While many people make resolutions at the start of a new year, I prefer to focus on the new things I want to achieve over the coming month. And in particular this includes new skills. In fact, there’s two occasions during the year that I tend to take up new activities and it happens to coincide with the academic terms in September and January. Maybe that’s because it’s easier to find evening classes starting up and online courses are being promoted more at those times of year, but mostly I just think it’s down to me having a bit of time off and having the chance to reflect on what new things I want to learn.In September I started to learn Spanish but time constraints meant that I never quite got through all the practice tasks for the beginners’ Spanish lessons so I couldn’t progress at the same speed as the rest of the course. Nonetheless, I have all the documents and workshops sitting in my inbox so I can get started up again whenever I get some time. I guess I’ve just got to make time, right?!The other course I started in September was ballroom dancing. I went along to my first class on a dark Thursday evening and was immediately hooked. Well, who doesn’t want to be waltzed around a dance floor like a princess, eh? The added bonus was that latin dances were taught alongside the traditional foxtrot and quickstep ballroom dances, so I discovered that I quite liked these too. Who would’ve thought that I would enjoy dancing a rumba? I certainly didn’t see that coming! The beginners’ course has just finished and I loved getting my head around the steps. I’ll be back for more as soon as I can.So this January I want to focus on developing my crafting skills and it’s the wool-crafts that I want to focus on. Excuse the pun but knitting has always had me tied up in knots. Continue reading “Learning a new skill in 2017 – Knitting” »
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Welcome to the weekend everyone! It’s time for me to remind you about work on Monday morning and let you know what you can do right now to help you achieve your career goals. After all (I’ve seen this quote literally everywhere last month) ‘dreams don’t work unless you do’. Okay, I know you just want one day off but I promise it’ll be worth it if you do a little hustling on the weekends too. Here’s why it’s good to network and what you can do today to get started:It’s not what you know, it’s who you know
Honestly, most of the best opportunities I’ve worked on have come from knowing the right people. Okay, maybe I didn’t know that they were the ‘right’ people when I met them, but when the time came for them to commission a new project, I was the girl they called! Am I just lucky, being in the right place at the right time? No! I actually had to get up, go to events, meet people, chat in real life and maintain those relationships. Thankfully for me, it’s not a chore; I love finding like-minded souls and catching up with them on a regular basis, because the life of a self-employed gal can be quite a lonely one. Having that human connection makes me happy and, honestly, most of the people who started out as business acquaintances are now good friends.
I don’t know if you remember, but back in June I wrote about a piece of research I’d read about the career and life goals of women. It seemed to be talking directly to me as it looked into the dreams of the participants and gave an insight into the timescale that women today aim to live their lives by. After reading that three-quarters are women are dissatisfied with their achievements I began thinking about my own life and the things I want to achieve. It gave me a renewed vigour and I wrote about how I wanted to develop my writing career and branch out into new areas, such as writing for different types of websites, magazines and newspapers. So I wrote this ambition, along with a personal goal of learning to swim, on a Post-It note and stuck it to my dressing table mirror so that I would see it every day. I hoped that this would keep me on track as I started working towards these goals and now I want to report back about how I got on.
Well, this week I started on a journalism course. Yes, I signed up, I went ‘back to school’ and I took my first class towards getting a journalism qualification. But that’s not all I’ve been doing towards my goals over the summer; I’ve studied on an online community journalism course and I’ve been writing lots more copy than usual – making sure that I write something every day. I’ve written a couple of articles for other blogs including a more technical piece than usual for The Fairy Blog Mother and a careers article for EventManagementStudent.com. Also, I’ve been SO lucky to be shortlisted for a Cosmopolitan Blog Award! And next week on Tuesday the 7th October I’ll find out how I got on in the Best Lifestyle Blog category. Just knowing that some more readers might be stopping by my blog as a result of this has made me up my game and be certain that I am completely happy with my articles before they are published. In the past I’ve been a little slack with my proofreading but now I make sure I double-check my spelling and grammar. It’s amazing how often I’ve found mistakes such as duplicate words and misplaced hyphens in my work! When I got the news that I’d been shortlisted, I decided to write an article about why I started my blog in the first place and even writing the this post made me realise just how much I want to achieve this goal and follow my dream. Having that Post-It note reminder has definitely helped me to stay on track so far!
I actually entered the competition by Post-it (who commissioned the research report that I originally read) and encouraged my friends to do the same. The prize is £1500 and it’s called the ‘Make It Happen’ campaign: it’s as simple as writing your dream on a post-it and uploading a photo of it to the website, or even just typing in your goal online here: http://makeithappen.post-it.co.uk and use the Twitter hashtag #postitbrandhappen. I found out that the competition will continue to run until the end of November so there is plenty of time to get your entries in! I checked out the previous winners (one each month so far) and here are some quotes from The Thinking Woman’s Coach and Post-it® spokesperson Jessica Chivers about why they won:
Winner One: “I’ve chosen Caroline Collins who would like to take 48 Raft Foundation volunteers to Kew Gardens. Caroline’s ‘Make it Happen’ is about doing something for others who are in turn doing something for others in their community. There’s so much good feeling being spread here. I wish them a terrific day at Kew learning things relevant to Raft Foundation’s “Grow Wild” project.”
Winner Two: “I would like to select Mark Stapleton who wanted to take Stacksteads Band to the final of a competition in Cheltenham. Music gives pleasure to so many and the band is very active – I think it would be great to fund their ongoing success and wish them well in the competition.”
Winner Three: “I’d like the winner to be Samuel Fairman who looks as though he wants to make it possible for him to go sailing in a wheelchair. I loved his creative ‘ask’ for the money – the Post-its shaped into a boat and a wheelchair in the picture, and the sense of positive resolve to carry on striving and achieving even when things might not be so straightforward.”
I’m carefully avoiding telling you how I got on with my personal goal of learning to swim, and that’s probably because I didn’t do much towards it since June. Okay, I went swimming a couple of times and I practiced a little more underwater swimming than usual. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I usually need a nose-clip and goggles to be able to swim, but this year I learnt how to put my face underwater and swim without a nose-clip. For someone who has never ever put their head underwater in the bath before last year, I think that’s not too bad. I’m getting better at swimming, and practice makes perfect so I guess I’ll just carry on swimming whenever I get the chance and stick at it. One day I’ll be able to do those Olympic turns at the end of the pool!
Have you been learning any new skills recently? What would you like to achieve between now and the end of the year? Let me know in the comments below. And have you entered the Make It Happen competition yet? If not, do it now because it’s so simple – just one sentence could change your life! Good luck with it and with following your own dreams too 🙂