Do we really want to fight?

When you’re learning, or getting over something, no matter what that is, there’s always a phase of self discovery. The light bulb moments that somehow make things clearer, or show you the path that you need to take. If you’re looking for the answer, it’s always there. Somewhere. I wanted to share one of those discoveries on my journey through anxiety.

Notice I said my journey through anxiety. That statement right there is where this all began. You see, for as long as anxiety has been a part of me, I’ve always described it as suffering with or battling or fighting. And I described it that way because that’s exactly how it’s always felt! It’s been an exhausting fight, I have suffered and I’ve always believed the answer to ending the suffering is ridding myself of the very thing that’s caused the pain. I now however believe that the fact I’ve been fighting it for so long is the reason it’s still throwing punches straight back. Stick with me, let me tell you what I mean…

It’s no coincidence that the traits you’re born with help to shape who you are. Yes there are influences as you go through life that might alter things slightly but fundamentally you are who you are. Think about all the people you know – quiet friends, loud friends, some who like attention, some who love a quiet room – all different but all perfectly acceptable and loveable qualities. So what if being anxious is a fundamental part of your make up? Did you notice the automatic feeling was a negative one? Why is it that some traits have negative connotations and others don’t? So how about we instead look at what being anxious really means, just for a moment. Maybe it’s an intuitive cautiousness that you have to keep you out of harms way. Or perhaps it’s simply love for others that burns to help you keep them safe. It could be a deep empathy that you genuinely feel when someone else is in pain. Or a genuine dislike of the injustices in life. They all feel like they’re coming from a good place.

So where am I going with this? Well I guess my point is, to continually fight against a part of yourself, to try to change a part of who you are, to me, sounds like a battle with pretty rubbish odds. Would it not make much more sense to take the time to learn and recognise who you really are and how you’re made up? Then embrace every part of that, anxiety and all. Now of course, that’s never going to be easy. The worry remains and the physical symptoms that manifest are very real (and very unpleasant). Thankfully we live in a world where there are plenty of options to help that bit. But I do think if we can get to a deeper understanding of ourselves, those symptoms will rarely get us. Now obviously I’m not a scientist or a doctor (god, imagine that!) – I have nothing to back the theory up. Only my personal experience of when the symptoms kick in. And generally that’s when I feel overwhelmed or unsure – and always when I’m lacking an understanding of how I’m actually feeling. So what would happen if I knew myself inside and out and always had an understanding of where I’m at at any given time? I’m betting the odds are much better for me with it this way round.

I don’t think there’s any single way to navigate yourself through anxiety. I’ve previously shared some of the things I’m trying and I’ll continue to find new ways to help myself. This blog itself is all part of the journey too. So right now I’m grateful to be in a position where I can share my journey and I’m grateful that you took the time to come on the ride with me.

Anxiously yours 😘

The start of a new journey

This is a bit of a tough one for me. Anxiety. I think probably the hardest part is the feeling of being trapped in your own head. And with a head like mine, that’s a scary place to be 😂 But in all seriousness, it’s like being in a tumble dryer, unable to open the door to stop the cycle because it’s moving so fast. Now I’m a logical person and I totally understand this is all anxiety created somewhere in my own thought processes. Trouble is, my logical brain is the conscious one, valiantly battling the negative thoughts every single day against the invisible enemy – the unconscious brain. And I honestly believe the key to getting better is hidden deeply in a chest inside that unknown bit. With that in mind, this isn’t a post all about anxiety (not quite ready for that so that’s for another day) – instead, it’s me sharing that I’ve picked up the treasure map and I’m off to find the key!

When you talk about thinking positively, people often sigh. I always wonder why. Is it that most of us don’t even realise that our thought patterns are negative? It’s actually harder than it sounds to be actively positive and once you become aware of your thoughts, it’s quite shocking how easy it is to be negative in the most basic of situations. That pesky subconscious is a sly ol’ dog that needs to be shown some puppy love… it takes patience, hard work and an acceptance of yourself to take it on. So I’ll give it my best shot. The way I see it, there’s nothing at all to lose but everything to gain. So I’m sharing here my journey to break the cycle, and go back to the positive, happy and the best version of me âĪïļ And if anyone wants to take the ride with me, all the better…

