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Coach | Educationalist | Gen X Career Changer | Unshakable Optimist | Has Big Heart | Personal Development Obsessive | Founder of

Allow your partner to vent with wild abandon.

loving couple looking into each others eyes
loving couple looking into each others eyes
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

These were the words I spat at my husband last weekend. The pressures of homeschooling two kids during a pandemic, trying to juggle work, and a new German Shepherd puppy all got a bit too much.

He looked me calmly in the eye and sat down in the comfy armchair we have in the corner of our kitchen. He opened his hands.

“I’m ready. Please begin.” Said his body language.

After 14…

Picture of a duck. The Duck Test does work on passive aggressive behaviour.
Picture of a duck. The Duck Test does work on passive aggressive behaviour.
Photo by Daniel Kay on Adobe Stock

There is a famous saying:

No truer words can be spoken about aggression and people who exhibit aggressive behavior. In these situations the ‘Duck Test’ works.

You can see it a mile off, it’s easy to spot and so we can all give these folk a wide berth. On the hopefully rare occasion where we are forced to interact with them, we can at least be crystal clear of what we are dealing with and what the consequences of…

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

I’d not seen her for twenty-five years.

And then suddenly, out of nowhere, I bumped into her in a supermarket.

I’d never really understood why we lost touch. She was one of my best friends.

So, when that chance meeting happened, we were both amazed and delighted. It all came flooding back — the familiar jokes, her wonky dimples and those stupid voices we used.

We quickly exchanged numbers and agreed to meet up. A couple of weeks later, I went to her house and had a cup of tea in her lounge.

And that’s where it all went wrong.

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Meetings, virtual or in the flesh, must be appropriately planned

Bringing a group of people together is expensive. Meetings reflect the culture of an organization, and they must be productive and positive. Like players in an orchestra, some people will play more notes than others, but everyone is equally important.

Overseeing a highly effective meeting is a career skill. It showcases your abilities and highlights your potential to a large group of people.

Follow these simple rules to ensure your meetings are the best part of the working week.

1. Prepare

Papers should be issued halfway between two meetings and at least…

Nobody believed me.

Man in hot tub at night with a beautiful view.
Man in hot tub at night with a beautiful view.
Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

Sunday night. 10 pm.

I was immersed.

Soaking away the rigors of a brisk country walk in the warm womb-like waters of the hot tub. Kids in bed.

The crisp winter’s evening delivered a deep, clear black sky.

Here in the Peak District it’s a balmy two degrees at best.

As I lay in my bubbling reverie, I silently contemplated the immense inky horizon billowing endlessly above me.

Orion’s belt. The plow. An enormous milky moon silently tracking across the black sky, its movement barely noticeable to the human eye.

It didn’t take long for my mind to wander to…

Spoiler Alert: It actually worked

Beautiful snowy mountain ski slope
Beautiful snowy mountain ski slope
Photo by Eric Miller on Unsplash

I was 14 when I first went on a diet. I’ve been on one ever since. Thirty years later, I’m still overweight.

I live each day trying to be a better version of me. I dream. I’m hopeless at skiing, but in my mind’s eye, I can see myself flying down a crisp white slope, wind in my hair, and life in my lungs. I can see myself lost in Debussy, my fingers rolling across the soft keys of a baby grand.

The desire for change is there. It’s just that there is a gap between intention and action. …

Picture of a laptop on a wooden desk outside in a beautiful location.
Picture of a laptop on a wooden desk outside in a beautiful location.
Photo by Bram Naus on Unsplash

I recently hired a small team of freelancers for a regular gig working on my online business. I was swamped with applications. Here’s what I learned sitting on the other side of the table.

1. Follow the Instructions

It was incredible how many people didn’t apply according to the outline in the job ad. They were ruled out immediately during the shortlisting process.

Give them what they ask for. Keep it simple. Otherwise, you’ll be out before the game has begun.

The successful candidates sent me samples of their work. I looked at them all. This made a huge difference.

2. Let Them Know You Care

The strongest candidates demonstrated…

It’s easy, and it works.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Back in January 2020, I conducted a year-long experiment. I started logging several simple actions on a habit tracker to see if these small incremental modifications would make a difference.

I was astounded by the impact.

The most significant transformation (I don’t use that word lightly) came from the simple action of leaving my phone downstairs at bedtime.

If you want to bring about immediate and significant positive change, I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Seriously. It will change your life.

Life Before

If you’re anything like me, you get lost in scrolling.

Before you know it, two hours have passed, and…

Understanding The Hidden Depths of Our Relationships Using Transactional Analysis

Man with hidden face
Man with hidden face
Photo by Jaroslav Devia on Unsplash

In the first article, we examined the nuts about bolts of Transactional Analysis and how we can use it to understand and even improve our relationships with other people.

In this article, we focus on the most complex transactions — where there is more going on beneath the surface of the spoken word.

When All is Not as it Seems

We’ve all been in one of those conversations where it’s hard work.

It’s stilted, awkward, and exhausting.

The conversation doesn’t flow, and you have to work hard to keep the momentum going. There is no natural order. Instead, it’s stuttered and forced.

Such conversations are all about…

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

The ability to say ‘no’ is a prized skill. As technology grants 24-hour access to our lives and the ability to be quickly available is an accepted norm, the art of saying ‘no’ can be a superpower.

As Warren Buffet said:

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

Many of us feel overwhelmed. Like a hamster in the wheel, we do our best to keep up. We shoehorn as much stuff as we can into our days. We go for quantity, not quality.

Holly Hartley

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