Category Archives: Blog

Why Becoming A Woman Of Value – Not Success – Is The Greatest Secret Of All

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‘I love to see a young woman go out and grab life by the lapels. Life’s a bitch – you’ve got to go out there and kick ass!’

Maya Angelou

Who’s a woman you truly admire?

What kind of legacy do you aspire to leave in your wake?

If I left even an inch of the trail Maya Angelou did, I’d be proud.

A woman who rose from poverty, rape and divorce to become an acclaimed author, playwright and human rights activist – she never lost her empathy and heart along the way. And departed this world have added value in everything she did.

That, to me, is success

If Arianna Huffington Can Burn Out, Anyone Can

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“I wish I could go back and tell myself that not only is there no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, performance is actually improved when our lives include time for renewal, wisdom, wonder and giving. That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.”

Arianna Huffington, the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post

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Whether you yourself, a work colleague, sibling or friend, we all know someone who’s been close to burn-out at some time or another. I certainly was after long hours in law and some personal strife on the side!

Whether:

1. Too many hours in the office;
2. High levels of stress in your 9-5; or
3. A complete lack of down-time which can leave you with no time to even wash your hair, let alone deal with personal problems, burn-out is one of the silent psychological killers.

And something of a taboo.

Well I’m here to tell you – it shouldn’t be.

What The Experts Say

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As explained by Dr. Travis Bradberry, Co-author of Emotional Intelligence & President at TalentSmart burn-out is much more common that we realise – and summit we really need to be aware of to avoid the hidden horrors that it causes.

So whether you’re on the spectrum or simply want to learn what Arianna Huffington wishes she’d known before she burnt-out, check out this excellent article:

 SIGNS YOU’RE BURNING OUT (AND HOW TO STOP IT) 

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You won’t regret it ☼

The 10 Minute Magic Trick Back To Happiness

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What’s the sign that you’re truly ‪#‎happy‬?

What’s that feeling you get that tells you that all is exactly as it should be?

How do you know that something or someone is right for you?

For me, it was a bit of a surprise to discover it was a feeling of PEACE.

Times I’ve Felt Peaceful Include:

♧ When I left London for Madrid and then the mountains;
♧ When I left law for life coaching;
♧ When I write.

What Causes Calm?

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Living life in accordance with your values - those things which make you tick – your internal drivers – your silent anchors which, when honoured and engaged, make you feel alive and at peace.

What Causes Niggling Unease?

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If you’re feeling out of sorts at the moment – like you’re not quite where you’re meant to be – not doing a job you enjoy – not spending time with the right people – or not living in the right place – that’s likely because you’re not living your life in accordance with your values.

Maybe that’s because you feel too busy to take time out, too overwhelmed to think straight or maybe you’ve simply never sat down and worked out what really makes you tick.

The great news is, that feeling of unease is easy to resolve if you take a step back and spend ten minutes working out your values.

How To Recapture Your Va-Va-Voom 

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Tap into the real you by formulating a list of your 8-10 core drivers – the things which give you purpose – by asking yourself:

♧ What am I doing when I’m happiest? 
♧ What couldn’t I do without in my life?
♧ What would my ideal day involve?
♧ If I had all the money in the world, what would I be doing?
♧ If time was no object, where would you find me?

Your list may include words like: 

‪#‎freedom‬ ‪#‎friends‬ ‪#‎love‬ ‪#‎writing‬ ‪#‎nature‬ ‪#‎travel‬ ‪#‎money‬ and more.

It’s totally personal.

Now put those words in order of priority.  

Once you’ve done that you should be able to spot the cause of your unease.

Which one of those values isn’t being met at the moment? If it’s a value near the top of your list, chances are you’re feeling all kinds of funny.

Don’t Believe Me?

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You can test your values by looking back at times in your life when you felt unlike yourself – whether an ill-fitting relationship or an unfulfilling job. Review your values list against each scenario and I’ll bet you can identify which need wasn’t being met and why you felt so strange. Bear in mind, though, that your values evolve over time so what may have mattered to you ten years ago may hold less significance now.

The Magic Bullet

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Having identified your needs, ask yourself what can you do to realign your ‪#‎life‬ with your ‪#‎values‬.

Savour how much more confident you feel making a ‪#‎change‬ now you understand why you feel the way you do.

