Permission to fail; slowing down

11 Dec

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I don’t know about you but towards the end of the year I get jaded.  The last few weeks always seem a bit hard and I find myself counting down to a break over Christmas and the lure of the reset a New Year brings.  A chance to regroup and a clean slate to push on into another year.

It’s also a point I look at what I’ve achieved over this year, I’d set some lofty goals and being ambitious always want to ensure they’ve all been ticked off the list by the end of the year. Usually I’ll make sure of it, in the past even at the cost of my health, juggling many balls in the air making sure none dropped.

These days I try to spend more time being and less time doing, we live in such a busy, driven, over achieving world that it’s all too easy to lose our balance.  This might be why so many of us reach the end of the year longing for a break and limping over the finish line.

As I looked at the things I’d not quite done yet and the time left this year, my over committed schedule and the nice to haves I’d like to fit it (yoga, time with my girlfriend, Christmas shopping) I felt a little overwhelmed.  I also felt so short on energy that I lost all motivation to even want to do things nice to haves. I couldn’t even get excited by Christmas and the impending opportunity to visit my family, even buying them gifts seemed like an effort I didn’t have the time for and for me this is unusual.  I was so close to launching my online course, my last goal for 2016, and felt pressure to do this to coincide with the New Year and time was quickly running out. I’d had so much else on of late though and a packed travel schedule that I also felt like I didn’t have the energy to even know where to start.

I had one free weekend left so I figured I could work 12 hour days to cover some of this off, but then how good would it be, I really ought to be spending more time getting prepared and getting this right I thought.  But that would mean not completing this in 2016 as I had set in my goals – this would mean failure!

This is something that’s not normally an option for me but for the first time I allowed myself to fail and be comfortable with that, knowing I’d made the right choice.  I made peace with not having to get this done now, the fact that I’d overpromised and not allowed myself time for everything I’d wanted to do. I also remembered that without energy, rest and health how was I going to achieve any of my goals?  Self-care and balance really are the foundations for everything we do thereafter.

I’d had a lot of travel of late and needed to reground, I also knew I felt very tired and needed some rest.  I’d spent so much time doing that I’d left little time for being and this is so important to my health, not to mention my creativity and focus.  So I didn’t work 12 hour days, I let go of the notion of having to do everything and achieve all the goals I’d ambitiously set.  I allowed my overflowing schedule to relent for the weekend and spent the time on what I needed the most – rest, recharge and balance.  I used that time to go for walks, sleep in, meditate, rest and recharge, read and catch up with friends and family, I also got some Christmas shopping done and post recharge I feel excited about Christmas and am looking forwarding to spending time with my family overseas, I also feel slightly more prepared!

Balance is the key and knowing when to reprioritise and ensure we always do the things that matter first.  Whilst I’ll set more goals for 2017 I’m sure, as is my habit I’ll be over ambitious and need to re-tweak as we go through the year but this is less about failing and more about balance.  Knowing what’s important and ensuring we look after ourselves in the process of achieving our dreams.  Understanding that whilst we can do anything we want we can’t do everything and it doesn’t all have to be done now!

I’ve also taken the time to reflect on all the things I have achieved this year, rather than just dwelling on the misses.  I suggest you do too as we are always inclined to focus on what we missed rather than all of the little wins along the way.

We do have a tendency to over estimate all we can achieve, particularly in the 24 hours we get in a day!  I’m learning (slowly) that whilst we can do anything we want, we can’t do everything we want. Realising this helps me reprioritise what’s in my overly ambitious schedule to make it more manageable and realistic.

So as we prepare to enter into another new year I have set my goals but I’ll also know my priorities and when things get busy (as they do) I’ll make sure I manage them, even if that means some have to get reprioritised and pushed down the list.  The good news is the online course will be out next year and it’ll have had the time and effort put in that it so deserves which I hope brings a better product. I certainly feel like I have the energy required to put into the project now and have also learned another valuable lesson for balancing our busy over achieving schedules with what’s most important.

It’s ok to take time out, to say no, to admit something can’t be done and relook at our to do list and reprioritise.  In fact it’s often necessary to us being able to carry on effectively and not burn out, particularly at this time of year.  It’s critical we prioritise the things that matter and that we find time to look after ourselves, otherwise it’s very difficult to get anything done.

