Catch me if you can!

With Two Oceans just around the corner, I’ve woken up to the fact that sooner or later, I need to up my mileage. Weekends are fine. I’m currently running a Parkrun (5km) on Saturday and 10km on Saturday with Tamryn, with plans to up this distance to 15kms soon. But somehow, I’m just not getting to running during the weekdays.

My training program I printed off Runner’s World

My training program is stuck behind me in my office and haunts me daily! It’s not a difficult program either. Run 30 mins one day, do some hill training the next.

I have no excuse. I work from home, I don’t deal with traffic, my time is my own. It’s a combination of a lack of commitment and zero motivation. I talk myself out of it almost every single time. I thought to myself that if running with others on the weekends was the magic trick, maybe I should look for running groups in the week too?

I’d seen the Catch me if you can (CMIYC) running updates shared on various social media platforms and even more updates since my friend Tanya signed up as a CMIYC Leader in her neighborhood. I was still skeptical so I messaged her and asked what the deal was.

Knowing my pace (and all my insecurities), I felt I would be left behind and then run on my own. I might as well then run at home then, right? I also felt bad that I would be holding other runners up if they had to wait for me. Her answer: Just go! Go try it, and then decide.

So off I went. I was so nervous. But excited too. We weren’t a big group and when the leader, Naomi, said we’d all stick together, I blurted out that I was slow, very slow. But she didn’t seem to take much notice and off we went with me sprinting that first kilometer! After a while, I realized that I didn’t need to.

We ran. We walked. We stopped to take photos. Those that needed to run off ahead did so but also ran back to fetch the slower runners at the back. Naomi divided her run equally between the faster runners in front, as well as scooping up those of us at the back. Effortlessly too!

Posing along the way

Obligatory running shoe pose

It was relaxed and fun and embodied everything CMIYC promises to be. Not once did I feel awkward or conscious of my pace. In fact, in between the running, the walking, the talking, the laughing and getting to know one another, (and all the stops for photographs of course), 5kms flew by so quickly. It’s also safer which is a huge plus.

Will I go again? For sure!

Thoughts on my run: how I survived #Januworry

#Januworry is over and it’s a new month. Phew.

I knew when I left Standard Bank last year in November that we were entering into a really difficult phase for most businesses. Starting my own small business was risky. Diving into the rush of December, followed by the deathly quiet and stretched out January, my chances of finding work and clients were said to be slim.

I didn’t have any expectations, but it didn’t stop me from hustling as hard as I could. With my business card in hand, I visited the retailers in my ‘hood. I networked via social media and sipped over 100 cups of chai latte, meeting prospective clients and others like me who have also made the jump into entrepreneurship.

Emma watching me at work in my office.

It’s comforting to talk about my journey and reinforce my vision with as many people as I can. I have found other entrepreneurs incredibly inspiring and encouraging. Compared to the corporate culture I left behind, other small business owners go out of their way to help me be successful.

If I could sprinkle just a handful of this dust into the team I left behind, what an amazing difference that would make.

But I’ve moved on and survived.

Every day has been wonderful. Every day has felt new. Every day has come with its own challenges. But it’s been difficult. Difficult like you have no idea! It’s been exhausting. I’ve been thrown miles out of my comfort zone. The fear has been crippling. But strange enough, there was hidden confidence inside me I didn’t think existed.

I survived. And hey, look, it’s February.

I have two clients on my book who have trusted me to manage their social media accounts. I have consulted on a huge project and I have sat in as an advisory on interviews for a social media role in the mining industry – ironically where I started out 20 years ago. I have an inbox full of proposals awaiting replies. What a ride it’s been. My head wants to explode because my heart already has.

Bravery. Ticking the box.

Bravery. It’s not a word that I’ve ever associated myself with. I’ve never done anything big enough to be in that category. Until last year, that is.

I was filling out a survey recently where I was asked to tick as many words I associated with. The word bravery jumped out at me and made me think. Actually, you know what? I think I have been brave. In fact, I know I have!

After 17 years, I walked away from the comfort and (false sense of) security of a job in the corporate world to start my own business. With hundreds of similar agencies popping up and offering the same services, in a struggling economy, with no guarantees, I decided to give it a go.

The first few weeks were hugely disruptive. It was year-end when I started my business (is there ever a right time?).  Most people were exhausted and counting down to December holidays. People would agree to meet with me but wanted to kick off only in 2019. Made sense.

