PEOPLE WHEN YOU NEED THEM THE MOST. WALT DISNEY’S FAILURE TO SUCCESS STORY (4 MIN READ)

“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” Although I am not comfortable with the word try, this little rhyme has stayed with me all my life. I have a feeling I heard it first when starting to tie my shoelaces, but I digress. It can be challenging to pick yourself up and try again when something you really want or have worked for, doesn’t go your way. When in this situation I know one thing. Whatever we were doing was not the way we should have been doing it. The universe is giving us a sign. However it’s not giving us a sign to give up, just to change tactics.

It’s a times like this when we need inspiration to go on. And who better to inspire us than successful people that have been in the same situation. This article is part of a series about people who inspire me, and I hope will inspire you during the times when you most need it.

Today’s inspiring person is Walt Disney. I recently watched the film Walt before Disney. I can highly recommend it. Before watching it I honestly had no idea how Disney struggled to create the magical empire the Disney family owns today. Here is the Disney story as I understand it. One of  serious dedication and hard work to create a dream and it all eventually paid off….

Walt was actually fired from his first illustration work for “not being creative enough”. Despite this Walt went on and first set up his own animation company in 1921 Laugh-O-Grams the company lasted for 3 years and then went bankrupt at one point Walt couldn’t pay rent and ate dog food to survive. Even with this failure he pooled all the money he had with his brother and they moved to Florida starting the Disney Brother Company. Walt created a character called Oswald the Rabbit and for a short period experienced success until Charles Minz stole not only the rights to Oswald but also Walt’s animators.

Not deterred Walt immediately produced 3 short films. These were the first of the Mickey Mouse animations. But when approaching MGM he was told the idea wouldn’t work as giant mouse on screen would scare women! Somewhere around this point in his life  Walt actually suffered a major breakdown. However he persevered and Steamboat Willie the first of the Mickey’s with a voice (actually Walt’s voice) became huge success.

People often think this was the start of Walt’s success however Disney’s road to success was never a smooth as that. His well known 3 Little Pigs was rejected by distributors because it only had 4 characters. Walt lost a million dollars on Pinocchio. Pollyanna failed at the box office. After WW2 Disney was in debt by $4 million.

Walt still had a dream and that was Disneyland. In order to finance it Walt took Disney to television. Even when Disneyland opened he faced challenges, forged tickets were bringing thousands of people into the park without his knowledge. The newly poured asphalt melted the heels of women, and a plumber’s strike kept drinking fountains from being installed in time.  Walt insisted on creating a high level of customer service despite the costs and eventually he succeeded creating theme parks all over America.  And still holds the record for the most oscars won by one person.

So beyond all that disappointment and learning came fantastic success. Walt would say, “Get a good idea, and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it’s done, and done right.” In picking himself up and in learning from his mistakes and moved on. He said: “To some people, I am kind of a Merlin who takes lots of crazy chances, but rarely makes mistakes. I’ve made some bad ones, but, fortunately, the successes have come along fast enough to cover up the mistakes. When you go to bat as many times as I do. you’re bound to get a good average.”

So what can we learn from Walt Disney?

  • Do you allow failure to stop you?
  • Do you learn from your mistakes?
  • When you get knocked down do you get up again?

Walt Disney was just a normal man who had a dream and preserved against all of the odds to make that dream a reality. And so can we if we keep moving forwards, learning and trying and trying until we succeed. After all as Walt himself said “If you can dream it you can do it.”

So if you fail this week, brush your self down, pick yourself and keep working for your dreams – You’ll get there.

I believe in you

Love Emma-Jane <3

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#Life lessons 101 – How to find your balance and ride the wave when life starts going wibbly wobbly


Sometimes life just goes wibbly wobbly. You know what I mean. There hasn’t been a big trauma or drama, you are not having to fight for survival. Things are just out of balance and you can’t seem to get on top. Your energy goes low, you feel out of sorts, restless and frustrated. Personally I have been feeling wibbly wobbly all week. And I am not alone. Almost everyone I have seen this week is in a similar place. Now this maybe a seasonal epidemic as we transition through autumn or it may simply be a case of attracting what I sending out into the universe. Who knows? And more importantly how do I get my life back together anyways? 

Well funnily enough surfers have the answer.

Life going wibbly wobbly is just like a bad day of surfing with inconsistent swell patterns and messy waves. On days like that surfers miss easy waves, sometimes even smack themselves in the face with their boards and generally decide they are the worst surfer in the world EVER. Just like me in my wibbly wobbly life they can’t ride the tide and the feeling makes you want to give up. 

But as any surfer will tell you the key to riding that tide and coming back from a run of bad surfs,  is finding your balance. And that means getting out of the water and off the board. It’s the same thing that helps you to find the balance when life is going wibbly wobbly. 

The only way to stop this wibbly wobbly feeling is to break the cycle, re center, re:root and find my point of balance. 

We all have a point of balance. It’s different from person to person, but it’s there. Physically and emotionally. But how to find it? 

Personally as I practice seasonal spirituality I tend to take my cues from nature. So looking round right now nature is in transition. Autumn hasn’t really hit and winter is already creeping in. I am stuck between wanting to hibernate and fighting to move forward. Balance is about navigating transition – rather than trying to ‘nail’ a spot and (desperately…er…um) gracefully hoping to stay in it or stay on my board. Balance is my core and center. The point inside me where everything is interconnected. Life being wibbly wobbly means that somewhere something is off inside of me and that’s where I have to focus to be able to ride the tide. And what nature is telling me right is that I need to let go just as it is letting go of its leaves. I need to wind down as the sap begins to slow down it’s flow. I need to strip back to my essence just as the trees are beginning to show the skeleton of their trunks and branches. In essence to find my point of balance I need to stop fighting so hard, let go , slow down and connect with my essence. And that for me is sleep, hearth, home, yoga and creativity. And that is what intend to focus on.

