Living in the present with one eye on the future

I know so many people talk about living in the present moment and think it is so important. So often we can get caught up in planning, social media, notifications, our endless to do lists, that we seldom take time to soak in what is happening right here right now. 

However there is a balance. Just focusing on the now, closes off our future thinking or what we are building. For years, I thought planning ahead was a bit boring or constrictive. I wanted to have that spontaneous excitement at all times. 

After years of doing this and expanding so quickly, I have to plan. I have to optimise how I use my time. As a Mum of one, nearly two, I get more done these days. I don’t have time to procrastinate (I’m not perfect btw I can still regularly get stuck down a scroll hole) and my language and communication is much sharper. 

I share a framework in my working smartly course (£100 off until the weekend) but I wanted to share 10 strategies to help you step into the future you. Read more here

1) I have a pic ’n’ mix career.

I love what I do. I endeavour to be intentional but also I am realistic. I have down days or sometimes things are stressful but on the whole life is good. I am grateful for those great moments and don’t dwell on the other stuff. When things go pear shaped I always try and find the lesson…what can I do next time or what is this teaching me. I am positive and resilient but I am by no means Alec Baldwin’s character in Friends…’Look at this night, look at this place’ etc etc

2) Focus on the gains.

Keep your eye on the ball my friend and head towards it. As you are part of the human race, you may face some distractions, self doubt, emotions or wobbles of confidence. Knowing your specific end goals here will help you keep momentum. 

3) Who do you need to step into? 

Moving out of your comfort zone can make you want to run away. This is when you build your tool kit and vision of future life. What does that version look like? 

4) Start as you mean to go on

No faffing, no excuses, just solid consistent action, no matter how small. Question your actions when you feel busy… are these actions leading you to your chosen destination. A great book I highly recommend is ‘Eat That Frog’

5) Deadlines

No more vagueness. Let’s get specific and put a date on it. ‘After the baby’ or ‘Over the summer’ or ‘This year’ is wishy washy. Get used to looking at your diary and scheduling. As Marie Forleo says ‘If it isn’t scheduled, it isn’t real’

6) Expect triggers going to the next levels.

As you move through to the chapter, expect some much needed decluttering. Your brain aka your operating system cannot continue how it has always done. It will need to let go off old beliefs or information. As you see them come to the surface, it can feel a bit icky. Don’t worry, it is all normal. 

7) Get help

From people who get it or have done it. Don’t open up your business problems to your regular circle, no doubt they just want to protect you which is brilliant but may not be able to provide the conversation you require. 

8) Remember it is possible for you too

One of my most popular posts on Instagram was about people becoming millionaires even though they can’t correctly use ‘ You are’ or Your’. You are ready to make this happen. Please start showing up now. Notice who is doing what you want to do. There are so many opportunities in the digital world. Keep looking and learning. You can do this and you can start now. 

9)  WHY 

Remain connected to it each and every day. What are you doing what you are doing? What is pulling you forward? What do you want your legacy to be? Be really specific, don’t be vague and simply say ‘I want to feel like me’ or ‘Because I don’t want this’… get into the nitty gritty. 

10) Tell people

Please don’t forget to tell people how they can pay you, experience your services and what results you can provide. I know so many people feel shy about ‘going live’, I promise you it gets easier. 

9 years with an 'Out of Office' on

I am having busy dreams at the moment and windows of being in the ‘wide awake’ club. Usually I drift off again, but it is interesting to see where my brain will go. 

The other night I was calculating how long it may be until both kidlets are sleeping through. It took Oscar around three and a half years so maybe 2023 :) But I am open to it before obviously. 

There will be nearly a four year gap between them and this has suited us fine. We both earn and contribute and love what we do. Taking time off for me until the kids both go to school isn’t an option as much as I love our time together. 

I know everyone has different circumstances and I fully support individual choice, however I did the Maths for our family. If I put my work on hold, I would be doing so for 9 years. 

That is the equivalent of the years spent at primary school and two A levels years combined. That is a lot of time. 

From 2015 to 2024 I imagine technology will change dramatically. When I did my coach training back in 2012, Instagram wasn’t really a thing. I was only using it to take arty pictures of my pub lunch with a heavy filter. These days, so many of my clients find me this way. 

I think about the opportunities missed. The sleep deprivation has been so tricky at times and obviously the juggle is real but I can honestly say I have never felt so fulfilled in my career. Finally I have a portfolio career that is sustainable, profitable and scaleable. I genuinely love what I do and when people ask me what my plans are, I say ‘More of the same, please’.

I was also questioning what would have happened to my confidence and self belief. I know the only way to work through Imposter Syndrome or moving out of my comfort zone is to face it and crack on. 

The longer I have to ponder or procrastinate, the more blocks I put in my own way. You don’t learn to drive by reading books about it, you have to get in the car. 

