The Power of Pronouns

how to improve listening skills

Working, learning and living with others is dependent on us having clarity of what want and the confidence to ask for it. And yet no matter how much you might practice what you are going to say or think before you speak somehow you can still be misunderstood.

When I am working with clients I notice language patterns and ask questions of specific words to help them gain clarity and insight. Sometimes they are not actually saying what they mean.

Continue reading The Power of Pronouns

Manage Your Critic – Manage Your Stress

Following Mark, my husband’s heart attack on the 5th March we have had quite a lot to process. It took almost a week before all the shock and emotion poured out of my body and my mind. And yet just one week on we are both feeling stronger and more resourced.
It is times of crisis like this that I become even more grateful for the amount of people in my life, that can now listen to me without judgement.
I initially felt all kinds of feelings from guilt to failure. I found myself thinking things like:
Was it my fault for keep telling him if he keeps eating so much chocolate his heart would pack in?
I know logically how unreasonable that thought is and yet I was having those thoughts and without someone to talk to about how I felt could have resulted in those thoughts festering inside me.
I also thought it was my fault for leaving all the pressure on his shoulders to support our family financially while I grew my business. I know we agreed that my focus needed to be on the family and home support side of things but I did feel bad that I could not take the pressure off him more.
I started to question what might have happened had I been earning more sooner? What if ? What if?

Survival Mode 

My reptilian brain had kicked in, which was great when it came to taking control and being decisive about calling the ambulance but not so good for now in the aftermath of the situation. 
It took me a little while to really notice how much adrenaline was still pumping through my body. I started to notice how low I felt about everything. Even the things that usually bring me joy.  I started to doubt my ability to grow my business further, to finish the London to Paris ride, .. the list goes on. I was stuck in the what if ? and what was not working part of my brain.
I found myself trying to take all the pressure off Mark only to realise I had put it all on my shoulders. It got heavier and heavier as I attempted to keep it all inside and think it was all my responsibility.
Thanks to my network which are made up of family, friends and professional listeners I had people I could talk to and they were willing to listen to me without judgement.
When crisis hit our home I was able to gain the support I needed instantly because I was already attending groups and had connections in place that I could instantly tap into. I knew who could listen to what and I knew what kind of listening I needed. And bit by bit I have released the stress – gained clarity and now both Mark and I are confident of our next steps together.

Continue reading Manage Your Critic – Manage Your Stress

10 Ways To Be Tactful When Pointing Out Faults

how to improve communication and collaborations I was recently presenting at Business Builders and I was asked a number of questions one of which was “Sheryl can you tell me ways to be tactful when pointing out faults?”

That got me thinking what are the ways to be tactful when pointing out a fault. Below I have come up with 10.

Can you come up with ways that work for you?  What has happened for you when someone has been tactful and pointed out a fault?

In my personal experience the only time it has ‘felt’ tactful is when I absolutely trusted they had my best intention at heart. That they cared about me and their only reason for communicating a fault was to try and help me in someway. Continue reading 10 Ways To Be Tactful When Pointing Out Faults

Why Is Why Such a Difficult Question To Answer?

start with whyI am currently listening to the audio book “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek.

And I have been spending this week really listening to myself and tuning into my why and already I can feel a momentum building up inside that is driving me forward to do more of what I love.

My clarity and confidence to keep taking the next step and the next step is growing in energy like a steam train as it starts to pull out of the station.  I am loving this experience. And yet it wasn’t an easy question to answer. Continue reading Why Is Why Such a Difficult Question To Answer?

Are You Waiting For a Crisis Before You Take Action?


are you waiting for a crisis before you take action












what is changeHow often do you reach crisis point before you actually stop?

So many people spend years complaining about their job, then one day they are made redundant and suddenly they find themselves with an opportunity to turn their dreams into a reality.

I hear of people wanting time off – then they get ill and get the time off – albeit not quite as they would like.

