It has been a tough few weeks for me, and there are some big changes ahead.
Without going into too much of the detail I have decided it is time for me to sell up and leave London.
I know, shocking right?
If you know me you will know I am a London girl through and through, and I am extremely proud of my east end roots.
But it is time to go.
I have known it for a while, probably as much as 3 years when my relationship broke down and I was left to cover the bills by myself while raising my daughter.
I love my flat, I have lived here 10 years.
But I do want a slightly calmer existence, one where I have deeper connections with my neighbours and where my daughter will feel more settled and be able to have a safer more nurturing environment to grow.
So what has this got to do with fear?
Well…I am terrified.
I am scared of EVERYTHING
- Not getting a good deal on the sale of my flat
- Not choosing the right new location
- My daughter hating our new life
- Choosing the wrong property
- Not being able to afford a new property
- Being away from friends and family
- Not having any childcare
- My business breaking in the madness of the move
- Being judged for moving
- Being taken to court for moving
- Being harassed for moving
- Not making new friends
- Not finding places to exercise where I feel accepted
- Being lonely
- Oh yes…being lonely.
But do you know what?
I am doing it anyway because the only thing worse than fear?
Inaction, caused by fear that leads to anxiety, decision fatigue, and inertia….and the reality is if I had been brave enough to make the move 3 years ago I might not be in the mess I am in now, or would at least already be settled in my new life.
The pursuit of happiness, that’s what this is all about right?
Having hope that what you are striving for is worth the sacrifice, and will lead to greater peace of mind and ease in the long term.
Moving house, moving job, ending a relationship, starting a new one…all require us to be vulnerable and open to potential failure and heartache, but I believe it is only by being brave and opening ourselves up fully to potential pain that we can truly progress in life.
It is not fear that it is the enemy…it is our own lack of belief, lack of hope, lack of vision and lack of the trust required to make the jump…safety net or no safety net.
So my flat is going on the market, and I am embarking on a whole new adventure. So watch this space.
What else is going on with me?
Currently, I am working with 43 incredible women in my Living a Bigger Life Mastermind…ironically, this week we have all been talking about our fears, sharing them in the safe space of our closed Facebook Group and finding solutions to overcome them. I always say fear should be used as a barometer in life because often it is the only thing which truly wakes us up from our self and shows us the full possibilities of life.
Some of the comments the women have made in my group so far about fear include,
I fear writing posts here in case you all think I’m ridiculous. I am scared of over sharing and being vulnerable (even in such a safe place).
I’m fearful of having to face my fears and make the neccesary changes
I fear faliure
What if I can’t fit it all in and fall behind?
I worried about wasting my money on this course (I don’t think I have)
I worry people are judging me
Do you know the interesting thing which has come out of the group so far, just how similar our concerns are, and that we are not alone in our insecurities?
I know a lot of women have struggled a bit with being visible and vulnerable in the group, but equally some wonderful relationships are being created and great progress is being made in many of the women’s day to day life. Because funnily enough, despite me being all about Big Fat Stupid Goals and doing things on a massive scale, often it is the smallest of shifts which can make all the difference.
The best thing about the programme so far is that the women are showing up and staying in the room…which implies there is still hope (even alongside all of that fear)
The next Living a Bigger Life Mastermind cohort will take place later this year, but for those of you who are keen to start addressing some of these issues sooner, you can take part in a 10-week self-study version of the course for just £149, with the option of upgrading to the live version at a heavily reduced rate in May.
Click here for more details
I once read that most new years resolutions are pretty much forgotten by Valentine’s day, but here we are just 17 days into a brand spanking new year and what do I find out?
Today is Ditch the New Years Resolution Day.
Is that all the resolve that people have?
Look, I talk about this problem every year…the fact that January 1st is pretty much the worst day of the year to turn over a new leaf.
- Money is tight
- You are coming down from a sugar and alcohol binge
- Family tension is at an all-time high
- The weather is shitty (well at least it is in the UK)
- And everywhere you look there are experts telling you how to make 2018 the best year EVER!!!
Shit…do I fall into that category too?
