Make your dream a reality!!

What stops us taking action to make our dreams a reality?

Have you ever wanted to do something new but failed to take action?

I’ve thought about starting my own business for a long time, but never taken serious action to make it a reality.

Years ago when I lived in Dunedin I attempted to start a counselling business. I did some advertising and got a few clients but I was too soft about charging. I let them have sessions at drastically reduced rates. Maybe at that time I didn’t really value the service I was offering. I served them well and they made changes in their lives as a result of the work we did together. This attempt at starting my own business was on top of my full-time counselling job. Because of my inability to charge what my services were worth, I decided that I wasn’t good at this “owning your own business” thing.

Here I am 20 years later, about to start a coaching and speaking business. What makes me think that things will be different this time? What makes me think that I can be successful? Why am I now cut out for business whereas I wasn’t before?

These are questions I have been asking myself. I was a very effective counsellor so it’s not like I didn’t see the value of my services. I did feel awful charging for my services, because I worked for a community agency where people could access my services for free. I don’t think this was the real issue though. I think it was because I didn’t have a good enough reason to make it successful. I didn’t have enough confidence that I could be successful as a business owner. I wasn’t committed enough. I wasn’t focussed enough. And I didn’t have a vision of what my counselling practice would look like and why I wanted it.

Now I have a vision of the services I would like to offer. I also have a compelling WHY or reason of why I want to achieve this vision. I want to inspire people to grow and make changes so they become leaders in their own lives. That is, moving from a slave or a victim of circumstances to being able to create the way they want to live. I’ve had a pretty exciting life doing things that I love and living in places that I love. I’ve taken risks and had lots of adventures. Now I want others to be able to create the same kinds of opportunities that are in line with what they want in their lives.

The other compelling reason for starting a business now is that I want to be financially free! I don’t want to go down the path of working in a low paid job and then scrimping and scraping on the pension like many people do when they retire. I feel young and still feel like I have a lot to offer and, of course, I have a wealth of experience behind me.

I have just completed an Internet course, and one of the activities we were asked to do was to write a letter to ourselves 3 years from now about what our business looked like. I described my vision for my coaching and speaking business. The next step was to write down what role we would have played if we didn’t get the results we wanted. We all know the answer to this question but we may not like to admit it.

The role I would have played if my business wasn’t successful would be: not taking the first step, not marketing myself adequately, trying to do it all myself without asking for help and support, trying to do too many things at once, get excited by ideas but not follow through on them, not having a laser focus so I can create effective products and services, not charging what my services are worth, not consistent, giving up too easily, get distracted with Facebook and emails etc.

When I look back, all of these were the reasons that my first attempt was not successful. I would like to think that 20 years later I can do things differently. There is a saying that goes something like this: “You can’t do things the same way and expect different results.”

What am I doing differently this time?

  • I have started this blog – that is a start and I have written an ebook to go with it.
  • I am studying some business and marketing courses, with a focus on marketing. The courses have active Facebook groups where I can explore difficulties and obstacles and get support.
  • I need to focus on one part of the business at a time, and not spread myself too widely.
  • I'm going to engage a business coach to help me set up systems and for encouragement.
  • Practice consistency in other areas of my life – “how you do anything is how you do everything”, so I need to practice the habit of consistency in every part of my life. I have already started this with my daily meditation practice and gratitude journal.
  • Not get distracted - I used to get up and check the news, my emails and Facebook, and generally muck around wasting time on the Internet. I changed my morning routine about 3 months ago. Now I get up and practice meditation, write in my gratitude journal and do some exercise. Having a different morning routine has helped me to interrupt the habit of distraction. I find that I am able to be much more focussed when working on something, and I schedule time for Facebook and emails.
  • I am prepared to do whatever it takes to make my business successful. I now believe that if others can do it, so can I!! I knuckled down and achieved a Masters Degree and so I can knuckle down and do this too! 

What about you? What’s your vision for the next three years? Do you have something that you want to achieve? What is stopping you achieving it? If you were to write a letter to yourself 3 years from now, what would it say? If you didn't achieve what you wanted, what role would you have played in that? Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream or vision?



A Goat Parade

Which "goat' behaviour speaks to you?

This is a fun post. Goats are everywhere in Oman. They often roam around in the villages eating any plants in sight. You can see them in all kinds of places, such as on the sides of mountains, on the beach, in parks, in wadis and in the streets. I love taking photos of the goats, so here are some pictures. I’ve labelled them in different situations. Your task is to think about how these situations pertain to your life. Have fun!!

1. At home


 2. Socialising with friends or family


3. Curious / Digging up the dirt  



4. Graceful / Treading carefully

5. Posing for a photo / Looking in the mirror                                     

 6. Looking back / Focus on the past

7. Surveying the lay of the land / At the top of your game!  


8. Relaxing / chilling out

9. Carrying around lots of baggage!                                                     


 10. Guarding the Fort!!  

A wee interlude in Dubai!

Had you had a stopover in Dubai?

Dubai is a worthwhile place to visit for a few days. It is a city full of surprises!!

I live In Sohar, which is about 3 hours away from Dubai by car, plus a border crossing. I’ve been there many times so have done all the shopping malls, had breakfast at Burj Al Arab, been to the top of Burj Khalifa, walked around Deira and Bur Dubai, visited the museum and the historical parts, swam at Jumeirah Beach, toured Jumeirah Mosque, been on a dinner cruise going down the Creek, played at Wild Wadi, shopped at the many souqs (markets), and been on countless trips on an abra (small boat)  across the Creek. Even so, I still love going to Dubai to admire the dream that grew out of desert land.

