What I learnt at the circus.
Two weekends ago (yes I know it’s taken me a long time to get round to writing this blog post!) I was lucky enough to be able to fit in a trip to the circus, not just any circus, the beloved Giffords Circus. A magical village green circus that tours England throughout the summer.
I’d not been for years and at the time the big top was pitched on the stunning historic grounds of Sudeley Castle – where, incidentally, my husband and I were married four years earlier.
This year’s show is called ‘Xanadu’ meaning an idealized place of great idyllic magnificence and beauty. We were transported back to the 60’s where flower power, peace and love reigned true.
Here are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind while taking in the show.
Are you letting first impressions blind you to valuable connections?
Close to the beginning of the show we were introduced to a very smartly dressed mother and father who are busy chasing after and berating their young daughter who is clearly intrigued by the hippies and flower power surrounding her. She tugs in the opposite direction to them and they scold her in their ridiculously up-tight voices. They clearly want to be seen as upstanding respectable people.
They run in and out of the ring in between acts until eventually towards the end of the show the young girl manages to break free and subsequently encourages her parents to surrender to the movement of peace and love. A fantastic display ensues with the parents taking it in turns to glide through the air around the ring suspended on a rope. It was so spectacular my writing skills just aren’t up to describing this act with the true justice it deserves.
The fact that I had paid such little attention to this couple throughout the show got me reflecting on the hidden talents they went on to display. We’ve all been to networking events and been asked ‘What do you do?’ I’m not a big fan of this question because I don’t feel people should be defined just by the job they do in that moment in time. We all have a history of experiences and most of us are planning many more.
How someone seems on the surface may not be the full extent of their talents, talents which may be of use to you. I’m not suggesting, ‘So tell me your life story then?’ as an opening question at a networking event but ‘What are you passionate about?’ Or ‘Tell me a little known fact about you?’ might be a nice alternative. Warning - make sure you are ready with your own answer should the question get turned around on you though!!
Be open to the fact that first impressions can be deceiving. Don’t presume you know or write anyone off too quickly.
Direct opposites can work well together.
The policeman and the hippie. Although they were polar opposites in the show these two
came together and performed an amazing balancing act. Using their individual strengths they were able to flip and tip and roll together. How often do we look to socialise or work with people who are like us? Could it be, that accepting we can’t do it all and that we are not always right might help us to find people with an opposite yet complimentary skill set? Allowing someone else to bring something completely different to the table could elevate our game and help us break new boundaries. Embrace different.
The juggling act and work life balance.
I personally don’t believe in work life balance. There I said it. After all, who wants an equal amount stress to their levels as happiness. Much better to accept that sometimes family is going to have to take the lead and other times work is. Some projects will take more time and other tasks will have to go on the back burner.
At the end of the day the juggler was never holding all the balls at once, he bounced some in, he took some out, sometimes they were in the air and other times they were balanced on his neck. You will drop balls and that’s ok, the word multitasking was actually invented to describe the actions of the first computers, humans are not computers. Just make sure you take some time now and again to check which of your balls actually need to be in the show.
The star of the show!
The general public may often think of the clowns as filler acts but at Giffords, for me, Tweedy really was the star of the show. His energy and enthusiasm coupled with silly gags and audience engaging mayhem made him the life and glue of the show. All team members are important; some team members may have skills which are more important than you think.
I was once employed as a receptionist for a tech firm. I turned that job into something of my own. I wasn’t just simply meeting and greeting customers at the front desk. I was counselling staff, maintaining morale and setting them up for the day with a cheery smile. I made ‘flapjack Friday’ a thing, with votes on chocolate chips or raisins an important debate (Sometimes I’d make two batches.) Team morale is important and often overlooked when considering how to increase productivity. You may have staff who are not the highest paid or the most highly skilled but that doesn’t mean they don’t play a key part in your company ecosystem.
Ending on the note of increasing team moral have you considered how my Kick Ass Kindness workshop could help your business team? Click here to find out more,
Last week I was honoured to be asked to host an open discussion at the RAF Shawbury Hive for Mental Health Awareness Week.