  • Mindfulness and meditation

Wowsers this is a steep learning curve for me! My problem is I don’t know how to relax. And when I say relax, I mean really relax. Actual quiet time. Apparently silence makes me really uncomfortable – who knew ðŸĪ·â€â™€ïļ It’s early days and I’m most definitely a beginner but I’m dedicating 5 minutes every morning to meditation. And while I still feel a little silly at the moment (it is only day 6!) I have to admit, I do feel calm at the end of it. I’d highly recommend the Headspace app if you’re a meditation novice like me – I’ve just discovered a sleep exercise that I’ll be giving a go too! Watch this space…

  • Being grateful

This one is much easier and I really enjoy it as it forces me to look for the positives every single day. Before going to bed I always think of the things I’m really grateful to have. Now on a bad day, I might well borrow something from my pre-prepared basics list. But that’s ok because I see those days as just a bit of brain training. Reminding myself that there is always something to be grateful for. But here’s what I’ve found to be the magical bit of doing this. On a good day, because I know my bedtime routine is coming, I actively pay attention when something makes me smile. I take a moment to see it, feel it and I make a mental note. Then I get to relive it later as something I’m grateful for. It’s a subtle shift that makes a huge difference. And it’s definitely better to look for nice things because the added bonus is, somehow you miss what might have been negative on another day. Why not give it a go?

  • Spreading a smile

It’s surprising how far a smile can travel! Do you ever notice that sometimes you’ll walk down the street, or round a supermarket, without interacting with anyone at all? Now yes, walking around oblivious with your head down is no doubt easier. We’re often rushing, on a mission and lacking the time to make connections, even the small ones. But here’s the thing – making a conscious decision to take a few extra seconds to lift your head, make eye contact (no more than a few seconds mind… no one likes a weirdo!!) and smile really does change the feeling of that primary mission you were on. So simple yet effective. And who knows how many others feel even just slightly better like you? Definitely worth the few extra minutes.

These are my three focuses at the moment, and as they become second nature (unless I decide they’re not for me of course) I’ll be testing new techniques – I’ll keep you posted. Anxiety is bloody hard work and it’s hard work that we didn’t ask for. But we do have a choice. Continue as we are and continue with anxiety. Or try out something new and maybe not feel quite so bad anymore… no brainer for me.

Speak soon lovelies 😘

Fake it til you make it?

So this is a topic that I’ve talked about before. But previously I’ve talked about this one via live video so I wanted to revisit it in black and white. I was out running (ish – more walking to be fair!) and it came up in conversation sparking all those thoughts to the forefront. The great thing about taking the time to write is it often throws up thoughts you never even realised you had! So should you fake it til you make it?

I do think the principle of this strategy is a good one, to a point. But on the whole it’s one that I hear a little too often for my liking, and it’s one that’s often taken out of the context that it was intended – taken just a little bit too far. I genuinely feel it’s been lost in translation somewhere along the line and some have lost themselves along the way ðŸ˜Ķ But before I elaborate on why I think that, why is it a good principle when used in the right way?

Well fundamentally, we all have to start right at the beginning. The starting block is the same and it’s how we push at the sound of the gun that determines how the rest of the race will go*. Now it would hardly be a good strategy to start the race saying to yourself this is my first race, I’m not very good yet, I’ll just see how it goes. That’s not a winners mindset, and to be successful in business you have to go out to everyday with the absolute belief that you can and will race your best race. So the fake it til you make it strategy comes into its own here. Hey, it might be the first race, I may not have the experience yet, I may have a lot to learn. But I can still leave the blocks pushing like I’m a winner 💊🏞 I think to give yourself a good talking to and fake a little bit of self confidence is absolutely a good thing.

Another thing I think it works for is giving you that little kick up the behind to push out of your comfort zone. When you start out most things will be new to you and if you wait until you’re an expert at everything, well, you’ll never do anything. Most of us learn best and fastest by the doing. I’m not sure if practice makes perfect, (there’s another one to explore right there 😉) but practice definitely teaches you the lessons you need to learn to improve your skills. But I will add a caveat here that leads me nicely to my next point…

I believe faking it can be taken too far. Don’t just jump in blind. In a traditional job you will almost always start with an induction and some basic training. No, it’s not going to teach you everything you need to know, but it will teach you the basics to ensure that you won’t end up getting sacked as a result of silly mistakes. So why would running your own business be any different? Learn the basics, the theory, induct yourself and do the training. There is a fine line between faking it and coming across as untrained and unprofessional. People will forgive small mistakes, probably even forget them. But BIG mistakes… it’s a long way back from there.