I know the summer is coming and so many of us want to take some time off. This is so important. However don’t close off your creative mind or opportunities to grow. I rarely get my ‘great ideas’ when I am sitting at my desk. They come when I am out and about and living life. If you get inspiration, acknowledge it. Don’t hide it away until September, you won’t remember. 

Remember you don’t have to be working on your business for 18 hours a day. A client of mine was sharing that she likes to work on her business/herself for an hour every morning even on holiday. Her husband is snoring away so she utilises the time and it sets her up for the day. That hour supports the rest of her day and actually allows her to switch off. 

Don't get stuck in your direct messages and support your customer/client fully

How to boost creativity

But I’m not creative?

Or so many of us think. In fact, this is often not true.

Creativity comes in many different forms, not in just the artistic arena. Although many of us would consider ourselves ‘non creatives’ in our work, the act of being creative can pop up everywhere. From arranging our Christmas tree a certain way, to presenting a dinner with an elegant twist to our thinking in the work place.

Often we face challenges along the way that don’t make sense or leave us confused and not knowing the right answer. After sitting on the quandary for a while, we often have that realisation of ‘Right, it is time to do something about this’ or ‘We need to find a solution’ and the thought process begins. Suddenly with a bit of ‘Well, we could try to…..’ and ‘Perhaps if we have a go at….’ The answers start to reveal themselves.

Clients often come to me because they would like to do something creative; write a book, start something brilliant, utilise their artistic flair- they have all the ideas but sometimes need a little help getting started or need someone to bounce ideas with so they can fit it in with the rest of their life. 

I would class myself as a creative person, however sometimes the business tasks or the to do list of my daily life seems to come first. 

I found that I would put creative tasks off- I will do that when I have time/money/headspace. I quickly realised these things would never happen unless I made a commitment to myself  to put the wheels in motion. 

What creative challenge would you like to set yourself?

1. School days

Take yourself back to your school days. In our school, Friday afternoons were ‘free play’ so there would be art, or music or choir available to participate in. What do you think back fondly on? Take a moment to reminisce.

2. Write

Take ten minutes to write down projects you have always wanted to complete. A book you want to write, a show you want to see, a dish you would like to make even if you don’t know how.

3. Tell someone

When we tell someone our thoughts move from our head and start to become a reality. Sometimes when we share we receive responses such as ‘Oh, I fancy do that too’ or ‘I know someone who can help you.’ and you start to gain momentum.

4.   Research

Have a look to see what is out there- there could be something right on your doorstep?

5.  Take action

Book, call, visit, design, email, brainstorm. etc etc.  Even if you just complete a little step, do something today. 

What would Beyoncé do? (Maybe)

Beyoncé and I have a long distance relationship... we’ve been in the same room/field twice but the love is strong. One of us maaaay not know who the other is. But that’s ok. 😉

There are always phrases of ‘What would Beyoncé do?’ like it is a quick ‘Ok cool I’ll do that too’ However as it often is I’m sure it will be combination of things... I have tried to dissect the process on why she is in a league of her own...

1. She decided... we all have those moments of ‘no more, enough is enough’ or ‘Let’s do this’ or ‘What have I got to lose?’ Every action begins with a decision. I can’t imagine any of this was a flippant thought. 

2. Got a big vision. She’s not playing any more. She has the platform, money, support, love and talent to build a wonderful vision so she does. 

3. She realised she needed to build a team as she couldn’t do it alone. We may be a company of one but the best find the best to collaborate and grow with. 

4. She charged well.. for now and for later. Get paid now for the performance but also for ownership/producing rights. Savvy. 

5. She gave herself permission to still do what she loved and be a mother. Yes it is tough and you need support to do so but all hopes and dreams don’t end as soon as you give birth. 

6. Moved the needle. I am very interested in this phrase at the moment. I don’t want to be generic and surface. Beyoncé knows the stories that need to be told, the words that perhaps have been unsaid. She says them. 

7. Gave herself more time than normal. Overnight success is not a thing. There are hours of ‘showing up’ behind the scenes. 

8. Gave clear communication. You can’t lead without sharing your vision. There is a great part on the Goop podcast with @brenebrownabout how organisations could do this effectively. 

9. Be humble. Generous, kind, open, loving... you know all those things that are at your core. 

10. Do it like you are the best in the world and show the world what you can do.

You work too hard to just make bills

I have a little story for you today. Last summer I was booked to host a talk at The Townhall Hotel in Shoreditch. It is a beautiful venue if you haven’t been. The room I was speaking in looks like a court room. I wanted to do my best Judge voice and say ‘ALLLL RISE’ or could have said it like the 2001 banger by Blue :) 

It was a hot, sweaty day. My tube got diverted. I had to get on a packed bus. My shoe broke in the middle of a packed, sweaty bus. I had a very un Carrie Bradshaw moment as I had to change my shoes in the street. Then I remembered what a bugger they were to walk in. I tried to channel Ms J. Alexander however... not sure I styled it out. 

