The hardest yoga session ever

The hardest yoga session ever

As part of my quest to stay strong, fit and healthy into my stilton-ripening years, I’ve decided to do more regular yoga, and improve my technique.

As part of the Peleton subscription (I should be on commission for that company!) they offer complete yoga programmes - a guided series of sessions to help you develop your practice.

I’m doing one called Power Restorative Yoga - it’s a little different to flow yoga because you hold the positions longer and really focus in on all the tiny muscle groups that make your body strong.

On Monday morning, I was working through the session with Ross Rayburn, feeling quite the pro perfecting my downward dog and side angle, when we moved to a pose called Warrior 2 (which looks like the photo)

It’s a pretty basic yoga pose but I was learning more detail about the correct position of the pelvis, rotation of quads and shins, the tension of pulling my feet towards each other, blah, blah, yogi blah…

…all good stuff.

I felt challenged but comfortable most of the session.

However, sometimes ADHD causes me problems it’s difficult to plan for.

I enjoy guided sessions, but often if I’m pointing in the opposite direction to the screen, my little brain wanders off away from the instructor and on to more interesting things like what I’m going to write in today’s email, wondering how OSB board is made, and how can we ever really know Beethoven was deaf?

I was in Warrior 2 pose, and doing my best to stick my bum out whilst pushing my quads forward and keeping tension all the way through my legs, and I was starting to feel the burn.

The pose seemed to be going on forever.

My legs were shaking and I was sweating.

F*cking hell, Ross, when are we going to end this torture?

Enough’s enough!

Not one for quitting, I gritted my teeth and tried to focus on my breathing to make it through the pain.

He’ll do his countdown to rest soon, surely?

But it didn’t come.

I quit.

I’d failed to hold a simple yoga pose.

I collapsed in a heap on the floor feeling shaky, miserable and sick, and glanced back to the screen to wait until he moved on to the next pose.

But wait…what?

Ross? Where are you?

There was a blank screen.

We’d had a power cut.

Being so lost in musing about Beethoven’s bloody hearing, I hadn’t even noticed the music had stopped!


I’m not quite sure what lesson I can attach to that for you today, but rather I’ll use the story to reassure you 100% that if we work together in video calls, I’ll never expect you to stand with your arse towards the screen, so you’ll always know if I’m there in the room with you or if I’ve buggered off.

I never knew that was an important part of my client care until now!

Fancy getting free emails from me every weekday to help you through your working week? The link’s below

Waiter! Waiter!

Here’s something to think about if you’re going out for a meal this week…

Did you know you are more likely to enjoy your meal if you are first to order?

It all comes down to our need for approval from others; if you like to be seen as a highly unique person, then what other people order will influence you.  

Imagine you are perusing the menu with a group of six people, and the steak with peppercorn sauce takes your fancy.  Then, as the waiter takes your group’s order, you find that everyone else at the table has ordered the very same thing.  It would probably kill you not to be different, so you go for the lobster even if it was only your second choice.

On the other hand, if you were really wanting to fit in with a group of people and they were all ordering salads when you really fancied a burger, then you would probably sadly chow down on a plate full of Caesar, watching other tables’ quarter pounders drift deliciously past your nose.

Of course, not everyone is like this, but you would be surprised how many people are influenced by how they want to be seen by others.  

It has been studied by getting groups of research candidates to either order publicly in front of others, or privately by writing their order down to the waiter, then asking them to rate how much they enjoyed their meals.  

Candidates who ordered privately showed much more satisfaction overall.

A cunning way to beat this effect is to always be first to order, thus in effect, ordering privately – although this might make you look a bit of a dick if the waiter is just about to take your elderly aunt’s order and you insist he takes yours first!

Self-awareness will help you too – if you know how you might be influenced, then you are more likely to be on the lookout for it and make sure you order exactly what you want regardless of what everyone else has.  

As luck would have it, coaching is a great way to improve self-awareness, DM me if you want to work with a Michelin starred coach. (OK, I made that bit up, but I’m bloody good all the same!)

Is this evidence of my psychic ability?

Is this evidence of my psychic ability?

Want to know the thing I hear most often from my regular coaching clients about my daily emails?

“Were you writing this about me? It’s like you knew what I was struggling with today!”

Is this evidence of my psychic abilities?


It’s evidence I stalk my clients, tap their phones and have cameras in their homes and offices. 

All part of the service!

Seriously, the reason I hear this so often is because my clients often share the same struggles. 

Human struggles.

The kind of struggles that make them feel isolated and fearful, because people rarely voice them out loud.

