#lifelessons101-When the sh*t hits the fan, stop running and read these 6 tips to help you turn it around (2 min read)

Sometimes things go wrong. It’s part of life. Actually its an important part of life that can bring us new possibilities. However when shit hits the fan it is a natural reaction to panic and run away, yet in the long run that gets you nowhere. Take it from one who knows, the problems follow you. At the same time when everything is going wrong it can demotivate you so much that you want to give up. What does that achieve? Well nothing. So when the shit hits the fan what can you do to ride the wave and bring your life back into harmony?

Here are six tips on how to take stock and take control of the runaway train in your life and come back into the flow.

Stop running

Firstly stop running. When things go wrong we can often keep pushing against the tide of chaos. A bit like a hamster on a tread wheel. It is exhausting and counterproductive. Stop. In order to see and solve a problem you need to get objective. So stop pushing against the tide and get some perspective.

Get objective

Whatever the problem is you need to break it down into edible chunks. Take a step back and get out your notepad and start to analyse. Ask yourself what exactly is the problem? What are the consequences of the problem? How do you want the situation to look? Sometimes just writing it down helps you to create structure in the chaos. And when you take a step back solutions will present themselves.

See the positive and learn

Although something has gone wrong, there will also at the same time be things that are going well. Make a list of what is going well and what is not. It can help to rebuild your motivation when you actually see in the midst of a crisis there is still things working. Looking at the positive and the negative will give you the opportunity to learn from the situation. I have a saying “Nothing is a bad experience if I can learn from it”, so use this as a learning opportunity.

What needs to be done ASAP

In a crisis situation there are things that need to be dealt with straight away and things that you can take your time over. Make a plan of the actions you need to take to solve the situation. Then look at each one and decide what needs to be done now and what you can leave until later on. Then follow your plan.

Take a break

Stress is one of the most demotivating factors in a crisis. With our body in fight or flight mode we are running on adrenaline and consequently cannot work at an optimal level. Take a break. At least 24 hours where you do something else and focus on something else. If you can do some exercise. It helps your body release the stress hormones and gives you dopamine improving not only your energy but your mood as well.

Trust and look for the opportunities that come your way

In any situation, especially a crisis, there is only so much you can do. Sometimes you have to sit back and cross your fingers. When you have done what you can to solve a situation you can simply do no more. At this time you have to be honest with the people involved, let them know you have done your best and look for the opportunities that come your way.

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Shitting hitting the fan can create crisis but it is our reaction to it that can turn it from a negative situation to a positive one. After all a crisis can sometimes be the catalyst to open up a whole new avenue of possibilities, you just need to be open to them.

If you are having a bad time of it right now. Don’t give up or runaway. Take stock and create a clear plan of action. Nothing is impossible and I know you can turn this situation around to be a fantastic opportunity for you.

Your Setback

 

 

#Lifelessons101 – What to do after a storm hits your life (2 min read)

Storms come quickly, bringing chaos. Life is swimming along at a normal and even comfortable tempo then suddenly from nowhere BAM! Something happens that in a minor or major way uproots your life. And the weatherman didn’t even tell you it was coming.

Yesterday we had a storm hit us. Our landlord dropped by to tell us there would be a  4000kr increase in our rent starting in February. My reaction process started with f……………….k!!!

Amazingly I then went through a series of reactions that by the end of the day I was feeling happy about this challenge and determined to overcome it.

First reaction : survival mode. I looked at the budget, can we pay?(We could but only just from now on until we generate more income we are living the way I hate counting every kroner and have no opportunity to save).

Second reaction: shock. I cried. A lot. I talked my frustration out (in a snotty and garbled way). Mr T was wonderful and comforting he tried to get me to say it would be ok. But right at that moment  I couldn’t. I was overwhelmed so I cried until I could cry no more. It was cathartic and released me from the drama of my fears.

Third reaction: Success experience. I knew I couldn’t do anything more about the problem right then and there. What I needed was a success experience. So I did the washing. Something small but easy to do (well it would have been if the cat hadn’t removed the waterpipe and therefore also flooded the bathroom! However I cleaned it all up and solved that problem so ha ha success!) For the rest of the day I gave myself small manageable tasks that made me feel successful.

Fourth reaction: Finding the positive. As I spent the day making small achievements, I realised that this financial pressure was actually a blessing in disguise. Life has been very comfortable of late, too comfortable. Not that I am saying being comfortable is wrong. My experience has simply been that comfortable without a little challenge makes boredom.As soon as this was realised my energy shifted. Now I could see we have been given an opportunity.

Fifth reaction: Energised and determined. Having proved to myself I can succeed all day, and after brainstorming, I could now see that the things I had been thinking of doing to increase our income and not yet done I now have an immediate motivation for. A kick up the butt to get my plans and dreams realised. Suddenly I am raring to go!

So who knew that a rent increase would actually be an inspiration and motivational factor!

Of course it might not have been. If I had chosen to sit down and stay at reaction number one, then this storm could have been crippling both mentally and financially.  Storms are crap. We all know that. We have all been there. But the important thing about the storms that hit us is not how we are hit, but how we survive afterwards. Storms bring change and peace after them if we choose to respond in a healthy way. Next time a storm  hits, slowly and in your own time try these five steps and you will turn your problems into opportunities.

