Where do I stop?

It’s about time for another post about life lessons from running. This one starts in Munich. Usually I’ll be mulling over the many benefits of running from positive health impacts to bringing you into contact with people who share your interest and therefore are one step closer to supporting your crazy dreams. But this is different. It’s a race but there’s no finish line or cut off time – so how do you know when to stop? [See below for the answer in terms of running.]

I was mulling over this whilst I was running, in between checking my watch, grabbing some energy from the food and water stations and enjoying the changing landscape once outside the city. I had no idea where I was going to end up, but instead of staying at the start line and worrying about it, or trying to plan the exact route, I started off when the cannons fired and kept taking steps forward.

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Catcher cars at the ready

Fortunately, there are some clever calculations so you can work out how fast you need to be to get to a particular distance before the car catches you. In some ways you can make it like any other race: run the distance. However, there’s a small caveat – you can’t slow down and make up time later in case you get caught, going too fast sometimes makes you slower so pacing is crucial and what happens when you make the distance? Do you stop running, congratulate yourself and wait patiently for the car to formally acknowledge that you have completed your race? Do you re-calculate, set a new target up your pace and run on to the next km marker, then the next, then the next?

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Once you finish you get a shiny, gold blanket

Of course, there is no right or wrong answer, or rather both of them are the right answer. As life patters on, you may find yourself reaching your goal: getting a new job, taking that dream holiday or buying that house and then what? Sometimes you need to stop and pause for a while, enjoy the place you’re at and reflect, review. After a little while it will be time to decide what’s next – to metaphorically lace up your running shoes for the next race. Other times you may get to the goal and it can be your springboard to something else – new opportunities appear, the route is clear ahead and you have the energy to keep going.

There will always be a time to pause and the great news is that you get to decide when that is.

You get the choice of saying: Good job. I’m done for today. Tomorrow is a new day maybe we go again, maybe we rest. Occasionally if you’re not listening to your body you get a reminder – think catcher car – that says you need to stop for a while.

The truth is you never really stop, you pick your direction with a destination in mind and keep going. Sometimes it feels as if you’re stuck mud and sometimes it feels as if you are way off track. It’s ok to reset, recalculate and even to enjoy the meander for a while.

I would love to hear where you’re heading right now – leave a comment or send a message.

[It’s the Wings for Life World Run where you run until the catcher car catches you. Runners get 30 minutes head start and the car is speed limited. It starts at 14kph and increases speed every 30 minutes.]


If you’re feeling stuck, unsure or cautious about taking action then I would love to help. The first step is to get moving (yes, actually moving, take a walk or dance or something) and then get in touch for a chat. I’m currently offering coaching on a pay what you want basis.

Pilgrimage

I’ve always been fascinated by pilgrimage. For as long as I can remember my life has been about enjoying the journey – an idea of a destination but making the most of the twists and turns that happen along the way.

I’ve never been hugely competitive: I want to do my best and step up when it matters, but I’ve never had a “winning at all costs” attitude. This means that I can enjoy doing things, just for the sake of doing them. My wide range of hobbies and experiences reflects this. That’s not to say I don’t feel nervous about doing something new, or joining a new group, but that I would rather try something than spend too much time wandering about it. I enjoy the doing and am less focused about the end result. Trust the training and you will be OK in the race. Start taking action and the opportunities will present themselves. Enjoy the journey.

A pilgrimage can have religious meaning to it, and there are well defined pilgrimage routes. Paul Coelho’s “The Pilgrimage” opened my eyes to travel in itself as facilitating a transformation even though it describes a journey along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, which is definitely a religious route.

In simple terms and with thanks to the British Pilgrimage Trust:

“Pick a destination, set an intention and start walking”

There is nothing simpler than knowing that your task for the day is to get from point A to point B. I walked St Cuthbert’s Way earlier this year – a quasi-spiritual route, slightly off the beaten track – and discovered that a pilgrimage really gives a chance to re-focus on the important things in life. It could be down to the digital detox, keeping an active body, or abundant fresh air. Whatever it is it is a good combination.

