being true

August: Being true to self and sharing all aspects

What comes to mind when you reflect on the last 30 days?

When I reflect on the past 30 days I think about why I failed to be my true self in the workplace, and there is only one real answer… FEAR.
It’s funny because I often speak about being true, being authentic but in the workplace, I failed to live up to my own advice. I never opened up about my lifestyle outside of work due to fear of judgement or fear that they may think my focus is on other areas aside from Cyber Security.

It has taken a long time to realise that living this lie is probably a factor on my workplace happiness; I was never one of those people who woke up excited for a day at work, but for my own projects I would hop out with a spring in my step.
I rarely spoke or shared information about my real life and what really occupied my free time; whether it was hosting or running events for The BME Collective or Bristol Co-Working, recording or editing for Tag Me In Podcast or pushing Notesworthy or Best Revision Guide – none of this was revealed.

These are where my true happiness came from and it took a while to discover the reason. It was because in these ventures I am myself; I’m not holding or limiting myself, I’m ok with making mistakes, I’m comfortable in using my natural skills or learn the necessary skills required as I go along.
Mentally I think there is a workplace pressure or expectation although it may not truly exist, at times it feels like you always have to be on guard and you are only a few mistakes away from being shown the door.

I am making the commitment to myself to be truer, whether that be talking about them openly or even how them linked on my LinkedIn page.

What have you achieved?

Tag Me In Podcast has recently reached a milestone of 20,000 listens since it started, it’s a strange feeling knowing people spend time every week listening to myself and Ola discussing topics around being the best version of ourselves.
It’s these type of achievements that reinforces our drive to push on and do better, initially before travelling we pre-recorded 4 months worth of episode, we have had reached the point of which we were running out of episodes and that meant we recorded 12 episode over a week period. We both sacrificed our free time to ensure we could record these even with a 7-hour time difference as we remain committed to this baby of us.

What have you struggled with?

I have always struggled with is dealing with non-verbal conflicts, the type of conflict is when you know something is up just based on the vibe.
I find it difficult to be direct and say “Hey, are we cool?”, in these moments this is a lot of over thinking “What did I do, is it even me, have I thought about this too much”.

It naturally eats away at me and alters my own behaviour towards that person… Like “please don’t kill my vibe” but I have witnessed how other people deal with it and I’m trying to learn from their approach of just confronting the person directly and opening up that communication.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been spending time going through the published material on Best Revision Guide and Notesworthy and trying to improve their SEO scoring, little amendments like heading length, ensuring the right keywords are listed in both the main body of text and heading and also adding other useful links to improving SEO scores of posts.

Based on the achievement of Tag Me In Podcast I have been reviewing and planning the roadmap for the next 6 months.
We have big aims and want to see more collaboration, new visual contents, new materials. This will progress over time, but small changes have already been implemented to our Youtube Channel like improving the thumbnails and tags in the hope it will catch people’s attention when searching for certain videos.

How do you feel physically and mentally?

The joys of travelling mean I meet new people frequently, but there are certain ones who stand out, and recently I met someone who challenged my mind on a daily basis. Conversations would roll on for 5+ hour plus, talking and exploring topics, and the greatest thing was it was so natural. Moments like this leaves you wanting more and there was a huge void when they did set off to their new destination. Yes, the moments didn’t last for long but they make you excited for the next meeting or encounter.

Physically I have been paying attention to those aches and pains and treated myself to a full on a spa day. I have also reduced the frequency of stretching, as I believe I may be overstretching which can be painful itself.

What are your future goals?

Research Properties and use propertygeek
Apply lessons learnt from Babypips and make 2 trades
Build traffic to Dropshipping website, to see sales of 20
Focus on and build better relationships with banknote sellers
Maintain daily stretching while traveling
Complete push up on a daily basis while travelling
Have video call with family once every 2 weeks
Have call with friends once every 2 weeks
Complete Funding Application for BME Collective
Record 4 months worth of Tag Me In Podcast
Migrate Tag Me In Podcast to different podcast host
Plan and book the next stops of my trip – Singapore, Indonesia and Australia

Anything else you feel is important.

