Have you ever noticed how much you put other people first?
In fact, if you wrote a list of the ten most important people in your life, would you even be on there?
When I have done this as an exercise in my workshops, you'd be surprised at how many people put the neighbour's dog before themselves!
It's common for me to be approached by adults at the end of a talk asking how they can help their under confident daughter/son. Parents want the best for their children and they don't always like my response to their question - 'How can you help your child? By learning and developing authentic confidence in yourself.' What better way to lead than by example?
This exact scenario happened a number of years back when I met Hilary. Hilary recently shared her story with me after she had seen me in action at a school event in York.
"Jules engaged and amazed the children and they went away with some clear messages about how their body and minds can be changed by themselves".
Hilary had wanted to get some help for her daughter who was struggling with children picking on her at school.
"I asked Jules about how to help my daughter and she suggested that I could learn the techniques myself and by practicing them, both my daughters would be immersed at home and learn from me. I wasn't so sure I needed the help. I knew I lacked confidence and yet hadn't expected anything to help me, so I hadn't thought I needed coaching"
It is interesting how many of us adults shrug our shoulders and just think 'oh well, that's just how I am, but hopefully I can help my child to do better'. But how can we teach them something we don't really know for ourselves?
Hilary could see the benefits of learning the tools for herself, and although the initial focus for her was coming to grips with her life — long term relationship ending, two daughters under ten years old, new relationship starting, career personally unsatisfying — she wanted to make sure that picked up one tool in each session that she could take away and learn for herself, and then start using with her daughters. The rule being that she always had always had to start with herself!
Hilary had no experience of coaching.
"I had been through three or more periods of NHS counselling with mental health nurses and I made it clear on the first day with Jules that I don't like going over my past and picking over old problems. They stirred the water and I felt horrible afterwards. I was delighted Jules said she wasn't going to do that. She wanted to look at how to live from this moment on. That was massive for me. That was exactly what I wanted. She was going to teach me techniques to use to help when I felt crap and shaky. It made me so happy that someone, at last, was going to help me from this moment on rather than just talking about horrible things."
Hilary developed a huge list of tools from coaching that she still uses to this day (and shares with others too!)
Here are a few that she found the most beneficial:
1. Ask five people to write ten things they love about you
"This was amazing. It was painful to hear how much people loved me. I couldn't do it without reciprocating. I loved the list and I still go back to the lists in my head to remember what I am good at"
2. Get a beautiful notebook and beautiful pens.
Write what comes in to your head. Do this regularly.
3. Golden moments
At the end of the day, take 5 minutes to write down your golden moments—what you have achieved, what you enjoyed, when you received compliments, etc. (This popular exercise (and many others) feature in Jules' book, "If We can, You Can" available on Amazon)
"I still use the checking over my day sometimes when I feel crap or blue or beating myself up for not achieving enough"
Re-focus your thoughts
"This was (and is) particularly good when a panic feeling starts in my chest and tries to nestle in my brain. Even the return of the annoying voice saying 'how can you be successful, its only you?' can be quieted with a loving reply to the child I was, and then refocusing"
5. Physically changing how I hold my body and posture.
Standing up straight. Smile. Pull your shoulders back and relax them.
EFT helped for a long time.
7. Changing your script
"I do this almost daily. Its not such a problem that it used to be. I inherited so much from my parents' expectations and own scripts and to be given permission — or even the idea that I did not have to go along with that tripe — was hugely releasing and helped me to develop into the amazing, grateful and satisfied person that I am"
A tool only has value when it is used. Hilary, and her daughters, have reaped the benefits of the tools because they use them!
What I find amazing about Hilary and her coaching journey is that it started out being about her daughters, and yet she quickly realised that she could do something for herself. As we continued through the sessions, she actively decided to 'get direction for my life — personally and career wise'.
"There was that memorable day when I ranted about work. I hated it and felt so under appreciated and under used. I couldn't believe Jules suggested I had filled my cup to overflowing and got as much as I could out of that job. Then there was the thought of handing in my notice and writing an ideal job description — lunatic idea! How the heck could I do that? Irresponsible etc! But I did it and yes, the right job popped up in the paper and it was incredible — truly incredible — to me."
The more that Hilary focused in on what she wanted and actively looked for ways to achieve it, the more that life started to fall into place. She found the perfect job that gave her the space to get married and travel to Africa for a while with her family. Things that she thought would not be possible when she was locked into the life is hard mindset.
"To this day I am surprised at how much I have achieved with my life. Coaching doesn't pick over the past and for me that is a major plus. Coaching is about what is now rather than what was then. Coaching is about writing your now and writing your future. It has given me permission to forgive myself and others for my past as I am not dwelling on it any more. Coaching has given me focus on now and joy for the future. Coaching has helped me realise I am able to do stuff."
And do stuff she has!
What has changed since Hilary and I first met?
Gosh, even from my perspective, I am not sure where to start. In a nutshell, she and her husband along with their combined families decided to take a leap of faith and brought a large run down property in Upstate New York, An Old Grist Mill. It needed a great deal of work, the majority of which, Hilary has organised and even done herself. She has taken this run-down place and turned it into a beautiful campground and wedding venue and it is stunning! I know because I had the great fortune to be able to visit in 2014 and stay in one of her amazing yurts!
Hilary has grown from a constantly self-doubting lady to a business power house. She if full of ideas as to what is possible next for herself, the business and her amazing daughters — because they HAVE learnt from watching mum grow!
"Even when I do get doubts or down on myself (cos it does happen!), I use the things I took away from coaching to refocus my thoughts — and it works every time!"
I wanted to share Hilary's story with you because she is an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things. And her whole life transformation has come from her decision to put herself first to help her daughters.
I just wonder what would be possible for you too, when you help yourself first in order to help others?
To find out more about Hilary Oreschnick and The Old Gristmill, visit gristmillcamp.com