It’s all about me.

It’s really not, but I do think that personal and professional development is about being the most authentic version of oneself. I still have biases, preferences, quirks and flaws, and I think it’s important that my blog readers can see those for what they are – to be cognisant of these when reading my posts. Hopefully knowing a bit more about me also brings these posts to life. I’m a normal person who’s striving to develop myself whilst balancing everyday responsibilities.

I work in the City of London as a broker which is demanding of my time, energy and performance. However, most who work in the square mile would concur that it’s not the most innovative, creative, dynamic or progressive industry. “Because that’s the way it’s always been done” is an answer which is too oft cited. Gender pay gap reports have been dire, which means that ethnicity surveys would deliver even worse results; it’s an industry in which the white, British, middle class, male prevails. There’s very little incentive for change, and unfortunately this colours my perception of life. I’m a feminist.

I’m fiercely independent; I like to provide for myself, stand on my own two feet, split bills 50:50. This is indicative of my feminism, but also the fact that I’ve been self-supporting since the age of 19. Since this time, I’ve been
intent on developing myself and learning about who I am as an individual. I’ve indulged in almost a decade of singledom before embarking upon sharing some of my life with another. But this has also led to a severe aversion to vulnerability, which I’m now struggling/learning to embrace.

During this time, I’ve travelled extensively (solo) – not of the backpacking variety, but by wandering around cities with books, journals and camera in hand. Travelling has aided my development in so many subtle ways; it’s removed me from my comfort zone, got me to ‘dare greatly’, found me answers to decisions which needed to be made, carried me through loves lost, and given me the much-needed space to breathe, away from the City. It’s given me perspective. Yet, could it be framed as ‘running away’ from the noise? Possibly.

I’m an early bird. I get up at 4.30am to train most days. This is my daily me-time – it’s all I get. And if I don’t fit it in before work, it doesn’t happen. But fitness isn’t about being better than someone else, it’s about being a better person than you used to be. Training is my meditation, it’s the axis of my day, and it’s delicious. It’s also the only way I can get a dopamine hit. You could question whether it’s an addiction or an obsession. I wouldn’t have an answer for you on this, only that if it is an addiction, then it’s a good one to have. I try to maintain self-awareness about my training and take rest days, but I should also be open to questioning my behaviour.

On 4th February 2018 I gave up alcohol: I’m sober. Prior to this date, I was gunning through a Masters (part-time) in addition to juggling my career – every minute of my weekend was being chased down. I drank very little in order to keep up, to wake up each morning and write 1000 words. On 3rd February I had a momentary break in deadlines so I went out for dinner and struggled through two glasses of wine. There was a significant dip in my productivity and creativity the next day; I was half the person I had been and I couldn’t perform at the level I expected of myself. I also felt like I wanted to kill myself – life was so much harder. The change was distinct, loud and obvious. I never looked back. As time as passed, I’ve become increasingly involved in the sober movement, learning more about this small community and supporting its aims. In turn, removing alcohol from my life also served to increase my introversion; socialising without that crutch is difficult at first, and I’m still fumbling my way through sobriety’s delights and difficulties. But it’s an area of personal development which has such a drastic impact on all other areas of our lives – not to be overlooked or easily dismissed. I’m sure this thread will weave through my posts – keep an open mind.

I recently discovered that personal and professional development is how I validate my self worth. I thrive on pushing myself to learn more, to achieve more, to be more, and I gain much satisfaction from helping others do the same. Witnessing the ignition of self-worth and drive within others is a sight to behold, akin to being present at a spiritual awakening. And so the inspiration came to grow this endeavour into a central pillar of my life. Let’s see where it goes from here.

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