Friday, 17 May 2019

6 Actions You Can Take Every Day to Build Your Self-Confidence

Even the greatest leaders lack self-confidence at certain times. Self-confidence is not a static quality; rather, it’s a mindset that takes effort to maintain when the going gets rough. It must be learned, practiced and mastered just like any other skill. But once you master it, you will be changed for the better.

Here are six effective ways to promote your own self-confidence.

1. Act the part.

Your body language can instantly demonstrate self-assuredness, or it can scream insecurity. Present yourself in a way that says you are ready to master or take command of any situation. If you look confident and act the part you aspire to reach, you’ll not only feel in control, people will have much more confidence in you as well.

Hold your head high, sit up straight, gently bring your shoulders back to align your spine and look directly at the other person when interacting. Avoid a limp handshake and maintain good eye contact while someone is speaking to you.

2. Dress the part.

When you look better, you feel better. If you choose clothing and accessories that fit you well, suit your industry and lifestyle, and make you feel good, this will automatically increase your self-esteem. Look like the part you want to play, or in other words, suit up for success. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine in your accessories. Bold jewelry or a colorful tie can be a focal point and a good conversation starter.

3. Speak assertively.

The next time you listen to your favorite speaker, be mindful of the way he or she delivers a speech. A great speaker speaks confidently, in a steady, rhythmic tone. Instead of the “ums” and “ahs” that interrupt flow, they use pauses to emphasize ideas.
Adopt an assertive, but not aggressive, way of speaking that indicates your self-confidence. You will feel your self-esteem begin to rise. To be taken seriously, avoid high-pitched, nervous chatter or twittering giggles in your speech. People will listen to you more attentively when they see the leader radiate from within you.

4. Think and act positively.

Positive energy leads to positive outcomes, so set your mind to the can-do side of any situation, avoiding the negative self-talk that can make you feel less confident. Smile, laugh and surround yourself with happy, positive people. You’ll feel better and the people with whom you work will enjoy your company.

Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of the high points of your day and your accomplishments. You will develop more peace and confidence when you are in a grateful state of mind.

5. Take action.

There’s more to being confident than just how you look. You must act the part. Walk up to a stranger at a networking event, or accept a project you’d normally reject. Practice being self-confident and soon it will become second nature.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear, while action breeds confidence and courage. As an exercise, jot down your strengths and weaknesses. Most people will tell you to work on your weaknesses, but use what you've got and capitalize on your strengths instead. Once you put more energy into your positive traits, your confidence will start to shine through.

6. Be prepared.

Remember the five P’s: Prior planning prevents poor performance. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel about your expertise and competency. Preparation will help you avoid getting tripped up by life’s unexpected glitches.

Learn everything you can about your industry, your subject matter, your goals and what drives you towards success. Before you start a task, first imagine how you want to feel once you’ve completed it. Don’t try to accomplish too much at once. Break complex tasks up into small, bite-size, manageable pieces.

As U.S. Army General Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. once said, “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” If you have patience and perseverance, you are only steps away from a more confident you.


Thursday, 16 May 2019

Divorce Can Cause Mental Health Issues

Mental health has always been a bit of a taboo subject as it has in the past been associated with being crazy or needing to be locked away in a padded cell. However, the truth is that mental health is just another way of saying “emotional health” or “well-being”.

It affects all of us during our lives as every time we go through a tough or challenging time, suffer a trauma, or endure a stressful situation, our mental health is affected. Common side effects of these difficult times will be feeling sad, anxious, scared or frightened. Some people can cope better than others and bounce back after a short period of time. However, for others it goes deeper and takes longer to recover, or they may become stuck with the negative emotions taking a strong hold over their life.

It is refreshing to hear Prince Harry and Prince William talk openly about their own mental health issues that have plagued them over the last 20 years, since the death of their mother. They are well respected young role models and are demonstrating that this can happen to anyone, no matter who you are.

Divorce is often referred to as the second most traumatic life experience after death of a loved one. It can rock the strongest of people to the core and turn your whole life upside down. So, it is hardly surprising that it can lead to mental health issues if the negative emotions and sudden challenges you find yourself having to cope with are not dealt with properly.

