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As we appear to be exiting the worst of the pandemic and re-entering the world we used to know under somewhat different terms and conditions, many people are questioning what’s important to them going forward into the next phase of their lives, recognising maybe for the first time what they really value, want more of, what they can no longer tolerate, what they simply do and don’t want.

While whirring away in the daily routine of life at work or home for years, there was little time or inclination to take this sort of ‘helicopter’ view. But Covid-19 and all its trappings, changed that. We had time, and plenty of it, in confined spaces with a limited number of people, working and ‘Zooming’ from morning ‘til night or getting to know every blade of grass in a 5km radius, depending on whether you were front-lined or furloughed.

But this new perspective presents a different kind of instability than was experienced over the past 18 months when we were told what we could and couldn’t do. This came with the ‘you can now hug your granny’ set of instructions.  Now the choices are increasingly ours to own, and people are feeling challenged in ways they never were before.

Resistance to the norm, the ‘done thing’, the unquestioning ‘normality’, has increased and this is something we often don’t know how to navigate. For much of our lives, we have followed familiar and often expected pathways. This internal shift has happened somewhat by default, through circumstances beyond our control.  

On an everyday basis, this is what we unknowingly tend to do. We wait for things to force change, rather than choose change, we stay in 'the comfort zone'. Other times, it’s unfortunate, unplanned events, such as redundancy, illness or bereavement, that foist change upon us. But in these times, the tendency is to feel more like victims, rather than creators of a new life experience more of our choosing.

If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that everything can change in an instant, there are no guarantees, there is no controlling everything, there is only making the best decisions you can with the information you have at any given time, over and over again. But I believe it has also taught us that we only have one life to lead and that we should value it and make the most of the experience.

Change challenges us, so we have a choice to stay as we are until life changes things for us, that is, we respond to external forces, or we can choose to design our own lives, with all the opportunity and challenge that may bring. We may revert back to comfort zones or we may build confidence and resilience as we live life more as we choose to. There is no right or wrong decision, only what works best for you. 


Breda Stewart

Core Needs Coaching

You’re always making choices … even when standing still

Phone: 087 7436254


The simplest answer is that I help people see clearly what they can’t see for themselves…

Many people associate coaching with dynamic goal setting and driving forward with major life ambitions. Coaching certainly can be this. But it is also a lot more.

My experience is that before people know what they want to work towards, they very often have to get to know themselves better, to know what they really need and want out of their life, work or career. It can also be about identifying what they don’t want, what is not working for them, why they are feeling ‘stuck’ or unhappy.

This is often the most enlightening part of coaching for clients. Simply by asking the right questions, ‘hearing’ what is being said, how it is being said, the common themes, the expressions, the thinking and the feelings behind it, and reflecting these back, clients begin to see what they couldn't see before and gain the clarity that was missing. They can then focus on what they ‘do’ want. This is when the goal setting and achieving the life you want really begins.

Most people have day to day challenges. Life and work are not always going to be plain sailing, but you navigate through and learn from these. At the same time, there are lots of times when things are great, and you are excited about and looking forward to the future. You know you’re getting where you ultimately want to be, and you’re enjoying the present with all its ups and downs in the process. You have a good balance in life in terms of work, play, connection, personal growth, and health. In your career, you have a sense of satisfaction, good relationships at work, your skills and talents are fully utilized and recognized, and you have the rewards you want from your work.

At times however, you may feel that all you are experiencing are the struggles and challenges. You wake up in the morning with little motivation for the day ahead, or even dreading the day ahead. You don’t feel joy or excitement for the future, you don’t find it in your work, or your life as it has evolved, almost without you realizing it. You don’t know what ‘balance’ is. You don’t realize that what’s missing are the other elements of your life as it is intended to be lived, the ‘core needs’ we all have. You don’t even know what those ‘other elements’ or ‘core needs’ are.

So many are caught up in the daily ‘race’, whether it’s work, children, caring responsibilities, family crises and demands, or juggling finances. In the global working world today, many are jetsetting to different countries multiple times every week or month and are struggling to feel grounded, rooted in day to day life outside of this lifestyle, to be healthy, to develop relationships, a home, to build a ‘whole’ life.

There are multiple reasons people feel frustrated or challenged in work, whether it is a mismatch between the work and the person, relationship conflicts, the ethos or environment in the workplace, the pace and pressure of work, or very often, the pressure people put on themselves. Most of the time, people focus on all the external ‘things’ that are ‘causing’ the problem, but in reality, the solution is always an internal one. It’s just that we very often need help in seeing this and understanding exactly what core need, value or belief is being challenged, and why. Sometimes, issues go back to our self-limiting beliefs, fears and insecurities, issues of self-esteem that when uncovered and challenged life a weight that was holding us back in so many areas of life. This is also when you realize you have full control over your life. Events and situations will occur, but you always choose how you respond. It’s about learning to choose the response that works best for you.

Career choices can also play a big part. Very often, people choose a career or college course without any insight into the nature of their true personalities, interests, passions, values and lifestyle preferences. When they find themselves unhappy, but in a job that’s too ‘good’ or too ‘secure’ to leave, especially when there are family and financial responsibilities, people can feel very trapped. The important thing to remember here is that change doesn’t have to happen overnight in radical, life challenging steps. You start by identifying what you do want, start taking concrete steps towards that vision, and over time, your life and work evolve to what you want it to be.

So how can I help? As you can probably see, my coaching style takes a holistic approach to your life, work and career, focusing on increasing self-awareness so that your future direction is aligned with your core values, needs and priorities. Each of us is unique, there is no ‘one size fits all’, and you are the only one who knows where you’ve been and where you want to get to. I merely help you put the pieces together so you have a clear vision of what you really want and how to get there. I believe this clarity is what helps you get the best outcomes for you and your life. Otherwise, it’s like trying to make a jigsaw without the picture on the box – and why we very often get stuck!

You’re always making choices … even when standing still 

Phone: 087 7436254