Just About You: A #Review of our #PersonalDevelopment Day #SociallyShared

Just About You – A look back at our day of self-development: Event Review (This blog post is approximately a ten minute read)

Sarah Gray

What better way is there to embrace a New Year than to take a day out of your busy schedule for self-development? As small business owners we tend to concentrate all our efforts on working in or on our business goals, but when do we take a step back and look after ourselves? After all, if we were not fit and healthy in mind, body, and spirit, we wouldn’t be capable of doing the amazing things we do every day.

When the Socially Shared Business Support Network announced their new events for 2018 I was immediately drawn to the Just About You event; a day dedicated to looking at your mindset, wellbeing, and wardrobe. The excitement grew as the day approached and I was delighted to see the large number of ladies who had taken a day out of their diary to attend this event on January 17th.

Before I share the wonderful insights from the day, I must first of all mention the fabulous venue. St Michael’s Centre on Church Lane in Budbrooke, Warwickshire is an absolute gem. Nestled in the corner of a beautiful churchyard and surrounded by open countryside this is one of the most tranquil conference venue’s I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. The ladies from the centre joined us for the day, and I was able to find out more about the site. The centre was built in 1992 and is part of St Michael’s Church campus. The facilities are fresh and modern with a beautiful energy (and views) and with a choice of meeting rooms can be hired for a variety of events or ad-hoc meetings. There was plenty of parking, free Wi-Fi, kitchen facilities, and wheelchair access to the ground floor meeting room. With extensive grounds, St Michael’s Centre can also be used for team buildings, outdoor events, and weddings. Contact the team at bookings@stmichaels-budbrooke.org.uk or take a look at their website www.stmichaels-budbrooke.org.uk

“Today is all about you.”

Stephanie Rix

Suitably refreshed with tea, coffee, and pastries we took our seats in eagerness to start our day of self-reflection. First to the podium was Stephanie Rix from Life’s Work Consulting.

Stephanie is a career coach and professional development consultant who is committed to unlocking women’s potential. She has worked with global beauty brands such as Avon and L’Oreal. With a passion for working with the marketing teams, she developed a love of people power. This was the catalyst for setting up her own coaching business enabling her to work with inspiring women in business from across the globe.

Her talk took us on a journey of self-discovery as we unlocked out confidence, connections, and commerciality. Using an NLP technique, Stephanie guided us through the process of influencing our brain behaviour and tapping into our confidence. For most of us, it was quite a struggle to pinpoint when we felt truly confident. Stephanie was ready for this and shared a powerful visualisation with the group. Using an imaginary grain of rice between our thumb and index finger she taught us how to ‘dial-up’ our confidence levels by simultaneously thinking about just one moment in time when we did feel that surge of confidence. I had to dig deep for mine, but once I found it, I could picture the scene and dial up my feelings by turning the imaginary grain of rice in my hand.

Once we had dialed up our feelings, we were prompted to picture a circle of confidence in front of where we stood. Mine was a ring of fire. Upon Stephanie’s instructions, we all stepped into our individual circles. Standing in that circle was where we felt strong and influential and could claim our inner confidence. It was a powerful visualisation and so simple to recreate in any circumstance. Although one might not physically jump into an imaginary circle if standing in front of a boardroom full of potential clients, you could certainly visualise this exercise to dial up your confidence ahead of an event, presentation, or interview.

Stephanie’s aim for her talk was to give us the tools to unlock the gates of our inner power. She likened our path to Hatton Locks, and this visual tool certainly helped me to picture my own journey of discovery. ‘You never stop learning,’ says Stephanie. Something I wholeheartedly agree with, and every lesson learned provides the key to the next lock along our pathway.

That path to inner confidence isn’t always easy, and according to Stephanie we often sabotage our own voyage with self-doubt. She went on to explain how two little words could harm our plans – What If?

I know I’m guilty of using the ‘what if…’ phrase a few too many times but turning what could be a negative statement into a positive fact is relatively easy according to Stephanie.

‘Try saying, what if I won that award, or what if I got that big contract?’ She told us. ‘Help yourself with what-iffing.’

