What's Stopping You Life Coaching - Blog Post

What can We Learn from Louis C.K. about Self-awareness?

I was watching a funny video of Louis C.K. that touched on self-love vs self-awareness and it inspired me to write this blog post.

“Self-love is a good thing but self-awareness is more important.” – Louis C.K.

I covered the importance of self-love in an earlier blog post, and I will have to agree with Louis C.K. that self-awareness is even more important.

I believe self-awareness is the prerequisite to practicing self-love, and allowing you to stay true to yourself. It’s not easy to be authentic and to appreciate yourself if you don’t know who you are.

The more you know about yourself, the better you are at adapting life changes that suit your needs, and the better you can understand how you communicate with others. The more you pay attention to your emotions and how you work, the better you’ll understand why you do the things you do.

Self-awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. It allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment, and improve your communication with others.

It is important because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we are able to experience ourselves as unique and separate individuals. We are then empowered to make changes and to build on our areas of strength as well as identify areas where we would like to make improvements. Self-improvement is impossible without self-awareness.

How do you practice self awareness? Here are some steps that you can take, and let’s start with four small steps.

Set Your Goals
Goal setting can be an overwhelming process and you may not know where to begin. Start by asking yourself the question of where and what do you want to be in 5 years time? What are some of the things that you’d like to achieve? You can use the list of questions in my previous blog post to help you understand what makes you happy.

Write down a list of actions that you will take to help you achieve your top 3 goals and keep a journal to track your progress. Referring to my previous post on Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues, and how he documented and tracked his progress along the way, and also wisely decided not to try to tackle all the 13 virtues at once.

Know Your Personality and Communication Style
Self-awareness can help you understand your personality and communication style, and adjust how you interact with others that you interact or work with. If you can apply this well at work, it will help you recognize your potential and accelerate your career journey.

There are some tools and online psychometrics tests that can help you find out more about yourself. They include the Myers Briggs, Strengths Finder, or Disc.

These are free versions online that you can have easy access to. Of course, they are not as comprehensive as working with a certified practitioner, but it is a good start. The idea is to start the self awareness process by taking small steps.

Slow down to smell the roses. Most of us lead a very busy life and are constantly rushing from one thing or one place to another. We find it hard to find time to slow down to think with clarity. Everyone should try to make meditation a priority. It helps to improve your moment-by-moment awareness. If you bring meditation into your daily life, you will not only become more self-aware, it will also improve your overall health and well-being.

Ask Trusted Friends
We can never be truly aware of how we come across to others. It will be beneficial to find a trusted friend who can provide their honest feedback when you are seeking their objective perspective about you. Encourage this friend to call you out when you are exhibiting a behavior that you already know you want to change so that you can learn to stop. In order to facilitate this, you need to keep an open mind, and provide a safe environment without being defensive.

what's stopping you lifecoaching - blog image

Improve Self-awareness by Perfecting Franklin’s 13 Virtues

I came across Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues, and was inspired to share how they can improve self-awareness. 

Franklin’s amazing success can be attributed to his continuous pursuit for self-improvement. He came up with a list of 13 virtues which he would perfect and strive to live up to.

He also documented and tracked his progress along the way and wisely decided not to try to tackle all of the 13 virtues at once. Instead, he would concentrate on one at a time.

In his biography that he wrote at the age of 79, he said that he never achieved his goal of attaining perfection:

Tho’ I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.”

We should all work on self-improvement by setting goals and having an action plan for each of them. Even if we can’t achieve them all, we will definitely be in a better and happier place than where we started off. What’s stopping you?

Here are the 13 virtues:

Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
Self-discipline is the first and necessary trait to adhere to the other 12 virtues. Temperance calls for one to conquer your primal urges for food and drink. You’ll be in a good position to start making improvements in other areas of your life.

Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
Be a good listener can be harder than you imagine. Listening is not the same as hearing. It’s hard to not let your own thoughts interrupt and you land up not paying full attention to the person speaking. Good listening skills can provide you with a deeper level of understanding about someone’s situation, and improve communication with others!

Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
Organize your life, do not be overwhelmed. If you want to thrive in this world, you must develop order. We all lead busy lives and everything moves towards chaos and disorganization. Fight against the complexity, and strive to achieve more balance in your life.

Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
Promise to put your best foot forward. If you want to succeed in life, you must have the tenacity and determination to complete what you’ve set out to do. Be determine, work hard, and do not give up.

Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
Weed out unnecessary abundance and wastage. We are all guilty of falling prey to the materialistic society that we live in. Do we really need all the things we own or desire to own?

Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
Nothing in life is free. People are always looking for get rich quick schemes that provide them a huge payout with minimum effort. Honest hard work is what that will pay off at the end of the day.

Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
Being honest means choosing not to lie, steal, cheat, or deceive in any way. Avoid gossiping and hurting others as well.

Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
Treat others the way you want to be treated. Be fair, and do not take advantage of others. Strive for fair treatment of all, stand up even for strangers, and confront injustice whenever you see it.

Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
We tend to think that more of everything will give us more satisfaction and a fulfilling life. The truth is sometimes less is more, and everything in moderation can increase your happiness and pleasure.

Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
Developing cleanliness enables the flow of positive energy. It also develops discipline and your attention to detail. Declutter your home, practice self grooming, show up in life positively.

Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
Practice anger management. Stay calm and lead a peaceful live. Meditate to help you be more present and deal with stress and control your emotions.

Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
We live in a society that glamorizes sex. It is probably the virtue that is the least popular these days. The once sacred act has been cheapened and commoditized.

Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
Be humble. Have the quiet confidence to allow your actions to speak for themselves. You don’t have to try too hard or prove anything to anyone, but to yourself.

What's Stopping You Life Coaching - Blog Image

How to Apply Einstein’s 55-5 Quote to Your Career Change?

Are you considering a career change? Do you feel bored, fed-up, lost and unhappy in your job? Do you no longer feel motivated at work and have reached a point where you don’t love what you do anymore and it’s affecting your overall well-being?
Looking for a career change can be a daunting experience. In fact, for many of us, we don’t even know where to begin.

The most important thing when considering a career change is to understand what your passion is and what inspires you.

Taking from what Einstein had said:
“If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution.”

The Einstein 55-5 quote can be applied when you are looking for a career change. You need to dig deep and discover what will make you happy, what will make waking up in the morning a joy and not a chore, and what will help you show up in life in your authentic self.

Some questions that will help you find what truly inspires you.

1) What excites you and makes you happy? And what makes you sad?

2) What comes naturally to you and you find yourself easily spending hours doing without even thinking about the time that has passed?

3) What are the three most important things to you?

4) What are three words that you would use to describe yourself?

5) What have you accomplished that you are most proud of?

6) What are three things that you want to improve about yourself?

7) What saps your energy and wears you out?

8) What makes you feel good about yourself?

After understanding what inspires you and what your true purpose is, you can evaluate if there are any jobs or a path that you can take that matches your values. You can even create a shortlist and look at each one of them in greater detail before coming to a decision.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and the most important thing is to get started on the self-reflection exercise, and take your time to do it. Once you have that clarity, you will naturally find ways and means to make it happen.

A beautiful quote from Deepak Chopra that will inspire you take the first step: “Have a vision of life that inspires you, then try every day to grow closer to the fulfillment of that vision.”

What's Stopping You Life Coaching - Blog

What can we learn from Audrey Hepburn?

It’s Audrey Hepburn’s birthday today. The iconic actress and humanitarian would have been 87 today. To me, she is the epitome of grace and beauty from within.

Here are six of her inspiring quotes that can be good reminders for us to live a fulfilling life.


1) Accept life unconditionally. Do not have any expectations.

“I decided, very early on, just to accept life unconditionally; I never expected it to do anything special for me, yet I seemed to accomplish far more than I had ever hoped. Most of the time it just happened to me without my ever seeking it.”


2) Have fun and laugh more. 

“I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”


3) Seize the day. Do not live to regret.

“Opportunities don’t often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them.”


4) Be in the moment. Be present.

“Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come… The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.”


5) Practice self-love.

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”


6) If you can dream it,  you can do it!

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!”


Happy birthday Audrey!

what's stopping you life coaching - blog

Transform Your To-do List. Make It More Productive.

There is something very gratifying about checking off an item on your to-do list. It gives you a sense of achievement, and sometimes a relief especially if the task is long past due.

