Each day, I share my thoughts as honestly and eloquently as possible. I do that to remind myself of what's important, to inspire others and to help us all be the change, we want to see.
There is no agenda, premeditated theme or even planning that goes into these posts. They are just the thoughts in my mind, as they appear, at that time.
I hope they can be of help to someone, somewhere each day.
Nothing can prepare you for trauma, but trauma.
That’s the uncomfortable reality.
All the time spent worrying about terrible things happening, will not help you, if they do.
It’s just wasted time.
And if the day comes, when the worst does happen, you will cope.
So, please don’t waste the good days worrying about the bad ones.
Trust that you will find a way through them when and if the times comes.
Because you will.
Life is awfully bleak without trust.
If you’ve done something bad, tell the truth, otherwise you cannot begin to forgive yourself.
If you’ve hurt someone, say sorry, otherwise whilst their wound will heal, yours will fester and deepen.
If you’ve broken someone’s trust, take responsibility for the consequences and commit to building new foundations, upon which that trust can grow again.
If you’ve become so detached from yourself, you no longer trust in you, face your demons, clean the wounds and start again.
If you’ve become so detached from humanity, that you have lost hope, you must move beyond the fear, find the love and then you will see the good in people again.
Trusting in ourselves, in others and ultimately in life, is critical for any meaningful existence.
It’s ok to feel fear, but it’s not ok to become so entrenched in it, you loose your ability to trust.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt, give others the benefit of the doubt and give life a chance to show you, the beauty that can be found through trust.
So many people ask me why I swim outdoors during winter, in freezing cold temperatures.
Well, there are lots of reasons.
Because a friend who I admire very much, asked me to and I was honoured that she did.
Because I told my kids I would and I didn't want to say one thing and then do another.
Because I told myself I could do it and I didn't want to fail, without having tried.
Because mother nature is a persuasive force and she makes me feel alive.
Because there are not many things you can do in this world, where you get to reveal your vulnerability and simply have someone slip their hand in yours, until you are ready to go it alone.
But mainly because I can and I do not want to be someone who could off, but didn't.
And that's pretty much my philosophy on life.
So, whatever it is that you can, please do - live your life, trust yourself and do what makes your heart sing.
Vulnerability, the very essence of being human.
I push my vulnerability to the limits, by sharing all of who I am.
I share to help me, to help others and to make this world a better place - by encouraging us all to be more accepting and more forgiving of ourselves.
But it's not easy.
I get scared all of the time and I am constantly fighting my inner demons.
My biggest fear is being a sh•t parent, getting it wrong, missing something, not being around when I should. It can make me over-protective, too controlling and neurotic. But each day, I get up as a parent and try my best.
My next biggest fear is of being rejected - by the person I love. It makes arguments far more traumatic than they need to be and pollutes my perspective. But each day, I remain married and as loved as the day before.
Both of these fears, stem from traumatic experiences earlier in my life.
I know that, I also know the triggers and that I need to let my past go.
But these things take time and Rome wasn't built in a day.
Beating myself up for having flaws, being a work in progress, will not heal my wounds.
Having self-awareness, self-compassion and patience will.
And despite these deep seated fears, I am very happy to be a wife and mother.
It's ok to feel the fear, just do it anyway.
To the parents who judged the kids from the wrong side of the tracks - f*ck you.
Yes that’s right, f*ck you.
Because I’ve heard you, I’ve heard the judgement loud and clear and I do not like it.
I will not be part of a small minded, bourgeois click, that associate intellect, kindness and courage with your postcode.
I will not judge people, for doing what they need to do, in order to survive, so that they can be who they are meant to be.
These standards are artificial, optical illusions. I know, because I was from the wrong side of the tracks. And I knew a lot of others who were too.
We hustled, we pushed boundaries, we swore, we pushed against the system and for those of us who made it, we got to see life, in all it’s glory, with all of its injustices, opportunities, love, sadness, loss and joy.
And perhaps the greatest gift of all, we got to see people, to understand the potential every human being has, regardless of their background.
And so should you.
It doesn’t matter where you come from, it’s where you are going that counts.
Don’t ever let another’s mis-guided, ill informed and small minded perspective, hold you back.
If they want to remain in their unfulfilled world, that’s up to them, but please don’t join them.
