Category Archives: Positive action

A Look Back on October

As with life, business is full of unexpected twists and turns, flips and fuggles and October 2017 has been just that.

As we approach the final day of the month – Hallowe’en (which as someone with a phobia of zombies is really not much fun at all) it is surprising how much things have changed in just 31 days.

And then I suppose that is life itself – you can tread water for ages before suddenly a huge wave comes along that sweeps you somewhere completely unexpected, leaving you tumbling headfirst into new waters trying to catch your breath and hoping your swimsuit hasn’t ended up in a compromising position.

We hadn’t been treading water exactly. The last few years have been full of steady growth – of us, as well as the business. But this month, our first month trading officially as our bathroom business, has definitely been all about swimming in a very different ocean from before.

So we were always due to hit a few waves as we crossed into new waters.

In short, October 2017 has been challenging, rewarding, terrifying, frustrating, demanding and – overall – exciting!

We started our first job under the new company banner on October 2nd. A dated, traditional bathroom to be transformed into a luxury shower room for its elderly residents. It was always going to be a challenge to complete within two weeks as they also wanted a storage unit to be built in one corner, but it was just about do-able.

It wasn’t just the new business name, this was the start of our new way of working, our new approach of scheduling jobs into timescales and making them happen, as opposed to a less confident, slightly airy-fairy approach of things taking as long as they need to take – impossible to plan around. Dean and our newly-trained employee Craig were fired up and ready for the new challenge.

Meanwhile, in my office I was feeling pleasantly smug that we were in a seriously good place. Carla, our wonderful VA, and I had some highly polished systems and we were ready to get busy! We got on great, the time difference between the UK (me) and the Philippines (Carla) completely irrelevant. Her loyalty to us and her excitement for our future matched mine.

And then, the worst happened – she became ill. A few days off turned into a week, then, because she hoped to be able to come back, stretched into a few weeks. I have no reason not to believe her – she has sent me the medical documents, although I didn’t ask – but sadly it looks like she will need surgery before things will improve.

At first her work sat undone, waiting for her return. But when she did attempt to work, it was clear she wasn’t able to concentrate and mistakes were made. Eventually, last week I had to tell her that we would find someone else – someone temporary – in the hope that Carla can return to work eventually.

I called a lovely lady who runs an admin support service, who I had met at a networking event, and as I type this she is beavering away at the mountain of receipts that has mounted up as I waited for Carla’s return.

Staffing, and managing staffing, and knowing how to manage staffing, will be one of the biggest challenges ongoing, I can tell!

Back to the bathroom, which proved to be extremely tough. Once the bathroom was stripped out, everything that could have been tricky or challenging proved to be. The pipework was strange, the drainage challenging.

Dean made a couple of silly mistakes, that he kicked himself for, including prepping the room for a shower tray that measured 160cm in length.

Missing out the crucial extra 20 cm that he needed for the 180 cm tray ordered and paid for and waiting in the couple’s garage!

Actually I may have kicked him for that one, too.

A replacement tray was ordered, and the couple agreed they would be happy with the smaller size. I reduced their bill for the inconvenience – it seemed the right thing to do. Other challenges were – eventually – conquered – and they are pleased with the outcome. We need to go back for one more day to fit the storage unit doors and fit a last trim to the splashback around the basin. We have lost a lot of money on this job, and it will hit us hard.

But the learning was priceless. Even as we pushed our way through it all, both Dean and I had a strong feeling that everything that was happening was right and was happening because it needed to.

As a result, we have sharpened up our practices, improved the wording of how we go to price up jobs and – hopefully – put a few systems in place to prevent silly mistakes from being made.

The next two jobs – one completed and one still ongoing – another elderly couple going from bathroom to shower room – have both gone completely differently. We took the learnings from the first job, and both have been much kinder to us anyway.

As a result of receiving so many inquiries from older people, we also decided to register for VAT sooner rather than later. It was – still is! – a complete unknown for both of us, but October 1st was our start date and so October 31st will be the date of our first return. Gosh. Kind of sums up the whole rollercoaster of a month.

Oh and in between it all we are working on our own house. We finally have some heating installed, the kitchen is ripped out and the skeleton of the downstairs is being revealed – stones and timbers that haven’t seen the light of day since approximately 1790. What a gift to have the opportunity to transform a property. What an honour.

Oh! The learning curves can be breathtaking at times but the journey is spectacular! Here’s to November!

 

 

Worth the Weight

I didn’t want to say anything too early, but I’ve just completed my first week back on the fantastic Exante Diet.

