In Conversation with Ainsley

Success has the face of your mother.

In this episode we discuss the role of Mother in our life.

It is our relationship with our primary care – giver, our Mother, that serves as a proxy for our relationship with success and life.

If there is a strained or difficult relationships with our primary care – giver, our mother, it is reflected in a non-relationship relationship with life and success. Simply put, it is difficult for someone to excel at any venture they know is worthy of their human endeavour if they have a disrupted bond with their mother.

As with anything in life we have the power to change aspects of our life to create better outcomes in all areas of their life.



In Conversation with Franziska J. Golenhofen

Franziska Golenhofen is a consultant, researcher and recent co -author of the book “Mastering Disruption and Innovation in Product Management” (2018).

The book aims to guide corporate Business Units to Startups through the process of creating tangible products and services from their initial ideas. With a systemic impact and systems thinking perspective, it is here where Franziska integrates and connects insights from human – centred design approaches to technical concepts such as modularisation and platforms.

Prior to publishing the book, Franziska worked at Siemens Management Consulting and on the inaugural FIFA Female Leadership Programme.

Franziska Golenhofen holds an MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the London School of Economics, has published with Oxford University Press, and is an advocate for UN Sustainable Development Goals and work done by One Young World.

Having grown up in Hawaii and Munich, Franziska has lived and worked in the USA, Canada, Germany, South Africa, the Netherlands and most recently, the UK.

In this conversation we explore the influence of systemic awareness as an inherent skill in Systemic Leadership and how both can be implemented as a means to improving our current models of education and  healthcare.

I trust you will enjoy the Conversation as much as we enjoyed having it. Thank you for listening.


When the voice of power has the face of a child.

When I am coaching a client I am often working with their family system. It is not unusual to find we touch on a place where an impasse has occurred. An impasse or a feeling of being stuck happens when the voice of their inner child holds the power.

When enough is not enough.
An adult may find themselves locked in a struggle from their childhood with one or more family members, usually a parent. The voice of the child may sound a bit like this: “If my Daddy had been around more when I was growing up then, xxxx would be different now.” “If my Mummy had paid as much attention to me as she did to my little sister, then we would most likely have a better relationship.” “If I had just been taught how to get ahead in life then I would probably have been promoted by now.”

The power of resistance.
These are just some of the ways our inner child can create resistance to receiving in our adult life. This can show up in a number of different ways where it feels like life seems to consistently let us down. A fine example is a resistance to Coaching which would end the stalemate and allow us to feel better. Or feeling that we must be the ones who sacrifice themselves and do it all. Because the voice of our inner child asks for things from a disempowered place it becomes difficult for the adult part to receive the support that would enable them to feel powerful. This is neither a good or bad thing it is just the nature of how a child is.

A child cannot provide the basics of what it needs without help. And so it has to ask for help from others and then wait for it to happen. And then the child’s only hope is to wait for someone to respond to them in the way that they want, then the ability to see the reality of the resources available and take them feels stifled.

The Movement.
The story looks rather different from the perspective of the adult. The adult can find the resources it needs to give them acknowledgement, support, money and of course unconditional love outside of their parents or guardians. The adult has the courage to just reach out and take what it wants and needs.

When I see that my client is waiting to receive something from the parent, whether that is acknowledgement, space, an apology, money, unconditional love or something else, the content of the request may differ but the core plea goes back to the same place, the inner child: “if only Mummy or Daddy were different, then things would be better.” Then my role is to support the client through the movement of reaching out and receiving. Sometimes this is done through a simple and effective floor mapping exercise, sometimes it is done through visualising, either way, as we experience it in our mind and heart new neural pathways are created and the change is experienced in real life. It is simple yet incredibly deep and powerful, most significantly because the relief is palpable.

Beyond the impasse.
It is a terribly difficult place for an adult to find themselves caught in these impasses yet it is very common, in many instances it becomes an accepted way of living one’s entire life. When I work with this kind of being stuck, I look for opportunities where the client can find acceptance, a making of peace with the past as it was. Genuine acceptance heals, it brings a peaceful resolution. And that resolution may look completely different for each person.

Often times we experience acceptance as a warm, cozy glow that sweeps across our body and looks like forgiveness. Sometimes it looks like pulling away. Even then it is just as beautiful. Stepping back can be one of the most empowering acts of a person’s life. Because in essence what is being said is: “I no longer need to get this from you, because I know I can find it for myself.” We restore a certain order and system of life respects the order that comes from acceptance.

