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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


Nourishing a positive mindset in your child

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

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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

How do you manage your time?

It’s coming to that time of the year again isn’t it? There’s a sense of urgency with “getting those boxes ticked” or “having your ducks lined up in a row” . Ever feel that there’s just not enough hours in the day? This can trigger stress and a general sense of feeling overwhelmed for a lot of people so- what can we do differently?

Sociologist, Dr Edward Banfield encouraged a positive attitude towards time and time management stating that this attitude has a significant impact on behavior and choices in the here and now. He commented on how those who take a long range view of their lives tend to make better choices in the short term. Long term thinking encourages us to evaluate our current activities and if a particular action/ decision serves us or not. That insight is empowering, but how do we manage in the short term?

Well, to achieve anything, we need to have focus because whatever you focus on, you move towards.

By focusing on what’s practical and meaningful, i.e. what you really want, the tendency is towards increased ownership and motivation in order to achieve it. In my view, there are 4 main categories that help us to create and maintain focus, it’s normal to have a preference for one or two:
Mental: Make time and space for thinking. 10 concentrated minutes, is often more fruitful than ad hoc lists of lists! Prioritise ideas. Explore the boundaries of both personal and professional needs and ask yourself; if I’m saying ‘yes’ to this, then, what am I saying ‘no’ to?
Environmental: Remove distractions (eg a mobile phone) and keep items of focus in front of you- this could be a mood board, a mission statement (or even a Christmas shopping list!)
Practical: Commit to the action required. Delegate jobs/ tasks/ activities. Focus on those which appeal to your strengths.
Emotional: Concentrate and visualise on how you will feel once you reach your goal.

Make this time of year more manageable for you and good luck with it!
Gillian McGrath is a Life and Business Coach. For more details, contact her at

Top 5 Tips for getting the most out of your coaching session!

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Coaching is all about assisting you in reaching your true potential. Through the process you will develop an increased awareness about yourself and the options you have to empower you to lead a happier and more fulfilling life!

Hereunder are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your coaching session.

  1. Arrive early. Turn off your cell phone. This is your time. If this is your first coaching session, have something in mind that you want to work on. What matters most to you at the moment? Ask yourself “what would be the most relevant thing for me to leave here with today?”  If you’re in between sessions, review your notes from the last session or any communication you may have had from your coach.
  1. Open Up. The coaching process is based upon dialogue. Talk. Be honest. Think out loud. Trust that the relationship you have with your coach is safe and free from judgement. Equally, understand the moments of silence. Your coach may want to provide you with the opportunity to reflect or pause.
  1. Creating change takes time. Behind every role we play (mother, employee, wife, sister, friend, daughter etc.), there is a person and issues that arise in one sphere are often paralleled in another (do you ever take work home? Or does being worried about the children creep into your day to day?). Again, this is your time so give yourself permission to explore the different roles you play and the impact they have.
  1. Stay committed. Ask yourself: “how committed am I to making a change?” Follow- through on any action steps you prioritized with your coach. With a fresh awareness, the ‘real’ coaching can often happen in between sessions. Often, days after your coaching session, there may occur an ‘AHA’ moment as something resonates with you. Committing extra time to new ideas will move you closer and more quickly to your goal or aspiration.
  1. Take Responsibility. Just as you have taken the action to meet with a coach. Be accountable for engaging in the session and following through on your action steps. This is the space where the empowerment will come. Relax and enjoy your new way of being!

Gillian McGrath is Life and Business Coach and Master Trainer. Contact her directly for advise on how coaching can help you.

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“So, Mom, What is a Life Coach?”

“So, Mom, What is a Life Coach?”.