Blogs

5 Reasons why books should be in your start up budget.

If you’ve read my book, then you know I talk about building a realistic budget for your start-up venture – effectively an ‘essential needs’ versus ‘nice to have’.

One thing I suggest you allow for in your budgets is resource books.  In other words, books that will give you knowledge and inspiration to grow your venture.

And here’s why:

  • You might find your self utilizing social media for information but that can quickly become overwhelming and a bit like looking up your medical symptoms online i.e. there’s a lot of misinformation or stuff that’s just not applicable for you right now. When you select a book, chances are you are in a shop or a library so by default, you are more likely to make a more considered choice on whether the book holds relevant or interesting content for you.  You are also able to compare at the same time with other books.
  • Books have normally gone through more of a ‘vetting’ process aka publisher, editor, proof reader and therefore the content will have gone through a more rigorous correcting process to ensure quality of information.
  • Your points of reference and recommendation are more likely to be from a recognized and reliable source such as other authors and publications.
  • Writing a book is a long process and not a cheap one. Therefore, the author has invested in that process and wants you to have the best they can give so they have a return on their investment.
  • You can choose where, when and how you read. A book is always there, ready and waiting for you.
  • They can inspire you to start, to carry on when things get tough and show you that you are actually more normal than you thought!

Not sure what books you should be reading?

  • Think about what specific knowledge you want or what problem you are experiencing. So, for example, if you are struggling with social media, then you will need a book on how to do Facebook, Instagram etc.
  • Do you question whether you have got what it takes? Then look for an autobiography on a person you admire or aspire to be.  Anita Roddick (Body Shop) and J K Rowling (Author) sprint to mind as great examples.

If you are really struggling to find something I suggest you check out the Dummy guides.  These books are brilliantly simple and topics are written assuming you know nothing – there is a dummy book for just about everything.  Have a look at their website for more info: www.dummies.com

Don’t know what you want to ‘do?’ Here’s the one question you need to ask yourself.

I hear it time and time again, “I don’t know what I really want to do.”

This question starts when we are really young with adults (who are probably really unsure of what to say to kids) asking us either what do we want to do or what do we want to be.

Then it continues to be a question that is thrown at us as we progress into secondary school when we have to make exam and career choices.  And it continues until we either make a decision or fall into some semblance of a career path.

Now as you sit on the floor strewn with toys and mayhem, you might be contemplating on your life before children and how you have got to this point.  You know you want to do something for yourself and that may well include earning an income from it.  Also, you know you probably don’t want to go back to your old working lifestyle, it just isn’t a fit any more.  Maybe you tell yourself that as you have children then your options are limited?  You feel guilty for even thinking of an alternative reality.  And then as you go through your perceived options there it is, the inevitable question – But what do I really want to do?  And it all seems a bit hopeless again and you go around in a vicious circle getting nowhere.

STOP!

There is only 1 question you should be asking yourself:

Who do I want to be?

And here are my 3 reasons why:

  1. Asking what you want to do or what you want to be, is limiting in that it suggests a singular outcome,  i.e. a particular path. Conversely, asking ‘who you want to be’, is suggestive of many possibilities because ‘being’ suggests a personality which is multi- faceted.  Therefore, if you have a multi-faceted answer, you have possibility and options.  You get a new framework with which to make decisions.  Chances are you are stuck in what is familiar and cannot see beyond what you already know.  So if you were for example an accountant, that is what you are familiar with and are probably struggling to see what else you can do.  By asking the above question, you start looking at things differently allowing yourself to explore different options.

 

  1. Posing yourself this question means that you will inevitably examine your values. What you aspire to be is normally what you hold dear as a value.  For example, you may want to be honest, courageous, experimental, happy and adventurous.  By knowing your values, you start to get an idea of what environments and options would work or not work.  So if adventurous is one of your key words then I’m guessing being a bank cashier is probably not going to rock your world!

 

  1. It is a proactive question and prompts deeper thinking.  In other words, if you are not currently this person, then what can you do or change, in order to become that person?  You start to see where there are gaps between who you currently are and you want to be.  This then gives you the compass points to explore why that is and what you can do to effect the change you need.

 

Whilst on the surface it seems a simple question, it’s a powerful one and is life changing on many levels.  It does require honesty and introspection though.  But, if you are prepared to put in the work,  then you will reap fantastic insights and outcomes for yourself.

