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  • kingsandcubs

During December I have seen a daily array of social media posts containing 2020 reflections and looking ahead to 2021 with optimism and hope.

I have not engaged with many of these nor created my own. Why? Because 2020 has been bonkers quite frankly and my focus for 2021 is going to be on me, which seems a tad self-indulgent to put out there.

Let me explain. I am very self-aware and good at staying tuned into my feelings and needs most of the time. My belief in my gut is one of the reasons I changed careers and came back full circle to what I love doing the most.

However, I now realise that during all that change, I have totally neglected myself. I have faffed over homework, ironed uniforms with gusto, marvelled about the most amazing rhubarb flavoured disinfectant spray, but I have not really given myself any space or time to focus on the things that rock my boat.

The turn of the year will be significant for me from a business perspective, and hopefully the year I achieve the financial stability I miss from my employed, corporate past. However, none of that matters without good health and wellness.

Forget sales funnels, my 2021 will be the year of the wellness pyramid, MY wellness pyramid. My A3 sketch pad and trusty pencil have been out in full force scribbling it out. Nutrition, fitness, sleep, fresh-air, and pockets of time just for me fill the bottom layer, providing the foundation on which everything else will be built. Next comes personal development and reading, as in allowing myself time to open a book rather than just pick one up when it is looking dusty. Then we have networking, collaborating, and investing in my personal brand and finally, the cherry filled layer on top, I have set some business, financial and personal goals.

A successful month in 2021 will be as much about whether I have nourished my mind and body as how I have been able to support clients and juggle the many balls in my family life. If the former is under control, the rest will fall into place. I like to think if it as transformation from the inside out.

If you like what you hear, take five, draw out your own wellness pyramid and make some 2021 commitments to yourself. After all, your success and happiness lie in you.

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This month I have returned to marketing and communications following a brief spell in financial services. Since I announced my return, I have been astounded by the kindness and positivity that has engulfed me.

By trade I am a reputation management expert, so it is no surprise I am skilled at managing my own. However even I had underestimated the positive impression I must have given off over the years.

One of the first staff members I managed circa 15 years ago was the first to get in touch seeking wise counsel and reminding me how good I am with people and problem solving. Next a communications industry expert and personal hero of mine seeking me out to offer her business some support. That was one of those moments you contemplate cartwheeling up the street and or pinching yourself!

There are many others who have welcomed me back to communications and a large group of people who love the fact I have followed my gut instincts, passion and not been afraid to make another big change.

In the spirit of always looking to connect with others, I have been spending time every week having conversations with people I have never actually met or spoken to. Some people would hate that but, in my view, there is nothing better than a blank sheet of paper at the start of a Zoom, not having a clue what is going to happen during the call and just letting the conversation and ideas flow. Those sessions are always fun, and some have led to regular catch ups and friendships.

Tomorrow I am hosting a group mentoring session for some communicators and business owners. That will be a similarly freestyle affair but despite the lack of rigid structure, I guarantee that everybody who takes part will end the call with a smile, wave, practical ideas, inspiration and a sense of community and positivity. Comms therapy at its best with optional tea and cake.

An old manager of mine used to remind me constantly to consider the impression I left people with. Although at the time I would roll my eyes and cross my arms (!), I admit he was right. “Bend and smile Caroline” he would say when he could sense an inner fury burning inside me two hours into a futile meeting. When I heard similar words coming off my lips to my own team, I knew I had progressed.

Never underestimate the power of your personal brand. A positive reputation should always leave people with a sweet aftertaste. Kindness costs nothing. Your lasting impression is everything.

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  • kingsandcubs

In the past five years my life has totally transformed. I have gone from wife to divorcee, co-parent to single parent and am now a 40-something mum and step-mum with a very busy family life surrounded by males.

2019 was the year of change; the year I took control of the aspects of my life that were no longer serving me. As well as moving home, I decided to leave my long and successful career in corporate communications to retrain in something totally new to me. Some people thought I was mad, but I had a clear vision for the future and a compelling reason for doing what I was doing, so I did it anyway. At the start of this year, I set up my own business in a world that was brand-new to me, just 11 weeks before lockdown.

Fast forward six months and there was a feeling in my gut and itch I could not scratch. Put simply, I desperately missed working in communications every day. Communications is the spark that lives within me so after some soul-searching, I decided to return to the job I truly love.

My business, Kings & Cubs, offers a wide range of communications consultancy services to businesses. Head to my Services tab to find out more about the business problems I might be able to solve with my communications solutions.

Why Kings & Cubs? The name brings together the two sides of my new family, the Kings and the Cubs. The site was originally set up as the home for my personal blog, a creative outlet for me to share my experiences juggling the different pieces of my jigsaw, from home to business, friendship to family and mindset to following your dreams. Now the site will start to evolve to reflect the latest leg of my journey.

For anybody contemplating or experiencing changes in their life, I hope my tales will spark your imagination, help you explore your own vision for the future and give you the confidence to go for it. Afterall, life is a journey, not a destination.

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