Friday, 29 January 2010

Fun Friday: Shiny happy people meme

Do you ever have that feeling that some things are not supposed to happen? I had written this post and was just adding the photo at the end, unadvisable in blogger because then you spend ages getting it into position when I thought I know I will reposition the text. I tried to do a cut and paste but had forgotten that you can cut text but you cannot then paste it back into blogger. I am now feeling very frustrated. Added to that the song that I wanted I cannot include as a video image because I do not have an mpeg/ avi/ windows media etc file so there is just a link which does not feel the same. Grr!

That said I am very grateful to Paula from Battling on who has made history in Kate's world because she is the first person to tag me. So let's hear it for Paula - yay!! This is actually such a joyful topic and very appropriate for Fridays and the weekends especially Sunday night just before people are going back to work.

What's the meme about:

#1 Share a song that makes me happy and that gives an injection of happiness when needed.

#2 Post an image that makes me smile, it can be anything - an image from tinternet or a silly photo that makes me laugh as long as it's not too rude.

So for the third time of trying here are my thoughts.

In many respects the song was easy and that is because I received it through one of those lists we are all part of and it really saved me in my hour of need. As many of you know last month, Andy (my husband) sustained a head injury and initially the prognosis did not look good because he had fractured his skull, suffered from internal bleeding and swelling on the brain. He could not move his head without feeling sick and was kept in for a week. When he came home he was signed off for a further three weeks and made a slow recovery. However it was great to have him at home because the girls were slightly freaked out by visiting him in hospital. Below is a side view of his head after it was glued back together and washed:

So the song that I was sent was I believe I can fly and no I am not talking about the Orville version. It shifted my perspective dramatically. I went from thoughts about cancelling Christmas to ideas on how I could use the experience in a magazine article to inspire people. The article was published in Nubia magazine earlier this month.

I had no idea what image I would choose as I am much more audio than visual. Again the universe stepped in, as I finally got round to downloading a whole load of photos and as soon as I saw this one I knew it was the one. It is a photo of my youngest a family wedding earlier this month. She's in full swing on the dance floor. What I love about the photo is that it captures her essence so well and also is an image of unadulterated joy. Whose spirits would not soar when they looked at this photo?

Enjoy and finally I am going to tag a few peeps who make me laugh or provide thought provoking stuff on a regular basis so that they can join in the fun:

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The cost of having strong values

So I like a challenge which is why I have committed to write an entry for Josie's writing workshop despite the fact that it feels as if our house is falling down around our ears! The focus is on what is it that I refuse to compromise on and what is the impact on me.

This topic drew me in because as a Taurean, I am reknown for my tenacity which when overplayed becomes being bloody-minded to those around me. I am passionate about life and the importance of having values and therefore helping others to articulate what gives their life meaning and therefore find happiness in their choices. Before I go off into coach speak let's get into specifics.

One of the things that is important to me and my husband is that our children display good manners. On many occasions, often completely unexpectedly, we have total strangers come up to us in restaurants and comment on how well behaved our girls are and what a delight it is to see such young children behaving so well - they are 3 and 2. This of course gives one a glow and for me makes me feel that I may get some things wrong but at least I am getting something right.

That is the preamble for what comes next. Last Friday we were round at a friend of mine's house. She has two boys pretty much the same age as the girls so it is great to get the children together as it usually works well on a number of levels. Not last week. First off her youngest spent much of the afternoon crying for no apparent reason. My friend, whom I shall refer to as N, explained how he had had a swine flu jab earlier in the week - something which I can't understand anyone doing unless their child has severe asthma or a similar condition which means the effects of swine flu could be much more serious. I mentioned my view but managed, for me, to be quite diplomatic so I did avoid one potential hazard. So far so good. N then went on later to explain that her son was not usually like this to which I agreed but that due to the jab and other factors she felt that it was his way of punishing her. She felt therefore that she had to respond by cuddling him etc. At this point I happened to mention that if either of my two turn on the tears they get short shrift and I tend to say that I am going to count to three and I expect them to stop. Yes perhaps that was the moment I should have kept silent on my views as it all came home to roost not long after.

The four children sat down for supper. It was a delicious chicken risotto but my eldest did not eat much because she did not like the lemon flavour in the rice. In the end I finished hers and against my better judgement said she could have pudding as I really did not want her getting hungry later. When everyone had finished she wanted to get down. So I said casually what do you say to N? My expectation was that she would say please may I get down. She refused to say anything, wanted a cuddle and went all shy. I said that she needed to sit at the table until she was willing to say anything. Everyone else got down and played and I went to the toilet before we started getting ready to leave. I came back in and went over to have a quiet word explaining what I expected her to say. She then agreed to speak to N who came over and tried to be encouraging. No dice and by this time I felt that I could not drag the whole thing out any longer so I said to her either she said it or she could get down but there would be no treats the next day. She claimed she did not want any treats the next day, got down and the three of us got ready to leave. N was very reassuring and said that they had the same thing at times with the boys etc. etc. but after all that I had implied and said before, I did feel a bit of a plonker.

So would I take the same course of action again? I was reading someone's blog about disciplining children the other day and his view was that it is the child's decision whether they heed what you say when you explain that you do not like their behaviour. They may do what you want the next time, they may not. All that said the best thing to do according to him is to be consistent in terms of one's expectations each time so that the message given is unambiguous. Perhaps what I do regret is my attitude to her child which could be seen as smug so I may be more circumspect in terms of what I say in a similar situation another time. What is has shown me is that it is for all these reasons that I never claim to be an expert on parenting or to give advice for which I expect to be paid on this subject!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Are you an enterprising Mum?

So what are you doing this Thursday? Enterprising Mums are having a Business and Start up Fair aimed at Mums wondering what is next. So if you are thinking about becoming self employed, setting up your own business or you want to meet other Mums who work from home then come join us.

I will be there doing a talk on whether you can have it all and how to manage our way through whatever life throws at us! Currently trying to work out how we can get the insurance company to pay for a new hot water tank which they claim has leaked due to wear and tear, as this is not covered on our policy. We have a small problem of no hot water and no heating at the moment.

We will be at Plinston Hall, Letchworth on 28 Jan in the morning from 9.30am until 1pm and 6.30pm until 9.30pm. There will be lots of stalls and talks on a range of topics including how one Mum set up her own chocolate business or come listen to From Slummy Mummy to Yummy Mummy.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Thank God it's almost Friday

Inspired by Paula's post, I thought I would also put an entry into Sleep is for the weak's writing workshop. The theme that spoke to me was the one on thankfulness. Let me start by giving you some context.

This week has been mental. The weekend was taken up by a very important event, my husband's brother and partner got married. It was lots of fun and very creative - we had a tea dance where we learnt the cha cha and the jive whilst drinking Prosecco in china cups and eating lashings of cake. The wedding breakfast was served in the evening and it was the most authentic Indian curry I have had in a very long time, served in a brown cardboard box.

The newly weds then boarded a plan on Wednesday morning headed for a three week holiday in Japan before continuing on to New Zealand, which is where they plan to settle. We had spent two nights in London over the weekend, enjoyed a pre-wedding meal the night before and a brunch with immediate family on Sunday so I thought we had said our goodbyes. There was however an expectation to reconvene on Tuesday night for one last get together. In the end I sent my husband and the girls because I had a few hours to do an emergency rewrite of the workshop I was presenting the next day!

Wednesday for me was mad. I ran a cross-cultural mentoring workshop all day in London then whizzed back to Hitchin to grab the car. Then it was a drive to Newmarket to film a slot as part of the People's Panel for the Politics Show on Sunday so it was a late finish added to which I had had an insomnia attack on Tuesday night!

Today instead of a quiet day in the office catching up with calls and other stuff. We all had to get dressed and drive up to Staffordshire for a family funeral. The girls are only 3 and 2 so I stayed at a family member's house so one could nap and the other could play with all the princess stuff whilst the others attended the service. The wake was held in a pub and after three hours, the girls were getting bored so we made our excuses and left to make the great journey south and home.

What has kept me going this week? Through it all there has been my family. My husband is very good at keeping calm and reasoning stuff out and the girls just lighten the mood. The eldest was trying to explain that we could afford to go to New Zealand if we took all the money in her piggy bank, the huge bag of coppers she received from her Uncle before he left and various other bits of money that are lying around the house! They spent the afternoon charging around talking to the members of the family they knew at the wake spreading their sunshine wherever they went and impressing people with their confidence. My youngest is very attuned to my feelings and came up and demanded a cuddle today. I will always remember us singing versions of Row, Row and other such stuff with her on my knee in the midst of the wake. I just feel grateful to have such a wonderful immediate family who bring joy to me and others in their own particular ways.

Monday, 18 January 2010

To be or not to be: sole trader or limited company

I started this post last week and it was deleted by the man from Dell when he was fixing yet another problem with my laptop! The purpose of this blog is not to have a moan about Dell and their services - on that the less said the better. In fact is is part two on things you need to do when setting up your own business. Click here for part one. Duncan Brodie commented on that post that the first thing a new business owner had to decide was what business structure to go for. At the time that seemed fairly obvious to me but recently it became less so and therefore I thought I would share the process that I have been going through as it might be helpful.

For most small businesses the choice is between signing up as a sole trader or becoming a limited company. Initially it seemed pretty obvious to me that setting up as a sole trader was the way forward because I had very few overheads as a coach and consultant and limited liabilities. However that all changed when one of the organisations that I work for said that they would no longer work with consultants that did not have a limited company, after 31 March 2010.

Initially I was not at all keen at the prospect. It meant getting a memorandum and articles of association, filing a set of accounts once a year with Companies House - all of which seemed like more work. Now some weeks on I can see that it could make my organisation seem more professional. It could also have other benefits such as the payment of dividends to the Directors out of the pre-tax profits. That makes up for the £200 or so that most individual business owners choose to pay for someone to set up their business as a limited company with an off the peg set of memorandum and articles.

In short I am now seriously considering the idea of making Whole Self Leadership a limited company. It is funny how potentially bad news can act as an opportunity. However in my research so far, I have been surprised by the number of people who are sole traders and have not gone for the limited company option. What's your view? What choice did you make and why?

Monday, 11 January 2010

Mum's Monday: have your say

I have been commissioned to write a series of articles for a new magazine that recently launched. I will be producing twelve pieces over the next year. Here's the interesting part, my brief is to represent the voice of Mums and to provide them with inspiration. I am very interested in hearing from my readers who are Mums, and that includes grandmothers, with ideas about what they would like to read. I will be finalising my next six articles by the end of the week so don't delay, leave comments on what you would get you going. If the piece is likely to involve a case study or two then feel free to suggest people who I might contact who fit the bill. Thanks and I look forward to reading your ideas.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Let's get down on it...

I was looking for an image that conveyed excitement and I picked this one for two reasons. Firstly because it looks so warm there and I am fed up of feeling cold in my own home. Also it reminded me of something that I did whilst A was in Iraq, and that was paragliding. However that was more exhilirating than exciting, in part because I am scared of heights, so spent the first half of the flight with my eyes tightly shut!
In a way I feel that I am on a similar journey just now in that one of my intentions this year is to get work as a paid writer. I am already a published writer but in a non-paid capacity. In the last 48 hours or so I have been involved in a whirlwind of activity which has seen the development of Judith's room, a community for women who write. There are now over 165 members from around the world so it has really hit on a nerve, and it is fantastic to be a founding member of such an initiative. In addition, I have been asked to be a guest blogger elsewhere and I am being contacted next week about writing a column for another magazine so it is all happening.
I am sharing this with you because I believe that we can all have this level of success with the intentions we set, if they are in line with what is important to us with respect to the rest of our life. So often however, we are unaware of our thoughts and values at a sub-conscious level, which in turn thwart us from having the success we crave outwardly. I believe it is important to look at any dream from a mind, body, spirit and heart space perspective so that we can achieve congruence between who we are and what we express are our desires. This to some degree starts to unpack what wholeness means to me. So do share, what do you think and what are your intentions for 2010? How well have they been shaping up since the beginning of the year?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Being in flow: celebrating the small things

Wouldn't it be great if adults could have the same delight for small things as kids? My two year old was ecstatic this morning because she found a hippo nappy to wear. She told me about it then waltzed downstairs beaming from ear to ear and told her daddy too! Her happiness lasted for quite a while and was also very infectious. I learn so much from having two toddlers. What do you do to be fully present? How do you get into flow?