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How do you define success?

Being ‘successful’ is one of the most important things people aspire to. Except if you ask what it means to be successful to ten different people you will get ten different answers. A lot of people think success is having money in the bank and a Lamborghini in the parking space out front. I  have a lot of clients who talk to me and say that is what they envision success to be, without thinking about what success would mean for them. It’s too often that people forget that happiness comes from within, not from the things you have on the outside.

People often define their success by how they compare themselves to others, who has a bigger house, who has a nicer car, who has the designer clothes and the list can go on. Especially with the rise of social media in the past decade this phenomenon of excessive comparison seems to be a trend that is not going away any time soon.

The difficulty with this ‘comparison success’ is it digs away at the unique individuality each and every one of us have. We are all our own person and that means that success is going to be different for everyone. Trying to copy and paste someone else’s success into your life is not going to bring you happiness. I have spoken to some very wealthy people and one of the most common things they say is money doesn’t buy happiness. You should not attach material items to your success or happiness because those things come from within.

You need to define success on your own terms. The advice that I like to give people is if you can look at yourself in the mirror and say you’re genuinely happy and have an inner peace, that is success. It really doesn’t matter how much money you earn, what matters is that you are happy and the people that you love are happy. That can mean being a multi-millionaire or just providing a happy healthy life for you loved ones, no matter the size of your goals, just reaching them is an accomplishment in its own.

Success is different for everyone, but most importantly, it’s what makes YOU happy. Being able to wake up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror with acceptance and an inner peace is really what success should be. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and focus on what is going to make us happy. Dedicating time to your self improvement and reaching your goals, no matter how big or small is successful!  So how about we stop looking to others to define ourselves and start looking to create our own success. Write a list today of 5 things that you believe make you successful which have nothing to do with anything outside of yourself.

If you want to find out more about how I can help you live a happier and healthier life then book a FREE consultation with me today!


How writing helps to overcome negative thoughts

Being stuck in a negative place is something I help people with on a daily basis. It is something that is far more common than most people think, so if you’re feeling this way don’t worry, I can tell you from my years of experience that you are most definitely not alone.

Lots of people are caught in a negative loop, constantly thinking negative thoughts and struggle to see a way out. With all the additional stresses of the modern world, it can really drag people down, where they feel as though they are in a rut and their mind always goes to negative thoughts first.

The best piece of advice I can give people when they feel like they have the blues is to write it out. Now this may sound a little strange but trust me, I find this a very effective message in dealing with these feelings. I always suggest that you should keep a little notepad and pen on you so you can record whenever you get into a negative headspace; or if you feel that a notebook isn’t your style, you can use the memo app on your phone and write it in there. The main point is just to recognise when you are feeling down and write it out.

The benefit to writing down when you feel negative is that eventually you will become aware and conscious of your negativity. One of the biggest problems is when people don’t even recognise what makes them upset, they just get caught up in the emotion and give in to the negativity. Writing down what thoughts you have which are negative and when it happens can help you get on top of controlling your mind. Being able to recognise when and what gets you down can help you better understand how to avoid slipping into that mode of thinking.

Being more aware of your thoughts can really help set your mind right and re enforce a more positive mindset. Remember though, this is not an overnight process, it will take time to fully change how you think, that is why consistency is very important. Having someone there with you who knows what you are going through can be a big help. That is why if you feel as though this negative mode of thinking is just taking too much of a toll on your mental health reach out and contact me, there is no need to fight it alone.  

Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. It has certainly helped all my clients and students turn their own life around so if you want to find out more about what I can do for you, book a FREE consultation with me.


The ‘Perfect’ Body Doesn’t Exist

First and foremost I want to say that the perfect body does not exist. One of my favourite quotes is from Cindy Crawford saying, “Not even I wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.” Having trouble looking at yourself in the mirror is a very common problem for people, especially for young women, and is becoming a really big problem in our society that needs to be addressed.

Society

One of the main things I tell people when they come to see me with body image problems is that the image society holds up as ‘perfect’ is not actually real. Most models in magazines and billboards are edited to make them look slimmer and have perfectly smooth skin. It’s important to remember that you only think that this is the perfect body type because that’s what society tells you; if you grew up in another society that places importance on a body image that’s larger, you would think that is ‘perfect’. It’s all about perspective and the only wrong thing to do is to think that one body type is better than another.

