Treat Birthdays as Time Markers says Motivational Speaker Carole Spiers

I shared a birthday this week with Britain’s often outspoken husband of the Queen, Prince Phillip, who turned 90 this week. Even at this advanced age, he is still active and working hard within his role in the royal family, although he used this opportunity to announce his intention to cut back his official duties. In any event, I am sure he celebrated his birthday with friends and family, as I did mine.

For children, birthdays can be exciting times of presents, family outings, sweets and chocolate but as we get older, each birthday becomes just another number for many of us.  As a consequence, many people ignore them, but I always celebrate them as it gives
me an excuse to be together with my friends and family, at least for this one day a year.   It also gives an opportunity to mark another milestone in our lives and to reflect upon what we have managed to achieve over the past year.

Reflecting on the year

A year can be seen as a considerable length of time but in reality, for many of us it is a period that goes by so very quickly.  We start the year with New Year resolutions and good intentions – some of which get achieved and others get forgotten very
quickly.  I believe that although we may have good intentions – and have a long to-do list – we often convince ourselves that
many of the items are unrealistic.  But were they, or was it just that we failed to make them a priority?  It’s very easy to persuade ourselves that it doesn’t matter.  But maybe it does.

For example, what happened to that book you wanted to write?  Is it still sitting in draft format on your computer or have you managed to get the first chapter down onto paper?  As we all know, we need to make things happen for otherwise they just remain dreams.

If you look around at successful people, the movers and shakers are those who are positive, who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and who make things happen – either for themselves or for others.

However, in order to make them happen, you need to take positive action!  We all dream of success but how many of us actual expend our energy and drive in following through upon our intentions?  This is a matter of attitude and mindset and age is just one related factor.   There are many others, such as apathy, indifference, plain laziness, sometimes sickness, stress or possibly marital or domestic difficulties.  All these are factors that determine our mindset towards the goals and desires for improvement in our lives.

We all have choices and wishes and we all have 365 days every year in which to do something about them, albeit that developing and achieving our wishes are influenced by the prevailing circumstances, at our home or at work.

Birthdays then, can be times of reflection and questioning of oneself.  If you are not driving yourself hard enough, then ask yourself the question “why not?”  If stress in your life is wearing you down, then take action to find out how to avoid it.  The human body is fragile, as we well know, but it also can be strongly resilient.  But it will only be so if psychologically and physiologically you are in good shape, and confident.  Only then will your aims, your goals and making your dreams come true, become reality.

You may say that this not an easy call, and it is of course true that sometimes you may need external help to help you meet the challenges on your journey – to build your confidence and strengthen your resolve.  That could be a professional coach, a friend,
a peer group member, or maybe your partner.

Whoever it is in your life, the most important factor is to find the right person or people who can motivate and inspire you. Everyone needs a support group to become part of their team, in order to get through life’s challenges and achieve success.  And afterwards, you can then become part of someone else’s support team to help them achieve what you have achieved!

Key Points

  • Birthdays remind us of years going past, fast
  • You need to be in good shape, mentally and physically, to succeed
  • You may need a support group of a friend and/or a professional

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about work stress, stress management training. Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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Learn to Work from Home and How to Deal with Stress

With many people now taking early retirement or being made redundant and starting up their own businesses, now might be good time to look at the challenges of running a business from home.

You may think this is an easy one, not having to put a suit on in the morning, with the bonus of increased productivity with less travelling time. Unfortunately, the fine line between work life and home life soon start to merge and you will need to be highly disciplined in order to succeed.

It is all too easy to play with the children or watch a football match on television and leave a task until tomorrow but this is exactly the time when you need to be self-motivated.

There are many rewards from working from home if you can get it right! So here are some tips to help you along your way.

1. Space demarcation

Keep your office space separate from your home environment. Keep your office ‘off limits’ to your children while you are working so that they understand that a closed door means ‘No Entry!’

2. Time management

Your time must be structured. Have your to-do list right next to you and ensure that you make those calls and keep those appointments. The advantage of working from home is that you can take off a couple of hours in the middle of the day to go to the gym, go to your children’s sports day and then you can catch up at the end of the day.