I believe our body and mind gives us lots of warning signs and hints and yet too much of the time we ignore them.

Learning to slow your thinking down and really listen you can and will gain clarity and confidence to create the change you want in your life.

The importance of taking time out. 

The top sports people know it and yet many don’t you feel okay about taking a break?

When you take time out it gives you the opportunity to gather your thoughts, your emotions, your ideas and make sense of what has happened or is happening.

This can prevent overwhelm.

Have you noticed how heavy your thoughts become when they are stuck in your head going around and around? Or how your energy and productivity are impacted when you cannot gain clarity of your thoughts.

Perhaps when your emotions are locked inside going around and around you might find a massive weight on our shoulders or a tangled mess in your stomach.

In the age of information it is so easy to become consumed with so many possibilities and choices. Without time to process it is often difficult to make a decision and act.

Take a moment now and stop…take a deep breath. Get your body comfortable. Check in if you are in the right space, at the right height and facing in the right direction.

What is happening now?

What is working for you right now?

What would you like to have happen? 

Notice any resistance you have to the thought of stopping.

Notice where your attention is? What is happening to your body?

It might be that it really is not the right time right now to think about this, consider when will you come back to this activity? Notice how many times you have put off this thinking and how long you have been in overwhelm?


Is this a thought you keep hoping will go away and sort itself out?


What would you like to have happen?

I recommend that you schedule regular time in your diary to stop, reflect, celebrate and plan.

I believe it doesn’t matter how often you stop, just that you let your brain know ‘when’ you will stop next.

I don’t know the science behind why it works only that it does for me and many of my clients.

Clients have said “When they have a session booked in advance they notice when they have problems they don’t spend much time worrying about it because they know they have time in their diary to think about it during their next session.”

Next time you have a problem that you cannot resolve that takes up a lot of your thinking, try creating an appointment with yourself and agreeing when you will think about it and notice what happens.

So why is it that you don’t stop even with regular persistent warnings?


Sheryl – The Strength and Solution Detective
Supporting you to do more of what you love and ditch the critic that says you can’t

Feel free to share below your thoughts or join us in the Facebook group Manage your critic

If you are struggling to be heard and understood and it is preventing you from doing your best work and living your best life then please do book a 30 minute call today with no obligation and I will happy set you up for success. I might be part of the solution you need and I might not but you will you know your next best step. Or you can thickpaperbackfront_FinalPurchase a copy of my book here








About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.

That was until she learned the importance of being heard and asking for support. In her book she describes the step by step journey she took to learn how to manage her critic turning her overwhelm into clarity in 7 steps.

Sheryl now runs retreats that encourage you to really listen to what you need to work, learn and live at your best with others and the confidence to ask for those needs to be met.

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Day 4 – Summer Writing Challenge – How My Brain Thinks?

Day 4 – Summer Writing Challenge – 2180 words today

I woke at 4am today – part of the reason I wind my diary down for 3 months of the year is because when I am writing at my best I need to wake up and write when the ideas come and take naps during the day when I need sleep.

Today was different though as I had a coaching client at 8 a.m. so today I lay in bed quietly meditating – which to me does not mean switching all my thoughts off – although I do, do that kind of meditation too. Continue reading Day 4 – Summer Writing Challenge – How My Brain Thinks?

I Was In A Personal Relationship That Was Eating Away At My Soul

How to make good decisions? Belinda Butler

Beauty and Fitness Consultant – Pazzazz Me

Client from July 2011 – Present

What was happening before working with Step by Step Listening?

I was running 3 businesses, a single mum of two and in a personal relationship that was eating away at my soul. I knew it wasn’t right and found myself persisting wanting to make it work.

What kind of sessions have you attended?

I started with one to one sessions, I then changed to a monthly power group and more recently I have attended both Do, Delegate & Ditch and Motivate, Manage or Mentor retreats. I still attend about 6 half day power groups per year to maintain clarity and focus.

What was the result?

