Life is like a puzzle

I’m sure most of us like the challenge and excitement of a good jigsaw puzzle!

I personally like to begin with the edges and then find other pieces to bring the puzzle to completion, taking many sneak peaks at the box for tips along the way!

My life has felt very much like a puzzle lately. I remember sections of my life that were all complete; my family life, my home life, my friends .. everything seemed to be in place; whole. 

But then, it seemed as though all of the pieces of my life were put back in the box, shaken up and laid out in front of me …. 

I have been trying to put myself back together for some time but the pieces that were whole before didn’t look the same anymore?! There were also extra pieces that were not there previously .. where were they supposed to fit in?

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I tried to make them fit into places where it felt they were supposed to go, but it wasn’t right .. they just didn’t feel right. It was uncomfortable, it wasn’t what I was used to.

So, I started again .. and as always I began with the edges. The pieces of my life holding everything together.

The four edges: my children, my family, my friends and most importantly, my faith.

Focusing on these pivotal elements helped me to begin to, once again, feel like myself .. happy!

The rest of the puzzle just seemed to fall into place from there and, although removing some pieces was not easy, it was necessary in order to feel that peace I once knew.

I’m sure there are still many pieces to fit but I am beginning to see which should and should not be there and also, to be OK with that too!!

But, as with any good jigsaw, it is going to be both challenging and exciting and I am so very thankful for the opportunity to begin again!

Life is like a puzzle .. never waste time trying to place pieces where they don’t fit

Fear ends where faith begins

You may never realise just how powerful faith really, is until it’s the only option you have…

It took faith for me to sign up for something  that could excel our business to new heights. I learned so, so much from the experience and, although it highlighted many things that still need to be done behind the scenes, I am so thankful that I took that leap! I procrastinated for many many months thinking that it wasn’t for me but I’m so glad that I did it and I would do it again .. and encourage other business owners to do so too.

It took faith to trust that a recent, difficult situation would work out for good. I know that every business, at one time or another, must face situations that test them, push them to their limits and often make them feel like packing it all in but everything we experience should help us to evaluate, learn from and grow stronger.

It took faith to believe in the dream that my husband had, a dream to build a business from scratch and to step into the world of entrepreneurship. 

Deciding to work for yourself can bring along a mountain of fears with it;

  • Will I be able to support my family?
  • Am I really good enough to do this for myself?
  • Will anyone buy my product?
  • What happens if I become unwell?
  • What if my business fails?
  • Will I cope with the demands and responsibilities if I become successful?”

This amount of fear can make you feel so powerless but as soon as we take that first step, that giant leap of faith .. we take all that power away from our fears and channel it with full force into our dreams!

When you have faith in yourself, your abilities, your skills and talents, there isn’t a force on earth that could deter you from pushing forward.

When you believe in what you do and the difference you can make in the lives of others, even on your worst day, you will have an inner drive that won’t let you quit on yourself.

When the people around you have the same level of faith in what you can achieve, the same belief in all that you can accomplish, you can fight against any fearful thoughts that try to creep in and put you off!

Fear is temporary, regret is forever

Find, be and love yourself

What does it actually mean to love yourself? Having a good opinion of yourself? Having faith in yourself? Feeling worthy of receiving good things? We hear quotes such as “don’t accept less than you deserve…” but what if you don’t know what you deserve???

You need to truly know yourself in order to love yourself so where do we begin? What is important to you? What makes you feel happy? What makes you feel upset or discouraged? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

Some people were practically born with a glowing, laminated C.V in their hands but for others, the idea of “selling themselves” can be a daunting task as we can often overlook the things we’re good at.

You could ask what I’m good at and I’ll tell you “not much” or “I don’t know?” But if I wrote down just half of the things I did in a day, that made a positive difference to someone else, I’d have a pretty good list:

  • Taking care of the children
  • Making sure we have a meal to eat each day 
  • Trying to keep the house clean and in order 
  • Keeping track of our income/expenditure
  • Making sure the bills are up to date

Hmm, that’s all I can think of at the moment and doesn’t sound overly impressive but, with a little tweaking, I’d say that’s slightly comparable to:

  • Good communicator 
  • Cook/baker
  • Housekeeper/Cleaner
  • Secretary 
  • Accountant/Book-keeper

Looks like we’re getting somewhere … and I didn’t even touch on the tasks I do for the business!

We have to choose to see the positives in all that we do, however menial it seems to be. Try to be your own biggest cheerleader, and not just your biggest critic! Don’t get me wrong, we do need to be aware of our flaws but we don’t need to dwell on them .. see them, note them, accept them, fix them and move on!