An idea isn't much good, if no one knows about it.
A feeling cannot provide comfort, if it is not shared.
A story will not inspire another, if it is not told.
And you will not add, your much needed value to this world, if you spend all of your time, trying to work out who you are and what your purpose is, rather than just getting on being you and doing what makes your heart sing.
Because that's really how we find ourselves and our purpose.
By taking action, each and everyday - with a good intent, courage and an open mind.
Take off your armour, listen to your instinct and follow what makes you heart sing.
This route is by far the best way, to find yourself and your purpose, whilst at the same time, creating so much value, for so many others.
We all think we know, don't we?
We know better.
We would do things differently.
We would have learned the first time round.
We would not put up with it.
We would have said no.
We would not have trusted them.
The list goes on.
The list of judgement, of looking at someone else's life and thinking we know better.
Well, we do not.
Life is not black and white, it's full of nuance's and shades of grey.
And most of the time, if you are being met with judgement, fear and resentment, it is unlikely to be about you - it's much more likely to be about the person, exhibiting those traits.
You've triggered something in them and that something, belongs to them, not you.
So, do not accept it as yours. Do not allow it to colour your world, or become your journey, because it's not.
We are each responsible for our own wounds, do not take on the pain of someone else's, no matter how hard they try to persuade you.
Stay true to yourself, heal your own wounds and be kind to others whilst they heal their's.
In all honesty, I really have no idea a lot of the time, how my thoughts, my actions, my life impacts others.
And actually, I don't need to know.
Because it's not about feeding my ego, or constant self-gratification.
It's about doing my best, with a genuine intent to help others and then simply letting it go.
That's what helping other people is about.
It should not be conditional, on getting something back. You help because that's part of being a decent human being, not because you are hustling for individual gain.
Giving unconditionally, is where true joy and contentment is to be found.
It's the expectation of something in return, that pollutes the joy of giving - because it makes us resentful, if nothing comes back.
And it makes us resentful because giving on that basis, is ego centric.
And the ego always wants something in return, because it's scared of not being the best, of not being seen, of not being someone.
Whereas giving unconditionally, is simply about doing the best and trusting yourself enough to know, that your actions, your thoughts and you are enough, no matter what.
Just do your best today and everyday, because no matter what it is, it is always better than doing nothing.
'Show them you care' - by spending lots of money, earned by working your arse off, giving up your time with family and friends and at the same time, shafting the planet by making more stuff, we really do not need.
Honestly John Lewis, what on earth were you thinking when you choose this as your Christmas slogan?
It's so insensitive, given the current climate crisis, mental health epidemic and mis-placed belief, that 'things' provide happiness.
Showing someone you care is simply about love - not buying an another f•cking overpriced gadget, you probably cannot afford, that will further entrench a culture of materialism, over meaningful human connection.
John Lewis, you really should know better - don't abuse your brand and screw with people's emotions, to bump your profit margins up.
Stop being afraid of you who are.
Stop hiding your true self from the world.
Stop allowing others to limit your potential.
Stop trying to conform to the status quo.
Because the world needs your creativity, your alternative perspective, your imperfections, your naughtiness, your love and your laughter, otherwise how will we ever be anything other than what we are today?
Be true to yourself, shake your world until only the truth remains and then have the courage to do something meaningful with it.
Don’t wait for someone else to believe in you.
Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission, to be you.
Don’t wait for someone else to save you.
Don’t wait for someone else to love you.
Don’t wait for someone else to see you.
Because that someone else is you.
And that is all you need.
If you don’t like the part you play in my story, then change it.
I am accountable for my actions and you are accountable for yours.
I get to choose how to respond to others and you get to choose how to respond to me.
I am responsible for my part in my story and in yours and you are responsible for your part in yours and mine.
So, if you don’t like the part you are playing, change it.
Being accountable to and responsible for ourselves, our actions and our impact on others, is just a fundamental part of being a decent human being.
It’s that simple.
It's just too noisy out there.
It really is.
There are so many people telling you what to think, do, be - myself included.
It's overwhelming and can just end up making you feel sh•t.
Reduce the number of voices in your head. Make room for your own. There are no right answers, only your answer.
It doesn't matter what anyone else's morning routine is, how many times a week they work out, meditate, spend quality time with their family or pick their nose.