What about using the fakery too often? What do I mean by that? Well for me, it’s all about honesty and realism. And in the real world, things just aren’t perfect ALL of the time. See life is life. Night will always follow day. Winter will follow Autumn. Monday morning will always be Monday morning. And every single one of us will have fabulous days and not so fabulous days. And all that stuff is perfectly normal and ok and actually, for me anyway, a reassurance that everything is as it should be. So seeing those seemingly perfect, no bad days, wonderfully fluffy worlds full of unicorns ðŸĶ„ (ok, I’m exaggerating a tad, but you get my point) is actually a bit unnerving. Not to mention suspicious and showing the hallmarks of fakery. Of course you’ll share successes, that’s the fun part of running your business. Celebrate achievements. But keep it real as well.

One more thing I want to explore is something a little controversial. Not controversial because I think you won’t agree. More because it feels a bit uncomfortable calling out an issue that exists in an industry I love. Thankfully it’s only the minority but it’s frustrating nonetheless as it does reflect on all of us. Its the extreme of fake. It’s taking it way beyond what it was ever meant to be and it’s outright making stuff up. Yep, I said it. Don’t make stuff up. Remember I am talking extremes here… but if you’ve just bought a new car using the money from your day job, don’t tell everyone the business paid for it. There is no shame in building it up slowly. You’re building something great that doesn’t need to be undermined by making stuff up along the way. And I’m going to go out on limb here… the day you do buy that brand spanking new car, because of your business, I bet you don’t even feel the need to tell everyone how you bought it.

So let’s end it here, on some final thoughts. A summary if you will. I think fake it til you make it absolutely has its place in a good business strategy when it comes to mindset and building your skill set. But not at the expensive of effort, integrity, truth and professionalism. You’re in this for the long haul and if you lose trust you have an uphill struggle to get it back. So I say just be you, use all the strategies available to you to help you along the way, but everything in moderation, and always authentically you.

Laters lovelies 😘

*I say ‘race’ in the loosest sense possible! There’s no competition. You’re only competing with yourself, striving to be just a little bit better and stronger each time.

Can we be too open?

Here’s a topic I’ve wrestled with a lot. I say I’ve wrestled… what I mean by that is I’ve spent a lot of time justifying my openness to those that love me. You see, many of my loved ones think I show too much, think too much… then by default, say too much. I’ve wrestled because inside, I’m just saying and showing what I see, think, feel. So the question that has to be asked… when is the line between openness and privacy/behind closed doors crossed? Damned if I know! But let’s explore it anyway.

For me, the first port of call (and the most difficult) is that thing they call instinct. Believe me, this thing has got me into all sorts of trouble! Acting instinctively comes with its issues for sure. If your instinctive reaction affects you and only you, well that’s plain sailing. But the second that reaction relies on the reactions of others… well, it’s no longer your instinct. It’s your instinct relying on someone else having the same gut feeling. Oh dear, it’s confusing to write… Never mind to experience! We all perceive things differently, and all those perceptions are our own realities. Each and everyone of us. So it’s no wonder conflict arises when one person perceives some information as too much, while someone else just doesn’t. Just yesterday I was met with a ‘too much information’ comment. My response (damn that instinct!) ‘No such thing’.

Then there’s another issue. People who believe that others thrive on people’s weaknesses. Some of my nearest and dearest fall into this catergory. And I don’t disagree entirely! In fact, I love that they look out for me and keep my eyes open to that reality. Oh, and guess what, I have been burned by people doing exactly what my nearest and dearest have warned! The downside to openness is that everyone knows what you’re all about and should people choose to take advantage of that… well, you’re wide open to it! However, why should you become someone different and attempt to wrap yourself in cotton wool to protect yourself from others? I know if I’d done that, I’d have missed out on so many great people, missed some pretty special bonds and relationships, and likely missed out on a whole load of fun too! My ‘too much information’ stance has lead me to many of my favourite people in the world. So instead of changing who we are, why can’t we just change our mindsets and learn to deal with the bad only if it happens.

Now obviously, there are inevitably things you don’t need to tell the world. I’m well aware this contradicts my earlier no such thing as too much information statement. But let me defend it with this. While I may not tell the world absolutely everything, it doesn’t mean I haven’t had some rather cringeworthy conversations over the years with the people I’m proud to call my circle.

So that I guess brings me to what I think is the answer to can we be too open? I really think, as long as you know your boundaries (toilet habits on a first date might be too much 😉), you can’t be. Everybody we meet deserves the real YOU. Because that’s how true bonds are created. That’s where you find the ones that really matter. And yes, the odd rogue may slip through the net and granted, it’s not the nicest feeling. But hey, you get over it because you have to. On the flip side, the times you can turn to people when you need them, because they really know you, just because you’ve been nothing but the real you, far outweighs those little blips.

