Let’s Celebrate more often in the year ahead

The past twelve months have not brought many reasons for Planet Earth, or it’s inhabitants, to celebrate.  From election results that made me wonder if I had been transported to an alternate reality, to revelations about behaviour that made me feel angry and powerless.  Each day of 2017 seemed to increase my levels of astonishment, fury, despair and absolute astonishment.  And rage.

As we draw to an end of this dreadful year, I ask myself what I can celebrate; I always reflect on my successes at the end of each day, month and year.  It’s a positive, reflective opportunity to acknowledge my achievements and since my change of pace (from a too hectic “doing” life to a more present “being” one) one that helps me notice the little things that make a big difference to my wellness, my friendships and the lives of those I love.

There have been plenty of things to celebrate in my world during the last year, and when I stop looking at the overwhelming world-picture, one I can have very little impact on, and focus instead on my tiny, and rather beautiful, corner of Carmarthenshire, I see far more to be positive about than I imagined.  Each morning here, we sit in awe of the view from our window and watch the birds.  We start each day with a celebration of the decision we made to move here, thanking each other for the brave and bold move me made.

It can be so easy to focus on the negative news, the social media sensational stories that beg us to share the misinformation, stirring up hatred and ignorance.  All too easy.  It takes a bit more effort to focus our energy instead, on the positive stories, the daily heroes who interact with others and change lives, the things happening in our communities that we can be proud of.  Stories of hope and change.  Stories to celebrate.

They are there if we look for them; and when we choose to put our effort into finding, sharing and liking the good and the positive, when we spend time looking for things worth celebrating, guess what happens?  We find them!  We find them and enjoy them, and gain strength and hope from them, and when we share them with our friends and family, they smile and enjoy the thought that “there are things to celebrate in the world”.

I’m setting myself a challenge for 2018 and I’d love you to join me.  I’m going to find more to celebrate.  I’m going to go out of my way to share things I believe will encourage other people to celebrate the positives in their lives too.  And let me be clear, I’m not hiding my head in the sand or pretending that everything will get better for Planet Earth whilst I’m focussing on the positive.  I am not going to be silent, I am not going to sit back and let the world continue on it’s self-destructive path without speaking and peacefully protesting in any way I can.  And I will do that in a positive way, celebrating my ability to express my opinions in a (relatively) free country.

Who’s with me? I’d love to know how you’re going to celebrate more in the year ahead, and what you’re celebrating about 2017 that gives you hope.

Dinah

Bitter sweet victory?

I love watching Formula One. I’ve always loved cars; watching and driving and even being driven (as long as it’s by someone who understands the need for a gap between you and the car in front!) and I’m often referred to as a petrol Head.

when F1 announced the new cars this year, I was looking forward to it, a chance perhaps to see who would be winning when it was less about one team and more about the array of exciting drivers and what they bring to the sport.

And I haven’t been disappointed, it’s been exciting to watch with several changes at the top and inter-team battles that add to the feeling that it’s anyone’s Championship this year.

I’ve wanted it to be Lewis Hamilton’s time. I’ve wanted it so much as I see the joy, pride and excitement from his family watching; his father a constant support with a face that shows his delight.

yet I asked myself, as Lewis won at Singapore, “why am I not more excited that he won” “why am I not thrilled that he’s just moved into the lead for the Championship?”

It’s his attitude. His attitude has turned my support into disappointment, into a sense that this young man is still, very much, a boy.  I find myself wondering if he has a decent Mentor; someone who not only listens and supports him on his journey, but someone who tells him to put his ego back in it’s box!  A person who has the courage to say “get over yourself!” and to explain that we are all judged on our behaviour when we lose as much as when we win.

If you’re a business owner and you spend your time shouting about why others should not be a success, or making remarks that hint at discontent or sour-grapes, it will take very little time for your peers to learn to avoid you and not get involved with your network.

As a ‘Star’ whether it’s in sport or theatre, screen or radio, we’ve allowed egos to get so huge, self-confidence to become arrogance and self-belief to become cockiness to such an extent I suspect it will take a major mood-shift to change things.

So my message to Lewis Hamilton, before every victory becomes bitter-sweet, is to pack up your ego for a while and borrow some of the real passion and thrill that Daniel Ricciardo is obviously enjoying; remember those thrilling emotions you started racing for? Get back into that zone Lewis, where you’re treasuring the chance to live your dream. Many people watching wish they were that lucky.