As part of my Project to develop a Successful Life, I am determined to make achieving a healthy weight a big part of it. And at the grand old age of 44, I decided to set my target at a reduction of 44lbs.

I lost 22 of those lbs a few months ago, documenting my progress on my YouTube channel. And then I lost focus and decided I would maintain for a while – yeah right – and got back into eating my own body weight on a regular basis, gaining 10 of those lbs back.

Plus, I’ve been so busy recently getting the business ready that I’ve almost forgotten what exercise is. Literally, hours of sitting at the computer, writing copy for the website, writing contracts, writing blog posts – or not! Even dog walks have been down to the bear minimum.

Last Sunday I woke up and just decided it was just time to get back on the Exante diet wagon. One of those unexpected but agreeable decisions that come from the feeling ‘enough is enough’.

This time, I decided I would record not just my weekly progress but daily – every mealtime in fact. That’s quite a commitment, as I discovered!

It’s also quite a lot of footage! Too much for one film! So I split the week into two – this is the first film covering Days 1-3:

The week ended on a real high at my weigh-in this morning with 6.5lbs gone – half a lb off half a stone!

Needless to say I feel so much better already – my stomach is flat(tish), I have more energy and my clothes are fitting more loosely.

Returning to the Exante products has literally been like meeting old friends again! Why I didn’t keep it going while ‘maintaining’ I will never know – I really could have replaced one meal every day with a product and that would have helped. I know now that is what I need to do to maintain, once I achieve my healthy goal weight of 146 lbs (10 stone 6lbs).

So I finished the week with this film.

I’ve been doing some affirmations recently (if you don’t know what they are, check out this article which explains all about them and gives some good examples you can use).

I’ve been reminding myself that:

“I am strong, focused and self-disciplined” because these are three areas I figured I needed some reminding about.

This week, I’ve felt stronger, more focused and more self-disciplined than ever. I actually feel that I am going to get to goal, and I’ve never, ever felt that certainty before.

Many successful people swear by the power of affirmations, but I have to admit I’ve never done them rigidly enough before to give them chance to work.

Could it be that I am experiencing some of their magical effect?! Whatever it is, I like it!

 

 

 

 

What Makes A High Achiever?

Who even IS a high achiever?

It’s all relative, of course. Everyone is a high achiever to someone, the same way everyone is a lesser achiever to someone else (yet another reason why we should never judge ourselves against others).

Simply put, we’re all on our own journey, each with its own challenges and battles. What is easy to one person is tough to the next, and so on.

This is a great video for keeping you focused on your own journey.

Yes, it’s going to be tough. Yes there will be days you don’t want to get out of bed. Yes there will be jealousy along the way. Yes there will be people wanting to see you fall. Yes you will feel like stopping. Yes the world will assume things about you.

I say ‘you’ – but really, of course, I mean ‘me’. I totally, totally have areas of weakness, places where my inner high achiever struggles to beat the lazy scared person.

For one thing, I always find it so hard to get out of bed. Every. Fricking. Morning. And that’s one area I need to work on, to get up, earlier, get started faster, get off my phone go for the day harder.

As this video reminds me, just get out of bed. Just do it. Ignore the rest inside my own head and the heads of others, and DO IT.

Stepping above the rest is not easy. We must surround ourselves with people who also have vision and can see the possibilities for us all. Surround ourselves with other high achievers, and prepare to fight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting Goals and Making Plans

This is probably the most exciting two weeks of my life!

No, George Clooney hasn’t turned up asking me to forgive him for marrying Amal, nor have I have won the lottery.

But, exactly a week ago, Dean and I both closed down to the outside world and began working on our new business – a quality, bathroom and wetroom installation company.

And that’s about as exciting as anything could be! Sorry George!

After being a general building company, specialising is a HUGE relief. At last we can get really really good, we can hire people specifically, we can do the same thing over and over which means we can get really, REALLY good.

Best of all, we can now see some really exciting ways to market the business, so we can get even bigger and even better.

We are both SOOOO excited!

And we’re doing what we desperately needed to do – preparing the business before it begins, setting goals for the business and for us to achieve.

The new van is signwritten (it looks amazing!), the website is being built (we hired a professional photographer to take photos of a few of the bathrooms we’ve done over the past year) and I picked our new business cards up on Friday.

Tomorrow we are fixing our price list. Our systems will also be confirmed down in the next 24 hours. Then we will do 10 – yes, 10! – price ups using our new systems so that when clients come to the new business we will have set ways to handle each query.

