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.
Nov 25, 2015 8:00 am
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.
Nov 18, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Nov 4, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Oct 28, 2015 8:00 am
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,...
Oct 21, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Sep 30, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Sep 23, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Sep 16, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Sep 9, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Sep 2, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Aug 19, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Aug 12, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Aug 5, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jul 29, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Jul 22, 2015 8:00 am
Last week I wrote about generosity and the importance of giving of ourselves from a place of wholeness and not depletion.
This week I want to highlight the importance of giving itself.
Authors Stephen Post and Jill Neimark detailed numerous studies in their book, ‘Why Good Things Happen to Good People’, that show that generosity is fundamental to a longer, healthier and happier life.
Meanwhile, some health practitioners...
Jul 15, 2015 8:00 am
This week’s instalment wings its way to you from sunny California, and The Big, Big Yes!, a personal and professional development conference hosted by creativity coach and author, Samantha Bennett.
Despite the LA smog, this weekend’s been like taking a deep breath of fresh air. To radically shift gears, change scenery and immerse myself in an environment of positive energy full of people speaking ‘my language’, was like a restorative...
Jun 24, 2015 8:00 am
“What do you do?” came that inescapable question from the successful businessman.
“I’m a coach,” I said.
“Oh really, what sport?”
“So can you fix me?” he asked.
“Nope,” I replied, “because you’re not broken.”
He looked disappointed for a moment. I get it. If we are feeling at odds, finding ourselves struggling, suffering in some way, it’s easy to see it as a flaw, being broken.
Jun 17, 2015 8:00 am
It’s fair to say that ‘sexy’ is in the eye of the beholder. It takes all sorts and fortunately we all have individual preferences. But one ingredient tends to tip the sexy scales every time: confidence.
Who hasn’t met a handsome hunk or beauty queen who turned out to be so uncomfortable in their own skin, often overcompensating with false bravado, that their good looks quickly tarnished. Equally there are folks, not the typical...
Jun 10, 2015 8:00 am
Sing? Me? No way. Despite my love of theatrics and willingness to get up before a crowd, singing in front of someone feels as exposing to me as standing there naked. Years ago in a drama workshop I was asked to sing a song. Instant paralysis took hold until I ran out of the room crying – and I still considered that singing would have been a more embarrassing display.
So you can imagine my own surprise when I find myself auditioning for...
Jun 3, 2015 8:00 am
Years ago, backpacking through Central America, I went bungee jumping.
Before you picture idyllic scenes of diving off bridges above emerald rivers … let me correct you. This was at night in a parking lot in Cancun. It seemed a good idea at the time: 150ft up a crane was a platform. Below, a rather ratty-looking crash mat which was in no way reassuring. Standing on that ledge with essentially a rubber-band velcroed to my legs, the idea...
May 27, 2015 8:00 am
There are many approaches to eating. There are pickers, people not really eating just spreading food around so it looks like they are, and choosers, people who have to try a bit of everything — even from your plate. There are the separatists, eating their dinner according to food group, and at the other extreme, the bite-builders (I am one of them) meticulously constructing each mouthful with a perfect ratio of flavours from the meal.
May 20, 2015 8:00 am
Driving by throngs of runners in the final stages of training for Monday’s race, it seems fitting to be thinking about commitment.
Last week I promised to share some tips for building self-discipline and making it easier to commit to and maintain the positive habits we want for ourselves. For whatever it is you really want to do:
1. Know why you want it.
Ask the question, ‘What is this going to give me?’ For...
May 13, 2015 8:00 am
First of two parts
This morning, without much thought, I gave my usual drive-by wave to Johnny Barnes. Then it struck me. This man, come rain or shine, has been wishing Bermuda “good morning” for nearly 30 years! I remember the controversy when he first started, some feared him a madman, others a ‘danger to traffic’ … now he’s considered a Bermuda institution.
Oh, so many lessons for us right there but what I admire most is his...
May 6, 2015 8:00 am
I was moving something very heavy last week when I accidentally ripped off my big toenail. I saw it flapping. All I could think was ‘Aghhhhh!’
