Bloom Where You Are

For some reason, I only have one or two roses that bloom every year at the same spot but I don’t know why. Happy to hear ideas from avid gardeners out there. My post however is thankfully not about my abysmal gardening skills. 

It took about four to five days after the bud of the rose above appeared for it to be in full bloom.

Really beautiful 😍😍😍😍 but it got me thinking about success. .

It only took a maximum of five days for this gorgeous rose to be in full bloom but how long has it been taking root? How long has the work that goes on beneath the surface been going on?

We all know there is no such thing as an overnight success but we sure wish in our case we would be the exception qualified for meteoric progression. Well I don’t know about you but I often find myself thinking where is the shortcut to the finish line.

Meteoric successes are an anomaly. Right now I can’t even think of one person who was an overnight success for often what we perceive to be sudden has been years in the making.

True success that lasts, whether it’s relationships, business, career, whatever – true success that lasts is line upon line, brick upon brick. It’s in the daily activities we do that further our goals.

You may feel like you are working very hard and you can’t see the blooming rose ( pun intended 😂😂).

Don’t give up. You are just taking root. As long as you have a clear vision, a plan to get you there and you are taking action consistently; you will bloom.

The truth is that the rose is the most beautiful part, the glory of the story. However, if it didn’t have a root, it would never appear. 

So here’s to taking root.

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Ignore the Naysayers

Yesterday, my son and I were having a conversation about his impending match, which was today.

He had been telling his friends at school about the match and there was a plethora of opinions about the opposing team.

  1. They trashed J’s team and J’s team is good
  2. They are better than you guys, you can’t  beat them
  3. They are too good

So the conclusion was, you aren’t going to win. Don’t bother.

Way to encourage a friend! 

So I simply said to him, “it doesn’t matter that they beat J’s team, they don’t have you. So go out there and do your best”. 

For all I knew this team might be the spawn of Barcelona FC but I didn’t really care. You can’t acheive anything without first believing you can. You may not always win but you will most certainly lose if you give up before you start.

I asked what his response was and he said, “I told them I bet you I’ll win). *sniff snifff. Proud mama moment*

I don’t care how delusional I may come across. I will chose delusion any day over thinking I’m a loser before the game has even started.

Pssssh. Anyway, they haven’t met the son of Wonder Woman. He went, he scored, our team won. 

5 Days to the Vision Board Workshop

Over the past weekend, I spent some time with a lady who was somewhat distressed. She’s spent a good deal of time not knowing what she wanted to do with her life.

She had quit her job after having three kids and that job meant a great deal to her. Now her kids are older, she’s lost a sense of who she is and what she wants to do with her life. She keeps wavering between further education, re-training, setting up a new business, staying at home and then further education again.

What’s surprising is that she has actually started a new business in this time. And is contributing to her family but here is the thing – she isn’t fulfilled; she wants more but she doesn’t know what it is.

I spoke to her about the Vision Board party I held about this time last year. Listening to myself speaking to her I realised that I was sincerely passionate, almost evangelistic, about this tool.

I am honest enough to say that it’s not the panacea for all things. However, if you are a visual person and truly in search of clarity – I have no other word for it- this works. If used rightly, it’s an immense tool for change.

I’ve still got a few tickets left for anyone who’d like to give it a go.
Eventbrite - Vision Board & Goal Setting Workshop

Wishes Aren’t Goals

It’s that time of the year when I start to look at the things I wanted to accomplish in the year and analyse the successes and where things might have gone pear shaped.

Then I received an email from a charity I support asking for volunteers to run the London Marathon 2016. I’m thinking about it. Really thinking about it. Primarily because for several years I have always had ‘run the London Marathon’ on my list of things to do. Never mind that I have never ever even tried to apply talk less of run it; yet it remained on my list – probably since my mid-twenties.