Survival mode: Batten down the hatches and do the minimal things you need to do to survive.

Shock: Allow your emotions to come out. Do Not repress them. Allow yourself to get to the emotional state where you feel like a wrung out dishcloth. It empties the sadness, frustration and anger out of you.

Success experiences: Do some very simple things that you can succeed at. Wash the dishes. Do the washing. Feed the dog. Nothing you have to think about, just something you can do. MAke yourself do this. It’s actually the most important step as it transitions you to a positive space.

Find the positive: How? Look for it. There is always a positive side. A lover leaving does allow you to do things you didn’t do because of the relationship. A broken washing machine brings with it the opportunity to really deep clean the bathroom which you have been putting off for months. What opportunity did this storm bring?

Energised and determined. Find ways to overcome the challenge life has thrown at you. You don’t have to start then and there (unless you want to). Look at the opportunity this challenge has brought you and work towards to achieving whatever it is that opportunity brings you.

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This process took me one day unfortunately (or fortunately) I have had a lot of practise. It might take you longer. You may need two days in shock and a week of small successful experiences before you can find the opportunities. You will find them when you look. The way you respond to a storm creates the next step in your journey, only you can decide how that journey will be. 

 

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Keep working on your dreams………..inspirational people when you need them the most- J.K Rowling (4 min read)

Most of us have a dream. And when we first find it, it seems so easy. Our confidence is high. This dream is achievable. And then after time the vision grows dimmer. The possibilities of actually manifesting our dreams seems less and less likely. And it’s at this point that we need inspiration and fortunately there are many in the world that have had the same experience and still manifested their dreams. So when the chips are down and the goal seems impossible it’s to these real life stories we can turn to, to re inspire us .

As most of you know I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. I love the universe, the characters and the magic. However the story behind the book is just as amazing as the books themselves.

J.K Rowling had a vision and a dream which took her through the hardest parts of her life. Over a period of five years the first of the Harry Potter books became her comfort and escape. She didn’t give up on the dream of having the book published and in the end her hard work paid off. A true rags to riches story.

Rowling had a relatively uneventful childhood, she was known as a child that lived in a fantasy world  and was always writing in a notebook. She finished her education by graduating Exeter University with a diploma of Bachelor of Arts in French and Classics. She moved to London and worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International, but she knew that it was not for her.

Whilst returning from Manchester on the train, Rowling was inspired by the idea of Harry Potter, the whole story of the first book and the wizarding world. She had no idea where the idea came from. She began writing the book at once.

It was also at this point Rowling’s life began a downward spiral. It started on 30th December 1990 with the death of her mother at the age of 45. The shock of her mother’s death sent Rowling into a depression. 9 months later to escape she moved to Portugal where she met her first husband. Unfortunately after a period in the training assembly Rowlings husband was unable to find work and she supported the family until the birth of her daughter in 1993. However a few months later her husband beat her and drove her and her daughter out of their home.

Rowling retuned to the UK and moved in with her sister in Edinburgh. By the end of 1993, Rowling hit rock bottom and saw herself as a failure. Her short-lived marriage had collapsed, she was unemployed and she was a lone parent and as poor as it was possible to be in Britain. However Rowling can recall these years as both troubled and valuable.

During this period, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. Her illness helped her to invent the characters known as Dementors, dark creatures, introduced in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Even in this troubled period Rowling kept her dream alive.

Rowling decided to rent a small apartment in Edinburgh. As an unemplyed person she had to live off state benefits, 70 pounds per week.  Rowling was ashamed of her distressful situation. Every day she went out for a walk with her daughter and wandered through the streets to make her fall asleep. Then, sitting with a cup of coffee at Nicolson’s Cafe, or at the Elephant House, Joanne, continued to work on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In writing she could forget about everything, all those failures and hardships helped her to become stronger, teaching her how to succeed, even when life seemed hopeless.

In 1995, after five years of writing,  and the rewriting chapter 1 fifteen times Rowling finally finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Rowling had such faith in her book that she made drawings for the future illustrators. Rowling printed several chapters on an old typewriter, put them in a folder and sent them to some literary agents. After she was looking forward to their responses. 

But she received such replies as “It is too difficult for children,” “It is too long”, “Children would not be interested in it.” At this stage, she  thought that life was meaningless. Her sister came to help and said “Rowlings never give up!” So they sent some chapters to Christopher Little, the famous literary agent. Who at first rejected the book. But after reconsideration book was sent to 12 publishing companies all of whom rejected the book.

Just as Rowling was beginning to despair in 1996 there was the first light of success. In August the book finally got a green light (and a £1,500 ($2,300) of advance) by Barry Cunningham, an editor from Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London.  However although Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, Rowling was advised by them to find a job since she had a little chance of making money in children’s books. Soon, Rowling got a job as a teacher of French.

