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.
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,...
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...
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