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Julia Pitt

ISLAND LIFE COLUMNIST
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Julia Pitt, MA is a trained Personal Development Coach, certified NLP Practitioner, writer and public speaker. Qualifying through the Coaching Academy in London, England, Julia uses coaching methodology and tools to help her clients achieve their true potential, break through barriers to success and fulfillment and attain the goals they set for themselves. Dedicated to Bermuda's success and putting her passion into action, Julia writes her column in the Royal Gazette offering the fundamentals of coaching in weekly installments. Her hope is to provide an opportunity for readers to increase self-awareness and insight into human behaviour and by achieving individual goals, so collectively improve ourselves, our relationships, how we relate to our surroundings and ultimately, have a positive effect on the community. Julia also volunteers with the 'Coaching for Success' sidearm of the Mirrors Program, which brings coaching to Bermuda's youth.

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  • Making sense of the tragedy
    Jul 20, 2016 8:00 am

    Making sense of the tragedy

    I rarely watch the news. I skim the periphery of current events because I find the details and images too disturbing.

    They leave me grappling with how to stay positive in a world seemingly filled with grief and aggression. So why CNN was on last Thursday I don’t know.

    The horror struck like a punch to the throat; I was thrown into panic. My son spends July in France with his father, often in the south for two weeks. We speak...

  • Follow Madonna’s advice and take a holiday
    Jul 13, 2016 8:00 am

    Follow Madonna’s advice and take a holiday

    Holiday!” The words of Madonna’s 1983 classic keep running through my head.

    I write this from the Azores on a deck chair looking back across the Atlantic, a belly full of lapas and fresh cheese, surrounded by post-Euro victory buzz. A week of natural hot-springs, forest walks and whale-watching is ahead ... I agree, Madge, it is so nice!

    Trips abroad can be rare treats and once our allotted “vacation time” is up, it can feel too...

  • Don’t put off living until you retire
    Jul 6, 2016 8:00 am

    Don’t put off living until you retire

    School’s out for summer! Do you remember that feeling of having, what seemed like, endless weeks of vacation stretching out ahead?

    Even with a summer job it felt so good just not to be in school. Can anything match that sense of freedom?

    Retirement. A current hot topic, perhaps always has been. I hear a lot of people say they are just counting down the days, even with a decade left to go.

    Some of my contemporaries are...

  • Remember to make every day count
    Jun 29, 2016 8:00 am

    Remember to make every day count

    Depending on how you view your glass, you may consider that it’s half over or that half is yet to come. Either way, tomorrow marks the midway point of 2016. Six months since last New Year’s Eve, six months until the next one. Somehow I find both prospects alarming.

    It certainly doesn’t feel like 180 days have passed since the start of the year. I am grateful not to have had those circumstances that can render each day an eternity.

  • Learning not to be a loser
    Jun 22, 2016 8:00 am

    Learning not to be a loser

    “Shame you’re not the best columnist in Bermuda …” someone informed me recently.

    That stung. I didn’t know what they were talking about. It hadn’t occurred to me I was in competition for the Best of Bermuda awards. I love Catherine Burns’s column and fully agree she deserves that title but momentarily, I felt like a ‘loser’. And that smarted.

    As a child, I grew too fast for my co-ordination to keep up, so didn’t play sports or...

  • Profound impact of a father’s legacy
    Jun 15, 2016 8:00 am

    Profound impact of a father’s legacy

    This Father’s Day will be 21 years since my dad’s death. I’ve now lived longer without him than I did with. Every day, I wake up grateful for what he worked so hard to provide for me: a good education, financial security and back-up. I know I’m very lucky though I’ve come to realise, a father’s legacy is far more than any monetary provision.

    Our dads, or closest male influence, teach us what men do and what to expect of men. They role...

  • Why we can’t always get what we want
    Jun 8, 2016 8:00 am

    Why we can’t always get what we want

    Subtly and signals rarely work. Once, flashing a boyfriend my sexiest, come hither smile, he responded with, “What’s wrong, you look alarmed?”