There are so many issues that will occupy your mind during a break-up including:

Heartbreak - the pain of losing a loved one and the fear of never being loved again
Betrayal - the broken promises
Conflict - the arguments over the split, money and children
Legal - learning how to work with a lawyer and deal with the huge amount of paperwork
Uncertainty - not knowing your financial situation, where you will be living, lifestyle changes
Negative emotions - sadness, depression, anxiety, stress, overwhelm are all common side effects
Parenting - learning to be a single parent, co-parenting and having to be strong when you feel weak
Career - managing a job or career when you have to make decisions, lead a team and be on form
Friends - finding out who your true friends are, disappointment as friends don’t step up to support you or difficult choices as you must let them go

These are just some of the challenges that a break-up can cause as the ripple effect of your break-up affects the whole of your life. Some people find it easier to manage stress and have a natural ability to turn things around. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t feel the pain, they are just more able to control their emotions and keep a positive outlook.

Other people will struggle to find a light at the end of the tunnel and will become all consumed with their negative emotions. This will negatively impact on their ability to manage in other areas of their life too. It is easy to become stuck and to believe that your life will never be the same again, especially if you don’t have a good support system around you to help you find your way.

So, raising awareness of mental health issues is a great way to show people that it is ok to ask for help. You are not alone in your suffering and there are many other experiencing the same symptoms.

In fact, I created my break-up and divorce coaching programme having been through some dark times myself. The end of my relationship left me feeling alone, scared and frightened of what lay ahead. I was terrified I would never find love again or that I would never even feel happy again. My confidence and self-esteem was in tatters and I doubted my own ability to make simple decisions, yet alone the life changing ones that my lawyers were asking me to make daily. I felt my whole world was shattered and I had no idea how I would be able to piece it back together again.

But the good news is that it is possible. There are techniques and strategies you can use to help you grab back control over your life again and help you to get back on track. It’s not always easy and that’s why you take it step by step and one day at a time.

Please don’t be afraid to ask for help and it is out there and you can feel happy again. 
Having been there myself I understand what it means to be struggling with mental health issues, but I can also say that you can get through it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you can be happy again.


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

How to Let Go of Your Ex After a Break-Up

“He left me. He said he didn’t love me anymore and just walked out.” A client sobbed on the sofa in my clinic a six months ago. Her heart had been completely broken by her partner of 11 years. (I have changed names and some scenarios to protect confidentiality)

She was completely overwhelmed with sadness and an acute sense of loss. She had a high flying career and was angry at herself for falling apart yet she had no control over the crying or the obsessing over what she might have done wrong.

The truth is that she had suspected for the last 18months that something was wrong. Her ex, who I shall call James, had become gradually more distant and less affectionate. He had always bought flowers home on a Friday but that dwindled, as did other little gestures that she used to take for granted like a cup of tea in bed on Sunday’s and buying her the latest book from her favourite author when it came out.

At first Susie had been too busy to really notice but over time she started to feel sad about it. Whenever she brought it up he told her he was sorry and that he had been busy too. Whenever they argued about it and she said she didn’t feel as loved by him anymore he would accuse her of being too demanding.

Their sex life petered out in the last six months but she assumed it was all down to the length of their relationship and that it was natural that sex would not be as frequent after 11 years. Susie busied herself in work and tried not to think about it. After all they still had a good circle of friends and a fun social life together so it wasn’t all bad.

So the break-up hit her like a freight train. She felt broken inside and her self confidence was at rock bottom. Susie came to see me to find out how to feel better as James had made it clear he was not coming back. She felt partly responsible and wishes she had done more about the problems and not allowed them to fester.

The interesting thing about heart break is that it really physically hurts inside. It’s an exquisite pain that can grab hold of you and paralyse you from moving forward with your life. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to help you let go of your ex. It’s not easy but with practice and a determination to get back in control of your feelings will help you to get there.

Don’t be afraid to face any negative emotions. It’s ok to cry and actually helps you to heal. It’s all part of the loss cycle and a natural part of your recovery process. It’s normal to grieve the loss of your relationship. Susie was so relieved to find this out that she relaxed. She had thought she was depressed and would never feel happier. But the truth is that sadness is part of the natural recovery process.

The key to letting go of your ex is to change your focus from the past and what happened to the future and put your energy and attention into creating your new single life. Stop telling your sad story to everyone who will listen and start to talk about all the new things you want to achieve and have in your life. Susie had been talking about her break-up for hours with her mum and best friend. They meant well but actually gave her negative reinforcement as they were hurt and angry too. Susie and I worked on some exciting new goals that she wanted to create for her future. It gave her a new focus with her mum and best friend and they were able to support her in a more positive way.