Marie Forleo: How You Can Make Fear Your Secret Weapon For Success

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\\ POWERFUL TRANSFORMATIVE TEACHING ON FEAR from the awe inspiring ‪#‎entrepreneur‬,‪ #‎author‬ and ‪#‎philanthropist‬ Marie Forleo

We’re all riddled with fear to different degrees – at different points on our ‪#‎journeys‬.

Whether:

۩ fear of being alone;
۩
fear of failure; 
۩
fear of disappointment

or otherwise – I know I’ve felt all three at times, as have most of my phenomenal female friends.

But as the lioness, Marie, so eloquently reminds us, we must reframe our fear and activate it as the positive force that it really is.

How Can Fear Be Positive?

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If you think about it, fear is just a manifestation of uncertainty – the risk of not achieving something that is hugely important to us. And where does that leave our identity?! Nowhere certain. Nowhere concrete. Nowhere fun.

But here’s the thing – fear is also a pretty draining emotion – if not embraced for what it really symbolises – which leaves us stuck worrying about the past or the future rather than harnessing the fun, fruity and pretty darn hopeful – present.

How Can We Convert Fear Into A Force For Good?

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So embrace your fear today by asking yourself what the positive intention behind your fear really is. Maybe it’s soaring ambition, a gorgeous readiness to love or the inner perfectionist that lights your path?

Now refocus your mind on that – magnify it – tenfold – and watch your fear melt into rock – hard – pumping – power ☼

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The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying: Bronnie Ware

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“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not a life others expected of me” 

Taken from “The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying”

By Bronnie Ware

Death is one of life’s great taboos.

Ironic then, isn’t it, that Bronnie Ware’s book, inspired by the most common regrets of her dying patients, has sold the wide world over – in no less than 27 languages. 

Equally ironic is the conversation stopping effect death has in life when Ware’s findings reveal that death is, in fact, the greatest invigorator out there. Bypassing ego, image and obligation, death sieves through bullshit and cuts straight to point - distilling truth in its purest form.

Five core truths, in fact – which level us all.

And that, Dear Reader, is what many of us are too busy to realise day to day – what really matters in life – and that’s what makes Ware’s book so powerful.

If that all sounds a bit on the heavy side, check out the top five regrets of the dying here and prepare to feel a whole lot lighter.

For as Steve Jobs, the man who ‘had it all’, warned:

“At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless”.

So if you think you’re too busy to read the above article, all the more reason to. 

For as the Dalai Lama so wisely reflected when asked what surprised him most about man:

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Entrepreneur Of The Fortnight: Childrenswear With A Twist

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Ever dreamt of jacking in your 9-5 job if you only had a viable alternative to run to? Have you ever wondered how it’s even possible to make money from something you love without compromising certain income and a safe future? Or maybe you’ve pondered how much experience you actually need in a field before jumping ship and creating a business from scratch?

As with most things entrepreneurial, Natalia and Tamara, founders of the beautiful childrenswear brand, Little Knickerbockers, challenge the norms we’re accustomed to believing. Giving down to earth insight about their path to entrepreneurial success, if you’ve ever wondered about starting your own business, this will give you a kick in the right direction. These are sisters with creativity, passion and business savvy to boot….

Over to you, ladies…

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Can You Tell Me A Bit About What You Do?

We started Little Knickerbockers in 2011 and have carefully sourced items far and wide as part of our classic collection of clothing and accessories for 0-5yr olds. Affordable, with a dose of good old fashioned charm and a modern twist, these clothes are gorgeously timeless and original at the same time. You can check out out our online shop here.

What Inspired You To Start Your Business?

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As you can see from our collections, we just adore traditionally inspired clothes such as Peter Pan collars, bloomers, cords, smock dresses and rompers. When we started to have children we noticed it was difficult to find wonderful classic clothes that didn’t leave a hole in your pocket, so it all started from there.

How Did You Manage To Build Your Business?

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We have been doing it through word of mouth over the last few years and found a good customer base online and at seasonal fairs. 

What’s Been The Biggest Highlight?

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When people genuinely like and respond to the clothes

What’s Been The Biggest Challenge?

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Juggling the business and looking after our children.  

How Do You Build Your Client Base?

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We use social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) but also use flyers and we include our own range of postcards with every purchase.

What Advice Would You Give To Budding Entrepreneurs?

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When you’ve done your research and planning, don’t put it off – just go for it!

What’s Next For You?

