6 Nature Tips For Surviving Lockdown This Christmas

Can you imagine, walking in Nature, and suddenly having a massive insight about how nature, animals, and ourselves are all connected? Experiencing a feeling of oneness and seeing that everyone is whole and complete? Seeing that we are not separate? And that the health and well-being of one benefits the health of others?

That’s exactly what happened to me about a year ago. It was as if time stood still. With every step I felt I was ‘of the Earth’. In that moment I had a realisation that if more people understood this, there would be less suffering in the world and more love for life – in all its forms. Because people protect what they love.

When you get quiet and connect with Nature, your soul starts to speak to you, with little nudges of ‘wouldn’t it be cool if…? There and then I decided I wanted to help thousands of people see this for themselves.

So I’m on a mission to not only wake people up to the wonder of nature, but to support the planet in remembering who they are – our true nature.

This year, many people who are not usually accustomed to spending time outdoors, have found solace in Nature. And with the recent news of the Christmas lockdown, ‘going out to the nature’ (Ut i Naturen in Swedish :-)) will offer a sensory, nurturing haven of peace and tranquility, once again.

So, to maximise the benefits of spending time in Nature, I’ve put together 6 Top Nature Tips For Surviving Lockdown…

  1. If you have a dog (and even if you don’t ) go for walks often. Tune into your dog’s and/or your natural way of being.
  2. Allow time for exercise but also time for wandering slowly.
  3. Allow yourself to wander, slow down, sniff, look, touch, and listen.
  4. Notice the scents and sounds as you walk.
  5. If you take your dog, use a long line that gives you and your dog space to stop, sniff, and wander, without tugging on each other.
  6. Let the urge to check your phone or take a picture pass.

“When I’m among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness. I would almost say that they save me daily.” ~ from When I Am Among The Trees, by Mary Oliver.

Love you lots,

Angela xx

P.S Please share this post with anyone who would appreciate it.

PPS. Join the Facebook Group where you’ll meet a bunch of like-minded Nature inspired souls.

There’s Nothing To Do…

I know…that’s a kind of strange thing to say, especially as most people have a lot to do at this time of year, with more on their minds than usual.

And what a year, huh?

So, on the Frazzled Mind Detox event I hosted for my community last week, I shared the story of how, back in 2019, I had an insight that ‘there’s nothing to do.’

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to do NOTHING. I’m not lazy. Quite the opposite. The problem was I wanted to do SOMETHING. I wanted to come up with a new business idea.

So I did what anyone else would do. I went outside, lay on the ground, and started to think hard about the answer, hoping I’d get an idea, an insight, or inspiration.

But nothing came…

My mind twisted and turned.

Still nothing.

I thought about asking someone for help. But there was no-one around.

So I gave up and went for a walk.

And that’s when I realised …there’s nothing to do.

Here’s the thing…

When do you get your best ideas?

When you’re not thinking – in the shower, on a walk, by the sea – you don’t even know you’re having ideas. They just come. It’s natural.

You see the same thing in sport: athletes perform well when they are in flow, present, and in the moment with very little on their minds other than getting the job done.

There’s an ancient Chinese concept called Wu Wei which literally translates as ‘no trying’, or ‘no doing’. It’s the dynamic, effortless state of mind of a person who is optimally effective. It’s a high performance state of flow.

People in Wu-Wei feel relaxed and happy whilst also creating a brilliant work of art, competing at sport, or coming up with a brilliantly innovative business idea.

I was taught to believe that the best way to achieve a meaningful life was through effort, working hard, striving, trying…achieve, achieve, achieve. And I got good at that. Turns out this is terrible advice. Most of the states we really want – love, happiness, wisdom, creativity, insights – just happen all by themselves, ironically, when we stop striving.

In the words of Syd Banks:

“There’s nothing you need to do, be, have, change, get, or practice in order to be happy, loving, and whole.” ~ Syd Banks

There’s nothing to do really is SOMETHING!

Love you lots, Angela xx

PS: These thoughts are inspired by the insights I’ve seen and the realisations I’ve had that have made a difference to the way I live and the lives I touch.

The Diamond, The Horse Sh*T, and The Nail Varnish

On the first Frazzled Mind Detox I shared the metaphor of The Diamond, The Horse Sh*t, and the Nail Varnish which I first heard about in Kim Hare’s book, The Heart of Thriving, where she used this metaphor to describe who we really are when we allow ourselves to show up fully in the world.

Despite all my years training leaders, clinicians, and coaches, I still get nervous just before I start a new workshop or training programme. And it’s even more nerve racking when I’m sharing stuff I’m passionate about with people I already know. But I know that the more I show up honestly and fully, the more I enjoy it. Trouble is you just learn over your lifetime to hide and build layers of nail varnish or body armour to protect yourself. I’m learning to live a new way these days and I’m enjoying sharing new stuff with people, despite the occasional colliewobbles.

So, imagine there’s a diamond deep inside all of us, which we’re born with. This represents our true nature, At your core you are a diamond…flawless, beautiful, strong, and resilient. And not just you. Every human being.

