Christmas is a challenging time for all of us. We get stuck in a whirlwind of chaos! From Christmas shopping, sales, social events, work commitments, parties, family gatherings and thinking about the year ahead as well as reflecting. We can fall into a trap where we focus in on all the chaos in our own lives forgetting the people around us who may be suffering in silence.
Last year I launched my Believe-A-Bear campaign, whereby people could purchase a bear which would be personalised with it's own name & positive quote to send to someone in hospital or they knew was going through a tough time at Christmas. The money's raised went to my two chosen charities: Invisiyouth & Lyme Disease U.K. To give people a little mascot, a friend to prove they aren't alone. That is a big, BIG thing for me. I hate to think that people are alone. I spent years in a fog, feeling lost & alone. Unable to really know who I could reach out to, who would understand. I know the pain, I have felt it myself & it's heart-breaking . If I can do my bit to help people KNOW that there are people here to support them then I can rest happy. It doesn't have to be huge, massive gestures. Kindness costs nothing remember, positivity spread like wild fire & smiles are infectious. A smile, a hug, a quick phone call could make someone day or even WEEK. It is really important to listen to people's stories. Listen to their advice, wise words to carry with us as a tool kit in our own every day lives.
So, this year I decided to get my old school involved & their students as well as our park residents. To work together on actitivies, interact, have fun and really make the weeks of the residents that attend. To prove that they aren't alone at Christmas, they can still have fun & deserve fun but also just talking to the students helps the students come away with a new mindset. A better understanding of life, it's journey & the true meaning of Christmas. Yesterday was our first meet up & we hosted a quiz at Acresfield. It was a huge success & everyone had an amazing, FUN time. The residents simply can't wait for next weeks chocolate log decorating. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT AND SUPPORTED, IT MEANS THE WORLD.
Remember, you can do YOUR bit this Christmas too. Here are some ideas:
1. Don't do Christmas cards. What you spend on Christmas cards you can give the money to a charity of your choice. Alternatively you can buy Christmas cards that are in support of a charity.
2. Homeless shelters accept old scarves, gloves, hats and coats to give out to the homeless. Anything you can spare can really go a long way.
3. The shoebox campaign. I used to LOVE doing this at school where you build up a showbox full of goodies to send around the world to children in need.
4. Donate, give back in anyway you can. This can be by having a wardrobe clear out and donating clothes, volunteering, offering your time and donating money to your chosen charity.
5. Call a friend. Call that person you know is going through a rough time. Allow them to vent. Allow them to seek comfort in opening up to us.
6. Drop round for coffees and a chat or even take your loved one or an elderly person you know is alone, out for coffee and cake. NOBOBY can say no to cake.
7. Donate to the food banks. We all have those tins of soups, beans and sauces in our cupboards we bought but haven't got around to using them. Every little helps remember.
8.If you know someone who is local and alone on Christmas, invite them round. One extra person to cook for isn't too much trouble but could be life-changing to someone.
9. A hug can go a long way. Sometimes words aren't needed a hug tells you thousands of times over that you are there for that person.
10. Write! Write to people you know may be lonely. Strike up a relationship. Which doesn't just help the person do an activity that will take some of their time up, that for sure some days feels endless. They will appreciate the pen-pal friendship. If they can't get out, can't talk well and so on sometimes writing is the best way for people to communicate.
There is so many ways to help, so many ways you can give back - big and small it all costs.
We have 19 days left on 2019. More than ever it is the time when people are wanting to book flights, go on holiday to escape the winter blues. Look for a summer break to look forward to and so forth. My back office isn't just full of amazing deals but to help other's get into this business at the peak time is amazing too.
I speak to so many people about this business because everyone is so intrigued. How can you possibly earn an income from your passion? Work from home? And people say, ' I DON'T HAVE THE TIME.' We are all juggling busy lives but there is so many people who have come into this business and tailoring it around full-time work, being a Mum & health problems. Like my health the world is an unpredictable place. It is savvy to have a number of income streams in case of our trains being derailed and leaving us in a pickle. I know this too well. For me I am able to work when I feel at my best in a day. I am not restricted to the hours from 9-5 and I can work from anywhere EVEN HOSPITAL which to me is a life-line in itself. My mental health drops to rock bottom after 3 hours of being in a bed, the same four walls and unable to be productive. I wanted the opportunity to make memories, travel to the places on my bucket list before it is too late. Through life's twist and turns I am realising how valuable life, the people in it & time really are. I didn't want to wait and sit a minute longer with the 'what if's.' People can put any area of my work down but I can't allow their judgements to influence me. Often people are jealous of your courage to take risks, ACT NOW. They don't have the same ability to see into the future, the vision, the goals. They get stuck in the fog of the present. My future scares me EVERY DAY. Yes I take risks that let me down, disappoint me & go wrong. But I gain experience, I learn and I grow from them. I hate how unpredictable the future is. I am a planner, an organiser and I am always praying things go as planned but rarely they do & that does fill me with anxiety. I have been burnt A LOT of times. To the point where I am now far more open minded. I am willing to try, because even if it doesn't turn out the way I wanted I tried. I gained strength and experience to build on.
I can see the potential within this business. Travel isn't a trend, it isn't really a 'product' as such. It is culture, lessons, experiences, opportunity, character building & memories all in a large package. Really, it doesn't have a price tag. The industry is growing year on year & with the opportunity of residential and passive income streams this really drives me. To know that once I have worked hard and built my business up, as well as helping others. If I do end up in hospital ( we pray I won't -I will go crazy!) I don't have to be constantly working on my business because the business will be working for me. I am out living, out making friends, making memories. NOT dwelling. Talking about my goals and then not putting the work behind them to achieve them. Not waiting for a magic pill or going over the losses through the years. I am focused on what I can control.
For so many years I put my happiness in the hands of others. That was such a massive mistake. WE ARE THE KEY to our own happiness. I used to be embarrassed by being the black sheep of the family. Not following the path that 'I SHOULD BE FOLLOWING.' Now, I have reached the point where I am proud of my creative crazy mind, I am proud of my ability to keep learning, proud of paving my own way, proud of practising gratitude & proud of growing MYSELF - my own levels of self-worth, self-development and so on. It is so easy to dampen our own fears, needs, dreams and feelings.
Yes, I don't work a 9-5 job, NO I don't work in an office. You can put me down. But maybe deep down I am the lucky one. YES BELIEVE ME WE END UP CLOCKING MORE HOURS, but more and more people are now taking up home-based work. There isn't the same stigma there used to be around home-based work. I am lucky to he driven on my goals to not be distracted by my surroundings. I get lost in my work. I am lucky I can still create a career, a life around my health - that is the biggie. My heart is far to stubborn to give up & decide I don't want to take on life, I will stay in bed. Wait for a cure. Waste valuable and precious time.
Leaving a legacy that people will always remember is key for me. Someone asked me today, what is my protocol I am following for my Lyme. I laughed and simply answered:
'Life is my protocol.'
That is no word of a lie, it is.
I am fuelled by motivation, healed by experiences, memories are my pain killers and people are my sparkle. THIS is what I NEED, FOR ME.
Remember if you are thinking of getting into this business or booking any travel, please reach out to me. I love helping people succeed in making their goals a reality.
Email me on: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me & my journey on Instagram at @sophiewardy.
THE FINAL EPISODE OF CHRONIC BUT ICONIC IS GOING LIVE ON MONDAY MORNING, SO DON'T MISS THE FINAL EPISODE AND LOOK FORWARD INTO AN EXCITING SERIES THREE IN 2020!
Enjoy a blessed weekend, start setting those goals, help other's and make life sparkle!