Happiness Life Hacks

12 May

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Life seems complicated these days.  We’re all busy pursuing happiness, yet how many of us ever reach that goal?

Success, money, and busyness are top of our priority list, yet deep in our hearts we’d prefer time, love, and security.

It’s the age of making a living, but perhaps at the cost of making a life.  What really makes us happy, and how do we find it?

Read the full article; here and watch the video blog here

How to be beautiful

22 Apr

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Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty mind, kind heart and most importantly a beautiful soul.

Watch the video blog How to be Beautiful here

In today’s society body image is given such importance, fuelled by the media it fuels worries from guys and girls in their teens right through to middle age. The media present us with unrealistic expectations of body image that we’ll never achieve. Much of what we see has been airbrushed and perfected until it’s no longer possible to recreate naturally. We are being set up to fail.

It often leads to self doubt, lack of confidence and not feeling good enough. Our obsession with self image can often get in the way of self love which is critical to our happiness. So many of us want to change our body in some way or dislike what we see in the mirror. Even when those around us think we look fine and perhaps envy the very bits we’re wanting to trade! It’s all relative, if you’re size 18 you may envy a size 14 yet they are envying size 10’s and even they are envying someone smaller/prettier than them! It may also be true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what we dislike, others can love. Like art or music, we all have different tastes. Some of us prefer brown eyes, others blue but really it’s less about the colour of the eyes and more about what they tell us when we look into them.

As far back as I can remember in my teens I was conscious of how I looked. I was short, ‘stocky’ as my grandad would say. My thighs were too big, my nose stuck out, I never felt comfortable in heels and I had a constant battle with my weight, even though most of the time my weight was fine! It wasn’t until I matured I began to realise there’s so much more to it than this. All those things I’d spent hours agonising over and trying to change ignoring the positives within just because they were not as visible. Throughout school I wanted to be like the pretty girls but as we’ve all aged some may not be as pretty anymore and those things on the surface that I’ve worried about for so long have changed over time and will continue to do so. The difference is my acceptance of who I am and the comfort in my own skin, what ever that looks like because it feels good.

It sounds like a cliché “your beauty is on the inside” but think about it. We’ve all met people who look good on the outside but as soon as they speak we take an instant dislike to them, based on the fact that if they are unattractive on the inside we see they are not beautiful at all. Our beauty does not lie in what we can see. As people we have inner beauty, our bodies are just a container for our soul, this is the bit that matters and it doesn’t appear in magazines, it is not vain and it does not need plastic surgery.

You know that body that we obsess over so much, the one we put so much of our time and effort into trying to look beautiful. The workouts, the clothes, the beauty products, the diets. The constant worry that we’re too round, not tanned enough. The comparison to others who seem to always be fitter, slimmer and better in some way. The worry that eating that piece of cake might just mean that extra pound we’re trying to shift will stay put – yes that body!

Well it’s going to change and it’s not always going to look like this and for some, this may be the best it ever ‘looks’! This is true of everyone, even the rich and famous age. But why do we worry? It is after all just our body. It is not our kindness, our love, our courage, our empathy. It is not our intellect, our strength, our creativity or our wisdom. All the things that make us special and all the things that really make us beautiful.

Do you know when you look most beautiful? Regardless of if you’ve just stepped off the beach or you’re dressed to kill? It’s when you’re comfortable in your own skin, accepting of yourself, at home with who you are and this is evident whether we are in our jeans and t-shirt or our Sunday best, without the hair cut, the make up the fake tan or anything else on the surface, it comes from within and is a deep unmistakable beauty.

If this is not yet your current state then stop worrying about all the things you’re not and start celebrating all that you are. There are people out there that love you, probably for reasons you don’t even know. Often they see what we don’t, our inner beauty.
We should look after our bodies, yes, this is a measure of our self respect. This means loving what we have, treating it right, feeding it well and resting it often. After all it is the container for what is most important and most beautiful about us all. Our soul, our essence, the parts of us that make us the person we are.