The kind of clients I attract tend to share common characteristics:

  • They’re highly motivated to succeed at work.
  • They value their loved ones and want their home lives to feel positive. 
  • They sometimes lose their shit and don’t feel proud of themselves.
  • Their loved ones often tell them they need to chill out more. 
  • They don’t suffer fools gladly.
  • They have a great sense of fun and humour, but the enormity of their struggles can snatch it from them from time to time.
  • They sometimes ask themselves “Is this all there is?” and want more from life, but they’re not sure what. 
  • They’ve reached the top of their career (as they currently know it), or they’re working their way much faster up the ladder than expected. 
  • They sometimes fantasise about blowing their lives up and starting again, doing something completely different. 
  • Many people look up to them as the one with all the answers.
  • They tend to beat themselves up for falling short of their own expectations.
  • They can be good at forgiving others but terrible at forgiving themselves. 
  • They can do the combined jobs of a small army of people, and yet still beat themselves up for not being superhuman.
  • They sometimes feel as if they’ve achieved nothing for days and weeks at a time, even though that’s blatantly not true. 
  • They care deeply about other people and feel very hurt when they’re not shown the respect they’d give others.
  • They find it hard to delegate and let go of tasks because they can’t bear watching someone take hours over and/or fuck up what they could do in five minutes. 
  • ^^^ This leads to having too much on their plate and a team that continues to lean on them because they haven’t empowered the people around them.
  • They often feel out of control of their time and wish there were more hours in the day. 
  • They often sideline fun and self-care, choosing to put work and the needs of others first. 
  • When I give them coaching advice, they often need reminding again and again of key principles, and they beat themselves up that I need to tell them more than once.
  • They often spend too much time in their own heads, trying to consciously work out problems, when really the solution is to take time out and let their subconscious genius thoughts bubble to the top. (And, oh how they love it when they finally come up with the answer they’ve been searching for!)
  • They simultaneously doubt themselves and yet also secretly believe they’re fricking amazing and have much more to give. 

…the list goes on, but you get the picture. 

These are the sorts of challenges I help clients deal with on a daily basis, so it’s hardly surprising you’ll sometimes think I’ve been a fly on the wall witnessing your trials and tribulations! 

I believe in coaching so much because, time and time again, I see evidence that the only thing getting in people’s way is their own thoughts. 

If you want to join the growing group of people who receive my emails every weekday, then you’ll find the link below

Bad Habits

In my email group, I talked about the commonly believed myth that it only takes 21 days to change a habit, and someone asked me “Why do we all believe that?”

You know what? That’s a bloody great question because it reminded me of another important factor that drives our behaviour - our beliefs.

The 21-day myth started way back in the 60’s when a plastic surgeon called Maxwell Maltz published a book called Psycho Cybernetics.  It was a huge bestseller, selling over 30 million copies.

In his book, Maltz talked about his observations around his patients and himself.  He noticed that his plastic surgery patients took, on average, 21 days to get used to seeing their new face.  He also noticed amputees took about 21 days to stop feeling their phantom limb and adjust to their new reality.

Observing his patients made Maltz think about his own adjustment to change, and he noticed that it also took him about 21 days to form new habits.  He wrote in his book, "These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell."

Unfortunately, but with every good intention, the personal development experts of the day jumped all over that quote like a gaggle of teenage girls on Justin Bieber’s used lip-balm.

They put the 21-day theory out to all their followers, but forget to mention one vital word:


As in the fewest number.  As in the least.  As in “It’s probably gonna take longer so don’t count on it, doll face”.

Yeah, they left that bit out.  And so all those experts, coupled with a good 30 million book readers also conveniently deleting the “M” word in their own heads, gave birth to one of the most commonly held myths in the world of popular psychology.

And that leads me on to a very important point:  It’s always good to question where your beliefs come from, because they affect so much in your life.

If you still believed that new habits should be conquered in three weeks, you could well think all this “change for the better” lark wasn’t for you; that you were destined to be forever at the mercy of your bad habits – an eternity of smoking, swearing and swilling wine.

I can tell you one thing for sure.  It is possible to quit smoking.  I did that.

As for swearing and occasional wine-swilling?  Well, if they ever became a problem for me I would quit those feckers too!

Sometimes change doesn’t feel easy, but understanding why it isn’t easy can really help you get through the tough times.

It’s one of the many things I help people with, and if you want to get to know me better, you can sign up to my free emails that go out every weekday!


Do you ever get hangry? 

