Saturday 6 December 2008

New Year - New You

It's almost here.

The New Year stretches before us like 365 blank pages of a personal diary.What will be written on those pages by this time next year? Will it be a tale of health, wealth, romance and wondrous prosperity? Or will those pages tell a story of misery, sorrow and sadness?

There's only one thing for sure... whatever is written on those pages will be authored by you and me! Isn't that neat? Just think... each of us is writing our own personal action adventure... and...We Can Make It Come Out Anyway We Want!

The above words were written by Neil Asher on his blog, and don't they just ring true? As we approach the start of a New Year, we all have the opportunity to start afresh, to turn over a new leaf, to be everything we wanted to be. The possibilities are endless, limited only by our own imagination, and self-imposed obstacles.

What is stopping you moving ahead, moving forward, being what you want to be?

What boundaries are you placing in your own way? What patterns of thinking or behaviour are inhibiting you from being your best?

Make that change, and take that first step by contacting EPM Consulting ( for Personal, Executive & Lifestyle Coaching.

Your new life might only be one click away!!!

Monday 17 November 2008

Time Management and Children

Parents face their own challenges in regards to time. Some guidelines may be offered to parents in relation to time management:

A key approach with children is behavioural management. Children are not always inclined to reason and trying to negotiate with reactivity and irrationality can be one of the most time consuming activities of all. It is best to listen, acknowledge what has been said, then to gently insist on and enforce what is needed.

A 'rewards and penalties' system can work wonders. Some parents keep a board on the fridge and on a weekly basis tally up points for good and bad actions. The end score is used to decide on whether rewards are given or privileges are taken away. The key to the whole thing is logic and consistency and it is more effective if the system has been talked through in a family meeting before being instated.

Parents should ensure there is 'family time' each day. This should be a time that everyone looks forward to. Having times that are dedicated to the family might seem to eat into the week significantly. However, this time is important for children to feel wanted and acknowledged and are more likely to keep themselves busy at other times. Also, this can also lessen the time spent handling arguments and tantrums.

Children really do thrive on feeling that they can contribute and delegating tasks to them is something that should be done thoughtfully and with patience. This can boost a child's morale and self esteem.

A behavioural management system should be in place such as when getting ready for school in the morning, being on time for meals and other areas where children can slow the day down.

Parents should speak in a calm, normal voice with eye contact when giving instructions. That way there is 'somewhere to go' when there is a need to change the tone of voice to indicate displeasure. Parents who start off with an angry, escalated tone have nowhere to go, the children become desensitized demoralized because they start to think that their parents are always mad at them.

Some parents have found success with turning off everything electronic in the house if children's behaviour escalates. Some parents tell their children to read and draw or make things, while others are sent out to play. Often, the children immediately calm down and lose themselves in their new activities.

Parenting is a major part of some people's lives and can be successfully addressed as part of a time management process.

Source: Counselling Academy

Wednesday 5 November 2008

7 Ways to Boost your Self Confidence today

Most of us, if we are honest would like to feel more self confident. For some people, it is situation specific, like meeting new people, speaking in public or attending an interview. For others it is all encompassing.

We are not born lacking confidence; lack of confidence is something we learn.
Before looking at practical ways of boosting self confidence, it is useful to know what confidence is. Probably the best definition I’ve come across defines confidence as ‘an internal faith, believe or certainty about our personal powers and abilities to achieve.’ The word comes from the Latin ‘con fidis’ meaning ‘with faith’, doing something with the faith that you can do it.

Here are 7 ways to feel more confident:-

1. Know that being confident is not the same as being comfortable

Most people think they will only feel confident when they are comfortable doing something. This can be true. If you have been working in your job for a few years, you can be confident in your abilities and comfortable dealing with work-related issues. It is perfectly natural to feel uncomfortable or less than certain in unfamiliar situations. Most people feel less than confident when they are doing something they have not done before. The question to ask yourself is ‘how can I get more comfortable with being uncomfortable?’ This is how we expand our comfort zones.

