What can Ebenzer Scrooge teach us about finding happiness?

A Christmas Carol is my all time favourite Christmas story.

A wonderful Victorian tale depicting the lives of 2 main characters. 

Ebenezer Scrooge. The miserly Owner of a London counting house.  He was a wealthy, selfish and indifferent man with a complete disregard for his fellow man with a very cold hearted approach to life.  Literally hating everything in his life except money,  yet he woke up Christmas morning a changed and happy man.

Bob Cratchit .  Working for Scrooge as an underpaid and overworked Clerk, Cratchit was in contrast, a very kind hearted and mild mannered man.  He was very poor with a large family and his youngest son Tiny Tim who was dreadfully ill and was only able to walk with crutches.  Bob loved life and everything about his fellow man and he woke up Christmas morning a happy man.

I’m sure you are all familiar with the tale that illustrates the plight of the destitute , yet happy Cratchit family and the redemption of the greedy, rich yet unhappy Scrooge.

The tale shows us that Christmas is a time for Family and sharing and celebrations – much of which has been lost over the years through social pressures to give the latest (and expensive) gadgets and toys as gifts.  These days, a tree that doesn’t have an abundance of wrapped gifts underneath it appears almost barren.

Ultimately, the biggest difference of all between The Cratchits and Scrooge is LOVE. 

Bob and his family have love for each other, for their friends and neighbours and even for Scrooge himself.

Scrooge on the other hand has only love for money.  This lack of love consumed him and to that end he can see no joy in life or the joy he could bring to others lives who are less fortunate that him.

Of course, we live in a consumer society and are bombarded with the latest trends on a daily basis but if we lose sight of what is truly important – happiness will evade us.

This of course starts with loving yourself first – which in turn starts with forgiveness of self.

In The Christmas Carol – Scrooge is visited by 3 ghosts, past, present and future – showing him the error of his ways and the future in store for him if he doesn’t change. 

These ghosts make him re-evaluate his life and his priorities and through these changes he learns to love again – starting with himself.  This love then leads to him finding happiness in places he didn’t even imagine.  For example in the connection he finds with Tiny Tim.  The young boy showed no judgement towards him based on his previous miserly ways and accepted Scrooge into his heart with open arms.

So what can ‘The Christmas Carol’ teach us about happiness?

Well, despite living in poverty and with a son who was likely to die very young, Bob lived life with an open heart and open eyes.  He saw the beauty that was around him – in the every day things such as family, friends, nature and he savoured every moment of it.  He was aware of how short and precious life is and he didn’t let a single thing pass him by without noticing it.  Even when it came to Scrooge, he defended him seeing that below the miserable facade was a good man in there.   

The Cratchits on the surface looked as though the had little reason to celebrate Christmas.  Yet they found a happiness that is authentic because they CHOSE not to indulge in misery.  What The Cratchits chose instead is love, gratitude and peace.

Scrooge on the other hand had everything he wanted – he could have had anything money can buy!  However, he was so miserly in fact, that he didn’t even allow himself the short term pleasure of spending.  He told himself he was happy, yet he had no friends, no family around him and the only love he felt is for the money he possessed.

Even with his wealth and privilege Scrooge lived life with pain. misery and selfishness.  He spent the time with his eyes closed, preferring to concentrate his gaze on his wealth and not acknowledging the world around him.  Life was passing him by quickly and he didn’t notice all the things he had missed or lost over the years. Things that had taken the joy he could have had away from him.  It was only when forced to reflect that he realised he had lost touch with his family and the love of his life through his own actions, whilst choosing instead to blame the outside world for his misfortune.

Bob Cratchit was happy, Ebenzer Scrooge was not.

I suppose, the summary of this tale is that happiness is found within you. 

No amount of gifts or wealth or material possessions can make you happy despite the short term ‘high’ of having new things.  The truth is that the more possessions you have can in fact make you insecure!   As was in Scrooges case.  He was so attached and consumed by his wealth that he worried that it would all diminish and be lost and was so pre-occupied with maintaining it, that this made him anxious, miserable and at times angry.

So as Christmas fast approaches, with its pressures and stresses of today, remember what Christmas is really about.  Not so much the giving and receiving of gifts but the giving and receiving of love.  The sharing of a joint experience with loved ones and the making of true and happy memories to look back on.   It’s not about what you have in your bank account or under your tree but what you have in your heart that counts.

I’m talking about real love here too!  Not just small affairs of the heart, not the superficial, short lasting lust of material things, but real, true deep love.  Of course it’s the love you feel for you Husband or Wife and your Children. But love is also found in the giving of time and energy to bring joy to those people that are less fortunate than you.  It’s caring for your elderly neighbour or a lonesome friend that may be spending Christmas alone.

Looking outside for happiness is futile as Scrooge would tell you if he were here today (and a real person of course!)

Love is the key to happiness and happiness is found inside you.

I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote by the late Sidney Banks;

“One of the most beautiful things I can bestow upon you is the knowledge that love is the mystical key that opens the doors to the beauty and happiness you seek. Love… is a feeling that comes in many disguises. It may be caring for someone in need, loving your husband, loving your children, caring for and helping your neighbours and friends. Or it may be bringing a little joy to others who are less fortunate. There is no end to the different ways to use this beautiful gift called love.” 

By Lisa Holton – Lisa Holton Coaching December 2018



Are you living or existing?

