As a long-term fan of journaling as a way to improve wellbeing, I was intrigued to read the BBC report that antidepressants have been proven to work in a trial of 116,477 people against a placebo. The report (which was published earlier in 2018) goes onto say that more people would benefit from taking the drugs.
I carried on reading with trepidation. What else would this report conclude I wondered?
At the beginning of this year, I was told that I had osteoporosis, I’ve become acutely aware of the drug pushers (natural and pharma) who peddle their wares to stop this disease. What has been heartbreaking for me is the utter confusion, overwhelm and despair I have seen in the forums. People are beyond hope. They have tried the drugs, and their bodies continue to fail. Not all bodies but enough to scare me. And that’s the point people are trying things, without an assessment and overall plan.
We need to find the root cause and journaling can support that.
In this case, I’ve read reports from some of the medical profession who do not like that people are taking matters into their own hands and are looking at more natural methods.
I keep reading that osteoporosis cannot be cured and this makes me angry because you are already setting people up for failure. We need hope, not despair at times like this.
This mentality goes across the board.
Don’t get me wrong I adore science, and the way that medicine has progressed is incredible. We are discovering amazing things every day, but are we creating a world of dependency on being fixed?
Antidepressants like the osteoporosis drugs have their place. I’ve taken Prozac, and it was a tough decision, but I felt as if I’d explored every avenue.
Depression, anxiety and smacks in the face can affect anyone.
Back in my late 40’s, I found myself in the doctor office complaining that despite the many miles I walked every day with my dog, I couldn’t breathe. He gave me space to pour out my worries.
In our discussion, we covered the past, who I was living with, what the relationship was like, work and my health.
For two years I’d struggled with sleep and had tried everything I could think of – you name it, I’d tried it. I handed over a long list of things, he laughed and then more solemnly said, it is no wonder you have anxiety given the life experiences you have had. He handed me a prescription for antidepressants, and I felt a failure.
Not long after, I began to sleep, and I felt less wound up. Inside I felt shame that I had given in. Then through journaling, it became clear that a) I wasn’t a failure and b) this was an opportunity to get on track and c) I needed a strategy for using them and an exit strategy.
It felt as is my journal had a new lease of life. Journaling has been in my life for as long as I can remember. It has saved my life on many occasions, and I saw this as something that needed urgent and special attention.
In my journaling, I became acutely aware of what I was eating and how that was making me feel. I’d started monitoring the anti-depressants and noticed a switch to focus on my heart, soul, body and diet.
Antidepressants made me feel foolish, but they kicked me into action. I enrolled in a naturopathic nutrition course and made big changes. At this time I was a BIG action taker, but not a right action taker. I took everything out of my diet, lost masses of weight – far too much, and that was not clever. However, as I took the course and learned a new way to eat, I amended my diet, and I started to feel good. Life suddenly felt brighter, and I was getting good quality sleep.
What was also apparent was that I didn’t love me and I couldn’t look in the mirror. It would be in my mid 50’s when I learned to love me and when journaling and writing a book supported me in finding myself and that long overdue self-love.
The more that I explored myself, diet and life, I could see how I had become so wound up, and the relationship I was in was not supporting me. But I felt trapped, so I stayed. To support me I worked with a cranial osteopath, and she helped me to unwind my system. As she treated me, my writing flowed and so did my body. After a while, I was able to start the planned exit strategy.
All was well until…
Sometime later, we moved in my husband’s almost 90-year old mother who had dementia. It was hard living with a bully and a woman who hated me. I reached for the anti-depressants again. I couldn’t cope, he couldn’t care less, and I wanted to be coshed. I hated my life.
One Christmas we took his mum to Spain, or I should say I got the job of taking an old woman with dementia and poor toilet habits in a wheelchair on an aeroplane. I coped because that’s what I do. To make matters worse, my house was not suitable for her. I wanted to kill myself. I figured I was already dead inside and who would care.
One night I knew it was the end, I Googled how to kill yourself painlessly. That scared me. Instead, I found myself staring at a journal and I wrote as if my life depended on it. Sense prevailed. I still felt hollow, but now I could see a bit more clearly.
After her death, I weaned myself off and tried to get back to some normality.
Something came out of the writing; it was like I was divinely nudged. I headed to the doctors to discover that all along the reason I wasn’t sleeping was that I’d had an overactive thyroid and through dietary changes, I had resolved it.
Thank you diet and journaling.
Looking back through the journals I could see how I’d become controlled and how unknown, unresolved health and lifestyle issues had eroded my ability to fully function.
I left the husband a few years ago now. Life has been quite tough on my own, but with each challenge, I’ve used two primary tools, lifestyle changes and journaling.
In 2016 I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid again. I’d taken my eye off the ball, but due to my good diet, I wasn’t feeling the effects. I’d just got a message through my journaling to get a well woman check up – so I obeyed the great pen.
When in 2018 I suffered compression fractures (and a lot of pain) which led to a discovery of osteoporosis I leant into my journal and reached out for help. I’ve changed my diet and lifestyle again, and yes you guessed it, I have a dedicated journal for this journey. This is the subject of my next book – Healing Osteoporosis Naturally.
The root cause of my osteoporosis it transpired was bizarre. A trauma to the ribs kicked off a shingles attack. This raised prolactin which lowered dopamine, estrogen and serotonin. No motivation and thrown into the depths of despair is how I would describe where I found myself. Journaling once again saved my life.
I won’t be reaching for antidepressants and believe you me; I feel angry that I have this. I could use drugs to take away these feelings, but I know that although they are great for temporary support (other peoples may experience vary), I can deal with this through diet, meditation, exercise and journaling. I believe that I have the power to create personal change. I love myself enough to make the requisite changes, however tough they may be.
