Are you role-modelling the way for your family?

04 13 2014

A love letter…

Last week I shared a little gift with The Glitterati – call it a little pre-baby-inspired token of my gratitude  to each and every unique individual that shares this community.  I offered the opportunity to put forward a ‘middle of the night’ question that my lovely Glitterati were looking for insight, support or guidance on.  The emails I received touched and inspired me, as well as illuminated some common threads and challenges.

It’s been on my mind since… I am totally in awe of what many of you achieve day-to-day, as well as the bigger aspirations you hold dear.  If I imagine each of your individual dreams being realised on a collective scale… wow.  Each individual ripple could cause such an impact.

And this has become my middle of the night thought… how can I help more of you to awaken to and live your inner sparkle? How can I best encourage you to nurture your dreams as well as your family?  You see, here’s the rub: I see too many nurturers putting their dreams on hold because they want to give their best to their loved ones.  

Nurturers give selflessly of their love, their time and their energy so, at the end of the day, there’s little left over.  But here’s my rally cry: I want to encourage you to nurture your dreams because of your family.  In being the real you, the 100% genuine article, you teach and inspire your children to be the same.  You become the poster girl for designing a life that sparkles.  You teach your loved ones not to settle, not to compromise on their heart’s calling.  You set the example.

I know all too well that responsibilities and obligations take over.  Paying the bills, keeping the home running smoothly, making the day-to-day happen, it all requires your attention and a dose of reality.  But I ask that, even if it’s the simplest gesture, each day includes some small step in the direction of your biggest, boldest you.  Make living your sparkle a daily habit…

I’d love to hear what small, daily action you can take to step into your sparkle.  Share in the Comments below…

Image source: {1}

 

 

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Featured on Pick the Brain: How to use visioning if you're not that visual

04 05 2014

If you’ve ever picked up any kind of self-improvement book, I’m sure you’ll have heard of the many benefits of visioning.  But what if you’re not much of a visual person?  

I’m featured on Pick The Brain where I’m sharing:

– Why the technique of ‘mental rehearsal’ is so popular

– How visualisation can be the catalyst to propel you towards your goals

– My 5 tips for making visualisation work for you if you struggle to make mental pictures.

You can read the full post on Pick The Brain here

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Designing healthy beginnings: Interview with Nichi Keuchle

04 03 2014

Nichi Keuchle is the entrepreneurial mum behind MyHealthyBeginning.com – where Nichi’s work gives children the best start in life by nurturing, empowering and supporting their mums through coaching, doula services, childbirth education and nutrition response testing.  She’s on a mission to create wellness one family at a time.  Nichi is the creator of the amazing Cheap Easy Healthy Eating System, a simple at-home programme that shows mums how to feed their families on whole food, organic meals while saving time and grocery money.  It’s safe to say it’s a labour of love for Nichi whose experience spans back to her nannying days in high school…  As well as running her business from Minneapolis, she is busy wife and mum to two daughters.

I’d love for you to tell us a bit about your story.  Why did you choose to start your own business?  What was your motivation?  

If I cut to the chase, what really got me started in the health and wellness field is from developing an ulcer at the age of 16 within 6 months of my mom’s cancer diagnosis.  It was one of the most stressful experiences of my life, working 30 hours a week in the afternoon, evenings and weekends while supporting my dad in caring for my younger siblings at the time.  

My mom was caring for her health, my dad keeping everything afloat and I had to really step it up.  I took myself to the doctor, filled the prescription, felt worse being on Zantac and so I focused on the foods that made my stomach hurt and removed them knowing if I wasn’t down with a bellyache, I could still function.  Very shortly after I had to step down from the high school gymnastics team I was on because of the pain that was left over.  Then I removed more foods.  You have to understand that at the time I wasn’t removing food groups, I just stopped drinking soda, then eating pizza, then eating spaghetti, then eating ground beef, then eating candy, and it just stuck with me.  The more I managed my food intake the more I was able to manage my health, and I knew it seemed like some secret.  

How did you go from the initial business idea to “open for business” – what steps did you take to get started?

