Tag Archives: plans

What Will You Risk For The First Time This Week?

I thought I was good at it.

Taking risks, I mean. I’ve certainly faced some fears (see my This Is Me page) and taking risks? Not a problem. Except this week…

The fear of an event is nearly always worse than the actuality, so I’ve read. I believe it’s true but I have to force myself to act on it sometimes.

I remember the waterfall in the Lake District.

We'll have to turn back

The roar of the torrent, the spray everywhere, the sheer height. I was overawed by it but somehow we had to cross over to the other side or else turn back.  I stood and stared, fear fluttering in my chest. 

As I stood there getting more and more scared, my attention was caught by a child in a red jacket, and his dog. He was running along, in front of his dad, clambering up the grassy path towards me, heading for the edge of the water fall. Then he disappeared from view and I assumed the path cotinued through the gorse bushes at the side.

I was still wondering whether we should turn back and take a different track, when there he was, on the other side of the waterfall, his red coat zig-zagging away and his dog following.

His dad was close by where I stood.

‘He’s crossed over! How on earth has he done it? Surely it’s too risky!’

He smiled.

‘We often come this way. If you go round the corner you’ll see the stepping stones! They’re slippery but it’s OK to cross if you take care!’

This week I’m taking a ‘risk’ with my blog.

I’ve decided to update this site and move on to the next stage of blogging.

Here’s how it’s going so far:

  • I decided I want to make the change.

Making the decision to make any change is often the easiest part. It’s only in your mind at this stage. No risk yet.

Writing it down can make it more real, so long as you don’t tell anyone, then you can still ‘turn round and go back’.

I did exactly this: I wrote down my plans to up-grade, but kept it to myself.

  • You seek support

If you’re scared to take the risk by yourself, look for someone to guide you.

Want to change career? Travel alone? Learn to ski? Write a novel? Talk to those who’ve’ been there, done it and got the t-shirt.’  I love this Danish Proverb: ‘He knows the water best who has waded in it.’

I did exactly this: One of my blogging friends, Arvind Devalia has indeed ‘been there, done it…’ and he is a consultant in this area. He will guide me through the whole process and I need have no fear.

  • What if?

Yes! I said it.

What if… I can’t manage the change?

OK, but what if I can, with Arvind’s expert help?

There’s always another way, just like the stepping stones that were hidden from our view that day. When we want to make a change or take a risk, it seems scary at first. But once you’ve thought it through, decided, and found support you’ll be so glad you did.

And, by the way, the view from the other side of the waterfall was stunning…

‘Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.’

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now it’s your turn.

What will you risk for the first time, this week ?

Header image by cursedthing, post image by 

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How I Learnt What’s Important

Let’s go to the Caribbean!

It was 7.00 am.

The phone rang.

We’d been sitting up in bed with a coffee, discussing our holiday plans. So many ideas, all sounding enticing, but which to choose?

We’d love to return to the Caribbean. Been before, twice in fact, and absolutely loved it. After all, what’s not to love? Jewell coloured seas, glorious skies we can normally only imagine here,  friendly people, white sand, rainbow fish…. I think you get my drift.

Or we could go over to Ireland. Again, very friendly people, delicious food, fuschia strewn hedges, ribbons of islands strung out in sparkling seas, confectionary-coloured cottages… emmmm.

Mustn’t forget Italy. Tuscan hills disappearing in a misty sky; traffic filled streets in central Rome, and a few steps away, narrow, quiet cobbled alley ways to explore; the Tower of Pisa: Venetian canals…

Or we could go to France. Only a short distance by Eurostar, to Paris. Can’t even begin to describe why we’d love to go to Paris. Eiffel Tower, flea markets, cafes, wine, Sacre Coeur , wine, Champs Elysee shopping, wine…..

As I was saying,… the phone rang. We looked at one another. It was early. Too early. No-one would be ringing at this time. Unless…

What if… my daughter was ill again?

What if… my son was in trouble?

What if… my brother ….

What if…  What if…

I perched on the edge of the bed to answer the call.   My chest thumped, my cheeks burned, my hand shook. I bit my lip as I slowly put the phone to my ear and listened…

Later, over a welcome and very much needed second cup of coffee, we talked about that phone call. It was a cold call. Nothing worrying at all. But we were so glad they rang. What a lesson we both learned. All our holiday plans melted  away as the fears crept in.

 Holidays are fun, exciting sometimes, but they are only 2/3 weeks out of our lives. The important and precious things in our lives are here.  All the time. If we’re lucky. We mustn’t take them for granted. We must give them the importance they deserve. And give them the love they deserve, too.

What’s important to you in your life?

Income?

Car?

Stuff?

How do you know what’s important?

Has that changed, over the years?

Header image by cursedthing, on Flickr. Post image – my own.

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How To Forget The Past and Forge Ahead With The Future

Today is the future you worried about yesterday...

     This post was requested by carsma.

A brass elephant, a miniature New York fire hydrant and a champagne cork.

These are all in my Memory Box.