I also feel angry that I am being pushed through the sausage factory approach to osteoporosis. But I will not be driven by medical research that while amazing I believe does not wholly serve me right now. The statistics and methodologies are not always based in reality and wholeness.
The BBC report goes on to show that there is compelling evidence. Every drug has persuasive proof until it is withdrawn because it causes more deaths or illnesses, doesn’t it? Or is that me being cynical?
This compelling evidence means that doctors can prescribe the right drug because at least 1million other people could benefit. Ka-ching! You do the numbers. Or is that me being cynical again?
Of course, they conclude anti-depressants shouldn’t be the first form of treatment; they should consider other psychological therapies.
We are missing the point, aren’t we?
We are not just our minds, we are bodies and souls and couldn’t a more holistic approach be considered? One that combines science with natural methods?
Diet, lifestyle, exercise, meditation, visualisation, asking for help, learning to love yourself and understanding how you got to this point so that you can move through it with things like journaling. These are what I consider to be a better way – a harder way, possibly, but in the longer term a way that works for me.
Of course, we want to be fixed. I want my spine to be mended. However, I want to do it in the way described above, and I am willing with every fibre of my body to do it. Yes, I am taking supplements, alongside dietary changes under advisement from a naturopathic nutritionist. I know that these too are drugs in the wrong hands, but I will not take prescription drugs unless I have explored every other avenue and they are my last hope.
I am not against anti-depressants or any other drug, but what I’d like to see, as I have said is a holistic approach, so that they are used as a temporary intervention. I know it’s hard to change diet and lifestyle. However, it can be exciting as you explore new ways of being.
I am constantly exploring new recipes; yesterday I made a healthy banana bread using only things I can eat
The body is incredible, and it can heal – if you support it and believe that it can.
I started a new journal as soon as this latest thing happened. Why? I knew that I was in for an adventure and that I would discover more about me. I knew that what I learned as I went along would help others. This is what you can do. Use your journaling to find you, get clarity and use it to store your feelings, action and wisdom.
Your story could help save someone else’s life. Think about that. Imagine what it would be like to inspire someone else to embrace change?
You may not feel like it now. You may be at your
Journaling and writing is a journey with your soul; writing can help you to heal. Everyone who writes at some level moves on. Your pen has a deep connection with you and if you allow the words to flow you will discover alchemy.
Writing in a journal can help you to escape and face this passage into a new life and the next part of your soul’s journey.
Start today, get a journal, get lots of journals and put them beside your bed. Journal when you go to bed and when you wake up. You don’t have to write reams, just let it come as it wants to.
Let me leave you with some final thoughts. We are in this together; please look around you, one of your friends could be where I was. You might be there now. Please reach out, lend an ear and give them the gift of a journal.
If you have a story that you need to tell and a book you want to write, please do connect with me and lets chat.
Stop for a moment and ask where is my now? Writing to heal starts with a reflection of where you are now, not where you have been, although we will get to that.
The birds are singing, Ferdy dog is by my side, the girls are outside, my computer whirrs, my head feels fuzzy and my spine aches.
This isn’t where I am, or at least it is physically, it’s not where I am emotionally or spiritually. This is the dot that I exist in the vast Universe without connection to anything.
Close your eyes. Where are you now?
You can probably still hear sounds. What if you were to extend your listening further? I am 40 minutes from the motorway, I can’t hear it, yet I can – in my imagination.
It’s dark isn’t when you close your eyes? Dark and strangely peaceful, as if nothing else exists.
Do you find your mind wandering or perhaps you are travelling around your body, enquiring about your aches and pains? Perhaps what calls you for your day ahead? Or maybe the things that have been causing you consternation are zigzagging through the inner peace that you desire?
When we start a writing to heal journey, this is to my mind one of the simplest and most powerful questions – where is my now?
My now is days of pain both emotional and physical as I work to heal my body. I cry often, but not for long as a curious doggy nuzzles me and demands a biscuit or a walk and then my mood changes and their needs surpass mine. My body is healing, it is getting stronger, I can feel it and I just know.
In January 2018 my spine fractured. When I think of my now, I realise my life fractured. The foundation of me shattered. That isn’t as dramatic as it sounds, it’s not like I am jelly on the floor and have to slither to my nearest dark chocolate bar. More of a questioning about every part of who I am and how I got here.
I’m a researcher, a questioner and often an annoying git because I want to know how things work. If this happens, then what happens next and why would that happen if you did this?
Currently, I am writing a book You, me and osteoporosis and as I start to write what I think is a simple chapter, I invariably end up with more enquiries than answers. Luckily, through my writing to heal experiences I have learned to ask, write and then reflect.
I know that once I ‘put it out there’ the answers will come. Everything will fall into place and make sense.
And if it doesn’t, well does it really matter in the scheme of things? The answer to that is – it depends…
Everyone’s perception of time is different. Use this exercise to put your journaling and writing into a timeframe and into context, so that when you reflect you are able to consider more clearly how events that surround your life are affecting you and how things fit together.
Your now will have been triggered by an event, this may be an event that happened a year, a month, a week, a day, or even just an hour ago.
I find it best to get comfortable, relax and to let my mind wander (connect to your muse) as I ask each question. It may be that you need to run through the list of questions, then go and do something else and come back to write and reflect.
Write quickly, briefly, and write unconsciously. Leave this for a few days and come back to reflect. What do you learn in this writing to heal journey?
