Let’s dive into this week’s photos!

Wine glassesThis week found me celebrating over a wine with one of my closest friends. After 14 years working for one company she’s moving onto a new company and career path. Starting a new job is an exciting and challenging time!

Brisbane 1Brisbane 3Brisbane 2Brisbane (my home town) is experiencing an exciting state of expansion. New bars and restaurants are popping up everywhere. As a person who loves to experience new venues, food and people this is music to my ears!

The Nutcracker 2The NutcrackerOn Friday night I had an amazing experience – I went to the opening night of ‘The Nutcracker’ by the Queensland Ballet. It was my first time at the ballet and an incredible production. Whilst I couldn’t take photos of the performance itself, I captured the red curtain experience just before the show started.

train artI couldn’t resist showing off more artwork from my local train station.

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Sexy Word of the Week - Self-Love

Think about how much better the world would be if people were kinder to one another. Think about them being more caring, considerate and thoughtful.

Imagine people being kinder to each other.

Imagine people being kinder to their children. To someone else’s children.

Imagine people being kinder to animals.

Imagine us all being kinder to the environment.

Imagine us being kinder to ourselves. No more name calling and self-loathing (bring that on!)

The amazing thing is we don’t have to imagine it.

We can do it right now. Right this second.

Give a work colleague a genuine compliment or offer to help them with something they are struggling with. Ask a neighbour if they need anything at the local shop. Give someone who needs it your seat on the train. It doesn’t need to be over the top – it just needs to be kind. Make a considerate and thoughtful gesture.

One of the quickest and easiest way to be kind at work is to stop gossiping. It’s not kind to bitch about people.

Every time you find yourself bitching about someone (whether out loud or in your head) make yourself think about their wonderful qualities as well (even if you only say them in your head).

Just as there are a million ways to be mean and nasty there are millions of ways to be kind.  Choose the latter.

Being kind isn’t a one-off. It’s not something you fill a monthly quota for. Actively being kind is something we can practice every day to everyone (not just the people we love).

Kindness isn’t some elusive force we need to conjure up. It’s not a limited resource. We can use it whenever the hell we want and there is always plenty more of where that come from.

If you ever wondered how to follow through on my favourite Gandhi quote

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

Kindness seems a pretty good place to start.

Think about your own life, your own personal situation. How can you be more kind?

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How to Deal with Negative People

All of us have to deal with negative people at some point.

With the holidays fast approaching we may have to deal with more negativity than usual.

Yes we may love our relatives but that doesn’t stop them from being negative and bringing down the whole room.

Here are my tips on how to deal with negative people.

Don’t be one yourself

This one is probably the most important – don’t be a negative Nelly yourself. It’s boring and not fun.

Whilst we all have our tough times there is a big difference between struggling with a particularly hard time in our lives and automatically being negative all the time (often for no actual reason).

Negative people don’t need a trauma or problem to trigger their negativity – they see it everywhere.

Avoid negative people if possible

If possible try to avoid extremely negative people.

I know that’s hard if we work closely with them, are related to them or god forbid live with them.

Talk to them

Sometimes we need to make people aware of their behavior and let them know how it’s affecting them (and us). Sometimes people don’t realise how negative they are.

This should always come from a place of love and understanding (not judgment or anger).

Going passive aggressive on a negative person will only make the situation worse. Much worse! Be caring, gentle and kind but get your point across.

Understand certain subjects are off-limits

If you know that a particular subject is going to trigger a negative outpouring from a particular person or group – avoid talking about it altogether.

Often politics, religion and race fall into these categories. Understand what sets certain people off.

As much as I adore my Mum, I know talking about my Dad is strictly off-limits. Even years after his death, talking about him always triggers a negative reaction. Best not to go there in the first place.

Say something positive

If a negative person is dominating the conversation, it’s time to say something positive.

If you can lift the positivity in the room it can often stop them from being negative (or at least distract them).

Change the topic

To be honest, sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it can be a matter of just how negative a person is but give it a shot.

Change the topic to something completely different. If possible talk about something that you know the negative person is genuinely interested in and reasonably positive about.

Sometimes a change of topic can bring them alive and lift the whole conversation.