Although the subject of mental health is getting more coverage now, especially in the armed forces it is still considered a taboo subject. The veterans seem to be leading the discussions around PTSD, suicide and the much more palatable term ‘mental fitness.’ This is all really fantastic and can’t be encouraged enough however as my husband is still serving I am still very keenly aware that there is still a code of silence behind the wire.
The fact of the matter is that serving personnel are worried about their jobs and what their peers will think of them. Spouses are concerned but don’t always know who to turn to and a lot of the time are under strict instruction not to breathe a word to anyone on patch. It’s because of this I think it’s really great that more and more stations like RAF Shawbury are getting on board with the conversation to help encourage those who are suffering to come forward and be helped.
Despite the theme for this year’s mental health awareness week being body image I decided to freestyle it a bit and came up with the topic of kindness instead, Kick Ass Kindness in fact. After all, it’s something that is free, makes both the giver and the recipient feel good and makes for a happier working environment as well as home environment. The other key point is that we could all be a lot kinder to ourselves.
If you would like me to facilitate a kindness workshop at your place of work then please do get in touch.
Earlier today I was propped up against the dining room wall (why don’t Apple make their charging cables longer? #firstworldproblems) trying to finish the last minute Tesco order on the iPad via our dodgy internet connection when I noticed an orchid that I had neglected and presumed dead (it kind of gets forgotten about in the window that it sits in) had actually flowered beautifully without any intervention from me at all! It looks fab.
This got me thinking about the times when I’ve dashed off to the downstairs office (My husbands name for the downstairs toilet) and left my son on his play mat. Of course, he kicks off as soon as I leave the room however sometimes you just have to sit in that downstairs office a little longer than maybe you would like to ladies! And do you know what? Quite often it’s in those moments, when I have given up shouting down the corridor ‘Mummy won’t be long darling, mummy is just having a (you know what) darling, I’ll be back in a minute darling,’ and my son realises I am not coming straight back that he miraculously manages to find a toy (amongst the gazillion of toys on his playmat) to entertain himself with, all by himself, and goes quiet.
So from a business point of view, I would like you to think about leaving it alone! Giving it a rest! And what I actually mean is giving yourself a rest. Walk away from the problem solving, stop racking your brains over an issue and go get your nails done. If that’s your thing. Personally, I never put anything on my finger nails as they go all brittle if I do, but that’s not the point. Go shopping; go see a friend/relative for the day. Go to the local pool for an hour, visit your local gallery. Just get out of your workspace (note, I didn’t call it an office) Sometimes we really do need some distance between ourselves and our work to get the next flash of inspiration. And if you employ anyone sometimes you need to give them some space to be able to truly shine and show initiative. It’s all too easy to micro manage and suffocate folks, why did you hire them again..?
I’m not saying run for the hills and pretend an issue doesn’t exist, and of course if you are a service provider then you can’t just leave a customer stranded however there is a balance that needs to be struck where you allow yourself the time to rest your brain so it can start to work properly again. Plus being out and about will prompt ideas that you may not have had if you were stuck in your ‘office’ (chortle, chortle.) Wasn’t it Gandhi who said that if you have a busy day you need to meditate for twice as long? Only I could quote Gandhi after a toilet joke. Anyway, you get my gist.
I’d love to hear about any ideas you have had recently when you were slacking off. Maybe all of a sudden that day out at the Polo became profitable because you met your next big client there…?
OK, this is obvious and I really don’t want you to think I am talking to you like kids but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of the basics when we are all so busy and pre occupied trying to conquer the world, or at least build our own little empires.
I’m sure I won’t be the only one who has ever given themselves a headache from not having drunk enough water throughout the day. I say water but I mean any drink or fluid really, bar heavily sugared/caffeinated drinks which are bad for your teeth, and or being a diuretic actually cause you to lose more fluid in the long run.
This topic is of particular interest to me at the moment simply because the national levels of lead that are acceptable in our water supply has been decreased here in the UK and as such our particular house and street is now above said level. We are having to drink bottled water while the issue is tackled by our local water supplier. Our own house hold seems to be drowning in empty plastic bottles more than anything right now.
There seems to be a slight variation on advice around just how much we should drink if you do a quick Google search online. America feels 2 litres is preferable for its citizens to the 1.2 litres stated on NHS direct, but then America is vast with lots of different climates to think about. Clearly here in the UK we would need to drink a lot less than say one of our ex-pat sisters or brothers living in sunny Spain.