Exploring who you are with words is my gift. No matter where you are or what is going on, having a sounding board can support you and your wellbeing. Writing is healing, it brings clarity and purpose. You may start journaling, end up writing a book and changing the world – how cool is that? Please connect with me, chatting costs nothing and it could bring a smile to your face.
Memories can be healing, revealing, scary, upsetting, fun and a whole lot of emotions in-between. Every experience creates a memory in the library of your soul. When you come to write a memoir and walk into that vast room, you may not know where or how to start. Personally, I think that when you start the journey into memoir the most important thing is that you allow. What I mean by that is you allow yourself to wander through the library and enjoy the process of connecting your memories with new eyes. Also allowing whatever needs to arise in the moment.
Often I am confronted with something that triggers a memory, it seems at first disconnected to the memoir, personal story, book or blog that I am writing. And then just like that, it starts to make sense. In that sense making process, I believe that we can create a sense of freedom.
Everything starts from within. Our beliefs about something seem so deeply ingrained, yet when we explore with new eyes and open our hearts to the message that lies beneath we start to liberate ourselves from self-imposed tyranny.
Now I am not saying you will be jumping for joy when you are reminded of events. You may be happy and equally, you may cry. The important thing is that you allow, acknowledge, accept and then take some small action.
Let me give you an example.
Last night I went to a party, nothing unusual in that, it was New Year’s Eve and a time when people like to get together and see in the New Year. Of course, some don’t, preferring the peace of a roaring fire and perhaps dinner and a film.
The music played, people danced, and the DJ opened her deck so that anyone could request a personal song. There were some songs that I wanted to lose myself in, taking me back to a time when I too would have been on the floor dancing all night.
Two years ago I sustained an injury and stuff like dancing hurts and so to protect myself I don’t. But then a very curious thing happened.
Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs and Woolly Bully came on. And that was it.
Suddenly I was transported back in time to my parent’s parties. I wanted to dance. I asked a friend who wrinkled her nose at my suggestion, and then I was surprised by another friend who I’d thought wasn’t into dancing coming on to the empty dance floor with me. It was wonderful. I wasn’t at this party, I was back as a child twisting and laughing to the music.
When we sat down I told him the story of mum and dad’s parties and how this song made me feel. The conversation meandered into how I’d loved to dance and enjoyed the parties on the RAF camp where we lived. I explained how when the guys I’d danced with discovered who my dad was they freaked. I’d never really understood why. Dad was as far as we knew ‘just’ a fireman.
My tale veered off to a discovery I made last year. I had posted a picture of dad on Facebook. Someone privately messaged me about my dad being a rock ape. Firstly I had no idea what a rock ape was and secondly, I (or mum) hadn’t known he was in the RAF Regiment. When mum and I first discovered this we pondered about how little we had known about my dad. Who was this mysterious man who scared my potential suitors away and who might not have been just a fireman?
This morning when out walking this all came flooding back, only now there were other connections popping up.
So let me explain.
Today I start to edit my book Rude Awakenings. It opens with my first awakening – discovering that my then husband was and had been for all of our relationship living a double life. How little I knew about who he really was.
The song last night triggered off thoughts of my childhood and the discovery that potentially my dad was not who he seemed either. My ex-husband was not who he seemed and in my journey which I share in my book, I was looking for the ‘real’ me.
I am reminded that when I edit I must look beneath the stories and memories that make this memoir and to let whatever arises. It seems to me as we enter a new year and full moon, that this is another call from my soul to release more.
You may think you are just writing a memoir, but in effect as you work on your book you are creating a pathway to inner freedom.
For you to ponder…
We always come back to the core message. A memoir is not just a story, there is a learning point or points in every chapter, which comes back to the core message.
In Rude Awakenings I am on a journey to self-love and self-discovery, this is my books core message. However, as a writing coach, the bigger message for me is to inspire you to have the courage to write your book.
When you think about your core message as you write and edit, what else can you learn about you? Are there any fragments that you still need to let go of?
No matter how you feel about your story right now, there will always be something that pops up to remind you to take note. What are those things? Your reader will probably experience stirrings of emotions as they read – what might they be? Our experiences may be similar but how we process them is often different and we each need to find our way. Just take a moment to consider how your reader will feel as they read your book?
Writing has always been my saviour. When we step beyond the thinking mind and allow whatever needs to arise come forth then I believe we can find freedom.
Freedom comes from inside. When we allow ourselves to write without limitations, we are telling our souls that its ok for it all to be laid bare. In becoming a witness we can learn so much about who we are.
I say write for freedom and edit for your reader. What I mean is write the memories, flow through and with them. Take the time to explore and adventure with what comes up. When you come to edit, you will know what is for you and what is for your reader.
My invitation today is to ask you to reflect on yesterday. What conversations did you have, where do those thoughts take you? Use the full moon to let go of limitations around writing your memoir.
It’s a new year, a new chapter, and if you could give yourself the freedom to write your memoir, what would it be called?
I feel that I am in a rut. It’s not a well-worn groove and I’m certainly not in the groove, or at least it doesn’t feel that way. I feel tired, weary to my bones and I know that to get out of my rut I need to write.
It is deeper than that. This rut is a line in the sand, something has to change and the only person who can do this is me and the time to do it is now.
Last Friday evening the choice on TV was Sport Relief or Football. Neither stirred me and instead I subscribed to Netflix. It occurred to me that in the past I had gorged myself on Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad and indeed one period of my life was highlighted with Soprano Sundays. When I wondered had I lost this urge to indulge in the life of a TV box set? To allow me the pleasure of doing nothing.