    Neither are hints the way to go. I’ve often tried to hint my way out of some uncomfortable dynamic or unpleasant situation, hoping the other person will pick up on it and make a change.

    <b>Actual conversation:</b>

    Me: In the past I’ve really not dealt well with...

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
    Jun 1, 2016 8:00 am

    Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want

    Have you seen the movie When Harry Met Sally? I’m an “on-the-side” girl, too: a high-maintenance orderer, usually requesting something special from a menu to get it just the way I want it.

    Yet, as happy as I am asking for things in a restaurant, that ability has often evaded me in more important areas of life.

    How many times have I gone along with something just because that’s what was on offer,...

  • Steps to Success: Going For goal
    May 25, 2016 8:00 am

    Steps to Success: Going For goal

    Catching a radio interview last week, I heard one of Bermuda’s star, young athletes discussing the fraction of a second needed and how she expects, in her very next meet, to qualify for the Olympics!

    There was so much hope and determination in her voice. One could almost hear the echoes of effort and discipline it’s taken to get her here, and the quiet inevitability that her hard work will come to fruition.

    I sit in awe. Not...

  • Criticism: bitter pill or learning tool?
    May 11, 2016 8:00 am

    Criticism: bitter pill or learning tool?

    Last week I received some feedback. Timely for this past weekend, it was about the way I speak to my son.

    I find there are few things more emotive than commenting on people’s parenting. It’s a subject loaded with feelings, fears; expectations with no ultimate ‘right way’ but lots of potential pitfalls we hope to avoid.

    Hearing something negative about what we’re doing can trigger all kinds of reactions.

    Yet, do we ever...

  • Motherhood: a thankless yet fulfilling job
    May 4, 2016 8:00 am

    Motherhood: a thankless yet fulfilling job

    Flying kites on Good Friday, I received a lovely compliment: “I always enjoy your column,” I was told. “Particularly the most recent. What was the title again?”

    I was drawing a blank. My mother chimed in: “This week’s was spontaneity, last week’s was Oscar-winning moments.”

    Mine is one of those mums who knows everything.

    “You’ve got a fan there,” said my friend.

    Yes, my number one, biggest fan. She’s kept my poem...

  • Are manners too often overstated?
    Apr 27, 2016 8:00 am

    Are manners too often overstated?

    Elbows off the table. Mouth closed when you’re chewing, please. Your fork is not a shovel. What’s the magic word? Elbows OFF the table!’

    The soundtrack to many mealtimes with my eight-year-old: an endless, nagging stream of dos and don’ts. I am simply endeavouring to pass down the manners drilled into me as a child, although as I remember, with far more ease. Perhaps it’s a boy thing. Will he ever build a working relationship with...

  • Giving thanks for ‘everyday angels’
    Apr 20, 2016 8:00 am

    Giving thanks for ‘everyday angels’

    Recently, someone helped a friend of mine. I was away and she was in a fix — not an emergency, just one of those situations where you could use an extra set of eyes and an alternate perspective.

    The helper wasn’t a relation or even a close friend but someone on the periphery who had spotted the distress and simply offered a hand.

    With nothing to gain for themselves, they took time out of their busy day to meet up, review the...

  • Change of seasons can bring change of ways
    Apr 13, 2016 8:00 am

    Change of seasons can bring change of ways

    I’m always surprised how, after a week in a manual rental car, stalling, grinding and only realising ten minutes down the motorway I’m still in third, that I come home to find my foot reaching for the clutch at every intersection and putting the windshield wipers on whenever I want to indicate!

    Am I dismayed how slow I can be to adapt? Or impressed at how strongly our changes take hold when we make them?

    This morning felt rather...

  • Catch up with an old friend
    Apr 6, 2016 8:00 am

    Catch up with an old friend

    Alone is how I spent this past week, holed up in an English countryside cottage. My son is off with his dad having a great time and I am by myself — having a great time.

