Sunday 14 August 2011

Dealing with conflict

Hey folks! How are you doing? I know, I've broken my vow to blog weekly. But I'm here today!

Lots of things have happened since I last wrote, but I'll focus on one thing. I've learned that the best way to deal with conflict is to confront the source of the issue. It can pay off handsomely. I remember someone saying that confrontation didn't have to be a problem, and I have to say that I agree.

There is a person I work with who up a till a couple of weeks ago was a total pain; a really annoying, and at times, utterly obnoxious individual. They are one of those people who revel in how bright they are and want the whole world to do the same. For sure they are very talented, but they have been using this to try and promote themselves rather than waiting until their character is sufficiently formed to be able to handle the status they quite clearly have their eye on.

I would go home after a day's work enraged at this person and their many indiscretions. I didn't say or do anything initially because I wanted to be absolutely certain that I had got my facts right and that I wasn't imagining the whole thing. Then a couple of months ago, over a period of two weeks, I came across evidence in black and white which proved that I had been correct about this person and their behaviour; the things that I had seen in her attitude and behaviour were real. I no longer needed to torment myself over whether or not I was imagining things. I decided to confront the individual concerned about what I had observed and the things that I was unhappy about.

Firstly, I gave them the opportunity to speak so that they could air any grievances that they may have against me. Surprisingly they appeared to have none, which made her behaviour seem all the more bizarre.

I then drew some boundary lines and let them know what was appropriate and inappropriate in how we were to work together. At certain points their interjections seemed just ludricrous - the solutions were obvious if they would just stop trying to get their own way all the time and consider others. I said everything I had to say and then it was over. The anger which had been burning away on the inside disappeared. My peace of mind was restored and work was no longer the drudge that it had been up until that point.

It fixed in my mind permanently that the best way to stop a situation from getting out of control is to tackle it when it first happens. I shouldn't have waited as long as I did, even if I was unsure at first that they were being insolent. Saying what I had in my heart was like a release and was very liberating for me.

I would encourage everyone, to always confront situations that are robbing you of your peace and joy. Don't let them continue unchecked. It is more than likely that you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Monday 16 May 2011

Don't take your gifts to the grave

A few years ago, I was watching a dvd with my father about a famous Nigerian singer, whom we’ll call Samuel. Samuel, who by the time of narration was well into his 60s, recounted how difficult it had been for him when he first started out. When he was growing up, wanting to be a singer was akin to wanting to be an alcoholic or a drug dealer. It was a major league no-no. The origins of this belief are unclear, but it was every family’s worst nightmare for their child to pursue this career path.

Despite all the strong objections, when Samuel was a young man, he ventured out of his village to perform at a concert. Whilst there he received a telegram from his father saying that he was ill, almost dying, and he requested that his son come home immediately. Shocked, Samuel returned home quickly, expecting to find his father on his death bed, desperately clinging to life for just one more opportunity to see his son’s face. On arriving home Samuel was horrified to discover, as his family imprisoned him in their home, that not only was his father fully alive and well, but the whole thing had been a ruse to lure him back home and convince him using any method that the life of a singer was for those louche individuals for whom life held no purpose; singers were nothing but drunkards and no hopers.

Despite all their protestations, Samuel stood his ground and pursued his dream of being a singer, and eventually received national acclaim. My father told me that there were other professions that were scorned as well, such as nursing ("to do this meant that you were a licentious person; why else would a woman want a job peering at people's bodies all day?"!!!!). The only jobs deemed fit for any self-respecting Nigerian was being a lawyer, a doctor or something in the civil service. Again there was no point of reference for these beliefs.

I'm not sure if he is the actual author of this statement, but Dr Myles Monroe is often credited for saying "the graveyard is the wealthiest place on earth". He means that people have gone to their graves rich with unreleased or unrealised potential, robbing the world of the opportunity to benefit from the incredible gifts and abilities they had been blessed with. This thought played through my mind when I thought of the countless number of people who, because of lack of support from their parents or societal pressure, did not do what they had been created to do. It is such a sad thought. Not everyone has the courage of Samuel to persist with their dreams despite pressure to give them up.

That is one of the reasons that I decided to pursue being a writer. I didn't want to go to my grave without knowing what I could have contributed to the world with just a bit of hard work and self belief. Having turned 39 last week, I am fully aware that I have let a lot of time slip because of procrastination and fear and now really is the time to put my foot on the accelerator and get going!

Have you any dreams that you have given up on? If so, I would encourage you to pick them up again and see if you can still make it happen. Don't rob the world of your brilliance!

Saturday 5 February 2011

My article for my new client

Happy Saturday people! How are you? I'm in the library beavering away and plan to do so for the next three days straight! Gotta get some serious writing done.

