Be Your Own Life Coach

Life Coaching – It’s everywhere.

Like a new craze, it seems that everyone either has a life coach, is a life coach, or is gushing with the importance of having a life coach. There is no escaping it, people have had their lives changed by the tools and motivation given to them by this ‘new’ phenomenon.

Last week, I found myself at a health and healing seminar. This seminar gave the microphone to some pretty impressive speakers, one of which held up a diagram – a diagram that seemed oddly familiar.

This diagram consisted of a large circle with a smaller one drawn inside. Most people around me rushed to copy this diagram into their notes and listened attentively to the explanation. The circle of control, the speaker explained, is a tool to help you focus on what is within your control and letting go of things which are not. As I listened, I realised where I had seen this tool before.

Stephen Covey’s incredibly successful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, was a game-changer for me. In a slump, frustrated with things I had no control over, and desperate for someone to tell me what to do, I grabbed this book from my shelf. 7 Habits is one of those books that everyone talks about, recommends, and it ends up on a bookshelf, waiting for us to find the time and the willpower to invest in it. I had reached breaking point and grabbed it, not expecting the dynamic change in mentality that came with it. I will happily admit that Stephen Covey’s masterpiece became my life coach.

The knowledge is out there. These tools and revolutionary ideas are available for anyone to digest – they just need the willpower and motivation to change.

And that is where life coaches come in:

They are cheerleaders on your path to change.

They are stepping-stones to the tools you need to improve your quality of life.

They are the inspiration to guide you towards your goals and away from self-destructive thoughts and habits.

However, life coaches are not “hired help”. You cannot expect them to swoop in and fix your life for you, to dictate what you should say, what you should do, and how you should act. Life  coaching is about taking control of your own life, not hiring someone to fashion a life you desire so you can simply step into it.

Sat in that seminar, I realised I had been my own life coach for a long time. Being a rather private person, the idea of opening myself and my problems to a complete stranger and allowing them to tell me how to fix my life was not an appealing concept. I’ve always longed for independence when it comes to knowledge and skills, and this was no different. I can coach myself, I thought. Which I did – to a certain point.

A post shared by Khadijah (@khadijah_hayley) on Jun 4, 2016 at 4:41am PDT


I had the knowledge, I knew what I needed to do – I just couldn’t do it. I sat wallowing for a few months, still lacking the motivation to pick myself up and do what needed to be done. Then I received a message from LaYinka Sanni, Founder of Evolve & Emerge – I had a 1-to-1 session with her that I had completely forgotten about. As I had worked with LaYinka before through writing and editing, she wasn’t a complete stranger, and the thought of talking to her was more comforting than anyone else. Hesitantly, I arranged a date and time.

Sister LaYinka was my cheerleader. Her kind words, insightful questions, and words of wisdom helped me to work through some mental barriers. Being able to purge certain thoughts from my mind was pretty liberating, and I realised that holding onto those thoughts had clogged up my mind, preventing me from doing what needed to be done.

My journey is by no means done, but it is off to a good start. But you see, life coaching is all about finding that person to spur you on and support you, not fix your life for you. That information is already out there (personal development is a HUGE industry!) You can be your own life coach, if you have the motivation for it. But if you have no desire to find the resources already available to you, then a life coach won’t be able to help you.

So, are you ready for a life coach? What steps have you taken in your personal development journey? What books would you recommend?

Let me know in the comments!



Make the intention. Take control. Move forward.


Ramadhan Challenge: Quality Over Quanitity

Assalaam Alaikum!

As Ramadhan hits us, we all power towards our own personal goals. Whether it be reading the Qur’an as many times as possible, praying 20 raka’ats for taraaweeh, or even just memorising du’as and supplications.

I wanted this Ramadhan to be different. You see, we often forget that speed isn’t the goal during Ramadhan – enrichment is. We want to end the month better than we started it, but we often end the month completely and utterly exhausted.

Not this year.

No, this year I was going to keep myself focused and sensible. My focus will always be the Qur’an (this is the month of revelation, after all), but I also wanted to highlight other goals in life that could be pursued during this blessed month.

We forget that it is not just the Qur’an and prayer that holds reward, but ANY GOOD DEED done with the right intention is an opportunity for multiple rewards. And so, I set about making my list:

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Exiting The Emotional Rollercoaster

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Emotions are something everyone experiences, even if we prefer not to advertise them. Contrary to popular belief, internal emotional conflict is not specific to one particular gender. Emotions stem from chemical hormones in the body – something all of mankind were created with. What sets us apart, male or female, is how we process them. It is often assumed that there are only two ways to face these feelings –

  1. practically and rationally
  2. succumbing to the emotions without logical thought

However, is it really this black and white? Or is it possible to handle situations rationally whilst also nurturing sensitivities?

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Hijrah Diaries: Bittersweet Nostalgia

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Khadijah Stott-Andrew offers advice on maintaining positivity  while suffering painful and isolating homesickness.

