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My life is better than your holiday

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(I’m not talking about my life vs. your holiday. That would be unbearably smug.)

I’ve had so many conversations in the past couple of weeks about people who are unhappy, whether that’s due to their work (or work culture and environment), their life situation, or because they’re drifting through the world without direction or purpose. Then they go on holiday and for one moment the world is great, the sun is shining and they’ve got a fabulous tan.

And then they come home and it’s back to normal programming, counting down to the next time they can get away.

Life shouldn’t be something you mostly try to escape from. If this is you, a better life could be just one decision away. Don’t settle. Make changes – small steps that are going to lead you towards a far more fulfilling existence.

What one thing are you going to do today to get you closer to the way you’d like to live?

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

The joy of new experiences

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In January I joined the Royal Leamington Spa Bach Choir despite not ever having had any classical choral experience. If you were following me at the time you may remember that by the time I got to the break in my first rehearsal I was all OMG WERE YOU THINKING YOU COULD SING YOU ARE TOTALLY DELUDED.

Well. Turns out I stuck with it and passed my audition, so I can’t have been that bad, and tomorrow we perform Haydn’s Theresienmesse and Mozart’s Requiem. And I can hit all the high notes and manage the vocal gymnastics that sent fear down my spine at the beginning.

So: try out new things, even if you don’t think you’re going to be any good at them. And then if you’re awful, keep going. Because you’re going to learn from the things you get wrong, and you’re going to get better. And the better you get, the more it will motivate you. And then you’ll look back and realise how much progress you’ve made, and you’re going to bloody love it.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

International Happiness Day 2019

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It’s International Happiness Day today and I was searching for a good quote to post. I rather like this one from Eric Hoffer, who was an American moral and social philosopher. I like it because I think happiness can be yours right here, right now, regardless of your life situation. I believe happiness is a choice. If you’re constantly searching for it, then you’ll be blind to the fact that perhaps you had it all along. It was just waiting to be discovered.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Choices

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Beauty as well as bread. The things that many of us often pursue – the well-paid career, the lifestyle, the things – don’t necessarily make us happy. I read The Salt Path by Raynor Winn yesterday – an utterly beautiful story of strength and the will to keep going against some pretty awful odds. I love this quote from the book. What choices do we make in life? How much do we really need? Can you find perfect happiness in this spot of sun, this space of calm amidst the chaos, this tender pause? (Yes. And life is a collection of these moments.)

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

What are you spending your time on?

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I think every so often you have to take a step back and think carefully about what you’re spending your time on.

On a small scale, that’s stuff like mindlessly surfing social media or watching bad TV just because it’s there. At a higher level, it’s more like – how are you wasting your life? Honestly, if you’re unhappy, and it isn’t part of your long game, do something about it. Not next year. Do it now. Take time to evaluate what you want and what steps you need to take to get that. If you’re complaining and not taking any action, well – that’s totally pointless, stop that straight away, do not pass Go, get yourself in gear.

Ok? Call me if you want help.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

International Women’s Day 2019

Ever since my career break I’ve been much more prepared to tell people what I really think. When something’s important and you can make a positive difference by speaking out, you shouldn’t keep quiet. People may see you as difficult, but as long as you remember respect for others first and foremost, that matters not a jot.

For International Women’s Day I thoroughly recommend this book by Caroline Criado Perez. Today is relevant for all of us. The journey to gender equality and fairness needs to be of critical importance to everyone, not just women. Everyone has a responsibility to do what they can, however small, to make the invisible in our society visible and to help the silenced speak.

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone. Keep being prepared to stick your neck out.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

World Book Day 2019

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It’s World Book Day today, which I discovered at 7am this morning when I received a WhatsApp message asking what my daughter’s classmates were wearing to school for World Book Day.

Oops.

Lucky my kids are quite chilled out about dressing up. The little one went as Tinkerbell from Peter Pan after we raided the dressing-up box. The bigger one announced he was going as a generic Muggle from Harry Potter. I approve of sensible people.

Anyway, as I was saying, World Book Day. In the interview that I’ve just done for the Warwickshire Business Podcast I was asked about books I would recommend – I thought I’d post about the ones I mentioned as well as a few more. Here they are, with pithy synopses.

1) The Power Of Now (Eckhart Tolle) – All we have is this moment. Don’t spend your one precious life pre-living the future or re-living the past.

2) Not Knowing (Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner) – There’s power in the uncertain. There’s magic in letting go of the need to control the unknown.

3) Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway (Susan Jeffers) – You can always handle it. Really. The things that scare us lose their power when we steadily look at them and realise that much of the fear is in our minds.

4) Mindfulness (Mark Williams and Danny Penman) – A really good primer if you’re just starting to learn about mindfulness.

5) Mindfulness (Christophe Andre) – Mindfulness, made exquisitely beautiful through art.

6) I Love Me (David Hamilton) – Learning to love yourself will open more doors to you than almost anything else.

7) Man’s Search For Meaning (Victor Frankl) – Your head is bloody but unbowed. You can’t always avoid suffering, but you can always choose how you are going to respond to it and what meaning you are going to find in it.

Pick one, read it, love it forever.

– Written by Natalie Snodgrass Tan, Quiet Space Ltd

Podcast interview

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I was recently interviewed for the Warwickshire Business Podcast – we covered lots of things from best books, business advice, mentors, morning routines and mistakes. Check it out at anchor.fm/smallbusinesspodcast/episodes/Episode-11-Becoming-more-Mindful-in-Business-WNatalie-Snodgrass-Tan-e3crh3 – and tell me what you think! Available on lots of podcast apps including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Taking control of your career

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I had a cake and coffee date with a colleague today (well, it ended up being lunch and cake, but I really liked my swan from this morning, so here you go). They’d asked for a meeting a while ago for a conversation about my career break experience, coaching, and opportunities in general within the organisation. As it turned out, it was all quite serendipitous – we’re looking, they’re interested. It feels like there’s chemistry, so we’ll see what happens next.

When you’re seeking out new career opportunities, how active are you in your search? Do you rely quite passively on job boards and agencies, or do you like a much more active handle on things, for example with networking, informational interviews etc.?

Are you taking your career by the horns or letting it happen to you?