Everyone is trying to ‘make a sale’

Another point I like to remind people is that everyone is trying to sell you something, and in order to sell a solution to something they have to create a problem. Companies selling diet pills and magic workout remedies need to tell you that your body is not perfect and that you should feel bad about it so that you buy their solution to their made up problem. Don’t fall for it! I know it’s hard, especially if you were brought up in an environment with this kind of attitude, but one of the worst things that you can do is to give in and let those companies and society as a whole convince you that you have a body problem.

You’re not alone

If you are having issues with your body, just like anything else in life, you have to take it step by step. You don’t need to love your body right now but you should work towards accepting it. Just moving towards a feeling of acceptance about your body, looking in the mirror and saying this is okay, is a big step in the right direction. There are seven billion people on this earth and each and every one of them has a different body type; some are big and some are small, others are tall and others are short, that’s just how it is.

Body problems are a big issue in today’s society and if you feel like this pressure is really getting to you I encourage you to come and talk to me about it, because I can promise that you are not the only one feeling this way. The most important thing is that no one on earth looks like those models on any billboard you are passing by, and you should love yourself inside and out for the wonderful person that you truly are.        

Watch the video below to find out more about dealing with body image issues          


New Year Strategy

How to make 2019 your best year ever

Forget making resolutions this year. If you want to set yourself some serious life goals and achieve them, you need a strategy, and as the GQ Therapist I was asked what my top three tips were – so of course I wanted to share them with you here too…

I’ve never liked New Year’s resolutions – I always think they feel a little constricting. Deciding to do something every day for 365 days no matter what can feel a little overwhelming, so it’s always good to learn to live life just one day at a time. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to smash your goals and change old habits, but it’s the way you go about it that matters. Saying to yourself you will only eat protein and salad every day for lunch might sound angelic, but what happens in the deep winter when it’s pouring with rain and your boss just told you your last presentation was terrible? See my point?

So instead of resolutions, let’s look at strategy; it feels more powerful and therefore more empowering to execute. Strategies for getting what you want, feeling how you want to feel and living the life you love matter. So I want to share the only three tips you will really need for making 2019 your year.

Get focused

Whether it’s fatigue, distractions, lack of motivation or something else entirely, our inability to focus digs a hole in our productivity and therefore can jeopardise our chances of success. Getting focused is therefore the key to unlocking your full potential. There are many ways to help you focus: exercise in the morning to get the blood moving around your body and ready for the day ahead; meditation to slow the mind and teach it how to focus up; working offline so that you don’t always have emails popping up to distract you or suddenly slide over to YouTube because you can. The brain is a mental muscle and some studies have found that people who are easily distracted benefit from “brain-training” exercises. Make sleep a priority: good sleep creates good days. Take breaks – short ones and often. Even a quick five-minute walk can create the space your brain needs to focus up when you’re back to it. Simple but oh-so effective.

Get empowered

We live in a culture and society that is constantly streaming images of perfection everywhere we go. It is being shown to us as if it is real. We are all constantly bombarded with things that we are made to think are imperative to have, important to purchase, and then, of course, your life will change and everything will fall into place. The first step to empowerment is to step back and see what’s happening around you – that, actually, you’re surrounded by millions of pounds of marketing that is constantly trying to trick you to feel disempowered so that you buy whatever it is they are showing you with the false dream of then you will be good enough. Being aware of this is amazing, because you then get yourself back in the game. The truth about empowerment is that it doesn’t come from anywhere other than you and your mind. It comes from thinking right, having the right mindset and the ability to make your brain work for you, not against you.Get your shit together

Taking a moment to decide how you want to live matters. Taking a moment to decide who you want to be, how you want to feel and act is imperative if you want to step into 2019 with your shit together. You can’t have your shit together if your mind is off. Getting it together is really about growing up and becoming an adult. Children don’t have their shit together. They are chaotic bundles of confusion, stumbling wide-eyed through the world, motivated by pleasure and unquestionably following their whims. As adults we have to grow up and learn to take responsibility for ourselves, mainly our minds. You have to learn to ”think right”. This means learning to get conscious of what you are thinking in order to create the right feelings, actions and results. Getting your shit together means getting rid of any toxicity in your life, having an open mind and an open heart. It means choosing to live for you, the real you and to take care of you.

You don’t have to do any of this alone. You know where to find me.

Read the full GQ article here


Scared To Fail? Lessons To Be Learnt

Scared to fail? Lessons to be learnt and opportunities to grow from.