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We are thinking of doing some pop up shops over the year, and then who knows…hopefully even create a small line of our own!

How Can We Contact You?

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info@littleknickerbockers.com

Tell Us Something We Didn’t Know About You…

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I was born with a tooth!!!

Terry Wogan: The Grocer’s Son Who Made History Of A Different Kind

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“A broadcasting legend”Tony Hall

“Britain has lost a huge talent – someone millions came to feel was their own special friend”David Cameron

“Just the most warm-hearted, generous, funny, clever, life-affirming man”Dermot O’Leary

“He was probably the greatest broadcaster since the invention of the microphone”Jeremy Vine

“Part of the fabric of our lives”Simon Mayo

“Nobody’s going to top that act”Ruby Wax

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Few deaths move nations like Sir Terry Wogan’s has Britain and Ireland.

Few moments are more poignant than Wogan’s farewell to his Radio 2 listeners.

And his parting words to his Radio 2 listeners, like Bowie’s ‘Lazarus’, seem all the more poignant now:

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It’s always been a source of enormous pride to me that you have come together in my name, that you are proud to call yourself my listeners, that you think of me as a friend, someone that you are close enough to laugh with, to poke fun at and occasionally, when the world seemed just a little too cruel, to shed a tear with.

Thank you, thank you for being my friend“.

And while the farcical cluster of legendary deaths this year are powerfully evoked by John Schneider: “It’s truly like God’s put an intern in charge of deaths and he’s going through the list of celebrities people really love“, these losses make Wogan’s no less.

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Described as a “national treasure“, “a true gentleman” and “one of the greatest broadcasters who ever lived“, I ask you, dear Reader, what was it that made Sir Terry Wogan so very dear to us?

Was it just his Irish charm and velvety voice, was it the fact he helped us through the painful wee hours with his warm and witty weekday breakfast programme, “Wake Up To Wogan” or was it his cuddly resemblance to a much-loved father figure?

Or was it more than that?

I suggest, dear Reader, it was the latter.

For as the snapshot of tributes above show, Wogan’s legacy is rooted in the fantastical – even metaphysical.

From grocer’s son to broadcasting legend – he went from virtual unknown to a friend to millions.

Yes – a friend to millions.

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A rare mix of gravitas allied with a strong sense of the ridiculous gave this unscripted, slick-witted broadcaster an eloquence, wit and warmth that made people feel both enraptured and at ease all at once.

Far more than a just another charming TV personality, Wogan was a deeply empathetic man who, though known as the face of Children In Need, was in fact “the heart of the charity for some 35 years, raising millions to change the lives of children“.

This was a man who, like all the greats of the world, leaves many lessons in his wake.

Here are just a handful:

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1. Do What You Love
Wogan’s departure from banking couldn’t have been further from the broadcasting world. Giving vent to his flamboyance, TV and radio came naturally to Wogan, allowing him to exploit his flair and charisma on a daily basis. Such was his ease on the radio, he admitted: “I certainly don’t wake up planning my show for the next day. I simply turn up and turn the microphone on without giving it any thought.” So if you’re at a career crossroads, forget the ‘shoulds’ and focus on what truly excites you. There will be less stress, more fun and quite simply – more success.

2. Prioritise Family
Despite Wogan’s success, his wife and children were his priority. “I’ve always taken risks with my career, but never with my family“, he said. “If you want to keep everything about you secure and warm, you don’t risk the things you value“. Wise words from a devilishly handsome Irish man who could have quite easily exploited his wit and charm to more egotistical ends.

3. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously
Chris Evans attributes Wogan’s supreme confidence to the fact that: “He never took any of this seriously. Least of all himself. He was the butt of most of his jokes”. Wogan was the ultimate Jackanory. Chris Deerin said he had stories, “Many unrepeatable here, about pretty much anyone I could think up. He loved to talk about his friend, the great Peter Cook, who once asked to bring his pet along to a celebrity golf match and arrived carrying a goldfish in a bowl“. The moral of the tale? “Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive“.

4. See Through The Bullshit
When asked by Joanna Lumley, his nervous co-presenter of Children In Need just before going on air in the early days, “Terry, do you ever get nervous”, he replied: “Nervous? No. This is only television“. Wogan was a man who had life in perspective. A perspective no doubt sharpened by the loss of a daughter at 3 weeks’ old. He saw through ego and laughed it off as the illusion that it is. When asked what advice he’d offer his teenage self if he had the chance, he replied: “I would say never get too disappointed if you don’t do as well as expected in your exams. There’s more to life than passing exams, and paper qualifications can only take you so far.” So next time you feel stressed or guilty for not meeting others’ expectations, remember, they may not count for much when all is said and done.