It is also important to surround yourself with the right people, those who continually push you to be better, do better, go further, aim higher! Those who will love you for who you are, flaws and all but will stand behind you, cheering you on from success to success 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

Fall in love with the process of becoming the very best version of yourself

To everything there is a season…

And oh, what a season this has been!!!

Considering that my last blog post was over 3 months ago, I’m going to guess that this has been a season of drought. 

There was nothing within me to keep me focused, inspired, motivated or half bothered at all!

But I’m all about self-examination, so if I’m truly honest, I’d have to say that fear played a large part in my recent hiatus.

Fear of being a fake, a fraud, a misfit in the world of business women all over…all of those amazing women who have sacrificed and struggled, balancing families, late nights and life-changing decisions just to make their businesses grow, flourish and succeed. 

I take my hat off to you all and continue to be in awe of your achievements.

My reality is nothing like that! All of the above pertains to my wonderful husband, as he is the one that founded our business from the ground up! I say our business because we are one…one unit, one flesh but it is his passion, and all that I can do is hope to grow in that passion also. I may not have had a hand in its birth but I am responsible for nurturing our business into its full potential. 

Maintaining good relationships with our customers, both new and existing is an important job and I’m well aware of that, but that also highlights yet another fear in me…

I have always avoided jobs that involve cold calling customers because I hate to feel as though I was ‘bothering them’! I certainly know how I’ve felt receiving calls from people I don’t know, trying to sell me something that I don’t need.

How can I convince someone that WE have the services that they NEED to help their businesses grow exponentially?? To some, this comes naturally but to others it’s such a daunting task!

Well, I’ve said it before that the only way to overcome a fear is to do whatever it is that makes you fearful so hopefully, my next blog will be telling you all about my experiences in bringing in new customers!! 

Don’t let your fear of what COULD happen, make NOTHING happen …

What you focus on, grows 

I hit a wall! I was becoming increasingly overwhelmed by all the things I could not do and had no idea how to overcome.

I thought I’d be seen as a failure for not being able to keep up, not being able to hit the mark and I really wanted to just give it all up…

So, I took a step back. Well, a few steps if I’m honest! I had to look at everything that was getting on top of me and try to choose just one thing to focus on, just for now.

I chose to complete an online course I’d begun a few months back. I enrolled on the course to help me with our business however, the more the business grew, the less time I had for my studies.

I knew I had to complete the course however the excuses were piling up … ok, maybe not excuses so much but let’s say my priorities were all over the place! Although the course was started to help me progress in my role, I realised how great the other consequences would be if I did not complete it.

From a financial aspect, if the course (which was free) was not completed by the end of the academic year, I would incur a charge. There was no way I was going to pass up qualifying for free because I didn’t have the time!!

As a parent, I could not continue to encourage my children to “never give up”, “finish what you started”, or say “you’ve got this” in all honesty if I did not take my own advice and complete the course! The whole family had seen me in many a stressful mood when my assessments were due in and each had been as helpful as they could be throughout.

Whatever I do or say, I’m a constant example to my children and so, you can imagine how wonderful it was to share with them that mummy had successfully completed her course!!! They were as pleased for me as I was for myself and as soon as that certificate of accreditation arrives, I’m framing it!

“Don’t stop until you’re proud”

Remember why you started

Starting something new can be both exciting and scary but no matter which emotion it evokes, there is always a reason behind the decision.

If you want to get fit, you decide to sign up to the gym but if you’re feeling a little body conscious, this could make you feel slightly apprehensive.

Maybe you want to go to university to get the degree you missed out on when you were younger. Being in a lecture theatre filled with teenagers can be quite a daunting thought, especially if you’ve been out of education for a very long time.

Whatever the situation is and regardless of how it makes you feel, your focus should remain on the reason WHY and not the excuses creeping in to change your mind…

Your reason behind wanting to get fitter could be based on health reasons. You may have been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure and really want to get back to good health. That should be enough to get you through any anxiety you may feel about how you look compared to others.

With regards to the degree, your career may depend on it and in order to succeed professionally, you have to achieve it so even if you are the oldest student in the room, that should not deter you from your goal.

When you remember the important things, it helps to motivate and push you forward. There will always be an excuse to try and put you off but your opportunity may only be a one time offer. If you want your goal badly enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to reach it and when you do get there … smash it!!!

You can have results or excuses … the choice is yours!

Slow and steady wins the race…

Where did the last week go?!

I’ve been moving so slowly recently because our family was suffering from a cold, all of us in different forms i.e. headaches, runny noses, coughs, sneezes etc. My husband and older son could look after themselves (to a point, at least!) but dealing with myself and the baby was really draining … I just could not get the energy to do any work so you can imagine how my to-do-list looked!

