The Art of Being Brilliant


Last month I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with Andy Cope one of the authors of The Art of Being Brilliant”

It was an absolute pleasure to be at the workshop as the focus was  about how we can all achieve happiness.  We may be living our lives faster but are we living them better?  The solutions and strategies he talked about were incredibly simply I wondered why we are not all using them!  So I’d liked to share a few with you:-

  • How many of us have “destination addiction?” Do we hear ourselves say “I can’t wait until Friday” or, “only 2 months, 3 weeks and 4 days to go before my holiday!” We are waiting for happiness to be in the future when in fact is starts in the PRESENT.  To quote Andy happiness is the STARTING point not the END point.


  • Happiness is a thought that creates a feeling so in fact we are only one thought away from happiness. A lot of the work I do with  clients is around challenging and changing thoughts. The more accomplished we become at choosing our thoughts the more control we have of how we want to feel.  Keep looking for the “ordinary beautiful” in life to promote inner feelings of happiness.



  • Apparently you only need 4 minutes for others to latch onto your emotions. This works both ways – negatively and positively.  If you go into work head down, moaning about what’s ahead, complaining about things that haven’t been done then, that will impact on others around you.  You only need 4 minutes of being brilliant to affect people and they in turn will start to affect others – apparently your mood could affect 27,000 people a day!!


  • Put in place the 10/5 principle – if anyone comes within 10 feet of you smile, if they come within 5 feet of you – make eye contact! Mental health studies have shown that connecting with others is a crucial part of mental wellbeing.


There was so much to take on board that I would encourage you to seek out any of the workshops that Andy runs or read the book.  I hope these few tips and suggestions will get you going on your path of brilliance!


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Taking Risks

My job as a coach and therapist is to support, encourage and motivate my clients to take positive risks.  In order to move forward and make changes you have to step out of your comfort zone.
The risks may be big or small but are always significant to the person.  Taking risks may involve changing jobs, saying no to someone, going into a supermarket or learning to be kind to oneself.  Whatever it is it takes courage and a willingness to do something different.

Only recently I took a risk and signed up to go tandem hang gliding.  My first attempt resulted in getting 5 feet off the ground and crash landing in gorse!  Needless to say, months later for my second attempt, I was particularly anxious. However I had learnt from my previous attempt and knew what I had to do differently.
All harnessed up I just had to take one step forward – nothing else just that one step.  Then we were off – upto a 1000 foot in the air over Woolacombe beach.  The experience was amazing, scary and unique with a beautifully smooth and safe landing!


Once we take that step forward, take that risk, the experience may still be uncomfortable or anxious but we can no longer go back.  We have moved forward into a new experience and whatever the outcome of that move it can only be positive.


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New Site for Blogs

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At last Spring is here even though it is being a bit contrary with the weather!  For me this is my favourite season with the longer evenings and the chance to get out into the garden.

As a Coach and Occupational Therapist I spend all my time being with people listening to their difficulties and supporting them in finding a way forward to change.  At times my head can feel like it is full to the brim!  A way for me to “empty” my head is to be back in touch with nature, whether that is gardening, walking or photography.  There is something about being in the present moment seeing, feeling and hearing what is around us.

Over the recent years a new form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has come to the fore front – Mindfulness .  This may be done within formal sessions with trained practitioners but the principles can be applied to us all.

Mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism but we can all practice bringing our attention and awareness to what we are doing in the current moment.  One definition is “bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis” (Wikipedia).

I am not a qualified practitioner in Mindfulness but for me just to stop and listen to the birds in the garden or look out over the sea and watch the colours of light change brings about a sense of peace and perspective.

There is increasing research on the positive benefits to being in green spaces known as ecotherapy

It has been shown that if you can for some part of your day be in a green space whether a park or a garden then stress levels decrease and self esteem increases.  Even working in an office that looks out onto greenery has positive benefits.  If this is not possible put a landscape poster on the wall and look at it throughout the day.

So this Spring, wherever you work, take time out to be somewhere green and allow yourself time to just be in the present moment.

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South Africa!

I have recently come back from a month in South Africa which was a mixture of holiday and working.

For those of you who have previously read my blogs I believe in setting myself challenges and making the most out of life.  This year I wanted to do some voluntary work in a country which I have never visited ie South Africa and it was absolutely magical.

