What I learnt during the holidays… there’s time to hustle and time to switch off

I’m so sorry. I missed my weekly roundup last week. It was my last week before my trip back home for the Christmas holidays and it’s been pretty hectic!

You’ve almost certainly been busy too, so hopefully you didn’t miss my update too much.

This roundup (and the one after this one) will be double issues. I don’t want to be spending too much time in front of my laptop during the holidays. I want to focus my energy on kicking off 2018 refreshed!

The storm before the calm

My last official working week of this year started with a great planning session with my business mentor. I’d been looking forward to this session for a long time, as I’d come up with lots of ideas on how to transform and grow my business in 2018.

Even though the whole city seemed to be paralyzed by a severe weather forecast (due to 2 centimetres of snow that fell over the weekend and was mostly melted by the start of the week). Buses were late (more than usual), events got cancelled, schools were closed and the whole country ground to a standstill. Being from a country where 30 centimetres of snow isn’t worth mentioning and temperatures between -10°C and -20°C are common, I always find the inability to cope with 2 centimetres of snow and -2°C weather astonishing.

It’s been a hectic, challenging and tiring week, but I knew that from Thursday on I’d be away from all the madness!

Surround yourself with open and honest people

The biggest part of the past week was consumed by the last Small Business Marketing Bootcamp. I mentioned my anxiety about this session in my last roundup. I was nervous and excited at the same time, but we finally got to the last bit – action. This stage was focused on giving our participants practical advice on how to plan their marketing activities for 2018, but also how they can start taking some actions straight away.

On the day, I was feeling a bit frustrated by poor timekeeping (and eating up time from much-needed coffee/lunch breaks). Especially as I was acting as the ‘host’ and aside from delivering the training, I also had to take care of coffee/tea supplies, clean used cups and plates, make last-minute additional printing etc. In the end, I had to have a really rushed lunch and survive the rest of the day with a headache.

The good part about this experience was the honest feedback. I’m really grateful to have such wonderful colleagues at this Bootcamp, where I can openly voice my frustrations and concerns. This programme wouldn’t be this helpful and successful if we weren’t able to speak from the heart about our opinions, frustrations and worries.

Work hard, but don’t push too much

Even though I’d planned to attend an event for each evening of the week, in the end, I had to cancel as I was feeling really tired. Usually, I always make sure to have enough time and energy to go networking, but this time sleep was more important to me.

It was a tough decision for me, as I love going out networking. Meeting new people gives me energy and inspiration to do more, learn more and grow my business. This time I had to be reasonable and put myself and my health (and mental sanity) first. I needed sleep!

Being different is OK

The second week was much calmer and relaxed. This year I planned a longer Christmas break – partially because of the flight ticket prices (I always fly when it’s cheapest and most convenient).

I wasn’t planning 14 days completely off work, but mostly I wanted to be away from the madness and in the quiet of my hometown. Even though spending more time back home with my parent brings its own challenges.

A while ago, I learnt that being different from my parents/family/old friends isn’t a bad thing. The reality is I simply don’t belong where I was born. I found my true home and tribe in the UK. In Cambridge, I feel that I can truly be myself, without worrying what other people might think of me. I always need to control myself and how I express myself when I travel back home.

I learnt a long time ago that there’s no point in trying to explain to my family what I do, why I love England and travelling so much, why I don’t miss home (too) much and why I’m not planning to start a family (anytime soon). They don’t understand, but what’s worse, they don’t listen.

I often feel depressed, sad and frustrated when I’m back home and talking with my parents or generally anyone from my family. They constantly complain, blame others and gossip. I find all the negativity in Czech Republic (not only in my family) really hard to deal with, as my nature is to be proactive and seek solutions.

People here don’t want to hear solutions, they don’t want to change and try something new. As far as I can see, all they want is the easy way. Which is ironic, because Czech people (together with Polish, Slovak and Hungarian) are among the most hardworking nations in the world (at least from my perspective).

How about you – do you find it challenging spending time with your relatives over the holidays? I’d love to know about your struggles and solutions (to know it’s not just me).

Book Corner

Before I left for my holidays, I got myself one Christmas present – a book. I’ve been wishing to read the newest book by Timothy Ferris for a while now and the more I’ve been listening to his podcast and videos, the more I know I’ll love Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World. It arrived in the evening the day before I was leaving and even though it’s a really big book, it was worth all the hassle of carrying it around.

In the first 50 pages alone I found so much support, guidance, helpful tips and thought-provoking ideas.

I love Tim’s favourite question: ‘What would this look like if it were easy?’ It doesn’t mean that you should be looking for quick wins or shortcuts. It simply means that sometimes the simple solution is the best. We humans have an incredible ability to overthink and overcomplicate things! You still need to put the work in, but if you follow this question you might save yourself some unnecessary troubles.

So here are some of the quotes that really resonated with me in this book (so far):

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” – Timothy Ferris

“Not Dead Can’t Quit!” – Richard Machowicz

“I don’t think failure is sometimes part of the process—it always is. When you feel you can’t go on, know that you’re just getting started.” – Kyle Maynard

“We spend far too much time complaining about the way things are, and forget that we have the power to change anything and everything.” – Bozoma Saint John

From these quotes, you can guess what advice you’ll get from the book, but there’s much more to it!

What book are you looking forward to reading over the holidays? I’d love to hear your recommendations!