Where the hell did January go?

January can feel a bit like you are in no man’s land, a really meh sort of month, I know many of you have experienced the January blues, it’s all a bit of an anti-climax after Christmas and with finances stretched, cold weather and lack of daylight hours the struggle is real.

In the past the only good thing about January for me is my daughter Amy’s birthday is at the end of the month, so we have something to plan for and celebrate.

January last year for me was a dark month, but it gave me the boot up the bum I needed to make some big changes. I recognised the path I was on was long broken and full of potholes and was becoming a drain on my energy. Tough decisions in life had to be made. A spring clean needed in both business and personal life was going to be the way forward.

In the words of the Dalai Lama

“Be happy to change your goals but never change your values”

To start my journey to improve my life and build a business that was new and better, I made sure I had the right people around me who shared my core values and integrity. This also meant letting go of those that had a different agenda, by doing this it opened the door to so much more, if I hadn’t had the courage to make that leap of faith though I would never have known that.

It wasn’t an easy transition though as I really had to put a lot of work in.

I did some research and last spring I took an accredited business course, a bit late in the day after running businesses for nearly 30 years, but there is always more to learn, and I wanted to learn from the best and to get it right.

As a trainer myself I understand the importance of education and constantly wanting to upgrade and better yourself and value the advice of others in business.

The course challenged me in so many ways, not least getting used to the tech side of things! A good few times I felt like giving up, but every time I had a wobble I reached out and one of my fellow students or mentors helped me overcome the obstacle I was stuck on. That community spirit really helped me.

I met so many people in business coming together on this course that have proved invaluable to me moving forward, including some legal and HR experts, some real tech geeks and financial wizards all things I’m not.

We grow through challenge, and boy was 2022 challenging but I’m so pleased I made those tough decisions, didn’t just carry on doing the same stuff that kept me in my comfort zone but didn’t stretch me.

Keep on doing the same things and just hoping for better results doesn’t work. I needed a strategy and to actually set goals and plans to achieve them.

The last quarter of 2022 was a bit of a s**t storm business wise but that made my resolve for change more determined and stronger.

2022 ended on a very sad note for me with one of my close friends and mentors Chris Williams dying. The lesson I have taken away from his death though is he lived life to the full and always kept his sense of play (even when he shouldn’t).

He had real integrity, a great mind and was an inspiration and source of support to others. He remained humble yet stood his ground on issues that were important to him. He had strong beliefs and ethics that he stood by all his life.

The only regret I have is that he died not realising how great he was.

With that in mind I have resolved to always tell those I value, admire and are my inspiration what a brilliant job they are doing. Make sure that those lovely genuine people know they are more than good enough.

This January and the start of 2023 has been quite the turnaround for me. I had always thought I had seasonal affective disorder (known as winter SAD disease) caused by lack of daylight, but no sign of that this year because my mindset has totally switched, and I’ve amazed myself at my own productivity and every day I have experienced joy.

I am no longer living in that fight or flight state where I could be triggered by other people’s reactions, I didn’t even realise how bad things were until I changed my course, took a different path avoiding those potholes.

My year started with a little road trip with my husband Martin. We stayed in some lovely places and met up with family members that sadly don’t live near enough to see each other regularly.

I have had lunches out with friends, met up with some inspirational businesswomen.

I’ve Joined a choir with two of my lovely neighbours and rekindled old friendships with some other fabulous choir members. Singing is such a good stress release and when having to learn a specific part rather than just singing along to a tune, you don’t have the capacity to worry about anything else. It’s very much in the moment.

My new business plans are well underway and I feel full of hope for the future.

I have started a new women in business networking group and have already got on board the most amazing, caring and supportive group of business women. We are growing in numbers daily and have plenty of online and in person events on our agenda.

Any day now we are expecting our baby grandson, by the time this is published he may well be here 😊

Reflecting on the year gone by is always part of our learning curve. It is important to look at the stuff that didn’t work out but not to dwell on it. For me the good stuff to take away from 2022 to was I spent loads of time with granddaughter, holidays, days out and new adventures with family.  I Learned new things, got to meet in person online friends that have now become like family.

Nothing stays the same and good days follow bad days. Make a note of all the good things you experienced in 2022 too.

So my top 4 tips for anyone feeling stuck and that this is my lot in life are –

 1. Get out of your own head. Literally that, all the worst-case scenarios you imagine may have happen, dwelling on past stuff you can’t change. Sitting with your own negative feelings. Get out and do something, give yourself some real heads space. Meet a friend for coffee or a walk, clear your head don’t worry what others think. Talking things through is so important.

2. Remove yourself from negativity, you may think you are saving some people but in fact they are drowning you. So first put on your own life jacket, this comes down to setting boundaries, not to put up a wall, but literally as a health and safety measure to protect your own mental health.

3. Never compromise on your own values or try to fit in where you don’t belong. Compromise is often necessary but in doing so you should reach a happy medium. If you feel compromise is a one-way street where rather than being an equal transaction, you just find yourself giving in to keep the peace, that is not a compromise, instead you are losing a bit of your own integrity. You are important, your needs are important, value yourself.

4. Bad stuff doesn’t last, nothing is permanent. It’s too easy to feel that you are just unlucky and get stuck with low mood and a negative mindset. Everybody has ups and downs in life, it’s normal we can’t be on a high all the time. Feeling low or anxious are normal human emotions, having a low period doesn’t mean you are broken, but you may need a little help. Again, talking really does help. Everyone at some stage will get health issues, experience bad things out of our control. But keep going better things are coming. Look for something positive each day and make a note if it. Pause and reflect on your journey and notice how far you have come.

The days are getting longer and lighter and brighter. Let’s make sure we all start to feel a little lighter and brighter and more positive too.


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