How do you value yourself?

Since my last post, I have had a rather interesting response from people. It seems that very often we do not value our gifts or at least there are some of us out there who do not value our gifts.

For example: Why would the passionate artist feel bad about charging people for the work he creates out of love? Why would the photographer do a photoshoot at a price that barely covers the costs of his time, let alone contributes to the cost of equipment? Why does the witty person who attracts people with nothing more than his outgoing personality hide himself away behind a job that is unfulfilling?

When did our society decide that it is wrong or unjustified for us to charge a fee for doing something that we are passionate about? Why do we feel justified to accept payment for doing something that we do not enjoy, yet hesitate when someone offers us payment for doing something that we love doing?

Long ago I learnt to accept gifts from people. If someone offered to pay the lunch bill I would gladly accept. When people offered to contribute to fuel, I would gladly accept. I did not need the money, but who am I to rob another of the gift of giving? I love giving as much as I love receiving, but if people will not let me give, then I do not get that experience.

So back to my original pondering. Why is it that we are afraid to charge for the things we truly enjoy?

Are you one of the fortunate ones who is following your dreams and getting paid to play? If so please comment below, I would love to send more people your way and support where you if I can.

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My best investment

Before I got my first real paycheck, my dad had already set up an appointment for me with a financial advisor. The idea was to encourage me to develop a habit of saving and investing so that I could one day retire “comfortably”. So it began, a small retirement annuity fund that got 10% of my paycheck every month. I was on to something here,  I thought. As time went on I found myself in the privileged and fortunate position of having excess money at the end of each month, so I invested what I had. By my mid 30’s I had a unit trust fund, a small share portfolio, a couple of bonds, two retirement annuities and an emergency cash fund for those unexpected expenses. Long-term growth was the buzzword. Save hard and make your money work for you. We have all been told about the magic of compound interest and how wonderful it is provided you leave your money in a little longer. Some investments did well, others not so well. They have each helped me along the way, but the best investment that I ever made was investing in myself.

What does it mean to invest in yourself? For me, it meant spending time and money learning. I read books, attended seminars, took online courses and distance studies. I found successful business people to spend time with and I picked their brains. I dabbled in network marketing (which is a wonderful learning tool. I just never found success with the product that I was involved with) I engaged with a life coach and most importantly I backed myself.

Then 2017 happened. A proper case of Burn-Out, a Nervous Breakdown, Major Depressive episode, call it what you want, it snuck up and took the wind out of my sales. None of my financial investments would be sufficient to carry me through. I guess I could have liquidated all my assets and limped along looking for a job. However, there was one investment which was still paying out huge dividends, the investment that kept on showing returns regardless of the markets and anything else that was happening in the world. My investment in growing myself into the person I am today has kept me going, even through the darkest hours. Now that my eyes can see the light again and I am inspired to change the world and make a difference, I have realized the importance of that investment.

If there was one thing that I would like you, the reader to take away it would be this. Have a sound financial plan for yourself and engage with a professional financial advisor (I can recommend 3 brilliant ones if you need) but most importantly invest in yourself. Don’t spend another day thinking about it, as Nike says: “Just Do It!”. Spend money on yourself to grow, Hire a Coach and find out what drives you, then keep investing and growing and learning and before you know it you too will be reaping the rewards of the best investment you ever made. All that is required is for you to decide and then get moving. If you need help getting started, leave a comment and I will contact you and talk you through the process.

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What if I could change myself?

What would my life look like if I were able to serve more people and make the impact I have always wanted to make in the world?

What would I do with my time if I had all the time in the world and never had to worry about money again? Why do I let my worry of money or perceived lack of money stop me from going out and being who I truly want to be?

Have you ever asked yourself any questions like this? My life used to be consumed by these kinds of thoughts until I had a nervous breakdown last year and could no longer think anything. Suddenly, I could barely take care of myself let alone anyone else. Fast forward 7 months and here I am, I have been afforded the luxury of time. So, what do I find myself doing with all this time on my hands?

I would love to say that I have taken up old hobbies and ticked off everything from my bucket list, but that is not the case. I have however managed to do something far greater than that. I have spent my time learning about myself and what makes me tick. I have read books that explained how depression works and I have developed my own system to keep the “black dog” at bay. Facing my fears is an ongoing walk for me and I am no longer paralyzed by fear. Slowly but surely, I have reinvented myself. I have searched deep to find out who I really am and what makes me tick. I have had to unhook from people pleasing and create healthy boundaries for myself and for others who impact my life. I have reassessed the things that I previously placed value on; I have held onto some things and released a whole bunch of others.

Gratitude has taken on a new meaning for me; simple things like the sound of the wind or walking in the sunshine now carry a profound sense of wonder and meaning for me. I meet people or hear stories of people, who are going through difficult life experiences and I am humbled by the magnitude of blessings that surround me. I am healthy, happy and surrounded by loving people. My life has meaning through the work I do and the impact that I have on peoples lives. No matter how small, each of us always impacts those around us. The old man on the corner who returns a gentle smile as you walk past, the friend who receives the unexpected phone call, the mom who is stuck in a queue with two small kids and doesn’t have enough money on her to pay the entrance fee and you chip in. Those little moments of life are true gold for me.

Yes, the bills keep coming, the responsibilities are there, prices go up and business can get slow. That is just normal life I guess. That is part of being a person, the inevitable path of adulthood. At the end of the day, it is just a journey, and these things are as much a part of the journey as the blessings that we have. I no longer put too much weight in judging things as either “good” or “bad”. Things just are events that happen and I get to choose how to respond. Each day I choose to respond with gratitude and an appropriate emotion for the circumstance, without dwelling too much on the emotion itself. After all, emotions are just a natural response to an event, so let it out and move on and most importantly be grateful. Life is short and unpredictable. Drink your good wines, give lots of hugs and keep one eye on the future whilst living in the moment.

