2021 · at home with lu · bloggers · community · consulting · random stuff · virtual coffee date · weekly

Virtual Coffee Date #6

Good morning HQ-ers,

Thank you for joining me this morning over our beverages of choice!

Nice to sit down and have a catch-up with you all. How are you doing? Tell me below

I want you to remember something important; there is always a solution to any problem no matter how big or bad it is. It may not be instant, it may take effort, yet a solution is and always will be there.

You can drown out that noise and find peace once a solution is found. This gives you that chance to rediscover YOU because you are important.

Lord, wouldn’t it be great to have that as a constant counsel and support?

Many people have asked me how I got through the time I was a crime victim, and I will tell them I got through it by applying certain principles I’ve learnt.

Sadly, we usually have to go through adversities to garner the wisdom to survive. Which is really how I personally got into teaching and comedy. Both give the recipient so much while making me feel rewarded when I’ve helped them.

It’s a great feeling to make someone smile.

And next weekend I’m hoping to do more than make someone smile as I return to stand-up at Brighton Fringe.

© CSHQ 2021

It’s a good few hours drive to the South Coast so I’ll see you all back here for a brew after the U.K. Bank Holiday weekend!

But for now, let’s have a chat in the comments below!

2021 · bloggers · comedy · community · education · friday feels · random stuff · weekly · writing

Friday Feels #10

Hello HQ-ers!

Hope you’re all well.

Another mad busy week here at CS HQ with a to-do list as long as your arm, feeling slightly overwhelmed most days to straight out frazzled!

So since we last got together, in case you missed the last post, I’m going to be performing on a Triple-Bill at the Brighton Fringe Festival! So I’ve been working on a set that I’m now refining for stage.

© WTF 2021

It’s been well over a year due to COVID restrictions that I’ve performed live and yes I’m extremely nervous. However, I’m very much looking forward to this experience and a little anxiety is a good motivator sometimes.

I’m back at Uni too, so my head is buried in reading and assignments for the next 2 years.

I also launched the Podcast finally! You can listen here: Intro Episode

While this is going on, I’m still working on Online Learning HQ and it’s impending launch.

Join me for a Virtual Coffee Date on Sunday morning where I’ll go into more detail about this.

Prioritising is hard when there’s so much to say and do, isn’t it?

The kettle will be on, see you on Sunday morning!

2021 · blogging101 · community · consulting · education · virtual coffee date · weekly · writing

Virtual Coffee Date #5

02.05.21

Hey HQ-ers,

You ever wonder why people do the lame shit that they do?

You ever look back on certain things that happened in school, college, work and ‘think why didn’t I say that?’ after years of thinking up the perfect response or roast?

These usually come to me years after an event while I’m on the loo!

And what makes it worse? When people come with advice AFTER.

Hindsight has 20/20 vision.

Imagine being able to pre-empty potentially disturbing exchanges and situations? How would that affect our self-belief and confidence?

Imagine being able to spot the signs and red flags so you can decide whether to continue with caution or extricate yourself from anything that could cause you harm. How does this make you feel? Tell me, right now here

Imagine being armed with the tools that help you in life…

There are so many things I wish I knew BEFORE. I probably would have still carried on but at least I’d have been more aware, more prepared, more able to take back control of my life.

And while I could have had the chance to be more self-assured I’ve learnt to understand, reflect, learn and cope with all the negative scenarios I’ve experienced.

Now I have a choice…

Either move on and leave it there or pay it forward?

I choose the latter and offer you or anyone you know that can benefit from the opportunity to investigate interpersonal relationship behaviours and shift their mindset. Find out more NOW

Join me again very soon for a virtual coffee date!

Have a great week.

2021 · community · consulting · education · friday feels

Friday Feels #8

Hello HQ-ers,

Well last Friday, I told you all about how I was the victim of a crime a few years ago and through official referral went on two programmes to aid my recovery and mental well-being. And that while I found it brilliant, I found some flaws that didn’t sit right with me.

I’m still working creating my course loosely based on those 2 programmes so it will be LIVE soon!

  • Accessible to all
  • No official referral needed
  • Suitable for all situations not just that specific situation the original training I did pertained to.

My aims are to raise awareness of the impact on each of us within mis-aligned interpersonal relationships and to provide tools that encourage safer and more informed choices in our lives going forward.

For more information, click HERE

Have a fabulous weekend!

2021 · bloggers · community · consulting · virtual coffee date · weekly · writing

Special Edition: Virtual Coffee Date #4

25.04.21

Today, I’m joined by Yker Valerio, Founder/Editor of Bon Vivant Caffè. Which makes perfect sense as this is a virtual coffee date! It is almost impossible to not smile when you talk to Yker because he is such a passionate character.

