It’s Monday the 14th, and I have flu.
No REAL flu.
That wonderful plan for my business I worked on at the back end of 2018 is busy collecting dust, and my plans for running every day in January are well and truly scuppered…and guess what?
I’m kinda happy.
Did I want to get the flu? Nope. I’m not good at being unwell…but if anything this enforced rest has been good for me.
Now when I say rest, let’s be clear, I am a single parent to an almost 6 year old little girl…so there is never any real rest, but I have limited my business output the last 10 days, gone to bed at a reasonable time, done no exercise (which is unheard of) and prioritised only the stuff that was 100% critical.
So…here’s the thing about this time of year.
Lots of us see a new year as a new start. Even if you don’t believe in resolutions (which I don’t) it is still really easy to get roped into committing to new habits, behaviours, projects, business ventures, decluttering….oh and isn’t it all about the decluttering right now?
What we seem to forget though is January is actually a really tough time of year to commit to and follow through on a lot of this stuff, it’s cold, we are broke, there are always loads of bugs flying around, and we have a tendency to over commit…we want to do everything in one go.
Then we don’t manage to, we end up feeling shit about ourselves, like we have failed.
Don’t get me wrong…I did do a whole heap of planning in the lead up to the new year but this was for a couple of reasons
- January is always my busiest time…for both my fitness and life coaching stuff…so I have to be organised and have a plan.
- I have a planning cycle that sees me do this level of planning 4 times a year anyway, on a rolling 90 day, 12 week cycle. So yes in the spring I will do this again, and in the summer and in the autumn. The January stuff isn’t more or less important…it’s just what I do, and the demand is higher.
- I have some big personal goals which I want to address this quarter and that means doing some major decluttering, and redecorating of my flat so that I can put my home on the market
Oh and I’m training for the London Marathon….there are just 15 weeks left until that.
So yes…I was planning to fire on all cylinders in January
But it wasn’t to be.
The bug has wiped me out, it has forced me to slow down, and in many ways, it has been great, because despite being ill I have still managed in the last 14 days to
- Deliver an EPIC keynote at Birkbeck University
- Host an Ice Cream Parlour Party for my almost 6 year old
- Lead a 100 strong cohort of women through my Dare to Dream Programme
- Recruit 200 women to take part in my 5 weeks to 5K programme which starts today
- Honor most of my 121 client calls (via Zoom)
- Sign 11 ladies up on to my Living a Bigger Life Mastermind
I’ve made more money in the last 14 weeks as I did in the first quarter of 2018…and most of that from the comfort of my own home, while not feeling 100%
Now this is for a few reasons, but mainly it is because over the last 18 months I have been repositioning my business to make it work for me, based on my values, where I protect it’s number one asset (urm ME!!!) whereby I don’t have to be rushing around to keep everyone happy, where I can take time off to be ill, or to deal with family stuff.
This January, I realise how far I have come, when I can literally look at my lovely content plan and say to myself,
“Its OK if I don’t achieve all of that stuff…everything will work out OK anyway”
When I can throw my bullet journal to one side knowing that Yoga every day just wasn’t to be…but come on lets face it yoga isn’t going anywhere is it, it will still be here in February.
I know I can make up time later in the year, I know there is no rush to do everything now.
In years gone by I would have thrown all my toys out of the pram by now, declared to the world how unfair it is I have to do all of this alone, believe that I am cursed, and destined to be poor and alone and unwell ha ha
The 2019 version of Julie has faith that everything happens for a reason, and is able to look objectively at what is going on in her life and her business.
So no matter how rough the last two weeks have been for you, no matter how many resolutions or goals you haven’t stuck too, how little you have achieved…know that you have plenty of time too.
The year is not ruined, it’s barely begun.
The best-laid plans are not those that happen at a certain time of year, diets don’t work because you start them on a Monday, you haven’t wrecked everything with one glass of wine….and you are not a bad person if you decided you couldn’t face turning vegan just yet.
Think about what you HAVE achieved over the last 14 days.