Leave the room

I have been in this situation before. I have tried everything from changing the topic, to being positive myself to trying to reign in someone else’s negativity.

Nothing worked.

I am certainly not suggesting you chuck a childish tantrum and storm out of the room, banging doors as you go. There are subtle and polite ways to remove yourself from a room.

If someone’s negativity is bringing you down, leave the room and take a breather. Walk off your frustration if possible at the time or do something you find calming to get yourself back in a positive head space.

Reign negative people in

This is particularly important at work. Negativity in the workplace can be particularly toxic.

People spread rumours, gossip and are less productive because they are too busy spreading doom and gloom. A few extremely negative people can make an office an unpleasant place to work.

Don’t be drawn into this sort of behavior.

From a personal perspective you can reign someone in when they are being negative by letting them know that you don’t agree with their point of view or looking at a situation from another angle (preferably a more positive or at least neutral one).

This can be particularly helpful in a one on one discussion. Again be polite with your message.

Don’t catch negativity

Negativity is catching. It’s like the flu, it spreads from one person to the next person till everyone has it and is completely miserable.

Whilst we may not be able to control whether we get a cold or flu we do have influence over our own emotions and actions.

You are in control of how you view the world and the people in it.

Don’t foster negativity. Spread light and joy not darkness and misery.

How do you cope with negative people? Do you have any tips or secrets to share?

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How to Laugh More

When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? When did you laugh so hard you had tears rolling down your face?

Not laughing enough? Here are my tips on turning that around.

Hang out with people who make you laugh

Certain people make us laugh. They either know us well enough to understand what makes us chuckle or they appeal to our sense of humour. Perhaps their sense of humour makes us more funny ourselves!

Regardless of the reason we often laugh in their company. These are definitely people we should be spending more time with.

Know your own sense of humour

I was going to write you should have a sense of humour but I think most of us do anyway.

The trick however is in knowing what types of things you find funny. People have difference senses of humor.

I am the first to admit I have a bit of an odd sense of humour.

I’ll give you an example of something that happened to me recently. One of my friends noticed that at a recent dinner with friends I didn’t laugh (or at least not that much) at particular jokes or pranks.

For starters I am not a fan of pranks. Mostly I don’t find them funny. To me they border on childish and sometimes just plain mean. I’m not a fan of mean when it comes to comedy. Again just my preference.

It’s not a matter of anyone being right or wrong it’s about what sort of comedy floats your boat.

Once you know what you like you can then focus on getting more laughs in your life through what you know will entertain you.

You can also avoid really bad movies and sitcoms that make you cringe more than laugh.

Smile more

Granted a smile isn’t the same thing as a belly laugh but yeah the way I figure it – it’s a much easier jump from smile to belly laugh than frown to belly laugh.  Smile more.

Try it out for size and see what happens. Report back and let me know how you went!

Be childlike

Children laugh a lot more adults.

If you have kids play with them more instead of sending off to play amongst themselves.

Don’t play with them from a distance, get down on the floor or up a tree or wherever they are playing and get fully immersed in what they are doing, including laughing.

You don’t have to have children in your life to be childlike. Put music on and dance around your kitchen. Blow bubbles. Sing at the top of your lungs to your favourite song (without caring what you sound like). Be silly and don’t care what anyone else thinks.

Do fun stuff

This one is a no brainer. If you want to laugh more – have more fun!

When I was growing up life was often about chores. Cleaning the house, getting the ironing done, vacuuming etc.

Whilst I realise chores need to get done at some point, you need to have fun as well.

If life is all about chores, responsiblity and paying bills it means you are not having enough fun. The great news is you can change that!

Spend less time with negative people

You don’t see complainers, whiners and negative people laughing all that much. They’re much more interested in the misery of things.

If you can, avoid these people and make sure you are not being one yourself! Gravitate towards the people who are laughing instead.

Keep worry under control

It is hard to laugh when you are worrying yourself sick. As a worrier, I know this from first hand experience.

Try my worry management strategy for the small stuff (remember a lot of it is small stuff).

My strategy – procrastination. I figure it has to be good for something and it is. For the stuff that I know doesn’t matter, I say to myself ‘I will worry about that tomorrow’. The next day if the subject comes up I say the same thing. Often when it’s not important, I forget about it totally.

