Today I bring you an interview with happiness coach Nicola Arnold. Nicola has overcome her own insecurities and vulnerabilities to enhance her wellbeing. She now helps others to do the same in her work, her business and her community work.

Coach

Please tell us a little about your childhood and teenage years.

I had a very happy childhood in terms of being supported to chase my dreams, try out hobbies and explore what career I wanted. However I never really felt I fitted in at school. I was bullied at secondary school and despite having a small group of friends couldn’t bring myself to confide in them, often finding it easier to conform to the fashion and music choices of others even though it didn’t sit comfortably with me.

What was your first job/career?

I knew from an early age that I wanted to work within the pharmacy field and was passionate about helping others. I started training as a pharmacy technician when I was 17 and still remain within this profession for my day job now.

I am the Pharmacy Education and Development Manager for an NHS Trust. I am responsible for the strategic planning and governance of education and training of all pharmacy staff, and have implemented an internal coaching programme.

I pride myself on the holistic approach I apply, to harness and empower individuals to strive for excellence, maximizing their potential and supporting the wider values of the organisation.

I am also a registered coach with the NHS Kent, Surrey and Sussex Leadership Collaborative supporting the growth of managers and leaders within the NHS.

What led you to doing what you do now? What is that and what does it entail?

I have always had a keen passion in developing the potential in individuals. Four years ago I embarked on learning more about coaching so I could use it at work. I enjoyed the initial course so much that I personally financed further training to certification level and again last November achieved my Professional Certified Coach Status (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Achieving credentials through ICF signifies a coach’s commitment to integrity, understanding and mastery of coaching skills and dedication to clients. Reaching PCC status is a fantastic milestone which demonstrates I have completed over 500 coaching hours.

In order to finance my qualifications I started my own coaching business ‘Enkindle’ which means to ‘make luminous and glowing’ and captures the essence of what I believe. It’s about putting yourself first, discovering your true potential and self-purpose and enabling you to stand tall. As a coach I illuminate the path of possibilities for individuals ready to overcome self-doubt and connect with their real values. I nurture and champion them to connect with their inner confidence and stand in their own spotlight to feel happy in their own skin. I’m a huge gratitude champion and I regularly write for Thrive Global on self worth, wellbeing, gratitude and positive mindsets.

In 2016 I launched the Happy to be ME hub, an online community where people can share what’s made them smile and how they have connected with gratitude. It has fostered a culture where everyone supports and champions each other to be their authentic selves and be happy to be in their own skin. At the end of last year I was shortlisted for an ‘exceptional service award’ for my work in creating the hub.

Have you experienced self-doubt yourself?

My own coaching journey is marked with a sense of achievement as I realized how much I had grown as a person. I uncovered insecurities and vulnerability lifting them to the surface so I could face the demons I had carried along with me for such a long time. We’ve all been there right? Overcome by feelings of self doubt, a lack of confidence to believe in ourselves and what we’re really capable of. I know – that sounds so easy doesn’t it? Just ‘let it go’ and move on. If only life was that simple – or is it? You see everything we do in life is about ‘choice’. Choice to feel fulfilled, living our lives on purpose.

What I’ve learnt is that self-doubt is also a choice – we can either choose to wallow in these feelings or let them go. My friends commenting how much I had blossomed, even wearing colour – a big thing for me. Black had always been my colour, I felt safe in it and blended into the background. I found myself starting to connect more with people and I could walk down the corridor looking around rather than with my eyes focused on the ground. I felt confident. It was quite a transition. I’ve realised that for a long time I was holding back doing the things I wanted to do for fear of them not being enough – when I let go of the comparison gremlin in my head I realised that I was an individual – I could run my business my way, create my own brand and not worry about following what others were doing or the milestones they had reached. When I let go of this I started to enjoy and embrace my own journey – it felt quite empowering.

 

What first baby step would you advise for a woman who is wracked with lack of self-worth?

Ask yourself ‘what’s the truth in the story you are telling yourself?’ So often we allow the negative committee inside our heads to take over and fuel our fears. What would it be like to give yourself permission to really explore what’s going on and consider the choices you really want to make? So I invite you to start 2018 with choice, self love and courage. (Oh and join my Happy to be ME hub along the way so you realise that there is a whole support network out there and you are certainly not alone in feeling this way).

If you could recommend one book to a woman what would it be and why?

Brene Brown’s – The gifts of imperfection – it changed my life! I know that sounds such a bold statement and yet for me it was the first time I gave myself permission to be really honest about who I was and what I really wanted in life.

What daily practice do you engage in that helps you?

Saying and connecting with a positive affirmation every morning. I set my intentions for the day and the mind set I want to be with.

Research suggests that even just 2 minutes a day spent in a positive state can make a difference to our longer term happiness – which supports our mental and physical wellbeing.