I was recently asked to do a talk at a Macmillan Cancer Coffee morning and I immediately accepted.  Like many others, its an illness very close to my heart.  Then I thought … Ah …. how am I going to speak about an illness as serious as cancer whilst making the message positive and hopefully inspiring? 

So …….

21 years ago, my mum was diagnosed with lung cancer and it was in its advanced stages.  We lost her just over 12 months later.

Many of us will sadly be familiar with this scenario.

Of course I went through the usual stages of shock and disbelief. My mum was 46 years old and fairly healthy so what the hell?!  Then I was angry …. My dad had smoked since he was 9 years old 9!!! – he had to have half of his lung removed due to his smoking and it’s my mum who gets cancer … how is that fair?!   Then guilt – of course there I was asking why my Dad didn’t get cancer instead of my Mum.

I spent a lot of time swaying between anger and despair.  I felt I had no control over my emotions and even if I had – I was fully justified in my outbursts because my mum was dying right?!

The word Cancer is full of negativity – just saying the word let alone watching what it does to people casts a black shadow over everything in its wake. Its a shitty, scary word – the word one no one wants to be associated with.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.

What cancer does give us … is a sense of our own mortality.  A sense of how nothing is permanent. It reminds us that nothing is forever.  The words cancer and death are inextricably linked but the reality is that we are all dying – from the minute we are born.  It just disease and illness comes along sometimes to speed up the process. 

In the western world we hate talking about death but its inevitable – Albert Einstein talked about the planet having 7.5 billions years left before life – in all its forms – ends. Steven Hawking believed it was much less.

We all know what cancer is ….. but did you know that cancer tells you lies!  

Lies like;

> You deserve this.

> You’re not good enough.

> You’re no longer a real woman or man.

> Your life is over. 

For the loved ones watching cancer from the sidelines it lies to you too.  It tells you – I’m making you depressed.  Its my fault you feel sad and angry. I will make you feel guilty.

Those lies worm their way into your heart and mind and set up camp there and they will surface every time you let your guard down. 

They will consume your thoughts and eat you up and bring you down and ….. it doesn’t have the be that way. 

Here’s the rub – The way you feel about cancer – is not cancers fault.

As human beings we have free will – the free will to choose, so you can choose not to listen to the lies.

Almost all of us have alarm clocks to get us up in the morning but who enjoys their alarm actually going off and waking us up at silly o’clock!?

I’m no fan of the alarm clock honking at me to get up at 6am in the morning for sure!

Cancer – or any other serious illness – is like a massive honking wake up call to life.

The alarm clock on my bedside table however does not make me reflect on the time I have left on this planet and it does not remind me to live – so why does it take a serious illness such as cancer to make us do this?

Someone asked me once – ‘are you sad about your Mum because she died or are you sad because she didn’t live.’  Initially I thought WOW what a question!  But it’s an interesting and thought provoking question and the answer I have is this.  Of course I’d love my Mum to still be here with us, but I am sad that she didn’t live.

Some people spend all day – every day doing nothing .  24 hours of a day letting life pass them by because they think – Its ok – I have tomorrow.  But do we?

You have to make each and every moment count – don’t wait for cancer or some other crisis to be your alarm clock to start living.

Life is precious … its a beautiful unique gift – with an expiry date and we have to learn to live every single minute – every second of it because that second, that minute is gone already.

What you did this morning when you got up, what you did 5 minutes ago before reading this – its in the past – it only now exists in our memory. 

As for the future – that doesn’t exist at all yet.  We really only have NOW. 

And making a difference to the rest of your life – whether you are ill or not – is all to do with thought – your thinking in the moment.

And boy I wish I had understood this 21 years ago!

Here’s the thing, human beings have roughly 45-60 thoughts per minute and we are in control of what thoughts come into our head zero % of the time.

For example, if I say, “think about a pink and white striped elephant”, or if I say, “Don’t think about a pink and white striped elephant” –  both times your thought created an image of a pink and white striped elephant, that popped into your head –  whether you wanted it to or not.  

Now, thinking about that elephant doesn’t make you feel good or bad because that thought doesn’t hold any meaning for you.  You just let that elephant thought float away.  Just as it should.

However, the difference comes when the thought does hold meaning for you – when it is something you care about.  Like the illness of you or a loved one.  This is where it gets tough because those thoughts …. seem real to you.  Especially when the thought is understood as sad, angry, anxious etc.

Let me tell you a little story about the power of thought

My Husband and I have agreed that we going to attempt to do more new things together outside of our work stuff.  We both do yoga at home but have never attended a class and so I booked us a hot pod yoga session – I was excited!  He wasn’t …….

He had built this scenario up in his head about how he imagined it would be … too early on a Sunday morning, too hot and sweaty, too dark, uncomfortable, the hour is going to drag so much etc. and the whole drive there, although he didn’t voice his concerns – only to say that he didn’t fancy the class – was a bit quiet – you know that energy where you feel like you’ve done something you shouldn’t have but no-one is saying what.  In his mind he was blaming the yoga class and me for putting him in this bad mood.

Now in times gone by, I would have challenged the quiet, likely asked a hundred questions as to why he didn’t want to go, we’d have argued a bit – turned the car around, gone back home and we’d both have had the hump for the rest of the day. 

However, my new understanding knows that this scenario – the made up yoga class movie of his imagination is all down to thought in the moment.  I saw that his thinking was not caused by him attending the yoga class at all – it was all down to him over thinking a situation he hadn’t even experienced yet!  So – I ignored it and let it pass.

