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5 Remedies to cure your Disease to Please!

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ppl pleaser 2

Are you a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to say ‘No’?

Prompted by several clients who are self- confessed ‘People Pleasers’ and who have a desire to change but are not sure how, I set about researching the topic in more detail.

People pleasers are essentially lovely people who go out of their way to make other people happy. They have a bias towards collaboration and consideration for others. They tend to have highly tuned empathy and find it easy to adapt. The impact? They tend to say ‘yes’, when what they really want to say is ‘no’.  People pleasing may have served them in the past but when it becomes a default mode of being, it can be challenging to feel comfortable in their own skin.

Why not just say no? Fundamentally, it’s a mindset that works against them; some fear conflict, some don’t like to disappoint others or appear to be less than capable. Some feel that ‘ignoring the needs of others’ appears wrong and even rude!  Yet, by and large they report feeling overworked and resentful at saying “yes” to tasks that serve the agenda of others. Moreover, they feel frustrated at their lack of power and control over their own schedule, not to mention their anger at seemingly ‘getting nothing done’.

In a world where work is becoming infinite (just think about your ‘inbox’!) Having the ability to say “No” requires us to cultivate a mindset in which this is ‘ok’. The following 5 tips serve to remind us all how:

  1. Connect

Getting in touch with who you are, your values and beliefs is critical in getting started. Take the time to pause and reflect. Ask yourself ‘how am I responding to this?’ Look at your current behaviours and remember that it is in making the teaspoon size changes that can have the biggest impact.


  1. Set Boundaries

Be clear about your limits. Reset and revise your own boundaries if necessary. In setting these, remember, your responsibility is to yourself. If you don’t respect your needs, others won’t. If the receiver is unhappy, coin a mantra or ask a question such as ‘is there another way to look at this?’ Place the focus on something productive.


  1. Own your choices

Don’t feel the need to buy into some-one else’s chaos. Consider, if you say ‘yes’, consider what are you saying ‘no’ to? Remember to yield– research tells us that we are most susceptible to saying ‘yes’ in the minutes after a request. Yielding offers us valuable time to position our response!


  1. Be assertive

Assertive communication is about directing dialogue to what IS possible. If a situation is not working for you, say it and follow it with “can we put our heads together to figure this out”. Engage the asker! Focus on the substance of your objection over any ‘mud- slinging’.


  1. Say NO

Grasp that saying ‘no’ is not selfish and is vital to sustain healthy and functional relationships. In her book “Who’s pulling Your Strings?” Harriet B Braiker says “Conflict can and should be handled constructively. When it is, relationships benefit. Conflict avoidance is *not* the hallmark of a good relationship. On the contrary, it is a symptom of serious problems and of poor communication”. Remember that being nice, is not the same as being helpful.


Courage can transform us into the best version of ourselves positively impacting self- esteem and happiness. The good news is that bravery is a skill we can all learn (or re learn). It is an active process so it does need practise. Thus, if you want to be the hero of your own story, practise small acts of bravery and watch life open up before you! And I’ll bet that you will feel a whole lot better and may even have some extra time to devote to something that YOU actually enjoy!


Gillian McGrath is a Cork based life and business coach and master trainer. For more information, you can contact her directly on


Revive to Survive

“What do you mean the summer is over??!”

If you’re like me, you galloped towards the mid- year point with an equal measure of frenzy and excitement as the children finished school. The summer was a cocktail of work commitments, play dates and a fantastic but ‘intense’ overseas holiday. We’re now at the end of August, on the verge of the autumnal transition, immersed in the hive of activity that is back to school, more work deadlines and let’s throw in a bit of home decoration for good measure!

The dawn of a new season can often feel like an opportune time to trial and embrace new routines and habits, that will boost our resilience for the invariable hustle and bustle that this time of year brings. I read recently, that “what we think, we become”- if that’s the case, this ‘busyness epidemic’ is preventing us from taking a leap or doing something differently. By missing out on pausing, we are missing out on the opportunity of getting ‘unstuck’! By ‘stuck’, I mean immersed in that task list; the one that features, the things we ‘have’ to do, the things we ‘need’ to do and of course, the things we ‘should’ do.  Do you ever find yourself saying “There’s just not enough hours in the day” or “I need space to think!” or even” I need a break!!!”

