Once in a Lifetime?

I'm sometimes asked why successful business owners and executives come to me for coaching.

  If you've ever heard the genius song "Once in a Lifetime" and seen the video from the 80's, you'll get an idea of what it can feel like behind a smiling, successful exterior.

  As David Byrne said, "We operate half-awake or on autopilot and end up, whatever, with a house and family and job and everything else, and we haven't really stopped to ask ourselves, 'How did I get here?"

  If you recognise yourself in these images or relate to the song, then you'll probably benefit from talking to me... If you're feeling like Byrne looks, it's either because you're in the wrong place, or you're in the right place, but doing things the wrong way.

  And that's where I come in... book your triage call on the home page if you want to talk!

You’ll probably hate me for this…

I realise I could be offending 80% of anyone reading this, but you should never be afraid to speak your mind just because people may disagree with you, so here goes:

My name is Vicki La Bouchardiere, and I don’t join Stupid Queues.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not an arrogant cow who barges people out of the way for no reason, and I have manners; I’ll hold doors open for people, give up my train seat for an old person, and change the loo roll when I use the last square, but if I see I Stupid Queue, I don’t get in it.

My definition of a Stupid Queue is any circumstance where you make the conscious choice to queue longer than you need to, because you don’t want to upset people.

I experienced a Stupid Queue yesterday on the way back from Bristol. There were road works on the motorway, and there were warning signs that the lanes were due to merge, but long before the signs even began, there was a Stupid Queue in the left-hand lane; car after car, needlessly motionless.

I would say 80% of drivers were sat patiently in it. The rest of us, quite legally and safely, used the empty lanes.

Opinions are most definitely divided on the subject of queuing for roadworks.

The argument should be resolved by referring to the Highway Code, but sadly they leave it too woolly:

“262: When the 'Road Works Ahead' sign is displayed, you will need to be more watchful and look for additional signs providing more specific instructions.
* You MUST NOT exceed any temporary maximum speed limit.
* Use your mirrors and get into the correct lane for your vehicle in good time and as signs direct.”

The trouble is, everyone has a different opinion of what constitutes “good time”. For some, it’s as soon as they clap eyes on a lane-closure sign. For others, it’s when the two lanes physically merge.

I know this is going to upset a lot of people, as the majority of drivers join queues as soon as they see them but, in my opinion, the lanes should merge just before the cones. I don’t see the point of queueing earlier just to be “fair”.

What’s fairer, a 4X4 square or a 16X1 rectangle? Neither. They’re just shapes with the same area.

Similarly, a three-mile queue in one lane is no fairer than a one-mile queue in three lanes if everyone uses all three lanes to begin with.

Now, everyone has choices, and if you prefer to sit in a queue, then go for it.

The ones who stand out as giant skid marks on the pants of humanity are the self-elected Lane Police. These Guardians of the Stupid Queue consist mainly of the odd grumpy lorry driver, and travel-sweet-sucking, bowls-club committee members who straddle two lanes to stop others getting past.

(I won’t drive dangerously to overtake them, so I sit behind them nicely and contemplate my naval for as long as it takes. It’s not the same as opting to join a Stupid Queue; I’m merely obstructed by a lump of Stupid, which requires a different plane of thinking.)

I’ve had a look on forums to see if there is any real justification for immediately grinding to a halt in one lane, but I found opinions based on flawed logic and emotion.

“If I can be in the right lane at the right time, and they can't be bothered to be in the right lane, then I can't be bothered to let them in. Those same people wouldn't try to force their way in front of me at a supermarket checkout, so why do they consider it OK to do it on the road?” Rolebama

No, Rolebama – I wouldn’t dream of pushing in front of you at a supermarket checkout, but I sure as hell don’t think everyone should queue up for one bloody checkout when others are empty, just because there is only one door out of the supermarket.

“I think that the people who queue jump think they are more important than the rest of us, but mainly the boy racer, sales rep or business owners seem to do it the most.” tommytwotanks

I’m sorry tommytwotanks, (there’s an anagram in there somewhere) when is the last time you made a legitimate demographic study of drivers approaching roadworks?

