Have you checked your work/life balance recently?

These days everybody talks about having a better work/life balance but what exactly does that mean?

Work/Life balance was a buzz term that came up in the last two decades to describe a concept of balancing a great career with a great lifestyle hence a more rounded and fulfilled life.

Of course that is untrue for most of us as we drift along on a daily basis not really wanting the life we have but dreaming of a better job, better relationships, more time to do what we really want to do but somehow allow the perceptual barriers to never come down.

If this describes you, then STOP AND REFLECT??????????????

What do you want?

Talk with me today on 085-7177888 to arrange the first step in achieving a better work/life balance


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Happy New Year

There is no better time for change than the beginning of any year hence at Fresh Thinking, we are ready to introduce you to our business which ultimately seeks to look after your best interests.

Sign up for our blog which promises great tips and advice throughout the year……

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Work/Life Balance and Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

According to Safe Ireland, Domestic Violence (DV) is the physical, emotional, sexual or mental abuse of one person by another within close, intimate or family relationship.  In the majority of cases, women are the victims of abuse although some men are also abused by women.  Often abuse can occur between same sex couples or in elderly care where the perpetrator may be a son or daughter.

Signs of  Domestic Violence?

The following signs may be indicative of Domestic Violence however care must always be taking to ensure the victim is safe and not subjected to additional abuse if the perpetrator feels threatened that they may be loosing control.  It should be noted that experiencing any of the following list means your relationship is abusive:

  • Verbal Abuse including unwanted criticism and insults which include: shouting, mocking, name-calling and threatening behaviour.
  • Control Tactics including: making you feel worthless, removing access to finance, restricting freedom to visit family and friends, telling lies to family about you or threatening to self-harm and suicide.
  • Breaking Trust includes: withholding information from you, having other relationships, being jealous, lying and breaking promises or agreements.
  • Isolation includes: locking or restricting your personal freedom, monitoring or blocking telephones calls, not allowing you visit family or friends.
  • Disrespect includes: putting you down in front of other people, not listening or ignoring you, interrupting your telephone calls, taking money without permission or refusing to help out in the home with the children.
  • Denial includes: denying the abuse ever happened, blaming you for their behaviour, being a great citizen in public, crying and begging forgiveness, telling you they will never do it again.
  • Threats includes: making angry gestures, using physical size to intimidate, shouting, screaming, breaking and punching things, wielding a gun or knife.
  • Physical Violence includes: pinching, punching, slapping, hitting, biting, pulling hair out, kicking, shoving, burning, strangling or raping.
  • Sexual Violence includes: using force, threats or intimidation to make you perform sexual acts, having sex with you when you are tired or don’t want it, force you to have sex with another person, Any degrading disregard or treatment that you do not want or find offensive.

Who is at risk of Domestic Violence?

Almost 1 in every 4 women are affected by domestic violence hence the statistics indicate clearly that more women are affected than their male counterparts.  It is quite reasonable to assume that most of us will know someone who is or has suffered abuse by a partner.  There is no stereotypical model that fits the role of the perpetrator however there are early warning signs that can raise red flags at an early juncture though love can sometimes be blind.

How can I protect myself from an Abusive Relationship

The best advise I can offer as a coach, and one that has been trained in domestic violence but who was a victim at one time, is to develop a set of personal boundaries and an unbreakable self-belief and confidence.  This will prevent you from allowing yourself to be compromised and warn off any potential abuser as they prefer vulnerable people unlike a self-assured you.   I would also suggest you listen to the feedback from family and friends who are not blind-sided by love and hormones.

If you are currently in an abusive relationship there are a lot of great FREE supports available including: Safe Ireland, DV12, Womens Aid etc.  They will offer sound advise on safety planning etc and support your decision to remain in or leave the situation without any judgement or pressure.


Domestic Violence in the Workplace

Domestic Violence is a workplace issue as it impacts on the organisation because the victim may be late or suffering fatigue because of their home existence.  (Walby et al 2010) found that during the period 2008-09, 68% of female homicides and 15% of males accounted for domestic abuse.

People experiencing domestic abuse are often subjected to disciplinary procedures and ultimately lose their jobs because their behaviour is misunderstood as they hide their grave existence.  The loss of a regular income is clearly a set-back for any opportunity to exit the situation.  Employers have a responsibility to provide employees with a safe and effective place of work.  Employers need to enact a domestic abuse workplace policy that will send out the message that it does not tolerate this type of abuse.  The impact of this should ensure experienced and skilled staff are retained within the organisation.

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Employment Law for Frontline Managers

Workshop Description

This workshop provides participants with the knowledge and skills to effectively deal with potential issues that arise within the organisation.  It is an excellent opportunity for small business owners and front-line managers (who do not ordinarily have access to a HR practitioner) to act with confidence in dealing with employees in the course of their roles and responsibilities.


Objectives of the Programme

To enable front-line managers to communicate more effectively with people within the organisation and understand the basics of employment law in Ireland.



    • Employment Legislation
    • Recruitment
    • Contracts
    • Policies and Procedures
    • Grievances and Disciplinary
    • Performance Management
    • Providing Feedback and Managing Difficult People
    • Conflict Resolution


The workshop is led by Catherine Fitzsimons.  Catherine is an accredied mediator with background in management including HR.  