I chose Cable Girls (Las Chicas Del Cable), a Spanish series full of love and betrayal. That was it, once I’d watched one I wanted more and given that I didn’t have a diary full of dates, dancing and bands, I indulged.
12.30 and moving into the early hours of Sunday and I decided it was time for bed. I’d seen enough for one day. My emotions caught me unawares and I burst into tears. Looking at the ceiling, for where else do you find God, The Universe, Spirit or some Higher Power, I cried out ‘I’ve had enough, I have had a shit life and it ends here.’
The following morning I realised that I was well and truly in a rut, a downward spiral of sadness as I tried to process my life.
Earlier in the week, I’d been journaling and from the depths of my soul, she whispered trust and betrayal. Just when you think this is it, I’ve sorted my stuff out, something else comes up. What next I ask with a smile? Why do they leave the darkest tar to last? Is the hardest stuff left towards the end so that you have more resources to deal with it?
The program was a reminder of how destructive trust and betrayal can be and this sadness didn’t leave me all weekend. Especially as after I’d gorged myself on one box series I found Reign which went on to cover the same issues love and betrayal but in an altogether different setting.
My rut has set in because I am a little immobilised by spinal fractures and pain. I have to heal and healing takes time and I admit to being a tad impatient. Dealing daily with pain is no fun. Yet I do not wallow in it. As I lie in bed I do exercises, when I get up I do exercises and I keep moving so that my body doesn’t grind to a halt.
My diet is of utmost importance, but I am tired of eating well, sick of green at every meal and I want to break free. Only I can do that. Only I have the power and the gumption to change what I eat and more importantly my life.
Patience they say is a virtue. Well, right now you can shove virtue where the sun doesn’t shine. I’ve had enough of waiting. Yet even as I write that, I know and I am smiling that I need this virtue to heal. It would be foolhardy to trek into the hills and risk a fall.
Risk a fall. It seems that all I have ever done is fall, but falling and fracturing again in this healing phase is not a clever move and so I look instead for reduced risk options, that still give me some semblance of normality. Normality within four walls is so hard for a person like me. This is a tough lesson. The truth is I don’t have four walls, my house is full of quirky rooms and I can move from space to space as I need. But still, I am caught in a brick box that does not seem ready to release me just yet.
Over the weekend I realised that I hadn’t written any words for my book. Instead, I journaled as I usually do. I needed to capture the essence of this breakthrough.
It is a breakthrough despite the tears and screaming at empty emotionless ceilings. In the silence, I was greeted with the stark reality that there is only one person to get me out of my rut and that is me.
Nobody is going to reach in and pull me out, because they are all in the rut that is their life.
It struck me that I needed to get back to work on my book and a course and I had to make myself. Ruts don’t divert unless we are prepared to get out of the safety of pain and trudge through the uneven ground to create a groove elsewhere.
Go and get your journal and pen, find a comfy space and write RUT in big letters in the middle of the page. The ask yourself these questions:-
Now pick an action and go and do it.
I’m off to my office to outline two chapters of my book (Osteoporosis and Me) and to write one. After which I shall start to outline a course – Write your life story – turn memories into memoir (avail May 2018).
The heavy driving winds from the last few days have dropped and I shall be out walking again this week. It’s been hard to walk with pain, but it feels time.
At the time I was writing a book about planning a book, this wasn’t just about the book plan, it covered the whole of the prospective writers personal brand plan as well. It seemed to me little point in writing a book for your business if that book wasn’t a business. Does that make sense to you?
Let me explain.
A book to me is never just a book. It is a one thing. This is where the business model canvas comes into it’s own.
It provides clarity when you start to build a business
Planning and writing a book gives you clarity of core message and process. The business model canvas lets you look at it as a business. This will as it does me spark many ideas, the big picture, as well as keeping you focused on the detail.
When you look at a book as
The whole process around a book brings together everything about your business. Think of it like a condenser and as an expander.
People often think that a book is just about creating an outline and writing it. Yes, you can JUST do that, but what if you want more from your business?
In this series of
What I love about this is quite simply the whole plan is on one sheet of paper. As a person who can write and write and write, this canvas draws me back to simplicity. When it’s simple, I know I will use it.
Let’s say you have a coaching or consulting practice. You generally do a number of marketing activities to generate business. When you have won a piece of business, you will have a process that you follow, some tools that you apply and perhaps some training or coaching that you deliver. Success is measured by something that you and the client determines from some goals you set at the outcome. And then that’s it. Job done, time to move on. But what if you could deliver more value?
With a book in hand, you can use this now as:-
These are a few ideas, there are many more depending on the nature of your business and your dreams.
There is little point writing a book and planning all of this other stuff around it, if it doesn’t fit with your passion and where you want to go with it.
If you take me for example, my passion is around enabling people to find their voice, creating
At the point of writing this
This book is a fantastic ‘product’ for me to also demonstrate how to live and write a book like this. It has been my hardest book to date. What an eye opener and that’s all I will say on the subject. However, this learning has given me new insight into my business and that can only be good for you, right?
My hope is that you can see how a book will benefit your business in ways you may have never considered. If it daunts you, you could plan and write the book from other products and services you have – as they say – there is more than one way to skin a cat (as an animal lover this makes me squirm…).
Your mission should you choose to take it is to connect with me and chat about your book and strategy.
If you are not quite ready then you can take the 7 days plan your book challenge, this has been designed to enable you to clarify your book.
Writing a book? Planning your book? Written your book and done nothing with it? Couldn’t care less about writing a book, but someone said you should? It doesn’t matter what it is there are a number of common mistakes that some writers make which means that their books never see the light of day, or if they do, no one knows about them and worse still they never make the money they deserve.
