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 You Should Never Start Feedback With “Don’t Take This Personally?”

20 - The quality of your attention - SBSWhen you are building relationships and growing a business change is the one thing that is constant and learning to communicate with clarity and confidence when you are frustrated or annoyed is important.

One sure thing that will set you up to fail is starting with the sentence – “Don’t take this personally.” The brain doesn’t hear the don’t.

It hears “take this personally” and if you are going to give feedback then let’s face it – to some extent it is personal. For years I knew I had to be less sensitive to criticism but it is only recently that I have learned to manage my critic and discovered how you to actually receive criticism without taking it personally. So I decided to write a book which will be launched in Dec 2016.

If your intention is to communicate in a way that it is not taken personally then here are some strategies you can follow.

  1. Clarity – have absolute clarity of the outcome you do want. If you don’t want them to take it personally then what do you want instead. Maybe you want to express how you feel about something without upsetting them. Maybe you want to tell them they have done something that is wrong or that has not worked for you and you want to find a solution. But your attention really needs to be on what do you want them to do or say as a result of your communication. What do you want to change?
  2. Confidence – then consider how do you need to be to communicate with clarity and confidence your message. Often when we have a mixture of emotions our tone, pace and overal attitude can impact how our communications are received. Communicating when you are angry or frustrated invariably results in the other person simply reflecting back the same kind of behaviour or withdrawing in which case nothing is achieved. If you are interested in more information about this you might find this useful; “How to take the drama out of your communication?”
  3. Change – think about what support or resources you or they might need for change to happen.

I love the clean feedback models referred to in the book “From Contempt to Curiosity – creating the conditions for groups to collaborate”

This model helps you break down and separate the facts from the emotions.

For example if you feel someone is taking advantage of your good nature. You might say don’t take this personally but I feel you are taking advantage of my good nature.

Where as what is more useful and resourceful and less likely to be taken personally (although not guaranteed) would be;

When I work for you and you don’t pay me or say thank you, I infer that you don’t value what I do. The impact is that I feel that you are taking advantage of my good nature and I resent working and what I would like to have happen is to work with and feel valued.

The Clean Feedback framework used to acquire this were:

What I hear and see is ………..


What I infer from that is ………………….


The impact on me is ……………………….


What I would like to have happen is…………………..


By using this model you can manage your critic and communicate with clarity and confidence the change you want.

If you found this article useful let me know in the comments below. Any questions please feel free to ask and if you have any examples of when this worked that would be great to hear too.

Feel free to share below your thoughts or join us in the Facebook group Manage Your Critic – Clarity confidence and change.


About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detectivehow to improve listening skills

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for fast speaking and 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 to manage her critic and communicate with clarity and confidence the change she wanted. Sheryl runs programmes that create space for you to gain clarity of what you want and the confidence to ask for it and all the tools and resources you will need to make it happen. From planning to delegation and everything in between.

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 happily set you up for success. Or find out more about how to manage your critic in 21 days with our on line library and webinars that explain why the critic occurs and practical ways to manage it.

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What Is The Difference Between Target Market and Ideal Client?

IMG_2133One of the most important lessons  I have learned on my journey as a business owner is the importance of having absolute clarity.

And things change so it is important to check in regularly and double check you have clarity of what you want? Why you want it? Who you want it for? When you want it? Where you want it? And even how you want it?

Today I want to invite you to think about your ideal client and drill down a little more. Your ideal client will make being in business easier and you will find it much easier to manage your diary. Continue reading What Is The Difference Between Target Market and Ideal Client?

The Power Of Clarity

I’ve always considered myself to be a confident and determined person and like to think that I’ve been successful in anything I have put my mind to, so when we started our marketing business, I never considered for one moment that this would be any different.

Even though I never meant to go into marketing as a full time role.

