Taking time out of the back to work rush is the perfect way to start your new year on the right foot, and that’s exactly what a group of women business owners did on Wednesday 16th January.
Working on and in our businesses often takes precedence over everything, after all, if we didn’t work so hard then our businesses wouldn’t be as successful as they are. However, looking after your personal development helps you to remain focused, energised, and creative which is why the Socially Shared team decided to run a second Just About You event.
Just About You is the brainchild of Karen Heap, who recognised that need to nourish our wellbeing as well as our working life. The day included a warm welcome and pastries, networking opportunities, and three keynote speakers talking about subjects that matter to us as women.
This event was as well received as always, and the event buzzed with excitement, laughter, and positivity all day long. The venue was as delightful as ever as we all continue to be mesmerised by St Michael’s Centre in Budbrooke, Warwickshire. Surrounded by open countryside, fabulous views, and with plenty of space for all the guests, it really is an ideal spot for any meeting, conference, or event. If you want to know more about St Michael’s, then take a look at their website.
With an opening address from Socially Shared Associate Sophie Watkins, the event got underway with the first speaker of the day, Angela P Gordon a Life Coach and Strategist who was talking to us about self-care. Angela is a multi-award winning professional Coach, Speaker, Writer, Co-Author, Leader, Facilitator, International Radio Host and Life and Business Strategist. She helps men and women to rediscover their passion, confidence and fire to achieve their ambitions, overcome obstacles and thrive.
Angela began by sharing her personal journey into coaching and how her path began after exploring counselling for her own needs. It was this first step that opened up the door to her training to become a counsellor and life coach. This insight into her life and challenges resonated with the audience as Angela talked about the objectives for her session.
What is self-care?
Angela explained that self-help was a trending topic at the moment, but that there are many myths associated with the term. “It’s not all about bubble baths and duvet days,” she said.
Acknowledging our needs, taking care of ourselves (physically, mentally, and spiritually), choosing to look after ourselves, making space, pressing pause, and stopping the give, give, give mind set are all vital tools for self-care.
Angela used the analogy of ‘topping up your tank’ and how on an aircraft we are instructed to put on our own oxygen mask before trying to help others.
What is self-care NOT?
Not forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do was top of the list and this resonated with most of us in the audience. Saying no was another point that many of us knew we should act upon. “Looking after your needs is not selfish,” Angela said. “It’s also not a one size fits all process. Find what works for you.”
Benefits of self-care.
The benefits of taking time and space to look after our needs include resilience, improved productivity, better immunity, enhanced self-esteem and self-knowledge. “You are the most important person in your life and business,” Angela told us. “If you’re not looking after your needs then your life and business will suffer.”
Angela asked us to think about the not so good aspects of avoiding self-care. The audience talked about the downsides of not asking for help, staying in toxic relationships, over extending yourself, and not fuelling your body. We all understood this negativity and could relate these to our own lives. Following this, Angela shared ways to embrace the good in eight self-care elements:
Physical – enjoying a massage, getting 7-9 hours’ sleep a night, dancing, and taking care of our bodies.
Emotional – counselling, journaling, managing our emotions, forgiveness, and support groups.
Top Tip: Disease comes from unexpressed emotions so be sure to work on communicating your emotional needs.
Psychological – meditation, reading, creativity, questioning your thoughts, speaking positively and taking care of your mind.
Spiritual – higher purpose, nature, random acts of kindness, and silence.
Professional – taking breaks, mastering skills, asking for help, creating space, finding the work/life balance.
Social – family time, authentic connections, social activities, and friendships.
Safety and Security – understanding your finances, creating and maintaining healthy personal and professional boundries.
Practical – de-cluttering, being organised and creating support networks.
Angela talked us through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and allowed us time to evaluate our own self-care routines. In the booklet given out to all attendees we were able to fill in a self-care checklist about the types of self-care we use in our lives, how we rate this, and any areas we need to focus on going forward.
Inviting the audience to share their answers brought up a mixed discussion about where everyone felt they were succeeding and where they needed further assistance. It was a helpful exercise that many of us knew we would continue to work on throughout 2019.
Angela finished her session by sharing her favourite self-care tips:
Set the right intentions.
Plan your activities.
Permit yourself to take care of yourself.
Start with 5 minutes every day.
Check in daily with yourself – “Today, I’m going to work on…”
The second speaker of the day was author and award-winning blogger, Shelley Wilson who is also the founder of the Motivate Me Academy, a safe space for women to embrace their dreams, escape their demons, build happier and healthier lives, and to live their most authentic lives with help from her physical workshops, e-Courses, and online personal development content.
Shelley finds motivation in everything she does and used her storytelling techniques to share the benefits of self-awareness and boosting your happy hormone to stimulate motivation. She began with the quote “nothing will change until you change yourself – and then everything will change.”
We are all familiar with goal setting and New Year resolutions, and we’ve all experienced that motivational euphoria when we begin a new challenge or project. However, as Shelley pointed out, many of us find that our motivation weakens over time. She told the audience there was a valid reason behind this and if we could understand ourselves better, then we could develop the techniques needed to achieve long-term motivation. Where short-term motivation has its place (such as using a to-do list), it’s the long-term motivation that will see us through to completing and achieving the ‘big’ stuff. To do this, we need to become more self-aware.
Shelley told us that self-awareness has a direct impact on your self-motivation? “Knowing who we are at our deepest core drives our achievements and successes,” she said.
By understanding ourselves better and recognising our default emotions, behavioural patterns, thoughts, and attitudes, we can begin to build a picture of who we are and work with that knowledge to benefit ourselves.
How do you become more self-aware?
Shelley shared four main areas where we can start to know ourselves better:
Appreciating our life story – thinking of our entire life as if we were writing a memoir. Who has been a part of your journey, what lessons have you learned, what obstacles have you overcome and how? Everything that’s happened to you impacts on who you are.
