Taking time to smell the roses…

Today I had the pleasure of making a train trip north to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in ages. I  usually drive when heading north- in fact I haven’t caught the train up there since I was young and without a car. The travel time is 45 minutes longer each way than if I drive – but travelling efficiently is not as important right now as it is when I’m working full time.

Not only is the journey is actually more scenic by train, but I also got to read my book. This is just another aspect of slower, simpler living I can enjoy now that I’m not working.

The other thing I’ve been doing more of lately is walking – I aim for 10,000 steps per day at least 4 days per week and it’s going well. I’ve even lost some weight by doing this. It’s  a great pleasure having this time I have now, to focus on what appeals to me and to think of ways that I can maintain a more balanced lifestyle when I am working again in the future.

Toastmasters take 2

Five years ago, someone suggested I go to toastmasters, for personal development and to help with career progression. Best time to go is in the evening but after work – so the question was whether to attend a group near by workplace or closer to home. The best option existed around 7pm close to my home. So I chose that.

And boy  was I disappointed! I went twice, but the group were much older than me and had very different reason for being part of the group. This gave me a bad impression. So I dropped out and didn’t look back. I forgot about Toastmasters until someone mentioned it to me again a few weeks ago.  

Since I’m looking to soon start my own business, the concept of trying again (elsewhere) appealed. And that’s what I’m doing now. Since I have flexible hours right now, I’m feeler freer to partake in this than I was before. I went to one group this week (was great, I loved it) and will be attending another group in two weeks time. I’ll make my decision soon.

Perhaps now is a better time for me to do this than 5 years ago. Who knows?!

First impressions count for so much – I think it’s always important to remember that a good or bad first impression can have lasting effects. And the bad impression I got from the first group definitely contributed to me postponing this for a good 5 years.

 

Up in the clouds

Last night I had the pleasure of flying back home just before sunset, and might I say it was absolutely gorgeous. It brought back memories of the first plane trip I remember clearly – as a teenager – it was fantastic to relive and reminisce fond memories of my first major flight.

At the start of our descent we were just above the highest, white fluffy clouds (Cumulonimbus?) with a brilliant blue sky above fading to red/orange sunset. Looking out the window at the stage made me feel all dreamy – what would it be like to hop along though clouds? Would I fall through?

At the next stage of descent we were just above hazy mist and it was clearly dusk! Towards the east (going inland) it was sunset – spectacular red/orange light. Towards the east (and the coast) there was a prism of rainbow colours (with emphasis on reds and pinks in the sky, pain blues in the sea). The rivers and inlets of the coast faded from greens and browns to form a gorgeous silhouette of shapes : land  (dark)vs inlet and ocean (light).

As we descended lower again, familiar sights came into place. Bridges and roads that I recognise. The neon lights switched on in the city. 

I haven’t flown at this time of the day in ages. For now it is my favourite time to fly back to my home city (morning with bright blue skies is also good).

When is your favourite time look out the window of a plane when flying home?Image

New-ish world (work vs study)

Two months ago I made the transition from full-time work to student. And it’s been a breath of fresh air. When January 2013 arrived, I knew it was time for me to move in a a new direction. That new direction being an experiment as well as a break. I’m currently studying ‘Small Business Management’ and while doing this am asking myself the question

“Can I move my career from the workplace to one of self- employment?”

At the moment – I’d say I think so and hope so. At least there will be a chance if I can get through the pile of assignment we have due this week!

This course is a good preparation for small business for three key reasons.

First and foremost – the people. Our teachers own small businesses themselves and their lessons are hands-on and full of great experience. And students that have continued to this stage are sticking around because they want to give their small business the best shot they can (like me) or are doing the course to improve their chances of sustaining their fledgling businesses (most 6-12 months old or less). So I’m appreciating the opportunity to be learning something new in an environment of like-minded people.

Secondly – many people choose to start their own business so they can work in a more flexible manner. This suits me. Some weeks are busy, whilst others are quite cruisy. There’s limited ‘core hours’ each week due to the work we must do at home. I really like being able to choose when I study and when I can play.

Thirdly – this week is a major assessment week (4 assignments due within 7 days). So it’s been pretty intense. I did a few hours work  on the assignment 3 out of 4 days over the recent Easter Long weekend! I’ve not counted the number of hours I’ve been putting in this week, and am glad I don’t have to (like I would with an employer).  This is apparently how it is in business -work arrives in droughts and floods and ever. So this week has been a good practice for how things may be in the future.

So why am I writing this post?

Partly to connect with people I haven’t seen in a while or don’t see every day (will be sharing my blog with you shortly). I’ve never had a blog before – so please be nice 😛

And partly because of my next assignment due in a few weeks time (yes -they just keep on coming).  The aim is to create a blog on any topic, post regularly (at least once per week), obtain some followers, and see how it works.

So  please stay tuned and be welcome to comment back (it may help me get an extra mark or two in my future assignment). Extra nice comments might score a free coffee…

Importantly, if all goes well and I can figure out how blogging works, then perhaps I’ll be able to set up a blog for my business when it’s up and running to.

Looking forward to hearing back from some of you. Especially those of you I haven’t spoken to in a while.