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Why seeing change as negative, stops us embracing the positives

Happy holibobs?
The school term has finished for many and we're almost there for the rest. It’s summer holiday time! Carefree fun with no more morning deadline to get everyone out of the house with the yelling of: ‘Come onnn! We need to leave for school! Have you got your PE Kit? Put your suntan lotion on? Remember to hand your form in for the school trip…’ etcetera, etcetera. I realise I will still be working but at least I’m not herding cats to get us all out of the door at some unearthly hour of the day.

However, the feeling of positivity is not entirely running rife through my house…

I have one making the transition from primary school to secondary school. It’s a strange time for this age. Whilst they’ve been a big fish in a little pond and perhaps felt they’re starting to outgrow the place, they’re not exactly ready to move on – to be the little fish in the big pond.

Yes, there’s a certain level of...

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Why our success perhaps doesn’t start with passion

What lies at the heart of our motivation?

There’s a theory that building a career around your passion just doesn’t cut the mustard. It’s more a case of focusing on your skills and the passion develops from there…

Cal Newport is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. and he believes what you do for a living is less important than how you do it. His advice is to concentrate on building your career capital i.e. rare and invaluable skills and knowledge, through a process of ‘deliberate practice’; over time, as you continue to focus and systematically do your work – any work that interests you - with passion, you will excel in your field and can use your career capital as leverage to build the kind of lifestyle that matters to you.

Newport gives the example of Steve Jobs and a famous quote taken from an address he once gave: “You’ve got to find what you love… If you...

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Why when the proverbial hits the fan, we can pull a rabbit out of the hat...

On Saturday, I gave a TEDx Talk at TEDxNorwichED. This is no mean feat and is a roller coaster of a journey. I signed myself up for this months ago and even though I’d practised and practised and rehearsed and rehearsed, actually setting foot on that stage was one of the most frightening things I have ever done.

It’s ridiculous really because I gave a TEDx Talk last year with my Dad and daughter so surely I would be more mentally prepared this year. You’d think… Not so.

There’s been a LOT going on at home the past six months - some of which I have previously alluded to. My husband’s redundancy, SATs, both myself and my three daughters applying to do a TEDx Talk, being accepted and script writing to follow then hours of rehearsals for us all, school tests, all three children with rehearsals for the school summer production so lots to memorise, plus one mentally preparing to start high school.

We all face various challenges from time to time and...

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How do you define what happiness is to you? Here's a profound list to start you off...

Sometimes when we read about a person’s situation and it can leave a lasting impression. This was the case for me when I read about Annmarie James-Thomas, who died aged 44 from complications caused by cervical cancer.

Annmarie had four young sons and reading her story took my breath away and led to feelings of why is life – and death – so unfair. What softened that feeling was that this amazing inspirational woman, upon learning her cancer was terminal, decided she wanted to leave behind an important legacy for her children, not one of money, but of words. Annmarie wanted to leave a life guide for her sons and this included her top twenty tips on how to lead a happy and successful life.

Defining what success is for you

‘Success’ can mean different things depending on who you are. Perhaps in its more traditional sense, people think of it to mean you have a fantastic well-paid job; maybe you are financially buoyant; you own your property, if not...

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Why it pays to be nice

“Contrary to the cliché, genuinely nice guys most often finish first or very near it.” Malcolm Forbes

I write a lot about the importance of effective, open and transparent communication between managers and their teams and how this is what makes a manager a great leader. So, what about colleagues – those who we see day in and day out and who we spend possibly more time with than we do with members of our own family?

We spend so much time with colleagues, that surely it’s important to nurture authentic relationships with them.

There can be so many different personalities working within a team or department, not to mention the hierarchy of differing roles and positions, continuous harmonious relationships are probably a bit unrealistic. It can sometimes result in strained communication and potential misunderstandings.

In order for everyone to work effectively together, it’s important to remember we’re all human, we all have different stresses...

