role model

Productivity: A Guilt-Free(ish) Alternative To Balance

07 31 2016

A bit later than scheduled…. but we’re back from a weekend at the beach where we’ve been enjoying the sunshine (sun here in the UK believe it or not).  It really was family time at it’s best.  The only thing on the agenda was to just be.  How refreshing!

Have you ever had that feeling where you’re doing one thing and feel guilty that you’re not doing the other?  Feeling like you should be with your family when you’re working and then mentally running through your list of things to do when you’re having some time-off with your nearest and dearest?

Yep, I know that feeling very well.  We’re old friends.  But a new way of looking at it all has shifted the guilt (well, at least some of it) for me.  So, this weekend I was able to enjoy and be present without my mind running ten-to-the-dozen.  (This is a major breakthrough for my Type-A brain!)  Want to know the secret sauce?

There’s a bit of science to it but let me give you the distilled version: create seasons to go after your big goals and to enjoy.

Sometimes, you have to go all out.  You may be going for a promotion, you may be launching a business, or leading a big project.  The thing matters to you – you want to do your very best, and so you’re going to go all in.  Your focus, your energy and time are going to be skewed in it’s favour.  

The toughest part is accepting that, for a defined time, other things will have to take a back seat.  But there’s the magic – it’s for a defined time.  Mentally you know there’s a time when you’re taking your foot of the gas.  You know the seasons will change.

It might be followed by a season where you focus on fun and pleasure and time out.  Your focus, energy and time is used entirely differently.  The pace is slower.  The perspective may be more inward – focusing on replenishing your energy, feeding your soul.

The big red flag here is that it’s not about stopping and starting in areas, it’s just that you can’t do and be everything at once.  It’s a recipe for burnout and guilt in huge doses.  But what you are doing is giving the biggest share of your attention to one area at a time.

And I’ve been trying it out.  You see, I’ve been fighting the losing battle of trying to be supermum and grow a business (and the many other things fighting for my attention) and I felt like I was doing a crap job at all of it.  The proverbial Jack of all trades, master of none.  After a busy 12 months of trying to do it all, more recently I’ve been in a bit of hibernation mode for the “winter” season and taking more care of me, focusing on revitalising my ‘reserves’ and soon I’ll be ready to go again.  (It feels like spring is coming!)

And so this weekend I made my peace with taking time out.  This is exactly where I was meant to be and what I was meant to be doing…. and with the people I care about.

What ‘season’ would you say you’re in at the moment?  And can you see how you could apply this to your life (and take a bit off the pressure off trying to do it all)?

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Get That Holiday Feeling... Without Needing To Leave The Building

06 27 2016

Back in my corporate days, I made my desk home.  I had a few subtle photos of family and friends on the backboard of my cubicle, and a happy holiday memory as my computer desktop background. 

The vast (and noisy) open plan office with sealed windows didn’t really suit my introverted work-style.  The political game too forced me into avoidance mode. In fact, truth be told, I craved quiet time, fresh air and an environment of collaboration and, sat there, I was screaming inside.  But then, one look at that holiday picture and I breathed a little calmer.

That ‘holiday feeling’ washed over me and I felt an escape.

What is that strange magic?  Can you feel it too? 

Revisit a holiday memory and you get that wash of calm and bliss and contentedness. 

“This is the life”.

The beauty is that you can go there whenever you like.  You may have heard this before – your mind knows no difference between what is real and what is imagined so you can fake that holiday in your mind to kick that feeling into action.  BUT, what you know and what you do are two entirely different things.

Crikey, I’m trained in this** but still I get elbow-deep in the day-to-day and forget this super-power…. We can be on holiday at the flip of a mental switch.

Ironically, it took a break away from the routine to remind me of this.  The science bods call this a ‘pattern interrupt’.

With two pre-school children our household runs on routine.  It’s a team effort to get us all up, fed, dressed and out the door each morning… and that works great for running a tight ship but it does run the risk of hours blending into days then into weeks before you take a breath and just be.  You know, like those moments on holiday when you have no plans, no agenda and can just enjoy a drink in the sunshine with your closest kin.  Bliss. 

So, here I am suggesting you create your own pattern interrupt, a mental mini-break.  Find a space where you can clear your calendar and just be.  (*Cocktails optional)

Does that feel uncomfortable?  Think, if you can, of being in holiday mode.  The time is carved out for respite and relaxation and to just enjoy the moment with no set plan.

