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How we sabotage a freeing and enriched life by getting used to the status quo.

What’s your ‘normal’?

Is this even a question you give any thought to? It struck me this morning, as I went around to the passenger side door of my car, to climb across to the driver’s side because that door had inexplicably jammed, this was one of those silly things which had become my normal. Ridiculous but normal.

The door had jammed about a month ago. I keep meaning to book the car into the garage but with how things are at the moment, I haven’t felt it an urgent thing to attend to and so I have just got used to the bizarre practice of climbing over one seat to get to another. Life kinda just takes over doesn’t it? Only it doesn’t just take over – we allow it to; clearly there are far too many things I would rather do than to make a simple phone call to fix a date to take the car in. Yet every time I use the car, it’s far easier for me to clamber across the passenger seat, to the driver’s side. Bonkers.

It’s a bit...

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Want to deliver the talk of a lifetime? Follow these significant 7 steps and get those butterflies into formation

Find your voice

From an early age, we’re encouraged to speak in front of an audience – it starts with the school nativity or class assembly when you’re asked to read out a few lines. Some children seem born performers and are happy to be in the spotlight; some might normally appear confident little things when with their group of friends but when out of their comfort zone, nervously utter their given words; for others, they look like a rabbit caught in headlights as the audience sympathetically looks on.

As we go through life, we can make a choice as to whether we put ourselves forward to be the spokesperson for a group, become a debater, chair meetings or indeed whether we perform to a large audience - be it as a speaker or as an actor. We might not all have aspirations to be heard at Speakers Corner but whether it’s going for a job interview, perhaps giving presentations at work or a volunteering role or maybe a past-time or activity, there’s...

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Are you dreaming your days away on Someday Isle?

And then what…?

The school holidays have started – yay! NO MORE HOME-SCHOOLING!!! (cue banners, party poppers and those party blowers!)  Having said that, working from home and with no school work to fall back on to keep them occupied, what do I now do with my children to ensure they’re kept amused – and that doesn’t involve a digital device?!

And those school holidays will be over in a flash and we reach what I consider to be the next milestone of the year – a new academic year. The New Year, Spring and September are very often markers when you feel that extra impetus to re-evaluate where you are, what you have achieved and what you want going forward; maybe looking for a career change (it is possible, even in this climate)/starting a business/planning the next adventure/experience/learning opportunity.

I personally feel that without goals and a sense of purpose, we’re a bit like a ball on a pinball machine – being knocked...

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Please don’t assume. It makes an ass out of you and me.

Speak as you find

It’s funny how we can build up a profile of someone in our head before we’ve even met them. Maybe someone is going to introduce you to a new friend of theirs or maybe a new partner and they’ve given you a bit of background to give you an idea of what they’re like; or it could be a job interview scenario and you’ve made assumptions based on the person’s CV.

We might make assumptions based on a person’s name, age, where they live or perhaps their education. Yet what can these facts actually tell us about that person or about their life experiences? Not much if we’re honest. We make assumptions based on our own reference points we’ve experienced through our life but this is not based on any other inherent intuition or knowledge that we may think we possess.

I remember a friend of mine telling me about a situation that happened at her work. She is an accountant and worked for a small firm. Her boss had wild and...

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Are you happy being you? How being secure in yourself means authenticity reigns

Happy to be stuck with you

This may sound strange but until his latter years, Elvis Presley was very good at being Elvis Presley; Alan Sugar is very good at being Sir Alan Sugar and Dolly Parton is extremely good at being Dolly Parton. Unfortunately, not enough people are good at being themselves. Too many people put on false fronts because they worry about what others think of them. They will change who they are depending on whom they are with – there is almost an alter ego they assume in order to fit in; they’re not authentic and are therefore incongruent with who they truly are.  

Social media is a great example of this. People will post their highlights – their glossy filtered photos, their professional highs, the amazing testimonials for their business, descriptions of their amazing Lockdown goals, their awesome relationship. Scratch the surface though and you find it took 20 photos to get the kids to look happy, then six tries to...

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The Mindset VITALS to ensure good mental health

Mindset Matters

Our mental and physical health are intertwined – how we’re feeling can have a direct result on our physical wellbeing and vice versa. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as: ‘… a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’ Mental health is clearly an integral part of this definition. Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness - it is vital to us all as individuals, families and societies. The WHO describes mental health as: ‘… a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’ In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for wellbeing.

If we’re feeling stressed, anxious or sad, this can manifest itself in a number of ailments such as high...

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With this new normal, keep a handle on your mindset – make it work for you.

Getting back out there

I’ve just popped to the shops to get some gifts for Father’s Day. I ordered my husband’s gifts some time ago – after consultation with my children otherwise I’d have been in big trouble for buying without their input – however, the presents will not arrive in time. Most frustrating when I felt quite smug that I’d ordered in advance. What I had not factored in was COVID-19 and the delay in deliveries this is causing. So, I needed back-up bits and bobs. My husband wouldn’t have worried if his pressies were delayed but our girls would be most upset. I decided I’d put a hamper together – a smorgasbord of his favourite snacks and beverages. In a basket. With raffia and cellophane wrapping. That means about three different shops. This back-up idea was taking more time than the main event present!

I haven’t been to a shop since the weekend before Lockdown so, armed with a mask my Mum has made me, off I...

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My advice for a younger self

Older and wiser per chance…

In 1997, Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune wrote a hypothetical commencement speech for a graduation. The essay, entitled: Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young which later became the basis for the Baz Luhrmann Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) hit in 1999, aimed to dispense advice to the young, to help them to be happy and to not worry about what they might see as life’s irritants. I get goosebumps every time I hear the song and I have the poster of those words on my cloakroom wall – for all to ponder in their quiet moments…

The older we get, the more nostalgic we can sometimes be about our past, perhaps how we might have done things differently, if only we knew what that different thing was back then – 20/20 vision and all that... There’s no room for regret though – that’s a waste of time because you can’t turn back the clock. It’s about the wisdom you...

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Why it’s good to find the gift in every situation

Rip it up and start again

Weddings, milestone Birthday celebrations, children’s Birthday parties, introducing your precious newborn, holidays, retirement plans, Proms, GCSE and A Level exams, SATs, Year 6 leaver celebrations, business plans, house moves and all manner of things have either taken place in a diluted form of what was intended, or not taken place at all this year – shelved for another day, a date as yet unknown.

There are great expectations for events such as these, much planning and excitement (maybe not in the case of the exams, but certainly when they’ve finished!), so it’s understandable that when they don’t take place, there is disappointment and frustration.

However, it is crucial to know that the situation inherently cannot cause you to feel these emotions. If it could, we would all feel exactly the same, to the same degree about everything. But we don’t. Some people shrug it off and know it’s down to circumstances beyond...

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Why it’s important to aim, rather than tame those ‘negative’ emotions

Focusing the energy

This week, the funeral of a friend took place. Due to this wretched COVID-19 situation, I couldn’t actually attend but instead played a part with friends and family, by lining the route of the final journey my friend took. Understandably, the day was full of heightened emotions.

Emotions such as sadness, frustration, anger and disappointment are often described as ‘negative’ but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that they are valid emotions and need to be felt. People often say it isn’t healthy to feel those emotions and children are told not to be so angry and ‘don’t take your mood out on me’ but would we tell them to hide away their excitement, joy and happiness? Of course not, we positively encourage them to feel those emotions; in fact, we’ll do all we can to ensure they have those feelings. But the negative ones, not so much. We perhaps, maybe with good intentions, try to discourage them – tell...

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