This is his story:


“When the Pandemic began, I was working for a consulting firm. I’d been there almost ten years. I was teaming up with another consultant and a client’s Project Manager. Although it was an exciting project, something felt a bit, ‘off’. I couldn’t put my finger on why though.

Leading up to this, I’d been directing my energy into some freelancing projects, mostly translations and writing. I didn’t realise at the time but I’d found my calling.

Writing is a lifelong passion for me, and I just felt it was time to write more. So in 2020, I made my mind up and decided to start my own business as a freelance writer and entrepreneur”

Yker’s next move is great advice to any budding entrepreneurs out there.

“Well, I decided to start my niche research right away, was a coffee blog a good idea? I took Authority Hackers approach to advance and started working on my coffee blog in July.

Curiously enough, the quarantine helped me to focus and my productivity rose very quickly. Commuting time and small-talk at the office suddenly transformed into productive time and made a huge difference for me.

Then, I realised that I needed some time to work alone. So, I prepared to launch my blog and took a part-time contract as a writer, so I could transition away from my full-time job”.

So as the World rolled down its shutters, Yker was able to reflect on his place and purpose in this world.

“All of my career I’d been around HR-related consulting, with some hints of innovation, transformation, and change.

From my standpoint, I was working in supportive roles most of the time, which was essential to me.

I felt worried about the people around me, but something made me think I would be better working on my own. So, when the crisis was becoming overwhelming for most people, I felt liberated actually.

It sounds terrible, and self-centred, but my experience as a remote freelancer and entrepreneur have given me so much autonomy and productivity I can barely understand how I functioned before this.

It still worries me the current status of the people around, but I can’t think about returning to work the way I did it before. I wouldn’t do it, as I know how I can be a lot more productive now. 

With the support of my wife of course, she has always been very supportive. I was a bit afraid of my parents’ response, but without my wife I don’t think I’d have progressed as well as I have.

Fortunately, my whole family and friends have been at my side at every step. I can’t thank them enough for the encouragement and good vibes.

I think it’s key to have a supportive circle of people around to sort the hard times, and I am lucky enough to have a beautiful family and good friends around me”. 

See? It’s impossible to not smile… 

“I can’t ignore the huge pain the Pandemic has inflicted on so many people.

Still, it has forced many organisations, institutions, and individuals to be more open about remote working, engaging in chats, social media, and all-sorts of new conversations.

I have enjoyed many online events during this year, including some coffee-related stuff like High Density, which was completely mind-blowing. I still watch the replays and learn from them.

E-learning was another huge part of my year, since I developed lots of new skills through online learning. I worked, and studied, and researched, and wrote, round the clock. I can’t imagine how difficult it’s for people without access to the internet to face this pandemic.

Every time I hear the story about people struggling because they don’t speak English, or don’t have access to the Internet it saddens me.

I honestly wish more people could have more opportunities to thrive, even in these challenging times.

Many people are afraid and anxious. Others are optimistic. Still, I think the major difference between them is those want to return to the old normal opposed to those who want something different.

As I touched on before, when I realised I was more productive and energetic working on my own, I chose to take the entrepreneurial path.

It’s risky, but no one is safe during a crisis like this one. So I took the bold step.” 

I agree with Yker, it was a risk though I understand the motivation behind it. 

“Energy or lack of, was the biggest reason that compelled me to take action. I felt tired after a meeting as a consultant, but could write the whole Saturday for my blog! 

When I noticed I could focus for 10 hours in a row on my writing, I decided that I needed to take it seriously.”

I asked Yker to reflect on the decisions he made, here’s what he said.

“I have had my ups and downs, but I feel confident that I took the best decision.

It’s challenging to deal with financial instability, but I didn’t have any guarantee it was going to be any different as a full-time employee anyway.

I have a lot more mental stamina than before. The Pandemic put everything in perspective and it’s easier for me to see petty obstacles, just as they are.

Additionally, I am more creative and productive than I was. On the downside, I am more sedentary!” 

Yeah, you and most of us now! 

“I care more about impact than perceptions now. Working as a full-time employee I did my best to contribute to my employer’s bottom line, while presenting myself as an expert consultant.

Today as a freelancer and business owner, I can only see clients, providers, and partners as people. It’s incredible how alienated I was from this simple idea, but as I see human beings in business, my decisions are better grounded and easier to make.”

And that’s not all Yker learnt from this experience… 

“Process and results are equally important. We tend to focus so much on goals that we forget that they come from our effort, energy, time, and skills. The pandemic has made me think about my fragility. 

My advice is don’t overthink about your purpose, and put top. skills to work instead. I tried to convince myself about my purpose. Yet, my goals and skillset are evolving, day after day. Looking for a purpose can be exhausting and confusing. Since I found that out, I do my best to put my skills to work whenever I can.”

