Coaching in 2019

With instant and global connectivity there's really no limitation on coaching sessions.

Contact me now if you'd be interested in finding out more about what's involved - whether for a one-off kick up the ... session, a retreat like weekend, or a more gentle programme of coaching sessions.

Or first read about the myths and benefits of coaching over on my Purchasing Coach blog.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Learning from Nature's timing



Happy New Year - even if a little belatedly.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for some time but, as it’s about timing, I had to be patient as it wasn’t fully developed enough till now.

If you’ve only a few moments free then that’s the punchline too – not taking action till the timing is right, the pieces of the jigsaw are available and have all been turned over, spring has arrived or sunset is approaching.

Specifically not taking action too soon, nor hurried, nor just because you think you should, ought, or must be doing something.

Busyness for busyness sake will not deliver the harvest if the seed is planted too soon, nor will it be an abundant harvest if we keep pressing reset, checking its growing for fear of just biding time as it percolates and develops unseen till the time is right.


Yesterday’s #spiritchat on Twitter was about rituals – morning rituals, daily rituals or even annual rituals that we have that support our mind, body, and soul. It was the catalyst for writing this post on timing.

New year has always been a time for me revisiting my visions and goals. A time for some peace and quiet, time to release the old year and embrace the new. A time to have a transformation game, make a vision board and/or collage. A time of reflection and inspiration.


Except this year life got in the way, and my ritual moved out by a couple of weeks. Coincidentally out by a couple of weeks to when the weather turned much colder after a warmer December than normal!

Interesting therefore as I reflect on nature’s patterns that the new year doesn’t feature.

The 1st January is a human construct, an arbitrary date to reset the year. Our ancestors would have used nature’s patterns to live their lives by – whether that was aligned with sunrise, sunset, longest or shortest day, equinoxes, the arrival of spring or autumn, or so on.

In nature there’s a natural order of things – harvest comes some time after sowing, the longer the germination and growth period the greater the longevity of the outcome. If you want quick germination be prepared to have to resow repeatedly throughout the year.

It’s the metaphor of this natural order of things I want to explore today.

My belief is that logic can only get us so far in life, and logic can certainly throw a whole load of blocks and barriers in the way with its “that wont work”s, “it didn’t work last time”s, “I can’t”s, “must do it this way”s, and even “won’t”s.

That is, logic is great if we’re not dealing with expanding comfort zones, transformational change or the need for inspiration. These require a different language, a language logic has yet to learn.

Use of metaphor allows our mind and its logic to take a break as we get in touch with our inner wisdom – an inner wisdom that does not have words but understands and speaks in metaphor.

As you reflect on a situation you’d like more clarity on, perhaps one you’re becoming impatient about, or wondering when the best time to start would be, what aspect of nature’s timing comes to mind?
  • Sunrise/ Sunset
  • Day/ Night
  • Longest day/ Equinox/ Shortest day
  • Winter/ spring/ summer/ autumn
  • Full moon/ new moon
  • High tide/ low tide
  • Sow, grow, harvest, seed
  • others? 
If one pattern of timing jumped out at you, or another came to mind, take some time to reflect on what that pattern is about. 

Don’t jump too quickly to what it might mean in the current situation. Simply think about, or even write down or draw what you know about that pattern, look it up on the internet, keep digging into the pattern to discover all of its features - not just the obvious.

Last week sunrise was a pattern I was exploring, and its features included: 
  • It follows the night
  • It comes slowly
  • It’s timing is predictable
  • It can’t always be seen but it’s always there
  • There’s a sunrise happening somewhere in the world at every second
  • It’s beauty is often demonstrated when there’s just the right amount of cloud about 
  • It’s followed by a midday and sunset (it seemed like I went from one sunrise to the next without allowing time for the day to develop, nor end!)
The aim is to keep going. 

To keep exploring the pattern.

Once you’ve fully dived into the metaphor it’s a case of then relating it to the current situation. What different perspective might this pattern in nature be asking you to consider?