Anyhow, after much hooing and haaing one of the posts I've written for my client has finally made it onto the website. We have a few glitches that we are ironing out so the other two aren't on there yet! If you know of anyone in the New York area that loves pets and would like to go to the Westminster Dog Show, show them this:

Thursday 3 February 2011

A working girl with income!

Hi there! Well, I am pleased to confirm that I am now officially blogging for a new client. What I love about blogging is that you write about completely new topics and have to do research and discover how to string things together in a sentence that make you sound like you know what you are talking about! I love learning so this is great. Plus I'm getting paid which is even better! I bought a book the other day which has a section entitled "how to write killer blogs", or in everyday parlance, blogs that will generate Internet traffic which translates into money! My book of choice for the next few weeks!

My draft book came back from the editors. I have a few amendments to make which I will get cracking on this weekend. She suggested leaving out a few chapters, which I'm not sure I agree with, but I will review the situation when I study her comments properly. No church on Sunday so I will make my pilgrimage down to the library and write up a storm.

I think I've made suitable progress on my documentary idea today. I finally managed to get in touch with a woman who is a documentary maker by profession and the ball is finally rolling. I can only imagine her expression at the end of the phone as during our conversation it emerged that I have absolutely no experience of documentary making of any kind and it is just an idea that popped into my head which I want to bring to the screen! I was supposed to email her my outline this afternoon, or as it is known in the trade, a 'treatment', but I discovered that I have either left her email address at home or in the cloak room downstairs from the library! Nuts! I'll have to wait until later to do it. I just need her guidance and expertise on how to bring my vision to fruition. We'll see how it goes!

Oh well, enough slacking, back to trying to turn my crust into a loaf of bread! Toodle-loo!

Thursday 20 January 2011


I've always had a problem asking for money in any form, whether it is outright asking my family to borrow me some money or putting a figure on the services I render. With regards to the latter I have ALWAYS undercut myself.

I have always found it totally impossible to say exactly how much I want to be paid. Well I had a break through today! I was letting someone know how much I would charge for the particular service he wanted. As I was writing the message, I toyed with the idea of putting a lesser amount or offering a two for the price of one service to make the price seem more reasonable. I had already done my research on the matter and knew that what I was charging was correct, but I struggled to do it.

I had just listened to a teaching about the power of the mind and how our thoughts direct our actions. The speaker was saying that if I wanted 2011 to be different from 2010, I would need to change the way I think and the way I see things. I reasoned that I was worth what I was asking; I wasn't scamming the guy at all. "You've got to change the way you see yourself, if you don't see your own worth or believe you worth what you are asking, then you're not going to get very far," I chided myself. So I plucked up my courage and quoted the price that I had in mind. The client then said "wow, that's really reasonable!" Wooooooooooweeeeeeeeee! What a massive breakthrough! I'm so stoked! Here's hoping this is the start of a major turnaround in the area of finances for me!

Sunday 16 January 2011


Greetings! Things are starting to move along now. After what seemed like a lot of pinging backwards and forwards with my first article for Suite 101 it has finally been published. It is the first time I have written publicly about some of the things that I encountered in a church I used to attend. I hope people who read it find it useful; hopefully it will play a part in my finally being able to lay the whole thing to rest once and for all.

Remember the guy who I spoke about regarding creating a blog? Well I gave him suggestions and he loved them so it is all systems go! Woo hoo!

Not bad for sixteen days into the New Year!

Thursday 13 January 2011

Here's hoping!

It's interesting how conversations can lead to something beneficial. I was talking to someone I know on line yesterday when they quite pointedly started to ask me about my working situation. As I don't know this person very well, their questioning came across as a bit rude. They wanted to know my educational background, what position I was in now, whether I was satisfied with the money I was making, if not why did I not return to my former incarnation as a PA, etc. On the PA issue, I explained that as I absolutely hated being a PA I would no longer be returning to that field; I wanted to make my living as a writer. Our conversation then went like this:

Him: You should write a blog.
Me: I already do.
Him: Blogging can be a good way of generating new business leads. I know of someone who has got thousands of dollars worth of new business from doing this.
Me: Yes I know. I blogged for a few companies before, but there was the issue of being paid once the recession really kicked in, especially if they were small businesses.
Him: I should do a blog
Me: Why don't you write one then?
Him: I'm no good at writing and research...but you could do it for me.
Me: Yes, I guess I could!
Him: Great! Here is the site of my competitor. Have a look at it and see what you think.
Me: Will do! I will go through it and then draft a list of questions for you to answer as to what you want for your site!
Him: Excellent! Oh, by the way, how much do you charge?
By this time my business brain was fully awake!
Me: Once you let me know the level of input and work you want me to undertake, I will let you know
Him: Great, speak to you soon!

Not a bad result for a Wednesday afternoon! I was hoping for new doors of opportunity to open for me this year and here's one! Will keep you posted on how it all goes!