I NEVER set new years resolutions because I don’t see any logic in waiting until just one time of the year to review my goals and make new intentions. I also believe that the pressure of setting goals in this way leads to a resentment and unnecessary pressure, which to be frank we can do without.
My system for planning is based on a concept called Big Fat Stupid Goals which are mahoosive in scale, juicy and indulgent by nature and seemingly foolish because nobody believes you can achieve them, maybe even you.
But the things about BFSGs is they are so so super exciting and rewarding to achieve that it gives you the strongest sense of WHY ever, plus the possibility of failure is so damn scary that they help you change your habits and behaviors almost by default.
I think my first proper Big Fat Stupid Goal was back in 2006 when I decided I wanted to go to university…it was never something I had really wanted before, but a college lecturer put the idea in my head and all I could think about was
YES…I get to move away from home
At the time I was living at home with 5 other siblings, life was pretty uneventful, I never had much money, didn’t have a boyfriend…didn’t have much to look forward to. But going to university would be a whole new adventure…and I’d be the first to go from my whole entire university which would give me extra family kudos. I had to make it happen.
See the thing about BFSGs is they are never about one thing…not like losing weight or giving up booze, BFSGs change EVERYTHING…like seriously on an energetic level they force you to change, you have to change the way you approach fear, you have to change the way you schedule your time, you have to change the way you engage with other people….but the best thing is you don’t have to change who you are to do it, well not in a negative way.
Running my first marathon in 2012 is another example of a Big Fat Stupid Goal I set on a whim. I decided back in 2005 if London was to be awarded the Olympic games, I would run the London Marathon in 2012…it did, so I did…despite the fact I could barely run to the top of my road at the start. But the thought of running down the mall at the end of my 26.2 mile run, in an Olympic year when the eyes of the world were looking towards my wonderful home city…there was no way on earth I wasn’t going to achieve that goal.
So let’s forget about those New Years Resolutions…of course keep up the new habits if you can and really want to, but make sure you get clear on what your Big Fat Stupid Goals are, and set about making them happen now.
My top tips for seeing them through?
- Visualise yourself completing your BFSG
- Share your BFSG far and wide
- Set massive milestones moments to keep you motivated
- Invest in yourself by spending the time, money and energy needed to move to the next step
- Find people to keep you accountable
For more about setting Big Fat Stupid Goals and my aversion to New Years Resolutions check out my book “New Year Same You” which spent months in the health charts just under Joe Wicks (with his all-time best-selling health and fitness book Lean in 15), I guess there are worse places to be than under Joe Wicks.
If you would like to work with me for the next 10 weeks formalising your BFSG and working through the things in your life that may be stopping you from achieving such things in your life check out my Living a Bigger Life Mastermind. The early bird price for the February cohort finishes in just 2 days, and places are limited and likely to be sold out in the next 24 hours.
I launched a brand new website this week, and there was absolutely nowhere to hide.
Now this is not the first website I have ever launched…in fact this is probably the 4th or 5th. But with all of the other ones though I had the luxury of hiding behind a brand or someone elses business…no such luck with this one.
juliecreffield.com is all about me and that shit is scary.
Do you find that when you start putting yourself out there like this, you know in life or in business all those mind goblins start having a go at you? I think of my mind monkeys as little traffic wardens circling my car with their camera’s and ticket pads just waiting to pounce, waiting to give me what’s for.
- Standing up in public to give a talk
- Choosing a new hairstyle or look
- Entering a new relationship
- Launching a new business
- Taking up a new hobby
They all require the same about of resilience, which I prefer to describe as my “Care not, just Fucking Do It” attitude. But as with many of the principles of my coaching, it is not just about attitude, it is about action too.
So often I have head people describe me as
Trust me I am not fearless. I am fearful most of the time. Even writing and posting this article I feel the fear…the only difference is I don’t let my fears get in the way of achieving the outcomes I have imagined in terms of the goals I set for myself?
Because I understand fully the impact achieving those goals will have. It is much like putting on your first pair of lycra running leggings and heading out the door in them and I’ll tell you how.
Lycra is a strange old fabric which kind of gets a bad press really.
