Kate Stevens

Kate Stevens, Life Coach

The power of Positive Thinking; How to be more Bob The Builder!

Woman jumping and smiling in her netball kit with a rainbow in the sky

5 min read

What do you notice about these comments from recent life coaching conversations?

  • ‘If I can’t even get that right, how can I ask for a pay rise now?’
  • ‘I’m a generalist in my company – I do a bit of everything, so I’m not ‘expert’ in any one thing,’


There might be some truth in these sentences (the first part), but they also have negative connotations. Like news headlines, they are black and white in their approach. All-or-nothing thinking or thoughts from a place of lack can leave you feeling miserable or flat

Many of us think like this DAILY without even realising it.

I want to tell you about Positive Thinking and how to turn the negatives into something more useful.


What is Positive Thinking?

Positive thinking is the ability to encourage and maintain hope and optimism in a negative or challenging situation. Some people are naturally/genetically gifted like this, yet we all have the ability to change our mindset – even a little – if we want to and with the right tools.


Why is Positive Thinking important?

Researchers are finding more evidence pointing to the many benefits of positive thinking.
Positive thinkers are less stressed, healthier and generally have better wellbeing. They cope better in challenging situations.

Thinking positively often links with having a growth mindset, reduces stress symptoms and contributes to resilience. See my resource on managing stress Stress Bucket exercise

So if you recognise negative self-talk in yourself and it’s making you feel bad, you can develop positive thinking skills to help – even if you think you’re not ‘naturally’ optimistic. You can develop a positive mindset.


Characteristics of Positive Thinkers

Positive thinkers tend to have these characteristics;

  • They look for the good in others
  • They make the best out of a situation
  • They have the ability to bounce back from challenges
  • They self-instruct or self-affirm positively
  • They have a confident sense of self
  • They have optimism = hope


How to think more Positively? Be more Bob The Builder (stay with me!)

Bob the Builder epitomises positive thinking

Bob the Builder’s phrase is brilliantly simple, positive and affirming. OK- it’s an awful song and it’s stayed with me like an ear-worm, but “Can we do this? Yes we CAN!” is a brilliant example of a self-affirming statement that oozes positive thinking. Think of the impact it’s had on our children.

When I play netball and I’m about to shoot, I will often say out loud, ‘Kate, it’s going IN…’ , because the alternative is that it doesn’t. In this sense it really is all or nothing!

Yet, the act of saying it out loud prepares me – urging me on to pull on my resources and do my best. It works for me – mostly..! Even when it doesn’t, it’s still affirming that I CAN. And I have.


Do this to think more Positively; 3 simple steps

Of course we could be more Bob The Builder.

We can also replace the negatives, with something positive or kinder instead.

Here’s what I notice as a Life Coach, that works;

1. Catch your thoughts

What are you saying to yourself that comes from a place of lack (what we don’t have), or negativity? Example;
“I’m in this new job and I haven’t a clue what’s going on”

Write them down. Note how they make you feel and how they make you behave.

‘What a pile of rubbish – how can I expect others to listen to what I have to say” (this is one of mine – I have them too). It makes me feel pretty sh*tty – I then doubt myself and go into perfectionism mode or retreat.


2. Be your own best friend

If your best friend was saying any one of the comments you’ve just written about themselves to you, how might you respond?

Your friend says to you; “I’m in this new job and I haven’t a clue what’s going on”.

You might respond with kindness and an alternative viewpoint; “Yes, you’re new in this new role, you’re still learning how to do it, can you recognise what you have achieved so far?”

Try with another one of your negative or place of lack comments.


3. Practice

Catching your thoughts, now consciously pause and listen to those thoughts when they arise.
Can you be your own best friend and nurture those thoughts around into something kinder?

While it might take practice and time, we can replace negative thoughts with more positive ones.

When we practice telling ourselves something positive, affirming and kind, we deliberately choose to no longer reinforce negative comments.


3 more simple strategies to nurture Positive Thinking

  1. Celebrate small wins; 3 different things you achieved, write them down in a lovely notebook, each night. NOTE small – it’s the little things you made a difference in
  2. Smile at a stranger; when someone smiles at you, we are likely to feel good and smile back as serotonin is released. Read more about why smiling is good for us here
  3. Go for a walk more, by yourself; when we walk, we process our thoughts whilst simultaneously exercising; a win-win. Invest time to walk through and work out that thing bothering you – with no phone/kids/dog etc. See my exercise here


A word from me

Toxic positivity

I don’t advocate pretending to be all fun and smiles. ‘Good vibz everyday’ can do one.


Mental health

If you notice you are feeling down, low, irritable or generally not yourself, consider talking to your GP. Pay your symptoms some attention and look after yourself. Especially if you’re reading this as a woman in your late 30’s 40’s and 50’s – see next point.
Or, speak to your Mental Health First Aider at your workplace.


Hormones, perimenopause and the menopause

Our hormones drop off and affect us before we even realise we are perimenopausal.

  • Mood swings?
  • Anxiety?
  • Not sleeping properly?
  • Can’t drink wine without feeling awful the next day (it’s true – we don’t process it as well in perimenopause and menopause)?

I’m reading this book – (Kate Muir worked on that C4 documentary with Davina McCall), to understand my perimenopause and what the bl**dy heck it’s doing to me. I recommend it.

If you recognise this is happening to you, find out more and speak to your GP.

NHS symptom checker here (but there are around 30+ known symptoms, i am learning…)



Stress bucket exercise

Professor Carol Dweck – Developing a Growth Mindset talk

Everything you need to know about the menopause but were too afraid to ask – Kate Muir

NHS Perimenopause and Menopause Symptom Checker

Client agreement - ground rules.

