May – What now?!?

Wow, what a month!! The first two weeks are a complete blur of prepping for two major events in one week!!

Not something I would usually choose to do but when an old client contacts you out the blue to say that the training you did for them two years was amazing and now they’ve moved to a new company and want you to come and do the magic again it’s hard to refuse even if it means you digging deep into your energy stores to make it happen!!

I did it (with help from a few people too)!! Both events smashed out of the park with feedback being super positive and complimentary and I couldn’t have been happier about how both events went. However, this has taken a massive toll on me both physically and mentally.

So I can officially say that I ran a conference on Workplace health and wellbeing with 70 attendees and also a team development event for 96 people who were totally buzzing at the end of it!! Two things to tick off the very long list of things I want to achieve in my business!! Does anyone else have a little book where they write all their hopes and dreams for the business? I usually write them in there and forget about it and then occasionally I’ll look through and unbeknown to me I’ve often achieved a couple of them!! I’m very much a believer that if you put something out into the world then the world (universe) will conspire in your favour to help you achieve it!!

The weekend after the big week I was broken emotionally with many tears flowing and yes most of these were happy proud tears that I managed to pull both events off without too many hitches but they were also tinged with sadness that it was over and I had a feeling of emptiness & where do I go from here?

For the last year or so the conference has dominated my mind, it’s been an emotional journey which if I’m honest when I wrote last month’s post wasn’t sure if it was going to come off as I wanted it so for it all to be done and dusted is hard to take.

The following week my body went into meltdown and my back was incredibly sore with me in constant pain no matter what position I stood or sat in. I totally believe that this was the emotions of the last few months coming out as physical pain. I know the last few months have been super stressful and I’ve probably unconsciously been holding tension in my body and once both events were over I relaxed and let go of this tension. I know that I didn’t do anything to cause my back to go and it has been an emotional release, thankfully with a bit of acupuncture and being kind to myself it’s getting better, a few niggles when I move too much but nothing like it was.

The last two weeks of May have also been a bit of a blur in a very different way, sitting back at my desk on the Monday after the big week just felt weird with a sense of what do I do now… having put all my energy into these two events I soon realised that every other bit of my business had been dropped and I was now playing catch up with all my coaching clients and nutrition work and getting back into normality of running a business and that sense of letting people down crept back in!! So I’m working hard now to right this and deliver the level service I expect of myself!

And so my mind now turns to what next… well to start with I’m doing this 5km open water swim in Lake Windermere on the 9th June and quite frankly I’m bricking it!! I’ve done nowhere near enough training for it and got a rather busy week coming up including another overnight trip down to Reading to do more team development training with the same company before this time it’s the HR department I’m working with which could potentially lead to more work so again an opportunity not to turn down… as well as few other things in the diary too!! When I set myself these physical challenges it always feels like bad timing as the week before the event is never an easy one!!

I know deep down that I’m sure I’ll complete the swim as you’ll probably realise by now that I always do achieve the things I set out to do but the last month has really knocked me in a way I didn’t expect as the words that have come into my head quite a lot are:

“When will I ever feel like I’m good enough?!” For some reason, I seem to constantly push myself to breaking point trying to prove to the world, well probably to myself that I am good enough!! And I’m not quite sure how to stop this!!

Even as I type this I’m wondering where next… do I run another conference next year? What goals and ambitions do I want the business to achieve in the coming year? Where will I get work from to pay the mortgage this month? That constant need to find new work is draining and right now I’m pretty empty both physically and mentally yet stopping just feel so hard!! I have little to distract me from my own thoughts!

Going back to the post about being single, I finally took the plunge using gin and prosecco as Dutch courage to register on a dating website, I couldn’t find any more excuses not to so I’ll keep you posted about how I get on, it’s early days and still finding my feet with the way these things work and the dynamics of it all… this will be an interesting journey, more on that next months.

So, for now, it’s full throttle ahead for another week but who knows what June will bring.

R xx

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April – What a rollercoaster…

Well that’s another month of 2019 done and dusted and it’s been a VERY tough one and happy to see the back of it if I’m honest.