It was then the audiences turn to share our personal tips for unlocking our confidence:

  • Know your strengths.
  • Use positive ‘I am’ statements.
  • Wear lucky clothes/underwear.
  • Self-talk – ‘I’m going to have a good day.’
  • Using the power pose.
  • Scripting what you want to say before a meeting/talk/presentation.
  • Knowing your stuff and feeling confident in sharing this knowledge.
  • 20 seconds of brave (from the film We Bought a Zoo)
  • Visualisation techniques.
  • We have to learn new things before they become our normal.

The participation was engaging and interesting. Everyone had a useful tool to share with the group. Which led Stephanie on to her other topics of connections and collaborations.

‘Having a connection focused mindset is important for our self-development,’ she said. ‘When people trust you they want to work with you. It’s important to be one-hundred percent authentic.’

We could all relate to this as being a part of the Socially Shared network is what brought us all together for this event. Collaborating with like-minded women, and engaging positively with your competition helps to identify your strengths, niche, and self-awareness.

“Focus on being interested rather than interesting.”

Jacqui Jagger. Beyond Boundaries Coaching

To finish her session, Stephanie asked us to think about one simple question. What’s the one thing you will do as a result of this session today? For me, it was to work on my positive self-talk as well as practice the circle of confidence exercise. As everyone was busy scribbling in their notebooks, I realised we’d all learned something from Stephanie’s talk and each had a goal to work on.

Stephanie is running a workshop on 14th February at St Michael’s Centre 10am – 2.30pm on the topic of ‘Revealing the You in Your Business.’ It’s a workshop that will stretch you, help you build your confidence, and offer you a fresh perspective on your business. You’ll learn why building self-awareness can lead to better business results, how to identify your top personal strengths and values and how to make the most of these, how to attract more clients, how to move from setbacks, and self-doubt to success and self-coaching tips to support you with your personal and business challenges. For further details and to book on this workshop click HERE (limited numbers so don’t delay in booking).

SS Stephanie

After strengthening our mind muscle, we then turned our attention to our body with help from the second expert of the day, Andrea Bayles.

Andrea runs Nourish Life Clinics and is a fully qualified and experienced Nutritional Therapist. She aims to help women live healthier, happier, and longer lives using nutrition. She found her way to nutrition after her son was born with a rare condition which the doctors couldn’t address. Andrea felt that nobody was listening to her and so set off on her quest to learn as much as she could and to put her findings into practice. Nutrition saved her son’s life and set Andrea on the path to supporting clients with a variety of health complaints, weight management, and diabetes, chronic health conditions and autoimmune disease.

She began her talk by telling us that the number one reason people visit their doctor is fatigue. 1 in 3 of us complains of being constantly tired with low energy.

10 Ways to Sky-Rocket Your Energy Levels.

#1 Green Veg Juice

Andrea suggested that we enjoy a green juice every day as this will help cleanse the toxins that deplete our energy. She suggested throwing some rocket, cucumber, celery, Swiss chard, apple and spinach into a juicer. There are plenty of good recipes available online.

#2 Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is more important the older you get. Andrea suggested 8 hours as a minimum and recommended reducing caffeine intake especially after lunch. Keeping a journal can help to see any patterns of insomnia that could be addressed, but more importantly, Andrea’s top tip was to stay off your phone at night – something else I’ll be adding to my goal list from these sessions.

#3 Reduce Consumption of Carbs

Carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, cakes, and pastries are the cause of those energy slumps and storing fat around our middle. It’s also linked to diabetes. All of these foods are converted into sugar which then converts into energy in the liver, but then it creates a layer of fat. Switching to whole grains (wild rice, whole oats, and quinoa) and root vegetables will help.

#4 Stay Hydrated

To calculate how much water your body needs you can use the following calculation:

Take your body weight and divide in half. For example; weight is 140lbs divided by 2 = 70 fl oz = 3.5 pints of water. Having a Brita filter is beneficial, as is drinking coconut water post exercise.

