So this was the third in the series of coaching sessions from E.On – and this time I was to Talk To A Life Coach.
I know – my brain wobbled too when I heard that bit. I immediately had visions of repeating woolly mantras, learning to smile in the face of adversity, repeating life-affirming phrases at myself in the mirror… But I’ve had two of these coaching sessions from experts now. And each time I’ve had my mind transformed by talking to these experts, listening to what they have to say, and seeing the effects when I take the small changing steps they suggest.
It’s all part of E.ON’s exciting new project, in which they’re helping people to take a look at all aspects of life. It’s not about taking on a gruelling checklist of tasks; it’s more about talking to experts, and learning some clever hints and tips to help me simply live life a little ‘better’. Less grinding drudgery, more skateboarding and loud off-key singing.
So I wasn’t nervous about this session – more curious about what I could possibly learn, bearing in mind that I’m a pretty contented soul.
Louise Presley-Turner came to my house, as this session was being filmed by E.ON’s film crew (I know. I said Yikes* too). Rather than floating in and being sweetly vague and wafty (yes, yes, I know, these preconceptions are going to get me into trouble one day), Louise was warm, funny and engaging. She was also very direct and to the point – and spotted within 5 minutes conversation that my home & personal life are all good, but finances and career are where I definitely need to focus.
Oh, that Louise is GOOD! Not mistily motivational, as I expected – no, Louise deals with cold solid facts. Focused and hugely knowledgeable, she had me thinking in new directions so fast I wanted to stop the session so that I could run away and write everything down. It was utterly inspiring – I am so excited by her ideas and suggestions, and my brain has been fizzing with it ever since. But Louise didn’t say “do this, this and this”. No, she’s more about wide suggestions – gently pointing you in the right direction (which was often round the corner to where I thought I was going). She opened my eyes to things that had been right under my nose, things that I had been ignoring. She made me see old things in new ways, and lit up the future with great big glowing lightbulbs.
But of course the session is just the first part of the process. I came away with three essential tasks –
Utterly Essential – I now have a notebook on which a huge spiders web of ideas has been scrawled, with interconnecting lines and arrows and clouds for emphasis. I’ve been working on it for two weeks, and every time I put it away for a few days, I come back to it with fresh eyes and see something new. At the centre of my web is ‘LittleStuff’, and immediately surrounding it are the things that I already have; the foundations on which I build my future.
It doesn’t matter if I think an idea will work, if I think it’s a bit stupid – everything goes on my brainstorm. Slowly but surely, random thoughts are coalescing into concrete, practical, exciting ideas.
It’s the old principle of “Keep doing what you’ve always done, keep getting what you’ve always got” – Louise didn’t tell me a heap of new things – she simply helped me to see how to work what I already have in different ways. And seeing outside your everyday box is an incredibly exciting thing!
This is where I take the very best bits of the brainstorm. Over time, the random thoughts I have noted down are leading to ideas which I can follow through to a conclusion. Some I can see are leading down business blind alleys – but others are clearly showing me wide open spaces full of potential. THOSE are the exciting ones.
My next task is to plot those into a sensible format. Lay out simple steps to get me from here… to THERE. Breaking it right down into manageable, bite-sized chunks, none of which on their own is a daunting prospect.
The trick is to keep myself believing that this strategy, this plan is not only possible – but genuinely going to succeed. Louise pointed out that if I face myself with enormous, faceless tasks, I’ll simply get disheartened and reject the whole thing.
If, however, there are simple little babysteps that I can check off (come on – we all love a To Do list that you can tick, right?), I’ll maintain the momentum, and the excitement… and Things Will Happen.
This is it. This is where I simply get off my arse and DO IT. Tick those boxes, complete those steps – and make that change.
If the planning is done well, this step will be straightforward – a natural progression through to my final goals.
I cannot tell you how amazing and genuinely game-changing my session with Louise was. She’s not only totally lovely and someone I really want a girls night out with (I plan to make her my new best friend), but she’s sharp and focused and scarily astute. Do go and visit her site, The Game Of Life – there’s a heap of free tools and activities on there, and I guarantee you’ll come away inspired. Particularly if you, like so many of us, are yearning to find a new way, looking to find new purpose, and are desperate to earn a living doing something you love.
So – come on. Share it with me. What’s your goal for 2014? Say it out loud, and Make A Plan with me!
*I may not have said Yikes. I may have said something ruder.
We’re working with E.ON on their newest campaign, focused on helping customers use no more than they need in all aspects of their life, and there’s a really handy part of their website you can try, which they have called the Saving Energy Toolkit