Summer Holiday Madness

So it's already August - season of well-earned breaks, fruitful family time, and slight nostalgia. Lots of my 'mumpreneur' friends are taking a back seat this month, and who can blame them? They deserve it! I have to take my clients' needs on board though, as well as my own wishes, so this year I'm combining my busy work life and my quality kid-time.

It's not always easy but it's working out so far. My eldest children take on small tasks in the office, as well as the important job of providing hilarious light relief when they decide to join my Skype conversations...well, somebody's got to do it. Handily enough, they accept Lego as payment, so it's a win-win. It's all about embracing the chaos.

Then, pretty soon, we'll be going into September. A slight wistfulness for the end of the season starts to set in, and of course that 'back to school' feeling. I love it so much, I just want to run out and buy myself a new pencil case - anybody else feeling it? Actually, I'm so organised this year, I've already got mine, and yes, it's a unicorn one. If you know me that won't surprise you one bit.

I love this time of year, this slight pause - it's like a halftime break (except for me, this year, without the break.) Looking back to review the first part - what worked well, what needs to be developed... what I should do more of - or not!  

Plus, of course, there are extra cuddles with the kids to keep me going - and it's great for ice cream!

150606Sexton-Family-033.jpg

5 Minutes with.....Stephanie Betschart.....

 

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a solution focused hypnotherapist and mind-body therapist, and I help people get back into the driving seat. People come to see me because they’re stuck in some way, or don’t feel like themselves:  Like the artist who wasn’t able to enjoy art anymore, the woman who felt lost when the kids left home, or the young adult struggling with moving away to uni.

Solution focused dialogue helps people to imagine how life would be without the current block or illness, and starts the process of moving forward into the future, rather than delving into the past for the cause. I believe we all have the ability to make changes to our lives and be resilient - we just need a hand sometimes, and that’s where I come in.

With hypnosis I can bypass the conscious mind, remove barriers, and embed the client’s vision, so their natural resources and abilities can start to come forward and help them to realise it. I use other tools too, like resilience training and mindfulness. And I give them homework!

I love my job.  I love to see people getting back to their own truth and growing from that healthy place.

What makes you different?

I’m a Buddhist. I was ordained into the Triratna order in 2009, at a mountain retreat in Spain, although I’ve actually been studying Buddhism and practising meditation for 22 years. I practise Qigong too, which coordinates body posture, breathing and meditation and I’m training to become a teacher.

Oh, and I’m French, so I occasionally have French clients. It’s a stretch out of my comfort zone, but I can do the session in French if needed!

If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

 

I know this is going to sound trite and boring, but I’d choose right now. To be really and fully present would be completely amazing and liberating, especially if I was sitting by a lake with some trees!

For us women, this is the best time in history. We have more rights now in Western Europe than we’ve ever had, although of course there’s still progress to be made. It would be great to go back to the Buddha’s time, hear him teach, and hang out with him, but I’d have to be a man to do that.

What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

To breathe from my lower abdomen. To be honest, at first, I thought it sounded a bit naff - certainly not an earth shattering revelation. But even though it may sound easy, if you don’t know how to breathe properly it affects both your physical and mental health. Back then I was a constant nervous wreck, partly because I used to breathe up in my chest. Now I feel much calmer, much more myself. Grounded, you might say.

I’ve since found out it’s because deep abdominal breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which controls the ‘rest and restore’ function of the body. And that’s where we should be functioning from most of the time - unless we’re being chased by a tiger!

What’s your superpower?

My superpower’s silliness, and people in the know have confirmed that.  At work it manifests itself through lightness of touch and a good sense of humour. It helps my clients not take themselves too seriously. It’s helpful when I work with teenagers too, and I usually give them really silly homework; then it becomes fun for them to engage in their own growth. 

When I channel it in a more serious way, my silliness lets me be creative and even take more risks in my hypnosis and trance work. Then I can give my clients a space to explore those qualities in themselves.

What book would you recommend and why?

My favourite book is “the little prince” by Antoine de St Exupery. I grew up with it, and it’s a wonderful book full of wisdom and innocence and beauty. It’s bound to warm the heart and make you smile and wonder

 

5 minutes with.....Amy Morse.....

