“Not another generic NYE message?”

Tomorrow, 31st December is New Year’s Eve, also known as Old Year’s Night. In fact we are subject to lots of “year endings” and new year starts. There’s the Gregorian calendar year end of 31st December of course. In the UK the financial year ends on the 31st March, and on the 5th April for those who are self-employed and who manage their own tax affairs.

Then there’s the “new year” that is our birthday – the beginning of another journey around the Sun. For those in the Islamic world and  for its adherents across the globe their lunar calendar sees the new year beginning on the 1st day of the month Muharram, on the equivalent date 22nd September 2017 in the Gregorian calendar. In the East African country of Ethiopia, the first day of the New Year is marked on Meskerem 1 on their calendar,  on the Gregorian calendar equivalent date of 11 September.

Across the globe the New Year is calculated by various methods including observing lunar months, by measuring movements of celestial bodies and observance of traditional festivals amongst others.


I mention this on the eve of New Year’s Eve as this time of the year is packed with many of us making commitments to make changes. We start off with great intentions planning to  adjust our diet, up our fitness level, implement career changes,  organise our finances, improve our relationships and promise to read more. Reading more is always on the list…! New Year’s resolutions are excellent. They provide focus, give us something to aim for and structure our plans. Taking time out to set new year’s resolutions is admirable, and sharing them with others is excellent with regards to accountability. Having someone other than ourselves hold us to our plans can be a great way to ensure that we stay on track.

Calendar with pushpins

If we happen to falter, some of us have a tendency to lack generosity towards our failings and we treat ourselves with disdain if we don’t keep up our plans into January, February and beyond. It’s all too easy to feel like a failure if we lose our way and fall off the wagon – or fail to get through the 75 books we promised ourselves we would finish by March…

But look! Look at how many “new years” there are. If we don’t stay on track there’s no need to wait until the next January. Life is beautiful in that it gives us endless options -the shift in mindset is the secret, not a date on a calendar. Set your own new year and create as many as you need to, just like the world has…and keep going…

Good luck…and Happy New Year for whenever you celebrate it!


“13 on the 13th”

Tuesday is 13 blog day and today is an extra-special Tuesday as it’s the 13th December. To mark the occasion I’m launching the new series “13 on the 13th”. This will be a hotlist of thirteen facts, tips or hacks related to an area of business or career development.  To kick off the series, today’s “13 on the 13th” will feature facts about me, Natalie, and 13 Rhythms, my service. Part of my increasing visibility about 13 Rhythms, will include people getting to know a little bit more about me. However, as I find talking about myself difficult, I asked for feedback from others – something that they associate with me. I’ve not censored their words, but did say it was for this blog so it’s all PG rated!  I’ve included some of my own comments too.

So. Let’s begin.

1. 13 Rhythms was born on Friday, 13th September, 2013. The idea that something positive and life changing could manifest itself on a date associated with bad luck and unhappy events, led to the name and the mission behind what I do – delivering services that focus on changing perspectives and removing limiting beliefs – beliefs from unknown origins which don’t serve our goals and aspirations.

2. My favourite quote is “Think. Act. Be.” mainly because it was my colleague, now friend, Hanson and my intern Lazza who came up with it and then painted it on the wall in our office.

3. I love giving people nicknames. If you have one from me, you’ll know this to be true!

4. “I remember your love for avocado and Freeze-Its.” Ice poles by another name on another continent.

5. Zimbabwe changed my life.

6. “Mama Nat can’t do tech!” This always makes me laugh! Oh and that’s one of many nicknames I’ve been given. Apparently I’m not very good with computers. This is only partially true. Kinda…

7. “Your love for wandering is what got us connected. Your wandering, dancing feet.” and “You like dancing Kizomba and crazy high heels.” I’m cheating here putting two together. I’m going to add that I have a wish/dream/aim to dance Salsa in Cuba. Serious cheating!

8.  My favourite colour is hot pink, time of day – sunset and season – summer.

9. “You have a great sense of humour and are the queen of one liners.”

10. “Freeman is direct and to the point after absorbing what’s going on.””You have a great grasp of a lot of topics and give great conversation.” “Natalie has acute attention to detail.” I grouped these together because they are so similar, even though they are from three different people who all know me but not each other.

11. I’ve never broken a bone.

12. I love cooking outdoors – meat, fish and vegetables on a BBQ makes me happy. Always.

13. “Everyone you come into contact with leaves in a better mood than before.” So this one made me cry – I am taken by sentiment (fact 13.5!) but it’s the meaning behind the words that gets me.

So that’s it. It is of course difficult to know what to share about ourselves, when and for what purpose. The lesson I’m learning more and more is the need for visibility of the business owner, in our people-centred services. No list is exhaustive but it can be useful to give others something personal about us that they can connect to.

So with the purpose of this blog being “visibility” the real breakthrough for me will be when I share these “13 on the 13th” lists via video…and I have a whole month to practice.

Wish me luck!

Acknowledgements: With huge, warm thanks and gratitude to WBPOWE, EK, KN, YA, DB, CH, CM and special thanks to LH for all the reasons you know in relation to 13. Thank you. All photographs taken by and owned  by me.


Is it you, or you?

Last week I observed an interesting exchange on a contact’s Facebook page. It became quite an argument with some fairly ugly and controversial opinions being expressed. I read the thread not only for the comments and their content, but from a business perspective.

The thread was one of many that we see shared on our various social media platforms, all day, every day. It was a combination of various opinions being shared and discussed, all originating from a fairly innocuous original post. What interested me was the way that an opinion being expressed by a business owner can be twisted into something else altogether, and the negative impact that can have on their business, their reputation and ultimately their financial bottom line.

It led me to reflect on who are we as business owners when we “speak” on social media? Are we our individual selves or are we our brand? Is it possible to ask readers to see the difference between “Natalie” and “13 Rhythms”? Is it even a reasonable expectation?

With the use of social media being such a strong marketing tool for so many of our businesses, our network has the potential for global reach, which is a great thing. It also means that our visibility is magnified and that means that the things we say and do have an audience. It means that we always have to be thinking about the opinion that we share online – it’s important to remember that even if an online discussion group, or a “private” Facebook page feels “intimate” it isn’t in any way. Even if you have a business page, your personal page will often be fuelling it. This means that our digital footprint follows us everywhere online.

The thread that inspired this blog ended with people talking about taking their money elsewhere with comments relating to stopping patronising the poster’s business. What was interesting was that the offending comments weren’t made by the poster, they merely pressed a “like” on a comment that others took offence to. This was both interesting and scary to observe.

So I ask, is it you, or you? As a business owner, it seems that there is only one “you” – the choice is ours in regards to what we want to share, post and respond to in our online lives and we’re taking calculated risks with the impact it may have.

Let’s choose wisely…