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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 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...

  • Generosity fundamental to a healthier life
    Jul 22, 2015 8:00 am

    Generosity fundamental to a healthier life

    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...

  • Why true generosity is worth it
    Jul 15, 2015 8:00 am

    Why true generosity is worth it

    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...

  • No need to fix what isn’t broken
    Jun 24, 2015 8:00 am

    No need to fix what isn’t broken

    “What do you do?” came that inescapable question from the successful businessman.

    “I’m a coach,” I said.

    “Oh really, what sport?”

    “Life.”

    “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.

    Wouldn’t it...

  • ‘Sexy’ is in the eye of the beholder
    Jun 17, 2015 8:00 am

    ‘Sexy’ is in the eye of the beholder

    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...

  • Singing a song of success
    Jun 10, 2015 8:00 am

    Singing a song of success

    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...

  • Why I’m in favour of nice underpants
    Jun 3, 2015 8:00 am

    Why I’m in favour of nice underpants

    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...

  • Inject the fun factor into your work
    May 27, 2015 8:00 am

    Inject the fun factor into your work

    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.

  • How to maintain discipline and positive habits
    May 20, 2015 8:00 am

    How to maintain discipline and positive habits

    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...

  • ‘Self-discipline’ sounds nasty but is needed
    May 13, 2015 8:00 am

    ‘Self-discipline’ sounds nasty but is needed

    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...

  • Trick the mind to dispel unwanted images
    May 6, 2015 8:00 am

    Trick the mind to dispel unwanted images

    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...

  • Embrace joy for internal enrichment
    Apr 29, 2015 8:00 am

    Embrace joy for internal enrichment

    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).

    I...

  • Navigating the dark before the dawn
    Apr 22, 2015 8:00 am

    Navigating the dark before the dawn

    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...

  • Huffington redefines a successful life
    Apr 15, 2015 8:00 am

    Huffington redefines a successful life

    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!...

  • The thief of joy
    Apr 8, 2015 8:00 am

    The thief of joy

    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...

  • Silver-lining lessons from snotty tissues
    Apr 1, 2015 8:00 am

    Silver-lining lessons from snotty tissues

    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...

  • Steps to success: ‘The Hanger Games’
    Mar 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Steps to success: ‘The Hanger Games’

    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...

  • Stayin’ Alive worth celebrating
    Mar 11, 2015 8:00 am

    Stayin’ Alive worth celebrating

    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.

    But no.

    Then it dawned on me: a good portion of the room was possibly quite that...

  • We all have the potential to inspire
    Mar 4, 2015 8:00 am

    We all have the potential to inspire

    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...

  • Steps to Success: walking the talk
    Feb 25, 2015 8:00 am

    Steps to Success: walking the talk

    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...

  • Putting the ‘I’ in love
    Feb 18, 2015 8:00 am

    Putting the ‘I’ in love

    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...

  • Encourage peace, positivity and love
    Feb 11, 2015 8:00 am

    Encourage peace, positivity and love

    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...

  • Revenge with one sock
    Feb 4, 2015 8:00 am

    Revenge with one sock

    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...

  • Resolutions vs supportive intentions
    Jan 21, 2015 8:00 am

    Resolutions vs supportive intentions

    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...

  • Backup and recovery
    Jan 14, 2015 8:00 am

    Backup and recovery

    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...

  • Steps to Success: Stranded on Someday Isle
    Jan 7, 2015 8:00 am

    Steps to Success: Stranded on Someday Isle

    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...

  • Lose the baggage
    Dec 31, 2014 8:00 am

    Lose the baggage

    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,...

  • Serving peace and carrots
    Dec 24, 2014 8:00 am

    Serving peace and carrots

    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,...

  • Sugar-plum dreams really are possible with a careful plan
    Dec 17, 2014 8:00 am

    Sugar-plum dreams really are possible with a careful plan

    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

    A walk in the park

    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...

  • Get a wriggle on
    Dec 3, 2014 8:00 am

    Get a wriggle on

    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,...

  • Never in a month of birthdays
    Nov 26, 2014 8:00 am

    Never in a month of birthdays

    Perhaps the result of the influence of Valentine’s Day, it seems that everyone and their brother is celebrating a birthday this month. By the time this goes to print, I too will have made my annual trek to TCD, and have the privilege of calling myself another year older.

    My son is already planning his next birthday party, having only just had one. Meanwhile, I find myself peddling in reverse.

    It’s not like it’s a ‘big’ birthday...

  • Nov 19, 2014 8:00 am

    The sum of our parts

    “Like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong … we go together”, as the song says from Grease. Who does exactly? It seems like anyone can with a joint interest and vision, sharing the same end-goal. This week I have been reminded of the potential power and the positive impact that ‘a group’ can create.

    I run a motivational workshop as an adjunct to the ‘Beat The Couch’ fitness and well-being programme, offered by Natural Limited,...

  • Nov 12, 2014 8:00 am

    A novel idea

    November is National Novel Writing Month (in case you didn’t know). They say everyone’s got a book in them ... just how do you find it?

    Fifteen years ago, a small group of wannabe writers set themselves the challenge of writing the first draft of a novel in 30 days. The idea being: don’t worry about making it ‘good’, just get an idea down now and make it good later.

    The concept took off and they launched the web-based, non-profit...