Namaste.

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What is SUCCESS???

I guess for each of us success would mean something different depending on our upbringing and ambitions in life. I know that my idea of success was neither healthy or helpful.

I would say that I used to define success as the accomplishment of creating a certain lifestyle for myself, whilst at the same time being recognized for my skills and contributions to my clients. To cut through the bullshit and candy coating I defined success as making money. It was easy for me to fall into this trap. If I made money I would be able to do all the things I really wanted to do. So, it was perfectly logical to work hard and make money, and then spend the money and enjoy the spoils of it.

Well, that did not work out the way I had planned. Six months ago, I ended up having a nervous breakdown; major depressive order; burnout or any one of the many names that people have analyzed it as. The reality is I was spent, I could not get out of bed, I could not drive or do the most basic of tasks. Even thinking made me feel exhausted. Just like that everything I had known about work and my career ground to a halt.

So here I am six months later, contemplating success. What on earth is this elusive success that we all chasing? How will I define success now that I am starting from scratch again? What would it look like if I was successful? One thing that I have come to realize is that I thought of myself as a successful person before the breakdown. I had a wonderful family, I was engaged to my Soul Mate, I had my dream house and an excellent career that was entering a wonderful stage ripe for expansion and I could capitalize on my years of experience gained in the industry. But I broke down, that was not successful. The funny thing is that I thought I was successful, but I never seemed to have time.

“Success” and the money that came along with it took away my time and my life. I was always busy, on the phone, checking mail, off to a meeting, reading industry news, watching the news and staying up to date with current affairs.

Wow, that is a powerful conclusion. Money took away my time and my life and I honestly thought that more money would buy me more of each. Money for holidays, money to retire, money to live comfortably. At what cost?

In the past three months, I have really focussed on healing myself and working to get mentally fit again. What I have found though is that I have so much time on my hands to do the things that I am immensely passionate about. In fact, there is so much that I want to do the days are just flying by. It is as if I am trying to cram in all the time I lost in my years at work.

So, my question to myself is: “How do I define success?”

Right now, my life is far more balanced than I ever remember. I am eating healthy meals, I practice yoga and meditation daily. I have been writing again and recently started drawing as well. I have on occasion picked up my drum and played again. I have even started “working” again. So, I guess I could say that leading a balanced life could be how I would define my life at the moment but is that success?

I find it hard to define success for myself when I take away the ego. Much of my success definitions are all rooted in some egotistical manifestation. I would love to say this was not so, but presently that is my reality, and as such, I do not yet have a definition of success for myself yet.

What would you advise? What does success look like for you?

 

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My crAzy 2017….

My theme for 2017 is: LESS TALK MORE ACTION. I have decided to just get on with things and stop procrastinating, stop dreaming and start doing. Time has a habit of swiftly moving ahead whilst one is caught up in the day to day activities of life. Next year I turn 40. I had big dreams of who I would become and what I would have done by the time I reached 40. In fact, when I was still at school I remember being asked by our Phys. Ed. Teacher where I would be and what I would have achieved by 40. I have always had dreams and goals that I worked towards, and whilst life brought unexpected circumstances to the table I can confidently say that I have achieved a substantial number of my objectives.

This leads me to my next thought though; have I undersold myself? Were my dreams not big enough? Did I set goals that I knew I could easily achieve? I like to think that I have worked conscientiously on myself and that I have stretched myself. Yes, there may have been seasons where I took things a little easier or my focus was not entirely on the long-term goals, but overall I have consistently worked towards the bigger plan and despite some people not seeing the possibilities the way I did.

So here I am at the end of month number five for 2017. What have I achieved this year? Well my writing has completely stalled. So that did not get traction, however I have had a very productive year to date. Some of my notable achievements are:

  • Getting engaged to Tania. My lover, my friend, my partner and my biggest supporter
  • Taking a 10-day break to Cape Town to strategize and get crAzy always wins! off the ground
  • Registering to study through University of Cape Town / Get Smarter
  • Started Karate with my son
  • Amalgamated our family insurance business with a national group
  • Growing the crAzy always wins! brand

 

So in keeping with my theme of LESS TALK MORE ACTION, we decided to make a difference through our crAzy always wins! brand at a meeting early in February. Here we are four months later, we have a crew of five crAzy’s and we are doing our first charity event to raise funds for the local SPCA on the 30th May. Grab your tickets free ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/crazy-about-animal-care-tickets-34421163627?aff=eac2#tickets

So, whilst the year is marching on, I think I am well on track to achieving my goals. I am not scared of turning 40 next year, in fact I am looking forward to bigger and better thing for the next 40 years. I will be far wiser and level headed and my goals will be far bigger and fulfilling.

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Things are not always what they seem

My last post was in February. I had written about letting go and releasing things that I was holding onto. I felt that it was time to let the magic start happening. So here we are, a few days before Spring starts, and I have taken account of the journey that has been 2016.

My first thoughts when I think of 2016 are thoughts of struggle and difficulty. Yet that is not the absolute truth. In fact 2016 may well go down in my book as one of my defining years. This year has seen some amazing developments happening for me.

To start we managed to buy a home, not just any home, our dream home. Continue reading

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Growing

It was a long winter. A time of upheaval and stress. A time of letting go of the known and heading into the unknown. Time for change and discomfort and getting rid of old habits. Habits that worked both for and against me had to go. I tried holding onto some things but it was futile, the die was cast and the numbers were up. The winds of change were blowing through my life and right then the only thing that felt like the absolute truth to me was the little voice inside me whispering messages of Hope, Faith and Trust that everything was going to be okay. Continue reading

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