Busy, did I say busy

Well, we are a quarter the way through 2019 already and this year like the last is flying by!!

At this time of year there is another period of reflection as the financial year comes to an end so time to review the business performance for the last 12 months and plan for the next twelve.

Overall I’m really happy with the way the business is going, I’ve seen substantial growth in all areas of the business not just financially but also in the type of work that I’m being asked to deliver to the companies I work with which include large international companies.

I’m still not good at celebrating my successes or talking about the work I do so this is something I’m aiming to work on over the next year as I know that people are often taken aback by the work I do and the companies I work for (in a good way obviously) as when I actually think about it, it’s a pretty impressive list – One of the major supermarkets, a national hotel chain, a large global chemical company and the list could go on…!

Even through March has been extremely busy with me working 12 hour days 6 days a week for most of the month I don’t think I’ve laughed or smiled so much in a very long time, it feels like all the hard knocks and challenges I’ve faced in recent times have started to pay off and proves that if you work hard and don’t give up you will eventually be rewarded! I feel like I can come out of hibination and start to live a little again rather than just survive.

I’m not quite ready to take my foot of the gas or rest on my laurels just yet as the coming 6 weeks look set to continue in the same vein & I can’t wait for all the exciting projects I’m working on to come to fruition.

However, there is a big fat white elephant in the room which I don’t talk about much and that’s being single, don’t get me wrong I love my life as it is and enjoy the freedom that single life brings, it just would be nice to share my life with someone. And yes I know that having a partner isn’t the be all and end all, just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you are not lonely, yarda yarda yarda I’ve heard it all before especially from people who are in happy, fulfilling & loving relationships (or so it seems from the outside).

I’ve been single for the last seven and half-year (all the time I’ve run my business, coincidence I wonder!), in that time I’ve had a few flings, I’ve met some true gentlemen and some real arses!!

My business has proved that what you focus on you get, yet when it comes to love I’m too scared to focus on it as I worry that not only might I get my heart-broken again but also that if I stop focusing on the business might that take a downward turn?!? So as much as I’ve smiled lots this month as there’s been lots to celebrate it’s been a little hollow without a special someone to raise a glass with!! I’m not a grand gesture kind of girl. it’s just the little things I miss, like a hug at the end of a long day, a mug of tea brought to me while I’m working, someone to share the ups and downs with.

Over the last 18 months I’ve said to myself on many occasions when I’ve completed this or that then I’ll get back on the dating sites but when the time comes to actually register I get cold feet and find something else to focus on or aim for. I bury my feelings by keeping busy so I don’t get too upset about my situation but sometimes these feelings bubble up in the most awkward of places like when I’m out at a business networking event and asked if my husband is in the RAF (I live in an ex-RAF house) or how old are my children and like now as I’m typing this I get a lump in my throat when I have to honestly answer that I don’t have a partner or children. I’ve learnt to keep my emotion in check during the event but there are usually tears in the car on the drive home!

On the health and fitness side of things it’s been a bit hit and miss, I’ve managed to get to the box a few more times, at the end of February I joined the local leisure centre with a swim only membership as it’s something I’ve missed over the years during the time I’ve been doing Crossfit, so that’s been lovely getting back into the pool, I find it both relaxing and cathatic doing length although I’m still getting used to lane etiquette!! In the same week a friend of mine suggested I did a 5km open water swim with her in June, I was going to go and support her anyway so I thought what the heck, why not!! So entry paid for, wetsuit bought and training underway it’s given me something to focus on over the coming months which isn’t the business or my lovelife (or non-exsistent one).

Just as I was starting to write this post, this quote popped up on my pinerest feed which seems quite apt!

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Where did February go?

Two months down and ten to go and this year is running away with me already.

February has been a pretty tough month mentally for me, looking at my diary I knew it was going to be a busy month work-wise but nothing I didn’t feel like I could handle but I did struggle.

I’ve realised that my time is really divided into three areas:

The Business

Health & Fitness

Downtime

This past month it has felt relentless when it came the business at a detriment of the other two areas of my life, now I don’t want to come across as complaining as a good friend did remind me that being busy is a good thing which is it as a couple of years ago I couldn’t have dreamed/wished for the way the business has grown recently.

The business at the moment is going great, opportunities are coming at me left, right and centre which feels awesome and really does show that hard work and focus really does make things happen, however, this month all this work felt completely overwhelming, I just didn’t know where to start with it all, I felt like I was juggling so many different projects and not making any headway with any of them, my to-do list was growing longer by the day and I was feeling like I’m letting people/businesses down.