Don’t take yourself so seriously

Lord knows life gets serious enough without our help. Until that happens, try not to take yourself too seriously.

Laugh at yourself (in a caring way naturally, no being mean-spirited to yourself or others).

Lighten up. Relax.

I think we could all do with more laughter in our lives (me included).

What makes you laugh? How can you get more laughter in your life?

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How to Cope with Feelings of LonelinessWe all have moments when we feel lonely.

It doesn’t matter if you are married, married with kids or single. We all have times when we have to deal with loneliness of some description.

Here are my tips for getting through those times.

Understand that being lonely and being alone are not the same thing

This is really important. We need to understand the distinction between being alone and being lonely.

Spending time on your own, does not necessarily mean you are lonely.

Don’t assume for instance that single people are lonely. I’ll use myself as an example here. I’m single (and I spend a lot of time on my own writing and reading) but I am rarely lonely. Don’t get me wrong I do get lonely occasionally but nowhere near as much as people might think. I also travel on my own and don’t get lonely.

As I mentioned in a recent post on taking back your ex, being in a relationship with the wrong person can be one of the loneliest experiences. Marrying the wrong person can be a total disaster. For many years my Mother was the loneliest women I knew and she was married!

You need to understand the difference between the two so that the minute you are on your own you don’t go into a loneliness spiral.

Know your level of alone time

Some people need to be around people more than others. It’s that whole introvert extrovert scenario.

Being an introvert myself, I can go for quite long periods of time by myself without feeling lonely. But even I have my limits. It’s important to know what your ‘limit’ is so that you can make plans to catch up people before you start to feel isolated.

Regardless of whether you are an introvert or extrovert, it’s important to know when you have had too much time on your own. It’s worth mentioning that extroverts need to work out when they need more time alone. 

Reach out to your best friend

Feelings of loneliness are usually a trigger that we need to connect with people. They are often a sign that we are feeling isolated.

Often the best way to short-circuit feelings of loneliness is to connect with someone who we already have a strong emotional bond with.

You can’t go past your best friend when you are feeling a bit low. They know your history, personality and character traits and are the quickest way to feel a sense of connection and joy.

Many years ago I had just gotten back from an overseas trip. My long-term relationship and amazing holiday had both ended. I found myself at the World Expo in Brisbane one particular day surrounded by 100,000 people yet I felt incredibly lonely. I used a pay phone (this was long before mobiles) and called my best friend. Thankfully that best friend is still a big part of my life.

Reach out to people

Granted this sounds easy but it’s not when you feel lonely.

Often when we are stuck in a bout of loneliness we resist any thoughts of reaching out to people. We do the complete opposite of what we should be doing and hide in our cave.

Make the effort to reach out to people, I promise it will be worth it.

Don’t take someone being busy personally

Okay so you’re feeling a bit lonely and you reach out to someone to catch up – but they are busy or can’t make time for you just at the moment.

Accept this is part of life.

We love our friends, we love our families but we have to remember they have their own lives as well. Sometimes our friends simply aren’t available and that is okay. Book a catch up in your calendar to see them as soon as you can.

Don’t do the ‘I have no friends’ panic when your friends are busy.

Get off social media and meet people face to face

You would think with all the electronic connectivity we have in our modern world no one would ever be lonely because there are so many ways we can talk to people.

Wrong.

Sometimes I wonder if all of this connectivity has made a feel more alone than ever?

It’s important to get off social media and meet people face to face.

Sometimes what we need is a big old-fashioned hug or to laugh so much we cry, or to look someone in the eye as they are telling us something important.

Get on the phone

If you can’t meet up with someone in person, ring them and speak to them in person.

In person does not mean sending them a text message. I know text messages are brilliant for a whole range of things, but deeply connecting with someone – not so much.

Hearing the sound of someone’s voice can make all the difference. It can immediately put a smile on our face and make us feel connected and loved.

Connect with animals

I have mentioned this several times already on the blog. Pets are wonderful company and great companions.

They give you a sense of unconditional love and responsibility which help fight off feelings of loneliness.

