Choose to let yourself shine

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Isn’t it a wonderful picture?  Yes – it’s me.  I have never felt this way about a picture of myself before.  It was quite unexpected; I’m choosing to let myself shine and enjoying it!

The photograph was taken by the very talented @aminart – someone I met through Twitter, who brightened my timeline with his wonderful pictures and gracious, open conversation.  He inspired me to be bold, to be brave – to choose to conquer a long-term fear about pictures of myself and trust someone to capture me without making me feel uncomfortable or threatened.

We met for cup cakes (at the fabulous Sweetie Pies in Twickenham of course) and a chat, and as we got more involved in conversation I forgot my fears, my doubts, my desire to run away!  I took a choice to allow myself to shine.  To see if this man, who I could tell I could trust, would capture the Dinah my husband sees, the woman my friends see, the woman I was ready to share with them?

I asked John (my husband of 25 years) what he thought of this picture; “it’s you.” he said.  But it was the way he said it – and the rather fabulous kiss that followed, that showed me I really had chosen to let myself shine.

Our “real” photo session is next week and I’m buzzing with excitement.  Thank you Amin – you’re amazing!

Dinah x

It’s not always easy to choose

when you're caught between a rock and a hard place it can be hard to see you have a choice

This morning on Twitter, I was reminded by someone that it’s not always easy to choose your mood; that for some, every day is a challenge and “managing a smile” is about their limit.  I can empathise with this position, with this choice.  I remember times when I’ve felt that everything was simply too much effort, too much like an up-hill struggle.  And I made a choice; a choice to embrace positive thinking, to allow that to influence my mood and my outcomes.

I am not suggesting that it is easy.  I am suggesting it is a choice and like many choices we make in our lives, there are times when it is more difficult than others.  Deciding that it is a choice and one that we can make, gives us back ownership of it, gives us responsibility for ourselves.  Many people will find this overwhelming and are, therefore, reluctant to accept that it is a choice they can make.

When circumstances present themselves that impact our lives, we can often feel we have no choice.  We are not in control of what is happening to us and therefore we believe choice is not part of the picture.  What we can choose is how we react to this situation; how we choose to deal with or embrace the challenge is very much our choice.

It is also important to keep it real.  Just because you’ve made a choice to be positive does not mean you’ll never have another day where you feel down, that it’s all too much.  As a family, after my accident, we created a “why me?” day every month.  Every member of the family got the chance to say “it’s not fair.  Why me?”  to openly talk about the things we were finding a challenge, the things that brought us down or made daily positivity a struggle.  By acknowledging what we were all experiencing we gave each other permission to keep it real.

Start with a small step; think about one thing you react to that always brings you down, zaps your energy and leaves you feeling deflated.  You can choose to change the way you react.  Create a new scenario – write it out if that helps – and detail how you will be reacting from now on.  If your current response is to get cross, choose to get sassy or feisty instead.  If you would normally get upset, choose to get determined or confident.  There is a person on Twitter who used to “get under my skin” and when I saw how that made me react, I decided to choose that, from then on, I would react by being grateful.  Grateful for the amazing people I connect with who make me feel positive and energised.

Give some thought today to how you’ve chosen to react to what’s going on in your life, right now.  Are you ready to choose to do that differently?

Dinah 🙂

Making new choices


My husband John and I have been married for a quarter of a century next April – and this July we celebrated 29 years since our first date; and yes, the time has flown by.  We have grown-up and taken an amazing adventure together (we first met when I was 16 and John 17) and made many choices together.  Some that were long-term, planning and progressing gradually towards a purpose, a dream.  Others were taken in haste, reacting to a situation or outcome we had not planned for.  Either way, the choices we made along the way have influenced where we are today.  They’ve become part of our routine.

Making new choices can feel uncomfortable – and that’s okay.  When we are too comfortable we don’t make changes so feeling this way is a sign we’re ready to choose to make that change.  Choices can feel out of our control and in truth, while a situation may have been something over which we had no influence, the way we react to it is down to personal choice.  Have you ever found yourself, half-way through an argument with someone and thought “why are we arguing about this?” the answer is that you choose to argue.  You can always choose to react differently.