That works for me but as I said everyone’s point of balance is different. So how do you find your point of balance? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Get off the board and out of the water

Take a tip from the surfers and get off your board and out of the water. If things are going wibbly wobbly that the universe is trying to tell you something. You are not going to hear the message if you just keep on going. Stop. Whatever it is you are doing. Turn off the phone, close down the computer and reconnect with you. Ask yourself what is causing me to be out of balance right now? A great way to do this is to use the Wheel of Life Tool. It’s a great check in tool which will help you quickly identify what is going on. 

Here is a free online Wheel of Life you can use in less than 2 minutes to check in with your self.

Do a physical MOT

For finding my point of balance for me often means looking at how am I taking care of my body. Like when your car gets an MOT we need to got through a checklist of self care. 

Have I been sleeping enough? 

Have I been eating properly? 

Have I been winding down enough? 

Have I been moving my body enough?

Basically do a check in with you physiological needs. If you are fulfilling one of those needs then that is where you have to focus right now. The car won’t run without a regular intake of fuel oil and water. Neither will you. Make sure you are taking care of your personal engine. 

Find what balances you

In order to be inbalance you need to know what balances you. Have a look at both when you last felt in balance and the things that make you feel grounded and in yourself. It could be that being in nature re balances you or spending time with the family. It could be that it is important for you to get things done or to live in keeping with your values. Or it might be meditation or talking with your best friend. Brainstorm a list and then take a look. When did you last do these things? Choose a couple that you feel are the most important to you and do them. As soon as possible. This week. Even right now!

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Rebalancing takes time and energy.  You have to consciously choose it and prioritise it. As I was writing this article, I made the decision that for the next few hours work can wait. I need to wind down and recharge. So now I am laying on squishy pile of cushions with my duvet at hand and candles lit. As soon as I finish this I am going to take a nap and then do some yoga. Learning from nature letting go and winding down so that I can ride the wave tomorrow.

How will you connect with your point of balance this weekend? 

Have a lovely weekend

<3 Emma-Jane

How embracing healthy boredom is the key to your creativity and productivity


I am a time management nut. I love to be productive, to cross off lists and get things done. I fill every minute of my day. Both consciously and unconsciously. When I have a break I check my social media, re check my emails. Even my downtime is fairly structured. I have projects to complete, personal goals to fulfill and my self care is scheduled in there too. I am effective and I like it.

So imagine my horror this past weekend when I suddenly found myself bored. Due to being ill I wasn’t able to follow through with my plans. However, I was at that stage of ill where I couldn’t just sleep and therefore had nothing to do. Nothing to do. I can’t remember the last time that happened. (Well in fact I had a lot to do but couldn’t do any of it.) For a while I aimlessly checked social media, watched netflix and played a few games on my phone. But it sucked. I was frustrated. I was bored. Nothing felt right and I couldn’t settle. 

But then I eventually got past the frustration. I went outside and looked at the stars. I played with my cats and eventually got creative and made a birthday present for my friend I hadn’t even thought about making. If I hadn’t been bored I would have done none of these things. The result I got creative and peaceful yet I still felt productive. Seriously I felt relaxed and had a great night’s sleep. This experience got me wondering:

Is being bored and key to accessing our creativity and productivity in a healthy way?

So today I did some research and guess what I was right! 

Boredom actually benefits our creativity and mental well being, productivity is actually just a bi product of that.

In a study at Pennsylvania State University, psychologists Karen Gasper and Brianna Middlewood found participants who were bored performed better in creativity tests than those who were relaxed or feeling elated.  And MRI brain scans have shown that the connections between different parts of our brains increase when we are daydreaming

The researchers say that being in a state of boredom encourages you to explore creative outlets because your brain is signalling that your current situation is lacking and you need to push forward.

Research has also shown there are two types of boredom. Healthy and unhealthy. Basically as sentient beings we have a choice to fulfill the lack we experience under boredom with a choice of stimuli. The difference between healthy and unhealthy boredom is the stimuli we choose.  Sometimes people can choose really unhealthy behaviour such as comfort eating or over use of stimulants such as coffee or alcohol. The most common way of filling that lack is with technology. I bet you thought of social media right. However, people also check mails and rearrange their calendars, research projects too. Sitting on the couch checking in with a coworker, watching tv and updating tomorrow’s presentation. The productive art of multi tasking.  Or maybe not. 

Scarily multitasking can be just as damaging to our brains as overeating or drinking!

Basically whenever we change tasks our brain engages a neurochemical switch which uses nutrients. If we are constantly shifting from one thing to the next we are depleting our neuro resources as we go. Remember we have a limited supply of those. Don’t think this applies to you?  Then look at the research. In her Ted Talk ‘How boredom can lead to some of your most brilliant ideas’  Manoush Zomorodi tells us that only 10 years ago we changed our tasks at work once every 3 minutes. Now its every 45 seconds! When working on a computer we, on average, change tasks 556 times per day. That is insane. No wonder your brain hurts and gets stressed out. Oh and that’s another thing stress leads us to shifting our attention more rapidly. It’s a never ending cycle. 

But does it have to be? 

What if we embraced the power of healthy boredom and invite it into our lives?

So when we are bored we go into default mode. Our conscious brain connects with our unconscious. And it is here we can access problem solving and creative thinking. Now in order to allow this to gives us a benefit we first have to stop the cycle of unhealthy stimuli. Step away from the phone, turn off netflixs while you fold the washing (one of my personal favourites) and don’t let yourself grab the next cup of coffee. Then as Amy Fries, author of Daydreams at Work: Wake Up Your Creative Powers suggests guide your daydreams away from more personal thoughts and onto the challenges you want to tackle.  Not to immediately fix the problem, but to mull it over. Give your boredom meaning and purpose and you will avoid unhealthy chronic boredom and engage the positive boredom benefits.

