What Really Matters, When It Comes to The Crunch.

I recently posted about what it’s like to have a relationship after having PTSD, and I think I covered quite a lot of things that everyone goes through when it comes to relationships, ptsd or not. Mainly I spoke about the fear that surrounds my decisions, the worry of whether or not this is the ‘right’ person to be with. Should I commit further or bail out now while there is still time?

The funny thing is that, prior to posting the blog article I found myself talking to a friend about her relationship. One which is entwined with her work, and her identity. A couple so close that they’re almost one. They’re at the point where there are lots of changes happening and the fear was cropping up big time.

She told me of her worries for the future. That she would find superficial things to focus in on and use it as was evidence to start an argument with her partner. Using one small insignificant thing to question the whole relationship.

I couldn’t help but think of the irony of this whole situation as I told her about the blog post I’d written but not yet posted, and that I was experiencing exactly the same thoughts too. We discussed these fears and we picked them apart – one of the things I’m known for throughout my friends, allowing the space to express these fears, unravel them and come back to earth with two feet on the ground. I’ve done it so often for myself over the past few years that I’m happy to share this art form with others, such a weird, unique yet valuable skill.

The thing is that when it comes to big vulnerable life choices like ‘who should I spend my life with?’ we have to ask ourselves what really matters when it comes to it?

Does it really matter that our significant other does stuff that sometimes annoys us, or is it more important that they show love and care towards us when we’re vulnerable?

Does it really matter that we don’t agree with the style of clothing that they choose to wear, or is it more important that they show values like respect towards themselves and others?

Does it really matter that they might be quite a ‘bit older’ or in a ‘different social class’, or even from a different country, or is it more important that they honour diversity and equality in people.

Quite often our ego will give us excuses to push someone away because deep down we’re scared of being vulnerable.

But underneath all this noise of the ego, are the real things that we need to look out for.

The values that someone demonstrates in their actions over time.

The actions that show the values they’re made of.

Like when our significant other forgives us when we’ve been out of line, and shows us compassion when we express the pain underneath our actions.

Like when they take care of us when we’re ill or when they’re present for us when we’re upset, showing that love, care and presence.

Like when they listen to what we have to say, whether it pleases them or not because it’s the truth and they appreciate the honesty.

It’s the values that we see over time that show us who that person really is at their core, and it’s the values that really matter when it comes to choosing who we should spend our time with.

So if you too have fears coming up like so many of us do, ask yourself if those things are the things that really matter? Or if they’re superficial excuses that your ego is bringing up through fear of vulnerability, commitment or the future?

Strong values are always worth the fighting through the fears.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life thensign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exlusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

Sending you integrity and strength, Shereen x

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Calling out the BS on Coaching

Last year I tried a few new things.

I put myself out there when it came to launching my emotional intelligence program and I paid for some different coaching programs to help me build this element of myself along the way.

What I realised is that while I adore the world of personal and professional development, it is just like any other industry. It’s got the good, the bad and the ugly, and I’m going to call it out by sharing an experience with you.

I’m not doing this to cast any kind of bad light on the industry, if anything I want you to create more discernment in yourself. So that even if you do buy a program or pay for a coach that you can see that they are only human too and at the end of the day it’s up to you to lead your personal and professional development and pay for what you want to. Rather than getting roped into paying for a service that you don’t want/isn’t right for you for the benefit of lining another persons pockets.

The experience I had was on a coaching program where I was pushed to do a variety of things that pushed me out of my comfort zone – doing lots of online videos, putting myself ‘out there’ and opening up my social media profiles. At the time I resisted this because, if like me, you’ve opened up your profile before, you’ll know that a load of random people start intruding in your life. It’s exposing and unpleasant.

However, I trusted this process and went ahead.

What happened was that an abundance of men started posting sleazy comments on my wall and sending me inappropriate and rude messages – I actually received a dick pic sketch, now that’s a first. I’d love to say that I didn’t let this get to me, but it did.

I felt dirty and I felt cheap.

There I was expressing my thoughts and talking about the emotional intelligence tools that had helped me and being openly vulnerable about myself and my experiences, and here were all these unconscious leachy men scouring the internet for a cheap hit, and I was it.

I mean, I get it. We’re at a state of world evolution where men have ruled until now and somehow a lot of guys think these kind of tactics are successful when it comes to getting laid or even getting a wife. (Note to men – self check on this, has it ever actually worked? Think about that.)

Anyho, this wasn’t actually my issue. In fact I expected this as I’ve opened my profile before and the exact same thing happened. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my coach. A person who I had opened up to, allowed to hold my space while I grow and become vulnerable with.

This continued to happen and I was asked to continue to pursue and ‘trust the process’ even though every part of my instinct told me that it wasn’t right for me. And of ALL the things that I’ve learnt and that I teach it’s to listen to your instinct, but here I was ignoring mine because I thought that this coach clearly knew more than me.

After a while the coach approached me and asked me about the whole situation, and of course I got upset. I felt exposed, I’d been doing daily videos, receiving daily dick pics in my inbox and I felt like it was my fault.