If you are struggling to feel empowered then book a session with me here now. 

If you are a female lawyer join us on a retreat in Spain this summer, June 2019. We will be doing some beautiful inner child work to support your wellbeing and career. If you would like to join us then book your place here today.

Are you the one to blame?

The life experiences you have as early as 9 years of age can define much of who you are as an adult today. These early experiences and how we interpret them can shape and define how we approach life. How we live life, and how we take on blame.

How do we get stuck? 
Between the age of 9 – 12 we are forming the foundation of our personality whilst at the same time we are entirely dependent on other people to keep us alive. We watch, listen and learn how to maintain a sense of belonging to them in order to assure our survival. It is a very important time in our journey through life and these impressions add considerable power and intensity to how we formulate our model of the world.

During this time we are looking to see how our parents interact with each other. How does Daddy get Mummy to keep loving him. How does Mummy get Daddy to keep loving her. Are they kind to each other. How do they speak to each other. How do they express this love. Do they touch each other. How do they support each other. What keeps love  (togetherness) alive. What assures our place in the family and what behaviour makes us seemingly more or less lovable.

Depending on what we observe and how we choose to interpret it we can get stuck in this place and time, either because we feel we did not receive enough to leave. Or, because we got too much and want nothing to do with any of it. Perhaps it was stressful and played havoc with our nervous system or perhaps something frightened us and we retreated into our self to protect our self. If this period is challenging in some way we can easily form the belief that whatever is not right is the result of something we have done wrong. We blame ourselves.

This perception can come about in a number of ways. Let’s say you believe that you did not get enough because you were neglected or because you were consistently criticised. Perhaps your parents got divorced and your father left the family. Or your mother was often anxious, stressed out and angry. Perhaps your family had financial difficulties or your father seemed absent, distracted, detached. These are just some of the variables that commonly occur in family life.

Whichever it was for you, as the child you are likely to see yourself as the centre of the world and so it would be natural for you to come to the conclusion in your head that you were responsible. This is way in which you set yourself up to align with a pattern of blaming your self later on in life.

In reality there are many ways that you interact with the world and the world interacts with you that is far beyond your control. This does not mean you are not in control of some situations in life, it does mean that there are limits to what you have power over.

It is important for you to understand that such misguided beliefs can have a profound impact because they distort your perception of reality. If you believe that your experience is your fault when in reality it was not at all, you inadvertently give people and experiences the power to define who you are and what you will become. Not only is that a very limiting way to live it is also a very painful way to interact with the world.

Here is the solution
When I work with clients I direct the answer to the question ‘am I to blame?’ as follows: It does not matter what your strengths or weaknesses were. It does not matter if you needed additional support. It does not matter if you often had a tendency to feel a certain way. It does not matter if you were different to Emma, Lucy or Julia when you were in primary school. None of it matters. There is absolutely no thing that changes this simple truth. You were not to blame. It is only the natural limitations of an innocent and confused child that could possibly see it any other way.

When you heal your inner child and let that 9, 10, 11,12 year old child that lives within you know that they were not to blame, you start the process of healing the part of yourself that feels responsible and self blames for all the things over which you have absolutely no control. And once you heal that, you relinquish the need that creates the charge to keep paying the price for being the one to blame. It is quite a significant burden to relieve yourself of. It frees you up to really live your life fully, joyfully and with far less effort. And that is definitely a good thing!

It is time to stop blaming yourself and get out of your own way.
There are very few real obstacles to experiencing success in life, mostly they live in your head. Because they live in your head they are simple to change. Finding them can be tricky as they tend to sit in your blindspot, which is why working with a very good coach can help you navigate and find your way to freedom.

If your experience of life is stifled by self blame, book a session with me now to discover for yourself what freedom feels like. You can contact me here.

In Conversation with Vanessa Vallely OBE

In this episode of Conversations with Ourselves it was amazing to have Vanessa Vallely come in for a chat and to hear her share her take on life. Given her incredible accomplishments and that she is the champion of women up and down the UK, I would be lying if I said it was not exciting for me to spend some time with her so I was delighted when she said yes.

To touch lightly on her accomplishments, here is a brief synopsis.

