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From Diagnosis to Ironman

17 Mar

Back in January, I was diagnosed with a hole in my heart. Over the last two months I have had many investigations, with today being the first day I received results. I will need an operation to close the hole in my heart, as it is large and the right side of my heart is failing (!). Not nice news.

BUT, after the operation and recovery, I will be able to return to my current level of fitness and far exceed this also. My initial questions to my consultant were those relating to health, the surgery, outcomes etc. Second, came questioning about my ability to return to training for running events and triathlons. As exercise is a big part of my life, I naturally wanted to enquire how this diagnosis will impact my plans for racing this year and for the future.

My plans for marathons for this year are out, definitely. My triathlon races and the London to Brighton bike ride in mid-summer, questionable. I have paid to see my consultant privately to speed things up, for which I am lucky. Seeing a specialist in Southampton will give me the answers to my health and fitness questions. I am informed (and this information is cemented in my mind), that I will be running within 4 weeks of surgery, so long as I have a local anaesthetic procedure as opposed to open heart surgery.

Either way and under any circumstances, I am DETERMINED to remain positive and achieve my dreams of improving as an athlete, however amateur! Over the last few years, my running has improved – not greatly (and for this I now have reason!). My love of triathlon including swimming and cycling has grown and I am committed to pursuing my fitness goals. And yes, this does include Ironman.

Ironman for me symbolises the ultimate challenge, physically, psychologically and emotionally. For those that achieve this endurance challenge, the rewards are immense. I am incredibly hard to please, and this is what drives me forward. To sit back and accept or resign yourself to a seemingly gloomy fate is unproductive. You could even say that this kind of attitude is failing yourself.

My journey starts here. Crazy as it sounds, I’m excited. I am positive that the benefits of this hurdle in my life will far outway any negative implications. To test myself like never before and record my journey to share my experience with others, I will not only increase my belief in my abilities to succeed but inspire others to overcome obstacles in their lives.

Generation Y And Our Expectations

16 Mar

Generation Y – an ambiguous term for those born in the mid 1970′s onwards, or those currently in their twenties or thirties. This generation, which I belong to, as a generalisation have understanding and upbringing with digital communication, the internet and the media. With changing economic and political climates, this generation AKA the ‘MTV generation’, as a generalisation have high expectations of life. After living through an age where  there was a feeling that ‘anything is possible’, many people feel there is much to live up to; high flying career, travelling, wild holidays, university, adventure, getting on the property ladder.

Christine Hassler, a lifecoach, broaches this subject in her video. Her thoughts rang true with me and my life. Not often is it that the so-called Generation Y”s problems are analysed. Watch the video and consider what you expect from your life. Time to get off the treadmill??

That is exactly what I have done over the last few months. Quite literally (with a forced decrease in my running) and literally, with implementing my career ambitions, taking a different path from my profession.

Ticking Along Nicely

13 Mar

Ever had a conversation with a friend and received the answer ‘I’m ticking along nicely’? Many of us convince ourselves that life is something to pass the time, something to endure, a life sentence which is assigned to us. ‘This is my lot’, ‘Fate has dealt me these circumstances’.

Ask yourself: am I happy? If the answer is ‘Yes, but….’ or ‘Yes, I think so’, ask yourself: am I truely happy? If you are reading this with interest, may I be so presumptuous to assume the answer is ‘No’.

Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself and others that you would like more out of your life. Do not apologise for your dreams, however wild, seemingly unlikely or mundane.

Above all, never settle for satisifactory. Everyone is capable of achieving their wildest dreams – IF they dare to work towards them with commitment, determination and positive passion.

Add the phrase ‘ticking along nicely’ to the banned phrase bank!

Wise Words From Younger Brother

9 Mar

After a long discussion with my brother last night about our different aspirations, career and life ambitions, he sent me some wise words after our conversation:

“Don’t forget, big sister of mine, that all this energy you are using up will be wasted if you don’t have a direction and goals. Don’t try to do everything at once. What do you want to achieve in 5 years? Does that fit in with what Damon wants? And don’t forget that you can be successful and still have time to relax and have fun!”