- Who did you make laugh?
- What great food did you prepare?
- What wonderful conversation did you contribute to?
- What mini decision did you make?
- What idea has popped into your head?
- What have you let go of?
There is still plenty of time to make an impact this year, don’t beat yourself up by putting unnecessary conditions, rules and boundaries in place that make you feel like you have failed before you have even begun.
On Monday 28th December I start a brand new cohort of my Living a Bigger Life Mastermind where I work with women on their plans for the year. We use this 90 day planning cycle and get women really tuning into their values to work out what exactly it is they want to achieve this year.
We create a community where we celebrate wins and work through challenges, where we don’t let despair last for too long, where we understand this is a long game, not about short term wins.
If you would like to start 2019 with a more sustainable approach, one where we can ease into the year with clarity and a sense of playful exploration, then check out what the Mastermind is all about.
Feel free to drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. I am happy to jump on a discovery call to talk through what you would like to achieve this year, and how we might do this together.
Breathe…the year hasn’t even really started yet…now where’s that TV remote???
I’m gonna be straight with you.
Despite offering a FREE “10 ways to make money for your adventures” challenge as part of my work as a life coach I am no expert on money really…heck I’ve made some god awful financial decisions over the last 10 years…4 years ago for example I found myself unemployed, a newly single parent and about to lose my home.
But boy have I been on some adventures!!!!
I have done some amazing things in my life…even if my bank balance hasn’t always been that impressive.
Even as a kid growing up in East London with 5 siblings and a Dad that went AWOL, we had little to no money but I always found a way to do cool stuff.
Since learning about the law of attraction I now know this is because I am a powerful manifester…so whether its raising cash fast or getting stuff for free, if I want something badly enough, put in some graft and have enough faith…it ALWAYS comes to fruition.
So when did I learn all this stuff about the law of attraction? I reckon it all started about 3 years ago when I went through a patch of excessive reading, and I stumbled across an author called Pam Grout, and then The Secret…but mostly I took things up a level when I came across an Australian Lady called Denise Duffield Thomas.
I read her book, binge watched all her YouTube and then on a whim one night when I was at my wits end about not having any money, I bought her Money Bootcamp Course.
Now just to be clear….I HAD NEVER BOUGHT AN ONLINE COURSE BEFORE IN MY LIFE!!!
I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HOW I WOULD PAY FOR THIS COURSE…I added it to my credit card and just hoped for the best (not something I actually advocate to my coaching clients)
But anyway, it turned out to be the best decision of my life.
I learned so much about myself, and I absolutely transformed my income levels and more importantly my attitude to money. For example in 2014 when I joined Money Bootcamp I was still heavily reliant on benefits and my business turnover was somewhere in the region of £10,000, fast forward just a few years and last year I attracted more than £100,000 of value into my life (So things like free holidays, products and services) and my turnover was an amount not dissimilar…and the most exciting part of this is I got to do my most favourite thing….TRAVEL, last year alone I traveled to more than 10 countries, places I could only have dreamed of before I started this journey.
In May last year Denise was actually in London and I went along to an event she was hosting, it was brilliant and one of the things which she said which I still can’t get out of my head is that,
“Rich women are going to change the world”
Such a powerful statement…but I mean come on poor women are hardly going to change it are they, I know I have been one (relatively of course) for far too long….and most of the time we are simply tied up worrying, trying not go under and caring for those closest to us.
I used to say things like,
“I don’t want to be rich I just want to be comfortable”
I used to undervalue myself, not charge enough for my work, always go for the budget options…even when I could afford a more VIP option…even on things like toilet paper (like urrgghhh surely my bum deserves better right?)
So many of us women feel uncomfortable and icky around talking about money…like its something dirty, something we should just leave to the men to deal with…hell no…I made that mistake once and look where that got me. No, I want to be 100% in control of my wealth creation, and for me to do that I have to keep my money mindset in check.
I have realised over the years with my coaching work with Too Fat to Run, self worth and net worth are often interconnected…women not wanting to spend money on themselves as they don’t see the point, or thinking others are more deserving.