Everyone has their preference on what type of to-do list works best for them. Using an app, writing them down in a portable notebook, sticking a list on the fridge, or making a list on a white board.

I personally prefer a paper to-do list for my own tasks. My husband and I use the app Wunderlist on our phones for shared tasks such as grocery shopping, bills and chores for the home so that we know when the other person has taken care of the things on the list.

While making a list can have its advantages and help us feel more in control and less stressed out, it can also be overwhelming if it’s long and we do not know which items to check off first.

The time management tool from Stephen Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is great for helping you prioritize the things you need to do.

In Covey’s time management tool, he labels each task as “important” or “not important”, in combination with “urgent” or “not urgent”. You will land up with four quadrants as per below.

what's stopping you life coaching - blog


Quadrant 1 – Important and Urgent (Action: Manage the Necessity)

These tasks have to be done or there will be negative consequences. It is inevitable that there will be tasks in this quadrant. You don’t want to find yourself spending too much time fire fighting in this quadrant.


Quadrant 2 – Important and Not Urgent (Action: Focus on Personal Goals)

This is the quadrant that you want to invest most of your time. Things in this quadrant are aligned with your goals eg exercising, building a relationship, planning and learning something new. They are things that you want to achieve in the long run and tend to be put off as not urgent.


Quadrant 3 – Not important and Urgent (Action: Avoid the Deception)

This is a quadrant to take note of tasks that are mistaken as urgent and should be moved to quadrant four. For example, constantly checking your emails and social media updates. Sometimes the deadline is imposed by others and there is a deception that the task is urgent. The key is to be able to identify them, and learn to push back or delegate.


Quadrant 4: Not Important and Not Urgent (Action: Limit Escapism)

These are the things that you want to limit as much as possible. They include sitting in front of the TV flipping channels, playing computer games, or surfing the Internet mindlessly on your devices. If you can identify the activities in this quadrant, you will be able to free up time for tasks in quadrant two that align with your goals. It is important to note that this quadrant is also where down time falls into. It is important to strike a balance in allocating most of your time in quadrant two with some spare time for things in this quadrant that allow you to take a break.


Ideally, you will want to work on things in quadrant one (necessity) to get by, while you use remaining time in quadrant two (personal goals), and you will also need a bit of time in quadrant four (escapism) as part of your downtime.

Plan your to-do list according to this matrix before you take action. It will help you to prioritize what’s most important and eliminate deceptive urgent tasks!

what's stopping you life coaching - blog

Are You Feeling Stuck?

We all have experienced the feeling of being stuck in a rut, circled around the same pattern and not knowing how to get out of it to move forward.

It’s what Enstein described as insanity ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’.

More of the same thing isn’t going to give you the breakthrough. At the same time, the whole idea of coming up with any solutions just seems so impossible.

What are some things that you can do to get yourself out of feeling stuck?

For me, the most important thing is to keep moving and step out to do something!

These are the three things that I default to whenever I need a source of inspiration.


Running or Swimming

There is something very therapeutic and calming about running or swimming. The repetitive movement and breathing pattern is a kind of meditation. It has always helped me to feel instantly better and at the end of the exercise, I have a clearer mind which helps me to think of what I can do to help myself move a step forward even if I don’t find the solution immediately.


Visiting a Book Shop

This has always worked for me when I am stuck at work. It could be feeling stuck and not knowing how to solve a problem or just feeling low on energy. I always have a favorite bookshop in every city that I live in that I visit whenever I need some inspiration. I will spend a couple of hours in there browsing, reading and usually leaving with a new book and definitely feeling energized!


Writing It Down 

Find a spot outdoors in the park or in your favorite cafe to write down what you’re experiencing. I find writing down what I’m feeling a great way of identifying the excuses that are stopping me from getting unstuck. It helps me get in touch with my feelings and it’s almost like I’m detaching myself from the barriers. Make a list of what you really want, not what you should do. List down the things that are stopping you from moving forward. You will find that by writing them down, it helps you become connected with what you truly want and with that clarity, the solutions and next steps will naturally come to you. The list of things that are stopping you become obvious excuses that you’re hiding behind and stopping you from moving forward.