In 2008 at the height of her career in financial services Vanessa launched the award wining We Are The City, its purpose, to help corporate women connect and grow professionally and personally. Today We Are The City has over 120,000 members.

As the founder of the diversity forum Gender Networks, Vanessa has brought together diversity leaders from over 120 firms across the UK to share best practice.

In 2015 Vanessa was in GQ UK’s Top 100 Connected Women and the Evening Standard’s 1000 Most Influential Londoners. Vanessa is a regular guest on TV and radio and also sits on the Government Digital Services advisory board.

Vanessa is the author of the book “Heels of Steel: Surviving and Thriving in the Corporate World” which tracks her career and shares no less than 13 chapters of tips on how to succeed in the workplace.

I hope you enjoy the Conversation as much as we did. Please do share with your friends and colleagues. Women championing women who champion other women is always a winning game!


In Conversation with Ainsley.

Welcome to episode 5 of Conversations with Ourselves. In this episode we explore what lies behind Life Therapy with Zita. Guest host Ainsley asks the questions as Zita talks about her move from the world of fashion, 13 years as a fashion editor and stylist in the USA to Hypnotherapy and Coaching in London.

In Conversation with Ronke Lawal; Founder of Ariatu PR.

Our greatest challenge in life is to be authentic. To be who we really are and be ok with that. To be ok with the not knowing, the conflict of being and becoming our true self. These are notable skills to posses in life, they indicate real intelligence – an openess and willingness to learn and grow – the traits of a strong leader.

In light of this it was wonderful to share a Conversation with Ronke Lawal. Ronke was born in Hackney, East London. Following university in London and the USA she went on to set up her own PR and Communications business in 2004. Along with her successful business she is engaged in a number of activities; she mentors for The Cherie Blair Foundation, The “Success Looks Like You” Initiative and the BME PR Pros Initiative. It is no surprise that in 2011 Ronke was awarded a Precious Award for Inspirational Leadership. As you will discover when you listen to this episode she is herself a truly inspiring leader.

Ariatu PR represents a variety of clients in the lifestyle and FMCG sector. For more information please visit the website here.

Enjoy listening!

Write Your Way to a Better Life

Every day I meet people who know exactly what they want in life, but no matter what they do they just can’t seem to get there. Every year they make resolutions or determine to change something for the better. They are going to get healthy, get a promotion, get out of debt, start a business, write a book, travel more, meet the man of their dreams, be a better friend or give up some awful habit. The list is as long as the ocean is wide.

When there is a gap between where you are and where you intend to be it can feel rather disheartening to blindly go through the process of change. We often naively start out thinking that we can just snap our fingers and that change will happen, or feel so overwhelmed by the idea that we don’t even start. We are challenged as our will and our power are pressed against the wall as we consciously try to control the outcome of our lives.

Most people are completely unaware that there are simple yet effective steps that you can take to literally change your mind.

Life can be busy, and when you are the type of person who thrives on being productive the last thing you want to do is spend time wading through an ocean of suggestions that have a very short shelf life. So what is the answer to setting goals and achieving them? Congruence. When there is harmony between what you think, what you feel, what you say and what you do, you have congruence, and in this state the mind can be changed to set the goals you want and then successfully achieve them.

A simple Life Therapy technique I developed draws upon Journaling to chart new courses towards the destination you want to reach by engaging your subconscious mind to create congruence, harmony.

Let me explain.

The human baby is born with only two fears, the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  If you drop a baby, even if it is just a small drop of a couple of inches, or if you make a loud noise close to a baby’s ear, the baby will start to cry, a rather visceral cry at that, eyes clamped shut, mouth open, all an expression of fear. Yet, you can take that same baby and place it in deep water or in a company of wolves and the baby will show no signs of fear or distress. Why? Because the baby has no context to which it can evaluate these experiences. The context comes later, such that everything beyond the two basic fears – good or bad – true or false – is learned. And everything we learn is being subconsciously conditioned and programmed. It is as if our minds are sponges, soaking up impressions without the benefit of mature logic and reasoning. This is how our life story is written.

The Life Therapy approach to Journaling is a way of rewriting the subconscious roadmap of your mind. In the process of rewriting your life story, the self-limiting negative beliefs we learn as children can be altered. Because the process is incremental in gain you only need to start by addressing one small change to experience a domino affect in all areas of your life.

Pay attention to the small things and the big things will take care of themselves.

To change a habit that will change your life, start with the small yet potent habit of writing in a journal each night. Most people use journaling to write the story of their day to day experience of life. I suggest you use journaling in a more effective way, to rewrite the story of your life. Once people really understand how journaling can be used they never want to miss a day of journaling again.

Here are just some of the ways the Life Therapy approach to journaling can improve your life:

Reprogramme your subconscious mind
Turn dreams into reality
Increase your creative potential
Create clarity through focussed thinking
Stress relief
Put your life in order
Fine tune your ideas
Design your future
Make you a better writer
Find your true self – your purpose
Remove the charge of self – criticism
Bring a greater sense of meaning to your life

Every night before you go to sleep make a request to your subconscious mind.

Here are the simple steps to Life Therapy Journaling.

  • Before you go to sleep take 10 minutes to plan and write down your goals.
  • Write in cursive using a pen.
  • Use present tense or near future.
  • Take time to visualise the desired goal or outcome and then write it in as much detail as possible.
  • Pay attention to how you feel as you write your goals. Feeling a sense of wellbeing as you do the exercise is more likely to create a good outcome.
  • Get into the detail. Ask yourself questions related to the goal or outcome you want to achieve. Clarity of intention will make it easier for your subconscious to create a good outcome that suits your needs.

As you go to sleep your subconscious mind will go to work on creating the steps you will take in each moment of your life to achieve your desired outcomes and successfully accomplish your goal.

Remember, learning any new skill in life requires practise, the more you practise the better you will get. It can take just 1 day to notice a change, 21 days to notice significant improvement and up to 40 days for what I call the really great goals to present themselves. The only time this exercise will not work is when you don’t do it.

Have fun with the process and enjoy the ride!

Simple exercises like this one can open us up to things we may have kept hidden in the back of our mind. If you would like support then get in touch. You can book a session and leap forward with your goal setting in a 1-2-1 Coaching and Hypnotherapy session.


Clean Up Your House.

“Stretching yourself beyond the boundaries of your current self requires carefully choosing and then pursuing ideals: ideals that are up there, above you, superior to you – and that you cant always be sure you will reach…. if you don’t reach for them, it is certain that you will never feel that your life has meaning.” ~ Dr Norman Doidge.

The New Year is about bringing in the new.  In order to do this you have to make space by clearing out the old. It is that simple. We can spend time on making lists, setting new goals, starting new projects and talking about what we want to accomplish in 2019, but there is no room for any of this new stuff to happen unless we declutter the past. This clean up is not just about a 1950’s style of cleaning out the cupboards and making some charitable donations of stuff you don’t use anymore. Its about a physical, mental and emotional clean up. Most people manage a start on the physical; Dry January, Veganuary, and shiny new gym memberships, I note even my regular Yoga class swelled from 15 to 52 in 5 short days!

Suffice to say where people generally come unstuck is on the mental and emotional clean up.  Other than to announce in a strop that they are never spending Christmas with their in-laws again, or taking it a step further and filing for divorce on the 1st Monday of January, few people stop to consider that it is the mental and emotional clean up that will determine the success or failure of all future outcomes. Furthermore the areas most in need of addressing are usually staring us right in the face and the holiday season will have put us in close proximity with whatever part of our life is not working well.

To be fair, to live a successful life, one in which you are happy in your chosen career, your relationship with your significant other is peaceful and harmonious, your children (if you have them) are flourishing, and your relationships with your family are sound and secure, is not always going to be a straight smooth road. Life can be unpredictable, challenging and sometimes feel rather joyless. But on the whole it should be an uplifting and inspiring experience in which you feel secure and supported. If it is not, then we are fortunate to live in a time where the support mechanisms to address problems are readily available.

In Columbus’s time, the world was believed to be flat, and other beliefs of that time reinforced that idea. Today, if anyone were to seriously try to suggest that the world was flat, very few people would consider it a possibility. Why? Because we have learnt so much since that time and that old idea is out of keeping with the knowledge we have today. The same is true of human beings. For years we were told that we were limited as human beings. We were categorised, labelled and then given a box in which to fit ourselves. As a result it became the accepted norm to fit into boxes rather than to have a fulfilling life.