So this was the scene on our kitchen table last Monday morning:

List of tasks to accomplish, things to organise, learn, prepare… Setting goals and building a business

I’m pleased to say that some of those tasks are now ticked ‘done’ and others have morphed as conversations have evolved, but we are still working our way through them.

When the Planets Align…

Have you ever felt like the universe shifted to help you?

I had one of those wonderful moments a week or two ago. I was lucky enough to see a post on a Facebook builders group in which someone recommended this book:

Markup & Profit by Michael C Stone – a great read and a real boost to our business

The post was about pricing up and how people decided on what to charge. The person who posted warned that this book isn’t cheap (it isn’t – I paid over £40!) but said the information is gives will be invaluable.

O. M. Geeeeeeepers he was right!

We’re a third of the way in and already Mark Up and Profit is changing how we think and feel. If only we had known of this book years ago! But anyway, we have it now.

Reading Mark Up and Profit is literally like having the author, Michael C Stone, turn up at your home and go through your business with you. He really knows his stuff and even though it is an American book, it works pretty much 100% for a UK business (just a few pieces of US-jargon re taxes, banking etc).

This book is specifically aimed at the world of construction but really there is useful information in there for any business, especially a business that creates things – houses, bathrooms, websites, clothing, whatever. I will definitely use the formula for mark up on jobs when I come to grow my website/video business, Little Red Horse.

If you have ever wondered about how to work out pricing or when to know if your price is too high or too low, I really recommend getting your hands on a copy. It really has changed everything for us.

If you don’t mind me collecting a very small percentage of the cost of the book, you can buy it through this link here.

I cannot describe how grateful I am that as I scrolled along my Facebook timeline on that day, I decided to click on that post and see that comment. Sooo grateful!

New Energy – Setting Goals

As often happens, once energy starts flowing freely in one part of your life, it soon spreads to other areas.

My YouTube channel has been a bit stuck recently, I haven’t uploaded any videos for a while, not quite knowing what to say.

Today I found my diaries for 2014 anbd 2015 and looked back to July 30th on both years. It was interesting to think about what I was doing then, and how much has now changed. (I haven’t kept a diary properly for almost two years and I know I’ll regret it – this blog is partly an attempt to diarise how the journey goes).

Then on tonight’s dog walk I had the idea of posting regular, monthly goal videos – I read constantly that setting goals is one sure way to help yourself towards success, measuring your progress along the way. Also I wrote about it here.

So I grabbed Dean when he got back from golf and pinned him down to some goals for August. Here they are (for both of us):

  • Go running with the dogs at least 8 times – so twice a week
  • Complete two bathrooms as part of our bathroom business
  • Get three subcontractors signed up and part of our team
  • Go to bed by 10.30 pm three times a week (yeah right!)
  • Finish fire safety improvement works to all our rental properties
  • Get our dog recall up to 99.9999%
  • Do three Youtube videos – ‘how to’ sharing tips I’ve learned along the way
  • Do two Tony Horton golf workouts every week (Dean)
  • Eat some fruit and vegetables every day (Dean)
  • Get our new bathroom business completely set up

And here they are in glorious technicolour! (Trust me, there’s nothing like posting your secrets on YouTube for creating some accountability!)

 

 

How to Stay Motivated?

O.M.G. I do love Gary Vee!

So I just came across this short little video and if you have ever, EVER, found yourself lacking even the tiniest bit of motivation, you need to watch this:

Are these the three lines that win the Internet 2017?

“How do you keep yourself motivated?”

“By remembering that you might die tomorrow.”

“That’s true.”

GAAAAAH!!!! Thank you Gary!

So today I’m hitting the edit suite while the rest of the country enjoy a long weekend – I’ll be cutting and creating for the next four days.  Eating 100% Exante products. Because I actually could die tomorrow, and all this would be over, without me doing what I need to do or being what I want to be.

And THAT’S the scariest thought of all!

Stay motivated, folks!

xx

 

 

Exante Diet – Day 11!

Just a quick update on the amazing Exante Diet!

Day 11 so already mid-way through week 2 and I seriously feel amazing – not hungry at all, loads of energy. I guess this is ketosis.

It’s actually almost 5.30 pm and I haven’t yet eaten anything – so I have a lot to look forward to this evening!

Today has been a seriously grim day – so cold, constant rain – so if I can not eat on this day I will have nooo excuses when the sun finally shines!!

Here’s my quick update below.

Hope all is good with you, wherever you are!

xx

Project: Life Success

Changing career aged 40+, learning about and building my own business, losing weight, building passive income & finally making a success of my life!