I’ve been in business for 16 years, though much of it was quite hobby-like.  It really wasn’t until three years ago that I really got my act together.  Initially I was a nationally certified massage therapist, then, because I’m a lifelong learner, I began to add certifications and courses to keep up with my changing interests.  Not only did that keep me from feeling or getting bored, I was in a constant state of expansion, mostly doing what I loved until I came up with what I wanted to do next!  

Back then I didn’t have a coach, I didn’t have the tools and technology I have now.  It was all word of mouth and was going “fine”.  Three years ago I realised that “fine” wasn’t paying the bills and no longer cut it.

How does this work alongside your role as a mum of two?  With so much on your plate, it would be great to know how you manage “the juggle”.

I really batch my time and believe me, we have our moments.  Just the other day our 6 year old mailed me a letter from school, an assignment every child was given to write a letter expressing where they wanted help, telling me it makes her feel badly when I don’t listen to her.  It broke my heart.  We are together all the time outside of her school time, she’s like my sidekick and it made me so aware of the fact that I’m not present!  

The world of possibility in my little babe’s eyes, though, gave us such access to how we can support her needs, how we can feel more listened to as parents and what we created was this concrete agreement to really LOOK at each other when we are being spoken to.  It’s the little things.

My husband is awesome.  He’s super supportive and willing to help with our girls when I need it.  I do a lot of leadership development work so I’m gone an extra night per week and he pulls the weight beautifully.  We’ve gotten to this cool place of my success is his and his is mine – that can be everything from being with our girls to feeding them good food to taking the time we need to put into our businesses.  He’s self employed as well so sometimes this means more flex time as a family and sometimes we go days without seeing him except at bedtime.

For me, self care is my number one priority.  I am a train wreck if I don’t take good care of myself.  It’s an everyday thing for me.  I read, exercise, and focus on nutrition every single day.  Using practices such as Higher Brain Living, acupuncture, homeopathy, and bodywork are really helpful in getting the downtime I need.  Sleep has never been as big for me as in the past couple of years, so that’s become more of a focus as well.

…and don’t get me wrong.  I have my days where success simply means everyone is fed and alive!

What is your vision or goal for the future??

I get to declare it here!  Right now I’m working on a fun project to bring about a kids cooking show.  My nutrition practice is a three days per week so I currently use my other two days as a launch pad for my Cheap Easy Healthy Eating System.  

What 3 tips can you give to mums who want to establish the right diet and eating habits with their young family?

  • If you can find out early on if your kids have food intolerances, you save a lot of time dealing with the immune challenges and issues that come up later.  
  • Find that out first – I don’t mean just allergy testing.  Find someone who tests specifically for sensitivities and intolerances and then plan your eating around the person with the most items needing to be eliminated and build back up from there.  
  • Figure out what you spend most of your grocery budget on and find resources that support you in cutting that down, not what you’re eating so much as what you’re spending.  In my Cheap Easy Healthy Eating System we go over all of this in depth, especially when most families are coming from the SAD (Standard American Diet) which consists of breads, bagels, pasta and little to no variety or colour.  It’s all about baby steps and getting mums to feel confident and empowered about the choices they are making.  A mum’s choices are never bad when they are coming from a place where she’s working with all she knows.  I meet her where she’s at and go from there.  There’s a way to save money and time in nearly every scenario.

What have been (or still are) your biggest challenges/fears re: being a working mum, and how did you overcome them?

My biggest hurdle to date was working with a mentor three years ago who ended up being a fraud.  I ended up with a total loss of $30,000 along with really seeing that our marriage wasn’t working, I had my head buried in the sand, my ego all blown up and was in denial about so much of my life.  It was the scariest time of my life.  My thoughts were everywhere from “how are we going to feed our kids” to “how can I work if we can’t afford childcare?” to figuring out how to answer the kids without lying to them when they asked to go for ice cream or to the bookstore or something that required even a few bucks to make happen.  

Awful, awful, awful.  I already felt guilty for being a working mum when all I wanted was to stay home and raise these babies of mine.  That’s when I started personal/leadership development work.  I got to work on this like it was my job.  Learning about my level of self worth, how I listened to myself and what I made things from my past mean about where I was/wasn’t taking my life-talk about a transforming experience.  It’s ongoing.  I can’t put it down.  

