I pressed ‘publish’ on the first post on this blog nearly a year ago now. And this is my 100th blog post. To mark this milestone, I’ve decided to reflect on the past year. And on what the process of writing these posts has taught me. Because it certainly hasn’t been just about the writing. It’s mainly been about what has gone on behind the scenes, in my life. And why I’m writing about what I write about. It’s about the changes that have taken place in my life over the last year. And the people I met and the things I’ve learnt. But none of this would have happened had it not been for this one thing: focusing on myself. After spending the last few years living on auto-pilot, in what now feels like a bit of a blur, I finally shone the light on myself. And believe it or not, focusing on yourself has its perks. But us women, we don’t do it enough. So let me share what I’ve learnt from the experience.
Photo credit: Carin Thakrar Photography.
- Surround yourself with great people. You’ll see, your life will start to change. There’s a fantastic quote from Leo Babauta that says that to change your mind your should change your habits. And that’s totally true. But when you also start surrounding yourself with like-minded, supportive, and non-judgemental people who ‘get you’, you’ll see some magic happen. So go find these people and hold on to them.
- Women are amazing creatures. Period. We are so strong and resilient. Quite literally incredible. Yet, we can be oh-so harsh on ourselves. And it’s time we stop it. Let’s be proud of being women. Of who we are, and the million and one roles and responsibilities we take on. Let’s stop committing the deadly sin of putting ourselves down. We don’t do it to others. Why do it to ourselves?
- Practise patience and gratitude. Daily. Always. I’m definitely not where I want to be here. Not yet, anyway. But I’ve seen my levels of acceptance, self-compassion, and self-confidence grow as a result. So if you want to do one great thing for yourself, create a little gratitude practice that works for you. (More to follow!)
- If you want to make long-lasting changes, start working on your mindset. Look into any mindset blocks, fears, insecurities, and limiting beliefs that you might have. Blocks? Limiting beliefs? What? Well, when you start to open your mind and expand your reach you’ll see this plastered everywhere. “Stop keeping yourself safe and small, get out of your comfort zone, and get out of your own way”. How do you do that exactly? Well, that’s what I’m going to work really hard to find out. Want to join me?
- ‘Obligers’ need external accountability. Do you? I’ve been reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin (as recommended by Academic Coach Lucy Parsons), and in the personality framework that she created (the ‘Four Tendencies’), she talks about Obligers. Obligers are people who readily meet outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations. I’m one of them. If I have a deadline, and I’ve told someone I’ll do something, I will. If not, I
faffprocrastinate. I need external accountability. Or I won’t do something. Especially if it’s not work-related. So there. I know about this now, and I know I have to find ways to create this accountability for myself. Do you?
- Follow your intuition. It knows a lot more than you give it credit for. It’s probably one of the most powerful resources you have. Use it wisely and listen to it. Sadly, this fantastic, modern, digital era we live in means that we’ve become so distracted by the all the noise coming from the outside, that we’re no longer sure about what that voice deep down inside us is trying to tell us.
- If you want to move forward, you need to know where you’re going. Visualise. Create a vision board. Don’t know what it is? If you have time, research it. If you don’t, just literally think of the future vision you have for your life, your business, your anything, and put it down. As an image. A word. As whatever works for you. And look at it. Put it somewhere where you can see it. And think about it often. Then…
- Make a plan. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing, whatever that is. And make a plan to get there. Break it down into goals. And the goals into little projects. Whether it’s a home move, a career change, a business launch, or a new exercise regime, having a plan will help you get there faster.
- And in case you’re wondering how on Earth you’re going to get ‘there’, passion, determination, perseverance, consistency, hard work, and tenacity will get you there. Lots to think about? Yes, sure. But I fully believe this. (Check out this interview with Academic Coach Lucy Parsons to see what I mean). When you feel a little ‘meh’ and unfulfilled in life, you’re not fuelled. If you’re not fuelled, you’re not moving forward. If you’re not moving forward, you’re either staying stuck or zig zagging your way through life until you arrive somewhere that may or may not be acceptable to you. So the passion in this is quite key. Sort your passion out (by working out why you do what you do or want what you want), and then pull your sleeves up to do the rest. You’ll hear me talk about this a lot more.