#5 Chia Seeds

Including chia seeds in your diet can help fight adrenal fatigue and combat inflammation. Soak a spoonful of seeds in a tablespoon of water and then add to your breakfast porridge.

#6 Vitamin B12

This is your energy vitamin which supports your thyroid. It can be found in beef, fish, cheese, eggs, and liver.

#7 Adaptogenic Herbs

Using adaptogenic herbs supports the adrenals. Ginseng, for example, helps control stress and anxiety. A qualified herbalist can provide these herbs as a tablet or tincture.

#8 Exercise

Research shows that a 10-minute walk every day has more health benefits as a pick-me-up than a quick snack. Aiming to get out and move more should be a top priority.

#9 Eat Fats (The Good Ones!)

Andrea stressed the importance of not being afraid of fats. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds are beneficial to our body. We should aim for a minimum of 3 tablespoons of oil a day. Coconut oil is best for weight loss and energy production, whereas full-fat yogurt alongside protein can help stop carb cravings.

Andrea suggested these as suitable breakfast dishes:

Two eggs, sourdough bread, avocado.

Full fat yogurt, berries, chia seeds, a drizzle of oil.

The brain is made up of 70% fat, and Andrea was eager to share that when a lion kills its prey in the wild, they will eat the brains first! Sorry for the image!

#10 Avoid Alcohol

As I’ve been tee-total for four years, I can fully understand the benefits of avoiding alcohol. Apart from the obvious weight gain you get when drinking often or to excess, you are also at risk of overloading your liver.

There was much discussion amongst the group about various ailments and health issues that Andrea could easily identify with. She offered us useful advice such as steaming our vegetables, using apple cider vinegar for digestion, adding turmeric to help with joint paint and having a bath with Dead Sea salt.

It was a hugely informative and interesting talk, and I’ve already booked a 1:1 session with Andrea to help me get to grips with a few health niggles I have. If you’re interested in learning more, Andrea is running a workshop on 20th April at St Michael’s Centre 10am – 2.30pm on the topic of ‘Women’s Health Workshop.’ It’s a perfect workshop if you suffer from monthly symptoms or low mood, irritability, bloating, sugar cravings or you suffer from irregular cycles, heavy periods, fibroids, and endometriosis or there is a history of female cancers in your family. You’ll learn how to cope with hormones, nutrition and lifestyle support, natural approaches to PMS and the menopause, hormone balancing diet, practical hands-on nutrient advice, and a BONUS OFFER where you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a 28-day hormone challenge program. For further details or to book on the workshop click HERE (limited spaces so don’t delay in booking).

SS Andrea

Quite fittingly we broke for lunch after Andrea’s session, and everyone made a beeline for the vegetarian wraps, vegetables, fruit platter, and root veg crisps. The platter of biscuits was overlooked so we must have all taken something of value from Andrea’s talk.

Once we had re-fuelled and done a spot of networking, we took our seats again for the final expert of the day, Sarah Gray.

Sarah runs Sarah Gray Image and is a personal stylist working with people to build their inner confidence and outer style. After many years in the corporate world, Sarah chose to retrain as a personal stylist. She believes that lost confidence can be regained by revising our appearance and how we dress.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

Rachel Zoe

Sarah started her session by asking us whose style we admired. The audience offered a variety of suggestions from Kate Middleton, and Audrey Hepburn, to fellow Socially Shared members. Each of us could pick at least one friend or celebrity who we admired for the way they looked.

‘Why do we admire them?’ A simple question but pinning down the reasons was slightly harder. Again, Sarah asked for our input.

  • Sophistication.
  • Dressing to body shape.
  • Right outfit for the occasion.
  • Outfits well put together.

It seems to be the whole package that appeals to us when we admire others, and according to Sarah our ‘style’ includes hair, makeup, clothing, colours, accessories, and footwear.

She then went on to introduce us to Audrey (a tailor’s dummy) who wore a simple white top under a plain black jacket. Before our eyes, Sarah transformed Audrey using six alternative styles and left it up to us to see if we could spot our own individuality.

Creative – Totally random, mix and match of fabrics, colours, and accessories. Think Helena Bonham Carter.