When I look at the number of blocks, mostly around money, that I’ve moved out of the way and relationships I’ve healed, I have no idea where the energy came from to Just. Keep. Going.  There were about nine months in there that I hardly remember, the hurt was just so deep.

What’s really worked is to create our family as a team – to create an intense and intimate partnership with my husband, which didn’t just happen automatically, folks, that was a toughie.  Everywhere I can in my work I bring our girls into my “team”.  When they see “our” work as a purpose and something that brings about change and meaning to people’s lives, they feel proud of what we’re up to and are more willing to give me the time I need to finish a project or be with a client.  I can now be more present with them because there are set ways of being.

What makes your life sparkle?

These days, my marriage.  Those moments when my husband and I are laying on the couch with the girls in their “nests” with the dog on the floor and I’m reading aloud while he dozes and they play with beeswax.  That’s where it’s at these days.  Just so simple.

I also love a good, solid 24-hour work retreat.  People think I’m crazy, but it ranks up there as a total favorite of mine.  I drive about 45 minutes from my house to this little retreat farm, pay my $60 for the stay and a couple of homemade meals, another $60 for a massage.  I settle into my hermitage, open my laptop and tackle whatever project is looming.  I step aside to read for fun or go for a walk or snowshoe, depending upon the season, and go to bed early or lay down for a quick nap if I feel the urge. And, most importantly, I return feeling recharged and renewed with stress off my shoulders because I was able to really be focused and undisturbed.

 

What is the one big challenge you face when it comes to designing healthy-eating plans for your family?  What one thing can you try to change this week?  Check out Nichi’s website for ideas…

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Featured on Design Sponge: How to use an identity change to find success

04 01 2014

Today I’m featured on Design Sponge’s Biz Ladies series talking about how to switch your identity to find success…

In this post I share:

– My geeky childhood fascination with powerhouse women

– Why taking the leap into entrepreneurship is just the first scary leap

– Five tactics to see you through the next big leap

You can read the full post on Design Sponge’s Biz Ladies series HERE

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Lessons I've learned as a mum… so far

03 30 2014

Happy Mother’s Day.  It’s the first day of Spring and the sun has been shining on us as we enjoyed a family day out, one of my intended Memory Days, in the Lake District today.  This is my second Mother’s Day as a mum myself and it’s made me reflect on all the things that this rollercoaster role has taught me.  Here are the 7 lessons I’ve learned from motherhood…

It’s everything I expected it to be… When I was given my Tiny Tears doll for Christmas one year, I remember being back at school after the holidays and feeling eager to be back home to see my little Stefan.  I looked forward to feeding him, changing him, taking care of him.  I’ve always liked the feeling of being able to take care of someone, to make them feel loved and cherished and I hoped to find more of this feeling as a mum.  It’s been the single most rewarding part of being a mum to Louis for the past 19 months.  Not only getting to be the care-giver to someone totally dependent on me and Jack, but also getting so much in return.  From the first smile, the first mummy (which is “bibby” in Louis’ world), to the tiny-mouthed kisses at bedtime, the affection we’ve been given in return has been the biggest treasure of this whole experience so far.

It’s nothing like I expected it to be… Even before we were expecting Louis I’d heard the stories about parenthood being the biggest life-changer ever but that is such an understatement.  There’s pre-baby life and post-baby life.  I’d not anticipated how hard a job it really would be.  Yes, the sleepless nights and the loss of freedom are an adjustment but really it has been the weight of the sense of responsibility that I’ve found the most difficult.  Am I doing it right?  It’s a job without a handbook and, for a perfectionist like me, that’s a scary prospect.  How can I do the best by him?  How can I protect him from the bad and fill his life with the good?  How can I do all that while giving him a sense of self and independence?  I’ve had to learn not to think about it as much – if I do it starts to feel like a big hill to climb!

It’s totally unpredictable… Life is not as calm or as organised or as spontaneous as it once was.  It’s a crazy, unpredictable ride.  Every day is the same in the sense of routine but no day is really the same… That is in someone else’s hands completely.  And that is part of the fun.

