A letter about personal growth
As I write this love letter to you it is Wednesday and I am on a train bound for London.
It is International Women’s Day today and I am reflecting on all the wonderful women I have coached over the last couple of years. They are all incredible and I can’t help but feel pride when I think of how they emerged phoenix-like as a result of the work they did on themselves during the coaching process.
What those women had in common was that they knew they were ready to make big changes in their lives, they knew they were ready for more, but they felt a bit stuck, a bit lost and they had lost sight of just how incredible they already were. With coaching they found new ways of thinking that led to exciting new adventures. They put in the work and they're achieving things they never thought possible. They have new insight which led to new visions, which step by step they worked towards achieving. I have huge admiration for every single woman.
I am conscious of having a few new subscribers this week thanks to my beautiful friend Lora sharing my letter about love and friendship in her email last week.
Welcome to all of you, it’s lovely to have you here.
I suppose I should introduce myself. I haven’t always been a life coach and in fact, I still also work in the corporate world in the world of FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods – think things you buy in the supermarkets). I coach around that full-time job; I have two wonderful children and I do my best to prioritise my health and fitness as time marches on – I will be 50 this year.
The last three years have been a total metamorphosis for me as I went through a divorce and an evolution of my career. But just like my logo, which is a butterfly, that period of time of struggle in the chrysalis has resulted in emerging into a life that looks more beautiful.
After the struggle comes the breakthrough.
And sometimes it takes a breakdown of everything you know, a period of time in the darkness so that you come out the other side, blinking into the light, to discover that things really are beautiful. It doesn’t always feel like it at the time, but it is through adversity that we grow. And along the way, if you can appreciate the things in life that bring you awe, like sunrises, moonrises, sunsets, water, trees, and all the beauty that this world has to offer, one day you will look up and see that everything was OK in the end.
So what I share in this letter, is things I have learned along the way, from my own life and from coaching my inspirational clients, in the hope that it helps whoever is reading this today.
Today what I would like to share is a little bit of wisdom from one of my favourite books:
The Four Agreements
A Toltec Wisdom Book
Dom Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements are: Be Impeccable With Your Word. Don't Take Anything Personally. Don't Make Assumptions. Always Do Your Best. All four agreements are simple, but simple doesn't mean easy. For example, for the fourth agreement, your best can change weekly, daily, or even hourly, even by the minute. 'Your best will depend on whether you are refreshed in the morning or tired at night. Your best will be different when you are happy as opposed to upset, or healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best. And you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.' With regard to the first agreement, ‘be impeccable with your word’, I have been thinking a lot recently about authenticity, honesty, and truth. We can start to see how the four agreements work together. For me doing my best also means being true to myself. Without radical honesty how will we know what our best is in that moment and what is simply an excuse for poor behaviour? One of my values is authenticity, which means I baulk at dishonesty. Then I reflect on the second and third, don't take anything personally and don't make assumptions. Perhaps that person's dishonesty is them doing the best they can today. Perhaps they are being dishonest because they are afraid you will discover that they're not perfect. If we don't take anything personally we are less likely to be hurt by dishonesty. I know from my work that we cannot change others, we can only work on ourselves. All I can do is try to be impeccable with my word. What I have learned about honesty is that it starts with being honest with ourselves. If we are kidding ourselves, how can we really be honest with others? Secrets keep you sick and stuck, the truth will set you free. As Janne Robinson says, the truth is your medicine. I have been through the 12 steps of recovery so honesty is a very important part of staying sober. I used to kid myself that my drinking was manageable. I used to kid myself about just how much I would drink. Leaving a tiny bit in the bottle of wine to make it look like I hadn't polished the whole thing off. Telling myself I felt fine when I woke up in the morning. Telling myself that it was normal to feel tired all the time. It was only when I got honest with myself that I needed to abstain that I started the healing journey. Now I really do my best. I push myself to work out hard, building strength. I feel rested and ready for the day when I get up in the morning. I know that if I am tired, it is because I have worked hard and it's OK to rest for a bit. And as I continue my healing sobriety journey, my best keeps improving a little at a time, day by day. So where are you being your best self and where are you kidding yourself? You are capable of so much more than you think. If you get honest with how you're showing up to life each day, moment by moment. Don't fake it until you make it. Embrace it until you embody it. I leave you with a question to reflect on: as you work towards your best self, who are you becoming in the process?
As ever I wish you a peaceful Sunday.