The responsibility aspect of owning a pet makes you put their needs ahead of your own.

Connect with nature

Get out amongst nature. This doesn’t mean you have to go on some big road trip or fly to some exotic location.

It will most likely mean taking a trip to your city park or botanical garden.

Whatever connecting with nature means for you – get outside and feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. Lay on a patch of cool lush green grass and breathe deeply. Hell hug a tree if that helps!

Get physical

Feeling lonely? Then it’s time to get that body moving. It’s time for a walk, jog, run, bike ride, swim or yoga session.

Whatever physical activity you like doing, it’s time to get off the couch and go do it. If you can get someone to go with you fabulous. If not, no problem head out by yourself.

Just get those natural feel good chemicals pumping!

Do activities that you love

I mentioned earlier about friends not always being available. It happens!

Different stages in life can make it harder for people to find time to connect. Young babies, elderly parents that need care, dealing with teenagers, starting a new relationship or our career all may need special attention from time to time.

Sometimes you will want to go to the movies or go out for lunch and people won’t be available.

Here’s an idea – Go by yourself!

Yep I know just reading that will have freaked some people out. Just because your family, friends or partner are not available does not mean that you have to sit around waiting for them to be available!

Get out there and do things you love. It will give you things to talk about when you catch up with the amazing people in your life.

Help others

Sometimes we need to realise just how lucky we are.

Helping people less fortunate than ourselves gives us a wake up call. Helping others requires us to make it about them and not all about us.

Get out of your own little world

We all have times where we get caught up in our own little world. Sometimes that world can be very small and limiting.

It might be about a dispute with our neighbour, something going on at work, or a fight we had with our other half.

Whatever it is, it takes over our hearts and mind. It’s all we talk about. We stress about it and we go over the same conversations over and over again in our heads.

This sort of thinking can lead to feelings of loneliness and ultimately depression because our world shrinks around our problems.

When you feel yourself stuck in your own little world, make a conscious effort to do something to snap yourself out of it. Getting out of the house and doing something completely different or unusual is the best place to start.

Don’t wallow

I know this bit can be hard. Over the years I have been the wallower. Whether it was over breakups with men or simply feeling lonely I wallowed. A lot.

From first hand experience, I can tell you wallowing sucks and it is a total waste of time.

Time you will never get back.

Sitting around thinking ‘poor me’ won’t help. Instead focus on what you need to do to feel better and get out in the world and start doing it.

Don’t be desperate

Let’s face it people can do stupid things when they are lonely.

Bad relationships spring to mind. Awful one night stands are up on the list. Drinking way too much. Ringing any bells? I am not being judgemental here – I have rung a few desperation bells over the years myself.

We all have our demons that surface when we feel lonely.

I can tell you from experience that desperation will only make you feel worse.

Actions that will sooth your lonely soul (like the positive ones on this list) are a much better option.

Understand moments of loneliness will pass

Feelings of loneliness will pass.

I know it might not feel like that when you are stuck in a bout of it, but it will.

Your attitude is a defining factor. Remember you do have control over how you feel.

You have control over picking up the phone and reaching out to someone.

Make peace with being alone

The easiest way to overcome bouts of loneliness is to make peace with being on your own.

Even if you have the busiest social life or are constantly talking on your mobile phone, there will still be times when you will on your own or alone with your thoughts.

If you can enjoy your own company you are less likely to feel lonely and more likely to truly appreciate when you spend time with other people.

Loving and accepting yourself for who you truly are is the key.

How do you cope with the occasional bout of loneliness? What methods do you use to get yourself back on track?

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Are You Afraid to be Yourself?I love this quote. It sums it up perfectly.

“Be yourself: everybody else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

It reminds us that we should always strive to be our unique selves.

Think about some of these questions?

Do you act a certain way around people so that they will accept you?

Do you put up a false front so that you will be popular amongst your work colleagues, friends or family?

Do you ever feel that if you were your true self people would reject you?

Do you pretend to be something or someone you’re not?

Relationships are often the easiest place to spot where we are not being ourselves. We tell a new or existing partner we like something they like, to impress or connect with them. Then we end up doing activities we hate just to keep them happy!