2. Set yourself a confidence building goal

One of the best ways to boost confidence is to decide to take a specific action so that you can earn and deserve the right to be confident. In other words, setting yourself a little test. One of the things I did in the past to boost my self confidence was to ask more questions at talks or meetings I attended. I would try to come up with something logical to ask, but the main reason I was doing it was to build my self confidence. I wanted to be someone who could ask questions. That doesn’t mean my hand wasn’t shaking when I raised it, but I felt good afterwards. Remember that ‘buzz’ we feel after we do something that scared us, is our self confidence growing.

3. Eliminate Comparisons

This is a neat one. If you are in the habit of putting other people on pedestals, ‘I wish I could do that like her!’ or ‘Why can’t I be more like him?’ what you are doing is putting the boot into your own self confidence. It is one thing to admire someone and ask yourself what can I learn from them, it is another to compare yourself to them. The only comparison that is ever valid is between where you feel you are now and your potential. And remember most of the time when we are making comparisons we are comparing what we feel on the inside with what we see on the other person’s outside! We don’t know what the other person is feeling on the inside!

4. Acknowledge your strengths

When we are lacking self confidence we are focussing on what we believe to be our weakness. A great way to boost self confidence is to make a list of your strengths, the things you are good at, your talents, aptitudes, personal qualities etc. Indications of strengths can be things you enjoy doing, or things you have been complimented on. The foundation of Self Confidence is Self Esteem. The best definition of self esteem I’ve come across is ‘the degree to which you like yourself.’ Spending more time at least acknowledging our strengths will boost self esteem.

5. Confidence is a habit.

As humans we are habit forming creatures. In the same way that we have behavioural habits we also have thinking habits. We have habits about how we think about ourselves and what we are capable of and habits about how we think about certain situations. To change a habit we have to consciously do something differently. For example, rather than focussing on the worst outcome, which is what we are doing when we are lacking confidence, how can we view the situation differently? Just for a split second ask yourself ‘what is the best outcome?’ and ‘what is likely to happen?’ rather than just focussing on ‘what is the worst that can happen?’

6. Put on the ‘uniform’ of confidence

When we are confident we tend to walk tall. Our shoulders are back, and our eyes are looking around (instead of looking down when we are nervous.) We tend to breathe more deeply and our body language is open (no folded arms or crossed legs.) The interesting thing is that by purposefully putting on this uniform of confidence you are not only communicating to others that you are confident (though in the short-term you may feel like a fraud) you are also influencing the sort of thoughts you are having. Our thoughts influence our body language, but our body language influences our thoughts as well. To boost self confidence you need to forge a new habit of body language. You are faking it until you make it!

7. Learn to accept compliments

Learning how to accept a compliment is another powerful way of boosting self confidence. Most people don’t know how to accept compliments, they brush them off – ‘Oh this old thing I have it for ages...’ We all receive compliments all the time, but we don’t realise it. Statistics show that by the age of 18 the average teenager will have been praised about 300,000 times. Scarily about 80% of this positive feedback will have been by the age of 3! The average 5 year old is told ‘no’ or don’t do that’ about 60 times a day. Children are not born with a lack of confidence, but by the time we reach adulthood we are so unaccustomed to positive feedback that when we get it we don’t know what to do with it, so we brush it off. See each compliment as a gift (which it is) and as a little building block to self confidence.

Many people drink excessively or take drugs in an attempt to boost their self confidence. But perhaps there are other more effective and long-lasting ways that don’t have the same side effects. Follow the above 7 steps and you will be unlearning the habit of lack of confidence and enhancing the quality of your life along the way.

James Sweetman is the author of Graduate to Success and is a leading authority on Peak Performance. If you are ready to step into your potential, visit

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Processing Information with NLP

The following article has been reproduced from the Life Coaching Institute of Australia ( newsletter LCI Ezine Central.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a popular theory used in coaching. It focuses on how people perceive and make meaning of their world and works with perceptions to help people understand and make changes to the way they perceive their world.

Here we will focus on how we process information to create such perceptions. James & Woodsmall (1988) proposed the following:

"After the external event comes in through our sensory input channels, and before we make an Internal Representation (IR) of the event, we filter the event. We run that event through our internal processing filters. Our internal processing filters are how we delete, distort and generalize the information that comes in through our five senses."

