Friday, 31 December 2010

What were your 10 Best Things of 2010?


Anyone who reads my bulletin, forgive the repetition. For those of you who don't read my bulletin, this is a taster. If you'd like to sign up, click this link

Thanks so much for your loyal support in 2010.
As you’ve shown an interest in Life Clubs I thought you might like to know the 10 best things that happened to us/me in 2010. I’ve written them (more or less) in the order in which they occurred.

Life Clubs 10 Best Things of 2010
1. Our website: David Eldridge of Two Associates designed our gorgeous website for us and it was launched in the first few weeks of January. I was fond of our last website too, but we love this one as it’s so simple and easy to use.
2. The Life Book: Also in January we held a launch party for the publication of my first book of the year, The Life Book, which all the Hosts and a lot of our friends attended. It was also my birthday, so a double treat for me. Plus Florence (without the Machine) arrived late and danced with us.
3. NHS: We met Judith Mohring, a consultant psychiatrist working at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, who instantly saw how Life Clubs could help those with mild to moderate mental health problems. Together we won a bid and next summer we will be working together in the Central & North West London Mental Health Foundation Trust offering early intervention for those with depression, anxiety and other problems.
4. Macmillan Cancer Support: Our Life Clubs Intensives (one-day workshops) raised money for Macmillan Cancer Support and helped sponsor Lynne Irwin, who ran the workshops with me, to walk along the Great Wall of China. The days were great fun and we’re going to do more in 2011.
5. Corporates: We started our corporate breakfast-seminars this year and they’ve been great fun. Already those who went to earlier breakfasts are returning with colleagues and showering us with work. If you’re interested in Life Clubs for your company, look here and invite yourself. We are happy to organise these breakfasts in other parts of the country too if you can provide the venue.
6. My Best Thing Today: Everyone always loves the way we begin each Life Club (What’s the best thing that happened to you today?), so we decided to start a website for you. We’re getting about 500 hits a day already and have had lots of publicity. Do send us a postcard too.
7. The Work Programme: We were approached a few weeks ago to help with bidding for The Work Programme. Having worked with many unemployed people, we know Life Clubs works and can’t wait to see the results.
8. How To Get What You Want: My second book, How To Get What You Want, was published in the Autumn. It’s my first book for young people and I really enjoyed working with families at The Cheltenham Literary Festival and then in Feltham Community College with the Year 10 children.
9. Twins: Many years ago, Bill, a financial whiz, came to Life Clubs. A few years later, on his recommendation, Claire, his banker wife, started coming to my Westminster Club. This year, everyone at the club has watched Claire grow larger and larger. Her final club was the week before she delivered the first Life Clubs twins. Max and Mimi are gorgeous and we’re looking forward to them coming to Life Clubs too.
10. Me: Getting personal, my best thing of 2011 has been, as usual, my family. This time, my youngest son, Tommy, who I spent five weeks in the South of France with when he was appearing in a film, Mother’s Milk. It was a treat being able to get to know him so well and to spend so much time alone with him. If I have a regret it’s that I never did it with my other three. Oh, oh… I feel a goal for 2011 coming on!

We’ve also been so lucky this year in all the people we’ve met. We’ve met new Hosts, new Clubbers, new corporates and have had a variety of wonderful people in our Base Camp in London. Of course, the ‘old’ friends are brilliant too and I also want to thank everyone who has been involved in Life Clubs for longer. It couldn’t happen without all of you.

I hope you all have had a wonderful break and I wish you the very, very best for the next year. Check our website to find out when your nearest club is starting up.

Do let me know all the good things that have happened to you. I’d be so grateful.
With best wishes,
Nina x

Saturday, 18 December 2010

How to relax at Christmas


Yes, it's only a few days away from Christmas and so this week's workshop was all about relaxing.

Relaxing is something we do too little of at Christmas. We become perfectionists and feel under pressure to do everything perfectly.

We make lists of who we have to send Christmas cards to and then see the job as a 'chore' rather than, as one of my corporate clubbers so beautifully put it, connecting with others. We worry about when we'll have time to make the mince pies rather than just relax eating bought ones. We feel overwhelmed by everything we have to do instead of enjoying the moment.

There's just too much pressure!!!

What we do in my family is to each choose what we want Christmas to be about. We get two hours each to have just as we want to spend it.

My husband likes going for walks - that's a lovely long one whilst the sun is still out after lunch.
My eldest son likes watching a DVD he's got for Christmas. That's his two hours.
My eldest daughter likes dancing. That's two hours of mini disco for her and anyone who wants to join in.
My younger daughter likes acting. That's two hours of reading a play with all the family.
My younger son likes playing games. That's Monopoly for him.
And I like it when we all sit quietly around the Christmas tree watching the candles on the tree light up the room and listening to carols.

Our Christmas treats can take three days to fit in. I do mine on the 24th to set me up for Christmas, my husband his on the 26th and so on...

What's important is that Christmas is exhausting if you don't take it easy. So choose what you want from your two hours, now!

Happy Christmas to all of you and I hope you all have a wonderful 2011.

Love Nina x

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Work/Life Balance (or is it Life Balance?)


This week at Life Clubs we were contemplating the balance in our lives. A good way of doing this is to see what takes up your time and whether or not it's what you like doing.

At the moment I'm not having much of a life balance. One thing I love doing is seeing my husband and yet we're both working too hard. He hasn't worked this hard for years and it's making me work much harder as I can't see him.

I realised this Life Club that what I want to have is a theme for my week which will stop me working - even if I can't see him. It's totally obvious that my theme for the week will be Christmas and so this week my balance is going to be Christmas (rather than work) focused.

I'm buying presents, sending cards, planning meals. Now, how efficient is that? And, it's so much fun that I don't miss my husband quite as much!!!

Five ways to achieve your ideal life balance

1. Having goals (once you know what you want you will automatically prioritise your time accordingly)
2. Focusing will stop you getting distracted and procrastinating (no need to multi-task, just focus)
3. Book in time for everything you want to do – put it in your diary
(from an evening with your partner to time for you to be spontaneous)
4. Getting support (so you don’t have to do everything but can delegate – even if it’s to the children)
5. Make use of time saving devices (keeping favourite recipes together and directions of other’s homes)

Check what's taking up your time. If it's something that really you could do without, see if you can't do less of it.

Think of your life as made up of these stunning colours. Which would you like more of in your life? And how will that be possible?

All best wishes,
Nina

Two bits of exciting news:
1. Do your Christmas present shopping on our website - we have partnered with magazines (Psychologies, Elle and Red) and my favourite, totally natural soaps - fantastic presents at knock-down prices
2. Life Clubs has it's first cover story - January Easy Living magazine!!! It's called Life's Simplest Joys: we defy you not to smile when reading this. Yeah!

and what takes up our time. In my case it's definitely my computer

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The three types of problems


Dear All,

I don't know about you, but there are some things I find incredibly difficult to write about.

One of them is procrastination. Just thinking about procrastination makes me procrastinate. Writing the Life Clubs workshop on procrastination took ages and ages and preparing to run it is something I always leave to the last minute.

Another subject I find difficult to write about is problems and knowing that I had to write about them for this post has just added to my problems.