  • The happiest place on earth
    Nov 5, 2014 8:00 am

    The happiest place on earth

    This past week I turned my back on the ravaged garden and the invading colony of ants, tipped my hat to the continuingly tireless efforts of the various clean-up crews around the Island, and just left. At the time it seemed ludicrous, there was so much to do. But the trip had been booked for months, and you can’t ‘un-tell’ a seven-year-old, “We’re going to Disney!”

    So we went. My first time there since I was that age, back when Epcot...

  • Foul weather friends
    Oct 21, 2014 8:00 am

    Foul weather friends

    My mother once had this dream about me. I was playing in a concert at City Hall. Looking at the programme she saw that all the other performers had lots of credentials and accolades after their names, PhD, CPA, LLD, MBE and so on. She was worried for me, then looking down at mine she saw, of anyone, I had the longest list of letters after my name by far. After the show she asked me what all the accomplishments were, and I replied that I had...

  • Lazy is something I seem to do well ... and often
    Oct 14, 2014 8:00 am

    Lazy is something I seem to do well ... and often

    Snow day! Well, the closest thing children here ever get to one. Sunday was spent sheltering from the wind, not thinking about the two smashed shutters ripped off in the night, and ignoring the disaster of a garden. There was no internet to check e-mails, all commitments were cancelled, and no electricity to even write this column. What a lovely excuse to be lazy.

    Not that I really need an excuse. Lazy is something I seem to do well …...

  • Cynicism is the grown-up cool, beware the fun police
    Oct 7, 2014 8:00 am

    Cynicism is the grown-up cool, beware the fun police

    Sometimes I can be a real killjoy. I notice it especially with the kids. Children can get so enthusiastic about things, literally buzzing in their little socks with excitement, often over the pretty mundane. Ebullient over the ordinary, what a wonderful way to be.

    Yet too often I find myself meeting their high energy with a sigh, a skeptical look, a dismissive, knowing nod like ‘I’ve done it, been there, seen it all before’. Usually...

  • Sep 30, 2014 8:00 am

    The fine line between life and bellybutton fluff

    “I read your articles,” a friend tells me, “well, skim them really. There’s a lot of analysis going on.” Pause. “You come across as someone who’s got … a lot of time on their hands for…”

    “Navel gazing?” I suggest.

    “Considering the minutia, was how I would have put it,” he clarified.

    Every Tuesday I set about the task of exploring something that has come up for me that week: a life lesson, a story that has moved me, an idea...

  • On being Mrs Battleaxe, and what I learned
    Sep 23, 2014 8:00 am

    On being Mrs Battleaxe, and what I learned

    This week’s life lesson came like a slap in the face.

    I lost my cool. So dramatically in fact, it was Oscar-worthy. The wheels fell off, springs boinged out, my head spun round as steam issued from my ears. I ran the full gamut of cool-losing — from offensive ogre to petulant child mid-tantrum.

    All, ironically, in the name of showing my six-year-old child ‘how to do things properly’.

    Homework: I never particularly liked it...

  • When hard work is taking the easy way out
    Sep 2, 2014 8:00 am

    When hard work is taking the easy way out

    I’m a little late sitting down to write this week. I’ve been goofing-off. Very conscious of the dwindling days of the holidays, counting down to this very morning, I realised that opportunities for ‘quality time’ free from school-associated stresses, were limited.

    Too often I opt for, “No, mummy’s busy. I’ve got to do my work.” This morning however, feeling guilty, I didn’t disappear off to the quiet and safety of my office, but...

  • What can happen when you wish upon a star
    Aug 26, 2014 8:00 am

    What can happen when you wish upon a star

    I believe in magic. Sounds a little woo-woo but I’ve noticed that sometimes, if we wish for something hard enough, it can become our reality. ‘Wish’ perhaps isn’t the right word. It’s more setting an intention, having a deep-seated desire and a belief that it is possible for us. I’m convinced we can manifest things into our lives.

    ‘We get more of what we focus on,’ I’m so often reminded of this. Not just in the day to day, this seems...

  • Aug 19, 2014 8:00 am

    Road to joy

    Oh the irony. I spend the last few weeks writing about happiness and publicly sharing my discovering of what it means to me. Yet any ‘understanding’ I seemed to have gained about it, hasn’t stopped me being in a wretchedly foul mood these past few days, feeling anything but. I won’t go into details, only because the reasons seem so petty now, making it all the more frustrating and embarrassing. Like a petulant toddler, I have been feeling...

  • Getting ever closer to understanding what makes us happy
    Aug 12, 2014 8:00 am

    Getting ever closer to understanding what makes us happy

    Walking through a remote, Devon country pub last week, I glance up and notice that nailed above the door, almost missable, there is a painted wooden board that reads: “Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life”.

    I do love it when the universe converges to reflect exactly what’s on my mind, or I’m presented with just what I need to know at that given moment.

    I have been basking in a happiness bubble as of late. On my...

  • Aug 5, 2014 8:00 am

    What we’re looking for

    I am turning into my mother.

    As a child, my toes would curl and I’d want to shrink into the upholstery whenever she’d strike up conversations and start swapping life histories with total strangers: fellow airline passengers, shop assistants, waiters …

    Now I find myself doing the same. It seems the world is full of interesting people, all with stories to tell. And they’re only a stranger until you’ve met them.

    Most recently...

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