Dramatic – Spending all income of the latest fashion and makeup trends. Think Victoria Beckham.

Romantic – Dainty, floral fabric, pretty dresses. Think Kylie Minogue.

Classic – Understated, simple, and well-coordinated. An investment buyer with coordinated accessories. Think Kate Middleton.

Chic – Coordinated but updates every season. Normally has one statement piece such as a handbag, or piece of jewellery. Think Megan Markle.

Natural – Prefers jumpers, cardigans, flat boots or shoes, simple accessories. Think Kate Winslet (and me!)

Some of us knew instinctively which group we fit into, and some could relate to a mix of style personalities. Others knew they belonged to one group but longed to be in another. Sarah’s advice was to embrace your style and be 100% authentic to who you are. I’m perfectly happy to embrace my natural style personality but could dip my toe into the classic if the occasion called for it (presentation, wedding, and event).

Sarah then asked us to get our phones out and lift them above our heads. No, we weren’t doing a group selfie, it was a much more interesting exercise. The colour and style of our phone cases spoke volumes about our personalities. Try it for yourself the next time you’re in a coffee shop. Look at the clothes, colours, bags, shoes, and make-up of everyone around you and see if you can spot the style personality.

Still unsure which category you fall under? Sarah is running a workshop on 16th March at St Michael’s Centre 10am – 2.30pm on the topic of ‘Be the Best You.’ Learn how to select clothes based on your personality, choose clothes which suit your colouring, spot the right clothing for your body shape, and accessories to complement your look. For further details or to book on the workshop click HERE (limited spaces so don’t delay in booking).

SS Sarah

The Just About You event came to an end, and the excited buzz and positive energy in the room was a testament to a fabulous day. Everyone enjoyed the sessions and was able to take something important away with them be it about their mindset, wellbeing, or wardrobe.

I’d like to thank Sarah Gray, Stephanie Rix, Andrea Bayles and the Socially Shared Team for putting together an outstanding event.

I’ll leave you with the testimonials from the ladies who attended.

“Had a great personal development day. Thank you to all the speakers and the attendees. I left feeling inspired.” Nishi Mehta.

“Well, what a fab day, how lucky to have such lovely talented ladies in our group. Plenty of girl power in the room xx.” Diane Wilson.

“A great day. Learnt so much and felt totally inspired.” Kate Hunter.

“Great day (thanks ladies).” Beth Taylor.

“What a wonderful day we’ve all had at Socially Shared. I’ve ordered everything green, chia seeds, and coconut water.” Christine Cooper.

“Loved my day! Thank you to all the speakers and Socially Shared for organising a very informative, friendly event and together with amazing people that came. In 35yrs of being in business, yours IS the only group where I have overcome being socially scared.” Daxa Panchal.

“It was fab – a really good use of time, and there’s no higher compliment from a sole trader! I hope you were all buzzing afterwards. I certainly was!” Kathryn Driffield.

If you’d like to know about future events that Socially Shared Business Support Network are holding then take a look at their website.

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Five Minutes With… Must Hike, Must Eat @snuffymusthike #Blogging #FiveMinutesWith

Welcome to Five Minutes With… a new feature where I invite bloggers of all genres to tell us a little about themselves and their blogging journey.

Today’s blogger is Shannon Cunningham who blogs at Must Hike Must Eat.

Shannon Must Hike Must EatQ1: When and why did you start blogging? Which platform do you use?

I write on WordPress and I started in January of 2016 when I found out I was going to be laid off from my job of 16 years.  It was a way for me to process that change and begin to look at other directions in my life.

Q2: What topics/themes do you blog about? Do you ever deviate from that theme?

Well, you can guess that I write about hiking (spending time outdoors) and eating (a Paleo diet) but my posts are not limited to that.  I write about traveling, restaurants that serve healthy food, mid-life parenting, my faith in God, social issues, book reviews, volunteering and just about anything that happens in my life!

Q3: Which of your blog posts is your favourite and why do you like this one so much?

Oh, I have several favorite posts but I think Definition of Courage will always be dear to my heart. I think it really sums up who I am and what I hope to accomplish with my blog.

Q4: Do you have a top tip to share for any new bloggers that might be reading?

Often we start blogging because we want write to express ourselves but it is important to remember that blogging is about community and connection, too.  Try and find yourself a writing community to join whether is be online or in your own circle; it can make all the difference!

Q5: What’s your favourite social media platform?

My favorite social media platform is Instagram, although I have more followers on Facebook.  It just has less clutter and feels more intimate.

Find out more about Shannon by connecting with her via the links below:

Blog Link: http://www.musthikemusteat.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/musthikemusteat/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/snuffymusthike

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/musthikemusteat/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/snuffymust/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pursuecourage/

I hope you enjoyed this feature. Be sure to check out Shannon’s blog. If you write a blog and would like to be considered for Five Minutes With… then please send me a message via the contact page.

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How to Create a Happiness Jar for 2018 #NewYear #Inspiration

It’s human nature to want to make our lives better but how do we make improvements to our life without upsetting our inner control freak?

Several years ago I began a new ritual after seeing a video on Facebook which suggested starting a gratitude jar. The idea appealed to me, but in the example you were told to write down something that you were grateful for each day, week, or month. While I approved of the sentiment, I was already adding my thoughts of gratitude to my daily journal. So, I improvised and made a happiness jar instead.Happiness Jar 1

My jar begins on the 1st January every year. Anything that I do over the course of twelve months which makes me happy goes into it. This includes big achievements, as well as the small moments, the kind people, and the instants of pride, joy, and hope that filled the year.

2017 didn’t start off well for me. The first six months were a hard slog against depression, self-doubt, and struggling in my own skin. It all hit the fan in May when I gave in and went to see my GP. She did a wonderful thing for me – she listened. For the first time that year I felt like someone understood me. It was this simple act that turned my year around. That doctor’s appointment made it into my happiness jar! When you are living in a slump, it can be tough to focus on the positives. Using a happiness jar allows you to remember all the precious moments you experience, the wonderful people who come into your life or help you along your path, and this turns negativity on its head.

On New Year’s Eve, I open my jar, tip the contents onto the table and read all the tiny slips of paper. I light a candle, make myself a cup of tea, indulge in a biscuit or two, and focus my time entirely on the positivity of 2017. By the end of this exercise I am no longer fixated on the darker side of my year, but instead, I’m filled with hope, joy, and determination that the New Year will bring more incredible experiences to overflow my jar once again.

Some examples from my 2017 happiness jar include:

  • Lunch with my friend Jane at the Rose and Crown – good company and great food.
  • Visiting the Tower of London on my own.
  • Going to Kenilworth Castle with my son so he could practice his photography.
  • FriendsFest with my daughter and her friend at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.
  • Taking full advantage of my Cineworld Unlimited pass and seeing 24 films.
  • Going to Leeds with mum and bumping into old friends.
  • Seeing a Panto with my good friend Nikki.

There are more coffee dates, theatre trips, concerts, author/blogger events, and a host of other happy moments from last year in my jar. By doing this exercise, I’m allowing myself to start 2018 with an optimistic vibe.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to start this great habit:

  • Grab an old jam jar, or buy yourself a pretty Mason jar and decorate it.
  • Keep a small notepad/paper close by so you can jot down anything that you did, or experienced, that made you smile and add it to your pot along with cinema stubs, and concert tickets.
  • Keep your happiness jar in a prominent place. Mine is in my kitchen, that way I’m always reminded to add to it over the twelve months. It’s a visual reminder of all the good things in your life when you see it filling up.

Feel free to share photographs of your happiness jars with me over on my Facebook page or leave details of other New Year rituals you enjoy doing in the comments.

All that’s left to say is Happy New Year to all my blog readers. May 2018 bring happiness, laughter, love, and prosperity.

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It’s Not a Midlife Crisis – It’s a Midlife Makeover! #PersonalDevelopment

zc8jcI find that I’m reading articles and books on a variety of midlife topics at the moment. I’ve devoured Jonice Webb’s book, Running on Empty, nodded my way through Miranda Sawyer’s Out of Time, and wept bucket loads over Diane Esguerra’s journey to scatter the ashes of her son at Machu Picchu in her memoir, Junkie Buddha.

What do all these things have in common? The passage of time, getting older, travel, getting out and about more, discovering who we are, learning to love ourselves at later stages in our lives.

Midlife, according to the experts, tends to hit men at the age of 43, and women around the age of 44. I can, therefore, confirm that I am well and truly in the middle of my life cycle. The family genes are fairly strong so I should last out until I’m around 90 all being well. That means I have another forty-five years left to tick off all the items on my bucket list, and that’s only if my body doesn’t seize up, my bladder continues to work, my eyesight remains semi-decent, and nobody takes my driving license off me!

I recently convinced myself that I was having a midlife crisis. No, I didn’t get botox or shave my head, and I already have tattoos. I didn’t start dating a younger man (although I’m not going to rule this out altogether!) and I haven’t started frequenting strip clubs. What I have done is start a saving plan to buy a VW T2 Campervan, which is something that’s sat on the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember.

It’s perfectly agiphycceptable for a man who is going through a midlife crisis to buy a motorbike, or sports car, so why can’t I have a camper?

It was as I sat behind the giant wheel of a type 2 that I realised my midlife crisis wasn’t in fact a crisis at all. It’s a shift in dynamics, a change in fortune and circumstance. My three children are all older and reasonably capable of looking after themselves. I’ve been a single mum for thirteen years so I’m pretty savvy at looking after myself, my family, and my affairs. The road is calling, freedom beckons, and I’ve decided to embrace this time of my life as a midlife makeover rather than a crisis.

I hope that next year is the start of a journey of discovery. I’m still searching for the perfect camper that will become a part of our family, but I’ve already got the road trips mapped out for when it does arrive in our lives. Watch this space…

What do you dream of doing but think you’re too old set in your ways to achieve? Are you in the middle of a midlife makeover? Share your tips and stories in the comments and feel free to join me in a VW convey if you spot me on the road 🙂

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog.

Smile with the Stars – in Memory of Lee Johnson #Epilepsy #LeesSmile

On the 12th December 2010 my cousin, Lee Johnson, went to sleep and never woke up.

IMG_4297Lee died from SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy) at the age of 24.  He was an incredible person who lived his short life to the full. As a child, he played for Leeds United youth team alongside James Milner, a position he had to give up because of his condition. He continued to play for his local team and was also an outstanding cricketer.

His passion for sports was well known. Lee had successfully undergone a soccer training assessment course which was to be the start of the next stage of his life – as a soccer coach on the West coast of America.

His death touched so many people. Neither Lee, his parents Simon and Vicky or his sister Becky knew that Epilepsy could take a life. Following Lee’s premature passing, a campaign to raise awareness of Epilepsy and reduce the stigma surrounding the condition was launched. The campaign soon developed into the creation of Lee’s Smile – a lasting tribute to Lee’s achievements in his short lifetime, and a charity that aims to use research and awareness to get the answers that will save lives.

We hold numerous charity events across the country and take part in many fundraising activities, but the highlight has to be the ‘Smile with the Stars Gala Ball’ held in 2012, which raised £83,000. The funds are used for research into epilepsy and financially supporting the fantastic work done with the LGI Hospital (Leeds General Infirmary).

If I can take any lesson from Lee’s passing, it would be to make the most of life. He crammed more into his 24 years than most of us could dream of. He travelled, loved and lived without letting his condition hold him back. He is my inspiration.

My family have made the courageous decision to hold a third ‘Smile with the Stars Ball’ which will be held on Saturday 30th June 2018 at Elland Road, Leeds.  The amount of work that goes into putting such an incredible evening together is overwhelming and yet they pull it off with grace, determination and of course – with a smile!

If you would like to read more about the amazing fundraising events or would be interested in attending the Ball or donating to this cause, then click on the link below and please take a look at Lee’s Smile website HERE.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post.  Losing someone you love is something most of us will have to go through at some point in our lives. Each experience is different and personal to us. There are many charities who specialise in providing support and grief counselling.  Our loss can be more painful at this time of year.   If you are struggling with a bereavement or would welcome someone to talk to then contact Cruse.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog.

FINAL: How to Create a More Fulfilling Future: Summary #PersonalDevelopment

How To Create a More Fulfilling FutureOver the past nine weeks I’ve been running a blog series called ‘How to Create a More Fulfilling Future.’ If you’ve missed any of the posts over the course of this series then don’t panic – you can catch up by clicking the links at the bottom of this post.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken part and shared their stories. In the beginning, I suggested gathering your answers together in a personal workbook. There was a good reason for this as writing down our goals, observations, and achievements help us to stay grounded and accountable to our dreams.

If you have been following the entire series, then you’ll hopefully have a fully rounded picture of your life, goals, and aspirations so far. You should have found yourself thinking quite seriously about certain aspects of your life – this is good!

Week One:

We looked at what we would do if we were brave enough, and what we have achieved even though we never thought we would or could.

Fear is a huge factor when pushing ourselves to do something outside our comfort zone. My favourite acronym is FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real and helps me remember that sometimes I’m the only one who is halting my efforts.

Quitting a job, writing and publishing a book, travelling solo, emigrating, and completing a physical challenge were just some of the incredible achievements my readers shared in the first week. Recalling your personal bravery, achievements, and spontaneous actions brings a sense of clarity to the forefront of your mind and therefore paves the way for you to set yourself other challenges and goals. So, here’s that final question again – what challenges are you ready to face now?

Week Two:

On week two we put aside our various hats (mum/dad/wife/husband/colleague/friend) and looked at what we would love to do if we had the freedom to do it. What would you do with a spare hour, afternoon, day, or weekend? The point of this exercise was to detach from our everyday ‘roles’ and think back to what it was like when we were only responsible for ourselves.

Why do our dreams have to change because we get married, or have children? Why can’t we drop everything and visit a friend at the other side of the country? Who said we couldn’t possibly indulge in an afternoon at the cinema, or curl up and read a book instead of ironing? And why do we insist on staying late at work instead of heading home to be with the family?

Often, we act how we think other people would want us to act. It’s something we learned as small children that has been carried through into our adult lives. Recognising that we are in control of our lives is important.

Week Three:

What are you good at? What would you like to improve? Thinking about our skills in a positive light helps us to feel connected to our passion, so it’s essential that we review this on a regular basis. While celebrating our strengths, it’s also imperative to think about the areas of our life we would like to improve upon. It’s these topics that become our future goals.

Improving ourselves is how we evolve and grow. Learning a new language, returning to college to retrain, building our self-confidence through workshops, and wishing to improve writing skills were just some of the ideas raised during week three. If time and money were no issue, what would you love to learn or improve upon?

Week Four:

Stress is a word that every single one of us has heard about, and probably experienced at one time or another. Do you let it control you, or do you have a system in place to combat/deal with the symptoms of stress? This was the topic up for discussion in week four.

Work, health, family, and finances came out as the top culprits for causing stress in our lives. It was interesting to note how my readers all reacted physically to this. Stomach pains, headaches, and chest pains manifested as a reaction to their situations.

Another interesting point to note is that in most situations the stress was self-inflicted. For example: Stressing about the state of the house when the kids are playing, adopting a ’what if’ attitude to situations and worrying about the hypothetical outcome, mentally berating yourself for having a chocolate bar instead of going to the gym, and putting too much pressure on yourself – or that need to be in constant control!

The final questions of week four touched upon how to cope with stress and what you could do to help yourself. Taking a time out to read, walk, a nap was a favourite with my readers. As was meditation, positive thinking, writing or journaling, and talking things over with family and friends. Do you have a favourite way to cope with stress?

Week Five:

Week five was an interesting one as we looked at how long we spend on social media, how valuable that time was, and what we could do instead if we cut back. Thinking about and/or recording the amount of time you spend online can be quite shocking, but by doing this, you highlight areas where you can claim back valuable time for family, leisure, or writing activities.

