a box of white eggs with one 'different' red one

“Why am I different?” – It’s a question I get asked a lot by my clients about themselves. “‘I try to be like everyone else. I try to fit in. I wear the kind of clothes that other people my age wear. I join in with the conversations that go on and try to look like I am totally on their wavelength. I pretend to be interested in all the things they like to do, and I take part in the socials. I turn up for the charity events and I even turn a blind eye to the things that make me uncomfortable.

“I don’t agree with some of the things people say, and some of it is just so wrong, on so many levels. I daren’t say anything though, so I just smile politely. That makes me feel really bad inside. It just emphasises even more that I am different, and I don’t think people would like me if they knew what I am really like.”

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Anybody who uses Facebook will be familiar with the insidious way in which it manages your daily experience. Click on a picture of a dog, and you’ll get flooded with pictures of dogs. You’ll get doggy treat adverts, dog adoption groups and cute videos of dogs cooking paella. In fact you don’t even need to have clicked. Such is the subtlety of the Facebook ‘algorithm’.

You only have to slow down or stop scrolling on your device to inform the social media site that this is something you are interested in and you’ll get more of it. It is almost impossible not to do that if something catches your eye.

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self-isolation cronavirus

With self-isolation a key response to suspected coronavirus symptoms, many of us are making contingency plans. In the school playground today, I heard people discussing the practicalities of working at home. They discussed using their laptops and talked about holding meetings through video-conferences through Skype and Zoom. They welcomed the opportunity not to commute. Some even felt that their productivity might actually increase because of it.

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january

I’m writing this on 16 January, 2020, so I guess it goes without saying. But life in January does seem to follow some specific themes. Although there are positives, many of these are quite disheartening.

I think if I asked most people in the UK if this is their favourite time of year, not many would punch the air and say yes.

One or two might punch me instead.

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In my mind, there are three times of year when the time always feels particularly ripe for new beginnings.

If I ask any person, when they most start thinking about changing their lives or developing new habits, they’re bound to say ‘New Year’: Well yes, of course – resolutions. It’s become a bit of a cliche but just knowing it’s the first day of the year suggests the possibility of change.

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change your life (choose not to catch the ball)

I have been a therapist and coach for over 6 years at the time of writing this. I have lost count of the number of people I have helped over that time. Even so, I still get excited when a new client enters my office for the first time. As you can imagine, when you want to change your life, I am curious to know what challenges you are facing. I look forward to exploring clients, the aspects of your lives that you want to change. I love to learn what you hope to achieve.

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discover your passion - heart with a jigsaw piece missing

Passion is a big word that suggests something overpowering, uncontrollable and visceral. When we say we want to discover our passion, the word asks us to connect to our deepest selves. Many people are able to say what their passion is. Their deepest interests, their hobbies, their careers and the people that are around them.

A significant number of people that come to see me, have far less clarity about what their passion and want me to help them discover their passion for themselves.

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finding your vision

Finding your vision, or purpose, or your direction in life can feel like an impossible challenge. It is certainly among the top reasons that clients come to see me. The clues are often there, though and sometimes in the most unlikely places.

Why do you need to find a vision?

The first thing to check in with is, why do you feel you need to find a vision? I am probably committing coaching sacrilege here, but I think this a critical first stage. Is the reason you feel that there should be some ultimate purpose created within yourself or is it something that has been put on you from others? Are you feeling this because you think others expect it of you? Just because other people are goal focused doesn’t mean you have to be.

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glass memory jar

I expect all my clients to get something useful or valuable from every session. Reassuringly, they tell me that they do. Sometime it is an ‘Aha’ moment, or a complete re-frame of a conflict or problem. Other times it is a new tool, a new idea or a new perspective.

As a therapist and coach I get ‘takeaways’ from my clients too. Like the one I had today:

At this time of year I often provide clients with a list of questions to help them review the past year. Hopefully they gain some learning from their answers. My first question on the list is: ‘What were the 10 best things that happened to you and your family last year?’

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