Listen to YOUR mind, body and soul, first, foremost and last.
Then be discerning about who else you let into you head.
Take what lands and leave the rest.
Everyone is human. No one has your answer. The best they can offer, is inspiration or a clue to help you find it yourself.
That's where the work is.
That's where the discomfort is.
That's where the resistance is.
Sit with it, get used to it, let it see the light of day and then do something with it.
But you can only do this, if you reduce the noise that drowns out your own voice.
Life is simply too short, to aspire to be somebody you are not.
Here's an alternative view for you.
Don't chase success.
Don't work too hard.
Don't aspire to make lots of money.
Just go and sit in a wood and listen to the wind in the trees.
You'll find more insight and truth there, than from 1,000 self help books.
Be brave enough to look behind the bullsh*t, stop running from yourself and understand your truth.
Then do something with it.
It's not finished yet.
It may never be finished.
But it's been started.
I'm talking about the update of my website.
I've taken James Victores advice from his pretty amazing book 'feck perfunction'.
I'm slowly but surely replacing all stock pictures, with my own hand drawn, raw interpretation of the points I am trying to make.
It's not corporate, arty, polished, sophisticated, or even that professional.
But it doesn't matter.
Because it's completely and utterly me. That's creative courage.
My website is unique, unfiltered and honest.
It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.
As long as I'm ok with how it represents me.
And I am.
Well, for now........
The only USP any of us ever really have, is ourselves.
Don't let fear steal it.
"I am neither ashamed nor proud of my actions, they are simply part of my story." anonymous
I heard that on a mental health training course, the other week.
One of the most powerful quotes, I have ever heard.
It resonated deep inside my soul.
It resonated because I had been judging myself - on my 'not so finer moments', the ones where I fear the world would judge me harshly, if I told the truth.
But it actually doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, it is not their acceptance I crave - it's mine.
The rest of the world does not live in my head, walk by my side everyday and choose my decisions - I do.
I just didn't realise that, until a kind, honest and brave man, stood up in front of a room full of strangers, to tell his story and in the process, gave me this priceless less gift.
It is not the judgement of others that scares you, but the judgement of yourself - the judgement you think you will get from others.
Life is a nuance, people will surprise you - often for the better, truth is more powerful than shame and fear and if you accept yourself, you won't need it from others.
It's ok to be you - all of you.
My passion, the thing that gets me out of bed everyday, is to simply empower everyone, to 'show up and own up' as themselves.
Not to be scared of what others think.
Not to allow judgement or social norms, to restrict their passion and creativity.
Not to loose parts of their soul along the way and only realise they have done so, when it is too late to get it back.
Don't just challenge the status quo - smash it into pieces, with the raw beauty, truth and inspiration, of what it really means to be a human being living life fully, not caged by optical illusions and meaningless bullsh•t.
Get out there, take your space, use your voice, be yourself and shake your world, until only the truth remains.
Creativity doesn’t follow rules.
It doesn’t happen just because you are ‘at work’.
It moves to its own beat, in its own way.
When it comes you need to catch it in the moment, it can often be a fleeting visitor.
Creativity cannot flourish in a barren mind or soul.
Like all wondrous things, it comes from a motivated, liberated and curious mind.
One free to explore, courageous enough to share and humble enough to learn.
Creativity is everywhere and nowhere.
When it comes, grab it, don’t procrastinate, over think it or wait until it’s the right time.
Now is the right time.
My post on rejection today was written whilst waiting at the vets.
My post on nuance today was written whilst waiting for my eyebrows to be done!
And this one is being typed, whilst I sit in the car, waiting for my daughter to finish school.
I haven’t sat at my desk once today.
Give yourself space and time, but most importantly, have the courage to just do it - be creative and see where it takes you.
That’s it. Good luck.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else does.
It doesn’t matter how much anyone else earns.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else has.
What matters is who you are.
What matters is how you treat others.
What matters is whether you have the courage, to step out and live your life.
That is it.
Don’t get distracted.
Two women, two friend, two swimmers, two stories, two lives, two hearts.
We started swimming together at 5 years old and then we didn’t see each other for 30 years plus, after I stopped in my teens.
