How to plod through the 'Best Years of Your Life'

 
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I am 21, living in Stroud, a small town where I have lived my whole life (bar a year in Bristol, 6 months in Weston-Super-Mare and a brief encounter with Cheltenham). I love music first and foremost, fashion, being social and a Chinese. I’ve tried lots of things, but like most 21 year olds (and most people in general) I still have no fucking idea what I’m going to do in my life. Here’s a load of advice that I should be taking myself, but am giving to you instead.

1. Write down your goals. You’re 50% more likely to achieve them.

2. Stop giving a fuck what other people think. It’s a reflection on them, not you.

3. Don’t get into debt. This doesn’t need explaining - just don’t.

4. Remove toxicity. People, social media, certain foods, a job - if it causes negativity, get rid.

5. Don’t be scared to ask for what you want. In your work-life, sex-life, family-life - What’s the worst that can happen?

6. Question everything. But don’t overthink it.

7. Don’t compare yourself to others. Take inspiration from them and use them as a tool to boost yourself.

8. Express yourself regularly. Whether it’s writing poetry, singing, dancing, sport - make time for it. Watch your mental health flourish.

3 more points (but with descriptions this time)

1. It’s okay to change your mind. A lot.

I have battled with this anxiety for as long as I can remember. Why can’t I just stick the one thing? Why can’t I finish anything I start? Truth is, quitting is not failure in some cases.

I wanted to be a dancer so tried a year at Uni studying Dance and hated it. I decided to be a front-end developer, taught myself for 6 months and decided against it. My next plan was to travel world and teach english, but I landed a lucky job in marketing. My new and improved plan is to travel to Bali (tickets booked so there’s no getting away from this one), then move to Manchester to find a Junior Fashion Marketing role. Lets see how far I get. Try and test then try again - if you don’t try new things, you won’t find your niche in life.

If you don’t love it, sack it off and try something different.

2. You are not late to life

If there was a right time to do certain things throughout your life then who’s late/early in relation to who? Samuel L Jackson didn’t make his big break until Pulp Fiction, 1994 when he was 45. Vera Wang entered the fashion industry at 40 and Colonel Sanders (founder of KFC) didn’t begin his billion dollar franchise until he was 62… There is no schedule and you have plenty of time.

3. It’s okay to be working a dead end job

As long as you’re keeping your passions at the forefront of your mind - it’s okay to work a dead-end job whilst you figure out your next step. Zoella, one of the worlds biggest bloggers was working in Topshop when she made her first vlog - she now worth 2.5 million. Jamal Edwards, founder of SBTV worked as an ametur film maker in his bedroom in London, is now worth 45 million. The point is not money, but that everybody starts somewhere.

Final note: learn to take your own advice…


*This is a guest post from Mia Ashcroft

To Ditch or Not To Ditch 

 
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I started driving at 16. First in car parks then around the local housing estates. Well, okay, occasionally I took my parents shitty yellow Nissan Sunny for a drive when they were out for the day. And yes, it was illegal but come on, I was young and invincible so it was going to be totally fine!? I was desperate to drive because driving meant freedom. Driving was my ticket out. 

Unfortunately, it wasn't all it's cracked up to be. Yes, I passed my test and the feeling was incredible, and I'm thinking that's it I’m out of this tin pot town. Reality was, nobody bought me a car and I couldn’t even afford to put petrol in the borrowed custard ugly one. 

Cut to now; I am 40 years old and have a baby that HATES the car seat. Like, seriously hates it. What am I going to do? I have to drive - I drive everywhere. How will I get the shopping, take the kids to their swimming lessons? and the list goes on... I can't nip to the charity shops in Nailsworth, I can't take my baby to classes, I can't even pop to my mums for a cup of tea and change of scenery...Sorry. I'm boring myself now. 

So, two weeks ago I was forced to the decision to not to drive anywhere unless absolutely necessary. And I can't believe I'm saying this, but I feel so free. I don’t have the car baggage over my head. I walked into town last week and I spoke to people properly as I felt I had more time. I wasn’t thinking “Shit, did I put one hour or two on the car?”.

A couple of days later I got the bus into Stroud and I met my elderly neighbour who I hadn’t seen for a long time. She is 91 and told me that she still goes line dancing and that she had lost her son and various other interesting anecdotes from her life. We spoke for 15 mins and I left thinking what an inspiration

The next day I walked to the doctors and on the way out I met a really lovely women who was leaving Stroud after 5 years. She was an artist and a northern lass too. We chatted for 5 minutes before heading our separate ways.

My point is, these lovely by-chance meetings were happening when I would have previously been stuck in my car. Connecting with people is so important. You could brighten up someones day or visa versa. My days have certainly been enriched by giving other people more of my time and just being present

So as we try out different car seats to try and make our journeys more bearable, have a think about letting go of your car for a day or two. The environment may be your reason, or maybe your health. I certainly need to be fitter, having a baby 18 years after my first is a very different experience.

So To Ditch or Not To Ditch? That is the question. Or just park it for now...

 

Inspiring Reads Recommended by our Hoppers for National Read A Book Day:

"Think before you speak. Read before you think."- Fran Lebowitz

We all get it. When you feel stuck, uninspired and perhaps downright disheartened with your business and work life. 

Thankfully, the ability of books to inspire, comfort, make us think, and even change lives, extends beyond fiction.

To mark National Read A Book Day, we've asked some of our Hoppers from all industries to recommend their favourite books that have helped them along their business journey. From personal development, practical advice or just a spark to get the fire going again, here are some suggested additions for your library...

(And if you'd like to get some of these reads straight on your bookshelf, there's a chance to win a book bundle at the end of this post!)