The very first session I remember being asked, where would I like to be?

I found myself on the carpeted floor with colouring pens and crying because all I wanted was to be able to sit on the carpet with my children and have some fun.

As a single mum the pressure was on me to provide financially for my family and emotionally I didn’t feel supported. I remember talking about my ideal Christmas and my first few sessions were focused on how would my personal life, business life and family need to be to make it possible.

There was quite a lot to what seemed quite simple.

What happened is that I:

  • Ditched my boyfriend
  • I gained clarity of what I wanted in my business and my home
  • Moved house and bought my own property meaning that my ex partner no longer had any influence/control on what I did to the property and I was more motivated to invest in and make it a home because it was for me
  • Managed my diary and my clients differently
  • Faced the numbers in my business and introduced a monthly premier club which gave me financial stability even when the classes were quiet
  • Developed a name and strap line for all my 3 businesses that encapsulated what I stand for. The name Pazzazz me was developed and the strap line “Look good feel great”.
  • The new brand meant my sales process was more effective as I only had one message and I could sell all my services to all of my databases. There were a number of things that needed to happen for that to happen and step by step I have been able to line everything up to create the home life that I wanted.
  • I stopped letting my network marketing companies control me and trusted my own unique way of working within their framework
  • Gave up my company car to eradicate the fear of failure and emotional pressure that created and allowed me to focus on what I wanted.
  • Met the man of my dreams and for the first time ever we feel like a ‘proper’ family
  • Learned that my personal training is different to others and how to value and sell that, which saw the launch of PEP workshops Posture – Elegance – Poise.

What difference has this made? If any?

When I first became self employed 17 years ago I worked every hour I could, took every single opportunity and forced myself to do more, even when my body was telling me to rest! I put myself and my needs at the bottom of the pile. The result of this was that I would become ill, I would feel exhausted, the only time I rested was when I was asleep, and even then I’m not sure I was resting. I became resentful of my life and it’s lack of balance.

I looked for companionship in partners but felt frustrated and disappointed that they weren’t treating me well.

Then came my clarity sessions with you!

You gave me the tools to teach me to listen to myself, to include ME in my busy world.

To STOP and take a look at what I really wanted?

Who I wanted to spend my time with and how?

I can now confidently say NO if I don’t want to do something or something doesn’t feel right without guilt.

My motor inside me now purrs instead of the washing machine on full spin! I recognise sooner if I’m losing balance and can take myself to lie down and rest on my bed. I now have a better sense of calm and I have the tools to use to get me purring again!

I can honestly say that my power groups are my lifeline and the clarity I gain every month is an essential part of me just like eating, drinking and exercise.

We run monthly power group sessions and you are welcome to come and try one before committing to our one year programme. Please do book a complimentary clarity and confidence call with me now and discover if power groups can put you back in control of your life and your business.

I highly recommend the PEP workshop it really made a difference to how I hold myself and present myself physically and I am looking forward to working in collaboration with Belinda to take this into businesses as a Listen, Lunch and Learn session.

About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detective

how to improve listening skills

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for her fast speaking and her passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to challenging conversations, lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough. Sheryl use to find it difficult to speak up and have her needs met despite the fact she could and would encourage everyone else to do exactly that. A series of 3 events in her personal life forced her to stop and learn how to take her own advice.

Today, Sheryl loves resourcing you to you to do more of what you love, delegate what you don’t and ditch the critic that says you can’t.

Sheryl openly shares an easy to adopt communication tool kit that will transform the way you think and train others to listen. Sheryl will be your strength and solution detective until you have fully trained your inner critic and those around you, to listen in a way that motivates and inspires you to be the best you can be.

Fancy a virtual coffee and chat, then please feel free to book a complimentary clarity and confidence session or check out the “How to do, delegate and ditch with confidence” free webinar.