This week's workshop was all about stress and the problems we have.

In the workshop we divided up our problems into three groups:

1. Those problems which will eventually go away anyway so there's no point in worrying about them
2. Those problems which you can't do anything about - other people's
3. Those problems which you can solve


Once you've found that you can solve your problem, there's then nothing but (you guessed) procrastination stopping you.

Please forgive me, that's a gross simplification of problems, but you get the idea. We often worry about things there is no need to worry about.

I've been spending the last few days thinking about some of my domestic problems and decided that even though they're so bourgeois I'm going to tell you about them. I worry about what I'm going to cook for supper this week when friends come round. I worry about what I'm going to buy everyone for Christmas (and when). I worry about how I'm going to stay calm when all our visitors arrive over Christmas... and on and on.

I don't know if any of you have noticed, but as I was writing them down my Lightbulb Moment was that all my problems will all have gone away by January 1st (see 1. above), so I'm going to stop worrying about them now.

Phew. I can breathe again...

What do you worry about..?

This week's workshop (week of 6th December) is a wonderful workshop about the choices we have in our lives. If you're working too hard, not working hard enough, not sure if your life is in balance, come along. I look forward to seeing you.

And, if you haven't already, do check out our new website, mybestthingtoday. It's getting 800 hits a day which is absolutely amazing.

Hope you have a great week,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
Author The Big Book of Me, The Life Book and How To Get What You Want

Friday, 26 November 2010

Getting creative...


This morning both my husband and I woke up at 5.30 (well, I probably woke him if I'm really honest). We had a lovely chat and he decided he'd get up and start the day and I decided I'd stay in bed and think about what I was going to write about creativity (last week's workshop) in this, my blog.

What happened... I dropped off to sleep. Not that I got bored thinking about creativity or anything like that - it's my pet subject - but I was tired and, although my mind was engaged in an interesting 'does it have to be original?' internal discussion, my body had other ideas.

I woke up with my alarm a few hours later and have had the most creative of mornings.

My number one hint about creativity is sleep. Although it's romantic thinking of great ideas in the early hours of the morning it really only works if you can have a lie-in the next day. Creativity comes easiest with an awake mind.

My number two hint is stop worrying about whether or not you're being or feeling creative. The moment you start relaxing and taking care of yourself the creativity will come.

My number three hint is forget being original. Even Marie Antoinette noted that there weren't many original thoughts still to be had. Just be yourself.

It's Friday and the postman has just delivered all the photos I ordered last weekend - now for a creative treat...

Next week's Life Clubs workshop is all about stress and worries. We explore how to solve them so you can leave the workshop feeling lighter. See you there - come burdened!

Hope you have a great weekend,
Nina

Friday, 19 November 2010

What motivates you?


Staring at the hopscotch board is a metaphor for what's going on in our lives.

Sometimes we're afraid of just taking that risk - of getting onto the first square. It's new... it's out of our comfort zone... it's scary.

But sometimes we're afraid of the routine of being on that hopscotch board. We can worry that once we're on it, there's no getting off. That our lives will be filled with monotony, drudgery, tedium.

I fit into the latter category. I love jumping on hopscotch boards and starting new things, but keep me doing the same thing for longer than a few minutes and I'm feeling bored.

So, how do I (or how will you) get motivated - either to start playing hopscotch or to carry on with the game?

This week at Life Clubs we found our motivational tools.

There are many ways of doing that and each of them brings up different results, but try this one now.

Think of all the things you've done since childhood, whether it's fishing or being friends with your best friend. Then work out what's made it so easy for you to keep doing those things.

You can apply the tools you find to each area of your life.

Two of my motivational tools are fun and freedom. If I've got to do something I don't want to I make it fun:
...I play some music
...I do it in twenty minute chunks
...I use different coloured pens... and so on

Find your motivational tools and use them to move you forward... and keep you going.

Next week at Life Clubs we're going to be discovering our creativity. I can't wait!

Hope you all have a wonderful week,
Nina
PS Do check out our new my best thing today.com website. It's getting 500 hits a day. Please send us a postcard.
PPS Visit us on facebook.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Close that computer!!!


This could well be our kitchen table - only it's not quite that big.

We have almost got a computer each now and instead of talking we all sit there with our laptops hammering away and chuckling to ourselves.

Just occasionally one of my children will say to another 'Come and watch this film on youtube', but they might not even bother getting up and going over to watch it together - they might just send each other the link.

We're in our own little worlds. Not literally in the garden shed/garage pottering away (as our parents might have been), but isolated from whatever is happening in the real world. My six open desktop windows are my world and different from each of their open windows.

This week's workshop was on listening and it made me conscious of how isolated we all are. I made a determined effort to talk to people away from my computer - to clear the screen when I was on the phone (instead of multi-tasking) and even got quite cross with my poor husband when he tried to talk to me with his laptop open.

Conversation is not yet dead. Or at least I hope not.

I'm going to stop writing this now and go and have a conversation. I suggest you stop reading it too!

Hope you have a great week,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 5 November 2010

What's the best thing that's happened today?


This week's workshop was about mirroring and how what you notice about others is all a part of you too.

An easy way to demonstrate is by looking at our mybestthingtoday.com website. I look down the postcards and each one makes me smile. Some with a feeling of recognition... waking up back home is definitely the best thing about today (that's just how I felt coming home from France after five weeks) and some just with a how lovely for them kind of feeling... having drinks out of jam jars at a vintage cocktail bar with my best friend (oh yeah!).

Their happiness is changing my mood. I'm becoming a mirror of their joy. And that feels great.

Thanks to all who have so far shared their best thing with us and thanks to all of you who'll do so in the future.

Hope you all have a great weekend,
Nina
PS Do buy The Times tomorrow. I've got an article in it about improving children's confidence (all ages covered).

Thursday, 28 October 2010

How Can I Change?


It's been a bit of a rough week. Someone who has worked very closely with me for the last ten months is leaving. I always knew he would, but it has happened almost from one day to the next, and, though I'm delighted for him, I'm sad for me. I'll miss him and the role he established for himself within Life Clubs.

When he first told me I just felt sorry for myself. I wanted to curl up and lick my wounds. It means stepping up enormously and both Tommy (11-year old son) and I have been feeling ill in one way or another since we returned from France. All I felt was overwhelmed by what I have to do, taking on both of our roles (at least for the time being) just seemed an enormous task.

And yet I knew I had to change so that I could make everything I want to happen, happen.

I always find when you know something has to be different that you need outside help in some way and, thankfully, I fell on my feet. My good friend, Annie Lionnet, (Frome Life Clubs Host, best-selling author and astrologer) was staying with me when I heard the news.

Now, you may not believe in astrology, but at the risk of sounding like Nancy Reagan, let me tell you how Annie helped.

She looked at my chart and said that although she could see that although everything was changing around me, I was changing too and that, at least for the next month, I was going to be overwhelmingly energetic. What a wonderful thing to hear - and at just the right time.

That's why I love astrology. Call it the placebo effect or call it science, I don't care. Suddenly I'm buzzing. I know I can take on the world. Just being told that I'm going to be more energetic, I instantly feel better, more focused and very dynamic.