It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can start by taking small steps to feel motivated again.

what's stopping you life coaching - blog

The Importance of Self-love

I have a friend who is going through a separation and has been beating herself up, blaming herself for causing pain to everyone in her life, and thinking that she is not a good person as a result of following her gut and making this decision that feels authentic to her.

How often do you find yourself beating yourself up over a situation, or thinking that you are not good enough, or not forgiving yourself for something that you had done or not knowing how to say no in a situation when your boundaries have been crossed?

Self-love is such an important factor to help you grow and move forward in life. Only when you take care of yourself and love who you are, you can give love to others, and will attract love and positivity into your life.

What is self-love? It is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from within, appreciating your weakness, and knowing your strengths, and taking responsibility to take care of your well-being.

There are lots of articles around self-love out there and to me, these are the three key areas to practice.



Forgive Yourself

We all make mistakes and there’s no point beating yourself up. Acknowledge the mistake, learn from it, forgive yourself and truly move on. There’s no point in flogging the dead horse. Say it out loud to yourself ‘I forgive myself for….’!

Forgive Others

Do you have a grudge that you have been holding on to for many years? It causes pain and grief especially when things are tough. Recognize the grudge, put that and all the feelings that are associated with it in a bubble and blow it away. It’s not worth it to carry this baggage that weighs you down.



It’s OK to Say No

Have you ever experienced agreeing to do something out of obligation and instantly regretted it and as a result suffered? Sometimes, it’s necessary to make a sacrifice but it is also important to know when opting out is the best option. You can take your time to evaluate if saying yes is the right thing to do. It is not possible to please everyone. Don’t feel guilty. It is not selfish to say no when it is necessary to take care of your health and well-being.

Avoid Negative People

We all have come across people in our lives that sap energy from us. The friend who only complains and chews your ear off without any interest in how you’re doing or your well-being. People who constantly criticize and undermine you to make them feel better about themselves. Distance yourself from toxic people who are always bringing you down. Spend time around people who support you and make you feel good about yourself.

Let Them Go

We have all experienced finding it hard to get closure and to let go of a failed friendship. You have grown apart, no longer have anything in common or the same values, and the friendship is starting to feel like an obligation. Don’t feel bad. Acknowledge what it has done for you and the fact that it has run its course. It’s time to let go and let it fade out naturally!



Honor Your Body

Build a routine that takes care of your body – exercising, grooming, practicing mindfulness, eating healthy meals, and sleeping well to recharge. Do not make excuses. Prioritize and schedule these activities  into your daily life. It is easier to feel good about yourself when you are feeling healthy and grounded. Maintain a good posture – stand up tall, keep your head high, and smile!

Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin

Accept your weakness and you don’t need others to accept you. Instead, you need to accept yourself.  It doesn’t mean that you have to give up on improving yourself. Realize that you have a lot to offer and make a list of your positive attributes. If you do something that makes you happy, add them to the list. Stop criticizing others. Every time you judge someone, it’s a hidden fear of seeing that attribute in yourself. Do not invite that negativity into your mind.

Start practicing self-love today!

What is Life Coaching?

I’m often asked what life coaching actually is and how is it different from therapy.

As a coach, it’s handy to have an elevator pitch to sum up the differences between coaching and the other practices such as therapy, mentoring, and consultancy.


If you want someone to give you advice on a particular topic, eg how to write your resume, or how to start a small business, you will go to a consultant, someone who has experience and knowledge and is an expert in the field. They provide advice and can deliver the answers for you.


If you are looking for someone who can pass on their skills, knowledge and expertise in the same area of work that you are in, you will look for a mentor. The mentor is usually several years older, with greater experience and seniority and will act as a teacher, adviser and role model. The relationship is often a long term one.


If you are experiencing pain and intense feelings driven by unresolved issues and crisis from the past, you will go to a trained therapist who will be able to explore the root of the problem and offer explanation, and help you heal and grow emotionally.


If you are driven by personal goals and taking action but feel stuck, you will look for a coach who can help you define your goals clearly, and explore solutions and actions that can take you from where you are to where you want to be. The coach will empower you to make positive changes in your life, and provide accountability and support to keep you moving forward.

It is important for people to know the differences and the kind of help that they need, and figure out which strategy is right for them.