In 2008 my life was about to change, but not how I thought it would. My business partner and I decided to fold our staffing agency called The Ansa. We had lost a huge contract to another agency and to be honest it had been a struggle from the start due to the politics of other companies. The stress had been immense, a constant fight to keep what we had.
On the up side, we were well on our way to making our first million, but the stress wasn’t worth it for me. So on the 30th September 2008 my partner and I made a CHOICE to fold the company.
November 2009 I met a close friend for coffee. Financially life wasn’t great for either of us. I was working freelance and due to the global recession a few companies who owed me money had gone bust. There was little hope of me recovering the monies, which were now into thousands, and as we sat discussing our woes over coffee, I did something… I made a CHOICE. I would move on from trying to regain my lost money and look at what else I enjoyed doing.
In 2003 and 2005 it had been suggested to me that I was a fantastic motivator. Friends always contacted me when they needed what they would call a “tonic”. My corporate acting clients always gave me their top clients to work with. As one company director from Cragrats the theatre company said, ”You always were a diamond, you have that little something”.
I love seeing happiness on the faces of people, but how do you empower people on a larger scale?
By chance I was given a ticket to see top motivational speaker Tony Robbins. I sat in an audience with just under 10,000 people. Every single person was on a high. Now I’m not saying I agree with everything he does, but people left the conference with a stronger sense of self-belief.
I made a CHOICE that day. I too would empower people on a larger scale. What was my action plan going to be? Because having a dream without an action plan is like trekking the Sahara without taking any water. Then as if by magic the ball started to roll. I kept meeting people that were in the speaking business some motivational, marketing and sales speakers. I needed to know more so I asked if I could shadow them. I went along to seminars with Geoff Ramm, John Hotowka and Richard McCann all speakers who are at the top of their game.
I looked at what I had to offer businesses, conferences, and networking events, wrote my keynote and picked up the phone. I started calling companies and organizations that I thought I could give value to, specifically to their work forces. From my first keynote presentation, which I delivered on the 10th of December 2010 the Dream Alchemist was born, and what a journey this has been.
On the 13th of March 2013 I became an international speaker. Opening The Women’s Leadership and Empowerment Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. I addressed over 15 different countries across the globe. The audience was a mix of members of Parliament to university professors.
In 2008 when we folded our company I never thought it would open the door to an experience that I never would have imagined. In 2009 when I made the CHOICE to let go of what I couldn’t control i.e., the global recession, and the loss of money. I made a CHOICE, a CHOICE not to live in fear like a huge proportion of society did, a CHOICE to put into action another dream of mine.
The CHOICES you make today could set in motion a very different kind of year that you may never have imagined possible. Remember you have a CHOICE no matter where you start from in life.
So let me leave you with this…
“The world belongs to the endlessly curious – to everyone who experiences the world with eyes wide open, who never stops exploring, discovering and evolving. Here’s to uncovering every possibility the world holds for us all.”
Happy late Easter!!!
Looking down onto the snowy White Mountains while riding the ski lift in Andorra took my breath away. The feeling of peace as I climbed the mountain was something I had never felt before. There wasn’t a single sound. It was breath taking! If there is a heaven surely this is what it is like. From that moment my search began to keep that peaceful feeling within me.
For the last two years I have been really big on meditation. I dabbled a bit with it in my late twenties, and found beneficial results but never stuck with it, thinking it took up too much time when I had other things to do, like watching TV etc.
I’d heard about silent meditation retreats and wondered what it would be like. A friend showed me a video of what to expect and you could feel the tranquility ooze from the screen. This is what I had been looking for.
A year later a teacher at a yoga class I attended mentioned she visited a silent retreat every year. Now, if you see this woman you will want a little of what ever she has, she oozes peace, confidence, and constantly glows. She mentioned a type of meditation called Vipassana, which also offers a 10-day silent meditation retreat.
Vipassana, which means, “to see things as they really are”, is an ancient Buddhist technique popularized by a SN Goenka. Vipassana is about focusing your attention on sensations of the body and not reacting to them.
Meditation is not all about clearing the mind which is what a lot of people think meditation is all about, which can sound too difficult and put people off.
So off I went for a 10 day silent retreat in Herefordshire. No contact with the outside world is allowed, so no phones, emails, reading or writing just 12 hours of meditation a day. I arrived late but just in time to speak with my roommate a woman called Carolyn Faulkner the Astrologer, www.carolynefaulkner.co.uk
From the moment we started talking we got on like a house on fire, we had 30 minutes of talk time before the silence began and we would start our typical day.
I lay out my bedding, which I brought from home, and realized that Carolyne and I had brought the same bedding, which read the words…”LOVE”.
Not only were we the same age and both worked in TV we had the same bedding how bizarre, as roommates are picked at random we later found out.
This was a typical day:
4.00 am Morning wake up gong
4.30 am Meditation
6.30 am Breakfast
8.00 am Meditation
11.00 am lunch
1.00 pm Meditation
5.00 pm Tea, which you are allowed two pieces of fruit, or if you have attended before you drink only lemon water.
More meditation till 9pm and in between you are encouraged by Goenka via the big screen to “Work hard and accept the sensations as they arise, without attachment or craving”.