I'm jumping and the water isn't as cold as I thought it was going to be.

This week's workshop (as you probably gathered) was all about change.

Next week at Life Clubs is one of my favourite workshops - a great trick to help you boost your confidence every time you admire someone else. We call it Mirror, Mirror.

If you haven't already bought my new book, please do so. How To Get What You Want, is a terrific present for anyone about to leave school, college or university - and grab a look of it before you give it away.

Hope you have a wonderful week.
My best wishes,
Nina

Friday, 22 October 2010

Build in surprises


This week at Life Clubs we were thinking about our homes and how they can restrict us and expand us.

Home is very relevant to me right now because my 23 year old son is about to leave our home, I suppose for good.

It's not the empty nest syndrome, because as you probably know I have three more gorgeous children, but I'm going to miss him enormously. He's very special and (I think) we get on really well, plus I've lived with him for over a third of my life so he's an important part of it. All in all, it's very sad and I've been trying to spend as much time as I can with him. Michael likes to come home from work and flop, so spending time has involved watching TV with him - something I rarely do. One of the programmes we watched this week was Grand Designs.

I was very impressed. There was this stunning thirty year old interior designer doing what I've always wanted to do, namely build herself a lovely house in Cornwall near her mum. She looked as if she was having a great time in the mud and rain (and sun) watching her dream take shape, but by the end of the programme I realised it wouldn't be my dream home - it was just too predictable.

In my time I've built walls and moved rooms around and I know I like to build in surprises. My wall has a little stone fountain built into it and my rooms have hide and seek passages through the wardrobes from one room into another. I like to feel magic and the possibility that anything can happen.

Having discovered that, I'm going to think more positively about my son leaving. I'm going to keep open the fact that he might come through the front door on the odd evening and surprise us or even that I might go and stay the weekend with him.

How have you coped with children leaving home? Any tips?

Next week's workshop is all about change. Now that feels pretty relevant too.

All best wishes,
Nina
PS Talking about children leaving home - if you have one, do buy them a copy of my book How To Get What You Want. A perfect leaving home present.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Finding Your Talents



Both this week's workshop and my talk at The Cheltenham Festival were about finding your talents. The children (and some of the grown-ups too!) who came to The Festival workshop were brilliant - they knew they were talented at sport or being a leader or being creative, but those in my Westminster Life Club were much more dubious.

I don't know about you but I could tell you exactly how brilliant everyone I know is and what they can do really well, but when I used to think about myself I didn't know what made me special.

It was the same in my club. Although my clubbers had written down that they loved adventure and creative writing and all sorts of other things, they just couldn't believe that that meant they were talented in those fields - and yet I believe it does.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, puts forward a very strong case for needing 10,000 hours of practice in order to be really good at something, and I would agree - talents don't come overnight - but each clubber had identified their passions and it's those passions that make you unique and can be turned into talents with just a bit (10,000 hours!) of practise.

One of my passions is colour. When I was a small child I used to ask to be taken to the local department store so I could admire the carpets displayed so stunningly (just look at those reds!). As I got older my favourite present was always colouring pencils and now we call rooms in my home after the colours they're painted (the purple room... the red room... and so on). Just look at the Life Clubs logo - that too shows my love of colour.

You may not call colour a 'talent' of mine, but that's really just semantics. All I know is that without colour I feel bereft.

What are your 'talents'? Or, if you prefer, the things without which you feel bereft? Don't be modest!

Hope you have a great weekend,
Nina
PS I was at The Cheltenham Festival to celebrate the publication of my book, How To Get What You Want. Do have a look at a copy - it's fun.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

How to learn French


My 11-year old son and I are about to return home to the UK after five weeks in Provence. It’s going to be strange leaving – we’ve become used to being alone together, used to the sun, used to being looked after and used to the company we’ve kept whilst he's been making the film he's in (Mother's Milk, based on a novel by Edward St Aubyn).

The reason this post is all about him is that I've been so impressed with his mature and responsible approach to acting and his role. He's been on set all hours - never complained, never messed about (although once or twice he has got the giggles) and been a wonderful actor too (yes, I'm biased).

In terms of accountability (the topic of this week's workshop) he's never let himself or anyone else down. He’s acted to the best of his ability. And he’s drawn too. He's filled more pages than I can count with stunning drawings that he's done to help him relax in the evenings. He’s also been really good at all his schoolwork and done everything he has to do. There’s just one thing that has let him down and that’s, ironically, his French! Tommy has no interest in learning French at all – not even here, in France.

This week’s workshop, Getting It Together, was all about how you can take what makes you accountable in one part of your life and apply it to the rest. Thinking about Tommy it made sense not to give him hundreds of French words to learn, but just to let him relax about speaking French and do it of his own accord, like he does his drawing.

And it’s worked. Bien sur!

We’ve been accountable to you this week at Life Clubs. Do visit our new website as you can now buy online.

And, if you’re free, come to the Cheltenham Literary Festival on Sunday with your family and hear me talk about How to get what you want.

Looking forward to meeting you,
Nina

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Worrying for the world


This week's workshop was about what you're doing too much of and this week I'm worrying.

Two nights in a row now have been spend fretting over such little things that I'm almost embarrassed to talk about them.

...where we are all going to sit at supper... how I'm going to feel when I get back to the UK... how the balance in our shared house is going to change when my family arrive... when I'm going to have time to write this blog... and on and on.

If I was worrying about - or could indeed effect major changes in the world it would be one thing, but I feel so trivial just lying there tossing and fretting about nothing. Somehow those major changes don't appear as thoughts at night, it's just the little niggling things that pop up to stop me sleeping.

We all do too much of things. Some of us sleep too much, others spend too much, yet others love too much.

What are you doing too much of right now and what are you going to do about it?

Tonight I'm going to write all my worries down before I go to bed and hope they stay away until tomorrow.

Sweet dreams,
Nina
PS If you'd like to know more about excess, do sign up for our bulletin.
PPS If you want to stop me worrying whether anyone is buying my book(!) please do buy a copy.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Change your mind


Yesterday I changed my screensaver (or desktop as they seem to call it on my mac). I found it quite traumatic. From easy to read files on a black background I've ended up with rather difficult to read files on a white background (but photo I took in a wonderful restaurant in London) and wondering whether to go back to the original picture.

If I found that change difficult, can you imagine how I must feel about changing my mind.

Last week's workshop was about using your mind to give you more confidence, so instead of having those 'I'm rubbish at life' thoughts going round in your head, you've got an 'I am great' thought.

And, I'd like you all to know, that I did achieve that. Changing my mind worked for me.

At a particularly low phase of life I decided I wanted to feel more confident. I settled on a very simple sentence 'I am confident. I can do anything' (no point at this stage in being modest!)

This is what I did:
* Every time I saw a mirror, I repeated my sentence looking at myself directly in the mirror and smiling.
* I did this first thing in the morning, last thing at night and whenever I saw a mirror in between.
* I said it once only, but with enormous conviction.
* At the same time I took some Confid drops (Australian Bush Flower Essences) and dropped them on my tongue twice a day.
* Expected things to change by the time I'd finished the bottle.