There were the lycra clad aerobic instructors of the 80s and then the lycra clad cyclists of the 90s…now it’s all about the runners I reckon. The reality is if you take part in any kind of fitness activity Lycra is going to become your friend pretty soon. It has to. Even if it isn’t the most flattering of materials…it is integral to your enjoyment of sport, besides you are sure to find it in lots of your everyday clothes too…ladies you try finding pants without lycra!!!
When I first started running more than 15 years ago I went our in cotton tracksuit bottoms, a t-shirt and a pair of Rebock classics. I didn’t know any better. Gosh if I ever tried to reenact that there outfit now I doubt I would get to the top of my road. When I run now I wear tight fitting lycra running leggings, even in my lumpy bumpy size 18 body, I put on those bad boys and I hit the streets without a care in the world, because I couldn’t give a flying fart what other people think of me when I am out running.
Long gone are those days where I run after dark, or in secluded backstreets…I am loud and proud now.
The wearing of Lycra in my plus size body has taught me a lot about being seen over the years, lessons which I think are absolutely transferable to life and to business. Think about it, if I hadn’t had the courage to be seen in my lycra, to have been photographed in Lycra…to appear on national TV in lycra, there is no way I would have had the profile nor the experience of coaching the thousands of women I have worked with over the past 4 years, and this website wouldn’t even be a thing.
So here are 4 of the lessons that Lycra has so kindly taught me visibility
Hiding your imperfections only draws attention to them
Have you ever noticed a person on the beach on a really hot day covered head to toe in clothes because they think the sight of them in a swimsuit will draw attention to them? The thing is the curious mind in all of us makes them a target as you try to work out their story. The truth is on a beach and in life, people are normally so preoccupied with thoughts of their own insecurities they barely register those around you…and if they do?? See below.
Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter
I have spent my whole life being heckled. Obviously while out running in my plus size body I am a bit of a target, but these heckles are not always restricted to when I am out training. People somehow find the need to shout out all kinds of stuff in all manner of places. What I learned from this though is I am never going to stop showing up as me…and if that means wearing tight-fitting clothes to play sport or red shoes to go dancing then so be it. I have turned up to really important meetings in my running kit, appeared on national TV, and given talks to 1000s of people in Lycra…knowing that they can see all of my lumps and bumps because I have an important message to share. But if my lumps and bumps are what they are focussing on, then that says more about me than it does them.
People respect openness and honesty
In a world where everything is photoshopped and styled to within an inch of its life, I think most of us find seeing someone in their true state kind of refreshing. Just because you have the glossy instagram feed and a different designer handbag each day it doesn’t make me want to work with you any more….because nobody knows if all of that is fake anyway? The more you can show up without the crutches of perceived perfection the more people will want to be around you. Now don’t get me wrong I am all for making an effort, having your nails done, wearing nice clothes when appropriate, but nobody can look perfect and polished 100% of the time. There is nothing more empowering and bonding than a big bunch of women red-faced and sweaty after a race…and add mud and you are on to an absolute winner.
Your body is an important part of your story
Of course people make snap judgements about you based on your appearance, in fact, I am writing a blog post at the moment due to go out next week called “Just because I am fat doesn’t mean I am new to sport”, but regardless of other peoples reaction to your body, you get to choose how you treat it.Our bodies in many ways tell a story, and by embracing and unlocking the confidence to accept, understand or even share your story it becomes easier to change that story or boldly embrace it, whichever you chose. Oprah Winfrey in her glorious speech at the Golen Globes said, “Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you have” it is why I am not a big fan of those hold me in pants.
It scares me that so many teenage girls drop out of sport because of fears around being judged for being sweaty or being seen in fitness clothes. It worries me that in the business world women hold themselves back because they feel like they have to have the perfect hair, the perfect smile, the perfect backdrop to show up on things like Facebook Live or YouTube. It saddens me that women hold back from pursuing new relationships thinking they will wait until they have lost weight, or have a better wardrobe to woo a future mate.
You might not be jumping at the chance to get out there this weekend in your Lycra, but however you show up, make sure you show up as confidently as you can as yourself. Life is far too short to be held back by fears around how you look, especially when you have so much to offer this world outside of all that. What you look like does not define who you are.
