Life’s purpose

I can only speak from a woman’s perspective on this but it is likely this sits with men too. There comes a time in life when you lose yourself, lose your identity, lose why you are who you are.

It’s been a few years now since I realised I lost me, a distant memory of a shapeless human, no face, no distinguishing features, no voice, no colour. A grey, shapeless human with no name, no title, no purpose. A distant memory but I know how it feels as it’s engrained like a tattoo, acting as a reminder lest I forget, in case I ever find myself wondering in the future who I am and why I’m here.

To have no purpose in life is like looking at wasteland. To have no purpose, no mission is like a void wrapped in a thin layer of grey skin. To have no purpose exists in too many lives. Too many lives have been touched by this disease, this illness. This theft of personality, of sparkle and of thought is the worse thing we can allow to happen to ourselves as it creates chaos, disorder, sadness and a void many never fill again.

Imagine if you will a day where you wake and no one needs you. You have spent all your time caring for, feeding, washing for, cleaning up after, working to pay the bills, reading with and loving. You hold their hands, you guide, teach, protect. One day you have done your job so well that they stand on their own two feet and manage alone. The relationship with your children, your partner, your friends is unrecognisable. Even the person looking back at you in the mirror is unrecognisable.

If you see these words and feel them resonate against your flesh and your heart and filter through the layers of grey into the void, be assured that deep inside there is an answer, there is light and the you you knew is there. You may have to reshape what you see, you may have to get to know them all over again, you may even have to decide to leave them there and begin again, a new creation, a magnificent masterpiece. I say masterpiece because that is what you are. A thing of beauty, of style, from an imagination so vibrant that it can create anything.

Life took you away and lost you but there is always a way back if you choose to search for the path. You still have a purpose but you may need to decide on a new one but this is where it’s so exciting because you get to choose. What would you like it to be? What’s your passion? What gives you a chill down your spine when you think of it? What are you good at? What have you always wanted to learn, experience, create? 

Life’s purpose isn’t just one thing. As life changes, as you change, your purpose changes too, sometimes we can see it straight away and sometimes we have to find it but find it we do. If you are still searching never give up, just look in a different place, with different eyes.

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Needing support

Can I help you? I used to see those words as failure. If someone asked me that I would think they saw me as weak, incapable of doing things and would always respond with “no thank you I can manage.”

What horrendous pride I had. 

Everyone needs support, help, assistance. It doesn’t matter how you phrase it, we all need it and only our ridiculous pride stops us from accepting it. It doesn’t mean weakness. It doesn’t mean someone thinks less of us. It doesn’t mean we can’t cope. It means someone cares enough, loves us enough to give their time to us.

I learnt the hard way that you have to swallow your pride and ask for help sometimes but if you do, I can guarantee the answer will always be “yes of course, I never thought you’d ask.”

I now stand in the shoes of the helper, the assister, the one who lends a hand and listens, who watches for the signs and who cares enough to wait until it’s time for you.  I know how hard it is so I can understand. I understand where someone is in themselves at this point but the best bit is, I know where they can move to and that is the best gift I can give them. My belief. My belief is theirs to borrow as often as they like until they see it themselves. My belief is their light to follow. My belief is infinite. 

Everyone can move from their darkness to their sunshine, but they have to want it. They have to want to step into the warmth, away from the cold. It’s not easy but it is simple. All it takes is either “yes please” when I ask if I can support them or “I need you, can you help me” when they reach the moment of enlightenment.

That moment when you are ready to invest in yourself is when you can step up and step into the new you, your new skin, your potential. It’s the moment of empowerment, the moment of change, the moment of new beginnings. Are you ready? I am.

Not everything remains

I read a beautiful verse today which follows on from my recent thoughts about being afraid to let go.

“Not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while or to just be the one to walk with at night and spill your life to. Not everyone is going to stay forever and we still have to keep on going and thank them for what they’ve given us.”