    Such an extreme change of pace, demand and noise level; a chance to really hear my thoughts. It’s a week dedicated to being nice to myself.

    Shouldn’t we always be nice to ourselves?

    Yes! I just don’t always manage it in my regular chaos and busyness. I...

  • Helpful habit of spontaneity
    Mar 23, 2016 8:00 am

    Helpful habit of spontaneity

    Are you spontaneous?” I got asked this weekend. My “yes” came without hesitation.

    “Tell me something spontaneous you’ve done lately.”

    “I…um…lately?”

    I could name a hundred spontaneous things I’d done ­­— ten years ago. But not so much in the last decade, let alone the past months.

    What’s happening to me? I have always prided myself on my willingness to try something new, go someplace different, be ready for the next...

  • Focus on your Oscar-winning moments
    Mar 16, 2016 8:00 am

    Focus on your Oscar-winning moments

    It has never been quite the same since we lost Joan Rivers but what I still enjoy most about the Oscars is scrolling through the red carpet dresses in the days that follow.

    This week’s offering has little to do with fashion, though. I want to share with you a brilliant tool someone told me they use, which has proven to be a winner for me, too. Its simplicity is its elegance:

    Each night, before bed, review in your mind the top...

  • Time to grab the bull by the horns
    Mar 9, 2016 8:00 am

    Time to grab the bull by the horns

    March is proving to be a full month for me. I’ve decided to undertake two big projects, each with the potential to monumentally impact my life as I know it.

    They are projects I’ve been putting off for about a year or two ... but there are times you just have to grab the bull by the horns and, finally, now is that time.

    I’ve told everyone I’m doing them, got people lined up to assist, signed up for an expensive internet course to...

  • Is it time for a refit internally?
    Mar 2, 2016 8:00 am

    Is it time for a refit internally?

    I write this amid the dulcet tones of juddering jackhammers and breaking tile. One of those unexpected gifts of homeowning, suddenly discovering you need to re-plumb a bathroom because the old metal pipes have rusted closed. No wonder the sink wasn’t draining. Of course, the bathroom was tiled floor to ceiling. The clogged pipes even ran beneath a cemented-in tub. The only way around was to rip it all out and start again.

    I have to...

  • School project inspires reflection
    Feb 24, 2016 8:00 am

    School project inspires reflection

    This week my eight-year-old had an assignment for school. As part of his All About Me project he had to create a display of things relevant to him — what’s important and how he’d like to represent himself to the class.

    This project was not as easy as it sounds. For him, the learning curve was how to organise, the benefits of making a plan and understanding that leaving it until last thing Sunday night is not a great idea.

    I,...

  • Life lessons ... from a panda
    Feb 17, 2016 8:00 am

    Life lessons ... from a panda

    I know Kung Fu. But imagine it less Keanu Reeves in <i>The Matrix</i> and more … Jack Black in <i>Kung Fu Panda 3</i>!

    One can learn a lot from movies. I’ve watched enough to know. I was a film major in college and even worked in Hollywood for a while. During university I lived next door to a cineplex. My student pass made it cheaper to go to the movies every night than own a TV.

    I have watched a lot of...

  • Do not resist the journey of change
    Feb 10, 2016 8:00 am

    Do not resist the journey of change

    While facilitating a workshop last year on managing change, I ventured that change, despite how drastic it might feel at the time, always delivers positives if we choose to see them.

    It was an idea met with resistance. Not all change, they argued. One participant was quite adamant: “What about death? That’s change and I see no upside to losing someone from my life.”

    The example sounded personal and the wound fresh. I doubt that...

  • What is the answer to making love work?
    Feb 3, 2016 8:00 am

    What is the answer to making love work?

    I appreciate the apparent irony in me, a divorced singleton, facilitating a workshop helping couples stay connected for lasting love.

