emmagwil

Nesting for business and a baby... with a success mindset

03 02 2014

Our house has been upside down this past week.  We’ve been emptying and decorating our spare room to make room for our new little arrival in April. The teeny baby clothes are out of storage, washed and ready for their new home. All the kit and caboodle a newborn needs has been ordered.  Nesting season has officially started.  There are 7 weeks to go and I’m getting prepared.

Among the chaos, I realised something. We’re making room in our home and our lives for something we want to happen – welcoming the new addition to our family.  We’ve got total belief that, this springtime, we’ll be a family of four.  That belief has created action in the form of a big, pre-baby to-do list for me (and mostly for my husband).

Where in your life could you do with a bit more belief?  Where should you be ‘nesting’?

Think of a goal or vision you have for your career or business.  Do you believe 100% that you WILL make it happen, that you will bring that goal into the world?  And are you ‘nesting’ for it?  Imagine when you want to have achieved this goal.  If you knew it would absolutely be a reality on that date, would you be ready for it?  If it arrived into the world a little early – like today or tomorrow – would you be ready for it?

I realised I’d been ‘putting off’ a few things in my own business as I was waiting until I’d got ‘there’, achieved my big goal.  What my little nesting frenzy taught me is that, by waiting, I was keeping that goal just out of reach.  If, instead, I had total and utter belief that it will happen I’d be doing a few things differently.  When I asked myself “if I’d achieved this goal today, would I be ready?” I couldn’t honestly answer yes.  I needed to get my house in order.  I needed to ‘nest’ for my business.

So, over to you.  Think about your goal.  Imagine it’s here now, wrapped up in a big, red bow, ready for you to start living it – are you ready?  What actions can you take now to demonstrate your total belief that it will happen?  Share with us what 1-3 actions you will take to ‘nest’ for your goal in the Comments below.

p.s. Isn’t this little set of Matroyshka dolls cute?  I found it here

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Can you be more productive in less time? The 4 surprise pay-offs of doing less.

02 23 2014

Tell me, my dear Glitterati girls, have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you’re running half an hour late for your own life?  You’re over-committed, busy and trying to get way too much done in too little time?  You somehow manage to pull it off (you are a super-woman after all!) but end the day exhausted, mentally and physically.  How frequent are those days?

I’ve been at high-speed since new year.  I admit that I kind of like it like that – it makes me feel like I’m being productive, making progress. Sometimes though it means I’m hurriedly ticking things of an endless to-do list, hurtling forward yet not looking up to see where I’m heading.

This past week I instinctively felt like I needed to slow the pace a little and breathe.  It goes against the grain for me.  Unless I’m doing something I feel like I’m wasting my precious time.  But, I’m learning, slowing down can make you more productive.  

Would you try to slow the pace a little this week?  Here are four reasons to give it a go:

  • You can hear the penny drop: When I wasn’t racing at a hundred miles an hour, I started seeing some obvious answers to things I’d been working on.  Obvious, stare-you-in-the-face answers.  Forehead-to-palm-of-hand moments of realisation.  I could see what I’d been doing right and what I needed to differently.  I could have wasted hours being busy but, by taking the time to just let it simmer, the answer was there in a fraction of the time.  
  • You get to be a human being: Catch me ‘in the zone’ and you’d see me quiet, concentrated, busy.  In my own little bubble. Stepping away from the doing has meant I’ve had more time to connect to people.  Actually talking and sharing and relating a little more.  Some of these conversations have led to opportunities that I could never have planned for or created from my busy ‘doing’.  By allowing myself to ‘be’, doors have opened that I’d have missed before.
  • You realise you can’t do it all on your own: Just crack on and get it done.  Sound familiar?  What if you can get it done with a little help. Is there anything you think you should be doing that you could get a helping hand with?  I’m a technophobe but I’m also pretty independent so, when it came to trying to solve a techie problem, I was tempted to default to my usual I-can-work-it-out-for-myself attitude. And I probably could have with a LOT of Googling!  But, instead, I posted a question in a Facebook group and very quickly got an offer of help – a techie angel appeared, gave me 30 minutes of her time (out of the goodness of her heart) and, bingo, I had my answer. People are kind.  People love to help out.  Slow down and share more and you never know who might swoop to your aid.
  • It’s flipping nice: How about, it’s nice to slow down because it feels better than the usual break-neck speed? Yep, it gets my vote too.  I spent Friday – a work day! – enjoying  some  quality time with my friend.  We drank coffee, had a leisurely lunch and chatted.  It was a complete tonic.  

Now, as uncomfortable as this might be, it’s your turn.  Can you slow the pace this week?  What time can you earmark for yourself to cast the to-do list aside and switch off?  I’d love you to share in the comments below.

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My one big learning from running a business… so far

02 16 2014

I worked in the corporate world for eleven years.  It was all I’d known of my professional life, except for a short spell of freelancing.  I was part of a team, I was managed, I was a manager.  My working life was shared with people.

Fast-forward to this evening.  I’m sat at my desk in my home office, just me and my laptop and a cup of tea.  Were it not for the company of Jake Bugg playing in the background, you could hear a pin drop.

I like to work this way.  Actually, I LOVE it.  I can spend hours happily ‘in the zone’, as my hubby calls it.  I do my best work this way.  But, it has its pitfalls and there was one biggie holding me back.

This past week I ran my first live webinar, The 4 Secrets of Successful Working Mummies.  I’d had this on my plan since last October – four months ago!! – but I kept putting it off.  It was new and daunting and well out of my comfort zone so it got shunted down the priority list, week after week.  As I mentioned recently, I’ve been working with a business coach and, during my coaching session on the 14th January, I committed to hosting the webinar less than a month later.  And guess what?  I made it happen.  And guess what else?  It wasn’t close to being as nerve-wracking as I thought.  I actually enjoyed it. 

As I treated myself to a bubble bath later that evening, I reflected on how the webinar had gone and asked myself what had stopped me doing it sooner.  The simple answer was fear.  I was worried about what people would think.  I knew my content inside and out.  I was confident that I was sharing great value with people BUT I had no-one to reassure me.  I realised that I missed the input that I would have had if I’d been part of a team.  A senior manager to make suggestions and revisions.  Peers to encourage and motivate.  And the simple truth is I was putting off facing into these fears because I could.

It’s not the first time in my career I’ve done something that pushed my limits.  In fact, it doesn’t compare to some of the fear-inducing situations I’ve faced BUT I couldn’t shy away before.  It was my job, my responsibility and I was accountable.  Bingo!  The light went off: I hadn’t been holding myself accountable.

I looked at the other non-movers on my to-do list and recognised the same pattern.  If something was new territory or a little bit scary, I was avoiding it.  With no senior bod to report to, I was letting myself avoid things.  

Decision time.  I realised I had a choice.  I could scratch the ‘scary’ things from my plans completely OR I could face them head on and see where they lead me, personally and professionally.  If you know me at all, there was no decision to be made… I’m all about overcoming the mental blocks and hurdles to design a life and business that sparkles.  So, watch this space.  In the words of the song, from now on every day I’m hustlin’

Now it’s your turn.  What are you putting off?  I’d love for you to share in the comments below what one thing you’ve been avoiding and why… AND what action you can take to make it happen. 

P.S. Don’t you just LOVE this mug by Ashley Brooke Designs in the picture?  I think I need to treat myself to this little beaut as a daily reminder…

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Featured on... WorkingMums.co.uk

02 15 2014

If you’re a new mum thinking about going back to work, the chances are that you’re pre-occupied with two big decisions: what working hours will allow me to have my ideal work and family balance? and who will I trust with the responsibility of caring for my baby?

I know all too well that, in reality, there’s a lot more to the return-to-work decision than that: there’s the financial necessity – often the main factor in the decision, the logistics of nursery drop-offs and pick-ups, the ‘Plan B’ for the inevitable poorly days, the support offered by your employer, but too often the mum’s own career wants and needs don’t factor.

I’m featured on WorkingMums talking about putting a new perspective on the return-to-work decision.  Read the post HERE.

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New mum anxiety: one year on

02 09 2014

Let me give it to you straight.

I’m a lucky girl. I have a beautiful family. I’m doing work that I LOVE. My life is full of special people who support and encourage me. I know I’m blessed.

BUT…

Even with so much to be thankful for, this time last year was a low-point.

I’d quietly been struggling with new mum anxiety since Louis’ birth, unable to share with the happy mums I was meeting, and I’d isolated myself. I was negotiating a part-time return to my pre-maternity corporate role while my confidence was at rock-bottom. I felt removed from the true me. I motored through the routine of my day-to-day and had little interest in doing anything more.

My passion is encouraging women to discover and LIVE their sparkle… yet, my own sparkle was waning.

It turns out I wasn’t alone.

I needed role models. I needed mentors to look up to. I was looking for examples of women who’d made the adjustment into motherhood yet still had an identity that was authentic to them… Their sparkle.

I decided to extend an invitation to women I admired – I asked them to share their secrets, their tips and their honest accounts of the challenges they face.  I was inspired.

I began to share some of these inspiring accounts in my Secrets of my Success series.  And I have other gems lined up for this year.  The more I shared my story with women and, in return, they shared with me, the more I realised that there were common threads. Common challenges. Common worries. Common traits of success.

So I decided to put together a free “class” where I’ll be sharing The 4 Secrets of Successful Working Mummies.

If you’d like to learn the 4 “success sappers” to avoid, as well as the success traits of these women, click HERE to register for your spot.

The details:

Tuesday 11th February @ 7.30pm GMT

RESERVE MY SPOT NOW

 

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Join me for free webinar: The 4 secrets of successful working mummies

02 04 2014

Do you feel like you’re constantly ‘spinning your wheels’?  Are you striving to be the best mummy, employee/entrepreneur, wife/partner, friend and feel like you’re failing at every turn?  Are you struggling to make peace with being a working mummy?

When you’re living with the unpredictable demands of mummy-hood, there’s no such thing as “work/life balance”.  But then feeling frazzled, out of control and guilty isn’t much fun either.

There is another option…

Join me for the live webinar The 4 Secrets of Successful Working Mummies where I’ll be sharing:

  • The 4 sappers of your success and energy!
  • The one big reminder that you’re not on your own
  • The 4 “secrets” that successful women swear by to design a style that fits their work and family

Reserve your place —> HERE

I know how it feels when you’re spending all your time and energy striving for your ideal yet missing the mark.  I know that it can get you down!  I also know that it IS possible to create the working lifestyle you desire so you can work on your terms and nurture your family too.  I’ve been learning the secrets of some really inspirational role models and can’t wait to share their insights with you!

Join me February 11th, 2014 @ 7.30pm GMT —> CLICK HERE

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Stop waiting: a celebration

02 02 2014

Once I’ve got a slimmer waist, a tauter tummy, slimmer thighs, clearer skin, glossier hair… THEN I’ll feel attractive.

Once the house is cleaned, the laundry is washed and ironed, the beds are freshly made and the fridge is fully stocked…. THEN I’ll feel like a domestic goddess.

Once my children are fed a nutritious, home-cooked meal, entertained with creative play, nurtured with quiet interaction, bathed in nasty-free bubbles and settled soundly…. THEN I’ll feel like a good mummy.

Once I’ve got that promotion or secured a new business partnership, been recognised by my peers, increased my income…. THEN I’ll feel like a professional success.

Once I’ve made the perfect romantic gesture, created quality time to talk and listen, shown gratitude for the positives and shown patience with the frustrations… THEN I’ll feel like a good wife/partner.

Once I’ve done a regular 30-minutes cardio three times a week, 20-minutes conditioning, 15-minutes meditation and drunk my daily green juice… THEN I’ll feel healthy.

Once I’ve called my friends and family, recognised birthdays and celebrations with thoughtful gifts and meaningful sentiments, spent quality time with all the important people in my life… THEN I’ll feel like a loving friend/daughter/sister/auntie.

…..

What if you stopped waiting until THEN?

What if you chose right now that you are enough?

How about choosing that you are the perfect version of yourself right now?

You are right where you are meant to be.

This is your story.  Celebrate it.

What happened yesterday has gone.

What will happen tomorrow is yours for the taking.

You are who you are and where you are right now for a reason….

You can choose.

You can choose to feel attractive.

You can choose to recognise all you do to create a nurturing home, be a nurturing mummy, a loving wife, a professional success.

You can choose to BE the you that you want to be right now.

Imagine what that would feel like.

How would you act differently?  What would you choose to do right now?  How would you choose to be with the people around you?  What would be important for you to have in your life?  What wouldn’t be important?

You are doing the very best with what you have. 

My lovely, you are doing a great job – be gentle with yourself.

 

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I feel so guilty… And how to get over it

01 26 2014

A little pre-warning: this isn’t the most upbeat post you’ll have read for a while.  It is somewhat lacking sparkle, so I apologise.  It is, however, me sharing a truthful, from-the-heart account of this week’s mummy juggle…

I write this a little frayed around the edges.  Remember last week I talked about the importance of planning my week?  Well, as they say, ‘the best laid plans oft got astray’.  Louis has been poorly again – I’ve now logged a 3/4-weekly pattern of ‘off weeks’ (which I’ve shared with the GP!) which start a chain of events which go as follows: the sick days themselves, the week-plus of unsettled sleep that follows, a week of ‘normal’ routine and then round we go again.  All three of us are sleep-deprived, short-tempered and fed up.  For me, it comes with another tummy-punch: GUILT.

I feel so guilty…

I feel guilty because I feel I’m missing a trick or doing something wrong which is causing Louis’ immunity to be taking a bit of a battering.

I feel guilty because I am FED UP of surviving on 5-6 hours of broken sleep each night.

I feel guilty because I’m not giving my best during the daylight hours: I’m in survival mode and taking the easy options where I can.  Baby group?  Yes, that’s ready-made entertainment!  TV?  OK, just one more episode of Thomas and Friends while mummy takes a breather!

I feel guilty because this not-so-little pregnant belly is getting nowhere near the TLC it did the first time round.  Rest, relaxation and ideal baby-growing conditions are a pipe dream.

I feel guilty because I’ve done little more with my time this week than “getting through” the routine and then slump in a heap with a book and bed.

I feel guilty because I’ve not much left to be a good wife or friend….

I feel guilty because time is ticking ahead of Baby Two’s arrival and I’ve made very little progress this week.

The irony is, as a friend or a coach, my instinct on hearing this tirade from someone else would be to go into nurturer mode.  I’d listen, I’d ask questions, I’d shed a new light.  But, when it comes to being a friend or coach to myself I’m rrrrr-rubbish!  So, during nap-time today, I decided to get up close and personal with my guilty feelings and wanted to share the steps with you in case you’ve got a dose of the guilts too:

  • Let it all out: Don’t stew on the feelings, it’s a complete waste of energy.  Instead, let them out by writing them down or getting an understanding friend to listen.  Vent and then breathe.  Take a few deep breaths, breathing out the guilty feeling and let the emotion drift away.
  • Look for the clues: What is the guilty feeling really about?  Feeling guilty is usually a distress call from another emotion, such as sadness or anger or frustration.  You might wish you’d done something differently, done more.  For me, when I’ve looked back on the week, the guilt really was showing me that I wish I’d made other choices.  While I can’t change what’s been and gone, I can see that maybe I might do things a little differently next time.
  • Give yourself a break:  So, I wish I’d acted differently BUT I have to remind myself, I’m human.  I’m not a robot.  Putting yourself (at best) second starts to wear a little thin after a while.  Remember to be forgiving of yourself – you’re doing the best you can.
  • Do you want a hug?: What would make you feel better?  How can you give yourself a hug?  Is it a hot bath?  Is it a bar of chocolate?  Is it as simple as an early night?  Or, a night out with a friend?  Find a little thing that makes you feel loved and cared for … and make sure it happens.

Have you had the mummy guilts?  How do you deal with them?  I’d love to hear from you in the Comments below – as would all the other mummies out there!

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How to create daily habits for success

01 19 2014

If there’s one thing that’s made a difference to how much I achieve in a week, it’s my Sunday evening ritual of planning the week ahead.  The weeks that I make the time to plan, when often I feel like the only thing I want to do is to soak in a bubble bath and read a book, run so differently to the weeks when my Elemis Milk Bath and iBooks win out.  Planned weeks are so much more efficient and productive and, while that might sound dull, it makes me so much calmer and happier.  A planned me is a better mummy, a better wife, a better me all-round.

When I look admiringly (and sometimes enviously) at someone who I think has her stuff together – professionally successful, nurturing mummy, the cool, calm, collected type – I have to remind myself that each of us has the same 168 hours in a week.  She might just choose to spend her weekly allowance a little differently to most.  How are you spending your time?  Is it getting you closer to the life you want to be living?  

[Tweet “Each of us has the same 168 hours in the week. Successful people just choose to spend their weekly allowance differently to most..”]

Simply put, my weekly planning needs to become habitual. I want this to be my slight edge, as Jeff Olson calls it.  In his book of the same name (which I would highly recommend if personal development/growth books are your thing), Jeff champions making “daily choices that lead you to the success you desire”.  It comes down to two choices: you’re either on a trajectory towards your goals and visions or a trajectory away from them.  By default, making no choice means you’re heading away, say adieu – if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.  And so, once I’d worked on my plan for the year, I’ve made sure that I’m keeping in mind the daily and weekly habits that I know will give me that slight edge…  and I’m sharing them with you below:

Family:

Date night: It got to the point late last year when we were both so busy, Jack and I were often eating separately and having hurried conversations and ‘quality time’ was non-existent.  Friday night is now our night.  It’s pretty unlikely that we’d be able to go out each week BUT simply having dinner together, candles and chats is a treat in itself.  And, I’ve made sure we have a few real dates lined up before Baby 2 is due in April – not least a night away!

Memory days: In the Christmas build-up I’d arranged a family day out on the Santa Express.  Louis loved it and we both enjoyed seeing his eyes sparkling at the choo-choo’s and Father Christmas that I decided then and there that we needed a memory day like it each month.  So, my weekly habit is to get my thinking cap on to find new and exciting places for us to visit.

Creative play: I don’t know about you but the novelty of Father Christmas’ festive delivery is already wearing off.  Louis is such a creature of habit that he’d happily read the same books and play with the same small selection of toys each day.  Though we’re often out and about, I want to put more effort into creative play on the rainy days at home.  My fave resource for ideas is the Imagination Tree so I’m going to make my way through these ideas – first up, 4-minute play dough!

Meal planning: This sounds sooo domesticated that it makes me a little uncomfortable BUT with two (sometimes three) different meal-times to accommodate, I find it so much easier to plan some yummy dinners for the week ahead rather than leave it until the day arrives.. as I can guarantee we’d end having the same 2/3 dishes in our repertoire on rotation for ever more!

 

Business

Writing time: I shared last week my plan to keep things simple and consistent this year.  Using the Pareto Principle (aka ‘batching’), my weekly habit is to set aside a chunk of one of my working days to write both The Glitterati newsletter and my single, weekly blog post.

Daily priorities: As well as weekly planning, and in the theme of simplicity, I’m turning over a new leaf when it comes to my daily plan.  I got completely overwhelmed with all I should be doing and, with the help of my business coach, I’m clear on my biggest priorities and I’m focusing on just 1-3 actions each day.  This is totally new (and uncomfortable) to me so it’s going to take a bit of getting used to!

 

Wellbeing:

Yoga: I LOVE yoga.  It makes me feel like me.  I can be a different person before and after my time on my now-shabby-looking yoga mat.  So, why is this the thing that gives?  Weeks can go by and I’ll not have made any time for even a short yoga session – I always think there’s something more important to ‘get done’.  Rather than over-face myself with the challenge of finding time daily, I’m promising myself that I’ll find at least 20 minutes three times a week.

Daily meditation and journal: Just like yoga, when I’ve been in the habit of practising meditation regularly, I’ve felt like a better me.  And so far, so good: I’ve found 20-minutes each day to just switch off and ‘be’… though I must admit it’s often been the last thing I do at the end of the day, once I haul my weary bod to bed!

Nurture night: Oh how I love Sunday night now.  It’s dubbed nurture night!  I realised that simply having a bubble bath (one without bath toys and with candles and my skincare goodies instead) or taking time to give myself a manicure/pedicure, makes me feel like a ‘girl’ again.  And so, Sunday has become the night that I emerge from my busy mum chrysalis and feel like Emma again.

 

Play:

Dates with Jack and nurture night aside, I was making very little room to do the things that make me happy i.e. the things I used to spend my spare time doing.  Like, playing hostess.  Or, having brunch with one of my friends.  Or going to the cinema / to a gig / to watch a comedian.  Clearly, I/we don’t have the same freedom as we used to but, by being a little more organised (and planning), I reckon Jack and I can both find some ‘time off’ to do things we love, either together or individually.  I realised I had to make re-charging our batteries more of a priority… And so finding ideas/planning time-out made the ‘weekly planning’ cut.

 

I’d love to hear from you in the Comments below.  Do you plan your week?  What 3-5 habits can you commit to each week?  

 

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Tips to prepare your business for big life adjustments… like a baby!

01 15 2014

In the months leading up to the birth of my son, I read any book, blog or discussion forum that shared insights from other working mums on how to ‘babyproof’ a business.  I still have my scribbled notes and my hopeful and idealistic ‘plan’ of how I might manage the age-old work/family juggle.  Knowing what I know now, when it comes to newborns, the rules are: there aren’t any rules.  Now, with the arrival of Baby Two imminent, I am reminding myself of the lessons I learned the first-time round.  

This week I’m sharing my tips on preparing your business for big life adjustments over on Design Sponge:  click over to read my post here

If you’re preparing to take a break from your business, I’d love to know what steps you’re taking to ‘baby proof’!  Let me know in the Comments below…

 

 

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