Scientists have been researching the phenomenon of “hangryness”, where you become excessively irritable when you are hungry.

My partner,Kev, has learned to become very afraid if I’m left without food for too long, especially if we’re on a day trip.  I can go from “Aren’t we having a lovely day, darling?” to “Get me out of this shithole and find me food or I will kill someone,” in as little as fifteen minutes.  

The main reason we become more irritable when hungry is because our blood glucose level drops. This can make it difficult for us to concentrate, and more likely to snap at those around us. (Add that to women’s hormones and you get to the murder zone…)

Low blood sugar also triggers the release of stress-related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, as well as a chemical with the catchy name of neuropeptide Y, which has been found to make people more aggressive towards others, even ones we dearly love.

The experiment I’d love to watch is where they studied married couples, and asked them to stick pins into “voodoo dolls” that represented their loved ones to reflect how angry they felt towards them whilst playing a game.

I’m not sure what the game was, but whoever won was allowed to blast loud noise through the loser’s headphones.  The researchers tracked the participants’ blood glucose levels and they found that when people had lower sugar levels, the longer they blasted unpleasant noises at their spouses, and the more pins they stuck into their dolls.

You could actually sell tickets for shit like that! 

I’m quite competitive and I hate losing games, but if I lost when I was hungry and Kev blasted loud noises into my headphones, I’d do a lot more than stick pins in a dolly.

  He’d be walking funny for weeks!

So - little coaching tip -  if you are going to play games with your loved ones, don’t blast an airhorn in their ears if you win, unless you have eaten first.  

Also, they will hate you less if you shove a burger in their mouth whilst they are shouting at you.

Well, that’s the theory.  

If you want more great tips like this, then sign up to my free daily emails - the link’s below

Self Criticism

If you’re like a lot of my clients, you set big goals for yourself and you’re constantly switching your mind between the overall picture and the detail. 

Your To-Do list is probably as long as a freight train, and your mind is always on the next big thing. You want everything done yesterday so you can move on to the next - and you want it all done perfectly.

If this is you, then this way of thinking has probably helped you achieve the success you have today, but it can have its drawbacks; you can become unfocused, frustrated and anxious when you feel you don’t have enough hours in your days to do everything you want to do, despite achieving more in one day than most mere mortals can do in a week.

It takes all the joy out of what you do, and can make you a pain in the arse to live with. 

You could even end up with big personal problems caused by the pressure you put yourself under.

So, if you have a habit of being hard on yourself, how do you remedy this?

The trick to feeling more successful and fulfilled is simple:

• Take time to review everything you have achieved; don’t just focus on what you still have to do. When the to-do list is never ending, it’s tempting to ignore the jobs you’ve done and concentrate on what’s ahead, but this can be very damaging to your self-esteem. Your Inner Critic loves to see the negative in any situation, and focusing on the positive - even just briefly - helps keep them in their place.

• Give yourself a pat on the back and reward yourself for doing a good job, especially the boring shit you have to do like getting your bookkeeping done on time, or keeping your Health and Safety manual up to date. Such thankless tasks take effort to organize whether you’re doing them yourself or delegating to others. Give yourself recognition for all the little things you make happen, not just pulling off the big projects.

• Notice all the good things you already have in your life; your family and friends, your health, your free time, your home and possessions… Focus on feeling truly grateful for all that you have. The trick to instant happiness is to notice all the amazing things you have right here, right now. It’ll help you remember how far you’ve come, and how lucky you are.

Becoming more self-aware and identifying your barriers to performance is an essential part of personal development. Some people think coaching is a load of airy-fairy nonsense, but if that were true then the most successful companies on the planet wouldn’t be pouring millions of pounds into coaching for their teams.

If you’re curious about coaching but  not ready to invest in yourself yet, then sign up to my daily emails for a taste of what I talk about. The link's below

Self help with sounds

I meditate every day - sometimes just for five minutes, sometimes for over an hour.

On workdays, I tend to tune into shorter meditations on the Peleton app just after I’ve worked out and stretched. You can choose how you want to feel from a chocolate-box menu of titles such as “Deep Relaxation”, “Focus” and “Courage”.

Today, a different one caught my eye “Alanis Morissette Meditation”.


Back in the 90’s and 00’s I bought all the Alanis albums. Sometimes the songs were uplifting, like “One Hand in my Pocket”, but many were fabulous, angry songs like “You Oughta Know” with lyrics like:

“Did you forget about me, Mr. Duplicity?

I hate to bug you in the middle of dinner

It was a slap in the face

How quickly I was replaced

And are you thinking of me when you f*ck her?”