Does this resonate with you? Are you holding on to someone who really needs to be allowed to move on? Are you the one staying when you need to go?  I think I fit both categories at times but both are hard, put us in a state of fear and uncertainty even when we know it’s right and admitting this in itself is like listening to someone else speak. It can’t be me admitting I need to let go or let someone go? It can’t be me wishing them thanks and farewell all at the same time? It can’t be. That would mean I’m moving forward, possibly alone, possibly it’s forever.

How hard is it trust what you cannot see; to believe this is right when you don’t know what is ahead? How difficult are the words “it’s time”? How hard to let go?

Have faith; even when you don’t want to admit change must happen, people must move on and times together are not infinite. Deep down you will know what is to be. Deep down you will just know. Be brave to see it through.

Always live in the moment, be present in the now and enjoy the people in your life right this minute. Don’t worry if tomorrow they are gone or you have to go. Love them today. Love yourself as you are right this second. Be in your life and those you share it with every second. Don’t wander forward and don’t wander back. Now is the only place to be but when you know things have to change be brave and let go.

Being brave

Brave. A word we all understand but it has different meanings dependent on the context in which you use it. Being brave for me, especially today, means going beyond where you feel comfortable, doing something you are afraid of, not believing in yourself, but doing it anyway and rising above your own self limitations and recognising what you just achieved.

Today I witnessed a few of these moments and feel honoured to have done that. People really being brave and doing something new, something they were totally uncomfortable with and trusting in someone else’s belief in them.

You don’t have to conquer an army or a nation to be brave. Sometimes simply conquering your own fears is more than enough to earn a badge of honour. Being safe in what you do, never stretching yourself, never believing in the impossible is the easy option.

Today I saw people grow in stature as they realised their own capabilities. I witnessed businesses go up to the next level just because their owner realised their own potential. I was humbled by all those who stepped away from who they were and became who they are destined to be. 

These were not superheroes. They were not special. These were not seekers of fame and fortune. These were hard working business owners, willing to put themselves and their comfort on the line to educate others, to grow their business, to grow themselves and I salute each and every one of them.

To be a small part, an onlooker, a witness, the provider of opportunity for someone to step up, the creator of space for someone to expand into is a total blessing and fills me with total humility for those who took a breath and said “I can”.

That Monday feeling

I never used to sleep on Sunday night because that awful dread of going to work on Monday usually had started late afternoon and by bedtime I was beside myself. My stomach in knots, my head buzzing, anticipating everything that will go wrong, the sniping, the backbiting and the general lethargy I would be greeted with in a new week. 

Naturally being a drama queen I managed by about 2.30am to have made what was just a general emotional worry into something enormous and by the time I had given up and got up I had already decided I was going to have a terrible day, in fact a terrible week.

The key here is I had decided….

It never occurred to me that if I decided it was going to be awful and full of misery I could also decide it was going to be fun and filled with laughter. I didn’t know then what I know now. Oh how I wish I had and maybe, just maybe, those Sunday evenings would have been filled with peaceful sleep instead of misery and stress.

We make choices about our emotional state and what we will and won’t allow. We make choices about how we approach people and situations and we make choices as to whether we are going to be happy or not. We may, on first thinking it through, argue against this and lay the blame neatly at someone else’s door but no, ultimately we are in control of our thoughts, our feelings, our actions and no one else can dictate what they are.

Yes of course a situation, a persons words or deeds or those adorable curve balls that life throws in sometimes to remind us we are alive, will come knocking at the door. We are allowed to be stressed, cross, bitter or upset but where we have the control is deciding for how long. We decide the what, the where, the who. We decide how it affects us. 

We can spend hours on a Sunday tossing and turning. We can groan every Monday and wish the week away. We can decide the week is going to be rubbish before it even starts. Alternatively, we can embrace what we can control and make the most of what we have ahead. We can decide that even if there are things we don’t enjoy, we will enjoy more the bits we do. We can decide to accept that someone else may press our buttons and wind us up, but we control which buttons. 

How we react, how we approach life, how we deal with our week is all in our gift so no more “oh god it’s Monday” quotes on Facebook. No more moaning about the fact this next five days wil not be fun like the last two. It’s what you make of it. If you think miserable, don’t be surprised if you are. Think happy, positive and be accepting of things you can’t control and don’t be surprised if the week improves. Easier said than done I know but if you dismiss it as too much like hard work at least you’ve made a choice.

