Collaboration, not Competition… why women should support women!

Every year we get to celebrate International Woman’s Day and this year’s special day has made me think about how much my life has changed in the past year because of the support from other women.

I’ve always been very lucky to have strong, supportive women around me. My mum was a massive support in my life and would know how to pick me up and solve a problem I couldn’t handle myself. When I was faced with the reality that I was going to lose her, I panicked about what I would do without her.  At the end of the day, there’s nothing like having your mum’s arms around you is there?

New support

While I can never have those arms again, what I’m fortunate enough to have is a wonderful support network of strong women that will build me up, tell me things will be ok, help me work through my problems and difficulties and push me out of my comfort zone so that I achieve bigger and better things.

This support doesn’t just come from ‘my girls’… those I laugh with, drink with, moan about the kids with, (who can I just say, are my rocks and I would’ve never got through what I did without them) but also those I have met through networking in the right groups and those I have met during my own self-development. I am fortunate to now have several ‘tribes’ of female support.

After I finished my Digital Mum’s course, the first thing I wanted to do was to see if there were any other local women that had gone through the course.  You could argue that these women would be my direct competition for getting clients and why would I want to confer with the competition.   I don’t see it like that.   You see, there is enough work for everyone.  It’s a big world out there, with so many businesses needing social media help.

You see, it’s perfectly ok to support each other… not only personally but also in business.  Yes, working with ‘the competition’!  Crazy huh?

Double the value

Around six months ago, I tracked down a fellow ‘Digital Mum’ Katie, here in Somerset and invited her to join me to do a presentation at a local networking event that I’d been asked to do.

I could’ve taken this on all by myself and any potential leads for work may have come directly to me… but I wanted to give the presentation as much value as possible and having another person with me would give it more depth of knowledge and it would also be fun to share the experience.

Ok, I’ll admit it – the thought of doing a presentation on my own terrified me, so having a partner to help me through the 40-minute presentation was a good idea.  Little did I know that Katie had been feeling the same way – wanting to make that step into speaking and presenting but didn’t want to do it alone.

We had a couple of meetings over coffee and put together our presentation – me looking at how social media can help your business and how to grow your following organically, and Katie talking about the benefits of doing advertising on social media.

Whilst we were both terrified at the thought of doing the presentation,  once we got started it was fine. We got through it and it seemed to be well received (we only caught one yawn during the 40 minutes!).

Since we’ve done that presentation together Katie and I have met several times for coffee to catch up.  We quickly discovered that we have so much more in common than just our love of working in social media.  We’ve both been through the same big ‘life changing’ events, but we’re both on the same wavelength in terms of what we want to achieve and our attitude to business.  Best of all, we just ‘get on’.

When you support each other… amazing thing a can happen!

So, there are exciting things afoot for me and Katie as we continue to collaborate on projects… our first one being a workshop next month on ‘How to optimise your Facebook Page for Business’. It’s going to be fun, informative, interactive and nerve-wracking (at least for the first five minutes!).

But it’s possible that none of this would’ve happened if we hadn’t worked together in the first place. How sad would that have been!

When you work as a freelancer, it can sometimes be a struggle to push yourself.  I can’t lie, stepping out of my comfort zone is something I find quite difficult… I’m a bit of a sissy who likes nothing more than to sit on my swing where I find things easy and comfortable. Having a tribe of cheerleaders who help to ‘big you up’ when that imposter syndrome kicks in is invaluable.  They can see things in you that you can’t – so listen to them!

It was Katie that took the leap for us and organised the workshop.  Would I have done this alone?  I’m not so sure!

What is a ‘Tribe’? 

A tribe might be a group that you know very well.  They also might be a group that at first you don’t know at all – perhaps a group you’ve met on a training course, or a running group you’ve joined.

The best tribe are there for you – and you for them. They don’t judge. They don’t put you down. They support, nurture, understand and bring the best out of each other. Just think if it was like this all over the world?  How amazing would it be?

So, what I’m trying to convey in this waffly blog is…

It’s ok to support each other, in business as well as in life

You never know where a collaboration of work might lead

There is enough work for everyone in your field – you don’t need to feel like you’re competing

Find yourself a tribe that supports, encourages and uplifts you.

I’d love to hear about your tribe and how they help you.