I then to walk into a very fancy hotel and talk to a packed room. My intention was to inspire, motivate, educate and make people feel good. I did that but still my broken flip flop was bugging me. 

Making do and saying ‘I didn't mind’ used to be my norm. I would be the first there, the last to leave, I would do free work, I would over deliver and undercharge. I wasn't valued and didn't see my own worth (P.S I have figured out you have to see it in yourself before others do). I would say yes instead of no. I would scrimp on the basics and focus on the little details, instead of investing and growth. 

Now I don't just want to make the minimum. To always be just about making do.

The thing is I have invested thousands into my own training and expertise. However it always comes back to the way we value ourselves. I have had clients who have been internationally famous, who have three degrees, who are recognised as an expert in their field but still doubt whether they can charge for their services or whether they should just give them away or whether they have anything of value to share. 

In the taxi home, I reminded myself that the 'old me' would have got four buses, a walk, two trains and tube home... because I thought taxis were wasteful. Now I switched into growth, I understand the small details I need in order to do what I want to do. 

By getting a taxi I was home in 20 minutes...not an hour and ten, waiting at a cold bus stop. We are always awake early in our house and I need not to feel absolutely exhausted so I can do what I need to do the next day. I love TFL but also know when I need to get home speedily. 

Ultimately even though I thought the 'minimum' was enough and it was ok to make do, it wasn’t.

So I have a few questions for you to ponder: 

Where are you over delivering to everyone else but under delivering to yourself? 

What do you consistently give away when you know you should charge? 

What incremental changes would make all the difference and allow you to be the person you want to be in the world? 

Where do you say you are underserving or ‘it doesn’t matter’ or ‘it will do for now’ 

When I work with clients I cover three main pillars; vision, strategy and mindset. The three have to go hand in hand. Moving to the next level take courage, commitment, a plan, a purpose and big old of slice of trust. 

5 Things I have learnt about feedback

We all have opinions. I have plenty of my own. However I know when it may be ok to share them and when it wouldn’t be. 

One of the most common obstacles my clients face is ‘What will people think?’ It’s a fair comment. So many of us have a driver of ‘I want to make my friends and family proud’. 

From an early age, we can be labelled and pigeon holed… due to our physical appearance, our intelligence, our interests, our attitudes, where we fall in our family or other people’s expectations. 

From a young age, I had a great sense of self; however quite often I felt stifled as so many people around me had a different set of interests and values. 

As an actor, I learnt pretty quickly that feedback, ‘honesty’ (often without kindness) and rejection would be part of the job. I have found a way to dance with it but it still pokes you in the eye sometimes. 

As a ‘personal brand’ I have learnt how to manoeuvre the ‘being brave at putting myself because I know I can do a great job’ vs ‘What happens if they say no because there is someone better’. 

Ultimately my ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it’ mantra bellows loudly so for the most part I have to send the email :) Plus my skills, expertise, experience and testimonials speak for themselves. Sometimes you have you read your own testimonials you know… :)

Here are five things I know about feedback: 

1) It is always going to be there to a greater or lesser degree. Some is going to be said to your face. Some behind your back. You can’t control what comes out of people’s mouths. Only your own and your reaction going forward. 

2) Question the source of the feedback and are they the expert? Both pregnancies I have been told ‘I look huge’ and then five minutes later that ‘I don’t look pregnant at all.’ These are passing comments. Unless they are being said by a medical professional who knows me and my situation, I simply have to smile. 

3) Be discerning about when and how much you share. A few years back, I used to get really excited about ideas and throw them into the conversation. Sometimes they were just a seed of an idea. Much of the idea hasn’t been figured out yet. However I left myself open to questions, doubts from others, judgement and logistical queries. All of this got in the way of creation mode, which is such an important part of the process. I have to be in control of any potential leaks. I don't want an idea to dilute too quickly. 

4) Most people are not paying much attention, they have too much going on in their own lives. There will be a small proportion that are paying every attention. I read a quote recently which I am afraid I can’t remember accurately…it was something along the lines of ‘Those who judge you will always be doing less than you, those who are doing more will always encourage you’ Apologies for the hashed together version, but I hope you get my drift. 

5) Finally not everyone is going to get you and what you are doing. In fact, you changing your lifestyle, your habits, your hopes, your dreams and your boundaries may be very triggering and annoying for some people. This may show itself in less invitations, clicky behaviour where there is unsaid exclusion, or a passive aggressive comment or a loud disinterest in what you may hold very close to your heart. Please don’t let any of this slow you down, alter your path, question your abilities or ignore your instincts. The next chapter is waiting for you.