Episode 13 of The School of Success Podcast Series is now live! An inspiring and eye-opening deep-dive into how shifts in your diet and lifestyle can transform your life and support females in their 40’s suffering with hormonal imbalance regain vitality, restoration and balance.
This interview with the accomplished Melanie Flood, Nutritionist, Health Coach and Female Hormone Expert, teaches you:
– top tips for losing weight fast, the healthy way;
– the surprising link between nutrition and mental and physical health and the shocking consequences of a bad diet;
– the truth about supplements and the six pillars of wellbeing;
– how gut, hormonal and genetic testing can optimise your wellbeing and happiness;
– the surprising signs of the peri-menopause; and
– why you shouldn’t believe everything a doctor tells you
This is also for you if you have an interest in how optimisation of sleep, movement and even the products you use in your lives can have a huge bearing on your wellbeing and happiness. Or maybe, like many of us, you’re not sure what a Nutritionist and Health Coach is and the main benefits of investing in one!
In this super informative interview, Mel shares her expert wisdom from her own journey struggling with low energy and anxiety and top tips for turning your life around using diet and lifestyle. A successful registered Nutritionist and leading expert in women’s hormonal health, Mel works with a range of clients but has a specialist focus on the perimenopause.
Episode 12 of The School of Success Podcast Series is now live! An inspiring and eye-opening deep-dive into why becoming a mother is the perfect time to start a business!
This interview with the accomplished Leadership Coach, Author and Workplace Wellbeing Creator, Sabine Matharu, teaches you:
– top tips for overcoming the limiting beliefs that stop people from launching their own businesses;
– what’s really going on in new mums’ inner monologues when they go back to work;
– myth-busting around the risks of launching your own business;
– how to use adversity to laser-focus new career goals and expedite health, wealth and happiness; and
– how organisations can better support working parents
This is also for you if you have an interest in how to optimise career clarity before making a change and how to find the killer weapons required to start and scale a business fast. This is also for you if you’re not sure what a Leadership Coach is and the main benefits of investing in one!
In this super informative interview, Sabine shares her expert wisdom from years as a management consultant turned successful author and entrepreneur working with women across a whole host of industries whether new mums, aspiring entrepreneurs or leaders in their field.
A professional or an entrepreneur, a country bumpkin or a city slicker, a conformist or a free spirit? Or are you a hybrid – a suited and booted banker or lawyer with the ‘perfect job’ but a niggling desire to explore less well-trodden paths? Or maybe you’re just plain confused about where you fit and what really drives you.
Whatever category you fall into, most of us from Generation Y were bred by folks with far less opportunity than us professionally. With more conventional views of what constitutes a ‘proper’ job, our parents may have inadvertently left us stuck between a rock and a hard place – between what we should do and what we want to do. But ‘should’ is where it all goes wrong.
Expectations versus reality
Nobody knows this better than Kristen Kimball, author of ‘The Dirty Life’ and former freelance journalist and Harvard graduate from New York. After a chance interview with a hunky farmer, she upped sticks to set up farm with her green-fingered interviewee, leaving the city lights and life as she knew it in her wake. You heard right – East Village in favour of mud and veg in the middle of nowhere. This is a story of two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of an intellectual glamour-puss’ life – one with farming and the other with a man who milks cows for a living. A striking tale about love, happiness and the power of instinct, ‘The Dirty Life’ is a must-read for anyone feeling a little disillusioned with the daily grind or what life’s all about.
The product of a neat, middle-class world, Kimball’s novel charts the mental and physical challenges she faced leaving the glitzy world of ‘convention’ in favour of rural slog. ‘Writ[ing] with precision, authority and gratitude about what is evidently, despite its rigours, an idyllic life’ (New York Times Book Review), Kimball challenges our views about wealth, success and love, giving food for thought as compelling as the gastronomical delights she chronicles.
Kimball’s union with Mark, a rugged hulk of a man with a passion for food and farming, is a world away from the corporate sphere she might have settled into. But as with the different kind of ‘wealth’ she finds farm-side, Kimball takes us on a journey full of surprises, a journey which exposes some stark ironies about our perceptions of ‘success’ and ‘happiness’ of City life.
Does success equal happiness?