    But it is only really since the bitter end of my disastrous marriage, and perhaps because of it, that I began studying to understand the complex nature of our intimate relationships and what it takes to make them work.

    I got married under some rather misguided (and not entirely uncommon)...

  • Five foul plays when striving for change
    Jan 27, 2016 8:00 am

    Five foul plays when striving for change

    For the past month I’ve been recounting the trials and tribulations in my project to massively reorganise my life. An exercise in humility, but my hope in airing my failings is to identify pitfalls so others might avoid them. Here are my biggest “learnings” so far:

    <b>1 Overcoming the frustration of being a beginner </b>

    Having coached hundreds of people through change-making, I assumed it’d be a breeze for me.

  • Steps to success: my own duck dynasty
    Jan 20, 2016 8:00 am

    Steps to success: my own duck dynasty

    There is nothing like a bit of accountability. A couple of concerned readers approached me this week to ask how my “duck project” is going and if I’m managing to stick to my strict schedule and get it all done.

    Such is the hazard of publicly announcing one’s “bright ideas” without necessarily knowing if they’ll be followed through. (I feel a bit like a politician).

    I would love to answer, “Yes. It’s all going swimmingly. I’ve...

  • Going quackers – on week two
    Jan 13, 2016 8:00 am

    Going quackers – on week two

    Last week I unveiled my plan, experiment really, to create more time by automating certain life processes and going against my nature to get organised.

    Operation Wardrobe Wizard was interesting. Spending 1.5 hours picking clothes once a week may not necessarily have saved time, but my choices were more interesting, and it certainly reduced stress having those ducks lined up ahead of time.

    There was one drawback — often the fun...

  • Freeing up more precious time and energy
    Jan 6, 2016 8:00 am

    Freeing up more precious time and energy

    I have a friend who swears by his revolving wardrobe. Not a fancy closet that spins around, a simple set of trousers and shirts that all co-ordinate and get paired up when they reach the front of the rack, then get washed, pressed and returned to the back.

    With slightly differing numbers of tops and bottoms, the matches get varied through the cycle. As a mathematician, he could also tell you just how many potential variations his...

  • New year — good time for a new mindset
    Dec 30, 2015 8:00 am

    New year — good time for a new mindset

    Paris. I love it, particularly around this time of year. Even recovering from recent tragedies, the city sparkles: the ornate buildings beautifully lit and festively decorated, the shop windows brimming with delectables of fine design and quality. The women, well everyone knows about French women — stylish, immaculately coiffed and manicured and, despite living in the land of cheese and pastry, perfectly petite.

    As I sank my teeth into...

  • Like Scrooge, learn to bring joy to world
    Dec 23, 2015 8:00 am

    Like Scrooge, learn to bring joy to world

    It seems appropriate that I write this on a bleak, grey winter’s day in London. I’ve just finished reading Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. I’m reluctant to admit I’d never read any Dickens before. With so many movie versions, who needs to?

    Expecting flowery, complicated prose, but figuring it something ‘one should do’, I made a project of reading it with my son, it being the season. I was delightfully surprised to find it witty...

  • Make way for Santa!
    Dec 16, 2015 8:00 am

    Make way for Santa!

    In our household, it’s Christmas wish list time. Letters to the North Pole have been posted. I won’t even comment on my son’s (arm-length) checklist save to say that a real-life elf and the latest Apple product are just two of the many items. Hmmm … good luck with that, Santa!

    In anticipation of new goodies, we’ve had a good sort through to get rid of what’s no longer useful, fun or working, in order to make room. There’s been a healthy...

  • Life is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle
    Dec 9, 2015 8:00 am

    Life is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle

    Inspiration can come from the strangest of places. Even the “White Elephant” stall at a fundraiser last weekend. A wintry scene in Victorian London caught my eye. It’s years since I’ve done one so thought it’d be a nice seasonal tradition to rekindle. As it turns out, the tatty-cornered box contained some unexpected insights as a bonus. Forest Gump can keep his chocolates. For me, life is like a 1,000-piece puzzle.