I’ve just started a 40 day positive affirmation challenge in my hub. For many people Lent is a time where people give something up for 40 days – I’d love to flip that around and consider what would it be like to ditch negative speak and encourage you all to say out loud a positive affirmation each day for 40 days. Each day a new affirmation will be posted in the hub for you to say out loud and write down – there is much to be said for connecting with what you want from the day.

Please tell us about any volunteering or charity work you do.

Volunteering and supporting charities is an important part of who I am. As a Brownie guider, having received my 20 year service award in 2016, I’m no stranger to hard work, dedication and putting in the hours. For me it’s about making a positive impact on other people’s lives and encouraging community spirit.

In 2016 I completed the Action for Happiness (AfH) ‘Explore what matters’ course and found it gave me new perspectives, time for myself and a new outlook on life. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I am currently running my fourth course as a volunteer course facilitator on behalf of AfH running a course in Farnborough, Hampshire.

In September 2016 along with some of the graduates from the course, we launched the Hampshire Happiness Hub to create a longer lasting impact on the community. It provides those that have attended the course an opportunity to continue their mind set work and meet up with likeminded people to support each other.

So far we have held four stand alone evenings to build up the Hampshire Hub community. These have focussed on channelling gratitude, introducing mindfulness, building resilience and building a kinder society. The community is growing by the month and other members are now contributing to the evenings which really strengthens the bond of the forty strong group.

Who has supported you to live positively?

I am very lucky to be supported by a very understanding husband who sees how happy my work makes me – especially with the long hours I can sometimes work. Alongside my family and friends they all champion and encourage me to strive to chase my dreams. Right from an early age my grandparents instilled a fantastic energising work ethic in me to be the best I could be – they have been a huge inspiration for me.

Who is your role model?

Brene Brown is a huge hero of mine. Her work on vulnerability and courage speaks to my heart and has helped shape the person I am today. It’s amazing how self doubt can have such a hold on us isn’t it? It makes us feel low or worthless, like we’re under achieving and just stuck. What I have learnt is that ultimately thoughts are not facts! I’ve learnt how to shrink and mute my self-doubt gremlins and channel my confidence. Now I listen to my inner champion instead. The stronger me who is capable of everything I want and more.  

What are your plans for the future?

A key element of my face to face workshops and speaking events involves the promise box challenge. I invite participants to sign up to a one month promise to do something for them e.g. channel self care and compassion. To date over 450 people have signed up to the challenge. The promise box has travelled around the UK: The cities of London and Birmingham; The counties of Berkshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey. I would love to extend this and take it on an extended tour up and down the country. My dream would be to speak at a TedX event about my promise box work too.

I would also love to be invited into schools to talk to children about self worth and resilience – the earlier we can learn these life skills, the sooner we will build communities who support each other rather than compare.

For me comparison breeds a society where material objects are still markers for success. If we don’t act now to counteract the isolation that the constant craving to compete with each other has manifested, we risk expanding the already increasing gap that is more and more apparent in communities. It’s time to take responsibility for our behaviours and model a culture of connection and compassion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy
My Random Musings

LOTD are an up-and-coming Manchester-based fashion brand. I had not heard of them before but I am so glad that I have now.

They offered to help me work on my style and let’s fact it I need all the assistance I can get on that front. It is so easy to live in scruffs when working from home and living in the countryside. However, I do know that making that bit of an extra effort on the fashion front really can make you feel so much better about yourself.

Fashion Brand

The very first thing to catch my eye were some red boots with buckles and lots of detailing. I loved the embellishment and the practical nature of the low heel.

Of course once I had gone bright with the boots I was on a roll and my next choice was a silver biker jacket. I do love a biker jacket as I think they always are fashionable and turn heads especially if in a vibrant colour.

That’s not me by the way. Suffice to say that even the extra large was a little tight so my daughter whipped it away from me very quickly. I have to admit she looks amazing in it.

Moving on, I needed something amazing to go with those boots and chose some trousers with a split knee. I have always fancied distressed jeans and have never had the courage to wear them. These are a nice compromise for the larger lady I think although they would suit smaller figures too.

I think you will be surprised by the prices paid for these items. The boots were just a tenner and the silver jacket came in at 20 pounds. The leggings were only ten pounds too. This is really great style at super value prices and so easy to order online.

LOTD connect with girls and women alike who want to feel good in what they are wearing so I know I will be buying from them for both myself and my teenage daughter. Apparently LOTD have hundreds of new clothes featured every week so if I was you I would be checking them out regularly.

As for the red boots, they are super comfortable and I get comments on them when I am out and about.

 

 

We're going on an adventure

clairejustine
Post Comment Love

Are you experiencing debt problems? Perhaps you are scared every time the postman comes with letters demanding payments or you might have suffered the shame of doorstep collectors and bailiffs.

