Wednesday, 31 March 2010

10 things that make me happy

Over a week ago, I was tagged by the effervescent Nickie with the Happy 101 Award and now in a better frame of mind I am ready to write this. So here are ten things that make me happy:

The love of my daughters

Recently I have been away a great deal delivering coaching and mentoring skills in a cross-cultural context. Whenever I come home, the welcoming committee is always there often making noises and trying to get the door open. Most recently my youngest was giving me a big cuddle on my return and quite unprompted she said I missed you Mummy. My heart melted. It is wonderful to receive such unquestioning, almost unconditional love.

A good book

I love to get lost in a really good read which is probably why I am currently in two book groups and always struggling to keep up with both groups. In particular I am a fan of great writing and by that I am like Lynne Truss in that I love good use of grammar and punctuation. This is as important to me as an interesting plot.


I have always enjoyed a glass of wine at the end of the day. One of the best presents we ever received as a couple was membership of the Wine Society. It is fantastic that it is owned by the members and it always delivers good quality and value. Definitely prefer red, port and dessert wines to white wine though.


When I worked in the corporate world, I would always team up dull coloured suits with a dash of colour from the Spring palette be it a scarf or a shirt as I am convinced it brightens everyone's day. Orange is my signature colour and that's great because it stands for positivity.


Typical of Taureans the way to woo me is through culinary skills in the kitchen. Just as well my husband is also a Taurean. We both love to cook and experiment with food.

Being pampered

There's not much that beats a good facial, pedicure or manicure. Given the chance I would make pampering or going to a Spa a monthly outing. It is so energising to have a period of peace and quiet with no children clamouring for attention.


I love finding out about new cultures, visiting different places and expanding my horizon. Something that with two small children I dream about now and yet its time will come again.


It is a wonderful way to take me out of my mind by focusing on the postures. I often find it gives me a real sense of release and a burst of creativity. Need to do it more often.


Fortunately I do not suffer from S.A.D but I do love it when the sun comes out. Everything seems easier and it reminds me of that kids' song about the sun has got its hat on and has come out to play. Let's hear for the sun.


My dear friend Callie was one of the first to read this post, do get to know her as she exudes love and light so naturally, and pointed out that I had only 9 things not 10 that make me happy. I had probably missed out the most important thing to me. I believe that we are here to be in relationship with one another. I have always been a pantheist which means that I believe that the spiritual lies within each of us and it is about making a connection at that level. That's why I love what I do coaching because it is all about building rapport and respecting the humanity in each and every person. It is what makes me alive which is why I am such a social media addict.

It's good to reflect on these things and I will certainly revisit this post when life is not so sunny as a reminder of my blessings. That's it from me apart from to tag someone. Initially I chickened out because no one asked to be tagged but I am choosing some people. I nominate:

ownselfbetrue because she is fab and her personal blog is new and is worth a visit

jesschivers because she is an advocate of positive psychology and will have an interesting take

emmakaufmann because she is a published writer who writes from the heart

colourfulcoach because she understands the importance of colour so really gets that point

somethingwonderfuldesign because she has such wonderful style and flair and is local to me

and you if you want to take the challenge. Just send me a tweet or leave me a comment if you are going to continue this meme.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

re: something worth celebrating

What a difference 24 hours can make! Yesterday I had a day when I spent many hours struggling with fear. It was black and oppressive and made me feel very unproductive and a whole load of other things which were unhelpful. Feeling stuck is not a great place to be.

Today has been so totally different. It ended with dancing round the living room with my two girls and OH although the 2 y/o's idea of dancing is jumping! It has all happened in such a short space of time.

So what was different about today? There were struggles but they were not overwhelming. One of my challenges is to get my blog to be recognised on networked blogs which requires a set number of people to verify me as an author. Never have been a fan of sending people lots of emails requesting that kind of info so just put it out there on twitter and on my FB profile and within a short period of time two of my twitter buddies had become FB friends just to help me out and this evening I have had other FB friends offer to help out. It just goes to show that if you ask you receive.

On top of that the level of interest in my social media course has been really high. There are still one or two places however we have the number that I wanted to run it already and that has come about with the minimum of marketing. All done through email and a couple of meetings to sell the idea. I cannot quite believe how easy it has been. If that was not enough I have been approached to speak about social media for another group and I had been wondering how to get more speaking events. For the first time in my life it feels as if there may well be something in the Law of Attraction.