I often hear people telling me that they have a ‘fear of failure’. As if it is something that is going to come and get them and ruin them and their whole life. Like failure is the worst thing in the whole world. And I find this so interesting because I don’t believe in ‘failure’. But I do wholeheartedly believe in growth. Lessons to be learnt and opportunities to grow from.
How else do we really learn those important lessons in life?  Certainly not by sailing along smoothly without any waves. When I was learning about my own self-development at the good old school of life I had many, many lessons. So many situations didn’t work out as I had planned.  I tried a lot of things and a lot of things just didn’t work out how I had expected them to.  Except looking back, I realise it was all so perfect.

You see there is no failure, only growth. 
Everything I experienced only ever helped me rise bigger, better, faster and stronger. In other words, I wouldn’t have got where I am now without those lessons.

It was those lessons that challenged me to think another way.
It’s perfect. Life is always happening exactly how it should be and our perspective on things is what matters. If you want to berate yourself for ‘failing’ then go ahead, be my guest! And you will find yourself going around in circles, not feeling great at all and learning a grand total of nil. If you want to challenge your thinking and ask yourself ‘what did I learn here’ you will find an amazing lesson, a new path and you will start to feel a lot better.

It is, of course, your choice…
So what is it with failure? Why do people fret it, try to avoid it, and beat themselves up for not being perfect when the simple truth is this – no great success was ever achieved without it.

It is a necessary part of growth.
Especially if you look at it correctly. Change your mind about the word failure and your life will grow. Seriously, look upon these lessons as part of being human, as a bigger plan for you, as part of becoming a better you and then simply, move on.
Here’s to many more lessons x


Podcast: How To Stop Comparing Yourself

Podcast: How To Stop Comparing Yourself

 

The lovely Becki Rabin asked me to appear on her super cool podcast to discuss all things ‘life’ – including how to stop comparing yourself.
In her usual chatty style she threw quite a few important questions at me to answer and if you are interested in self-development you need to listen to this!
During the podcast, I talk about how to:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • How to start believing in yourself.
  • How to start truly believing that you are good enough and worthy enough.
  • How to go out there and grab life with both hands.

To download the podcast…
The podcast is available on Acast, iTunes and SoundCloud.
iTunes link here – go to episode 22: ‘Dropping comparisons and focussing on you’.
I hope you enjoy it!
Jacqueline x


7 Secrets of Restful Sleep

If you haven’t read The Wellness Report over at matchesfashion.com it’s really worth taking a look at their super cool fashion and wellness blog.  I was honoured to have been asked once again to appear on their blog with my advice, this time on how to get a restful and revitalising sleep. If you are struggling with sleep, this article is for you!

7 Secrets of Restful Sleep

Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, once said, ‘The way to a more productive, more inspired, more joyful life is getting enough sleep.’ Indeed, lack of sleep can have severe effects, ranging from weight gain and dry skin to heightened emotions and excess cortisol levels. So how can we learn to sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed, energised and ready to face the day? Jacqueline Hurst shares her wisdom…

1. Be consistent
Consistency promotes good sleeping patterns. Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day will teach your body what you want it to do. It will help to keep your body clock in time and promote your natural drive to sleep. If you are awake at night, choose to stay in bed and conserve your energy by lying still and breathing. Don’t disrupt your pattern.
2. Mood lighting

 The blue light from your laptop or smartphone is a lot more stressful on your body than you may realise when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Many of us still relax in the evenings with bright, artificial lights, which prevents the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Dim the lights in your bedroom and living room, or use candles to stimulate the production of melatonin. Think about putting a baby to bed, you wouldn’t put them in front of bright lights just before bed time, instead you wind them down with soft lighting to ease them sleep. Do the same for yourself.

3. Meditate and breathe
Meditation can help maintain a healthy sleep rhythm and is a great way to relax the mind. Meditating for just 10 minutes a day should help you to notice an increased sense of wellbeing. The beauty of meditation is that you don’t need anything for it, just somewhere quiet and relaxed, like your bedroom. Begin by just following your breath: inhale for four counts, exhale for four counts and don’t worry if you have some thoughts – that’s normal – just keep coming back to the breath.
4. Accept and be mindful
Worrying about not sleeping or imagining how bad things will be if you don’t sleep only helps to increase night-time stress. It’s important to slow your mind down to stop catastrophising or creating anxiety. Bring yourself back to the present moment and focus on the now. Getting the right thoughts in your mind really matters.
5. De-stimulate
Knowing what not to eat or drink can really help with insomnia. Avoiding caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol (which is a stimulant as well as a depressant) and anything high in sugars is key. Caffeine is one of the worst offenders – if you love your coffee or caffeinated tea, drink as much as you want but make sure you stop by midday. That gives your body a good 10-12 hours to recover from the caffeine hit and ensures you’re in a wind-down mode in time for bed.
6. Think natural
Sleep is a natural physiological process that cannot be controlled. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, your body manages and requires sleep in much the same way that it regulates the need for eating and drinking and breathing. Having a reliance on unnatural night-time rituals or pills can fuel sleep anxiety and further sleeplessness.
7. Exercise
I’m not saying stop exercising altogether, but be careful not to exercise too vigorously or too close to bedtime. Intense exercise can lead to the elevation of some hormones (such as cortisol), which may prevent you from drifting off easily. If you’re suffering from sleep issues, try to work out early in the day.
You can read the full article over at Matches Fashion here.

If you are struggling with restful sleep, or any other issues, you can contact me for a 1:1 session in my office, on the phone or via Skype. Alternatively, if you want to feel better but do your self-development online, you can head on over to my school The Life Class and take the Foundation Course.


5 Tips For Boosting Your Self-Esteem

5 Tips For Boosting Your Self-Esteem

If you are your own worst critic and find yourself tortured with feelings of self-doubt, do yourself a favour and take some advice from GQ Therapist, Jacqueline Hurst. You will definitely feel better for it!

Life nowadays can seem like a constant juggle. We are bombarded with unreal images daily on social media, TV and magazines and we can all feel a little overwhelmed as if we haven’t quite reached our full potential. A little bit of this is normal, however, if you feel constantly held back by a sense of self-doubt, it could be more than just the occasional “off day” we all suffer with from time to time. Preventing you from ever achieving your full potential, low self-esteem can be both a debilitating and miserable. Thankfully, for those who do suffer from self-esteem issues, there are a wealth of tips and tricks you can try to help break the cycle and build your confidence back.

What is self-esteem?

The term self-esteem refers to how we view ourselves. Self-esteem is the overall opinion we have and hold about ourselves and the value we place on ourselves as people. Low self-esteem is all about how we view ourselves internally – what we believe about ourselves – and is based on negativity: for example, “I’m unlovable” or “I’m useless” or “I’m worthless”. Of course, most of us have mixed opinions of ourselves, but if your overall opinion is that you are inadequate or inferior, or if you feel that you have no true worth and are not entitled to the good things in life – that you are “undeserving” – then this means your self-esteem is low.

Low self-esteem can be due to the beliefs you have about yourself which you think are fact, but in reality are only really thoughts. These beliefs and thoughts are based on the experiences you’ve had in life, and the messages that these experiences have given you about the person that you are.

As low self-esteem is based on thought process rather than fact, it is really important to gather all the thoughts you hold about yourself that are negative and then start to look for evidence to prove that the opposite is true. For example, if you believe that you are not “lovable”, instead of finding evidence to prove this thought true, you need to start looking for evidence to prove this is not true. You could ask yourself instead “Who does love me?” – you will be able to say “My mum, my dad, my friends, my family, my girl/boyfriend” etc. It becomes hard to believe a thought when you have evidence to prove the opposite is actually true.

If you are suffering from low self-esteem here are my top five tips to overcome it:

1. Question your thoughts

Are you conscious of what you are thinking? Thoughts create feelings, so starting to think carefully about your thoughts is key. Positive thoughts create positive feelings.

2. Be kind to yourself

Tell yourself kind, loving statements that you would say to someone you love. Imagine your best friend next to you talking about you as a person – they would say lovely things like “She’s funny, kind, thoughtful” etc. When you start looking at yourself from a friend’s point of view you will be amazed at how good you really are.

You are unique and perfect just as you are. Comparing is a waste of your time. Instead, remember that someone else’s beauty does not mean the absence of your own.

4. Gratitude is key to feeling better

When you feel down, think about all the wonderful things in your life and the things you have achieved – you’ll soon realize you are pretty special. You cannot feel grateful and miserable at the same time.

5. Perfection does not exist

Good enough, really is good enough.

You can read the full article over at GQ here.


Don’t Compare and Despair

Do you remember a little while ago two beautiful women whose pre-Photoshopped pictures were leaked online?
The first was the beautiful Cindy Crawford, model, mother, wife in her 50’s with grace, style and poise.  Her picture got leaked showing her in a bikini with a not so toned tummy and some cellulite on her legs.  Guess what people? She’s normal!
The second was the amazingly talented Beyoncé.  So gifted and well known that she only needs one name, not two. This is a woman who has made it to the top of her field, just like Cindy C.

