Monday, 9 November 2009

Reflecting Progress

I've been preparing some handout notes for the journaling workshop during our reenergise weekend, and in the process I've been revisiting some of my own journals from the last couple of years.

At the start of 2007 I took a step back from the relentless promotion of my coaching business. It was beginning to exhaust me, and I began to feel my self-confidence flag.

I formed a new intention - to put goal setting and project planning to one side, and to get back in touch with the things that were, and still are, most important to me, and which made me feel most productive and fulfilled.

I was not surprised to discover that the thing that made me feel this way the most was writing. It didn't matter whether it was writing in my journal, or responding to thought provoking emails in online coaching communities, if I'd written a few hundred words in whatever medium I felt like I'd accomplished something. I felt calm, as if I'd brought of my best to a situation.

At this point my intention to open myself up to opportunities to do with the written word formed in my mind. I wouldn't set myself a goal, or write an aggressive plan of action, I would follow my curiosity, wait, observe and respond.

The clarity I had in the opening months of 2007 is marvellously captured in my journal from that time. Since then I've learned about the Law of Attraction, and, while I can't help scoffing a little bit at the sensationalism of The Secret, I feel on reflection that I was tuned in to that law without realising it at that time.

In two years the progress I have made as a writer is phenomenal: I'm now a freelance reporter, a prize-winning short story writer, parish magazine columnist, writers' group facilitator, journaling workshop leader - and there is so much more to come.

All through this transformation in my career from IT project manager to business owner and life coach, to writer, journalist and workshop facilitator I have kept my own journal by my side.

I would have done none of this without my notebook and pen - and reading back over the past couple of years I can't help but think that it's been a miraculous journey.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

S.W.O.T analysis

It's been a time of Switch, Wins, Opportunities and Treats since my last blog post. Fun but busy, and, at times, a little bit stressful.

Since landing a new job in the summer as a freelance journalist for a local magazine, I've had to Switch to a new style of working, new deadlines and new experiences.

Going out to interview people and follow up local news items, or phoning people to get stories, have all provided me with new challenges. I've met some fantastic people locally, and learnt so much more about my adoptive home-town and the folk that live here.

Swindon is much maligned for having the most average (and by implication mediocre) demographic in the country. But I have to say that there is much afoot in this town, and there are surprises around every corner amongst its residents. In my 17 years of being here I certianly have developed a soft spot for the place, and the people I'm now meeting through my work are only deepening the love story for me. Such a Treat.

Further Treats over the past few months have come in the form of visits from friends, including a couple from as far away as Melbourne, Australia.

Since having the kids we've perhaps got out of the habit of throwing parties as we used to - and I for one struggle with the after effects the following day. Nevertheless for hubby's birthday in October we partied hard two nights on the trot with old friends and new. A fab time was had by (nearly) all, as there was one of our number who over-indulged a tad and made herself a little bit ill....

Celebrations have been called for as I've watched my golf handicap plummet by 2 whole points (!) and found myself on the Winners' board a few times since September. This is more than exciting for me as I don't have a natural talent for golf - just a great time having a go at what must be the silliest and most addictive game ever invented. I'm pleased to say my perseverance has started to pay off, and I'm even finding there's something a little bit Zen about the game.....

Opportunities abound at the moment. Just this weekend the first creative writing workshop hosted by the writing group I set up last year has attracted some awesome writing talent in the town. Yesterday 12 of us spent the whole day working with our tutor Jill Sharp to practice character-driven plot-development, and came up with 4 separate novel outlines during the afternoon.

Perhaps most exciting of all is that this week I depart for south west France to join some colleagues and friends-to-be at a Reenergise Retreat. I'm going to be facilitating a journal writing workshop over the weekend, so I've been doing lots of practice, and having loads of insights about the power of Writing for Well-Being.

In preparation I've been reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, a book I'd seriously recommend to anyone wanting to slow down, get more out of life and connect with themselves at a deeper level. Re-energise in fact! I'd also recommend investing in a journal too to sustain the journey, but if you want to know more about that I guess you'll have to come along...

Switch, Wins, Opportunities and Treats - analyze that!!