Feeling Anxious

A few things going on and I’m feeling disquiet and some anxiety about. Things not going the way I want them to go. So this is a moany post about what it’s like to be the boss and responsible for it all I suppose.

  • Reduced payments from clients again this week due to delayed finish times and big impending bills inc £10k to that client and £3k Hmrc pays costs, as well as suppliers….and the money just is t flowing with this weather slowing us
  • A huge fight between one of my guys and the clients neighbour which is now resolved but has caused me to have to take him off the job and start another prematurely leading me to have to manage 3 rather than 2 projects
  • Weather terrible and raining and windy still which is lowering my mood a bit, rain battering off the window right now and blowing a gale
  • A new guy last night at a group I normally love who insisted in trying to tell us how we should be living and the facilitator didn’t say anything so I did which felt a bit off of me since I’m not the moderator. I got irritated instead of coming away empowered, supported and energised. I’m having a good chat with the facilitator online right now about it though.
  • Conflict with neighbours below escalated, in my head anyway as they have complained to Mary and glen about the noise I make which is next to none, now mary and glen and I are feeling even more uncomfortable. What was going to be a harmonious ending to the tenancy and era of living here is tinged with awkwardness. They really like the people downstairs and me. I don’t like the people downstairs and make no secret of that. I don’t like the thought of them talking about me negatively behind my back. Now I just want to leave. I don’t feel comfortable or free in my own space. Conflict stresses me out big time. And that same neighbour has big noisy parties and also daily practises screeching opera which is painful to hear. So this might effect my friendship with Mary and glen which is sad as I really value them. Then again, I have a solid friendship with them and have just been invited for dinner 🙂
  • Got not many classes planned over the next week, Aga is away and the Buddhist course finished. But have signed up for a 6 week course with the very loving Aga so looking forward to that.
  • Got jobs to price urgently and feel anxiety about getting that right, covering costs and making sure I make enough money and still get the job.
  • Ive got to price a list of additional costs by current client, and I feel anxious because I’m not sure what he is expecting and I don’t want to ruin our relationship. Especially after that fight my employee had with his neighbour. Must just forge ahead and already wrote an email about the extras.
  • Change is looming with buying a flat, is a big move and responsibility for me, slightly anxious about what the neighbours are like. But also know some things are out of my control, and if I could buy a detached house I would but I can’t right now. Reality.
  • I feel scared at the thought of clients getting annoyed or experiencing rejection and what That means for our business, don’t want to under or over price the work. Must learn not to take it all so personally and lighten up!

I was at the Self Love group last night and it was a bit daunting, because hardly anyone felt able to say one good thing about themselves. I’m realising they are at a very early stage in the process and I felt their pain. I’m not sure my self love level has ever been that low though I have been working for quite a few years to learn to be a proper good friend to myself. My self love level has increased a lot these last years by allowing self compassion in.

So I’ve been doing work today, answering emails, going to see the guys, having a laugh with them and also in contrast listening to Ms heartache about his mum dying in agony. I do really care about these guys, I feel responsible for making their work life as happy and satisfying as possible and must remember to thank them more.

So it’s not all bad, some days aka just have to get my problems out, bear with me please! And now I’m going for a walk in the woods.


Listening to Feelings

I am gradually designing my life to be full of what I love to do and what makes me happy, and I am in the process dropping aspects that don’t bring me joy/learning/fulfilment. It has taken me a long time to allow myself to feel more happy and its a long process of facing and letting go of old beliefs. A belief that I don’t deserve to be happy has been a big one.

When I find myself stuck in having to do a certain task that drags me down, then its time to have a close look at alternatives. Sometimes something agitates me to the extent that I have to listen to the feeling. A recurring negative response about a certain impending work task, or being around a certain person, or in response to a regular experience. What is it telling me? At times it might be just fear to be listened to and then put in my pocket and get on with whatever it is. At other times it is a message that might be that it is simply not for me. Maybe I needn’t soldier on with a certain task/relationship/experience/habit that causes me recurring stress and I can consider letting it go.

In my case at the moment there is an element of my business, a task I have to do regularly that I really don’t enjoy and feel huge resistance about and anxiety too. This has been going on for years. I dread doing it. This is partly because it is not one of my strengths and it is also an important aspect of my business that determines to a large degree the overall success of the business. I have made many mistakes due to not being good at this task.