Deletion involves the process of selectively paying attention to specific aspects of an experience (James & Woodsmall, 1988). Through deletion we fail to notice particular sensory information.

For example, Ben's sister is picking him up from a concert. He is looking out intently for her car which he knows is a bright red hatchback. Because he is so focused on seeing a small red car, he fails to hear his sister calling him from a blue sedan (which she had borrowed from a friend).

As you can see from the example, Ben is so focused on the visual aspect of his experience (see a red car) that he fails to notice (or deletes) the auditory aspect of his experience (his sister calling him).

Distortion occurs when we misrepresent the sensory data received. For example, Juanita thought she heard rain falling. She ran out to take her washing off the line only to discover that it wasn't rain at all - it was the sound of the neighbour's air conditioning starting up. This is an example of auditory distortion where Juanita thought she heard one thing when in fact it was something completely different.

Generalisation is the process of making a judgement based on a limited number of experiences and attributing that judgement to a broad array of experiences (James & Woodsmall, 1988).

For example, Tyson and Nicky are looking to rent a new home. They visit their local real estate agent. Tyson feels as though this particular agent is only interested in working with people who are seeking to purchase a home, rather than rent one.

Nicky later overhears Tyson say to a friend, "real estate agents are all the same. They only want your business if you're buying!" As you can see from this example, Tyson has had one experience with one real estate agent and generalises this to all real estate agents.


Filtering of the information occurs before an internal representation of an event is made. James & Woodsmall (1988) list six examples of filters we use to delete, distort and generalise information.

Metaprograms are one type of filter and they are styles of thinking (or mental programs) that operate like filters across many contexts of an individual's life. For example, the metaprogram General vs. Specific characterises whether a person processes information by focusing on the details or on the broader picture.

Other metaprograms include: Frame of Reference (external vs. internal, or in other words, whether you assess your performance based on your own internal standards or through the feedback you receive from others) and Option vs. Procedures (also described as whether you like to look for new ways of doing things or prefer to stick with established procedures).

Sub Modalities

Sub modalities are the descriptive qualities that are directly linked to a sensory channel. For example - linked to the visual sensory channel are the sub modalities of colour, size, shape and distance.

This means that when I look at something I can assess it based on these features. Alternatively, when I hear something, I can assess its volume and tone. Therefore, volume and tone are examples of sub modalities of the auditory channel.


James, T., & Woodsmall, W. (1988). Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality. Capitola: Meta Publications

Friday 8 August 2008

Prosperity Day

With ‘credit crunch’ and ‘recession’ by far the most talked about topics on TV and in our newspapers, people can be forgiven for spiralling into a somewhat negative and destructive state of doom and gloom. Yes, of course the country and indeed the whole world face problems and challenges, many of which are new to us. However, is it really all that bad; or shouldn’t we try a little positive thinking and reflect on successes and the positives rather than dwell on the bad?

In doing so we could very well surprise ourselves how powerful positive thinking is and how it can play an important part in reversing the current mood of negativity. This Friday, the 8th day in the 8th month in the 8th year presents us with a rare and unique opportunity to do just that.
The number 8 is most auspicious for success whether it is in relationships, family, health or in business. Therefore this ‘triple 8 for prosperity’ day which comes only once in a hundred years is very special indeed. So unique in fact that celebrated and highly respected positive energy specialist Dr Silvia Hartmann, PhD has named the day The World SUCCESS Day, the first day for the whole world to celebrate success and prosperity.

Dr Hartmann, who is also chair-person of The Association of Meridian Therapies ( explains, "I thought, right, let's do something. Let's catch on to that auspicious breeze that’s existing there AND TURN OUR FORTUNES AROUND, set our fortunes in the opposite direction where this endless negativity is leading the way to doom, gloom, meltdown and disaster, namely towards success, enjoyment, personal triumph over adversity, and having a damn good time whilst you're at it!"

The date itself is a completely clear date in everyone’s calendar. There are no religious festivals or other holds on this date in the diary so everyone can join in. It is a totally fresh date for people everywhere wishing to live well and experience the good things in life joy, reward and personal triumph.

You can join in The World SUCCESS Day wherever you are and it doesn’t matter if you celebrate on your own, with friends or family, or at work with your business colleagues – the key to everything is positive energy and positive focus to bring about a bright future.
Dr Hartman outlines how to get involved on the day and what to do.