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Modern day pilgrim. Day One: St Cuthbert’s Way

For me, travelling solo is made easier by having an intention, or tasks, or theme for a trip – a reason to do it in the first place. I’ve never expected a specific revelation but more revelled in the unexpected: places I wouldn’t have visited; people I wouldn’t have met and a story to tell when I get home.

And if walking is not your thing then take some time to observe the steps you’re taking on your life journey. Particularly if you are contemplating or starting a life change. What steps have you taken? How far have you come? What is your intention? If you bring this into the context of a physical journey, remember that it’s ok to take a rest day (or week, or month), it’s ok to feel frustrated that you haven’t made “enough” progress and it’s surprising how often you find you have reached your “destination” with no fanfare, and a realisation that it’s not quite what you expected.

And now? Your homework is to reset your pilgrimage destination – this could be a physical journey (no destination is too close to home); or a step towards your dreams – and to start “walking”.

Let me know how you get on.

Bring me sunshine

Summer weather seems to make everything better. People smile, you can hear laughter and there is a spring in everyone’s steps. But this can also make us wonder why we don’t feel like this all the time. We question how we spend out time (who really wants to commute and sit in an office when it’s sunny outside?), whether we can have this all the time (let’s move to Spain!) and what exactly are we doing with our lives.

I don’t think this is unusual and neither does it require rash decisions. We can make some small changes to feel like it’s a sunny day everyday. Here are some ideas:

  1. The sun is always shining: if you remember this you can always have a smile on your face – even when the clouds get in the way. Take a little time – 5 minutes is enough – to do something sunny: laugh out loud; have some fresh juice; buy some flowers. It will brighten your day and in turn you will brighten someone else’s.
  2. Put a spring in your step: You may know this one – get outside: take a walk, ride a bike, even a few breaths outside your front door will make a difference. Movement is the best thing to get you out of your head and into your body to feel what’s real and not what you’re imagining. Fresh air, nature, outsideness all have added benefits to lift our mood.
  3. Get connected: in real terms. Go and see what people are doing – find out what the options are before you tell yourself “I could never…”. This could be taking the time to talk to your colleagues, or go into a cafe and notice what people are doing (I’m writing this in the cafe where my usual quiet corner has been turned into a co-working space because the trains aren’t running). Don’t get sucked into the gloss of social media but do get inspired to be or do different.
  4. Take action: Start doing your dreams. Once you’re in a state of mind to make considered choices decide what you are going to do, schedule a time and get it done. Don’t be overambitious about this first step – that’s to come – but do make it slightly uncomfortable nudging at the edges of those limiting barriers we set ourselves.

Leave a comment to let me know if you try any of these, I’d love to hear about it.


If you’re feeling stuck about moving forward and turning your dreams into reality I can help. Get in touch to find out how to work with me 1:1 and keep an eye on the events page for details of group workshops.

It’s springtime already?

As the days are definitely longer and the sun is making sporadic appearances it is easier to feel good about ourselves. But then we look at the calendar and find out that it’s nearly halfway through April and a feeling of panic sets in – time is marching on, I’m never going to get it all done. Maybe you think that it’s already too late to realise the plans that you carefully made at the beginning of the year.

Fear not! Deep down you know that it’s never too late to get started on something.  This could be as simple as soaking up some inspiration, or a little more concrete like signing up to a course. The good news is that nature has our back and she doesn’t run by our calendar.  Spring is a great time to get started on things. My god friend Ella from White Rabbit yoga and I have created a half day to celebrate springtime – nurturing yoga and activities so that you can set up the steps for your dreams to grow. We will help you to bring energy, joy and passion to your intentions leading to a fulfilling rest of the year.
Go to the Events page to find out more details

If you’re looking to try something new, to gain skills, or get a feel for a career change then volunteering is one of the best ways to see what fits. I’ve been volunteering in Uganda with Cricket Without Boundaries which taught me a lot about cricket and a lot about myself. It comes highly recommended so if you are looking for something to do that will have an impact on you and the world then do check out all their volunteer information. It’s also a lot of fun.