So today I have started the process of looking for an expert in that field to carry out that part of the task for me. Simple as that. Get someone else who is good at it and wants to do that part of my business process. This is quite nerve racking. Its such an important part of the business that while I dread doing it I dread moving into the new territory of delegating it. This latter bit is an example of a fear arising that is simply about letting go of control and allowing change in.

So I can listen to that fear and carry on as things are or I can feel the fear and do it anyway and explore what alternatives exist to relieve me from this boring task.

I feel excited about this, and I am observing that I feel this. It is an indication of both fear and new possibilities arising. I am going for it! It is an act of self compassion to eliminate the parts of life that don’t add to my quality of life


I’ve realised that isolation is not good for me at all. I’m choosing to be around positive progressive thinking people, lots of new faces and getting to know some of them quite well. And getting my work life balance into a better place too.

Being in groups is quite an interesting way to gain a new self awareness and I’m noticing so much. I’m enjoying watching the various facilitators of these groups in action too. So many different styles of leadership to learn from.

So today it’s a Design Your Perfect Day workshop, yesterday a women in business meet up, (picture below) Friday night it was singing bowl sound healing! Thursday it was Authentic Communication, last Wednesday was part 7 of an 8 week course about how to make us and our communities happier places. This has all been fabulous. Also I’ve been back out in the park with a dear old pal. Also had a Night next door on Friday, enjoyable but drinking a lot though. That’s only about 5 drinking nights since January the 1st and only with my lovely neighbours.

That era is coming to an end shortly though, in 2 months I move into my new apartment. The least luxurious one I have ever lived in, but the first I’ve ever owned! There’s something strange and exciting about that. I’ve had a hard time all along reconciling the world of money, material advancement and owning a business with my inner spiritual life. They have been slowly coming together though. But I notice I still have a “money story”.

There’s some guilt still about being in this world of getting ahead, seeking financial security. I don’t want it to become too important to me. I monitor myself about that. And yet I know too that there’s no difference between the material and the spiritual. I see this as on the one hand a natural instinct and yet so many have sacrificed some important aspects of life in the pursuit of material security in our society. In jobs they hate, working too many hours etc. I feel so lucky, even though running a business is hard, so much responsibility and many decisions a day, that can have good or bad outcomes. Risk all the time, I live with it. Never know how projects will go, what weather we will get, what job is next. I’m managing somehow to pay this £30k to that client. Second £10k due soon, and I’m skimming money off each week to save it up. Managing adversity without being too stressed. All the peripheral activities and new support makes a big difference.

But anyway….what is important is what is happening right now. Birds tweeting, warm temperature, drinking tea. When I was drying myself after a shower I thanked each part of my body as I dried it. Gratitude is so very helpful.

Business Overwhelm Today

Giving myself permission to have a long moany analyses of what I like and dont like about running a business.

After the imposed downtime of last week’s snowmageddon its Monday, the snow is melting and life is getting back to normal. The guys are back on site and I have a big pile of work to do in from tof me and Im feeling no motivation to get started on it.

This is a recurring problem that I thought I’d look at here today.

What do I enjoy about running a business and what I feel motivated to do

  • I feel so fine about doing the meeting new clients
  • the designing
  • submitting the designs and doing amendments
  • receiving compliments when I get the design right
  • improving gardens to look beautiful
  • visiting the guys on site and enjoying the progress
  • leasing with the cad technicians
  • submitting all the invoices to the accountant
  • watching how well or badly are doing financially with the online Xero accounting
  • budgeting and juggling money and paying the suppliers
  • looking after and supporting the staff
  • making money and enough to save

What I really don’t enjoy, this is what I need to pay attention to. These are a source of stress and I feel unmotivated to do.

  • writing the specification (which is now mostly done by the cad technicians)
  • pricing the work
  • negotiating about costs with the clients
  • getting too many clients to cope with, I even forget who some are
  • submitting the price and waiting to find out if it has been accepted or rejected
  • dealing with client complaints about work they are not happy with and having to go back and fix things
  • getting phone calls rather than emails from clients
  • being short of money at times with cashflow, juggling funds, moving them around and being under pressure from suppliers to pay
  • having work production slowed down due to weather
  • having a long to do list that involves aspects I don’t enjoy
  • sometimes I just don’t feel like working, often actually, I feel tired often and a bit bored with it
  • staying legal – health and safety, insurance, paying the guys tax, not getting behind with hmrc etc.