I actually thought I would find not talking difficult maybe even frustrating and I actually found it a breeze. With silence I found I could really see what I spent time thinking about and how much junk actually passed through my mind. What I should have said to so and so when they said whatever ten years ago, and if I see them again I’ll say this… (You get the picture) If you believe in thoughts that create your experiences I was in for a load of doom the way that day carried on
I also found myself looking for ways to be more helpful to others. It was simple things like making sure the teapot had hot water in it ready for the next person or leaving the serving spoon handle in a position so the person behind you could take it with ease. You actually had time to think, really take a look at yourself how your actions helped or affected others.
I have to be honest, I did find myself dancing in the toilet cubicle to the Diana Ross classic “I’m coming out” it sounded fantastic sung in my head. I felt blessed to give myself 10 days of pure personal development with no contact with the outside world.
Usually being self-employed especially in the acting world having your phone switched off is a NO NO. What if Spielberg calls your agent and wants you for a last minute casting and you’re not around?
That is when I knew I had changed; my happiness was no longer centered on getting more acting or speaking gigs. My happiness came deep within. The fear had gone. I knew my worth and it definitely didn’t come from whatever six figure sum I can turn over or whatever TV credits my name is/or will be on.
The fact that HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF MIND and can be created without any of that has been the greatest gift I have received.
Meditation is not about clearing your mind, seeing white lights or traveling to another plane. It’s about peace, a time to connect with yourself, your true self. Read, The 10 second philosophy
There are many different types of meditation so I suggest you give them a try and see what sits right with you. If you are interested in the retreat I attended have a look at www.dipa.dhamma.org
I have to say Meditation has been life changing for me in many ways and if you have not tried it give it a go.
In the spirit of Vipassana…HAPPINESS TO ALL BEINGS XX
The beginning of a New Year can carry with it a lot of uncertainty. The pen and paper comes out and the goals are re-written, and we start the year ahead with great anticipation.
In 2012 we had a lot to look forward to with the Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee and the general 2012 build up. So what’s on the cards for this year??
Well, for a start how about setting your sights higher? Are you dreaming of a different job, relationships which serve you, and financial freedom? If you’re settling for the mediocre, don’t. Instead aim for the adventure. You have so much potential so at least try and fulfil it.
What is your vision? Hold it in your mind’s eye and persist… go for it! Are you constantly searching for something to help you achieve your vision, or is it simply…TAKE ACTION?? FEEL THE FEAR, and understand you’re the only one who will ever hold you back. Read www.lesleyhunter.com/blog
Do you usually find yourself in your comfort zone? What would it take to expand and explore beyond your comfort zone? Taking you that one step further in your life. Don’t settle for less than you are worth, you really don’t need to. If it’s not helping you grow as a person find something that will.
So what has 2013 in store for you?? WHAT EVER YOU WANT… if you really, really want it.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Well, I’m not going to lie to you, It’s taken me two weeks to write this blog, so now I feel I know what I’m talking about.
What has held me back from writing a blog that could make a difference, move mountains, change lives etc (I’m trying).
PROCRASTINATION – Yes I’ve finally admitted it, I can feel the fear leave me as I admit that I too have fallen victim to this dirty word, but why?? What am I scared of?? I’m typing away and it feels great, it’s not the ugly picture I may have painted in my head. I’m a perfectionist. I’m getting better but I do like things to be right. Unfortunately this can be one of life’s set backs, you want everything to be perfect so you never get anything done due to the fact it may not be PERFECT for you – does it sound familiar???
So what can you do to get out of the habit? And it is a HABIT!! Well like any habit you have to stop repeating it. HOW CAN WE DO THAT- I HEAR YOU CRY!!??
Write a to-do list, and prioritize. Maybe the task at hand isn’t high priority. Look at what is on your list and work through it. I don’t know about you but I love ticking off all the jobs I’ve achieved for the day.
Set yourself time bound goals, buy yourself a diary and schedule a time slot for the task you have been procrastinating about and CONQUER IT. I always find time bound goals very helpful.
Tell someone what you are doing, nothing better than a bit of peer group pressure. When I decided to write my autobiography, my first plan of action was to let my friends on Facebook know. I knew someone would mention it to me. I hadn’t even put pen to paper when a FB friend asked how the book was going, it wasn’t until I had that conversation. That day I went home and started to write and chapter one was under way.
What would be the consequences of not finishing a task??? Think about that. Sometimes it could be even worse than getting started.
And last but not least, reward yourself for finishing. It’s the pain/pleasure theory. I’m ordering an eggnog latte what will you have??
Ps, If you want to conquer procrastination you need to spot when you’re doing it. Then ask yourself why you’re procrastinating and take the appropriate steps to overcome the fear. Like author Susan Jeffers said, feel the fear and do it any way!!
Most of the answers I received explaining why not stated they thought people were just too busy to give them any time. Now, I agree we live in a very busy world and to be fair I had the same mind set until I reached out, and it has been the best decision I have made to date. We have to remember we can only do so much by ourselves.
I sat and thought of six speakers I respected and I wanted to know why they were so successful. What did I admire about them and what could I learn? I wrote six hand written letters asking if I could have an hour of their time, a coffee maybe, and what I admired about them which had prompted me to write in the first place.
Within the month I had six replies all stating YES! They were glad to be of assistance. I came away with a wealth of knowledge that I now apply to my own business and the price was five coffees and a cup of tea.
You would be surprised how many people would help you if you only asked. Don’t ever hold yourself back. Stop procrastinating, pick up your pen, find yourself a sheet of paper and write.
In 1965 Lennon-McCartney put pen to paper and wrote a number one hit entitled “HELP!” It worked for the Beatles, it worked for me so lets see where asking for help can get you.