But it all happened very quickly - before I'd even finished the bottle.

I can't promise it will work for everyone and I certainly feel under-confident (or at least have under-confident moments) now just like anyone else, but it made an enormous difference at that particular period in my life.

So, change your mind and give it a go.

Next week's workshop is all about the things we do too much of. If you'd like to tackle your under-confidence that way, come along. Or anything else you're overdoing for that matter.

See you there and please, do buy a copy of my new book, How To Get What You Want. I think it's great (that's how confident I am!)
Nina

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Use your dreams to get what you want


There’s something magical about acting. I can see it in my son’s face, he has an extra dimension to him when he’s acting. An expression that isn’t usually there. It’s dreaming yet focused – both at the same time.

Listening to the actors he’s working with, I can hear how precarious their world is. It’s a lurch from one job to the next with long periods of no work and no money.

And yet there’s that beckoning of stardom.

We all have a beckoning. Something in our life that we love, that’s special for us. Something that we want to achieve.

This week’s workshop was called Holding Your Dreams and was about visualising that thing we want most and allowing our fantasy to help us make a realistic, practical plan.

I’m currently visualising my new book selling out.

Using this visualisation I know that I want to find any groups of young people be it in universities… schools… youth clubs… orchestras… anywhere. I see I need to find large groups of parents too, maybe also school teachers. I want great reviews on Amazon and in Waterstones. I’d like a big splash in any media possible.

If you want to help my dream, do buy How To Get What You Want for anyone you know between the ages of 15-25 – and have a look at it yourself before you give it away. You may find you want an extra copy.

My best wishes,
Nina x

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Stop wasting time…

My 11-year-old son is one of the main characters in an indie movie (you asked, it’s a film of Mother’s Milk, Edward St Aubyn’s wonderful book) and we’re in the South of France for filming. ‘All right for some’, I hear you say. Well yes… and no. Yes, it’s really beautiful and yes, today was lovely and hot and yes, we’re staying in the same house as the stars of the film (former crush, Jack Davenport) and the stunning Annabel Mullion and meeting lots of other ‘famous people’ and being involved in a really fun project…

But no, because there’s that niggling little work ethic I have that keeps on letting me know in no uncertain plans that actually I’m wasting my time.

This week’s workshop was all about ‘streamlining’ - organising your life so things run smoothly and right now I’m having to reassess the way I work, which is usually so simple and, yes, streamlined.

Analysing it, there are a couple of things that are making it really difficult for me:

1. Waiting
Tommy and I are constantly waiting. Waiting for the sun to come out, waiting for the crew to be ready, waiting to know what he is doing next. You all know what a lengthy business filming is and how difficult it is to slot work in-between the spaces available. It’s a matter of having to be prepared at all times.

2. Interruptions
I’ll just get started on reading this book (as you asked, it’s Executive Presence by Harrison Monarth) and after about half a paragraph something will happen or someone will say something that makes it impossible for me to continue. And then I’m back reading the paragraph all over again. Or I’ll start writing and, again, something will interrupt me.

But not one to give up, I’ve been racking my brains and I think I’ve found the solution. I’m not going to do anything for most of the day. I’m going to relax and enjoy the experience and realise that this is a once in a lifetime treat. And then, come the evening, I’m going to work for a couple of hours flat out and achieve all the solid graft that’s really urgent for me to achieve right now. I think that sounds like a plan.

That’s me no longer wasting time. What about you? How are you going to cope with everything that stops you moving forwards?

Talking about moving forwards… if you haven’t yet bought a copy of my new book, How To Get What You Want, do it now.

If you want to know more about Life Clubs and all the topics we cover, do join our bulletin or come to one of our clubs.

All best wishes from France,
Nina

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Treading on eggshells...


We've just done our feedback workshop (Telling It Like It Is) and it made me realise two things:

Firstly: yet again I've realised just how difficult it is to give feedback. It's wonderful when you can first practise your feedback on a stand-in guinea pig (like in the workshop) but when you plunge straight in, like I tend to do, you can break hearts.

Secondly:
I noticed just how many of us want to get things off our chest. At the club there was a group of lovely people and each one of them had something they really wanted to say to someone else. It could have been a rift they wanted to heal or a situation they no longer wanted to be part of. But there were a lot of unspoken feelings floating around that room.

What would you like to say to someone but have been so busy treading on eggshells that you've never said it?

And is that something you'd like to say for their benefit... or yours?

There's a fun cartoon in my new book How To Get What You Want (£9.99, Walker Books, out on Monday!!!) all about feedback. Do buy it for anyone you know and love who is between 15 and 25. And, whilst you own it, check out if you wouldn't rather like it for yourself..!

Hope you have a great weekend,
Nina
PS Been asked by
Psychologies Magazine to ask you if you'd fill out their quiz. It takes five minutes and a chocolate hamper could be yours!!!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

What are you wearing..?


It was easy when I was three. I didn't care what I wore or what I looked like. I know I was beautifully dressed because I've been told - my mother had been waiting to have a child for so long that I'm sure she lavished the finest clothes on me that she could afford, but I had no idea that all this was going on.

The first time I remember becoming aware of clothes was when the nurse asked my brother if she could have my brother's wonderful beige, fringed cowboy jacket when he grew out of it. Of course, we didn't realise she was being silly and it would never fit her. We were so young we genuinely thought she wanted to wear it. I also thought then and there that it must be quite a special jacket for a grown-up to want it.

But, even then, it was many years before I really cared about what I wore.

Now I care. Recently I've been getting nervous about what to wear when I go into corporates. Having done little but write for most of my life I haven't come face to face with the corporate world before and have been feeling that I don't quite know how to 'fit in'. And yet, armed with this week's workshop, Presenting Me, I've been wondering why I even bother. Plus each business has its own special look.

Some are very crisp. Everyone seems to be wearing stripes and tailored jackets. Others are more flowery and individual. Some sport killer heels whereas others are in flat, sensible shoes. There seems to be no overall theme, just lots of different branches.

I'm just going to be 'me' from now on and let them work out who this grey-haired woman in T-shirts is. Or, better still, forget about what I'm wearing and just converse.

Do you dress for yourself or to fit in with your organisation?

Next week's workshop is all about giving and getting feedback. It's had great feedback(!) each time we've run it.

Why not buy an advance copy of my new book, How to Get What You Want, for nieces, nephews, grandchildren, god-children, friends or even... dare I say it... yourself. It's coming out next week!!!
All best,
Nina

Saturday, 21 August 2010

How energised is your body?


At Life Clubs we were running a workshop on energising your body and so this week I joined Michelle Obama and did my first three day vegetable juice detox. My friend and Frome Life Clubs Host, Annie Lionnet, came round with her liquidizer and we juiced.