My little money mini challenge is my small way of raising these issues with the women I work with, I just wish I was better equipped to help women understand the money stuff better…because I am still here working it out too. I still have months where I am not sure if I can pay my mortgage, and I still feel I am held back at times by feelings of not being enough.
Which is why I have partnered with Denise to help her promote her course, The Money Bootcamp Course which I have been an active member of for over 3 years, a course which I have seen absolutely transform women’s lives….whether they run businesses or not.
Denise has a FREE video and ebook thingy “The 3 Things Which Keep Women Broke and Exhausted” doing the rounds at the moment, so you can check her out and see what you think for yourself….and if you decide to buy her course I get a small fee as a thank you (affiliate marketing is something I would never have considered before meeting Denise) and as a thank you to you I have an incredible bonus for you…because I don’t just want Denise to have the pleasure of working with you…I want in on the action too.
So here is the bonus I am offering for anyone who buys Denise’s Money Bootcamp before the 20th April when the doors close for this live round.
- A FREE place on my Living a Bigger Life Mastermind worth £597
- A 121 Big Fat Stupid Goal Strategy Session with me worth £297
- A signed copy of my upcoming book “Living a Bigger Life” worth £8.99
So that is £900 worth of FREE bonuses….cos I really want you to do this course, and of course join my wonderful Living a Bigger Life Mastermind too (at no extra cost)
I am super passionate about helping women take back their power…whether that is turning their back on the diet industry that doesn’t give a shit about them, undertaking massive exciting challenges or taking back control of their money and creating abundant happy lives for themselves and their families.
This stuff matters
Feel free to ask me any questions relating to Denises programme or my Living a Bigger Life programme…I won’t bullshit you, I hate having someone sell me something I don’t need…and I would never do that to other women. Drop me a line at email@example.com and let’s have a chat
I got my first official job when I was 13.
I worked in Forest Gate Wimpy for £1.50 cleaning dishes, serving customers and occasionally on a Saturday dressing up as Mr Wimpy and playing party games with children who were high on chocolate sundaes.
As difficult as I was as a child you could never call me work shy.
I did all kinds of jobs to make sure I had money growing up. Checkout assistant in a supermarket, theatre usher, salad packer, barmaid…you name it I have probably done it for a bit.
So you might think I would be a bit overwhelmed and perhaps a little embarrassed walking into Stratford Job Centre aged 36 to sign on. But I wasn’t really, I just saw it as a bit of a new adventure. I figured a couple of months with some extra cash now my maternity pay had stopped would come in handy, and I assumed the advisors there would get me back into employment in no time.
Sadly they just didn’t know what to do with me. I had close to a year ago been made redundant at 7 months pregnant from a managerial position in a local authority working on the 2012 Olympics, and when they looked at my colourful and varied CV showing 20 years of employment I almost wondered if they thought I was making it all up.
The first few weeks of signing on were a little annoying but bearable. Rose was still very small but there was no lift to get to the second floor where you had your interviews, so I had to carry her up, with all my bags etc…and trying to keep a toddler quiet and out of trouble while you are explaining for the fourth time that a retail job just wasn’t going to work, became a little trying.
It was the way people spoke to me that really started getting me annoyed. They expected me to understand the system…using phrases and terminology that only the hardcore unemployed would know…I was new to all of this, so then the staff would often turn to sarcasm or tell me that this had all been explained to me before when it hadn’t.
I played the game though…looking for proper employment the way I knew how to. I mean I hadn’t been out of work EVER as an adult, something had always come along, and I often went from job to job with nice little promotions and pay rises along the way. I thought I was reasonably employable.
“Oh but you haven’t been using job search,” the woman said to me one day.
“Erm no, I haven’t…there are no jobs over 20K on job search” followed by “plus the kinds of employment I am looking for just aren’t listed there”
“Well, Julie your circumstances have changed now you might have to be more flexible” she said.