For example, here's some examples of what these insights might include, although this will relate to my own observations which will be impacted by my life experience at the moment, so don't be surprised if you get something very different: 
  • I need to have a little more patience - to set something off and allow it time to get to midday and beyond, to mix the metaphor a little, to not get angry because it's still below the surface of the ground developing. 
  • The need to sow more than the one seed might be helpful - ie an abundant harvest comes from sowing many seeds some of which will never grow or flourish.
  • The right time of tide depends on what you're doing - so don't judge yourself until you know the best time for the activity you're wanting to do - ie don't just follow everyone else - they might be wanting to fish not set sail! 
  • Jumping from one deadline to another isn't allowing anything to flourish and is killing creativity.  
  • Perhaps I just need to take action in a different location to take advantage that sunrise is at a different time there than here!! 
  • Rather than trying to do it myself and getting lost in the dark perhaps I can ask for help to provide some moonlit elimination.
  • And so on.
How to embed any insights that resonate can take various forms: 
  • You can stick with the metaphor and use screenshots or images of seeds growing or sunrises, or even go for a walk and observe the pattern in question, or 
  • You can invite your mind and its logic to help develop a plan to release the pattern.
Good luck, and may all your seeds grow and flourish.


There's many different ways that Landscaping Your Life (LYL) uses nature as our coach, nature’s landscapes as metaphors for our lives, to provide insight and inspiration for the task in hand. 

There's many posts here and there's even an index of highlights from 2018 that will also give you a flavour for what's possible, and includes the publication of Can’t see the wood for the trees which had featured on many a vision board for the last 20 years. (As they say, patience is a virtue and great things are worth waiting for.) 

For more on how I’ve used the LYL process in business see my posts on: Stuck in a rut, and See the wood for the trees in 2019 - planning for success in the year ahead

I look forward to hearing from you this year for personal coaching, group facilitation or speaking.

Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life
alison@alisonsmith.eu
+44 (0)7770 538159

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Using Nature as your Coach - event 2nd February

Fire Starter Festival 2019
Using nature as your coach for transformational change
2nd February 2019, 1300-1600
The Ecology Centre, Kinghorn Loch 
Investment - your time only
To book your place - click here 


If nature was your coach, and nature’s landscapes were metaphors for your lives then the answers you’re craving lie in the woods, fields and lochs.

This introductory session will provide you with a variety of ways of listening to nature’s questions, insights and suggestions when applied to areas in your life you’d like more clarity on. 

This summary of Landscaping Your Life (LYL) posts from 2018 may also provide some insight to the effectiveness and simplicity of the LYL tools. 

If weather permits attendees will be able to go out into nature. Which means anyone wanting to go outside should come dressed for the weather and conditions.

Please note: As we’re using metaphor you won’t need to disclose any personal information, nor  share with anyone the area of your life you’re wanting transformed. You just need to be open to trying something a little different to allow for a different outcome –  one that may have been eluding you for some time. 

Refreshments available for a donation – although the Barn on the Loch cafĂ© on site also has a selection of drinks and cakes etc.

You may also be interested in other Fire Starter Festival events taking place across Scotland 28th January to 8th February. (The Fire Starter Festival is a two-week festival of collaborative learning events, illuminating creative, disruptive and innovative ways in which we can all transform ourselves, our organisations and the wider system.)

Monday, 31 December 2018

A Landscaping Your Life Review of 2018

It's been quite a year for Landscaping Your Life (LYL) - the main highlight of course was in August when my first book Can't see the wood for the trees was published.


The book uses nature as our coach, nature's landscapes as metaphors for our lives and in particular explores the solutions for when we're metaphorically up the creek with a paddle, stuck in a rut, out on a limb, feel like a fish out of water, are going round in circles or can't see the wood for the trees. 

The book is written more as a dip in and out of reference manual - somewhere you go to when you're unsure what to do or want a different perspective. One reviewer on Amazon described the book as a first aid kit for the brain :-) when it had moved her from panic and overwhelm into calm and collected.

The book shares many of the different LYL tools and techniques and applies them to very specific situations where we're stuck, lost, or unsure what to do. Posts written in 2018 sharing some of the concepts from the book included:
Other LYL posts here in 2018 used nature a little more broadly than the sayings in the book, and also continued the theme of exploring our language as a source for the solution not just a description of the problem - here's a flavour of some of the highlights.
I also shared a couple of short stories I've written which align with much of the personal transformational coaching I do: 
2018 was also the year the LYL became very active on Instagram so you'll find many more examples of how to use nature as your coach there - see #landscapingyourlife.

The review of the Purchasing Coach's blogging year for 2018 shares posts written on my other main passions of: procurement, soft skills, self awareness and coaching.

Here's to a fabulous 2019.
Alison Smith
Landscaping Your Life using nature as your coach to get back on track