So as I also started to relax, to clear my head and take a break into the festive season, there have been days (many of them) when I have felt incredibly guilty. Guilty for feeling such a massive sigh of relief. Guilty for allowing the anxiety to disappear. Guilty for reading or sleeping or walking Emma. Guilty for finally being happy.

No one tells you when you start a business that there is so much admin to sort out! What’s kept me busy?

  • Sorting out admin such as registering my company with CIPRO, opening up bank accounts, finding a bookkeeper.
  • Sourcing an accounting package so that I can invoice clients. It took me 4 hours to send my first invoice via Quickbooks. I am so thrilled my bookkeeper is back from holiday.
  • Coming up with my own branding and mapping out my business’ marketing plan.
  • Developing a content strategy for Conversation Station.
  • Meeting with prospective clients which I realize is tough. In between cappuccinos and chai lattes, there is a lot more education and convincing that needs to be done to get them on board.
  • Writing up proposals but knowing my audience does not expect the Rolls Royce version that I am used to after my years in corporate.
  • Buying office furniture, stationery, a printer. Office National in Cramerview Bryanston is a gem folks!

Heading into 2019 and I’m ready.

Do you like my office? Man, I’m proud of it. Thanks KK for hanging up the whiteboard (behind my desk) and your patience with me trying to find the perfect couch, which I promise is not for afternoon naps. It’s for thinking time. *grin*

office study

My office. I actually love it. Notice the medal hanger with all our running medals up behind me. Inspiration.

It hasn’t been easy and there’s a long journey ahead, I know. But I feel brave. Braver than I’ve ever felt for a long time. I’m confident in my abilities and I know I’ve got something different to offer. More importantly, I love what I do and I can make a difference.

For now, I have the luxury of time on my hands. Time to think. Time to relax. Time to sort out stuff. Time to regain a bit of the confidence I lost towards the end of last year. Time to love “me” again. Time to re-invent and find myself.

Working from home and not sitting in traffic also means I have more time to run. And this is usually where my best thinking is done.

For more info on my new business, check out www.conversationstation.co.za. Let me know what you think!

The stories behind my “Best 9 of 2018” Insta pics

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the last 12 months, the good and bad. Both the wonderful and the disastrous memories we either cling on to or choose to forget.

Instagram does a great job of revealing which images received the highest engagement. It’s the images that others felt worthy of a Like or a Comment.

Here’s the story behind each of these pics:

1. My Dad retired after dedicating his entire life to serving as a Fireman. This was his last ride out on the fire engine. Incredibly emotional.

2. A week on an island off the coast of Singapore. It was bliss! Cocktails, snorkeling, overeating. Just what we both needed. I swam in those warm waters each and every day and loved it. The best part was leaving our cell phones in the hotel room.

3. and 7. We said goodbye to Annie this year. After the removal of her adrenal tumor a few years ago, her days with us were numbered. She held on to the very end. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Panks!

4. After 20 years in corporate, I said goodbye to these high rise photographs overlooking Rosebank and decided to open my own business. To be my own boss. Eeek! Watch this space!

5. I started the year off recovering from a double pulmonary embolism. This pic was taken on an early morning stroll along the Camps Bay promenade with KK. You start appreciating life a lot more after experiencing something like that. I have no makeup on, my hair is knotty, but the coffee tasted divine.

6. KK. My rock. The support and belief in me really shone through this year. Thank you! After 17 years of marriage, I’m still learning that an engineer will never know how to read my mind, It’s just easier to tell him what I want.

8. Our CW-X business happened for a reason. It was the bug that bit and made me decide that I wanted to run my own business. It’s with sad hearts that we will finally close the business for good and shut down the site in January.

9. Two words. New Zealand. Never before have I witnessed the emotions behind a father’s decision to emigrate and the impact on everyone left behind. There’s only so much anguish a 16-year-old can take. But watching my sister and niece recently laughing together and enjoying time together in the pool made me so happy.

My friend Conrad always reminded me that we say every year, “Gee, the year was tough”. But it’s tough every year. It’s how you come out on the other side that matters. It’s what you learn and how you grow that counts.

It’s the friendships you make and nurture. It’s how much you love yourself and others; when there are more happy days than sad ones, and the excitement of setting goals for the year ahead.

How did your 2018 turn out?