After the yoga was over, he was in a great mood. He explained that it wasn’t at all how he had imagined it.  The heat and the dark enhanced the experience and he even enjoyed the sweat as it made him feel really clean!  It was nice to do something so early on a Sunday that we had the remainder of the day to ourselves.  So we had a nice ride home and Sunday started and ended amazingly well.

Nothing about that situation changed.  It was still a yoga class – it was still early Sunday morning – it was hot and dark and sweaty (and really really hard work!!)

But what did change was his thinking  – it just settled down and his mind cleared enough to allow the joy in.   

Now, if I had allowed his initial thinking to change my mind about going, then I could have reinforced his thoughts that me and the yoga class was putting him in a bad mood and not his own thinking.

Instead what happened was we both witnessed how when thought settles down, and you can get a clear mind and let your thoughts drift – the world looks different without any change in circumstances.

The good thing about this is that we don’t have to force ourselves to do it! 

We just need to be aware and recognise when the thoughts we are having about a situation or challenge in life are not serving us very well. 

When we cut ourselves, our body miraculously heals itself without our help. We might clean it up and maybe put a plaster on it to keep it clean but if we leave it alone it will heal all by itself.

Our minds are the same, if we just leave it alone, your natural internal wisdom will show you a new way to think about whatever was bothering you in the first place.  And the best news is we are all born with it!  We’ve had the ability all our lives we just forget its there because it gets buried under years of adulting.

Ok so I realise that cancer will not heal itself as a cut does and sometimes the reality is that it will not heal at all – but this doesn’t mean that we have to give into the negative and unhelpful thoughts that might plague us about it. 

We are human and so over thinking something – especially that stuff thats important to us – comes far too naturally to us. 

We can’t stop the thoughts, good or bad, and we don’t need to.   The nature of thought is transient. Meaning that is comes into your mind to just leave and not to stay.

Thoughts are like helium balloons that float past in your mind and away again. 

If you choose to grab onto a thought balloon and weigh it down with your unhelpful thinking, it will get heavier and heavier until it lands on you no longer able to just float away.

Imagine this – Its like trying to drive your car on an icy patch of the road – the more you rev up the engine (your mind) the more the wheels spin sending you in circles (trying to fix your thinking with more thinking) and the longer you will take to get off the ice – and while doing so burn out your gear box, your tyres AND the engine! (your body)

If you just took a second to breathe and recognise that this revved up way is doing more harm than good, then instead, just slowly pointed yourself in the right direction and gently move forward in a low gear with no revving a little at a time, you’ll be on your way in no time and with a big smile on your face!

So the message I want to share with you is know this;

No matter what your challenge – whether it’s a general annoyance of someones habit, anxiety over an exam or the challenges that ill health such as cancer brings. 

It’s your thinking alone, that is creating your feelings and your behaviour. You can’t possibly manage 60 thoughts per minute so don’t try.  Any that come along that are not serving you well – just leave them alone and know that they will pass. 

This is they key to living a happy, beautiful, fulfilling life, because tomorrow never actually comes and we only have now so remember to live it.

Lisa Holton Coaching October 2018


‘Behind every feeling you ever had, behind every emotion you ever

felt, there is a thought. Even pain is thought generated. Does that

surprise you?’ –  From Joyride by David Key

Well it may surprise some of you – but it is truth.

What is feeling?  In the dictionary its says;

‘an emotional state or reaction’  or  ‘an idea or belief, especially a vague or irrational one’

Interesting that it specifies especially a vague or irrational one ….

A thought will create a feeling, this will in turn create 
a behaviour
and that behaviour most likely will create more thought
and so the cycle continues.

So – if you have a fear of bees for example, then your thought about that bee will create a feeling – in this case FEAR and this will in turn create a behaviour; running screaming from a bee. Then your thoughts tell you the bee is now chasing you and so you create even more fear and then run even faster etc etc.

And then what we do is we blame the bee for scaring us.
Its not the bees fault  ….  it is actually our thinking about the bee that caused our feelings about it and then our subsequent behaviour.


In truth – we are doing this to ourselves!   This must be true if other people don’t react to bees in the same way we do ….. mustn’t it?

So can it be as simple as just changing our thoughts?  Is it a choice?

Well as humans we have between  60-90,000 thoughts per day so imagine trying to manage all of those!!

Thankfully, the vast majority of those thoughts we are not even aware of.  They are transient which means they come into and pass out of our minds without us even acknowledging them – like clouds floating past in the sky.  These thoughts will be mostly neutral which is why we don’t remember them.

However, every now and again a happy, or fearful, or negative, or joyful, or anxious thought comes along and we grab a hold of that thought (mentally) and we give it energy and allow it to control us.  Which is great when we give energy to a happy or funny thought because it makes us feel good, but what happens when we get an anxious or sad thought? 

We hold onto it and nurture it with our energy and allow it to control us until we have fed it so much of our energy, we are wiped out and we feel deflated and eventually depressed.

I’m not trying to say that those of us that are feeling anxious or depressed can just switch it off nor am I saying that it doesn’t exist.  It feels pretty real to us when its happening right?  

What I am saying though, is that the moment we realise that it’s a made up movie in our minds of what we predict may be true, that it’s just our thoughts creating the movie, and therefore the feeling of fear or anxiety or depression, then suddenly its not so scary anymore.

