Dealing With Debt

Credit cards and loans can be a big help, or a source of  stress, in our lives. I’d like to look at this, and share the approach I used to free myself from debt and develop a healthy relationship with money. I hope you find it useful.

Debt is the slavery of the free

Publilius Syrus

Even after the controls put in place after 2008, credit cards and loans seem more easily accessible than ever. This is great news if you can manage them responsibly, because it gives you access to extra funds which can help you to launch or expand your business, take a dream holiday or pay for the training course which is going to take you to the next level personally or professionally. Being responsible, you’ll have a good idea how much you can afford to repay each month and how long repayment will take. Taking on debt in this instance is a calculated risk, but one that you already know is manageable and can improve your quality of life. Responsible borrowing, however, seems to be the exception to the rule.

A man in debt is so far a slave

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Despite proclaiming to prepare young people for the modern world, school systems are still neglecting to prepare these young adults for their financial futures. Lack of financial education, paired with the easy access to loans and credit cards can only lead to disaster.

Home life ceases to be free and beautiful as soon as it is founded on borrowing and debt

Henrik Ibsen

We are bombarded daily with messages about how we should want more nice things, which are conveniently plastered all over social media, and that we shouldn’t settle for less. Thing is, nice things and a life beyond our means are expensive. This is where credit cards come in. Too many people regard them as easy money, with which they can buy expensive things to show off on Instagram. So, they take on mountains of debt in order to buy things which they otherwise couldn’t afford, in order to impress people they don’t know. They forget that this “easy money” is really a loan, and like all loans it will need to be repaid. If you’re lucky, your card will have 0% interest rate on purchases but this its usually only for 12-24 months. If you haven’t paid off the full amount by the end of that period, you could end up being charged hundreds every month in interest. So, now you have the outstanding balance to pay, plus the monthly interest. This is not a pleasant situation to be in. So, to avoid the stress and feeling of overwhelm, we took for a way out.

Debt creates stress, stress creates behaviours that don’t lead to happiness

Seth Godin

This is where you need to be careful. When you’re stressed, you can’t think clearly, and can often make decisions that will do more harm than good to your current situation. In this position, the easiest way out is to take out a new loan or credit card to pay off the amount which you currently owe. On a positive note, there are a number of credit cards with interest free balance transfers for up to 36 months. This means that you won’t have to pay any interest if you pay off your balance in that time. The problem with this is that it’s not a solution, just a short-term fix. It stops you paying interest on what you owe, but it doesn’t help your relationship with money. All you’ve done is bought more time to pay off your debt.

To contract new debt is not the way to pay old ones

George Washington

From personal experience (as I was always irresponsible with money), the only way to really deal with the problem is by taking control of the situation. Easy to say, but it doesn’t explain much, so i’ll share with you what I did when i’ve dug myself into a hole. On several occasions over the years, i’ve found myself owing up to £10,000 on credit cards. The first time, I took out new cards with 0% interest, buying me more time to pay off the full amount. The second time, I took on a second job, to earn extra money to pay off the balance quicker. The final time, however, I took control;

  • Audit. This step is essential. Firstly, calculate how much exactly you owe. What interest, if any, are you paying? Now, go through your bank statements and determine how much you are paying every month in bills and other direct debits. Look at your spending. How much is being spent on non-essentials? What direct debits or bills can you get rid of? Are you using your gym membership? Do you need mobile phone insurance? By the end of this process, you should have a clear idea of what you owe, and how much you are left with every month after the essentials are taken care of.
  • Track. I personally do this manually in my Filofax, but there are countless apps with which you can track your spending every month. Simple process, just make sure that every time you spend money from your account, make a note of it. What is it? From where? How much did it cost? This gives a clear idea of where money is wasted on non-essentials like junk food or going out every night. You identify areas where money can be saved. Best of all, you develop a healthier relationship with money. You become less inclined to make impulse purchases, because subconsciously, you know that every penny spent must be tracked and you can’t just forget about it.
  • Pay your dues. Now that you know how much you are left with each month after the essentials are taken care of, and are taking steps to stop wasting money unnecessarily, attack your debt. Each month, pay as much as you can afford, to reduce your debt as quickly as possible. Most people who wait until the end of the month and use what’s left to make additional payments on their cards. Don’t do this. Make an additional payment on your cards at the start of every month and live on what’s left. This ensures that you pay down your debt quicker, but will also be less likely to find yourself in the same situation again. Plus, you stop wasting money, and put it towards what matters most right now. After all, if you have to tighten the purse strings and struggle for a few months without your little pleasures just to pay off your debt, you will do anything to avoid finding yourself in that situation again.