Infact, we have an ecommerce business and I decided to train in marketing to understand how to promote this business more successfully. Continue reading The Power Of Clarity

Are You Struggling To Please Everyone In Your Life?

how to make good decisions When it comes to making decisions it is all too easy to fall into the trap of making decisions that work for everyone else but don’t include your own well being.
This week I found myself doing just that and it showed up in the same way it always does – Overwhelm and frustration.
What was nice to notice is that this time I was not on the floor in tears screaming and shouting at my family for letting me down and not supporting me. I know and I am embarrassed to admit that is what use to happen before I learned how to listen to and manage my critic.
It started off with a mild irriation and ended up where my head felt smothered and that my insides were playing tug of war with each other.
My language was such that I was constantly saying I don’t have time.
And even when I had time I found myself going round in circles being ineffective.
The great thing about clarity is once you have it then you can take action and life feels so much easier.
T- Trust Yourself
So last night I sat down with my own thoughts, trusted my own process and took my own advice.
I started with the question:
What would I like to have happen?
The response was I don’t want to go to networking and I wish I had not agreed to write an article for the magazine when I know the deadlines is too tight for me. I want to be there for my friend that is moving, I want date night, I want to have time to give my son a lift to work, I want to eat properly and have time to get fit and I want time to check in with my best friend who is not well and I want to check in with my sister and…this list was quite long but you get the idea.
The net result is that I had to cancel some commitments and say no to someone.
Just doing that would free my diary up and more importantly free my head up to feel able to do my best work.
Then the critic kicks in with rules about it is rude to cancel and you should not let people down.
So I checked in and gave myself time to really reflect asking the lovely Bryon Katie question:
Is that true? If I cancel am I being rude and letting people down.
Well the truth is that yes I might be. And they may not like it. Then I have to go back to clarity and check in what kind of people? and what kind of let down? What kind of rude?
I realised that whilst I thought it was rude to let other people down it was apparently perfectly acceptable to let myself down,which of course is not okay.
If I let myself down then I can’t do my best work and I can’t be there for those that need me.
So by the end of the day I had cancelled a networking event and my commitment to do the editorial.
Now I feel calm again.
I have spoken to those involved and guess what nothing horrible happened.
Now I do know that sometimes people do get upset and say things that can trigger guilt but I know how to manage my own internal triggers should that happen.
What is happening for you?
Do you have space to think?
I almost lost sight of the good stuff when I was consumed by the overwhelm. I started to think I am crap at writing and I don’t know why I am bothering.
When your critic starts putting you down that is a good sign that you are not listening to yourself.
Take time to consider are you making decisions that are inclusive of you and your well being AND those you serve.
If you feel like there is never enough hours in the day for everyone then you might find this weeks video useful
This weeks what’s working video:

Lots of Love
?Sheryl x
The Strength And Solution Detective
Supporting you to do more of what you love and ditch the critic that says you can’t
Know that making good decisions that include your needs is a life long pattern that you want to change please do book a call and let’s chat and find out if Do, Delegate or Ditch is your next best step

Fast Forward Your Business

WD-LogorevisedwebIn September 2015 I was invited to an Andy Harrington event called Stand and Deliver. I was curious because I want to help more people and I want to make a bigger difference without neglecting my own family.

Whilst much of my approach was working, it needed to work better. I felt stuck and on my own and I needed a new way of looking at the same problem. My way alone was not enough.

I learned a lot that day about myself and Andy challenged my beliefs and made me consider which of my values might have to change to take my business and my life to the next level. I hadn’t even considered that my values could change which was learning in itself.


Continue reading Fast Forward Your Business

Plan, Do or Review – Social Media Planning Strategies

how to improve listening skillsIt gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Sofia Pacificio Reis of Increase Your Social Reach 

Planning is not something we are all hard wired to do or at least that is what some people think. And yet the more I model how people plan at their best the more I realise we all plan but what we don’t all do, is document our plan or even express it out loud. Some don’t even like to admit they have a plan for fear someone else might take it over or try to change it.

What does the word planning mean to you? Continue reading Plan, Do or Review – Social Media Planning Strategies

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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Hard To Explain Niggles


Hard To Explain Niggles











IMG_2133Home and work

Although I am talking about my holiday in this article it also relates to business.

As you read about my experience, I encourage you to think about recent conversations and frustrations and notice any patterns.

Take time to consider how you could apply these questions and methods of developing clarity, confidence and change at work and home.


Do you answer questions honestly?    Continue reading Hard To Explain Niggles