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Who am I? – published on Living North Magazine, June21 Issue

This question is so often asked by so many, suggesting that people assume there is a simple, plausible answer. Almost as if who we are, our identity is one fixed static concept. It is not! The first question to ask yourself is not “who am I?” as quite frankly that is irrelevant. What you ought to ask yourself is “who do I want to be”?  Maybe our actual focus should be on creating a more improved version of ourselves, someone better. The emphasis should not be on discovering who you are but rather on facilitating the emergence of what you would like to experience in your life. The irony is that the more you seek to identify who you are, the more fragile and insecure you are likely to feel about yourself. People often want to define themselves, to have an ideal image to portray to the world. We can spend our lives on self-analysis trying to find out what lies beneath our skin. We seek to fully understand what makes us who we are and how, exactly, our minds work, only to discover that our mind has a will of its own. It can trick us into thinking that…

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Let’s talk loneliness

A client once described loneliness to me as being like a caged bird that lies buried in a grave of dreams. My own personal experience of loneliness can best be described by the time I first came to the UK in 1986, searching for work. I found myself in a tiny single bedsit in Cricklewood, London, where many young Irish people would go. I never thought it possible to feel the kind of loneliness that makes the heart physically ache.

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The impact of words on our lives

In a week in which we saw Dominic Cummins and Boris Johnson, who were former friends, trying to knock each other down with their words and opinions about each other; what they said, how they said, it has never been more important to understand the value and effect of language and the role it plays in our lives. I realised this more so during a session I had recently with a person whose name I shall change to John for their anonymity. John’s story certainly embodies the importance of relationships and how words, and their message, can have a huge impact on our lives and our actions. “I was very down and had decided to leave this world forever.” John told me, “When a text from my friend came through and literally saved my life” He continued.

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Life is a by-product of what you hold in mind

In many of my development workshops, I challenge people to be better and try and understand what is holding them back from achieving. Many people think their problems are caused by external conditions. They try in vain to change the world around them in the hope that things will improve. This seldom works because the reality is your environment, the world in which you live, work, and play is a mirror reflecting your image. Your mindset is the magnet that attracts your reality. How you perceive the world is largely a cogitation of your own attitudes and beliefs. Why do I say this? Let me explain with this little story.

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Who am I?

This question is so often asked by so many, suggesting that people assume there is a plausible answer. Almost as if who we are, our identity is one fixed static thing. It is not! The irony is that the more you seek to identify who you are, the more fragile and insecure you are likely to feel about yourself. People often want to define themselves, to have an ideal self. We can spend our lives on self-analysis trying to find out what is beneath our skin, what makes us who we are or how our minds work, only to discover that our mind has a will of its own. It can trick us into thinking that thoughts are facts, that we have an indisputable reason to be sad, to be frustrated, to be anxious, and to be angry. Our brains have many functions but perhaps the main intent is to guide and protect us. To keep us in a state of safety. They take the role very seriously and often offer us feedback, even when they're not prompted, welcomed or are, in fact, wrong. Our brains are a complicated network with - still - a great deal of mystery and…

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Self sabotage

The subject of self-sabotage is truly a fascinating one to me. I do not believe I know a single person who has not fallen victim to this at some point. We all struggle with personal problems in our lives from stress, anxiety and depression to self-doubt, addiction, and worries. Our relationships are often riddled with conflict. Our partners, children, and other family members can at times be challenging. Relationships with our friends, our neighbours, bosses, and co-workers can also bring elements of chaos to our lives. And then there are the additional concerns dumped upon us by society such as politics, crime, economic problems as well as the continuing and ever-growing societal changes. No wonder so many of us are screwed up and struggling to navigate the minefield that is life. All these problems we face are extremely complex, and their solutions elusive and not always immediately visible. Yet when examined and reflected upon we can see that there is a common link within the nature of these issues, in that for the most part, they are largely caused by us!  

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Weathering the Storm – published on Living North Magazine, May21 Issue

We are all in the same boat, but we are all facing different weather. I am often asked, “what should I be doing with my life?". To those who ask, I say that becoming more self-aware is an act of courage, since most of the time, our thoughts and actions are on autopilot. The problem is, when we are on autopilot for so long, that we forget we are on autopilot. And when we are not aware of our own habits, routines, impulses, and reactions, then we no longer control them - they control us. It is easier to lead an unexamined life than to confront your own dark side.  It is easier to surrender to materialism or cynicism or a hundred different ways of ‘comfort living’ - even if that is unsatisfying and unfulfilling - than to face our own fears. If we really challenge ourselves, we are resisting the seduction of simpler paths. When we insist on finding out and declaring the truths that hold us firmly to the person we are, we set ourselves on the path to the person we can really be. So, to those who are willing to face some truths, I say: It’s…

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How To Stop Being A Slave To Your Emotions – published on Living North Magazine, April21 Issue

“Don’t Tell me to be positive. Don’t tell me to love myself more. The more I try to ‘be present’, the more all-over-the-place my mind becomes. I just get lost in overthinking”, said Alice in one of my coaching sessions. When my father-in-law was diagnosed with an incurable illness earlier in the year, he felt fear, despair and ... an overwhelming pressure to stay upbeat. A challenge we all face in this new normal is the tsunami of people popping up all over social media and TV telling us to be positive. And on the basis of that very statement, we should all move forward with a big cheesy grin on our face as if everything is ‘just great’ in our world, seemingly because of said attitude. For most people that is so untrue. The ideology of positivity given birth by our optimistic American cousins and raised into adulthood by the ‘personal growth’ industry, is now a global phenomenon. For many, including new age warriors, 'being positive' has become the new way of telling someone to 'cheer up'. Of course, we know we should be cheerful. Of course, we have heard it a million times before. And it’s downright annoying…

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What will your legacy be?

I did the Duke of Edinburgh award which is all about championing young people. “How can we do more to help our young people develop after all they have lost in his terrible pandemic?” says Chris from Newcastle. What Prince Philip did when he set up Duke of Edinburgh was forward thinking, and the fact that it has not only lasted for my whole life time is a great legacy of Prince Philip imagination and the thinking that created something that could contribute in a really positive way to British society. To me and the facts support it every child is born a genius and as the saying goes our children are not things to be moulded, but are people to be unfolded. As a father of four and a grandfather of three, I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. For me the best way to make children good is to make them happy. The best way to help our children learn is to make them happy.

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