Success: reach your potential

29 Mar

Click here to see the newsletter in full; Newsletter April 2016

We’re capable of more than we think

I hope you’ve been able to enjoy some rest over the Easter break. Life always seems so busy and we achieve so much yet so often we under estimate our abilities and this stops us reaching our potential.

We feel we might just be too ordinary to achieve great things yet those who succeed begin as ordinary people, the difference is they realise their potential, the potential that is within all of us because nobody is really just ordinary

I was stuck in a life I needed to change but frozen by fear; of the unknown, of failure. What if I’m just not good enough to realise these crazy dreams that live inside my head? But by taking small steps towards my goals and changing my life to revolve around my passions and authenticity, I discovered extra ordinary things I’d never thought I was capable of.

Never stop dreaming and don’t put limits on what we can achieve. “Inside every ordinary person there is extraordinary potential”

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Recent Inspiration

Unleash your hero within [click to view] 

No-body is just an ordinary person, realise your potential [read now]

5 ways to tap into your inner wisdom [read now]

When it gets tough, how not to give up on your dreams [read now] 

Disconnecting to reconnect [click to view] 

How to stay sane in a crazy world [read now]

 

Be in with a chance to win a free e-copy of my book to gift to a friend by leaving a review on Amazon http://amzn.com/1504343816

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How to stay sane in a crazy world

17 Mar

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“You can’t calm the storm so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself and the storm will pass.” ~Timber Hawkeye

After another driver pulled out in front of me and narrowly missed a collision, I put on my brakes and waited for the car to stop. As the other driver sailed off ahead of me, my hysterical passenger screamed, “What an idiot! Didn’t you see him? Why didn’t you blast the horn? These people shouldn’t be on the road!”

I realized my reaction, or lack of reaction, was out of the ordinary, and I also noticed that despite the circumstance I had remained equanimous—I hadn’t let it disturb my peace of mind.

I wasn’t angry with the driver, my blood pressure hadn’t increased, and no damage had been done. I was at peace.

It hadn’t always been this way. I inherited a short fuse from my dad (at least, that’s the excuse I used for years).

Imagine a day where very little upsets you and in the face of annoyances you just sail through, calm, peaceful, and happy? It may seem like an impossibility, but when I look at where I was and where I am now, I can assure you it’s not.

It’s a long journey, it doesn’t happen overnight, and like with everything it takes practice.

Before I could do anything about controlling them, the first step was just to notice them. I spent a long time at this point prior to progressing! But with awareness comes progress and just noticing the emotions arise is a huge step in the right direction. 

I used to think it was an unattainable goal. I’d look at monks and nuns being zen and think, Well surely it’s easy to be zen if you live on a mountain top away from the world. But as one old monk (who looked very young) told me, while they may not have the outside pressures like traffic jams, shopping, and emails to test their equanimity, they still have human internal pressures.

He explained to me about his separation from his mother when he was a young child, living through a war, the death of his brother, and his overcoming cancer. There’s enough there to make any human mind an unpeaceful place!

Our minds are so precious and powerful it makes sense we should keep them as peaceful as possible. Not only does it impact on our mood, our relationships, and our effectiveness, but also our health.

Imagine how different life could be if the ups and downs and little annoyances didn’t affect us anymore, if our brains were trained to not react, not suppressing anger but not having the to need to supress it.

Imagine what a different place the world would be if we could all learn equanimity. Well, be the change you want to see and start today! Bringing stillness to our mind also brings peace, and when we are at peace nothing disturbs our equanimity.

Watch the video blog here and read the article in full at Tiny Buddha

Motivation & Inspiration for February 2016

29 Jan

View the full newsletter as PDF here

Time Flies

So we are one month into 2016, it goes so fast doesn’t it. It only feels like 5 minutes since we were setting our intentions and considering what this clean slate, New Year will hold.  How are those resolutions going?

Time can go so quick it’s easy to get side tracked with the busyness of daily life and forget about our goals and dreams (until the next New Year comes around). Life can happen whilst we’re busy making other plans, but only if we let it. Check out my video blog to help keep us on track and ensure we’re always taking steps to create a life we love despite the busyness of daily life.