Squeamish is an understatement. Just seeing the blood and the very wrongness of it turned my insides to jelly. It took all I had just to get to the car and get home.
After being patched up by a medical saint, with much whimpering from me, I was told it would ooze and be tender for a week...
Apr 29, 2015 8:00 am
I like to cook — but I can’t follow a recipe. Perhaps it’s my inner nonconformist rebelling against being told what to do, or just my conceit that believes adding a bit of this or replacing this with that will make it all the better.
Not every dinner’s a winner, but overall my stats aren’t bad — I haven’t poisoned anyone yet, and on several occasions I’ve even been asked for a repeat (tricky as every concoction is different).
Apr 22, 2015 8:00 am
Ah, the spring clean. You may be aware of my hoarding tendencies, so for me this year’s is more than just an annual tidy-up — it’s a re-emergence, a sloughing off of the old to create space for the new.
Easter vacation was spent ‘sorting’: dealing with boxes and collections, some 30 years old. But I rather misjudged how long it would take, the bookshelves are months overdue and I’ve managed to throw out my back so carrying boxes is...
Apr 15, 2015 8:00 am
I’d already picked a topic to write about this week but after being part of the ‘Audience with Arianna Huffington’, sponsored by Colonial this past Saturday, that inspiration took precedence.
Those of you who were there — and there was an impressive number of us (although fellas, I think you could have done with slightly more representation!) — will no doubt understand what I mean. What an amazing woman and a thought-provoking talk!...
Apr 8, 2015 8:00 am
A few weeks ago I was part of a joint presentation to a group of inspiring ladies on a subject very dear to my heart: empowering ourselves towards healthy success. One key point of the discussion was the importance of a supportive mindset — being kind to ourselves and speaking positively of ourselves and others, both outwardly and, most importantly, in our own self-talk.
The speech went well. I was buzzing from the engagement with the...
Apr 1, 2015 8:00 am
When they voluntarily switch off the ever-coveted electronics, then pass up one of Grandma’s desserts saying, “I don’t really feel like it”, you know that something’s up. Last week, as my son just lay on the sofa that he’s normally pole-vaulting over or building forts out of, I knew I had a sick kid on my hands.
Fever at 103.1 I started to get worried. I had to call a friend because I didn’t know what to do. Yes, we’ve had what seem...
Mar 18, 2015 8:00 am
I like my food and thankfully, with the advice and guidance of the brilliant Catherine Burns (The Royal Gazette Food For Thought columnist), I eat well. But I am yet to master the skill of being an ‘organised eater’, which comes back to bite me all too often.
Case in point: school sports day.
I’d had a good breakfast but that now seemed a long time ago. Previous years had seen tables laden with worthy snacks for cheering...
Mar 11, 2015 8:00 am
After delivering a training session on Friday, I was making idle chit-chat, enquiring about people’s weekend plans. I said I was quite excited about going to see the “Bee Gees”.
I got some blank looks.
“What’s a Bee Gee?” one guy asked.
“You’re jive talking, right?” I said.
Then it dawned on me: a good portion of the room was possibly quite that...
Mar 4, 2015 8:00 am
My seven-year-old came home with an assignment to “discuss inspiration and who inspires us”. So we began talking.
First he had to understand what being inspired even means. The dictionary offers little in the way of definition, so we looked to examples to try to explain it.
I shared the kinds of people that inspire me, mentioned some of the obvious greats — Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa: people...
Feb 25, 2015 8:00 am
Having a world of tools in our toolbox doesn’t get the picture hung — we need to actually use them.
“I know what I have to do … to feel better/lose weight/quit a habit/make that promotion/get a date/turn things around ... but I’m just not doing it.” How many times have I heard this? How many times have I, myself, said it?
What’s stopping us? Consciously we know what we want, which changes will be good, that the old patterns...
Feb 18, 2015 8:00 am
A weekend of chocolate hearts and flowers? Mine, not so much.
I’ve always equated Valentine’s Day with New Year’s, a day laden with expectation, therefore likely to disappoint. This year, though, it just sailed by unnoticed. What did thrill my heart and quicken my pulse, however, was the discovery of a better day: February 13th … International Self-Love Day. Yes, it’s an actual thing.