Dates for your Diary:

Dublin:  Monday 14th October, 2013



€99 (includes a 1:1 coaching session to be arranged at a mutually beneficial time)

Lunch is also included on the day.


Terms & Conditions

  • Workshop places are limited to ensure maximum individual attention
  • Workshop will go ahead subject to sufficient interest
  • Refunds will be made should workshop be cancelled
  • All fees must be paid in advance in order to confirm booking and secure a place.
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Upcoming Workshops in Dublin and Kildare

Fresh Thinking Training and Consultancy are delighted to share our upcoming workshops in business supports and digital marketing.  Our uniqueness is not only in the care and attention we put into our programmes but more over the time we take in ensuring that the learning you engage with on the workshop is actively transferred back into the workplace by the additional mentoring and coaching supports we offer as part of the workshop; hence we will come back into your workplace and help you embed the practicalities into your everyday routine ensuring you not only come on our workshop but you use the information effectively…… 

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Twitter for Business



Workshop Description

Twitter has earned a reputation as the communications channel and has many uses as a business tool.  This morning workshop explores the platform and its application and uses within a business context drawing on its benefits and drawbacks.

Objectives of the Programme

To provide a clear understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of using Twitter for business or other intended purpose.


  • Setting up an account
  • Creating a winning profile
  • Decoding Twitter language
  • How to build an engaging community
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Business guidelines and policy development
  • Other applications that support your Twitter experience.

The workshop is led by Catherine Fitzsimons, MD at Fresh Thinking Training and Consultancy.  Catherine is a business trainer, mentor and social media practitioner with a massive influence on Twitter from her involvement in creating #M50BizHub #IrishTrainingDays and #HireMeIreland.

Dates for your Diary:

Dublin:  Monday 23rd September and Monday 14th October, 2013

Kildare:  Tuesday 24th and Tuesday 15th October, 2013.



Terms & Conditions

  • Workshop places are limited to ensure maximum individual attention
  • Workshop will go ahead subject to sufficient interest
  • Refunds will be made should workshop be cancelled
  • All fees must be paid in advance in order to confirm booking and secure place.
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Guest Blog: All That Glitters

All That Glitters …

… iproverbshow-proverb-2565787-mnot gold. Gill Pavey looks at one aspect of why “being a professional” is about more than sharp suits and good haircuts.

You have your own business and with it, the key qualities and attributes that you think you need to be a professional. But have you? The qualification and accreditation certificates hang on the office wall, you have the smart clothes, well-polished shoes, the latest smartphone and your hair is cut and styled regularly. You get on well with people at all levels, speak convincingly and network frequently; your professional image looks good, and you look forward to a successful career with a satisfying income and solid reputation.

However you can’t be good, or even competent, at everything so be careful about taking on tasks that do not play to your strengths. A key area where standards in some places are frankly appalling is the written word; if this applies to you and you present something that is poorly written on the internet or in marketing materials, it is widely and publicly distributed. What does this convey to the reader? That the business is run by people who are poorly educated, sloppy or stupid? That is not necessarily the case of course but most readers are too busy to consider reasons other than swift, negative ones particularly if you provide any service involving words, so you will lose all credibility. And don’t sit there smugly declaring that “people buy from people” and concentrate on heavy self-promotion. Up to a point, that might work on an otherwise level playing field but if your professional image is lacking through poor levels of literacy, then beware. Those creeping sycophants who currently think you are ‘inspirational’ and ‘fabulous’ (because you keep telling them so in hyped-up, hard-sell social media messages) will eventually wake up and melt away, in a modern twist to ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’. So what can you do before this begins to affect your image, reputation and eventually your bottom line?

The first rule is, don’t be defensive and attack the critics. Bad writing, especially with your business name on it, is indefensible when you can buy-in expertise. Did you cut your own hair, make your clothes, or service your car? Probably not; you may pay hairdressers, mechanics and buy clothes from outlets and manufacturers you like when you need to because (a) you can rely on them to provide what you want at the right quality and (b) you don’t have the necessary skills, talent or time to do it yourself. So – why not use a qualified proofreader, copywriter or copy editor? Contrary to popular belief, these people are not there to catch you out or criticise, but to make the text in your e-newsletter, press release, website and other marketing material look like it should – rather like your car should run smoothly and reliably after a service. It may well cost less than your budget for clothes and hair styles, too, and lasts a lot longer.

My clients are not stupid, lazy or badly educated and include award winning authors, respected academics, PhD students and businesses but they all have one thing in common – they didn’t get there by presenting written material to anything less than the highest standard. Be sure of one thing – for every person who approaches you and points out that your marketing material is ineffective or full of errors, there could be another hundred who also see it and say nothing, but simply avoid using you.

Of course, you may prefer to turn a blind eye to this. You can carry on turning out material that is gradually destroying your credibility and believe that such things don’t matter; but is that a risk that you are prepared to take?

Go for gold, not glitter.

More information on what a proofreader or copy-editor does may be found here:


Copywriting information is here:


Gill Pavey is a proofreader and copy-editor with Wordhouse, based in Ireland. www.wordhousewritingservices.com

Twitter: @ProofreaderGill

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