Fries also suggests doing activities that give the opportunity for this to happen. Walking, for example, is a great way to spark a daydreaming state of mind –  provided you can avoid plugging in your earphones, going for a swim, not taking your phone with you on a lunch break or simply staring out of the window instead of a facebook when you can’t concentrate on a work task.

Give yourself a boredom break and the gift of connecting with yourself and your creativity

Friedrich Nietzsche said

 “He who fortifies himself completely against boredom fortifies himself against himself too. He will never drink the most powerful elixir from his own innermost spring.” 

We all have our ‘innermost spring’ and boredom is one of the keys to accessing it. Why not give yourself a boredom break this week? Allow your brain to enter default mode. Look out of the window as you commute, do mundane tasks without distraction or just focus on one task at a time. It might feel hella uncomfortable at first but stick with it. Redirect your thoughts and engage that big beautiful creative mind of yours and access the benefits of healthy boredom.

Philosopher Bertrand Russell  thought that a certain power of enduring boredom is essential to a happy life, in a healthy dosage. 

And after all being happy is what it is all about my friends!

 So How will you give yourself a boredom break this week ? 

Have a great time! 

<3  Emma-Jane xx

#lifelessons101 – How random acts of kindness will deepen your gratitude and enrich your life


In my happiness project this month’s theme is gratitude. I have been consciously aware of the things I have to be grateful for, making sure that I let the people in my life that I am thankful for them. And yes, I do feel blessed by all the wonderful and beautiful things in my life. 

Yet although I feel great, I have found that these actions have only been level one of the layers of gratitude. In my experience, feeling so good about my life brings me such joy that I can’t help but want to spread that feeling around. And where better place to start than inspire gratitude in others by than by little acts of random kindness? That has been this week’s mission and in doing this I made a discovery

I have discovered how random acts of kindness enriches not only someone else but also enriches your life and gives us more to be grateful for. 

For example one morning this week, I was standing in line at a kiosk tired and demotivated.  However, the woman in front of me was obviously having just as a bad day as me. She tried two cards and both were declined. She scrabbled in her bag looking for change, only to find none. Eventually she asked the sales assistant to serve me whilst she made a call. As I was being served I could hear her phoning her student loan to ask why her money hadn’t been paid in. All so she could have a coffee and a sandwich. Now from experience I know how this can ruin your day. So I told the sales assistant to add her things to my bill and paid for them. I have always wanted to so this and it seemed like as good a time as any. Bless her the stressed out lady looked so grateful (and a little bit shocked). She thanked me and I left. It felt great. I knew that that little act of kindness will have turned her day around. 

Could I afford it? Well not really. Money has been tight here of late. But the emotional effects were so enriching. It made me think of times in my life where I too had not had the money to pay for food. And people helped me out. It reminded me of how grateful I was for their kindness. And how grateful I was to be in a position to so it for someone else now. I spent the morning glowing with gratitude, both for my past and my present. For the cost of a coffee and a sandwich I felt energised, blessed, lucky, grateful and so very abundant. In short I felt happy.

Why is it random acts of kindness makes us feel so good?

Well there is a lot of research out there. Studies have proved that random acts of kindness make us

  • Feel grateful by giving us a heightened sense of our own good fortune
  • Feel empathy and compassion creating a sense of interconnectedness with other people
  • Feel less stressed and happier by the dopamine, serotonin, and endogenous opioids released by kind behavior.

Compassion and kindness also reduce stress, boost our immune systems, and help reduce negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression. Being kind to someone else moves us out focusing on us and our problems and empowers us by helping someone elses. 

Random acts of kindness are good for us mentally and physically

Research has also proved that by witnessing little acts of kindness it can release the same feel good chemicals and experience in the observer. One act of kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. Imagine that the slightly grumpy sales assistant felt happier after seeing me help someone out and consequently was nicer to the sleeping morning commuters, they felt better going into work after that, brought a nicer vibe to the office, giving them a good day and happiness to their home in the evening. She might have been inspired herself to do a random act of kindness herself. It’s impossible to say if that happened. However it is possible that my little action did make a lot of other people feel better on a grey day. I’d like to think so. 

Random acts of kindness cost us nothing and bring an amazing benefit to our lives as well it gives us and other people something to be grateful for. 

It basically deepens our gratitude and enriches our lives for free. Now who doesn’t want that! You’d almost be cutting off your nose to spite your face if you didn’t try it. 

There are so many ways that you can be kind, such as:

  • Letting someone cut in front of you in a traffic jam. 
  • Stopping to talk with an elderly neighbor, even though you are in a rush.
  • Lending a helping hand to a co-worker who’s behind on their project, even though this means that you will have to stay late at work
  • Sending something funny on fb to a friend having a bad day

And I am sure you can think of thousands more. Random acts of kindness can truly transform not only your day but your life.  And it can take less than two minutes to do.

If you could do one random act of kindness today, what would that be? 

Have a beautiful weekend

<3 Emma-Jane

5 STEPS TO REASSESS YOUR LIFE AND LIVE WITH INTEGRITY – inspired by Greta Thunberg – the wise child

As someone who has always been environmentally aware if not active I have been remarkably silent about Fridays for future. I wondered why until this week it became awkward and abundantly clear. 

Greta Thunberg makes me feel uncomfortable. 

Not because I don’t agree with her. I do. So very very much. 

The reason Greta makes me feel uncomfortable because she is a constant mirror reminding me that I am not living with integrity.  

And I am guessing I am not the only one. Well there wonuæd be so much Greta hating in the news right now if there wasn’t. 

What Greta does, honestly and simply is to remind us all of our inconsistencies. She lives out her principals in front of us. Despite ridicule. Greta’s passion. Her ability to walk her talk and embody her principals is hella inspiring. And for those of you like me that aren’t following their principals hella good at making us feel ashamed. Consciously or unconsciously.  And that only highlights our own inconsistencies.

For example, this nature loving vegetarian person has been neglecting to avoid using plastic, has been known to frequent fast food restaurants and is practically a patron of supporting a corrupt world wide company because I say that I am addicted to their soda. Now how the heck does that run along with one of my core values which is taking care of the planet. Sure I gave up meat. That was hard. But when I don’t really live my principles in full unconsciously I know it and somewhere in the back of my head there is a little guilt voice nagging at my sense of guilt and self worth. 

Now it may be that your principles are nothing to do with being an environmentalist. That’s fine each to their own. But say one of your values is honesty in relationships, then you tell a white lie about how much that new top cost you. Or you place family high on your values yet haven’t spoken to your brother for 2 months because you have been too busy.  

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 

“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”. 

And I agree.

So Greta you have given me a gift you wise child and damn inspiring young woman. And that gift is a check in with my own values and integrity. To ask myself do I know what my values are? Do I live a  life of integrity? Do I walk my talk?

 I created a process a while ago called Life integrity check-in. A quick 15-minute tool to reassess life, check in with values and to consciously check in that I really am living a life of integrity. You might be thinking why bother? I walk my talk. But do you really? 

When did you last check in with your values? 

When did you last reassess your life to see if you are prioritising or ignoring the things that are most important to you? 

15 mins of checking in with yourself and connecting with your values is going to make you feel better. Either you will find some inconsistencies and figure out how to fix them or if you really are living a life that exemplifies your values you will get a nice self confidence boost. 

I invite you to try the following process. It will help you to really see where you are, how you are living and if this really is the way you want to live. 

Life Integrity check

Step 1: The question to ask yourself is this: What is truly important to me in life?

Brainstorm a list of your values as your answers to this question. Be specific. So some of my list looks like this (In no particular order of importance):

Heath and Happiness 

Mr T 

Having a home I love

My cats

Nature

My spiritual path 

Doing a job I love

My bro

My parents

Inspiring people 

Writing

Being creative

Learning 

Taking care of my planet

Gardening and making stuff from scratch

Step 2: Ask yourself- what is really important to you this list?

The next step is to prioritize your list. This is the most difficult step because it requires some intense thinking.

Identify the top value, then the second highest value, and so on until you’ve rebuilt the whole list in order of priority from the top to the bottom. So you may begin by asking yourself these questions: Which of these values is truly the most important to me in life? If I could only satisfy one of these values, which one would it be? The answer to this question is your number one value. Then move down the list and ask which remaining value is the next most important to you, and so on, until you’ve sorted the whole list in priority order.

Step 3: Now ask the question How much are my values prioritised in my life?

We may have these values but do we prioritise them? Go through your list. Put a smiley 🙂 next to those that are visibly prioritised in your life, an uncertain emoji for values you sort of prioritise and a sad face 🙁 for values that are not prioritised at all.

It’s quite interesting to look at. I found that I was only prioritising 14 of my values in my life. 9 things that were really important to me were only semi prioritised and somethings that I thought very important were not prioritised at all.

Step 4: Now ask yourself How would I like to prioritise my values in my life?

Now you can see what matters to you and what you are and are not prioritising, ask yourself “How would I like to prioritise my  values in my life?” We all do only have 24 hours in a day and of course, we would love to fill every moment of the day as we liked. But this is not always possible. So you have a choice of daily, monthly and weekly. Assign this to each of your values. Basically, you are choosing how you will prioritise your time according to your values.

Once you have assigned Daily, weekly and monthly to each of your values rearrange them in the order of daily, weekly and monthly. This gives you a new and unique perspective on your values and what is important to you.

Step 5: Now ask yourself What can I do to make this a reality in my life?

In the last step, you created a wish list of how you would like to live with integrity. Now you need to plan your action. Make a practical mini goal for each value of how you will prioritise this daily, weekly or monthly in your life. So, for example, I have ‘Making memories and having adventures’ as something I value and wish to do on a monthly basis. So I have to make sure there is a time in my calendar every month for an adventure day with Mr T, or a good friend to have an adventure and make a memory.

Prioritise these goals in the order you would like to start introducing them into this month. Don’t try and do everything at once. Choose a few  (maybe one monthly, one weekly and one daily) and start to create these fantastic new habits that mean you are living a life of integrity. Put this month’s goals somewhere you can see them and make it so

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Remember to book in your calendar next month ’s life integrity assessment. Remember your values change. Maybe next month you would like to focus on something else. For example, I know that my health and Me time is high on the list this month as I need to recover. However next month it might be spending time with my Mr T. You may just choose new goals to start to fulfil from the list you make today or you may find that you make new goals. This system is as flexible as you and will change with the ebb and flow of your life keeping you true to yourself always.

And when we stay true to ourselves we are happier and isn’t that what it is all about

So I have to say thank you Greta not just for the fight you are taking on, the hard position you are putting yourself in by being a leader of a worldwide movement, for fighting for a better future, for being brave enough to face the attacks despite the challenges you face doing the right thing and walking your talk. 

But MOST of all thank you  Greta for waking and shaking up not just the world, but for waking me up again and reminding me of what I truly believe in and reminding me to walk my talk.