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How scaring the pants off yourself can be a good thing

I’m not a fairground ride kinda person (some jolly good self-talk there for you…!), so when one is in town, I dread my children finding out and wanting to go. I resist most times but every now and again, it’s good to take them for a bit of family fun. Sometimes though, the fun seems to be at my expense…

My family and I took ourselves along to a visiting funfair one Sunday afternoon. It offered the usual mix of rides to suit all ages so one of my children chose the sedentary ‘Teacups’, a more bolder older one liked the look of the reverse bungee jump and then the daredevil wanted to go on a ride entitled ‘The Orbiter’. I didn’t much fancy it as I’m not a big fan of rides that spin you around high up in the air, so my husband volunteered to chaperone.

I stood and watched as they spun around, waving and cheering and half-way through the ride, an announcement shouts ‘Are you ready?! Are you ready?!’ Whilst keeping...

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How your values set you apart from everyone else

It’s amazing how a film can evoke such strong emotions in you… My husband and I sat down to watch the next instalment of the oh-so gripping Killing Eve drama last week and whilst he popped off to make a cuppa, I was lining up the episode on BBC IPlayer. However, I was distracted by the film playing out as I switched on the TV.  Even though it was 40 minutes in, I was gripped and as my husband walked back in, apparently I was clutching the remote as if to say: “Don’t even think about Killing Eve.”

The film in question was The Light Between Oceans, based on the book by M.L.Stedman and starring Alicia Vikander (Isabel Graysmark) and Michael Fassbender (Tom Sherbourne). If you haven’t watched it, the premise is that mentally and emotionally weary from serving in the First World War, Tom takes on the job of a lighthouse keeper on a remote island off the Australian West Coast. It’s a life of solitude until he meets and...

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The guilt trap and why you should stop falling into it

GUILT - there’s a lot of it about, in fact if you could package all the emotional energy that goes into guilt and turn it into electricity, you could light up London for weeks.

Guilt comes in three flavours. There’s the guilt we put ourselves through, the guilt other people “put us through” and there is the guilt we try to lay on others.  

Let’s talk about our guilt first. Don’t we just love it, beating ourselves up day after day with something we can’t change
 
Our guilt is almost always about something that happened in the past; not too many people feel guilty about something they haven’t said or done yet. They may predict that they will feel guilty for something they intend to say or do but what a dreadful way to live consciously.
 
Most people admit to having done said something in the past life maybe two maybe 5, 10 or 15 years ago they can still always get a wince of regret -   almost an emotional pain...

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How your thinking affects stress

The word ‘stress’ is bandied around a lot – some people use it informally to perhaps describe a time when they have a lot to do – they’re busy and maybe concerned about how they’ll get it all done; others will use the word when they feel everything is closing in on them and are in a state of high anxiety. It’s all relative and who are we to make judgements about how one person’s stress compares to another’s and the effect it can have? 

It’s very important to consider our mindset when we’re feeling like things are getting too much and to remember the brain cannot be in an open and resourceful state when we’re panicking, feeling like there’s no way out. The important thing is not to co-exist with these problems but to find ways of consciously helping yourself, whilst also recognising that seeking help and advice may also be beneficial.

Severe and clinical depression requires counselling, medication or a...

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How changing your thinking can help you break through any barriers

Experiences and fun are at the heart of my family life so when my girls recently said they wanted to go roller-skating and that meant me as well, other than pride coming before a fall, I had no reason to say no… Funnily enough, my husband managed to find a very important job that needed finishing!


During some brief periods of watching at the side (come on, I needed some time to recover from the Crab Walk, Toe Jam and as for those Travelling Toe Pivots…!), I got chatting to a Dad who had brought his son Tommy and some of his friends. Terry’s son has cerebral palsy, which when he told me, led me to do a double-take as I watched Tommy carefully weave round and round the rink. Terry said Tommy has to lean heavily on using his stronger leg but loves the skating because of the sense of freedom it brings him. As well as cerebral palsy, Tommy also has Dyspraxia and Epilepsy. I was stunned how Terry nor Tommy let any of these conditions hold Tommy back.

Terry explained...

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