It would be a stretch to say that at first I felt energised, because I felt exhausted. I spent most of the afternoon of day one asleep or reading. But I did find the experience liberating and, ultimately energising. A few things I learnt:
* I was never hungry (that was a Lightbulb Moment) and therefore how much too much I usually eat
* After each meal/vegetable juice I felt l could turn a somersault and feel fine. I'd consumed just the right amount
* I never woke up the next day with a 'lead lump' in my stomach knowing I'd eaten too much the night before
* The bags under my eyes lessened - maybe from drinking so much water and vegetables
* Suddenly I had about 3 more hours in the day - no cooking, washing up, chatting around the table (and, although I missed the latter, we chatted elsewhere)

Annie is wonderfully creative, and concocted brilliant combinations of vegetables using liberal amounts of raw ginger and, sometimes garlic. I didn't even mind having them for breakfast - though I thought I would.

I can't recommend it because I have no idea whether it's really a good thing to do for one's body or not plus I was lucky had someone with me who had done it before. All I can say is that for me it really worked.

Next stop... buy a liquidiser.

Next week's workshop is all about presenting yourself to everyone - from a job interview to a new friend. Come and discover your strengths. I'm looking forward to it.

Hope you have a drier weekend than we're having,
Nina
PS Do order a copy of my new book How To Get What You Want. It's almost out!!!

Friday, 13 August 2010

So... what do you want to do with your life?



You know those films that come out and you miss them and, although you pine for a while about having missed them, you ultimately forget about them and get on with your life.

Good Will Hunting was one of those films. I'd forgotten all about it until this week when my daughter bought it from the fete and we watched it together and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The most powerful bit, for me, came when the hero was being forced to think about his future and what he wanted from life. He found it difficult and I find it difficult. Especially in this current climate where, as an entrepreneur, I am being forced to keep changing my direction to go where the money is.

I've had a week of thinking about my future courtesy of Life Clubs. At the club we discovered our future just by drawing circles and trusting our intuition and this, coupled with Good Will Hunting, got me focusing on my goals for the next six years, although I know that they might have to change at any time should they fail to work.

My new book How To Get What You Want starts by helping you find out what you want. Although it's aimed at young people, I know a few adults who might find it useful... Me for one.

Good luck with discovering what you want to do with your life. Let me know how you get on...

Next week at Life Clubs we'll be energising our bodies. Now that can help you decide lots of things.

All best,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 6 August 2010

Oh gosh... are you as vain as I am?


This week's Life Clubs workshop was all about shapes and using metaphor to understand ourselves better.

And, the way life in Base Camp (our headquarters) echoes each workshop is that this week I have literally changed shape. This isn't about the diet, see below, (though it has been working), it's because I didn't heed the words of my dentist to have my tooth out. No, I told her I wanted to wait until it really needed to come out and, of course, I got an abscess and have had to have the tooth removed anyway (painful!)

It's not that I'm vain enough to think I'm the most beautiful person ever, but I realised just how vain I was when my son said 'put a picture on your blog of how you look now, Mum', because I am totally out of shape. I didn't want to show that 'out-of-shape Nina' to you, I wanted you to see my normal jaw line - something I always prided myself on - and imagine how it has swollen up beyond belief and understand that I am not myself - physically or mentally.

When we're out of shape in any way it makes us feel different and even unhappy. We want to hide away and lick our wounds. Now, what can I do to get back in shape and bounce around in the world the way I know and love?

All best wishes,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
PS If you live/work in Notting Hill Gate and are interested in being in a TV series about the area, come to our Life Club on Monday in Ladbroke Grove if you're interested in being in the series (great publicity for any local business) and want to help us publicise Life Clubs.
PPS My new book, How To Get What You Want, looks great. Do have a preview peek.

PPS Next week's Life Clubs workshop is all about finding out what you want from your future. It's easy, fun and unbelievably revealing. Without thinking about it, you will know what your future will look like. Come along and find out. Click 'Now' (the pink post-it above) to find out more... and about following weeks.

Friday, 30 July 2010

How thin am I?


Being one of those 'I don't want to see skinny role models - my kids need to eat properly' type of mothers, I never thought I'd be blogging about dieting.

But suddenly everywhere I look I read about obesity being worse for our children than skinnyness and, as this week at Life Clubs we were thinking about ourselves from the outside in, Genevieve and I decided to go on a diet.

It's been five tough days. We are two women who love our food and then some. But for the whole of this week our plates haven't looked this dissimilar from the photo - except that instead of arranging our vegetables quite so beautifully on our plates we eat them. We walk around clutching our hungry stomachs and feeling like Julia Roberts... suffering.

But watch this space. Just give us a few months and we'll look like Julia too.

Next week is a brand new workshop, What Shape Am I In? It's not to do with diets, it's to do with metaphor and is great fun.

See you then,
Nina
PS First copies of my book, How to Get What You Want, have arrived. They are fab. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Does The Secret work?


This week at Life Clubs we were discussing money.

Gosh. It's a fascinating subject, all the more so (quite possibly) because usually we don't talk about it. It's as if once you start you can't stop and so we chatted and chatted and chatted.

One of the things that came up was about the best-selling book, The Secret, and whether just by focusing on money you can create it. I'm afraid I haven't read it, but I've seen a bit of the film and know the general idea and have talked about it a lot with friends - not in terms of attracting money, but in terms of attracting a partner.

So, what did we decide. Does The Secret lead on nicely from last week's post in that just wishing for something will make it happen..? Sadly not.

With money and partners and anything else you want, sadly you can't just wish. Or you can, but you can't instantly expect that wish to come true.

What you can do is a lot of emotional work on yourself (which is what we were doing in the club) and then focus. And, if you focus and focus enough on what you want, your wish may well come true - just by the sheer persistence, confidence and awareness you're putting into it.

So, be absolutely clear on what exactly you want, believe that you can get it and focus on it.

And then, let me know what you've bought with your new-found money!

Next week's workshop is about self-image. Find out how your external self is stopping your internal self. Fascinating.

See you there - hope you have a great weekend,
All best,
Nina
PS These are wishing notes on a wishing tree
PPS Life Clubs has just had it's first wedding. To read all about it, click on the heart.

Friday, 16 July 2010

What would you wish for?


I was having an interesting conversation the other night about stories in which people can wish for things. Aladdin may have got it right, asking to keep the genie, but so many others got it wrong.

In this story (which you may well know), the couple used up their three wishes by asking for i. a sausage, ii. the sausage to be stuck to the woman's nose for having been so stupid as to wish for a sausage and iii. the sausage to be removed from the woman's nose.

I was told about a story in which the heroine, when granted one wish for her unborn son, asked that he be loved by everyone he met. As you may imagine, the consequences were appalling. He became an impossible and unpleasant character.

Just how much easier would it have been if they'd all been asked what they didn't want instead of what they did?

Sausage lady's three wishes might have been i. to never want for food again and ii. to never row with my husband again. Maybe there'd have been no need for a third wish - can you think of one?

Next week at Life Clubs we'll be thinking about money. Maybe her third wish would have been to never have to worry about money again.

See you soon and have a great weekend. My genie's taking me to Hove for a sing song! I wish I could sing in tune.
All best,
Nina

Thursday, 8 July 2010

When will the English grow up?


You know how when you're walking the streets you hear the greatest conversations.

The other day I was privileged enough to overhear this classic remark: "The trouble is that the English won't grow up!". How wonderful I thought.

Our workshop this week was all about creativity and how to become more creative.