Analyses and Solutions

  • specification now being done by cad technician though needs serious attention to detail from me to make sure nothing is forgotten and not priced for. Leaving an item out can be stressful as it is hard to explain that to clients once the price has been accepted –  look over specifications thoroughly and think through the job being built
  • pricing the work – I try my best to ensure all costs are covered and a decent profit margin is built in. However I never know what unseen events might be discovered on site (there is always something as doing a design on paper is very different to constructing it on site), things I have neglected to account for and have to pay for myself. This is stressful. Also I have underpriced work last year resulting in a loss which increases stress of even doing the pricing in case it happens again. I must watch to for my strong tendency to want to please the client, and keep the  price low. Also the fear of not getting the job can make a downward pressure on my cost. My self worth wavers at times too, and when I am feeling confident and self loving I am better able to be bolder with pricing. – Work on self love and confidence as I am through my group work, and charge high. Get e tough of a demand to not need projects and afford refusals due to high price 
  • when clients balk at the price, its difficult at times to explain why it cots too much as they don’t understand till they see the action on site, then they get it. Here again my tendency to please them can result in reductions, though much less so these days. – Self awareness about my need to please which is from lack of self love, sop again work on self love and be bolder as a result…the more I love myself the more I feel I deserve 
  • getting too many clients, especially at this time of year and getting pressure from them to do the work before summer, knowing there are only so many gardens we can do before summer. Also to overwhelms my mind trying to keep up with the progressing of each job taking them from design to the build stage. I have a tendency to say yes which doesn’t help, I don’t like saying no, and often take on unsuitable projects which are less profitable or enjoyable. – watch my tendency to say yes when my heart says no, learn to flow my heart increase self love and self confidence
  • waiting for the acceptance or rejection. I don’t enjoy being rejected after putting so much work into a project then just getting the design fee which only just covers costs. So much work for nothing. –get a budget range BEFORE I do the design, insist on this 
  • complaints, this is time consuming and expensive. Much of it I accept as part of the job, frost can pop off a coping, for example, but I have to take guys off jobs to rectify things or pay expensive overtime to them at weekends so we dont interrupt the work. Sometimes the client complaints are not reasonable either and much as I dislike conflict it does occur when I have to debate whether it was within the job description. -pay more attention to what the guys are doing, up my quality control monitoring, use terms and conditions to make it clear to clients that additional work will cost more or work damaged due to severe weather will cost to fix
  • phone calls rather than emails, I find it easier to deal with emails as I can immediately send off my standard response of our costs and how it works. I dont visit clients now unless they have had that email to ensure they have the budget that allows us to do our standard of work. – just ask on the phone for their email and send out the letter, encourage emails rather than calls on the website 
  • being under pressure financially, this is stressful – more self love = being paid what Im worth – keep going with developing self love and have compassion for my mistakes and learn from them 
  • work production slowed due to weather. I accept this largely, no choice. Winter is cold and its rainy though the year. This is just a difficult country to run an outdoor business in, end of story. -I provide a sort of support back up service and make sure the guys have got good warm clothing, canopies to work under, gloves etc. Also offering either paid annual leave days from their yearly quota or unpaid leave, not paying them for staying off despite the weather. Would set up a precedent. 
  • when busy I get overwhelmed. Im a simple soul and can only cope with so much! small steps. I don’t like being crazy busy, I enjoy a relaxed pace but it means things build up. Even writing a to do list stresses me as it makes me face what has to be done. – Just do as Im doing, work when I feel like it and don’t when I don’t, its okay to do minimum work if the energy isn’t present for that, its self compassion in action. I cant brow beat myself into it. 
  • as above, I can only work when I feel motivated to, which isn’t a lot. I do a lot on an hourly basis just maintaining my business, answering emails, forwarding invoices, dealing with the needs of the team…its quite a lot in itself without all the rest
  • staying legal is an additional stress on the business and cashflow. The HMRC are thieves and they take large chunks which would otherwise could be spent more usefully, more pay for me and the guys for a start. It creates a huge pressure. As does the many different types of insurance I need to stay legal, and keeping 4 vehicles on the road, mot’s taxed, insured, repaired etc. – Just accept that its the conditions for doing business in a highly regulated country

End of Moan. I think it is really important for me to be more in touch with what brings me joy in life and do more of that. I can lose site of it and get stuck in same old same old at times. So maybe the next post will be an enquiry into what brings joy. And LOVE. Love is figuring more and more in my life, giving it and receiving it, circulating it…I believe it is who we are at our core. So love to you all, and I hope you are being mighty kind to yourselves x All comes back to love.


The little Things

This snow we have been having has slowed us all down, made roads impassable for a few days, cancelled work. I’ve been holed up in the house other than a couple of fabulous woodland walks (pic attached of the last one).