It’s a different kind of happy… Pre-baby good times would be doing the things, seeing the people and going to the places I love.  Happiness came from being in good company and in enjoying quiet relaxation.  Maybe a few impromptu drinks on a Sunday afternoon, dinner out and visiting new places.  Post-baby good times are totally different… I can’t explain the happiness I get from making him happy.  I love to see his reaction when we introduce him to new things or taking him to new places.  It’s great to see the wide-eyes and sheer excitement on days like today and that, in turn, brings me more happiness than I could have anticipated.

I appreciate my own parents more… Crikey, my parents have played this game four times over!  And still are… I was sharing with them my realisation of just how much you invest in to being a parent – the love, the time and, for me, the ongoing worry!  It is a game of giving A LOT.  And they tell me it never stops.  They’ve been doing this for 36 years now and that takes some serious stamina.  Being a mum has made me realise even more how much my parents have – and still do – for me.  I’m very lucky to have two fantastic role models to try to emulate…

I’m going to change my mind… I’m now 3 weeks away from Baby Two’s due date.  At this point in my first pregnancy I was reading baby books diligently.  I wanted to create a nurturing environment and establish a stable routine for my newborn.  A few weeks in and all the ideals I’d imagined were out of the window.  We learned to do things our own way.  We’d try one thing and if it worked, we’d give each other a pat on the back and stick with it.  If it didn’t, we panicked a little and tried something (anything!) else.  And that’s if we could agree between us.  In truth, we’re still learning and, in the meantime, it’s all coming down to common-sense, intuition and a fair amount of compromise.

I’m lucky… I know I’m lucky to be a mum and to have my own mum to support me.  Some others aren’t so lucky.  I count my blessings. 

Wishing you all a happy Mother’s Day…

I’d love to hear from you.  What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your mum or by being a mum yourself?

Image source: {Etsy}

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Featured on: Mumpreneur UK

03 27 2014

I’m excited to feature on Mumpreneur UK where I’m sharing my thoughts on ditching the masculine business plan.

In this post, I share:

– How my desire for freedom influences business basics

– Why a business plan gathers dust

– My tips for writing a business plan with heart/

You can read the full post on Mumpreneur UK HERE

IMAGE SOURCE: {1}

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Can you play out? How to unwind and have fun

03 23 2014

Remember when you used to get a knock-on the door from your friend asking you to play out?  Well, this week, I’m that friend…

I’m asking you out to play, to let your hair down, to unleash your inner silly side.

There are so many reasons to be sensible – responsibility to your children, money to earn, chores to be done – and I’m guilty of letting all the “grown-up stuff” take over.  But where’s the fun in that if you’re not living a little too.  So, this week I’m encouraging you to be silly and have fun.

What makes you laugh so much that your cheeks ache?

What makes you feel carefree and childlike?

How can you let loose your silly side?

My silly list includes: dancing to my favourite cheesy iPod playlist, singing at the top of my voice, having a go on the aerial slide next time I take my little boy to the park (I keep wanting to have a go but have resisted looking like a big kid!!!).

I’d love to hear from you: what will you do this week to play a little?  Share in the Comments below… you could maybe even share a picture if you’re brave enough??  

Image source: Elle Walker

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Secrets of my Success: Meg Biram

03 20 2014

Prepare to be inspired… Meg Biram is a journalism graduate turned multi-passionate entrepreneur. After giving five years to roles in the corporate world with The Observer Media Group and Hallmark Cards, Meg followed her entrepreneurial instinct.  She’d been blogging to curate fashion, interiors and art since 2007 and, four years later, was able to turn her online home into a business.  From there her business has evolved to include a shop, online marketing and social media consulting, speaking and collaborations with brands including Kate Spade New York, Nike and Macy’s.  Meg also co-founded The B Bar – an online ebookshop.  

I’m excited to introduce Meg today as she shares the secrets of her success….

What has been the ‘defining moment’ that set you on the path you’re on today?  What motivated you to start your own business?

I don’t think there’s been a defining moment for me, I just always knew I’d be an entrepreneur. There are a lot of entrepreneurs in my extended family so I grew up thinking it was normal. I did the corporate world for five years and it just further solidified that it was not my thing.

 

How did you go from the seedling of a business idea to ‘open for business’?  How did you get started?  And how has your business evolved (into now multi-passionate!)?