I no longer have a five and two day week but I do know that even on the darkest, coldest morning so far in a while I’m really looking forward to what the day brings, I’ll not say the week because even tomorrow is too far away and doesn’t need my attention. Today does.

The storm before the calm

No I haven’t written that the wrong way round. It’s how I feel this morning as I sit looking out onto the day starting to get light. This week has been manic with everything from trying to put marketing campaigns together, write content for my new website, clients appointments, networking, finalising an expo taking place on Tuesday and keeping the household and family doing what it needs to be doing. Multi tasking at the highest order. Successful? Yes and no. More overwhelm than success.

Sometimes we forget to practice what we preach don’t we and rather than doing my usual brain dump and prioritising what was needed I chose to try and get it all done, not only that but tried to get it all done at the same time. That’s impossible by the way! One job completed to a high standard is better than five jobs unfinished.

It’s been chaos, noisy, fast paced, stressful, out of control and generally dissatisfying. But this is a good thing for me. It reminds me of how my clients feel and why they come to me but also reminds me that these days I have clearly defined strategies for dealing with them so I don’t break down. This week has been my storm but today I woke at peace. 

I woke realising how grateful I am that I have the life I do. My new business is successful, I have fabulously supportive friends, my brother survived a heart attack this week, my children are happy and healthy and I am loved. There is nothing better than this. I left the weeks storm behind and woke this morning in the calm.

How? I let it all go. For now. For now I need calm. I wrote down everything I had to do as I felt like I had hundreds on my list because they were tripping over each other, shouting at one another and generally causing chaos in my head. There were actually 18 ! Then I scored them on their level of criticality, from 1-10 with 1 being critical. Finally I added a “to be done by” date for each score. I actually only had three things on my “to be done by Tuesday list” and that makes everything more manageable. It took me just ten minutes to create order and calm!

As a society we try to accomplish so much and put pressure on ourselves to do it all now. Whether that’s because it makes us look better if we are busy or whether, if we can be seen to be doing more than the next person, we must be more successful or whether we have just forgotten to manage our time to how we need and want it rather than the expectations of others. It’s time to stop, physically or mentally create your list of order and then sit back for a minute and breathe.

Don’t live in the storm when you can create the calm.

Order from disorder

The last couple of days for me have been overwhelm. My workload, emotional chaos, busyness, lack of control and a burning desire for structure, control, peace, calm, space to think and make sense of it all. The universe just created my ideal client in me!

I had reached a plateau, a comfortable spot, satisfied but no fire in my belly to rush, push myself too far, relaxed with what I’m doing and who I am. Hurrah for the universe!!! If I forget how my client feels how can I hope to help them. How can I create space for them to take time and let go if I have forgotten what it feels like. The universe reads me well and I thank her.

I hold the space for those who can no longer make sense of what they are doing, are dropping things and thoughts, missing out, absent from their own lives, overwhelmed about what has to be done and the time it all has to be done in.

What do I mean by holding space? Imagine if you will your ideal place where you can be quiet. It could be anywhere you feel loved, feel secure, calm and safe. But, with all the chaos of your life around it you cannot get to it, it’s always just out of your reach. I recreate an atmosphere in my treatment room where you are inside that ideal place. You don’t have to battle with the chaos, I simply take it away for you and put it on one side so you get to enjoy the space, the peace, the calm, the order, the place that regenerates you from the inside out. When you come to leave the chaos I promise is more manageable.

My hands take away the chaos and leave only the calm, your inner calm that you do possess, you just can’t always see, feel or hear it. My hands massage the skin and the muscles but they are doing more than that. They settle into the rhythm of your breath, the beating of your heart and they unfurl the tangle of life that you have wrapped, coiled and entwined around you. Where will you be…..wherever your inner self needs you to be.

When next I feel overwhelmed by life I won’t take it as a negative, that I am failing, that I have lost control, I will simply remind myself that this is how my client feels and its my hands, my massage, my purpose to take them to a place where chaos becomes order, noise becomes quiet and life is manageable once again.

