 women, including Claire, to do just that.

The doors to the next Stepping Up programme are hereby OPEN.

Check it out..

Do this now. There are only 12 places. You’ll want to see what I’ve got in store for you and you’ll DEFINITELY want to see the bonus gift I’m offering to those who take action quickly. In fact, I’d go so far to say that it’s the BEST bonus I’ve ever offered for fast action takers!

I’ll hand over to Claire to finish:

“Stepping up has been amazing it has allowed me to become who I really am and be true to myself. In so doing and with the world class uniquely awesome support of Amanda – I am about to close a deal for my dream job! I should say my objective for stepping up was improving my confidence and resilience to get clear on what I wanted in my career and make a much needed change. I have achieved that and so much more. I cannot recommend Awesome Amanda and the Stepping Up programme highly enough – if you want to be the best version of the brilliant woman you really are and have the confidence, resilience to reach for the stars to fulfil your potential then go for it! Book your place now. Your life will never be the same (and I mean that in a wonderfully positive way!)”

Stepping Up is officially OPEN for enrolment. Check it out NOW!