Journaling – writing in a journal for just 4 minutes every day has huge benefits. Recording regular thought patterns, emotions, and moods lets us identify any behaviour patterns.
Mindfulness – concentrating all your thoughts on appreciating your successes and achievements.
Asking for feedback – we see ourselves in a specific way and our friends, family, and customers see us differently. Ask your friends and family to give you five words that they think of when they think of you. Embrace how others see you
Happiness plays a big part in maintaining motivation as Shelley pointed out that motivation is influenced by the amount of energy we have. That energy can be collected via those happy moments or achievements. She asked us to think about our lives as if we were playing it on an Xbox. Using a controller in our ‘game of life,’ we collect happy moments to fill our energy tanks so we can continue on our quest. The more happy points you collect, the better equipped you are.
According to Shelley, those happy points can be found in three ways:
Quick fix – a joke, date with a friend, funny movie.
Meditative – being immersed in something where you lose track of time.
Greater Purpose – being a part of something meaningful (relationship, job, etc.).
Happiness = Energy and Energy = Motivation
To achieve long-term motivation we need to release our negative thought patterns, limiting beliefs and those behaviours that no longer serve our greater purpose. By using the tools that Shelley covered in her session, we can make a start.
To find out more about Shelley and the work she does you can connect with her via her website/blog www.motivatemenow.co.uk or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog
We broke for lunch and had the opportunity to network, chat, and talk through a million thoughts that bubbled up during Angela and Shelley’s talks.
The third and final speaker of the day was personal stylist, Sarah Gray from Sarah Gray Image. With a passion for us all to be our authentic selves, Sarah works with women to build their inner confidence and outer style. Your personality is the key focus when working with Sarah as she skilfully ensures that your outer style reflects the inner you, giving you confidence to shine. Sarah can help you detox your wardrobe alongside advising on colours and styles of clothing to wear, and if you dislike shopping, you can even engage Sarah as your very own personal shopper.
We all have our favourite colour, but do you know the psychology behind it? Sarah shared her styling expertise about confidence with colour in the afternoon session. She started with a simple question. “Imagine you are a four year old and tell me what your favourite colour is.” There was a flurry of answers as we all instinctively shouted out our favourites. Pink! Yellow! Green!
As four year olds, we are instinctive, and that’s what Sarah wanted us to tap into. Given time to think we might adopt old patterns and beliefs including ‘I don’t like green ever since I had to wear it at school,’ or ‘blue and green should never be seen.’
Thinking about what you feel or see when conjuring up specific colours tells us so much about our personality which, in turn, can help us when we choose our outfits. Sarah pointed out how important colour was in everyday life. Think about the big company logos such as Virgin, Cadburys, or Ford. We all know immediately what brand colours are associated with each of them because it’s been carefully thought out and planned by a marketing team.
Sarah moved on to analysing a few colours. The first was RED. What do you think of when you see the colour red? Is it a good reaction (love, confidence, strawberries) or a bad reaction (danger, hot, stop)? Using a variety of celebrity images we discussed the impact wearing red had on us, the audience. Some of us saw these women as classy, but others were less complimentary.
The next colour was BLACK. Again, this colour received mixed reactions. Some of us saw elegance, sophistication, and professionalism whereas others saw funeral attire, detachment, and stuffy.
Finally, we looked at BLUE and could all relate to the upbeat feelings of the sea and sky, and yet ‘feeling blue’ was also represented. Sarah pointed out how many technological companies use blue in their logo on purpose – think about Twitter and Facebook.
Throughout the slideshow, Sarah showed us ways to wear all of these colours to our advantage. Using accessories or small touches had a greater impact in some cases than being dressed head to toe in a specific colour.
Putting all political allegiance aside, we discussed Theresa May’s style at some length. Many of us were surprised by the images of her earlier days when she would wear flamboyant coats and jackets, knee high boots, and incredibly intricate shoes. The Theresa May we see on our TV screens these days is far removed as she has been made to fit into a stereotypical wardrobe.
Sarah opened the floor to questions and was asked if there were any rules to follow with fashion. Her answer was “No!” She advised us to be authentic to our personality, to take inspiration from nature as anything goes. Taking Lorna out of the audience for a short demonstration, she showed us how two different tones of red could impact our look. Although these aren’t ‘rules’, it can take the stress out of shopping if you understand the colours and tones that suit your skin and hair.
To find out more about Sarah and the work she does you can connect with her via her website www.sarahgrayimage.co.uk or email her at email@example.com or via Facebook on www.facebook.com/sarahgrayimage
Following on from our three speaker sessions there was a surprise for the attendees as we were joined by the hugely talented Mobo Award Nominee, Award Winning International Recording Artist, Broadcaster and Speaker, Sandra Godley, who is also widely known as one of the UK’s leading contemporary gospel singers and influencers.
Sandra joined us on a speaker panel and talked to the audience about her incredible radio show as well as asking the speakers additional questions to finish the day. We talked about Sarah’s five top tips for style, shared some of Shelley’s insights into writing a book, and finished with a quote from Angela that summed up a perfect day.
“The greatest act of courage is to be and to own all of who you are – without apology, without excuses, without masks!”
A fabulous day was had by all. Huge thanks to Karen, Sophie, and Maxine from the Socially Shared team for putting together such an insightful and empowering day, and to Janice from St Michael’s Centre for looking after us all so well.
To find out more about the events Socially Shared Business Support Network put on throughout the year take a look at their website www.sociallyshared.co.uk or on Facebook www.facebook.com/sociallysharednetwork
This event was sponsored by Sarah Gray from Sarah Gray Image, and put together by Socially Shared Women’s Business Support Network.