Just because you can go fast, doesn’t mean you must!

Our family car died back in February. It had done us proud. Trips to France. Pushchairs in and out and in and out again. Several car sickness incidents. Scrapes and knocks and bumps.

And then it was gone. And for a little bit, I felt sad. Sad for all the memories.

And then we bought my bright yellow sporty skoda – and all hint of remorse was gone!

I’m not one for going very fast but I must confess that I love that I can pull away quickly at roundabouts and gone are the days of getting overtaken before you’ve even had a chance to pick up speed.

So yesterday I was out and about, meeting with the carpenter about Give A Brick (so exciting – but that’s another story) buying flowers for my sister (she turned 30) and popping said flowers up to her house, so they’d be there waiting for her when she got home from work.

And it was as I was tootling along the motorway, singing Christmas carols (stop it! One of my errands was Christmas related so I get a pass!) that I noticed I wasn’t breaking the speed limit.

If you’re a police officer, look away now …

OK, so now it’s just us, I’ve got to tell you, I have a bit of a tendency to drive too fast sometimes. Safely. But fast.

So it was something of a surprise to notice that I was going along, quite happily, slightly under the speed limit. Under the speed limit? What’s that about?!?

And then as another car overtook me, a thought popped in my head:

Just because you can go fast doesn’t mean you must.

And so I didn’t. I sat there, dancing in my seat to my music, taking in the scenery, it was all very nice.

And of course then I thought about you and how this relates to life. Because us girls are great at multi-tasking aren’t we? (Actually, don’t tell my husband but I’m really not. I do everything kind of half-assed when I multi-task but hey, we’ve gotta pretend eh?) Most women though are of the stronger, more dependable sort than me.

Maybe you’re like that and always seem to have three different things on the go at once?

If so, I wanted to encourage you today to slow down a little. Yes, we’ve heard it all before … slow down and enjoy they journey, blah, blah, blah. And be honest … sometimes you hear that and think, “come on, if you only knew what I’m having to deal with!”

And you’re right, I don’t know what you have to deal with today. And yes, you probably have so many demands on you, it feels like if you slow down any, you’ll drop everything. It’s only momentum that’s keeping you going!

But I want you to encourage you to try it anyway. Even if it’s just for today, or even a few moments of today.

You’re wonderful and brilliant and so, so capable. You were made for so much more than just rushing from one thing to the next.

But just because you can keep going so fast, doesn’t mean you must.

Driving a car at full throttle will wreck the engine. You’re much, much stronger than any machine but even you really would find life a little bit more sparkly if you could take your foot off the gas from time to time.

And so that’s your challenge for today. Are you game? Get to it!

 

Are you guilty of holding parts of your life in ‘draft’?

Did you ever have an idea or a thought, and you wrote it up in your journal or talked about it with a friend, but then didn’t do anything with it? You didn’t take any action. Do the thing or hit send on the email. Or whatever ‘do’ would look like.

I have three, almost totally complete blog posts saved in draft mode right now, plus another two ideas that are currently just subject lines.

It’s no big deal. I tend to trust my gut or that nudge from God and write and publish whatever it feels like I’m being given to share. I’m sure those drafts and subject lines will have their day. One day.

But what about those ‘one day’ things in life?

Sometimes it really isn’t the right time to ‘do’ but, if we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes we don’t ‘do’ because we can’t be bothered or we give other stuff higher priority.

Or sometimes we’re just scared.

I want to encourage you today to hit publish on life.

Don’t play small or pull yourself back because you’re not sure what other people will think. Your playing small serves no one.

Instead, it’s time to go all out.

Shine your light brightly.

Jump in with both feet.

Step up and fully own the delightful you that you are.

Until next time, keep smiling 🙂

The “stop doing” edition …

It’s official … I hate grocery shopping!

Not because it feels like a complete waste of my time.

Not because the supermarket feels like the most soulless building in the whole town.

And not because they keep moving stuff around (although yes, that is very irritating!)

I hate grocery shopping because, last week, it forced me to admit to myself (and now you) that, sometimes, I’m a right miserable cow who likes nothing more than to have something to complain about!