Writing a book is hard work and while you are going through the process you need to be considering your marketing and product road map.
Here goes and in no particular order, stuff to think about when writing a book.
In this article, I talk about conscious planning and getting connected to your inner planner. The first mistake is that you do not know how you like to plan, what keeps you motivated and how to plan your book.
Want a book plan? Yes, all you do have to part with your email address, however, it will be worth it.
I make writing one of the first things I do each day. My fully charged computer is by the side of my bed and in the morning with a cuppa, I write. My timer is set and when my time is up, I get on with breakfast, walking the dogs and planning my day. When I write at other times, I put on focus@will set it for 60 minutes, at the end of the time, I go for a walk to refresh my brain cells. What works is when you write first thing, then it is done, and you have no room for procrastination.
You may be a great writer, you may be a brilliant dancer, but at some part of your book journey
Please do not design your own cover unless you are a designer. One member of a 10 week program I ran, had her husband take a photo of her naked and then pixelate it, followed by some dreadful typography. She wondered why no one in the group rated it. It was dreadful. She would not listen. She also refused to engage with a proof reader, again believing herself to be far superior. These are two very common mistakes. If you nothing else, get a cover designed for you and always use a proof reader. I can’t promise that every one will love your cover, why should they? Nor can I promise that there will not be any mistakes in your copy. Choose you proof reader wisely as that too can be fraught with problems.
Now, of course, I’d say this as this, wouldn’t I. Not everyone needs to be held accountable or to have
Family time is incredibly important, however, for a period of time, you might want some extra space for writing. Instead of screaming at them for interrupting you, include them in our dreams. Ask (or tell) for time. Read your work to them and ask for feedback. Put an amusing notice on the door of your writing space that lets everyone know this is your time.
Mindset plays such a big of any project, not just writing. If you don’t get yours ‘right’ then chances are you will continue to procrastinate.
Watch this funny video from Tim Urban who explains it far better than I
This doesn’t mean that you mount a huge plan and shove your book in everyone’s face every day. Very subtly you can be letting people know about your book journey.
Ask for case studies, answers to questions, share your book cover ideas, share some of your writing and ask for feedback, ask about titles, blog about it, ask for cover designers and
Also, have a well-considered plan that launches and continues to promote your book. Test and tweak. Review what
Many writers tell me that it’s a pain to have to market their book, why should they, surely their role is to write.
When someone is prepared to work with me (or their marketing team) to support their plans, it happens. Marketing happens when you plan and take action, but you knew that anyway, didn’t you?
A book is never just a book, it is part of your personal brand toolkit. In your toolkit, you could have coaching around your methodology, online courses, a radio show, a Facebook Group, retreats, workshops, a YouTube channel.
Plan these as you are writing your book. One of the best times to plan your course is as you write your book. As you are outlining your book, create a set of PowerPoint slides at the same time.
I have a series of videos for my book Healing Osteoporosis Naturally which enable me to do just that. Each time I make a video I make slides for the course that will come after publication. This means I can sort out all of my glitches as I go along.
You may never record straight from your slides, preferring headshots, however they can become your script, content for slide share, and e-book giveaway.
If you have a workshop that is going to become your book, review and update your workshop at the same time and consider – what else can I create from this. Think outside of your book.
Start developing your product road map now.
The shocking truth as Adam Rowe writing for Forbes points out is that while the traditional publishing industry is flourishing ‘The Publishers Association recently found the UK publishing industry’s £5.7 billion in book sales income to be up 5% over the year prior.’ Authors earnings have dipped by 42% over the last ten years, and that median annual income for professional authors is now below £10,500.
This tells me that we as writers and authors have to find other ways to generate income from our books and wisdom.
A few days ago I wrote in my diary how fed up I was and started to question my lack of self-trust and self-belief. Could I turn this around? Could I reverse osteoporosis naturally? Me? The trust issues go much deeper than can I trust my body to heal, this goes back through generations.
Trust keeps popping up to bite me on the bum and whatever your issue is will do the same for you, unless you deal with it. But how?
The first step is to identify what it is. It may be many things, or it could be one. Choose the priority. How will you know it is a priority? Well, it will come as no surprise to you that I will suggest you journal. Play with words until one bites.
When I played with my words this morning the word was once again TRUST. What fascinates me is that right now while I ‘trust’ my body to heal the spinal fractures, my dog is surrendering to healing his broken leg. He doesn’t know he can’t heal; he just trusts that I will look after him and love him and all will be well.
The last few days have seen me cry a lot. I’ve felt tense and frustrated. You would wouldn’t you, if you thought that you couldn’t support a sick animal because of your injuries and pain?
But here is the thing. I watched him this morning as we went for a little walk and already he is tentatively putting his paw on the ground. When I saw that I was inspired by how he trusted that it would be ok. Plus he trusts me to look after him to enable that to happen.
This is what I wrote in my diary. I am not going to write reams about how I arrived at this, but know it’s been a lifetime of not setting boundaries among other things.
Trust. I don’t trust men to support me without an agenda. I think that it’s not just men and before I set boundaries around other people, it was not trusting people to respect me and allowing them to devalue me. Also, with all of the physical pain, I am trying hard to trust my body to heal.
Every day since this journey has started I have been writing positive affirmations in my journal. Not once have I used don’t, less or not. What do I mean by this? I could have written that I am frightened and the opposite is I am not frightened, rather than I am courageous. I feel full of fear and might have written I am fearless. It means the same.
Have a play with the self-belief that you think are holding you back and write the opposite using better more productive language. Pick one to work on and repeat to yourself like a mantra for the day.