Every single working day (Mon-Fri) in February I had something on be this a meeting, networking event or delivering work which I love as I enjoy getting out and about, but as I’m out and about the desk work I’ve got to do doesn’t get done which means me working early mornings, late nights and weekends just to keep up with it all. I usually have Mondays as my desk day so that I can prepare myself for the week & plan how I’m going to fit everything in but this routine went out the window in the 1st week!!

Again I’m not complaining as I absolutely LOVE what I’ve created as Firecracker and never begrudge working long days as I know that for every ounce of effort I put it I get it back ten-fold but unfortunately, my body & mind aren’t always that happy!

So health and fitness went out the window, I only managed to get to the gym 7 times in the month, I got a cold/felt rough for a week or so which knocked me for six and left me feeling tired & under more pressure. I know all too well with what I do that if I don’t look after myself then I’m no use to anyone, sometimes it’s hard to hear and take your own advice.

Each year I choose a “word of the year” which helps to guide me & stay focus on the things I in life, in February I’d already forgotten that my word for 2019 is BALANCE and another good friend sent me a message with a reminder of this and it was the message I needed to see to just stop and re-evaluate what I’m doing. So I started to look at my behaviours and see which ones aren’t serving me well & work out how I go about changing things.

If you could have a word of the year, what would it be?

I know I’m my own worst enemy at times with getting balance in my life, like I said I love what I do so often don’t see it as “work” and as I get older I’ve got into a habit of shying away from social situations and like to just be at home.

A friend had invited me out for drinks with other friends for their birthday and I was stressing & nervous as soon as I accepted the invite!! I just felt completely out my comfort zone, which is strange really as when I’m going to business events as Rachel from Firecracker I don’t tend to get nervous at all really, but any time I have to be Rachel L then I feel really uncomfortable – something to explore with my therapist in the future!!

In terms of downtime, there wasn’t that much of it, I did get to have lunch/coffee with friends here and there but in all honesty, my body was present but my mind wasn’t which made me feel guilty at times.

I know that we are all balancing demands on our time so I have to remember:

So as we march into March I’m very conscious of how I spend my time both physically and mentally to ensure I make the most of everyday.

January – could have started better

If the start of January is anything to go by then this year is going to really suck arse!!

The year started with a broken boiler, car in the garage and a printer that wouldn’t switch on.

They say things come in 3’s so here’s hoping I’ve had the yearly quota of broken things!!

Thankfully all of these things were sorted in the first week of the year so I kind of decided to write that week off and start afresh on Monday 7th Jan.

The first week I also received an email from a company I do some retained work for telling that this arrangement will have to end soon and this sent me into a bit of a tailspin!! I knew this work would come to an end at some point in 2019 as it’s part of a funded project which is ending this year but despite this, I still began stressing about how I’ll replace this invoiced work in the coming months!! This stress hasn’t fully gone away however, I’ve managed to quieten down the voices with the reassurance that it will all work out ok and as many people have said that when one door closes another opens.

I also received this:

I’ve been following Brendon Burchard for many years and have most of his books so was excited to see that he’d developed a planner to go with this his High Performance Habits, in it he suggests you have a morning mindset and evening journal & do a weekly review. This is based on his principles in the book (Clarity, Energy, Necessity, Productivity, Influence & Courage) as well as his whole life assessment which looks at 10 areas of your life:

  1. Health
  2. Mental/emotional
  3. Partner/love
  4. Family
  5. Friends
  6. Mission
  7. Experience
  8. Spirit
  9. Finances
  10. Learning

I like it’s simplicity and is helping me to focus on how I want each day to pan out.

After the initial wobble of the first couple of weeks of the year, January hasn’t turned out that bad. I’ve managed to get back in the gym 15 times over the month which is better than I managed most months last year but still not as much as I want so that’s something to work on in the coming months. However getting active again has really helped me to focus my mind on what I can do to help myself, I know I have all the tools inside of me I just need to put them in action & remember the saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup!!

Business wise I had some great coaching sessions with some of my clients who get real value from our sessions, I spoke at a business event and attended a couple of networking events too. The conference planning and prep is coming along nicely with the word getting out there that it’s happening.

And as the month drew to a close I’ve received emails & phone calls which will possibly lead to some exciting projects in the coming months so as they say onwards and upwards….

Life laid bare!!

So 2018 seemed to pass with a blink of an eye and now it’s 2019 and I wonder what the year will hold for me and my business.

In a world of filters, rose-tinted lives we see or portray on social media I’ve made a big decision to share my year warts and all, the ups & downs of life for a Forty-something gal who runs their own business. This will be in the form of monthly blog posts about the previous months shenanigans.

As a qualified nutritionist, personal trainer and business coach I want to show that I practice what I preach for 95% of the time and how I do it!

I want to show that eating healthy & incorporating healthy lifestyle habits into your life is challenging but do-able while still living life to the full and enjoying delicious food.