This from the girl who loves to make people smile? Not good.

So after the shopping incident last week I decided that I would add ‘complaining about stuff I can’t change’ to my personal stop doing list.

Danielle LaPorte first introduced me to the idea of a ‘stop doing’ list, but I always thought of it as a list for stuff. Like, ‘stop doing my own accounts’ or ‘stop working for friends for free’. I’d never thought about ‘stop doing’ in terms of characteristics.

How about you?

Are there things that you do or places that you go to in your head that just don’t serve you? Maybe they’re not in alignment with the person you believe God made you to be?

The first step has got to be spotting what needs to go on the list. And then writing it down (there’s power in writing stuff down. Even God said that although that’s a story for another time.) But then what?

Is it really as easy as just recognising it and then stopping? I sure hope so! 😉

How about we give it a try, you and me?

Spot it. Write it. Stop it. Easy! 😀

 

 

A thousand year old idea to improve both your productivity and mental health. Sound good?

I could have called this the ‘first things first’ idea for productivity and improved mental health but, hey, we talk God stuff here and he thought of it first so it seemed only fair to give credit where it’s due.

Do you remember way, way back in Genesis when God was listing out all the rules and regulations for how things should be done? Usually I gloss over that stuff because lots of it isn’t relevant today so much.

But there’s a piece in there about bringing God the firstborn animal from the flock. The first part of the harvest and first born children were also mentioned (not that, as the eldest child, I’m biased of course!)

It was this idea of giving God the first part that I’ve been pondering on.

Do you do that thing where you say hello to him first thing? In the shower is my favourite place. It’s the one time in the day when I’m usually left alone.

And those days are usually good days. Even if things go to pot later on, that little bit of quiet has this seemingly magic ability to improve my sanity levels!

But I started to think about how we could use this same idea in business.

You might have heard the advice to pick one or two important tasks and focus on those?

And it’s great advice but how many days do you have where you literally only have one or two things to do? There always seems to be the extra little bits and bobs that, while I wouldn’t want to pick them as the ‘one or two tasks’ thing, still must be done.

How about you?

What if we picked literally the one, single most important ‘thing’ for the day, and always did that first?

For me, that would be this blog post. You might roll your eyes when I say this but I genuinely love writing these. (Roll your eyes because everyone says it but really, I love it.)

So the very first thing I do after dropping the kids off at school and making coffee is power up the mac, plug in the microphone (for the audio version) and bam! I’m away.

What would your today look like if you always did the single most important thing first?

And there can be firsts in categories of course.

Because another of my firsts is saying good morning to each of my children. A kiss on the head for Michael. A hug for Caitlin. And a subtle touch on the arm and conversation about her guinea pigs with my 10-going-on-15 year old Emily, for whom massive outward shows of affection are becoming less cool.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to spend the next 7 days experimenting with this idea of firsts.

Pick one (or more if you need to play with categories like I did) and do it first, every day. For just 7 days.

And then let’s report back and see how it went.

You game?

Until next time, keep smiling. 🙂

How to do just about anything, without going insane or losing all your friends in the process.

I’m a ferocious learner. If I could build a business where I get paid to read and watch and intake stuff and then use that knowledge to inspire people to action, I’d die a very happy lady.

“So I read in a book …” will be on my tomb stone!

But I digress.

Last night I started a book about hacking your motivation. (Hat tip to Sarah.) It’s wonderful! And so much stuff in there that I can (and have) started to apply, right away.

And yes, I know I’m easily pleased. I used that exact same word ‘wonderful’ just yesterday to describe the film I’d been to see with my fella.

But really, both were fab.

So anyway, the book.

Today I wanted to mention just one thing that, right away, I’ve started doing because, already, it’s totally working.

It’s called the “Success Spiral” and it works like this …

Success breeds confidence and motivation which in turn, breeds more success and so on and so forth until, before you know it, you’re doing stuff that you would never have believed yourself possible of, just a few weeks or months earlier.

But here’s the trick … to keep having the success, you need to go for the small wins and they need to be tied to stuff that you actually want to do.

