Authenticity – Stop Trying to be Perfect!

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Perfection is the biggest killer of both creativity and productivity.  I experience this on a daily basis.  Staring at a blank page when trying to write a blog post because I want the first line to be perfect, or fiddling with filters and captions for an age, trying to make that Instagram post perfect.

The problem with this is that you lose your authenticity – what makes you individual.  You start comparing yourself to others…  In the world of social media, everybody’s life is ‘perfect’.  You rarely see a selfie of someone lying on the sofa with bed-head and zits on show – but that’s real life.

I know that when I’m making connections online, or trying to decide whether to purchase something from someone online, I’m much more attracted to people who are authentic.  When someone makes a mistake and has a laugh about it, it shows me that they are real human-beings and don’t take themselves too seriously.  One of the best examples I can think of is Erin May Henry of The May Collective.  On her YouTube videos, she regularly includes a reel of bloopers.  Not only are these funny, it makes her more relatable and as you can see by the tens of thousands of subscribers she has, it clearly works!

It’s sometimes hard to be yourself online, because you open yourself up to criticism.  If someone criticises the person you are pretending to be, it doesn’t hurt as much as if they criticise the real you – but then I could argue that if you are putting yourself out there online, you should expect criticism and develop a very thick skin – fast.

It is also extremely hard to pretend to be perfect on a long-term basis.  If your ‘perfect’ image slips, just once, you will lose all respect from any following you have built.  Being yourself is so much easier!  Allow yourself to make mistakes publicly…  Someone else might learn from your mistake and thank you for it!

There might be people out there that will absolutely hate the real you – but I guarantee, for every person who dislikes the real you, there will be someone who loves the real you.

Be you!

 

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Have Your Own ‘Miracle Morning’

HBave Your Own Miracle Morning

I completely believe that having a solid morning routine can change your life.  ‘But what if I’m not a morning person?’ I hear you ask…  Neither was I, until recently.  I read ‘Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod, which I totally recommend, by the way.  If you look forward to your morning routine, you’re more likely to want to get up earlier and without pressing that dreaded snooze button.

So, what does a ‘miracle morning’ look like?  The answer is entirely personal to you, but according to the book, you should include some meditation, exercise, journaling and learning.

To help you out, I’ve included my own ‘miracle morning’ below.

  • 5am – Rise and shine!
  • Use bathroom, brush teeth – 5 minutes
  • Make Coffee! – 5 minutes
  • Meditation/affirmations – 20 minutes
  • Freewriting in journal (brain dump!) – 5 minutes
  • Exercise (change it up so you don’t get bored) – 10 minutes
  • Reading (personal development) – 10 minutes
  • Review planner and make to-do list for the day – 5 minutes

This routine takes around an hour and takes me to 6am, when the rest of the house wakes up and I jump in the shower.  My ‘miracle morning’ is flexible and I like to change it up regularly to stop it from becoming boring.  The aim is to make your ‘miracle morning’ enjoyable and something you look forward to.

5 ‘Miracle Morning’ Top Tips 

  • Get enough sleep!  If you want to wake up at 5am, going to bed at 2am is a sure-fire way to fail.  Only you know how much sleep you need to wake up refreshed – make sure you get it.
  • Keep your ‘miracle morning’ flexible.  Life happens.
  • Don’t jump in too quickly.  Try waking up 15 minutes early for a week, then work your way to your ideal wake-up time.
  • Don’t give up!  And don’t feel bad if you miss a day or two.  Just get back to it and keep moving forward.
  • Switch it up.  Keep your routine fresh and exciting so that you look forward to jumping out of bed in the morning.

Bonus Tip: Read Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning.

Do you have a miracle morning routine?  I love learning how other people structure their day, so please, share it below.

 

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Burn-Out and How to Avoid It

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When you’re passionate about something – especially when that something is a new business, it’s very tempting to keep working, even when you feel tired. We’ve all done it… You work through your lunch break and sometimes forget to eat all day. I’ve even forgotten to go to the toilet, then at 8pm I realise that my bladder is about to burst.