‘The Dirty Life’ makes us question our ‘values’ as we know them. In Kimball we find a cosmopolitan New Yorker who, like many of us, supposedly ‘has it all’. A woman with all the trappings of refinement, yet one who is, by her own admission, blinded by ignorance. Openly admitting her surprise that a ‘salt-of-the-earth-type’ person such as Mark could talk with dexterity and intelligence and that ‘the physical world – the trades’ was not in fact ‘the place you ended up if you weren’t bright or ambitious enough to handle a white-collar job’, Kimball shows us the danger of defining people by what they do. In Kimball we find a highly educated woman who has travelled the world with her job, yet whose eyes are opened by an entirely different world, stunned by the happiness she finds ‘pulling warm eggs out of a nest box’.
Shake things up…
So, what is the moral of the tale? Keep meeting new people, keep an open-mind and be true to yourself. Work out what is important to you and don’t be afraid to question reality as you know it. Have the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expect of you and remember, the most successful life is one which unearths what makes you truly happy. Fulfilment goes far deeper than an impressive job title and it will bring you fruits that money can’t buy.
Picture the scene… You’re lying on your deathbed looking back at your life. All you can hear is the ticking of the clock and the quiet mumblings of voices swimming around you. What chapters of your life would you pause and zoom in on, savouring the happiness that you felt? And what would you regret? Not spending more time with your family, not meeting more people, not laughing enough or not billing more hours at the office? It seems simple when we look at it like that, but it’s easy to get swept up in the helter skelter of City life, losing touch with the values that give us real purpose. These are the sorts of questions that Sharma’s bestselling novel, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, will have you asking.
Balance Versus Success.
Heavy it may sound, but Sharma’s style is anything but. Described by Brian Tracy, as a “fun, fascinating, fanciful adventure into the realms of personal development,” this is an inspiring story full of insightful messages for city professionals on how to achieve greater balance, control and effectiveness in their daily lives. And as one of the world’s leading experts on leadership and personal development and author of 12 international bestsellers, Robin Sharma knows a thing or two about success…
What Is Wealth?
It is success in its widest sense that is the crux of this powerful tale. This is a story about Julian Mantle, a hotshot lawyer whose out of balance lifestyle culminates in a near fatal heart attack in a packed courtroom. His collapse provokes a spiritual crisis, leading him to seek answers to life’s most important questions.
On a quest for happiness and fulfilment, he sells his prized possessions (including his Ferrari) and embarks upon a pilgrimage to India, where he discovers a group of monks who teach him the secrets of true happiness. Enlightened, he returns to the “very troubled” Western world, devoting himself to spreading this ancient wisdom to professionals who have lost sight of the “huge difference between well-being and being well-off”.
What Can We Learn From Julian Mantle?
Whether you’re a lawyer, an aspiring leader of industry or just hungry for recognition at work, there is some of Julian Mantle in all of us. Whether the dash of ego, the good education, the impressive job title, or the seemingly ‘have-it-all lifestyle’, we can relate to the intensity of his world, a world full of success and glamour but devoid of time; time to think, to feel and to develop spiritually. Our identification with this high-achieving, aspirational Alpha male, makes his fallout all the more disturbing.
But Mantle’s collapse is about far more than the physical dangers of work overload – his near death experience is the root from which Sharma philosophises outwards to explore the damaging internal effects of unbalanced, chaotic lives and how we can empower ourselves to find lasting happiness.
Indeed, the tale of Julian’s transformation from Type A senior partner at a leading law firm, who “at a fifty three years old, looked as if he was in his late seventies,” to a “youthful, vital and smiling model of change,” evidences the truth behind the transformational tips and techniques that he teaches.
What Are Sharma’s Top Tips?
A warmhearted, practical guide about the power of potential, here are some of the most inspiring lessons from “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”:
1. “There is no such thing as objective reality or the ‘real world’. There are no absolutes.”
2. “The secret of true happiness is simple. Find out what you truly love to do and then direct all your energy towards doing it. If you study the happiest, healthiest, most satisfied people of our world, you will see that each and every one of them has found their passion in life, and then spent their days pursuing it. Once you are focusing your mental power and energy on a pursuit that you love, abundance flows into our life and all your desires are fulfilled with ease and grace.”
3. “Most people live within the confines of their comfort zone. The best thing you can do for yourself is regularly move beyond it. This is the way to realise your true potential.”
