Thursday, 25 January 2018

How to grow the confidence to do what you want to do in life

My Mum used to tell me to go into the Catering business when I was a teenager thinking about options.  She said, everyone will always need to eat and drink, you'll always make a living with that as an occupation.  She had a point, and for a while I even considered it - I applied to the local University to do Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management (I had wild dreams of running a B&B in Newquay, Cornwall, a place where we spent holidays as children and for a time I truly thought this was my path in life to follow, I aimed to please).  Sadly, my grades didn't quite meet the requirements of securing a place on this course and like most things in life, everything happens for a reason and as I grew older, I understood why.

I was never going to work with food and drink, at the very core of my being was a creative streak so deep and strong it eventually couldn't be ignored. 

Upon realising I wasn't going to lark about at University for the next few years,  I got a job working in the wages department of the NHS in Sheffield.  This ticked the 'get a sensible and well paid job' box, I successfully ignored my true calling and spent the next six and a half years being a receptionist and a wages clerk, entering nurses hours into a big computer and filing things before deciding enough was enough.

What cracked?  What made me decide to leave and go to the University of Plymouth to study Interior Design? 

It got to the point whereby I couldn't stand going into that office.  I felt stifled and miserable, my entire body told me on each weekday that I was doing the wrong thing, I lived for the weekend and suddenly I realised that was no way to live a life.  I had a calling to be a designer, I wanted to live by the sea, and for the first time in my life I broke away from the Expectations of Others and chose to follow my dreams.

Why do we ignore our callings?

Because I did, for many years.  I was in awe of authority figures and what my parents told me held a lot of weight.  I believed the whole caboodle of studying hard at school and college, getting a sensible job (see above), finding a chap and settling down....I know (insert eye rolling)...but that's how things were back then.

Today, younger people seem so much  more switched on than I was, they seem to be more sure and certain of what they want to achieve and do.  Perhaps it's just me that sees it that way?  Or perhaps we were casualties of being kids in the 70s (although I'm sure our folks just had our best interests at heart when they guided us to follow those old fashioned, traditional goals).  I've learned that doing what you love involves confidence to make changes and challenge old belief systems, and I didn't have much in the way of confidence to be honest.  It took me quite a few years before I even dared use the phrase Artist to describe what I did for a living!

Self belief is like a magic key, if you believe in your abilities and you can visualise where you want to be and what you want to be doing, life seems to send you the right sort of opportunities to make it happen.  Sounds like woo-woo magic right?  Well, maybe it is, who knows?  The only thing is, I've learnt that when I'm thinking with this mindset, things happen, and when I feel waves of doubt and despair coming over me, it goes a bit...well...wrong.

It takes practice to grow confidence.  Maybe you are already a superbly confident sort, and I must say I'm a little envious of you!  I still have days where I struggle with what I believe I'm capable of but I'm learning that if I challenge those fears and get back on track by deciding how I want to feel, I can move more swiftly into a better feeling place instead of languishing about in fear and despair for days, feeling awful and depressed.  We have to live like we already are that super confident person, even if we aren't!  By doing this regularly, we eventually rewire the neural pathways in our brain, we start to believe what we were pretending to be and in essence, our lives change to reflect that.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

What my Intentions are for 2018 (and the planners I love to use)

With a new year firmly underway I am at last back at work after a very long absence.  Beginning in November I was laid low with a nasty cold virus, and despite a few days here and there where I thought I was finally feeling a bit better I kept on lapsing into this awful state of being unwell - aches, pains, cough, fevers...only now, as the days of January begin to slowly lengthen I feel more like myself (with a lingering cough, a souvenir of my epic 8 weeks of feeling vile).  I hasten to tell you that this is not like me at all, I do NOT do sickness, I will occasionally pick up a cold and then after a few rubbish days it has gone - I've never endured anything like this at all and went through tests and even an x-ray at the hospital to find out what was going on.  It seems I'm a healthy enough person, who just happens to have succumbed to a virus that lowered the immune system, which in turn meant it was easier to catch other bugs and things.

It being winter here until about April, I decided to persevere with raw honey and apple cider vinegar drinks, doses of astragalus root to boost the immune system, and take care to eat foods that are health inducing instead of the Christmas stodge we endured for what seemed like an eternity.  I think it's working.

So, I'm not too sorry to see the back of the Christmas period, and I'm embracing January as a fresh new beginning with lots of plans bubbling away for the coming months. 

Saying that, I'm not a person who makes resolutions as I don't think life needs resolving - it's not broken, just needs a bit of guidance in the right direction to get back on track, and personally for me the sheer expectation that comes with creating new year goals just lays so heavily on me that I tend to give everything up within a week anyway.

So, I choose intentions.  Which are lighter, easier, and more forgiving than tough resolutions.  To make sure I stay on track with my intentions and dreams, I like to use planners and journals.

I am currently using two planners to help me map my journey through this year.  The one on the left is by Danielle Laporte - a motivational speaker and author.  Based on her book, The Desire Map, she invites you to choose your core desired feelings each day as a basis for making choices in life.  The idea of working with how you want to feel and then choosing what you need to do to manifest those feelings is a really cool way of living with intention and creating a life you enjoy.  It has certainly made me consider the choices I make each day, and become more aware of what I do with my time.

The planner on the right is the epic marketing guide by Claire Mitchell, owner of The Girls Mean Business.  I worked with the 2017 version last year and despite not using it consistently, I increased my earnings, realised dreams and grew my audience.  I can highly recommend Claire and her illuminating teachings which she offers within this planner, online in a private Facebook group, and through a private marketing portal with monthly challenges on to grow your biz - it's all completely awesome.

I also chose a word for 2018 - this year it's all about EASE.  Moving through life without struggle, taking time to be mindful, to make the right choices, keeping it simple and good. 

So with all of this in mind, I feel like I have a great tool kit to get me through!

Here are some of my intentions for 2018:

  • Go to the coast as often as possible (we have already braved the wintery Yorkshire coast for a couple of days, it was glorious!)
  • Create an online art course
  • Create a new art workshop
  • Write more
  • Go to Italy
  • See friends who live far away
  • Lose a stone in weight by eating mindfully, committing to my yoga practice and walking more
  • Get my bike out and go for rides with my family
  • Practice meditation
  • Declutter my house 
  • Read lots of books
  • Swim in the sea
  • Have my artwork published by new companies
  • Practice gratitude
  • Say no to things that don't feel good
  • Grow my business
  • Think about a new tattoo
  • Learn Italian (I've downloaded the course on Babbel but need to spend some time doing it)

Have you set aside some time to think about what you would like to do this year? 

Back in the studio, I'm busy working on some new commissions for Whistlefish (here's a little peek above), it's great to have a lovely job like this to kick things off - I'm feeling really positive about this new range of artwork and very excited about all the possibilities in store!