Have a wonderful week <3

#Lifelessons101- Recovering from a week of Hell

It’s been a hell week. One of the toughest I have experienced in a long, long time. Here’s a quick break down. 

  • The sauna and swim break I planned as a re boost on monday morning didn’t happen as the swimming pool closed for repairs
  • The important event for my business got double booked and hence people didn’t come – now risking me not being able to run a workshop program I love teaching in Copenhagen 
  • Then I got attacked at a train station (I am ok just shooken up a bit)
  • Then I managed to get locked out of the house in the wee small hours. (Luckily my keys returned)
  • And then the project I have been working on all year, one of my major life goals has in the course of one email gone from looking amazingly positive and going to happen to probably not going to happen after all. 

To top it off this has all been in the middle of the 10 busiest days of my autumn so I am running on empty. And bugger me I woke up to a low blood sugar this morning and had to deal with the hypo. And consequentlyI  feel both physically and emotionally battered. 

It has not been my week!

I am sure you have been there. The week from hell where the universe is just piling up crap all at once and you feel helpless. Personally I want to hide under the duvet and lick my wounds and have people bring me crumpets and chocolate. 

However, I know that the only way I am going to feel better it’s to take charge of my recovery and see if I can’t turn hell into happiness.

Me. And only me. Is going to turn this around. (Of course if someone has a desire to bring me crumpets and chocolate I am not going to say no!) After a week of hell I know that both a combination of practical self care and mental boosting is going to get me over this bump and feeling happier. 

Here are some of the strategies that I am applying right here and right now to find some happiness after hell. I hope they help you if you have been battling the universe throwing crap at you this week.

The Pollyanna

If you saw the film, or read the book, you will know that Pollyanna always tried to see the good in a situation and played the glad game to make herself and others feel better. It feels impossible until you try it. For every bad thing try and find something good that came out of it. I might not be possible with everything but give it a go. So here’s mine:

  • The double booking I managed to understand a new way to communicate and I met with 2 lovely people.
  • The attack- Well I actually got to sit in first class and drive a train because a kind guard took pity on me and moved me to a place of safety. And by reporting it to the police someone who is obviously psychologically ill (attacking a stranger for nothing) will maybe get access to the help they need.
  • The Key – gave a chance to cry and let go of my frustration. I really needed that.
  • The project – ooh this is hard I am so disappointed. Well I guess I got one step closer to my dream becoming a reality which means I can get there again.

Those things I can honestly feel glad about despite it all. 

Aggressive Self Care

When it’s been a hell week you HAVE to prioritise your physical and mental health. Let me stress that again prioritise your physical and mental health. Going to that party and drinking will probably help in the short term but not in the long term. Treat your recovery from a hell week the same as you would treat recovery from being ill. Cancel your plans. Delegate as much as you can. And keep the things that are you absolutely have to do to a minimum. Invest time into your recovery. Have a hot bath, order takeout instead of trying to cook a huge dinner, ask your partner if they could take the kids so you can have some alone time. Even if that is just to sleep. Do simple things, tasks that give you energy and give yourself a break.

Mr T and I were supposed to be going to the annual local animation festival tomorrow and spending a whole day out. I always love it. But this week I just want to sleep and be cosy in the garden. We might pop down to see the retro games lounge but seeing lots of films and visiting exhibitions is not going to make me feel great right now. Pootling in the garden on saturday, listening to jazz and wearing PJ’s all sunday, watching WALL-E on my sofa and having a facemask will.  So that is exactly what I am going to do. 

Boost your self confidence

One of the worst things about a hell week is the way it leaves you feeling like you can’t do anything right. That you are powerless in your life. It’s a horrible feeling. And if we are not careful it can give a beautiful opening for a ‘poor little me’ victim complex to take over. Leaving us feeling bitter and tired. The only way you can get over this is too remind yourself how great and accomplished you are. Grab a piece of paper and look back through the previous year. No matter how you feel right now there will have been something you have achieved this year. Brainstorm those achievements. They don’t all have to be BIG. Anything you feel proud of yourself for put it down on paper. Now have a look. See this is just a glitch. You can do a lot and don’t you ever let anyone, including yourself, tell you any different!

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A hell week is of those rubbish, crappy times that  we all go through. But that’s the point WE DO GET THROUGH IT. By investing time in your recovery from a week of hell is going to get you through it 10 times quicker than pushing yourself to work even harder or block it out with booz or other vices. 

These rubbish times are the bits that make the beautiful parts of life even more beautiful. I know that sounds like a cliche but it is true. When you get over this you will feel so much better and stronger.  And you will get through it.

So pave your way to feeling happier by allowing yourself the time you need to recover from the week of hell. 

If anyone wants me this weekend you will find me in my garden or my pillowfort, you are welcome to pull up a blanket and join me in some healthy recovery r and r. 

Wishing you a happy weekend 

Love  Emma-Jane <3 

How to cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude in 3 easy steps

You may have heard this phrase before that the key to a happy life is to have an attitude of gratitude. (A phrase that although absolutely accurate also makes me instinctively wince from the cheese factor that comes with it). Yet looking around us in nature right now, it’s practically impossible to not see the bountiful harvest that she is providing us with. With all the Autumn Equinox berries, fruit and nuts, nature is practically throwing food at us to sustain us throughout the next year – what’s not to love! Now I work with nature’s seasons as a tool to reflect my own life. And with all this natural bounty around me it’s made me step back and reflect upon all the great things and people in my life. And it has become increasingly apparent to me how much I have to be grateful for.  

The more I am grateful the more positive I feel, and the more I have to grateful for, in fact you could call it a vicious circle if it wasn’t so great at making me feel so happy!