Finally I have been noticing how much Minerva's Mind has been taking off over the last few days. It has been great to see the growth in interest in our facebook community. It really seems to be appealing to women with their own businesses. Karen, my business partner, and I had a brief conversation too today and we both have loads of ideas about how to grow it even further and are getting together on Thursday to create the strategy over the next six months. It really seems to be coming together and I have to say that I am grateful to the Universe for the part it has played in all this.

I would love to hear from you. So tell me what's happening in your life right now?

Monday, 29 March 2010

Mumpreneurs' Monday: is it worth it?

I was drawn to this picture because climbing mountains can be a tough, sweaty making business. Before having children one of my favourite leisure activities was mountain walking and at times climbing with my hubbie. The most memorable time was the three weeks that we spent in Patagonia after the OH returned home safely from Iraq but that's a story for another post. Also through a twitter buddy, I discovered a new blog today called MountainsMovingMindset and all these factors led to this post.

Running your own business can be difficult, lonely, frustrating and exhausting. There can be periods where nothing seems to be moving forward where you feel like throwing in the towel. At these times, being a Mumpreneur ressembles the middle phases of a climb in that it requires all your reserves just to keep going. The key is having a clear vision of where you are going in other words a business plan and a strategy of how to get there.

Here the analogy with mountain walking also fits. People climb for many reasons: some want to bag munroes; and for many it is the view from the top that makes it all worth it. So next time you feel stuck, recall all your achievements until that point and remember Celeste Holm's quotation We live by encouragement and die without it - slowly, sadly, angrily. It is important to surround ourselves by those that believe in our vision and can give us the support we need at the low points.

I leave you with the picture below as inspiration. The view from the top, a source of inspiration when we face challenges. I would love to hear from you about what you do when the going gets tough.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

re: my secret desires for my children

Inspired by Josie's writing prompts and rather last minute due to the fact that I spent much of this week away training, here comes my thoughts on what I hope for my daughters.

What I want for them is something that has taken me many years to acquire and can suffer from a wobble from time to time even now at 40. It is quite simply to believe that they can do anything. I really want them to have the confidence to take on the world on their own terms.

I still have memories of my father spending hours with me as a youngster trying to teach me to dive. I was so fearful that even his patience ran out and he got irritated. Another early memory is of my mum being exasperated with me because instead of waiting for an adult to help me prepare the stamps for my budding stamp collection, I decide to remove them from the paper myself with dire results! Years later I remember how many hours I spent studying history books trying to get at the truth of a particular set of incidents. I would then carefully reproduce that which I thought was closest to the truth. That way I got A grades whereas when I put more of myself into an assignment I would only get a B. For all these reasons and more I grew up with a burning need to get it right and I lived by so many rules.

Now I am on a quest to be my whole self and to get an ever clearer sense of how living in harmony with my authentic voice can work in a materialistic world. So that's why I say my dream is for my girls to be free to be themselves and to retain some of that initial innocence and magic that makes them so special as little people.

That said there are other things I wish for them. One in particular is that they are fluent in at least one other language. I took European Studies at University which you could refer to as a liberal arts degree if you were that way inclined but it did include French, Spanish and Portuguese and a year in Spain. Apart from my early career, I have never really used my languages and I would like it to be different for the girls as being able to communicate in other languages makes the cultures of those countries much more accessible. It also allows one to establish a much deeper connnection and sense of rapport. So I am now inordinately pleased that they know all the colours in Spanish and the numbers 1-10 and yet I need to commit to using Spanish with them, a little bit each day because having a knowledge of another language between the ages of 3 and 5 develops a part of the brain that never gets developed at another time. Also little and often is a much more successful strategy than full on for a long period of time. Thankfully we are now past the period when they used to both shout Stop that noise!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

re: what to do when the creative juices are not flowing

How often do you find yourself going round in circles on an issue particularly if you run your own business? It feels like a vicious circle. You cannot seem to get any clarity? Any suggestions that you have or others make do not seem viable for one reason and another? If this is happening then you are being overwhelmed by fears or other negative emotions and it's as if no course of action is the right one. It is very likely that you are at cause, stuck in an issue. In other words I cannot do that because....

What a good coach or mentor can do is help you move to effect where you can see what the effect of a particular action could be. One of the ways of doing this is to ask "What will you feel if you don't carry out this plan/ idea?" If the disappointment is greater than the fear then it will act as a motivator to help move you on. Another way is to focus on how you will feel when you have accomplished that goal and if that feels really compelling and exciting then it can be enough to stimulate you into action.

So if you feel stuck try these ideas through self coaching and perhaps write down your answers to each of the questions. Do let me know how you get on.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

How a friendship shaped my life

At the eleventh hour, I am writing and submitting this post to Josie's writing workshop because I like the discipline of writing on a specific theme and also I feel that due to the amount of work I am doing at the moment, my blog has been neglected of late so here goes.
There is a person that I think of from time to time, less often now that it is over 20 years ago but what happened had a major impact on me at the time. This is our story so to speak.
When I was 19 I spent a year living in London. Every girl's dream perhaps, and it would have been if I had had the money to indulge my passions in particular the theatre. For one reason and another I ended up living in Maria Assumpta, a hostel run by nuns! The fabulous bit was that it was tucked away in a square just behind Kensington! All those shops which I could not afford.
The amazing thing about that year was that I met a very eclectic group of people, many of whom were also residents of the hostel and I want to tell you about one of them. She was a very special person called Yolanda. Her parents were part of the Windrush era and I recall that her Mum was the cook for the Nuns. Yolanda had a real love of life and I can remember a reunion shortly after that time when we met up in a restaurant and we were having such a laugh that the waiter came over to say that some of the other diners had complained and could we keep the noise down! She also had a real gift and that was her voice, which was a delight to hear. She was training to be an opera singer at the Royal College of Music.
At the end of the year, I went off to University and we kept in touch by meeting up occasionally and writing. In my third year at University I went off to Spain and that's when stuff began to unravel. I recall getting a letter from her about a new Church that she was attending. She had always been a committed Christian so I thought nothing of it. When I came over for a visit I went with her to the Church. I did think it was quite odd that when we went for a coffee afterwards, she was chaperoned by 1 or 2 members of the Church. That was the last time I saw her.
When there was no answer to my letters, I contacted her family but they had not heard from her either in some time. I then read up about the Church and found out that it was a cult which was known for brainwashing people into becoming members by encouraging them to stay in the Church's accommodation and subjecting them to sleep deprivation. The members then withdrew from real life and took up activities to promote the Church on a full-time basis. When we met that last time, I had no idea of any this. I just assumed it was an Evangelical church. Some stuff seemed a little unusual but I never probed further in part because I was aware that the members of the Church were listening and evaluating everything I said.
In reflection I regret now that I did not do more at the time but my friend had always seemed so stable. What happens fills me with sadness not the loss of the friendship so much, really the waste of her gift to the world. I hope and pray that one day she woke up to what was happening and got out but it is unlikely that I will ever find out. It also makes me realise that the bond of friendship amongst young people is often much stronger than those formed later on in life. It may in part be the reason that I have always had an affinity for BME issues and why I currently do a lot of work around under-representation and have supported Diversity for such a long time. It certainly goes a long way to explaining my suspicion of fundamentalist views particularly religious ones. So how about you do you have any similar examples that you would like to share?

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

How does she do it?

I am beginning to wonder if there is something in the cosmos at the moment but as I am not an astrologist so I cannot be sure. It just seems that many people I know are having very busy times that can at times be extraordinarily stressful. Below is an account of my day today because it highlights what those of us who are Mums and running businesses go through a lot.
I am launching a new course next month and have done a great deal of prep for it. My initial email had not had much response so I ended up going to a networking event this morning as I knew I would meet some of the people who had signalled initial interest there. This sounds easier than it was. Last week I had to call in a favour with a good friend and ask her to look after my 2 y/o as despite the event being aimed at Mums, there is no creche. I did not feel too bad as we usually see said friend and her 2 y/o on Wednesdays at the same playgroup. What it involved was getting to the venue 40 minutes early to deposit my youngest before heading off to the meeting.
However that was not all. Part of the reason I had not gone to bed until 23.30 last night was because I had to wrap a pressie and write a card for the daughter of a dear friend (we went to school together) because she was three today. It is the 3 y/o's ballet class on Wednesday and so I had to call in an even bigger favour and ask one of my local friends if she would pick up the 3 y/o from pre-school, feed her lunch, let her play w/ her daughter then take her to and from ballet. She often takes the 3 y/o to ballet but would now be responsible for her for 4.5 hours. Despite feeling uncomfortable about this, I did ask and she did say yes last week. Just needed to remember to pack her ballet stuff for pre-school and take her car seat with us too!!
That done the 2 y/o and I headed into town. This involved finding a new car park where I was going to meet my friend, so a quick look on the internet was needed before we headed out. Deposited 2 y/o then a mad dash to the networking meeting stopping briefly to apply lippy in the car mirror. As soon as the meeting had finished and I had caught up with a couple of people, it was a mad rush back to the playgroup where I sang a couple of songs with my 2 y/o, touched base with friend then a quick march homewards for lunch. Just needed to check that all was ok with friend who was picking up 3 y/o because she had not been at pre-school or answered her phone that morning so popped into her house. Ended up going through a convoluted explanation with her husband as that friend was out and then hurried home to feed 2 y/o.
After a quick sandwich we headed off to Buckingham about an hour away. We had to stop en route to fill the car with diesel as it was virtually empty! We arrived at the softplay area in plenty of time and so I was able to fit in 3 business calls including one about a possible venue for my 3 y/o's birthday which is next month. Importantly I got the last space in the car park. We stayed for an hour and a half. There was more food including chips and other starchy stodge for the mummys. We managed to see the cutting of the cake before we left. Despite a good run home we still got back after my friend so there was a message on the home phone saying that she had my 3 y/o at her house. That did make me feel guilty so we scooted over as fast as we could to collect the 3 y/o.
Since then I have been at home with two very tired children doing the bedtime ritual including supper and party cake. Not a great combination with a rather stressed, over-caffeinated Mum to boot. Is it all worth it I wonder? What do you think?

Saturday, 13 March 2010

What does a foetus have in common with wholeness?

I had the most amazing experience last night and I wanted to share some of it with you. I understood for perhaps the first time what detachment was because I felt it rather than intellectualised it. I inhabited a space where there were no labels. It was so powerful because it was like going back to source or one's essence. When I reflected on it afterwards the picture that came to me was that of a foetus. To have such a strong taste of being was very energising for my soul and it felt very natural to relax into the state. This was all possible thanks to Lynn Serafinn a wise woman and good person to have on your side. It certainly deepened my understanding of self and added insight into my journey to wholeness.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The personal and the professional: are they one and the same or not?

This will probably be a vshort post as I feel the urge to write, and I have what feels like a million and one things to do. So here are my thoughts in a nutshell.

Do you remember in the 70s a phrase that became very popular was the personal is political. It came to me the other day as I was mulling over something that's been on my mind for a long time and that is to what extent should we mix the personal and the professional? Some of the bloggers that I enjoy the most have two blogs: a personal one and a professional one. I admire them for the commitment they have to keeping two current with regular new material. I also wonder how that works with the idea that people buy from people that they know, like and trust.

Is it better to define a blog by the audience that one is intending to reach? Most people like to be able to categorise people and things. What we don't like as a rule is ambiguity, the inability to classify blogs, people etc. The problem with that is that we are all complex individuals with many different thoughts and often contradictory ideas. The more we are able to live in a technicolour world, the richer are experience will be. This is why for me the phrase that people are doing the best they can with the resources that they have available resonates so much.

So what do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Are you a leader or a follower?

This post is inspired by a conversation that I had with two men in my life right now. For those of you who are wondering, no they have not supplanted Andy in my affections; the connection with Michael and Steven is an energetic one and is very exciting because it works on a mind, spirit, emotional and gut level. So much so that my coffee machine blew up when they came over for lunch yesterday! In fact the make of coffee machines is known for going wrong so it is probably unrelated. The three of us spent part of the afternoon discussing our book and what we were going to write about next and I received so many insights on some of the stuff that I am working through right now that I had to share them with you. What it boils down to is this.

We all have a desire to belong, to feel part of a community. To some extent this comes from the parenting we receive which some describe as socialising little people so that they "fit" within society. If you are a parent just think about how much time you spend/ have spent prompting your kids about good manners and saying their ps and qs so to speak. Is it any wonder therefore that when we grow up we start looking for our tribe so that we can say we have found our place? If that motivation is what drives us then we can run into problems. Why? Remember back to when you were a child and you had a secret club with your best friend or a sibling. It might have included your own language and special signs. Whatever was involved, there was bound to be some rites and rituals. When we join groups as an adult, they each have their own rules and these are often unspoken and they are what help to give the group its identity. The problem is that if you then go and challenge them in any way, you too become a threat to the group and its raison d'etre so there is likely to be a strong reaction to you as a way of protecting the group's identity.

In part leading is about challenging the status quo. It is definitely about putting our stake in the ground, saying what we believe in and standing by that even when the response we receive is either hostile or indifferent. Over time, if we are doing that from a place of authenticity then our group of supporters will group but this is not an overnight process and the journey to that place can be hard and lonely. Seth Godin writes that when we lead if we do not feel an edge of discomfort then we are not actually leading.

If this is true then it is not surprising that so few people are prepared to take a stand and be a leader. And yet I believe that each and every one of us has a unique voice that needs to be heard to make this world a better place for us all. It is the role of some to help others find their voice because I believe leadership is like a dance in which we come together and each of us leads the others in one section. To find out more about accessing your authentic voice, check out