Make some changes to the way you do things, especially your daily routine. This will enable you to experience new things and not end up doing the same things alone that you used to do together. You could introduce a morning walk or move some furniture around in your home which will give the room a fresh feel. Even little changes can make a huge immediate impact on how you are feeling. Susie decided to clear out James’ clothes from the wardrobe and pack them away. Whilst this was tough for her to do she felt much better immediately after.

Write a bucket list of all the things you would love to do over the next 12 months but you would never have been able to whilst in your relationship. Turn your loneliness into a sense of freedom to do things that make you happy. Susie had always fancied going on a fitness retreat but James was horrified at that idea and preferred to lie by a beach. So she booked herself 5 days on a retreat abroad and came back fitter, more confident in herself and with a tan. She carried it through into her daily routine and joined a gym as she recognised how having a healthy body gave her more mental strength and a better ability to move forward with her life.

Susie now has the tools and techniques to feel better and move forward with her life. She feels back in control of her emotions and has created a future she is excited to live and is loving it.

She still pops into my clinic from time to time as new challenges arise as she now appreciates the importance of dealing with issues immediately and not allowing them to fester. She came in recently as she felt ready to start dating again and wanted some help to get started. She has let go of James and is ready to start looking for a new love.

Letting go of your ex is never easy if you loved them deeply. They may always hold a place in your heart, however this place should be pain-free and full of happy memories.


Tuesday, 14 May 2019

How I Took Back Control of My Happiness and My Life

In the last two years, I have been through many up moments, down moments, and moments in between. And the only time I look back is to see how far I’ve come. Having more faith than fear, choosing to be grateful, and taking responsibility for my own happiness were key to giving me the strength to take back control of my happiness and my life — after years of grieving over the loss of my father, dissatisfaction in my career, relationship and overall life.

So I put together a few thoughts to share with you five things that I did to do just that.

1. I stopped feeling sorry for myself.

I often struggled (and still do, sometimes) with feeling like a victim. One minute I am on top of the world, and the next minute I am completely alone feeling sorry for myself. And then I replay the hardships of my past over and over again until I get lost in my own head.
There comes a time when you have to make the decision to stop getting in your own way.Life is not ever going to be perfect. And I am not so sure that it gets “easier” — I think that you become stronger, and more resilient — more capable of handling stress in a healthier way.

There will be moments when all you will want to do is quit, and there will be people who do not choose to stay by you when you need them the most. But strength is developed through hardships and solidified with time. You have to save yourself, from yourself.
Make the decision to believe in you. Choose to stop listening to your doubts. Own your mistakes, then forget them. Love yourself first, and get on with your life.

2. I didn’t let failure convince me to quit.

There’s something about failure that sucks us in and spits us out — it takes away a little piece of our confidence, preventing us from wanting to try as hard. And this is the absolute worst thing that you can do — let the fear of failure prevent you from continuing on and pushing through. I have failed more times than I can count. I am not the best at everything — I don’t even know if I’m the best at ANYTHING. But I didn’t let that thought prevent me from trying over and over again.

There are so many examples of iconic, successful, famous, AND everyday people that have been known throughout history to have admit that they have failed, but more importantly — admit that their failures are what helped make them who they are today.

Because our perception of failure is what we need to overcome. Failure is NOT a bad thing. It’s actually a wonderfully productive blessing — that will guide us in the right direction. If you know that something doesn’t work, you’re going to get smarter, so that the next time you try — you know what NOT to do. Why do you think that failing is a bad thing? Maybe it’s a blow to your ego — but pride is for the birds. Failure is a gift, and without it — you won’t ever be successful.

3. I took a risk and did something that scared me.

This is something that people often struggle with in life — it goes hand in hand with the fear of failure. But I’ve realized that when something scares you — it’s usually a sign that you should be doing it.

I had dinner with a friend recently and she started telling me about how she felt unfulfilled at work — she had a new boss who didn’t get along with her, she felt like her responsibilities were decreasing, she didn’t feel as though she were learning anything new — all of this, and also told me that she had the opportunity to work on something completely new.

She went on to tell me that she was scared — she wasn’t sure if that were the smartest thing for her to do — leave her team (who she loved) and work that she was good at, to do something she had no idea about. And I couldn’t stop screaming, “YES! YES! YES!”

