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I kinda have to address this: daily habits

I kinda have to address this: daily habits

There has been something that has been bothering me a lot, and I feel a very strong need to address it officially.

Here are some thoughts I have about daily routines and why following someone else’s Insta-perfect-early-alarm-brush-teeth-chug-water-make-bed-drink-green-smoothie ideology is the key to… well….nothing but feeling pretty crap about yourself.

Just a few days ago, I read yet another post from a thought leader (who I hugely admire) about how there were six things he did every day without fail, and how he believed that ticking through those tasks meant he was guaranteed to have a productive and successful day.

He kept going on about how his routine would, ultimately, save the reader from a life of unfulfilled potential (a pretty bold statement, don’t you think?!).

Now, I have nothing but respect for this person, but I disagree with him that following his exact daily routine will help you achieve your biggest goals and dreams. Now, let me explain why…

My thoughts about daily routines

First, a disclaimer:

I feel that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with exploring what habits and routines work for other highly successful people.

After all, turning to an expert for their tried and tested methodology often means there’s less of a learning curve for us novices.

So please don’t start throwing eggs at me if you don’t share the same opinions as me. You know I’ve always been 100% authentic with you in my emails, .

However…

Personally, I do not believe that one-size-fits-all daily routines actually exist.

I urge you to find a routine that works for YOU.

Instead of setting the alarm at 5am for a prescribed hour of yoga followed by journalling because that’s what one of the gurus does, I say you’re better off turning inwards to figure out whether you’re even a ‘morning person’ at all, or whether journalling is even important to you.

To give you an example, pretty much every daily routine I read about involves getting up early and making the bed. Both of those small things, so say the experts, will give me a sense of pride and set me up for success throughout the day.

Here’s my issue:

✅ I am a morning person so getting up early works really well for me (I’m writing this email at 4:22am and the silence in the house makes this quiet time at the desk feel indulgent – I LOVE it). I know I’m most productive at this time. I know I’ve had enough sleep to wake up refreshed, and I also know I do my best creative work around this time.

❌ I don’t give a crap about whether or not the bed is made. I just roll out of bed and don’t give straightening the duvet or plumping pillows a second thought. Shock horror, right? The truth is that it’s totally meaningless to me and it absolutely does not have any bearing on how productive the rest of my day is going to be.

I can’t preach to you about how getting up at 5am and leaving my bed a mess is going to help you feel more fulfilled in life if you’re a night-owl who gains a sense of pride when you see your nicely made bed.

What works for me, isn’t going to work for you. And that’s why we can only ever turn to other people to gather examples of habits, and then create our own plan.

Honestly, sometimes it is hard to look at someone who’s highly successful and not want to emulate them in some way – it can feel like a fast-track way to their levels of achievements. But what works for them isn’t always going to work the same way for us mere mortals.

Oh wow, I sure am on a roll today! Let’s end off by super-charging this with value for you.

Instead of following someone else’s daily routine, what about cherry-picking their ideas to create your own routine? It then becomes a plan that contains elements within its structure that work with your own energy levels and lifestyle.

 Here are some mix-and-match elements to use as ideas to get you started:

  • Set the alarm an hour earlier
  • Make your bed
  • Move your body
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Plan one business development task you will do without fail
  • Journal how you see the day going
  • Journal how the day went
  • Meal plan for tomorrow
  • Get your clothes out ready for the following day
  • Use a sleep tracker app to monitor your sleep quality

Have a great day ahead, stay amazing and start creating a routine that works for you.

 And if you need help with creating an individual masterplan for greater levels of success in your own business, my six-month mentoring and coaching programme is now open. WOOT! Feel free to book in for a discovery call.

 

👉 PS – if your inbox needs weekly inspiration like this, feel free to sign up for email updates here.

Confessions: running a business while having a miscarriage

Confessions: running a business while having a miscarriage

For the last five weeks, I’ve been going through a miscarriage. And I’ve been embarrassed to talk about it more openly because I didn’t want you to treat me differently or think I was suddenly weak or an emotional mess or suddenly less professional or less dedicated to my work and therefore not worthy of your potential business because of the awkwardness.

In fact, I’ve been in two minds about penning (typing?) my thoughts at all, and yes I know it’s an awkward topic, but if I don’t share this, then the taboo continues.

With an increasing number of women stepping into leadership roles or running their own businesses, it feels more important than ever to raise awareness about how freakin’ tough it is to stay strong while going through a miscarriage.

What many people don’t realise is that the sad process of a miscarriage is rarely done and dusted in a day.

It’s sometimes weeks and weeks of hospital visits, scans, tests and crying before there’s closure.

And that has been my life for the last five weeks.

It’s over now. I’m fine. I don’t need your sympathy. I’m good.

 

I am here to speak up and be the change.

I’ve always been quite good at burying my emotions.