Over the winter period, I’ve been consolidating my learning over the past few years. reflecting on how putting things into action and trying things out for real takes the fear out of it all. Learning to live with a little bit of uncertainty is fine (you can define your limits) and taking a big step, doesn’t feel that big once it’s taken. I would love to help you take some steps towards anything that you want to do this year – whether that’s fitness, career, travel. Do get in touch to arrange a chat about how that works. I really do know that you can do it.

As always I would love to hear how you’re doing your dreams – what steps you’re taking and how it’s making you feel. If you would like to share your story, or nominate someone who’s inspired you to feature on the blog, let me know.

Cultivating Creativity

I was one of 7 nervous faces sitting round a kitchen table. There were notebooks of varying shapes and sizes and a random assortment of pens. I have arrived at a creative writing course to learn how to “Banish the Blank Page”.

I’m not writing this post to announce my forthcoming literary masterpiece, but to share my unexpected learnings from the day.

Observation is the key to creativity in any discipline (whether music, art or literature). Inspiration comes from getting out there and finding it, of tuning in to your environment to see the beauty there. You can’t think anything into creation.

Practice is everything. If you want to write, find time in your day to write (and there is enough time). It doesn’t have to be a long time. Most of the exercises we did were no longer than 15 minutes but by consistent practice, your writing will improve and you will get better at finding the time. To quote Marcel Moyse from “De le Sonorite”, his method for developing flute playing: “It is all a question of time, patience and intelligent work”

Don’t try and make it perfect. It’s rare that the first draft of anything is the final offering, but there always has to be a first draft. Experiment and see what happens, enjoy the evolution and build up a back catalogue of outtakes to mark your improvement.

Seek feedback from other people. We are our own worst critic and it’s unlikely that you will say anything favourable about your own work. If you can find a tutor or a trusted circle of friends (This is known as workshopping in the literary world.) you will get some fair feedback. Learn to be a critic – this isn’t to belittle your or your competitors’ efforts, but to learn from them: why does that phrase work? Why don’t I believe in that character?

At the end of the day do I find myself transformed into a creative writer? Probably not, at least not right now and not without a lot more practice.

So was the day wasted? No, everything I learnt can be applied to help me move forward in doing my dreams.

Finding like-minded people, seeking inspiration and trying things out are all the ingredients for success. Giving something a go takes away that nervous face, replacing it with a confident smile.


Leave a comment if you’ve had a similar experience of trying something new, or practising till you get it right. 

I attended “Banish the Blank Page” with Melanie Whipman, You can find out about her and other creative writing courses here.

Resolutions

It’s almost 2 weeks into the new year and already the posts that promise a “New You for the New Year in 6 easy steps” are fading to the bottom of the social media news pile. Add to that the increasing pile of anti-new-year-resolutions posts and it almost feels as if we should simply pick up where we left off in a fug of mulled wine and mince pies sometime in mid-December. After all, if we believe everything that’s written we’re doomed to failure even if we do buck the trend and make some resolutions. And so we resolve not to resolve.

This is all good. We are enough exactly as we are right now. We can commit to change at any time if that’s what we want and need.

Although I’m going to give New Year’s Resolutions a final hurrah. Right now, in the depths of winter is a great time to start something.

Firstly there’s often a break in routine over Christmas – and whether we view this positively or negatively – it gives us a chance to take a step back and review where we’re at. You may do this consciously or it may happen somewhere deep in the subconscious. Have you loved spending time with your family? Are you looking forward to going back to work? Did you enjoy your Boxing Day walk? Whatever brought you joy and made you feel alive is the start of identifying what you need more of in your life. If there were things that filled you with tension then find a way to do less of these over the coming months.

Secondly let’s look at the word resolution to mean a firm decision to do or not do something; or the action of solving a problem or contentious matter. So what do you want to decide to do or not this year? What is the problem you see in your life that by “solving” would give you a lighter, happier day?