We don’t always need more money in order to be able to afford the lifestyle which we want. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of making better use of what we already earn. Obviously, paying off debts should be a priority, because when your cards or loans are paid off, you don’t have to make direct debt and additional payments each month. That money stays in your account, giving more money with which to do what you want.

Taking on debt can be a good thing if managed well. If it’s becoming a problem though, you need to do your homework and re-evaluate your relationship with money.

Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt

Benjamin Franklin

Don’t Quit (John Greenleaf Whittier)

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Your Life Is Your Responsibility Alone

Stop waiting for others to make your dreams come true. They have dreams of their own…they’re not worried about yours.

Tim Grover

This is one of the most important life lessons which we all need to be aware of, at all times. In short, our lives, and the direction which they take, are our responsibility alone. Each person is answerable for the life which they lead, and whether it’s one full of progress and achievement, or frustration and missed opportunities. Of course, we seek guidance, advice and direction from family, friends, mentors and various other sources, but what we do with the information they provide is up to us. Nobody else can live your life for you. You’re the one who has to decide whether the advice you receive is relevant to you, and what action you will take (if any) to implement it into your life.

Technology, and the ease of access to information, has blessed us with a level playing field. Now, everybody with internet access can find the information and help which they need, if they care enough to look for it. One of the things which separates the successful from the average people is not access to knowledge, but the willingness to apply that knowledge and take action. There is no excuse for living an average life, unless that is what you truly want.

Seeking the advice or assistance of others is not a bad thing by any means. You just need to understand that another’s opinion is based on their own experiences and limitations, and while something might have worked for them, it might not be relevant to you. If a friend doesn’t agree with a goal which you are working towards, so what?! They might not like it, but that doesn’t matter because it’s what you really want in your own life. Letting other peoples’ opinions dictate your life will only lead to anger, frustration, resentment and regret.

Don’t allow someone who has had their dream killed, to kill yours. Don’t allow someone who accepted their limitations, to limit you.

Prince Ea

I’ll let you into a little secret…very few people really care about your dreams, ambitions and goals. They will voice their support, or their misgivings, but their priority is themselves. They have families to raise and goals of their own to chase. You can’t wit around for them to validate yours.

For a long time I was stuck in this trap. I would seek the advice, help or opinions of others whenever I set out to achieve a goal. If they didn’t like the goal, I would allow their negativity to dent my confidence and give up. Or, I would wait to be told what to do and how to do it, instead of just taking action and figuring it out for myself. The change I made in my life was about taking responsibility, and trusting my instincts. I had an honest brainstorming session about my life’s direction, asking myself the below questions. This gave me clarity about who I was, what I wanted and my life had purpose and direction breathed into it. While I still share my goals and journey with others, I apply a filter to their opinions and advice, asking myself what they have based it on and if it’s relevant or helpful to me. This has given me back my confidence, because I know what I want and how I can get it. I take action towards my goals every day, without waiting for others. Knowing that my destiny is in my own hands, gives me the confidence, drive and responsibility that has enabled me to really turn my life around. I wish the same for you, which is why I share this.

Stop relying on other people to tell you how to live your life, give you permission or do the hard work for you. Take ownership of your life. It’s yours, and up to you what you do with it. Not all advice you receive will be relevant, and not all opinions which you hear are worthy of acknowledgement.

Take yourself somewhere quiet, and think carefully about what you want from life;

  • What is your purpose in life, or your calling?
  • What do you want to achieve? What are your goals?
  • What is important to you?
  • What principles and standards do you live by? What are/ aren’t you prepared to accept in life?
  • What does a happy, accomplished life look like to you?
  • What kind of people do you want in your life? Do you need to reconsider who you are spending time with?

Once you have an idea of who you are and what you want from life, you will feel empowered like never before. This is more than just motivation though, because once you know what you want, you can then go after it with passion and determination. You will no longer drift aimlessly through life while hoping for the best, but more importantly, you won’t let the opinions of others affect your confidence and derail your efforts.



