Read this when you think it’s time to give up

I’ve come to the conclusion that my parents are actually pretty wise. But please, don’t tell them I said so eh πŸ˜‰

After writing on Facebook yesterday about choices, my dad replied with a comment about how sometimes that cruise liner needs to totally change direction. It’s about avoiding collisions.

And then I got to thinking about 180 turn arounds to avoid a collision versus giving up because you just kinda got scared.

Turning full circle is pretty dramatic.

How many times have you got scared and made a massive, dramatic about turn?

Or when you get scared, are you more likely to just kind of shift slightly.

Maybe let go of one or two things, gently, little by little? If you’re already afraid, the last thing your brain is going to allow is massive change and uncertainty.

Little by little, softly, gently. That’s the em oh of the frightened brain.

But how do you really know when a full 180 is needed?

And how do you know when something just isn’t working?

Not many of us get those dramatic bright light moments from God, so instead we have to listen for an inkling, an idea, a thought, and try it and see what happens.

My mum calls it pushing at doors.

You give the thought or idea a little shove, a little forward movement, and if that door stays firmly shut, you might give it another shove (or even a massive great big wiggle!) but ultimately, if you’ve tried and it just doesn’t give, maybe it’s time to reconsider.

But here’s the thing … how many of us say we’re pushing at a door and give up because it stays shut when, if we’re really honest with ourselves, deep down, we know we only gave it the tiniest of pushes with our little pinky?

We say we’re really excited about something, that the idea gives us shivers, but when it comes to pushing and shoving, we just don’t really try.

I’ve certainly been guilty of that.

Back in January I boldly declared to my friends in my mastermind group that this would be the year I put The Itchy Soul out there in a big way. It’s been two years since that now infamous weekend when my fire for this work was lit and it was now or never.

Two years of trying and pushing and shoving.

But honestly? Two years of trying and pushing and shoving with little more than my pinky!

With the usual end of year deliberations, where we all consider where we’re at, now is the time when people decide if they’re ready to call time on that project that never got off the ground.

Maybe you’re ready to give up?

And sure, maybe you should.

But before you do, ask yourself this:

Have you really given it a proper good push? Did you shove at it good and proper?

Or, like me, did you really only give it the tiniest of nudges with your pinky?

Sometimes the reason why we don’t properly go at stuff is because it’s not the right time or we’re just not really into it. That alone can be a good indication that this thing we thought was for us maybe isn’t really.

But when that thing you’re thinking about just won’t go away, when it’s a burning desire that you keep coming back to, weeks and months later, that thing really deserves your biggest boldest kick and shove.

Which leaves only one question … what’s stopping you?

 

Never, never, never give up

Winston Churchill popped into my brain this morning. Can you tell? πŸ˜‰

And there are times when actually, the most courageous thing to do is to walk away, to give up, to say, “no more” but for everything else, there’s Winston:

Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.

What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?

Never give in. Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

The bible has something to say about keeping on too. That was me saying that, by the way, not Winston πŸ˜‰

Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Tim. 1:7)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Never, never, never give up.

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 blogΒ 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 πŸ™‚

How to be the change you want to see (without going crazy with overwhelm!)

I was having a little moan in my head yesterday. I’ll spare you the specifics but after giving myself a pep talk, I was ready to make some changes, strengthen personal boundaries and practice saying no.

And then a quote popped in my head. It was so left-field of what I was planning on doing, I’m pretty certain it was God, rather than me. It was a quote that I’ve, often, gone on record as loving:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

(Not) Ghandi but a bit like something he said once.

Whether Ghandi said it or not, if left me with a bit of a dilemma. Do I walk away, exert personal boundaries, and leave the tidying up and change piece to someone else?

Or do I start changing, loving more, being more of the person I want to see, and by so doing, have at least a little chance of making a difference?

I’m encouraging myself (and now you!) to go with option 2.

It’s not always easy and sometimes it can feel overwhelming and a bit like a one-way ticket to burn out central.

But here’s a secret I need us both to remember …

Massive change doesn’t happen via massive impact. Massive change happens when one tiny action is built on top of one little choice, day after day after day.

All you have to do is decide, make a choice, and then take one little action step toward that choice. Then rinse and repeat.

Easy πŸ™‚

My friend Erin Giles used this principle last year when she founded End Sex Trafficking Day. She approached people, one at a time, and asked them to write a chapter for her book which she would go on to sell, with all profits going to help end sex trafficking.

Tiny daily actions adding up to a whole movement being born.

