A grateful flamingo – an entrepreneur’s perspective after injury

As an entrepreneur, having your life change in one small slip on a wet pavement could be enough to send you swimming head first into a deep sea of stress and anxiety.

I remember sitting in a hotel room the day after I broke my ankle worrying about how I’d get home; how I’d navigate the hotel reception area, the airport, the plane, the taxi ride home. Worrying about how I wouldn’t be able to drive to visit clients nor earn enough money to pay my bills.

But once I was home (airport special assistance are amazing – highly recommended!), those big fears vanished beneath a wave of logistical planning and hours of rest and relaxation.

There simply wasn’t space in my head to accommodate stress and healing at the same time.

I instinctively knew that getting better was my priority.

Yet, how many times in running a small business do we forget to prioritise our physical and mental health?

Being given the opportunity to step back and see things from a new perspective was an unexpected gift.

One for which I’ll be forever grateful.

Of course, it’s easy to say that it would be great if I hadn’t broken my ankle, but then I would still have been procrastinating about various projects and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience so much kindness and love.

And I definitely wouldn’t have got round to researching charity walking challenges for 2020 – which I’m even more driven to take part in now! #bringontherehab

So, if you’re reading this as a fit and healthy but overwhelmed entrepreneur, my advice is simple:

Take time out away from the noise.

Meditate. Breathe. Spend time in nature.

Ask for help.

Take on a cleaner, a VA, an accountant, a web designer, a copywriter, or someone to cook healthy food. Wherever you need help in your life or business, don’t be afraid to reach out and pay for expert help and support.

I put off getting a cleaner for the last 15 years.

I kept thinking that I couldn’t afford it, or that I wouldn’t like having someone in my house.

But then my ankle injury forced me to think differently. And once my friend’s cleaner came to join me, I realised how much pressure it took off of me and how much it reduced the stress and arguments I would have had with my teenage daughter.

I’m free to rest and recuperate and my daughter only has to do the day to day cleaning up after meals which frees her up to spend more time on college work.

Win-win-win I think!

intuitive-copywriter-the-soulful-word

Lorraine Pannetier | Intuitive Copywriter | The Soulful Word

If you’re currently injured, or have a friend or relative with a broken bone, here are ten things I’ve learned in the last four weeks that might make you smile or prompt you to help a friend in need (especially if they’re not fond of asking for help):

  • Healing bones is tiring. You’ll sleep and rest far more than you thought possible. If you try to do too much your body will soon tell you to slow down! (In fact, it was probably giving you signs before you broke your ankle that you ignored…)

 

  • Asking for help is fundamental to recovery. When you’ve broken your ankle and are hobbling around on crutches there are so many things you can’t do. You basically become a flamingo – and I’ve never seen a flamingo make a cup of tea or pick up their child’s shoes from the floor. For a few weeks you’ll need someone to cook, clean and bring you drinks. Plus, you’ll need lifts to hospital appointments and someone willing to push you around in a wheelchair.

 

  • You’ll become very good at single-legged squats. When you’re not allowed to put any weight on the injured leg for 6 weeks, sitting down on the toilet or pushing up from a low step involves using every ounce of strength and balance from the good leg.

 

  • Shimmying up and down the stairs becomes a new game – one that thankfully strengthens your upper arms (bye bye batwings) and allows you to dust the skirting board or between the bannisters. (Trust me, when you’re down at that level you notice everything!)

 

  • Old backpacks and aprons that were sitting in that ‘declutter’ box in the hallway suddenly have a new lease of life. After all, how else are you going to get from the kitchen to the lounge with your sandwiches and water bottle? And that backpack will be your saving grace when it comes to taking your phone, charger, medication and other personal items up the stairs to bed each night.

 

  • You’ll soon become a pro at injecting your tummy with blood thinning medication (vital to stop blood clots in your immobile leg). Honestly, it’s scary when the nurse first tells you what you have to do, but like any challenge, once you’re over that first hurdle it becomes easier than you ever imagined and you wonder why you were so worried in the first place!