  • Digital Look Stock Screener
    • Useful for those who want to screen stocks based on their fundamentals
  • Don’t have expectations but translate it as goals
    • More about your own personal expectation of yourself, learn how to convert the expectation into a goal. It will make things more achievable especially if they are broken down.
  • Pay off your mortgage in the shortest time frame
    • The longer your mortgage the more you will end up paying back, aim to repay your mortgage in a short time frame if possible.
  • Interest-only mortgages are the most common type used in property investment.
  •  The key to making a profit is to start with the price you can sell it for when the work is done, and work back from there.

 

 

July: New and Old Friends

July: New and Old Friendships

What comes to mind when you reflect on the last 30 days?

When I reflect on the past 30 days I think about friendship, what it means and how it feels when you establish a new connection with people.

How our interactions, personality, and values define a friendship and the people we connect with. These unique values are what we add and contribute to others and it’s their unique values that contribute to our life.
Each person has a different aspect to them, which makes us try something new and different.

Friendships whether new or old can bring so much joy into our lives, I have friends who look out for me; who care; who want to know how I am and what I have been doing. Despite being away I have created new friendships, and have been surprised to see the extra mile these new friendships have gone to make me feel welcomed.

What have you achieved?

It may have taken some time but I finally found my motivation zone, the key to unlocking this zone was Routine a forever common theme in my life.

What routine breeds is productivity, it builds a foundation that aids you to complete your tasks and with that gives you a sense of achievement.

Over the last 30 days, I have been planning and creating content such as articles and infographics for both Notesworthy and Best Revision Guide. I’ve learned that content is king when it comes to traffic, hence the focus on creating meaningful and informative content.

A lack of preparation previously led to an increase in workload, admittedly I haven’t mastered this and I am trying to learn from past lessons.

The BME Collective business directory is growing nicely as we aim to improve the relationship of these businesses with the local Bristol community, there are exciting things happening with the BME Collective which if successful could see it grow to the next level.
Over the past year my business partner has been mentioning the need to create a strategy and roadmap for the group, and with new opportunities arising it became a priority and over a 3 day period, we produced a slide deck detailing our goal and vision over the next 3 years.

Lastly, I have been spending some time researching products that I could potentially sell online by dropshipping, whilst travelling I learnt how difficult it is to run and maintain an e-commerce business remotely which has prompted the latest venture of selling environmentally friendly products. For the past 60 days, I have been doing keyword analysis and using tools like Google Trends and Google Ads to identify a small niche within this market space.

What have you struggled with?

How one date reminded me of the emotional ups and downs of dating and how easy it is to revert back to an old way of thinking.

When I’m usually asked about the last time I have dated I tend to say about a year and a half, but if I was, to be honest, I did dip my toe about 10 months ago but it was a strong indicator to me that it was not the right time.
Why so long is the question that usually proceeds and my answer is simple? I wanted to get a better understanding of self, understand my desires and wants from myself and my future partner in a relationship, along with the lessons I failed to learn from in past relationship.

Ever met someone who at first you thought was amazing, to then later discover they have some traits you dislike. How do you feel when this happens? Disappointed.

For the first time allowed myself to entertain the idea of a date, but the date wasn’t exactly how I thought it was going to go. I felt like I giving a coaching session, the whole experience was a reminder of what the dating game is all about.  This whole experience sent me on a rollercoaster of mixed emotions especially annoyance and frustration, but it taught me a lot.
When I reflect on this moment I feel it was necessary, I reverted back to an old way of thinking by getting excited about someone I met in a short space of time, rather than slowing my excitement down, exploring the person to determine what direction thing would go.
It took the “theory” aspect of the past 18 months and showed how the “practical” aspect won’t go as expected. 

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been focusing on Tag Me In Podcast and review our social media platform, initially when we started our strategy was about gaining followers but as time went on we learnt there is more to social media like engagement and content quality. I have been looking at our followers and reviewing who is engaging with our content and whether they actually are gaining value from us.
Continous improve plays a huge factor in my life but strangely enough when I think about Tag Me In Podcast there hasn’t been any major drive for improvements. As always once I have awareness I am able to take action, I’ve been spending time each week looking at Facebook Groups about podcasts and learning from others, engaging in discussions and contributing my knowledge to the group as well.