So don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s the sign of a big heart. And with a big heart, IF you need it, they’ll always be someone to help break the fall.

Laters lovelies xx

Surround yourself with lovers, not haters

When you really pay attention and notice the energy that is wasted on negativity, I find it quite phenomenal. It takes so much more energy to fight than it does to love (not to mention it feels quite rubbish to boot!) Yet somehow, we fall into the same trap every time and keep allowing the negative vibes to flow. Why do we do it to ourselves? Never one to shy away from uncomfortable questions, it felt like a good time to try and explore this a little.

See I believe we all deserve to be loved, we all deserve respect, we all deserve to have a tribe of people that unconditionally believe in us and our abilities. And yes, of course, these things are all earned. But if we’re good people, who love, respect and believe unconditionally in others, then its perfectly reasonable to expect the same be granted in return.

Now thankfully, I’m pretty sure we all have these beautiful things around us in our friends and families. But I’m also pretty sure we all also have at least a degree of the opposite. Those people that want to focus on everything that’s wrong, that don’t respect you, that want you to stop believing in yourself. And somehow that minority gets a lot of time and energy. And I think it’s time we extinguished that energy and just left them to it! A fire can only burn if you provide it with the oxygen after all.

Now to be clear, saying enough is enough doesn’t necessarily need to be a big dramatic stomp away! It could just be a slight shift in your own mindset. Let me elaborate. Say you have a friend, and that friend loves and cares about you a lot. BUT they think you’re making a mistake with your latest venture. They’ve briefly googled all the reasons why they’re right. They’ll highlight the mistakes you’ve made that also prove they are right. They’ll encourage you to rethink your choice at every opportunity. Yes, it does come from a place of love and protection but this is still a negative energy. Now you’ll react in one of two ways (maybe even both). You’ll defend and fight and have all the counter arguments you can muster ready as your ammunition. Or you’ll allow just a little bit of self doubt to chip away at you. Blow by blow. Now add up all that wasted energy. From both sides. That serves neither of you.

So what about a different approach? The slight shift. Give that friend the respect to be honest. Thank them and appreciate them for loving you, for wanting to protect you. But ask them to grant you the same respect by agreeing to disagree. Suddenly you’ve freed up a whole load of energy for both of you. You’ve strengthened the relationship by taking the problem out of the equation. And I bet that friend will, from there on in, be your biggest secret admirer rooting for you to do what you set out to do. My money is on them being the first to congratulate your successes too. And you didn’t even have to walk away.

Now unfortunately, sometimes, walking away is all you can do. Sometimes the negativity will come from a place that isn’t love. A dark place that will not be there to help you grow. I don’t want to dwell on this for too long… but when you have this in your life, somehow you just know. And it takes strength to accept it and shut it down. In that scenario, you have to walk away. Because if you surround yourself in too much of this, eventually your dreams and goals will just be a distant memory of what you used to be.

So back to the original point I wanted to make. You will have plenty of positive people all around and I’d encourage you to cherish them, enjoy them, be grateful that they’re there. You’ll have plenty of people that care but inadvertently bring a sprinkle of the bad stuff and this is where you shift your thinking and dispel the negativity. And you might end up having to walk away occasionally because the damage if you don’t is too catastrophic. But remember everything is a choice, and you choose who’s around you.

A smile is contagious 😊 A frown is too 😔 Laughter is contagious ðŸĪŠ Anger can be too ðŸ˜Ą

Choose your people wisely âĪïļ

Laters lovelies 😘

Stay true. To you and your product…

So if you’re ever told building a business is easy, my advice would be don’t be caught up in an unrealistic illusion of real life. A real sustainable business isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it! But equally, it doesn’t mean the path to getting to fully fledged, successful business owner can’t be fun too. But so many people give up at the first hurdle and I just wanted to reach out to anyone considering giving up… please keep going, keep being you and stay loyal to what made you go for it in the first place!

Let me elaborate on what’s got me thinking this time, what made me want to ramble on again (you know by now I just can’t help myself!)

With so many different companies in our industry, it’s so super important to choose a product that a) you like b) you’ll use and c) you’d be happy to recommend to those that you care about the most. There are so many strategies for building a successful business, and in time you’ll find the way that works for you. But at the heart of it should always be your product and you need to whole heartedly believe in them.