I have just come out of a really busy phase, work wise…I mean a really busy phase.
And all around me I can see business owners talking about slowing things down, looking towards new goals for 2018 and starting to taking some time off to prepare for Christmas, so maybe you’d think I’d follow suit.
But hang on?
Christmas Day is like 40 days away.
I don’t want to stop working yet.
Now, perhaps this is a gender thing, but I saw a discussion in a Facebook group of female business owners earlier this week about the unfair responsibility at home that women either willingly take on or are somehow burdened with when it comes to the festivities, and it made me realise that if this is the case then female owned businesses are seriously at a disadvantage, if every year they are winding down their business 3 or 4 weeks earlier than their male counterparts…to go off and find matching Christmas Crackers and locating the perfect gift for uncle bob who they only see once a year for a few hours. Knowing that many working mothers often take on the lions share of childcare during the school holidays too across the year…we literally have fewer days than ever to make our businesses work for us.
Now this is not me being all bah humbug, nor starting a gender war about who does what…I don’t have a husband so what do I know anyway? All I know is that Christmas, and other holidays seem to be an excuse to take your foot of the pedal, to be complacent, to become lazy even.
So I wanted to write this post today to encourage you not to stop, nor to focus too much yet on plans for 2018, but to instead think about what you can achieve with the remaining 47 days of this year.
What could you do with that time?
Have a look back at what you had on your goals list for 2017, and how many of them could you still squeeze in….it isn’t too late.
And remember, they don’t have to be SMART goals, I bloody well hate SMART goals…writing my best book ever in 27 days, or 19 if you don’t count the editing time…was not realistic in the slightest, instead it was a…
Big. Fat. Stupid.Goal
The best sort in my mind.
Go crazy, think about something outrageous you could do before the year is out.
How many past clients could you reconnect with, how many more speaking gigs or training days could you get booked in, how many outstanding invoices could you get processed? What could you pitch for, what could you launch, what could you try, what could you publish.
What could you do, you didn’t think possible?
Perhaps working later into the month of December will put you at an advantage to your competitors too, because you are available to have those discovery calls, and to help potential clients and customers work out what they need over the next few months.
I am most definitely not done for the year, I plan to have my best financial quarter of the year, and am about to launch another pilot round of my Living A Bigger Life Mastermind…I mean why would I be encouraging the women I work with to wait until January?
Don’t get me wrong…enjoy the festive parties, and the more relaxed attitude to work in the last week before the big day, but come on people we are only in November…even if I did go out in xmas themed leggings today in advance of my Countdown to Christmas challenge going live.
Now get back to work you orrible lot, otherwise Santa won’t bring you anything nice!!!
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
A few months ago I set myself the Big Fat Stupid Goal of becoming an International Speaker. I knew however that it’s a bit like chicken and egg, you have to start speaking internationally to start marketing yourself as the type of speaker who speaks overseas.
You have to start somewhere.
I had no idea how, but I did had a long list of WHY I wanted to do it.
- I love to travel
- I love to speak
- I have a message which needs to be heard globally
- It would be exciting
- I’d get to meet new people
- It would help grow my brand overseas
The very next day after setting this intention I saw a call for speakers for the PSA Southern Africa Convention and I nervously sent an email to the organisers almost immediately, offering my services. And guess what? My proposal was accepted!!!!
The problem was I wasn’t even sure if this trip was possible. The cost. The time away from my business. Leaving my daughter at home (obviously not alone duh)…and I guess the biggest worry…was I even ready for speaking at this level?
The thing is, the pursuit of the things you really, really want in life take a certain amount of faith. They require you to leave your fears behind and just move forward. You book your flights, you sort out childcare, you pack your bags and you go….simple right?
Yes and No.
It is easy to look at people who travel the world living their dream and think “Wow, what a life?” but the reality of it is often quite different, because remember you only get to see the edited highlights on social media. The champaign glasses, the sunsets, the all important stage shot…what you don’t see are the stresses about what to pack, the back and forth emails for months regarding logistics, and lets not forget about the hours and hours in transit.
