Saturday, 26 October 2013

When you put it like that...

I’ve really been fretting recently about my cash flow situation.  The kind of fretting that leads to nightmare scenarios of dying old and broke, with cats eating your face off (disturbing imagery I know!)  Cash flow issues are the bane of every business at some level, but it seems particularly daunting as a start up.  Irregular gigs and late payers (holler if you feel me).  Anyhoo, I read something recently and it made me wonder: am I spending so much time worrying about what I might need in the future, that I’m missing out on what’s right underneath my nose?  What Pastor Joel Osteen said was “...God has given you exactly what you need, for the season that you’re in...”  I read it and re-read it- just to check that I hadn’t missed a reference to millionaires or at least the comfortably well off!  My first thought was “no I don’t”, with “what does he know about needs? I bet he’s very comfortable” hot on its heels.  Once I climbed down off my high horse though, I started to think about his statement more deeply.  And I have to say that I think he has a point.

In all my fretting and worrying, it’s all about projecting into the future.  The loop in my head that says “you’ve got bills coming up, how are you going to pay them?”  However, when I stop with the crazy lady thoughts and focus on the here and now, I absolutely do have enough for today.  Because let’s face it, although there are bills coming up in the future, who knows what gigs might come up before then.  That’s the joy and pain of being self employed, gigs can and do come up at anytime.  Not so great for the blood pressure, but definitely great for keeping you on your toes!  The point to remember is that for the ‘now’ time, I have all the resources I need, be they skills, talents, friends or even money.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not advocating not thinking about the future.  What I am saying is don’t drive yourself mad today, over something that’s coming up next week, next month or even next year.  And that’s my second point: What you have now is not all that you will ever have.  If you need more, God will make sure that you have what you need.  When I get sucked into the ‘worry whirlpool’, I make a conscious effort to remind myself of all the times, when I needed help and it arrived in the nick of time.  It helps to remind me that God is in the business of always coming through.  It may be later than you think it should be, but it always arrives.

Finally, Pastor Joel’s statement reminded me of the importance of knowing the difference between a ‘want’ and a ‘need’.  I’d love nothing more than a weekly manicure & pedicure and a monthly facial (shallow I know), but until the gigs start being on the regular, I’m going to have to make do with the occasional splurge to supplement my diy efforts.  Sometimes, a lot of the anxiety we feel is generated by a ‘want’ and not a ‘need’.  And it’s in those times that we have to go back to basics and appreciate the fact that we have food and shelter.  Because let’s face it, there are a lot of people out there who are struggling to have even those 2 basic needs met.

Well, it’s a different piece to the one I thought I would be writing, but that’s how it goes sometimes.  I’d love to hear from you.  What do you think about Pastor Joel’s statement?  What do you think about my take on it?  Feel free to send your comments in; I love to hear from my readers.
Having some trouble sorting out your wants from your needs?  Coaching can definitely help you get clearer about the differences.  Contact us through the website, for your free, 30 minute consultation.


Until next week, go well.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

In the meantime...

There are some people whom I admire immensely. They are sensible and wonderfully organised.  They already know what they’ll be doing, 5, 10, 15 years from now, they’ve got it all mapped out. Yup, I’m talking about that wonderful breed of people who have a 5, 10 or even a 15 year plan.  I admire them, because try as I might, I’m just not wired like that.  I wrote one at the beginning of the year on a piece of ‘post it’ paper.  It’s still on the scrap of paper and I am so far off plan that I might as well be in another country!

I think it’s a really good idea, but when it comes down to it, I have always been an “ooh, that looks interesting, I’ll give it a go” kind of a girl.  Truth be told, most of the things I’ve done in my life have been done out of curiosity, with what some what might say is a reckless disregard for the future!

I read recently about someone who dreamed of becoming an investigative reporter, but was ‘stuck’ writing obituaries.  Or to put it another way, he was having an ‘in the meantime’ moment, which he wasn’t enjoying at all.  As I read his story (he achieved his dream by the way), I started to wonder: is there any value in our ‘in the meantime’ moments or are they just keeping us from living our dreams?