But then I quit the booze in 2018, and suddenly I was forced to acknowledge my feelings. Urgh. There was no way of numbing them with Prosecco. Or wine. Or frambozen beer.

And I admit that I’ve been feeling all the feelings the past couple of months.

The highs have been high.

Finding out I was pregnant (an unexpected surprise but entirely welcome none the less) in December motivated me to go full turbo with work – maybe you noticed a sudden surge in activity. Early mornings, Facebook Lives, daily podcast episodes, 11x marketing. By golly, Grant Cardone would have been so dang proud of me. If I was to think ahead to a maternity leave, then I’d need to put in ALL the effort now to reap the rewards later this year.

But the lows that followed have been mixed with brutal blows.

It has been tricky to keep my shit together.

Maybe you noticed the video visibility peter out. I didn’t want you to see my tired face and sad eyes.

Maybe you emailed me to ask where the podcasts had gone. I didn’t want you to hear my voice crack or break with emotion.

You see, the good thing about working remotely is that it’s easy to hide behind positive words and a computer screen.

Throw in a few superlatives, exclamation marks, and the world believes your excitement. Heck, you can even convince yourself too.

No one is any wiser about what’s really going on.

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Meanwhile. Behind the scenes. A miscarriage.

2020 has been tough. Unbelievably tough. I am kind of hoping it’s not a sign of how the rest of the decade is going to be. Or maybe the universe has put the Big Massive Test at the beginning, so I’ll be comforted by a smooth ride for the remaining nine years and eleven months. I can but hope.

The last five weeks have involved far too many hospital visits, blood tests, scans, bleeding and waiting. 

Truth be told, I’ve wanted to hide, sleep and ignore the world.

Instead, I’ve woken up with vertigo/sickness/exhaustion/tears and wondered how I would muster up the enthusiasm to be an Adult With Responsibilities. I didn’t want to be responsible. I wanted to be selfish and disappear for a while. 

I’ve pushed through 10x cramps that have had me doubled over in pain and popped painkillers until I thought I might rattle.

I’ve done my best to show up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for my clients and to the outside world on social media.

But I’ve also arrived late to things and left early merely to avoid small talk. To avoid forced smiles through tired eyes.

I’ve eaten approximately eleventy million white-refined calories a day in a pathetic attempt to change my mood.

I’ve put on a brave face and turned up to sales calls with prospective clients, mentoring calls with VAs, and meetings with existing clients while my heart was full of sorrow because I didn’t want to let anyone down.

“Being a strong woman is very important to me. But doing it all on my own is not.” – Reba McEntire

You’ll know that I set up this business because Adam and I had an awful miscarriage loss experience in 2016 and we honestly didn’t think we’d have the strength to go through that shitshow of an emotional rollercoaster that comes with another miscarriage.

We didn’t ever think we’d go through another, let alone one with so many complications that would drag out over weeks and weeks.

This draining limbo has felt never-ending.

The only thing I can liken it to is when someone dies, and there’s that weird period where the world still turns, and you’re just stuck standing still. Everything looks the same, but you feel different. Everything IS the same and life seems to be moving along at the same pace as before, and you feel like you’ve been left behind.

There was a time when doing a pregnancy test was accompanied by the fizzy excitement of what might be. I’d allowed myself to feel excited. I wish I hadn’t.

Yet taking that last pregnancy test turned into a clinical process to confirm what I already knew.

“How are you feeling?” the nurse asked me.

How am I feeling?

How *am* I feeling?

Empty. My womb is empty.

My body just didn’t want to believe it and had been clinging to the pregnancy hormones like some cruel joke for the past month or so. The punch line was all pregnancy symptoms without the reward.

But at least now we gain closure and can move on.

If I don’t look after myself, I won’t actually have a business.

The hurt over the past five weeks has undoubtedly changed me, but I feel very positive about the future. After all, I’m probably crossed between a realist and an optimist – I am naturally full of gratitude. That certainly helps.

I’m proud of myself for pushing through this life test with as much ease and grace as I could muster. I’m pleased that I recognised the signs to slow down and be kind to myself. To lean on my team. Stop the daily Facebook Lives and podcast episodes. To turn down opportunities that I knew I wouldn’t be able to do well while in this weird limbo. To say no more than ever in an attempt to protect my mental health and wellbeing.

I’m posting, not because I need sympathy, or because I am brave – I am simply being honest. 

 

I’m ready to thrive and move on.

With an increasing number of women stepping into leadership roles or running their own businesses, it feels more important than ever to raise awareness about how freakin’ tough it is to stay strong while going through a miscarriage.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I don’t want this to be taboo. 

Miscarriage. 

One in four. 

I really don’t want there to be any shame. 

Because trying to act normal, keep the social media posts a-coming, when all you want to do is hide is freakin’ exhausting. 

If you’ve experienced something similar, I want you to know that I’m here for you if you need to talk. Just send me a message if I can help. 