Don’t know how call her now….+44(0)1329 286648

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Case Study – Erica Dent (August 2010 – Dec 2012)

Communication Training For Trainers

EricaDentAbout Erica – Enjoy Discovering Wine 

Erica Dent’s is an award winning wine trainer who found her passion for wine in 1995 when she moved to New Zealand, which led to her completing a one-year, full-time Polytechnic course in viticulture and vilification. The college has its own vineyards and winery, so the course followed a complete annual cycle of the vine, starting with pruning through to bottling and labelling the wine a year later. She also gained work experience at other vineyards and wineries in New Zealand.

Why did you start working with Step by Step Listening?

I met Sheryl at a Solent Women in Business networking meeting in November 2009 and in March 2010 I attended a taster session.  This is when I realised that I quite liked the business of ‘listening to myself’ instead of asking everyone else for the answers.  I knew straight away I needed to get going and booked a one-to-one with Sheryl.

During this first session I discovered that I had a [metaphorical] brick wall which I kept coming up against and, therefore, couldn’t get past it to move my business on. It was as simple as having the realisation that I had this brick wall, which represented my fears in business, and that I needed to work on getting past it.

I was new to the area and struggling to gain clientele.  I noticed that whenever I even just ‘thought’ about selling, it created a knot in my stomach, this was a feeling of great discomfort one that I am now familiar with when I am mentally not comfortable with an aspect of my business.

This was my first of many very productive sessions with Step by Step Listening , in fact, in that first one-to-one session, the wall completely disappeared!

What happened? 

Erica worked with Step by Step Listening for 2 ½ years taking her from sole trader to small business owner. We still keep in touch today and have become really good friends. Nowadays her team and husband are able to ask her the questions and she doesn’t ‘need’ our space because she has created her own. Over the two years Erica attended power group sessions for planning and decision making, one to one sessions for really drilling down and group learning sessions to practice and improve your listening and questioning technique plus a team day to help the team create a team vision for the company.

What difference has working with Step by Step Listening made?

In business

  • I am less tired and I am managing my time more effectively
  • I have more fun as I am not so stressed
  • I get more reward from my hard work, which makes it even more worthwhile
  • I often hear myself using the questions in my head which helps me to get the answers more quickly
  • I have recognise sooner what is working, so I waste less time on what is not working
  • Financially it is working well, meaning less unwanted pressure
  • My client base has considerably increased
  • I have employed two staff and find using the questions really helps me manage them better
  • As a team we are all working to our strengths, seeing results, and more importantly having fun!

As a result of the sessions I was pro-active to recruit someone to do the sales.  I now have someone who finds sales easy and loves it; for me working at my best is teaching and building the business, not selling. I have since found that I enjoy having coffee and talking to people about Enjoy Discovering Wine’s offerings and building relationships, but I am not comfortable at the initial making contact.

You can really have fun in business when you know how you work at your best. When you know what you are great at, then you can employ the right people around you to compliment and do the stuff you are not so good at.

At home

Despite initial doubts about the questions, Andy, my husband, now uses his own version of them which still works for us. We ask the questions to  resolve differences and make decisions, such as which car to buy, whose turn it is to cook dinner etc., in much less time than before.



Why do you keep coming to your monthly session even though business is so great?

Erica said, “It is a space to clarify my thinking, so if something has cropped up in business, it gives me space to think about what ‘I’ would like to have happen, and even when everything seems all okay I always, always have a da dahhh! moment, you know those moments of revelation when you go, oh yeah that’s it.”

I am now a team of three and we have trebled the business. I can now separate work and life a little more, although that probably will never really happen, I love working. I am less tired, work is more rewarding and it is so much more fun.

Who would you recommend to work with Step by Step Listening?

Erica said, “I would recommend anybody and everybody to just give it a try and give it a good try, experience the different ways of listening, and learn a little bit about the questions that make the difference. If you want to run your business on your terms, in your own unique way, and with confidence then, this process is for you.”

