2013 has been such a learning curve for me. Throughout the year I have had to face my biggest fears and ask myself some serious questions. I have had some amazing ups and some challenging lows but through it all I truly believe that it was the grace and favour of God that has seen me through and that has opened some amazing doors for me.
Here’s a look at some of the highs (and lows) of my year.
1. Time For… Oprah Magazine
Starting 2013 being featured in the January edition of the Oprah magazine was amazing. It all began with my vision of sharing the experience of Oprah’s O You event with others. It was certainly very challenging to organise but it all worked out as I took 17 women from the UK and South Africa to see Oprah in Los Angeles. I filmed our journey as a documentary and was able to interview Oprah’s best friend Gayle King, Martha Beck, Peter Walsh and more. It was an experience of a lifetime and I am super blessed that the magazine wanted to feature our journey.
2. Time For… A Meeting With Oprah
After years of travelling to the US to connect with one of the most inspirational women on the planet I was amazed to find out that she was in London promoting her new film. God had already connected me to her make-up artist Derrick and after arranging to meet him at their hotel I ended up getting an opportunity to meet Oprah. Even though it was very brief I was just amazed that God would bless me like that. I am sure that when the time is right we will meet again in the future.
3. Time For… Sir Richard Branson
Who would turn down the opportunity to meet Richard Branson on his island Necker? Certainly not me! I was so surprised when I received this invitation. Not only by the opportunity to meet Richard but also to meet him on his island. It was fantastic and having the chance to mastermind with Virgin Unite was amazing. They are involved in so many great initiatives and I’m really looking forward to working with them in 2014.
4. Time For… The Movies
2013 ended in a flurry of activity for me when I decided to launch my Time To Talk movie events around the UK. Having the opportunity to pre-screen the new film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom starring Idris Elba was great. I am sure we have all been inspired by Nelson Mandela and it was interesting how his unfortunate passing away coincided with the release of the film. With so many great and inspiring films coming out in 2014 I am sure I will be superb busy with these events.
5. Time For… Travel
I certainly clocked up a few miles this year. I love to travel and am very fortunate to be able to visit some of the greatest countries in the world. On my travels this year I got the opportunity to spend some time in my home in Cape Verde and visit the US on a number of occasions including a trip to Atlanta to see Tyler Perry and a great trip Christmas shopping in New York – there’s nothing better!
6. Time For… A New House
After living in my previous house for 5 years (I’m sure I promised my daughter we would only be there for 1 year!) I decided it was time for a change. It’s a lovely old victorian house but it was too big and too cold. I set a deadline, researched where I wanted to be and God came through. I’m not a big fan of renting but sometimes it helps when you need some time to figure out exactly where you want to be. We both love the area (plus the house is super warm!).
7. Time For… My First 1/2 Marathon
I started training for my first 1/2 marathon, Run To The Beat, at the beginning of the year when I joined a local running group called Draycote Sunday Runners. If you would have told me last year that I would be getting up at 8am on a Sunday morning to run I would’ve said you were crazy. If it wasn’t for this group of amazing people I would never have completed the marathon. They were so inspiring and motivating and just watching how disciplined they are was exactly what I needed. The marathon was hard going but I’m so proud of myself for completing it.
8. Time For… Improved Health
As some of you may already know I suffer with anxiety. I had a nervous breakdown about 12 years ago and suffered with depression and anxiety. It has been the most challenging thing I have ever had to deal with and completely turned my life upside down. If I am honest it has been difficult to deal with and it was during this time that I discovered God. If it wasn’t for my faith I am not sure I would even be alive today but I know I have come a mighty long way and my best is yet to come.
9. Time For… Relationships
I have never been that close to my family and moved away from Rugby to escape from a negative environment. What has been interesting to me is that it doesn’t matter how far you run, God will always bring you back to deal with your issues and to restore that which was once lost. Even though my family situation is still not ideal, my relationships are improving day by day.
10. Time For… Chynna
My daughter Chynna joined Next this year and completed her apprenticeship a few weeks ago. I am really proud of her. Even though the pay was small she didn’t grumble, she just got on with it and did the work and now there’s the possibility you she may be taken on full-time. Her dream is to become a fashion merchandiser/buyer so she’s well on her way.
1. Time For… Increased Finance
Whenever I plan a project I never really count the cost of it, I always look first at who can I help and how. I realise that most things cost money and that I can’t continue to self-finance everything if I want to make a bigger impact, so for 2014 I need to first change my mindset about making money and then start charging!
2. Time For… More Focus
One of the areas I am most disappointed about this year is that I didn’t focus enough. I always dream big and have such big plans (which is ok – there’s nothing wrong with that) but it is better to focus on one thing at a time and then move on to the next.
3. Time For… The Dream Team
There is only so much time available to us all and you can’t do everything on your own. As I said before, I always come up with new ideas and if I had a team I would be able to delegate some of these projects to others. For 2014 my priority is to build a team and stop doing the things that are wasting my time.
4. Time For… Less Sugar
Yes, I have a sweet tooth. I love sweets and chocolates. I’ve noticed recently that whenever I eat to much sugar I start to get spots and a heavy head so in 2014 the sugar has to go. Not necessarily completely, but I really need to cut down.
5. Time For… More Time With Family/Friends
I have been very bad in this area. Never really making the time to see family and friends. I think this is the most important area of life and it’s an area that needs to be worked on and not taken for granted. 2014 will be about meeting old friends and making new friends.
6. Time For… God
My faith is very important to me and I have failed miserably when it comes to spending consistent time with God. If it wasn’t for him I know I wouldn’t be able to do the things I do, go the places I go and meet the people I meet. To receive direction and clarity in my life I need to make more time to listen and speak to him.
7. Time For… Less Time On Social Media
Social media is great but when you spend to much time on it and you don’t implement boundaries it can take you away from what is really important. I have spent far to much time on facebook and twitter this year reading what other people are doing. It’s fine to keep updated but I need to set a limit on how much time I spend online.
8. Time For… More Confidence
It surprises people when I say that I am not that confident but due to my anxiety sometimes I really struggle to step out and do the things I know to do, like public speaking to share my story. Fear has been a major part of my life and for 2014 that has to change otherwise I will never reach the level God wants me to be at.
9. Time For… Less Worrying
I have a natural tendency to worry when things start going wrong especially when it comes to my properties but I have noticed how I have improved over the course of the year as I watched God time and time again work things out. So for 2014 the worrying has to be replaced by trust. If there is something I can do to change a situation then fine but if not then I have to let it go and let God work it out.
10. Time For… Me
This year I have spent very little time away from work and just doing the things I enjoy like going to a concert, watching Arsenal (beat Manchester United!!), dancing, shopping, going to the theatre etc. In 2014 I need to schedule more time to live life. Only work for a certain amount of hours and then shut down the computer and meet real people.
I am sure there is a lot more I could write but I want to finish by saying whether you had a good year or a bad year always spend some time looking back at the good parts and learning from the the not-so-good parts and remember that if there is something that you would like to change about your life then don’t procrastinate. Change it. It’s never to late.
Wishing you an amazing 2014!