So what to do with this enforced slowing down? Well I have had to find a contentment level within it. And an appreciation of the very tiniest of things. Like having a shower. Or going to bed early all snug and warm. Or making endless cups of tea. Or lying on the sofa with a hot water bottle. These things all sound like nothing special. But actually I have been noticing how special they can actually be. I have been marvelling at how my arm pours the water into the cup, how my body just keeps breathing without me trying to do it, by the ability to put music, heat, hot water on. Going for a walk. Singing. Sweet potatoes for dinner.

The little things. There are no little things.

Leaning into Feelings

One of the best tools in my stress resilience and anxiety recovery toolbox is learning to accept my feelings as I am feeling them. This is not something I have completely mastered, it’s a process and what I’m learning to do each day, each hour, every minute.

I notice that I often pull back from and resist acknowledging feeling emotions that are painful or uncomfortable. Like sadness or fear and anxiety. What a lot of effort I have put into not feeling what I don’t want to feel or what I have judged that I ‘shouldn’t’ feel. As if resisting them will make them go away! It doesn’t work though and I have found that it just intensifies the discomfort.

So with self compassion I have learned to say hello to fear, anger, jealousy and other uncomfortable feelings. ‘Hello, I hear you, I acknowledge you, compassion for me and this suffering I am experiencing’. This is the same compassion I would feel if a friend or a child was experiencing pain. So I can include myself too in my compassion and love! I offer a comforting literal or inner hug to myself. And I remember that feelings are temporary passing visitors.

Like right now. I am feeling anxiety about a difficult work task of pricing a job I have to complete. Sometimes I enquire into what the emotion might be telling me. In this case I’m scared to complete the costing of a project because I am afraid of the client rejecting it. So then I can look at that. What is the worse that can happen? The client rejects the price and I don’t get the job. And I can reason that this won’t kill me, end my business or harm me in any way. There are many other clients coming to us to do their projects. So this let’s the frontal cortex soothe the fear and threat sensitive limbic system with its ability to reason and rationalise around the perceived threat.

In the case of jealousy, you might enquire what that is communicating to you. Are you comparing yourself to another and regarding yourself as ‘less than’….perhaps it would be a good opportunity to boost your self love and increase your positive self regard. There are many ways of doing this and one of my favourites is to write a list of what I do well, or what I love about myself.

If I find myself in a grumpy complaining mood, writing a list of what I am grateful for is always a big mood booster and increases appreciation and awareness of the abundance already in my life.

With anger, I normally find another feeling like fear underneath. I’ve heard that ‘anger is fear’s bodyguard’. So I might gently enquire into what is under the anger and be extra kind to myself as I look and face what I find there. Sometimes anger occurs when someone or something doesn’t happen the way I want it to. In this case I just have to face the reality that I am not getting my own way! And that is okay and I can accept that I don’t always get my own way 🙂

Many of us have adopted a habit of denying painful emotions. I assume it’s because we are generally not taught in our families and schools how to deal with them in an emotionally intelligent way. So now as adults we have to sort of reparent ourselves. This is what it feels like to me. I’m being a kind, patient and compassionate parent or friend to myself.

I’m so glad I have discovered this way being with myself. I feel a lot more relaxed and less reactive when I feel painful feelings. I like the effect of being honest with myself, I’m more relaxed and less afraid of feeling the feelings, less afraid of what life may throw at me too. I like myself better for it.

Here is a picture I found, not sure the source but I think it describes the process of turning towards our feelings with compassion well.

Expressing Gratitude to those we Love and to Ourselves

I sometimes wish I had people around me giving me positive affirmations and say “well done” to me more often. I find it so encouraging and empowering to be validated and recognised in this way. Just someone recognising I’m doing well. However this isn’t often present so what am I doing about it? I’ve decided to give others what I would like to receive more of myself. So I’m sending thank you texts and emails to people who are of value to me in my life. Relationships need nurturing like we do ourselves.

I was curious about why I don’t do this more often, (not that it matters much) but I wondered if it was a bit of ego wanting to hold back and protect itself, after all its an opening up expressing love and appreciation. Perhaps, and also maybe a bit of laziness. Anyways….this is what I’ve done the last few days in expressing appreciation.