There was no way I was going to take a pay cut of more than 50% and move into an area of work I wasn’t interested in, it just wasn’t going to happen. So a battle of wills started to take place each fortnight, with myself and the advisor going round and round in circles. I did go for one job interview. It was an interesting job, part-time and a low salary but I figured I could top it up with some freelance work. But I didn’t get it…I still to this day think it was the cheap suit the Job Centre had paid for that did it….not to sound ungrateful but my old suits didn’t fit me anymore and I didn’t have the cash to buy another…so I had to go to their preselected stores and choose one. Urgghhh.
It all came to a head one day when I went to sign on one day, it had been raining outside and I was a bit hot and flustered as Rose was playing up a bit and when I asked at reception if I could go up to sign on they said that my claim had been stopped and I would have to wait a certain amount of weeks to reapply (I can’t remember the details now…I think I have blocked it all out)
At first, I was calm and asked if I could speak to an advisor about how it would affect my housing benefit and council tax relief but they refused and said I could phone instead. Jobcentres don’t pick up the phone…or maybe it was just me…maybe they just didn’t pick up for me. I just wanted to know on what grounds they had cancelled my claim…I wanted to see that advisor and have her explain it to me to my face.
And in that moment I became THAT person.
If you have ever signed on or been in a government building around people trying to get their life back together, you will know THAT person.
It’s the person that just loses their shit.
Now I am not an angry person, in fact I am quite reserved…don’t like to make a fuss…but I was done with being treated like a nobody. Now I understood why the place had security, and why 2 out of the 3 phones on the wall had been ripped out of their sockets and were no longer in use.
“I am a person” I screamed.
“I am a real fucking person, can’t you just treat me like an actual person?”
And that’s when the three (yes three) security guards who I had seen for the last six months and nodded at, walked over to me and firmly escorted me out of the building.
My face was red, my eyes were brimmed with tears and my heart was pounding…I was so bloody angry.
I was angry at them, but also I was angry at me.
I had completely lost any sense of who I was. I had nothing to cling on to. No job. No social life. A relationship which was fast falling apart. I had never felt so alone in all of my life.
The following week I was asked to come back into the job centre as there had been a mistake and I would be allowed to sign on afterall.
Part of me didn’t even want to go back in that building.
But I had to.
I was on a mission. Unlike any, I had ever been on and not to go and cause a riot.
In the week gone past I had found out that there was a scheme, you could be referred to from the Jobcentre if you were interested in starting up your own business…and I was interested in setting up my own business…boy was I ready to start up my own business.
I had been writing a blog for a number of years and had built up quite a following…I just had to work out a way to monetise it.
What followed was 6 months of filling in forms, creating a business plan, attending workshops which were so piss easy it was a joke…and then finally in June 2014 I received £2500 start-up loan and Too Fat to Run was born.
I felt like I was a somebody again.
Look guys, this isn’t your typical rags to riches story…cos damn I am nowhere near rich yet, but every day I walk past that building I am reminded of how close I was to losing everything and hitting rock bottom…I was literally weeks away from losing my home, the home I had worked for 10 years to achieve, I was considering using the local food bank…shit, I didn’t even have a flipping pair of jeans that fitted me.
It is a million miles away from where I am today, just 4 years later, but I am reminded so often now that all you need is an idea and someone to believe in it, to help you out of the hole you can often find yourself in when life takes a nose dive like mine did.
I am also reminded that some people go through that shit week in week out, dealing with being spoken down to and not believed when they say they are looking for work…it is enough to break you, seriously it really is.
Today has been a momentous day for me, just like that day was when I got unceremoniously kicked out of my local jobcentre, a day which I think I will look back on as the day it all changed.
Today though has been an ordinary day though in many ways. I woke up late, spent the day at my desk barely taking time for a break, I picked Rose up from school went and did some shopping, came home cooked and played with Rose until it was time for me to go and do CrossFit…I am marathon training at the moment in case you didn’t know.
And then at 10pm, I sat at my desk looking for the message I had been anxiously dreading all week.
The website is done…its up…its ready to share.