3. Outsource

You will still need a support team to keep you working efficiently. When you are in an office, this support is often taken for granted: particularly technical and administrative, but when you work from home, it can be much more difficult.

4. Technology

You will need to use technology more and whereas before you could see someone face to face. It may now be better to use video conferencing. And, a remote, personal answering service is far more professional that having an answering machine taking your calls.

5. Interruptions

As soon as you start to work from home, family, friends and neighbours may think you are always available and they need to know that working time must be respected.

Be careful with people who just pop in for a chat. Don’t forget, you need to set the ground rules for those around you, and in time, they will learn to respect your needs.

6. Frame of mind

Know when you are the most productive. If you are a morning person, then choose to do the tasks that need your full concentration early in the day. The important thing is to know when you are at your best and take full advantage of that fact.

7. Network

Because you will be working by yourself, it is vital that you maintain your own peer group to keep you aware of what is happening outside your own home environment. Join networking groups, either during the day or in the evening.

It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming unmotivated at home and sometimes the ideas and the energy from someone else will help raise your energy levels.

8. Take a break

It is also important to make sure you have a daily exercise programme and at least one social break during the week. It maybe a breakfast, lunch or dinner or maybe even a quick coffee.

Keep those brain cells stimulated otherwise your brain can slow down and you will lose your energy and creativity.

Working from home is not for everyone. Some will love the flexibility and others will hate the lack of organisation. If you go down this route, make sure you have the right team in place and have the necessary support.  But it is not right for everyone, so do your homework before you go that route.

Key points

1. Working from home is good for some – not for everyone

2. It needs self-discipline and self motivation

3. You will need to utilise technology to the full

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about work stress, stress management training. Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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The Death of a Close Friend

Before I could comprehend the enormity of it – he had gone, forever.  At the weekend, he was, as usual, riding his beloved bicycle – then I received a phone call from him on a Wednesday evening to say that he had chest pains and wasn’t feeling well.  Jumping in my car and driving the two miles to his house, I found him lying on the floor, unconscious, from a heart attack. The emergency services were called and they tried resuscitation – but it was too late. He was just 65, and to all intents and purposes, a strong, healthy man, still running his own carpet business. However, in fact he was anything but healthy.

It was so sudden. One moment he was here, and the next, he wasn’t.    He has left behind him a huge void both in my life and in the lives of all his many friends, family and business associates. Two days ago, we attended his funeral. It was for all of us, quite unreal. The fact that someone so full of live, so vibrant a personality – could be taken in the blink of an eye, is something that has caused me profound shock and sadness, and a reminder of the fragility and shortness of life. These days that have followed, I ask myself again and again, whether his untimely death could have been avoided.

Signs and Symptoms

Did he have symptoms beforehand, that he had ignored?  The answer to that question is ‘probably yes’.  He had always been a very fit man who cycled hundreds of miles for charity and had even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain , a few years back. But he had apparently been warned that his cholesterol level was very high and had neglected to take the statins that his doctor had prescribed. About six months ago, he had also been diagnosed as diabetic but had failed to take his medication. Why he had acted that way is inexplicable, except to say that he obviously did not understand the seriousness of his condition, if left untreated.  For some reason, he was in denial. The warning signs had all been there for over a year, but tragically were ignored.

This event, that has so affected me, personally, has made me wonder how many others may be in a similar situation. It is so easy for us to ignore the warnings.  You may not be experiencing chest pains but you may be experiencing other signs of being unwell but refuse to have them properly investigated. Realistically, it is only ourselves who can take responsibility for own lives.  I am not suggesting that every time we have a pain, we should call the doctor.  But we do need to look after our bodies – and our minds – and when we experience unexplained pain, or feel unwell, for longer than a few days, then we should seek professional advice.