During Eid, we had a week off work so I went to Dubai for 3 nights to have a short break. As you can see I have already done most of the touristy things. But there is always some new experience to be had in life, so I bought a 24-hour ticket on the Dubai City Sightseeing hop on–hop off bus. They upgraded my ticket so it was 36 hours, a bonus and a lovely surprise!

A selfie of me on the bus

I can highly recommend this bus tour. It gives you a great overview of the city with excellent information. It’s summer in Dubai at the moment so as you can imagine it’s pretty hot and humid. The Dubai City Sightseeing Hop on–Hop off bus, commonly known as the big red bus, has an air-conditioned section on the upper deck. This is wonderful, sitting up high in the cool, listening to the commentary and looking at all the wonderful buildings. It was like I was seeing Dubai anew! Plus I was able to hop on and off as I felt like it.

I went all over Dubai on all the four routes – (i) old Dubai with the many souqs (markets), historical area and Creek (ii) the beach area - Jumeirah to Atlantis The Palm (iii) the Marina area (iv) Palm Island area. This ticket also included an hour’s dhow cruise on the Creek, a ticket to the museum, coffee at Costa Coffee, and two night tours. If you buy the 48-hour ticket it  includes a Palm Jumeirah Cruise, Sharjah/Ajman tour and Dubai Aquarium underwater zoo as well.

Abras lined up along the Creek.

They also have a metro system in Dubai so getting around the city is easy. The other things I did on this short trip are my favourite things to do in Dubai:- wandering around the fountain area behind Dubai Mall, going to IBN Battuta Mall, strolling along the Creek, visiting the souqs (old souq, spice souq, gold souq), and crossing the Creek on an abra, (small local boat).

My suggestion is that next time you are flying through Dubai make sure you schedule in a stopover and spend a few days. It is well worth it!

Happiness is the slogan for Dubai!

Me on the Dhow cruise in the Creek!

Aladdin and the Magic Lamp!

What 3 gifts would you give yourself if you had a magic lamp?

Aladdin and the Magic Lamp is a well-known tale from the Arabian 1001 nights. In Oman, where I have lived and worked on and off since 2006, you can find Aladdin’s lamps everywhere, especially in tourist shops.

When my work contract was up for renewal a few months ago, I had to make a decision about whether I would stay in Oman or leave. I knew that it was time to return home. But, when I visualised going home, I could only see a long desolate path of scrimping and scraping financially. Not a pleasant thought!! And certainly not a vision of how I wanted my life to be. I decided in that moment that I would create a different path for myself.

I looked at the Aladdin’s lamp sitting on my coffee table. I kept looking at that lamp and thinking about the story of Aladdin. Suddenly, a thought came to me. My birthday was coming up in a few days. What if you gave  yourself a different kind of birthday present this year? In my childhood version of this story, Aladdin was granted 3 wishes. So for my birthday, I offered myself 3 gifts from Aladdin’s lamp that would help me create a different path, a path that would help me realise my dream! The dream that had been sitting in the background of my mind for maybe the last 15 years! Now was the time to act and make that dream come true!!!

The three gifts I gave myself were: meditation, gratitude and learning.

I chose meditation because I have been interested in it for a long time but have never been committed to or consistent in a meditation practice. It is the same with gratitude. I used to recommend writing in a gratitude journal to my clients when I was counselling, but I have never done this consistently myself, although I had read lots about the benefits of “deliberate gratitude”. For the learning gift I selected 3 courses – (i) a business/coaching course, (ii) a course about money/finances and (iii) a health course to address some ongoing issues.

These gifts are the best gifts I have ever received!! I can't tell you how much difference they have made to my life during these past two months.

Before I used to get up and check my emails and muck about on the Internet, oops an hour has gone and it’s time to get organised for work! In contrast, now, my first act in the morning is meditation, followed by writing in my gratitude journal, and then exercise. What a change!!! And it has been effortless!

I look forward to the meditation when I get up in the morning. The decision that I made is so powerful and deep that it hasn’t occurred to me since I started on 1st May to check my emails first. As soon as I finish my meditation, I automatically write in my gratitude journey and then head out the door for a walk on the beach. During this walk so many creative and inspirational thoughts and ideas pop into my mind. Sometimes I think I need to take a pen and paper with me so I can jot them down. I have to scribble them down as soon as I walk in the door.

These gifts have also taught me so much. They have taught me about the power of consistency, about commitment, and have given me the gift of sight.

Consistency – small acts done consistently over time lead to mastery. Imagine learning a musical instrument or having the desire to be a great at some sport. You need to practice consistently if you want any kind of mastery. A little every day makes all the difference. Many of us are inconsistent in our practice or we quit before mastery happens.

I have learned the difference between commitment and interest. Before I would practice meditation when it suited me because I was interested. Now I am committed to a meditation practice and it is first and foremost in my mind when I get up in the morning. I am committed to creating a different path and a different path I shall create!! I am prepared to do whatever it takes to create that path!

By the gift of sight I mean being able to see what is in front of me that I wasn’t aware of or was blind to. Before I saw a long desolate path. Now, I see doors, possibilities and opportunities on that path. What a different kind of path! I didn't have to search outside, I only had to look within and make a decision. 

My habits, routines and thinking didn’t support my desire to achieve my dream, UNTIL NOW!!

Imagine you had a magic lamp, what gifts would you give yourself? What difference do you think those gifts would make to your life? What other things would you learn? In what ways would they help you create your dream?