I do remember how I came to the decision to put it on my list. It was after watching The London Marathon on T.V for the first time in 1997. I was enthralled, and overwhelmed, by the determination and accomplishment of the runners as well as some of the amazing stories fuelling their motivation. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to do this”.

After receiving that email, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do this. I can finally accomplish my dream. However, I was hesitant. So I asked myself, as you do, if I really did want to run the London Marathon or was it just an interesting thing to do – a list filler?

In my short time on earth, I’ve learnt a few things:

  1. A goal without action is nothing more than a wish
  2. Writing down a goal is pointless if you haven’t made a decision to do it
  3. Counting the cost of a goal before committing to it aids decision making
  4. Feel free to release yourself from achieving this goal if the actions from points 1-3 don’t engender you to the goal.

There might be some things on that list that you can simply cross off before 2015 rings to an end. You are never going to achieve them simply because they aren’t what you really want. Maybe you saw others achieving it and thought it might be a good idea.  Perhaps you just thought it would be a cool thing to do. However sincerely you thought you wanted to; actions speak louder than words.

We all know the things we really want, what we really really want. (See what I did there? 🙂 ) Nothing stops us from committing to those things and seeing them through. No one has to make us do them. Perhaps it’s time to release ourselves from achieving certain things that just aren’t meant for us. Permit ourselves to break free from the shackles of pseudo failure. Those goals don’t belong to us.

However, if the opposite happens. If you feel yourself aching to commit to something on that list, then there it is. That’s your goal. Hang on to it and pursue it.

And if you really really really REALLY want to do it, remember point 1 above though, no action = a wish list.

-Tomi

One Step At a Time

When I started my new job, gosh almost nine months ago now, I was full of a lot of hope. And that hope spilled into other areas of my life, such as my health. My office is on the second floor and I thought hmmmm here is a good opportunity to get some additional exercise in my day – use the stairs instead of the lift. Did I say additional? Sorry I meant some exercise.

Apart from chasing my kids about the place, I don’t get much exercise. We do walk about a bit but I couldn’t quantify it. So I want to try and get fit-ter.

I bought a skipping rope cos I don’t do gyms and I’m sure I won’t last with an exercise video. But it’s still in the packaging one week after. *covers eyes* I’ll be very honest, exercise has never been my priority. I prefer eating healthily, I have the discipline to do that however, I recognise the need to be fit particularly as I’m not getting any younger.20150125-213314.jpg

So I plan – you can see I’m still struggling with commitment – It’s just that I know that there’s no point planning to do something you haven’t thought through.

Anyway, so my general excuse for not taking the stairs is that it’ll take too long. Even though I’ve often seen my collegues who opt for the stairs as I’m waiting for the lift get into the office before me. I’ve never been convinced that it would be quicker.

Yesterday, after convincing a colleague not to take the stairs – I’m bad aren’t I? – I guess the conversation got stuck in my mind. So this morning – wait for it – I took the stairs! Wooo hoo.  And guess what? I took them again on my way home too. I decided to time myself. Guess how long it took to take three flights of stairs? Under five minutes, probably three.

How pathetic is that? So it’s the stairs from now on. Logic tells me even if I’m running late, three minutes will not change the outcome much. I know it’s nowhere near the twenty minutes a day recommended by Cambridge University researchers recently but it’s seventeen minutes away from it plus the unquantified running around I mentioned earlier.

As you can see, I had fitness on my vision board, for posterity sakes. So perhaps this will take me a little bit closer. One step at a time.
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If I succeed – and right now it’s a huge IF- I might adopt the principle of a little change a month. After all, after my alternative stoptober, I’m no longer addicted to coffee. So I may just become a fit-ter in 2015.20150125-213304.jpg

Vision Boards

I like to think about the New Year way before it starts. Usually by mid-September, I’m scouring my mind and making way for thoughts of the New Year.

I’d heard of vision boards some years ago but never did one. I’m a visual person so I thought to try something different whilst I was feeling excited about the New Year.