Start so tiny that it takes practically no time at all.

You can not possibly fail and by making those small wins tied to the big picture stuff, it keeps you moving forward on the things that actually have the potential to make a difference in your life.

Let me give you two examples that I’ve written down for myself this morning …

(1) Eat slowly and consciously for 1 meal each day.

Notice that I didn’t say ‘every meal’. It’s just one single meal. Today it was breakfast. I enjoyed my meal, took my time and, as a result, found it really easy to notice when I was getting full and took that as my cue to stop eating.

Was it easy? Yes!

Will I maybe do the same later at another meal? Yes!

But do I have to? No, because I’ve already succeeded and eaten slowly for one meal today.

(2) Write my book for 15 minutes.

One of my rarely spoken dreams is the desire to write books, lots of them and yet somehow I’ve gotten to 35 years of age without a single title to put my name to.

I want that to change but I need to keep it easy and fun, hence the teeny, tiny, goal of 15 minutes per day.

Will I sometimes decide to keep writing for longer than 15 minutes? Yes!

But do I have to? No way!

If I write just 100 words a day, every day, one year from now I’ll have written 36,500 words. Enough to fill a short book.

See how this can work?

Small, easy wins. Together they add up to novels and losing 60lb and running a marathon and, and … just about anything you can imagine.

Does the thought of that make your pulse quicken a little?

Excited? Me too! 😉

 

What’s your absolute favourite way? Try that.

Happy Labour Day! OK, so we don’t celebrate it here in the UK but it’s just 2 days until the children start back so there’s still something of a holiday feel in the air.

And you’re probably busy having a bbq with friends and family so I’m keeping this short but I couldn’t help thinking about something I said in that email about last week’s party …

Sharing with you in group calls is my absolute favourite way to play. I adore it!

And so today, as you spend your day with family and friends, having fun, laughing, enjoying the end of summer, I challenge you to consider which parts of the fun of summer you can bring forward into the new school year.

What is your absolute favourite thing? Or way of doing something?

Can you bring more of that into your day to day life, even after the holiday period is over?

It might take some imagination on your part but personally, I believe the best way to build a business you love is to do as much of the stuff that makes you smile as is humanly possible.

Find your absolute favourite way. And do that.

 

Does it ever feel like your brain just needs a reset button?!?

I was in the shower yesterday morning and I thought of you.

No, not like that. Silly 🙂

It was more a kind of noticing and then almost right away the thought, I need to tell you about it, in case you do this too.

So what did I notice?

I noticed my thoughts. They were going at like one thousand miles an hour.

As I stepped into the shower I was thinking about one thing but then within seconds it was something else and then that other thought led me in another tangent and, and …

And then I noticed.

So I tried to drag myself back to just being. It was like this reminder in my head. To just stop for a minute.

“Enough already!”

I literally stood there with my head directly under the shower outlet, allowing it all to just spill over me, into my eyes, over my hair. That feeling of just nothing other than the sensation of the water.

It was like all the noise in my head was washing away too.

Do you ever get like that? Have so much going on in there, you have to be reminded to shut it off for a bit?

It’s got to the point where I can’t be relied upon to remember anything unless I write it down.

Like yesterday … we went out in the car and my husband noticed a mark on the seat from where our eldest had spilled something.

He couldn’t understand how I could have forgotten about it by the time I got home and, as a result, not wiped it. He was even more puzzled when I asked him to remind me when we got home because if he didn’t, I’d forget again!

The joy of being my brain eh?

But I’m certain I’m not alone. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who needs to be reminded to stop and just be.

So this is for you …

If you find yourself with thoughts and ideas tumbling over one another in your brain.

If your idea of switching off is to brainstorm on your iPad instead of at your desk.

If every single time you go to the cinema, you end up writing a note on your phone because there was something said in the movie that you don’t want to forget.

Today, for even just one moment of today, take time to stop and be still.

Open your ears. Open your heart. And just be.

 

Could you change the world by doing stuff wrong?

Something that you might not know about me (yet!) is that I play the clarinet and tenor sax.