At any time on Friday, 08.08.08 take a few moments. Get yourself some champagne or some sparkling water and a nice glass. Fill the glass and get ready for a simple 3 step process which starts with:

Celebrating Past Successes
Take a moment to reflect on all the success you have had in your life,
all the things you are good at, really focus on your strengths, on your good points.
Congratulate yourself for having made it this far and when you have a real sense
of what it has taken for you to come here and be who you are today, toast yourself
and your achievements.
Take a drink.

Celebrating The Gifts Of The Present

Now, take a moment to think about your present reality -
all the good things you already have in your life, successful things,
relationships, achievements, favourite objects or other blessings
such as health and a good brain, for example. Breathe deeply as you do that
and allow yourself to be surprised by the sheer quantity of your blessings
in the now.
Enjoy this - and take a drink.

Creating Success For The Future
Now take a moment to reflect on your future goals, those things you want in life,
the successes still to come and really allow yourself to focus strongly on what
you want to achieve.
When you have a really charged feeling about your future success, and you are
clear about what you want in your life, raise your glass up high and say,
"A toast to my success!"
And now, empty the glass completely.

That’s it!

It is a well know fact that positive thinking can be an extremely powerful and effective tool in our business and personal lives. For many people this small but important exercise on Friday will be the first time to discover for themselves that change really is possible when we think positively. The more people there are joining in the celebrations on Friday the more positivity will be spread around for ourselves and for each other, and make our world a nicer place to live. Just try it and see!


Tuesday 13 May 2008


3 Fears, 3 Solutions
There are three basic fears that all of us experience from time to time:
Fear of Failure, Fear of Rejection and Fear of the Unknown.

Yes, there are other fears we encounter, but these three are the ones that have the greatest tendency to affect our day to day decisions, and our ability and desire to achieve our goals. Here are some very simple approaches to consider in addressing these fears.

Fear of Failure
Adopt the attitude that there is no such thing as failure. There is only learning. Maybe the goal is too big and unrealistic as it is now. Is there something smaller you could work on first that is "less risky?" In many cases, the "failure" comes from a skills shortage. So, what can you learn how to do, or to better, that reduces the risk? Sometimes we feel we'll "fail" if we have to do the task on our own. Who could you ask to get involved with to accomplish the task with a greater result and less fear? If something doesn't work, try something else. You always have this choice, so "failure" doesn't have to be permanent. Has there ever been a time when you were successful? What made you successful then and can you apply it now? If you haven't succeeded at something before, what have you learnt from it that you can apply to now?

Fear of Rejection
We often focus on the thing the other person is saying "no" to. What are they saying "yes" to? What would be different if you were focused on both what you want and what the other person wants versus just being focused on what you want? Just because someone said "no" to you doesn't mean you don't have value. It's not necessarily about you. There is something to learn from every situation. What could you learn from a "no" answer? Are you really ready for a "yes" response? If you're not ready for it, you might actually attract the "no" response. You always have a choice of attitude. If you choose the negative outcome attitude, you'll attract exactly that. Remember the strengths and value of you, or of the proposition, and focus on that positive. That will attract a far more positive response.

Fear of the Unknown
There are some things you're never going to be able to know about (like the future) in advance, so stop trying. If there's information you need, what can (and will) you do about getting it? Are you trying to make a decision based on an assumption? Remember that assumptions are not facts. Do you trust your intuition? Our intuition is typically right on the mark. Even if the outcome isn't what you want, there's always something to learn from it. Learn the unknown, even if after the fact. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith. Are you willing to simply believe? If you don't try anything, you won't move at all. Taking even little steps helps you learn the unknown, so you can take a bigger step next time. What little step can you take now?

Author: Noel Posus
Adopted from CoachingIQ website

Sunday 20 April 2008


Coaching is a structured, focused, interactive process designed to unlock potential and maximise performance in people, at both an individual and organisational level. The word coach is derived from early methods of travel e.g. stage coach, and literally means to transport someone from one place to another (Starr, 2003)[i]. This process of transition from where the client is now, to where they wish to be and the capacity to devise an appropriate action plan to get there – ‘with as little effort and as much fun as possible’ (Blanchard & Homan, 2004)[ii] - is fundamental to the coaching process, and journey.

