This week: Radiators, Drains and another type of person!

Well, since last week it’s been a whirlwind. I promised myself (and you) I would get moving forward with my actions towards success and what a week it has been. I have forgotten just how much I have managed to get done.

I’m still scared a bit but mostly excited, isn’t funny how these two feel very similar, and the only difference is mindset?

I remember a good friend of mine telling me there were two types of people, radiators and drains. People who radiate positivity and vigour, and those who just “drain the life out of you” as my friend put it.

This week, I have attracted lots of radiators, from unexpected places and it’s been inspiring to have them push me forward and I felt I’ve been able to provide a bit of forward movement for them too which is amazing.

I went to a networking event, and although I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, I got there and spoke to people – next one at the end of the month – I will be braver still at that one. Being surrounded by positive and successful people really is catching and I love it.

I’m very lucky that I have very few drains in my life, they probably got annoyed with my positivity to be honest but there are a few and this week I’ve found a way to tune out of it so that it doesn’t “stick” to me.

I only listen to actions.

People moan a lot, I believe some of it is genuine, goodness knows I can moan at times, but I think it’s more of a habit for people. Some people are happiest when they are having a good old moan and sometimes we all need to vent.

But if a moan is genuine, someone will be forced into taking action.

So this little reframe, has made me literally be able to ignore moans, check to see if they are genuine problems by whether people address their concerns or not. It really turned the negativity volume down on people for me this week.

I’m going to attempt to not moan at all this week – a bit of a challenge – any fancy trying it with me?

In my attempt to take action this week though, I encountered another response – neither negative nor positive – but paralysed which was really strange, I’ve seen it before in this person and never really thought much about it but I did this week.

He asked me what I’d been up to this week, and I explained that I was on my way out to a networking meeting to find people to make money for and with. I explained what my plans were briefly and that I wanted to get into property and help sellers find buyers and investors find deals.

Well he just froze, for several seconds, and then made his excuses and left.

Very curious! Most people I have started telling ask at least one question and most have an opinion, but this person, someone quite close to me, literally froze and then scurried away like scared rabbit.

It was hard not to feel little bit offended, I’d chosen very carefully the people I was going to tell but whatever the reason, I had to remind myself that his reaction is his reaction. Maybe he’ll come back next week and ask more, but I suspect it will never be mentioned again which is sad because I’d like to share this journey with him too. Hey ho.

Has this ever happened to you?

The next day though, I met someone I hadn’t met before at work, and we really clicked, I told her my plans and she had loads of questions which really helped me.

When I went to the bank to open a business account, I was able to talk really confidently and passionately about what I wanted to do even though I have never done it before. At first I think the the guy thought I was a fantasist, but by the end of our meeting, he was asking me loads! I felt really proud of myself, I didn’t let his eyebrow raises, or “are you sure” style questions shake me at all. And, I won him over! He started out sceptical but ended up intrigued.

Despite the strange episode halfway through the week, I have taken some quite big actions:

  • I have set up a limited company within which to operate my property plans
  • I’ve got the marketing going on the blog facebook page, with the help of a young entrepreneur
  • I’ve had a bit of brainstorm with a member of an online community I’m part of
  • I’ve registered with the ICO for data protection
  • I’ve outsourced my cleaning (feel so much better for doing this)
  • I’ve attended three training webinars and one networking event
  • I have my first viewings booked
  • I’ve opened a business bank account
  • I’ve written my first policy for my business
  • I’ve almost completed my website
  • I’m joining in much more on the forums and communities I’m part of and getting braver when approaching people
  • business cards and stationery have been ordered

I had a lovely message from a lady checking to see if I’d progressed this week and this really made me realise how important it is to be accountable, and how easy it is to talk yourself out doing things. Having someone checking up on you really makes you want to do even more 🙂

Next week is going to be another week of action:

  • publish business website
  • attend two days of training in London with Cam
  • book more viewings
  • build new relationships
  • register with an ombudsman service
  • write two more polices or processes
  • read one physical book
  • listen to another great ebook
  • listen to podcasts every day instead of music

My favourite podcasts at the moment are:

The Disruptive Entrepreneur

Mark my Words

Goliath Sourcing Academy

amongst many others – podcasts are amazing!!! Find them on itunes or Stitcher

Exercise changed my mind!

I’ve always done some sort of exercise, but never really taken anything particularly seriously.  I struggled with finding motivation and commitment and then would feel bad as I watched the pounds pile on.  This created a negative cycle in my mind and had an impact on my body too.