Until next time…

 

#TOMD

 

PS – Can I just point out here, for the record, I also have some amazing men around me too – notably my Hubby and my Dad, who may just be reading this thinking ‘What about me?  They support me more than anyone. xxx

PPS – and of course, not forgetting my children, who are my biggest cheerleaders of all.  xxx

 

Advertisements

My ‘Magic’ night with a Stripper!

Image result for magic mike live

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a place I never thought I would ever be…. at a strip show! I’m not a prude by any means, but I’ve never really bought into the enjoyment of watching men throw their hoses around… I mean, let’s be honest, they’re not the most attractive thing are they… even with the hunky, oil clad body to go with it!

So, when a couple of friends got very excited about the Magic Mike Live Tour last year and suggested we get tickets, I soon found myself agreeing to go. I swear there might have been some anticipation that Channing Tatum was actually going to be in it which added to their excitement – like that was ever going to happen!

What sold it for me was that we got tickets to go on my birthday which, I have to be honest, I don’t particularly enjoy since losing Mum.  My 40th birthday was the last time I sat with her and had a meal, so it brings back those memories rather than celebrating surviving another year!

This birthday however, was going to be different! I was spending it with my girls… my oldest friends from school who are lovingly referred to as ‘The Butch Girls’.  We’ve still never really got to the bottom of the name, but it’s been around since our teens! Maybe it was our dancing style that provoked it… it really does need to be seen to be believed… think Tina Turner singing ‘Nutbush’… that’s us!!

So, the big day arrives, it’s mid-morning and we were on our way to London with left over Christmas chocolates and some ‘special Lemonade’… don’t judge… it was my birthday! The six of us were all staying at ‘London Butch’s’ house just a few tube stops away from central London so that was a bonus!

‘Magic Mike Live’ is being shown at the Hippodrome Casino in the corner of Leicester Square so you can’t miss the entrance!  Bright lights and lots of tasteful black and white posters of men along the side of the building. Inside the building was even more impressive.  Being set in a Casino, I suppose you would expect nice surroundings, but the staff there were also so helpful and made everyone feel special and looked after.

There was a cloakroom to leave your coats (with no charge – which was refreshing for London) so we weren’t lugging around our winter warmers all evening. And no raffle ticket system… you simply give them your mobile number and they text you your ‘tag number’. How fancy!

Who knew there was a theatre located inside of the casino?  You wouldn’t know it was there if you were visiting to have a drink or play Blackjack, but there is a small intimate theatre at the back… which was precisely where we were going to be watching young men, most of them young enough to be our sons (argh) strip off!

What we weren’t expecting was quite how intimate the theatre was.  From the floor plan when we booked, it looked like we were a little way back and safe from any ‘flying objects’ but we were shocked to find that we were actually really close to the stage, despite being on the second from back row!  I can’t lie, I was starting to feel pretty excited (not in that way – you dirty bugger) about the show now.  I still didn’t like the thought of anything flying near my face but thankfully we had one row in front of us to shield us from anything unwanted!

The show started and it was no surprise to see the usual cliché strippers coming out.. the fireman, the builder and all the other members of the Village People!  I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but thankfully, it did not stay that way and the show took a whole different turn.

What made the show for me was the ‘MC’ running the show. It wasn’t some powerhouse ‘uber babe’ with sculpted arms that I could only dream of, but a funny, relatable woman that wouldn’t look out of place in our friendship group. She was a ‘normal’ with curves and a tummy. Best of all, she was oozing with confidence and had us in fits of laughter all evening, saying it like it is and giving the ‘boys’ a run for their money!

What I wasn’t expecting from the show was how tasteful it was for ‘that kind of show’. It wasn’t all dicks flying around and baby lotion everywhere.  There was lots of brilliant dancing (think Justin Timberlake) but with plenty of tops off and I counted just one (but very pert) bottom!

I’d also expected the women there to be rampant as they tend to be at these sorts of shows – the ones that are baying for blood screaming ‘Get ‘em off’, but there wasn’t too much of that.  It was a really fun atmosphere where nobody felt threatened… the men or the women!   Of course, there is always one! Typically right in front of us was a rather gobby girl that couldn’t help but get up constantly when the guys were walking around the floor.  We were hoping she was going to get booted out, but she eventually got the message from the security staff.