Sometimes the diamond gets covered and surrounded with horse sh*t. This is our strories, our baggage, our self-created limitations, our ‘not good enough’ thinking. And then because we’re terrified that others will see the manure, we surround it with a thick layer of nail varnish. This is the mask that we show to the world. The armour we put on every day to be acceptable, to conform, to hide, to not stand out, to look pretty.

Many people’s nail varnish is in the forms of positions and titles, certificates and qualifications, wealth and things they possess.

But regardless of this, the diamond is always there, and as we begin to peel off the nail varnish, most of the horse sh*t falls away of it’s own accord. Because there’s nothing to keep it there. And then you can just shine.

Showing up as your diamond changes everything. It’s the true strength of vulnerability. It’s who you are at your core before you believed you were your personality, your feelings, your flaws or your frailties. You aren’t any of those things.

I love this quote by Marianne Williamson…

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not out darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually who are you not to be?”

Great question. Who are you not to be?

Shine bright like a diamond lovely people.

Love you lots, Angela xx

PS: These thoughts are inspired by my own journey so far, the lessons I’ve learned, and the insights I’ve seen that have made a difference to the way I live and the lives of others.

Where do you start when you want to take the plunge from employee to self-employed?

dog glassesSo you’ve decided you want to take the plunge from employee to self-employed. But where do you start?

This is a question that comes up fairly regularly so I thought I’d share the steps I took, which  might be useful to you.

When you’re totally responsible for bringing home the bacon – it takes lashings of self belief and trust in your own capabilities to successfully take the plunge.

Even as an associate or freelancer working with a consultancy, where the marketing is done for you, and there’s a flow of work, it’s not necessarily frequent, regular, or well paid work.

10 years ago, when I made the move to start my teambuilding, coaching, amd training business, I remember feeling terrified and excited at the same time. I felt like I was standing on the edge of a diving board, wondering if I should jump and whether I would sink or swim! A few coaching sessions later, I handed in my notice, waved bye bye to my 17 year NHS career and made the leap. I spent the next two weeks frantically trying to find work!!

Unless you’re a crazy risk taker, you don’t have to go for a ‘big leap’, or ‘take the plunge’. When you’re moving from being employed to self- employed, you can make the transition gradually, one step at time.

A good friend of mine, Caroline Talbott, seasoned coach and author, told me that she started the transition 10 years before she made the move . She used the time paving the way for success by talking to other people who worked for themselves, and meeting people who might potentially give her work further down the line. She’s shares this in her book (in which my story is also featured 😉 ) called Essential Career Transition Coaching Skills

These are the steps I took:

  1. Become self-employed – In April 2007 I left full time employment- with no business skills, no tech skills, or any other useful stuff you might need to run a business!
  2. Set up the business: The most common choices here are to set yourself up as a Limited Company or Sole Trader. You can do this online at HMRC. It’s also a good idea to find a good accountant…ask around for recommendations from other business people. Working as a coach you will also need professional indemnity and public liability insurance. It’s worth shopping around for this as rates and cover vary. This year I’ve found a good rate and cover with Oxygen Insurance .
  3. Find work. Use your network. Tell everyone about your new venture. Make some phone calls to key people. Use your skills and knowledge. I spent the first 2 weeks of self-employment scanning the Health Service Journal for jobs! I had left full time work before I was fully qualified to coach and didn’t have a clue what I was going to do to pay the mortgage (crazy risk taker!). I figured that if push came to shove I could start a ‘Dog Related Business’ or something similar to keep the wolf from the door. (I’ve been asked to train other people’s dogs for income, and I used to take a class at a local dog club, but I prefer to just train my own dogs. This may sound like a frivolous waste of time but I have a really good reason for it other than just wanting to. More on that later! ) Fortunately I managed to secure a role as a Management Consultant in a hospital where I had worked before and where people knew me from my 17 year’s NHS background. I was contracted to work 4 days a week, as an interim manager, a similar role to my old job, but from a self-employed perspective. I gradually reduced my hours as my coaching work grew.
  4. Coach Training: I did my coach training alongside my consultancy work, and I contracted and coached my practise clients as if they were paying clients. Act As If!
  5. First Corporate Coaching Contract. Keep links with former colleagues and employers. My first paid coaching contract was with the NHS – coaching doctors at the end of their training to help them prepare for leadership roles. This came about from a couple of phone calls with key people from my previous life.
  6. Lift off. Within 18 months I had stopped the management consultancy work and continued working with the NHS, coaching doctors and facilitating leadership development programmes as an associate member of faculty for The Wessex Deanery. I was also running my private coaching practice, and designing and delivering Coaching and Leadership Programmes for my other organisational clients.

So that’s how I did it. I’ve spent the last ten years exploring and sharing Executive Coaching, NLP, Clean Language, Leadership, coaching successful professionals to achieve their potential, and training other Coaches to do the same. I’ve had the privilege and joy of impacting thousands of people over the years.

I don’t beleive there is a single ‘right’ way to make the shift, but whatever steps you choose to take, flexibility, expeimenting, reflecting, adaptability, keeping links with former colleagues and employers were my keys to success.

And you’re not done yet. There’s other stuff to do, but I think this post is long enough. .

What’s your story? 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.