Justin Bieber thought provoking?

I will apologise in advance for the Justin Bieber quotes today but his words resonated with me yesterday. He was talking about a love who messed him around and used him but if you extract some of the lyrics they are a good talking point for self analysis and putting things and life into perspective. Now who’d have thought Justin could do that!

Do you use people? Do you let them use you? Do you ever feel like “I never like to admit that I was wrong, and I’ve been so caught up in my job, didn’t see what’s going on and now I know” (ha ha ha I know some on you finished that line….don’t like Bieber my eye!)

Are you the one who groans about your partners friends, family, ways, irritations? Do you complain and blame when things go wrong? Do you wish you could change the people you once fell in love with for you they were?

Bieber reminds us quite beautifully….”But when you told me that you hated my friends, the only problem was with you and not them. And every time you told me my opinion was wrong and tried to make me forget where I came from…. Oh baby you should go and love yourself”.

When we stop loving who we are we have a tendency to turn it all round and find fault with everyone and everything else. It can’t possibly be us can it? It’s easier to put the way we are feeling onto someone else because then we don’t have to deal with it. Sorry my friends but you are kidding yourself. You are still dealing with it, but as a frustration, an irritant and you are probably making someone else very insecure, frustrated and sad.

Love yourself first. Oh how selfish! But is it? How much more can you give to someone else if you love who you are? If you love yourself you are happy, content, powerful, courageous and you shine like a huge beacon attracting all that is good and from there the world is yours.

A dramatic statement? Possibly but who knows what they can achieve if they are comfortable in their own skin. When you look at yourself, bleary eyed first thing in the morning look harder, see the person you once were, in fact still are behind that frown, behind the dull eyes, behind the sadness, guilt or heartache that you are carrying. You are still the happy, sparkling person you once were, you simply got lost somewhere.

You need the saviour of all…. you need your inner child!

Can you remember? The playfulness, the innocence, the saying things as they came to you with no filter on, the capacity to hug another person without reservation, the ability to touch without guilt, the laughing at nothing in particular, the dancing, playing, skipping, the joy, the fun, the freshness of sight. Its still there….

Look harder in that mirror. You may have to drag a few lines back from your face and you may need to use those facial muscles in a way they have forgotten and smile at yourself but that child is still there. Now I am not suggesting you go and be childish in manner as you may just cause more irritation so no “but you started it” kind of behaviour but you can try out playfulness maybe or looking at your world through the child’s eyes and seeing actually most parts are really very beautiful.

Loving you is the best gift you can ever give yourself. Forgive yourself. Love who you are and don’t destroy what you have by trying to be someone else. If you are lost find the path back. Its like a game of Simon says…. Bieber says “love yourself”.

Stop! Step Away From That Comfort Zone

Moose Madness

There are times in your life that you need to put down the comfort blanket you are clutching tightly in your hands and step out and step forward.

How many times have you heard yourself say “I would love to do that”, “I wish I had the courage to go there”, “I want to be able to……”. Then stop saying it and actually do it! The only person stopping you is YOU. The only person creating excuses, reasons, roadblocks for this is YOU.

If you have spent your lifetime finding a reason not to do something or you blame others or situations then I think we both may agree that to change something you have to change what you do, how you think and actually do stuff!

I know its not easy, yes it takes courage, yes you have to take risks and they may backfire, no the timing or situation doesn’t have to be perfect (or you will be waiting forever) and yes all things are possible if you really want them.

I can only stand on this soapbox because I’ve been there, I totally get it, I had the same conversations with myself that you have now, I told myself every reason in the book to avoid the inevitable step of change. It was fight or flight. I either took life in my hands and guided it where I wanted it to go or I gave up and jumped from this planet that is home. Simple. Give up or damn well fight and conquer. Find the fire in your belly that creates change. Find that voice inside that says, do you know I may fall over a few times but there is nothing to stop me getting back up and trying again.

My mantra of “I can and I will” plays in my head every day. It’s on my office wall, its in my heart and I will not fail.