“I'm not joking, I never let them in (even if it means driving 1cm from the car in front to stop them squeezing in). Let the obnoxious b***tards wait for ever.” Solare

Jeez, Solare. You are one angry fucker, and it’s illegal to drive with just a fag-paper between you and the car in front.

But, Solare is nowhere near as angry as Googleking who says, on the subject of drivers undertaking queues on the hard shoulder:

Yes, hard shoulder driving is a definite no-no”. I agree with you Googleking, that’s just wrong. But then he says:

“People that do that are truly arrogant and ought to be shot in the face.”


There is some real anger out there. Just think, if you are queue-lover, you could be sat behind an aggressive psycho like Googleking, thinking the vegetarian life-coach overtaking you is the nutter!

I won’t make any new friends expressing this opinion, as people who join Stupid Queues will always justify their behaviour and demonise mine, but their is behaviour is, on the whole, driven by emotion not logic.

I know this, because I get far more resistance to merging into a queue in my Range Rover than my Smart Car. I guess most people think female Range Rover drivers are spoilt bitches, whereas female Smart Car drivers are prone to making genuine mistakes (like they did in the car showroom).

Regardless of whether you think people should join the longest queue for roadworks or not, the point I’m making here is just because most people act in a certain way, it doesn’t mean you are wrong to do something differently, even if you meet resistance.

The problem is in their heads, not yours. If the road is clear, keep your foot down, and ignore the negativity.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to fucking play it loud!

Bob DylanFifty years ago today, on May 17th 1966, Bob Dylan played a gig that some say changed the course of music forever.  He was playing the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, where he received one of the most famous heckles in music history.

You see, Dylan made his mark as an acoustic folk artist in the early sixties and gained a huge following.  The trouble came when he ventured into introducing electric instruments for a rockier sound.  Many of his folk fans were upset that he was straying from his acoustic roots and booed at his concerts when he introduced his electric band.

At the Manchester gig, he played the first half of his concert completely acoustically, and many people thought he had “learned his lesson” after receiving boos, and was shunning electric instruments to return to his acoustic roots.

However, he brought on his electric band for the whole of the second half, and this is where he received his famous heckle; someone in the crown shouted “Judas!”.

But Dylan wasn’t going let anyone piss on his parade and shouted back “I don’t believe you!” before instructing his band to play it loud, and launched into a mighty version of “Like a Rolling Stone”.

Many believe this pivotal event was where pop music turned into rock music.  Dylan took a stand against many of his loyal fans and did what he wanted to do.  He refused to let people who didn’t want him to change dictate the course of his career.


I have so much respect for the guy, and as a coach I often have to remind people that when you decide to change things about yourself, you will often come up against resistance from people who love you exactly as you are.

If you are changing things in your life, you may get heckles but you just have to follow your instincts and crack on regardless.

Remind them it’s your life, your choices and you will deal with whatever consequences that may arise – not them.

Sometimes you’ve just got to fucking play it loud!

“Here She Comes… Miss Angina!” Why using your brains isn’t always clever…

princess-crown-1416509Yesterday on Facebook, I found myself feeling a little judgemental about one of my friend’s posts.

He had posted a video about how his company was sponsoring a local beauty pageant this year.

“Oh dear”, I thought “Does this shit still go on in 2016?”

Although I’m not a staunch feminist – I wear make-up and thank gentlemen who open doors for me rather than spit on them – I do believe that women should be valued for more than the way they look.  It bothers me the amount of pressure young girls are under to appear flawlessly beautiful and slim.

However, whenever I get judgemental, I always like to have a little word with myself and look for the other sides of the argument.

The girls who enter these pageants often launch successful careers off the back of their success.  Why should we judge anyone who uses their strengths to make a living?  Yes, beauty is only skin deep, but there is a massive industry that employs individuals whom other people, like you and me, like to look at.

Or look at it this way; you don’t have to use your brain to be a top athlete either, but people don’t look down their noses at Jessica Ennis-Hill for not using her psychology degree to earn a living.

The crucial point anyone entering these competitions needs to consider is that they don’t define themselves solely on the way they look.  They need balance in their lives, and they need to appreciate all aspects of themselves, so when their looks fade their self confidence remains.