The basis of Personal & Executive Coaching is that people are creative and resourceful, and have the capacity to overcome the challenges confronting them in their personal and professional lives. Coaching releases this potential through effective questioning, constructive challenging and action orientated goal setting, in collaboration with the client(s). The overall objective is to assist individuals identify and overcome barriers to progress, to make more effective decisions, and enhance their performance now and into the future.

[i] Starr, J (2003) The Coaching Manual: The definitive guide to the process, principles and skills of personal Coaching. Pearson Education Ltd Harlow

[ii] Blanchard, S & Homan, M (2004) Leverage Your Best: Ditch the Rest. Coaching Secrets for Life and Work Capstone Publishing Ltd Chichester

At EPM Consulting, our objective is to work with resourceful and succesful people to optimise their potential and effectiveness, in both a personal and business context. We specialise in Career Coaching, which can be delivered one to one in person, or by telephone.

Interested . . why not contact us today to discuss how you can Be your Best!

Friday 4 January 2008

What do you want in 2008?

It is now the first week-end of 2008, and perhaps an opportunity to finally find some space to review and clarify your plans / objectives / goals for 2008. We all - unconsciously at least - have dreams, aspirations and a wish list for the year ahead, even if we haven't yet articulated them, or admitted them consciously. However, as the noted life coach Henry Kimsey-House stated "wishes without goals are just dreams".

To help you get started, I have included below an article by Jack Cranfield.

Decide What You Want by Jack Canfield
In order to get what you want, you must first decide what you want. Most people really foul up at this crucial first step because they simply can't see how it's possible to get what they want -- so they don't even let themselves want it.

Don't sabotage yourself that way!

What scientists now know about how the brain works is that you must first decide WHAT you want, before your brain can figure out HOW to get it. Once you lock-in your desires, your mind and the universe can step in.

Are you ready to get started?

Be Willing to Dream BIG Dreams.
As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You'll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, they compel others to want to play big, too.

Set Goals That Will Stretch You
Another value in giving yourself permission to go after the big dreams is that big dreams require you to grow in order to achieve them. In fact, in the long run, that is the greatest benefit you will receive from pursuing your dreams -- not so much the outer trappings of fulfilling the dream (an expensive car, impressive house, loads of money and philanthropic opportunities), but who you become in the process.
As I've seen many times over, the outer symbols of success can all be easily lost. Houses burn down, companies go bankrupt, relationships end, cars get old, bodies age and fame wanes, but who you are, what you have learned, and the new skills you have developed never go away. These are the true prizes of success. Motivational philosopher, Jim Rohn advises that "You should set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming."

Service to Others
Something else you'll discover is that when your dreams include service to others -- accomplishing something that contributes to others -- it also accelerates the accomplishment of that goal. People want to be part of something that contributes and makes a difference.

Turn Your Dreams into Goals and Objectives
Once you are clear about what you want, you must turn each item into a measurable objective. By measurable, I mean measurable in space and time -- how much and by when. For instance, if you were to tell me that you wanted more money, I might pull out a dollar and give it to you, but you would probably protest, saying "No, I meant a lot more money -- like $20,000!" Well, how am I supposed to know unless you tell me? Similarly, your boss, your friends, your spouse, your brain -- God, the Universe -- can't figure out what you want unless you tell them specifically what it is. What do you want -- exactly -- and when do you want it by?

Write Your Goals Down
Write your goals down in detail, and read your list of goals every day. This will keep your subconscious mind focused on what you want. For an even more powerful approach, close your eyes and focus on each goal and ask yourself, "What is one thing I could do today to move toward the achievement of this goal?" Write down your answers and take those actions.

I recommend writing down a minimum of 3 goals in each of the following 7 areas:
1. Financial Goals
2. Career/Business Goals
3. Free Time/Family Time
4. Health/Appearance Goals
5. Relationship Goals
6. Personal Growth
7. Making a Difference

To help your reticular activating system begin finding YOUR wants in unexpected places, take time now to decide what you want and start writing!