And this can be applied to everything in our life. The moment we actually truly see that all our feelings are 100% made of thought, then we can open up the space in our minds where we find freedom, great mental health, peace, happiness.

So going back to my question – Can it be as simple as just changing our thoughts?  Is it a choice?

We have no way of controlling our thoughts, we can’t help what thoughts come into our minds and managing over 60,000 per day, as I said earlier, is impossible.  So no – we have no way of changing our thoughts and no we don’t have a choice as to which thoughts come into our minds.

BUT what we do have as humans is free will and this gives us the choice to not allow those thoughts to control us.  And if we give them our energy and allow them to control us,  then they will. 

If I asked you now to think of the worst food you have ever tasted – think about how it looked and smelled – I bet you are having an unpleasant feeling – maybe even a nauseous one.  Now if I ask you to stop and instead think about the best food you’ve ever tasted – how it looked and smelled, then I’m sure that you now have a more pleasant feeling and maybe even a bit hungry!

All you did was give 2 different thoughts your energy – 1 unpleasant one and 1 pleasant one and that thinking created 2 different feelings.

So in summary – No, we cannot control our thoughts but yes, we do have a choice on how much attention we pay to those thoughts.  On how much control we give those negative thoughts over our lives.

I do appreciate that this sounds very simple (although not easy!) and it is simple, but understanding all of this takes time and may not help how you are feeling right now.

Just try it …. next time you get a thought that doesn’t serve you and your life positively – try and let it go.  Just ignore it until it passes because it will if you let it.  Take control back and find the space in your mind to let peace and happiness in.

If you would like to find out more about this understanding or you are struggling with negative feelings, then please get in touch for a chat about how I can help.

Lisa Holton – Lisa Holton Coaching Ltd  May 2018

“Your thoughts are like the artist’s brush. They create a personal picture of the reality you live in.”  — Sydney Banks

For more details on Joyride by David Key please use this link:


Icons, Game Changers & Trail Blazers! Are you one?

It was recently International Womans Day and I was asked to give a talk about successful women at my local Woman in Business Networking Group. 

So, when I sat down to think about this talk and all the successful women out there doing great things in their field – what and who inspires me and what is it about their character that ties them together under than banner ofSuccessful, literally 50 names came to mind without even thinking too hard.

> Deborah Meaden best known for Dragons Den and has been successful in business for many years

> Baroness Karen Brady – yes she is Alan Sugars side kick for The Apprentice but is highly successful in her own right and on many fronts. She bucked the trend when she started running Birmingham FC!

> Martha Lane Fox – another Baroness and who Co founded

> Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Joanna Lumley and Judi Dench. All successful actresses and all of whom do not confirm to the social pressures that this industry puts upon women with regards to ageing.

> Oprah Winfrey – everyone knows Oprah BUT her story is a true rags to riches one. She has also overcome so much adversity in her life where many others would have crumbled.

> Sports women like Kelly Holmes, Paula Dunn, Rebecca Adlington and Jessica Ennis-Hill – none of who need introduction or explanation and all of whom are successful Olympians.

I could go on and on ….. 

Every one of these women and every one of you are endowed with greatness. Greatness that only you can unlock.

Every successful woman mentioned here has certain characteristic traits that run through all of them and I’ve chosen just 10 of those to share with you.

1. Positivity. There’s no energy in the world that can imitate the feeling of when a positive, confident woman enters a room. However, a positive attitude takes effort on your part. Negative thinking needs to be replaced with positive ones. Successful women don’t allow that internal voice to tell them you’re not good enough or you can’t. They surround themselves with like minded, positive people that believe in & support them.

2. She overcomes obstacles. Each of them use adversity to their advantage and will not accept no for an answer. Ellen Degeneres said “ Its our challenges & obstacles that give us layers of depth and make us interesting. Are they fun? – NO! But they are what makes us unique. And that’s what I know for sure …. I think” Great women know that failure and success go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Failure means you tried and you learned. If you believe that you can only go so far …. thats just an obstacle for you to get over.

3. She is strongminded. Strong minded is not being rude – it is knowing your values & beliefs and not be swayed by someone else’s views that conflict with yours. They have confidence in their own convictions. Its empowerment, its courage, its confidence and self discipline. Its having a healthy self image without ego and arrogance. Not one of them have the belief they are more important or above another.  

4. She is compassionate.  Compassionate women have great influence. They are naturally empathetic and are able to build great rapport. They are more sympathetic and are motivated to go out of their way to help those less fortunate than themselves. Compassion helps them to connect with people in a more meaningful way and thus encouraging better mental & physical health in others and themselves.

5. She has integrity. Highly successful women do not leave victims in their wake. She knows there is no need to step on others to get to the next level. Integrity is at the very core of their character. Living by your convictions, always putting your morality before money gains respect and trust. From this, personally and professionally, you will grow.

6. Successful women have balance. Our lives revolve around four major areas; family & friends, health, wealth and spirit. Each of these must have balance to lead a fulfilled life. Successful women evaluate all of these areas on a regular basis and so should you. A truly balanced life allows you to think clearly with imagination and optimism.

7. She has clear vision. A clear vision helps you to pursue your goals and dreams. I’ve said this once or twice before – but having a visual prompt to remind you of your aims on a daily basis means you are over 50% more likely to achieve them. Every successful woman, no matter what her field, has a clear vision with her objectives and goals written down.