However, it didn’t come easily to bring this attitude into my every day. I mean I had always been a grateful person but it was intermittent. With everyday life work, hobbies, making food, cleaning, seeing friends and general life stuff it can be tough to actually take time out to say hey life is actually fantastic aren’t I lucky. You know what I mean. We all have time pressures. There are so many of us that commute every day on a busy public transport system or motorway. An its common that you, like everyone else, get so taken up with deadlines, rushing and under pressure, that forget to be in the moment. Or waste the time scrolling social media and get lost in the internet fog. That it becomes hard to see the good things, because we are always concentrating on the next thing.

What would if be like if you took 3 mins of that time to reflect and be thankful on a daily basis?

The thing I found is that it takes a lot less time and energy than you think to be grateful on a daily basis. So here are a three simple steps you can take to invite an attitude of gratitude into your everyday life.

Nature

Nature is always showing us its beauty.  Nature is a mirror. It reflects the seasons of our own lives. As I said before at this time of year, in the Northern hemisphere the land around us is showing her bounty. The trees are beginning to fill with fruit, the earth is full of ripe wheat ready to harvest. There is so much to be thankful for when you take the time out to go outside and look around you. If you find it challenging to be thankful for your daily life then go outside, Take deep breaths of air, sit under a tree and see the sunlight dancing through the leaves. Watch the animals around you whether it is an ant, a bird or a dog. Nature will always give you something to smile and be grateful for.

Keep it simple

Being grateful does not always have to be about the big things. In fact often if you focus on being grateful for the big things e.g. a new promotion, a holiday in the sun; you can set your expectations too high and it has the opposite effect, kick starting a downward spiral. Not that you can’t be grateful for these things, it’s just good and easier to start simply.

When asked what are they grateful for children often answer with pure simple gratitude. They are grateful for their families, their toys, their food (often ice cream) and my personal favourite, the colour blue!

So when being grateful keep it simple. You can be grateful for your breath, for your morning cup of tea or the smile on your daughter’s face when she blows bubbles in her milkshake. The beauty of being grateful is there is (generally ) no way of being wrong. So start with the simple things and see how by enjoy these gifts consciously the sweeter life becomes.

Gratitude list

Yes the old chestnut the gratitude list. Why do we keep hearing about this? Because it works. I make my gratitude list every morning when I wake. It’s the first thing I do after making my morning tea. And yes being grateful for my morning tea features often on that list! I keep myself within the boundary of naming three things I am grateful for. For each sentence I write I am grateful for………………… It makes my day start with a positive thankful heart and makes me more aware of things that I am so lucky to have or experience as my day continues.

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The saying goes that the more you thank the universe, the more you have to be thankful for. And it’s true. So start to introduce an attitude of gratitude into your life and you will find that those grey clouds on the way to work don’t bother you when you are inwardly rejoicing, your heart singing as you still feel the warmth from the glorious cup of tea.

What are you grateful for today?

Have an amazing week and Happy Autumn Equinox

<3 Emma-Jane

# Life lessons 101 -How to avoid burnout and re prioritise RnR when you are insanely busy

This week has been the start of my hella stressful 10 days. I have periods of life like this occasionally where my days are just unavoidably  jam packed and that’s the way it is. Since I started working with time management these insanely busy times are less and less. But it’s like Christmas hols with a lot of family parties or the 3 deadlines that coincide with your child’s 11th birthday and your best friend’s 40th birthday sometimes you just can’t get out things that are happening all at once. And if like me you have a time pressured life already, these intensely hectic busy periods can leave you exhausted and burned out. And we don’t want that. The answer to avoiding this post hyper-active busy period burn outs is relatively simple

When you are insanely busy that ‘s the time, more than ever, that you need to prioritise RnR

I know. I know. It seems impossible. But trust me if you can learn this art you will probably still end up tired, that’s unavoidable yet, you will be less tired and will ultimately avoid burn out. 

The key is all about how you prioritise both the things you have to do and your R and R.

Take my next 10 days. In this time I have 32 coaching sessions, am teaching 4 workshops, travelling up and down the country, have 3 articles to publish and won’t be at home for 6 nights. By anyone’s standards this is insanely busy. But here I am on day three and to be honest although I know I am busy I feel relatively relaxed and grounded. How?  you ask. Well it’s the result of some major planning. When I have a busy period coming up I have a few planning tricks that get great results and give me the down time I need to get me through it. 

If you have a busy period coming up these tools will help you glide through it without creating intense or worse, irreversible time pressure stress damage. 

Pre busy period preparation

9 times out of 10 we know when a busy period is coming up in our calendars. Which means we can take advantage of some tactical planning. Look at the weeks before and after the hella busy point and schedule in your calender times before and after where you can recharge your batteries. For example I have refused all social activities for the last 2 weekends to give me time at home. 

And don’t just stop at planning your time. You can use these weeks to get you prepared for the busy time. You might not have time to do any major house cleaning during your busy time so do it before then you can be happy with putting a minimal effort when life get’s hetic. I for example knew that I wouldn’t be able to do washing due to not being home so I did the whole damn lot before I went away so it won’t seem insurmountable when I get back. Ialso know that when I get back I won’t have much energy to cook for the week after I return so the freezer is now full of easy dinners for me to heat up such as lasagne, jacket potatoes and quiche. 

Basically the pre busy period is about being aware of where your energy will be during and after and preparing what you need to make life simpler during that time. 

Cut down non-essential tasks

Before your busy period decide what you can cut out during that time. Is it really that important for you to go running every morning during that hella busy week or is it more important to make sure you get the sleep you need and run 3 times less? Do you really have to tidy the whole garden or can you get away with just cutting the grass? Which tasks can you put on pause or spend less time at work on, to make sure you can put your energy into meeting your deadline? You have to be really honest and sharp in your prioritising here. And don’t you dare designate all r n r moments as non-essential. Yes you can cut them down but DO NOT remove them! During my busy time I have cut my training down from 2 times a week. It’s given me 2 extra evenings to recharge and go to bed early.