 
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JON BATTERHAM | chrysalisresearch.co.uk
The Organized Mind by David Levitin. It's brilliant on helping manage distraction and helping manage competing demands. I credit the advice in the book with helping me get through my masters. Currently with Gavin Wilson. Hoping it's changing his life too.


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SOPHIE BRADSHAW | publishing-workshop.com
So many! But I’ve just reviewed Content Machine by Dan Norris for GoWrite magazine, and it’s amazing. It gives really practical advice (and ideas!) for producing high-quality content for your business. Would thoroughly recommend!


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SARAH DIXON | spidercreative.co.uk
I just read the most amazing book Evolutionary Leadership by Peter Merry. It draws heavily on Prof. Clare Graves' ideas on how humans and social systems work, and has enabled me to look at these in a new and very integrated way.


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SCOTT JOHNSON | kungfuaccounting.com
As a rugby fan, the All Blacks hold a certain special place in my affections, and the way they've dominated world Rugby is very much akin to Kung Fu. Their attitude of being better than they were yesterday, leaving the shirt in a better place, rings true through my Kung Fu training and the way I try to run my business; striving for continuous improvement, learning from mistakes (not shying away from them) and leaving things in a better place than they were before.

As for the Brewdog story generally (not just the book), that is all about doing what you think is right, believing in yourself, and backing your intuition, despite what others might say, do or think. There are so many "experts" out there who all believe they know best. But actually, the only person who knows what's in your head, in your heart, and what you're trying to achieve, is you! So do it 100%, no apologies. That's what I take from the Brewdog story. 


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JOANNA FALLON | thecotswoldchalkboard.co.uk
The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz. I listened to the audiobook version (the author isn't short on charisma!) and found it inspiring in that it encourages you to really focus on one thing that's meaningful, and be remarkable at it, but also covers very practical and real matters such as making a profit. It's a great balance of motivation and inspiration to get you reviewing your business with fresh enthusiasm, whilst offering very practical advice and examples on how to action these ideas.


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ALICE PALING | spacehopperscoworking.co.uk
We love this publisher, and have a selection of their books on hand at SpaceHoppers, for instant inspiration! My personal favourite, Do Fly by Gavin Strange, is a concise handbook for those times when you need a good ol' pep-talk. Gavin’s energy leaps off the page and the positivity is just the inspiration you need to get your creative juices flowing. A quick, practical read which can be completed in one sitting and afterwards you’ll be rearing to go. 


COMPETITION

For the chance to receive some of these inspiring reads for your own bookcase, we're running a competition on our Facebook Page to win a three-book bundle of: The Organized Mind, Content Machine and Do Fly

Our top five cookery books to keep you inspired this summer.

Once a month we cook a wholesome meal for our co-working community - it's an opportunity for our Hoppers to take a break from their laptops, get away from the desk, sit with their fellow co-workers and enjoy (hopefully!) a meal that has been made with love and intention. 

We truly believe both at work and at home, that making the time to sit down to eat with others is essential for our wellbeing. Food is a wonderful way to break down barriers, it's a conversation starter, and a simple meal can really be the highlight of someone's day (it is ours!). 

Here, we share our top five cookery books that are keeping our minds inspired and our bellies full this summer. 

We've linked each book through to the author, but if you're local to Stroud, we recommend Stroud Bookshop & Yellow-Lighted Bookshop - both will do their utmost to track down any book for you. 

A modern way to cook

by Anna Jones

Full to the brim of simple and nutritious vegetarian meals. This book is organised by how long it takes to get a meal on the table, from 15 minutes through to slower, investment cooking. Anna shares tricks learnt in professional restaurants to help cook efficiently.  

Community

Salad recipes from Arthur Street Kitchen, by Hetty McKinnon

This book celebrates sharing platters and redefines salads. Ditch the iceberg lettuce and fill your repertoire with big, hearty salads to plonk in the middle of the table for your guests to delve into and serve themselves. 

 

Persiana

Recipes from the Middle East & beyond, by Sabrina Ghayour

Modern, simple suppers with a middle eastern influence. Flick through the pages of this book and you'll quickly want to share these vibrant and sumptuous recipes wiht your friends and family. 

Fresh India

by Meera Sodha

We're big fans of Meera Sodha, and her book Made in India is a staple on our shelves, but this vegetarian follow up is ideal for lighter summer meals. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of these recipes, they are truly delicious. Foolproof cooking, even for the novice amongst us. 

The Roasting Tin

Simply One Dish Dinners, by Rukmini Iyer

Recommended to us by one of our Hoppers, Marion, this book revolutionises one dish cooking. From meat to fish, pasta to grains, and fruit to chocolate - these are meals that maximise on ingredients and flavour and minimises fuss and washing up! Mid-week suppers the whole family can enjoy. 

Introducing Half-Days at SpaceHoppers

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With the summer holidays approaching, as much as we adore our children, and as working parents ourselves, we appreciate that many of us still need to continue working when they're off from school.

To make things a little easier, SpaceHoppers are going to be trialing 'Hopper Half-Days' where every Friday you can come in and use the co-working space for a 5 hour block, for £9.50.

We hope this makes arranging childcare easier, as well as allowing you to find some quality, uninterrupted time to work on your own business and projects whilst still enjoying a shorter day to have more time to spend with your family.

To find out more and to make the most of this offer, please speak to Alice or Jo, or contact hello@spacehopperscoworking.co.uk 

Important: To take advantage of the reduced price, we ask that you sign in and sign out of Cobot, our co-working management software, otherwise you will be charged at the standard day rate of £15.