So who are you and what do you do?

I’m a fiction author (with 4 novels published, and counting…) and I'm also a content coach. I work with small businesses on a one to one basis and run workshops to help them find and tell their story in their own words. I call myself an authorpreneur, because I bring my own brand of writer’s razzle-dazzle to business!

 

What makes you different?

I've had day jobs in training, coaching and business support, but I always harboured dreams of being a published writer...ever since I was a child! I have bucket loads of creative energy but I also have a businesslike mind. It's a rare combination.

 

If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

 I’ve always had a fascination with Tudor England, but I’m not sure I’d fancy going there – too much war, pestilence, savagery and sewage running down the streets!

Maybe I’d hang out with Hemingway in Key West in the 50’s – he had a fascinating life. I imagine he’d have a few stories to tell over a pint in Sloppy Joes Diner; plus, he had loads of cats, and I love Key West. Cats, sunshine, beer and good conversation. What's not to like?

 

What's your superpower?

I can annihilate negativity with a smile!

 

What's the best piece of advice you have been given?

 There are 2 things my mum told me when I was little that have stuck with me and I try to live by:

1.  Treat other people as you’d wish to be treated yourself

2.  If you can’t say something nice, it’s better not to say anything all. This one I’m less good at, especially when it clashes with the first! I would expect others to be honest with me, and will be honest in return.

 

What book would you recommend and why?

I could be shamelessly self-absorbed and say ‘The Bronze Box’ – my debut novel and the book that changed the course of my life. I won't though! Instead, I’ll say ‘The Storyteller’s Secret’ by Carmine Gallo. It brings two of my favourite things, stories and business, together brilliantly. It could be my bible!

Contact Amy here

5 Minutes With.... Regina Carbonell

So who are you and what do you do?

Along with my husband, Ryan, I own a non-binary fashion brand called Milk Originals. All our clothing is unisex and our mission is to change the social vision of gender roles through fashion.

All our lines feature Ryan's artwork. In fact, one of the reasons we started the company in the first place was to prove to him that he was 'good enough.' That was in May last year, and we're already worth £3 million! We're looking for more investors at the moment, so we can open a showroom in Miami. Ryan is evolving as an artist, getting better every day, so we're really going from strength to strength.

 

What makes you different?

Both Ryan and myself are gender fluid, which means that we don't believe in assigned gender roles. We think people should be able to dress however they feel most comfortable and be socially accepted that way. Everything the company does reflects that ethos so, for instance, we work with a gender equal manufacturer in India, and we're an LGBT friendly company.

We are passionate about society and about equal rights; In fact the name, MILK, stands for Meaning In Living Kindly. It's the way we run our company and the way we live our lives.

 

If you could visit any time and place in history where/when would you go?

I think I would like to have lived in England in the Victorian era. I would have probably have been a romantic writer like Shelley... or maybe an adventurer. Mind you, if I'd ended up in the U.S I might've been burned at the stake. What can I say? I'm just too much of a feminist!

 

What's your superpower?

If you asked Ryan he'd say it was mind reading! I think it would be emotion related as I easily pick on other people's emotions and understand them. I'm pretty good with animals too.

 

What's the best piece of advice you have been given?

When I was a teenager my Mum told me that my problems would follow me wherever I went. I couldn't run from them, so I should deal with them, and that the best way to do that was to love and know myself. It seemed like grown up crap at the time, to be honest, but now I recognise it's one of the best bits of advice I've ever been given.

 

What book would you recommend and why?

I've got two really. The first is Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. I read it when I was 12 and it helped me to keep a child's view of the world. I love Jostein Gaarder; his books make you think about life and the world and the way people live their lives. I'd also recommend Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It really helped me to change my views on finances and money.


 


 

 

Business Surgery Guest Blog: GDPR - What YOU need to know

Through some work for a new client, KMD Neupart UK, I have recently learned about GDPR and the changes coming next year to data protection laws. If you run an email list or keep any data you need to know about this! 

In this guest blog email marketing experts Winbox give us some guidance.