Hope (Emily Brontë)

Hope was but a timid friend;
She sat without the grated den,
Watching how my fate would tend,
Even as selfish-hearted men.

She was cruel in her fear;
Through the bars, one dreary day,
I looked out to see her there,
And she turned her face away!

Like a false guard, false watch keeping,
Still, in strife, she whispered peace;
She would sing while I was weeping;
If I listened, she would cease.

False she was, and unrelenting;
When my last joys strewed the ground,
Even Sorrow saw, repenting,
Those sad relics scattered round;

Hope, whose whisper would have given
Balm to all my frenzied pain,
Stretched her wings, and soared to heaven,
Went, and ne’er returned again!

The Curse of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

We are blessed to live in an age of technology, where we have access to more information and better communication than ever. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we have the world at our fingertips. With this, we can learn a new skill, start a business or communicate with friends and family on a different continent. As with everything else, though, there is a downside of which we must be aware. Trolling, cyber-bullying and identity theft are big problems, but we can protect ourselves by being careful about what we share online and with whom. There is another, less sinister, element which our digitally-connected age has given rise to, and that is FOMO. Even though it may appear harmless, it is doing an awful lot of damage to the hopes, dreams and goals of an awful lot of people. It’s time to do something about it.

Fear Of Missing Out, to give it its full name, is nothing new but it has intensified in recent years. Whether it’s the latest series on Netflix, a particular holiday destination or the latest fashion trend on social media, we all feel compelled to get involved because everyone else seems to be. If we don’t, we get left behind. People are terrified that something notable will happen, and they won’t be present to notice it. Clever marketers and salespeople prey on this fear to keep us coming back for more. There is also a fear that if we don’t keep up with our friends and peers, they will stop talking to us as we won’t be able to relate to them.

So, time that could and should be spent working on ourselves and our goals is given over to social media and television addiction. At its worst, it can bring your journey towards your goals to a screeching halt as you stop focusing on them. Even worse is the potential loss of individuality, and who you really are, because you are so busy trying to be like everybody else.

Before getting caught up in this trap, determine if it really is important at all. Ask yourself 2 questions:

  • What is the worst that can happen if I don’t update my wardrobe, watch that film or spend my evening on Facebook?
  • What is more important, the goals which I have set for myself or this thing which I don’t want to miss out on?

Two simple questions, which will help you to gain perspective as soon as you ask them. Nothing is more important than the goals which you set for yourself, as these determine the type of person you could become and what you could achieve if you put the work in. You need to prioritise yourself, and make the decisions which are in your best interest. Often these decisions mean missing out on what others are doing, but does that even matter? If, for example, you miss the latest episode of Law and Order, the world will still turn and life will carry on. You can catch up later, when you have the free time.

Choosing your own goals over the latest trend is something to be proud of. It shows discipline and self-love, because you have invested that time in something which will have a positive impact on your life, instead of some entertainment. Of course, entertainment, hobbies and interests are important, but not as important as your life and the direction you want it to take.

Fear of missing out is nothing to fear at all. In reality, it means nothing. So what if you haven’t seen the latest series of Game of Thrones because you have been too busy launching a business or studying?! There are only so many hours in a day and you have chosen to spend them on what is important to you. You can always buy the dvd or record the series to watch in your own time, after you’ve taken care of what really matters.

If there is anything to be feared, it shouldn’t be that you’re missing out on something irrelevant which won’t add value to your life. Instead, fear being a carbon copy of everyone else. Fear being average, when you know that you are capable of so much more if you put in the time and effort.

The Instinct Of Hope (John Clare)

Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
‘Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?

“Why?!” The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself

There are 2 ways that you can lead your life. You can either spend your life following the example of others and living for their approval. Or you can take control, and lead the life which you want for yourself.

That sounds a bit simplistic, but the truth is that it is really not that difficult a thing to do. Getting started just takes a bit of courage and self-confidence. The hardest part is freeing yourself from the need to please others and worrying about what could go wrong. Yes, other people will be shocked and surprised. One thing worth remembering here is that those who truly care for you will support you once they get over their initial shock. Those who have a problem with you taking ownership of your life? Let them go. You don’t need that negativity in your life. People are entitled to their own opinion, but even if another person doesn’t agree with your choices they will still support you if they want to remain in your life. Take this opportunity to audit your friendships and who you spend time with.