8. They remain grateful.  Now, there is a difference between being thankful and being grateful. Gratitude has far more feeling that being thankful, it is a much deeper appreciation of something. A moment, an event, a person – it is whatever gives you those goosebump moments. It may be something as simple as a sunrise! Having a mindset full of gratitude, will open up the space for us to be granted more. Successful women are truly grateful at all times. I’m even grateful for every mistake and failure that life dealt up and led me right here.

9. She is an inspiration. Great, successful woman teach. Others will always want to know what it is YOU have that keeps the flame inside you alive. She shares information, supports and guides those that require it and is able to inspire greatness in others for the future.

10. They don’t sweat the small stuff. The greatest point of resistance is just before a breakthrough. Women who are successful recognise that every success is the next step and not the final one. They embrace their failures as opportunities to learn and they don’t worry about the things they cannot affect – concentrating on the things they can.

So – 8th March was International Women’s day and the topic of Gender equality is everywhere at the moment. I don’t need to go into subject detail as we’ve all heard the news and realistically it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that as Women we support each other.  It’s always crystal clear who the strong women are; they are the ones that build each other up. They don’t see colour, religion, size, age or ability. They have beautiful minds and have the ability to make a positive impact and affect positive change. Be a strong, great women and someone that you would be proud of if you had to research yourself in the future.

So on that note, I will end with a saying that I use a lot and one that I’m not going to apologise for.

We are not the Housewives of Essex County, we are fire breathing, amazing, successful women who, if we were not us would want to be us.

Lisa Holton – Lisa Holton Coaching April 2018


Do you realise the harm you do to yourself by living in the past?

Don’t cry over the past, it’s gone. Don’t stress about the future, it hasn’t arrived yet. Live in the present and make it beautiful.

I wasted a lot of time living in my past – regretting things I’d said or done or worse those things I wished I’d said or done.  Re-running old movies in my head about how I’d do things differently now – or how I’d been wronged and not had the chance or the bravery to put it right.  What I should or shouldn’t have done.  It took me a long time, many wasted years of stressing and much  heartache to wake up to the fact that the past is gone.  It no longer exists – you cannot change it or bend it or make it better – it’s just gone.

When you wake up and realise that Life is actually very simple – its liberating.  Yet we manage to make it hugely complicated.  We worry about things long gone or just as bad, worry about stuff that hasn’t even happened yet.  We predict the future in our heads, making movies of how terrible something is going to be – lose sleep, hair and worse of all time about stuff that may never and probably will never happen. 

No matter how hard you try – you will NEVER change the past.  You can have sleepless nights going over and over what happened.  You can analyse til your heart breaks.  You can get angry, punch doors (or worse people!) bang tables or drink alcohol or eat cookies dipped in cream but I can promise you that in the end – it will make absolutely no difference and it will not make you feel better long term.  Realise folks that the past is gone, over, done – finito.

Of course – reflecting to learn from past mistakes is great as long as lessons are learned and the past does not continue to relive itself by you reliving it day in day out.  
Reminiscing with friends and family about the olden days can produce much nostalgia and many laughs. Recounting memories that give us good feelings are like wearing a pair of comfy old slippers and like comfy old slippers, knowing when to take them off, knowing when those old slippers need to go into the bin is important.  If your old slippers are no longer comfy, they rub, have holes in and give you sore feet you wouldn’t continue to wear them on a permanent basis.  Accepting that those old slippers cannot be fixed, the damage has been done and to keep wearing them is eventually going to cause you no end of problems is the first step to coming back to today – the present and the exciting opportunities of getting some new and improved slippers.

Each new day is very special – its a new never happened before potentially fun memory for tomorrow.  You have no idea what is going to happen and how exciting and wonderful to be living in a place where opportunities for new wonders are just around the corner waiting for you to discover them.  If you’re constantly looking back how are you ever going to see what is right in front of you?

How great just to be here, now in this moment.  Its a perfect day to let the past go and rest in peace.  Let the future take care of itself and to just experience this moment right here – right now.  Pay attention to the sun shining (even if its hidden by the clouds today!), the colours, smells and sounds around you.  Stop and take in each sensation for just a few minutes and notice how great it is to be alive.  Close your eyes and listen to your heartbeat – you are a miracle of nature! Why would you waste that living in a place the no longer exists?

You and the world around you are beautiful so live for today and never worry about those things you cannot change.

Lisa Holton

Lisa Holton Coaching Ltd.  16th April 2018



Love is the stillness between thoughts.

Love is the safe space of wisdom.

Love is the clear light of creativity.

Love is the gentle attendant of fearlessness.

Love is the greatest gift of humanity.

Love generates the ideas that transform us and bring us peace.

Love recedes in the face of fear, but it does not disappear. It lodges deep in our hearts and faithfully awaits the moment of silence into which it will re-emerge.

When we open ourselves for even a moment to that silence, love never sleeps through it. Love shines into our minds and illuminates hope and possibility.

Love is the constant current that flows eternally beneath the turmoil of our thinking, the perfectly reliable movement stirring us to find comfort in the fluidity of life without getting distracted by the ups or downs.

No matter what we think about it, no matter the words we use, love is not what we think or what we say. Love is a spiritual force, the deep aliveness that is the essence of being before we think about it.

We are born in love. Just look at the innocent, bright-eyed curiosity and enthusiasm on any small child’s face, and you see that pure love. It is neither conditional nor specific. It is just unfettered engagement in life flowing through each person, most obvious before it is papered over by personal thinking.

