The sun setting later can only mean one thing…

My nose was hit by the most amazing scent of jasmine on my run this morning. I love jasmine. It’s one of my favorite shrubs. Not only because of the strong scent of the flower but because it signifies a change of season; of new beginnings. Spring.

I know what you’re thinking – Bron, it’s way too early for spring. It’s only mid-July. But I’ve noticed it flowering earlier and earlier every year.

Jasmine picked on my run in 2013

My winter hibernation is coming to an end too. I’ve started to run more regularly. Not far – maybe a 4km run here and there. Running my own business has allowed for more freedom with my time and I’ve managed to run during the day when there’s less traffic and much warmer weather.

We’ve entered the popular Discovery Vitality Run Series and I hope to be a tad fitter when we run those races. The first race is on the 11th of August which is only 3 weeks away.

The other exciting news is that I’ve also joined a fitness group! A stone’s throw away from home, I’m enjoying that delayed feeling of stiff muscles after each workout. As the website puts it, “… classes incorporate functional body-weight movements and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to develop fitness and burn fat faster.”  Sounds good to me. What appeals is that there’s no pressure either. Everyone trains at their own pace.

Post-workout grin

We recently went on a weekend away trip to the Drakensberg and I hated that feeling of weakness in my body. I struggled to keep up on the hikes. I felt exhausted and knew my weight gain had become uncontrollable. I was miserable.

So I have set myself a goal of losing 5kgs in time for summer. For the first time in ages, my headspace is right. I’m a lot more motivated. I know I can do this.

The smell of jasmine. Sweaty afternoon faces after a run or a FabFitSlay workout and watching the sun setting later and later. It’s time!

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!

That time of year again

The change in season is never more evident than when we return home from our Easter holiday. The yearly trek down to Cape Town to run the Two Oceans is the first time I’m packing in warmer jackets and closed shoes, knowing that evenings are a lot cooler. And by the time we fly home, everything is suddenly duller. There’s a fresh chill in the air, the sun sets earlier and unless you head out for your afternoon run before 17:30, you can forget about finishing in the light.

Brenaissance

Wine and pizza pairing at the Brenaissance Wine Farm on the day we landed. I was already feeling chilly & whipped out my puffer.

We did manage to soak up a few rays down in Cape Town. Truth be told, we must be getting older because we preferred to lie around at the pool at the hotel instead of heading down to Clifton 4th beach.

12apostlespool

Calm & relaxing. Only realized that my toenails are painted blue by pure coincidence – Thank you Monika & Lemonade.

KK gets terrible cabin fever and so we decided one morning to hike up the mountain. It wasn’t as easy as we thought. The fires had destroyed a lot of the vegetation and so the path wasn’t visible. It turned into quite a serious hike, right up KK’s alley! But the views from the top were amazing!

I was left with mixed feelings about Cape Town’s drought situation. There’s definitely awareness of it up in Jo’burg and we packed in wet wipes, expecting the worst. But I didn’t get a sense of the seriousness whilst down in Cape Town. The hotel only had a few signs around, but no clear instructions on what I was expected to do with the water in the bucket after I had showered.

The concierge claimed it wasn’t an issue and would only hit Cape Town in 2019. The toilets at the V&A Waterfront had a small sticker above the loo saying, “This toilet uses grey water.” So does that mean I flush after my wee or not?

The great thing about holidays in Cape Town are definitely the late sunsets! It was 19:00 and the sun was just setting over the ocean. It was refreshing to stop and take it in. We also scored with no wind this year! The wind and I are not big friends and that nasty South Easter can upset my entire day.

cape town sunsets

I must confess that I did have two chocolate croissants, one after the other, at breakfast on our last morning in Cape Town. It was glorious! I had been very good the entire weekend – no wine, lots of protein, zero Easter eggs (liar) and a salad here & there for lunch. But coming back to Jo’burg, I have a new mindset & have reset my goals:

  1. Running: I will be relooking my running goals. I’m already eyeing RAC 10km in May. But for now, I am hoping for more runs, less mileage. Going for regular 4km runs after work (before that Winter sun sets) instead of thinking that I need to run 10s and 21s all the time. That will come, but not for now.
  2. Weight: Call it “the 40s midlife crisis” or blame it on my running injury excuses, but something has gone seriously wrong in my head & I have lost control over food. Sounds quite dramatic, I know! I’ve been to see another dietician. I’ll save it for another blog post, but while eating Pronutro and rice cakes works amazingly for some, it didn’t for me. So I found someone who is Banting / LCHF / Keto / Plant based pro. My gut feel is that this way of eating suits me. It’s worked before. It’s my head I need to fix first.

There’s another long weekend coming up at the end of April and then we have that long stretch into Winter. Chilly, dark morning runs. Battling the traffic to get home from work early enough to run. The streets lined with an array of beautiful hues of brown and orange leaves that crunch under your feet. I’m ready for you Winter.