Late last year, one evening between Christmas and New Year, I took a huge card from Jude's desk and sat on the floor in the lounge. I had four different color sharpeners and started writing a plan for next year. I wrote in the middle of the 2018 page and then started writing anything and everything until the whole page was covered. I wrote things like visiting a new country, running a marathon, starting a podcast, filming vlogs, working for a charity, and so on. I also wrote down the financial target for the year. I wrote down a list of people that inspire me, a list of people I would like to meet, a list of books I wanted to read, and a list of all the things that make me happy and all the people in my life that matter to me.
Well, they say words have power! and I couldn't have imagined that so many things on this piece of paper would become reality. 2018 has been one of the best years of my life. Sure, it has had some challenges and I've made some mistakes, but hey, is this a real life? It is a journey and I will do my best to keep up.
So today I'm thinking about last year before I start planning for next year …
The year has literally started flying! I packed my bags on January 4 and boarded a flight to Cape Town, South Africa, to shoot a running campaign for Adidas. KEEP ME! I've been working as an adidas brand ambassador for the past two years and couldn't ask for a better brand partnership. Traveling to new places and meeting so many fantastic people has been one of the highlights of this year.
We were in Cape Town for only four days, but on our last day we hiked to the top of the table. I stood at the top of this hill and felt tears in my eyes. The view was like something I've never experienced before. Sometimes it's hard to believe how far you've come, and when you suddenly stop just noticing, it was frankly surreal. No photo or video could justify this view or capture that feeling, but I think I will remember it for the rest of my life.
I never had the opportunity to travel abroad when I was an adult, so I feel that I would now make up for lost time.
After coming home for a long time, I repackaged my thing, this time to fly to LA. I went to the creator of adidas all weekend. It was such a nice trip !! The Adidas Creator Network is essentially a bad-ass team, mega-inspiring women. The first day we were asked to introduce ourselves, tell us which county we were from, and share one thing we were excited about for the coming year. As I stood there listening to all the amazing women, I felt so inspired! There's a group of women who are all so different, but we all have something in common. Women who all use their platform for positive change, women who are not afraid to speak for the reasons they believe in, women who want to empower other women, fight for their progress, and be allies for one another.
One thing I wrote on this year's wish list was doing a TEDx talk. Over the last few years, I've been invited to perform at events, host live questions and answers, interview with celebrities, and chat with panels in front of a small audience. But this year I really wanted to find my voice as a public speaker and so I started writing and practicing longer speeches. The first story I wrote was "Get started now", it was all about timing and why now is the best time to start living the life you want to live. I didn't really have a say in any of the events, but I knew that preparation time was a good time if and when the opportunity came. I really didn't think that opportunity would come so quickly. In late February, I received an email from my agent telling me about TEDxMauerPark in Berlin. I immediately said that before any confidence came. This was the first time I was ever asked to share my personal story with the world. I had just over nine weeks to prepare the fifteen minute story.
In hindsight, I think it may have been too long. Some of the best conversations I've ever heard have been impromptu. People who share a story or a message that is not listened to or written feel much more authentic and sincere. I'm not suggesting that if you are ever invited to speak at a TED conference, just get in and fly there, but when I watched this video online, I felt something was missing. It was too formal, it lacked my real personality.
I learned two important lessons from this; Number 1 – ALWAYS be yourself, no matter how big or small the stage is. Number 2 – The fact that it wasn't perfect doesn't mean it wasn't good enough. You can be proud of yourself and your achievements and your willingness to try, regardless of the outcome.
A few weeks later I was invited to speak to over 700 people at the Manchester conference. I decided on the title, made a few notes and bought a new garment. On the morning of the event, I read notes on the train. When I walked on stage, I didn't have the script, but I felt surprisingly relaxed. I had a conversation with passion and energy and it was by far the best speech I have ever made. I hope I will be invited to many more events in the future, this year has really helped me find my voice.
And the winner is … not me! but I won the Cosmopolitan Influencer Of The Year prize in second place. Yeah! This was the first time I've ever been invited to an awards ceremony, so most of the time I was expecting myself to get dressed. I was named in the fitness and wellbeing category in addition to fantastic blogs, sports coaches and health mixers. I was tremendously happy (and surprised) when my name was called up as a runner and a very worthy winner was the wonderful Carly Rowena.