We’ve looked in depth before at the steps to follow which can set you on your way to leading a successful and fulfilling life;

  • Self-Reflection
  • Planning
  • Goal-Setting
  • Action

As you achieve your goals, go back and repeat the process again. With each cycle you are learning, growing and surprising yourself with what you are able to achieve as well as the person you are becoming.

Throughout this whole process, and throughout your life in all areas, there is one question to ask which will bring the greatest results….”Why…?!”

  • Why do I do what I do, the way I do it?
  • Why am I not constantly questioning if there is a better way to do everything?
  • Why do I worry about the opinions of others?
  • Why do I maintain friendships with people who don’t believe in, or support me?
  • Why do I react a certain way in certain situations?
  • Why do I engage in certain activities which are not helping me in the pursuit of my goals?
  • Why am I not making better use of my time?

These questions, and so many more, are the key to constant improvement in all areas of your life. Your life improves because you become more self-aware when you question why you do what you do, and why you are not striving for better. You become more aware of the positive things which you are doing and which are bringing good results, and once highlighted, you are able to do more of these things, and more often.

Moreover, asking “why” can help you to identify unhelpful and destructive patterns of behaviour which we can then address and remove from our lives.

If you’re really ambitious, you might want to also ask yourself What and When questions too, such as “What do I truly want to achieve, and by when?”

Never lose your curiosity if you want to lead a richly fulfilling life.


Carpe Diem (Robert Frost)

Age saw two quiet children
Go loving by at twilight,
He knew not whether homeward,
Or outward from the village,
Or (chimes were ringing) churchward,
He waited, (they were strangers)
Till they were out of hearing
To bid them both be happy.
‘Be happy, happy, happy,
And seize the day of pleasure.’
The age-long theme is Age’s.
‘Twas Age imposed on poems
Their gather-roses burden
To warn against the danger
That overtaken lovers
From being overflooded
With happiness should have it.
And yet not know they have it.
But bid life seize the present?
It lives less in the present
Than in the future always,
And less in both together
Than in the past. The present
Is too much for the senses,
Too crowding, too confusing-
Too present to imagine.

On A March Day (Sara Teasdale)

Here in the teeth of this triumphant wind
That shakes the naked shadows on the ground,
Making a key-board of the earth to strike
From clattering tree and hedge a separate sound,

Bear witness for me that I loved my life,
All things that hurt me and all things that healed,
And that I swore it this day in March,
Here at the edge of this new-broken field.

You only knew me, tell them I was glad
For every hour since my hour of birth,
And that I ceased to fear, as once I feared,
The last complete reunion with the earth.

Discipline Is Just Another Way Of Loving Yourself

Hearing the word “discipline” is often enough to send a shiver down the spine of the best of us. When we hear that dreaded word, we think of suffering and foregoing pleasure. It conjures up thoughts of strict diets and living like a monk. Too often, we think of it as giving up the good stuff in order to achieve a particular goal, whether that be to save a certain amount of money, lose weight, attract a girl/ boyfriend or any other goal we may have in mind. The problem with this is that we achieve the goal, for example lose 10 kilos in weight, and then discipline goes out of the window so we gradually gain the weight back. We need to start thinking differently about discipline, seeing it as a powerful force for good, and a practice which we should adopt permanently, not just when we have something to gain.

Social Media “gurus” love to talk about discipline in term of struggle. Please don’t take them seriously. They will tell you, in their own jargon-filled way, how you can only become a billionaire through being strictly disciplined. Their version of discipline, however, often involves depriving yourself of sleep and giving up any time which you would usually spend socialising, instead sitting in front of a computer screen to work on becoming an entrepreneur. Their version of discipline is just plain wrong, not to mention dangerous to your mental and physical health. Even if following their plans and programmes makes you reasonably wealthy, you will need that money to undo the damage which this “discipline” has caused to your mind and body.