My new business venture which I have been working on for the past 12 months was finally ready to launch into the big bad world….and it hit me like a train.
4 years ago I was Julie Creffield, an unemployed new parent who had completely and absolutely lost her sense of direction in life.
Today I am Julie Creffield, CEO & Founder of a global company, author of 8 books, ultramarathon running, award-winning blogger….oh and transformational LIFE COACH!!!
I am a somebody. A somebody on a mission to change the bloody world.
I help ordinary women who are a little bit lost like I was to do extraordinary things with their lives. I help brilliant women work out what it is they really want and then give them the tools to do it. I help women live healthier, happier, wealthier, more adventurous lives…and in the process of doing that, I make sure I never have to go in that bloody Jobcentre or any other one like it ever again.
I didn’t want to write this blog post today.
Today, I didn’t want to write anything.
In fact I am so exhausted by tapping on my keyboard I wonder if I will ever find the love for writing again.
Why is this you may ask?
Well for the last 21 days I have been steaming ahead with writing my latest book “The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running”
Now normally I give myself a good few months to complete my books, (I currently have 6 books on running and health on Amazon) but I only decided to write this one 2 and a half weeks ago, YES I KNOW while the internet was awash with talk about the London Marathon ballot, with pleas of
Help, I have a marathon place now what?
Holy shit I’m In
I realised in all of that turmoil and as women came to me for help that although there are tons of marathon training guides and books on the market, none of them were written by me, few of them (if any) were from overweight slower runners, so why not write one?
I’ve run 3 marathons, an ultra marathon and hundreds of other races, I’ve also coached well over 100 women to run their first marathon, so I like to think I know a little bit on the subject…besides nobody has quite the funny stories I do.
I realised though at the end of last week, when I was like 40,000 words in and really struggling, just how much writing a book is actually like running a marathon….without the chaffing of course…although there is the repetitive strain injury to consider, but still.
With both, initially you think it’s a good idea and then within a little while you are like “what the hell was I thinking?”, but of course because you have started you have to finish. Especially if other people know you have committed.
So OK, one activity is done with your feet and one with your hands and head, but here are the 3 similarities between writing a book and marathon running that strike me most,
1. You will doubt that you can complete it – All the way through the process you will have a nagging voice saying you can’t do it, you have taken on too much, you’re an idiot, why did you commit to this. You have moments where progress is so slow, you feel like you are going backwards. And moments where the end point seems so bloody far away.
The trick with this is simply to focus on the next few hundred meters, the next few hundred words, because otherwise it’s just too overwhelming.
Marathon running is an endurance sport, is is never going to be over in a blink of the eyelid. Writing is the same, it takes time even if you don’t suffer from writers block and know what you want to say, the process of getting it into some kind of readable format will take time.
So just continue to put on your trainers, continue to sit at your desk. You will get there eventually.
2. You will be rubbish and brilliant in equal measure – There are some points of training for a marathon where you excel, and others where you feel like you have only just taken up the sport. Even while running the race there will be moments where you are completely flying and moments where you hit the wall.
I had days last week where I sat at my desk at 9am and realised at 4pm I hadn’t eaten or been to the loo, I was in my flow, I was in my zone of genius…it was brilliant. Then I had moments yesterday where I couldn’t remember how to spell “Was” like seriously?
Perseverance is key, taking a break, a walking one if you must. Onwards is onwards, by any means necessary.
3. Other people will support you – Most people are in awe of marathon runners, OK they think we are a bit crazy but mostly they are impressed. The same goes for writing a book. Both activities hold a mirror up to folk who say, “Oh I could never do that” or the perfectionists that say “I would need more time”.
I have had so much support in the last two weeks it’s been amazing, people checking in to see what my word count is, popping funny GIFs on Facebook reminding me to get on with it, and of course my wonderful editor who stops me from writing page long sentences.
You may also come across a few neigh sayers who tell you it would be better to take your time, or that you are crazy for trying. But when you have the drive to accomplishment, nothing can stop you.
