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Last week was a bit mental; take trying to run a home based business in the middle of planning a house move, and throw in a six year old on half term holiday, a lively toddler rehearsing her starring role for the ‘terrible two’s’, a long train journey back from London, two nights with five children in the Lake District, one of them spent carving pumpkins and pinning the smile on the skeleton and a weekend with good people in Northumberland spent surprising one of our bestest friends for his 40th birthday.
It’s been crazy busy, to say the least. But it’s been a flippin ace kind of crazy, you know? My feet have barely touched the floor, but I love that flying by the seat of your pants feeling every once in a while, I find it exhilarating, if not slightly exhausting! And anyway, I’m very practiced at dealing with the whole feeling like a half baked zombie thing these days
It might not sound like I’ve had a lot of time to do much thinking this week, but it’s during these crazy busy periods that all the best ideas seem to come to me – when my back’s really up against the wall, and I have to think on my feet. I always feel my most creative during these times and I’m better at making decisions – good, sharp, sensible business kind of decisions. So in between the whirlwind that has been the past seven days, I’ve been stealing moments to think, write notes and plan the future for my family, and for Love My Dress.
As I watched my two lovely girls playing this week, I considered just how much my life has changed over the past three years. I would never, ever in a whole month of Sunday servings have imagined that those first, tentative steps into the world of social media and blogging back in November 2009, would have led three years later to the situation I’m in now. For the first time in all of the past three years of adventure and madness and certainly, for the very first time in my life, it feels like I’ve made it, like, properly made it. I’m my own boss, and I love my job. Love My Dress has brought me freedom – I’m no longer shackled down with debt, I’m living through an exciting adventure of personal growth and discovery. I can eat my breakfast at lunchtime whilst still in my PJs if I choose I’ve made and continue to make amazing new friends. I’ve won my first proper award, I’ve filled a life long dream and wrote a book!
And best of all, in just two weeks time, my little family and I will be collecting the keys to our new home in the place we love most – the place we thought we’d end up retiring too, but have decided the hell to it, we just can’t wait any longer.
None of this could have happened without Love My Dress and it’s amazing community of readers and supporters. And Love My Dress wouldn’t have been here at all if it hadn’t have been for taking some big leaps in the old faith department and a whole lot of self belief. Taking risks and believing in yourself are two aspects of success I believe so strongly, that I’m dedicating a whole blog post to them this afternoon.
I was chatting with someone this weekend and telling them about my experiences of Love My Dress and establishing my own business – the frustration and sacrifices I’ve experienced along the way, and the joy I now feel seeing Love My Dress inspire so many readers. I recognised the situation my conversation partner was in – a job he didn’t enjoy, a creative outlet in his spare time that brought him immense amounts of joy – a dream to make that creative outlet his living. He explained that the only thing preventing him from pursuing his dream was concern of others that he’d be making the wrong decision. Before I was even aware, the words ‘JUST DO IT!’ came bursting out my mouth.
It’s funny, but looking back, it feels like this was always meant to be – that Love My Dress was waiting for me all my life, to find it and make it something real. I was always 100% sure I was doing the right thing. And thank goodness I was – choosing to follow my dream and gut instinct has led me to literally turn my life around. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and sheesh, I’ve blogged about the tougher elements of going self employed on many occasions, but when it came to Love My Dress, I have always felt driven. But I *could* have taken another decision. I *might* have listened to the voices of doubt, confusion and well meaning concern (think very carefully about turning your back on a well paid secure job, Annabel!’ and ‘what’s a blogger??’). And what might have become then? I’d have probably still been stuck in the same job, still unhappy, my life far less enriched because of it.
But, thankfully, I made the decision to listen to my inner voice and follow my heart. I have never looked back. Not once. Not even when I’ve been tired and stressed beyond belief with a work load that has forced me to stay up all night working with no sleep at all, or when I’ve missed out on family things because I’ve had to knuckle down and work. Certain things in life are worth making big sacrifices over.
I guess the point of this post is to share some of what I have learned over the past three years in a way I mean for it to encourage and inspire you. This month, I celebrate my blog’s 3rd birthday and I’m feeling so proud, not just of what I’ve achieved in the past three years but for the wider team of brilliant writers and contributors that Love My Dress now represents – most of whom are self employed woman who have also followed their dreams.
I really honestly believe that we are makers of our own destiny – that if we want something hard enough and are willing to work hard for it, then we will be rewarded;
* Ignore anyone and everyone who makes you feel you’re aiming too high. You can never aim too high
* Be brave, jump into the unknown and take an adventure!
* Surround yourself with positive people who love and care for you and get what you’re all about
* Just do it! If you want something so much, make it happen – research, network, connect, position yourself amongst people who will help you achieve your dreams – just don’t sit around thinking about it – amazing opportunities do happen to normal people like you and me, don’t let them pass you by!
* Most importantly of all, never stop believing in you. You are capable of much more than you might have ever believed
Thanks for letting me ad-lib about the good stuff I’d love to hear back from some of my readers – be you business or ‘want to be’ business owners, or readers dreaming about something big. I’d love to hear if you have learned any lessons in business, or life, that you’d like to share with readers who want to turn their lives around by doing something completely different.
Before I go, I wanted to share this with you (it’s OK, I have special permission). This is my little girl Eska who turns 7 later this month. Apologies for any camera wobbles – I was trying so hard not to giggle through filming this! When Eska grows up, she wants to act and dance and sing and be a writer like her Mummy. I tell her as often as I can, that she can be anything she wants to be in life, but that she must work hard to make it happen…
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