But she was there, on the day I tentatively put my foot back in the pool, petrified of what I couldn’t do and completely in awe by what she could do.
She held my hand, soothed my fears and showed up for me, week in week out.
She swam slower to stay with me, swam shorter distances to encourage me and praised every extra stroke I took.
This isn’t really about swimming, it’s about humanity - at its best.
The sharing of my vulnerability in that pool, was rewarded by a deep and precious human connection.
It’s the thing that makes anything possible - even a swim in an outdoor lake, in the dark, in the cold.
Show up in whatever way you can - that’s how you truly make a difference in someone’s life.
The biggest epidemic in our society right now - judgement.
Judgement is why people hide their true selves, it stops us taking action and connecting with others, in any truly meaningful way.
Judgement drives three incredibly destructive fears:
1. Fear of failure - we don’t live our dreams and as a result, whole lives are lost
2. Fear of ourselves - we hide who we really are, especially the dark bits, so we never get to fully live or feel the freedom of self love
3. Fear of not fitting in, of living outside the norms - we constantly compromise our values, desires and needs, to fit into an optical illusion of superficial and often hypocritical standards, created and sustained by others, who may never have the courage to be anything other than an empty shell.
Allow your roar to be heard, stand in your own world and do not be distracted by meaningless judgement from people, who quite honestly, you probably wouldn’t give a sh*t about, if you gave yourself permission to be you.
Don’t be a lion led by a donkey, be who you are meant to be.
We need to face the reality of social media.
It’s great for connecting with people, inspiration and getting your message out.
But it’s busy, very busy.
Lots of people, have lots to say. And that’s good and bad.
It’s good because it’s adds new perspectives and knowledge.
It’s bad because it can be overwhelming, difficult to be heard, drives a comparison mentality and rewards short term, individual gains over long term, collective value.
It cannot replace your core purpose, your brand or your business.
It is simply a vehicle, to support communications, learning and networking.
Choose your feed well.
Be discerning about who to follow.
Produce meaningful and original content.
Engage with others in a constructive and respectful manner.
Do not be afraid to block negative trolls.
Ultimately, it will be replaced by the next thing and that by something else.
You are the constant in your life.
Your core raison d’etre, your relationships, your work, your value, must be able to stand independent of social media.
Put your efforts into who you really are, developing deep relationships with those who matter and creating content/services/products, that will truly add value to this world, with or without social media.
You are the change we seek, not social media.
We are hiding the truth from our children.
We are hiding our fears and vulnerability.
We are hiding our struggles with relationships.
We are hiding the real challenges of being a parent.
We are hiding the tough choices we face in life.
We are hiding our failures.
We are hiding all of this, because we are afraid it may harm our children, that we maybe judged as bad parents, but mainly because everyone else is hiding it too and being the first to step out of the shadows and tell the truth, requires a bucket load of courage.
The irony is that by hiding our truth, we are harming our children.
We are leading them to believe that life is much easier, than it actually is.
We are setting false standards, they will not be able to achieve and therefore encouraging them to hide their truth, from their children, for fear of being inadequate and judged too.
We talk about developing resilience in our children.
But it’s not enough to talk about it.
We need to demonstrate it.
And that means no more hiding our truth.
Please show up and own up - our children need to know that being imperfect, is indeed just perfect.
You don’t have to be the best sibling.
You don’t have to be the best student.
You don’t have to be the best at your job.
You don’t have to be the best at relationships.
You don’t have to be the best parent.
You don’t have to be the best anything.
You just have to do your best, be honest with yourself, be who you are meant to be and never give up.
That’s basically it.
The rest is just a diversion from what really matters.
Courage is on my mind today. What does it mean to me:
1. Walking into school, alone and isolated after being ostracised by my friendship group, standing tall and being myself.
2. Starting a new University in my final year, after the end of a love affair that went horribly wrong, with no friends and no self-esteem left.
3. Turning up to interview after interview, taking the sterile, impersonal comments and retaining my self belief, until I found someone that believed in me too.
4. Finding the strength to trust and love again, when my only experience beforehand, had been deeply traumatic.
5. Walking into a hospital room, day after day, with a smile, a dash of pink lipstick and joy at getting to spend time with my dad, despite the cruel death he was living out on a daily basis.
