This week I have been mainly …

… celebrating the young people of Bristol.

Friday night I was privileged to be invited to join Amy Kington of Community of Purpose, Regional Mayor Tim Bowles and Lord Lieutenant Peaches Golding at the Bristol Young Heroes Awards dinner. It was a bit of a thank you for a few bits that I’d done for them (accountants are also human beings, after all) and because Xero had kindly doubled the value of a prize that I donated to the organisers, Community of Purpose.

As you may have gathered I’m pretty proud of my own kids but these youngsters had achieved so much against the odds. They were disabled, or young carers, or had suffered early hardships and still managed to do so much. They make a huuuuuuge difference to our community and provide a great inspiration for all; adult and child.

Needless to say there seemed to be a lot of people suffering from hay fever even though I couldn’t see any flowers in the room.

Here I am with Action Hero winner Mohamed Aidid and runner up Tyreke Morgan.

What’s holding you back?

I was always good at maths. At the age of 11 I won a maths scholarship to a posh school and I was expected to move up an academic year too.

I was ok at English but I was definitely more of a reader than a writer. Creative essays and flowery language were not for me (although I do Like poetry) and I particularly detest Thomas Hardy’s descriptions of the Wessex countryside. I much prefer brief, succinct reports. Even now I get great pleasure from finding the exact word that reflects all that I want to say. Concise should be my middle name (It isn’t, it’s Louise, but how were my parents to know all those years ago?)

As a business owner I had to move out of my comfort zone. I started to write blogs and a monthly column for a local free magazine and then, one day, I was asked to write some articles and other content professionally.

And now I’ve written a whole flippin’ book! Not just any book but a bestselling, award winning book! Who would have thought it? (Certainly not me)

I’m a polymath!

But the point I’m trying to make is that I wouldn’t be writing my second book, and commissioned by Bloomsbury to co-author a third, if I hadn’t typed those first few words of that first blog. If I hadn’t done something that I thought I wasn’t able to do.

So what’s holding you back from trying something new? Is it just fear or do you need to go and learn some skills first? Take the first step today and see where you get to. It may be the start of a new adventure or it may prove that you need to call on an expert but just take that first step.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on

Automating is child’s play

My entrepreneurial son has just discovered how to make twice as much £/hr.

1. Cycling his paper round instead of walking doubles his hourly rate

2. Boss is now giving him a longer route so he will earn more £ and still do it in less time

Has he been to my talks about automation?

What next? Delegation?

What do singing and rugby have in common with business?

I was born into a rugby playing family. At least the men played rugby and, apparently, football was a woman’s game.

I did try playing football in my 20s and, being ambidextrous, I could run up and down either wing quite fast and I was equallh incompetent with both feet. I was absolutely rubbish on the ball, played a 99 touch version of the game and lacked the confidence to try a goal even from 2m out. It won’t surprise you that my amateur career was mercifully brief.

One of the things that I had heard my father teaching my brother about rugby is that “if you go in hard, you won’t get hurt”. He meant that you needed to commit rather than faff around. It worked for me in football and for my brother and father in rugby. (The fact that both men suffered broken ribs when talked into “just one more game” in their 40s was more to do with their match fitness than anything.)

I’ve recently started taking singing lessons in order to strengthen my voice for the increasing amount of speaking that I’m being asked to do. I thought I couldn’t sing high notes as my voice “breaks” around B and so I’m cautious above that. It turns out that most people have a break like this and that, provided I attacked the higher notes, I can reach significantly higher. It’s about not faffing around.

If you’re serious about growing your business what do you need to do? And when are you going to stop holding yourself back?

Give it a try and let me know how you get on