5. Stay Humble
Despite his fame, being knighted in 2005 – the year his radio audience passed the eight million mark – Wogan appreciated his radio listeners to the very end. A king of the airwaves who never lost the common touch, this was a man who had that rare ability to make each of his 9 million listeners feel like the only person in the room. Which, I suppose, is why when questioned how many people listened to his show, he replied: “Only one“.

But most of all, Wogan was a man who appealed to the masses. The rich, the famous, the middle class, the poor and the lowly.

He had that magical ability to make everyone feel special. The rarest of gifts and a prime example of Rudyard Kipling’s words:

How To Get Motivated: Reframe Your Pain And Gain Gain Gain

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“Satisfied needs do not motivate. It is only the unfulfilled needs that do so”

Stephen Covey, Bestselling Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

When was the last time a grizzly, sick-to-your-stomach inducing situation turned out to be surprisingly positive and expansive?

How did you feel a few months down the line after that terrible break-up, unfair job loss or frightening health scare? Bitter, angry and stuck or grateful, wiser and surprisingly positive?

This is because of of a GEM OF A SECRET I’ll share with you.

The driving force behind motivation – what impels us to action – is produced by a state of tension, which exists as the result of an unfulfilled need

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This is why being cut loose from situations which no longer serve us – is actually a blessing in disguise – launching us into positive change with an engine of tension-fuelled motivation beneath us.

So you see, the most difficult experiences in life are actually powerful catalysts for positive change

Whether:

1. Losing a job and starting that business you’d dreamed about;
2. Breaking up with someone and taking up a new hobby that opens up a whole new social circle; or
3. Making a fresh start somewhere new and learning new languages and customs which tickle your soul and inspire you creatively

This is why discomfort can be such a powerful driver for growth

and why imagining how you DON’T want your life to be a year down the line is such an effective driver for achieving your goals.

How Can You Apply This In Your Daily Life?

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1. Reframe Your Pain - Remember that discomfort and pain are the great catalysts for growth. If you do one thing today, wee Gazer, try reframing pain and discomfort into the positive motivator that it is and turn your attention to the new and exciting ideas and projects which that tension is releasing within you.

2. Get Inspired - The likes of bestselling authors like Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert didn’t get where they are through comfort. Au contraire – they side stepped, jagged, from the grief-stricken wounds of trauma to the high-flying realms of success that see their names in lights today.

Similarly, if you think Steve Jobs and Richard Branson just got lucky, take a look at the challenges they both harnessed to achieve sky-high success. Sackings, imprisonments, betrayals aren’t what you’d expect, are they? If they can do it, why can’t you?

3. Still Struggling? And if you’re not quite there yet, give yourself a breather and remember – those challenges are what make you the person that you are today – and they will be the making of your tomorrow.

The Surprising Legacy David Bowie Gifts Us

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“David Bowie changed the course of my life forever. I never felt like I fitted in growing up in Michigan. I found him so inspiring and innovative. Unique and provocative. Seeing him live set me off on a journey I hope will never end”Madonna

“A master of reinvention who kept getting it right”David Cameron

“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way. His death was no different from his life – a work of Art”Tony Visconti 

“Every person, when they’re young, thinks they’re the freak, the outsider, the other, and Bowie, through presenting the freak, the outsider, the other, gave people something to relate to”Paul Gambaccini

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Few deaths make headlines across the globe, inspiring tributes at all levels of society from Prime Ministers and Archbishops to musicians and the masses.

And as the snapshot of tributes above show, Bowie’s legacy hinges on far more than his musical talent.

In the spirit of true legacy, Bowie’s life overshadows his death, sustaining and inspiring with a life-like vividness that transcends physical termination.

And as Bowie makes history, never having had a number 1 in America (until now), I ask you, dear Reader, what does Bowie’s death teach us about living? How will our lives be better for absorbing the magic that he leaves in his wake?

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1. Dare to be different

Whether gay, bisexual, cross-dressing or suit-wearing, treat negative reactions as the projections of fear that they are and move confidently in the direction of your dreams. You will inspire with your authenticity and leave an indelible mark on others that will always be remembered. ‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be‘.