What was also reassuring was they made it clear that if you didn’t like anything that was going on around you ie; man gyrating his pelvis at you, that you simply shout the magic word… ‘Unicorn’ and they will leave you be. I have to admit, I went from ‘oooh, I’m not going up there’, to ‘pick me, pick me’ within the first half hour!

There was something for everyone in the show, all tastes were covered!  There was also a brilliant section of the show with a man and woman doing a routine which got us all a little hot under the collar.  One of my girls described it as ‘expressive dance’, but the rest of us all knew it was bordering on soft porn!!

Well, they say you should be careful what you wish for… at the end of the show I had my own Magic Mike experience! No, I didn’t get called up and asked to sit on a chair while some hunk wiggled his arse into my lap… but one of the lads did lean over me and did some kind of grinding – thanks to the row in front leaving during the last number.  Unfortunately, all I got from it was for it all to go dark for 10 seconds and that was it!  I didn’t even clock which fella it was!

So, if you’ve never been to a strip show before or never fancied one, I would definitely give this a whirl! It’s good fun and was just what we needed at the beginning of dreary January after surviving the Christmas holidays.

And best of all… Channing Tatum WAS in it… but you’ll need to watch it to find out where!

Until next time,

Love and hugs… TOMD xxx

Why ‘Ghosting’ is not cool!

adult alone anxious black and white
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

I thought about writing this blog exactly a year ago… totally because of the Halloween timing, but because I knew it would be hard to write, I put it off.

So, if you don’t know what Ghosting is, let me explain.

You usually hear about Ghosting in the dating game… if you thought being dumped by text was rude, this just got to a whole new level!  Maybe you’ve been seeing someone for a little while and all of a sudden, they’ve blocked your number, removed you from social media – they’ve vanished. You have no idea what you have done, no explanation… do you make an effort to contact them or not?  Maybe they’ve been run over by a bus!  But there you are, they’ve disappeared and you just got Ghosted!

I’ve also heard the term Ghosting being used when a friendship breaks down, or when you’re ‘phased out’.  I’m not just talking about an acquaintance here, or someone I would say hello to in the street… this is ‘Sister from another Mister’, oldest school friend since the age eight kind of friendship, and given that I’ve now passed the big 40… that’s a whole lot of friendship right there!

I’ve tried so many times to pinpoint when this all happened.  When did I start to be ‘phased out’.  I can’t.  There was no row, no bad words.  I just remember that there was a  point where I was always the one making the effort. Friendship is a two way street, however this road was only going one way.

Things hadn’t always been this way.  Not so long before the ‘phase out’ began, the friendship was very much a two way thing, maybe even swinging the other way. We would spend well over an hour on the phone of an evening when we’d be seeing each other the next day which my hubby would always find hilarious. We’d hang out as couples, going out for drinks and meals, spend time at our house, and she was a big part of our kids’ lives.. they adored ‘her’.

What I do know now, is that when things were very much about her ie; big birthday bash, getting married, I would be very much a part of her life. All the planning – yep, happy for me to be a big part of it!

So what changed? Maybe real life… and realisation of what is to come… or not to come.

There was one big difference between myself and ‘Ghosty’.  We’d had children (her godchildren), however the likelihood of this happening for her was slim.  Not in a mother nature’s decision kind of way – it was very much a choice thing.  And although I’ve never been told, because I wasn’t deemed worthy of a conversation, I’m sure this is the catalyst that drove the wedge between us.

So what happens when you get phased out?

For a while, you continue as you always did, texting funny stuff, trying to arrange to meet for a coffee, but those texts stop getting answered and there is always an excuse not to catch up.

After a while you start playing the game ‘lets see how long it takes before she makes contact’.  You leave it for weeks, months and then cave!  Then there would be more excuses not to catch up. It would leave any further meetings more awkward with this big fat elephant in the room.

Things that you traditionally do in the year don’t happen. Christmas presents get dropped in by others, birthday cards delivered when you’re on school run and the message is clearly given that you’re not worthy of their time.

It’s not you, it’s them…

The one thing I took from the whole situation was that it wasn’t just me.  My other friends from our friendship group were being treated similarly, I just seemed to be taking it the worst.   I also found out that I was being blamed for the breakdown of the friendship group as a whole.  Nothing to do with the fact that ‘ghosty’ was being a shit friend to all of us! I found that pretty tough to take.