Adding new content to Best Revision Guide, it has been a while since I had updated it and over time there have been releases of new books for AS and A Levels so there was a number of books to review and add to the site.

With Notesworthy I have finally been able to implement a new workflow to improve the flow of banknote valuations, and also a feature which allows people to sell their old notes for cash.

 

How do you feel physically and mentally?

As mentioned earlier a few days of this month had me in my feelings, but overall I am buzzing mentally. A lurking thought that is becoming louder as time goes on is what does reality look like especially once I stop my travels and potentially return back to my 9-5. I often have to remind myself to be in the present moment and enjoy these moments.

Physically I have been great, I’ve been consistent with going to the gym and focusing on flexibility by stretching every session for about 20 minutes, along with this I have been having some hard landings whilst attempting to do handstands.

What are your future goals?

*These need to be reviewed and dates added because they will end up being here indefinitely – These are definitely not S.M.A.R.T goals

To continue learning Forex using babypips
Review Trade system podcast
Read up on Property Investments
To review stock portfilo
To generate additional income into my bank
Source Dropshipping products
Scheduled posts for Notesworthy
Scheduled posts for Best Revision Guide
Completed new workflow for Notesworthy
Make your day rate £865
Stretch atleast 4 times a week
Go to the Gym atleast 4 times a week.
Practice handstands atleast once a week
Focus on building core muscle
Complete 1 wim hof method breathing exercise
Message friends weekly
Message/Speak to family once a week
Adopt SAVERS routine while travelling
Listen to Blinkist once a week
Start to learn a new language – Daily Duolingo
Complete a book a month
Update BME Collective Directory
Think about the goal for BME Collective
To have one unforgottenable moment – maybe a new activity I have never done before

Anything else you feel is important.

 

June: Restoring the Balance

What comes to mind when you reflect on the last 30 days?

My burning desire to get myself back to where I think I should be, mentally, physically, financially and all the other aspects of life.
I have high expectations of myself along with big visions and goals. and the moment I slowed down my traveling I realised I have dropped a few gears in terms of growth.

But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, maybe it was time for me to drop down and slow down just to allow myself to recharge those batteries.

What have you achieved?

For me reflection is everything, it’s necessary to understand where you are and how far you are from your goals. This month I decided to slow my traveling down; previously I was moving from one place to another every 3 days.

The idea of waking up in the morning in the same bed, cooking my own breakfast, going to the gym or a swim, and having a space to do some work was my ideal lifestyle.

So here I am in Kuala Lumpur starting the latest chapter of my life called “restoring the balance“.

A common theme that’s been written in my previous blogs is my struggles during my travels in terms of my physical health, the constant moving around and the eating 2 meals a day lifestyle was not great for my overall wellbeing; I felt weak quite often.
My body was screaming for some Tender Loving Care (TLC), and I had to listen to it; now if you were a fly on the wall of the gym you would literally see me spending up to 40 minutes stretching trying to increase my flexibility. Listen I don’t want to be one of those rounded back elders with muscle aches.

What have you struggled with?

Now everything hasn’t been smooth sailing, yes I had these desires, I knew what sort of lifestyle I wanted during this break from traveling.

But getting myself motivated was a very very difficult task, OK Anton lets go to the gym… Blink… OK, Anton lets complete today task… BLINK… OK, Anton let’s spend 10 minutes listening to an audiobook… erm what was I listening to?
It’s almost like part of my brain was disengaged, I didn’t really have any real pressure to do work, no real motive to do it now because I was still living a dream. I was a free man, no job, no time constraints, the weather outside was nice.
Weirdly enough prior to traveling I thought I mentally prepared myself for this, I thought the freedom of time would be a joy and I would easily find time to complete a write up on the past 30 days.

May Blog was released on the last week on June

so you can conclude how well I was doing, procrastinating was an easier option by far. I remember I once read an article about time management:-

  • More work hours doesn’t mean more productivity.
  • We’re always more focused and productive with limited time

Both of these statements are true, interesting how you think the grass will be greener on the other side.

What are you working on right now?

So assessing where I am made me notice how many things I have actually neglected, so this month was spent bringing the dead weeds back to life starting with the online businesses.

