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I had a brainstorm. I’ve changed URL as well!

Technological Brainstorm

You might be wondering what this new website address is all about! I had a brainstorm, and below I’m sharing what I wrote about it over at http://nikolahoward.com/blog/brainstorm/


I had a business mentoring session with Ross MacKenzie last week. It turned into a massive brainstorm of new ideas. And it is no understatement to say that it was a transformative two hours.

What did I learn?

I’d been keeping my “day-job in IT” to one side whilst I worked on mindset and nutrition change. This has been giving me an incongruency, as I’m as passionate about women in STEM as I am about mindset and nutrition change!

Because I was so in the middle of it, I didn’t connect my own dots. My mentor immediately pointed out that as well as people that need help with the technical side of setting up a new online business, there are young women that need inspiration to get into STEM. Women already in STEM that need mindset help, nutrition change and leadership guidance. Dieters that love gadgets and technology that help them with their journeys.

He showed me that there was actually a very natural overlap between all my passions.

What happens now then?

So, I’m shifting the content of http://nikolahoward.com  into being technology focused. The content will also cross over between my other passions. The brainstorm demands nothing less!

I’ve moved the mindset focused content over to this new website: http:/mindsetmaven.co.uk.

I’m happy that I’ve made these shifts, even though it’s work, they feel right. I’m definitely feeling far more congruent and focused. I don’t have to suppress or hide what is a large part of my knowledge and experience anymore, which fills me with joy.

I’m looking forward to the next steps in my journey and working with you!

“Breakthrough Success Summit” – February 25th and 26th

Ed JC Smith

My mentor Ed JC Smith, who is an expert on psychology, business, relationships and health and is currently is working on his PhD in Human Potential is running another Breakthrough Success Summit this weekend (February 25th and 26th), so I thought that I’d write a blog about it today!

I know that you are here, reading this, because in some way, you want to improve yourself. I totally appreciate that attending live events may not by your thing, however, the path to change is action.

The event investment is £97 but Ed’s given me 2 free tickets again, so I thought you might like one.
I know when I attended, it expanded my mind no end and changed my life.

If you would like one of the free tickets I have, click the button to fill in the form and we can start connecting those dots!

Yes, I want to come to Breakthrough!

“Breakthrough Success Summit” – January 21st and 22nd

Ed JC Smith

As you know, recently I qualified as a coach and NLP practitioner on a course run by my now friend and mentor Ed JC Smith, who is an expert on psychology, business, relationships and health and is currently is working on his PhD in Human Potential.

He runs a 2 day event – the Breakthrough Success Summit – for which tickets are £97. The next one is January 21st and 22nd, so I thought that I’d write a blog about it today.

I know that you are here, reading this, because in some way, you want to improve yourself. I totally appreciate that attending live events may not by your thing, however, the path to change is action.

Ed’s kindly given me free tickets and I thought you might like one. I know when I attended, it expanded my mind no end and changed my life.

If you would like one of the free tickets I have, click the button to fill in the form  and we can start connecting those dots!
Yes, I want to come to Breakthrough!

Denise DT – Mindset Reset webinar – Wednesday 19 October 11pm BST

I spoke last week about Denise offering the first live round of Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp in three years, and so I was excited to receive the below e-mail about two live webinars that she is doing as part of this round of bootcamp.

I’ve signed up already, as I know that calls with Denise are always fun and action packed. She always offers excellent tips and tricks in her free content, and I expect this call to be no different.

“I have been hearing from entrepreneurs all over the world how crappy 2016 has been and how unsure they feel about the future of their businesses. Marketing techniques aren’t working, sales are down, industries are changing and as women we are more affected by this and most emotionally open to feel the instability.

So, I will be doing TWO LIVE webinars during this launch to share my block clearing tools. The first live webinar will be a collective clearing and MINDSET RESET so we can all let it go and get energetically ready for a new 2017.

This will be lots of live energy clearing and block busting and I would love you to be part of it. It’s going to be such a powerful call, I can’t wait.”

Click to sign up: FREE LIVE WEBINAR – MINDSET REST
Mindset Reset and Collective Clearing. Time to let it go and start again for an awesome 2017.
Wednesday 19 October 11pm BST

P.S. As you know, I am proud affiliate of Denise’s work. If you purchase a Lucky Bee product or course I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

How decluttering leads to more money

simplify

I’ve spoken before about decluttering, looking at observing and decluttering the beliefs we hold that don’t serve our greater good. However, that’s really only half of the story, especially if we look at decluttering with the lens of manifesting.

First step – how to do this? I recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo – an excellent physical de-cluttering system.