There are many steps to successful choices and I believe the first one is ownership.  It’s time to stop giving responsibility for your choices to others.  It can be easy to say “I didn’t have a choice”  when actually what you’re saying is “I didn’t want to make a choice”.  When we take real ownership and accept we do have a choice, we can decide how to react or how to move forward, real choice becomes something we are delighted to own.

One of the key choices I’ve made on my journey was when I decided to deal with my weight (I literally doubled my weight over a period of 12 years in a wheelchair).  I knew I was responsible for my weight, but had decided I had no choice and blamed my immobility.  When I took ownership and admitted to myself that I was choosing to comfort-eat and I could therefore choose not to, everything turned around.  Now, less than half the weight I was five years ago, I know it’s my choice to stay this way.

Today, take an honest look at the choices you are allowing others to take for you and decide which one you’re going to start owning.

Have a great week



I choose not to celebrate

London 2012 can boast many “firsts” on it’s list of considerable achievements, many reasons to celebrate . I do not believe, however, that Women’s Boxing being included for the first time is one of those.  I am choosing not to celebrate it.

Should I really be celebrating that my sex is now equal to men in the ring? Should I experience some sense of joy that women can now beat each other round the face and body in public, encouraged by cheering masses? Call me old-fashioned, but I take no delight, or pride in this “progress”.

I have never understood the justification for boxing. I do not doubt that it requires months, no years, of dedication and training. I am simply stunned that, in 2012, we believe it is “sport” to watch people fighting and gaining points for inflicting injury.

Surely this is only one step removed from Gladiators and the jeering crowds who savoured every moment, every blow, every gory injury. As a woman who is passionate about equality, I would like to see all boxing removed from the Olympics – for men and for women.


There were so many examples of real progress, real reasons for celebration,  for and by women at the London 2012 games – not least the first woman athlete from Saudi Arabia ever to compete – Sarah Attar. That’s progress worth celebrating.

Or Helen Glover and Heather Stanning – who became the first British women to take an Olympic rowing Gold Medal – that had me jumping for joy in celebration.

Or Italy’s Josefa Idem who became the first woman to compete in eight Olympic Games – that’s astonishing!

As I watched Mohamed Ali being supported on either arm, to allow him to stand at the opening ceremony, I was moved to tears and found myself questioning, again, how far we had really progressed from Roman times.  When would they be throwing people to the Lions?

Let’s see some real progress – some brave decisions – how about NO boxing in the 2016 games? In my opinion, that would be something to celebrate.


Choose to take control

How often do you find yourself lying awake at night, or waking in the early hours, dwelling on something that’s worrying you?  Going over and over in your head all the options and possible outcomes, seeing blocks and obstacles in your path.  This is a choice.  The issue may be a very real one, but choosing to hang on to it in this way, to allow it to disturb your sleep, your well-being, that is a choice you are in control of.

The main reason we worry in this way is because we have not yet taken real action.  We may feel there is no choice about our situation – loosing your job, being diagnosed with an illness, are out of our control.  The real thing keeping you awake is the lack of action you have taken to address the situation.

Debt is a common cause of sleepless nights; however it is not the debt itself that people lay awake worrying about; it is what they have, or more often have not, done to deal with it.  “I must write to the bank” “I have to go through the accounts” “I must speak to the credit card company”, these are the thoughts that keep people awake, night after night.

If, the following morning, they  made the choice to take action – to make the calls, to write the letters, to bring their accounts up to date, the debt might not be gone, but the worry about lack of action, lack of control, would be.

When I was told I would be dependent on a wheelchair after an accident at the age of 26, I had plenty of sleepless nights.  I was not worrying about not walking, I was worrying about how to tell people, how to continue driving, how to be a wife and not a burden.   I had to choose to take action and take back control.

So whatever it was that kept you awake last night, or got you out of bed at silly-o’clock this morning, take control today – you deserve a good night’s sleep.

Have a wonderful day

Dinah 🙂

Choose not to fall

I loved this video from Daniel Ilabaca speaking about parkour and how it allowed him to see his choices and the power he had to embrace them.  Embracing our choices and taking responsibility for where they can lead us is demonstrated beautifully.  Enjoy.