Thankfully we are increasingly becoming aware that we have limited ourselves by our thoughts, beliefs and traditions. We know that everything that we have learnt about the way the world works, from love, to relationships, to career success was shaped by what we experienced in our family of origin; our relationships with our mother, father and siblings influences how we relate to our partners and work colleagues. This is also where our ideas, beliefs and core values are formed. So when things are not going so well in life, often our own patterns of behaviour are tripping us up. This is the first place to look to make changes. This is where mental and emotional clean up takes place.

If you imagine your life to be like the roof of your house, after some time the roof acquires many layers as it is fixed and patched up with layers of material time after time.  Eventually you come to a point where adding a new layer will create more problems than it would solve. You can layer up your life with the same old beliefs, judgements, intentions and habits, or you clean up the mental and emotional clutter and start over.

When we clean up we create space for new perspectives to emerge.  We can grasp a clear sense of how often we repeat certain patterns in our life, and where in our life the patterns create stress, pressure or a deficiency. Through the systemic approach it is possible to quickly and simply map these patterns and then use the wisdom of our felt senses to unravel what lies behind them. Patterns are nearly always serving some purpose, so in order to change them it is important to understand who or what the pattern of behaviour is loyal to. Often our patterns of behaviour are serving a mode of survival that we have adopted to compensate or accommodate for some perceived lack.

In order to understand this better it is helpful to think of yourself as a human being with a soul. This is what I call it. Other people call it life force, spirit and so on. To be clear, this is distinct from any religious or scientific interpretations of what a soul may or may not be. If you were to go online you could easily and lawfully purchase and have delivered to your home all the chemical ingredients required to make up a human being. At most the cost would be around £15.95. Yet despite this fact to my knowledge no human has made a human being from these ingredients. The soul is the source of life that is central to each and everyone of us.

And so the magical ingredient to make life successful is to get what we want, to get what we want requires congruence, all parts must be in agreement. Much like love, if the soul is not in agreement it does not matter how handsome the other being is, love will not be on the cards. It’s that simple. To create congruence there must be an alignment in desire, beliefs and values. If you are single it is not because of a lack of suitable partners. If you are not promoted it is not because of your gender or skin colour. To get what we want in life, it is essential to understand what we need to do to support ourselves to get there.

Cleaning up requires the courage to let go of the past, to complete and tie up loose ends. It may require that you let go of some old fantasies and dreams, it may require that you grow up. Cleaning up is a big job and it can be painful, it’s why so many people avoid it. The most challenging skill to learn in life is to live well. It’s easy to excel in one area. Look closely at the people who you think you envy, scratch below the surface of a woman who is very successful in her career and you will often find that there is something missing elsewhere. Look deeply into the eyes of the people in the boardroom with a 6 figure salary: is there a brightness in their eyes, are they centred, grounded and calm? There are many aspects and layers to clean up on the mental and emotional level and we are all dealing with it to a greater or lesser degree.

It is 2019, and my message this year is: clean it up, put your house in order. Take responsibility for the part you play in making the world a better place for us all to live in. History is changed not by one single significant change, it is changed by all the seemingly insignificant changes that every individual is part of.

“Ideologues are people who pretend they know how to make the world a better place before they have taken care of their own chaos within.” ~ Dr Norman Doidge, MD author of The Brain That Changes Itself

In Conversation with Sensei Anthea Pascaris

Sensei Anthea Pascaris is a 4th Degree black belt dan in Aikido, 1st dan in Iaido (the Art of Japanese Swordsmanship) and 1st dan in Karate – do. Anthea has been practising martial arts for 30 years and has trained with many master teachers and highly ranked instructors around the world from Japan to North America and Europe.

Anthea began her professional life as a Lawyer in Canada. Through the course of our conversation I discovered what shaped and influenced her journey into Karate and now, as a leader and teacher of the martial art known as Aikido. We explored the use and misuse of power as a woman, what it is to be feminine, girly and tough. There are so many gems Anthea brings through her experience and training both in the legal profession and through the discipline of training and teaching a martial art of such grace and power. It is truly a unique and wonderful conversation.

Aikido translates to:
The Way (Do)
Of Harmonising (Ai)
With The Energy of The Universe (Ki)

Anthea is Founder and  Sensei of Notting Hill Akikai : the Dojo

“Aikido practice is purification of the body and mind on all levels. Nothing is too small or too big for our misogi” – O Sensei
(misogi – purification of body and mind – mentally washing away malicious, negative and petty thoughts).