Let’s look at some ways we can be more ourselves.

Work out what you are afraid of

If you find yourself hiding who you really are the question to ask yourself is why?

What are you afraid of?

It may be something in your past you are not proud of (we all have those by the way!) or a personality trait that you think people simply won’t understand.

You are probably worried that people might not accept the ‘real you’.

The truth of the matter is that sometimes this is the case. Some people will not accept a particular lifestyle choice or personality trait.

The good news is there will be other people who you can connect with. They are the people you should be gravitating towards.

Accept not everyone is going to like you

Sometimes we are afraid to be our true selves because we feel other people won’t like us.

The response I have for you is so what?

If you want to be happy, this is one thing to understand and wrap your head around right now.

Not everyone is going to like you and that is perfectly normal!

If you think being smart, popular or beautiful is going to change that you are wrong. Sometimes people just won’t like you. Don’t take it personally, it just means your personality and their personality don’t mesh or you don’t have much in common. It doesn’t mean anyone is right or wrong or good or bad.

Trying to please everyone, all the time will make you miserable.

In case you were wondering this applies to family as well. Just because you might share some form of genetics does not mean that you will like each other. That’s perfectly okay. Don’t beat yourself up about this one.

This great quote says it all –

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.

Find your Tribe

You may in fact belong to several tribes. You don’t have to settle for just one.

By tribe I mean group or community. It’s about hanging out with like-minded people who share your interests or values. It’s about hanging out with people who get you.

Sometimes our tribes can be a little hard to find but once we find them it is so worth it!

Heads up – finding your tribe will be much easier if you be yourself.

Accept yourself

This can sometimes be the hardest part.

Often it’s not other people giving us grief for who we really are – it’s ourselves!

We all have faults and we all have exceptional qualities yet it’s our faults or weaknesses we tend to focus on. We judge ourselves far too harshly.

If you often find yourself thinking – I wish I was more this or I wish I was more that, or why can’t I be like him or her? – you are not fully accepting yourself.

We can be our own worst enemies by comparing ourselves to other people and wanting to be something we are not.

All acceptance starts with you. If you accept and honor who you are, other people are more likely to be accepting.

At the very least accepting yourself will empower you to deal with other people’s lack of acceptance.

Awareness of areas that you want to improve in is fantastic. Growth is what this blog is about after all but it helps to have a level of acceptance and self-love already in place to be in a healthy place to grow.

Be Yourself

You are a unique individual. Yes you are! You have your own amazing set of skills, talents, faults and personality traits.

But that is what makes you so amazing! How utterly boring would it be if we were all the same.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t be afraid to be who you truly are because it’s glorious!

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Welcome to the second edition of Beauty and Joy.

Let’s get started!

Beautiful treeMy neighbourhood is filled with these beautiful poinciana trees. They are a blaze of orange/red flowers. Gorgeous!Flowers

I recently bought a ‘thank you’ bunch of flowers for my neighbour. She’s feed my cat when I’ve been away, saved my clothes from being ruined when my washing machine broke down after returning from New York and in general been a great neighbour!

discStreet art circlekangaroo 2

KangarooThis week has been about appreciating the amazing street sculptures Brisbane has on offer. I love the metal kangaroos!

elf

It’s hard to miss Christmas is on its way with this not so little guy in our city centre.

For someone who normally dreads Christmas, it gives me joy to say I am looking forward to it this year!

hail

This last photo isn’t about beauty or joy, it’s about gratitude.

Brisbane was struck by a freak hail storm on Thursday afternoon. The damage was extensive. Homes, buildings in the city and cars were damaged.

I was lucky. My townhouse and my cat (who got caught out in the storm) were all okay. For that I am truly grateful.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Beauty and Joy!

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How to Be More CreativeAre you feeling creative but having trouble getting started? Are you wondering how to get your ideas flowing?

Here are 15 tips on how to be more creative.

1. Stop telling yourself you’re not creative

If you keep telling yourself you’re not creative, well surprise surprise you probably won’t be feeling a rush of ideas.

Even if you have great ideas you may not trust them if you convince yourself you’re not creative.

Everyone is creative. Have an open mind to begin with.

2. Start

Doesn’t get much simpler than this one. Just start!