We fall. We break. We fail… 

But then… 

We rise. We heal. We overcome.

 

Resources

The Miscarriage Association

NHS

She Means Business: When I Met Carrie Green, FEA

She Means Business: When I Met Carrie Green, FEA

In early December, I decided to attend a networking event.

The type where I would know no-one.

NO-ONE. 😱

This also involved:

  • booking my daughter into the school’s breakfast club so I could leave mega early
  • organising the dog walker so our furry friend didn’t pee all over the floor
  • travelling for three (incredibly cold) hours to marvellous Manchester
  • walking (often quite aimlessly – screw you, Google Maps) through Manchester to try and find the ruddy venue

Reading it back now, it already seems like a helluva lotta effort.

So why did I friggin’ bother?

 

Aim: meet Carrie Green, Female Entrepreneur Association

The event was organised by the Female Entrepreneur Association (FEA), led by Carrie Green.

I’ve been in FEA’s membership group since early 2019, and have to admit that I kept a pretty low profile within the group at first.

I wanted to find a supportive group of like-minded women, but felt tentative about getting involved in the online conversations. 

Instead, I dived into the amazing training content – there really are so many masterclasses to choose from, all presented by guest experts in their field. The content alone felt like I was getting real value for money.

It would have been easy for me to feel overwhelmed, but I had read posts in the group which recommended which training to start with.

To say that one masterclass, Lead Your Business Like a CEO, revolutionised my business would be a massive understatement.

Not only did it help me break down my goals into actionable steps, I had the comfort blanket of the membership group behind the scenes so I could dip in and read the comments for extra support.

By April 2019, just a few months after joining, I had ticked through every single goal on my list for the first half of the year!

I had: moved into an office space, hired my first employee, launched training content AND bought my own car (which felt like the biggest achievement of them all – the ultimate freedom!).

I honestly believe that I wouldn’t have achieved so much if I hadn’t joined FEA, completed that masterclass and broken down my goals into weekly action steps.

So thinking about this networking event, clearly I wanted to meet Carrie and her awesome team.

That meeting has been on my wish list for ruddy years – ever since I read She Means Business.

But attending an event where I didn’t actually know anyone in order to do that? That’s not in my comfort zone one little bit.

Here’s how I survived.

 

Survival technique 1: create meaningful connections (…and be remembered)

The introvert in me doesn’t enjoy chit chat, so my version of networking is meeting just a few people and having proper conversations. About work, sure, but that only tells me so much about their life.

I love to hear about their family, what they do at weekends, how they’re spending their Christmas, and all that other stuff that makes up their personality.

When I know that people do business with those who tick all the ‘know, like and trust’ boxes, by taking the time to focus on establishing common ground and building rapport, I know I’ll be memorable for all the right reasons.

The wrong reasons would include “working the room” – blurgh! Or playing the “how many business cards can I hand out in one day” game. 😱

 

These meaningful conversations not only helped me learn more about others, but they allowed me to talk about what I did and how I could help in a really lovely, non-pushy, non-spammy way.

I didn’t speak with my “ideal client” at this networking event, and I’m a-okay with that.

Because, instead, I was able to form connections which meant I’ve already gone on to be recommended to others who are my ideal clients, simply because I took the time to have meaningful conversations.

Survival technique 2: be kind (…and be remembered)

This isn’t just advice that I give to my six-year-old daughter! And sometimes it’s so simple that it’s easily forgotten.

By being kind, displaying good manners (and okay, I am a bit sweary – but you can have good manners and throw in an f-bomb every now and then, I think) it’s easy to be remembered for the right reasons.

For instance, one lady had walked into the room and was clearly unsure where to go. By this point, everyone had already formed little groups and many were displaying the type of body language that indicated the conversation was closed to newbies.

I invited this lady over to join our conversation, and she was immediately grateful. It turned out that she had recently hired a VA but didn’t know what to do next. Luckily for her, I have an onboarding guide, and I promised to gift her a copy. ‘Cause I’m nice like that.

 

Survival technique 3: say thank you (…and be remembered)

I’m also a big believer in saying thank you and sending thank you messages. Again, it’s ridiculously simple but rarely done… so you immediately stand out.

I expressed thanks to the organisers while at the event but knew I was just another face in a sea of people that day, so I also sent thank you messages when I returned to the desk to make it more personalised.

 

There’s a theme here: be remembered

How many business cards do you think I gave out that day?

With my aim to create meaningful connections, I was never going to be handing out business cards left, right and centre.

Instead, I gave out just six business cards that day.

And I’ll be remembered because I took the time to listen.

I know I’ll be memorable for all the right reasons.

And, for me, that’s forged far better connections than “working the room” ever could.

 

Did I meet Carrie?

I did! 🤩

And she was just as lovely in-person as she is online.

She even gifted me a moment of her time to sign two of her She Means Business books – one for me and one for my business bestie, Sarah-Jane Heath. #lucky #winning