A few years ago, I was chatting with my brother in law and he was telling me about this new gym he’d found.  Their family live several miles away so I had a look to see if there was anything similar near me.  There was, and there was a free trial session so I duly went along to Crossfit Southampton in Eastleigh.

O….M…..G!!!!!!! When I got there, I was very scared.  It was a massive, noisy warehouse, no machines, just a load of ropes, metal climbing frames, a few big balls and barbells dropping all around.  I nearly turned and walked out but I was greeted by a cheerful lady around my own age who I later found out was one of the owners.  So I stayed, I did the workout, which was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, and from that point on, was totally hooked.

I signed up for the membership the very next day and virtually lived there for two years, going almost everyday.

I was literally the worst at everything, except skipping and sit ups, but something about it kept me going back.  I worked enormously hard, inspired by the women around me who were the strongest I have ever seen.  Everyone cheers you on and even being last is an achievement, by the fact you didn’t give up.  People in Crossfit gyms really respect effort!  And, so began my obsession.

I remember my first deadlifting attempt.  I managed a very small weight, under half my body weight.  Two years later I lifted 1.5 times my bodyweight.  I went from barely being able to hold on to a pull up bar for five seconds, to being able to do two strict pull ups.

I met an amazing group of friends there and my amazing other half.

After two years, my obsession turned into curiosity about the mechanics of our bodies and the beauty of form, and I started to realise that lifting heavy wasn’t my goal anymore, movement was, so Mark and I made what felt like a heart wrenching decision, we switched entirely to Calisthenics – more on that in another post.

This journey with sport, has had much more of an impact on me than simply dropping dress sizes.  It has informed the way we eat, the approach we take to sleep and improved my overall mental health.

Crossfit taught me lessons – it humbled me every day, yet I got up to do it all over again the next day.  Because simply getting through one of those workouts is a physical and mental achievement.  The buzz that gives you is amazing.

It introduced me to so many people, when you suffer together you bond.  I remember rolling around on the floor fighting the urge to give up, next to one of my now closest friends and yelling at her to keep moving!

It taught me that I have strengths, and others have different ones.  I was often humbled by people complimenting my squat or my sit up prowess, or my ability to double under skip, all of these people were people whom I saw as “elite” but realised they, like me, have weaknesses too.

It gave me the realisation that I can endure practically anything!  Sometimes the fight to finish was not with my body but with my head.  There is a short workout called Fran, it consists of two movements, barbell thrusters and pull ups, this, like all workouts are scaled to your ability, it takes around 5 minutes to complete, but every single person hates it.  You just want it to stop right from the first round.  To be fair, most workouts did this to me.  But again, that feeling afterwards is such a reward.

It gave me confidence, which I was severely lacking, and days when my self esteem was low, I’d go and lift some heavy weights and that somehow made me strong in my head again.

It inspired me to learn more, to challenge myself, to push harder, to achieve more and frankly made me feel quite invinsible at a time in my life when I was sliding down.

Callisthenics provides this for me now, handstands are my current main project.  A few years ago,  I would have given up after a while, Crossfit taught me to never stop trying, and slowly, my handstand is improving.

I am stronger now, at forty, than I have ever been in my life.  My posture is better, which enhances my breathing which helps in everything.  I can endure a lot more mentally and push myself hard.

I still need motivating and to help with this, I always workout with Mark, and we have had a personal coach in both Crossfit previously and now Calisthenics.  I moan a lot but we laugh a lot, usually at me, but I’m good with that.  Crossfit also taught me to laugh at myself.  There are several memories I have of  our group going home with sore abs, not form the workout, but from laughing.

I progress slowly, but I progress. When I think back to when I first started Crossfit, or even when we made the switch to Calisthenics less than a year ago, the improvements are enormous.

It’s easy to forget how far we have come in any part of our lives, but I often get frustrated at my lack of progress.  In our whats app friend group, we often flip from being annoyed by our gym performance to reminding each other just how much improved we all are.  I’m not one for looking back on the past, but I know it is important to do this.  To remember how we have changed and celebrate this.

Time tends to blur all things, experiences, memories, feelings, but it is important to see back through the blur to the reality at the time.

Being committed to exercising, is being committed to yourself.  I see it as an investment in my future.  I want to be agile and pain free as I age, I want to be fit and able to move freely at 100 (lets face it, we all might live this long now).  But I want the peace and pride that it gives me in my head the most, the foundation to be healthy.

