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,

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,
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,
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,