As we know, prolonged stress can also be a contributory factor to ill health, and too often we think we can ignore it.  We think that we know best and it will go away.  But often it doesn’t go away and instead it causes us harm. There are occasions when, like high blood sugar or chest pains, it can lead to serious, and sometimes, life-threatening damage to our health. We all sometimes ignore the warning signs in ourselves or maybe in our loved ones, or work colleagues.  It is essential that we all learn to take personal responsibility for our bodies and our health. We need to follow advice and eat less fat, sugar and salt. We need to exercise and not go everywhere by car. We human beings are very good at putting things to one side, ‘I will do it tomorrow’…’another time.’  Well, in some cases, that might be OK, but in others it might be too late.

My friend died because he didn’t fully understand how fragile is life. Living and dying are two sides of the same coin and it is frequently our own actions that determine upon which side that coin falls.

If this strikes a chord with you, please take professional advice.

Key Points

  • We need to appreciate always the fragility of life
  • Unexplained pain or other symptoms need investigation
  • Our own actions can sometimes determine our destiny

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training. Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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Mother Nature as a Stress Reliever

As an avid gardener, I listened very carefully when I heard that Headley Court, the UK’s armed forces’ dedicated rehabilitation centre, is offering gardening therapy to their patients – servicemen and women – who are trying to heal wounds gained in combat and to rejoin their units as quickly as possible, albeit sometimes in a different role.

Headley Court is situated close to Epsom and is set in 85 acres of magnificent landscaped gardens adjacent to the National Trust parkland.

Many of the young soldiers at Headley Court are coming to terms with severe physical injuries, whilst others are recovering from the mental trauma of the battlefield.  Most are still highly motivated and feel frustrated about being unable to do the job for which they trained so hard and having to leave their comrades behind on the frontline.

The staff at Headley Court endeavour to empathise with each soldier and to focus their treatment on getting service personnel fit again for operational duty or, in the case of the severely injured, preparing them for life outside of the armed forces.

This made me think about those soldiers who may have lost a limb, and will never be on active service again. They will have a huge adjustment to make in their personal lives and a new career to carve out as best they can.

Those of us who have to move jobs, for whatever reason, will certainly appreciate how challenging a change of job can be.  But how much more difficult must it be to come to terms with a serious psychological or physiological problem, at the same time.

Soldiers are never trained to deal with this type of personal loss – but only how to manage situations in a military environment, where danger is endemic.  Therefore, when the reality of personal injury hits a soldier, particularly when that injury is permanent, the ensuing shock, denial and anger that may follow is invariably a major challenge.

For those who will never return to their chosen profession of being a soldier, it will be a time of serious reassessment, valuing what they still actually have in terms of personal strengths and physical assets, and turning over a page in their individual book of life. For a soldier who has committed their lives to the armed forces, it may be a challenge.

I know that the Paralympic Games will be run alongside the Olympics, in 2012, and will offer athletes with a physical disability the opportunity to compete and strive for equal treatment in the highly competitive arena of sport. For the soldier who is now an amputee, who has had to learn how to walk again with a prosthetic limb, this is exactly the kind of challenge they will need, both mentally and physically, to support their rehabilitation.

When I read of Headley Court, I wonder how and where does gardening fit in with other therapies.  I believe that to plant a seed and see it grow is not only highly satisfying but it also gives a sense of achievement and purpose.  Enjoying the beauty of a flower, a shrub or a tree can help to relieve so much stress in life.  Being able to focus on something else, other than their injuries, can not only aid a soldier’s recovery but also takes them into another world of peace and tranquility. A world of nature in which there is always new life and renewal.

I am very fortunate to have a garden where I can see a majestic willow tree at the bottom of my garden; large conifers that sweep upwards to a height of over 20 meters and give me privacy and quiet. During Spring and Summer, I spend many hours planting, watering and watching new life grow as seedlings become plants.    There is nothing more perfect for me, on a sunny day, to listen to my favourite music playing in the background and working in my garden.

Very often, being close to nature in a garden, may well help injured soldiers achieve a new sense of purpose and to appreciate what they still have, and not to focus on what they have lost, and which gives them that most valuable of personal assets – hope.

Key Points

  • Physical or mental injury is challenging
  • Mother Nature can serve to relieve stress
  • Hope, is our most valuable personal asset

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training. Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

Listen