And finally, what to do about it, once you have your resolution? It’s a new year so there’s enough time to resolve without over committing to a short term deadline. Give yourself time to really imagine what life will be like once you’re living your decision; problem solved. (Yes, this is day dreaming) And only once you’ve got that picture can you start doing the things to get you there.  It could be a big leap – quitting you job – or it could be smaller steps – a regular lunchtime walk or an evening class. The trick to make it stick is to do those things that make you come alive when you’re doing them. Don’t focus on the end goal all the time. Enjoy the journey, you’ll make it to your destination quicker and with a smile on your face.


What are your next steps? What are you finding hard to start? I’d love to hear about it on my Facebook page. If you need a helping hand, get in touch for information on 1:1 coaching to help you start doing your dreams

Returning to action

The lights were bright and there was a low-level background noise. It was around 6am, but could have been earlier or later. In airports, time often feels like an arbitrary measure due to switching time zones and waiting. I’m on my way back from Uganda and am beginning to feel a little lost. My two week trip had been the focus of many months of activity – 10 months preparation and build up. I’d been fundraising all year to support the trip and then travelled to Uganda – a new country for me – to do new things and meet new people; to change lives and maybe my own.

It was a complete break. This is one of the benefits of travel – a chance to see how it feels to not be connected all the time, to try new food, to have someone else organise your itinerary or alternatively to be completely in charge of how you spend your time.

But now I’m home and I’m not sure what to do with myself. After any big event, there needs to be some time to decompress. Friends and colleagues are keen to hear about my trip and how I feel about it, but it seems too soon to form opinions so I will have to let them form in their own time. I need to consider how to fill my days without the schedule that I’ve adhered to for the last two weeks.

And sure enough a new routine emerges.  I start off doing the things that need to be done, easy ones that remind me what I do and how I do it. Gradually momentum returns but it’s not exactly the same. I found I needed to take a little break after taking a break before I could fully return to action. I’ve met people and seen a different perspective of life. Like it or not, in some small way I’m different and I want to bring that with me into what I do, how I work, who I work with.

When we want to start doing something new, or making a change in our life, or choosing to do something we never thought we could there’s often a reluctance because what happens when I’ve done it. What then? No-one can answer the question and in some way, it’s not really that important to answer it. Rest assured that something will happen: there might be a slight change in attitude, or a whole new career and life path. What is certain is that you will feel better about yourself, you will grow in confidence and you will find your next steps.


What are your next steps? What are you reluctant to start? I’d love to hear about it on my Facebook page. If you need a helping hand, get in touch for information on 1:1 coaching to help you start doing your dreams.

Baselines

The early hours of the morning are creeping up on me and I realise that I’ve had barely any sleep. I’m wearing all my clothes and several layers from other people and I’m still too cold to sleep. I had a mountain to climb and my fears about the quality of the porridge that had been deteriorating all week were about to come true. I was wishing I was anywhere else but where I was.

That’s one of my baselines. A point in time that is fixed in my mind as something not to repeat, but to hold close and know that I survived to tell the tale.

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The route up the mountain

When we’re thinking about doing something new, we often find resistance to getting started. All too often, it’s the fear of what might happen – failure? Not enjoying it? Having people say, I told you so? Having a reference point, helps to keep things in perspective and can wipe out those excuses.

When we think about what’s the worst that can happen it can be difficult to come up with something really bad, that we really think will happen. Try it. Try answering the question “what’s the worst that can happen” for something that you’re itching to do, but are fighting against.

When we’ve been in a situation that was really bad we realise that we’ve got through it. It’s something to look back on and possibly not to return to, but it turned out OK in the end.

And so we have our baseline. A point in time, or a situation, that we can refer to  “if it was as bad as [insert baseline situation here], would I do it?” And this helps to make our decisions easier.  It takes away those excuses about what might happen if we do this new thing because we can to a certain extent quantify the risk. It’s already becoming real and that immediately reduces the fear generated by the imagination.