It’s not good for our bodies and it’s certainly not good for our mind. Working yourself to the bone might get you results faster, but you aren’t going to be well enough to enjoy the success. Your work will suffer and all of that extra time you put in when you weren’t looking after yourself will be wasted anyway.

Here are some of the main signs that you’re heading for burn-out and what you can do about it.

* Feeling tired and lethargic all of the time. This is a sure sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep, but also that you aren’t feeding your body the right things. You need nutritional food to get you through the day, so make sure you are eating small meals regularly throughout the day.  Five or six small meals are much better than one or two large meals. Make sure you are getting enough fruit and vegetables and if you can’t include more in your diet, take some multi-vitamins. Getting enough sleep is also extremely important. Every person needs a different amount of sleep to stay healthy, so I’m not going to tell you how many hours sleep you should have. Experiment with different amounts and see what works for you. For me, 6-7 hours’ sleep is ideal, but whatever your number, be sure you make sleep a priority. It should be just as important as that meeting you have scheduled. Get sleep in your diary!

* You get frequent headaches. This is one of my main symptoms of dehydration and is a tell-tale sign you’re not drinking enough. As with sleep, everyone needs a different amount of water to be fully hydrated, so there is no magic number. Try keeping a bottle of water with you at all times and sip from it consistently throughout the day.

* Forgetting things on a regular basis. Being forgetful and frazzled means your brain isn’t focusing properly and that is a major sign you are heading for burn-out. Take regular breaks, get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. Taking a couple of days’ off work will do you the world of good and could be the difference between you coming back fighting strong or having a melt-down.

* Getting emotional or your mood shifting rapidly. Another major sign that you’re on the path to burn-out. My top tip for this would be to take a relaxing break. Try a warm bath with aromatherapy oils and a good book or relaxing music, then get plenty of sleep. A good remedy for this is a long walk. Try going for a walk a few times a week and your mood should level out.

Obviously, if any of these symptoms persist for more than a week or two, you should consult a doctor. These remedies are only suggestions to help you avoid burn-out and are in no way medical advice.

My best tip for avoiding the road to burn-out altogether is to plan effectively. If you plan your days in advance and keep your to-do list short and sweet, you are much less likely to get stressed or be worrying about deadlines.

Do you have any tips for avoiding burn-out? Let me know! You can leave a comment here, drop me an email, or tell me telepathically.

 

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How to Get Motivated & Be Insanely Productive

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It’s not always easy to get motivated, especially in the morning.  It’s coming to that time of the year when mornings are dark, damp and cold, and some days it’s a struggle to get out of bed.  All you want to do is curl up on the sofa and binge-watch Gossip Girl.

It can also be hard getting motivated to start a new project or do something that’s out of your comfort zone.  The most common reaction to fear is to procrastinate.  This is why I’ve compiled some of my top tips to get you motivated and then get you being insanely productive – using that motivation wisely.

Get Motivated:

* Read, listen or watch inspiring content at the start of your day. There are some amazingly inspirational people out there creating YouTube videos, podcasts, blog posts and books. Use them! I have a blog post here listing all of my favourite inspirational content by category. Check it out.

* Exercise in the morning. Listen, I have six children and I know that most people can’t fit in an hour gym session every morning… but anything is better than nothing. Do squats while you’re brushing your teeth, do as many star jumps as you can while the kettle is boiling, or stretch those calves in the shower. You’ll be surprised at the difference small but often bursts of exercise can make.

* Practice gratitude. Every day, write three things in your journal that you are grateful for.

* Visualisation. Spend at least a couple of minutes every morning visualising your dream life. What are you working towards? Actually feel yourself living that life and engage all of your senses – what does it look/smell/taste/sound/feel like?

* Review your goals and achievements. Looking back on a month and seeing how much you have achieved is the best way to get motivated. It doesn’t matter how small the achievement is… Write it down!

 

Get insanely productive and slay those goals:

* Plan your day the night before. If you wake up knowing exactly what you need to do, and in what order, you are much more likely to get them done.

* Keep your to-do list small. Try and give yourself a ‘top three’. Three things that you want to achieve that day – and if you achieve them, you can consider your day a productive one. Having a to-do list that’s never ending is one of the biggest causes of procrastination. You feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I have a blog post here all about creating your ‘top three’.