“If you want overnight answers by being told by others what to do, then this is probably not the right way for you. The sessions are all about you understanding ‘your’ thinking and having the confidence in your own decisions. The one-to-one sessions are more intense and you get more extreme focus on you and your business only; whereas the Power Groups allow you to gain some insight into how others are having similar challenges and achievements, while you work on your own stuff at the same time. It is a very supportive and encouraging environment to be able to work in, being with other business owners, but still having intense focus on your own business.”

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Case Study – Shirin ( July 2013 – Present)

Communication Training For Touring Artists


Shirin is a talented and determined Singer Songwriter and Co-Founder of Dogtooth Records has worked hard to make it big and tour the world with her music.

When Shirin talks about performing in a big O2 arena stage it is not all about her being on the stage and wanting to be the centre of attention, it is about sharing her passion for music and the difference it can make to your life. Shirin wants to demonstrate to the youth and the old alike that your dreams matter and you should make them a reality.  Together with her partner Mitch, from Macro Mitch, they are keen to change the reputation of the music world with healthy living tours that focus on eating well, training hard, performing at your best without the need for drugs or alcohol to overcome nerves.

Shirin has worked in the music industry since the age of 13 and when I had the pleasure of meeting her in July 2013 she was just 22 having recently returned from a 9 month contract with Hard Rock Café in Macau, China.

What was happening? 

Shirin having experienced a knock back in her youth she knew all too well that another attempt to make it big was going to require tools and strategies to develop resilience and resolve to not be ‘controlled’ by others and confidence to take ownership of her art and career.

How did Shirin work with Step by Step Listening? 

Shirin started at first by attending one of our taster sessions where we were exploring how to improve listening skills once she recognised how powerful the metaphors were for helping her gain clarity of her thoughts we designed a programme that consisted of face to face sessions and skype one to ones which at first Shirin attended weekly then fortnightly with the purpose of resourcing her for her up and coming Asia tour.

Just before the tour Mitch (her life partner and tour manager) attended the  ‘Do Delegate or Ditch’ retreat 2 day retreat to resource them to:

  • Plan for success – Keeping both their goals in mind
  • Improve decision making skills
  • Enhance time management
  • Raise awareness of what they needed to work and learn at their best

The couple then left for Asia where we had limited contact via the odd email and skype session. During this time I was able to share with Shirin many of the tools from the ‘Motivate, Manage or Mentor’ programme setting her up to manage herself, her band and her personal relationship with Mitch.


I feel so grateful to have shared this journey with Shirin who handles knock backs with such resilience and grace. Shirin has never given up and is determined not to be manipulated or controlled by the bigwigs with limiting contracts. Shirin and Mitch have created their own company; Dogtooth Records. Having now successfully toured 150 venues in the UK, Toured Asia and USA, Shirin is now sharing her knowledge and wisdom with other talented musicians and encouraging them to find their own way to get recognised. I am very excited about their future endeavours with independent artists and you never know I might discover a passion for live gigs that I just never quite grasped as a youth.

This is a few words with Shirin just after she realised that now her and Mitch were skilled enough to coach each other she no longer needed me for clarity sessions but would now just bring me in to give feedback on their external communications.

Shirin has been very open and willing to share her journey and you can watch more of the videos from Mitch and Shirin here.

I am very pleased to now work in partnership with Dogtooth Records as their recommended resource for resilience and strength for their touring artists.

Can One Event Really Change Your Life Forever?

For years I had worked hard to really help as many people as possible. My clients were become really successful in business and their personal relationships were flourishing. They were moving house and I felt I just didn’t earn enough to make that kind of change, they were booking luxury holidays and I just wished I could and they were buying lovely cars and I convinced myself that a nice car didn’t matter to me.

My critic had taken over and instead of loving helping others I started to resent it and guess what when you are not loving what you do and doing what you love you are not really that attractive and you don’t really inpsire many people to come closer to take a look. Continue reading Can One Event Really Change Your Life Forever?