Category Archives for "Courage"

5 Questions For Living From a Dying Man

By amandaalexander | Courage

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a very unusual webinar with a gentleman called Mike Seddon. Mike is an entrepreneur whose first business selling software morphed into a specialist online service helping businesses to market themselves using Google Adwords. I had never heard of Mike before, but I was introduced to him by Ian Brodie, a Marketing Strategist for whom I have a great deal of respect.

When I started writing this to you, I tried to find the email Ian had sent to me about this “Last Webinar” to let you know what made me decide to register. And this search prompted a very real reminder of the importance of “carpe diem” as we never know what tomorrow holds. As I searched for the email, the name “Mike Seddon” came up as recently as 20th May, when Ian had interviewed him for his podcast.

Less than 2 months later, the same man was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told he had just a few weeks to live.

Sobering stuff, isn’t it? But before you delete this email or dismiss it as depressing, please read on…

Hearing news like this is a reminder of how precious each day is and the importance of living our lives fully. I’m no expert on Buddhism, but I have done a little reading around Buddha’s teaching, attended a couple of workshops at the local Buddhist centre and one of the Buddhist philosophies that is always at the top of my mind is that, in order to fully live, we have to first accept that we will die. Forgive me if it’s not quite right, but that’s the gist of it.

Last week, I “met” this very courageous man for the first time on his “Last Webinar”. Here was a man who was staring his mortality straight in the face, yet he chose to spend one of those precious hours doing something positive for his fellow human beings, even at this most frightening of times.

I listened to Mike Seddon speak with tears in my eyes. This was a webinar presented by a man who had to choke back his own tears at the thought of leaving his wife behind. It was a webinar presented by a man who apologised that he would seem weepy as he adjusted his morphine levels. Occasionally, he winced with pain as he spoke. You’d have to be pretty hardened not to be touched by his courage.

However, this week’s post is about how we can live full out, It’s not about being negative – in fact, far from it! There is certainly realism, but also optimism, positive reflection and courage.

The No. 1 Thing Mike Wants You to Do TODAY!

Very simply, Mike Seddon, a man with weeks to live,  wants you to do this:  Schedule time out of your busy life to spend a day reflecting on your life in a way that is both aspirational, positive AND eminently practical.

His friend coined a name for the day – He called it a Seddon Day.

Mike asked each of us to schedule a “Seddon Day” NOW. He suggested we take ourselves off somewhere nice for the day, where we could reflect on his 5 questions deeply.

Your 5 Questions for Living from Mike

Here are Mike’s questions for you to ponder on your “Seddon Day”. The questions are his with some of my own interpretation thrown in:

1. What is my “Why” and am I living it? 

This isn’t just about your family. What is YOUR personal “why” in life? What’s your mission? Why were you put on this earth? What is your greatest gift? What legacy do you want to leave behind?  And are you living that “why” right now? If not, what

2. What does success look like? 

Build your life and your career/business according tot he value you bring to others and expect to be paid for the value you bring.

3. Am I enjoying the journey? 

There is only this moment – right now. You’ve heard me talk about this a lot too. It’s pointless having future goals if you have to make yourself utterly miserable in order to achieve them. I believe in hard work, dedication and pushing yourself, but you won’t do any of that if you’re not working hard, being dedicated and pushhing yourself on a path that you love.

If you’re not enjoying the journey, then please use your Seddon Day to brainstorm what you can and what you WILL do to change direction! Think you can’t? Allow me to remind you that it’s later than you think and time is ticking away. This might help you to get more creative

1. Am I hanging out with the right people? 

Mike cautioned women in particular at this point about not taking as gospel the “success stories” we observe superficially in other women. He reminded us that “little people talk about other people and big people talk about ideas”. So hang out with people who love you, who share your values and who don’t gossip. There is so much richness in this big wide World of ours, so much to learn. Why would you impoverish yourself intellectually by spending your life bitching about others? Expand your mind and expand your social circle to one that brings you joy. For me, it’s about hang out with people who you respect and love, who will push you to stretch further and achieve your potential, who don’t let you take yourself or life too seriously and who make you lark around like a big kid!

2. What would happen to my loved ones if I was no longer around?

I told you the questions included practical and this last question is immensely practical. If you were to be run over by the proverbial bus tomorrow, would your family struggle to access your bank accounts? Would they know which life assurance policy you had taken out? Would they know where to look? Passwords?