As well as dealing with the demands of running a business & all the stress that comes with that, I’ll share the highs and low & lessons learnt!!

One of my biggest challenges comes from balancing my time between working and resting!! Last year (2018) I worked my socks off on the business which has lead to a number of successes and achievements however this was at the expense of my fitness and generally living.

My word for 2019 is BALANCE & I’ve set daily alarms on my phone to remind me of this so that I can form healthier habits in the year ahead.

What is your word or mantra for 2019?

Until next time, tally ho

Rachel xx

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

As the year draws to a close often we are drawn to reviewing the year that has gone by and looking forward to the coming year, as I was getting dressed this morning ready for the day ahead I caught my reflection in the mirror and it made me think about what I see when I look in the mirror.

Firstly I see a body which if I’m honest is a little bit more curvy & wobbly that this time last year and a body I’m not really that proud of (there is a plan to work on this!!), however when I look past the physical body I and really look at the person I see I am filled with an emotion I’m not very familiar with and that is immense pride in myself and my achievements this year.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always felt like a failure, not good enough and unsuccessful especially since running my business full-time, most of these of feelings are born out of self-limiting beliefs we all carry around in our heads but others are from past negative experiences/comments from other people or the way society has traditionally viewed success. I can honestly say I’ve never felt proud of myself and to be fair it does feel a little alien but something I’m happy to get used too!!

This year though, something has shifted in my mindset to realise that I might not have some of the things people often associate with success but that I’ve achieved so many things that I am proud of. Instead of looking at & focusing on all the things I didn’t achieve this year like getting to the gym enough!! I’m actually celebrating all the things I have done this year.

And here are just a few things:

  • Gaining three new qualifications – Masters in Workplace Health and Wellbeing, a teaching qualification and being a mental health first aider.
  • Ran a successful business, retaining and gaining new clients and exceeding the financial goals I set for myself.
  • Created a number of programmes and services that have helped individuals, teams and businesses grow and succeed.
  • Started the planning for a business conference next year with a great line up of speakers.
  • Worked on my inner demons and limiting beliefs with a therapist to help me move forward – an ongoing process but the shift this year has been monumental!!
  • Spent time with friends when they’ve needed me the most.
  • Recognised my own successes and achievements and celebrated them.

As humans, we are programmed to look for the negatives/dangers, what is yet to achieved so I ask you – When you look in the mirror – WHAT DO YOU SEE?

 

 

 

Distractions

Following on from my post about balance a the end of March, things haven’t quite gone to plan!!

For the last two weeks, I’ve not stepped foot in the gym, not done any form of fitness and allow circumstances & distractions to get the better of me!

Life has so many ways of challenging us it’s scary!! Just when you thought you had it sussed, boom something else comes up to bite you or something happens that makes you wake up and smell the coffee, well that’s what has happened to me this weekend.

So I’m reminded to reset, refocus and believe…

To do this I’ve created 2 little laminated (love a bit of laminating) cards remind me daily of what I need to do and focus on to achieve my dreams!! Seeing as I spend a lot of time (probably too much time) at my desk!!

      

What do you do when you get distracted from your goals?

Creamy Asparagus & Salmon with Mixed Grains

Salmon and asparagus are a great combination and their flavours go well together. Here is my recipe I made the other evening, this did me 1 main meal with a little left over for a small meal later in the week.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Salmon Steak
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 2 tsp Rapeseed OIl
  • Small Knob Butter (about 10g)
  • 5 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 120g Asparagus (lots left over so probably could have used about 80g (this would be classed as a portion!!)
  • 200ml Chicken Stock, I use Knorr’s Concentrated Chicken Stock which is about 2 tsp & 200ml water.
  • 75g Tesco’s 7 quick cook grains  
  • 50ml Double Cream/Creme Fraiche (optional) but brings the dish together nicely
  • Black pepper

Method:

Cook the grains as per the pack instructions, while they are cooking you can do the rest of the cooking.

I add the oil and butter to the pan, add the onion and gently cook until the onion is translucent,  Make a space in the middle of the pan and add in the Salmon steak skin side down and turn the heat, you want to crisp the skin as it’s easier to remove!! Turn the heat up a bit to help crisp the skin

After about 3 minutes, turn over the salmon – remove the skin (eat if desired), turn the heat down cook for another minute or so

Then add the chopped asparagus, cherry tomatoes, stock (or concentrate & water), you want about 2cm of liquid in the pan; cover and leave for about 5-6 minutes, keep an eye on it to ensure that it doesn’t dry out and burn, however, you only want a small amount of liquid left before you add in the grains and cream

Gently flake the fish and combine with the other ingredients, add in the cooked grains & cream if using, mix well and cook for 1 minute to just heat the cream through, season with black pepper and serve.