It’s my 20th blog post today! I can’t believe I’m already 20 posts in, this year is going so fast already – I know it’s a sign of my age that years are seeming to fly by and that scares me, I’m already thinking jeez I’m half way through my life and I’ve got so much left I want to do, time needs to slow down not speed up!
For this post I thought I’d check in with my word of the year which I wrote about right back at the beginning of this journey.
I chose the word ‘Value’ because I wanted it to work across a lot of areas in my life – that’s when our guiding word is at it’s most useful, and ironically valuable. And to make sure that really is the case, I like to mind-map it out and list all the ways it can be applied.
As we are getting closer to half way through the year, I want to see how I’ve progressed against my aspirations for 2019. And of course , my word of the year is very much part of that. Not only does this enable you to celebrate the little wins along the way, but it gives you a much clearer picture of what the next steps should be and where your energy needs to be directed for the rest of the year.
So here are the connections below I made to the word ‘Value’ and how I feel it is showing up in day to day life.
This is where I wanted to really work on my self-confidence. People who meet me, because I talk a lot, probably think I’m really confident but I’m not at all! I also think I lost some confidence towards the end of my corporate working life but what really helped was focussing on separating my perception of that and almost re-inventing myself. I started to use the old mantra, ‘She believed she could so she did’ and it’s made such a difference.
When I put together the writing workshop, I was a little nervous but also knew that talking about writing and creativity was what I felt completely comfortable doing and I really believed I could help my participants. I soon realised that if I came across as confident and knowledgeable that it would install more trust from them and with the right encouragement and enthusiasm, they would also be confident enough to read out their work.
The workshops have boosted my own confidence so much, not least because I’ve had such lovely feedback, but because I really love doing them, and I think that shows through.
The buzz and uptake of the workshops has impacted at home too, the children and the hubs have been interested in what I’ve been doing and can see how hard I’ve worked on them, which again has made me feel more valued as a contributor to the family.
This was something I wanted to work out for The Curious Creative Club, to make sure I kept the central values at the heart of everything I do. I settled on the words; Engage, Encourage, Enrich and Empower – for me these words link well with creativity and what I want to do and also are very easy to remember!
This is probably my biggest challenge and will continue to be with a very busy family life but I do feel now that I am more mindful of it. Plus, since doing the Myers Briggs personality test and realising that my introvert tendencies were actually a real thing, not made up in my head, I now try and plan in quieter days in-between the crazy ones to give me chance to just be still and let my energy recover!
I’m also trying to get better at saying ‘No’ if it’s something I’m not that bothered about and slowly tackling that ‘people-pleasing’, but sometimes energy-sucking, default mode!
The final part of this is to reduce time on social media, easier said than done when this venture links to it in a lot of ways, but I’m at least trying to reduce the mindless scrolling aspect and setting timers on my screen-time.
By this I mean continue to support my friends and family who need and want it but also to be careful not to either be taken for granted, or to realise that some people are happy to just coast along, stay stuck in the rut and it’s actually a waste of my effort when essentially it won’t make any difference anyway.
This is a really tricky one for me as I love helping people and it’s hard to accept that sometimes, you just can’t, because at the end of the day, they don’t want to help themselves.
It frustrates me no-end when this is the case, I’m a firm believer of you only get one life and we need to make the most of it, i.e help yourself, get healthy, make changes if you’re unhappy, live a long full-filled life – BUT I also have to accept that not everyone thinks like me, people have big difficulties in their lives to overcome to get there, (and god knows I’ve had some in mine too, I’m reaping the good times at the moment whilst I can!) but they have to WANT to do it and they have to figure out a reason to do it too – and if they do, I’ll support them all the way.
This is where I get the most satisfaction, and probably what I’ve naturally been drawn to the most so far this year. Through The CCC’s activities, like my workshops, Blog posts, social media shares, quotes and pictures and me just generally chatting to my local or social media community about what I’m trying to do, I genuinely feel like it’s making a positive difference and getting people to think a little more creatively, particularly in my workshops and I really want this to continue.
Gosh I’ve met some amazing people this year so far, in real life and on the likes of Instagram or via the Blog and this is where I get inspired and topped up creatively and emotionally.
I value these people immensely and probably for the first time feel fully accepted and understood – basically they have ideas as whacky as mine and that’s so good to know! Others provide insights that amaze me on everything from business, to over-thinking and health. I learn so much from them, I’m literally like a sponge soaking up their experiences, ideas and general wisdom, it’s made my life much richer, and I’ll be forever grateful.
Just some of the many podcasts, campaigns, individuals and Insta accounts that inspire me on a daily basis; see The Curious Cave for a full list!
As the kids get older, one 11, one 13, I’m becoming acutely aware that we’re only going to have them around for a few more years and then they’ll be off, which makes me feel A) Very old and B) Very nostalgic – why can’t they be babies again?!
When they were so cute and actually liked each other!
I think particularly this year, with my son going off and touring with Opera North, he suddenly felt very grown up and later this year my daughter moves from middle school to High School and it will be choosing GCSE’s time as well as even more swimming comps of course!
So, we cram in as many memory-making things as we can in-between all the other activities, hoping that these will last me a lifetime for when I’m crying into my gin when they’ve flown the nest! Thank god I’ve still got the dog!
Speaking of which I need to mention her as it’s her 3rd birthday this week! She is the one that gets me out on walks most days, which then inspires all my content for @soothedbynature Instagram account, keeps me fit and gives the best cuddles, she is literally our 3rd child!
Happy Birthday Barley!!
I’ve still got lots to do on this and work out ways we can as a family reduce our impact on the environment. I have done some small things and I have an exciting little project coming up, being an Eco product tester on a magazine panel (will spill more when I can, watch this space!). I’m hoping this will kick my butt into gear to do more in this area too.
This simply means being a bit more mindful on spending in terms of food shopping, eating out and clothes, I’ve been clearing out lots of things to charity too.
Also, since I’ve been earning bits of money here and there it makes me appreciate it so much more than when I received a regular, well-paid income. This is money I have earned purely by myself, I have carved out a very small income but this makes me so proud! There’s something very special about creating your own way to make money.
When I set up the workshops or created pieces of art, I had absolutely no idea how it would go and the fact that people trust, believe and like what I do means the world to me!
I’ve always valued good health, but as I get older, not ancient I might add, but enough to notice a few more aches and pains, I’m trying to be more protective of it and also keep old injuries at bay by doing my shoulder exercises and Pilates as well as daily walks with the dog. I’m a firm believer of the phrase Suzy Reading uses in her book; ‘Self Care is Health Care’ and when we are running around looking after everyone else, it’s so important that you look after yourself too.
Walking the dog is when I get the time to clear my head, listen to uplifting podcasts and come up with ideas, surrounded by the glorious Yorkshire countryside, it’s literally self-care tonic in a bottle.
Now reducing my cake and coffee intake is another story, but something has to fuel all this creativity!
So that’s how it’s going for me so far, and I‘ve finally created my ‘Value’ sign that will now be put somewhere visible in the kitchen!
I’d love to know how you are using your guiding words, if you are checking in with it regularly and whether it’s helping, please let me know in the comments below!
Next week I’ll be returning from a girl’s weekend away for a friends 50th birthday, so I apologise now if my writing is all over the place on Monday! I will definitely be requiring a few rest days after that!
Have a great week and until next time…
Juliet, The Curious Creative x