After a big move abroad, it is normal to become caught up in the whirlwind of organisation as you try to find your feet and routine. Once the adrenaline dies down and your routine settles into habit, you are given little respite before the next challenge sets in – homesickness. Regardless of what and who you left behind, there will be something you miss. Adapting to a new environment will contrast with your old life, sometimes quite drastically. The challenge of being without friends and family aside, the main cause of homesickness is the yearning for familiarity.

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Hijrah Diaries: The New Move Shine is Quickly Lost

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Finding  more changes than she expected, Khadijah Stott-Andrew explains how she adapted to new areas of her life.

Moving to a new country will come with a catalogue of various changes. Some you may expect and prepare for, but others can catch you off guard. When this happens, your creativity and patience is truly tested as you attempt to adapt to your new circumstance. There are many differences between my life in the UK and my new life unfolding in Qatar. Here are just a few areas that have changed, most I found challenging at first, but now, nearly 2 years into my move, they have become a part of my life to either embrace or manage.

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Hijrah Diaries: Finding My Feet

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From new friends to no internet, Khadijah Stott-Andrew shares her first experiences in Qatar.

My first few weeks in Qatar sped by. I threw myself into my surroundings; I was exploring the area with my husband and focusing on furnishing the house to my liking. I didn’t want to dwell on the amount of time it would take to see my family again. Truth be told, the week leading up to our departure was such a whirlwind of chaos that it was a relief to finally arrive in a quite, spacious house and just breathe. We had a few days before my husband started back at work, so we enjoyed some quality family time together for the first time in two months. It truly was a sakina (small blessing)from Allah SWT.

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Pearls and jewels and iPads – Oh, My!

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We’ve all heard them: the pearls in the oysters, the jewels in the boxes, the sticky sweets without the wrappers, the queen that won’t shake anyone’s hand… and now, the iPads in their protective cases. Yes, iPads.

Many people encourage these analogies for wearing hijab, and, for the most part, they seem to get the point across. Women are beautiful, and covering that beauty does not diminish it, nor devalue it. But is that all these analogies are saying?

For a while, I loved the imagery and used it myself when justifying my hijab to non-Muslims. I cherished the idea of being a precious pearl, an invaluable jewel, a queen of my religion. But what I didn’t realise is that playing into these analogies was only adding to a superiority and arrogance that was developing inside my heart. The doubts about these metaphors slowly started to develop when the images across social media became less flattering.

The lollipop.

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Hijrah Diaries: Taking the Plunge

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Khadijah Stott-Andrew begins her series discussing the highs and lows of moving abroad.

When it comes to writing an article about personal issues, I am the first to admit that it’s a struggle. How much should I reveal to an audience such as this? Do I praise the positives or warn you of the negatives? After several drafts, I have decided that the only option is to be brutally and unashamedly honest.

Moving abroad is not easy. It’s hard work, complicated, stressful and there are many points that have left me sobbing like a baby at the sheer magnitude of what we were about to do. Hijrah is scary; leaving behind your life, family, friends, routine and even your favourite shops can render you full of fear and doubt. I can’t remember the number of times I have broken down in sujud, begging Allah SWT to guide my husband to the right decision and to bless me with the strength and ability to deal with it.

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Inner Haya’ and the Judgemental Hijabi

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Khadijah Stott-Andrew questions the assumptions we make based on a sister’s level of hijab.

Hijab is a topic never far from the mind of a Muslimah, whether she wears hijab or not. However, ‘hijab’ instantly implies the scarf wrapped around the hair, possibly with an abayah thrown in. Many of us forget the implications that piece of material should have on our overall character. Hijab is an act of modesty, an act of haya’. If someone is described as modest or humble, is this in reference to their outer appearance or an internal quality? Modesty comes from within; it affects the way a person carries themselves, the words they say and the way they treat the people around them. Unfortunately, internal modesty is a feature that is frequently absent from hijab lectures and study circles.

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Book Review: She Wore Red Trainers

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When I first heard that a “Muslim love story” was on the horizon, I could barely contain my enthusiasm. Knowing that Na’ima B. Robert would be taking on this task only filled me with confidence. This is the author that brought you the inspirational From My Sisters’ Lips, the heart-wrenching Far From Home and the thought-provoking Black Sheep. Unafraid of controversy and depth, Na’ima B. Robert brings you her latest novel for Young Adults, She Wore Red Trainers.

With my Young Adult years not so far behind me, I can confidently and unashamedly recall the sheer number of Young Adult romance novels I devoured on a weekly basis. With my childhood surrounded by the Disney princesses of my time, I was no stranger to drifting off into a fantasy land with my prince on his noble steed sweeping me off my feet. Unfortunately, once I hit my teens, I believed this fantasy land to be just that – a fantasy. Like most of my peers, we saw the windswept romance of movies and novels to be an enjoyment for non-Muslims. With what we saw as suffocating and almost impractical rules and regulations surrounding any attempt at finding love, we didn’t believe a heart-fluttering romance to be achievable.

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