Lucie Loves… Life // Food, finance and freedom ~ Talking First Steps and positive futures at The Gherkin, with Experian and John-Paul Flintoff
I recently had the pleasure of being invited to have lunch in a private London dining room, at the very top of The Gherkin – my favourite London building. It was part of a collaboration between Experian and The School of Life, and unlike anything that I’d been to as a blogger before.
The session, led by Speaker, Journalist and Writer, John-Paul Flintoff, was aimed at getting us to to take the First Stepstowards taking control over our lives, and making the changes needed for a positive and successful future.
As we waited for the remaining guests to arrive, I decided to explore the viewing platform and capture some shots of London. If you’re planning on visiting London, take any opportunity you can to view the City from up high – it’s always spectacular!
When they introduced everybody, there were money bloggers, mummy bloggers, a finance journalist, a style and interiors blogger – and me… I just kind of sat there thinking “I don’t know anything about money” and “have they got they got the wrong Lucie?”.
After lunch, we would each be invited to find out our credit score free of charge.
“Yay!” You say…. Whilst in reality, I was sitting there, secretly bricking it, thinking: ‘Oh god, I bet my credit score is absolutely horrific!”
I’ll be the first to admit that, in everything that I do in my life, I prioritise the things that I get the most pleasure out of. But I guess that’s normal, right? Whether that’s socialising with friends, working on creative projects, or helping people to do their projects. When it comes to sitting down and doing the boring admin bits, that bits you really need to do, well… I’m not so good at.
I was quite keen to see if this event would literally be the First Step towards spurring me on… and maybe even give me some direction too. Does anyone else feel like they’re floundering a bit sometimes?
This is where John Paul Flintoff comes in.
J-P is not just a typical School of Life coach. From what was initially just a room full of strangers, with silences waiting to be filled, J-P soon got us all talking to one another. Talking about what really mattered to each of us, over a very lovely lunch, of great food and personal ramblings. It was a skill that both broke the ice with each other and also new ground with ourselves.
Over the last 12 months, the new personal direction in which my writing and content have shifted, has actually been one of the many unexpectedly positive things that have come out of the separation from my Husband.
One of the main of things that I realised was the value of writing from the heart. Both for myself, and for others. The value of writing content that truly speaks to people… or at least tries to.
This seismic shift, in my approach, was intended to show that behind every blog, every glossy Instagram profile, is a human being – and not just another face spouting off about fancy events and a carefully-curated lifestyle
This year has also seen a huge increase in the amount of TED Talks and mindfulness-related content that I consume. I urge you to watch John-Paul Flintoff’s ‘How to Change The World’ – a TED talk that he gave in Athens,
and another called ’Conversations that change life’.
Q. ’What is it that you want?’ and Q. ’What is it that you can’t imagine spending the next 6 months, 12 months or even 5 years doing?‘ These are the questions that I asked myself, as I sat there that afternoon.
I realised that my main goal – the thing that I really wanted to achieve – was to make sure that I only concentrate my energy on doing things that contribute positively towards my future. It may seem like an obvious one, when put so simply, but how much time and energy do we all waste on things/people/or projects that will lead to nothing?
For me this means spending a million hours scrolling through feeds, refreshing said feeds, constantly checking my phone, reacting to every notification, refreshing apps (again), checking my inbox for opportunities at regular intervals throughout the day, and doing all of the admin relating to my blog and business. It made me think of all of the things that I’m saying yes to – that, actually I might be better to turn down. Because, slowly but surely, these things are going to exhaust me.
I’ll give you an example, 12 months ago I started my own business - I left my full time job and went freelance. You can check out this blog post here to find out why I did it, and about why I wanted to become an Entrepreneur. One of the things that we don’t do often enough is sit back and reflect on all that we’ve achieved, the things that we’re proud of and the things we can learn from.
That’s what I’d like to do – spend some time itemising those achievements and celebrating them! A lot that I’ve done this year, I’d never have thought that I was capable of doing before. It’s crazy really.
Sit down. Take a moment, and think about the things that you might like to change in your life. Ask yourself:
- Q. If you could do or be anything, what would it be?
- Q. What is it that makes you happy?
- Q. What is it that stresses you out?
Making small changes in your life – and learning to let go, can help create a stronger, happier you.
Learning to let go is one of the things that people find hardest to do. Whether it’s a personal thing, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or money trouble. Grieving for something and maintaining that negative energy doesn’t pay off in any way, shape or form. Address it and move on.
Instead, make the focus you, your wellbeing and your future. Focus your energy on the stuff that makes you tick, the stuff you find satisfying. Do more of what excites you – I promise it pays off!
As we sat around this dinner table at The Gherkin, looking out over the hustle and bustle of London below, we spoke about the things that troubled us, annoyed us, or frustrated us. John-Paul then asked us to talk about the things excited us. The stuff we excelled in. The stuff that made us bounce out of bed in the morning. Suddenly, the energy in the room changed, and we realised that, actually, if you don’t dwell on the shit, you can get so much more done.
75% of people admit to making plans and not sticking to them, 42% of people who plan to try something new – to live a more fulfilled life – fail to do so because they didn’t have the money.
So, with my new goal of trying only to concentrate my efforts and energy on doing projects and things that contribute positively to my future, I took a few first steps into looking after my finances better, and plucked up the courage to check my credit score….
Which turned out to be pretty bloody good! Whoop! FYI Experian now offer a free credit score checker for life service, so you no longer need to pay to find out how good it is. Now you can just check it for free!
So what were my First Steps?
Look at tasks I’d been putting off, e.g spring cleaning my wardrobe, sorting out all of my business receipts, cancelling my old gym membership, renewing bank cards and getting rid of the clutter in my life that I no longer needed. Take more time out for me… And a biggie… start delegating tasks!
Over to you….
What big life changes are you thinking of making? And what is it that’s stopping you from achieving them? Is it the fear of the unknown or that you’re not quite brave enough to take that first step? Take a look at The School of Life’s top tips to taking the First Steps to creating positive, lasting change.
- Imagine the worst case scenario
- Join a community
- Sell it to yourself - think about how well you could do rather than what you could lose
- Try not to be a sore loser. Learn how to lose with grace
Step outside your comfort zone and you will grow – whether that’s in a personal or a professional situation. Try it!
If you’ve taken a first step and would like to share it, please do. Thank you for all of the support you’ve shown me this past year, it’s been pretty incredible. I wish you all the best on your own journeys, and encourage you to take time out this autumn, to reflect on what you’d like to achieve to make next year your best yet.
For more information, visit: experian.co.uk/first-steps
Please check out the blogs of my fellow First Steps dinner guests - they’re all such lovely peeps!
Anna Lysik - www.dontcrampmystyle.co.uk
Faith Archer - muchmorewithless.blogspot.co.uk
Georgia Barrat - www.georgiebarrat.com