Mike also asked – Have you created any passive income streams that can continue to provide income to your family even after you’re gone? His audience on the webinar was primarily online business owners, so you might think this doesn’t apply to you. But the fact is, you CAN create a “passive income” business, even if you are employed.

This last Seddon question will take some time to answer and implement, as you’ll have to create a few procedures. It’s all about getting your finances in order. It’s one of those things we all tend to avoid. Let’s face it, it’s the sort of thing you can put off for a lifetime (pardon the black humour pun!)

But look at it this way, if you were really unwell, would you want to be spending your last days calling financial institutions trying to work through their bureaucracy and inefficiency? I know from Mike’s Facebook timeline that he IS having to do this. And I have no qualms about a name and shame here – it’s the Halifax – Boo!

Did You Read This Far?

For some people, this will be a post to avoid.  I don’t think there are many people out there who are comfortable talking about death.  Some people may ignore it. Others may judge it as “depressing”.  Good luck to them!

But if you’ve got this far, then congratulations – I believe you are open-minded, curious and determined to live your life full out.  So I’ll leave you with this, one of my favourite quotes about the big “D” word!  It has been attributed to various people and as anonymous. The provenance is unimportant. The philosophy IS important….. Live every single moment of your amazing life! Live purposefully, fully and enjoy the ride!

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming — WOW— What a Ride!”

When is Your Seddon Day?

My “Seddon Day” is in my diary on Friday 21st August. Let’s get some accountability going here. When is yours? 🙂  I’d love to know if you’re moved to schedule your own Seddon Day.  Let me know in the comments below!

If you want to watch Mike’s webinar, you can do here.

About Shakespeare Hospice

If you got something from this post and Mike’s questions, I know that the biggest thanks you can give him would be to help in raising money for the charity that is supporting him to die at home and with dignity – Shakespeare Hospice. The other night Mike posted on his timeline that he was frightened. The hospice didn’t have enough nurses to cover him and he was having problems with his syringe driver. He appealed to people to donate so others would not have to have this fear.

So please, if you could donate whatever you can to Mike’s Just Giving page, then that would be extremely kind of you. Don’t be worried if it’s just £1. If every person reading this donated £1 today, then Mike would meet his target of raising £6,000 for Shakespeare Hospice by the end of today.

How 6 Women Built Their Courage and Made Big Transformations

By amandaalexander | Courage

“Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.”

― Alice Mackenzie Swaim

I LOVE this quote, because it expresses perfectly the courage we need to face our fears and make positive change in our lives.

You need courage to make any kind of change in your life, whether it’s career transformation, ending a relationship, starting a business, getting a promotion at work or battling through a nasty illness.

You have to stretch beyond your comfort zone unless you are happy to remain static in your life. By definition, beyond your comfort zone is an uncomfortable place, and to deliberately open yourself up to discomfort requires COURAGE.

However, you’ll be surprised at how little it takes to start building your courage. In this post, I want to convince you that it’s easier than you think, by sharing 6 stories of 6 “extraordinary ordinary” women.

I am sure that all of these women would identify with fragile blossoms more than towering oaks! Yet each of these “fragile blossoms” has made huge transformations in a short period of time.

Here are 6 inspirational stories from 6 real women.

All 6 of these courageous women took my Stepping Up programme a few months ago. I think you’ll be inspired by their real-life stories. Each has made significant and real transformations in their lives. Enjoy!

Tamara had been made redundant and wanted to set up her own business…

She actually ended  up setting up not one but TWO businesses because she discovered something that she truly believed in with the 2nd business. However, in order to move forward with this, she had to get over what her family and friends might think of this. She had held herself back because she was worried what others might think. But she took the first step by getting really clear on what SHE wanted, rather than what others thought she SHOULD want.


Maria rediscovered her courage after being crushed by fear for several years….

This amazing lady’s story is one that would have you transfixed and horrified as a fictional drama on TV. But it was real: She had suffered greatly from a sustained “attack” by a group of people filled with fear and hatred. For this woman, even making the decision to JOIN Stepping Up was a huge one. But she took that first step. And that step led to many more. 3 months on and she has battled through ups and downs, sometimes taking two steps back for every one forward!