But back to my main point. I know I personally really do feel it when I haven’t had enough to drink. I get cranky, I make mistakes or worse still I don’t even apply myself to work in the first place, I don’t even get started. If I have a headache from hell 99.9% of the time I can solve this by drinking more water. I know a lot of you will be exclaiming that you don’t want to drink that much or you will be up and down to the ladies room all day long! Well, I say that’s a good thing! We shouldn’t be sitting at our desks for too long anyway, getting up and moving is good for us too, double whammy. I will make an exception for you though if you are a police officer, my best friend is a police officer and it just isn’t convenient for her to need to visit the ladies all the time.
HOWEVER, here is an interesting fact to combat that issue for you! Your body can only absorb 50 milliliters per 15minutes, so little and often will stop you needing to go to the toilet so often, downing a glass of water in one hit means you will need to eliminate some of that fluid sooner than later.
While I am talking about water I just wanted to give a shout out to these guys, Drink Water www.wedrinkwater.com who I found when researching this piece. They noticed how all the big energy drink brands targeted the snowboarding industry and wanted to say something about it. Their objective started small with home printed t-shirts and stickers with ‘drink water’ written on them etc. but soon their mission became in their own words ‘bigger than themselves’ and the plight began to address the fact that around a billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. 10% of their profits go to water.org, a non-profit working on solving the global crisis.
Stay hydrated folks, we have no excuses here.
It’s a grey old day as I sit here and type. The rain has been pouring down all morning. My son is poorly and after a lot of tears he has finally relented and fallen asleep. The dog, who periodically gets up for a quick gaze out of the window to check if the rain has stopped, has now skulked back to his favorite spot snuggled up on the beanbag.
This got me thinking, as much as I hate being stuck indoors, we need the rain. We need the rain so that the flowers can grow, the crops can grow, the rivers can flow and essentially so that nature can do its thing. We need the down times to appreciate the good times.
And to take this thought further, sometimes a bit of pain or discomfort can be a blessing. Sometimes we need it to wake us up from plodding along an unfulfilling path and hopefully give us a surge of energy to propel us forward to the place we really want to be.
A lovely lady once shared a meme with me of a bow and arrow. (Search ‘an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward’ and you will find the one I mean.) The message is that when life seems to be dragging you down stay focused and keep aiming for what you want and eventually you will be propelled towards it. But for me, that is the key part, staying focused on what it is you do want, and all the good fortune you already enjoy. If you can imagine a future full of the things you want and enjoy the process of imagining that future you are more likely to find yourself inopportune places, meeting key people by ‘chance’ and discovering stepping stones that will get you to where you want to be. If you dwell on bad thoughts and feelings your focus will inevitably find more of that to inhabit your thoughts and it will keep pulling you in a downward spiral.
We need challenges to grow. There is no light without dark and there is no sound without silence or silence without sound. The saying, ‘every cloud has a silver lining,’ has just popped into my head and actually, when I think about it, is the essence of my Be Glad project www.BeGlad.co.uk. It’s all about gratitude and playing ‘the glad game,’ looking on the bright side of things especially on occasions when everything seemed against you but things actually worked out for the best in the long run. You may not have got what you thought you wanted, but in not getting that, space was created for something even better.
Some of our most fulfilling achievements that really make us proud are when we have overcome an obstacle, faced adversity and conquered it etc.
In coaching, even if something is blatantly obvious to me as a perfect solution and my client isn’t thinking as I would, I never give ‘MY’ answer, or ‘MY’ opinion (that is what mentors are for.) This is important because it would end up in a no-win situation. If my thoughts or suggestions didn’t work out for the client they would blame me, but more importantly, if things DID work out, my client would not be able to fully claim the satisfaction of the success. They would bestow credit to me and my suggested action. And that certainly doesn’t sit well with my goal of empowering people.
So my message is this, keep going - the next time the world seems to be dragging you down say a little thank you and look for the opportunity to accomplish something bigger and better beyond the current situation.
My son is awake again and I’m sure the rest of the day will be just as tediously grizzly as the morning; he’s very good at offering me opportunities to practice patience!
