December 1, 2017
I went for a short run in the Olympic Park in East London this morning.
Nothing new there.
It’s where I run.
It is my local park after all.
While out running I realised that it is actually 10 years (almost to the day) that I moved into my 2 bedroom flat in Stratford.
Wow 10 whole years.
In 2007 I was 29, had just moved jobs working in a project management role on London 2012 stuff, volunteering and sport policy mainly, helping local authorities and politicians to make sense of the circus that would be coming to town in just 5 years time. I was earning more money than I had ever earned…I had a lodger which brought in even more so finally I could afford nice holidays, clothes, a new car even.
But I wasn’t really happy.
I had been running on and off for a few years, was still very much in the diet mentality, trying to lose weight AGAIN through weightwatchers, or was it Atkins this time?
I was single. It feels like I’m always bloody single.
I had bouts of depression and anxiety, mainly about not feeling like I was enough.
And of course I hadn’t had my beautiful daughter yet.
I was a completely different person back then, not unrecognisable, but different for sure. I was still waiting for life to happen. I was winging it in my job, well at least thats what it felt like, I was advising senior leaders and politicians on the best way to do things on a major event which I actually had no experience on myself. It was all a bit nuts. London 2012 had become my life. Everything from how dustbins would be collected during games time, to what the volunteer workforce should be called, and whether they should get a FREE oyster card or not.
To put this into context…the Olympic Park was still pretty much a mud flat…waiting for stuff to be built on it.
Don’t get me wrong it was interesting and it gave me an incredible insight into how London functioned. But the policy environment was not for me…too much bloody red tape. I am more of a doer than a talker. I like to see a project from ideas stage into fruition, and feel like I am making a difference somehow.
Which is just as well because due to an organisational restructure, my position was made redundant.
Holy shit…and I’d just taken on a 25 year mortgage.
I had made a lot of contacts while doing the 2012 stuff though, and there was still lots to be done, so it wasn’t long before I started picking up consultancy work for sports, arts and community organisations, and this was much more up my street. How can we get more kids playing sport? How can we stop old people moaning about all the change that was happening around them? How do we get teenagers from different postcodes working together to think about a post 2012 Olympic Park, and perhaps stop some of this gang stuff?
It was a fascinating time for me.
There was this real sense of adventure back then. Nobody knew what an Olympics in London would mean for us all. The last one in London had been in 1948 for goodness sake. So I think there was a lot of naivety and perhaps misplaced hope that it would solve all of our problems…the housing crisis, unemployment, crime…and there was much talk of the Olympic Legacy.
I think there was also a sense that once the games was over East London would have this shiny new park and that would be the end of that.
That was not the case.
The park closed. Bits of it were sold off. It reopened a year after. Venues struggled. New buildings popped up. Events were held. West Ham moved in…that one still gets me, its like its following me around. Growing up I lived opposite the grounds in Upton Park, and spent many a Saturday afternoon having to play inside because of the impact of the crowds on the surrounding streets.
There is never going to be this shiny before and after with East London. Yes. There are nice new housing communities, a MASSIVE shopping centre, world class sporting facilities, but there are still the bits round the edges that are wonderfully shitty and untouched. There are still massive building sites and areas earmarked for redevelopment….and there are still so many social problems to be solved. Rough sleeping for example is at epidemic levels in Stratford.
Today while I was out running, while I dreamed of spring meadows and worried that I might die of exposure (oh yeah I saw a dead swan in the canal which was very sad) it got me thinking that the transformation of East London is not that dissimilar to the transformation I have been undergoing during the same time frame. I am by no means the poster girl for before and after, especially not in terms of weight loss…although I know that would make things so much easier for people to understand.
You see regeneration is never as clear cut as that, you never completely get what the glossy brochures promise.
Over the last 10 years I have experienced some incredible things, going to the opening ceremony dress rehearsal, winning awards for my blog, meeting olympic athletes, telling Boris Johnson to “Stop looking at my puppies” (Its a long and funny story…I’ll tell you it one day), travelling all over the UK and Europe to take part in races, speaking about my business in Cape Town, South Africa…growing a business that has helped thousands of women to feel better about themselves.
It is hard to put into words how that feels during these moments of reflection.
But the job is not done. The job is never done. And as I start wrapping things up for the year reflecting on what I’ve achieved in the past 12 months and what I want to achieve in the next 12 months, I get that buzz of excitement and adventure, just as I did when I worked on the games…because nobody has done this before, its all new, there are no rules…I get to make this shit up as I go along, its bloody brilliant.
2017 has been a real year of growth…yes I’ll say it spiritual growth. I have had to work out who the hell I am and what my purpose on this planet is. What do I want to do with my life? Who ultimately do I want to be. I’ve looked at what my core skills are, what I am great at (writing books in 19 days being one of them) and where my zone of genius is.
I am clearer on that than ever.
Although Too Fat to Run is still going strong, especially with the funding from Sport England helping us to test our programmes on the ground, I know I can help women on a much deeper level with the new programmes that I have been developing, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
In January I will be launching my signature coaching programme Living a Bigger Life, which will take a cohort of 50 women through my Going the Distance System, helping them to identify whats not working in their lives and get to the heart of what it is they really want out of life.
Supporting women to achieve their Big Fat Stupid Goal in the running world has been great…but doing it across a range of broader health, wealth and happiness areas has been even more exciting.
Over the past 3 months I have been piloting this with a group of 20 women and now I can’t wait to get stuck into working with a brand new bunch of women…although the first cohort will be sticking around working on their 90 day action plans they have just set this week, and helping the new women to make sense of it all.
This will be my most expensive programme so far (apart from my annual retreat of course) but it is the one where you will get most value, where the most transformation and change can happen, and to make it more affordable I am offering an early bird price and a payment plan. But only if you sign up before January when the new site goes live.
If you think this is something you might be interested in, drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can have a chat about if this is right for you. No hard sell I promise. I am looking for the right 50 women to join, women who are ready to make changes and start living a bigger more exciting life.
And finally…do you believe in the law of attraction?
As I was finishing off my run today the title of this post came into my head, and then I turned a corner and saw this.
Then when I got home and slumped on the sofa to take off my trainers, I looked to the left of me and saw this notebook a business buddy had given to me last week. She runs an incredible social enterprise which helps humans learn from dogs (check them out here)...she’s a runner too!!! I’d forgotten she had given it to me and it was just sitting with some notes from a training day we’d been on together….see told you my life is not perfect, I’m still a messy cow!!!
Spooky or what?
Oh and one last thing. I am not a big believer in New Years Resolutions, and you can read all about that in my book New Year, Same You which is reduced this weekend on Amazon…I think it’s up for just £0.99 today, so get in there quick
Have a great weekend…get out there and run, and think about what 2018 might bring for you