The month started off with a full on week of travel events, I went to London for an event one day and then made my way to Brighton to talk at an international conference later in the week. Both of them I really enjoyed and was great to network with other people in my sector and I was really buoyed up about the conference.

However this was short lived as days turned into weeks of no sales and I was facing the hard reality of running events.

I really didn’t know what to do for the best. In one week I had 3 people telling me that I should pull the event, given as well-meaning advice but it totally just broke me and had a massive amount of self-doubt and felt that I was letting so many people down as the conference had become all-consuming and I was just not managing to keep all the other elements of the business going or so I felt.

Then Easter came, for so many years I’ve used the long Easter weekend to escape from the world by turning off my mobile & internet and spent the weekend at home reflecting on life & making space for things I love to do but tend to get forgotten about in everyday life (Here’s my blog about it from last year: https://lincolnshiregirl.wordpress.com/2018/04/02/easter-digital-detox/  ) This year was going to be the same when I got an email from Sayme Ling back in July 2018 & it prompted me to go onto their website and I noticed that they were running an Easter Retreat over the Easter weekend call: Finding Joy and Wisdom through Mediation and I thought why not. Samye Ling is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Centre for World Peace and Health 15 miles outside of Lockerbie. I’ve visited it before (here’s another blog post about it: https://lincolnshiregirl.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/stepping-off-the-world-for-a-weekend/) and it holds a special place in my heart, there is something about it that unless you’ve been it’s hard to describe the feeling of a deep sense of peace and calmness when you walk onsite.

Two weeks before I was going to go, I mentioned to a friend about going and asked if she wanted to come too and she said yes and in all honesty I was really glad she said yes with all the emotion I was feeling before going I felt that it was good that someone I knew was with me.

We arrived on Good Friday with just 10 minutes to spare before the 1st teachings and we made our way to the temple along with 300 other people who were also attending the weekend retreat. The weekend was intense with a number of teachings each day about the Buddhist principles for living a life with joy and wisdom at the heart of it. Buddhism wasn’t pushed down your throat very much at all; it was really about taking the teachings and applying them to modern life!

There were many insights gained, realisation made and tear shed but there was also lots of laughter too, not least with us popping to Tesco in Lockerbie on Saturday evening to get some chicken as my friend was really craving meat so we were stood outside Tesco gauging ourselves on cooked chicken knowing that we had to eat it there and then as couldn’t take anything back to the centre!! We also picked me up a swimming costume as we had the bright idea of going swimming in the river that runs alongside the monastery and as Saturday was a beautiful day we though what’s the worst that could happen, well apart from it being *BEEP* freezing it was actually a lot of fun and we even managed to smile for a selfie!!

And before we knew it, it was Tuesday and time to come home, neither of use wanted to leave as it’s such a lovely place to be but alas our real lives awaited us at home. Here are just a few pictures of the place:

The temple

Inside the temple

The prayer Stupa (no filter on this one, just a gloriously sunny day)

I came crashing back into my world like a tonne of bricks as the conference was still looking like it was going to be car crashed and I felt completely overwhelmed with my growing to-do list.

I poured over my costing spreadsheet to see if I could make it work financially but it become more about the experience people were going to have rather than the financial costs and I really wasn’t sure if I could make it work on both counts, so over the following weekend I decided to postpone the conference to give me time to re-group, learn lessons and space to deliver work that I’ve also got on at the moment and I felt at peace with this decision.

Then Monday came and I get a rush of sales and I made the U-turn decision and to go ahead. I had to reframe in my own mind of what it was going to be and that it would be a great event & just give it my all, one saying that I learnt while in Scotland was:

Do your best,

Be your best,

And let it go!

So this is where I’m at…it’s all steam ahead and what a rollercoaster of a month & I made it through just about and if it wasn’t for some of my friends who have been there when I was at my lowest and didn’t know where to turn I have to say THANK YOU to you, you know who you are and I’m forever grateful for your support & friendship.

Here’s to an amazing May…

March – 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!

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?