I’d love to know about a time when you thought everything was going wrong but in the long run, it actually worked out for the best. Maybe what first seemed an adversity actually propelled you towards something bigger and better than what you had originally hoped for.
I don’t think I have ever met a single woman who isn’t worried about her size, shape, weight or fitness levels. As Rupal mentioned in her last post on health we should all be concentrating on fitness, and being healthy is certainly more important than being slim but more often than not the two generally go hand in hand.
I am slightly ashamed to admit it but when I was pregnant I ate A LOT! And I didn’t care, well, I did a bit, but in the back of my mind I had the excuse that I looked huge anyway so it didn’t matter. I actually used to buy packets of biscuits (triple choc chip, choc dipped, calorific, Choccy Mc Chocolate Face yummyness) and more often than not I would eat them all in the car on the journey home, mindlessly shovelling them in. Seriously, a whole packet was more often than not consumed within a short ten minute drive. It always happened when I was on my own, a little self sabotage when there was no one there to keep up appearances for, no one to question my actions and keep me in check.
As with so many of our blog posts there is some cross over, this one could also quite easily sit in the happiness section. As soon as I walked out of the shop, biscuits in hand and started eating them I felt happy, sometimes even a little devious (clearly I wasn’t going to tell my husband I had been scoffing goodies without him) but more often than not by the end of the packet I would feel a little disgusted with myself but mostly disappointed they had all gone already, the pleasure factor seemed to have disappeared in a flash, clearly I would have to buy some more.
Now that I look back I am pretty sure it was nothing to do with pregnancy cravings. There have been times in my past where I have overeaten and gained loads of weight before. Thinking about it, it was probably more to do with my mental health at the time. I was heavily pregnant, I’d just moved house to somewhere I wasn’t terribly familiar with, far from friends and family to be with my husband and yet as soon as we moved in he got sent away for a couple of months on a course. In the absence of my real physical friends I allowed food to fill that gap.
For Christmas I was given a fantastic book called ‘First bite’ by Bee Wilson. Admittedly I haven’t finished reading it yet but so far it is fascinating. Our relationship with food is quite complex and I am so glad to be in a position to be reading this book while my son is weaning. I really hope I can establish a healthy relationship with food for him. The thing that really stuck out for me was when Bee explains that we crave certain foods because there is an emotion attached to them.
Have you ever noticed that you really really crave some type of food and then when you eat it, it’s not as good as you had hoped it would be? This tends to be because there is a background story in your life that relates to that food. Maybe you and your first true love ate a tasty chilli con carne one weekend while gazing into each other’s eyes, a warm fuzzy glow surrounding you in a perfect fluffy heart shaped cloud. Fast forward ten years, it’s raining, everything that can go wrong seems to be going wrong and for some reason which you haven’t even registered, all you want to do is eat chilli con carne. You stop by the co-op and buy yourself a chilli con carne ready meal before heading back to your flat to enjoy it. Funnily enough, you don’t enjoy it, and not only because it’s a microwave meal. The food on its own simply can’t recreate that lovely cosy happy time for you. A personal example of my own, when Aunty Helen sends over a plate of Sunday roast left overs along with a slice of her legendary lemon meringue pie, it is essentially the same food, it’s good but it can only fill my belly, it can’t fully fill my heart. Eating it warmed up on a plate by myself is not the same as being able to sit round the table with my cousins and any other relatives that might be about that Sunday, sharing hugs, stories and teasing each other in the only way we all know how. Reconnecting with a deeper more satisfying… well, connection. Being a social person this is really important for me, being with my family I can still be that little girl I have always been inside.
Anyway! Back to my main point. Healthy accountability. Three months after giving birth I decided I needed to do something about my weight. I hated my shape and all my clothes, teamed with the fact I had two christenings and five weddings to look forward to this year, the first being in February. I knew I was kidding myself if I tried to go it alone so I did something I have never done before. I joined Slimming World (other reputable slimming clubs are available). I knew that even though I would not be judged and only the weighing lady would know my weight, I needed that accountability of weighing in each week. There was no one to dupe apart from myself and hey, those scales were not going to lie, they were going to dob me in to myself every time. The eating plan is really simple to follow and essentially it’s what we all already know anyway. Eat plenty of lean meat and veg as well as fruit and keep everything else in check by only having small quantities each day. It’s obvious, I haven’t learnt anything new about nutrition. But what I have learnt is how much longer my happiness lasts when I am feeling pretty in a posh frock at a do. Much longer than those biscuits used to last on the way home. I have lost two stone already.