I get tired of people saying I can’t, I’m unlucky, I wish, what if, it’s scary, I tried before and failed, I don’t know how….. as the inspiring Oprah Winfrey states “you get in life what you have the courage to ask for”. The more you use a negative word, have a negative thought, surround yourself with negative people the more you will fall, the more you will fail. At what point in your life did you get a text, email or letter saying that the world owed you? The only person responsible for you is you. If you’ve got a life you don’t like then find a way to either deal with it or improve it. If you don’t know how, find someone who can help. Some of you may even have had these offers and Mr Pride got in the way and you said no…. swallow the pride and go back and say “I need help, please help me”.

I applaud the man who tries and fails, not because of the failure but because they have tried.

I attach a video today for no other reason than I need to show it. Yesterday I conquered my fear of public speaking. I know there was no audience there (and who knows who sees it on Twitter) but if you have ever videoed or recorded yourself and watched/played it back, you will understand I think how I hated doing this. But the point was I did it and I’ve already agreed to do another (I think I even committed to a santa suit or xmas fairy costume).

The point is I put my big girl knickers on and said I want to promote by business, I want to promote me as that is what changes my life.

I would have gone back to my comfort blanket usually but do you know something…. I think I’ve already thrown it away!

 

 

Networking – A learned process?

Just 18 months ago I would never have been able to walk into a networking event by myself, knowing no one and talk to perfect strangers about what I do and who I am. Absolutely traumatising even thinking about it….at the time. Now, one of my businesses is a┬ánetworking business!!!

Now I am not suggesting that this is something other people want to do but I am using it as an example of anyone can learn to network if they see its worth to themselves and their business. You have to want to grow your business (and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t) but you can learn.

So what was my first event like? Well the getting out of the house was the first step – I could have come up with 101 things to do rather than leave the house to go. Next was the actual getting out of the car at the other end. What if no one speaks to me? What if I have nothing to say? What if I make a mistake? What if. What if. What if. Finally plucking up the courage to go inside I made my entrance, didn’t fall over, no one moved away as I stepped into the room, nor did I get stared at. Everyone was really welcoming.

Uh oh – I have to actually talk to someone now! What am I doing here? What shall I say? What if. What if. What if. A good tip – walk tall, smile and say those really difficult words “hi my name is xxx, what’s yours” and let the conversation flow. Yes it is that easy! Small talk is probably the most difficult thing in the world but to help, instead of just standing talking about you ask the other person the questions, allow them to speak, listen and most importantly start building a relationship.

Don’t let your mind wander, even if you are bored with what you are hearing – remember they are probably as nervous as you so listen and find that little bit that you can hook onto and help them with bringing the conversation round again. Remember how you would like to be helped if you were struggling!

Don’t do what I did and glue yourself into the corner and leave after half an hour (yes that was really all I could cope with the first time). Nor should you stay with the same people – old hands have a habit of this and need to remember to mix, especially with the newbies – they were one once.

This is a business opportunity remember and you have to sell you before you sell your business. People will buy you, not your product or service. If you get chance to stand up and talk to everyone about your business for a minute or more, take it. Believe me there are very few experts at this and most networking events will have some form of this so prepare before. Know who you are, your company and what you do. If the first time that is all you can give them you will have achieved a huge amount. More will come with confidence and experience. There are very few who can walk in and do a full blown presentation with no preparation so don’t convince yourself they can!

Take business cards!!!!! I never get why people would go to an event and not take them. But, as well as giving yours out remember to take the card of the people you speak to and follow up the next day – no later or you will have forgotten what you talked about or lose the nerve. Just do it!

If you fall, make a mistake, go red, stutter your way through a conversation – WELL DONE! It means you’ve shown courage. It means you have taken a step forward. It means you have learnt something new. It means you will do better next time (oh yes there will be a next time or your business will stand still remember). It means you are on your way to becoming a networking professional and maybe next time you will have the courage to stay longer, speak to more people, do a short presentation and maybe, just maybe, you will see a new person and help them get through their first event.

Happy networking!