    It starts with the...

  • ‘Tis the season of joy, so why the panic?
    Dec 2, 2015 8:00 am

    ‘Tis the season of joy, so why the panic?

    Finally, the store windows of the past three months seem relevant. December is here. And with it comes an already endless list of preparations and demands: parties to go to, presents to buy, donations to drop off, holiday concerts to attend, costumes to find, volunteering to schedule, decorating to do … how very lucky I am. It’s the season of joy, peace and goodwill.

    Then why do I begin each day in semi-panic, desperate to ensure all...

  • Turning 40 does not make you over the hill
    Nov 25, 2015 8:00 am

    Turning 40 does not make you over the hill

    Today is my birthday. People are saying it’s a big one, although by nature every birthday is bigger than the last.

    But yes, it’s one they print specific cards for (cards, not bus passes, just to clarify). One such greeting told me I’m now officially “over the hill”.

    It’s been looming. I don’t know why the impending dread. It’s only a number after all. But it does seem to come laden with expectation. Forty just sounds so grown-up.

  • Life’s crazy dance is lined with potholes
    Nov 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Life’s crazy dance is lined with potholes

    Julia Pitt

    Anyone driving down Trimingham Hill a couple of weeks ago will know the pothole I’m talking about. It’s on my regular route. Every time my wheel hit it, teeth clattering together yet again, I’d recall telling myself the last time (and every time before that): “Remember next time to drive AROUND it!”

    I’m reminded of one of my favourite poems, Autobiography In Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson. It’s about how we can...

  • Why making time for play is important
    Nov 4, 2015 8:00 am

    Why making time for play is important

    A lawyer, an insurance broker and a scientist … it sounds like the start of a bad joke. I recently came across an old photo, I’d have been 9 at the time. A typical Bermuda-childhood stock picture, everyone crammed on to a canon in St George’s. Fresh, sparkly eyed faces, full of optimism and vitality.

    Thirty years on we’re all still all recognisable. I bump into them from time to time: now a lawyer, a broker, a scientist and me … eyes...

  • Try not to be a zombie for Hallowe’en
    Oct 28, 2015 8:00 am

    Try not to be a zombie for Hallowe’en

    Last Monday morning was a bit of a struggle, so on my way I stopped for a cup of caffeine. I zombie-walked back to the car, clicked the auto-unlock, got in, went to prop my tea in the handy cup holder but there was a tape measure in the way. “‘I wonder where that came from? And aren’t the seats unusually clean and tidy. Odd.”

    Wait for it . . . (cogs turning very slowly) . . . “Ahhhh! Not my car!”

    How embarrassing. To be fair,...

  • The right way to do wellbeing
    Oct 21, 2015 8:00 am

    The right way to do wellbeing

    We’re sick of stress, right? Life’s busy with a long ‘to-do’ list so we want to practise mindfulness, meditate, relax, be kind to ourselves. We’ve read all the personal development books/blogs/articles … how hard can it be?

    My friend recounted her recent experience. Invited to a special concert: it was an intimate crowd, the setting was beautiful, the night perfect. One of those moments you want to remember forever.

    So she kept...

  • Steps to success: fail faster
    Sep 30, 2015 8:00 am

    Steps to success: fail faster

    Interesting advice, and exactly what was recommended to a colleague of mine.

    Lamenting a piece of work that had not turned out quite how she had planned, her highly esteemed mentor interrupted and said, “learn to fail faster”.

    Failure? Yay! You tanked? Terrific!

    These are not words we hear every day. Perhaps they should be.

    There’s a scene in the Disney movie ‘Meet The Robinsons’ in which Lewis, a young inventor, has...

  • Celebrating a person’s profound impact
    Sep 23, 2015 8:00 am

    Celebrating a person’s profound impact

    I don’t suppose anyone really likes funerals. I’ve fortunately managed to avoid them for the past 20 years, since my own dear dad’s. I’ve been in the wrong country or had some equally valid excuse … until the weekend.

