*If complete honesty and some minor censored cursing offends you this probably isn’t the blog for you*
February 2021 – Tested.
Wow WTF just happened?! Do you ever feel like you are in a cycle of one stomach punch after another? Well, that was February, s*** firing towards me from what seemed like every direction! I guess it kind of reflects the past year for many of us and navigating through the Covid-19 Pandemic and everything that came with it has certainly been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I am certain that is the same for so many.
In all honesty I would normally shy away from problems and try to put them on the back burner and hope they would just go away or someone else would come along and deal with them. Obviously, that was never the case and inevitably I would have to step up and face whatever the problem was, usually after several days of crippling anxiety and fear after mulling on the problem for so long rather than just dealing with it. Well, whilst February may have been tough it was a great opportunity for me to recognise the progress I have made and to be honest I have surprised myself!
The past year has changed a lot for us, there have been incredible highs and some gut-wrenching lows, changes to the direction of our businesses, amazing new opportunities, breakdowns in relationships and new ones being formed. This has resulted in some of the ambitious plans we had being realised and some that are gone forever. People have joined our businesses and some people have left, some of these decisions we wanted, some we didn’t, and some were necessary for survival. One thing is for sure, none of it was easy.
I don’t know about you, but I have always found that during times of difficulty or struggle there is something I see or hear that completely connects with me and whatever it is that I am going through. For example, when I was suffering badly with anxiety and Alex was going above and beyond to support me through that Jess Glynne released a song called ‘Take me home’. It completely summed up how I felt about myself but also reminded me how fortunate I was to have someone there that was willing to do whatever it took to help me out of that dark place. Well now it’s quotes. I have seen so many quotes that have resonated with me throughout the past month or so. I’ve shared some of my favourites throughout this blog!
As I said, February, whilst difficult, was an opportunity for me to realise the progress I have made. I have learnt what problems are. An opportunity for you to learn and also a chance for you to test your courage and resilience. I have dealt with situations throughout the past month and the past year really, that I never thought I would ever be able to deal with, some things I have handled well and some I know I can certainly handle better in the future. The biggest thing I noticed was that I didn’t get the same debilitating anxiety when faced with these challenges which was common for me in the past. To be honest in some circumstances I actually looked forward to dealing with them, not because they were enjoyable but because it was a chance for me to do something out of my comfort zone which I now know is the only way to truly grow!
“Do not try to fix whatever comes into your life, fix yourself in such a way, that whatever comes, you will be fine” – Sadhguru
Alex and I have built our businesses around that feeling of family and I am happy to say that absolutely every decision we have ever made throughout the years has always been with the best intention of everyone involved, sometimes at the detriment to what was really best for the two of us personally. Unfortunately, as a business owner tough decisions have to be made to ensure the right thing is done by the business and everyone involved and people won’t always understand those decisions.
“Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls” – Jack Welch
I’ve always been someone that was concerned with what people thought of me and especially when it came to business wanted to ensure that people liked me. If I thought they didn’t I would obsess over it and worry myself sick. I’ve learnt that I cannot control people’s thoughts, perceptions and viewpoint of me or any situation involving me. I now accept that all I can control is how I act, how I react and how I take responsibility and accountability for those actions. People will come and go, but time will heal that. My advice to you is to ensure you have someone around you that you can trust implicitly. People often ask how Alex and I manage to make our relationship work, don’t get me wrong it isn’t always easy, but one thing I have realised is how fortunate we are for exactly that reason. I am in business and in a relationship with someone I can 100% trust and that has never been so important to me.
“When pressure is applied, true character is revealed” – Anonymous
Another important realisation I have come to recently, is that perspective is so important when faced with problems. Problems, naturally, are what used to trigger my anxiety, my mind could manifest even the smallest problem into something huge that would have insane consequences which were completely implausible. I found it incredibly hard to reason with myself and put the challenge in to perspective and see it for what it really was and what the realistic outcome would actually be. I would feel like the world was against me and I was hard done by regardless of how small the issue may be. I actually said to someone recently that if there was ever a time for my anxiety to return, it would’ve been February!
I find timing to be a funny thing, and unfortunately right at the end of January we got the heart-breaking news that my auntie had been taken into hospital and sadly has an untreatable brain tumour. The news came as a huge, sudden shock, we weren’t expecting it at all and she is still so young. Whilst I would give up anything for her to be ok and to take the pain away from my family it has certainly put the challenges of the past month and any challenge I have ever been faced with into perspective.
As I said in my previous blog I was always looking for some magic fix to improving my mindset and being a better version of myself. Well, that’s not what I have found, but the important realisations I have come to that I feel are crucial for people to make before they can be truly committed to their self-development are:
Acceptance – Awareness – Perspective
- Accepting there is no quick fix. It is an ongoing commitment that you make to yourself and it requires you to actively work on it every day…forever!
- Accepting you aren’t always going to feel amazing and that the lows need to be felt too.
- Being aware of how you are feeling and what your triggers are will help you find ways to turn that around but being comfortable to feel the lows knowing they aren’t going to be permanent is important.
- Make sure the first thing you do in the face of any problem is put it in to perspective. Can I change or control this? Will this affect me in a week, month, 6 months from now? These are good questions to ask yourself!
So, in my previous blog at the end of January I explained that I was taking a different approach to the list of things I would like to achieve this year which was inspired by an episode of ‘The Mindset Mentor’ which tells you to focus on being 1% better today than yesterday. Rather than trying to implement everything I would like to accomplish at once, I am choosing something off the list each month and implementing that every day. This is in the hope that if it is the right thing for me it will become embedded into my regular routine so that by the end of the year I will have achieved them all.
For January I implemented a daily cold shower. Whilst this has great health benefits, the reason I enjoy doing it is because it gives me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and overcome my mind every single day. It is something that I now enjoy doing (once I’m out!) and I have continued with it for the past two months now. For February I decided on reading one book per month.
I wanted to implement this one this year because I am on a journey of self-development and I want to continue to learn new things, broaden my horizons and gain new perspectives of the world. I have always struggled with absorbing information, if I don’t feel like I am paying full attention then I don’t feel like I have retained it and therefore feel like the process is pointless. I liked the idea of audio books but because it is so easy to multi-task whilst doing this I realised it wasn’t for me. I am therefore going old school with physical books and I have to say I absolutely love it. I wake up in the morning excited to read (I do it first thing with a coffee) and on the odd day I haven’t managed to do it I have felt a little lost so it is definitely something I plan on continuing with.
I am finding that deciding on a set number of pages to read each morning helps as I know how long that book is going to take me and I can make sure I am prepared with another. It is also another little achievement to hit to kick off the day! So far, I have read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson, Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestly and I am now on to The Lean Start Up by Eric Ries, all of which I would happily recommend!
For March I plan on implementing the daily journal. Now I won’t lie, I am writing this blog a little later than planned and we are already a week in to March and in all honesty I haven’t had a great start. I’ve started journaling but it certainly hasn’t been daily so wish me luck for the remainder of the month!
1% better every day = 3778% (37.78 times) better by the end of 1 year.