Discipline is not about achieving a specific goal, it is about making difficult decisions now which your future self will thank you for. Discipline is simply a matter of making choices in your own best interest. Choices that will give you the best possible quality of life. It’s about choosing your long-term health and happiness instead of immediate pleasure. It’s looking into the future, and making the choices which will give you the best quality of life long-term. In practical terms, it’s picking the chicken breast over the cheeseburger, going to the gym even though you don’t feel like it, saving 25% of your pay check every month…decisions which your heart and bank balance will thank you for.

Discipline is about crafting a future in which you consistently make the most appropriate choices, and experience sustained health and happiness.

Alone (Sara Teasdale)

I am alone, in spite of love,
In spite of all I take and give —
In spite of all your tenderness,
Sometimes I am not glad to live.

I am alone, as though I stood
On the highest peak of the tired gray world,
About me only swirling snow,
Above me, endless space unfurled;

With earth hidden and heaven hidden,
And only my own spirit’s pride
To keep me from the peace of those
Who are not lonely, having died.

The Ten Fundamental Truths of Success

One of the great things about the blogging world is the sharing of theories, quotes, experiences and stories about success in order to inspire and motivate each other. They are as helpful as they are entertaining. I am grateful to everybody who shares theirs in the hope that they may inspire others, and I hope to be able to do the same. However, there is one thing that i’d like to share more of, going forward, and that is the tools and strategies which have worked for me. The good news? All they cost you is the time required to adapt them for yourselves and put them into practice. Of course, they may not be suitable for everyone, but life is all about experimenting with new things, keeping what works and adapting or discarding that which doesn’t.

Recently, we looked at the importance of defining your core values and setting standards in your personal and professional lives. I hope that you have managed to do this exercise for yourselves and are already reaping the benefits. For me, these have been crucial in helping me turn my life around and achieve that which I could only dream about before, and I wish the same for you.

Today, i’d like to share the ten truths, or foundations, of success as I have defined them. I didn’t actually create them myself, but borrowed them from a number of sources over the years, before moulding them into a statement of belief. These are my golden rules which I aim to live by, and also serve as a great way to pick myself up when things do not go according to plan;

  1. You are the only person responsible for your success. The power to shape your future lies in your hands. It is all down to you and your thoughts and actions.
  2. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Innovation and progress is usually the result of looking at how things can be done more efficiently. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to invent something new, but it could be as simple as improving an existing design or process.
  3. There is no progress without determined action. Progress doesn’t just happen by chance. You have to really want it and work relentlessly for it.
  4. Persistence always wins. Life is a rollercoaster, so enjoy the ups and learn from the downs. Whatever you do, though, never give up on what you truly desire.
  5. Focus is crucial. Stop letting distractions such as tv and social media rob you of valuable time and energy. Your actions should be targeted towards the achievement of your goal. So, put down your phone, turn off the tv and read a book which could increase your knowledge or work on a skill which could help your efforts.
  6. Failure is a necessary part of the process. Failure is one of life’s greatest teachers. Instead of cursing your bad luck, look for the lessons which can be learned from the experience so that you can bounce back stronger and wiser. What decisions or actions produced a negative outcome, and should be avoided in future? Are there any skills or knowledge gaps which you can address?
  7. Positivity fuels productivity. You must believe that you can and will do it. This fuels the determined action which will bring you closer to what you desire.
  8.  Determine the person you want to become, not the end result. Rather than material gain, determine what kind of person you need to become in order to achieve your big goals. Do you need to become more assertive, a better communicator, more confident…? Explore the common personality traits of those who have achieved what you aspire to, and ask yourself if you could benefit from applying any of them to your own life.
  9. Helping others, and contributing, is a big part of success and fulfillment. Don’t be selfish. The only person who you should be competing against is your current self, striving to improve every day. Share your advice, experiences or resources to help others without asking for anything in return. In your life, people have helped or supported you to get where you are today, so pay it forward and take the opportunity to help others succeed or just improve their quality of lives.
  10. Success is a journey of countless baby steps. There are no shortcuts and it won’t just come looking for you. You have to put the work in consistently over time.

The sections in italics have been added to clarify what each statement means, and explain why each one is important enough to feature on the list.

I have this list written on a series of postcards which I have at work, on my bedside table and in my journal because I never know when I will need to revisit them. They are simple statements and really work.

What would your list look like? What would you remove or add?

