Posts Tagged ‘Making more time for you’

A Stepping Off weekend rounding off a good year and kick starting a great one

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

“A huge thank you to you both for such an inspiring weekend and for your great hospitality! I can honestly say that I can’t think of a better way to round off what has been one of the best years for me for a long time and now I am  going into next year with exciting plans for living the rest of my life”

So begins a recent email from Rachel a Stepping Off client. We have been lucky enough to work with some amazing people over the years, individuals and couple who for one reason or another want to reassess their life’s journey.  Some have had a change forced upon them – by redundancy, bereavement or divorce. But for many people there just comes a point at which they want to be sure what they are doing is right. Right for them, right for their dreams and aspirations and right for their life. Often this comes when there is a mismatch between their own values and those of a profit-driven or target-driven organisation, or when work has become the number one priority – when it shouldn’t be!

Rachel took the advice from a previous Stepping Off guest and took a few days off after her weekend with us.  Her email continues:

“ I carried my Stepping Off report and goal sheets with me and sat and read them sitting on rocks by the sea and on top of a hill so have truly anchored the excitement and self belief that we explored last weekend!”

“I have stopped myself from looking at my work e-mails until I go into the office in the morning and although I found myself thinking I should forego swimming in the morning so I can get into the office for 8.00 am to catch up on all my e-mails, I have thought better of it and am going swimming, because nobody will thank me for giving up a bit more of my life for the sake of work, least of all me!! I am going back to work with a very different perspective than when I left it and with determination to keep priorities working for me.

I will definitely keep in touch and let you know how my world changes. Huge thanks again!”

I have had another email from Rachel since… she has joined a choir, booked time with her Godson, been to a show and been short-listed for a job more in keeping with her values.  Next month she is is moving into an idyllic cottage… We don’t work the miracles, but maybe we light the blue touchpaper! As Rachel says “….you really have something very unique going with the weekends!”

Although we started Stepping Off weekemds before we haad even heard of life-coaches, now when people ask us about what we do we describe it as Intensive Care Life Coaching – instead of a session of an hour or so and then back into the commute, walking the dog, work and chores we have found that a weekend away to really explore what you want your life to be all about can build a solid foundation on which to build the next chapters… if you think we may be able to help you please get in touch and we will arrange for a no-obligation chat. 01931 716638.

Do you miss doing something you used to do? Do it again!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Well, firstly thank you to those who tuned in to Radio 5 live – unfortunately the presenter forgot to mention that it was National Downshifting Week! Ah well.

On the Stepping Off programme an awful lot of ground is covered.  Many people feel their careers have been a fall-back position; they went to secreterial college as something to fall back on when actually they wanted to to be a photographer.  They may have the most incredible (and enjoyavble)  career as a PA – but it feels like a fall back position. 

Many hobbies and leisure pursuits are given up when we leave school or college… BUT YOU CAN PICK THEM UP AGAIN!! 

Violin, with the cobwebs dusted off!

Violin, with the cobwebs dusted off!

“Leaving the house with a violin case in my hand took me back nearly 30 years. It was as comfortable an extension of myself as my hockey stick and tennis racket were then; as my laptop and car keys are now.

Two and half hours later I got home having played one or two notes in the right place at the right time during Beethoven’s symphony number 4 and broken my violin. But I had got a taste back for being a part of a wonderful sound. I knew that I wanted to be able to do it again. Mercifully the Cobwebs orchestra seem full of generous musical souls. 

I had also realised that when I was young and played music (and sport!) all the time how agile my brain must have been – and how sluggish it has become. Thirty years on I could still read music, I still knew more or less what my fingers should do for each note – I was struggling to trying to count in time, or at least be able to see and register the movement of the conductor. I needed to hear in my head how the music should sound. Then I needed to make a sound that at the very least least didn’t clash. 

I struggled to distinguish the different strands of music and melody. Deciphering the score was a challenge – not least because of my eyesight – the high notes way of the stave had become a mystery to me. Sitting next to me was a valiant musician who managed to keep going in spite of the occasional tuneless, embarrassed scrapings coming from me. I think she knew I wouldn’t be that much help as I muttered “what a lot of notes!” each time I turned the page. Respite for her wasn’t far away – my violin was getting flatter and flatter and I realised the gut holding the tail-piece in position was slipping. Blessed with an excuse for wrong notes I thought it best to sit in silence. And turn the page. I was good at that. 

The saddest thing was after the impossible Beethoven it was Elgar, two Enigma variations. Including Nimrod. Fewer notes and further apart! I could have played quite a lot of it, I think. If there was only one reason to keep me going back it would be to play a small part in evoking the feelings Nimrod has always inspired in me. Thank you Mother.”

I’ve fixed my violin and been three times now… I can’t wait to be better, so I’d better practice!  It’s all about committing a chunk of time to doing something you want to do for yourself – and we sometimes get out of the habit.

Radio 5 Live and Jo Hampson talking downshifting and Stepping Off!

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

With National Downshifting Week starting this weekend, Jo will be talking to Radio 5 Live on Saturday 23rd April – rather early! – 7.50 am.