Guess what. Creativity is about not growing up. It's about being silly and 'childish' and letting anything happen. And it works. At my club people were having Lightbulb Moments solving all sorts of problems by brainstorming how a washing machine could help them.

These 'childish' English people have produced some of the greatest creative thinkers in my lifetime. I've danced and cried to the Beatles singing all sorts of things, including 'Obladi Oblada' - and if that isn't 'childish' I don't know what is. I've watched Branson revolutionise air travel (and lots of other things besides) and at the same time nearly kill himself being 'childish' and now I'm sitting with my ipod designed by Jonathan Ive who certainly comes up with some child-friendly products.

I'm thrilled the English won't grow up. There's enough other nations who have - or, at least, who think they have.

See you at Life Clubs next week.

We're going to be growing up a little and designing our future by working out what we don't want. For a list of more of our topics, so you can plan your diary, look here.

Best wishes to you all,
Nina

Friday, 2 July 2010

Books or mind or both?


To me this messy bookshelf looks divine. Inviting, intelligent, a little chaotic and definitely worth looking in as you might find a treasure. And yet, this week, we were hosting a workshop on decluttering, so it's not really appropriate for me to eulogise about mess.

Our office, before this week, looked a little like those shelves and part of me loved it. It feels like there's always something to discover. It made us look a little human and homely rather than stiff and anal. After all (and this is how I try and persuade myself) we're a soft, fuzzy business, we should have a soft, fuzzy workplace.

But this week we set to work. Each folder was removed from the shelves and brought up to date. Each piece of paper was found a home or binned and we even filed away all our computer documents on dropbox (our new favourite toy).

Gosh. Does it feel good. We've had a fantastic week with interesting meeting after interesting meeting. I'm now convinced I've opened a space in which more creativity can happen rather than less. We're all skipping here.

How's your decluttering going??? Is it your books you're getting rid of or the mess in your mind?

Good luck - just don't throw any my way.
Nina
PS If you're a top tips kind of person, have a look at mine on work/life balance here
PPS If you're a facebook kind of person, do 'like' our page
PPPS Next week's workshop is on creativity. For a look at this month's workshops, click here.

Friday, 25 June 2010

How jealous are you?


I sadly wasn't at our workshop this week, but I heard it had fascinating results.

It was all about relationships and those friends and colleagues and family members who drive you mad in some way or other.

It made me think about my relationships and how they work. I remembered recently feeling slightly frustrated listening to someone I knew. They were having a great time, talking and talking all about themselves to a large crowd - all of whom were laughing and joking. In my mind this acquaintance didn't leave any time for any of us listening to say a word and I started feeling oppressed and cross with her and, needless to say, with myself.

But as I sat there getting twitchier and twitchier, I had my Lightbulb Moment.

Of course, the reason I was feeling so frustrated with her, was that I wanted to be her. I was jealous that I couldn't be the one talking about myself and laughing and joking with an adoring crowd. She'd got there first and, yes, was better at it than me.

Watch out for those mirrors... and that green-eyed you.

Hope you have a lovely weekend in the sun,
Nina
PS If you haven't already, do 'like' us on facebook.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

What to do? Laugh or cry?

























Or maybe both...

Today was a bit of a bluesy day. Our workshop this week was all about confidence and I, for some reason, decided to feel under-confident. Sadly I didn't have a Life Clubs Host with me to ask me what the advantages were to feeling so under-confident, so I just decided to have a bit of a wallow.

I don't really like wallowing for long and the one thing that I know will cheer me up is a visit to the Tate Gallery, so I asked my eldest daughter if she would come with me.

As you can see, we had fun. This picture just cried out for some interaction. We started by screaming as in 'You make me... scream', went onto crying 'You make me...cry' and then decided to laugh 'You make me... laugh'. Results here.

What do I recommend for anyone feeling under-confident (apart from a trip to Life Clubs)?
seeing art
making art
laughing
being with a friend
...not necessarily in that order.

I'm now on a roll. Hope you are too.

Have a lovely weekend. We're going to do some more making art. What will you do?

Nina
PS A Daily Express journalist came to our day workshop last Saturday and loved it. Read her description in The Express on Monday.

Friday, 11 June 2010

You've got to have friends...


My week was all about friendship this week.

On Monday night I went to Sheffield to open the Life Club there and met Hilary, the Host's partner, Grae. A fellow public speaker, at first the two of us skirted around each other like a couple of dogs, curiously (but cautiously) sniffing each other out not sure if we wanted to really bond. And then something happened and we both suddenly relaxed and really enjoyed each other's company. Or, at least, I really enjoyed his.

What that brought home to me is how long it can take to penetrate through to the bit of someone you're going to like. We have so many guards and defences up that often we don't just confess our fears and feelings of inadequacy straight away which, let's face it, is often the interesting bit. Instead we're so busy trying to show off our beautiful blue feathers in true peacock style.

Together Grae and I went to Hilary's Life Club, which was great. Hilary is warm and intelligent and fun and the club threw up my next Lightbulb Moment, which was that I'm not everything I ask for in a friend.

I love friends who are kind to me and say nice things to me and yet I'm not sure I'm that good at giving compliments. I'm sometimes too busy to really notice how someone else is looking or even what they're saying and if I do notice, I can feel awkward about saying something positive - always feeling I've missed the right moment to say it.

So, from now on, I'm going to be honest and say the nice things I'm thinking. And I'm going to slow down enough to notice just how great everyone else is looking.

I'm going to start off with thanking you all so much for reading. I don't know what I'd do without you.

I hope you have a lovely weekend,
Nina
PS I'm running a workshop on Wellbeing tomorrow. A couple of places left. It's in Westminster, London. If you're free, do come. It's going to be great.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Hands up anyone who likes change


I'm not an historian, but when I came across Fortune holding the Medieval wheel of change I could immediately relate to it and it inspired this week's workshop on change.

I'm don't know about you, but I don't always find change easy. I've been using a different laptop to work on this week (my usual one is being sorted) and even that has me with writer's block. So, big changes, like going on a diet or moving house are totally out of the question.

And yet change is actually OK once you start and that's what made this wheel so successful in my eyes. Change is like being thrown around the wheel. There are no shortcuts. You may start off at happiness (12 o' clock), but then you feel dreadful (that's you in loss at 3 o' clock), then even worse (that's you suffering at 6.00 o' clock) and then, finally there's hope (at 9 o' clock) before you return to happiness.

Of course change is worse when you're not in control. When it's not a diet that you want to do, but a friend who has dumped you or a parent who has died. But, even when it's something you want to do, change is always tough.

Having created this (for me slightly unusual) workshop based on something Medieval, I loved reading how Helen, one of our Life Clubs hosts bought this workshop totally up to date. As she said:

The Medieval Wheel of Fortune reminds me more or less of the much more recent SWOT analysis.....
happiness = strengths,
loss = threats,
suffering = weaknesses and
hope = opportunities
Awareness of these four when considering change can only be positive.


No doubt if Fortune had been aware of contemporary business speak she would have thought of change in the same way.

I'm going to think of my diet in terms of SWOT. What else is my despair for a chocolate mousse but a whole lot of weakness?