This is the moment when I was pitched an expensive therapy session by the coach, that was suggested because it seemed like I needed it, rather that it being the methods of coaching that weren’t suiting me.

When I said I’d think about it because I wanted to talk to my boyfriend first I was told there wasn’t many slots available and that I should make the decision on my own.

The thing is that I very almost handed over my credit card details, because I was coming from a place of ‘I’m broken and I need to be fixed’ and ‘Obviously my subconscious is littered with more trauma that I’m not even aware of’. When the reality is that this whole thing was a perfectly scripted pitch that even the most aware of people get caught into – it’s the NLP push-pull technique of selling. I recognised this when I reflected on it because I know quite a lot about NLP, having had a father who was a practioner because he used it to help the grieving family members of his cancer patients (not to sell his own product, which is what I’m clearly against here). I also recognised it a second time when we were taught the very same technique in the ‘how to sell to clients session’ in the coaching program the following week.

I won’t go into all of it but there is a specific script and what it’s aimed to do is push and pull a client from one end of their emotional spectrum to the other, to the point where they’re a little disorientated. Then there’s a focus on creating urgency within the client after you’ve already pushed them into the undesired feeling of what their life will be like if ‘nothing ever changes’. Then it’s time to pitch your product or service which is clearly the only solution to this problem, and you ask them to hand over their credit card details.

Simples.

Manipulative.

And something I strongly disagree with when used by coaches or therapists.

The worst of it is that us coachees on this program were being told that we are here to serve these clients so it’s imperative that we ‘guide’ (what they actually meant was manipulate) the client through the purchasing journey. To me this is even worse because as trainee coaches we were being told that to do this was okay and justified because we’re ‘helping’ our client in the long run  – completely sidelining the fact that by pushing a sale we’re actually disempowering them because we’ve taken away their conscious choice.

Now if you are learning how to sell products and services, and this method feels authentic to you, great, continue doing it.

However, if you are learning this technique to sell a service that involves some kind of relationship element, like coaching or counselling I’d ask you to question your values on this.

Are we empowering our client if we use our greater awareness to ‘guide’ them into that relationship?

Is it empowering as a client to be pushed and pulled into a state of vulnerability so we make a decision that we might not have made otherwise?

Personally, I don’t agree with this method and I disengaged with my whole coaching program after that. I don’t believe that this kind of manipulation is okay and I don’t want to be part of it. That might mean that I never get my coaching business off the ground but I’ll take that chance to keep my values intact.

I told my coach what I thought directly. Clearly we disagreed and she assured me that she was acting in the best of intentions, and I believe that she was. She’s a kind hearted person who is genuinely trying to help people, and she does a great job of it too. But she was probably taught that this method is the way to build a business and never questioned it whereas I do.

This way of teaching coaches to start these relationships with vulnerable clients upsets me. It’s inauthentic, it’s disempowering and it’s creating flocks and flocks of sheep following the heard without questioning, the same way religion did and the same way new age spirituality does.

Whereas I want people to become empowered by becoming more descerning.

I want people to join my program if they believe it’s right one for them and it’s the right time for them.

I want them to call me out if they think I’m acting out of my ego – so I can become more aware and better as a coach, and they can start to trust their own instinct more.

I want us to be on a level playing field where I can hold space for them while they learn, because I don’t believe that anyone in life should be held on a pedestal.

Most of all I want us all to get to a state of empowerment where we are unmoved by these tricks of subtle manipulation.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, sign up to my newsletter for monthly insider tips on how to do this. My subscribers get access to free tutorials and are the first to know about exlusive offers on my Empower Yourself Program. If you’ll like to find out more about the workshops, training and tailored coaching packages I offer, head over to www.shereensoliman.com. 

With Absolutely No Bull Sh*t, Shereen x

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

Validate Good Behaviour Over Bad Behaviour

Another corner feels like it’s been turned recently, as I find myself working back on the boats, starting to feel like my old self again. For bad or for worse, this person I’m getting back to is cheeky, speaks her truth and acts out her free will with conviction. I’ve always been told that I’m a strong character. ‘Intense’ is a word that’s often used to describe me. Mostly with a negative connotation, as though to be fully expressive is a bad thing. However, as I feel more and more confident becoming the person that I truly am, I realise that these comments say more about another person’s fear than it does about my personality. I remember that I didn’t used to see it this way. I used to feel ashamed for being ‘too much’, for speaking ‘too honestly’ and especially for acting with integrity in a world where it seems so uncommon.

I’m not alone in this, and I find myself constantly reminding my friends, colleagues and good people in my life to embrace their unique differences completely. To be the best, fullest, strongest version of themselves that they can be. No matter what judgements they face. The thing is that in a world full of systems where most of us have been moulded into conformity, it’s difficult to break free from this. To do so creates a fear in others because it highlights the change that they are avoiding in themselves. This fear is what creates the judgements, the negative connotations, the knockdowns and then the shame.

