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Heart Surgery To Ironman – The Next Chapter

3 Jan

So then new year has finally arrived – for me, 2011 signals the continuation on a journey to the ultimate physical and mental challenge of an Ironman. Reminiscing about 2010 today has made me realise the strength I gained from a trying year inspite of the obstacle of being diagnosed with a heart condition. The experience has made me even more grateful for the ability to exercise and the excitement of entering races to push my physical boundaries.

I started 2010 bursting with enthusiasm for exercise and had entered many races; running and triathlon. I was enjoying being part of the local triathlon club, had huge plans for new business and generally felt great…apart from a few nagging symptoms. I had been to see my doctor on new year’s eve as something told me that was a serious condition underlying. Lucky that I did as 2 weeks later, I was diagnosed with a hole in the heart. On new year’s day 2011, I sat discussing that year that has passed and tried to pinpoint the positive parts that stood out. I identified moving house, employing a first member of staff, enjoying having family over in the summer, signing up to a coaching course. I was a little sad to not have achieved the sporting and business aims I had set out in January 2010.

Aims from last year are now being carried over to 2011, with an added few, including a half Ironman in September. My journey to Ironman is not only following heart surgery but  also as a novice triathlete. I had just a year of training in the 3 disciplines before doctors told me to stop all exercise. This was a frustrating time, leaving me feeling helpless. My focus on the future kept me going, as it does now. When I lack the motivation to run, bike or swim, I imagine myself back in the hospital speaking to the consultant who told me my heart was failing. The previous day I had run 16 miles!

Speaking of heart failure, my grandfather has recently been diagnosed with this condition after a history of angina, heart attacks and coronary artery bypasses. We share stories of scans and consultant visits , laughing about the similarities. Coronary heart disease is all around and this makes me passionate about spreading the message about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The cardiac history in my family has always been a concern to me, and maybe was one of the reasons I started running regularly. When studying to be a nurse, I chose to write  my dissertation on cardiac rehabilitation and found it amusing that I ended up attending these classes myself, age 27!

Now that 2011 is here, the long term goal of an Ironman in 2012 feels that much closer. I just can’t wait!!

Happy New Year! :)

December Goals

1 Dec

Two and a bit weeks since my last post, my excuse? Life, work, stress… all reasons that prevent us from taking action towards important goals. I guess I have felt overwhelmed with urgent tasks involved with my business which resulted in November being largely unsuccessful. Yes I have earnt money, run a few times, been to the gym, seen a friend, written an article…. Ok, maybe unsuccessful is an unfair assessment. Urgent tasks persuade us away from the difficult jobs, such as finding time to write blogs, speak to that person or work towards a short term goal.

My lack of a November goal has had a huge impact on my exercise. I have lacked motivation to get out running regularly. My knees have started complaining when I did go out and I am seeing a chiropractor to get the aches nipped in the bud.

Business is so busy, I am working at least 12 hours a day when in the office and around 16 hour days when out at events (3 times a week). I am now very behind in my ‘to do’ list!

All in all, I just can’t wait until Christmas when I can stop and take stock. A recent email from a correspondent in the US made me stop my complaining and consider all that has gone well recently. Thanksgiving in America sounds a great idea to me. In the UK, we love to moan about the weather, the economy, the recession and anything else that depresses us. The power of gratitude is overwhelming. Comparing my life to others less fortunate, less healthy, really helped me gain perspective on my perceived problems.

Already, I am finding excuses about committing to a December goal. I am tempted to fall into the common trap of delaying action, until next month ‘when things have settled down’ or ‘when I am more financially stable’. Learning from November, I refuse to go goal-less again.

My December goals will be:

To complete my first module of reading for my coaching course

To get to the gym for core / strength training at least once a week

Complete a turbo trainer session at least once a week

Time For Change

10 Nov

Change

Much is changing in my life at the moment, all of which is welcome!