6. Walking into a church full of people, unable to hide my grief, to say my final goodbyes.
7. Watching my children’s lives unfold and being there to catch them when they fall.
8. Saying sorry when my heart is breaking, but I know I cannot ask someone else to carry my anger and sorrow.
9. Stepping out and telling my truth, each and every day, to help me grow, accept myself and support others to do so too.
They are a few of the things, that spring to mind when I think of courage.
I sometimes worry that when we find a role model, someone who speaks to our core, we can become blinkered and stop thinking for ourselves.
Role models are important, learning and curiosity is important, but you are also your own role model.
Others words and people can inspire you, provoke a thought, reveal a perspective, but they cannot and should not stop you thinking for yourself.
They are your guides, but you get to take the walk.
Please always remember to question and think for yourself, even if that means going it alone, otherwise you loose your wisdom and humanity looses part of its rich tapestry.
My take on the relationship between courage and action.
Courage without action is really frustration, regret and un-lived potential.
Action without courage, is really meaningless ‘busyness’.
But put the two together and you have a truly transformational approach, that can really change things, including ourselves for the better.
Johann Hari talks about sympathetic joy in his book ‘Lost Connections’.
The basic concept is that if you can feel joy at other people’s happiness, then you have a never ending supply of it, as even when things are sh*t in your own life, you can enjoy the happiness in someone else’s.
I think this principle applies to all aspects of our life, including social media.
If you are simply posting for the most likes, looking for a viral story or a brief moment of fame, you are destined to be disappointed.
The minute you post, so are millions of other people - it’s about the depth of engagement not breadth.
Therefore, if you post content with the intent of inspiring others to action, encouraging curiosity or widening perspectives, your post will have a legacy that lives on beyond your ego, you fleeting moment of fame.
It will have made a positive difference to someone, somewhere, somehow.
And that means, it doesn’t matter who else is posting what, because your post is bigger than you - it’s an idea, an inspiration, a call to action.
You never know where your words will land or who they will help, so carry on posting and don’t worry about how you compare to others.
Transformation is not about simply doing what you have already done, but in a slightly improved or different way.
Transformation is about doing something you haven’t done before. It’s scary, uncomfortable, lonely (most people will not ‘get it’) but most important of all, completely and utterly liberating.
Whether at an organisational or individual level, you have to let go of the past, unlearn your constraints and fears and then you can truly set your mind free, to create your own reality.
Competition and judgement cease to exist - no one cares about your ego in transformation, they care about the transformation, they care about courage, they care about the new possibilities, they care that you gave it a go. And if they don’t now, they will do afterwards.
Genuine creativity sits at the very heart of transformation - because it’s about thinking the unthinkable and taking action.
Redefine failure as growth, see reality as variable not fixed and change your perspective - we are all creatives, no matter what we do.
Stop farming ‘over-farmed’ land, look to new horizons, leave the pack and do something today and everyday, that can transform our world, no matter how small, for the better.
Transform don’t change.
It was 1993, Andrew Sullivan, a journalist was diagnosed with AIDs. It was a terrible time - there was no cure and prejudice was rampant.
Andrew took himself off to die. He decided that his parting birdsong, would be to write a book - 'Virtually Normal'. The book suggested the unthinkable - gay people should be able to get married. Andrew could see no other way, in which gay people could be freed from shame and self-hatred.
When the book came out, it was harshly criticised, by both right wing parties and the gay community. Andrew thought his work had all been for nothing and he would die not having made a difference.
25 years later, Andrew is alive, his book sparked a movement and was quoted in a key supreme court ruling, declaring marriage equality for gay people. Andrew also received a letter from the president of the USA, telling him that the fight for gay marriage, succeeded in part because of him. He was invited to the Whitehouse for dinner and that President was black.
Enormous social changes happen because people think the unthinkable and have the courage to come together and do something about it.
So, today and every day, think the unthinkable. And please read Johann Hari's book, Lost Connections, from which this story was taken.
I am what I choose to be.
I choose to be kind.
I choose to be honest.
I choose to be brave.
I am not what others think of me or think I should be.
And neither are you.
You are who you choose to be - nobody gets to take that freedom away from you.
Please don’t let yourself get stolen.
It’s easy to judge others when things are going well for you. But judgement leads to prejudice, barriers and a lack of understanding.