By making the decision to cut down on non essential tasks beforehand, you will avoid the guilt loop during your busy time. You won’t be thinking ‘oh I should be doing this, that and the other’ because you know that you are doing what you really need to do and there will be time later for that. That guilt loop takes a lot of energy by removing it you will have more energy for yourself.

Plot in your R n R buffers

The R n R buffers are important for pre, during and post busy time. Don’t just leave the periods of down time empty. Plot a few activites in that you know will give you an energy boost. Last weekend I dedicated a little time to doing a jigsaw puzzle and watching a series. It’s not something I do often but it gave me alot of energy without taxing my brain too much. I also popped in an extra swim and sauna last week knowing I would be not training as much in the next 14 days. I have another weekend planned with nada, nothing which will be dedicated to some easy creative projects, the dark crystal series and cosy time in my garden to recover.

The most important R n R buffers are of course during the busy time. Look at your schedule and block out sometime for yourself. Wether it’s an hour before bed where you wind down, setting yourself the goal of completing one thing that will make you happy and putting time aside for it or simply designating a 30 minute earlier bedtime so you can unwind with a book put it in and STICK TO IT! 

So for example my  r and r buffer is going to be a morning off for a swim and a sauna during my busy week and making it important to unwind after 21:00 each evening. It’s these little things that really help to keep your energy up and burn out away.  

Check in with your energy

During your busy period you have to check in with your energy levels. When we think of be productive we often plan after out tasks rather that whether or not we have the energy to complete them. That there. Right there. Is the recipe for burnout. I check in with myself in the morning when I look at my todo list and once again at the end of my working day. When you check in you ask yourself where is my energy at? What can I cope with today? And prioritise after that. If you are low and have an intense day then it is totally ok to drop making dinner from scratch and order a takeaway (and we are so lucky in this day and age that there are many healthy takeaway options).Do I have to call my friend tonight or can I use that ten minutes to do something my body needs like yoga or meditation?

Planning after my energy levels has seriously been the most effective tool I have found in managing my busy periods and staying mentally healthy. It allows me to think realistically and accept what I can do, what I can’t and focus on the former. 

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Prioritising your R n R during an insanely busy period is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself

Surprisingly it makes you more effective in your life, brings peace of mind and lightens up times that could have been so stressful. These tools take no longer than 5 – 10 minutes of your time and are simple to implement. After a while you won’t notice you are doing it. 

What you will notice is that when you prioritise your R n R in a  hectic life period you will have less breakdowns and be happier – and after all isn’t that what we all want in life

How are you going to prioritise your R n R in the next busy period? Let me know in the comments below

Have a wonderful weekend 

Emma-Jane <3

What little moments do you live for?

It’s been such a lovely weekend. Not because we had a special occcaision or a holiday or anything ‘big’ like that. Nothing instagram worthy. This weekend was just a weekend at home, of cooking, cosyness and relaxing with Mr T. Yet sometimes those weekends, the non instagram ones, are the best of all. Filled with the little moments that make life worth living.

Now I have always been an advocate of adventures. I’d feel that long periods of home were boring and that my life had somehow stagnated. However as I have been focusing on rerooting and growing a stronger foundation in my life I began to thing about something Kurt Vonnegut said,

 “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

So I decided to put some conscious awareness into just that. 

One of my happiness project goals this year has been to invest time, appreciation and awareness into the little moments that make life worth living. The small things that make each day beautiful. Like taking time to play with my cats, making it important to spend quality time with Mr T beyond the regular Friday date night and enjoying the simple pleasures like trying to make more homemade food. Not to say I am a kitchen goddess in any way shape or form, far from it. I have just been indulging in enjoy it! 

And the benefits of this goal have really surprised me. Not only do I feel more relaxed and re-energised when I take the time to consciously  be aware of the little moments that add value to my life. I truly feel more content, rich and abundant. feel grateful and proud every time I go into my garden and see the fruits of my labor blooming. I appreciate the time spent at home laughing, creating and just being.  I am more aware for example of the hundreds of small things Mr T does and now regularly thank him for his small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. Time spent at home is less and less brain dead watching Netflix and cabbaging out. It’s quality time. Basically home is a nicer place to be and the more I do this the more of an adventure my life feels right here at home.

I have discovered a simple truth

When we take time to make the little things important our life is better for it.

There are many ways to do this. And it doesn’t take that much effort to refocus your energy in this way. And trust me the benefits are plenty! Here are 3 guidelines that I have used in my happiness project. I hope that they inspire you to find the little moments in life worth living for and improve your quality of life:

Be grateful

You might think you are grateful for your life (or maybe you are in the unfortunate situation where you don’t feel grateful for anything in your life), but what are you grateful for? 

Intentionally notice the things you are grateful for and keep a record of them. I recommend a daily practice of writing 3 things each day you are grateful for. The more you look the more you will find that is good.

Make time for the things you appreciate

Just being grateful for something is not enough. As your become aware of the things you are grateful for you may also notice you don’t prioritise these things in your life. Last year I put a conscious focus into 10 of my friendships that I had neglected. Taking time to Skype with friends far away. Having regular friend dates. It enriched my life. But so does taking the time to invest in a hobby, a passion, walking in nature, cuddling your pet. Whatever makes your life lovely make the time to do it more. Put some time aside in your calendar to spend time doing  something you love or that adds value to your life. 