Why declutter? For successful manifesting, decluttering our physical environment is a massive key. To allow goodness to come in, we have to get rid of our old, broken and make-do things, and my manifesting mentor Denise has a post on practical decluttering and the reasons why it’s a fantastic thing.

When I first read Denise’s book “Get Rich, Lucky Bitch” on manifesting, I didn’t quite believe her thoughts on decluttering, after all, how can the first step be so simple? I’m a person that lives in organised chaos – I have things in piles, and I know where it all is.

I also now know that piles are not organisation – and where that organisation matters to me right now, all my things are in their place, neatly pared down to the essentials of the task. Decluttering is a continuing process after all!

One of the first thing Denise talks about in her Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp is living a “first class life”, obtaining this via incremental upgrade until you reach whatever “first class” means to you in any area, so that you tell the universe that you are ready for the abundance.

Part of taking that first step, apart from making an inventory, is for 99% of women buying yourself new underwear. Most of us (me included until 15 months ago!) don’t really think about our undies, we have mis-matched and worn out knickers, bras that we wear until we fall apart and generally none of it makes us feel any form of love towards ourselves. For whatever reason, we’ve been taught that “nice underwear is frivolity” and simply don’t value ourselves enough to put good quality underwear on under our clothes.

So, about 5 months after I joined BootCamp, in the spirit of the KonMarie decluttering I’d already been doing with my things, I went through my underwear and socks, and threw out most of it. I’d been surviving on old rough socks, 2 rather geriatric bras and 20 pairs of generic “tanga” knickers that were very much past their best days.

I then did something that I had never ever done before in my adult life. I went to M&S and bought 8 sets of matching underwear (1 bra, 2 knickers) as well as a couple of 6 packs of cotton knickers for “relaxed” days. I then folded it all neatly in my drawers, in the KonMarie style that lets you see it all at a glance.

I’d never spent that much on myself, let alone on my underwear. I’d also never had matching underwear, and never had the luxury of enough bras to wash them with the same frequency as I washed my tops. Subconsciously, as my body type is not one that generally wears pretty undies, all I felt I deserved was very cheap and uncomfortable sub-par bras and knickers. I wasn’t feeling the love in that area of my life at all, and so wasn’t projecting basic openness to good things.

About 2 weeks later, at my day-job, I was offered a position on an important board, that is going to shape how the business works going forward. I also took the decision to finally declutter another products based business that I’d been hanging on, simply because I thought I might well be able to turn it around due to my emotional investment in it. Seeing however, how it was being an economy class thing in my life, where I was not giving myself love, only work for little reward, enabled be to finally let it go – having a final sale of stuff brought me more cash in 3 days than the previous hard work with it had brought me in the previous 3 months put together.

Would these things have happened without new underwear? Maybe, but I do feel that loving myself with an underwear upgrade was a very good start towards being open to the abundance and opportunities that are still coming thick and fast this year!

So, have my new knickers inspired you into some physical decluttering? Leave me a comment below about what are going to declutter from your space this week, and we can start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

Image used Trim (lock) by
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

EFT – why you might want to think about giving it a whirl

EFT-WordCloud

I really like EFT ( Emotional Freedom Technique.) aka “Tapping”. It lives under the umbrella of “Energy Psychology” techniques, and it looks so dumb (especially when you are tapping under your arm and on the top of your head) that you may well feel that it’s a bunch of hooey – but what you can achieve with it really is awesome.

As you know, I’m all about the science, and most double blind reputable studies point to EFT simply using “The Power of the Placebo” to affect change in a person. Now, I’m 100% with Tim Minchin on science and “Alternative Medicine” (Homeopathic Sugar pills in particular), and that “Modern Medicine” is something that should always be matched and used appropriately to an individual’s health circumstances –  but I also feel that Placebology, where the patient affects their own change because they believe that the placebo they are using will change them for the better definitely has a place in the therapeutic process.

I feel it works because it allows a person to be 100% honest with themselves, as tapping out the various issues and free-flow verbalising around them will make us make intuitive perspective leaps that we could never make in a flat state with a conscious mind. When I tap on issues myself, I’m always surprised by something I say that “just falls out of my brain via my mouth” as I’m associating.

The Founder of EFT, Gary Craig, discovered that in persons with anxiety or fear, that by tapping on 9 specific meridian points and using a set of very specific “set-up phrases” and then talking honestly, openly, and usually in negatively phrased statements about issues through the tapping process, that the issues can be reduced to a place where they have little to no on-going effect, very quickly, and with much less stress to the patient than via traditional psychological methods . He believes that the tapping mechanisms of EFT operate in the same way as Acupuncture – activating specific meridian points stimulates them to assist the body in releasing the negative energy feedback loops to remove dis-ease.