We know it is at the heart of human experience because it is, and has always been, at the foundation of every significant religious framework we have known. It is the common good at the core of the experience of mankind. It is who we are before we think about who we are. It is the beautiful feeling most natural to us, before we learn to use our own power to think to fill our lives with the infinitude of possible experiences.

Love is like the pilot light of our emotional life. Feed it, and it burns where we need it. Starve it, and it flickers on, always ready, always there, always and ever the resource we have whenever we seek it.

We can turn our backs on love and nurture our personal emotional thinking whenever, and for however long, we choose. But as soon as we let it pass and look to quiet, love comes to light again. Love soothes us and draws us back into the dance of life, the easy movement with and around the other dancers, feeling the music of our common heartbeat and the joy of moving freely through time.

The Principles lead us back to love, to the purity of thought which offers us a non-judgmental fresh start moment-to-moment-to-moment. More and more people across the globe are drawn to see them at work behind life — the formless energy of mind pulsing through infinitude, the individual ability to think allowing each of us to make up whatever we want, the power of consciousness bringing those thoughts to awareness as our individual realities. More and more people are realizing that pure formless energy is love, and love is always the answer.



Most people never get training in negotiation, yet it is one of the most essential skills in business and in life. We are constantly negotiating – to get bigger, better deals in our favor. In How I Do Business, I took the years of studying and having direct experience in negotiation and translated it into some base components, breaking down what it takes to become a great negotiator and the pitfalls to avoid. *Even accomplished negotiators can pick up some tips to augment their skills and learn more techniques to take their business to the next level.


Simply, the purpose of a negotiation is to maximize the meeting of your interests. You don’t go into a negotiation to get the least amount that you can, do you? No, you want to get the most amount that you can.

But here is the paradox: In order to get the most that you can, you must also meet the other person’s interests. For me to get all that I want, I have to give you what you want. This is where it gets tricky. There is a way to get what you want, and give the other person what they want with less struggle. This is power negotiation.


First, it’s important to understand the three components of a negotiation:

  1. DesireThere has to be desire on both parties’ parts to even start negotiating.
  2. Agreement: You have to care about the outcome, but you can’t care too much.
  3. No fixed rules: There will always be some rules, like if you and I are negotiating for me to buy your car, we will probably both have our clothes on. Rules like these are understood. But with regard to the value of the car and how we enter into negotiations? There are no fixed rules.


Power negotiation works on some basic rules. First, it’s a game of addition, not subtraction. It’s a game of problem solving, not arguing. Lastly, it’s a game of reformulating and seeing another point of view. So why do so many people find negotiation so challenging? One key concept is the difference between position and interest.


Think about a frustrating negotiation you’ve had. It’s probably because you were negotiating about your position vs. their position and it got real competitive. Position-based negotiations go like this: I say something, you dig in and defend your position. So I defend my position. Now our egos get involved and we start worrying about who’s right and who’s wrong. We both take up a position and each say what we will or won’t do. Where can you go from there?

Instead of negotiating about your position, you should negotiation from interest. What’s motivating you? That’s what really matters. Take these two examples:

Example 1: Let’s say I have been dating a woman for 3 or 4 years and I’m very much in love with her. So I ask her to marry me. Is that a position or an interest?

Right now, it’s just a position.

But, if then I say, “I want you to marry me to be my lifemate, to share my life with, to grow old with.” Or I might say, “I want you to marry me is because I want someone to clean up after me. I want someone to do the dishes. I want someone to be a mother to my children, to cook my meals for me.” Once I say why I want her to marry me, she knows my interests and now can make a better decision to get the outcome she desires.

Example 2: You’re looking to buy a house, so you call a real estate broker. What would happen if the first thing the broker said was, “Do I have a deal for you! This house just came on the market this morning. It is going to be sold within two days, and is such a great deal. We have to go look at it right away!”

That would scare you to death. No real estate broker would say that to a client. Or at least, no successful one. Instead, a good broker says something like, “Oh, I’m glad you called. Tell me about what you want. Are you just moving to town? Are you familiar with the city? Are you going to work downtown? Are you going to work in the suburbs? How long of a commute is desirable? Do you have children? What price range? How many bedrooms?”

Here the broker takes your position — you want to buy a house — and immediately starts to find out your interests. The more they know about what you want and need, the better equipped they are to meet your expectations. This is why an excellent broker asks for details beyond desired location and your family size to determine what homes to show you. “A large family room” means different things to different people, so the more specific the description the broker gets, the likelier you are to get the home you want.

The next time you go to negotiate, remember it this way: Your positions are your behavior. Your interests are what motivate your behavior. If you’ve had an unsuccessful negotiation, you were probably focused on positions. But enter into a negotiation and focus on what your interests are and what their interests are, you can design a solution that does not require a lot of struggle. Things will go more smoothly and the chances of everyone getting their interests met go up dramatically, resulting in a successful negotiation.

About the author: American entrepreneur, international speaker and acclaimed author, Keith Cunningham is regarded as one of the foremost authorities on business mastery. With more than 40 years of business and investing experience, Keith has taught critical business skills to thousands of top executives and entrepreneurs around the world.

Keith is the author of Keys to the Vault: Lessons from the Pros on Raising Money and Igniting Your Business. His newest book, The Ultimate Blueprint for an Insanely Successful Business, reveals Keith’s core business principles, including why “great operators get tired and how great business owners get rich.”