Here are my tips for new habits to embrace to help you revive and survive (and they don’t involve a sun lounger!)

  1. Change your Routine– be proactive and look at clawing back nuggets of space in your day. Would you consider getting up an hour earlier? Wouldn’t an early morning walk or a cup of tea in peace where you have time to think be blissful before the carnage of the day?! See my previous blog for more on this:
  2. Switch off and reconnect– enforce a digital detox for a morning/ afternoon or a day if you can manage it! A conscious decision to put away your phone and tablets because you want to be more present and engaged with yourself/ your family / friends can be both empowering and transformative. Our connection with ourself and our closest relationships are key in surviving life’s challenges.
  3. Do less to achieve more– multitask less – experience has taught me that this is an incredibly ineffective way to function. When we multi task, we ‘skim’- we cover quantity and not quality, and our mind is always on the next task. Slowing down can be challenging but is key to nourish and replenish yourself.
  4. Get creative– the change of season often inspires and the benefits of engaging our creativity are well documented and include relaxation and escapism! Don’t worry- you don’t need to be arty, it could be crafting, photography or anything else! Last week, I took the children to the local beach where we picked stones and painted them! (see pic. at top of blog)
  5. Declutter – for some, decluttering a space can be enormously cathartic/ therapeutic. Pick a cupboard, start small. You’ll soon see the benefits of these teaspoon size changes.
  6. Practise gratitude – helps to refocus especially if you’re feeling a little frazzled or stressed. Distill your thoughts and focus on 3 things that you are grateful for (perhaps buy a gratitude diary to write in a few times a week) This helps to cultivate a positive outlook and reminds us that all is well in our very busy world!


Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer and is founder of Change Grow Succeed. For further information, please contact her on

Live. Laugh. Love.

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Did you find January and February a bit of a slog?                                           

Did you struggle between your need to curl up by the fire, eat and sleep more and the need to obey your environment that screeched “New Year New You!” messages at you?

We try to take on New Year Resolutions and make changes in winter time when our natural tendency is to rest and nurture. Our bodies try to keep up with the powerful mind that wills us to get up, get out and make changes. It highlights a resistance between the body and the mind.

This resistance creates much stress within ourselves which often manifests itself in the weakest part of our bodies for example throat infections, bronchitis or my personal gripe: sinusitis. Once this grabs hold, we fall like wilted flowers and wait for the sun to bloom to pick us up again.

However, in this country, we could be a long time waiting for ‘the sun to bloom’, so, is there any way that we can reduce the impact of this stress? Here are a few tips:

  • Stop – when you’re still, you leave yourself open to thinking differently
  • Become aware of your thoughts and feelings- look to disprove them if feeling overwhelmed
  • Be mindful and ask yourself: what do I need ?(Mind, Body and Soul)
  • Connect with your friends and hobbies
  • Laugh – find moments of joy with friends and family, laugh out loud!
  • Finally, show yourself compassion, give yourself permission and show gratitude!

Only very recently, I was reminded of the therapeutic power of laughter. A few friends and I took off for a well earned night away and belly laughed for 24 hours! It was ‘chicken soup for the soul’ and I am still living the benefits! I had forgotten the positive impact that laughter has, in fact, some research states that “laughter increases the level of antibodies in the body by 20% helping to destroy viruses and tumour cells”[1] . Of course, it’s also a mini work-out (think facial and abdominal muscles), it helps to relieve stress (by decreasing our stress hormone, cortisol and releasing feel good endorphins). Laughter connects us with others and oh! It also burns 1.3 calories per minute!

So, be aware and take note of any resistance between your body and your mind as we enter March and the rest of the year. Aim to minimise stress by living, laughing and loving!

Go Gently.