* Do the hardest or most uncomfortable tasks first. It’s very tempting to do all of the tasks you enjoy doing first and the hard ones get put off until another day. If you tackle those difficult tasks first, you are more likely to get through them because you are building up to the ones you enjoy.

* Reward yourself! Completed a goal? Treat yourself to a chapter of your new book, an episode of your favourite show or even just a coffee break.

* Take a break. Working yourself to the bone is only going to end in burn-out. Take regular breaks throughout the day and make sure you have at least one day a week where you switch off and take some ‘me’ time. Check out my blog post Sunday is Funday for more info on self-care.

Do you have any top tips for getting motivated and being productive? Let me know! Leave a comment, drop me an email or send a carrier pigeon.

 

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Inspiration & Motivation: My Go-To Guys

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You know those days where you’re just not feeling it..? It’s tempting to crawl back under the duvet and lounge around in your onesie all day, but that’s not going to get you anywhere, is it?

Everyone needs a little extra jolt of motivation every now and again. And with that in mind, I’ve created a special post just for you. These are my go-to guys for motivation and inspiration. You can’t fail to get inspired by any one of these content creators. Enjoy!

YouTubers:

Erin Henry – The May Collective

Aileen – Lavendaire

Alexis aka MissTrenchcoat

Malena Haas

 

Podcasts:

She Means Business – Carrie Green

Style Your Mind Podcast – Cara Alwill Leyba

The Lucky Bitch Podcast – Denise Duffield-Thomas

Achieve Your Goals – Hal Elrod

 

Books:

The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod

She Means Business – Carrie Green

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sincero

You are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth – Jen Sincero

Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Discovering Self-Love and Miracles – Gabrielle Bernstein

 

Please let me know what you think of my suggestions – and tell me who your go-to guys are for motivation and inspiration.

 

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The Dream Plan Achieve Podcast

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I have exciting news… The Dream Plan Achieve Podcast is now available!  You can listen to the podcast right here on the blog, on Soundcloud, and it is now available on iTunes.  Please take a few minutes’ of your time to go and subscribe to the podcast and give us a rating.

My goal with the Dream Plan Achieve Podcast is to bring you expert advice on starting up your business, living life as a Girlboss and tips to help you become more productive in your business by creating systems and simplifying your daily tasks.

Some of the podcast episodes will be based on posts from this blog, so you can listen to the episode within the blog post, however I strongly recommend subscribing to the newsletter so that you never miss an episode.

This first episode welcomes you to the Dream Plan Achieve Podcast and tells you what to expect from the series.  Please let me know what you think – but be kind!  I’m still getting used to this podcasting malarkey…

If you have any suggestions on what type of content you would like to hear in the series, or any questions you would like me to answer in an episode, please get it touch.  You can leave a comment here, drop me an email, DM me on Instagram or send a message in a bottle.

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Sunday is Funday

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‘A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.’

I’m re-naming Sunday, Self-Care Sunday…

As female entrepreneurs, mums, workaholics, wives, girlfriends, friends, daughters we work ourselves to the bone all week. When was the last time you enjoyed a cup of coffee while it was still hot? Or had the time to slap on a face mask and paint your nails?

The thing is, if you don’t look after yourself, your business will suffer. You won’t be well enough to reach your goals, and if you do, you won’t be well enough to enjoy the success.

Whilst still working a day job, Sunday was one of the few days I had to work on my business. I would wake up early and get to work straight away because I knew I would be back at the day job on Monday morning. I was working 7 days a week – 4 at the day job and 3 on my business. I was heading for burnout.

I quickly realised that something needed to change. I cut my hours at work so I could concentrate on my business and I re-claimed Sunday. This is the day to recharge and relax ready for the week ahead.

It was only a minor change, but the effects it had on my health and well-being were amazing. I had tons more energy and I actually looked forward to work.

Try it yourself and see… Your self-care day doesn’t have to be Sunday. Choose a day that works for you, but commit to one day every week where you switch off your laptop and recharge.