Hope you're enjoying the sun and that we'll see you at Life Clubs this week,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs
PS Do sign up for our bulletin if you haven't already
PPS If there isn't a club near you, come along to our all day workshop about you and your wellbeing on Saturday 12th June in Westminster, Central London. From 10-5 and only £75. Lynne and I are running the club for free, so half your money will be going to support Marie Curie. See you there.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Do you know what your values are?






I don't very often get my own Lightbulb Moments when I'm hosting a club, but I did on Wednesday (which was very exciting!)

We were taking it in turns to read through a list of values to see which ones could be ours. I know cleanliness is one of mine... and honesty... and courage... but when we got to the word 'responsibility', that's when the penny dropped.

My home is very messy. I am messy, my husband is messy and all four of my children are phenomenally messy. A typical morning goes like this ... 'Where's my homework diary?'... 'Where's my bus pass?'... 'Where are my trainers?' and on and on and because I'm messy I don't know either.

So I started to think about that word 'responsibility' and what it means.

I know I am absolutely trustworthy. I am one hundred per cent dependable. I am really reliable, but I'm not good at duty or taking on 'roles', such as that of 'tidy mother'.

What's happened, I suddenly realised, is that because I'm not responsible, I haven't passed on 'responsibility' to my children and this is the outcome... chaos.

Gosh, values are helpful. As my diary for Wednesday said 'You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself'. Maybe I've finally grown up. Let's see how responsible I now become.

What do your values tell you?

All my best wishes for a lovely long weekend (if you're in the UK),
Nina
PS You've been wonderful about voting for us in the Barclays competition - do carry on... click here.
PPS Come along to our final day workshop - in Central London on 12th June. It's a Life Clubs Intensive in aid of Marie Curie charity and it's all about you and your wellbeing. The other two were brilliant, I'm sure this one will be too. See you there.

Friday, 21 May 2010

You don't have to get drunk in order to succeed... or do you?



This week's Life Clubs workshop was all about success. I haven't chosen this picture because of David Cameron's success, or even Nick Clegg's for that matter, but keep reading and you'll find out why.

Success is one of those bizarre words (or maybe all words are like this... green, happy, tyre?) that means different things to different people. But one thing most of us seem quite clear about is that you don't really understand success until you've experienced failure.

What's wonderful is that they're often linked.

I remember I used to get really despondent when I failed at something. I felt depressed, beat myself up and generally got into a funk. It took a friend of mine to turn it all around and ask me what I was learning from each failure to get me to see things differently.

Now I relish failure because I can see it as such a helpful learning for what not to do next time. We had a party on Wednesday for members of the HR community and I was running up and down the stairs for more coffee - learning: get a thermos - and on and on it goes.

So, back to the picture. It's all about my son who, in his teens, went out drinking one night and dropped off to sleep on the last bus home. It was a long walk back contemplating his failure, but as he got to Lambeth Bridge and looked at the sun rise over the river (we live near the Houses of Parliament), he thought how beautiful London was and how lucky he was to live here. He found the success in the failure.

Enjoy finding your success. And, I hope you enjoy this Monet. Oh the success to be able to paint like that.

All best,
Nina
PS Our relationships workshop was a wow!!! If you'd like to come to the last workshop in this series - in aid of Marie Curie charity - do let us know now. It's all about YOU and fast booking up.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Screw your way to happiness


I didn't mean to be so provocative, but I was having a great conversation today about happiness (our workshop of the week) and the title just popped into my head.

In our conversation we were talking about how it was little things that make you happy and I was remembering how my 11-year old had just bought the Dr Who Sonic Screwdriver he'd been saving up for.

Of course, he brought it home for someone to help him put the batteries in. They were, needless to say, in the most awkward of positions and we managed to break the battery holder whilst doing it. But the problem was finding the right size screwdriver to undo the screws.

We searched the house high and low and then, there, in (of course) the tool chest, was the tiniest little screwdriver - just the one we wanted.

Happiness was finding that screwdriver.

The person I was telling my story to, replied wisely and said 'Isn't solving a problem what makes you happy?'

So, I'm going to leave you with that thought. What would you say made you happy?

Maybe it's that provocative screw we mentioned before.

All best wishes for a lovely weekend. I'm running a workshop on relationships on Sunday and meeting prospective Hosts on Saturday. What could be better?

If you want to come to the workshop, get in touch (nina@lifeclubs.co.uk).
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Friday, 7 May 2010

Election Fever making an Ass (of) u (and) me



This week's workshop was all about assumptions and, yes, I assumed the British electorate would vote differently from how they did. I'm now assuming that it was a knee-jerk 'Let's get Labour out' that caused the swing to Tory, rather than to Nick Clegg, who somewhat stole my heart.

Of course I also stayed up too late when I really could have gone to bed because nothing happened last night except a few (rightly) disgruntled wannabe voters were having problems voting. I assumed by 1.00 I'd really have a good idea what was going on, but when I went to bed the assumptions were that it was going to be an overwhelming majority for the Tories, whereas instead... how the potential mighty fell in a few hours.

Politics is all about assumptions, but so are our lives. We assume so much about who we are and what we can and can't do and how our lives will pan out. I assume I'm not going to understand what exactly a hung parliament is going to mean for us. I assume I'm bad at understanding what the different political issues of the election really are. I assume I don't know what the effects of a double-dip recession will be for us. And all those assumptions stop me even trying to understand. I leave it to 'others'.

Thinking positively, I'm going to assume you'd like to know about our workshop on relationships. It's on Sunday 16th May in Westminster, Central London. It costs £75 (almost all money to Marie Curie as Lynne and I are giving our time for free) and is for anyone who wants to either get on better with their partner or find a loving relationship. Do come along - it'll be great.

And now, let's assume that we'll all have a wonderful day and that David Cameron will stand up, dust himself off and get it together.

See you soon,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs and author The Big Book of Me and The Life Book
PS Photos taken this morning!

Friday, 30 April 2010

What's your drawing say about you?



This week I've been feeling like a little mole under a huge pile of leaves.

Totally overwhelmed with 'stuff' and no time to sort it out.

My wonderful five extra days of holiday in Madrid have taken five days out of my day-to-day life and I just haven't had time to catch up with those missed days. It's a peculiar and slightly bewildering feeling. Maybe the little mole wants to hide away.

If I think about what I'd like to feel like, it's more like these beautiful, calm leaves. I don't have to be handmade or embroidered, but I'd like all my leaves flat and pressed and in nice labelled piles so I'd know what they all are: invoices, ideas, articles etc etc.

This week's workshop was all about how metaphors make it so easy to solve your problems.

Now all I have to think... how am I going to get from that pile to those nice, flat leaves in the quickest amount of time?

I know. I'm going to ask for help!

What do your pictures look like?
Hope you have a lovely long weekend,
Nina
PS Our Workshop on Work was FAB. Look at the pictures and join us for our next Workshop on Relationships. Anyone can come - in a couple, single, problems with colleagues, children etc etc. It's on Sunday 16th May in Westminster, Central London.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Getting it together...