Just remember, there are no right or wrong answers.  No one is judging you on this.

I would really love to hear what outcomes you have achieved.  What impact has this question had on making changes in your life?

You can catch me on instagram or facebook.  Or you can drop me an email.

4 Steps to turn your dreams into reality

We all have dreams about things we would love to do right?  But how often do they stay as dreams – I’m guessing once you are bogged down with family life, probably a lot more often than you care to admit.

I get it, family life can be exhausting, time consuming and expensive.  So that brief moment when you fleetingly dream of being on a deserted island with a cocktail in hand or wishing you could have a spa day gets pushed to the back of the mind when the kids start yelling the proverbial “Muuum……” chant.

My mantra when I was pregnant with my first was that having children was not going to stop me from living life.  Yes, life changed as I knew it pre-child but it didn’t stop me from creating a life which included chasing some of my dreams.

For example, I love travel.  That is up there on my top 3 loves and I am constantly thinking about places I would love to go to.  Having children did not stop me, if anything, travel increased.  For me, experiencing different cultures and locations is an important part of life education so I wanted my children to have access to that and encourage new ways of being, eating and living so that they grow up with a greater understanding and empathy to the world they live in.

Because travel and all it encompasses is important to me, I make it happen.  I’m very much a say ‘yes’ and then work it out later, kind of person.  By the time my son was 10, he had been to more countries than his age (something he was very proud of!) and I had achieved a lifetime ‘dream’ of trekking to Machu Picchu whilst raising monies for Cancer Research.

No, we were not a mega wealthy family, far from it – I just applied simple strategies to turn my dreams into reality and below, I am going to share with you how you can also do this.

Step 1 – Make a commitment

Say ‘yes’ to your dream and then work out how you are going to make it happen.  If you make that commitment you are more likely to succeed in making your dream materialise.  So, for example, sign up to the course you have been wanting to do and work out the child care afterwards.  If you have paid a deposit and you have committed to another person then chances are, you will find a solution to the child care issue.  Do it the other way around, i.e. wonder how you will get childcare in order to attend a course, then chances are you will think of more reasons not do it and your dream remains as just that.

Step 2 – Start planning

So, you’ve said ‘yes’, you need to start to plan to make it happen.  It might be that you need to find the money to fund your dream.  Work out how much you need and work backwards from your end date to calculate how much time you have and how much you need to put away on either a monthly or weekly basis to reach what you need.  If it’s something like childcare, start working out when and for how long you will need care and work out whether friends/family can assist or if you need to find a child care place and where they are available.

Step 3 – Think outside the box

Perhaps your dream may cost more than you have spare to put aside – how else can you make it happen or what can you do to earn extra income?  My trip to Peru was funded partly out of my pocket and partly through fundraising (a minimum amount had to be raised to cover some of my costs and also for the charity ‘pot’).  Do you have a hobby that you can turn into cash through school fete’s or online?  Is there something you can cut back on in the family budget?  What can compromise on?  Would an online course be cheaper than a face to face course?  Can you DIY a trip by approaching hotels directly – I saved lots of money to places such as Thailand by booking directly rather than going through a travel agent.

Step 4 – Get accountability

Tell everyone who will listen about your dream (which is now going to be your reality!).  Not only does that mean that you will have to make it happen, you may also find that people can offer useful advice or practical help.  In general, people are really happy to get on-board and help when they can – it makes them feel valued.  So really, it’s a win, win situation.

Now you have my top tips for making your dream a reality, what’s stopping you?

Grab that glass of wine, pour a nice bath (and lock the door!) or head down to your favourite café and start putting together your dream action plan.

Don’t forget to share on the members page or drop me a line at info@growwithmk.com.

Here’s to your success!

Pssst!  Got a really huge dream you want to make happen but keep telling yourself it’s impossible, then check out my book for even more strategies and key actions to creating a life on your terms.

 

 

Why multi-tasking is an occupational hazard and not a desirable achievement.

Many of us mothers see multi-tasking as an occupational necessity and some are really proud to be huge achievers of this.  Let’s face it, how many times do we see or hear the comment that women are so good at multi-tasking, quite often to the derogatory detriment of the men in our lives.  We believe this is something that we should aspire to be good at or believe that by gender default, we should naturally excel at this.

Trust me (and it’s taken me a long time to get here), it’s BS and it’s not healthy for your mental or physical wellbeing.