 

 

 

My unknowing friend – Chester Bennington

https://goo.gl/images/viScwe

This is a bit off piste, but I’ve wanted to acknowledge Chester Bennington’s impact on my life. I never met him, I never even saw him live in any of the groups he fronted, yet he was ever present in my life, and saved me many times from feeling so alone, and confused.

……..

I’ve always loved music! And my tastes are wide and varied. One group that, for me, changed everything, in music, and in me, is Linkin Park, my first introduction to the raspy, and undescribably emotional voice of Chester Bennington.

Linkin Park, are true musical pioneers, the likes of which I have not seen again in my lifetime (yet). They are the musical game changers of my generation and all so talented.

Their style has, at many times in my life, reflected what’s in my head: angry and loud, yet beautifully melodic and serene at the same time. A true juxtaposition (previously a “word of the week” for a friend and I, more about that in another post 😉).

There have been times, when this group’s work have saved me! Times when I have felt alone and down and confused. “Crawling” for example, describes an aching to feel better but struggling to do so. It made me feel like someone understood me, I was not alone, and this made my problems feel shared, and you know that old saying “a problem shared, is a problem halved”. So many of their songs carry this theme.

The battle in the songs and the unmistakable voice of Chester Bennington literally spoke to me. It was my comfort, my realisation that other people have things like I had going on in their heads and in their lives.

The pain was always apparent in the songs, even as their style evolved, lightening, darkening, reinventing over the long career they are enjoying and Chester’s vocals really touched my soul, they chilled me and warmed me at the same time. No other vocalist has had this effect on me.

When “Heavy” was released, it reminded me of how it felt when I needed to let go, it reminded me of how far I’ve come in my life, and how much better my head is now. Mostly down to the company I now keep, but I remember the isolation and my inability to let what was sitting like rocks in my heart go, when others seemed to be able to do it so easily.

I have never mourned celebrities who have passed. I never understood how people could feel so upset about people they didn’t know. But when news broke about Chester Bennington taking his own life, it hit me like a train. I didn’t cry, but I felt a massive kick to my stomach, it took days for me to believe it and every time I hear him, not just Linkin Park, but Dead by Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots, that unique, raspy, amazing voice which articulated such raw and passionate emotion, I feel a deep pang of sadness. His voice, and the words he wrote, co wrote and sang, pulled me up out of my darkest times, he was unknowingly a friend in my life, the one who seemed to be able to genuinely say “I know how you feel, I’ve felt it too”.

His music will always be here, and Linkin Park will evolve, they have such talent. But my sadness is that Chester couldn’t find the solace that he gave me. When I hear “Heavy” now, I hear more pain, more confusion and more desperation than ever.

So, to Chester! For saving me over and over again. Rest in the true peace you struggled to find here.

3 days til the big 40!

I’ll be honest, I’ve been dreading this week.  It’s my last week in my thirties and being forty just hasn’t been something I’ve been looking forward to.

I wanted this birthday to just never happen.  But so far I’ve glided towards the big day, in three days time, will what feels like grace and dignity.  2018 has already been amazing and things are starting to change, or rather I’m starting to change, again.

I wonder if we ever really have our shit together, or it’s simply just something that we move towards, life changes, people change, we change.

At the end of 2017, I felt like it was the beginning of getting old.  I liked my job but did I really want to do it for much longer? Life was good but was this all there was til retirement in 27 years time?

I read a book, I’ve mentioned it before, called the Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris, and although the four hour work week is a distant dream for me right now, it really triggered me into thinking “what do I want out of life?”, “do I need to stay on this plodding path?” and most importantly, “what’s the worst that can happen?”.

Well, the last question turned out to be really motivating.  What’s the worst that can happen? Sure, if I took a leap of faith, and it went wrong, I could lose a lot, but would it kill me?  and would it be as bad as I imagine it could be? There’s a whole load of degrees of failure, and the worst case scenario relies on 100% failure.  This prompted me to realise how much control I feel I need to have, and it is a lot.  It challenged me to let a bit of that control go, and I have!  I have never 100% failed, because 100% failure means you don’t try again.  I’ve long believed that success is found through failure, or rather learning the way not to do things.  Every failure should teach you something.