Paris In Spring (Sara Teasdale)

The city’s all a-shining
Beneath a fickle sun,
A gay young wind’s a-blowing,
The little shower is done.
But the rain-drops still are clinging
And falling one by one—
Oh it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And spring-time has begun.

I know the Bois is twinkling
In a sort of hazy sheen,
And down the Champs the gray old arch
Stands cold and still between.
But the walk is flecked with sunlight
Where the great acacias lean,
Oh it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And the leaves are growing green.

The sun’s gone in, the sparkle’s dead,
There falls a dash of rain,
But who would care when such an air
Comes blowing up the Seine?
And still Ninette sits sewing
Beside her window-pane,
When it’s Paris, it’s Paris,
And spring-time’s come again.

The Siren Call Of Lady Luck

I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it

 Thomas Jefferson

Whenever we get “lucky” it feels fantastic. I, personally, am grateful whenever some comes my way but it’s not something I count on having. Luck, in reality, is not as random and effortless as it seems. It actually takes a lot of hard work and effort.

While the concept of luck can be exciting, it can also be extremely damaging to us mentally and to our goals. Too often when times get tough, as they invariably do, the temptation is to bemoan the fact that you get no luck, and then give up. Or, you look at those who have achieved what you want, and write them off as just being lucky. As a result, your confidence takes a hit and you don’t even go after what you want. It is time that we all wake up and realise that luck is not something to hope for, but rather a consequence of preparation and persistent hard work.

Luck requires preparation. The only time you can get lucky without any effort at all, is by winning the lottery. In this case, you simply buy your ticket, and if your numbers come up, you win. It really is that simple. However, are you really prepared to put your life on hold in the hope that you might win lots of money, or would you rather work for it.? I know which I prefer, because I know that when you achieve something through hard work and persistent effort, you appreciate it more and the euphoria of achievement which you feel is like nothing else.

If you want to get “lucky”, here are a few key things to do;

  • Preparation. The first thing to do is to determine exactly what it is that you desire. Then, reflect on where you are right now. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What knowledge and skills do you need to achieve what you want?
  • Action. Now that you know what it is that you want, and what you need in order to achieve it, it’s time to get busy. Read, study, network or do whatever you need to do amass a level of knowledge and a skill set so strong that when you close your eyes, you can see, feel, touch and taste what you want to achieve. This visualisation is important, as it helps to make your goal feel real and within your reach. Once you’ve finished working on your skills and knowledge gaps and visualisation exercises, it’s time to take action in the direction of your goals.
  • Persistence. It’s important to understand that things will go wrong, mistakes will be made and that there will be setbacks on your journey towards your goals. The key here is to keep going. Don’t stop, or else it will be hard to get back up and start again. You have built positive momentum to this point, so you need to keep it going. The one thing which you need to do, when things go wrong is to take some time to reflect on the experience and determine what went wrong, why, and what you could do better next time when in a similar situation. Treat it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
  • Repeat. As you achieve your goals, it’s important to replace them with new, more challenging ones to keep you moving forward. Failure to do this could see you becoming comfortable and complacent, which is a big threat to your continued success.

In all honesty, this is nothing new. As you may have noticed, the formula I use to get “lucky” is the same I use to achieve my goals. It’s simply a matter of deciding what is important to you, planning and preparing effectively, and doing whatever it takes to achieve what it is that you want.

Good luck on your journeys!!

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.


Whether in our personal or professional lives, there are relationships which will come to an end. Of course, if both parties work together, any relationship can be salvaged and perhaps grow stronger as a result of the effort. However, some are meant to end. Some of these will end more abruptly than others. Some will hurt more than others.

Why do relationships end? There are countless reasons, but poor communication is chief among them. By not listening to each other and communicating our thoughts, feelings and decisions, it leads to differences of opinion, misunderstandings and arguments. If we feel misunderstood, unappreciated or that another’s actions have hurt or offended us, it’s natural that we would want to distance ourselves from them. That said, sometimes we simply outgrow some relationships. As we learn, grow and develop ourselves, we seek the company of other likeminded people who will challenge and inspire us. Like attracts like, after all.