One of the things covered in our book “Life Swap” is the different approaches to downshifting.  For some the change is a dramatic leap from full speed ahead to dead slow;  Vicky had a great career but gave it up to live in Thailand.  Others change down through the gears – Zoe left an international executive job to move to the countryside and work hours to suit her as a consultant – some start working part time as they learn a new skill or give themselves time for a new (or forgotten) interest.  Dave started his own catering business alongside his “day” job until he was in a position to be his own boss full time.

We have found that every change, however small, somehow broadens the horizons, revealing more and more possibilities that can lead to real personal diversification.

Although a huge change may not be possible, there is always a small change that can make a huge difference – finding that change and finding the motivation to make that change is where Stepping Off can help.

Other downshifting stories.

International Downshifting Week, April 23 – 29 2011

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Stepping Off

Our old downshifting friend Tracey Smith is going greener with this year’s Downshifitng Week campaign… in her words, Tracey Smith “and her cool green team have been raising awareness for this important little awareness campaign for 7 years and this year is set to be the noisiest one yet.

It exists to help you find a better work life balance and to show you how to give a positive embrace to living with less.
It encourages you to wear your downshifting hat with pride by pulling back from mass consumerism, so you hold onto more of your hard-earned cash.

It can also have a powerful impact on your mental health and well-being, your relationships with family and friends, it can even improve your sex life!”
Well you can jusge for yourself by visiting the campaign website!

Getting the priorities right

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

One of the most valuable things we help people with at Stepping Off is getting their life into perspective and sorting out what is really important in life.

Sadly my Mother died last month and it has been quite a tough few weeks but what has really helped is that for the past few years we have lived near her and been able to see her and spend time with her.  I cannot imagine how I would have managed if I had still been living 300 miles away, putting work first and working 12 hours a day.

Getting off the treadmill and moving to live a simpler less stressful life was the best thing I have ever done and it really helped me get life into prespective.

The hardest part is working through what your own life’s priorities really are.  I guess we do not think about it too much – mainly because we are too busy ‘living’ and getting on with life.   When did you last ask yourself – ‘Who am I?’, ‘What do I stand for?’ ‘What do I want from my life?’, ‘What does success really mean to me?’

Now I find I may not have  as much money as I used to have but I do have a  more fulfilling life, I have more fun and more time for the important things.  Things like – having time for friends and family.

The Vitality Show

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Stepping Off will be at the Vitality Show this year being held at Earls Court in London on 18-21 March.

Why I hear you ask?

Well because there was a fantastic show called the One Life Live show held at Olympia every year – and it is all about life change, career change, adult gap-years,volunteering etc.  Well this year it has been incorporated in the Vitality Show. So it will be twice as good!

So come and see us – we are in the One Life section by the theatre.

Also I will be speaking in the theatre on “Finding a Future that Fits” which will be a motivational talk outlining  some useful hints and tips to help you design the best future possible.

Come and listen on Thursday evening at 8pm, Saturday at 1.30pm and Sunday at 1.30pm. 

If you want to know more about the things I speak on have a look at Jo Hampson

See you there!

Make life better

Friday, October 30th, 2009

You don’t have to downshift or change careeer or make huge changes to improve your life – small changes can bring big rewards. Here is another thought on how to improve life and start living more….

Tolerating the intolerable!

How long are you going to put up with all those little things that drive you mad?

How many times in the past few months have you done something that you haven’t wanted to do;  gone somewhere that you have haven’t wanted to go to; or even  spent time with people that you don’t really have much in common with or whose company you don’t really enjoy?

Are there things in your life that irritate you?  How long have you tolerated the catch on the door being broken or put up with someone else’s pile of ‘stuff’ gathering dust in the corner of the room?

How many times are you going to put up adhering  with traditions – just because that is the way it has always been – like the round trip to spend time with the in-laws or having the traditional ‘family’ Christmas  when inside you are screaming to have for once Christmas  on your own? Ok we all have to do things that we don’t want to and many times it is because we do things for other people’s benefit. 

I am not suggesting that we become selfish, heartless or hurt other people but here are some things in our lives that we do tolerate needlessly and how much better , calmer and happier could we be if we stopped just tolerating them and made a decisive move to either do them with good grace or stop doing them all together.

Life is just too short to go on putting up with things that irritate, depress or just drive us mad.  So go on – break free and stop tolerating the intolerable!

You don't have to downshift to change your life!

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Do you ever feel as though life is passing you by and that you might not be making the most of it? 

I think lots of us feel this and start thinking that we should give it all up and do something new and different.  But you don’t have to make huge changes to start to live differently.  You just have to think about what is really important to you , what your priorities are and then focus your life around those things.

When you do this you will find that some of the ‘stuff’ that we are always busy doing becomes less important and we find that we find more time for doing those things that are important to us.

Life becomes more fun, we feel less stressed  and we feel as though we are living more.

So think about what you could do differently to change your life and make it more meaningful.  It doesn’t have to be anything huge – just start with something small.  Maybe coming home half an hour earlier one day a week and planning a nice evening or deciding to give yourself an hour at the weekend to curl up and read a book or just to have time to yourself.

Yes of course there are always lots of things to do – but start to make some time for yourself. 

Remember – you just have to change a small thing for much bigger things to start changing.  Go on – your deserve it!