You need to work with people that inspire you. The people around you are key, especially in the early days. You will rely on their guidance, advice and energy so if you’re not clicking with someone, chances are you’re going to make your journey to success a whole lot harder than it needs to be by working with them. Harsh I know. And there may be some backlash to make such a statement. But I do actually believe it’s a truth that can’t be avoided 😎

Always give people time. Remember, when you start the people around you have absolutely no idea how serious you are, no idea about your products, no idea if you have the staying power to see it through. Only time will prove that to everyone so staying true to yourself and your products is the single biggest thing you can do to create a loyal customer base. Followed very closely by the full circle of being patient and giving it time. People will only take you seriously if you show them you’re serious.

I think you have to be really honest with yourself and even be brutal if you need to be. Being disillusioned doesn’t build a business, and even if it did, it wouldn’t be a business that made you happy. I think when you’re being honest, you know deep down whether or not something is right or wrong, whether you’ve given it your best shot, whether you’re being true to yourself and loyal to your goals and values. The biggest achievements come to those who stay determined, focussed, true to themselves and loyal to the product they love – even when people around them don’t get it yet.

Thinking the grass is greener elsewhere, I believe, is the biggest blocker for anyone in this industry. BUT, the beauty of network marketing is that the principles are the same throughout the industry. The skills needed are the same, the model for growth is industry wide, the role models in the industry all have very similar qualities and a genuine desire to help people grow, irrelevant of the company they work with. So the single most important decision is choosing the product and people that resonate with you and will help you grow into the business owner that you need to be*. And that decision needs to be made up front. If you move from product to product and don’t stay long enough in one place, is it really so wrong that it might be construed that you’re not all that serious?

It’s not meant to be easy building a business. It takes commitment and hard work. It takes passion and longevity. It takes honesty and integrity. It’s takes loyalty. And it takes patience. I could go on! But I fear I’m bordering on ranting (sorry). The point is, there is a place for every one of us, if we just stay true to that spark that brought us here.

Champion your product. And you’ll champion our industry.

Laters lovelies 😘

*Ok, in reality it’s two decisions that just happen to be equally important!

Is average ok?

As is always the way with my blogs, I’ll often read something that sparks a whole array of different related thoughts. This one is no different. I’ve recently found my love of reading again and my genre of choice is mindset. I’m personally finding that other people’s positivity and strong mindsets are an excellent medicine for anxiety. Their brilliance is infectious (I hope!) This is what got me this time:

Average. The best of the worst and the worst of the best.

My initial reaction was quite strong. The idea of being the best of a bad bunch made me cringe if I’m honest. But then the thought of being in the shadows of the very best felt really demotivating! But as I let it sink in, it started to feel subtly different and not quite as simple and clear cut as the gut reaction. So is it ok to be average?

Well first of all, what even is average? We all have a unique perspective of the world and one persons average might be another persons best or vice versa. It’s a perception is it not? So is the question not really whether your striving for your own personal best or not?

And then there’s priorities to consider. With so many balls to juggle in our lives it surely can’t be possible to be the best at everything we do. Is it not ok to be average at some things as a means to an end? You know, do what you need to do to get something done without killing yourself in the process. Me as a runner is a good example of this. I use the term runner loosely… I am perfectly happy being an average plodder as it’s not a priority for me to be the best. But when I unpick it a bit, it does serve a purpose in helping me be the best at something else. It helps me the best overall me by lifting my mood and keeping me healthier. Which in turn helps me be the best mum I can be.

Then there’s the pressure side of things. Is not allowing average a huge weight we’re putting upon ourselves? Well it depends I guess. What are the benchmarks you’re setting which equal best? Personally, I think you should only ever bench mark yourself. Be your only competitor. Where was I? Where am I now? Where do I want to be? What do I need to do to get there? That’s not to say you shouldn’t take inspiration from others, learn from them. Just don’t compare and compete and put pressure on yourself to be something or someone you’re not.

So I guess, as with everything in life, I think as long as there’s balance, there really is no right or wrong when it comes to the label average. I think it’s about prioritising, doing yourself justice and making sure you’re always striving for better in the things that are important to you. To be the best at anything you do have to step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself. And you’ll also probably have to accept that your efforts in one thing may take away from your efforts in something else. You may end up wearing that average t-shirt for a short time in the pursuit of being better where it matters. And you know what, that’s ok.

I’ll end with my final thought on this one – if you constantly strive to be better, I don’t think you’ll ever be average anyway.

Here’s to being the best version of you.

Laters lovelies 💊🏞