A client of mine told me she had given up on love and intimacy, saying that after several bad relationships she no longer wanted anything to do with ‘emotional entanglements’, as she put it. She had completely lost faith in men. I thought about the problem for a while then asked her if she drove a car. She did. In that case, I suggested, she must have had the experience of driving down roads at speed with cars coming in the other direction, also at speed, sometimes at night, after rain. Yes, of course.

Why then did she have faith that those cars would not skid out of control, collide with her vehicle, killing her instantly, when the only thing ‘protecting’ her from that grisly fate was a thin white line down the centre of the road? How were the risks inherent in that situation perfectly normal and acceptable, whereas the relatively safe option of a romantic affair was not. (I assured her that, for me at least, a rocky relationship was less daunting a prospect than ending up the victim of a car crash).

We cannot have certainty in life. I believe that’s something we all know instinctively, in our bones. We know that no matter how hard we try to minimise risk, it is always there. But this knowledge doesn’t seem to prevent us from longing for an imaginary world where all future outcomes are safely and predictably structured to guarantee our personal happiness.

   It doesn’t exist. Which means we have to have a little faith.

A few months back I found myself having a lot of insecurity as a result of a meeting I had scheduled. I won’t go into details but I was slowly but surely starting to dread the conversation I was about to have with this person, a conversation that in my mind I had decided ahead of time would be difficult, emotional, perhaps even confrontational. I wonder if you can imagine what it’s like to be on the one hand teaching the Three Principles to my clients, urging them to go beyond their rational, conceptual minds to where clarity and inner wisdom lies, and at the very same time sinking into an unhealthy state because of my own conceptualising, my own ‘fortune-telling’. Not a very nice feeling!

On the morning that the meeting was scheduled, I was preparing to leave the house, feeling pretty low in spirit. We had a regular cleaner at that time and I made some remark to my wife Anna about her, wondering if she was on her way. To my surprise Anna replied that she’d decided to let the cleaner go. The woman, a friend of ours by this time, had increased her price and Anna felt that it wasn’t really worth paying. Besides, she (Anna) was happy to spend a few extra hours in the week carrying out those same chores that we’d been paying out for all this time.

I felt a bit bad for the cleaner so gave her a quick call, expecting a frosty reception. My expectation was confounded when she came on the phone and was perfectly polite and respectful of our decision. The message was clear: no harm done. As I left the house to head off for my meeting my beautiful, insightful wife said the one thing that I needed to hear in that moment. She said:

“You should have a little faith.”

It hit me right between the eyes, as truth always does. I’d been running a movie in my head about what I was going to have to say in the meeting and what the ramifications might be, (all negative of course). In that moment all my thinking fell away and I mentally left the subject of the meeting behind me, trusting that Mind had my back, that there was in fact nothing I had to do or say, no obligation on me whatever. The meeting went ahead and sure enough, by showing up authentically, with nothing much on my mind, I found myself quickly getting into rapport with my colleague and before too long we had sorted out the problem to our mutual satisfaction, parting with a much better feeling than we had enjoyed for a while. And when I say that we sorted out the problem, I have to qualify that in hindsight: actually there had never been a problem, beyond our insecure thinking.

I knew all this. But I forgot. And I’ll no doubt forget again.

The lady I coached with the intimacy problem did in fact find a partner soon after and as far as I know is very happy about it. My message to you in this blog is a simple one: You don’t need to have your own back. Mind has that taken care of. Faith, whether we view it from a religious or a secular perspective, is nothing more than the willingness to let go of our conceptual minds, our thinking. It works. It really does.

And by the way, if a genie granted me that imaginary world where all future outcomes were known, I’d politely decline. The world as it is, with all its uncertainties, all its risks, all its potential dangers, is a beautiful world, and it’s fine by me.



As a Leader and/or Business Owner, you might think you should have everything figured out, but sometimes this simply isn’t true. We all have our own skills and talents but leadership skills are rarely inherent and are normally something we have to learn along the way.

A Business Coach won’t tell you what to do but they will help you uncover those discoveries yourself.

Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed, unsure of your next move, in need of advice and want to see better results then below are just 5 of the reasons you should consider hiring a Business Coach. 

  1. They will push you outside your comfort zone 

It so easy for business owners or Leaders to become absorbed in their businesses and get stuck in a rut. A Business Coach will help you to go outside your comfort zone – try new things and drive you in a different more productive way. Asking the right questions to uncover the true reason you’re stuck and guide you towards making the right decisions for you and your success. 

  1. 1-2-1 focus with you getting 100% of the attention 

A Business Coach will spend time with you getting to know your whole business. Spending time with you on a 1-2-1 basis and giving you their full attention to focus solely on a subject that needs to be addressed. Someone who will not be afraid to tell you where you are going wrong and driving you to find the solutions for success. Their opinions and intuition will not be based on previous experience of your Company or the Industry. The advice will be unbiased based on their knowledge of you and your business alone and they can lead you to ‘light bulb’ moments of insight that someone closer to the business and industry may overlook. 

  1. Helping you bring your ideas to life 

As a Business Coach I have one goal and that is to make your ideas a reality. Many business owners have catalogue of brilliant ideas that stay just that! Sometimes knowing where to start is the problem. A Business Coach will help you to evaluate your idea, formulate plans business coaches have one goal; to help you turn your ideas into a reality. Although you may have many brilliant ideas for your Company or Team, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start and what to tackle first. Business coaches will assess your ideas to see if they are realistic, evaluate your plans and guide you to formulate them into implementation. 