I trust that my body knows how to heal and has all of the resources it needs
I trust others to support me without an agenda
I trust that I will always be surrounded by loving and supportive people
I trust that I will always have all the resources I need for life
I have lots of support from family and friends, and it has amazed me how I am surrounded by such love. All I had to do was ask. 🙂
We know the power of visualisation and stating things in the now. What you now need to do is create a new self-belief as if it were already true. Again watching your language and not use words like in the future or I am going to.
In my new version of life, being surrounded by only those people for whom we had mutual love and respect. I am in a loving fun relationship with a partner. The only connections I have are with those that feed my soul and I theirs.
My body is strong and healthy. It supports me and will continue to do so until my time is done. I have lots of energy, and I know when to take time out to refresh my soul.
I am working with courageous people who have an inspiring message for the world.
Take a few moments to think what it would mean to you and for others when this is true.
For me: I am more at peace with myself. Great health means that I enjoy life and have the energy to do things that are meaningful to me. It means that I know that I have all of the tools and resources to be able to achieve anything.
For others: It brings us closer together. I can show how anything is possible. I allow other space and give them support for doing it their way. I can receive, and I am open to their love which means that they feel appreciated.
For the world: It shows what is possible. It inspires others to know that they can also overcome anything.
And finally, I wrote.
My gift is to inspire others to take control, find themselves and to have the courage to share their story so that they can inspire others.
The language of more is exciting because we tend to use the same kinds of words and phrases and not noticing what they are saying to us. This is where journaling can support you. Once you see it in black and white, it is so apparent. Go to your journal and highlight the language you want to change.
This takes my journaling further because it all comes back to your core message and to do that we have to move into our source of wisdom and love. We have to open up the spaces that hurt and allow healing to begin.
I hope that this inspires you to take a closer look at what is niggling you and that you find the courage to spill the beans into your journal. It won’t tell anyone, and this learning may lead you to write a book about your experiences.
July is always a special month for me. There are three family birthdays. Today my mum is 80, my dad would have been 81 on the 5th and I am sure he is lurking somewhere sharing our fun. Then there is my brother’s birthday on the 24th.
On Saturday evening I walked mum up to a local restaurant for her and I to share her birthday. Unbeknownst to her my brother was waiting at the table. It was very funny watching her face change from confusion to delight. These are moments to be treasured.
It’s month seven (of course it is…) and as we fall into the latter half of the year a time (for me) of reflection, but also a time of stirring. I can feel a desire to move forward again after stagnation. It wasn’t really stagnation, it was more moving inwards and being still while I healed my body and let my soul speak to me of desires, wishes and dreams.
I invite you to reflect on the last six months with seven wonderful things that have happened to you. If nothing feels that great reframe and look at your life’s events with a different eye. Witness your growth. There is always something to be thankful for.
Let’s kick July off with these writing prompts. Writing prompts are a great way to think about where you are and where you would like to go. Do you have a planner? Or do you perhaps set intentions for the month?
Julys intentions will put some reflection into your writing. Reflection always allows me to find something new as I make space for whatever needs to, rise up.
July is the 7th month and brings in the power of seven.
This month the theme is REFLECT. What do you need to reflect on? Whatever it is, ask with an intention which resonates with you. For me, my focus this month is beginning to reflect on how far I have come in my healing this year.
That’s it, July is the month for reflection and joy. Write often, enjoy the month and remember to spoil you every day.
If you’d love more of this writing stuff, if you have things you want to get out of you, find your writers voice and maybe even write a book, connect with me.
Getting connected to your inner planner means that you will understand why your strategy is working or not. Consider this… If you like fresh, new and exciting why would you add a year-long business club to your product portfolio? If you do, you may find that after a while you are bored and not able to deliver what you promised your clients.
Instead by understanding your inner planner you may find that running a series of short programs excite and motivate you more. Which means you will love what you do and deliver great value to your clients.
If you consider how conscious planning fits into your life and business and get connected to your inner planner, then you will know what to effectively focus on. The first thing to consider is that planning isn’t an extension of the past. Yes we can learn from the past, and that feedback can be relevant and useful, however, we want to focus on who we are in the now and what we want.
Not what we think we want, more the deep down scary thing we desire with all of our hearts and souls.
I get that achieving your big scary hairy thing right now might not be appropriate. You may, for example, have a job which pays the bills while your heart is in an entrepreneurial business venture. That’s ok because at least you know what you want and you can lay the foundations. You can plan for it. You may want to build an build an online course, retreat and coaching process after exploring options.
The other scenario could be that you have a vague idea of what you want, something is pulling at you; something is lurking in your subconscious. That’s ok too because you can explore and experiment and use that feedback to feed into your plan.
There is never one size fits all, and there is not one way of planning. There is your way, as I have discovered. The more I analyse how I do things, and I mean in an honest way, the more I scare myself with what I discover. That is, scare me in a good way. The realisation of why, what and how I honestly do things and owning that is powerful. It also means that when I am aware, awake and alive to me and my stuff, I can accept my flaws and take action to change and to make conscious decisions. Do I stay doing what doesn’t work or do I get off my backside and change my habits and rethink my strategy?
So what do you think I am going to do? Damn right – change!
First. let’s consider what a plan is:-
Let’s pull that apart – a drawing. Mmmm I like that. As a mostly visual person, I like to see a picture of what my plan is.
Intended as in intention. Once I have my drawing I can set my intention about what I do with it. Yep, I like that too.
Next, think about conscious.