You have to do things that scare you. Comfort zones may be a wonderful place, but nothing ever grows there. Imagine being too scared to try something new, and choosing to be in your comfortable situation for months, or even years. Will anything change? Probably not.

Being content is fine if it makes you happy, but in my case — in my story — I had reached a point where I had no choice but to do something completely radical to change my life and take back control of it. If I had stayed with what made me feel comfortable, I never would’ve been happy. I would’ve been miserable, continually, until I felt like I had nothing else let to be live for.

There will be moments that you encounter throughout life when you become nervous, anxious, scared, fearful of what could happen — but it is absolutely possible for you to harness those feelings, and look at them as signs of what to do moving forward — instead of moving away from them.

So if the idea of doing something scares you, maybe you should actually do it.

4. I stopped putting my happiness in the hands of others.

Why doesn’t he do this for me? Why doesn’t she do this for me? How could she do this to me? How could he do this to me? Why don’t they care about me? What is with wrong with me? What did I do? He doesn’t make me happy.
F-ck them. F-ck all those people. (sorry for my language, but I get passionate about this sh-t.)

I used to find reasons for why I was sad or unhappy or unfulfilled or unsatisfied by placing my happiness in the hands of others, giving people a certain kind of responsibility to make me happy. And yes, it’s great to be in a committed relationship or expect certain things like that from your good friends, but at the end of the day — no one is responsible for your happiness but YOU. If you constantly depend on other people to make yourself happy, you are constantly going to be disappointed.

And it’s important to remember that you very well do possess the power to make yourself happy. You don’t have to depend on others for your own happiness. And when you start to do things for yourself — become independent in this pursuit of happiness — no one will be able to take that happiness from you.

5. I started doing things that made me happy.

Art? Music? Travel? Eating? Writing? Sketching? Walking? Running? Swimming? What is it that you like to do? What is it that if you woke up every single day, and could do without having to worry about money or your problems, what would it be?
I wanted to get away from my immediate environment — I wanted to get away from my everyday life — the everyday life that made me unhappy because I didn’t do anything to change it. But before I could get away and go on this epic trip, I had to make do with what I had.

I started going to new restaurants, exploring new roads or streets, taking wine + paint classes for no reason, googling DIY crafts just to pretend like I’d actually follow through with them, then actually follow through with them. I tried new things, ate new foods, met new people — even though I was in the same city.

Doing things that genuinely make you happy will actually make you happier. And when you are happier, more people will want to be around you, and make you happy. It’s a chain reaction that might sound cliche, but cliche things are just that for a reason.

Look within yourself to figure out what it is that makes you laugh, smile, jump with joy, dance for no reason, be silly — and if you aren’t sure about what it is that makes you happy, then TRY EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING. What have you got to lose, but your sad thoughts? What have you got to lose? Nothing.


Monday, 13 May 2019

Do NOT Start Dating After Divorce Until These 5 Things are 100% True

Are you ready to start dating again? Are you sure?

“How will I know when I’m ready to start dating after divorce?”

This question is one nearly everyone who divorces eventually asks. And coming up with an answer to it is complicated by the fact that this question (hopefully) brings up other questions.

Is there a difference between dating and a hook up? Where can I find someone to date?
What is dating like today? How will my dating impact my kids? And on and on.
Divorce is tumultuous and frightening so it’s normal to have a bunch of questions as you start moving on with your life by deciding if you’re ready to start going out again after divorce.

As confusing and complicated as it is when you first start contemplating whether you’re ready to begin dating after divorce, there are 5 signs you’re ready to get back out there.

You love yourself.

Divorce takes a huge toll on your self-esteem. You start to question whether you’re lovable not only by others, but by yourself too.

By being able to truly love and care for yourself before you start dating after divorce, you’ll know you’re ready to get back out there because you’re not looking for someone else to make you feel whole again.

You understand your role in the end of your marriage.

This is important of two reasons. When you’re clear about how you contributed to the end of your marriage, you’re able to carry on conversations about more than the end of your marriage.

It also means that you’re less likely to repeat the behavior which will save you a bunch of heartache.

You know why you want to start dating.

When you’ve got clarity about why you’re choosing to get back out there, you’re able to make smart decisions about who you go out with.

If you’re not clear about it, you’re setting yourself up to be blown about by the whims of others which just adds more chaos to the mix as you’re getting your life back on track.
You know the difference between dating and being in a relationship.