I wanted to make sure I got it done last year so I emailed half a dozen friends to see if they were interested in a group activity. I got positive responses but in the end only three could make the date I had available. 50% is not bad eh?

I went onto google, as you do, to find out some information about creating Vision Boards and facilitating a group activity on them. Nothing major, I just skimmed through some articles and was ready to go.

Don’t be fooled by the terminology though. They are nothing more than mood boards for goals/ambitions. Interior and graphic designers have been employing them for years. I always marvel at how life coaches turn age-old wisdom into freshly developed pearls of wisdom but I digress. It is simply a pictorial view of something you want to achieve. Works particularly well for people who are quite visual.

I’m the sort a person that you would take to a dilapidated building site and would see nothing but rubble. I need to see designs, swatches, colours, walls and all for it to excite me. If you are that kind of person, this would work really well for you. However, at the end of the day, it’s just a tool.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would work, especially as I had other people with me on the journey but I’m always up for learning new things and pushing my boundaries. It’s not like we were going to the North Pole right? Just in case though I was ready with food, drink and good company.
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If you thinking of trying this out here’s what you need:

  1. Card: I went for A2 but I suppose you could stick together a few A4 cards to get the size you want.
  2. Scissors
  3. Glue
  4. Magazines: loads of different kinds. You can ask your GP or hair salon for copies they are throwing out as well.
  5. A quiet space to do it with some relaxing music helps

Step 1: Think about what you want to achieve. Could be what you want 2015 to bring, what you want the next ten years of your life to look like, a home renovation project – whatever. It’s whatever you want.

Step 2: Go through the magazines and without really thinking, pull out images or words that jump out at you. This could take about half an hour. Just keep pulling them out. Having a variety of different magazines helps as in our case I found out that having only two types was a bit limiting and it took more time to search through. So ensure you have a wide breadth of magazine choices
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Step 3: This is the fun part. Start cutting out images and sticking them on your card or board. You might find that you have some sort of theme running through your pictures and could arrange them according to that. Or there might be no common thread at all so just stick them wherever and however you want. Don’t fall into the trap of creating a board that people want to see. It’s your life, your board.

Step 4: Once you are done sticking, take a step back and look at your board and see if anything resonates with you. The key is to be open to whatever it may bring your way. One of my friends, discovered that whilst she was doing a lot of things and was mega busy, she had been spending time doing things that didn’t please her. The board helped her to realise this and I’ve already seen her make changes to her life.

Step 5: If the board worked for you i.e. it inspires, tells you something new about yourself, validates, etc. then stick it up on a wall where you can see it regularly as a reminder of what you want to achieve.

I’ll have to admit that one evening wasn’t enough for me. I ended up sticking my images and words by theme but I didn’t have enough pictures. However, once my themes were in place and I realised these were the things I wanted to accomplish in the next phase of my life, I went back to the magazines looking for images that matched my vision.

I’ve also gone a step further and done a vision board with my children which I’ll blog about soon. That was quite enlightening.

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After the vision board comes action without which this is just a pretty picture on your wall. However, I do get a boost each morning by looking at it so in that sense it brought clarity to me as well as motivation.

I’m Listening

Three years ago I went on a retreat or a getaway I should say on my own. My husband had the children whilst I spent fours days in Southampton just to clear my head.

While I was there I got a idea which I wrote down. So excited was I by the idea that I couldn’t wait to get home I called my husband as soon as I could to talk about it. He was quite encouraging which if you know my husband at all, is high praise. He’s just one of those guys who is never overly enthused about anything. If something is good he says OK. If it’s fantastic he says it’s alright. If it’s super fantastic he says good. This day I got a good which was in itself an encouragement.

In between writing down that idea and now, life has just literally taken over. I’ve changed jobs, moved to a new city, changed schools for my children, changed careers, moved house, got out of one business, started a new business – a lot has gone on. Slowly and surely I forgot that idea.