Studies have shown that not only do productivity levels halve when we tackle too much but stress levels and a sense of frustration rises after 20 minutes of multi-tasking.

Picture this: you have friends arriving for a get together, the house isn’t as tidy as you would like it to be; one of your kids has decided that their toys have to be left in a trail in every single room in the house; you realise you have forgotten an ingredient for the meal you are preparing; your other child has just announced that they need a lift to the station at about the same time your guests are arriving and you haven’t even had your first cup of coffee yet.  You start barking orders, you flip the kettle on, you have the bathroom cleaner in one hand and a bunch of toys you are picking up in the other.  Meanwhile you are mentally working out if you can delegate the station run or if you will have to magically be in 2 places at once.  You yell a bit more, feel resentful as you clean the pee away from the toilet seat and threaten to empty the bedrooms of all toys before leaping into the car to go to the supermarket whilst the kettle has just boiled dry and you still have not had that lifesaving coffee.

Yep, that has been one of my past scenarios and whilst eventually stuff gets done – I have ended up frustrated, snappy with everyone in the house and exhausted.  I will literally feel the stress levels rise.

Only this week, I was waiting at hospital for an assessment and I watched as an overworked nurse tried to do several tasks seemly at once  She was running from one place to another leaving tasks half done or not done at all and her anxiety seemed to increase as more demands were made.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not being critical of this nurse and whilst the demands were external and not self-administered, it was a great example of my following point.

Home Truth – Multi-tasking is a myth.

You cannot do more than one task at a time and give them all your complete undivided attention.  Something will slip, be forgotten, done incorrectly and you will eventually become overwhelmed.

You are simply running around (or sitting at a desk) doing a successive flurry of switching between tasks kidding yourself you are getting stuff done.  You are.  But not in a productive or resourceful manner.

The solution is simple

Make that essential first drink of the morning, sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of what you need to achieve that day.  Then place the most important 3 at the top as the tasks that have to be done no matter what and delegate the rest as non-important.

This will mean you will really think through your priorities – for example, was getting food for my guests more important than having a spotless house?  Absolutely!  It also gives you space to see what tasks can be delegated so you are asking nicely and not screaming like a banshee!  Get your kids on-board with age appropriate tasks to help out – you all live in the home so everyone should contribute to the tasks – just because the man in your life may work full time does not mean you have to wipe up his pee!

Now you are clear on what is a priority, you can give the tasks the focus they need as you now know you do not have an exhaustive list that needs to be completed all at once.  Your sense of overwhelm will be lessened because you will have a sense of control over your day.

Next week I will be writing about why some mums actually enjoy the sense of overwhelm that comes with multitasking – until then, get prioritizing!

If you enjoyed reading this and would love to get more tips and support then join my members Facebook community group or sign up for my newsletter.

When you want to give up on your dreams, think of Beau.

I walk a husky on a regular basis who being very prey driven, loves to hunt and catch mice.  Beau is extremely successful at achieving this.

Now let me give you a bit of context here.  Beau is not freely wandering the Siberian wilderness under his own steam with all the time in the world.  Beau is kept on a lead (he’s an escape artist, he has myself and Lily legs close by creating noise and distraction, there are other dogs and balls being thrown.  We have humans constantly come up to speak to us and pat Beau.  We are in suburban Hertfordshire.

The odds are against him being successful in hunting and catching mice, yet, despite the restraints, distractions, limitations and seemingly impossibility of the task, Beau is successful.

Beau just persists, he keeps sniffing and looking for that opportunity, he will be doggedly (excuse the pun) stubborn refusing to budge until I stop and let him look.  Beau will not be distracted by either myself, other humans or dogs and sticks to the task in hand.  He never, ever gives up in his goal to catch the elusive furry mammal.

So next time you think of giving up on your dreams, think of Beau.  He never gives up.

Next time you hear people saying you will never achieve, think of Beau.  He doesn’t listen to the negatives.

When you see nothing but obstacles, think of Beau.  He overcomes those obstacles.

If you feel overwhelmed and cannot see the wood for the trees, think of Beau.  He sees nothing but the end result.

When everything seems stacked against you, think of Beau.  He is always seeking and then finding an opportunity.

Nothing is impossible with focus, determination, belief and sheer bloody mindedness!

 

Need a helping hand?  Join the community Facebook group to share, laugh and get some great tips.

 

Photo by Isi Akahome on Unsplash

 

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