- Do the things that make you YOU. In life, you just have to do things that make sense to YOU. Sometimes it really is ok to pay zero attention to what others think or say. Your life is about YOU. And if you feel great and fulfilled, like all the pieces of a puzzle are falling into place, then everything else actually will. So just be you, and never try to be someone else.
- Writing gives you clarity. You may or may not enjoy writing. It may not be ‘your thing’. But when you do write things down, thoughts stop swirling, and you start to see logic emerge. It’s inevitable. It doesn’t have to be coherent writing either. Whatever comes to your mind. However it comes to your mind. In whatever form. Try it, and you’ll see how much a difference it can make. Especially if you’ve been going round and round in circles in your mind about something.
- Never be afraid to ask for help. If you feel stuck, shout. (Ok, maybe not literally.) What I mean is ‘tell someone’ – ask for help. Reach out. Of course, you can do most things by yourself, but if you ask for the right help at the right time, you’ll move forward so much quicker. And with better results. And if you have too much on…
- Delegate. Delegating isn’t the same as losing control over something. Or being weak. It’s just a smarter way to work. And who doesn’t need that?! Plus, you don’t always have to have a super tight grip on absolutely everything in life. Or do you?
- Create space. Mental space and physical space. It’s one of the best tools we have to gain clarity and overcome overwhelm. Space makes a huge difference to how you feel. Clear your mind. Your schedule. Clear the clutter in your house. Clear your life. Let go of anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ (in the words of organising expert Marie Kondo). Let go of anything that no longer serves you. Or no longer serves its purpose. Because when you do that, you create space for the things that you DO want and need. In your current life. In other words, make yourself small in order to make yourself big.
- Go to ‘spiritual gym’. Borrowing a phrase by Jen Sincero here, author of You Are A Badass and You Are a Badass At Making Money, if the most successful people read self-help books, meditate, invest money in working with coaches and mentors, who am I to think I’m above all this and can do without? Can you? It all ties in beautifully with creating mental space and going after your goals, if you think about it…
- Take action. “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop”. You can learn, read, listen to podcasts, watch videos etc., but if you don’t take action, nothing is ever going to happen. Nothing is ever going to change. So every day, do something. Remember the perseverance and consistency we talked about earlier? What they call ‘analysis paralysis’ is a real thing. Trust me, I’m a Business Analyst by trade, I know. You can think, plan, and risk assess all your life, but if you never do anything, nothing will happen.
- Every day, do something to grow. Yourself, your mindset, your skills, your business, your bank account, your relationship with your partner or your children. Whatever. Just make sure you’re moving forward. Every day. How? Push yourself out of your comfort zone. If it’s scary, do it. Say yes, and then worry about it later. The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone, the more you’ll grow.
- You are what you focus on. Sit with this one for a bit. You create more of what you focus on. So be mindful of what you do. Behaviour breeds behaviour. Spend your time wisely. Choose your friends even more wisely.
- And finally, a lot of things are simple, but they’re not easy. Change isn’t easy. Not. One. Bit. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, of what we know, of what we think we are, is never easy. Creating new habits and improving ourselves in any area of life isn’t easy. Coming out of a daze, out of ‘surviving mode’ and auto-pilot isn’t easy. But we can do it.
So what can you take away from all this?
That whether we like the term of not, life is a bit of a journey. It’s made of phases, of learning experiences, and of trial and error. I set off on this journey nearly a year ago (from publishing blog post number 1 about slowing down) without a clear idea of where I was going. Today I know I want to help mums overcome mental and physical overwhelm and simplify their lives.
So I hope you’ll stick with me. And give me a hand, as I progress in this journey. Let me know what you think. How you feel. What works for you. What you want to know more of. And help me help others who are just starting to feel the discomfort and pain from wanting to change something in their life. Because when they do, we’ll be here for them. Change is hard, and everyone deserves a support network through it. So Ladies, let’s create that. If you want to join me, do sign up below, come and say hello on social media, and we can do this together.
Are you in?