Causes of debt problems

Most debt problems come about not through over-spending as such but rather through an unexpected change of circumstances whether that be a job loss, a new baby or illness. There should not be a stigma around money troubles but unfortunately there is. This means people don’t talk about things with others so everyone thinks they are the only ones leading to feelings of isolation and despair.

Personal experiences of debt

I first got out of my depth as a student at a time when credit was too readily available in my opinion and to youngsters who had no financial education to guide them.

I got my issues sorted out with the help of Citizens Advice and later became a money advice officer with them first as a volunteer and then on a paid basis.

Money advice

Usually, we would help individuals and families to work out how much was coming in and how much they were spending. We would look at methods for increasing income and curtailing unnecessary expenditure. Then we would make pro-rata offers to their creditors after sorting out priority debts such as housing costs and fuel bills.

The issue with some of these plans was that they could go on for many months or years. It can be difficult to keep going  when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements

There are other options available to tackle debt problems such as IVA’s where you can be debt free in 6 years and as much as 75% of what you owecan be written off. Of course, every way of dealing with debt has its advantages and disadvantages so you do need to consider things carefully including the pros and cons of IVA and whether they suit your individual circumstances.

 

This is a collaborative post with https://www.talkaboutdebt.co.uk

 

 

The Pramshed
My Random Musings

Have you ever sent a love letter or perhaps you have received one? Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day so I am using that as a neat little hook so that we can all feel the love but in a bit of a different way.

Love Letter

So as ever, we would love you to link up any post about how you are making you life more positive.

If you really want to go for it and take up my challenge, it would melt my heart if you could link up a love letter to yourself. I know this will be difficult to tackle for some readers but I also think it is a really worthwhile exercise to do. Write it in a way you see fit – some of you may want do a poem and of course prose is wonderful too.

Just in case you need a little help to get you started, try these questions.

1. What physical feature of yours is particularly attractive?
2. What qualities and personality traits make you loveable?
3. What skills do you have that you are really proud of?
4. What challenge have you overcome in the most inspiring way?
5. What gets in the way of you loving yourself as much as you should?

If you blog about how you are improving your life one baby step at a time, please link up with us. You don’t have to answer the questions or even think about them so long as you have a post about positive life change, you are welcome to the Best Boot Forward linky.

BESTBOOTFORWARD LINKY RULES:

1. Add a backlink to this post using #bestbootforward and fear not, our badge is coming soon!

2. Please comment on this post and the one from Chloe at Indigo Wilderness and at least one other. Obviously the more you comment, the better and it is a super way to get to know other people and to interest them in your blog.

3. Link as many posts as you like so long as they are about you moving your life forward positively in some way.

4. The linky is open for a week so there is plenty of time to link up.

5. Tag myself @kateonthinice and Chloe at @IndigoChlo on Twitter for a Retweet with #Bestbootforward

Link up below and we would LOVE to have you!


Is it time for a change in your life? Are you eager to make both small and large improvements to who you are? You might think that this is going to be a strenuous and difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some easy ways that you can build a brighter you without thinking about it too much or over stressing about what it could mean.

brighter

Go Exploring

Learn A New Language

Learning a new language is a great way to better yourself for a variety of reasons. First, it will allow you to communicate and interact with new cultures and people. Second, it will make you a more useful figure in the society of a world where each country is quickly becoming a melting pot of different cultures and languages. Third, it is a fantastic way to expand your knowledge and, surprisingly enough it can be quite easy, particularly when you are young. When you’re young, your mind is like a sponge, and all it takes to learn a new language is for you to be around it. So, if you want to learn French, you may want to consider spending a few months over in Paris. Of course, if you don’t have time to travel, you can also think about simply picking up an audio CD or downloading an MP3. Believe it or not, a lot of people find that it is possible to learn a new language this way in just a matter of months.

Kick A Bad Habit

Do you have a monkey on your back? Perhaps it’s time to shake it off and improve various aspects of your life all at the same time. The problem with a bad habit is that it doesn’t just impact one aspect of your world, it causes several issues. Take drinking as an example. When you drink, you are not just hurting your body or more specifically, your liver. You are affecting your mind, and as an alcohol addiction becomes more severe, the impact on the mind grows increasingly worse. Eventually, you will reach the point where you feel like a completely different person, and that’s just the beginning. Even a small dependency on alcohol can have a dramatic effect on your bank balance and your social life. You might think that quitting the addiction is the greatest issue here. But actually, it’s alcohol recovery that is your greatest problem. That’s why if you are tackling a major bad habit like this, you should seek out help, guidance and support.

Write A List

What list are we talking about here? It could be anything from a list of goals that you have set for yourself to a list of places that you’d like to visit one day. By putting information like this in a list, you are sending the message to yourself that one day you would like to make it happen. Just the action of writing down the words will make the result far more likely to occur.

We hope that you take this advice on board and use it to improve yourself in easy ways that will have a massive impact.

 

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