Each week we don’t only weigh in, if you have time then there is a session afterwards called ‘image therapy.’ Essentially we all take it in turns to talk about what went well for us and what held us back that week. It’s a great way to feel that you are not alone, many of the other members also struggle with similar issues and therefore each of them come up with their own unique ways of combating those issues. By sharing our stories and our solutions everyone can reap the reward – a very similar concept to Professional Spring but with food rather than business!
And for those of you who have engaged a coach or a mentor, as you will know, they are not going to do the work for you, that is up to you, but the regular contact and the fact that you have said you are going to do something out loud to a real person will go a long way towards you ACTUALLY doing it. It’s a pull on your own deep seated integrity. No one wants to be a miss match with what they say they will do and what they actually do.
I’d be really interested to hear if you have any examples of when you’ve managed to pull something out of the bag simply because you couldn’t face telling a key person that you hadn’t managed to do it?
This is a really big one for me. My head is absolutely exploding with things I would like to do, my downfall is that I am interested in pretty much everything, I’m surrounded by inspirational people and I get all these project ideas that I want to do ‘one day’ and somehow never get round to doing.
To tell the truth, I am actually in the middle of writing another blog post but because I keep getting distracted I have started on this one instead to get it off my chest!
Maybe you are like me? Collecting things READY for when you are going to do that amazing project, and when I say collect, I mean anything from buttons, beads and fabric to physical brochures, online links, events schedules, pins on Pinterest, notes on Trello/Evernote, physical notes on actual pads of paper but equally lots of old envelopes etc etc. All hanging around in your ‘pilling system’ waiting for the day you will finally utilise them.
I am also guilty of subscribing to mailing lists and then hardly ever opening an email from that guru thinking ‘When I have time I will sit and go through all of them at once and learn every bit of advice they have, all at once.’ Occasionally the odd email subject headline will catch my eye before I swipe it to the right off of my phone screen and I will open it, maybe watch a quick video or read an article (I’m more of a visual person than a reader in fairness) and be reminded of one of the many things I want to do ‘one day.’
Now that I have a son my time is so limited. I have to try and shoehorn as much as possible into his two daily nap times and depending on where my husband is, sometimes I don’t even get to do that. So as you can imagine, being crippled by distractions really does literally stop me from achieving any one thing on my to-do list. I certainly don’t think that I am ‘Slight Edging’ my way to anything. All efforts are far too diluted to count as real progress. (The Slight Edge is a fab book, by the way, read more here.)
So what steps am I taking to tackle this issue?
Some of you may have heard of a default diary? Basically think back to when you were at School. On a Monday morning, you might have had double Maths. How often did you get your Science books out and conduct an experiment in the middle of Mrs. Brauns third attempt at explaining algebra? Never. So why is it that when we sit down to do some search engine optimisation do we get sidetracked by a blogger's fantastic article on modern feminism? Or when we are trying to concentrate on writing our own blog do we ‘just quickly look at this…’ then before we know it we have six tabs open on the laptop of things which we would love to know more about. I’ve actually left my laptop turned on for days with tabs open thinking I would read the content only to have to relent and shut it down eventually, or the battery dies and does it for me. And guess what, it’s more than likely stuff that is forgotten forever, but in a good way, I clearly didn’t need to know about whatever it was straight away, although interesting, it just wasn’t the right time for that to be part of my life.
Trello has helped a lot; I now have Trello open every time I have the computer open. It is actually the second time I have started to use Trello, I didn’t get on with it straight away but a handy YouTube tutorial has helped me utilise the features far more efficiently. Now if I see some flash of inspiration that I know I can use for my business in the future I can save it in the appropriate place on Trello so that when I have double Maths I can look under my Maths board and find all the task cards I need to make that a productive session.
Next, comes discipline, now we can all create a default diary but we need the discipline to stick to it. To only have the essential screens you are working on open, the phone turned to silent so it does not ping pinging its way into your allotted time like an annoying terrier yapping at your ankles for attention which you simply cannot ignore.
