Friday 9 September 2016

National Teddy Bear Day: Reflecting on the role of Teddy Bear as Life Coach

So, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I have to confess that I'm really not much of a cuddly toy kind of person! 
But, I have just discovered that today is National Teddy Bear Day and that got me thinking!

For many of us, teddy bears, for many of us, have such a strong association with childhood and can evoke such strong memories of earlier years; of childhood dreams and ambitions, that their National Day seems a great excuse to stop for just a moment and reflect on how those cherished dreams and ambitions have evolved.
Are you living the life you imagined all those years ago when you cuddled up to your furry friend, whispering those innocent secrets? And, if you are not - is that a good thing? Is that because you have outgrown those desires, created new ones? Or simply because, it seemed too risky, too unconventional or perhaps, even too much effort? Is there a part of you that hankers for a different way of being - busier? quieter? more challenging? less stressful? If you could cuddle up with your favourite bear right now, what secrets would you share? Would you tell your friend you are happy? fulfilled? - or would you whisper of new dreams that linger at the periphery of your mind?
For many of us, teddy bears are also incredibly powerful state changers - just the sight or touch of a soft friendly bear can instantly bring a smile to our face, or tears to our eyes. For others, perhaps, an immediate sense of resistance and discomfort! But, whether the emotions they bring are positive or negative, understanding their power to evoke such feelings empowers us, allowing us to determine whether to utilise or reject them as a resource to manage our current state; a resource to help us dream or a resource to help us heal.
So, no apologies for posting about Teddy Bears: they are very influential life coaches in their own right.

Sunday 11 May 2014

Spare a Thought for the Donkeys

I wonder how many people realised that this week, in the UK, it is National Donkey Week? I love all things equine but hadn’t realised myself until the week was half done.

Donkeys have been an important part of our domestic life for thousands of years, working alongside us as beasts of burden throughout the ages, & they continue to be the mainstay of many poorer communities across the developing world; communities that could not survive without the humble working donkey to carry heavy loads across rough terrain, often in unforgiving climates. Such a shame then that, across the generations, donkeys have come to be synonymous with stubbornness & stupidity when, in fact, donkeys have a capacity for hard work & resilience that many of us who aspire to lead successful lives, might envy.

All very well, you may be thinking – but what have donkeys to do with coaching? Well, the answer lies in this poignant little tale about a donkey that fell into a well, for which I make no apologies if you have read it many times before.

Donkey in the Well (Author unknown)

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

 As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
And the moral is: life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a stepping-stone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

Now, isn’t that a powerful story to share on the last day of national donkey week? If you would like to read more about the lives of working donkeys across the world, please visit the website of my sponsored charity or to find out more about the welfare of donkeys in the UK, please visit

For daily inspiration & details of offers, why not check out my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter

Thursday 17 April 2014

Dream your dreams . . . Face your fears

Congratulations to Sarah Lees whose inspirational quote above received the most Likes on Facebook in last week's light hearted competition (see previous post). I love this quote for it's simplicity and because it is bursting with the optimism of unbridled aspiration and hope for the future. I have pinned the quote to the inspiration board in the reception area of Karen Carpenter Coaching where I hope it will inspire many more people and Sarah has duly received her choice of motivational notecard as a small thank you.

Continuing the theme, this week followers on Facebook were asked to share their favourite inspirational film. Two received an equal number of Likes by the deadline; 'Dune' and 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe' and my thanks go to Barrie Collins and (second week in a row) Sarah Lees respectively.

In all honesty, I am not sure I can imagine two more different films yet there is similarity in the focus each shines on the changing aspects of courage, determination and resilience. Of the two, I am much less familiar with 'Dune' so it was a revelation to discover that it is the source of an incredibly potent piece of motivational rhetoric, transcribed below

'I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.'

I am sincerely grateful to Barrie for sharing this quote; I find it has a power that is almost physical, a power that makes the hairs on the back of my neck come alive. Whether it would serve to sustain me in times of physical stress I cannot judge but, as a mantra to prepare for psychological challenges, it has few equals. My hope is that I am not often called upon to face such fears!

Needless to say, this quote is also now pinned to my board as a source of daily inspiration.


Thursday 3 April 2014

Do you have a favourite inspirational quote?

Hello everyone! Today, I thought you might like a little peek at the 'inspirational quotes' board in the reception area of Karen Carpenter Coaching.
My hope is that this board will gradually be filled completely with the favourite quotes of clients, followers & friends so, if you have a favourite quote that you think might inspire others, do please post in the comments section below. All quotes will be posted to the corresponding post pinned to the top of my Facebook page, 


The quote that receives the most likes, comments or shares on Facebook by midnight Sunday 6 April will be duly pinned to the board &, as a thank you, the sender will receive their choice of one of my motivational notecards; great for pinning on your own inspiration board - or for sending to friends who may be in need of a few words of encouragement.


Thanks in advance for participating, I hope you enjoy playing along and look forward to announcing the winner on Monday 7 April. In the meantime, here's one of my favourites from those already gathered on the board