 GDPR is on its way: a new pan-EU privacy regulation that will have a significant impact on email marketing for small businesses. From May 28, 2018, EU data handling rules are set to change. There will be one set of regulations for every country, requiring written consent (such as an opt-in form) from audiences in order to be able to market to them at all. This consent must also be recorded should any complaints arise, and failure to comply could see firms facing penalties of up to €10m.

You must inform your audience exactly how their personal data will be used before they decide to agree: it’ll be a hard opt-in rather than a soft opt-out process once GDPR comes into effect. It doesn’t only apply to email marketing either - the regulation also covers the use of cookies to track user behaviour on websites. You can read more about what it involves here.

For small businesses, the new ruling has numerous ramifications. For many, it’ll involve a complete overhaul of their existing email marketing operations, changing the way in which they collect and store data. The new regulation will apply not only to future data that’s collected, but also data that’s already held...so while May 2018 may seem like the distant future, there’s no time like the present to start the ball rolling.

This will be one of the biggest shifts in email marketing in recent years: so what can you do to prepare?

Laying the foundations
 

The Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed that it will publish regular practical GDPR guidance (and signposting guidance created by others), which can be found on their website. In a document entitled “Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 12 steps to take now”, first published in March 2016, they stress the importance of acting now to ensure that you gain buy-in from key stakeholders, and put in place any new processes needed for compliance. Their 12 steps include:

  • Raising awareness of GDPR amongst decision-makers

  • Organising an information audit: the data you hold, where it came from and who it’s shared with

  • Checking that your current procedures cover all the data protection rights that individuals have

  • Having the right procedures in place should a data breach happen

It may seem like hard work, but it’s well worth it. By changing your processes early and cleaning up your current mailing lists to comply with GDPR, you’ll not only save yourself a job (and potential fines) down the line, you’ll also ensure that all new data you collect will adhere to the new regulation.

You may worry that adopting this double opt-in process will deplete your mailing list...but remember, good lists are about quality, not quantity. Data from marketing automation software firm CommuniGator shows that opt-in click through rates reach 37%, demonstrating that a more qualified audience is the way forward...and we’re sure you’d far rather have an engaged, relevant database over a €10m fine.

The build-up to the GDPR launch in May 2018 begins now. There’s no time like the present to start building your permission-based opt-in list, adapt the way in which your data is collected and stored, and have a clear plan of action in place. Data has never been more important: it’s time to ensure that everyone in your organisation agrees.

Time Tracking; Part Two

Some of you will know that I've recommended the books by Laura Vanderkam in the past. They really help me juggle my life and loves. But just when you think you have a routine sorted, everything can change.

What is plan A one week isn't going to work for ever. I've become flexible at being flexible and time tracking helps that.
The year has started really well for me and busily - it can be really easy to feel like you are on a treadmill that won't stop. You have to purposely stop it and take a breath.
Currently I am writing this early in the morning whilst the house is quiet having just done some work on a press release. Last night I took myself off to a race (running!) and it was a nice night off for me. I used to feel guilty for taking time out but now I'm better at nurturing myself self in the knowledge that I can take a few hours out for me and make up the time later. There are 168 hours in a week after all. I get to choose how to use them.
The only thing I have to make sure of is that I plan ahead what work I am doing in each of my work time slots - then I use my available time to its maximum.
Now I'm off to read Running Fitness....

Thank You 2016!

Its taken me a few weeks to come up with the right words for this....here goes....

I have a lot of friends who will be glad to see the back of 2016 - for good reasons. Severe illness or losing loved ones is tough. You know who you are and I really hope that 2017 brings you some much needed peace. Life throws all sorts of “stuff” at us, it's what it is all about, and luckily most of us are blessed with friends who will help us through.

 

For me I am thankful for 2016. It really was a year of learning for me. I pushed myself beyond what I realised I could do and that gives me great confidence going into this year. Not only in a professional sense but also personally. From a work point of view I have the confidence to walk into a situation that pushes me and my abilities and to embrace the opportunity it gives me. OK it’s hard - but that's fine by me. From a sports perspective I am very lucky to be involved in a fantastic running club. Dursley Running Club I love you! After a life in professional equestrian sport to find another sport that gives me as much fun and pleasure is amazing for me. It so refreshing to once more set sports related goals and even to overcome sports related problems that come up.  I have done things I never knew I could do and have started to make friendships with some fantastic people who are becoming an important part of my life. We have a shared love of the outdoors and the way that running helps us to make sense of our lives. It's also tremendous fun!


 

My plans for 2017

Keep it simple

Have adventures

Work smart

 

 

Guest Blog - Patricia Pitt - The Business of Dressage

THIS BUSINESS OF DRESSAGE

As the year comes to a close, we become reflective.  Looking back I have been relatively successful in my career, starting out as a secretary and moving through first line management to middle management and now reaching the dizzy heights of Director.

Turning to my dressage ambitions, it occurred to me that what separates ‘the wheat from the chaff’ in the equestrian world is a burning desire, a thirst for knowledge, structure and a business-like approach.   This has clearly been applied in my working life but until recent years has been sadly lacking in the approach I took to my riding.   The burning desire was there but no structure.   Success then is a philosophy, an attitude, it’s a state of mind and it is available to each and every one of us.  

So if you want it, but can’t get the leverage you need, here’s some information on business values that can very easily be applied to your approach to your training and help you get the focus and motivation to achieve your riding goals.

WHO MADE ‘COMPETITION’ A BAD WORD?

Too many equestrians believe that there’s something wrong with aiming to be really successful. You hear it a lot in these days of Classical versus Competition Dressage, the suggestion that somehow, if you strive for competitive success you can’t care about your horse. It’s almost as if being a go-getter is incompatible with being compassionate, socially conscious and a good person! It’s a generalisation and like anything that tars everyone with the same brush, totally untrue.

 

THE MYTH OF MASSIVE TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE

How many of you believe that success requires you to revolutionise your riding?  That’s a scary thought. No one wants to make massive changes to the way they think, feel and behave. Human beings love staying within the comfort zone. But guess what? In my work I’ve realised that lasting personal change does not require you to turn your beliefs upside down. The best way to achieve results is through small continuous steps. Baby steps. A little at a time.

 

SIMPLIFY THEN FOCUS

One of the primary reasons that people fail to achieve their goals is that they try to be too many things to too many people. The most successful human beings are wildly focused. They have a very clear picture of what it is they want to create and then they have the discipline (and courage) to stick to their mission – saying ‘no’ to everything that is not ‘mission critical’. So my suggestion to you is to simplify. Strip away all that is unimportant, these are the things keeping you from getting to your dreams. And then once you do your clean up, focus, focus, focus. You’ll be surprised how good you will then get.

DETACH FROM THE NOISE

One of the primary traits of world-class performers (in business and in Dressage) is that their success does not come by luck, it is by the ability to ‘detach from the noise’. Each day, ‘noise’ such as little crises, minor interruptions and interesting distractions beg for our attention. To get to your own unique form of greatness it’s important – no, essential – to detach from the noise and stay ‘on vision’.

 

 ASK, ASK, ASK THEN ASK SOME MORE

You’ll never know if you don’t even try. There is giant power in asking for what you want. All too often, our internal chatter prevents us from taking the steps needed to get us to where we want to be. My partner Mark Bentley could barely keep his feet in the stirrups let alone trot a circle when he asked a world class elite Olympic rider to train him.  The best of the best, those who live the dream – ask like crazy.  The more you do it, the easier it gets (like any skill). And so they ask. For the support and help they need. Nothing happens until you ask.

2017 is looming large and many of us will all be looking to either continue our good work with our horses or find some renewed vigour in our training.  So, why not think BIG? Stretch yourself and go for it!  Here are some more great business leadership ideas that you could help you find your personal greatness as a rider.

 

CONSIDER FEAR AS GROWTH

Fear is scary, right?  When it surfaces our instinct is to run away, avoid and consider it as a bad thing. But why not try to think of it as an opportunity, a gift really.  What if, the things that scare you are spectacular opportunities to discover more about who you are meant to be?  Overcoming your fears leads to confidence, self-respect, helps promotes growth and makes you better – at everything!

DREAM BIG

The very nature of dreaming big dreams and stretching yourself beyond the norm is dangerous in the sense that you leave the place where you feel safest; you leave your comfort cocoon you will, without doubt, fail more!  But part of winning is the failure you experience on the way.  Your big dream means you risk more to reach your peak in performance.  So when you fall (metaphorically), get back up, dust yourself off – and off you go again enroute to success.

YOU FIND WHAT YOU SEEK

Every second you spend thinking about what you don’t want is a second denying focus and energy from getting what you do want.  Why worry about what’s not working when you could be creating what will work.  Stop reflecting on the disappointments of the past and look to the possibilities that the future holds. Your thinking creates your reality; your thoughts form your world.  Why? Because you will never act against your thinking. Every action is the offspring of your thoughts.

SUCCESS VIA SIMPLICITY

I love what the co-founder of Google famously said: “Success will come from simplicity.” It fits with the ethos of The Crystal System Book.  Most riders struggle with the complexity of what they need to do; more conflicting instructions; more and ever complicated explanations; more flowery speak.  The best riders can see through those that try to impress with ‘techie talk’, the best riders understand what it is they are aiming for and do fewer but smarter things to get there. They get wonderfully focused and try in every endeavour to get to the heart of the matter, discarding any unnecessary chaos along the way.

ACHIEVE LONGEVITY IN BUSINESS DRESSAGE

 Do you have a lust for learning? The cure for aging that actually works is called lifelong learning! To be a perpetual student really helps you to stay young forever, at least in your thinking. Dressage is a lifelong lesson, there is no final destination.  The best riders have boundless curiosity and open minds and this allows them to work with a childlike sense of wonder. They read and research constantly. They understand that everyone they meet knows at least one thing that they don’t. So they ask good questions. This passion makes them a sponge for learning.

·         Have you stopped improving? Success is seductive but it can make you complacent and inefficient and stale. Too often, once a person gains a modicum of success, the very things that created that success get neglected. The best riders have a hunger to make every day better than yesterday. They are relentless in their pursuit of improvement.

·         Is your Health your Wealth? Most of us take our health for granted. That is until we lose it and if we do, we spend 24/7 trying to get it back. Getting into world-class physical condition will make you more creative, energetic, focused, happy and a better rider!

 THE BIG QUESTION

I’ve heard it said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. When faced with difficulty, obstacles and stumbling blocks we get to see what we are made of. We get to see our strengths and our weaknesses. Hard times always pass but they serve us so well, they deliver wisdom and teach us understanding. As you navigate your way through these difficulties what should you be asking yourself?  Well, here’s the BIG question …

 

“What is The Lesson Here?” - Draw on your setbacks to make you more knowledgeable, better, wiser.

 

THE BIG IDEA

 You may not know how powerful you are but each and every one of us has so many more choices than we can currently see. We see the world not as it is but as we are. Most of us are looking through the eyes of our fears and our limiting beliefs and our false assumptions.

 

As you think about your limiting beliefs, you’ll see that they are not the truth but they are opinions that you have adopted and if you question those assumptions, you’ll realise that so many of them are just not true or real!  Allow your mind some expansion room, the possibilities are endless.

 

Patricia Pitt is an award winning blogger from Huntington, Staffordshire, U.K.

 

 

Known as The Dressage Tipster on facebook, in her blog at www.likecrystal.com she regularly shares her thoughts gleaned from her research into why becoming truly skilled in the art of dressage is so elusive to so many riders.  Her book, The Crystal System attempts to unravel these mysteries.  As you read, you will, without doubt, have several Eureka moments, when you recognise that your heroic efforts have been hindering you; you do not need to work physically hard; the work comes from activating your brain and by keeping it simple.  Through questioning and exploration of what you do, the Crystal System will allow you to identify, develop and mould your own system of training as your learning and experience grows. Highly motivational, sometimes humorous book, written in an easy and understandable style.

 Buy at http://likecrystal.com/book-purchase/

Why Injuries Can Be Good.....

 

And how to overcome setbacks…..

 

I’ve recently injured myself through running. It’s the first time I’ve had a sports injury like this and after finding the initial week frustrating, 3 weeks on it’s still pretty tough.

Have you ever noticed that when you can’t do something for a while, you discover the real reason why you wanted to do it in the first place? Just a few days of not running and I find my “why”. I don’t care about races and times; I run to find space and peace. And now I’m missing that.

Just as I was feeling really crummy a friend who I really admire posted on Instagram about overcoming unexpected setbacks. Thank you Kim Ingleby!

What’s great about this list is you can use it for any setback - ones at work or in daily life as well.

This is what I have learned,....grab yourself some paper and a pen….

 

  • Write down what happened.

  • Why did it happen? Overtrain, not enough rest? Not enough good fresh food?

  • What can you learn and adapt to do differently?

  • What is your best recovery plan? Realign the next 3 months and give yourself mini challenges to do each week to keep your focus (and most importantly for me to keep my brain happy).

Massive thanks to Kim and hopefully I will be back up and running before the end of the year.

 

 

 

Tracking Time

 

I’ve just been through the process of tracking my time following the books of the brilliant Laura Vanderkam (168 Hours and I Know How She Does It)

 

I tracked my time a month ago when "middle child" had just started school. I logged what I did for a whole week in 15 minute intervals. Try it, it’s fascinating – you can download a copy of it here; http://lauravanderkam.com/books/168-hours/manage-your-time/

 

The first week I tracked was heavy with kid’s time – looking after, school and nursery run and all the associated house time that goes along with it. It was actually quite scary to see how few hours I had available to work that week. I know my time is precious but it’s made me realise how much it is. As it was a week of new things with new school and new routines for everyone the process made me look at my personal routine and my priorities. I also had to go through a process of lowering my standards in some ways – cutting myself some slack during the time of change. I had to become happier with less. This really helped as if I tried to carry on in my previous level of workload I would have got disheartened due to “not achieving” everything I wanted to.

 

Now we are in our new routine, I am tracking my time again. This week I am in the office more and the rest of the time is the usual jumble of kids and house stuff. All pretty good but I need to remember to put pauses into my day so that I don’t get frazzled.

 

This is what I have learned:

-          Time is precious, use it well

-          Follow your natural energy – are you a morning person? Then do the more important tasks then. I am a morning person but at night I am happy to sit with pen and paper and map out articles and projects. I don’t like to go near a computer in the evening – it stresses me out! If I have important work to do and I’m too busy in my core office hours, I’d rather get up early before the rest of the family.

-          Get plenty of sleep. I need lots of sleep and I know I have to go to bed early.

-          Add in some time for you. I like reading crime novels. I make time for this. I also like to run. I get up early to do this on busy days but if I get chance to get out at lunchtime it’s a great way to re-energise.

-           Use afternoons well. It’s not my best time energy-wise. I have carefully to plan organised tasks to complete otherwise I waste that time.

-          Everything else is a bit of a muddle but it’s a happy muddle and fairly organised. I write everything down to make it easier. 

 

Let me know if you try tracking time yourself. 

 

Distance and Perspective

I love my home and work life but I also love to travel with work. Creating a physical distance from my work space allows me to look at my clients and business with a freshness that is can be hard to find in the general day to day chaos. It also helps to rekindle creativity. 

 

As I arrived at my hotel room last night I looked forward to spending two hours organising my work schedule and planning the next few weeks as well as a catch up on some emails. Pizza, wine and a good show on the TV completed my perfect scenario for a CEO “power hour” and I loved having everything spread out on the bed. With no interruptions, I relaxed and found that some new ideas came to me. Its hard to be creative in a normal busy day to day environment. To be creative, you need space. Perhaps this is why many great books and novels have bee written in hotel rooms. 

 

Travelling to another city or country can be very inspirational and gives a new perspective on life. This is also crucial in a creative role. Whilst I’m not an artist with paints and pictures, I do pride myself on being creative when devising PR plans and writing for my clients. I frequently feel the need to nurture my creative soul. This can be as simple as taking a walk or a run, but its is also important to me to visit new places and to spend some relaxed and calm time alone. With a full house, often my travel time is my only alone time. A time to reconnect with what is important. 

 

End: When I am done, I can’t wait to get back home to the bustle of the energy that awaits me. Fully refreshed and ready for action.