There are times in life when things just don’t go to plan.  I’m sure you will all agree with this?

This happened to me last week when I was heading to hospital to have my operation. The day had come & I’d planned for my husband, John, to catch a train to the closest station & we’d head to the hospital together.  Hmmm…simple you’d think, what could possibly go wrong?  Well, the train had other ideas…it didn’t stop at the station because of a broken down freight train. WHAT??!! (feel free to add additional words here!!).  So my image of having my hand held while I checked into the hospital was gone…

John ended up going to Bristol Temple Meads instead…30 minutes away!  (FYI there were no tears at this point, just slight frustration & a few swear words).

It’s ok I thought, I’m a big girl now.  So I pulled up my big girl panties & checked myself into the hospital, (not a big deal really but just wasn’t what I’d planned).  I thought I was ok with that, but in fact I wasn’t, it made the whole experience feel really emotional.  (top tip though…. I would highly recommend not having a local anaesthetic when you have your tummy cut open, that really freaking hurt!).

So off I went into theatre, it wasn’t pleasant, (in fact it was horrific & really painful – the nurses couldn’t believe I’d given birth to 3 kids!), I was a terrible patient.  I was incredibly grateful for the wonderful nurses though (all 4 of them!!), they really were amazing & tried to keep me calm.  My favourite quote from one of the nurses during the op was, “Can you please slow your breathing down because you are about to hyperventilate!”.  My response, as polite as I could in the circumstances, “What!!! I am breathing slowly!” – Yikes!! ..anyway I survived & John finally joined me after several trains plus a cab!

Reflecting on this experience what I realised was you can’t always plan for every eventuality, sometimes stuff goes wrong, staying calm & putting things in perspective would’ve really served me that day.  And with everything that’s been going on in the world recently this really is nothing, but what occurred to me was that I wasn’t really prepared for the op (I was ignoring it, hoping it would go away), so when things didn’t go to plan I fell apart.  How we react to situations creates our outcome.  I reacted emotionally which made the whole experience feel worse.  (pleased to hear that my nurse friends cannot believe I only had a local for this op, so I’m really feeling like Wonder Woman now!!).

And here’s the thing, we can learn from everything we do, as Nelson Mandela famously quoted, “We are either winning or learning”.  So now I am looking back & learning from this.  Yep a lot to learn!  In reflection, I could’ve handled this so differently. With that in mind, I thought I’d share from my coaching perspective what you could do if “things don’t go to plan” & how to deal with stressful situations.

Here are my top 5 tips.

  1. Nothing & no one can “make” you feel anything.  How you feel & the way you deal with a situation is a choice.  You cannot control others’ actions, but you can be responsible for your reactions.  Look at the situation & ask yourself “is this something I can change?”  If so, start exploring positive ways to change the situation.  If the situation cannot be changed, accept it for what it is.  Accepting does not mean giving up.  By accepting the situation & finding ways you can cope with what cannot be changed, stress can be drastically reduced.
  2. Exchange attitude for gratitude.  Our attitude has a profound effect on how we deal with situations.  Negative attitudes affect our physical, spiritual, & mental wellbeing.  When in a particularly stressful situation, try exchanging attitude for gratitude.  When you are running late for a meeting because you are stuck in traffic, change your attitude.  Instead of being frustrated about the traffic, find some gratitude.  Look around & think of all the things you can be thankful for.  Sometimes you can find gratitude in the smallest things.  You can be thankful for life, health, strength, friends, family, nature, etc. Focusing on what you are grateful for can definitely change your attitude.
  3. Relax.  (Oh my I so needed to do this last week, but have been doing a great job of it since!)  Amidst the busy-ness of everyday life, sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves.  If we don’t help ourselves, how can we effectively help others?  Relaxation rejuvenates the body, mind, & spirit, leaving us better equipped to handle stressful situations if they arise.  Try to find something that you enjoy & do it every day.  If you can set aside time for relaxation, do it.  Try to set aside a designated, uninterrupted time & stick to it.  I often hear people say they don’t have time to relax though relaxation doesn’t have to be time-consuming.  Relaxation can include periodic 5-10 minute breaks of breathing exercises or watching your favourite programme for 30 minutes.  Relaxation can also include connecting with positive people.  Since my op I have been practicing a short meditation every day to help me relax as well as keep my mind stay in a positive place.
  4. Look at the big picture.  Evaluate your stressful situation from a “big picture” point of view.  “What’s the worst that could happen?” or ask yourself “how important is this?” & “will this matter in the long run?”  If the answer is no, it’s likely not worth your time & energy.

There you have it my coaching advice on how to avoid feeling the way I did last week in the operating theatre!  We all need a reminder to keep things in perspective at times & this week I have spent a lot of time doing exactly that.  I’m thinking these tips may come in handy for the imminent election this week, wonder which way it’ll go?

Anyway you’ll be pleased to know I can now look back on the hospital visit & laugh at the whole experience.  Phew!  And I’m recovering well…should be back to running marathons again soon 😉

Keep shining,

Claire x

What’s Claire up to this month?

7th -9th June – recoveringcoaching private 1-2-1 clients, want to know what it looks like to work with me in this way, email me here.

21st June – 12pm – 2pm – Ladies Love lunch networking event at the Hilton Swindon – I’m the speaker!  Do come along if you’re free, really excited about this event, I went to the last one & it was brilliant.  Also it’d be great to see some friendly faces in the audience! Register here.

21st June – 7 – 9pm – Attending Live Laugh Love event at The Pelican in Froxfield. This is a new ladies social group, with fab speakers, this event has now sold out so the next event is 20th July.

27th June – 9.30am – 3pm – ‘Own your value NOW’ workshop – held at my home in Ramsbury.  Are you undercharging in your business?  Or overdelivering?  If yes to either question then this workshop is for you!  Limited places only…for more details, email me here.


13th – 15th July – Attending the Global Mastermind retreat in Edinburgh, Scotland, who wants to join me?  This is my 5th retreat that I have attended run by top coaches Kate Gerry & Chris Kenney, it will be transformational!  If you’d like to hear more about my experience & why I recommend it, then drop me an email & we can set up a chat.