After years of listening to these comments, we can take them on as our own internal voice, and use them to beat our self-worth into a pulp with the stick we were so often handed. As I finally stop doing this myself, I see the effects of this action all around me. I see colleagues who create the most exquisite and dynamic food you’ve ever seen, yet beat themselves down with words of ‘it can be better’. I see friends who continue to hit impossible sales targets, against all odds, yet tell themselves that it wasn’t good enough, and stay in situations where they’re not valued. I see family members who shine out creative talents, yet tell themselves that they’ll never make it because that’s what they’re being led to believe by others who didn’t have the courage to follow their own dreams.

To all of these people, I’ve found myself stopping them in their tracks and asking them to have a look at what they’ve created. To value their effort, their creativity, their grit and determination. To congratulate themselves, and bask in the glory of their achievement. To add credit to a self-worth that is so often starved of this positive feedback in a world where judgements outweigh compliments at a rate of  10 to 1.

I’ve also found myself putting in firm boundaries when I’m called to validate the worst behaviour in those around me. The drink drivers who off load their problems on strangers. The ‘friends’ who act without integrity and consume friendships with drama. The acquaintances in my life who act without accountability and in a way that is disrespectful towards others because they’re not willing to own the pain that they hold within. Firm boundaries because I don’t want to keep quiet and pretend like I’m okay with that kind of destructive behaviour. I’m not. So I won’t validate it with a silent smile while it continues on, spreading out further waves of negativity while a lack of personal responsibility takes place.

It’s not as though there is a group of ‘good’ people beaten down, and a group of ‘bad’ people beating them. There is no ‘them vs us’, and to see it that way only engages you in the internal battle that you keep firing up within yourself. The ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ lies in every one of us, and it’s up to us to decide in every moment which one we choose to fuel our behaviour.

For me, this whole journey has been about that and I haven’t found this easy. It’s been a constant exercise of stop, reflect and question. It’s been exercises of feeling into my body senses and my intuition to feel what feels good and what doesn’t. To reflect and ask myself, do my actions serve my values right now? To create the honesty in my friendships for feedback that isn’t nice to receive but will help me become the best version of myself. To tell people what I value about them, even if it makes me feel vulnerable. To call them out authentically, even if it means that I get caught up in the cross fire.

I wonder how the world would change if all of us tried to do this, or even if we do it just once, today. To ask a friend not to beat themselves up, and instead to tell them the value that you see in them and ask them to see it too? Or to call out a friend when they’re acting in a way which is hurting others? Isn’t it about time we started validating the best of each other and calling out our worst behaviour so we can all get on our way to being the best versions of ourselves?

Photo by MARK ADRIANE on Unsplash

More Honesty, Less BS Please

Quite often, friends come to me for advice. And quite often I tell them what I see, which to me is usually pretty obvious. However as I know myself, when you’re consumed in your own emotional whirlwind it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. I’m quite happy to share my observations – note, I try to not give advice on experiences that I haven’t had so I’ll always only offer up what I can see from an outsider’s perspective. Something that I find time and time again is that most people don’t like the truth. Sometimes it even angers them. But if you’re a friend of mine and you’re coming to me for advice then you know what you’re in for – the hard honest truth. I’ve even picked up the nickname ‘No shit Shereen’ from some friends, and I actually quite like the ring if it.

To some reading this, it may sound like I go around offending people, telling them ‘home truths’ that they’re not quite ready for (even though they came to me for advice – I don’t hand these insights out freely… at least not anymore anyway… far too many blow ups from people who adore living in an illusion)! My question here though is why are we all getting so offended by the truth these days? And second to that, if you don’t want to hear the truth then why are you asking someone else for advice?? Thirdly, why do most of us reply with polite half truths’ rather than being uncomfortably honest?

In my opinion this lack of uncomfortable honesty is what leads to resentment in relationships, and eventually that tears them apart. Whereas I’ve found that with tactile honesty (and sometimes the disclaimer of ‘I’d like to offer an observation but I’m not sure you’re going to like it, so I can keep quiet if you’re not ready to hear it?’) has become the mortar that’s bound so many of my deeply connected, authentic friendships. Although I’ve sometimes had to deal with some close friends getting ‘techy’ when they hear the ‘advice’ the result has usually been action that’s served them well. Over the last few weeks alone one friend has increased their circle, another has quit their job and landed their dream role and one more is making big changes in a relationship with a family member – all huge positive changes. All changes that came about because of some uncomfortable-to-hear, honest advice.

I sincerely think that if we all started to lean into this discomfort and share our honest observations with each other then the world itself would be a happier place. For certain it would be a ‘no shit Shereen’ kinda place.

I’m on a mission to create a greater sense wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. To teach others how to connect authentically with themselves, so they can connect authentically with others. It starts with learning self-awareness, maintaining a strong value system that serves us, and having the emotional intelligence to move through a whole spectrum of emotions so we can connect without attachment, and of course being HONEST!

If you want  the EQ tools to connect authentically with your values and the values of your fellow humans, then contact me directly to see how I can help you. Find out more about workshops, training and tailored coaching packages at www.shereensoliman.com. 

Shereen x

Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash