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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Daily Tasks to Improve Your Life: Week 2 #PersonalDevelopment

January Challenge: Daily Tasks to Improve Your Life

Daily TasksWelcome to the second week of my January Challenge. I hope you managed to achieve all the daily tasks from last week’s post. If you missed it then catch up HERE.

Here are the next seven day’s challenges:

Day 1 – Be Proactive.

Take charge of your life. Strive to be better at everything you do today. Don’t wait for other people to give you the green light. Embrace the power within you and make today a fabulously proactive one.

Day 2 – Be True.

Today I want you to be original or extraordinary. Don’t try to please other people or become someone you’re not. Be uniquely you for the day.

Day 3 – Help Out.

Who needs your help today? Is it a friend, colleague, or a family member? What can you do to make someone’s day better?

Day 4 – Give Yourself the Gift of Time.

Allow yourself thirty minutes to work on your personal goals. Use it to plan, write, nurture, or focus your attention one-hundred percent on achieving happiness and success. (Why not give yourself thirty minutes every day from now on!)

Day 5 – Face the Fear.

Stop avoiding situations, tasks, or people who cause you fear today. We are all afraid of certain things but this stops us from achieving our goals. Face that fear and address it.

‘Everything you want is on the other side of fear.’ Jack Canfield

Day 6 – Nurture.

I believe in a holistic approach to life which means looking after the ‘whole’ person – mind, body, and spirit. Find a way today to stimulate your mind, refuel and refresh your body, and boost your spirituality.

Day 7 – De-Clutter.

Take it one room, cupboard, or drawer at a time but start the process of clearing your clutter today. Negative energy stagnates around ‘stuff’ so clear it out and leave room for positive energy and new opportunities.

There you go. Seven-day challenge. I’ll post another seven challenges next Monday so be sure to check back and join in. Leave a comment in the section below and share how you got on, or if there was anything you struggled with.

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Daily Tasks to Improve Your Life #PersonalDevelopment

January Challenge: Daily Tasks to Improve Your Life

Daily TasksWhen I started blogging five years ago, it was to record a series of challenges I’d set myself as part of my New Year Resolutions. Over the years my blog has evolved to include posts on holistic health, wellbeing, mental health, family, blogging, and personal development. These are all topics I love to learn and talk about. My background as a holistic health practitioner and tutor sets me up perfectly to share my thoughts and lessons on these topics.

I was doing a bit of goal setting recently and thought about where I wanted my blog to go. With the success of my recent series How to Create a More Fulfilling Future (you can read the final post HERE). I thought it would be fun to return to my roots and share more challenge related posts.

I’ve worked out an entire year’s worth of challenges for you. Some are thought-provoking, and others are for a bit of fun. Daily Tasks to Improve Your Life is January’s challenge series. For the next four weeks I’ll be setting you, my blog readers, a challenge to do one thing every day to improve your life.

I’d love to know how you get on with this so feel free to record your challenge in the comments or share your thoughts on my Facebook page.

Here are the tasks to try for the next seven days:

Day 1 – Don’t Put Your Life on Hold.

If you’ve been putting things off, then today’s the day to take control. Think about which area of your life you want to make changes or move forward and work out a plan of action. Start working on it today.

Day 2 – Stop Moaning.

It’s the start of a brand new year, so I want you to forget about last year’s problems and concentrate on being positive. Leave all that negativity behind and embrace a new start. If there’s one issue that you’re struggling to leave behind, then I suggest you write it down and burn the piece of paper (safely!)

Day 3 – Be Flexible.

If you’ve done everything the same way but never achieved the results you hoped for then perhaps it’s time to make some changes. Think about how you can do something different to achieve your goals. Avoid trying to be perfect or set in your ways and be open to new ideas.

Day 4 – Be Grateful.

Think about everything you are grateful for today and write it down in a journal. Keeping a gratitude journal is a good habit to increase positivity and peace.

Day 5 – Set Goals.

It’s the perfect time of year to write a New Year Resolution list, but is that wise? Instead of a long list of maybes design a plan for this year, the next three years, or the next five years. What do you want to do, be, or have? Work on a plan of action to achieve your dreams.

Day 6 – Have Fun.

Dance, sing, and laugh. Today is all about enjoying yourself and letting go of the self-imposed restrictions of day to day life.

Day 7 – Love Yourself.

Write yourself a love letter saying all the things you like about who you are. It’s important to remember how important you are and learn to love and honour yourself with positive self-talk and self-care.

There you go. Seven-day challenge. I’ll post another seven challenges next Monday so be sure to check back and join in. Leave a comment in the section below and share how you got on, or if there was anything you struggled with.

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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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Using Colour to Boost Your Wellbeing #SelfHelp

black clothesIf you took a look at my wardrobe, you’d see a plethora of black fabric. Skirts, trousers, dresses and tops; all of them are black. I don’t use my black clothing as a ‘think thin’ statement, and, fortunately, it isn’t because I attend a multitude of funerals, I just like wearing black. Of course, it may have something to do with my passion for the Gothic and horror genres. However, I do have the occasional flutter of blue, red and green, but I have to be in the right mood.

When I signed up for a Colour Me Beautiful session with my mum, I was worried that black would be on my no-no list.  Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones who can get away with it (phew!), but I was surprised at how much colour can change your total appearance. The session was a birthday present for my mum, and we were looked after by Lisa, from Transforming U, who made us feel incredibly welcome. Lisa explained the history behind Colour Me Beautiful, telling us that it has been the world’s leading expert in image consulting for millions of women and men, around the world, for over 30 years.

It’s not just about the colours; the session gives you advice and confidence to utilise your clothing for your wellbeing.  Being well dressed doesn’t necessarily have to mean ‘expensive’. Lisa showed us how to match our clothes with our personality. She also walked us through the process of staying current and appropriate for our age.

Wearing clothes that flatter your proportions can change your entire look. Finally, we got to look at which colours complement our colouring.

There is a science behind the colour me beautiful approach, and it was fascinating to learn more about this side of the colour analysis. The influence of today’s Colour Me Beautiful system is the Munsell system. In 1903, Albert Munsell created a system of colour that he based on human eye response. It contains three characteristics; hue, value and chroma (clarity).

TColourhe hue represents cool or warm colours, whereas the value refers to its depth on a scale of 0 to 10 (black is 0/white is 10). The grading between light and dark colours measures the depth.  Finally, the chroma refers to the clarity of a colour, from vibrant to clear, also graded on a scale of 0 to 14 (muted is 0/clearest is 14)

Once we understood the science, Lisa was able to find out which colours were best for us.  The first step was to find our dominant colouring; this is done with your hair and eye colour.

I am a brunette with brown eyes. However, I dye my hair a reddish colour, and this has an impact on my overall colouring. My mum is blonde with brown eyes.

Once we knew our dominant colour (I was ‘deep’), we could move onto the colour test. This is where Lisa draped a variety of colour swatches across us to determine if we were warm or cool, clear or soft. The outcome will govern the different shades of a particular colour that we can wear.

My result was; deep – warm – soft, and so my colour palette includes rust, navy, moss, salmon, chocolate brown, red, purple, and a host of other incredibly rich colours.

Colour me Beaut2For the first time in ages, I was excited about wearing colour. Interestingly, my mum’s result showed that lighter shades of blue were not a good colour for her. My mum has always worn blue clothes and makeup, so it was quite strange for her to rethink not only her clothes but her makeup routine. As it happens, she switched to wearing more earthy tones, and it has transformed her face.

Colour me BeautIt was this aspect that fascinated me. By placing a swatch of colour close to our faces, Lisa could tell what worked and what didn’t. I didn’t grasp it until she put two shades of brown under my chin. One of the shades made my cheeks looked pink and healthy, and the other made me look like a bubonic plague survivor! It was an eye-opening experience.

Since returning home, we have both decluttered our wardrobes and recycled our clothing.  I’ve taken out all the wrong shades that made me look drawn and ill, and pulled the better colours to the front – I may have also indulged in a small shopping spree!

I bought a rust jacket in the sale, something I would never have thought about wearing before, and I team it with my jeans and a chocolate brown blouse. Every time I wear this outfit I am told by friends, family and even strangers on the street, that I look great.

According to Lisa, this is the ultimate test. If someone asks if you’ve not slept, or wonders if you are under the weather, the chances are you’re wearing the wrong colour. When you are complimented on your outfit or told you are glowing, then you’ve got it spot on!

The session was great fun, and both of us thoroughly enjoyed the day. We’ve both learned so much, and it has definitely influenced our shopping. Lisa gave us each a wallet that contains small swatches of our unique colours. I take mine with me everywhere I go so I can match up a top or jacket colour to the swatch and check it’s a good choice.

The Colour Me Beautiful session has given me the confidence to wear colours and certainly helped with my wellbeing. Instead of thinking I look ill, I now feel an inner glow that boosts my self-esteem. I still wear a lot of black, but I team it up with a variety of coloured accessories, jackets and scarves.

Why not try it for yourself? Pop over to Colour Me Beautiful and have a look.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has used colour to enhance their wellbeing. Please feel free to leave me a comment below.

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

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