The next fantastic thing you can do is have an accountability system going on. My friends Jacquie, Rupal and I use Whatsapp and the same questions are asked/answered each day.
The questions about obstacles are a great way to identify and then mitigate all those things that can get in the way. Your mother in law called yesterday, today you will have your phone on silent or on charge in another room so you don’t get tempted to answer it. That kind of thing.
At the start of this post, you may remember I said I had been writing a different post? Since then my mother in law HAS called and I subsequently ended up doing a little research on children’s bicycle seats! And so the struggle continues.
Christmas is almost here! As we all know, the three wise men travelled a long way to bring baby Jesus some Gold, frankincense and myrrh.
If you search Christmas Gold a lot comes up about Christmas TV, those classic Films and TV shows that come around every year, sometimes the originals sometimes kids adaptations etc. As this week's ‘Talk Tuesday’ is meant to be about wealth I thought it would be fun to talk about Gold, but instead of talking about the obvious value of gold the metal that the Magi were giving to Jesus, I’m going to talk about two of my favorite Christmas films which are generally aired each year and the messages we should hold in our hearts all year round.
If you are interested – gold is valued at £995 per ounce at the time of writing!
Film ‘It’s a wonderful life’ 1946
The main character George is a businessman who wishes he had never been born, an angel is sent to earth to make his wish come true, along the way George begins to discover how many lives he has had an impact on and how things would be different if he had never existed, the most poignant example being that if he had not saved his brother's life, his brother would not have been able to save so many other people. The angel says to George at one point ‘Remember George, no man is a failure who has friends.’ There are plenty of other great messages in this film but the one which stands out for me is not to underestimate the power that one small act of kindness you show can have and the ripple effect that can flow from it. The power to have a positive impact on others is a true wealth that cannot be taken from you.
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens, 1843
Again we are looking at a businessman who needs to reassess his life. Scrooge is a miserable miserly penny pincher who is visited by three ghosts. The first ghost is of Christmas past, this ghost reminds Scrooge that used to be kind and have friends as well as a great boss who set a good example. The next ghost, the ghost of Christmas present shows Scrooge how lucky he is in comparison to others but they still manage to be happier than he is, a lesson in gratitude. The last ghost, ‘Of what is yet to come’ shows Scrooge that he will die miserable and lonely unless he changes his grumpy penny pinching ways. The lesson to be taken from this film is that the greatest gift is giving, that is where true happiness comes from. So when the chips are down and you aren’t always getting what you want through life and business, family and friends are more important.
What is your favorite Christmas Film/TV episode and why does the sentiment mean so much to you?
Recently I started making curtains for the nursery. I YouTube’d a couple of how to videos but then decided to call my mum, (who made all the curtains at home) but I didn’t really understand what she was trying to tell me, so I scoured YouTube some more and came up with what seemed to me the best plan of action.
Making curtains is 20% measuring – measure twice cut once (or measure about six times if you are me!) – 60% ironing, ironing and re-ironing, then 20% sewing, it would seem.
Threading up my mums old Frister Rossmann sewing machine (I had to use the manual to remind me how to do this as it had been so long since I last had it out) I made the first curtain no problem at all. I measured each piece of fabric to check I’d got enough, especially enough to make the pattern repeat match up once they were all hung. I painstakingly cut off the excess and ironed in the selvedge and then made the mitered corners followed by more ironing before stitching in the black out lining and sewing on the heading tape then one last iron for a perfect finish, easy peasy.
Feeling pleased with myself I picked up where I had left off the following day. The ironing went well but on the third mitered corner the stitches began to pucker up underneath, not good as this was the facing part of the curtain so needed to look great. Back to the manual to adjust the thread tension, a little peeved that surely it should be the same, nothing had changed since yesterday… after a little screw tightening on the bobbin case I was back in business, then I broke the sewing machine needle on one of the pins holding the lining in place, simply bad luck, I replaced it, good old mum having spares in the box. I then went on to break THREE more needles, two snaps and two bent… what on earth was going on?! Called mum, try a thicker needle she said, problem solved temporarily.
After all those breakages the bobbin thread then wouldn’t feed through. Clearly the machine hated me and was out to get me to prove I would be a rubbish mother and had no talent at curtain making and I would have to get my mum to step in and make them after all. Failure!!