On this journey, Maria has begun to regain something very precious – her self-belief. She tuned into HER values, which gave her more strength. And gradually, her confidence is returning. This lady is becoming more courageous every day. By the end of Stepping Up, she had started to rebuild her business, something she never thought she’d have the courage to do.


Claire applied for her (unadvertised) dream job..

Not only that, she has been bold enough to negotiate the job as work from home and 3 days a week – even though it was originally intended to be full time in an office. She is over the moon and she tells me she would NEVER have even approached the company in the first place without my support within Stepping Up. We did quite a bit of email coaching back and forth and I remember her first email when she saw the opportunity. Claire wasn’t sure she dared to approach the company. I dared her. She made the first contact and the rest is history in the making!


Patricia started getting paid for something she had previously done for free!

Patricia was volunteering for a charity. She rose to the challenge with one of the Stepping Up exercises which required her to email or phone people and ask them to answer 6 questions about her.  She took a deep breath and got more than she bargained for. Not only did she get feedback, she got a job:  The feedback made her realise she had been under-valuing herself. This planted a seed in her mind: What if she could secure a PAID position within the third sector? It was an idea that had never occurred to her before. And lo and behold the perfect opportunity presented itself. And Patricia took it!

But there’s more! Patricia attended an interview for a place on the board of another charity. She consciously saw herself as their equal, something she often struggles to do. Like many of us, she is great at seeing other people’s strengths and her own weaknesses!  She is now overcoming this Imposter Syndrome and going for it!


Jess achieved happiness, direction and clarity after a major life transition

Jess had lost her mojo and was grieving for her life abroad after she and her family repatriated back to the UK earlier this year.  She felt lonely, disorientated and directionless. We found her mojo was merely hiding. We soon coaxed it back out by getting Jess to tune into what made her feel alive, on purpose, connected and full of energy. She only required the merest nudge!

Once she’d realised what was important to her and what she needed, she took action –  baby steps –  to get her needs met. Jess has taken up running, made new friends, attended networking meetings, sold her house abroad, been back to visit her old friends, eliminated a fear she’s carried around for years and got clarity on the direction of her career.  She says she’s excited and “scared” because that career direction feels more like a “calling”. Phew! What a ride!

Suzanne took on a huge Internet client within her business development role, stepping WELL outside of her comfort zone.

She really stepped up to a new and exciting  level within her role:  Suzanne took on this
s-t-r-e-t-c-h challenge in her career whilst also managing everything by herself at home with a young child during a period when her husband working very long hours.

But that’s not all!  During her time on Stepping Up,  she started a new dance class, booked a holiday in a place that makes her soul soar and created a plan to set up her own sideline business!

I almost forgot to mention –  Suzanne also found “the house of her dreams”  She put in an offer and has just signed the contract to exchange on that house today! Suzanne said that key to her being able to step up in this way was learning to “trust her own instincts and her own experience”

Are these women any different from you?

These women are just like you. They have self-doubt, put themselves down, worry, have problems, get poorly, feel upset and have to deal with unexpected curve balls whilst they are stepping up.

They are not great strong oaks who know no fear. They are fragile blossoms, opening even when it’s cold and snowing outside.

The only difference between these women and you is that they took a deep breath and took the first step. The first step they took was a risk: They made the decision to invest a little money in their future happiness and success. They enrolled on Stepping Up back in February.

Here’s a suggested first step for you!  Click here and find out more about Stepping Up TODAY!

The early bird bonus I’m offering is quite simply AMAZING and it disappears for good at 6.01pm Saturday 16th May. The bonus is so deliciously good I have considered removing it before this time.

If you’re willing to be courageous, I’m right here waiting for you to blossom. And I’ll be here for you, even if it’s snowing!

If these stories of transformation don’t convince you, then nothing will and Stepping Up is most definitely not for you. I could have added another 6 stories if I had the time! But if you are thinking of joining us for Stepping Up and you courageous enough, then I would be honoured and delighted to help you.

But do it now. Before you forget. Before some little person screams for your attention. Before you’ve had a glass of wine tonight (and you forget!). Before you charge around on Saturday doing the shopping, doing chores, head off to do some sport or start your weekend taxi service. Do it now because there are only 10 places left and the early bird bonus ends at 6pm BST on Saturday. And if you’re wondering what it is, just scroll down to the bottom of the Stepping Up page!