Together then I am looking at creating a drawing, from which I will set some intentions to take actions of which I am fully awake and aware of. Plus, I am going to tap into a knowing to enable me to make decisions about this plan. So far so good.
When I consider what my technology looked like when I entered the IT industry in 1981 to what I have today, I can see the rate of change has been immense. Will that continue? I don’t know, but technology plays an important part in how we all work today. It can seem that to get what we want we have to embrace all of this ‘stuff’. We don’t. There are some tools that will work for us and some that would be nice to have and others that are complete time wasters. Pick your technology wisely and don’t rely on it, as I have learned to my cost.
What about the resources that Mother Earth has taken millions of years to create? It appears that humans can deplete them in what seems a nanosecond. What then? Our conscious planning must then take into account the environment that we find ourselves in and the available resources. What can we do to ensure no harm when we develop our plans? That is no harm to all and the environment.
People change. The way that people buy is changing, or at least I’ve noticed how I feel about sales techniques changing. With social media comes a clumsiness and I often feel bombarded with crass messaging and approaches. Sometimes I think I must be overly sensitive. Many approaches appear to still be fear-based marketing and formulaic, and yes you need a process and a map, but it doesn’t need to be automated to death and lifeless.
What I see and I guess that is because of the kinds of people I surround myself with is, the rapid change to people wanting a deeper more personal connection, they want to feel the pull of someone’s energy rather than have products and services pushed at them.
What do you notice about how you feel when you are being sold to?
That will tell you about how your inner planner needs to develop your sales and marketing strategy.
Many businesses have their eye on a cause and include something cause related in their planning model. Cause can also mean purpose, your big why in this world.
My cause is being heard, especially around healing. In January 2018 my spine fractured and I was poured into a sausage factory and I was not listened to. I fought to find the root cause of my osteoporosis and from there I knew that I had to help other people heal naturally. My inner planner knows how to develop and deliver my message around this cause.
As we consider these aspects then how about considering how these impact your approach to planning and the impact your plan and actions have on the people around you and globally?
Remember you do not have a crystal ball, and although you have a vision and a plan, things can change. Be prepared in the best way that you can.
I use a tool for my clients called what kind of planner are you. It provides insights for both of us when working out how to get the best out of our relationship. Naturally, I also become a witness to them and soon learn how to support them. However, it’s one thing being good at spotting how others plan and another understanding how I plan. You will probably have discovered the same.
I have a pattern to how I plan and there are areas I struggle with. In becoming more conscious of this, I have been able to put actions into place that excites me. We all have patterns, typical ways of doing things.
To be more productive and effective, we need to understand ourselves and the habits or patterns we have formed.
It is vital that when you begin to plan you understand your preferences, as this will help you not only to get started, but also to finish.
How we think, feels like a ‘natural’ part of us. You may be unaware of these non-conscious patterns until you learn to recognise them. Become a witness, and you will soon learn to identify them through your language and behaviour. This is often why projects fail – people simply do not know why they may become overwhelmed or lose interest or motivation. It’s all down to your preferences.
Having a preference for a particular pattern of behaviour can be very beneficial when that pattern is useful in a particular context. On the other hand, you might find it difficult to adapt your behaviour, even when that way of doing something could be more beneficial.
Consider how being more flexible with your thinking and behaviour may lead to more productive outcomes.
There are many types of planner. You may recognise yourself in some of these descriptions. I would invite you to take a good look at how you plan, consider what excites you, where you usually stop or pause and why, what keeps you motivated, what overwhelms you or what makes you want to not plan at all.
The type that loves post-it notes and big rolls of brown paper or expanses of white walls to put post-its on.
Slow it down. Take time to reflect, but not much, organise around three core projects (this reduces overwhelm), reflect, craft a strategy for each and keep everything in achievable chunks. Look for connecting patterns in your three core projects. Go back to your wall quarterly (or monthly if you must) and do a refresher based on what happened and what you learned. This will keep your excitement and motivation high. Take one project at a time and apply detail. Yes, ouch detail…
Not necessarily a fan of the big picture. You use planning tools and like to know what is happening now. You like to see your whole day planned out to within an inch of its life. You may be a daily, weekly or a monthly detail person. Whichever you are everything in your life and business is planned out.
You might not like to see the big picture; I would still encourage a planning with your outline plan on it and review it daily, then, go to your daily planner. You can put as much detail on as is necessary for you. Maybe do this quarterly so that you don’t get big picture sickness.
You might do post-it notes, but more than likely you have a set of planning tools, and you just keep planning. You might even use planning to procrastinate. I’m going to suggest that you create a planning wall, from which you apply your planning tools, map out the big picture, apply detail and set a timer.
Break your year up into monthly chunks and then divide into quarters. Using your planner outline your strategy for each month and create links between activities, outcomes and the next month and quarter. Add in feedback loops. Step back and review. Then if you feel inclined, update your planner, and do it. Now take one thing and implement it. Feed it back into your plan. What was it like to stop planning and start doing?
Ok, so you never plan, and things rarely get finished.
Have a go at the brown paper or white wall and post it notes, then try a planning tool, and give yourself one hour at each. Then ask which did you get the most out of. Stick with that for one week and work on one thing. How did it go, what did you learn, did you get anything done? If yes, why, what worked and if no, why not. Adapt what you learn and make it work for you. Ask someone to hold you accountable and dig deep to make the relationship and what you want to achieve work.
There are many more planning types and variations on these themes. My point is that you will have a style, understand it, know you and then flex it and you so that things get done.