In business or the professional arena, the ending of a relationship can have financial consequences or negatively impact the reputation of a business. The best way to deal with this and find closure is to focus on forging new relationships, and revisiting your marketing strategy. New relationships can potentially be even more mutually beneficial than the ones which have ended, and by revisiting your marketing strategy, you make sure that it is relevant and up to date.

Finding closure in a personal relationship is not that easy. There are the stages of pain, anger and self-doubt to contend with. In truth, they are more than stages, and closer to rites of passage which you have to go through. Even if there was a way to avoid these, would you really want to? As painful as they may be, they help us to stop and reflect on who we are, what we want in life and what we are prepared to accept from others. This is what helps us to identify the kinds of people we want in our lives, and to find and cultivate relationships with them. It serves to enrich our lives greatly, because the experience of an ending relationship teaches us an awful lot about ourselves, such as where we went wrong, what areas of our lives we need to work on improving and what behaviour we accepted from others but now regret. We bounce back stronger as a result, with a clearly defined set of standards.

So how do you end a relationship, whether it’s a romantic one or a friendship. In person. Unless it’s a long distance relationship, there is no excuse for an adult to be ending a relationship by Skype, text message or social media. It’s childish and weak.

So, what do you do exactly?

  • Arrange a meeting in person. Talk to them in person. Explain that you are parting ways and why. Give them a chance to ask any questions or offer any explanations. This is very important in making the break as amicable as possible, but also for your peace of mind. The thought of doing this can be terrifying, though, and if it is, consider asking a mutual friend to join you or arrange a joint counselling session in which to do it.
  • Avoid airing your dirty laundry in public. There may very well be mutual friends, but whatever happens, avoid involving them. It will make you look weak, and make them feel uncomfortable. Is it really worth risking these relationships, just so that you can tell others how awfully your former friend/ partner treated you?
  • Keep any photographs or gifts, but store them safely in a box. Short-term, you will want to be rid of any reminder of that person. These gifts and pictures, however, are memories of good times, and you will regret not keeping them. Put them in a box and put that box away safely.
  • Cut off contact. It sounds harsh, but remember that you have decided that you no longer want this person in your life. Why then would you still have their phone number, or remain connected via social media? Maintaining any form of communication, will only give that person the opportunity to keep contacting you. In this instance, be ruthless and cut them off.
  • Question time. Now is the time to slowly get to work, asking yourself why you are ending this relationship, what you may have done wrong or could have done better and what you really want in a friend/ partner. Also think carefully about your standards. What are you prepared to accept in your life, and where do you draw the line?
  • Write them a letter. Once written, it’s up to you whether you send it or burn it. The act of writing the letter is what matters here. You may have written down your thoughts and feelings already in your journal, but this is different. Grab a notepad and start writing. There are a few rules, though. Obviously, you must address it to the person in question. After all, this is your chance to communicate anything which you were unable to in person. Ensure that the tone is friendly and polite, with no name-calling or finger-pointing. The purpose of this letter is to convey to this person how they made you feel and why you chose to end the relationship. Describe the behaviours which you accepted but now regret. If there was any wrongdoing on your part, this is your chance to explain yourself.

The above list is by no means definitive, but it worked for me and I hope that it might help others too. In my case, I was getting over the ending of my relationship and writing the letter was the key to finding closure. I actually sent mine and this gave me an incredible feeling of liberation. Nothing has been left unsaid, and I feel free and at peace.

What do you do to find closure after the end of a toxic relationship?

A Hunting Morning (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

Put the saddle on the mare,
For the wet winds blow;
There’s winter in the air,
And autumn all below.
For the red leaves are flying
And the red bracken dying,
And the red fox lying
Where the oziers grow.

Put the bridle on the mare,
For my blood runs chill;
And my heart, it is there,
On the heather-tufted hill,
With the gray skies o’er us,
And the long-drawn chorus
Of a running pack before us
From the find to the kill.

Then lead round the mare,
For it’s time that we began,
And away with thought and care,
Save to live and be a man,
While the keen air is blowing,
And the huntsman holloing,
And the black mare going
As the black mare can.