So, I went for a job that was so far out of my comfort zone, it was exhilarating and petrifying when I got the call inviting me to the interview.  In my new head space, I sat outside the office, and promised myself I would not put my best foot forward, I would simply be myself.  Being authentic is something 2017 has taught me to be proud of, not to hide away from because people find me direct and too honest.  In fact, I think the first thing I said to interview panel was something like “I’m going to be brutally honest, I say it as I see it, I don’t believe in being diplomatic, I believe in getting to point and then working together to fix things, if that’s not what you’re after, then lets stop here”.  They were intrigued!  For the first time ever in my career, the interview ran over, not because I was talking, but because they were interested in me and my creative approach.  We talked and talked and talked and I left feeling like that was the best interview of my life.  More importantly though, I really liked the feeling I got from the individuals on the panel.  I felt they “got” me.

Good interview or not, there could always be someone better, although I told myself not to underestimate myself or over estimate others.  A few days later, I had the most wonderful feedback on the interview, the interview where I was not out to impress, just to simply be myself.  I was asked questions about things that had been on my mind like the massive change in fields, whether I was ready to leave a role that I love and this further assured me that they “got” me.  I was offered the job!

It was so hard resigning from my current role, leaving an amazing bunch of people but I’m super excited about this new adventure.  It’s not the four hour work week, but its interesting to do something new and this will give me a new lease of life whilst the main plan develops and evolves into being.

Another thing that has happened this year already, I was finally able to have refractive laser surgery.  I’ve been turned down so many times because of my prescription but now they have Relex Smile.  My vision went from -9.0 with astigmatism in both eyes, to -0.5 with no astigmatism within 24 hours.  What I cannot convey to anyone, is just how massive this change is.  Sure, I have had glasses and contacts before, but I have NEVER seen what I am seeing now.  The goal was never to not need glasses, just to get to a level where I could see my glasses would have made me happy! Amazingly, I no longer need glasses, which I have worn since I was 3 or 4. It’s emotional every time I look at something, I see it much clearer, and much sharper and I can see at least twice as far as I used to be able to with glasses.  This is truly miraculous to me.  I have a check up with my surgeon next week and three weeks later, I’ll have a full eye test with the optometrist.  The price did make the control freak in me worry, but my new approach to life meant I just went for it, and I’m so glad I did, I’d happily pay three or even four times as much, maybe more for what I have now.

I’ve also noticed that I care much less about things that used to bother me about my body.  This is a really big thing for me too, it’s given me a lot more space in my head and much less negative self talk that needs to be kept in check.  I simply accept my body as it is and that’s it.  It’s liberating!

So, I’ve still three days to go, but already forty is looking really appealing.  Being myself is good, and people like that. Being able to see is just miraculous, I hope I never lose the wonder I have, sight is a precious thing and good sight really should be appreciated.  And, if I care less about the niggly things about my body, I have more time to develop my dream life over the next few years.

Now, very excited to be forty!

Sorting my shit out with eating

Unlike most people, I am an emotional non eater.  When I am emotional, my body just never feels hungry.  “I wish I was like that, you’re lucky” people exclaim, and I get it!  Most people I know eat and eat and eat when they are  emotional, and then put weight on, and then feel bad because they’ve put weight on, which makes them emotional, so they eat more etc etc.

It doesn’t feel “lucky”.  I struggle to deal with my emotions for a number of reasons, which I’ll elaborate on in another post.  But the hunger is replaced by something far more uncomfortable, even painful at times.  It’s a big hard lump in my throat and tummy, an entirely emotional hard lump, but it feels like I’m so full, like I cannot eat anything.

When you are emotional, you need food to keep your body going, I just feel weaker and weaker and that makes me even less able to cope with my emotions.

Let’s face it, I’m not in danger of starving but it does affect my ability to be resilient and find a way out.

The key I have found, is to nibble.  I have discovered a love of English cherry tomatoes, they are almost like a tine little sweet drink and have often helped me to get back to eating more substantial meals. 

When I’m not having an emotional meltdown (these are getting rarer and rarer) I have discovered that nourishing your body rather than just feeding it, is an enjoyable and delicious thing.

I cook from scratch every night – remember I work a full time job, run a business, and go to the gym most evenings, so having the time to cook anything used to be a major issue, let alone something delicious and nutritious.

This is where the ubiquitous Joe Wicks, AKA The Body Coach comes in.  You’ve almost certainly heard about him or even seen him.  He helps transform people’s bodies using a combination of food and HIIT training.