If you’re willing to be courageous, I’m right here waiting for you to blossom. And I’ll be here for you, even if it’s snowing.

By the way, if you would like to chat to any of the women mentioned above before you join Stepping Up, feel free to contact me. I have changed their names to maintain privacy within this post, but they are each happy to be in touch via email with individuals wanting to explore Stepping Up.

Now click here before you forget! 

How to Bounce Back From Public Failure and Humiliation

By amandaalexander | Confidence

250 Men Turned up Specifically to Boo at Her…

Imagine failing at something so publicly that you were featured on the front page of the national press.

Now imagine if, at the time of failure, you were standing at the front of a hall in which 250 men who had turned up specifically to boo at you and revel in your failure. And imagine a journalist shoves a microphone under your nose and asked you to comment about how you felt.

You would probably feel like crying. And that’s exactly what Baroness Warsi, who experienced all this, felt like doing at that moment.

I attended an International Women’s Day lunch in Leeds last week with Forward Ladies. Baroness Warsi was the keynote and she related this story as part of her talk.

She related stories of canvassing for votes, knocking on doors and being greeted with comment like: “I’m really sorry, I’m not going to vote for a Paki”.She concluded that she was “Too brown for half of them too female for the other half”

And yet despite the story related above, there is no way you’d label this inspirational woman is a “failure”. Here’s a very short introduction to Baroness Sayeeda Warsi:

“A lawyer, a businesswoman, a campaigner and a cabinet minister, Sayeeda Warsi has had many roles, but she is best known for being the first Muslim to serve in a British cabinet and the foremost Muslim politician in the Western world. In August 2014 she resigned from Government citing the Government’s “morally indefensible” policy on Gaza.” (source )

Warsi conveyed two key messages during her talk last Friday:

1. You have to overcome fear of losing or it will hold you back.
2. Don’t let anyone limit your potential.

Baroness Warsi would never have embarked upon a career in politics or made an impact on so many lives had she feared losing or allowed those booing men, the British media or social media trolls to bow her into submission – and limit her potential.

I was curious to know exactly how Warsi bounced back from such defeat and humiliation and how she continued a public career in politics (“The bitchiest women I’ve ever met are men in politics”).

How do you keep going when you get knocked so badly? How do you continue to strive for your goal when there are people who are gunning for you to fail? That’s scary stuff…

At the end of the lunch, we were given the opportunity to ask questions.

I asked the Baroness how she maintained her self-belief and bounced back from public failure and humiliation. I wanted to know the “secret” of staying power, so I could pass it onto you!

But I have bad news for you Amanda! Warsi didn’t have any secret formula for indestructible self-belief and not letting people bother you.

But here is what I did learn from her response to my question:

1. She has a clear motivation for not giving up after failure. She believes strongly enough in her own mission and vision that she keeps trying.
2. She has a strong support network, particularly within her family. They give her a safe refuge of love, no matter what the trolls are saying about her.
3. She believes that it is better to have fought and lost than never to have fought at all.

Warsi said that she has met too many women in their 40s – childhood friends – who admit to feeling regret at what they haven’t done: “If only I had…” In other words, They regret not trying – they regret their fear of failure.

I sat at my table listening, trying to figure out the magical, never-heard-before gems of inspiration in her answer. There weren’t any. It was all common sense.

She confirmed what I already know to be true from coaching many brave women over many years:

1. You have to have a strong vision for what you really want to achieve, because you WILL fail at some point – and your vision is what you hold onto to go beyond those times of failure.

2. Your vision must be underpinned by YOUR most important VALUES. A vision based on values that you don’t truly hold dear will crumble at the first hurdle.

3. When you fail on your journey, you are allowed to crawl into a corner and lick your wounds. You are allowed to lean on those nearest to you, who love you – momentarily. But then you must get up, dust yourself off and get back up again.

1. Not going for your vision is most certainly a safer way to live. You won’t have to face the critics, the trolls or the haters. But is being in fear of other people a good way to spend this one precious life you have? I don’t think so! I think it’s better to face the demons and live your life courageously and purposefully.
2. Seek out like-minded, courageous, positive and sunny people. If you don’t have these people in your life right now, here’s how to attract them: Be courageous, positive and sunny yourself!

Don’t let anybody limit your potential! Be bold, be brave and go for it!