It’s designed, I guess, to remind us that we...
Feb 11, 2015 8:00 am
The news last week about a Jordanian pilot being burned alive by extremists hit me hard. Driving with the BBC World Service on, I burst into tears behind the wheel.
The German word “weltschmerz”, which translates to “world pain”, labels the sadness that can arise contemplating the ills of the world.
Back in my college days I ended up in a bout of depression after realising I couldn’t stop the destruction of the rainforest or...
Feb 4, 2015 8:00 am
Snow White, The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk ... They each have their heroes, but a good story also needs a villain.
The same seems true for the stories in our heads — the ones we create to explain the circumstances or conflict we’re in and to justify our responses.
That (expletive) just cut me off! That (expletive) at work/home is making my life miserable — we depersonalise, dehumanise, create antagonists. They...
Jan 21, 2015 8:00 am
Last weekend I had the pleasure of joining the Renew Retreat team on a one-day well-being event in the stunning setting of the Coral Beach and Tennis Club. The purpose of the day: to allow participants time to pause, and set themselves up for a healthy, balanced and happy year ahead.
I can hardly believe we’re already barrelling towards the end of January. My Christmas tree is still up! I too was grateful for dedicated time earmarked...
Jan 14, 2015 8:00 am
Alarm bells began ringing the last time I turned on my laptop — literally.
It was a sound I’d never heard my trusty little computer make and I knew something was wrong, very wrong.
All had been fine the day before; a final e-mail posting last week’s article from London before flying home. Then, perhaps victim to some airborne virus in the overhead locker, by the time we reached Bermuda and I switched on, vital signs were minimal...
Jan 7, 2015 8:00 am
I often wonder what I would actually do if I were marooned on a desert island.
Would I just give up, wallow in lonely self-pity until I dried up like an empty corn-husk? Would I laze around all day gorging on wild berries, makeshift sushi, swimming in the sea and building sandcastles? Or would I do all the things I complain I have no time to do now — write that book I started, read more, do arts and crafts, learn to tap dance? The list...
Dec 31, 2014 8:00 am
Bonjour, from my travels in beautiful, chilly Paris.
A decade ago, I lived for a year in this “city of light”, but then I got kicked out of clown school and have not been back.
Yes, you read that right. Why I was in clown school is another whole story with its own life lessons — mainly “read the fine print before signing up for anything”.
But, whether I had intended to be there or not, getting the boot — or, if you like,...
Dec 24, 2014 8:00 am
Sitting in a colleague’s coaching studio, I was drawn to a banner bearing the words: “To bring peace to earth, strive to make your own life peaceful”.
‘Peace on earth’, a favourite yuletide sentiment. I have never considered how to actually make that happen but it doesn’t surprise me that it starts with us.
The irony is that I’ve been feeling anything but peaceful at this time of year, racing around for last-minute purchases,...
Dec 17, 2014 8:00 am
Visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads? Sadly not.
We may forget that while we are busy being concerned about our plans for the holidays, many of our students and young folk are in the throes of making important plans and decisions about their lives.
’Tis the season for career fairs, school applications and considering which subjects to study, what job paths to follow and where.
While I’d like to cling to my youth, I...
Dec 10, 2014 8:00 am
I’ve studied about conflict and resolving it, and still I dread and avoid it.
The other morning, Mr Bones (the Shi Tzu) and I were taking our usual stroll through the Botanical Gardens.
An SUV came whizzing up behind and brushed past, barely missing me. I jumped. It then stopped in the middle of the road, chatting to a vehicle headed in the opposite direction. I walked around them and carried on, mindful now to keep in to the...
Dec 3, 2014 8:00 am
By Julia Pitt
Last weekend was a bit different. I spent most of it attending a seminar on race walking of all things. Yes, that track & field event with the swishy hips and rather awkward gait that never gets much coverage on television.
It was, however, fascinating. Led by Olympic race walker Tim Seaman and coach Jeff Savage, I learned a great deal about this under-sung sport: its incredible health benefits, low injury rate,...
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