And last piece of advice? 

“Love. Sounds cheesy, because we’re so blind that we’re afraid of loving and even say the word. It’s the most powerful thing we have, so sharing love with everyone has become crucial for me”.

Yker drives home a great point here. 

“There’s no magic solution or a Eureka moment that deals with lack of purpose or an odd feeling about your job or your business. It’s easier to find good things in what we have, than waiting for dreams to come true.

I just prefer to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. And I honestly believe everyone can do that as well”. 

And as that concludes our interview, readers can connect online with Yker.

Photo credit © Yker Valerio

“My passion in hobby and business is coffee and writing about coffee, so the easiest way to know more about me and engage with me is on the Website

You can also connect via:

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

LinkedIn

2021 · community · consulting · education · friday feels

Friday Feels #7

Hello HQ-ers,

It’s been a crazy busy week here at CSHQ and I HAVE to share why with you!

I was the victim of a crime a few years ago and through official referral went on two programmes to aid my recovery and mental well-being.
I found it brilliant yet I found some flaws that didn’t sit right with me.

It kept niggling at me for years then over the last few months I had an epiphany:

I’m a qualified tutor!

So after the pandemic hit, and I’d graduated from University, the live comedy stopped and I started job-hunting. The job search proved to be fruitless, I thought right, you won’t employ me? Screw you! Your loss I’ll employ MYSELF!

I have been working all week creating content loosely based on those 2 programmes but:

  • Accessible to all
  • No official referral needed
  • Suitable for all situations not just that specific situation the original training I did pertained to.

Basically, I’m here creating course content on the principles of empathy and supporting others, while providing strategies of coping methods and mindset shifting to build confidence and assertion.
My aims are to raise awareness of the impact on each of us within mis-aligned interpersonal relationships and to provide tools that encourage safer and more informed choices in our lives going forward.

For more information, click HERE

Have a fabulous weekend!

2021 · blogging101 · community · consulting · daily · education · everyday inspiration · writing

Everyday Inspiration: Day 12

Critique a piece of work…

Hello HQ-ers,

At first, I was a little anxious about this prompt for a number of reasons that made a over-thinker come up with questions I now share with you:

  • Who the Hell am I to critique anything?
  • What difference would my critique make?
  • Where do I pick the right piece of work to start to critique?
  • When to critique anything as if it’s not timely, is that then not just another no-body’s opinion?
  • Why do I put myself through this?
  • How will I get readers to actually read a critique objectively especially if I pick a provocative piece?

Do I dare Disturb the universe?

T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland

Then, it happened!

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ‘lightbulb’ moment!

If you have to say or do something controversial, aim so that people will hate that they love it and not love that they hate it.

Criss Jami, Killosophy

So I decided to tackle this task as an ‘open letter’ of sorts to a young couple that we have all heard of. To a husband and wife that we have all had an opinion on. To two people in the limelight. To a mother and father that are no different to any other parent that wants to protect their families. To a man born into a way of life and the woman who worked to find her way of life.

My aim is to tackle this task with objectivity. I’m neither conformist or anarchist, I’m neither right or wrong. I merely write from what I have seen and heard from them via many sources. I merely write as I felt a resonance when they described how they felt.

There’s a sort of ‘mob mentality’ surrounding this couple. Anything in the mainstream and social media about them seems to create a knee-jerk reaction of anger and disdain. Anyone who tries to voice a fairer opinion on some channels, gets laughed at or shut down.

Now, that doesn’t phase me at all. I’m quite resilient to online trolls having dealt with real life ones for a long time. What does phase me is the hypocritical nature of this behaviour. I mean how can you post “be kind” today and then slate this couple tomorrow? It makes no sense, whatsoever.

You don’t just cherry pick who deserves kindness and compassion and who doesn’t just because you have a personal issue with their very existence which by the way, impacts your life in no way.

At this point, if you think you can guess which couple I’m talking about, share your answer in the comments below.

Continue reading “Everyday Inspiration: Day 12”
2021 · community · consulting

An interview with…

So today I welcome the first guest to appear on Beyond the CSHQ, as part of the Independent’s Project.

An honour to introduce to you, Winner of the 2019 Beauty Therapist of the Year award and all-round babe; Charlotte Gerrard, Owner and Beauty Therapist at Charlotte Gerrard Beauty.

Logo Reproduced with permission from Charlotte Gerrard

As the Pandemic is over a year old, I asked Charlotte to describe where she was at, career-wise when the Prime Minister announced the first National Lockdown.