That was the sort of song you’d put on when you’d been dumped by a shithead who never deserved you in the first place. Even if you hadn’t been dumped recently, it took you back to a time when you had been, and it made you want to give your ex a piece of your mind for all the hours you wasted crying over them.

“You Oughta Know” is the sort of song you’d screech at the top of your lungs at 2 am, when you have an empty bottle of red next to the sofa and you’ve moved on to the sticky bottle of Tia Maria that’s been forgotten since Christmas, one hand sloshing your glass around, the other punching the air, with black mascara tears running down your cheeks.

Epic cathartic ugliness!

Music connects us to emotions and memories, and can instantly take us back to previous events in our life - not just 2D movie-like memories, but back to where you feel all the emotions you felt the first time around.

It’s due to Hebb’s Law of neuroplasticity, often simplified to the phrase, “Neurons that fire together wire together”.

I’ve spent some intense emotional hours listening to Alanis Morisette, and now I associate her with some quite fierce, dark feelings. The sort of feelings that aren’t particularly helpful when you’re aiming to still your mind and centre yourself for your clients before a day’s coaching!

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m wired with an ADHD brain, but even though Alanis has made a beautiful, tranquil album of meditation music, the mere mention of her name got my brain racing back to darker emotions.

As her new, soothing music played, all I could think about were Alanis’s angry songs - they were playing louder in my head than her meditation music - raising my heart rate, furrowing my brow, bringing back the memory of 2 am Tia Maria.

Luckily, I was able to laugh at how ridiculous my brain was being when it was choosing to focus on the wrong thing. I found another meditation class to listen to, and I settled into a peaceful mental whitewash, with only the faintest echo of Angrylanis in the cerebral shadows.

When I’m in the gym, I have a certain playlist full of old school hip hop that for some reason helps me focus on lifting weights. I think it’s because the lyrics are strong and gritty, the beats bang hard, and my body just seems to respond to it. I’ve listened to the same type of music to work out to for years, so the neurons are wired together well - so much so that even when I feel tired and really don’t want to work out, if I put my playlist on then I’ll always manage to do something.

How could you use music to your advantage this week? Do you need to be soothed? Do you need to be pumped up? I guarantee there’s a song somewhere that can immediately take you back to a place and time where you can connect to the state you’re after.

Find the music and play it - you’ll be surprised how easily you can self-help with sounds.

If you want more tips like this, then sign up to my FREE daily emails. the link’s here

Win the morning and win the day

I spoke to two clients yesterday with exactly the same problem: 

“Help! I’m spinning out - my day feels such a mess - I’m all over the place and I feel like I’ve been really busy but also not getting anything done that I wanted to!”

It’s such a common problem, and it can make you feel anxious, demoralised, inadequate, and fearful you’re letting both your colleagues and your clients down.

Not a great cocktail of emotions to be living with!

Not the type of day that’ll have you sauntering back home with a cheesy grin on your face, ready to reward yourself with a feet-up, hands-behind-the-head, “Who’s the daddy? I’m the daddy!” kind of proclamation to your adoring dog. 

(Ever noticed how impossible it is to impress a cat? I digress…)

Obviously, there was lots to talk about individually to both these clients to help them sort their scrambled egg-for-brains, but the one piece of advice I gave to both of them is to work on their morning routines.

As Tim Ferris says, “If you win the morning you, you win the day”.

If you fall out of bed, freak yourself out reading emails on your phone before you’ve even had a pee, mutter about the dickheads who’ve emailed you and ruined your morning whilst  you rapidly chow down your Weetabix, head to the office and immediately get bombarded with 101 other requests before you’ve had time to start up your laptop, then you’re probably not set up to have the most organised day. 

A simple morning routine is the key to teeing yourself up for a good day. 

Morning routines don't have to be long or complicated, but preferably include a bit of exercise to get your blood pumping - even if it’s just a short walk or a few yoga poses, hydrating yourself, eating something nutritious (not just a Pop Tart), and making a plan for your day before you go anywhere near your phone messages or emails. 

Make some time to quietly contemplate what you want to do that day:

  • Who do you most need to speak to?
  • What tasks are critical?

Then, weave these into your day - decide what you will do and when.

When you start to put things into your diary around the meetings and obligations you already have, then you’ll probably realise you only have time to do three or four things, but at least you’ll have a realistic expectation of what you can achieve, and you’ll be less likely to waste time doing things that aren’t important, or promise too much to anyone else. 