Do you remember the geeky girl in American Pie who goes on about band camp? Yep, that was me in school. Except we only went to camp once. And I’m pretty sure my high school experience was nothing like it is in the film! 😉

These days I only play clarinet in church on a Sunday. It’s fun though and suits me because I’m far better at playing the clarinet than I am singing, so everybody wins.

So on Sunday I was playing along, doing my thing, and I noticed something funny that I’ve never noticed before. In one of the songs, I kind of take a bit of artistic licence and don’t exactly play what’s written in the music.

It sounds pretty and works just fine but, what I noticed on Sunday was that, after playing it that same way for probably several years, everyone now sings it the way I play it.

If the composer of the song were to hear it, he might not be that impressed, but we’ve taken an already nice song, tweaked it, and made it our own.

Pretty cool I thought.

And then I got to thinking about life. You know how sometimes you do things a little differently? And maybe the first time you do it, either no one appears to even notice or they look at you a bit funny because you’ve done it ‘wrong’?

But you keep on doing your thing.

And then one day, someone, just one person, decides to sing your tune. And so now there’s two of you, doing things differently. Sticking out. Doing it ‘wrong’.

You have an ally and it feels good.

And together you keep on keeping on until who knows, maybe you go on to inspire a whole load more people to do it the ‘wrong’ way and you wake up one day to find you’ve actually made a difference on this planet.

But if you’d have just stuck to the right way of doing things, the way everyone else was doing it, you’d have never even known what was possible.

Sometimes it feel uncomfortable to do things the wrong way. At the very beginning it can even feel lonely.

But I’m here today to encourage you to keep on keeping on.

Don’t give up.

Don’t give in.

Keep on.

 

How to succeed in the big stuff by thinking smaller …

How many times do you read a good book, one full of ideas that really seem to hit home and spark loads of those exciting ‘ahas’ that we both love so much? And you get all fired up and start thinking about how this time you’re actually going to make use of that thing you just read.

And for a little while you do. All those good intentions. And then life happens and you sort of tail off a bit?

Yep, me too.

And I’m not just talking about the usual suspects like weight loss or business goal setting (although, in my world at least, those two seem to feature fairly often in this cycle!)

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve promised myself that I’ll absolutely, definitely drink the recommended eight glasses of water, only to get to about 3pm and find I’ve fallen woefully behind.

So when my dad told me about a book he was reading about little things that get the big stuff done, I bought a copy immediately (Thank you Amazon Kindle. I love you so, so much!) and started reading it the same day.

It’s called The Slight Edge and the basic premise is that everything anyone has ever achieved, any time, ever, any success they had or triumph over adversity; all of it happened because the someone decided to do one little thing, consistently, repeatedly, cheerfully and without giving up.

There are loads of stories scattered in there and some two hundred pages of expanding on this point but that’s the Facebook status update version (just in case you’re not really a book person or you’re one of those people who’d rather skip to the last page to find out if it’s a happy ending or not.)

Thinking about my 8 glasses of water quest, I decided to tweak it, based on this new found learning and, instead of trying to drink two litres of water, today I simply chose to drink one small glass of water every hour, on the hour.

I forgot a couple of times but by the end of the day, my 2 litre bottle was nearly empty. Result!

The trick will be doing it again tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that and …

I got to thinking … what else could we tweak and apply The Slight Edge principle to?

You remember I mentioned yesterday about how Mondays are the day for getting really intentional about the week to come?

Well this is what I was talking about. Picking the little things that, added up together, over time, make a massive difference. Both in your business and in your day to day life.

Are you one of those people who, every January, makes a promise to yourself that this is the year that you’re finally going to read the whole bible? How far did you get?

What if, instead of trying to read the whole bible, you simply read one chapter per day? And what if you didn’t wait for January to roll round but instead, started right now, today? You’d have nearly got to the end of Numbers by Christmas morning. Not too shabby!

You see? It works like a charm for just about anything in life that you want to do.

Want to finally write your book? Commit to writing 500 words per day, every day, and you’ll be the proud owner of a fifty thousand word first draft in little over three months.