I know that there will always be an ‘unscheduled event’ that occurs throughout the day, week or month. For example, our little one is currently teething and it’s very hard work indeed – for both of us! This one is tooth no.7 so I know that there’s much, much more to come … and then some!!

To us adults, babies seem to develop rather quickly but for them, each step takes quite a long time to perfect. When learning to sit up, a baby will fall backwards or to the side many times before their little muscles are strengthened enough to hold them up in a seated position. Learning to walk consists of plenty of tumbles and bumps too, but they do not give up!

I should take an example from our little one because with each milestone he’s achieved, he slowly and steadily persevered to master it and I know he’ll slowly work out those first steps to begin walking and tick yet another box on the milestone list. And if he’s not stressed about his “to-do list”, why should I be?!

Although we’re all back to full health now, it’s still been hard to catch up with everything I lacked energy for last week! I was telling my husband how I was feeling and he simply said, ‘the tortoise won, didn’t he?!’ Which was his way of telling me to keep going! No matter what happens in our lives, endurance is key so even if the situation is difficult, we cannot give up!

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go,

as long as you do not stop”

Am I teachable?

Have you ever had a great idea for something … while you’re asleep?

It happens to me quite often, from knowing which outfit to wear the next day, to what to prepare for the evening meal! But sometimes, it’s an idea about how to be more productive in my role, or a great topic for a blog post .. the only problem is that I can’t recall the whole idea once I’m awake!?!

I used to think my husband was a little crazy when I’d hear him in his office, in the middle of the night, making voice notes on his phone but when he explained that this was how he brings his ‘night ideas’ to fruition, it began to make sense!

Maybe I need to take a leaf out of his book, learn from experience and who knows, I may actually be able to retain any thoughts that cross my mind during the night (or at any other time!)

But even when I am awake and ‘fully alert’, I can struggle to retain information. For example, if my husband is having a conversation with me while I’m changing the baby, and he begins to talk about issues relating to the business, it can be difficult to take everything in.

In response to this, I asked him if we could have a set time together, to go through the minor details of the business when I can focus, take notes or record for future reference. Quite proactive, right?! I’m trying my best but I’m sure something else will come up that teaches me something new…

Being new to my current role, I’m learning from all of the experienced people around me, those who have paved the way for women like myself to step out into the realm of owning businesses. My husband would be the person I learn from most, and now I’m thankful to be meeting more and more people through the wonderful world of Social Media, who are all as equally encouraging as my husband.

“Everything in life comes to you as a teacher.
Pay attention.
Learn quickly”

What am I thinking?

What am I thinking? Most of the time it’s the mundane issues such as “Are there enough clean school shirts for the rest of the week?”, “Did I defrost the chicken for dinner?”...

But sometimes, my thoughts are a little deeper, more intense and can often leave me feeling overcome with negative feelings. Thoughts become actions so if I allow myself to become overwhelmed, how will this show in my behaviours, my words…

Thankfully, thoughts can be changed! We can purposely choose what we want to meditate on and change our mindset.

For example, with the housework I can change the following thoughts from “There’s just too much to do and the baby won’t settle enough to even begin” to “I’ll tackle the smaller tasks while baby’s playing and get on with the others when he takes a nap

Wow, just typing that out made me feel a little better!!

Here’s where a good to-do list comes in handy .. I have mine on an app and I can take one task and break it down into subtasks so it makes life just that bit easier. Oh, the joy I feel ticking a box as ‘completed’, even if it is just one subtask out of five!!!

Planning your day in advance can have a positive effect on how you think. If you plan the night before, you can sleep well knowing there are steps in place to keep your life in order, instead of going to bed worrying about all the things that need doing in the house … see how easy it is for the negative thought spiral to begin!

Relax, and take things one step at a time and be thankful for every task you successfully complete, no matter how small it is!

“There are two things you are in total control of in life:
your attitude and your effort”

A short introduction

Hi, I’m Abiyah and I have created this blog to share my experiences as a newly established business woman, wife and mother.

My husband and I married in August 2017 and although we already had 4 older children between us, we welcomed our first baby together less than a year later!

My husband created our business shortly after our son was born and things are going really well, which we’re very thankful for.

I’ll tell you a little more about my take on the business in other blog posts but working alongside my husband is truly a blessing; he’s so encouraging and patient with me because, unlike him, I knew nothing about marketing! But I’m learning more every day and can sense a growing passion for this type of work.

I’m enjoying the journey so far and really look forward to what comes our way and of course, sharing it all with you too.

“Life is about creating and living experiences that are worth sharing” Steve Jobs