There’s a fine line between over-indulgence on social media sites and being active for the good of your profile (blog/book/business). The questions this week were designed to make you think about the quality of posting you do and if you really need to scroll down endless kitten memes! It was a challenging week of questions for many of my readers.

Week Six:

Who do you admire? Who keeps you grounded? Who motivates you? This week was all about appreciating our support networks in whatever capacity that falls under. Many of my readers acknowledged the importance of family in their answers, as well as the online support from fellow bloggers, writers, and colleagues. Knowing who we can call upon for encouragement and assistance is an important part of our personal development. Yes, we can do everything, but we don’t have to. Call upon your cheerleading squad to help you.

Week Seven:

I wanted to talk about self-care on week seven and look at how we treat ourselves compared to how we treat others. It was interesting to see that 99% of my readers think about others before themselves.

Why do we do this? I’ll use the classic flight attendant speech to highlight the need for self-care – put on your own oxygen mask before helping others! Many years ago I realised that if I were broken, I wouldn’t be strong enough to help my family, so I concentrated on healing myself, looking after my personal development and self-care, and when I’d grown strong I was able to help others easily but from a place of power.

Looking after your own needs is not selfish, it’s necessary. Julia Cameron dedicated an entire book to the importance of ‘filling the well’ in her fabulous book, The Artist’s Way. What can you do today that’s just for you?

Week Eight:

Enjoying a little light relief during our personal development is just as important as the self-work we do as we evolve and grow. This week was dedicated to remembering our funniest moments and also our most embarrassing moments.

What I found most interesting was how my readers had been able to turn these experiences on their head and see the funny side. Learning to accept our faults and failures is a huge step in the right direction, but to be able to turn them into lessons is even better. Every embarrassing moment is a small part of that patchwork of emotions. It might take some time, but we rethink the memory and turn it into a positive.

Week Nine:

The final post of the series looked at what we would like to be, do, or have if money, failure, and time was no issue. I wanted my readers to dream big this week!

We can prevent ourselves from achieving our dreams because of self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and acting how we think other people would want us to behave. Why? These final questions were designed to make you think about your deepest desires, greatest ideas, long-held dreams, and to realise that nobody, but you, is holding you back from achieving what you want.

Conclusion:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and found it to be helpful and insightful. Personal development is just that – personal. We are all on a unique journey with different goals, but finding support in each other’s stories is what helps us to learn and grow.

Thank you for being a part of this voyage and may I wish you all a happy and prosperous future.

Here’s a look at the previous posts in this series:

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

How to Create a More Fulfilling Future: Week 9 #PersonalGrowth

How To Create a More Fulfilling FutureIf you’ve missed any of the posts over the course of this series then don’t panic – you can catch up by clicking the links at the bottom of this post. Next week we will be summarising all our questions and answers, but for today, I want you to concentrate on dreaming BIG.

As always, you might want to gather your answers together in a personal workbook. Don’t think too hard about each question, just go with the first thing that pops into your head.

If you have been following the entire series, then you’ll hopefully have a fully rounded picture of your life, goals, and aspirations so far. You should have found yourself thinking quite seriously about certain aspects of your life – this is good!

Grab your notebook, your journal, or open a new word document and record your answers so you can refer to them when needed. Today, I want you to think about what you would like to have, be, or do in your life:

Questions for week #9:

  1. Which countries would you like to visit?
  1. What is your ideal job?
  2. What activities/hobbies would you like to try?
  3. If money was no issue, what would you like to do most with your life?

Join me next Monday for an overview of this series and what you can do next with all the answers you’ve collected.

Your responses can be as private or as public as you choose. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments below. If you’d rather not, then simply share how you find the selection of questions, if you can answer them easily or if you struggled, and what you have chosen to do with the answers that came up for you if anything.

Take a look at the previous posts in this series:

·         Week 1

·         Week 2

·         Week 3

·         Week 4

·         Week 5

·         Week 6

·         Week 7

·         Week 8

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest