On the menu for the #GlitteratiSocial... Gin Garden

06 28 2013

Happy Friday.  On the cocktail menu for this afternoon’s #GlitteratiSocial is the ever-so-refreshing Gin Garden.  I look forward to joining you later.

(Don’t forget to connect on Twitter at 5pm GMT using #GlitteratiSocial – to find out more click here)

 

You will need:

2 shots of dry gin

1 shot of elderflower liqueur

1 shot of apple juice

1 inch portion of cucumber, peeled and chopped

Cucumber slice to garnish

Cocktail shaker

Ice

Martini glass

 

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To create:

Add the cucumber and elderflower liqueur to the cocktail shaker and crush with the end of a wooden spoon or similar.  Add the gin, apple juice and ice and shake hard.  Strain into a martini glass, garnish with a cucumber slice and enjoy.

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Secrets of my Success: Catherine Just

06 27 2013

I’ve got news for you.  “You were put on this planet to be Fear*Less – to live and work in a state of limitless curiosity, freedom and love.  Anyone who tells you any different – including those limiting voices in your head – is not invited to the party.”  So says Catherine Just, visionary photographer, fine artist and instigator of personal transformation.

In this week’s Secrets of my Success interview, Catherine talks candidly about her own personal transformation, how she tackles her biggest fears and her tips for turning her visions into reality.  Catherine also shares one of her inspirations, her son Max, whose nap-times Catherine documented beautifully and which evolved into her In Plain Sight daily photo ritual.  The 30-day e-course celebrates “the sacred in every day through photography” – you can check out Catherine’s Nap project, including the heart-melting photo above, here

 

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  How did you get to where you are now?

The defining moment (there have been MANY ), was at 18 years old when I was addicted to crystal meth and had an awakening that there must be more to life than the one I had been living.  I checked myself into drug treatment, went directly to art school after I completed the in-patient program, and found a way to express myself through photography.  This was a game-changer.  I could explore my internal world and create images that represented what was going on underneath the surface of every day life – the discomfort, confusion, overwhelm, anxiety.  I found a way to deal with the pain I was feeling inside without harming myself.  I became curious about what happens if I stay with the pain and not “leave”.  (“Leaving” meaning the distractions that people often use to escape uncomfortable situations and feelings – using drugs, money, sex, shopping, food to pretend everything is ok, only to create more chaos and despair).  I started to explore this idea of dis-ease in my photography work.  After years of continuous sobriety, I saw that my life only got better and more comfortable when I refrained from the knee-jerk reaction to use something outside myself to get a quick fix. I saw others around me get uncomfortable and decide that drinking or using drugs was a better solution to staying and moving through the pain.  I saw them crumble under the chaos and added pain of active addiction.  When they sobered up, they not only had to deal with the wreckage of their drinking and using but the feelings they were trying to run from were still right there waiting for them. My quote: “don’t leave before the miracle happens” is a reference to this very idea.  {Click to tweet it} When you learn to stay, your life opens up in ways you never thought possible.  When you “leave”, you miss the opportunity to notice the sacred that happens in the every day.  The miracles in my life are so many I’ve lost track of them all.  I used to feel like I was crawling out of my own skin. I was afraid of people.  I couldn’t really look people in the eyes.  I smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day just to be able to be in the world sober.  I didn’t really have an opinion unless it was my boyfriend’s opinion.  I didn’t know my own value in the world.  I didn’t think my life mattered without having a boyfriend.  I couldn’t sit still.  My shoulders were always up and tense.  I changed my clothes at least 3 times a day because I didn’t think I looked “right”.   I didn’t care if I died.  I was overwhelmed at the idea of being an adult and living a responsible life.  I didn’t trust anyone, but couldn’t be alone and felt that if I wasn’t around that they would forget I existed.

Those that know me today can hardly believe that this is a description of the me I used to be.  And it is all just a story but it illustrates how powerful it is to stay and be curious about what happens and what life has waiting for you just on the other side of the pain.  It’s much brighter and higher than any high you can get from outside yourself.

 

Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.

To be present for my son Max and offer him the opportunities he needs to live his best life.  Along with that, to give myself permission to go for all of my own dreams for myself.  When I allow myself to go for it, it expands and deepens my own experience of life and ultimately helps my son see what is possible. Plus it makes me feel good to create, explore and act on my artistic inspiration.  Feeling good always rubs off on those around me.  My vision is to move forward with my own creative pursuits, continue to learn how to be present and help empower others to do the same.

 

What has been most effective for you in your achievements so far, in turning your goals/visions into reality?  Where do you start?

I see it first.  I see it as if its already happened.  I use my imagination to see myself and feel the feelings I would feel as if it’s happening right now.  But it’s deeper than that.  I have to KNOW it.  I have to really know that it is inevitable, that the universe supports me, my goals and visions.  It’s a full-on mind/body/spirit connection with the dreams I have.  When fear is present or a belief that it’s not possible, then the goal won’t be reached.  I have to look directly at the fears and the disbelief and clear it out.  It’s not a perfect roadmap but there is a feeling in my entire being when I know that something I am heading toward is going to happen.  I say it out loud a lot.  I find that the more I include others in the dream or goal I’m heading toward, the more that doors open or I find out about something along the path that I needed to know.   I prepare myself to move into the space to receive it.  If I’m feeling like I’m not smart enough or that I’m an imposter and they are going to find me out, I ask myself what it is that I need to learn to feel more grounded and prepared.  I also LOVE to ask.  If I want to interview someone, I ask them.  I get out of my own way and try not to take it personally if they say no.  If they say no, it’s because someone else is meant to be in that spot and I’m on a mission to find out who that might be.  I remain curious.  I have to remember that I created this business and I get to have fun with it.  It doesn’t have to be hard, I just need to be myself, learn to be authentic and take off the image of perfection.  Keep moving forward, remember that it’s all progress.  Take classes to learn what I don’t know, connect with like-minded people, surround myself with people who believe in what I do and stay away from (as much as possible) people who want to tell me that it’s impossible or hard, even if they are my own family.

 

How do you stay motivated and inspired?

I stay motivated by my own curiosity about whatever it is I am inspired by at the time or the goal I have in mind.  And I find other creative entrepreneurs inspiring as well.  I love connecting with like-minded people.  My son also inspires me to do my best work.

 

What has been your biggest lesson learned?

Don’t leave before the miracle happens.

 

What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?

I forget that I am not in a race, that the universe really is supporting me in so many ways, that I’m not alone and that I can trust others.  When I go down that road of fear and those old stories and get hooked by them, I use the tools I was given along the way to “wake up”.  This usually means saying the fears out loud to someone else – it diffuses them.  And to keep going!  Action is where the answers live.  {Click to tweet}

 

What do you believe is the secret of your success?

Giving myself permission to change my mind.  Asking for help.  Continuing to learn from mentors.  Allowing myself to dream big and then taking action on a continuous basis … as well as taking breaks and naps!

 

What tips would you offer ambitious women reading this?

Don’t believe the self-doubt that creeps in. Don’t let it stop you.

Be teachable. Let go of your perfectionism. 

Keep going. Ask for help. Know that what you are doing is important, but don’t forget to have a sense of humor about it all.

 

What book has most inspired you?

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

 

Catherine and I would love to hear from you: is there a photo that you cherish that speaks a thousand words to you?  What is the moment that the picture captures?  Share in the Comments below…. x

 

Image source: Catherine Just

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The Wealth Files: One easy step to a new financial you

06 26 2013

Question 1:  Do you: a) plan your monthly expenditure or b) spend freely until your card gets declined (and count down to your next payday)?

Question 2: Do you: a) open your bank statements and bills when they arrive (and do something with them) or b) stack them neatly in a pile until you can no longer hide from the reminder letters?

Question 3: What do you do with any ‘spare’ disposable income: a) save it or b) treat yourself to that new squishy leather handbag you’ve had your eye on?

OK, I may be talking of two extremes here but I’m sharing a lesson I’ve learned.  I’m no money expert BUT I do know this: ignorance is most certainly NOT bliss when it comes to your finances.  Unfortunately no-one is going to sort it for you (unless you pay them a chunky retainer) so your money status quo will veer into one of two directions:

– Do nothing and see you financial situation slowly deteriorate.  

– Do something and see your financial situation slowly improve.

Nope, it’s not earth-shattering.  It’s no sexy, quick-fix.  I’m simply encouraging you NOT to stick your head in the sand and hide.  Ask yourself which of the two options is the one for you.  

Are you in Team ‘Do Something’?  If so, try this simple step to create a new money habit: Date Your Future Wealth.  

Set aside some time once a week/fortnight to have a (short) date with your money: get clear on your incomings and outgoings, check-in on where your hard-earned cash is being spent, set yourself a goal to meet before your next ‘date’.  

What you put your focus on grows.  Why not make it your bank balance?

What’s your money habit?  What one action do you need to take to change your finances for the better?  Share with us in the Comments below.

Image: Source

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Behind the scenes with...

06 25 2013

Introducing “Behind the Scenes with…”, a new guest feature where each week an inspiring guest will be giving us an insight into the day-to-day goings-on in her business.  Read, be inspired, seek out the bits that fit you best and apply them to your own business.  I’m looking forward to learning from the successful entrepreneurs lined up and even more excited to share with you…

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This week, I’m going to start the ball rolling with a peek behind the scenes here at EmmaGwillim.com…

  • Tell me a bit about your business: My vision is for EmmaGwillim.com to become the glossy, inspirational brand for creative women entrepreneurs who want to design a life that sparkles, inside and out.  I share interviews, features, ideas and visual inspiration on my blog.  The newsletter, The Glitterati, is a weekly edit of inspiring features celebrating women at the top of their professional game and un-cut interviews.  I offer exclusive one-to-one coaching, as well as group coaching programmes and workshops.  And soon, I am looking to introduce a shop to bring the brand to life in The Glitterati Girl’s home and office.
  • Describe your typical day/week schedule: As a mum to a 10-month old baby, I have quickly learned to become super-productive in the hours I have available for work.  I have around 20-hours each week to focus on my business, when Louis is in childcare and in the evenings after his bedtime, and so I am far-better-planned than I ever was.  My Sunday evening ritual has become planning time – I sit with a glass of wine and plan out the week (or two) ahead, including my work priorities, ideas for play and activities with Louis, and grown-up time with Jack, family and friends. 
  • How do you plan and organize your time?  What are your biggest challenges with this?  What tips can you offer?  I’ve tried all kinds of tools to help me become more organised but I’m a pen and paper girl at heart.  I use Todoist as the place where I ‘pool’ everything that I need to do, I think of it as my master to do list that I can access at any time.  Then, when i come to planning time, I look at my priorities for the week and create my weekly plan from there in my paper diary (I use an A5 filofax).  I’m a big goal-setter so I make sure I read my goals each week as the ‘nudge’ to keep focused.  My biggest challenge is always that I over-estimate what I can do in my time and so I end up carrying tasks over to the next week and that is demoralising!  The best tip I’ve been given is based on Tim Ferriss’ 4-hour Work Week idea of ‘batching’ – in other words setting a chunk of time to dedicate to one type of task until it’s done.  For example, having a time to read and respond to emails…. but then, shock horror, ignoring the flashing light at other times.  I’ve not quite mastered it with email but I ‘batch’ writing blog posts and I’ve certainly become more productive in that time.
  • What are your essential office tools? I’m a big Apple lover and so I couldn’t be without my iMac – I saved for ages to buy it last year and I’m still smitten with it! I have notebooks galore, I cannot resist them and I’m forever writing down ideas and lists in whatever’s at hand.  I’m really visual and so I spend way too much time on Pinterest and still ‘pin’ the old-fashioned way with pictures I tear out of magazines that I store in clear files (see picture).
  • Are there any websites or apps that you’d recommend to other entrepreneurial women?  Describe your workspace and how it integrates with your working style.  How does it motivate/focus your work? I’m definitely a girly-girl and so my office is the one space in the house where I can indulge this side of me, guilt-free.  I see my space as grown-up feminine!  I love my desk as it has loads of space: I use one side for getting down to business, and the other side is free space for thinking and creating.  I like to keep things clutter-free as I can find ‘stuff’ an easy distraction.  I keep it simple – my computer, pen and paper and a hot drink at my side.
    • I couldn’t be without GoogleDrive – I save all my working documents to my folders so that can access them wherever I am and I have a few valuable minutes to myself.  
    • I get flustered with keeping on top of receipts, expenses and invoices but FreshBooks has made life a lot easier – you can set up recurring payments, track time and it links with PayPal to make it simple to invoice clients.
    • Where I use GoogleDrive for projects and working documents, I save ideas, inspiration and website bookmarks in Evernote.  I’m really inspired by other people’s stories of success and so when I find a ‘keeper’, I’ll save the article to my Evernote notebook for safe-keeping.
    • Now time is more precious than ever, I’m trying to become a better delegator.  ODesk was recommended to me as a one-stop-shop to find people to collaborate with or to hire as part of a virtual team.  This is a work in progress but my experience has been good so far!
  • What book has most inspired you?  When I was 16, Susan Jeffers’ Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway was recommended to me and it was the first time my eyes were opened to the possibility that changing things I wasn’t happy with was within my power.  I’m now a self-confessed personal development geek and have quite a library BUT this is the one book that changed everything for me.
  • What’s your typical working lunch?  Honestly…?  There is no typical for me.  I often lose track of time and realise lunchtime has passed me by…  My intention is always to rustle up something yummy and nutritious to fuel me for the afternoon, but I default to easy options such as scrambled eggs on toast or a tuna sandwich, and then it’s quickly back to it.  I must do better!
  • And how do you switch off once the working day is done? Once my working day is done it’s family time.  On nursery days, my time with Louis when he gets home is precious so he makes it easy to switch off.  When he’s settled for the night, dinner and chats with my hubby, a scented bath and a glass of wine always do the trick!
  • What makes your life sparkle?  People who defy the odds fascinate me.  I love to see people overcome things that might be standing in their way and go for it anyway – truly inspiring!
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Introducing #GlitteratiSocial (after-work drinks)

06 21 2013

It seems that as much as you love the freedom, creativity and all-out excitement that running your own business brings the things that micro-business owners miss most are:

The socials: Christmas parties, lunchtime chats and after-work drinks

Being able to take holiday or sick days without worrying about things grinding to a halt

The benefits: healthcare, pension, company car and little perks coming out of someone else’s pocket.

Overwhelmingly though, you wouldn’t trade your solo enterprise for a steady 9-5.  

While I can’t promise you paid holiday or all-expenses lunches, I introduce to you The Glitterati Social.  Each Friday I invite you to ‘down tools’ and join me for an end-of-week drink.

the skinny

Glitterati Social is a weekly get-together for creative female entrepreneurs.  Each Friday between 5-5.30pm (GMT), Emma Gwillim hosts a live Twitter chat focused on a nominated topic so that the Glitterati community can share their experiences, offer advice, build new relationships and encourage one another to design a life and business that sparkles.

See you at the bar x

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Work-Style: A Mid-summer Night's Eve

06 20 2013

Blink and you’ve missed it.  Tomorrow marks mid-summer.  While the sun is shining and the evenings are long, flirt with florals and pops of colour.

I LOVE these floral trousers paired with a crisp white shirt. {1}

Join the Gelly bandwagon with this Blueberry hue {2}

Combine a little boho chic with work-wear with these vibrant bracelets {3}

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The Wealth Files: What's your money ceiling?

06 19 2013

Should I whisper this….?  

How’s your money situation?  I know, I know – a lady never talks about money.  But what if you did?  

I’ve had the fortune of late to be in the presence of two kick-ass wealth role-models that have me thinking differently.  OK, one is through the old-school medium of print (I’ve been reading Barbara Stanny’s Overcoming Underearning ) but the other is my living, breathing, financial-guardian-angel, the awesome Cat Wilcock.  Both, in their unique ways, have opened my eyes to what I’ve been blind to for, oh, 25 years or more.  

I invested my birthday money in a Wealth Detox session with Cat and I’m still having a-ha moments a month on.  Without boring you with my “stinking thinking”, I wanted to get YOU thinking about your own relationship with the mullah!

How happy are you with your money situation right NOW?  Are you happy with what you’re earning or do you feel you should be earning more?  Then, why aren’t you?

What do you WANT to earn?

What do you feel you DESERVE to earn?

I found that the simple act of committing to what I wanted to earn made me feel discomfort.  And that was the red flag I needed to dig a little deeper.  With Cat’s support, I’ve begun to unpick the old baggage that has held me back.

I want you to let go of the unhelpful thoughts about what you deserve.  Imagine yourself earning your dream amount…. What is the number you see?  How do you feel about this?  Be honest with yourself about how you feel.  What thoughts creep into your mind?

By asking myself honest questions I realised that the only person holding me back was me!  I had put a cap on what I believed I could earn.  There’s a long way to go but identifying this alone has been an eye-opener.  But with eyes wide open, I’m ready to explore….

Cat, thank you x

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Re-discovering my inner sparkle: part two

03 26 2013

The bank holiday weekend is almost upon us…  What are your plans over the long Easter weekend?  Will you be enjoying the great outdoors?  Spending time with family and friends?  Relaxing with a good book?  Curling up with someone to watch a movie?

If I was to get a little Nancy Drew on you, it might just be that your weekend plans hold a little clue to your inner sparkle.  Or, like any good mystery, a trail to a clue at least.

This week I’ve been continuing to reflect on my passions and interests and, specifically, my heroes, heroines and role models as I take a fresh look at the things that make me light up.

Who is it that you admire?  

It might be a famous person or loved ones closer to home, but these people hold big clues for you.  What is it that you admire most about them?  What qualities do they have that you look up to?  Usually, the things we admire most about others are the values that are dearest to us – the ones that drive us whether we’re aware of them or not!

For me the list is long!  I count among them family members who are gutsy, determined and led by their heart, my compassionate and laugh-a-minute friends, and a parade of famous people I’ve never met whose ways of being have inspired….  I’ve hand-picked a few examples:

Audrey Hepburn: Iconic for her grace and beauty, it is that coupled with her view of the world and “her enormous need for affection, and terrible need to give it” that is her appeal for me.  I love that she enjoyed huge success on the silver screen but her fulfilment came from her role as devoted mum to her sons, and her humanitarian work with UNICEF that she dedicated her later years to.  She was a nurturer.

tumblr_m4fvgzC4Sb1qe72vvo1_400I couldn’t list all the women who are out there making their mark in the world that inspire me.  It would be long! Instead, I’ve picked an example of someone who represents what it is about creative, entrepreneurial women that I admire, big time!  Grace Bonney (who featured in the Secrets of my Success interview here), is the founder of Design*Sponge which is described as a blog but is now a bit of an empire… Grace started blogging at Design*Sponge in 2004 to combine her two passions in life: design and writing.  Not content to settle for a job that didn’t fulfil her, Grace’s vision has seen her brand extend into a lifestyle book, scholarships and national meet ups to help budding design enthusiasts to get started.  As well as admiring her creativity, I’m most inspired by her work ethic (“the rewards feel better because you really have to earn them”) and the humble way in which she’s keen to share the platform with other women.  Asked about her biggest achievement, it’s not the answer you’d expect – Grace is most proud of “building a platform that’s helped women and small businesses live their dreams”. 

When it comes to admiration of sheer talent, Megan Gonzalez is up there for me.  As a self-confessed stationery lover, her MaeMae Paperie designs make me swoon!  Another lady who followed her heart, her passions of storytelling and design to be precise, led to the creation of her internationally recognised paper goods company.  Not bad for your first job out of college!

I’d love to hear about your role models in the Comments below.  

Who is it that you admire?

What qualities do they have that most inspire you?

How can you incorporate these qualities into your day-to-day life?

Image: One

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