What is so difficult about the whole Ghosting situation is that you don’t get closure.  You don’t get to say your bit. You don’t get to ask why.  What would I say if I had the chance? I must have gone through a conversation in my head 1000 times.  But I was never given the opportunity to say it.

So how does it feel to be Ghosted?

It’s a complete head fuck to be frank! You get to wonder what the hell you did wrong.  You get to analyse every text message you ever sent to see if it was something you might have said.  You feel hurt when they ignore you, pretending not to see you as they walk past you in the street.  You feel heartbroken.

Don’t just take my word for it…

This is Why Ghosting Hurts So Much

I know what it’s like to go through grief when someone dies, and whilst this will never touch that experience, losing your oldest friend of 30 years and not being told why is a pretty significant second place.

We shared so many memories, from dancing in my bedroom to Wham, to school discos and college parties to pop concerts and hen weekends.  You go through a grieving process of not sharing those memories with that person anymore.  You think about all the things you did for them in the past and feel bitter for how you’ve been treated.

I totally get the fact that people move on in different directions during their lives, and I’m cool with that.  What I have found difficult is not being given the courtesy of a conversation and to get closure on the whole situation.

Time to move on…

I can’t lie, it has taken me a good two years (probably more) to come to terms with it and it’s not just affected me but my family too. Thankfully, I have bloody amazing friends. I make sure I surround myself with positive, supportive people that light up the room… not turn all the lights off!  I don’t have time for negativity, stubbornness and constant critique of every situation – so maybe I actually got the good end of the deal!

grayscale photography of five people walking on road
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

My advice though, if you find that you’re in a similar situation with a friend, a true friend, do the decent thing and have a conversation about it. Don’t be a dick and ‘Ghost’ them!

 

Until next time…

Love & hugs,

TOMD xxx

 

 

Writing ‘My Story’! Intro week of ‘Get Excited About Your Life’

blackboard chalk chalkboard concept
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This week I started my Introduction or ‘On Boarding’ for my new course ‘Get Excited About Your Life’.  This is a course which will help me to look at key points of my life and help me to move my mindset to a positive place which will inevitably help my business.

We’ve had a few actions to take on for this introduction week – one being to do a Facebook Live to our group.  Now, for me it was fine as I’m a complete show off, but for some of the ladies in my group it was a real baptism of fire… and they all nailed it!

The other big task for the week was to write ‘My Story’.  No rules, no template to follow… just write my story as I ‘feel it’.  This will be used as the basis of my 1:1 sessions with my mentor Andrea.

Jeeez! Where to start with that! How long should I make it?  How much detail is required?

I decided that I would tackle this after a meeting on Thursday.  I stayed on at the venue and made the most of the unlimited coffee and continental breakfast bar!   I powered up the laptop and started to type away.

Two hours later and I’d covered a lot of ground, revisiting lots of events in my life that I hadn’t thought about for a while, stuff to be proud about, stuff that I learned from and other situations in my life that still affect how I deal with situations today.

There was a point that I found incredibly hard to type about.  The experience losing Mum.  It’s amazing how my brain has managed to cope these last two and half years and almost put a lot of the feelings into a little filing cabinet so that I am able to function on a daily basis. Now and again though, the filing cabinet is opened and the documents come falling out… or the tears come falling down.

Being sat in the middle of a Brewsters crying at a laptop is not a good look so I made a hasty exit.

When I got home I managed to finish my story, warts and all and submitted it to Andrea.

After putting it all out there I thought I would feel like a weight had been lifted, but for a little while, the opposite happened.  I felt heavy and filled with anxiety! The following day I couldn’t catch my breath and just felt generally shitty!  Was this meant to happen after baring all in a word document?

That night I was due to go out with hubby for the night, and whilst I really just wanted to join my son and put my pj’s on at 6pm, but instead I got dolled up and went out.  I’m so glad I did.  Spending some much overdue time with my man was just the tonic (with Gin) that I needed!

Since then I have felt much better and I’m really looking forward to working through all the aspects that make me who I am and turning it into positive mindset.

The course is all about putting yourself out there, having belief in what you’re doing and owning it. I have no doubt that by the end of the 13 weeks we will all be nailing it and completely owning it!

I hope you will follow along with me on the journey!

Until next time,

 

Love and hugs,

TOMD xxx

If you’d like to more about the course I am doing – check out Andrea Callanan on Facebook…. https://www.facebook.com/AndreaCallananVoice/