Now I do love to travel, and I am a good traveller…I have endurance. I have travelled to the South America and the Caribbean, around South East Asia and to Australia…so I know all about long flights…I’m not sure I was completely ready for my epic trip to Cape Town via Dubai though.
I had booked the cheapest flight I could find (mistake number 1) and on reflection I realise that my time and wellbeing is far more important than the £700 or so that I saved…but in this case it was the only way I could make this trip happen.
So while sitting in the lounge in Dubai I started to reflect on the similarities between long distance travel and long distance running.
It’s all about preparation, mindset and clarity over why you are doing it in the first place.
So here are some of my top tips for staying healthy and sane during extended trips…especially if you are not at the point of being able to fly first class…YET!!!!
- Stay hydrated. So easy to indulge in all the free alcohol on board your flight and in airport lounges. I tend to have a glass of wine with dinner, and maybe a beer or two, but that’s it. Then it’s as much of the clear stuff as possible. It also encourages you not to sit down for extended periods as you will need to visit the loo frequently too.
- Think about nutrition. I was always told to eat what you are given…but you really don’t have to. So I only eat the stuff on the plane that I actually like and that is going to be beneficial to me. I bought I wonderful green smoothie during my 14 hour layover and a glorious sandwich stuffed full of avocado, sundried tomatoes and chicken. Carrying the type of snacks you enjoy is a good idea too…energy bars, nuts, dried fruit.
- Carry supplements with you. I take a general multivitamin and a joint support pill each day. But when travelling I also include a vitamin c tablet and an echinacea pill to support my immune system. I have one of those plastic pill separator things so I don’t forget to take them.
- Get some exercise. I did a whole heap of walking in Dubai…I’m not a shopper really, but the shopping malls provide an excellent walking circuit.
- Have something to do. I had a book proposal to write during the week I was away, and always kept a journal at hand to make notes about future talks and blog posts. I also carried a book but wasn’t in the mood for reading so opted for an audio book instead.
- Get a massage. Lots of airports now have mini spas or massage places. After about 8 hours in Dubai on the way out I felt awfully tense so paid for a 30 minute chair massage. I told the lady what time my flight was so she didn’t wake me once I dosed off…I slept undisturbed in that chair for almost 2 hours…it was glorious.
It has taken me 3 days to get over the jet lag, fatigue and excitement of my trip to South Africa…and so today I am finally taking some time to reflect on my travels and catch up on some of the action points from the convention.
It was a long old way to travel to give just a 30 minute talk, but it was never just about that talk.
These trips are life changing in ways you can’t describe. You create shared experiences with people who are now set to become acquaintances and maybe even friends for life.
The things you see and experience in these new places, the new person you are able to experiment with being while there, these things are truly transformational.
The standing ovation I received after my talk, the comments of support and the business cards exchanged, yes of course these things play to your ego and give you a thirst to do more…but this is not why we do it, well it is not why I do it.
I was only in South Africa for 5 days and 5 nights but in that time I managed to squeeze in a 5K parkrun, an 8 mile beach walk, a sightseeing bus tour, an evening out to a comedy night (where I was pulled up on the stage to do some of my own comedy set), lunch with a friend I know from an online group, a visit to a women’s empowerment programme in one of the townships, plus dinner at the home of a lovely lady I met called Huni, where we chatted for hours and I got to meet her wonderful family….and this is alongside the 3 day convention and all that entailed.
So I say it again…it wasn’t just about my talk.
As speakers we arrive home from these trips tired and energised in equal measure, and those memories drive us to reach for even bigger and more exciting goals, and to think about where next we would like to speak but we never forget the effort they require, the leaps of faith, the fears we have to overcome, and the endurance of both body and mind it takes us to actually get there.
You may think you are ready to start reaching for those Big Fat Stupid Goals, but you also need to start considering whether you are ready to go the distance in order to achieve them, ready to make sacrifices in order to reach your dreams.
Just like running the marathon…the going across the finish line and receiving your medal is the easy bit…it’s the months of preparation, the weeks of stress and worry, the days where you want to give up and the hours and hours of running you have behind you that make you the winner in the end.