Notesworthy took a hit dramatically when I was resolving an issue, not to bore you with the technicals but removing SSL (HTTPS) traffic and Yoast an SEO plugin lead to a massive traffic dropped and it was like that for a whole month.

No traffic means no leads, meaning no conversions/sales.

SEO is vitally important when it comes to a website/Vlog. When’s the last time you’ve gone on the second page of a google search or a youtube video search, your aim is to be among the top 5 searches in relations to a particular keyword; so you want to keep Google on your side and if your website isn’t secure that goes against you.

Another thing I neglected was Amazon FBA, the first four months of my sabbatical saw this grow continuously to a point it could have served as a replacement for my monthly salary.

Yet what happened when I started traveling was I couldn’t maintain the response or delivery of certain items to the point Amazon stepped in suspended my selling activities. I’m literally at a roadblock with this one, so do I plea to Amazon and ask for them to reinstate my rights or do I park it to the side until I’m back because Amazon FBA does need a small amount of attention on a daily basis and I could potentially be setting myself up for failure if I tried to maintain whilst travelling.

 

How do you feel physically and mentally?

Great! There has been an alignment of both physical and mental feeling, in previous months I have was always better in one department.

Now we have both areas aligned up meaning I feel like I’m back in my zone, I have enjoyed my freedom even more so, the luxury of choosing when to work and when to have fun has been great.

Although it was a slow battle with the motivation I’m starting to focus on my physical wellbeing, it feels great to touch your toes without aching, I’ve been neglecting my body and now I’m finally listening to all those aches, pain and stiffness.

What are your future goals?

*These need to be reviewed and dates added because they will end up being here indefinitely – These are definitely not S.M.A.R.T goals

To continue learning Forex using babypips
Review Trade system podcast
Address issues with Amazon FBA – suspended account
Review Business status
Stretch atleast 4 times a week
Go to the Gym atleast 4 times a week.
Meditate daily and visualise
Complete a book a month
Listen to Blinkist once a week
Start to learn a new language – Daily Duolingo
Record some new Tag Me In Podcast Episodes
Review BME Collective Directory

Anything else you feel is important.

  • Learn how to change the narrative of your story from bad/negative to good – if your car breaks down, think about how it has created some time for yourself to process something in your life.
  • The only competition is the man in the mirror – don’t compare yourself to others, don’t compete with anyone else but yourself
  • If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present
  • Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.
  • Appreciate how special you are there will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world.
  • It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not
  • What you choose to focus on becomes your reality
  • Rough seas make better sailors
  • When we’re forced to do something, suddenly the time is there.
  • We tiptoe through life hoping to safely make it to death
Anton Richardson May

May: Putting it all together

What comes to mind when you reflect on the last 30 days?

In all honesty this has got to be my most unproductive month of 2018; literally, F*** all has been achieved on my to-do list for April.

These famous words were taken from April’s blog, and what has changed over the last 30 days you ask? Has there been an improvement? Did you manage to find a balance? A happy medium?

Weirdly enough I have… and it all starts with building a foundation and reintroducing good habits.

I also mentioned on Aprils blog a VOID, and that came from achieving a big goal of traveling and not knowing what was the next big goal.

Mentally I have been thinking about the future, taking a year out has been one of the big goals in my life and now it has been achieved there is a void. What is the next challenge? what is the next goal? What’s another life goal? But I’m not rushing these thoughts and letting it naturally fall into place.

The last line of letting it naturally fall into place is what exactly happened over the past 30 days.

What have you achieved?

Little wins have been achieved this month, although these wins may seem small to other people but to me, they are the world. For example, I 2X my goal of reading a book a month, and it always helps when the books grips you from start to end. The first book I read was “The Girl on the Train” and the other one was “Bricking It!”.

Products from Amazon.co.uk

Bricking It is a book that triggered a desire to get into property development, with any venture it has its risk and the book’s story illustrates this in a comical way.
The book planted small seeds because my imagination would often create scenes of myself on a piece of land watching the development from start to finish, getting involved armed with hammers and screws; so you can guess what has been added to my goal list.

 

What have you struggled with?

