“New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you. Let’s hear it for New York”

~ Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys

I’ve just returned from a fabulous 5-day trip to New York packed full of sunshine, shopping, Starbucks, Sex and the City and a tonne of motivation. I am literally itching to write my book.

The purpose of my trip was meet like-minded people at the Hay House Writer’s Workshop and hear from some of the teachers who transformed my life at a time when it was hard to get up and face the day. I can remember being plugged into Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer whenever I could. Through my iPod, their messages of hope and positivity fired me up and propelled me forward to Smileydom. That’s what I want to do for others.

I want to make a difference to family life. I want parents to feel confident in who they are and for children to feel good from the inside out.

The 2-day conference was a showcase of accomplished Hay House authors who shared their stories. I was in my element as I listened to how Gabby Bernstein and Nancy Levin uncovered their souls and shared their recoveries from addiction and perfectionism. As a self-confessed perfectionist, Nancy made me realise I still have work to do. I heard her say that she felt that if she was imperfect, she would die. I felt my mask drop a little.

Nick Ortner had me in tears as we tapped away our psychological blocks to shining. Who am I to write a book? Who am I to be The Smiley Coach? I am good enough just as I am. That was the message that kept coming through.

Be Yourself. Shine. Don’t be afraid to shine. Don’t listen to criticism. Speak your truth. This is how you will connect to the people you can help.

I wanted to translate my powerful workshop insights to the world of parenting as there are more similarities than you would think.

Writers are:

  1. Resilient – you have to be prepared for your one-star reviews on Amazon otherwise you are not ready.
  2. Focused on intention – make a difference to other people’s lives; you don’t have to be a New York Times Best Seller.
  3. Dedicated – you have to discipline yourself to write every day even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
  4. Intuitive – you have to trust and allow your writing to flow from your heart (even if that feels scary. In fact, the scarier it feels, the more you need to give those feelings a voice).
  5. Good Communicators – you share with love and your story that you know will help others.
  6. Creative – the purpose of creative writing is to give your thoughts and feelings a voice #creativityheals.
  7. Authentic – the more fun you have being who you truly are (warts and all), the more the right people will be inspired by you. This takes courage (see point 10).
  8. Connected to their audience – you want to connect to the reader who recognises themselves in you – powerful stuff.
  9. Patience – you may write a book that is never published but you need to write it as part of your journey. Take your time. Do the work. Enjoy the experience. Get the words out.
  10. Imperfect – the key to being a great writer is the willingness to be imperfect and be brave enough to admit it.
  11. Confused – it’s OK to be confused for a while. From confusion comes clarity. Sit with it and stop trying to control the outcome (see point 2).
  12. Consistent – get into the practise of sharing what inspires you and write about it so your truth touches the people who need to hear it.

Parents are:

  1. Resilient – day in day out you are doing a job with no job description, no training and very little sleep. Make sure you have a good support system and a way to process your stress levels. Self care will keep you on track (that does not include wine, chocolate or Spa days).
  2. Focused on intention – seeing the good in your child means you are more likely to get the best out of them. Focusing on the outcome of how you want them to be (they can only be themselves) will frustrate the hell out of you.
  3. Dedicated – the love you have for your kids is what drives you on. There is no other love like it. It lifts them up and carries them forward in life.
  4. Intuitive – do you trust your internal SatNav or are you dancing to the beat of somebody else’s idea of parenting? Parent from the heart.
  5. Good Communicators – it’s all about the language. Have you read ‘How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so kids will talk?’
  6. Creative – calls for all manner of skills you didn’t know you had – problem-solving, logistical nightmares, cooking, costume making, homework duties. The list goes on.
  7. Authentic – being a role model for self-acceptance and allowing your children to be who they are (not what you need them to be).
  8. Connected to their audience – 10 minutes of special time everyday without distraction, entering your child’s world and speaking their love language ought to do it. I have written an eBook called Pour More Love about this. Get your copy here.
  9. Patience – you need a lot of this, especially at the end of the day when everybody is tired. I think this is the hardest one for me because this is when all manner of things can press your buttons. What triggers you when you are running out of patience? Number 1 reason in my coaching room is not being heard.
  10. Imperfect – the key to being a great parent is the willingness to be imperfect and say sorry when you get it wrong.
  11. Confused – some days will be better than others. Not knowing what to do or how to do it isn’t a weakness. It’s part of the journey. There is always our good friend Google but I prefer to resort to intuition (see point 4). It knows you and it knows your child. Trust it.
  12. Consistent – routines give children security and help them develop self-discipline. Repetition is the father of learning. Consistency comes from words, actions, values and love. Consistently loving your child will plug them into you and nurture their souls. Did you see my 30 Day Challenge with ideas of how to do this?

This is why published authors that can be found in the self-help aisle of Waterstones, have so much in common with parents; we are all teachers. This is the work. To share, guide and love what we do.

“When one teaches, two learn.” ~ Robert Heinlein

Your children will teach you so much about yourself, just like my clients teach me. I am often amazed at the wisdom they are brave enough to share. Listening is so important.

The workshop was moving, inspiring and I could write so much more about it, but the jet lag is kicking in. My proudest moment was when I was introduced to Reid Tracy (Hay House’s CEO) and offered him a Smiley Thought Card. I cannot tell you how nervous I was, but guess what? He picked my favourite card!

smiley coach lisa parkes with smiley thought cardThe duck! I love the duck!

The duck is blown up to canvas size in my coaching room. The colours are beautiful and the message is loud and clear. The kids love it too.

I have something important to say. My learning from the workshop:

We all matter. We all have something to bring to the world. It’s our responsibility to shine so we can help others.

I had better get a wriggle on with this book then!

If you click on the duck, you can order your own deck of Smiley Thought Cards and join hundreds of like-minded families who want to get their happy on!


EDIT: In 2019, 4 years after writing this blog, I finally wrote my book Stuck Between Two Worlds and guess what? It wasn’t the book proposal I wrote for Hay House. I didn’t win the competition, but that book is still on my laptop. Since, I now believe that parenting is a relationship that stems from the relationship you have with yourself, it will need a re-write. Sometimes we have to write things to get to the next part, but we don’t have to publish everything we write. That’s a bit like life. We don’t have to do everything, we get to choose who, what and how our life is, so that we can live in accordance with our values.


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