It doesn’t matter whether you are a writer, painter, sculptor, dancer, singer or cook you need to start somewhere.

3. Keep going

The more you do the work the more ideas you will have. It’s a case of one idea leads to 10 others.

People sometimes give up too early before they have hit their stride. Keep at it.

4. Don’t obsess about every idea being fabulous

Not all of your ideas will be fabulous. Some will be rubbish and that’s okay.

Some ideas will jump out at you more than others. They are the ones to work on first.

Others may need to incubate in your mind before you are ready to take them out for a test drive.

5. Don’t edit while you create

While editing is an essential part of a final product it doesn’t work well in the creative stage. Many of us over edit our creativity to the point of snuffing it out all together.

Get the work out in all its creative messy glory – then edit all you like. Just don’t edit something so much that you change its original meaning and feel.

6. Forget perfect

Nothing stifles creativity like the concept of everything having to be perfect. The minute you go down that road, you start doubting yourself and stressing over every little detail instead of allowing yourself to be creative.

Ditch the idea of perfection – it doesn’t exist anyway!

7. Keep an ideas file

I call mine a brainstorming file. It’s on my computer. Some people particularly novelists use index cards. Many people use Evernote or a similar product.

It doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you are capturing your ideas so that you can reference back to them later.

8. Steal like an artist

When I was in New York I read the book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.

In the book Austin Kleon reminds us that a lot of ideas have already been done. The trick is to take those ideas and sculpt them into our own unique masterpiece.

9. People watch

When I was young my parents would drive to my grandmother’s house. At the time is seemed a long, long way (in reality it was about an hours drive).

While I was on this trip I would look at all the other cars and wonder where everyone was going and why they were all on the highway going somewhere. I knew each of them had their own unique story.

People watch and make up stories.

10. Be curious

Ask questions. Dig deeper. The world is a endlessly fascinating place. Be curious.

11.  Hang out in nature

Nature is full of inspiration and life. Head for the mountains, desert, lakes, rivers, beach or wherever fills you with inspiration.

12. Read 

Read both fiction and non-fiction. Aim for books that are well-written. Avoid gossip magazines.

13. Watch less television

It’s not that watching television can’t give you creative ideas, it can depending on what you watch.

The problem with television is that it’s a huge time suck. The time devoured by watching television could be used for your creative pursuits.

14. Have your own creative space

This doesn’t have to be anywhere elaborate. It could simply be a chair in your garden where you like to read and write in your journal or it could mean having your own creative office space at home.

15. Spend time with creative people

If you want to go to the next level, spend some quality time with other creative people. Talk through your ideas. Get their input on things. Collaborate. Bounce ideas off each other. Revel and grow in a sharing environment.

What are your top tips on being creative? What works best for you?

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Sexy Word of the Week - Self-LoveHabits are fascinating!

The truth is you wouldn’t be able to get through your day without them.

Brushing your teeth, getting dressed for work, getting to work – a lot of it is all based on habit.

Recently I was reading an interesting book by Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business on how habits work and how you go about changing them.

The fact that I am writing 5 posts every week is a direct result of taking on board the advice in this book.

I am writing more because I changed a habit.

Let me elaborate. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that habits are made up of three factors.

  1. a cue (or trigger if you prefer)
  2. routine
  3. reward.

The way to change a habit is to work on section 2. You change the routine.

You need to make sure you still have a reward system in place. The reward keeps the habit alive.

With posting I was having trouble writing after work.  After a busy day at work I was struggling to come home and sit down for another 2-3 hours to write. Instead I would plonk myself in front of the television and do nothing and fluff around on Facebook. Definitely not productive.

While reading the book, I realised I had already established a habit of getting up early and feeding my cat every morning. I would go downstairs, feed him, let him out and go back to bed.

As  much as I wasn’t a morning person, my baby boy is important to me so I found getting up for him no effort at all.

I realised this was a golden opportunity for change.

Instead of feeding him and going back to bed (more sleep was my reward) I decided to turn the computer on and publish a post. The routine is now writing. The reward is the sense of accomplishment I get from posting every day.

Now I actually look forward to getting up early to write.