Summer 2018 was an ace! I ran the Berlin Marathon for over 350 miles. I ran the Great Manchester Run, hosted a live stage training at the Balance Festival, visited Lake Como in Italy, pampered England at the World Cup and ran my first ever make-up campaign for L'Oreal Paris! We took a family hike to France and a family vacation to Mexico, celebrated birthdays, went on a bike tour, went to the theater and celebrated Paris Fashion Week. By the end of September, I was quite honest when I was honest. I don't complain because I loved it every minute. I know life has inevitable ups and downs (trust me!), So I know how important it is to celebrate good times and truly enjoy them. This summer was one of the best and I am so grateful for it all.
Something I've been struggling with over the years is the imbalance concept. It's hard to juggle between work, work, family travel, friends, and more. I love all my friends, but I've hardly seen them this year.
Between all my travels and important events, I also have to do real life things. I have to get through the washing hills, clean up the bathroom and do grocery shopping. I help Jew with homework, listen to her reading and go to school trips, sports days, concerts and parents' evenings. I have to do the admin, send emails, invoices, payments, etc. and I also have some free time, time for myself. Most of my friends understand (I hope), but I've had a couple of horrible messages and comments this year. It's really hard to keep up with everyone, and when I'm completely honest, I often feel pressured or obligated to do things I don't even want to do. I have read a lot this year about self-care and self-preservation, I fully understand it in theory, but it can be difficult to put into practice. I think adult friendships can be tricky, so I try to keep in mind that everyone has their life going on, good, bad and everything in between.
This year we celebrated Jude's 7th birthday. Her room is full of LEGO, Star Wars toys and Avengers posters. Now he's officially a big boy. I shared this message on instagram and it sums up my thoughts on parenting this year.
I know the world will change you, but I hope you always know that you are enough, just the way you are.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed with parental responsibility. How my choices, actions, and words shape my son. The world is changing so fast and who knows what's coming.
I'm learning that as a parent you can't shape your child's life, you can't control the world around them, and you can't make decisions for them. You have to step back and let them all understand. This is the hardest thing to do, but you have to let them try, explore, fail, learn.
Jude, I'll do my best to answer any of your weird questions like "What's the strangle?" And "Where is heaven?" I listen to your amazing stories and always do my best.
In September, I flew to Berlin to run the Berlin Marathon. It was my second time competing up 26.2, but unfortunately it did not reach the finish. I feel like I've talked so much about this in the last few months, I'm sure Robi is probably very bored to hear about it. The principle is that after four months of dedicated training, I was injured two weeks before the competition. I wanted to show up and give it my best shot, and that's exactly what I did. I wrote an entire post about it… click here
Public failure is difficult, but I no longer feel embarrassed or frustrated. To quote Charlie Dark: "I have tremendous respect for anyone who runs a marathon."
Undoubtedly, one of the most exciting things for me in 2018 is launching my own podcast, "Power Hour." Listening to hundreds of hours of podcasts as we ran, I was inspired to start my own business. The podcast is about motivation and encouragement. Each week, I interview an inspiring guest about their path to success and tell them about their habits and routines, the rules of living, and how they all start their day. So far, the guests have been fantastic and I'm excited to share more episodes next year. If you haven't already listened to it, upgrade to iTunes or Spotify and just search for "Power Hour"
I don't fit all of this into one blog post, but this year has been a game changer in so many ways. I've challenged myself to learn more, to be introspective, to trust myself, and to be relentless in achieving my goals. I've read amazing books and listened to endless hours of inspirational podcasts. (I'm sharing a list of my faces in another post).
I have loved working at FIIT this year and am so proud to be part of their great team. I have coached two women this year and have loved to follow their wanderings so far.
I know the start of a new year can be huge, but it's exciting! Ultimately, we have only one life, and that is it now. I'd rather take chances and maybe fail than think about what's going to happen. Later this week, I'll write a completely new wish list for 2019 and encourage you to write down your dreams and ambitions as well. The bigger the better !!
P.s January 2 is the anniversary of my five year blog! Thanks for reading, sharing, commenting, etc. Have you been here from the beginning or is this the first post you have read through to the end … THANK YOU xx
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