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.
Oct 12, 2016 8:00 am
Big hair, boyfriends who look like they’re in rock bands, Saturday nights out dancing with no curfew — this is how I imagined my grown-up life as a starry-eyed ten-year-old.
At the time I was watching <i>Desperately Seeking Susan</i>, Madonna’s finest film role! And who says dreams never come true?
This weekend, thanks to Warwick Academy’s fundraiser that brought ‘Disco 40’ back for a night, I got to...
Oct 5, 2016 8:00 am
Last week I was part of an improv show that almost didn’t happen because we got caught up in overthinking and fear of getting it wrong. (Sometimes it pays to listen to our own advice: like last Wednesday’s article on the value in fearlessness of failure when it comes to creativity and self-expression.)
Admittedly, this was a new kind of show for us, part of an initiative promoting diversity within the insurance industry. We were all...
Sep 28, 2016 8:00 am
“How was art?” My eight-year-old’s favourite subject. “OK,” came the response, sounding less than OK. “We were learning to draw faces. We had to do them correctly.”
Sounds great to me. Why wouldn’t he be happy about getting it right?
He has a new teacher this year and it seems they are taking the instruction more seriously. Surely that’s a good thing?
“Before, we got to do it our way. We could make mistakes,” he said. “Our...
Sep 21, 2016 8:00 am
“It’s taken me 11 years to teach my husband to listen to me without trying to fix everything,” came one comment in response to last week’s post.
“I finally said, ‘just LISTEN! Don’t do anything. I just need to feel understood. Understood?”
Listening without interruption, unsolicited response or advice (no matter how well intended) is all too rare.
People tend to feel more comfortable/useful/important when they are ‘chiming...
Sep 14, 2016 8:00 am
I’m a talker. I like to talk things through. Sometimes I can only get clarity on what I’m thinking by first verbalising it to see if it sounds right to me and makes sense. As a talker, I therefore truly appreciate a good listener.
Despite most of us having a set of ears, good listeners are much rarer than one might think.
It is often a matter of attention — busy people, busy lives. Taking the time to be present, slow down and...
Sep 7, 2016 8:00 am
The first day of school … and all the preparation in the world hasn’t managed to ready our household for the accompanying chaos of trying to get out the door, fed, with all the necessary named items, in the correct uniform, washed and brushed to make a good impression, then to navigate the first real morning rush-hour for months.
Forget the nerves of ‘Day 1’ in a new classroom — I’ll have felt like we’ve accomplished a major feat just...
Aug 31, 2016 8:00 am
Life is full of lessons. There is something to learn from all of life’s ups and downs.
We often have to take a step back or put a little distance between us and events to recognise the lesson; to notice where we have grown or to see the patterns we engaged in that got us there, either helpful or unhelpful.
Sometimes the teaching can be painful. When we finally do ‘get it’ and we understand the part we played, identify the choices...
Aug 24, 2016 8:00 am
It’s always interesting getting to know what I didn’t know that I didn’t know. The conference I was raving about last week was organised by the Applied Improvisation Network.
What is applied improvisation? I wasn’t sure myself when I signed up. It turns out there is a whole movement and industry based on something I had come to believe but didn’t realise was already ‘a thing’.
The skills used in creating improvised play and games...
Aug 17, 2016 8:00 am
<i>“You are what we eat, from your head down to your feet.”</i>
So sang the public service announcement during the ABC after-school specials I used to love watching as a kid.
This week, I’ve been reconfirming my theory that “we are also what we do”. That what goes in, comes out.
“Same old, same old”. There are periods when everyday living seems to take up all my mind-space. The routine of one day follows the...
Aug 10, 2016 8:00 am
Organisations often have mission statements declaring their reason for existing, what they stand for and the overall goals that guide their strategies and actions.
Sounds like something we could all do with, right?
What is your mission?
Many clients come to coaching wanting to figure out their purpose in life, what they should be doing.
My first question is, according to whom? The universe? God? The grand scheme of...
Aug 3, 2016 8:00 am
A client was asked recently.: “Why are you going to see a life coach?” They told me their response was: “Because there’s no more room under the carpet!”
We all know that carpet. It’s where we sweep those thoughts and feelings we don’t want to look at, where we try to bury the truth about what we’re trying to convince the world (and ourselves) of: I can handle all this; no, I really am that image I do my best to present to everyone;...
Jul 27, 2016 8:00 am
I find there’s nothing like travel to test your mettle and flexibility. Trips and holidays can be wonderfully relaxing but the getting there and back can undo all their benefits with a single word: delayed, cancelled, full, lost, sorry … We can get so wrapped up in our pity party about how things “were ruined” by what went wrong that it can overshadow, even cancel out, the recounting of the sights and marvels and wonderful times spent — or...
Jul 20, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Jul 13, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Jul 6, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Jun 29, 2016 8:00 am
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.
Jun 22, 2016 8:00 am
“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...
Jun 15, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Jun 8, 2016 8:00 am
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.
Me: In the past I’ve really not dealt well with...
Jun 1, 2016 8:00 am
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,...
May 25, 2016 8:00 am
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...
May 11, 2016 8:00 am
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...
May 4, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Apr 27, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Apr 20, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Apr 13, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Apr 6, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Mar 23, 2016 8:00 am
Are you spontaneous?” I got asked this weekend. My “yes” came without hesitation.
“Tell me something spontaneous you’ve done 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...
Mar 16, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Mar 9, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Mar 2, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Feb 24, 2016 8:00 am
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.
Feb 17, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Feb 10, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Feb 3, 2016 8:00 am
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)...
Jan 27, 2016 8:00 am
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.
Jan 20, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Jan 13, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Jan 6, 2016 8:00 am
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...
Dec 30, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Dec 23, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Dec 16, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Dec 9, 2015 8:00 am
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...
Dec 2, 2015 8:00 am
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...
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,...