A challenging habit has always been meditation, along with visualisation. Sometimes I have a good streak with meditation but there are times where I fall off the track, but with most things you have to adapt it to suit you best.
Of lately I have been trying a new approach of which I’m sure many people will disagree with as it is not the usual mindfulness meditation practice.
My approach consists of the first 5 minutes focusing on the breath and then it evolves into visualising 8 different aspects of my life and playing through each one; asking myself where am I today and then evolving it further into the future.

The 8 aspects are:-

  • Health – e.g Where am I healthwise?
  • Relations – e.g What does my relationship with friends, family etc look like?
  • Growth – e.g What have I learned recently?
  • Vocational/Business – e.g What are we now?
  • Contribution – e.g What contribution have you made lately?
  • Fun – e.g What can we do today that will be fun?
  • Financial – e.g How can I improve my finances?
  • Spiritual Matters – e.g Where are we today? Positive/Negative thinking

Aside with the previous struggle, I have also been struggling with a loss of physical strength, in the first 3 weeks of traveling I lost 5kg and activities like lifting up my 12kg rucksack at times can be a struggle. It is a weird feeling especially when a few months ago I was happily squatting 120kg in the gym.
There are many factors that have contributed to this such as not eating frequently and not working out a frequent basis, but also the way I was training and little consideration for the longevity of my body.

What are you working on right now?

Even if I try to stay away from the world of Cyber Security it will come haunting after me and this was the case on the 25th May which saw the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into place.
About two years ago I remember when I was hearing the security consultant in my workplace discussing the requirement and preparing themselves for it to come into place, and what I find shocking about it all is how quick the two years has come.
GDPR was never an interest of mine but it does have an impact on small businesses and organisation including the small project I run, so part of this month was spent familiarising myself with what is required for compliance and ensuring my projects met those requirements.

I’ve also been working with the technical team to resolve an issue with Notesworthy which has restricted me from implementing changes, which is annoying because I have been mapping out a new workflow which will enable me to improve the relationship between potential sellers and collectors.

How do you feel physically and mentally?

Although have committed to going to the gym once a week it still hasn’t helped with the feeling of loss of strength, but I also think I’ve become more aware of my limited mobility and flexibility.
My diet is a concern as well, whilst traveling I haven’t been eating my normal 4/5 meals a day. A typical day will see me eat a small breakfast, a lunchtime snack like a packet of crisps and then a large dinner.

On the mental side, it’s the complete opposite, I feel like my brain been flexing its muscles and firing those neurons. Creating new pathways and planning, assessing and reviewing the future.
Reading has also made sure it is in a good shape, taking time out to meditation helps it recharge and prepare itself for the day.

What are your future goals?

Evaluate current stocks portfolio
Complete website for The BME Collective
Look into the world of psychology
Prepare and increase knowledge on property
Read and keep up to date with cybersecurity news
To continue learning Forex using babypips
Review Trade system podcast
Review Buying and Selling
Promote and push BRG and NW
Reopen Finishing Product
Stretch twice a week
Physical exercise once a week
Inform doctors of vaccinations
Meditate daily and visualise
Catch up with friends
Complete a book a month
Listen to Blinkist once a week
Start to learn a new language – Daily Duolingo
Review Guest Bloggers
Review Podcast Guests
Prep Podcast Episodes

Anything else you feel is important.

  • Tattoo – I had a tattoo the other day whilst thinking of this question – “What is the one thing that is always with us, and you can’t change even if you tried? A shadow
    For me, I think we can alter our image or behaviour easily, but the one thing that truly reflects us mostly is our shadow.
    Now I’m not a tattoo person but if I was ever to have one it would be an image of someone standing in front of a mirror and in that mirrors reflect would be their shadow, and maybe a cliche line underneath like stay true to you.
  • Does Age Matter? This was a discussion I had recently in a group, and it produces some interesting answers but one answer stood out. “It really depends on how you perceived them if by their mannerism leads you to think they are older and you later find out that they are younger than what you thought. Is there an issue?”
  • Progress Assessment for young children – As part of my long-term contribution goals I want to open an assessment center which will be used to assess children to determine if they are meeting standards.
    Based on the result they will be placed on a programme and if necessary given tuition. It may be ran during half terms or summer holidays.
    It will focus on some of the teachings that are not in schools like money management, mindfulness, networking, health, welfare and social skills.