The interesting thing is it hasn’t taken all that long to change the habit.

It helps when you make things easier on yourself. I am constantly fine tuning my new habit to work to my advantage, particularly from a time perspective since I only have so long to write in the morning before heading off to work.

I turn on the computer and log in first before going downstairs, I make a cup of tea after feeding the cat and take it upstairs with me. I know these might seem insignificant but they do make a difference.

There is an element of pre-planning posts involved but I will cover that off in a separate post.

A fascinating benefit of writing early in the morning is that my brain has been thinking about the post the night before, so I wake up full of ideas and rearing to go!

Never underestimate how small changes can add up to big wins. Now I am posting five days a week and I have never felt better! One of my work colleagues commented that I come into work with a spring in my step.

Habits are powerful. Change a habit and turn your life around.

What habit could you change that would improve your life?

Want to read about changing habits in both your personal life as well as in business? Grab a copy of the book here.

Amazon Image

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I really hope you are enjoying the Sexy Word of the Week series so far! I’m definitely enjoying writing it for you.

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iStock_Why My First Attempt at Business Failed Self-DoubtThis is the final chapter of my Why My First Attempt at Business Failed series.

You can read my earlier posts here. 

No Product

Lack of Direction

Writing for Free

After looking back on my experience, I can honestly say the one thing that sabotaged my first attempt as business, more than anything else was self-doubt.

When it all came down to it, as much as I thought I wasn’t – in the end I was crippled by self-doubt.

Self-doubt can affect every aspect of our lives whether it’s working for ourselves, working for someone else, relationships, our finances, our families and everything in between.

Self-doubt can cripple your life if you allow it to.

Unfortunately I let it cripple my solo business.

My biggest problem was that I didn’t have enough faith in my work.

Doubting my ability affected the number of pitches I sent off, the amount of marketing I did to promote my writing services  and the fact that I was terrified to release my own product. It affected how I undervalued my work and often gave it away for free.

Self-doubt leads to another disabling state.

Overwhelm.

When you run a solo business – you are it. You do everything, at least in the beginning unless you can hire contractors right from the start.

For someone who had been an employee for nearly 30 years, suddenly being the one making all the decisions and steering the ship can be daunting, despite the fact that you moved mountains to make the opportunity happen in the first place!

The amount of work and the type of work you have to do working for yourself can be overwhelming. Some days you have so much on your plate, you honestly don’t know where to start. When overwhelm strikes we often work on low value tasks or sometimes do nothing at all.

This is where having a clear direction comes in. A clear vision and knowing exactly what you should be working on is essential.

Secretly I was plagued with fears of what if it’s not good enough? What if I suck? What if no one buys my product?

At my recent Blogcademy course in New York, I asked my three amazing mentors how to get over the fear of launching a product.

Amazingly enough the fabulous Kat from Rock N Roll Bride advised that she felt physically sick before every lauch. Like she was ready to vomit sick.

Turns out I am not alone with my fear but here’s the difference between the ones that fail and the ones that become successful.

The successful people launch the product.

They launch no matter how scared or sick they feel. If it doesn’t sell, they learn from their mistakes and get cracking straight away to make their next product and launch more successful.

The truth of the matter is my first product may suck! My first product may not sell but that is okay. Disappointing yes but still okay.

I know that is hard to accept because everyone wants to kick a goal the first time but think about how many successful people got rejected or ‘failed’ the first time around. I’m sure you wouldn’t have to look very hard to find a famous author whose first book wasn’t very good.

I am sure plenty of succesful bloggers have launched products that have failed miserably.

Here’s a secret – they don’t promote the fact that it was a flop, they quickly move on to the next product or focus on a success story. They highlight the good and downplay the bad.

If you work for yourself or you are planning on working for yourself in the future, I hope sharing my mistakes helps you not make the same ones (or at least helps you be aware of them upfront so you can deal with them along the way).

I hope you can learn from my experience and get your work out into the world.

You may have noticed the subtle but purposeful wording of this series. Why my first attempt at business failed? First is the key word there. I’m not done yet folks!

I’m regrouping, learning as much as I can and figuring out what comes next for me.

Tell me what comes next for you? Are you figuring out your next step?

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