Nourishing a positive mindset in your child

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What is a positive mindset and is it linked with high self- esteem?

pic happy children

Each of us could come up with a definition for a ‘positive mindset’ and there’s no doubt that words such as confident, happy, a good attitude etc. would feature. For me, it’s being ‘happy in ones’ own skin’. Having a positive mindset will determine how our children will experience their world and that fostering this life skill can only empower them to live the life they want.

The lens through which we see the world is made up of our personality, our environment but mostly of our experiences. Our experiences mould us- they make us unique. Naturally, if our experiences or rather, our responses to our experiences are positive, we begin to understand from a very young age about choices and empowerment. So, imagine if it was second nature to our children to feel positive about their day to day- isn’t that a gift that you would want to give them?

There are pre-requisites to the tips featured and these are not meant to insult but rather help to manage our expectations of our children- for example, we can’t expect them to take any of our pointers on board if they’re not sleeping or eating well. I’m fortunate to have living case studies at home upon whom this research has been trialled! (My children are 9, 5 and 2 years old) and I’m delighted to be able to share what I’ve learned so far…Although we are all still a work in progress!

So, what are these pre-cursors?


  1. Sufficient Food and Sleep! (Physiological)

Again, not wanting to insult any of you Mom’s, Dad’s, Aunties or Uncles reading this but you can forget any level of positivity if at the very core, consistent sleep patterns and a healthy diet are not adhered to.

Do you ever observe a change in your childs behaviour after a sugar –rush? Similarly, have published recommended sleeping hours for children (perhaps you’ve seen the ads? Under 5’s 11 hours+ Over 5’s, 10 hours+). Moreover, vigilance is key when it comes to tablets/ screen time before bed and are a BIG ‘no-no’. Don’t let them enter your childs bedroom or be prepared for them to be up all night! If they are up all night, don’t count on them embracing a positive mindset in the morning!


And the tips?


  1. Connection

A basic human need is To Belong. To a young child, we, their parent (s) are the epi- centre of their world- all they want is our time. Young children base their self worth on the relationships they have with us.

  • How do we do this? We should ‘be present’ with our children.
  • What does this mean? Listening to them (not while scrolling through our phone!)
  • Doing things together (not just the groceries and laundry!!) and
  • Letting them know that colouring and play time is just as important to us as it is to them.

This makes us all feel good and we are now in a better frame of mind to apply a positive mindset. Equally, as children grow older (and we, the parents become less important!), it remains our role to encourage and support healthy relationships in their lives e.g. with friends, teachers, neighbours etc.


  1. Walk the Talk (Positive Role-Modelling)

As we know, our children not only observe but mimic our behavioural response patterns so we have a great opportunity in this regard to look at how we respond both to positivity and challenge.

So, ask yourself- do you “Walk the talk”? How do you show gratitude? Did you know that research shows that showing our emotions physically intensifies them? So, try smiling more! How do you respond to life’s stressors? How are you after a tough day at the office?

Moreover, “healthy body, healthy mind”- structured physical activity is instrumental in having a positive mindset. However, chances are, if you’re not active, the likelihood is that your children won’t be either. It doesn’t have to be the stuff of olympic training but rather a walk in the park, a day gardening or out on the bikes? It can be inclusive and fun so go and be a leader in this field!


  1. Provoke Thought (Ask Questions)

Asking questions can help to encourage a shift in mindset. Of course, this tip will not work with toddlers (although- they can surprise us!). In truth, you know your own children better than anyone- I have used the questions below with my 9 year old and 5 year old. I find that they encourage conversation and this provides me with a unique insight into how they interpret the world. I like questions such as :

  • What do you love doing that makes you feel happiest? (Brings their attention to what makes them feel happiest, introduces the concept of choice)
  • Of all the things you’re learning- What do you think will be most useful to you when you’re a grown-up? (this question links value with learning and can also encourage activities like research and reading- books/online)
  • What are you most grateful for? This encourages perspective and encourages gratitude and appreciation


  1. Encourage them

Our sweet darlings thrive on positive feedback, reassurance and recognition. This tip aims to engage with them through positive re-enforcement and feedback. This will contribute to how they feel about themselves, boost their self esteem and self-confidence. This has a positive impact on their mindset.