There have been studies that show the tapping has a calming effect on the amygdala. I’m sure that you know by now that the amygdala gets activated either for pleasure in the now, or in an amygdala hijack, in a response to a perceived danger, either real or imaginary.

In a fear situation, the amygdala causes adrenaline and cortisol to be released to prepare our body for action (i.e. to fight or to run). Where a “potentially harmful” situation is perceived, the amygdala works with the  hippocampus to enforce its previously learned “stay safe” feed-back loop. For instance, if a person has been in a road accident, the experienced fear gets stored away and then every time a car journey is needed, anxiety levels irrationally increase.

During his development work, Gary discovered that EFT isn’t just for “fear calming” situations, it can be used on pretty much any occurring issue:

  • Personal Performance Boosters
    • Achieving personal and professional goals
    • Public speaking
    • Sports performance
    • Fat reduction & body composition
    • Job interviews
    • Self-confidence
  • Emotional Challenges
    • Stress
    • anxiety
    • phobias
    • Depression
    • feeling overwhelmed
    • Relationship issues
    • Insomnia
    • nightmares
    • Panic attacks
    • Sexual abuse
    • Obsessions
    • compulsions
    • Traumatic memories
    • Procrastination
    • Poor grades
    • Grief
    • loss
    • pet loss
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Addictions
    • overeating
  • Physical Issues
    • Allergies
    • Migraines
    • Fatigue
    • Fibromyalgia
    • pain management

NB: While EFT has produced remarkable results for many people, it must still be considered to be in the experimental stage and people and the therapists that advise clients to use EFT must take complete responsibility for their own use of the technique. If you try it, give it a good go, and find that it doesn’t work for you, don’t sweat it. Just try another self help technique. Never let using EFT or any other self-help technique that I or anyone else might talk about get in the way of seeking professional medical help where required.

So, why am I particularly talking about EFT this week? Well, there’s been more ISIS terrorist activity in a few places around the world in the last few weeks (Baghdad, Ankara and Brussels) and so, in an effort to help us all combat Hate I wanted to share this Brad Yates Tapping video with you: Clearing Hatred – Tapping with Brad Yates

NB: if you have never viewed Brad’s Channel before, before you start tapping away, you must watch these two videos first – as Brad is very clear that you know what you are doing, and that you take full responsibility for your own well being.

I’m connecting my own dots on this one, as I’m currently training to be able to use EFT with you in our coaching practice. I first discovered EFT around 2000, and I’ve used it off and on since then (I’ll admit more off than on!).

I got sharply reminded about using it way more often, and in combination with Forgiveness work as part of my working through Denise Duffield Thomas’ Lucky Bitch Money BootCamp – and it’s now happily part of my daily routine again.

So, what are you going to try and use EFT on? My advice is to try it on everything :-). Pick a topic and drop me a comment below. Then we can start working to connect your dots!

Catch you next time!

Forgiveness – a powerful tool for mindset shift

forgive yourself

As I’m sure you can guess from what I’ve keep banging on about ( 🙂 ), a huge part of Self-Change is re-framing our Mindset and the decluttering process is not just about clearing physical space, it’s about mental decluttering also.

“Don’t let it rent your head” is something my Mum said to me a long time ago, and what’s happened to us in our past can very literally “hold us back” in that past and that story. When I spoke about simply observing feelings in the letting it go meditation, the emotions we feel are often driven by our stories, and the top tactic for dealing with the ones that linger is forgiveness.

Mental de-cluttering can be very difficult – Lifting the memories and beliefs that shaped our current thoughts into the light of objectivity, feeling them and then asking “Does holding onto this experience serve me and my higher good?” can be very hard indeed, as our amygdala is usually telling us (very loudly) that holding on to the memory and all that entails is the “safe” thing to do.

However, as Anaïs Nin said: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Mental de-cluttering is something that we do again and again – yes, there are big pieces of the past that come up when we think about this the first time we do it, but mental decluttering and forgiveness is like an onion – it has layers. There is always more to de-clutter, always more to forgive, and we always feel better for working through the (very easy) process. After all, hanging on to the more toxic memories that drive our lives through pain, resentment or anger is like “eating poison and harming ourselves, yet expecting the other person to die.”