 OK, so this may in slightly tongue-in-cheek advice, but I thought the final sentence was salient to my current mission. I passionately believe your work, job, career or calling can be fun and fit in with your ‘play time’. I aim to become a qualified life coach this year which will involve learning new skills on courses, reading and networking. I hope to draw on my experience working with people as a nurse and midwife. But ultimately, I desire a vocation that incorporates my passion to communicate a positive attitude to life, health, exercise and mental well-being. After many years spent searching for a career that completely satisified all of my wishes, I finally feel I have found something I can be successful at, whilst still having fun and taking time to enjoy my numerous sporting hobbies.

Lifecoaching for me can encompass my passion for travel, meeting new, like-minded people, helping others achieve their dreams and maintaining a professional outlook to all my work.

So in answer to my brother’s questions; I do have direction for my career but I need to work on my specific goals. I do try to complete many tasks at once, but I strive on this fast paced challenge. Running a business alongside my studies and sports is hugely rewarding. What will I be doing in 5 years? If I were to write a list of all I’d like to achieve in that time, it would take several hours! Instead, I like to focus on small steps to achieving my annual goals. This makes the targets less intimidating and changes can be made along the way if necessary. Does this matter if my aims differ from my partners? I believe it is healthy to have both individual and joint goals. Our business goals are very much united, our overall life aims match. To have separate plans for personal challenges and ambitions creates healthy time apart. Finally, I may not take enough time to relax, but I very much intend to plan this in over the year!

Always listen to wise advice from others, deciding on your own thoughts and not distracting yourself from your well-thought out 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.

Seven Secrets To a Rich and Successful Life

27 Feb

Seven Secrets To A Rich and Successful Life

1. Positivity

Be positive in all you do, all you think and all you say. Be careful what you tell yourself, your inner voice is often the most influential. Take time to consider your thoughts and feelings. These tell you how you are affected by the world around you. Control your actions by learning to focus on positive thoughts everyday. This takes time and practice, but is worth every minute.

2. Negativity

Remove negative aspects of your life. If friends or family members provide unconstructive criticism, ignore this advice. Block out your own negative voice, problems with self-confidence and replace with positive thoughts. Try to avoid using excuses, either to yourself or spoken outloud to others. Above all else, ban the word ‘can’t’.

3. Get Inspired

Read inspiring books by authors in a field that interests you greatly. Watch films that will cause a stir in your beliefs, research your choices carefully. I can recommend several great films to make a difference in your life. Consider a lifecoach to help with your success planning and to evaluate your progress to obtaining the happiness you deserve.

4. Environmental Factors

Surround yourselves with people who have qualities you aspire to. For example, if you desire riches, work in a high-end market in business, move to the best house or flat you can afford in an area you know to be affluent. This will have the effect of raising your standards and, before you know it, you’ll be earning the riches you surround yourself with.

5. Passion

Focus on something that you are passionate about. Whether a job, business, sport or family, do what makes you happy and tell the world about your passion. You never know where this may take you, humans are drawn to passionate people and listen to sincere advice from experts in their chosen field. Instead of chasing money, let your enthusiasm for a subject you love lead you to riches.

6. Your Plan

Make a clear list of your life goals and break these down into yearly achievements to aim for. Create a plan with quantitifiable and specific targets, implement this plan and make continued commitment to all it entails. Develop a strategy to help you pick yourself up when life throws you off course. Everyone has a bad day or troubled chapter, this is when trusted friend, supportive family and a mental strength can keep you focused on success. Commitment, dedication and determination are essential for a rich and successful life.

7. The Power Of A Smile

Smile. Everyday, when alone, to friends, and to strangers in the street. Sounds simple but oh so effective. Remember, you get one shot at life so make the most of your talents, gifts and passions. You have the power to create the life of your dreams, a smile will make this all the more easy!

The above seven secrets have enabled me to work towards a rich and successful life. This means different things for different people. ‘Riches’ does not simply apply to financial rewards. Effective relationships, a happy family, a fulfilling career; these are all aspects to add richness to your life.