  • Ensure to label their behaviourg. ‘Well done for emptying your lunch box’ or ‘Good job on your colouring!’ This gives them some positive direction (rather than telling them what not to do).
  • Demonstrate sensitivity on issues that are important to them g. ‘I’m sorry that your brother broke your Lego tower…”
  • Encourage ownership and responsibility and where appropriate, experiential learning- this will further build their self esteem and confidence.
  • Involve them and recognise their input in activities such as baking and/or weekend planning- in addition to some creative (!) brainstorming, this encourages problem solving techniques.
  • Trouble shoot own solutions (where appropriate!) to their own troubles- this helps to foster independence and independent living skills.



So, I hope that something in this article resonates or even inspires positive change in your household. Thankfully our children are all wonderfully unique and whilst one tip might work for one and not another, the key thing is to take the joy out of their journey whilst empowering them!



Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. For further information, please contact her via

Building Resilience

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I have wanted to write a blog on ‘Resilience’ for a few months now. I threw the topic “out there” with friends and colleagues and what became apparent is that this is a subject matter that seems to attract lots of different viewpoints and opinions.

I asked, “WHY do we need resilience?” Again, the response was varied as we all face and experience different stressors in our day to day, but it did come down to one thing: survival.

  • How do we survive our day to day without feeling overwhelmed?
  • How do we survive the chaos that is being a working parent?
  • How do we handle rejection? (this could be the job seeking process or a child who no longer wants your help!)
  • How do we manage tricky relationships (personal or professional) or even some challenging behaviours?
  • How do we deal with bad news?

There is no doubt that reminding ourselves on how we can build resilience will benefit us all.


Developing resilience involves 5 key areas:

  1. A mental shift in attitude and outlook. Changing how we think about a challenging task or situation can optimise our resilience- perhaps you’ve come across the saying “it’s not the issue but how we view the issue that can be the problem.” So, instead of sighing “why does this always happen to me”, reframe with “this is not personal, I can move on from this…”


  1. Adapting to your environment and being flexible. Consider a bamboo tree- even in the strongest wind, it will bend but not break. It’s deeply rooted but flexible enough to deal with adverse weather conditions. Being able to “go with the flow” while facing life’s challenges is important in building resilience.


  1. Sometimes, resilience is all about the recovery– how do we recover when we fall off track? Resilience comes from our ability to learn from “the fall”, restore ourselves and renew. Growth is the core message in recovery. Empower yourself. Ask yourself- what is your healthy way of coping? Make a list and review when needed!


  1. Ask for help!! Having awareness around when to ask for help is important in building resilience. “A problem shared is a problem halved”- who is the person that you turn to? Is it a friend? A sibling? A Partner? Maybe it’s your Life Coach or GP?


  1. Healthy body = healthy mind. A good diet and exercise will help to build your resilience. Patrick Holfords book “The Feel Good Factor” offers a useful breakdown of food groups and how they can benefit us. Of course exercise feeds both the body and mind, so try to get that blood flowing- there no excuse now that there is a stretch in the evening!


The 5 key areas listed above are my tips but I’m sure it’s not definitive, get in touch and let me know what boosting resilience means for you! Let’s share the message and stay strong for ourselves and each other!


Gillian McGrath is a Life and Business Coach and Trainer and founder of who resides in Cork. For more information, please contact her on

DIY Career Change

February is upon us.

It’s the time of the year when people really begin to think about their careers. January’s atmosphere of change has dissipated and we begin to slow down and start reflecting on where we’re at, where we want to be etc. Have you found yourself saying:

  • Nothing has changed, it’s still the same ‘ding- dong’…
  • Today was crazy busy but I feel like I got nothing done…
  • I suppose it’s a job so I’ll just stick with it until something better comes along…

Feedback from the women I meet is that this feeling can often trickle into their personal lives and they begin to feel that the load they are carrying is heavy. Their personal lives are impacted by the frustration and the stress of being in a job that they don’t really like anymore. Changing job or even career is definitely on the cards but where to start? Recruitment Websites? Update a C.V.? And then, there’s the challenge of time “I’m already up to 90 with meetings/clients/ the kids- where would I find the time to research a new job- I wouldn’t even know where to start!”