And that need for balance is not just reserved for beauty queens:

In my work as a coach, I have been privy to the struggles faced by top executives, and I can tell you that many of them are completely shagged up the arse by the companies they work for.  The demanding lifestyle they lead causes multiple marriage breaks-ups and health problems, but because they define themselves by their careers, they keep bending over and taking it.

Just because they have an MBA, it doesn’t make them any less likely to be treated like disposable objects.  There is always someone waiting to pounce into their warm leather chair when they break.

Their self-esteem should not be dependent on hitting sales targets, any more than Miss UK’s should be dependent on the way she looks in a bikini.

Sadly, however, prostituting yourself for your career in business is more socially acceptable – and even admired.

I personally think that’s more fucked-up than strutting your stuff in swimwear to earn a crown, because you are supposedly earning your crust with your brains.

If my daughter had a choice between being a beauty queen with high self-esteem, great health and great relationships or being a highly-paid executive who never sees her kids, on marriage number four with a stress-related heart condition, I’d get her into that gold bikini quicker than she could say “World Peace”.

So – be beautiful and/or clever and/or good at the 100m hurdles, but above all be balanced and show love to yourself and the people you care about.

That’s the true definition of success.

Dearly Beloved, We are gathered here today to get through this thing called Life.

PrinceSo, yesterday we lost another legend – our dearly beloved Prince. 2016 seems to be reminding us that our time on this planet is limited, and those people who appear larger than life are no less mortal than us.

Prince was a rare multi-talented musician who could play dozens of different instruments as well as sing, write and act.

Popular legend has it that he left behind a vault of unreleased music of more than 2000 recordings. He was massively prolific; some say he recorded something every day.

Prince once described his creativity as a curse; “If I didn’t make music, I’d die,” he said.

Maybe we are the ones who are truly cursed because we don’t have that urgency to express our talents. We just sit back waiting for the right time, the right planets to align, the right fucking mood to catch us, before we dare to indulge our sad sorry arses in our passions – the things that light us up and make us feel fulfilled.

I read an article that appeared in Modern Drummer when Prince was interviewed in 1995. He was an excellent drummer himself and didn’t like using drum-machines on his recordings. He said “(A drum machine) is not human, and we’re human beings. What happens with a drum machine is, after a certain point, you stop listening to it. You don’t hear it because there is no emotion. It’s too perfect, and in reality, nothing is perfect.”

It’s too easy to look in on the lives of successful people and think they are better than you in some way. They aren’t necessarily better, they just do the actions every day to take them towards their goals.

The recordings in Prince’s vault may not all be brilliant – in fact there could be some real ropy shit in there – but what his vault represents is the constant action he took to express and develop his talent.

Maybe more budding musicians would have the courage to express themselves publicly if they heard some of his less than perfect material, to give them the belief that success is built on hard work and experimentation – not just raw talent.

When I first started coaching and then writing, I became very aware of my own imperfections. I felt I had to be a great role model to inspire people to lead the best possible lives, and I got very frustrated with myself when I had down days and struggled. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, let alone anyone else.

I think I felt like that because many of the books and material I had consumed was full of “perfect”. The coaches always seemed to be in control of their emotional state – they had found “The Answer”. I felt a failure when I didn’t feel perfect all the time.

I’m not saying their material was wrong – I mean, who wants to listen to a load of whining when you want to read something inspirational – but what it didn’t give me was realistic insight into their ups and downs, their victories and their struggles.

It’s one of the main reasons I write emails every weekday to my readers. My overall aim is to inspire people to live the best life they possibly can, and also to let them know that to achieve anything worthwhile, they will have ups and downs, good days and bad days, victories and challenges.

I share my ups and downs alongside my coaching tips because that’s real life.

Sometimes I find it really to hard to write every day, but I do my best to give something of value, because I believe what I do is worthwhile – it lights me up and makes me feel fulfilled when I know I have helped someone, and strangely enough that’s often achieved with the words I am least happy with I am writing them.  My emails and blogs are a big part of my Vault.

I’m not perfect, but I’m working constantly to get better and better at what I do.  If you want to achieve something worthwhile, you’ll need to do that too, whether you’re running a business, writing a book, or being a superstar legend like Prince.