  1. They are not your friend but they are a trusted Confident 

Running your own company or being at the ‘top’ can be lonely! It’s often hard to talk to the people around you about your true concerns. Sometimes you don’t want to burden them, sometimes its information that you are yet unable to share and often its a case of they just don’t get it. A Business Coach can be the sounding board that understands and provides that confidential and quiet space to hear your problems and help you find solutions to move forward. As I said earlier – they will not be afraid to address subjects that others closer to you may find difficult to raise and that you would find difficult to hear!  

  1. It will increase your confidence and success 

Many Business Owners or Leaders have ‘limiting beliefs’ Limiting beliefs are those beliefs about ourselves that constrain us in some way. “I’m not good enough” .. “I have no idea what I’m doing” .. “I’m a fraud and will be caught out at any time” Just by believing them, we do not do or say the things we feel we need to and therefore limit our progress and success. Doing so keeps you in a rut, doesn’t allow you to move forward and affects your confidence. We may have ‘limiting beliefs about rights, duties, abilities, permissions and so on. A Business coach will be able to elicit the belief and work with you on strategies for overcoming them which in turn will improve your confidence and success.

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We grew up not having too much. My Parents went without to ensure my siblings and I had shoes for school, food in our bellies and a warm house to come home to. I remember conversations with my Mum about how she always wanted to be a biologist but my Grandparents never allowed it. She always regretted not following that dream. I knew from an early age that when I grew up I didn’t want to struggle in the same way and if I wanted something I would have to figure out how to have it!

My first encounter with a Vision Board (although I had no idea thats what it was back then!) was when I was around 6 years old. I wanted to be a ballerina so badly it was all I could think about. I loved to dance and would pretend to be Princess Odette (the white swan from Swan Lake) prancing around my bedroom much to the annoyance of my younger Sister who shared it with me. 

I got some old wallpaper and stuck pictures of Margot Fonteyn and Natalia Makarova along side pics of ballet shoes and tutu’s and crayon drawings of me on stage dancing with my Prince! I stuck this piece of paper on my wall and would dance in front of it every day until I grew a little older and changed it for an updated and ‘grown up’ version of the same thing. Looking at these pictures of my dreams every day inspired me to dance as much as I could and push myself towards that dream. 

Years and many more picture boards passed and although in my early teenage years I didn’t make it into the National Ballet School as I wanted, I did dance on stage until a back injury prevented me from continuing ballet to a level required for any future in dance. I still love to dance to this day … some 40 years later!

However, what this did was show me that if you write down what it is that you want to achieve and place it somewhere so it can inspire you every day – you are far more likely to achieve your goals.

As I have got older and my learning about my intuition and subconscious mind have grown, I have learned how to use visualisation more and more. The following list of highly successful people all add visualisation techniques to their list of the habits that guided them to their successes;

Jim Carey, Oprah Winfrey, Denzil Washington, Michael Phelps, Kelly Holmes, Mo Farah, Usain Bolt, Richard Branson, Tony Robbins and the list goes on and on. Let’s face it – if it works for them then it can certainly work for You and I.

Most people have dreams but without implementing a plan of action they will never become reality. Vision Boards can help you do just that. By representing your goals with images, quotes and words of encouragement you can strengthen your resolve as the mind responds very strongly to visual stimulation.  

That saying ‘a picture can paint a thousand words’ is very true.

So what is a vision board? Put simply, its a collage of words and images that represent your goals and dreams. Keeping those dreams and goals at the top of your mind by having a visual prompt helps you to always look for ways to move closer to achieving them. A Vision Board is the perfect tool. Keeping it somewhere you can see it every day will remind you to visualise how your life will be once you have achieved them. 

Visualisation activates the creative and resourceful parts of your subconscious mind that would normally escape your notice. You will become naturally motivated to reach your goals. Its amazing at how visualisation attracts the opportunities, people and resources to you that you need to achieve your goal. This is known as manifestation!  You don’t have to stick to 1 vision board either! If you want to change different areas of your life you can have one for each. You might want to have one at home for your personal goals and another for your career goals at the office. Whatever you choose, learning how to create a vision board and using it regularly is the very best way to visualise your dreams and goals.

There are many resources out there to help you create your board. Workshops are a good way to learn techniques and to work alongside other people to make it more fun. Then once you have learned you can do this with your children, siblings or work colleagues. These are my 6 steps to creating a vision board:

  1. Create a quiet space for yourself and use some breathing techniques or meditation to quiet your mind and discover what it is you really want to achieve.  If your mind is like a shaken up snow globe you’ll never have the clarity and intuition to visualise properly.
  1. Collect bundles of old magazines with beautiful pictures in them. Or print some inspirational pictures from the internet. Find pictures that represent your goals and dreams and ones that inspire you.
  1. Think of someone that inspires you – famous or not, dead or alive, real or character. Find a picture of them and think of the reasons why they inspire you. You can have more than 1!!
  1. Try and find some motivational quotes the represent how you want tofeel about achieving your goal/dreams.
  1. Grab a piece of art board, card or paper and make a collage using the collected pictures and quotes.
  1. Take the time to look over your vision board at least once every day.

The main thing is to use your intuition, find your inspiration, have fun and go for it!



“The only thing worse than being blind, is to have sight and no vision”

 Helen Keller