So what happens when things do not go well for you? You hide it because your afraid of judgement and what people will think.
It’s a circular situation right?
So, please don’t judge because until you have walked in the shoes of others, you do not truly understand the one simple truth, we can all miss - they may simply be doing the best they can, given the circumstances they are presented with.
Life is messy, sh*t happens and you never know when that might be your world.
Bad things can happen to good people.
Let’s be there for each other with open arms not a judgemental mind.
I am one of the many 1,000's of women who stepped of the career ladder to focus on their families.
But now I've returned, the children are getting older, my brain aches for stimulation and I am bursting with ideas - although sadly not energy, whilst I move slowly through the menopause. Even so, my brain works perfectly well, whether resting or working.
In all honesty, my career break has enabled me to learn more than when I actually worked.
I want to inspire and help move the world of organisational transformation on - to deliver truly groundbreaking change.
But make no mistake, I'm still a mum and homemaker - these roles will always be my top priority.
I have no desire to return to a 60 hour working week, build an empire or be ‘that important’. I just want to use my brain, to do what I do well, without compromising the very heart of me - my family.
I don't think this requirement is gender specific, nor only for parents. I think this is just a basic need, that we all have to make the very best of our lives.
We are in the midst of the Fourth Revolution - we are looking at how to create life on Mars, surely we can create a more meaningful way to work and live?
I believe that we make our own reality, anyone interested in joining mine?
Mark Manson's new book 'Everything is F*cked - a book about hope', talks about hopelessness as: "the uncomfortable truth, a silent realisation that in the face of infinity, everything we could possibly care about quickly approaches zero."
He has a point, we all die right?
Does that mean we have no hope, no future? No, I do not believe so and neither does he. It is precisely because of this fact, that we should all seize the day, today.
Our time here is short, no one is getting out alive.
Very few of us are handed our dreams on a plate.
All of us will experience loss at some point.
We will all feel fear and be judged.
But, we are not hopeless because we do have choices:
1. We can think about mortality with a different perspective - to enable us to understand that we do have an end date and to live in the present, as fully and authentically as possible.
2. We can listen to our instincts to understand our dreams and go after them, rather than allowing others to steal our minds and crush our spirit - no one, but no one gets to tell you what to think about yourself but you.
3. We can embrace the sadness of loss and grief as part of us, because feeling keeps us alive and reminds us that we care and that means, we always have hope.
Live your life, your way today.
We all simply belong to ourselves: "you only are free when you realise you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all" Maya Angelou
I'm a 47 year old woman. I have returned to work following a career break where I suffered from PND, experienced mortality and became the full-time carer for my children and home-maker.
I've struggled with:
1. Self-esteem - my career defined me, I only realised that when I gave it up.
2. Addiction - I only realised I had an addiction when I simply could not stop, despite the destruction it caused.
3. Judgement - I often did things because of what other's thought of me, not what I thought of myself.
4. Mental Health - I lost myself because I had put on so many layers, I no longer knew who I was.
5. A tough menopause - my body simply gave up on me and switched of the required hormones before my brain was ready.
You need to define your own reality, belong to yourself and no-one else.
1. Motherhood is not the end of your career, it is the start.
2. Grief can break you, but you will get back up.
3. Age is liberating, you finally learn not give too many f*cks about irrelevant stuff.
Seize the day, it's never too late to be you.
Define your own reality.
Stand tall as you.
Help others as you.
Redefine our world as you.
Whether at an individual, collective or organisational level, transformation happens everyday.
Let’s do it for the right reasons.
Let’s engage our hearts, minds and souls in the process.
Let’s drive it from a place of authenticity, care and meaning.
Let’s use it to define a reality not yet created, which works better than the one we have now.
Let’s make it count by making others count.
Let’s be ourselves collectively, embracing the strengths of our differences.
Let’s live with the courage to believe in ourselves, without needing to crush others in order to do so.
One of the truest sayings ever ‘united we stand, divided we fall’.
Would you like to live a life of unfulfilled potential and a relentless ache to do more or come with me and change the world by accepting ourselves?
Every one of us counts - our thoughts and actions matter. We are all capable of creating change, for the better, one step at a time. You just need to take that step.
Today is as good as it gets.
Remember the future is now.