Prioritise hygge over ‘have to’s’

Living in Denmark has taught me the art of Hygge. Hygge is a Danish word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. Hygge takes effort. Whether its putting a blanket around you as you watch tv or putting flowers on the table and lighting candles for dinner on Wednesday evening just because you can, or prioritising that conversation with you 6 year about Ninjago characters instead of doing the washing up. Hygge makes life better. We often prioritise the ‘have to’s’ over hygge. And yes we have a lot to do and not much time to do it in. But sometimes it is ok to jump over the have tos and have some hygge instead. If you have been feeling like you are on the proverbial treadmill for a few days then you are definitely in need of some hygge. Sod the washing for once and go build a den and some lego with your 6 year old for an evening. You will not only feel better you will have made a lovely memory you will cherish in the years to come. 

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The little moments in life often go unnoticed. Especially these days where the proving how amazing your life is online  culture runs rife. 

Yet in reality it is the little moments that become our fondest memories. 

It is the little moments that make up the fabric of our everyday lives, that grow the strongest roots and without a doubt re-energise us when we most need it.

So the question for you today is simply this,

What little moments do you live for? 

And how are you going to make them important right here and right now?

Let me know in the comments below 

Have a wonderful week 

Emma-Jane xxx

Sacrificing something you love – the secret to manifesting your goals

I have been looking forward to this moment for two months. Finally I am sitting at my computer and writing to you all again. It’s been two months since I last sat down to write a blog post. Now I suppose in the grand scheme of things that doesn’t sound like such a hardship. But for me not being able to blog and put my musings down on paper (or screen) is something I really missed in my life. Now as I love this so much you might be wondering why have I spent so long away from the keyboard? Well it might surprise you to know this has been a conscious choice. 

I stepped away from making my regular posts to work on a life goal that means even more to me. 

Basically I gave up something I wanted to do to focus on achieving something I wanted more. 

Giving up things in order to manifest our goals is an important an often overlooked part of the manifestation process.  Think about the whole process of setting a goal. We choose what we want to do, decide how and when we want to do it and then we crack on with it. We rarely stop to think about the things we will have to give up or change in order to reach our goal. In fact it is often something we do unconsciously.

It may sound negative to focus on giving up things. Or to use another word ‘sacrifice’. However for me I find that consciously focusing on what I will have to give up to reach a goal makes me:

  • Aware of the behaviors I will need to change
  • Assess how important is the goal to me (or basically how much do I want it)
  • Commit and dedicate more energy to achieving my goal.

If I take an example from my own life, I am currently trying to achieve a major life goal. Through assessing what I would need to sacrifice in order to get there gave me some very clear realisations. I realised that in order to achieve my goal, I really needed more time to complete and dedicate to the project. I also need to put myself out there in a way that challenged so many of my fears.  I saw clearly that I need to focus an intense period of time to my project and that meant not only giving up my regular blog posting, but also I had to work one day less a week, which has had a substantial negative impact on our economy. I had to get over and work through fears built up over many years and allow myself (and my creative work) to criticism. The result? I am one gigantic step closer to realising my life goal. I am stronger for opening myself up for criticism and better at my chosen craft. And I am proud of myself for committing and completing this stage of my manifestation process. Now I can concentrate on getting our financial situation improved without the frustration that it is at the cost of my life dream. 

Seriously I feel amazing! Powerful, focused and energised and on my way to some exciting manifestation! 

September is the perfect time to consider what sacrifices need to be made to reach your year’s goals. As the leaves are turning golden and brown, the year is slowly turning to a close. You may have started this year with many goals but now you have only 3 and a half months to complete them. When you think about it like that it can seem extremely stressful! However this is where the sacrifice evaluation process will save you A LOT of stress, as well as getting you back on track and focused.  This process will see you at the end of this year with completed goals and empowered by your achievements.

It’s time for you to look at what will you give up to reach your goals

Step 1:  Look at your years goals

Have a look at the goals you set for yourself. If you didn’t make goals you can think about your new year’s resolutions. There will be some you have worked on, some you have forgotten and some that are just not relevant to your life right now. Choose 3 you really want to complete by December 31st. 

Write them out clearly on a piece of paper

Step 2: What will you sacrifice? 

Ask yourself what will sacrifice in order to manifest this goal. Do you have to give up time to go to the gym? Face your fear of rejection to ask your boss for that promotion? For each of your surviving goals brainstorm things that you can give up to make your goal actually happen. 

Look at the ideas you have come up with and choose the ones that you can truly embrace. And cross out the rest. If you don’t feel you can really make the sacrifices you have come up with you have to ask yourself if this goal is really something you want and are willing to work for.

Step 3: When will you start? 

Commit to a starting point for when you will give up this thing, behaviour you have chosen. Write it in your diary. Commit to your goal and it will happen. 

Step 3: How will this benefit you? 

Lastly look at each goal and the sacrifices you have chosen and ask yourself ‘how will this benefit my life? ‘ Under each goal write a sentence to remind you of this. So you could write

Giving up ………… will benefit my life by…………and support me to manifest my  goal of ………

Put the piece of paper somewhere you will see it when you need to be reminded of why you are doing what you are doing. And then get on with it already! If you don’t act nothing will happen. 

Make your sacrifices and manifest your goals

I use this process periodically throughout the year and ALWAYS in late August or early September. And believe me it is one of the most supportive processes I have in my manifestation tool kit. If you want to get you have to change. Sacrificing, giving up something you want or a behaviour is basically that, a change. It’s prioritising what is most important to you and that my friend is the secret of manifestation. 

If it is truly important to you, you will make it happen. 

Sacrificing is just the catalyst to remind you of how important it really is.

Let me know what you are going manifest this year and what you are going to give up in order to do that in the comments below!

Happy manifesting  this week and remember to Enjoy your Journey!

Emma-Jane 

Xx