Thursday 6 January 2011

Ok, I'm listening now!

Hi there! How are you all doing so far this New Year?

I started back at work yesterday - man was it hard to get up so early after a week and a half of getting up at noon! It is grey, cold and raining right now but I'm determined to hang onto my new attitude of not letting these little things bug me!

I'm not a huge fan of New Year's resolutions, but something happened today which caused me to make one exception; I'm going to start listening to the voice within more.

I had an appointment today at 9.10am a short distance from my house. I prepared the paperwork for it and headed out the door in good time. As I was locking the front door, I felt impressed that I should go back inside and get my laptop so that I could go straight from my appointment to the library. I thought about doing so but then decided not to as my laptop is quite heavy. I decided to go for my appointment, return home and then pick up my laptop. With that settled, I headed off.

It was only when I got to my appointment I realised that an important document was missing. I had finished it this morning and I needed it for my appointment. Even though I live nearby, it was too late to go back home and retrieve it. All of a sudden it dawned on me; had I gone back inside to get my laptop, I would have seen this document as it was in the vicinity of my laptop and realised that I had mistakenly left it behind. Fortunately when I explained what had happened, the person I was meeting was gracious about it and everything went well despite the missing documentation.

This has happened to me a lot over the years - I get a sense to do or not do something and I do the opposite thing with negative results. Well, I'm putting it on record - the voice within will get much more of my attention from now on!

Saturday 1 January 2011

Embracing 2011!

Happy New Year to you all! I didn't make any resolutions for the simple reason that they only last about 15 minutes! I have set myself a few goals though which I will keep to myself for now, but one of the main things I've been looking at is how my mindset determines the direction of my life.

I'm sure you've heard a number of catch phrases about the power of belief, quite possibly without realising the full significance of the statements that were made. "Think positive", "believe it and you will achieve it", "if you think something bad will happen it will", "it's mind over matter," "be determined", etc, etc. I've heard things like this and more over the years. I used to dismiss these statements as being those of New Agers and others who had a penchant for hugging trees and rocks in the New Forest!

But there is a lot of truth in these sayings. One of the first statements I ever heard along these lines was from the bible: "...For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7. Simply put, we are what we think.

I have a very clear example from my own life about this truth. I am very tall, and growing up I absolutely hated it. I hated people staring at me and all of the comments that went with those stares. I can still tell when someone is referring to my height in another language! Whenever I had to go out somewhere, before I had even set foot outside, my heart would race with anxiety as I imagined people staring and laughing at me. More often than not this is exactly what happened. I would never visit crowded places; I would seldom go to parties or weddings unless I absolutely had to go. I just didn't want to be seen; sometimes I would spend days without going outside. If I had to go to the High Street, I would take the routes which ensured minimal contact with other people.

Then one day, after an experience which changed my concept of my height, I decided not to focus on people's reactions and attitudes to my height any more. I made a choice to embrace who I was, enjoy my height, go where I pleased and not bother about people's foolishness. You know what? The number of unpleasant incidents dropped from happening every day to hardly ever happening at all. What had changed? I hadn't moved to another country or another part of the City; people hadn't changed, but my mind had. I had always walked tall, but now my confidence and my attitude walked tall too! People are always commenting on how amazing and pleasant it is to see someone who isn't ashamed of their height and who doesn't try and disguise it with a stoop. All I did was change my mindset and the results became evident to all.

I was thinking about this quite a bit yesterday; what would happen if I changed my mind in other areas of my life where I want things to be different? At times I can be quite defeatist when things don't happen the way I want them to first time round or as quickly as I would like and so I give up, but what if approached each challenge or obstacle with the belief that they could be overcome? What if I actually started to believe that I can be a writer of note and take steps in that direction, rather than comparing myself to others and telling myself that I don't measure up? What if I approached everything with the belief that I can, I will, I am good enough, nothing is out of my reach and nothing is impossible for me? What would my life look like with this approach? Well, if the results from my change in attitude about my height are anything to go by, my life would be pretty amazing!

One of the things I purposed today was that I want my life from now on to be an adventure. I'm challenging myself to strap myself firmly into my seat on this roller coaster ride that is my life, throw my hands up in the air and, as I take all the dips, turns and loops that are unique to my life, I want to embrace every element of what lies in store for me with a positive outlook. Yes, unpleasant things may happen along the way, but I won't let setbacks alter my course anymore. I choose to enjoy my life and become who I am destined to be in the process. Life was always supposed to be an incredible, exhilarating journey. It still can be. But because for a while my view was obscured by my concerns about how I looked and how people treated me, I totally lost sight of how fantastic it is to be alive!

Life in the Tall Lane just got a lot more fun! Here's to 2011 being the greatest year of my life so far!