The funny thing is, just like when on holiday you get that fresh perspective, by taking a mental mini-break you’re more likely to get the clarity and breakthroughs you’ve been over-looking.  By slowing down you can speed up when you get back to it.

Good old Einstein had it nailed: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Or maybe Madge put it best:  “If we took a holiday, took some time to celebratejust one day out of life – it would be, it would be so nice.”

Give it a try! 

Here’s to a sparkling week ahead, Emma  x 

**NLP Practitioner

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Well THAT was embarrassing. Did you see it?

06 19 2016

Let me just acknowledge the elephant in the room.  I disappeared for a while.

Maybe I owe you a little explanation.  I’ll come to that in a moment…

The reason for sharing with you is I believe I can shed some light on what NOT to do if this story is something you can relate to.

I’ll also share what happened when I took the leap – and it totally back-fired!  

So, back to the point, I disappeared.  I checked out for a bit.

If truth be told… I was hiding away from you guys.  You see, my passion is helping people to be their best selves, helping them to live their sparkle and yet, rewind a year, and I felt so far from that myself.

I felt a fraud.  I felt I needed to be the finished product to be able to help you.  I thought I needed to go away and fix parts of my life first.  It’s the perfectionist in me – I wanted to do this thing right.  If I was to help you then surely I’d need to be an expert in, and perfect in, all areas.

Writing this to you now I realise how ridiculous it sounds.  Yet still a part of me whispers “who am I to be able to help anyone else when there’s still things I’m working on?”  Old habits die hard, as they say.

But striving for utopia is perfectionism on over-drive.  It’s me procrastinating on the one thing I feel really called to do – to help, to write, to show up in ways that help you create your best life.

So, what not to do?

Don’t wait for the perfect time. There never is one.

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to show up.  It won’t.

Don’t wait to feel like you’re ready/perfect. You won’t – nothing changes unless YOU change.

What’s standing between you and what you want?

I’ve spent the best part of my lifetime hiding and actively avoiding attention.  But deep down I know that standing between me and what I want (helping people on a bigger scale), I need to come out of hiding and push my comfort zone

So this week I decided to be brave.  I love to write to you but I know sometimes I hide behind the written word. Speaking up is my challenge.  I made a commitment to my awesome coach to “show my face”.  I gave my word that I’d share on Facebook Live.

This was majorly uncomfortable.  By showing up on Facebook Live I had to do the opposite of my default attention-avoidance, as if I was saying “look at me, I’m here and I have something to say.”  That is hugely out of my comfort zone.  It’s LIVE people – there’s zero room for perfectionism.

My insecurities were laid bare – insecure in the value of what I had to say, how I was saying it, how I was looking while saying it.  To me, I was raising my head over the parapet and opening myself up to being judged.  (That’s not to say that’s what I expected of the gorgeous peeps who might see it but they were the warning bells clanging by that ‘chimp brain’ of mine that’s trying to protect me.)

And I can’t tell you how (embarrassingly) long my finger hovered over the scary “Go Live” button.

BUT THEN… The utopia came to mind.  The life I imagine and the ‘me’ in it tapped me on the shoulder and, instead, I asked: “What would that Emma do?”  So, I pressed the button and I did it.

(Did you see?  It was a disaster.  The sound did not work!!!  I  chatted to myself for 8 minutes! EMBARRASSING. But I did it and I left it up there as proof, imperfect as it is!)

And here’s the lesson I’ve learned that I want to share.

I’ve come to learn that success is in the little victories.  I’d been focusing on the end game – striving for that finish line of success before I can help.

What’s courage anyway?  To me it’s letting your want/need for something be just a fraction bigger than your fear.  It’s a succession of moments like that, each moment getting you that little bit closer to your desired you and desired destination.

So, I ask again.  What stands between you and what you want? And what can you do to have courage (that’s just a tiny bit bigger than your fear) for one bold moment this week?

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The Selfish Heart Myth: and what it means for you

06 14 2016

You’ve heard me say it before: slow down, nurture yourself, fill your tank so you have energy to overflow to others.

But who has acted on it?  The idea is nice – who could refuse some ‘me-time’?  But, in reality, has looking after you and your needs made you feel a bit guilty?  Does it seem a bit indulgent?

There’s a fine line.  Focusing on your needs alone to the sacrifice of others could be deemed as selfish.  Focusing on your needs to be of benefit and value to others, it’s an investment.  It’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself and others.