2. Do what you love

Self-actualisation sits at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – that feeling that you have led your life with meaning, value and purpose and have made a real contribution to the lives of others. If you’re not sure what your purpose is, play to your strengths and your passions and watch money and happiness abound. As the lyrics of ‘Quicksand‘ go: ‘I’m not a prophet or a stone age man, just a mortal with the potential of a superman’.

3. Never stop being kind and giving love

These are the words which pervade Bowie’s tributes not his $230 million net worth. No matter how high you climb, remember – ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel‘. So be kind – always – for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

4. You are what you believe

As the great man himself said: ‘Even from 8 or 9 years old, I thought, well, I’ll be the greatest rock star in England. I just made up my mind‘. So next time you feel tempted to let entrenched negative thinking get in your way, remember Bowie’s words: ‘It’s the kiss of death in creating something‘.

5. Death can be beautiful

In the words of Henry Scott Holland, ‘Death is nothing at all‘. Bowie remains just as real now, if not more so, for his magnificent departure from life. His taboo breaking work of art, ‘Lazarus‘, released three weeks before his passing, reminds us that death is far more than a physical end. It can also be life-defining, rule defying and positively transcendental. For as Shakespeare so beautifully reminds us, legacy is a life-force which well and truly trumps mortality: ‘So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee‘.

6. Appreciate the now

Bowie’s wife, Iman, recently tweeted: ‘Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory‘. So next time you’re about to mindlessly flick through social media, put your phone away and savour those real, human moments happening all around you. Those are the ones you’ll miss.

Liz Gilbert: An Ode To A Failed New Year

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“Dear Ones -

Perhaps we should all begin this New Year not with brand new resolutions, but with a giant gesture of self-forgiveness for all the resolutions of the past that we never kept.

Let us forgive ourselves for all the things we ever tried to do, but didn’t finish.

Let us forgive ourselves for the times we sabotaged our own best intentions.

Let us forgive ourselves for the diet that lasted only four days.

Let me forgive myself for that time I joined a really expensive gym that was RIGHT IN THE BASEMENT OF MY BUILDING, because — even though I couldn’t afford the fees — I knew that I would have to go to a gym that was RIGHT IN THE BASEMENT OF MY BUILDING…right?! I mean, what kind of loser can’t go down three flights of stairs to go to an amazing gym that’s right in the basement of her building? Except I only went three times during the entire year. (All three times in the first week of my membership, by the way. I know none of you have ever done something like that.)

Let us forgive ourselves for the pile of manuscript pages sitting in the bottom of our desk drawer, that we never quite figured out how to make into a novel.

Let us forgive ourselves for the daily meditation practice that we still have not cultivated.

Let us forgive ourselves for the forgiveness of others that we still haven’t learned how to manage.

Let us forgive ourselves for not being able to stop fucking swearing in front of kids.

Let us forgive ourselves for gossiping, and for beginning sentences with the phrase, “I don’t mean to sound like a bitch, but…” — and THEN SAYING THE BITCHY THING ANYHOW.

Let us forgive ourselves for letting another year pass in which we did not learn French, or read ULYSSES, or stop eating sugar.

Let us forgive ourselves for all the times we tried to do something of magnitude, but just couldn’t seem to get around to it.

But most of all, let us never let our failures, embarrassments, and shortcomings stop us from TRYING AGAIN.

Are you ashamed of trying again, because you feel like you are nothing but a screw-up?

Do you think you are out of chances in which to try again?

Trust me: You are not out of chances in which to try again.

Do you know how many chances you get to try again?

All of them. All of the chances. Forever.

Today and tomorrow, and this year, and next year, and all the tomorrows to come.

The chances never run out, so long as we are still here.

So let’s all forgive ourselves and then not be afraid to start over.

Remember — we are all just beginners. And we will probably all die beginners. But the only way a beginner can ever have the chance of advancement is by continuing to try.

This is our year, you guys! We can do it!

OR MAYBE THIS ISN’T OUR YEAR!
AND MAYBE WE CAN’T DO IT!
But that’s OK, too.

Let’s just try again, for the hell of it.

Because, seriously — what else are we gonna do with our time?

All of which is to say: I’m really going after it this year, you guys!

AGAIN!
ONWARD”.

Liz Gilbert, Best-selling Author Of Eat Pray Love