It’s hard to believe that my six months in England has passed in the blink of an eye. I had a lovely time with family and friends and even managed to see some snow before leaving. I am now back in my resident New Zealand and enjoying catching up on all the things I missed.

Best wishes for a fabulous February!

Jess

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Recent Inspiration

NEW! 5 things you can do to make life better [read full blog here]

Life is our greatest teacher [read full blog here]

Video blog: Equanimity: How to stay sane in a crazy world [click to view]

If you’ve not picked up a copy of the book yet, click here to find paperback and e-book versions

Info & Events

Thanks to all those who came out to support the launch of the book last month.

For anyone who missed the events. A special online launch was recorded and can be viewed here

I was recently interviewed by BBC radio on the journey that lead to me writing the book, for those who missed it listen again here

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5 things to do to create a life you love

26 Jan

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Have you ever thought “it shouldn’t be this hard” or “there must be more to life than this”? What do those who are happy and fulfilled do differently and how can we get a piece of the action?

Start by asking yourself these questions; When do you feel most alive, what inspires you and makes your heart sing?

Life often feels harder than it should be, we’re left thinking, what’s it about, how do I change things and how can I find a way off this wheel? It doesn’t have to be this way, we should not be so busy making a living that we forget to make a life.

We can be rich and ‘successful’ (and many of us would like to be) but this does not necessarily leave us feeling fulfilled. Being happy and living with purpose is very different from society’s model of ‘success’ we’ve been led to believe holds the key to our happiness.

Try these 5 simple tips to create a life you deserve;

 1.  Learn something new

Continuous growth is important, we all like to have something to aim for. Our ambitions and goals gives us a sense of direction and satisfaction when we achieve what we set out to do. Whether it’s a dance class you’ve wanted to start, learning to draw or a language you want to learn it stimulates your mind and soul and stretches you to challenge yourself and achieve.

2.  Let go  

Lao Tzu said “To become learned each day add something, to become enlightened each day drop something”. Clearing clutter, removing blocks makes room in your life for the things that matter. When you clean your house it feels more orderly and balanced, in the same way, letting go of what no longer serves you makes room for things that do.

We live in a world where we feel we have to have things to be happy, it leads us on an endless pursuit of material possessions, upgrading the car, extending the house, buying more accessories. We feel we have to ‘have’ things to be free when it’s the opposite, our struggle to hold onto things brings the very pain we are trying to avoid, we are terrified of letting go for fear we’ll have nothing but this is the true path to living.

If you have been hurt by someone and you still hold anger and resentment because of it, you are letting them hurt you again. Forgiveness sets you free, let go of resentment. “Holding onto anger is like holding a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else, you are the one that gets burned” Buddhist saying.

3.  Give  

It gives us a sense of purpose and that warm feeling that we’ve helped someone in need. It doesn’t have to be big money donations to charity, helping an old lady across the road with her shopping or letting a car in front of you in a traffic queue and other small random acts of kindness are equally important

The root of all happiness comes from giving to others and wanting them to be happy. Studies show that giving to others makes us happier, when groups of people were given the same amount of money to spend on themselves or on others it was those who spent it on others that reported feeling happier. Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School analysed data from 40 published studies and found evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than their peers who do not volunteer.

4.  Find your purpose

Finding your purpose, why are you here, what’s it all about, what makes your life worth living. What’s important to you, what would you do and who would you be if money and other barriers were no object, what sort of person would you be, how would you like to be remembered?

We often get our sense of self from what we do (eg. I’m a mother, a lawyer, a widow). You are more than your job title or your social status, this should not define you or be who you are, it is just what you do.

Work is something we spend so much of our time doing we should ensure for a happy life that we enjoy it and it brings us a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Yet so many of us leave our souls behind when we go to work. Don’t ask ‘what do I want to do’ ask ‘what kind of life do I want to have?’

5.  Do what you love

It can be the small things like a walk along the beach, playing with the dog, visiting your favourite coffee shop, sitting down to read a good book or bigger things like travelling the world, skydiving or simply a night in with the family. Think about what makes your heart sing and incorporate things you love into every day. If you do what you love you will be successful.

Read more in my new book; A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life

Happy New Year: What’s your goal for 2016?

