Saturday, 17 September 2011

Introducing the Life Circle - who's joining me?

Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz /
What with September being the start of the new school year, parents everywhere start making plans for what they are going to do this year now that their children are back in a daily routine. Personally, I'm taking a long hard look at myself. Why? Because this time last year, I wrote this post. And you know what? I feel pretty ashamed as a lot of those things I haven't really achieved. It's like I've been drifting, for months.

That's not entirely true, as things HAVE changed. I have a client for my business, who is very happy with the work I've been doing and has been gradually giving me more tasks to do. I've also potentially got another client or two who need help which I'm excited about, because I now believe I can make it work for us and it's work that is flexible, allowing me to work from home without needing childcare. I've been able to do lots of things where I'm not just someone's mummy - but then, that's mostly what this blog is about, even if I do blog about my family.

But the rest? I've let it slip. And it has to stop.

What makes it all the more shameful is that I have two qualifications in life coaching and therefore I know how to make progress. I know what to do but I'm not putting into practice. Part of the reason is I'm not answerable to anyone and right now, my budget doesn't stretch to coaching sessions.

When the children were very small, I had an idea about developing group coaching. The idea was to develop coaching for people who couldn't otherwise afford it and at the same time, provide a support network for each other as they go through the process.

Those ideas are still in my head. It's occurred to me that instead of it being low cost, I could do it for now cost via this blog. It's going to be open to anyone to join in, although it will be helpful for you to have a blog to get involved.

I'm calling it The Life Circle. This is because the process of coaching is circular - in a good way. You decide what needs changing, make those changes, and then review, decide what needs changing, and so on. Repeating the process helps you to review your progress. But also, I want this to be a process where people support each other, challenging, encouraging and commenting on each other's posts. One big circle of friends, helping each other along their respective roads.

The Life Circle series will be task based. I will set a task for you to complete and you blog about the results or what you learned from that task. I will then post my results in a separate post and provide a linky for you to add your post, so that others can find it, read and comment. I'm hoping enough people get involved to ensure that everybody who links up gets at least a few comments. The linky will remain open for a week or two to allow people flexibility in completing tasks. Tasks won't be arduous, but they may involve some thought and they may challenge or stretch you. There will also, hopefully, be blog badges.

I'm going to set some ground rules now, so that everyone knows them from the outset. They are more guidelines than anything - if someone has worked on a task, they are welcome to link up.

1. Try to use positive language only when writing posts. If you feel you need to be self-critical (and God knows, most of us are our own worst critics), try to stay objective, specific and ask yourself how you can improve.

2. When leaving a comment on another post, please use constructive criticism if you have to be critical of another person. I will encourage anyone who receives a negative or abusive comment on a Life Circle post to remove the comment, although ultimately, it is your call if you want the comment to stand.

3. Only share what you are comfortable sharing with others. The process can be quite analytical and may cause you to face difficult situations or make tough decisions, which can be quite personal. If you are not comfortable sharing it on your blog, then don't. If you do want to write about personal matters related to a task and get advice from your fellow Life Circlers, I'm prepared to host posts anonymously. (Don't forget that if you want to blog anonymously about issues not related to Life Circle, you can do so via Blognonymous). Alternatively, you can get in touch with me privately to discuss it if you need to. But if you don't want to share it with anyone, don't.

4. The Life Cycle is about changing your life for the better. It's about planning for the future, setting goals and making changes now. It's about the present and the future. What it's not about is dealing with the past because you can't change it. Try to keep issues from your past out of Life Circle posts, and perhaps cover them in other posts. Blogging can be great therapy.

And that's it.

So, if you want to change something, anything about your life, be it large or small, why not get involved? You might be stuck in a rut, you might not even know what it is you want to change about your life yet. If so, don't worry - some of the things we'll do in the coming weeks will help you what it is you need to change and start to set some goals. I cannot promise changes overnight, but every journey - however long - starts with a single step. You'll be taking steps in the right direction and hopefully, all this with the support of other bloggers. Remember - anyone can join in. The more the merrier, in fact. You don't have to be a parent - although becoming a parent is a big change which can lead to people reassessing their lives and the relentless nature of the responsibilities of childcare and parenting can make it hard to turn your dreams into reality - but people at any stage of life, and with any sort of change they want to make will be more than welcome to join in, so please tell your friends about the Life Circle. If nothing else, I want people to join in so I am answerable to someone!

It will work best if you have a blog to allow you to contribute to the Life Circle linky; it doesn't need to be anything fancy, just an online place to share your thoughts. If anyone needs help with setting up a blog, then let me know and I'll do my best to talk you through it.

So, who's up for it? Leave me a comment here if you are so I know I'm not alone please! Ensure you're subscribed to my blog (click on one of the jellybeans top right to subscribe) so you can catch Life Circle posts as soon as they happen. And watch this space.

It could be the best thing you ever did.
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