Yes, there’s always a risk that it might not turn out exactly how you want. There’s always a risk that something happens that’s worse that you can imagine.

And so you set a new baseline, because undoubtedly you will deal with whatever happens as it happens (it’s easier this way than thinking “what if?” before it happens). It’s called extending your comfort zone and creates a new reference point that lets you do bigger things. It allows you to face new challenges and brings with it the twists and turns of life that keep it full.


Have fun reflecting on your baselines and if you need help putting this into action, give me a shout tanyaboardman@hotmail.com

My baselines could well be extended in a couple of weeks when I travel to Uganda for a Cricket without Boundaries project. I’m raising funds for this charity to support cricket development and raising awareness of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. If you are able to donate a small amount, I would be hugely grateful. The easiest way to donate is online here.

I could never…write a book

“Elementary, my dear Watson…” Perhaps it was no coincidence that Tom Grove was inspired by one of the greatest fictional detectives to do his own detective work, in finding out what his dream job is.  I quizzed Tom to discover what happens when we dream big and then go further, by not settling for a topic that we know, but by diving into the realm of fiction.


Q. When/why did you decide to become an author?

A. One day, I woke up and thought… No, that’s not how it happened. It was a slow culmination of a number of real-life events that led me here almost by chance. In June 2015, a year-long contract came to an end, as had a lengthy divorce and the recovery from a mild heart attack. So I decided to take a long summer break to take stock which extended into autumn and winter. During this time, I had been reading a lot and had toyed with the idea of writing something myself. I had a few false starts, one a reflective project looking at my life and incorporating a few lessons into a fictional story. I ditched this as it was too much like digging over old ground. The other was born out of the advice which states that one should write from experience and I started work on a non-fiction project called “Hey dad, what’s a project manager?” an attempt to distil my knowledge of the profession into a user-friendly manual that even a kid could understand. This I also abandoned, maybe because it was still too fresh but more importantly, it didn’t inspire me creatively.

In early 2016, having just read the complete works of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, I was toying with the idea of my own fictional sleuth set in Norfolk, an area I know very well. My sleuth would not be the archetypal depressed alcoholic surrounded by characters beset with every problem imaginable swimming in murder victims. I wanted someone who was mainly likeable and smart but who would occasionally go off the rails, surrounded by characters with everyday ups and downs trying to solve a single murder which didn’t spiral into a spree. Thus, was born Shaun Young, a criminal psychologist with a borderline bipolar disorder and an intuitive photographic memory who works for the Norfolk CID on difficult murder cases. The Pink Herring was released in March 2017 after two professional edits and numerous inputs from friends and family. I am currently working on the next book in the series, The Nor’easter.

Q. How did you feel, once you’d decided to write a book? Were there highs and lows as you were writing it?

A. I have a long background in research, so the first thing I did was to study the art, not just the classic form and structure of writing fiction, but how others had approached it – famous and aspiring authors alike. I’ve documented how this panned out and my approach to writing in a blog so won’t repeat it here, but it doesn’t explain how I feel about writing. For me, writing feels a lot like reading. What I mean by that is I have a pretty good idea about the setting, theme, plot and characters before I start but, like Stephen King, I let my characters tell the story. This is how the meat of the story develops and sometimes surprises me that a character I initially thought would play a bit part becomes pivotal to the book. As I write, the settings, characters and story become richer and I lose myself in this fictional world. The process of creating a story and engaging characters from nothing is immensely satisfying. It’s intoxicating, exhilarating hard work but the most rewarding thing I’ve done professionally.

I wrote the first draft of the Pink Herring – a manuscript of just over 100,000 words – in just less than three months and it flew by. It was at this point in no way a finished product. The re-writes following the editorials for two further drafts would expand the book to over 130,000 words and take another nine months to complete. The final draft bears little resemblance to the first with much blood, sweat and tears going to into shaping it from a crude story to one which is well crafted with the right balance of conflict, twists and turns, romantic engagement, thrills and spills and a surprising but rewarding ending. The polishing of gem stones, silverware, performance art or literature are all painstaking exercises because that’s what it takes to deliver a finished product.