Even being a great parent or partner requires constant effort and input from you.

It doesn’t just happen, so stop waiting for everything to be perfect – go and make a start on your Vault, and become a legend in your own right.

Do You Know Someone In The Evil Vortex of GTMF?


Last week, I asked people to email me with any issues that are on their minds, and there was one issue that came up three times and I think deserves a post of its own.

The issue is The Evil Vortex of Giving Too Many Fucks: It can suck any one of us in at any time.

We’re strange creatures, and we often behave in exactly the opposite way to which we design our machinery; when we build an engine, we fit it with all sorts of dials and pressure gauges to alert us to when something isn’t right.  When we see a warning light we stop the engine and get it looked at – we don’t try to work on it while it’s still running, and we certainly don’t go full throttle while all the lights are flashing and the alarms are sounding.

But we do it to ourselves.  Not all of us, granted, but lots of us.

Me? Oh boy! I’ve been in The Vortex.  I am very aware of my warning lights now, but there was a time when my dashboard was lit up like a seventies disco, and I pushed myself harder and faster and got sucked further into the whirling mess of crap until it spat me out on my arse and I crawled pitifully to my bed.

I had nervous exhaustion.  My body packed up because my head was screwed.

I’ve seen it happen time and time again to people around me; it starts with coping with a bit of bad luck; something goes wrong in life – as it does for everyone, but then something else and something else…

I hate to quote that old wives’ phrase “Everything comes in threes” but sometimes it seems like that (and quite often it’s nines and tens); you get made redundant, then your cat gets a tumour, then, when you think things can’t get any worse, you fall off a pavement and break your ankle.

You look up to the heavens and shout “I don’t know if you exist or not, but if you do then I think you are a sadistic bastard!  Would you please spread some of this shit out, because I’ve had enough!”

And then, just when you should really be taking time to be kind to yourself and rest up, you get the voices in your head that say “You really should be doing this now”, and “What will so-and-so think if you don’t do that…”, and “That person is depending on you – you need to get on your crutches and go and help them (after you’ve collected the cat from the vet on a pull-along trolley, and cried about how you will pay the bill)”.

You basically start giving way too many fucks about every tiny little thing that a: isn’t perfect in your life and b: needs doing, and c: what you think other people are judging you about.

Then you go into overdrive; you start to believe that other people’s lives will fall part if you aren’t holding it together for them.  You take on more than you need to because of a perverse compulsion to achieve, mend, finish, tidy and nurture, when you are falling apart yourself.

The more the pressure and speed picks up in the vortex, the less able you are to stop and gather your wits.

Until The Vortex throws you out on your arse, in a dribbling, bloodied mess and you abruptly stop.  Your body says “No More!”


It’s at that point you realise that you don’t need to do everything, and the earth keeps turning without your direct involvement.  People cope without you. Some stuff doesn’t get done and the world doesn’t end.

Life goes on.

And people are there to support you.  And you slowly but surely gather your strength and join life again at a gentler pace.

While this can be a valuable learning experience, you don’t have to be spat out by The Vortex to get better.  You can learn to develop self-awareness like any other skill.  You can become aware of the warning signs early on and put strategies in place to protect yourself.

Sometimes you will be right up against it, but there is very rarely a situation where you can’t tell the world to stop for an hour or so every day, so you can gather your thoughts.  Quite often, that’s all it takes; a bit of time each day where you stop and breathe and get the logical part of your brain to make lists and prioritise. Ask yourself what are the most important things you need to do, and what you can shelve or delegate.

The classic life-coaching analogy is the oxygen-mask on a plane:  In an emergency, you are told to put your own oxygen mask on first before you try to help anyone else.  It just makes sense; when you are looking after yourself properly, you are more useful to those around you.  It’s not selfish, it’s common sense.

If you feel The Vortex doesn’t mean anything to you, and you are unlikely to get sucked into it any time soon, then be a good egg and keep a look out for others who are starting to spin.  People are getting sucked in everywhere. It may be work colleagues, friends or family members.  Just gently make them aware, and maybe even give them this to read, so they can start to recognise it in themselves.