I struggled with this until I heard Vishan Lakhiani speaking about “the theory of awesomeness”.  During his keynote speech, he talked about how the heart could be seen as the most selfish organ in the body:  “it keeps all the good blood for itself. It takes in all the good blood, the most oxygenated blood, and then distributes the rest to every other organ.  But if the heart didn’t keep the good blood for itself, the heart would die. And if the heart died, it would take every other organ with it. The liver. The kidneys. The brain. The heart, in a way, has to be selfish for its own preservation.

And it is that attitude I encourage you to have when it comes to taking care of you and your wellbeing.  Feel more inside to give more on the outside.  

What are you thoughts on this?  What do you do that ‘fills your tank’ and revitalises you?

Image: {1}

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Do You Do What it Says On The Tin? How to (begin to) craft your cocktail line.

05 23 2016

Social etiquette lesson courtesy of movie favourite, Bridget Jones’ Diary: “Introduce people with thoughtful details…”

In Bridget’s case, her introduction was “(she) works in a publishing house and she used to play around naked in (Mark’s) paddling pool.”

How would someone describe you?  Can you think of a recent occasion where someone’s introduced you?  What did they say?  And how did it make you feel?

If you have a job, or you’re a mum, chances are you get introduced by your role.  These days I often get “this is Louis’/Joe’s mum”. 

But how much do you think this introduces YOU?

As adults we get badged by our roles: someone’s wife/partner, mum, professional status.  And let’s be truthful, the person on the receiving end will probably make some snap judgement about who you are based on what they hear.   How true is it though?

Before marriage, babies, career, you were still YOU, right?

I LOVE seeing little children make new friends.  They say their name full of importance and that’s it.  No pre-conceived ideas, no badges of honour.  Just, this is me.

If you were to strip away all the roles and titles, how would you love to be introduced?  What words would truly describe the real you? 

Many of the women I work with have forgotten, at least on a conscious level.  Somewhere, underneath the layers of responsibility, she’s still that young girl with that unique sparkle… but sometimes it just needs a little dusting off.

So, get your duster out and start to polish-up your cocktail line.

–       What is your special talent?  What do people come to your for help/advice on?

–       What can you do with ease?

–       What do you do that, when you do it, time flies?

–       What lights you up?

–       What have been some of your happiest moments?

–       What do you stand for?

Free-flow with a pen and paper.  Write down anything and everything that comes up.  Start to reveal the words, the feelings, the uniqueness that makes you you.  Don’t censor.  Start with “I’m (your name) and this is me….”  Read it aloud and see how you feel now.

Tingles?  Tears?  A stirring?  If so, bingo, you’ve scratched the surface.

I’d love to hear from you.  What came up for you?

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You Great Big (Valentine's) Liar!

02 14 2016

When you’re sat in the hairdresser’s chair, do you ever wonder who styles the stylist’s hair?  Or who is your dentist’s dentist?  I do.  You see, I imagine they’d be happier in their own hands, knowing what standard to expect.

The same goes for a pilot.  As a nervous flier, I’d be a little less anxious if I knew the pilot had logged plenty of flight time and way more likely to bolt for the door if it was a maiden flight.

It comes down to trust.  You have to truly believe in that person’s skill, ability and practice in what they’re going to do for you.

So, I look at you and I question…… do I believe in you? 

Ladies, I have it on authority that the vast majority of you are putting yourself WAY down your own list of priorities and that makes a liar out of you. 

Before you click unsubscribe, hear me out.

Love lies2

Take a look at your list of priorities this week just gone, whether that’s written down or in your head.  What roles did you play?  Wife/partner, mum, daughter, employee/business owner, domestic boss?  Any more?  And where did YOU feature?  What did you do for yourself?

Many of the women I coach forget themselves or, at best, use what’s left over once everything else has been tended to.  They’re driven by a desire to love and nurture the people in their life, and to excel.

And this is the lie.  You need to learn your trade – to be your own best customer.  To nurture other people, you have to nurture yourself.  To love the people you care for most, you have to love you.  To give your best professionally, you have to nourish yourself.  Trying to give of yourself while you’re running on empty is pretense.