Well, I’m not one for diets, somehow deprivation just isn’t something I can maintain, but he produced a cook book called Lean in 15: The Shift Plan. For me, being able to cook ANYTHING in 15 minutes sounded interesting.  Even ready meals can take that long, right?

We bought the book in early 2016, and quickly snapped up his other two Lean in 15 books as they came out.

Over the last two years, 99% of the meals we have eaten have been from his books.  The meals are unbelievably tasty and really do take fifteen minutes to make (sometimes less).

Things Joe Wicks taught me:

  • I love cooking
  • I’m quite good at cooking
  • Sesame oil is perhaps the most divine substance you can put of your food
  • How to get kids to eat spinach and kale (Mark’s daughter cites kale as one of her favourites!)
  • Fat in your food is not the enemy
  • My body feels nice when I eat well
  • That planning meals and shopping to recipes is the ONLY way to be able cook nutritious meals quickly and from scratch when you are a normal person!

I don’t follow his methods meticulously, as with all that I learn, I take what works for me and make sure it sticks.  He talks about prepping your meals in advance.  I found I just didn’t want to do this, it took up my Sunday and I didn’t want it to.  So we eat breakfasts, inspired by the books but modified to suit us, lunch could be anything but the evening meal, is Joe Wicks time (with a few “Lou” tweaks).

An example of a “tweak” I make each day is that as I am vegetarian, wherever there’s meat or fish, I swap in Quorn. Easy.  Oh, I also leave out fish sauce and add a bit more sesame oil if the recipe calls for it.

Even if I haven’t convinced you to give Joe Wicks a go, do try to meal plan weekly and then do your grocery shop online.  Why?

  • by planning your meals, you’ll know exactly what ingredients you need –  there’s nothing worse than choosing a meal to cook tonight and realising you haven’t got chopped tomatoes you need, and then having to come up with something else.
  • it means you don’t have to think about what to make for dinner when you get home.  Just check the planner and off you go!
  • shopping online prevents those impulse buys, this helps your waistline and your pocket as you’ll only buy the stuff you need – so it will save you money!  I was surprised when I first started doing this, my weekly shop was on avergage £20 cheaper online than in the store – not because it cost less, but because I knew exactly what I needed – I used to meander around the store with no list and frankly no idea what I was going to cook, making it up as I went along.
  • it saves time – you don’t have battle the crowds and queue in Asda.  These days, most supermarkets deliver for a fee, and often if you buy a delivery pass, the fee works out very cheap.  And if you live close to your supermarket, like I do, or you pass it on your way home, try click and collect.  Some supermarkets charge for this (about £1) but others, it’s free.

Here’s a link to a Meal Planner I’ve created.

As with most things, you need to be quite disciplined with yourself to make this stick but very quickly you will see the benefits.  

Here’s how I do it: Shopping list

Friday evening – select 7 meals from the three Joe Wicks books making sure I write down which book and which page number along with the title of the recipe on a planner. Here is an example of what I use– it’s just a spreadsheet. (I sometimes get Mark to do the selecting.)

I then write a list of what I need to order for the shopping – in addition to this, I put a new list on the fridge door each week for things that we use up during the week and things that we need every week, like squash, bin bags, rinse aid, bread, milk etc. Here’s an example for you –

Then I go to my Asda app and order the food.  Asda are quite good at telling what’s in or out of stock at the time you order it so you can make changes as you go – interestingly though, not all the products on the shelf at Asda are available online so I found out.  So sometimes, rarely but sometimes, it’s worth having a stroll around the actual store, pick your time though :).  Anyway, I tend to do click and collect and I just pick a time on the Saturday that works for me.

Saturday in the allocated hour – drive up, scan the order QR code and they bring your shopping to your car! Perfect!  And you have all you need to cook all week!

This approach saves me time, money and is relatively stressless compared with battling the masses on a Saturday.

Going back to the start of this post, this approach actually takes away a lot of the issues I would face when feeling emotional i.e I can’t think of anything to cook (already taken care of), I don’t have anything in (again, sorted), I don’t feel like cooking (ok, this one is a bit harder but it’s 15 mins to a great meal).

Sometimes, when we feel emotional, achieving something can help.  Sometimes that’s simply getting out of bed, other times it’s climbing a mountain but I find making a lovely meal for my family, that is well planned and therefore easy, makes me feel just a tad better and sets me on a better path emotionally.

So now I’m off to plan my meals for next week.

Comment if you have any questions or thoughts.  If you’d like the templates in editable formats, drop me a line and I’ll send them over 🙂