So this morning, at 9.36, 68,222 words were sent across to my editor for her to work her magic, and I have sat on the sofa most of the day (almost like it was the day after a marathon) saying,
Well, at least never in that time span again.
The irony is, this weekend I was supposed to be running the Beachy Head Marathon, 10 days ago I made the decision to pull out, because in all honesty I hadn’t done the right kind of training and the logistics around travel and childcare had become to complicated.
This is the first race in more than 12 years that I have pulled out of.
I knew it was the right thing to do.
Anyways…I’m off to the Cinema tonight to take my mind of the book, and the fact I should have been racing this weekend.
The book is currently available as a download for just £6.99, and the paper version will be available from the 6th November, I hope you enjoy it.
Please download it and help me get in the Top 10 Running Charts
Please do share this post with anyone interested in writing or running marathons, hopefully they will find it of some use…I hold on to that fact seeing as I really didn’t want to write today.
Have a great weekend.
Oh and here is some evidence that I have actually run said marathons
Business is tough.
In fact, life is tough…really tough at times.
It doesn’t matter how much perceived success you have had in the past, or how much other people rate you, the fact remains you still have to get out of bed every day and do the work.
It is lonely too.
Well at least it is for me.
I am a single parent, and spend much of my time behind my desk in a corner of my front room trying to grow an empire. Tying to to convince women to buy into a sport that many believe should be free. Trying to support women who don’t prioritise their own health and happiness to do so. Trying to help PR companies and brands realise that this is a business and
No you can’t get to my audience of 50,000 women in exchange for a free sportsbra
So yeah, some days I simply can’t face sitting at that desk.
Somedays, like yesterday I simply want to lay on the sofa, watch crap TV and have a bit of a cry.
Yesterday was a bit of a corker though to be fair, triggered by a busy few months culminating in 3 big races, in 3 different countries, in the space of 3 weeks. I have also launched a new life coaching programme, overseen the start of my Sport England funded year long pilot in Barking & Dagenham and currently have two other online running programmes to focus on too…so I guess I am just a bit tired and overwhelmed.
I’ve also had a whole heap of personal stuff going on, including settling my 4 and a half year old into BIG school, and trying to organise childcare for this weekends Proffesional Speaking Associations annual convention…which up until late last night I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make.
So yeah it’s been a tough few weeks.
Yesterday I think I needed some kind of release. A day at a spa would have probably done the trick, but instead a morning of rubbish TV and half a pack of stale digestive biscuits took me into a spiral of self pity and panic.
By 2pm it was getting really ugly.
I thought getting some fresh air might help, so I walked to the bank to deposit a cheque…the cheque however got stuck in the machine as I was paying it in, and as the assistant went to get the key to open the machine, with a bank full of people watching me, the tears started rolling again “Why me?, Why me?” yes it seriously was that embarrassing, I have no idea what that poor bloke must have thought of me.
Anyway, once home I knew there was only one thing for it, one thing which would get me out of this funk.
I needed to run.
Luckily Wednesday night is my new, once a week night of regular childcare…so I donned my new snazzy leggings which I am reviewing for an awesome company I have just discovered, and I made my way to the East London Runners weekly training session. I haven’t been in well over a year…and boy have I missed it.
I only did 5K, but it was a speedy (for me) 5K
On the way back to the station I walked through a cool looking urban underpass and thought, this would look good as a backdrop for a photograph so I spent 5 minutes or so trying to get a decent shot.
My sweaty puffy face couldn’t quite muster a smile…so instead I went for an intense “I don’t care stare”
The moral of my story. Sometimes life is shit. Sometimes it doesn’t pan out how you want it, even when you work your arse off. Sometimes you feel like packing it all off, selling up and moving to the outer Hebrides to milk goats. But mostly, sometimes you just need to take a day off, cry some ugly tears, watch a bit of Jeremy Kyle to remind yourself that it could be a whole heap worse and then pick yourself back up and find a way to energise yourself so you can live to fight another day.
For me running works for this every single time.