1 Jan

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View the full newsletter as a PDF by clicking here; Newsletter January 2016

I have been reflecting on my first year in business, as we tend to do at this time of year. This time a year ago I was teaching myself how to build a website and writing my first blog. I’ve achieved a lot since then but it’s easy to forget.

There’s still part of me that looks at the success of those who’ve been before and I think; why don’t I have thousands of followers or media appearances yet! We often feel we should be further along than we are. It stops us realising how far we’ve come and celebrating the successes along the way.

We are often left thinking, why can’t tomorrow be today! The impatience of wanting it all now and feeling we should be more successful than we are. I am often reminding myself it’s not an overnight thing. It’s important that we celebrate small successes along the way and appreciate the journey.

Remember your successes from 2015 and have a great start to 2016

 

Recent Inspiration

Meaning and Purpose: Call off the search [read blog here] 

Redefining success based on what matters [read blog here]

Video blog; 10 ways to make 2016 great [click to view] 

Tis the season to be grateful, guest blog [read] 

Video blog: Celebrating Success [click to view]

If you’ve not yet accessed the free resource on making 2016 great [click here]

book cover final

Book Launch Info & Events

View the official book trailer here and find out how you can support the launch [click here]

There are a series of events to celebrate the launch of my first book, including an online event on launch day accessible all over the world

Tuesday 5th January 2016 – Latest Music Bar, Brighton, UK

Wednesday 6th January 2016 – Launch Day Event – ONLINE

Tuesday 12th January 2016 – Bottesford Library, Leicestershire

Thursday 14th January 2016 – Guildhall, Grantham, UK

 

Download the event flyer

Support the launch with a thunderclap here

#RoughGuideSmoothLife

 

 

The Power of Intentions

28 Dec

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The power of intentions 

I’ve been reviewing 2015 and having a look at my goals list that I set at the beginning of this year. At that time I was still writing my book and one of my goals was to give a copy to my parents for Christmas 2015.

As the year has gone on and the publishing process has evolved it was clear the book would not be ready in time. The publishers advised a launch date in the New Year and the final approvals were only just complete a few days before Christmas.

As I took the train up to my Mum and Dads on Christmas Eve I was surprised to find on my arrival 150 copies of my book delivered to the door. It had been printed and was ready for distribution prior to Christmas. So this is a picture of me (a little weary following a massively delayed train trip to my parents) on Christmas Eve holding my book in my hand for the first time.  I also got to share the experience with my parents and what’s more they got a copy of the book for Christmas after all.

When we set our goals at the beginning of the year we are setting an intention which providing we continue to focus on it and work towards it over the year just may materialise as we planned.

Wishing you all the best for the New Year.

 

If you’d like help setting your goals for 2016 or reviewing those of 2015 my 2 recent short video blogs may help; see them on my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt9EbBAOAuh3J2MkJo9m1sg

The book, A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life is out now and available from the likes of Amazon etc.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rough-Guide-Smooth-Life-Living/dp/1504343816/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450794349&sr=8-1&keywords=a+rough+guide+to+a+smooth+life

I am also trying to raise awareness through this Thunderclap and grateful for any support over the next few days; https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/36036-a-rough-guide-to-a-smooth-life

A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life

22 Dec

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As we approach the end of the year the last 12 months I’ve spent trying to get my book published finally pays off and it is now available to buy!

You can click on the link to view the official trailer.  Full details are here; www.inspireyourlife.org/book

A practical self improvement guide on surviving modern life. Rediscover the art of happiness, find meaning and purpose and create a life you love. 

Jess uncovers the key to creating a happier life and leads by example. Her perspective shines a bright light at a much needed time. Let her guide you this book will help.  Shannon Kaiser, Coach & Best Selling Author of Find your Happy & Adventures for your Soul

For those who read the book, please leave a review on amazon and I’d love to hear your thoughts.  You can use the hashtag #RoughGuideSmoothLife when posting about the book.

To see how you can get involved and help support the launch click the link; How you can help or click here to support the launch through thunderclap

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Don’t forget to check out the new resources section on the website for free stuff I’ve posted for you.

Keep an eye out for events and give aways as I launch the book officially in the New Year.

All the best for 2016

Jess 🙂