However slowly success came in dribs and drabs. In 1997, Rowling received a £8,000 ($12,500) grant from the Scottish Arts Council to enable her to continue writing. In June 1997, Bloomsbury published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with an initial print-run of 1,000 copies. 500 copies of the book were distributed to libraries. When the book was presented Rowling read out the passages from her book only a few people came to listen to the unknown writer. Nevertheless, she felt herself triumphal. At this point there was no indication of the success that was to come.

The readers took to the book and the boom began. Five months later, the book won its first award, a Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. In February, the novel, beyond comparison, won the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year. Soon, the novel took the Children’s Book Award. In early 1998, Scholastic Inc. during the auction that was held in the United States won the rights to publish the novel won for $105,000.

In October 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the first two novels for $1.5 million. And JK. Rowling’s success has grown and grown since that day.

J.K Rowling’s story shows dedication to a dream in spite of all the hardships and barriers.She worked hard all the way and kept the vision in mind no matter what.  In her own words “I believe you’re working and learning until the day you die”.  These three things, holding the vision, learning all the way and working hard will take your dreams to a reality.  If JK Rowling could do it, so can you.

So no matter how hard things are allow your dreams to be your guiding light and keep working on them. And remember as Rowling says that ” Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

working-hard

 

If at first you don’t succeed…………..inspirational 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.”

 

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#lifelesson101 – Facing fear after a failure (2 min read)

It’s hard to face a fear. Especially a fear that comes from a failure. And this week I have had my fair share of that. A project I have worked on for a year looks like its not going to happen. A big blow, to both my dreams and my confidence. It happens to the best of us. But when it happens there is only one way to go, forward. But how? When we fail along comes fear and it tells us that we can’t do whatever it is we are trying to do. However really  fear is just our bodies way of telling us we are crossing a comfort zone. Fears arising mean we are challenging ourselves and challenge means growth. But how to overcome those fears?

I know it seems daunting. However it is not impossible. No matter how difficult it is to fail there is always a way back up again. And that way up will make you stronger. No matter how big the fear you can overcome it.

This week I have (and still am) being tested hard. And I have two choices. Listen to my fear and give up. Or carry on in spite of the fears I have. Of course I am going to carry on. And this is how I am doing it.

Release and reach out

At first when a failure or disappointment hits it feels like crap. At this moment it’s ok not to fight. It’s okay to be upset, so be upset. I cried for a whole night. I reached out to the two people in the world I knew could help me Mr T and another man that I truly admire. Between them they comforted me and made me remember that I can create my dreams, even when it feels like I can’t. So call on the people you need to help you when you hit your low. Cry it out and release your frustrations (ofc not on others, that never helps anything). Believe me afterwards you will feel better.

Look for the teaching

Accept the failure and look for the teaching. Everything in life teaches us something, whether we want to learn it or not. Be conscious of this and look at the situation objectively. Why did this happen? Why did you create it? And what is the teaching that life is sending you?

How can you move forward?

Once you have identified the teaching how can you move forward? This failure has opened up other opportunities for you. What are they and how can you embrace them?  Allow what you have learnt to guide you. Once you calm down and move out of the drama of your failure the way forward will become clear.

Identify the fears

Unfortunately (unless you are some kind of superhero or guru) when you have worked out how to move forward the fears will come. Recognise them. Fears are just an idea. They are not real. Unless you make them real by believing in them. Identify what is it you are really afraid of. When you rationalise a fear it is less scary. It becomes tangible and more importantly it becomes something that it is possible to overcome.

Face the fear

When we face our fears they do become less scary. It just takes that first step. Whether it’s a conversation you need to have, or a resignation you have to hand in, the first step will be the hardest. However with every step you take it will get easier. The double bonus with this is that when you have faced your fear you get not only a sense of pride, you  also get a sense of freedom.

Remind yourself it’s ok to struggle

As I sat crying on our porch under the stars earlier this week, I began to talk to me 6 months from now. I asked myself to remember that moment. To remember it so that I will be able to celebrate the journey I will have taken and enjoy my success even more, because I survived what I was feeling then. Even though at that precise moment I wasn’t sure I will succeed it reminded me and reassured me that things will get better. So remind yourself that it’s ok to struggle. Struggle just makes success sweeter.

Trust

Ok this is challenging. And sometimes you have to just trust. The universe knows what it’s doing much better than you do. Remind yourself that the universe is conspiring to lead you along the right path. Be grateful for that.  Tell yourself that this will work out somehow. You might not be able to see it, however it will work out. No matter how bad things seem they will eventually get better. Trust in that. Summon every bit of strength you have and keep moving forward.

Fear is not real, it is not an expert and it is not a truth. The absence of fear is not what bravery is. Bravery is having a fear and doing it anyway. When my Mum got divorced, it was scary for her, a whole new life. The day it came through I sent her a bouquet with the note

“The only way is up and left a bit”

And it is.

Move forward.

Hold yourself tall and move with the flow of events life sends at you.

Failure is just a block in one direction. You can take so many other paths. Fear is just a brainfog trying to stop you from trying something new and expanding your comfort zone. It’s not real so don’t let it become real.
Surf the waves, learn the lessons and see the new possibilities and everything will be alright in the end, because you are brave enough and strong enought to face whatever it is that life sends you <3

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