The low points of writing for me come when I have created a plot hole or have realised a much better way to tell the story. This results in editing sections of the book or deleting them entirely to re-write new parts. I know that the story will be so much better, but it creates a rift in the original story line that must align with the whole book. Proof reading is another area I do not enjoy, but luckily, I have found some friends who are willing to do this arduous but completely necessary job for me. As an example, one friend managed to identify over 500 superfluous commas which made the story flow so much better. The highs include completing a chapter where I have created a character or a setting that I particularly like. There are bars and restaurants that I have imagined that I would love to visit since I know them so well now. I also enjoy the twists and turns that I create and the seeding of clues and leads within the story. But the most enjoyable part is writing what is known as the denouement, the completion of the story where all the threads come together – it’s like finding the last important piece of a jigsaw puzzle.

Q. Can you describe a typical day.

A. Yes, because I treat writing like a job, creating routines and targets to keep me on track. My partner still works in the real world, so I get up with her and make breakfast for us both. She will leave the house at around half eight and I will make another cup of tea to take to the office where I do my writing. The office is like a little library; all my favourite books on shelves in front of me, inspiring me when I get a little dry. I use a MacBook pro and separate display to give me a dual screen set-up; one for writing the manuscript, the other with access to my research for the book and something I call a Storybook detailing the characters, story outline, plots and subplots, chapter summary and a graph for recording number of words written in a session.

I normally start with a new chapter, since I won’t finish the previous day until I complete a section. I read through the Storybook and the previous chapter to get me in the zone, then write until around 11 am when my diary nags me to go for a bike ride. Most days, I’ll comply and take half an hour to ride around the lakes; on others, I’ll just knuckle down and continue writing if I’m in the flow (or its raining). I’ll break for lunch when my stomach tells me to – probably just a sandwich and my fourth or fifth cup of tea. After lunch, it’s back to the office where I may check on sales of The Pink Herring and tweak the various marketing campaigns I have running or think of new articles for the blog on my website. Before long I will return to writing until around five when I’ll save a new version of the manuscript and turn my mind to dinner.

I love cooking almost as much as I love writing, which is good news for my partner as she invariably walks in the house to the smell of a curry or stir-fry or whatever I’m doing that day. We talk about each other’s day over dinner which is cathartic for her and useful for me to get some real-time feedback on my ideas.

Q. Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring authors

A. I wrote a blog which gives 25 bullet points about how I write from which many tips can be gleaned, but these are centred on the how-to elements rather than general advice. I wrote another blog about the pros and cons of becoming an independent author rather than going the traditional route of finding an agent and publisher. Pulling these and my current thinking together, there are a few key points worth restating.

I believe that everyone has at least one book in them, but if you are looking to write for a living, then it something that you can’t do in the margins. To remain sane, you must have a life outside of your writing zone which means doing it before or after work is not sustainable in the long-term. Taking the leap to become a full-time author is a risky one as there are many aspiring authors in or about to enter the market, all looking to make a living from writing. Some will say that you should not be driven by the need to make money, which is true. However, there are few authors making a living from writing about obscure subject matters or niche projects. So, whatever genre you write in, the development of your own voice or style is essential if you are to be distinguishable from the masses – this is something that may not be acknowledged by the market until your second or third book, so it’s going to be a long game. Even the most acknowledged and successful authors had the same uncertain future facing them when they started.

The most important piece of advice I would give any aspiring author is to get your work professionally checked – a full editorial review, taken heed of and acted upon, will improve the quality of your work immeasurably. Thereafter, it is a simple matter of self-belief and endurance.