Holidays (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;—a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

Memories (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Oft I remember those I have known
In other days, to whom my heart was lead
As by a magnet, and who are not dead,
But absent, and their memories overgrown
With other thoughts and troubles of my own,
As graves with grasses are, and at their head
The stone with moss and lichens so o’er spread,
Nothing is legible but the name alone.
And is it so with them? After long years.
Do they remember me in the same way,
And is the memory pleasant as to me?
I fear to ask; yet wherefore are my fears?
Pleasures, like flowers, may wither and decay,
And yet the root perennial may be.

Autumn Within (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

It is autumn; not without
But within me is the cold.
Youth and spring are all about;
It is I that have grown old.

Birds are darting through the air,
Singing, building without rest;
Life is stirring everywhere,
Save within my lonely breast.

There is silence: the dead leaves
Fall and rustle and are still;
Beats no flail upon the sheaves,
Comes no murmur from the mill.

How Deeply Do You Want To Win?

When a man desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win

Thomas Edison

Do you dream about leading a successful, fulfilled life? Because if it’s just a dream, hope or a wish, then that is how it will remain. Or do you crave it, want it and feel drawn by it with every once of your being? Is it your first thought when you wake up in the morning and your last thought at night? Does it drive your thoughts, decisions and actions every day?

Desire is an intense motivation to achieve whatever you believe to be worthwhile, against all odds. With deep desire, you will be unstoppable in pursuit of your goals. You won’t let obstacles stop you, and you won’t be prepared to take no for an answer. You will do whatever it takes, until you make your desire a reality.

Thing is, we all know what we would like to have. We all know what we want, because social media dictates that to us; nice cars, big houses, fancy clothes….so we chase material goals. The problem here is that when we buy that Rolex or Maserati, the initial joy is replaced by a sense of emptiness. So we set a bigger material goal and go after it. We never stop, however, to consider why we want these things. We never stop to consider the direction we want our lives to take, or the people we want to become because we get caught up in a cycle of craving nice things, obtaining them and then moving on to the next shiny trinket.

I was caught up in this vicious cycle for far too long. I won lots of times, or at least thought I did because I had nice things and a comfortable life. But my confidence was low. I would achieve something, then immediately feel empty. Things would go badly, and I would give up. All this happened because I lost sight of what I truly desired in life, and was living without purpose. My life felt like a lazy river waterpark ride. It was as though I was floating on a slow moving river being gently carried along, no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted.

I lived this way for far too long, and it took a serious illness which very nearly cost me my life for me to address the direction of  my life. It took me losing everything before I finally decided to ask myself what my vision for my life really was, not what others wanted for me. I determined not to waste a moment more of my life, and once I got home I put pen to paper and wrote down what I truly desired from life. What I wanted personally, professionally and financially. This gave me purpose, direction, hunger and my life took on a new meaning. I set my goals, drew up my plan and went after it with passion and desire. Going after what I truly desired was a very expensive act, though. It cost me everything, including my relationship. However, my life now had meaning. I had hit rock bottom but I was happy because I knew what I truly desired, and where my life was headed.

It’s not all doom and gloom. I lost everything but I knew what I wanted my life to look like. This was last November and since then, life has been better than ever. I am happier and more fulfilled than ever. I know who really cares about me, and have rid myself of fake friends and hangers-on. I am more self-aware than ever, more successful than ever and have reconnected with my faith, family and friends in a deeper way than ever. How? Because I know what I truly desire in my life, and knowing this has helped me find a new level of energy and strength which I never knew I had.

So what do you really desire? To achieve financial independence? A successful acting career? To positively influence the lives of others? Take a moment to honestly reflect on what drives you and write it down. What does your heart really crave? If you had a billion pounds in the bank, and money was no longer a worry, what would you choose to do with your life? How do you want to be perceived? What reputation do you want to have? What contribution do you want to make? What legacy do you want to leave?

Unless you know what makes your heart sing, and what you deeply want, your life will lack direction and purpose. This is dangerous because you could find yourself a slave to outside influences such as money or the opinions of others. Take control of your life by taking control of your life’s direction. How can you do this? By becoming clear on what you want from life

When you want something deeply enough, you will find a way to make it happen. Why? Because when you really want something you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. You will work harder than you have ever done before in your life. You will live and breathe your goals. Your approach to them will be relentless. Most importantly though, you will give meaning, passion and direction to your life.

So, what do you really want? Determine this and then get after it.

If you limit yourself only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise

Anaïs Nin