My favourite ways to relax:

  • Take a hot bath
  • Read a book
  • Take the kids (or yourself) to the park
  • Have a spa day at home
  • Switch off your phone for a full day
  • Spend some time in the kitchen – try a new recipe
  • Write in your journal

What are your favourite ways to relax and recharge? Leave a comment below or drop me an email to let me know.

 

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Refresh your Content

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Is your website tired and outdated? When was the last time you changed your free opt-in’s or added new freebies to your website?

With everything else we have to do on a day-to-day basis to keep our business up and running, it’s easy to forget to update your contact details on your website, or change that link in your blog post that doesn’t work anymore, but it’s so important. Imagine how many potential clients you could lose if they are emailing the wrong address – and it’s not very professional, is it?  Keeping your website up to date and your opt-in’s and freebies relevant keeps your audience engaged and ensures that you don’t miss out on sales.

How often should we be refreshing our content? I think it depends on the business, but as a rule, I like to update my website once a month. Put it in your diary so you don’t forget. Check that all of your contact details are up to date, then check that all of your links still work (don’t forget blog posts). I wouldn’t recommend changing your opt-in every month, unless you have the time, but changing it every quarter is a good idea. Different opt-in’s will attract different people and you don’t want your audience getting bored with the same printouts year after year.

I try to link my freebies to the time of year or season. For example, for the first quarter I will put up freebies that relate to goals, new beginnings and new projects. The second quarter will be all about spring cleaning the office, making a fresh start or looking at something with fresh eyes. You get the point.

Something to try this month: Make a date in your diary to check that all of your contact details are still up to date on your website and that all of your links still work. Take a look at your freebies and opt-in’s – are they still relevant? If they haven’t been refreshed for a while, think about changing them and creating some fresh ones.

 

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Change your Strategy

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‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’  Albert Einstein.

Do you feel like you’re stuck, frustrated at the amount of work you are putting in but not getting anywhere? I totally know how you feel. Everyone gets stuck at some point. You lose clarity and focus of what you want to achieve and don’t know where to go next.

The importance is what you do once you get stuck. Persistence is key, but doing the same thing over and over again isn’t going to change the result, is it?

The best way to get out of a rut is to step back and see the bigger picture. Try something you haven’t tried before. Take a risk.

Here are three simple ways you can step back and get a bird’s eye view:

* Take a break – even if it’s just for a few hours, and come back refreshed
* Change your strategy – mix it up every once in a while. If something isn’t working, think outside the box
* Ask a friend/colleague – a different viewpoint will give you a new outlook on the situation and they could pick up on something you’ve missed.

Changing the way you are doing something doesn’t mean you are giving up. It means you are working smart. Being persistent is all about consistently moving. You might not be moving forward, you can move a step back or sideways if it helps you reach your goal. The most important thing is not to give up.

Have you ever been in the situation where changing strategy helped you reach your goal? Tell me about it! Leave a comment or drop me an email.

 

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A Word on Manifestation

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I felt like I needed to write this post to clarify what manifesting really is. Some people think that manifesting works by wishing for something, then it magically appears in your life. No!

Manifesting works by training your mind, similar to cognitive behavioural therapy. You concentrate on the things you want in your life, or the things you want to happen, and it trains your brain to recognise these things, or opportunities to gain these things in real life.

Let me give you an example. You want to manifest more money in your life. You listen to money mantras every morning and every night. You create vision boards of what your life will look like with more money. You meditate and envision yourself with a healthy bank balance. You won’t all of a sudden wake up one morning to find that your bank balance has magically increased.

What will actually happen, is that you will be training your brain to recognise the money you already have in your life, and be more thankful for it. You will be more aware of money-making opportunities and be more likely to respond to those opportunities.

This is how manifesting really works. Think about it – if you ask your friend to concentrate on the colour red, they will notice the colour red throughout the day in places they have never noticed it before. Try it and see.

Manifesting actually works – just not in the way you think it does. Nothing worth having comes easily… You have to be open to opportunity and willing to take action when the time comes.

Leave me a comment below and tell me what you are manifesting in your life right now. How is it going for you?

 

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