When I started my blog back in 2007, blogging wasn’t really a business for most people. None of us realised that blogging itself could turn into a business so I always thought I’d be doing something else and blogging was just to help market it.  Obviously that changed as it became possible to monetise blogs, but once I left my Senior Designer position at Hallmark Cards in early 2011 and moved to Washington DC that’s when I started consulting seriously, and the rest of my businesses grew from there.

 

Tell me about your vision/goals for your future.
I’m always thinking about what’s next. I plan for it and act on my plan, but I allow flexibility and let things evolve and surprise me. I’ve got a lot of things in the works for 2014. 

 

How do you stay motivated and inspired?
I guess I’m never not motivated or inspired. It’s just innate for me.

 

What has been your biggest lesson learned?
That even sometimes good ideas I have aren’t necessarily what I want to spend my time doing. 

 

What have been (or still are) your biggest fears and challenges, and how do you overcome them?
I tend to put myself in a lot of situations that challenge me because I feel like you can’t grow or you aren’t taking enough risk if you aren’t kinda scared sometimes. So I know that as long as I put myself in uncomfortable positions sometimes, I’ll come out of it stronger.

 

[Tweet “You aren’t taking enough risk if you aren’t kinda scared sometimes” – @MegBiram via @EmmaGwillim”]
What do you believe is the secret of your success?
Persistence and hard work.

 

What 3 tips would you offer women on how to follow their professional ambitions and design a life that sparkles?
Research anything and everything about the industry you want to be in.
Talk to as many people as you can that have done what you want to do or something similar.
Make sure that what you want to do is unique to you.  Don’t just copy what other people are doing because you think it looks fun.  Dig deep to find your true passions and work hard to make them original to you.

 

[Tweet “”Dig deep to find your true passions and work hard to make them original to you” @MegBirman via @EmmaGwillim”]

 

Images: Abby Jiu

 

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How to keep things simple when overwhelm creeps in...

03 09 2014

This week’s blog post is brought to you with a KISS: I’m Keeping It Short and Sweet.

You might remember that at the beginning of the year I chose a theme for the year for my business (and life) goals: simplicity.  Well, as I hurtled into March I took some time to reflect on my goals… and realised things had become far from simple.  So, with renewed determination, my theme of simplicity is back.

This means:

– As you know I like to plan my week ahead on a Sunday night so, this week, I’ll be thinking about what’s really important.  Yes, there are 101 things I should or could be doing but only a handful that really matter.  Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.  80% of your happiness comes from 20% of your activities.  As I think about my goals, I’m reminding myself of the precious 20% that really counts towards my ideal future, my goals and making the days count right now.

– I’m trying to get rid of some of the white noise.  Social media counts as a work activity for me.  I love the community that I’ve found in Facebook groups and contacts (and online friends) I’ve made on Twitter, but I too easily get drawn into discussions and attracted by new ideas that, for now, aren’t my priority.  First off, I’m imposing a limit on my social media time and I’m planning to use it with reason – not to consume more and more information but to connect with people with meaning.

– I’m adding in more quiet time.  I’m not sure where I heard this phrase a few years ago, but it really speaks to me: be still and listen to the whispers.  I know when I slow down the pace and have healthy doses of quiet time, everything becomes that little bit clearer.  I get flashes of inspiration and answers to questions… and I just feel so much calmer.  

If 80% of your results come from just 20% of your efforts, where will you focus your attention this week?  How can you listen to the whispers a little more?  

Image source: {1}

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Secrets of my Success: Magazine editor and blogger Alison Perry

03 06 2014

It’s a first today as the Secrets of my Success interview with Alison Perry is my first video interview…

Alison is a magazine editor and writes the award-winning NotAnotherMummyBlog.com.  As well as being the driving force behind a magazine, she’s also featured in magazines herself such as Grazia and Mother & Baby, she has appeared on Lorraine’s sofa and she’s been a guest speaker at Mumsnet bloggers conference.  AND, last but by no means least, she is mummy to a gorgeous 3-year old daugher.

Alison shares:

  • What inspired her to start her own blog
  • How she manages the juggle of having a professional career, a blog and a 3-year old daughter
  • How she is motivated by ‘moments of gratification’ rather than big goals
  • An introduction to “phubbing”
  • What she believes is the secret to her success

Now it’s over to you.  What opportunities can you say YES to today?  Share with us in the Comments below…

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