In the same way as when we physically de-clutter our stuff (and I recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo – an excellent physical de-cluttering system ) we de-clutter memories and experiences by topic, with a focus on “Love”, “Money”, “Work”, “Siblings”,”Parents” or any other life topic that we feel is “renting our head” –  naturally there is always cross-over, but don’t let that stall you. If you don’t think a memory would fit in where you want to do the work right now, then leave it for later.

The actual process is easy – Allow yourself some time, pick your topic, grab pen and paper  (because writing activates both sides of the brain) and start writing out emotional memories on the chosen topic. Include anything that still has an emotional charge – anger, resentment, embarrassment, shame, etc and write a short paragraph on each memory as it comes up. Keep going until you can’t think of anything else, aiming for between 20-100 memories.

Don’t get stuck or over think it, you may end up with pages and pages, or just a few lines. The memories that are “missed” this time aren’t yet ready to be forgiven. Just like cleaning out the wardrobe usually takes more than one go, emotionally charged memories that are driving current behaviours often hide behind each other.

Once you have the list formed, and you are ready to start forgiving (It’s perfectly fine to write the list and then leave it to one side for a short while if you need to do so) read the first memory, then take a breath and say out loud “I forgive you, I’m sorry, thank you, I love you.” and then physically cross the memory out with your pen. Repeat the mantra for each item on the list, crossing them off until you reach then end. You can then discard the list in whatever way you see fit; rip it up, shred it, burn it or just chuck it in the recycling.

Why these words? Because they release you from carrying the emotions –  it’s not at all about the cause of the memory, be that a person, organisation or circumstance. And whilst remaining engaged in the exercise, you don’t even have to mean the words that you are saying all that much. Remember, the Limbic brain doesn’t have “words” it has “feels”

Energetically, “I forgive you” is acknowledging the memory and the emotion, “I’m Sorry” covers forgiving ourselves for carrying the emotion for so long and clears any residual entanglements around the event (It’s not about “apologising to the other person”, there is no condoning of past grievances or victim blaming here), “Thank you” is about appreciating the lesson it taught you, even if that lesson was hard to carry or had negative consequences at the time, and “I love you” seals the deal, wrapping up the experience and energies with love and releasing them.

You may well feel some resistance to doing this (I know I have in the past) because letting it go is very, very scary. However, know that doing forgiveness work on the past will change your future life, so leave me a comment about what you are forgiving, and we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next time!

Image used, FORGIVE YOURSELF by miguel
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Get stuff done – make your bed

Make your Bed

One of the little things that I ask of people that I coach and mentor is a very simple and mundane thing – I ask them to make their bed every day. It only takes  a minute to pull the duvet up, straighten the pillows and make sure it all looks good.

It really seems so silly, that such a small thing would have such a big impact, but it really does. Making this task automatic means that you achieve the first task of the day before you even leave your room, and by doing it, it sets the mind up to “do more” with the day. It also gives you a little lift when you see it later, especially if you come home after a crappy day.

This excerpt from the Austin 2014 Commencement Address, University of Texas by Admiral William H. McRaven has been animated and is doing the rounds on the internet lately, is all about this, and really sums it up perfectly:

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack (—rack— The Navy term for your bed.)

It was a simple task–mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs – but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

If you want to watch the full speech, it’s on YouTube (And you should, it contains excellent life advice for us all, not just a bunch of going-to-be Navy SEALS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxBQLFLei70
And the full transcript: http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2014/05/mcraven-to-grads-to-change-the-world-start-by-making-your-bed/

Leave me a comment about how you are going to make making your bed an automatic practice, and then we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next time!

Image used, Our new handmade bed! by Miss Yasmina
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Can you “sit still” or do you need to “fill up your eyes” ?

Sit Still Or Fill Up Your Eyes

I’ve been doing personal development work the last 10 days or so, working on some of my “money stuff”, generally working on discovering and clearing my money blocks, creating an abundance mindset and specifically around making crucial mindset shifts for making passive income (Disclosure: Affiliate links) because hey, I want to create content and courses that improve the world, be a successful female entrepreneur role model for the next generation and gain clarity in my own world so I can help you to connect your dots and improve your life!

I love Denise Duffield-Thomas, she is just so down to earth, practical and totally speaks to the way I think about life. (NB: This is so important. You must resonate on a positive and human level with the people you work with and listen to in life. A good coach will turn you away if she feels that you will not work well together. Stress and combat over “personality-issues” do not make for successful self-improvement!)

Some of the work I’ve been doing has been all about my “sitting still”; being in the moment, breathing, focusing and listening to various messages. This made me think about how we “fill up our eyes” these days – using our Smartphones (Which are actually the ultimate personal computer) and tablets to “just check in”, “play a game” or various other activities that really just waste time and aren’t really engaging with the world or ourselves.