1. Bring my whole self to this process; professionally and personally.

You cannot separate your professional and personal ‘lives’.

2. Be present in the moment and connected.

… to the coaching; what you’re thinking, feeling, experiencing. And…to nature if and where we are outdoors. If we’re on headphones, I’ll invite you to be descriptive of your environment too.

3. Bring the agenda to each session and keep your overall objective alive.

You can do this in several ways:

  • Be goal and action orientated – bring what you want to discuss and achieve to the session; OR
  • Talk and see what lands – exploratory and intentional.

I will bring the process, tools, ideas, resources and best practice to best support you towards your goal/intention/objective. More in your pre-coaching questionnaire. 

4. Give feedback and be responsive.

Coaching is collaborative. Neither of us should guess where we stand. I ask you to give me feedback and respond – you can rely on me to give and do the same.

I aim to get back to you within 24 hours of you emailing me, even if it’s just to say ‘I received your message’ before I respond properly. If it’s over the weekend or holiday, this may take longer.

5. Do the work in the session and in between sessions.

…so that you get the best value, even when it’s challenging. I might suggest a piece of work based on what you brought to the session. Mainly you will decide your course of action.

Whichever way, I’ll invite you to:

  • Reflect more; through walking, writing and whatever else fires you up, to help you achieve your objective.
  • Explore more; be curious and follow those trails of thought, intentionally
    Practice more; habits? Actions? Keep trying/tweaking.
  • Note what’s coming up that’s important or interesting to you in the session. I may share a few bullet points with you after, via Google Docs.

6. Session duration and timescale.

Generally a session is an hour but happy to shorten or increase session lengths, as and when we both can, that day. Where either of us thinks it appropriate, let’s say in the session. Timescale – let’s keep to the timescale agreed in the contract.

Additional information...

  • Coaching is a relationship designed to facilitate the development of personal or professional goals and develop a plan/strategy for achieving those goals.
  • It is comprehensive; it may involve other areas of your life beyond what you may have originally intended. It is your responsibility to choose and decide how to handle this, or even whether to.
  • It can be challenging; digging deep, creating better habits, becoming more self-aware, changing unhelpful beliefs you hold about yourself to something more helpful. There will be ups and downs. You will gain new insights, learnings and perspectives to help you achieve your goal.
  • You – the Client, are solely responsible for creating and implementing your own physical, mental and emotional well-being, decisions, choices, actions and results arising out of or resulting from the coaching relationship and your coaching calls and interactions with me – the Coach. As such, you agree that the Coach is not and will not be liable or responsible for any actions or inaction, or for any direct or indirect result of any services provided by me – the Coach. 
  • You – the Client, understand that in order to enhance the coaching relationship, you agree to communicate honestly, be open to feedback and assistance and to create the time and energy to participate fully in the program. I will do the same.
  • Coaching is not a substitute for counselling, mental health care or substance abuse treatment.  If you are in any kind of therapy, please tell me.  Tell your practitioner (medical or therapeutic) of you working with me.
  • I ask you to agree to commit to the coaching sessions to facilitate the required change.
  • I will treat you as the expert regarding the subject matter, which is…YOU.
  • I will allow time and space for you to explore your thoughts and think for yourself, no interruptions. There may be long pauses or silence sometimes to elicit more.
  • What goes on in your sessions is confidential. I do not discuss it with anyone. There may be occasion when it is my duty to break confidentiality:
    > If I feel you or I are at risk of harm.
    > Criminal / illegal activity.
    > A safeguarding concern or something else so serious that warrants concern.
  • I may talk to my coach or supervisor about issues arising in our sessions without ever naming or giving away you as the client. This is to ensure I am following professional and ethical guidelines and delivering my best. I subscribe to these by the ICF; https://coachfederation.org/code-of-ethics
  • Qualifications and CPD; I am an accredited coach. This means I have trained, practiced and qualified with Animas Centre for Coaching (Nov 2020). I hold a ‘Diploma in Transformational Coaching’. This is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
    > I have my own coach and group supervision
    > My CPD includes –  Outdoor Intelligence for Online Coaching (Oct 2020) -Positive Psychology (Feb 2021

My accreditations


My story

I’d been trying to work out ‘what else’ I could do with my career and life.

After 20 years in HR and with the children getting older, I wanted to change careers, but into ‘what?’ And ‘how’ was that even possible? And…’who would take on a mid-40’s apprentice?’!

I took small steps to boost my confidence and mindset; a regular ‘walk and whinge’ with friends to offload, short courses to up-skill, more running, more netball.
I asked my workplace ‘what else’ they needed that I could help with – ‘job crafting’. 

I was trying to make changes but it wasn’t really working. I was still frustrated and now, more miserable. I needed a different approach to find a way forward and release the building pressure I felt.

Hiring an accredited coach with whom I knew I could work with, enabled me to take a good look at myself – at times, uncomfortably.

To be listened to without any interruption, or judgement was empowering and I started to recognise what made me, me – my personality, strengths, what energised me and made me happy. What if these things amounted to a job I would…love…?

I followed my curiosity and dabbled with ideas about potential jobs, tasks and environments that would suit me, with a new, growth mindset.

I started to shift perspective. When I finally realised the ‘what’, I felt an energy and sense of knowing that was powerful. And I laughed, because it had been right in front of me!

Coaching undoubtedly helped me get to know myself, to see my potential and what was possible. I wholeheartedly decided through those sessions, on what and how I wanted things to be.

It had taken me two years of feeling stuck and miserable and a number of hours to be liberated.

This is what I now do with my clients. I help them rediscover themselves so that they can play to their strengths and thrive.