4. “Achievement need not be of the material sort. Personally my objectives are to attain peace of mind, self-mastery and enlightenment. If I fail to accomplish these goals by the end of my life, I am certain that I will die feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied.” 5. “Dare to dream that you are more than the sum of your current circumstances. Once you find your purpose, life becomes much easier and far more rewarding.”
What The Critics Say…
The reviews speak for themselves. While Paulo Coelho, #1 bestselling author of The Alchemist, calls it, “A captivating story that teaches as it delights…helping people all over the world lead great lives,” and Richard Carlson, PhD and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”, says, “Robin Sharma has the rare gift of writing books that are truly life-changing.”
What’s The Moral Of The Tale?
‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ is packed full of useful messages and tips for city professionals to find lasting happiness. Whether showing that it’s normal if your goals change over time, or if the passion that you once felt for a job gives way to a sense of emptiness, it will certainly change your perspective.
Unlike the neatly packaged identities that social media cultivates, Sharma teaches us that life is a journey and we are constantly evolving creatures with shifting values and needs. There are no mistakes, only lessons.
As products of Generation Y, it’s easy to pursue competitive roles out of a sense of duty but Sharma shows us the value of reflection and questioning – are we so busy chasing the big pleasures of life that we are missing out on all the little ones? Are we really doing what we love?
So if you’re in a job that’s dominating your life or you’re simply interested in happiness and self-development, read this book. And if you think you don’t have time, all the more reason to. Life is all about choices and investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make.
Julian Mantle’s heart attack was his defining moment – his wake up call – giving him the chance to live a more inspired life. This book may be the wake up call that you’ve been looking for…
The Theory of Everything was quite something for Eddie Redmayne. He was already high on my list just for being a dazzling, redhead, for his (inoffensive) public school charm and for those stunning green eyes, but his performance in The Theory of Everything propelled him into unchartered territory.
I had assumed that The Theory of Everything would be about physics, planets and a famous scientist. And though it is, of course, about the incredible Stephen Hawking and his awe-inspiring achievements, it’s about far more than physical matter.
A Bit of A Game-Changer
This is a tale about the great themes of life – love and loss, strength and frailty, courage and fear, comedy and tragedy. This isn’t a perfect love story with violins and roses, romantic longevity untainted by challenge, this is a story about the varied and subtle shades of life at its most difficult and most beautiful. This is a story of reality and hope united, a story of a young couple bound by a love so strong that we are carried to dizzying heights with Jane’s passionate commitment to Stephen, a commitment at its most beautiful on his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease. Her inner courage is heightened by her miniature size, a gumption soaring way above the testing physical and emotional obstacles which are laid in their marital path. Stephen’s strength is as inspiring, manifest in his wicked sense of humour, sparkling eyes and remarkable scientific achievements despite his physical constraints. Nothing grips human nature more than strength in adversity and boy is this a hero’s tale – not just of the incredible scientist himself, but of his steadfast wife, unbending in love and sacrifice for the man she loves.
Where’s The Real Wow?
But for me, a more subtle ‘wow factor’ lies in the twist towards the end. The Hawkings’ ability to adapt to new and uncomfortable truths is established early on through Stephen’s illness but later, with the breakdown of their marriage, come some truly powerful messages. That the changed status of their incredible relationship didn’t undermine their happy ending bears poignant testimony to the power of the human spirit, challenging our perception of romance, commitment, happiness and success. For despite being the most brilliant example of ‘for better or for worse’, this ended up being a tale whose value wasn’t determined by whether the couple remained together or apart… this was a tale about success in a far wider sense – the ability to accept the twists and turns of life and adapt to changes thrown your way, no matter how unfair or futile.
What Can We Learn From The Theory of Everything?
In this respect, The Theory of Everything is aptly named, for it really is rich in messages about so many aspects of human existence. The aforementioned twist, set against a tale of such supernatural love and professional achievement, shows us that imperfection can still be inspiring and that magnificence is not always born of picture perfect endings. Intelligence is not just about brilliance and jaw-dropping achievement. It can be of a quieter kind, found in dignity, courage and the ability to adapt to change. In an increasingly digital society dependant on the disposable, this film shows us that those who don’t end up with perfect Facebook statuses can still find immeasurable success in their lives, looking back and looking ahead, whether personal, professional or familial, external or internal – together or apart. Indeed, any other type of ‘perfection’ seems rather superficial and mundane set against a tale so rich in challenges and beauty that follows – but a static snap from a virtual world built to dazzle. The Theory of Everything challenges this empty cultural norm, showing that real beauty shifts and moulds to the circumstances of life – a life which can be rosy, shady and just plain difficult. A real life where real brilliance goes way beyond a perfect picture, inspiring hope in loss, beauty in pain, humour in suffering.