  • We have sold the largest of our businesses, which is a huge relief financially and frees up much needed time for new business
  • The exciting start to a new business begins
  • I have signed up to a diploma in personal coaching, a long term ambition of mine.
  • I am in the process of making decisions about my working role, involvement with various businesses, and possibility of going back to nursing
  • Sorting out of my home life is underway, e.g. putting pictures on walls, clothes in wardrobes! We have been in our apartment for 6 months and still haven’t done these things!
  • Jobs on the ‘to do’ list are getting ticked off at long last
  • My fitness seems to be improving, almost to the same level as before I started experience symptoms relating to my heart defect
  • The reality of next races are becoming real. Having entered several races, time is ticking by and training plans are beginning to be considered. It’s been fun training with no strict schedule!
  • I am almost back to ‘normal’ physically, no pain or lingering effects from the surgery.

Business is a huge part of my life and has been since my early twenties. My experience has spanned student lettings (age 21), property development (age 22), online childrens’ clothing retailer (age 23), nationwide chocolate fountain hire company (age 24-27) and photo booth hire business (current). Even as a teenager, I spent my spare time running a small Avon cosmetics business and worked endless shifts as a care assistant. At university, my work ethic continued and fitted in around partying, I worked all my weekends, days off and holidays. I have always had the belief that hard work pays off in the long run. As I have gained confidence with aspects of business such as online marketing and sales, I have set my sights on a career in something I am passionate about.

At university, my tutor and class leader was a certified coach and had trained in NLP. Her lessons incorporated aspects of coaching theory and this intrigued me. Throughout my nursing career and personal life, I have found people come to me for motivation. I enjoy seeing others succeed and would love to be a part of this process with personal coaching. Can’t wait to get started. I feel I am at a stage where I have enough life experience, business experience and increased confidence.

Goals

When you run a business, committing to personal goals is sometimes difficult but not impossible! I have found my social life has suffered from my busy lifestyle and I don’t see friends or family anywhere near as often as I like. The benefits of mini goals such as a monthly target make long term aims more achievable. Rewarding yourself for completion of a monthly goal is satisfying! My October goal of running 6 miles in 60 minutes was great for motivation on a cold, wet morning. I am yet to set a goal for November and whilst, I am continuing to train regularly, I have lacked the dedication to a particular target. A group of women and I weigh ourselves weekly (called Tweigh!) and I also record my body fat. Having someone to share this information with spurs me on, even if sometimes I am the only one to post my results!

I have proven to myself many times that I am good at sticking to a schedule or training plan. Similarly in business, ‘to do’ lists feature heavily! To achieve all I want to in the next 12 months, I must implement plans, lists and more plans!

Analogy Of A Pop Star

3 Mar

I had a rambling thought over the weekend about how pop stars and their success are similar to establishment of a small business. Crazy?? Well here is my comparison:

A ‘manufactured’ pop singer or band becomes successful in the charts as a result of an team of experts. This includes:

PR, sales, marketing, management, talented songwriters /lyricists e.g. creative experts, accountants, legal advisors, administration, PAs, stylists, fitness advisors, hair and beauty.

In your own business, you often have to wear all hats. Even when your business begins to grow, the responsibility of  delegation still lies with you, the business owner. So, how can you cope with all of these roles?

From my experience in a small business, it is best to approach each task one by one. This may mean spending a morning on your administration and the afternoon on marketing. OK, you may not need a stylist to look good for work, but you still need support from others. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, preferably from an expert. Employing the help of an expert company or learning a topic such as online marketing yourself can mean expontential grow of your business.

Consider the music sales industry as few years ago. Online downloads have transformed both music sales and the charts. The internet will continue to grow and methods of online marketing / social media will be well known.

To succeed in your own business, become an expert in an areas of interest to you. My area of interest is currently two fold; lifecoaching and online marketing. Diverse subjects some might say. However, from my studies, I see many similiarities between business and success in life.

I passionately believe riches in life are as important as financial riches. I hope to use my experience of working with people in a healthcare enviroment in combination with my business knowledge, to encourage others to achieve their dreams in life.