Her picture got leaked showing her with uneven skin, bumps on her forehead and lines around her eyes.  Guess what people? She too is normal!
I am not sure what all the fuss is about. Is it because these women are ‘shock horror’ just as normal looking as us, or is it because people are finally beginning to see that using Photoshop in the media is detrimental and unkind to all people no matter what age, race, colour or religion?

Don’t compare…

I often see people in my office who tell me that they ‘compare themselves’ to other people and I always ask them ‘why?’. Some of their replies range from ‘because she is so beautiful’ or ‘he is just so intelligent’ or ‘she is so lucky she has it all’. But my questions to them are these:
‘Have they lead exactly the same life as you?’
‘Do you know they are that lucky?’
‘Why, are you comparing your inside, with their outside?’
A comparison is only really a consideration or estimate of the dissimilarities between two things or two people. Re-read this sentence. In other words, the comparison is based on an estimation, a consideration and hardly ever based on FACT. You all know how much I love facts!

Tips to get on with being amazing

If you are someone who is comparing yourself to others here are a few tips on how to quit that shit and get on with being the amazing unique you that you were born to be:
Stop placing yourself as ‘less than’. You are not. You are equal to. There will be some things that you can do and some things that others can do. There will be some things you can’t do that other’s can. This is called life. If we could all do and look and be exactly the same as each other, what kind of boring world would that be? Step into your uniqueness and own it.
Be Grateful. Take a long hard look at how amazing you are. Start focusing on the things that are amazing about you and quit looking at the negative lies you are telling yourself. Everyone has something special and something wonderful about them. Find your thing and keep telling yourself about it. Big yourself up and have your own back.
Get cool with being imperfect. I’m not sure about you, but the last thing I want to be is perfect. Why? Because I know that perfect does not exist, so I am not going to aim for something that isn’t real. Instead, focus on getting cool with your perfect imperfections. We are all perfectly imperfect and trust me, in the years of coaching I have done, the thousands of clients I have seen, I am yet to meet a ‘perfect’ one. So if you think you know someone who is perfect, I would suggest stepping out of your imaginary world and looking at the facts.
Love what you have. In today’s society, we are lead to believe that ‘things’ make us happy. It isn’t true. The thing that makes you happy is you. You choose the right thoughts; you create your happy. It’s as simple as getting your mind managed and your thoughts in the right place. So start thinking about what you are thinking about and choose to love what you have. It feels great.
Social Media Detox. I love social media, it’s a huge part of my business, but at the same time, I know that all the pictures of people on there having a great time and looking like they have fabulous lives don’t mean I choose to think my life is any less. Remember that people will only post pictures on social media of them looking great. Think about the terribly sad life of L’wren Scott. Her photos were all private jets and couture clothes. Behind it, she was terribly unhappy. Don’t believe the hype. People have real lives no matter what they post on Facebook. Everyone is dealing with something.
Direct your focus to things that matter to you. Spend your time doing the things you love, focussing your attention on you and choosing great thoughts that create great feelings and actions. Direct your focus to the positive, and you will be amazed at how amazing your life really is.
Lastly, if you still feel the need to compare, take a look at where those thoughts stem from. Did you learn somewhere that you were not enough? If so, question the hell out of that thought and teach yourself to turn it around. It isn’t true. We are all given a set of beliefs and we all, as adults, have a choice as to whether we choose to hold onto those beliefs or challenge and change them. My suggestion is any belief you think is keeping you small or holding you back needs to be worked on. Challenge it, look for evidence to prove the opposite is true and then go out into the big wide world with a thought that feels amazing. Because the truth is, YOU ARE AMAZING!
Happy Friday!
Jacqueline x


The Life Class

The Life Class has gone LIVE!
I wanted to share with you my recent activity which literally involved sweat and (happy) tears but luckily no blood! The Life Class is my online school which runs two courses, one to become a Certified Life Coach the other is the Foundation Course which is for anyone and everyone who wants to learn how to become their happiest self in less than 5 mins a day.
It’s been sitting online for around 5 years but this year I decided to revamp it, re-brand it and add a tonne more information – I’ve made it even better and I am super excited to share this with you! Here is a short synopsis…

What?

My online courses are a collection of my life’s work. I’ve seen the material transform hundreds of lives. Will it work for everyone? I wish. Will it work for everyone who works it? In my experience, yes!

How?

The course runs automatically and once you sign up you get six stunning modules of life-changing information, with videos, worksheets and notes that you get to keep forever.

Why?

Silly really because, hell, why not?!

When?

Now! Head over to www.thelifeclass.com, there is no time to lose!
What are you waiting for? Go!
Big love,
Jacqueline x