We bought the box – an old wooden print box with lots of tiny compartments – in Italy. I loved it because it was so old but we bought it to keep our memories safe.

Every time we travelled, here or abroad, we brought back a small ‘something’ to capture a memory. There’s a happy story attached to each one, and when I look at the box on my wall I am right back in those  memorable moments.

We’d like to forget many events of our past. Tragedies, illnesses, dark days filled with worry. Strangely, the bookshops are full of misery memoirs, telling every detail of abuse, neglect and hopelessness in people’s past. It’s the bad news of other people’s miserable lives that attracts some readers, not the good memories.

Here are my thoughts on:

How to Forget the Past and Forge Ahead with the Future.

  1. What does the past mean to you?
  • This will be different for everyone, obviously, but I believe the past plays an important part in our lives.
  • The past is where you learnt to live, to grow, to develop.
  • The past is where you ‘fell over’, made a fool of yourself, treated your parents badly, were rude to your friends, married foolishly – I’m sure you could write a book – I know I could…
  • The past helped to create the person you are today.

2.   What can you do if your ‘bad’ feelings about your past    are  affecting your life in the present ?

  • The past should not be forgotten. It happened. You can’t change it. But what you can change is: your attitude to it.
  • The past shapes your future. You try to leave your mistakes behind, to learn from them, but it’s hard to do. That’s just the way it is. You tend to dwell on the things you’d rather forget. But you need to remember that it wasn’t all bad.
  • You need to tell yourself that much of the past was good. There were plenty of happy times, champagne moments, celebrations, amongst the bad times.

3.   The future never comes.

  • The future only exists in your head.
  • You make plans, you make decisions, you make choices today.
  • You can affect your future, by taking wise actions today.
  • You can forge ahead with your future by learning from and listening to the past.

4.   Forge ahead with your future, today.

  • Perhaps you’d like to start a Memory Box. Choose a container that delights you whenever you look at it and keep it where you can see it, not hidden away in a cupboard.
  • Look around the house for those ‘happy memory triggers’. Photos, receipts, empty perfume bottles, cards, letters, an acorn in its shell (one of my memories), a cork. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
  • Perhaps writing about the happy times would work for you. Choose a pretty notebook and keep it ready for jotting down those memories as they come to you.
  • Remember… tomorrow never comes, it’s always today.

If your past is mainly dominated by painful memories, you need to make sure that you focus on the happier times however few you think there were.

It’s impossible to make the past ‘go away’ but it is possible to focus on the positives. They are there, you just need to search them out and keep them safe.

How do you deal with your past?

What strategies do you use?

Please tell us in the comments.

Header image by cursedthing and post image by U-g-g-B-o-y, both on Flickr.

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Say No And Take Control

I'll have to get back to you...

The phone rings.

Here it comes:

‘Hi! How are you?’

‘I’m fine thanks, how’re things with you?’

‘Fine. I just wondered what you’re doing on Saturday?’

Stop! Right there! Don’t do it! Don’t admit you’re free!

Just take a deep breath and say this:

I haven’t got my diary with me right now. Why do you ask?’

And she goes on to invite you to babysit her horrendous kids/help her sort out her garage/go to an exercise class (horrors all round.)

This is where you use my

Simple way To Take Control.

Remember, you’re not rejecting the person,

you are simply rejecting the invitation.

And….there’s no need to explain.

Simply say, when you’ve looked in your ‘diary’,

Saturday doesn’t work for me, I’ve made plans.’

No! It’s not a lie!

You have, for sure, made plans-

You want a day to yourself.

  • to sleep
  • eat chocolate cake
  • watch garbage TV
  • read
  • veg out

I repeat: There is absolutely, 100%, no need to explain.

Why?

Because…

  • You have the right to be you.
  • You have the right to choose how to spend your time.
  • You have the right to do exactly what you want to do. Full stop. End of.

You can follow this by suggesting another time to get together, or not, whatever you wish.

Follow your gut feeling on this one.

But…. please…. do not cave in and agree to do whatever it is, if you know you don’t want to.

If you do, you’ll set a precedent and she/he’ll ask you next time and expect another ‘yes’.

Just keep it simple.

Take control.

Say no, with a smile on your face.

Header image courtesy of cursedthing on Flickr

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What Are You Saving It For?

It was a stunning dress.  

It had smocking on the front and it was pale blue velvet and I loved it.  

‘Remember, it’s only for special occasions!’ mum warned.  

I used to gaze at it in my wardrobe, caressing the soft velvet, even trying it on and doing a twirl in front of my dressing table mirror.  

It wasn’t only the dress that was reserved for special occasions. There was jewellery, shoes – especially my first pair of heels – a new coat, pretty gloves.  

It was just the way it was when I was growing up.  

Mum seemed unable to ‘treat herself’ to anything (apart from Cadbury’s chocolate). She never had her hair done, or bought new clothes, it simply wasn’t her way. Perhaps it was the result of war-time austerity, I don’t know, but even dad found it hard to persuade her to enjoy treats.  