 

  • You’ll become truly grateful for Amazon grocery shopping and local food delivery services. If you live alone, or with children who are too young to go shopping by themselves, having food delivered to your door is a life saver (although you’ll need help unpacking too!). If you don’t have anyone to cook for you then definitely take advantage of cooked meal-prep services that cater for all diets and tastes.

 

  • Patience is a virtue – and one you’ll develop pretty quickly. The art of only doing what’s important will become a new skill to add to your ever growing list of talents. With all your body’s energy being channelled into healing that broken bone, there will be very little left for physical or creative pursuits. So pop those book-writing, course-creating, decluttering goals to one side and focus on your healing.

 

  • There are a whole host of health and medical services in place to help you through this period. From shower chairs to hospital transport to airport special assistance, the infrastructure and services are there specifically for these moments when you simply can’t do it alone. If you’re a single parent, on a low income or live alone, make sure you ask for help. Don’t let pride get the better of you!

 

  • You’ll receive kindness, compassion and help in unexpected places, from family, friends and strangers. Accept those hands that keep you steady, the food that keeps you nourished and the flowers that brighten your day.

 

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who’s played a part in this broken bone journey so far…

The staff at Thai Edge restaurant, Leeds, who gave me water and a chair after I slipped over and helped me (and paid for) a taxi to hospital.

The taxi driver who held my hand as I struggled to hop into the car.

All the medical staff at Leeds General Infirmary A&E.

The amazing team at Premier Inn, Leeds Whitehall – especially Ryan for going out of his way to help us.

The staff at Jet2 customer services online and at the airport.

The friendly and compassionate Special Assistance Team at Leeds Bradford (Yorkshire) airport and Jersey airport.

All the medical staff, nurses and operating teams at Jersey hospital.

Anne from Jersey Occupational Therapy services.

Marta for keeping my house clean and tidy (and Joanna for sharing her with me!).

My mum for sending me a beautiful hand made card.

Plus, my amazing friends who’ve taken me to hospital appointments, pushed me round in a wheelchair, done my food shopping, collected my daughter, bought pet supplies, brought me flowers and made me cups of tea. Annette, Emily, Tracey, Jayne, Fiona, Polly, Chantelle. I’m so grateful for all your help, love and kindness.

A huuuuuuge shout out to my 16 year old daughter who has had to completely change her lifestyle to cook and clean for me every day and is getting a crash course in how to run a house… Thank you 💗

And a massive thank you to my wonderful 18 year old daughter who was with me when it happened… thank you for looking after me at hospital, taking photos of my deformed, swollen ankle and pushing me around in a very awkward wheelchair. Thank you for going to buy me cheap black leggings that I could cut to fit over my plaster cast! 💗

And finally, to all my Facebook friends who’ve sent me lovely messages (and Tina for the special gift) – you’re all amazing and I’m so grateful we’ve connected over the magic that is the internet.

Lorraine xx

 

 

Busyness v. Stillness

Once upon a time I was a mother of two little children, rushing around from one activity to the next, surrounded by a sea of plastic toys and answering hundreds of random questions every day.

I was always busy, always thinking, always moving. I never stopped. A ‘mummy drink’ of Bacardi and coke and a generous portion of reality TV simply numbed the senses but didn’t really allow me to switch off.

I got irritated really easily, kicked toys, drove too fast and ate a lot of chocolate.

My body, mind and soul were constantly swept up in a tornado of ‘doing’ and ‘stuff’.

Fast forward a few years and in contrast to busyness, I now enjoy stillness.

The change did not happen overnight. It’s been a long process of aligning to my inner truths and core values; a journey of learning to understand and love the real me on the inside.

Because, the truth is this…

Sometimes we just get swept up with life. The boyfriend, the house, the wedding, the baby, the nursery, the toys, the school, the activities, the jobs, the money, the food, the shopping, the socialising. The endless accumulation of stuff to do and stuff to own. We find ourselves constantly irritated by minor things and filling the void with food, alcohol, caffeine, sugar or substances. (Because stuff does not equal contentment.)

I realised I had enough stuff in my life. In fact, I had too much. All this stuff was drowning my spirit and making me stressed and overwhelmed.

There wasn’t one point at which I suddenly said ‘that’s enough!’, it was a gradual process; a mirror of the process it took to get there. The layers piled on and now they needed peeling off again.