Whenever I see people poring over their time management matrixes I either panic and instantly feel disorganised or I get overwhelming feelings of jealousy and wish I was as organised as them (or, more likely, I get both feelings simultaneously).

I'd love to be organised and, up to a point, am, but something always lets me down at the last minute. I can tidy up the bathroom cupboard and make wonderful shoe boxes entitled 'tummy', 'colds', 'skin' - you get the idea - but somehow I always end up with three things that just haven't got a home. There's definitely something about finishing a task that I don't like - there's always that bit of spillage afterwards.

So this week at Life Clubs we worked on organisation and how to have three goals a day you're going to do. It's a simple technique and enormously useful and all it takes it you knowing what your day is going to consist of (or what you want it to consist of) and making those three things your goals - let's face it... you'll always find time to check your emails.

Yesterday, my three goals were to get home from Spain intact, to run my club and to spend a bit of quality time with each member of my family as I hadn't seem them for 10 days. I think I more or less got there.

Today my three goals are to move my team at Basecamp forward (haven't seem them for 3 weeks!), to let you all know about my wonderful workshop on Saturday (all about 'Work' and all profits from the workshop go to Marie Curie charity) and to have a nice lunch with a mum I used to know who has just started working round the corner at Burberry.

What kind of a lovely day is that?

What are your three goals of the day?

See you soon,
Nina
Founder Life Clubs

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Following can be good


This week's workshop was about body language and, as I was talking to one of my heroes, my 11-year old son, I asked him what he thought would be a good illustration.

Now Tommy has a few crazes at the moment. Those of you who have been following my blog, already know about Dr Who (though who in the UK at the moment isn't an addict?) and Bionicles (those weird Lego robots), but the one you may not yet have heard about is Men In Black. Yesterday he watched Men In Black 2 and so he filled me in on the latest:

'Mum, in Men In Black, they meet these aliens and in order to befriend them, they start dancing the way the aliens dance.'

How good is that for an example?

I had a similar experience when I was in Tobago on holiday many, many years ago. It is a stunning country, but walking the streets and smiling at people, saying 'Hello', I felt a bit of hostility. No-one smiled back.

After a while, I decided to do what anyone else would have done and stop smiling and start observing. It was then I noticed that when one Tobagonian met another, they didn't smile, but instead lifted their hand up slightly from their thigh to say 'Hello'.

Like Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, I decided to copy the body language of the people I wanted to be friendly with. Each time I met someone, I casually raised my hand a little from where it was hanging relaxed.

Oh Yes! Suddenly I belonged.

All I can say is... it was a great workshop and I had a great holiday.

What experiences do you have of using your body language to fit in? Just let us know.

I hope you have a great week.
See you at Life Clubs,
Nina
PS Our Work workshop is filling up with lovely people. It's in Westminster on Saturday 24th April and Lynne (my fabulous HR) and I are giving of our time to raise money for Marie Curie. It's £75 and it's for anyone who is working too hard or not working hard enough or not enjoying their job or not sure what they want from a career. It's going to be fab. Five Life Club workshops in one day ... intense! Book now.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Blow your own trumpet


My mother always used to say that those who show-off get more out of life. I'm not sure that that's a general rule, but it pretty much is.

Yes, I know we're all brought up to be modest and self-effacing, but where does it get us?

My fear has been around setting up my own website. 'I don't need a website' I've been saying to myself. 'It's not about me, it's about Life Clubs'. But, the other day, Genevieve, my wonderful right-hand, googled me and told me straight that the link between Nina Grunfeld and Life Clubs is tenuous and I have to have my own website in order that anyone who reads about Nina Grunfeld in the papers can be directed to Life Clubs.

In my mind there was my mum and there was Genevieve, but in my heart I felt fearful. What was I going to put about myself? How was I going to show off about myself? Do I say that I'm the best or do I make a bit of an apology about having a website?

This week's workshop was about fear (and very appropriately timed it was too). Before I started writing my website I imagined myself to be that show-off and feeling both delighted and successful. And then I wrote.

The wonderful result has just gone to my great designer (David Eldridge, who created the Life Clubs website and all my books to date) and will from there go to my lovely web man who will make it all real.

So, watch this space.

And, whenever you're feeling fearful, just imagine how delighted you'll feel having done it what you're dreading doing, and do it. Or, think of my mum and go for it.

Besides... what's the worst thing that can happen?

All best wishes,
Nina
PS Do come to my day workshop on Work. It's for anyone who wants more from their work. It's on Saturday 24th April, from 10-5, in Westminster, Central London, costs £75 and is in aid of Marie Curie. Both Lynne and I who are running it are giving our time for free.

Friday, 2 April 2010

How do you solve a problem like..?


Last week we were problem solving at Life Clubs. We use a wonderful 'mnemonic' called (needless to say) LIFE and, when you've worked through it you've solved your problem.

Possibly the most powerful question to ask is 'When did I succeed in solving this sort of problem before?' because it comes up with all sorts of positive answers and can make you realise that maybe you're trying to solve a problem that isn't the one you really want to solve.

One of my clubbers wanted to be able to meet someone - if you like - be ready for a relationship. And, as she came to that question she had her Lightbulb Moment that really she wasn't ready for anyone, because the previous times she'd met new people and started a relationship, she'd been feeling really good about herself and deeply creative and happy - and she wasn't now.

What a great new problem to solve... how to get creative. This week she's signing up for all sorts of creative courses and I can't see how anyone she meets could fail to fall in love with her.

My problem is often thinking about what to write. I love writing once I settle down to it, but what to say..? When I asked myself that powerful question I realised that ideas always came to me when I relaxed. So... check me out on the sofa in my pyjamas!

Let me know what problem you've got to solve and if that question helps.

Happy Easter to everyone. Next problem... where will the Easter bunny hide his eggs if it's raining?

What a lovely problem to have.

All best wishes,
Nina
If you'd like to know more about problem solving - or anything else that goes on at Life Clubs, do sign up for our bulletin.

Friday, 26 March 2010

What's Your Best Life Ever?


So often we moan about our life - and why not? Of course, things can be happier, or more fulfilling, or calmer or more rewarding or even more three-dimensional.

But isn't the best time just lying down under a beautiful sky, listening to the birds, feeling the sun on your body and smelling the grass or the sea. When you're in the moment?

I started writing this week's Best Life Ever workshop when I sadly wasn't lying down under the blue sky, but sitting at my desk and confronted with a jar of broken biros. Each pen I pulled out to write something with was broken and had to be thrown away. Grrr I thought. In my best life I'd have a jar full of pens that worked.

That thought surprised me. What a simple request. How easy to fix is that?

Keep aware of your life. Notice when little things annoy you and sort them. I'm not suggesting that the underlying sadnesses most of us have - such as abandonment, betrayal, jealousy, lack of confidence etc etc - are that easy to fix, but if the lid is on the toothpaste and there's a clean cup in the cupboard for our tea and there's a pen that works, we're pretty darn close to having an ideal life.

Now I'm grateful for every pen that works. And, this weekend, I'm going to find some sun to lie in.

If you're lying down and looking at blue skies, do you want to moan?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend,
Nina
If you'd like to get know more about your best life, sign up for our bulletin