Choose colour

   “We can always spot you in a crowd, Dinah – you’re the one who’s wearing bright colours”.  It’s true, I love colour.  My hair is proof of that  and has been all the colours of the rainbow over the years.  Being known for colour in a sea of corporate grey always got me noticed and made me easy to find at the large events I used to manage.

I’ve also noticed the effect colour has on my own mood.  I know if I choose bright colours to wear, I lift my mood.  When I wear grey I feel – grey!  Colours allow me to make other people smile and often prove a great way to start a conversation.  I’ve met some great people thanks to my purple coat (well it is fabulous) and you’d be amazed how often women ask me what my hair colour is.

I bought a fabulous new umbrella this week – bright red with spots – and am looking forward to it raining so I can use it 😉

Choose some colour for your day today and see what impact it has.

Have a colourful Thursday


A choice for yourself

  I’ve made a choice for myself today.  A choice to give myself time with my daughter.  Time to be together and talk, share, laugh, listen, get creative – and yes, probably go shopping too!  Both Hannah and I run our own businesses and by the very nature of her work, Hannah runs the offices of several other business owners too (all achieved virtually from her home office).  It would be easy for us to choose to be too busy for our time together, so we choose to make it as important as every other part of our businesses.

Time for yourself may seem like a choice reserved for those who have already achieved success – and financial freedom.  However, it is making the choice to invest time in yourself that will allow you to achieve what you are striving for.  Working “flat out” to keep  your head above water, to find your next client, to reach that target will get results; but how long will it take until the result you get is exhaustion, burn-out and bad decisions?

Hannah and I have arranged a half-day together every other month for the year.  We’ve already scheduled all the dates in our diaries.  We look forward to our H&D Days for a good couple of weeks each time and love planning how we will spend the time together.

Choose to put some regular time for yourself in your schedule – make it as important as any other time you invest in your business.  You, after all, are your greatest asset.

Have a terrific Tuesday


Pick a choice between one and ten….

Have you got a list of choices?  Choices you’ve been planning to make for a while now; perhaps a long while?  Sometimes it can feel overwhelming – and not knowing where to start can result in not starting at all.  Those choices go un-made or ignored, the progress is stalled or the inevitable is delayed.  Today, pick one of your choices and go for it!

A good place is to start is with honesty.  Be honest with yourself and write a list – nobody else is going to see it, so be honest.  Write down the choices you have been putting off, in no particular order.  Every choice counts – from getting a new hairstyle to launching a new business venture.  No choice is insignificant, no choice is too monumental; they all belong on the list.

Now, pick a choice in the first ten you wrote down.  Start with a small one – but be honest!  Does “choose whether to have cake  or biscuits with my coffee this afternoon” really belong on the list!?  The choice I am picking today is to get some new lighting organised for my office by allowing time for that in my diary this lunchtime.

Choosing to make just one choice at a time and to focus on that one choice until you have seen it through, is the key to success with choices.  How often have you heard someone say “I tried that and it didn’t work” about something – giving up smoking, changing a behaviour, overcoming a problem – they were not focussed on that one choice; perhaps they were not convinced it was the right one, perhaps they had already decided they were going to fail.  Perhaps they just expected immediate results – choices take time to make and will take time to create results.

Pick a choice today – and choose to focus on seeing it through.

Have a fabulous Thursday

Dinah 🙂

Choose your view

I work in an office room with no natural daylight, tucked away downstairs in our home.  It is a large room, with plenty of space, just no view.  I love my office as it is my private space to create, to focus, to give clients my full attention and I have created my own views, without windows, to enhance the space.

Here is my “Thank You Wall” –
  a wonderful reminder that people    
  appreciate what I do and the difference it  
  has made to them.  It is a  positive view
  and lifts me up every day. 




And this is my fabulous Simon Bull print that brings the sunshine into the room
it brightens the space and makes me smile.  
I love this view.  






  This beautiful, heather heart from Jayne Cox
  creates a loving view above my telephone and
  reminds me to smile before I answer every call.  It
  puts a spring in my step and I love this view.





What will you choose to enhance your view?

Have a wonderful Friday and enjoy the long weekend

Dinah 🙂