My advice is to start at the beginning which is around identifying your skills and interests. If you think about it, your skills and experience are catalysts in evolving who you are. They change. So, do we. Thus, what may have attracted us to a position a few years ago may not appeal to us anymore.

Here are the tips I would like to share with you if you feel the need to professionally re- evaluate:

  1. Buy a notebook (create your own ‘Career Change 2015’ portfolio!)


  1. Reflect on your previous roles/ jobs and make a note (in aforementioned notebook!) of the aspects you enjoyed while working there- think specifically about the tasks and responsibilities, the environment and the people


  1. Make a note your top achievements in your career history and what gave you the greatest sense of pride


  1. Complete an interest inventory. These questionnaires are designed to capture your interests and map them onto career sectors! There are some great websites out there and I would recommend and navigate to the ‘Self- Assessment’ section. Remember the input will determine the output so take the time to answer the questions and go with your gut!


  1. Psychometric Assessment is a fantastic resource to further understand your strengths and abilities (and areas for development!)- alot of the ‘good ones’ are licensed and thus, come at a fee but there are some nice freebies out there which will help to boost your awareness. I recommend and


  1. Start looking for patterns in the feedback above and align this with your own notes from pointers 2 and 3 (above). Start harnessing your strengths!


  1. Now, you have the opportunity to make informed choices about employment sectors/ roles or maybe you have now decided that you need to retrain? If this is the case, look no further than which is a centralised resource for ALL COURSES running in Ireland. Enter your county, some keywords (again, based on your research) and away you go!

A career coach will assist you in this journey, provide support through your research, educate you on tips and tricks of the trade and offer you choices and resilience as you prepare to make the change.

Make a change. Grow. Succeed.

Good luck with it!


Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business coach who also specialising in career change. She is founder of For more information, please contact her directly.


Working Mom – Tips to manage the transition back to the Workplace

Tremendous feedback to my article which featured in last weeks online website: theworking

Did you press pause on your career to welcome a bundle of joy? Did you take six months maternity leave plus a few weeks unpaid? Maybe you decided to take extended leave to nurture the little ones until school going age…

Inevitably, many of us return to the workplace after this time out. In my capacity as a Life Coach (and being a working mum myself!), I often meet moms ‘pre’ and ‘during’ this transition.

Many women have the same doubts and anxieties before and during this period of re-adjustment: fear at the thought of returning to work; the perceived “irrelevance” of skills; the guilt; having a ‘baby brain’ (“I find it hard to remember where I put my keys!!”); and sometimes, an overwhelming sense of anxiety about how to juggle family and work commitments going forward.

Can you identify with some of the feelings above? I know that I can…

Here are some of my tips for how to survive the transition back to work after maternity leave:

  • Source plenty of SUPPORT (emotional and physical) during this big transition – confide in your partner and/ or gal-pals. Tell them what you need. Ask for their encouragement – it will get you through!
  • Call in those FAVOURS! Did granny promise to babysit? Then take her up on her offer – this will allow you some downtime!
  • Engage with your NETWORK, ask other working mums for their practical tips on tasks like cooking or school runs (I remember ‘straight-to-wok-noodles’ were a godsend for me!)
  • FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE ASPECTS of your workplace (perhaps it’s that child- free cup of coffee or some adult company).
  • NOTE how you’re feeling during this transition; consider journaling your thoughts in a notebook. It can be helpful and practical to capture what you felt went well for you on a particular day.
  • PLAN some family fun at the weekends – whatever that is for you!
  • ALLOW for at least six weeks to pass before making any kind of decision around the viability and impact of the new transition – don’t rule anything out and lastly
  • Be KIND TO and BELIEVE IN Trust that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and really try to go with the flow as quite often, stress comes with resisting change!

And if you decide after trying all of the above, that the old job does not integrate with the revised you, make that choice, take control and make a change.

Change. Grow. Succeed.

Gillian McGrath is a Cork based Life and Business Coach and founder of ChangeGrowSucceed.

For more information, please see