When I moved from a bungalow in 2013 I had ten years of stuff in the loft to clear out. Every painting and drawing the girls had ever made, every pair of shoes they’d ever worn, every outfit, every toy, every blanket, every photo … plus there were boxes of mine and my ex-husband’s that we’d not looked at since the late 90s! Emptying the loft took longer than emptying the actual main living space. (Although, carrying boxes down a ladder every day for three weeks is great for your legs and bum! #silverlinings)

In the last five years what’s changed the most is the realisation that I need stillness, calm, peace and time to reflect every day. Not just once a week for an hour between other activities, I need it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

When I’m out with friends, networking or at an event, I love being with people. I love listening to their stories and finding out what lights them up and fuels their creative passion. When I’m with my children I love to listen to their stories of school, work, social media and friendships and understand what makes them tick as they grow into amazing young adults. And when I’m by myself I love to just BE. To look up at the clouds and watch the trees swaying in the wind, to spend quiet time with a purring cat on my lap or watching my bunnies wash their faces or eat daisies – stem first (it’s the cutest thing!).

As a small business owner I’ve tried making schedules and timetables and plans but I’ve realised that they don’t work for me because they don’t allow for time to just be. This precious time (and precious moments with children, partners and pets or in nature) can’t be allocated within a spreadsheet. Sometimes you have to seize the moment or the opportunity when it presents itself. If you’re trying to stick to a schedule then you’ll always feel like you failed, even if you actually took time off to do something that made you feel great.

So, what really changed over the last five to ten years? How did I get from overwhelmed, rushing, stressed out mummy to calm, serene business owner?

  • I switched my mindset. I read The Gratitude Diaries, Eat Pray Love, Big Magic and countless other books that helped me to live life from a place of gratitude, not scarcity. I wrote daily gratitude lists and made more time to enjoy the simple things in life. 
  • I cut drama and negativity out of my life. I stopped watching the news, daytime TV, reading newspapers and reading the negative comments across social media. I actually sold my TV too! Now I watch just the documentaries, movies or programmes that I choose, online, at my preferred time.
  • I began decluttering. I realised that simply tidying the stuff from one room to another or rearranging it into yet more plastic storage boxes simply wasn’t working! The stagnant energy was still sitting there. Slowly, I’ve reduced our possessions to perhaps a tenth of what we had back in 2013. I’m working on creating a capsule wardrobe where I love everything in it and every item fits me well and makes me feel great. This stops that ‘I have nothing to wear’ scenario and reduces the stress of washing mountains or packing for holidays.
  • I stopped trying to make everything fit and just tuned in to ME. I realised that I was happiest when I wasn’t constantly trying to be something that I wasn’t. I shared more of the real me online which attracted more of my ‘tribe’. Now with an amazing, extended group of like-minded people all around me, I feel supported, respected and loved. And the best part is that I get to make others feel good too! #connectionsandcommunity
  • I switched back to a mainly vegetarian diet somewhere around 2012 … and then tried four months as a raw vegan before ending up at a 95% plant-based diet that suited me and my family really well. In the last year I’ve committed to a completely plant-based lifestyle and the last pieces all fell into place. Love, compassion, peace, kindness, stillness, nature, lunar cycles and Mother Earth – it all fits together like a beautiful hand made wooden puzzle.
  • Plus (and you may not like these!), I stopped drinking diet coke, rarely drink alcohol and never drink black tea or coffee. Before switching to a plant-based diet I’d also stopped eating over-processed milk chocolate bars (like the ones in purple wrappers) and switched to dairy-free dark chocolate instead. So, basically, cut the caffeine, sugar and alcohol and you’ll feel much less stressed! Eating a healthy, vegetable and fruit rich diet with primarily home cooked foods will support and nourish your body.

So that’s me, now it’s over to you…

  • What can you do today to bring more stillness, calm and joy into your life?
  • What can you do today to reduce the amount of stress and overwhelm you feel? Where do you need to be honest with yourself? What difficult conversations do you need to have? Where do you need support?
  • What can you do today to connect with people that will lift you up, support your goals and make you feel great? How can you make other people feel loved, respected and heard?

 

Lorraine xx