    What have I been afraid of? A reluctance to be sad I suppose. Just singing hymns makes me want to cry.

    Funerals can’t help but remind us of our own mortality. Whatever our thoughts and beliefs on death, and on...

  • But seriously — where’s the fun?
    Sep 16, 2015 8:00 am

    But seriously — where’s the fun?

    I spent happy hour last Friday attending a prison guard initiation day. Right after plotting to destroy the world at the pet store and fending off (or was it encouraging?) the advances of a 17th century, one-eyed pirate.

    No, nobody had slipped Ayahuasca into my drink. It was all part of the silliness and games of Press Play, put on by Improv Bermuda in collaboration with the Bermuda Society of Arts.

    Regular readers will know that...

  • Riding the waves of change
    Sep 9, 2015 8:00 am

    Riding the waves of change

    Back to school! I wasn’t the only parent with a tear in their eye in the drop-off line, but my dismay was mostly due to the sheer shock and chaos of the change in routine. Sometimes all the preparation in the world doesn’t ready us for new things.

    A good friend is leaving the Island today. Another is due to move in December. It feels like all around me my ‘normality’ is shifting; a conductor shouting, “All change!”. And yet I’m...

  • Do you suffer from fear of missing out?
    Sep 2, 2015 8:00 am

    Do you suffer from fear of missing out?

    The ancient Greeks and Romans used baths for relaxation, health and healing. Last week in New York, I visited an awesome spa recreating the ‘thermae’ experience: the caldarium (hot bath), tepidarium (warm), frigidarium (cold plunge), a floatarium (super salty) ... the options went on.

    I tried the warm one first, then the bubbly one, then the next. But I wasn’t feeling relaxed, I was feeling anxious.

    All of these lovely treats but...

  • Treat yourself to some time alone
    Aug 19, 2015 8:00 am

    Treat yourself to some time alone

    I’ve often wondered what I would do on a desert island … somewhere I had everything available to me but nobody watching and no one to answer to.

    Would I eat cake until I exploded? Send myself into financial ruin buying shoes? Do nothing but watch TV and numb out the world until I turned to dust on a sofa or bar stool somewhere?

    A few weeks ago I got to test the idea ever so slightly. Over in Britain, I was alone for four days of...

  • The danger of making someone else’s grade
    Aug 12, 2015 8:00 am

    The danger of making someone else’s grade

    Do you ever get tired of being “good”? Refusing dessert, going home early, walking away from the shoe sale … all under the auspices of trying to be good.

    But what are we suggesting to ourselves? That if we don’t restrict or deny ourselves we’re, what … being bad? It at least implies that we’re not good enough.

    Experience has taught me that as soon as I tell myself I’m on a diet, all I want to do is eat junk. If I’m not allowed to...

  • Steps to Success: Growing from the outside, in
    Aug 5, 2015 8:00 am

    Steps to Success: Growing from the outside, in

    Written, this week, from a sleepy, little village in the heart of the English countryside. I say sleepy but not these past five days during Chulmleigh Old Fair week, an annual tradition that’s gone on here for the past 750 years! I liken it to the atmosphere of Cup Match, only with more sheep.

    I’ve been coming here sporadically over the past thirty-five years. It’s interesting to see how it’s changed, but more how much it’s stayed the...

  • Making deliberate, self-affirming choices
    Jul 29, 2015 8:00 am

    Making deliberate, self-affirming choices

    Almost 20 years ago, during a period of intense self-questioning, I bought a book. It was a workbook, that asked questions about how I viewed my life: draw a picture of yourself at home, work and play; describe a perfect day; where do you see yourself in five, ten, 20 years’ time?

    With a new set of coloured pencils I began in earnest; reams of minuscule writing — up until page 15.

    I don’t know why, perhaps I got distracted, got a...

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