The first week was spent with friends in the Kruger National Park and I saw so much wildlife that I was honoured to see not only leopard but also white lion of which there are only 500 in the world.

The next few weeks saw me near Port Elizabeth working as a volunteer on a game reserve.  It was communal living with mainly young people from different countries on their gap year.  The work was physically hard in temperatures of over 35 degrees but very rewarding.  I noticed that I didn’t get very tired because I just concentrated on the task in front of me without having to worry about future tasks or take on any responsibility.  Plus the African way of life is much slower and therefore there was no rushing around.  We cut down trees, maintained tracks, dug fence holes, re-fenced and built a stable.  There was a breeding programme there for lions, tigers and cheetahs and a most adorable 6 week old white lion cub that had been abandoned by his mother.

We also visited a local school which had no electricity and not enough chairs or desks for each pupil.  Yet the children were always neatly dressed and so very happy.  It was a good reminder that possessions and material things do not necessarily bring happiness.  I took the opportunity to speak to one of our guides from Zimbabwe and he had a wonderful philosophy on life – “make a plan and negotiate”!

I’ve managed to retain the slowness of pace and keep the after glow of a truly amazing experience.  I’ve learnt that rushing around does not necessarily mean you get more done and that to be content in yourself means living and appreciating the present without mulling over the past or worrying about the future.  Long may this feeling last!

For pictures on my adventure please link into

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Review of the Year!

How has 2012 treated you?  For me it started with an adventure that was totally out of my comfort zone – dog sledding in the Arctic.  Looking back on it now, it seems such a long time ago and although I have the memories I’ve forgotten how tough it was.  I was scared of letting others down and injuring myself and although that happened (twisted knee) I completed the week and hopefully didn’t let others down.  I still look at the pictures of my dog team and smile to myself.

The middle part of the year involved a lot of workshop presentations mainly in GP  practices.  It was  a new experience doing one workshop 18 times!  Although the content stayed the same each group was different and I had to quickly adapt to cope with either being squeezed between desks and filing cabinets or dealing with very talkative and exuberant staff!  The workshops for Adult Recreation have all gone down very well this year including ones on NLP and assertion.  More to come in the New Year

Late summer I hit a bit of a confidence crisis.  This came about with learning and participating in EFT  and doing work on myself to address issues.  I felt as if I was going through some kind of metamorphosis!  At times I felt quite shaky about myself but with continued EFT feel I have moved forward and am back to really enjoying the work I do as a Coach.

Once again I have set myself a challenge for next year – voluntary work in South Africa! I’ve never visited Africa so I decided to do work on a game reserve near Port Elizabeth.  This time I know physically I am up to the task and can’t wait to not only look after animals but contribute to their environment.

I hope that 2012 has treated you kindly and that you are already planning targets/goals/experiences to get the most of 2013.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Over the past two months I have been attending quite a few courses, some on new subjects, others on familiar topics.  Why go  on courses that I already deliver myself?  I’m a great believer in that we always keep learning.

I have been on a presenting skills workshop and although I have been running groups and workshops for many years, I learnt how to put more emotion into my presentation.  It also reiterated to me the use of metaphors and stories to engage the audience and emphasise specific points.  In presenting my 60 seconds at network meetings I am now taking a more organic approach, leaving the “teaching” behind and allowing my passion and emotions to shine through more.

The second course “Dealing with Difficult People”, I already present a similar workshop to GP surgeries but it reassured me that what I was doing was along the right lines although I approach the topic from a more psychological aspect.

The very new learning for me was Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT .  I completed levels 1 & 2 with two different tutors but found both workshops stimulating, fascinating and interesting.  When I coach, I keep coming back to the ethos in that in order to make sustained change it needs to be at our core value or emotional level.   EFT is a very effective yet gentle way of dealing with the emotional impact of change.  Although I am still learning already I have seen some great results not only for myself but others too.

With all this learning my head, at one time, did feel as if it couldn’t take in anymore information!  I also went through a “crisis of confidence”. I’ve given myself time to assimulate the information and I feel more adept in my new knowledge and belief in my ability and skills has been restored.

So don’t let your knowledge and skills stand still, keep learning from others and subsequently pass on your learning to others.

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