And she’s at it again but this time she needs you, even more than ever. Please click here, watch her video, donate (even just $1 makes a massive difference. Imagine what would happen if you and 10,000 other people donated just $1) and then share so that your friends can help too.

On behalf of Erin and all the women she’s trying to help, thank you πŸ™‚

And remember, one choice + one tiny daily action = massive impact.

Go to it!
UntilΒ next time, keep smiling πŸ™‚

 

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! πŸ˜‰

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

Spot it. Write it. Stop it. Easy! πŸ˜€

 

 

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! πŸ˜‰

 

Did you hear about this weird brain hack that will help you move forward in your business?

Did you hear the one about the fox and the grapes?

No, it’s not a knock-knock joke. It’s the story of the wily old fox who, after realising that he couldn’t reach the yummy, plump grapes, decided he didn’t really want them anyway!

That’s the power of deciding, albeit the negative power in this case.

So yesterday, over on our party hangout page, I encouraged you to make a decision about what you want to achieve over the next 4 weeks, and then say it out loud. It’s the fox and the grapes all over again.

You decide what you want and, by stating it, your brain needs to fill in the spaces to make that thing actually happen. Weird eh?

Now, I’m smart enough to understand that it’s not as easy as just deciding I want a bright red sports car. It wouldn’t be very practical anyway – I have three kids!

But isn’t that kind of the point? I would never decide I wanted a red sports car (aside from the fact that my favourite colour is blue!) because it wouldn’t suit my needs right now.

So what about if, instead of messing around picking fictitious things that we don’t really want and wasting time and energy debating whether it would even work, we instead decided what that thing is that we really would like?

I purposefully kept it open-ended yesterday because I want to give you space to find your own answers but if you need help getting started, think about what your big dreams are for September.

And then think … what can you practice/work on/develop over the next 4 weeks that will help get you set up ready for success in September?

And remember, there is massive power in just deciding and then moving forward as if the thing you decided is already a given.

Yes, it’s good to be flexible and open to change. God tells us he has really cool stuff in mind for us, even more fab than we can dream up, so flexible is good.

But God gave you those dreams, gifts and ambitions so instead of sitting around, wondering and worrying if you’re making the right decision, why not just decide, and then move forward?

We both know God’s more than capable of giving you a nudge if he needs to so just decide and then do it.

Until the next time, keep smiling. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜‰

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!

 

A year from now?

A year from now? How about an hour from now?!? Seriously, how many times do we sit and procrastinate and check Facebook one last time before finally doing that thing that we really told ourselves we wanted to do all along? Or maybe that’s just me? πŸ˜‰

That said, one really cool thing about procrastination is that it allows time for all sorts of coincidences (God-incidences I like to call them) to come out to play. This morning it started with a quote on Facebook, swiftly followed by a nudge on a blog post and before you can say, “kettle’s boiled” bam! An idea.

So anyway, I was reading said blog post and at the very end there was a challenge …

What do you really want more of in your life? Will you dare to say it loud?

And the irony is, it was that blog post and the writer’s experience of trying to be this Jesus person who looked like other women at church that further cemented my thing I want more of because you know what?

There is nothing I want more than to see you be you, to help you step into the person you were created to be and to be that glorious being totally and unwaveringly.

Because you’re fab. He made you and he doesn’t need a do over.

God’s poem. His work of art. That creation so treasured and precious that he can’t help but post photos of you on Godsbook and share it with all his friends.

“Hey, come and look what she did today. Isn’t she lovely? I just adore that child.”

You think I’m kidding or being daft? No way. You are adored. Just as you are.

And there is nothing I want more of in this life of mine than to remind you of that, inspire you to really know and feel it to the very core of your being, every single day.

More love, less shoulds.

Because when you’re being you, hanging out with a God in a way that is true to the person he created you to be, what other people do or don’t do becomes largely irrelevant.

I have a friend who likes to go with her daughter on shopping dates. They have a blast, a right old giggle. Me? Not so much. I prefer baking cakes or taking my daughter for a hot chocolate in Costa.

We’re both mothers with daughters. Whose relationship is right?

You got it (clever you, I knew you would!) Both of us are right of course. It’s not about what you do. It’s about spending time together.

And those instincts we have as parents to want to love on and be around our children, God put those there and, made in his image, it stands to reason that he has those desires too.

He doesn’t really care how, he just wants to hang out with you.

Which brings us full circle to the idea of starting, right now, today. Because there is no right or proper time to hang out with God in the same way that there is no right and correct time for me to give my children a hug (although I’m pretty sure my eldest would prefer me not to decide that in the middle of the school yard!)