Quite often, just a good chat with someone who is understanding and non-judgemental can be enough to help them out of the spin. Let them know it’s OK to apply the brakes and take themselves off for repair.  The world will keep spinning while they are standing still, and they will feel more able to take on the challenges when they have had time to “oil” their brain.

Spread the luuuurve, baby – you may never know how important this message could be to someone who needs to hear it!

I send out life-coaching tips like this every weekday to my email group – if you’d like to get some good stuff in your inbox that will help you get the best out of your life, then enter your details in the form opposite and join the gang…

Feck Your Excuses, And The Feeble Horse They Rode In On!

wooden-toy-horse-1417469    Ever say you’re going to do something then give up when it starts to feel uncomfortable for you?  Things like losing weight, or training for a run, or writing a book or studying for an exam?  You make all the excuses under the sun for why you aren’t able to do it – you don’t have the time, something stressed you out and put you off course, somebody made it difficult for you…

    I had a lazy Sunday morning last weekend and watched a programme called “Obese- A Year to Save My Life”.  It’s one of those popular documentary style programmes that shows people being coached by experts to make weight-loss transformations.  I love watching stuff like this as I find it fascinating how different people react to pushing themselves outside their comfort zones.

    In this particular programme, Tony, a 49-year-old guy weighing 400lb (28.5 stone) was being coached to lose half his body weight in a year.  He was told he wouldn’t live much longer of he didn’t.  You might think that would be enough to make anyone lose weight, but often it isn’t.  People make excuses about why their circumstances make it impossible to get fit, and carry on being dangerously overweight.

    Tony put his weight gain down to the stress of having a son with cerebral palsy when he was 21, and working in the fast-food industry all his adult life.  Food was his comfort – something many of us can relate to, but it was killing him.

    Tony set off really enthusiastically with a great attitude.  He wanted to lose half his body-weight by his 50th birthday – a year from his first weigh-in, so that he could feel good about himself and live longer for the sake of his children.  He was given guidance on food and exercise by his coach.

    Almost as soon as he started, he heard the devastating news that his disabled son was gravely ill and fighting for his life.  Tony was devastated, but used his emotion to spur him on rather than give up – in his mind, both he and his son were fighting for their lives and if he didn’t give up then he hoped his son wouldn’t either.

    Tony was 100% focused on his weight-loss goal.  He was committed to eating healthily and spent many hours working out – so many hours that his fiancé complained that he didn’t spend enough time with her anymore and she found his new diet was too restrictive for her to deal with.  She had no interest in joining him getting fit, even though she was very overweight herself.

    Tony had to choose between his weight-loss goal and her, and he chose to stick to his guns even when it meant losing her.  Their relationship had ended and he moved out.

    He kept repeating on camera that this was the first time in his life he was doing “something for Tony”, and it felt too important to let anything or anyone stand in his way.

    Tony had nowhere to go when he left his fiancé, and spent his time either sofa-surfing or living in his car.  He was homeless.  He could have turned to junk food at this point but he didn’t; he kept buying healthy food and he kept working out.

    He kept losing the weight.

    A few months later, he suffered the devastating blow of his son’s death.  He was grief-stricken.  He could have turned to food and given up exercising in the midst of this tragic event, and nobody would have blamed him, but to him, his own health had become an all-encompassing priority, and not even a tragedy that huge could derail him.

    He had made his own health a complete priority.  Absolutely nothing could stop this guy.  On his 50th birthday they filmed his final weigh-in.  He had lost half is body-weight- over 14 stones – as he had intended, and he was quite rightly very emotional as he reflected on how it had been both the best and most difficult year of his life.  He had a new fiancé and had retrained in a new career.  He had turned his life around, despite everything being stacked against him.

    I was watching this thinking about how make excuses for myself.  I weigh a few pounds more than I want to at the moment – nothing much, but enough to niggle me that I can’t get into my size 8 jeans.  I am always derailing – I say I have to eat chocolate when I am hormonal, I reward myself with a cake when I have had a busy day at work, and I eat a full English breakfast in a hotel because I’m on holiday, and holidays don’t count when it comes to calories…all sorts of bullshit like that…

    Compared to Tony, I am a feeble twat.  I have no right to complain about my clothes not fitting because I haven’t been fully committed to my own weight-loss goal, plain and simple.