Obviously, life will throw you curveballs, and some days will be trickier to handle than others, but a good morning routine will at least give you a fighting chance of coming home feeling relaxed and smug. 

If  you want more tips like this, then sign up to me FREE daily emails. The link’s below

You’re just too much!

I was talking to a lady the other day who was worried her energy levels were “too much” at times for the people she worked with, and she didn’t know quite what to do about it.

My question to her was “You’re too much compared to whom?”

Compared to someone who’s had no sleep for three weeks?

Compared to the Dalai Lama?

Compared to the manager at your local Waitrose?

Compared to a pair of 13-year-old girls stuck in a lift with Justin Beiber after two cans of Red Bull and a packet of Haribo?

Here’s the thing - we all have different energy levels, and we have different ways of expressing ourselves.

Some people will love our energy levels and some people won't.

Some people will love us on one day and want to slap us on another, depending on what’s going on in their head that day.

When I first started coaching, I used to feel as if I was lacking something because my style was different to the high-energy coaches out there. I thought I wasn’t bringing enough to the table in terms of getting people fired up.

It wasn’t long before someone said to me they liked my calmer style - they didn’t always need to be pumped up - a lot of the time they needed to calm down in order to think straight.

That being said, I do get times when I feel over-exuberant, and when I do I just go with it!

It doesn't matter how you turn up every day, you’ll never please everyone so you might as well please yourself.

Some people will think you’re over the top and some people will wish you looked a bit more enthusiastic.

It’s not your job or even within your power to control their reactions to you, so don’t trouble yourself with the task.

As the great saying goes - other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.

That being said, if you aren’t happy with your own energy levels then you can definitely do something about it!

If you’re feeling uncomfortably frenetic, then you might decide to dial down the caffeine, organise your work day so you aren’t flitting from one thing to the next without completing things, and do some regular meditation or deep breathing.

If you’re always feeling sluggish then you could take more regular exercise, cut down on junk food and booze for a while, or declutter your brain because you could be weighed down with your thoughts.

If you need help with stuff like this, then being coached is an excellent way to explore the options - if you want to get helpful coaching insights every weekday then sign up to my FREE daily emails - the link’s here:

But as a general rule of thumb, decide to turn up as yourself every day, not the person you think everyone else wants, because that mythical creature doesn't exist!

Pardon your French!

Did you sit in French lessons at school? I’m guessing you probably did…

Could you translate the following into French for me, please? They’re all words you’ll have come across at some point in your lessons…

“My red dog with a very small head is late for his trip to the swimming pool because he threw his salt and pepper through the baker’s window.”

(Please don’t ask me why this is the first sentence I thought of - I’m starting to worry about myself!) 

How did you get on? 

You probably got “chien” and maybe even “poivre” right, and possibly “la piscine”, yeah? 

But you probably struggled with the words for “late” and “trip” if you’re not fluent and never got much past learning French in school.

Google translate tells me it’s, "Mon chien roux avec une toute petite tête est en retard pour sa sortie à la piscine car il a jeté son poivre par la fenêtre du boulanger."

(Even that might not be completely correct, but I’m too shite at French to know what’s right and what’s not!) 

Here’s the thing - you probably remembered “chien” because it’s one of the first words you ever learned in French lessons, and you loved going home and proudly telling your mum that Beano was your “chien”. 

It made you feel terribly chic and worldly-wise. 

“La piscine” might have stuck in your head after a few times of being scolded for forgetting it was spelt with a “c”, and you might have remembered it because of the jokes about “pissiiiin’ in the swimming pool”. 

“Poivre” stayed current in your head because you really like steak with pepper sauce. 

But the other words didn’t make any lasting impression on you once you’d sat your French exam. You recognise them when you see them, but you can’t recall them easily. 

Why the hell am I banging on about red dogs throwing pepper today? 

Well, some of my clients get really upset with themselves when I remind them of tips and strategies they’ve tried once or twice and forgotten to carry on, or thought were a good idea and never put into practice. 

They get annoyed that they forget things they feel should be obvious. 

But learning the skills that give you an easier or more productive life are essentially no different from learning any other skills like a language or playing a musical instrument. 

Unless something lodges in your brain immediately because it’s linked to a strong emotion in your memory, or it’s hammered in by repetition, then it will probably slip from your mind. 

That’s why I’ll often repeat things, or take things back a few steps in order to make sure you have a solid base to build on if I’m coaching you. 

The link’s below if you want to find out more about how to apply to work with me.

(And I bet you say “Bonjour le chien!” next time you see a dog!)

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