2015: Looking back and looking forward

So, 2016. Here we are! It’s been a very interesting year, but what did I learn from 2015? Here goes…

That I can do something that is out of my comfort zone

Around six months ago a client came to me and asked if I could present an editorial training session. I heard the word ‘presentation’ and my hands started to sweat, my heart raced and I thought no… I can’t do it. I declined, but still wasn’t sure if it was the right decision.

A couple of months later another client asked me. I thought about it for longer this time and turned the word presentation into ‘workshop’. Although I am very confident in meetings, giving interviews, filming, meeting new people… you name it… put me in front of a large group of people where I have to give a speech and I start to lose the ability to talk and turn into a quivering mess.

But who wants someone just telling them what to do anyway? I decided to put together something that was still structured, but more like a team meeting with lots of interaction and feedback about how to understand and improve current editorial practices. I developed team exercises for the day and suggestions for improving tone, consistency and overall quality of writing and I also provide ongoing support as a follow-up service.

I am so pleased I did it – it has given me another service to offer clients and brought in some new business, but most importantly I have gained confidence that can be lost when you largely work from home.

That sometimes we all need a bit of help working on our inner happiness

I write a lot about mental health and I guess I am not always that honest about how I do on the inner happiness front. I am hugely thankful that I have never had depression, but in 2015 I took on my largest amount of work yet on a rather tricky subject – death. It was tough and I will probably steer away from doing so much in the future, but it did make me realise that I haven’t dealt with a lot of things that happened in my past – people I love very much dying suddenly and not being able to cope with feelings of uncertainty as well as some other people can. In 2015 our very good friends lost a baby at full-term. Then just weeks later a good friend was killed in a motorbike accident. Such devastating news and I just couldn’t make sense of it all.

I tried some cognitive behavioural therapy – just a six-week course and it was great (if a little draining). I don’t think a short course of therapy can totally stop you becoming an anxious person, but it does make you realise where you start to think negatively and how to help yourself snap out of it. Being a parent is massively rewarding, but it also makes life seem ever so more precious. I just need to remember that running through scenarios in my head of what could happen isn’t going to make it not happen!

That my kids may give me grey hairs, but they make me smile every day

Take today for instance – youngest child wakes up and is very happy and in a great mood. Then we start to look at what she is going to wear for the day. Absolute meltdown. She wants a stripey dress, she doesn’t want a stripey dress, she wants socks, no, she wants tights. Cue me pinning her down and forcing an outfit on her. Eldest child is actually somewhat helpful and cheers her up by throwing a toy cat up and down in the air.

We sit down for breakfast youngest one picks out one of her rice crispies with a look of utter disgust on her face and says “I don’t like this one!” They are all the same dear. I then tell her that I am going to write my to-do list for the day (distraction is always a good thing if she is in one of those moods). “Friday 8 Jan” I say out loud. She responds. “No mummy, I’m not eating jam!” I love my children. I laugh so much that for the rest of the breakfast she keeps stopping and saying jam, just so I will laugh again.

The plan for 2016

This past year has definitely been the most rewarding and challenging in terms of my work and my role as a mother. I have taken on projects that I may have originally said no to – and loved them – and I have made an effort to focus more on the day-to-day than worrying about the future.

My goals for 2016 are to continue to practise what I preach and keep upping my own skills. It’s been a while since I have been on a course as much of my learning happens organically or through observing others, so I plan to do at least one or two training courses myself this year – infographics as one example. Here’s to a happy and productive 2016!



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