    Is the same true for you?  I’m not necessarily talking about weight loss goals here – but anything you say you want to do, and keep giving yourself excuses as to why it’s too difficult for you right now.

    Well, feck your excuses and the feeble horse they rode in on!

   It isn’t too difficult.

   You just don’t want it enough.

    Why? Maybe you think you are being too selfish going for your goals when the people around you complain that it feels bad for them.  Maybe you just don’t see the end vision clearly enough. Maybe you aren’t doing it for yourself – you are doing it to impress someone else. Maybe you are afraid of failure so give up before you have given it a really good try.

    Whatever it is you are aiming for, whether it’s weight-loss, a marathon run, starting a business, or being the best parent you can be, make sure you have worked out not just What you want, but Why you want it.

    Then work out How; what you must do and who can help you?

    It also helps to give yourself a When, too.  It helps you visualise a point in time when you will feel great because you did what you set out to do.

    Above all, don’t give up on yourself even when things feel difficult.  Your own excuses will be your downfall:  If you never give yourself any, nothing can get in your way.  This life isn’t a dress rehearsal, so either go for what you want, fully committed, or stop your moaning!

    Getting help along the way is vital to achieving great things, and I can help you – FREE!  It’s easy to get derailed, and because of this, I send out free coaching tips and insights every weekday that will help you get the most out of your life.  It’s part of my big goal to improve the lives of a million people by changing the way they think.  Be warned – my emails aren’t for everyone – I sometimes use bad language and talk about rude stuff because I like to have a laugh with my readers, so don’t sign up if you are easily offended.  If you are open minded and up for some fun in your in-box (ooh-err), you can sign up on the form opposite.



Not Excited About Valentine’s Day?

Free Stock Photo: sweet heart - a heart shaped valentine chocolate treat

I used to dread Valentine’s Day.  The single most depressing activity of my unhappily married life was looking for greetings cards for my husband. I would look at all the lovely words in the cards expressing love and gratitude for time spent together, and although I didn’t hate my husband and we rumbled along together without constantly fighting, I felt signing my name at the bottom of a verse of sweet sentiment was just plain lying and I ended up having to go for the comedy cards, or simply ones which said Happy Anniversary or Happy Valentine’s Day.  What I really wanted was a card that said:

Valentine’s Day. Really?

It’s not long after Christmas

And I’m finding it quite hard

To buy another present

And another sodding card

So here’s some heart shaped chocolates

(I thought that we could share…)

Not thoughtful or original

Do I look as if I care?


It looks pretty sad when you see it in verse, but it was the way I felt in the latter part of my married life.  My ex had his faults but he wasn’t a monster, and most of the internal damage was done by me; I used to focus on feeling sorry for myself and wish someone would come along with a magic wand to make my life amazing.

I didn’t realise I was the one with the bloody wand.  Nobody told me.  But I am here to tell you that your magic wand is around somewhere.  You just need to find it.  It’s somewhere buried under the piles of “I Hate My Job” and “My Thighs Are Too Fat”.  If it’s not there, try looking down the back of the “If He Cared About Me, He Wouldn’t be Such a Dick” sofa.

I am a life coach, and in my new book “How To Live With a Dickhead”, I give you all the advice you need to find your magic wand and make your life amazing.  It’s written in down to earth language and I do swear a bit so please don’t buy it if you are easily offended!

Click here for a Free Peek into the book before you buy…

Sign Up To My Weekday Emails Here!

I’ve been getting a great response to my weekday emails – so many people tell me they look forward to getting their daily dose of tips, insights and motivation thrown together with a bit of humour and rudity.

Don’t let the term “Life Coach” put you off: I’m not a tree-hugger but I do have one simple aim – to teach you how to think better so you can have a happier life.  Who wouldn’t want that?

Please don’t sign up if you’re easily offended.  I occasionally use bad language and inappropriate humour. I do it to filter out excessively dull people from my life.  You have been warned.

If you are intent on being a miserable fucker for the rest of your life, I probably can’t help you, but if you want to get on board with a happier vibe then give me your email address and let’s get talking!