Regardless of what kind of a planner you are, if you can see your plan and you reflect on it each day, you will do things. How do I know? This is something that I have implemented in many businesses when I worked as a marketing consultant. While some of the team members kick and scream to start with, eventually they can see that
Every day go to your planning wall and review for 15 minutes, get deeply connected. Then you can move stuff onto your weekly and/or daily planner. Make time daily to craft a to-do list. I like to see chunks of my projects in time slots and other things I have to do as a list. I play Focus@Will for 60 minutes and then take a break. That is usually a walk in the rambla with my furry companions. This gives me time to reflect and recharge. Then it’s back home top up my water and grab a cuppa and back to my next thing.
Know how you like to plan, your preferences and how to keep yourself motivated. Sort out your back up – your accountability buddy, one that knows you and will hold you and hold you accountable. At all times check in with your inner wisdom. If it doesn’t feel right, find out why and always make conscious decisions.
If you don’t own it how can you execute it? It has to feel good and exciting, achievable and something you want to celebrate doing.
Never force yourself to follow someone else’s planning methodology. Review how others do things and learn. Find your natural way. Look at things that could do with changing and work out how so that they too become natural to you.
Keep your senses aware, awake and alive. Tap into your intuition and ask what is working and what isn’t. Your senses are designed to support you and your decision-making process and your ability to stay motivated and on track
Find your purpose, a what, a why and a cause. There is something very special about adding something to your plan where you can give back.
Set your intention to carry out your plans. Remember plans are not set in concrete, they are fluid and can change in a thrice. Set your intention to go with the flow and to change as appropriate based on feedback.
Always be a witness to what is happening to you as you execute your plan. Observe your feelings, your physiological state as you do things related to the plan. Notice what happens around you when you do things. Use observation as a feedback tool.
Put it out to the Universe. Create your plan, own it, place it in your heart and send its vibration out. Your energy and intentions need to reach the people that need what you offer the most. Notice what comes back and again use this as a feedback tool.
S – system and strategy
Create a system and startegy that works for you. Know you. Change what doesn’t work so that you create better habits. Know why your system and strategy works or doesn’t and tweak it. Systems and strategy only work, at least for me, when I know why they work. When I know why I do what I do, I can plan to ensure that I stick to it.
No, I haven’t, and the reason is that I would like to invite you first to consider your planning style we will look at conscious goal setting another day.
In corporate life, I would never have let a plan slip. My marketing plan was fundamental to how my team and I would support the sales team and the business in achieving our turnover and profit figures as well as aligning with corporate social responsibility. As a solepreneur, there is only me, and I have to wear many hats. I get overwhelmed and scared and want to run away. This is only natural. What I have learned is that without that big picture and my daily review I am lost. I use a Business Planner. What works for me is visuals, daily to do, journaling and regular reflection. I’m lucky in that I know me, warts and all, and I make myself do things because when I start I know I am going to enjoy it and I am working towards my goals and dreams. But also that I do not want to let myself down.
My accountability buddy/coach is fabulous, and I am in a support group and a mastermind. I need people to bounce off and hold me to account. Otherwise, I’d write all day interspersed with doggy walks and some cake baking. A girl needs cake for her planning review sessions.
I love to know how you plan, what works for you and what you have had to make yourself do to make your planning work.
Resistance is the refusal to comply or to accept something. Resistance is also a force and its root is to make a stand against or oppose. It is a force and often one in the depths of us that does not allow us to do something that would be good for us.
Let me explain. Things like resistance need a story.
Yesterday, I went to the doctor armed (up to the gunnels) with information about hormones and pathways and what I wanted by way of treatment following my blood tests. In January, my spine fractured and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. The pain was horrendous and I spent 16 days in bed. When I called my insurance company because of the pain and I wanted advice, they said ‘call an ambulance’. No, I replied ambulances are for sick people. But looking back, following a visit to my doctor yesterday I realise I was resisting something.
When all of this happened, I saw a ‘specialist’ who refused to listen to me and my concerns, she simply prescribed drugs for the osteoporosis and sent me away. The prescription went in the bin. I was not going to take them and I certainly was not going to work with someone who did not respect me enough to hear me.
When I was able to drive myself I headed back to my normal doctor. He is an hour away, but worth the drive. He listened to me and ordered some extra blood tests.
When they came back we discussed them, I offered my solution. He said if I only had a DHEA/estradiol problem then yes I could do what I wanted. but as I have high prolactin I had to go and see an endocrinologist.
But I don’t want to I heard my inner voice protest. He could see it on my face.
‘How do you feel right now? ‘
‘I feel good.’
‘There is only now.’ he continued. ‘Everyone wants the future.’
I laughed, ‘But the future doesn’t exist, time is fluid.’I replied
‘You must go.’ Conversation over.
I walked away and over my hours drive home I pondered, what am I resisting and why. I journaled.
1. I want an answer now – impatience
2. I want to do it my way – control
3. It’s a waste of the health companies money – I am not worth it
4. What will they find? Lack of control and fear
Are yours the same four resistance ‘things’? Or do you have something else that comes up for you?
When I woke this morning, I knew that no matter what I am living this life in my way, by my rules. I am going to do things, I am going to live. I am worth it.
I’ve just bought tickets to see Texas, also going to see Human League and looking at the ballet too. I love music and dance and I haven’t been to anything for years. The ex hated culture and along with lots of other things parts of me slowly died.
I have worked hard to love me again. And opening up to what I am resisting has cracked open another piece of my heart. It seems I have resisted the call of my heart.
Please when something comes up today and you feel a twinge, ask what am I resisting and then choose to grab life and live it come what may.
In the centre of a piece of paper with the word resistance.
Interesting isn’t what comes up when we fight the forces inside of us?
Lots of love Dx