I remember when I was a kid, technology was really just breaking into the home environment, the mobile was a good 15 years away. So, as well as watching telly, I read books, played out, built things, made cakes, talked to my friends for hours on the phone. I could also “sit still”, because I didn’t feel the need for the “need to be doing” i.e. 100% engagement/stimulation, at all time. I look at my behaviours now, and the behaviours of my friends children, and we are all attached to our technology! We are “filling up our eyes” with minutae, most of which we don’t actually need to know, and some of which (especially for children) isn’t actively developing cognitive connections.

I’ve not denying that our level of tech. can be very useful; it is definitely life improving, and provides valuable learning and problem solving tools, but I’ve actively had to remember how to reach stillness again, remind myself that I can “just sit”, that I have no need to get agitated if my phone is not in my hand if there is nothing else going on, that it doesn’t matter if I’m not checking FaceBook or Twitter (the information I really need will find me) and to sit, breathe and also engage to absorb knowledge when I’ve been actively learning new stuff.

I feel that losing this stillness is a big issue. Having stillness in life allows for “reset” time, for me, this is the time where I engage with my orchids, dye my yarn, or just sit for 15 minutes on a sunny day enjoying the like on my face! I also have concern for the kids who have not actually learned about this stillness in the first place.  Yes, we all know that kids run around and pretty much never sit still, but when they do sit down, I see the automatically reaching for a device as potentially not the best idea for them…

So, can you sit still? Summer’s the perfect time to start to regain this vital skill. This week, I want you all to get out from behind your desk at lunch, go sit in the sun (Or, if you are like me, “sun-adjacent” i.e. in the shade!) and just be in the world for 15 minutes. Enjoy the sun, listen to the world around you, breathe and don’t touch your tech. during that time. Note how it makes you feel. Are you calm and enjoying the time, or agitated that you are taking time out and can’t “fill up your eyes”. Afterwards, are you feeling energised and ready to get back to your day with renewed vigour (hint: this is the desired outcome! 😉 ), or did you just feel a bit silly and fidgety, or that it was a waste of time. Leave me a comment below, and we can work on finding the moment and connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

Credit for Sitting Still half of image used What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to sit and stare…. by Nagesh Jayaraman
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.

GCal Schedule

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I never kept a diary/calendar and I remembered all the phone numbers that I needed (about 20 at that point in my life). I prided myself on remembering everything I needed rather than having to write it down. (I learned the periodic table, both order and atomic number/weights for instance)

Whilst my memory is still something I take a pride in, and I’m well known as having “the elephant brain” in my team (I remember everything I do generally, and when prompted, can easily recall detail level (or where to look to get it), I acknowledge that life back them was rather more simple in terms of happenings and events than it is now.

Ironically, but unsurprisingly, one thing I was never good at when I was younger was being on time or prepared for things. Although I knew where I was supposed to be, I never planned enough time to get everything done before arriving. I never honoured the space that appointments take, and I realise now that this is because I didn’t schedule anything.

I now live and die by my Google Calendar. It’s awash with colour-coded goodness and copious event notes. I now know where I need to be and when, what I need to do to prepare, I get it to send me text messages to prompt me and can therefore show up fully committed and raring to go!

For instance, I’m a B-School Alumni from 2011, but this is the first year I’ve done the entire course. Previously the time I needed to commit was just swamped in the tide of life & I faded out after the first week. So why success this year? Because I scheduled it! I carved out the time to do it in my GCal, told my partners that I was “DND”during this time and therefore I was fully engaged in the process.

Recently, I’ve also been popping in physical things that I want to achieve/own as well as the things I need to do/places I am planning to be at.

If it’s in my schedule, I will put time and effort into making it happen.
I’ve given my brain permission to act on an external ordered list, rather than juggle and procrastinate over an internal mess.

By reducing that internal mess, I gain clarity, and so actually have space to get other “to-do” tasks done along side my scheduled events! I’ve finally found a round tuit 😉

Also, by making space in my life for “a thing”, I tell my limbic brain and so the universe that I’m open to receiving said thing. Being open to receive means that either “the thing” will just turn up, or the means to obtain “the thing” will happen in my life.

So, have I inspired you? I know that I inspired myself and I’ll be carrying on in this theme next week; as I wrote this piece, another ‘blog post focusing specifically on Money Scheduling fell out of my brain and onto the page as well! *new post, cut-paste*

Meanwhile, take action today & get your schedule out of your head and either write it down or GCal it. Come back and leave me a comment below about what you are “scheduling to reality” around, then we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!