I walked away, wondering if I should admit defeat, ask if any friends close by had a machine I could borrow (what if I broke theirs too?), or send this machine in for a service and wait until it was fixed to try again. I sat with a coffee while Brunel my dog, tried to console me.
Having cooled down a bit I decided to take one last look, one last look before I threw in the towel… And, dho! The bobbin mechanism wasn’t broken at all, in fact I hadn’t quite threaded the main needle that I had just replaced properly which meant the bobbin thread wasn’t being pulled through – mistakes happen when you are emotional. Relieved, I carried on with my sewing and got the rest of the curtains finished.
This experience got me thinking about wealth. The “wealth” I valued at this moment was:
You might be wondering what this has to do with wealth and business… Well, what this experience highlighted is that wealth comes in many different forms, not just the financial kind.
We can have a wealth of experience, information, support, resources, knowledge, personal strength – all “tools” and “capital” that can be used to help our businesses grow. The unique knowledge we each have, for example, may seem unremarkable to ourselves, but never underestimate the value to other people of what you know. We have all led unique lives, and yes there are a lot of voices and noise out there, but your spin or thought or idea may be exactly the type of voice someone else is looking to connect with. Your insights can be, and are, “wealth.”
Our mothers or grandmothers all had sewing boxes with different colour threads and a multitude of spare buttons, some plain and some pretty elaborate. So don’t underestimate the value of what you have in your own personal sewing box and what you can create with it. I’d love to know what you value, and what non-monetary assets you are already wealthy in.
I am a self confessed people pleaser. I think most of us want to be liked in one way shape or form but when we take on tasks for others at the detriment of our own personal goals and well being it really isn’t healthy.
For any of you that have ever been on a flight you will know that you should put on your own gas mask before helping someone else fit theirs. It’s a great analogy to keep in mind for every area of life really, because if you are feeling frustrated and exhausted from doing everything for everyone else all the time eventually you are going to get poorly and be no use to anyone.
We all only have 24 hours in a day and at least 8 of these should be dedicated to sleep!! Well, I know I need at least eight hours if I want to function properly the next day. But the point to remember is, if you are saying yes to one thing filling any time in your life, then you are saying NO to something else that you could be dedicating those precious hours to. Given the option, do you really want to do whatever it is you are asked to do/help with right now? If not then you probably won’t want to do it later either. Just say no right now.
It’s not about saying no to everything though because sometimes when friends and family are in need then nothing else matters in those moments. It’s just about making more conscious decisions about what it is you want from your life before you put what someone else wants first. It may help to put down on paper a list of all the things that you actually want to be, do or have and memorise it. When you are working to someone else's agenda you will not be propelling yourself forward towards your own dreams, you’ll just be sitting in a boat that is spinning in the middle of a pond that never gets from A to B.
My own experience of this is with creative projects. My heart would yearn to get stuck into some art work, sewing or such like but I would never find time to do it – because I was always allowing my time to be sucked up by less important tasks. By bringing this up and talking it through with my own coach I came to the realisation that to remedy this was simple and all I needed to do was to put some non negotiable ‘creative space’ in my diary each week. I’m now working on sewing some black out curtains for the nursery, as well as the wooden pelmet boards and I have the blocks of time in my diary necessary to make sure I’m able to get it done.
When you start to say no to others you will probably feel guilty at first but eventually you should find it empowering, and truthfully, other people will wish they did the same because you will become happier and therefore more productive in the long run.
But be prepared that there will be some people who will try and use your good nature to their advantage, they won’t accept your new found clear concise ‘no’s’ or the valid reasons behind them (you may already have one or two people who spring to mind who are like this) These are the people you’ve probably already noticed you don’t even really enjoy being around as they drain your energy. Allow them to simply slip away and take no notice of their hostility towards the new non compromising you. You’re better off without them. If it’s a family member that you can’t simply be rid of then make sure you are prepared for any calls/meetings with them and manage your boundaries carefully, sometimes meeting on neutral territory rather than their office or house can really help.
We’d love to hear from you on this subject. What are your personal ‘important’ tasks that you keep putting off because you are constantly tackling other people's ‘urgent’ agendas? Do you have a top tip you can share with the group on how to combat our people pleasing ways?