To be successful is to achieve your goals in life, personally, professionally and psychologically.

For further information on motivation and success, follow me on Twitter

Hole in My Heart

25 Feb

Watch the video below - it’s release is spookily relevant to my life at the moment!

Hole in my Heart

A cheesy, Alphabeat tune, but made me laugh when  I heard it on the radio. Do you know those moments when coincidence catches you by surprise. This is one of those moments for me.

Music has always been a huge influence on my life, as it does for many. Whether a positive period or difficult chapter in my life, music always tells the story. The song above played on the radio a couple of weeks after I was diagnosed with a hole in my heart. Just a simple coincidence that made me laugh. Funny how circumstances makes you more aware of certain phrases or a little more sensitive to comments from others.

With any kind of bad news, it’s important not to dwell on the negative aspects. I have been through a range of emotions very quickly, starting with humour, moving to sadness, then anger and now determination. With anything, positivity is VITAL to remain both mentally and physically strong. Fair enough, if you get battered down continually, it’s increasingly difficult to pick yourself. This is all the more reason to get a strategy in place for mental strength during the tough times.

My strategy is my focus on races – running and triathlon. I have entered three races this year and although I won’t be able to do the London Marathon in April as a result on my heart problem, I fully intend to compete in two triathlons later in the year. My support system includes writing about my feelings (e.g on here, in a diary), speaking to trusted friends and family and focusing on what I CAN do rather than what I CAN’T (remember this word is banned!).

So it might sound dramatic – a hole in the heart requiring surgery – but I remain positive. In some ways, I’m almost grateful as the time spent having hospital tests and consultations has given me new insight into my life. The break in training has meant I can step back and review what it is I really want. And that is, to help others, to motivate those who think they’ll never achieve. I also want to help myself achieve my goals in life, whatever is thrown at me.

To Be A Winner

22 Feb

Watch this video to consider the importance of winning, competition and personal achievement.

 

I recently met Dave Scott at the TCR show in Surrey. Listening to him impart his wisdom on the subject on triathlon inspired me to watch footage of his famous race with Mark Allen in the 1989 Ironman World Championships. You may think, how can this teach me about life? You may not be interested in triathlon or any kind of sport. But there are definite lessons to be learnt from those who push themselves to the limit.

As a six time world champion, Dave Scott had to defend his tittle in Hawaii, the Tour de France / World Cup equivalent in triathlon. Mark Allen, his competition ended up taking the title, after a neck and neck race. As you will see on the video, and from meeting Dave live, he shows no bitterness towards his rival, no regrets. Why? He gave his all, did his best. What more can you humanly do.

Whatever you aim for, give it your all. How many times can you honestly say you have done this? When did you last put your heart into something to the point where you literally gave blood, sweat and tears? Sounds a cliche, but it’s true.

Personal achievement is what matters, over competition. Winning is a state of mind. Only you can decide if you deserve to take the title.

To end with, memorise this statement and repeat to yourself every day:

To get something you’ve never had, you must do something you have never done.

Ban A Word

21 Feb

So often I hear this word from close friends and family. I confess to being guilty of using the word when at my lowest. We all do. What is this word? Can’t.

Of all frustrating habits in life, a lack of self-believe is perhaps the most destructive. To believe you cannot achieve, is setting you up to fail.

Excuses for the word ‘Can’t’ include: you don’t want to, you are afraid of failing, you rather do something else, something easier, you lack belief in your ability, others have knocked your confidence or pride. The list could go on and on.

Make a simple but powerful change today. Ban the word ‘can’t’. I have suggested this with a friend today, during a run. Despite momentous achievement to date with marathon training, my friend still believes she ‘can’t do it’. My speculation suggests she fears failure, lacks self-confidence. My experience of running with my friend and through my own running, tells me she CAN do a marathon. The simplicity of pschologically encouraging your body to achieve is extraordinary.

I have made it my mission to ban the word ‘can’t’ from my own life and from those close to me. Through this, I hope to open people’s minds to the power of positive thinking.