Restlessness is a sure sign that something needs changing or a great reminder of something you already knew. I’ve been restless over the last six months or so, particularly the last three. And I have been soul searching again. Two years ago I would have gone on another retreat but I couldn’t do it this time. So I decided to use the opportunity of Advent to prepare myself for next year and kind of listen out for what next.

Best laid plans! It’s three weeks since I decided to do that and life seems to have suddenly gotten even busier if that’s possible. Although I couldn’t take the time to be still, I’ve been thinking a lot about it- just going through questions in my head. So last night I couldn’t sleep and I found myself tossing and turning an hour after I got to bed so I thought I might as well start my advent journey, 20 plus days later. I picked up the journal from twos year ago and read through it. I couldn’t believe the amount of detail I had then. Maybe it was too much to process at the time or I wasn’t convinced or I was scared and kind of put it off. Who knows? Two years later, the same idea is still reverberating in my head. I’ve come full circle.

It think it’s safe to say you should never say you don’t know what to do, it’s more like we aren’t listening. Or perhaps we are not in the frame of mind to listen and do something about it.

The universe is always saying something, in my case I believe God is always guiding us, but we are way too busy to listen. Sometimes we miss it but sometimes, out of share grace, we get a second chance and we hear it again.

One of the many things life has taught me is that, the ‘universe’ will not keep speaking forever if we do not jump in
when the waters are stirred. If you are restless at the moment or want your life to take a new shape or direction in the New Year. Take some time out to listen. At the very least you confirm what you already knew deep down.

Listening is a lot harder than talking. It takes time, patience and determination but yields better results all the time.

Find Your Why

Do you know the why of your existence? Why do you live and breathe? Why has your life been preserved for one more day? Why do you love the things you do? Why does a certain thing make you happy? Why does it make you feel alive?

We must always get to the why. This is the one thing science cannot give us. It’s in the soul; can’t be proven or tested – it just is. It’s in your gut and you just feel it. It scares you sometimes when express yourself with it. You feel when you are doing it – you just feel a sense of this is why I was born; this is why I am alive.

A couple of months ago a blogger called An Opinionated Man, offered an internship to five bloggers who were interested in getting more serious about blogging. He has over a million views on his blog; I was curious, so I applied. His introductory email explained what he was bringing to the process and he asked one question in his usual cut to the chase kind of way, “what exactly are you looking for in this?”

I’m really happy I wrote to him because that question got me asking myself a lot of other questions and helped me to trim down the activities I want to be involved in from now on and cut out some of the fluff – not leading anywhere stuff – in my life. It propelled me to make some decisions about what I want to be involved in next year. It also helped me to have a clearer picture of what next for me. Just one question – why?

I love writing, there’s no question about it but I am quite aware that I not a literary sensation – well not yet. I don’t write because I feel I’m the next Zadie Smith, I write because I have a lot to say. Writing is my way of expressing myself. I have kept a journal since I was in primary school and I continue to do so. Even if I do not blog, I will continue to write for myself. My why I write, will continue to motivate me to keep blogging.

Of course there are things we do that will simply be hobbies, their why is simply pleasure. However there is something that is unique to you, that no one else can do quite the way you do it. If that something doesn’t get done, there will be a vacuum. It’s that something that’s your why. It’s that something you must preserve and keep alive because without it, the world loses something special.

Find your why!

Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
― Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

Alternative Stoptober: 30 Days To Kick a Habit

So it’s been 20 days since I gave up coffee for Stoptober and I’ve probably only had 5 cups of coffee since then. Considering I was averaging like 3/4 a day, I think it’s safe to say I’ve accomplished my goal. I actually don’t feel the need to drink it anymore. And if i’m honest, what I thought was perking me up was really dragging me down. Without coffee, my head is clearer and I’m concentrating much better.

With this success I’m wondering what else I can change in 30 days.

    30 days to wake up at an earlier time.
    30 days to leaving Facebook.
    30 days to writing that book.
    30 days to …………………………………………………………………………………….