Want to be able to do 100 sit ups? (Really? Are you sure?) But yes, if you really want to, you can commit to just one and then one more and then one more again and before you know it, 100 sit ups. Easy.

The real trick is choosing your thing, and then doing it, every single day.

Are you ready? Get to it!

 

What if we stopped consuming and just started, right now?

OK, so this isn’t exactly a traditional Christmas post. But it’s something that bugs me from time to time (probably because I’m massively guilty of this myself and need the reminder!!) and it feels really apt as we get ready for that big ‘end of one year, beginning of the new’ milestone that is New Year.

I love New Year. Fresh starts. Clean slates. All that jazz. (I get a similar (albeit smaller) feeling on a Monday morning. The sense of expectation. That yes, this is going to be amazing and totally rock!

Until it doesn’t!

But here’s the thing … January 1st … it’s just a day. Yes, we usually enjoy a nice family meal (although this year I’m going to have to cook it in my own house – what’s that about mum?!? ;)) and yes, traditionally at least, lots of people have a lie in after staying up late to yell in each other’s faces “Happy New Year!” and sing that Scottish song that no-one knows all the words to.

But aside from all that stuff, it’s still just a day.

It’s like that idea that you must start your new diet on a Monday. Why?!? Why can’t it just start? Unless of course you want the days leading up to Monday as a chance to eat all the stuff you’ll be refusing yourself once you start the aforementioned diet. “This is it, no more chocolate, so I might as well eat two pounds of the stuff in the next 53 hours while I can!”

And yes, you’re right, I’m not a massive fan of diets. They make you fat. But that’s a whole other blog post!

But what if there was no one best day for stuff?

What if every day was just a day and on that day we just did our thing?

No tomorrow. No fresh starts. No ‘I’ll just read up on this thing so I know how to do it best and then I’ll think about starting for a little bit before finally realising that it’s late now so I might as well leave it.”

What if we stopped reading, stopped learning, stopped consuming, and just started, right now?

(And yes, I do totally see the irony in my asking that question in a blog post that you are probably reading instead of doing!)

I see (and am guilty of) this from a couple of different perspectives.

With business stuff, there is just so much out there to learn. I could spend a whole lifetime learning how best to plan, market and sell in my business. Courses to attend. Homework from said courses. Planning. Introspection.

And don’t get me wrong, those things are great. I’ve worked with some wonderful people this year and built amazing relationships as a result of doing courses.

But if all I do is learn more and more and never actually put any of it into action, how well do you think my business will do in 2013?

But even more tragically, I see it in life too.

I have book shelves heaving with content. I could literally lose the next two years of my life to going back and reading that stuff.

Personal development books. Parenting how-tos. Whole forests worth of spiritual books. And yes, there is some great advice in each and every one of them (well, maybe not every single one. My official guide to Doctor Who is pure fun!) but the idea that keeps rattling around in my brain is that of knowledge versus experience.

I love learning and knowledge is fascinating to me. But there is nothing quite like the experience of biting into that juicy fresh peach on a warm sunny afternoon and feeling the juice squirt out the sides!

I want every day to be full of ‘juice squirting out the sides’ moments.

And that doesn’t come from learning more. It comes from living more.

I don’t want to learn more about Jesus from those books on my shelf. If I read a book, I want to read it because it will help me to share a juicy peach moment with him.

I don’t need more knowledge about how to best raise my children to be the loving, well-rounded, fun-loving individuals they are. If I read a parenting book, I expect it to help me giggle with them.

I’m done with reading blog posts because I’m procrastinating and putting off living life. Instead, I want to just live it. So if I read a blog post, it will be because it has something in there that will inspire, motivate or give me the kick up the arse I need to actually get out there and start doing.

And that starts today. With this post that you’re reading right now.

I will never again write something just because I’ve said I will. No more filler text or meaningless words.

Instead, I write because I have something that will inspire you to action. That is my promise to you. Starting right now.

So now it’s your move. It’s time to stop learning and start living.

Make your move gorgeous.

Go on … I dare you! 😉