 

Exante Diet Week 1 Weigh-in!

SUCCESS!!

I am so loving the Exante Diet!

Despite a major wobble on day 4, and minor weak moments on days 5 and 6 (sliced banana with coconut and almond butter – my lifesaver!) I gathered strength for the end of the week and stormed day 7 – giving me, on the morning of day 8…

7.5lbs off!

Ta-raaaaaaaaaaaahhh!

I’m delighted. I now weigh just over half a stone less than I did a week ago!

So now I know I can do it – I just have to do it!

Obviously I’m not going to lose like that every week, but a big drop at the start does give such a boost. This week, I’m going to aim to lose 3 lbs (week 2 can be notoriously tough).

Don’t get me wrong, this is no walk in the park. The temptations of food are so strong, and I am concerned that day 4 of this week – Wednesday, when I work from home alone – could be just as tough or even tougher than last week. Honestly, that day I could think of nothing except food and how much I wanted to eat pretty much everything in the fridge.

But, everyday is a new day and sometimes you just have to accept some days you will be It does help that the products are mostly really delicious, and the choice really helps prevent boredom. PLUS – and this is HUGE – you can literally visit the Exante website, order what you want, and it arrives THE NEXT DAY. This is a gamechanger, folks!

As the weight starts to fall, that’s the thing I need to concentrate on. Already I feel so much better – my stomach smaller and flatter, my clothes not so tight – so definitely a case of focusing on the positive.

And anyway, all the food I am not eating now will still be around (albeit in small quantities) when I’m thin and looking amazing.

Here’s how I got on:

Overall, I am now down 13 lbs from my original weight in January – despite a two-month break. I’m not quite sure what happened, but working on our house definitely helped keep the weight from going back on.

So, onwards for Week 2! Let me know how your weight loss journey is going either here or on YouTube! Happy to provide support/inspiration/kicks up backside!!

xx

 

 

Exante Diet update

The vlcd Exante Diet is going well – almost too well in fact. As in, when it feels this easy, surely that’s the danger zone?

I feel amazing – so much energy, flat(ish) stomach and already waking up earlier and, um, livelier, if that is even a thing.

I am probably in low ketosis (where my body is burning fat, not just carbs) and the difference to living in a high-carb state is phenomenal.

I’m still hitching a ride on the raised energy levels of these beautiful early spring days – but hey, whatever works!

Last night I even took Foxy and Frankie for a run using my new double lead which I bought on Amazon which attaches, rather cleverly, around my waist. I expected them to run ahead of me, pulling me all over but they did brilliantly, as though we had been doing it for years! (Which of course means I now have no excuse not to run with them!)* (silent groan)

I had a few issues with the double lead, but on the whole it worked well, and it was great having my hands and arms free while running. Very liberating!

Running for Weight Loss

If you are considering taking up running, I really, really recommend it. It’s cheap, pretty easy-ish and it can give a major boost to your fitness and confidence.

I have no running physique – big boobs, short legs – seriously if I can do it I reckon most other people can too.

Years ago when I first started running I could barely last 100 yards. But then I found a great programme which advised starting out by running 1 minute, walking 1 minute, then repeat 10 times. I did this, running very, very slowly at first, gradually building up the length of running time and decreasing walking time.

I was so embarrassed I ran at night time for the first few months, wearing black. It was more important that I was not seen by anyone than it was not to be hit by a car!

The really good news is that it actually doesn’t take long to get to a point where you can run for 25 minutes-ish. THAT is so empowering it will boost you in every way imaginable!

And, best news of all, once you reach a certain level of fitness, it seems that stays with you. I haven’t run in months, and yet last night I ran probably just under a mile and a half.

Before I started running there was no way I could have run that distance, but yesterday it was no issue at all. I could have run much more, if I’m honest, but I didn’t want to give my body and legs too much of a shock on the first go!

Going public…

So last night I took the terrifying step of posting my vlog about Day One of Exante on the Exante Facebook page.

Even though I am not anonymous I haven’t exactly shouted about what I’m up to, so it was seriously scary! But, there’s nothing like exposing your secrets to the world to keep you accountable – and I really hope by posting here and on my YouTube channel that will keep me accountable in those weak moments!

I’ve been overweight for over a decade and it is time to reclaim my life – and if that means drastic measures then so be it.

Anyway, here’s how days 2 and 3 went…

xx

 

Project: Life Success

Changing career aged 40+, learning about and building my own business, losing weight, building passive income & finally making a success of my life!

