Every Friday, we send out a weekly roundup of what’s new on Blood & Milk along with articles you may have missed from the archives. We also include an interview with an inspiring woman, and this week we’re excited to feature Laura Hugill. To get the newsletter, sign up here.
Laura Hugill is a professional coach, mindfulness facilitator and teacher at Google, meditation leader, and founder of Mindfully Laura.
You’re such a great example of someone who noticed what about your life wasn’t working for you, and transformed it. Can you tell us a little bit about this journey in self actualization?
It was definitely a journey! Like many people, I had a niggling feeling that something was “off” in my life for quite a while—I even moved halfway around the world in search of a sense of happiness with myself. It was after that move that I started to realize that the physical change of scenery hadn’t really changed anything; the same patterns I had been running away from had started cropping up again in dating, friendships, and career…only now the people involved were American instead of British!
I hit my “rock bottom” one Sunday morning after a heavy night of drinking—I woke up hungover, lonely, and miserable for what felt like the umpteenth time—and I made a commitment that this would be the last time. That was the turning point for me. Once the hangover subsided I sat down quietly with myself and said “OK, Laura, who do you really want to be?” I imagined myself waking up early on the weekend and heading to a yoga class feeling confident about my body, looking forward to going to work on a Monday to do something I loved with people I respected, living in a beautiful apartment that made me feel proud and having a loving, loyal little dog by my side….oh yea and a hot boyfriend! It felt like I had a LONG way to go but I started to visualize this life regularly and ask myself, “for this to come true, what do I need to change about myself?” I started working with a therapist and later a coach to help me make those micro-changes and over time, the life I visualized started falling into place!
For beginners—what’s the difference between a therapist and a coach?
Great question, especially as there definitely can be what feels like cross over between the two. Typically a therapist supports you to understand yourself better through helping identify patterns and connections from your past experiences and behaviors. A coach is also someone who supports you to understand yourself better but the focus is on the future—what do you want to achieve and who do you want to be? If you can work with both a therapist and a coach the two are complementary; if you had to choose just one, that’s a personal preference given what you are currently experiencing in your life and what feels most useful to focus on.
I also think it’s important that you can’t just call yourself a therapist in most places in the world, you have to have a certain level of qualifications and expertise to use the title. Currently, those safeguards don’t exist for coaches (though that could change!); I think it’s important to ask about a coach’s training, certifications, and experience when you are looking for the right coach for you.
If someone is feeling stuck (something many of us can relate to this past year!), but can’t put their finger on exactly why, how would you recommend getting started toward feeling unstuck?
Absolutely this is relatable! A great coaching tool for this is the Wheel of Life, which you can use to get clarity on the areas of your life where you want to focus. All you do is look at each segment in the wheel and score it out of 10, with 10/10 being the best that area could be and 0/10 being the worst that area could be. The secret to doing this well is to NOT overthink your answers, just go with your first response without judging whatever comes up. The lower scoring areas give you a good starting point for asking yourself some reflection questions like, what would your life look like if that area was a 10/10? Journaling and talking through your answers with a friend can be a great way to get more clarity on where you could focus your energy.
As a coach, you help clients identify areas in their lives where they might benefit from expansion or transformation. Are there any patterns, especially during the pandemic, that you’ve noticed among your clients? Similarly, is there any blanket advice that you find yourself giving frequently?
The biggest pattern I see, working primarily with women and people of color, is that during times of increased stress our saboteurs (limiting beliefs) can get louder and more intrusive in our lives —these are patterns of belief that are trying to keep us safe but are actually holding us back from our full potential. This is definitely something I’ve experienced in my own career and continue to work on (here’s a free online test to find your own top saboteurs). The more we get to know our saboteurs and practice becoming aware of when they show up and their common soundtracks (what they are saying to us repeatedly), the more we are able to remind ourselves that this voice isn’t the truth but just a part of us that we can choose to listen to, or not!
You use manifestation as a tool for clients and in your own life. Many people might dismiss this practice as too “woo woo,” but it’s backed by science. Can you share some of your own thoughts on manifestation and its benefits?
At its core, manifestation is just intentionally making things happen. Scientists believe that 95% of everything we do is driven by our subconscious mind—our internal programming that we aren’t aware of—which means that our subconscious is actually the one driving the things that are happening in our lives. The art of manifestation is being specific about what we want, understanding our subconscious programming, and then intentionally altering our programming to create space for what we want to materialize.
When I first began envisioning the life I wanted, that was the moment that I started to get intentional about my life rather than letting life happen to me. So many of us don’t allow ourselves to dream about what our heart truly desires and instead allow ourselves to be held back by our old beliefs about our worthiness, often picked up from when we were very young. Going through the steps of manifestation and working with a coach can help you to get clear on what you want, understand where you are holding yourself back from having it, and take steps to change your energy and your behavior, subsequently bringing your dreams into reality (watch Laura’s webinar on How to Manifest the 2021 of your Dreams to learn more about her 6 steps to Manifest anything you want).
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received lately?
My favorite advice was a question I was asked recently by my coach: “Where are you betraying yourself?” I’ve been asking myself this in my career, in my relationship, in my friendships. All of us deserve to be able to show up authentically, as who we really are in all aspects of our life. For me, learning to be myself has been critical in learning to love my life, every single day.