Dinah

Making mood choices

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“Don’t be so moody” a much-repeated comment from mothers of teenagers, partners (of both sexes) and many long-suffering friends.  Yet is strikes me that this is a strange remark;  we are constantly moody.  All our actions (or lack of action) can be influenced by our mood.  Every conversation or interaction will be impacted by our mood.  Every decision we take, choice we make, every moment of our day is moody.  Whether it is positive or negative is surely the real issue.

I do remember being grumpy in my teens; I was angry a good deal of the time.  I chose to let the world know it by reflecting it in my mood and my appearance.  I gave off a huge vibe that said “back off, unless you’re ready for an argument” and it worked.  I achieved what I set out to achieve.  I annoyed the grown-ups so they left me alone and I fascinated people of my own age who believed I was brave, anarchic, different.  My mood dictated my surroundings and my interactions with others.

I live in constant pain.  It’s part of a condition I have called EDS. It means I start my day, every day, by feeling the pain spread through my joints as I sit up.  Some days are easier than others.  The prospect of certain tasks could fill me with dread and allow my mood to plummet into a negative place.  So, knowing this, and knowing that the mood I choose to start my day with will have a huge impact on it, I start every morning by declaring my mood for the day ahead.  This morning, after a challenging night with the third dislocation in as many days, I chose caring as my mood for today.  Caring for myself as well as for others.  Caring about how I sit, to make sure I’m not in pain.  Caring about eating regularly and giving myself plenty of breaks from the keyboard to rest my arm.

Seeing that I have the choice, that I can decide my own mood has been key to my ability to battle the odds in my personal and business journeys.  I’m not suggesting that it’s always easy and indeed there are times when I feel the morning’s conviction slipping away.  That’s ok.  That is my signal to stop and observe.  What am I doing that is causing this change in my mood?  Have I slipped into an old habit or way of approaching something that has a negative impact on how I feel?  I often have conversations, out loud, with myself at these moments and ask myself “ok, so you recognise this right?  What did you do to create this?”  Seeing the mood-habits we create, and asking ourselves why we choose to repeat them is a big step on the journey to owning our mood, our ability to chose it and take back ownership of it.

If you’re finding yourself going up and down on the mood swing, here are my top four tips for influencing my mood:

1) Start your day by choosing your mood and declare it.  If you keep a diary, write it in there and you can look back and decide which were your best mood choices.

2) Take ownership.  Stop saying things like “I’m in a bad mood” or “I’m moody”.  Reinforcing these messages becomes an excuse.  Own your moods and decide that you are able to change each one of them, at a moments’ notice.

3) Acknowledge your positive moods.  It can be easy to focus on the negative, to remember the impact a bad or low mood has had on our day.  Start looking for the positive moods, the uplifting or successful moments.  Acknowledge these, and give no time to talking or thinking about the “moody” moments.

4) Take a look at your environment.  As more and more of us work from home, we become isolated and this can have a huge influence on our mood.  Is the space you are working in a positive one?  Do you look forward to going into your office, or dread it?  You don’t have to redecorate to change the feeling a room creates.  Simply putting up pictures, cards, favourite quotes and knick-knacks can make it an environment that lifts your mood.

Take that “I’m moody” label off today – it really doesn’t suit or serve you.  I’d love to know what positive moods you observed.

Dinah

Choose your mood for the week

As Monday beckons, what mood will you choose for your week ahead?  Will you have a week driven by positivity and promise?  Perhaps a week to be bold and flirtatious or shy and alluring?  How about innovative and perceptive?  They all sound good to me, yet so often the anticipation of Monday morning impacts our moods with less than inspirational promise.

This Sunday choose your mood.  Take a look at your week ahead, (go on, grab your calendar) and focus on the highlights.  What impact will they have on your mood?  Have you got a meeting with a great client or colleague to look forward to?  Perhaps you’ve got time scheduled for social media with people who make you smile or a fabulous work-out session planned.  This can be the mood you choose for your week.  We can make that choice, and we can stick to it.

What mood are you choosing for the week ahead?  I’m going with inspired and enthusiastic.

Dinah 🙂