And it is in this vein that The Theory of Everything finds its cosmic power – in the quiet beauty of one of the closing scenes which sees the former couple united in the Queen’s perfectly manicured gardens, sharing their pride in the children that they have created together. The dignity with which they move on to confront life apart from one another after their incredible love story, without compromising the deep respect that they developed for one another, struck me as a great perfection. Nothing supernatural, nothing cosmic, nothing to write home about on a Facebook wall but a flawed reality rich in hope, humanity and dignity.
Why Should You See The Theory of Everything?
The Theory of Everything is a remarkable tale about the power of the human spirit – a spirit which can be dazzling, other-earthly in abilities and passions and spell-bindingly inspiring but one which is also, just that – human – flawed, challenging and complex. A truly metaphysical tale, The Theory of Everything unites improbable points of likeness on so many levels to incredibly powerful effect – strength in adversity, humour in suffering, passion in frailty and happiness despite separation. I can see why Stephen Hawking said he was proud of Eddie Redmayne. Both seem to be remarkable men, probing life’s deepest questions in dazzling fashion.
New York City is addictive – once you’ve tasted it, you’ll want more. A concrete jungle with a skyline to end all skylines, what it lacks in elegance and beauty it makes up for in energy and buzz. The city that never sleeps, it’s a hub of yellow taxis, beeping horns, NYPD vans and Stars and Stripes – everywhere. If you can stomach the Arctic climes, February is a great time to visit – you’ll benefit from cut-price flights and maybe a bit of snow, if you’re lucky!
Your first experience of Manhattan will doubtless be in a yellow cab. Brace yourself. New York taxi drivers are devoid of the charm of London cabbies. Zero small talk and 20% tipping starts here! In terms of sites to see, The Empire State Building in Midtown Manhattan is a great first stop. Walking through the art-deco surrounds as you ascend to the open air 360-degree observation deck on the 86th floor is like stepping back in time (don’t worry, there’s a lift). The panoramic views that await are all the more striking by night, the bitter cold etching the stunning vistas into freeze frames of the mind. The cityscape is breath-taking, with lights spanning horizon-wide across the Hudson and East Rivers and stretching skyward to illuminate the heady heights of the Chrysler Building, the Rockefeller Centre and the Bank of America Tower!
By day, the penthouse floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at 80 Columbus Circle on 60th Street is a top of the range spot to gaze over the Manhattan skyline and Central Park. If you can’t stretch to the mouth-watering sushi feast on offer, a hot chocolate is a warming alternative on a cold winter’s day. The views from the rooftop bar of the Standard Hotel, an 18-storey tower arching over the High Line in the heart of Downtown Manhattan’s Meatpacking District are also worth a peek – if you can stretch to a slightly pricey liquid treat, there is no better way to take in The Big Apple than in the chic surrounds of the Boom Boom Room. But this is a city with far more to it than its 1,776 feet height!
From East Village and West Village to Wall Street and Chelsea, New York is a hive of activity and character. The cafe culture is a huge part of daily life, stretching well-beyond the 9-5. My favourite daily hangout was the “The Bean” at 147, East Village, a large kooky cafe full of charm and character (and delicious banana muffins to boot). Typical of the New York coffee scene, it is awash with locals on Apple Macs, giving off a collective energy which really stirs the creative juices. Who knew sitting at a communal table could be such fun? How very un-British!
While we’re on the subject of East Village, with bars, cafés and restaurants aplenty, this is a great little spot for young-uns to stay. Lying east of Greenwich Village, south of Gramercy Park and north of the Lower East Side, the area has become a center of the counter culture in New York and is known for its diverse community, vibrant nightlife and artistic sensibility!
Big Daddy’s, off Park Avenue, was the truly quintessential American diner, with a breakfast menu longer than your arm from milkshakes, pancakes and eggs galore to cute red diner stools, chequered floors and cosy booths – and just a few steps away from the elegant Gramercy Tavern, one of America’s most beloved restaurants with a smart, sexy bar to blow your socks off. The perfect spot for a Bloody Mary or a bite for lunch or dinner.