Deadly case of spring fever

I am sorry to have to tell you…

I think I have spring fever.

What else could explain my sudden burst of energy? The enthusiasm? The unexpected desire upon waking up on the second Sunday in March and deciding, ok, Today’s the Day…

The Day for Exante!

(If you pronounce Exante as I do –  “eck-zonn-tay” – that last part will rhyme. If you don’t, please accept my apologies and let’s move on together.)

It was the light, I reckon. The glorious freshness of early spring sunshine. Longer evenings. The hint of summer, all combined into a fabulous surge of energy, a shift in my mindset and a new determination…

So, Sunday became the latest Day One in my quest to lose 44 lbs (a pound for every year of my life).

I’m going to forget about the January weight loss attempt. Hey, these things happen, (or don’t happen).

Sunday morning I weighed in at 13 stone 2.5 lbs, so 184.5 lbs (I don’t do kilos, sorry) so minus 44 would be 140 lbs, give or take.

It’s going to be a challenge, I have successfully failed to lose weight for years, so I have a solid track record. But records can be broken!

Here’s my record of Day One: (here’s a spoiler – I’m posting this on day 3 and I’m still going!)

To weight loss and beyond!

Project: Life Success

Changing career aged 40+, learning about and building my own business, losing weight, building passive income & finally making a success of my life!

 

Happy near-end of 2016!

Merry Christmas! I hope yesterday was wonderful for you, whether or not you celebrate the actual festival, and I hope you have been able to take some time out from the busy rush of everyday life.

We closed Dean’s construction business on December 22nd until January 3rd, so, asides from the mountain of paperwork I still need to go through – more of that in a later post – we’ve actually been able to take some time off, which has been wonderful.

I discovered a fantastic app called Enlight which allows you to do amazing things with photos on your phone – so I couldn’t resist sharing this of the girls on Christmas morning!

 

Yesterday was a quiet, pretty steady day – just me, Dean and his youngest son Sam, aged 15. Plus the dogs, of course. Even though it was just the three of us, there were all the phone calls to the rest of the family, text messages and of course the constant stream of Facebook posts to answer, so it felt busy even if we weren’t too crazy!

Even so, if we can find the time, Christmas is always a good opportunity as the end of the year approaches, to take stock of what we have achieved so far.

Dean and I covered this in our final 2016 call with our business mentor just a week ago. It really was so helpful. The thing with a mentor or coach is they will ask you what you want to work on with each call, so that you take responsibility for your own journey, and it felt appropriate to look towards the next 12 months and where we want Dean’s business to be (and also I couldn’t think of anything else to suggest!)

The start of a new year is, for me, much more than just another new month – it really can be an opportunity for a fresh start. Just imagine, 12 whole undiscovered months lying ahead, each one filled with the potential for fun, achievement and success!

Although I am painfully aware of how far we still have to go until we achieve true Life Success, I have to admit that 2016 has been pretty awesome for us both in terms of our pathway to success. The call with our mentor helped us both to see that – we made some big decisions in that call.

But if I’m going to do it properly, I need to write a list of those achievements, which I will do in my next post.

Then, we can start to look ahead to not only what 2017 will bring, but what WE can bring to the next 12 months to make them better than ever before.

So, I need to do another list – of our goals for 2017.

I’ve written before about goal setting, because it can be really hard to actually pinpoint what we want in life. If you are not particularly materialistically-minded, like me, it can be even more difficult to write that list.

But how good it will be if, at the end of December 2017, I have a list of things I can tick off!

I speak to so many people who say they never set New Year Resolutions, which seems strange. Why would people not even TRY to improve their lives? Fair enough, I may not achieve everything, but at least by setting some targets I’m giving myself the opportunity to play the game.

So, losing weight, earning more, growing our businesses and building our property portfolio are all going to be on list – call it Goals, Aims or New Year Resolutions.

(I’m setting to start my diet on Monday, January 9th. I know it’s a week or so into the new year, but there’s still probably going to be some good food left over on January 1st, and I want to reduce the opportunities for failure as much as possible. My box of Exante diet products has arrived and I’m going to shoot a video to post on my YouTube channel as I unpack everything – I’ve had a quick peek but nothing more so I’m excited to take a look.)

But before that, my immediate goals to do BEFORE the end of 2016 are to write two posts – one of my/our achievements and one to set my/our 2017 goals. There, I’ve said it, and I’m about to hit Publish – so I HAVE to do them now!!!

Thanks for reading!

Izzy

 

Project: Life Success – changing career aged 40+, building my own business & making a success of my life!

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