  • Yesterday I sent a text to the foreman to say, ” I just want you to know how much I appreciate all your hard work and valuable input to the business”. His replay showed that it was well received. It’s such an easy thing to do, and I often just forget.
  • I told my tetraplegic friend how well he is doing and what amazing strength he is showing in coping with his situation. I visit him regularly too, going this Sunday. Really, what a situation, paralysed from the neck down and with severe Parkinson’s disease. What else can I bring to his life to cheer him up. Maybe I write a list of his admirable qualities that he can read when he is down.
  • I sent a message to my son to say that “I love and appreciate you and admire you too”, I could see this was well received too. Important for a son to feel admired by his family, and I certainly do admire him a lot.
  • I told my mum I appreciate her and also her support and generosity
  • I told the group last night when we were leaving that I benefitted greatly from our meeting and really enjoyed every individuals valuable contribution
  • I sent a text to my closest fund to say that I value our friendship and thank her for being in my life
  • I texted my Mum to tell her thanks for her support and help, that I love her and am grateful for our friendship
  • Sent a longish email to my sister (who has been estranged for quite long periods) to say “Jane I don’t  tell you nearly enough, if ever actually that I really really appreciate you. You are an inspiration to me and I admire you greatly. Your energy to help others, your practicality and organisational ability, your confidence, your incredible wittiness and quick thinking and emotional intelligence and diplomacy among many other things. I learn a lot from you, and you often show me a different way of approaching life that I wouldn’t have thought of. So thank you for being such a great sister. Love Susan xxxx”

This all feels so good. And it’s spreading love and appreciation around.

It was inspired by the support I’m receiving from the Thursday group I’ve been going to, where we communicate authentically with each other and sometimes do little exercises. We always leave feeling energised and empowered, and feeling good about ourselves. We feel it’s okay to be us just exactly as we are.

There were 8 of us there last night. One of last night’s exercises was to write our name on the top of a page. Then we had to pass it to the person next to us and we each had to write something we like about each person, and the paper was passed round the circle till our own sheet of paper came back to us. A whole page of positive things that others feel or think about us. Wow, how empowering that was. Picture attached.

How come we don’t all do much more of this? Is it because most people just don’t need it or what?

So even if we don’t have such positive affirmations from others in our lives we can give that affirmation to ourselves.

One thing I’m doing often is celebrating my achievements. This encourages me and reminds me that quite a lot in life is going right. This counteracts the sort of my brain that tends to focus on problems and restores balance. So here are a few of my recent achievements.

  • Today I paid the “legal fine” of £10k. The first of three, so one down two to go, a third of the way through, woo hoo!
  • I’m about to buy a little apartment, my first property aged 52! I feel this is a big achievement for me and I feel proud I’ve managed to manoeuvre myself into a position to make this possible.
  • I paid my staff today as I do each week, all 8 of them. I’m proud of running a business that employs so many people and running it all on my own too. I’m amazing for being able to do this! 15 years ago I’d never have believed I could do this.
  • I’m taking risks by going to these groups which require a high degree of self exposure and honesty. I’m proud of myself that I’m brave enough to do this.
  • I’m going on a date with a stranger tomorrow (in a public place of course) and he is a detective in the CID. I’m proud of myself for going into the unknown in this way and meeting complete strangers with a view to developing a relationship. This is one of the most important decisions a person can make, who to spend our lives with. I’m nervous about the prospect but proud of myself for taking some steps to meet someone I can have a relationship with.
  • Managing money I was never very good at in the past, I just didn’t have much and didn’t respect or care about it. Now I have become really good and responsible with money, I have had to with the amount of juggling I’ve had to do. I deal with over half a million through my bank account each year. It’s a lot of responsibility and people trust me with their money. And there’s who to pay first, how to manage cash flow, looking ahead and planning. Proud of my improvements in this area.
  • I’m proud of myself for overcoming quite a bit of the damage that was done to me as a child, the negative conditioning that was not conducive to a healthy self esteem. Despite this ‘handicap’ I’ve managed to make a successful niche for myself in society, believe in myself enough to persevere through hard times, have healthy worthwhile achievable goals, learn to be kinder to myself and be less defensive with others. Well done to me!
  • I design really lovely gardens and I’m in demand for my relative services, and people trust me, I’m proud of that.
  • I’ve worked hard to go from a position of self contempt to self appreciation and self compassion. It has taken a lot of honest facing of myself and I’m proud of myself for having the courage and determination to have done this. Life is so much bette without self hatred and harsh self judgement and criticism!

So that’s it for now, I could go on but it’s a bit of an essay already. Hope your day is full of thoughts of what you appreciate in yourself, in others and in nature. What a lot of positivity can be generated and I haven’t even left my sofa!