I’ve learned from experience.  In a year that saw achievement and success in many ways, I ended 2015 frazzled.  Depleted.  And here’s the rub, when I did take a little time to be a bit more selfish two amazing things happened:

  1. I felt better.  Obvious, right?  But because I felt better I was being better as a mum, wife, coach etc.  The yucky knot in my stomach (tinged with a little bit of resentment – honest moment!) was replaced with renewed energy.
  2. My little ones noticed.  I liked hearing them say, “mummy’s going to yoga” and “mummy’s not here” when I’d been away on a development course.  I want them to do the things that light them up, pursue their passions, so how can I teach that if I’m putting my own desires and passions on the back-burner.

It’s still a work in progress (I’M still a work in progress!).  I still juggle the mummy guilt when it’s me-time.  But I’m trying to look at it more as an investment.

So today, when you’re expected to show someone else your love, be sure that you gift yourself with a little love and nurturing too.  Trust me, the better you feel, the more of the good stuff you’ll have to give.

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you have a self-care practice?  Or if you don’t what one thing might you do for yourself this week?

Images {1} {2} {3}

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Interview with Jessica Nazarali: Design a health & wellness business that sparkles

04 15 2014

I’m excited to introduce you to the very lovely Jess Nazarali.  Based in Sydney, Jess is a business coach, blogger at www.livehealthysimply.com and jessicanazarali.com & co-owner of an online health food store with her husband ShopHealthy.com.au.  She started her business while she was working full-time in the corporate world and has created a thriving business so that, earlier this year, she has been able to leave her job and focus her energy and attention on her passions.  Jess has achieved so much in just a short space of time so I’m excited for her to share her story today.  

In this video, Jess shares how she designed a health and wellness business that sparkles:

  • How growing up on a farm sowed the seed for her future entrepreneurial path.
  • What gave her the confidence to take the leap to starting her own business and blog.
  • How listening to her intuition brought about a new business direction.
  • What has driven and motivated Jess to create a business that allowed her to achieve her vision and leave her corporate job.
  • Her top three tips for women who want to get started in business

Jess and I would love to hear what vision you are going to unapologetically strive for – please share in the comments below.

p.s. Here are a few of the resources Jess mentions in her video:

Marie Forleo’s B-School

Institute of Integrative Nutrition

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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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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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Had your fill of the 9-5? Why you should sit tight in your cubicle (for now).

01 29 2013

I’m sure every one of us has had that ‘Monday feeling’.  You know the one – the dawning realization that the weekend is over and it’s time to go back to work and you feel sick, right to the pit of your stomach. 

 

I’ve been there.  Golly, I think my Monday morning blues started at some point on a Saturday afternoon for a while.  I knew things HAD to change. 

 

Dreading work is no fun.  It’s no way to live your life.  As someone passionate about passion, I believe YOU absolutely deserve to live the life of your dreams, to ditch the 9-5 if it’s not making you happy.  And definitely if it’s making you UNhappy.  I want you to strive for the happily ever after in your career.

 

But not NOW. 

 

Yep, you heard me right.  Don’t do it just yet. 

 

Unless you have the privilege of financial freedom that will allow you to enjoy a little time out, I urge you to stick with it.  Why?  Because I don’t want you to make the mistake that so many make.  The urgency of leaving one unfulfilling job can lead many people into repeating the same mistake over and over.  And over! 

 

Draft the resignation letter.  Update your CV.  Begin to imagine a different life.  But don’t act until you’ve considered the following:

 

  1. Take a little time to look back over your career ‘landscape’.  What have you really enjoyed about your work?  What would you happily never do again?  In the cold light of day, are there any tasks in your current work that you like?  Start to get clear on what kinds of work really appeal to you (and those that don’t) so you can start to shape what your ideal work style looks like.
  2. What is most important to you about work?  Is it the money?  Is it status?  Recognition?  Growth?  Having the freedom to be creative?  Get clear on what you value most and how you want to feel about your ideal work.  Your core values are your compass so get to work on discovering your true north.
  3. Start to think about what you enjoy doing in your spare time.  What do you happily do without getting paid?  Does this offer any clues as to the type of work that would suit you most?
  4. Set your goal.  What do you want to achieve and by when?

 

Now you are starting to get really clear.  Instead of jumping ship and securing yourself another 40 hours a week of work that you may well have outgrown, start to create a path towards your ideal work. 

 

Who is looking for your unique package of skills, experience and personality?  You never know, if you’re lucky enough to be part of a progressive company, you may well have opportunities literally on your (work) doorstep.  If not, forge your way ahead with passion and purpose. 

 

Make 2013 the year that you create the work-style of your dreams.

Source: hitta-hem.blogspot.co.nz via Fuzz One Media on Pinterest

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