She says, “I had been Assistant Manager at The Beauty Room in Ellesmere Port for nearly 6 years. I had decided to leave my position there as my boss (and friend) had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Brain Cancer. I was running the salon and working by myself whilst she was in hospital and I just couldn’t do it anymore. The business was running at a loss as I was the only member of staff working because we also had a therapist out on maternity leave. I didn’t want to leave the salon. I adored my job but I knew it wasn’t going to last the way it was going so I handed my resignation to my boss’s husband a month before lockdown was announced and arranged to start renting a room in another local salon to begin on April 1st but Lockdown started March 23rd.”

Charlotte really does adore her job so it must have been difficult to detach emotionally with everything going on. She is extremely passionate about the beauty industry and keeps up to date with career development at every opportunity. Yet evidently, she saw where she needed to take action as The Beauty Room couldn’t continue to operate.

I asked for her first thoughts when non-essential business had to cease operations, she replied,

“I was heartbroken! I was meant to start my own business on April 1st and obviously that didn’t happen. I had left my job and then the salon was sold so I wasn’t entitled to redundancy. I wasn’t entitled to furlough either because obviously the business no longer existed as it was. I wasn’t entitled to Universal Credit or JSA. My boss’s husband had figured out my final wage for March and I had used more holidays than I had accrued thanks to going on a 3 week holiday in January 2020; So I had holidays deducted from my final pay. I had no income for 5 months. ZERO. And I only got £800 as my final pay.”

Like many people, the financial implications of the Lockdowns affected Charlotte yet from those challenges she adds, “I learned that I’ll always be ok thanks to that time of no income.” 

Charlotte is one of many people who had to adjust income with expenditure so to come away with such a positive statement there is refreshing to hear. “My family and friends were gutted for me! Everyone’s lives were thrown up in the air though and all you can do is try to get through it.”

Charlotte goes on to say, “My marriage fared much better than I ever thought it would! When lockdown was announced, I honestly thought it would break us. It’s not normal to spend so much time together. Lee was off work too for the whole of the first lockdown. We got on unbelievably well. I realised he is actually my best mate and I love being around him. I think the weather helped too though! We weren’t locked in the house 24/7.”

Charlotte reflects on how she feels she has changed in a year, “I’m so much more chilled. I used to be very stressed all the time. It’s taught me that everything will always be ok and that my husband and I really are a good team. I’ve learned that I’ve wasted a lot of my life doing stupid things and not making the most of every day. My ex-boss absolutely LOVED life. If there was a party, she was at it. And if there was a karaoke machine there, then she was on it! She’ll never get the chance to do all the things she loved again so I’m going to do things for her. Life is so precious. It just took everything I’ve been through to realise it.”

When I asked her how has this experience impacted on the decisions she makes today, she answers, “I’m calmer. I’m a lot more rational. I try to be less judgmental. I think things through a bit more before I make a final decision.”

Charlotte’s advice to anyone in a similar situation: 

  • Everything will always be ok.
  • Friendships mean everything. 
  • Stay calm! And work your arse off every chance you get. 

You can connect with Charlotte on her Facebook Page and via Instagram.

Huge thank you to Charlotte Gerrard for her time with CSHQ today.

2021 · blogging101 · daily · education · everyday inspiration

Everyday Inspiration: Day 7

Today’s lesson provides five Tweets as a blog post prompt. The idea is to choose one that elicits a response. I’m not on Twitter anymore nor do I intend to return to it, however this is the tweet I chose from the lesson:

Koh’s tweet is very simple yet incredibly powerful.

We’ve all wondered why certain things are taught in schools when other things aren’t. There’s so many memes and posts that state as much. Here is a great example:

Original Credit: Unknown

Whilst I can’t be 100% certain of the original context Koh tweeted that post, my take on it is that you can be academic but not streetwise or you can be resourceful in many ways, yet not academic.

Original credit unknown. Found via Google Search: Pinterest.com/themetapicture

In the U.K. the Curriculum hasn’t evolved much from when I left school to now as I watch my son homeschooling. Yes the tasks are more relevant and fun than what I remember and are certainly more engaging. Yet still I wonder if English is a core subject, why aren’t we learning in school how to write a CV and cover letter? Maths is a core subject, why aren’t we learning basic book-keeping and budgeting/bill management in school? Science is a core subject so why aren’t we learning about reducing our carbon footprint for example.

PSHE/PSE, Science and Religious Studies touch on Reproduction and Sexual Education yet don’t touch on subjects like all forms of contraception, dealing with emotions, how to protect yourself from Domestic Abuse, how much weddings cost, the implications of divorce…

Geography doesn’t touch on entry requirements to other lands, vaccinations needed in certain countries, currency converting. Even booking a holiday, applying for passports etc. All that are things we do as adults that we never learned to do as young people. Why doesn’t PE cover eating disorders and body dysmorphia? Why doesn’t Home Economics & Food cover household matters, menu planning, shopping and budget?

For a minimum of 13 years, you’re in school and when you leave what have you really learned? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below

Thanks for reading!