If you prefer even finer things in life, a stroll through the civilised Greenwich Village will give you a snapshot into the lives of Danielle Steele’s upper middle class ladies. If you fancy a lazy afternoon in a café, you can while away the hours watching New York’s equivalents of Chelsea yummy mummies treating their well-turned out tots to tea and cake!
For a lively gastronomical experience you won’t forget in a hurry, hop a little further north to The Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District. One of the greatest indoor food halls of the world, it has more than thirty-five vendors purveying everything from soup to nuts, wine to coffee, cheese to cheesecake. It also boasts eclectic pop-up shops displaying all manner of delights from hand-made jewellery to beautiful cards and prints such those designed by Ashleigh Verrier (see below). Top that off with a visit to the world-class High Line (a stone’s throw away) and you have a perfect afternoon. A one mile, haven-like park built on an elevated railway 30 feet above Manhattan’s West Side, it provides beautiful views over the Hudson River and beyond!
A top spot for dinner nearby is The Monarch Room, the American Restaurant-Diner also located in the Meatpacking District. With an ambience and price tag typical of the area, it is super trendy with a buzzy exclusivity that is hard to beat. Fantastic cocktails and a diverse menu ranging from grilled octopus and duck breast to peanut butter wedge and chocolate cake make for a memorable feast!
Another must-see site is the famous Central Park, some 800 acres in size. Just north of Midtown, it’s home to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, tennis courts and a sizeable lake. You can even roam around it in a horse and carriage if you’re feeling lazy post brunch at the Loeb Boathouse below, is a stunning spot for brunch overlooking the lake.
Shouting distance from Saks on Fifth Avenue, Barney’s on Madison Avenue and Broadway, a leisurely walk amongst the trees can topped off with a bit of retail therapy and any number of Musicals from Pippin to Wicked.
If you’re after some respite from New York’s mayhem, The Ace Hotel on Broadway is just the ticket. Dimly-lit with with cosy armchairs and sofas, this chilled lounge-bar is a great example of New York being “a city of interiors”. Step off the bustly New York streets into Ace and you’ll enter a snug hub brimming with New Yorkers, Brooklynites, international travellers and freelancers unwinding to the dulcet tones of brilliant live music displays on Sunday evenings.
I’d also recommend a trip to Wall Street. Situated on the Southern tip of Manhattan, it buzzes with testosterone befitting a global financial centre and is a stone’s throw from the famous Brooklyn Bridge and its spectacular views of Manhattan (dinner at The River Café overlooking the East River is memorable). The Financial District is also within spitting distance of the stunning new World Trade Center and The World Trade Center Memorial, a salutary reminder of times passed.
A note of warning for single ladies out there looking for love. If you’re visiting New York in the hope of “hooking-up” with a handsome American, best look elsewhere. Described as “a candy store for men”, women vastly outnumber their male counterparts and are known to be every bit as determined and toned as professional predators. This is a city of wash-board stomachs like no other. The other tip for English tourists is to speak slowly and clearly, over-enuciating to the nth degree. While most New Yorkers go bananas over our “cute” English accents (cue: “I’m dreadfully sorry to bother you” – again), it takes, on average, about three attempts to be vaguely understood. Most odd.
One of the other notable aspects of New York and an apt analogy for the difference between the English and American personality has to be the cars. While London’s roads boast Mini Coopers, BMWs, Aston Martins and TVRs, New York is replete with black, oversized A-Team style vans, Mustangs and Cadillacs. Such was the prevalence of colossal black vehicles parked astride 5* Hotels, I half expected Barack Obama to step out on state business.
But joking aside, New Yorkers can’t be faulted for their warmth, enthusiasm and lack of reserve. This is a people who take pride in letting their military personnel board planes first and who fly the American flag with unapologetic patriotism – a refreshing contrast to London. The scale and compression of the high-rise buildings give off a vitality and animation so imposing it seems almost pop-up. Like nothing I have ever experienced, with a noise and buzz of elephantine proportions, this really is “The Land of Hope and Dreams”. If you feel a little flat, it will bring you alive; if you feel the wrong side of motivated, it will make you dream bigger.
It is perhaps best summed up by John Steinbeck: “New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous. But there is one thing about it – once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.”