At Christmas, on birthdays and anniversaries through the years my father, brother and I gave her all sorts of gifts. There were lace handkerchiefs, brooches, ‘pearl’ necklaces, cardigans, blouses, all chosen with love.  

For 'best'

 

 ‘I’ll save them’, she’d say. ‘For ‘best’.’  

After mum died my daughter and I were sorting through her things, and we came across one particular drawer that saddened us more than the rest.  

We found unopened boxes of lace handkerchiefs, brooches in their wrapping, necklaces, cardigans, blouses, all as new as the day she received them, all unworn, unused.  

She’d been saving them for ‘special occasions’ and now it was too late.  

   

How about you?  

  • Do you wear all your jewellery?
  • Do you keep clothes for ‘best’?
  • Are there unworn items waiting in your wardrobe?
  • Do you have shoes that you’ve never worn?
  • Are you ‘saving’ that unopened perfume?

Do you have  

  • skills that you  don’t use?
  • a sketch book that you’ll enjoy ‘one day’? 
  • cookery books that don’t get used?
  • a gift for writing/singing/ that remains unused?
  • an ambition to learn the piano ‘one day’?
  • a plan to grow your own vegetables ‘one day’?

Remember this – tomorrow never comes.  

Don’t fill your ‘drawer’ with unfulfilled hopes, dreams and plans.  

Today is that ‘special occasion.’  

What will you take out of your’drawer’ today?

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Too Hot?

Thirty degrees! 

In the UK!

Unheard of.

Yesterday the only European holiday destination that was hotter than here was Malta!

But, boy, do we moan about it.

They’re the first words on every one’s lips – the supermarket checkout girl, the postman, the person in the queue behind you in the Post Office – everyone is complaining about the unusual heat.

‘It’s soooo hot’, they whine. I wish it would rain!’

And so we seek the shade. Any old shade will do, so long as it get’s us out of the sun.

I’m very fortunate.

There’s lots of shade in my garden and so long as there’s a bit of a breeze, lounging in my deck- chair brings welcome relief from the sun.

As I gaze around my parched garden I start to  think about the shade. Nothing much thrives under my holly tree and I have to constantly water the plants that struggle there.  Dead, prickly leaves gather, rustling and clattering on the dry soil, later to be scooped up and thrown away.

The soil there is dry, dusty and dead.  And when it eventually does rain, the tree will shelter the soil from  most of the much needed water.

Shade provides respite from the intense heat, but is it always a good thing to stay in the shade?

Are you living your life ‘in the shade’?

  • Are you thriving?

Or are you keeping out of the light, afraid to take decisions, make choices?

  • Are you struggling?

Would you like some help? Some advice? Someone to motivate you and support you as you grow?

  • Are you dusty?

Do you seek new friends? Read books you wouldn’t usually choose? Develop fresh ideas and opinions?

Have you abandoned those dreams, plans, aspirations because it’s just too much bother, leaving them to be swept up and thrown away with the dead leaves?

Just try it.

Leave your safe, shady spot and try it.

Take one step into the sunlight, and be sure that you will begin to grow…

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How To Make Time When You Don’t Have Any

 

 ‘Sorry, I haven’t got time today!’

‘I can’t fit it all in!’

‘I’m just too busy.’ 

 

How often do we say something along these lines?

I do, and I know I should know better.

We have 24 hours at our disposal.  And still it’s not enough.

We write our lists, make our plans, fulfill our challenges and still we can’t get it all done.

There aren’t enough hours in the day.

 

Sorry!  The bad news is, I don’t believe you!

Of course there are enough hours. We simply need to re-think how we use them.

 

Here’s the thing.

The World Cup is on TV as  write this.

It’s an England match.

My OH is glued to the screen but I’m not a football fan.

I could have stayed downstairs with him and pretended to enjoy the match.

But … there was another way to use the time.

I wanted to write some posts so that I’m ahead of the game. (Sorry, no pun intended…)

So here I am, USING the time to my benefit.

I’m enjoying myself, writing what I love to write, wondering how many of you in the UK are on the net tonight because you’re not fussed about football either, using your time to your benefit too.

 

We actually have plenty of time.

All we need to do is make choices about how we will use it.

 

Think about it-

  • If you gave up watching one TV programme every evening, you’d have 30 minutes of ‘extra time’.
  • If you got up 15 minutes earlier you could get a small amount of chores done before the day really begins.
  • If you shopped on line for your groceries you’d have another hour at least to use  for something you’d prefer to do.

I’m quite amazed at how much time we spend on activities that, if we gave it some thought, we could use for our own benefit.

 

Would you rather…

  • spend an hour and a half at the supermarket?

OR… finish that project that you never seem to get around to?

 

Would you rather…

  • stand for an hour doing the ironing?

OR… fold up most of the clothes instead and talk on the phone to a family member who needs cheering up?

 

Would you rather…

  • scrub your kitchen floor/clean the car/dust the cat?

OR… spend that time writing some friendly e:mails or planning some tasty meals for the family?

 

We have a choice.

There are 24 hours at our disposal, every day.

How are you going to use them tomorrow?

 

‘It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?’
Henry David Thoreau

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