Q. What’s the one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?

A. Don’t be scared to make a sea change in the way you live your life – life is short, drudgery is long. Follow your dreams, or at least find out what they might be, and give them a chance without being influenced by what other people say, how likely you are too succeed or how much money you’d likely make. Don’t look to others to make you happy or contented – this is entirely in your own domain. Don’t hold grudges – it’s like taking poison in the expectation that someone else will suffer. Smile when you feel like shouting, hug when you feel like howling. Don’t stifle a sneeze or raw emotion – both will hurt your heart. Cry when you feel like it – not when it’s convenient for someone else. Really do go the extra mile – it is always worth it, whether it feels like it at the time or not.

However, just like anyone’s younger self or the younger versions we may have made of ourselves, whether I’d listen and take heed of the advice is another matter entirely.

Q. What challenges do you have in the pipeline?

A. When I decided to give writing a real chance, I said that I would write three books featuring Shaun Young regardless of how successful the earlier books were. I am currently writing the second which is due for publication in October 2017 and I have completed the wireframe for the third book. It is only when the third book has been published and marketed will I have any idea how successful the series will be, but I have ideas for subsequent books already lined up.

My other favourite category of literature is science-fiction and I would love to write a crime detective novel in this genre. I would take the same approach to writing science-fiction as I do fiction; to keep things as real and plausible as possible. I have some ideas I’ve been considering around the evolution of artificial intelligence and its use within crime detection. I am, as yet, undecided whether to extend the Shaun Young series into this realm or whether to create a completely new set of characters and set it in the very near future.

Outside of writing, I have rough plans to travel with my partner over the next few years including a road trip along the southern states of America and the same for the west coast of Australia. Road trips allow me to soak up the atmosphere of place and its people, aspects of which will undoubtedly influence my writing in the future.

My first book has been reasonably successful and the feedback very encouraging. Whatever level of success I ultimately achieve, I think that I’ve found the profession that will see me gainfully employed for the foreseeable future. I’ve never had a job that I can’t wait to start in the mornings, that I get totally consumed in during the day and have to be dragged away from in the evenings. Long may it last…


For more inspirational people who are doing their dreams, take a look at the rest of the blog. If you are stuck on how to start doing your dreams, get in touch and find out how I can help you.  

Respect the distance

With 2 days to go, it struck me that 50km is a long way to walk. I obviously knew this when I agreed to do it, but it hadn’t fully registered with me quite what the challenge was. And two days isn’t really enough to prepare for this. I was telling myself that 6 weeks earlier I’d run 60km. But I’d prepared for that and I had trained in running. Walking – in theory – is easier than running, but in practice, I find the different muscles that are engaged always get me behind the knee. And did I mention this was happening overnight?

As with all challenges, there are two choices – to do, or to not do. What do we need to consider when we choose to do?

Mostly, respect the distance. And this is true, metaphorically, for life as well as literally for endurance events. Recognise that it’s a long way and that change can take a long time; that most people won’t even try and that sometimes you need to take a break half way. Recognise that getting to the start line and giving it a go may in itself be the change you’re looking for.

Even if you start slow, start. Whether you adopt the tortoise or the hare approach the most important thing is to take the first step. You’ll get to the finish line no matter which attitude you adopt.

Do the hard work.  This could be physical training or mental preparation. If you want to get to the finish line (and remember if you’re thinking big picture, you get to decide where or what this is). Whatever it is you want to do – practice doing that thing. If you want to walk 50km, get out walking; if you want to sing professionally, practice singing or if you want to lead a company, find a team or a project to manage.

Celebrate your successes. Try not to focus on how far there is to go, but remember to take stock of where you are right now and how you’ve travelled to get there. You can get a bit of a spring in your step when you celebrate the 30km done, rather than focusing on the 20km still to go. And pause if you need to and enjoy the view.

I’ve done many endurance events before and I know I can do them. I trust my amazing body to keep going. My challenge is to make it feel easier, although I don’t think it will ever feel easy and the best way to do this is to respect the distance but do it anyway.


If you know what you want to do, but can’t seem to make it happen – get in touch for a chat about how I can help you start doing your dreams.