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DO TRY THIS AT HOME...

1. See life-changing events as opportunities. `The silver lining of being made redundant is having lots of time on your hands.'

2. Don't be afraid to experiment. `You've got little to lose if you fail, but everything to gain if you succeed. Ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen? If you can handle that, you've nothing to fear.'

3. Be practical and think about the resources you'll need. `This could be anything from a new computer to help from family and friends.'

4. Set your goals. `Clarity is power - the clearer the picture, the more motivated you will feel and the easier it will be to achieve your goal.'

5. Do one thing a day to bring you closer to your goal. `It's easy to feel overwhelmed if you look at the big picture. Breaking things down into small steps will make them seem far more achievable.'



I want to re-evaluate my life'I want to re-evaluate my life'

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"Having a life coach gave me the motivation I needed. I was already quite organised, but didn't have the confidence to get going"

Life has taken an unexpected turn for 36-year-old Mary Lou Jessome. She was recently made redundant from her stockbroking job, so she has found herself at a career - and life - crossroads.

The dilemma `Just when I thought my destiny was signed, sealed and sorted, I was made redundant,' explains Mary Lou. `I want to go back to stockbroking, but realistically I know that it may take some time. I'd like to have the confidence to try things I've always wanted to try, and to explore new avenues. I feel that a life coach is just what I need to help me get the most out of my time out.'

The expert Liz Wilde trained with Coach University, the largest coach training body in the world. She has clients in the UK, Spain, Italy and America, and conducts most of her sessions by telephone. Her aim is to teach people new skills, to help them set goals, and to create easy-to-follow action plans that ensure their targets are reached.

The diagnosis `Mary Lou should look at her current situation as a year's window of opportunity in which to expand her horizons, set new goals and achieve things that she's never had the time to do before. She is very organised and methodical by nature, but the redundancy has knocked her slightly and made her far more chaotic. She'd like to explore some more creative aspects of her personality, if only to prove that she's not just a financial whizz.'

The action plan `When we first met, Mary Lou filled in an assessment programme that helped me to see where she is in her life, and where she wants to go. In our first session, I discovered that she wants to publish a cookery book and has already written all the recipes. Cooking is something she is passionate about, so I've encouraged her to follow this path during her "year out". I've set her two goals. The first is to buy a current copy of the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook (A&C Black, £12.99), to pinpoint five publishers who specialise in cookery, and to get an appointment so that she can show her ideas. Her second goal is to print out all the recipes and put together a presentation. I've given her a week to follow these steps and we'll discuss what progress she has made at our next session.'

Mary Lou's verdict? `After a session with Liz I feel so much more optimistic. I can't wait to get to work on my book and take it to publishers. Seeing a life coach has helped me to unleash and unlock dreams that I've had, and hopefully turn them into a reality.'

One month later `Seeing Liz gave me the motivation I needed. I was already quite organised, but didn't have the confidence to get going. I've contacted publishers, resurrected my manuscript, I'm re-working the first chapter and have started a creative writing coursel'.

(c) Liz Wilde   Back to Features