It’s extremely difficult to avoid falling into a new relationship when you start dating after the end of your marriage. (Although that doesn’t mean it’s always a bad thing.)

An idea to consider is dating 3 people at a time so you don’t fall into another relationship before you’re ready.

You are ready to have fun.

Dating after divorce is awkward. So, approach it from the standpoint of having fun and learning more about you and what you do and don’t like about being around all kinds of different people.

This list of 5 signs might seem daunting to you. If it does, you’ve got a little more healing to do before you’re ready to get back out there. And that’s OK.

Be patient with yourself as you continue getting over your divorce and be willing to ask for support to help you finish your healing.

Maybe you’re good with a couple of the items, but there are a couple of them where you’re just not quite there yet. The thing to remember is that you’ve already made some great progress in creating a great life for yourself and that you’ve got just a little more progress to make.

But if you read through the list and know that you meet each of the criteria, then you’re ready to start exploring a new and exciting phase of your life!


Friday, 10 May 2019

Divorce - Five Things Not to Give a Damn About

Ok, I’m sorry but even as you go through your divorce, as bitter and acrimonious as it is or can be at the time, there are some things that may happen, which you might indeed surprise you, hurt you or just plain “make you have kittens” as my friend June would say. I promise you though, that at some point you will sit down and “LOL” over some of them!
In the meantime however try very, very hard not to take the following personally, not easy it’s true but definitely not impossible:

1. Fleeing Friends: this will, most likely than not, happen and it will hurt but I promise you, you will not only get over it at some point in time but they will be the ones to come seek you out. They did me and I said no thanks. I was a friend in need which was obviously too much for them and that’s ok.

2. Nameunation (Name + Ammunition): I am not one to swear verbally let alone write it out but I think you can guess some of the names that couples call each other when the divorce war is in full swing! If these words are thrown at you during the divorce process just keep in mind that this is war and that’s what happens. I always remember the first time one of my exes called me a pretty insulting word, my first thought was, “Huh? “ I was literally shocked speechless! And all I could give back was, “Wait. What?” To which he quickly replied, “I’m hanging up now.” Sounds so civilised now - I promise you it wasn’t then. It’s a war. It’s a fight and he/she is reacting to a given situation and it just so happens to be you on the receiving end.

3. Threatorics (Threats + Rhetoric): Ridiculous threats that are so obviously pulled straight from the movies. “I’m gonna get you!” “I’m warning you!” “Be very careful, very, very careful.” I remember screaming over the phone to one of my exes, “I’ll see you in court!” I hang up and promptly burst into laughter and saying out loud to myself, “Seriously?”

4. Dwindling Invites:
This is the weirdest thing and I’m not really sure why it happens. Either you get fewer invites out or the ones you get are only there because it’s a blooming children’s party. Dinner parties? Well, remember the Fleeing Friends, they continue having get togethers but somehow the email didn’t get to you, neither did the text, whatsapp, facebook message etc. Again, once you pick yourself up again, the invites will begin to come again, then it will be up to you to say oui or non merci.

5. Ignore anything else that has no bearing in the direction of your life today except to make you feel even more awful about where you are. This includes stuff that people will say about you, things that you will read about being a single mum or dad or anything that is not at all conducive to your well being. Leave it. Don’t analyse, don’t internalise it, just let it come and go like a cloud in the sky does.

6. Breakupinions - other people’s opinions about you and the place you now find yourself. Like it’s often said, “what other people think of you is none of your business.” You cannot change it and really is it that important?

Look if all else fails, make sure you have a fabulous support group of people or a person who knows how to keep you in mind and support you.

Go read some of my blogs they are there to help (

I’ll leave you with this quote by a lady known as Helen Rowland:

“When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they don’t understand one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to."


Thursday, 9 May 2019

It doesn't get easier; the challenges just get bigger

When we're working towards a challenging goal, or dealing with adversity and striving to improve our situation, we can focus on a goal to help direct our efforts. However, the reality is that those goals and target points tend to become mere points through which we end up passing as we move on to bigger and better things. You can read a recent article I wrote on this very subject at In this video I share the thinking behind this process, and how I've seen it exhibited in various aspects of life from career, to fitness, to relationships and beyond. If you have any comments or feedback on this episode you can reach out by email on If you'd like to receive the occasional message from me containing thoughts, information or inspiration related to living a better life after divorce, you can join my mailing list at the following link: Thanks and have a great day! Toby