I’m going to come right out and say that I think my ‘in the meantime’ moments have all been hugely important in making me the woman I am today. I was thinking about my cv the other day and on the face of it, it seems to be a collection of completely random skills and qualifications.  But here’s the thing, no skill you acquire is ever wasted. In my working life, I’ve been an administrator, a manager, a lawyer, a policy maker, trainer, project manager and now a life coach.  Having relocated back to Lagos for a season, serendipity, coincidence, whatever you want to call it is bringing work opportunities my way, that draw on a lot of the skills that I have developed in the course of my working life.  It makes for some very interesting times I can tell you.  This time last week, I was working like the furies on some transcription work, using skills I picked up a lawyer and a policy maker.  And that leads me to my second point:
Being ‘in the meantime’ helps you to hone skills that you already have and could open up a whole range of new opportunities for you.  A lot of us put our lives on hold, waiting for our dream life to begin. We pass on a lot of opportunities, because they don’t fit with our plan.  I say; if your plan is on hold for any reason, why not try using one or more or your other skills- even if it’s unpaid work? Yup, I went there.  I think there are a myriad of opportunities out there, waiting to be taken advantage of, but we tie everything we do to money.  Don’t get me wrong, I like having enough money; just as much as the next person, but when there aren’t any paying gigs around, why not use that time to hone your skills as a volunteer?  Not forever, but if someone could benefit from your skills, why not?

Ultimately, being ‘in the meantime’ helps you to become a much more resourceful person and we could all do with being a bit more resourceful I think.  If you had said to me, that I would be able to cope with the uncertainty of not knowing when my next gig is arriving or moving into different areas of training, I would have said “pah”.  But that’s exactly where I am and whilst I’m definitely ‘white-knuckling’ it a lot of the time, it’s been an exhilarating ride so far.

So, if you’re having an ‘in the meantime’ moment, have a seat and think about all the skills you have.  They could be skills you acquired on the job or ones you developed outside of work.  However you got them, they are yours and you owe it to yourself to start using them.  Dream gig on hold? What do you have, that you can use to kick-start it? 9-5 getting you down? Can you parlay those skills into a side gig?  Life doesn’t always give us what we want, sometimes we have to get out there and fight for it.

Need some help identifying your skills? Feel like you’ve wandered off track? Coaching can definitely help you to reconnect with your dreams and get back on track.  Contact us through the website, for your free 30 minute consultation.

Until next week, go well.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


It's been a bit of a hard few days.  There was another plane crash in Lagos a week ago and then I found out that two friends had lost their mums over the weekend.  So celebrating my own mum's 73rd birthday was a very bittersweet affair.

As I pondered all these things, the word 'transition' kept dropping into my mind.  I looked up the meaning of the word 'transition' to get a better sense of what was playing on my mind.  The most common definition is "the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another".  At it's most basic transition is just another word for change.  It sounds simple when you put it like that, but I think we all know, how little, most of us like change!

This week's post is about the inevitability of transitions in our lives and why they can be the best thing that ever happened to us.

Firstly, and I guess most obviously, is that transitions take many different forms and we're either coming out of one or heading into another one.  They can be as mundane as changing a job or as major as having a baby or being bereaved.  It doesn't matter what you're transitioning from or to you're likely to experience a far amount of trepidation.  Much as I looked forward to becoming a mother, I had quite a few sleepless nights, panicking about whether I would end up dropping my daughter on her head in my sheer ignorance!  If we're talking about the end of a relationship (a transition which can feel very much like a bereavement) then we can expect go through the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.  These feelings occur even where the relationship was an abusive one.  In fact, they are compounded by feelings of guilt and shame on the part of the survivor, who often feels that the abuse was her fault.

No matter what kind of transition we go through, the truth is, it will change us. One of my favourite quotes at the moment is by Maya Angelou.  She says "I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it".  It's such a simple phrase, but it carries real power. The truth is that most of us end up being both changed and reduced by the transitions we go through.  But how can we transition out of an abusive relationship, for example, without being utterly crushed by it?  My advice is twofold: (a) think about what you're thinking about and (b) get yourself a strong support network.  Negative and demoralising thoughts will come- they always do.  The key is not to dwell on them until you end up paralysed and completely demoralised.  Acknowledge them but replace them with positive ones as quickly as you are able.  Why do you need a support network?  For those days when you really can't see the light at the end of the tunnel- they can see it for you.  When you think you can't take another step, they give you a piggyback and do the walking for you.

Finally, the really good news about transitions is that if you manage to get through to the other side, not only are you changed, but you're also likely to have experienced some pretty huge personal growth.  For a victim of domestic violence, the transition from victim to survivor, reminds her that she is stronger than she thought and the perpetrator is not as powerful as she thought he was.  As a survivor, she realises that she has made it through to the other side and has tapped into inner reserves of power, ingenuity and creativity that she didn't think she had.

I don't know what transitions you may be going through at the moment.  Even though it's tough, hold on  Use the transition as a stepping stone, to help you to grow up into the best you there is.

In transition and feeling a bit shaky and unsure? need some support? contact us through the website , for your free 30 minute consultation.

Until next week, go well.